Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Guest Bedroom Artwork

Last week I promised to share the Claire Nereim's oak leaf notecards framed as accents to the sorely unadorned guest bedroom walls.
The 4.25" x 6.75" notecards lent themselves very easily to framing, not to mention that their $12 cost was within my small budget. Looking for an equally-inexpensive set of frames, I turned to the 5" x 7" frames I found at Saline Picture Frame at only $8.95 a pop (p.s., use the promo code "TY10" for 10% off each order). I purchased the frames in "natural," sanded them lightly, and stained them in my go-to color, Minwax's English Chestnut.

I'm very pleased with them.
Here they are, in their element:
There's still more to add (i.e., a bedside table, a lamp, more artwork), but the room is coming together nicely for me.

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Art from the Other Harpers

Certainly you've seen, and perhaps appreciated, the prolific collection of animal art designed by Charley Harper. However, after some exploring a few years back I found that not all the talent in the Harper family remained with Charley; Charley's wife Edie and son Brett shared the artistic Harper eye.

Some of my favorite Edie Harper works:

Charley Harper's only son, Brett, runs Harper Studios. His seriographs and notecards can be found via Ebay and across the internet. Some of his loveliest prints, available for inexpensive decorating:

I purchased one of Brett's amaryllis prints on Ebay a few years back for only $25. It adorns one of our living room walls and I love it even more in person.

If you can't afford an original Charley Harper piece (like me), or if you prefer a more organic design, I highly recommend checking out the work of Edie and Brett Harper.

Talent does run in this family.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Steinbeck's Sag Harbor

This past spring I read John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley for the first time. Frankly, I'd never been a big fan, having cut my teeth on such Steinbeck works as Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, and The Red Pony (all eighth grade reads...thank you, Mrs. Jacques).

Abandoning my previous distaste for Steinbeck's style, I set out to read Travels with Charley, perhaps feeling a bit of restlessness and wanderlust myself. I read it traveling to New York, Texas, and Connecticut.

Unlike the previous works I'd read, I felt I could relate to the 60-year old writer and his canine companion. I imagined one day, too, packing up my belongings in a road-worn car just as the author packed his camper, his "Rocinante". The New York Times recently captured the Steinbeck Sag Harbor cottage in pictures--I urge you to check out their slideshow.

As much as Travels with Charley is a book about "capturing America" (as the subtitle suggests), it is also poignantly captures the quest for home. I'm still on that quest, and I hope you are enjoying reading about the journey here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Campaign Strategy

I was not a political science major in college, but let me be clear: I intended to attack my opponent (my haggard campaign dresser) with the fervor of a certain senator from Illinois. As the weekend began, I had the hope that change would come to my dresser.

Commence with the requisite mudslinging (that is, the before pictures):

As you can see, the opposition was great. This dresser had a tarnished record. It was also gray. A true democrat through-and-through, I crossed party lines and painted this...RED!

In a red state:

The next step: slinging some mud, or rather "goop."

The brass was allowed to sit. I checked back the next day, and after the a thorough cleaning, the top brass emerged (thanks, in part, from some torturous tactics: I had to use Noxon 7!).

And now, my cabinet, fully assembled:

...And lest you question the financial contributions to my campaign, I offer up the details into the public record:

--cost of primer: about $7.00 from Home Depot
--sponge rollers (These were my own contributions; that is, I had these!)
--red paint (also a personal contribution)
--goop recipe (All "goop" items were in my pantry)

Finally, I poll the public: How did I do?

Friday, September 24, 2010

TGIF, 9/24/10 Edition

'Tis Friday again, friends. The first Friday of autumn, too.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have a date with some vinegar/salt/flour solution and a certain haggard campaign dresser. In addition to this task, my weekend is looking like
Oh, and I bought these and will share with you their framing next week:

(via Claire Nereim's Etsy)

Wishing you a wonderful first weekend of autumn, friends!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Non-Toxic Brass Cleaning

There's an old (albeit graphic and cruel) adage that goes "there's more than one way to skin a cat." I'm wondering: is there more than one way to polish tarnished brass? The two campaign dressers in my bedroom are overdue for a much-needed sprucing.

Months ago, I tried Jenny's suggestion of Barkeeper's Friend, but that brass hardware didn't want to come clean. I was getting very frustrated, and felt I needed to turn to more toxic options (yuck!).

Fortunately, over at ReNest, they highlighted Jules of Pancakes and French Fries, whose green pantry-sourced brass cleaner really got me thinking: Could this non-toxic option work on the dull hardware of my campaign dressers?

According to Jules, the recipe requires white vinegar, flour, and salt, producing a goop that appears to work wonders!
Take a look:

(all via Pancakes and French Fries)

This weekend, I'm giving this goop a go (say that ten times fast).
Do you have any secret family recipes for cleaning brass?
Do tell, do tell!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oops, I Did It Again...

I just couldn't help myself. And with the click of a keystroke, they were mine.

These matching ottomans were posted as part of a sofa and loveseat package (hideous, I must say) on Craigslist, but I appealed to the seller that these were just the thing I had been looking for. He was very willing to sell them separately to me and accepted my cheap-o offer. He even offered to drop them off in the city...from his far-suburb location at no cost (!).

So, how much did these babies run me? $25! That's right, $12.50 each. Sometimes I feel like I'm stealing from the nice sellers on Craigslist, I really do.

Is the minty tweed upholstery staying, you ask? No, certainly not. Instead, I am thinking of clothing these beauts in the same charcoal linen of my loveseat (they will serve as a relaxed, but refined kick-your-feet-up kind of coffee table for the "den"). I'm going to reach out to my trusty friend Joe the Upholsterer for these.

I still need to punch up the somber linen with some fun prints and color, but that's what accessories are for, right?

Stay tuned, friends, to see the next before-and-after here at Meet Me in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Excitement from Canadian House & Home

This image really excites me.

(via Canadian House & Home)

Can you blame me? A Madeline Weinrib rug, two Bungalow 5 night stands, and a showstopping headboard--what can I say?
Canadian House & Home, you complete me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall Crafts, Round 1: Paper Bag Wreath

I spent Sunday working on my first fall craft of the season, a cute paper-bag wreath I spied over at Abbey's blog. Abbey originally pulled it from Martha, and I thought it would be an easy craft with a big effect for our apartment door. I followed the directions on Abbey's post:

(both via Abbey via Martha)

If you'd like to make this cheap beauty, I recommend following Martha's directions, except that I found it easier to attach the "leaves" with a glue gun instead of the suggested stapler. I've included some process photos:

You'll see I used brown kraft paper, metallic brown cardstock, and gold cardstock. If A.C. Moore had bronze cardstock, I would have purchased that; but alas, they did not. Here was my total cost for this first fall craft of the season:
  • 1 sheet of 12"x12" gold cardstock - $0.49
  • 2 sheets of 12"x12" brown metallic cardstock - $0.98
  • 16" wire wreath form - $2.59
  • 1 black wreath hanger - $0.99
  • 1 7-yrd spool of expresso grosgrain ribbon (for wreath hanger) - $3.99
  • Total, inc. tax - $9.76
What do you think?

P.S. Did you notice the slight change in the blog heading? Like it?

Friday, September 17, 2010

TGIF, 9/17/10 Edition

Late last night I discovered Bella Foster's art. It's important to take time out of the hustle-and-bustle and chaos of life to appreciate beautiful things.

(all via Bella Foster)

'Til next week.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

AbbeyChristine's Little Felt Wonders

I've been swamped at work this week. When I get home, all I want to do is relax and find distractions on the interweb. Behold! I discovered AbbeyChristine's genius little felt wonders, which are the coolest pop-culture finger puppets. They've certainly made me chuckle.

Bob Ross, surrounded by his signature "happy trees":

Steve Martin, the consummate performer:

Mad Men's Joan Holloway, a red in red:

And my personal fave, those wacky Tenenbaum children:

What lovely, creative form of distraction.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Linea Carte's Amore Amore Amore

(via linea carte's etsy)

What a lovely sentiment, no? I'm thinking it would look great framed in our bedroom.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Early September Finds

This weekend, it started to feel a lot like autumn here in Philadelphia. A farmer's market nearby our apartment offered up this beautiful floral fall bounty. I couldn't help but share--aren't the saturated colors just amazing?

Craigslist searching also proved successful this weekend. I found this interesting three-legged chair for $25 and quickly snatched it up. My soon-to-be mother-in-law was nice enough to pick it up in the suburbs for us.

Notice the western-themed seat? I quickly removed it and discovered a more-neutral black vinyl seat that will suffice for now. This new-to-me chair has already cozied up to the desk in the guest bedroom. Doesn't it look right at home?

How was your weekend?

Friday, September 10, 2010

TGIF, 9/10/10 Edition

I can't believe how quickly the week has flown by, blog friends. Here we are again, on the cusp of another weekend! But before looking forward, I'm going to take a look back--to the upholstered bed project I finished two weeks ago.

As promised it is!

How do you like it? I'm very pleased. I know that with a few small details (more artwork, new lamps, etc.), the room will really be welcoming for guests.

Who wants to visit?

And with that, I wish you a happy weekend, dear readers! Until next week.
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