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The Glamour of Outdoor Lighting

You probably didn’t think it was possible for outdoor lighting to be glamorous, but then you probably haven’t seen anything as photogenic as these two pictures from the online catalog of Castlegate Lights:

Konstsmide Fenix Outdoor Wall Lantern

Konstsmide Fenix Outdoor Wall Lantern

Both of these are from a Swedish company called Konstsmide. The top one is the Konstsmide Fenix Solid Copper Upwards Wall Lantern and the bottom one is the Konstsmide Fenix Solid Copper Downwards Wall Lantern.

These aren’t just handsome wall lanterns, the way they’re portrayed in the photos above makes them handsome wall lanterns that promise to transform our surroundings into something special. The autumnal leaves, the ancient wall, the way the shadow in the top photo indicates late afternoon, all of these things combine to make these the most romantic wall lanterns ever.

My friend, the writer Virginia Postrel, has a new book coming out this fall The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion, and as the title suggests part of the power of glamour is that it makes us desirous; the glamorous object, or the glamorous photo incites a sense of longing. Undeniably, there’s a longing to be where these wall lanterns are, which is a pretty great trick when you consider that by strict definition these are just pieces of hardware, but what glamourous pieces of hardware they are!

Sit Back (Untwist) and Relax

For our second wedding anniversary — the cotton anniversary — my mother-in-law offered to buy me and The Beard a hammock. With thoughts of backyard lazing in our heads, we said yes. Naturally, our hammock’s arrival corresponded to weeks and weeks of rainy, blah weather that does not make one want to retreat to the outdoors with a mojito in one hand and a good book in the other, next to the pond (make sure its nice and clean with pond filter media from Bradshaws Direct.)

hammock

Wikipedia tells me that hammocks were created by native inhabitants of tropical regions for sleeping — presumably because they’re easy to rig up and less toasty than a proper bed — but also notes that the invention of the hammock has been attributed to the Athenian statesman Alcibiades, a student of the Greek philosopher Socrates. Sailors adopted hammocks as the go-to shipboard bed because they maximize the available space, and adventurers followed suit because hammocks are quite portable. Eventually, the hammock became a sort of emblem for a certain type of weekend summertime relaxation that is the purview of individuals with a spot of land to their names.

Hammocks, of course, come in all manner of sizes, shapes, and configurations. My mother-in-law opted to purchase for us one that does not have spreader bars on either end (American style), and instead bought a Brazilian style hammock, which requires the operator lie diagonally across it to keep it open. I’m looking forward to trying it out if the weather ever changes.

In the meantime, I’m shopping for outdoor pillows that won’t get all nasty moldy if they do accidentally get caught in one of the downpours that have so far defined the summer of 2009. Check out some of my faves by clicking on the pics!

outdoor pillowthrow pillowthrow pillow
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Quickie Garden Swing a la Sweet Paul

Brilliant! Sweet Paul, a noted food and Prop stylist and blogger, took an Ikea garden bench, sawed the legs off, drilled some holes, threaded in some rope, and ended up with a darling garden swing that is definitely inspirational. How much more simple can you get?

Front Door Upgrades In Pictures

How easy is it to upgrade your front door? I’d say it’s pretty damn easy!


Switch out your old doorknob for something shiny and new
… or distinguished and old works, too (via)

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House Signs: Yes or No?

Sometimes a house has just the right amount of doors and windows and eaves and things to fill up all the space one needs to fill to please the eye. And sometimes a house doesn’t – ours, for example, has a big dead zone between a first-floor bedroom window and the front door. There’s just nothing… nothing but boring blank siding. Until recently, we filled the space with a Penn Dutch hex – one indicating friendship, supposedly – but it’s begun to look a bit worn around the edges in recent months. But what to put in its place? Hanging plants? We can’t afford to put in another window there or push out the front door at this time. At some point, signs came to mind. Specifically, signs that advertise who lives in the house to which they’re affixed.

The thing is, though, I eventually nixed the idea. While it’s easy enough to find out who lives in my house – search for the address online or have a peek in the mailbox – do I really want to advertise that the so-and-so lives here and, oh yeah, we got married in such-and-such a year? Not to mention the fact that it feels a little hokey-boasty to me. What do you think? When you see a sign that says something like “The Johnsons – Established 1994″ or whatever, how does that strike you?

Love ‘em? Find em here: 1, 2, 3

Think Pink! (Seven Ways)

One of my favorite bits from the movie Funny Face is the Think Pink! routine. And seriously, I’m a huge sucker for pink, more so now since having a girl baby. Not, mind that I set out to pinkify her life – but everyone else in existence apparently did. Now that I’m finally working on her room, I’ve chosen a deep pink, black, and white scheme, mainly because it’s solid, girly palette without being immature, and as a combo, it never has been terribly unpopular in my lifetime so it won’t look ridiculously out of date five or ten years from now. Pink can be babyish, of course, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are seven sweet examples of how one might use pink inside and outside of one’s home, with not a single nursery in sight:

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Where I’d Rather Be

The Beard and I have a porch. It’s pretty beat up. A priority project this summer involves scraping and painting it, cleaning our outdoor furniture, etc. Step one is important because pressure-treated wood can contain arsenic that can be absorbed through the skin during direct contact. That means the baby hasn’t been allowed to play on our porch. Like it says here:

Painting exposed wood surfaces with water-repellent finish, paint, or stain will protect your skin if you lean or kneel on the sides. And if you have small children, it will also prevent CCA compounds moving from little hands to little mouths.

So, yeah, painting is high up on the list. Having a porch we can’t use is no fun. I want my porch so I can having a pretty pink breakfast with homemade cappuccino and pretty flowers and a nice egg and perhaps even some freshly baked bread and jam whipped up by someone I love.

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Take Your Work Outdoors

Telecommuting rocks, but it’s easy to let work get derailed by a sink full of dishes, a pesky bathroom faucet leak, or other tasks that you’d normally try to avoid doing. Isn’t it funny how the boring-but-necessary becomes so palatable when one is searching for ways to procrastinate? Telecommuting gets easier when you have a home office, but still that sink full of dishes is just a short hallway away. What’s a work-from-home employee to do? There’s always shedworking, which is apparently what’s hot in the alternative home office world! (Suck it, coffee shop!)

Oh em gee, I love it! It’s scads nicer than the home office I have now, I’m ashamed to say.

Unfortunately, while I have a shed, it’s currently full of a wheelbarrow, a push mower, grass seed, trowels and things, and about a gajillion lady spiders watching over egg balls. Creepy. Not conducive to work. Also kind of dirty. But I suppose I could haul all of my outdoor gear into the basement, tear down my yucko shed, and replace it with some chic Swedish work/life shed.

(Image via Shedworking)

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Inspired By: Forsythia

You know it’s spring round here when the forsythia buds start busting out all over. I’m sad to say that The Beard and I still do not have a single forsythia bush in our yard, but our neighborhood more than makes up for it. The blooms are a cheery yellow that never fails to make me smile, but they’re also impressive above and beyond their mood-improving qualities in that they both produce lactose and can predict the coming of snow! We’ve not achieved true spring weather just yet, if the forsythia bushes are any indication, but lucky for me there are plenty of forsythia-inspired prints, tablescapes, paper goods, and artworks that can stand in for the real thing until things warm up!


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I don’t know about you, but I am *this* close to running out for a forsythia cutting for my yard.

Dreaming of Summer

Raise your hand if you’ve had quite enough of winter, thankyouverymuch. If you’re not raising your hand I’ll have to assume it’s warm where you are, you’ve just gotten back from a long and warm vacation, or you can afford to keep your heat cranked all day and all night. None of these conditions apply to me and mine so I am ready for summertime to arrive, even if it means chilly (but not cold) blustery days and a glut of April showers before the truly warm weather shows up. Here are some pics of summery gardens that may help you last out the winter!

garden springtime
(photo by Randy Son of Robert)

garden elephants
(photo by epSos.de)

garden house
(photo by Fr Antunes)

garden colorful
(photo by Margaret Anne Clarke)

garden pool
(photo by Crinklecrankle.com)

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