Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Living Rooms

An element of my 1950s house that I love is having a "living room". New house design often ditches the living room in favor of great rooms and common space. That sort of space has it's place, but I really love the fact that when you open my front door, you walk into a living room. For one thing, you can always keep a living room clean, regardless of the state of the rest of your house. But also, it provides a nice respite, a place to get away. I read in my living room, it's where we have family scriptures in the evenings, it's the place you can go in the house if you want to sort of escape from everyone, have a comfy place to sit, and enjoy some quiet contemplation.

As I've been trying to figure out what I need to do with my house I've been analyzing my living room. My colors in there are quite bold. Lately there is a trend in decorating towards softer hues. Cynthia Rowley's home was featured in Elle Decor this month and she has this really lovely lavendar theme throughout her house (and by the way, how genius is that pool in a tiny backyard in NY city): The colors here are very subtle and lovely, and it has made me re-think whether I have been a bit too bold in my choices. Sometimes you see a trend where bold colors become the splash of color in an otherwise netural room. But that is so not what I have going on in my living room! So this morning I took photos of my front room to help me figure out what I like and what I don't, what needs to be fixed or changed and what doesn't. This is the photo from above - it's the view in my living room when I am sitting on my couch. Sometimes I do this in the mornings to just have a minute to think before everyone else gets up - sometimes I read my scriptures or a book. A lot of the time I am just staring into space while looking at this view. I kind of love this space. These glass cylinders are really great and I have Cindy Tanner to thank for them - we had one of those things at the church where you bring something you don't like (kind of like a yard sale item) and then you could choose something off the table that you did like. This was her get rid of item and I happily scooped them up. I change out what's inside, usually seasonally, sometimes more often. I have antique marbles in there sometimes, and I also have fake berries and cherries. At Christmas I do bright christmas balls. That's our family bible on the table, it's an illustrated bible and it's gorgeous, we use that to read scriptures as a family in the evenings. The other book is a big sketch book. When people come over we give it to them to sketch something for us. You'd be surprised at how cool some of the things are! The table was free - I can't even remember how I ended up with it - I think Kate had it at her house and she couldn't use it - or Virginia Beach was going to re-cover it and she ended up not wanting to - I'm not sure, but I do know that I got it for free and I painted it black and then I wiped it off while it was still wet so that it actually looks kind of like an ebony wood. It's probably from around 1930 with drop sides. Sometimes for holidays I put up the sides and we use this as our dining room table and eat in the front room. Okay so I wasn't going to go into the cost of everything in this post but I'm realizing the most expensive thing here is the Bible! Otherwise...pretty much free!
Here is a little tableau that I really like - this is the side table next to the sofa, in the background are two Christina Ramirez painting that I really like. She uses this technique where she layers color and resin and then sands and polishes the surface - they are very cool. I got this lamp at target for super cheap and bought the shade separately. That little marble bust Kirk actually carved himself! And then I have this lovely framed card from Cindy Tanner that I really love here. Laying on the table is a little brag book that Lisa Dyer made for me - it has photos of my kids and I love that it's just wee.

This is the view across the room to the piano and the bold red wall. I love this red - a whole room of it would be too much but this one wall paired with the sort of Moroccan yellow works really well. How much do you love this piano? Cindy Hale painted this for us. We adore it! It was Sister Orgill's old piano. When she was getting ready to move she sold it to me for a song. It needed a lot of help. Laurie Bird came over and tuned it for us and Joy Keeney recovered that sweet little piano chair. It was a horrible blond wood to begin with and had water stains from cups being left on top of it - the piano seat was this really ugly mauve. So I figured, it's really old, it cost us next to nothing and it's pretty badly damaged, why not have fun with it? And I'm so glad we did this. It's a working piano but it functions as a piece of artwork when it's not being played. (see above in Cynthia Rowley's house she did something similar - that gold piano is painted and the inside is used as a cooler - it's lined in plastic and she uses it to chill bottles when she entertains!) The painting above the Piano is Brian Boner.

I also love the things sitting on the piano - the bronze sculpture is by John Tuomisto-Bell. My dream is to someday own a big one and have it in the backyard. But for now - I love this. My only thing is I sort of wish I had a better place to display it - does it kind of get lost here?

When I was a kid I always wanted to have a fancy candy dish in my front room when I grew up. I got this Mckenzie child dish a few years ago and I try to keep candy in it all the time (usually I pick candy that I don't personally like too much, otherwise I'll eat it) and next to it I now have these two little skulls. I am really into the whole Dia De Los Muertos thing right now. In fact, I might buy something else next time I go to Mexico. I love that whole concept.

This is the back wall of the living room, the one that faces the street. I am not big on window coverings - I have red drapes in here which just frame the window, but mostly it is always open. I love light. At night you can see in to our front room. Since the rest of the house is private even though you can see in, I actually really like it that way. I love that you can see this wall from the street when you drive by at night and sometimes the artwork on this wall changes and we get comments from neighbors about it.

The current painting on the wall is probably the nicest painting we have. The title is 'Fernando' - Kirk has been in touch with the artist via email lately. It is from Spain and such a nice guy - so very, very talented too - this painting looks very much like a photograph from far away, but when you get up close it's so much better than a photo. A lot of people seem to respond in interesting ways to this painting. I know the real story behind the painting but I usually like to see what other people think. I consider it a sort of Rorshach test. The sculpture in the corner is by Jason Wolfe. Another very talented local artist. The chair is by IKEA. A very talented swedish company who kind of kicks but in the cheap department while still managing to hold on to good design. Kirk hates this pillow. I bought it at target on a total impulse buy - the edging is black feathers. I like it but it does shed feathers like a dead bird all the time.

I love this couch. Not necessarily the way it looks, but it is the most comfortable couch in the world. I have been planning on getting it re-covered but I'm stumped on the color options and material options. I think it either needs to be neutral like it already is or it needs to be an entirely weird counterpoint to the rest of the room, so red is out, and yellow is out. Like an icy blue maybe. But I don't know, I change my mind about it all the time. I love the shape of it too so I have no interest in getting a new one. Do you know where I got this? From a business that was going out of business out by Kirk's office in Ahwatukee. They sold it to me for super cheap - no one had ever even sat on it, it was in the foyer of their office and it was the kind of office no one ever really visits.

The painting is by Brian Boner. It's probably my very most favorite painting that we own.

Okay here is where I can see I need to do something different: the rug needs to go I think. I used to have a sisall rug here but it rolled up on the edges all the time and made me crazy. Then when I got this rug I loved the hit of color with the green. It's from IKEA and it was a great deal - also the is braille dots, and means "i love you", which I thought was clever. But my dogs are jacking it up. My little dog runs in here with food sometimes and the rug is not expensive enough for me to warrant cleaning it when it is coming undone on the underside anyway. So I think this has to be attended to. The chest is a Shannon find from a neighbor of hers who was moving or something. We each got one of these old trunks so she has the twin to this in her house. I've used it in a bunch of different places but I really like it as the table with some art books piled on top and a candle. I always love to light a candle in the front room. I don't do it every single day - but almost. Which reminds me - Rachel Echols? do you still sell those candles?

Here are a couple of other little areas in the room -

This is the corner next to the piano - before you walk into the hall and the kitchen. These paint cans are a sculpture we bought in Prescott - We felt like this corner really needed something but we didn't know what it was until we saw these. I love them. Maybe someday I'll get bored of them, but I have had them now for several years, and I haven't tired of them yet. The painting in the background is an Anthony Zeh and I thought it was perfect next to the paint cans since it looks like splattered paint.

Opposite of this and next to the door is this:

These are all things I really like. The blue chair adds a little pop of a cooler color that helps counter-balance the room. And it's a little antique kitchen chair which I love, above that is a shelf of blocks that have bible verses on them. Christina Ramirez did these and we always tell people it's good luck to re-arrange them into a new design. Kirk does that most days before he leaves for the office. I imagine someday my grandkids will like doing that too. And I love my mail slot - I don't like the way it looks from this angle - but I love that I have one of the old mail systems where it comes right into the house. My grandma Peterson had one of those and I thought it was so cool. The glare on this painting is pretty bad but it's another Anthony Zeh - above that is a shelf of little miniature paintings by Craig Cully. These are so awesome. Each one are little bite sized obsessions. The theme here is oral fixation - which I totally relate to. I love that I have these little squares of candy near the bowl of candy on the piano behind the door. It sort of ties it all together for me (though honestly, I'm sure most people wouldn't even notice that).

So honestly? I'm pretty happy with the way things are. I need a new rug! Other than that, I think I'm pretty content here. I need to make a decision about the couch, but I am not in a big hurry yet. What do YOU think about the couch? I'm open to opinions and thoughts.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Child of the 70s, Teen of the 80s...

Musical taste is interesting. I started thinking about this after Suzanne did a blog on her musical tastes. The things I like are pretty varied and I'm always open to new music. I think music keeps us young in a lot of ways. Although I really love a lot of classical music, especially Bach and a lot of the Baroque period music, have a soft spot for R&B, enjoy listening to Jazz, occasionally opera, and even some of the silly pop music Jordan likes (some of those Hilary Duff songs are catchy) - I thought in this post I would focus more specifically on the thread of my music likes since I really started to notice music when I was about Jordan's age.

Before that - my parents mostly listened to Elvis. And when I finally got a stereo my mother bought me about 7 Elvis 8-tracks. I asked for a Beatles record and instead she got me some instrumental "Chet Atkins plays the Beatles", my mother used to always say "they have some good music, but they really need to cut their hair!" so the first music I had in my own room that I really had anything to do with was when I asked for an Andy Gibb 8-track for Christmas when I was in 6th grade. It was that whole Saturday Night Fever Disco Era and to this day a disco song will put me in a darn good mood. Disco is rollerskating at the skating rink on a Saturday night, it is pink satin jackets and white jeans with rainbows on the butt.

From there I graduated to Michael Jackson. I had the Off the Wall 8-track and by the time Thriller came out I had it on Cassette Tape (technology!). Michael Jackson is my junior year of high school, driving around in Kari's parents Mark VIII while eating ice cream cones from Baskin Robbins while yelling out the window at boys. It is doing my homework on the floor of my bedroom while laying on my thick plush lime green carpet, planning outfits for the next day of school.

Madonna is busting down the road real fast in Alicia's Thunderbird to grab frozen yogurt for lunch and get back before the bell rings at school. Prince is packing to go away for the summer in West Yellowstone, blasting out the windows of Alicia's car, once again, never having to worry about a high school bell or being late and trying to dodge the vice principal.

Depeche Mode is meeting Kirk, my early years of college, eyeliner, fake pearls and hot pink tartan print pants. The Clash and the Violent Femmes are Provo, rides on scooters, and watching boys skateboard.

The Cure is being engaged, Salt Lake, Cosmic Aeroplane, and the smell of used bookstores. It's happiness.

Nirvana is the 90s, law school for Kirk, flannel shirts when I'm home from work and taking care of my little blond toddler who seems to like Kurt Cobain as much as I do.

I think at some point we listen to the music of our youth over and over again because it represents something important to us. It keeps us young and makes us feel old at the same time.

These days I have new bands I like, bands like Badly Drawn Boy and Spoon and Aqualung. Explosions in the Sky when I'm missing Holden. If I think about what these new bands have in common it's probably the idea that if you could take Michael Jackson and Kurt Cobain and The Cure and Earth Wind & Fire and put them in a bag and shake them up - you would get some of the melodic folk punk that I like to listen to these days. Days when I am a mom at home alone a lot, enjoying the peace and quiet while I study and try to finish classes faster than my College Freshman son so that I can at least graduate from college before he does. And I like knowing he's in Idaho, studying too, and listening to Explosions in the Sky like I am.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Let's Think Happy Thoughts Shall We?

Green has always been my favorite color. But lately I find myself very drawn to combinations of black and white with green or green and brown - and sometimes a splash of pink.

I promise I'll do another blog next week on another room in my house. I really need to get cracking on that. Part of the problem is that there are a lot of accessories and things I would like to add or change and this time of year is usually when I try not to spend too much money in anticipation of Christmas. So some things I'd like to do might have to wait.

But in the meantime Here are some very inspiring and beautiful photos of interiors and exteriors I'd like to copy.

Doesn't the pop of pink just add so much here? Love it.

and how awesome is this green comfy chair? How can you not adore it? I had to buy a jacket this color the other day because 1. It was on an amazing sale and 2. It was this lovely fall -like kelly green that is absolutely adorable.

Next up is a kitchen I think is gorgeous, but I think more than anything I love the lighting. I have lighting in my kitchen that I like but these are awesome. And for other great lighting ideas Brown design just wrote a blog on copying great light ideas (the link to Brown Design is on my sidebar). I heart Brown Design and their impeccable california design taste. I would love to emulate a lot of what they are able to do with a space.

Enough political drama for at least a month or two...

Just a couple more thoughts about the political drama and then I'm totally going to give it a rest for a while.

Thanks to everyone who posted supportive comments, I really appreciated it - especially since many of those nice comments were people who will vote exactly opposite of me in November. It gives me faith in humanity.

Thanks to Tea for the post on her blog and on waters of mormon - I thought it provided an interesting discussion. I also had a couple of good email exchanges with people that I thought were good as well and helped me to have a chance to explain my views and hopefully, helped me to understand other people better as well.

I dont' know for sure who anon. is though I have some evidence to indicate that I do know. So if anon is reading this - just know that honestly, I don't hold any ill-will against you. I'm sure you thought you were saying something helpful? true? deeply felt?...you know, I'm not honestly sure what you thought you were accomplishing - but at any rate, rest assured, my testimony is strong. My entire life revolves around church and my membership in this church in some way or another - my testimony and my deeply held beliefs are what lead me to conclude as I do regarding politics. I'm sure yours do as well. That's what is amazing about the gospel - there will be no perfect government until Christ reigns...until then, we all just have to follow our conscience. I actually feel kind of sorry for anon. if they allow themselves on a regular basis to feel this kind of contempt for their fellow church members. But maybe it's just me they don't like. And I'm totally okay with that.

Up next, I'll be a little more light hearted and do a post on music or something.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I take my direction from these guys....

Recently we've had some interesting visitors here on the blog. Where do I start? Or do I even start? Any compulsion I have to defend myself and defend my faith seems to be dwarfed by the desire to let this visitor(s) word and tone speak for itself. Perhaps I'll do a blog at some point on the subject. Maybe not. But in the meantime, I thought I'd include a video of Elder Balder and Elder Cook. Very smart men saying very smart things. (pause the music on the music player first or they'll play over each other, I haven't figured out how to tell the Cure when to be quiet yet...you know how that Robert Smith can be...)

Friday, September 12, 2008

"Anonymous" Shows True Colors

In case you do not always read the comments on blogs, I am posting this gem, which I received this morning. Imagine for a moment what it is like to know that this is the type of person I am going to church with - as I am fairly certain this is someone that I know - it's certain that they are from Phoenix (perhaps they do not realize they were identified as such by their IP). This is the kind of judgment my right to vote as my heart sees fit is meet with. I don't know whether to be angry or sad for this person. Clearly, satan is having his way with them and leading them gently by the hand in all their smug self-righteousness...how truly sad....

It is a sad day, when people who purport themselves to be so righteous support an agenda with a platform built on abortion, gay rights, and weakening our internal security-and the deterioration of the family unit.

If you honestly support Obama, then you need to quit pretending you support the gospel of Jesus Christ--as your are living in a fantasy world without the reality of actual firm righteous convictions. You may think you are being open-minded and progressive, but all you you do is make excuses why you don't have a testimony of the prophet of the Living God.

I'm sure you will dismiss this post as another radical attack. However, right is right--truth is truth and never changes--and even if you put lipstick on it, it is still a pig.

I would suggest you spend your time pondering whether or not you really believe the gospel to be true or not. From your negative spirit and your willingness to play the victim when someone disagrees with your erroneous point of view, I would guess that you are not on the road to apostasy......you're already there, ready to drag others down with you.

Your children deserve better, but I am sure they have already adopted your ambivalent and negative attitude. Agency does not give us the right to interpret the affairs of the world for our own benefit or to assuage those principles we deem difficult. You are not the smartest person in the universe (quite a shock I am sure). Your opinion does not connote truth and morality.

You definitely need to be admonished to be a single-minded moral person, and not someone who is tossed about with every wind of doctrine. You are on the wrong path and without repentance and the ability to listen to the spirit, you will never understand the righteousness and blessings the Lord has in store for you.

Read the scriptures, for in them you will find eternal life, a knowledge and testimony of the Savior, and the ability to understand the inanity of your current path.

No doubt you will dismiss this as another wild and crazy zealot. And you couldn't be further from the truth. You have gathered around you other disaffected souls who are as unhappy in life as you appear to be. Life doesn't have to be that way.

Whatever your assessment of this comment, I hope you will, indeed, understand there are people who agonize over the fact you have left the path and will rejoice when you find it again. Humility is the key.

We love you and wish the best for you. Listen to the still small voice and you will understand the truth of what I say.

May God bless you and your family.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hypocrisy is making me Bananas

This video really sums up a lot of how I've been feeling since the announcement of Gov. Palin as McCain's running mate.

I'm an Obama girl but I have nothing personally against Gov. Palin, or McCain, or Republicans in general for that matter. But I found myself MIGHTLY annoyed at the sound bites and response I heard post Palin announcement. Are you kidding me? Do they think we're completely stupid? The Hypocrisy of it makes me nuts. John Stewart summed it up awesomely with some tasty clips of Mr. Rove, et al.

I don't care how you vote but let's please call people out on this ridiculousness.


Finally we got around to reviewing movies on the shando blog...Just so you know.

Monday, September 08, 2008

And if your style were a label who would it be...

Okay -

So I have some new goals for the new school year and one of them is to get through this "project" of making my house look better. As I mentioned before I started on the master bath. Here are my before and after photos. I know, I know, it doesn't actually look like I did all that much, I agree - but using the camera did help me see things I had been ignoring or not paying attention to for quite a while. This bathroom used to be Restoration Hardware "Celery" and I changed it to this peppier Winter Ice Blue last winter. I think it was a vast improvement, but alas, I do not have the before photos of the previous color. The Celery thing was hip for a while but I found it boring and bordering on a greeny ho-hum gray. I just can't have boring colors in my house.

Sometimes I go into someone's house who has used all sedate grays or browns or beige or taupe and I think "geez, what is wrong with me, I should grow up and use more of these sedate colors in my decorating...so mature of them...so very Calvin Klein of them...so very....hmmm...well...uhmmm...so very boring really. Scratch that, I'll stick to my colorful house, even if it is slightly more immature

and Christian Lacroix 'y' .

Because let's be honest - I admire Mr. Klein so very much but....would you rather wear this?

or this?

I mean sure, if you're going to a PTO meeting, you're way better off with the Calvin Klein, ditto a business meeting...but I don't spend a lot of time in PTO meetings OR business meetings either one, so I'd opt for the flouncing red any day.

But I digress...the before:

this is fine...it's the inside of the shower - you can see where I got all 'restoration hardware' and 'pottery barn-ish' with spelling out "bath" on the wall. I'm very over it, but I need something really great to go on that wall instead - I found the perfect painting at a gallery last week but I'm trying to resist spending money on art right now so "bath" it shall remain until I figure out something else. (the photos don't do them justice, but how much do you love these Henry Stinson paintings for that wall...I know...perfect!)

Anyway - when we round the corner of the tub we find a bigger problem:

Here I actually found a painting I really liked last year for the other wall. It used to say in pottery barn letters "relax" (I guess I was trying to remind myself what I was suppose to be doing while I was taking that long hot bath) I took the letters down but since I had paid full pottery barn prices for them, I really didn't want to just get rid of them, so I propped them in the window. That looks retarded! But I didn't even really realize it until I saw it in the photo.

And here is a totally cluttered sink area which is doing me no favors in the looks department either:

And look at those photos propped up on that shelf above the toilet. That just looks like more clutter. I have several photos of us on vacation in Mexico in this bathroom, because that was kind of my theme for the whole bathroom - relaxation, vacation and blue like the ocean with a re-occuring beach/water theme in the paintings. But those look really dumb up there.

This isn't too bad, but it just needs to be tidier.

So with some minor changes, putting things away, moving some photos and getting rid of those letters in the window, I think it looks much better.

By the way, I love this Brian Boner painting of this little boy.

(this photo is a smidge darker than the others, but doesn't that whole window thing look a TON better)

Now if I could just afford the Stinson....


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