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

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Readying the Bedroom for Winter

This is going to be a long post, photo intensive, just cuz I took lots and lots.  Settle in with your beverage of choice and hope you enjoy!

Brrrrr!!!!  It's been COLD here the past four days, since having two days in a row earlier in the week where we got above 70!!!  My buddy Ann and I took advantage of the warmth by walking over our lunch hours on two consecutive days, probably the last we'll enjoy until Indian Summer arrives (if it arrives).  Typical Wisconsin weather in the Fall.  Sigh.  Lots of rain too, which we need, but now my grass has been going nutso.  Cut last week and cut again today before the Packers game came on!  Today I wore my wool beret and gloves while cutting the front lawn.

Back yard is still a mess.  Here are a couple of pics taken today when the sun was playing pee-a-boo in the clouds:





As you can see, grass needs cutting, leaves need raking (seriously!), crashed down tree limbs during the last storm that I stripped bare still need to be cut up and hauled away.  I still haven't stashed the patio table and chairs, nor did I plant the plants I intended to -- they will have to winter over once again in the garage and who knows if they'll survive another season?  I didn't expect them to survive last season, actually, but they somehow did, and surprised the heck out of my in the spring when, one day, I noticed green sprouting through the dead leaves!!!  Lo and behold, all three survived and thrived on the deck all summer.  I really should plant them before the ground freezes...

Must be the "nesting" thing taking me over full force once again. Lately, I've been obsessed with all things bedroom.  The past few weeks I've been spending much time online looking at all of your master suites and guest rooms.  Yesterday and today I spent much time putzing around in my bedroom rather than taking care of things that need to be done (like laundry, vacuuming, dusting...).

Probably in early 2009, or possibly even late 2008, I purchased a queen-sized comforter and two matching valances from J.C. Penney on clearance for a steal of a price.  My bed is full size, so the queen-sized comforter is gigantic on it, gives me plenty of coverage.  It's heavy and very very warm, too.  I don't pull it out until January, usually, when the temperatures are apt to drop way below zero around here and the house feels cold and drafty despite having the heat set at a constant 64 degrees F.

It's far too early and too warm yet to pull out the heavy-guns Penney's comforter (which is red on one side with a black and white floral pattern on one side in a smooth cotton finish, and a black, red and white plaid pattern in a comfy, cozy flannel finish on the other side!)  I've got a photo of it somewhere, but not on this computer (I'm using the Acer in the dinette today, sitting at the back of the house to take advantage of the sun coming through the patio doors, nice and warm!  I'll put it up later when I switch back to the laptop in the front room.)

While I've used the comforter since I first purchased it (whenever that was), until yesterday I have not even opened the two valances!  Talk about delayed projects, darlings!  Geez, Jan.
Ironed valance, patiently awaiting installation.  See the
tie-up on this side?  it's black/red/white check.
Anyway, yesterday I pulled the valances out of their packaging at long last, determined to put them up in the bedroom to add the look of some cozy comfort even if they do not, in fact, add one whit of insulation to the room (which they don't).  They sure do look pretty, but I tell you, darlings, it was a struggle, oh yes, a mighty struggle!  Alas, not many photos were taken of me going up and down the chair I used to do things in front of the two bedroom windows...must have made 100 trips up and down, up and down...  my legs got a work out, for sure.  Couldn't hardly sleep last night for achy hip bones, girlfriends... Anyway, it's rather difficult to take a photo of oneself going constantly up and down a chair...

I pulled out the ironing board and iron. You read that right.  I still own such things :)  Ironed up the valances and discovered that they had tie-ups on them, stationed either side of the middle of the valance.  Yep, had clean forgotten those...

I didn't iron the tie-ups, just pulled them out of the way.  Then took the valances upstairs and began the switcheroo dance of the curtains.  First, I had to remove the lace curtains hanging on the "behind" rod; then I had to remove the full-length semi-sheers hanging on the "front" rod, shake them out on the patio, toss them into the dryer to remove dust, and then rehang them on the "behind" rod; and then, finally, thread the new/old valance on the "front" rod, even out it's two-inch tall header across the rod and then spent far too much time fussing and fighting with the ties to get the perfect swag effect.  Geez! 

Eventually, I decided enough was enough and settled for what I'd done.  They're GOOD ENOUGH, darlings.  No, not perfect, but GOOD ENOUGH!  I was mightly tempted to just cut off those ties and let the valances hang straight across, they're pretty enough against the creamy colored curtains and the powder-puff colored walls and since I'd forgotten all about the ties, that was the look I'd expected.  But I was a good girl, instead, and installed the valances as the Goddess of Decorating had intended they be used.  I used the tie-ups!  Shaking my fist at the Heavens, I used the tie-ups...

The larger window, on the south wall, faces the door into the bedroom.  Look, got the ties nearly
matching in length on opposite ends!!!
 
Here's Window 2, it faces west and is narrower than Window 1.  The ties on this window didn't turn out
nearly as well as on Window 1, but overall I am happy with the look.




As you can see, with the removal of the lace undercurtains the semi-sheers let in a lot more light.  Right now that's okay but in the depths of winter they're going to be looking somewhat flimsy, me thinks.  I have much heavier woven toile curtains that I used to hang in the room during the winter, but, unfortunately, the background of those excellent curtains is decidedly antique white and clashes horribly with the colors in these valances.  My options are limited: (1) remove valances which, after all the trouble I went through to get them up after 3-4 years of owning the suckers and never taking them out of their packages, just ain't gonna happen; (2) tack something up behind the semi-sheers cuz I'm not going to add yet another curtain rod, I've already got a double up there and that's enough as far as I'm concerned; (3) get heavier curtains for the winter.

Ding ding ding ding ding!  The winner is number (2).  Right now I'm laundering the Shari pattern lace lace undercurtains (purchased from Penney's many moons ago) that have been hanging in the bedroom windows since the February re-do. They will be tacked up with push-pins into the wood trim across the window underneath the semi-sheers.

Other changes to the room:

(1) The Jaclyn Smith comforter set from K-Mart black and white toile is back on the bed.  It's so pretty and despite the color, it's much heavier than the summer-weight coverlet in cream, beige and grey tones I use during the summer.  This time around, I actually did change out the bed-skirt for the one that came with the set. It's a true black and white in a narrow stripe; the tan and wide black striped bedskirt I've had on my bed the past several years that actually goes with the comforter set I use in the guest room has been dusted out and put away.  The guest room bed sits higher than the 15" drop of the matching bedskirt covers and some years ago I purchased a black gathered bedskirt with an 18" drop to go in that room.

As you can see, the wrinkles have not "fallen out of" the canopy, despite what the instructions said would happen!
Sooner or later (probably wayyyyy later), I'll have to attack the canopy with my hand-held steamer.

(2) Black and white gingham check sheet set now in use; the cream-colored floral toile sheets (you can see it on the bed in the 4th photo above) just does NOT go with the white and black of the Jaclyn Smith toile comforter set.  I have a plain white sheet set that I alternate when one is being laundered; am looking to add something in red, for some winter punch.  Both sheet sets are 100% cotton purchased from Penney's many moons ago and are wearing like iron! 

(3)  Added the "Good Luck/Good Fortune" symbol in woven red silk with a cast bronze "bi" that one of my brothers gifted to me years ago.  He bought it when he was serving in the Army in South Korea in the late 1970's, I've had it since then.  According to the principles of Feng Shui, every room should have a touch of red in it, to attract good luck and good fortune, if properly oriented vis a vis doors and windows.  I believe I've got mine hung in just the right spot.



(4)  Slightly rearranged the top of the triple dresser.  The large photo that used to be behind my treasure chest blocking out part of the mirror and bringing a smile to my face every time I looked at it (which was often) is now hanging in the "gallery wall" in the dinette downstairs.  I'm thinking about adding a bronze colored lantern to the dresser but haven't decided on it yet, or where it would be placed if I do.  Removal of the large framed photo has opened up more mirror overlooking the bed -- not good!  The photograph deflected negative energy from the "dark water" of the mirror at night.  So, I will have to rearrange things in my bedroom or find something else to block that mirror energy if I want to keep the room in its same configuration (which I'm very happy with). 

Oh, since writing the above, I took a slight break (okay, a large break), and added the brass lantern that holds a flameless candle.  The sun was going down when I took my photos, and only one came out clear and without me caught in the mirror, duh:



As you can see from the photos, short of removing the mirror from my dresser (which I don't want to do), there is no way to arrange my room where the bed will not be reflected to some extent within the mirror; so the dark water effect of the mirror at night (akin to having black furniture and accessories in one's bedroom, NOT good) is countered by the candles and the lit flameless candle; lots of metal and earth colors, and lots of wood also counteract the effect of the dark water, as does veiling or otherwise shielding the bed -- hence, my canopy.

Just because I took them, more photos of the bedroom as it presently looks:








Bird print above the bureau; the print is cut out of a print from the internet; the background is a toile pattern in black and white that I dyed in coffee water in the kitchen sink (I don't have tea in the house :))  Notice the red in the berries - they are in my bedroom year-long.

Another bird print from the bedroom - the "inspiration piece" for the put-together print above the bureau, actually.  This one was ordered online years ago from K-Mart.  Notice, it also has red berries in it :)

And this little beauty is actually the front of  Christmas card from years ago that I fell in love with, and have saved ever since:



Of course it has red berries in it, and you can just see the red and gold border.  Seems I've got a thing for chickadee dee dee dee dees...


I'm thinking about painting the chair with black fabric paint; the black slipcover just doesn't fit well and gets out of shape every time I use the chair, which is often.

Still lots to do in this room including replacing those white rope ties that came with the canopy with something in black or black interwoven with tan and white, and getting a larger and better print and frame for the Goddess of the Beasts who presently hangs between the south window and the mirror.  I've also been thinking about something for behind the bedstead - hiding behind the veil, so to speak.  Just not sure what would work.

Here's the final photo for this post:




I really love sleeping under my canopy at night.  What is it about the "cocoon effect" that comforts us so much?  Does it really hark back to distant prenatal memories of being safe and secure, warm and gently rocked within the waters of our mother's womb?  To block the mirror, I let down the end curtains at night, and re-tie them every morning, as part of the ritual of making up my bed for the day, one of the things I do that makes me feel good

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