Thursday, January 28, 2016

Apartment Living: My $3 Headboard

When decorating this apartment, I am trying to make what I have on hand look wonderful.  

I want to blend the traditional furniture I have (some wonderful pieces that my parents were no longer using) with the fun of living in a new space. 

The moving van arrived and we sent a melange of furniture and housewares out to Seattle. 

The missing piece was a bed. The week we moved in, we had a mattress and box spring delivered from a local retailer. I had purchased a mustard and white Max Studio comforter set at Homegoods in Palm Beach Gardens and when Dan flew from Seattle to Palm Beach to meet me last winter, I had him bring two empty suitcases. When he arrived, he realized that he would be flying a huge pile of linens for our new apartment all the way from Florida. 

Don't you love the lilac Vera Wang euro shams? Found in Florida at T.J. Maxx. The same goes for the Celerie by Celerie Kemble yellow stripe blanket and the Ralph Lauren mustard polka dot sheets. This budget bedroom is beautiful.

The headboard is a $3 string of white lights on white wire. I imagined the shape of a traditional headboard, posts and all, and carefully pushed clear push pins into the wall to form the outline. I used very few pins and found that attaching the lights (the two wire strand can be gently separated and fit right over the push pin) as I pushed the pins in the wall made it easier to "see" the headboard come to life and stay true to the shape I wanted.  Isn't it darling?  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Buds in January: A Rosarian's Dream

In May 2015, I was only in Seattle for a few weeks, but did what I could to make our little apartment feel home-y. And when I say home-y, I also mean garden-y. I'll show you how our decorating is coming along in the next few days, but the big news here is that my rose has a bud! And is leafing out. IN JANUARY. I noticed our first bud on January 29. Things are looking up.

Last May, I bought a beautiful "Apricot Candy" hybrid tea rose for $14.99 at the grocery store giant, Fred Meyer's garden center. It had big peachy pink blooms and had buds all over it. We planted it into a plastic outdoor pot with drainage holes (about 4 sizes larger than the container it was planted it) and used bagged dirt that was specifically for roses. This is my rose in her glorly last summer.
It bloomed until October and has been on the deck out of the wind for the last 3 months, receiving only the water Mother Nature blew her way. Could Seattle roses (facing North) possibly start to leaf out and grow in January? I knew that we had an extended growing season, but this is incredible!

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Divine Dining in Issaquah: Montalcino

Halibut and shrimp and risotto, oh my! I ordered the special at Montalcino Ristorante Italiano and it exceeded my expectations for a quiet dinner out on a Tuesday night.

The halibut was light and gorgeous and topped with two enormous shrimp (one replacing a scallop because I'm allergic). The star attraction was nestled in a bed of creamy risotto and it was all blanketed in a just right lemon herb sauce. I ate every bite and was proud of it.

It was a long and lovely evening spent with new friends. As we raved over each bite (Kobe lasagna, Seafood pasta, Halibut), I think each person thought that their choice was the gem of the menu. While pricey, this restaurant serves gorgeous food in a cozy atmosphere and it is absolutely where I would take a special guest in order to woo them to Issaquah. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Piroshky Piroshky is Delicious Delicious

I finally made it to Piroshky Piroshky for a savory Russian pastry and found a future cigar box purse along the way.

You can't browse a Visit Seattle guide without being directed to Pike Place Market, an indoor marketplace with floral vendors, fresh fish, spices, pasta and independent artists selling their designs. 

The overall feel of Pike Place is pride - experts in their field promoting their offerings in a bustling atmosphere.  After you read about the fish throwing mayhem at Pike Place Fish, the guides generally branch out and include specialty restaurants nearby.

Piroshky Piroshky is a popular Russian bakery that actually has to have crowd management on weekends. A young staffer hands out menus and allows customers into the space in front of the glass case, just a few at a time. There are ropes out front just like Disney World, to mange the throngs of tourists hungry for an endorsed snack.
The bakery is tiny, but it does offer a a few stools and a long ledge to allow for on site eating. Dan and I were lucky to secure a spot, which is where I took the photo of my delicious ham, cheese and spinach piroshky (tender pastry, rich filling - the perfect cozy meal!) along with my newest cigar box. 

I found a cigar shop along one of the back alleyways across from the main Pike Place Market and I could not resist it's shape or color. Someday someone will have a fabulous handbag, compliments of this rainy morning of exploring Seattle. If you need a red cigar box purse now, I have two in stock. Please browse my Etsy shop for more information.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Pacific Galleries: Seattle Auction House and Antique Mall

What a fun way to spend a rainy Saturday! We drove to downtown Seattle and nosed around this enormous antique mall called Pacific Galleries. It's in SODO (south of downtown) and I first heard about it at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show last year. They have a intriguing area of booths called the Vintage Garden Market, which features antique and gently used household items that have been up-cycled into new treasures for sale. I must have talked to someone who suggested Pacific Galleries to me because I've been hanging on to their postcard for a year now.
At first, you'll see rows and rows of tiny treasures in glass cabinets. Then as you turn the corner, you'll see much larger spaces side-by-side, filled to the brim with each vendor's offering.
We really enjoyed shopping and reminiscing about different eras. You can see that I was tempted by this vintage nativity, but in the end I resisted. My mom and I look forward to a time when my Aunt visits us out west - I know that as an antique dealer, she'll love this grand space full of treasures.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Lake Washington in December Looks Perfect To Me

I am doing my very best to study maps of Seattle, make friends and throw myself into my new life. All with the caveat that I have to fly back to Michigan this Spring to settle some things. So I am now a permanent resident of east Seattle, sort of.

I wanted to include this post to show the spectacular view that I was able to enjoy when I attended my sorority Holiday Luncheon in December. The event was lovely and was hosted at a country club that is poised over Lake Washington. I had to pinch myself...a 47 degree day in early December?

Everyone talks about the rain in Seattle and believe me, we've had it. But when the sunny days look like this, I know I can cope. When you think of Seattle, keep days like this in mind. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Can you stand it? What if I told you that each primula plant was a mere $1.49? My mom (that is her selection above) and I chose 6 plants each and they have been a bright spot in our respective apartments since last week. 

I believe that the milder climate here in Seattle allows for this annual to be planted outside already! This time of year in Michigan, we would buy primulas and kept them in the kitchen for as long as they would bloom, so that is what we are doing here. Love it!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Pendleton: Gorgeous Prints Inspired by Native American Designs

Pendleton Woolen Mills - an American brand that excels in high quality wool blankets and throws "inspired by Native American designs and legends."

I have known Pendleton mostly from their iconic "Glacier National Park" blanket. Creamy white with a single yellow, red, black and green stripe on each end of the blanket. Click the link and read the story about the markings and how they reflected the value of the blanket back in the frontier trading post days - fascinating.

It was my mom that fell head over heels for the Pendleton beach towel collection printed in Native American patterns, similar to the ones shown above. Over the past year or so, we have scoured stores looking for patterns that she didn't have. It was the thrill of the hunt and it was really fun.

Imagine our surprise when she mentioned to someone that she collected Pendleton towels and they pointed her to the Pendleton Outlet, just 10 minutes from my apartment in Washington! We drove over the first chance we had and she was so very happy to be able to be able to see the entire collection on display. I was too busy holding up towels for her to appreciate from a distance (can you see me holding my arms up over my head to keep them off the floor?) to remember to take a photo of the towel display, but you can get a sense from my wool blanket image above. Each and every one is an art piece, that's for sure.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Seattle Art Museum: Intimate Impressionism

I visited the Seattle Art Museum for the first time last week to see the Intimate Impressionism exhibit on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  I am sharing this photo represent the collection because Oysters, 1862, Edouard Manet is featured on the home page of the art gallery. I have no intention of reproducing the collection without permission, so I'll show you this glimpse above to encourage you to seek out these glorious Impressionist artists on your own.

The limited engagement (October 1, 2015 - January 10, 2016) at the Seattle Art Museum posed a challenge for many art lovers. I know that I tried to make plans with a group of women to see the exhibit together, but the timing was difficult over the busy weeks leading up to the holidays. I made it downtown with Dan and my mom the last Friday night it was open and I am so glad we did.

The exhibit included 68 intimately scaled paintings displayed across many large rooms to accommodate the crowds. There were images that were familiar in style, like Claude Monet's ARGENTEUIL, CA. 1872, that had soft blue skies and white sailboats on a summer day. See some examples of Monet's Argenteuil paintings here

I didn't realize that the subject matter of this collection would be so broad. When I think of Impressionist, I always think of landscapes. However, this exhibit covered people, pets, food and Degas' ballerinas. I enjoyed the mix and was interested to see how many times I confused Monet, Manet and Pissaro.

I'm sorry to say that the exhibit has closed and that this beautiful collection is on its way back to our nation's capital. It should be on display again as soon as the renovations in the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art are complete.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Seattle: Shrimp and the Space Needle

After shopping the Urban Craft Uprising at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, we walked a few blocks over and had a delicious Mexican dinner at Cactus

I found that a generous portion of shrimp fajitas and a view of the Space Needle was all I needed to sustain me as I rehashed and reviewed everything I had seen at the craft show (poor Dan). What I loved, what I thought was unique, what vendors should do to improve their booths, you know, the normal Friday night dinner conversation. As a seasoned art show attendee and a potential craft show participant in Seattle, Dan knew that I needed to articulate what I saw. The show was terrific

It was a great evening. I love living in a city full of creatives vibrating at their own frequency. I also love a not-too-expensive dinner within view of our iconic Space Needle.