Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

We’re Moving!!!!

March 6, 2009

I’m so excited. The roomie and I have decided that enough is enough and we’re going to be moving in a couple of months. I’ve completely had it with this apartment. I’ve had it with the faulty plumbing, the insulation problems, the bug problems, etc.

So anyway, it’s time for me to look at a lot of apartments and to dream a little. My absolute requirements are 2 bedrooms, a bathroom that is in good shape (no broken tile, calking problems, plumbing problems), a decent kitchen that is in good shape WITH a dishwasher, and my dream item would be in unit washer/dryer.

I would love to incorporate these ideas into the new place:

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I like how this room is bursting with color, but is completely grounded by all the wood and neutrals in the room. I got a little carried away with color in my current apartment and would like to tame it down for the next one.

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I want this to serve as the color inspiration for the apartment. I LOVE the peacock blue with gold and little shots of red and pink. There is also chocolate brown (of course!) and some black and neutrals. I would also like to OWN this pillow. It’s so beautiful.

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This also serves as general inspiration for the apartment. It has all my inspiration colors in it and I just love what it says to me. I love that it says Life at the top and that she seems to be becoming a butterfly. It’s so encouraging and life-affirming. I WANT THIS VERY BADLY.

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I love the blue velvet! I have two blue velvet arm chairs that are similar to this. I would love to make them pop with apple green and/or fuchsia. (Let’s see how many times I can say love in this post!)

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I like the pops of fuchsia in this room. I also love the combination of fabrics. It looks so multi-layered and cozy.

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This is my dream bedroom. I love how serene the bedroom is with the unexpected hot shot of color in the drapery. This is the color scheme of the bed area that I would like. Soft and soothing neutrals with a gorgeous golden curtain enclosing it. Sort of like….

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…THIS! I would love a curtain enclosure like Ebeneezer Scrooge has in the Christmas Story. I’ve always wanted one! I’ve also always wanted a Princess and the Pea bed. I haven’t given up on that!

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I really love unconventional art. I hate hanging framed art on the walls. Probably because I suck at it! I never seem to hang it exactly where I want it. I don’t want to steal this exact idea, but I love the idea of a quote on the wall with the literal representation hanging below it. So clever.

Anyway, wish me luck on my apartment search. I have to FIND one before I can decorate it!

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Cleaning out my Closet!

January 12, 2009

You know how after a period of depression or whatever you want to call it, one day you wake up and things are better? The problems may not have gone away, but all of a sudden you feel like you can handle them. There is no rhyme or reason to this. All of a sudden your problems don’t seem quite as big as they used to. Well that’s how I feel this weekend.

I woke up yesterday not only with a better attitude, but with a plan for making my life more manageable. That plan starts with my surroundings. I am ashamed to say that I had let my apartment get pretty bad. So bad that when my landlord unexpectedly showed up (he does that a lot…sigh) to check my wiring, I sort of flipped out. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried. I was so ashamed that someone had seen this awful mess.

I don’t even remember how it got as bad as it did. Gradually I suppose. I went through a time of being extremely busy directly into a time of feeling pretty low. My apartment certainly suffered with me.

Okay sob story is over! My point is I woke up yesterday ready to reclaim my life AND my apartment. I started with my closet because I was so inspired by that House Beautiful article. Well I did it! I organized my closet. This may not sound very exciting to some, but let me tell you that thing was so messy and full that I was afraid to open it. So anyway, it’s a small step. I still have lost to do, but it doesn’t seem as hard as it did a couple weeks ago. The new year has me feeling extremely optimistic. I hope that you are feeling the same.

Hard to see. But it's organized into bags, tops, pants, skirts, casual dresses, cocktail dresses, formals, wraps, and coats. I need to thin it down, but at least now I can see what I have in order to make the choices of what to get rid of. I also need to invest in wooden hangers!

Hard to see. But it's organized into bags, tops, pants, skirts, casual dresses, cocktail dresses, formals, wraps, and coats. I need to thin it down, but at least now I can see what I have in order to make the choices of what to get rid of. I also need to invest in wooden hangers!

Most of this I'm probably going to end up giving away. It's puzzles, board games, art supplies, and videos. That's right! Good old fashioned VHS tapes. The hampers are full of fabric remnants and yet-to-be-finished craft projects. Much of this will be SHED.

Most of this I'm probably going to end up giving away. It's puzzles, board games, art supplies, and videos. That's right! Good old fashioned VHS tapes. The hampers are full of fabric remnants and yet-to-be-finished craft projects. Much of this will be SHED.

If you want to see a REALLY AMAZING closet check out Nicole’s Closet at Making it Lovely! I refuse to post pictures because they are just TOO good and I’d like to be proud of my little achievement. But seriously go check it out!!!  🙂

New Year’s resolutions

January 9, 2009

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It’s that time of year again. I know it’s a week later…but man I was sick as a dog last week. My resolutions had to wait.

We all make our New Year’s resolutions and hope for better things this year than last. I tried to keep my resolutions somewhat achievable this year. I wanted to be easier on my self in some cases and kick my butt into gear in others. I want to eat more and eat better. I want to work on defining my arms. Aaaaaaaaaaand I want to CLEAN OUT MY CLOSET!!! I got rid of a great deal of stuff around this time last year, but not enough. Also my mother is a fashion designer and owns a boutique so I have recieved what I’ve given away and MORE since this time last year. We are definitely maximalists! It’s time to purge the old stuff that I’ve been hanging onto for decades and to give some stuff to charity.

There is this TERRIFIC article in the new House Beautiful about cleaning out your closet and I thought I’d share it. It has really inspired me.

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UNLEASH THE REAL YOU

If you’re craving change, start with your closet. It holds the clues to your inner self — to all your selves. Who you are right now. Who you were. Who you dream of being. By shedding and getting it current, you’re poised to change your whole life.


OPEN SPACES

Not long ago, I shed most of the clothes in my closet. I asked three questions of each garment: Do I love it? Is it flattering? Is it the image I want to project: receptive, strong, sexy? Before I knew it, my closet was 80 percent empty. There was a sense of movement in my new open space that was like ocean air drifting through. Everything felt light and fresh and clean. That night I slept better than I had in years.


THREE CLUES THAT YOU’RE READY TO SHED

You’re gripped by the feeling that there’s something more you want, but you don’t know exactly what it is. It’s a glimmer in your mind that’s vaguely pulling you forward — a deep-seated wish, a buried dream rattling around inside.What you want feels out of reach. You wonder if you’ll be able to pull it off — or if you have what it takes or if you really deserve it. You’re feeling weighed down by something that’s preventing you from moving forward.


SHED: WHAT IT MEANS

SHED is about far more than just throwing things out. It involves 4 steps:

  • SEPARATE the treasures — identify the gems that are worth hanging on to.
  • HEAVE the trash — eliminate what’s weighing you down.
  • EMBRACE your identity — connect to who you are without all your stuff.
  • DRIVE yourself forward — explore the direction that connects to your genuine self.


DO YOU NEED TO ORGANIZE, OR SHED?

1. You organize to become more efficient. You SHED to get unstuck.

2. Organizing gives you access to what’s most important to you. SHEDing is a process for discovering what’s most important to you.

3. It’s possible to get organized without getting rid of anything. It’s impossible to SHED without letting things go.


DEFINING CLUTTER

A Zen parable tells of a wanderer on a lonely road who came upon a torrential river that had washed out the bridge. So he built a solid and heavy raft, which carried him safely across to the other bank. “This is a good raft,” he thought. “If there’s another river ahead, I can use it.” And he carried it for the rest of his life. How often do we hang onto things that served us well at one point in our lives but are no longer relevant or useful? Clutter is something that no longer serves you.


DETECTING CLUTTER

Does your closet feel stagnant? Does it make you feel guilty or overwhelmed or burdened? Does it deplete your energy? It’s cluttered.


YOU NEED A THEME

The reality is, no one lets go into a vacuum — no one lets go of anything without reaching for something else. But if you don’t know what you’re reaching for, you won’t let go. The solution is to come up with a theme. Take the pressure off yourself. Stop trying to figure out exactly what you’re going to do next. Instead, define what the next chapter in your life is going to feel like. What part of you do you want to express? Freedom? Creativity? Intimacy? Serenity? Balance? That’s your theme. When you get the right word — the right theme — it mobilizes you to move forward. It gives you something exciting to create space for.


BEFORE YOU DIVE IN

If you do all your thinking on paper first, decluttering your closet can be incredibly fast and painless. Ask yourself: If all of this were to be gone tomorrow, what would I miss? Write your answers on a sticky note and post them on the wall. Keep referring to it while you sort and shed. The first half hour will be slowgoing until you get a rhythm going. Then it speeds up: It really takes only 3 to 4 hours, on average, to finish.


GET IN THE MOOD

You need energy and enthusiasm when you SHED. Weekends are a good time; late nights are not. Open the windows and get some fresh air in the room. Make yourself a refreshing drink. Play music that fuels you. Now, focus. You’re going to be making a lot of decisions: You’re getting ready to cleanse.


KNOW WHERE THINGS ARE GOING

Decide in advance who’ll get your castoffs: a charity, a shelter for homeless women, Dress for Success, your sister. Have a box or shopping bag for each organization or person you’re giving things to — and for what you’ll toss.


DOES IT STAY, OR DOES IT GO?

When you’re unsure of whether you’re ready to part with something, ask yourself: What has more value to me? This object, or the cleared space?


ZONES

Arrange everything you’re keeping in a way that makes it easy to find things and put them away. Organize your closet into zones. By garment type, by season, by occasion (work, casual, dressy).


IS IT A TREASURE?

Treasures are practical or sentimental items that are worth holding on to. A practical treasure is that perfect little black dress that works for you every time. Sentimental treasures are fair game — the threadbare cardigan you wore all through college, the vinyl handbag your grandmother gave you for your 13th birthday. Ask yourself: Is this the best and most important reminder of that time in my life, or person I knew, that I own?


WHEN YOU HIT THE WALL OF PANIC

About 75 percent of the way through decluttering your closet, WHAM! You’ll suddenly be overwhelmed by all that open space: What am I going to fill the emptiness with? Who am I without my stuff? Your impulse will be to retrieve what you just tossed, or rush to fill the space with ANYTHING new. Don’t. This is a true breakthrough moment: It’s your chance to detach your identity from your things, and remind yourself that you are who you are, no matter what you own. The good news is that it doesn’t last long. Once you get to the other side of the panic, you’ll experience an extraordinary sense of calm, self-confidence, and freedom.


TOSS LIST FOR THE CLINGY

*Clothes that don’t fit, and will be out of style by the time you hope they fit again. Give them away!

*Clothes that are stained, torn, or have lost their shape. Toss ’em!

*Shoes that hurt your feet. If you’ve never worn them, give them away. Otherwise, throw them out!

*Outdated handbags, belts, and scarves. Donate them!


THE POWER AND PLEASURE OF A BEAUTIFUL CLOSET

I can’t tell you how important it is to house your clothes with dignity. Toss those flimsy wire hangers that get twisted and mangled. It’s worth every penny to buy wood or padded hangers, quality hooks, and containers. Don’t mix styles — plastic bins for T-shirts, baskets for handbags. Keep it unified and simple. You want everything to be so aesthetically pleasing that going into your closet every day is a joy.

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For more, read Julie Morgenstern’s new book, When Organizing Isn’t Enough: SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life (published by Simon & Schuster and available at Barnes & Noble; barnesandnoble.com).

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Dreaming of Paris

April 29, 2008

My sweet and lovely 86 year-old Grandpa surprised my family today. He’s taking my entire family on a 15 day European cruise. I’ve been to London 2 times, but never anywhere else in Europe. I’m so excited! One of the stops is going to be Paris. I’ve always dreamed of going there!

In homage to my surprise I would love to alert you to a new blog that I found. It’s the blog of Claudia (one of my recent commentators). It’s called The Paris Apartment. This is her blog and this is her boutique website. Claudia owns a design company and is a published author. She has an affinity for French interiors and movies from the 20s and 30s. Her site is lovely and it was such a great find!

Some pics from her blog:

Here is her gorgeous website of her boutique and some of her amazing wares. 🙂

GORGEOUS! That pink dresser is like a dream. Maybe Claudia will give me some tips on where to shop in Paris! Especially flea markets!!! DROOL. 😛

Fashion-Inspired Decorating

April 27, 2008

I found this article at Country Living today. I go to Country Living when I get tired of the never-ending mid-century modern look. Don’t get me wrong I love that look, I just crave variety every once in a while. 🙂 Anyway, this is a house tour of Annette Tatum, owner of House, a store in Santa Monica.

“Everything you need for stylish interiors is hanging in your closet.”

This is her philosophy and she carries it into her own home.

Her Living Room was inspired by a pink prom dress!

This dress:

Inspired this outdoor space (DROOL):

This Dress:

Inspired this dreamy Guest Bedroom:

Clearly this woman has insanely flawless taste, but I think her philosophy can be used by anyone. I finally found my muse for my living room and after I read this article I looked in my closet and saw that my clothes are the same bright happy colors that are in my inspiration fabric. If I had read this article four months ago my life would’ve been much easier! 😉

Antique Postal Furniture

April 26, 2008

Someone in Chicago PLEASE buy these off Craigslist so I can live vicariously through you. Aren’t these amazing? WOW! I’m so in love I can barely stand it. It’s $200 for both. I love the color of the one on the left. It would be great for book and magazine storage, dishes, collectibles…anything really! The one on the right I see as part of the perfect craft or sewing room! DROOL! I wish I had the space and money to snatch these up.

I’m sure these are going to go very quickly. Search for Antique Postal Furniture on Craigslist. Get them while they last!

Stress-free life

April 25, 2008

This is from Architectural Digest.

Just looking at this picture relieved half of my stress instantly. Can you imagine taking a nap on that bed? Lovely. 🙂

Marimekko Inspiration

April 24, 2008

This is my new inspiration for my Living Room. I threw all my other ideas out and started over. I decided to design the room around my new chairs and this amazing marimekko fabric wall hanging. This will be the focal point of my LR, when I can afford it of course LOL.

This fabric goes really well with a huge vintage print that I already have. I can’t hang it on the walls because it’s too heavy, so it’s gone undisplayed for years. I HATE my walls. My solution is to put it on an easel!

Additionally I would like to use one more vintage print (I’m obsessed with Vintage Art prints and they aren’t ridiculously expensive). I narrowed it down to these three. I can’t decide though!

My Mother: my inspiration

April 11, 2008

I felt like blogging about my mother tonight. I think it’s because I’ve been laid up for a little while from a small accident. It makes me miss her more than I normally do. My mother never fails to inspire me. She is the most creative woman I’ve ever known. She’s a visual artist and has worked with many different mediums. She owns a boutique in Lake St. Louis called Cinderella’s Coach that sells evening wear for women and party dresses for little girls. She paints, sculpts, sews, collages, writes, has the greenest thumb imaginable, and is an amazing cook. She can clean a room, any room, no matter what it’s state in under 30 minutes. She can come up to visit me and make a 3 course meal out of whatever random thing I still have left in my cupboard. She calls herself a gypsy cook. 🙂 She makes everything beautiful and everything good. She laughs insanely loud at things that nobody else thinks is funny. She is so full of life. Her cellphone goes off during movies, plays, church, anywhere really and she doesn’t know how to turn it off. Her favorite thing is to read the bible before anyone gets up WITH her morning cup of coffee. She has so many talents and gifts, but the greatest one has always been her being our mom.

Living Room Style Tray

April 5, 2008

As I told CQ on my last post, my new goal is to make every room in my apartment look as good as my Dining Room does. Or maybe a better way to put it is…make every room in my apartment make me FEEL as good as my Dining Room does. The next big question mark is my Living Room. I know that I’ve posted color schemes and ideas on here before, but I’m not completely sold on anything. The cure suggests that we do “style trays” for inspiration. I’ve never followed this particular suggestion of the book, because I’ve always known exactly what I want to do. With the Living Room, however, I’m at a loss. So here it is…my Living Room style tray!

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a deep red accent wall behind my couch. I love the idea of using a wallpaper with deep red in it instead of painting an entire wall one color.

Space above couch option #1: What to put above my couch or on a really long wall expanse always stresses me out. I like the results, but hate the actual act of hanging art or mirrors on the wall. It’s hard to get the scale right and my walls are impossible. (I have drywall over brick). I love this picture ledge. Instead of having to commit to one arrangement that I think is perfect (this never happens), I can change what I have displayed at will and won’t have to spackle up dozens of holes each time. I also like that you can display other items on it as well. It creates a mantlepiece look…which I love! AND I think that it would work with the wallpaper or the red wall.

Space above couch option #2: The other option I’ve come up with is to go ahead and paint the wall red, but do away with framed artwork and have some sort of nature inspired wall decals up and maybe one mirror instead. This would keep the look much simpler. I also wouldn’t have to hang shelves. 😉

Space above couch option #3: Alright call me crazy, but I kind of love this. I love the defiance of it. I love that it says, “No! I will not obsess for hours, months, or even years on the perfect arrangement for above my couch!” That gorgeous panel, the bright pillows, and the lamp take center stage instead. Of course this is a nice muted sage green and not a deep red. I might need to break up the red. I don’t know! I need some advice. What do you guys think?

Because of my crumbly horrible walls, I am always looking for alternative methods for displaying art. I am a big fan of just leaning art against the wall. I know that it looks less formal, but it’s also much less of a headache. I also adore this idea. I bought an easel at IKEA for 10 bucks. I’m going to paint it and I already know exactly what piece of art I’m going to display on it! (This gorgeous painting is by Celeste Vaught.)

This is the sister of my Stainless Steel Curio that I have in my Dining Room. I love these pieces so much. Believe it or not I got them both for free from dumpster diving at a Navy base I was stationed at in West Virginia. They are vintage medical cabinets from the fifties I believe. They weigh a ton, but I absolutely love them. Right now the hutch is living in the hallway as my landing strip, but it’s not working for me. It’s a huge piece and it’s overpowering my hallway. I think that I’m going to move it into the Living Room. I have the top portion set up as a bar and the bottom portion is great for storage.

My Living Room has a doorway, but no door. My Dining Room actually does too…AND my kitchen. 🙂 I plan to utilize this curtain idea all over my apartment. My roommate is 6ft though, so I’m going to have to hang them from the ceiling instead of the top of the doorway.

This is pretty close to the red that I want, and that splotch on the opposite wall is pretty close to the color I already have and will have on the other three walls.

*That’s it! I would LOVE a new couch, desk, side chairs, coffee table, etc….but I can’t afford it. So the ones I have will do for now. The hardest part of this room is going to be the setup. It’s a long and narrow room. One wall is almost completely taken up with a doorway, a closet doorway, and a radiator. One of the narrower walls is all windows that I don’t want to cover up. I have an idea of how to rearrange the furniture that will hopefully work out.

Cured Dining Room

March 31, 2008

Here are some pictures of my cured Dining Room. It’s not completely cured. There are still a couple of things to do. I want to get a club chair, I still need to edit, I have a couple of touch up paint spots, and I need to recover my chairs. BUT I feel like I could entertain in here. I’ve been eating every meal in here. I now spend half my time in a space that went completely unused before. Here it is!

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Back to the City that I Love

March 28, 2008

This trip/sabbatical/break/whatever you want to call it, has done me a world of good. I’m still a little stressed about certain things, but I feel ready to face them now. I’m ready to take my life into my own hands. The cure has helped, my family has helped, sleeping in a bed for a month has helped, eating healthily has helped, looking out on Lake St. Louis everyday has helped, and the support of my friends has helped.

Two nights ago my best friend had what we both thought was a really close call. I stayed really calm. I always do in emergencies and then I freak out over stupid things. He’s fine and it wasn’t as serious as we thought, but it got me thinking about how important his friendship is to me. THATS what matters. My beautifully flawed family is what matters. Being creative and feeling inspired is what matters. The things that I obsess over and that stress me out in my life are unimportant. The only things that are important are taking care of myself, taking care of the people that I love, and deciding what I want to get out of this world and working as hard as I can to get it.

I go back to Chicago tomorrow and I am ready for whatever she wants to throw at me. You can sit back and let things happen to you and feel sorry for yourself. OR you can be a problem solver and you can be proactive and make your OWN life better.  So here I come Chicago! I’m going back to the city that I love.

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