October 11, 2019:


One of the wettest periods September-October in SE Wisconsin on record. Yesterday evening into tonight, off and on downpours (and I do mean pouring rain so hard it was "white" outside at times). And the temperatures have been changing abruptly. From the 80s and uber-high dew points to the 60s and below 50 dew points, a huge jump; and now, after perhaps the last gasp of an actual "autumn," we're in for a frost warning tonight. I had to go out dressed for sloshing earlier today to take down my solar water fountain for the season. Oh brother! But I did get the grass cut before the rain hit yesterday evening, whew.

It's been so hot, humid and sunny out during September and the beginning of October that the leaves in this neck of the woods hadn't begun to change yet; but that is slowly changing over the past few days. We may have another autumn - actually lack thereof - like last year. Winter will come so fast the leaves will only have time to fall off the trees without giving us much color. Sigh. At least I got my front door painted (finally!) this year. I hope I'll have at least two more nice days so I can put another and hopefully final coat of gloss red on it. The first two coats on are now well-seasoned, I want to even out blotches and streaks here and there, that probably only I notice, just like you always zero in on the one pimple on your face that seems to take over the entire thing!



Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Wallpaper Dreams!

I'm not sure when I first saw it, but it wasn't all that long ago.  It was probably on one of the HGTV or DIY Network shows I stream online.  A gigantic floral print of peonies - dramatic, bold, drop dead gorgeous.  It was like - HOLY HATHOR!  How beautiful is that!  And then two weeks ago, Mina Starsiak Hawk used something similar in her master suite bathroom makeover on the current HGTV show "Rock the Block," and it was like OH I WANT IT, I WANT IT! 

Well, wanting it and being willing to spend a lot of money (I'm very tight with my home improvement money) are two different things, sigh. 

I don't think this is exactly the paper/mural Mina used, but it's very similar to this wallpaper:

Of the various options I've seen online that appealed to me, this is the least expensive one at $99.00 on sale for one roll that is sized 8.3' L x 145" W, from Wayfair.com.  Brewster Home Fashions Komar La Maison Wall Mural.  This is not peel and stick wallpaper.  According to several of the reviews I read, it comes with a powder wallpaper paste mix, but the description indicates nothing about paste being included.  Also, one review said the pieces were applied horizontally, not vertically.  What???  I did not go through all of the reviews, but I didn't read any mention in other reviews that the pieces were hung horizontally and not vertically!  I don't think this color scheme would work with my current tile colors in the bathroom, even if I painted the walls white; looks like shades of gray, white and pink.  Notice it also has a subtle pattern in the background that looks sort of a pale peach or possibly pink color.  It also has "handwritten" text on it, which was pointed out by several of the reviewers who purchased the product, who said it wasn't something they'd noticed on the images provided at Wayfair.  How spectacular this would look in my bedroom.

It's free to dream, so - dream along with me! 

I love the black background of this paper - the drama!  But the price, oh the price!  I'd want to run the paper or mural from ceiling to baseboard and all the way across one wall.  For a standard 8' tall wall (96" and say a 12' wide wall) the cost is - well, to me anyway - staggering at $540 - on sale at 56% off the full retail price of $1,236 for a roll measuring 98" L x 150" W, from Wayfair.  This isn't a peel and stick, and it's not pasted, but does come with paste (that is stated in the Specifications).

With this color scheme, I might not need to fret about replacing the tile.  Even though there are small areas of pink and even yellow in this paper, the primary colors are black, the dusky greens and white to gray colors.  I think this would look stunning wrapped around a wall or two in my bathroom.  With the rest of the walls painted white, this might work with my beige tile surround in the tub/shower area and the tile on the floor and accent tiles behind the sink.  House of Hampton Peony Blossom Floral Textile Texture Wall Mural.  But -

Another take on giant peonies, this is a 10' L x 10' (120") W peel and stick mural at $3.35 a square foot, from Wayfair.  This is 100 square feet so the total cost would be $335.00.  Interestingly, different sized murals in the same design are priced higher per square foot for smaller sizes.  Hmmmm.

This color scheme is described as white, green and brown.  Brown?????  I see various shades of pink, white, grey and dusty green.  Am I color blind - where's the brown?  Anyway, love it!  Big, bold, spectacular.  This would work with my current olive green mottled tile floors and the greenish/brownish shiny glass mosaic tiles marching up to the ceiling behind the vanity, as well as the beige-y mottled tiles in the shower/tub surround.  But the price, oh, the price.  It's just not going to happen and I can't say unless I win the lottery because I don't play the lottery.  House of Hampton Removable Vintage Bouquet Peonies

Below is the option I like best thus far.  It would give me the drama of the black, and the other shades in the design would work well with the existing tiles I have.  The 90" L x 135" W is $537 and does not include shipping charges.  Yikes! 

This is the Creme Full Blossom Removable Mural from Muse Wall Studio

So, it doesn't appear I'll be applying anything so dramatic as the choices above, unless I find a really spectacular bargain somewhere online.  But I do want to paint the bathroom and get rid of the olive green walls with something lighter and brighter.  White would work but might be too stark.  On the other hand, I don't want a wall color that would be a whiteish color tinted with a beige tone, because I'd worry it would look dingy or dirty next to the white woodwork.  So - I need to think about this for awhile and look at tons of images of bathrooms before arriving at something I think will work for my taste and budget.  I guess that may take oh four or five years...

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Red Front Door!!!!!!!


I finally got it done, hooray!  I got my front door painted a nice glossy bright red and I'm loving it. 

Let me tell you darlings, it took FOREVER, or so it seemed, to get it prepped and painted.  Not including at least 4 hours dry time after the application of the first and second coats before I closed it for the evening (I wanted to make sure it was dry), it took about 40 minutes to just tape up the hardware, including around the little peep hole, and the inside of the glass, and about two solid hours to pain both coats on.

I think it still needs another coat.  But looking at it from the street level, it looks wonderful.  I still want to try and even out the coats some (maybe tomorrow, it's supposed to stay sunny all day and warm up to about 65).  I didn't think it would be this putzy to paint a door, geez. 

Here is what the door looked like after the first coat:

See how uneven the brushing is.  Yuck!

And this is what it looked like the next morning from the sidewalk approach:

I am hoping I will be very satisfied with what the finished product looks like after the third coat of paint is applied and dried.

HGTV Magazine July/August, 2019, Copy Our Cover - The Look for Less! Part 2

Hola!  Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this.  We had a stretch of good weather and I've been really busy with yardwork, including cutting grass that has been growing like nuts this summer (and now, autumn).  Geez Louise!  But for now, I'm sorta/kinda caught up, I'll be back at it tomorrow with my new boy toy (except I'm a old gal), a Ryobi battery operated 4-level 9 inch blade lawn edger that can dig down to a depth of 1.5 inches at its maximum depth.  I ordered it online and it came last week, and I tried it out last Sunday on part of the concrete on the driveway.  I need a bit more practice in order to keep it standing up at a 90 degree angle, I may need to shorten the handle down a bit to get better control.  I've never worked with a tool like this before, it's very powerful and was a little scary/intimidating at first!

So now I'm going to finish Part 2 of the July/August HGTV Mag copy our cover.  Late but now's the time to be shopping for these items, lots of deals to be had out there that weren't available earlier!  What's left to shop for, the pillows and one oar featured in the photographs:

Bicycle on Beach pillow:  $48 (16" x 16" wool)
Aqua Knot pillow:  $47 (20" x 20")
U.S. Power Squadron flag:  $19 (16" x 24")
Oar:  $94 (24" length)
Anchor pillow: $53 (18" x 18")
(Prices above from the HGTV picks)

First up, the oar.  I found this option online at Target for $19.99 (pictured below), the Pillowfort Blue Oar Plaque, dimensions 29.5 inches long, 4 inches wide at widest point, 2.12 inches depth at maximum depth, MDF composite:

I found this cute oar at Hobby Lobby online, Nautical Striped Wood Oar Wall Decor, for $9.99 (on sale now, was marked down from $19.99, pictured below), dimensions 28 inches long, 4 3/4" wide at widest point, 1/2 inch maximum depth, unspecified type of wood:

And now, we come to the throw pillows.  Oh my - so many possibilities and selections to have presented to you, and it's just a matter of individual preference when all is said and done.  Here are a few of my choices:

From Bed Bath & Beyond, this decorated on both sides red/white/blue cutie, Nautical Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Throw Pillow, $24.99 ($19.99 to Beyond+ members), 19" x 19":

Also from Bed Bath & Beyond, another decorated on both sides pillow in red/white blue, Anchor Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Throw Pillow with rope trim around perimeter and embroidered red rope design on the back, $19.99 ($15.99 to Beyond+ members), 20" x 20":

Another Bed Bath & Beyond find, the Destination Summer Anchor Stripe Throw Pillow in red with navy corded trim, $19.99 ($15.99 to Beyond+ members), 20" x 20":

From Better Homes and Gardens online, the Beach Bicyle Decorative Toss Pillow in red (the bike), grey (fence, rocks) and shades of blue, $12.87, 18" x 18":

And back to Bed Bath & Beyond, the Nautical Compass and Anchor Indoor/Outdoor Throw Pillow in a sort of dusty aqua color, decorated on both sides, $24.99 ($19.99 to Beyond+ members), 19" x 19":
The final item on the list, the U.S. Power Squadron flag, is $19.00 for the 16" x 24" size.  I wasn't able to find anything remotely similar for the same or lower price.

Tallying my picks:

Total $377.84 (compare to $1,556):

Belham Living, its Chippendale Deep Seating Whitewashed Porch Swing Bed with Cushion, $237.00 (free shipping)
U.S. Power Squadron flag, $19.00
Red metal side table,  Mebane Metal Side Table by Wrought Studio (Wayfair), $54.00
Nautical Striped Wood Oar Wall Decor (Hobby Lobby), $9.99
Destination Summer Anchor Stripe Throw Pillow, red anchor, blue stripes on white background with navy blue corded trim (Bed Bath & Beyond), $19.99
Better Homes and Gardens online, the Beach Bicyle Decorative Toss Pillow, $12.87
Nautical Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Throw Pillow, (Bed Bath & Beyond), $24.99

Stock for next summer.  I wish I  had a porch to hang such a swinging day bed from!  Or to be able to figure out a cost-effective way to hang one inside my Shezebo.  But then, I'd probably sleep my summers away outside rather than pay attention to the never-ending yardwork chores!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

A Different Look in the Living Room for Autumn

Taking a short break from doing the rest of the posts on copying HGTV's July/August 2019 magazine cover.

I wanted to do something different this year than I normally do to "decorate" my living room for autumn.  Over the years, I've added throw pillows here and there as well as throw pillow covers (which I first discovered at Ikea some years ago - I never knew such things were made before I found them there while looking at throw pillow designs).  I love them because they are typically much less expensive than buying a whole new pillow and I like the convenience of being able to remove a pillow cover to clean and iron it when needed. 

For my spring/autumn look this year you may recall that I went with pink - a totally new and somewhat adventurous look for me.  For the autumn look - which will be taken down and put away once we get into Christmas/winter decorating, which generally starts in my house the day or so after Thanksgiving - I opted for something new this year rather than going through my drawer of pillow covers and accessories to switch things up.

When I bought this house and moved in the first week of July in 2014, the walls of the living room were already painted a serene light greenish-gray color that I call celadon.  But celadon, as with all colors, often takes on a whole subtle and not-so-subtle range of colors depending upon the paint manufacturer, the materials used in upholstery, pillow covers, draperies, rugs, accessories, etc. 
For my new look this autumn season, I shopped around online for a couple pillow covers and ended up purchasing six, of which I used 4 to replace pink covers, etc. on the pillows on my tuxedo style sofa.  The two I decided not to use appear a little more "spring-like" to me, so I'll pull them out in the early spring when I rotate things out of my winter season look.  All other items used were from "shopping the house." 

Here are the new pillows:

The new editions (left side of sofa in this pic) are the white velvet with black velvet horse and trim pillow (I bought it online at H&M Home but now I can't find it) and khaki green slub-textured "crinkled cover" with a slight sheen looks sort of like raw silk, very pretty) - both 20" x 20" size.  My recollection is that I paid $19.99 for the black and white horse pillow, and the moss green cover was $3.99 on sale.  Zippered closings.

And on the right side of the sofa in this pic the new additions are a "dusky" green cotton velvet cover from H&M Home for $9.99 and a "beige" and black striped velvet with velvet piping cover for $17.99, both 20" x 20" size.  Zippered closings.

The over-rug for spring and summer along with the pink/gold toned abstract prints were removed for the season.  I found some green and teal, etc. colored abstract prints online that I clipped and printed out for my frames.

Sorry, it came out blurry.  The pic of the other two prints came out even more blurry so I deleted it!

I retired my double elephant lamp on the round table for the season and brought out my oldy but goody teal lamp.  It adds a deep jolt of color that compliments the paler tones of the celadon and various shades of greenish-grays used elsewhere in the room, and is ready for the cooler weather topped by a black shade.  I took care to rotate out the books on the built-in bookshelf to highlight the greens, teals, and blacks:

And changed out the accessories on top of the fireplace mantel,  The celedon colored Han Dynasty style horse was a pick-up some years ago at a TJMaxx when I was still working downtown.  It is normally on the built-in bookshelf shown above, part of my small horse "collection."  The decorative plate (highly glazed) is celadon and gold, also purchased some years ago at TJMaxx.   I kept my black and white crystal piece on display (that was purchased many years ago from a sort of Mother Earth/Nature store near where I worked downtown - I would go over at least once a month to see what new items they had in - you could buy beads there, all kinds of arts and crafts supplies and hand-crafted items of all sorts, including large pieces of furniture from India and other exotic locations), and pulled out some old pressed glass candle holders and black metal with silver candle toppers for a simple design. 

You can barely see him - a black stallion replaced my gold elephant at rest for the season on top of the tall curio cabinet in the left-hand corner - he's facing in the same direction as the horse on the black and white velvet pillow on the sofa and the celadon colored hose on the mantel is facing toward them. 

On the side table by the front entry (that's also my typing table during the winter, it can be pulled up close underneath furniture when I'm in the living room enjoying the fireplace) is one of my lanterns with a battery-operated candle inside, and two of my eggs from my collection normally kept in the large hutch.  Both have green tones.  You can sort of see the other two framed prints from the internet that I swapped out for the pink/gold prints that were up during the spring and summer.  The throw over the ottoman is a light-weight houndstooth patterned acrylic with fringe.  When it gets colder I'll swap it out for the black/gray/white large plaid wool throw. 

Earlier in the season when the Sun really got intense in the room when hanging in the west facing large picture window for hours every day, I added the black and white curtains on either side that offer more coverage than the white gathered sheers.  The sunshine is still bright during the afternoons/early evenings as the Sun sinks in the west, so the curtains still block a lot of the excess light that generates heat in the room, and this time of year they add an element of coziness without being "heavy" looking or blocking out too much light.

As you can see above, I still have not painted over that pea green "ragged" finish accent wall that was there when I bought the house.  Me bad - I've been looking at it for five years and every season I tell myself I'm going to paint it over with the celadon color.  Yeah.

I am very pleased with how everything came out.  Overall when I'm in this room it feels serene and cozy to me. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

HGTV Magazine July/August 2019 - Copy Our Cover, The Look for Less!

Hola, it's that time again, to challenge my online shopping skills to find the look for less.  Sometimes, I can't find a better price for the same or similar object I'm hunting, but that's not too often.

Here's the July/August 2019 HGTV Magazine cover:

And here's the "Copy Our Cover" page:

The HGTV items chosen total $1,556, broken down as follows:

Daybed from Ballard Designs:  $999 (with cushions)
Red Aluminum Side Table:  $296
Bicycle on Beach pillow:  $48
Aqua Knot pillow:  $47
U.S. Power Squadron flag:  $19
Oar:  $94
Anchor pillow: $53

So settle back on your comfy chair/sofa/daybed/porch swing/porch daybed and follow along!

The Porch Swinging Day Bed

Yes, it's day-bed size, not a typical porch swing that I equate more to the size of a swinging 2 or 3 seater bench.  The original is from lowcountryoriginals.com, and after closely scrutinizing the HGTV cover photo, I think it's the "Bed Swing with "X" Sides and Back," outer dimensions 88" x 44"; inner dimensions 76" x 41".  It comes in two different woods and a variety of different stains.  It is not indicated whether the bed cushions and bench seat are included, nor is the price indicated.  That means it's probably expensive :) 

I limited my selections to porch swing day beds.

HGTV's Ballard Designs pick (pictured above) was - I believe - the "Sunday Porch Swing" (with cushions) for $999, but at the time of writing this entry it was on sale for $749!  Although it isn't clear from the Specifications, I believe the outer dimensions are 65" x 32" and the inner dimensions (the "mattress size") are 59 1/2" x 29 5/8".  The dimensions are quite a bit smaller than the original, but probably more in keeping with the size of swing most people would buy for their porch.  It comes with a "deep cushion seat" (mattress), 3 back pillows and 2 bolsters, and in two finishes:  Graywash or Whitewash finished Eucalyptus wood. 

Below is the Belham Living Cottonwood Deep Seating 64" Porch Swing Bed with Cushion, $429 with free shipping (presently on sale for $420).  Only the seat cushion is included, it is gray with white piping.  The outer dimensions are 64" x 28", seat dimension is 60".  The finish is "driftwood." Made of Eucalyptus wood, with "X" crossed back pattern and slatted sides, I feel the design and the clean lines (although not the size) are closest to the original swinging day bed from Low Country Originals:

Even more budget-friendly, but a slightly more petite size, is also offered by Belham Living, its Chippendale Deep Seating Whitewashed Porch Swing Bed with Cushion (pictured below), currently offered at $237 with free shipping.  The bench cushion/mattress is included in the price (bolsters not included).  The dimensions are 63" Long by 30" Deep, whitewashed finish of Eucalyptus wood. 

The Red Side Table

First of all, I investigated the table on the cover, which was listed in the "Sources" pages from selamatdesigns.com.  Sure enough, I found the table, here's the link to the Regeant 4-Season Side Table in Antique Red.  It is powder-coated aluminum in "Antique Red."  Please note that at the time I am writing this blog entry, the "manufacturer's suggested retail price" is $158.  It's size is 19.5" Wide by 19.5" Deep x 21" High.

That means that for the IDENTICAL TABLE that HGTV found at the Well Appointed House website at $296, you would have paid almost twice the MSRP.  Nice mark-up!  And it got worse.  At Finelinens.com, the IDENTICAL TABLE was listed for $446.  I found prices exceeding $600, and none lower than $296 for the IDENTICAL TABLE.  Now I think that's just ridiculous. Why would anyone pay $296 or more for a table that was suggested to be sold at $158, and cost maybe half of that to be manufactured?

Do you think I could find a red aluminum side table to match the one in the HGTV cover?  Nope, I didn't.  But I figured I could find something in red metal (or could be spray-painted red if the size/shape/material were otherwise right), in a round shape, for less than HGTV's pick at $296.

Pictured below is the Mebane Metal Side Table by Wrought Studio (at Wayfair) in red, made of iron, dimensions 16.25" W x 16.25" D x 21" H, on sale for $54 with free shipping. 

How about two for less than the MSRP on the original side table?  They don't come in red, but spray paint doesn't cost much - 2 cans max in your choice of red rust-resistant outdoor paint (maybe $8) should do the trick.  Also found at Wayfair, pictured below are the Latitude Run Melway Metal Side Tables, the pair for $105 with free shipping.  Made of iron.  Dimensions:  Large given as 16.5" x 14.35" x 21" High, and the smaller table given as 14.25" x 12" x 20" High - but I don't think the height can be correct because it appears more than an inch shorter than the taller table in the photograph.  Plus:  They are six-sided (although not the seven sides of the original cover table) and you can put one on either side of the swing bed to hold beverages or a book/magazine. 

Continue on to Part 2 to see what I found for the oar and the pillows.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Temptingly Cute Finds at TJMaxx

Alas, my Greenfield, WI TJMaxx that was walking distance from my house is no more.  They moved their great store about 2 miles further south to a long vacant Sears "Home Life" stand-alone building on a main artery that stands on the outer boundary of a large shopping mall surrounded with smaller strip shopping centers, banks, chain restaurants and assorted independent businesses in stand-alone buildings. 

I have a balance on a TJMaxx gift card and decided to online shop for some accessories to compliment the moody celadon on my living room walls, hallway and back bedroom (which I use as my den/library/office) that looks either a very pale green or a very pale gray, depending on the light and time of day.  And of course rather than sticking to my primary purpose for going to TJMaxx online in the first place, I got distracted by lots of pretty things, like these:

Matceramica "Juliet" plates made in Portgugal, set of 4, glazed ceramic
dishwasher and microwave safe, 9" diameter. $19.99
(I have no idea what size "OS" is.)  I love the color and the details!

Love! Why does this throw pillow remind me of Boho/disco era shimmy dresses?
"Texture All Over Fringe Pillow" by Youtreasure in white multi, 20" x 20", $19.99.

all kinds of decorating styles.  Measures 23.75" tall x 15.5" wide x 8" deep, $29.99.

Cozy up for fall/winter with this just waiting to be hugged Enchante feather filled 
20" x 20" buffalo check throw pillow (cotton poly blend, spot clean only 
with zippered back) in red and black, $16.99.

Who doesn't love a treasure box (that's what I call them).  Handcarved in India, of 
white-washed wood, this hinged little gem measures in at 7.5" long x 4.5" high x 3" tall for $9.99.  

Now I'm going to go back to shopping for celadon accessories!  

Friday, August 16, 2019

Jif Peanut Butter Commercial - So Good You'd Dress Up Like a Squirrel for It

I love this!  Looks like my yard when I throw the hazelnuts morning and evening - but so far, no guys with a squirrel mask have shown up...