Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dining Room Vintage Botanical Calendar Wall Art

This post has been a long time coming.  A while back, my sweet, sweet friend Stephanie {Cre8ive Designs, Inc.), knowing I'm a big fan of botanical art, mailed me a vintage calendar (from 1965!) that she wasn't using and was thoughtful enough to reach out to me and ask if I'd be interested in it.  When I said, "of course!" she mailed it to me from California!  I was beyond thrilled and so excited to receive it and see the gorgeous images inside that look like beautiful watercolored paintings.

I knew I wanted to hang a grouping of them, but didn't want to spend a fortune on frames, so I went with my $5 WalMart frames without a mat.

I hung them immediately in my dining room, but did a terrible job- they were totally uneven and I grouped all 8 together on a larger wall opposite the window.  They hung that way for months until my husband was kind enough to rehang them perfectly straight for me onto two walls.  He is so good at hanging pictures, curtain rods, etc., but HATES doing it, complains constantly the whole time, and chides me for not being able to do it myself.  I don't mind, because in the end, it looks like this: 


See how unique and pretty the images are?!

And I kept the calendar part exposed because I thought it added great character to the art.

So I have to give a big ole hug to my friend Stephanie.  I'm so glad I am finally getting to share with you how the calendar looks framed and hanging in our dining room.  And I am so touched that she thought of me and cared enough to consider what would look nice in my home.  I really do take the suggestions of readers to heart and often find myself incorporating your opinions into my design process at home.  

And you know how I "met" Stephanie?  When I found her Pantry Makeover, and then, being so impressed with her fabric lined walls, emailed her to ask about how she did it.  She wrote me right back and we quickly started exchanging emails and checking in on each others' blogs.  I actually ended up lining the back of our sitting room shelves with fabric too.  

If you aren't familiar with Stephanie's story or her work, I encourage you to check it out.  You won't be disappointed.  This girl has major talent and, as you now know, a huge heart.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Feroli, Harris, Sufi and West on Housing and the Transmission of Monetary Policy

I will share a link when I find one.  Let me pull out a couple of paragraphs from the executive summary:

In this report, we focus on weakness in housing. Our analysis makes two broad points. First, weakness in housing and residential investment is a main impediment to a robust recovery. Second, problems related to housing have affected the transmission of monetary policy. More specifically, the unprecedented decline in house prices and residential investment has introduced headwinds that may require a more aggressive monetary response than in normal downturns. Further, problems related to housing markets may reduce the sensitivity of real economic activity to the interest rates that monetary policy can affect. Or in the parlance of textbook intermediate macroeconomics, housing problems have likely shifted the IS curve leftwards and steepened the slope of the curve by introducing a gap between policy rates and effective rates. For both of these reasons, problems related to housing introduce significant challenges to monetary policy-making.
There are six steps in our analysis:
1. We begin by placing housing in the context of the broader economic recovery. The overall recovery in GDP has been one of the weakest in the postwar period even though the recession was the largest in the postwar period. Residential investment has been a particularly dismal performer. Further, the other weakest components of GDP--consumption of services and state and local government expenditures--can also be closely linked to weakness in housing markets. Focusing just on the direct impact of housing—home construction and housing service consumption—the sector accounts for about a third of the shortfall of growth relative to a typical recovery. Obviously the full impact of the housing crisis is bigger if we include indirect impacts on local governments and consumption of housing-related durables. We also show evidence from other countries that a collapse in housing is associated with subsequently weak recoveries....
If one looks at business cycle histories (see herehere and here), it is hard to imagine full recovery without housing market recovery.  Warren Buffet this morning said it was time for one.  I hope he is right.

Target Furniture Find

Lately, I've found Pinterest to be an amazing source of inspiration for decor steals and deals.  I found our Martha Stewart starburst mirror via my friend Amanda's (Amanda Carol at Home) Pinterest board, and then, my friend Stephanie (Cre8tive Designs, Inc.) pinned this settee from Target, which I promptly repinned to my "Yes, Please" board.

I'd been keeping my eye our for a bench or settee for our entryway, and at $249 (on sale), I couldn't beat the price for this Target piece.  I previously had my heart set on a settee from Anthropologie, but I was not prepared to pay $1,000 for it.

So, the Target settee won out.  I had it in our entryway, then moved it to the area under our stairs for now.  I could also envision it at our breakfast table, at the end of our bed, or in our sitting room (it's so versatile I reasoned with my husband).  It photographed more grey, but the Target picture is a better representation of it's true color- has more slate blue in it.

Then I added a lumbar pillow I found at Target over the weekend. 

The nailhead trim is a nice detail.  The settee itself is firm and will provide a couple extra places to sit at James' upcoming second birthday party.  

I'm always somewhat hesitant to buy furniture over the internet, but so far, my bed (from Overstock) and this settee, I'm really happy with.  

*The silver side table is from Homegoods and the vase is Target with botanicals from Pottery Barn. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Still playing consumers for suckers

So I am having a lazy Saturday watching ESPN, and see an ad where the husband says, "I need the TV," and the wife says, "We can't afford more credit card debt," and the announcer says--"you can have your TV and not take on credit card debt--by renting."

Of course, by renting, consumers are paying an implicit interest rates to RAC, the company peddling the scheme.  The price of renting a Sony 55" television is $29.99 a week.  The cost of a Sony 55" is $1899 on Amazon.  Let's say the expected life of a Sony is four years (it is probably longer).  That is an implicit IRR of 1.51 percent per week, or 117 percent per year.  There used to be a word for this kind of thing, and the word was usury.

This is different from legitimate rental businesses, that rent out equipment for short periods and that have to keep inventory that often sits idle.  But to suggest to consumers that they are better off not using their 24 percent APR credit cards for this scheme--it is disgraceful.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

GIVEAWAY {Milk & Cookies Canada} Pillows!

The talented Misty of Milk & Cookies Canada is back with a GIVEAWAY for Honey We're Home readers!   Thank you Misty!  We adore your pillows and the affordable and designer fabrics available in your shop:) Check it out!


The new hand painted heart pillows are adorable!

Y’all are in for a treat because 
Misty is giving away one pillow cover ($20-$25 value) to one lucky reader!!

She is also providing a 10% discount for orders with
Discount Code:  HONEYWEREHOME.
The discount code expires on March 2, 2012.

To Enter
*Leave a comment on this post
*Visit Milk & Cookies etsy shop (leave an additional comment)
*Follow Milk & Cookies Blog (leave an additional comment)
*Like Milk & Cookies on Facebook
*Tweet, Facebook, or Blog about this giveaway (leave an additional comment)
*Followers/Subscribers of HWH get an additional entry (leave an additional comment)

The WINNER will be chosen via Random.org and announced on Friday March 2, 2012.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Matthew Yglesias says low income people face lower inflation

More specifically, he writes:

At the same time, it’s worth noting that stagnating real working-class wages are calculated by using a meaningless overall average rate of price inflation. Some things—college tuition, apartments in Manhattan, health care—have gotten more expensive much faster than average. This means that people who buy a below-average amount of those things are better off than the statistics show.
So I repeated an exercise I did a few years back--I looked at expenditure shares for different goods for each income quintile, and then looked at price dynamics for each expenditure category in the CPI (the matches between the CES and CPI are not perfect, but they are close.  I am not sure what to do with the expenditure categories "cash contributions" and "pension contributions.").

In any event, I find that the effective CPI for each income category is pretty much the same for 2009-2010: the CPI increase for the lowest quintile was 1.6, for the second lowest was 1.4, for the third 1.7, the fourth 1.8 and the highest 1.7.  These differences look like noise to me.

I will try to figure out something using longer term data, but since expenditure shares change over time, it will be harder to glean meaning from differences in CPIs.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Dining Room Lamp Makeover

Slowly but surely I've been working on improving the look and comfort of our dining room.  Over the last several months we've added a rug, mirror, drapes and moved our console into the room.  I also played musical lamps and brought in lamps that were previously in our living room.   The lamps (from Homegoods) have a nice shape and height, but they looked bland against the similarly colored walls and linen chairs.  After seeing Cassie's (Hi Sugarplum) recent lamp debate and Janell's (Isabella & Max Rooms) glossy lamp paint job, I decided to paint these lamps to give them some personality.

I just taped a plastic bag over the parts of the lamp I didn't want painted. 

And chose a blue I thought would compliment the drapes.

 I spayed a thick layer of spray paint on the lamps, but didn't use any gloss.   What a difference!

Then I wanted to see how the lamps would look embellished with some ribbon.  I literally just taped the ribbon at one end because I didn't want it to be permanent. 

I like how the ribbon looks on the shade- but I think the color of the lamp and ribbon is too blue for the room.  I should've chosen a color with more aqua in it to compliment the drapes.  

I will probably end up repainting these since it's so easy to do and there is such a large array of colors of spray paints to choose from.  But I still wanted to show you this project in case you were like me and had never considered spray painting a lamp.  

So easy.  And check out all the fun spray paint colors I found recently at Lowe's.  Now I'm wandering around the house wondering what I can paint next.  You do that too, right?!

What do these two places have in common?

Cudahy, California

New York, NY

What they have in common is that Cudahy's population density, at 21,684 per square mile, is not dissimilar to New York's 26,402 per square mile.  I can't be positive, but I am pretty sure no building in Cudahy is more than three floors tall.  New York is the 5th densest municipality in the US, while Cudahy's is 10th.  If one visits Cudahy, one won't feel particularly crowded either.  But there is no wasted space.

3quarksdaily: Learning Urdu

3quarksdaily: Learning Urdu

Sunday, February 19, 2012

DIY {Mini Potted Plants}

With the gift of a few free minutes this weekend during James' nap time, I made mini faux potted plants.  These little guys are so cute and really easy to make, not to mention inexpensive:)  The mini terra cotta pots were only .59 cents each and the long garland was $8 with a half-off coupon.  The pots are less than 2 inches tall- so sweet!

The leafy stem pulled right off the garland- no cutting required.

I cut the potting foam to fit the pot and inserted several stems.

So easy!

Then I went around adding these bits of cuteness all over the house.  The picture below gives you a good idea of the scale of these tiny potted plants.  

I think these would also make great place settings for a spring table.  You could just write your guests' name on the pot in marker.  Super cute!

Happy Monday y'all!  p.s.  It's my B I R T H D A Y ! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Professor Judith Green reminds me of the meaning of "begging the question"

Fowler defines "begging the question" as the "fallacy of
founding a conclusion on a basis that as much needs to be proved as
the conclusion itself."

I learned this in high school, and just forgot (or just got sloppy). It is a good phrase with a specific meaning--we should keep it.

Paul Krugman essentially invites the question: should California secede?

In his column this morning, Paul Krugman discusses a recent Times article that shows that the reddest states receive more of their personal income from government programs than blue states. An implication of this is that places such as California would be better off fiscally by seceding from the union (my colleague Lisa Schweitzer shows that California gets less than its fair share of the gasoline tax as well).

So as someone who lives in California (and who plans to remain here until I no longer have any say about where I live), I should support secession, or at minimum, a substantial reduction in federal taxes and spending, which could then be replaced with state taxes and spending. But I care about the elderly and the poor in Oklahoma, so I guess I am stuck; yet the average voter in Oklahoma seems not to care at all about the elderly and poor in California. This leaves us stuck again.

Hannah Green: The problems of engaging in blind warfare - Forum - The Daily Northwestern - Northwestern University

My daughter on drones.

Green: The problems of engaging in blind warfare - Forum - The Daily Northwestern - Northwestern University

Starburst Mirror (Update to Master Bedroom)

It's a long process, but we are slowly but surely working on turning our master bedroom and sitting area from a dark, cold area into the sanctuary that we want the room to feel like.  I've been trying to lighten up the space and started by replacing our brown leather bed with an upholstered bed.

And in the sitting room, we need to go lighter too.

The sitting room has been totally neglected, except for lining the bookshelves with a silvery paisley fabric.  I haven't even styled the shelves yet!  And the NY bridge photo that was a gift for my husband felt too dark and rectangular for the room.  We need curves.  After pinning this Martha Stewart starburst mirror twice on Pinterest, I figured it was time to buy it!  It was only $35 and it's 30 x 30 inches, available at Home Depot. 

I know starburst mirrors are everywhere, but they were nowhere in my home, and I haven't tired of seeing them.  I think the mirror is a good size for the space and I like how the star of the mirror breaks up all the straight lines of the TV, windows and frames.   

I'm working on replacing the black frames with metallic.  I used two $5 frames from WalMart and kept the original mat.  I have two more that will go where James' photograph is now.  I also need to lower them. (hubby will love more holes in the walls:) 

We are getting there.

I'd love to relocate the leather chairs and replace them with something softer . . . 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Adam Levitin on the San Francisco Audit: Why no investigation?

Adam writes:

Here's a bombshell: the San Francisco City Assessor commissioned a serious audit of foreclosure documentation filed in the past few years. The audit examined 400 foreclosures. It found problems with 85% of them, often multiple problems. What's more, some of the problems are pretty serious as they implicate not only borrowers' rights, but the integrity of mortgage-backed securities and the property title system. 

The San Francisco City Assessor's audit also serves as a benchmark for evaluating the Federal-State servicing settlement. The San Francisco City Assessor managed to accomplish in a few months what the Federal government and state Attorneys General weren't able to do in nearly a year and a half with far greater resources at their disposal: perform a credible investigation of foreclosure documentation with serious implications about the securitization process in general. That's a lot of egg on the face of Shaun Donovan, Eric Holder, Tom Miller, et al. The SF City Assessor report shows that it really wasn't so hard for a motivated party to undertake a serious investigation. And that raises the question of why the largest consumer fraud settlement in history proceeded with virtually no investigation...

Read the San Francisco Assessor's Audit on Mortgage Compliance.

It is jaw-dropping.  Among other things, around 30 percent of the foreclosed loans sampled from San Francsico have a minimum of three clear compliance issues. 

One should not draw inferences about the rest of California from San Francisco alone--so it is time to replicate the study for some other counties. 

Organized Spices (Take Two)

One of the things I've been meaning to tackle for awhile is organizing my spice drawer.  About two years ago, I emptied all my mis-matched spice containers into 4.5 ounce glass containers (from Crate & Barrel) and affixed clear labels to them.  You can see the original post, from July 2010, here.  (Wow, one of my first posts- so funny to look back!).  My spices were prettily displayed on my countertop on a lazy susan and we were getting along very well.

Until I wanted to clear my counter space, and relocated the spice jars to the top drawer near our stove.  Problem was, I couldn't see what the spices were without picking them up.  Kind of a problem.  I saw Martha Stewart's new line of organizational items at Staples over the weekend and picked up some labels.  The small round labels I used for the spice jars fit perfectly, and although it's hard to tell in my photos, they have an aqua border on them.

It's so much better being able to open the door and know what I'm looking at.  And of course I alphabetized them. 

I didn't see how I could feed these labels through the printer, so my handwriting had to do.  I used my all-time-favorite-pen, a fine point sharpie.

The awesome thing about these jars is that the mouth is wide enough to fit a tablespoon into for easy measuring.