30 March 2014


I don't know who to attribute, but this is beautiful, isn't it?
Thank you so much to all of you who have commented on the foregoing post, or have emailed or called.  I have not had the time to answer you individually as I usually do, but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate each and every one.  

We will be tied up with the funeral and family tomorrow, so I will be back later to share some of the projects we have been working on.  

Till then,

28 March 2014


In the wee hours today, my sweet cousin went home to join her husband of a long lifetime after a little over two years.  She was 93 this past December.  I introduced you to her several years ago, and her red and white kitchen was one of the most viewed and commented on posts on my old blog, Glorious Rooms.  

Then when her own Sweet Husband TJ  drove the car through their brand newly re-remodeled kitchen, I updated the post and ran it again, and you loved it one more time.  In her honor, I am going to run it one last time.


My cousin's red and white kitchen has been a very popular post on this blog for a couple of months now.  I see by the blog tracker that a lot of you are still looking at this post.  (Thanks -- I appreciate it!)  I have something new to tell you today about this kitchen.  You might need to take a seat and get your smelling salts for this one!
The husband -- the man you see on the daybed in the first picture, has black lung from his years as a Federal coal mine inspector.  During WW2, he was a pilot who flew many supply missions, and he enjoying flying a plane for many years after.  Physically, he is not big and strong anymore, and needs oxygen to keep going.  There are a couple of tanks in the central area of the house.  He can no longer make the long trek down to the road to the mail box, and then walk back up the hill, so he drives to the mailbox and back if there is no one else there to get the mail.  
Driving and the elderly can be a sore subject, especially with those of us who have been in the position of having to take away a loved one's car keys.  Like most people his age, he is still convinced that he can drive as well as he ever could.  Fortunately, he hid the keys long ago from his wife, my cousin.   
OK, to cut to the chase:  he drove to the mail box about three weeks ago, and when he pulled back into the carport, right behind the area where he is sitting in the first picture, he stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake, and not for the first time.  Before, the damage has been minor.  This time, he plowed right through the brick wall and the windows, and the car did not stop moving till he got to the far end of the kitchen where the stove is (or was).  The old cane daybed, the old oak table and the island were obliterated.  I don't know what else...  I think she said some of the cabinets were knocked off the walls.
I forgot to tell you that he did not have a scratch on him!  The car was totaled!
  Fortunately, Cousin was still sitting over in the alcove that you can't see, where their pair of lift chairs are positioned,  Very fortunately, she was not sitting at the big oak table -- which is where she spent a lot of time working crossword puzzles (in ink, thank you!).
They are living in a hotel right now while the house and kitchen are being rebuilt.  She told me today that the subfloor is in, but that she was unable to go into the house yesterday when they went out to check on the progress of the work.  Her mobility issues prevent climbing all the steps to the front entrance.
I tracked down Birmingham's best furniture repair wizard whom I know from my days as a decorator, and he is going to see if he can do anything about the old cane daybed and the old oak table.  

I will keep you posted and show you some pictures again when the job is finished.  Meantime, please keep these dear people in your thoughts and prayers.
[Edited:  the daybed was a total loss, but the table was repaired.]

Original post:

You may recall that I told you in a previous post that she decided to redo her renovation of 15 years ago by having her kitchen cabinets spruced up.  You can read about that here .  She decided to hire Sears, and they laminated the cabinet boxes and replaced all the doors, drawers and hardware.  I have to tell you, they did a fabulous job, and Cousin is very pleased. 

You may also remember that I told you that she was keeping her fire-engine red laminate worktops because "they don't make'em any more!" 

Cousin is 89 and 1/2!  Her husband is nearly 88.  Both are in poor health, but they just deal with it and go on.  Both are very lucky that they have no dementia, and they are still interested in everything, and both are still avid readers.  They have traveled the world during their life together -- 58 years this June.  They have collected a lot of things along the way.

I gave her this little box for a birthday or something, years ago.  She has red and white polka-dot window treatments, and she apologizes to you for not getting them ironed and back up!  The little keyholder with the apples above the little baker's rack came from me, too.  So did the little apple mail holder in the previous picture. 

She was always a role model for me.  Always a smart girl, she skipped a couple of grades in school, and graduated college much earlier than her contemporaries.  Her first degree was in Home Economics, then for some years she worked as a metallurgist for one of the big iron industrial concerns which used to be the backbone of Birmingham's economy.  She kept on going to school, then started teaching in a school district that most white teachers would have run from back in those days, got several advanced degrees, and finally retired.  She and her husband used to live in a big old brick two-story home, the foursquare, prairie/craftsman style of which so many were built around the turn of the last century.   Then, as they approached retirement, they moved out to a 50's brick rancher in a little college town about 45 minutes out of Birmingham. 

She has always been a collector  -- something which seems to be in our genes.  Some people call us pack rats.  That's their opinion!  She collects decorative glass baskets, books, Lladro, milk glass, and many other things too numerous to mention. You can see some of the glass baskets up on the cabinet tops.  She displays all these things in groups throughout their house.  There is something to see everywhere you look, and a story behind everything; they can tell you each one.  In fact, she used to belong to a Story-Teller's League, but I think they no longer exist.   Their good deeds and acts of kindness to others are boundless, and she probably would be embarrassed if I were to enumerate them.  And that would be only the ones I know about. 

She likes old things, and she can tell so many interesting stories about times long ago in great detail. 

She invited us to lunch this past Saturday, and it was a gorgeous day.  She made a beautiful lunch of ham, green salad, sweet potato fries and speckled butterbeans.  There were wonderful yeast rolls, and then we had flan for dessert.  Lots of iced tea, of course.  We spent such a special afternoon with them, just catching up. 

The kitchen flows to a breakfast area and to a Florida Room in the shape of a large "L."  (You cannot see the rest of it in these pictures.)  She has lots of antique wicker, and this old daybed she rescued from being dumped off at Goodwill when a friend called her and tipped her off!  Then she painted it white.

She has always used a theme of apples in this area, and having been a teacher, she began with some "apples for the teacher" things.  

On the table are the placemats I found for her at Home Goods and the ribbon roses napkin rings that I made to go with.  A few years ago I had given her the polka dot paper napkins, and she had saved them.  Notice the cute apple cushions.  The little wicker chairs are not antique -- she found those at Big Lot's, probably about 15 years ago!  (She has always been ahead of her time.)  I wish you could see her fantastic old oak table -- but the tablecloth is covering the view!  The feet are like those of a lion, very realistic. 

On the table is her Franciscan Desert Rose -- the dishes she has used daily since her marriage.  My mother had a set, too, and I gave her those after my mother passed away. 
These are two of the sweetest, most special people on earth, and their home is a tapestry of their life together.  We hope you enjoyed your visit to their kitchen as much as we enjoyed our afternoon with them. 

It is poignant to review this old post and photos, but comforting, too, knowing that they had such a wonderful long life.  I am glad that she is no longer in pain and suffering the crushing loneliness of the loss of her husband.  We saw her about two weeks ago, and she still knew exactly who we were, although she she did drift off to sleep every so often. She told me, "I am not much of a conversationalist any more."  She loved visiting with everyone and was always so interested in what people were doing, especially people who she thought did interesting things.  As her son told me tonight, she was always the last one to leave a party.  For her the party here is over, but I would be willing to bet she has found a better one where she is now.  

25 March 2014


ASCP "Antibes"
still needs to be sealed
Remember the old 1956 song?  "What's Behind the Green Door?"  Well, I barely do.  There are so many guesses as to what that green door led into.  Marijuana club, brothel, nuthouse...  

This⬆ is just the first page of  what popped up when I googled that old phrase.

There is a trend afoot to paint your interior doors black, dark brown or various bright colors.  I suppose a case could made for all three.  However, I don't think I am ready to commit, since I change my mind like most people change their undies.  Hence, only the back side of the door from the garage to the house got a bright color.
The Scarlet Woman has been sealed.
(Minwax Polycrylic Satin)

We are working on my studio space (a/k/a the garage), and I am definitely going for that Boho look which makes me so happy.  There is a whole lotta painting going on, and a whole lot more on the horizon.  

I keep an easel and paint and brushes, but let me be clear:  I do not fancy myself an artist.  I just like to splash paint on canvas as well as furniture and other items, but it is mainly for my own amusement.  You have to promise not to laugh at my efforts if I show you, all right?

I am not sure I am finished, so I haven't signed it yet. I already have a name for it:  "Who left the gate open?"

Too funny!

I close with the funny sign found on Home Essence.  We are going to print it out and put a copy on our front porch.  Probably won't do any good, since there is a big bold sign at our entrance which says NO SOLICITING.  They do anyway.

I taking this masterpiece to these parties:

Wow Us Wednesday
It All Started With Paint


24 March 2014


We have been fiddling with this and that -- Early Spring seems to bring out that primal instinct to fluff and puff the house and yard, doesn't it?

We hit the nurseries on Saturday, and they were all very busy.  At Lowe's we found what we needed.  This is a flowering peach tree, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that this cold snap tonight won't kill it.  We will probably give it a little blanket.  This one is supposed to actually make peaches as opposed to being just ornamental.
We finally got this set of Spode salad plates hung up as I continue my goal of covering a lot of this wall area in the entryway with blue and white.  I never used these anyway -- don't know why -- I have others I like better, I guess.  
Recently I ordered this little quilt rack from Joss & Main -- you know I love black scrolly ironwork.  I guess I didn't pay much attention to the dimensions (shame on me!) because it was really much narrower than I thought it would be.  
It would make a great towel rack, but there is no room in my little dinky bathrooms for it.

So I squoze in three of my Mama's old quilts, and I parked it under this old estate sale mirror I painted green last year.  (This is the landing upstairs.)
It has pretty lines, doesn't it?

I am getting very impatient to get the herbs planted out in the big pots, but it really is best to wait till April here.  Sweet Husband repotted this grocery store basil for the kitchen windowsill.  
I am trying out various manual settings on my little Canon -- I wish I could get this right -- shooting directly at a window.  Help!

We are considering adding a glass shelf up a little higher than the sill, so that we can keep some herbs there all year long.  I would love a greenhouse window there.  Maybe someday.

This week we are going to be working on my bathroom a little.  stay tuned...  What are you doing at your house besides chomping at the bit for it to hurry up and be Spring?

I am linking to these lovely parties:

The Dedicated House for MAKE IT PRETTY MONDAY

A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday

Kathe With An E's You're Gonna Love It!

Cozy Little House for Tweak It Tuesday

23 March 2014


My entry -- I don't expect to win.

I have found a wonderful, supercalifragilisticexpealidocious colossal new time-waster -- Polyvore! It is a site where you can create mood boards of insanely fabulous outfits you would never buy or wear, or, design outlandish rooms you would never live in.  
Well, this one might actually be livable but not really my style.

It's kind of a never-neverland for grownups.  You should go try it -- go to Polyvore.com and set yourself up an account or profile or whatever they call it. You can follow people and look at their boards, too.
You can "collect" stuff, too.
You'd know I like this --
check out the price.
I spent a lazy warm Saturday afternoon on the back porch yesterday doing all kinds of nonsense with it -- very fun.  There is something very childlike and innocent about dreaming of what could be, much the same as when I was 6 or 7 years old and the new Sears or Monkey Ward catalogs arrived.  It was conveniently a couple of months before Christmas, so I could plan my mile-long list to Santa from the never-ending selections of wonderful things.  It didn't really matter if I didn't get any of it on Christmas morning (I always knew I wouldn't anyway) -- it was the hours of dreaming and fantasizing in the shortening days of late Fall and early Winter, living in my imagination.

I used to put together fancy outfits, using my trusty blunt-tipped school scissors and mucilix (?) glue, pasting up mood boards on colored construction paper.  Then I started doing the same thing with rooms, cutting out rugs and curtains and furniture.  I always had piles of this stuff in my room.  Polyvore is the same thing, only on the 21st century level -- doing it on your favorite electronic gadget.  

These shots are a few I did -- and now you can enter contests with them. (One ends Monday over at The Pink Pagoda.)  The really cool thing is you are supposed to be able to buy the stuff you are having fun playing with.  How often does that happen?

22 March 2014


Jardin Bleu,
from the Corbett-Wright website

Isn't this exquisite???

I understand that this comes with or without the pagoda, but I think it is best with it.

A designer who is running away with the accolades at all the current trade shows is Nancy Corbett and her collection of Chinoiserie furniture for her company, Corbett-Wright.  These pieces have been featured on several design blogs this week.  This is a trade resource, but you can look at the website and her portfolio here.  Be inspired!

These pieces in bleu are my favorites but there are others.  That tall cabinet in the first photo opens up to shelving, and can be used for a home office, a bar, or vanity storage, or whatever you want it to be.  You can't really see the X motif in this photo on the desk, but it is a stunner, too.  The small cabinets on the side are filing cabinets!  This could make one swell office, don't you think?

This one is a campaign desk, so I suppose that top drops down to form the work surface.

This is an end table --
can't you see it as a nightstand?
In a pair!

The Parson's desk --
but it could be a vanity table or a console in your foyer.
What do you think?  Are you in love, too?

21 March 2014


One of my many gazillion painting projects is almost done -- I still have to seal it, but here it is after two coats of Emperor's Silk Chalk Paint"

Keeping it real, this is the garage/studio, and there is STUFF everywhere!
You may remember seeing a "before" here:

Now, this is not the BEFORE before.  The table was pecan finish, vintage Thomasville, and I bought it when I was 23 years old, and didn't have two nickels.  But I had to have it, so I made arrangements!
 This table has been everywhere -- in fact, I could write an entire big fat novel about the stories this table could tell (if it could talk -- but I am kind of glad it can't!).  And I might, you never know...

This stuff is great for getting the grime off.
When Sweet Husband and I got married in 1990, we had it refinished, but really, the guy just made a big fat mess of the job by spraying dark varnish on it and not stripping it all.  (You might remember that the chairs had been done up in antique white and I recently donated them when I found other chairs.)  Said varnish was peeling up, having gone cloudy and ugly long ago.

But the lines are still really pretty, so I kept it, and it has been stored dismantled in my attic here for almost seven years, and it languished in the basement and a storage unit before that.  I won't even go into where else this thing has been.  You probably wouldn't believe me if I told you!

This was after one coat...

... and after two.

I was a little concerned about  that dark varnish bleeding through, but I decided not to obsess over it.
After all, it is only paint.  If I ever want to use it in a real dining room again, I would probably get Mr. Sorrell, who is Bham's ace furniture fixer, to strip it and repair those missing chunks.

Every corner of the table's apron has chipped off--
I know this could be fixed, but I am too cheap.
I will keep this out in the garage for a work-table.  If I ever win the lottery, I am going to buy a beach cottage and take it there.  

Linking up this masterpiece to Miss Mustard Seed for Furniture Feature Friday.  Jump over there and be inspired!  Also linking to The DIY Showoff for That DIY Party.

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