Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dozens of little kids at my house: Now that's scary

We had a Halloween party this weekend that culminated with a parade down the street. So I thought I'd salute this most entertaining of holidays with another parade of sorts here:

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Room makeover, a before & after: Creating a cozy living room

A client of mine recently moved into a home that the family had previously used only for vacations. She needed to incorporate some pieces from both homes and start to think of this house in terms of year-round use.

I thought the living room redesign was a good way to illustrate a few decorating tips. In the before photo above, you can see that the furniture was essentially pushed up against the walls.

In the makeover, I positioned the furniture in the center of the room, creating a cozy sitting area with the fireplace as the focus. There's still plenty of room behind that sofa to make your way to another part of the house.

If your furniture is up against the walls at your house, try moving some pieces into the middle. You may be surprised at how that transforms the room. Just leave yourself obvious paths through the room and into other spaces.

This room was also helped by the addition of lamps. Even if there are lots of overhead lights or sconces, nothing warms up a room like lamps. And, we used small wicker boxes that the home owner's daughter was storing toys in as end tables.

It's always a good idea to have somewhere to place a cup of coffee or a glass of wine while you sit and admire your new room.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We should have named him Luke instead

As soon as he's off the school bus every afternoon from kindergarten, Jude wants to know if I think Max is home. Can Max come over to play? Or maybe he could go over Max's?

Max lives across the street. They are two boys who are only children. They are in the yard playing Star Wars, with Jude a Jedi Knight and Max, Darth Vader. The Jedi is saying this is the end for Darth.

I think he's pretending. I hope he is. We need Max.

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Putting art to work

Have you priced really large chalkboards? They can get expensive. I love this idea I spotted at an antiques show this year.

Just get an old frame (and old frames without pictures are pretty cheap). Spray paint a piece of board with chalkboard paint and attach. Or even better, first with magnetic paint and then chalkboard paint. That way you can use it as a magnetic memo board, too. Easy. And good-looking. (Just like my friends. Yea, I'm talking about you.)

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

I bet I could get a government grant to study this

A corn maze might make a good test for determining personality type.

My husband buys the map and resists suggestions to wing it.

Our son wants one of us in front of him, one in the back, so he is safe to impersonate Darth Vader, killing the corn stalks with an imaginary laser as we go.

I hang back, take a few false turns, hoping to make them think they've lost me. No one is riled. Mom is always doing stuff like that.

Jude and I decide to imitate Dad as he walks and he obliges by spinning and wiggling his rear.

Finally, I'm hungry and need to use the restroom. Glad someone has been paying attention to that map after all.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where's Mary been? I dunno, Alaska

I spent the last week in Alaska on business. Even though it's off-season there, not summer, but not yet enough snow for fun, it's a great place to visit. (I spotted that black bear at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.)

Here's what I loved about Alaska:

  • The people: Very friendly, helpful and down to earth.
  • The drinking water: Fresh, crisp. Same for the air.

  • The mountains: This is what was going through my mind on the flight out when I got a clear view of them: "Wow. Wow. Wow."
  • Art by Alaskan Natives: Gorgeous. I was especially intrigued by the jewelry made with the fossilized tusks of woolly mammoths.

  • The scenery: We took a drive about about an hour out of Anchorage and it was as if we entered a whole new world: Pristine and snowy.

  • The food: Every meal I had was delicious. I live in Rhode Island, so I like to think I know what good seafood is. But the cod, halibut and salmon I had in Alaska were among the freshest fish I've ever eaten.

  • The beer: The Alaskan Brewing Co.'s Amber. Must be because of the great water.

  • Exhibits on indigenous cultures in Alaska: I loved checking out the tools, watercraft, and clothing created with only what was available on the land. Think you know something about surviving in this world? These exhibits remind you that you know nothing.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Coffee Heath Bar Crunch is actually my favorite, but the store was out

I was just reading the online real estate section over at The New York Times. I eat up photos of homes for sale, which would be a pretty low-cal hobby if I wasn't also chowing down on Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk ice-cream.

I had to share this townhouse with you. It's on Manhattan's Upper East Side and is for sale for just under $15 million. I know what you're thinking: Why not Chunky Monkey? That's good too, but banana isn't my favorite flavor.

As for the townhouse: Love that red door. And these ebony floors and staircase:

And this ceiling:

And maybe, best of all, this view of the staircase. Wouldn't it be cool, standing there looking down at that? How many flights to the refrigerator do you figure?

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