Bit by the Design Bug

I spent a lot of today watching Sarah’s House on and reading through the archives of The Brass Petal. This was probably preceded at some point by a visit to Design*Sponge (especially the Living In category…swoon) and/or The City Sage. This was probably followed by lamentations on how I cannot afford a Pendleton blanket/crystal chandelier/vintage wingback chair.

But! Design is not dependent on money. That is one of the greatest things about it–if you have an eye and some moxie, it doesn’t matter if you have Jonathan Adler on call to make you some lamps, or if you have the latest version of Photoshop on your computer. As long as you keep in mind the limits of your budget and materials (stretching them is good; pointing them out is not), creativity can flourish. It usually does in tough situations more than easy ones.

I’ve moved since the last design post I made, and my new place is has a lot more style. It was built in the 1930s, instead of the ’80s, and has rockin’ hardwood floors, plaster walls and some cool built-ins instead of creepy industrial carpet and cinderblock walls. So the itch to design isn’t as urgent, but at the same time, I know if I put some effort into my place, it will look really, really neat. The only problem here, of course, is budget. And the fact that I am renting and therefore cannot paint (my sooooul, it perishes).

However, I’m in luck. Emily at Brass Petal posted a link to some awesome-tacular wall ideas at Shop Ruche. Like making flowers out of paper (been there, done that), using books as wallpaper (sacrilege!), or–the best–using fabric as wallpaper. With cornstarch paste, so easy cleanup and no wall damage. HOW COOL IS THAT. Now I am determined to find some ridiculous amazing fabric (or even vintage sheets) to brighten up my place.

I’m obsessed with the idea of plastering this amazing pattern on the walls of my kitchen, but at $9 per yard, I doubt that’ll happen. Bargain bin, plzkthx?


Apartment Love

Because really, we are all homemakers. It’s a sort of default position.
Many people aren’t particularly great at it, and live lives of discomfort
in barren spaces filled with soulless objects, but in the act of living
in a space, we are making it a home, either successfully or not….
Even Cleveland

Let me tell you right now: I’m grateful for my living arrangements. My roommate’s pretty cool and owns couches, there’s a kitchen with an actual working oven, and I can hang pretty much every poster I possess on the walls. I’m warm and dry, with a place to sleep and eat–basic necessities are covered.

Basic necessities? Yes. Do I feel at home? Not so much yet. If I had moved here from my last place, a house I shared with three roommates, the transition wouldn’t have been so weird. But last year I moved back with my parents to save money, and so I stayed in my old room. I love that room–it’s a product of the last many years of my life, all homey and confused and colorful. It’s one of those places I can relax in, where I can just be myself.

I recently stumbled upon Even Cleveland, where a post on homemaking really made me think twice about my new living space. I want to feel comfortable here, like I belong. My apartment needs to be a place I love. Since I have limited funds to make this happen, I turned to the internet for inspiration. There are some absolutely fantastic small spaces floating around out there–and the ones featured on Apartment Therapy are beautiful and inspiring (and functional!). I’m practically drooling all over the home tours. [Click a photo for a look at the entire home.]

I love love love the Japanese lanterns in the photo–I should break mine out and see what I can do with them.

The vibe of this room is so nice– chic and traditional, but still cozy. The framed map is a neat idea, too.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for Gothic arches, for dark wood, for random staircases. Now I just have to figure out how to install these architectural features in my apartment.

That couch just begs for a slow afternoon of reading and tea. Also a cat.


Whyyyyyy does this harness have to cost $275? It is the first really out-there harness concoction that I can actually see myself wearing, and for just a second I got my hopes up. A harness like that would be perfect for adding shape to dresses that don’t quite work with my figure. I really like how it emphasizes  the shoulders, but not in an obnoxious way.

I’ll just add it to my ridiculously long DIY list. Real ones are available at Shrimpton Couture. [via Susie Bubble]

ETA: It has a back!

In other news, I’m soon heading to New Mexico for my cousin’s wedding. It’s going to be mega-hot, and I’m trying to pack the coolest possible classy wardrobe for the occasion. I’ll post photos as soon as I can get my hands on a camera.


Excuse me while I take a roadtrip to see my boy Patrick Wolf as an early graduation present.  I’d promise pics, but if I promise I know they won’t happen–we’ll see. And I still don’t know what to wear.

Happy friday, darlings!


Wouldn’t it be amazing to have leggings like these, that looked like muscles and bone? I would convert immediately to the Cult of Leggings.

» Photo by Koen Hauser. More here.

Screw the Impressionists

Marchesa Balbi; Sir Anthony Van Dyck, 1623

If I learned anything from my trip back East, I know now that I could spend days in the National Gallery of Art, maybe even a week. Just standing in a building with that many amazing paintings just about blew my mind, and I am saddened that we only had an afternoon to spend there. Frankly, I thought the art gallery was much more awe-inspiring than the memorials (except Jefferson’s, of course). The sheer amount of history in the building was mind-boggling.

Catherine Howard; Sir Anthony Van Dyck, 1638

As interesting as the impressionists are (more to come on them later), I am discovering that my taste in art runs much more toward the Renaissance. Especially the Northern Renaissance– Albrecht Durer pwns at life. At the NGA, I was introduced to Anthony Van Dyck, who painted some freaking amazing portraits.

Portrait of a Youth; Sandro Botticelli, 1482

Botticelli is one of my new favorites–especially his portraits. The Birth of Venus is all well and good, but the Youth doesn’t even compare. In person, his eyes, I can’t even describe them. This is why I am not an art history major. I would just stand in front of a painting saying “Look at it! How could I describe this in words? It speaks for itself! QED, degree please.”

The Annunciation; Jan Van Eyck, 1434

The Annunciation; Jan Van Eyck, 1434

There is a painting that I’m not sure whether or not I like, yet I cannot stop thinking about: Jan Van Eyck’s The Annunciation. The Angel’s face freaks me totally and completely out, but the colors on the wings are incredible, and that pattern of dots is intriguing (it reminds me a bit of the cherubim in Madeleine L’Engle’s novels). The construction of Mary’s dress is fascinating, and the sheer amount of work that went into the Angel’s robe, and how that dedication shows when you look at it.

Sometimes I don’t really ~get~ the concept of inspiration in clothes, but I could base an entire wardrobe off this painting. So I suppose something from the fashion world has trickled down to my little brain.

When I am old and rich (hah!), I will have my walls hung with portraits of possibly dead people I never will have met.

Photo sources: Lee Sandstead & NGA.