December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Monday, May 21, 2012

Help! Design Paralysis!

Eek!  So Saturday all the carpets were cleaned and the sofa in the family room too and some stain guard and $$$ later out the door the dudes go, leaving me with a totally torn apart house (see a few photos from prior post).

So, says I to myself, now is the perfect time to rearrange the living room.  Been wanting to do that for awhile.  Start with a clean slate, everything comes off the walls!  And so last night, while I was watching the grand finale of Celebrity Apprentice, I stripped the living room walls.

Well, a few things remain.  The sconces on either side of the massive china cabinet I use as a bookcase/storage stayed. That anchors the big wall opposite the fireplace wall.  The mirror on the closet wall by the entry that I purchased eons ago from Bombay Company remains on the wall, but the table that used to be underneath it has been moved to act as a lamp table anchoring one side of the loveseat.  I loved having that table (with two roomy drawers) under that mirror, so I could put on my beret, tuck in my scarf perfectly, adjust collars underneath coat, put on lipstick, do a quick hair brush, etc. etc.  But it was also too convenient for depositing all kinds of junk and clutter that - since I don't have a formal foyer area separate from my living room (front door opens right into the living room), I didn't want!  Yeah, I know, me bad for putting the clutter there to begin with. 

For the time being, this clock:

also remains on its wall to the left of the big round top window before which the love seat is centered.  I look at that clock every morning when I'm going upstairs to get ready for work and come down to leave for the office, five days a week.  Not sure where else to put it. 

Everything else that was up on the walls, poof!  Gone!  Later I will take the ladder around and meticulously fill in the nail holes with spackle using a toothpick.  I've finally figured out how to do the job neatly without leaving gobs of spackle all over the wall.  Slow learner - I cringe when I see big white gobs of spackle where I had previously "filled in" nail holes. Geez!  Then I have to sand it down and it takes off the "sand" texture finish that was sprayed on 21 years ago when the house was built.  No way to put that sand texture back on -- I've tried, trust me.  Not a good thing.

There is a large curio cabinet to the left of the fireplace - that is staying where it is for three reasons (1) where else would I put it? (2) My collection of pink elephants, my Thistle and Rose chess pieces, and my miscellaneous this and thats are easy to see and enjoy in the curio's current location; and (3) it is a pain in the butt to remove everything from inside, including the glass shelves, in order to move the curio anywhere else!

Here is the fireplace with everything above and around it removed except for my small flat screen t.v. and a plant from my Dad's funeral (he passed away in 2002):

I tried to take this photo in such a way that you get an idea of the volume of wall with the sloped ceiling (goes all the way up, open to the second floor).

The plant is very happy where it is and I'm not planning on moving it.  I have no place else to put the t.v.  Having it hung on the wall is not an option because I don't have any outlets above the fireplace, and it's not in the budget to have one or two installed.  I would like to have that done in the future, because I would like to have the option of a lamp or two on top of the mantle without having a cord dangling down the side -- as you can see the fat nasty black cord from the t.v.  Rabbit ears also have to stay.  I am not wired for cable and have no intention of ever having that installed here.  So, it's through the air reception for my t.v.s.  I did, however, remove the rather prominent tin foil "hats" that used to adorn the very tips of the aerial as well as the wire coat hanger that Mr. Don hooked up to try and improve reception :)  Hey, we're both children of the 50's.  What can I say?

Another view of the fireplace/wall:

This is what it looked like during Christmas 2011:

The Chinese ideograms, the Chinese plaque, and the large metal "basket" sculpture were part of the design above the mantle for years.  I even decorated around them when I did my first ever "spring" mantle earlier this season:

Now, with the mantle (and other walls) practically bare naked, I find myself paralyzed -- don't know which way to go!

I HATE when that happens.  That happens sometimes when I'm playing chess, and I HATE that, too.  This helpless, lost feeling. Should I move this way - should I move that piece instead, and plan on this (but what if she moves there instead with that piece, then I'm screwed).  You're afraid to make the wrong move and so you don't move at all, meanwhile the time on your clock is ticking down down down...

Well, obviously I'm not in time pressure here in a tournament!  But the paralyzed feeling is still the same! 

I have been looking at tons of pictures online - at Houzz, at Pinterest, at my favorite decorating blogs, and lots of photos just from general google searches.  I've seen so many gorgeously decorated mantles - BUT none with my little flat screen t.v. and obvious cord ugly dangling over the side, none with an irreplaceable plant on the other end, and none with that huge stretch of slated bare wall above it!  I have not seen a single photo that has sparked any inspiration.  That is ridiculous, isn't it! 

Soooo - don't know what to do.  In the meantime, I am enjoying the bare look.  Seeing the clock on the left side of the window when there is nothing on the right side is bothering me to no end!  I am thinking of moving the clock off that wall up to the stair landing, on the right side of the window there.  That way I can still see it every morning when I'm getting ready for work going upstairs, and coming back down, but it won't be unbalancing the empty walls below.

Another post coming up...

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