Sunday mornings

August 10, 2008

Here’s to the combination of vision and persistence, prep work and decorating, French-pressed coffee and the Sunday paper. Finally!


A Front Porch Summer

June 8, 2008

Sometimes you need a real incentive to begin a task. My latest incentive involves a small iron table and four chairs that fit perfectly on my front porch. Picked up at a garage sale, the royal blue just needed two cans of spray paint (Lowe’s carries the perfect color–Sea Glass.)   New fabric and padding attached with trusty staple gun and it’s going to look great. Once I paint the porch.

I really don’t have any excuse not to work on that porch. Last summer, it was at the bottom of the priority list, but we did rip out the old carpeting. Yesterday I started scrubbing away years of grime and took down the ancient green plastic shades. It’s already looking brighter and cleaner.

The goal? To sit at my little table, drink my latte and read the paper.

Free is Never Free

June 2, 2008

Recently, my fondness for used things has been eclipsed by the beauty of free things. Even better than spending a couple bucks is spending nothing. Case in point: my soon-to-be dining room light fixture. You may remember that I spent a few tortured months cruising expensive websites and stores, but to no avail. Until, that is, my mom spied a box on the side of a road in St. Albans. Because who doesn’t stop for  a “Free” sign on their way to the Chopper?

Voila–my new lamp! Of course, it needs a bit of love, but that’s what we do, right?

Today I decided to paint it. I stirred my old paint, grabbed a brush, and got to work. That was when I realized that there was some hardware decisions to be made. Some of the brass got a coat of white paint, but in order to reach the far prongs of each arm, I decided to be thorough and actually remove the five little electrical cones. (I’m sure there are proper technical terms for all these bits and pieces, but that’s not my thing.) So I was feeling kind of triumphant because I was learning and growing by being thorough for once in my life. It felt kind of good, actually, to be doing something the right way instead of half-assing it and rigging it. Which is my, ahem, usual style.

But tonight I tried to put the little cone pieces back on with their little screws and it turns out that the washer goes on the inside of the cone. That’s right! It goes behind the nested electrical wire. So, I poured a glass of wine, gritted my teeth, and pulled out the electrical part. I can’t see how a normal human with two hands could possibly put these f-ing things back together. With one hand, I’m holding the cone on to the arm thing; meanwhile, I’m trying to screw the screw back in the tiny hole with the other. No love. Not working. And since when do I do electrical?

Is there a lesson in all this? As I contemplate the ruins of my free lamp, I can’t but help feel a tad bitter. Before I braved this lamp, my tried and true motto was always “That’s good enough for me”! But today I tried to do the mature thing, the patient thing, the right thing. And now I’m left with a kind of Russian doll version of electrical pieces and stripped screws. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking I should stick this out and make it work. But I’ve got a headache and the couch beckons me. Plus it’s just really dark in here by now.

I’ll deal with this shizzle tomorrow. Now that’s more like it!

Pretty New Projects

April 22, 2008

I don’t know if it’s the warm weather or the sudden influx of houseguests, but I’ve been getting things done around here and it feels great. So, without further ado, here are some pretty things to look at:

My new spice rack, thanks to my Dad!!

My new study curtains and painted cupboard–thanks to Mom!

Kitchen Inspiration

April 11, 2008

There’s DIY and then there’s my DIY, which involves internet window shopping and lots of french pressed coffee early in the morning.

In my journeys around the blogosphere I found this today, courtesy of

I love it and plan to use it as inspiration for finding the right robin’s egg blue for my cabinet and maybe upstairs bathroom.

From my “Daily Om” to yours

March 20, 2008
All’s quiet on the housegirrl front these days (except for looming writing deadlines). But I thought I’d share with y’all a little bit of wisdom from my email inbox:
Your Wellspring Of Energy
A Stress-Free Home

“Sometimes our lives are so busy that we treat our homes as if they were impersonal places that we merely pass through. But we can make certain that our homes truly feel like our sanctuaries by taking the time to tend to them like gardens, which need care in order to offer us the beauty of their blooms. When we take the time to treat our homes like beloved treasures, we can shift their energy from being merely places to being wellsprings for the replenishment of our energy.

Consider that homes are the outer reflections of those who live within. If we feel that the current appearance clashes with how we’d like to see ourselves, it can keep us from fully allowing our light to shine. Updating our homes to reflect our inner landscape need not involve massive redecorating or a large outlay of money. Small things can make a big difference, like simply moving items so that we constantly gaze upon the things we love the most, liberating the treasures we’ve hidden in our closets, using our best dishes and making small repairs. Organizing and cleaning is a no-cost way to remove chaos from our homes and introduce more calm. Lovingly rejuvenating our personal space can become a creative project that increases the flow of good throughout all aspects of our lives and increases our feeling of connection. We can give old things new life by donating them to charity, opening space for newness to enter. Removing stress from our homes can be as simple as putting our bills into pretty boxes and choosing a specific time to deal with them, or removing clutter so that we and our energy can move freely throughout our space.

Simplifying our space lets our imagination and energy roam free. We can choose to prioritize our homes, making them the true heart of our family’s activities. Then we are free to focus on what really matters-time to ourselves, to share with loved ones, and to replenish our energy so that we have more to share with each other and with the world. “

Too many words

February 23, 2008

Maybe it’s because I make my living with words, but lately I’m feeling bombarded with words in places where I don’t want them.

Yoga is a good example. I look forward to my weekly Jivamukti class with something close to reverence.  After a long day of people and meetings, focusing on yoga sutras and breathing is a welcome relief. It’s also dedicated time to just “be” and I have to work hard not to plan the next day’s class or wonder what’s for dinner when I get home.

But lately this little bubble of being is in danger of bursting because my teacher (who, granted, is new) is a bit too enamored of the word.  I’m all for passion, politics, and civic action.  I’m all for practicing yoga both on and off the mat. And yes,  I too was horrified and sickened by the beef recall.  But I really, really don’t go to yoga for that. I don’t want to listen to more words, I just want to breathe.  I don’t want to go to yoga for a lecture.

To escape from the didactic nature of my yoga teacher, I went home to soak in a hot bubble bath. And that’s when I noticed all the words on my organic lavender liquid soap. Dr. Bonner is all about God and morality. Who knew?  Words were everywhere.

So when I saw the picture in the recent Country Home where the decorators had opted for turning the books backwards on the shelves (it appeared less “cluttered” and more neutral to only have the parchment visible), I was momentarily delighted.  Quiet! Wordless! Pretty!

And then I realized that my books were words I’d chosen and sought out. These were words I needed and craved.  How ridiculous to subsume books under some kind of pale decorator’s palette. If I can just figure out how to quiet the other words in my head–in yoga, in the tub–then I’ll be fine.