25 April 2015




I am so sorry about this -- many of you may know that Brenda at COZY LITTLE HOUSE  is experiencing the same thing only it is her main active blog that is being affected!  She relies on her blog as a source of income, and this is serious for her.  For me, it is an embarrassing nuisance. 

This is what you will see if you get any of these emails:

Anyone have any ideas on how to get to an actual person at Google?  


23 April 2015


This is what happened today in the mantel construction project.  Unfortunately it started to sprinkle rain while we were working outside, so we had to go ahead and move the whole enchilada inside.  We did manage to get a coat of spray primer on it first, and I coated the mantel shelf with some chalk paint.  Emile!  Just for smiles, you know.  The mantel is going to be black, highlighted with gold.  The fire screen is going back to gold.  

LR is a wreck!

Say goodbye to the Builder Basic Mantel!

So this is where we are as of Thursday night.  The next step is to face that opening which we will do over the next few days.  That's so you can't see back into the empty space and the old mantel (which is still intact).  The hearth tiles will get extended on each side with a temporary fix till the hardwood goes in.  First, we have to select it.  I want wide plank ebony.

Anybody want to take wagers on the wall color we have chosen?

22 April 2015


"Builder basic" and everything it suggests really annoys me.  I have never wanted to look like anyone else, wear what everyone else was wearing or live in an interior environment which looks like the latest fad or a conglomeration of every cliché in the book.  The vast majority of us do not live in custom-designed-and-built homes.  If you do, did you have a lot of input to make it your own, or did you just hire someone really expensive and say, "do your thing?"  
rough sketch

Lest you think this is just sour grapes, I must say here that I think the best part about having lots of money would be the ability to totally express myself without regard to cost.  As it is, I do the best I can with what I have, which usually forces me to be more creative.  I am not really complaining  -- well, not too much anyway.  I realize that this is a first-world problem, as all my gripes usually are, and that people who are fleeing their homes from sadistic terrorists and sitting on a pile of sand without food or water hoping not to get killed while they sleep kind of puts it all into perspective.

I got the idea to build something like this when I was lollygagging in Barnes & Noble one day, looking at World of Interiors and other expensive magazines I am too cheap to buy.  I will spend the $5 on a fancy drink in there now and then, and I enjoy it immensely while I look at their too-pricey foreign mags.  At any rate, I kept seeing these heavily carved black mantel-pieces all over the place in the European mags, so I decided, of course, that I must have one.  Since importing one of these suckers from an overseas antiques dealer is out of the question for me, the next logical step in this process is "How can I make one?"

So I thunk and I thunk, and this is what I came up with.  Next, I had to figure out how to get that heavily carved facade.  I had first considered using an embossing paste or a sculptural medium with a stencil.  Then I ran across this wooden wall hanging thing from India on a catalog site, I think Joss & Main.   "Norah" I think it is called.

It came in three pieces and is huge at 48" square.  The wheels began to turn, and I could totally see this reimagined as a mantelpiece in my head, painted out in black, highlighted in gold. As you can see, one piece, the one on the right, was a bit warped when it arrived.   

Then I had to actually figure out how to construct a base so it wouldn't fall apart.  (I never studied physics -- now I wish I had.)  Here it is in the process of construction.  Some nasty cussin' and name callin' went on, but we managed.  That is all I am saying about that...
This is what holds it together, plus a few panel nails and wood screws.

stabilizing the back side

The decorative wooden scroll sections are glued on the front and reinforced here and there with panel nails

The garage is so tight that we will have to take it outside in the morning and put it on sawhorses to apply the base trim and paint it.  The top is that existing mantel shelf we made out of stair treads this past  Christmas.  That will go on after we slide this into place.

The piece will not be attached to the wall in any way, just slipped over the existing "builder basic" mantel like a mask.  This way I can take it with me if we move or we can take it out if I tire of it.  We have selected a paint color for the LR, and I have apparently won the argument for hardwood.  (I know, I can't believe it either.)  I did compromise and tell Sweet Husband he can have carpet in the MBR.  Since I don't want to unload all those big cabinets full of dishes but once, the painting will get done when it is time for the flooring to go down.  Stay tuned.

I am not doing any little "tutorials" for this because I am not an engineer and I wouldn't want to give you some bad advice.    I just figure it out as I design it as to the best way for keeping it intact and hoping it doesn't fall apart as we install it.

Next I will show it to you when it is finished, painted and in place.

17 April 2015

A MEXICAN FEAST IS COOKING and just catching up!

Bless me, for I have been a very bad blogger.  It has been three weeks since my last confession  post... 

A Mexican feast (fajita beef in chipotles) is in the slow cooker, and the condiments are all waiting to be chopped.  The sides will not take too long, and right now, I felt compelled to sit down and talk to you.  Can we talk?

new kitchen table from an estate sale

This private blog thing has just about died a natural death for sure.  Therefore, I don't know if anyone will actually be reading this.  I thought this would be a fun way to keep up with my regulars, but so many of you did not even bother responding to the invitation.  Of course, if it landed in your junk mail, perhaps you didn't see it.  On the other hand, it is certainly a real downer to the ego to know that no one really cares or misses you at all!  I do have the public blog, but I just talk about color over there (COLOR MY WORLD) where I have resolved not to be my sassy little self or reveal personal information.  Bad enough that Google uses my birth name.  The weirdos can still find me. 

Some of you might have wondered about the real reason behind this drastic move.  Maybe not, but I will tell you anyway: I have a weird relative or two and/or old acquaintance and/or ex-husband or two who used to lurk about, just out of sheer nosiness or perhaps even with a certain amount of twisted envy or glee.  It was giving me the creeps, frankly, and so I thought that it would be fun just to keep up with my old bestie blogger friends here, where I can let my hair down and just be me, and over there on the color blog, I could be all high-tone color/ designer person talking like I know something.

Well, actually I do know some things, but you get the point...

We have been well and truly waterlogged this Spring, and it is pouring as I write.  I am on the screen porch, and wearing sweats because it is quite cool out here (about 60 degrees).  Last week it was in the 90s!  Everything is so green, but sometimes I wonder if I have died and gone to Ireland or Scotland.
a little peek at what's going on in the MBR
In case you are wondering what I have been up to, well, I actually have been quite busy.  First, I got hooked on several British crime dramas and comedy series on Hulu, and I spent many long happy hours engrossed in the adventures of "Vera", "Scott & Bailey" and "Stella".  I absolutely adore British television.  I have read several books, and finally gotten some books from Amazon I have been waiting forever for, especially Justina Blakeney's book on Bohemian design.  You did know that I am old hippie, right?  And where, by the way, is that drone thing delivering from Amazon yet?  I haven't seen one.

another estate sale find in near perfect condition
We have hit several estate sales where we came up empty at some, hit the jackpot at others.

Some areas in our house have been repainted, and some others are going to be.  We ordered a seagrass rug for the kitchen from HD because I am tired of whitewashing all those dadblamed tiles, and we have finally arrived at a compromise on the rest of the downstairs and stair flooring.  I painted a pert little sprite with a very sparkly eye who is now hanging in the bathroom, rebuilt the seat on the two aunties' sofa in the kitchen, and tore down an old chair to reupholster.  The furniture arrangement in the LR has been tweaked, with some things moving out!  (Yes, I actually moved something out, but that is because something new came in.)  We have a new mantel on the drawing board.  More on all this later. I have also been working on painting that armoire in the boudoir in a boho style. 

I have been cooking a little less because I sent Sweet Husband home to visit his Mama and Daddy over Easter and I got out of the habit while he was gone.  My buddy Jenna and I had lunch one day at Bellini's while he was gone.  I got a new series of knee shots to forestall another knee replacement for a little while longer. They have helped a little
found this painting at an estate sale last weekend

So you see, life goes on and I am  grateful for it, but it is nothing earth shaking or terribly interesting to most people, except maybe to my blogger friends who understand me.  I had a good checkup the other day at the doctor's, and I certainly can't complain, especially when so many of my classmates are dropping like flies.  I have never really talked much about age, mostly because I try not to think about it, but maybe that will be a topic for another day.  I have always had friends of all ages, and it seems so weird to me now to be called "Ma'am" by all these overgrown children, not to mention when all the hot young guys say I remind them of their mother (or God forbid, their grandmother!

it's raining, it's pouring

So that is what is going on in my world at the moment, and I hope you don't completely forget about me.  I certainly keep reading and commenting on the blogs I like, and I am always finding new ones that are fun, too.

15 April 2015


Cecile Brunners beginning to burst into bloom!

Moss filling in the pavers

Oregano made it through the Winter!
So did the chives and thyme.
The knockout roses are going nuts!
The climbers on the back of the pergola have not let me down.  

Red maple in all it's glory

Spirea in full bloom

Gate to back yard covered in a profusion of Lady Banks

The other side of the gate

Snowballs and roses

Flowers will soon be blackberries!

Blue phlox

Deutschia and lilies popping up through the Monkey grass

Linking up to Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday

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