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Manolo for the Home: House, Home and Lifestyle Advice - Part 40

Lonely Handles, Lonely Hangers

The Lonely Hangers are derived from cup handles that were broken off from their cup. But to me, they look a lot like ears.

Are they still lonely, though, now that they’re grouped in threes and can hang on the wall in living rooms, bedrooms, lobbies, bathrooms, wash rooms, and the like? Who knows! But I will say they’re pretty darn cute, though admittedly a little pricey at $45 for a trio.

Monday Morning Inspiration

Whether you work from home, like moi, or in an office, like The Beard, you may very well have a desk. Or at least a kitchen table that mainly operates as a desk rather than somewhere to eat (again, like moi). A lap can also stand in for a desk, though that has never worked for my wimpy wrists. Now as neat and as tidy as I usually am, keeping my workspace clean. It’s especially difficult to do when your home office is also your kitchen, living room, or bedroom.

So for all those common working men and women who are dragging their rears into an office this morning – whether that office is in the city or in the living room – here is some sweet workspace inspiration that may just inspire you to take a moment to straighten up before settling into the daily grind.

(via suzettesuzette)

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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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Eight Not-So-Tiny Reindeer

…or some number, anyway. Brazilian studio Baíta Design (run by Helena Bueno and Heinz Müller) wanted their Reindeer chair to come in various colors and heights.

Imagine sitting down at the end of a long, frustrating day, and relaxing, kicking off your pinchy heels, and hanging up your things all at once. No need to hit the closet on your way to the wine cooler. No need to pick up your giant work purse off the floor before bedtime so you don’t forget that important report in the a.m. Basically, the reindeer chair is a one-stop ‘oh my gosh I am finally home’ station. Once you’re ready to get up, the wine is waiting and you’ve left your workday behind you.

Vinyl Decal Headboard – Doable?

Far too long ago, the lovely Leslie wrote to ask:

I’ve been looking at Etsy home decor, and some of the items they have are wall decals. I’m really liking the idea of having that as a pseudo headboard for my bedroom, but I’m worried about their quality. I’ve only seen pictures of them, not any in practical use in person. What is your opinion?

I love vinyl wall decals and think they’re a fantastic way to spiffy up a boring wall, and some of the headboard decals are totally sweet (like the one from Blik above). There are thicker decals and thinner vinyl decals, but as long as they’re not so thin that they rip or get warped when you’re trying to apply them, there’s not *that* much difference in terms of the quality of what’s on the market. The thing about wall decals is that they last the longest, whether they’re self-adhesive vinyl or fabric like these, when you take the time to thoroughly prep the surface on which you’ll apply them.

I should add that temperature changes will make wall decals shrink and expand, so if your area is prone to cooling off or heating up really quickly, you may find that decals don’t last as long. But I think that the temperature changes would have to be pretty extreme for it to really impact the life of the decal. That said, the best temperature in which to perform the application is somewhere around 60-70F because extreme temps can make putting up the vinyl wall decals difficult.

But for the most part it’s all about surfaces. The paint on the wall needs to be a standard latex or acrylic, not oil, and it can’t contain any of those neat little Teflon particles that some paints contain to make them easier to clean. Your decal will peel right off. Now a wall decal is basically a sticker – as in, it is something that sticks – and any sticker will stick best when it has lots of area to adhere to. If the wall is textured or the paint was applied with a fuzzy roller or old gnarly paint brush, the paint will be bumpy. It may not look bumpy, but the bumps are there. You can get around this by sanding a bit where the decal will go (which really only works if the decal is one big piece, like a headboard, and not skinny strips). Oh, and new paint should have a chance to cure for about a month before your vinyl wall sticker goes up.

Once your wall is smooth, it’s time to clean it! Walls accumulate all sorts of icky stuff – dust, grease, stuff that comes out of car mufflers, etc. – that can create a barrier between the actual wall surface and the sticky stuff on the decal, so you want to give the surface a good cleaning with a nice soapy detergent. In short, taking the time to choose a good application day temperature wise and then prepping the surface thoroughly will go a long way toward extending the life of you decal!

And the Winner Is…!

desk calendar

I’m tickled pink to announce that the winner of the Dabney Lee At Home customizable monogram desk calendar is the delightful Dale of Light Brown Hare! Congrats, Dale! I and someone from Dabney Lee will be in touch soon to chat about options and shipping.

Prickly Womanhood – In Flora Form

It’s not easy being a woman nowadays. You’re working, but still doing more than your fair share of the housework. On top of that, you probably should know how to do all that outside maintenance that used to be the responsibility of the XY set. And now, to top it all off, someone has put cacti in all your stripper pumps. Kidding! These are reclaimed stiletto planters a la the Giddy Spinster. It’s not footwear getting back to nature; it’s art.

The concept is about hard-working women, the increasingly artificial nature of American femininity, and the impossible images that women face in our society. It’s a prickly, spiky, sticky situation.

Also, strippers. Or am I the only one who sees shoes like that and thinks stripper? Because no one I know is going out to the clubs in gear like this:

These stilettos may have tiny imperfections because they were actually someone’s shoes. Which, of course, makes my brain create all kinds of crazy backs-stories to explain what the shoes were doing once upon a time before they were filled with soil and sold on Etsy. But, yeah, stripper plants? Me likey. Though I think I’d like my succulent or aloe plant in something like this glitter platform pump. Seems a shame to waste the sparkly leopard print interior by filling it with dirt, though.

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The Kitchen Dump

Ever notice how people congregate in the kitchen during parties, even if all the food is in the dining room and you’ve set up a darling little bar on a side table right by the front door? Science has yet to discover why guests will stand for hours in the kitchen while all the chairs (moved into other rooms for just this reason) sit lonely in the living area, but there must be something magnetic about kitchens because it’s not just people who cluster there.

Things mysteriously find themselves in the kitchen, even when the front door is nowhere nearby. I myself am writing this at a kitchen table that has an embarrassing amount of stuff on it – a diaper bag, class notes, a decorative plate my MIL gave us as an engagement gift, craft paper scraps, an non-working cell phone, and a copy of will making software The Beard and I have yet to open.

Can you feel the waves of shame emanating from this post? All I can say for myself is that I’m usually quite the neat freak!

The kitchen dump, you might call it. Rare is the house that does not have an area where mail gets left and keys are tossed, and for whatever reason, this spot is frequently in the kitchen. (Note: If your dump is not in the kitchen, the following advice still stands.) What’s nice about the kitchen dump is that all of those envelopes and your purse and whatever end up in the same place, so if you can’t find the water bill or your wallet is missing there is a good chance it’s there in the dump.

What’s not so nice about the kitchen dump is that it usually looks messy. If you have an unexpected visitor, the contents of the kitchen dump gets crammed into a drawer, leading to further disorganization. And finally, the kitchen dump can become so psychologically overwhelming that cleaning it up it seems impossible.

I’m not suggesting you do away with the kitchen dump, since it serves a purpose, i.e., having a kitchen dump means you don’t have to focus on cleaning and organizing the second you get home. I am suggesting you prettify your kitchen dump. Get some pretty baskets and spray paint them some dynamic color. Put up a few hooks for your keys and even your bags if you have the room. Easy, particularly if you have the space to hide it away in a cabinet.

Hidden or not, make sure you have space for your mail and your briefcase and all the other stuff you typically have in your hands when you walk through the door on a normal evening. If you have the space, you can even set up what one blogger calls a kitchen command center, which is basically a workspace right there in your kitchen.

Have I mentioned I am now working in my kitchen until some renovations get underway? No one needs a kitchen command center more than I do right now.