Love letters…

A long-time devotee of doodling, the kiddo Gadora spent many an hour practicing cursive, trying to emulate my Dad’s near-perfect Architectural lettering and scribbling my name in notebooks. I hadn’t a clue one could actually make a living manipulating letters. As a professional, I eventually made a living with my own letters – not as a graphic artist, but as a writer. And in the magazine biz, I happily brushed shoulders with folks romantically fanatic about their favorite fonts. They did pretty things with letters I never could.

With Valentine’s Day in the rear-view mirror, and my Sugar 1,127 miles away, I write an ode to letters – inspired by the much appreciated love letters Gadora recently received in the mail. Letter writing is not a lost art. Nor is decorating with them…

During one of our Skype dates, The Valentine forwarded this DIY project idea. Oooh, I like the way you’re thinking… It’s dreamy and touches on so much of what Gadora digs: reusing and repurposing stuff otherwise ready for a landfill. Dana of house*tweaking gives us a how-to turn an old fence into a fancy new headboard.

The Love Bed by house*tweaking

And here, how it looks all dolled up.

Love bed in the room...

Gadora never embraced the latest letter decal craze. Sure, I loves me some stickers, but they’re reserved for my bumper or metal tool box, but definitely not my wall. That said, this font wall, from Italian company Wall & Deco, is actually a fancy wallpaper. Wallpaper is making a comeback. Thanks Tidystuff for posting.

Letterpress wall.

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The Zero Dollar Christmas Tree (or, how to make your own)

Gadora has before mentioned the almost bah humbug-like attitude I possess when it comes to decorating for the holidays. It stems from the ruthless way stores shove glittery Christmas crap at us earlier and earlier every year. Hey, before you get started… I’m all for the Holidays. I like my family. And I’m down with the Chocolate Vegan Chili recipes, and consuming way too much dessert. I simply identify more closely with Charlie Brown’s philosophy: “I won’t let all this commercialism ruin my Christmas!”

My first Christmas in New York I lived not far from The Met on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It was a small studio, fit me just right, but there was no room for a tree. Armed with winter gloves and gall, I strolled over to Central Park and clandestinely plucked out a few fallen branches. Dragged them the few blocks home and up to my roof where I deleafed them, sprayed and adorned them. “I’ll take this little tree home and decorate it! And I’ll show ’em.”

Charlie Brown Christmas…

By December 15th of this year we’d not done one thing to prepare for the holidays. No light strung, no sweets made, no nothing really. We’d planned our second annual Festivus for the Rest of Us party—where decorations (and tinsel) are abhorred—but I  knew the BFF was secretly hankering to bust out the Christmas boxes. “How about I make us a tree for the party,” I pose. She squealed. Gadora intended to repurpose the branches I’d witnessed her saw off a tree a few days earlier, saving them the fate of the trash can. It would be our Zero Dollar Christmas Tree… no tree felled, we’d craft the ornaments ourselves and enjoy an evening with the girls while pulling it all together.

Our tree.

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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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Tibetan Terrier Scarlett.

A recent request from Horse-country, Texas: “I would really love for you to do a watercolor of my beloved Tibetan Terrier, Scarlett. How does the process work? How long does it take? I’m including a photo of Scarlett in the hopes that you will think she is as adorable as I do!  Please let me know.” *See Scarlett’s adorable pictures after the (more…). And to answer her questions (also for any would-be Animal Print inquiries): We agree upon a photo for Gadora to work from, I forward a secure PayPal request, and roughly 1-2 months. Here is Scarlett’s finished Animal Print.

Scarlett snugged up on the Sofa.

Leslie, Scarlett’s proud Mama, ordered an 8×10. The original photo was not without want. Scarlett’s mug was a little blurry I couldn’t really see her sure-to-be-telling eyes. Leslie sent more photos…

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Some things are better in pairs…

Some things flourish with a mate. A great lounger and its perfect ottoman. Donny and Marie. Roller Derby and protective gear. Home-furnishings sometimes warrant a coupling of similar items and prove some things are better in pairs. Two candelabras on a well-set table. Or, a pair of lamps flanking a well-made bed. Matchy-matchy is sometimes nice.

And while Gadora is refurbishing a twosome of 3-drawer bed tables, at an admittedly snail-like pace, I’ve been obsessed with homely combos and dig these Mid-Mod speckled-ceramic lamp bases (shade not included) from Etsy Seller: FabulousMess.

60s Mid-Mod Lamps

A pair of Vintage Mid Century Modern bookshelf speakers. “Each speaker measures 13 1/2″ tall and 10″ in diameter,” adds Etsy Seller Modnique, and “have been tested and work great.” Not at all sure how the “bookshelf” comes into play, but here you are.

Modnique's speaker tables...

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