Thursday, October 9, 2014

In the mood for my favorite blogs, Part One: Little Green Notebook

I read a lot of blogs, mostly home dec and cooking.  My favorites are the home dec bloggers who do a lot of DIY stuff.  I have no use for super expensive designers, or designers who hire everything out because, well, I don't have that kind of money, and I enjoy doing things myself.  While there are tons of DIY/decor blogs out there, there are a few (currently: 3) that I just DIE for.  That, when I see that they've posted a new blog, my heart skips a beat, and I may or may not fist-pump the air.  I have borderline-romantic feelings about these blogs.

My current top 3 are: Little Green Notebook, House*Tweaking, and Manhattan Nest.  I was going to include all three in one post, but it was just getting insanely long.  And like I said, I have borderline-romantic feelings about these blogs, so why rush?  I want to slow down and really savor them.  So I'm dedicating one post to each blog.  Okay?  Let's go!

Little Green Notebook is, hands down, my favorite blog on the blogwaves.  You've probably heard of it.  It's kind of a big deal.

Little Green Notebook is written by Jenny Komenda, a brilliant interior designer who lives in Arizona, loves color, has impeccable taste, awesome vision, and a can-do (almost anything) DIY attitude.  As I said in my last post, she is my spirit animal and I love her.  Jenny loves color, she's whimsical, and an incredibly hard worker.  She does it all.

I already shared a picture of her olive green bathroom (the bathroom of my dreams).  But let's just look at it again, mkay?

HOW CAN A BATHROOM BE SO GOOD?  It defies the laws of physics and stuff.

But wait, there's more.  Just look at her house.

That casing around the doorways is custom, she designed it herself.  The chevron wood floor is obviously brilliant, and I love that she mixed it so seamlessly with the rest of the flooring.  She has built-in bookcases (that she designed) with a rolling library ladder (that she found on craigslist).  I love that little yellow chair (mustard velvet with a glossy yellow frame?!), and that huge leaning gold mirror.  The way that the shot frames the entry, with the wallpaper, the library, and pulls the eye into the music room is just breathtaking.  I know that a professional photographer framed that shot, but STILL.  And the aqua in the music room... well, it's just the most perfect color ever.

Obviously, my girl has an amazing appreciation for, and talent in mixing, color.  I love color so much, and that's one reason why I love Jenny.

This is their Brooklyn brownstone (they live in Arizona now, as shown in the first pics).  The colors!  All the glorious color.  Also, those are Ikea Billy bookcases that Jenny and her parents turned into built-ins.  I'm telling you, this family has talent!  

This is a small bedroom in the same brownstone.  Instead of painting the room a light color, Jenny painted it this dark, moody green, Bavarian Forest, by Benjamin Moore.  She painted the nightstands (which Jenny made herself and mounted on the wall) and even the sconce cords, the same color as the walls so that they all blend in, which is brilliant.  The velvet coral headboard (that I believe Jenny made, because of course she did), pops off the dark green and makes me so happy.  And the moth prints.  Oh man.  Those are just cut out of a book and stuck into off-the-shelf frames from Michaels. And yet it all looks so rich.  How does she do it?  And can she move to Tampa and be my best friend and give me endless advice and inspiration?

In addition to the sheer joy I get in looking at the pretty, pretty pictures, though, I have to say that the main thing I get from Jenny is inspiration.  She inspires me so much.  I consider myself pretty creative, more creative than most.  But Jenny is in a whole other stratosphere.  And she has the talent to back it up.  I honestly don't know how she does it, and I never want it to end.

And speaking of inspiration, Jenny has the most brilliantly creative DIYs. From simple things like spray painting thrift store glass dishes to use as jewelry storage, to more complicated building projects like the Ikea Billy built-ins.

She did a whole series on how to reupholster an armchair, she DIY'ed a Sputnik chandelier using an Ikea pendant, which she recently updated, and she took a boring, ugly, ubiquitous vinyl chair and turned it into something cute with just spray paint.  Brilliant.

But my personal favorite is her DIY faux tortoise shell resin table top.

She made a table top out of resin, and it looks like tortoise shell.  Ya kiddin'?  Who does that?  As in, who thinks of that, in the first place, then attempts it, then makes it actually look good?  That is so much talent.

Jenny also helped me to embrace and love painting furniture with oil-based paint (although truthfully I haven't quite mastered it yet).  Her most recent DIY project is a folding screen with oil-based paint in glossy red and decoupaged fabric.

SHE MADE THAT.  It's magnificent.

I also love those glossy white floors, which she made out of freaking plywood (seriously), and then painted with oil based rustoleum in glossy white.  The chair is obviously genius, and that striped brass planter (she just took a brass planter and painted white stripes on it, again, because she's brilliant), is so cute.

Oh Jenny.  Never leave me.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

In the mood for olive green

I think olive green is the color of the season.  I mean, it is a typically fall color, but there's something about it that seems so new and fresh!  Nothing is new under the sun, of course, but I'm just loving it.  

Jenny Komenda from Little Green Notebook recently redid her guest bathroom in a lovely creamy olive.

I mean, are you kidding me?  The olive walls with the gold mirror and sconces, the marble (oh the marble) and the black?  Could it get any better than that?  No.  No it could not.

And then she adds coral!  And a Persian rug!  And lucite!  Jenny Komenda is my spirit animal.  I love her and everything that she does.

Then I saw this on Pinterest yesterday.  And I swear I can't think of anything else.

Olive green with pale pink.  Sigh.  Olive green with marine navy.  Oh man.  Olive green with creamy linen white and medium coral.  Wow.  Olive green with muted aqua.  Yum.  I want my whole world to be in those ten colors.  (It's also given me some great ideas for fall fashion, if you must know.)

And then there's this kids room that popped up on my Pinterest feed.  I just love how the paint is clearly olive, but leaning towards gray.  And how the baby wolf pups somehow pick up on the olive green!  

I love the rug, the hanging chair (DUH) and the general bohemian feel to the room.  I also love how the bright yellow school bus and the stacked books pop off of the muted olive background.  It's grounded and earthy, but not at all boring.

And that got me to thinking about my project du jour: the music room!  I was planning to paint the walls black or charcoal gray.  But now I'm thinking: olive!  It's basically the same idea - a dark, moody neutral.  It's not as risky as black (are black walls over?  I don't want them to be), and not as commonplace as gray.  It's edgy and yet calming.

The room itself is small and doesn't get much natural light.  That's the only thing that gives me pause about painting it dark.  But I figure, what the hell.  I like the idea of it being a cozy little nook.  That picture above proves incontrovertibly that the olive will work once we have kids.  Duh.  And if it's really so awful, I'll just paint over it.  Easy peasy.

So here's my new plan for the music room.

Music room new rug

I just ordered that rug on, (quick!  It's $99 for a 5 x 8!).  The art is just an approximation of what we have - album art, cheerful colors.  I don't have the settee yet, but I plan to get it or something like it fairly soon.  Brian just got a new drumset for his (early) birthday.  It's big and shiny and blue-black, which is not my favorite color, but I'm hoping the other colors in the room make up for it.  Please God.  I wish I had the pleasure of it being done NOW (in addition to being moody, I'm also impatient.  I'm a real charmer), but it's going to have to wait.  Brian's in his last semester of law school, and he takes the Bar in February, and since he uses that room as his study space, the redesign is going to have to wait until March.  Maybe by then I can have all of the pieces and just knock it out quickly.  Let's hope.

So, olive!  Does it seem new and fresh to you, too?  Or is it just me?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

In the mood: to do the French twist

Specifically, I'm in the mood to do the easiest, coolest French twist around.  The Frenchy twist, if you will.

So, I've been growing my hair out for about seven years now (or, all my life, whichever), and it's finally gotten past my shoulders (woo!).  But with length comes responsibility.  What to do with all this hair?  When I had short hair, I styled it every day without fail.  But long hair?  Not as easy to get it up for styling  Which is why, of course, so many ladies resort to ye olde ponytail.  And I love a good pony, I do, but sometimes you just want more.

For a long time I've been doing the messy top-knot.  You know the one.

No source, sorry.

That was basically my daily jam for maybe two years.  

There I am!  In Paris, no bigs.

And there I am with a tiny baby with an Elvis lip-curl.  (And yes, I'm basically Zooey Deschanel.  I mean.)

But you know?  I've gotten a little tired of the bun lately.  Not on other people; I think it's still gorgeous, but on me it's become merely okay.  I'm not sure if I'm just bored, or if it's because I got a haircut recently, and I don't know, it just didn't bun up as well.  Fortunately, although the messy top knot doesn't seem to work on me right now, this new haircut seems to be amenable to other do's, like low ponytails, and chignons.  And French twists!

So, I've never been great at the French twist.  Either it looked too coifed and didn't have enough height at the crown, or it just wouldn't twist properly, and I'd end up with this slightly off-center bulge of hair that would inevitably become exposed because I couldn't get the the rest of my hair to properly cover it.  And that just won't do.  You can't expose the inner workings of the French twist!  It isn't decent!  We don't want to see how the sausage is made.  A French twist is all about mystery.  So I lived a French twist free existence for a while.

Then, in a moment of desperation, mere minutes before I had to run out the door to go to work, and I hadn't washed my hair, and the top knot just wasn't happening, I remembered this little lovely that I had recently pinned.

Source here.

For some reason I had assumed that it wasn't a tutorial, that it was just one of those Pinterest teases that link up to a mediacache page or someone's tumblr.  Honestly, I have no use for those.  I need instruction!  And it turned out that not only was it not a tease, it was an actual tutorial!  And not only a tutorial, it was a video tutorial!  Huzzah!  

And here's the thing, this is the best, easiest, cutest French twist you can imagine.  It's elegant, but still mussed and tousled.  And it's easy!  She uses two bobby pins.  Two!  I used to use an army of bobby pins and the damned thing still wouldn't work.  So, this is my go-to from now on.  It's an excellent technique, and I have a feeling it can be adapted to other styles.  So go check it out already!