Viva Mexico!

My husband and I made an impromptu move last summer.  The delightful place we moved into was perfect in every way … save for the kitchen cupboards which we knew would need to be addressed at some point.  But, much like every other creative venture, I don’t rush anything, but wait, instead, until it hits me like a ton of bricks what I want to do.  Usually, from there I tend to move swiftly turning my vision into reality.  But, because I typically do all the labor myself, and in my head this seemed like it was going to be a bigger project than it was, I found it hard to carve out time to make it happen.

It wasn’t until another unit became available in our building that we noticed how beautiful the original cupboards actually were. It seems ours was the only unit that didn’t have cabinets that retained the original wooden splendor, alas – ours had been painted – and not very well either.  They were chipping horribly in places and not in a shabby chic way.  Again, we really didn’t know how bad they looked until we compared them to what they originally looked like.  At which point my husband turned to me and said “when are we gonna do something with our cupboards?!”  I told him “slow down sailor, I have something in mind, and now I’m inspired to put it in motion.”

Kitchen Cupboards Before

Kitchen Cupboards Before

My mother-in-law lovingly sends me various articles she clips from her local newspaper and she had sent me a story about some woman who refinished furniture with chalky paint.  I kept this particular article thinking maybe that would be a cool medium for the cupboards at some point.   I reached out to our landlord and told him I envisioned a Mexican turquoise sort of vibe for the kitchen.  He was kind to tell me how creative I was, but initially reluctant because he didn’t want to create more work in the future removing an additional layer of paint from the cabinets.  I explained that the chalky paint was a one coat process and, let’s face it, those cupboards would need to be sanded down and properly painted someday and one more layer wasn’t going to make that job any more tedious than it was already going to undoubtedly be.  He laughed and said – go for it!  (…partially swayed by the fact that I offered to pay for the materials and do the labor myself).

I applied one coat of chalky paint, apparently a common medium, because despite spending some time combing the aisles to find what I wanted, it ended up being on display at the front of the paint department counter.  I got a quart of it tinted in exactly the turquoise color I had in mind at Lowes for $29.99.  Paint brushes, a paint cup later, all told my final cost for supplies was about $50.  I simply applied one coat of the chalky paint (which really goes a long way, because I still have about 1/2 of the quart left).  Then I took an old rag and rubbed the cupboards with a dark stain poly finish which sealed them ever so slightly, and provided the distressed wash I was looking for.

2 hours of labor and $50 in supplies, and we have a totally transformed kitchen!  …bonus points for me because every time my husband walks into the kitchen now, he exclaims how amazing it looks…

Kitchen Cupboards After

Kitchen Cupboards After


Margaritas anyone?

Thrill of the Thrift – Love That!

While thrifting with my husband this weekend, I stumbled across a fab throw pillow with a $2 price tag on it…which ended up being 50% off – so we paid one single dollar for it. I was immediately drawn to the graphic, but really didn’t think much about it at the time. I merely tossed it into my bag with all the other gems we tend to find at our favorite “Out of the Closet” branch in the city.

Always drawn to any sort of “Love” graphic, I thought it would be a welcome addition to the textured textiles already adorning our living room couch. There are actually a lot of subtle “Love” items all over the house (…that’ll be a good post for another day…) as a gentle reminder to anyone who enters our dwelling that “Love Lives Here”.

Few Pop images are more widely recognized than Robert Indiana’s LOVE, circa 1965 which was originally designed as a Christmas card commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art and subsequently appeared in prints, paintings, sculptures, banners, rings, tapestries, and even postage stamps. The postage stamps earned more than $25 million for the U.S. Postal Service, but the work barely made Indiana any money at all. As a result, he actually was deemed a sellout and while LOVE is both accessible in complex and meaning, Indiana’s intentions, unfortunately, were lost on critics and fans alike.

Indiana Love Indiana was at the forefront of the Pop art movement alongside Andy Warhol. The two exhibited work together at the same gallery. Warhol, who coined the phrase “Everybody will be famous for 15 minutes,” was far more interested in media attention than Indiana. Andy Warhol, who essentially became his own brand, certainly had his 15 minutes of fame. In fact, his 15 minutes has lasted over 25 years.

While it’s easy to think Warhol was behind the iconic LOVE, this is actually Warhol’s homage to love…

andy-warhol-i-love-you-so-c-1958“I Love you So” (circa 1958)

But enough on the art history and enter the man behind our “Love” pillow – Alexander Girard. He was an architect and textile designer and one of the leading figures in American design during the postwar era and had a profound impact on mid-20th-century design. Girard was the founding director of Herman Miller’s textile division in 1952. His work was greatly influenced by folk art and his designs became well-known for their geometric forms.

Our $1.00 pillow originally conceived by Girard 1961 is still produced today and retails for about $130.00.

“Infinite are man’s expressions of beauty and love; open your eyes your ears and your heart to them and you will unite the peoples of the world.”

—Alexander Girard



Katharine Hepcat

I think a lot about the people that have come into my life.  Whether they stay or go, whether the experience is good or bad, everyone is just part of the process.  Some people it’s easy to move on from and not waste a single shred of energy on again.  They become distant memories.  People that played their part, made a difference, but really don’t matter anymore.

There are others that make a subtle impact.  Like my friend Walter.  I haven’t sat in a room with this particular friend for nearly 30 years.  He’s the kind of friend that you pick back up with right where you left off like it was 10 minutes ago.  We weren’t even great friends – hell, we probably never even sat in a room together 30 years ago.  We were more of acquaintances – but he was just that guy I instinctively knew had my back.

He’s a like-minded creative soul.  In fact, everything to him is some sort of creative expression.  It’s awe-inspiring really.  He  reached out to me a few years  ago to record some vocals on a couple tracks he wrote for a fictitious band.  For starters, why on earth wouldn’t I want to be the vocalist for a virtual band made up of musicians I’ve never played with that will go on to tour nowhere and essentially (as per the norm with me and Walter) never be in a room together?  For all those reasons, and the fact that he called the band “Katharine Hepcat,” I didn’t hesitate for a moment to say “Hellz Yes.”

Katharine Hepcat

Photo Credit – Paul Dutra (another amazingly creative cat I went to high school with)

Check out tracks here:


“Tiger Prints”:

Trophy Mount

With the increasing popularity of faux taxidermy and trophy mounts as household décor, I decided to think outside the (non-existent) box and mount something mayhaps not wildly (or at all) considered a trophy.  Besides, our new place needed something ridiculous…

Let’s behead a lawn flamingo shall we? Turns out lopping off the head of a lawn flamingo isn’t easy work. The conversation went something like this:

Me (yelling from the kitchen): “Baby, do we have anything stronger than this bread knife?”
Husband (with concern in his voice): “I think there’s a hack saw in the garage – dare I ask what you need it for?”
Me: “You’ll see.”

After spending a ½ hour searching our impeccably organized garage, we still couldn’t find the saw at which point I suggested “let’s hit the hardware store and I’ll sweet-talk somebody there into cutting it off for me–they’ve cut lots of things for me before.” So, off to the hardware store we went.

Convo in the hardware store went something like this:

Me (asking with flirt in my eyes): “Any chance you’d lop off the head of this lawn flamingo for me? …c’mon it’ll be fun!”
Hardware store dude: “Um we’re not really supposed to make cuts if you didn’t buy it here.” (…shoots a glance to my husband who stood there 80% intrigued and 20% slightly embarrassed)
Husband: “Dude don’t look at me, I have no idea what she’s up to, but honestly I’m just as curious to find out.”
Me: I did buy it here, it’s just been sauntering around my yard for a year.
Hardware store dude (reluctantly): “Alright follow me.”

Hardware Store Dude (...grumbling "I should have said 'no'")

Hardware Store Dude (…grumbling “I should have said ‘no'”)

With some washi tape (that I’ve never worked with before and now want to stick to everything) and various bits I already had lying around in my craft supplies, we now have this adorning our wall. My husband even offered to get out his drill to hang it and walked around the place strategically suggesting various places it should go including, “how about here in the bathroom, there’s lots of whimsy in here already” – to which I replied “there’s lots of whimsy everywhere, let’s find a better place.”

It eventually found its home in our dining room not for any particular reason than why not hang a flamingo head in the dining room?!

Trophy Mount

Who Says Flamingos can't adorn your dining room?

Subtle Changes

The gallery wall in our office is charming enough on it’s own as it is an eclectic collection of original pieces from various artists and friends … and/or friends who are artists.  Why “Yes” that IS a needlepoint of Chris Cornell stitched in chartreuse thread.

BeforeI, however, recently stumbled across this Etsy Shop and figured why not make that gallery wall even more fabulous…which I did with the purchase of a series of ornate frames and an equally ornate clock.  Taking the fab gallery wall to nothing short of uber-fab.



I Found the Holy Grail…

…of vintage items that is.  FIVE years I’ve been searching for this coveted collectible.  Not to be deterred by the average $600 price tag, I knew I’d find one of these by accident one day at somebody’s yard sale.  When bored I would comb the interwebs for it and would typically find one that had just sold moments before, or had a price tag that left me not willing to cough up my hard earned dollars. 

 What's in the Box

Patience is the key.  My patience paid off last week when I stumbled across one on Etsy for $60.  And while it is not the original 1950’s Royal pink typewriter, it is sort of the drag queen dress-up version.  It is, in fact, a 1950’s Royal typewriter – but it wasn’t originally pink – somebody painted it.  I actually like it better because it has a sort of a mid-century modern chartreuse center that gives it a little something extra.  Besides, I didn’t have to fork over $600 for it. 

In it's Case

In my Office


Seems So Obvious

The kitchen in our rental home is large, functional and much nicer than your average rental kitchen.  Although the landlord had clearly anticipated that the original red accent stripe might  not be agreeable to everybody and at some point had it painted black, the stark white blacksplash still lacked a little je ne sais quoi.

Before Tea Before

I just thought it needed a little upgrade – a temporary, cleanable “can be removed without a trace” upgrade.  While I originally thought wall decals would be the “go to” method for this project, I couldn’t find any available pattern (despite an extensive Etsy search) that fit my 3″ x 3″ tiles.  So, as per usual, I improvised.

Using the same method I use to create my china, I created waterslide decals and applied them in various places along the tiles.  The result is a pattern that fits my decor, and the decals can be completely removed from the tile without a trace.  They leave no residue, no sticky substance, and no discoloration. The decals could be sealed making them permanent.  I will, however, need to be cautious in not using anything abrasive to clean the tile, and it remains to be seen whether or not they will hold up to the heat behind the stovetop.

The entire project took about an hour, including creating the template, printing the tiles, cutting them out and applying them.  My boyfriend took one look and said “Huh, why did you never do that before?  Seems so obvious…”

After Stovetop


After Whale

After Skull

After Mango


Apothecary Vessels (a/k/a Not your Mother’s Decor)

French pharmacy jars date back to the early part of the 20th century and are quite expensive when you do come across them, the average price point being about $100.00.  I suspect that way back in those days of yore, people probably legitimately kept cocaine, arsenic and opium in these gorgeous apothecary vessels.


Jonathan Adler created a similar line of “vice” jars and while I love how whimsical they are, they too come with an equally unreasonable (for my wallet) price point of around $140.00 EACH.


Taking a page from both of these proverbial playbooks, I created my own fantabulous vice jars with a more palatable price point of about $40 for all 3 (and I didn’t even pay for them out of my wallet – they were on my Xmas wish list – knowing in the back of my head the entire time what I was going to do with them).  While they don’t house any of the items they suggest, you will find them in my bathroom housing q-tips, cotton balls and makeup sponges.

J 3 Jars

Recycle – Reuse – Repurpose

With all of my music digitized, I was left with boxes of CD’s.  Sure, I could have sold them to various places, but to me that would still be just getting rid of them somehow and probably would have only left me with enough money to get – well, a few more CD’s. 

The dilemma became … how can I continue to enjoy my old CD’s without disposing of them?  The obvious answer – you have them digitized – go plug in your iPod – but, c’mon now…I can do better than that.

Because I work with the most creative people in the world, I got together with some dudes here at work and had a bunch of my CD’s cut into butterflies.  That’s right butterflies.  But they didn’t just cut them, they cut them into various different shapes of butterflies and drilled a tiny hole in to random points on the wings so I could them string them up into this…

ImageI used fishing line to string up the butterflies at varying lengths and simply tacked them to the back of an old picture frame and used a little remnant ribbon to hang it up.  It’s quite large with the longest point being about 6 feet and is now hanging thru my staircase. 

The fishing line seems to disappear when you look at it, and the light through the windows reflects off the mirrored side of the CD’s resulting in butterflies fluttering all over the walls. 


I wish I could say this was an original concept, but it was actually inspired by a piece in our Music Department that contained at least 100 CDs.  I worked with the same guys on our lot to produce this smaller version for my home.