Monday, March 28, 2011

hacked by PB?

Last week I was enraged to see Ballard knocking off my one-of-a-kind primitive bell. Imagine my frustration when our neighbor dropped off weekend's mail. Included in the pile of catalogs:

[summer issue of Pottery Barn catalog]

Let me draw your attention to the upper left corner of the cover, directly under the R in Pottery Barn...

 What's that? Look familiar you say? Gee, maybe it reminds you of this little treasure I snagged at a Charlotte antique mall this weekend?

Complete with a crack in the side. just. like. mine. ugh.

Luckily, PB isn't selling it. At least not yet. Though this is usually a frustration-- when I see something amazing they've used to style their glossy pages and can't head to the interweb to make it mine-- today I am happy about this. So until they mass-market their version, I will revel in my found uniqueness.

Hey Pottery Barn, wanna hire me as a buyer/stager? What are the odds I can start a bidding war between PB and Ballard for my talented eye? That'd just be awful....a girl can dream can't she?

charmed in charlotte

the trip to charlotte, nc was a success. despite the dreary rain on saturday, the bride was stunning!

i had success with the antiquing mission. we found the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall and were able to swing by for a few hours on our way out of town.

we walked into the warehouse building + were greeted with a smile and quick run-down. this place is 55,000 square feet of antique booths. FIFTY-FIVE THOUSAND. luckily, they give you a map + the floor is marked with aisle numbers so you don't get lost. there's also a handy place to make notes in case you want to return to an item later.

[yep, there's a retro clothing section AND a vintage vinyl records selection]

we stumbled upon some treasures:
[chippy paint porch balusters. LOVE the color!]

[scary punk-rocker doll]

[oversized ceramic cat. hellooooo 1987]

[lamps made from re-purposed industrial grates]

[cricket stumbled upon this. this photo is now his id on my phone.]

and we made it home with a few scores:

[cracked wooden architectural finial. LOVED this + the bridesmaid bouquet adds a little color]
[recycled glass jar. i'm thinking of diy-ing a terrarium in this jar, similar to the PB hack @ A Soft Place to Land. the little red books were a steal, too!]

[vintage books. including "little women."]

[cricket got a treat for his patience roaming the aisles. nifty camera, eh?]
so we brought home the camera, jar, architectural finial, + books for about $100. not bad, and the antique mall supports the local roller girls team--how fun!

all in all, some of the booths were overpriced [for example, some antique iron + wood windows from mexico were priced at $250+. i bought mine, as shown behind the finial, at Lakewood last fall for $40/pair.] we also stumbled upon some candleholders with the pottery barn outlet sticker still on the bottom. ummm....

but there ARE plenty of great finds at reasonable prices, too. i feel like this is the case with any similar antique mall set-up. people will try to sell anything, but you can definitely find some unique pieces. or, it's a fun way to kill a few hours on a cold, rainy sunday.

all in all, i'd MUCH rather spend $100 on several unique pieces at a place like this that supports the local community instead of walking out of pottery barn with just one pretty [that my neighbor is likely to also have].

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3 shiny circles

I've teased this and now am ready to show it off. To complete the board + batten in the dining room, we needed something for the wall above the trim. We struck out on an antique MEATS sign, so onto plan b. But what was plan b?

We had no clue until we brunched with my in-laws at sun in my belly. They had some cool mirrors all over the walls, and we liked em enough to ask the source. Ikea of course. We went and scooped up a trio and they've been hanging out in the living room ever since. Remember the smoke alarm incident?

We finally installed them!

1. Found the wall center & drilled the anchored screw into the wall.

2. Laid out the mirrors face down to measure where the other screws should fall. For some reason, the math wasn't quite working out as simply as one would think.

3. Drilled in the anchored screw and voila!

It amazes me how much brighter the room is now that the drum pendant's light is reflected off the sparkling wall. Can't wait to see it in the daytime!

Ikea Grundtal mirrors @ $29.99 each. Not bad for large wall art...which we can always move if we get tired of 'em here. Or ever a find our perfect vintage MEATS sign.

Note: if you're shopping for these in-store, they're with the bathroom stuff, not the mirrors.

Letter to Ballard

Dear Ballard Designs,

My husband has grounded me from buying anything from your catalog, stores, and (ugh) the outlets due to our home looking a little too much like a catalog. Beautiful, yes. Original, no. I've thus obliged him, roaming around town, stopping in thrift + antique shops looking for that next unique piece. I thought I was doing pretty well. Until today. Please stop copying me.


The Ballard spring catalog came today, + I perused as Cricket did some figurin' for this project. What do I see on page 22? THIS:

The "Found Bells" described as a Ballard exclusive design...each is a unique found object. Really??? The web description just irks me even more. Look familiar?

Yup. Picked this sucker up from a booth at an antique market in downtown Roswell back in February. And I paid $20 vs Ballard's $35. I know Ballard's offices are here in Atlanta, but are they stalking me? That isn't fair. (unless you want to hire me as a buyer, then let's talk!)

Like it? Well you too can have one (or more) of your very own for just $35 + shipping.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I'm in my college roomie's wedding this weekend + I'm looking forward to seeing faces from school + her childhood friends I've heard so much about. The wedding is in Charlotte, NC + I've convinced Cricket to do a little antiquing during the trip. In the words of Charlie Sheen, I am WINNING!!! But I need your help...

Do you have any suggestions for antique market/malls along the I-85 corridor between Atlanta + Charlotte? We'll probably be shopping on the way home Sunday.

Ideally, we'd find a larger market/mall with multiple booths and vendors a la the former Lakewood Antiques Market in Atlanta. This makes it easy for me to hold onto the keys, thus keeping Cricket captive until I've completed my browsing mission.

thanks for any suggestions!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

dog for sale

i walked in the house to quite a surprise today: so much a shock-and-awe that i left the keys in the front door + didn't realize it until i was looking for them an hour earlier. i walked in to see this in the living room floor:

oh, can't tell what that crumpled up thing is among the shoes? well, it's this beautiful leather tote cricket bought me last week for my trip.

[banana republic leather market tote in cognac]

isn't wasn't it beautiful? now it looks like this...

and this...

i almost teared up. it still makes me a little emotional, so it's best i let the little turd explain how it got the facelift...

hi. i'm lula. i see that we met yesterday, but not yet officially. in that case, my name is Ms. Tallulah Belle Velmer. i'm a 5 year old beagle rescue. do you remember uno who won the westminster kennel club's "best in show" back in '08?

[handsome fella, eh?]

i get confused for him all the time. paparazzi is a nightmare, i tell ya. (okay, it's only happened a few times if you want 100% honesty). his nose is a little more square than mine, and my skin is more fair. anyway, looks aren't everything, ya know.

[i used the post-surgery pic for the sympathy vote...hope it works!]

anyway, i'm pretty darn cute right? yeah, i've had my separation anxiety issues in the past, but i'm usually really loving + really mild-tempered. but this past week has been rough. first, mom pulled out her suitcase and packed up for work trip. i HATE that suitcase. it just makes me cringe. and it makes me very sad. but since dad's suitcase wasn't out, i was relieved that he'd be hanging at home with me. the next day, dad pulled out HIS suitcase. it was a new one that i'd never seen before, but i HATE it too. what? they're both gone? what about me? dad packed up my stuff and i thought i might get to go with him and see mommy. but no, they took me to see my buddy oscar.

i have a BIG crush on oscar. his dad + my dad used to work together so we got to play at the office, and he's my best friend in the whole world. he's one of the only dogs i play with. and that's because he's cute. i made him a valentine this year too. i think he blushed. anyway, while we were playing, dad walked out the door. WAIT! you're gonna LEAVE me here? i like oscar and all, but dad packed a lot of clothes in that suitcase, and mom packed at least 5 pair of shoes. this seems too long.

oscar and i had a good time playing. i was happy until i found out mom wasn't at some boring meeting--she was in florida. at the beach. for spring training. what? i guess she forgot i'm on dogbook + can see her status updates. DUH! so i see her at the beach--my favorite place in the world. and i'm stuck here?

[sunset at clearwater beach...i could be playing in that sand]

luckily, oscar + i played a lot before she picked me up, so i kinda forgot about the deception. and it was dinnertime. we went home and played and hugged and she gave me a treat or two. i was so glad to have mom home, but wait. where's dad? i kept looking out the window for him.

mom stayed home the next day except during my naptime. i got some yummy treats. good day.

tuesday morning, she let me out early. even though it was pouring down rain, i had to get out! my belly hurt so i wanted to eat all the grass i could (and there's plenty 'cuz dad needs to mow). mom had to come out in her rain boots to get me...she wasn't thrilled. i didn't even want my breakfast. eventually mom got dressed and she left me. all day long. i just waited and waited and waited for one of them to come home. and she didn't get home early enough. so i got sick. that grass didn't sit well with me, so i vomited on my the rug. i know, not ideal. but dad's usually home an hour earlier, and i just couldn't hold it. but i really tried.

today was a good day. my belly felt good this morning and i slept in. mom left again + i took a nap. i guess i got a little stir crazy. i started roaming around the house. whoa! low + behold, the office is OPEN. i mean, the door is shut, but if i bump it hard enough i bet i can push it open. success! oooooh, look at all the goodies in here. where do i start? dad's sweaty leather soccer cleats. yep, i'll take those to my spot in the living room. oh, dad's work shoe? it smells like delicious mud, and leather. hmmm...what's in the trash? nah, nothing there. wait. what is THAT? ohhhh, it's pretty. and smells yummy. it's so soft. and leather. yep, it's going in my pile.

the handles on that bag were like a luxurious chew toy. i bet that's what mr. trump's dogs get as treats. the stuff in the bag was pretty boring, and mom's ipod headphones wouldn't fit my ears. but the leather sure was yummy.

uh-oh. what's that noise? ohhh...not again. yeah, i got sick again. the leather didn't want to stay in my belly, so i threw it up on the rug. i thought i'd try to get close enough to yesterday's spot so it'd be easy to for mom to clean.

there you have it, my side of the story. was i bad? would you forgive me?

***cricket's already offered to replace the bag. what a doll. though i really think it should come out of lula's allowance, but unfortunately she doesn't get paid to nap.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

luck o' the Irish kinda day

With cricket out of town, I'm on full-time doggie duty. it was pouring this morning, and I'm still not sure about the dark skies when I wake up since time sprung forward. I just don't have that spring in my step.

I let the dog out, and she would NOT come back inside. Did I mention it was pouring? And she HATES the rain. After trading my robe + slippers for rain jacket + slippers, I went after her. She's just taking her sweet a$$ time in the rain. Ugh. Then she wouldn't eat her breakfast. Double ugh. Finally she ate while I showered. She was so sad when I left. It broke my heart to see her sad eyes. I can' blame her, since I'd been out of town all weekend. She probably thought I was leaving her again.

So I got home to this: a puke spot on the jute rug. With grass in the puddle. Mystery solved about what she was doing outside so long this morning. She even looked guilty:

So, I consulted the web for "how to clean dog puke from a jute rug." the results seemed promising...

...but were mostly just random bulletin boards with little help. Thus, I deferred to the hubs (who usually beats me home and is thus the rug cleaning pro), and he advised warm water, a rag, and lots of folding + rubbing to get it out of the crevices.

While I heated up the water, I preheated the oven for my singleton pizza. I started rubbing. A few minutes later, the puke spot looked like this:

Then the squeal of the smoke detector blares. Something in the bottom of the oven is burning. Ugh. Run to the back closet to get my handy alarm-shushing tool. Yes, I have a handy tool for that. (and yes, we need a new stove).

Yup, that's my handy dandy broom that reaches the stupid smoke alarm button (and some new mirrors for a future post). (Btw, golf clubs work too.) I turned on the fan and opened the back door to help air circulate. "no, dog." gotta keep her away from an after-dinner grass snack. I know where that gets me.

Back to rubbing the rug. Smoke alarm. Broom shushes alarm. Phone rings. College alumni know what they want. Chit-chat. Smoke alarm. "hang on, that's my smoke detector." broom shushes alarm again. Dog sneaks outside. "Lula, no! Get in here you sneak." "hi, yeah, this is not a good time, sorry." chuckle on the other end. Click. Dog looking for a treat. Really dog? phone rings, it's Cricket. Alarm again. crap. "what's that?" "ummm, the smoke detector. I'm in rare form tonight." "k. Call ya later."

The new note on the stove is my reminder to change the bottom foil liner. It's green, for luck. of red wine, pizza, couch. I'm so glad St Patty's is near...hopefully the luck cometh. Not to mention, hubs is in Vegas. It's obvious the luck isn't on my side, maybe it's on his. Don't worry, I'll still blog if he hits the jackpot. And the posts will be of my travels to exotic places and five-diamond resorts. You can all come along.

the city by the bay: quest #3, 4, & 5

to recap, the goals of my trip west were simple:

2. tend to a few other wedding details
3. love on, hug, and laugh with my li'l sis
4. love on, hug, and play with my niece
5. eat splendidly
(and any spontaneous dance party would be extra credit)

with missions #1 & 2 accomplished, sis & I were well on our way to success. we left the sf ferry building + head across the bay to pick up my niece for the park. just look at those big beautiful black eyes, soft + silky black hair, long legs, + athletic figure. maybe she'll model someday...for purina. she's so full of energy + was thrilled to see her friends at Cesar Chavez park near the Berkeley marina.

while gorgeous Mabel frolicked at the park, i took some fab photos. i mean, have you ever seen a more beautiful park? surrounded by water on 3 sides, both the bay bridge + golden gate bridge in the background, sailboats in the foreground, + vibrant colors against a stunning blue sky. these were taken with my iPhone--no enhancements. just think if I'd had a real one.

some message, huh?

sis + i grabbed a hilltop picnic table + broke out our picnic goods: acme baguettes, blackberry jam, + champagne in an aluminum sigg bottle (close enough to a mason jar, eh?). delicious way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

that night, we ordered in sushi + finished off a magnum of sake. yes, magnum. BUT...believe you me that a full-on living room dance party ensued. BONUS!!!!! sorry, no pics but we worked on the wedding song list. good times ahead this august 13.

we slept in, sis made me a yummy Cali breakfast sammich, + headed to college street in Berkeley for some shopping.

we found her a gorgeous freshwater pearl strand to wear with her gown for $20, though e were tempted by the $8,500 one with twisted strands and turquoise clasp. Maybe for an anniversary? After shopping we stopped at La Med for a snack. I couldn't resist the Mythos reminiscent of our Greek honeymoon.

post-snack, we headed home...but not without stopping at ici gourmet ice cream shop. the flavor boards alone make your mouth water. we tried a few samples + both settled on a rosemary pine nut praline cone. did I mention the handmade waffle cones have chocolate drizzled inside to stop the ice cream from dripping. GEEEENIUS!!!

we tried a new Italian place for dinner while we watched the oscars. the next day we laid around, stopped by Berkeley Bowl to pick up some of my favorite California-only staples: annie's (cashew pimento spread the consistency of hummus) and Mendocino mustard. We shopped a little, grabbed lunch at a little Mexican spot, and headed to the airport.

when we hugged good-bye, the emotion completely overcame me. i probably cried 4-6 times in the airport and on the plane, then again when I got to my car all the way home, then when I got to bed. Being across the country for so long has made it too easy to forget how much I miss my sisters. The trip reminded me with blazing clarity how much i HATE being so far away from them. LiviLa is moving closer this summer, but I doubt it'll be close enough. Now, to get Princess ManyWords out of Texas!

Despite the tears, the trip was a raving success. I'm ready to go back.