Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Husband Is Cute

Can I just tell you all how much I love my husband? A few snippets from this weekend...

He surprised me on Friday with Tina Fey's new book, Bossypants (and tells me I have to read it quickly so he can read it after me.) He offered to make dinner tonight. He likes Pawn Stars and American Pickers as much as I do. He holds my hand and buys me cake batter ice cream from Jimmy Jo's. He speculates with me whether or not track 7 on Death Cab's new album is about Zooey Deschanel (it totally is.) He does the dishes. He makes me feel like I am the best designer in the world. He tells me I'm pretty. All this PLUS he's super cute.

He is my best friend and the love of my life and I don't know what I'd do without him.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Garage Sale Season!

Although the official first day of summer isn't until June 21st, it's pretty much a given that once Memorial Day hits, the temperature stays above 80, you break out the sunscreen, listen to the Beach Boys' Sounds of Summer album, and according to Christopher, it's the first weekend you take the boat out on the water even if it's too cold to swim.

All this, of course, also means garage sale season.Who doesn't love cheap stuff, vintage treasures, and the occasional "whaaa.... seriously?!" items.

Last weekend's treasures and some of today's finds, including a 1950s five volume "Do It Yourself" encyclopedia set for 50 cents!

Last weekend was my first round of garage sales. I went to quite a few good ones, including a church rummage sale and an estate sale that was overpriced but amazing. You may be concerned about that hideous silver and blue Christmas wreathe and the weird fruit cheese-dome thing, but don't worry. I have DIY projects in the line up for both items.

I have a bit of a problem with garage sales, though. I tend to pick up a lot of small vintage items because I love their patterns, colors, and histories... but when I bring them home I have no place to put them. So they sit around in piles until I get around to packing them away (until I have a bigger house, of course.) My house is full of knickknacks but lacks hefty decorative items. My goal for this summer is to focus on large scale finds instead of little 5 cent ceramic owls. I have quite the list of things to buy shaping up, and I thought I'd share a few...

I've wanted something similar to these stadium seats for several years now. Perfect for an entryway.
(sorry, I can't find the source for this image, but I'm almost positive it's from an Etsy shop.)

Our bedroom gets so warm at night, so a nightstand-sized midcentury fan is at the top of my garage sale list. Bonus points if I find one this awesome shade of blue-green.

Flat files. Old library card catalogs. Postmaster storage slots. They look great and provide tons of storage. They're so hard to come by cheap, but Chris and I want one real bad.

1. I'd love to find an upright camera (hopefully in working condition) for $5-7ish. Thanks to Arissa for this new obsession of mine.  2. I'm on the lookout for an industrial chair/stool for my studio area. They're practical, look great, and you don't have to worry too much about ruining them with ink, paint or other crafty things.  3. Who doesn't love globes? I'm hoping to find a great old one with a subtle color palette like this beaut.  

 Tandem bike! I found one last summer but they were asking $200 for it. Might as well buy a new one. 

 Okay, so I know perpetual calendars aren't exactly one of the large items I said I would be searching for, but I still hope to find one. I'm so jealous of Danni's collection.

I also always look for old lace, hardcover books with gorgeous covers, wooden frames, quirky mugs, and fabric. I can obviously find most of these things on Etsy, but where's fun in that? I'd much rather search through to musty, dusty garages and spend $2 than purchase a treasure online for three times the price. Here's to a summer full of awesome garage sales. Are you searching for anything in particular?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Burning House

If your house was burning, what would you take with you?

Hannah Queen, photographer

Thanks to Google Reader, I just found an interesting new blog called The Burning House. It asks readers to photograph and share their most cherished items -- the armful of stuff they would grab in the few spare minutes they had if their house was burning. It's so interesting to see what people would pick... a mix of sentimental and practical items. Not to mention some of the photographs are beautifully styled.

Kate McAuley, writer

After clicking through the posts, I noticed that animals make quite a few appearances. So do Apple products, photographs and/or cameras, and journals. Which is all to be expected. What I think is most interesting are the unique items that pop up in the images... a necklace, a spoon, a piece of wood. Family heirlooms, gifts from loved ones, childhood treasures. Those are the items that really tell a story.

Tim Robinson, creative director

Laura Pritchett, artist 

The items, composition, and explanations all seem to form a sort of a self portrait, which I love. Since Memorial Day brings an extended weekend in a few days, I think I'm going to round up some of my most cherished possessions and take a photo for submission. You should too -- what would be in your photo?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

West Elm Sale!

Well, well... look what's on clearance at West Elm for $9.97:

Seriously. I want these Log Bookends. I'm not sure I'd even use them as bookends... I bet they'd look great on their own. I would also like this, these, and one of these

Please and thank you. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wish List: Avant Garden

A few weekends ago, Chris and I decided to plant our own garden for summer. Roma and cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, green onion, cilantro, cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, watermelon... it's a small plot but has everything needed for delicious, summery meals. I've also got my eye on a few blueberry bushes to frame out the back end of the plot with a little something sweet.

My cute husband planting seeds -- I love him so much!

So far, the garden just sits there, so I can't say it has been a fun or stressful venture. Little green sprouts have just started to peek up, and soon we will be weeding, watering, and tending to the young plants as they grow. It's funny, I've always admired my mother's garden, and I could list off the names of dozens of flower and tree species, but I've never had the desire to garden until now. Perhaps it's just one of those things that develops with age... now that I'm married and living in a house of my own, I find myself reading more about landscaping, gardening, and the like. Which is exactly what inspired this week's Wish List...

1. The weathered, graphic numbers of this zinc thermometer from Terrain are wonderful and would be easy to read from a distance.  2. A pretty bow adorns ModCloth's Fun in the Sun hat.  3. The lines of these herbery stakes from Anthropologie are perfectly understated, and the white porcelain would really pop in a green garden.  4. As much as I love it, I couldn't spend $48 galvanized steel watering can. With a quick search on Etsy or eBay, though, you could stencil a number on a vintage can for a cheap & easy DIY project.  5. West Elm's recycled glass lanterns would be so pretty strung along a fence.  6. The My Garden five year garden planner would be an interesting keepsake once filled, and that cover design is gorgeous. 7. Grow Great Grub also seems like a pretty useful garden-to-dinner table book, complete with organic pest control and fresh-picked recipes. 

Have you ever gardened before/do you have any tips to share? Chris and I are pretty much learning as we go along, which is part of the fun, but I hope we actually have plants to harvest -- we've already had to replace the tomato plants because of frost. I can't wait to be able to pluck something straight of the vine and make dinner with it later that day... fingers crossed.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gabriella Barouch

I don't normally mind the start of a work week, but for some reason today I have a serious case of the Mondays. Construction on the toll road slowed my commute, I feel achy all over, my sweater is uncomfortable and my hair is a static bomb. It's just one of those days.

Instead of moping, though, I'm trying to focus on something beautiful. Last week I spent an entire day formatting and revamping my online portfolio, which I hadn't updated in about a year. Since Chris and I are living on the budget of newlywedlyness, I use the free portfolio site, Carbon Made, for my work. As most free things go, the options for customization are limited. I was browsing CM's gallery of "Awesome" for organizational inspiration, when I came across the work of Gabriella Barouch.

Her illustrations are so imaginative and detailed, my two favorite qualities in artwork. I love her subtle use of colors and delicate marksmanship. I wonder what her technique is... ink, watercolor, collage, with perhaps a little bit of digital coloring?

Great Expectations -- my favorite!

Gabriella is finishing up her degree at the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design in Jerusalem. Considering the quality of these student pieces, I'm sure she has quite the future as an illustrator. I can't find any of her work for sale online... but I'd love to hang a few of her pieces on my wall! 

To see more of Gabriella's work, visit her portfolio or Flickr account. I hope your Monday is going well!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

NYC (as sung by Regina)

I just saw this on Design*Sponge and had to repost it right away. Artist Francesca Pasini has illustrated a map of New York City using Regina Spektor lyrics that correspond with their locations. Map + Regina + typography = awesome.

I love the simple, two-color screen print with wonderful handwritten typography -- each song features a different font. I spot lyrics from a few of my personal favorites... Back of a Truck, Aching to Pupate, Dance Anthem of the 80s, and of course, Summer in the City. I'm not sure what the little island lyric is, but check out that tiny Statue of Liberty.

The print is available on Etsy for $43, and it's selling fast. In the time I started this post, there were 8 prints available. Only 3 are left and I'm sure they'll be gone by lunch!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Midland Arts & Antique Market

Is it really Wednesday already? Yesterday was so warm and sunny I spent most of my afternoon outside reading on a blanket and doing housework with the windows wide open, and most of Monday recovering from all the awesomeness (and lack of sleep) that happened this past weekend. Goodness.

I took off work on Friday to venture down to Indianapolis for a girls weekend with Rachel and Arissa, two of the most amazing girls and the best college roommates ever. The drive down was only about 3 hours (although I somehow made it home in 2.5) and it was a wonderful weekend full of avacado-artichoke pizza, cute little shops on Mass Ave, pay by-the-ounce frozen yogurt, strange performance art, cheap sushi, and some of the smoothest espresso I've ever tasted.

Midland. Note teeny-tiny Rachel in the lower right hand corner for scale purposes. This place was HUGE. 

One of the weekend's highlights, by far, was Saturday brunch followed by hours spent at Midland Arts & Antique Market. Although only 2 of their 3 factory-sized floors were open, we still had an overwhelming amount of antique and vintage goodness to look at. I doubt we even looked at it all. 

Once inside, I nearly hyperventilated from the sheer amount of stuff -- and some of the prices. We decided it was best to start at the top where their cheapest items were located, and work our way down to the more expensive stuff. Rachel ended up with a few things and Arissa bought a wonderful vintage globe, but sadly, I walked away empty handed. I was watching my budget for the weekend, and since I didn't find anything I absolutely had to have, I window shopped instead. Here are a few of my favorites...

Clockwise from left: 1. This mustard mid-century chair was in pristine condition.  2. Under a pile of stuff I spotted a fantastic 1912 framed yearbook photo... too bad it was $92.  3. I had to think twice about buying this elaborately decorated reader, but because of the sticker damage I decided against it.

1. I'm kicking myself for not buying one of these antique apothecary jars, but I couldn't tell if the labels were originals or reproductions. At only $9, though, I should've picked up the center bottle anyway.  2. A few of the booths at Midland featured original artwork. These symmetrical rabbits by local artist MaryAnne Thanh Tam Nguyen were my favorite.  3. Hello, adorable typewriter. I like your coloring a lot.

1. This was the first display I saw -- vintage marquee letters! Sadly they didn't have an R available.  2. For some reason I totally loved these vintage high school storage bins... and vintage chemistry beakers were everywhere. Trendy, trendy.  3. A stack of well-traveled and well-loved suitcases to match my shoes. 

Booth #3 was one of my favorites... they had minty green walls, wonderful handwritten signage, and of course this German chicken skeletal chart. We all know how much I love charts

If you're ever in the downtown Indianapolis area and have a few hours of free time, a trip to Midland is a must. Like most antique malls, it's about 50% awesome and 50% junk, but if you look hard enough (or if you're willing to pay) you could walk away with quite a bit of beautiful stuff.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I'm sure you've seen Anthropologie's lovely wedding line, BHLDN. Gorgeous stuff, I know, but when they introduced their collection last fall I (surprisingly) wasn't oohing and aahing over everything I saw. I guess that since I was newly married and completely burned out on wedding planning, I no longer cared that much about gowns and bridesmaid dresses.

But of course, the creative team at Anthropologie always has something else up their sleeves. They just launched BHLDN's Decor section today, giving me reason to drool yet again:

The entire line (aside from the glittery banners and tissue paper poms) is just as suited for home decorating as it is for a wedding. Some of the items are a bit steep in my opinion... (no matter how pretty, who would honestly spend $300 on a 4 gallon drink dispenser!?) but they have a lot of affordable items, too, like these beautiful $10 handmade porcelain flowers and this shapely $8 dessert plate.

I know I'll never buy that cupcake stand... not for $150, at least. But I'll bookmark it for now. Maybe after wedding season dies down it will go on sale for about, oh, $30. Ha. A girl can dream.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Disassembling of Things

Photographer Tom McLellan picks up outdated, castoff items from the curb, disassembles them and gives them new life in his photographs.

Thanks to Sharon's Manual Typewriter Rescue Society, I have two beautiful typewriters of my own. I had no idea how complex, graphic, and beautiful their insides were. I honestly doubt a computer keyboard -- or even an electronic typewriter -- would be nearly as beautiful. I also love the alarm clock and push lawn mower.

Inspiration sometimes comes in the oddest places.

Monday, May 2, 2011

gathered: chart smart

Friends, let me tell you a little something. I am obsessed with charts. Something about the visual/verbal combination really gets me going. Maybe they make me nostalgic for elementary Science and US History class, or they remind me of teen magazine quizzes. Who knows. I just think they're great, which is why I decided to do a little Gathered round up on some of the educational and equally beautiful charts of the internet.
I'll start off today's gathered with The Perfect Pour coffee guide from Plaid Creative, which actually inspired this post. A combination of my two loves, coffee and bold, minimalistic design. And how great does an Eiskaffee sound?

This Les petites douceurs print from French-Canadian illustrator Eva Juliet is so sweet. I love the soft, watercolor pastels and calligraphed descriptions... it would be great hanging in a cute little bakery or even a little girl's room. 

Cats of the World print by illustrator Gemma Correll available at L'affiche Moderne: linguistically educational and freaking cute. 

I'll probably be asking for the Splendiferous Array of Culinary Tools poster from Pop Chart Lab for my birthday, if I don't get it before then. The simple, midcentury modern feel would look good framed in almost any kitchen. Pop Chart Lab has a ton of awesome posters -- chart is their middle name, after all.

This fun Outlaws of the Wild West print from 1Canoe2 is letterpressed. Yes please.

There are so many vintage charts available on Etsy. I love this 1930s star-mapping one from sandmarg.

Similar to vintage charts, Etsy also offers a ton of creative alphabet posters. I really love this Animal Alphabet poster from Decoylab. It's cute for a nursery but cool enough to last through adolescence. I know I'd hang it in my house. 

Being half Australian, I'm partial to this oh-so-educational Bird Eggs of Australia chart from Cake With Giants. I love the scripty font and soft, speckled colors. And now I know what a Chiming Wedgebill egg looks like.

If you're not feeling overwhelmed and over-educated yet, here are few more chart links for your clicking desires:
   --Pork Meat Market Cuts from YeeHaw
   --Super cute Save the Date Flow Chart
   --Lucile has an entire shop full of cute, illustrated charts!
   --This Kitchen Conversions chart would be handy next to the stove
   --The blue and brown combo of this Mushroom Print is wonderful
   --I love Bold & Noble's "Around Britain" series, especially this leaf print
   --Lovely watercolor Seaweed Botanical print from Studio Tuesday
   --And to finish things up, old school Smokey the Bear nature posters via Unruly Things

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy May Day & Giveaway!

Remember Michelle, the artist I interviewed last week? She's doing a giveaway on her blog! All you have to do is think of a creative title for her newest piece, show above, and if she picks it you could win an original painting. Click here for more details and to submit your title. 

How wonderful is her new piece? I thought it was perfect for the first day of May. This week's highs forecast doesn't dip below 53 here, fingers crossed, so I'm hoping this gloomy Michigan weather is over with. Happy May Day!