Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

It was a whirlwind trip home for Christmas, in Thursday night and out at the crack of dawn this morning.  Just enough time for a little shopping, a lot of cooking and the holiday celebration.  Then finally home for  a nap!  Pretty simple table this year with black, gold and amethyst.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holidays: Thanksgiving

The last thing I did before getting in the car to join friends for Thanksgiving yesterday was gather this holiday bouquet from the garden around my apartment.  A little flowering rosemary, New Zealand flax, maidenhair grass, bronzy-orange bougainvillea and that red berried shrub that I can't identify.   It was the perfect palette for Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Morning

Bought these lovely small plates yesterday during a day of otherwise unproductive thrifting in the rain.
 My only hesitation before buying them?  Where will they fit in my tiny, cupboard challenged kitchen.  (Oh, that's my new staghorn fern!  So pretty).
My new fern is leaning on the counter because he needs to be dampened quite frequently, and I haven't figured out where I can hang him and easily be able to bring him down to the sink for little showers.  Also, what can I back him with that will protect the wall from moisture and still look good.  I'm thinking some kind of small round mirror?
Meanwhile, I've made a little more progress on pulling the apartment together by re-potting the fig and framing the Mexican painting.   Need to decide how I'm going to hang things without making a mess of the plaster.  

I think I'll wait for the next rainy day for that.  Today is sunny, and I want to enjoy it outside.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Apartment Files: Tiny update

New bentwood chair.  Serving as an extra bedside table for now, but eventually will be part of this set.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Perfect Sunday Morning

It's been especially lovely here this morning.  Alternating sun and clouds with a fresh breeze blowing.  It makes it feel like the seasons are changing, even though this is southern California, where Fall doesn't exist in the traditional sense.  I spent the morning drinking coffee, eating huevos rancheros doused in molĂ©, reading magazines and a novel, and finishing the week's laundry.  This afternoon I plan to sit down and watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, via amazon instant videos, while trying to develop a lemon flavored brownie.  With my tiny apartment oven its been hard to use my sourdough starter every week, and I've been relying on pancakes and english muffins a little too much.  Since the sourdough generally gives a good chewy texture to baked goods I'm going to try brownies, or lemonies.  I shall see how that turns out.
What's your perfect Sunday morning entail?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Apartment Progress: Moveable Chair

This was waiting for me when I got home.
Yay!  Eames fiberglass shell chair with low rod base. 

 Inside the house it will reside across the living room from the couch, partially in front of the sliding glass door.  That way it can easily be picked up to serve as extra outdoor seating when I need it.  And this is the view through the window when seated.
Can't wait for the weekend so I can have a leisurely morning coffee while enjoying the view!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Apartment Progress: Layering in the Bedroom

Okay, this morning with my back feeling better and my house-sitting duties complete, I finally got around to laying down the new rug in the bedroom.   Wrestling that mattress on and off the frame was rough, but necessary.  I really like the large-scale ikat pattern. 
 I have some new bedding on the way, but for now I just added a piece of ikat fabric that I've been meaning to sew into pillow covers atop my charcoal sheets.  Next to the bed, I layered two goat-skin rugs that I bought a few years ago at an estate sale.
I have an idea for artwork above the bed, and a plan to alter the bedside table because its wood is not actually in the best shape.  I also have a plan for a second bedside table and a little more storage.  But for today, it's enough and I'm happy with the changes.  Now, because its really hot here, I plan to hide inside with the A/C for the afternoon and catch up some reading.  Inspiration here I come!
So what do you think?  Can I work a little red into the bedroom?

Saturday, August 20, 2011


My living room is starting to come together, but it's missing all of those little things like cord management, and a decent pot for my fig tree.  I also need to mount a picture ledge or something above the couch.  I kind of like the mirror leaning on the side table, but the ebay painting is lost back there in the corner. It definitely needs to hang above the couch, and needs a new frame.  The pendant needs to actually hang from the ceiling too, not the curtain rod.  I still haven't actually turned the purple ikat fabric into pillows, etc. etc. etc.  Like I said before, summer is distracting.
While the living room is coming together, the bedroom is another story.  It needs attention. 
I need completely different bedding and have been looking for inspiration with some red in it, and coming up short.  Then I went and bought this rug from One Kings Lane completely on a whim.  
Blue!  But I love it, so I'm going with it.  Now the red will just be more subtle, to balance out the blue.  And those curtains definitely may have to go into storage.  I've actually already received the rug, but I hurt my back last weekend when my mom was visiting, and have been waiting for it to heal before dragging it around and moving furniture.  My mom also brought me these goat skin rugs that I bought at an estate sale a few years ago, and their layering properties have already drastically improved the bedroom.  I promise photos as soon as I get the new items in place.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Update: Summertime

There has been some progress on the apartment, but mostly my weekends have been taken up enjoying this:

and this little cutie:

This weekend my mom came out to visit, and we enjoyed the above as well as finally getting an outdoor table set up.  This is important since there isn't any room for such a thing in my tiny apartment.  Plus, it allows me to enjoy views like this while drinking a cocktail, my morning coffee. or eating a meal.  Thanks Mom! (and IKEA).

My mom and I had an exciting wildlife spotting on Friday, a bobcat crossed the road in front of our car.  It was large!  At least the size of a medium sized dog, and really muscular.  Later we saw a coyote, and the bobcat definitely was the bigger of the two.   I saw a mountain lion once, but this is definitely my first bobcat siting.  Back to decorating updates soon.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Apartment File: Moving Beyond the Basics

I went on a little bit of an apartment buying binge last week.  I've budgeted out a set amount from each paycheck to decorate the apartment, and I was a few weeks behind on actually purchasing, so a lot got ordered at once.  This morning my living room looked like this...
Some of the items purchased were furniture basics-- a new bed frame, so my mattress could get off the floor.
Some of the things were more decorative, like this painting I bought off ebay.  I bid on it, won it, and then sort of had bidding remorse because I started worrying that I wouldn't like it.  Now that it's arrived, I really do like it. Whew.  
And some of it was purely for entertainment, like a tv, a radio and some books.  I also purchased a rug, which I haven't gotten around to unpacking since I want to thoroughly clean the floor before laying it down.  I'm trying to get it more or less pulled together in the next couple weeks.  Well, the living room at least.  I'm a little less focused on the bedroom, but as the photo above shows, it needs some attention.  I may have a bit of ebay addiction right now, and I have my eye on a couple of decorative items for the bedroom.  I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Object Love: Teak and Resin Cubes

I saw these side tables/cubes on the Andrianna Shamaris Tastemaker Tag Sale on One Kings Lane this morning, and I had to re-post them.  So cool!  And so expensive!  ($6899 each on sale).  For anyone who loves agates and geodes these are dream pieces.  They are teak and cracked resin and measure 28 inch square and 16.5 inches high. They would look so good grouped as a  coffee table.  
Here and here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Fun: Little Things that Get You Through

I think fresh flowers are one of the easiest things you can do to make your house look a little better and elevate your mood.  These days you can buy pretty nice bouquets at the grocery store, but more often than not, I just pick a little of some landscape plant-- wild or domestic-- that's blooming outside in profusion.  A little careful pruning gets you enough to fill a vase, while hardly making a noticeable difference on the plant outside.  This week I had flowers from the grocery store, and from a friend's yard making my house look good, and me feel happy.

Gorgeous peonies from Trader Joe's which faded from bright pink to pale peach as they aged.  Made the whole bedroom look better and smelled great each night as I got into bed.

These kangaroo paws were snipped from Tawny's yard two weeks ago.  They are holding up beautifully.

And finally, this little spray of roses growing right outside my living room window look great in my bathroom.  

Do you bring blooms in from the garden?  Or do you leave them outside?   

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekend Edition: Recent Acquisitions and Conquering the Tiny Oven

This weekend I bought new side tables.  I was unsure of the purchase at the store because the borrowed end tables that I have been using each have a small drawer, which is very useful for hiding those necessary, but ugly, things like matches, scissors, masking tape, and all that standard junk drawer type of stuff.  These tables are leggy, with a shelf, but no drawer.   Since they were a good price, and in excellent shape, I just didn't believe that they'd still be there by next weekend, and so I brought them home.

And I really love them.  I'll solve the "junk drawer" problem by getting a lidded basket or something to sit on the lower shelf.  Meanwhile, I think my library books look pretty good there.
And since fresh berry season is now in full swing, and peaches are starting to arrive in the stores, I really wanted some granola to go with all that yummy fruit.  I make a version of this recipe, leaving out the coconut and dried fruit and using maple syrup instead of honey, and pecans instead of almonds.

Did you make or buy anything great this weekend?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Apartment Files: Progress Here and There

Apartment decorating continues fairly slowly.  I feel like I've spent a lot of money with nothing major to show for it, but my cupboards are full, my frig is stocked,  I've got a mattress and somewhere comfortable to sit in the living room.  Its not minor.  

I bought this sofa off Craigslist for $150.  It's Mitchell Gold, so it should be well made enough to handle reupholstery, if I ever decide to go that route.  (In my head I'm picturing grey linen with a single cushion across the seat and back, the back tufted, and the legs stripped of the dark stain... way more ambitious than is going to happen anytime soon).   I was afraid the rust color would look really bad with the wall color, but it actually looks good.  Photoshop really washes pictures out when you "save for the web," everything in this photo is brighter in reality.  The footstool and throw are from IKEA, the big curly wool pillow from West Elm, the little table is a cast-off, the Matilija poppies are from the garden.  They grow wild on the sides of some of the roads, so pretty.

 This is my imagining for adding artwork and a mirror.  I would have drawn in a low shelf under the windows, but my patience failed me.

The furniture arrangement is still shifting.  Visually I kind of prefer the couch under the windows, but functionally I think it needs to go across from the door.  I'm planning to get a low shelf or cabinet for under the window, and a small-ish chair to go where that mess of cords is.  For the time being I'm planning on sticking with the white curtains that came with the place, although the finials on the curtain rods are kind of driving me nuts.  Or maybe it's the black rods in general.

Anyway, I need a chair.  Not sure what direction I'm going to go in there.  And a rug.  I really need a rug.  I think my first choice is this Eileen Fisher recycled leather rug from Garnet Hill.  It's been on my wishlist for a long time now, and it would work well here with the color palette that's establishing itself.  The downside is the 4-6 week shipping delay.

I also saw and liked these striped wool runners at IKEA last week.  A couple of them laid side by side might work well, and would be really budget friendly.  Andrup, 2'7" x 8'2".  If not, I might get one for the kitchen area.
The chair?  Really unsure.  Scanning craigslist and ebay for something comfortable and with a small footprint.   I've also been searching for artwork, accessories, and lamps.  OMG it's  impossible to find a cool lamp when you need one.  You know, that doesn't cost 8 million dollars.
This is the dream chair.

If the Paulistano is the "high" option,  this Norton chair from R&B is the mid-range option.  I really wish the the legs were a natural color, not stained so dark.  I also think this chair will feel too heavy in this tiny apartment.  Maybe that's a good thing?  Something grounding?  

And this is the more affordable option that was on my inspiration board.  The main issue with this chair is the terracotta color, which will now be a litlle matchy-matchy with the sofa.  
Fiberglass shell chair with low-rod base.  From Modernica.

So, that's the direction its heading.  I like it, but its still so undeveloped that I don't love it, and its not homey.  What do you think?  Ever tried to decorate a temporary place without buying temporary furniture?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

In anticipation of Memorial Day

There have been a lot of ceremonial activities on and around base as we approach Memorial Day.  Yesterday we went to the beach and happened upon the departure of a Navy hovercraft.  It was really amazingly cool in real life.  This video was shot from almost exactly where we were standing, but it's from last year and by no means does the experience justice.  The most amazing thing about the departure was how fast the hovercraft can move.  Its huge, and it started up really slowly, then wham it inflated and shot backwards into the water.  It was really loud, and still cool in the water because it created it's own mist cloud that would have camouflaged it completely if it didn't make such a racket.

Yeah, so very cool machine, but sobered a bit by thinking about what it was designed for.  Another vehicle that was on display had a sign on it's back that said in English and Arabic, "Stay back 100 ft. or you will be shot."  I just couldn't help thinking that posting a sign isn't a very fair means of communication in countries where most people probably can't read, especially the women and children.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Apartment File: In a perfect World

In a perfect world I'd be able to buy anything I wanted for my house.  (And I'd be living in the awesome 60s era house at the top of the hill with the exposed beam ceilings and fireplace, not the tiny guesthouse at the bottom).  But alas, not my lot in life.  Setting up a house essentially from scratch has caused me to spend a fair amount of money lately, and for the next two weeks I need to refrain from buying home goods in order to focus on the bill paying time of the month.  This is what I would have bought myself this morning were the money flowing a little more freely:
and maybe one of these:

All from the Tastemaker Tag Sales this morning on One Kings Lane.  Have you ever bought anything from One Kings Lane?