Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cinematic Inspiration

If you weren't doing what you are doing, what would you be doing instead? I'll answer first. I think I would be in show business. But not in front of the camera, instead behind it, fluffing the pillows, tracking down the perfect period sofa or scouring thrift stores for retro fixtures... I think dressing the sets of make-believe worlds would be so much fun. The ultimate doll house experience. So to that end, whenever I watch movies I tend to keep one eye on the set, and one eye on the acting. And I love it when I am pleasantly surprised and inspired all at once! That happened this week when Maw and I rented The Queen...

Have you seen The Queen ? Well if you haven't you should. Go out right now and rent it... Well, read this first, then go out and rent it, buy it, download it, whatever-it. The Queen is a great movie with lots of layers and fab acting. Also, it has great sets. Well, the sets of Balmoral are great. And the Blair's house is cool too because it looks so lived in, full of kids and stuff and people tripping over each other in little rooms, which is so much more real than the tidy Nancy Myers sets that we all love, but could never achieve, or at the least maintain....

But back to the castle... Here is a little bit of trivia for you (see this is where my geeky History Major side kicks in...) Balmoral Castle is not a state owned dwelling. Instead it is a private residence owned by the Queen herself. It has been passed down from Queen Victoria, who bought the land and built the castle as a refuge from all the pomp and stuff at Buckingham Palace. Which is funny, really, building a castle to get away from your palace. But I guess we would all have a little get-away home if we could and who is to say a castle in Scotland wouldn't be just the thing? But I digress.

The thing that makes the sets of Balmoral so interesting are that they are a lot more informal than those of the bigger palaces. It is much more English Country Charming than Over The Top Gilding. Because the house is a private residence there haven't been any public photo's taken since the 1980's. On the official web site there are renderings from the 1800's and then comparable photo's from the 1980's but that is it. No current photo's, no virtual tour. So the whole set for the movie was taken from what little info there is and probably some personal accounts, which I find fascinating. For instance, the wallpaper in this scene is taken from the pictures in the archives. Also, there is a mirror in the Dressing Room rendering from 1863 that they use in the actual movie. Wouldn't you love to have been the person to hunt that mirror down in prop warehouses or flea markets?

This is the stuff I love from movies. I love good sets, I love historical sets. I love to see how they use color and light and texture to convey the mood of the movie. How integral the set and the look is to the whole story, whether it flows with the narrative or against the narrative. Oh, to be a set designer, props mistress, art director or set decorator.... what fun!

OK, so now that you know what I would be doing, what would you be doing??

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Summertime, Summertime

Well, I can tell summertime is here. What gave it away? 3 things really; 1) The intense need to watch the Ya's Ya's (as previously discussed here) and 2) The primal need to sit on my grandmothers screened-in porch and 3) My giddy excitement and anticipation for The 4th of July.
Why I love this holiday so much I am not sure, but I do. To me it is all things summer and I love it, love it.

So this weekend, in between concerts and guest, and a sick boy, I slaved over the dining room table creating 4th of July goodies for the shoppes. So far I have gotten some party crowns done and a few bottle vases. In progress are the banners and some other goodies for what I am terming "The Camp Storia Collection, summer '07."

Today, Mom took some photo's of me modeling the party crowns for the online shoppe. And I have to say that all those Saturdays I have spent watching the America's Next Top marathons have finally paid off. Jay and Tyra are right - if you feel stupid doing it, then it probably looks good!
You can check out more party crowns and silly pictures of me here.

Monday, May 28, 2007

In Remembrance and Thanks

For Paw and Terry and Dad and GranPat, who all have served. For Adam who now serves, willingly and bravely.

For all those who went before and gave their lives. For all those who risk it now.

Thank you so very much.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday's Inspiration...Some Red Things

Some rainy day, when I have nothing better to do, I want to take some "inspiration" photo's, like this one. I want to do one for each of the holidays, each of the seasons,
one for little boys, one for little girls, and one for each color in the Storia HOME palate. I love that this pile has that little bit of pink paint and pink ribbon thrown in with the red. That is how I like my red, balanced by some pink. Keeps things interesting and fresh I think...

I love this room for the white couch, the red chest and all those books... My dream is to have a booked lined room. Preferably an dining room, because to me great books, great friends, great wine and great food should all happen in the same space.

I love this room because of the use of vertical space. The way the fans are suspended from the ceiling adding interest but still letting in light. I love fans, I have 2 hanging in our room right now. Nathan says I will hang anything from the ceiling if it stands still long enough.... Also, again in here, a red coffee table... and great red striped pillows. I love it!

These beauties I just had to throw in because I love them and I want them... I am afraid that our home is going to turn into an old one-room school house because everything I collect seems to go that direction...Old globes, old maps, chalk boards, colorful yardsticks.... Now all I need is a typewriter and a phone like the one that always seemed to be in the nurses office...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A love letter

Dear Sweet Man of Mine,

11 years ago this month we fell in love. 10 years ago today we got hitched.

Can you believe it?

I don't know if it feels longer or shorter. Sometimes I feel as if I just blinked, sometimes I can't remember life before...

What a funny pair we are. You gave me new potatoes and I gave you pesto. You gave me bluegrass and I gave you Paul Simon.

We have bought 2 houses and had 2 children. I wonder if those numbers will change again in 10 years?

We have fought.We have made up. We will do it all over again next week.

We have been to the movies and church and therapy and Alaska.
You bake bread, I spread glitter.

We are still friends with everyone in our wedding party. We talk to 90% of them weekly. That amazes me. Do you know what kind of gift that is to me, the girl with the semi-nomadic childhood? To be able to look back on a picture from our wedding 10 years ago and still know those people and see those people and love those people is a miraculous thing to me. And we have added so many more to that Pile of People That We Love, that if we were married today I would have to stand in the audience because the stage couldn't hold everyone that holds our hearts.

10 years we looked out from our hotel room and saw a band playing at Riverfest. And now you are playing Riverfest... 10 years later you are still cool babe, maybe cooler than ever.
I fell in love with and married a musician, and if that means the shutters don't get replaced this year, or the yard doesn't win any awards, that's OK... I'll be fine, as long as I always get to hear you play, and I love how much you love to play, it makes my heart so happy.
So here we go again, another year ahead complete with wishes and dreams and bills and housecleaning. And there is no way to know what surprises we are walking into next. What exactly the future holds...but I do know, just like I knew that day a decade ago, that whatever is ahead it will all be OK, as long as we were together. After all, so far so good...
Love always,
Ms. J

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I'm it

I have been tagged by Toni over at Rabbit Hill Creations to list 7 Weird Things About Me. Well, I am sure there are way more than 7 but I will give it a go...

7. I love to take pictures of feet - naked or with shoes. It doesn't matter, I am just always snapping shots of feet.
6. I have to check my email and drink my coffee before I do anything else. I actually stumble bleary eyed to the computer first thing in the morning, pushing my sweet children and husband aside as if they were simply part of the obstacle course I Must Fish Or I Will Die....As if I will have received a life changing email between the hours of 11PM and 7AM. It could happen, you never know... Also I leave half-full cups of coffee all over the house when I have finally had my fix.
5. I have always wanted to go to Iowa. My mom finds this particularly funny, but see, I don't really feel that I am beach girl - though I do love to visit, and I am not a mountain girl, or a dessert girl, or a big city girl. No what I like is the prairie. Fields of grain and all that. I want a big farm house in the middle of a field, with and old pick-up truck and overalls and aprons. I am sure you fellow prairie people out there get this don't you?

4. I do not really like the color purple. There I said it.

3. My current gift wish list is full of things that are used or old. For instance I want a plain old wood dollhouse, my old vintage bicycle repaired (complete with basket,) a set of the 1970's Fashion Plates, and any old linens with random monograms on them.

2. I like to straighten but I don't like to deep clean. And I really don't understand people who do. I try, I don't judge, but I really don't get it...

1. I always take the scenic route when I drive, if possible. I avoid risky left turns and construction at all cost. I would rather add an extra 5 minto my trip and not feel stressed, than try to fight crazy people and feel all harried.

So there ya have it, all sorts of odd things about me... Now I am tagging Jeanetta, Alison, Jemimah, Kim, Sarabeth, Whitney and Rosemary!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This is me squealing at the top of my lungs....

Guess who is moving to Arkansas? Moving only 30 min away from me?????? Finally, we can craft together, laugh together, and have our martini play-dates or afternoon coffee in person and not on the phone...It's a dream that has been 9 years in the making. I just can not believe it and I am still squealing...
BLOG NOTE: I wrote my previous post this morning before the coffee had hit my blood stream. Parts of it were a little hobbled and wobbled. Words cut off or left out, thoughts not fully expressed in print as they were in my brain. A little like a bad connection on a cell phone. Sometimes I go back and fix these things, but this time I thought I would leave it up for fun. Like a party game. Lol. Stay tuned, tomorrow I will reveal 7 Weird Things About Me.
Oh, yeah and a HUGE thanks to everyone for the hair love - I really appreciate more than you know!!! I think I might live after all....

Happy Stuff

I am slowly working on getting things back to a manageable chaos around here. I managed to get a few vintage items listed at Storia HOME, but new banners and summer items will arrive next week hopefully... Think "Camp Storia" for the summer... I promise it will be fun!

It seems like all the vacation bags exploded and our life went into hyper speed immediately. Nathan again has 2 rehearsals and 2 gigs this week, plus, like ya know, his regular job. I have a busy work schedule and then there is the house. Oh, the house. I did manage to get the dining room table cleaned off , if only for a day. I wish I could snap my fingers and *bam* & it would be clean. That would be so lovely huh? But again it is what will suffer this week. Again. I have high hopes of tackling it Friday so say a little prayer.

But back to why I am so happy.... 2 things really- I have discovered a great new blog by Dottie Angel that just me so happy to read. I love her humor and her voice and her creations are so lovely - like this altered skirt. You must check her out! I discovered her over at Creative Blogs which is a great place to find new blogs.

And secondly my sis just informed me that Sarah Jessica Parker is coming out with a line of clothing called Bitten which is going to be an affordable line of wears carried by Steve & Barry's (which we have close by!!!) and will be in sizes 2-22! That may be the most exciting part for me being that I don't have that hollywood bod. It to arrive in June, just around the corner...
So there you have it, so happy things for this Tuesday. Hope you are enjoy them too! I am off to yoga...

Monday, May 21, 2007


I think my head is going to explode. I have so much in there, whirling& swirling around... Ideas for Storia HOME, for the blog, ideas for clients, ideas for a great 4th of July party.... And I am just so happy to have ideas again!
Before we left for our trip I was sick and tired and beyond stressed out, having had the craziest week yet during a big install. I was convinced that I would never be truly inspired or motivated again, but luckily vacation was really good for me, mostly I think because we did so much nothingness... So much just sitting on the beach or in the pool, just staring at my toes....
I didn't take my laptop, and even though my sister-in-law had hers there, the wireless connection wasn't great, and when it was working there was a line formed out her bedroom door to use it, so no serious bloggin or browsin or shoppin for me on there. Which was good. I needed to "unplug" for sure.
Also, we didn't "go" a whole lot. Our days mostly consisted of walking out the front door to the pool or to the beach, drinking a lot of water or tasty beverages and eating Nathan's yummy cookin. I did make one brief, yet successful trip to Ross to by some new clothes, and one trip to Walmart for groceries and a cover-up, but that was it. No marathon shopping. No antiquing. No eating out every night. Also, here is the really great part: 10 hrs of uninterrupted sleep a night. Apparently little boys who swim every day sleep really, really well at night... That was a great surprise that I think helped me relax and restore as much as anything.
Last night was our last official night of vaca even though we were home. We went downtown to the Amphitheatre to see a short film that Wylie, Jemimah and I were extras in last spring (my uncle Tim was the director, and Wylie was more than happy to help....)
The weather was great, we sat on a blanket and enjoyed just being together, horsing around, waiting for the show to start. This was the first time we were able to see the film and for about 8 seconds you could see all of us singing in the church scene. It was a great way to ease back into our daily life, back to work and school and housekeeping. Back to doing the things we love, and being with the people we missed, and starting fresh & ready to go again.
PS- Can you believe the freckles? They are my favorite vacation souvenir.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Back from the Beach

We are back from the beach! We had a great little trip to the beach this past week and it was a ton of fun. Watching the boys play in the sand and the surf was the greatest thing ever, plus, I the Pale Freckled One even managed to get a little color, so that was great too. Most of our pictures got dumped onto my sister-in-laws computer but here are a few from our last evening...

This is Nathan and his family in their classic poses. This is a semi-candid photo, and I swear this is exactly how they all stand naturally when not posing for pictures... It pretty much says it all.
Me and my sweet man. This is the only day I fixed my hair even a little. Before we left for Destin, I got a hair cut and it is a lot shorter than I intended it to be, and to be honest, the day this hair tragedy happened, was not a good day. Lot's of heaving sobs going were heard far and wide. Over hair. I know. It will grow back. But it was just one more thing that went wrong that day and I just didn't need it... sigh...
But since then I have moved on and recovered and on this day, the day of the picture, I think I may have finally figured out how to style it. So we will shall see... It's just hair right?

The boys, attempting a jumping picture. Miles couldn't quite grasp the concept. But he gave it a good shot. Wylie's only sunburn of the week happened this day, and it makes him look like he has a black eye.

Now it is time to go home... Bye, bye beach! You were a lot of fun! See ya next year!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happy Boy!

Guess what sweet Internet???? My sweeties band The Frup won the battle of the bands contest you all so wonderfully voted in!!! This is one of those great times when the best band did finish first and it is so wonderful!!
We got the news on the way out of town and are still reeling from it. Nathan keeps getting calls from local press and the Riverest people to get things scheduled... It's pretty darn exciting if I do say so myself.

So thank you, thank you all of you who voted and said a little prayer. The guys (and the wives) all thank you!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

An Assortment For All Queen Momma's

The blue hydrangeas are from a bush Nathan planted in the back yard a few years ago for Mother's Day. My favorite flower that always blooms just in time to remind me that I am loved.

The coffee cup is from my mother. She bought me a complete 6 piece place setting of this pattern when I was a baby, and packed it away until I had a home of my own. What wonderful imagination she has to think to do something like that! (Also, out of all the "blue dishes" I picked the coffee cup, because I need A LOT OF COFFEE to keep all the balls in the air.)

The nest is what best represents motherhood for me... All the building and fluffing and using what we have to make what we can, adjusting as needed.

The books are 2 that have encouraged me along the way, by women who were/are mothers, wives, writers, friends, who often took the long way around, finding their own path through life ... ( they are The Shaping of a Life and Gift from the Sea)

The Mother Mary candles and figure are part of my growing collection of iconic Mary items. I didn't grow up in a liturgical tradition so they do not hold a particulary religious meaning for me, but instead I love their rich colors, and the feeling of history they carry; how she remains a contast figure passed down from generation to generation, culture to culture.

So to all the gals out there fluffing your nest, figuring out your own path, creating your history and traditions and drinking all that coffee to just stay going, I wish you a happy happy day, and most of all I hope you find yourself "loved upon this earth."



PS-Jemimah pays the perfect tribute to our Queen Momma here and I couldn't have said it better! Happy Momma's Day Mom! I love you!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Lake and Earning a Living

WARNING: This is a long post. Couldn't seem to help it... (and I might repeat some info or pictures I have shown before....)
Every now and then I get a comment or email that I find encouraging and cool. Lately I have been getting more and more, which is the best balm to a sometimes anxious heart. The other day Jen from The Cottage Nest said the following ..."I'd like to see more of that room you designed. Do you have formal design training?..." I thought I would take this chance to respond...

To the first comment: I am posting pics from the Lake Condo I designed last year, including the room the black bed from Black Saturday is in. This condo is used as a vacation home by a couple of families who own a business together, and as part of my payment we have been very lucky to be able to use the condo ourselves a few times this past year.
To the second comment/question: I have no formal design training. Nada. Zilch. Between the ages of 10 - 16 I wanted to be a fashion designer. Then I discovered that I hated math and sewing. 2 things that come in handy when making clothes...

So I guess for lack of a better idea, at that point and decided I needed to just get married and have babies. I did manage go to college (much to my mothers relief!) and came out with a B.A. in History, a minor Psych, and my sweetie Nathan. I toyed with the idea of grad school to study Southern Women's History... But I bought a car instead.

My evolution into an Interior Designer began about 5 1/2 years ago when our friends started asking for my help picking out paint for their new homes.
I have had lots of bumps and stops and starts along the way. Having small children and starting a business don't always mix well. 2 years ago I was very fortunate to basically apprentice with another local designer for a year. I had a new baby during that time, and the lessons I learned on the job with her really took me to a new level of understanding the business and how it works in our area... Plus I didn't have to be in charge. Which was great considering how little sleep I was getting at home...
Being a "designer" can mean so many different things - I have done everything from little "how-to" bits on local tv, wedding planning/coordination, party planning, being the proprietor of small booths in flea markets and antique shops & my online shop on etsy, running my biz web site, to all the other stuff that you think of when you think Interior Design; furniture layouts, general decorating, shopping, handling remodels, designing bedding and curtains, staging for showrooms etc. It all seems so grand when I write it out, but I really don't feel that way about it. I just feel like a very lucky girl.
PS- Here are some links to some great and encouraging sites here and here about being a Designer and having a Shop. I find both of them full of good stuff!!

- All the good photo's my sister Jemimah
took. All the lousy ones I took with my Old Now Dead Camera.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Life's a Beach

Well, things are getting better. I have been to the doctor and have prescriptions. The big job is almost complete - missing furniture has been found, I have a back-up-handy man coming tomorrow (thank you Sweetie!) and everyone is seemingly in better spirits despite the rocky middle of this past week. We all thank you all for your prayers and good ju ju sent this way...Things were looking grim but today we turned the corner. Knock on wood.

Now I have to focus on other things. Like getting ready for vacation next week. No small feat, I promise. It never ceases to amaze me how much work goes into "relaxing." It's crazy!
We are going to Vicksburg, Miss. for one day so Wylie can do his history/war thing, and then it is on to Destin. If anyone knows of any good antiquing/flea marketing or great local restaurants at either stop let me know - I would love to know what is good off -the- beaten -tourist- path...

We are staying at a house which will be lovely, but not as lovely as if Beach Dwelling had decorating it - which is where all these photo's are from. I just love their idea of beach life. So open and soothing. I am going to have to keep myself from redecorating the rental house in my mind while we are there...See how hard it already is to relax and not work, and I am not even there yet!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


We are pitiful around here. Nathan and I are both sick as dogs with some sort of congestion mess. I am in the middle of a big install and my assistant Whitney has had a death in the family, one of the clients dogs died, the furniture people messed up an order, my handyman can only work one day instead of 2 and oh yeah, I am soooo sick and not much use. What is happening??? Anyway, please pray for Whitney's family, my health and some sort of design miracle over this job that has gone every way but right so far.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Shameless Begging

Nathan has instructed me to "harness the power of my blog" for a contest his band The Frup is in. I don't know exactly how powerful my blog is, but if you have time to go here and vote for The Frup we would kiss you if we could (so you are probably glad we are separated by cyberspace, aren't you?)

Also, you can watch a video from the show here at YouTube...

So Please VOTE, baby needs a new pair of shoes. And yes, by "baby", I mean me!
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