Thursday, March 25, 2010

travel photos: it's all about the details

Last weekend I visited Maryland to hang out with my BFF and my cousin. It was a whirlwind tour of both Washington D.C. and Baltimore. When I go on trips, I take TONS of photos. I am such a tourist! There is one travel photography tip that always sticks with me... make sure to capture the details. I know I read this tip on LJC's blog, but I cannot find a link... it's been years. Anyway, think about it. Full pictures of the White house, Lincoln Memorial, etc. are all well and good, but they are a dime a dozen. Getting shots of of, say, the an interesting ceiling tile inside the Lincoln Memorial, or an exceptionally pretty tree branch outside the Jefferson Memorial, will help bring back the feel of the place you visited. Here are some of my favorite detail photos from my trip.

This handsome fella was hanging around with his lady friend in the lake as we walked towards the Jefferson Memorial.

I thought this twisty tree outside of the Jefferson Memorial was really pretty.

There was a lot of construction going on around DC. Instead of ruining the view, it just made it more colorful and interesting.

The index finger on FDR's statue at the FDR memorial was shiny. I don't know if people rub it for good luck, or if they think it's funny to play the "pull my finger" game with the statue of a dead president.

The FDR memorial had this really neat metal art installation. I loved the contrast of the different panel colors, different metals aging in their different ways.

OMGOMGOMG squeee! I visited Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian American History Museum. It was quite a spiritual experience for me. The teal color of her cabinets is the color I hope to have in my kitchen someday. And is there anything prettier than copper pots and pans? I love that Paul traced all the hanging pots and pans with a marker so things could be put away in the right place!

The outside of the American Indian museum was so pretty with it's curves and golden bricks.

Random silly graffiti on a plywood construction fence. Made me smile.

We only did a quick walk through Chinatown in DC, but I still wanted to capture the essence.

On our walk back to the car after our day in DC, I noticed the eerie lighting on the merry-go-round in the National mall.

Some uplifting grafitti in a treehouse outside the American Visionary Museum in Baltimore. We met an awesome kid in that treehouse who was pretending to be an astronaut. He warned us that the aliens came out of red hearts, so if we saw any red hearts we should look out.

Cherry Blossom trees in bloom by the Inner Harbor in Baltimore!

A seagull at the Harbor watching us paddle around in the dragon boats.

Ate a delicious pizza from Isabella's in Baltimore's Little Italy on a Bocce court.

My BFF's feet and mine on "the beach" of the Johns Hopkins University campus, where we went to fly a kite. I am a fan of taking pictures of my feet when I travel too... they say "I walked here."

We ate dinner at the Paper Moon Diner in Baltimore. A super-neat kitschy-collection laden place with lots of details to photograph. So fun! This fabulous diva stood watch outside the bathroom.

Finished up my trip in Baltimore's Fell's point. Had a pint and some yummy bar food at a little pub, Slainte, there before heading home. Ahhhh.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Free printable Mandalas

In this post I promised that I would periodically post more Daydream Believer original mandalas that you can print out and color. So.... Here are two more... one computer-drawn and one hand-drawn. To download just click on the image and the full-size version will come up in it's own window, and you can download it to your computer. I hope they bring some color, fun and meditation into your day! Here's an idea... if you color one or both, take a picture and send it to me!! I will post pictures of reader-submitted creations in subsequent mandala posts!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bedroom Makeover

In October of 2008 I moved back into my childhood home. Instead of getting my old bedroom back, I got my little brother's old bedroom. And, boy, did that room need help. It's a tiny room, but one of my cousins, who had lived there one summer, had painted it dark blue. Couple that with chocolate painted doors and trim and red carpet, and this room was depressing and closed-in. I wasn't sure how long I would be dwelling there, but I still needed to rescue this poor space. I still live there, and I am still thrilled with the make-over.

The room before. yikes.

The move to this house was not a well-thought out one, I therefore had a limited budget for this makeover. I didn't even have a bed! I found this one on Craigslist for $50. I liked it's potential. And it's bit of storage in the headboard. In a room as small as this, every bit of hidden storage is like gold.

The doors and trim before.

Ugh. The ceiling was a nightmare. Not only is it that textured paint, my brother had splattered gooey blacklight paint all over it when he was in highschool. I scraped as much as I could off, then coated the whole ceiling with 2 layers of Kilz primer. I can still see some of the splatters glowing through at night.

Here are the After pictures:

So much brighter and happier!

The wall color is a warm tan... neutral, yet still bold in this little room. I painted the bed white, along with all the trim, doors and a side table. I got the big mirror for a steal at a discount decorating store and painted that white as well.

I found this pretty, modern yet girly lamp at Target. The birdie decal on the mirror is a chocolate brown, and is from Uppercase Living.

Here is a shot of the wall at the foot of the bed. I brightened up the closet door with white paint, and hung this painting. The painting was done by my Nonna. It is of Spoon River in Illinois, a landmark we always pass on our way to visit her that signals that we are almost there!

The simple white blinds add even more brightness! The Blue and white comforter, which I love love love, is from Target. I have found the best time to get affordable, modern looking comforters is during back-to-school season, when they have everything out for college dorm rooms.

The only other piece of furniture is a small dark wood cubby-hole shelf, necessary for storage. All of my clothes fit in the closet, with some seasonal overflow in the hall closet. There is also potential for storage under the bed. Though I would love a platform bed, it is just not practical in a space this small.

I have since added a red throw pillow to the mix on the bed, and small white shelves on the wall for my kokeshi collection. I have a thing for the pops that red accents give a room, and it works well with the room's red carpet.

I had lots of fun doing this. I do have a crush on interior design. A few of my favorite inspirational decorating websites: Apartment Therapy (on which my good friend Mamaphunk was featured for her amazing kitchen redo), Decor8, Saucy Dwellings.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Collections: Kokeshi Dolls

These are my ladies. I love them. They are Japanese Kokeshi dolls... Simple, sweet wooden dolls. I started collecting them when my ex's parents, his mom being from Japan, gave one to me for Christmas one year. 4 of these gorgeous girls are from them. I love everything about these dolls...thier simple elegance, the colors, the wood grain, the flower designs, their shiny helmet hair. I have been spurred on to show them off since my good friend ulie, a.k.a. Mamaphunk made a post about her love of tiny dolls. One of her newest acquisitions is one of these Kimmidolls, which I had not heard of, but are distinclty kokeshi and super-adorable. I need them all.

She was my first Kokeshi doll. I love her colors. I could decorate a whole room based on her.

See how the wood grain peeks through the red stain? Pretty!!!

My BFF, who moved to the DC area recently, got me this lovely lady at the Cherry Blossom festival last spring. She didn't even know I collected kokeshi! She got it for me because we were both going through major life changes around the same time, and cherry blossoms are a positive symbol of change.

This is another Cherry Blossom one. She is the tallest. She's a bad-ass, and wears it well.

I found this vintage dollie at my favorite antique mall, stuck head-down in some random junk mug. I am so glad I rescued her!

Is this the best facial expression or what? So happy and content!

Speaking of happy faces, this egg-shaped gal really makes me smile!

These are not as elegant as the rest, but I don't like them any less. I mean, come on! Not only are they Kokeshi, they are also nesting dolls AND friggin bobbleheads!!


I love the rich deep brown of this girl's stain. Beautiful.

So, there you have it, one of my favorite collections. I cannot get enough of these babies. It's trouble, too, that they are beginning to get trendy. There are some fabulous kokeshi-related merchandise on Etsy now. Like these kokeshi damn OWLS!! Or these Amigurumi jewelry boxes. Or these pretty pretty prints!!! See? trouble.