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Notes on finding refreshment…

Flickr is still my favorite site, hands down. There is no other website on earth that does it for me quite like the fantastic images that I discover in the many photo streams there.

A fabulous 50s kitchen from Crafty Beaver

I think it’s important to use our time wisely, even when it comes to mundane pursuits and what others may consider “time suckers” when referring to hobbies involving entertainment – like watching movies, television, surfing the web, etc. I have to defend this by saying that to me, it’s not a time sucker if it’s productive in even a small way. If you’re parked in front of television, glazing over as you half watch a program, that’s a bit of a waste. One would be better using their time sleeping as that is at least repairing the body! But if you are watching a program that, when you walk away from it, leaves you feeling energized and refreshed, then that’s positive, and that is using free time wisely. Sure, we can’t over-analyze everything we do because that’s no fun. But if we are devoting considerable time to something, it’s good to ask whether or not it really is refreshing or is it simply a time sucker, energy sucker, and altogether draining. This spans everything, from friendships to hobbies, even career, but I’m focusing more on websites and the time spent online. And this leads me back to Flickr.

A colorful corner from Wisecraft with curtains that I really like. :)

A nature-inspired grouping on a simple shelf from Little Birds.

Ivanka Trump’s Living Room from In Style magazine via SarahLeeAb. Spot the foo dogs?

A gorgeous fireplace decorated by Abigail Percy. What a dreamy blue background.

An IKEA paper lamp with an added touch from two straight lines – handmade butterflies! This is a nice way to add some charm to something that all your friends may have… You don’t have to accept something as is. Look for inexpensive ways to make things more personal, and beautiful!

Jeana_Sohn’s cozy kitchen nook. I love this little space because it’s simple. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in dotting all the i’s. Maybe we can give some corners of our homes a little “less is more” treatment? Just a thought…

Great use for library card catalogs – a craft room must for bitsandbobbins.

Kitchen flowers from GMW.

Ships ahoy! Amazing sailboats handcrafted by Ann Wood. (She is something else!)

A Brooklyn brownstone in the heights, snapped by Alternate Words (also my husband). This place had a ton of pendants hanging inside, see them? It isn’t a reflection, there must have been at least 6 of them. This is from our June trip to NYC. We both agreed that Claire Huxtable and Heathcliff had to be due home any moment.

Sleepy kitty from Accolady. Zzzz. I want to kiss its little nose.

A fabulous inspiration wall from Matirose.

Altogether gorgeousness from Annamariahorner. What colors!

A pink beetle in Mexico via ***anahita.

And finally, a lovely arrangement of things by mizutamago.

On Flickr, I see people living life. Tons of images showing families spending time together, great food shots from devoted cooks and newbie chefs trying out a recipe for the first time. Pet photos, images of handmade crafts (lots of soft toys!), and travel shots that will take your breathe away. It’s also fun to peek inside the homes of others, even to look at the self portraits people snap of well, themselves. When I look at all of these images from my nearly 1,300 contacts, I walk away feeling like a new standard for living has been set.

It’s not about just accepting what we’ve been given. It’s about being more.

To borrow from the army, Be All That You Can Be. I like that expression. I walk away from Flickr feeling inspired to bake more, plant more, and just be a little more than I may be today. Not in a do-it-or-die self-promoting way, but in a let’s take it up a notch way. This is what I call finding refreshment from the whole online experience. For me, it’s through the blogs I read and the lovely Flickr site.

Your turn. What are your thoughts on this? Do you have Flickr favorites that you would like to link to in the comments below? Go for it!

I have to mention that this post is a result of a lovely conversation that Marisa and I had today. She is wonderful. :)

(images: sources noted beneath each photo)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, inspiration, walls on July 10, 2007
decor8 great.ly shop

Tips for Quebec City & Montreal?

Help a girl out. For our upcoming anniversary, we’ll be in Quebec City and Montreal. Any cool tips to share?
I’ve been to Montreal about 20 times since it’s only a 4 hour drive, but we’re always there visiting friends, not really as tourists. I’ve never ventured far out of their neighborhood (near Atwater market), Old Montreal, or the downtown area, but since we are spending the first two days alone, we’re going to explore a little so I’d love some help.

I’m looking for vintage and modern home stores, good eats, clothing consignment shops, Japanese shops (for zakka, magazines, books, CD’s), bakeries, sew shops, and fun little districts where there’s a heavy concentration of coffee houses, eclectic shopping and galleries to cruise. (I have a few city links for Montreal in my right column, but I’m willing to beef it up to benefit all if you care to leave links.)

Anyway, thank you in advance for any fun tips you may have. Oh, and we leave on Thursday and will be in Montreal for the first 5 days, then it’s up to QC until the following weekend. I’ve never been to QC, so I’m completely lost when it comes to what’s what up there. Of course, there are a slew of travel sites, but I’d rather hear it from my friends, so please share! :)

(image from Flickr user IreneS. You have to check out her Montreal folder.)

Posted in inspiration, small business, travel on July 09, 2007

I Dream of Cake

A vision came to mind right before I fell asleep last night: write a post combining two delicious favorites, wedding cake and interiors. So I hopped out of bed this morning determined to pair tall, delicious, multiple layered, highly decorative, wedding cakes with some of my favorite interiors. All of these wedding cakes are from the delightful San Francisco bakery, I Dream of Cake, and the rooms are from House Beautiful, Domino, House & Garden, Blueprint, and Coastal Living magazine. One is from West Elm, too. So let’s play Turn this cake into a room, shall we?

Cherry Blossoms, a touch of black, a pop of pink, delicate china, altogether gorgeousness.

Whimsical, colorful, a bit Palm Beach socialite in splashes of lime and mango. Or opt for faraway exotics with orchids in full bloom and an Indian room fully saturated in pink.

Red against neutrals, delicate embellishments, understated patterns, somewhat refined elegance with a bit of a playful touch.

What’s black and white with intricate patterns all over? This cake may appear as a dainty little treat, but if you translate the patterns of this confection perfection into life size prints for a room, the impact is amazing.

Serene, simple, soft blue tones are your trusty best friend when the others are too busy to hold your hand through hard times. When white is added, you have a most heavenly palette.

A bit of clutter is comfortable for some. A cake with lots of patterns deserves to be paired with rooms also sporting multiple personalities and color. The end result? We all love it. I call the cake, and these rooms, refined chaos. Which is exactly why they work.

This bird’s nest cake is charming, I tried to find its pattern and texture in these spaces and think it all works together nicely. Each room is almost inspired by nature, even the more traditional space with the crewel upholstered chairs.

So what do you feel like doing now? Decorating or eating? :)

Posted in inspiration on July 06, 2007

Modern Euro Country

I’m so happy today. Not because tomorrow is a holiday and I’m going to my favorite place on earth, the beach. I’m happy because a new editor friend of mine up at Canadian Home & Country sent me a care package of magazines, and as I skimmed through the April ’07 issue, I fell upon something magical.


Three magic words, to be exact. Modern Euro County. If you have the issue, it’s on pages 56-61, and the article is called, “Le Femme Boheme”. I finally found a magazine that addressed my personal design style to absolute perfection, and gave it a name that sits well with me. It’s the style I’ve had for years, long before the blog, way back when I moved into my first apartment at age 19. The magazine calls it Modern Euro Country. It’s a light, free-spirited approach to design that incorporates some florals, organic shapes, ethnic prints, some wood, some bright colors mixed in with pale ones, “patina meets pristine”, as they put it.


Yes, this is exactly my style. Modern Euro Country. It’s not vintage modern as I thought because I still have my issues with that look. I don’t want to confine myself to one set style, but with MEC, it’s like saying your style is eclectic with more of a focus, if that makes sense. Eclectic can mean anything. But this style immediately calls to mind a visual, at least for me. It’s the rustic farmhouse table paired with my blue Eames ‘eiffel’ chairs, flea market finds, soft comfortable sofas with dainty exposed legs, and a mid century teak credenza throw in. Soaring ceilings, transom windows, architectural details, wood floors, a balcony. And art. Pretty paintings and framed prints with personal meaning. But the overall look is casual, charming, comfortable, and very welcoming and warm. Not fussy. And it allows me to own china in many different patterns.


Modern Euro Country. I like the sound of that. Any other MEC readers out there?

(Thanks Rebecca for sending me these great magazines!)

Posted in inspiration on July 03, 2007

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