Furniture Friday // The Saarinen Tulip Table

I feel a series coming on! Let's start a new series about one of my favorite things-furniture. Not just any furniture, but classic, beautifully designed mid century furniture. There are a few key pieces that really give me chills, so I've decided to share a few with you in a new series I'll call Furniture Friday. 

First up-it's a good one! The Saarinen Tulip Table. Lord have mercy. 

Does furniture have this effect on you, too?

Image by Dylan Chandler, Via Apartment Therapy
This beautiful table is part of a collection designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen and produced by Knoll. According to Knoll,
Eero Saarinen vowed to address the “ugly, confusing, unrestful world” he observed underneath chairs and tables -- the so-called "slum of legs." A five-year design investigation led him to the revolutionary Pedestal Collection, introduced in 1958.
Photo Via The Decoist
This table's sleek, flowing lines make it a great statement piece, while at the same time, its unobtrusive shape allows it to work in many different styles of homes. I've seen it paired with Eames and Bertoia chairs or with a set of teak dining chairs, but I was surprised to see how well it works with more traditional styles of chairs and even cushy benches. The tulip table would be great in a cozy little breakfast nook or in a fabulous dining room.

Photo Via Coco+Kelley on Flickr
Image Via The Decoratrix
If I could handle the price tag, I would go all out with a oval-shaped marble top. With all different colors of Eames chairs around it...yes! The chair possibilities are endless, especially without those pesky legs getting in the way of your style.

Image Via The Decoist
Mid century furniture is hot right now. Ugh. I hate that. It makes it hard to find and pricey, plus you end up seeing these things everywhere you look. At least I do, probably because I do a lot of looking. But this table is very versatile, simple, and fresh, so it fits into a variety of interiors. I enjoy seeing it included in many different styles of homes, and its versatility keeps it from getting old.

Photo Via Street Scene

Photo Via Schoolhouse Electric
Unfortunately, like nearly all my dream furniture finds, this table's price tag is way out of my reach. Unless I have another amazing thrifty find like my freak Wassily incident, I will probably never own an actual Saarinen Tulip table. It's alright, though, because I'm a big fan of furniture knock-offs. If it weren't for knock-offs, great design would only be for rich people, but thanks to places like IKEA, us regular people can live stylishly, too.

Hey, look! It's the IKEA Docksta table! This table is very reasonably priced at $199, and looks close enough for me. I could see myself having this table for years and years and just switching out the chairs when I need a change.

For more tulip table information and eye candy, I recommend taking a look here and here.

So what do you think? Have you ever had a tulip table in your home, or would you consider one? What chairs would you put with it? What is your opinion on furniture knock-offs?

What I've Been Reading

It's sad to admit this, but I was never much of a reader when I was younger. As a fourth grade teacher, I spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince kids to love and enjoy reading, but I don't remember loving reading very much when I was their age. There were a couple of books I loved in elementary school, like The Man Who Loved Clowns and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, but those were books my classes read together.

When I was in the seventh grade, I had to take a class that was just a reading class. We read books, earned points by taking tests over them on the computer, and tried to reach a point goal. At some point in the class, I tried to read Johnny Tremain. I'm not sure if I wanted a challenge, or if I thought I could handle it, or if it was just worth a lot of points, but I ended up hating that book. I didn't understand what was going on and I was clueless when I took the test. After that, I calculated that I could just read easy Goosebumps books, and if I read three times as many books, I could reach my point goal without having to read hard books. Later, I read Gone With The Wind after I saw the movie, and I read Catcher in the Rye in another class, but I don't remember reading any other books on my own. If I did, they didn't have much of an impact on me.

As an adult, I've picked up books here and there that I've heard about and wanted to read, and I went through a phase where I just picked up classic titles at thrift stores so I could decorate my home with them. I've never been a very avid reader, though, and that has bothered me. Stephen King said, "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." If I want to be a blogger, I need to be reading and writing regularly.

#43 on my 101 in 1001 list is to read 20 new books. So far, I've read 10 out of 20. I started very slowly, but lately, I've realized how much I enjoy reading, and most importantly, I've given myself permission to read whatever I want. It doesn't have to be a classic, nor does it have to be on Oprah's book club list. For the first time I can remember, I am actually enjoying reading. Here's what I've been reading lately:

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Love, love, loved this book. I love reading about eccentric, socially awkward people. This book is written as a series of email, letters, and interviews that fit together perfectly as the story unfolds. I LOLed, but mostly I just loved Bernadette.

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster
Jen Lancaster is the kind of woman you want for your best friend. She has a hilarious, self-depreciating voice that really puts things into perspective. She spends the whole book spiraling deeper into poverty, and yet this book will crack you up. 

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Everyone I know read this book last summer. I guess I don't read books until I come across them at a garage sale or a used bookstore. It was amazing, as you probably already know.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This book was okay. The photographs were interesting, and the story was engaging, but I don't really enjoy magical fantasy books. Every fantasy story has its own set of rules and magical stuff, and after a while, this book started to get really confusing. If you enjoy that kind of story, you may really like this one. This wasn't my favorite. It was just okay.

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
This one may be my favorite. This book is another young adult realistic fiction about a boy living on an Indian reservation. It describes the poverty and hopelessness many experience on the reservation and how this kid tries to pull himself out of poverty by enrolling in a school outside of the reservation. He's rejected by the white kids at his new school, and he's rejected by his own people for trying to act white. I've always thought that generational poverty is a very interesting subject. Be warned, though. This book is quite sad.

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Unaccustomed Earth is a series of short fictional stories about Indian families who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970's. The stories describe the struggles of the kids as they grow up torn between their family's customs and their desire to live like most Americans. The culture was fascinating. The plots were meh.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Good grief. This book will suck you in and make you question everything. There was seriously a moment while I was reading this where I said out loud, "No way!" Serious plot twists in this one. I highly recommend this book.

Next on my list is a giant stack of young adult novels from my classroom library. I've got to get ready for next school year, plus they are just fun to read.

So what are you reading this summer? Please recommend some more great books for me, so that I can be on the lookout for them when I hit the used bookstores!

Just Say NO to Embarrassment

Have I told you about our scooter? Yes, Harpo (named for the pitch of the horn) joined our family not long ago, and it's a blast! Rand takes it to and from work, and we've been taking it all over town lately.

Now, let me tell you a little story. A couple weeks ago, Rand had to take the car out of town and so, for the first time, it was just me and Harpo with errands to run.

On Saturday, I finally started feeling confident on it, even brave enough to take it on busier streets. Of course I got a few extra glances, but it was fine. I scooted over to check on my flea market booth, then to stock up on yarn, then to the bank. All day, I felt just like this:

That was Saturday.

Sunday, I awoke to the sounds of birds chirping and a gentle breeze blowing throughout the open windows. It was a beautiful day to spend with Harpo. I took off down the driveway, looked both ways, and stepped on the gas as I turned to head south.

I must have turned too sharply, because I tipped the entire scooter over on its side. Right in the street. Right in front of my house, for all my neighbors to see.

My hands went straight into the street, but the scooter fell on my legs. I had to lift it off of myself and get it upright again, which was not a smooth, graceful move. Then I couldn't get it started again. I had to just walk the scooter over to my sidewalk, where I was too flustered for a few minutes to just realize the key needed to be turned. When I finally got the thing to start, I quickly took off down the road to escape anyone who had seen me fall. It was only a few blocks later, sitting at an intersection, that a guy pointed and yelled "Ha ha!"

So on Sunday, I was more aware that I looked like this:
Yes, that is a bicycle helmet.

An embarrassing fall and then being mocked in public? I had plenty of time just to drive around and think about it. At first, I wanted to go hide somewhere.

Finally, though,  I decided to just not care.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I've spent way too much time worrying about what other people think of me. I want to be free to wear what I want, look how I want, and do what I want, but obviously anyone who steps outside their comfort zone accepts the possibility of making a mistake, being mocked by others, or just getting stared at. By the time I got home, I was feeling fine, despite my rough start that day.

So here's my point. Seriously, try going about your business not caring what others think of you. Just pretend they're not there. Do what you want, be a nice person, and don't worry about it. That sounds so obvious, yet it has taken me a very long time to figure that out.

The moment I start to notice that self-conscious feeling creeping in, I remind myself that I don't care.  And suddenly I'm fine again.

Now that I don't care, I'm free to do all kinds of fun stuff.

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." -Joseph Chilton Pearce

Headed to NYC

Photo by Piotr Kwiatkowski via Unsplash
At the age of 29, I am taking my very first trip by myself. I'm visiting my favorite city for a few days. Be back soon!

Watched This Week

Lately I've been taking it easy, just weaving and watching movies on Netflix. I'm nowhere close to getting bored with this lifestyle. 

+ The Giant Mechanical Man made me laugh while sort of keeping me on the verge of tears the whole time. It was also just a beautiful film, with great shades of blue in every shot.

+ Girl Most Likely was hysterical. Kristen Wiig is always awesome.  

+ Safety Not Guaranteed was strange and really fun to watch. I plan to make Rand watch it and he's going to love it.

+ My ten-year-old nephew and I watched Puss in Boots, and I was LOLing way more than he was. This one was actually DVR'ed. Sorry.

+ Our Idiot Brother had its funny moments, but I was glad when it was over. Not impressed.

+ I still don't understand what's so great about Annie Hall, but this film did include two things I love: Paul Simon and some killer 70's fiber art.

Have you watched anything great on Netflix streaming lately? Please share! 

Our Sofa Search is Over! (Again!)

Sofa Search 2013/14 is officially over. For the second time. I can't remember if I ever told you what happened with our leather Mad Men sofa. Remember that guy? He was so, so, so good-looking. But he was not comfortable on our rears, which is huge for two coffee-table diners like us. We sold the leather sofa for a little more than we paid for it, so that was nice, but we were still left without a mid-century style sofa for the living room.

It wasn't blog-worthy, but we went back to using the ugly but comfortable leather sofa we got ten years ago. We even started talking about buying a new sofa, since we really wanted something bigger. Maybe a sectional? The thrifting fairies must have heard us talking.

My friend Aimee is a true friend. She always passes along tips for great sales. I'm not sure I'm a big enough person to do that for anyone. It was a Friday afternoon when she emailed me pictures of an estate sale on Craigslist. The sale featured lots of vintage treasures, so Rand and I hustled over on Saturday morning. $200 later (Well, more than $200...we'll save the rest for a Thrifty Finds post) we had a new-to-us mid-century sectional sofa!

It is perfect.

Comfortable? Yes. Smell and stain free? Yes. Roomy? Yes.

Fabric that doesn't seem to attract cat hair? Actually, yes. My only worry about bringing a fabric sofa into our house was that it would be covered in cat hair in no time. I'm happy to report that the big waffle weave fabric doesn't have hair stuck all over it. There's a little on it of course, but that goes for everything in this house, and the color of this sofa hides it well. Sofa heaven, you guys.

I went ahead and snapped a few more pictures of my living room, because that's what I'm into. That basket on my bicycle also came from the same estate sale. I really can't wait to report on this sale.

That color kills me.

The only problem I've noticed with the new sofa is that it slides apart really easily. It has those mid-century tapered legs under the skirt, and it slides across the hardwood floor with barely any force. Since the thing is actually three separate pieces, it often doesn't line up quite like it should. Maybe there are sticky pads I could put on the ends of the legs to help keep it in place. Is that a real thing?

Now Rand and I can both stretch out on the sofa at the same time. And later, when I'm in the mood for a change, I can rearrange the pieces. Thanks goes to Aimee, for the heads up, and to my sister's boyfriend Josh for driving all the way to Ozark to move it. Helping me accumulate great furniture is the way to my heart.

Snapshots from Downtown Springfield

You know what I’ve learned about DSLR cameras? They can take great photos, but only if you learn how to use them. I admit that I seriously thought if I could just save up enough to buy a nice camera, suddenly my photos would look amazing. Not true. My first few shots from my Canon Rebel were horrible.

Even with a high-quality camera, one must practice. And for me, that’s not just practicing with the manual settings on my camera. I want to get better at finding things to photograph, and photographing them in interesting ways. It doesn't come easy for me, but Steve Martin says that perseverance is an excellent substitute for talent. That’s pretty much my motto in life.

Lately I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time with Jessica. She blogs at (More or Less) Jess, and not only is she incredibly nice and interesting, but the girl’s got talent. She’s got a great eye for photography, and she’s good with, um, the words? I think you know what I'm trying to say.

Anyway, my point is, I enjoy this lady. On Saturday, we both agreed we wanted to get some practice with our fancy cameras, so we went out walking around downtown Springfield. We talked ISO settings and white balance and such, and I finally had someone to photograph who didn’t make stupid faces at me! What a luxury.

As we made our way down Walnut Street, we discovered a new little used bookstore called BookMarx. Jessica picked up a few books and introduced me to the poetry of Billy Collins. She opened to a random page and I read "I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakey's Version of Three Blind Mice." I liked it.

Jessica and I share a love for seedy looking alleys, the tops of old buildings, and colorful murals. The weather kept jumping back and forth between rainy/cold and hot/humid, so when I got too hot to think clearly we stopped for iced coffee. Just like Nancy Botwin, I need an iced coffee straw in my mouth at all times to help me focus.

Our route took us down through the square, to Founder's Park, and to the top of the College Station parking garage. Being on foot is such a great way to explore your city and discover things you never knew were there before. Did you know there are fitness classes on the square? There's also a new European-style cafe appropriately titled European Cafe on Park Central. I glanced in and saw delicious coffees and pastries on the menu, so I'll need to get in there soon. 311 and Kevin Nealon are coming to the Gillioz Theatre soon, and the mural across from the Gillioz has been painted over, which killed me a little. I must always look like a tourist when I go out walking, because there's so much all around me to take in. I highly recommend taking your camera for a walk.

I Love This Moose

Good morning! School is out, and I feel like a new woman! I woke up bright and early today, went out for coffee, and now I'm writing up some blog posts that have been bouncing around in my head for a while. It feels so good.

Isn't this print by Amy Hamilton amazing? I can't stop staring at it. Not only is the moose so beautiful and sweet, but the watercolor effect is perfection. I've had this moose on my mind a lot lately. Check out all of Amy's beautiful creations in her Society 6 shop.

Cheers to summer and lots of time to do the things I love! What are you up to today?
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