Archive | January 2013

Color Inspiration: Turquoise!

I love the color turquoise. It evokes summer, beach glass, and a natural beauty that is not too nature-y. 

Beach glass necklace.

Beach glass necklace.

Looking around the house, it is not obvious how much I love this color. As if on a scavenger hunt, I went looking for the color turquoise.

Turquoise Candlestick.

Turquoise Candlestick.

Ceramics are a great way to show off your favorite color, whatever it may be.

Turquoise Dishes.

Turquoise Dishes.

My dishes are all turquoise. I love the way they bring out the palest color blue in the tile on my table.

My dining room table with pale blue tiles.

My dining room table with pale blue tiles.

I embrace the entire range of turquoise! As if I were a bee and could see the whole color spectrum before me. From pale to dark, from greens to blues. I use multiple hues of turquoise throughout the house.

Turquoise mosaic icon.

Turquoise Mosaic Icon.

Here on my (still to-do list) porch, I have hung a mosaic icon of the Holy Mother. She has a richly colored turquoise hair-thingy.

Together with color, you can draw inspiration from your heritage, your culture, or religion for your space.  This is an important aspect to creating a unique and comfortable space that is yours.

Turquoise and lime green pillow.

Turquoise and lime green pillow.

I love how the this turquoise pillow is paired with lime green, giving it’s traditional pattern an edgy flair.

The Birds!

The Birds!

More ceramics!

How do you use color? For me, it is simple: Simply Turquoise.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2013.

Influenza: Signs and Symptoms

Nothing like having the flu to help get a few things done around the house. Through the fever fog, I saw that I still had a bit of unpacking to do. Another symptom of the flu seems to be some sort of “Decorating ADHD” where I had to rearrange the furniture and buy pillows from Target.

A quick rearrange of the furniture.

A quick rearrange of the furniture.

Navy blue pillows from Target.

Navy blue pillows from Target.

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First things first. I have a fear of the drill. This is not logical. It is heavy.  I am fortunate to have a handy husband, so I don’t often have to tackle such fears. But this time, I needed to go ahead and drill some holes. There was a sconce that needed to be hung and I had waited long enough, like two weeks already.

The Sconce.

The Sconce.

So I got out the drill. The corded one so I did not have to fiddle with batteries, dead or alive.  I discovered the secret of the drill. After all these years of living in fear. It is… to buy a brand new set of anchors, in the box, that tell you what size drill bit to use. This takes all the guesswork out of it. And I hung that sconce, with an anchor, and only one hole in the wall!

Facing down the drill.

Facing down the drill.

Everyone thinks I am handy because I can use a tile saw. But I have never confessed to “The Fear of the Drill”  before. Emboldened by the sconce victory, I kept going. I decided to hang my ladder from the ceiling in the dining room. I needed storage for all the baskets I was tripping over, AND… It went well! Four holes later and some twine and I was in, like Flynn. Or something like it.

The ladder as basket storage

The ladder as basket storage

Basket Storage!

Basket Storage!

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And then there were the curtain rods. I thought, ”I can do this!” I am QUEEN of the drill! I felt a power rush that I should have known was about to end in dramatic fashion. But I did not heed the warning. I measured and marked the holes for the first curtain rod, and for some reason it would-not-drill. Maybe it was just too high and I could not get any leverage.

I caved and called for Stuart to come help me. I told him there was something in the wall, …some sort of steel and the curtain rod could not be hung. He looked at the drill, reversed the direction, and in less than 2 seconds, had drilled the hole. He could not resist further comment and said, “Still queen of the drill?” I restrained myself and refrained from hitting him. Instead, I went off to a corner to lick my wounds.

Further evidence of the Fever Fog.

Further evidence of the Fever Fog.

And…. redecorated the mantle. Whew! Overall, this was a huge victory. I conquered the drill and learned that it goes in two directions! Who knew? And I promise you, if I can do it, so can you.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Life in Cards

Every year, there are several “Christmas letters” that come in the mail, via snail mail, that I anxiously await. I cannot describe the anticipation that I feel knowing that these will come, with an update about several people and families that I feel so close to, but yet do not see very often.

The most beautiful handwriting.

The most beautiful handwriting.

One letter, comes on a black and white card with a snow-covered scene of New York City, or thereabouts, and is hand-written in the most beautiful script. The kind that came with hours of practice, a fine pen, and an attention to detail that is all too lacking in this day and age. It is from my old flute teacher, a reminder that I did in fact learn so much from him, not just how to be a musician. He shaped the person I am today.

Washington Square Park, New York City

Washington Square Park, New York City

© Bedrich Grunzweig

© Bedrich Grunzweig

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Another letter, arriving punctually just before the 25th of December, is from a family that we have known for years, has helped us out and put us up in their home, with only company, wine, and a few laughs in return. They link us to the Coast Guard and remind us that my husband’s career as the  Coast Guard flying-lawyer was real as well. They took us under their wing and continue to do so. Their Christmas letter is full of funny antics about their five children, and usually we all breathe a sigh of relief, as by the end, we do hear about their accomplishments as well.

HH65 Coast Guard Helicopter Cartoon.

HH65 Coast Guard Helicopter Cartoon, proof of the Coast Guard in our lives.

The last letter comes trickling in and just arrived yesterday. This family celebrates Christmas on Orthodox time and their letter truly marks the end of the season. It is full of thoughtful reflections from the previous year, adventures abroad, and children who we will surely vote for one day, as they are both Presidential material: the Next American Dynasty.

Papyrus Stained Glass Card.

Papyrus Stained Glass Card.

I have tried to figure out why I love these letters so much. Is it a reminder of our past, so exciting at times? Is it the physical beauty of the handwriting or of the card itself? I cannot explain the importance of this tangible aspect to it. In this digital era we live, something is lost in the hustle and bustle of fast communication. Not to mention my handwriting has practically gone the way of the doctor’s script. Or maybe I just have sensory issues.

Griffins.

Griffins.

Griffins description.

Griffins description, on the back of the card.

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+++I am not a fan of New Years’ resolutions, but next year, I resolve to write a Christmas letter, no matter how busy we are. I will find a suitable pen first, and some beautiful paper. I will gather photographs from the year. I will write our family Christmas letter, with all the nostalgia I can muster, on a beautiful, tangible, Christmas card.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2013.

The Boudoir

Sometimes, I do not want to get out of bed in the morning. Let me rephrase that. Almost every day, I do not want to get out of bed in the morning. I wish I was a morning person. I crave that happy, post-good-night’s-sleep, alert and cheery mood. It almost never comes. And when it does, you just better watch out, because I am apt to do somethin’ crazy, like start up this blog, or refinance the mortgage. This is why I love coffee so much. With its help, it is as close as I come to being a morning person imposter.

The Boudoir.

The Boudoir.

This leads me to…. The Bedroom. My boudoir is clearly a space where I spend a lot of time. It is not the largest bedroom in the house (my almost teenager has that one) but it is cozy and warm, and when I need a place to hide from the world, or even my children, it is perfect.

Walnut Cabinets line one wall.

Walnut Cabinets line one wall, for much needed storage.

The room is painted yellow, Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Butter. This color name makes me think of Croissants and French Toast, which ultimately lead to thoughts of coffee: my favorite and the only reason I get up at all sometimes. I love the name of this paint color and spent several days agonizing over how bright it seemed at first until all the furniture was in, and everything was in place, which helped to soften the look of it.

My Reading Corner.

My Reading Corner, with a sheepskin remnant on the chair.

As the weather gets chilly, I thought a few simple tips to “winterize” your boudoir were in order. Add a quilt or throw to the foot of the bed. This will make it feel warm and inviting. Throw an old piece of sheepskin or anything furry to add a bit of fuzzy texture. I did this on the red reading chair. Ignore that bright overhead light and add lamps for a softer light that is good for reading… and any other bedroom activities that come to mind. A rug on the floor is crucial and will make the room feel cozy and warm under your feet.

The Master Bedroom.

This small bedroom has lots of storage.

Even the dog approves!

Even the dog approves!

With the cold outside, I want to curl up in my bed and hibernate. You should too, just cozy-up your bedroom a little first, and watch and see if your mood improves too.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2013.

Cleansing the Palate

In this new house, we are still in the drudgery of the “pesky little jobs list.” These are things that we have to do to make the house functional. It has nothing to do with decorating or adding my own flavor to every room. It is pure drudgery and we have to keep on keepin’ on, or like the Nike slogan says, “Just Do It!”

None of the things on this list are worth blogging about, but they do have the potential to save my marriage. Every time my husband rolls up a rug because the basement door catches on it, or when the towels pile up on the bathroom floor because there are not enough places to hang them, I swear under my breath at him. This “pesky little jobs list” is oh so important.

The fight between The Rug and The Door.

The fight between The Rug and The Door.

It includes things like trimming the solid wood doors a tiny bit shorter so they will open over a runner, installing handrails on the stairs so my mother-in-law will not plummet to her death, hanging blinds for privacy, organizing the tools in the basement, and bleeding the radiators so they work, all the way upstairs. I kid you not, this list grows at what seems like an exponential rate.

One of two new handrails.

One of two new handrails.

Sometimes I think this is just because we bought an old house. And then, when all I have to do is close the door to the baby’s room when she sleeps, I am thankful for that old solid wood door. I love the radiator heat as it does not dry out my skin in the cold winter months like forced air does. Believe it or not, when carrying a baby up and down the stairs, it is useful to have a handrail all the way up.

I was considering adding the chore of painting to the “pesky little jobs list,” but then I changed my mind. Right now it seems overwhelming because I still have at least six rooms left to paint in this house.

Benjamin Moore, Green Hydrangea.

Benjamin Moore, Green Hydrangea.

But paint is like a palate cleanser. It is the fig between the cheeses and the sorbet between the courses of your gourmet meal. Paint is what allows me to start thinking creatively, with a clean slate, and then move on to the fun part of decorating. Paint is the fresh air in a room.

Benjamin Moore, Green Hydrangea.

Benjamin Moore, Green Hydrangea.

Sometimes I think it is like the Golden Gate Bridge around here. Once I get finished painting, I will just have to start over again. But this is also an opportunity for new ideas. With a new paint color, you can change the look of a whole room.

Benjamin Moore, Fresh Butter.

Benjamin Moore, Fresh Butter.

The good news is, paint is cheap. And while my “pesky little jobs list” continues to grow, I will not add paint to it. It deserves more of a place of honor. Perhaps I will add it to the “pesky BIG jobs list” instead.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2013.