Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kitchen Update

A few people emailed me after the dining room update and asked when I would post more photos of the house. Every room is still a work in progress, but I decided to just go ahead and post them one room at a time and update the photos as we make changes. So without further ado, welcome to our kitchen! :)

The kitchen was renovated right before we bought the house, which we were thankful for despite the fact that the countertops and cabinets aren't exactly what we would've chosen if we'd been renovating ourselves. I should stress that they aren't bad at all; I actually think the warm wood cabinets complement the cool granite countertops nicely. It's just not exactly our taste, but like I said, not bad at all. We definitely looked at some what-were-they-thinking kitchens when we were house hunting. The pendant light over the island was really terrible though, and we changed that first thing. (You can see what it looked like here if you're curious.)

The one thing I didn't love (besides the light fixture) was the light green painted walls. The color has grown on me over the last (almost) two years since we bought the house, but we're still planning on repainting at some point in the future. I did go ahead and paint the back wall with chalkboard paint as that was a no-brainer and didn't require moving any appliances. I love the way it looks. There's actually only a bit of green now peeking out over the sink, the stove, and over the closets on one wall, which you can see in the top photo.

Sagaform Retro storage containers
The two retro stoneware containers are from Sagaform. I bought them from a small boutique, but you can find them lots of places online. The Russian doll is actually a set of 6 measuring cups that fit together like traditional nesting dolls. I found both those and the blue enamel storage bin at The Container Store.

Russian Doll measuring cups
Here's the whole gang. :)

We've been using the Radish hand soap from Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, and it smells so good. (Is anyone else a fan of those soaps? What's your favorite scent?) That bird tray in the corner is from IKEA, if anyone's curious.

I don't know how many years we've had that Cuisinart coffeemaker, but it's been a really long time. It still works great and makes good coffee. The paper towel holder is by simplehuman, and it works pretty well too. The sink caddy is from Joseph Joseph, and it's, by far, the best one I have ever owned. I went through so many sink caddies that rusted or fell apart over time before finding this one. It's made of plastic, so it won't rust, but it somehow manages to not look cheap and plasticky. Also, the whole thing comes apart and is dishwasher safe, though I just wash ours out in the sink. It's lasted a couple years with no problems.

Mid-century silkscreen print by Robert Darr Wert
The cute little print hanging above the sink is a silkscreen by Robert Darr Wert that we found at a flea market a couple of years ago. I'd seen his stuff at vintage shops mostly, and it was always a bit too pricey, so we were super happy to find this one for $15. Wert was a print maker and textile designer known for his mid-century modernist folk art style. I love folk art, and I love mid-century furniture and accessories, and Wert's art is like the best of both worlds.

If you're wondering what the other side of the room looks like...most of the wall is taken up by a closet that houses the washer and dryer. The striped rug is from Crate and Barrel; we bought it just after we moved in, and it's held up really well considering it's in the kitchen. I've spot-cleaned a few coffee drips here and there, and I vacuum it regularly, of course, but for the most part, it still looks great with minimal effort. The trash can is from simplehuman. I can't find the exact one we have--we did buy it three or four years ago, so it might be discontinued--but here's a similar one. I know not everyone really cares what kind of trash can they have, but I have to say, this one is pretty fantastic.

Kikkerland gingham paper straws
I'm a sucker for cute straws (haha), and there was no way I could pass up these sweet gingham straws from Kikkerland. I bought mine at a local shop, but you can find them at Paper Source too. I've heard people complain in the past that paper straws get soggy, but these are coated in beeswax so that's really not a problem. I guess they could still get soggy if you left your drink for a really long time, but it's never happened to me in the time it takes to drink a smoothie, and I drink smoothies fairly slowly to avoid the dreaded "ice cream headache." Also, they get bonus points for being biodegradable and compostable. (The solid color straws in the back are from IKEA.)

IKEA yellow cloud napkin holder
This little napkin holder is also from IKEA. I bought it last spring, I think, and it was the first napkin holder I've owned in my life. I never saw the need for one before as I guess I never used napkins all that much. But this little cloud is the cutest and was probably the best $1.99 I've ever spent at IKEA. And of course, I had to fill it with cute napkins, right? These are from Target, but only available in store.

Kitch Studios kitchen towel Etsy
I bought this kitchen towel from Kitch Studios on Etsy, and I love it. A lot of the printed tea towels I come across seem like they would be impractical to actually use and are more suited for display, but this one is 100% soft cotton, and it's absorbent and washes/dries well too.

So that's our kitchen! I hope you enjoyed this tour. :)

I'll update again if we should change anything. I do have ideas for the chalkboard wall. We will also probably tile the backsplash at some point and relocate the Wert print to another wall. And we are going to paint too...not sure what color, but definitely something brighter than the pale green that's there now.

How much else we do really depends on how long we stay in this house. Like I mentioned earlier, it was renovated right before we moved in, and even if we had the money to redo the whole kitchen right now, we wouldn't. There's so much waste in the construction industry already; we don't really want to contribute to that. If we end up staying in this house a good long while, we might think about it in the future.

I'm not going to add a source list because I think I already linked to everything above, but if I missed anything, just let me know in the comments. xo, Mary

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Cornershop by Lucy Sparrow

In today's news of my dreams, artist Lucy Sparrow has converted an abandoned corner shop in east London into an art installation completely stocked with handmade felt everything. It's open to the public from now until the end of the month. I so wish that I could be there to see it in person! I read about this installation on a few other sites but felt like I had to post about here too because FELT (*raises glitter-covered spirit fingers).

Sparrow is dealing with larger themes than omg cute felt, obviously, like asking people to think about the politics of consumption and the disappearing cornershops in London. We are dealing with the same issue in America, only we call them "mom and pop" shops. I think I've actually posted about this issue before...buying with intention, thinking about the businesses you support and why, and knowing where goods come from. (It's also possible that I wrote that post in my brain and never published it.)

The shop will also serve as a means to foster community building; Sparrow will host workshops and live sewing events too.

I know there are lots of people who make felt food and candies--that's nothing new--and there are also lots of artists who've broached the subject of a disappearing high street and consumerism, but I don't think an artist's work has to be completely groundbreaking to affect people, make them think, make them laugh, bring a bit of joy into their lives, or inspire change. And isn't that the point?

I really really wish I could walk into the shop, touch everything, and then probably buy a felt candy from the felt cash register. But the next best thing to being there in person is to order a felt item from the shop online. I feel so much nostalgia looking at pics of the felt digestive biscuits and Hobnobs, which sadly have both sold out.

If you are lucky enough to be in London during the month of August, head over to 19 Wellington Row,  London E2 7BB and let me know what it's like! :)

(via Colossal)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Let's Take a Walk

Some random pics from a couple weeks ago. The guy on the bike was color-coordinated from head to toe, looking very smart; even his grocery bag and bike matched. That last guy walking down the middle of the street was in some sort of inflatable suit with a homemade machine perched on top of a radio flyer wagon. I'm not sure if he was doing performance art, was protesting something, or was just legitimately insane; we get all of the above in DC on a regular basis, so it's hard to tell.

Hope everyone has an excellent weekend! xo, Mary

P.S. You can still save 20% on everything in my Etsy shop through midnight tonight with coupon code "SCHOOLISCOOL," and get free shipping in my Society6 shop thru Sunday.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back to School Sale!

Even though my school days are long behind me, I still get super excited at the idea of back to school shopping. I find myself wandering over to the school supply aisles in stores and wanting to buy all the colored notebooks and pens. Actually, I just bought a new planner last week and some colorful pens; I couldn't help myself! :)

In honor of all you other cool people who love back to school shopping too, I decided to have a back to school sale in my shop! Take 20% off everything with coupon code "SCHOOLISCOOL" through this Friday, August 8th.

And Society6 is also offering free shipping + $10 off duvet covers with this link...you know, if you want a cool phone case to go with your new Trapper Keepers and highlighters. :D

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bits of July

Here's a glimpse of July through my phone.

Packing up an order...my brooches have been to many more exciting places than I have; a cute building with pink and white scalloped trim; a strawberry-orange-pineapple-banana smoothie (I'm still making them fairly often, though not every day like I was); and pink daisies on my table.

The most adorable little llama notebook I ordered from my pal Mirta; plants in the bay window going strong (mostly); a birthday card for my nephew; and working outside on the patio on a beautiful day...nice weather puts me in the best mood.

I've been pretty obsessed with all things fruity this summer, so it was perfect that I came across a watermelon house; wearing my pineapple dress; eating lots of rainbow sherbet; and admiring a colorful cactus garden.

Eating at Le Diplomate, which I blogged about earlier this month; some pretty daisies I passed by on a walk; we spent most of the day on July 4th at the park and it was by far the prettiest 4th I can remember in my entire life (no exaggeration); and Indian lotuses.

We went for an evening walk with iced coffee a couple days ago; a dreamy sunset; a walk on the night of the super moon...my phone camera was really crap at capturing how huge the moon was so I just decided to have fun with bokeh instead; and rainbows are the best thing about summer storms.

All in all, we've had a really mild summer, as evidenced by the fact that I'm wearing long sleeves(!) in two of these photos. I've lived in DC for 15 years, and it's never been like this before. We have had hot, humid days too, but normally the hot weather sets in in early June and doesn't let up until September or October, so this has been a welcome change, and we're trying to make the most of it. I can't believe it's August already!

If you'd like, follow me on Instagram to see more of my pics. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

National Museum of the American Indian

A couple of weeks ago, Peter and I decided to venture out to the National Museum of the American Indian, and I'm so glad we did. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that we'd never been before, despite the fact that it's been open for something like 10 years. It was always on my list of things to see and do, but there's so much to do here, it's easy to get distracted. Anyway, I snapped a few pics on my phone to share.

National Museum of the American Indian
The building is beautiful. It's worth going to check out the architecture alone.

National Museum of the American Indian
The inside walls curve around a large atrium and stage. We hung around after we'd finished looking at everything to watch a traditional Native American dance. I think they have different groups performing on the weekends on a regular basis.

Seminole boy's shirt at the National Museum of the American Indian
I probably don't need to tell you how much I loved looking at all the handmade things. I thought this was a little girl's dress at first glance, but it's actually a Seminole boy's shirt.

handmade Native American shoes and boots
The teeny tiny boots in the bottom right corner killed me. To give you an idea of how small they were, the shoes next to them were probably normal sized baby shoes, so I can't even imagine how tiny the baby was that those boots were made for. My very favorite things we saw were all the handmade animals made from various materials, but for some reason, I didn't get any pictures of those. I think I was too much in awe.

Oaxacan centipede snake
We stopped in the gift shop on the way out, and I bought this little handmade Oaxacan animal. I think it's maybe a centipede snake...something that would no doubt terrify me in real life, but is just as cute and colorful as it can be in wooden form. :)

Right now he looks perfectly at home with the plants, but I don't know if I'll leave him there forever. The bay window gets tons of direct sunlight, which is great for the plants, but I'm afraid it might make his colors fade over time. I might move him to the studio to live with my favorite little cowboy.

All in all, it was a great visit, but Peter and I both wished they'd had more to see. I would've loved to have seen more handmade textiles, and Peter wanted to see more history. Part of the fourth floor was closed because they're getting ready for an exhibit opening in September, so maybe that was part of it. (On a side note, I think a lot of museums here tend to close parts of floors or entire floors during the summer when they're getting ready for fall exhibitions, which has always seemed strange to me since there are so many tourists here in the summer, but that's just the way it goes, I guess. So if you're planning a trip to DC, you might want to check out your favorite museums ahead of time to decide when's the best time to come.) I know I was a little bummed when we went to Florence years ago that parts of the Uffizi were closed. They still had the more famous works on view, but those weren't the ones I was particularly excited to see. We couldn't have changed the dates of our trip anyway, but I guess it's always good to know what to expect.

So have you guys been to any interesting exhibits lately? Anything I should add to my growing list of places to visit someday?