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Manolo for the Home: House, Home and Lifestyle Advice - Part 100

Jewelry for your house?

Once upon a time, I wrote an article about tassels. Specifically, I wrote about what my boss called “jewelry for the home,” where the jewelry in question cost about as much as my wedding band. I found out a lot about tassels that day. Some people think of them as a chic and inexpensive way to jazz up one’s home decor. To the Feng Shui enthusiast, tassels can enhance one’s health, wealth, happiness, and luck in love. In ancient China, tassels adorned with amulets were believed to channel Qi energy. All fascinating stuff, though at the time I was more concerned with the $150 per tiny tassel price tag.

Easy elegance…for knobs

Well as it would turn out, outfitting your dresser drawers and doorknobs with their very own jewelry doesn’t have to break the bank. The crafter creating the aforementioned tassels was just overcharging a gullible populace by claiming hers were imbued with magic elemental energy. The tassels above cost a mere $29.95, and they are supposed to make you just as happy or lucky as the insanely expensive versions.

On the other hand, with a book like Tassel Making For Beginners or Practical Tassels you can just make your own and imbue them with whatever kind of energy you want. I think I’ll imbue mine with the kind of energy that makes me stop slacking…

Contests Galore — You Have to Play to Win

Brides- and grooms-to-be love free stuff so much that I can’t imagine that home enthusiasts wouldn’t feel the same way.

  • You still have a whopping 50 days to win an $850 Amcor wine fridge from Everyday With Rachel Ray. All you have to do to enter is fill out your info by October 30 — forget the newsletters and don’t bother giving out your phone number.
  • You still have 23 days to win $100,000 in HGTV’s Great Fall Fix-Up sweepstakes. You can vote once per day until the contest closes on October 3, and there’s no need to sign up for any of the newsletters if you’re not keen on doing so. I know I didn’t!
  • You still have 19 days to enter to win the myhomeideas Idea House, a $1 million pad in Windmark Beach, FL. Entering is easy — just visit this link before September 30 and fill out the form. This is another one of those “vote early and vote often” kinds of contests, so you can visit the site once a day to increase your chances of winning this cool, well-outfitted home. I entered, and if I win, I’ll either rent it out or try sell it and pay off the house I have now.

Don’t forget to sign up with a catch-all e-mail address that differs from your usual addy to avoid massive amounts of spam. Good luck!

Eat, Drink, and Be Colorful

Maybe it’s because I grew up in homes where most of the flatware was acquired secondhand. Maybe it’s because I was frequently taken to restaurants in an era in which mismatched flatware was considered the height of chic. Or maybe it’s because I’ve never really thought about picking out my china pattern with any degree of seriousness.

Pfaltzgraff is hard to spellA tree grows...on your plateI love chocolate mint!
Very Mexican restaurant, but nice nonethelessThis is where the cock jokes start...Orange you glad I found these?

Whatever the reason for my slightly schizoid kitchenware preferences, I’ll take two of each of these, please. If you’re as crazy as I am, click the pics for more info!

Living Rooms, Five Ways

When you’re planning a room, the easiest way to figure out what you like is to overload your brain with pictures of fully realized furniture styles and layouts. I’ve found that Flickr is a great resource for those of us who are looking to change, update, or otherwise overhaul our bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and of course, living rooms. Below are five living rooms — well, sort of — that I hope will inspire.

That looks like one comfy couch

Photo by Reiner.Kraft — FYI: If you’re heading to the romantic Lahn River in Germany for your annual holiday, you can rent this two-bedroom apartment.

Continue Reading…

Snap, Dine, and Go

Designer Demelza Hill is fascinated by the manner in which people interact with the products in their environments. To challenge the assumptions we all make, she repurposes and redesigns everyday items to create something designed to remind us of that which we take for granted. Or something like that…I love artist’s statements!

It’s fancier than the cutlery used at my own wedding

Snap and Dine, Hill’s web site says, is a single use three-course place setting that brings together the formal and the disposable. It is meant to inspire mental images of stylish outdoor eating.

Hey, where’s the party?

It’s quirky, but useful in its way. If you’re going to eat on the go, you might as well do it with a touch of panache, right? I wish I could have bought these for my wedding.

A Few Easy Pieces

Atlanta has never seemed farther away than it does right now. If it was closer, I’d probably be at Lee Kleinhelter’s Pieces right now, poking through wonderful things like vintage wicker beach chairs, turquoise foo dogs, gilt mirrors, and cube club chairs. The closest thing we have in my beachy little town is the used furniture store where occasional gems can be found. It’s never hit or miss at Pieces…provided your tastes run parallel to my own.

Kickin’ it old school style

Money helps, too. Pieces from Pieces aren’t exactly a bargain — the lamps above cost $1,500, which should give you an idea of the prices. But since all I can do is window shop right now, I figured I might as well window shop well above my price range. What’s the point of being sensible when the only money changing hands is imaginary?

Shopping In My Head

The plumber is here and the pipe that’s leaking is a big one — basically, it is the main pathway water takes when leaving our home. I’m going to guess that this is going to cost us a pretty penny. Ah, the joys of home ownership! To take my mind off of the coming bill, I’ve been window shopping for a bed to put in the upstairs guest room once we’ve actually renovated the upstairs. I’ve narrowed it down to three:

Like a futon, but better

I’ve always loved daybeds, as impractical as they are for grownup people like myself. If I could get a giant version of this bed from Sachi Organics, I’d be happy.

It’s blue! What’s not to like?

Felt upholstery and thick seams make this bed (available at Design Public) feel more like a big comfy pillow…or so the theory goes. I like it because it’s blue.


This last one — from The Kids Window — pretty much speaks for itself.

Can you guess which one The Beard prefers?

Blogwatch: Ugly Mailbox

I love niche blogs. Back when Manolo for the Home was just getting off the ground, I posted about a blog devoted entirely to faux bois and another that concerns itself with nothing but Ikea hacking. I just recently came across another such blog — this one a tribute to ugly mailboxes.

Wil it ever make it over the fence?!

Where I live, no one keeps a roadside mailbox. All of ours are attached to houses or porches, and some people even have slots in their front doors, as I’m led to believe is quite common in England. My father, mother, and grandparents all receive their mail in regulation-height boxes located on the very edge of their properties so the mail person needn’t get out of their truck. Now and then, jerky teens with driver’s licenses whiz by with bats and knock them over. Perhaps this is simply one of the perils of suburban living?

A certain Tim Morris wrote about suburban mailboxes, and I found his description of the average specimens to be apropos.

I began to look at everyone else’s mailbox on my walks. Were they as nice as mine? Did they have the E-Z Up construction? How did the neighbors manage to attach those foot-thick oblong cedar braces with the provided “Self-Tapping Wood Screws”? I certainly hadn’t been able to do that. Mailboxes were worth another look.

There are two kinds of mailbox: the ugly, and the hideous. Ugly mailboxes consist of a rounded steel box mounted on a plain length of pipe. Hideous mailboxes try to look like they are not mailboxes. Or rather, they try to look like mailboxes that are attractively shaped unlike mailboxes. No one wants to camouflage a mailbox so well that they hide its purpose completely. In this respect, mailboxes are like lamps. You know the lamps that purport to be coffee grinders, clocks, Chevrolets, Elvises, objets d’art, cigar boxes, stumps of petrified wood . . . each one with a lightbulb coming brazenly out of the top of it. So it is with hideous mailboxes. They flaunt their obvious disguise of their own obviousness.

The mailboxes I like least are the ones embedded in the chests of half-sized concrete manatees. It’s a Florida thing, I think. What did the ugliest mailbox you’ve ever seen look like?