The challenge is over

Bernie and A Place to Bark did not come in in the top four, they were fifth. That means she doesn’t get the $50,000 grant. However, it’s still all good. This is from Bernie’s blog, though written by Claudine Hellmuth:

The Network for Good grant contest is officially over and even though A Place to Bark didn’t win the $50,000 grant, we are still winners!!!!

I just got off the phone with Bernie, she is 180 miles away from Chicago with her 41 dogs and 1 kitten all on their way to new homes and we were talking about how much GOOD has come from this!!! This has been amazing!! We have made new friends, we raised over $42,000!!!!!! and we have a matching grant of $35,000 from the Zoline foundation!! So we have raised $77,000. WOWZA!! and all because of each and everyone of you!!!

We truly felt everyone’s support for this cause and it is so touching to see everyone rallying behind Bernie’s effort to save the lives of these animals. Together person by person, we did what we thought we couldn’t do. This has been an incredible experience and it brings me to tears. Not because we didn’t “win” because when you think about it — we did win!! Each and everyone of you made this fund raiser drive a SUCCESS!!!! We raised a total of $77,000 because of YOU!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

Bernie says she will still be able to build a shelter with the money raised. It will have to be a smaller shelter but it will still happen. We can all follow the progress on her blog here!

What happens now?
Now Network for Good will audit all the donations from the badges to strip off the duplicate donors to get to the “real” results of individual donors. In 30 days they will notify the official winners. Could A Place to Bark still win? In theory we could if one of the other badges had many duplicate donors. A Place to Bark will still receive $1,000 from Network for Good for placing in the top 8, so that is wonderful!! All the final contest details are on this page here from Parade Magazine who sponsored the challenge.

Thanks to everyone who donated. We really made a difference. What many people don’t realize is that there are going to be more and more homeless dogs and cats as their owners lose their homes due to ballooning real estate taxes. People like Bernie do the hard, heartbreaking work. I’m glad we could all help.

And what have you been up to lately?

This, for one:

felting 12808 I made these in felting class. It was my first foray into wet felting and I really enjoyed it. More than I expected to, in fact since I’ve been so enamored of needle felting.

The top snake and three balls are all wool. Various types, but all wool. On the bottom are items made from a mixture of wool (Corriedale and English) Bamboo and Tussah silk. I got the bats from Loop, over on Etsy. She has an extraordinary sense of color, and makes the most wonderful batts for spinning. And now, felting! *g*

The snakes are far from finished, being still rather soft and bendy, but the beads are very solid. I’m thinking of trying to make some cat toys out of felt and see how they’re received. I seem to recall that all my cats loved toughie mice which were nothing but solid felt and a little rope tail.

Other than that? Packing. And cooking. Over the weekend I made these:

Tomato Casserole
Gathered:
1 casserole dish
3 whole grain hamburger buns torn into pieces
1 28oz can organic whole tomatoes
1/2 bag baby spinach
1 leek
herbs, spices, a touch of sugar, salt
8 oz feta

Layered: bread, leeks, spinach, tomatoes with juice, salt-sugar-herbs-spices, feta. Finished with layer of bread.
Baked @ 350 for 30 minutes, uncovered
Noticed: Bread getting very dark and crisp
Panicked
Covered dish
Baked for 20 more minutes covered.
Removed from oven
Failed to resist temptation to push bread crust down into hot, bubbling vegetables.
Tasted
Swooned

Consistency: Fair. Sort of soupy
Flavor: Outstanding
What I’d do different next time: Precook veggies so it would only bake for about 20 minutes. Bread might stay firmer. Use stale bread. End with cheese layer and bake uncovered the whole time.
How much is already gone: About a third.
Suggestions for anyone who hates any of the ingredients *koffjudymoekoff*: Use something else. Okay, well not the tomatoes, but anything other than the tomatoes.

Spinach with walnuts and apricot balsamic

I wanted a little something else and I still had half a bag of baby spinach to use up before it turned into green slime. So I sauteed it in olive oil with a bit of garlic, a sprinkle of salt, a dusting of cinnamon and a generous handful of walnuts. Then I dressed it, in honor of my mother who loved her spinach boiled or steamed with a bit of vinegar, with apricot balsamic vinegar from Village Harvest. This was heavenly. It hit all the right notes, and I’m having a serious jones for another serving. Fortunately I have frozen spinach so I think that’ll be tonight’s supper.

And I’ve been wanting to tell you about Village Harvest. Now seems like a good time. I found them via Local Harvest and yeah I know the point is to buy locally, but I’m also buying from individuals, not corporations, so it’s all good. Anyway, Village Harvest in their own words:

Village Harvest is a nonprofit suburban harvesting cooperative in Santa Clara Valley, California, which brings together neighbors and community organizations to provide food for the hungry, preserve our heritage and skills, and promote sustainable use of urban resources. We organize and coordinate backyard fruit harvesting, and provide education on fruit tree care, harvesting, and food preservation.

The fruit that is too fragile to go to feeding the hungry goes into preserves and other delights. I have to tell you, their wild plum jam is da bomb! And the apricot white balsamic really is so good you want to drink it. If you love fruit and fruit products, and think this is a good cause, I highly recommend them. Once I move, I’m going to stock my pantry with their stuff.

What is it about lighting


That seems to bring out the best in any designer?

Tracy Porter is a designer who I frequently like better as a stylist than an actual designer. There’s often a bit too much of the Chinoiserie about her work for my taste. But turn her loose on a chandelier and watch out! I spent about an hour yesterday just mooning over her collection and bemoaning the fact that there isn’t enough money in my bank account or enough ceilings in my new place to have all the fixtures I want.

This fixture, to the left, is a restrained piece, certainly by comparison to much of her work, but there’s something wonderfully evocative about it. I see history in it, and fantasy, and cultural resonances. And darn it, it’s pretty! Why do so many people seem unwilling to admit that pretty just does it for them? Besides, a room should be greater than the sum of its parts… except of course for its artwork.

What do I see here? A delicate Biedermeier scene. Tea in a drawing room decorated in what-the-middle-class-thinks-is-a-simple-peasant-life style. It’s a bit silly, but it’s warm and it means well.

Tony Duquette is new to me, and to these old eyes, the work I’m seeing is very dated. Well that’s fine, it was new back when he was creating it, which is what counted, I think. But for me, most of it is more of a nostalgia trip than some sort of blueprint for design heaven.

However, I stumbled across this chandelier and was enchanted. The fantasy level of this piece just shoots through the roof, and it’s not at all dated, IMO. I think it could easily fit into any contemporary design magazine.

I love its boldness, not just of design but of color. In an era when colors were either garish or monochromatic, this is cleverly done.

I’m going to have to see more of Duquette’s work.

Tord Boontje is one of those designers I love even though his stuff doesn’t really fit any of my notions of how I want my home to look. But when I saw this light fixture I thought that it was so perfect that it didn’t matter if I had no place to put it. I had to have it.

Of course I can’t afford it, so I’m going to swipe the idea and reproduce my own version of it for the house with a fixture from Ikea, some copper armature mesh, tulle and ribbons.

I love it because life is just bursting from it. It’s exuberant and fun, and doesn’t take itself at all seriously

I love the way light brings out designers’ senses of wonder and play. From now on whenever I find a new designer I’m going to rush right over to see what s/he does with lamps. That’ll tell me a lot.

Well, that’s it.

I can finally talk about it. The contracts are all signed. The deals are done. By the beginning of April, I will have gone from this:

06

To this:

newhouse 1207 041

How do I feel? Happy, relieved, energized. Glinda and I will be going over to the new place soon to take some detailed measurements and photos and I’ll be busy making drawings of room layouts, and packing. It’s all very exciting. Not only will there be new spaces to decorate and more room to work, but there’s a whole new neighborhood to explore!

Words cannot express


How much I love this fabric! The colors just blow me away, and they’re exactly what I want to use in my new living room. Two problems: First, it’s some sort of soft, sheer material which won’t work for upholstery or drapes, and second, I have NO clue where I might find something like this or even how to start looking for it. Do any of my darling, intelligent and well-traveled readers have any good advice to give?

I’ve already contacted a woman about doing some custom roving for me so I can needle felt some of the accessories in the room in a similar look. But silk, taffeta, satin, even sheers because I could always adapt them… where do I start? How do I find something that even vaguely approximates this look?

Slowly coming back to life

I am crawling now, instead of just lying around doing nothing. Whatever gave me the world’s sorest throat over the weekend, has loosened its grip slightly, and it seems now that all the sleep I was missing out on a couple of weeks ago is now demanding to be repaid. I sleep nine or ten hours a night, and end up falling asleep in front of the television set about eight or nine each night.

Yes, some of it is stress. This illness is almost certainly stress-related. After I had The Talk with my tenant yesterday I felt my throat closing up again. The thing is that mistakes were made on both sides, but I have GOT to move on now. I can’t spend any more time or energy on other people.

Never mind all that. Check out this wonderful post about Copenhagen (after Chicago, my favorite city) from Tartine Gourmand. Every time I read something like this I long to go back, but I know it’d be a bittersweet trip because once there I would never want to leave.

This struck a familiar chord:

You really have to come back in summer,” the amiable lady where P. buys a pair of Trippen shoes tells us. “At this time of year, everyone hibernates and keeps to him or herself,” she continues. “In the summer, the ambiance in the city is completely different, with people everywhere.

Is that the reason I turn into an even bigger hermit in the winter? Is it my Danish blood crying out for the dark warmth of hibernation?

And to what do I attribute my mania for decorating? The prospect of a new home to decorate without any baggage or fear is just overwhelming! I’ve been picking out paint colors like mad. Here are a couple of my choices.

Living room. This is evolving out of my current color scheme. Tonight I found some material that would make perfect curtains. I doubt I’ll ever find it, it was in a dress in Vogue.

Bedroom. Someone called this “little girl colors grown up” and she was right. The photo I had to use doesn’t do justice to the scheme. I’ll post more as I work.

Dining Room. I finally found the right shades of purple and green! Ralph Lauren. Amazing.

It’s supposed to be bitterly cold here again tomorrow. I’m glad I have my dreaming to keep me warm.