Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dreaming of...

... a long drive, filled with Christmas music and chai tea lattes.
... more than one pair of jeans that fit!
... the smiles that will fill the room Christmas morning when everyone opens their beautiful bundles, I love getting people gifts, giving a good gift and watching a person's reaction is one of my favorite things...
... setting a table for a birthday dinner with the vintage plates Mr. Smyth got me for Christmas
... making a snow angle and then drinking hot chocolate to warm back up while I admire my work

I love the holiday season. It is a time when I feel surrounded by dreams coming true instead of thinking about things that haven't happened yet.

Today was my personal Christmas morning with Mr. Smyth and it was delightful. He is so thoughtful and found some things that I love, thank you babe. More than that, I love having a whole morning with him and cinnamon rolls, did I already use the word delightful...

photo: 1

Monday, December 20, 2010

Phase 1: The Dream (Bedroom)

So hopefully you have heard about my plan. I have all kinds of projects lined up to start working toward my dream living room and was eager to get started when I realized that the rain filled days are not the best for big projects that require outdoor space. I will be updating you soon on the next steps towards that project. In the mean time I started collecting ideas for the bedroom. This is very appropriate given that I usually plan out at least twenty projects before finishing one. So here it is...

Phase 1: The Dream
You can see that my tendency toward the romantic, French country look carries over in my plans for the bedroom. I love the little details in the room, starting with the irresistible guppy ring dish *swoon* and continuing to the vintage dresser top items. I have already started storing my make-up brushes in the apothecary jar shown above and am really happy with the combined practicality and old-school vibe it has going. In terms of linens, I really like clean white, with accents of color seen in throw pillows and quilts. More than anything I want to wake up in a space that feel light, organized, and cozy!

The items I am currently drooling over (shown above) include:
1. Gulping Guppy Ring Dish from Anthropologie: $18.00
2. Metal Accordion Side Table from Urban Outfitters: $60.00
3. St. James Framed Panel Bed from Restoration Hardware: $1990.00
4. Roving Rays Lamp from Anthropologie: $498.00
5. Wedding quilt from my mother-in-law: Priceless
6. French Carved Armoire from Armoire Showroom: $937.50
7. Antique Shaving Mirror from NouveauBella (Etsy): $39.99
8. Apothecary Jar from my stash
9. Vintage Mint Green Travel Case from LaBrocanterie (Etsy): $33.00
10. Vintage Painted Cottage Chic Nine Drawer French Provincial Tea Stained Dresser from The Painted Cottage (Etsy): $325.00

Total for my current dream bedroom: $4459.49
(factoring in 2 side tables and 2 lamps)

So now for the hard/fun part. Finding cost effective ways (with a couple splurges and my crafty skills) to accomplish a similar look within my budget.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Materials I Love

Yellow Owl Workshop is one of my favorite places to find stamps. At this point I have acquired several of their sets, the above dove set was a recent holiday purchase. It has been a wonderful accent on brown paper wrapping, gift tags, and holiday bookmarks. The sets are fantastic because they give you a lot of creative freedom and flexibility to mix and match different images in different way. These stamps also have great lines that give them a lot of dimension and life on the page.

I also can't get enough of these Paper Mate pens. The colors are very appealing and, with the holidays here, having such a wide range of fun colors to pick from adds to all the cards and handmade gifts that are finding their way under our tree. For a long time I have loved Sharpies of all kinds (I still think their colors are slightly more enticing, not to mention that they can write on just about anything), but the thing that really draws me to the Paper Mate pens is that they don't seem to bleed through reasonably thick paper. This is particularly wonderful for my art journal, where I like to use both sides of a page.

Enjoy and happy holidays!

Pictures: 1, 2

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Plan

I have a plan. It will occur in three phases. One, the dream. Two, next steps. Three, the result. Slowly but surely I will work my way through our little apartment, giving it a face lift as I go. The hope is that I will be building toward my dream room, but taking steps that are within reach at this point in my time-limited, budget conscious life. As I take little steps toward my goal, I will post DIYs that I try out and the changes that I make along the way. Hope you enjoy the journey as much as I do!

Phase 1: The Dream
I happen to be a huge fan of a romantic, French country look. To give the room a little edge, I have been drawn to industrial accents, like one of these TV stands. My parents are both carpenters by trade, so I have a huge appreciation for handcrafted details, especially those found in older, craftsmen homes. Those are the types of homes you would find me helping my dad in, or more likely behind, playing in the mountain of freshly delivered gravel in the backyard.

The items I am currently drooling over (shown above) include:
1. Flatiron Book Shelf from Urban Outfitters: $249.00
2. Sibley Floor Lamp from Anthropologie: $298.00
3. Kensington Upholstered Sofa from Restoration Hardware: $3895.00
4. Orimono Pillow from Anthropologie: $88.00
5. Owl Shaped Pillow from Urban Outfitters: $18.00
6. Dusky Blooms Pillow in gold from Anthropologie: $58.00
7. Brooklyn Coffee Table from $995.00
8. Home Decor Fabrics-Waverly Carino / Buttercup from Joann Fabrics: $44.99/yd.
9. Julia Upholstered Chair from Ballard Designs: $699.00

Total for my current dream living room: $6614.93 (yowza!)

So now for the hard/fun part. Finding cost effective ways (with a couple splurges and my crafty skills) to accomplish a similar look within my budget. I'm excited to get started!

p.s. I have run into a little frustration trying to upload the inspiration board I created. Sorry it is a little blurry, I'm working on it :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dreaming of...

1. ...mmmmm..... Scream Sorbet. Mr. Smyth and I went to a tasting on Sunday afternoon and it was so much fun. It was a great foodie experience. My favorite was Coconut Thai Basil.

2. ...taking our old dresser and transforming it into something fabulous. I will post an inspiration board soon.

3. ...creating a gingerbread house. I have never created one from scratch before. The closest I have gotten is a tub of frosting and graham-crackers. This year I am feeling inspired, it might be because of Martha.

4. ...knee-high, lace-up, leather boots, like these from Free People. I don't think my winter wardrobe will be complete without them.

5. ...a trip to the snow. I love the snow. I want to get into a snowball fight. I want to sip warm drinks after a long day on the slopes. I want to cuddle.

picture: 1

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Moment

Sometimes I get swept up in all the things in life that I am looking forward to and forget to notice the moment I am in. In an attempt to live in the present, I have stowed my camera away in my purse and am on the lookout for moments in my life that make me smile. Driving home from work I stumbled upon one of those moments, stretched my hand out the window, and snapped a picture.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dreaming of...

1. ...long mornings, tucked under covers, listening to the rain fall.
2. ...taking Mr. Smyth on a day trip to Sonoma to try farm hopping. I love the day trips described by Sunset Magazine, especially this one...
3. ...this beautiful bird lamp to place in my little sewing nook over my cozy chair to illuminate my work.
4. Austrailian Shepard puppy to run with in the crisp, cool air.
5. ...time... for all of the dreams that linger in my mind.

photo from my parents' honeymoon

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Our Urban Tree Adventure

The holiday season is something I love and look forward to every year. I love the smell of fires being lit in fireplaces as you walk down a gray sidewalk on a brisk evening. I love the way colors pop out at you because of how the light changes. I love that you can see the season coming in the way the trees' leaves start to change color and then fall. So needless to say, these past couple of weeks have been filled with little moments of excitement and joy at the anticipation of the holidays.

Jeff and I have been living in Emeryville for three years now and we are in the middle of what you might call an urban jungle. We both love Christmas trees and Jeff in particular has very fond memories of going to cut down the holiday tree with his family when he was growing up. In our urban jungle, there are no Christmas tree farms, but there is a Home Depot. To create our own version of Jeff's family tree tradition, we have started walking to Home Depot, selecting our perfect tree, and carrying it home to decorate. It is a tradition that we have become very fond of. People gawk at the funny couple walking down the sidewalk with their Christmas tree in hand. Bikers stop to give us high-fives, complimenting us on our "green" behavior.

The evening that follows is one of my favorite of the year. Eggnog, lights, and holiday music fill our little apartment. Lights are Jeff's expertise and I work on the mantle. Then we unwrap each ornament, remembering when we got it or who gave it to us. The last two ornaments to be put on are silver, stick-like reindeer that Jeff bought the year we were married. We find a place where they can sit together and watch over the holiday's festivities. What a wonderful time of year...