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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I spent most of my day in a stone yard. Unfortunately, not the spooky kind, but the necessary kind where big slabs of stone end up as countertops. Not the most fun way to spend this holiday, but we're in the final phase of selections for this project. Now that was scary!

Get out the drill! This was my go to design for years, since carving pumpkins is not something I'm any good at doing.
I should have made a snowman from Saturday's little storm and just topped it with a pumpkin head!

Of course, if you're really feeling lazy or the weekend got away from you, like mine did, just add a mask.
You can see the whole masquerade party here!

Dashed into Target for treats and spotted this, very funny!!!

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy, Merry Halthanksmas

Say the title in your very best Eeyore voice. That's right, beginning this year The Grimm Reaper and Santa Claus will now share the holidays together. They will eat turkey. Naturally, Grimm will cut the bird and Santa will pass out candy canes and candy corn. The Pilgrims will be ignored and left to play a quick game of kick the pumpkin before heading over the river and through the get the tree.

This is one instance when a cookie can not smooth things over. Not even a gingerbread man.

Retail has gone berserk. Last week, I was simply trying to do was a little birthday shopping for Mr. A&A and squeeze in a few errands. Everywhere I went from Home Depot to Pottery Barn to Williams-Sonoma to Lord & Taylor, Christmas was on full display. Right beside Halloween. In most stores, there was absolutely no sign of Thanksgiving. Little did I know, it's designation of being the hump was the least of my concerns.

Pottery Barn had one table with decorations for Christmas and one for Halloween within mere feet of each other. Thanksgiving was on the other side of the store. Williams-Sonoma was setting up Christmas food displays. Home Depot and Lowes had the all their Christmas decorations out including those enormous stupid blow-up thingies. And at Target, well let's just say it was a traumatic experience for me and a little boy.

I pushed my cart to the very back of the store. What for, I can't even remember now.  I came around the corner and wondered if this is what it feels like to be zapped with a taser gun? Halloween was on the left and Christmas was on the right. Thanksgiving was nowhere in sight. Eliminated. There was a woman pushing a little boy  in a cart. He was screaming and crying. It was a frightening sight. No wonder kids are becoming more fearful of sitting on Santa's lap. Clearly, they see dead people.

Do retailers seriously think doing this will increase revenue? It actually makes me want to avoid shopping
altogether which is an awful mindset when the economy is already in such a dismal state.
But this really sucks the joy out of each holiday in my opinion. 

If this wasn't depressing enough, my mind wandered to January...will Cupid and the Easter Bunny exchange eggs and hearts dressed in red, white and blue while waving the flag and building sand castles?

Wonder what we should call that holiday? May I suggest, bullsh*t.

First and last photos courtesy of A&A

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Tip

Embellish. Verb. Google definition:

1.) Make a (statement or story) more interesting or entertaining by adding extra details, especially ones that are not true.

2.) Make (something) more attractive by the addition of decorative details or features such as blue silk embellished with golden embroidery.

Well our homes do tell a story about us, our lifestyles and our interests. We'd be crazy not to the tell the best one we possibly can! I had silk curtains made back in the early spring and I just love them. The silk tells a different story throughout the day. Sometimes it says I'm aqua, other times pale green and even gray. It has an iridescent quality that is mysterious and just a bit romantic. Could this story be made more interesting if a detail was added?

This trim was a little splurge I'd contemplated for months. The curtains
were reinstalled yesterday. I think the loops are both classic and a little fun. 

1.) The new trim added to the curtains was equivalent to a peacock struting around the living room spreading it's feathers.

2.) The new trim added to the curtains made them even more captivating and interesting.

I never go crazy with embellishments and prefer to keep such details simple.
 I  love a leading edge detail on curtains and this particular one was a huge
 departure from the trims I normally choose. It's peacock blue. I had to have it!
Look around your house and see if there may be a pillow or two, some linens or curtains that are already attractive, but could use a little embellishing to keep the story interesting!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Reader Poll: Toss or Chop & Fold or Throw?

There are definite opinions amongst designers, stylists and homeowners about how to arrange accessories, particularly pillows and throws. I am sure many of you have observed these variances while looking through design magazines or books. Last night, I was flipping through Canadian House & Home and they had a tiny article debating the subject.  I too think it's a great debate!  I'd love to hear your opinions and personal preferences. Of course, it's only fair that I go first and share mine. I fall into the toss and fold group.

I toss my toss pillows whether it's on a sofa or a chair. I don't care for the chopped look as reminds of two pointed dog ears. Think German Shepherd!

Chopped. Or dog eared. The throw is folded on the sofa back.


Tossed. Note the green throw folded on the bench in the corner.
 This type of loose quick fold is what I can manage daily!

Tossed. Throw folded on the arm of the chair.

My interpretation of a throw is that it is an item you throw around your shoulders while reading, watching television or napping. Not an item to be thrown on sofa or chair. I find it's really not an achievable look for everyday living. It takes effort to actually style it into a thrown/draped look. It's fine for a photo shoot, but for real life it just seems like too much effort and not very authentic.

Thrown. Styled. Arranged. 

In our house, we have a couple of throws in the 3 rooms used for the activities I mention above. And, when someone is done with the throw,  it's usually left in a heap! Occasionally, the person using it folds it. Most often, it's me going from room to room doing a quick fold first thing in the morning (while the coffee is brewing) and putting the various throws on the arms of chairs, the backs of sofas or stacked on an ottoman.

Now it's your turn ! Do you chop or toss your pillows and do you fold or throw your throws?

Note: It only took a few minutes to find pictures in my file labeled Living Rooms to illustrate the options for this friendly debate. Since there was clearly something I like about each of these rooms and/or the designer's work, I've purposefully left out the sources this time as I don't think how they style the pillows or throws is an indication as to whether it's good design or not. The first 2 images and the last one are from retail web-sites.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Tip

Switch things up for the season, quickly! I've been out of town and when we arrived home yesterday afternoon, I immediately noticed how unwelcoming the front porch looked. Not a single indication that autumn is here.

A mad dash to the nursery, a quick sweep of the porch and trip to the garage to find the urns I bought on clearance...last year, was all it took. This turned out to be a great lesson in not over thinking things and being flexible with what I could find and pull together fast. I sought out the biggest mums, which happened to be orange. Added my favorite white pumpkins along with some pale green specimens to the mix and snapped a few pics before the sun went down. It looks much more welcoming now!

Character in costume optional.