If you read the blog with any regularity, you probably know that I live in a rental.

And living in a rental means putting up with some stuff. But it doesn't mean you have to put up with everything.

Case in point: my linen closet. My linen closet is ugly. And not only is it ugly, but half the shelves are papered with a horrible, peeling vinyl.

Lemme show you:
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Yuck, right?

Now let's take a closer look at that vinyl.
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Closer ...
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Oh yeah, baby! Boobalicious! It's some sort of Eve-themed kitch, and in a way, I like it. It's sort of funny. But it's also torn. And only on half the shelves. And I'm not sure the inside of a linen closet warrants amusing bare breast art from the 1980s anyway.

I mean, if I was going to go that way, I'd do it out in the open. (Wouldn't I?)

Anyway. The closet needs a makeover. Here are some inspiration shots.
This is from a Style At Home story by Margot Austin, with photography by Paul Chmielowiec.
This image came from the Au Lit Fine Linens blog. I hope it's theirs. Who is the photog?
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These images are from the blog Simplicity in the South.
Better than the boobies? I think so. But that's just me. What do you think?
 
 
Hey dudes. So you know how I posted about wanting to do a rodent pumpkin a-la Martha Stewart as one of my Halloween decor items this year? Well, I finally got around to doing test run with a small pumpkin from the corner store and a bunch of mice from Dollarama. 

Having tried the craft once, I now have some tips for you. Here's how my first attempt went.
It's OKAY, but not great, right? Here are some of the problems:

1. Not enough holes, not enough mice. 
I hesitated to cut too many holes to begin with, because my test pumpkin was so small, but now that I see how it looks with too few, I will know better next time. More holes. More holes, my friends.

2. There's not enough variation in hole size. 
I made my holes using a regular paring knife. I cut out diamond shapes first (which was easy) then rounded them out with more careful shaving. Doing it this way meant going to a pretty large hole size each time in order to get a uniform circle. I think this project would look better with some smaller holes mixed in. Small enough for just a mouse snout or nail, you know? So next time, more holes, and more variation in hole diameter.

3. The mice wouldn't stay in place very well.
This was annoying, but easy enough to fix. I resorted to pinning them down. You can clearly see the black round pearl head of one of the pins I used in the first shot (centre mouse). It's what I had handy. I'll have to hunt around for more subtle-looking pins in my sewing kit, but regardless, pins are, I think, a necessity. That's just a pro-tip for y'all.

Anyhoooooo. I just wanted to update you. Halloween is still a couple of weeks away, so I know I have plenty of time to get this right. 

You know, this is the first year I ever tested out a pumpkin decoration before Halloween night. It's nice to have some breathing room. Most years, I find myself rushing home from work, swinging by the grocery store on the way, grabbing whatever mangled pumpkin is left and hurriedly carving it as fast as possible, into whatever stupid face I can manage in 30 minutes or less. Next thing you know, kids are at the door and I have a bunch of cuts on my hands, and pumpkin guts everywhere, giving me a rash on my forearms. It always so rushed and unpleasant. This feels much better. I mean, I still messed up and burned the pumpkin seeds, but that's just me. Spaz to the end. 
 
 
 
 
I came across an adorable elephant tea pot recently that I felt I just had to buy, even though I already have a perfectly good teapot in my cupboard already. Here it is:
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For several weeks, the little dude's been sitting on my counter, waiting to be used.

Finally, a few days ago,  because I was sick, I got around to making some tea. And you know what I found?

This tea pot sucks.

I mean... it's awful. Truly.

Worst. Design. Ever.

You have to turn it practically upside to get any tea out, which makes liquid seep out from under the lid, likely burning your hands. And the holes on the inside of the pot are so small, you can only pour a slow-moving, measly dribble.

This is seriously annoying.

So, since functionality is nil, I'm going back to my old pot. But what to do with this elephant? I don't want to give him to Goodwill where he may be bought by some unsuspecting individual who will soon find him/herself with scalded hands. And besides, the thing's cute. It doesn't work in the way it's intended, but it's still cute.

So, I thought: planter.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this planter idea isn't really working, is it? What can I do differently to make this elephant useful in some way? Do you think it would be better with a different kind of plant inside? Help!
 
 
Okay, so I have a dining set. A complete dining set. As in, a set that came together. A matching set.

This is, allegedly, a design sin.
Now, I agree that most matching dining sets are ugly. The one above practically makes my eyes bleed, it's so ugly.

But my set is MUCH nicer. And in my defense, I inherited it. And beggars can't be choosers. Also, it was made in Canada, likely in the 1940s. It's a warm, aged colour. The oval table has two leaves in perfect condition, and while the caning on two of the six chairs is damaged, that's only because my friends are aggressive asses. Or rather, they have aggressive asses.

The buffet features roller doors and felt lined silverware drawers and all in all, it's pretty nice.

But it matches.

And that bugs me.

So, I've been thinking of getting some new chairs. I'm not sure I can justify this, either financially or practically, but it's what I'm craving. The caned chairs will have to go into the basement (which is problematic) or I'd have to sell them (more problematic still, both for emotional reasons, and because I find it hard to break ANY set, and especially since two are damaged).

But I'm still considering it.

I'm also dreaming about what NEW chairs would look best with the old table.

At the moment, I'm leaning toward Eames Eiffel chairs, either in white, or multi-coloured (which is to say, a different colour for each chair). What do you think? Authentic Eiffel's are out of my price range, but my lovely Twitter friend Janice (from Life Begins at 30) told me they've got knock-offs at Kitchen Stuff Plus right now. AND they're on sale for $60 apiece.
Do you have any other chair suggestions for me? I want something that provides contrast, that will be practical, and that will stand up to the occasional aggressive man-bum at a drunken party. Ideas?
 
 
I really enjoyed the October 2011 issue of Style at Home, until I flipped to the piece on pg. 78 entitled "Modern primitive."

That title was emblazoned across this image:
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Photography by Leslie Williamson from Handcrafted Modern (Rizzoli, 2010).
The room? Beautiful. Gorgeous. I love it.

Using the word "primitive" in relation to a story about African-inspired style? Pretty darn offensive.

I tweeted about this and put a comment on Style at Home's facebook page, but no one responded.

Look, I'm not interested in being politically correct, but I am interested in the power of language and the idea that language does, in fact, matter. Educated, savvy young journalists (or just plain "staff" if that's what you want to call them) should have known better.

The web-version of the same story opens with the following lines:

"A fresh take on classic African style, modern global is a meeting place for natural materials, worldly finds and exotic textiles."

Note how they use the term "modern global" here. I'm fine with that. But the piece was actually called Modern PRIMITIVE. And global and primitive aren't interchangeable words.
It's a magazine, guys. Editorial concerns should really be paramount.

Let's do better.

I love the picture, but using derogatory, and yes, racist language in headlines is not chic.
 
 
Once upon a time, I had a clock. A wee Big Ben alarm clock, that hadn't worked in years.

And because I am a weirdo, I took the clock apart.

And now I don't have a clock anymore. Now I have this:
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I also have no idea what to do next. Can this project be salvaged? Do you have any ideas?

I feel like a clock-murderer. Help me make something of this hash, blog friends. Save me from myself.
 
 
I want my 2012 IKEA catalogue so BAD. Lookit' all the cute stuff!
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BÄRBAR bird tray is $4.99.
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Mid-century-inspired BLOMSTER candle holders ($19.99/set).
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Practical, enviro, hand-powered LJUSA flashlight.

That said, it's not going to be all chocolate and roses at IKEA in 2012.

Consider this $9.99 LEKKAMRAT doll.
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Creepy, hideous, odd.

Oh well. Not everything at IKEA is a winner.

*Edited to add: apparently, a friend bought the bird tray YEARS ago, so the IKEA website lied to me when it said these products were brand new. Oh well. The doll is still creepy.
 
 
So yesterday, driving home from work, I got stuck behind a huge, obnoxious white Hummer.

Just seeing those things annoys me and I try not to focus too closely on them, lest my head explode.

But in this case, the driver was also an asshat who refused to signal and I was stuck behind him for ages. And you know what I noticed? This. (Or is it these?) Hanging from the the back of the truck:
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A little research revealed that they're called "Truck Nutz" or "Bulls Balls" (there are various brand names available) And they're apparently a realtvely common truck accessory.

Seriously.

A search on Flickr revealed a few creative common's licensed images that will give you the full effect:
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I don't really know what else to say about this. I thought those weird cartoons of Calvin and Hobbes peeing were bad enough.