Hand-me-downs

As I survey my home I see that I have filled it with hand-me-downs. My couch began life at my mother’s home then moved to my brother’s and now to me. The table beside it was my uncle’s and then I swiped it from my mother. Until a recent change my beautiful bed was my grandparent’s. The buffet came from my husband’s basement as it is used to be a tool chest.

recycled furnishingsThe shelf above the buffet is my mom’s old mantlepiece. 2 dressers were my grandparents. Many of my nicknacks are from my childhood home, too. I actually have very little that was purchased new. I do not believe I have ever spend more than $300 on a piece of furniture except for my mattress which is heavenly btw. I love craigslist. People are funny. When they are through with something they want it to be gone and it is amazing the deals one can find on there.hand me down couch

I really like that as I look around my home there are memories beyond my own that belong to the pieces in it. I like that I get to meet the people on craigslist that I buy stuff from and get to know them just a little bit. I even got to know the wife of a man that grew up in my house. How cool is that? She was a client of mine and we figured it all out one day. He came by and chatted with my husband a few days later.

I do think it would be really cool to spend time finding and choosing beautiful pieces of furniture without thought of price – only design and quality. I know exactly where I’d go to find just what I would want. I am glad that in real life I went to my family, craigslist and a few local antique stores to furnish my home. Maybe it’s your grandma’s lamp that is sitting on my uncle’s table next to my mom’s couch in my friend’s husband’s childhood home.

a vintage lamp

A Fresh Start

It was a new year and I wanted a fresh start so I sat in my jammies for two days procrastinating. Then a friend asked me to come over and give her some advice on her fresh start and I found my inspiration! Her walls are currently covered in swatches of new paint color, art is stacked around the room and there are piles of flooring samples. I came home and took every single thing out of my living room except the heavy stuff. You should have seen my kitchen! You couldn’t have seen it for all the stacks of stuff in it. At one point my husband came in trying to find a glass of water.

“I love it when our house is like this”, he said.

“What”!!!!? I asked.

“It’s just so cool”

Isn’t he cool?

I read somewhere that my stuff would lose its magic if I took it out of context by removing it from the room. It worked when I redid the bedroom and I was hoping it would work for the living room.

It was hard. I love all the stuff. At one point I broke a big mirror and I was actually relieved a little bit even though it was a tragedy because then I wouldn’t have to reject it. I temporarily lost a lot of nicknacks over Christmas. That helped a lot… until I found them safely tucked away. before and after

I struggled with finding a balance between what kind of look I seem to be attracted to right now – rooms with three things in them – and what is truly the way I want to live – rooms full of stuff.

But it feels good in there now. I like it. There is some familiar and some reworking and some new. A good balance.

wing chair and kittyput a bird on it

My daughter packaged my Christmas presents in a crate she made herself! I used it for my new music center. diy wooden crate

and here is the one of the gifts that came in it:Christmas gift

 

ps

I am going to try to blog regularly now. It seems I took January off. I really missed it, though, and am battling a war with wanting everything to be perfect on here. You won’t be seeing perfect but will be seeing something. Thanks for reading.

pss

look what did show up in my Christmas stocking after all!what I wanted for Christmas

 

Decorating for Christmas

I love to pick a theme each year with which to decorate for Christmas. I have used Swedish decorations in the past. The things one can weave out of straw! Then I moved on to birds. Feathers everywhere! Lately I have been using vintage glass ornaments. They were so much fun to hunt down. Last year my friend and I filled our instagram feeds with boxes of ornaments in antique shops. She’d post one and away I’d go to pick them up. The nice thing is they are very affordable.

This year I sent my husband out to buy the tree. He showed up with a $10 tree that was so cute! $10! Those vintage ornaments dressed it up!

my Christmas tree

My Christmas treeI like to put the tree in front of a mirror. That way you get twice the tree! Here is my favorite ornament.my favorite ornament

Last year I put together this marquee sign. lighted up marquee sign

The angel orchestra is from my childhood Christmas decorations. I love them.angel-star-orchestra

With my leftover ornaments I made a wreath. It killed me to glue these. But I think it was worth it. Don’t you?wreath made of vintage ornaments

I hope you all have as much fun as I do decorating for the holiday. I wonder what my theme will be next year? 3 felt carolers

ps

What do you think about my new blog layout? A nice couple from South Africa builds layouts and sells them on Etsy!

How to get people to use the vintage hand towels in the bathroom

One of the very first parties my husband and I threw when we were first married was for a bunch of his work buddies. Moments before people were due to arrive he walked out of the bathroom and asked me if we had any regular hand towels. I had just ironed and arranged some very pretty vintage linen towels and I told him we didn’t own regular ones. He shook his head and told me no one would use the pretty towels.

My mother always had “good” towels on display in the bathroom and then there was the cupboard full of towels we were supposed to actually use. I guess that was true all across the land and yet was an idea I had not adopted from my childhood. I want to use the pretty stuff. Plus I only paid about a buck for each one of those pretty embroidered linens at estates sales.

I assured my husband I would fix the problem. I went in and smushed up the towels so that they looked like someone might have already dried their hands on them giving the okay for the next person to use them as well. It worked! After the party was over I checked and those towels had all dried lots of hands. If you come to my house today and need to dry your hands you will find some smushed up linen hand towels on which to do so.estate sale linen towelsestate sale linen towels

Where I blog at home Part 2+

Part 2 because I have already made changes. Cool changes. Plus I promised to show you a DIY for a beautiful origami light shade. I love light fixtures. I could change them every month! I googled for good directions and found this pdf. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make. I rehearsed with regular paper first allowing me to discover that the size isn’t crucial as long as you make sure it’s longer by quite a bit on one length. No square paper in other words.making an origami light shade

Doesn’t it look pretty? I also took down the big mirror and put up some new treasures. my office nookmy office nook

In big news, for me, let me show you what I can do now thanks to a new lens on my camera. I don’t know why this wasn’t the first lens I bought but I am thankful it is mine now! I can photograph the whole room at once! So great! I haven’t actually purchased it yet. It turns out one can rent a lens to decide if it’s right! Cool!kitchen nook turned office

Where I blog in my home

I finally decided to create a dedicated spot in my home where I can write my blog. Up until now I would sit at my dining room table, on the couch or sometimes even in bed. my blogging spotThis area was once my kitchen nook. It still is but now I am calling it my office nook. Here is what it looked like a week ago:

pink ombre metal shelving unit

 

 

It is sure to change once I begin really using it. So far I love it. Currently I am typing with my computer on my lap and a cat is curled up next to me and another on my feet. I am dogsitting for my father while he and his wife are traveling in South Africa. It creates drama for the animals when there is a new girl added to the mix. The dogs just get a little more attention-hungry but the cats act like they will be killed any minute. Don’t worry. They are in no danger. It is fun to have them be more cuddly, though. You may remember our visitor, Brit, from a post I did in June.awake-Brit

Next up will be a very cool DIY I did to the light fixture. You will want to make one of these yourself! In fact my daughter already ordered two for her new house out in the woods. If you follow me on instagram you got a sneek peek.

 

 

Adding a little colorful fun to a tiny table (recycling tattoo designs)

I seem to come up with tattoo designs that are impossible to tattoo. I love my tattoos but some are a compromise as the original designs were rejected by many tattoo artists. This weekend I decided to use one for making a little table a lot more fun. Now I know why tattoo artists didn’t want to tattoo the design. It took a long time. But it looks great!!

I began in the daylight and only was half finished by nightfall on the first day.the process of painting a tableTwo days later I was finished and am pretty happy with how it turned out.

 

colorburst table top

Here it is in place looking fabulous. My mom will be glad I put the design on a piece of furniture instead of my body. Ha!colorburst-painted-table-in-place

Inanimate Housemates

Do you have objects in your life that are like family? I do. Let me introduce you. First there is a puppet boy. I first met him in an antique store when I was on the hunt for something else entirely. It was love at first sight. He frightened me every time I walked into the room for months! I forgave him, though, because he is so cute.my little puppet

Spot the dog lives on our dining room table with the salt and pepper.  He used to belong to Mr. Bill.Mr. Bill's dog, SpotWe seem to love dogs. Here are two more….the-dogcement-bulldog

Please met our littlest dog. Poor thing has had a tooth ache for decades. He is a dear member of the family.

poor-little-toothache-bobblehead

 

The newest members of the household live in the kitchen. They are the cutest couple ever.gmac and kitty the wife

 

Am I weird? I mean, I know I am but wouldn’t you love to have these items join your family?

 

Creating a space for everyday life

 

I ran across a blog post the other day (and now I can’t find it!) that talked about how the author worked and worked at designing her home and yet she felt like she was never successful. That it just never worked for her family. The Ikea catalog (of all things) arrived in her mailbox and as she was looking through it she found this definition of home: Ikea's-definition-of-home

 

As I just spent the last while with my living room transformed into a wood shop I had to laugh. Perhaps in my 20’s I decorated without consideration for practicality. Now it is all about usefulness. I love that usefulness can always look good. When something works seamlessly it is a thing of beauty. Although, I have to say, my dining room table does not make a very good workbench.dining room table

Every summer we use our space very differently than we do in the colder months. Our life centers around the table instead of the wood stove when it is warm outside. We enjoy long breakfasts with the sun streaming down upon us. The table is my sewing room, my artist studio, dinner table, blogging spot. My husband spends a lot of time at it reading his iPad, working on projects, drinking coffee.

In the summer I always shove the couch over against the wall and move the table out so that I can add more seating and open the leaves. Come winter I will pull the couch around right in front of the wood stove where we spend every evening in front of the fire.summertime-couchIf I were to only design our home for aesthetics and not for usefulness it would look alot different. I’d start with a beautiful rug and I would throw away the white slipcover. As I don’t think a room really works if the furniture is all lining the wall I would only float it in the proper conversational circle. But we would never use the room if I designed it that way. Ikea is right. My home is for everyday life as it happens. Because when my home works for the way we live, life simply becomes better. And it works great!

 

Bedroom Renovation Reveal

I truly apologize for how long this has taken. I am old and slow. But I love, love, love what all that slow, hard work produced. You might remember that my motivation for renovating my bedroom was some water damage to the ceiling. I gazed at the ceiling for a long time trying to imagine what I might be capable of doing on my own with a very limited budget. I ain’t no sheetrock hanger. Plaster work is waayy beyond me. Wood paneling with a nautical flair? Sure thing!!! wood paneled ceiling with exposed brass screws

I did find it very difficult to do this ceiling justice in a photograph. It glows and is so pretty. wood paneled ceiling with exposed brass screws

I have never liked my bed in its last location. But I had to get a huge, upholstered headboard out of my system so it had to go against a wall, not a window. It has always belonged where it is now. Gold leafing is messy, by the way. But it is a pretty mess.gold-leaf-headboardI had to stand in the closet to get this shot.golden-headboard

 

I found a vintage medical cart to use as a bedside table. I was looking for a small bureau (and tried to steal one from my mom) but when I saw this I couldn’t resist! 
my DIY gold leaf headboardbedside tablebedside-table-detailcupboard-goodies

Next on the tour is the wall to our right. I have always loved a big stack-o-books. I have seen these floating stacks in lots of cool rooms but the price for the system to do it was beyond me. I used L brackets.

DIY stack of books

 

Beside the doorway is a little table and mirror. And more books. I want you to know that I have a huge bag full of books I am taking to Powell’s Bookstore to sell. I was brutal in my editing!little table next to the door

And now to the west side of the room. Here is the best feature during the summer: the fan in the window.

fan in the window

 

A look at the other side of the bed.gold leaf headboardvintage-lampshade-hoarder

I love my little art ledges. As often as I like to change things around they will be so handy.

I am happy with my new room. I just spent the week with a bad cold and so was in it for long periods of time. It was a balm to my soul. Why don’t you just come over and see it for yourself!

 

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