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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

That French Style Fireplace Is Mine!

Woo woo, darlings!  I am so excited, I'm dancing in my chair!  I bought it this evening!




I wrote about how I suddenly developed this strange "urge" to get a fireplace for my bedroom during that horrid cold streak we had (it was cold even for SE Wisconsin). 

I went shopping on line, both for inspiration, and for the French style fireplace I decided I had to have, on January 4th.

I fell in love with Holly & Martin's Burbank cherry gel-fueled fireplace at Amazon and the price was under $300.  The gel-fuel produces real (but non-toxic and no need to vent) flames and up to 5,000 BTU's of heat per 13 ounce can of fuel.  The fuel burns clean and leaves no residue behind.  Each can of fuel burns for about 3 hours.  Because the logs are ceramic, real candles, or battery-operated candles, can also be used to produce the ambiance of flickering flames placed among the logs. 

I had been looking at electric fireplaces, but for the amount of money I wanted to spend I just did not find one that had a realistic looking flame and nothing in the French style mantel I was looking for!  At Amazon, when I found it, I added the Burbank to my Wish List.  At the time (January 4th), there were 7 or 8 fireplaces in stock.  I checked a few days ago, and that stock had diminished all the way down to 1 fireplace!  I thought to myself, no way is this still going to be available on pay day, and resigned myself to disappointment with a big sigh.  Vowing, nevertheless, to start saving for a more expensive unit that can move with me when I downsize a few years from now, because it is not attached to the house structure.

Tonight when I got home from work, with trepidation, I checked at the vendor and - lo and behold - there was still one Burbank cherry fireplace left for sale!  And so -- I bought it! 

I'll have to mend my slowly-falling apart front door with duck tape, LOL!  Hmmm, I need to search for door rescues with duck tape...

Honestly, I have no idea how to direct my few readers to the Pinterest thingy I started that features my inspiration fireplaces, most of them in the French style.  So I'm just going to post a few images here to give you an idea of what I had in mind, to fit within the modest confines of Maison Newton:




The fireplace mantel above is the Pearl Mantels Deauville Wood Fireplace Surround, at Haymarket, at a cost of $816.98.  Yep, JUST the wood mantel, no interior surround, no logs.  But those curves, ooh la la!   Hopefully you can see the resemblance between the Deauville and my much more modestly curved Burbank.

Most of the French-inspired fireplaces I was attracted to were either carved stone or faux-stone, but they cost more than my budget would allow:



The fireplace mantel above is the Louis XV cast stone mantel by Dracme.  It has everything I want in a French inspired fireplace mantel.  I found it at Our French Inspired Home.

After spending some time educating my eye, I knew my only option was to try for a lower cost look that still held true to the French lines, and thus, I stumbled upon Holly & Martin's close-out Burbank gel-fueled fireplace in cherry finish.  The rest, as they say, is herstory. 

If I ever get brave enough again (I painted some smaller pieces of furniture back in my younger days before the internet was invented), I may attempt to paint my yet to arrive mantel to get a stone look; or (more likely) hire a local decorative painter to transform my modest mantel into a beautiful stone sensation. These days, I paint water colors in my "spare" time, not furniture.  Despite all the tutorials I've seen on how easy it is for the average woman to paint anything with, for instance, Annie Sloan paint, I'd rather play chess against the late, great Bobby Fischer (the last American World Chess Champion, who won the title in 1973) than attempt to paint a piece of furniture! 
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Updated January 25, 2014.  Sadly, I was advised via email a few days ago by the vendor from which I purchased the fireplace that their final unit -- the one I had purchased -- was damaged in the box, and since it was a close-out, the manufacturer was not willing to repair or replace the same.  I was given the option of cancelling the order.  I did so.  I did not attempt to negotiate a lower price for a damaged product, not knowing the extent of the damage first of all and, more importantly, not being handy enough to attempt to "fix" the damage on my own.

So, no French-style fireplace for the bedroom after all.  Everything else I've seen online is far too expensive.

Now I'm stuck with six gel-fuel canisters that were delivered BEFORE I was advised of this disaster.  In all good conscience, I refuse to return them.  So I guess I'm going to have to figure out a way to use them or give them to someone in the family who will be more creative than I in using them. 

If you could see my face right now, it would be the epitomy of disappointment. 

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