October 19, 2006

Patriotic Birds

I've been obsessed with birds, birdfeeders and bird accessories since February when I found a hummingbird nest outside my window. Since then, I've decked our porch with various feeding implements and lures to attract the local bird population. I was wildly successful but in two short months my porch could have been a scene from CSI. Excrement, seed shrapnel and sticky red hummingbird nectar covered every inch and the rat-birds (pigeons) were leaving thick oily deposits all along the railing. I was quickly disillusioned with nature's small spirits.

The birds are no longer welcome. I took down all the feeders and ran outside shouting and jumping when hungry sparrows circled the porch screaming for more seed. After a few weeks they got the idea and moved sadly on. I was left with heaps of bird accessories so when I got pregnant my nesting instincts devised an unlikely plan to assimilate the accouterments into our home.

I've tried to give each room in our apartment a cohesive theme. The results haven't been ideal. I ended up with the living room as "Corporate Ikea-Asian," the kitchen as "French Dumpster," my bedroom as "Modern Beachside Stomach Ache" and Pixie's room was formerly "Fun with Felt." Anything would be an improvement, right?

I give you the new and improved theme of Pixie's room: Patriotic Birds. Catchy, ain't it? I got on eBay and bought 40+ fake birds and lots of tiny bird houses to festoon the room. Somehow along they way I decided each fowl was a a petite Paul Revere and the red white and blue color scheme crept in. Imagine if The Birds and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington had been filmed on the same set on the same day. That's the room.

Surprise, surprise, I got carried away with the theme as evidenced by some strange mental dilemmas I confronted. I had to debate whether to authenticate the decor by dripping white acrylic paint down the sides of the birdhouses and feeders to replicate poop. I compromised with a subtle splatter over certain elements. And the whole idea of integrating the different types of birds for a PC effect when everyone knows that "birds of a feather flock together" was difficult to enforce. In the end, I left a few clusters of pro-segregation birds but also integrated other groups of birds to simulate our own society's' varying degrees of tolerance. But my darkest moment came in JoAnne's craft store when I saw a denim pillow and thought "hey, that would look great with Patriotic Birds!" But Jiminy Cricket quickly reminded me that the day I decorate with denim is the day I get chased by mobs out of L.A. so I sadly continued on down the isle.

Pixie seems appropriately moved by the new decor. I hope this red white and blue brainwashing doesn't turn her into mini-Hitler. But thanks to Patriotic Birds, I'm pretty sure she won't turn out to be a flag-burner either.

For the die hards out there, here's a link to some more photos of the room.


Mumsy said...

Uh, why is my name at the top of your photo album? I mean, nice of you to think of me, but why give me undue authorship of your album? Is it because I often identify myself as "Verukah," our cherished little moniker given you during our "only child" trip to France and England? Whatever you wanted, you got. Including a new name. But what have I done to merit this undue appropriation of my real name?

Lisa M. said...


LOVED the pictures!

Samantha said...

I must be a die hard b/c I totally looked at those pictures.

I had a dream last night that I was at some sort of Benac get together and I gave a speech about being glad that I'm connected to such a cool family. But no one in the crowd was listening, everyone was playing with kids and laughing, and kind of listening out of the corner of their eyes and ears. What a weird dream!

I've always wanted to do a room by room theme. Perhaps just each room is a new color, like different shades. But my dream room is just a den of sorts but it could work for a kids' room - it's like to make it look like a backyard. Paint trees and bushes and a house exterior on the walls, and clouds and the sun and stuff, and have the carpet be green and long like grass, and have a little corner with no carpet, and have it be some kind of cool blue resin with fake fish stuck in there, like fake water you know. And I'd have a little bitty picket fence running around the whole room. And there would be a picnic table and umbrella, and a small open bbq pit in the corner with a TV sitting on it instead of food. And lawn chairs. Anything you can think of. I GET SO EXCITED JUST THINKING ABOUT THIS ROOM! It's been in my mind for years. One day. One. Day.

Lorie W. said...

Sarah, I'm so impressed. You never cease to amaze me. Who would have thought you could turn a bird feeder into a lamp?

Sarah said...

Samantha - that room of your sounds awesome! I love the bit about the resin pond corner with fish. The hard thing about doing a room like that is that you need to know you are in a house that you'll be in long enough to make it WORTH all the trouble. I had a big mural sketched out that I was going to paint on Penny's walls but in the end, we may decide to leave this apartment next month so I'll save it for a permanant home.

Funny dream! That's pretty much how it is in the Benac home. Nobody really listens to anyone because everyone thinks that they have the most important thing to say. We are a bunch of self-important yakers to be sure.

annie said...

I love it but once you started anylizing the whole thing it became so completely random and ridiculous that it made me feel less silly for having a safari themed living room. Thanks for the moral boost. SILLY THEMERS UNITE!!!!

Amanda said...

Wow, it looks like you're going through the "nesting" stage of pregnancy. Just kidding. That was a Dad Flake joke for sure. I liked the bird feeder lamp too. And the rest, but that was my favorite for sure.

Th. said...


Hoo. Nesting. Hoo.

But seriously, we haven't met, right?

Sarah said...

Sorry, Th. I'm pretty sure we've never met. I didn't go to Silly's wedding and have mostly seen her and her husband at my in-law's home in
Springville, Ut.

But in case you ever do make it out here to go to the Getty, we might be able to whip up a free tour guide for you here in L.A. and rectify the situation :)