Friday, January 28, 2011

Per your request...well, sort rooms

I like to check the search results for the blog a few times a month, it's still interesting to see what people google. What's weird is to realize that sometimes people google me personally and put really odd stuff into google along with my name. I can't figure out if they know about my blog and wonder if I wrote on a particular topic or if they really think google is a magic 8 ball of sorts with all kinds of secret information to share about me. What's even weirder is to think that someone actually is curious enough about me to google such things, and yet obviously isn't close enough to me to just ask me themself. But such is the nature of the internet I guess where any random thought we have is 'googleable' right?


One thing that people do google almost every day is ideas for kids rooms, teen rooms and nursery's. And I think really I've only done maybe one blog on that with some random sprinkles of ideas here and there. So to try to make it up to those folks who end up directed here and then find the blog woefully lacking in actual ideas on those topics, here's a post dedicated to you. Cute kid room ideas I've been holding on to for a while (and by the way...I'm so sad, one of my computers is kind of kaput, and it was the computer I saved all my images there are HUNDREDS of great room ideas on that computer now probably lost forever, such a bummer)...but I digress, on to kids rooms:

I soooo love this. I goes along with my love of all things typography and what a fun idea - if I were doing a project like this I would just take my time and collect these as I saw them. So fun. And I love those cute little garbage tins down there - you could also use them as storage, diaper pails, etc. They come from IKEA.

Yes it's very "pretty pretty princess" but... I love how the black and white rug adds a level of sophistication to the room. The pint in the crib is so modern and fun and that yellow love poster just tops off the room absolutely perfectly. When you're designing a kids room, try to think along the same lines you would when designing any other room in your house. Good design doesn't have to fly out the window just because it's a baby nursery or children/teen room.

How great is this? I have no idea how involved this would be in terms of construction/design. It looks pretty straight forward if you have a modicum of carpenter skills (and/or can hire someone with some skills...which is probably what I would have to do) - but I really think it looks so great and it's such a space saver rather than a massive piece of furniture/bunk beds. Some of those bunk beds take up so much space, even while they are saving you on some floor space, they are sucking up a lot of space in sheer mass. I also really love the gray and yellow together. Very now.

Hot diggity do I love this. First of all, HUGE fan of red paired with turquoisey colors right now. Second, I think this poster is perfection. Third, I love the wall paper pattern. Fourth, I love the spare lines of the bed and built in designs. Wood floor just tops it all off and makes it seem warm. Really really great.

Jonathan Adler, why must you spoil us so with your perfection? Isn't this just THE BEST? Such a sophisticated little girls room. But honestly, this type of bed would not be hard for anyone to duplicate! And think how much you would have loved a bed like this when you were a little girl!

I've seen several examples of beds like this lately, two smaller examples follow below (unfortunately I forgot to save a larger jpg of these and now I can't find them on the site I thought I found them on in the first place). This is an excellent way to save space and a hugely great way to stick a bunch of kids in the same room. I've seen some versions of this in real life in a large family and it's a really fantastic idea!

(isn't this the cutest!)

if a person had a summer home with lots of visitors, this would be a great idea too...

These dots are a super simple idea, but they really look great! Remember you can trace a perfect circle on the wall with a compass.

I wish this was bigger, but I love that light treatment! All those different shades! What a fabulous idea!

Again, the jpg is too small, but one of my favorite sophisticated nurseries. The wall paper is divine, but look how they've paired it with the hyde rug and chic little chair, elevating the design level of the whole room! Great ideas here.

I'll continue to keep my eyes open for great kids design and share when I find it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who doesn't want an extra wife really?


ne of the ways I like to unwind at the end of the day is by watching a tv show. To be honest, very often these tv shows are sort of a bit of mindless entertainment which serve the purpose of allowing me not to think about much of anything for an hour or so (Flipping Out would be a good example of one that I love). And then here are a few shows on my DVR which are a little better put together - with some good writing and great acting... but those shows are still a great escape (Dexter being one of my favorite examples). These shows change with the seasons and I always look forward to the return of one of my favorites. Last week began the final season of a show I have watched loyally since it's first season, and honestly, I think I'll be slightly glad to see it go.

Guilty confession: I am a practicing Mormon who watches BIG LOVE. Sometimes I wonder how many other active Mormon's this applies to as well. There HAVE to be a lot of us out there watching, but there certainly aren't a lot of us owning up to it. And while Big Love entering it's final season will alleviate me of the guilt of watching a show which is often antagonistic towards my faith, that's not even the main reason I'm sort of okay with seeing it go. The real reason? This show has completely and totally confused my feelings about polygamy rather than clarify them. And I'm so sick of Bil. l I feel awful that I sort of wish he would meet his demise this season. I mean really, that's a terrible feeling to have about a main character on show. Especially when I think at least half the time Bill is meant to make us feel sympathetic towards him.

But I don't feel sympathetic at all. Increasingly, I feel something bordering on hatred.

Let me give you at least a smidge of background.

I have great grandparents who were part of polygamist families before the mainstream Mormon church quit practicing polygamy. This is just something I grew up knowing and frankly not something I worried my pretty little head too much about. I mean, it's not like we're practicing it now, and only a small percentage of the church ever practiced it in the first place. And besides, at least some of the possible explanations for the why of that policy being in place, made some sense to me, and so it was easy for me to sort of just not think about it a whole lot. Frankly, the number of times I've seriously contemplated it over the years are very very small compared to all the many religious ponderings I've had.

But even so I must admit my feelings about polygamy have always been conflicted. On the one hand, it sounds like a sort of awful sexist way to set up a marriage and rife with possibilities for abuse and problems. On the other hand - who am I to judge? Have you seen these families on tv who claim it all works swell for them? I mean...okay some of that makes sense too. You have a wife who works and one who stays home...well look, there have been plenty of days in my own life when rather than being content to be the wife and the mom in the home, I would have been happy to hand the reigns over to someone else while I went to work or school or whatever. In other words, I don't think it's all that unusual for a wife to wish for a wife too. We could ALL use a wife sometimes. And if you happen to be the type of crazy person who seriously only ever wants to just be a wife...well, more power to you, but I never quite understood that type. Don't get me wrong. I've been a wife and a mom for most of my adult life - and I chose it for reasons that seemed to make sense to me and were really for the greater good of everyone involved. But I'm not sure I was ever really cut out for it. So if you were to provide an extra wife in the house at certain points in my life? I think I would have been perfectly okay with it - at least, on a conceptual level. Because as long as were talking about someone to help clean, cook, run kids around, do the shopping, help with homework, do bookkeeping, organize, calendar and generally keep track of things - well then heck yeah, I want a wife. This of course completely disregards the actually sharing a husband. But you know, minor detail I guess.

So anyway - this is kind of where I stood prior to Big Love. And I knew, of course, that for some fundamentalists, there is a crazy horrible reality to the way that plural marriage functions which is awfully sexist and often abusive as well. And I'm not in favor of that. But at the same know, where do you draw the line? These are adults making a decision based on their religious beliefs or other strongly held thoughts and you know...who am I to say you can't have whatever relationship you want? I mean, how is it different than someone who never legally marries or somone who decides to have an "open" relationship? Or how is it different than gay marriage? And yes, I know what a lot of other Mormon's would probably say. A lot of them would say we should oppose all relationships which are not monogomous, traditional marital relationships between one man and one woman. Well, okay you can feel that way but...doesn't it seem slightly hypocritical when our people practiced polygamy for many years? When it was illegal? I have a hard time wrapping my head around that one.

So back to Big Love. Before Big Love started a few years ago - that's the territory where I found myself. A sort of "live and let live" attitude. But now?

Now I'm sort of completely opposed to it mostly.

On the show Bill makes a big deal about trying to improve conditions for women living on the "compound" and for children in polygamist marriages. Especially young girls being subjected to these kind of relationships at a very young age. He's clear that he disagrees with the skewed power structure of these fundamentalist groups and he wants to irradicate many of the problems. All well and good.


Bill. is. a. huge. hypocrite!

When I watch the show all I see is a maniachal power hungry guy who is absolutely barely different than any of the guys on the "compound". The suburban polygamist isn't much better than his fundie counterpart, ever, if at all. His wives needs are subjugated to his own needs all the time. He ALWAYS has the final say-so in the house, even if he's completely wrong headed about his decisions. Much like George W. Bush, Bill is the "decider". Of everything. And although his wives sometimes try to buck his power, ultimately they have to put up with whatever crazy whim he has. Even if it's to the detriment of every woman and child in the family.

And I understand that the argument could be made that since this is a fictional creation - it requires drama and that in real life, there certainly could be many families who are perfectly happy in their fundamentalist marriage. And I'm not going to say that's not the case. But that kind of brings me to another show I watched with interest. TLC's "Sister Wives" took a look at a real life "Big Love" situation in Lehi Utah (a community roughly half way between Salt Lake and Provo). Now while watching that "reality show" it was easy to view the husband Cody as a sort of anti-Bill. He was kind of a clueless dork who hardly seemed in charge all that much and certainly didn't seem like a power hungry megalomaniac. The new 4th marriage and wife seemed to be thrust upon him by his wives as much as it was his own idea. At least at first glance.

But if you carefully listened to the dialogue between him and the wives? The whole thing made me sad. Part of the reason they wanted him to get a new wife was because he "deserves someone cute and young" - the new wife being a lot younger than the rest of them. That just about made me want to wretch. What about the wives deserving a younger cuter husband? Maybe one who isn't torn in a million directions and could actually pay attention to any one wife more than a minimal daily requirement? The whole thing is kind of a demoralizing set up when you think about it. Not a single one of the 4 wives really gets a husband. Whereas mr. husband man gets 4 devoted wives. Where's the parity there? It's really kind of sick and awful when you think about it too much.

So will be interesting to see what happens to Big Love this season - and if Bill lasts. Personally, if I found myself in that polygamist marriage with that selfish narcissist? I think it would end with Bill meeting a terrible demise at the hands of one of his wives.

But that's just me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Art Attack


o far this year I've already read a couple of books where art is central to the plot, and digested a couple of books on specific artists. I'm really thankful for art. When I look around my house at the paintings I have - they make me really happy. Like instantly. So I'm going to put in a plug for getting some art for your home, (again). Because that's certainly one of my themes. Buy it, make it, borrow it, find it, photograph it, but just do it. Make a goal that this year you're going to find a way to get at least ONE original piece of art in your house. It might be something as simple as buying a photo that you really like. is a great source of wonderful photography for sale by artists and much of it is entirely inexpensive. is a great source for art that is being made by struggling little artists everywhere and you can get it for a bargain. If you have a local venue like First Fridays here in Phoenix (and many many cities have something similar) or if you can attend showings at an art school, go to an art fair, etc. I guarantee you can find something in your budget that you like. Maybe it's a simple little piece of blown glass from a gallery. Even though there is a glass gallery in Sedona which is quite expensive, there are always little tiny things there that are cheap enough for almost anyone to afford (little glass balls for $30). Don't be too intimidated to look either. Galleries WANT you to come in and look. Artists WANT you to browse through their stuff, even if you don't buy any of it!

I would have a hard time telling you for sure what my favorite piece of art is around here. I think my opinion on that changes frequently. I do really love these Jon Babbitt paintings right now though (part of a larger triptych, which reminds me every day of a powerful emotional truth and belief in ourselves and doubt):

Over the years I've wandered through quite a lot of museums and art galleries. When I think back on it, there are some paintings that really struck me (not to be too cheesy...but I like to think of it as an Art Attack), stopped me dead in my tracks, and randomly occur to me on a regular basis. Here are some of those paintings:

This was possibly the first painting I ever saw where I said "wow". This is a Fragonard at the National Gallery in Washington DC. It's beautiful of course. And even if I had not seen it in person I think I would like it. But somehow when you're standing in front of this thing it just has this incredible zinging energy while having a complete calming effect at the same time. I think this might be the painting that really hooked me on art in a new way.

I think about this artist a lot. She's about my age. Her name is Kelly McLane and she lives in Los Angeles. Her work as part of a group show at the Phoenix art museum several years ago. Her art are these lovely soft colors of images which border on being post apocolyptic, but which on more careful reflection, seem to represent a version of that which already is, but which we often choose not to see. The Los Angeles Central River Project, burnt out meth labs in the desert, penned up animals, urban landscapes. Pretty and haunting and commentary while offering a surrealists skewed view all at once. I've thought about her paintings many many times.
This is a Francis Bacon I saw in London at the Tate. Bacon always offering a jarring viewing. My mind wanders back to this self-portrait often. How many of us would paint ourselves like this?
This gothic little Nightmare comes to us by way of an artist named Fuseli. I can't tell you how many times I've thought of this in past year while I've had terrible nightmares and insomnia. What a painting!

This is the Executioner of Lady Jane Grey by DeLaroche. Wow. Just wow. The story of Lady Jane Grey is very tragic. To be in London and see this painting is stunning. Look at some of the detail...
to see it in person kind of takes your breath away.

Find some art that stuns you, amazes you, makes you think, makes you feel this year. Find something you love. And find something you can call your own.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A year of music


usic isn't something I talk about a whole lot on the blog, but it is something I care a great deal about. I like the way that music can alter your mood instantly. I like that when I'm trying to be motivated to accomplish a specific project there is particular music or a playlist that will help me along. I have itunes lists called "cleaning", "study", "mellow", "summer", "sunday" and many many more. My taste in music is very diverse. Probably the only genre of music I really don't like very much is country (though I will tolerate it okay while eating a steak dinner...I have no idea why it doesn't bother me when I'm in a steak house).

I adore discovering new bands or groups that I love or obscure music from other countries I've never heard before. I also love when you're watching something on tv, or listening to a radio program or viewing a movie and suddenly there's a song that you totally forgot about, and forgot how much you loved it! Then you can run home and buy it on itunes. Often, I discover music in the score of movie. I will frequently wait around for the credits so that I can go home and search for a particular song.

Music is like the thing that fuels everything else. It reflects our moods, but it can change them too. It can transform and transport.

Here is a list of music I bought in 2010 (and I've added some of them to the music player as well), some new discoveries and some old friends:

Abel Korzeniowski - a Polish composer who does lovely contemplative pieces

Michael Jackson - although I already had a few of Michael's songs in my play list, after seeing the movie "This Is It" I remembered some favorites that I had nearly forgotten. It wasn't really cool to like Michael Jackson (except in a very general nostalgic sense) prior to his death, but it's become acceptable again.

Donna Summer - I went through a brief disco reminiscence there for a while.

The Smiths - 80s they're always awesome.

Yann Tiersen - I only had his work from the film score of Amelie, but he's done some other interesting work as well

MGMT - I discovered these guys in 2009, I really dig them.

Samantha Ronson - I got oddly obsessed with one of her only songs which became popular a few years ago, mostly she dj's but I've listened to "Built Like This" about 800 times this year (okay I exaggerate - itunes said I listened to it 357 times...that's still A LOT)

Tegan and Sara - odd little indie duo that I really like

Frank Sinatra - I was in a Vegas mood

Doris Day - I wanted a copy of Que Sera Sera cause I used to sing it all the time when I was young

Dionne Warwick - I got obsessed with "Say A Little Prayer" there for a couple of days

Phoenix - cool indie group

Vampire Weekend - I've liked them for a couple of years

Pixies - got obsessed with "Here Comes Your Man" and listened to it 332 times beating out the Ronson song!

The Psychedelic Furs - 80s nostalgia strikes again

Diana Ross - I had an "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" craziness there for a day or two

Hole - Courtney Love got into me there for a few days

Joao Gilberto - I love to listen to Brazilian music sometimes - Bossa Nova

Jennifer Hudson - she has about 2 songs I really like

Alicia Keys - one song that I kinda like

Len - I love "Steal My Sunshine", I have no idea why

The Human League - 80s again

Metric - I was in a techno mood there for a few weeks and I love the message behind the song "Gold Guns Girls"

Air - ditto

Alexi Murdoch - nothing better when you're slightly depressed

Elvis Costello - I've always really liked him

Belly - I almost forgot how much I liked "Feed the Tree"

The Libertines - some good stuff even though that lead singer is a messed up heroin addict

Morrissey - I love Morrissey so much I wrote poetry about him in the 80s...wanna hear the poem?

oh mr. morrisey
oh how lovely it would be
if i could melt myself into the music of your minds machinery

What can be better than music that makes you pen a verse?

Did you discover anything this year that you loved?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A cheery trend in kids rooms...


cheery trend in kids rooms that I really like are pom poms. Aren't these a cute decor idea? They look best in large groups of varying heights.

That last example is made from old t-shirts. The directions on how to make them are here.

The directions for paper examples are here.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Winter Blues...Though I'm not...


inter isn't especially my favorite time of year, which is why I'm glad I live in Arizona. It's a lovely 62 degrees outside today and I'm sitting in the house with the french doors open to my happy little courtyard. It's quite lovely.

I have a lot of random thoughts floating around inside my head and several things I've thought of writing a blog post on lately...but honestly, I'm having a hard time putting all those thoughts into a cohesive blog. So I will just say that my mood is a bit more hopeful lately and I think the weather has a lot to do with that...I love the sun.

But winter always reminds me of the color blue, especially January. So in honor of that, here are some blue images I've come across lately. Blue was a big color last year in decor, especially turquoise and peacock. Do you know what this year's color of the year is? (according to people who spend their time predicting what's hot and what's not) Pink! (a specific shade of pink called honeysuckle) so of course, we'll think pink soon. But while we still have winter let's enjoy some cool blue ideas:

First of all, who can resist the Tiffany blue of this room? Paired with the black and white and the pink, it's genius. Also note the brown tufted bench, it work's very well..why? It's a neutral color. Some people worry about mixing their neutrals - if you start with black and whites you have to stick with black and whites, etc. Not true, you can add in a beige or a brown or a gray quite nicely.

I applaud anyone who can make this bold electric blue work. I love it, but I know from experience it's a really really tough color to incorporate into a room. It works here because of all the black and white, especially the white! And I also love the pop art work in the center. Gives it the punch of fun it needs with a color this bold.

Again, this could be a tough color as well - bold santa fe turquoise, but I love love love how it looks with the green! And that one red lampshade is super smart, adding just a smidge of warm color in a cool room.

This room is very simple, but it's also quite restful. I love this balanced blue - bordering on a peacock, but very tranquil. Again, check out all the neutral's paired here to make it work.

Another super crazy blue! Working again because of all the white and the neutrals. The red rug is the perfect compliment.

I ADORE this bedroom. I love the little touches of orange with this super excellent color which almost defies description!

I might have posted this bedroom before, I'm not positive. I know for sure that bedspread is Anthropologie because I've lusted after if for a very long time. Just a great use of and balance of colors in what could be an overwhelming room.

Ahhhhh.....restful restful restful. I never have the restraint to pull off these more minimal designs, but I do appreciate it.

Right now I happen to think sticking a black and white stripe couch, pillow or artwork in any room with almost any color makes everything seem put together and sophisticated.

Don't you LOVE those pillows? I love all these colors together with the cool blue walls.

How much do I love this???? SO MUCH. I just absolutely can't get enough of the dia des los meurtos design elements. I have quite a bit of that in my house as well. And the mexican blue here really ties everything together so nicely. What a great room!

Minimal restraint done perfectly.

Okay that exact shade of turquoise is so hard to find in that pefect hue. If anyone in my life ever buys me a vase like this I will love them for the rest of my life and add them to my will.

Again, the PERFECT turquoise.

This makes me miss domino magazine again (oh domino...I've never missed a magazine as much as I miss you). Genius little entry way don't you think?

Saturday, January 01, 2011



This time of year people talk about Resolutions a lot. I always find the idea of officially starting the new year with a resolution a little strange - to me, a person should probably have a list of potential resolutions they are working on all the time - that seems like an essential part of growth to me. We don't always accomplish all that we would like, or at least not always in exactly the way we imagined or in the time frame we wished, so inherent in our resolutions are a certain amount of set-backs and having to re-think or renegotiate. That's okay too, because that also gives us a chance to grow and develop.

There are a number of things I would like to accomplish in the short term and in the long term. I like the word "Resolve" more than "Resolution"...resolve sounds more firm, a little bit more determined, but also meaning a solution to a problem. Because life is really about facing our problems and finding solutions to them.

So in addition to the number of "resolves" I have in multiple areas of my life, which I won't necessarily go into detail with here, I also have some things I'm resolved to do around the house this year.

1. Finish remodeling Brennan's room
2. Finish remodeling Holden's room
3. Finish moving my desk into my new "office space" and decorate that space
4. Create a door between my new bedroom and the new office

If those are the main items I finish in the house this year, I can be happy with those. There are other things I can think of as well, but being realistic, those will probably have to wait for another year.

One thing I really want to do as part of the new office is find some affordable but good, Arne Jacobson egg chair knock offs (because I can't even realistic contemplate spending money on a 'real' one). I also like the swan chair too.


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