Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Disguising Air Ducts

My sister-in-law is the librarian for a large, private school in Los Angeles. Her library is a sunny, friendly space with a lot of attractive book displays and fun decorating ideas.

The library had two huge air-conditioning ducts that couldn't be hidden, so look at this clever solution:

The ducts were painted to resemble two adorable bookworms!

And their names are Google and Dewey (for the Dewey Decimal System.)


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Decorating with Pugs

photo: Amber Labelle

Here's how one woman does it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Whole Box of Happy

A few days ago, I visited one of my local charity-based, second-hand shops. It's a huge place and can be a little overwhelming. So I decided to look for just one thing: hardback books. I loooooove hardback books.

As luck would have it, all books that day were 50% off. Most of the hardbacks were only $1 each! I found myself a whole box of happy:

I found old best-sellers and recent best-sellers:

Here's some more of the goodies:

Some of these books I already have in my personal library, but only in paperback:

The only book that was more than $1 was this one. Originally $10, I bought it for $5. That's still a bargain:

I adore my Bartlett's (15th edition). I've used it for years and years. But I've begun to notice that it lacks some really great, recent quotes. After all, it was published in 1980:

This 16th edition was published in 1992. It has 22,500 quotations--2,500 more than the last edition. (There is a 17th edition, but I'll have to find that another day.)

I bought 10 books for a total of $14.50. So what will I do with the paperbacks that are now redundant? And the older Bartlett's?

Easy! I'll offer them to friends first, and then recycle the rest by donating them back to the charity.

Buying second-hand books is a great way to add to your personal library, save some money, and save a tree. Because every day should be--and can be--Earth Day.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to...

...all my Easter-loving peeps.

photo: AZadam
May this be a very sweet day for you. xoxo

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Earth Day, Plus One

Yesterday, April 22, was Earth Day.

So why am I writing about Earth Day today? Because there's so much hullaballoo about the one day. The other 364 days, however, need a little help.

Going green should be a year-round goal.

To keep the Earth Day feeling alive, pick a single, small, Earth-friendly thing to do today. Then try hard to do it for the rest of the year.

Make it small and not too difficult, so you'll stick to it. Just pick one, and after it's second nature, the next eco-loving thing you do will be that much easier to accomplish. Here are some suggestions.

Suggestion #1: Put a basket or bin next to where you open your mail. Toss all the junk circulars and envelopes right in, and once a week or so, recycle the contents.

photo: puddles for snails

Suggestion #2: Dedicate one more day per week to a vegetarian meal. Meatless Monday, perhaps?

Home-made lentil soup: So hearty, even meat-eaters love it!

Suggestion #3: Put a bunch of cloth grocery bags in your car, and one on your car seat. The one on the seat will help you remember to grab the cloth bags every time you shop. Remember: cloth bags are for EVERY time you're at a store--book store, hardware store, drug store. Not just the grocery store.

Mu Shu asks you to remember your cloth shopping bags.

Suggestion #4: Switch over from using paper napkins to cloth napkins. Even though cloth napkins use water, soap, and energy to wash and dry them, most experts agree they're better for the environment than throwaway paper napkins.

photo: Pottery Barn

Suggestion #5: For most spills and clean-up jobs, switch over from using paper towels to cloth rags. You can find nice, clean, white toweling, called "Bar Rags," at most major grocery stores. Usually they're found on the kitchen-stuff aisle.

Yes you are: photo by fairestcat

Suggestion #6: Do you already recycle your plastic milk jugs and soda bottles? Good! Now step up to recycling all your other plastics--empty jugs from cleaning products, pill bottles, shampoo bottles, dry-cleaning bags.

There are some recyclable plastics down here.

Suggestion #7: If you already recycle your newspaper, push yourself a little more. Recycle home-office papers, kids' homework, cardboard or paper from packaged foods, etc. And don't forget the magazines from the living or family room.

Magazines: Read 'em, give 'em to a friend, and recycle them at the end.

Do just one of these things all year long, and Mother Earth will thank you.

"Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth."
--Marion Wright Edelman

Friday, April 22, 2011

...And Yet Another Roadside Find

My neighborhood must be filled with crazy people. Why else would they toss out gorgeous stuff like this? It's a Queen Anne-style chair:

It has all the right stuff. Ball-and-claw feet:

Pretty shell detail:

Pierced-work splat. Seriously, that's what it's called. A splat:

Speaking of "splat," the seat is upholstered in a traditional damask, and then covered in heavy-duty plastic. Splat-proof!

Here's why somebody thought the chair needed to be tossed out next to a dumpster in the alley. The back of the splat has split. Yup, that's a split splat:

(Hee hee! Sorry; I couldn't help that.)

The underside reveals that this isn't a super-high-quality chair. If it were, there would probably be a different system of fastening the various wood parts together, and the entire underside would be covered up with a thin, black fabric upholsterers use to keep out dust and dirt:

Also, a well-made chair would have small metal buttons on the underside of each foot. For some reason, the former owner added these overly large slides with sticky backings:

But all that (including my battered cuticles) doesn't matter. After tearing off those gunky slides, putting on proper sliding buttons, and repairing the splat, I'm going to grab a little bit of cute fabric and paint the wood a fun, kicky color, like one of these:

Thanks for the dining-room chair, Crazy People!

Won Ton: "Did somebody mention dining?"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another Roadside Find

Walking and biking around my neighborhood, I find the most amazing things. A few days ago, I came across this bench, put out next to the trash cans at curbside:

It's not the most high-end bench ever made. Top-notch woodwork doesn't usually sport big ol' screws like this:

But the bench's lines are classic and clean, and its woven rush seat is in remarkable condition:

Usually the rush is the first thing to go. On this bench, it's in terrific shape.

Here's Mu Shu on the bench, to provide a bit of scale. It's about one foot wide, two feet long. With a tray on top, it could be a nice little side table. Or it could live tucked under a taller table and brought out for additional seating during larger gatherings. I'm thinking of giving the wood a coat of bright, glossy paint.

Mu Shu is thinking of giving it two paws up.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Accidental Loveliness

In anticipation of a big crowd at our house on Tuesday night, and in celebration of Spring cleaning, and because I'm sick and tired of waiting "just one more month" for the puppy to be entirely, totally potty trained...

I got the carpets cleaned. There's a lot of this goin' on right now:

And this:

And this. Do you love fresh tracks in your wall-to-wall carpets? I surely do. It looks so pristine, if only for a moment.

To get at the very edges of the carpet, the cleaning folks tucked our drapes and sheers up in the window ledges. That's the way they were left overnight.

When I awoke early the next day, the morning light was sifting through the curtains in the most beautiful manner:

It was lovely. It reminded me of the way the Dutch Masters painters would position their subject near a window, and lovingly render the folds in their clothing, tapestries, table cloths, and dishrags with the most bewitching precision:

It's funny, how sometimes you stumble on accidental loveliness.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stamp Happy

I got a package in the mail a few days ago. It was a gift from a friend. (Thank you, C!)

Don't you love getting stuff in the mail? I do, even if I'm expecting it.

This pretty logo was on the top of the package:

And here's the side. Robin's-egg-blue and brown is a color combination that always looks fresh:

Such a pretty swirl design in the brown, too:

On the inside of the package:

It's a self-inking stamper. I plan to use it when I give home-baked goodies to folks. I can put my stamp on a brown-paper bag, a colorful gift tag, or even on a recipe I've printed out to share:

I love self-inking stampers. No messy stamp pad to open up and fuss with. Fingers stay clean.

What a nice, sharp image it makes!

I need to work a little on my centering skills, however.

(P.S. If you're interested in seeing the many delicious-looking, self-inking stamps this company produces, go to Three Designing Women.)


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