Sunday, June 26, 2011

Coburg 'Flohmarkt': yes!

Despite the horrible weather--unrelenting rain and fall-like temperatures--the Coburg 'Flohmarkt', or flea market, went on this weekend all covered in plastic tents and glowing with tea lights.  The flea market always starts on Saturday night and goes until early morning Sunday.  Then, come 8 am or so on Sunday morning it opens up again.  It's a fantastically festive spin on the traditional flea market, as late Saturday night is also like a big party. 

Our cool new table from the top.
It wasn't as good this year as I remember it being before, probably due to all the rain, but I did find some awesome stuff.  I could only make one purchase (I am still a broke teacher, after all) but the one purchase I did make was SO worth it.  Peter and I bought a beautiful old, solid wood card table that once made it's home in a local brewery.  It's banged up on the top and needs a little sanding and a fresh staining, but overall it is beautiful.  It fits PERFECTLY in the kitchen where we needed a table. 
The underside of our cool new table. Can you see the round little shelf on the bottom and the cool trim on the sides?

We had been looking for one for a while and this piece fits well in the space, in our home and our lives.  We already had breakfast at it this morning and plan to make many more memories there.  There are great details on the legs of the table and a little round, divided shelf on the underside that may have been used by the card players as some sort of secret storage area.  Maybe some of you know?

I love this table. And the best part?  It was only 40 Euros.  We are still using chairs from other parts of our house at it and really need to get a pair for the table.  I am thinking either two mismatching painted vintage chairs (think Monica's table in Friends) or two somewhat sleek, modern chairs to offset the rustic-ness of the table.  I am leaning towards the latter but check it out and tell me what you think. 

Reupholster Friday

Hello all.  After a lot of time away and a fantastic and relaxing vacation (stay tuned for more on that later in the week) I have a few posts for you.  I returned from the land of sea and sun (and an amazing additional two days in Berlin) to a house that looked cluttered, unorganized and energy-zapping.  So, I set out to tackle a massive to-do list and get everything in order.  I started by cleaning out our closet and removing all the old junk we had accumulated.  I threw away bags and bags of old stuff we don't need anymore and am getting bags of old clothes together to donate to the church here in Coburg.  Then I moved on to our pantry, which housed more expired products than it did edible ones.  Next I cleaned out the bathroom cupboard and then my desk.  Everything is spottless now and it feels excellent. 

Disassembled piano bench.
On Friday evening, it was raining and nasty out and Peter was working so I spent a lot of time doing all this and used a little extra time to reupholster the piano bench we inherited from Peter's dad.  I had promised to reupholster it when we moved into the house, um, a year and 3 months ago. But, heck, better late than never, huh? 

A little light in all the gray...stopped work to check out this amazing rainbow.
It was so pretty. This picture doesn't do it justice.
I unscrewed the seat from the legs and the frame and simply used a staple gun to cover it with a cute gray and white stripe I had laying around.  Then I re-screwed the seat onto the base and ta-da...a much cuter bench.  It is so cute, in fact, that when Peter got home and saw it, he asked if I didn't want to move it somewhere more noticeable.  Perhaps I will at one point, but for now it's doing its loyal part jazzing up the dining room wall. 

Finished piano bench.

The complete look.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Das Fensterbrett

If you live in America chances are you don't really have one or use one.  If you live in Europe chances are every single one in your house is as large as a shelf and contains a line of plants, or lamps, or picture frames.  I am talking about the windowsill or "Fensterbrett" (which literally translates to "window board").  These are forgotten and sometimes non-existent spaces in American homes, but seem to be extremely well utilized and important spaces in European homes.  The most common way to use a Fensterbrett is to cover it with plants that need a lot of sunshine.  This works beautifully with herbs in the kitchen. 

Have a look at Hilda Grahnat's super cute windowsill in Sweden.  She has such a cute fun sense of style and I love her cozy whimsical kitchen.  She has really done a great job utilizing the windowsill.  Here is a picture of her windowsillAnd here is a picture of her windowsill for Christmas.  The candles are for Advent and a great and cozy European tradition.

I have recently also begun to utilize my windowsills more.  I don't have as many as some other homes because my kitchen and my work room both only have skylight-style windows.  But, I have tried.  I want to get more plants for my windowsills.  But, the boyfriend just doesn't let me because we inevitably have the plant for one week and I kill it.  Kind of a waste of money.  He does have a herb growing project going, however, so perhaps one day soon we will have a windowsill full of oregano and rosemary!   

My windowsill in dining room.  Not a nice picture.

Making the most out of my HUGE windowsill in the bedroom.

Another view.  Loved these purple flowers I have had the last week.  I think they are peonies. 
Finally, here are some links to my favorite blog decor8.  I think that she has done an amazing job with some of her windowsills and as an American living in Germany she has really picked up on the German/European tradition of using these forgotten spaces to the maximum. 

Here she uses flowers and terrariums on a 3-season porch. 

Here, in the top picture, she has books on her Fensterbrett. 

Here, she has the traditional German Fensterbrett with plants!

The windowsill is a wonderful place to fill with things you love or plants that need a lot of light.  Plus, it really warms up a room to have some plants in front of a window and could provide privacy if the plants were large enough.  And it is the small spaces of a home, the usually forgotten spaces, which give a home style and character and which make a home cozy.  Don't forget to style your Fensterbrett. 

Sweet succulents

from With a Heart Full of Daisies
I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but haven't gotten around to it due to my new schedule.  The good news is that I am going on vacation next Italy!  7 days and 7 nights on the island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean.  Now, despite the fact that I have lived in Europe now for a year and a half and had traveled extensively through it before I moved, I have never actually BEEN to the Mediterranean.  I have been to the Atlantic coast and the Adriatic (in Venice).  I have flown over the Mediterranean from Madrid to Rome.  I have taken the ferry across the English Channel and boated through the canals of Amsterdam.  But I have never been to or swum in the Mediterranean.  I am stoked.  Plus, I get 7 romantic days of time with my man and 5 days of free breakfasts and dinners (again...IN ITALY).  I can't wait!  I hope to come back with a lot of design ideas, colorful photos and fun things to share with you!

From House Beautiful

In the meantime, I thought I would give you some reading material to keep you busy.   I started a post about succulents a few weeks ago, but never finished it.  So here it is.  Now, I used to HATE succulents.  Well, hate is a strong word (as my mother always used to tell me) so let's say I "strongly disliked" succulents (the way I "strongly disliked" that biatch Jenny in the second grade).  My home is a place for comfort and coziness and somehow plants with little spikes on them didn't seem to fit in.  Plus, I was never really into that desert-y parched look. 

From Comfort and Joy, my last initial.

From DesignSponge
But, that recently changed.  Lately, I have been seeing succulents EVERYWHERE, especially in terrariums.  And, I LOVE them!  I especially love the really little ones, which are far more cute and sweet than they are scary.  Succulents have a cute, casual and kind of whimsical personality that I think looks really funky and fun at home.  It's my next project (I keep saying that, don't I?) to make a terrarium with succulents.  I also think they are perfect for me because I cannot keep a plant alive.  I have killed everyone I have ever had...hum, good luck if I ever have kids, right?

From Comfort and Joy

Succulents also make great centerpieces or place card holders when entertaining (or at a wedding).  
From The Inspired Bride
From Martha Stewart Weddings     

In addition to my newly acquired obsession with succulents is my newly acquired obsession with terrariums (especially terrariums filled with succulents, lol).  They are everywhere lately and a big design trend.  Plus, they are really pretty and, in my opinion, bring a little sunshine inside.  I love the whimsy of this pear shaped one from VivaTerra.  It's REALLY expensive and I know impossible but I have been looking for one like it for a while.  SO CUTE. 
From VivaTerra
My favorite blogger Holly from Decor8 has a really cute one that she found for 10 EURO at a cheap home store in Germany, which I haven't heard of and must be something they only have up north. 
From Decor8

I want to make a terrarium, too.  It requires a little work and a little money but not a ton.  The most expensive thing is that you have to buy the plants and also you have to buy some planting supplies.  Here is a link to an excellent do-it-yourself terrarium project.  It comes from MStetson and I think she used it as a wedding gift. 

From MStetson

Terrariums and succulents are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to bring a little life into your home.  Additionally, they are right on trend and are a good way to update a space.  They have a casual cool California feel, whereas other types of plants can be too formal or stuffy.  Every room needs a little playfulness.  So relax for summer and have fun with succulents!  And enjoy your Sunday.