Here is a new drawing inspired by Jane Austen and England in the early 19th century. I love this time period for myriad reasons so you’ll definitely be seeing more drawings in this theme. (A print of this drawing is currently available in my shop.)
This is the first of a handful of travel-related drawings I’ve been working on (a print is available in my shop). There’s more to come.
My bedroom was the first room I painted when I moved in—I literally was moving in a couple gallons of paint for this room an hour after I signed the closing papers. The burnt orange (Behr’s Ground Nutmeg in flat) was a last-minute change. Originally I had planned to go with a warm neutral but wasn’t really in love with it, so I went bolder and darker, which was a little outside my comfort zone at the time. When I was rolling this on I was thinking, “What have I done?” But in the end and even now I’m really happy with my choice. Because the room gets great light, the dark wall color doesn’t ever make the room feel closed in, but when I lower the shades it feels like a cave (the bamboo shades are lined with blackout fabric).
In college, my mom and I found this fabulous fabric with small yellow and gold stripes with embroidered lemon trees. I had (and still have) an enthusiasm for Italy and at the time had recently read Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes, so the colors and feel of Italy were on my mind and certainly inspired my fabric choice and ultimately the look of this room.
One of the more recent additions is the headboard. I wanted something simple and modern, so I made the frame with 2 x 4s and plywood. I had the wood cut to size at Home Depot and picked up the fabric from the remnant bin at Hancock Fabrics—8 yards for $28. the assembly and upholstery process took only about 2 hours. On a scale of home-related projects, this one definitely ranks as easy.
Janet Hill is an immensely talented painter. I fell in love with her work as soon as I saw it—the scenes from everyday life, the interiors (the kitchen scenes are some of my favorites), the dresses, the women depicted. They’re just lovely. You can find originals and giclee prints for sale in her shop, and you can also follow her on her blog. The hardest part is really narrowing down the ones you love the most.
Here are some of my favorites:
I’ve been reading a lot about the upcoming release of the movie, The Romantics, with Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, and Anna Paquin, which is scheduled to be released September 10. It looks charming and smart and that put it on my must-see list of movies. But I’m the type who typically prefers to read the book before I see the movie, so I did just that and finished the book by Galt Niederhoffer this past weekend.
The basic plot is this: A group of college friends reunite for a wedding between two of their nine members. Except for Laura Rosen, the rest of the group have paired off together and are married or in the process of getting married. This wedding is between Lila Hayes, Laura’s former roommate and best friend, and Tom McDevon, her ex who she’s still in love with, at the Hayes’s family estate in northern Maine. As the weekend progresses, details of this group’s complicated history and dynamic are revealed after a drunken evening and swim lead to a missing groom.
It was a quick read and had I had a day to devote to it, I could have easily finished the 277-page novel in one sitting. And while the reviews on Amazon weren’t always rosy, I personally enjoyed the author’s style of writing, how she developed the characters, and the nuances of this group’s relationships and all of their secrets and flaws.
So, if you haven’t seen the trailer, take a look:
I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been working on my red dining room chair. I’m happy to report that this project is complete…finally!
The history of my red chair is long and has unfortunately been quite involved. I bought the chair in 2004 and painted it in high-gloss red paint. It never looked great. The paint went on thin and never covered adequately, which I’ve now learned isn’t because the paint was mixed improperly, which I first suspected, but because that particular shade of red just doesn’t work in high gloss. After five-plus coats, it looked OK and I lived with it.
It sat like that until this year when it really began to annoy me, particularly since the paint jobs on my other three dining room chairs painted various shades of blue look phenomenal. So, I set about stripping, sanding, and re-priming it. I bought a new can of high-gloss and painted multiple coats on the bottom half of the chair, and the same thing happened. So, I re-stripped, re-sanded, and re-primed it (the above images show various points during the process) and painted several coats of semigloss paint (Behr paint color-matched to Valspar’s Fabulous Red) on just the seat. That didn’t cover either, but thankfully the stripping and sanding was much faster. I got Valspar premium enamel spray paint in Berry in a gloss finish, and it worked like a charm. See for yourself:
I got even coverage in a fraction of the time. I’m beyond excited to have this project checked off my to-do list. It was clearly a lesson learned the hard way.
Have you read Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman? If not, you should. It’s an amazing story. On its surface, it’s similar to Eat, Pray, Love, and even though the two do have some similarities, I preferred Gelman’s nomadic tales.
Like Eat, Pray, Love, her story begins with the breakup of a marriage. Gelman, a children’s book author who’d been married to her husband for decades, had long dreamed of traveling and living a more adventurous life of discovery than her California life provided. During a two-month separation from her husband, Gelman heads to Mexico. She randomly selects a Zapotec village and goes there to live among the people for a month. Her goal is to get to know them, their customs, and their language. It’s a slow start, but she does just that. When she returns to California, her marriage ends, so she sells or gives away all of her possessions and sets out on a journey to see the world and get to know its inhabitants. It’s an entirely new life–the life of a nomad–and she began this journey when she was 48.
The book follows her from country to country over a 15-year period. From New Zealand and Thailand to Guatamala and Nicaragua to Israel and Borneo. She has no plan and travels by her instincts, moving on when it feels right and when opportunities arise. For eight of those 15 years, she stays in Indonesia. It’s an experience that changes her life.
Today, at 73, she’s still a nomad with no permanent address.
Gelman is one gutsy, inspiring lady. And what’s more, she has recently devoted her time to creating Let’s Get Global. It’s a national movement in the United States whose aim is to encourage young people to travel internationally, particularly during the year after they graduate high school (i.e. a gap year that the English are so fond of). The goal is to create a new mindset in this country and educate students and parents about the importance of international travel and learning about other cultures. They’re looking for volunteers. If you’re interested in getting involved, fill out their volunteer questionnaire to get started.
I have a thing for maps. I love how graphic they are, how I often learn something when looking at them, and how they remind me of the places I’ve been and have yet to go. Here are a handful of amazing ones.
These linocut prints from The Big Harumph are fantastic, and it’s even better that they’re so affordable ($20). The hardest part is picking a color, but I’m pretty partial to the turquoise and robins egg blue.
Does this fabric look familiar?
It should. It’s the same fabric I used for the pillow shams I finished last week. I had some extra fabric, so I decided to make a pair of napkins to match some others I’ve made. They’re all the same size and style, which makes them feel like a set, but I like that each fabric brings its own personality to the table.
When I bought my place, painting the walls was my first priority. I just couldn’t stomach living in a beige box when I’d lived in beige or white boxes as an apartment-dweller for years. I do like the original colors the builders used, but it was builder beige on the walls and a darker builder beige on the trim in every room and I personally need more color to keep my senses happy. I did keep both in the living room but painted over them in the rest of my condo within a couple weeks of moving in.
I made an offer on my place while it was still being renovated (the building was built in 1933 and was undergoing a complete overhaul), so I had time to plan and knew the colors and look that I wanted for my kitchen and dining room from the moment I moved in. I painted the walls a light blue (Behr Lakeside Mist in flat) and the trim and cabinets white (Behr Vermont Cream in semigloss). I know many people recommend using eggshell or a paint with a glossier finish in high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms for easy cleanup, but I simply prefer the look of flat paint on walls because it doesn’t reflect light. It’s simply a personal preference, and I haven’t found the flat to cause any problems with cleanup.
My chairs were purchased at various unfinished furniture stores and painted in high-gloss paint. I’m in the process of stripping and redoing the red chair. Although you can’t tell in the photo, the finish isn’t that great, and I’ve learned it’s because that particular shade of red doesn’t work well in high-gloss. So, for round two, I’m using semigloss. I’m hoping it works this time around.
I hope you enjoyed part two of my house tour. There’s more to come, but not much since there’s only two rooms left to go in my one-bedroom home.