Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Google Map pinpoints blast origin

Reading my daily dose of updates from Google Maps Mania blog I came across this interesting post: Google Maps Finds Location of Pipe Bomb. It is a basic yet compelling example that simple GIS tools can be very helpful in solving real life problems. On this occasion community collaboration enabled police to pinpoint location of the bomb explosion that shook the neighbourhood a few hours earlier.

Open collaboration setting in Google My Maps allowed people to add coloured markers to the map to say whether they heard the explosion or not. Red markers meant they 'heard a loud boom, windows or building shook', blue markers that they 'heard it, but no further detail', yellow indicates it was 'heard with no shaking' and green indicates the explosion was not heard. The clustering of the markers pointed where the explosion originated.

Full story at:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Spring Break & Some Good News for Friends!!

Hello!!! We're off this week for Spring Break and I might literally have to duck tape my laptop shut so I don't work.  ;)  But that's the goal. 

I also just wanted to share some awesome things going on with a couple of bloggy friends:

Brooke & Steve Giannetti's {insanely beautiful} Home is being featured on the cover (and of course inside too! ;) of the May isse of Romantic Home Magazine!!  I am crazy over everything they touch and of course theirs is a perfect dream house:

And Kayce Huges's {fun &fresh & gorgeous}home is featured in this month's Country Living!!:

Kayce just recently became a sponsor of Pure Style Home & I am so happy she did!  I'm constantly drooling over a particular dress she designed at her store Pears + Bears.  (I wont' tell you which one because I don't want it to sell out!! ;) ;)   Her company, Pears + Bears also makes beautiful children's clothing.  How freaking adorable?!!!:

Oh if I ever get a girl....

And finally, Eddie Ross is making a pilot for a TV show!!!!  He's looking for a room to makeover for the pilot episode and is accepting submissions!!  Just click here for details.  I am soooo  excited for Eddie!! He can do it all {perfect tables- interior design- styling- photography- craft projects- budget- high-end- etc.} & with his sense of humor & charisma I KNOW he's going to succeed!! yay!!

Ok, so I am pretty much OFF-  no I'm OFF-  for the week but we will be having another super-duper guest blogger before & after!!  Have an awesome week & a Happy Easter if I'm not on before then.!!
ps- I wanted to thank everyone soooo much for the awesome response to my last post on roman shades.  I appreciate each & every one of your emails & comments.  Many of them contained questions about specific window situations & I wish I could answer all of them, but I hope you can understand the time it would take for me to give good, specific advice for each situation.  Right now I'm pretty overloaded with home life, clients & blog & I really hope you can understand that I'm just not able to do this right now.  I offer e-decorating services (you can click on the link at the top right of the blog)  if you're interested in specific advice for your home.  I will work on getting a price on the e-decorating page for general window treatment queries/ advice.  Again, I hope you can understand and thank you for your response!!
(again ;)

Perfect weekend escape in Kioloa

I have read recently in the Australian Financial Review that bookings for Easter weekend holidays are very strong this year, with many accommodation offers for $900 or even $1,600 per night sold out almost entirely. I have just spent a perfect weekend on the absolute beachfront, hardly anyone in sight, comfortable 27-29 degrees, calm seas, very warm sapphire crystal clear water that can be enjoyed for hours. There was a moonlight walk along the beech and fresh seafood with a drop of good Australian wine under the Southern Cross. Coincidentally, it was Earth Hour that weekend but moonlight was so bright that there was no need for any electricity for the entire evening. Spectacular sunrise the next morning marked the start of another perfect day. Total cost?... $20 in accommodation, $0.20 hot shower, half a tank of petrol and some supplies for a couple of days. Location: Kioloa Beach Holiday Park. The moments were priceless.

Australia is so beautiful. With thousands of kilometers of coastline there are so many picturesque spots for quiet and relaxing timeout. And there is really no need for extravagance to enjoy all that beauty. After all, it’s the same weather, water, views, sky no matter whether you stay in a tent or luxurious accommodation. Yet, many of us just do not appreciate what we have here in Australia and we do not take advantage of it often enough!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Morgan 3 Wheeler Prints

Gary Caroline VSCC Holland Trophy Winner Cadwell Park 2009
(A4 Giclee Print on Somerset Paper. Limited Edition of 20)

E.B.Ware outside his shed in the Brooklands Paddock
with the modified pre-war single seater
(A2 Giclee Print on Somerset Paper. Limited Edition of 10)

I'm pleased to announce the first two limited edition prints from Martin Squires Automotive Illustration. These will be Available to buy at the Morgan Three Wheeler National opening run, Bourton-on-the-Water on Sunday 11th April.

Special Thanks to Dennis Rushton for permission to use his wonderful photo of Gary Caroline at Cadwell last year.

The E. B. Ware Piece based on a photo was taken from the book "Morgan Sweeps the Board" by Dr J D Alderson and D M Rushton.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Skinny on Buying Roman Shades: Custom Vs. Standard

I love roman shades.  I use them on pretty much any & every window that needs privacy.  (Shutters are beautiful too but we'll get into those another time.)  There are so many different types and price points that I thought it might be helpful to break it down. 

1.  The main materials that can be used for roman shades are

{A room by Steven Gambrel}

 and natural woven materials:

{Image Source unknown via Little Green Notebook}

2.  There are many cases when roman shades are beautiful/ functional on their own & should be used alone.  It offers a clean, simple look.  Here in the kitchen, is a kid-friendly solution (i.e. no food mess on curtains) with custom natural woven roman shades with privacy lining:

{Our breakfast nook, smith + noble tortoise shell bamboo waterfall shades}

 A client's living room (pictured "before" below) had a set of french doors on the left side and a double window on the right side.  When I first arrived, I knew we needed to fix the imbalance of having curtain panels on one side and not the other:

{Client Living Room Below}

Because the door wouldn't have been functional with curtain panels, and because I wanted balance, I used roman shades only (no curtains) on both sides.  I wish I had a better view of this room, (I still need to go back for finished photos)  but I had custom pleated balloon shades installed behind the newly added crown molding for a seamless casually elegant look:

{A client's living room.  My task was to keep all existing furnishings, artwork, etc. and update it.}

3.  I also love to layer roman shades with curtain panels. It's functional (panels can remain stationary and roman shades go up & down for privacy) and beautiful (You get 2 opportunities to add texture/ pattern to a room instead of just 1.)  It adds layers & creates a warmer look than curtains alone.  They can be mounted inside the window or outside the window. 

I often have them mounted above the window and outside of the trim ("outside mount") to allow as much of the window to show as possible and to give the illusion that the window continues higher than it really does which visually heightens the entire room.  (It makes smaller rooms feel more spacious and large-medium rooms feel grander.)  I did this in a client's living room here:

{A client's living room:  custom lined linen curtains & custom natural woven roman shades with privacy lining}

In my own living room, (below) I used non-custom cotton roman shades from Sears.  (The color I used was "natural" and it looks like a warm white.) I mounted them outside the widows (again, to give the illusion of larger windows and also to hide the window frames on my old 70s window) and I paired them with "custom" (I made them myself because I couldn't afford to have them made) unlined white linen curtains. (I went with unlined linen because I love how the light shines through & it's a natural, relaxed look.) 

{Our dining room}

Here (below) I used the same non-custom Sears roman shades in "white" in our family room with no curtains.  Because of our budget, in our house I try to use non-custom shades wherever I can.  The cost difference between custom and non-custom is amazing.  (Approx $30 for the noncustom Sears shades below and maybe around $150-$250 or so- depending upon fabric- for a custom version.) 

4.  Custom vs. Standard Fabric shades:  Let me be frank: you get what you pay for.  The ONLY reason I don't have custom shades on every window in my own home is because we can't spend money there right now.  I love the look of certain standard shade styles but there is a difference in quality.  Custom shades pull up & down smoothly & evenly, whereas I have to play with some of my my non-custom shades to get them to hang right & evenly.  (Sears' larger sizes - 48" and up I think) are much of a better quality than their smaller sizes.  They use a metal chain pulley system and go up and down smoothly but I've noticed there's a slight varience in the color of the fabrics between the large and small sizes--- arggg.  But the price was right.  My advice is to buy the best you can afford.  Consider the non-custom shades to give you the look you want and plan on upgrading in the future if you want/ need to.  Custom fabric shades are made to order so you you can use any fabric you like and the style selection is practically endless.  Use a local shades fabricator to get the exact fabric and style you need.  (If you don't have one, consider hiring a decorator/ designer to assist.  Calico Corners also makes custom shades.)  This typically costs more than going with a company like smith + noble who has a limited selection of fabrics to choose from. 

5.  Custom vs. Standard Natural Woven Shades:  If you simply want the look and won't be using them often (in a space where you don't really need the privacy) I recommend the non-custom shades for a great look without the expense.  In our toddler's room we went with the non-custom unlined natural woven shades from Home Depot (for around $40) because he's so short anyone looking in wouldn't be able to see him anyway when he's not dressed.  (And of course because these shades would have been close to $400 if they were custom.)  The shades are also over the bed & so would be a pain to open & close whether they were custom or non-custom, but I love the look of these Home Depot shades for anyone who wants "the look" without the functionality & privacy needs:

{Our toddler's bedroom}

Again, you get what you pay for.  If you need high-quality. smooth & easily operables shades, then you will need to pay more. 

6. Tips for non-custom natural woven or "matchstick" shades:  Most non-custom companies sell their natural woven shades unlined.  A few have liners you can purchase and add on separately.  You could also attempt adding your own lining if you're crafty.  The unlined shades significantly darken the room and filter the light but at night they're virtually see-through from the outside when your interior lights are on.  Just google "natural woven roman shades"/ 'matchstick shades" and a bunch of options will pop up.  (Target, Home Depot, Sears all have them online.)

7. Tips for Custom natural woven roman shades:  I love smith + noble's selection of natural woven roman shades.   Different materials vary in prices.  There are a lot of other amazing brands out there but I simply used smith + noble first and loved theirs.  I've heard great things about many other companies and will surely be trying some out in the future.

The decision to go with fabric shades or natural woven shades depends upon the feeling you want your space to have.   Go here to check out some different styles of fabric roman shades.   

I hope this helps & good luck!!

Interesting Articles in the AJCN

I just received an RSS alert for the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition's latest articles. This upcoming issue is full of very interesting material:

1. Dr. Neil D. Barnard reviews food consumption patterns in the US from 1909 to 2007 (1). This is something I've written about a number of times. The most notable change is that industrial seed oil use has increased by more than 3-fold in the last 40 years, and even more in the last 100 although he doesn't provide those numbers. Butter and lard use declined sharply. Meat consumption is up, but the increase comes exclusively from poultry because we're eating the same amount of red meat we always have. Grain consumption is down, although it peaked around 1900 so it may not be a fair comparison with today:
In the late 1800s, wheat flours became more popular and available due to the introduction of new [high-gluten] wheat varieties, [low extraction] milling techniques, and transport methods, and during this time new breakfast cereals were introduced by John Harvey Kellogg, CW Post, and the Quaker Oats Company. Thereafter, however, per capita availability of flour and cereal products gradually dropped as increased prosperity, improved mechanization, and transport (eg, refrigerated railway cars) increased competition from other food groups. [Then they partially rebounded in the last 40 years]
2. Dr. S.C. Larsson published a paper showing that in Sweden, multivitamin use is associated with a slightly higher risk of breast cancer (2).

3. Soy protein and isoflavones, which have been proposed to do everything from increase bone mineral density to fight cancer, are slowly falling out of favor. Dr. Z.M. Liu and colleagues show that soy protein and/or isoflavone supplementation has no effect on insulin sensitivity or glucose tolerance in a 6 month trial (3). This follows a recent trial showing that isoflavones have no effect on bone mineral density.

4. Dr. Ines Birlouez-Aragon and colleagues showed that high-heat cooked (fried and sauteed) foods increase risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease (insulin resistance, cholesterol, triglycerides), compared to low-heat cooked foods (steamed, stewed) in a one-month trial (4). The high-heat diet also reduced serum levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins C and E.

5. Dr. Katharina Nimptsch and colleagues showed that higher menaquinone (vitamin K2) intake is associated with a lower cancer incidence and lower cancer mortality in Europeans (5). Most of their K2 came from cheese.

6. And finally, Dr. Zhaoping Li and colleagues showed that cooking meat with an herb and spice blend reduced the levels of oxidized fat during cooking, and reduced serum and urinary markers of lipid oxidation in people eating the meat (6).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Guest Blogger Before & After: La Dolce Vita

Today for out Guest Blogger Series, please welcome super-stylish Paloma of the beautiful blog La Dolce Vita!

{After: Our Guest Bathroom}

I was so excited when Lauren invited me to share a before and after on her wonderful blog, though I must admit, I was a bit intimidated. After all, Lauren is the queen of fabulous DIY projects! I don’t know how she manages to do it all, but she does so beautifully and with grace and kindness.

My before and after is of my guest bathroom which after a few very simple steps, was transformed from drab and predictable to something my husband and I absolutely love!

{Before: The Guest Bathroom circa 2007}

The guest bathroom featured a plain, white shower curtain, the requisite blue and brown combination that everyone was doing, and the original walnut cabinets. Looking at this makes me cringe now. The paint color (Benjamin Moore’s Plymouth Rock) is about all that remains.

I had spotted this shower curtain at Target, which reminded me of Kate Spade’s which was featured in Domino a few years ago. I sort of built my vision around it and got to work. I love the look of the curtain with the framed fan coral and monogrammed towels.

{Kate Spade’s Shower Curtains}

{The $30 Target Version}

I have always been partial to the look of white linens, so I ordered these towels from Pottery Barn and had them monogrammed. While I love the look of white towels, they are not always practical, so the linen closet is filled with graphite-colored Cynthia Rowley towels for guests to use when they visit. You’ll notice the hand towels are also graphite. I thought it was a nice, coordinating color.

We completed this project right before Christmas. In September 2009, we traveled to London and in the summer of 2008, I traveled to Spain. I took some of my favorite shots from both trips, framed them, and hung them in the bathroom to add some interest. I chose to print the pictures in color. I thought that having black and white photos would just be too much in a predominantly black and white room.

On the Vanity: A Potted Orchid, Handmade Mexican Pewter Towel Ring, Archipelago Botanicals Diffuser, and a little Japanese bowl from Anthropologie.

The greatest impact came from painting the cabinets gloss black. We couldn’t spend the money for a new countertop and sink, so a little can of paint gave us a lot of bang for our buck! It created contrast between the cabinets and the counter which just wasn’t there with the original walnut cabinetry. If you look at the first two images in this post, you’ll notice the difference is huge!

We contemplated getting a new mirror for a while and a few weeks ago, I suggested that we buy some plain wood trim from Home Depot and paint it gloss black to match the cabinetry. Again, I think this choice made a tremendous impact and really completed the project. Not bad for a project that cost about $15.

I’d say the overall transformation of our guest bathroom cost about $300 and we are very pleased with the difference it has made. Thanks again for featuring my before and after, Lauren!

Paloma- What a huge difference the simple changes made- it's fresh, up-to-date & graphic & very "you!"  I love the huge monograms on the towels and the black touches throughout.  Painting the vanity really made the space feel so much bigger & prettier.  (And all for only $300?!!  awesome.) Thank you so much for sharing your guest bath transformation with us!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Review of Controlled Trials Replacing Saturated fat with Industrial Seed Oils

Readers Stanley and JBG just informed me of a new review paper by Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian and colleagues. Dr. Mozaffarian is one of the Harvard epidemiologists responsible for the Nurse's Health study. The authors claim that overall, the controlled trials show that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat from industrial seed oils, but not carbohydrate or monounsaturated fat (as in olive oil), slightly reduces the risk of having a heart attack:
These findings provide evidence that consuming PUFA in place of SFA reduces CHD events in RCTs. This suggests that rather than trying to lower PUFA consumption, a shift toward greater population PUFA consumption in place of SFA would significantly reduce rates of CHD.
Looking at the studies they included in their analysis (and at those they excluded), it looks like they did a nice job cherry picking. For example:
  • They included the Finnish Mental Hospital trial, which is a terrible trial for a number of reasons. It wasn't randomized, properly controlled, or blinded*. Thus, it doesn't fit the authors' stated inclusion criteria, but they included it in their analysis anyway**. Besides, the magnitude of the result has never been replicated by better trials-- not even close.
  • They included two trials that changed more than just the proportion of SFA to PUFA. For example, the Oslo Diet-heart trial replaced animal fat with seed oils, but also increased fruit, nut, vegetable and fish intake, while reducing trans fat margarine intake. The STARS trial increased both omega-6 and omega-3, reduced processed food intake, and increased fruit and vegetable intake. These obviously aren't controlled trials isolating the issue of dietary fat substitution. If you subtract the four inappropriate trials from their analysis, which is half the studies they analyzed, the significant result disappears. Those four just happened to show the largest reduction in heart attack mortality...
  • They excluded the Rose et al. corn oil trial and the Sydney Diet-heart trial. Both found a large increase in total mortality from replacing animal fat with seed oils, and the Rose trial found a large increase in heart attack deaths (the Sydney trial reported total mortality but not CHD deaths).
The authors claim, based on their analysis, that replacing 5% of calories as saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat would reduce the risk of having a heart attack by 10%. Take a minute to think about the implications of that statement. For the average American, that means cutting saturated fat nearly in half to 6% of energy, which is a challenge if you want to eat a normal diet. It also means nearly doubling PUFA intake, which will come mostly from seed oils if you follow the authors' advice.

So basically, even if the authors' conclusion were correct, you overhaul your whole diet and replace natural foods with industrial foods, and...? You reduce your 10-year risk of having a heart attack from 10 percent to 9 percent. Without affecting your overall risk of dying. The paper states that the interventions didn't affect overall mortality.

* Not even single blinded.  Autopsies were not conducted in a blinded manner. Physicians knew which hospital the cadavers came from, because autopsies were done on-site. There is some confusion about this point because the second paper states that physicians interpreted the autopsy reports in a blinded manner. But that doesn't make it blinded, since the autopsies weren't blinded. The patients were also not blinded, though this is hard to accomplish with a study like this.

** They refer to it as "cluster randomized", which I feel is a misuse of that term.  The investigators definitely didn't randomize the individual patients: whichever hospital a person was being treated in, that's the food he/she ate. There were only two hospitals, so "cluster randomization" in this case would just refer to deciding which hospital got the intervention first. I don't think this counts as cluster randomization.  An example of cluster randomization would be if you had 10 hospitals, and you randomized which hospital received which treatment first.  It's analogous to individual randomization but on a group scale.

Can't Get It Off My Mind

Absolutely crazy over this fabric.  (Thibaut's "Sweet Grass")  MUST. USE. SOMEWHERE.

Sorry for such a shorty today but covered in spit-up and one-handed typing with baby in the other..  or "pecking" as Seleta calls it.  ;)  Enjoy your day!!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Morgan Prototype (Malvern College 1910)

Morgan Prototype (Malvern College 1910)
(Indian Ink on Bristol Board, 29 x 42cm)

Final Version of the ink painting shown in the previous post. Available to buy at the Morgan Three Wheeler National opening run, Bourton-on-the-Water on Sunday 11th April.

E.B.Ware in his modified pre-war single seater next.

Pure Style Project #10: Plant a Branchy Bush to Steal From

As I've mentioned many times, I love bringing in branches from outdoors.  I am absolutely crazy over forsythia (image source below- unknown):

I love bringing in the bright yellow blooms and they're super-easy to force indoors.  (image below, House Beautiful)

SO, 'tis the season and I saw some for $14 each.  We picked up 2 that are about to bloom & popped them in the ground along the fence in our backyard:

I couldn't resist the pansies either & they add a bit of cheer to our sad-looking yard:

Forsythia can also be grown from cuttings, so if you can, get your hands on a 3"-6" branch and put it into moist soil.  Keep it most for a few weeks & it should begin to root quickly.   When the bushes get larger, they should be pruned soon after they flower.  (The guy at the garden center near my house said we should wait until next year to prune ours and he also said to keep the natural graceful shape (vs. "ball"-looking or hedge-shape we see so often)  cut them down low vs. cutting at the outer parts of the bush. 

So, Project # 10 is to get your hands on a branchy bush or tree and plant one in your yard if you don't have one already. 

Some of my favorites are: pussy willow, flowering quince and cherry blossoms, but check out my old post "Branch In" for some more ideas.  I'm so excited about the fact that I'll have some beautiful blooms inside my house!  (And side benefit = gorgeous yellow bushes ;)  ;)

Hope you had a great weekend!  The weather was perfection here in Northern Virgina!!  :)  Come on Spring!!

MapData Sciences sale to ESRI

I was surprised to find out that MapData Sciences (MDS), a small but quite active on the local GIS scene vendor of spatial data and solutions, was sold in February to industry veteran - ESRI Australia - for $2.5 million. The company is a supplier of street maps to both Google and Microsoft, which is quite a feat considering it is not the only seller of such information in Australia. As well, because MDS competes directly with Google and Microsoft with its own commercial online mapping platform that is used by many prominent organisations in Australia, such as Australia Post or Woolworths. It is reported that MDS had “9 product lines and 300 clients”.

The question that popped in my mind is if it a sign of an imminent consolidation of local GIS industry. In 2007 there was a frantic consolidation happening in all segments of global spatial industry (eg. MapInfo was acquired by Pitney Bowes in March 2007, and in May that year Leica bought ER Mapper) but it seems that it was limited only to the big end of town. Is this now the time for consolidation in the smaller end of the market?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fatty Liver: It's not Just for Grown-ups Anymore

The epidemic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of my favorite topics on this blog, due to the liver's role as the body's metabolic "grand central station", as Dr. Philip Wood puts it. The liver plays a critical part in the regulation of sugar, insulin, and lipid levels in the blood. Many of the routine blood tests administered in the doctor's office (blood glucose, cholesterol, etc.) partially reflect liver function.

NAFLD is an excessive accumulation of fat in the liver that impairs its function and can lead to severe liver inflammation (NASH), and in a small percentage of people, liver cancer. An estimated 20-30% of people in industrial nations suffer from NAFLD, a shockingly high prevalence (1).

I previously posted on dietary factors I believe are involved in NAFLD. In rodents, feeding a large amount of sugar or industrial seed oils (corn oil, etc.) promotes NAFLD, whereas fats such as butter and coconut oil do not (2). In human infants, enteric feeding with industrial seed oils causes severe liver damage, whereas the same amount of fat from fish oil doesn't, and can even reverse the damage done by seed oils (3). [2013 update: obesity is probably the main contributor to NAFLD.  Obesity is associated with ectopic fat deposition in a number of organs, including the liver]

So basically, I think excessive sugar and industrial oils could be involved NAFLD, and if you look at diet trends in the US over the last 40 years, they're consistent with the idea.

I recently came across a study that examined the diet of Canadian children with NAFLD (6). The children had a high sugar intake, a typical (i.e., high) omega-6 intake, and a low omega-3 intake. The authors claimed that the children also had a high saturated fat intake, but at 10.5% of calories, they were almost eating to the American Heart Association's "Step I" diet recommendations**! Total fat intake was also low.

High sugar consumption was associated with a larger waist circumference, insulin resistance, lower adiponectin and elevated markers of inflammation. High omega-6 intake was associated with markers of inflammation. Low omega-3 intake was associated with insulin resistance and elevated liver enzymes. Saturated fat intake presumably had no relation to any of these markers, since they didn't mention it in the text.

These children with NAFLD, who were all insulin resistant and mostly obese, had diets high in omega-6, high in sugar, and low in omega-3. This is consistent with the idea that these three factors, which have all been moving in the wrong direction in the last 40 years, contribute to NAFLD.

* Fatty liver was assessed by liver enzymes, admittedly not a perfect test. However, elevated liver enzymes do correlate fairly well with NAFLD.

** Steps I and II were replaced by new diet advice in 2000. The AHA now recommends keeping saturated fat below 7% of calories.  However, the new recommendations focus mostly on eating real food rather than avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Random Friday

Yesterday we had 4 of our scraggly pine trees removed.  When the guys were back there taking down the trees, they found this little cutie (above & below) with a hurt leg.  He wasn't afraid of us at all, and right before animal control arrived, I snapped some glamour shots.  (We were pretty sure he was rabid but he was just sooooo adorable!!!)  Raccoons are almost like little wolf-monkeys.  We gave him some pizza and I think he got to enjoy his last hour or so of life- munching away and hanging on my neighbor's step.  When the officer arrived, he confirmed he was rabid & could see that he was self-mutilating (that was the leg injury we had noticed.)  I had no idea rabid animals did that.  The officer said that this was Day 1 and that by Day 2 he would be more agressive & would continue to self-mutilate and that he had to shoot him.  (He attempted to catch him but couldn'tm so out came his .22)   It was pretty awful, but I'm just so thankful the tree guys found him before Christian or our pup did!  


And for some more randomness, I've been playing with my lab beakers and my collection is growing:

I used some sprigs from that indestructible crazy bush that grows in the side of my house that I love so much.  And check out our 2 yr-old's scooter on the back patio in the corner of the pic below...  it's getting so warm!!!  wahoooooooooo

We've also been making good progress on the nursery.  (I say "good" because it feels like it's been forever since we started.  We usually bang projects out in a weekend but we're trying to focus more on life vs, blowing through projects.)   It's painted and things are up on the walls and we've gotten all but 1 fabric finished.  Our last step is hanging some curtains & shelving.  Cannot wait to show you!!!  here's Justin enjoying his owls:

So happy Friday & enjoy your weekend & get outside!!!  (How beautiful is this weather???!!!)  Come on Spring!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Morgan 3 Wheeler Prototype (In Progress)

An in progress scan of the next ink painting, based on the Morgan Prototype as photographed outside Malvern College 1910 (Morgan Motor Co.)
The photo was taken from Martyn Webbs incredible book "Morgan, Malvern and Motoring"

Historic 1913 Cyclecar

1913 Morgan Cyclecar Racer
(Indian Ink on Bristol Board, 29 x 42cm)

The first in a series of ink paintings that will be available at the Morgan Three Wheeler National opening run, Bourton-on-the-Water on Sunday 11th April. Stay tuned for further information.

Original photo that this painting is based on can be found at the Morgan Motor Company website as a lovely high res scan:

Map advertising Take 3

Google takes another crack at making money from map based advertising. From today a handful of Australian companies are able to display their logos on Google Maps (only official site, not the Google Map API option) in locations corresponding to their offices or business outlets. The markers appear only if you zoom very close.

Last year Google introduced clickable mini-markers on its public Google Map site. Things like train or bus stations, museums and other places of significance can now be “clicked on” for additional information. Markers are subtly incorporated into the overall design of the map so they do not detract from map browsing experience. Company logos are just an extension of this concept as Google tries to find more money making channels.

The first attempt to place advertisements directly on the maps was rather disappointing. Developers could “allow” those ads to appear as little markers when users zoomed to a particular location on a map but there was never enough advertising stock available to make it really pay and Google dropped the idea. Then Google allowed developers to incorporate normal text ads within the map. The ads are served according to relevance for the geographic extents shown on the map. This is a good concept but I haven’t seen many sites incorporating it yet.

This last initiative is only a test in Australia and New Zealand and if successful will be rolled out in other countries. I am not sure how this one will work out for Google. There is a whole range of logistic issues here – for example, accuracy and completeness of point locations for a particular company. It requires some effort to compile and maintain. And if cost of this activity is factored in the cost of advertising, it may be quite an expensive option for advertisers (advertising fees have not been revealed yet beyond that this is cost per thousand views arrangement). If bank, ATM, petrol stations and other POI locations were made available via Google Map API, I would gladly display that info on my maps for free!

via Google Maps Mania

Related post: Google Maps with ads revisited

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Guest Blog Before & After: Janell from Isabella & Max Rooms

Please welcome super-stylish designer Janell Beals from Isabella & Max Rooms!

I feel very honored to be writing this guest post for Lauren and her delightfully beautiful blog today. Whenever I see a new post by Lauren I happily open it, anticipating that I will be inspired.

Today I'm going to recap three of my recent projects, all using chalkboard paint. It seems I have been bitten by the chalkboard craze! It's hard not to be. This paint offers up so many possibilities and it is just such a fun project that keeps on giving after you've stored away the paint and cleaned the brushes.

Project #1: Chalkboard/Art Wall. Here an entire wall became a chalkboard and the backdrop for an art wall in my husband's home office. I had considered several ideas on how to treat the wall behind the photos and images, finally deciding upon chalkboard paint when I realized whatever I did needed to be cheap...

Project #2: Chalkboard Lamps. Yes, I know, this doesn't initially sound like a good idea. But look at the result! I had a pair of lamps that needed a little pick me up as I started working on Max's bedroom. It was a quick project with a fun outcome. And what is best? Max loves them.

Project #3: Chalkboard Stripe. Here a wide chalkboard stripe was painted around the perimeter of Max's bedroom. (I swear, I've run out of the paint and I'm not going back to the store for more anytime soon!) Before starting the redesign of Max's room I had a "client interview" with him. It was amazing how much inspiration and direction I got from his answers. Among his requests for the room was the color black, to bring in a chalkboard and to get rid of the plain walls. It quickly dawned on me that I could easily address all three of these requirements with one item...chalkboard paint. Everyone in the family has gotten in on the writing and drawing, suddenly Max's room is the most popular spot in the house!

So tell me, where would you use some chalkboard paint in your house?

Thank you Lauren for inviting me to write this guest post.


Thanks so much for sharing these awesome projects with us Janell!!  I love how you did a client interview with Max & have really worked to create a room he loves.  You've used chalkboard paint in such creative ways and I love it!!!   (the frames on the walls/  the lamps/!! so awesome) 

Happy St.Pattie's Day!!!