More windows.

July 29, 2010

Here they are:

From House Beautiful

This is from my previously mentioned favorite house ever.  Love the fun print AND the fun trim.

Another very basic shape, but in a cute print.  It’s hard to tell for sure, but this might be a plain old shade shade as opposed to a Roman shade.

I love the looks of all three of these, but I think it’s because they’re in multiple.  I do have two windows, BUT they’re very different and also not very close to each other.


From Better Homes and Gardens

From Pottery Barn

The moral of the story?  My dream curtains are: Roman shades, in a print (probably light or with a light background), with trim.  Mounted somewhere above the window so they only cover a little bit of the top.  Functioning optional.  I think?


I have been musing about window treatments.

July 21, 2010

You know, because that’s what taxpayers pay me to do in July.

I have two untreated windows in my living room: a big picture window behind the dining table and a big regular window next to the couch.  Here they are:

Originally, I had envisioned putting curtain rods near the ceiling over each window, hanging long flowy curtains from those, and then covering the space in between the rod and the window with matchstick blinds (now I see this method everywhere, but I first read about it on Young House Love, typi).  I even started this process, failed, and gave up for the time being, which turned out to be like a year.

And now there are two problems with my previous plan.  One: it was hard and I will never complete it by myself.  Those matchstick blinds were heavy and unwieldy and my walls are made of some magical screw-defiant material.

Two: There are obstacles to the curtains.  The couch, obviously, in the second picture, would get in the way of floor-length curtains.  And for the picture window, you can see the edge of my latest project (an updated corner cabinet via Aunt Jane, which I will share when it’s finished), which would also block long curtains.  So now I am using my genius decorating and problem-solving abilities to come up with this notion: something shorter.

I do not want lame curtains that just hang the length of the window.  I started thinking Roman shades maybe, so I perused my inspiration folder (this is so ridiculous, btw; I wish I had some organized binder full of cut-outs from magazines to “peruse,” but of course I am not that awesome…I just looked at pictures I had starred from blogs in my reader).  I found lots of ideas and will share some of them now, along with my comments:


Love the trim, first of all.  I think I have to have a ribbon-y trim, and I love the scallops on the bottom.  I love the colors, too, and yellow and white would work in my room, but would I regret that they were sort of plain?  Also, these are installed inside the window frame (like many of the ones I found), which would work for my regular window but not the picture one.

by Amanda Nisbet

Sort of an inversion of the previous, and I like this a lot too.  Would have to make sure the color looked good with my walls, since there would be a lot of it.  Trim is around the outside, which I like, but maybe not as much.  Also installed inside frame.  [I would also like this bed, bedspread, bedskirt, and chair,please]

from Traditional Home

LOVE this one.  I love the trim with the scalloped corners.  Simple like the first one.  Too simple?  Want the chair.

from Coastal Living

from Pottery Barn

from Pottery Barn

These three are the traditional, typical Pottery Barn ribbon Roman shades.  I like them, but not quite as much as ones with just a little more detail or, dare I say it, whimsy.

Of course they could be sassed up a little by adding a cornice-y thing:

from Ruthie Sommers

I LOVE both of these.  Maybe I’m okay with white/accent color if there’s something special involved.  Also, this would help solve my problem of not being able to mount the shade inside the window frame itself.  I could mount the other thing closer to the ceiling, and the shade beyond that.

I have more ideas but will save them.  So sister, aunt, and other aunt: STAY TUNED!

This is my favorite house ever (besides mine).

July 8, 2010

I get many, many magazines because I am ridiculous in that way.  My favorite design-y magazine is usually Country Living, but this month’s House Beautiful included my true dream house — interior, anyway.  It’s a beach house in California, but I care not, and would decorate my everyday house in Virginia this way if I had the money and skillz.

The designer, Krista Ewart, obviously looked deep into my soul and said the following in her interview: “My style of decorating is, ‘I love this, I love that, let’s put it all together and make it work,’…I’ll mix polka dots and prints, all shades of green.”  YES.  Another awesome moment in the interview is when she’s asked about all the polka dots and looks around and realizes there’s lots of polka dots.  She says, “I think of them as a non-print, a neutral. But this wasn’t planned. Polka dots just happen for me. I use a polka-dot fabric like a solid, but it’s a solid with movement. It excites your eye. That sounds stupid, but it does.”  HAHAHA.  Polka dots just happen for me.  Less snooty-pants, more fun.  My kind of design.  PICS from House Beautiful:

Ahhhh!  She even made me love a SURF BOARD!  Also I need some polka dots in my life right now.

It is so hot.

July 6, 2010

The internet tells me it is 102 degrees outside, and I believe it.  Thus, I am granting myself one day’s respite from ivy/monkey grass removal.  Today I stayed inside, turned out all the lights, drew the curtains, turned on the ceiling fans, and generally satisfied my inner hermit with my cooldown measures.  I tried to stay productive by cleaning out my closet and making my bed.  I took this picture with my fancy new phone that has fancy capabilities like: taking pictures, texting without pressing buttons multiple times to get the letter you want, and getting on facebook.

I think soon I will blog about my new deck.  The excitement!!!

On Ivy

June 30, 2010

This is going to be a highly professional and helpful article about removing ivy from one’s yard.  Let us begin with my first highly professional, helpful tip:

Don’t plant ivy.

Anywhere.  Unless you want it to be everywhere.  Including in the cracks of your sidewalks, the sides of your house, and down into your basement via some, invisible-to-the-eye crevice.  Let me repeat:

Don’t plant ivy.

Unless, perhaps, you are Princeton.  Then you have an endowment and can afford people to keep it under control.  I, personally, do not have an endowment, and thus it is just me versus the ivy.  It is not quite a fair fight.

All of this is to say that for the past two days, I have stood (more technically, leaned over) in 100 degree heat and yanked and pulled and cut ivy.  And then stuffed and crammed and finagled it into gigantic black plastic bags.  Because the internet promised if I did so, and then left the plastic bags in the driveway in the sun, the ivy would shrivel up and poof, disappear.  And believe me, I wanted it to disappear.

It didn’t quite, but it did shrivel enough for me to stuff it into the trash can.

My other highly technical piece of advice (besides rip!  pull!  stuff!) is to listen to an audiobook while doing so.  I think other, normal people could just listen to music, but I am not of that ilk.  I listened to Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, almost in its entirety, while battling the ivy.  It took my mind off the dirt, bugs, and general outdoor things that I typically avoid.

And now, before and after.  Though the “before” is technically from halfway through because I forgot to take a real before.  I am just so zealous.

Before: rustic, enchanting, but capable of ripping down my home

Also before: a close up

And here’s After…I still need to rake up the extra leaves and dig up the soil to get rid of stray roots, oh and do the other 80% of the yard, but well, still.


And thus concludes my article on removing ivy.  Let’s review:

1. Don’t plant ivy.

2. Seriously, don’t.

3. If someone else did (making you entirely innocent), put on some gloves.

4. Download some engaging non-fiction on your ipod (bonus points if it’s a super old ipod that your ninth grade students did not recognize when you showed it to them once).

5. Pull, rip, yank.

6. Take advil.  Your back (also arms, legs, and neck) hurts.

7. Stuff ivy into gigantic trash bags.

8. Sneak said trash bags into trash can, which is clearly labeled “Garbage ONLY; No YARD WASTE” (semi-colon mine; there is no semi-colon on my trashcan).

9. Repeat daily for the rest of your summer, probably.

10. It helps to have a job that lets you have the summer off to accomplish such tasks.  Ahhh education.

11. You’re done!  There’s no step 11.  It’s just my lucky number.

Now it’s back to the ivy for me, though I might wait until the sun comes out so I can get a tan while doing it.  Because I know what’s important here.

This can only mean one thing…

June 24, 2010

It is, literally, 104 degrees outside.  My grass is fried to a nice, crisp yellow.  I woke up at the luxurious hour of 7:30 this morning.  And I have the time and mental energy to think about posting to my silly little blog.


For the first time since I was fifteen, I will not have a summer job.  Although I’ll miss the type of summer work I have been doing for the past eight years or so (glorified camp counselor at nerd camps), I’m really looking forward to a couple of months of, well, not much.  Going on a couple trips.  Reading books.  Planning for next year.  Getting stuff done around the house.

Speaking of that last item, I know the time will end up slipping through my fingers like so many proverbial grains of sand or whatever, so here are a few of the things I want to get accomplished around the yellow brick house this summer:

  • Water the lawn enough that it doesn’t uproot itself and blow away, which my dad said it would do.  This is so much easier to do when I don’t get up at 5 in the morning, spend 10 hours at school, and then get home and just want to lie on the couch for the rest of my life.
  • Get rid of the ivy.  All of the ivy.  Everywhere.  I hate it and it’s a scourge.  This might be hard, but perhaps it will involve fire, which could be fun.
  • Pare down other stuff.  Figure out how to trim (prune?) things.  Also, figuring out the correct terms would be a good start.
  • Put curtains up in the living room.  I have the hardware but need a better electric drill and also a person who’s good at electrically drilling things.  Which does not describe me, so yeah, someone else.
  • Finish up the guest room.  I’ve decided I’m going to live with the awkward minty green on the walls and add in some sky blue and a little bit of orange (this is all rooted in a pillow I bought the other day).  I’d like an area rug in there, but we’ll see.
  • Paint the cabinet in the guest bathroom.  The wood is ugly.
  • Paint a couple pieces of furniture I have hanging out in the garage.  This will have to wait until it gets under 100 degrees.  Sheesh.
  • Generally de-clutter and reorganize.  I am cluttery person.  It is my downfall.  Very occasionally I go crazy and run around throwing things away.  I need this to happen at least once this summer.

I’m sure there’s other stuff, but that is PLENTY for right now.  Because this is the summer of doing not-much, not everything-I-can-think-of.  Duh.

P.S. Guest room pillow…

I Want a Ruffled Duvet Cover

March 13, 2010

Is that terrible?

As I’ve been living in and decorating my house bit by bit, I’ve learned a few things about myself:

1. I’m not a meticulous or deliberate decorator/designer, like the writers of some of my favorite home blogs (this, that, or them, for example).  I am jealous of those people, but not jealous enough to try really hard to be like them.  I am impulsive and off-and-on; I have a sense of what I like and just go for that.  I’m not very good at imagining the big picture, so I do things a little at a time.

2. I’m not afraid of bold color (hello, big green couch) or pattern (hello, eight different prints in my living room).  Perhaps I should be more afraid.  But I’m not.  Speaking of this, Dorothy Draper is my homegirl.

3. Related to #1 and #2 and to the title of this post, I’m not one for restraint or subtlety (hello again, big green couch; apparently you are emblematic of my personal decorating style).  I’m not one to use neutrals and then “spice” things up with “pops” or my favorite colors or patterns.  And so, I want a huge, ruffly duvet cover.  ‘Cause I love ruffles, and I need a duvet cover.  And a little ruffly pillow is not enough.

To back up a bit: I only recently acquired a bed.  I’d been sleeping on my mattress, on top of the boxspring, sitting on the floor, for a long time.  Okay like a year.  I finally bought a bed at Ikea:

After I spent FOUR HOURS assembling it, I decided I would try to go against my instincts and make my bedroom subtle and neutral.  It had previously had a color scheme of brown and white and pink, so I just subtracted the pink.  I’d seen lots of beautiful bedrooms done in whites, creams, ivories, and browns, so I figured I could do it too.

I suppose I should mention that I have brown curtains with a BOLD rick-rack-looking pattern on them, and lamps with taupe toile-ish shades, but still — neutral colors, right?  Anyway…

I apparently can’t deal with the understatedness (understatement?) because I’ve been searching for the aforementioned huge ruffled duvet cover.  Also brainstorming various colors to paint things  or to cover pillows with.  If it weren’t for the curtains, which I love, I think I would throw the whole neutral thing to the wind and do the whole room in white, navy, and bright yellow.

For now, I will see if an overload of texture (ruffles) will appease me.  Once I find the duvet, perhaps I will add…


or possibly…

We’ll see.

I am terrible at blogging, etc.

March 7, 2010

Since the last time I posted:

  1. School started.  I remembered what it felt like to wake up at 5 and not got home ’til 6.  It’s definitely easier as a second year teacher, but sometimes I still feel overwhelmed.
  2. My house turned 60.  Happy 60th birthday, house!
  3. I obtained and assembled several pieces of furniture: two beds, a desk, a bookshelf, and a chair (well, I didn’t assemble the chair so much as take the plastic off, but still).
  4. I decorated and un-decorated for Christmas.
  5. I hung a tablecloth over the windows in my kitchen and called it a window treatment.
  6. My heat pump showed signs of age and got replaced.
  7. It snowed multiple feet.  I was thankful for #6.
  8. Other stuff.

So although I haven’t tackled any huge projects, things have been happening at the yellow brick house.  Hopefully I’ll add some pictures…if not soon, then at least when summer rolls back around.  I plan to be at home all summer, so my to-do list is long.

For now, here’s a few shots from when I hosted my book club the other week.  I had fun with two bunches of spray roses from Fresh Market…

The tablescape.

Flowers in a Jefferson cup.

Detail shot: tablecloth, napkin, my flatware.

So that’s what’s up.  Maybe I’ll be back!  In the mean time, my friend Lindsay has started a blog about married life and all the amazing things she cooks here.  She is much better at blogging than I am!

My Little Bathroom

August 21, 2009

My house is older (59 years), and the bathrooms are, well, small.  I see bathrooms on design blogs all the time that are huge and gorgeous and have couches and flat screen tvs in them, and they are great, but they are not me.  Which is lucky, because mine is barely big enough to fit my collection of huge hairbrushes, much less a couch.

The upstairs bathroom is right at the top of the stairs, in between the two bedrooms:

There it is!

There it is!

There’s a nice-sized window, and the walls were already painted a pleasant robin’s egg sort of blue, which I liked well enough.  I took a chance on ordering a toile-esque shower curtain on that looked like it would match the blue.  It did:

shower curtain

I guess it’s hard to tell, but the little blue birds on the curtain are pretty near the wall color.  The other color is a creamy coffee brown, similar to the hand towel hanging on the door.  Confession that will shock people who know me and my love of monogrammed towels well: I do not have matching monogrammed towels for this bathroom!!  Oh the horror!!!  I do have three or four of those brown hand towels (like 99 cents from Target), but I’m still using my old yellow bath ones.  I hang them where people can’t see them.  Out of shame, etc.  When I eventually do get real, matching ones, I am still not sure what color I’ll get.  A blue with brown monogramming sounds gross to me.  Blue with white or cream slightly better.  Or brown with cream maybe.  I don’t know.  I don’t have a lot of experience with either brown or blue.  Anyway.

Another thing I don’t have a lot of experience with is sewing.  HOWEVER, I wanted to cover up the plumbing that was exposed under the sink, which just sticks out of the wall by itself.  So about a million years ago I found some ticking stripe fabric at Walmart and bought it with the intention of making a sink skirt.  I also bought velcro, to attach it underneath, and iron-on hemming tape, so I wouldn’t have to sew anything.  I then proceeded to put all of these materials somewhere in my house and not make a sink skirt for like five months.

And then I did!

sink skirt

It’s not gorgeous, but it does the job.  And it’s not THAT bad for under 10 bucks and very little talent.

Oh, two more little projects to complete the room for now:

mirror and headbands

A couple months ago I realized I had an insane number of headbands.  They were taking up a whole drawer in a dresser.  So I hammered two nails into the wall, tied a ribbon between them, hung all the headbands on it, and called it a day.

Yesterday, I decided the headbands looked lonely.  I had this old mirror, bought at Marshalls for 4.99, but it was all shabby-chic-ed out — dusty rose and celadon and antiquey white.  So I painted it brown, shoved a newly-purchased Hercules Hook (fun!!! ; RIP Billy Mays) in the wall, and called it another day.  I might go back and paint some of the detailing white, but not until I have a lot of papers I want to avoid grading.  It’ll be my special treat.

That’s the bathroom!  One last picture, if only for me to look back at and enjoy once I get all my stuff out from hiding under the sink skirt and it gets cluttered again.


Ahhh tonight is the night!

August 20, 2009

8:00 = Project Runway All-Star Challenge

10:00 = Season Premiere of Project Runway!!!

11:00 = Models of the Runway (new show about the models…interesting, as they have been pretty much in the background since Morgan of season one)

Taylor = love!

So today I painted a mirror for my bathroom, and now it’s ready for its close-up.  That is, I’m ready to take pictures of it so I can show off my no-sew sink skirt.  Turns out the sink skirt is not only good for hiding the plumbing but also for hiding all the brushes and hair products and extra toilet paper that normally clutter up my bathroom and make it unfit for pictures and that we’ll just pretend I don’t have, deal?

Time for PR!!!  AHHHHH!!!