Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009
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a piece of pie on a cake-festooned plate!
Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009
Lest you think all I’ve been doing lately is having babies and then complaining about said babies: We’ve also been decorating! (Wow. Could we be any more staid? I fear our break with the rebel alliance is now complete.)
After much consternation, and a great deal of trial-and-erroring, we’re finally done with the dining section of the house. But we sure did have to wend our way through a parade of tables and accoutrement before we got it right. (Eek! Sorry! The following epic description of this particular decorodyssey is super freakishly detailed…if you have a life to live, maybe just stick to judging the grainy, amateur photography?)
Here we see (back in the corner over there) our original square table from the Alameda flea market. Sadly, it didn’t quite cut it in the new space, what with being too small at its smallest and too big and cornery and hard to navigate when expanded. Also I didn’t love the jumble of dark and light woods going on between the table, credenza, and chairs. I don’t necessarily need everything to matchy-match, but this combo felt a little too “look what we picked up off the street on big trash day!” random.
We decided a cornerless (AKA round) table was in order, so next we Craigslisted this little number from CB2. (Marco is a master Craigslister, obsessively checking the listings multiple times each day.)
Unfortunately, this table turned out to be a little too little. Marco kind of liked it, but I felt it gave things a depressing “icky, flavored-coffee cafe” feel. Plus it didn’t have a leaf, so we would never be able to serve more than four people…not at one time, at least. And its dark wood-grained top actually exacerbated the wood-WOOD-WoOd problem.
So! Feast your eyes on our new, just-right Goldilocks table:
The table is vintage (spotted at Eames Loft by Marco’s friend Janet), and it’s in crazy-beautiful condition, all gleaming and smelling of polish and elbow grease. It comes with a built-in butterfly leaf, which means it’s stored within the table, versus in some tippy, hard-to-get-at corner of the garage. In its leafless state, it’s a good 10” wider than the CB2 table, and just that little added girth really makes it feel proportionate with the space. It was spendy at $440, but the dollars Marco made for selling the other two tables got us almost all the way there.
With the table down, all we had left to do was accessorize, which Marco and I just so happen to love to do to, perhaps to the point of unhealthiness?
Little green bud vase (with bundle of sage): Heath Ceramics. Taller white carved vase (with cheap-o Safeway flowers): Sara Paloma Pottery. The white chairs are from Crate and Barrel, and I think they provide welcome relief from all the wood. They also tie in the white-white Ikea cupboards found in the adjacent kitchen. Comfy, too!
Sadly our beloved credenza was too deep for the space — a table centered under the light fixture just doesn’t leave enough room along the side for much else. So Marco found us a new vintage credenza on Craigslist:
It’s very, very similar to our original piece, only it’s shallower by 7”, which fits the space much, much better. It weirdly was also the same steep $440 as the table, but Marco posted our original credenza on Craigslist and it got picked up as one of Apartment Therapy’s recommended buys for the week, which helped us get a tidy $460 for it. Net: $20!
Wooden iPod player: Vers Audio. Salmon-hued side lamp: Vintage, discovered by Marco in one of the antique shopies on the main drag in San Anselmo.
The white faux bois vase was a $3.99 shopportunity from Marshalls. Marco disdainfully says it “looks like celery,” but sometimes Marco is wrong? Little ceramic bull: Jonathan Adler. Bumpy white vase: Ikea.
Salty, peppery elephants: Daiso, $1!
Next up: Cuting up the Ikea-blank kitchen cabinets!
More words on: decoration | house-ing | marco | my favorite things
three yays for ebay!
Monday, May. 19, 2008
That’s one party-sized piece of Fat Apple’s tip-top-notch olallieberry pie (courtesy of the wonderful Adrienne), sitting atop one of my cake plates (courtesy of the inimitable Liz Dunn). Take that, mouth!
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a perfect match
Monday, Apr. 14, 2008
I am, generally speaking, a gigantically huge fan of eBay. (Some may even say unhealthily so? What with my 96 positive feedbacks, wow?). But the times I love eBay the most are when it allows me to reconnect with items that I’ve fallen hard for elsewhere but never thought I’d be lucky enough to get my own hot, stumpy hands on.
My top three such love re-connections are, in descending order:
3. The Technicolor Bird Tray
I so admired this Deka bird tray when the Thrift Store Addict landed it on one of his miracle St. Paul thrift-a-thons. In truth, I was a even a wee sick-green with the jealous? But thanks to his lovingly detailed description (he’s always so good about listing, if at all possible, the maker behind each of his purchases), I was able to turn to eBay, type in the key details, and there it was!
2. The Technicolor Dream Dress
This BCBG Max Azria dress was listed for a very long time at Bluefly for a mean price of over $400. Ridiculous! And yet I was still sorely tempted to Add to Shopping Cart. But before I could give in to the heady lack of oxygen in that sky-high price tag, I took a peek for the dress on eBay, and lo: my second all-time greatest eBay triumph!
1. The Insane Miniature Aluminum Briefcase
Ten long years ago, I wandered in to a boutique in LA, one of those crazy high-end places where you have to ring the doorbell before you’re allowed in to even shop inside? And tucked between all the jewels and finery, there it was: The Insane Miniature Aluminum Briefcase. I fell in love on sight and bought it so hard for, I think, a whole $22. And I then proceeded to bring it with me everywhere, from brunch to business meetings, where I would, with much seriousness, whip it out and snap it open like it contained documents of the very highest importance. In fact I whipped and snapped it so frequently that over time the hinges broke off. And then the locks. All the kings horses and men and I tried to glue things back together, but it kept on breaking, and soon I was reduced to the indignity of wrapping rubber bands around the its mini waist, thereby killing the visual awesomeness of it all. Finally, and which much sadness, I put the insane miniature aluminum briefcase out to pasture. But I still spoke of it fondly, pausing over drinks with friends to reminisce over the good times we had with that insane mini aluminum briefcase.
And then one day I had the bright idea to search for a replacement on eBay. It took some work to come up with the right combination of search terms (“small, metal, cardcase, snaps, awesome”? “card holder, briefcase, impossibly small”?. And then…Eureka.
Isn’t it perfect(ly insane)? Lucky for you, there’s plenty more where that came from.
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a good clip
Thursday, Apr. 10, 2008
This nut-cracking squirrel has been wandering aimlessly around the house ever since the lovely Maggie gave him to me two whole Christmases ago. Frankly, we were a little worried he was never going to get a job, what with all our nuts arriving pre-shelled from Trader Joe’s and the like?
But then one shining day, it all just came together:
Doesn’t he look excited to be of help? So eager to assist? Fear nothing, Madam! I am here with the required sticks of flame! Tzzt, tzzt!
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Tuesday, Apr. 1, 2008
I’ve misplaced many precious things over the years: a perfect pair of 501s (dropped somehow/where between my house and car…who? huh?); the perfect scoop-necked, puff-sleeved black shirt (stolen from the laundromat, jerks); and, most painful of all, my great-grandmother’s delicate sage green-sparkle costume necklace (left, I think, in the pocket of a shirt I gave to Goodwill, ugh!).
But, by some great miracle, I’ve managed to hold on to these barrettes throughout the many thick and thin years since I first scraped together enough allowance to buy them:
You remember these, right? They were a very big deal in the late 70s, or at least they were at my grade school, right up there with googly-eyed puffy vegetable stickers and orthodontics…my best friend and I wanted retainers so badly, we unwound a paperclips and tried to wind them around our front teeth.
The barrettes came in the most inspiring array of truly good colors, so it was always very difficult to choose — a young person could spend hours thinking on which ones to invest in…the delicate peachy-orange one, or the deeper, darker, truly orange one? So hard to know!
Some girls, in particular the Horsey Girls, would get the whole rainbow and wear their entire collection all at once, right down the side of their heads, which always seemed so fantastically decadent to me.
Best of all, these clips were big and strong enough to actually hold my hair, which was and continues to be a beast that few clips have the fortitude to rein in.
(As you can see, my hair has grown beyond all reason. Now when I wear it down like this, it actually feels like I’m trapped inside some hot, heavy costume…a lion outfit maybe, or a rubber Sam Kinison head.)
And, as anyone who wore these glorious clips will remember, they always leave a very distinctive mark, both on your heart and your hair:
Maybe, what with the resurgence of high-waisted jeans (look! Dittos!), one of you time-traveling entrepreneurial geniuses will also re-release these wonderclips into the wild? I hope? And hey, while you’re back there, could you also pick me up some metal-slide Village Lip Lickers balm? Thx.
PS: How about that do-it-myself ten-minute Clairol Nice ‘n’ Easy Perfect 10 dye job? It was indeed nice and easy, and cheap! Just $14! (Or $28 for those with OED-thick hair like me who need double the amount of blonding agents, yay.)
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Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2008
Easter of last year, Washington Mutual (an evil, evil bank that PS: Ate up $700 of Marco’s dollars in its maddening and always hungry bureaucrazy) ran a “Free Range Checking” campaign (a glorious pun, I know, too bad and sad that they’re awful and wrong and you should never, ever bank there!) They celebrated this campaign as anyone with endless (and surely shadily obtained!) resources does: They plastered their windows with gigantic posters of hypnotically cute baby chickens.
My want-o-meter went deep into the red the very first second I saw that poster, oh! And then, upon closer inspection, I realized that the poster was mounted on the OUTSIDE of the window, and surreptitious picking revealed that it peeled away with unexpected ease! My internal needle soared into white-hotter realms of desire, and I started hatching great, Marco-alarming plans of visiting the bank in the (t)wee(t) hours of the night and robbing it of this, its most precious asset.
But before I could even purchase a ski mask, the campaign winds shifted, and (that rotten bank!) Washington Mutual started systematically removing the chickens from its branches. I came home and dejectedly delivered the news that the chickens had all but disappeared, and Marco clucked sympathetically.
But! The very next morning, luck lightning struck with astounding timeliness when Marco decided to stop at our local branch to deposit a check in the blue, pre-dawn hours before his frighteningly early work begins, and he caught the chicken-removal team just as they were putting up the next round of posters. After much hand-gesturing (the chicken-removal team spoke little English), Marco learned that the beautiful chicken poster had been crumpled into a big sticky ball and shoved into the trash. Sadness! However fears that the poster was balled beyond rescue proved unfounded when the poster softened in the warmth of the back of Marco’s truck and over the course of the day it unfolded all on its own, just like a pretty flower.
And now those gigantic chickens have a new lot in life: Now they must focus their Rasputin stare upon our naked bodies as we scrub our skins and hairs with foaming agents!
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Friday, Mar. 9, 2007
To my dear mid-century amoeba-shaped Tamac dish collection,
Ever since I stumbled across you on eBay and snapped you up as my own, I've admired the way your curves and indentations fit into my hands with a rightness that borders on sensexual.
I must admit that I worried your spring-singing "Avocado" coloring (so much more cheerful than your "Frosty Pine" or "Frosty Fudge" (!) sisters) would look less than toothsome as a backdrop for actual food.
But in practice you are a canvas of inspiration, turning everything from brownies to spaghetti into pure art.
I also love that your line of plates, bowls, and creamer detours for something called a "BBQ cup," a shallow vessel perfectly proportioned for saucy dippables.
Yes, my pretty Tamacs, you were well worth the many hours it took to track all of you down, and even the hefty price of postage. And how glad I am that you wended your way from your Perry, Oklahoma birthplace all the way to my Oakland, California kitchen and heart!
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my new favorite thing: my very own sutro tower painting!
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007
Continuing on this informal theme of profiling of some of my favorite “grab in case of fire” things, I present to you a sampling of my dad’s art, which is sprinkled throughout our apartment.
I have a couple of his vintage light-refraction sculptures, which he made in the 60s and 70s and which I just adore (despite the fact that the years he spent working with all those toxic plastics did a number on his internal organs, and he’s got the fifty-stitch scars to prove it, oof):
Recently my dad’s been getting really into nature-ful painting. A few weeks ago, he invited Marco and me to pick out some of our favorites, and both Marco and I immediately fell for this flock of cranes (and one errant pelican):
The bird painting is on the big side, like 2’x3’, and we’re still experimenting with finding the right spot in the house for it. Currently it’s hanging in our room, which feels a little odd, but I think it’s going to take a few more weeks before it becomes clear if it’s a good odd, or a bad odd. (What’s the feng shui ruling on bird paintings in the bedroom?)
And then there’s this little (it’s much smaller, maybe 8“x11”) ode to the colors of Marin, which is now hanging pretty in our foyer:
I feel so lucky to have these things hanging out in my house! Not only are they lovely in and of themselves, but they’re also this constant gentle reminder and extension of someone I love. Ditto my collection of paintings and crafts and books and jewelry and CDs created by all my talented friends, which I’ve threaded throughout my nestibule. It all just makes me feel plumped and patted and loved and just, yeah…lucky.
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a twice-chewed beaverwood v-day
Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2007
This week Annie and I went and gobbled artichoke things and wine and mountains of spaghetti at Emmy’s, and then we went back to her beautiful house (she has a painted forest in her bathroom!) and had more wine and too many Cadbury Mini Eggs, and we talked about bangs and fringes, kerning and leading, and abdominal surgeries. And oh, I had such a lovely time! And then I swapped one of my books for one of her amazing paintings, and it makes me so very happy!
As Annie pointed out, it looks kind of like it sprang from a box of fancy chocolates:
Marco is very pleased, and Marbles loves it, too:
In other news, another one of my Desperate Housewives recaps is now alive. Highlights include:
“Zana’s hair, it should be noted, looks resplendently nuts, with artful curls flipping up everywhere like he spent the morning in hot curlers. Hey Zana? Rachel from Friends called, and even she thinks you your hair is stuck in second gear. And it isn’t its day, or week, or month, or even its year.”
“Why oh why is Carlos confronting Zana in the bathroom? Oh, so that way he can get an eyeful of Zana’s gigantic cockadoodle. Once again, I am compelled to compare Desperate Housewives unfavorably to Rescue Me, which also featured a men’s-room confrontation, but on the (alas far superior) FX show, the argument ended with one of the men peeing all over his brother’s pants. Which is like a metaphor for men’s territoriality, except that it’s literal.”
“Huh, the Susan I know would have been on that ring box like white on a wedding dress.”
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pimp walks, iron pills, a squirrely top, and a sparkly smile
Saturday, May. 3, 2003
A few months ago, I randomly discovered a piece of “twice-chewed beaverwood” on eBay (I’ll leave it up to you and your despicable imagination to come up with the search terms I used to get there, because now I actually can’t remember how I did it).
Obviously I was ultra intrigued by something, anything called “twice-chewed beaverwood,” so I clicked in to learn more. But there wasn’t more. That was it! Just a foot-long piece of wood, neatly gnawed by actual beavers at either end. A plain old log! And yet…wouldn’t it look nice up there on the mantle? You know, if ever I owned a mantle? And the price was so right: only $2! Sadly, the shipping was over $20, and ultimately I couldn’t see my way clear to spending twenty-something dollars on what was essentially just a block of wood, albeit fondled by beavers. Allegedly.
So I let the auction go, and went humming about my way. But Marco! He mentioned my discovery to some guys at work, and apparently one of them, a hunter, scoffed and said the forests of California are CRAMMED with twice-chewed beaverwood. So Marco asked him to bring a piece back for me. You know, for Valentine’s Day? And that’s exactly what he did:
It’s totally insane (Marco was laughing and laughing as he dragged it into the house): crumbly and muddy and HUGE…almost five feet long (forget putting it on the mantle, it IS a mantle), but there it is. My very my own piece of twice-chewed beaverwood!
Thank you, Marco! You sure are one awesome Valentine.
More words on: marco | my favorite things
So as of Monday I’ll have been out of the hospital for two whole weeks, and I still feel tired, tired, tired! Partly it’s the hole in my side, which the surgeon said should be slowing me down for a full six weeks, but apparently I’m also super, duper anemic, like way more than usual. On Wednesday I went back to see my nurse practitioner, which was where this whole odyssey began three weeks ago, and she told me that she’d been reading the report from my operation, and word has it that when they opened me up, my main appendix artery, which frankly I never even knew existed, was bleeding out into my abdomen. And thus the anemia, maybe!
So for the next two weeks at least, I have to take these nasty iron pills three times a day, and they barf me out if I take them on an empty stomach, but they can’t be taken with dairy or grains or coffee or tea, which is challenging since cereal, yogurt, and tea make up the bulk of what I’m eating these days. I know, fascinating.
When I’m not busy with the hectic and all-consuming iron pill/three-berry yoplait juggling, I’m going on little doctor-proscribed jaunts, mini constitutionals designed to keep my bowels on the move. Did you know that the act of removing an appendix stuns your surrounding guts into complete inactivity, which means the primary task of the appendectomy survivor is to reawaken her southern half, literally getting her rear in gear? In the hospital, they kept asking, did you pass gas, did you pass gas? It took me awhile before I realized that it wasn’t an accusation, it was the nurses’ one, true hope for me.
Anyway, these walks. This week I graduated from six blocks to nine, and those three extra blocks completely wipe me out. Plus the walks take forever and ever, what with all the hobbling and weaving. And of course I look totally nuts. My wound still feels pretty tender, like a constant stitch in my side, so I try not to stretch it too much, which means I hunch a little over to the right whenever I walk or … pole vault. Meanwhile, lying in bed for three weeks has left me with a strange, achy vein on my left calf (not a blood clot, I made sure, you bet … in addition to frozen bowels, blood clots in the legs and lungs are the secondary enemies of the appendectomee). The achy vein, which feels kind of like a badly pulled muscle, gives me a strange, rolling limp, with my left arm swinging wide and my right arm held tight to the body. And I’m moving slow, slow, slow. So basically I look like a pimp with scoliosis moving up a steep, steep hill. A windy steep hill.
To get myself motivated for these walks, I set myself up with some reward-based goals. Yesterday I went downtown for fishnet stockings. The day before I went to buy grapes. The day before that, I picked up my custom-made Maude O. squirrel top, which is the cutest thing on planet Evany. Wait, let me show you:
Here, take a closer look:
See how cute? Now the off-the-rack Maude O. birdy top I bought a few months back has a friend to keep it company!
And hey, how about those teeth!
That’s the other thing I’ve been doing: bleaching my teeth! That was Liz Dunn’s genius recovery gift (one of many of her genius recovery gifts, including chrome nail polish, a fake-hair scrunchy, and lots of beautiful flowers). Bleaching your teeth is the ideal post-op time killer: it chews up an hour twice a day, and there’s noticeable improvement after each session, which gives me the irrationally satisfying feeling that at least I’m getting something accomplished during this detatched, aimless, and endless recovery time. Other than choking down iron pills and going on little limpy pimp errands.
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