December 6, 2017:

Hola!

It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!

Jan

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Look for Less!

I am so happy to see that Budget Wise Home will be doing a weekly feature on how to get a look for less!  YIPPEE!

This is the kind of practical "show me how to do it" advice that I want and need.  Did she read my blog post last week?  Nah, probably not, LOL!  Just happy inspiration or whatever occurred to Heidi Smith, mom and interior designer who writes Budget Wise Home and she will be doing this feature!  Gee, I wonder if we have ESP together or something...

Here I'm linking to her DIY post.  She picked a beautiful photo of a home office (it is Jewel's home office) to show us how to get the look for less.  Frankly, I don't follow how to transform the nightstands and/or dressers from Ikea into the desk other than painting them and putting a top cut to size on them, maybe a drawing would help me as I'm spatially/visually challenged...

Heidi suggested using two of Ikea's RAST 3 drawer dressers (after she realized that the RAST nightstands she suggested at first were a little too short to work well):


The price is right.  Each dresser is like $35, but you'd have to pay shipping unless you live near an Ikea store and can haul them home yourself.  Not an option for me, the nearest Ikea is in Illinois and I don't drive.

I think these would work -- the dresser is 27.5" tall and with a plywood top added to that, say 1/2 inch thick, that would raise the height of the desk to say 28" plus another 1/4" for a glass top.  But that's kind of pushing it.  I measured my favorite desk in the living room and from floor to the desk top it is a smidgeon over 30" tall; the part where I scootch the chair under and my legs rest is about 28" tall.  The jerry-rigged "desk" that I've got tucked behind the sofa in the family room was too short to use as a desk - I couldn't get my legs underneath it without raising it up on books under its four legs. (A temporary solution until I figure out what I want to do with the table once I paint in here and possibly rearrange the furniture).  I measured it and it's about 28" tall and the space below the bottom edge of the table is about 26-1/2" tall.  I'm about 5'-3" tall and the chair I use with this table is short, so I can scootch up to and my legs fit underneath it comfortably.  A taller or a larger person might not be so comfortable at my work spaces, I'm thinking.

The RAST dresser is 27.5" tall x 24-3/8" wide x 11-3/4" deep.  So, I'm figuring if you want to face the drawers toward you, your desk is right away going to be nearly 49" wide without even making room for a "knee-hole".  And it would only be 11-3/4" deep!  Not much of a desk top to work on. This sofa table I'm working on is maybe 18 inches deep and it's not nearly wide enough to give me enough work surface to spread papers out.  So, if you only want to use two dressers, I would want to turn the drawers to the side to get a 24-3/8" wide work surface.  That would mean in order to use the drawers for storage you would have to get up to use them. Not exactly convenient.  Even if one ordered a larger plywood "top" you can't have an overly-deep overhang - the proportions of the desk would look cock-eyed and if the overhang was too large, you might run the risk of cracking off the part of your desk, say, if you put a lamp and some books or a weighty piece of sculpture or decorative objects near the edges.  Also, you would not want a deep overhang in the front, in order to be able to conveniently reach the drawers.  Right?  So, how exactly does this desk go together? You see what I mean about my spatial/visual thing... I think I'm missing something, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it is I'm not getting about designing this desk.

Since I'm challenged when it comes to building things anyway (I cannot even hammer in a nail straight), I'd probably buy a used desk and paint it up.  Or better yet, buy one someone else had already done up.  Melissa over at Shabby Loco has done up several gorgeous desks that would be perfect for the look:  check out Mr. Fancy Pants and Chippy LOCO that I just love, except I don't get the chippy paint look.  All that work and then you screw up a perfectly beautiful paint job?  Well, she thinks I'm nuts and I think she's nuts.  I admire her greatly BTW.

Anyway darlings, I haven't been doing "getting the look for less" exactly, but I have been pricing area rugs as you can tell if you scroll down some posts.  I am looking for one with a "seafoam" green/blue or blue/green or a pale aqua field, also with taupe in it.  There are gorgeous and outrageously expensive rugs out there that I'm not even wasting time looking at because they're just not in the budget.  My budget is practically non-existent as it is!  So, I found some rugs online at Bed, Bath & Beyond that are my starting point for more or less the "look" I want and those rugs gave me a baseline range of prices.  Now I'm shopping to see if I can find something that will still give the look for less $$$, or give me even greater value for the same money.  For instance, the two rugs I found at Overstock.com are 8-1/2 x 11 and would not cost anymore than the mid-price 5 x 7 rugs I found at BBB.  I like the looks of both of the larger rugs and since the room is large enough to take an 8-1/2 x 11 rug, and it would cover up some of my old but still in good shape taupe carpeting, why not go for bigger for the same money???  Well, I'm thinking about it...

So pretty!  This is described as a "seafoam"
field at Overstock.com and is about 8.5 x 11
for about $196. 
This morning was our investment club meeting and I introduced the ladies of the club to Mr. Celadon faux Tang Dynasty TJMaxx Horse to show them where the inspiration came from for the accent color that I knew I needed and couldn't seem to latch on to until I saw Mr. Horsey on pay day (the 15th).  They all just love his Celadon color.  "But how do you know it will go?" Gayle asked.  I showed her my scientific method for determining whether colors will go together.  I took Mr. Horsey and one of the pillows from the couch and I plopped him on it on the dinette table where we were all sitting.  Oooohs and aaaaahhhs!  Yes, it will definitely go, all agreed.  Then I pulled out the little paint samples and slapped them upside Mr. Horsey's butt (his largest part) and more oooohs and aaaaahhhs!  It all works!

I am really looking forward to Budget Wise Decorating's new format which will have a different "theme" each day, including a once-a-week "the look for less" and D-I-Y videos.

For my own contribution to "the look for less" I offer up the real deal from Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc. -- an earthenware Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 CE) horse with what looks like a celadon finish:


He's big!  28-1/2" tall by 24" long.  Of course there is no price listed.  Fine antiquities usually don't have a price put on them unless it's an auction estimate.  As you know, if you have to ask, you can't afford it so don't bother asking...  I would expect a piece like this to go for, geez,  half a million dollars.  There is just something about these Tang Dynasty horses that gets me -- can't explain it.  I find them so incredibly beautiful.  This one is exceptionally finely rendered.

And here is Mr. Horsey from TJMaxx for $19.95:


He's about 12 inches tall (to the top of his head) and about 12 inches long (from tip of nose to tip of tail, trying to measure straight across). 

Now, I know Mr. Horsey doesn't show to his best advantage in this photo, but actually the mold from which he was cast is pretty darn accurate as far as depicting a real Tang Dynasty Chinese-bred horse.  There had always been contact, of course, between the far East and the West (goes back thousands of years), but under the Tang Dynasty and the willingness of its rulers to explore and open their insular society, cultural contacts and exchanges really flourished alongside the long-established trade that took place along the Silk Road routes.  Chinese courtiers fell in love with the tall, slender-legged and swift Arabian-bred horses and many statues and sculptures of horses from the Tang Dynasty depict these imported horses (the Chinese called them "Celestial horses").  But the original Chinese horse was a horse from the steppes that bordered China's territories to the far west -- the same kind of sturdy, powerful horse that the Mongols rode as they swept through and conquered eastern Europe.  That is the kind of horse depicted in the earliest Tang Dynasty statues and sculpture.  They were shorter than Arabian horses, and had powerful muscular legs, particularly their haunches.  Sort of like percherons but not as tall. 

Okay, end of history lesson.  Sorry about that.  I do get carried away, I admit it :)

2 comments:

  1. I love your history lessons, so please don't hesitate to sharing these fasinating stories with us. I too love the Tang horse statues, as does Warner Brothers movie and TV company. I don't know if I told you how fond I am of the color Celadon Green. I even painted an apartment of mine celadon. The name "Celadon" has French origins. I believe the shade of green was named for a French royal who wore the green and made it famous in Paris fashion circles, so this lovely shade of green has his name. The soft green glaze was developed in ancient Korea.

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  2. Thanks so much! I am wondering, do you suppose that true Celadon in its palest shades was sort of like the Emperor's Clothes? Only true believers could see it???

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