Modern Holiday Giveaways

Everyone is having a holiday giveaway - from Ellen to your corner independently owned lingerie store (don't ask how I know). But my favorite holiday giveaway is from the family of websites - Apartment Therapy - Re-Nest - The Kitchn - ohdeedoh - and last but not least unplgged. There is still a week of giveaways and I think you should sign up or at least get ideas for gifts for your favorite compact living - environmentalist - foodie - design minded parent - techie geek. Go here for the deets. You do have to give them your email but I've never receieved any email or promos I didn't ask for. Once your logged in for one that password and user names will work for all 5 of them. Pictures above are from a couple of nice one from the past couple of days. The boxes are from the Container store! The plates are from Bob's Your Uncle. And my fave the pillow is from Kevin O'Brien Studio. How is it that a single pillow can be more expensive then a set of plates and nice storage? Honestly the prices of stylish pillows are ridiculous especially when they're ridiculously easy to sew. Or you could try to win one by logging in to the Apartment Therapy peeps! It was there that I learned you can throw your plastic shower curtain in the clothes washing machine and it would get clean! Sweet! It kept ours out of the landfill for another long while! Happy Friday. Cheers to a wonderful weekend.


Architecture on Netflix!

So it's still flu season and now cold season has come on and I'm home with a sinus infection. Blah. It seems my brain has turned to mush and it may be drip drip dripping from my nose. To pass the time I've been exploring the nooks and crannies on Netflix' Watch Instantly. I watched Unusual Buildings & Other Roadside Stuff which I liked a lot mostly for it's odd ball, kitsch, and sometimes mid-century modern appeal. Above is a picture of the famous Wigwam Motels that are highlighted in the short documentary. First off it's weird - the first one was built in 1937 and was some white guy's romantic idea of the Sioux of South Dakota - so he appropriated their traditional dwellings and turned it into to a roadside attraction! It is a weird and wonderful America of ours. I also watched an A&E production called "The Homes of Frank Lloyd Wright. You have to fast forward about 7 minutes to get to the bit about his work - the beginning is childhood back home stories. It's Season 2 Episode 12 of America's Castles - here's the IMDB description of the show. I also noted the topic of green design that I'll check out too. The point of this blog - there is a lot more to Netflix than movie watching! You can learn too. Also just an FYI - you can check out 80's classics like the A-team, Gimme a Break, and Murder She Wrote all gazillion bazillion seasons! Happy Holidays!


Backyard Shed: Margarita Holding Area

One interesting and annoying thing about Eugenians is that we are notorious for home construction projects that are often done with a small budget, without a permit, and with the help of friends and neighbors. When looking to buy a home in Eugene it is very common for the Real Estate agent to say something along the lines of "It appears the previous owners added on this room but it's not counted in the square footage . . .". There are many a Eugene home with "unique" design features that were initiated by the whim of a high weekend warrior to "open the room up" or "let some more light in." They seem to be good ideas at the time but when it comes down to it the game is on, there's a Ninkasi beer in the fridge that waiting to be opened, and it's much too time consuming. Corners are cut and you end up with some odd shaped bedroom or a "sun room" with outdoor dingy carpet that's really more of a sun closet. So it is in this great tradition that Mr. Monkey has attempted to set a new bar, a higher bar, in fact a dry bar in the clouds. I like to call it the Margarita Holding Area. Truly Mr. Monkey is doing a great and amazing job building the backyard tool shed of all backyard tool sheds and in the process I talked him into a roof patio where we could drink margaritas and watch the summer sun sets. Also all the Dwell magazines and talk of modern design rubbed off on him and he decided to make the shed out a combination of reclaimed wood, windows, and board form concrete. Mr. Monkey is making some serious progress and so I'll be posting pictures to show off his work. He's also had some friends come on over to raise the framed walls and pour the concrete. Yay for friends. Tune back in soon for more pictures!


Holidaze: Preparing for House Guests

For the first time my family will be visiting for Thanksgiving. But this is only a half truth because for the actual Turkey day we will head down to Mr. Monkey's family's place and they have the joy/burden of preparing the Thanksgiving dinner. We will bring pies from our favorite pie-ery in town - Sweet Life and a caserole. I should get my pie order in now in case it's too late. Yikes. My main focus is making sure our bungalow is clean and organized. So over the last few weeks I've taken several stuffed-like-a-turkey-bags of clothes and glassware over to Goodwill. This week I have two bags of clothes to take to the clothes exchange and the rest is mostly laundry and prepping the guest rooms (1 is usually the T.V. room) for Mother and Brother Monkey.
I recently read a post at Apartment Therapy about preparing the bathroom for guests. All of their pointers are a part of my usual routine with the exception of the air scent diffuser or soy candle. I tend to stay away from this because of the strong smell. I end up as Sneezy and I think about guests that may have allergies too. I have yet to find mild but pleasant scent that can just hang out in the bathroom. If you have a favorite let me know. With the four of us adults using one restroom I think a air scent diffuser of some sort is in order.
Here's a pick of the last time we had a guest. Sorry for the blur. That's a fresh flower in a jar, a clock, a light that can be turned off from the bed, a candle plus matches, and the usually small bottled liquids, and oh yes the towels.
As for towels I used to like the idea of leaving a nicely folded tower of towels in a bathroom cabinet. That is until one guest used a towel that (to me) had obviously already been used and was hanging on a drying rack! Major ick! I felt really bad just thinking about her probable gross thoughts about using a pre-used bath towel! I didn't do a good enough job as a hostess - argh. So I've since switched practices. Now I leave nicely folded towels on top of the guest's bed or in plain view in their room so that it is very clear which towels are theirs. Plus there is now a hook on the back of their bedroom door where they can hang their towel to dry. There are so many little details to make sure that guests feel welcome and are comfortable and can get a good nights sleep.

One final note from my Mrs. Monkey Hostess Book - when decorating I was sure to place a mirror in the guest room. Since guests don't have their own bathroom at our wee place they have to stumble out of their room on their way to the lieu every morning. I always prefer to look and make sure nothing is hanging out of anywhere that should not have things hanging out . . . wink wink . . . if you know what I mean. Or even if you don't you probably get the idea. A mirror in the guest bedroom lets the guests see themselves (if they care to) before they head out of their safe and cozy temporary dwelling. That's all my pointers for now. I should probably go and do some of this sh*t instead of just talk about it. Good luck next week. Take a deep breath and another swig of that seasonal ale. Cheers!


Modern Fences IV

The quest for the perfect modern fence continues on . . . Mr. Monkey and I have been on a search to be good neighbors and to have happy neighbors. In our case this involves hiding their houses (for privacy) and keeping our late-night laughs and bunches of bon fires contained to our yard and not echoing off their walls. We often walk around the neighborhood in search of ideas for fences. These first pictures are of the winner of the fence that we liked best in the neighborhood, that is a little different and meets our needs. It's modern but not too modern like a wall of corrugated metal. I like the horizontal lines and the big carriage bolts. I also like their color scheme and their overall landscape. We'll be skipping the raised bed boxes and our fence may not be 3 thick pieces. We're thinking four slightly narrower pieces that would also have a slightly smaller gap in between each horizontal strip. Of course we'll keep you posted on the existing fence coming down and the new fence going up! Next up -scroll down for a wacky totally unique Eugene fence!

Recently this fence went up in our neighborhood. At first we walked by and wondered what was going on over there. Was it a parade float? Was it a booth for a festival? Was is a gazebo? Finally it took its final form as a fence! I'm not the hugest fan of the aesthetics of this fence (aka I don't like the way it looks). But I admire the way they just went for it big! It's new and different and it seems like it uses twigs and not processed wood so it's environmental impact is small. It is creative and offers the house a nice privacy screen without feeling unfriendly. Yay for fences. Even though we've ended our search for our fence I'll keep my eyes for y'all. You can click here for my other 3 posts on modern fences.


Fall in the Friendly St. Neighborhood

Life in the PNW is pretty good these days. Our Oregon Ducks are kicking booty in football and our weather is gorgeous! It's my favorite time of year and I have to say that this year has been specatcular. I'm not sure if it's global warming or what but the rain seems to mostly come at night, leaving us with crisp and sunny days. I'm feeling very fortunate to be here in Eugene during this time of year. Here are some pics that demonstrate the fall colors. A tree in front of our neighbor's house and dahlias still blooming in our front yard!

This is a little neighborhood park on 27th and Monroe. It's a sweet little park in our Friendly St. Neighborhood. Within the last year or so they added the community bulletin board and updated the playground equipment. we've headed over a few times with our niece and nephew and they've really enjoyed it. Below we have fall crocuses that popped up in our park strip in the front of the house. We forgot we planted these last fall until one day I came home form work and there they were.

Mr. Monkey's fountain all dried up. Jefferson St. Above.
Our street one morning with quite the cloud coverage.


Making Wine Tasting Modern

This summer we went on a tour of a few vineyards in southern Oregon in the Applegate Valley. They say to not judge wine by it's bottle but I did in fact judge a Vineyard by its building. Case in point Fiasco Vineyards also known as Jacksonville Vineyards (2 smaller pix above are from their website). We visited this vineyard in particular because I really liked their use of corrugated metal. This building is very modern looking. Many of the tasting rooms in our lovely state try to mimic an Italian or European retreat. While this is lovely it's not really authentic to the region, community, or our times. Fiasco was nice because while they did grow some "Old world" grapes while their building design sense is very modern. I didn't take pictures of the inside but it was very informal with concrete floors with a mix of rough river rock in the center of the floor where they had wine barrel tables for more wine sipping. The wine was not my favorite but I admired their use of passive solar, big glass doors on the south side, and materials. Wine tasting doesn't have to be stuffy - it should be comfortable. Another vineyard that is drop dead gorgeous and has amazing wine and views is Wooldridge Creek Winery. I can't say enough good things about their wine and the people that run the winery and make the wine. I haven't tried a wine I didn't like! Their building is also a great use of space. They have an amazing large outdoor patio with huge ceilings but furniture and tables to make it feel as though you're sitting in an outdoor living room. This picture is from their website. Man I love this place. I know vineyards are popping up all over the country. I've even visited a vineyard in Missouri! They are a great place to check out different design features that you might want to bring into your own home on a smaller scale. I know for sure our Thanksgiving weekend will take us back to Wooldridge Creek Winery. I seriously cannot stay away. I'll take some more pics of my fave features from their tasting area. Goodness all this vineyard talk is making me thirsty! Cheers!


End of Summer Updates: Part II

Well it truly is the end of summer here. We had a gorgeous weekend - warm, sunny, clear skies - days that you want to go on forever. Two of our friends were married at the Wayfarer Resort, a rustic little vacation spot on the gorgeous McKenize river. And now the gorgeous gloom has set in. There was thunder heard on my run today along the river and the rain came down in the wee hours of the morning. The wind picked up and blew off the newly orange hued leaves off the trees. It's my favorite time of year here in the PNW. We get just enough sun light, the foliage fills me awe, the air is crisp and clean, and football season leads to many potlucks and good PNW beer. So here I'll share a final few pictures from the summer. While I'm sad to see it go I'm ready to nestle in for the fall and winter.

The first picture is the new bedspread for the guest room and pillow. You might recognize them from the DWELL line at Target. We had quite a few house guests this summer and I just wanted to snazz it up a bit. This room still leaves quite a bit to be desired (it's very small). I'm thinking of pulling out that robin's egg blue from the pillow and painting the wall with the window. Now below I'm sharing 2 new Tiny Showcase prints we picked up. There is now definitely a water them in the living room. This was not intentional. I just bought what I liked and there it is. I wanted to hang the new pictures like they were hanging in the trees on the wall but Mr. Monkey did not approve so they are just floating below the branches now. Somehow I think it works allow I could be on the lookout for a third or a more few prints to hang out with the water collection. Hmm. The picture is of course the whole kit and kaboodle. I'm getting the itch to switch around the furniture. That might have to wait for the full blown winter. For now it's working and I'm still working way too much to do the shuffle. To round off the summer I'll add some pictures from our weekend vacations this summer up to Washington and Vancouver, B.C. and then finally the fence discussion will be back! Thanks for reading all! I hope the sun lingers in your part of the world a bit longer. Cheers!


End of Summer Updates: Part 1

Friends! Life has been busy with a capital "B". I think that for the rest of the fall I will be lucky to be posting once a month. For those friends and family members who check our blog on a regular basis you might find it best to click that little subscribe button to the right so you know exactly when I've gotten around to posting. 

Now for some updates I did purchase the FLOR rug and it has worked out quite nice as a runner in the hallway. I probably purchased a few too many squares because I was encouraged at the store (Modern) to buy an extra tile or two for mistakes or stains down the line. We'll see how it goes. The squares do vacuum easily which is nice with our cat loafing around on them leaving bits of himself - only the hair variety of bits. 

Our dahlias are still going strong. I love the white ones the best but the maroon dahlias are more spiky and their color is so rich. The dahlia bushes have grown over my head and could even be confused for a small tree. Truly they recently fooled a young deer - possibly a buck that has been seen munching from backyard gardens. This young buck rubbed himself all over the dahlia bush and our fig tree in the back and demolished both! Deer and raccoons these days are becoming quite pesky. There was a gang of 5 raccoons traveling through our backyard recently who left a large pile of scat (aka shit) in the backyard! I guess that's the price we pay for living in a town of only about 150,000 when the country life is really just a short drive away.


Bring Recycling Home Tour: Part 2

Here is the 3rd home from the home tour that I visited and it also happens to be the most interesting architecturally-speaking.  The back story is that it was built in part by students from the University of Oregon's School of Architecture. For the initial builders, the students, it was an experiment in passive solar. I guess since then the current owners have continued to developed the homes natural inclination. The water from the roof enters into a dry stream-bed that helps to keep plants watered in the ground and on the roof (see round mirror by second story window lets you see status of living roof). Much of the garden art is recycled. These pictures simply don't do the place justice. All in all the Bring Recycling House Tour seemed to be a big success. Is was a scorching, sweat-running-down-your-back kind-of-day and all the houses had a steady stream of visitors. It's great to see a homes tour that's not all about ladies in big hats and gloves, and lunch in the garden.  Yay for Bring Recycling! Read more about my visits there here and here


Bring Recycling Home Tour: Part 1

The Bring Recycling Home Tour was last weekend and it was the best home tour I've ever been on. I've mentioned Bring Recycling here before. They are a great non-profit where you can get slightly used items for your home construction and garden needs. We made our patio set out of items from Bring for a total of $50 bucks. WE love it still - almost 2 years later and use it every day. Anyway this home tour highlighted homes and home owners who have gone to great lengths to reuse items creatively and with the idea of reducing their impact on the planet. All these pictures come from one home that curbside looks totally normal! But from the inside it is amazing - I mean just check out this b-u-tiful wood stove hearth. So much of the walls were earthen made. The counter tops and sinks were poured in place concrete. Even the house was painted with recycled paint! Who knew! This day happened to be about 100 degrees outside but in this home with no recycling the house was cool even though there were nice sun lights throughout. Enjoy the pictures! There's one more house coming up that had more to show off architecturally and artistically. 


Russel Wright Exhibit SFO

I guess Apartment Therapy already beat me to it but just in case you didn't know  . . . there is a great Russel Wright exhibit in the SFO United terminal(SFO website with exhibit pictures). Here are some pictures that I took while passing through several weeks ago. I gotta say thanks to the SFO art in the airport curator. They are doing a great job. In the past I blogged about another mid-century toy installment they did - all were on the subject of space, space travel, nuclear science - it was all very atomic. Click here for that post. Back to the Wright exhibit - I'm not sure I need a guide to easier living but I think I'd love to come across this book some day. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes the exhibit has on display. "The new hostess is one is one who can stay within the limits of her home budget, hours, and energy and still give her guests a good time." Cheers.


Little Pleasures: 1960's Flatware Ecko Eterna

Oh Happy Day! Mr. Monkey and I had been noticing that none of our spoons and forks and knives matched. We would have guests over and do our best to find the "nicest" spoons without rough edges and oddly bent handles. After years of living together in college and then through grad school with a variety of roommates it's safe to say we had a mismatched set. Now sometimes mismatched sets can be quite nice. In our case the effect was not a positive quirky one - it was just kinda dumpy.
After subscribing to Sunset for a short while I had glimpses of what I wanted. In a few food pictures flatware with wooden handles and silver tops were off to the side and never ever was there a photo caption to say where this flatware came from. These two pictures are from Sunset and offer examples of what I would see and covet. I went around to several stores in town everything from Target to Modern but I had yet to venture over the my favorite Oak Street Vintage. We were having a potluck on Saturday and I just thought I can't keep having people eat with our crappy silverware. I didn't have a bunch of time so I thought I'll just give it a try and head over to Oak St. I did my first loop of the store heading straight back to the kitchen room and found a sweet little serving set - 4 pieces that I picked up right away for $14 bucks I thought these were perfect. They were labeled as "Bamboo Lane" Wooden Handled Hostess Set. But sadly there was no silverware in sight. I did my second loop (there's so much to see - it's like a good book, you always see something new) and was about to check out when I told one of the owners what I was looking for. Cora said, "oh the drawer must have been closed" and she walked me back to the kitchen room again opened a little drawer and sure enough there it was. Imagine the white light shining from the drawer and the angels singing in harmony "AHHHHHH". What was even better was the price! $35.oo dollars for 10 place settings and 2 extra spoons. Perfection! After a bit of internet sleuthing I've learned that the flatware is indeed from the 1960's made by the Ecko company. The pieces are light in your hand and apparently made of teak.  The point is that I love eating with these pieces. They bring joy to my every meal. A so sometimes it's life's little things - good design bringing function and beauty together. Mr. Monkey doesn't like not putting them in the dishwasher but I love them so much that I've been stepping up to the plate, or the sink as it were and washing more dishes so Mr. Monkey doesn't feel burdened by my need for pretty things about. Small price to pay. 


Modern Fences III

From Modern Phoenix link below

Mr. Monkey and I have been once again thinking about fences and of course not just any fence but a modern fence. What's that saying about good fences and good neighbors? Mr. Monkey spoke to our neighbor who can't contribute funds but has offered to help out with the construction. This is not so good. But on the other hand she says she really doesn't care what it looks like. This is great news for us. Our neighbor's main concern is the protection of her elderly cat in her yard from other cats (including ours apparently - which is funny because our monkey cat is always getting beat up by a fluffy fur ball named Squeaky!). This means that she wants the fence to reach all the way to the ground, no spaces down below for kitties to sneak through. And although cats can often scale and jump over fences we will make this fence as tall as we can without a permit. My. Monkey thinks this is 6ft. Here are some pictures I've come across in my search and here's a Dwell link to a nice slideshow of modern fences. Here's a link to a real estate site in northern california that specializes in Eichlers and they've posted some ideas for Eichler owners. Here's a link to an Apartment Therapy post on Modern Fences in Austin, Texas. As for the pictures above. I found one in Photo Bucket and the other on the Modern Phoenix site. Finally last but not least I've blogged about fences in the past. You can go to Part 1 and Part 2 when you click on each link. If you have any good pictures of modern fences please send the link via comments. Cheers!