Friday, May 4, 2012

Have a Great Weekend!

The sun just came out along with this pretty bouquet left on my doorstep!

A great start to the weekend I'm thinking.

Here's to enjoying it!
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It's The Little Details Which Make A Home

After all the big projects are done, or even along the way to completing them, it's the little details brought into the house that make it a home. Passing through a room, an item catching your eye which brings back a memory or reminds you of something kind a person has done, these are the things - more than selecting the perfect cabinetry for your kitchen - which add to the enjoyment of a home, making it uniquely yours!

A few months a thank you from Mayme Baker arrived along with this beautiful ceramic cross by artist Barbara Biel...what a sweet gesture!

It makes me happy seeing it, along with so many other little treasures.

What treasures do you appreciate in your home?
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

What Has Caught My Eye

Such amazing inspiration to be found, via blogs, sites and of course Pinterest.
 Here are some of the latest designs and ideas that have caught my eye.

Bathroom Glam via here

Thinking outside the box, bridal fabrics! Via here.

Via Benjamin latest designer crush.

A revolving art display using wire and clips! Via here.

And turning a cedar chest into a window seat.
How many of us have one of these lurking in our homes, not being put to such pretty use? Via here.
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Coming Monday: The Anniversary Issue of House of Fifty!

We have a lot of delicious delights coming your way...

Look for the Anniversary Issue of House of Fifty next Monday!

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Room Crush

I recently came across this room by designer Amie Corley on Pinterest, the prettiest I've seen in a long time!
I simply want to see more...

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Table Update: It's Standing Up To Wear & Tear

I've enjoyed hosting many dinners at the wonderfully long table selected for our dining room last year. After considering many options I finally hit the purchase button on the Grand Baluster table from Restoration Hardware, made of solid wood extending to a truly grand 10 feet long! (It didn't hurt the decision making process that it was on sale with an additional 20% off at the know me by now, I don't like to overpay!)

Imagine my disappointment when it arrived, not with a beautiful gray, washed wood finish, but instead a rather nasty looking green tinge...something like drying moss - to be generous. When the delivery men carried it into the house the first thing I thought was, "well now, that is one ugly table!" I won't go into detail about the options for returning, but as they included losing $ over shipping costs I decided to jump in and refinish the thing. I know, refinish a new table! But the table top was a bit rough and sanding down the finish would accomplished two things; getting rid of the green while creating a smoother surface that wouldn't result in guests leaving the table with splinters. Besides, the table with its gorgeous lines, solid wood and sturdy construction made it worth the effort.

After sanding and exploring a few products to seal the wood I opted to go with Briwax in clear. The wax resulted in a beautiful natural tone with a subtle sheen and a surprisingly "soft to the touch" finish.

In the last year I've gotten a few inquiries as to how the table, and particularly the finish, is holding up to wear and tear. Wonderfully, with this one exception. I think I put down a hot bowl or something...which left a mark. 

So the other day I pulled out the can of Briwax to reapply a bit to this section. The mark was 99% gone within seconds. Pretty great for a table that has gotten a lot of use! 

I don't know if there is a lesson to this story, except to buy solid wood furniture whenever possible and don't be afraid to tweak things to make them into exactly what you want...such pieces will last for years and years!
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Monday, April 30, 2012

Consolidating & Simplifying!

Visiting this blog today you might be a little confused, asking what's with the new header and name? Well, a couple months ago it occurred to me I needed to consolidate and simplify, remember this post?

Okay, things have gotten out of hand! When I launched House of Fifty mag, of course I also created a House of Fifty website, blog, facebook, twitter account, later adding a Pinterest page. Seriously?!?! I feel dizzy. All in addition to this blog and the Isabella & Max facebook and twitter accounts.

Then a couple of days ago I literally stopped in my tracks and thought, duh, time to consolidate! I basically post the same information on both and at times even repost a post from one blog to another."

So I've also decided to consolidate the blogs into one, continuing to post on this blog, but with a name change that is keeping with my focus to continue building and growing House of Fifty. 

And as a reminder, from that first post, if you'd like to continue following me on facebook, follow the House of Fifty facebook page.

If you want to continue following me on twitter, make sure you are following me at HouseofFiftymag.

Seriously, we only have so much time in each day to manage all this social media, get our work done and also have time for the other things that are important in our I've taken the leap to simplify and consolidate!

Phew, I feel better!

Is there anything you've done lately to simplify your life?
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Living In The Future

Who doesn't, from time to time, wonder what the future will hold? What amazing things will be created, technologies and inventions which will become part of our daily much so that we'll then forget at one point they could have only existed in our wildest dreams.

When I grew up in Nome, the only technology in my life was a radio which broadcast two local stations and the one telephone attached to a wall in the kitchen. (Not even a simple TV with a channel or two was available.) If I really stretched the phone cord it could extend far enough to allow me to tuck myself away in the bathroom with the door closed, for a private chat with my best friend.

If I stop to compare that to my life today, the contrast is truly astonishing.

This struck me on a late afternoon this past weekend. The kids were reading and I was catching the end of a movie on my iPad, lounging outdoors on the first gloriously warm day of the year. Max came out, sat beside me and asked what the movie was about. Margaret Thatcher. Who? She was the Prime Minister of Britain. Asking more questions I couldn't adequately answer, I paused the movie, searched on her name and was promptly able to find the answer to any question he could possible ask.

Then a text came in, wanting to know if Max was free for something later in the week, to which I promptly responded after opening my calender to confirm there weren't any conflicts.

He wandered off, and I finished up the end of the movie and then checked my mail before heading back in to start dinner. (Now, if only such devices could also whip up a delicious meal - I'd be delirious.)

All on a simple little tablet weighing nearly nothing. I walked into the house waving it at my husband, saying "I LOVE this thing!! If I had wanted to know something about someone when I was Max's age I would have had to open the encyclopedia! I can't imagine how insane it would have been to have access to something like this, with all it can do and give you access to. I couldn't have imagined."

So, I swear...I'm living in the future. 
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

This Corner Needs A Light!

When wrapping up work on the master bedroom it occurred to me a light in this corner, on the wall above the far end of the settee, would be a great idea. But you know how it goes...after completing a long list of projects you start to run out of steam! {and money}

It's a cozy little corner, great for a few minutes of reading...if I could see!

With little room for a lamp or floor lamp, a wall sconce is the way to go.
Here are a few favorites that I'm considering:
Swing Arm Wall Sconce in Hand Rubbed Antique Brass from Circa Lighting

Single Library Wall Sconce from Circa Lighting

Robert Abby Patina Bronze with Linen Shade from Lamps Plus
Hyde Park Weathered Brass with Black Parchment Shade from Lamps Plus

These are all plug-in, as there is no wiring here and I want to avoid having to hire an electrician. 
I have a clear favorite, now I just have to decide whether or not to hit the purchase button. 

{I'm finding that harder and harder to do these days!}
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jenny Does It Again

Have you seen this latest DIY project by Jenny Komenda? 
She always takes her projects to the next level! 

This time, painting a dresser with an "inlay" pattern. See how she did it here.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rediscovering A Lost Love

Just what am I talking about? Reading. And of the book variety.

For years, with the arrival of kids and then getting back to work...and the blog, I found little time for reading anything but other blogs and a magazine here and there.

But now that I'm working on House of Fifty, leading the Books On Our Shelves articles, I've put reading back into my week and it has been like rediscovering a lost love!

The above is one of the several read for the latest issue which is coming very soon, and I'm sharing it here because this book is fantastic! It's rare, I think, when a book actually changes your outlook on how you are living your life. A definite must-read recommendation, if you haven't already.

The latest I've just finished won't be making any favorite lists, 'something blue.' While overall it was a fairly entertaining read, the main character irritated me beyond belief for the first 180 plus pages with her irresponsible and shallow characteristics. Maybe that was the point, but...that is a lot of pages to get through, to reach the point where she finds her "redemption." {IMO}

Look for the list of all the books that did make my summer reading list, in the Anniversary issue of House of Fifty coming May 7th.
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Monday, April 23, 2012

What You Spied Was Not What I Spied...

Funny, most of you spied the lampshade as something that would get a dose of color. 
And while that is not what I had in mind...perhaps it will be next!

Instead I spied the bird cage.

While I can't afford to hang the Chiang Ming Dragon wallpaper I've been longing for,
I still love the colors, which work so well in my home.

So I pulled out some paints, mixed a pinkish coral and got to work.

An hour later I had this.

It works for me. I'm finding my attempts to bring in big doses of color just doesn't work well in my home. Recall my recent idea to paint my kitchen walls? YIKES. But little bits here and there in accessories and smaller pieces of furniture seems to be the way to go.

This small update of color also works really well with a little beauty that is on it's way to my home. 
Can't wait to share what it is!! 
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Spy...

While clearing off the table in the dining room the other day, after having people over to eat a delicious carrot cake I baked up, my eye decided it wanted to see an additional dash of color in this spot.

It won't take long, I've got the supplies on hand. 
Can you spy what will be getting a little attention later today?
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Little Treasure Hunt

This past Sunday, after enjoying a delicious breakfast at Bijou Cafe...
(you must go there if you are in the area or visiting, my all-time favorite breakfast spot)

...I dragged the family to the last day of the 70% off close out sale of Madison Millinger,
a long time high end carpet shop here in Portland.

Even at this reduction these were out of my price range, 
and of course there wasn't a whole lot of options left by the last day of the sale.

But on my way out, what did I spy? 
A Jonathan Adler Maurice side table, in my price range!

So in the trunk of the car it went, with a sigh of relief from my family.
Time to get home and go on a bike ride to a big open field.

Max just got a new frisbee that can go nearly forever, so we wanted to test it in an open space. 
The neighbors are getting tired of requests to fetch it for us,
 having landed in their backyards one time too many.

The Aerobie Pro, if you're interested...what fun!

But back to my find. One can not have too many little side tables in my opinion, and this one is just right here.

(p.s. Sorry for the awful iPhone image, my camera battery has just decided not to charge.)
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Hungry For A Delicious Treat? My Latest Discovery

Always on the lookout for healthy food options that taste fantastic while satisfying, I was over the moon upon sampling a slice of Sin Dawg made by Dave's Killer Bread at Costco this past weekend. In the cart it went! I'd heard about Dave's Bread, but hadn't yet partaken. Well...what a wonderful bit of deliciousness I have been missing out on!

Like the most yummy cinnamon roll, but better, and with not one ounce of guilt.

{Plus it's a local business based here in Portland, with an inspiring story behind the products made of organic, healthy ingredients and a big focus on giving back to the community. Gotta love that.}

But back to my plate...

Yep. Empty.
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