Saturday, January 13, 2018

Feeling Blue

A few of my favorite colors are: periwinkle, cobalt blue, berry pink and hot pink. Paolo Lenti is skilled at using these colors. I dropped my jaw when I saw these divine spaces.
Omigod. I love the idea of a monochromatic space, with a dark cave-like feel. These blues feel so rich, and are a great alternative to gray (which I still love, but is getting a little played out).

Reminds me a of Prada's use of jewel tones.  (See my previous post featuring one of my favorite rooms of all time featuring Prada fabrics, here.)  Dig that fabulous crochet rug by one of my favorite designers, Patricia Urquiola (another of my designed by Ms. Urquiola can be seen here). Makes me want to take up crochet again...almost. The last thing I need is another obsession. I mean, have you been down the yarn isle at Pat Catan's? It's heaven, but I know that damn yarn would sit in the closet and taunt me about how much money I've spent, lol.  Also dig that living wall, but..I have a brown thumb.

Swoon. One of my favorite color schemes.  Berry pink and light blue (see previous post here).  Their use of color is divine. If you love color, you will love their instagram page, here. Of course if I went this scheme, I would need these fabulous dishes from Urban Outfitters. Man, humans sure make beautiful things don't they?  No wonder we Americans are always broke.
Though I am totally smitten, this color scheme is not to be. It would involve too much starting over which is not possible on my teeny tiny budget. I don't need a million dollars, I need a virtual reality machine! Then I could change my decor based on my mood.  xo

My Humble Abode, Part 3: Contemplating Color

I obsess about color all the time.  For me color is a meditation, and my home is a lab. I think it was Vincente Wolf who said a room without color is a lost opportunity. I wholeheartedly agree. I got addicted to color when I discovered the work of Tricia Guild. Here is an early version of my place where I was contemplating turquiose. My lovely pillow (and very reasonably priced) from Burlington Coat Factory taking the lead.  Pillows are a great way to experiment with color without much investment.

That's just a blanket on the floor, still contemplating a rug. With tuquiose and/or aqua on my mind, I thought about buying these lovely things from Flower Child.

Luckily, I don't do much impulse buying. If I see something lovely I take its picture. Sometimes this satisfies the urge, and I don't need to buy the piece. Digital collections are the best; they take up no space and require no dusting. Sometimes a piece haunts me, as was the case with this vintage bowl. Not sure who the manufacturer is, kinda reminds me of a McCoy Floraline. I am a sucker for a matte finish.

So, I had to go back and get it.  No buyer's remorse here. It's gorgeous! Looks great with pink and only cost $6.00. I had to spend $12 (round trip) on Lyft to get it, lol.  $18 is still a good price for this lovely. And I love patronizing local business, and meeting Lyft drivers, making it a win all the way around.

Life is good.  xo

My Humble Abode, Part 2: Starting Over

Happy Saturday dear readers!  Hope you are staying warm and cozy.  I'm not feeling well today, so I am blogging from bed. On my Android.  Ain't technology a beautiful thing? As you know, I moved a lot this past year. I am ecstatic to say that I have been in my new apartment for six months! Just goes to show that time flies whether you're having fun or not. Something we should remember during the bad times.

When I moved here, I had almost nothing. Luckily, my cousin had a few of my favorite pretty things in her basement. This is breaking one of my own organization rules, that is: never keep things in storage. Luckily she insisted.  I'll have lots to say about organization in subsequent posts.  Here is what my apartment looked like after two weeks.
The chaise lounge was a gift from my mom, who felt sorry for me because I was sitting on the floor. I'm grateful for her generosity - don't tell her I said this - but the thing was crap! Horrible workmanship. Shame on you Brylane!  Completely impossible to sit on, it functioned merely as a space filler and a place to display pillows, nothing more.  A month or so later, after my neighbor gave me his sofa, I carried the bitch to the dumpster all by myself.  Bam!  See pic of the sofa, after de-catting (is that a word) in the post above.

It's been a slow process, but baby, my apartment has come a long way.  I'm hoping to do a full reveal early next week.  Want more pictures and less words?  Be sure to follow along on Instagram @margiemax.    xo

Friday, January 12, 2018

My Humble Abode, Part 1: A Preview

Happy Friday dear readers! I hope you're having a lovely day, and have a fun weekend planned. If you follow my Instagram, you know I've been working on my home this week. It's a slow process, but that's okay.  I believe you should allow a home time to evolve. If you decorate your place too quickly, you will become bored.  I'm estatic to be back in my hometown of Cleveland. 

As always with a new place, it took sometime for this apartment to speak to me.  Your place has a soul and a unique character, if you listen it will tell you what it wants. I've always had a love affair with wherever I've lived and now this place is no different. I am hoping to never move again.   :-)

I'm calling my style dollar store chic. I want my place to be: simple and clean; modern, yet warm and cozy;  retro, groovy and mod. It needs warmth because my main window gets the northern breezes from my beloved Lake Erie.  I want guests to feel free to plop down on the sofa put their feet up and cover themselves with a soft blanket. Nothing's too precious, so not to worry if something gets spilled. The sofa cover is washable.

I want lots of color. I know I'm breaking a lot of rules, but I don't care. One of my major goals is to prove that pink can be a thoroughly modern color. It's not just a girly color, and it looks great with every color. I've used various shades of pink, have paired pink with green, grey, orange, and blue. There's no such thing as too much pink.

Other styles I'm influenced by are: mid-century mod, minimalism, bohemian, Japanese, and industrial. But please don't call my place eclectic, I prefer the term collected.  I have collected various things that I find beautiful.  Just not too many, clutter will not do. 

Now here's the kicker.  My budget is $100.  How do I reconcile all these different influences and on such a tiny budget? Follow along to find out. I will also have a lot to say about organization. These pictures are bad, but that's the natural light in the middle of the day on a gray day in Cleveland, and I actually love it.  I sure feel grateful for my fab girl cave.

Want more pictures and less words?  Be sure to follow @margiemax on Instagram.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Austerity Measures: How Low Can You Go?

Austerity measures.  Restraint. Simplicity. These are words that are often unpopular in a culture like the U.S. that places a high value on affluence. Indeed those of us that fall below the poverty line, are excluded from most activities because we can't afford to engage. We're also excluded from political discussions, especially if we're single and poor. Discussions regarding tax breaks and various rights that the United States provides to its citizens are geared towards middle-income families. Poor single woman are not even part of the discussion and largely invisible.

I have a confession to make, being chronically ill and broke is embarrassing. It probably sounds crazy, but I am ashamed of my poverty. This is why I often don't date or socialize, in addition to being not able to afford it. That said, I am fortunate I enjoy living simply. I'm creative and able to create an environment I find pleasing with little to no money.

I have a question for my loyal readers, how far can you go? If you had a choice between living in public housing and having a little extra money; or living in a nice neighborhood with an expensive apartment and money to do little else than pay your rent - which would you choose?

I have lived in public housing. I was grateful for my apartment, but believe me public housing is no fun. There is no privacy. Residents were disrespected by management. At best, we were treated like children. At worst, we were treated like criminals as the staff acted like jailors. New rules were posted on door everyday, cameras watched our every move, our places were inspected continually by various agencies (including DEA dogs) often without notice. We were subject to constant ruthless audits. And the noise. The noise of frustration and hopelessness is deafening. Increasingly, I watched children turn to crime, and have even been their victim.  I watched 100% (no hyperbole) of teenage girls get on the school bus carrying an infant.

I now understand why realtors use the mantra "location location location." I am blessed now to live in a nice neighborhood. People are quiet, polite and respectful. They still drive like maniacs but there's a beautiful thing here you might have heard of:  sidewalks. And, oh yeah, trees.

In order to live in this neighborhood I have had to make many sacrifices. When I first moved here I had no furniture and slept on the floor. I had no electricity for several days.

There are many things I sacrifice in order to be able to pay rent.  Here is a list of some of the things I live without:  a car, a microwave, a computer, a television, cable. In addition I do my own hair.  The most difficult sacrifice I make is that I seldom buy new clothes. This is really tough because I love fashion. I almost never go out to eat or to a movie. I do not have a pet.

We live in a land of abundance and beautiful things and we are bombarded with enticing images. I wish my digital device didn't provide me constant ads for vases. It pisses me off that the internet knows my weaknesses and preys upon them.

Luckily, I like simplicity and minimalism. Also I am grateful that family and friends donated furniture to help me make this apartment a home.

Still, I confront my greed on a daily basis. The list of things I desire is long. I am endeavoring to appreciate what I have, rather than focusing on what I lack.

So my question dear readers, is how far would you go if you were in a circumstance where you came face to face with the possibility of homelessness?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Justin Brennan Part II: A Mock Up

In the post below I wrote about my love of the work of fine artist Justin Brennan. I am so enamored with his work, I couldn't help but play with how it would look in my apartment. I think it looks great! What do you think?

Good Things Happening in Cleveland: Artist Justin Brennan

I'm very happy to be back in my hometown of Cleveland. A lot of good things are happening here, and a lot has changed since I left. The most exciting thing going on is, arguably, the art scene.

I recently attended Third Fridays at the 78th Street Studios, near my old stomping grounds. If you're in Cleveland you should definitely check it out!  I met a lot of fascinating artists, and one of my favorites is Justin Brennan.

Justin is a hardworking, prolific artist. So prolific that his art spilled out of his studio into the hallway. I spent a lot of time contemplating his work. I know it sounds strange, but when I say that his work spoke to me, I mean this literally. I could hear it. It sounded shamanic to me, like Gabrielle Roth or The Thievery Corporation, two of my muses.

I know it sounds arrogant, but dare I say that Justin is a kindred spirit. He has achieved something on canvas that I wish to achieve in my own art. Namely, simplicity, quickness of brushstroke, intuitive use of mixed media, movement and raw emotion. Justin is shy and humble when asked about his art, he doesn't over-intellectualize it.  I found this both endearing and refreshing.

I am not usually a lover of gallery walls in my decor, thinking they look too cluttered. But with Justin's art I would make an exception. So contemplative are his pieces, I could see them covering my walls and I would spend many hours meditating on them.

His studio is a work of art as well. I was so inspired upon entering his studio, I immediately wanted to move in and start creating.  Without further ado, I present to you the work of Justin Brennan.

This is my favorite. I think I need this.

More of Justin's work can be seen at his website here.

Stay tuned for more about the artists of 78th Street Studios.

All photos by Peggy for Creative Influences.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reflections, gratitude and what to expect in 2018

2017 was a strange year. Among other things, I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my blog. 10 years ago I didn't even know what a blog was, and I didn't know what I was doing.  I still don't.

It occurs to me I say the same boring thing every New Year's Eve. Upon reflection, I realize that goals are futile.  Life is messy and keeps getting in the way.  Better to go with the flow. Instead I'm going to focus on where I am in the moment. And be grateful for the things I have rather than the things I supposedly lack.

Someone - either Betsy Ross or the Buddha I'm not sure which - said that happiness relies upon disposition not circumstance.  Instead of always wishing I were somewhere else, I want to stay in the moment and appreciate where I am and what I have.

In my younger days, I never would've thought I'd move so much in my life. Thank goodness I travel light. This year took me from Akron to Denver to Cleveland to Hudson and to Cleveland again. I planned to retire in Denver, because I love the mountains and weed is legal.  It was not meant to be, I could not find  affordable housing. This, as well as legalization of weed will be subjects of  subsequent posts.
Among many of the places I have lived this year, I actually lived on the street for three days in Denver. I hope to never experience homelessness again. This will also be the topic of subsequent post.

For today, I'd like to focus on the things I'm grateful for, rather than the things I supposedly lack. As I read blog after blog and watch vlogs on YouTube, I notice people constantly share what they bought, what's new, and the many things they want. Not a judgment, I'm guilty of the same. I wrestle with guilt over my obsession with what I sometimes perceive as trivial.  But damn humans sure make beautiful things don't they? That's why we should spread around the money in this country more equitably, because we'll just turn around and put it right back into the economy. A digression yes, but also the subject of a subsequent post.

I sometimes think about giving up blogging because I lack money, and must decorate on a shoestring.  I'm human and am sometimes envious of the homes of those with a lot of money to spend. In addition, I actually feel ashamed that I am poor, and not what America considers a success.  This will also be the subject of a subsequent post.

The thing I learned from homelessness is:  there is nothing like having your own roof.  If you have nothing else, you should at least have your own roof.  Even if you have to sleep on the floor, like I did for a couple of months when I returned to Cleveland.  I was damn happy for that roof, floor and walls.  Even though it was empty, I had my dignity.  I realized that a home that is empty of possessions is full of potential.  And I basked in that.

I cannot believe we have homelessness in the U.S.  Such a concept should be inconceivable.  Homeless people don't need your tiny gifts of food, money or blankets, they need homes.  A roof of your own is more important than art or furniture.  Again, the subject of the subsequent post.

That said, I love beautiful things. Just not too many.  Once you start downsizing, you start to realize the joys of living simply.  Enjoying living a simple, organized life will be a frequent topic on the blog this year.

I don't make New Year's resolutions, because I'm trying to be a better person everyday. But I'm going to make one exception, I hope to have my book finished by the end of the year.  To those friends who have been so supportive of this endeavor, I can never thank you enough.

Meanwhile my wishes for humanity this year are the same as always. I pray for peace, I pray for the end of violence. I pray for the end of war and poverty. And I pray that the pendulum shifts to a position of dignity in the White House once again.  Another subsequent post.

Happy New Year dear ones. As always, thank you for reading.  2018 is going to be full of writings about simplicity, organization, art, beauty and politics.  I hope you will follow along. XO

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

J Segal Design, Part II: The Most Beautiful Desk in the World

Hello dear readers!  Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season.  In the post below, I introduced you to designer J Segal and the beautiful bags he makes. Jeff is multi-talented, everything he touches turns to gold. Today, I'd like to show you an example of his hand made furniture.

The iLean desk!  The most beautiful desk ever!  Perfect in its geometry and balance, it's actually two pieces.  This desk would look fabulous in a mid-century, retro or industrial environment.

I would love to see it paired with a Charlotte Perriand bookcase.  I need to win the lottery so I can buy it.  I am obsessed!  And dig that ikebana vase, I need that too.  Humans make really beautiful things, don't they?

Design fans, stay tuned for my year end review which will include the most beautiful furniture ever designed.  This piece, of course, makes the list.

Contact Jeff on Instagram @JSegalDesign

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bag it!

Hello friends!  Hope you are doing well.  If you are a longtime reader of my blog (thank you xo), you know that I am a supporter of buying from local artisans.  In that spirit, I'd like to introduce Northeast Ohio designer/artist eoxtraordinaire Jeff Segal.

If you are a shopper who is thoughtful and likes to gift non mass produced objects, may I suggest one of Jeff's handmade bags?  You can never have too many bags, right?  Jeff's bags are all lovingly made by hand with exquisite attention to detail. They are beautiful inside and out, as well as being totally functional. Each bag sports niches and pockets which allow the perfect organization of those important digital devices we all rely upon.

And they are not just for women!  They are perfect for stylish men as well.  Each bag is unique and of recycled materials.

Jeff's approach to upcycling is non-literal.  To quote Jeff:  "I enjoy reducing items to their core, to reduce the superfluous and to amplify the common."

Common materials, perhaps.  Common bags, absolutely not.  Why not treat yourself or a loved one to a new and unique form of wearable art?  Here's a sampling. I apologize for not properly photographing the inside of the bags.  But believe me, they are beautiful inside and out.  All handles and clasps also made by Jeff.
If you are in Cleveland and attending the 78th Street Studios Art Walk this Friday, I will be sporting this bag.  Be sure to say hi!
This is one of my favorites, made from vintage fabrics.
Jeff is a multi-talented designer and makes many other beautiful things as well.  Stay tuned for more art from J Segal designs.  In part two of this series, I will be showing a sample of his gorgeous furniture.

Contact Jeff @JSegalDesign on Instagram.

Happy Holidays dear readers!



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