Saturday, October 26, 2013
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Please have a seat in the lobby and I'll be right with you. Oh wait, that's my living room!
Here's a design tip I learned today. If you are thinking of purchasing any piece of furniture and you find yourself sending urgent emails to decorators, posting pictures on social networks asking all your friends and family to please help you decide if you should buy it, you shouldn't buy it!
In these chairs' defense, they are in impeccable condition. The ad said they were high end chairs with high end fabric and I believe it. They seem brand new. But my God! Please send me back to earlier this morning when I saw them online and thought, hmmm...they remind me of a hotel room but then again I have no sense of style so I'm probably wrong. Or even send me back to the conversation we were having with the very lovely owners who said they used to be in the husband's office but nobody ever sat in them. I want a do-over!
This is the chair I was supposed to buy for my living room makeover. It's amazing, right? Like the designers said, it's got fantastic masculine lines, awesome nubby grey fabric and it swivels (required). But it's $900! And it would take weeks for it to arrive and I am impulsive and my family is coming over next weekend for Mother's Day and where would they sit! And on and on...
The craziest thing about it all is the way it's making me feel. I'm embarrassed that I don't have enough self control to think about a purchase for a little while, first. I feel bad that I had my husband go with me to sit in and subsequently buy these chairs then lug them home where they will sit, looking out of place, until I figure out what to do. I believe in thrifting and was so hoping to be able to decorate my living room without breaking the bank but this feels like shit. I am in an ugly chair vortex of self loathing!
Posted by Gina at 11:19 AM
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Since I have nothing to say about gardening these days I thought I'd show you a picture of my new thrift store sofa.
$250 from Brown Elephant thrift store in Andersonville. I am so in love with it that it's actually embarrassing. It's old and white and long, 96 inches. 96! It was built in the 30's by a Chicago Furniture maker called Homer Brothers which was started in 1912 by 5 Russian immigrant brothers and closed sometime in the 90's. One day I'll tell you the story about how this sofa entered my life but today I am just thankful to have it. But I'm also kind of terrified of it.
I've never bought used furniture. And my God, the things that can happen on a sofa! Food and pets and body fluids and according to most people on the internets...BEDBUGS! My husband sat on it for about an hour last night while reading then sent me the following email this morning...
"I think that couch has bugs, or I'm allergic to it. I'm itching all over!"
Thankfully I found a great upholstery cleaner that was able to squeeze us in tomorrow morning so this baby will be getting a nice, hot bath.
Over the last couple of years I've become keenly aware of how much junk I've accumulated and how the furnishings in my house affect me on a day to day basis. It's not good. And just like I did with gardening when I first started, I'm consumed with it, reading everything I can get my hands on, shopping, losing sleep.
Decorating, well, designing just about anything, terrifies me. It is easy for me to look at pictures of completed rooms (or blogs or gardens) and decide if I like them or not but to deconstruct the process of putting it all together in a way that best utilizes available space, that looks pretty or cool or whatever, seems like a magic trick or one of those innate talents you're just born with. I have no idea if this is accurate or not. If you have any thoughts about this, please leave them in the comments below. I am curious to know how everyone out there feels about their interior surroundings, decorating and whether or not you think you're any good at it and if that even matters. How would you describe your style? Where do you buy your stuff? Is it typically new or used or hand-me-downs? Are you happy with it all or do you wish it looked different?
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Finally! Somebody has come up with the perfect way to teach me how to take great pictures!
I'm super excited that my friend Katie is conducting an online photography course she calls "Photo Mojo". The six week course will include easy to understand explanations of the settings on your camera, simple picture taking projects and a flickr group where we'll all upload our pictures so that Katie can make comments and recommendations on what were doing right as well as how we can improve our shots. I am so in love with this idea! I want to take great pictures but I don't want to go sit in some classroom where an instructor will try to cram way too much information into a few hours only to have me go home and forget it all. I love the idea of taking it slow, having a group of people just like me who want to learn to take better pictures. The bonding, the photography taking bliss, I can't wait!
When I was in my 20's I wanted to be a professional photographer. I remember buying my first real camera, a Minolta SLR. It was heavy, black, awesome. I loved the way it felt in my hands. I was fascinated by all the settings, the shutter speed, the F stops. I bought books to try to teach myself how to use it. Most of the pictures I took, sucked. But I shot a roll of infrared film once and although I have no idea where those pictures are today, there is an image of one of those photos, a willow tree, its droopy branches bleached white against a black sky that is burned in my memory.
In the end the Minolta frustrated the hell out of me and I gave up my photography career dreams. After that, I used whatever camera was easiest. Disposable cameras were my shit for a good long while! But then I started gardening and blogging and discovered all these amazing garden blogging photographers, their photos rich with color, impeccably composed. My photography passion came flooding back.
When I started this blog I shot nearly all my pictures with a 3 mega pixel point and shoot digital camera my husband gave me when digital cameras first came out. It worked just fine and I am still surprised by how decent some of those pictures turned out. But at some point I decided to get serious and bought a really nice Nikon DSLR. I read books, blogs, watched videos and I took a some pretty good photos with that camera. But each time I thought of going out to photograph something cool in my garden, I dreaded having to deal with the damned thing. It was a big production and most of my pictures were bad. Bad lighting, blurry, random other photo nightmares. Bad! I missed so many great shots because it took me entirely too long to figure out the right settings. My process was to make the settings something completely arbitrary, then adjust them until the pictures are not awful. In the end I shoved the fancy Nikon in its case and bought an updated point and shoot camera which I use most of the time, now. Hell, if I'm being honest, most of the time I use my iPhone camera!
To celebrate this inaugural photography e-course, Katie is giving away three free registrations for the class. I encourage you to head over to her website to enter the contest and/or to register for the course. See you in class!
Posted by Gina at 6:30 PM
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
You can't get more environmentally friendly than a reel mower when it comes to cutting grass, right?
This morning a person I'm connected with on Facebook posted that she was sure her neighbors were going to hate her because she was about to cut her grass at 8:00 am. I have a battery powered electric mower that's pretty darn quiet but my neighbor uses a reel mower which makes zero noise with zero emissions. I love these mowers for their retro look and earth friendliness so I'm super excited to be able to give one away this week. Being able to give readers a chance to get free gardening equipment is one of my favorite parts of my partnership with Troy-bilt.
This is an 18 inch reel mower with height adjustment and rear bagging donated by Troy-bilt. The contest winner will work directly with Troy-bilt to coordinate free shipping to your house. The contest winner will also receive three of Troy-bilt's new hand tools including a hand trowel, a weeding blade and professional bypass pruners.
To enter the contest, just leave a comment telling us why you need this mower and I'll select a winner at random after the contest closes on Friday July 13th at 5:00 pm CST.
edited to add the hand tools giveaway
Posted by Gina at 8:36 AM
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Friends - I need your help to spice up this ugly ass window on the garage that is the backdrop of one of my gardens. This picture doesn't accurately reflect that the siding in this picture has a yellow tint to it.
I'd like to paint the window a bright, kind of crazy color that really draws attention. I hate the brown trim so I'd like to paint that, too. I am also open to painting the trellises which are on the sides and possibly adding shutters. On the other side of the garage there is a door that is currently white metal along with another window exactly like the one pictured here. I'm open to painting them, too, although they are only the backdrop to our small basketball court.
Suggestions I've gotten so far have been orange and/or teal. I like both these ideas.
If this was your garage and you wanted to make it as whimsical as possible without looking gross, what would you do? Please leave me a comment to let me know. I'm no good at this stuff but would love to complete it, this summer. Thank you in advance for all your awesome suggestions.