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Friday, April 30, 2010

My First and Possibly Only


"Bob, tell them what they might win."

Last week, I'm blogging away and going through my emails when I receive an email from a representative of CSNStores.com

I had never heard of this online store which is actually like 200 stores all together where you can find tv stands, furniture, toys, home decor, and so much more! Anyway, their lovely representative....Eileen said she loved the high quality look and feel of my blog (flattery will get you everywhere) and wondered if I would be interested in doing a giveaway for my readers. I told her I'd have to check out their store first before I could commit. 

Well, I went there and did a search...which takes awhile because they have so many stores and products to choose from. There products range from furniture to home accessories to kitchen necessities to home improvement products such as flooring and more...you name it and they seem to have it. Plus....and are you ready for this...most things have FREE shipping! That's definitely a plus.

So I wrote back to Eileen and said yes...I'd talk about their store (she said I didn't have to, but I wanted to because it's so awesome) and give my readers the chance to win something from their store.

I decided to go on an imaginary shopping trip and just pick out things I would buy from there if I had all the money in the world to spend. They have products in every price point from very budget friendly up to high end. There is truly something for everyone. They also have all styles from Traditional to Modern to Transitional to Contemporary.

I decided to focus most of my shopping adventure on

(one of their many stores)

Keep reading to find out how you can win a $50 gift certificate to use online at CSNStores.com

First thing...I went looking for the venetian mirror I've been wanting for my hallway...there it was...just the one I've been wanting...

I have just the perfect spot for this mirror. This was in the regular CSNStore.com

Then I headed to allmodern.com

I thought I might buy this sofa for my office / library but there were so many styles it was really hard to decide.

Then I found this lamp....that just seems so Hollywood it would be hard to resist

I thought this was a cool chandelier...Would I put it in my house?...no...but it sure would be cool at my work office.

I liked this lamp too

and this headboard was dreamy and very inexpensive

Then I focused on finding the Saarinen table that I blogged about last week...

They had it!

I thought I might pair it with the ghost chairs that they carry also...but those chairs have been so over exposed...everyone has used them...

so instead I thought this chair would be perfect and is comes in several transparent colors

Aren't they darling? They look like bamboo but are made of lucite.

So pretty...

then I found the perfect chandelier that would tie the whole room together...

What fun!

Let's imagine what it would all look like together

here in a room

a couple of other things I need...

and of course....you saw it coming...This place has everything...I want...including the perfect...

kitchen sink.

Now...for your part. If you'd like to be entered in the drawing to win a $50 gift Certificate from CSNstores.com just leave me a comment and tell me what you would spend your $50 on (if you want...you don't have to). You'll get two entries if you leave me a comment and become a follower of my blog. If you leave me a comment, but are already a follower of my blog...then you automatically get two entries. You can enter through Sunday night, May 2.

I'll do a drawing and announce the winner here after Sunday. 

That's pretty easy, right? Can't wait to hear about what you would use your $50 for...they have anything and everything you might imagine.

I decided to extend this giveaway till Tuesday night...May 4 because my plan was to link up to some parties this weekend creating more exposure but that didn't happen until Sunday late afternoon. So you still have time to enter!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Rose and The Ivy

My roses are blooming. The scent welcomes me when I come home each day as it is right by the drive way. 

The view to the street from my front porch.

The ivy I planted is really going nuts. It might need a little haircut soon.

I'm going to have a give away later in the week. Check back for your chance to win.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Artist of Note

Ray Caesar

I happened upon the art of Ray Caesar one day a couple of years ago when looking up all things Steam Punk. His work is extraordinary; a combination of science fiction, historical fiction, horror, romance novel, super hero and pin ups. With other things thrown in also. If the beauty of his heroines weren't enough...the settings of his paintings are a set decorator's dream. 
Mine too. 

These are the things dreams are made of...
or nightmares.

Go by RayCaesar.com to view much much more.

New Blog Friend

Serendipity Interiors
photo credit: Serendipity Interiors

Alva over at Serendipity Interiors posted about my blog the other day. That was so sweet of her. I totally missed out on it because I was working so much. Please go over and check out her lovely blog. She and I have discovered we are of  like minds. 

Oh how many wonderfully talented, smart women there are out in this Blogosphere...oh...but I can't leave out Christain over at Maison 21. He's the only man I've been smitten over in a very long time. But I think it might have a lot to do with his dog, Mona.

She is a rescued corgi and she smiles in absolutely every photo. My Violet is a little above it all to smile for everyone. I love a smiling dog.

Be sure to go by Christain's fabulous blog. 

By reading it everyday, I feel like I know what is hip and cool and utterly amazing in LA all the time. And since I am stuck here in the dust bowl...I mean...Oklahoma...I need the infusion of great taste that reading Maison 21 brings. Although because of him I wasted about two hours a couple of weekends ago watching Adam Ant videos on YouTube. I'd forgotten how beautiful Adam Ant was. And if you are wondering...are there 2 hours worth of Adam Ant videos on YouTube? No...but I had to watch interviews and read up on him too. 

The Pole!!!

aka Serpentine Column

Yesterday I told "How I Met My House". I talked about the pole or serpentine column that is in the design of my front porch. I thought I'd share a photo of it up close and personal.

That's the pole I was so excited to get when I bought my house. 

This morning, Violet woke us all up early...even though it was the weekend and we are suppose to sleep in. 

and we all went outside...

Violet strikes an early morning pose...

Newman sniffs for grub worms...

and Harvey pays attention to Mommy. 

No pictures of Sally...she was still in bed. She's a night owl and doesn't like to get up in the mornings. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How I Met My House

and lived happily ever after....

My house as it looked last year...

I was going to put up a new photo of my home taken with my new camera but I didn't get home till it was dark and I didn't want to miss out on the "How I Met My House Party" over at Our Suburban Cottage.

I'll edit this post with a new photo if the weather holds out tomorrow. So here is the story of how I met my house. 

I grew up in Oklahoma but had been living in Atlanta for 10 years when I came back home after a sad break up with the guy I was going to marry. My Dad insisted I move home. When I say he insisted...I mean...he called and said..."I've rented a truck..we'll be there on Sunday".  He didn't exactly give me a choice. He was moving me home. He was worried about me and wanted me home.

I was very unhappy being back in Oklahoma...it was not at all what I had planned. But as time went on...I started a new career, made lots of new friends and pretty much started over from scratch. 

In 2002, my father was killed in a motorcycle accident. He'd had the bike only 3 weeks. Absolutely, the most devastating thing ever in my life. It was life changing for me. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him and cry at the thought of him. He was the best father any girl could ever ever have. I miss him terribly. He was not only my father, he was my very very good friend. 

He was the only man ever in my life that I have ever been able to count on. He was the very best of the best. He was always there to make everything ok and without him the world is a scary place. But...I feel he still watches out for me and part of how I know this is that I live in this house. I will tell you how at the end of this story.

In 2004, my sister decided to get married. My Mom and I were still reeling from my Dad's death. This was a shock to both my Mom and I - that my sister was suddenly getting married. We were not keen on the idea. We didn't want any other changes. We'd had too many changes. But we grew to accept it and it's turned out to be very much the right thing for her. She and her husband have been very happy together. So...my Mom knowing how unhappy I was, because I didn't want to live here to begin with, seeing as how I was here because of the failure of my romantic life and seeing that since the death of my father, I didn't care really about much of anything. I was severely depressed. Like not leaving the house all weekend, depressed. Coming straight home from work and going to bed, depressed. Like not thinking there is any reason to get out of bed each day, depressed. Not being able to think of any reason to go on, depressed. The only thing I cared about were my dogs.

You see, my father's death is why we have so many weenie dogs...for awhile there...it was like..."Oh...I'm feeling really bad...shall we get another weenie dog? Maybe that will help". And it would for a bit...we were trying to fill up the hole in our lives left by my father's sudden death...filling it up with weenie dogs. It helped...but really the hole was still there...we were just busy taking care of dogs.

So my Mom knowing how unhappy I was...and knowing that it was hard for me to see my sister getting married when I had been left by my fiance (who had married within a year of our breakup)...decided that she would help me get into a house that I truly wanted to be in. We searched Oklahoma City for months. I didn't like anything. (Often times she would go looking by herself because I just didn't care about anything any more and refused to come along.) We tried new houses, old houses, ranch style houses and condos. I knew I liked tudor revival style homes...and we looked in Crestwood and Lynnwood but I wasn't thrilled with the neighborhood. One of the men I worked with, Wade, kept telling me that I would like his neighborhood, Edgemere Park and that I should use his wife, Heather, who was a realtor.

Well, I was stupid and didn't want to bother her till I knew what I wanted for sure and what part of the city I wanted to live in but nothing was right. (in hindsight, I should have put Heather on the case immediately) Then one day, a realtor we'd run into suggested we look at a house in Edgemere Park. I told her I'd heard of the neighborhood but didn't know exactly where it was. 

She drove us to it. When we came around the corner and there before us was this amazing city community park shaded by at least a hundred huge decades old trees with a meandering creek running through it, crossed by a historic bridge...I immediately felt like...I was where I was suppose to be. I said, "This is it. I don't feel like I'm in Oklahoma any more"! My mood was lifting... suddenly I had purpose...I had a reason to live.

We viewed that day a house for sale on 35th street. I wanted it badly but it had a leaky basement and it was kind of a dark house and had a precarious staircase down to the basement that I couldn't imagine fighting the dogs back as I went down to do laundry. But I knew I had found my future neighborhood.

The next week, I looked at several more houses in the neighborhood. One was on 33rd. It was a little bigger than we'd planned on. It had a lovely big kitchen, but we thought it a bit pricey, so we thought about it. Then the next week, my realtor, Heather, called. I'd finally told her to officially start looking for me. She said breathlessly. "There's a house on my street that just put a for sale sign up tonight. I think it's the one. I've called to see if you can see it tonight but they asked that we wait till tomorrow". She seemed pretty sure i was going to like it.

When I was looking for homes in my neighborhood - some of the homes have serpentine columns on the front porch separating the arches rather than brick columns. A house with a serpentine column had not been up for sale.  I loved the look of them. When we'd be looking...we'd see a house we liked and say..."Oh...look it has a pole (serpentine column). I wish I could find one with a pole".

Even when I spoke about my search at work...one of the guys I worked with said, "I like the ones with poles on the porches. You should get one of those". I agreed, I wanted one of those...but there weren't very many of them and none for sale. I probably wouldn't be lucky enough to get one with a pole.

So Heather tells me to go by after work and do a drive by and see if I like it. I drive by...it's already getting to be dark. I go to the address she tells me and pull up in front of it. It's dark outside but I can tell -  it's cute....it has potential...it needs landscaping...but above all else....it has a pole!!!

I call my Mom...she knew I was going to go by..."I'm sitting in front of it. It has a pole". 

"It has a pole"? she says.

"Yes, it has a pole". I say.

She says, "this could be the one".

The criteria I had for my home was...it needed to be not very expensive, It needed to be quaint. I wanted it to be historic. It had to be nice and in good condition but not all fixed up because I wanted to fix it up. It had to have a good layout where the dogs would have a place to stay during the day while I was at work without being able to run all around the house all day. It also... had to have a view to the backyard as soon as you stepped into the living room. This last thing on my wish list...seemed pretty hard to come by in historic neighborhoods. I'd started to give up on it because I was so swayed by the historic charm...I'd do without the view of the backyard.

So the next day...I planned to meet my Mom and Heather at the house in the afternoon about 2. I was working and had to leave work to meet them there. I was a few minutes late. They were already in the house when I arrived. I steppped up on the porch. "Pretty", I thought..."not at it's full potential but I could make it perfect". I went through the front door which was a paned window door...original to the home. My Mom and Heather were standing in the living room with the biggest smiles on their faces. I walked in...it was kind of dark inside...the house had awnings on the front windows that kept sunlight out (those Mom and I removed right away).

The walls were painted a greyish olive green. It was very tasteful...but not my cup of tea. They were saying, "Well, well...this is it. This is the one". They'd already decided and I'd just stepped in the room. I turned to look straight through the living room and dining room and discovered...I could look straight through the house and see the backyard! During a renovation that took place about 10 years prior...the owners had knocked out a window and cut a larger opening and put in expensive glass sliders. There was a nice deck built on the back of the house there. It had everything on my wish list. I immediately noticed that all the light fixtures were not original except the one in the dining room. I liked that...I love shopping for light fixtures and it's been fun finding vintage ones to put up in every room.

The kitchen was on the back of the house with a breakfast nook...this is the room with the sliding doors (they eventually will be french doors). It was the perfect room for the dogs to hang out in while I'm away at work. It has become the doggy condo.

It had two bathrooms, practically unheard of in this neighborhood for a house this size. It's only 1,400 square feet. Two bedrooms and a library/office with built in shelves all around the room. Something I hadn't even dared to put on my list but needed badly. I have lots and lots of books that filled them quickly.

It had a sweet little backyard that was manageable. It was perfect and we put an offer on it that day right then. It was accepted within a couple of hours and it was a done deal. 

It happened so fast...I was kind of in a daze...I went back to work and said that I had just put an offer on the house...and I wasn't even sure I liked it now...because it all happened so fast...but the guy at work who had said he liked the houses with poles said. "Of course you did the right thing. It has a pole! It has a pole"! I hugged my pole the day I got my keys and walked into it the first time.

Now this story has gone on quite long enough...but I am not quite finished. Here is why I think this house was always meant for me and that my Dad helped us find it.

After I moved in. I met my next door neighbor. An elderly man of 75 who had lived in his house for 35 plus years. We became friendly. He once had a dachshund and liked my weenies. He told me how he and his wife had spent a lot of time in my house back a long time ago when they first came to live in the neighborhood. He asked what I did for a living and I told him that I was a graphic designer who worked for a media group that owned radio stations. He said, that was such a coincidence because the woman who had lived there for so long had been an artist and had worked for a tv station. I asked what tv station. He said, "channel 13 or OETA". I couldn't believe it...my father had worked at that station with her. My Dad was a film editor when I was a child and worked with her for many years. I had heard him mention her many times. One of the reasons I became a graphic designer was that my father encouraged me to do it because he'd worked with several artists and designers during his time at the station. So he knew I could do art and make a living at it. 

Now, my Dad loved old things. He and I would sometimes meet for lunch when I had my very first job in OKC and shop at our favorite antique store "Spiveys" when it was down on 23rd street. He knew I loved things from the 20's and 30's. He would have loved this house. He would have thought it perfect for me. I don't know that he ever saw this house back then, when he was working at the tv station. The tv station was not very far from here. And sometimes when I was a kid,  I'd go to work with him and marvel as the tree shaded streets with all the old houses. I don't know that he ever saw this house back then, but I totally feel like somehow he led mother and I to it...and made sure I had just the perfect home to become happy again in.

Of course my Mom made it all happen...so she was the driving force who pushed to find it. Which is strange in itself because this is not really like her...Dad always pushed her when it came to big purchases. It was almost like she was possessed by him for us to find this house.

It has been the perfect home for me. I don't think I could ever leave it...feeling like both my parents picked it out for me. My Mom helped me find it, buy it, restore it and build my fabulous fireplace that's in it. I truly feel like my Dad led us both to it.

So, that is how I met my house...you've just peered down deep into my soul. 

Here are photos of how the house appeared the day I bought it. You can go back through my blog to see pictures of how I've redone it. I haven't shown all the rooms as I've redone them yet. I am working my way through them. Several of the rooms each have one or two things to do to them before I show. I've just been working so much at my job as of late, I haven't been able to get them done so I can show you. But I'm going to soon. Without further ado...my house as it was the day I bought it.

living room...

dining room...


kitchen - I changed this paint immediately before I moved in. I could not live with those campbell tomato soup red walls

same thing in the breakfast nook

back bedroom

front bedroom


hmmm...can't find a  photo of the bathrooms...I'll have to search some more.

Here is the back bath but this is during the renovation...It had taupe/dark tan walls when I bought it. It also had a built in medicine cabinet with a mirrored front. I hated that and removed the doors and then hung a venetian mirror in front of it. I have since added molding around the shelving so it looks custom and finished the room. I will show it very soon. I am sewing a skirt to go around the sink this weekend.

My house has changed a lot since 2004. I swear...I'll get my act together and show you all the changes soon. Right now, all you can see redone in this blog is the living room and fireplace. Which you can check out by going through previous posts.

Now, I've got to read all about how everyone else met their houses!