Thursday, April 30, 2009

Old trunk re-do?

I just got this old (free) handmade trunk from my mom. It belonged to a grand uncle of mine that has long since passed on, and ended up in her garage for lack of something better to do with it. I needed something small and efficient (it has wheels), and I like the beat-up quality of it.

I'm debating whether to refinish it with some white paint and new hardware, maybe even some printed panel inserts, like these trunks, or just leave it as is. With the party coming up fast and furious this Sunday (a surprise party for my dad), I have precious little time left for such fun projects.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Target storage ottoman vs. Crate and Barrel ottoman

I finally found a leather(ette) storage ottoman for Pete's music room. I had seen this one at Target for $79, but hesitated, thinking I'd find something cheaper.

Anyhow, I ended up getting this Crate & Barrel ottoman at the C & B Outlet for a steal. It was originally $149 and marked down to $59, listed as "worn" on the sale tag, but I can't find any wear. But, I don't think it's quite what Pete had in mind.

So when I saw the Target ottoman on sale for $59, I snatched one up.

And look, it's got storage for Pete's music books!

The C & B ottoman can go in our living room for extra seating, for which we are always lacking. And we live in a shoebox, so small and portable is good.

I would love to buy an actual nice, leather ottoman, but a) they're too much money for us to spend right now, and b) it would be mauled and nicked and stained from all our animals and visitors. A friend of mine once said he spends extra money on quality things, so that they last a long time and don't look crappy. But I have trouble spending money on nice furniture because it all gets so beat up in this house. If it's something I can literally lock away, like my china and vintage tea cup collection, then fine, I'll spend some extra cash. But I don't want to have a house of museum-quality furniture that I'm still paying for long after it's beat to death.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's Tele-Serve Tuesday

With all the cleaning and decorating going on, and the pretty weather to distract me, I tend to forget that I'm unemployed at the moment. Until Tele-Serve Tuesdays, that is. Those are the days, every two weeks, when I have to call in to IDES and claim unemployment. I get nervous every time and I always second guess my answers. (Did I press "1" for yes or "3" for no? And why 1 and 3? Why not 1 and 2?) I worry that I have inadvertently given the wrong information and have shot to hell my unemployment claim. I've already had trouble setting up direct deposit, and never got my first Statement of Certification letter from IDES (it's floating around somewhere out there).

So the flurry of decorating posts and jokes about the pets are all in good fun, and I'm really totally excited to be working on my house. But if you look under the surface, you'll see a woman who's trying to avoid thinking about her current reality.

Weekend guests

Izzy and her friend Abby stayed overnight on Saturday and into the day on Sunday. They are the first official guests we've had in our house since the spare bedroom has been semi-finished. Matt has been here before, but that was to either house-sit or to just crash on the couch. It was kinda weird but cool to cook for them, give them blankets and linens, and entertain them. Hopefully we'll have more people staying over in the future.

Dollie decided it was her duty to be the official guest companion, and made herself a little bed in a basket tray table designed for drinks, not cats. (It was a cheapy Ikea plastic neon green tray table, but I swapped out the tray for a white basket I happened to have.) Dollie seemed to be in heaven, having the girls fawn all over her, tuck her in at night, and feed her scraps.

Glad to know our guests will never lack for (annoying) company.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Red Stripe + Gyro = Two Hungry Dogs

Not so much hungry for the Red Stripe, although I'm sure Adora would give it a try. (Note the scrubbed wooden kitchen floor they're standing on. I only have like 20 square feet of intense scrubbing to go. Sigh....)

This is what it's like for me when I eat a meal at home ALL THE TIME. I'm always surrounded by the animals salivating and begging. Even the cats join in.


I think I'm overdoing it in the quest to get the house ready in time for our party. My Hooveritis is kicking in a bit, which means I need to back off a bit. Frustrating.

Heading off to lay low....

Lovely in blue

I find this bedroom to be rather lovely and serene, a perfect combo for such a space. I've found myself drawn to that color lately, and I'm not sure why. But it pops up throughout my home and it makes me smile.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bead board for the dining room

Pete and I would love to add some bead (or beaded) board to our dining room walls, once the floors are sanded, painted (a pretty blue), and sealed. It would add that extra cottage flavor to our little cottage-style home, and hide some ugly, ugly walls.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dutch door

I wonder if I can install a Dutch door in place of our front door? This seems like a great idea, especially since it would contain all the little beasties we have who like to run away. We don't have a back door, just a sliding door, so I'd have to swap the front door instead. And I would need to screen in the top part, or else risk being eaten alive by mosquitos.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Flower finials

This was my spring-ifying idea for the hold backs Pete installed for me on Thursday. They originally had a flat-end finial, which were fine, but nothing special. So I improvised and used clip-on flowers. I'm deciding if they look nice or just goofy. Those are my cheapo-beapo (as Nic says) gold curtains from Wal-Mart. I moved the blue and green ones into Pete's manly music room, a.k.a. the spare bedroom/office.

Here are some other nice hold backs.

I'd love to upgrade to something fancier when I have the money, but for now, the 99¢ flowers are fine.

Lovely irises

My current fresh-cut flowers (they were out of peach blossoms at Trader Joe's).

Wow, I'm really liking that table I bought for displaying my pretty vases and flowers. The flowers really, really make the house (and me) happy, and things just look more elegant.

Simple and chic (but cheap) slipcovers?

I desperately want to cover up my couches with something light, happy, and inexpensive. They're very comfy couches, but the material on them is absolutely hideous to me. It's very dark, southwestern, and slightly '80s looking, which is totally at odds with my decorating scheme of bright and colorful eclectic cottage. (They're hand-me-downs.)

But I'm also not about to go buy couches, especially since we're renting now and not sure if we're buying this house. If we move, the couches I buy might not work at our new home. And uh, hello, I'm unemployed, too. So there's not too much $ available for such frivolous things as making the house look pretty.

I do have some slipcovers that I bought last year, but they're hard to put on, ill fitting, and they show lots of the original couch. Here you can see Spanky sitting on the slipcovered couch. I think it was looking a little too cottagey with all the pillows (which you can't really see here), but I do like using quilts and comforters as slipcover accents. They are pet- and kid-friendly, and you can mix and match them as you like. I think I might like to recreate that look, but those quilts and comforters are now beat and old, so I'd have to buy more. And they aren't cheap.

I was toying with the idea of using sheets, but I'm not sure that'll give me the look I want. Any ideas? I'd love to see pix of anyone's slipcover solutions. I'm having a party next weekend and I want the couches to look pretty and not so gross.

Gaudy but frilly

I made this wreath the other day. It was very pretty and vivid when I made it, but now that I see it hanging on my front door, I'm not so sure that it's not weird or too goofy looking. Oh well, it's pink and white and bright, and who cares what it looks like?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A patterned solution

We live in an old kit home which has been renovated, Frankenstein-style, for many years now. The original structure has been altered quite a bit, sometimes in a good way, and sometimes not. One of the not-so-good ways is a weird structure that was built onto one side of the house to create an entry way and an extra little room. The concept is great, but it was built very strangely. The floors slope, the walls are slanted, and the little extra room has an incredibly stupid and not square window (I'll have to show you pix some other time).

Anyhow, this little spare room also has a weird pass-through type window that leads to the kitchen. I'm not sure what the original function of this was, since it's too small to pass much more than a plate or bowl through, and it's in a weird spot (the rear part of the kitchen counter). The goofy window in the extra room is very, very drafty, so all that cold and wind comes through the little pass through and into the nice warm kitchen.

My solution was to get a cheap place mat (this one is from Crate & Barrel outlet) and duct tape it to the other side of the wall, in the extra room. We use the extra room for storage, so no one will ever see the duct tape, and the other side is nice and pretty and lets light in. And I can switch place mats whenever the current one gets dirty or I want to change things up. And the little nook that was created is a perfect place to store my iPod player.

I know, it's strange, but it's all about making things pretty, no matter how run down or weird your house is.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dollie on drums

Pete's friend Jeff left his drum kit out in the dining room on Friday night (we usually store it in our weird little storage room). Dollie couldn't help herself and climbed on top, sniffing and accidentally clanging the cymbals. Max preferred to keep his distance, although he did seem intrigued.

Funny thing is, Jeff HATES cats, so Pete snapped some pix to show Jeff. At work on Monday, Pete said, "Hey man, we had a new drummer stand in for you the other day. Dude, this cat is pretty good, he's really got talent." Jeff didn't fall for it, and when Pete revealed the pictures, giggling like a madman, Jeff took it like a good sport.

Pretty quilts and coverlets

I love this for our daybed in the spare bedroom.

This is quite nice, too. Love the bold graphic look of it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

For Bird

We miss you.


I appreciate all the caring thoughts regarding the death in my family. We're still waiting to hear when the funeral/memorial service will be, so we're all sort of in limbo. Until then, I'm going to sneak in some blogging when I have time.

(P.S. I'm off to do a tiny bit of proofreading for someone, so I'll be back later tonight.)

Personalizing furniture with custom knobs

I have an old maple desk that I got from my grandparents when they went to a nursing home, and I've been toying with the thought of refinishing it. I'm not sure if I want to paint it though, because it's a beautiful wood and I'd hate to "trend" it up, only to have it fall out of style a few years down the road.

But one way I've customized it in the past is to use place mats or table runners on the top for a little instant decoration (I've done the same thing with my laptop desk in the living room). Another thought is to change out all the plain knobs for pretty and unique ones from places like Anthropologie. I have seven of the bird knobs (top image, below), which I received as part of a wedding gift—the eighth bird's tail broke :(

I saw some very nice ones when I was there on Friday, and I thought of all the things I could personalize without a lot of labor, and without much permanence (I'd save the desk's knobs, just in case). They have a cool "Hardware Store" section where you can try out different knobs and pulls on some sample furniture and move 'em around as you like.

Now I just gotta decide if I want to mix and match, follow a certain color palette, or just make them all the same. Hmmm....