eclectic design inspiration

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Almost Merry Christmas!! Shopping anyone?

Yeeeeeeeeehaw from the Lonestar State! Yesterday morning at 5:30am I stepped outside of Houston's George Bush (W? HW? It's ambiguous...) Intercontinental Airport wearing my Ugg boots and heavy winter coat only to find out that my mom's description of the weather being "chilly" actually meant mid 70s. Whaaaaaat? I packed boots and boots and leggings and hoodies. Welcome home...

After making a stop at the Kolache Factory for breakfast, taking a much-needed nap at my grandparents' house and then hitting up Antone's Po' Boys for lunch, my mom, brother and I made our way to the grandiose Memorial City Mall to do some Christmas shopping. My brother and I split from my mom so that we could shop for her and my sister while she shopped for us, and we managed to run into each other only once - at Macy's. Which I'm glad happened because my mom had somehow interpreted the "workout pants" on my Christmas list as any kind of pants with spandex (pocketed, wool, splatter painted, etc.) and I was able to dash in and end the confusion before she purchased something really weirdo. "Look for these brands mom... Nike." What? Gotta rep Oregon.

This afternoon of being good consumers reminded me that I desperately needed to write this post. I had been wanting to write about gifts-ideas ever since I saw the amazing preview of "Oprah's Ultimate Favorite Things" where people in the audience were hugging and bawling their eyes out and carrying on in a really entertaining way, but then I got super busy and it never happened. Till now.

Well, this is a guide you can use next year. Sorry peeps, you have less than 24 hours to get this done and at this point I'm afraid you're screwed. Or just go to Target... they have something for everyone.

Without further ado about nothing, I give you my shopping list inspired by real-life family members:

1. Beer mugs/glasses for my little brother, who just happens to be 21 and likes to drink lots of beer. Thankfully, he's moved on from the days of being the disheveled guy standing in the front lawn of a house party getting soaked by the sprinkler and having beer cans thrown at him (all in good fun)... He now has a serious girlfriend, two jobs, is getting closer to college graduation and can handle drinking with few party fouls. Red plastic cups can now be reserved for beer pong and flip cup...

Left: Immature brother who likes to play Pong all day. Right: Mature brother who likes to hang out with his sister and grandfather.

2. A subscription to Hobby Farms Magazine for my mom. If you knew my mom and her situation currently, you'd freak out that this magazine exists, because it is the perrrrrfect gift for her. Farming is her hobby, literally. I haven't mentioned this yet, but this whole time I've been sitting here typing away in the kitchen of my mom's farmhouse in Chappell Hill, Texas. What once was a weekend place has become her full-time residence, and she is obsessed. And lemme me tell ya, she ain't no Farmville farmer - she's a real farmer, yo! She has a sizable piece of property with a horse, a dog, a cat and lots of cows. Whenever she calls me in an incredibly good mood, I know that "a new calf was born today!!!!" is about to come out of her mouth. And then she always tells me what she named it, and they are pretty awesome names. My favorite name that she ever came up with is "Friendly." Friendly the cow. There's also Purdy, Pedro, J.D. (...who knows where J.D. came from. Is it like, short for the cow's real name?), and I just named "Kima" yesterday - after the ass-kicking lesbian cop on The Wire. (Best. Show. Ever.) My mom said she's a badass little calf, so it totally works...

3. A picnic blanket for my sister, who appreciates all things "classic," like a picnic in the park on a sunny spring day. Probably spawning from our back-to-school shopping at The Gap in elementary school, she has always leaned towards the traditional. For example.... doll collection? Check. A fan of Charles Dickens? Check. Four year attendance at an East Coast private university? Check. Favorite food, chocolate chip cookies? Check. Monet print displayed in her apartment (in Houston's Museum District)? Check. You see what I'm saying? Plus, like I mentioned earlier it's 70 degrees in Houston right now, so she can use the thing year round!

4. A unique piece of art for my in-college, very cool, very smart and very creative cousin who has her very first apartment. Even though this may sound a little Regretsy to you, she is always thinking outside the box: she once took home the lobster tail from her dinner at a seafood restaurant so she could turn it into a pin to wear. Most likely her mom dumped it in the trash as soon as they got home, but her creative ambition alone illustrates what kind of personality she is. ****Okay, my brother just informed me that she actually did turn it into a necklace and wore it until it got moldy... Wow. Obviously she deserves, and would appreciate, art for Christmas. Right, Jenn?

5. Food somethings for the grandparents. Since they live in Houston and I live in a far-away mystical place called Oregon that they've never been to before, they get super excited when I bring them Oregon-made wildflower honey and marionberry jam. Marionberries???? What are those?! A magical edible berry that's grown far far away from Texas! And they happen to taste a lot like blackberries. Wait, they are blackberries? Oh. My bad.

It's the thought that counts, right?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Flutter: Portland, OR

Super stoked on this place in NE Portland.
I want to buy everything.

Vintage Christmas... You're Such a Cutie

Today I went antiquing - one of my absolute favorite things in the world. My friend Hannah is visiting from Grants Pass and we had made a pact that during her stay we'd do some of the random things that sound really fun to us but nobody else. Those things included but weren't limited to: attempting to stalk the Blazers after their home games (supposedly they like to go to the Cheesecake Factory), a one-on-one tutorial about Twitter and tweeting (I just joined and can't seem to grasp the concept of a hashtag), and hitting up most of the antique stores around town. Today we did the antiquing. We went to Monticello in east Portland and I was absolutely blown away by all of the beautiful and fun vintage Christmas decorations. It gave me this incredible nostalgia for the past, like the same feeling you get while watching It's a Wonderful Life - minus the sobs of happiness "every time a bell rings." After looking at probably 3,000 wonderful things, I ended up buying an apothecary jar filled with little pine cones and gold tinsel and little Christmas miracles, and a piƱata. Yeah, I like things from Mexico. I'll put a Santa hat on it.

This excursion reminded me of the way vintage and antique-inspired Christmas decor can add so much to your home - since it's such a sentimental season to begin with. It can also be a rather inexpensive option for decorating if you hit up estate sales and flea markets. Below are some of the photos I snapped with my phone while shopping at Monticello. One thing to note: bottle brush trees and wreaths are very "in."

bottle brush wreaths and trees

vintage cardboard signs

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Decorations. Simple Enough?

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and it's now TIME TO DECORATE FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!! I admit, I'm a little bit behind with that, and this post. Lo siento.

So, not to be a downer all of a sudden, but I gotta be honest with you guys. I was a little overwhelmed over this subject because I thought I was gonna be stuck eating off McDonald's dollar menu and drinking unfiltered tap water if I did all of the decorating I really wanted to do. In the classic Patrick Verona way of calculating:

Well, let's think about this... I get a tree, that's 40 bucks. I get ornaments, that's 73. And I'll want some fake snow, alright? So, we're looking at 150 bucks.

This isn't a negotiation. Take it or leave it trailer park.
50 bucks and we got a deal, Fabio.

It gives me anxiety. I like to go big and dramatic most of the time and that means my bank's gonna get broke! I can't help it, I just have these incredible visions of what my home could look like. I'm guilty of getting way too impulsive in places like Michael's and Pier 1, and it's x 20 this time of year. (By the way, Michael's ALWAYS has sales going on. GO THERE. Get a new hobby. I swear, every time I stroll the aisles everything appears to be half off. And then when I buy my half-off tubes of acrylic, fake hydrangeas and friendship bracelet string, I get a coupon with my receipt for another 50% off my next purchase. Every single time. I really really hope they aren't secretly going out of business, because then I wouldn't be able to buy supplies for random crafts that I completely intend on doing but then just leave laying around the house in the plastic bags they were carried out of the store in. Pretty sure my roommates would miss that.)

I tried to go the inexpensive route and just buy stuff at the Dollar Tree, but once I saw their "holiday decor" I couldn't do it. I'm a snob, whatever. Halloween, yes, that's all the house was decorated in ... but Christmas? Sorry, I just can't bring myself to buy a ceramic nativity scene with baby Jesus's eyes painted on a little too far to the left. It's creepy and sacrilegious.

Well, I'm gonna cut to the chase. This problem has been solved by an Apartment Therapy post. (I am completely convinced, this is the best blog ever! Besides 2birds1blog, of course.)

It's just a handful of photos, illustrating "a smattering of subtle little touches of Christmas here and there, in every room of the house." I am SO inspired and SO happy. Why did I think I needed to go so big with decorations? Oh I know - I'm a Texan.

But apparently I am not that connected to my roots, because my mind has been completely changed by this house. It's so simple and looks so good. But - simple is key... for this to work, I'm gonna have to make sure the house is clutter-free. Maybe this means all of those Michael's bags scattered around the house will finally be dealt with.

I'll be posting photos of my own little holiday touches very, very soon.

And here is soon:

A little silver and colorful touches added to the bookshelf (disregard the fact that i barely know how to work the settings on my camera and these photos ended up looking like photocopied newspaper clippings)

and a little more formal on the mantel in the living room...