Friday, January 19, 2007

Be my guest

On with the domestication. Not quite to the big events yet, but I am spending some time with another colorful home appliance. Mr.Dyson has been extremely jealous of Miss Mango, but hopefully I will be using them each equally today. We have my best friend and her husband coming tonight, followed by Nani and Papou (my mom and dad). People will always tell you, especially the close ones, 'oh please don't clean up for us'. But I certainly don't clean up for us alot, so I jump at the chance to spend a day cleaning. Well jump could be a strong word. But honestly, do you ever miss your house?? I spend all day in it, but I don't see it much. Cleaning it is a way for me to enjoy it all over again. Downside being, I am mentally decorating and adding up a tab of things I want, constantly. How does one stop that?

A room that I barely come into is our guest room. (How do I maintain a guest room when I have 5 children, you ask? Well, Juliana has her own, the boys share, and the little girls share too. It works for us. Character building. Good gracious we have definitely built characters.) Like this one, there is a second room at the bottom of the stairs that is a finished space, but was used for storage by the previous owners. We did the same with it until about this time last year. My mom and I tackled it head on for 3 days. I used up lots of existing furniture and odds and ends that I had no home for and pulled it all together. Slipcovered an old headboard, repainted an old futon and chest of drawers, made a ledge shelf out of the old kitchen chair rail, made this for the bed (have you noticed how it moves here in the studio on occassion? I miss it sometimes), obviously we painted, hung up the unused windows from the old kitchen because this basement room doesn't have a window...well now it does, also hung an unused frame around an antique beveled mirror that felt too small.

I love having guests. I love that this room is filled up with family things. Linens from my grandmothers, my grandfather's rocking chair, my grandma's cool vintage driftwood lamp, a huge series of old books from Jeff's dad and this painting my dad made more that thirty years ago. I was born in Chicago. When we were all babies, he made this painting of the view out of our window. He has never liked it. I love it. I don't remember anything about Chicago because I was so little when we came to Tennessee. Maybe thats why I love it so much. It's the missing piece filling the gap in my memory bank. It's humble. It speaks to me about my dad's immigrant beginnings. Vibrant and warm and optimistic even though its a bleak quiet snow scene. A welcoming neighborhood for the eyes of all my visitors.

Hospitality calls....and cake dreams await! More later!


  1. Anonymous11:39 AM

    Your house is gorgeous! I just hope when I finally get to buy a house that is can look half as good as yours. I enjoy reading your blog and see on your projects. It is very inspirational! Have a great weekend!

  2. I have found that I have to have company on occasion to 'see' what a mess my house is! I always feel like I have a fresh new home just before they arrive (and leave it in a heap again...)
    Poor Mr. Dyson...tell him Mr. Bissell sends his love.

  3. Anonymous3:13 PM

    I love having guests. Sounds like fun, enjoy! I had a Papou too :)

  4. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Gorgeous painting by your father! My granny was a beautiful portrait, landscape (all of the above) artist...and I am fortunate enough to have several of her works of art. (She's gone now), so it makes them more special!!! I keep seeing those fun flower pillows popping up all over your house! Love them!!! I am so excited........i just came running back to the house like a little kid just now, with my huge package of Anna Maria Horner and Heather Bailey fabrics from the mailbox! Yay!!! A red letter day!
    Happy weekend, Love, Laurie

  5. Have a lovely weekend with the guests. My girls have always liked sharing a room. Even at 20 and 16 (could be that the 20 year is hardly ever home now days might be why it works still).

  6. Great way to think about cleaning, personally I hate cleaning but I think if I look at it with a better outlook it might not be so painful.
    Suzie Sews (UK)

  7. Anonymous6:45 AM

    Anna, a ghost loves to shoo my posts away! ;-) I'll try again ~ I love the idea of having a guest room filled with family treasures. I want to do that too with my daughter's room when she goes away to school. I think your father's painting is BEAUTIFUL. What a wonderful treasure that is!

  8. What a lovely room, with so many treasures! I'm sure your guests love staying there. I was especially moved by your story about your dad's painting--I'm from Chicago, and am actually getting ready to write a dissertation about Chicago immigrant literature. Although I'm curious about exactly which neighborhood that is in the picture, obviously I'm very familiar with the brick buildings and the snow.

    I think this may be my first time commenting, so I want to say that I love reading your blog! Your posts are always full of so much energy and creativity.

  9. enjoy your special time and your clean house :)

  10. what a beautiful painting. that and the little hat atop the wee precious girl...*sigh* family is a wonderful thing.

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