Color Inspiration

It’s come around to Tuesday again. Already. I’m not sure how that is possible. My kids have one and a half days of school left, two days until we move back to America, and possibly 4 days till I’m sipping an iced coffee by the pool {you have to love temp housing that includes a pool when it’s 90 billion degrees outside}.

I thought maybe I’d post a bit about some very colorful items that have recently caught my eye on Pinterest. With summer in full bloom, it’s hard not to very happy about brightly painted furniture and colorful pieces of art.

I realize this boy isn’t really holding the kids up, but there’s something very fun about it. It reminds me of a blog I used to read where the dad is a photographer and he did all kinds of crazy things with his kids {via photoshop}. One of my favorites was inserting his daughter under a ‘giant’ coffee machine while she opened her mouth to catch a drop. Or his daughter as a firework. There’s plenty of beautiful pictures of his girls just being kids too.

I would love to be able to be this bold in a hallway in my own home.

To make this work I think you need a certain type of house. An older home with the molding to make it more unexpected. Even though it is a dramatic color scheme, I don’t think it would play the same if it were a new home. It would end up looking more modern, instead of the rich tones here.

I’ve had this pinned for years. This chest is fun, bright, unique and would great in a lot of different rooms. From a sports theme to a front foyer, it can kind of go anywhere. {versatile is it’s name}

I wouldn’t even care what movie was showing, I’d just want to go for the decor.

I shouldn’t like the space below because I’ve never found red to be particular restful in a bedroom, but somehow this totally works for me.

This would be an easy place to give directions to; I live in the green house.

I love the dark and soothing soft pale tones in this kitchen. It’s moody and calming at the same time.

The final inspirations I want to share I found while searching for Flor tile examples. I want to create a rug out of Flor tiles for our dining room. Since you can buy individual tiles to create a design of your own making, it would make a very unique look.

Are you finding anything particularly inspiring this week? Let me know!

*to those wondering, our dog is doing great. she hates being confined to her kennel to rest, but who wouldn’t?

Inspiration Tuesday: Art Studio

I am a huge fan of art. My bookshelves, and floor space, and coffee table are filled with art books, books about the art world, art history tomes, and catalogs of most of the major art exhibits I’ve been to here in London (I consider them my souvenirs. The Husband thinks of them as the things that break boxes. Potato, pOtato)

A few months ago, as we were finalizing all the downstairs renovations for our house in Seattle we once again started talking about the different rooms and how we wanted to make better use of them. We have a five bedroom house, and most of the rooms are very generous. We only use three as bedrooms. We used to use the downstairs ‘bedroom’ as an office/exercise room. It would have made a perfect guest room because theres a 3/4 bath right next to it. But it’s right off the foyer and has two big windows (that get fabulous sun) and a glass panel door. It was too painful to see it as a room that only received use 3-4 times a year. {it’s ugly and utilitarian here, and a longer rectangle shape than the picture shows, but have faith!}

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So the upstairs extra bedroom became the guest room.

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And no one went in there. I can’t really blame them either. It is uninspired. Since we only lived in the house a year, we hadn’t done much to the house yet (painted two walls downstairs and that was it.)

The guest room was a wasted room. The kids have a family room upstairs for their hang out space, and we have a downstairs living room for adults to lounge around. This room really didn’t have much of a daily purpose. Since we’ve been in London, The Husband said I should take that room as my art studio, and we would work out storing the mattress and bed frame (since it’s just the free one that came with the mattress), and pull those out when we rarely need them. It is the only room with north facing light (perfect for my painting). I can set up a desk for writing, have plenty of storage space for paints/canvas/fabric/etc, and have still have room for photo shoots for fashion posts.

Can I get an Amen and Hallelujah!?

Immediately I had to pull out this book, Studio by Sally Coulthard and starting flipping through. My Pinterest Art Studio and Art boards are long and colorful and full of ideas.

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My mom bought me this painting print for my birthday, and i can’t wait to get it mounted and framed. {I first saw the artist – Samantha French – on YoungHouseLove, and I love her stuff! I also ADORE this artist for a similar theme.}

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I had thought to put it in the kitchen, but now I’m not quite sure since it’s very inspirational. I love the print and it gives me such a happy feeling looking at it. Since we have such an entirely new look planned for the kitchen, the colors of the painting will look amazing {!!!} in there.

White River granite island counter, white cabinets, with navy island cupboards, grey backsplash subway tiles, and Nero Antratice Lux Pental countertops for the outer U of the kitchen with light grey walls.

If it does go in the kitchen, I have plenty of other art for my studio space. I want to keep it fairly light and neutral, but with lots of art I can rotate in and out to keep me inspired. Of course, I’ll have my fantastic collection of art books that are works of art in themselves. I’m also loving some of these storage ideas to keep everything right at my fingertips.

No matter how the room turns, out I am pretty excited to transform it into my space where I can be in the middle of painting and not have to clean up everything to make dinner (I can just close the door!), or worry about anything being disturbed during while drying, or my supplies being pilfered for someone else use. {looking at you Chick…}

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My son gave me this book of inspirational quotes from artists for Christmas and I love flipping through it to remind myself that creating art is about me, not about what other people think of it.

This quote sums it up very well.

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About a Dog

It is very strange how much a dog becomes a child. How you would do anything for your pet. Dogs (at least in my experience) are far more difficult to ‘raise’ than a human child, but bring me just as much happiness (even during the dog teen years which seem to last for as long as your dog lives).

 

It’s no secret that moving to London has been very rough on our little mini-dachshund. The noise, not having her own yard at first, getting her in an elevator multiple times a day was interesting, coming across these other things called ‘people’ and ‘dogs’. It was a tough transition those first six months, and even after we moved to a house, some things eased but most things didn’t. She is still skittish at noises, barks at every sound the neighbors make (and with super duper thin walls we hear every sneeze and scream, and every plink of the piano).

But my furry little friend is my best friend. Who else follows you round from room to room, is always SUPER TAIL WAGGING excited to see you, even if you were just gone for five minutes, and wants to pretty much sit on you or be licking your face every.second.of.every.day.

So it’s hard for me this morning knowing my baby is having surgery. She went from a primarily heathy – if neurotic – 6 year old, to a hunched crying in pain dog overnight. She spent six days at one hospital 45 minutes away, and yesterday I had to take her from that hospital to the Royal Mother Hospital an hour and half away. After an MRI last night the dr discovered that she has/d a bulging disc in her neck. That is/was the source of her pain. They are operating on her possibly as I type and I should have news by lunch.

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Family meeting? I’m listening.

My girl is so very, very important to me. It seems silly to some people, she’s a pet!, but to me she is like one of my kids. I feel good about the surgery because her pain should be immediately relieved. She will have 4 weeks of complete crate rest. It will be interesting when you throw in travel 10 hours on a plane to America right in the middle of that. As long as there are no complications, she can fly. Right now there is also a GI issue {sparing you the unpleasant details}, but stress could be the cause (and I want to believe that’s all it is). I’m not even in the hospital, surrounded by strangers, being poked and prodded, and my stomach is full of acid. So I can’t imagine how our anxious little girl is feeling.

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She is 5 kilos of pure crazy dachshund. And she has my heart. If you could spare a positive thought or vibe for her today, I’ll take all the good karma I can get.

Weekend in Oslo

It’s funny how for as much as I travel and see all these places, I don’t seem to blog about them. We were away 3 of the last 4 weekends. Glasgow, Ireland (from Dublin to Galway), and last weekend Oslo. I love traveling. I think it was the main reason I wanted to move to Europe again, so we could see so many different cities. When we were in Germany for four years, I don’t think we traveled as much as we have the last two years living in London. Part of that is because it was The Husband’s job to {literally} travel the world every week for work. By the time the weekend came, he just wanted to be a homebody and maybe wander as far Cologne (25 minutes). We also had 1, then 2 children, 5 and under. Traveling with that set is not exactly the easiest. I really like the fact that I’m no longer the one schlepping their stuff in my bag.

If they want to bring it, they’re carrying it.

Nordic countries have always interested me. Initially, I thought we’d go to Sweden. I’m a big fan of several Swedish things – Wallander, and Volvo – but we ended up choosing Norway instead.

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If I’m honest, Norway looks a lot like the Pacific Northwest/Puget Sound. We went on a cruise of the fjords, and all I kept thinking of was how much it looks like driving from our house in Snoqualmie to downtown Seattle (25 minutes). You cross by the water at Mercer Island, and across the floating bridge. It looks extremely similar.

Either way, no matter where it is or what it looks like, it’s beautiful. We could not have had better weather, 77 F and sunny. We even broke out the sunblock. I continued my love of boats {that would be boats that aren’t ferries on the ocean making me seasick} and pretty much filled the camera with sailboat pictures.

I’ve been sailing exactly twice in my life, when I was about 10, and my best friends dad took us out on his boat.

Loved. It.

And I also have been reading the Wynns blog, Gone With The Wynns, for years. Since they recently completed their first year living full time on their catamaran, I’m obsessed with sailboats {just ask the husband who has caught me numerous times trolling ‘boats for sale’ websites.}

We aren’t getting a sailboat. Kayaks, YES. Sailboats, NO. {MEGA SAD FACE} I have pointed out to the husband many times we live very, very close to the water, and boats aren’t that expensive, and I basically grew up on the water in my parents powerboat.

He then points out how many ferries I’ve turned green on/throwing-up-while-riding-on. Point taken, but yes, crush a girls dreams, ya know? {maybe a boat is my mid-life crisis?}

Anyway, Norway, is beautiful. These little houses are called bath houses and were originally placed at the water so people could swim etc without being seen. They were super cute.

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One of the things I couldn’t stop admiring is the architecture of Norwegian homes. I love the sloped roofs, the colors, there’s just something wonderful about them.

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There are also plenty of modern buildings in Oslo, like the opera house (where you can literally walk all over it, the roof, the sides, etc.).

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We also went to the Fram Arctic Exploration Museum, Maritime Museum, and Folk Museum (I can’t remember the actual name but they had buildings from the 1300-1990 – some recreated, some original, and told the story of Norway’s people, which was interesting even if a lot of the buildings were closed for repair).

On Saturday we had the chance to see a lot of people dressed in traditional folk dress {this is commonly done for ceremonies; which I think is wonderful}. I only managed phone pictures because I didn’t want to be obvious about it, but seeing everyone from little babies to adults in folk dress was beautiful.

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At the Oslo city hall they were having a Humanistik Navnefest {a Humanist naming ceremony, you can read more about Humanisism here.  I find it really interesting, and took the ‘are you humanist quiz’ and scored 100%!} so there were many, many people dressed this same way. It made me wish America had something similar.

If you ever get the chance to visit Norway, and specifically Oslo, you definitely should. Just pack for every kind of weather and be prepared for the cost. It is exceedingly expensive (2 coffees and 2 slices of cake and 2 ice creams one afternoon was the equivalent of £68), but it is well worth it for the friendliness of the people and the beauty of the place. It is potentially on my top 5 places I’ve ever been, even if I was there for my 40th birthday.

All the things: birthdays & leaving London

I can hardly believe it but several things are taking place in the next 35! days that are pretty momentous in my life.

Item 1. My youngest turns 11. I could look at it like she’s growing up, wah!, or she’s pretty much in teenager mode, and it’s only 7 more years till I can make her move out. It really depends on the day and the attitude.

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On top of the Cliffs of Mohr, Ireland

Item 2. I’m turning 40 in ten days. I’ve generally been fine with this, age is just a number, yada yada, and I’ve got far more important things going on right now to worry about it (see next item). That is until a friend who is giving a birthday dinner for me wrote in the email Andrea’s 40th Birthday Celebration, then I started freaking out a bit.

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But in almost 40 years I have lived in 3 countries and 6 US states, visited 18 countries (so far), and I have seen so many wonderful things I couldn’t even begin to describe them all. That’s not too bad considering most of the people I went to high school with still live in the town where I grew up. I caught the adventure bug early on and I think I’ve made the most of it.

Item 3. We are moving back to the US in 35 days and saying cheerio to London. I can’t even describe how happy I am about that. It isn’t that London has been the worst place I’ve ever lived (middle of nowhere central Kentucky has that honor), but would I choose to do it again? No, probably not. It is not lost on me that my dearest wish as a naive 18 year old was to live in a thriving city (the goal was NYC). I can now say that I have lived in a city, and the experience did not really agree with me. London is loud, dirty, crowded,  my neighbors are obnoxious, and I am very much looking forward to closing the door on this experience.

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Taken June 27, 2015, our first weekend in London

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from the bus

I will miss the art museums, Kew Gardens (which you’ll note isn’t technically IN the city), and even the tube. It is sometimes nice to get to a destination while watching a movie on your phone, or reading a book, instead of driving.

But mostly I miss the quiet solitude of our US home, with it’s deer walking down the street, and nothing but mountains and evergreen trees out the window.

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Item 4. We are traveling to two different countries in the next two weeks (Scotland and Norway). I am quite excited about both. In Glasgow we will be visiting our tiny little 2 square feet of land that legal allows us to use the titles Lord and Lady. And no, I’m not joking. It’s part of this scheme (and there are other programs like it) used as a way to raise money to restore the castle on the grounds. I bought us the titles for our anniversary this year. They came with full fancy certificates with wax seals and everything. I’ve already started changing all my official documents to

LADY ANDREA OF CHAOL GHLEANN

It does have a nice ring to it (even if I have no idea how to pronounce it). The Husband has asked the children to call him Lord Father. So far, they aren’t complying. The cool part is that we are allowed to use them on legal documents. Something about that makes me happy.

It’s the little things.

The next 35 days will be so very, very busy. Saying goodbye to favorite places like Kew, the Italian restaurant in Notting Hill, and the Royal Academy. Making sure everything in the house has a designation for shipping: SEA, AIR, or SUITCASE. Selling off electronics, and storage closets; donating clothes, and books to the local charity shop. Making sure every single piece of paper you need for moving four people and a dog across two countries is filled out and stamped and sorted in triplicate.

35 days to go.

 

Inspiration: Street Art

This week I went on a tour of street art in Shoreditch (London). I’ve always found street art sort of interesting as a medium. It definitely takes talent to create street art. The first thing our tour guide did was to define what is street art and what is graffiti.

Street Art: Street art is visual art created in public locations, artwork executed outside of the context of traditional art venues.

Grafitti: Written letters, generally illegal.

There is a lot to see, and I took quite a few pictures (55 actually.) I don’t remember most of the artists names but some of the pieces were really amazing. A gallery called Stolen Space frequently exhibits street artists work as well.

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Artist: Zabou

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Artist: Dale Grimshaw

I particularly liked the French street artist C215.

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There were some very big pieces (I believe these were all commissioned, or if not, at least allowed to remain by the neighborhood community), but I don’t remember some of the artists names:

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Artist: SHOK-1

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Artist: Phlegm

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Artist: Phlegm

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Artist: SHOK-1

I found this website that provides biographies and links to some street artists, Street Art Bio. There were other examples, some called paste-ups (essentially posters), and other forms of art like mini sculptures.

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Some of the funniest ones were street signs (Do Not Enter signs) that an artist reinterpreted (and subsequently got arrested for).  can’t remember the name of the artist but I will be forever looking more closely at street signs now!

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I highly recommend a street art tour because you learn so much about the different artists and some of the motivations behind their work. Even if you don’t take a tour, look around at what you do see. The work can truly be art.

Post-apocalypse; or surviving jet-lag, & vacation review

Jet-lag. Oh, you fun little treat. If jet-lag were the ‘it’ item of the month, then I would be in luck. Because jet-lag is certainly living large and in-charge in my life this week. We are post 6 days since we returned from the US, and I’m still hitting snooze to the point where I’ve started taking my alarm into bed with me so I don’t have to get up to hit reset.

Nicht gut, meine freund.

Tomorrow the kids go back to school, which means I have the school run, which means the alarm will be going off at 6:15. I’m having trouble going to bed before 11, falling asleep before midnight, and rarely sleeping all night long {last nights highlights include obnoxious drunks walking down the street at 3 am, the dog throwing up at 4 am, and then she decided at 7 am that she’d like to get up and go outside. Note: dogs do not care that you would like a nice sleep-in.}

61 days.

61 days left on the Great London Adventure and I am most looking forward to the fact that we will be spending 9 of those days in other countries {Ireland, Scotland, Norway} I am, as they say, done. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is definitely at home in Seattle. It seems strange that I am so looking forward to going back to one of the rainiest places, but when you have views like these just driving down the freeway, how could you not want to be there??

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Seeing that -those glorious mountains- never, ever gets old. Even in awful phone snaps.

I had planned to blog about the Spring 10×10 but I ended up not taking my computer with me on holiday, and that’s good; as I would have had zero time to actually write anything. We pretty much spent vacation {especially our brief trip to Seattle} going from 6 am to 9 pm without much of a break. The days were full, and productive {the kitchen is fully planned and picked, our contractor has already picked up our granite slab we chose at the warehouse. that’s a post for another day.} I did take some admittedly terrible selfie outfit shots which you can find on my Instagram. At some point I might get around to writing more about it.

The trip to the US was really good, and we managed to go a great hike with my sister in law aka The Hiking Guru. The day truly was spectacular {even if it was 4.2 miles!}

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You could even see the skyline of New York City in the distance at one of the lookout points.

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I can see many hikes ahead in our future back in Seattle {which is kind of the mecca of hiking/outdoor activities}, because we all really enjoyed it. We also enjoyed a walk around Princeton and the campus, which I had never been to before (the campus, I’ve been to the town a few times). The weather turned so nice we stood outside eating ice cream in the shade and didn’t even get cold. {I love NJ in the spring!}

Vacation is always welcome, even if I am glad this was our last back and forth to the US {because all I want right now is a nap}. Even though we were crazy busy most of the days, I definitely know that I felt relaxed in a way that I never am in London. Maybe it’s just being home, in my own country, or in my city, but I think it might be awhile before I get the expat itch again.

It might be a good long while indeed.

 

*journal style blogs are out it seems, but I’m in the thought of who gives a peach?