Sunday, October 31, 2010

Black Diamonds Done - ' before' pic added!

When we bought the house, this was the kitchen eating area. Woodgrain carpet included. Thank God we had vision. 


Yes, it's the same kitchen.   It's taken 10 yrs. 
 But we found who she was meant to be.

I took Saturday and finished painting the diamonds.  I used a 1 inch sponge brush for 90% of it.  Then used a very small 1/4 inch slanted craft paint brush to cut in the very top by the ceiling moulding and the bottom by the wainscoting.  I used the round end of the sponge brush to make the dots. Once it was all dry, I went over it with regular wood stain,  keeping it uneven and worn looking to give the white a 'wallpapered' look.

Using only Paul's penciled in lines, I did it all freehand.  I think it turned out pretty well.  I did decide just to do the one wall, as you can see.   With the arched wall too, it was just too much.  We still need to paint the beige, but after the daimond painting.... doing a few walls solid will be a piece of cake!   How do you like it?  (click a picture to see it bigger for detail)




I took a verticle shot so you could see the ceiling.  When we first did the kitchen 5 years ago, we added antique tin.

We bought it from a farmer at an antique show for $250.   We stripped it, hung it, and repainted it.  (hours and hours of stripping, not my happiest memories...)  
 The story of the kitchen chandelier:  We were at Home Depot long before we had started the kitchen redo. They were having a major light sale, something like 75% off.  We weren't ready to do the kitchen but at the prices, we bought one deciding to store it until we were ready for it.  It was $275, we took it up the the register and it rang up for $25.  Sold!   I drilled holes and added the prisms.   I have to say, we've been pretty darn lucky with the chandeliers! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Am From

True,  I've done my best to decorate and add delightful touches where ever I can.  But, I've learned that what makes our house cozy and homey isn't the paint or the details.  It's the people inside.
In our house,  there lives a boy named Nick who wrote this poem just a few weeks ago.  He's 11.  His grandpa was an MP in WWII, surviving Normandy and Iwo Jima.  It's wonderful things like you are about to read that make our house a home: 

I am from

I am from fossils
From computers and Yugioh cards
From the fun house of my home
Drama and Laughs
I am from the rain clouds
                     And the rock at the bus stop.
The big oak over the garden
                     Whose long limbs I remember.

From Great Wolf summers and lots of humor
From cousins, aunts and uncles
I'm from parties and family movies
I am from old and young annoying siblings.

I'm from war doctor and Vikings
                     And you are my sunshine.
I'm from Thanksgiving at grandma's.
I'm from cities and fiords.
Rice pudding and coleslaw
From doctor at the warzone
Surgeon in battle.
Grandpa's medals
                   In his office in grandma's basement.
Memories of hiding Easter eggs for him to find.


I had to buy stock in Kleenex after I read this. 
I, his mother, was a weeping pile of goo - bursting with humility and pride.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Diamonds In The Rough


We've started a painting project in the kitchen.
Taking  major inspiration from the old painted cottage.  Finding the 'September 2010' kitchen, whose wainscoting and colors are much like ours.  Paul did the wainscoting- the original wall was lined with red plaster bricks.  Really.


I've taken on the painting, Paul's taken on laying it out.  He's made a guide, cut-just-so as to make the diagonal's even and aligned. 





I then paint the diamonds freehand with black latex paint.  Keep in mind, this look is in just the beginning stages.  There will be very small black dots - 1/4 inch - where the top and bottoms of the diamonds meet. When all is finished I plan on a very dull stain or very subtle white wash to dull it all out so the black and isn't so drastic. 

Here's a tiny peak how it looks if  you are coming from the living room. 
(ignore obvious newly torn down wall -soon to be something fab it's own right..another post....)


As I went along, I started feeling like it was getting a bit  'optical illusion-ish'.  Not the look I am going for.  So I may end up painting over the wall w/ the arch.  Beige, the same as the ajoining entryway.  So only the window wall - behind the dining area is black and white.  Two side walls will be beige.


The rest of the kitchen walls will be biege as well.  Here's another peak at some of the kitchen and a bigger view of the wainscoting:




 Our kitchen and eating area are combined.  The goal is to bring some formalness to our 'dining room' table.  The table top is black granite -  A cast off from an old job of Paul's.   The chairs, we've recently painted black and reupholstered.  Another do-it-yourself project we did. (another post to come on that!)  I'm toying with the idea of painting the chandelier above the table black.  Finishing the wall will put it all together.  Also,  the window shades will go.  I'm culitvating an idea for that.
This kitchen's come a lonnnnng way, baby.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Best Find Ever


About four years ago,  I was dropping of a load of the kid's clothes at Goodwill.  As I was walking up to the drop off door, a man was coming across the parking lot.   I noticed him because - He was carrying a full glass chandelier - complete with all the prisms attached.  "Dang!"  If I'd only seen him two seconds earlier I would have begged (aka tackled ) him for it.  He reached the drop off door just before me. 
I couldn't help myself.  I said to him; "That is fabulous."

Just then, the Goodwill intake worker looks at the chandelier guy,
puts his hand up in a "stop" gesture and says; "No, we don't take those. We don't take hanging light fixtures."

The chandelier guy then looks over at me and says; " You want it?"  and hands it to me.  I really don't know what I said.  Something along the lines of "Um, Yes!" or "Dear God, Thank You!" or "Really?!"  Then his wife walks over and hands me a ziploc bag full of extra prisms.              
(I'm pretty sure this is where I lost all contact with my body.)
I asked where the chandelier had come from. 'Cuz I wanted the story of it and it was pretty dusty, full of drywall crumbs.  She said it had hung in their neighbors house for "like 30 years" and now they were remodeling and didn't have use for it (gasp!). They were bringing it to Goodwill for them.

I thanked them like a crazy person and floated to my minivan.  I may have yelped with joy once I was safely inside.
I took it home, took off the prisms and washed every bit of it, shined it up like new.  I added the shades.  Awesome. 

Seriously the best story ever.

** Since then, for cleaning:  Spray chandelier cleaner is available at any home store. Making sure the light is off.... Under it, I place a big flat bin (you could also use towels) - to catch the drips - and simply spray it clean, then give it a good wipedown.  It's not as cumbersome as it may seem.  The prism's shine right up. **

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Coming soon to a necklace near you.

I was in JoAnne Fabric yesterday and got to chatting with another gal who makes jewelry.  She said she'd just picked up some bobbles at a 1/2 off table at a local mall craft fair.  She showed me some of her finds.  Relieved that her style was not like mine, (therefore not missing out on any of the deals) I tucked the info in my mind and headed home.  Meanwhile.... Saturday rolled around and I was eventually off to the aforementioned mall.  The 'craft fair'  turned out to be the most awesome antique show ever.   Easily 60% of the tables were chalked full of fabulous vintage rhinestones.  Mary Kate and I were in repurposed jewelry possibility nirvana.  We ooh'd and ahh'd enough to border on ridiculous.

Now for the deals.  I had a handful of stuff picked out from one vendor, intending to ask her to cut a deal.  But she was only my first stop so I left my finds in safe keeping with her and went on to peruse the other dealers.  We found one guy who had literally piles of necklaces entwined, but the deal was good enough to pick through: 12 pieces for $10.  Sold.

Finding vintage keys at another table,  I was a happy girl.  We went back to the original gal holding my rhinestone pile.  (one of the matching vintage shoe clips had a price tag of $10. )  I expected her to give a ridiculously expensive price and I was prepared to speak   'haggle-ese'.  But when she said: "Oh, how about $8 for everything?" 
 I about dropped dead, but acted cool as I whipped out the cash.   I happy danced all the way to the car.  Here's a pic of some of the loot. 


I can't wait get my paws on them and work the magic.

Beauty Avenue - Updated


Don't let the quaint house photo fool you.  To the untrained eye this quaint home looks cozy and well kept.  Only those who dare to enter will find the reality.  That reality is home to 2 adults, 4 kids, a cat, a dog named Mike, a hermit crab who has surpassed all life expectancy odds and a few dust balls.  Then there's the few completely awesome home improvement projects that are aways in the 'almost finished, but not quite' category.  They know who they are.   Add in the laundry, dishes, anything and everything that belongs to the 6 people who live here, and voila!, you really do have this quaint, cozy home.   

Please note this quaintness did not happen overnight.  It's taken 10 years.  The children did not come all at once.  The wrap around porch, we added ourselves.  The garden, I grew.  The whicker was found at garage sales.  My darling friends helped to cultivate and seek out all the vintage finds that live here.  Inside, it truly is warm and cozy.  (When the said laundry is done and the sink is clear - this helps.)   The couches are not white as in a decorating magazine.  (How does a sane person have a white couch?)  Sadly, The Pottery Barn doesn't agree with my budget.  However, I assure you my creativity is limitless, my thriftyness is very resourceful and it's taken this 60 yr old home a long way.  I hope to share stories, ideas, fabulous finds and show you the details. 


Beauty Avenue was the original name of our street.  Some dude long ago thought it would be wise to change our residential streets from darling names to horrid numbers.  (Heavy Sigh.)   When we discovered this, we immediately adopted back her old name in spirit.  So we refer to her as "Beauty Ave". 
This bungalow really is the bees knees.  Here's a sneak peak at the inside:


There was a doorway here concealing the stairway. This past year we were able to tear down a small wall to expose and make a darling stairway.   I'll explain later as to how we are able to do things like add porches and make darling stairways. (Tidbit: Paul is a master cabinet maker, wood worker extraordinaire)

When we were house hunting we knew we wanted something older and with character.   I found this house online.  Somehow, when it was listed in the MLS, it had no address or street number.  I found it anyway.  For 50 years, it was owned by one family.  The walls were white, with the exception of the master bedroom.  It had orange foil wallpaper with  gigantic black felt butterflies.  The kitchen had wood grain carpeting..yes carpeting.   The appliances were green and the kitchen counters were orange.  There had been no garden.  The whole outside was chocolate brown stucco. But it's bones were good.  The kitchen is huge (pics to come).  I knew Paul could do anything with it.   The potential of the house was good.   The yard is huge. We made an offer without Paul even seeing it.   Yes, crazy.  That was 10 years ago.  
I really want to show you all we've done.   It's had many evolutions as we've found our style and needed to maintain it w/ the kids.    More to come!  

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