Friday, June 13, 2008

feng shui

I believe in the power of feng shui. In our last apartment, our home office seemed stagnant, full of bad energy. We rearranged things, according to my crash course from library books on basic feng shui principles, and immediately noticed a difference. Interestingly, I have yet to apply the ideals to our current home, and I am starting to notice that attention needs to be paid. Its not that there is a bad vibe in our house, it just seems cluttered. I feel the need to open things up.

I was looking online for some inspiration, and came across a couple of resources. The first, from domino magazine, gives you a visual picture of the simplicity that is feng shui. Here is a before and after of a feng shui makeover to an entry way.

The makeover included removing clutter, placing a visually pleasing rug to ground the entry, and using flowers in the next room on a round table to welcome good energy and keep it moving throughout the house. Simple steps that anyone could apply to their own space. Check the article for more ideas.

Feng shui practitioner Suzan Hilton has a very intriguing site. I could not help but set up the proper station in my home office for performing the "money dance". Its a simple act of gratitude whereby each day you place a coin into a pretty vessel located in a wealth area of your home. Suzan Hilton has written The Feng Shui of Abundance, which I just might have to pick up and dissect. She explains the action steps you can take to positively affect your environment, in a way that makes it seem easy and natural.

Feng shui has many intricacies, but mainly, its principles are based off of the Chinese template called the Bagua. The Bagua is divided into eight equal sections, each one representing a different sphere of your life: Family, knowledge, career, helpful people, children and creativity, marriage and commitment, fame, and wealth. When this template is placed properly over the footprint of your house, you can determine which ares of your home represent which realm of your life. Then you can organize those spaces in order to maximize the benefits of feng shui.
The Baugua

One of my favorite books on Feng Shui is Feng Shui Revealed by Ron Chin. The photos are gorgeous, and the advice is easy to understand and put into practice. Check it out on amazon, where you can search inside and see what I mean. This is the book I used to reorganize my office when we lived on Bainbridge. I've got to buy a copy so that I can use it again to get the good energy flowing in my current abode!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

creature comforts

I discovered a fantastic new blog yesterday. Creature Comforts, written by a gal named Ez, is visually very pleasing to look at, and she also features the art and handiwork of some really talented designers and artists. Her focus is not only on interior decor, but hand made items of all kinds: clothing, paper goods, photography. She seems to have simply impeccable taste, and I was very inspired while taking it all in.

If you have a chance to check her blog out, you can also enter to win her birthday giveaway. In celebrating one year blogging, she and lots of incredible artists have put together an amazing array of prizes! All you have to do is visit the blog, and scroll down to the June 11th post entitled "In It To Win It". You can read the whole post but in a nutshell, here's how to enter: In a comment window, type your favorite quote and be sure to leave your first name, last initial and email address. She will choose the winner at random and announce it on June 30th.

I can't think of a better incentive to get to her site and check out all she has to offer. Trust me, it is really beautiful, totally worth your time,and I promise you will be inspired!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

small space living

Sharilyn Wright's studio on apartment therapy.

Apartment living can be a drag in more ways than one. If you can't paint, you are stuck with white walls. Sometimes, the kitchen is smaller than the bathroom. If you are lucky, you have an extra bedroom to create a home office, if not, those ugly file cabinets may have to become part of your decor. And the most common problem in rentals,(heck, even in the house I own), is convenient and plentiful storage.

But hey, no need to fret. Turn that frown upside down and click on your creativity. Challenge yourself to think outside the box you live in and come up with inventive solutions to your rental woes. To help spur that inner designer, here are a few images I found in a great collection of apartment decorating tricks from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

For the issue of tiny kitchens with little storage, maximize your walls. Hang racks for pots and utensil cups. Maybe you even want to try the Julia Child-esque treatment of a white peg board with painted silhouettes and hooks for each pan.

If an extra bedroom is not in your rental budget, devote a corner or wall in your living space to home office needs. Using a slender card table, sew a fabric skirt to hide file cabinets and computer cords and top the table with a piece of coordinating fabric under custom cut glass. Go vertical with shelves, and hide office necessities in decorative boxes or baskets.

Create different zones in rooms where there are none, by floating your furniture instead of pushing it up against the walls. Place a console table behind the sofa to double as a bill paying center or stick to storage ottomans underneath and some pretty vases on top.

Convert a bookshelf into convenient entry storage by labeling bins or baskets and filling them with scarves, gloves, shoes, office supplies, coats, heck even canned goods, if you don't have ample storage in the kitchen.

Just because you can't paint the walls, does not mean you can't decorate with color! Bring in color on your furniture, throw pillows, curtains and art work. Cover plywood panels with batting and fabric to lean against the walls for visual interest.

To see more inspiring uses of small spaces, visit

To see ideas used by real people in their own apartments, check out apartment

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

upcoming markets!

Don't forget that this Saturday (June 14th) is the first round of Simply Renewed's "4th Street Market" in Bremerton, WA. There should be lots of vendors and artists to see and deals to be had. Get there early (starts at 9am runs till 4pm) so you have first pick!

On June 28th, do NOT miss Bainbridge Island's Rotary Auction and rummage sale. It is legendary. Last year I got a remnant slab of white carreras marble for $20. The rummage sale starts at 8am and goes until 2pm at Woodward Middle School on Bainbridge. Again, get there early to get a decent parking spot and the best selection. Be warned, this sale can cause a mob mentality, so keep your wits about you and your needs in perspective. There is also a silent auction portion that begins on the 27th. You can even place your bids online through their website:

For both of these events, I highly recommend that you properly prepare yourself. One of my favorite bloggers, Holly Becker of Decor8 has written a couple fabulous articles on what to bring with you when you go to flea markets. Most of these tips can also be applied to a day spent going to local garage sales. I recommend you read her expert tips by clicking on the above link. However, a few basic items you will want to bring, or think about are as follows:
1. Measurements of specific spaces that need certain furniture pieces.
2. A tape measure and a pencil.
3. Paint chips from each room in the house taped into a small spiral notebook.
4. Bottled water.
5. A few reusable shopping bags, or even a cart if you are an ambitious shopper.
6. Fabric samples from home, when looking for vintage fabrics and linens.

When are properly armed, and have thought about what you are looking for, prior to embarking on your marketing adventures, you will probably be less likely to end up with useless pieces. Of course, its always more fun to be a little spontaneous! Happy hunting!
A couple of great tools to get you ready for flea market season:
Find this nice tape measure with a handy clip at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts:

Bainbridge Island's Port Madison Home carries this super sturdy market basket from Reisenthel.

Monday, June 9, 2008

nori wins

Well, the votes are in for the end table redesign:

Fetish pink/Bone 23%
Kelly green/ Shiny gold 7%
Killala green/ Nickel 23%
Malachite/ Acrylic 23%
Nori brown/ Bone 30%
Jet black/ Nickel 7%

I could not agree with the winning combination more! I love that dark black brown and think that it will look sooooo good when it is done. It should provide a dramatic contrast to the off white sofa. I already have one table primed and ready for color. I'll have to go to Seattle's Anthropologie to get the bone handles (and scope out the clearance area while I'm at it). Can't wait to show you all the final result! Thanks to everyone who voted in the poll. It was fun to create, and I intend on doing them every so often so I can hear your good ideas.