Monday, January 31, 2011

My Sweet Sisters

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
We had another really bad storm last week and lost power for three days.  We moved in with my sister, Claire, until power was restored.  Thanks again, Claire.
Another of my sisters, Elizabeth, made a slide show of my house with falling snow.
She did such a nice job I wanted to share.

Another storm is predicted for tonight with ice.  Oh no.  Claire, we may be over again.

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Son's Bedroom Update Part 2.

My son's bedroom make over is complete.  Khaki and camo gone.
This is what it looked like before.

Here's the after.

I have to admit that decluttering helped make a big improvement.  In the foreground is our wonderful chair, an antiques store find.  He's had the mini hide rug for a while.

The first thing I made was the bed skirt.  I'm not a fan of them, but we have a few things under the bed, so we had no choice.  I simply used an old beige bed skirt that I already had and just sewed the new fabric over it.  The beige under it looks like I lined the bed skirt.  Make sure when you're measuring that you allow for a seam and a hem.   Hint:  It's less bulky to hem before you attach the fabric.

The next thing I did was slipcover the head board and foot board.  The bed was an old maple bed.  Sturdy, but not my taste.  In a nutshell, I measured, allowing for seams and hems and made a huge pillowcase with an opening in the bottom.  If you make the side seams really tight, you don't have to pad it at all.  I slipped it over the headboard and then did the same thing for the foot board.
I bought the nightstands at an estate sale.  I painted them black and then used  hammered metal spray paint to change the hardware from gold to silver.
Hint:  To spray paint knobs, do the underside first.  When they're dry, stand them upright in the sections on the underside of  an egg carton.  You can cut some slits in the sections and slip the bottom of the knob into it.  The carton will support the knob and keep your fingers from getting painted.

The lamps are from Home Goods. The bedspread is simple black and white ticking.  It is so hard to find a quilt for a boy's room.  I'm still on the hunt.   But for now, this works.

The last things I sewed were the pillows for the bed and the draperies.  Since I change things so frequently I never go to the expense of custom draperies.  I suggest you check the internet for tutorials on sewing rod pocket draperies.  Those tutorials are always well done.
Of course, I always have to include my hints to supplement the tutorial, aka what I learned the hard way.
1.  Measure carefully.  I measure from the ceiling to the floor and then add 3-5 inches, depending on how you want them--touching the floor, puddling.
2.  Whatever the width of my fabric is the width I use for the drapery panel.  It's usually 48-54 inches wide.  I made two panels for each window.  Obviously, if you have a large window you'll have to add some panels.
3.  This is sooooo  important.  You must start measuring your length from a straight edge.  They always cut the fabric with a scissors at the fabric store.  It's never straight.  If you use their cut, everything will be crooked.  You must tear the fabric.  Come down a few inches from the store cut and snip into the fabric and beyond the selvage. Grab the fabric on either side of the snip and let 'r rip.
You will be surprised by how uneven it was.  If you have a heavy weight fabric, you may not be able to tear.  You'll have to use a square or a level to draw your straight line, then cut along the line.  I mark with chalk, it brushes right off.
4.  Measure down to the length you need, then snip and tear again.  Now you have your first panel.
5.  Even though you will be starting to measure your second panel from an even tear, if you have any pattern in your fabric you must lay the second panel alongside the first and line up the pattern.  If the patterns don't meet,  you'll have to line up the pattern and remove the excess from the top with the snip and rip method. Then measure down to your length.  At the bottom of the panel  snip and rip again.  You now have your two matching panels.
6.  Always line your draperies.  If you don't, they'll fade.  I always use No Rain No Stain Drapery lining.  I once had curtains with a black background in my kitchen.  I used this lining and they never faded.
7.  Repeat the cut/tear process with the lining.  Make the lining a few inches shorter than the drapery panel.
8.  You're ready to sew.  Start with the top of the drapery panel.  Pin the lining panel to the drapery panel at the top, making sure that the fronts (the part you see when you're done) are facing each other.  The outside is in.  Sew across the top.
9. Next, pin and sew one side of the panel.
Make sure you leave an opening near the top for the curtain rod.  
Repeat on the other side.  You will have 3 sides sewn with an opening in the bottom (and an opening for the drapery rod, just tuck the raw edges in.).  Turn your panel and lining right side out.
10.  At this point you can press the seams and then  top stitch around all three sewn sides.  This makes it look more finished and it will lie flat.  You must also sew at the base of the opening for the curtain rod, parallel to the top of the drapery.   You create a "tube" for the rod with support on the top and the bottom with your top stitching.
11.  Hem the drapery to the length you want.  You might want to put it on the rod and fold and measure to be sure.  I machine hem.

Whew--It seems like a lot, but basically if you can sew in a straight line, you're working with a rectangle.  And, when you change out the draperies you'll have no guilt.  You can do this.

Last but not least, I mentioned that my son played the guitar--hence the guitar pillow on the bed.  I set up a little area for him to play.  The vintage Rolling Stones poster is a backdrop and an inspiration for the green in the room.  I found the folding acrylic chair at a flea market.

Let me know what you think about the transformation.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

 Deb at A Mind on Design, nominated me for the Stylish Blogger Award.   Wow, thanks a million.

If you haven't been following her blog, you need to go there and check her out.   She's an interior design student with fabulous design ideas.  She also shares her daunting experiences as a student.  Thanks so much for recognizing  me Deb.

So in order to accept this award it did come with a set of rules.  I always follow rules.  That's what teachers do, you know.

1. Thank and link back the blogger that awarded this to you. (Thank them, hug them, send them xoxoxo......and link back because bloggers are very polite people...oh yeah and its a rule too!)
2. Share seven things about yourself. 
3. Award other fellow bloggers. (No limit on this one...but keep it real...and award it to bloggers that really touch you and that you read often)
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know that they have won the Stylish Blogger Award.

Okay so now on to the awards.

If you don't already follow these blogs, you're missing some super design ideas. Also, if you love to read, as I do, check out Silver's Reviews for reading suggestions.  Please visit their sites and become a follower.  Don't forget to let them know how you found them.  Enjoy.

In no special order and  without further delay the awards go to:

9.   Silver's Reviews things about myself I would like to share:

1.  I have three younger sisters and four younger brothers.  Yup, I'm the first of 8.
2.  I teach Spanish and ESL (English for Speakers of other Languages).
3.  I crave cherry licorice.  You know you have a bad habit when every gift you receive also includes a      
     bag of licorice.
4.  I have three children ages 35, 30 and yes I'm crazy, a 12-year-old.
5.  I'm obsessed with chandeliers/ pendant lighting and have at least one in every room in the house.
6.  When my older children were young I wrote a parenting book and did a TV and radio book tour.
7.  I closed my brick and mortar store a year ago and really miss it.  I'm seriously considering  opening a       
     store again.  Any thoughts on that?

Thanks again Deb.   


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Updating My Son's Bedroom, Part I

My youngest just turned 12.  I decided it was time to ditch the camo and  khaki.

Here's a look at what it looks like now.  I'm embarrassed to show it  Can you tell he makes his own bed?.  The only thing I'm proud of is that there's a large stack of reading material in the room.

My inspiration will be this chair that he and I found at one of our favorite antiques stores.  He likes to come with me on my shopping trips and has a very good eye.  He spotted this chair before I even saw it and said he wanted it for his room.  We're both totally in love with it and it will be the jumping off point for the re-make.

This chevron fabric will be one of the fabrics we use.  It was inspired by the green in the vintage Rolling Stones poster that stays.  He likes old music and is learning to play old rock and roll songs on his electric guitar.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Question Answered

So many of you have been asking about the branches in the vase that was featured on The Nate Berkus Show that I thought I'd do a post about them too.

The branches are from a shrub called Harry Lauder's Walking stick.  It's actually selected as a planting for its gnarled branches, not its foliage.  Here's what it looks like.  It's homely and interesting at the same time.

  It's super easy to copy this idea, even if you don't have a Harry Lauder bush.  Any twisty branches will work.  I filled the bottom of the jar with sand.  I then added shells a little past the halfway mark; then placed the branches and filled up to the top of the jar with shells to support the branches.
Initially, I created this as a display for the store.  I was selling Christmas ornaments made from shells covered in glitter.  The jar filled with shells and sand and the gnarled branches were my "shell Christmas tree."  Only after the holidays as I was packing up did I think about using it in the sun room.  If you look at the pictures of that room you'll see that the vintage classroom shell reference map and the coral prints in mirrored frames on the window inspired the room decor.

I placed the vase and branches on the mirrored table and decided to paint the branches Chinese Red too. 
I think the color really makes them pop.  
Give it a try.  It's easy and dramatic.
  Let me know how yours turns out.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

How I Assembled the Table and Chinese Chippendale Chairs

Many of you have asked where I got the Chinese Chippendale wrought iron table and chairs that was featured on the Nate Berkus Show.
It was assembled over time.  If you shop "previously owned", you know that you have to be patient.  Vintage is not one-stop-shopping.
The first thing I found was the table.  It was only $30.00 because it was missing its glass top.  I bought it because I loved its base with its X and knob.

If I had known how expensive it was to have tempered  glass cut and to add a beveled edge,  I probably wouldn't have purchased it.  But you know me, I came up with an affordable solution.  I decided to find a mirror to fit the top.  I carried around the measurements for a short time and found the perfect mirror in an antiques store.  Not only was the size perfect, but I love the filigree corners.  In fact, I like it better than a plain piece of glass.  What do you think?  Here's a close-up of the corner with a reflection of the branches.

I was thrilled when I found the chairs at a consignment shop.  It took me several months to assemble the table and chairs, but I am so happy with the result.  The chair was so easy.  The seats were held in with four screws.  I removed the seats and covered them with the drapery fabric.  (I purchased the fabric on line and sewed the draperies and pillows too.)  As for the color selection, I already did a post about that here.

Here's the final result.

What have you assembled over time and loved?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More Stripes on Walls Part 2

 I continued the stripes from the upstairs hallway into the foyer and on the landing.
 Here's another image of the landing.  In the previous post you couldn't see  the copper-colored demi-john.  I have several of these over-sized bottles but no others with that color.  It's marked France on the bottom.  Next to the bottle is a shabby bamboo footstool with its horsehair stuffing escaping.  Love it!
I added a gilt candle sconce in place of the mirrored Victorian box.

Of course, after packing up the Christmas decor, 
there was no way I was going decorate the same way.  In fact, I'm really tired of the mahogany Empire library table.  Until I can find something I like better, I slip covered it with a canvas painters' dropcloth and added a runner on top to add some interest.. The only thing that stays is the wall sconce.  I haven't gotten tired of it yet and it works in the space and with the stripes.
Here's  what it looked like before Christmas.

Here's the Christmas decor.

The new look in the foyer.

The wall sconce stayed, the chair didn't.  I swapped it for a leopard-covered one previously in the living room.  I added an oil painting within a stripe.  I broke my straddle the stripe rule,
but its shape and size makes it work.
The hide rug has moved to the foyer, but I'll have to really keep an eye on the dog.  She doesn't seem too interested in chewing it yet.  We'll see.

The items on the table were moved from other rooms and re-assembled on the table.
  I move things around frequently. 

Some close-ups of the vignettes.

The weathered leather book is signed and dated 1835.   I topped it with a vintage brass magnifying glass.   I bought all the artists brushes at an antiques store.  I turned a cloche up side down, dropped in the brushes, then held a mirrored pedestal dresser tray over the bottom and flipped it over.   I  am always looking for these mirrored trays and then try to pair them up size wise with cloches.  Some of the brushes seem to be for faux finishing.  Does anyone know the use of the long-handled brush in front of the cloche?

I buy clock faces whenever I see them.  They really work well as backdrops on bookcases.  This one was especially nice and worthy of standing alone on a gilt easel.

More leather books stacked and topped with an architectural fragment.

I'm really liking this new look.  How long do you think it will stay?


Saturday, January 8, 2011

How Do I Accessorize A Wall Painted With Horizontal Stripes? Part 1

I painted horizontal stripes in my foyer, landing, upstairs hallway and bedroom.  After I'd done them,  I realized that I wanted to place some things on the walls, but didn't want to hide the stripes.
Hmm, how could I do that?
The first thing I found for the space was this wonderful over-sized clock that was very open.  It looks very dramatic when looking up from the foyer and best of all, it didn't hide the stripes.

My next decision was should I hang a print within the stripe or straddle the stripes ? I decided that the print looked better centered over two stripes.  What do you think.?
I added a gilt Italian wall sconce to complete the wall.

I also painted a small alcove wall  the darker color and added the Audubon print with  a  marble-topped frenchy table under it.
The salmon color in the print really pops against the brown.  It also looks impressive when looking up from the foyer into the upstairs hallway.

At the end of the hall is an oversized door, sans glass.  My vintage french prints fit perfectly in the space.

 This is the view from the foyer.

Don't you love the way  this vintage oil painting on the landing is weathered and curling?
Note:  I straddled the stripes again.

I'll show you what I did in the foyer in a future post.


Monday, January 3, 2011

My Checkerboard Floor

We recently completed our new garage

We did an epoxy finish on the garage floor area but weren't certain what to do on the upper level.  It was just a plywood floor.  Since it was going to be for storage only, a painted floor was our solution.  I primed and then painted the floor with light gray floor paint.

Of course, you know me.  I couldn't stop there.  I decided to do a checkerboard.  I'd done a checkerboard floor before.  It was very tedious and time consuming.  You need to grid if off with a chalk line before you can even begin to tape off and paint .  If you decide to do it, my best advice is to make large squares.  The larger the square, the less work. 
If you're determined to do it after all the warnings,
here's a tutorial  that clearly explains how to create your floor grid.

I swore I'd never do another checkerboard floor after I completed my first one.  But. . . . .I looked at the floor and could see the seam lines in the floor, and guess what?  They were all perfect squares!   Before I knew it I was buying a gallon of black floor paint.

I taped off the squares with painters tape. 

HINTS (or stuff I learned the hard way)
1.  Press down the edge of the tape so paint doesn't leak under the tape edge when you're painting. 
I used the side of my thumbnail.  You could use an old butter knife or spoon, or anything you have on hand.   Using a tool is better.  My thumb was pretty sore by the time I was done.

2.  Put a piece of painters tape in alternate squares. 
It's very easy to paint the wrong color in a square.  Yup, I did that.  Very annoying.

3.  Make sure the corner points are very sharp to prevent blurry corners. 
I actually added additional tape at the corners so I had a real clean line.  If you don't do this you'll be touching up later with a small brush.  Trust me on this one.

4.  For a fast paint job and to give your back and knees a chance to recover after taping, put an extension on your roller as if you were going to paint a wall.  This is the fun part, finally.   
You can actually paint while standing.
Careful where you step.  Don't trap yourself in a corner

5.  If one coat works---probably not---remove the tape immediately.  
There's a danger of pulling up some of the paint as you remove the tape if the paint completely dries.  
Again, you'll be touching up edges forever with a small brush.

6.  I had to do three coats.  Before you pull up the tape from the dried paint you'll need to score along the tape line.  I used a 4 foot level as my straight edge and scored with the pointy end of my son's compass.  Obviously an exacto knife would have been much better but I couldn't find ours.  I'm very impatient when I start something and didn't want to search for it.  I love to improvise.  It worked fine.   Pull the tape away gently.  Again, if you choose to skip the scoring step, you''ll spend much more time touching up uneven edges than you would have if you'd scored the edge.

7.  If you don't want to let the floor wear naturally, you can apply a sealant.  You'll need two coats.

Here's how mine turned out.

What do you think?  Let me know if you give it a try.  Enjoy.