inspiration for planning new projects

inspiration

Since I’m not going anywhere for the long weekend, I’ve been perusing some of my favorite magazines and catalogs for inspiration on projects I can do at home. I am thisclose to my home being totally done–whatever that means–but right now there’s still a few blank walls I want to fill with something more interesting.

The images pictured are from the most recent Ikea catalog (bottom) and HGTV Magazine (top; one of my favorites because it meshes with my style so well).

Hopefully next week I’ll have some finished spaces to show you, but until then, I hope everyone has a great long weekend!

to do lists of the semi-adult: episode 7

to do lists of the semi-adult

In this episode of To Do Lists of the Semi-Adult, Jewels and I talk about sending birthday cards–because Jewels and I are really bad at it.

We have tried many, many ways to keep track of birthdays and send cards on time (like this birthday card book Jewels made), and our best tips are to keep cards, stamps, and envelopes on hand; keep addresses as handy as possible, and set reminders on your phone. I also talked to Michael, who is really good at this, and he said he adds birthdays to his regular to do list and sometimes sets email reminders. Do you guys out there who are great at sending birthday cards on time have any tips for us?

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or by using our feed link. You can also always find them on my Podcast page. You can find me right here at Rae’s Days, on Instagram and on Twitter. Jewels is at Oven Lovin, on Instagram and on Twitter.

vampires in the lemon grove: decorating inspiration

silk room decorating inspiration from polyvore

I haven’t yet finished Vampires in the Lemon Grove: And Other Stories by Karen Russell (Kindle here), but what I’ve read so far has been imaginative and beautiful–but with underlying horror and sadness. In the story “Reeling for the Empire,” a group of girls are held captive to produce beautiful silk for their government.

In this case, “produce” is quite literal as these girls transform into human silkworms. They feel the silk form deep in their gut, like a physical embodiment of their regret and shame. They hold on to their humanity for as long as they can, but it’s only when they submit to what they have become that allows them to build a cocoon and transform from slaves into something else.

It’s not a happy story. But it is beautiful. I love the contrast of something so pretty and delicate in the setting of such a dark story. The silk these girls create is colorful, every color of the rainbow, and each girl produces a color unique to herself. So in my design inspiration I focused on bold, beautiful colors in materials like velvet, chrome, cashmere, and–of course–silk.

The bed is a canopy bed, where you can be warm and safe in a personal cocoon, and the drapes over the bed are dip-dyed, from a light, pure white to a dark, sinister blue-black. The mirrored bed frame reminds me of an industrial factory, but it also represents how these girls had no mirrors and could not see what they had morphed into. The gold table, rug, and mirror call back to a moth’s wings in this story, which are gold and ivory with an intricate design. The oval mirror is the same shape as their only window. The pillows remind me of loopy handwriting–the handwriting that signed the contracts to work in the factory.

And the tea cup, of course, is where their transformation began.

living room sketch, two ways

rae's small cool space #smallcool

You guys know my living room, right? I just moved and decorated this year and I’m still quite happy with it. But it never hurts to imagine something new and play around with what if. So I drew a few sketches: one based on my living room now, and one with similar pieces that can change the whole look.

living room sketch

living room sketch

I’m really happy with my current furniture, but I could see myself hanging out with some pink shades and a navy couch. Plus nice wood and gold accents? I’ll need to figure out a way to use this somewhere…

a new library card

library card

After deciding to really focus on my finances for a while I finally got a library card over last weekend. It’s long overdue, really, but better late than never, as I’m sure librarians would agree. My first book from the Chicago Public Library is In the Garden of Beasts (Kindle here) by Erik Larson.

I’ve read Devil in the White City by Erik Larson and thought it was fantastic, and this book has been on my list of to-reads for a long time. And the library is really to thank for me picking it up now.

You see, I really wanted to read The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman. It’s the final book in his trilogy about young adults with magic learning about life and tragedy in school and after they graduate. But it just came out last week, and everyone else wanted to read it, too. So I’m on the wait list. I don’t think I’ll have to wait too long, but this is certainly an exercise in patience for someone who often gets books on her kindle in less than a minute after she decides to buy it.

But I’m sure it will be worth the wait, and I am very excited to read another book in the meantime. And the book I did get, I didn’t have to wait for at all. Or even go into the library! I borrowed a Kindle book from the library’s website and it’s just about the coolest things I’ve ever done. After browsing through the titles that were available, I got to pick one out and download it straight away. No big deal, just got a fantastic book to read for free in just a few seconds over the internet.

Do you guys use the library? I think my wallet is going to be in a little bit better shape if I stick to the library for a while. It may mean waiting a bit for new releases, but right now I think it’s worth it.

concert in millennium park and what i wore

rae's days park outfit

(Outfit posts seem super silly after a week like this one, no? But in rough times you’ve got to make good art, and, well, right now this is my art.)

I work very close to Millennium Park, and every Monday this summer they had a free concert as part of Downtown Sound. I was able to go this week and have a great picnic dinner and listen to some cool music from Russian Circles and Colin Stetson. What a great summer activity! I wish I had been able to go to more shows.

For this show, I wore shorts from the Loft, a shirt from Francesca’s Closet, and a necklace from Target. (I think.)

millenium park concert