Friday, February 26, 2010

Let's talk about rugs

I love this room.

When I think of decorating a room, rugs can be such an important component.

I think this rug would look beautiful in the room above, with it's washed out and faded design of cool tones. This is a new rug, made to look antique.

There are so many choices out there for rugs, made out of many different materials.

Cowhide rugs don't have to be hide-shaped. This rug is constructed with small rectangles, like a subway tile.

But you don't have to have a real animal skin. Here is Mrs. Blandings wing chair and boots on top of an antelope print carpet. Antelope print is really popular as an alternative to leopard or zebra.

Of course, striped carpets are a great pattern to work with (and look especially good on stairs!)

Brightly colored rugs can make a huge impact on a room.

And they can give you a color palette to work with.

But, neutral and softly colored rugs can really be beautiful too. I love really graphic patterns rendered in soft neutral colors.

Natural fiber rugs like sisal, seagrass, or jute are awesome. So so popular now because of their go-with-anything look and affordable price. They are great on their own or layered with another rug on top.

I love this picture from Country Living last fall! This is a flat-weave rug that was cut into pieces and put on the stairs as a runner. When you're installing a stair runner, it doesn't have to be one continuous length of carpet. Each step can be a separate piece, as they are either attached with tack strips or glued down.

Don't forget about your floors! Rugs and carpets really add to your room - bringing color, softness, and defining a space. Just please don't get an ugly one...

I hope you all have a great weekend!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday (afternoon) caffeine

A little pick-me-up for a Monday afternoon! (I apologize - I so meant to get these up this morning, but it didn't happen!) Any of these kitchens or dining areas would be perfect to sit in and sip on a cup of coffee or tea.

In love with the windows!!

I would KILL for architectural details like these!!

Nice mix of modern and trad.

I love the geometric tile on behind the range. And the green cabinets. And the huge island!

The open shelves are nice, as are the bleached ash cabinets and floor.

Since our kitchen is open to our dining and living rooms, I love being able to stand in the kitchen looking out over them while I fix a cup of tea, prep for dinner or put up dishes. Do you have a favorite spot in your kitchen or dining area?

Friday, February 19, 2010

All about the ugly

Normally, I'm all about the pretty and the nice. But I came across this picture and just had to share (kind of like when something in the fridge smells bad, and you ask your husband to come and smell it).

I call this look "Shabby Victorian", or "Shabby Vic" for short.

Please, don't ever ever do this to your living room. Or any room, for that matter. This is a mess.

Weekend plans?? Going to a free seminar on how to prep beds for vegetables, and how to make your garden more productive (maybe we'll get some tomatoes this year?), plus chilling at the casa with my huz. And the dogs. (Getting older is sooooo exciting.)

I hope you all go out and make the world a more beautiful place to live in this weekend!

*Edit - More ugly. Just saw THIS over at OneKingsLane... and OMG, it's sold out. Really??? Just because it's Missoni doesn't mean it's pretty. And $4239 for a 6'7" x 6'7" rug? That's not really cheap, either. Blech.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This was Texas, y'all

Last Tuesday it was my birthday (woo), so I took a couple days off from work and everything to veg and ostensibly get some things done around the house (which, surprise!...didn't happen). I was lazy, and it was nice.

Once I went back to work, I had some catching up to do, and then THIS all hit. 12.5-inches of snow in one day! In TEXAS! Fun fact: they don't carry snow shovels in the stores here. Oh, and snow plows? Nope. We have sand-trucks.

What was sad to see was all the beautiful large live oak trees breaking under the weight of the snow. Live oaks are evergreen, so the leaves allowed more snow to accumulate on them. We had so many towering trees splintering and bowing over, which then led to massive power outages and road blockages.

But, the snow was so pretty, and such an unusual sight here!!! It took about 3 days for it to really melt off. In fact, if you look, there are still a few very very small patches here and there that still haven't melted!

So, what to do when you're stuck at home with sometimes flickering power and a foot of snow on the ground?

And so now I'm playing catch-up again at work...
Still alive....
Promise to have a real post up soon!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trim It Down Tuesday: Drunken Stir-Fried Beef with Green Beans

Today's recipe is an oldie-but-goodie! This is one of our favorites, and we fixed it last night (so I thought I'd re-post it). We serve ours over rice normally, but it's delicious over rice noodles too.

"Drunken" Paste (You can either make it from scratch, or you can buy it. I always buy it - much easier! I use Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste.)

Cooking Spray

1-pound of flank steak or other type of thin steak cut into small 1/4-inch strips

2 cups of cut fresh green beans (or frozen green beans)

1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon of sugar (or Splenda)

3 tablespoons of Thai fish sauce

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1 cup fresh basil leaves

Heat a wok or large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add paste (approx. 1 to 2 tablespoons of store bought) and heat up for about 30 seconds. Add beef and stir fry for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add green beans and stir fry another 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, fish sauce, and vinegar; stir fry for about 1 minute or until beef is done (it should be done by now). Remove from heat and stir in basil, then serve!

I've slightly modified this recipe from the original because of what I've found out through experience. For example, if you're using fresh green beans, you need to cook them a little longer than the original calls for. Also, as I said earlier, using the store-bought paste is so much easier.

You can serve this over rice, or rice noodles, and it's wonderful with extra vegetables like mushrooms added. We've also used chicken instead of beef, and it turns out just as good!

Yield: 5 servings, serving size 3/4 cup, 202 calories per serving

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday musings

This image is of a Texas garden (specifically somewhere in DFW), and it makes me anxious for springtime. I'm ready to get out in the garden and make it look pretty again! But I'm excited for the next few weeks, too. The daffodil bulbs that I planted last November are starting to send up small stalks, and they might be in bloom sometime in the next month! I planted them around a tree in our backyard that our kitchen window looks out over. During this time of year, it's pretty dreary and gray out there. It will be nice to have some pretty daffodils to look out on.

I am now working on decorating another sister's apartment (I have 2). She just moved this weekend, and we went out yesterday shopping for pillows and accessories. We found some GREAT pillows at Home Goods, along with some blue and white pottery, and a side table. The pillows looked awesome on her sofa, so much so that I have been thinking of them all day and daydreaming that they came home with me instead!!

Next week is my birthday, and I'm feeling a little "middle-aged" about it. But, I'm not finding anyone to really commiserate with. At work, I am the youngest by at least 12 years, so I'm not getting any sympathy there. At Chris' work, many of the girls I'll see out at happy hours are in their early to mid-twenties. Surely they too think that 34 is "old", but it's a little depressing when they tell me "...but you don't look that old at all!" It reminds me of when I was their age, and 34 seemed just ancient. I've decided that I need a friend who is 33, or about to be. Just a little younger than I am. That way, I can get the appropriate sympathy for my birthday and how "old" I will be, but it's not the "give-me-a-break" sympathy of somebody older nor the far-removed sympathy of somebody much younger. A 33-year old could truly sympathize because they are about to be 34 too... Maybe we could hold hands or something.

The other week I saw a bumper sticker on a Prius that read "Your SUV makes your butt look big". Sitting behind him at the light, in my 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee, I was a little hurt/offended, or whatever you call it. I realize that this little balding man was doing his part to save on gas, emmisions, or what-have-you by driving this Prius, but I didn't think it gave him the right to get all nasty towards SUV drivers! I wanted to yell out WHY I was driving an SUV, (namely that it was paid off, I can't really afford a car payment, and it comes in handy for work when I often lug large rugs and samples out to client sites) in defense of myself. But then that kind of made me mad - that I wanted to defend myself to some stranger in the car in front of me, all because of his stupid bumper sticker. So, I decided instead that I need to look for a bumper sticker for the old Jeep, one that says "That Prius or Smart Car you're driving makes your d*ck look small". ;-)

So that's what's on my mind today... how's your Monday going?

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