From the iPhone... Color Inspiration

This weekend I was digging around my computer looking for a photo I took last year some time. It was fun to flip through all the phone pictures I've taken on my work adventures and I thought I'd share some this week.

Never thought I'd say this, but I am so inspired by the colors in these rug pads from Home Depot. Lots of these colors are going into my apartment - cobalt blue, touches of neons, jade green, persimmon, mustard, even a little pink, with lots of white, black and gray.

Once Upon a Time in La La Land

Once upon a time there was a wonderful Kingdom called La La Land.
It was such a beautiful place and everybody who lived there was soo happy.
Homelife and Business for all the inhabitants was idyllic..  The key to this Blissful existence was that everyone here, by Royal decree, always spoke the Truth. It had been this way for hundreds and hundreds of years. And because everyone spoke only the Truth there was nothing hidden....nothing to Fear,   Because there was such wonderful honesty the country thrived. Nobody held back the Truth to spare another persons feelings, and because of this there were great advances in every aspect of the peoples lives.  One day the Kings Brother, who had left the Land many years ago to join "the Real World" came back. He wasn't like everybody else there, he had learned to lie to get things that he wanted, he had even lied to himself so that he wouldn't have to admit to himself that this behavior was  not really very nice.  And once he had lied the first time, it became easier and easier until he no longer knew what was right and wrong, real or unreal.  And then the Kings Brother came to believe that all that mattered was that he get whatever he wanted, no matter what he had to do to get it.... And he decided what he really wanted was to be King of La La Land. He saw how happy everybody there was, how joy just pervaded everything...and he wanted that for himself.  So he went back to La la Land and after a few weeks poisoned his Brother's food...and the sweet and wonderful King died and was mourned by his People.  The Brother became the King as he was the only Brother and the King had no other heirs.
Well as I said the new King had become accustomed to lying, and it didn't take long in this wonderful place for one of his Subjects to call him on it.  Well, he didn't like that one little bit, it made him mad to be have his lies exposed, so he had the poor truth speaking subjects head chopped off and made a rule that Honesty was no longer a requirement.
Well people started hiding things, first from each other....and then from themselves. There had never been crime in La La land before because you always had to be truthful, but now Crime was rampant, folks stole from each other, they became abusive to each other and before long Families fell apart and businesses failed.  
The King could not understand what was going on, he had moved here because he wanted the Joy that pervaded everything...but now it was gone.   So he called his advisors together to ask them what had happened.  Well they were painfully aware of what happened to the last poor fella who lost his head over being truthful to the King, so they all made up bogus reasons why the Peace was Lost. One Adviser blamed it on the folks who wore Green the King had them all killed. Another said it was because of spy's from the next kingdom over, so the King made an army and sent them to war against the other Kingdom, where they were all quickly killed because they knew nothing about making war, but nobody wanted to tell that to the King.  Well, nothing changed..... the Joy was still gone from the Kingdom.  Well the King kept asking his advisers who would blame everybody, and everything else....and the King had them all Killed, trying to bring back that joy to the Kingdom that he coveted.  Finally there was only one adviser left....   The King who was incapable of being Truthful to himself decided it had to be the that one adviser, because everyone else in the Kingdom had been killed...So he killed the adviser.  He was the only one left....and he lived unhappily ever after.

Blessed to be a Blessing

Today, this phrase came to mind...."Blessed to be a Blessing." The first time this became a reality to me was 12 years ago when the Lord grabbed my heart for the people of Kosova during the war. I had no clue what was happening, but He put a burden in my hear that was indescribable. All I could do was think about the suffering of the people. At first, he called me to pray. Pray in the middle of the night. Pray driving in the car. I would literally begin crying, and I knew He wanted me to PRAY.

Little did I know, that the Lord planned for me to see them face to face. Following the Kosova war, I traveled to Albania to minister to the refugees in camps. It was truly a life changing experience, and the first time in my life I lived out the blessings He'd given giving to someone else in need.

Now, twelve years later he's called me to it again. In fact, I think His call never stopped during all those years. I just didn't quiet myself enough to hear it.

Now, we have literally stepped out in faith with provision He has given us to bring a baby girl from the other side of the world to be a part of our family. From the "world's" perspective we have little, but from God's perspective, we have enough. What He has given to us, we are now giving back....truly, blessed to be a blessing to our sweet girl waiting in Ethiopia.

Green Cleaning for Dummies - Week 2: The Laundry Beast

**Green Cleaning for Dummies is an 8 week program
Week 2:  The Laundry-Beast

The Dynamic Duo Meets Sodium Per-carbonate  (Hydrogen Peroxide) and Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate/Soda Ash)

Step 1:   Purchase a new jug of white vinegar and baking soda specifically for your laundry room.    

Step 2:   Make a new friend known as Sodium Percarbonate which is simply a dry form of hydrogen peroxide (its washing soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide to make it stable in dry form).    Ecover's non cholorine bleach is a common source, but you can find similar hydroden products in hardware and pool stores.    It's the same stuff that is likely in your medicine cabinet in a brown bottle just in dry form.

Step 3:   While it isn't strictly necessary, you can take this week to make a new friend
known as WASHING SODA (washing soda is sodium carbonate/soda ash -- essentially baking soda that has had all of the water removed so it is stronger--you can even make the stuff but that's for another thread).    If you can't find it or Ecover don't fret, OxyClean or similar will make due.     

A lot of people don't realize that there is no magic to OxyClean -- it is simply hydrogen peroxide and washing soda mixed together.  The problem is that you are never sure what other "fillers" they put in there.  So if you can get them separate you'll have better control.    

Note:  This week was going to be an introduction to borax (see Borax note below).    You don't have to use it at all!  But if you are going to, I think you should at least know how to use it responsibly.    Hydrogen peroxide is a much safer and effective choice.

Step 3:  If you are so inclined get a downey ball (trust me...who said we had to put gross chemical downey in it?).    If you already have one or your washer has a place for "fabric softner"  great!   

Step 4:  Designate a measuring pitcher style measuring cup and/or regular measuring cups just for the laundry.   Kind and number doesn't matter.  I just eyeball it and make due ; but other people are fussier and particular about wet and dry.

Use the Triple Threat to manage your laundry!

To clean the residue grunge and deposits out of your washing machine:

Set your washer to "heavy/soiled".  Fill your washer with hot water and add 3 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda.   Let it run through its cycle but stop it after its spin and drain.    Get a rag and wipe down the drum.    Follow with a cold water rinse on the "heave/solid" setting.

Baking Soda!  Boosting the power of your detergent:

Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the wash cycle.
If the clothes/towels are especially odoriferous and 1/2 cup to the rinse cycle.

Washing Soda!  Boosting the power of your detergent with a kick:

Instead of baking soda add 2 Tbsp to the wash cycle.   Works spectacularly well for cloth diapers!

Sodium Per-carbonate!  The whitening and stain removing power of color safe oxygen.

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons to the wash cycle.   Works great on cloth diapers!   Use together with washing soda or alone.

Vinegar! Whiten Whites, Brighten Colors, Freshen, Reduce Static Cling, and Soften

To Freshen, Soften, Brighten Colors, and Whiten Whites:  Pour vinegar into the downey ball and toss in with the wash.  The vinegar will release during the rinse cycle  and will make those bold colors stick just like it does for Easter eggs, will reduce odor, and will brighten the whites and soften the laundry by removing the gunk that turns whites yellow and makes fabric stiff.

For Sweat Stains and Ring around the Collar:  spray stains with straight vinegar before washing.     Use on cloth diapers that DO NOT have elastic (prefolds, flats, contours, natural fiber inserts and similar)


SUPPLEMENTALBorax! The Sherman Tank

What's the deal with Borax?

*CAUTION:  Borax is a phenomenal laundry booster for a nasty load, and can be used later to make much stronger cleaning solutions for the really heavy duty jobs.  You don't have to use it at all!  But if you are going to, I think you should at least know how to use it responsibly.  Keep this on a high shelf away from young children.  Borax is natural yet is definitely not the best choice for everyday cleaning.  Borax is NOT edible.  Keep it out of reach of children and pets.  It is harmful if ingested, however, you must deliberately eat it and since it is a salt it would be a feat to eat it because it is just as unpalatable as straight baking soda or simple table salt.  Have respect for all chemicals including soap!   Borax will not burn you (though you can, like anything be allergic to it), it is non reactive, and the box you buy is in crystal form so there is no dust and no breathing hazard (as long as  you don't snort the stuff by sticking your nose in the box).  You only need a very small amount of it for the tough, nasty, heavy duty jobs that nothing else can touch.    Don't over use it.  Don't reach for it first.  Don't reach for it every day.    One box should last you a very long time -- I'm talking YEARS!   I just got through using a box that is 6 years old.  It is used ONLY for MUSTY items I'm washing that other washes haven't touched.

To Boost the Detergent Power and Condition Hard Water:  Add 1/4-1/2 cup to the wash (depending on load size) for laundry that needs that extra kick in the pants.  NOT for every is for laundry that is really nasty and/or moldy/musty.  So despite what recipes for homemade laundry detergents you find floating around that have it as a major ingredient, skip the borax.  That's like killing an ant with a Sherman tank.

Especially Stubborn Stains and Smells (like mildew, fermented urine):   Pre-soak the items in the wash with 1/2 cup borax (or 1 tbsp per gallon).  Let pre-soak at least 30 minutes.    Wash and double rinse.

TIP:  Got really, really stubborn toilet stains that you can't get out no matter what you do?  Before you resort to that blue stuff you need a gas mask for,  put in 1/4 cup of borax and let it soak before scrubbing.

Taryn's Valentine

It's really hard for me to make things for the woman I adore..... I just can't make anything I feel is worthy of how much I love her.   But I do try sometimes.  I made this necklace for her on Valentines Day out a a Piece of Turquoise I picked up at the mine in Kingman 30 years ago. Kind of a rarer color with beautiful brown matrix that matches the Mountain Mahogany that's one of her favourite colors.  I think it worked out well for my woman whose blog is called WoolyMossRoots. My wonderful, beautiful, Earthy, loving, honest,sweet, amazing powerful woman... and the worlds best Mom.
I am the luckiest guy in the world.

I adore you Taryn, you are the best thing that ever happened to me.......
Thank you for blessing my life..

Bracken Lee Little Hawk Wilson

To the Degree that you give your child the Energy of Love
Is the degree that the Light of the World Increases
The degree that we Withhold that energy of Love from our Child
Is the Degree that the Light Of Love on World is decreased.
There is no such thing as giving your child “too much attention”.
...The “attention” is Love
The lack of it, is Not
Don't be Afraid to Shine
 As I've spoken of before, babies can be the most aware beings on the Planet
Most of us as Babies were probably born in Hospitals
and amidst all the wild and crazy energies there.....
Our only protection from all those wild and crazy energies,
lights, jabs, smells, sensations.....
was for us to Shut Down our Pristine Awareness.
"AAAACCCKKK, What am I doing HERE"

I mean we start out with all our Chakras wide open.....
we "see" and Feel EVERYTHING that is going on around us.
We feel our parent’s emotions,
 and the emotions of everyone who comes around us....
We see angels and guides, and beings of the Devic Evolution like Fairies.
It's just too much to Process....
so we shut down,
close the petals of our chakras.....
and breathe a sigh of relief.
If we hadn't done this while still in the womb,
we did it shortly after leaving it....
Then a lot of us spend the rest of our lives trying to find our way back to that awareness...

Well Bracken wasn't born in a Hospital,
and he had a very Peaceful wonderfully loving birth at home,
 without all those crazy energies. 
Here he is, half in and half out of the world...Open and Content and Aware, even after a very long labor
Joyful, Peaceful

 We kept him at home and very slowly introduced him to people....
Keeping the energies very calm.
There was a couple of times when folks forcefully intruded upon him
before we could do anything about it
 and He shut down momentarily
and had his very first crying fits shortly after the experience..
Here is an awesome Blog Taryn did about Visitors after Birth
Visitors after Birth

But we're glad to say that he still has not shut down,
he has Fairy friends that totally delight him....
he sees and feels Everything,
even those things we deny for whatever reason.
You can't fool Bracken.
But we learned from the experience that we are his only protection from the world
A lot of folks don't understand any of this
they don't really even seem to consider that  little babies have a consciousness yet,
because they can't speak.
They do have a consciousness
they do speak if we are quiet enough to listen
,and in fact Bracken is more aware than most folks I know...
He's almost 5 months old, but tells us whenever he needs us to take him to the bathroom.
In this country they have fancy names for it; EC which stands for something like elimination Communication , or "the diaperless Method", and I forget what else....But in all the "Uncivilized" cultures they call it, Life.
To those uncivilized folks the idea that anyone would leave a child sitting in their own poop or pee, is barbaric to them....
they can't imagine what in Western society,
is the Norm.
Well I'm afraid Taryn and I don't much fit the "Norm" in a whole lot of ways,
much to the consternation of certain family members.
But we are finally coming to the point where their sensitive sensibilities are no longer our greatest concern.
Raising our child in a soulful way, 
doing what we do based on intuition rather than what some childless fool once wrote in a book on child rearing....
is something they are just going to have to deal with.
Our children choose us for whatever reason.
  Bracken was talkin to us before he was even born,
telling us that he was going to be depending upon us to be in our integrity, 
to be strong for him because he cannot protect himself...
It's funny, I know a lot of folks who even since they were small children
were more mature than their parents
and who since childhood felt more like their parents parent
then the child...
So we have and we will continue to be in our Integrity first.....
and then we will take into account folk's tender sensibilities.
Bracken is very independent
he doesn't like being held by most folks,
in fact I sometimes feel like he just puts up with us holding him because we are his Mobility.
He's not at all used to his new body where he can't get around all by himself
and is very frustrated by it. 
His will is very strong and at times when I am carrying him around an amazing thing happens.... I become attune with his will. He'll tell me where he wants to go....And he's really particular how he wants things to be done.
"OK Dad, you are holding me at a 33 Degree angle and I am clearly specifying a 35 degree angle....get it right or else you will hear about it.... He he. I'm not kidding.
He is very clear when he has to go potty.
And of course we don't always want to listen, we have stuff to do, work to get done...
But when Bracken wants to go....he's not going to wait that long for us to comply. (although he is doing that's amazing. )
Taryn is amazing in her connection with him...
She always knows when he has to go.
I think civilized folks just became too self absorbed,
somehow lost the idea that the most important thing
is the Child..
And taking care of that child that can't take care of itself.
You know goats get right up and walk right after birth...
Humans don't
And you gotta realize, 
there is a reason for this...
Maybe the biggest lesson Humans need to learn is
How to Give...


Love every step of the Way.


That one bed I upholstered a long time ago...

Hi guys! Happy weekend! Sorry about not posting yesterday - I was dealing with some technical difficulties that I think are all straightened out now.

More than a year ago, I was determined to make a gorgeous upholstered bed with a headboard, footboard and side rails.

I found this old (probably from the 30's or 40's) crate bed at a vintage furniture shop in Maryland for not a lot of money - maybe $50? $75? It was not much to look at, but it was the perfect base to build on.

I had two 2x10's cut to size at Home Depot and screwed in some metal mending plates on the front and the back to firmly connect the two pieces.

Then I upholstered the headboard, footboard and rails with this pretty suzani-inspired fabric I bought at Interior Alternative in Newark, DE.

I used a roll of brass nail head trim to detail the far edges. A little note: I don't really love the look of the nail head that comes on a roll. The finish varies a bit and the look is kind of cheap when you get up close. That said, I really HATE when nail head trim is not perfectly lined up - drives me crazy!! So since I had so much surface to trim out, I opted for the rolled trim with perfectly straight lines.

Since taking these photos I carefully rubbed a little bit of Buff N Rub on tops of the nail heads and that helped make the finish a little more uniform. (we also put on a mattress cover for the box springs)

I styled the room for the folding screen project, but never really decorated the space like I had planned to before we left Delaware for NYC.

The plan for our bedroom (if we ever get to it! It's lower on the priority list) here in our new apartment is to make the footboard really low by pulling off the 2x10 piece. Then we'll cut out a curved pattern on that board and add it to the headboard and then reupholster the whole thing. I think I'll do a solid color fabric, since we're wallpapering the room (yay!!).

As far as the headboard shape goes, I want something that doesn't scream Pottery Barn. I want it to look custom, but not ridiculous, so that it will stay fresh for at least a couple years. Here are some contenders:

Coastal Living


Elle Decor

I like the width of the top curve here (same with the photo above - an exaggerated curve)...

Caitlin Moran


This sort of Deco-rounded-corners situation is the dark horse option of the group. I'm liking it more and more the longer I think about it. Love the first picture (from Brooke's blog) best.

Velvet and Linen

Lynn Morgan

Calico Corners

But then I look at this pretty bed with all those curves and that nail head trim pushed right to the edge!! Love it...


If you could get a new bed this weekend, what would you do or which one would you buy?

Rolled Fabric Shades

I stumbled across some of Katrin Cargill's work and I noticed that she uses these rolled shades a lot.

As an aside, I love seeing photos of a space we all know from a magazine, but unstyled and less perfect. This first image is from House Beautiful, the second is from Katrin's website.

This image is less pretty, but you can see a lot more details of the room when the photo isn't so blown out and bright. I would kill for that blue pendant.

Anyway, this rolled look is so fresh to me! I love it and am wondering how practical they actually are. Any readers with personal experience with these?

I ordered her book, Katrin Cargill's Curtain Bible, for about $7 on Amazon and I'm excited to see her suggestions for recreating the look. I'll be sure to report back.

Magickal Ointments

When the subject of Witches' ointments is mentioned, the infamous "flying ointments" immediately come to mind, at least to those with some interest in the history of Witchcraft and magick. These salves, consisting of psychoactive plants steeped in a fatty base, were rubbed onto the skin to aid in what is known today as astral projection.

These are not the only types of ointments known to Witches and magicians, however. Many others have more earthly uses that correlate to those of oils. In fact, any of the oils mentioned in the Oil section can be converted to ointments simply by adding them to melted beeswax, lard or (in today's world) vegetable shortening.

However made, ointments should ideally be kept in crystal or porcelain containers. Realistically, any jars with tight-fitting lids will do fine. Keep ointments away from heat and light. Be warned - though most of the ointments discussed in this section are fairly innocuous, some of them are poisonous and may be lethal. By including them in this work, there is in no way advocating use of such hazardous mixtures. These ointments form a part of herb magic of long-gone days, and so are included here solely for their historical interest.


Ointments are easily made. They consist simply of herbs or oils and a base. In the past, hog's lard was the preferred base because it was readily available, but vegetable shortening or beeswax produces the best results. The base must be a greasy substance that melts over heat but is solid at room temperature. Some herbalists actually use dinosaur fat (I.e., Vaseline, which is prepared from petroleum)!

There are two basic ways to create magical ointments.


Gently heat four parts shortening over low heat until liquefied. Watch that it doesn't burn. Add one part dried herbal mixture, blend with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed, and continue heating until the shortening has extracted the scent. You should be able to smell it in the air.

Strain through cheesecloth into a heat-proof container, such as a canning jar.

Add one-half teaspoon tincture of benzoin to each pint of ointment as a natural preservative.

Store in a cool, dark place, such as the refrigerator. Ointments should last for weeks or months.

Discard any that turn moldy, and lay in a fresh batch.


This process creates a more cosmetic ointment without a heavy, greasy feeling. It is best to prepare it with oils rather than herbs, as it is difficult to strain.

If possible, use unbleached beeswax. If not, use what you can find.

Chip it with a large, sharp knife so that you can pack it into a measuring cup.

Place one-fourth cup or so of beeswax in the top of a double boiler (such as a coffee can set into a larger pot of water). Add about one-fourth cup olive, hazelnut, sesame or some other vegetable oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until the wax has melted into the oil.

Remove from the heat and let cool very slightly, until it has just begun to thicken. (This step is taken so that the hot wax won't evaporate the oils.)

Now add the mixed oils to the wax.

Stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon and pour into a heat-proof container.

Label and store in the usual way.

In the recipes that follow, the recommended method of preparation will be mentioned.


Once the ointment is made and has cooled in its jar, empower it with its particular magical need. This vital step, remember, directs the energy within the ointment, readying it for your ritual use.


Ointments are usually rubbed onto the body to effect various magical changes. As with oils, this is done with visualization and with the knowledge that the ointment will do its work.

Praise God - We're In!

Today we finally received the long awaited news that our case has been submitted to the Embassy. Now, we wait for the final approval to travel to Ethiopia to bring our baby girl home! It's hard to say how quickly we'll receive our travel date, but we're hoping to be there within a month to see her face-to-face.

We are so grateful to all of the prayer warriors joining us in this journey. "For He who promised is faithful."

Are We Overexposed to Design?

From the comments section of yesterday's post about the DIY Draper chests:

I have a question for you...
I am currently redecorating my living room and dining room. I decided to go with a 70's British bachelor pad inspired look. Sort of a well traveled look with some Kuba cloths and other ethnic textiles for art. Lots of navy and gray.
Then I looked at this Draper project and realized I am still in love with Hollywood Regency. I am not too far into things to make the switch. It's just that things like x-benches, Chiang Mai (love and have been holding onto a piece for a while now), chevron, painted furniture, and so on...seem so done now.
Are we too exposed to design? I love my blogs, especially yours (very honest unabashed flattery), but are we over-exposing ourselves (Keep Calm Carry On)? This is something I have been wondering about for a while now. It seems like once I finally get to taking on a project (making ikat drapes now), it starts to seem cliche.
Do you think we are moving too fast with interiors, or do you think we are moving in the right direction where anything goes. Sort of like fashion, you can still wear your skinny jeans or flares. When you start a new project do you agonize over doing something new, or do you just go with what you love at the time even if the idea has been seen?

House Beautiful

Just two days ago I was brainstorming with my mom an idea for my apartment when I nixed the project we were discussing because I felt like it had already been done on blogs or in magazines. I think we both realized how silly that sounded as soon as I said it. Why wouldn't I do what I really love for my space regardless of whether or not a version has been done before?

I feel like it's especially tricky as a blogger. If I put up a picture of campaign dressers (which I love), I'll usually get one or two anon commenters talking about how campaigners are so over and so boring to them. And here's the tricky part - we look to blogs and magazines for inspiration, for fresh looks, so I can understand in a way why the commenters are annoyed. They're saying - "Yup! Got it. We know campaigners are/were cool. But what's next?"


Are we oversaturated with design trends as bloggers and blog readers? Totally. I have hundreds of blogs in my Reader and sometimes I feel like I'm seeing the same thing over and over again. So I'm there with you.

But I also think it's easy to forget that most people in the world don't read design blogs. Most people don't really know about ikat or suzanis or lacquer or lucite the way we all do. It's crazy to think that someone is discovering a Keep Calm poster for the first time today!

A neighbor stopped by my house a few months ago, noticed my ikat skirted console table and said - "I love your decorating style...but what is that funky fabric on your console table? Crazy!"
And then just a few weeks ago I was meeting with a client here in the city, who reads my blog and who is a blogger herself, and she told me how much she loves ikat but feels like she can't have it in her home - like it's too expected now or something.


Are we decorating for ourselves or for our design-conscious friends (or blog readers)? Every time I feel like some of the sparkle of decorating is wearing off, I realize it's because I'm over-thinking it or worrying too much about what other people will or won't like. Unfortunately I think that comes with the territory as a design blogger. Still, don't let yourself fall into that trap. If one in a thousand visitors thinks your decor is dated because you love your Chiang Mai pillows and the Keep Calm poster, don't sweat it. Guaranteed the other 999 will wonder where you got them.

Maybe it's time we take a collective chill pill about decorating and see it all for what it is and should be - a fun way to express yourself and your style.

What do you say?

PS Have you been watching Portlandia? Shell art is OVER! Seems so appropriate for this post.

PPS All the Miles Redd images above feature ikat chairs, which I love and think I might go ahead and do in my house, even though they have been done before. :)

DIY Draper Chests

We took the water taxi to IKEA on Saturday. The boat was fun, but we didn't have the best time at IKEA. That place is such a madhouse on the weekends! I left the store telling myself that I didn't want to go back there for a very long time. Then. I got home and saw an email in my inbox from Nancy. She was sharing a little link to her great blog and a new project. And just like that, I love IKEA again.

The Rast is a little $39 dresser that was absolutely MADE to be hacked and upgraded.

We all remember this great project, but did you ever imagine that the Rast would make such a lovely Draper chest?

Read all about Nancy's genius project here. It's probably one of my very favorite DIYs.