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A Very Expensive Fig Tree

I have just chosen the colors for my new house. I know this may come as a shock to you, since you didn’t know we were getting a new house. But we are and I am very excited. The best part is, it is just across the driveway, only next door. I no longer have to steal the figs, herbs, and flowers from their yard. I can stop yelling at my dog for pooping on their lawn. It will soon be my fig trees, my lawn, my herbs and my bay plant.

The fig tree, my favorite fruit.

This new house is quite different from our current house. I won’t tell a lie, it does need a little updating and work, but the bones are good. I am excited to have more space, more closets, and for the first time ever, a garage! It is a craftsman era house, but with a more traditional layout. All of the original woodwork is still unpainted and intact. And yes, in case you were wondering, we are buying this one, jumping in with both feet.  So if you were considering investing in the real estate market right now, you may want to reconsider, as we have a most horrible real estate track record and this could be considered a “bad indicator”.

View of our new house, from our current house.

Our new house, from the front.

The Colors!

I am looking forward to showing you the progress as we renovate this house and turn it into our home. I have chosen the paint colors for the main floor, using as inspiration a set of ottoman/stools I bought recently. They have a woven top that resembles a beautiful rug with pale blues and greens mixed in. I am going to use cool colors in this house which is a trick for making the walls recede and the rooms feel a little larger.

A pair of stools with a woven top.

Of course, changing things up will be fun. The colors are from Benjamin Moore’s latest collection called “Color Stories”. These paints have no filler colors and are made with pure pigment. This color collection is inspired by nature and will bring depth to the walls and add a richness that you can’t achieve with a regular paint. The colors will change throughout the day with the light keeping it interesting. I can’t wait to show you the results. Here is a peak at the colors I have picked, of course, subject to change on a whim.

“Color Stories” by Benjamin Moore.

In order from left to right:  shiitake mushroom, picnic basket, mystic lake, rainstorm, and spring has sprung.

 This new house is a practical decision for us and I have been itching for a change. I am looking forward to this new adventure and to being able to eat as many figs as I want. If the neighbors ask nicely, I might be willing to share.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Blogger’s Remorse and a Formula

So one day, I woke up and thought, “What the hell am I doing?” I have had an affair with a blog. Or maybe this blog is just another crazy scheme like my Dad gets when he thinks he found a winning formula for the racetrack. Something like this: size of horse + length of mane + how awesome the name is = furlong over dirt. That will be the winner, for sure. I am filled with an overwhelming sense of inadequacy and am full of ideas that turn out to be one scheme after another in a long chain of risk-takers that usually lose.

Big breath.

I love design and color, being inspired, and I hate the computer. There is a certain amount of headache involved in this latest scheme. Especially when I am banging my head against the keyboard. I have learned a lot about things like html code, web statistics and other non-design related things. I have viewed these as uncomfortable side-effects. I will hopefully later refer to this time as growing pains and apply all of this newly acquired knowledge to a blog that is fun to read and focused on design.

Inspiration from Angela.

Angela, my sister and muse, is a never-ending source of ideas and creative energy. She is optimistic and young and ambitious. She is an amazing photographer. She encourages me to keep going.

What a beautiful spread.

Only in Las Vegas.

So now this latest scheme has a formula that goes something like this: beautiful rugs + interesting art + inspiration = a space you want to be in. You may have nowhere to sit, but you will be happy in it. My friend Valerie started this formula, and I am hoping to let it grow and blossom into a beautiful blog and a place you want to read in. Hopefully, along the way, you will spruce up your space and be happy that you did.

View of the ceiling in Paris … Casino in Las Vegas.

© copyright 2012 Angela Hunanian and Mariam d’Eustachio.

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival!

 

If you were one of three people on the East Coast who did not attend the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, you missed out. It was a party for the senses! The colors, textures, and craftsmanship on display added up to an amazing experience.

Sheep.

I like to know where things come from. When I buy food at the grocery store or the farmer’s market, I like to be reminded that it once started out in the ground. The Sheep & Wool Festival was a reminder that textiles are complicated. Wool has to be raised and then sheared. It has to be carded, dyed and spun into yarn and then woven into something we can use. There are any number of variations on this process, resulting in a unique outcome, and it is a lot of work!

Beautiful Fiber on display, ready for spinning.

The Sheep & Wool Festival is the finest and largest Fiber Festival on the East Coast. It was an opportunity to learn the process behind techniques used in weaving, spinning, rug-making and producing quality hand-made textiles. I sat down for a beginner learn-to-knit class and have not stopped knitting since. I had learned to knit when I was a child, and as I held the needles in my hands, it all came rushing back to me. I was completely inspired.

Knitting frenzy.

My daughter Prima is on the hunt for a spinning wheel. This is not a passing craze and she has been saving her money for a long time. This was the reason we were going to the fair in the first place. Unfortunately, we did not find one we could afford. I should consider myself lucky that my 12 year-old daughter would rather have a spinning wheel than an ipad.

Prima trying out a spinning wheel.

The working sheepdog demonstrations were so much fun. The Border Collies were patient and the sheep clearly respected their authority. The dogs got the sheep to go over a small bridge, run in figure-eights, and showed off their smarts. It was impressive.

Sheepdog demonstration.

Working Border Collies herding the sheep.

Natural materials were abundant as well. Brooms and baskets were on display and have an old-world feel to them. There is an earthiness about these things that is sometimes lost in our fast-paced world.

These brooms would be the pride and joy of any self-respecting witch.

The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is free to get in the door and includes stories and crafts, food, and just a fun time for the whole family. There is a sense of history and heritage and of traditions that have been passed down through the generations. I highly recommend you save the first weekend in May to learn to spin, knit, crochet, or just watch and seek some inspiration.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Orchid as sculpture

I do not have a green thumb, but today I am thinking about my orchid. I cannot remember what infraction my husband committed when he gave it to me, or if it was just a spontaneous romantic gesture, as he is prone to do. The amazing thing is I have managed to keep it alive for at least two years. And it has bloomed again. Like a phoenix that rises from the ashes. This bloom will last for several months.

Image

The secret: it breathes air instead of water. Orchids have air roots that attach to the bark of a tree and live exposed to the elements, just letting the rain wash over them. In my house, I water it every couple of weeks, let the water drain and set it back on the table again. It is a thing of pure beauty and it requires almost nothing to exist in this state.

Next time you walk past an orchid for sale in it’s little pot, think about it as a piece of living sculpture that you can get for as little as $12.99. This hard working plant, available in so many different species, colors, and varieties will pull it’s weight and work overtime as your latest objet d’art.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio