Monday, May 31, 2010

Let There Be *More* Shelves

I came across a bunch of wire shelving at a church yard sale a few weeks ago.  This weekend, I put those to good use.  And... I checked off two more things on my To-Do list.


I have a big pantry.  After living for years with a kitchen with almost no storage, I overcompensated in this house.

My pantry has a number of wire shelves already in place.  One day, the wire shelves will be replaced by pretty cabinets and wood shelves.  I can picture the look I'm after... one of these days.   For now, these will do nicely.


In the pantry, the space above my microwave and breadmaker were empty. 
They were just begging for shelves. 


I added shelves over the freezer. There was room all around the pantry above the highest shelves.  I added one more row all around.  A bit more rearranging is in order.

As if the pantry weren't enough, the next day, I did a shelf makeover on my husband's closet.  

I still have a few shelves left.  They will have to wait. All of this leaning over a step stool, holding a 2-ton, monster drill has taken a toll on my back.  If I had a cane, I'd look just like this: 



Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dustin Graduates

My nephew, Dustin, graduated last night.  His class had close to 500 graduating.  It was a long, looooooonnnngggg ceremony!

It's no secret that I don't enjoy graduation ceremonies.  The parties afterward are great, but I hate being trapped listening to pomp and nonsense, even when it involves someone I really love. I think I've reached my lifetime limit of meetings and ceremonies.  Maybe after 10 or 15 years of retirement, I'll be able to tolerate them again.  Maybe not.

There were a few highlights where I came alert.  The first was a flyover.  It was very pretty.  Three planes flew over 3 times and did a few tricks.



Just as I was taking this picture, one veered off, looking as if there might be a collision. I jerked the camera as I snapped. 

The next bit of excitement was when they finally called my nephew's name.  I'm so proud of him - he's a really, really wonderful guy.


He's the one just to the right of the flag.  


This is Dustin walking to his seat.  I think this photo is interesting in that Dustin is fairly clear, but the others are a blur.  Some day, seemingly in the blink of an eye, his high school years will seem like a bit of a blur.

Another source of entertainment were the balloons that were flying all about.  It was interesting watching where they might go. It was getting windy.  Rain was predicted.  Really dark storm clouds were hovering over us for a good part of the night.  That was entertaining.  Will they finish before the rain starts?  Will lightening strike one of us?  How fast could I get out of this stadium?  Would we all be trampled in the rush to get out? There were even a few drops of rain here and there to keep this train of thought going.

More entertainment was to be had for people who know how to have fun when trapped.  My dad counted the girls with the name Nicole.  Apparently, Nicole was a really poplar name around here 18 years ago. My mom and I entertained ourselves by trying to make sense of the order names were called. I also, spent ages looking through the names to see who I taught in elementary school.

The graduating class was really amazing.  This is one of the best high schools in the state.  There were over 5 million dollars worth of scholarships awarded to this class and that doesn't include the HOPE scholarship fund sponsored by the state.  Sixty-four percent of the students graduated with honors.  My brother-in-law teasingly suggested grades were inflated.  Hey, hey, hey... not true.  Test scores back up this percentage.  I taught in this county and am very proud of its reputation.

The after party was much more fun.  When my niece graduates, I think I'll skip the ceremony and go directly to the party.


Here' my nephew with his proud mom (my sweet sister).
Pam looks so young, but actually, she'll be 45 in a few months.
Doesn't she look great?  Isn't Dustin a cutie?

This is Dustin with his girlfriend, Jessica.  They are so sweet together.

My good friend, Kathy, has always believed it is important to know how and when to gush properly.  When one receives a gift or favor, one should sincerely and appropriately carry on.  The giver should have no doubt that his gift or action was appreciated.

My nephew got many nice gifts.  I was very impressed with how he handled it.  This guy knows how to gush properly.  Nothing about his gushing was fake.  Each giver got a warm hug and plenty of carrying on as their gift was opened. 

I was completely distracted after this and completely forgot to take more photos.  There were other people I wish I had taken pictures of.  I should have taken a photo of the table, which included photos hanging from the chandelier.  I should have taken a picture of the cute graduation cake and the gifts.  I guess I'll have to check out photos taken by other people and hope they weren't as distracted..


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Stressful "Distressing" Paint Episode

I have had this table for years.  I got it at a yard sale I think - it's been so long ago that I don't even remember.  It has been used in a number of places over the years.  Eventually, it ended up on a screened porch where it took a bit of abuse.  Since moving, it has been in my attic. 


I decided it needed to be red.  I wanted a red table for our porch. I spent ages looking over red swatches and finally settled on a Ralph Lauren color.  When I went to Home Depot to pick it up, they had quit carrying Ralph Lauren paints.  Ugh - that paint was great - it covered so well.

Oh well.  I then looked through all of the Home Depot red swatches under their fluorescent lights (which no one should trust when picking out paint colors) and found one that I thought was fairly close.  The man who mixed my paint had a little trouble.  It was his first day in the paint department.  Lucky me.  Still I felt confident - everybody has a first day. 

I sanded (just a little) and primed and then put on my first coat of red.  Ugh.  Is this raspberry?  Noooo.  Surely it just needs another coat or two to look right.  Nope.  Several coats later. I had a hideous raspberry.  Was it a mixing error?  Did I choose a hideous raspberry? 

It would take 25 to 30 minutes to get to Home Depot.  Maybe I could just mix in a little black. It might be OK if it were a little darker.

After one (poorly covering) coat, I could see I would end up with a plum colored table.

Forget it.  I hate red.  I'll never paint furniture red again.  I primed over the whole thing.  Then I painted the table with a color I've been dying to try out.  It's the custom mix that Tracey at Notes From A Cottage Industry uses - her signature robin's egg blue.

I put one coat on - it was lovely.  Then, just as I was about to put on the second coat, I had an idea - if I did some sanding, a little red (or raspberry or plum) might show through and give the piece a distressed look. The table is not a fine piece of furniture - distressing it would be appropriate.  If it didn't work out, I'd just put a few more coats of blue on.  What's a few more coats of paint?


Now we're talking!  I loved it.  The raspberry showing through look snice since it's in small areas.  It gives the table a bit of character.  I'm not sure where on the porch it will end up.  I have a number of rockers I'm painting and I'll need several more tables to put around.


I think this table needs a red geranium on it.  Oh - and I really like the large wooden knob.  It looks so much better than the smaller ceramic one that was on it before.

This whole stressful, distressing, paint episode ended up being a happy accident.  If it hadn't looked terrible all along the way, it would have never gotten to the fun look it has today.


I have linked this post to Transformation Thursdays at The Shabby Chic Cottage.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Transformed: Round Blue Table

I found this sturdy little table at a yard sale (of course).  We used it for a bit in our family room to test out the size and shape. We have two comfy chairs and a table in between.  I hope to find a larger round table, but until I do, this is our best option. It's surprisingly heavy.  It's very well made.  It just isn't very attractive. The style is not my favorite, but I appreciate the quality.


After a coat of primer and two coats of Sherwin Williams 7616 Breezy, this little table has a new lease on life.


This is the front view.  It's hard to tell the color from this picture. It sure would look more attractive with a little merchandising - a lamp, a knick-knack or two.  I know how to merchandise - really I do!  But our world includes a dog who is a thief - he steals things off of tables.  The wooden basket on top of this table is where I hide my reading glasses from him.  We have cats who, for no apparent reason, like to freak out and make a mad dash through the house knocking over anything small and pretty as they go. We have a very refined, elderly dog - Lucy - who is a tad clumsy and doesn't see well anymore.  Her favorite place to lounge is behind this table.  I tried a lamp here ages ago, but the cord was in her way.  We love Lucy and the lamp just isn't that important. I thought about running a cord under the rug and up through a slit, but changed my mind.  Maybe if I find a larger table I'll do just that.


Here's a view of the table from behind.  This comes a little closer to the color, but is still not right.  The color has a little more gray.  My better half loves the color.  I was very surprised.  I thought he'd accept it, but he actually has commented several times on how much he likes the color.

I chose the color to bring out the blue in the fabric I purchased for slipcovering a chair.


I am completely smitten with this fabric. The blue table matches the blue in the fabric.  Again, this photo is not getting the blue right. I haven't been in a hurry to make the slipcovers because the chair in question needs to be painted.  It's on my to-do list - hopefully it'll get done soon.  Stay tuned!

I have linked this post to The Power of Paint party at Domestically Speaking.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Keepin' The Loft Cool

My loft has lots of windows.  There are 5 large double windows that face the south.  Since we designed our house using passive solar principles, the sun does not come in through those windows during the hot months.  We get plenty of light from them, but not direct sun.  In the winter, the sun is lower in the sky and we get lots of sun for added warmth.

There are two smaller windows in the loft.  One faces east, the other west.  We get morning sun all year long through one and evening through the other.  That's fine when it's cold, but this time of year, way too much heat comes in.  They need to be covered when the weather is warm.

I had some not-so-pretty curtains hanging from a tension rod.  Then I discovered a better option.  The toile curtain/shade panels that I had made for the bedroom in our old house were just the right width for these windows.


East Side Window

I had planned to alter the length, but in playing around with them, I realized that just rolling them up at the bottom was good enough.  I have so much on my to do list right now.  Plus, the Nesting Place motto kept ringing through my head - It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful

West Side Window

So, this turned into a really fast, easy and FREE solution.  Aren't those the best!?!?!?




Sunday, May 23, 2010

Simple White

 The first of all single colors is white ... We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no color can be seen; yellow for the earth; green for water; blue for air; red for fire; and black for total darkness. ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

I find myself being drawn to white ceramic. It started with this white pitcher.

I have been enjoying this lovely pitcher so much.  Greenery looks so fresh and serene in it.  No blooms are necessary.  The spareness of color only adds to the simplicity.

Next, I bought a retirement gift for a friend. I found a simple white pot and fell in love with it.

Since it was purchased a bit before the party, I "stored" it on my windowsill.  I came to love it. I found myself wishing I had bought two - one for Martie and another for me.   In this photo, it's next to my purse on the day of the party - so I wouldn't accidentally forget it.  It even looks pretty with my purse, don't you think?

Then, this weekend, I found this rippled white vase. I have the pitcher at one end of my kitchen window sill and this vase at the opposite end.  I'm currently using the vase to start rooting some hydrangeas.. 


I have a feeling there will be more white items finding there way into my home in the future!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tufted "Wallpaper" in My Attic

I had the hardest time deciding on a title for this post.  The title I came up with should be a clue that this is not the normal wonderful decorating before and after.  My photos will NOT make it into a magazine.  No one is going to swoon over this one. This is a totally UN-glamorous makeover, but... it sure accomplished my goal without spending a dime.

My entire upstairs is made up of my loft (that's my craft room/office/sewing room/studio) and unfinished attic space.  I did not want an attic with pull down stairs.  When we built this house, I wanted an old fashioned, functional attic that was easy to get to and had plenty of storage space and that's what I got. I love my attic, but it has a ways to go before it's set up the way I envision it.



In the drawing above, the gray area is attic space.  The outside walls are insulated with fiberglass that has the paper backing.  The inside walls have the paper backing towards the sheet rock and exposed insulation towards my attic space.  The fiberglass will come loose if you brush up against it.  It's itchy and annoying and it definitely was interfering with my plans.  We thought about sheet rocking it or covering it with paneling, but we just don't want to spend the money. 

So... my thrifty solution was to "wallpaper" it with old sheets.  I stapled the sheets onto the studs.  It has sort of a tufted look.  It would have looked better if I had stuck to solid whites or creams, but hello, this is my attic.  I was given the sheets for free.  They are old, but in decent shape.  I just love giving cast-offs a new life.

I started in my fabric zone.  
You can see the exposed insulation on the right and the after look on the left.

Here's a shot after 4 sheets have been attached.  They don't match.  
It's not pretty, but I no longer have to worry about that annoying insulation.
By the way, ignore the mess. I will soon be hanging shelves.   
For now, I'm stacking things the best way I can.


I also attached a sheet around the corner in my book zone.

I'm out of spare sheets now, but I still need to cover the walls in the paint section.  I'll be watching for sheets at yard sales.  This time, I'll probably look just for solids - white or cream, I think.  But... I could get wild and look for bright tropical colors - aqua, hot pink, lime.  It is a paint area after all. I guess it all depends on what I find first on my next yard sale venture.




I have linked this post to:


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tweakin' My Blog

Hey, hey, hey!  I'm so proud!  I have learned a few new blog tricks.

First, I made a blog button.  Now I don't know who would want to use this right now, but one day someone will and it will be there!  For now, I'll just pretend that there are loads of people out there who have been just dying to put my button on their blog.

Now, of course, I did not figure out how to make a blog button on my own.  I had help in the form of tutorials from Megan at Shabby Blogs and Grace from Sense and Simplicity.   Don't you just love that blog name - Sense and Simplicity?  Obviously, Grace is a creative person with a love of Jane Austen.

Then, since that turned out to be so much fun, I moved on to some tutorials from Donna at Funky Junk Interiors.  Thanks to Donna, I was able to center my blog buttons, combine several buttons in one gadget, and add a signature to my posts (as you'll see below).  She has a bunch of tutorials on improving your blog, which you can see here.

Donna is amazing. Her blog has become one of my very favorites.  Today, when I saw her post about her wooden crate staircase, I nearly hyperventilated.  I swear, she is me, only with way more energy, more talent, more drive, younger... OK she's not me, but I love everything she does and we could be best friends.  Check out these stairs and then, go read her post on them -

 And finally, the big reveal - my signature!  Simple, easy to read, with just a little bit of snazziness. Ta-dah! 

Weekend Odds n Ends

On Saturday I went to a local art show.  Katie is the daughter of one of my best friends.  I have known Katie since she was an hour old.  She had her art work in the show so as far as I am concerned it was the best art show ever.   She's wearing the cowboy hat because she and her husband are about to move to Texas.  She seems both excited and nervous about it.  By the way, Katie smiles a lot.  I snapped this picture when she was having a thoughtful moment and unaware of me.

Katie can draw or paint anything.  Lately, she has been doing a lot of portraits.  People give her photos and she does a drawing or painting or whatever they want.  The finished pieces are amazing!  I especially love her pet portraits.

Here are a couple of pieces she had in the show:

I also did a little tidying up in the yard.  I moved some bulbs that were played out.  The leaves were laying over and looking really sad.  It's not good to cut them off til they are really brown. Then, I remembered an old trick.  Just fold them over and tie them up with one of the broken leaves.  I was in a hurry so I didn't do a great job - if you take a little more time, you can make them look really cute.
 

My Black-eyed Susans are really growing. There's one little flower peeking out.  I sure am looking forward to more.


And finally, I finished a book holder project.  My niece Carly had a couple of wooden pieces that she used in college.  I have no idea what they are or how they were used, but when her mom put them in a yard sale, I grabbed them up.  I've had them for ages and finally got around to painting them last week.


I set up one on top of a tall cabinet to hold my cookbooks.  I am tempted to redo the covers of my cookbooks in ball cream and white.  For some reason, the colors that seemed like such fun several years ago are annoying me.  I like color, so what is going on? 


  I have no idea how I will use the other book holder, but I know I'll figure it out soon. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yes... It's Tacky. But Just Wait.

I have gotten started again on the landscaping.  This time the focus was on the east side of our house, around the side entry.

Please don't judge me by how this area looks now.  IT'S TACKY!  The dogs didn't understand that this area is special.  I've had to put an unattractive barrier all around until things are established.  As you can see, the cats don't let it stop them, but they don't trample plants like our dogs do.

I planted a couple of gardenias.  They are blooming now and the smell is wonderful.  These should get to be about 4ft x 4ft.

I found the cement planted at an estate sale recently.  I planted heather in it.  Hopefully, it will get larger and be covered with pretty lavender blooms all summer.




There is a corner area that connects.  One day, this area will be dominated by a large, spring-blooming camellia.  I tried to find one without success.  So, I'm rooting one.  I'll probably be old and senile by the time it gets large enough to match my vision.

Meanwhile, I'll use this area as a starter spot for lots of perennials.  It could be fun.  It sure doesn't look like much now.


Here are some things I'm getting started:
  1. Heuchera - It's supposed to be fine anywhere from full sun to shade.  I had this inside over the winter.  It was looking great.  I made the mistake of putting it straight outside without giving it time to adjust.  
  2. Knockout Roses - I rooted two of these.  They are tiny but doing well.
  3. Gaillardia - This is a perennial that I have no experience with.  It's pretty and should multiply each year. Sounds good to me!
  4. Daisies - I hope these multiply like crazy.  I love using these as cut flowers.
  5. Lantana - I have the tall Miss Huff in one spot and these shorter mounding ones.  These yellow ones are called gold mounding or something like that.  They are sold as annuals but most people around here have pretty good luck with this variety coming back.
  6. Camellia - These are the ones I'm rooting.  They are holding their own.  But.. if I were to come across an established bush just like I want, I'd move these little babies in a heartbeat!
  7. I have a plant hanger in the middle of this grouping.  It has two hanging baskets of geraniums that I kept going over the winter.  They are a little leggy.  I trimmed off a couple of stems and stuck them in the dirt last week.  They are still going!
And now.  Oh my.  I'm going to show you how it looks.  It's so unattractive.
I've used all sorts of mismatched items to form my barrier.  The plants look so insignificant.  It's not a space that will win any awards.  BUT... one day it will be nice.  The plants will grow and fit the space.

Plus, we will be adding a skirt all around the house between the brick columns.  That should make a huge difference!  We've looked at all sorts of options. My favorite look is one that I saw 2 years ago on a tour through a nearby neighborhood. The wood slats look very simple and don't call attention.  I certainly don't want the area under our porch to be a focal point! When I look at my new flower bed, I picture it with these slats in the background and it seems so much nicer!


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