Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Art and Interiors by Meghan Boody

Keith and I had a wonderful weekend together. We went to a huge going away party for a friend, played Munchkin and Letters of Marque at a potluck (nerd alert!), and on Sunday we went to the Frist Center to see the new exhibit, Fairytales. Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination. I liked it all, but Meghan Boody's pieces featuring the wives of Henry VIII, with Henry depicted as various kinds of grotesque animals, were my favorites. Boody brings together history and fantasy in a bright, imaginative way, complete with gorgeous background landscapes and interiors.

Wife #3: Jane Seymour - Bound to Obey and Serve
Wife #5: Katheryne Howard - No Other Wish But His
When I got home, I looked her up and learned that she also designs interiors. From her website: Imagine living inside a personalized natural history diorama. Or entertaining in a Florentine grotto. Or sleeping inside a turn of the century planetarium. Looking Glass Labs creates interior environments designed by artist and company owner, Meghan Boody. Known for her otherworldly digital imagery, Ms. Boody offers her clients the possibility of living inside one of her fantastical creations. Take a look:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Inspired by Botanical Print Fabric

Sewing Seeds fabric from Gretel on etsy
I'm still loving all things that scream vintage science. Seriously, it's surprising I haven't stuck a Bunsen burner in the middle of my living room yet: "What? It's an installation piece. It's art!" Umm... yeah, that would be taking it too far. But I'm so inspired by vintage botanical prints and naturalistic renderings. I'd like to sew new covers for some of my throw pillows, and I'm considering these fabrics.

Skimmer by Thomas Paul for Duralee

Wing Study by Paula Prass for Michael Miller

Octopus fabric by Thomas Paul

Schumacher - Out of print, sadly, but so pretty I had to include it.

Botanica by Jason Yenter for In the Beginning

I'm not crazy about the white medallions, but this is adorable otherwise.
Jason Yenter

Papillon by Michael Miller

I like them all, but Thomas Paul's neutral designs are my favorites. The living room may look weird if it's too heavily themed, so I'm trying to add the old-school natural history accessories gradually. A few pillows covered in one of these fabrics would probably look nice mixed in with white and cream-colored canvas pillows. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Juliet by Anne Fortier

A library patron recommended Juliet, and initially I wasn't so sure about it. Publisher's Weekly called it "The Da Vinci Code for the smart modern women," which made me gag. I hated The DaVinci Code, and I generally shy away from bestsellers and romances. But I was pleasantly surprised by Juliet. Sure, it's cheesy, but it turns Shakespeare's classic love story around and makes it feel new. The last book I read, The Weird Sisters, was bad because the Shakespearean quotes were random and seemed like a pretentious afterthought rather than an integral part of the story. Juliet was the opposite; the story couldn't exist without the Bard's play.

Here's a synopsis: Julie Jacobs and her twin sister Janice were orphaned at a young age and raised by their Aunt Rose. When Rose passes away, she leaves Julie the key to Julie's mother's safe deposit box in Italy. Julie travels to Siena, Italy and unravels her mother's oblique clues to discover that she may be descended from Giulietta Tolomei, the "real" Juliet whose story inspired Shakespeare.

In 1340, Giulietta and Romeo Marescotti fell in love, but a powerful and sadistic man named Salimbeni came between them. More than 600 years later, the Tolomei, Marescotti, and Salimbeni families are still at odds. Julie has unknown enemies, and as long as she stays in Italy, she is in danger. But if she can stay alive and locate Romeo and Giulietta's hidden tomb, she will find a priceless treasure. Meanwhile, Julie is falling for a man who belongs to an enemy family... Oh, those Tolomei girls!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Colorful Carpets and Rugs

First, I'd like to thank Vivian at Ish and Chi for featuring my home in her blog! I'm honored. If you don't read Ish and Chi yet, take a look. It's bright, beautiful, and inspiring.

I recently tried watching Pushing Daisies. I didn't like the storyline, but I love the over-the-top set design with bright colors, elaborate patterns, and whimsical details galore. I especially love Olive's bedroom, with toile bedding that matches the wallpaper, that matches the headboard, that matches the curtains... that match the carpet. Who does that?!

Image Credit
In a special feature interview, a set designer mentioned that ABC has a carpet printer. It prints anything on low-pile white wall-to-wall carpet, and they made this carpet to match everything else in the room. WOW. I don't even like wall-to-wall carpet, but now I'm taken with the idea of custom-made, elaborately patterned rugs. How might that look in a room? Check out these rooms for inspiration.

Anthropologie Rug
Stamp Rugs - Is a rug with the Queen of England's face on it rude?
I wouldn't want people walking all over me!
CB2 Hopscotch Rug
Anthropologie Shanti Paisley Rug
Anthropologie Floral Rug
ABC Home
The new carpets are beautiful, but I like these antique rugs best, especially the red and black Chinese Art Deco. I'd love to build an otherwise neutral living room around that gorgeous carpet. Imagine it with white walls, a creamy tufted sofa, lucite coffee table, and a big Arco lamp... maybe someday!

P.S. The summer 2008 issue of Set Decor magazine has wonderful photos of the Pushing Daisies set and explains how the set design is used to reveal information about each character, set the mood, and evoke specific emotions. Another article in the same issue describes the same things about Mad Men.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

She Blinded Me With Science

I like stuff. I like a lot of stuff, and not all the stuff I like matches. So I've been using Pinterest to focus my taste and plan exactly what I want in my living room. I don't want an overt theme, but I like accessories that evoke a mad science lab feeling: Antique biology prints, apothecary jars and bell jars, Edison bulbs, and a well-appointed bar cart (For chemistry, y'all!). I aim to balance the old-fashioned elements with mid-century furniture and modern gray walls. These images are inspirational.  

Credit - This entire house tour is fantastic.
I like the anatomical print, bell jar glassware, and lamp.

I like the glassware and natural specimens... though I don't think I really want to live with dead animals, so I'd rather mimic that look with a piece of art.

I like the graphic black and white pillows, Edison light bulbs, and bar cart.

I like the look of gold against dark gray-blue walls.

I like the industrial storage, glassware, and general laboratory feel of this room.

To Do:
Make new throw pillows
Collect pretty glassware
Hang science-inspired art
Hang an Edison bulb over my easel
Find an industrial or fancy gold bar cart
Find matching walnut-finish mid-century end tables

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines' Day, Valentine.

This is the first picture of us, taken in October 2009 before a costume party.
We'd been dating for ten days, and I was already head over heels.
I have always loved him.
But I'm glad I left last year to give him space to sort out his goals.
I certainly didn't expect that I would become his #1 goal!
Happy Valentines' Day, sweetheart.
I'm looking forward to making more memories with you.

Reupholstering a chair is easy. The staple gun is your friend.

What did you do last weekend? I reupholstered the cat's favorite scratching post this chair to match the new vintage anatomy poster, using these instructions, and I'm very happy with it.

It was so cheap and easy: Just remove the cushion and staple the fabric into place. I used a $6 remnant from the bargain bin. It's so simple, you can do it while you watch Community, and it will completely change the look of the room.

Two years ago, this same spot looked like this. I was so excited to have red walls in my first home, but it hurts my eyes to look at them now. What's the craziest color you ever painted your walls?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mad Science Decor: Welcome to the Lab.

I'm on a mad science kick when it comes to decor: I'm drawn to lab glassware and apothecary jars, biology charts, and Edison bulbs. So I was thrilled last week when I visited Atlanta and found this vintage anatomy poster (in Swedish?) at Highland Row Antiques. From the outside this shop looks tiny, but their basement is nearly the size of a department store, and it's filled with unique, crazy art and knick-knacks displayed alongside big-name mid-century furniture.

I also made a three-hour trip to Ikea, where I picked up a Frack mirror. I love its steampunk go-go-gadget extendable arm. This thing looks like it belongs in Tesla's bathroom, not mine. Tesla as portrayed by Bowie. YES.

So, Keith and I had a fantastic time together in Atlanta,

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

I was so excited when I found Eleanor Brown's debut novel, The Weird Sisters. The premise? Three sisters come home to care for their ailing mother, and being together as a family helps each woman confront her problems and find peace. The only things these sisters share in common are a love of books and an encyclopedic knowledge of Shakespeare's works. Since I'm the oldest of three sisters, a former English Lit major, and a librarian, this book looked perfect. It's not perfect. 

Perhaps I demand too much from fiction that isn't set in some fantastic fairyland: If I'm not reading about believable, balanced characters, I'm quickly turned off. Sadly, Brown's characters are flat and one-dimensional: Rosalie, the eldest daughter, is the classic oldest-child control freak, a perfectionist who never stops criticizing others. Bianca, the second daughter, is a flashy man-eater. She is the classic example of a middle child who is still looking for attention in adulthood. And the baby of the family, Cordelia, is a free spirited hippie who never quite grew up. The story is boring and predictable because the sisters never break character.

I wanted Rose to have a secret vice that made her human. I wanted Bean to have a secret kindness that made her vulnerable. I wanted Cordy to have one--just one--responsible habit or neat-freak tendency that kept her from being a stereotype. But no such luck here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tom Ka Kai Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Keith made this for me on Sunday, and it's absolutely delicious. If someone you love is sick, this is a sweet, salty, tangy alternative to traditional chicken noodle soup. Mushrooms boost immunity, ginger soothes the stomach, and chiles clear the sinuses (ew but true). He modified this recipe as follows:

Yes, that is my reflection in the spoon. Hi.
  • 3 chicken breasts, sliced
  • 4.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp Gourmet Garden lemongrass
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • zest of two limes
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 thumb-size piece ginger, grated (it only cost eight cents!)
  •  2 serrano chilies, minced (to taste - leave out the seeds if you like it mild)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (this stuff smells vile, but trust me)
  • handful fresh cilantro
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • rice noodles, cooked
In twenty minutes, you could be eating soup...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lucky Winners

I'm happy to announce the winners of the hair clip giveaway. Winners have been notified by e-mail; please respond and let me know where to send your prizes. Running contests is always fun; thanks to everyone who entered, and welcome to all the new readers who found my blog through the contest. Keith and I just returned from Atlanta, and next week I'm looking forward to sharing some interesting and pretty things I found there. Have a great weekend!

Aleka Nikolaidou won the Zinger hair clip.

See the other winners under the cut.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shopping List for Bibliophiles and Library Lovers

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved books.
She dreamed of owning these things,
and kicked herself for not thinking of making book purses first.
If she gets all her books at the library,
maybe someday she'll be able to afford all these little lovelies?

 February is Library Lovers' Month.
So go to the library, renew your membership if it's lapsed,
read a good book, and live happily ever after.

The Picture of Dorian Gray book purse by spoonfulofchocolate on etsy.

See  more after the cut...