How-to fancy up a journal…

Gadora has happily been off-line lately. Out of the country, actually. Just returned from Istanbul, not Constantinople*, where I spent a splendid week with the family.

Beforehand I’d hurried through the packing, sure to include only the most essential wardrobe elements: slouchy Frye boots, sensible-but-saucy walking shoes,  2 leggings, lots of lightweight sweaters and tops for layering and a Harajuku Lovers cross-shoulder bag. I was certain to buy a mess of stuff at the famous Grand Bazaar. On the quickie layover in Chicago, where I caught up with a dear friend, I remembered I’d neglected to pack a journal. I wouldn’t survive the 10 1/2 hour journey across the Atlantic with Sudoku alone! After perusing a few shoppes in bustling Geneva, Gadora decided to make her own.

Notebook ~ Before

It would boast no lines. I’d be doodling in it, after all. We found it at the local Walgreens, but it was lacking any style. My friend had a recent style-guide with a suitable cover, and allowed me to commandeer it for the project. Tape, I’ll need tape. And scissors. Easy enough, though she’d just moved into her new digs.

The Supplies...

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It’s high time for a coffee break…

There’s no rest for the weary. Though the suitably roomy L-shaped sofa has arrived, Gadora is still searching for extra seating for the 2nd Floor Lounge. I’m hoping it will be the place-to-be after all, so we’ll want enough space for the work peeps to enjoy it, thoroughly. In search of both a “floating” wall shelf and carved wooden stumps, last week I visited the folks at Delta Millworks, who recommended I meet Lee of Old Texas Floors (there’s a visual story here! but you’ll have to wait for it). Lee’s worked up a pricey quote for 2 stumps-to-turn-stools and to be sure…I surfed the interwebs for comparable items.

Turns out Lee’s wood stools—which were once beams anchoring an old warehouse—will be aaaah-mazing and at more than 100 years old, they are priced just right. While nurturing a cup o’ joe this morning, Gadora found a few items worth percolating over: home furnishings made from reclaimed coffee sacks.

VivaTerra's recycled seat

This hand-built chair inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Barcelona, is an upholstered version of a Mexican butaca. They’re made of machiche, a tropical Guatemalan hardwood, with well-padded cushions upholstered in reclaimed jute coffee sacks. I. Want. Two.


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2nd Floor lounge… coming together…

For the last couple of weeks, Gadora has been point person for the office’s 2nd floor lounge. The original vision: transform an otherwise pedestrian 19′ x 22′ office room with a well-appointed kitchenette into a vintage, yet modern, industrial space filled with plenty of seating, a phat TV and a bar. The room would be at once fun and FUNctional, durable and inviting. The original design team, to whom I’m grateful for passing their torch, presented a few spaces worthy of emulation: the Mohawk Lounge’s green room.

Green Room at Mohawk Lounge

And another (anonymous) spot: rich with woods and color, filled with interesting shapes and vintage, unique pieces.

Modern Victorian

Since having received said torch, Gadora has been on the hunt for fierce furnishings to fill the space. Not. A. Bit. Of. Pressure. The folks at the office are a determined and creative bunch. The new physical space would reflect our penchant for cutting-edge innovation in cyberspace. The concrete flooring had just been done—a stained concrete floor that’d make any UT fan proud. But the rest was bare…

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Longtime love: The Century Plant.

Austin has had an exceptional* rainy season. Besides the full-bodied trees and the flashes of color blanketing the roadside (Thank you Lady Bird), many Century Plants have been in full bloom. Their stalks are proud with patches of vibrant yellow flowers. Gadora’s Grandmother’s house boasted a gargantuan Century Plant. And it utterly mesmerized me.

Agave Americana

It was so out-of-place at her house, I remember thinking—I don’t recall there being another anywhere around. Hers was a Southern yard. Several stately Oak trees canopied the drive. A hearty row of bushes between her house and Uncle P’s provided plenty of fort-like excursions for we imaginative country kids. There was the spindly tree that bloomed the greenest figs. That is still my favorite color. And there was that Century Plant,** snugged so tight to the house I thought it might uproot it.

Adrienne C. Jones "Agave"

There was something magical about the way it unfolded, and those little needle marks left on the leaf closest. I’d run my hands up and down its soft, dense leaf-like appendages and play chicken with its quills. It stood taller than me. A Century Plant. It grows a hundred years. That’s like… forever. I thought.

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Sr. Pajaro to the rescue…

Sandwiched between two sunny 50º days, it snowed and snowed in Austin yesterday and was a happy and unexpected surprise. Gadora met it with mixed emotions. Receiving both wildly good news and very sad news—both in the same day—I charged yesterday embracing endings, ready for new beginnings. Whew! Early on I finished a few watercolors and nestled in the living room for a brief respite. Dragging out a package of felting supplies and roving that a knitting-fiend, errr friend gave me over the weekend, Gadora wanted to take a stab at felting and see how quickly something good would come.

Meet Sr. Pajaro.

Without the first clue how to felt a creature, I read the rudimentary instructions and reviewed my earlier posting about collecting cat hair. (So?) At post’s end I linked to Brookelynn’s Craftzine how-to-felt post, which suggests viewing her how-to-felt video. I watched. And I made. First the legs: a simple left-over piece of copper wire was bent into legs…

Frog legs. No!

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