Tuesday, August 21, 2012

True Confessions Tuesday

It was the fall of 1981, my senior year in college.  I was living in the independent wing of Ferguson Hall (most of the wings were reserved for sororities, but I had left the sorority at the beginning of my junior year, which is another story for another day), and Luke and Laura had invited me to their wedding.
I skipped British Literature II to go.
I am very sorry, Dr. Sells.
My desire to watch the FAKE WEDDING OF THE CENTURY (the real wedding of the century being the wedding of Chuck and Di, of course) had nothing to do with your skill as a teacher of some of my very favorite literature of all time.  It was just that...well, it was Luke and Laura!  (We had even taken cake squares out of the dining hall and wrapped them in napkins and stuck them inside our shetland sweaters so that we could pretend we were at the reception.)
After it was over (you'll recall Scotty caught the bouquet), we decided that Laura's dress was great, but the veil was a little too fountain-like.

True confession.

Another confession?  I am over at It All Started With Paint today!

Monday, August 20, 2012

I get by with a little help

As today is the first day back at school (for most teachers, anyway...I was back last week for a workshop), I have to look at what this blog entails.

It entails blogging.

Which is translated as "sitting on the couch with stupid reality television playing in the background, the laptop humming and making my legs sweat while I try to think of something to write."

And sticking in sideways pictures.

It's always difficult to maintain the momentum of a blog when you have a real job that takes you out of the house at 6:30 am and keeps you out until 4:00, at which time you stumble in and reach for the handy liquor right inside the front door.  (Because I spend my day with 13 year olds.  Which should entitle me to FREE liquor, but there you have it.)  Last year, I tried blogging from work, but there wasn't time to really craft a post (meaning I didn't edit it for typos) and I am completely wiped out after dinner, so I can't engage my brain long enough to string together a complete sentence.

But then---voila--Cassie to the rescue!
Cassie told me how I can schedule my blogs ahead of time, so that when I get a post done early, Blogger will keep it safe until I'm ready to have it released into the blogosphere!

Well $hite!  I wish I had known this before!  Because I've been waiting for the time something is "due,"  sitting by the computer ready to push "Publish," like some kind of dork.  (Which I am, and I have fully admitted to, but think of all the time I've wasted.  However, I CAN tell you all about the Real Housewives of New Jersey, so I guess it's a trade-off.)

So instead of losing the followers I've gained (thanks, peeps!), I can keep the wheel turning and continue to wow you with my mad skillz.

And sideways pictures.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The continuing attempt

... to "de-oldladyfy" the living room is causing me some consternation.


Because of the tchotchkes.

I really, really WANT one of those streamlined, edited, tchotchke-free rooms where everyone who comes in says "whoa...this is so cool." 
(This is the point where I will brutally honest and admit that I was never, ever cool.  I was dorky and weird.  When you are 13?  Dorky and weird are not cool.  When you are 52, you can get away with it.)
But as I was explaining to my friend Karianne, there is nothing I can do. 

I am the keeper of the tchotchkes and the stories that they tell.

Doesn't everyone have a Queen Plate?

My children laugh at me for having a "old lady" room.  But it's not really MY old lady room...it's the room of many old ladies.

My tchotchkes?  Are the tchotchkes of those who came before.

So what do you do when faced with tchotchke elimination?  Do you get rid of Grandma Flossie's Royal Doulton's 'Autumn Breezes' and 'Top 'o the Hill'?

Do you get rid of Lyons crocks--after all, you were born there, in a hospital that has been turned into a unisex hair salon--and the crock company closed its doors in 1902, so who cares? 

Well, I guess I do.

And when your elderly mom says "I want you to come pick up a few things" and you drive 714 miles to pick up a lamp and some ironstone...do you throw it out at the side of the road?

I would love to be someone with the "cool" living room--like Jessica --but apparently, I am the keeper of the flame.  Or, in my case, the keeper of the old ladies' stuff.

And I take that job seriously.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Plan "B"...or is it "C"?

Well, a couple of days ago I did some crazy stuff with some chalkboard paint and an old headboard and I put a bar in my foyer, which is probably bad form.

....and while being accused of "Hooliganism" would totally rock, I'm not sure people want to look at liquor the minute they step inside the door, unless they're teachers.  So the "chalkboard bar" went down to Elizabeth's, and I needed to find something else.

It was easy.

On my trip up north this summer, I picked a few things up from my mom.  One of the things was this pine cupboard:

It's roughly the same size as the chalkboard piece, but it has doors.

Story:  My mom used to buy unfinished pieces and finish them.  For this one, she stained it and stenciled a bird on the front. I love my mom, but...
(This was back in the day, when stencils were not attractive.  Today, they are awesome.  Check out these stencils!)
So I took some of my oops paint and painted the cabinet a pale greenish gray (because there are fifty shades, after all), and gave it a light coat of dark wax.  I filled it with liquor and glasses and whatnot (heavy on the whatnot) and it looks fab!

I left inside the doors red, which was my mother's ingenious idea.  My mother might seem like a basic beige senior, but she does have a wild streak!

Here's the whole vignette--sideways, of course!
(Still haven't figured out this new laptop.)

I'm linking to Cassie's par-tay!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Autumnal desk...

Two words you probably thought you'd never see in juxtaposition.

...but then, you never thought you'd hear "chalkboard bar," either.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

If at first you don't succeed...

A few months ago, I called someone on craigslist.  (I know.  Serial killer/stalker/child molester/chloroformer.)  I talked to the son of a very cute old couple who were leaving their lovely home in order to move into a wing of the son's home. (I guess either he is a bazillionaire or he is really worried about them, which is sweet.  Anyway, he is a pharmacist and his wife is a pharmaceutical sales rep, so I think they can afford it.  Plus, mom & dad are signing over assets.  This was a looooong conversation.)  Anyhoo, from them I purchased a dresser and nightstand, which Dennis and I would pick up on the weekend.  I told them then that I was interested in a few other pieces and they said they would give me a call when they made a decision. 

About a week later, a decision was made, and they were willing to part with a small buffet that had been in their family for about seventy-five years.  My husband said "We can't sell that.  It's been in their family for years."


Fast forward to the redo of my Jessica Fletcher living room, which is taking waaaay too long, if you ask me.  I have painted the buffet a great turquoise and put it in the foyer, where it will be a bar.  After all, nothing says "Welcome to the Carespodis" quite like a large display of liquor. 
I painted it blue and put the cool blue knobs on the doors.

Looks good with the checkerboard floors, n'est pas?

But in putting the room together, I found that the piece doesn't work.
It's beautiful, but it's just too darn big. 
You can't get the front door open.  And if you can't get the front door open, how are you going to get to the liquor?

So I had to think quick.
And it came to me, just like that! *snapping fingers*

Out in the carport (where I have enough furniture to furnish a one bedroom apartment), I had an old headboard.  I bought it for $20 at the Habitat ReStore.  It was peeling hunter green paint over barn red and looked pretty pitiful.  BUT, it did have three cubbies (I LOVE CUBBIES!) and was the right size.  So, DL used the grinder on it (which, of course, it did not need, and then I had to go back and sand where he ground and it's STILL too rough, but he doesn't listen when he has a new toy.  Some things I just need to do myself).  After sanding and vacuuming and then wiping down, I used chalkboard spray paint on it, which gave me a buzz if you want to know the truth.

This is how it looks in the foyer part of the living room:

I promise I will have a better picture when I reveal the whole room.
DL thinks it's silly to have a bar in the entryway.  I tell him I teach middle school and the quicker I can get my hands on my drink, the happier I'll be.  (This is actually a lie.  The bar is here until we finish the bar in the basement, which is part of the ten year plan.)

A Votre Sante!

I am at:  52 Mantels (check Emily out!)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Blogging without borders--some week that I can't remember (and not because I've been drinking)

(We last left Kirby trying to figure out how to make her living room less old-ladyish.  She has painted the walls a nice taupe--at risk of life and limb--, donated the old couch to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, painted a buffet, painted a new cupboard, and tried desperately to edit out a few tchotchkes.)

With two weeks to go, I am right on schedule.  Or at least I WOULD be, if I didn't have to go back to work.  All of us in blogland who have a day job teaching (like Heidi) are laying in cases of beer and wine in order to prepare for the school year ahead.  Some of us are even making lesson plans!  The rest of us?  Swilling rum and Diet Cokes like there's no tomorrow.

So...here are a few small touches that I have completed. (I'm waiting to do the big crap until the VERY LAST MINUTE.  Because that's how I roll.) 
First of all, I took a little coffee table from its 1970's ugliness (sort of like I did here) to an updated look:
This is the detail, similar to the "Mrs. Brady" server.
I spent a little more on this than I normally would, and the goal was not to spend any 'new' money, but I had a good month at the shop last month, so I had a little money to spend.  It cost a LOT less than a new coffee table would, and it's the perfect size and shape.  The glass top lends a little sparkle to the room, and I am really pleased.

Next, the "new" piece I found in my mother-in-law's attic:

Why did you not tell me, people???
Yep, you see that correctly.  From my mother-in-law's ATTIC!  I asked my husband what else was up there, and he answered "just stuff."  You can bet I'll be checking out that "stuff" next time I'm visiting!  (This score gives me an opportunity to sell the typewriter I found at a yard sale, which is more money for this horrible money pit of a house  Brandywine updates.)

Now to the never-ending saga of the window treatments.
When the crazy people  former owners were in the process of moving out (which took just about forever...still packing and moving AFTER CLOSING), they asked us to buy all their Shit stuff.  I would get crazy e-mails, saying that they were going to leave their valance and curtains and they would appreciate it if we "sent a donation."  For their hideous 1982 cranberry and gold valances.  No thanks.  (As a sidebar?  When we moved in, we noticed that they had dumped them in the trash.  Which is where they belonged.  But honestly--you took them out and threw them in the trash because we didn't offer you money for something that was attached to the wall and you were supposed to leave anyway?  Sheesh.)
For the past five years, we have had El Cheapo curtains over the picture window and plantation shutters in the front two windows.  I like plantation shutters, but not for this house.  First of all, this house doesn't have a lot of light coming in the front because of our huge magnolia tree.  Second of all, this house really is a cottage-style and not beachy or plantation-y.  So they just didn't go with the vibe. 
Initially, I thought that some sheers or cafe-style window treatments would be best.  But then I remembered that I had these:

These have been hanging around since 2003.
Two shutters that I bought at a barn sale almost ten years ago.  I knew they would come in handy some day!

They look great with the wall color--just a shade darker.  Let there be light!

The picture window posed a bigger problem...literally.  We don't have to worry about privacy, as we have a walled garden in the back.  So I decided to leave it uncovered for now.  If I want something later, I have had time to live with it, and maybe some inspiration will come.  In the meantime, I have hung three "witch balls" in the window.  The middle one was a gift from my mother.  The two small ones are "Tree of Life" balls made in Canada.  One is for Blessings and the other is for Gratitude, which I believe are incredibly appropriate.

Yes, I realize my photo-taking skills are seriously lacking.

Those are my Blogging Without Borders updates for this week!  Stay tuned for the finished product in two weeks!

Check out these other fab bloggers and their big honkin' projects: