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On being 40

28 Oct

I read a biography on Coco Chanel in the spring (I’ve been pretty good at my book-a-month resolution). Chanel’s influence on current fashion–fashion forever–is pretty amazing. Both little black dress and costume jewelry came from her. She was innnovative, smart and extremely savvy. She was obviously ahead of her time and many of the things she said are still very relevant today. This was my favorite line from the book:

Chanel’s growing exasperation with her aging clientele could be heard in her remarks, given in an interview with Vogue in 1938, which strayed from her normally pithy aphorisms: “At forty women used to exchange youth for elegance, poise, and mysterious allure, an evolution that left them undamaged. Now they measure themselves against the very young with defenses that can only be described as ridiculous.”

It’s a great reminder during my 40th birthday month. Lord, help me to be more like Coco.

Getting Cocky

28 Apr

I went through a French Country stage when we first moved into our house and purchased this little baby at Tuesday Morning.

Yes, it’s pretty bad, but I thought it added some whimsy and  humor to the room. It’s not like I had roosters everywhere in some ’80s country fashion. But it needed to go or it needed an update. The lampshade was particularly ugly.

I hate to admit that we have been using it all these years–in our bedroom, where all bad choices seem to end up (that sounds really bad, I mean, from a design purchase sort of way, not in any other way).

One thing I really like about this lamp is the little finial. I think it’s cute. Plus the base is kinda retro-’80s, so I decided to keep that too.

I like the whole monochromatic trend that you see now, particularly in white. I thought about going white but that was too expected. I taped off everything but the base.


And put foil around the cord and harp.

And sprayed it all with this, which thankfully I had already in my really clean garage.

And it already looked pretty cool with just the primer.

But not as cool as it did when it was Valspar’s Gloss Luscious Green.

And even better back in the bedroom on my nightstand with a new shade from Target.

And that finial is still my favorite part.

Am I out?

6 Apr

Design trends fascinate me. It’s always interesting when I start liking something, and I think I’m the only one and then all of a sudden whatever-it-is is everywhere–on blogs, in magazines, at Target. I think I didn’t see this before but I guess I did. These trends must start seeping into my subconscious before I realize their influence.

That’s why this post “Are Coffee Tables Becoming Extinct?” from Hooked on Houses (one of my all-time favorite blogs) is giving me pause this week. It’s actually commenting on another blog post from Stylelist Home about 7 Decorating Trends That Are Becoming Extinct.

I’ve been thinking the same thing lately about some of my furniture–three pieces in particular.

First I’ve been wondering if I shouldn’t find a sweet fabric for this ottoman, originally meant for my Dressing Room, and move it into the living room in place of the coffee table.

I mean, I do like my coffee table.

It’s been perfect for stowing toys for the last seven years but I think we could do without it.

I’ve been also thinking I have too much wood in there lately–meaning wood-colored-wood. I got that idea from some post from someone that I can’t find now (Bad Blogger, Bad!) that warned about mixing things up with painted wood pieces. Seemed like a good idea for a room with a lot of brown wood furniture.

Anyway, the other two culprits are both in this photo.

The love seat and the armoire.

I wish the love seat were a full-size couch. When I bought them (in a rush in Ethan Allen when they were going out of business and their phones were ringing off the hook and Cathy was there and she’s a strong influence on me and I got in a frenzy and thought I needed them RIGHT NOW and I thought the price was good and looking back it really wasn’t . . . ) They are decent pieces of furniture. I still like the fabric and lines but they haven’t worn that well and they are very big and very deep. They take up a lot of room, but the love seat is an awkward size. I wish it was just another sofa and then I’d have symmetry and could mirror them in my living room, the world’s longest living room.

And as for the armoire, it seems like only yesterday my husband and I were out looking for the “perfect” armoire. It was actually 10 years ago, and I loved that thing for a long time.

It was so important to me at the time that you not see a hulking TV when you walked into our house. See, it looks pretty when it’s closed . . . but again, it’s brown and bulky. (Seems to be a theme in that room.) Right now we still need it because we’re still back in the Dark Ages with our “tubular TV” but eventually, when we get a flatscreen for that room, it won’t make sense.

Anyway, this is what I love about reading design blogs . . . not that it makes you unhappy about the things you have, but sometimes it helps to qualify your thinking. So tell me, any soon-to-be-dinosaurs that are bugging you?

A Bold and Brilliant Move

31 Jan

All hail JC Penney! The large retailer announced that as of tomorrow it will be “permanently marking down all of its merchandise by at least 40 percent so shoppers will no longer have to wait for a sale to get the lowest prices in its stores.” This is what the AP reported on January 25. Well, I say, good for them!

Whether you like JC Penney or think they stink, you must appreciate this bold marketing move.

Since the economy tanked a few years ago, retailers have conditioned us into coupon shopping and waiting for “the big one!” (yeah, you, Younkers and Nebraska Furniture Mart). I’m sick of it!

I went shopping this past weekend for my daughter’s seventh birthday and was irritated that I didn’t have an Old Navy or Gap coupon stashed away in my purse. Should I wait for the mail to come to see if Gap was going to send something? Should I see if I can print something off online? I know they don’t mean to charge $36 for a pair of little girls’ 6x jeans. They’re the Gap. They have marked them up knowing that most shoppers will wait for the sale or use a coupon.

If you think you haven’t been affected, think about the last time you bought something at Bed, Bath & Beyond without one of its “never expiring” coupons. Don’t you feel like a mouse in a maze?

I hope this move saves JC Penney. I really do. For the record, I like them. They have some great Pottery Barn-esque home items specifically in their lighting department, and my favorite (ok, only) skinny jeans are from there. JC Penney is a classic that has been around a long time.

I mean think about it . . . can’t you recall poring over the big ol’ catalog in the 1970s, dog-earring your Christmas gifts, or looking at the Men’s underwear pages and giggling? I can.

Can’t pass by

23 Jan

I’ve been thrifting a lot lately. It’s something my almost-four-year-old and I do on our afternoons together. He’s a good companion and surprisingly patient throughout these adventures. He likes to look at all the schtuff (as I call it) too, and if he picks something up, I don’t get stressed because most of it is less than $5.

After years of antiquing, I see things at these thrift stores that I can’t pass by. I KNOW it’s worth more than what they are asking. This could get bad, though. Yes, I found a chair for $6 that I found on ebay for $130,  but I can’t do that every time. I don’t have the storage space and I don’t want to keep something just because it was a smokin’ deal. But what’s a girl to do?

I heard milk glass was really hot right now. Brides love it! I think Martha did a segment about Milk Glass Weddings. The things that look like open-bottomed vases are actually milk glass shades that would look awesome hanging over a breakfast bar or island. They were 99 cents each. How can I leave them? Some other wannabe thrift blogger like myself will just snatch them up if I don’t!

And this ironstone platter. It’s only about 8″ long but it’s solid and heavy and I’ve been watching my friend Cathy buy these for years. I had to grab it for $1 in her honor, right?

And enamelware? Can’t, can’t pass it by. My mom still uses her enamelware double-boiler and I’ve always had a soft spot for anything with red. I used the bowl for my Christmas centerpiece and just found this covered pot last week.

And these little plates were adorable. They look Art Deco, I thought. They are only 6″ in diameter but the design is so cute. I actually had a  store in town in mind when I picked these up. I guess I have dreams of being a “picker” . . .

And this was my most extreme purchase but again I think it’s worth a ton more than the $20 I paid.

It’s actually about 10.5 inches tall with an open bottom. Again, I think it’s Art Deco in design and it looks like Milk Glass. People love vintage light fixtures, and it’s cool. But what do I do with it? I asked the store if they wanted it (that and the milk glass), but they “passed.” There goes my dreams of being a picker.

What do I do with all of this stuff? I don’t have the time right now to open an Etsy store? I love the idea but that’s a lot of work in terms of photography, marketing, shipping, etc.

My friend Steve has an antique booth that I could piggyback on probably, although his taste is decidedly more primitive. He says he can always use “smalls,” an antiquer’s word for little things, not furniture or anything big. So I guess I’ll give that a try.

What about you? Is there anything you can’t pass by?