Monthly Archives: October 2009

Out and About: Good Golly, That’s Boxy

During a recent weekend jaunt around Philadelphia, PA’s Queen Village and South Street neighborhoods, I spied these gorgeous window boxes and knew I had to share.  Yes, once again, the words out of my mouth were “oh hold on – I have to take a photo for my blog!”  But rather than tease me, my dad said “Yeah, those are really neat!” (or something dad-like of that sort).

I think the main aspect that makes these boxes so striking is the intense way they’re just overflowing with plant goodness.  So many boxes you see are half-assed, with a few measly plants hanging on for dear life in a box full of dirt.  If you’re gonna do it, you’ve gotta really cram it full of plants so it looks like  they really want to be there.  Know what I mean?

I’m still flattered . . .

. . . even though it was one month ago that Jeannine at Small and Chic in Cville bestowed the honor of the “Honest Scrap”  blog award on me.

[honest_scrap_award.jpg]I feel guilty for waiting this long to pass on the honors, but I wanted to take time to tweak this blog post ‘just so.’  (For more on that neuroticism, read on…)  I was totally psyched that Jeannine mentioned my blog.  Her blog rocks.  I feel like there’s so many fancy-schmancy (and useful) blogs out there, and that mine is just a puny little thing that keeps me inspired.  But I love my puny little blog almost as much as I love doing projects, thus I’m always excited to hear someone else has enjoyed visiting it.  Like the day one of my BFFs, Reebs, stopped by and left not one, but two, comments.  I squealed with joy.  But I digress. . .

Here are the rules I must follow, upon receiving this award:

Say thanks and give a link to the presenter of the award.  Share “10 Honest Things” about myself.  Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.  Tell those 7 people they’ve been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving.

10 Honest Things about Me

  1. I have two large dogs, two cats, and am fostering two kittens.  The kittens have helped me decorate, using their kittenesque powers to break things weekly.  Now that I’m on to them it’s put a [temporary] twist on my decor.   I’m fortunate that the worst thing my dogs do is sneak onto the couch when I’m gone. It’s washable.
  2. I believe you can own pets (that shed) and still have a clean and beautiful home. You just have to put a bit of extra thought into what fabrics you use on your furnishings, and how you decorate.
  3. My idea of a fun after-work activity is working on a project – like organizing, building, or painting something.  I often have to tear myself away to go to sleep. Yep.
  4. I absolutely love thrift stores and flea markets – maybe a bit too much.  Be careful – those “great deals” can really add up if you go too often. . .
  5. Focus is something that I both have and lack – concurrently.  I am always in the midst of multiple projects because when I get a new idea I am too eager to finish one project before starting the next!
  6. Fortunately for me, I have a wonderful boyfriend who not only has great decorating ideas (which sometimes trump mine, even though he doesn’t inhabit my abode), but also truly enjoys suggests the occasional thrift store/flea market/yard sale weekend.  How cool is that??
  7. I don’t own a TV.  Primary reason: it looks ugly in the living room.  Secondary reason: it’s no fun without cable, and I don’t need to waste money or time – both of which I’d rather spend on projects.  I do adore my Netflix, though.  Foreign films and cheesy sitcoms (currently Melrose Place) keep me company during projects.
  8. As I said, it took me a month to pass on this blog award, because I take too long to compose blog entries – my inner grammar freak just hates the idea of posting something that is less than perfect.  I’ve been trying to beat that habit lately, and just write what pops into my head.  Let’s face it – this is not a college entrance essay!
  9. My borrowed abode is about 950 square feet.  I love small-space living, and believe that life with few material belongings is cleaner and stress-free.  But I do love my clothes and craft supplies.
  10. I am currently trying to blend my love of mid-century modern furniture with my appreciation for tastefully decorated, modern cottage-y decor (like my favorite thrifty-cottagey-chic blog, A Beach Cottage).  I believe you can mix styles, but think it’s tough to create a cohesive mid-century modern country cottage!

The 7 Blog Awardees

The first to come to mind is my new blogfriend (is that a word?) Julia.  When I discovered her blog and read about her thrift store-meets-redecorating obsession this summer I was hooked.   She’s absolutely real and honest in her blog, and she can squeeze the last drop from a budget like you wouldn’t believe.  Not to be a total sap, but she was the first stranger from the blogosphere who commented on my blog! (And now I can’t hang art without usingher method.)

As mentioned above, this is hands-down my favorite blog for all things beachy and cottagey.  Sarah has a fun, interactive writing style, and I can’t help but grin at her British-meets-Aussie jargon.  You give this woman a can of white paint or a thrift store and she will make magic happen.  Magic, I tell you.   She seriously schooled me on the power of white.

Y’all, Rhoda’s home is fah-bulous.  Her style is very different from mine, but still very inspiring.  She, too, has harnessed the power of the thrift store, and isn’t afraid to blog about it.  I really enjoy seeing her decor, and have gotten many an inspiration from it.  I just love what she did with her little lime green office nook.

Centsational GirlAs her blog title suggests, Katie is sensationally thrifty.  She can transform even the ugliest little duckling of furniture into a swan of a piece like you wouldn’t believe.  If you need proof, check out her guest bedroom dresser transformation.  She’s got even more examples under “Rescued and Revamped.”

Making This Home – One of the newer bloggers I’ve discovered, Katie is an American whomaximizes her 480-square-foot apartment in Germany.  She and her husband seem to share many of my values (small-space minimalistic living, eco-friendliness, and vegetarianism are three, though Katie’s better at all) and her blog definitely keeps me inspired to continually trim down my life to only the bare minimum.

Fauxshionable – Completely unrelated to home decor, I’ve been digging this blog simply because I love fashion as well as DIY projects.  And thrifty fashion is kinda like a DIY, now that I think of it. . .

For those of you who haven’t already discovered Sarah’s very thrifty blog, now is the time!  She caught my eye when I caught her prattling on about her

Out and About: Shafer Baillie Mansion

One year ago I spent two fabulous weeks touring around Washington state.  When visiting Seattle, I had the pleasure of staying in the Shafer Baillie Mansion B&B.  I recently found my photos to share with you all.

Shafer Baillie is an exquisite bed & breakfast located on the original “Millionaire’s Row” in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.  The facade of the Mansion (the largest home on Millionaire’s Row) is attractive, but nothing prepared me for the opulence that greeted us as we crossed the foyer.

The oak paneled entrance hall welcomed  me into the old 14,000 square foot home. The gleaming wood paneling gave a warm and opulent first impression to guests.

To the left was a large sitting room, its sumptuous period furnishings just beckoning guests to relax – perhaps with a cup of tea – in front of the large marble fire place.

Ana, one of the owners, led  me up the grand staircase to the Capitol Hill Room, which was decorated in a striking combination of black and white textiles and cheerful yellow walls.  I loved how the black and white toned down the bright yellow color, while still allowing it to lend a cheerful and classy – yet not too austere – feeling to the room.

While the size of our room was moderate, the luxury and comfort exceeded our expectations. The bed was cozy, the large old windows let in the perfect breeze, and the spacious, bright bathroom retained its classic style while providing all the modern conveniences, including big glass walk-in shower.

I enjoyed that I could help myself to a chocolate and a cup of tea from the coffee and tea bar downstairs.  Also, even though the B&B was fully booked during my visit, I never felt a lack of privacy.

After a late night spent exploring the Capitol Hill restaurant and bar scene I walked back to the mansion and enjoyed a restful night’s sleep. In the morning I sat in the sunroom, enjoying the ‘expanded continental breakfast,’ which included cheeses and meats, fresh fruit, and pastries.

Oh, and what I would give to have an outdoor patio surrounded by hedges, as they did at Shafer Baillie!

Between the beautiful and comfortable accommodations, the graciousness of the owners, and the location – I would without hesitation recommend this B&B to anyone planning a visit to Seattle.  I myself am looking forward to returning, hopefully in the next year!

Thrifty Fix: Thow a towel on it

When faced with an ugly plumbing situation in my bathroom, I found a quick-n-easy way to solve it with something we all have on hand – a simple hand towel!

Let’s take a look at how my under sink situation looked before:

See that big ugly white pipe with the yellow-brown goop on it?  Ick!!   For a whole year the sight of it struck me with horror whenever I used the bathroom.  Ok, maybe that’s a bit dramatic.  But I did notice it, and often.  It looked dirty, even though it was not – the goop was messily applied as a sealant when the pipes were installed.  I had to do something about it.  I thought about installing a skirt on the sink, but I really don’t like those things.  Too fussy for me, and they’d collect pet hair like a lint roller in a dog grooming parlor.  What to do. . . ?

Quick bathroom DIY


One day, just on a lark, I threw a little blue hand towel over those nasty old pipes just to see if it might help.  The towel was $2 on clearance, so it wasn’t a huge loss.  To my great surprise, it really didn’t look too bad!  It wasn’t able to cover everything, but it took care of the part that looked dirty.  It even hung low enough to cover my mirror/sink cleaner and brush that I stored behind the sink’s pedestal.

Quick bathroom DIY


What do you think?  It’s only a rental apartment, so it’s not like it’s worth becoming a plumber to clean up the actual pipes.  So is it good enough for a thrifty fix in a borrowed abode?