Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Painting Bears...

I used to paint a lot as a kid but, lost touch with it as a teenager due to lack of time.  Recently, I go the urge to paint something and I decided to share.


I actually ended up giving him to my parents for their wedding anniversary.  Their house is all Native American art so, it will fit right in.  I always seem to end up painting Native American inspired animals in acrylics.  I think it is because we spent a lot of time traveling when I was a child to various parts of the western US and that is just what we were drawn to.  I plan to start a loon next and then another bear for my own house in our decor colors.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Introduction: The Entryway

So we have a really small and dark entryway in our house.  It is generally only enough room for a small bench (which I lack so, you aren't going to see it!).  But I have managed to do something with the wall space.  Luckily, we have amazing photos from both our engagement session and from our wedding so, a photo collage is a need.

In my opinion, photo collages are the best and cheapest way to fill a large wall space.  It is the best because it is pictures of your family and it rarely has to be perfect (just level).  Thanks to my local Hobby Lobby (aka, the best place ever), I picked up all of these frames for under $50.  If you hit the store on the right week, all of their frames are 50% off which makes this decorating idea a no-brainer.  I chose black frames of all different shapes and sizes to go with the art on the adjacent wall.

I made this piece a few years ago using an old frame my best friend gave me because she didn't like the style and a $4.99 Sunprint kit from Urban Outfitters.  It happened to be on the clearance table and I thought it seemed interesting.  I used a few leaves and flowers (ok weeds) that were growing under the porch of our apartment to create the prints and then simply framed them.

Sunprint kits are actually really fun to use and I have used them before for making cards and in scrapbooks. I believe you can get them in all different colors (although blue seems to be the most common) and they work by being bleached in direct sunlight.  When an object is placed on them to block the sun or even partially block the sun, they create a sort of 3D image on the paper.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Introduction: The Dining Room

When my husband and I were looking for a house, I had one specific request: A formal dining area.  Although this concept seems like a pretty common one, sadly, finding a house that isn't super old or super new in the Chicagoland area within a good price range WITH a formal dining room is a daunting task.  Somewhere in the mid-eighties to mid-nineties, families in this area ceased to want to a formal dining room.  I am not sure why this concept because unfashionable in this time period but, we had a really hard time finding a house with one.  Most houses had either never been planned with one in them by the developers or the dining room was somehow deleted and another room (such as the kitchen) was expanded into the space.  However, for me, a dining room is an important space.  I grew up with one and I grew up with formal Sunday dinners with family so, for me, this was important. 

The decor of our dining room is generally based around the furniture.  We got this whole dining set from a furniture store called Dania who specialize in Danish furniture.  I have had furniture from Dania my whole life.  My parents house and my in-laws house have furniture from here and it has proven in both cases to be timelessly fashionable and extremely durable (especially in the case of my in-laws with 4 kids and two big dogs).  So naturally, we had them as our first choice for furniture (our couches and coffee table in The Living Room are from Dania as well). 

The furniture to me sort of screams Frank Lloyd Wright-esque.  The runner on my table is actually one of his designs and from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.  My mother got it for us for Christmas last year. 

The glass rooster was my grandmother's.  We are not quite sure where he came from but, we know he originally had a brother that fell and broke.  I have a faint memory of my grandmother telling me that he was from France (she was born and raised in Paris and was a war bride) but, the origin is essentially lost.  He is one of my favorite pieces in my house.

I also insisted on having a china cabinet in the dining room.  This was another adventure that was deemed trying.  Apparently, people are not requesting china cabinets anymore and this was was actually one of the last ones Dania was selling and it was on clearance with a small scratch on the side (which you can barely notice) so, we took it.  I actually love the idea of china cabinets and I am not sure why they are out of style.  Where else do you put fragile and precious things?  Ours contains some of the Lladros my mother-in-law gave us, a Morroccan port wine set that was my grandmother's, a beautiful Kate Spade rose vase my best friend and Maid of Honor got us for our wedding, my nativity set, my bridal bouquet, and our crystal wine glasses.  I mean, where else would such stuff go other than a china cabinet?  (ok, I digress).

This is the sideboard.  I keep all my linens and our alcohol in it.  On top is our wedding photo and a vase we bought off a street vendor in Costa Rica.

Finally, this is a Tuscan scene decorative plate we got from a family friend (the ones that gave us the couch in our Front Room).  I love this plate and finally got around to hanging it.  Which was hard because it is big and heavy!