The Impatient Gardener: November 2012

30 November 2012

Buh-bye ugly lamp!

It's the last day of November. Seems strange since it feels very December-y lately (other than the weather) and it seems like Thanksgiving was ages ago.

What better way to finish off the month than by resolving a problem I shared with you at the beginning of the month! That problem was the ugly lamp situation in my living room. I am very happy to tell you that I finally found a lamp that works, and having lived with it for a week or so, I really love it.

As you may recall, for 10 years I've lived with this ugly lamp that came with the house. I know it's not the worst lamp in the world by far, but I grew to dislike it more and more each day.

The ugly old lamp that came with the house -- The Impatient Gardener

Then I ordered a lamp from Target's Nate Berkus collection that ended up not being at all what I thought it was going to be (in my excitement, I failed to read the description) in addition to being too short, so that went back.

Target's Nate Berkus lamp -- The Impatient Gardener

Then I fell in love with this lamp on Etsy.

Vintage teak lamp -- The Impatient Gardener

Isn't it gorgeous? It's a vintage teak little number that has since been snatched up and I absolutely loved it. And it didn't hurt that the guy selling it was what I would consider to be extremely good looking. At least in his seller picture on Etsy. When I fell in love with it he didn't know the exact dimensions, so I was all set to pull the trigger on it pending some measurements (of the lamp, just to clarify) and it turned out it was 43 inches tall. WAY too tall for the table I wanted to put it on. And just in case I was toying with the idea of swapping some tables around to make it work (which I was), it turned out the shipping was $110 (totally nutzo), making it a $300 lamp. Nope. Not happening.

So I stopped looking. Again. And sometimes, that's when the right thing sort of falls in your lamp. My mom and I made a Crate and Barrel run to use our 15% coupons (we go once a year when they have that sale in November) and I happened upon the Kathryn lamp. I think maybe I'd looked at it online before but sort of blew it off because I was afraid it looked a little too beside-lampish for my living room. But it was a whole different story in person. And the coupon clinched it for me. Home it came.

Crate and Barrel Kathryn lamp -- The Impatient Gardener

Since there is no white in that room right now other than the walls, it didn't work well, but white is a big part of the new color scheme coming soon in there so I've been squinting at it deciding if it was meant to me. And it is. I love it. Sometimes simple is good.

It is a huge relief to check that off my list. A decade is way too long to live with something you can't stand.

The living room is really starting to come together, so much so that once the things that are in progress get put into place, I might have a truly "finished" room. And I think that would be a first for me. Ever.

So I'll leave you with a little sneak peek of something else that's new in the room. It came today and so far, I'm in love.
Lee Industries sofa leg -- The Impatient Gardener

Have a great weekend!

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28 November 2012

Poinsettias in every color; even blue

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I have a love-hate relationship with poinsettias. I love them because they are one of the few plants that can bring some color into the house during these darkest days and because even if you do nothing else, a red poinsettia makes your house look holiday-ish. I sort of hate them because after Christmas I want them (and all the rest of my Christmas decorations) to just go away so I can get busy planning for spring (it's a sickness). And then I'm forced to do things like this or this.

Apparently poinsettias, like so many other plants, are a hybridizer's dream because there are certainly a variety of them to be found these days. The old days of red or white are long gone.

I swung by a local nursery last weekend and popped into their greenhouse to find a sea of poinsettias in almost every color.

A sea of poinsettias

In addition to the usual solid red, white and pink varieties, there were variations on red (burgundy) and the very dark-leaved on above. 

There was one that looked like it got in the way of one of my crazy spray-painting projects:
Red and white speckled poinsettia

This softly colored blush and cream one:

A darker, reversed version of that one with an almost coral color:
Salmon poinsettia

This one was a pinky red on the edges with a Pepto-Bismal pink center, but that's not what I liked about it: 
red with pink center ponsettia -- The Impatient Gardener

Take a closer look. Do you see the cool accidental variation on that plant? One bract was split right down the center with red on one half and white on the other. I hope some smart hybridizer figures out how to isolate and stabilize that because that would be a very cool looking poinsettia.
Half red leaf, half white leaf poinsettia -- The Impatient Gardener

And then we get the most hideous of the offerings. The dyed blue poinsettia. Let's just get this out in the world: no flower that is dyed blue is a good thing. Real blue flowers (Himalayan blue poppies and some delphiniums are the first that come to mind) are stunning treasures. This, not so much.
Blue poinsettia -- The Impatient Gardener

 My favorite of all the poinsettias I saw was this one, which manages to take just a tiny twist on the traditional with the variegated leaves.
Variegated leaf poinsettia -- The Impatient Gardener

Do you decorate with poinsettias? What do you do with them when the holidays are over? Are you a blatant plant killer like myself or are you overcome by guilt so that you actually keep the thing alive until spring? 

Want to test your knowledge about poinsettias? Take this little quiz on the favorite flower of the holiday season. I got one of them wrong. 

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26 November 2012

Do you see what I see?

I can't tell you how thankful I am that because of the early Thanksgiving this year we have an extra weekend thrown in before Christmas. It takes so much pressure off.

The rest of the world, though, seems to be full-on into Christmas prep mode. Shopping, baking, decorating and lighting up their houses like crazy. I can't tell you how many fresh Christmas trees I saw strapped to the tops of cars this weekend. How in the world do people keep fresh trees in their house so long? Of course, I'm a pretty poor tree waterer so my trees don't last long anyway.

While everyone else was taking advantage of weekend sales, this is where I was:

In search of dogwood branches

Do you see what I see? Red twig dogwood, my friends. I was traipsing through this overgrown field near my parents' house in search of red twigs. It's getting harder and harder to find them as the field is being taken over by other weedy invasives and ash trees, but with enough looking I can scrounge up enough branches to fill my outdoor containers and the container at work. It pains me to have to pay for dogwood twigs at the nurseries, even though theirs are from dogwood farms and are usually redder and straighter.

I've lost entire piles of cut dogwood in that field by leaving them somewhere and planning to come back to get them only to have them seemingly vanish. This year I left them at the base of the biggest tree in the field so I wouldn't lose them while I was off trimming more.

I used to just stick the branches directly into the soil of my containers but I've learned that they look much better when you bundle them first so I've been wiring them together before putting them in. For the bigger containers, I take a page from Deborah Silver's playbook and wire them to a bamboo or other pole that I plunge deep into the container making the branches much more stable.

I'm now on a hunt for greens to fill my containers, and I've been pretty unsuccesful. I can always find cedar branches, but there are no pines or firs with good branches for filling containers growing in my yard, so I have to supplement my containers with some purchased materials. It's been so hard to find good evergreen boughs this year that I'm contemplating buying a cheap tree at Home Depot just to cut apart into boughs.

Decorating the outside and putting together my holiday containers is by far my favorite decorating of the season, even if it numbs the fingers and toes a bit. All the better to enjoy a hot cup of tea in front of the fire.

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21 November 2012

Let the eating begin

It's the day before Thanksgiving so if there were ever a time to talk about food for the first time on the blog, I guess this is it.

We go to my parents' house for Thanksgiving every year and even though we have a rather small gathering, we of course make way too much food and eat far more than we should. That's also why a Thanksgiving morning walk on the beach has also become a tradition! I'm going to put in a few extra miles tomorrow and actually walk down the beach to the beach that we're meeting at to go for a walk so that I can incur a little less guilt come dinnertime.

When it comes to cooking, I excel in the baking area so it's no real surprise that I pretty much always bring dessert to every event. Trust me, it's better that way (I do not have nearly the cooking talent of my in-laws). I can also make a pretty good mashed potato. And I'll tell you why they are good: because I put fairly liberal amounts of half and half and butter in them. I'm sorry folks, that's just what it takes to make a good mashed potato and if you're going to eat something on Thanksgiving then I think it should taste as good as it can even if it's really bad for you.

The funny thing about the mashed potatoes is that there is a fair amount of sneaking involved in the making of the potatoes. I can tell you the rest of the story here because my mom always forgets to read my blog and therefore this secret is still safe. My mom doesn't think "you need all that fattening stuff" in mashed potatoes. Her idea of mashed potatoes is potatoes and skim milk. I kid you not. A few years ago my sister-in-law and I established a routine that involves one of us distracting my mom in the kitchen while the other dumps the naughty stuff in the mashed potatoes and mixes it in before my mom notices. And then we try not to giggle when my mom mentions how good the mashed potatoes are.

The Impatient Gardener -- Pecan Pie -- Thanksgiving

This year I'm bringing pumpkin cheesecake and pecan pie for dessert. I hate pumpkin pie but cheesecake is a whole other animal. I made one of these several years ago but I can't figure out what recipe I used, so I'm going to use this one from Bon Appetit minus the marshmallow topping (gag). The gingersnap crust is key. Sooo yummy. And we have a few non-cheesecake lovers in the family so I'm also bringing pecan pie. I've yet to make a REALLY good pecan pie, but I keep trying every year. I know that I like lots of pecans (and that toasting them first makes them pretty darn good) and shot of orange zest really keeps the sweetness in check.

So what are you cooking for Thanksgiving? And if you're a "neighbor to the north" what's your favorite dish to bring to a party?

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20 November 2012

I like big bulbs and I cannot lie

Last week (or the week before maybe) I reminded you to plant your amaryllis bulbs. Well, folks, this is why you should do what I say, not what I do. Because I planted mine this weekend. There might still be time for them to be looking OK by Christmas, but I'm definitely pushing it.

Anyway, I got six bulbs all planted up (in dirt, I don't have a lot of luck planting bulbs in just rocks like some people do) and they are now enjoying a good view of the deck from the back room.

A couple of them were obviously ready to be planted ad they were already working on sending up shoots.

It reminded me, though, why I hate Miracle Gro potting soil so much. It was the only potting soil I could get my hands on at this point in the year so it had to do, but it is almost impossible to get that stuff damp. There is so much peat in it that it seems to be water resistant, which is not helpful when you're planting huge bulbs in very small pots.

Anyway we'll keep on eye on them. I have a few new varieties in there this year so it will be fun to see what they look like. And not a one of them is red.

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16 November 2012

Giveaway winners and little changes that make a big difference

Hey, it's Friday again. I love how that keeps happening. I have a few items on the agenda for the weekend including ordering some fabric from Calico Corners before their 25% off sale ends, cutting down just a few more things in the garden and putting cages around the plants that need protection from deer or dogs during the winter. If I were smart I would also put my winter greens in my containers before the soil freezes.

I want to take a quick moment to say thank you to everyone for entering the giveaway for the vintage botanical chart.

The winner of the chart is Becky W. who says she's going to hang the chart on her "big empty dining room wall." I hope you share a picture when you have it up, Becky!

And here's some exciting news. Linda from Bonnie & Bell was so excited about how the giveaway was going that she contacted me yesterday to tell me to also give away a $50 gift certificate to her Etsy store! So I have another winner to announce and that is Claire who said she would hang the chart in her living room over her sofa. I hope you find something you love at the Bonnie & Bell store, Claire!

Congrats to you both. Check your e-mail!

I recently made to small changes at the house. It's nothing earth-shattering, but both changes remedy small things that came with the house that I never really loved.

The first was in the kitchen. The house came with small (34-by-38-inch) island with a maple butcher block top on it. The problem was that the butcher block wasn't made very well. There were butt ends all over it (it's edge grain vs. end grain) and because of that they had to frame it out. But of course wood expands and contracts, so the mitered corners of the frame had split. I love the island and I really liked the butcher block countertop, but I didn't care for that particular one.

Old butcher block island ... meh.

Here's what it looks like in a prettier picture (and if the difference between those two pictures doesn't demonstrate my need for a camera than nothing does).

Oh, I know you're thinking that the roman shades match that butcher block perfectly. I know ... I'll have to deal with it at some point.
I also thought that a warmer wood might work well when we finally get around to sprucing up the working side of the kitchen (whenever that is). My plan is to keep the cabinets white, install a nearly white backsplash and get either white or light quartz countertops. But all that can look a little sterile, so I thought walnut would warm it up a little.

I shopped around for custom walnut countertops. What was amazing to me was that going up in thickness by even a quarter-inch massively increased the cost. So we ended up with a two-inch thick top. I'd have preferred something thicker, but it became cost prohibitive and at two inches it still looks plenty chunky.

It was also a good opportunity to give the island base a fresh coat of white paint. Because of that, we were without the island for about three days. It was horrible. I had no idea how much we relied on that island and how little counter space we really have in the kitchen when that is gone. Also, the island is about 34.5 inches tall and I learned that as a vertically challenged person, it's much more comfortable to work on a counter that's that height vs. the 36-inch counters.

We went with an oiled finish on the butcher block, which is what we had on the maple top (which I sold very quickly on Craig's List for $35; I just wanted it gone). I like the sort of dull, antique look that you get with an oiled finish vs. something like Waterlox, which I used in my office. That is a gorgeous finish, but it's very "new" looking. And even though we pretty much always use a cutting board (I love the Epicurean cutting boards ... thin, wood and dishwasher safe), we do occasionally slice a lemon or something right on the butcher block and you can't do that with a hard finish. Plus, I like knowing that if something happens to it, fixing it is as easy as a little sanding and reoiling.

New walnut butcher block and fresh white paint. Ahhhhh.

The other little change happened in the living room. The fireplace screen came with the house but was definitely one of those things that was purely about function. The tri-fold black screen had zero style, except maybe the arch in the middle that matches the arch on the firebox. Also, some of the screen on it was sort of pushed out. We use the fireplace pretty regularly in winter so a screen is a necessity for us. But have you ever looked at the price of fireplace screens? Oh my gosh, it's crazy. It's not uncommon to find them for $175 and much, much more.

Old fireplace screen: Blah.
So I was pretty jazzed to find this screen in Target's circular last week on sale for $39.99. Even better, it was in a aged bronze sort of color, which goes with the copper/bronze metal color we have going in the living room. And it looks pretty similar to this fireplace screen from Crate and Barrel for $179.

New fireplace screen: Much better, but now the tools don't match.

I love how much more room it gives us on the hearth since it rests flat against the fireplace. Of course it would look much better with a roaring fire, but you get the idea.

Looking at these pictures I just remembered on other item on the list for the weekend: scoop out the ashes in the fireplace.

So what changes have you made to your house lately and what's on your agenda for the weekend?

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15 November 2012

Last day for the giveaway!

I'll be back later to show you a couple small updates that we've done in the house, but for now I just wanted to remind you that today is the last day to enter the giveaway for the vintage botanical chart from Bonnie & Bell.

Don't miss out!

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13 November 2012

Things I learned from Sarah

It's no secret that I have a massive girl crush on Sarah Richardson. I try not to talk about it too much here because I hate to just show you pretty pictures of rooms that other people have created. There are a lot of blogs that do that very well and this one will never been one of them.

But I have to say that there are very few television designers who I feel like I actually learn something from. Sarah Richardson is an exception. Maybe it's because she works with her "sidekick" (I bet he hates that term) Tommy Smythe and the two of them talk about why they are making the decisions they make, but I always pick up a tip or two when watching one of her shows.

HGTV (which apparently has some kind of issue with Sarah because it takes forever to show her series and then they either play them at odd times or burn them off in a weekend) had a mini Sarah 101 marathon yesterday (starting at 7 a.m. CST) so I was thrilled to come home to a DVR filled with Sarah.

Here are a few of the little tips that I picked up from watching some of the shows.

In a very small condo renovation she bought Ikea stock cabinets (almost every kitchen she does is Ikea and they all look amazing) but dressed them up by putting frame fillets (like you would use when framing art) on shaker cabinets. How sharp does that look? I don't know anyone who would walk into a kitchen that looked like that think those were Ikea cabinets. And you have to love that backsplash.

Sarah does the most amazing bathrooms. I think the quality I appreciate most about her design is her ability to combine high and low in a space. She splurges on some items but saves on something else. I can't tell you how many bathrooms I've seen her create where she uses van ordinaire tile from a big box store and combines it in a way that looks totally high end and so cool. Check out this striped shower. Seriously, who comes up with that? And every bit of tile came from Lowe's. Some day we have to deal with the atrocity that is our pink downstairs bathroom and I aspire to do it on a small budget and try to do something creative like this with tile.

 Sarah and Tommy might have coined the phrase "Jumping-off point." They almost always start with one element in a room and everything else flows from there. That element changes depending on the room, so they never follow other rules that you might have heard such as starting with the rug or the couch or whatever. Often they start with fabric and my favorite scenes are always the ones in the fabric store where they pull out dozens of fabrics and narrow them down. They do an amazing job of combining patterns and colors seemingly effortlessly.

For this bachelor's master bedroom they started with the white colorway of Schumachers Chiang Mai Dragon (a rather unlikely choice for a masculine room but I love it, and as Sarah said, the idea is that he won't be a bachelor forever). Every time I start thinking that that fabric is overdone and just ubiquitous to the point of saturation, I see it and my heart goes pitter patter and I know I must have it. What amazed me about this room is how they combined other fabrics with it. The celtic gear-type fabric on the chair (Schumacher Conundrum) is an obvious fit (and I'd combine it with the dragon fabric in a heartbeat if it weren't $200 a yard!), but never in a million years would I have thought that plaid would go with that fabric. The curtain fabric was $5.99 a yard—that's Canadian dollars though, so that's like $5.87 a yard here ;)—which nicely balanced the cost of the expensive Schumacher fabrics. Of course they needed something like 56 yards of drapery fabric so it better be cheap!

There's no denying, there is a LOT of pattern in this room, but it works for me. One other interesting note: even though there was a large empty wall that the bed could have gone on (to the right of this picture, I think), they put it on a wall with windows, which isn't the obvious choice in my mind. Sarah said that she believes the best place for a bed is on the wall across from where you walk into the room. Interestingly I think that is really bad feng shui, but I'm not positive.

And lastly, she did a contemporary country kitchen for her BFF. Of course, the island is the star here. Putting reclaimed barn wood on an island is hardly a new idea, but I love how she put it in a chevron-type pattern and used the stained boards to break it up (really she did that to keep the raw edges of the barn wood from showing but it's a great effect). I'm not loving a few things in this room including the floor color (she refinished them so I think going a little darker might have been more to my liking), the bathtub curtain rod light fixture on the ceiling and the spacing of the two lanterns over the round dining table. But that barn wood. Ahhhhh.

All photos from HGTV Canada
So what do you think of those rooms? Do you watch any design shows you actually learn something from or is it just about the eye candy?

If you're loving Sarah's take on big-box finds, make sure you check out her web series in which she decorates a house entirely with finds from Lowe's.

OK, enough with the pretty pictures. We'll be back to my regular old house soon!

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09 November 2012

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

Here's a bit of randomness for Friday (yay Friday!).

First off, in case you missed it on the Facebook page yesterday, the chair I was (and still am) in love with at the thrift store turns out to be eerily similar to my favorite chair in our house. Like someone said ... you like what you like. Guess we know what I like. And yes, I'm still having to practically tie myself down to keep from going back and getting those chairs.

On the left, the $6 chair from the thrift store. On the right, my favorite (soon to be reuphostered) chair in the living room. Look alike much?

All of a sudden I'm a bit obsessed with vintage stuff. I went to two other thrift stores yesterday. One was a complete fail but the other was quite nice. I've not been to it before but they actually arranged the furniture (and they had a lot of good stuff) into little vignettes which is so much better than the oak graveyard that seems to be so popular at most stores. I found a lamp that looked amazing like this lamp, or would, at least, after it was painted. It was $5 (vs. the $340 price tag on the new one) and I carried it around for half an hour before deciding that it was too large for next to the couch and remaining firm on not buying things I don't have an immediate use for. Look at me and all my willpower!

In addition to scouring the thrift stores, I have been all over Etsy and eBay this week. Just days after whining about how much I detest shopping for lamps, I somehow discovered that I LOVE shopping for vintage lamps. Who knew? These are a few of the lamps I currently have on my watch list on eBay. I'm even finding lights for places I didn't realize I was looking for light fixtures for.

I have no need for sconces, but these are so fabulous that I'm watching them just to see what happens with them.

Lindsey over at Better After featured my chair redo today, except she put in a not-quite-after picture before I put the double welt on. Still, it's always a thrill to have your projects recognized by someone else and Lindsey's commentary is worth the price of admission any day of the week!

All done, WITH the welting.

It is amazing when and how inspiration strikes. I've been half looking for mirrors for the bedroom. This is  not a high priority project, but it's one of those things I always have in the back of my head to keep an eye out for. Suddenly this morning it occurred to me that what I'm looking for is probably simple enough that I could make it on my own. I called the local glass supply store and they can sell me the mirror in the size I need for $15 a pop. If I can find the rest of the parts for a reasonable price I think I'm going to have one crazy cool project on my hands.

And lastly, a gardening note for you. Heather at New House, New Home, New Life posted the very good reminder this morning that it's time to start amaryllis bulbs. I picked up a handful (well a couple handfuls since amaryllis bulbs are pretty big) from the plant co-op that I need to get planted this weekend and get them growing in time for Christmas. So if you're planning on starting some amaryllis (and why wouldn't you?) get yourself in gear this weekend.

Speaking of plants, I love staghorn ferns. I think they are so cool and I really want to grow one. Do any of you grow these? It sounds like they can be pretty particular about humidity which can be hard to manage in winter inside.

Photo from Logee's Greenhouse

Oh and don't forget to enter to win the vintage botanical chart if you haven't already and have a great weekend!

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08 November 2012

Step away from the chair

I happened to be driving past the local thrift store this weekend and just popped in for a quick run through to make sure I didn't need anything (ha, need, that's funny). Things were pretty well picked over, which seems to be the usual state of things at this particular store as I understand the employees usually grab the best stuff.

I did, however, walk past a pair of the cutest little chairs covered in a peach velour. I love velour. It is a creepy fascination, but I'm positive it goes back to my childhood. My dad had a rust-colored velour shirt (this was the '70s, after all) and I would sit on his lap and rub my face against his shirt. So now I love velour.

Anyway, I sat in one of the chairs and it was remarkably comfortable. The cushion could use a little firming up, but otherwise it was great. And then I pulled up the skirt and saw the cutest fluted legs. And I loved the three-button tufts on the back.

And the best part? They were $6 each. Are you kidding me?

Especially with my newfound love of upholstering, I thought this would be the perfect first fully upholstered chair to take on.

Except there is no possible place in my house for these to live. And I already have an upholstery project in waiting in the basement. And I always fall in with expensive fabric, so even though they only cost $12 for both of them, I could easily see this being a $400 project. And I'm not running a furniture store.

So they had to stay. Even writing about them makes me want to run back there and see if they are still there but I must resist.

Step away from the chair, Erin. Step away.

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07 November 2012

Lamp lament

I took a little heat from a family member last week (just a tiny little bit) when I said on the blog that I don't do placeholders. It was in reference to the vintage botanical charts I recently hung in the kitchen, which I was so thrilled to have hanging there because that wall was empty for about three years while I searched for the perfect thing. I was more content to have it sit empty than to fill it with something I didn't really love.

I did couch my opinion on placeholders a little by saying I didn't like to buy placeholders, thereby giving myself a pass on placeholders that I already own.

There is one place in the house that has had a placeholder in use for 10 years. Yep, since the day we bought the house.

When we bought the house it was total chaos. The seller had decided she didn't really want to sell and tried to get out of the contract (I think because we offered the full asking price the day it went on the market she realized that maybe this place, which she was using as a rarely visited second home, might be something special). We knew it was our dream house and played a bit tough with her, making it clear that we were going to fight to keep it. Anyway, she was heartbroken about it (which I understand) so she sort of dragged her feet on actually moving out). So on the day we closed at 9 a.m., our real estate agent called us at 10:30 a.m. to warn us not to even come out because her moving truck hadn't even showed up yet. Um, what then? We waited around until 1 p.m. and then we HAD to start moving. It was a Monday and we had one day off of work to move, not to mention our family had taken time off of work as well. So we were moving our stuff in the basement door while she moved her stuff out the front door. It got confusing. And she ran out of room in the moving truck. So we inherited a lot of her stuff.

Hideously ugly lamp that's been sitting there for 10 years.

One of those things was a table lamp that I remember thinking was one of the uglier lamps I'd ever seen. But since we had no table lamp, it worked fine next to the sofa until I could find something else. It was a spot we really needed a lamp in, so it would do.

I'll just pause here to mention that I hate lamp shopping. I think most lamps are horribly overpriced and way too trendy. I think stylists must feel the same way, because if you look closely, the styled spaces you see in magazines or on rarely don't have table lamps where you would expect to find them.

I was so excited when I saw the lamp that was included in Nate Berkus' Target collection. It was close to what I was looking for, and at $40 for the lamp plus a shade, it was in my price range. And I actually stayed up to midnight so I could buy it online as soon as they offered it on the website. To be honest, I stayed up until 1:30 a.m., which is when I woke up on the couch and remembered to order it before stumbling to bed.

I guess I was so excited about it that I never really read the description. I thought the lamp was a light-to-medium toned wood. Turns out it was metal painted gold. Oh I know, gold is all the rage all of a sudden. Maybe I'm slow to embrace trends (or if you're in the camp that believes gold is classic and never was out of style, maybe I'm just lame), but I'm having a hard time loving gold. Antique brass I can do, but gold, not so much. (Speaking of that, I think I might actually be hitting the trend at exactly the right time because we're trying to replace all of our very heavy, well made solid SHINY brass doorknobs with antique knobs).
Nate Berkus lamp from Target ... still not quite right. I think it's safe to assume that no styling occurred prior to the taking of this photograph. Just keepin' it real, folks!

Other than the gold, I liked the lamp. I'm also really, really sick of looking for lamps. I mean, it's been a decade! So for a second there, I actually thought about breaking my placeholder rule and keep that Nate Berkus lamp. After all, it's way better than what was there before. But I knew I'd still be looking for the right lamp and then I'd have to add the (albeit reasonable) cost of the Target lamp to the cost of the new lamp and I'd have spent more than I wanted to. So I packed it up and took it back.

And then I stuck that ugly old lamp back on the table. The search continues. What do you do when you can't find the right thing for a room? Settle on something else and learn to love it, or wait until you find the perfect thing?

P.S.: Bonnie & Bell, which teamed up with me to give away the fabulous vintage botanical chart (you can still enter if you haven't already), is offering 15% off everything in their Etsy shop TODAY ONLY with the code 15WIN. So if you had your eye on something over there snatch it up now while you can!

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05 November 2012

Vintage botanical chart giveaway

OK, folks, today is the big day. I am SO excited to be offering this amazing giveaway from Bonnie & Bell.

You might remember that I spent three years staring at a giant blank wall in the kitchen while I searched for the perfect art. I absolutely fell in love with some of the photos I was seeing of vintage botanical prints but I wanted something very large scale. I even asked Lauren Leiss of Pure Style Home (she is a seriously amazing designer with such a fresh perspective, not to mention a mom of three boys) where she found large scale botanicals like she has in her own home (well this is her old home because she's in the process of renovating a new house but I'm positive they'll find a place of honor in her new place too) and like she often uses in her clients' homes.

Lauren Liess/ Pure Style Home

Well I found vintage botanical charts on Etsy in the Bonnie & Bell shop. But because I'm insanely picky, I was looking for specific charts. Linda, who owns Bonnie & Bell was amazingly patient and helped me find the perfect charts for my space.

Linda and I spent a lot of time corresponding via e-mail during the time she was scouring Europe (I'm serious about that, I think she found the horse chestnut chart for me in The Netherlands) for my chart, and I was absolutely thrilled when she offered to do a giveaway for my readers.

So here's what we came up with. Bonnie & Bell has very generously donated a vintage botanical chart of the potato vine to be given away to one lucky reader. This is a Jung Koch Quentell chart that was originally used in German schools. It is paper on a linen backing and is rolled up on dowels. I love the look of the dowels, but some people choose to remove them (they are easy to remove without damaging the chart) and frame the charts instead. It is 33 inches by 44.5 inches without the dowels and 36 inches by 46.5 inches with the dowels and it is gorgeous!

Close-up of the flower

Close-up of another flower plus the dowel

I'm using the Rafflecopter widget to hopefully make entering a little bit easier. In order to enter, just leave a comment saying where you'd hang this beautiful chart. Would it go in your kitchen, like I did with mine? Or maybe in your family room like Lauren did? Or would you be the best friend/family member ever and give it as the most most amazing gift ever? You can earn additional entries by doing a few other tasks, so up your odds and do them all!

I'll accept entries until November 15. If you have any problems at all with Rafflecopter, e-mail me at and I'll get you entered.

You may have to click to the original post in order to enter if you receive this via e-mail.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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