Friday, April 29, 2011

TGIF, 4/29/11 Edition

Hallelujah, it's Friday! 
This has been a long, long week and I'm looking forward to this weekend because we're heading to Connecticut to spend time with my parents.

Thank you for sticking with me this week--it's been really tough. I'll be back on Monday revived and refreshed.

Signing off until Monday, friends!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Can I Hide Out in Bed?

Readers, this week at work has been crazy and I've only come up for air long enough to dream about staying in a bed like this all day and forgetting all of my professional obligations.

de Gournay wallpaper and D. Porthault linens? 
Much better than Microsoft Outlook and expense memos, if you ask me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Attention DSLR Camera Experts!

Hear ye, hear ye! 
Adam and I are toying with the idea of stepping up our camera "game" and are contemplating a few DSLR models. 
Right now the front runner is this popular Canon Rebel XS model.
(via Amazon)

The trouble is, we aren't camera experts and could really use a few honest opinions. We've been consulting sites like CNET, but I'd love to hear your advice and recommendations.

Do you have a DSLR camera that you love?

If so, do tell!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It Pays To Do Your Homework, or How I Almost Lost Big Time

This one goes out to all the kids out there who don't see the point in being patient or fully researching the unique, odd-ball finds we often come across at thrift stores, antique malls, and flea markets.

Up until last night, that was me. What changed you ask?
The discovery that this $5 flea market cast-off
may actually be worth something.

According to Wikipedia, the "Googie" ashtray was designed in the 1950's by Maurice Ascalon, the "father of the modern Israeli decorative arts movement" and produced by the Pal-Bell company.

Sure, the cool little figurine caught my eye in a lonely corner of the Elephant Trunk Flea Market late last fall; but not being a smoker myself, I thought it weird to have smoking-related paraphernalia around the apartment. So, off to Ebay it went.

That was until last night, when I wanted to determine if my $25 opening bid was warranted or not.

This is when I pause for you to check out this, this, or this link. 
Clearly, winning this for $25 would have been a joke. 
A total cosmic joke on me, that is. 

I've always wanted to have my own little "Antiques Roadshow" discovery, and I did. 

See, kids, it pays to do your homework.

What cool worth-way-more-than-you-thought treasures have you found?

Many of you asked what I plan on doing with my snail ashtray--the answer: nothing, nothing at all, at least for the time being. I'll take Bri's advice and hold on to it, hoping it's eventual sale will supplement my retirement.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spray Painted Pagoda Table

Last week I shared my auction winnings (my decrepit pagoda-style wicker side table) and mentioned that I was planning on reviving it with a healthy coating of Montana Gold spray paint. I chose the color "Petrol" and loved the silky blue-green color (it's showing a bit more blue in the pictures than in person).
I spent my late afternoon on Friday spraying the heck out of this table, and I thought I'd share some process shots:
Hopefully our landlord doesn't check my blog. I'm not sure he'd be okay with us using his property as my own personal little art project.
My "den" is really coming together now, and I'm enjoying furnishing this space slowly and deliberately.
Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, April 22, 2011

TGIF, 4/22/11 Edition

Happy Easter weekend, everyone!

I wanted to welcome all the new readers this week.
I've enjoyed your comments and am happy that I have lots and lots of your new blogs to check out!

Wishing you all lovely spring sunshine, too many chocolate bunnies, and meaningful time with family.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Report: Sister Parish Design: On Decorating

Today, I'm continuing my monthly "Book Report" feature, where I focus on a book I've recently purchased and offer you some details and opinions on it. Up this month is Sister Parish Design: On Decorating, by Susan Bartlett Crater and Libby Cameron.

You may be familiar with the gorgeous illustrations (courtesy of the immensely talented Mita Corsini Bland), but what struck me the most was the format of this book. 

Sister Parish Design: On Decorating reads like a transcript of some great lunch where nearly all the interior design greats (i.e., Miles Redd, Bunny Williams, Peter Dunham) have gotten together to discuss the influence of Mrs. Parish on their personal and professional lives. 
As such, the book operates like an extended conversation. These giants of the design industry offer their sage advice, all through the lens of Sister Parish's influence. 

The book is broken down into sections, such as "Mastering the Mix," "Dressing the Window," "The Power of Color," and "Decorating on a Shoestring," which is particularly useful for the budget-conscious among us.
Sister Parish Design: On Decorating also serves as a good primer on the Parish aesthetic and includes some anecdotes on a few of noteable Parish-Hadley clients.

But really, I couldn't offer a quality report of this book without highlighting the spectacular illustrations. Without further ado...
(all illustrations by Mita Corsini Bland photographed by me)

I delayed buying this book for months until I found an inexpensive copy. My only regret is not having bought this book sooner.

My favorite quote from the book:
"[Sister Parish] used to say, 'We are not decorating--we are making places to live.'"--William Hodges

Amen, Sister, amen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Guest Blogging at Cottage and Vine

 Today, I'm guest posting on Rene's always-inspiring blog, Cottage and Vine and I'll be sharing my recent West Elm table DIY. 
In case you haven't gotten enough of this project, be sure to check my guest post!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Auction Finds

Before spending Sunday snapping beautiful spring photos of my neighborhood (if you didn't see them, check out yesterday's post), Adam and I woke up bright and early and headed to an auction held in nearby New Jersey

It began promptly at 8:30AM, and I insisted that we arrive by 8AM to peruse the soon-to-be-sold merchandise. Nearly all in attendance were strange. I'd only ever been to auctions surrounded by lots of women in my family (mother, grandmother, aunt), all of whom are auction experts!

So, now for the interesting part--what I walked away with. You may be disappointed that we didn't fill our little sedan to the brim with cheap and weird findings, but I did score a nice $2 pagoda-shaped wicker end table/magazine rack. 
Let me tell you right now, I spotted this piece as soon as we walked in. I was smitten. Totally, insanely in love.
I know what you're thinking, "Ashley, this is heinous!"

To that I say, "Bite your tongue. My little pagoda table just needs some love and some Montana Gold spraypaint." FYI: I'm using the MG paint in "Petrol".
My new little table isn't the only piece I purchased this weekend, though it is the only item I won at the auction. On Saturday, we stopped by the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Pennsauken, NJ.

Ever the planner, I found this chinoiserie twin-sized headboard "for the future". "For the future" is the phrase I use to convince Adam that I need to buy something for our future family.
9 times out of 10 it usually works, too. 
How much? $12. My "future" daughter is going to love this!

Lots and lots of goodies were had this weekend for mere pennies. 
I've definitely been bitten by the auction bug and am excited to go again.

For you auction experts out there, what are some of your favorite auction finds?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend Tour of My Neighborhood

On Sunday, after our early-morning auction visit (more about that tomorrow), Adam and I took a stroll around our lovely Philly neighborhood. 

Something about the abundant sunshine and blooming flowers inspired me to snap some photos for those of you who have never visited this historic city. 
 This corner requires friendly neighbors:
 I met a friend who insisted he be included in this photo montage:
 Is this Philadelphia or some European city?
 Lush and colorful tulips, oh my!
 Some beautiful details in fencing, windows, and doors:
Walks, like the one Adam and I took on Sunday, remind me why I love this little corner of the City of Brotherly Love. 
Ain't Philly great?

Friday, April 15, 2011

TGIF, 4/15/11 Edition

(illustration by Laura Stoddart)

Friday is here once more and I'm thrilled because it's the first weekend in a long time with no wedding-related activities. I shouldn't say this, but I'm looking forward to stepping away from the nuptial prep.

Instead of focusing on our May wedding, Adam and I are going to an auction on Sunday morning. I can't wait to see Adam almost win some atrocious and expensive thing because he doesn't know the proper auction etiquette (I'm mean, I know!).

Any auction tips you want to pass along?
What are you all up to?

Happy weekend, everyone!

P.S. Thanks so much to Noelle of Gray Paint Decor and Nichole of Parlour for the mention this week!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


(pay no attention to the ugly ottoman or baby blue chair)

I finally got around to snapping a few (albeit dark and grainy) photos of my living room now that I've laid down my new 8' x 10' jute rug. If you're new here or haven't been keeping up, I've been hunting rugs like crazy lately (I purchased 4 in a single month).

This jute rug was purchased from The Company Store, which came highly recommended from other bloggers and savvy interior designers, and did not disappoint me at all. 
Very soft, the color is fantastic, and the price was right.
I know what you're thinking: "The Company Store, really?" 
Trust me on this. It's awesome.
What can I say, I think it's simply jute-tiful.*

* Sorry, I couldn't help myself!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How Do You Know if You're Ready for a Fixer-Upper?

Calling all homeowners/experienced renovators!

Today, I'd like to borrow from the wealth of readers' collective knowledge and ask some questions of the homeowners out there.

If you don't know, Adam and I rent our charming little 2-bedroom apartment here in Philadelphia. We are getting married in about a month and, as is the case with any lifelong commitment, we're contemplating maybe buying a house in the next year or two. Apparently, big life changes come in pairs.

We're really keen on the idea of buying an older home that 'needs work,' but of course that phrase can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. There seems to be a significant range of houses currently on the market that are labeled "fixer-uppers".
Take a look:
(images from a variety of homes currently available via Trulia)

I mean, are we up to the challenge of a home that "needs work"? 
Do I have the patience to handle a full-scale reno?

So, now I'd like to ask the audience:
  • Were you willing to buy a "fixer-upper"? How did you know it (fixer-upper vs. brand-spankin' new)  was right for you?
  • How do you determine your total project budget?
  • When is it a good idea to involve an architect?
  • How do you determine the order of projects you tackle?
  • When should you bring in professional help?
  • How do you keep the peace in a household that looks like a warzone?
Your guidance, warnings, advice, blessings, horror stories, etc. are all welcome and greatly appreciated!
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