Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pardon My Rant - 2014 Edition

Since I didn't blog much this past year, I don't have much to look back on as we wrap up 2014. Instead, I reviewed my statistics for the most viewed posts, and my Trend Rant from 2011 is still one of my most popular posts.  Shall we see if anything looks better in the rear view mirror three years later?

Here we go again...A-hem.

1. Antlers
2011 - I'm not a vegan, vegetarian, PETA member, anti-hunting, etc, but I don't think antlers look classy.  They are the last thing I'd want in my house.  Period.

2014 - I still don't want dead things hanging in my house. Or faux dead things.  Which leads us to...

2. Faux Deer Heads
2011 - And that also goes for the trend of mounting faux deer heads too.  Funny how there were NO paper mache deer left in the craft stores after Christmas because everyone thought it was a great idea to saw the heads off them and glue them to a wood plaque.  Then paint the whole mess white.  Ick!

2014 - I'd say most of these were tossed in the trash bin by March.

3. Numbers on Everything
2011 - Where did this come from?  It might work in a toddler's room.  I say don't put it anywhere else in your house, unless you are catering your decor for a three-year-old who can't count.

2014 - I still see this in blogland.  Every time I see a row of bar stools with numbers painted on them, I want to sneak into that room and rearrange them.

(No, I didn't add numbers to my favorite lamp!)

4. "Keep Calm and Carry On"
2011 - Darling, you've worn out your welcome.

2014 - Oh good grief, GO AWAY!

5. Painting Kitchen Cabinets
2011 - Let's stop hating on the oak.  Now, I know golden oak is out, out, out.  And I've got it all over my circa 1993 house.  Yeah, I'd love to replace the kitchen with a more contemporary wood and stain.  But I don't think too many kitchens are so hideous that painting wood cabinets in GOOD condition green, yellow or teal is a good long term improvement.  It will look awful when the paint gives out.  Or that color goes out of style.  Kitchen cabinets are ex-pen-sive.  Switch out the hardware and call it a day.

2014 - I parted ways with the golden oak house this year.  Everyone is still talking about white kitchens online, but after looking at a lot of houses over the past three years, white kitchens don't seem to fly in our particular housing market.  We bought a hutch off Craigslist a few weeks ago, and the homeowners had DIY-painted their oak kitchen.  Now it is white upper cabinets and gray base cabinets.  While it was on trend, the house looked completely unmarketable for the neighborhood.

6. Painting Wood Furniture without Regard to Style
2011 - I saw before/after photos on a popular blog recently, and I kid you not, I thought they switched the photos.  It was a sideboard that was green and it looked colonial and classic.  Then someone got their mits on it, painted it bright yellow and decoupaged blue birds on the doors.  Someday, it's going to be sitting on the curb and people will walk by and shudder.

2014 - I'm hearing everywhere that the economy is improving.  Could this mean the end of the distressed chalk paint/milk paint trend?  While that look made being thrifty chic for a while, I think most people will be ready to move on to furniture that actually looks NEW once they feel financially secure again.  Besides, this trend made me a little mad because it really drove up prices of used furniture at thrift stores which historically were there to serve a segment of the population who are economically disadvantaged.

7. The Moustache Motif
2011 - It was funny the first time.  Now it's giving me the heebies.  Just. go. away. NOW!

2014 - This one is for the seven and under crowd.  It's right up there along with making inappropriate noises with one's armpit.

8. Religious Objects As Superficial Decorating Accessories
2011 - If you are Catholic, by all means, hang a crucifix on your wall.  If you are a serious scholar and collector, you get a pass if you display religious artifacts.  But, I noticed a lot of santos, religious icons and crucifixes in home decor boutiques lately.  Ballard Design has even gotten in on this action with their santos dollmaker forms.  It's like the Buddha trend from a couple of years ago.  If you have it in your home because you believe it and it is the guiding force of your life, you have my blessing.  Religion is serious stuff.  People have laid down their lives for their beliefs.  And still do.  It's not a fashion accessory, poser.

2014 - This seems to be fading. Creepy santos be gone, Ballard Designs!

9. Chalkboard Paint on Everything
2011 - Especially tabletops. Why on creation would you want smeary, dusty looking furniture?  Keep the chalkboard paint on actual chalkboards.

2014 - Can you put Kilz over chalkboard paint?  I'm sure someone out there knows.

10. Chandeliers EVERYWHERE
2011 - Like laundry rooms.  Get over yourself already.

2014 - I'm seeing a lot of bloggers replacing their ceiling fans with chandeliers, especially in the bedroom.  I'll bet that there are a lot of sweaty husbands out there gritting their teeth in July.

I'm climbing off my soapbox now.  Thanks for listening, AGAIN.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

One Year Later...Open for Business

It has been over a year since my last post.  I'd be surprised if any of my readers are still out there.  If so, hello again.

So much has changed over the past year.  Good changes.  Life altering changes.  Such changes that turned my world upside down, I set aside the blog without warning.

The dust is starting to settle, and I'm ready to blog again, but what do I talk about now?

We've moved to a different home, and honestly, posting photos of our home on-line doesn't seem so appealing any more.  Privacy is more important to us now.

When we moved, the spousal unit declared war on vignettes and knick-knacks.  After packing up countless books, vases, bowls, and trays, I can't say that I blame him.  Three months after we'd moved in, I opened one box filled with little bird figurines.  I unwrapped one after another after another after another.  It was rather embarrassing. Enough!

So where does that leave you and me?  Honestly, I'm trying to decide.  My craft room was the last room to be packed because it was such a mess.  Organization was finally heaved aside as moving day approached.  I marked one box "Essentials" and one box "Etsy." The rest was just tossed in boxes simply labeled "Craft Room." I can hardly find anything now.

The good news is that I have Christmas pillows this year!

Truthfully, I've been so dismayed to see Etsy become filled with mass produced stuff.  What happened to it being a market place for vintage and handmade items?

I've looked into alternatives, but for now Etsy makes the most sense for me and my little shop currently operating from the dining room table until my craft studio is finished which may be years from now.

Be advised that I am running low on everyone's favorite damask, so this might be its last year.

I do have pillows with green bows available, but I still need to take new pictures of them.

I've added a teal bow this year.  Isn't it cute?

Visit my Etsy shop here to see more.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mary Carol Garrity 2013 Fall Open House Tour

I can't believe it's September already. What happened to the summer? Actually, it still feels like summer in our part of Kansas. Today and tomorrow is Mary Carol Garrity's fall open house, and it was 93 degrees today. It's hard to get in the mood for autumn and the upcoming holidays in a puddle of sweat, but I made the drive to Atchison, Kansas, anyway.

By way of comparison to what I've seen her do in the past, Mary Carol really cut back this year. Every room wasn't dripping in fall decor. There were just little bits of autumn tucked around the home.

Inside the foyer, a table was made ready for fall with a simple bowl of pumpkins and seasonal foliage.

Who wouldn't love to have a foyer large enough for a sitting area?

Inside the den, only sign of fall was a wooden dough bowl filled with the colors of autumn.

And then I looked up.

In the living room, a large vase filled with faux branches made a bold statement in the center of the room.

All the upholstery in the living room is white.  I can't imagine how she keeps it all clean, especially with evidence of at least one dog in the home.

I always stop to admire the window seat.  It's always inviting, no matter what time of year it is.

The dining room was loaded with the colors and textures of the season.  I saw a lot of people buying these orbs today, but I already had one.  They are much more versatile than the ones she offered last year since they are collapsible and can be stored flat.  I found mine last spring at a local home decor store.

Notice the little knife-rest?  I'd love to find some of those!

Of course, the chandelier was dripping with pine cones and fall branches.

Through the door is the breakfast nook, which connects the dining room to the kitchen.  I love the light blue ceilings in this space.

Notice the cheese domes being used at the place settings.  This is going to date me, but we still have the marble plate and cheese dome we received as a wedding gift.  How often do you see these in thrift stores and garage sales now for next to nothing?

I love the little island in the kitchen.  Mary Carol's home is grand, but the kitchen is tiny!  It always gives me hope for our own little kitchen.

Let's go outside!  The screened porch was still looking like summer with only a few pumpkins tucked here and there.

My one purchase today was one of the lanterns seen on the left side of the hutch.  Thankfully, there was a tent set up next to the house that had them available for purchase because her store downtown, Nell Hills, was filled with people and the room with the line to check out there was horribly, horribly hot.

More pumpkins and orbs on the patio.  I'm so glad I have an orb of my own now!

The patio table was loaded with autumn's bounty carried in a small wheelbarrow.

I love these iron candlesticks.  They seem so versatile every season.

On the patio table there was a dough bowl and an orb.  Swoon!

Doesn't this look easy to put together?

I adore the little statue with the ribbon sash.  Usually, he's holding a bottle of wine.

But today, I'd be more interested in a big bottle of cold water than a glass of wine.  Eventually, summer will turn into autumn here in Kansas, and I'll be ready with new ideas to decorate for the season.  

By the way, if you pin any of these images, please give decorating credit to the talented Mary Carol Garrity.

I'm linking up...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Problem with Bay Windows

When we bought our house, one of the things that I really loved was the bay windows in the living room.  Fast-forward ten years later, and I ask myself, "What was I thinking?"

Yes, they provide a lot of light, but I've really struggled finding the right window treatments.  Here's the picture from the listing when we bought the house.  Check out that swag!  Huge floral print decked out in 1990s jewel tones!

Can you believe when we wrote the contract, I insisted on the owners leaving that valance?  Again, "What was I thinking?"

After a couple of years, they were looking faded and outdated, so I sold them on Craigslist and replaced them with a simpler set of three valances to coordinate with the new olive green walls.

Say it with me now: "What was I thinking?"  At the time, I thought it was an improvement, but Mr. Tallgrass said they looked "too whimsical."  The seed of doubt was now planted and growing like a weed.

(To my credit, the tutorial for making these valances is one of my all-time most viewed posts.)

After adding the overmantel in the living room, I was ready to ditch the valances for something more neutral.  I looked everywhere for affordable curtains that were at least 108 inches long.  Many reviews of curtains I found at JC Penney or Bed Bath and Beyond were negative because the panels were actually different lengths than advertised, sometimes off by as much as two inches.  That wouldn't do when trying to dress three windows in a row!

I was ready to give up on buying ready-made curtains and submit to making my own, if I could find fabric that wouldn't break the bank.  Let's see...

Four (possibly six) 108 inch panels
$15 per yard for featured fabric (on sale)
That's at least $180 before 10% sales tax, plus I'd still need some sort of lining fabric.

We have a home decor fabric outlet in town, so I thought I'd check it out.  They have fabric for as little as $4/yard, but when it's gone, it's gone, so planning ahead is crucial when shopping there.  And that's where I found pre-made 100% linen panels.  They were perfect!

And the price?  $26 each for 120 inch panels.  A little hemming and a lot of ironing, and they were ready to hang.

I had to coach the pleats into shape for a couple of days.  Some strips of scrap fabric work well for this.  Just press the pleats with your fingers then hold them together with the strips tied every foot or so. After a couple of days, the pleats will stay in place on their own.  I love the neutral, classic look of these linen panels.

I'm linking up...
Between Naps on the Porch
Cedar Hill Ranch
Savvy Southern Style

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lighten Up

Sorry for another disappearing act.  This summer hasn't turned out as I expected, and I've been pretty under the weather.  Being sick is never fun, but it always seems to be a little worse during the summertime.

We've managed a few un-blog-worthy projects around the house, like replacing a storm door that was literally crumbling to pieces and having gutter guards installed since the trees are now taller than the roof line (read: regularly clogged gutters).  The yard I worked so hard on this spring is now a weedy mess.  The laundry piled higher and higher, and when I was finally feeling well enough to tackle it, the washer broke.  Oh well.

During a good week, I decided I'd had enough of our dark olive green living room.  I had changed it from a ho-hum taupe about five years ago to SW Olive Grove and immediately regretted it.  It was just too dark.

Adding the overmantel helped lighten the room, but I still wanted a brighter, happier look.  I wanted to stick with a shade of green, and I finally settled on Valspar's Desert Grass that I had mixed at Sherwin Williams because I love their Cashmere paint.

It's a much more cheerful room, and the traditional cherry furniture I love seems less heavy now. This shade of green really blends well with the brass hardware, especially in the grandfather clock, my very first Craigslist purchase from about five years ago.  Can you believe I scored this beauty for only $125?  Since it had been stored in a dirty garage, I had it professionally cleaned, and the serviceman said it was worth about $800.  Score!

I've always been and admirer of secretary desks.  My grandmother and my great-grandmother had one, but I thought they were a little old-fashioned until I saw the many hutches and the secretary desk in Mary Carol Garrity's home:

So when I found a secretary that had just been put on the sales floor at ReStore, I pounced on it.  It's filled with beautiful books (that we've actually read, thank-you-very-much!) and favorite pictures documenting some of our family history.

It took five years, but I think I've finally figured out this room.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Garden Walk at Dusk

Dusk: The darkest stage of twilight.

The crickets and the toads are beginning their evening songs.

In a couple of weeks, the lightning bugs will be making their appearance.

I had one lone yellow iris in the garden this year.  It was transplanted from my grandmother's garden a couple of years ago.  I'm pleased I didn't lose it in last year's drought.

And the nodding columbine sways in the corner, spreading its seeds everywhere.  It's one of the most prolific plants in my garden.

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