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, January 25, 2014

Bathroom Blues

Hola darlings!  It is so cold and windy here today!  Winds are gusting up to 35 mph and the temperature is rapidly dropping (it was 17 F when I got up at 7 a.m., now 14 F at 11 a.m.), but at least it's not snowing any longer (more is coming tonight...).  The sky is blue scattered with clouds and if it weren't for the windchill  and drifted snow mounds, one could almost imagine this could be a spring sky, it's that lovely.  We're expecting another one of those 45 below zero F days on Monday, and 30 below zero F on Tuesday, before it gets up to a balmy zero degrees F on Wednesday.  Thankfully, I've been getting rides to and from the office, for it has been too cold to walk back and forth the distance I have to go to get to the bus stop and it's difficult to breathe for a healthy person in this kind of weather, let alone someone like me with pulmonary issues.  I HATE being this dependent on others, but I am grateful to them too for, realistically, I could not get into work otherwise, and all of my "paid time off" would be blown soon because there appears to be no end in sight to this horrid winter season.  Not to mention my boss would blow a gasket and I would probably lose my job, a disaster at age 62 with an absolute need for health insurance coverage (not to mention a mortgage that still needs to be paid off).

But, I'm not here to bitch and moan about my miserable life, because it's not miserable at all, actually.  I am acutely aware of how much I have for which to be grateful and except for some health issues and missing Mr. Don, I am very happy with my life. 

Today I'm going to bitch and moan, instead, about my downstairs powder room:


Oh yeah, a raging beauty, ain't she.  Well, I thought it was when I redid the room in 2001!  Up to that point, I had plain white walls with a black border with tiny traditional floral print on it around the center of the room and around the ceiling line, and some decorative "fans" made out of wallpaper (by my crafter sister Yvonne) on the wall above the toilet, they were very pretty, and some little "gold" plastic-framed mirrors on the wall by the side of the sink (door side wall).  That was the extent of my decorating.  Oh, and the old butterfly print!  Almost forgot about that!  That shows up still from time to time in my spring mantles/mantels.  I think it classifies as vintage now, as I purchased it some time during the early 1970's and it's been with me ever since.

I had a plain cream-colored shower curtain liner up as a shower curtain (it's still in the bathroom, behind the shower curtain, LOL!) and two small latex-backed area rugs in beige on the floor.  No photos of the room as it was back then - that was pre-digital camera days and I didn't go around the house with my ancient magic-cube flash camera taking photos of bathrooms.  It worked well enough with the rest of the décor around it.  The powder/bath is located directly opposite the staircase that leads upstairs, in a small hallway that links the front room to the kitchen/dinette/family room that runs the full width across the back of the house. 

Technically I guess it is a bathroom since it does come with a builders special shower stall that is nothing to look at but fully functional.  I use the room as a powder room downstairs and it functions as a guest bedroom when I have guests (a brief dash out of the guest bedroom downstairs into the bathroom).  I use the larger bathroom upstairs that has a shower over tub combination and more room to move around in and since I'm the only one who lives here, space has never been an issue.  When Mr. Don would visit, I cleared out the cabinet underneath the sink and he stashed his toiletries there.  Other guests would either use the downstairs bath or share the upstairs bath with me, I would clear out a couple of drawers for their toiletries and set out separate soap dishes with fresh bars of soap and stacks of towels, and made sure everyone knew where they could find more (linen closet upstairs).  There is a hanging rack in the downstairs shower where soap and washcloth go, with enough room to hold large containers of shampoo, conditioner and body wash.  Nothing fancy but it has worked at Maison Newton for 24 years.  Prepare for photo overload and much sponge painting:

Shower curtain purchased at Kohls in 2001.  I still love this shower curtain.  It has gold
embroidered swirls (for the Goddess) and the curtain material, while fully washable,
is silky-feeling and has a sort of crinkled-texture.  This shower curtain is one of the
reasons I've held on to this décor for so long.  I wonder, do you think I could bleach it to white? 
Nah, probably not...  I really need to reset that curtain rod, geez!

This is the wall behind the door and opposite the sink/toilet wall.  The sponge painting
is fully revealed in all of its glory, as are the bright shiny brass fixtures, that have held
up exceptionally well for the past 24 years, I must say.  The little decorative decoupage
plate was purchased at The Fireside Theatre Shops in Fort Atkinson many years ago.
It was on a clearance table and I bought it because (1) it was cheap and (2) the colors
went with the colors in this bathroom.  I also like the curlicue design of the (plastic) plate. 

I discovered the olive green/grape color combination in an advertisement in one of those "do it yourself" decorating magazines.  I should have been suspicious that it appeared in an ad, but not in any room I ever saw anywhere, LOL!  I was much struck by the color combination and thought it was so "now" and it was something I would never have otherwise thought of in a million years on my own.  So, out my sister Darlene and I went one day shopping.  I got a quart of olive green paint at Sears along with the wallpaper border, and then we went to Kohls where I found the shower curtain, the picture on the side wall next to the toilet, and the towels.  I also purchased some grape-colored towels that I put out on occasion.  I also purchased two small grape-colored area rugs at Kohls that I really liked and they fit the space well, covering up much of the inexpensive beigy-cream flooring, but after 10 years they died and went to rug heaven.  I was tired of constantly cleaning up bits of petrified latex backing that kept peeling off, and the mess it left behind in my dryer, oy!  And so mjch of the old backing came off the rugs no longer stayed still on the floor.  They slid all over and anyone stepping on them slid, too.  Definitely a safety hazard.  So I went out and bought a blah double-sided chenille rug that does the job but is B-O-R-I-N-G.  At least it doesn't throw off mountains of deteriorated latex backing or slide (very much)...

Ah yes.  Original builders mirror; original faucet (yes, it is 24 years old); original sink.  Original light fixture I purchased for the house before I moved in.  See what good shape the shiny brass towel holders and light fixture are in! 

Original Merillat cabinet I picked out, in -- I think it was called "Dominion Cherry" finish.  Still in excellent shape and I have not tired of the traditional raised-panel style.  The hinges were done in a sort of oiled bronze color, although back in 1990 they didn't call it that -- they called it "antique brass," LOL!  They blend in well with the wood, they aren't too noticeable, and for budgetary reasons, I opted not to go with cabinet hardware, which now I believe was a very wise decision!  The laminate counter-top is -- how well I remember this -- "Decorator White."  I think it is Wilsonart laminate.  I love the deep sink and its creamy white color. Fixtures in the upstairs bath are identical to the bath downstairs, except I had the much larger plate glass mirror removed in 2009 and installed a new hot/cold water fixture on the sink last year.  The vanity cabinet is larger, and has a bank of drawers on either side of the double-door opening, but the same sink and countertop.  Very happy with the vanity cabinets and sinks, they still look brand new and has held up excellently despite 24 years of wear and tear.  The laminate countertops have also held up excellently, but I would choose a different color now, and insist upon first seeing the sinks before choosing the countertop color.  I didn't do that back in 1990 when I was making my choice.  Didn't know any better!

The fixture still works perfectly (no drips or leaks) and the finish has held up well.  It's by Moen.  The one I had in the upstairs bath was identical, but the sink stop showed more wear and tear, that is why I decided to finally replace it last year (or was that in late 2012?), plus I was just tired of looking at it after more than 20 years!

And here is a shot of the flooring:

Ah yes, a fitting way to close out the photo tour of the downstairs bath.  The flooring was one of the most inexpensive I could find at the time the house was built, and I was on a very tight budget.  It's not exactly offensive but I sure would like something with a bit more pizzazz, if you know what I mean!

I'm very proud of myself for not capturing any images of me taking photos in this small room.  As you can see, it IS a very small room but fully functional as a second bathroom/main floor powder room. I'm not looking to knock out walls or relocate plumbing!  I cannot afford anything so extragavant!  But --

It is going on 14 years, though, since I last redecorated.  I would like a new look.  And I am asking for your help.  In fact, I absolutely need your help.  And I'm willing to pay for it.  I am offering a first prize Visa gift card of $50 and a second prize Visa gift card of $25 for the runner-up design. I am doing another post on this.

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