August 19, 2014

The things you see!

Hello, friends,

Since we still need furniture and rugs I've been checking places that sell these items while out running errands and making a few special trips. One was to a consignment store near where we lived before. They didn't have what we are looking for, specifically comfortable chairs and affordable rugs. The rugs were priced astronomically, and we're not talking priceless orientals in every case, either. The chairs seemed to be in one of two categories: either wing back, which I don't want for the library, while all the rest fell into what I privately called Giant/Ugly. Really, huge pieces in improbable designs with hideous fabric seemed to be the order of the day when I was there. 

Another piece totally fascinated me, though You can see it here:

It is a sofa with an upholstered back and seat, set into a wooden frame. Behind the back, on top are bookcases and one cabinet that closes. On the left as you look at the picture is a built-in end table that has shelves below and a cupboard that closes on the side that can't be seen. The opposite end, to the right, has a section of shelves with curbed edges, perhaps for ornaments since they aren't wide enough for magazines and books.

Has anyone ever seen anything like this piece? The woodwork reminds me of built ins I've seen in older homes with Craftsman features. It's in good shape, considering it seems fairly old. It's not anything we can really use, but it still intrigues me. It certainly would be a perfect conversation piece, that's obvious. Have you ever run into something that really piqued your interest, even though it clearly isn't what you need at the time?

Have a good one,

August 18, 2014

Quick Fix

Hi, Folks,

That title may not be accurate  Quickest fix or laziest fix may be closer to the truth. We are living in a rented house with large, square ceramic tile floors in every room. Some of them were cracked or damaged before we ever moved in. Like this, or in some cases, worse:
See the crack across the whole width? Here is the same section of floor:
What made the crack vanish? Nothing but plain old blackboard chalk, rubbed into the damaged area, with the excess on the surface wiped off afterward. Sure, it isn't actually repaired, but if someone was coming over, five minutes would make it disappear unless the visitor was actually lying on the floor with their face less than an inch from the spot. Chalk has worked on other surfaces to wholly disguise a small flaw and has the advantage of being cheap, easy and non-toxic. What's not to love? 

I hope your week is off to a good start!

Later, Michele

August 15, 2014

What I did this morning.

Hey, Peeps,

Are you looking ahead to the weekend already? At our house Friday is known as "Wet Food Eve" since the cats get a break from dry kibble every Saturday. Believe me, they know when it arrives and there is no sleeping late for me then, no matter what. 

Today I started working on a project that occurred to me one night while lying awake. Here is what we started with:
That is the wall in the living room behind our sofa, which is actually a sandy tan color, not white. 

This is what is there now:
It may not be perfect and need to be tweaked in the next days or weeks, but it is a lot better than the big blank. The big picture Mr. B and I got at a yard sale, probably 30 years ago for $5.00. The empty frame to the left holds a plaster relief piece that was a gift from my friend Judy. All of the other items are from thrift shops, except the cherries. Those are in a frame that had a nursery rhyme picture in it, a baby gift when I was born. The smallest are postcards of Carl Larssen pictures that I like. The oval birds were from Sand Dollar; the shape of the frame charmed me. The long narrow one of peaches is from Catholic Charities, where the merchandise is of such high quality that nothing sticks around, so it cost more than I usually spend. It wouldn't have stayed on the floor long enough to be marked down, though. The picture to the right of it is a greeting card photograph saved and framed, and the sunburst mirror another Sand Dollar score. 

Another look:

If it doesn't all look straight, blame the holder of the camera, because a level was used to avoid a wonky effect. So here is my project for Friday. What do you think?

Take it easy,

August 14, 2014

One More Shelf

Hello, all,

I hope your Thursday is going well. Mine is better than yesterday, which involved a lot of time waiting at the ophthalmologist's office. The good news is the surgery went fine and the better news is the other eye can be done week after next. It all took so long there wasn't time to write, though. 

Mr. B put up another shelf on the weekend, but had to use glue on the wall anchors that didn't dry till Tuesday, so it was yesterday before it got dressed up. It is in our living room, over the antique wash stand. That is now where my little cat shrine is, so the shelf has more, if not all, items of the feline kind.

This is a big, high wall, so it looks better with something up there, even though it was put so high it was difficult for me to put thing on it. It's not a big change, but we are chipping away at getting organized and decorated. If things go to plan, there should be a more dramatic improvement tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, take it easy!


August 11, 2014

A Small Victory

Good afternoon, all,

I hope your week is off to a good start. Mine is, because I managed to be moderately productive this morning by finding places to put a large box full of blinds and curtain rods, an old suitcase, big plastic tub full of bedding and more. Now while it's in this newly neat state might be a good time to show you this space. 

First of all, this is the house of doors. The first room you enter from the front of the house, the one we're going to use as a library, has five, three actual panel doors and two openings to another room. It certainly defies the logic of houses in 2014 and makes for some complex traffic patterns. One of the doors leads to a hall. You enter the hall from the library. On the right is a entry to the kitchen, to the left one to the dining room, while straight ahead is the living room.

Here is the small stacked chest my grandfather made with a Carl Larsson picture above it.
Opposite it Mr. B hung a coat rack that will be useful for sweaters and jackets when winter comes, hard as that is to imagine in August.
Also in the hall is the pantry for staples we bought after moving in. Next to it is the door to the living room. As you see, Butterball made a rare cameo appearance in this photo. It also shows how out of step the place is in 2014. None of the rooms are "open". There is no flow. They are all separate and in most cases have full panel doors that can be shut. It's easy to imagine a younger family looking at this house and running away, screaming horror. But that's all right. Everyone is different. Since moving in we've discovered a lot of separate rooms works just fine for us. When we're in the living room the door is open and the cats can come and go. As we leave it's shut, keeping the furniture cleaner with less likelihood of anything being knocked over or broken.

I think it will work well for entertaining, too. With company at Thanksgiving, for example, those who want to watch football can go in there, shut the door and turn up the sound as loud as they want. The rest of us can sit in the library and talk or read. The same is true if there are overnight guests. They can shut the space off and not be bothered by cats, watch television late if they choose and be more comfortable than in our former place, where the space was more open, but less convenient. It's very old-fashioned, but also practical.

Tomorrow I'm scheduled for cataract surgery early in the day. Depending upon how it all works out there may be a post on Tuesday, or it may be later in the week. 

Have a good one!


August 5, 2014

Let's try for Tuesday

Hi, folks,

I was ready to write yesterday when a family crisis kind of phone call came in and things never did settle down till around 10 pm. It's been kind of crazy here lately.

However, on the weekend Mr. B and I went to Buchanan's Nursery and make a start at filling the other pots for the front. Here are some of the plantings:
Fresh portulaca in the pot on the right and some purslane in the one to the left.
Golden globes in this container. There was one small succulent that had survived in it that got moved elsewhere.
As you see, that one section of brick is a totally different color than the entire rest of the front of the building. Perhaps this black-eyed Susan vine will grow fast and help disguise this fact.
A red salvia to the right of it. We have no idea what that wire does or where it goes.
Rosemary, on the left of the pot with the trellis.
Most of those are long-time inhabitants, but the one with the purple pinwheel is new, Pepperomia.

Here is Phase 1 of the de-uglifying of the front of the house.We still have the two long narrow tubs to fill yet; maybe they will fit on the windowsills. Hmmm.

Take it easy!


August 1, 2014


Hello, all,

It dawned on me that so far you have been spared an exterior view of this place. Here is a brief tour of the transplanted bits that haven't died. This weekend we hope to fill some larger planters and expand on these efforts.
Some of our plants and a few whizzing pinwheels just for fun.
Next to the chair you see one of two rectangular boxes to be filled.
And the front door with a sunflower wreath. I'm hoping to have lots more in our ongoing war on ugly to show you next week!

Have a wonderful weekend!