Birthdays always just creep up

My birthday is coming up. I have a lot of friends who will celebrate their birthday for an entire month. I for one have never been that person. Maybe I will spend a weekend indulging in bad foods, libations and great company but then it's back to regular life. I have decided however this year I am not going to be limiting myself. No, instead March will be a month I am going to be celebrating my birthday throughout. I have attached my holiday gift guide I wrote for bows and sparrows  which although it was for the holidays, I like to think that these gifts are timeless. (Hint hint, Mom, I have the Alessi orange peeler already).

Now, I actually wrote this piece because I have been very flaky on this blog and never linked my gift guide from early December and wanted to share it. Also, I will be adding some of my recipe contributions to bows and sparrows on here soon! Ciao! xoxo


Sunnylands Estate, Palm Springs

A long weekend jaunt to Palm Springs was in the works for several months. This birthday present included a private tour of Sunnylands Estate  a year before it's anticipated opening date. I had no idea what Sunnylands estate was until I was given this gift, much to my chagrin. The gift giver knew I have an eye for mid century modern design, a love of  architecture and this seemed to fit the bill. The Annenburg family owned this 240 acre estate and built a 25,000 square foot home that was designed by architect A.Quincy Jones and completed in 1966. The home was only lived in five months out of the year by the Annenburgs but during those 5 months they would wine and dine with the likes of Queen Elizabeth, the Bushes, the Clintons, the Reagans, Frank Sinatra (married here), Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Bing Crosby and multiple foreign political officials. The property boasted an 18 hole golf course, 12 man made lakes, pools, guest houses and a world famous art collection. 

Set to open in November 2011 Sunnylands Estate now has a 5 acre visitor center done in LEED sustainable methods that is the grand entrance to the estate. Inside the center will be the Annenburg book collection, classes will be held all with a focus on the arts, rotating art exhibits and focus on the mid century modern era of design. Because we were given the tour before the opening date, we were not allowed to take photographs. 

The grounds were perfectly manicured and although I don't have photographs to show, this place is going to be spectacular when it's done. It was certainly a nice introduction into the Annenburg family, their legacy and definitely their style. If you're in the Palm Springs area come next November certainly check it out. Thanks to Janis Lyle for the tour and the President Geoffrey Cowan for their gracious hosting of us


Palm Springs, baby!

After a highly anticipated trip to Palm Springs I finally got my poolside margarita and a good fill of mid-mo architecture. I will be posting here very shortly, including details of my amazing private tour of Sunnylands  a year before they open to the public. Thanks to a Mom who's in the know in the art's world!


Credenza Record Cabinet: The (Re) Finished Story

The final product (above)

After over two years of searching for a credenza to tuck away all my electronics in and to hold my television I finally found this Telefunken record cabinet on Craigslist for $165. It was in poor condition being that the original owner shared that his grandfather left it outdoors in a barn exposed to the elements. It had the right lines that are important to me in my furnishings however and I decided to take it upon myself to have this be my large refinishing project to conquer, of course with a little help from my handy teacher, aka Mom.
Here's the step by step, minus a cut finger.

Before pictures show the significant damage:

This shows the color before, which was changed with a darker stain.

Here are the supplies: heavy duty gloves, a small dish to pour the liquids in, very fine sandpaper, tack cloth, Fromby's  Furniture Refinisher, Jasco's Bix Varnish and Stain Remover (which we ended up not needing), Steel wool, Wood Stain in Modern Walnut by Zara and Fromby's Tung Oil finish. Cost approximately $60.00.

The Sandpaper had a cloth texture to it which made it easier to use and less chance of making a mistake. We gently sandpaper'ed the entire piece after which we used the tack cloth to pick up the remainder of the dust.
Here my Mom's showing how we  rubbed re-finisher into the wood with steel wool. It was clear we had to remove all the finish, rather than refinish and re-amalgam the old finish. You want to be gentle doing this so as to keep an even surface for staining and final finishing.
Here you can see what the wood looked like once it was stripped. It also made the damage show even worse, which worried me initially. 
There's limited shade in my backyard but you need to try to refinish in the shade. The chemicals dry up very fast once you pour them into your shallow container, also you can damage your furniture piece if you have parts that dry too quickly. We used rags to rub in the refinishing product in the same direction of the grain. This part was labor intensive as we had to go over the piece several times.
Before staining
After staining
The dark color and natural sheen came through after two layers of stain. I let it dry in my side room for a week and a half. The first three days inside I rubbed tung oil with a soft cloth on it which gave it an even more beautiful sheen. 
Here are a few close ups:

Below are a few other pictures that show my new chair on loan (thanks Sarah!) and my living room coming together. Oh yes, that's my pup Benji on the sofa and on the carpet in the pics. 

My *L* for Love letter, guitar from Dad, Angie Wyant print and photo booth picture collection on top of my buffet cabinet that holds my Grandma's china from the 1950's.
**The End**
(next project, wallpaper this wall behind the buffet cabinet...)


Building Mom's headboard

Like every project, this one took much longer than anticipated, cost more than expected and was somewhat of a pain. But, like every project, we conquered it!!! My Mom has wanted a headboard for years. I built one several years ago that does the trick and so my Mom hired me on to assist her with building one for her abode. Here is a step by step of the headboard:

The room is small. We had to be very careful with our measuring. Here's to give you an idea. Also, this is before we painted the wall a light grey.

Here we're cutting the crown molding for the edges of the headboard. This was probably one of the more stressful parts as it's incredibly difficult to get a perfect cut to make the corners connect.

We had the peg board cut to fit the space. My Mom's friend suggested picture hangers to affix it to the wall. It was a marvelous idea and now I am thinking of changing my own headboard around to copy this. 

Here I am stapling the quilting over the back of the board. We also put 1" foam on the exposed side and glued it and for some reason didn't take a photo.

Here we're pulling the fabric covered buttons through the headboard to give a tufted look.

It was very difficult to get a uniform appearance so we just resorted to this. It sufficed.

My Mom painted the molding a darker shade of grey as the white looked a little too "country" 
and much too bright.

This shows how difficult it is to measure the corners correctly. 



Bring the outdoors in

I am going through a transition in my home and it includes none the less a new puppy. I am finding the outdoors found way into my house thanks to my little guy bringing the nature inside. Yes, clumps of mud, grass, leaves, you name it. I have tried to fight this phenomena but I am very close to giving up. However, today on Design Sponge I found a nice little piece of nature that I would gladly invite into my home. This wall decal would look stunning in my living room where my AngieWyant   print lives. Don't get me wrong, my print will go elsewhere in my home of course. Enjoy this Amy Ruppel  decal I sure did. Brings a little of the outdoors in. No pesky mess, I leave that up to my pup.


Jens Jems trunk show

Last week I went to a jewelry trunk show. Actually make that two, but right now I will be highlighting the one hosted by my friend Sarah , the Undercover Caterer. She had her friend, jeweler extrodinaire Jen Moore bring her fine goods for all to see and buy for holiday gifts. Sarah was quite the hostess with an amazing simple spread of green salad with persimons, pommegrantate seeds, a mix of wilted greens including baby chard which is a personal favorite of mine and lastly a great homemade mac and cheese with ham. She can certainly make the most simple dishes taste gourmet and delicious.

Jen Moore has been making her handmade jewelery for many years and selling it on etsy, at craft fairs and private parties. I wanted to show a sample of some of her goods and also show what I bought!!!!

I loved this with the heart!

She has theses adorable boxes so you can wrap your goods if they're a gift.

Loved the brushed bronze circle necklace. If it was closer a certain friends birthday I might have bought it!

And lastly, here's what I bought. Pardon the bathroom shot, on this overcast day it's the only room with a mirror that would work!

Jen's Estsy shop is: http://www.jenjems.etsy.com/ You can also contact her on the link above by clicking on her name! Ciao!


Blue Art Studio & my "time warp" gift

This year for Christmas in my extended family we are picking names out of a hat and only getting one gift rather than the dozen or so we normally end up giving and receiving. My creative interior designer cousin Lisa wanted to come up with a theme for the gifts and ended up with a "time warp" gift theme. I have been sending out ideas to my cousin and she's passing the ideas to her Mom who's not internet savvy and needed suggestions. I am crossing my fingers on a few things including a subscription to Atomic Ranch and I wanted this clock that was on my friends blog bows and sparrows the other day but low and behold it's already sold out.

Today I found this great print that is fun and I suppose could constitue a time warp gift theme, yes? Blue Art Studio had this beauty. Cross your fingers for me that I will get it. Check out the other ones on their website too. Some good stuff on there. Go Charles Eames!!!!


Today's all about my girlfriends

This picture makes me smile. I am smiling today too because I am so lucky to have such creative, intelligent, thoughtful, beautiful, inspiring, girlfriends. Yep, life's good because you guys, love you!


DIY Journal & Mod Home Ec Teacher

I have been following Curbly for fun crafting ideas for some time. Often the posts are on needlepoint, puff paint and grandma craft variety so I quickly breeze through looking specifically for the poster: Mod Home Ec Teacher. Her real name is Shelly Miller Leer and she has, in my opinion, a dream story. She went to school for design and textiles yet landed a career in the legal field. She found her way back to her first love and founded an upholstery business and was teaching courses at the Indianapolis Art Center in different forms of DIY craft and upholstery. She has created a DIY weekly column for the Indianapolis Star newspaper and writes regularly for Apartment Therapy Chicago. This is my dream story, mostly because I, too, wanted to do something related to the arts, career wise but found myself in a completely different field of work that's limited my creativity to after 5pm and on weekends.. Enough about me, let's hear it for Shelly and all her amazingness. Here's some links to her wares:


Todd Oldham, where art' thou??

Todd Oldham has been a fixture in modern design circles for years and most recently became a contributing editor to the popular Berkeley based Ready Made. I am shocked to find that it just happened tonight that I stumbled across a book of his that's right up my alley. Yes, a book of do it yourself projects appropriately titled "Handmade Modern" touting 72 projects: "Each project is charted through step–by–step photos and instructions until the fabulously mod end. Other projects include home–computer face–lifts, Xerox wallpaper, aluminium lighting fixtures, and cosy shoe–storage systems. In additional to Todd's brilliantly engineered projects, the book comes complete with a tutorial on modern home design in the form of sidebars and short essays throughout –everything from that now–famous Eames chair to the case–study houses of the 1950s. Handmade Modern promises to revolutionise the way the reader looks at his or her own home and capacity to beautify a space. Chic, accessible, and fun, this is the achievable new look of modern home design." (Guess what has been added to my Christmas wish list???)

In addition he just came out with a project book for children, which is perfect for my design conscious parent friends. Yes, you know who you are!!!