December 19, 2018:


I can't believe we're less than a week away from Christmas and I haven't yet really decorated the kitchen and dinette! I've got the small cardinal tree up on the peninsula counter and my Christmas cards are shaped in the form of a Christmas tree and taped to a wall by the dining table; I put up my colorful teal floral curtains with lots of gold and red, my cardinal prints and added a red tablecloth to the dining table, but that's it! Enough, I suppose.

The tree is done! It seemed to take forever this year to decorate but I am loving the result. It looks like the kind of mish-mash everything on it but the kitchen sink kind of tree I remember from my childhood. The only thing missing is the bubble lights, but I'm too frugal to buy them!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that the dreaded Polar Vortex stays away!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Work-Out Saturday

Hola darlings!

I was such a good girl this morning :)  I took the long way around to the Dollar Store and with stops there and at the Pick 'n Save supermarket on the way back home, I did a 3 mile walk in 1.5 hours!  My buddy Ann and I used to walk during lunch hours downtown and we'd do about 3 miles (city block miles) in that hour, but that was back in like 2001, so I'm very proud of myself.  Plus, it was humid -- fortunately not scorching hot, but I was dripping sweat and my jeans and shirt were clinging to me when I walked through the front door.  Was able to sleep with the AC off last night -- but I may need to turn it on near the evening just to cool the house down a bit -- we'll see.  When the shade comes around to the backyard this afternoon I'll cut the grass.  All the trees out back give me good shade.  I missed the shade out front this morning (my house is oriented front to the east, back to the west) because I left the house at 9 for the trip to the Dollar Store, so I'll have to wait until about 6 this evening to cut the front yard.  So now, I'm blogging :)

Trips up and down the stairs later on for laundry (washer and dryer are in the basement; laundry is in the second floor closet).  Let's see - what else can I do that's a work-out?  Maybe I should finally start one of the paint jobs - nah.  I'll put some music on and dance around the house for 30 minutes.  Yeah - that will work! 

Anyway, I was very disappointed with the Dollar Store.  First of all, they actually moved their location - but fortunately for me they were still in the same little strip shopping center where they were before, it just moved to a smaller store.  Their gift bag selection was a bust.  I did pick up bargain white tissue paper for the gift bags, and I found suitable card stock, too, so the trip wasn't a total bust. 

So that was why I decided to stop at the Pick 'n Save - but other than picking up a few things no gift bags from there, either.  They didn't have the right size or color(s) I wanted.  So, tomorrow it will be off to Walgreens and I'll buy the black ones I had my eye on all along (should have saved myself time and just bought them then!) plus some really cool black and white houndstooth check tissue paper.  That's about as close to a chessly theme as I can get, it seems. 

So - that 4 pounds I lost is STILL off, yippee!  These size 16 shorts are now about 2 inches too big in the waist, yippee!  Would I be able to fit back into my favorite suit?  Hmmmmm, I still don't think so and I don't want to try it until I banish another couple of pounds.  Can I do it before August 17th and the wedding?  Don't know, but I'm working on it!  In the meantime, though, Plan B outfit is:

my new shoes:
These are "Marissa" by Lifestride. I got them on sale so I didn't pay $54.99 for them.

Straight knee length pencil skirt in black poly-crepe (full lining) - I bought mine at Penney's last year and had it hemmed to custom length by Miss Diane at P'Dia.  This one by Worthington looks like it but I think mine was Jones of New York -- I wouldn't have bought it ordinarily except it was on super duper sale at the time and the price was right:

And the top by Black Rainn (worn with a black cami underneath):

Hello!  That's me in September, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri at the chess doings 'Sis and I attended.  Hmmm, yes, that top definitely does make me look fatter than I am (not that I'm not -- fat that is -- but I'm not that fat).  How disappointing.  I love the top!  It's floaty and airy and beautifully printed in abstract neutrals.  But I really shouldn't wear it unless I'm a good 20 pounds lighter.  And that ain't happening by August 17th!

Drat!  Damn!  Boo Hiss!  Must I really go on a hunt for the perfect top to wear to my niece's wedding?  If only I could liposuction 3 pounds of fat out of each upper arm and another 5 pounds from around my "waist."  Ach!   I'd do it if I could afford it!  Unfortunately, money now being saved is for a new roof on this house next year.  Drat! Damn!  Boo Hiss!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Looking for a New Hair Do

I have a niece getting married on August 17th.  I don't think I wrote here about my disastrous decision in letting my hairdresser cut a new multi-layered style into my hair a few months ago.  I did consent, but the person she showed me with this alleged cut (another beautician at the salon)  -- my hair did not turn out looking ANYTHING like hers! 

I was soooo pissed off.  But I'm culpable too.  I had allowed myself back in 2008 to be talked into a non-suitable multi-layered style for my hair (which has developed a definite wave and has totally lost all body, and is probably thinning, as well.  Sigh) that looked absolutely nothing like the photo I had clipped and presented to my hairdresser.

I probably should have gotten someone else then.  But I stayed.  I like her, she's a good kid.  It cannot be easy making a living these days (especially in an expensive downtown salon/spa where the work station rent must be very high) and so I keep going back and I keep making these same stupid mistakes with my hair!


Anyway, so I'm growing out this disastrous layered cut and it's driving me frigging NUTS!  It looks bad.  My hair is too thin and too fine to support particularly these see-through wispy bottom layers.

So I'm going to have as much of that bottom layer and the one above it ALL CUT OFF as will take me to ear length with as close to a single length blunt cut bob as I can get when I go in for another trim/cut on July 31st.  I'm not happy about it, because the little bit of "camoflauge" I presently have from this totally unsatisfactory growing-out cut for my triple chin will be totally gone!  On the other hand, while I was sick I lost 4 pounds and miracle of miracles, they seem to be staying off!  Maybe all those fruits and vegetables I've been eating are finally working.  Don't know - we'll see.  But I actually look slimmer -- or maybe I'm just fooling myself.  Four pounds could not possible make that much difference.  The triple chin has not disappeared, it just looks smaller.  Or my eyesight has gotten that much worse (a distinct possibility).

Here is what I wished my hair might look like (and me, too):

 Well you know, darlings, even when I was 18 and weighed 105 pounds I never did not have a slight little bulge of fat beneath my chin.  Sigh.  But I wear bangs and this hair cut, while not exactly being complementary to my soon to be 61 year old profile, WILL nonetheless make me much happier about how my hair "handles."  And it may look a wee bit thicker, too, with most of those wispy layers gone at last!

I got new shoes - MUCH easier process this time than for the trip to St. Louis last summer -- and I've got some alternative outfits planned -- it's all dependent upon how much weight I can lose between now and August 17th!  EEK!

I'M ALIVE! And the Stuff I Ordered for the Gift Bags is Coming!

Hola darlings!  Well, here I am, all "cured" of the too little clotting factor thingy and feeling sooooo much like a regular human being again!  I don't remember what I last wrote.  Quick review: I stayed home from work on Tuesday and tried to honor my pledge to the doctor to bed rest.  I mostly did rest but it wasn't exactly in bed.  But no matter, because later that day my urine started coming out clear to normal color again (I was drinking tons of liquid) and no more blood!  The vitamin K had finally done it work.  By about 5:30 in the evening I was feeling so normal I was shocked at how poorly I realized I had been feeling before - probably since nearly the time I started taking the blood thinner on June 22nd.

So, I had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday morning for another blood level test.  My youngest sister was now back in town and drove me to the doctor's office (what luxury!) and later she drove me downtown to the office!  Talk about feeling pampered!  The level test was at 4 on Monday; on Wednesday it came in at 2.3, well within acceptable limits.  Even the nasty bruises I'd somehow accrued over the weeks were fading away quickly, like the memory of a bad dream.  I got to work about 10:15 a.m. and worked until 4 p.m. because, unfortunately, my youngest sister had learned only that morning that one of our cousins had died unexpectedly.  We had not been notified of the death or of the arrangements made; she just happened to see in in that morning's paper in the obituaries (long story as to why she reads them - and I'm so glad now that she does).  So, we had a memorial service to go to.

Scary stuff.  Our cousin died of a sudden, unexpected heart attack while coming out of a supermarket last Saturday morning.  The night before she had gone to Festa Italiana down at our beautiful Lake Michigan lake front.  She was 63.  Talk about shock!  I won't go into a family history; suffice to say that there was a family history of some heart issues.  And so my own heart issue was brought heavily home to me once again.

Yes, I will have to have it addressed one way or another.  In the meantime, Mr. D is now at home out of the hospital (yippee!) and his a-fib has been fixed!  Isn't that just like a man?

All right, I don't want to talk about this anymore.  This morning I had to get to the office early because we were doing a large tax filing and I needed to be on hand in case there were last second changes before the clients came in, and then I had to be there in case we needed this or that or the other thing.  As it was, things could not have gone more smoothly, so I was able to use the 40 minutes I arrived before my regular 8:30 start time to get a lot of backed-up work out of the way!  I'm very pleased about that!  The early bus I caught just happened to be the one that all FOUR ladies I normally ride home with at night were also on, and since I had disappeared off the face of our bus world for three days I was bombarded with questions.  So the entire ride downtown was taken up with recounting what had been happening with me and Mr. D during the past couple of weeks!  Geez!  I love being able to hold a captive audience rapt upon my words!  Perhaps in a prior life I was a bard :)

So - besides all that good news, I also have good news about the stuff I ordered for the chess femme gift baskets!

The silver-plated purse/compact mirrors specially engraved have SHIPPED from Memorable Gifts!  Joy joy joy!  If they were done correctly, they will say:

2012 Goddesschess Canadian Women's Chess Championship

AND the purse hangers and little purses/wallets that I ordered from Sam Moon were shipped YESTERDAY!   I did not order those items by expedited shipping, though, so it will be cutting it close!  I hope to have everything here for inspection on August 1st and then haul it all to the office on August 2nd to be Fedexed to Montreal for final assembly upon arrival on August 3rd and presentation on August 4th.  Yes - close!  Too close!  Fall back position is to present the gift bags at the conclusion of the tournament on August 11th, but I really hope this all comes together in time for an Opening Day presentation.  If only I had started earlier!  Ach, GNASHING OF TEETH! 

This is the beautiful Goddesschess logo for the tournament that my clever and talented Mr. D put together:

I printed off 3 dozen of these babies on self-stick labels during lunch hour today at the office and did rough cuts on them on the large paper cutter to trim them out.  Two of these will go on each gift bag, and another one will go on a gift card or card stock on which a special message to each player will be inscribed. 

I have started scouting out gift bags and tissue paper. I will have to mix things up - it will be impossible at Pick n' Save or Walgreens to get 12 matching bags.  I will pay a visit to the dollar store on Saturday and keep your fingers crossed that they have a nice supply of the right size gift bags in the right colors and tissue paper in the right colors!  But if not, it's Pick 'n Save and/or Walgreens because I don't have time for anything else! 

And I sure hope I'm able to find some plain gift cards or note cards or greeting cards.  If I don't, I'll visit the Officemax in the downtown mall on Monday and buy plain card stock and make up my own cards -- I anticipated that being a possibility and that is why I printed out extra labels with the tournament logo on them.  Hell, maybe I'll do that tomorrow and give up the idea of buying pre-made cards.  It will probably be less expensive to just buy card stock and cut out my own! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

What Would a Chess Femme Want in a Gift Bag?

Hola darlings!

Well, it's been a horrific couple of days.  I spent four hours yesterday morning/afternoon in the ER because guess what - I was overdosed on that rat poison stuff -- the Coumadin (warfarin) and was peeing blood.  Not cool.  I was actually sick since Thursday when I felt faint-headed at work but just blew it off because of a long history of mostly-controlled high blood pressure.  I was starting to seep blood internally then, I think, but it took a few days for it to really manifest itself. So in the meantime every morning I was dutifully dosing myself with more rat poison.  I was told to look for pink in the urine.  Well, my urine was first pale orange.  Not pink, I know the difference!  So I thought, okay, orange urine.  Could be the dye in the pills (for instance, when I take my "water pill", which is yellow, my pee comes out yellow for awhile in the morning before eventually turning back clear).  Friday, more orange urine.  Saturday, more organe urine, now getting darker.  Sunday morning, BINGO.  Blood red. 

First I called my clinic and got in touch with the doctor on call.  I was advised, based on my symptoms, to go to the ER because a hopsital is the only place that would be able to process blood work and blood tests quickly.  The doctor on call suspected an OD of blood thinner and told me I would probably need vitamin K to counteract.  Well, she was spot on, but it took awhile to get to that eventual conclusion and get the vitamin K I needed after I arrived at the ER.

I'm not complaining about the care I received at the ER.  I was processed in very quickly and received very good care.  It just took a long time. One of the nurses there said "we're not used to seeing someone as young as you."  Gee, thanks.

I had to take the bus to the hospital -- neither of my sisters who drive (I do not) were in town to give me a ride, and I didn't have cash on me to call a cab.  Well, I wasn't exactly thinking clearly anyway and didn't even think about calling a cab, not with $1 in my wallet.  Who uses cash these days, unless you plan for it in advance?  Thank Goddess for my Commuter Bus Pass!  Saved the day, and probably saved my life.

Cuz it turns out I could have bled out before I ever got to the ER.  It was just - I don't know, maybe the luck of the draw - that I did not.  The typical "count" the meds want to see when you're on a blood thinner is between 2 and 3.  Mine was at 8.75.  I though the doctor was going stroke out when he told me that.  He sure was cute.  Actually, he was probably thinking that I might stroke out in front of him at any time and what the hell would he do if that happened?  LOL! 

Anyway, to make a long story short, I arrived back home (via bus), around 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon. I had the option of being hospitalized overnight "for observation."  What, I asked the ER doc, would being hospitalized help prevent?  Well, he said, we'd be able to get to you quicker if any one of these awful things would happen to you, and he listed the awful things.  I opted to have any one of those awful things happen to me back in my own home, if it was going to happen.

I'm still peeing blood, but not as much.  I had to go to my doctor's office this morning -- I was told this yesterday by the cute ER doctor, who told me he had made all of the arrangements -- but when I arrived this morning, already sweaty and pissed off/hacked off because I had to travel there in near 100 degree heat and high dew point, and miss more time from work, they knew nothing about it.  Lost it right then and there.  Stress, I guess.  You should have seen the patients in the waiting room cowering in a corner as I ranted and raved and screamed at the hapless woman behind the glass.  Now I know why they have glass there.  I would have killed her if I'd have been able to get my hands on her. 

The best part - yep, there is a best part - is when the doctor I actually saw, who is NOT my primary care physician, told me that the 8.75 I had yesterday was so dangerous, much more dangerous than the ER doc even told me. My nonclotting factor (or whatever the hell it is), has dropped back to 4, but still way too high.  But at least now if I trip and fall on the sidewalk (as I nearly did this morning on the way to the bus stop, half a mile away in the 100 degree heat), I won't croak in like 5 minutes from uncontrollable internal bleeding.  Nope, now it will be much slower.

Guess what - they're only going to charge me today for a "nurse's visit" to my clinic today because it was a nurse who actually stuck my finger with the thingy that measures what they're measuring.  So I won't have to pay for seeing the male doctor who told me well, this was REALLY dangerously high.  Yeah, tell me about it, dude. Of course they never explain it to you - I learned much of what I know from the internet. And thank Goddess I did that research.  Oh yeah, they offered to hospitalize me again. Like it's a frigging vacation or something.  Gee, we can put you in the hospital, all your worries will be solved, Ms. Newton. 


That male doctor had the balls to offer me some drugs to "calm my nerves."

Yeah, right.  Your drugs nearly killed me to begin with, and now you're offering me MORE drugs?  Get bent, dude.  I didn't exactly use those words to him, but he got the point.

So, that's the latest from Maison Newton, other than I have to go back and see the incompetents again on Wednesday morning (more unpaid time off work, since I have now blown through my entire stash of PTO for the year) for another blood test to see if the clotting factor in my blood is back up to an acceptable level.  And - get this - they want me to go back on the rat poison once I'm back to "stable" until I am able to get in to see a heart specialist. 

The heart specialist who wants to electrocute me, or burn out heart tissue with ultrasonic waves of some kind, or stick a pacemaker in me, not to mention shoving tubes and cameras into me to try and figure out what they already know is the flying F wrong.  I think not, thank you very much.

Okay, ladies, so this is the thing:  I am part of Goddesschess and Goddesschess is sponsoring a major women's chess championship in a few weeks in Montreal, Canada.  I don't expect any of you to give a rat's ass about that (har, that's a joke), but it's a big deal for me, personally, to be able to provide financial sponsorship for female chessplayers and this is actually a big deal in Canada because the winner of this particular champiionship will be able to attend the women's world chess championship contest later this year, representing Canada, that will be held in the far reaches of Siberia, Russia. Yeah, that's how they treat female chessplayers -- we go to Siberia.  The men chessplayers go to spas around the Black Sea.

So, I cannot attend the opening of the event due to obvious health issues, and unfortunately, my dear Mr. Don who lives in Montreal, cannot attend either due to his own health issues.  So we will have no representative there for Goddesschess, to push our "brand" so to speak.  Not that we give a shit about that, but it would have been nice to be able for someone from our group to be available to say a few words and shake hands, etc.  Ain't happening.

So, anyway and regardless, I had come up with the idea way before to present some kind of gift or "hospitality" bag to the ladies, but now it's more important than ever since those gift bags will be the only representation of Goddesschess at the tournament.  Yes, I have been assured that the organizers will have Goddesschess banners flying and brochures on our little group to hand out, etc. etc.  But it's not enough, despite these Montrealers being damn decent people, not your typical chess politician schmucks that we have unfortunately run into during the years we've been offering financial sponsorship.

Okay, to cut to the chase -- we do NOT have unlimited funds (the understatement of the year).  At first I thought about doing something like this:

This is an engravable sterling silver purse mirror from Memorable Gifts online, and far less expensive that what I came across at a trip to a mall near where I live last week Friday night (while in search of shoes for an upcoming wedding).  The only problem was paying for really expedited shipping so I could SEE the product before I sent it off to Canada.  May as well pay the outrageous mall price, $3 per word for engraving, $6 minimum. Not happening. 

So, as much as I love the idea of giving each of the female players in this upcoming Championship a keepsake that says 2012 Goddesschess Canadian Women's Chess Championship, it's just too expensive. 

By the way, it was just by happenstance that I learned today that there are actually going to be 12 female players, not the 9 registered players I THOUGHT were playing, just in case there is a last minute entry and a few withdrawals, therefore reserves are needed, so an extra gift bag or two are also needed.  I suppose I should have known this, but Goddesschess is not a tournament organizer, we provide FUNDS for tournaments - women's tournament, and on occasion we fund individual female chessplayers to appear in "open" tournaments (where male and female players both compete).

So, now that the budget has been further stretched, with the potential of 12 players, not 9.  And even if it ultimately comes up to 10 actual players, the reserve players will have commited a week of time and expense to potentially competing.  They deserve gift bags too.

I'm figuring out how I'm going to personally fund out the difference and what we can come up with that will be "chessly" and feminine but not really stupid and funky.  The engraved purse mirrors are out of the equation, just too expensive, much as I wish we could present them.  The other part of the equation you need to know is that most of the competing players are teenagers, and young teenagers at that.  They don't go for the old-lady stuff I like!

What to do, what to do?  I had a stroke (not an actual one) of genius when Sam Moon flashed into my mind.  I went to the website and sure enough, salvation is near at hand:


How about one of these cute little thingies to dangle a purse from?  This one has a "king" crown, or perhaps it could be a queen too, depending upon how elaborate the chess set was originally carved.  Chessly and best of all, it comes in different color options and the price is right at $7.50 (a slightly different version in "silver" and black-tone stones is available for $6.95):

I actually had to look it up on the internet how these operate.  Okay, I'm not a hip chick, I freely admit it.  Now will it work with most ladies' purses that weigh way more than 20 pounds?  Hell no.  But it's the idea...

And so, I thought about this


A little purse!  This one is also from Sam Moon (and no, I'm not being paid to plug Sam Moon products).  A sort of mini-purse, actually.  Here it is --

A chessplaying femme could stash some essentials in this and be good to go.  It's got space for ID card, credit cards, money, and you could stash a bi-fold comb and mirror into the "coin pouch" zippered part.  What's not to love?  Comes in this femme-y color or always cool black faux-croc.  $6.99. 


One of the gift bag goodies I had originally though about, and I am still thinking about, is something like this.  I thought these would be fun for the chess femmes, even the young ones.  Maybe especiallly the young ones.  I do not see too many women my age wearing such scarves:

What about this one?  It's a great color (who can go wrong with white?), and the lacey look could be dressed up or down.  This scarf also comes in black!  How about 6 in white and 6 in black?  But if the ladies should prefer black over white?  Or white over black?  Bah, Humbug!  Better to just get all one color, and I think white would be the preferred color - maybe.  Ach!  What do I know about teenaged tastes!  NOTHING.  $7.00 - can't go too far wrong with that price. 

Well, there's a little more but I'm closing out for now because I just got word from Mr. D's sister about his current health status and it is GOOD!  So I'm going to go read it again and then sob my eyes out all over the damn house.  Bye.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Map Art the Right Way!

Hola darlings.

Yeah, I haven't been around much.  Been diagnosed with an unexpected heart condition and, well, just trying to deal with that new reality right now.  Dealing with the monstrous heat and drought here in southeast Wisconsin has been the pits, too  Seems the world is going to HELL, the Hot Fiery Hell of the old religious stories.  Mr. D, my significant other (who lives 1000 miles away and that is probably the only thing that has allowed us to maintain our relationship for 14 years), is also undergoing his own health crisis.  What the flying f?  He turned 61 a few months ago and my 61st is next month, and all of a sudden we're both falling apart? 

What I need is a health crafter to help me stick myself back together, and Mr. D too.  Damn!

Anyway, while I'm sitting here dealing with a serious bout of indigestion/gaseous stuff churning around inside my stomach that just will NOT come out - forgive me for mentioning the word farts but they would really be helpful right now - I've been burping for over a day.  Who knew that popcorn would have such an effect on my poor digestive tract now that I'm on all these news meds?  Geez.  The doctor never mentioned DO NOT EAT POPCORN.  I had some yesterday for lunch.  A nice low-cal high fiber food, right?  I need to drop a serious amount of weight -- at least 20 pounds and preferably more.  Popcorn!  But now it seems I cannot eat it.


But I'm not one to let "Life" defeat me for long, darlings.  Never have been, never will be, right up to the moment when I take my last breath, and my plan is for that to be a hell heck of a long time away yet!  Well, my condition isn't that dire, but I'm on rat poison Coumirin (is that how it's spelled) -- Warfarin.  Yeah, that rat poison blood thinner stuff.  Well, how do you think it kills rats?  Not pretty, let me tell you!  It kills them from the inside out, they bleed to death on the inside.  Like SUPER YECHY.

And this is what I'm now pumping into my poor bod on a daily basis.  But trust me, I will NOT be on this stuff for whatever remains of my life.  Aint gonna happen.

So, here I am blabbing all about me me me, but this blog isn't about me, except when it comes to my decorating escapades, which lately have taken a damper.  Well, other things to deal with, as I said.

Today I'm writing about the map art I'm now seeing all over the internet!  Like wow - it's everywhere!  That's a good thing, in my eyes, because I've been in love with maps for just about forever.  There is this nagging feeling in the back of my mind, though, that I may have already written about this.  But I'm too lazy to go scrolling back through my already posted items to check for sure.  So if this is a double, my apologies :)
As you may recall, I had my own disastrous run-in with a framed map I'd propped up on my living room mantle doing a serious crash and burn.  In fact, I'm STILL finding little bits of glass here and there, weeks later!  Geez.  That means my carpet has taken to growing like a lawn and forcing glass up to the surface or my cleaning lady is being less than diligent in vacuuming.  Or I need a new vacuum to replace the new vacuum.

There it was - it nearly fit into the frame (with glass) and I loved how it looked.  I took one of those thick fuzzy thingies (don't remember what they're called at the moment - a senior black-out, darlings) that usually gets stuck onto the bottom of chair legs so they won't scratch floors, cut it in half, colored it with a marker, and placed each half strategically in front of the framed map, to act as stops, to prevent it from sliding off the mantle.

Well, that was the plan, anyway.  I was so proud of myself!  But - IT DID NOT WORK. The map somehow fell off the mantle anyway, and when it toppled it took with it the glass hurricane lamp on the right, the t.v., and not shown in this photograph, a very precious to me plaster of paris "gold" elephant in the Indian style.  It all came crashing down one morning while I was upstairs getting ready to go to work.  It happened to be on a morning when my cleaning lady was coming, and she found me frazzled, sweating and in tears, trying to clean things up.

When I did this "project" (basically putting a map into a frame, some project!) I had seen a few maps as art on the internet but had, at that point, no idea of just how many variations on the theme this idea had!  Now I know better.  I must always assume that anything I think is a good idea that occurs to me has already occurred to someone else long before, and done better, faster, righer. 

So, here is how to do map art the RIGHT way!

From The Happier Homemaker, DIY Wooden World Map Art, June 12, 2012
Melissa does her own way less expensive version of a $475 map, and it's gorgeous.  Would love to have this hanging in my house - well, just about all over the place.  I told you, I'm into maps. 

From The Happier Homemaker (see link above).

From Nesting Place, How to Make Map Art, April 14, 2011.
Seriously, this has some fabulous displays of map art.  And who ever thunk up the idea to just wrap a cheapy old map around a sturdy cardbox box -- well, sheer genious!  Geez, Jan, you could have done that.  Duh.  The possibilities...

From Nesting Place (see link above).

From Little Birdie Secrets, Canvas Map Wall Decor, March 28, 2011.
Next to covering a cardboard box (like wrapping a gift) with a map, this is a project I might try on my own.  It "looks" simple enough -- but we all know how that goes, don't we...  This was actually a guest blog entry from Serena at Creative Juices Decor.  This link is just to the general website, not to the specific project.  I am too tired to go hunting around for it, sorry (not).

From Little Birdy Secrets (see link above).

All of these are great ideas for creating wonderful wall art at a very low cost. In this 24/7/365 world we now live in, we should be mindful that less than 500 years ago, some religions taught that the Earth was flat and if a ship sailed too far it would fall "off" the world into oblivion.  Men who boarded ships to go exploring never knew if they would ever see their homes and loved ones again.  The first recorded circumnavigation of the globe (via ship) was in the 1500's, although Gavin Menzies makes a compelling case for the Chinese doing it in the 1400s!  Take a good look at this map of the world, and imagine what it must have been like, 500 years ago, setting out in a ship the length of my house to go into the unknown...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Readers Digest Books Are Cool !?!

Wow, who'd have thunk it!  I just saw this post at Dimples and Tangles and evidently my old small collection of Readers Digest books (some still with the original paper covers on them) are all the rage right now as a decorating accessory.


My Readers Digest Condensed Novels go back to the mid-1960's through the mid-1970's. 

They have travelled with me from apartment to apartment during my wandering years after graduation from high school in 1969.  They were soooo happy with the stained-glass built-in hutch that they were showcased in when I bought my first house in 1986.  They shed some tears when we left that cozy little two bedroom place for this stick-built home in August 1990.  But they soon adjusted.

They were happy because I kept them all together, and have faithfully pulled each and every one of them (and each and every one of my other precious books) off their shelves twice a year to dust by hand and "clap" the pages. 

Here is a not very good photograph of my Readers Digest Condensed Novels collection:

The bookshelves in the family room are slowly (ever so slowly) being emptied, box by box, in preparation for my eventual finishing of wallpaper removal, drywall repair and painting.  The bookcases will receive a makeover as well.  I may have everything done just in time to celebrate my official retirement on January 1, 2018 :)

Yeah, walking into my house is like passing through a Time Warp, darlings, back to the 1980's.  Sponge painting!  All over the damn place!

Let me tell you about these Readers Digest Condensed Novels.  It seems I came out of the womb with a book in my hand, and got really bitchy and testy whenever it was removed.  Just ask my Mom.  As soon as I could, I learned how to read, and I never stopped.

I read everything I could get my hands on, including the er - manual - I found once snooping around in the Parents' Bedroom...  But I was only eight so it took awhile to figure out what it really was all about...

In due course, I got a Library Card!  And back in the old days, before endless rounds of budget cuts and the dummying down of the general population, EVERYONE in my old neighborhood looked forward to the Bookmobile coming around once every ten days!

I was allowed to withdraw 5 books maximum.  And so I did.  Every ten days.

I read my way through the entire Bookmobile - I don't remember how long it took.  I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back, I now know that the people on the Bookmobile started a special stash just for me.  I loved reading history and science fiction.  When I hit about 9, I started getting interested in ROMANCE and SOB (as in can't stop crying) stories!  Oy!  When they saw me board the Bookmobile I'd be motioned over to the check-out table and there, on a special shelf behind, were all these books that had been picked out.  I could check-out as many as I wanted!  Of course, I had to bring them back.

We moved when I was 11 and there was no Bookmobile in the new neighborhood.  So, I started going to the library two miles away.  When I turned 13, that library closed, so I started walking to the library three miles away.  Then I got a part-time job after school.  I had a paycheck!  I started ordering Readers Digest Condensed Novels.  It was a really big deal back then!  Oh, how eagerly I'd wait for the next book to be delivered in the mail.  They came like every few months, and I devoured them, book after book.  Mom said it was just a big waste of money, but I knew it wasn't.  I would sit in the front room in Grandpa Newton's old green leather easy chair and read a book from cover to cover in a few days.  And then go back and read my favorites over again.

Some of the condensed novels I have read over again; and then eight years later over again!  And so it goes.  Some stories just never get old. 

The Readers Digests I have now are just a smidgeon of what I used to haul around.  Over the years, books have been given away or donated.  I kept my favorites. 

I haven't looked at the titles of these books in some time now, despite twice-yearly dusting and handling.  Probably most of the authors I read through those years (1968 through 1993), you weren't even born yet and wouldn't recognize the names or the titles!  Let me tell you, the books in that old Bookmobile were WAY older!  Authors from the 20's through the 50's, mostly.  I think they put the junkiest books in the Bookmobile because people would steal them.  I, even I, actually stole a book once from the Bookmobile.  It was called "The Black."  It was about a wild black horse.  And it had absolutely nothing in common with the boring "Black Beauty," which I also read and didn't much care for.  Snore.  "The Black" -- that was a GREAT BOOK!  I slept with that book underneath my pillow for five or six months.  One day I forgot to hide it under the bed before the sheets were being changed and Mom found it.  Oh Oh.

Well.  So many memories.  I read about the great earthquake in San Francisco in 1906 in a volume that included "The San Francisco Earthquake" by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts.  Read, read, read, read and read again "The Sea of Grass" by Conrad Richter -- an absolutely incredible love story, in a 1971 volume:

"Have you noticed how young she still looks, Hal? he asked, filling his chair again wtih that iron dignity and pride I remembered as a boy.  "It was a hard thing for a lady to go through.  But she's one in a thousand, Hal.  No one else will ever be like her."  And his deeply lined face warmed like the late afernoon sun mellowing the rugged western slope of an old mountain.

OHMYGODDESS!  Those are the last lines of the book.  How could any woman not want to be loved that much? 

I read "The Camerons" and "Green Darkness" and the really bad but couldn't-put-it-down sequel to "Gone With the Wind" in Readers Digest Condensed Novels. 

I can never just look at one of my precious books as a decorating accessory, and that is why the cleaning-out process has been so slow and so very very painful.  Because it seems that, other than yours truly, no one gives a hoot anymore about old books and dead authors.  I can't even give books away anymore to Goodwill, Purple Heart or the Vietnam Veterans.  Nobody wants them. 

This just makes me so incredibly sad, sad, sad. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More on the Chartreuse Apartment!

I just fell so in love with this space -- a mere 640 square feet -- featured in the July/August 2012 print edition of House Beautiful on Big Style in Small Spaces.  The magazine was just packed with great ideas on how to be efficient and utilize every square inch of space in small rooms/houses/apartments.

The spaces ran the gamut from mostly white to mostly neutrals to saturated with color, and every decorating style, from shabby chic to Euro sleek.  I will keep this magazine in my inspiration stash for years to come.

Back to the chartreuse apartment!  It is owned (?) by designers Bill Brockschmidt and Richard Dragisic.  Brockschmidt is part of New York City design firm Brockschmidt and Coleman

Now, to the scans!

Look at that gallery wall!  It is cleverly arranged over a wall with closet space -- do you see the closet door knobs?  And notice the lining to the matching-wall-colored drapes at the window -- pale blue.  Soooo lovely!  Hey, what can I say, I'm a sucker for classical design :)

In this photo, you can see how tall the walls are -- I scoured the article to see if the actual height was mentioned but all I could find was reference to the apartment being carved out of a "loft building."  When Brockschmidt and Dragisic purchased the apartment, there was a wall separating this space from the space you'll see in the next photo. They very smartly took the wall down to open up the room and provide its sense of massive volume and grandeur.  The rest is just damn good decorating.  A New York loft space -- who'd have thunk it!  It would look at home in a 14th century mansion lining the canals of Venice or the cozy spaces of an mid 19th-century Regency town-home in Bath or Brighton.

  Where formerly separated by a wall, the dining/library and living room spaces are now open to each other. The harpsichord was custom-made for the space!  This view is from the bedroom loft space above, accessed by an open staircase against the far wall on the right (out of photo range).  When entertaining, the owners use the stairs as buffet space.

This photo shows part of the open staircase (look ma, no railing!) that leads to the loft bedroom and private space above.  The entire space is turned into a library and another gallery wall.  The opening, right, is to the galley kitchen.  Pocket doors can close off the space. 

House Beautiful supplied a list of resources for the issue. I copied the particulars for this space below if you're interested:

Pages 82 to 89: Designer: Brockschmidt & Coleman; 212-608-5065;

Entry hall: Wallpaper, Adena Pin Rings in custom color; wallpaper trim, Greek Key Border in Gold—Adelphi Paper Hangings (T); Ceiling trim; floor trim; door paint—Benjamin Moore (M); Floor finish, blend of Ebony and Jacobean—Minwax (M); Ceiling fixture, Alabaster Sculptured Dish—Urban Archaeology (R);

Living room: Wall paint, Mustard Olive; trim paint —Benjamin Moore (M); Dining chair fabric, Lanka Reversible in Lagoon by Old World Weavers; sofa fabric, Lanka Reversible in Pollen by Old World Weavers—Stark Carpet (T); Desk chair fabric, Brocatelle Le Griffon in Sulphur—Claremont (T); Harpsichord chair fabric, Madeline Stripe in Sunflower—Stroheim & Romann (T); Window armchair fabric, Putti in Loden—Rogers & Goffigon (T); 203-532-8068. Sofa, custom by designer; sofa fabrication—Second Life Interiors (M); 212-254-5699. Assorted pillow fabrics on sofa—Erin Wilson Quilts (M); Ikat pillow fabric—Bergamo (T); Yellow silk pillow on sofa, Bang Na in Cat’s Eye—Jim Thompson (T); Curtain fabric, Dogwood White Linen, dyed to match the walls—Hines & Co. (T); 212-754-5880. Fabric dyeing—Dye-Namix (T); Chandelier sleeve fabric, Mogador Taffeta in Turquoise—Brunschwig & Fils (T); Area rug, antique Bessarabian carpet—Richard Afkari Rugs on Stone (R,T); Carpet, wall-to-wall Hemp Grass—Beauvais Carpets (T); Coffee table by Mrs. MacDougall—Hinson & Co. (T); 914-881-1470. Decorative painting on harpsichord—Osmundo Studio (M);

Bedroom: Wall paint, Mustard Olive—Benjamin Moore (M); Coverlet fabric; fabric panels behind bed, Blue 4 by Muriel Brandolini—Holland & Sherry (T); Valance fabric, Mayflower in Ivory—Pindler & Pindler (T); Bed linens, Italian Hotel Satin Stitch in Black—Restoration Hardware (R); Wall lamps, Boston Hi-Lo Wall Lamp—Circa Lighting (R); Custom black shades—Just Shades (R); Bedside table, Martini (color discontinued)—West Elm (R);

Bath: Wallcovering, Blue 4 by Muriel Brandolini—Holland & Sherry (T); Trim around sconces, Rumba Tassel Fringe— Houl├Ęs (T); Sink, Caxton—Kohler (M); Faucet, Ashbury 8" Widespread—Restoration Hardware (R); Countertop stone, Nero Marquina marble. Sconces, Rectangular Wall Light—Vaughan (T);

Kitchen: Custom cabinet diamond motif and trim paint—DK Interiors (M); 718-281-1415. Tile backsplash, Rittenhouse subway tile—Daltile (M);

Yeah, a lot to take in!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Is Chartreuse the New Turquoise?

In going through the July/August 2012 House Beautiful (print edition) I noticed that there seemed to be more chartreuse and akin colors than I've seen before.  I scanned images from the magazine -- the color didn't come out exactly as it appears in the magazine, but I hope you'll get the general idea.  See what you think:
Ad for Lazy Boy featuring Brooke Shields.  The border around the ad
is chartreuse, the walls in the ad are chartreuse, Brooke is wearing a chartreuse
sweater, and the Charlotte chair is a chartreuse and olive green print.  The sofa,
from the Kiefer room group, is a pale chartreuse -- a little hard to tell from this scan.

Ad for Candice Olson for Kravet Collections.  The border on the ad is a sort of greyed-down
chartreuse color; the pillow on the sofa is chartreuse, and it's hard to tell but there is chartreuse
in the curtains.  Under lamp light (I'm looking at the ad in the magazine right next to my
laptop at about 4:23 p.m.) the top and bottom border on the ad look very green, almost
an olive green color!

A selection of jute rugs.  Anthropologie offers the entwined leave jute rug,
bottom right.  They call it "lime" - but we all know it's chartreuse!  5' x 7' for $398.

From the New York apartment of designers Bill Brockschmidt and Richard Gragisic.
The walls are painted "mustard olive" -- okay, chartreuse :)  The extravagant draperies
(not seen in this image), are also chartreuse lined in pale blue and to die for!
Notice the chartreuse-y color in the area rug. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is There An Easy Way To Mount This???

Hola!  Now that the Super Hot Humid High Dew Point Monster Heat Wave has finally broken its hold on Wisconsin and dew points have dropped back down into the tolerable range, I am filled with energy and don't feel like I'm 150 years old, cooped up in central AC-treated air.

Yesterday I watered the front (all day) -- which entails constant trips in and out after monitoring the time to move the sprinkler around; I washed windows; I discovered wood rot on a window sill (NOT GOOD); I did laundry; I read; I blogged; I watched TV and drank lots of cheap wine.   I even slept relatively decently with the windows wide open for the first time in WEEKS!

Back yard  today, a lazy Sunday afternoon with sprinkler going!

Today, after enjoying my usual Sunday morning rituals (feeding animals outdoors, my one cup of coffee per day, leisurely reading the newspaper and sales papers that takes 2 or 3 hours), I cut the grass, did some weeding, did some pruning, chopped down spent perennials and ruthlessly rooted out invasive species, and yes - pulled out the sprinkler once again as I put my feet up on the deck (which needs a good sweeping) and whiled away the afternoon looking at the latest print editions of House Beautiful and Traditional Home :)  Nothing like a lazy Sunday afternoon when the weather is perfect!

That's not to say it's cooled off way much out there, but it's not 100 anymore!  Hallelujah!  It's about 85 F right now and not much of a breeze, but the house is relatively cool even without the AC on.  So, now I'm finally saving some electricity only to blow the budget wide open on WATER for the yards!  Oh well.  What else do I live for but to work to pay the utility companies...

A little project -- I noticed this particular piece of old partially rotted wood about a month ago -- it must have fallen at some point from the large double-trunked Chinese elm out back -- it is always shedding pieces of itself all over the yard.  I took it up to the deck to lay in the sun and dry it out, because it reminded me of the ancient Persian symbol  horns from a roe) for a very old Goddess. 

Today, the wood piece seemed dry enough after our relentless heat wave and mini-drought, so I gave it a good brushing off and several layers of clear acrylic spray paint.  It soaked right in.  I can't tell if it will do any good or not.  I've used up nearly the entire can now, so I'll have to get some more, and maybe spray it several times over again.  Maybe eventually it will actually turn into an acrylic mini-log :)

Okay, flight of fancy, sorry about that.  What I intend to do with this piece of wood is a vision -- somehow mounting it on a thin piece of metal that is somehow anchored to a base of some kind that is heavy enough to support the wood piece (it's pretty light, actually, probably because it's so rotted out!)  Here is an inspiration piece from Gump's Online, one of my favorite places to window-shop, to show you what it is I have in mind...

I haven't yet thought about the size of the base, what material it could or should be made of, or its shape:  round? square? rectangular? free form?  I also have no idea what it might be or should be mounted upon, or the actual mounting process itself to make sure it is securely supported and anchored at both ends, other than -- the inspiration photo looks like the wood carving is anchored on round metal supports that are grounded into a wood base (per the description). 

So -- any help any of my two or three readers can give me would be greatly appreciated :)

I am posting this at The Shabby Nest's Frugal Friday (July 5, 2012 edition) in the hopes of getting responses!

Faux Brick!

I've seen some projects recently that involve the use of trompe d'oeil (fool the eye) -- in the cases I've selected, by creating the look of real brick!

To me, brick conjures up feelings of security and reassurance.  I still want to own a brick house -- in fact, I expect when I sell this place (well, at least I hope the market will be recovered by then) in 5 and 1/2 years when I retire, my vision is a small single story brick bungalow or perhaps a two-bedroom faux-Tudor style or Cape Cod.  Milwaukee is loaded with them -- evidently because people felt the same way I do about these sturdy, timeless homes.

I find it very interesting that while many people are intent upon erasing brick mantels with paint, wallboard, panelling, stone resurfacing, etc., many other people are equally busy creating the look of brick where it doesn't exist by using wallcoverings, paint, stencils, brick veneer and even real brick!

The first project I want to show was done by my blogging buddy,  Debbie at Debbie-Dabble.  It is an exercise in utter simplicity, ingenuity, patience, and turned out fabulously!  Every time I look at her post (and see her "new" patio in photographs at her fabulous blog), I still cannot believe that these are not real bricks!

Faux Brick on Concrete Patio Floor
June 21, 2012 (Debbie-Dabble)

From the enterprising and seemingly endlessly endowed with energy couple at Decorate With a Little Bit, check out this dining room redo from the "little brick cottage" the couple bought and totally rehabbed.  Would you believe this is WALLPAPER covering, appropriately enough, the chimney piece in a corner of the room?  I didn't believe it, and I still have a hard time believing it:

Little Brick Cottage: Dining Room, My Favorite… No… One of My Favorites!
April 17, 2012 (Decorate With a Little Bit)

Erin at Lavender and Lemon Drops created a stunning wall using faux brick panels purchased from Lowes, which she then specially treated to give it an aged/rehabbed look (you know, like the mellow brick walls that you often see in rehab projects in city dwellings on This Old House).  It looks amazing:

Faux Brick Wall
May, 2012 (Lavender and Lemon Drops)

Erin's inspiration came from Brooke and Dan's blog, All Things Thrifty:

I chose this photo with Brooke wielding paint brush just to show that yep, it's actually real people who are doing these incredible things. She's cute! 

Tutorial: How to paint brick to make it look old
March 5, 2012 (all Things Thrifty)

I hope you've enjoyed this little mini-tour of amazing creativity!  Geez, I really feel like a slacker now...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Look for Less: Sophisticated Living Room Vignette Part 2

Good morning!  I was up at the crack of dawn and it is beautiful outside today!  There is a cool breeze that kicked in sometime during the night off of Lake Michigan.  I hurred outside to move the sprinkler around out front.  Yep, I broke down.  I couldn't stand looking at the dried straw out there anymore or lugging gallons of water every evening out to the two trees in the front yard, so I let loose with the sprinkler.  I ran it for hours last night and am trying to get all the "corners" this morning -- you know how hard it is to get those with a sprinkler -- especially the edges and corners along the curb and driveway!  The weatherman came through!  The humidity and dew point are MUCH lower today, so even though it's over 80 now, it feels wonderful!  Best of all, despite turning off the central AC and running around like a maniac most of the morning, I'm not sweating!  Not a drop!  No wet eyebrows! 

I'm shopping this morning to finish up the lovely Trad Home inspiration for this version of the "look for less:"

Last night I offered my selections for a facsimile sofa, side table, coffee table and four-panel screen.  Today the hard part: throw pillows and the candlesticks!  While trying to stay true to the inspiration photo, I am also keeping in mind my budget-conscious selections in the prior post and thinking about what might work with them. 

Throw Pillows

Shopping for throw pillows is difficult because there are soooo many different patterns and kinds available now, so selection comes down to price and personal preferences, unless I'm lucky enough to find a pillow that looks nearly identical to the inspiration pillows.  I looked for an animal print, a pale chartreuse or celedon in a silky material, and a watery pastel floral or abstract print.  I found this pillow at Target online:

Home® Decorative Pleated Silk Toss Pillow - Green (20x20")

  • Includes: Decorative Pillow, Toss Pillow
  • Features: Removable Insert, Zipper Closure, Knife Edge
  • Decorative Accents: Pleating
  • Textile Material: Polyester ( 100 %)
  • Fill Material: Feather ( 100 %)
  • Care and Cleaning: Spot Clean Only
  • Dimensions: 20.0 " L x 20.0 " W

Priced at $22.39.  This pillow lacks the luxurious fringe of the inspiration pillow (the one on the left of the inspiration sofa) but fringe could be added, if desired.  I think this pillow has just the right lux look and silky smoothness at a good price.

I visited Bed, Bath & Beyond online and found this faux bur cheetah print pillow at a large 26" square for just $19.99.  I couldn't pass it up!

Faux Fur Cheetah 26" Square Toss Pillow

The most difficult pillow to try to match was the watery floral or abstract print.  It looks kind of pale yellow or cream with a pale blue pattern, but I'm not really sure of the color.  What I'm showing on my computer screen is somewhat different than the picture I printed out for easy reference while I was shopping. 

I finally settled on the Roman pillows from There is a pair for $35.99, 18" square, and I thought the Federal Blue would look good with my other "look for less" selections:

The taupe would also be a neutral choice, perhaps blending better with the green Target and cheetah print Bed Bath and Beyond pillows I selected.


The candlesticks were a real challenge!  They are vintage/antique, probably made of cast bronze or brass, footed, and while I'm not sure of the material that comprises the layered square base (marble? and two layers), it is definitely ebony-colored.  In addition, the candlesticks are very tall and are human figures!  Cha ching

I hunted around for awhile, doing various searches, but I couldn't find anything remotely similar to the inspiration candlesticks for a reasonable price.  Time to go in a different direction.

I looked at metal candlesticks; I looked at glass and crystal candlesticks; I looked at composite candlesticks.  Epic fail!  I admit ignominious defeat!  I did not find anything close to the originals for a reasonable price.  Sigh. 

That being said, I absolutely fell in love with these Fifth Avenue Zermat Set of 2 Candleholders -- notice the black crystal accent, and thought they would look superb on the glass/acrylic coffee table, while picking up the glitter and shine of the glass and the black in the lamp (which is not featured) and the color of the smoked glass in the side table (not mentioned in the article, but I do believe it is smoked glass and not clear glass):

They are priced according to height.  I found these at Bon-Ton (Boston Store in Wisconsin) online:

6" - $80
8" - $90
10" - $100
12" - $120

I found the same candlesticks at Wayfair for about $20 less for the 12" size.  Expensive!  I love them, but cannot afford them. 

Looking for something with some marble, I stumbled across these Kathy Ireland candle pillars (they won't hold a conventional taper) on sale at Lamps Plus for $29.95:

Set of 2 Kathy Ireland Amor Marble Pillar Candle Holders

Style # U9147

Set of 2.
  • Antique bronze finish.
  • Decorative marble accents.              
  • Small is 14" high and 4 1/2" wide.
  • Large is 16" high and 4 1/2" wide.

  • Now that's a bargain!  I would buy these, not only because of the price but because I think they would go very well with the "look" -- excellent height and color, and the metal accents would compliment the metal frame of the side table.  Actually, these would go with many "looks," hmmm...

    Friday, July 6, 2012

    The Look for Less: Sophisticated Living Room Vignette

    Hola darlings!

    To distract myself from the monstrous horrid weather we and most of the country are suffering under, unfortunately, and because I have not done one single jot of work on any of my revamp/redo projects around here, I am undertaking a new LOOK FOR LESS!  Yes, I know.  Totally illogical...

    My choice is this mouth-wateringly beautiful vignette from the recently-launched Trad Home online from the article Sophisticated Redesign:

    Interior decorators on this whole-house project were Roger Higgins and Ann Shipp, R. Higgins Interiors, 2000 Blair Blvd., Nashville, TN 37212; 615/297-9632,

    The items mentioned in this vignette were:

    Sofa ("Evanston" #SH306); sofa fabric ("Caprissa Moire"/Greige #93273): Schumacher, 800/523-1200,
    Fabric on green sofa pillow: Beacon Hill, 800/333-3777,
    Fabric on silver sofa pillow (discontinued): Libas Silk, 800/635-4227,
    Animal-print pillow: vintage.
    Screen behind sofa (antique embossed leather screen, purchased at auction);
    gold side table (antique, esate-sale find); coffee table (estate-sale find): owner's collection.
    Candlesticks on coffee table (antique): Scott Antique Market,

    Not mentioned were the lamp,  wood (or perhaps it is paper mache) chest on the coffee table, the bust on the side table, or the fabulous rug!


    Just looking at that sofa makes me go aaaaaaahhhhhhhh.  Looks like you'd sink half-way to China on it.  The cushions are so plumped up they must either be totally down filled or, at the very least, filled with a mix of feathers and down and then down-wrapped.  Cha ching

    Come to think of it, I really do not like sinking half-way to China when trying to stretch out to take a nap on a lazy weekend afternoon.  But I am about comfort.  I still love the sofa and loveseat in my living room (a matching suite - gasp!) because they are firm enough to support my somewhat generous frame without any noticeable sagging over the past 10 years and yet comfortable enough to burrow into (the sofa and love seat - not moi!) for a nap or snuggling up with Mr. Don.

    The sofa in the inspiration photo reminded me of Ikea and the modestly-priced sofas I have seen at Ikea's online store -- minus the foot-long fringe skirt:

    It's hard to beat the price and quality of the Ektorp three seater sofa

    Ikea Ektorp three seater sofa

    It's not "greige" and it's not a "moire" fabric, but the cover is removable and machine washable or dry-cleanable (always a plus), it's skirted, it's got rolled arms, and it has three seat and back cushions.  In form, if not in substance, it is remarkably like the inspiration sofa.  I have read that the Ektorp is very comfortable and sturdy.  And at $399.00 - what's not to love???  For more plush, you might buy some goose down and do some surgery on the cushions by adding extra down.  Or be lazy (like moi) and wrap the cushions in super-soft batting.

    If you want to go the extra mile to get the look for less, you could add some 10 to 12" length fringe to the cover.  I figure attaching it with Velcro to the Ektorp sofa cover so that it hangs like a hula skirt all around would work.  I would want to be able to remove the fringe with minimum hassle to wash the sofa cover as needed.

    Side Table

    I wasn't even looking for it at Ikea, but I happened across the Klingsbo side table and went - LOOK - that's it!  The metal is black but spray paint will fix that.  The Kligsbo is a mere $39.99 and I do not think the price can be beat for a brand new look-alike glass-topped side table unless you hunt one down at a resale or thrift shop.  The size looks good: 19 and 1/4 " diameter (top glass) and about 23" tall.  For a look more closely echoing the side table in the inspiration photo, you could have a piece of glass cut to fit the bottom metal shelf:

    Ikea Klingsbo side table

    Coffee Table

    You might have best luck shopping resale shops or e-bay for something like the vintage coffee table.   I looked for a glass with acrylic or acrylic coffee table that a glass top might be added to.  I found this one at Wayfair:

    Wholesale Interiors Gremio Acrylic Functional Coffee Table

    This table is 15.5" H x 39" W x 17" D, big enough for a glass top to be added if desired. However, at $335, this table costs nearly as much as the sofa!  New acrylic isn't inexpensive!  A rounded-edge piece of safety glass for a top might be pretty pricey, too.

    I also found this intriguing possibility that might work  - it already has a glass top:

    Lite Source Coffee Table in Aluminum and Frost Tempered Glass
    This table, also from Wayfair,  is 48" W x 24" D x 16" H and $220.50.  So, it's more sizeable that the first Wayfair offering and over $100 less in cost.  The legs are not acrylic and see-through, but the aluminum and the styling is retro/mod and in the spirit of the inspiration coffee table.

    I think a reasonable facsimile of the inspiration table might also be put together by an enterprising crafter using a glass top and something to create a suitable base. 

    The Four-Panel Screen

    I thought this screen would be a good choice, given the neutral colors and price at $230.00, found at Wayfair:

    UMA Enterprises Toscana Wood and Faux Leather 4-Panel Screen - 81696

    A brave person could add some color to it that would emulate the spirit of the inspiration screen.  Or they could be like me and just let it be :)  This screen measures 71.65" H x 16.93" W x 4.72".  The 16.93" wide panels make this just about as wide as it is tall.  Not very wide overall, but it would fit nicely behind the Ektorp sofa.

    I also saw this lovely screen at Wayfair.  There is no faux-leather, but it is a very good size and a very good price:

    UMA Enterprises Metro Wood 4-Panel Screen - 14276

    It costs $288.70 and it's dimensions are 74.8" H x 22.05" W x 5.12" -- so, somewhat taller and many inches wider than the UMA Enterprises Toscana wood and faux leather four-screen panel, above.  What I'm thinking is a paper "backing" might be added to each panel and you could paint colors you like for a custom look.  IMHO, this screen would make a spectacular statement with or without a backing.  The lacy look of the cut floral design is evocative of the spirit of the inspiration screen.

    Well, I haven't talked at all about the pillows or the candlesticks, but it's after 11 p.m. and I'm tired, darlings.  So I'll carry on tomorrow! 

    I do hope what I've shown above thus far may provide some "look for less" inspiration of your own.

    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Gump's, Gump's, Gump's!

    I love Gump's.  I save their catalogs for reading on the bus trip to/from the office and it never fails to amaze me how quickly that 50 minute ride goes by!

    Through July 4, 2012 Gump's is offering an additional 15% off its already-sale priced merchandise.  You never know what bargains you might find, so take a look for yourselves!

    These items caught my eye:

    Majolica Foo Dogs
    Look at those gorgeous colors!  On sale for $43.99 plus 15% off (roughly another $6.60 off).  What's a room without a touch of an exotic oriental accent?  I am partial to the look and my house has many oriental-styled pieces:

    Oncidium Orchid in White Jar
    At a height of 15", it could grace a mantle or a tabletop.  White, of course, goes with absolutely everything!  I am buying this for my bedroom.  It's $19.99 on sale plus another 15% off (about $3.00).  I have never been disappointed in Gump's quality and items arrive on a timely basis.  What's not to love?

    Black Rose Stems
    Wow!  These are sort of spooky looking, but then again, I cannot seem to take my eyes from them.  At three, 21 inches long, for a mere $9.99 plus another $1.50 off, in the right color scheme these would surely find a place.

    And, last but not least, I just could not resist these Gianna Rose scented- Scottie Dog Soaps! They're not on sale, but the boxed set is $24.00 -- won't break the bank and what a wonderful gift for a dog-lover. Gianna rose-scented soaps are also available in Daschund and Black Lab doggies :)