December 2019:


Winter has arrived. We had early snow Halloween weekend (3-4 inches) and about a week later we got another 3-4 inches on top of that, and cold weather. The snow melted (thank goodness!) but winter caught autumn unprepared - a surprise ambush!

The house is now decorated for Christmas season and I snuggle underneath a thick throw blanket on the sofa at night admiring the Christmas tree. It's cold enough now to fire up the fireplace, brrrrr!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed holiday season. May we all be jolly and bright and happy.


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, 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  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, 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.