Sunday, October 21, 2012

I have transferred my blog to:

Thanks, I hope you'll join me there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Does this ever happen to you? You're engrossed in a good book and read a particularly inspiring passage and wish you could lift it from the page and take it with you? It kept happening to me until I finally got around to keeping a notebook on the side table where I read. The result is I get to share some of my favourite gems with you now:

"Whoever chose the paint, I decided, wanted to ensure that anyone who wasn't sick when they entered the hospital jolly well would be when they left."
~Flavia de Luce, as per Alan Bradley

Flavia is Bradley's marvellously funny 11 year old heroine is his mystery series. I just love her!

"He began by stating that he could find no words to express his shock and abhorrence, and then proceeded to find a great number, few of them appropriate and none of them helpful."
~from P.D. Jame's "Death Comes to Pemberley"

If one could say "oh snap!" to a 19th century reproach, here's where you'd do it. Fantastic, and haven't we all thought this at one time or another?

One more, because I can't resist:

"A fat, balding man stepped out of the car as we approached. His top teeth jutted out at an angle, peeping out from under his lip as though looking to see if the coast was clear, so they might escape."
~Bryce Courtenay, "The Power of One"

Just a fabulous visual description

I'll keep reading and scribbling and hope you do to. Reading is such a magical world.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I just re-discovered this blog, originally created to provide my genius observations on home design (ha). I am raising it from the ashes, and keeping the name, because I figure any writing design to comment on what others have created, from art to literature, books, music or what people do in everyday life, can be part of the "dance".

I am taking a classical literature course at the Continuing Studies School of my city's largest university. I absolutely love it! Most of us (there are about 8) are "women of a certain age", some perhaps a bit lonely or bored, but all with the fire to learn still burning brightly. We are reading and discussing everything from Dante's Inferno to Homer, St. Augustine and more. Like novels and even movies, the energy and perspective we bring to works can really change how we look at them. Did you read any of these classics in school? I read some, but why did they go "in and out one ear"? Or did I just not have the life experience, empathy and dare I say wisdom, to give them their due? It's great to have even a bit of that to bring now. Such an enjoyable class.

In everyday reading, I am "cheating" on my book club list and taking the recommendation of my good friend (and voracious reader) Nancy. I'm reading "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" by Maria Semple. If you like Jonathan Franzen, you will love this book! Semple provides a wonderfully irreverent side-eye at modern living, with razor sharp wit and funny and poignant observations. I highly recommend this book.

In upcoming posts, I'm going to start sharing some great little quotes from books I have recently read. I (try to) keep a notebook next to me and sometimes jot down memorable thoughts and quotes. Look for that soon.  Until then, hope you enjoy my renewed blog!
Well I just re-discovered my old blog and decided that writing about art, or literature, or good books, or even just human behaviour while I'm at Starbucks, could fall into the category of "dancing about architecture" so I'll keep the title. Anytime we are creating something by observing what others have created, we are doing the dance.

I am, at 50+, taking a classicial literature course at my city's most prominent university. I absolutely love it. We are reading and discussing the "great books" including Bible selections, Homer's Odyssey, The Consolation of Philosphy, Dante's Inferno etc etc. Did you read these in school? I read some, but, like a novel or even a movie, we bring different energy to what we take in at different stages of our lives. I love the perspective of life that my class brings to these works. There are 8 of us, mostly women "of a certain age" like me, some maybe a bit lonely or bored, but still anxious to learn.

On the everyday reading front, I am currently "cheating" on my book club list and instead inhaling a fantastic, funny read called "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" by Maria Semple. If you've read and like Jonathan Franzen, you'll love Semple. Funny, irreverant, poignant, she provides a side-eye at modern life with tongue firmly in cheek.  I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Here's a great list for improvements you can make to your home today, for little money:

#5 - Less is more. Go into each room of your house and see if there is a clutter corner, an unused piece that is just taking up room. Get rid of it. There are lots of pick up services for unwanted items - recycle. As for clutter, take it one room at a time.

#4 - Cool it down. Take a look at your wall colours. Most people make the mistake of using warm/flesh tones, which instantly date your home. Sometimes a paint chip doesn't reveal the pink tone. Use a tester pot or giant chip and look at it in all types of light. Cool tones, like taupe and muddy greys, make your rooms look modern and expensive.

#3 - The fifth wall. Look at your ceilings. Most people ignore this "fifth wall" but a tired, yellowing popcorn ceiling makes even the loveliest furnishing look shabby (and not chic!). You can clean and/or paint most ceiling surfaces. Look up!

#2 - Staircases. Your staircases are the transitions between the levels of your home. Also, in most suburban homes, they are the first things guests see when they enter your home. There are lots of low costs ways to spruce them up. Firstly, you can paint the rails and risers - white usually looks clean and lovely. Secondly, a good cleaning and polishing can bring woodwork back to glory. If they are carpetted, you can consider removing and exposing the wood, or replacing with a stair runner.

#1 - Start outside. Your front porch makes a statement about your home before anyone has even seen it. What does your say? Check the paint colour of your door (see #4 for colour tips), add some container topiaries and make sure the space is spotless.

Now don't think you have to tackle these all at once. Try one or two and you'll realize that improving your home's appearance has more to do with good decisions and a little elbow grease than with spending tons of money. Good luck and have fun!
It has been said that writing about design is like dancing about architecture. In other words, it's limiting and maybe even pointless to try to articulate one creative expression with another. I understand where they're coming from, but I respectfully disagree. Design isn't just about commenting on an antiquity, or profiling the latest mid-century exhibit in New York. Design is also about how we live every day.

Most of us live in ordinary homes, on ordinary streets. We don't have limitless resources to turn our homes into museum quality showcases. I believe that this is where good design really shines. It's about making good decision regarding colour, balance and scale. It can cost nothing (like re-arranging furnishings or, my personal favourite, subtraction decorating) or next to nothing (like new paint colour or a few well placed accessories).

So, let's begin the dance. Let's guide each other through the maze. Some people have trouble getting started. Others get stuck half way. I can provide simple tips, some great "top ten" type lists and other aids that will get you loving your space in record time.