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Archive for June, 2011

In the most exciting news of the week, I harvested my first edible container garden item. Without setting myself up for naughty google search traffic, it was a cucumber and it was delicious. Everything else is growing like crazy too. All in all, I would definitely recommend trying container gardening and next year I would probably take a crack at some other vegetables.

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-Kate

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Over the weekend I had the chance to quickly pop into Anthropologie for some shopping. In addition to picking up the Domino Decoring Book, which I love, love, love, I also bought a pair of earrings. The sales girl packed up my earrings for me in an adorable fabric tote.
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I loved the fabric, but if you were to use it as a bedspread, or even paneled curtains, it would be overkill. So instead, I thought about how I could incorporate the colors in the fabric into a guest bedroom, namely our guest room. Right now our guest room is going through a beach/bird crisis and is stuck between both. I’m honest enough to say it isn’t really working for me either way. This imagined makeover could very much end up a reality.
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If you break it down, you can pull pops of colors into the room in a bunch of different ways without overwhelming the space. The walls in our guest room are the glacier lake color in the swatch above. Nice, airy and most importantly, easy to decorate around.
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I am a sucker for white, crisp linens. They remind me of fancy hotels. This Crate & Barrel set has great texture too.

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What I think works about the green throw is that it adds depth to the white linens. Plus your guests should have a blankie to curl up with for an after the beach nap.

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A navy blue dresser makes a nice contrast. Up against the light blue walls. Styled with some bud vases and magazines your guests might want to read…perfection.

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Now I know that the pop of yellow in the fabric is what makes it sing, but good lawd, you need to exercise some restraint. Think accessories. Think…lamp. (I love lamp)

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A cute pair on the nightstands would do just fine. Or, incorporate it by spray painting a ceramic animal that color for the dresser top.

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Now, in order for this to all work, you have to suspend disbelief for a moment when I tell you that it is okay to have three different shades of blue. It is! I have this bird cage at home. I found it at Home Goods for a song (pun intended). It looks great on the natural wood nightstand.

To finish it all off, I would probably use the room makeover as an excuse to make a glued yarn globe lighting fixture.

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And that is how a small swatch of fabric can inspire a whole room!

-Kate

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I’m giving myself permission to enjoy the summer and not beat myself up about posting schedules.

I took a class at Pottery Barn class over the weekend about ‘entertaining for special occasions’ and got some great floral design ideas. For example, you can float a few branches of snapdragons in the oversized vases. It creates this cool terrarium look. Combining river stones and some moss also looks fabulous for a centerpiece too.

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I am in the midst of a painting project, our master bathroom to be exact. Pictures to come soon. And, I have hit the inspiration express. A quick stop into the always awesome, Anthropologie, in Westport, Connecticut and picked up this:

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I have only have two things to say: grass cloth and jute. Wink, wink, nod, nod!

Happy Monday!
-Kate

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I have a complicated relationship with New Haven, Connecticut.  It has been my home and place of employment for more years than polite to admit.  The last year has seen a huge uptick in violence, such that for the first time in my own memory, the city makes me nervous.  I know that if I let that feeling win, then I am relinquishing something that I truly love and I truly love this place.  

This summer, I want to remind myself, and those of you local readers about what makes New Haven so damn great.  This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy and what we leave behind.  In that vein, I decided I wanted to capture the buildings (and architects) who felt so strongly about their work that their legacy remains visible.  I don’t know what you could call this exactly, but I am totally captivated by the named buildings of New Haven.   For right now, I’m going to collect the pictures and then i’d like to fill in the back story.  Maybe we could do this together… I’m not finished by a long shot gathering images and am looking forward to collecting them all. 

One thing that struck me as I was walking around on my photohunt was how many of these buildings were only partially occupied or seemingly not occupied at all.  Such amazing spaces going unused?  That seems like such a waste. 

-Kate

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I love vintage clothes.  I also love antiques that can be repurposed into something fun.  You would never guess that I could satisfy both of my loves right in Downtown New Haven, Connecticut.  It is true though.   Located on Chapel Street in between Orange and Church lies the English Building Market.

I’m a big Etsy vintage clothing shopper.  English Building Market has such a great selection of vintage clothes and changing rooms to try stuff on.  Instant gratification!

Happy Monday & Happy Shopping!

-Kate

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The design blogs have been abuzz for a while now about the latest and greatest in what I like to call, online scrap booking, basically.  Pinterest is a website that allows you to capture images from ANYWHERE on the internet.   Why is this important?  In the past, you might have pulled pages out of magazines and kept them in a folder for “future inspiration”, right?  Except that if forgot where you put your folder when it was time to actually be inspired, you were out of luck.  By storing your favorite images in the cloud, you can get access to them anytime and never go uninspired.  In addition to saving your images, you can check out what inspires other folks.   It is one giant inspiration love fest. 

Of course, I had to join and the fact that you had to request an invitation, well, that just made me want to start pinning images even more.  

A lot of my favorite bloggers have Pinterest accounts too.  Kate of Sweet  Salty is another Kate married to a Justin (crazy, right?) and one of the few bloggers who responds to emails of adoration.  So in addition to loving her writing, I’ve found that I am a huge fan of her style.  I am totally going to make the yarn globes that she pinned too. 

I’m still just figuring everything out right now and pretty much keep my pinning to cute clothes and beautiful home spaces.  I see the potential though to create a great space of images.  Feel free to check me out on Pinterest. 

Do you totally want to craft nerd out with me?  Are you suuuuuure?   Okay, here goes.  CraftGawker is the place you go when you want to make something but you aren’t sure what or how to start.  The best crafting, designing, creative bloggers are submitting their work and their tutorials to CraftGawker for you.  AND there is an iPhone app for it!  Crafting on the go!  What’s better than that?

Each image is a link to the website of the crafter where you can get step by step instructions. 

You can also search by items.  I’ve been looking to create a tufted seat and this crafty extraordinaire shows you how to do that with a vintage suitcase.  How great would this be for a guest room? 

Or if you are like me and trying to find new ways to use your mason jar collection, throw in mason jars in the search engine. 

I was just messing around with the search engine and found this.  Too cute. 

 So there you go!  Happy Pinning & Crafting this weekend!

-Kate

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Justin and I joke about how when he was a wild, rebellious youth, I was at home reading. This is a pretty accurate statement. I LOVE to read and can easily go through a book a week. At one point I belonged to two separate book clubs, but ironically, being assigned reading totally killed my desire to read. If that makes any sense.

After much thought, I left both book clubs, gave myself some time off and wouldn’t you know, I’ve been back on the Reading Rainbow Bandwagon ever since. My favorite thing about summer when I was little was being able to go to the library as often as I wanted and checking out handfuls of books. Not much has changed since then, except that instead of carrying around a worn paperback with pencil notations in the margins, I’m an avid Kindle user. Not the separate, bulky device Kindle, but the iPhone app.

Since I’m always on the lookout for the next great read, I thought I would share what is sitting on my virtual bookshelf these days.

If Tina Fey knew how much I loved and admired her, I suspect that I would have to stay 500 feet away from her at all times. This is an excellent memoir. It helps though if you are a 30 Rock fan, but isn’t necessary. If you just really liked her when she was on Weekend Update with Jimmy Fallon, you’ll still like this.

Do you like hearing stories about Martha Stewart from former employees? Do you like reading about restoring old houses, cluster flies (Welcome this is a farmhouse, we have cluster flies, alas), farming and baby goats? This was a fun book. Josh, the author has written previously about his time as a drag queen in NYC. This book is not about that, although the book about the drag queen was quite good too. I was inspired to garden this year because of Josh and his partner, Dr. Brent.

Just in case you were laboring under the idea that Ernest Hemingway was a good guy….HE WAS NOT! This book is written about his first wife, Hadley and the time she spent being the best damn wife ever in Paris while Ernesto was getting started with his writing career. I think if you combine this book with Woody Allen’s upcoming film, Paris After Midnight, you’ll have a good sense of how much more fun everyone was having then we are now. I loved this book.

Suzanne Collins is a Connecticut resident. She also clearly read Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. The Hunger Games is the first book in her young adult trilogy. Now, the truth is that if you lost your damn mind over the Harry Potter series and found yourself greedily reading them whenever you could and maybe, sort of, caused a scene the day the book was released and your copy was delivered via UPS late… you would enjoy this series. Just make sure you don’t have plans for about a week because once you start them, you probably won’t be able to put them down.

If you like to cry sometimes, just because it feels good, this is the book for you. It is also the book for you if you spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating your own death, the death of your family members/friends and the deaths of random strangers who may or may not be your organ clones. I kid. It isn’t that dark until the end. I read this book during the winter while I was dealing with a personal loss. It haunted me, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Is your mom a psych nurse? Is your best friend a licensed, clinical social worker? Reading this book is like hanging out with them on a night that they are being candid about work after a few glasses of wine. Funny, sad, moving, maaaaaybe a little more truth then you are used to. If you don’t answer yes to the first two questions, read it anyway. It is good to understand how prevalent mental illness is in our society and to reduce the stigma surrounding it.

So there you have it, the Redefining Decor Summer Reading suggestions. What are you reading? Leave recommendations in the comments!

-Kate

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