Monday, April 30, 2012

Play clothes

After a few days of normal, I have to swing back and support my bold New Yorker friends.

This mom makes me smile.  She seems so playful.  She is wearing green tights with a matching headband.  And can you see her boots -

Now those are some fun play clothes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Universal appeal

You can tell that you are getting old when you are excited about getting a mattress for your birthday.  We finally have a keeper.  I have to give a shout out to The Mattress Firm for not harassing us about our exchange.  We ended up with a Sealy Posturepedic Plush, which feels fabulous.  It still is not perfect, but I'm not looking for perfection - just sleep.  There are so many options that I just want to be done with it at this point.  But it made me wonder that with all of the brain power and technology that exists in the world, why have humans still not come up with one mattress that suits every person?

I was reading an article this morning about the healing power of walking in the grass barefoot.  My shoulder still hurts from our old, hard mattress, so I thought I would try it. 

I'm not an outdoorsy person and don't really like for my feet to be dirty, but I have to say that green grass is an amazing creation.  Is there anything else that can feel relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time?  Just looking at it makes me feel better.  Sunshine, colorful leaves, soft breezes.  Nature seems to have a universal appeal.  God was pretty good at coming up with things that are good for all of us.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

On reading, writing, and life

I blame myself for the closing of all of the bookstores near my house.  I used to browse and not buy (or buy later that night on Amazon).  Now, I miss browsing.  I miss opening a random book, sitting down on a little stool, and reading about my own thoughts and feelings.

I found this book a couple of weeks ago in a small bookstore that I visit each week with my younger daughter while my older daughter is at ballet.  In my effort to keep this bookstore open, I let my daughter buy a used book every few weeks. This is the first book I have purchased for myself from this particular store.  I was intrigued by the title. 

She explains, "Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write.  It was due the next day...He was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead.  Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.' "

I love that advice.  This is a book about the craft of writing, and although I don't consider myself a writer, page after page I saw myself in this book.  It reminded me of what C.S. Lewis said, "We read to know that we are not alone."   

Lately, I have been feeling a little vulnerable and that maybe I have put too much of myself out there on my blog.  Maybe it's time to stop.  But then I read this -

"Annie Dillard has said that day by day you have to give the work before you all the best stuff you have, not saving up for later projects. If you give freely, there will always be more...You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to have to be its own reward."

She's right.  My work is only good when it comes from the deepest parts of me.  I have always just taken this blog "bird by bird".  And that's what I will continue to do.

* On a side note, I slept a little better last night (in spite of the crazy foam mattress).  We are getting another new mattress tonight.  I'm looking forward to spending next week thinking about something more interesting than mattresses.

Friday, April 27, 2012


I miss it.  We bought a new mattress last Saturday.  We sprung for a Tempur-pedic.  It was very expensive.  I was having a lot of lower back and shoulder pain, so I figured it was worth it.  And I have to say that my lower back does feel much better.  But I can't sleep.  My subconscious is so creeped out by the way the mattress contours around my body and immobilizes me that I can't relax.  And I wake up with headaches every morning - probably from the fumes the mattress is giving off.  Some people love these beds, and I can see why.  It does seem to relieve all of your "pressure points".  If I could give it more time to get through my subconscious' objections and the fumes (which are almost gone), I might like it.  But I will die from lack of sleep before all of that happens.

So, that is why I didn't post anything yesterday and can't think of anything else to say today.  We're going to get a different new mattress tonight. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ankle boots - Part 2

If flowers aren't your style, here are some gold studded ankle boots -

...and some silver studded ones -

Ankle boots

The floral pattern on these boots is unexpected - and a great way to transition ankle boots from winter into spring.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Childlike wonder

Do you remember the first time you ever tasted a honeysuckle?  I was 4 years old.  I was on the playground, and another child showed me how to do it.  It seemed like a wild and crazy thing to do - to suck nectar from a plant that was growing over the fence.  But soon I was spreading the news to more children.  From then on, we spent every recess at that fence until every honeysuckle had been sucked. 

It never occurred to me to teach my own children about honeysuckles.  I think it is a secret entrusted to children that you forget as you grow older.  Recently, my oldest daughter learned about it on her playground, and she was overjoyed when she found honeysuckles in our own backyard.  She immediately passed the knowledge on to another child -

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Making myself comfortable

In trying to decorate my husband's office, I had an epiphany.  I want every room in the house to look like a living room.  I guess that's where I feel most comfortable.  I said two days ago that a dining room that is totally dedicated to dining feels strange to me - as does a bedroom that is totally dedicated to sleeping and an office that is totally dedicated to working.  I feel like you should be able to hang out in every room.

These are some of the items I have gathered for my husband's office -

If it were my office, I would add some quirky touches like a yellow phone from the 70's -

 and this "sculpture" from Crate and Barrel -

He likes the painting* but questions the use of a lamp in his already well-lit office.  (I didn't even mention the yellow phone.)  I may keep the lamp for my kitchen - because it makes it look more like a living room.  My husband may want his office to look like an office and not a colorful living room.  So, we will probably go with a more subdued color scheme and more traditional accessories like the globe I bought him for his birthday -  

I'll let you know if he let's me add anything quirky.  I may find a spot for the yellow phone in my house.

*In case are wondering, the painting in the vignette above is the one I started at our church's street fair last month. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


You are a quiet group of readers.  I received zero comments to my design dilemma.  That's OK.  Silence is golden.  I like to be able to hear the birds chirping.  Enjoy a few more photos from Palm Springs.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Desire to Inspire

I am so excited!  I made it onto the blogroll of Desire to Inspire!  That is like being acknowledged by my mentor.  Desire to Inspire is a fabulous interior design blog that I have been reading for years.  I remember sitting in a bookstore years ago (I think it was 2006) hunched over on a little stool going through a stack of interior design books that I didn't intend to buy (no wonder most of the bookstores in Atlanta have closed).  One book recommended a few websites which I could peruse on the internet at home.  I pulled a little notebook out of my purse and wrote down "" (note they have since changed their address to "").  I thought, "What is a blogspot?"  I visited the site and have been studying it ever since. 

To take advantage of some of the design savvy readers that may be coming over from that beautiful website, I am going to show you my design dilemma.  Ever since we moved into this house almost 9 years ago, we have been talking about renovating the kitchen.  I don't do well with construction projects.  Replacing our windows almost killed me.  But I think the problems with my kitchen (dying oven, slanting stove, deteriorating cabinets) have finally given me enough resolve to deal with it.  Plus, I need something to focus on now that I'm not buying clothes.

We are going to hire a designer, but it takes me FOREVER to make decisions.   So, I want to have some direction before we set the process in motion.  I also just love tossing around ideas and trying to come up with creative solutions. 

Here is my problem -

That is the view out of the window next to our kitchen table.

I hate looking at our cars and the ugly lattice work, so I usually keep the blinds shut.  We had almost decided to dry wall over the window, since we never use it.  But I keep thinking that we don't want to lose any natural light.  We will get some natural light from the dining room, because we are probably going to knock down the dividing wall between our kitchen and dining room.

Here is our dining room.  It's small and could benefit from an expansion into the kitchen.

I also think that having a room that is only used for dining is strange.   I feel claustrophobic when I am in there and spend most of the time staring out the window.  The view from our dining room window is our driveway and our neighbor's driveway, but at least there is a lot of greenery surrounding it.

So, back to the kitchen window.  I figure we can either change the window or change the view.   I considered stained glass, because then you could retain the light but block the view.  However, it would be a pretty permanent art fixture.  My most recent idea is to remove the lattices and plant more trees on the other side of the garage.  Then, your eye would hopefully be drawn past the cars to the greenery.  My husband doesn't like that idea, but I still think it might work. 

What are your ideas?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Per your request

My dad said over the phone today, "I sure do wish you would post some pictures of the boo-boos on your blog."  The pictures of my kids are some of the very few things that my dad likes about my blog.  He thinks the photos from New York Fashion Week are INSANE and that all of those people "have no idea what they are doing" when they get dressed and he hopes they aren't "on our government dole".  So you may be able to see now why I went into accounting instead of fashion.  It all worked out OK in the end.  Accounting was where I met my husband.  If I had gone into fashion, I would probably be living in New York in my 300 square foot apartment with no husband, no money, and no idea how to post an adjusting journal entry.

With that explanation, here are some photos of my kids for my dad -

Friday, April 13, 2012

Shopping in the desert

While in Palm Springs, I went for a long walk down the main drag.  I was struck by how piercingly hot the sun is in the desert.  Fortunately, we visited when it was in the 80's, but around noon I started to feel irrationally panicky and kept glancing down at my water bottle to make sure it was still there.  I can see how people die in the desert.  Palm trees don't provide much shade.  I had to keep reminding myself that I was in the middle of civilization. 

The stores did not provide the blast of air conditioning that I craved, but they did have great style and friendliness.  I love this sign -

Here are some cool sculptures I saw along the way -

My favorite was this consignment store filled with objects from the 40's and 50's.  I love everything about this yellow and chrome bedroom set and how it is styled with the acrylic lamp, the cute little owl and the vintage swimming pool photo.  

They also had the obligatory Eames chairs -

And some retro dishes -

I didn't shop for too long, though, because the stores were heating up with the sun. 

After a delicious salad at the beautiful Cafe Europa (highly recommended), I hurried back to our hotel to read in the shade, which was 20 degrees cooler than the sunshine.  (By the way, I was reading on a Kindle.  I will tell you about that soon.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Palm Springs architecture

I love the architecture in Palm Springs.  I saw some beautiful Spanish style houses with wonderful doors and gates and little courtyards -

 There is also a lot of mid century modern and art deco, both of which I adore -

That was all right outside our hotel.  I walked around in the neighborhood for hours.  Every little detail was so different from what I normally see.  And it was so quiet.  A little slice of architectural heaven.  I'll show you more tomorrow.