Month: September 2015

Linked and Loved

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Weekend! I’m getting ready to fly to Argentina for a week and a half to get my visa! I’m excited because finally I’ll be able to come and go as I please, but not too excited about visiting. Don’t get me wrong, I love going back, but it’s just such a busy time visiting with friends and family, running errands, going to doctors, that it’s not really a ‘vacation’ per se. I’ll probably need a vacation after!

My favorite things from the inter webs this week:

1. This clever little girl who is helping her divorced parents be friends.

2. I know this has been everywhere, but this is exactly how millions of people feel every time they are putting together Ikea furniture.

3. Loving the Tio Table by Mass Productions.

4. I’m drooling over this Melanie Severin piece. I love the layered look, but I am never patient enough to be able to accomplish this effect in my paintings, so I outsource instead!

5. I {heart} this Ikea hack. Looking for ways to revamp my nightstand so that it’s not so ‘matchy-matchy’ with the other furniture in the room.

Photo by my friend Ingrid Barnhart (website coming soon). She took amazing photos of us a couple of weeks ago to use for her new site!

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Mummy brown*

*and other historical colors!

This weekend I came across this interesting illustration that explains a little bit more about the history of colors. I was never a ‘color-nut’, I would rather go about and identify colors as ‘purple,’ ‘orange,’ or ‘white,’ instead of ‘mauveine,’ ‘realgar,’ or ‘chalk.’ However, when I started going to my painting class, that changed. And I am now a color nerd.

Take a look at this incredibly educational comic and click on the link (below the image) to take you to the original source to read the descriptions. I hope you enjoy is as much as I did! And thank you, Veritable Hokum!

Source: Veritable Hokum by Korwin Briggs

Linked and Loved

After a long weekend, I can never completely grasp that the first day of work is actually a Tuesday, so I spend my whole week thinking we are behind one day, but then suddenly it’s FRIYAY!

This week was a long one, with my new morning routine experiment and waiting for warranty services to take care of some things in the condo. I spent many hours navigating the webs this week. Here are my favorite things:

1. I’m in need of a cake stand for all the cake I’m anticipating I’ll be eating this fall and winter, and this DIY seems like it could do the trick.

2. I love handy cats. Benito (our ginger medium-hair kitty) is pretty handy with doors. Just like this one.

3. So, apparently, there is a new ‘site’ that allows you to share photos of homes / spaces. I joined recently and I think I like it because these are real spaces, decorated by people like you and me and not professionally photographed and what not. Maybe it will kick off? Check out at{mine}.

4. This is a little bit old, but I love the use of dark walls in the living area in this London flat.

5. Of all of the Fortune 500 companies’ CEOs, only 9 are Hispanic. Are any of these Hispanic women? #GlassCeiling

Happy weekend folks! We are hosting our first official dinner/BBQ at the condo and we are excited!

Source: Image by Bethany Nauert via Happiness Is blog.

Morning routine

I always thought that I was a night owl. When I was younger (think high school and college) I could stay up until the wee hours of the morning – either finishing a project or an essay, studying for a test or maybe just IMing with friends in different time zones – and then be up again the next morning as if nothing had happened.

Now, 10 years later, I can barely stay up past midnight on a school night, and every day is harder to get up to go to work.

You see, since we moved to the condo I have absolutely no need to wake up as early as I did before because we are 8 blocks away from my office – a 15 minute walk max. So I can get away with waking up at 8 a.m., showering, changing and then I can be on my way by 8:30 a.m.

However, my mornings feel rushed. I’ve been tying to establish a morning routine so that, when I wake up, I have some time to browse the news (I read theSkimm, it’s great and you can sign up here!), read some blogs, catch up on my Instagram and Twitter feeds AND have breakfast. I always skip breakfast and I hate it.

So since the move, I’ve been trying to wake up with enough time to do everything that I want without wasting too much time. That means prepping everything the night before – even breakfast – and then doing it the next morning in the same order, every day.

Some days I’m successful, others I’m not and it makes a bad start to my day (usually it’s on Mondays that I have a hard time, so it’s a bad start to my week). To get motivated, I watched this – free – video / lesson to get ideas on how to create a morning routine, and so far, I love some of them. I especially liked his idea when he said he watched a highly addicting show in the morning instead of staying up late. Right now, I’m really into House, M.D. and this might be the key to my mornings!

The more I do it, the faster it will become a habit and, hopefully, one day I’ll become a morning person. Right now, I’m just a sleepy head that enjoys sleeping and I work best after lunch, but hoping to change that.

What habit are you trying to form? Do you have any ideas on how to successfully wake up and do ALL THE THINGS I want to do in the morning, but maximizing my sleep at the same time? 

Source: Adrienne Breaux via Apartment Therapy

P.S. Check out this list of other free or cheap classes you can take online! I signed up for Creative Bug and did a tutorial on Watercolor Painting that taught me some sweet techniques I’ll be trying out this week at the studio.

Downsizing

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One of the only things I *enjoy* about moving is the possibility of starting fresh.

Before moving to Seattle, we were living in Ann Arbor, Michigan because my husband was attending grad school at U of M. When we accepted jobs in Seattle, we made the – almost – cross-country trek to the West Coast and I saw that as an opportunity to purge. So we (by we I mean mostly me), decided to donate, sell or toss those things that weren’t useful to us anymore – furniture, clothes, school stuff, etc and came to Seattle with only the things we loved. And if we needed more things, then we could add on as we saw fit.

Fast forward 15 months and we are still in the purging phase. When moving to the condo from the apartment, I donated 4 bags of my clothing, 2 bags of my husband’s clothing and we sold a sofa, one closet, our king size bed and a mattress.

Some of the things that I do to purge involve invoking my memory and asking / wondering if we used it in the past year. If the answer is ‘no,’ it goes to either a Donate (if in good condition) or Toss pile. Sometimes I prefer to donate instead of selling, just because I think that others might use it more and love it more than I do. We try not to hold on to things just because we love them, but sometimes it’s hard! For example, recently, my husband showed me two great coats he hasn’t worn in two years. I told him to donate them, but he isn’t ready yet. So we set them aside and in January we will re-evaluate. If he didn’t wear them by then, then off they go to someone who needs them more.

Moving reminds me of the joy of living with just the necessary. Because it’s incredibly amazing the amount of stuff one can collect in one year.

So from the move we have learned a number of things, the number one thing has been learning to acknowledge that we don’t need that much! Why store sweaters or coats we haven’t used in years “just in case I need them”? Or maybe samples of my work (I studied journalism and wrote for a newspaper) in the form of 5 or 6 copies of each edition of the paper with my stories in them? Just one is enough! More than enough.

What I am trying to say is that, yes, we moved to a bigger place, with bigger things and more storage space, but we also downsized. And now we have just what we need and nothing more. And that is perfectly OK with us.

As a side note: I’m participating in Apartment Therapy’s 2015 ‘Closet Cure’ and really excited about it! Today’s turn was sweaters. Luckily, I am good about them, but I still have a couple that I separated for donation. Hopefully, by the end of the week, we will have big piles of stuff to donate. The #bigpurge continues thanks to AT! If you would like to participate in this challenge, there is still time! Sign up here.

Source: Homepolish Mag via Instagram (don’t you love that art!?)

Hey, I could do that!

Last night, someone in one of the groups I belong to (hi Creatives Club! :)) posted this very interesting video about art and it got me thinking about exactly what is it that artists do and where we get our inspiration from.

I have written on this blog about one of my current inspirations, J M W Turner, and his strokes, combinations of color and overall composition and how I love that, even though he is “officially” a Romantic landscape painter, his art has some sort of abstraction to it – an abstraction that is usually found in nature (and that is what attracts me to his art!).

But going back to the video. The examples that she mentions are just spot on: Mondrian (Hey, I could do that!) and Cy Twombly (Hey, a kid could do that!) and it made me think of the many times I’ve heard someone tell me “well, maybe I can copy it,” or “why spend X amount of money if I can make it.”

And the reality is that no, you probably can’t make it. Every artist is unique in its own way. Brush strokes vary depending on our handedness and even on the lengths of our arms (I think this is actual, factual, technical information by the way) or how much training we’ve had and with who . Also, what are the chances that you reproduce the colors exactly as they are represented in this piece? There is also the creative thought that is moving the piece, the technique, the materials used, etc, that make this piece a whole.

But I think of the most important aspect of reproduction and it is just that, reproduction. Creating art is an art; it involves hours and hours of training and practice and botched projects; it involves many frustrations and ideas that not necessarily translate to paper as we envisioned them; it takes time and energy and materials. And it is close to our hearts.

For me, reproduction is not the same (unless your piece is meant for reproduction like a photograph or a stamp, or other amazing types of art that are out there that are meant to be reproduced!) as owning an original piece that was maybe done for your or done for others. I’m not diminishing in any way the fact that art can and will continue to be reproduced, I’m just saying that for me, it is not the same. Do you think it is the same to own an original Matisse painting vs. a reproduction that you bought at the museum shop? I still own reproductions of art because I can’t afford the original piece, but reproductions sold to me by the artist, not something that I made because, hey! I could do that.

We need to protect the artist and the art.

Although, they say that imitation is the best kind of flattery

Kitchen nightmares

Well, it’s not literally a nightmare but more like a bad dream. I guess you never notice small things that rooms are missing until you move into them.

We finally moved into our condo! After a 14-month wait, we are finally moved in and almost ready to start enjoying it fully. This coming weekend we are going to work on some little things like putting up shelves, maybe hang a painting or two and tackle the linen closet organization.

You’ll hear more about this soon, so, moving on… One of the first things I realized when we moved in is that the kitchen doesn’t have a wide enough drawer to fit all of our silverware. We don’t have a big collection, just a forks, knives, spoons and serving pieces for 8 people. It was definitely a complete shock to see that the kitchen wasn’t exactly planned for silverware, but luckily we were able to come up with an original way of storing it.

Many years ago I bought a bamboo caddy like this one that I was using to bring to the table with olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, etc. It is originally intended to be a cutlery caddy / holder, but I didn’t have the need back then. It also only has 4 official holder spaces, and I needed at least 6 to be able to fit our silverware.

So with a little help from a trusty cardboard box and some tape, I fashioned two more divisions to make a grand total of 6. It’s working out great so far, and hopefully it will hold up until I find a more permanent solution to this problem. We now keep the silverware out on the counter and the whole set up looks like it’s on purpose!

More creative ideas to store (or not) cutlery:

     

I do have something in mind as an “extension” of the kitchen, but I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Sources: 1) DIY & Crafts 2) HubPages 3) A Cultivated Nest 4) Ikea hacks via Afternoon Special

Scenes from the Weekend

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This past weekend, my mother in law was in town so we took a small, weekend trip to San Francisco / Palo Alto.

I also used the time to catch up with a high school friend that is now attending UC Berkeley.

We didn’t do much, except walk and walk and walk, and enjoy some of the more touristy things to do. Next time, I know which places to avoid!

It was a nice weekend, and I really enjoyed it. I’ll definitely be back.

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Photos © Maria Rigou for Groundhog Design