29 February 2012


It must be Spring.  All the azaleas are starting to bloom and bulbs are coming up everywhere.  That poor confused jasmine around the mailbox is sagging under the weight of it's riot of yellow bells.  The pear trees are blossoming white, and it is only the last day of February.  Me, I am feeling the urge to paint everything in sight, drenching it all in color, color, color!

The first pieces to get a makeover were these two chairs for the breakfast nook table which I detailed in the previous post.

The newly painted chairs were christened with the above lunch tablesetting when I served a lovely Quiche Lorraine and salad.  

I think what really started all this color frenzy were these napkin rings I happened upon in Pier 1 a few weeks ago.  It was a drizzly grey day, and I was getting cabin fever from several such days and had just been looking through their new Spring flyer with color, color, color.  There is a Pier 1 store quite close to me so I threw on some jeans and sweater and took off.  I spotted them through the window before I ever made it in the door.

I wandered around the store for a long time, and then went back and picked up six, making myself very happy.  Once home, I stowed them away, but not before I tried them out with several different napkins and plates, etc.  Just look at all those colors!  I can assure you that they will be a presence on our table as I experiment with various combinations.

This day I decided to stick with the aqua/turquoise hues except for the napkins, after first trying out red and purple and yellow.

Those little balls are actually covered with fabric -- this must have been very tedious to do!

I found two of these salad plates and two matching mugs one day at HG right after an appointment with the eye doc -- with dilated eyes.  I instantly glommed onto the joyous smears of bright colors, and wished they had some more pieces.  They looked seriously psychedelic that day, I have to tell you.  However, now that my eyes are un-dilated, I still think they are really cute and enjoy using them for breakfast.  Very cheerful!

Probably the reason I selected that particular bouquet of bright flowers is that I knew those little napkin rings were lurking in the drawer back at home, just waiting to come out to play.  

There is much more happy color coming to some other furniture here very soon.  Stay tuned!


I am linking to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday

and to Alma at The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sunday

26 February 2012


Let's start this post with some pretty flowers.  Just because.

This is a little tale about two chairs.

In 1998, I bought two of these Queen Anne style chairs from the unpainted furniture store which has since fallen victim to the crappy economy and disappeared.

The one above I painted and decoupaged for my sewing room in my previous house.  The floral design was cut from a Waverly wallpaper border.  It has been everywhere and used for everything in the ensuing years.

The other one you see above was coated about 50 million times (and sanded in between each coat!) with oil-base high gloss enamel from Benjamin Moore.   I don't even know if they still make it.  I used it in the 1998 Alabama Symphony Decorator Showhouse, but when it did not sell, I brought it home for Sweet Husband to use at his desk  where it has remained till this past week.  When I stole his desk chair, I very kindly let him borrow mine.  

The reason for the switch in the chairs for the little two-top table in the kitchen all came down to space.  The various others I had tried were all armchairs, and none would scoot up close to the table.  Every square inch counts in this space.  Changes are a-comin', but not quite yet.

I decided to unite these two separated-at-birth siblings -- with paint and fabric of course!

This is one of those times I will have to eat my words -- the ones I wrote when I said I would not buy any more Annie Sloan chalk paint because it was too expensive.  After I thought it over and realized that I had to cover not only decoupage and glaze but also a finish that looked like lacquer, I decided that the chalk paint would be worth the money to save the time and just get the job done.  Two coats was all it took.

Here, the paint was curing.  I waited a couple of days to do the waxing, which I did with only the clear wax.  For the mix, I used a sample pot of "Provence" which I think is about 1/2 cup, mixed with half a quart (2 cups) of "Pure White."  It gave me exactly the color I wanted, and I have plenty left for a couple more projects yet to be done.

I used a bit of the Provence full-strength in some grooves here and there, although it doesn't really show in the photos.

You can see the outlines of the decoupage here.  I debated using a wash of the full strength paint to make it more noticeable, or using the dark wax, but ultimately decided to leave it as is.  True it is only on the one chair, but the texture actually looks very interesting.  I never thought I would paint over this, because it was very time consuming to decoupage this entire chair, and I thought it was quite an artsy accomplishment!  

However, it is a woman's prerogative to change her mind, and I did.

And here they are!  The seats are unified in a new fabric found at Rosegate Designs, my go-to store/studio for something great. This fabric was a lucky find last year, a remnant of about four yards of P. Kauffman (I think) fabric which has been treated for outdoor use.  Not only was the color spot on, but the durability factor was not to be dismissed.  I grabbed it long before I ever got involved with the never-ending kitchen re-do, thinking that I would recover the cushions for my wicker if I ever get a porch.  When you find something you like, you should get it and save it because you never know when it will be exactly what you need one day.

The chairs now will scoot up close to the table, and give me a few more inches to work with not to mention better traffic flow.  When the sunroom is done later this year, I think they will look really great out there, too.

Above and below you can see that texture from the decoupage.  You should understand that when you apply fabric or paper with ModPodge, it is meant to be a permanent application.  

Once I decoupaged some bathroom cabinets and doors and my husband worked and worked, scraping etc., and finally got enough off to repaint.  He told me he wasn't scraping off any more of "that mess" though!

A close-up of the fabric.
I used two layers of poly batting between the old seat cover and the new.

The shade of aqua is a bit lighter than the walls, exactly what I wanted.

Here, I set the table for lunch with some similar colors, and I will show you more of this another day.

I have several other projects on the drawing board which involve this paint, so check back soon to see those.  Thanks for visiting, and I love to read your comments. 


I will be linking this post to various parties this week -- be sure to visit these hard-working ladies for lots of inspiration. 

Alma at The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays

Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday.

Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday

Nita at Mod Vintage Life for Mod Mix Monday   

Kristin at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia for Tuesday's Treasures

Linsey at The Farmhouse Porch for Cowgirl UP!

Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday!

Handy Man, Crafty Woman for Wicked Awesome Wednesday

Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday

Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feather Your Nest Friday

Furniture Feature Friday @ Miss Mustard Seed

20 February 2012


This week has found me embarked on several projects, few of which are actually completed.  The first and most overwhelming project is to winnow the years of shelter magazines by making tear sheets of what speaks to me and discarding the rest of it, as well as saving and re-shelving (somewhere) the ones I refuse to part with.

I am just throwing in a few pretty photos for inspiration!
Actually this was an exercise in concealing cords and plugs.

We will have a Grand Finale with a copycat -- well, not exactly a copycat, just something one of my favorite bloggers did which inspired me.

I swapped places with the lamp and the plants because they were looking a little sad.
I do not have a green thumb.

The chorizo is braising, and the pizza dough is rising because Mexican Pizza is on the menu tonight.  I am sipping the last of last night's Coppola Claret, and the kitchen is smelling heavenly.  But I digress... 

I have a staggering collection of shelter and design magazines and all kinds of books.  The books are outgrowing the amount of shelving I have -- again -- but I refuse to part with any of them.  I spent my whole first year's Social Security checks at the Thomasville store on some big solid bookcases for my office because we had built in the last ones we had, and I couldn't very well rip them out of the old house when we left.  They are full.  Overflowing, actually.  There are two other large ones on the stair landing and two in the Mancave and two in the laundry.  Piles, well let's call them stacks, are in every room.  Baskets hold several gazillion more in the Master Bedroom and Living Room.  At one time I had them poked into the spindles along the stairs.  It's a sickness.

Overflow from the garage shelves, now taking over the utility cabinets.

A tiny portion of my garage shelving holding boxes of magazines

In my old house's basement studio space, I had a row of cheapie white laminate bookshelving from Lowe's with all the mags separated and organized right down to the months in order within the year, also shelved in order.  (I am somewhat OCD probably -- Martha would have been proud.)  When we decided it was do or die time to get The White Elephant sold, I started purging books and magazines.  Sort of.

Not my photo -- just one I pulled off the web --
if it is yours, let me know,
I'll credit

I organized several sales, and it almost killed me to see one of my babies leave.  Never mind that there were some very happy people who bought those bundles of old Verandas and Southern Accents and Traditional Homes and Architectural Digest.  

I flattened out all those blue-striped white sleeves I had bought from The Container Store and bundled them up because I just knew I would fill them again someday.  Then, when The White Elephant finally did get sold (four long years later), we had another sale or two or three, and we sold all that cheapo shelving because we were planning to move a long way away.  I wound up throwing all those perfectly good magazine sleeves away because no one wanted them in any of my subsequent sales.  I packed up the rest of the mags, dragging my feet, because I just didn't want to part with them. 

My dream bed -- smack dab in the middle of books --
probably there is a beach outside the window.
Your photo?  Let me know -- I will credit.

If you have followed me for a while, you know that Sweet Husband dug in his heels and said he wanted to keep his job a while longer, and so I had to scramble to find another house.  

I would love this PB secretary desk for my bedroom,
since nobody is boing to build me those shelves in the picture before this one

Two can play "dig in your heels," and so I did on the matter of getting rid of all those magazines and books.  I figured, moving cross-country, sure, I cannot justify all the extra weight of these things.  Moving across town?  Load'em up, Baby!  I had boxed them in containers which once contained reams of copy paper from the office supply store.  Then I had to spend $600 (ssshhh!) at Costco on six big heavy industrial shelves for my dinky little garage to stack the boxes on.  Sweet Husband just shook his head (so many times he reminded me of a bobblehead).  If he dared mention my gazillions of boxes of mags, I went on a tirade about being made to live here where I didn't want to be.  Most of the time, our home is a very Peaceable Kingdom and all is Domestic Bliss.  However, nobody carries a grudge like a Thompson as my mother always said, so I admit, I have done my share of bitching on the subject of being stuck here.  If I must be stuck here, however, I will be stuck with the rest of my design library intact.  By God.  So there.

I have thought about this, still thinking, actually, of
surrounding a doorway with floor to ceiling shelves

Kind of industrial/rustic, but OK
are those rulers bordering the shelves?
That would give new meaning to 'books by the yard,'
an abomination practiced by some decorators.

I have always dreamed of a wall of books in cube storage.
The leather Chesterfield is not too shabby, either.

Nice, except you can keep the zebra.
I think that belongs on the animal.

Then the economy crashed.  Can't sell the house and don't have enough room for a proper studio and organized materials.  Magazines have gone out of business, many, many no longer being  published.  Four and three-quarter years have passed.  What to do?  

Love me some black and white.
Diane Bergeron photo

I have run out of space in the garage, and I have no more room for any more steel shelving either.  I decided I simply must purge, agonizing though it is.  Otherwise you are going to find me on that show about hoarders, having an intervention.  

The plan is that while I am sitting in front of the TV in the evening, if I am not reading or writing, I would be working on this magazine project.  I never have been one to watch TV without doing something else -- drawing, sewing, crocheting, making lists, even reading -- I just think it is a waste of time.  

I usually make an exception for Downton Abbey (isn't Maggie Smith a hoot?) or something of that caliber because it deserves my undivided attention.  (Yay! for Matthew and Mary!)  But the cops and robbers' whodunits?    I like to keep my little fingers and brain busy.  

The tools required for the task

The next stack to attack

Adore the idea of a DR library !

The only problem is that I get so absorbed in re-reading these magazines that I am not making much progress!!!  I have made it through maybe a couple of dozen this week, this out of probably hundreds of dozens, and I have a little plastic bin with a respectable stack of tear sheets.  I have always used PostIts to flag what has caught my eye, made notes as to why I like it, think it works, etc.  That helps the process along, but you know what?  I find that I remember what I have flagged, that I still like it, and still think that idea is a good one!  Some of these magazines are nearly twenty years old, and they moved here with me from Texas! 

What I save will go into three of these -- somewhere.  After all, I cannot find them or refer back to them when they are boxed up.

Expedits from IKEA

Three very clear axioms have emerged from the doing of this little project so far:

1.  I will be at least 150 years old when I finish this project.  Maybe 175.

2.  Good design is good design.  It doesn't matter how old it is, how long ago it was done.  Certainly, trends and colors and accessory preferences change, but the elements of design like light, scale, balance, etc. -- they always stand the test of time.  If it was done right the first time, it will hold up. 

3.   Sweet Husband is a very patient man, possibly a Saint, even.


The second project is proving quite frustrating.  We'll talk about another time!

I leave you with this:

I saw Debbie's (Confessions of a Plate Addict) post on what she did to her mantel, and I went bananas!  She is the best!  Sweet Husband hauled things to the attic and brought other things down.  I now have a little blue and yellow on my mantel, too.  Thanks, Debbie!  (Although I don't have room for plates, etc., because that Gone With the Wind mirror is so honkin' big.)  The forsythia is fake and the vases came from Tuesday Morning about five thousand years ago, in case you are interested.  


I am joining the following blog parties this week:

Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday.

Cielo at The House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday

Nita at Mod Vintage Life for Mod Monday Mix 

The Nester for 

I will add others as we go along this week.  

Congratulations to Cindy at My Romantic Home who just found a good job!  I am linking to her today for Show and Tell Friday.

Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feather Your Nest Friday who has some outstanding features this week, as always.

Visit these hardworking ladies and learn something!

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