Guess what?

My board came in third in the decor8/Amy Butler mood board contest – take a look! If you’re in love with Amy Butler but missed the deadline, Holly is also giving one last chance to win some free patterns. I’ll be sure to show you what I do with mine…I think I’m most interested in the hat, at the moment, since I’ve been wanting one to keep the sun off my face.

Regarding the winners, I think the first place entry is definitely the best-designed – the color scheme is very attractive, and she manages to combine a lot of images into the whole without it looking too busy. I was really interested to find out what other people chose out of all the options; I had some guesses, but other than the winner I was pretty off. It was such a fun contest idea, and I *really* can’t believe that I’m in the top four.

Okay, on to Ali’s meme. I figure that I do these in lieu of fortifying my “about” page, which seems kind of boring by contrast. I’ve sent one of these around before so I’m not going to tag anyone this time. If you’re reading and you want to share, leave me a note and I’ll happily come read a bunch of facts about you, too.

If these bore you, carry on and enjoy your Friday afternoon + weekend.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? The apostle Paul, I think (although they might have just liked the name…now I can’t remember).
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? When I left for work on Thursday knowing that I wouldn’t see husband again till Sunday night.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I used to – it used to be very precise, but it’s been getting messier every year since high school graduation.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LUNCH MEAT? Not a huge fan of lunch meat, actually. It kind of grosses me out.
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Not yet.
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Not so much anymore.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Nope, and now I get an icky cough in lieu of (or in addition to) a sore throat. I don’t recommend having them out.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I can’t think of a good reason why.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CEREAL? Kashi variations.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Not after holding an 18 month old kid for a while.
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Are they actually talking to me or are they thinking about something else?
15. RED OR PINK? Red
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? Am going to pass on answering this on the internet.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My grandmother.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? A milkshake from Ferdinand’s (it’s Friday, okay?).
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? iTunes on shuffle – currently (njosnavelin) by Sigur Ros.
22. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOUR WOULD YOU BE? I haven’t used crayons in so long that I don’t have a favorite color anymore.
23. FAVOURITE SMELLS? Pine needles in the woods; the neighbors’ wild rose bush.
25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I don’t know her very well (= at all). But some blog catchup makes me think I would.
26. FAVOURITE SPORTS TO WATCH? I have thanked my husband several times for not liking to watch sports.
27. HAIR COLOUR? Brown with a couple of alarming greys.
28. EYE COLOUR? Brown/green.
29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? No, except for very special occasions when I’m going to be photographed (like my wedding). Switching between glasses and contacts gives me huge headaches.
30. FAVOURITE FOOD? Does “good food” count?
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Mmm, used to hate scary movies. But since husband puts up with my screaming and eye-covering, I’ve been increasing my tolerance.
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Been spending a lot of quality time with Mulder and Scully lately…I guess “Breach” was probably the last real movie.
34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Spring or fall.
35. HUGS OR KISSES? From whom?
38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Still not getting it.
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? The Farthest Shore by Ursula LeGuin (don’t know how I missed these when I was in high school).
40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I use the touchpad on my laptop, which drives a lot of people nuts.
41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? See no. 32 (in my defense, I’ve been sewing at the same time).
42. FAVOURITE SOUND? I’ve never really thought about this.
44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Baku, Azerbaijan, was 12 hours off from Pullman, so I figure I was on the opposite side of the world.
45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Define “special.”
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? About 10 miles from here.
47. WHAT SUPERPOWER WOULD YOU LIKE? I would really like to fly – I don’t care how. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Some inspiration.

If you don’t visit decor8 for a daily dose of inspiration, you’re missing out.  Not only does Holly have really good taste, but she posts often (= more fun to look at) and saves you from needing to comb through thousands of webpages to find the best stuff. And she’s really good about finding lower priced alternatives, which is nice for people on a budget (= moi).

After my surprise “get a hobby” win, I think I’ve used up most of my luck for a while. But I decided to put together an inspiration board for her latest contest just in case.

inspiration board for the decor8 contest

I’ve been wanting to make a wall board for a while anyway after seeing a pattern in a recent issue of Martha (can’t find a link – sorry) and the really incredible ones made by Shim + Sons. Let me assure that, after making my own, I have a lot more respect for how hard it is to get the fabric to lay nice and flat like Sally’s does. Maybe you’d better not really look at my fabric. Or the way that my camera didn’t like to photograph lots of white. The ochre pockets at the bottom were really fun to make, though, as were the fabric-covered thumbtacks (there’s a very nice tutorial for those here).

Of course, making the board was only half the project. I also got to search through my not insignificant stacks of design magazines, develop a theme, and start tearing out pages.*

inspiration board detail

*This was the source of a little disagreement between husband and myself. Is there anyone else out there who really dislikes ripping up your magazines? This is one of the things that has kept me from making a board like this in the past. Josh assured me that there are thousands of copies of Domino and Martha and Elle Decor out there just waiting to replace my damaged ones, but I’m still not convinced. I told him that I might tape the pics back in afterward and he said that he would laugh very, very hard if I did that. Is this really that neurotic of me?

inspiration board detail

The room I picked was the living room – our living room, to be specific. I think it’s really hard to decorate something in a vacuum instead of working with a specific set of walls, ceiling, and carpet. So, my goal was to come up with objects and colors that fit the very real living room in our very real apartment were I to have the opportunity to re-do everything with no budget. :)

inspiration board detail

It didn’t take very long for me to figure out that a lot of my images were falling neatly into a grey + brown theme. I kept the yellow/ochre and teal accents that I have now, but conveniently left out the ol’ forest green couch.

inspiration board detail

And what would an inspiration board be without something wildly beautiful that you cannot possibly afford?

Of course, I am now wishing that I had done this before moving in rather than after. I think I might have found another couple of hours to add a coat of soft grey paint to the walls, along with renewed/prolonged furniture searching. But I think that the point of an inspiration board should be opening yourself up to new possibilities instead of making you ungrateful for what you already have, so I’m going to be thankful for my little living room and dream about making a few changes in the future.

(You can relax, dear, I said “a few.”)

I won!

I usually think of myself as the kind of person that doesn’t win anything. You know, you scribble your name and phone number on a slip of paper to win the car at the mall, but you would be shocked if anything came of it. (This is one reason why I automatically distrust those you-won-a-free-vacation phone calls. Riiiight.)

But, when decor8 announced a “what’s your favorite hobby” book-giveaway contest, I thought about my answer for a little while and decided to toss it in the hat. And I won! [I’m about halfway down, abbreviated as “build a beautiful and stylish indoor/outdoor aviary.”]

A word about my answer: as you can probably tell, I really like birds. I think you can blame my mom, who gave me the Audobon Field Guide to North American Birds when I was six. I looked at that book again and again and again, until the pages with the indigo bunting and the ferruginous pygmy owl started to fall out (strangely enough, I have a little cousin who is going through this exact same phase right now).  I’ve also owned a lot of birds over the years; when I moved to Azerbaijan, one of the first things I did – much to the annoyance of my roommates – was to acquire a couple of finches and two budgies and keep them in my bedroom.

That said, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not a big fan of keeping medium-sized birds in little cages. A parrakeet or lovebird is meant to occupy more space than a 2′ by 3′ cage, which is all I can ever fit in my living space. Finches are happier, but they’re terribly small and delicate and die easily (= very upsetting). So, I have become a person who loves birds outside her window more than inside her house.

This brings me back to the contest, the parameters of which were to pick your ideal hobby if time + money were no object. After going through a list of possibilities, I decided that I would a) have a house with a nice backyard and b) build a complete aviary/birdhouse out back with indoor and outdoor cages (pens?). And I would make it look good…no ugly concrete or brass trimmings. And then I would fill my aviary with beautiful birds who were raised in little cages and couldn’t believe that they got to fly around in all that space with their friends every day.

It’s so fun to dream sometimes.

Looking forward to the weekend.

Isn’t it amazing how you can look forward to the weekend after a vacation and only four days of work?  This has been a pretty stressful week in the ol’ office –  my mail stack is down to two inches of mystery applications, but everything else  is in complete chaos.  No, I haven’t sent out that flyer; No, I haven’t made up the mailer yet; No, I haven’t emailed the recruitment committee; No, I haven’t organized those applications; No, I haven’t…

After talking with my supervisor, we’ve both come to the conclusion that the only way for me to get more work done is to work more hours (novel, I know).  Soooo, I think I might jump to full-time for a month or two.  This will be very good for the finances but very bad for the arts + crafting time.  I really depend on those extra two hours in the afternoon to get things done, and they’re going to disappear for a while.  Which means that I will have less stuff to blog about.  Which brings me back to the wonderfulness of weekends, when one doesn’t need to go to work.

I don’t have any pretty photos today; I was going to post a pic of the snow coming down fast yesterday afternoon (we got about 5 inches!), but I cleverly left my camera in the car.  So I will direct you to some lovely images on other people’s blogs.

You may have heard about the tragedy that befell the Kim family as they were driving through the Oregon mountains.  Kati Kim owns two stores in the San Francisco area that sell handcrafted goods, so the crafty blogging community was tremendously concerned and formed an auction of donated items to benefit the family.  The auction is going on right now on Ebay and everything’s already pretty expensive, but there’s a complete list of all the items for sale with links to the creators’ blogs at, and it’s an amazing collection of crafty inspiration.  I especially like this, this, this, and this.  You should check it out.

Another current source of inspiration is design*sponge and the design*sponge guest blog.  Both feature a constantly-changing array of artists, crafters, and online stores, and the photos alone are a great source of inspiration for things to try to recreate on a budget in your own home.  Guest-blogger Mav of port2port, an amazing letterpress artist herself, put together an affordable art guide that is a particularly good place to look for screenprint art at a reasonable price.  I plan to buy some new posters as soon as we have enough wallspace to put them on.

I’m going to try to work on the kimono robe (I ironed all the fabric last night) and vest renovation projects this weekend, so hopefully I’ll have something to show on Monday.

Hope you have a great weekend!