Decorating for the Season

This post is very photo laden.  You have been warned.

Today, I realized that I’ve been working so very hard on getting my pedestal table stripped and stained, that I had been neglecting the Christmas decorating!  Yes, I did have the Advent Wreath complete, and the hallway partially decorated, but I’ve been really slack on everything else!

So, here is my entry hallway, decorated for Christmas.  This is what it would look like if someone ran ahead of me and lit the candles before I opened the front door.

HallwaySanta’s writing out his “naughty/nice” list.  I’m choosing to believe I’m on the nice side of the page!

Here’s a look at what’s on that shelf…  Santa may welcome me home, but the Nativity prints certainly remind me what it’s really all about.

Nativity1This little hummingbird was a Christmas present from one of my work associates.  The gold stars were a gift from an elderly neighbour a few years ago.  Together with the icicles and a mixture of real cedar branches and a faux garland, the space fills up nicely!  4 votives in sherry glasses and two in the wall hung candle holders gives a very nice glow.HummingbirdThe wreath was made from cardstock.  “Joy” was printed at home on photo paper (as was Santa’s “Believe”)  The carollers and shoppers are from Canadian Tire and fit nicely into the jars that once held Dollarama Candles.  The red bottom of the jars are two Dollarama candle holders, spray painted red.joynativity2

Except for the “Baby, it’s cold outside” print on the back of the front door, that just about does it.  Next time, the living room.

There’s still the garland above the patio doors to decorate, the creche to put up, the tree to trim, stockings to make and the table and appropriate dishware to put out, but it really feels like Christmas here now.

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.


Dining Decision

For months, literally, I’ve treated our dining area as nothing more than a hallway.

On one side, a glass topped table…  On the other, a brown paper bag console table.

That’s it.

No art.  In fact, the only ornamentation was the fruit bowl I put together.  The console has exactly three candles and a mirror.

I’ve managed to get the rest of the room almost in shape.  I even managed to get new curtains from the local Salvation Army (for $9.99!).  The room does need artwork and some tweaking, but that will come in time.

Back to the dining area….

The glass-topped table and modern chairs just aren’t working in sync with the rest of the room.  They’re just too modern and cold, while the rest of the room is comfy and traditional(ish).   It left me uninspired… to say the least.

I had a breakthrough today!  My local Salvation Army had a solid wood, round, pedestal table!  One that needs work – but you can’t expect perfection for $24.99!  Right now, it’s in two pieces in my living room, waiting for me to decide what to do with it!

And there is the dilema.

I’m thinking a white base, dark stained top and a compass rose overlay.

The Ogre?  Well, he’s not on board with the white base, although he is very approving of the compass rose.  I suggested black…. he doesn’t think that will work, either.

This decision could be a while in making.

I’ll keep you posted as to who wins!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Dining Dilema

Have you ever found yourself in a decorating slump?  In a time where there just doesn’t seem to be anything that you know how to change or fix… despite the fact that you’re not happy with things?

I’m sort of there right now.  I think it’s a combination of budget and the knowledge that there’s going to be some rather major messes made when the landlord changes out our windows.  Nonetheless, things, they need a changin’.

There are several rooms that need working and/or finishing in my townhome.  First on the menu (pun slightly intended) is my dining area.

Right now, the dining area looks like this…

Not exactly someplace you really want to linger, is it?  I really do love the wall and trim colors in this space, so I want to keep those just as they are.  The black glass table top is scratched and needs something done to it, but the table, chairs and console HAVE to stay right now.  In other words, I’m stuck with the furnishings as is… and don’t want to change the walls.

That leaves accessories.  Art.  SOMETHING!!!!

But my brain isn’t working.  So I need help.

Here’s your challenge, friends.  If this were your space, what would you do?  What would you bring in?  Where would you put it?  Are there any colors you would use to bring life to this area?

Any comments and assistance very gratefully accepted!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Living and Dining Areas – Take Two!

Actually, the title is mildly misleading.  There’s nothing really changed in the living room, but I’m now more comfortable showing all of it!  You see, I hid the dining area portion because it was a paint-splattered disaster.

However, after some cleaning and touch-ups, the room is ready to be seen.  I haven’t hung any art yet… mostly because I really don’t know what I want to hang.  I think we may just live with the blank walls for a while and be thankful that they are not flesh-toned beige and chocolate brown!  (As they were when we moved in!)

Let’s start with the hallway and the line of sight that currently exists, shall we?  First impressions always count, don’t they?

This shot was taken at lunchtime – hence the streaming light through the patio door!  If you take even one more step forward, the view expands…

The curtains on the patio window are actually twin sheets from Walmart!  The swag is a $3.99 table cloth from the Salvation Army.  I simply cut the tablecloth lengthwise and pinned and knotted it around the dowel curtain rod.

The line of sight continues.

From here you can see the tripod garden ornament I made.  It’s three aluminum tubes attached near the top with wire.  From the wired portion, I hung the sunburst candle holder given to me by a friend years ago.  The orange candle holder is from The Dollarama.  I picked up several more for the patio table, as well.  The raised bed was jury-rigged from pavers the previous tenants left behind.  I built around the stump of a HUGE apple tree that was very jaggedly cut off.  By covering it up, I’m hoping to ignore it!  Next year, I’ve a plan to make a far more planned out bed here.

By the time you get to see all of this, you are into the living room.  I hope the line of sight actually pulled you to this point before you even noticed.

Now that we’re here, lets look around, shall we?

The ginger lamps with pleated shades came from the Salvation Army.  The lamps were a 1980’s peach – with a flower decal.  Several coats of spray paint later, and they fit this decade much better!  The shades were originally beige, so they got a few coats of charcoal paint.  I added a small detail to the lamp finial in order to make them a tad more interesting.

I happened upon two of these pendents and they were the perfect fit for the circular portion.  I used wire to attach, then touched it all up with some silver paint.  They don’t sparkle, but they do add a bit more detail.

Behind the couch, I now have the Malm Hadboard.  (and some stacked artwork I’m not sure of placement on!)

The spires are from Winners, as is the center candle holder.  (I blogged about that candle holder here!)  Flanked by the hammered pewter pedastal bowls, it looks right at home here.

If you turn to your right now, and have a seat, you’ll see this.

The coffee table is another Salvation Army find.  I’ll be re-finishing it when I have the chance, but it works well to ground the sitting area right now.  Don’t mind Aphrael… she’s engrossed watching very big screen kitty tv!

I’ve used a curtain made by my Mom as a base for my Salvation Army candle holders and the cloche I made from an anniversary clock and a small urn (also purchased from the local Salvation Army).  The card inside the cloche is from my Mom and Dad.

The book was a house warming gift from my dance teacher, Joan.  The plants live in a Salvation Army planter that I found exactly the way you see it!  How perfect, no?

This is the Ogre’s chair.  He’ll NEVER use that throw, but it looks better there than on mine!  I knit the cotton yarn throw years ago and it’s just right for curling up under during cool spring and summer evenings.

This little bookcase is the perfect place to display a few cloches.  Unfortunately, I have no idea what to put in them!  The lamp was a Salvation Army find.  When I got it, it was verdigris painted, but the black suits my taste better.

This little lovely came from a co-worker as a Christmas gift.  She’s so beautiful, I had to have her out year round instead of just at Christmas!

When I did the bookcases, I tried to create a lower level for display.  In future, I’m hoping for a fireplace and mantle here!  Until then, though, I have an extra wall-like surface.  Perfect for sconces!

These candle sconces were wired when they leapt into my cart at the S.A.  I ripped the wiring out and screwed them into the sides of the bookcases.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t manage to adjust the arms to allow the candles to be completely vertical.

These books are the Ogre’s – and they are well-read.  The mercury glass sphere was the top of the spire that turned into the candleholder behind the couch!  The vanilla candle was a gift from the Ogre’s youngest sister, and the other candle holder is part of a set given to me by my Southern cousin.  The candle itself came from the local Dollarama, while the aloe vera was a gift from my gardening guru, Roxane.

Here’s the Underwood.  The Ogre’s mother used it when she was at university, and the Ogre learned how to type on it.  The “Every Day Reference Library” beside it is also from his family.  If you take the time to read it, you can learn how to do almost anything!

Here’s the dining area now.  (Right behind my big cushy chair).  Like the couch and chairs, the glass topped table and chairs came from The Good Friends Indeed.  The fruit bowl started life as a ceiling fixture, but wasn’t needed any longer.

Eventually, I’ll strip the back of the glass table top and re-do it.  Right now, the areas that are supported by the base have had the paint scratched off.  I’ve got a few ideas of what I want to do with this, but nothing’s been decided yet!

The Paper Bag Console Table has it’s own little wall here.

The centerpiece is a wall mirror with a silver and gold frame.  A few candles and it’s much more important!  When I’ve finished re-upholstering the hotel chair, it will live here as well.

Here’s the view from the door between the kitchen and dining area.

And there you have it.  My living and dining areas.  It’s taken a four months to get to this state, and there’s still some touch up and molding to be installed where the ceiling and wall meet.

I’m happy with where the room is now.  It’s a nice place to come home to.

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Easter weekend – my way.

I’m fortunate enough to have a very long weekend for Easter.  Friday was a statutory holiday, but my employer also gives us all Easter Monday off as well.  It’s the perfect break!  I worked a 4 day week, have 4 days off and will work a 4 day week next week.

I got nothing done on Friday.  Just couch, Ogre and movies.  I put blinders on and did my very best not to think about my chore list or my project list.

But Friday is over!  And, though I’m still definitely sub-par, I do plan on getting a few things done this weekend.  Hopefully, I’ll have photos to show on Sunday or Monday.

Until then, I’d like to share some of the plans I have for my living room.

First, you’ve seen the dining areaThis green will go throughout the room and I’ll be trimming this green out with Stone White (a blue/gray based white) for contrast.

My sofa and matching chair really look at home against the green.  This is a picture of the set in their previous home.  Right now, they’re shoved in a jumble with drop cloths over them!

You can’t really see it in this photo, but the second chair has a small colored detail that has virtually the same green in it.  The burgundy works really well against the wall – though not so terrific with sofa. 

The glass top table and sexy faux leather chairs also look wonderful in this space.

I got all of these pieces for a grand total of $200 from a lovely young couple in the area.  They’ve started a business collecting free furniture that’s in good condition and providing it to clients for $50 per piece.  If you’re in the Ottawa area, I’d certainly suggest you check them out at their Facebook page.

I’m planning on purchasing some white Billy’s within the next two weeks to house some of our books.  I’ve informed the Ogre that I want some space on each of the shelves for pretties, but I really don’t know if that’s going to happen.  We have a fair number of books that need homes.

The only other furniture pieces that will be in this room are the $30 Malm headboard (from Kijiji), the $15 coffee table (Salvation Army), the free side tabe (Kijiji) and a free console table (left behind by an old room-mate years ago) that I’ll be using as a sofa back.  The coffee table will stay black as it currently is, but I’m still debating the colors for the headboard and console.  I’m alternating between charcoal and white, but I’m really not sure.

The cash outlay for this room so far is only $230.  The Billy’s will cost me another $250-$300.  I’m expecting the curtains to come in well under $100.  I’ll pull artwork from what I currently own until I can think of some more creative pieces.

All in all, the dining and living areas will have cost less than $700 – from the floor up.  It helps that the landlord has supplied paint and primer!

Other than the walls, there’s still a fair amount of work on the furniture pieces.  The case goods will need painting and I’m hoping to make a slip cover for the sofa and chair when my Mom visits in June.   I have no idea what fabric I’ll be using, but it has to go well with mackeral tabby hair, as our cat is free to sit where she wishes!  After all, she’s a part of the family and it is her home, too.

My goal for this Easter weekend, other than getting some rest and feeling better, is to get this room mostly in shape.  That means paint on the walls and trim and furniture back in position.  It also means scrubbing the floor on hands and knees to get rid of the paint splatters I manage to get EVERYWHERE!

I have three days left.  I can do this.  At least, I’m pretty sure I can!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Working in the Dining Area

Friday evening, when I got home from work, I did not immediately settle into “Thompson Time” (time spent with just the Ogre and I, chillaxin’).  I changed into my working clothes and moved furniture out of the dining area while he made us a lovely dinner.  That was the end of the home improvement, though.  We spent the rest of the evening on our computers, sharing things we stumbled upon.

I started Saturday morning, bright and early (well, bright and early for me!).  First, I removed the electrical fixture plates, then all of the nails and anchors from the three walls I worked on.  These all came from one of the three.  The nails and the anchors were not in the same spots, btw.  And these are the ones that were left behind.  There were at least as many empty holes!

With the walls empty of nails, but full of holes, I dug out my drywall filler and spatula.  Instead of trying to get full coverage in one coat, I applied a thin layer.  This was enough for the pinholes, and gave the larger holes a base coat.  A second coat was applied in some areas, and a third coat for the really deep holes.

Here’s a shot of the walls with the last of the filler applied.  There were a LOT of holes here.  I have no idea what the previous tenants had displayed, but they obviously believed that more is more!

The next stage involved my sanding sponges.  I just sanded the filled areas until they were smooth and flush with the surrounding area.  There was a great deal of dust, and I really should have worn a mask for this.

After the sanding, I vacuumed up the dust and grabbed a damp mop.  The walls got a quick wipe down to remove the excess powder from the paint surface.

Once this was accomplished, it was time for taping off the floor.  Because I was going to prime the entire surface, including baseboards, I didn’t have to worry about any other taping.  The wall color had been spattered on the ceiling, so I planned on getting up into that area as well.

(Right about this time, my body determined it was time for medication and a hot bath.  My physical limit had been reached.

Not being a terribly intelligent woman, I took the muscle relaxants and kept on going.  Really, I just wanted to get this done, and stopping would mean that I wouldn’t be able to do anything else until the next day.  Sometimes, it’s worth pushing the limits a bit – even if I have to pay for it later!)

Anyhooooo, on to the primer.  One coat just wasn’t going to do here at all, at all.  The pinky beige walls got two coats, and the chocolate walls got FOUR!  That’s right… FOUR coats of primer to get this…

(Note to self – tell landlord we need more primer!)

And this is where I left everything for the evening.

Sunday morning it was FINALLY time to actually apply color.  Whew.  I wondered if I’d ever get here!

The Louisburg Green from Benjamin Moore is a wonderful woody green.  It reminds me of the underlayer in the forest.. that sagey, mossy color that forms a background to everything else.   I chose it in January, and I was very much influenced by the winter that surrounded me then.  Now that it’s spring, I think I like it even more!

It’s darker than the peachy beige  that was on the wall, but much, much lighter than that dark chocolate that was here.  It’s not a big space, so going with a mid-range paint seemed to make more sense to me.  I’ve usually had lighter spaces, and been a big wimp about color so it seems like an adventure to me!

This room hasn’t been fully painted yet.  I haven’t painted the trim yet – mostly due to the “payback factor” I mentioned above.  Also, there’s still the living area to get to.  That, unfortunately, will involve lots of filling as well as priming, too.  That’s for next weekend, though!

So, what do you think?  Isn’t that green wonderful!  It almost looks gray in some lights.  I think it’ll make a great backdrop for the furniture and any art I manage to find!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

On the menu for the Dining Room!

I’ve decided that this weekend is the time I FINALLY start tackling the living/dining room.  On the menu?  Moving furniture from the dining area to the living area, filling holes, priming, and (perhaps) even painting three walls.  That would be a MAJOR accomplishment, honestly!

My original plan for this room (seen here) has been revamped.  The wall colors will be the same, but I’ve reconfigured the layout to something a little more navigable.  The table and console are actually going to exchange walls.  That leaves me with a greater visual area around the sofa.  We’ve been living with the new layout for a few weeks, and it’s working nicely.

Now, to tackle the foundation of the space.  And, Oh. My. Goodness.  does this space need the foundation tackled…

We’ve lived with this for long enough.  It’s time to say goodbye to someone else’s grunge and bring in OUR shiny, clean and, dare I say, TASTEFUL decor.

First, the messy holes in the wall will disappear.  Then, the flesh-toned beige and chocolate will be covered by two nice coats of primer.  Once that is accomplished, I’ll be slappin’ some beautiful Louisburg Green by Benjamin Moore on the walls and using my preferred Stone White for the trim.  The colors should look something like this…

This is a capture of the Sherwin Williams Visualizer… it’s a terrific tool – even if you’re not using their paint!

This whole home is an adventure in color for me.  No more builder’s beige, taupe and pale blue.  It’s a bit frightening – even when I’m NOT paying for the paint!

How about you?  Are you stepping out of your comfort zone with color?  Are you redoing any rooms right now?  I’d love to hear about it.

I’d like to apologize to whoever likes chocolate brown and flesh toned beige.  I do not mean to disparage your taste.  Done properly, the color scheme COULD be beautiful.  The previous tenants, however, did NOT do this properly.  EPIC FAIL, as far as I’m concerned.

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.