Monday, June 29, 2015

Does the VA hospital really want volunteers?





I decided to drive over to the VA hospital today to inquire about volunteering.  After navigating the huge parking lot and finding a spot, I walked through the park-like setting complete with a pond and gaggles of geese, and was greeted by dozens of happy faces and friendly hellos. I noticed a large number of walkers and wheelchairs and made mental notes about their designs. 

Inside of the building, an enthusiastic gentleman (a volunteer!) gave me directions to the volunteer office accompanied by a huge smile. His smile inspired me to smile. It occurred to me that it felt good to feel good.
I found the office and told the woman at the desk that I was there to inquire about volunteer activities.
 “We don’t have activities.  If you’d like to fill out a form we can let you know what sort of things are available,” she said while handing me a stack of forms.
“Well, if you don’t have activities, what do you have?”
“If you're selected, there are certain jobs that you can do to help out.”
“Oh, okay.  Well, that’s what I meant.”
“I thought you meant like parties or something like that.”
“No. I wasn’t asking about parties.”
“Just fill these out.  You don’t need to rush to bring them back.”
I folded the forms in half, put them in my tote and pulled out the sample wheelchair bag that I designed to donate to the hospital.  “I’m making some of these bags, are they something you could use here?”  Without looking at me she said, “Yeah, we’ll take those. You can just drop them off here.”  She turned her back and opened the door to an adjoining office.

Awkward pause.  
I think it was then that she became aware of my incredulous stare and tossed a half-hearted "Thank you" over her right shoulder.

I returned the wheelchair bag to my tote and walked out.
I don't want to judge the hospital's volunteer staff by one person who may or may not have been having a bad day,  but if she is responsible for the department, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to work with her.  How do I  get to the happy, smiling people? Maybe there's another entity with an established relationship that could get me closer to them? I need to think about this a little bit more. There's no way I'm dropping off my bags to her.
Decided to make wheelchair bags and donate them to the VA hospital. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Coloring book coming soon!

Coloring is Fun ©2015    


This is a project I've been working on for a while and hope to have published within the next 30 days. Watch the blog for more information!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Goodbye stuff...hello space


Over the past weekend I had a large sale and got rid of a lot of stuff. I sold and donated things that were a part of the adventure of acquisition. This second phase of a downsizing -The Great Purge of 2015- took me deeper into the jungle of my accumulated awesomeness. I revisited flea market finds and thrift store joys and asked myself "Is it beautiful? Is it useful?" I set up a staging area in the upstairs guest room where I stacked, sorted and priced. I spent a couple weeks preparing for the sale that I said I would never do. And then I did it. And it's over.


These thoughts:

Minor embarrassment with how much I owned.

Happiness to pass things on to others.

Sometimes it's hard to let go.

A sense of space and lightness. 

The secret knowledge of empty cabinets.

Smiling inside because I reached a goal.

A cautionary tale?

Think longer and more critically about what I buy.

Experiences rather than possessions.

And most importantly...












Thursday, April 23, 2015

Moving On! Sale


The time has come to clear out and make space for space! For the past couple years I've been on a downsizing path and this year I've taken it to the next level. A week from tomorrow- Friday, May 1st and Saturday, May 2nd, I'm having a sale of the over-collected yet loved parts and pieces of our lives.

You'll find a pair of antique side chairs with red leather seats; a sweet little telephone table; a funky floor lamp; vintage, designer and contemporary clothing and accessories; jewelry including Bakelite and Mexican silver; unique home decorative items; loads of art and sewing supplies including textiles, buttons, zippers, leather scrap; vintage ephemera; books; a set of five nesting show display columns; manly stuff including car jacks and such; and so much more.

Moving On! Sale
Friday, May 1 8am -2pm
Saturday, May 2 8-11 am
1603 West Olive Avenue
Redlands, CA 92373

Here are a few photos:

















Friday, March 13, 2015

City Life

You may have noticed the lack of blog posts recently. We recently purchased a condo in downtown Los Angeles (AKA DTLA) and we have been BUSY. Carl is on a lightrail project for the LA Metro Transit District for the next eight years and his residential choices were a lengthy commute, hotel life, or purchase/rent a property. Since DTLA is in a huge growth surge right now, we opted to buy.

So for the last few months we've been "feathering the nest" as my friend, Christi, calls it. It's a very modern space so we've decided to follow suit and decorate in a more minimal style than our current home in Redlands.  820 square feet doesn't seem like a lot of space until you start buying furniture.

It's been a fun project working with Carl on the decor. This is really the first time he's shown an interest in this sort of thing so I was happy he was on board. And speaking of board, our first stop was Room&Board where we found our sofa, side chair and bed. I was really impressed with the professionalism of this company. They're more like designers than salespeople and very knowledgeable about their products. The other spots we shopped and made purchases were Crate and Barrel, Mathis Bros., Modani, Ikea and West Coast Modern. Our final furniture purchase was from an Etsy seller, Hearthside Home, who specializes in mid century modern design. Other than Ikea, where Carl said he never wants to set foot in again, all of the transactions were excellent. This is not to say that the Ikea shopping was bad, it's just that Carl hates crowds and was miserable the whole time we were there.

We're waiting on the final furniture delivery and in the meantime, we've set up the cable, wifi and music.You know, all that technology crap.

The empty space



Partially furnished


Daytime view (Carl's favorite)


Night time view (My favorite)

One of my favorite things about living downtown is that we walk everywhere. Just like we do when we travel to other big cities around the world. Once our cars are parked, they stay that way. We're probably a half mile from a great selection of restaurants and decent shopping (there's even a Target!) and mere blocks from the Metro station. 

I've done some walking around and exploring, venturing out about 1.5 miles to Grand Central Market in the historic core. It's a big warehouse type building full of food vendors and produce sellers.  There's a place called Eggslut that's really popular but the line was too long so I got some pork ramen and was very happy with my choice.

Grand Central Market near Broadway and 4th
Inside Grand Central Market    



Bentoya Japanese Cuisine

We're excited about our new place and look forward to many adventures in the years to come. I'll keep you posted as I make new discoveries.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Undecorating and Redecorating


Yesterday I took down Christmas. This is probably the longest I've kept it up in years.  I think part of the reason I delayed was because for the last couple of years we've really downsized the festive decor.  A small yarn wrapped tree vs. a large artificial tree.  Fewer ornaments, garlands and such.  Just the right amount of festivity for us and less intrusive to our usual style.  Maybe intrusive isn't the right word to describe a holiday but sometimes a lot of Christmas stuff irritates me.




What I love about taking down Christmas is the opportunity to redecorate. I always remove all of the accessories from the entry way, living room and dining room and start from scratch. I haven't bought anything new for the house in years. I like to scramble things up and move things around....look at the rooms in a new light for the new year.


Textiles on the hall tree

Moth themed entry way table (Metal sculpture by Kari Von Wening. Plate by John Derian)

The mantle is tough to design because of the oversized flat screen television mounted above. I found the painting at the Long Beach flea market. The onion vase was a lucky thrift store find. The decorated bronze box was designed by a good friend.

This vintage tool box is just the right size to squeeze under the television and fill with small objects. Placing items within boxes is one of my favorite ways to display my collections.

I created kind of a nature vignette on the mantle this time and decided to keep the lights.

I really pumped up the color in our dining room niche with vintage and contemporary textiles. I won the two pillows in an internet contest guessing the number of pillows in a Volkswagen.  Carl designed, made and installed the windows.

Dining room table with two Mata Ortiz vases and an antique Moroccan box. I've had the box since my time at Paige's Place in Riverside.  I love its primitive style and chipped paint. Apparently it's a box for carrying tea glasses.



There's a bit of a travel aesthetic as I decorate.  We found the vintage seltzer bottle in Buenos Aires.  I designed the tablerunner from vintage textiles. Carl and I are pictured at the High Line in New York City.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A project for the new year






We enjoyed Thanksgiving and Christmas and are heading toward the new year. In December, I tend to do a mental review of the past year and try to put together some kind of plan for the next. Not really resolutions or goals but more of a direction. In 2013 it was downsizing what I own. In 2014 it was thoughtful consumption.

I recently received a book from a friend titled "The Life of a Bowerbird" written by Sibella Court. Sibella resides in Australia and the title references a native bird that takes great care in building a nest decorated with stolen goods and found objects- sort of like our magpies.  Sibella relates to the habits of the bowerbird in her overwhelming love for the lost, the forgotten, the oddly beautiful.  The book includes photos of things she loves....haberdashery, writing instruments, scissors, printing blocks...all manner of old and inspirational objects.  She explains ways to organize and display your collections while her brother Chris Court's photographs provide beautiful and inspirational examples.

As I leafed through the book for the first time I noticed a remarkable resemblance in what we love.  Old typewriters.  Measuring instruments.  Feathers. An idea began to take form to create some sort of narrative of the things that make me happy.

I opened the case of my Olivetti Underwood typewriter, rolled in a sheet of yellowed onion skin paper and began a list of those things.

I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this idea. Perhaps drawings? A bound book of some sort? We'll see where this leads. Once again, it's exciting to be starting something new.

Best wishes to you for a healthy and fulfilling 2015 spent doing what you love.