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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Ultimate Junk Drawer

Now that our library card catalog is in its place, it's time to reveal my list for what will soon fill all 60 of its drawers! I started by just thinking of all the little things that are usually strewn throughout our home and in random junk drawers and 60 items came to mind quite easily. In fact, I had to do a bit of editing to get it down to size, but here it is...

My List of Labels for our Library Card Catalog:
  1. Batteries
  2. Bills

  3. Buttons
  4. Calculator
  5. Camera

  6. Candles – Taper

  7. Candles – Tea lights

  8. Change

  9. Chapstick

  10. Checks

  11. Coupons

  12. Crayons

  13. Envelopes
  14. Fabric
  15. First Aid

  16. Flashlights

  17. Gift Cards
  18. Glue
  19. Greeting Cards

  20. Gum

  21. Hair Ties
  22. Hole Punches

  23. iPod

  24. Keys
  25. Light Bulbs
  26. Lighters

  27. Lint Roller

  28. Little Debbie Snacks (inside joke, they're Dave's guilty pleasure)
  29. Louie (the dog's medicine, vet info, etc.)
  30. Markers
  31. Matches

  32. Measuring Tapes

  33. Menus
  34. Nail Clippers, Files & Polish

  35. Needles & Thread
  36. Paint

  37. Paper
  38. Paper Clips
  39. Passports
  40. Pens
 & Pencils

  41. Playing Cards

  42. Post-it Notes

  43. Receipts
  44. Recipes
  45. Ribbon
  46. Rubberbands
  47. Rulers

  48. Safety Pins

  49. Scissors

  50. Stamps – Ink
  51. Stamps - Postage
  52. Stapler

  53. Stationary
  54. Stickers
  55. String

  56. Tacks
  57. Tape
  58. Tools
  59. Twist Ties
  60. Wine
I am already giddy just thinking about how much nicer it will be to find each of these things in one place and in alphabetical order none-the-less. Now I just need to find a font and paper I like, make the labels and load up the drawers!

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Vintage Library Card Catalog: Part Two

On Sunday, my sister and I woke up early and drove from Chicago to the middle of Indiana on the quest to pick up my Library Card Catalog!

It was raining most of the way there, but other than that and a mild hangover from the night before we were in good spirits. My GPS didn't fail us and we got there about 30 minutes sooner than google maps had predicted (even after stopping for breakfast, gas and of course Combos along the way), so everything was going pretty smoothly.

The man who was selling me the cabinet owned one of those concrete lawn ornaments places, which sat across the street from the volunteer fire department and down the street from the tiniest little post office you've ever seen. (I did forget my camera so I only had my iPhone to document the experience.)

When we pulled in he had a garage full of antique goodies, but right in front was my card catalog. Yay! But just then, disaster almost struck. The original item description clearly stated that the width of the piece was 42" and I carefully measured that our SUV would fit that with maybe an inch to spare. When I got there he told me that instead it was at least 43 inches and wasn't sure it would fit!!

At this point, I thought my sister was going to kill me, but I was NOT about to leave Indiana empty-handed! He realized that for the posting he had measured the width of the body but not the top and the trim which added at least another inch to it. So we thought fast and the nice man grabbed some tools and gently removed both the top and the trim for me so that it fit without a centimeter to spare on the sides.

Talk about a PERFECT, nearly disastrous fit. But it fit. And it was now all mine.

Fast forward four hours and after just one unexpected detour through Gary, Indiana due to a road closure (where were you then, GPS??) we were home. Home is where my lovely husband and I had the fun task of unloading this 400 lb mammoth. We started by taking out ALL 60 drawers so that it was light enough for two to carry and then we carried it up piece by piece.

Once we reassembled it, all I had to do is grab our drill and screw the top back on and then use some wood glue to reattach the trim. We also had to remove 2 of our 3 floating shelves to make this fit. We will probably removed the third one eventually, but that would require some repainting so its staying for now.

I also quickly styled it with my vintage typewriter bag and an owl candle to highlight the pull-out trays, but that could change soon...

It still could use a thorough vacuuming on the inside with a shop vac, but our vacuum cleaner just broke last week. There were a few cob webs and bits n' pieces of lint and paper from libraries past, but otherwise it looks great. Dave thought it smelled "old", but I took some lemon-scented Pledge to it and that did the trick.

A few Fun Facts:
  • This Card Catalog was used in the library at Indiana University. Pretty cool to know its origin!
  • Its tag reads, Remington Rand Library Bureau Division, which from what I can tell means it was made sometime between 1927 and 1976. I guess that means it's somewhere between an antique and just being "retro".
  • It has 60 drawers and is made of oak. One drawer was missing but the seller gave me an extra drawer (on top of cabinet in photos above) that he had acquired and all I have to eventually do is sand it down a bit to fit.
  • Many of the handles are slightly different shapes & sizes (see above), but they are all the same brass finish so I like that it has some charm in that respect.
  • I also thought I might sand it down and refinish it, but at this point I also like the more naturally distressed look of the different shades of medium to dark finish.
So what's next? Filling it up of course! In order to pass the time on our road trip, my sister and I started to compile an alphabetical list of household items that I could put in the drawers so we have a nice head start. Stay tuned for my list & labeling post in the near-future!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Creative Enthusiast...?

Anyone else out there feel like they have a ton of creative ideas but not necessarily many quantifiable, creative skills?

I'm a big idea person. A concept person. I appreciate art, design, photography, fabric, food, typography, color, illustration, fashion, pretty things, etc. I guess I would call myself crafty, but not necessarily artistic because I feel like I'm not an executor. I don't paint. Or draw. Or sew. Or design. I do have a journalism degree and I started my career as a copywriter, but outside of blogging I do not write very often anymore (besides updating my Facebook status).

However, I am creative. I like to brainstorm and to coordinate. I love to decorate and think I have a "good eye". I guess I'm a collector of things and ideas, in fact I soak them up like a sponge, but I feel like less of a doer because I just could never call myself a "fill-in-the-blank"_____ (seamstress, painter, artist, designer, photographer, etc.). For instance, I purchase handmade goods quite often, but if I wanted to set-up an Etsy shop of my own, what could I sell? Ideas? Or my eye-for-design? Probably not a very tangible good!

So how do you classify a person like me? There has to be more of us out there. Are we creative enthusiasts? Groupies?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Magazine Roll Call

I subscribe to many blogs to get my information and inspiration on the subject matter that most interests me, but there is still something I love about flipping through the glossy (or matte) pages of a few select magazines.

A few of my favorites, like Domino and the even shorter lived Blueprint, are no longer in circulation, but I do currently subscribe to a small handful of titles. That list includes:

I'm curious... which magazines do you subscribe to?

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Vintage Library Card Catalog: Part One

Library Card Catalogs have been popping up in a plethora of blog postings over the last year and it makes me uber-envious each and every time I see one. Check out some of the posts I am referencing here, there, and everywhere. This one posted on Small Notebook (pictured below) has been my ultimate inspiration pic:
I finally decided I had to have one and set out on an epic journey to make one mine. Here's a little tale about online searching, online bidding and finally online auction winning!

After spending a month or two scouring Craigslist for a suitable, card catalog from a local seller and coming up short (and after being offered to partake in a few too many pyramid schemes), I decided to hop on over to eBay and see if anyone in Illinois or a bordering state was listing anything interesting.

At first I was discouraged that everything I found was either $1000 or 5 states away, but then it happened. I found one listed a few hours south of me for a starting bid of just $50! I spent my weekend attached to my iPhone tracking a back & forth bidding war (in between March Madness games), for this 72-drawer gem.

I went to bed dreaming of the mini u-haul I would rent for my mini road trip to go pick up my vintage treasure. But my bubble burst when I realized another bidder or two also had the same goal in mind. Thus, my max bid slowly crept up to $316 just to ensure I'd walk away a winner. It seemed to work and it was staying well under $300 until this afternoon. Tonight as the auction closed I was still winning it at $301 until, the final seconds. I watched the countdown: 3 sec , 2 sec, 1 sec and then... I lost! And lost big. Somehow the price jacked up to $540 in the final second. I was upset, but I also felt better that I hadn't lost by just a few dollars and that it truly sold for a dollar amount that I was not willing to pay.

So then I did what any grown woman would do. I sulked at my desk for a minute, turned my frown upside down, and took a gander at the "similar items" eBay suggested as my consolation prize.

And there it was. Another library card catalog that never came up in my own searches because they named it a "Library File Card Cabinet". p.s. eBay, you really need to work on your taxonomy/search vocabulary because I found this to be a frequent problem, but I digress...

To top it off this new one had a "Buy it Now" option of just $300 AND a "Make an Offer" option that I was very excited to try out. Before I left work for the night, I took a shot at offering $200 for this 60-drawer solid oak beacon of hope and left knowing the seller had 48 hours to accept or decline my offer.

Low and behold, just two hours later...IT WAS ALL MINE! And for much less than the one that got away just a few hours ago. Moral of the story...everything happens for a reason!

Stay tuned for "A Vintage Card Catalog: Part Two" where I will hopefully chronicle my road trip to pick up my winnings (with photos) and "Part Three" where I fix it up to display it proudly in our loft :-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March Madness

It's my favorite time of year in sports, MARCH MADNESS!

Last year I won my office pool, but this year I'm not feeling very optimistic since I barely followed college basketball. The games are still so exciting though and once again my alma mater, Mizzou, is in the big dance so I'm happy. Plus, filling out a bracket gives me someone to root for in every single game making any match-up a little more fun to watch.

I always have Mizzou go at least two rounds in my bracket, even if it's against my better judgement, but can I really have them beating #2 seed powerhouse West Virginia in the second round? I don't think so. Some experts have West Virginia in the Final Four, so I'm just not sure. And what is with our arch-rival kU being the #1 one seed?? I just can't have this. I can't put them in my Final Four and still feel good about myself.

Just like last year, I'm having a struggle between my heart and my head again. Which will prevail? I'm not sure, but they only have until tomorrow to battle it out!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lovin' Liberty of London for Target

I am lovin' the new Liberty of London line at Target! It was released this weekend, but of course by the time I went to my local Target on Sunday it was already terribly picked over and my favorite dress from the TV commercial was nowhere in sight. That dress would be the one below, which I went home and immediately ordered online.

I thought it would be the perfect dress to wear in Mexico in a few months...

Since I'm also a BIG FAN of peacock print and the rich teal-blue color I also ordered the number below. The Liberty of London for Target® Halter Maxi Dress in Turquoise Isis Print

I thought this would be a nice evening dress to wear to dinner at the resort.

I could really go crazy with all of the great patterns found adorning the abundance of cute home decor, bedding, dining, bicycles and little girls' clothing items they have online. I particularly like a few home items, like these and this and this, but I did use some self-control and haven't made a purchase outside of the apparel realm (yet).

The girls' clothes were too adorable to pass up though, so I also ordered these two items early for our niece's 3rd birthday in May...

Good thing I don't have a girl of my own yet or I would have to get more closets!

If you are curious, you can even find your "patternality" here on Facebook. I just found out that mine is "Maddsie Green"...

There is one caveat to this vibrant collection. Just as I believed with last year's Orla Kiely collection, less is more when it comes these trendy patterns. However, being that the entire Liberty of London collection is almost sold out online and hard to come by in stores, getting your hands on enough to "over-do-it" in your home or wardrobe is virtually impossible :-) So check it out online and grab a piece of the collection while you still can!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Last Weekend's Vintage Bazaar Finds

Last weekend I went to The Vintage Bazaar in Chicago with my sister and her friend Allyson and had a great time.

First, we had brunch at Cafe Selmarie where I started the day off right with a vanilla latte while we waited for our table. Once seated, I ordered a delicious chilaquiles casserole and a refreshing mimosa. They also have a wonderful pastry case but we had stuffed ourselves silly, and had to take a pass.

Next, we headed over to the bazaar around 1pm to find a line around the block!

The staffers said that they grossly underestimated the turnout of the "pop-up flea market" and they were basically doing "one-in one-out" so that it was not overcrowded inside. We were very antsy as we inched closer and closer to the door and felt tortured as we watched others walk out with their new-found treasure. But then it was finally our turn!

My first stop was at two neighboring booths right near the entrance, where I snatched a large, white milkglass vase from vendor 'Pretty. Quirky.' for $7.

And then I spotted this cool vintage chandelier from vendor 'Fine Diving' for just $25.

It had suffered a bit of bazaar wear-and-tear -- one of the strings of the beads had fallen off and scattered underneath their display -- but the nice seller offered to take my address down and mail me the remaining beads to re-string... and this week she did just that.

Also, I poked around online a little and found the post where she featured the before and after of my new kitschy chandelier here. I love knowing a little history about about my new piece.

Today I went to the Home Depot and bought a 3 foot chain and a few more materials with the hopes of hanging it in the area over our TV. Now I just need to borrow a VERY tall ladder :-)

My last find was this random little container that I thought would be a nice addition to my "bird room", aka the guest bedroom.

At first I added it to a bedside table...

...but then I moved it to the guest bathroom where I might even use it as a soap dish.

Here is my loot again, altogether.

I can't wait for another one of these bazaars to pop-up sometime. It has also given me some great new blogs/vendors to follow and a hankering to go thrifting again sometime very soon!

Monday, March 1, 2010


I have been to one all-inclusive resort, and it was in Cancun when I was a senior in high school for spring break. It was my first time on a plane in my life and believe it or not I did not even drink then so I didn't really take full advantage of the "all-inclusiveness". I do remember that even after my extensive travel in the Caribbean (Bahamas, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, Dominica, Barbados & Puerto Rico), the beach in Mexico was still one of the most gorgeous I've ever seen.

The reason I haven't been back to an all-inclusive in over 10 years is because generally I prefer more culturally interesting trips. I like the sun and beach, but I usually like to "do things" when I travel: take in native culture, try interesting cuisine, go off the beaten path, hang with locals, etc. Even our honeymoon to Puerto Rico was part sightseeing road trip and part beach time. Somewhat relaxing, but we didn't stay in one place long. In fact, the 2 weeks we spent traipsing around Italy last September were some of the best days of our lives AND not very relaxing at all.

But Dave and I have never taken one of those vacations together where you just land, lay, eat, drink, sleep and repeat, so I think it's about time we did! It actually really surprises me that this was my husband's idea since he hates to lay in the sun and is the type that won't take his shirt off at the pool; however, in May he will end a very stressful busy-season at work and I think he's just ready to get away and forget all of his worries.


In about 3 months, after Dave stands up at one of his best friend's weddings in St. Louis, we will be whisked away to Mexico's Riviera Maya. We did juggle around the idea of going to Jamaica first, but there are no non-stop flights available anymore for the dates we seek, even through a travel agent. And personally a short, direct flight to Mexico landing at noon sounds much better to us than spending a day in US airports and landing in the evening when we could have been at the beach instead. So Mexico it is!

We will stay in an adults only all-inclusive, The Royal Playa del Carmen.

A hammock on every balcony

A stand alone jacuzzi tub in every room

A great beach

And beautiful sunsets!

TripAdvisor ranks it #2 out of 181 hotels in Playa del Carmen and the 2,000+ reviews are 91% positive. The traveler photos look great, and I personally know a friend who has stayed there and loved it so I feel very comfortable booking our stay there.

I also like that this hotel, while on the beautiful beach, is just 2 blocks away from downtown Play del Carmen, so if we do get the itch to explore it won't entail an expensive cab ride.

Oh, and a regularly scheduled ferry departs from the nearby pier, which can take us to the island of Cozumel for a fun day trip.

I'm ready for some warmth and sunshine! What do you say? Only 3 months away!


About Me

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I'm a St. Louis native, but I have been living in Chicago since 2005 and am loving every windy minute of it. I enjoy cooking (more-so eating), home decorating and really anything creative. I'm a supporter of DIY & handmade goods, a fledgling foodie and a connoisseur of kitsch. I spend my days filling online shopping carts, emptying them and repeating the process all over again. Most of all I love spending time with my husband, Dave, our first child, Claire and my dog, Louie.

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