I've been so bad bad bad. Well, I was sick for over a week. I don't know if it is just a coincidence that I woke up with a really nasty sore throat, sore ears, pounding head and that feeling that said "you are not going to the office today, for damn sure." Rolled over and slept again until I was able to get through to the switchboard at the office and call in sick. That was nearly 2 weeks ago Monday and Tuesday. I had the carpets throughout the house cleaned the prior Saturday. Hmmmm.... I thought perhaps it was strep throat developing, which I haven't known to go away by itself without the help of antibiotics (but I could be wrong about that), so maybe I was like partially poisoned or something from all the chemicals in the house. EEK!
Anyway, nothing got done - the house was torn apart because I move all "light" movable furniture (tables, chairs, lamps, etc.) and area rugs, ottomans, etc. out of the rooms in prep for the carpet cleaning, and things were piled all over the place in the areas where there was no carpet to clean. So, kitchen, both bathrooms and garage were loaded with stuff that doesn't belong there! And there it stayed.
I HATE living in disorder like that. It made me even more miserable than I felt physically. After two days off, I still felt like crap but I went back to work and toughed out the rest of the week. Nothing got done around the house except the bare minimum. I cancelled Terry's visit (she normally comes on Thursday) because there was no sense having her come to clean when the house was all torn apart.
But things are better now. Having an extra day off over Memorial Day Weekend helped.
I still haven't done a thing in the family room, sigh. I have determined, though, that I'm going to try keeping the big old bookcases that are in there now and paint them in a color to match as closely as possible Mr. Celadon Horsey, who is the inspiration for having a wreck of a family room right now. I've been corresponding with Mr. Don about various options for the redecorating and he is fully onboard with repainting the bookcases. He thinks they'll look great. Well, of course he does, as he's safe in Montreal and doesn't have to be around here for all the mess and work! LOL! That's my Mr. Don. The man who paints window trim with a tiny water color brush...
So, family room is half-torn off wallpaper, bookcases half emptied, area rugs banished, art off the walls and banished to the spare room upstairs and garage. It looks barren and icky in there now but the carpet is sparkling clean and so is the sleeper sofa. T.V. was disconnected because I moved out the cords everything was plugged into along with the printer and my mini-office hiding behind the sofa in that room. My dinette table is piled high with stuff, including the second laptop that used to be in my hidden mini-home office in the family room. I am determined to clean that up today -- right after I blog, and take that nap I want to get in later on, and cut the grass in both the front and back yards, and clean up the deck...
But I HAVE made progress in the living room, hooray! Perverse personality that I am, I have steadfastly ignored the family room in favor of the living room. I spent days looking at possible media centers so I'd be able to move the t.v. from the fireplace mantle to the media center. I looked at dressers, too, because I want extra storage. I looked and looked and looked, and decided, finally, upon one from Target - Dolce. Then I went back and forth, back and forth. T.V. on mantle or no. Move T.V. to media center or no. Both plans have their benefits. At least for now, I decided nope, putting a media center in the living room won't work, because it would mean less options for rearranging the furniture, which I am wont to do every now and then. Sometimes I wake up and think - I'm going to rearrange the living room. Right now. And I get up and do it in my pajamas and end up not even washing my face the entire day or changing into normal clothes! And I didn't want to spend the measely amount of money (less than $150) to buy it, either. Because I knew I'd want a bigger t.v. to sit on top of it... Oops - I see now the price has gone back up to $180. Damn damn damn! It sure is pretty, and the style would go very well with the mish-mash of wood tones and styles I already have in the living room. Sigh.
All week long, every night after work and the last two weekends, I've been painfully piecing together a new "look" for the living room. I wanted to "brighten things up" a bit, and my options are rather limited, to say the least. The room is not going to be painted, the furniture stays, there is not going to be new carpeting. I'm not going to paint my red mahagony stained woodwork or paint the dark wood fireplace. I'm not going to paint any of my beautiful wood furniture pieces, either! I thought briefly the other day about a possible new area rug, but nixed that idea because I just don't have the $$ for it. Drat! I hate when I don't have $$ to do what I want to do!
Nope. I have been digging through every cabinet and drawer and closet in the house where I have things stashed away, bound and determined to put together a "lighter, brighter" look from what I already own. I certainly have enough stuff in this house! Surely I could hit upon some successful recombination of already-owned things to come up with a pleasing composition and look for the living room!
I did, however, cheat. Yes, I am confessing. Mea Culpa. I purchased a set of two mirrors on sale for $19.99 at Target, a different, larger single mirror also from Target for $19.99 (that's going to go on the gallery wall I have planned for the dinette...), and a set of shelves, each one of which consists of four pieces of MDF put together in such a way as to create a sort of mini-shadow box effect and plenty of shelf space to display various items from my collections. The original brainstorm I had was to brighten up the walls on either side of the large round-top window by using mirrors and placing a candle or candles in front of them. Add some glitter and light. Mirrored sconces were the original idea, but I didn't want to fork out the money for the ones I liked best. I compromised and figured a shelf underneath a mirror holding a flameless candle or two or some flameless tea lights would give me the same effect but cost less. And so I splurged. The bill was less than $75 and I was very happy with that -- I'd spent $50 and so would get free shipping. WRONG. You have to spend at least $50 per item in order to get free shipping FOR THAT ITEM. RIP OFF! I was so pissed off by that, I almost - almost - cancelled the order. But I didn't. So the total bill came to just under $94.
This is what the living room wall above the fireplace looked like earlier yesterday (Saturday):
This arrangement was achieved after a long, hard struggle. I did not use either the framed oriental embroidered silks or the framed Bradford Exchange oriental plates I wrote about earlier.
You'll notice some major breakthroughs - well, they're major breakthroughs for me! First, I got the cord from the t.v. sort of under control. I would like to have one and possibly two electrical outlets wired in above the mantle, but that will have to wait until 2013 or possibly even 2014 due to budgetary considerations. In the meantime, the closest outlet is to the left of the fireplace, about a foot off the floor. That thick t.v. cord dangling over the edge of the mantle for the last few years drove me CRAZY! I scoured the internet looking for some kind of neat and inexpensive remedy to "hide the cord" but none of the solutions, some quite ingenious, would have worked in my situation since I do not have an outlet where I need one (right above the mantle!) I finally bought some clear Command hooks and they sort of work - but I should have bought larger ones; I purchased the "small" ones and they're not up to the task of holding two cords at bay (see below regarding addition of lamp). So I cheated and added a much larger and very white cup hook at a critical juncture at the base of the mantle right in the corner where the bottom of the mantle rests on the vertical pilasters. You can't even see it in this photo! It holds the cord close to the mantle around the "curve" underneath and the little clear Command hooks more or less keep the cord(s) flush along the side of the fireplace (pilaster) until near the outlet. Can't do anything about the dark cord(s) against the light colored wall reaching across to the outlet. Well, I could try painting them - think that would look lame. Ditto for cord covers. Just wouldn't work right in my particular situation.
DOH, JAN! There it was, staring me in the face. I quick grabbed the lamp and tried it out on the mantle.
PERFECT! I took it on a test run last night and love the low light (very romantic and atmospheric) and the great shadows it casts on the wall above. I also like it's smaller proportions relative to the height of the t.v. On such little things a successful decorating scheme turns...
I got the idea for framing one of my old National Geographic maps while I was flipping through one of my old decorating magazines for the umpteenth time while sitting out on the deck with my feet up sipping wine over Memorial Day weekend. You know how it goes sometimes, you can see the same photograph of a room a dozen times and go ho-hum, and then something about it just hits you one day. That's what happened. There was this room, with a framed old map. And I went - Oh, I can do that! I have maps. I have frames sitting upstairs in my closets just waiting to be used!"
Cleaned off the frame and touched up various scratches to the dark cherry finish with a touch-up pen, cleaned up the glass. I edged out the bottom portion of the painted mat that the map did not cover all the way with cheap old masking tape -- the beige/tan kind. The mat is painted in a burgundy color and sponged over with green and some gold. Well, it's an old mat! I didn't want even half an inch of that color showing at top and bottom inside the frame because the map was a little bit short to fill it out completely and then the mat wouldn't show at all. The masking tape color was a near perfect match to the map color, at least, for my purposes. Sure beat having to paint the mat over again and waiting for it to dry before I could use it! Not to mention I didn't have the right color of paint on hand... I taped the top corners of the map to the mat and framed it up. Propped it up on the mantle and decided on location. Like its size, color and overall look. PERFECT! Unless you look very closely and close-up, you really cannot tell where the map ends and the masking-taped up mat begins :)
I do learn from experience! Shortly after having the fireplace installed in 2002, I had a 24 by 36 framed print propped up on the mantle. One day went out and the door slammed behind me (the front door opens into the living room and is my main entrance to/from the house). Came home to find the print on the floor, glass shattered and several nicks in my NEW fireplace! I was beside myself! Seems the door slamming was enough to send that propped up print sliding off the edge of the mantle, leaving broken glass, a bent frame, a partially torn print and damaged mantle behind.
Learned my lesson. Did not prop up another painting or print on the mantle. Instead, I nailed them into the wall above, and man let me tell you, that is a major pain in the you-know-what, having to get up on my rickety old step ladder trying to measure things and get nails/fasteners evenly placed, etc. etc. All by myself, with no one to hold the ladder steady or spot me a break to tell me if the picture or object is hanging straight or not!
Debbie Dabble's blog) and I propped up an old framed print of butterflies and branches, I actually lined the entire bottom of the frame with rolled maksing tape to "glue" it to the mantle so it wouldn't slide! And it sure didn't. I don't think I'd want to attempt removing it once it petrified, though. It was easy enough to remove it after just a few months, but no telling what would happen if the tape was on the mantle for six months or longer.
This time I got "brighter". Well, at least I hope so. I took one of the fuzzy slider things that usually go on furniture feet so they don't gouge vinyl flooring, cut it in half, colored both pieces with a wood touch-up pen, and put the halves in front of the framed map on top of the mantle (sticky side down). So far, it's working like a charm and you can't even see the "stops" because (1) of the angle and (2) they blend in with the color of the mantle top. Close-up photo above. They are very discreet :)
Now it's clouding over outside - sure hope it's not going to rain! I have two lawns to cut (front and back)! Got to get a move on. More later.
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