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 21, 2012

What Does Your Kitchen/Dining Table Look Like?

Hi Everyone.

If your house is anything like mine, chances are your table acts as a catch-all for mail, projects, computer work, etc. etc.  On mine, my piles tend to get larger and larger and larger... until it's time for the meeting of the investment club that I belong to that meets once a month at my house!  And then I MUST clean the table off and get the kitchen/dinette area into shape!






What is it about kitchen tables anyway?  Is it just the fact that it's a large flat surface begging for clutter?  LOL!  Don't know.  And countertops - geez!  Same thing!  Look at all the crap piled on that countertop.




Geez!  There were dirty dishes in the sink, too...

Sooo, time to do something.  I'd been thinking about what to do; the wall opposite the patio door has been blank for a couple of months, after I took down what used to be on it in preparation for painting that - well - let's just say I haven't gotten around to it yet.  Just like I haven't touched the half-removed wallpaper in the family room that I started to take off in, er, March...

I wanted to go seasonal; well, even before I started reading DIY and budget-decorating and not-so-budget decorating blogs, I would swap out curtains and table cloths and such for the fall/winter.  So, it's that time of year; shorter days; longer nights; cooler weather; the heat is turned on.  Sigh.

I'd been wanting to put up a gallery wall in the dinette.  My original thought was to use all matching frames and line them up in a 3x3 grid!  I have the frames!  I thought that would look pretty darn cool.  So, I do just the opposite of my intention (of course).  I don't know what it is about me.  I get perverse with myself.  Weird.

Anyway, I had to hike to the Pick 'n Save to pick up some groceries, including a fresh supply of peanuts.  But I by-passed the Pick 'n Save and headed toward the TJ Maxx instead.  Oh oh, there she goes...

I had already visited the TJ Maxx in the mall downtown earlier in the week, where I picked up an autumnal-toned 70" round table cloth on spectacular clearance (a Ralph Lauren pattern, no less), 12" tall smokeless, dripless candles in a rich white (not cream, not that "dead" looking white), that will fit perfectly into my candleabra, and a very large flameless pillar candle with a sort of honeycomb or diamond pattern on the outside.  It is the coolest thing! 

So now why was I at a TJ Maxx again?  Well, I'd had a vision about something I wanted to put on the wall where I thought I was going to put the photo gallery.  I was on the hunt for two specific frames.

Instead, I got totally side-tracked and didn't end up buying anything I'd intended to buy! You see, I happened to see this certain table runner and even though I hadn't thought for a second about buying a new table runner, when I saw this one I just knew I HAD TO HAVE IT AND IT WAS PERFECT!  It was a good price ($16.99); it had ALL, and I do mean ALL of the colors that I have in my kitchen/dinette/family room area that are all open to each other - a large space that runs across the back of the house facing west.  Best of all, it was in a cool geometric pattern that for some reason really appealed to me.  I grabbed it.

Then I found a set of three small flameless candles that I thought might fit inside my large votive owls, so I grabbed them, too.  Turned out they didn't fit -- too large, but small enough to tuck away in hidden places to add flickering light. I love candlelight at night in the front room where I work at the computer, the t.v. on the fireplace mantle and the candles flickering away.  These flameless candles - best invention EVER!

I saw some really gorgeous glass plates, or maybe they were shallow bowls.  Really large though, and I thought about lugging one or more of them to the Pick 'n Save and then up the hill the mile walk home.  Decided - nope, not today Jan girl.  And I turned my attention to picture frames.  I ended up buying one only, totally different than what I'd envisioned doing.

Hauled my stuff to the Pick 'n Save and bought my groceries.  Lugged everything up the hill on the hike back home, huffing and puffing.  Round trip - about 2 miles; work-out - priceless :)

Here's the "after" of the wall; I'd stuck a mirror up on it recently just to take away some of the nakedness of it all without anything on it!  That mirror went around the corner into the short hall where the doors to the basement and powder room/3-4ths bath are, as well as the open staircase to the upper level and the entry to the front room.  It fits that space well.




Sooo, as you can see.  Totally NOT 9 matching frames in a grid.  The frame I bought yesterday is the one on the left showing me and Mr. Don on the bridge outside of St. Martin's Bridge across the ravine from the ancient city of Toledo in Spain.  It's a little hard to see the colors -- they go perfectly with the colors in the rooms: there is a light blue-green that goes very well with the curtains on the patio door and also picks up the pale greenish blue that's in the new table runner I bought (you'll see that in a photo below).  The two mirrors I purchased a couple of months ago from Target online, intending them to be used in conjunction in the front room with a couple of shelves I also bought from Target.  Well, nixed that idea, as right now I'm going with a more "minimalist" look on the front room walls...  So, the mirrors ended up on this wall.  All the other photographs were already in their frames.  There are brown, green, and gold frames, and the mirrors are sort of bronze-y/taupe-y and give off a Zen vibe.  LOL! 

While my photographs don't do this wall justice, I have to say that it fits the space and the mood of my house very well!  I'm quite pleased with it.  Best of all, there is plenty of room to add more photographs and hanging tchokies.  As you also see, I had to work around the thermostat!




Sorry about the reflections from/through the patio door!

AND - get ready...




A totally clean countertop!  That's my Norfolk pine that I rescued half-dead from a Christmas basket at the office years ago.  It was less than five inches tall at the time.  That hunk of wood is rescued wood that I found downed in the yard last month after that bad windstorm we had (the one I still have not finished clean-up from).  I call it Dead Dragon's head.  Can you see the broken off horn/ear nearest the camera and the "eye?"  The "chop mark" on the neck?  Well, okay.  I see a dragon's head when I look at this piece of wood :)

And here's a photo of my spray-painted leaves a little over a week later - they have curled up a little bit but I love the painted effect!




The ladies of the investment club really liked them, and couldn't believe how easy it was to "make" them -- just a bunch of wet leaves I spray painted with hammered bronze and some gloss white.  Will definitely do this again next year, maybe trying out lots of different colors. 

Here's the new table runner:


Shoot!  The colors didn't come out exactly right.  What looks like greyish on my monitor is actually a pale blue-green (celedon).  I really liked the geometric pattern and the colors are spot on with what's going on in the rest of the space across the back of the house.  The summer tablecloth is gone, replaced by the warm MDF "wood" tones of my dinette table and the runner. 

Look, Ma, a clean table top!




Those sheer curtains on the patio door are a pale blue-green.  To the left, you can see part of a family room wall with the remains of wallpaper on it that has yet to be removed...  I absolutely love this cast iron globus (armillary sphere) that I purchased earlier this year from Kirkland's online.  I am in love too with my new runner :)




Sooooo.  Got the clean-up accomplished, got the gallery up on the wall!  Just not the "look" I had originally envisioned! 

Still to do - I need to lower the curtain rod holding the sheers in the dinette; they are only 81" long and they dangle above the floor some inches.  HATE that!  I also have a new rod I purchased and for the "winter" look I'll be adding a valance over the patio door.

The family room -- it's a mess!  Half-packed boxes of stuff from the bookshelves litter the area as well as stacks of research on family trees and chess history that need to be sorted through, organized, and put away; the bookcases have yet to be totally stripped.  I had no idea HOW MUCH STUFF those two bookcases hold!  Geez!  I already have half a dozen boxes loaded with stuff tucked in the garage and in the guest room upstairs. 

I really do want the house in order prior to the holidays.  That doesn't leave me much time to get things done. But with the health, family and other issues that have occurred during this Summer and Autumn from Hell, I just don't know if I'll be able to get it all together...

All I can say is - Thank Goddess for my Family and my Friends.  They have been absolute lifesavers and steadfast with me through this horrible period in my life.

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