All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Birds on the telephone line are crying out to me...

I'm all about collecting things and showing off your collections. I have a bunch of owl banks around my house, placed strategically in various feng shui areas for luck, as well as aesthetics (hey, they're cute, okay?)

Here they are, all together:

And why stop with the banks? West Elm has these super cute measuring cups and butter dish with a retro owl theme right now:

And we've also got all these owl and pussycat things around the house. One of our favorites is a sketch done by a friend who was housesitting for us:

And we've also got a collection of the dynamic duo on a wall:

Of course, nothing compares to the friendliest pussycat in the world, Mister Chino!

What are you collecting these days? C'mon, share with us!

It's Going to Take Some Time - Dishwalla by jezcle

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Don't blame this sleeping satellite...

So I don't know if any you know this or not, but Mercury (the planet) has been in retrograde this month. And boy have I been feeling it! It's like, everything that could go wrong at Ye Olde Dayjobbe has gone wrong. Curtain hardware for one project has been declared defective not just once but TWICE, delaying one installation. And another project has had multiple pieces delayed either by misunderstandings, techinical difficulties, or shipping/freight errors.

For a large commercial project I've been working on, it turned out that a check for a table was sent to the wrong vendor and was never sent back! Someone working on the same project just replied to an e-mail I sent back in MAY.

Susan Miller says this crazy time will end soon, but still...I've got to deal with craziness and madcap hilarity until August 26. Basically, I keep hitting my head against my desk as the bad news rolls in, saying to my coworkers over and over again, "Why me? Why me?"

At home, my DVR died after five years of faithful service. Goodbye to movies I recorded and will never see, like The Seven Samurai and Jindabyne. I guess I'll have to check online for the next few days to see what happens on Degrassi or Design Star. Needless to say, the liquor cabinet is constantly stocked with bourbon right now.

What craziness has been happening to you lately? I'm interested in knowing how this Mercury retrograde phase is affecting us all...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This is your payback, moneygrabber

Projects are bound to get super personal when family is involved. When my mother decided it was finally time to paint her house after 20 years of neglect and bad decisions, it was finally time to play the "Dammit Mom, I'm a professional now" card.

Here's what the house looked like earlier in the year when she first started thinking about painting:

You can't see it that photo, but there are missing roof tiles, horribly tarnished and pockmarked brass light fixtures, and these crazy mis-matched tiles along the bottom of the stucco that were a short-sighted solution for some water damage. My mother has never asked for my design advice before (you should see the granite she chose for her kitchen several years ago--the backsplash alone defies any logic!)


But she finally caved and let me do some damage control. First I chose a darker taupe/warm gray paint color for the stucco that made the weird slate tiles look somewhat integrated. This was hard to do since the tiles came in varying shades of gray and rust. I also wanted to find a nice shade of gray that worked with the red barrel tile roof. It was a real challenge!

After freshening up the columns, trim, and door with a fresh coat of white paint (I tried to paint the door black, but my mother was having none of that), I chose simpler weathered bronze lights for the entry and the garage doors--this finish wouldn't age nearly as badly as the old polished brass fixtures. And the frosted glass cover would hide the mish mash of compact fluorescent bulbs that were being used.

Through a family friend, my mother found painters who would do all the work for $2000. I was nervous about this and wanted to make sure they knew the scope of the work involved--all the painting, the various parts of the roof that needed attention and new tiles, the fact that I saw a bunch of wasps flying around certain parts, etc. I worked closely with my brother (who lives close by) to make sure we were all on the same page about what had to be done.

Naturally I also had freakouts about what my mother apparently wanted to have done for $2000. In the end, they did a pretty good job. Of course I noticed a few things, like a spot on the front door that could have been spackled and smoothed out before painting, and the wrong finish used on the trim and columns...but for that price, my mother was happy and I paid for half of the paint and supplies. (The roof ended up being another a separate expense since the damage was waaaay out of the painters' league.)

Next year...we tackle in the interior painting. Get ready to hear about the tears and screaming over that project, folks. (You know I'm going to insist on a dark ebony banister with white balusters while she'll want to keep the price low!)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pictures of you, pictures of me remind us all of what we used to be...

Yesterday my partner and I went to one of our favorite bookstores in the East Bay, Serendipity Books. This huge space is carved out like a rabbit's warren and there are so many books, boxes, and bags you can get lost.

Sadly, they're also going out of business due to the death of the proprietor.

Since the store is only vaguely categorized, it's sometimes hard to find things you're looking for. More often than not, you find things that are happy accidents, like the old Dictionary of Slang I got yesterday. It even had a four-leaf clover pressed between its pages--I felt so lucky like I was "sitting in a tub of butter!"

Almost a year ago, we spied this hot '70s-era painting there gathering dust. The price was kind of high for us, so we just let it go. But yesterday we were able to get it for less than half of the 1980 gallery price listed on the back. For what it is (an acrylic mixed media piece) we thought it was cool. Then we found out it came from the collection of a publisher who championed poets and writers like Harold Norse and Thom Gunn, who my partner had interviewed in the past.

I keep lecturing y'all to get some original art in your spaces, so keep looking! It can come from dusty, magical old bookstores, thrift stores, or even from your talented friends. Case in point, my friend Stephen Williams. I recently got one of his paintings and have been hunting high and low for the right frame for it.

I think my/our next acquisition will be something more abstract. Balance is important, too. So many pieces around our flat are figurative or highly graphic or based on typography. Even though those things are near and dear to our hearts (I'm talking about my partner, who's a writer, and me--a former graphic designer), we have to keep challenging ourselves and pushing our boundaries.

Art should provoke thought--whether they're relaxing thoughts or some political diatribe is completely up to you and how you want your home to feel!