November 12, 2017:

Hola!

It's hard to believe, but winter has arrived early in my hometown. One week it was in the 70s and gorgeous outside, the next week it dropped down into the 40s and then boom, less than a week later, into the 30s. We've already had several hard freezes, the earliest that's happened since I moved here in 2014. Anyway, the trees had not even begun to turn color yet in the neighborhood - and now most of them are bare due to the many hard freezes and strong winds that blew most of the days last week. Wowsers! Today, however, the sun stayed out all day, there was no wind to speak of, and the temperatures felt positively balmy outside. I was very glad because I had to be out and about today.

So, the poor trees did not have a "fall" this year but we did get enough rain to ease my mind that my pines and shrubs will have enough moisture in the ground to survive the winter. The squirrels are SO fat and SO furry, I can't help but think they know we're in for a bad winter. Sigh. I'm way behind in everything including lots of garden clean-up that now I won't get to unless we get a few days of "Indian Summer," which doesn't seem likely this year. I did, however, get everything outdoors pretty much put away, except for the area rug (it needs to be "washed" with some soap and rinsed off) and the mosquito net curtains on my Shezebo. Now I'm already thinking about Christmas, and soon it will be here, before we know it! So, I figured it's about time I put up my "autumn" photographs from prior years as the seasonal header here at Maison Newton. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, that will be here soon and then it's into full-tilt Christmas decorating. Take care, everyone!

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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