Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Who's Popular?

Bloomberg Businessweek recently published its "Popularity Issue."  It's an odd and strangely fascinating look at what places and things are the most "popular" in the American economy.  Just as in junior high, "popular" probably doesn't always translate to "best liked" or "favorite" (as anyone who's ever been forced to fly through Hartsfield-Jackson airport knows all too well), but it is interesting to see where our dollars go.

Here are some of the highlights.  You can find the full list, along with the runners' up for each of the categories here.

Airport: Atlanta
Booze: Smirnoff
Car color: White
Cereal: Honey Nut Cheerios
Chip: Lays
Deodorant: Secret
Dog: Labrador
Drug: Vicodin
Gum: Orbit
Item at Walmart: Banana
Lipstick: Revlon
Parenting book: What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Peanut butter: Jif
Sports car: Camaro

(Cartoon courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Shower Invitations

I'm hosting a baby shower in October for my dear friend Alissa.  She's expecting a baby boy in mid-November.  We're cutting it really close on the timing of the shower, so hopefully the baby won't be early!

I'm in the process of getting the invitations ready to mail out.  I don't generally like baby shower invitations that are too precious, and Alissa isn't into that kind of fussiness at all.  So I looked really hard for something that was fun and modern, but still said, "baby shower."  I'm thrilled with these.  Aren't they fantastic!?

A huge thanks to Erin at Ink Obsession Designs, who made these happen.  Check out her website--each design is cuter than the next!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sahan in Yellow House Knits

I had a fun photo shoot with Sahan yesterday, who was such a good sport about putting on sweater after sweater in the August heat.  Here are some of the highlights. Isn't he beautiful?  I just love his curls and his big, serious eyes. 

Thanks again to Sahan for posing and his mom for being a great stylist!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Paint Chips Revisted

Have you seen Sherwin Williams's new ad campaign, which features scultptures by paper artist Matthew Sporzynski?  Sporzynski's sculptures are composed of Sherwin Williams color chips and highlight the importance of picking exactly the right color for a project. 

I'm amazed at his creativity, and I love how each one is a little bit different.  The stuffed animal is a bit whimsical, while the birdhouse is so realistic.  Apparently, there are animated TV commercials that are equally clever, but I haven't seen them yet.  Such fun!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

100 Abandoned Houses

I'm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a few days for work.  I lived here a few years ago, and it's always so fun to be back.  When I was living here, I was repeatedly struck by the number of abandoned houses in Detroit--blocks and blocks and blocks of them.  Equally evident was how many of these had once been lovely houses in what were obviously once-thriving neighborhoods.  It was really heartbreaking to see these houses that had once been home to birthday parties, Friday nights in front of the TV, and kids playing in the yard now just empty and boarded up--literally shells of their former selves.  The problem is highlighted all the more by the fact that many of the surrounding suburbs are so lovely and affluent. 

Maybe that's why Kevin Bauman's 100 Abandoned Houses project speaks so much to me.  This powerful collection of images highlights the sad state of Detroit's neighborhoods.  In a city where the population has declined from more than 2 million to only 800,000, there are a lot more than 100 abandoned houses, but wow, his 100 examples of Detroit's decay make the bleak point.

Here are a couple of my favorite of Kevin's pictures (even though I find the houses themselves so discouraging). 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Inside the Yellow House Master Bedroom

I've been delinquent in posting the next set of pictures of the inside of the Yellow House.  If you missed the pictures of my living room and dining room, you can find them here.  

So without further adieu, let's go upstairs to the master bedroom and bath.  

So that you can fully understand the transformation, here are the before pictures.  Like the downstairs, the master bedroom had gorgeous carpet.  Great closet space too!

Notice how the transoms above the doors had been painted over. 

The closets were just barely deep enough to hold a hanger, but I'm not sure if they would have been able to accommodate clothes on those hangers.  

And here are the afters.  As you can see, I continued my theme of black and white and pink.  I kept the row of closets across the back wall, so I didn't lose a chunk of the bedroom to a walk-in closet.  The closet space is actually pretty generous for such a tiny house.  I did replace the standard-height doors with eight-foot doors to draw the eye upward to the high ceilings.  The louvered doors mimic the plantation shutters.  

The bed is from a flea market.  It was rusted and in generally bad shape, which meant that I got it for next to nothing.  I took it to an auto body shop to have it cleaned up and powder coated.

There's a funny story to the quilt on the bed.  Years ago, I decided that someday I wanted to have a black and white bedroom, with a black and white quilt.  I fell in love with this quilt while I was out shopping with my mother.  Even though I had no place to put it just then, I bought the quilt and figured I would have it when the time came.  I stashed it at my parents' and promptly forgot all about it.  Well, fast forward about three years.  I bought the house and decided that I wanted a black and white quilt (guess my taste hadn't changed much).  I started to shop around for bedding, when my mother asked if I was going to use the quilt in their attic.  Good thing she remembered, or I would have gone crazy trying to find the perfect quilt that I already had!

I couldn't find exactly the right artwork for next to the bed.  I had in my head just what I wanted, but I couldn't find it in the real world.  So finally I asked someone I know who is an artist to paint the flowers for me.

Between the closets, the windows, and the doors, the lack of wall space for furniture was a real problem.  Instead of nightstands, I got two Bombay chests at a discount store to flank the bed.   They originally had a horrible rose pattern painted on the front, but I had them repainted in that same shiny white that went on the upright dresser.  The upright dresser, which just fits between the windows, used to be my grandmother's.   I love the way a couple of coats of paint makes all three pieces look like part of the same set.

Remember those painted-over transoms?  Don't they look fantastic fully restored?  Fully functional, they tilt to allow air to circulate, even with the doors closed (old-fashioned air conditioning!).  The transoms are one of my favorite features of the house.

The fabric on the faux Roman shades and on the chair is Sunbrella indoor-outdoor fabric, which is perfect for a room that gets a lot of light because it doesn't fade.  So the black won't fade to gray or purple.  The shades are not working Roman shades.  I knew I would never put them down, so it wasn't worth spending the money on the extra fabric.  The shades are trimmed with pink beads (which unfortunately don't show up in the pictures).  The beads actually doubled the cost of the shades, but they look great sparkling in the sunshine.

The house did not originally have a bedroom off of the master bedroom, but I really wanted one, so I took a slice out of the adjoining second bedroom.  I love how you can see the pop of pink from the bedroom.

I know the pink isn't for everyone, but it's perfect for me.  I think it works because most of the walls are covered with tile, so there's just a little bit of pink.

The artwork on the wall in the bathroom is left over from a college photography class.  I didn't turn out to be much of a photographer, but I did come a way with a few keepers.  I'm still looking for the perfect something for above the toilet.

Thanks for coming on this tour with me!

Linking to: (Sorry, Blogger is not letting me insert text links at the moment!)

Friday, August 20, 2010

August Special Offer

Since August is not traditionally sweater weather, I thought I'd offer an especially good deal this month:  Order any in-stock or custom sweater before the end of August and receive a free coordinating hat AND free shipping.  If you have a special vision for the hat, I'm happy to work with you.  How *cool* is that?

Note that there may be a slight delay in shipping in-stock sweaters while I make the hat.  As always, let me know if timing is an issue.

Mention coupon code ITHY-AUG in your convo or email (yellowhouseknits@gmail.com) to take advantage of this offer. Orders/emails must be received by midnight EDT on August 31.  

Have fun!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Looking for D.C. Babies!

I'm looking for babies who live in or near Washington, D.C., who wear size 6 months to one year to model my sweaters for the Yellow House Knits website and print materials.  Payment will be in the form of a generous gift certificate, which you can redeem for in-stock or custom sweaters. 

If you're interested, please email me at yellowhouseknits@gmail.com, and I can provide further details.

If you don't live in the area but know someone who might be interested, please forward this request on!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Girls From Ames

Just wanted to plug the book I've been reading and really enjoying.  It's called The Girls from Ames, and it chronicles the lives of 11 women from Ames, Iowa, who have been friends since childhood. 

Ever since I saw Beaches, I've been a sucker for these kinds of friendships-triumph-all sagas in movies and books.  Similarly, this book describes the ups and downs of these 11 (now 10) women's lives and how their friends are there with them through it all.  It's nonfiction, but it largely reads like fiction (though it is a written documentary of sorts, so it's somewhat meditative).  Reading it has made me reflect on my own friendships.  I don't have a big group of 10 friends like the women in the book (though now I kind of wish for one!), but I do have a few friendships that date back to my very early years, which I treasure. 

There are no major conflicts among the women, at least once they reach adulthood, and I find the lack of major drama somewhat reassuring that most friendships are actually not what we see in the movies.  (Translation: if you want action and intrigue, try another book.)

The book's website has an interview with the women, so you can get a real sense of who they are.  I thought it was really interesting to see how close my imagination came to real life. 

Summer's almost over, but if you're looking for something to take you through those last few weeks by the pool, think about this one.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Laura @ The Purse Blogger!  I've really enjoyed getting to know Laura and following her advertures on her great blog.  Be sure to read this story of how she and her husband met.

I'm supposed to answer Laura's eight questions, then come up with eight of my own questions, and then tag eight bloggers to answer my questions.
Laura's questions for me are:

1. How old were you when you had your first kiss? 14.  I was terrified the whole time.

2. What is your favorite cereal?  Granola.  I also love those Chocolate Cheerios (awesome with strawberries), but I suspect they're not so good for me. . .

3. Are you a patient person?  I try to be, but patience does not come naturally to me.  I have a very short attention span, which makes me pretty impatient.  Sometimes I have to take a deep breath and literally tell myself to be patient.

4. What is one of your pet peeves?  Oh, where to start. . .   I hate when people drop their cigarette butts on the ground.  How is that not considered littering??  It looks so awful.  I hate when people talk on their cell phones while they're driving (we can all see you doing it!).  I hate when people have their iPods and other audio devices turned up so loudly that everyone around them can hear their "music."  I hate when people don't bother to empty their pockets and take off their shoes and belts until it's their turn to go through the metal detector at the airport.  That was four, and I'm just getting warmed up.  I could go on and on . . .

5. Brad Pitt: Love him or hate him?  Totally neutral.  But I'm mystified as to why he incites such strong feelings. 

6. Whose blog would you love to take over for a day?  Great question--there are so many fabulous blogs out there.  I think I'd pick Tatertots & Jello.  Jen highlights other people's projects (and some of her own).  I'm consistently amazed at how creative people are (and how much free time they must have).  Such genius!  I would love to spend a day sorting through the projects people send her.

7. What is your dream car?  Some kind of convertible--maybe a BMW or Lexus?  I would put the top down, put on some great music, and just cruise around town.

8. Do you have a Mac or Windows?  I have a Mac at home and a PC with Windows at work, but I am a Mac girl through and through.

Here are my eight questions:

1.  If you could leave for vacation tomorrow, where would you go?
2.  Do you have pets?
3.  What's one thing you love about your neighborhood?
4.  Where do you think of as "home"?
5.  What's your guilty pleasure?
6.  What did you watch on TV last night?
7.  What do you wish you did better?
8.  Sunrise or sunset?

And now to tag eight bloggers.  I've selected a sample of bloggers whose blogs I just love. I've gotten to know some of these folks pretty well through blogging, some I wish I knew better.  I won't be offended if you don't want to play along.  And if I didn't tag you, I'd still love to see your responses!

1.  Cielo Azul Jewelry
2.  HaupLight
3.  Sunshine and Bubblegum
4.  Suburb Sanity
5.  Mommie Life
6.  Busy Working Mama
7.  A Lil' Of This And A Lil' Of That
8.  Preppy Pink Crocodile

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Entry in Urban Dictionary

Hit the slide: to quit one's job in truly stunning fashion.

I think everyone who has ever hated a job is secretly (or maybe not so secretly) cheering for Steven Slater.  The Washington Post is already predicting that the phrase "hit the slide" will be this generation's "blow this popsicle stand."

Lately I've been really waffling about whether to stay in my current job or look for a new one.  Maybe I should just hit the slide?!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Running to Detroit

I've been flip-flopping on whether I want to run the Detroit Half Marathon in October.  My running has been erratic lately, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to commit to the training (on top of an already very busy fall) when running feels like a real chore.  But over the past few weeks, I've had some really good runs, so I was leaning toward doing it.  Sometimes I've even felt like a real athlete while out (literally) pounding the pavement!

Well, now it's official!  I registered last night, so it's a done deal.  Of course, my run this morning was only so-so, so I guess Mr. Murphy is laughing somewhere.

Notwithstanding this morning's crummy run, I'm excited!  I lived in Ann Arbor a few years ago, and it was hard to see the city of Detroit struggling so much.  So I'm glad for the opportunity to participate in an event that celebrates the city.

But what I'm most excited about is that we get to run across the Ambassador Bridge to Canada!  There are a couple of miles in Canada and then the course goes back to Detroit through the tunnel.  How cool is that??

Sunday, August 1, 2010

July 35 Before 36 Progress

Here's my July check-in on my 35 Before 36 list.  I feel like I'm making some good progress.  I love being accountable to all of you followers as I cross things off the list.
35 Before 36 Update

1. Read 12 books.  2/12 complete.  Finished in July: "Commencement" by J. Courtney Sullivan. 
2. Go to New York City for a Broadway weekend.
3. Start saving regularly—even if modestly—for the addition to my house.  On track.
4. Clean out my closet and give a lot to Goodwill.
5. Finish my state streets project.
6. Donate to: Washington Humane Society, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, and my various alma maters: Northwestern University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Michigan Law School, the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
7. Go to the U.S. Botanic Garden.
8. Get a massage and/or a facial each month.  2/12 complete.
9. Purge and replenish my underwear drawer.
10. See 12 movies in the theater.  1/12 complete.  Saw in July: "The Kids Are All Right.
11. Spend a weekend the Omni Bedford Springs (my favorite).  Had a fantastic trip in July!
12. Keep an inventory of food in the freezer.  On track.
13. Run three half marathons.
14. Try yoga again.
15. Start to research the history of my house.
16. Reorganize my pantry.
17. Buy a nice piece of jewelry (pearls?).
18. Try 12 new (to me), local restaurants.
19. Improve my bread-baking skills.
20. Take Bullet on a weekend trip.
21. Get a new camera.  I've picked out the camera and am saving up.
22. Take more pictures.
23. Pay off my car.
24. Master real push-ups.
25. Make at least two meals per month to freeze for later.  On track.
26. Organize my knitting and needlepoint supplies.
27. Send more postcards when I travel with notes telling people I’m thinking of them.
28. Make a star tree-topper for my Christmas tree.  Canvas is purchased--need to start needlepointing.
29. Have a party.
30. Go to the renovated National Museum of American History.
31. Go to the beach.  Made reservations for Hilton Head in September.
32. Buy fresh flowers more often.  I'm trying to pick some up whenever I got to the farmer's market.
33. Paint my old patio furniture (or have it painted).
34. Take a crafting class.
35. Walk home from work at least once a week, weather permitting.  So far so good.