DIY: Painted Flowerpot!

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I bought a new plant recently. I don’t have the most stellar record with houseplants, but the little parsley was only $1.99 at the local grocery, so I figured what the heck. So far, it has survived the melon nomming on the leaves starting the day I brought it home, so I guess its going to stick around for a while.

The only problem was, the flowerpot I have is too small. So this weekend I stopped by a nearby garden store. The plain terracotta pots were the cheapest, so I picked one up for less than $5. Its kinda boring though, but I have a bunch of acrylic craft paint leftover from paint mad phase I went through in middle/high school.

Originally, I had some mad geometric idea, but crafts never end well when i get too ambitious, so instead I did a spin off of this. Super easy–wipe the pot down, mark off your pattern with masking tape, and paint! And the good thing about water-based acrylic is that it is easy to wash off or paint over if I get bored with it.

Halloween Decorations

Halloween decorations are pretty low key this year, since the place I am living doesn’t really have a porch and the front yard doesn’t belong to me. I didn’t even paint the pumpkins I got because there is no place to put them outside that the rain doesn’t get to (and rain we got TONS of this past week). But I did pick up 50 cents worth of spooky tinsel from a rummage sale a couple months ago to go around the door, and celebrated on my own with a bottle of Broomstick Brew and a little pumpkin spice cake 🙂

Halloween Decorations!

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It’s officially fall now, which would be my favorite season if it wasn’t for the fact that winter follows it. But with fall comes Halloween, and I do like Halloween. In our family we don’t actually carve the pumpkins but rather paint them. I picked up these two on the cheap ($2 for the big, $1 for the small) from the local Farmers’ Market last weekend for some cheerful decorations. I also swapped out my usual kitchen curtains for more appropriate ones using cloth napkins a friend got me a few years ago.

The leaves haven’t quite started changing yet, so I don’t have any pics of their full blazing glory, but my under-the-window blooms are still holding strong.

Shopping Sighting: Squirrel Decor

I was at the store getting some stuff and noted these little critters as part of the new Fall Collection. They had owls and raccoons too, but I thought that the squirrels were the cutest. Justtwomorethings would be proud of me, as I resisted buying them–I already have a cat salt and pepper set and the bowls are a little too twee. Cute though.

Decor: My Office

As promised, my (somewhat transformed) office space.  In an ideal world, I would also have a less dingy file cabinet, a comfy chair (or futon), and a small table, but I think we’ll wait for next year before I invest that much into this.  Still, I think it looks much more personable than before, as you can see below:

I did take the two pottery pieces in, and you can just see them (red circles).  There are cubicles just outside of my office that make it hard to stand somewhere I can get a good shot of the whole office, but I think these adequately demonstrate the acres and acres of empty wallspace I used to have.

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The geometric print is by Rick Loudermilk, and the graphic print is by Chuck Wimmer.  Both were purchased at the 2013 Ann Arbor Art Fair.

Decor: Shopping for the Office

Almost every year for the past eight or so years, I’ve attended the Ann Arbor Art Fair in July.  It’s huge, sprawling, with pieces that run from dog-ugly to museum-worthy, poor-student affordable to banker’s pocket change.  So when I realized I had lots and lots of new office space to decorate, I immediately thought of the fair.

All told, for my office I picked up: one canvas print (unframed), one digital graphic (framed), a plate I plan to use for candy and a vase, just because it was pretty.  Shown here–not in the office yet–are the plate, from Jepson Studios of Harveyville, KS, and the vase, from Parsley Pottery of Cinncinati, OH.  Total expenditure was under $500.  I’ll be posting before-and-after photos of the actual office later.

Decor: What to Do with a Blank Office Wall

When I first started working, I was in a shared office with one other person.  Space was pretty tight and we barely had room for our diplomas and a corkboard each.  But a month ago I moved into my very own office, and now that I have much more blank (depressingly sterile tan) wallspace, I’ve been tossing around decorating ideas.  I don’t want to go down the usual giant painting/photo route, so I’ve been looking into alternatives.  So far, I’ve thought of:

  • Some sort of series of little paintings/photos.  I already have a cute piece by this artist that I could add onto.
  • Wall decals
  • Removable wallpaper, if the building management allows
  • Sculpture
  • Folding screen?  Except it’d be really bulky to store if I move again.

Trip: New Orleans Jazz Fest, Part I (Pre-fest)

I was just down in New Orléans for the second weekend of Jazz Fest.  We had day passes for Friday and Saturday, but decided to fly in Wednesday.  At the time, we mostly made the decision because of the difference in plane ticket prices, but having that extra evening and full day to wander around town was the real benefit we got.  We stayed in Joe & Flo’s Candlelight Hostel, located in the Treme, and walked all over there, the French Quarter, a little of the Seventh Ward (mostly Frenchmen Street) and then cabbed in/out to a couple other areas for food; the Jazz Fest itself is held in a racetrack in Mid-City.  I’ve been to New Orléans once before, but my memories of that trip center almost exclusively on the French Quarter, which was then in full Anne Rice vampiric goth mode.*  So this time, I saw much more of the city, especially the non-tourist areas.  We walked whenever possible to take in more.  Most of the time what you hear about is the ironwork, but I was equally struck by the absolutely fearless plus commonplace use of bright colors, and the attention to detail in all exterior parts of the house.

*Wow, has that disappeared.  I remember it was July, but the streets were full of men and women in velvet and lace, with long sleeves and full skirts.  None of that now, though there’s still the odd haunted tour and voodoo store around.

Prettifying the Rental

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The front of my rental looks rather sad (and weedy), so I decided to fancy it up a bit. After arming myself with a list of plants that would not harm the kitty if he decides to nosh on it, an admittedly frequent phenom, I headed to the local plant center to buy up some cheap flats of annuals–I decided on petunias and verbena. I think that it looks pretty good… even the kitty seems to think so.

Home Decor: Plant Pot

This past weekend was the first time since winter started that I saw houseplants on sale at the Union Square Greenmarket.  I’ve been dying for some flowers and picked up a $1 pansy for my favorite pot, which has sadly been empty all winter for lack of a decent plant (I’m not big on succulents, or those odd, spidery air plants, and that seemed to be all that the garden shops near me had during the cold months).

I bought this pot in Taipei, in a massive open-air garden market held under a highway overpass, and yes, carried it home in my luggage.  Because I love it that much.  I love the unevenness of the glaze, the way it seems to ripple when you look at it, the clean lines of the flared lip, and I love the simple yet eye-catching flower design etched into one side.  That market had tons of this sort of thing, stuff that wasn’t expensive yet didn’t have the boring uniformity of mass manufacture.  I don’t know why you can’t find anything like this in the U.S.  You go into any number of knickknack shops and they’ll sell you all kinds of cool, unique mugs, but all the flowerpots look like they come from the same, single factory.