Eight Photos of Happiness (Blog Hop)

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This week I’m sharing my eight photos of happiness.  I was nominated in this blog hop by my blog buddy Darla who I met through the A to Z Challenge at the beginning of the year.  Thank you Darla!  Click to go over to her site where she shares cat photos and many other musings.

This week was the autumn equinox which means that our daylight will become shorter and nights longer.  We are moving from warm weather to cool with the changing leaves.

Things that make me happy……

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A simple window looking out onto a fall day.

 

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A bowl of pasta with vodka sauce because it’s comfort food.

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A tufted leather comfy chair

 

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A lovely hot latte with whipped cream

 

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My animals make me happy.

 

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An English cottage with a beautiful garden.  This one is 200 years old made with Cotswold stone.

 

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I love old books and libraries.  This is the funkiest bookcase/stairs that I’ve seen.

Now here are the guidelines for this happy blog tour:

1.   Link the creator of the tag.

2.   Display your 8 photos of happiness.

3.   Add a description to the photos if you wish.

4.   Tag up to 10 other bloggers.

 

I’m tagging:

bookbug2012 (Emilia)

cedarhillfarmhouse (Anita)

sweetandsavorybyshinee (Shinee)

Thanks for checking out their blogs!

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Ten Festive Fall Finds – Ideas

 

 

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As Summer starts turning to Fall, daylight starts to lessen, a nip grips the air, and a nap under an afghan seems to call.  We begin to spend more time indoors.  It’s a great time to change things up a bit in your decor.

The crisp smell of Autumn, indoors.

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Photo of autumn simmer pot shows cut apples, orange peel, and cinnamon sticks.  You bring a pot of water to a boil, put in your chosen items, then simmer.  Set a timer for about 20-30 minutes so that the water doesn’t evaporate and burn the pot.

 

Candles and Lanterns Adorned for Autumn

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An easy thing to do is place candles in a glass bowl and surround with nuts or acorns.

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Instead of candles in your lanterns you can add pumpkins, acorns or various silk leaves.  The plates above are Royal Stafford Harvest Hayride.  Mine are the same except for the hayride.  My dishes are the herdsman.

 

Set your table with a Coastal Feel

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If you don’t want the traditional route for a special autumn table add some light blue plates on top of a burlap table runner.  Small white pumpkins can be place card holders.

 

Shabby Chic Pumpkins

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I’ve seen these velvet fabric pumpkins at TJ Maxx recently, but you can make your own if you are crafty.

 

Frame an Autumn Printable

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Change up your photo grouping by printing off some festive photos such as the one above.

 

Bathroom Chic

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This is such a clever idea for the fall and requires no sewing.  Use your toilet paper rolls, a little fabric, and brown paper to make adorable bath pumpkins.  It’s something unexpected!

 

Mad for Plaid

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I just love plaids in the fall!…scarves, skirts and now chairs.  Above is a beautiful Ralph Lauren chair that adds that cozy library feel to any room.

 

Time to Cozy up to a Warm Throw

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These throws just happen to also be plaid.  They’re great for keeping warm at a stadium or curling up with a good book or two.

Pendleton also makes beautiful wool blankets that last forever (below).

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A Welcoming Porch

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There are so many great ways to decorate your porch for the fall.  My train of thought is that simple is best.  You don’t have to go overboard.  Just one or two mums and a few pumpkins and gourds give it that “welcome to our home” touch.

 

A Bountiful Wreath

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The custom of decorating with a wreath goes back to ancient times.  The harvest wreath hung on the door in ancient Greece was to protect against plagues and ensure crop growth.   They used wheat or other plants.

 

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George Eliot was the pen name for Mary Ann Evans, a famous Victorian author.  She wrote Middlemarch and Silas Marner.  Read her if you have the chance.

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Styling Your Bookshelves

 

 

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September always makes me think of going back to school and books.  Because of my love of books I am constantly dreaming and ogling those huge libraries in estate homes.  I’ve toured many a gorgeous library and long for a comfy chair and ottoman surrounded by my antique and favorite book selections.

From a practical viewpoint, since my shelves are not yet full of leather-bound volumes lovingly placed side-by-side while totally filling each shelf, I’d like to discuss how to style your bookshelves.

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Shown above is a typical home den/family room.  I love the built-in shelves with elaborate crown molding.  It’s small and cozy.

The rule I follow for setting up books and personal items is that there are no rules.  

A few general guidelines I recommend are:

ADD family photos in unique frames –

GROUP similar size books together –

INCLUDE items picked up from your travels –

PLACE a few larger objects on higher shelves –

DON’T forget natural items such as baskets!

 

Books that are too tall to fit standing up are laid down with a few more books on top horizontally or a frame with a family photo.

If you have some old children’s books or novels you can create a special grouping by tying a few books with twine as seen below.

 

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Sometimes you may want to cover your books in one color paper, like white, if your room’s decor is shabby chic or if your books are not in great shape.  There is a site called booksbythefoot.com where you can get ALL kinds of books for any particular bookcase.  You can get books in certain colors, vintage books, books by subject, faux books, books already wrapped… I could go on.  It’s very unique.

Unique bookends (like the bunnies below from Restoration Hardware) add interest to your shelf.

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I went crazy finding cool bookends!   Here are some working gears from eBay.

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I love these stand-alone bookcases on Pinterest.  (It was shown as being from roomsrenew. topekakansas.com, however there doesn’t seem to be a link to verify.)

I love the addition of baskets.  I add baskets to every room.

Once you place some of your items on a few of your shelves, stand back and look at them from a distance so you can adjust as needed.

Here are some pretty macassar ebony inlay with lacquer boxes (macassar ebony is a dense hardwood from Indonesia).

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Another natural-looking element for a shelf is a small topiary such as the one below from Restoration Hardware.  You can always do a DIY:  buy a container from Michael’s (such as a copper one), put some greenery in it and secure with styrofoam.

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Those are my shelf stylings for today!

 

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(above from Pinterest)

 

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Upstairs-Downstairs

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Stairs are a functional piece of architecture.  We need them to go from one floor to another.

I thought it would be fun to look at some very decorative and different risers, the vertical areas between the stair treads.

 

I’ve always loved the look of a tin ceiling.  You can also get the same textured look on your stairs with embossed wallpaper that you can paint.  So pretty just left white I think.

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The chevron pattern is very popular lately.  I really like the stairs below.   I think the bottom riser would have looked better to have them all be the same design, but it appears the bottom riser may be a little shorter than the others.

After reading about the method for completing the chevron stairs, I would have to pass on it.  It is not one for a beginner DIY-er!  Very pretty though.

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Black and white together is classic.  The stairs below are classic with a touch of whimsy.  They used four patterns, one pattern every fourth riser.  It appears to be wallpaper to me.  It adds interest to the stairs and looks great with the black wrought iron railing.

 

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Adding colorful risers is another way to go.  Boho chic flowered wallpaper carries your eye all the way up the stairs.  They are all different patterns, but the all-white walls give it a neutral background otherwise it could look too busy.

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You could paint your risers in different folk art patterns.  The source for this photo doesn’t give any information on how this was done, but I love the soft colors used.  They’re all so different but not working against each other.

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They remind me of Warren Kimble paintings (such as Burnt Hills below), as if parts of the painting were isolated and used on each riser.  The artist has over 50 years experience and lives in Vermont.  His paintings evoke a simpler time and living in the country.

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Mexican tiles are a beautiful addition to the stairs below.

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My last staircase is made out of beautiful oak wood and curved with a wooden handrail on the left that gives the appearance of a dragon’s back.  This is at the Casa Batllo in Barcelona. The building was redesigned in 1904 by Antoni Gaudi

The risers are the same as the treads, but I just love the different perspective Gaudi has for making buildings and architectural pieces eclectic and stimulating.

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Remember…

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This quote is taken from the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lau-tsu, who said “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

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French Table Chic Made Easy

 

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I do not have a nice little stone country cottage in France, yet I want the ease with which they set their table.  I went in search of the ideal way to do this.

According to mydomaine.com, the book How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are is very enlightening as to all things French.  The authors* demystify the effortless and chic manner in which the French style their dining table.

(*The authors are Berest, de Maigret, Diwan, and Mas.)

Number One:

You do not have to use a complete set of china/dishes.  It is fine to use mismatched pieces and should be what you have on hand.  Flea market finds are welcome.  This setting of mismatched blue stoneware from the ’60s is from Etsy.

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Number Two:

Use mismatched glassware.  This expert book states to use clear glasses and those that all have stems.  This photo is more shabby chic, but I find that elegant in a little more formal way than french farmhouse chic.  But you can see the mismatched clear glasses.

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Number Three:

Show off your monogram.  Parisians like to use grandma’s embroidered white napkins.  If you don’t have any, they suggest getting some inexpensive linen ones from eBay.  Lay them next to each plate.  No complicated folding necessary.  (I’m so glad.)  These are from Etsy 12 for $85.

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Number Four:

The French like to use Laguiole folding knives.  (Pronounced LAH-YOLE or LA-GWEE-YOLE). These are very pretty knives made in the south of France and have a bee at the tip.  You can choose from 13 types of wood for the handle or about 21 acrylic ones.

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Since I don’t think many of us will run out to buy a set of 8 folding knives, I suggest a set of their steak knives.  I picked ours up from Marshall’s years ago.

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Number Five:

Cover your table.  Many French use a linen sheet.  I would find that sheet ruined after the first glass of red wine spilled!  Real linen tablecloths can be obtained through Etsy starting at about $50.

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Since I don’t like to iron, I prefer getting a tablecloth or even table runner that is a cotton/polyester blend made for easy washing and drying.  C’est la vie!!  Check for deals at World Market or Pier One.

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Above shows the simple blue and white napkin (or what could be a linen towel) placed between white plates.

Number Six:

Stay hydrated by having a bottle of wine and glass carafe of water at the table.  This carafe is from the Feathered Nest.com and is $30.99.

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There you have it….the chic French farmhouse table setting broken down for you.  Enjoy!

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Garden Muses

 

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A muse by definition is “a person who serves as an artist’s inspiration.”

I’m coining a new term for the awful “she shed” that sounds like a place you keep your garden and lawn tools.   I’m calling them Garden Muses.

A garden muse is a small building that is located somewhere in your yard where you can relax, read, or take a nap.  I’d like to share a few really cute ones I found.

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This charming one (above) looks like a mini-version of a house.  I can envision a chaise lounge with some very comfy pillows, a shelf with books to read, a hotplate for tea or coffee, and a mini fridge.

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The purple shingled garden muse blends right into the azaleas.  The slant of the mansard roof reminds me of a little schoolhouse.  A mansard roof has a double slant, but usually the uppermost roof may not be seen from below.  The earliest one seems to be one at the Louvre in about 1550.

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The garden muse, above, looks like a free-standing conservatory.  There may be a term for that but I’m unaware of it.  If you take a closer look, it’s not a totally-enclosed building.  This makes it nice for the days that are lovely to be outdoors.

There’s a comfy single bed for those naps I was talking about.  Outside on the left side is a small sink for rinsing your hands after gardening.

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The last garden muse also looks like a mini-house that has it’s own landscaping!  With french doors and dormer windows on the roof, I could be very comfortable lounging inside while reading and feeling the cool breeze.

That’s what I call backyard bliss!!

(Image featured before the article is from Rooms for an Irish Summer.)

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Giant Tree, Day Five and Versatile Blogger Award

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Since I was in California on vacation for a week, I still have my last photo to share in the Five Photo challenge.

I have been searching for the name of this tree and haven’t been able to find it so I’m calling it “Giant Tree” (how original!).   There are quite a few around the town of Carlsbad.  They are very impressive and provide shade.  I couldn’t get the whole thing in one picture, but you get the idea of the enormity by seeing it compared to the person on the right side.

There were a couple photo entries in this challenge that are more graphic design than interior related, but it’s good to change things up sometimes.

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( as I stated on Day One….)

Five Photos, Five Stories

Here are the rules:
1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation.

My nominations are:  http://darlamsands.blogspot.com and http://elengrey.com

Thank you Darla for nominating me earlier this month for the Versatile Blogger award.  Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond.

In accepting, I have been asked to: 1) Display the badge;  2) Thank the nominator;  3) List 7 interesting things about myself; and 4) Nominate other bloggers for this award.

I hereby nominate Emilia of https://bookbug2012.wordpress.com for the Versatile Blogger Award.

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Here are 7 interesting things about me….

1.  I have a 15 year old dog and two cats, age 2

2.  I’m addicted to British shows

3.  I’ve seen Keeping Up Appearances so many times I could probably recite the dialog

4.  I love baseball

5.  I met Chad Everett in a shop where I worked in college in CA (he used to be in the tv show Medical Center back in the 70’s)

6.  I need chocolate to survive

7.  I have not read any Harry Potter books.

Thanks for reading along with me and my blog!

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Cupcake Teapot

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Teapot, cupcakes.

where are my scones and clotted cream?

Alice must be around the corner,

Cheshire cat’s in the tree.

 

I feel like Henry Gibson with his gigantic flower on Laugh-In.

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I just love teapots and cupcakes.  What better way to have them both than the teapot made of cupcakes! (from DC Cupcakes–show on TLC)

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sorry it’s late!

Chicago Boat Tour Cont’d

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In order for me to do the architectural boat tour justice, I needed another day for photos.

These are the twin towers called Marina City.  They occupy a whole city block and look like corn cobs, but I saw more of a honey-comb appearance up close.

Designed in 1959 by Bertrand Goldberg, they were completed in 1964.   The towers were both the tallest reinforced concrete structures and the tallest residential buildings in the world.

The complex was really ahead of it’s time as it was really a city within a city.  Shops and businesses were conveniently located within.  That would have been great during those freezing winters!  The buildings have almost no right angles inside.

Each tower has 65 stories with super fast elevators.  It only takes 35 seconds to go from the lower level to the 61st floor.

I find Marina City very interesting because the complex served as the first post-war, urban high-rise residential building in the U.S.  It started the re-birth of American inner cities.

 

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The building below I found intriguing because of it’s Jenga-like appearance.  I haven’t been able to find the name of it, but it’s pretty cool for a modern building.

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Last, but not least, is the Merchandise Mart.  It’s one of my favorite places because it’s Art Deco in design and it houses furniture and goods aimed at interior designers, architects, etc.  Others can go in if accompanied by someone in the trade.

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Built in 1930, at that time it was the largest building in the world with 4,000,000 square feet of floor space!  I could probably spend the week there and not see the entire assortment of shops.

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Without making this blog entry too long and historic, I want to show you the delicious fig, pear and prociutto pizza we had in Eataly.  It’s a two-story shopping extravaganza of all things Italian owned by Mario Battali, Joe and Lydia Bastianich.  It’s a “do not miss” spot.  Check out their website by clicking above.  You can also order products online!!  Buon appetito!!

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(featured image courtesy of architecture.org)

 

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

 

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If you’re an architecture lover, or just want to have a nice leisurely cruise for an hour, you should take this tour up the Chicago River.

Until last October I had not been to Chicago, except for an airport layover.  I wasn’t prepared for the tall, gorgeous buildings situated along the river.

I’m going to use Day 2 and Day 3 (in my challenge) here because I have more than 1 or 2 photos I took that I want to show you.

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View of the river as we were going down the steps to the dock.

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The concave building, above, is the former London Guarantee & Accident Insurance building on the site of Ft. Dearborn.  It’s considered one of the first four anchors of the Michigan Ave. bridge.

It was built in 1923 by Alfred Alschuler.  Mr. Alschuler was one of the city’s more prominent architects during the building boom of the 1920’s.

Here’s a better view of the LGAI building.  This photo courtesy of chicagoarchitects.info.  All other photos were taken by me.)

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It has a neo-classical penthouse area fronted by columns with a folly on the top of the building!  (Technically a folly would be in a garden or open area and this would be called a cupola.)   The commercial occupants left the LGAI in 2012 because Crain Communications built a modern (I say ugly) building.   The great news is that this historic building is being gutted (with gold entryway ceiling in tact) and next Spring will be the London House Hotel!

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I would love to tell you that I know all the buildings by name and their architects, but I can’t.  There were so many commercial and residential architectural wonders to be seen.  The historical ones from the 1920’s are the most interesting ones to me.

Tomorrow I will end my architectural boat tour (photos).

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