Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Hope you had a good weekend.  Ours was strange: snow and sleet on Saturday, bright and sunny on Sunday.  Today is a beautiful fall day.  It would be the perfect evening for trick-or-treaters ... if we ever got any.  We live at the end of a long, dark driveway, and even though we have kids in the neighborhood, kids who see us regularly and know our dogs, I guess the driveway is just too spooky for them. (I just had a thought -- maybe we're too spooky for them!  You should see my husband when he goes up the driveway to get the paper first thing in the morning.  And if I'm out early with the dogs before my morning coffee, I certainly may have a zombie-like quality!)

Most of the houses in our area are on plots of an acre or so.  Ours is an acre and a half. When the boys were young they liked to go over to their friends' neighborhoods to trick-or-treat because the houses were closer together and they could get more candy with less walking! But I do usually see some trick-or-treaters out and about in our neighborhood. Over the years I've tried putting out lighted luminaries along the driveway and a sign with "Trick or Treat" and an arrow, but nothing has worked.  Still, each year I buy Halloween candy "just in case."  And since I know that we probably won't get any trick-or-treaters, I make sure it's candy I like!  (Hmmm ... do you think this attitude has contributed to the 20 lbs I need to loose?)

Since we won't get any cute costumed kids tonight to celebrate the season, I decided to make some additions to my indoor fall decorating to get me in the autumn spirit.  I  leave these vignettes up through Thanksgiving, and jump into setting up our holiday decor the day after.

The centerpiece on our coffee table.

The buffet table in the dining room.

The antique desk in the family room (a Craigslist find!).

 Close up - the acorns are from our yard.

Pumpkins mixed with my white vases on the mantle.

More white and white on the white chippy shelf in the family room.

The washstand under the shelf (Craigslist find).

Our entry.

Even Pepper (Mr. P) is in the mood with his orange coat!

But Mosby apparently just wants an uninterrupted nap!

Hope you all have a Happy Halloween!

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TypeADecorating: Anything Goes

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dining Room Chairs

My dining room redo is moving along.  The table has been stripped, sanded, conditioned, and the first coat of stain has gone on it.  To tell you the truth I'm not sure it's going to look any better than my last try, but I'll keep my fingers crossed!  I have come to the conclusion it's the wood, not my technique (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!).

In the meantime I have finished four of the dining room chairs.  The four chairs match and will be on the sides of the table, and I have another set (another Craigslist purchase) that will go at the heads of the table. I'm not doing anything to the head chairs other than polishing the wood and cleaning the upholstery, so I'll show you them with the final reveal.  Here's what the four side chairs looked like originally:

And here's how the chairs look now.

I painted them with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.

I sanded to bring out the detailing of the legs and the backs.  Then I finished with clear wax.

I've tried distressing ASCP before I put the wax on and after.  In this case I wish I would have sanded after the wax was put on since it gives me a bit more control, but I'm okay with how they turned out.

I recovered the seats with dropcloths.  I wanted the side chairs to be fairly simple because the head chairs are a velvet brocade (Betcha you want to see them now, right?  I'm going to keep you in suspense!) 

I'm pretty happy with the chairs, and I'll keep you posted on the table.  I also have to finish up a couple of mirrors and some other do-das for the room, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Sharing at:
Debbidoos: Newbie Party
Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday
Type A Decorating: Anything Goes
Coastal Charm: Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
My Uncommon Slice of Surburbia: Tuesdays Treasures
Savvy Southern Style: Wow Us Wednesdays
Primitive & Proper: Piece of Work Wednesday
Faded Charm: White Wednesday
No Minimalist Here: Open House
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday
My Repurposed Life: Catch As Catch Can
The Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday
Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Friday
DIY Showoff: Project Parade

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall is Falling

It was a beautiful autumn weekend here in Virginia, so while I'm finishing up the "before and after" I had planned on showing you today, I thought I'd show you some photos I took around the house:

The trees are turning color.

Our pumpkins are out.

And so is the welcome sign.

The wreaths are on the doors.

There's still some color in the garden.

Along with some chrysanthemums in the containers.

Those leaves you see aren't placed there for effect.  The leaves are not only turning.  They are falling ...

And falling ...

And falling ...

I love our trees, but I hate the leaf clean-up we have to do every year.  And when I mentioned to my husband that we should get going on it, he said, "Hey, I just dug a hole!"  I'm sure he'll be playing his water main repair card for months to come to show he's done his part around the house! Oh well, he comes through in a crunch. It's tough being a DIY-er married to a DIS-er (do it somebody else), but it certainly makes our landscape guy happy to know he can count on our business each year! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Apparently I'm Versatile!

I was recently awarded the Versatile Blogger Award from two readers:  Shari at TurnStyle Vogue, and Shannon at Fox Hollow Cottage. 

I'm not exactly sure what a "versatile blogger" is, but the award is meant to highlight blogs to increase awareness and readership. I truly appreciate anybody who takes the time to read my blog, so a sincere thank-you to Shari and Shannon.

The rules of this award are:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave the award to you.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Award it to 15 other bloggers.

So ... here we go!

Seven Things:

1. I was born in Honolulu.  My grandmother first went there in the early 1900's to teach school, then went back with my grandfather around 1923.  My grandmother, whom unfortunately I never knew, was a pretty amazing and aventurous woman, originally from Georgia.  Beside traveling to Hawaii as a single woman to teach (and it wasn't easy getting to the Islands back then!), she also taught in Alaska (again not an easy trek), where she met my grandfather. My mom had all sorts of great stories she told me about her.

2. I tend to digress ... alot (see #1).

3. I'm passionate about animal welfare and rescue, and volunteer with a couple of animal rescue organizations.  We have three rescue kitties and three rescue dogs at home. Proceeds from Mr. P's Emporium go to a local rescue organization.

4. I believe everything happens for a reason.

5. Between career-focus and bad choices in relationships, I didn't get married until I was 42.  Now I'm grateful for those bad choices because they taught me a lot, and without them I wouldn't have been in the place I was (mentally and physically) to meet my husband. (See # 4.) When we married I also received an instant family -- two stepsons who lived with us and who I couldn't love more if they were my birth children. We recently celebrated our 11th anniversary.

6. I got my shopaholic gene from my mother, who even though she was a single mom without a lot of extra cash, had great taste and a good eye.  She started me on antique shops as a child.  She also was a DIY-er, and a shoe horder extraordinaire. 

7. I've had a secret dream of being a back-up R & B singer since I was a kid.  So if anyone out there is looking for a 50-something singer with no professional training and a just-passable voice -- I'm your gal!   

I Award this Award To:

First to my friend Amelia, who is one of the best cooks I know, and who just started her blog: 1inAmelianCooks.  She's only done a couple of blogs, so please stop by and encourage her!  Next is Rosemary at VillaBarnes who I "met" through comments on each other blogs.  Now this woman is truly versatile!  She's really just amazingly talented. If you haven't already, you need to check out her blog. Third is Kelly at Stylish Patina who encouraged me to start a blog, and who is just going gangbusters in her new businesses.

Here are some new blogs (some even newer than me!) who've either recently visited me and left a comment, or I've recently found via other blogs. These are all very talented ladies!

Reloved Rubbish
A Fabuless Home
Retired & Loving It
Uniquely Chic
The DIYSpot
Chicadee Home Nest
Cottage & Broome
The Turquoise Piano

These next blogs are "blogging pros" who are so kind and supportive to new bloggers I just wanted to recognize them!  They've probably already won any "award" out there in blogland so I really don't expect them to take the time to do the whole 7 things and 15 bloggers deal. But if by any remote chance you haven't already found them, check them out:

Primitive & Proper (the first diy/decorating blog I started reading!)
Type A Decorating
DebbieDoo's Blogging & Blabbing
My Repurposed Life

Thanks again Shari & Shannon!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Closet Envy

The great shoe migration has begun at my house.   Do any of  you do this, or am I the only shoe hoarder out there? Maybe you all have tons of closet space, or can easily get by on four pairs of shoes, (I know there are people of this alien species out there, including some of my friends, but I have no idea how they do it!). If so, lucky you. But I've never lived in a house with enough closet space.  The listing for the house we live in now advertised "his and her walk-in closets."  Ha! I guess technically they're walk-in, because you can step inside them, but there is barely enough room to turn around.

So I have to store and change-out my clothes and shoes seasonally. In the spring, out come my sandals, flip-flops, and open-toed shoes, and in the fall they're replaced with boots and closed-toe versions.  There are some flats, etc. that are seasonless and get to live in the closet full-time.  Those are the shoe elite!

I organize my shoe collection in boxes with either photos or a description written on them, placed by style, color, and amount of use. (This may sound OCD, but on an average day you'll find a bunch piled on the floor because I haven't bothered to put them away, so my inner messy self does come through!)  But no matter how organized they are, at the end of the season I always find a pair or two I forgot I had. I've even been known to buy a new pair, only to bring them home and find out I have the exact same pair already!

The shoe and clothes migration are actually a lot of work, and this is the time of year when my closet envy reaches its peak.  My closet is about as organized as its size lets it be, so a new closet organization system isn't going to do much for it.  I suppose I could paint it and make it prettier, but really, what's the point?

So I fantasize about beautiful closets with chandeliers, a place to sit down, and a spot for every pair of shoes I own.  Want to dream with me?  Here's some eye candy:

 via Pinterest



Ahhhhh.  Well a girl can dream can't she?

Now, Jessica Alba is a girl after my own heart when it comes to shoes:

Remember Carrie's closet on Sex in the City?

Here are a couple more; a bit more subdued -- no chandelier, but I'd still take them!

via Pinterest

Elle Decor
(Check out all that LV luggage!)

Oh well ... back to the reality of pulling out the storage bins in the basement, taking out shoes, putting in shoes, and putting the bins back in the basement.  Maybe one of these days I'll get my perfect closet ... or decide I don't need so many shoes. Dream on!

Monday, October 17, 2011

White is Right

Last spring I decided my dining room needed to be lightened up. Our house doesn't get a lot of light in the front because of the trees, and I thought changing out the wood furniture would brighten the room. This fateful decision started my long journey with the dining room table that I whined about here.  Originally I was going to leave the china cabinet as it was, but when I saw it with the table (briefly, as the table is now back in the garage ... yes, I'm trying again).I realized it needed to be painted white.

The original cabinet had about four different veneer treatments (sorry you can't see it better, but this is the only before photo I have).  Which, while I didn't particularly like them, did add some interest.

Once the first coat was on, I could see it was going to look kind of plain. So I picked up some wood embellishments at Michaels and played with a couple of combos. 

I decided to keep it fairly simple and went with the fleur de lis.
I used three smaller ones on the top.

And one large one on the drawer.

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint because I was in a hurry and didn't want to have to prime the cabinet.  I didn't even take the dishes out -- I just pulled it out from the wall a bit and painted it in place!  Eventually I'll paint the inside shelves.

I did a light distressing to bring out some of the detail.

And added some old glass knobs that I had from another project.

I like it, and think once everything is in I'm going to get the look I was going for. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the table is going to work out this time, and I'll be ready for the big dining room reveal by next week!

Sharing at:
DebbiDoos Newbie Party
Between Naps on the Porch:Metamorphosis Monday
Coastal Charm: Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
My Uncommon Slice of Surburbia: Tuesdays Treasures
Savvy Southern Style: Wow Us Wednesdays
Primitive & Prober: Piece of Work Wednesday
Faded Charm: White Wednesday
No Minimalist Here: Open House
Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Friday
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday
My Repurposed Life: Catch as Catch Can
The DIY Showoff: Project Parade

Friday, October 14, 2011

My DIY Hero!

My husband is not, and has no desire to be a handyman.  All the tools in the basement?  They're mine.  If he ever owned a hammer he lost it by the time he married me.  However, in times of crisis he steps up to the plate.  He's been known to weld a mean chainsaw the two times we had a tree fall down, and last summer he actually burned holes in his jeans when he was up on the roof on a sunny day fixing a gutter. But he would be the first to tell you, he's not much of one for DIY.

Which brings us to last weekend:  we had a leak in our water main.  We hadn't even realized it -- we just thought the water puddling up was from all the rain we've had. Our neighbor's the one who told us what was probably happening.  His first hint was the run-off heading toward his house (oops ... didn't notice that!). 

Another portion of the line burst a couple of years ago, and it cost over $2,000 to get it fixed.  We really didn't want to have to pay that to someone again, so my husband decided he would fix it himself this time.  I've got to say, I was skeptical, but it actually isn't that difficult of a fix (I can say that because I wasn't the one who dug a 4' deep hole!).  The hardest part was locating exactly where the leak was.  Once we found that it was fairly easy ... except for the fact that it was after 4:00 on a Saturday and no plumbing supply stores were open. We didn't find that out until after cutting out the bad part of the pipe! After driving to two Home Depots, an Ace Hardware, and a small neighborhood hardware store, all of which didn't carry the type of pvc pipe we needed, I figured I would be taking showers at the gym until Monday (hey, I might as well get some benefit from my membership since I can never seem to make it there to work-out!).  But Mr. Not-Handyman figured out a temporary fix so we had water in the house, and did the final repair once we got the right pipe on Monday. 

It worked! Of course Ibuprofen was his friend for the next couple of days, but he fixed it!  My hero!  If any of you want a tutorial on how to fix your water main, just let me know -- I had a good view watching him do all the work!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Finds!

I thought I'd show you all some of my latest Craigslist finds.  Most of this haul will be heading to Mr. P's Emporium, but I may not be able to part with the big round mirror!

I bought a bunch of these old books at an unbeatable
price -- mainly because I loved the colors!  I'm keeping a lot, but these are up for grabs.

I bought these two mirrors from the same person.  There was a third, oval one that I'm kicking myself I didn't get, but I didn't have enough cash on me!  Lesson learned.  I'm thinking about painting the large round one white - what do you think?

From gilded to primitive -- I found this great old hand-made tool caddy in the garage of a woman who told me to just look through the boxes to see if I wanted anything.  I felt like an American Picker! (Love that show!)

This was from the same garage.  There is part of a label showing that says "ice" so I'm wondering if it was used in an ice warehouse back in the day.  I'm thinking of putting casters on it to make it a rolling storage bin. 

I've seen hanging lamps made out of these:

Like this one:

Apartment Therapy

I thought this old tin mold was pretty cool.  I've never seen one with a lid before.

However, I have no idea what to do with it!  Any thoughts from you creative people out there?

That's it for my latest Craigslist prowl.  I'm off to hit some of my favorite thrift stores -- I'll let you know if I find any treasures!

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