May 20, 2018:


Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...


Monday, April 30, 2012

The Look for Less: Pearson Room in Traditional Home

Sooooo pretty!

 This is an ad from the May, 2012 Traditional Home magazine.  I love this look - I'm just this traditional gal, I guess.  The photo above appears to have tones of blue/grey and ivory or cream.  The magazine page I scanned at first looked to me more cream and light taupe, except for the area rug, which had what I considered jarring tones of medium grey and darker grey in the dark stripe.  So, I am not exactly sure of the colorway in the photoshoot, but it seems to have grey or a grey-blue in it.  I thought the walls were a pale taupe, but they might be a pale grey.

I spent a couple of hours shopping online and came up with these options:


This sofa is not an exact match, but I love it for a couple of reasons:  (1) the bench seat -- there is nothing like feeling one has to sit right in the middle of a seat on a three seat cushion sofa or, heaven forbid, be the third person straddling the gap between seat cushions on a two cushion sofa.  (2)  I love a tight-back sofa for those same reasons :)  This is the Enzo skirted sofa from Sandra John. It has clean, crisp lines but a nod toward traditional design with that slight "camel" back and the subtle curving slopes in the arms. It's on sale right now for $1,395.00 and comes in several different upholstery options. 

I offer this sofa from - get ready for it - Penney's - as an alternative.  The arm shape is similar to the inspiration photo, as is the general outline of the sofa (although not a tuxedo style) , and it doesn't have a skirt.  What I like is that it comes in an 84" version with three cushions ($700 - $1,000), and a 75" two cushion version shown below ($700 - $900), with upholstery options in several colors.  It's got the clean lines of the inspiration sofa and also comes with two toss pillows.  Sorry about the color - couldn't get it to change no matter what I tried!  You've just got to imagine it in a neutral, or a sky blue: 


I didn't expect to find an exact match to the high end Pearson chair, but I liked these two chairs - I chose them for their lines and for the wood trim.  I did see chairs that had the "lines" of the chair in the inspiration photo, but no wood trim, and so I didn't include any of them here:

This is the Bedford chair from Ballard Designs.  Depending upon the wood trim finish option you select (there are five of them) and the upholstery (there are many), the price ranges from
$699.00 - $1,003.00.  Out of my price range, but I think it would look fabulous with the Enzo skirted sofa.
Here is an alternative to the Bedford chair, it's the Better Homes and Gardens Modern Outlook Upholstered Chair with Wood Trim (whew!) -- unfortunately, I could not find the price for this chair, but it is availabe at many furniture retailers.  I grabbed this photo from Belfort Furniture - check out the back of the chair - it's got a fabulous detail, and for that reason alone it might be outside of my price range, too.  It sure is a gorgeous chair:

Coffee Table:

Fell in love with this one right away, and didn't look any further. It's looks about the rigth size, the right color, and has the bottom shelf as the table in the inspiration photo, but it's also got those gorgeous slanted legs with the little 'oriental' dibs at the end, which takes this table to a whole new level Plus the price - $99.  Can you believe it?  It's solid wood and wood veneers, 49" x 16". This is the Clark coffee table from Home Decorators:


The bookcases/cabinets in the inspiration are, let's face it, drop dead gorgeous!  Beautiful veneer, impeccable styling and that fret-work on the glass doors - wow!  These do not look like particularly tall cabinets - I figure they are less than 5 feet tall (60").  This kind of case work will be very expensive, way outside of my budget.

First choice for a reasonable alternative is this design, Stein World 58648 Newbury Collection Chippendale Style Bookcase, offered by many different vendors on the internet.  I found these cases at HOM Store for $767.53 - this probably does not include shipping.  I also found the identical case at - Appliances Connection (yes, you and I read it right - what is Appliances Connection doing selling case goods?) - for $975 but with free shipping.  It's finish is described as "warm oak" - hmmmm, not sure the different wood finishes will go together, but there's no way to be sure what they look like except to see examples in person for the chair wood color, the coffee table color and the case goods color - and good luck with that!  Always a hazard of shopping online, unfortunately.  It's a lovely case (this image is from and a good size, HxWxL: 53.00x15.00x42.00.  Wood and wood veneers including burl inlays on the doors:

Two of these cabinets would look lovely anchoring that wall in the inspiration photo.

I did find other possibilities, but none had the same "feeling" as either the inspiration photo or my facsimile selection by Stein World.  Most of them were taller for one thing, and more expensive too.  Also, the glass doors did not have the decorative fretwork on it that makes these cases so special, nor the burl veneer on the doors.  Nope - Stein World Chippendale cabinet is the winner, hands down.

Area Rugs:

The pieced-together striped rugs in the inspiration photo left me cold. I looked for something "moderne" but different, something I thought would compliment the furniture and the case goods I've selected for my "look for less," but not stripes.  Here my selections:

From, the Frontier Geometric Stone Hand Woven Wool Rug, $330.00 for 5' x 8'.  Two of these rugs would be needed to duplicate the "dual-rug" look in the inspiration photo.  The color tones in this rug are dried oregano, papyrus, stone, mocha.  I think the colors would complement many different upholstery selections available for the sofas and chairs I selected, and the pattern cleverly complements the fret work design of the Stein World bookcases:

This rug is the Modern Gray Mansoori Rug with Pattern by Kalora, and measures 5'3" x 7'7" and priced at $409.20 (on sale right now) with free shipping in the USA, at  It is gray with a bit of cream in it and I think the design complements the lines of the furniture and the fret work in the Stein World bookcases beautifully.  It has geometry in it but I find it more subtle and soothing than the striped rugs used in the inspiration photo - yep, here I am, critizing whatever designer or design team put together the photo for the Pearson ad for using those striped rugs:

More later!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Advanced Style" Hits the Big Time

Great article at about the people (mostly ladies but some gentlemen, too) featured at the "Advanced Style" blog.  I've been a faithful reader since I found it about a year ago. 

Aging stylishly, online and in the streets

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
updated 10:47 AM EDT, Sat April 28, 2012

Well, not sure if the video is going to work -- could not get it to run at CNN.  But there's a print article that is fab, with photos! 

Yard Work, Poetic Justice, and Trees

Wouldn't you know it -- I go into the garage looking for Weed/Feed and I had only half a sack left - barely enough to do the front yard.  The back yard will now have to wait, alas.  I will have to arrange a trip to Stein's or Menard's to lay in a supply with a friend who drives (I do not - don't know how and even if I did I don't own a car). 
Anyway, the front is looking a bit more spiffed up after I finally unplugged the power supply thing from the charger thing and inserted it into my electric grass shears earlier today and went around all the edges of the front yard:  curb (streetside -- all 75 feet of it), driveway (2 x 30 feet to do both sides), sidewalk to the back yard (another 30 feet).  Then swept everything up and into a yard waste bin.  Then I did the Weed/Feed thing with my half-broken down old whatchycallit - the wheeled thingy that fertilizer and stuff goes into, that you open up and dump on the grass as you walk round and round and round (see photo, left -- that thingy).

I've already cut the grass out front THREE times, and finally, today, the weather cooperated enough for me to actually cut the grass for the first time in the back yard. Hmmm, note to self - add a trip to the gas station to fill your red plastic gas jugs up. 

Today I noticed for the first time that I've got a totally dead tree in my "island" in the back yard.  Damn!  That means I've got to get someone out here to remove it, the sooner the better.  Haven't even gotten my tax refund yet and it's already spent like 10 times already.  Geez Louise!  Yeah, all those cute little sapplings that were growing down there 21 years ago when I first moved in are now towering trees; through the years I've had some removed but there are still too many trees down there in too little space.  Sigh. 

I am very happy that the city finally came around and planted the tree I purchased last year.  When I first bought this lot in 1987, there was a small Chinese elm growing out front, near the curb area and very near the lot line with my neighbor's lot to the south.  As the years went by, the tree grew and grew.  There was a small wild pink honeysuckle shrub growing next to that tree, and I tended them both faithfully.  I had visions of someday turning that entire portion of my front yard into a garden so I wouldn't have so much grass to cut...

Well, the garden didn't happen.  And one rainy early Sunday morning I opened up my front door at 5:30 a.m. to go fetch my Sunday newspaper for my Sunday morning ritual of coffee/sweets/read newspaper from cover to cover when my shocked eyes beheld - a tree split in half!

I have photos of that traumatic sight - somewhere - and wouldn't you know it, now I can't find them!  They're probably stored on my ancient laptop upstairs, that is no longer connected to the internet.  I really do need to do something about that...  So, I spent that early Sunday morning calling around trying to find someone to come out and chop up the half of the fallen tree that was like totally blocking the entrance to my driveway; found someone to come out - for $500. CHA CHING!  It was still raining out when they arrived and after consultation it was decided that the remainder of the tree still standing had to come out, too. A couple of hours later, no tree, only a stump.  But, there was still this gorgeous Norway maple just a few feet away in my neighbor to the south's front yard, and I took comfort in that, even as I mourned the loss of my Chinese elm.  I think that was in the summer of 2009 - and it wasn't even stormy out that day, and no strong winds either.  Just sometime in the night or early morning, the tree decided to split itself in two.
Hello!  I'm here - your new Tree!
Anyway, when I walked up the street toward home Thursday evening after a long, hard day at the office, I noticed this brand new 2 inch diameter tree planted like right on the lot line between my lot and my neighbor's to the south.  I use the term "neighbor" advisedly when it comes to THEM.  They are obnoxious people and I've had some run-ins with them over the years, like their kids urinating on my fence, screaming fights with cops called at 3 in the morning, stuff like that.  Anyway, I would never have thought about calling up the city and asking if a new tree could be installed (only $200 that will be added to my real estate taxes at the end of the year, a real bargain because it would probably cost at least $1,000 to have a tree farm or garden center do it) if those obnoxious neighbors had not chopped down a perfectly healthy and beautiful Norway maple in 2010 that used to provide shade to part of my front yard in the afternoon and kept the grass from being burnt out by the south Sun.  After suffering a burned out lawn in 2011 because there was no shade whatsoever now on the south side of the front yard, and cursing those obnoxious neighbors everytime I bypassed the large burned out area in what used to be a luciously green front yard, I called the city and asked about having a new tree planted.

I did not intend for the city to put the new tree where it did.  They were supposed to notify me before the planting crew came out and I was supposed to have time to plant a rod where I wanted the tree to be planted.  I would not have put the new tree right on the lot line!  No notification received, no rod planted.  So, where do the dudes plant the tree - but now I'm GLAD GLAD GLAD.  Talk about poetic justice!  Although I had ordered a RED maple (like the ones you can see across the street in the photo), the city installed a NORWAY maple.  LOL!  That means my "neighbors" to the south will soon get a front yard full of big fat maple leaves every fall.  I have been watering the tree with my 2 gallon sprinkling can every day since Thursday night, and it's already recovering from its transplant shock. (It's been too cold to put out the hose for the season, so I've been lugging water from the outside tap to the tree, 2 gallons at a time.)  I do hope the city comes back and stakes the tree.  Hmmm, note to self - email city forester tomorrow morning...

And you know, I'm going to be watching that tree like a frigging HAWK.  And if anything happens to it, well you know, I've got some really evil, wicked revenges plotted out already, just in case...

While the back yard has been seriously neglected, it does look somewhat better today after having been cut.  I have raked out there two times previously but the very next day, both times, we got strong winds and with my weedy Chinese elm trees tons of branches and twigs always come down when there are sustained winds of 20 mph or higher.  We've had lots of days where there have been sustained winds of 20 mph or higher.  Fortunately, the season has now started for yard waste pick-up!  Hooray!  I have three LARGE plastic wheeled garbage containers that I use just for yard waste, and they are constantly filled to the brim!  Pick-up was last Tuesday so I have to wait 2 weeks, but I still have one container and part of a second one left to fill up -- which will happen in no time, except after working outside for four hours I'm tired and just not able to do any more today.  Now I'm blogging and working on reducing a pile of laundry...

When I settled in at the computer, I visited my friend Debbie-Dabble's lovely blog.  She always makes me smile.  She and her hubby live in a complex of town-homes and in front of theirs is this big slope leading down to a railroad tie retaining wall overlooking a parking area.  It looks steep!  She and her hubby have it filled with wonderful things, including this carpet of purple somethings-or-others (I forget the name) that are just drop-dead gorgeous blooming right now. What work it must have been to plant that slope! Debbie and hubby have just a speck of land out front that is a garden area for them next to their front porch -- and then a sidewalk -- and then that slope.  Not exactly what I'd call a friendly front yard, LOL!  They also have a lovely back porch area and a small back yard filled to the bring with all kinds of wonderful things.  Their gardens are an inspiration!  It doesn't matter how much or how little space one has -- it's what you do with it that counts!  Check out DD and Hubby's front and back porches and yards -- lots of lovely photographs! 

DD's blog inspired me to pull out my tired old Nikon once again and take a few photos around my back yard in the greyness of the mid-day.  Hmmmm, it's rough, it needs a lot of work, but it's all mine, and damn, I think it's pretty!

Day lilies sprouted early and already nearly knee-high.  Pink bleeding heart is going to town; the white one behind it, more delicate and much tinier, is also doing well, except a bunny squatted on it and broke half of it down.  The grass is cut but as you can see, there is still a ton of raking to do!  And cutting down/digging out of burdock, too.  Bird bath isn't put out yet -- it got too cold and I don't want the glass bowl to crack.

Neighbors' back yard to the north, taken from my front yard.  They are good people, we have never had any issues and they have helped me out of a jam or two (like one time I forgot my keys when it was 20 below outside and pitch black at 6 p.m. when I got home from work...).  Two summers ago they had the black chain link fence installed that practically disappears into the landscape and along the back end of our lot line where my houe starts, a 6 foot tall wooden fence that gives them a private area in their back yard.  They installed a hot tub, too.  Now they can let their doggies out into their back yard without having to chain them up.  Last season they had a crew come in and remove a "weed" tree that had been growing along the fence in their yard, and their viburnum shrubs cut to just above fence level.  The tree in this photograph gets white blooms on it every year or two that are very fragrant - sometimes almost overpoweringly so!  They look sort of like lilacs but they are not lilacs, this is not a lilac "tree."  The tree also gets whirly-gig seeds on it every few years or so that sprout all over my yard, but hey, that's just the nature of trees and I don't mind.  It's a beautiful tree.  It's filled with birdsong all season long and helps provide something of a wind block when the winds are blowing from the northeast off Lake Michigan, brrrrrr!

I've no idea what any of these "volunteers" that planted themselves around my big double-elm are.  In the background, you can see the wild grapevine that was here long before I built the house and has survived construction all around it, including my house, and the installation of fences (mine and neighbors' fences!) can be seen in the background.  I can't tell you how many times that grapevine has been seriously whacked back.  But it just keeps coming back, year after year.  Now it doesn't get enough sun, mostly, to produce grapes, but in the odd year when it does, the birds just go nuts over those grapes!  I've got grape vines that have sprouted all over the yard, and for the most part I tolerate them, except in the middle of the lawn.  Well, birds will eat and birds will poop, and where birds poop, they leave behind seeds that always seem to find fertile territory in my back yard...  I like those little white flowers on top of whatever those volunteers are.  The other volunteers, that look sort of like fox glove, get tall spiny purple spikes on them that stick to your clothing if you get too close.  I haven't got into this bed yet to clear out last year's spikes.  Will do that probably next weekend, if the weather holds and gets warmer as promised! 

The old wild honeysuckle (pink) is blooming!

The old honeysuckle (white) is also going to town blooming!

Bunnies have really attacked this hosta.  Hardly anything left to grow now - hope it recovers.

Another hosta the bunnies have eaten down to the nibs!  Drat!

Oh my, and yet another hosta - one of my precious "blue" hostas - also eaten down to the nibs.

One year I planted two pee gee hydrangeas in my back yard.  One by the side of my deck, the other down in the "sun" garden.  Now comes the Tale of the Two Hydrangeas:

Sun Garden Pee Gee:

Poor poor Pee Gee!  It's recovering now - again - after having been eaten and eaten and eaten by those damn bunnies.


Deck Pee Gee:

Holy Garden Goddess!  Are these two Pee Gees even related?  Thank goodness at least I swept off the deck before this photo was taken!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Care Package!

Today I received a care package from my honorary sis in Las Vegas, Isis or - 'Sis!  It contained:

(1) A beautiful ceramic egg with a robin and nest on one side and a saying written in gold script on the other side "Every spring brings a new beginning."  So true, so true!  I gently washed it and it is now sitting on top of my spring decorated mantle!

(2) A tall drinking glass with a pink elephant graphic on it, to add to my collection of pink elephants.  I gently washed it and tomorrow I will gingerly add it to the glass curio cabinet that houses my collection.

(3)  The cutest "egg" shaped votive or candle cover decorated with little birds that are tipped in gold paint.

(4)  Decorative plate with a "Kelly" green egg decorated with gold relief against a white porcelain background, and a patterned gold-relief border around the plate rim.  I have never seen anything like it.  It simultaneously "goes" with my collection of eggs made out of various materials (including an actual blown-out ostrich egg on stand that was given to me years and years ago by a very special person) and will be something I will work into next year's spring mantle and/or decorating schemes around the house.

It was dark, cold, rainy and gloomy here today and I'm not the best at taking photographs in the best of circumstances, not to mention I probably could get a much better camera now for $100 than my 2005 Nikon Coolpix 5600.  But it still works, I'm just not up on the special settings I should be using to take pictures in the dark or candlelight and stuff like that. I should learn, just don't want to take the time to do it.  Anyway, I did not photograph the entire new mini-treasure trove, but I will tomorrow, which is supposed to be bright outside once again.

I did pull out the camera and tried a few photographs of the bird/egg votive cover.  It's going right now on the table in front of the single window in the family room, which I'm facing as I'm working on the laptop.  They didn't turn out  good, but here they are anyway:

Just looks like a glowing blob in the photo above. 1990's lamp (one of a pair) - hmmmm....  They are in perfect shape but I'm soooo tired of them!

This photo turned our fairly clear!  See the beautiful little birdies perched here and there inside the openings where the candle light is glowing through, as well as the crowning bird with flowers and leaves.  It's a very pretty piece, about 6 inches tall and, as you can see, egg-shaped.

The Look for Less: Dining Room from Traditional Home, Part 3

Here is the original room (and cover) from the May, 2012 print edition of Traditional Home magazine:

I've previously offered suggestions for less expension versions of the table, chairs (post 1), the metal cranes, and the white porcelain chandelier (post 2).

Today, I'm looking for reasonably priced alternatives to the silk rug offered by and the "Malabar" pattern wallpaper in sage and pale blue by Cole and Son (no price listed - of course!)  I won't be offering alternatives for accessories, cushions, window treatments. 

Area Rug:
The minimum size I shopped for was 8' round.  Assuming at least a 60" diameter table (5 feet wide), one would need a minimum of an 8' rug underneath to allow for chairs to be pulled out for seating without scooting off the rug.

From, it's not a smooth, velvety looking rug like the one in the inspiration photo, but it looks like it has the right color-tones:
This is the Manhattan Tweed Green/ Blue Shag Rug (8' Round), priced at $249.  It is a 1.9" thick synthetic green with blue blend shag.  Hmmmm, not sure I'd want a shag textured carpet in the dining area, but the color is pretty!

The inspiration rug is solid-colored, and one always has the option of going to one's local home improvement store and discussing whether it's possible to special order an 8' or larger round area rug in a plain texture and color.  However, since I was shopping on line, I also looked at some patterned rugs.  I thought the colors in this rug would work in the space nicely:
This is not a picture of a round rug, but the pattern does come in an 8' round size.  It's from Bed, Bath & Beyond, Crochet Aqua Indoor/Outdoor 8' Round Rug, its polyacrylic and can be used outdoor and simply hosed down for cleaning!  It costs $460 plus shipping.

At Penney's, I found several different round area rugs that were close to or at least 8' diameter, but many of them were braided , and I felt that style was not "formal" enough for the style and feeling of the inspiration room.  I liked this damask patterned rug and its colors, very complementary to the colors in the inspiration photo:

This is the Covington Chesterfield Round Area Rug in Chesterfield Neutral, 7'7" diameter, it's a little smaller than that 8' diameter I was looking for, but the price - are you ready for this - $100.  This rug is polypropylene with jute/polyester backing. 10 mm pile height, vacuum to clean and spot clean, occasionally professionally dry clean.

I found at least two other patterned rugs at Penney's that I thought would be wonderful in the room, but no matter where I looked I could not find a diameter for the round rugs -- therefore, I have not included them here. 

I did not do a general internet search for rugs - there are probably dozens of other possibilities at good price points to fit your budget.

You may wonder why I'm looking at rugs with pattern when the wallpaper in the inspiration room is so dynamic - it's because the wallpapers I found that I thought might give a similar feeling/look were a lot less dynamic, generally, that the "Malabar" pattern wallpaper in sage and light blue.  Depending upon what your price point is, I expect you'd be able to find a solid color rug elsewhere on line that would look more like the rug in the inspiration photo.


This was the hardest task - to try and find a wallpaper that looked similar to that in the inspiration photo. 

I looked at several different discount wallpaper websites online, and I have to say I'm not really satisfied 100% with any of the picks I eventually made -- none had the exact two-tone colors of "Malabar".  On the other hand, I'm pretty sure the picks I made cost less (maybe a lot less) than "Malabar."

There is a nice selection of papers and patterns at Steve's Blinds & Wallpaper, but he does not list the color or pattern name or book name (only book numbers) for his offerings - bad idea, Steve.  I saw these papers that I liked but as we all know, computer screens can be notoriously unreliable when trying to determine colors!  This one looks like a pale sage green damask pattern - but - who really knows:

$54.29 at Steve's for double-roll. 

I like this one - a little more light and airy looking than the inspiration photo wallpaper - it is classified under "mint" green:

$81.97 at Steve's for double.roll. 
And also from Steve's, a slightly different look, but still in the "mint" green colorway (although it looks more blue and grey, doesn't it):

$69.85 at Steve's for double roll.
I thought this pattern and color (based on green, and what looks like a taupe color) would go well with the patterned area rugs I selected - probably selections 1 and 2 as well (but not 3):

$56.15 at Steve's for double roll. 
Moving to American Blinds:

This one caught my eye immediately as refreshingly light but still within the theme of the inspiration wallpaper:

$44.67 at American Blinds for double roll. 
This pattern is called Wind River - gorgeous!
$47.67 for double roll at American Blinds.
From Evolution pattern book, $54.40
double roll at American Blinds.
Fontaine - Celadon, $148.87 double roll
at American Blinds.  The detail of the colorway
of this paper is gorgeous!
This next sample features a darker blue-green contrasted with a light sage green (that is what the colors look like to me - the detail is very pretty):

Color by Design Blue.  $44.67 double roll
at American Blinds.

Just in case, I did a quick google search for "Malabar" knock-off and "Malabar" look-alike.  I have to tell you, darlings, I don't like the look of Malabar in other settings nearly as much as in the Traditional Home dining room, which makes me wonder if the pattern would really work in your (or my) space -- only way to really tell would be to see a room papered in the pattern in person, or pay to have samples sent to you if you cannot find them locally.

So -- sorry for not being able to put together one of those design board thingies.  There are two reasons for that: first, I have no idea how to do that and, second, it's because I can't settle on just one option and say "this is it" but try to offer at least two options and price points for what I'm looking at.  Some things cost more, some less, and I think taken all together, one could put together an absolutely beautiful room that would look very similar to the inspiration dining room from Traditional Home based on what I've found here.  But I'm sure most of you are much better shoppers and much more determined to find the very best matches for the very lowest prices than I am -- I reach a point where I say "okay, that's good enough!"  But, ultimately, one must alway put one's own spin on a design, whether it is a "copycat" or not! 

The Look for Less: Dining Room from Traditional Home, Part 2

In an earlier post trying to get the look, below, for less, I left off after offering two different chair looks.  This fabulous look is from the May, 2012 edition of Traditional Home:

I had looked at some shield-back chairs but and chairs from other sources, but concluded that the best bargains and matches were the chairs I posted from

The remaining items that I want to try and duplicate for less are the chandelier, the rug, the wallpaper, and those gorgeous metal cranes.

The Cranes:

The inspiration cranes are very tall, as you can tell from the photo (40 to 50" maybe?), and they are vintage bronze and beautifully patinaed.  I suspect they were rather pricey.  I subscribe to Gump's online and also get their print catalogs in the mail. When I saw the inspiration photo, I was instantly reminded of cranes I'd seen in a recent Gump's catalog, and so I went looking for them, and found them, but they are shorter than those in the inspiration photo, and would probably need to be placed on pliths or pedastals to give them the necessary height and importance to anchor that area of the dining room.

This first pair of cranes from Gump's are on back-order, they have proven so popular!  The price is $199 for the pair (plus shipping).  Dimensions: 9"W x 29"H and 9"W x 36"H.

This second pair of crames, also from Gump's, are $149 for the pair (plus shipping) and are smaller/shorter:  15"H and 16 1/2"H.

Bellacor offers two different looks for a pair of crane "fountains" (image below, can be used without pumps as sculptures) - a bronze look and a verdigris finish.  They have the necessary height - 43" and are weighty - 40 pounds for the pair.  The price is $1,014 on special with free shipping (regularly $1,628).  As you can see, they have the height and the heft of the cranes in the inspiration photo, and a hefty price, too:

Crystal Fox Gallery also has some lovely bronze sculptures of cranes, I found this pair there:

They are very similar to the pair of bronze cranes in the inspiration photo.  The pair is $1,325, 46.5" H and 38"H - not sure about shipping (and insurance) charges for these original works of art. 


The original is described as "Metropolitan White Porcelain Chandelier" #ME-N950127,"   This is a two-tier white Italian porcelain chandy by Metropolitan Lighting, $4,130, that has the same model number as the chandy in the inspiration photo:

I have seen this 15-light chandy at other vendors for somewhat less than $4,130, so if you want the original, you can find it for a few hundred less if you're willing to hunt around online.

This is an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous chandelier - somewhat more frou-frou than the one in the inspiration photo - priced at $2,990 from Lighting Showplace.  It is white porcelain.

My budget doesn't allow several thousand dollars for a chandelier, no matter how beautiful it is.  Such a chandy would also look rather ridiculous in my modestly sized and styled home.  So, looking at chandeliers within a price range I might be willing to pay will not yield the same look, but I don't need a 15-light chandy, either!  First up:

This is the Chella 5-light chandelier in frosted Argent White finish by Laura Ashley, from Home Depot for $258 and free shipping.  It has many less lights but gives the multi-tiered effect and, like the inspiration chandy, doesn't have a lot of excess bling but has great lines.

The chandy below is NOT white, but I absolutely fell in love with it anyway, which just amazes me because normally I'm not attracted to what I consider excessive bling, and this chandy has lots of bling!  What it is about this particular shandy I don't know, but it just really speaks to me. I have no idea if it could be painted white (to get more of the "look" of the chandy in the inspiration photo) - it has a lot of bling on it and I don't know if it could be removed to paint the chandy "frame" or not.  But, here it is anyway:

This is also from Home Depot, the Roxy Lighting Heritage 6-Light Chandelier, Aged Iron Finish with Crystal Light Pendants, for $169. Maybe it's the price as much as the chandy I find appealing :)

I also really like the look and feeling of this NOT white chandy, from Home Depot:

It's got such a light, airy feel to it despite the dark finish on its metal frame, and if it could be painted white, I think it would be a big WOW, but truth be told, I love it as it is.  Hampton Bay 5-Light Hanging Tuscana Copper Chandelier, for $189.
I found an antique white alternative chandy at Lowe's on line:

It the Bel Air Lighting 5-Light The Olde World Antique White Chandelier, for $124.  This chandy, while priced great and already white, does not present the same "tiered" effect as the three lower-priced chandys pictured above.  It does, however, feature classic lines and some glitter while maintaining a more modest "footprint."  "Spaceprint?"  Hmmm, let me rephrase that - it takes up less visual space than the inspiration chandelier and would be more suitable for a modest dining area (not really much of a separate room at all) like mine.

Another possibility is this blingy little pretty chandy:

Some of the crystals are colored pinky as you can see, but I find that oddly appealing :)  This is also from Lowe's, Westmore Lighting 3-Light Minique Antique White Chandelier, for $133.  It only has 3 lights.

I did not write down or compare the relative measurements of any of these chandeliers, so when shopping seriously one would have to note such things.  I was lazy.

Wallpaper and the area rug next!

This 'n That

Hola darlings!

Mea culpa for not having posted the Grande Finale to the latest installment of "The Look for Less"  -- got too busy and too tired, and here it is already past midnight.  Should have been in bed hours ago because I've got a full day tomorrow, despite impending crappy weather (rain/wind/cold).  It will definitely be a FIREPLACE day tomorrow!  No working outside, and more's the pity because the back yard is now in desperate need of help.  Thank Goddess for Terry, who comes every Thursday and does my routine housework (vacuuming, dusting, wiping down this and that, she scrubs floors, windows, and strips wallpaper, too).  She took it upon herself to go out and rake up my back yard.   I didn't even notice that it was MUCH cleaner looking until this evening, when I was tossing out some peanuts to my demanding clan of squirrels and the sun was still shining about 6:45 p.m.  And that was after I told her NOT to do such a thing Thursday morning as I was on my way out the door at 7:15 a.m. after we'd chatted.  She is so wonderful and so sweet! 

Anyway, LAST Saturday (April 21) I was all set to work on the family room redo and do some posting HERE (as opposed to the Chess, Goddess and Everything blog) but I had somehow suffered a temporary memory lapse and forgot that I had signed up to play in the Hales Corners Chess Challenge XV and that is an ALL DAY event.  I was up at my regular 6 a.m. time and then it was check the bus schedules, scrub up, dress, and head out to to the bus stop to make the connection where I needed to get before 8:56 a.m. to catch the bus to take me to the hotel where the tournament was being held. Except, as I was walking toward the first bus stop, the bus arrived early and pulled up to the stop and then away, and then turned south to where I needed to get to my next bus stop, a full five fricking minutes early.  I was 1.5 blocks away and saw it all happen.  Talk about not starting the day off on a good note...

So, I hoofed it another half mile or so to the bus stop where I needed to be (the one I'd intended to bus it to in the first place).  Fortunately, I had enough time to walk it at a brisk pace, but I was steaming hot under my collar!  That was NOT the way I wanted to start my day.  But - in due course the bus arrived and during the 30 minutes ride that took me to within a few blocks of the hotel I had a chance to cool down.  But not calm down.  Tournaments make my hands and knees shake like a tree in an earthquake or a 50 mph wind.

I arrived at the hotel about 30 minutes before the action started, plenty of time to check in, say hello and connect with some chess friends.

Let me make it clear - I did not want to play in this tournament.  I played in Challenge XIV in October, 2011 (the challenges are held 2x a year, in April and October), and I was exhausted THEN after having committed to only playing in 3 rounds out of 4!  I got home, hmmmm, maybe at 4:30 p.m. that day, because I absolutely blew my final game of the day (R3), having lasted less than 10 moves, I think.  It was disgusting and I was absolutely ashamed of myself because I'd been pitted against a much higher rated player but I did not want her or anyone else there to think that I had thrown the game simply because I was playing against a chess femme!  As it was, I hadn't even put up a kindergarten level fight.  Geez, Jan!

Anyway, I won't go into all the boring and gory details, but I ended up playing in Challenge XV despite my best intentions not to do so, and met up with Ellen Wanek, one of the most wonderful people and moms on the entire face of the Earth, I swear!  Somehow, she likes me.  How could such a sweet wonderful person like me, I ask you?  You know what a beyatch I am!  I met her last Challenge and we formed one of those connections, you know?  And so one day I got crazy and emailed Ellen and we made a sort of "chess date" for Challenge XV.  LOL!

She remembered...

Anyway, tired as I was, and reluctant as I was, I knew Ellen would be there, short of the plague or something equally dire.  And so, I gave up the faint visions I'd entertained of actually stripping off more wallpaper in the familly room where shreds of it continue to dangle haplessly from the lower third of the walls, or perhaps actually start taping the paint lines in the kitchen where I want to "do" taupe paint....

I won't kid you - it was a damn long, hard, tiring, exhausting day.  I got home right around 8 p.m. as the last shreds of daylight were sinking fast below the western horizon.  It took me two whole days to recover from the trauma.

I do not know if I can adequately explain just how exhausting playing in a chess tournament is, but if you've every taken the ACT or the SAT, or sat for a competitive exam, this is sort of the same intensity and mental effort, except this tournament is 4 games in one day.  Each player gets 1 hour on his or her clock plus an increment of 5 seconds per move; so the second you hit your side of the clock to start your time, 5 seconds is added.  Some players actually accrue time that way, especially in the early stages of the game.  Other players, like me, never worry about increments because we're not good enough to use up the entire 60 minutes of our alloted time (plus we have time to strategize while our opponent is looking things over before making his or her own move, and thus we can sort of "play" on his or her time, too), let alone worrying about accruing incremental seconds!

I did manage to put forth a much better effort this Challenge than last October's Challenge, playing longer into my time and lasting more moves and actually thinking about them and trying to come up with something, anything, to force a draw or SOMETHING, short of tipping over the board and accusing my opponent of something naughty under the table.  Kind of hard to do when one's opponent is 10 and you're old enough to be his grandmother...  I lost my first three games but I was not terribly disappointed because I felt I had given a good effort.

And then it happened. I finally won a game!  I won my final game, actually, in R4, when both I and my opponent were so exhausted we couldn't even see straight anymore.  And I gained ratings points, too.  Over 25 ratings points for one win against a man who rather resembles Kris Kringle.  Geez, Jan, you beat up on Santa Claus.

That's me (on the right), giving the death stare to Santa.  Geez, I look so evil!  Like I'm already rubbing my hands together in anticipation of my eventual victory when we had hardly even started the game.   Actually, I was sleeping in this photo, and it's a giant GOT YA.  I mastered sleeping with my eyes nearly open way back in night classes in college in the early 80's.  On the other hand, my opponent, as you can see, is clearly sleeping in this photo...  So, as I was eventually less sleepy, I won.

And so it goes - and now I'm going to bed.  I was going to post about some cute little collectibles I found tonight at Ruby Lane, but that will wait.