A Big Day

A paint crew has arrived to start a very much needed project today. For the past couple of years our house's exterior has been looking very shabby indeed, with faded and peeling paint. Our once pretty blue house was looking kind of grayish pink. It had faded so much that the original pink color was starting to show through. Yes, pink! Not very appealing. We should have had the house painted last year but were a little slow getting anyone lined up and it was a short season due to a late start to spring and an early fall. 

So when our paint crew's foreman stopped by last night with this pile of ladders and equipment I had to control myself from doing a few cartwheels on the lawn. And that would have been a miracle because I have been cartwheel challenged my whole life. I never did master that technique as a child. Or pull-ups on the monkey bars. Or jumping off the high board. Well, anyway, I digress. 

When I saw this colorful array of ladders I was immediately reminded of the Italian flag and got hungry for pizza!  


Choosing a paint color is an agonizing ordeal that I hope I don't have to repeat again too soon. Our painter only uses Sherwin Williams paint, and as luck would have it there isn't a Sherwin Williams store within 25 miles. I tried using some online tools to upload a photo of our house and do some virtual painting. The process is fairly easy but I don't think it's very accurate. After narrowing down some choices we brought home eight colors to sample. At $7 a pop that isn't cheap, but it's a whole lot cheaper than finding out we made a big mistake after the fact. 

Our house has been the same grayish blue in all the years we've owned it. In fact, when we bought the house it was in the process of being painted to cover that awful aforementioned pink, and we liked the color the owner had chosen. Of course that was in 1982 at the height of the country decorating trend...dusty blue, dusty pink, etc. So although I still like it it had gotten to feel very outdated and it was time for a change. After painting our test swatches on the garage, which we are planning to paint ourselves later, we had whittled it down to three choices. What a sight, eh? Roses and a patchwork of blues. 

We thought we still had time to make a decision and then the contractor showed up on Friday to announce they would be here to start work today, Monday! Panic! The color we ultimately chose is called Grays Harbor (SW6236) and in real life it reads less navy and more gray than in these pictures, at least to my eyes. It changes with the light as is often the case and these photos were taken on a cloudy evening. It's the swatch on the far left. I really like the contrast of the darker color with the white trim. The other colors were still way too blue for me. We had a few others we tried that were more in the green/gray spectrum, but were obviously not right once we tried them, which is why it's so important to do that test swatch.

Our house is not nearly so grand, but I'm hoping it will look something like this lovely home when done. I absolutely love the contrast of light and dark and am so hoping that I will like it as much on our house. Our trim is plain white instead of creamy and we won't have a pretty painted front door, unfortunately. We only have a full window storm door that enters onto the porch. We could paint it, it's white right now, but it probably wouldn't have much of an impact. We do have a red Swedish mailbox for a some accent color and in summer I always have potted flowers next to the front steps.  

                              Traditional Exterior by Seattle Home Stagers Andrea Braund Home Staging & Design

One little sidenote. Wisconsin has very stringent rules about lead safety in regards to renovation. Since our house still has traces of the old pre-1978 paint the siding did test positive for lead. Therefore all the paint scrapings have to be collected for proper disposal. Pressure washing was not allowed. And our property, at least the three sides that are accessible from the street and next door neighbors, is surrounded with lead hazard tape to keep anyone from walking through while the crew is working. It looks a bit like a crime scene, but better safe than sorry.

A likely casualty, unfortunately, are my pretty Stella d'oro daylilies and spiderwort which started to bloom in the last few days, right next to the house. I'm sure they'll be crushed by tarps and ladders. So sad, but worth the sacrifice. They're hardy and will be back next year. At least I have this crummy phone photo.

I'll be back in a week or so to post before and after pictures. Until then I'll do what I can to tune out the nerve jarring sound of metal scrapers on siding and the country music twanging on the crew's radio in the background. 


Always the Bridesmaid

I always seem to be the next person to arrive just after something is sold. The latest heartbreaker. These chairs. Coulda, shoulda, woulda...


Easy Project: Lightbulb Vase

The lilies-of-the-valley are blooming once again. The lovely scent of these cute little flowers has been a favorite of mine ever since I was a little girl and used to pick them on the hillside by my grandparent's house. I wasn't about to pass up a chance to pick a few to have on my nightstand so I could nod off to dreamland and wake again to their lovely scent. While scrounging through the cupboard for something to put them in I stumbled upon this lightbulb vase I'd made some time ago. It was the perfect size for these diminutive flowers. 

If you'd like to know how to make your own vase, it's an easy little project that takes about 10 minutes, if that. You'll need

  • An incandescent lightbulb, burned out is fine if you have one. Soon enough these will be hard to come by as they are phased out, so keep a few around if you can. 
  • Needle nose pliers.
  • Screwdriver
  • Gloves to protect your hands from cuts, just in case.
You can find several instructional tutorials online. Check out the YouTube video at the bottom of the page.

To keep the bulb vase upright you'll need something to support it. I rummaged around my husband's shop and found a hose clamp which worked just fine. You could use a heavy duty metal washer or a roll of tape (pretty washi tape would look awesome) or any other cylindrical item with a hole in the middle. 

If your lightbulb is white instead of clear you'll have one more step not mentioned in the video. After removing the inner parts of the bulb you'll notice that it has a powder coating lining the bulb. This is made of a ground up mineral called kaolin. It's non-toxic and harmless. Just rinsing it out with water under the tap usually does the trick. If there is still some leftover residue you can add some grains of uncooked rice and give it a few good shakes to remove the last of the powder.

Here are a couple other cute ideas I found on Pinterest for hanging the vases.

I think I'll be making a few more of these. How about you?


Slippery Fingers

This is becoming all too common a theme. I see vintage sofa. I fall in love with vintage sofa. Someone else gets it first. This one was too perfect. A vintage sofa in like new condition + a matching chair. Both for $80. Time to drown my sorrows in a rhubarb margarita. Happy weekending, everyone. 


Vintage Medical Cabinets

My husband must cringe whenever I'm browsing Craigslist, Etsy or Ebay and tell him I have something he "just has to see".  It usually means I've discovered a piece of vintage furniture that I just have to add to my collection of waiting projects. This morning I was casually scrolling through Craigslist when I spotted a vintage metal medical cabinet. Ding, ding, ding! Only $50 and in fairly decent condition! Now that I've successfully tried dipping my toes into refinishing metal cabinets I think it's a realistic doable project. I've already been in touch with the seller and I'm hoping I can get my hands on it before someone else does. (Update: It's mine!) A cabinet like this is so versatile. Really, it could fit in anyplace. I'd love to use it as storage in our bathroom. I can see it working equally well in an office, dining room, craft room, living room, bedroom or laundry.

In the meantime I thought I'd go in search of some inspiration photos. The first picture is the actual cabinet I'm hoping to buy. Glass sliding doors, intact! Only tiny bits of rust. Shelves covered with yellow contact paper. Cream colored finish, or maybe just discolored white. Its dimensions are 64 x 30 x 15 which is a perfect size in my opinion; not too big, but big enough to provide ample storage.

It doesn't look too exciting does it? But check out this gorgeous teal cabinet that's very similar. The Craigslist cabinet claims it has glass shelves, but of course covered with contact paper. I'd probably have to get new glass. Lots easier than cleaning gooey adhesive off what is already there. 

Here's a real stunner that recently sold on Etsy. Love, love, love the coral color and I really dig the textured glass which would be great for hiding things in my cabinet (Yes, I already consider it mine) if used in the bathroom -- that is if I could somehow get sliding doors made of glass like this.

Here's another I spied on Pinterest. A light inside would be nice. I don't think it would be too hard to wire one up. I also like the black accents and extra wide drawer pulls. 

I've seen quite a few 1950's era cabinets with these big round knobs which are rather fun and funky. Some Bondo would easily fill in the current holes and I could re-drill for new hardware. Something to consider. 

There you have it. Just what I need. Another project that will take me forever to get around to doing. One of these days we are going to have to get serious about finding that dream property that has a heated workshop where my husband and I can pursue our interests year round -- woodworking for him and furniture refinishing for me. We're always on the lookout but the perfect place just hasn't materialized yet. "One of these days" should be my motto. 

My husband will no doubt remind me that I still have a set of gym lockers sitting in storage waiting to be transformed. Shhhh. Maybe he won't remember. I guess I have a wee bit of a thing for vintage metal furniture



Click the video for background music while reading this post.

This song pretty much describes how I feel when I start thinking about finding my perfect sofa. I know it's going to happen someday. I just know it. Until then I wait and dream about it. Drool over pretty sofa pictures. Imagine what it will be like. My only fear is that when we finally meet I'll turn into a jealous mate and won't allow anyone to get within ten feet, let alone sit on it.

Here's my latest prospect:

Kind of ugly, yeah? But wait, I have rose... errr, blue colored glasses. I can see Mr. Stripey turning into something like...

I know the picture is a little fuzzy. Or maybe it's just the tears of happiness in my eyes thinking of what could be. I'm sure a talented upholsterer could totally make this happen. My only concern is whether or not I'd be able to get up from the sofa without calling for help. Low slung sofa + bad knees = 911. I'm sure there is a code for that in law enforcement, right? Would that be a 10-53 - Woman Down? or a 586 - Illegal Parking? Hmm, something to take into consideration anyway. 

I'm going to run it by the Mr. and see what he thinks. Will keep you updated. 

Have a great holiday weekend. I'm off to see a man about a horse chocolate bunny. 



Where has the time gone and is it already February 2014? Gulp. I didn't mean to take such a long break from posting but that's how it goes sometimes. First there was the holiday busyness that kept me sidetracked. In the middle of it all we were also dealing with an unexpected family emergency, followed by a string of houseguests as a result. Things have finally quieted down and knock on wood that it will stay that way for the foreseeable future. 

Many projects have also fallen by the wayside, partly due to the fact that it's winter. And what a winter it's been! Can it please be over now? I deliberately titled this post "Wintering" because it seems like it should be a verb. It takes a lot of energy and perseverance to get through a tough winter like this. Since December 6th we've had 38 days in which the temperatures have dipped below zero...that's fahrenheit! We saw temperatures as low as -26 and that didn't factor in the windchill which made it feel much, much colder. Props to my husband who has not let the cold or snow deter him from making his 4-mile roundtrip daily walking commute for work! He says it's easier to get himself going on cold mornings than the car, which is probably true. So, because of the less than ideal weather and roads, I haven't made as many trips out to scour new items for my Etsy shop. Projects that involve spray painting are on hold until warm weather returns. Likewise, other indoor projects that might require ventilation, aren't happening when the storm windows are on. 

What I did manage to get accomplished before Christmas was a bit of sewing, and fun sewing at that. I knew my niece, who just turned five yesterday (happy birthday, Grace), was going to be receiving an American Girl doll for Christmas. Of course every doll needs a wardrobe, right? It's been at least fifteen years since I last made doll clothes and I'd forgotten how much fun it is. I sewed skinny jeans, a tweed coat, One Direction t-shirt (her fav boy band), and pajamas. Then I ran across a Star Trek dress pattern for an 18" doll. My daughter, now 24, is a self-confessed Trekkie. She wore an Uhura costume for Halloween a couple years ago, so when I saw the pattern I knew I had to make it for her. She certainly wasn't expecting a doll outfit for Christmas, but was thrilled with it anyway! I wrapped it up and gave it to her on Christmas morning, doll and all. (The doll model isn't an AG doll, but a different brand 18" doll.) Crappy phone pictures below...

I hope to get back on track with regular posts again. The weather will soon...had better... give us some signs of spring on the way. I've already heard a pileated woodpecker hammering in the morning and the days are getting longer. I'm counting on you to just do your part and  THINK SPRING!