House TalkN is a fun lookiloo at houses, houses, houses. It will answer pressing questions like, "When folks build a McMansion on a small lot, what are they compensating for?" or "Was the real estate agent drunk when they staged this house?" or "Why don't the Smiths' ever leave their drapes open when I am on a harmless walk-by?"

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A "Sisters Gnoming"

This group of sisters took time out of their reunion to "Pay It Forward- Get Your Gnome On!"
Right down Main Street, Anytown, USA

The Gnome has landed!
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Friday, July 29, 2011

I'm Over The Moon For "Checkered Moon" !

Here is HouseTalkN's  "Q and A" with Sharon Crow, the woman behind my favorite local shop, Checkered Moon!

How and when did CHECKERED MOON come to be?
Well, hello there! I’m Sharon Crow, the proud proprietor of Checkered Moon! My little shop came to life about ten years ago. For those who know me … they know that I have a lot of creative “sirens” in my head that needed an outlet. My son was entering middle school and well, you know how that goes! So, that created a small window to turn my “off” time into something more “full” time. Hence, with the prompting of friends, an adorable and supportive husband, and the shop help of my dear friend, Kerry, Checkered Moon was born. To quote Helen Keller … “life is either a daring adventure or nothing” … so, adventure it was!

Where did the name CHECKERED MOON come from?

I guess a little back story is needed … what you need to know about me, is that sleep is not my friend! Sleep seems to come to me in snippets and as life has rolled on … I’ve learned to roll with it and accept my middle-of-the-night wanderings (thirty years in … my husband has too)! In design, and in naming something as important as a shop, I love the hard and soft details mixing together … so, I needed a design element quick … enter the word “moon” … then, during my middle-of-the-night thoughts, the name Checkered Moon popped into my head and I listened. I nudged my sweet husband David and said “whaddya think”? … it gained a mumbled “sounds great” and I never looked back. Voila … Checkered Moon is born!

"Listen To The World" banner

Big things are happening for CHECKERED MOON - what’s the big scoop?

I like to think big things are always happening at Checkered Moon … but, you are right … Checkered Moon is changing and growing (as any ten year old does) … and in a good way! Checkered Moon is still staying right where we are in Old Farm Shops. We have always been the place for the perfect gift, home accent, baby item or fabulous women’s finds … but, our space is limited. We feel it’s just as important for us to help fit a new mom with her baby’s first pair of shoes - to finding the perfect wedding or graduation gift - to helping a new house buyer pick out that special rug for their living room. Customer service is our priority … so, we realized that it was getting harder and harder to help everyone with so many areas to cover. Also, many customers were and are unaware that I do in-home design work! Yes, Checkered Moon comes to your home!
So, with all that said … our new “adventure is taking over the Jennifer North space in Old Farm Shops and we’re expanding home … I don’t want to give too much away but think design with a smile! We will be tweaking Checkered Moon ever so slightly by adding a few new lines that we know our customers are gonna love. We are shooting for a mid-to-late August opening and you will be the first to know the details when they are final. Oh, and by the way, the name of our newest addition came to me in the same way Checkered Moon did … in the middle of the night ;-) ! I look forward to sharing it with you real soon …

Yep- Gorgeous clothing to boot!

What has been the best part of running the shop?

One word … the people … okay so that’s two words! But, truthfully … it’s the people. They are the reason I’m still here in business and why I still am wanting to grow our little world called Checkered Moon! We’re riding the wave called the economy and holding tight … I am a firm believer in small local shops and will do what I can to maintain ours! We cater to everyone but women are our true customer base … they are mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. I can’t say enough about the joys of getting to know others life stories … whether it’s in their homes or in the shop … the experience of meeting all these fabulous people whom I can now call friend is invaluable.  And look at this … I’ve just made a new friend … You!
So, thanks Kerry Rossow for thinking of my little shop, Checkered Moon, that has big new plans … stay tuned!

Nuttin' but eye candy!
A pillow lovers' dreamboat!

These whacky napkins always set the tone of parties!

Recognize "my" coveted pillow?

For a "shades of white" gal like me, my heart goes pitterpat!

Be still my beating heart!  

No one is left out- chic for the mini-me's!

Need a baby gift?  Got it covered!

I think I may have drooled at this point...

"Say Grace", "Mother May I?" and "Sunday Suppers"  LOVE!

That's right- jewelry, too!

Do the numbers keep track of your drink count?
Anyone who is joining HouseTalkN's "Pay it Forward- Get Your Gnome On!"- looky what I found at Checkered Moon!
Get your gnome on!

THANK YOU, SHARON!  The only thing better than Checkered Moon is Checkered Moon EXPANDING!

Stay tuned - HouseTalkN will keep you posted on Checkered Moon updates!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Photography Challenge!

One of the reasons that I started blogging, was to mix all my favorite things- houses, gardens, friends, family and PHOTOGRAPHY!

So...I was so excited to join Laura Beth over at A Step In The Journey for a photography challenge!

This is Day 1,Week 1- Self Portrait...
I put this off  and put this off until 5pm today.  I like to be BEHIND the camera.
Not only do I get to watch my loved ones through a purdy lens, but my camera also provides a barrier when I need it.
Let's just say I am at a school sing-a-long and there is no way in you know what that I am unleashing my singing voice on small children...To avoid the harry eyeball of the cheery, singing mothers, I hide behind my camera.
Or... let's say I am at a baseball game and I am losing the "mumble" battle (you know- mumbling things like "Sit your !#$ down and shut up, BillyBob" or maybe-  "I'm gonna make you eat that foam #1 if you wave it in my face one more time".... maybe it's just me?)  I just hide behind my camera!
Voila- embarrassing and inappropriate moments averted!
I like to pretend that I am a tough cookie.  If I am getting choked up at ANY event, I just hide out BEHIND my camera.
Are you seeing a pattern?  BEHIND the camera.
So...I cannot tell you how uncomfortable I was taking pictures of my own dern self!  It's one thing for someone else to take my picture but HELLO?
I bit the bullet and did it-- from BEHIND the camera!
Here goes:

For most of the pictures on HouseTalkN, I use my point and shoot Panasonic Lumix.  I stole borrowed this Nikon D90 from my friend, Jen Cochrane.  (Jen shot HouseTalkN's twist on "'50's housewives" slideshow.)  I pretend to be a photographer... Jen is the real deal photographer.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The "Runner" Love Affair!

I have had so many inquiries about the staircase runner in  the post featuring Abby Hobbs' home.

If you would like to copy install a similar carpet- take a peek at all of your choices!
HouseTalkN will be running a full feature on the lovelydoodle shop The Checkered Moon, but for you "runner lovers", here you go!
Check out   Checkered Moon, Champaign, Illinois. (Or give a ring-a-ling, 217-403-0263)
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Hillbilly Gnoming...

                                      "Pay it Forward- Get Your Gnome On!"  Hillbilly Style!

This here is Smokin' Bubba Gnome

Jethro Jailbird and BillyOtis
You have been GNOMED!

Yay! We posted bail- AGAIN!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Gnoming From The Dark Side!

Even Darth Vader left the dark side to "Pay It Forward- Get Your Gnome On!"

"Darth" Verlander went a' gnomin' in the Clark Park area.  He delivered a very tiny gnome in a spider plant to a house on Daniel Street tonight.  And chased it with some Cozy's custard.  So much fun...
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Gnome Field Trip!

 These local "gnomers" took their show on the road!  From a road trip to a belly crawl through suburbia, these ladies really know how to "Pay it Forward- Get Your Gnome On!"
(These camera phone images were turned over to local authorities late last night)
This was snapped just before the gnome was whisked away...
Safety first!

A belly crawl through the jungle...HEY!  I recognize those pearls!

Mission Accomplished!

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sneak Peek...Announcement Coming Soon!

Can You Name This Shop?  HouseTalkN won't only name it on Monday, but will also share their BIG NEWS!
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Just In...Spiderman Involved In Gnoming!

                       SPIDERMAN "PAYS IT FORWARD!"

Spiderman was spotted "gnoming" near a local park!
                                 AND, WHO IS HIS MASKED MYSTERY ACCOMPLICE??

"Pay It Forward- Get Your Gnome On!"  YOU COULD BE NEXT!
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Before and After, A Mother/Daughter Soiree!

I love to plan parties.  More to the point, I love to decorate for parties.
Here are some ideas for a "Mother and Daughter" outdoor soiree!  (Remember how much I love to say "SOIREE!"?)
The "Daughter" table before

The "Mother" table before

I used an old baby quilt as a tablecloth and VOILA- the
daughter table is ready!

I heart pink depression glass!
Just loop a ribbon around the "kickstand"

Baby pictures as chair nametags!

Somebody shout "SOIREE!!"
My daughter pointed out that almost all of my girlfriends are mother's to her girlfriends!  Little does she know, I actually had a life before she was born.  Little did I know, I would be so touched watching them make their own girlfriends!

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Pictures, Pictures, PICTURES!

I often wonder if I have a picture problem.  I can't get enough pictures.  Love to take 'em, love to display 'em, and I love to share 'em.  I see my friend's eyes glossing over at about picture number 82.  Ooops.
I come from a long line of "Picture-a-holics".  My grandmother's walls were covered with our school pictures alongside portraits of Elvis.  This was a woman who had a ceramic animal kingdom in her yard- that she decorated with the changing seasons.  She even put earmuffs on the "geese" on cold days.   I am determined to break this cycle.
I once heard a decorator say that personal pictures should be reserved for the bedroom.  Well, if they are nudey shots, ok.  But, otherwise - reeeeeaally?
I decided to give it a go and relocate some "personal" pictures to my bedroom.   Here's what I did:
When we remodeled our kitchen, this built-in door bit the dust.
It found a new home (RE-USE/RE-CYCLE) as a picture frame!

Blah, before.

I put all my black and white pictures under the glass topper!
Now, the dresser surface is clear!   

And, I still get to enjoy some of my favorite pictures!

Now, I just need to clear the front of my refrigerator!  Ehh... Maybe next summer.

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