In honor of 2014, I figured it was time to update a few things around here.
Starting with Our Castle.
In honor of 2014, I figured it was time to update a few things around here.
Starting with Our Castle.
Mother trucker. Spit. Son of a pitcher.
Stupid comment function. Or unfunction, as the case may be.
Thanks to my ongoing and seemingly insoluble troubles with the comment function of this blog — which I have still failed to replicate, despite hundreds of attempts — I missed a comment today that I will never get back.
A comment from one Joni Webb.
Joni Webb of Cote de Texas.
Cote de Texas was probably the first design blog I ever read and — probably the reason I’m still reading design blogs with a dedication tantamount to obsession. Joni “introduced” me to Layla Palmer and Brooke Gianetti. Her Top Ten Design Elements series is responsible for my conversion to curtains. Her posts on Belgian design are the reason my keyboard has drool-stains on it. Oh, and then there’s the Sally Wheat kitchen phenomenon. Don’t even get me started.
Yes, Joni Webb.
You see, yesterday I left a comment to her post about a reader’s renovation on a foreclosed home in Houston.
She tried to leave a comment on my blog. My blog.
And the mother trucking blog failed to accept her comment.
I don’t have a lot of brushes with celebrities — I met Amy Grant buying donuts in a Florida grocery store at 7 AM one summer — so this kind of thing cuts me to the quick.
I could have had a bonafide Joni Webb comment on my blog. Alas, ’twas not to be.
Instead, she sent me an email — I’m thinking about framing it — responding to my comment and (gulp!) complimenting me on my destination blinds.
Of course, the magic was tempered by the knowledge that I have no clue how I’m going to resolve my Bermuda Triangle issue with comments on this blog. WordPress is a free blogging platform (God bless ’em!) but I keep hoping to find someone to whom I can pay actual cash money to find and fix the problem. Hello? Anyone? Please, exploit me. I’m getting desperate.
In the meantime, I’ve removed “email required” from the comment form, just in case it’s the culprit, which will probably mean lots and lots of
but better that than zero comments. It’s awful lonely out here in Blogland. I need the feedback.
On that note, please take this as my personal invitation to comment early and often. Your comment doesn’t even have to be relevant. Favorite song lyrics? Sure. Next week’s grocery list? Why not?
If, in the course of posting your preparation method for Blowfish Sashimi, you should have trouble in leaving your comment, please take a mo’ to email me and let me know. There’s also a hefty bounty on any screenshots that help me identify the problem.
Until then, I will try to tantalize you with frequent and compelling posts that will leave you powerless to avoid commenting. (Or at least emailing me if your comments fail. Which they seem almost sure to do.)
Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
Not that November didn’t try very hard to kill me. December had a whack at me, too, come to think of it.
Nevertheless, I have emerged on the other side. Tired, disorganized and cranky, the chatelaine of a disheveled palace, and the mother of wild, scruffy, utterly descheduled children who can recite every line of dialogue from Toy Story 3, word-for-word in its proper sequence.
Oh, and lately my husband has been calling me “Amy.”
I suppose I should have a cure for some terminal disease or, at the very least — and probably more true to my character — an exhaustive plan for world domination to show for my long absence.
Well, I don’t.
Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
So, sometime back, I got inspired. Before very long, I made something I wanted on my own wall, my very own Tulsa destination blind.
With encouragement from a few friends, I experimented with selling a few of these creations. The result was encouraging but by no means overwhelming.
I’m not really a gambler by nature. I don’t know what came over me.
But I bought a ton of supplies. The UPS man delivered six enormous boxes and I started hyperventilating. Thirty-six canvases. I was obviously insane.
I hid them in an upstairs closet and spent a few weeks engaged in a mental kickboxing match, chastising myself for following an impulse — a whim, really — with such a price tag.
You. Stupid. Idiot.
To make matters worse, it occurred to me, in my full-blown dementia, that I couldn’t make a booth with just destination blinds. So I bought other stuff.
And then my computer crapped out. Cha-ching. I started to panic.
I did eventually start painting, realizing that maybe I could cover at least some of the supply costs (never mind the new computer, but whose counting?) by selling a painting or two.
Or a kidney. Either way.
By the time Holiday Market rolled around, I had used and abused my friend Neil, who shares my mania for all things cottage, for painting help, pricing advice, merchandising and even a little last-minute babysitting . Thanks to a cadre of Junior League volunteers, I managed to throw together my booth just before the market opened for Preview night.
As I watched shoppers flood through the doors, sick with anxiety, I remember muttering to Neil:
“I just hope I sell a painting.”
And then this mob of people rounded the corner.
Within six minutes of the market opening, I sold seven paintings. Three of them were bought by one lady. I could have spent the next two-hours-and-fifty-four-minutes shrugging my shoulders in disbelief.
But I didn’t have time.
I was too busy. Selling. Twenty paintings. In three hours.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday passed. When the smoke cleared, I had sold 48 paintings. Along with lots of other items, both handmade goodies I’d cranked out and the ready-made things I’d bought.
I took these photos on, I think, Sunday morning after every painting except one had already sold. (This was my first attempt with the iPhone camera, and in poor lighting to boot, so be kind.)
Supplies covered. Computer paid off. I even paid for the iPhone I “had to buy” when the venue’s WiFi went on the fritz.
I don’t know how to spell “relief.” But I know what it feels like.
Bar none, my favorite part of the weekend was hearing people speak well of the things I’d worked hard to make or chosen with care.
You see, Tulsa is “French Country” Country. Home of Charles Faudree. Home of toile. Lots and lots of toile. Some time before Holiday Market, I did a little market research to see what was selling, and “cottage” wasn’t it. Not even close. I started questioning my instincts. Do I stock things that seem to be popular even if they’re things I would never buy for myself, or do I stay true to my own style and possibly not sell anything?
In the end, I decided to stick with what I loved, knowing that if I didn’t sell anything, at least I wouldn’t be unhappy with the inventory. Can I say how glad I am that I did?
If half the battle of making a sale is getting people to stop at your booth — and it is — the other half seems to be offering merchandise shoppers haven’t seen anywhere else.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
One lady had seen one of the blinds on a morning show TV spot and told me the only reason she came to Holiday Market was to buy one.
While I was inhaling an infrequent meal in the cafe, my booth was visited by an interior designer who loved the blinds and said she had clients who would be very interested. Neil confided in her that we were a little afraid cottage taste was anathema in French Country Country, whereupon the designer told her we were just “ahead of the curve.”
I got lots of encouragement to open a store of my own — uh, thank you, but no — and the great compliment of having a couple of people try to knock off my designs and method.
I’m not the sort of person who needs constant reassurance to function, but I have to admit: having people say nice things about your work for four days straight was a heady experience.
As for where I’ve been lately, if this were a (very long) story math problem you might have noticed I didn’t have 48 blinds on hand. Which means I’ve spent the last two months finishing the other 12 paintings I sold at Holiday Market — along with another 14 I sold after the market ended. I finished the last batch on the Tuesday before Christmas and have been in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber trying to recover ever since.
Lessons from this little jaunt?
I’ve managed to get all my destination blinds on my website and hope to add the rest of my merchandise soon. But the most pressing issue at the moment is unearthing my house from the debris. It’s ugly. I think I’ve already been reported to Hoarders.
In summary, for those of you who visited my booth to cheer me on — and buy things — thank you from the bottom of my heart! I would be remiss in my gratitude if I did not also acknowledge the help of my amazing friend Neil and the dynamo Junior Leaguers who put on such a fantastic Holiday Market. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Last but most importantly, my sweet husband did things like staying up four hours past his bedtime to help paint, watching the kids by himself for three days straight, and putting up with a spate of Crabby Abby-ness unparalleled in recent history.
Honey, thank you for your help. And your patience. And your support. And your patience. And your love. And your patience.
I love you. And your patience.
P.S. My name is Abby. Not Amy. Remember?
Let’s say your phone rings on a random Tuesday afternoon.
The voice on the other end asks: “Will you drop what you’re doing and meet me on the side of the road right now to help me lift something heavy, dirty and awkward into my car?”
What would you say?
I’m too busy.
I don’t do manual labor.
I don’t really like you that much.
Who is this?
All of the above?
Or, as my friend said: “Can I bring my mother?”
Um, yes please.
Those who know me well know that I’m not too great at asking for help. I’m getting better about accepting help when it’s offered, but I’m still more likely to slog through on my own — even if it kills me — than admit I’m not Supergirl.
(Or Wonder Woman. I always liked her better than that cocky blonde Kryptonian anyway.)
Which is demonstrated by the fact that I did try, at first, to lift and load this behemoth on my own:
Honestly, I didn’t even expect to need help. I assumed this thing would already have been scooped up by the roving hoards of furniture gypsies who seem to get every other CraigsList “curb alert” I’ve ever seen.
But when I drove up, lo and behold. A nine-foot-long, solid-wood primitive church pew. For free.
It only took me about seven minutes to breakdown the interior config of our Odyssey so that I could fit nine feet of pew and still have both children securely belted and in rear seats according to law.
But how to load nine feet of pew into said minivan?
I did ask my five-year-old to help me. It was worth a try.
[Insert Desperate Phone Call Here]
My friend Neil has already made an indentured servant of herself as I plied her with zinc place cards, soap dispensers, monogram stamps and artwork in hopes she’d help me out with all of my market events. (She did.)
It’s not like the woman hasn’t done enough.
But the impossibility that I could carry both ends of this beast while loading it into the minivan prompted me to make said desperate phone call even though I knew, in the end, she’d probably be busy and I’d be able to do nothing but drive away, benchless and in defeat.
Cue the trumpets: she came.
She never hesitated. Admittedly, I primed her with the words “old wooden church pew” — there’s a certain magic in those words for people like us — so that may have helped. Regardless, I feel decidedly blessed to have a friend who is willing to bail me out when I get in over my head. (Again.)
As for the church pew, it’s now sitting in my dining room awaiting a spell of warm weather so I can drag it outside and perform a little Spanish Inquisition with the PaintEater. Judging by the copious amount of pet hair — a little bonus, if you will — it’s most recent life was outside as lounging furniture for a pack of feral dogs. The elements did their work: it’s distressed, cracked and weathered. Or, as my husband might say, firewood with a superiority complex.
Oh, but the glimpses of wood under that peeling dark paint are tantalizing. It’s a thing of beauty. At least, it will be. Picture it: weathered raw wood with that gorgeous horizontal planking, banked with plump grain sack and ticking pillows and flanking my dining room table. Ah, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found thee.
Neil, I can’t thank you enough, dear friend.
There was a little girl
Who had a little corner
Right in the middle of her foyer.
When it was filled,
It was very, very filled,
But when it was empty, it was boring.
I bought a little stand this week in an attempt to fill a glaringly empty space beside my front door.
I bought the stand after brewing on it for a few days. I knew it would fit and I love the look of it, but something made me hestitate. Which I figured out as soon as I put it in the corner. It just doesn’t seem to work, does it?
It seems boxy. Too square of a stand for this square of a corner.
I have another home for this little guy and he was only $17.50, so no harm done, except that I’m back to the drawing board on my corner.
I might be persuaded to go with a column. I’d rather have a little hidden storage, but needs must. Maybe something like this would work:
Oh, and I need to pry that pesky alarm keypad off the wall. But one thing at a time.
I’m good at bargain hunting when I go to thrift stores. Unfortunately, I have one major chink in my I-refuse-to-overpay-for-anything armor.
I have a thing for twins.
If I see something identical to a previously-purchased treasure, I have to buy it. Even if it’s overpriced. Even though I already have one. I’m constitutionally unable to face the possibility I’ll think of a brilliantly symmetrical way to use the twin of my previous find — but only after it’s too late to buy the counterpart.
So I fold. I pass over my money — too much money — and scurry home with a ridiculous sense of satisfaction mingled with regret. Like last week.
You may remember me finding, among other things, this loverly vanity seat a few months ago:
She was a little hard to recognize under her disguise. (I admit, the fabric is kind of cute.)
But I did a little excavating.
And then unearthed her at last.
Safe under one roof once again.
UPDATE: I’m having some comment posting issues with the blog lately. Unfortunately, I cannot get the error to reproduce so I’m unable to get help for the problem. If you attempt to leave a comment and the system won’t allow it, pretty-pretty-please send me an email giving some detail on what kind of error (blank page, 405 error, etc.) and what browser you’re using. If you are so inclined to send me a “print screen” image of the error page, I will weep tears of joy and name a star after you. I hate that people are trying to leave comments and can’t, so I desperately want to get this fixed soon. Your help is my lifeline. Thanks!
My dear town of Tulsa has seen its share of historic events: the Oil Boom, the 1921 Race Riot, the birth of Route 66, the filming of The Outsiders, among others. I’m not entirely sure Friday, September 24, 2010, will be deemed worthy of a place in the history books — but I’m sure excited about it.
I’d never heard of Anthropologie until my sister-in-law brought it up. And until I started reading design blogs with regularity, I certainly didn’t share in the general enthusiasm. Thank you, blog heroines, for saving me from my ignorance.
And in the nick of time, too. Friday is just 300,000 seconds away.
Granted, a lot of Anthro’s merchandise is decidedly bohemian — in other words, totally not me — but their simplest items are right up my alley. I’ve been drinking in the home section of their website in preparation for my first pilgrimage. I have no idea what they’ll stock — or what they have in stock by the time I make it in — but I’m finding plenty of eye candy in the meantime.
I want one. I don’t need one. I want one.
Is it ruching? Shirring? No. It’s love.
This bed calls my name. In Italian.
I live in a world where $1,300 for a dresser is an unconscionable extravagance. Damn it.
Love that reclaimed pine. Just “pining” away.
I wasn’t a big fan of cephalopods. Until now.
This lamp has such elegance. Gorgeous.
Did I mention my clinical obsession for industrial-inspired lighting?
Did I mention my clinical obsession for industrial-inspired lighting?
I did? Oh.
Anthro also has some beautiful wallpapers. Tons of them. But my favorite has to be this one:
Kitschy fun. I’m not sure why I like it, but I do.
I also like mirrors with a sense of humor. Like this one:
It would certainly compliment my houseful of existing broken stuff.
Zinc letters? Yes, please.
The color of the Lotus Dinnerware is stunning.
I’ve always wanted a set of Latte Bowls. (And a barista to go with them, but I’m flexible.)
And then, if there were no mortgage, no utilities, and no need to eat ever again, I would just buy hardware. But I can’t post pictures. I don’t have the bandwidth.
Are you an Anthropologie junky? What are your faves?
Tulsa, let the countdown begin.
Around March or February of this year, I happened to be on hand as Joann was clearing out a ton of special order fabric samples: 18″ squares of decor fabric, most costing upwards of $30.00 per yard — and some much more.
The remnants were only $2.00 apiece, so I bought a few with no real intentions. A few days later, they marked the remnants down to $1.00 each. In a singularly unfortunate alignment of circumstance, this markdown coincided with a temporary lapse of sanity on my part. Unfortunate because I bought two dozen or so samples, scouring both Joann locations in my fair city to make sure I got every last one worth buying.
And then my sanity returned because I haven’t touched them since.
However, with Holiday Market on the horizon, it’s high time I got a’sewin’. And what better way to kick off this sew-a-thon than a pair of charming cowboy pillows?
I love this fabric (Waverly Wild West in Red, if you’re wondering) but thought it needed some trim, preferably something rugged to compliment its cowboyishness. Nothing in the trim section at Hobby Lobby leaped out at me, but a lucky turn down the upholstery aisle pointed me to the very thing.
Happiness is great trim that costs less than $1.00 a yard.
I really don’t spend my life in thrift stores. Honest. It just seems that way.
I usually only make it to a thrift store once a week, and then it’s usually because the long, hot, miserable, humid, turgid, ferocious, scorching, summer weather has inflicted cabin fever on my boys, a dose so severe they beg me to take them somewhere. Anywhere.
I’m just trying to please my kids really. Taking one for the team is my nature.
(On that note, it has been a nice change of pace to see my boys entering a thrift store willingly and without tranquilizers. They’ve been — knock on wood — astonishingly well-behaved. As long as I give them something to hold and play with while they’re in the store, they’re usually quite pleasant.)
Anyway, back in July, Holly posted a query regarding her kitchen area: to eat in or not? As usual, she included some great photos for inspiration, including this one:
Normally, I’d call this too French Country for my taste, but I really liked the chairs. I’m into nailhead trim these days.
Cue the “B” Story: for the previous few weeks, I’d been watching a dining table and chairs set at Salvation Army. The original price of $189.99 had come and gone and still the set remained. When it hit 50% off, I was tempted. But the time just wasn’t right.
But somehow seeing the above photo got my wheels turning, and on my next trip to SA I managed to put two and two together. For a miracle, the dining set was still there — and was now 70% off.
The puzzlement is the chairs. The seats obviously need doing.
The seats are a bit too large for their frames and it looks slightly awkward, so I’ll probably cut them down a little. I thought I might recover the seats in pale blue linen (or whatever cheap facsimile I can come up with), finished with extra large nailhead trim.
The inspiration photo is coaxing me to upholster the backs, too, but I’m not sure about how to contend with the figure-eight detailing.
For the time being, I have white canvas slipcovers (meant for the Ikea Henriksdal chair, but they fit so who cares?) to disguise the slub ugly fabric. Hopefully that gives me time to decide about the eights, decide about upholstering the backs, find the right upholstery fabric, paint the chairs, paint the table, learn to do upholstery, finish our bathroom remodel, have another baby or two, raise my children to adulthood, write my novel, dye my hair, learn to play the guitar and become Bunco champion before I have to actually recover the chairs.
No rush, right?
But I’m having second thoughts.
Until Friday, I’d never actually made it over to a particular tile store very highly recommended to us. They aren’t open on weekends. Or, as far as I can tell, any time a woman with kids could possibly visit.
On Friday, however, Scott took the day off so we could knock out several during-business-hours-only errands and he insisted I go to the tile store. To be honest, I didn’t want to. Even if this store carried white beveled subway tile, the chance of its being less than $2.13/SQFT was slim to none. Waste. Of. Time.
But seeing as I’m still maneuvering for an advantage in the War of the Tub, I made it a point to play along. No sense in uselessly antagonizing my opponent, right?
As far as it goes, I was sort of right. They had no white beveled subway tile. It may still be proven to have been a waste of time, but only because I’ve suffered a massive setback to my ideas of how to make this bathroom beautiful on a budget. This store had such incredibly lovely and unique tile, I’m still trying to recover.
If you think I’m crazy, take a look at this supplier — just one of several they carry. If you don’t fall in love at least once, you might as well stop reading my blog forever. We have nothing further to say to each other.
True to form, I managed to pick out the most incredible marble mosaic I’ve ever laid eyes on. The owner finally agreed to give me a price quote after I signed a waiver to release the store from any liability should I pass out on the (gorgeous) showroom floor. It didn’t exactly surprise me to find out the continuance of my new romance would cost $150 a square foot.
But I was still destroyed.
After a little grief counseling, the owner found a few options closer to my price range. But now I’m torn. I’d settled on the Brazilian Black slate, but it may be because I couldn’t find a true gray marble anywhere. My new enabler has found me Nordic Grey:
…and Ice Grey:
Not to mention endless possibilities of white and gray marble mosaics.
What’s a girl to do? Between spells of guilt, that is, because I’m feeling pretty silly being totally absorbed by such superficial and globally-insignificant questions as:
The preceding program has been a dramatization of actual events. No housewives, husbands, bank accounts or understanding of the theological truths of Sin and Forgiveness were harmed in the course of this dramatization.
It just feels like it.
(By the way, if you need a kidney, my blood type is O-negative. Please call me.)
© 2006-2017 Abigail Prescott, All Rights Reserved.