Archive for June, 2008

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Back to Barcelona …

June 30, 2008

An odd and touching moment on HGTV’s Design Star last night, when Michael was sent home. He broke down and cried for his mommy.

Many creative people feel things very deeply, and perhaps that is part of what helps the creativity. I think he has a lot of promise as a designer, but as a TV personality – he just seemed too fragile. Being in the public eye is incredibly difficult. Even when you have talent and a “name” there’s always someone in a power position telling you to change something. Add to that the public, and the thousands of articles and blogs all talking smack about you. I don’t think poor sensitive Michael was ready for that. I hope he enjoyed his experience on Design Star and will continue to pursue his career.

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The Drapes of Wrath

June 28, 2008

Damn drapes. Nothing is working. I have tried espresso, thyme, celery and pecan. Then I got hungry for some reason and went and had a snack.

I sorta kinda liked the gold drapes, but my husband did not. He felt they were “shiny.” And gold. Which, apparently, does not fly with him. So I went back to the store and found a very pretty ivory, but they were apparently from the special “Bewitched” line of drapery and by the time I got home they had magically transformed themselves into a light gold.

I have now made six trips to the store. The salespeople great me by name. They inquire as to my cat’s health. They look at me kindly, and speak slowly, as you might speak to someone who’s been through a recent trauma. Their kindness touches me. They do not mock my lack of decor knowledge. They assure me this happens to a lot of people. They encourage me to keep going. “Don’t give up,” they say. “Don’t let the drapes win.”

I won’t.

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More Random Acts on the Web

June 27, 2008

My first article for The Savvy Gal website is up! More to come!

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Stay Golden (Except Maybe Not The Drapes)

June 25, 2008

I thought I was being so smart with my fancy-schmancy Photoshopping. But things IRL (in real life) are never quite the same as Photoshop, are they?

I went out and bought some panels today. The store was totally out of the green color. (I know! How can such a thing happen in this day and age in America!) I did manage to get some of the gold color and … interesting. I really thought that I’d love the gold in the living room. And … I don’t. Here’s where being decor-challenged comes in. I know that something is not quite working, but I can’t pinpoint why. I think maybe there’s just not enough of that gold/yellow color in the rug to “tie it all in.” That’s very important in decorating – the ability to “tie it all in.” I have not achieved that. I wonder if it would work if the walls were more of a soft gold? Or if the fireplace was more of a gold? Perhaps if I had a pot of gold? Then I could hire an actual decorator. This is what drives me mad about decorating. Too. Many. Choices.

Not loving it:
LR Gold

However, surprisingly, in the dining room, I actually like the gold color. It seems to really pop with the red rug. I think the border of the rug has a sort of pale golden/yellowish tone, so perhaps that’s why it works there and not so much in the living room?

Kind of liking it:
DR Golden

Sometimes things look great when they don’t match, and sometimes they just look … like they don’t go together. I’m still trying to break the code on that one.

The store was expecting a shipment of more of the green later today, so I’ll pick some up tomorrow and see how the green looks. This is the downside of ready made. I’m a bit limited as to color selection. But I’m sure I can find something that will work, and still be within my budget.

What are your thoughts on matching/not matching? Have you been able to combine colors in an interesting or unexpected way? Do you prefer when everything “goes” or do you like contrast?

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11 Million Degrees

June 24, 2008

It was hot this weekend. Like end of the world, the sky is falling, Al Gore was soooo right kind of hot.

I was sitting in my living room, unable to move, melting into the couch, when my eyes were inexplicably drawn to my windows. I felt like I was trying to say something, but my brain was on fire and I couldn’t think and I believe there was actual steam coming off my head. And then I passed out from heat prostration.

When I awoke, several moments later, it was as if I’d had a vision. Through parched lips I, managed to utter the word “drapes.”

I don’t know why I never thought of drapes before. Oh, yes, I do. Because we were going to get air conditioning. Rick and I live in a typical 1925 Spanish style bungalow, which has tons of character and charm and sense of history, and I love it, but one thing it does not have is air conditioning. Every year we say “Next year – air conditioning for sure!” But it’s very expensive. Since it only gets mind-meltingly hot a few times a year, and we both had jobs at air conditioned offices, it never climbed to the top of the “must have” list. But now I’m not working at an office anymore. I’m sitting at home sweltering during the day, fixated on how I can make this house cooler. Lined drapes will certainly help block some of the intense heat we get from our west-facing windows, and when we eventually do get AC, they will help keep the cool air in.

Although the miraculous Vision of the Drapes may have simply been a product of heat stroke, I believe the home decor Gods themselves sent me this vision. Because like most decorating choices, this is not an easy one for the decor-challenged. And the decor Gods love to see me struggle. I imagine them looking down at me from on-high as they sip their nectar, shaking their heads and clucking, “Seriously, she doesn’t really think those colors go, does she?”

I have several things to consider in the Great Drape Decision of 2008. Custom made drapes are not in my budget, but there are lots of great ready made panels out there. First, I need to decide what color the drapes should be. The two rooms that are affected – the living room and the dining room – both have rugs that contain reds and greens with accents of gold and amber. Although red would be a very traditional Spanish Colonial look, I don’t think my house is big enough to successfully carry that off. I’d also like to keep the color on the light side in those rooms. Another thing to consider is the two rooms are connected by a large arch, making it essentially one space. I’ve got to decide if both rooms should have the same color drapes or if I can have a different color in each room.

Because I have a hard time seeing things in my mind, I spent some time playing around with Photoshop and came up with some options.

I’ve pretty much narrowed down the choices to green or gold. I think. Maybe. (Decor Gods – a little help here?)

Dining room:
DR Celery
DR Golden
Living room:
LR Gold
LR Celery

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It’s Just Stuff

June 20, 2008

I’ve been thinking about all the people who have lost their homes recently due to the floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters we’ve had lately. I can’t really imagine the feeling of having everything destroyed that way – not only your stuff, but the actual house that contains it all. How do you move on from that?

My apartment was robbed once, years ago, when I lived alone.

I remember when I came home that day, I had one of those surreal moments you have when something has gone very very wrong. The door was not locked, which should have been my first clue. When I stepped inside, the apartment looked like a movie version of a robbery. There were things strewn about everywhere, as if someone had taken out all the drawers and run around dumping the contents all over the floor. It was like a hurricane had blown through the room. I stood there for a moment thinking, “Did I forget to put that stuff away?” It was a ridiculous question. But your mind can’t really register something like that, can’t really absorb the reality your eyes are seeing, so you try to put in back into some kind of normal context.

They took everything. Every. Thing. They took the TV of course, and the VCR, and the clock radio, and my camera. They took my kitchen phone. They took the answering machine. Yes, the answering machine. They took the iron. YES. THE IRON!!! They took a brand new pair of jeans, with the price tag still on them. They took the entire contents of my jewelry box, which was mostly costume, but also some pieces my mother gave me before she died. There was a cameo broach she loved, and a Tiffany watch we had both agreed to believe was real. Those were the only material things I had from her, and some stranger took them.

I tried to come up with theories as to who could have done it. A junkie probably wouldn’t have taken an iron. It had to be someone who knew my routine, and the routines of the four other units in the building. My upstairs neighbor, who was the unofficial manager of the building was always home during the day. Always. Except for that one day. The one day I was robbed. I came to believe it might have been my other neighbor, the one next door. He was moving out of state that week. He had a huge truck out front. He knew the guy upstairs wouldn’t be there. He was a shady character. He was the first one to knock on my door, to point out the window in the back had been jimmied. When I went to the cops with my theory, they laughed at me and told me I watched too many cop shows on TV. They took a statement so I could report it to my insurance company, but were otherwise completely uninterested in this Crime! Of! The! Century! I spent many weeks feeling violated, feeling unsafe, feeling unlucky.

Eventually I replaced my things. (I waited a while on the iron. I never liked ironing anyway.) The jewelry from my mother became a memory, as she had become. Eventually I moved on. Emotionally and physically. I moved to a different part of town. I got a roommate. I never saw my stuff again.

Yes, it’s only stuff, and yes, you do move on. But it’s not easy. My heart and prayers go out to all the people who have lost their stuff recently.

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It’s All Uphill from Here

June 16, 2008

Welcome to the brand new RANDOM ACTS OF HOME DECOR, where lack of style never stops us from decorating.

To kick off the festivities, I would like to share with you some truly alarming decor.

From author James Lileks’ frightening book INTERIOR DESECRATIONS: HIDEOUS HOMES FROM THE HORRIBLE 70s. Lileks’ comments are hilarious.

Enjoy. But please – don’t get any ideas.

(It’s a little hard to read, but the sign on the wall says “They Have High Hopes.” Were they talking about the decor?)

Groovy Decor