26 August 2008

before: during : after

Furniture transformation: I have been known to drag home a poor abandoned chair or table from the sidewalk, because I see it's potential. Sadly, I do not have the space to collect my lost furniture, so this past time of mine is slightly on hold.

However, that doesn't keep me from seeing the potential in other pieces that we do have space for. We bought these two storage units at IKEA, knowing that they met our practical needs, but in no way met the pretty component. I spent a whole afternoon covering them in a heavy craft paper - which after time faded and slowly loosened itself - making the whole thing look worse than if I had just left them in their metal gray state.

But a month ago I was inspired to try it again. So I went to Flax and combed through the drawers of flat sheets to find the right shade and material - the paper needed to be malleable enough to cover the edges smoothly and the shade needed to blend with the dark walnut wood of the rest of our desk.

And viola - I am thrilled with the results.

Here are some suggestions for covering furniture with paper:

1. Remove all hardware
2. Start with a clean surface
3. Use a paper that is durable but bendable
4. PVA is my favorite adhesive - buy at Papersource
5. Work efficiently but patiently - smooth edges and flat surfaces to get all bubbles out
6. Measure twice, cut once - and give yourself wiggle room
7. Remember that paper adds depth - so open/close drawers to see how much room you have
8. Use a high-glass polyurethane sealer to make the final project durable

22 August 2008

Everyday, I am inspired by the strength, determination, resiliency, vulnerability and creativity that women in my life show me. So Julia -buy the land and make it home - The Lady Farm is waiting to happen.

I am not alone in wanting more opportunities to gather and learn from other women. I have attended women in business conferences, am part of an outrageously splendid women's circle and think every women should read The Red Tent and dream of a day when we can learn from our elders and be in community with other women.

So I think it is also important to remind ourselves of the pioneers who have gone before us - the women who are breaking the molds, accepting themselves as they are and perhaps making it easier for us to accept the divine and authentic parts of ourselves.

I have a list of women who consistently inspire me...both creatively and personally. That is why every Friday, I pick one woman - famous or not - who knows her self and from afar, helps me to know myself better.

These images are my "inspiring women" mood board - a part of my inspiration wall that I see everyday. They remind me to smile and accept the fact that I love beautiful things.

What and who inspires you?

21 August 2008

{you are always at the right place}

My favorite artist Penelope Dullaghan posted a response to this thing she read on her blog this morning and it got me thinking:

“act as if you know what’s going on. as if you are divinely guided. believe that you are always at the right place at the right time and everything you do and everything that happens is orchestrated for your higher growth.”

What if? What if we did? Jump and the parachute would appear is easy to say when you are not standing at the edge of the cliff - looking down into complete uncertainty and nothingness.

But if I really did believe that there is a plan, in which all is okay - and that really truly deeply - there is nothing wrong, I would have so much more time and energy to embrace life as it comes, instead of wanting to bend and push it into a form that makes me comfortable.

Believing that I am divinely guided might actually free me up from the worry and anxiety that I carry along in my purse - like a faithful companion who never lets me down. If there is nothing wrong, then there is SO much more room to breath and laugh and expand.

And to trust so exceptionally and fully is SO hard - so extremely difficult when you feel abandoned and loathed by the universe - but that is at the exact time when it is so necessary to trust the forces that are bigger than yourself. Trusting. Trusting yourself, trusting your path and trusting that in fact everything is exactly as it should be.

And trusting that what ever it is - from the greatest joy to the deepest sorrow - it too shall pass.

20 August 2008

from the latest TOAST catalog

Everyone has a style. Perhaps you know yourself so well that you can pop out a two word catch phrase that explains your personal aesthetic: classic modern, vintage chic, preppy punk. But maybe you are like me and have split personalities that can appreciate anything from princess to preppy. But I have wanted a name - my own catch phrase that acts like an umbrella for all the things I love. The better you get to know yourself, the clearer things get and the more focused your eye becomes - you know what fits, what colors make you glow and what pieces of furniture will never get on your nerves. For me, this has been one of the beautiful parts of getting older - with each year there is more clarity, more precision and more acceptance.

So, after careful introspection and a lot of self-improvement books, I have come up with two options: earthy chic or modern rustic. It is a style defined by imperfections, reclaimed wood, heavy farm tables, washed linens, organic properties, clean lines, deep jeweled color, signs of aging, and classic elegance. It's what I gravitate towards - everytime.

Which is also why I began to salivate when I found - TOAST . From the UK, it promotes the use of organic cottons, local vendors and sustainable business practices. And it is beautiful.

From home goods to women's attire - I love every piece and want to melt into every photo. A bit Anthropologie, a bit Sundance, a bit cowgirl,a bit environmentalist, a bit romantic, a bit modern, a bit hippy, a bit classic, a bit eclectic, a bit gypsy, and a bit European - just like me.


PS - They have cool wallpaper images (that are changed per catalog) that can be downloaded as screen savers for your computer.

19 August 2008

Spain...On the Road Again

Some of you may know my about my deep affection for Gwyneth Paltrow - so you can imagine how giddy I got when I read about this new series. She, along with Mario Batali and two others explore the culinary side of Spain and it was all shot in high definition video.

For a sneak peak take a look at the site and watch the video snippet. My taste buds are ready.

I just have to find someone with a television now who will let me come over and watch!

15 August 2008

Printed wood

I'm a paper girl, so though I try to recycle everything and buy groceries without a lot of packaging, I have a hard time resisting cute cards. But as I mentioned, I am on a paper fast until my stash is used up but that doesn't mean I can't spread the word about paper products that I stumble upon. And did I mention - they are actually made of wood from sustainably harvested birch trees.

So check out Night Owl Paper Goods for some clever new ideas...Their holiday selection is pretty darn adorable!

14 August 2008

It's been a while since the famous mermaid movie but Daryl Hannah is still making a splash. Her outspoken stance on helping the environment and living a consciously aware life is now part of her new campaign to educate America. Called DH Love Life, it's an interactive way to learn about running your car on bio diesel and how to support your local community supported agriculture (CSA).

And it's cool.

13 August 2008

some day...

from Outstanding in the Field website

I girl gets to dream doesn't she.

Someday, I will get to RSVP to a dinner under the stars - eating as nature had intended.

The Outstanding in the Field events are just that - from farm to table - food and culinary delights that are local, organic and fresh from the earth. It is a true gem of an idea.

Visit their website to get on their mailing list about future events.

12 August 2008

Do you have a spot - just for yourself, where you can go to tune out the world, silence the phone and just breathe?

11 August 2008

from CommonGround Magazine, 2005

Keep following your bliss.
If you haven't found what you love, keep looking.

10 August 2008

{the ritual of public baths}

From Japan to Turkey to Finland to Russia, the idea of communal bathing is certainly not a new concept. However, it is not part of our American culture and it is a shame. Our closeted and fearful relationship with sexuality and sensuality and nudity makes communal bathing still a fringe experience.

Luckily I live in San Francisco, which means I have a few more options when it comes time for this lovely and relaxing ritual. However Osento, the women's bath in the Mission is now closed and the popularity of the public baths at Kabuki now means that I might have to wait for 2 hours to get in, so I am in desperate need of a new place to soak and get warm.

So for now, I will have to share with you about a spot in Seattle, that is certainly worth a visit.

Banya 5 : Seattle Urban Spa

I have only been there once but I will be certain to visit again when I visit the Pacific Northwest.

06 August 2008

{time to toss}

We hoard things.

After traveling for 10 months, with nothing more than a small suitcase, it became very clear that I do not need birthday cards from people I don't know anymore, boxes of superfluous paper and greeting cards or unused books that take up space.

I have actually always been very good about throwing things away (or of course donating them or recycling if I could) but there is always room for improvement. But of course, what has to change as well is the buying habit. My big frustration about the Green movement these days is that it is not encouraging people to look at their buying habits, just telling them to buy green products instead. Yes, we need things - and when you need something, consider buying an earth friendly version. But look too at what you are already surrounded by and perhaps something can be recycyled or repurposed into something totally new.

So, in an effort to really simplify life here are a few suggestions that I have found helpful for cleaning up and cleaning out:

1) In 2006, while planning my wedding, I made a pact - No more paper purchases (cards, wrap, etc) until everything I already owned was gone. I have passed the 2 year mark, and except for a batch of tissue paper, I haven't purchased a thing. And the crazy thing, it doesn't even look like I have made a dent. Look at what you've got and USE it!

2) If you buy something new, something old has to go. Donate it or give it to a friend!

3) Check expiration dates - Things like ink cartridges, medicines, suntan lotion, toothpaste, and make up have expiration dates these days. Once past, the items may not function as well as they should. This should keep you from hoarding things in storage and really using what you have and buying only when you need it.

4) Is it a duplicate? Often when households merge, you end up with two coffee makers, two irons, two plungers. Unless you have a vacation home, consider having a yard sale or donating the items to your thrift store. By the time you might need these items, you'll want a newer better version anyway.

5) Does it fit? This is not just for clothes in your closet. People change and tastes change. What you liked three years ago, may not be your style anymore. Or what fit in your studio apartment no longer works in your new home. We are really good at holding onto things because we think we should instead of letting go and moving forward.

Start small. For some getting organized and clearing the clutter feels daunting and overwhelming. Choose one shelf or drawer to start with. If you give yourself opportunities for small triumphs, then the bigger challenges will follow with ease.

01 August 2008

{remember to...}

I am usually quite grateful for the women in my life, but somehow this week I have been in awe: of a friend who reached out and asked for help, of a friend who confided her sorrow and frustration, of a friend who is loving as she never has before, of a friend who listened to the advice of her dad, of a friend who with baby in tow showed up to support a friend, of my mom who received an award for outstanding new business owner, and of my women's circle who rallied spontaneously and immediately when we were needed.

This posting is for you.