Mod Men

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Let There Be Light!

When we moved into our house, one of the first things we did was add/update light fixtures and in some cases we needed additional lighting where there was none. One of the places where we added a light, was in the far corner of our kitchen over the table. Just a simple pendant light we picked up at Home Depot, nothing fancy. 

After three years, the pendant light has served us well, but when the home improvement itch struck last month, that light became the focus of almost every conversation. It didn't help matters that you can see it from the family room, so we stared at it...all the time.

Kyle had a vision of a rustic light fixture - sort of like the picture to the left - with a cage or Edison style light bulb. When coupled with the right decor items, it would seem relaxed and elegant...or maybe that was my interpretation of his vision? Either way, we both had an idea of what we wanted and started the search with enthusiasm. 

Enthusiasm gave way to disappointment as we scoured School House ElectricBarn Light Electric and other home decors sites - realizing that our vision taste is expensive was going to cost an arm and a leg to bring to life ($150.00- $250.00). Yes, we are still only talking about a light fixture. Stick with me.

Enter one of my favorite places, Anthropologie! Keeping with my usual routine of heading straight for the sale section, I was astonished to find a collection of fabulously rustic pendant lights for 40% off. So, instead of paying $150.00 for a light fixture, we only spent $70.00! And to top it off, they also carry Edison bulbs! YAY for us!

Here is the finished product...

I love it! Now, I find that staring into the kitchen brings a smile to my face.

I wonder what we should do next?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

I am convinced that one can never have too many mirrors. They are the ultimate in multipurpose decor items! Not only do they make small spaces seem larger, but they are pretty to look at and you can check your makeup on the way out the door.

This colorful selection is brought to you by the lovely folks over at One Kings Lane and while I adore their taste, sometime their prices make me light headed. Believe it or not, these mirrors range in price from $400.00 to $1500.00! No, that is not a typo. Decimal points have been correctly placed.

Never fear fair readers! This blog is all about creative solutions. So what is the lesson here? Well the next time you're wandering your neighborhood antique or second hand store and you spot an old brass mirror that has seen better days, give it a chance (and a coat of spray paint) won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A New, Old Chair

I love antique and retro style furniture. It almost always has a story and I firmly believe that when designers look forward, they have to look back, so styles we think are dated almost always come back around.

Such is the case with a chair we recently acquired. It originally belonged to my husbands grandparents and while the cushion leaves something to be desired, it has great bones!

What I wish I had captured, was the V shape construction on the side of the chair. It is very 60s retro and incredibly comfortable.

Regardless of comfort level, the blue stripes needed to go! So last weekend, I ran to Joann Fabrics with the fabulously talented Karen (of buffet fame) to pick out something exciting and new.

Here is what we decided on. It is a great taupe-gray color and lucky for us, it is double sided - the color pallet is reversed out on the other side. 

Don't worry, I didn't overlook the fabric just above it. I actually went back the next day to take a second look and bought a yard to make accent pillows, which is the project for this weekend.

Here is the finished product! 

I really liked the way it turned out. It is a fun pattern and if at any time I decide that I want to change it, I just unbutton the cover and buy new fabric! 

Oh, did I mention the cost of the fabric? $40! I think that is pretty good for a "new" piece of furniture.

Check back for the unveiling of the accent pillows!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Letting Go of Christmas

The day after Christmas is bitter sweet. The glow of this special holiday remains, but you know that the day will come when your home will have to return to normal. The festive lights and ornaments will be carefully stored for next year. The smell of fresh pine will begin to fade, but the memories of another wonderful holiday with family and friends linger on.

By nature, I am a person who cannot live in a state of limbo. This makes the time between Christmas and New Year hard for me as I know that pieces of our home decor are no longer relevant and I am frantic to change that. 

New Year, by definition, is still a Winter holiday and a festive one at that. So, how do you decide what decorations are New Years-ish? Or do you just leave it all? Armed with my cup of coffee, I  start the "Day After Christmas Review." 

The Review has one goal: to complete an inventory of all things holiday related and determine what will stay, what will be packed and what can be moved to other parts of the house. 

In an effort to maintain order, ground rules must be established and I quickly decide that everything Santa-related must go. Items like a sign we have that says "WANTED, Jolly Men Bearing Gifts" or our "Believe" Christmas blocks. A stuffed Santa that sits on our end table and little Santa figurines, all are packed away. Why? Because after Christmas, Santa must go back to the North Pole and prepare for next year! At least that is what I will tell our future children. 

Holiday decor like our porcelain deers, scented candles and pinecone garland I've decided can stay.  I think these things are festive enough to keep us in the holiday spirit while effectively transitioning us through to the new year. Oh, and the Christmas tree! I can almost always defend the tree staying up until after January 1st. Mostly because it takes so much work to put up, that the day it will take us to disassemble it is something I am willing to delay as long as possible. 

Yes, putting away our decorations bit by bit is a good use of time. It spreads out the amount of work that comes with the post holiday overhaul, which is only a week away and usually takes an entire weekend. But if I am really honest with myself, I am weaning us off our holiday high because I am unable to let go all at once. 

Saying goodbye to Christmas is always hard, but with it's exit comes the promise of a brand new year. One that I am looking forward to sharing it with all of you!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Remember Canny Crafting?

Sooo...yeah...about that Canny Crafting schedule. I have no excuses. Honestly, life just got ridiculously busy and before I knew it, Christmas was next weekend. I'm having an anxiety attack just thinking about it. Now I know why my mother-in-law starts her shopping in October! 

Anyway, while I was having a breakdown this weekend - dog in hospital, house completely unorganized, laundry piling up and a guest room that needed some love - I decided to do something crafty to lift my spirits.

Remember I mentioned wanting to give my grandmother's old brass lamp a face lift?

As you can see, the brass is a bit outdated and it has started to rust on the base. 

Since I am convinced that spray paint is the answer to any and every decor problem, I armed myself with Krylon Metallic Paint in Chrome, and got to work. 

I am not exaggerating when I say that this took less than 5 minutes - including the additional effort of laying down a tarp and applying painters tape to the cord and light bulb holder. I am really happy with the final product.

Here is the lamp in the guest room on top of the completed buffet :) It's coming along.

What should I do next?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Favorite Things...Under $15

I am hosting a Favorite Things party this year. The party was actually Nester's idea and I loved it so much (and also wanted an excuse to get the girls together for a holiday fiesta) so I decided to have one as well. Thanks, Nester!

If you have been to a White Elephant gathering, the rules for Favorite Things are generally the same. Each guest is asked to bring their favorite item under $15 for a Secret Santa type exchange. The result is fun for everyone, sans a ten year old fruit cake.

Interestingly enough, finding substantial gifts under $15 was more difficult than I thought it would be! More often than not, I came across something I really liked only to find that it was $18 or $20. While this isn't completely out of the realm of possibility, even $1 over budget seems like cheating and I have to stay within the confines of aforementioned party rules!

So, I did a quick online check at my three go-to gift sites: Target, Anthropologie and to come up a list of crowd pleasers...

I know I'm not the only one who loves these products. Their cuticle cream is one of my favorite items, as it is the only thing that keeps my nails looking half-way decent between manicures.

Thanks to image consultant Kym Douglas, now we can all have the inside track on how Hollywood A-Listers lose 5 pounds in a week, reduce puffiness and add shine to hair without breaking the bank. This book may completely change my beauty regimen!

Centerpiece Holders - $12.00 at Anthropologie

Third degree burns? I think not! Whether you spend a great deal of time cooking or simply want to appear that you do, these holders are a fun and fashionable kitchen accessory.

Seed Bombs - $6.00 at Anthropologie

Drop one of these gumball-size seed and soil pods in your garden and in no time you will have a butterfly, bee or bird-friendly wildflower mixture specific to your U.S. region of choice. Bombs come in Herbs, Dog & Cat Friendly, West Coast, Mid West and East Coast combos. 

Best part, at $6 each you can get two OR find a creative way to package them...ceramic planter anyone?

Bread Warmer - $15.00 at

Say goodbye to the days of warming bread in the microwave. Simply heat this terra cotta plate in the oven and set it in the bottom of your bread basket for rolls that will stay toasty-warm throughout your meal.

Cheese Keeper - $15.00 at

Umm...where have you been all my life? This food-safe clay helps to regulate the moisture levels of hard and soft cheeses. Toss it in with your favorite fromage to keep it drying out or getting mushy :(

What is your go-to gift during the holidays?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Faux Fur For Me!

It's December 1st! Welcome Winter! 

This season always makes me want to throw on fuzzy socks and snuggle up by a crackling fire...but we don't have a fireplace...sigh...well, maybe in our next house. Back to the snuggly feeling...

In an effort to create a comfy and cozy ambiance, sans fireplace, I've decided that we need a faux fur throw for our living room couch. They are the ultimate in warmth and they look great too! 

There are two problems with this:

1) My dog could mistake the throw for another animal and, sensing a threat in the force, tear it to smithereens. 
2) Finding the right faux fur is hard. The super cheap stuff looks like plastic, and feels worse. While the higher end options come at a crazy price!

Couple the points above, with the fact that I have a hard time spending more than $50 on anything anymore, and the search for the perfect throw becomes challenging. 

Here is what I've found so far...
Doesn't this look soft! The best part is that it is only $39.99!

Drawback? I am not sure how long the cute pom poms will last in "Ranger's domain." He will probably think that we bought him a new toy and goodbye pom poms!

The Foundary
This glorious throw is courtesy of a Mongolian Lamb...or so says the retailer details. 

At $125.00 (the discounted price) it is way too expensive, but I had to include it because of the unique look of the fur. I didn't realize that Mongolian Lambs were so cuddly. Did you?

One Kings Lane
Zebra anyone? It's hard to tell from the picture, but this is a cream zebra-patterned throw from Tourance and it's scrumptious!

OKL is selling it for $69.00, which is a very reasonable price when they typically retail for $150.00. 

Of all three choices, I am leaning towards the Tourance Cream Zebra. It has a high end feel, without being ridiculously priced and adds a bit of sass! do I justify going over my $50.00 limit, without suffering from buyers remorse?

Would anyone like to help me rationalize this purchase?