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!


Monday, September 30, 2013

The Look for Less: Traditional Home Visits Designer Joseph Abboud Part 4

Hola darlings!

Take a look at this beautiful chair featured in the Joseph Abboud living room, the 18th Century French Burlap Chair from Restoration Hardware:

Full price is $1,295, on special for $1,100.  Inspired by an 18th-century Louis XIII highback armchair, ours is a faithful reproduction. Employing the same craftsman techniques used 350 years ago, its burnished solid oak legs, arms and stretchers are hand-turned on a lathe while it bears the hallmark of mortise-and-tenon construction. Country of origin not given.  Joseph Abboud used material of his own design to upholster his chair. 

So, where to look, where to look...

I stopped at Ballard Designs and found this chair that I really like - but it doesn't have arms!  This is (are) the Capistrano dining chair (comes only in pairs), two for $849:


Overall: 42 3/4"H X 18 3/4"W X 26 1/2"D
Seat: 18 3/4"H X 18 3/4"W @ Front & 16"W @ Back X 17"D
Constructed of birch frame with form & webbed seat and brass nailheads.
Made in China
The Capistrano dining chair, despite being armless, presents possibilities -- buy the pair (for less than one RH chair) and put a cool table in-between and voila! I like the French country look of the turned wood more than the sort of Jacobean feel of the wood turning on the RH chair. 

I next stopped at Home Decorators but I did not find anything remotely similar.

I went to Wayfair, always a craps shoot because so much depends on the search criteria you use!  I went simple and looked for "wood arm chair."  Found lots of possibilities -- in pairs!  Here are my favorites:

Above is the A&B Home Group, Inc. Side Chair that only comes in pairs, $833.  The turned legs and cross-bars on these chair are remarkably similar (identical?) to the RH chair.  Features:  Beige upholstery; Back burlap Paris motif; Brass nail heads; Cross bar support base; Cushioned seat.  Overall Depth - Front to Back: 21.7 inches, Overall Height - Top to Bottom: 42.9 inches, .Overall Width - Side to Side: 24.8 inches.

Above is the A.R.T. Coronado Arm Chair, $860 for a pair!  I was too fast to copy it -- it also comes upholstered in a creamy linen and looks great.  Oh crap -- I see now it's already out of stock, and no restocking date is listed.  This chair has an exposed wood back and soft linen upholstery with individual nail head trim that work together to create a refined but elegant look. Scrolled French Provincial-style feet, arms and posts add to the chairs' overall sophistication. With no detail overlooked, the elegantly shaped stretchers complete the look.  Coronado collection, Rustic Walnut finish, crafted from sturdy Radiate solids and beautiful veneer with hand rubbed "Barcelona" finish.  45.5" H x 25" W x 28" D.

Check out this lovely chair -- the Hooker Furniture Waverly Place Upholstered Back Arm Chair -- again, in a pair, $1,196.  The upholstery is "sporty Cognac" and I've no idea what kind of material it is -- I found that description at the Specifications page:

I believe this is available in other upholstery.  Description: A romantic European Country distinction achieved through a cherry veneer with an uneven texture and a random width plank effect that approximates the look and feel of an authentic solid cherry antique.  Overall Dimensions: 49'' H x 25.38'' W x 28.88'' D. 

I find it really irritating that in order to get any of the chairs featured above I would have to buy TWO!  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  A nice arm chair can always be fit into another room if there is no room for two chairs in the room in which you're creating this look for less.  I did find a solo chair at Wayfair -- but -- well, take a look:

This chair is the Stein World Dark Toffee Arm Chair and it is $400.  I like the styling of this chair a lot.  It's not identical to the RH chair, particularly in the legs and base, but has the same overall heft and dimensions.  But the upholstery doesn't look remotely like the RH chair.  The chair seat is black faux leather and the back, in a close-up it looks like a mini-leopard print!  Not my cup of tea at all.  Would one buy a new chair and then have it recovered in a neutral burlap or linen fabric???  If you couldn't do it yourself (I would not attempt it myself), there would go your price savings right out the door.  But, for those of a handy nature or willing to try reupholstering a brand new chair themselves, this might be the best deal overall.  Description:  Faux leather seat; Upholstered back; Scroll arms; Nail head detailing; ISTA 1A certified (I have no idea what this means); Solid wood construction; Dark Toffee finish.  Dimensions: 51'' H x 29'' W x 35'' D; Overall Depth - Front to Back: 35 inches; Overall Height - Top to Bottom: 51 inches; Overall Width - Side to Side: 29 inches.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Autumn Mantle/Mantel is Up!

Hola darlings!  Warning:  lots of photos below -- and per usual, lots of words, too.

Today it's gorgeous here.  I was out "west" (away from the cooling effects of Lake Michigan that help moderate hotter temps in the summer and colder temps in the winter within a certain radius of the lake front) earlier today for a visit to my hairdresser and when I jumped on the bus about 1:20 for the ride back home, it was 81 degrees F!  Sunny and breezy, feels great!  I'm out on the back deck now working on this and enjoying the rest of this beautiful day.

My stylist treated my hair to a deep conditioning treatment (sorely needed) and while that was stewing on my head underneath a warm towel she gave me a hand massage.  I highly recommend a hand massage if you've never experienced the luxury and sheer lovely decadence of one -- my hands look and feel great and it's amazing how much tension and fatigue were erased simply by Joni working on certain pressure points on that fleshy area of the palm around the thumb.  I feel like a new woman!  Even my fingernails look (and feel) better.

When I got home last night from the office I decided to start the mantle/mantel project (which I did not tackle as I thought I would last weekend).  All my goodies were already laid out around the room and the mantle/mantel was waiting patiently for inspiration to strike me. 

It came together quickly after staring at it - and my things - four about 30 minutes, LOL, and then I dithered about the details.  But after a couple of hours, I was finished:

In a previous post I showed you the autumnal items I purchased last weekend at The Family Dollar. In one way or another, all of it was incorporated into the front room décor, although not all of it was used on the mantle/mantel.  I knew I also wanted to incorporate the owls I used last year, as well as my "horns of the Goddess" wood rescue that fell off one of my trees last year.  And my 10 year anniversary pumpkin (I celebrated 10 years at the office last year and received a lovely floral arrangement in a ceramic pumpkin and a gift card). 

This year I used a tablecloth to give some extra color and also to cover the books I used to raise and lower the heights across the back of the mantle/mantel.  If there is too much "white space" between the tops of your decorations on your flat mantle/mantel surface and wall décor above, it looks "funny."  Yes, a very technical term :)  So glad now this tablecloth didn't sell at my rummage sale!  I was going for a "wavy" effect, but I wanted the smooth edge across the front, LOL!  Am I a conflicted personality or what, heh? 

The only tweaking I'm going to do is to add more branches to the floral display on the left, behind the t.v., to fill in the "white space" gap above it more fully.  Although you cannot see it in my photos, this front room has a vaulted ceiling that slopes all the way up to the landing on the open staircase another story above. With no ceiling line to stop the eye from roving, I know it's important to anchor the room visually. 

Front and center, my "horns of the Goddess" wood rescue piece.  I blogged about here, don't remember the dates.  One day I came out into the yard and there it was.  The piece resembles in shape the "horns of the Goddess" (roe horns) that were symbolic of the Mother Goddess in much of the Middle East and Eastern Europe and, in ancient Persia, the Goddess Anahita.  Everything in this photo I already had on hand:  the tablecloth, the gold Goddess-swirled candles (after the Fibonnaci Spiral that is evident in many plants and fruits in our natural world), the owls (spray-painted last year) the plastic-y leaves, the shiny goldish metal "ivy" branches that resemble small maple leaves, the candle holder on the left being used as a vase, and mostly out of the frame, my 10-year anniversary pumpkin :)   

In this frame you can see a mirror (far right) that I use behind my Dad's plant that bounces the early-morning sunlight around the room and reflects the glow of a battery-operated candle that's been placed there for special effects in this arrangement once it gets dark outside!  This mantle/mantel is beautiful at night!

The metal ivy branches were purchased from Home Interiors many moons ago - more than 20 years of moons.  The plastic oak leaves were part of the design incorporated into my 10-year anniversary pumpkin floral display last year.  I saved them -- love the colors and the "crinkleyness" of how the leaves look - although they are soft to the touch.  The new items in this photo are the two tiny pumpkins (salt and pepper shakers to the left) and below, you see a glimpse of the fragile metallic plastic leaves on wire garland used underneath the mantle/mantel. 

Dad's plant anchors the right side.  My Dad died in early November, 2002, and the plant is from his funeral.  It's a beautiful living memorial to him.  See my early 1990's sponge paint job on the walls (that only goes up as high as I was able to reach on the ladder, LOL!  The room needs painting, but the $4,000 price tag to have a crew of pros come in and do it - nope). 

I took the photos about 7:30 this morning, and then a little later I snapped a few more photos (below) when the sun got above the trees to the east (across the street) and for awhile illuminated my 10-year anniversary pumpkin and set the leaf garland all aglow!  It looks beautiful at night, though, with the battery-operated candles and votives glowing.  I'll try to take some evening photographs and see how they turn out.


The Wisconsin Badgers (ranked 23rd or 24th nationally - I forget which) play a night game in the Big 10 tonight!  A couple of hours ago already cars were pulling up to neighboring houses for pre-game parties -- this is a big'un for us.  It's starting to cloud over, and one of my neighbors came over a little while ago and I bought $60 of tinned popcorn from her Boy Scout son (I'm so easy!)  Also been feeding the squirrels and the blue jays all afternoon :)  Such is life on a lazy Saturday afternoon at Maison Newton.  Wish every day could be like today. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Look for Less: Traditional Home Visits Designer Joseph Abboud Part 3

Here's the gorgeous room I fell in love with from the September 2013 print edition of Traditional Home magazine (here, online).

Today I'm looking for a sofa similar to the one featured above.  It is the Belgian Roll Arm Slipcovered Sofa from RH (Restoration Hardware) in Natural Linen.  The 6 foot sofa (72") is $2,195 to $3,455, on special now for $1,865 to $2,935.  The 7 foot sofa (84") is normally $2,450 to $3,925, on special for $2,080 to $3,335.  The 8 foot sofa (96") is regularly $2,750 to $4,250, on special for $2,235 to $3,610.  There are longer sofas as well (up to 10 feet).

What I love about this sofa is that bench seat!  They are so comfortable, and you never have to worry about anyone sitting on the dreaded crack!  Hard to tell exactly, but at the RH website, it looks like the 6 foot sofa comes with two loose back cushions, while the 7 foot and longer sofas come with three (or more) loose back cushions.  I could not find a country of origin for this sofa.

Okay, so where do I look for something similar, and can I find it for a lower price?  Hmmm, I have my doubts, but let's proceed...

I went first to Pottery Barn online, where my eyes fell upon the Windsor Slipcovered Sofa:

The arms and back construction of the Windsor look similar to the RH sofa, as well as the styling of the slipcover; but no bench seat - the dreaded crack makes an appearance!  There are also only two back cushions, although if one ordered a smaller RH sofa, that would also be the case.  Depending upon the material chosen for the slipcover, this sofa, which is 80" in length, runs $1,599 for twill to $2,199 for textured basket weave, plus $100 for delivery.  In oatmeal linen, pictured above, the price is $1,999 plus delivery.  This sofa also comes in the "grand" size, which is 105" long, prices ranging from $1,899 to $2,499 plus $100 shipping.  The Windsor sofa is made in the USA. 

I didn't find a similar looking sofa at Crate and Barrel, but I did find a Chesterfield style sofa at a good price with that longed-for bench seat; no slipcover but lots of loose back cushions:

This is the Tailor Sofa, 86" long, in Raffia, which is the lightest upholstery option offered.  The price is $1,699 plus shipping, made in South Carolina, USA. 

Okay, that's not so "similar" to the RH sofa, but I sure do like it and it has its pluses, including the nailhead trim :)  While I like the Raffia color (above), it looks toward a grey, not a cream or light creamy beige.  I would prefer this type of upholstery, though, (poly blend) to linen!  However would one keep a linen slipcover from wrinkling???

You may be wondering why I'm not showing you the Ektorp slipcovered sofa from Ikea or similar sofas, which are high on comfort and modest in price.  It's because styling wise, they aren't as similar as it might appear at first glance:  the arms are not rolled narrowly at the back to flare out at the front, the size of the round arms at the front appear much larger than on the RH sofa, the slipcovers are more loosely fitted and there are two or three seat cushions.  I prefer three seat cushions to two; at least that way the third person to sit on the sofa doesn't sit on a crack between two seat cushions.  Style-wise, most of these sofas are quite a bit different in tone and formality than the RH sofa, being more cottage-y or casual. 

I stopped by Home Decorators but did not see anything I thought was similar to the RH sofa.  I stopped by at Wayfair and didn't find anything similar.  I checked out Bauhaus and Broyhill - nothing.

Checked out Mitchell Gold/Bob Williams.  MGBW has a slipcovered bench seat sofa, the Morgan, that offers three back cushions that look attached (?).  It's 90" long with a bench seat (lovely!) and a nicely tailored slipcover, but the arms are not tapered and rolled and the fit of the slipcover on the Morgan's uber-thin arms, at least in the photo at the website, doesn't look good!  Don't know the price or the upholstery offerings from the MGBW website.  Isn't it a general rule that if the price isn't listed, you can't afford it...  However, it is made in the USA.

I checked local furniture stores that I know carry a wide selection of manufacturers offered through special offer (Steinhafel's, Colder's, Ashley, American) - and came up with nothing. 

I can find bench seat sofas, although they are not as plentiful as two-cushion sofas, but they aren't slipcovered; they're usually tuxedo style or Chesterfield style (like the Crate and Barrel sofa I offered above).  That leaves custom-made and that means cha-ching!!!

Baker and Henredon make sofas similar in appearance to the RH sofa (see, for instance, the Baker Soiree Skirted Sofa), but you KNOW how much those would be (back into the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" zone.)

Since I do not like two-cushions sofa at all (I learned that lesson the hard way), I would rather change the style in this Look for Less and go with a tuxedo or Chesterfield style sofa with a bench seat and loose back cushions than go with a two or three cushion sofa, either with slipcover or skirt.  Hmmm, and that settles that, I guess, because a few posts or so ago I was thinking about new sofas and found some lovely ones, but wasn't really madly in love with ANY of them.  Now I realize why -- because I want a bench seat sofa! 

Check out this Bassett beauty, on sale for $1,799 and up, depending on options selected:

This is the Belmont tuxedo style sofa with loose back cushions in contrasting patterns and colors, with a boxed, buttoned and welted bench seat.  It's 81" long and comes with such options as multiple finishes on the legs and without or with nailhead trim (doesn't really show up too well in this photo) in antique brass or nickel.  A woven linen upholstery in ivory would cost $2,099; a woven natural upholstery in ivory would cost $1,999.  This is not the Bassett furniture of the 1970's.  The new reimaged and rebranded Bassett has teamed up with HGTV Design Studio.  I have to say, this sofa is gorgeous!  However, I could not determine from the link page where this sofa is manufactured.  By the time all the options are added up, it would be less expensive to buy the RH sofa on special right now...

But -- what is this -- at Ballard Designs! The Lenore Sofa:

The Lenoir is 82" long and a nice deep 37" so there is room for pillows across the back.  This is slipcovered, believe it or not -- a very fitted slipcover sans skirt.  The slipcover comes in three colors: a grey, a khaki (either in a linen-like poly-cotton blend), and a twill off-white.  The 82" costs $929 and the slipcover, which must be purchased separately, costs $545 for the poly-cotton blend and $470 for the off-white twill.  Made in the USA.  The Lenore is also available in a 72" version and a 92" version.  The 92" Lenore costs $949 and $600 for the slipcover.  In home delivery service is $100. 

Enough for now, tomorrow is another day!

Autumn is Here (Almost)

Hola Darlings!

I'm taking a short break from continuing my current "The Look for Less" series today, as something mysterious happened to me overnight Thursday and I have to tell you about it.  It seems, somehow, that the Spirit of the Fall has fallen (har :)) upon me because I woke up Friday morning and all I could think about was decorating my mantle/mantel for autumn!  That's right, you read it correctly.  After weeks of ignoring the seductive efforts on all the blogs I visit to lure me into saying goodbye to summer and hello to autumn, I said nope, nope, and nope, and steadfastly ignored all attempts to convert me to the Autumn Leaves Mindset.  But Friday morning, it was like "I really need to get to the Family Dollar this weekend and see what they've got for fall." 

Now that is STRANGE, people, me ever wanting to go to the Family Dollar, for one thing.  I tried to shake the feelings off, but they stuck with me all day despite working through yet another day from Hell at the office (my boss is going to kill me from exhaustion and stress, I swear).  But they did not go away.  On the bus ride home Friday evening, I had to talk myself out of hiking from my regular stop to the Family Dollar and then home, adding an extra mile to my usual walk.  I was drained from working and knew it just wasn't wise to push myself any further.

But I got up bright and early this morning.  It was beautiful outside.  Bright blue skies and scudding fluffy clouds of white and varying shades of grey, lots of sunshine, and a brisk breeze out of the northwest (FINALLY) bringing cool temperatures and dry air!  Hooray!  The soccer kid teams were soon out on the other side of the road  on a vast playing area not far from my house and their cheers and yells were carried clearly on the wind.  They always make me smile. 

I set out for the Family Dollar about 10:15 and by the time I lingered there, deciding over this and that, putting things into my basket and then taking them out and hemming and hawing (the clerk probably thought I was a nut case) , then stopped at the Pick 'n Save down the road, and then home, I'd done a near three-mile circuit and it had clouded over.  No more sunshine today, it seems.  I arrived back home right around noon. 

I'm still feeling that autumnal thing despite the disappearance of the sun so I guess it's not going to go away.  Tonight I'll start redoing my mantle/mantel for autumn.  I don't have a clear idea of what I want to do, but I will probably incorporate most or all of the items that I used in my first ever fall mantel/mantle last year.  You've probably guessed by now that the photo above is my haul from the Family Dollar.  Here's another pic:

What I bought:

One medium/large ceramic pumpkin cookie or candy jar: $5
One ceramic autumn maple leaf dish: $2
Three floral piks: $2 each
Ceramic pumpkin salt and pepper shakers (so cute): $2
Paper mache' pumpkin with floral pik on top: $2
Two glittery pumpkins: $2 each
One 16 ft. string of foil mini autumn leaves: $1

Total: $22 plus tax

Yeah, went a little nuts at the Family Dollar (they should call it Family Dollars) -- and put some things back only because I knew I was going to stop at the supermarket and haul at least one bag of wine and groceries home!  I may go back for a set of squirrel salt and pepper shakers (so darn cute!) You know I've got a thing for squirrels :) 

I clipped some grape vines out back, stripped off the leaves and formed a rough wreath.  My wreaths never turn out round; maybe because I don't wire the vines together?  I just interweave the vines and they stick out here and there, refuse to curve in other places where they should curve, etc. etc.  So I always have cockeyed wreaths hanging around the deck, but this year I didn't even make one!  Just a little while ago I dashed outside and made my very first (maybe my last one) of the season.  Not sure I'll use it, it's pretty skimpy and sickly looking...  I'll be back tomorrow (I think) with a finished mantel/mantle.  Just in time for the Autumnal Equinox. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Look for Less: Traditional Home Visits Designer Joseph Abboud Part 2

The Mirror!  I fell in love with the mirror on the left wall (between the windows):

But when I checked the materials list at the online article, the mirror wasn't on it!  Oh.

Not noted in the article at the Traditional Home website, in the magazine text it was noted that the mirror was an RH item.  But when I went looking for it at RH, I couldn't find it.  So, I went looking for something similar. 

I did not find a mirror exactly like it -- I wasn't even sure what to search for!  I tried medallion mirror, round mirror, round mirror with medallion, and my results were - meh.

This is similar (but not an exact match) to the mirror in the inspiration photo and I found it at RH online:

The Salvaged Mansard Mirror:


  • Small: 29½"W x 4¾"D x 28"H; 8.5 lbs.
  • Large: 41½"W x 5"D x 38"H; 15 lbs.
Price:  $295 - $395

Details:  Designed by David Thompson:

  • Hand-carved from salvaged wood
  • Treated with customized stains and then hand-painted
  • Multi-step finishing process achieves a uniquely weathered, washed patina that makes each mirror truly one of a kind
  • In white

  • As you can see, it is not a round mirror, it is oval.  But it has the same presence and heft as the mirror in the inspiration photo.  And, as a salvaged wood product, it's just beautiful. Love that finish.  I do not know where it was made, though.  USA?  It doesn't say.

    Here's what else I found:

    This Garden Mirror at Ballard Designs is probably closest in overall shape/look but it, too, is an oval (I am thinking the mirror in the inspiration photo looks round, but maybe I'm wrong):

    It's a beauty, all right.  And the price is good too.  Right now, on sale for $109 (originally $169):

    Dimensions:Oval: 31 1/4"H X 24 1/4"W X 3 3/4"D
    Oval Mirrored Area: 20"H X 14 3/4"W
    Oval Mirror Bevel: 1/2"

    Overall dimensions are somewhat close to the small size of RH's Salvaged Mansard Mirror. Ballard's mirror isn't cement, though, which would be okay with me, although probably heavy. It's not wood, either.  It's made in China from polyurethane.  Not happy about the place of origin or the price, even on sale.  Maybe that's why it is on sale -- because other folks feel the same way???

    Here is a mirror from Home Decorators.  It is not round, it's octagonal, and it does not have what I am calling the "shield" embellishment at the top, but it is made from wood, and the price for the size is really good:

    Mettalise Wall Mirror

    Dimensions:  31" x 31"
    Wood with distressed finish
    Price:  $159

    An enterprising D-I-Yer might be able to find a nice trim piece to place center top of the mirror to give it a "medallion" and a dry brushed coat of white chalk paint...

    Again, I don't know where this mirror was made.  I'm thinking that these days, unless it says otherwise in the advertisement, everything is from China.  I think if more of us insisted on buying American made products or not buying at all, we might get some family-sustaining jobs and wages back in this country.  Not everyone is going to be a computer scientist or a CEO raping taking his shareholders for millions, after all. 

    Rummage Sale Lessons

    Hola darlings!

    Today is absolutely gorgeous here so I'm taking advantage by blogging out on the deck -- I'll save lawn mowing out here for later on.  I cut the front yard Thursday night in preparation for the rummage sale Friday morning, and I finished it up this morning by trimming out the edges.  All I have to do now is sweep up, and I'll do that later on.  Or maybe the rain that is supposed to come tomorrow will wash it all away (cross fingers and hope it rains hard and we get a good inch, because the flowers, trees, shrubs and grass really need it). 

    It is hard to believe it's September 14th already.  The cicadas are still buzzing like mad around the neighborhood, although in the cool of yesterday (sunny but windy and cool), they were quieted.  I don't think I recall a summer this far gone where the cicadas were still buzzing this late in the season.  We are about three weeks behind schedule, though, so maybe that's the explanation. 

    About that neighborhood rummage sale --

    Left side of driveway (above).  Check out that blue sky!  Like that chippy chair?  I was offering it for $20 (negotiable).  No takers.  And it folds up for storage! 

    Right side of driveway.  You can see by the sharp shadows cast that it was very sunny.  There was a  breeze all day.  Out of the sun it was cool.  Got up to about 65 or so in my area, but it was much cooler by the lake.  The winds did a 180 turn Thursday evening from the southwest to the northeast and blew away three days of high temperatures and equally high dew points.

    All the items on those tables marching up the driveway belong to my friend Ann's sister, Rosie. She is a great rummage saler.  I wish now I would have taken a look at the items on her tables (and their prices) much sooner than at the end of the day when we started packing up.  I might have sold something.

    Yep - utter monetary bust for moi.  I sold two items for a total of $2.50.  I made more money selling chips, soda and water.  Seems I had my wonderful, gorgeous and genuinely worth it items priced too high for the bargain hunters who turned out for the neighborhood.  Rosie sold lots of items, but items I thought would sell great for her were still left on the tables at the end of the day.  I was utterly amazed, and shocked, too.  I guess what I think of as good value at rummage sales and what other people are looking for are another 180 turn. I don't expect to pay 10 cents for a Rembrandt.

    From Rosie's tables, I ended up buying a gorgeous creamy porcelain cathedral votive for $4 and I loved it so much - and it was sooo worth the price - it did not even occur to me to offer less.  I thought it was a great bargain at the price.  It's porcelain, in pristine condition, about 8 inches tall at the two towers at the front, perhaps 5 inches wide and 7-8 inches long.  It will look fabulous in my front room when I switch it back to the Queens' Room.  It actually will fit in well over Christmas too.  I put a votive into it last night and fired her up and it was so beautiful with the light flickering out of the windows and the towers. 

    I also found the cutest ceramic and porcelain bunnies!  The sum total of the items I bought from Rosie was about $3 (not including the porcelain cathedral).  I had lots of left over Mountain Dew and regular Pepsi, so Ann suggested we swap, and it was a done deal.  Rosie and I were both quite happy with our deal. 

    I realized that I had my items priced too high.  I thought the prices were quite reasonable, I would have been willing to pay those prices.  I also priced with the thought in mind that people would bargain over price. But only one person did, a $3 purse that she got for $1.50. So, everything went back into the house.  A large box of items was packed and put away for next year.  We're planning on getting together for the 2014 neighborhood rummage sale.  The rest were put back into the house in their normal places.  It's good to have my things back around me, actually :)

    I had a blast!  It was great getting together with Ann and Rosie, and the day really sped by.  And, let me tell you girlfriends (as I'm sure any of you experienced in this process already know), I worked my butt off over several days cleaning out cabinets and closets, and spent a very enjoyable Thursday night on the internet strolling down memory lane as I checked out going prices for my 20 or so albums from the 1960-s through 1980's.  And then a man who was obviously a dealer showed up yesterday morning while we were still setting up and had the gall to laugh and tell me that he pays 50 cents for albums like mine.  Yeah, ride, dude.  Maybe you do, and then you turn around and offer them on e-bay for 10 to 100 times the price.  I told him flat out that I had priced the albums on the internet and the prices as marked were median prices.  I was willing to negotiate but I wasn't going to sell any of them for 50 cents.  And if nobody wanted them they would go back into my closet where they've been happily partying all these years.  He left in a huff, the schmuck!

    Do NOT come on to my property and insult my intelligence by trying to denigrate what I am offering to sell to you.  That is NOT the way to win friends and influence enemies.  Especially not this femme.

    My cabinets are cleaned out!  My garage is the cleanest it's been since I moved in 23 years ago, wow.  It looks awesome.  All the yard stuff is finally put in one corner; I purchased another plastic shelving unit for off the floor storage and they are great!  Hold lots and get stuff off the floor.  I got rid of all the old leaves in the corners and crud and dirt (and probably mouse turds, too) and I even tried to scrub away (but not too hard) some of the mysterious stains on the concrete floor.  Where did those come from, I wonder?  What are they, anyway?  LOL!  I don't keep a CAR in the garage, folks.  I don't own one.  So where did those spills and stains come from?  When I work out there painting or whatever, I put tons of newspaper down on the floor...

    Anyway, it was a fun experience and it was great having some of the neighbors stop by to say hello. They were experiencing pretty much the same thing as I did -- lots of traffic but few sales.

    I was so tired last night I was in bed by 9 and had a good night's sleep. So now I know the trick -- hold a rummage sale every day and I'll sleep like a baby every night.

    I now have room in my cabinets and things are more organized. The favorites among the items offered for sale were taken back and put into the curio cabinet or the book cabinet or tucked away for seasonal use (like my new Santa and bunnies). 

    Anyone wanna buy a really nice patio set?  Originally $65, now going for $50:

    My unsellable stuff (unless I practically give it away, which I am not going to do):

    Sunday, September 8, 2013

    Old Plate: I Found the Mark!

    Okay, instead of cleaning out the garage and getting it ready for the rummage sale, I just cannot resist trying to solve a mystery.

    So, instead of cutting the grass out front and continuing the cleaning up of the garage to get ready to stage the rummage sale, I took another good hard look at the mark on the back of the old plate (see prior post), and wrote down some possible combinations of letters and/or numbers that the first row (in a larger type-set) might possibly be.

    I was pretty sure the first letter was a C with a period after it.

    The next letter could be a P or a B.

    Then there were two more marks, possibly a zero (0) and a 9; or a Q and a 9.

    With that little bit of information, I started doing some google searches.  I found a plate on offer at E-bay that said it had a mark on the back a crown with a C.P. 09.  Sounded like mine!  No picture of the mark was given, though.  And no information about the company whose mark it is!  So I moved on in my search.  Lo and behold, it didn't take long, I came across this website and there was my mark!  Here is information about the mark:

    From your description the marks sounds like the Crown Pottery Company. The mark is a Crown with CPCo. They were in operation from 1902 to 1962 in Evansville, Indiana, producing Majolica, Ironstone, semi-porcelain, and white granite. Here is a good look at the mark (from Kovels):

    You can see from the mark that the Co ("o" underscored) might be mistaken for a zero (0) or a Q and a 9.  LOL!  Technically, I suppose the plate could have been made in Evansville, Indiana and sold in Canada as a souvenir, but I think my imagination was probably wrong on that score.

    I suspect my plate is "ironstone" -- only because of the rust bloom underneath the glaze!  It definitely is not Majolica, and it's not fine enough to be semi-procelain.  I've no idea what white granite is, I selected ironstone like I said, because of the rust discoloration and the plate has some heft to it, but where the finish was chipped I can see the underlying material is coarse. 

    I don't know that I'll have any luck tracking down the pattern.  I'll do a little more digging around and then give it up. 


    Miss Mustard Seed collects ironstone!  At her website I found this little tidbit:

    Is all ironstone white?No. Ironstone pieces can have “transferware” patterns in all colors printed on them or a painted blurry blue design called “Flow Blue.” 

    Flow blue -- sounds like the border area around my plate!  But maybe not, hmmm...  I found this information via a link at Miss Muster Seed's post about white ironstone: 

    Flow Blue is ironstone with a blue design, either a transfer pattern or hand painted brush stroke, that has been fired in an atmosphere containing volatile chlorides which has caused the design to blur or bleed into the clear over-glaze.

    So, I'm going to see what I find as far as images of flow blue ironstone, and see if I can find anything that bears a resemblance to my plate. 


    After looking at several images of flow blue ironstone, I don't think what I have is flow blue, but I think it is ironstone.


    Nope, I did not find my pattern.  I checked at, the likeliest place to find one, as they have an extensive inventory of Crown Potteries Company patterns.  I need to take a nap now!

    Need Help Identifying An Old Plate

    Hi everyone!

    I'm taking a short break from my latest Look for Less adventure (menswear designer Joseph Abboud's pied-a-terre living room -- absolutely awesome!) while getting ready for a neighborhood rummage sale that will be held September 12 - 14.  In previous years I have not participated, figuring I didn't have enough stuff and/or interesting stuff.

    On a whim I emailed one of my friends last weekend, who has a sister who does rummage sales on a regular basis, and asked if they would be interested in participating.  To my shock, they said yes, they would!  So, they're coming over the evening of September 12 after I get home from work and we'll set up some things in my garage and get ready to stage the rest out on the driveway early Friday morning, September 13.  Yes, Friday the 13th, bwwwwwaaaahhhhaaaaa!  Actually, the 13th is usually an auspicious day because 13 is the number of the Goddess.  Friday falling on the 13th was given a really bad rap by the early christian church fathers who were fighting a losing battle against the forces of paganism, until they finally relented and turned Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, into a form of the ancient Mother Goddess (complete with eternal virginity) about the time of the "Holy" (cough cough) Roman Emperpor, Constantine, and everyone lived more or less happily after ever, but only after hundreds of years of massacres and such with lots of killing of innocent women and children, all in the name of the patriarchal god.  And then a new patriarchal god arose out of the desert sands and the fighting started all over again.  But that's another story.  Meanwhile, us ladies are hoping we'll all sell lots of stuff  make some money to buy new stuff, har :) 

    Getting ready for the sale is - lots of work.  Geez! 

    I started cleaning out the kitchen last night (I was shocked at how many items I found to offer up for sale, wow!) I came across an old plate that was in my first house, bought in 1986:

    It was stashed in one of the kitchen cabinets and I saved it, sentimental lady that I am.  I just could not bring myself to throw it out.  It isn't much to look at; it has a large chip, the finish is worn off some of the rim, there is a rusty haze underneath the glaze, the glaze is crazed (LOL!) - crackled might be a better description, the darker blue glaze isn't equally centered around the plate perimeter and thus the floral design isn't centered in the lighter blue-white area of the plate!  The plate has been stashed away for years.  I pulled it out last night as I was going through my cabinets, not intending to offer it up for sale, and probably for the first time since I found it in 1986, I took a look at the back, curious to see if there was a mark on it or not.  I didn't expect to find one.

    But there is a mark.  It's a crown with a little tiny cross centered above it, and some lettering and possibly numbers under the base of the crown, but it is blurred and even with my Walgreens magnifying readers on I cannot make out the lettering/numbers, other than what looks like a C and possibly a period after the C.  The next letter could be an R or a P, and there are two more symbols after the R or P, but honestly, they could be either numbers or letters. The even smaller symbols underneath this first row are impossible for me to make out at all.

    I tried taking several different photos of the mark, but none of them has come out clearly -- not that the symbol itself is clear.  It's not a spikey or pointy tipped crown, the crests are rounded, and there are four of them, with the little cross centered above the dip between the two center crests.

    I tried taking a close-up and it didn't work.  The photo above is the 'best' of the many I took, and it's not good at all.

    One thing I've been thinking about since last night-- those maple leaves.  At least, I think they are maple leaves.  Maple leaves are a national symbol of Canada, right?  And since the quality of the plate is poor, it screams "souvenir" to me.  So I'm wondering if it was a plate that was picked up during a trip to Canada, and of course my imagination totally ran away with me. What if this is a plate that she (for I do not think it would have been "he" buying a plate!) bought when she visited Canada to see Queen Elizabeth when the royals first visited there in the 1950's?  I've seen specials on the British royal family on PBS and one of the shows was all about the first visit to Canada -- it was a really big deal back then.  Okay, maybe the plate isn't from such an event :) 

    Anyway, can either of my two readers out there help me out?  Any suggestions how to try and track down this mark?  I spent some time last night (late) in the internet and there are literally hundreds, maybe even thousands, of different crown marks for dishware/china.  I didn't see anything like this, but I wasn't going to sit up all night looking for it, either! 

    Tuesday, September 3, 2013

    The Look for Less: Traditional Home Visits Designer Joseph Abboud

    Hola Darlings!

    Fantastic articles in this month's edition of Traditional Home print magazine, and you can see a lot of it online.

    Many beautiful spaces and gardens were featured this month, but -- and I am not sure what it is, exactly -- something really grabbed me about this space when I was reading the article about men's wear designer Joseph Abboud's "pied-a-terre" (it actually looks to me like the oldest building comprising the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. - some pied-a-terre, woo woo!)

    Here is one of the photographs of the front room (living room):

    You can read details about the room online at Traditional Home (click on the link above).  I am so in love with this room, I selected it for my next Look for Less self-challenge!  I haven't had one of those for awhile and I'm itching to do one again.

    I'm looking at (1) those amazing ionic capital coffee tables, (2) the round mirror on the wall between the windows, (3) the brass "pharmacy" lamps at the end of both sofas, (4) the sofas, (5)the bookshelf to the right of the fireplace, (6) the arm chair opposite the fireplace and (7) the horse print.

    Let's go! 

    The first thing I hunted for was some kind of substitute for those incredible Restoration Hardware coffee tables.  A single costs $1,995 plus shipping, per online catalog.  Yikes!  Details:
  • Finished in chipped, flaked and weathered lead-free paint; top is unfinished, as it was on the original, salvaged architectural fragment
  • Finish may continue to flake over time, complementing the patina
  • Each is one of a kind
  • For normal daily care, dust with a feather duster or wipe with a clean, dry cloth

    • 37"W x 25"D x 16"H
    • Weight: 92 lbs.

    Maybe it's just me -- but nowhere did I actually see these reproductions described as being carved out of wood, but if they are true reproductions then they have to be wood, so I'm assuming the tables are made from wood. 

    They are, of course, absolutely beautiful.  I did not expect that I would be able to find a close and less expensive replica of these tables, and I have not.  I have found similar looking TINY little capitals upon which to stand small sculptures.   I have found a few possibilities but overall, I'm disappointed.  Take a look and see what you think:

    First, I found these Medici Capital Ionic Columns at Ballard Designs:

    Dimensions:Large: 6"H X 14" Square
    Medium: 5"H X 10" Square
    Extra Large: 7 1/4"H X 16 1/2" Square
    Construction: Made of plaster.
    Country of Origin: USA

    Prices:  $49 medium; $69 large; $99 extra large. 

    They're beautiful!  But they are not anywhere near the size - or made from the material of the RH tables.  They are meant to serve either as pedestals for plants, sculpture and such or to be stacked like this arrangement and used as a side table.

    That doesn't mean, though, they can't be used to make something akin to the RH coffee tables.  I thought two sets of two large Medici Capitals stacked on top of each other would work well to construct the coffee tables.  My thought is to insert a slab of stone, travertine, marble or hardwood 16 1/2" square and 1/2" to 1" in thickness in between two of the capitals; the bottom capital would have the "top" (square flat side) on the floor, then the insert would be placed, and the top capital would be placed with the scrolls resting on the insert.  The look would be top -- flat; middle section -- curved capitals mirroring each other, separated by the slab; bottom section -- flat. 

    I think the weight of the construction would be enough to hold it stable, but some kind of construction glue might also be used to cement the pieces together.   It would be a smaller version of the RH tables that has the same kind of vibe, but not the price.  The piece could be finished with milk paint which, I understand, "chips" and could give a similar look close to the RH tables.  I did not price what a 16 1/2" slab of stone, marble, travertine or a good strong hard wood would cost (times 2), but four of the large size Medici Capitals would run about $400 plus shipping.  Three pairs of tables would cost about $600 plus shipping.  Less than half the cost of one RH table, but would still yield a great WOW factor, IMHO.

    My next stop was at a website called Casa de Arti that I found during a Google search.  Lots of really cool things there!  I found some possibilities for coffee tables. I think these are cast in plaster. 

    Corinthian Capital Table Base:

    The photos from this website aren't always the best, and the information provided for each piece is skimpy!  For instance, I believe this piece is 16" tall, but I have no idea on length/width.  Judging from the photograph, it may be 16" square.  The $104 price (not including shipping) is for plain white.  Painted finishes are available, generally at a cost of plus 30%. I did not find photos of finished articles at the website, so I've no idea what the different finishes look like.

    I would use this piece by anchoring the round bottom section to a 16" squared piece of stone, marble, travertine, or wood, and fixing it together with a strong construction adhesive. 

    Ionic Base:

    This piece is 16" square and 18" tall.  Price is $127.19 which, I believe, is for white unfinished.  This piece presents some possibilities.

    Baroque Pedestal:

    This piece is 15" tall, I assume also 15" square, judging from the picture.  It could use some height, a 15" square piece of stone, marble, travertine or wood used as a base glued to the bottom of the pedestal would give it stability and additional height for use as a coffee table.

    The pieces could also be flipped with the flat tops and scrolls on the floor and a new top piece added.

    I am next going shopping for a white-framed mirror.  See you soon. 

    Sunday, September 1, 2013

    The R-T-A From Hell, Finale

    For an account of the trials and tribulations putting this Carson horizontal bookshelf from Target together, see post below.

    Doesn't look so bad, does it:

    The photo above shows where I "patched" the blown-out veneer finish with the Dowels-That-Would-Not-Fit.  The piece comes with little sticky circular plastic patches that are supposed to be used to go over the holes where the cam lock heads are, but I used all of mine, instead, to try and cover up the damage the dowels caused.  Those sticky patches, plus touch-up marker more or less has camoflauged the damaged areas.  Because of the angle of viewing from the table and when walking by, those areas aren't very noticeable, thankfully. 

    So there she is, in place of the beautiful Queen Anne console table, which was removed to my bedroom.  I'm going to make a reading corner in my room utilizing that table.  That's next up, maybe later this evening.

    As for this bookshelf/console, the plan right now is to buy some baskets to use for storage that will fit the shelves, but now I'm thinking that I will use this piece, instead, as an eventually flat screen t.v. console in the family room once I get rid of my 1986 entertainment center.  It will then hold VHS tapes and DVDs.  The baskets are probably still a good idea...

    My next trip to Menard's will have wood glue (strong wood glue) on my to-buy list. 
    The top, which right now is just resting on the unit with no screws or dowels holding it on, will be glued to the body, and the facings (two in the center, and one on either side) will also be disassembled and from their current cam bolts/locks and glued on -- no more masking tape holding them at 90 degrees to the front! 

    This bookshelf sits about equal height or slightly taller than my dining table, and now I think I need to redo the bottom row of my gallery wall along with the row(s) above it, to achieve a new balance and a little more space between the bottom of the pictures on the bottom row and the top of the bookshelf.  That will wait until winter! 

    The R-T-A from HELL!

    Hola darlings!  This is a LONG post with lots of photos.

    I passed my 62nd birthday and while I didn't celebrate many of my friends did and dragged me along :)  What can I say?  I'v never exactly been a party-pooper and if a friend wants to take me out for a drink or take me out to dinner at a new place just opened up to see what it's like, it's a little difficult to say No, Thank You, without sounding like a curmudgeon.  Actually, I am rather a curmudgeon -- it's one of those privileges that accrues with "age."  Loving it! 

    I haven't been sitting on my hands, despite visible lack of progress on my main projects (stairs and family room).  I rearranged the bedroom, and now I'm going to be doing some adjustments - more about that later. I've also been working my butt off outside in the gardens during the nice stretch of weather we had recently -- I didn't feel like I was melting after 5 minutes outdoors, it was so refreshing! 

    So, did I mention a post or two ago that I had been looking around for a new console table for my dinette area?  Maybe not, maybe I just dreamed it. But I was, and I finally settled on one at Target:

    This is the Carson horizontal bookcase and I thought it would be just right for the space I wanted to put it in.  The height was what I wanted, the length was good for the wall in question, and the width was less than the Queen Anne sofa table (the beautiful table I purchased from my sister Yvonne) anchoring the space.  More room to walk, therefore, between the dining table and the console table. 

    Now Jan, you are asking, why did you want to replace the beautiful Queen Anne style sofa table with a console?

    It all came down to a matter of proportions.  I LOVE that Queen Anne table, I coveted it from my sister for YEARS, and finally had a chance to buy it when she and her hubby sold their place here and moved Up North (Prentice, WI -- waaaaaaaayyyyyy up north).  I set it up in the dinette area and it looked so pretty there on my gallery wall, even though it gave me no storage.  Loved the color, love the shape.  But the size -- ah, yes, the size.

    In comparison to my dining table and chairs, it was dwarfed.  It just didn't look right.  I tried to overlook the obvious mismatch in styles and sizes, but in the end I decided I needed something that was closer in height and visual "weight" to my large scaled table and chairs, not the delicate and shapely lines of the Queen Anne table.  Sigh.

    Here are some photos of the Queen Anne table in place in the dinette in relation to the table -- these will give you an idea of the size/proportion issues I mentioned:

    So, I went ahead and ordered the Carson horizontal bookcase from Target.  It arrived quickly.  It was HEAVY!  I struggled to drag it in from the front porch to the front room over the threshold, oh my.  But after much tugging, heaving, and heavy breathing, I won.

    I tore into the box...

    Well packed, no damage to any of the pieces during shipping.  Hooray!

    White styrofoam CRAP all over the place!

    It took a long time to carry the pieces from the front room to the family room, where I assembled it.  Some of the pieces were incredibly heavy.  I got everything out of the packaging and relocated without damage.  But the finish was very fragile, as I learned...

    I couldn't stand all the styrofoam bits and cleaned up with my Dirt Devil.  Mine is probably 15 years old now, and still works great!  Love that little gal.  She's got better suction through her hose attachment than my expensive vacuum cleaner (which I am soon going to junk -- lesson learned -- spending a lot of money on a vacuum doesn't necessarily mean it is any better than the $59.99 specials). 

    I have lots of experiencing putting R-T-A together, including the desk in the family room, and at least a dozen bookcases over the years, some more complicated than others.  This looked simple enough.  It started with construction of the inner core shelving unit to the outer shell.  Made sense.

    Except - the dowels didn't fit.  The cams didn't didn't lock properly.  The holes did not line up properly.  The instructions were short on words and long on drawings that were hard to decipher even with my magnifying Walgreens readers on!  In short, darlings, it was a nightmare!  EEK EEK EEK!

    Over TWO weekends I struggled to put this sucker together, and I was SO pissed, I even thought about rejoining Facebook just so I could go to Target's Facebook page and blast them for this piece of crap!

    Finally, in one big push the day before our investment club meeting (meets at my house) on August 18th, I worked my butt off until I got it together.  Sort of.

    It is taped in some places...

    This is part of the inner shelving unit.  There is a front facing that is supposed to be attached to each of two shelves with two dowels and two cam bolts.  Well, you can see the gap!  I tried everything, including resorting to pounding with a mallet to try and get those damn dowels to work -- no go.  Eventually I took the dowels out, which left a wobbly front facing that I taped to the bottom of the shelf with masking tape to stop it from jiggling!  Problem solved.  Just don't look too close (underneath the shelves...) 

    Another issue was the fit.  I know how to use cam lock technology, geez!  You can see in the photo above that this shelf and the side it goes into was not engineered correctly and just did not fit snugly together, no matter how I finagled the cam bolt!  Finally, I just gave up, since this section is at the rear of the unit, and thankfully doesn't show as much.  You can also see the finish flaking off in places where the shelf fit into the side. Arggghhh!

    The photo above is one of the inner core pieces across which two permanent shelves were to be affixed.  The instructions said to "carefully tap" dowels into the four spots that you can obviously see in this photo I totally blew out by tapping in just a little bit too hard!  Veneered finish on this MDF piece was totally blown to shreds -- on both sides of this piece and the companion piece supporting the other side of the shelves.  Yeah.  I was thrilled, as you can imagine...  Dowels were removed and the piece works fine without them. 

    Yep, there is some of the finish veneer now laying on my family room rug. I saved the pieces and tried to glue them back onto the piece after it was all put together.  OHMYGODDESS, what a fiasco.  I glued my fingers together and the veneer pieces turned to mush.

    Never say die!  I pushed onward, despite the hideous damage to the inner shelf supports.  Bottom struts and side (end) panels went on next.

    Not the best photos, sorry.  You get the general idea, though.

    Eventually, it was all together, except for putting the top piece and trim on.  It took me probably three hours trying this, that and the other thing to get the top on.  No go.  Dowels did not fit into holes, nothing lined up properly.  I eventually removed all of the dowels and left four cam bolts.  Still could not get the top lined up so it was flush with the top cam bolts.  I removed those last cam bolts too.  I gave up.  I didn't have any wood glue in the house so I just dry-fitted the top on to the body of the bookshelf and put it into place on the gallery wall.  That top piece is heavy.  It isn't going anywhere.