Friday, January 29, 2010

Things That Would Be Fun To Do On My 39th Birthday

I started out with simple thoughts, like getting one of these.

Pedicure Polish by FoundryParkInn.source

Then I thought I might as well go somewhere to show off my polished piggies.

320/CDSPY2 - {just beachy} by crustydolphin.source

And if I’m going that far, I might as well go this far (you can’t see me, but I’m waving to you from the ship).

Overlook at Paradise Point by preetalina ° Preeti Desai.source

Yep, if I have to have it, I might as well enjoy it, right?

39 by qwrrty.source


Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Little Taste of Summer

Right about now is the time of year when winter fatigue starts to settle in for me. I’m tired of gray days, tired of short days, tired of wet and muddy, and I’m really, really tired of cold.

My mother was a gardener of both vegetables and flowers. This is the time of year that she would sit down with her seed and bulb catalogs and plan her gardens.

I, unfortunately, did not inherit her green thumb. House plants enter my abode kicking and screaming, knowing that their lifespan has been shortened considerably just by crossing the threshold. The few times I’ve attempted tomato plants have yielded no more than one or two runty, mealy tomatoes not worth eating.

Basically, I gave up long ago.

Then at the end of last summer, I stumbled upon the book All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.


You build a raised bed 4ftx4ft, divide it into sixteen squares, and plant a veggie (or whatever) in each square. No more tilling up your whole yard and endless rows of weeding, etc. (There’s more to it than that, but I’ll let you read the book.)

Fortunately, Craig is enthusiastic about giving this a try, so as usual he will be the brawn behind the project. If all goes well, I’m hoping to have some of these this summer:

Fullscreen capture 1272010 105403 PM.bmp source

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Fullscreen capture 1272010 110847 PM.bmp source

Well, I’m optimistic, at least! And I enjoyed that little glimpse of summer; hope you did too.

Seriously, if you are considering planting a garden this year, especially if this will be your first and you don’t already have a big garden laying fallow in your backyard, check out this book. It really looks like a brilliant why-didn’t-anybody-think-of-this-before method and gets great reviews on Amazon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Browsing Craigslist

Thought I’d do some window shopping at my local craigslist tonight.  I’m not looking for anything specific, but I’ve found some great stuff that way!

Here’s an 1950s milk crate for $10.  Perfect for rolled up towels in the bathroom, logs by the fireplace, or magazines.  (Wouldn’t it be cool if the milkman still came to your door every morning?)


A working vintage fan, also $10.  It’s strange how little regard they had for safety back in the day.  A kid could stick his whole hand in there, and don’t think he wouldn’t consider it!


Somebody is selling a houseful of these old doors for $30 each.  I love old doors; I have three in my basement waiting to be transformed.  But the question here is why are they taking these doors out?  Look at the ceramic knobs and the fabulous trim!  Let’s hope they aren’t going to replace them with some cheap white 6-panels!


Somebody’s already done the work for you on this set of tables; at least it looks to me like a makeover.  They want $75 for the set…not a steal, but fairly reasonable.


This dresser is free.  FA-REEEE!  I don’t have use or space for another dresser or I’d snatch it up in a heartbeat.  It would be really cute painted.


And here are my latest craigslist purchases.  Warning:  bad flash photography ahead.

This old metal box is on wheels.  A lady was clearing out her dad’s house after he had gone into a retirement home, and was selling it for $10.


I put it under the entertainment armoire to hold dvds and stuff.    It has a handle that makes it very easy to wheel it out and back.  In real life I don’t have a spotlight shining on the armoire, so the box doesn’t really show up as that lighter brown; it just kind of blends with the wood.  Which also looks different in low light.


While I was there, she had several other things to sell, and I ended up with this other metal case for an extra $5.  I don’t currently have anything in it, so its job is just to look cool.


For more about craigslist see these posts: 

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Linking up with DIY at A Soft Place to Land.

We have a built-in desk in our dining area where we keep the family computer. The kitchen/dining/family room are all open to one another, across the back of the house. Although I wouldn’t call it a great room, because size-wise it’s not that great. Anyway, I like having the computer out in public where I can keep an eye on what’s going on.

IMG_2679 Photo taken as we were moving in; from family room looking toward dining/kitchen, desk on right.

The problem is that it’s a mess magnet, and even if the mess is cleaned up, the computer and printer and all the cords create their own visual clutter.


You may notice the drawers pulled out with a board laid across for the keyboard. That was our solution to one of those what-was-the-builder-thinking problems: the desk surface is too high to use comfortably. When I sit in the chair, the original desk is at chest height. Typing was giving me lots of neck and shoulder aches. So while this may not be beautiful, it’s more functional. Theoretically, I can put that all away when it’s not in use. Realistically, it stays out pretty much permanently.

Today I had two goals: hide the mess, and recover the chair seat. Remember this chair makeover


using my garage sale fabric that was also used on the kitchen windows,


but that fabric on the chair seat literally shredded, just from normal daily use.


This time I used the garage sale fabric to sew a little curtain to hide the mess behind. Four straight seams and a tension rod did the trick. Originally I was going to use the small check to cover the seat of the chair, because the scale of the large check was too similar to the scale of the garage sale fabric.


But as Craig and I looked at it, the small check began to kind of quiver and do something weird to our eyes; I seriously felt a little nauseous. So, the big check it was, scale or no scale. But I still think the small check would look better.


The cool thing was that Craig got on board while I was working on the fabric, and he drilled a hole in the desktop and fed all the cords down through it. Now that mess is all under here behind the curtain


instead of all over the top of the desk. Perfect? No. Better? Definitely!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Life Lessons from an Apothecary Jar

This table sits at the bottom of the stairs, with the big heavy mirror sitting on it and propped against the wall.


For Christmastime, the display looked more or less like this. There are the stairs in the mirror. Also note the apothecary jar on the left with the ceramic alphabet balls.


A couple of weeks ago I was sitting, where else?, at the computer, which is around the corner and out sight from the bottom of the stairs. Suddenly, a terrific crashing noise pierced the air along with the sound of shattering glass.

I flew around the corner, to find one of these sitting amidst the rubble.


The mirror was facedown on the floor along with all of the decorative items. I arrived on the scene at the same time as did a crying child, saying “Sorry Mama! Sorry, Mama!”. Said child had purposely sent the ball down the staircase.

Too late for apologies. I was already unglued.

My reaction, while it won an Oscar for best drama, was not pretty. Nor was it proportional to the crime. No, it took on a life of its own, looming over the situation in such a way that it became the main offense.

I was worried about my stuff. I thought it was all destroyed. As it turned out, it wasn’t so bad. My white cake plate was chipped, and so was the little cottage. The mirror, surprisingly, was intact, but the apothecary jar was garbage. I was especially upset about that jar.

In the calm after the storm, as I picked up the shards of glass and gathered up the ceramic balls (all intact), I found the lid to the jar, unbroken.

I needed a place to put the alphabet balls. I had this jar…maybe the lid would fit.


It did fit, and now I have this. And I like it better all the way around: I like this jar better with a lid than without, and I like this lidded jar better than the original apothecary jar.


But so what? For a few moments I let my love of stuff come before the feelings of my child. There is no doubt in my mind that none of us will ever forget that moment. The children (because all three of them reacted to it) hopefully, one day, will laugh ruefully and say “remember that time…”.

And I, even though I have asked for forgiveness from the child and from God, will always feel shame when I think of it.

I’m not coming to any grand and wise conclusion here; this article isn’t going to make it into any parenting magazines. I just hope that this experience will help me to remember to keep first things first. The house isn’t first. Decorating isn’t first. That stuff is all for the people who live here. They are first.

The rest is just stuff.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mood Board

Aaaak! My computer has been running extraordinarily slowly this evening and I accidentally closed Live Writer without saving the post I was working on, so I have to start all over!

I’ve spent hours some time today browsing the internet and playing around with Polyvore for the first time, with this bedroom in mind. Because you know there’s no way I could or would just go out and buy everything she used.

That’s not a bad thing, though, because it made me step back and realize that while I love the feel of Sarah’s bedroom, my own bedroom would out of necessity end up being somewhat different. In fact, some things would be different because my style (for now, anyway) leans a little more cottage/vintage than modern/sleek.

And now that I’ve spent all that time on Polyvore, I can’t figure out how to get my set over here. So, I’ll do this one by one, doggonit. These are just possibilities, not probabilities.

Coverlet from Target, $89.

coverlet Found the actual lamp at Lamps Plus for $160, not crazy outrageous, but way more than I would spend. I do quite like it, though.


Here’s a possible alternative from JC Penney, $80. Totally different, I know, but ain’t it purdy? In reality, I hope to find something at a thrift store that will run me more like $10-20 once I do the required makeover.


I found the actual fabric Sarah used. I’m pretty sure on the show she said it was only about $11/yard, but this is the store she got it from and it’s $30/yd. It’s 110” wide, though. Maybe I could just buy one yard and use it to make pillows and recover the seat of my chair.fabric

Sarah used this very throw from Ikea, $30. Nice to see she’s not afraid to go slumming.ofelia This cotton/linen pillow cover is only $6, also Ikea.


This white cotton/linen feather-filled pillow gives the appearance of a monogram, $13 at Ikea.

whitepillowOne thing I can see is that I’ve strayed away from the cream accent color and gone with white. I guess I’d have to make a decision one way or the other before I started buying stuff.

Welp, I feel like this is an incomplete post, but I have been sitting here for literally hours wrestling with my computer and everything, and I’m ready to wash my hands of the whole affair. And so, complete or not, it is finished.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My New Muse?

Have you seen the new show Sarah’s House on HGTV?  I think I missed the first couple of episodes; the one I saw was this past Saturday night.

Sarah is not entirely new to HGTV.  I seem to remember a show a few years ago called Design Inc.  Also, I believe that HGTV stateside is a late-comer on the Sarah’s House scene.  Sarah is Canadian (woo hoo, fellow Canuck!), and I think the show has already aired up there on HGTV Canada.  According to the website, she is now working on Sarah’s Cottage.

Anyway, the episode I saw was about her master bedroom renovation, and I was smitten.  Love!

Sarah says “I like a room that seems bright and airy during daylight hours but can transition into a moody, sultry space when twilight falls.” source

The color scheme is gray and cream.  So tranquil.  So….sultry!



I’m actually not a huge fan of the nightstands or dresser, but the look as a whole makes me swoon.


Oh to have the dark hardwood floors!


I’ve already put Craig on alert that this summer we are going to redo our bedroom.  I’ve been looking for inspiration, and this just went to the top of the list!

Can’t wait to see the other episodes!  (I may cheat and look through them all at the HGTV Canada website!)

All photos:  Stacey Brandford and HGTV Canada

Friday, January 15, 2010

Powder Room, Phase 2

This week started with phase 1 of the powder room makeover. Yesterday I finally got around to adding a few more touches.

Waaayyyy back in December 2008, I won a giveaway at Nesting Place for artwork by Laryssah Herbert.  I chose two watercolor eggs, and they have been sitting in an envelope on my dresser ever since because I didn’t have a good spot for them.  (Just thought I’d throw in that I won Nester’s giveaway this week, too!  I guess she likes me.)

Back to the eggs.  They’re perfect for my bathroom, but I needed frames.  Naturally, I went to the thrift store, where I found these for $1.50 for the lot.  Hello, 1990! 


Never fear, Heirloom White to the rescue for both frames and mats.  I hung them too high and needed something on to sit on the tank and fill in the space.  The little “2” tin I also found at the thrift store on the same day; it was about $1.  I stuck in some grassy stuff that I used in my Christmas garland 2008.  Since the tank lid is rounded and things tend to slide off, I used a glob of stick-tack underneath the tin to hold it.


Directly across from the toilette (say it with a French accent; it sounds nicer) is this little wicker shelf.  The tinted egg print has been sitting there since I made it before Christmas.  I brought in the little birds from elsewhere in the house.


The little bird plate on the bottom shelf I found a a thrift store a few days ago.  The colors were perfect for this room.  That’s not the ideal spot for it, but it works for now.


I’m not sure what eggs and birds have to do with the potty, but the colors worked, so there you have it.  My bird-themed powder room.