July 16, 2017:
Hola! Where does the time go, Geez Louise! Half summer is already gone, and I am first now updating this from last December, tsk tsk. Bad Jan! So, been busy puttering around the yard, as always, and paying more attention than I probably should be to politics. The kitchen "remodel" is on hold due to budgetary constraints, but I hope to have that remedied before the end of the year. And I have yet to paint the guest room - it's only been 3 years now since I moved in to this version of Maison Newton, I'm not lazy or anything, nope... LOL! Take care and have a great rest of the summer. Jan

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some Really Cool Ideas...

I should be in bed already.  At the very least, I should be earnestly scrubbing up and getting ready for bed.  It's sleeting cats and dogs outside now and it will be an absolute bitch to ice-skate the 9 block trek to the bus stop tomorrow morning.  By rights, I should leave at least 20 minutes earlier than normal, because I will have to walk like a duck in order to make it safely (I hope) from here to there.  Damn!  But - hark!  Is that the Herald Angels I hear singing?  Hell no.  It's the Channel 4 weatherman who says it will get WARMER tonight (up to 50 degrees F) and so by morning all the ice will be gone and we should see nothing but rain.

Yeah.  Right.  Perhaps it will finally be time to try out my Yaks Traks!!!

Anyway, I got this nutso crazy idea in my head this morning about "doing" the mantle for Easter/Oestre (in honor of the Mother Goddess)/Spring and it's taken nearly complete hold of me already.  Geez!  I actually nearly ran over to the TJMaxx in the downtown Mall during lunch hour earlier today and -- thank Goddess! -- a few of those really cute small bird plates were still at hand!  I grabbed one with "pinky" birds and one with "yellowy" birds; then I saw a larger square-shaped plate with pink and blue birds on it in a sort of "Oriental Abstract Moderne" take -- well, you'll just have to wait to see the photos.  I said "YES" and added that to my "to buy" pile.  Then I saw this ceramic basket in blues, greens and naturals with two little "blue birds" perched on its rim and that was also added to the "to buy" pile.  And, while I was in the check-out line (I kid you not, but I swear they film you and do it on purpose...) I came across this little ceramic bird in a lovely creamy white color.  She was decorated with small openings in a criss-cross pattern and I thought she must be a votive.  I grabbed her and added her to my stash as I was summoned to Check-Out Number Two.  Unfortunately, the opening she has in her bottom is not large enough to fit a votive candle inside (real or battery-operated) but right now she is stuffed with pleasantly scented something-or-other.  She's a sachet! 

Three plates, the ceramic bird "sachet" and the ceramic "Easter" basket all rang in under $19.  Thank you, TJMaxx!

But I digress!  I wanted to just show you these neato things instead, both of which I found at Budget Wise Home blog -- and she gave me such inspiration!

First:

In her entry from February 23, 2012 under the heading "New Uses for Everyday Things" comes a revelation about using a cup and saucer to make an elevated serving tray!  I've seen plates glued to wine glasses, etc. and I've pretty much thought "how cute" or even "how clever" before, but I don't recall seeing this particular rendition of a very good idea!  And just tonight, when I was trying this, that and the other thing trying to get an "elevated" area to "install" a really cute bird house as part of my Easter/Oestre/Spring mantle display and driving myself absolutely nuts, if I had only seen this beforehand!  Duh!

Image from Budget Wise Home
Well, I've heard it said that suffering improves the soul or something like that. Not sure I believe that, mind you, but the Goddess Giveth and the Goddess Taketh Away. I am definitely going to try it out if I can find the right cup/saucer or plate combination in the next few days - otherwise, it will have to wait.  Because, wouldn't you know it, I came up with an alternative solution using what I already had on hand in the meantime (earlier tonight, while watching "The Biggest Loser" and tearing through my cabinets and various stashes of stuff to see what I could come up with), and no gluing was involved. And I'm kinda liking what I came up with.  Probably because I came up with it and not because it looks so hot.  But, hey!

Second:

If you are a reader here (har!) you'll have seen that recently I've just become absolutely nutso obsessed with birds and, evidently, have been absolutely nutso obsessed with them for years but didn't realize it until, more or less, around February 10, 2012 when I started tearing my bedroom apart, determined to "redo" it.  Anyway, tonight I saw this absolutely gorgeously stunning idea for a BIRD MOBILE, and it just made me gasp for oxygen.  I mean it! 

Check out Budget Wise Home's post on this "bird mobile" from February 28, 2012.

Image from Budget Wise Home
This clever idea -- that can be realized in so many different ways other than cutting out any material or any hand-sewing (or machine sewing) at all - Well, Darlings!  It is totally cool and have given me an idea to try out where I won't have to sew anything, but I will have to come up with some already-made artificial birds.  I feel a visit to Michael's and/or Joanne Fabrics coming on in the near future...

Okay, so how did they get the clear fishing line so neatly "stuck" to the sticks?  Are those little jewely hooky-things I spy screwed into those branches?  Whoa!  Way too technical for me and my big fat clumsy fingers!    But I'll figure something out...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Feng Shui Principles of Bed Placement

Hola darlings!

I want to talk to you about feng shui and the bedroom.  Now, I'm sure no expert!  This is a complicated subject that has many layers of knowledge and many nuiances, like any cross between "art" and "science."  It is also very old, grounded in geomancy principles of the Daoist philosophy of ancient China.  Some people swear by it.  Me - I'm open minded on the subject, but I have to tell you that something I came across some weeks ago while looking at bedroom design sites on the internet rattled me enough to induce my fervor to rearrange my bedroom!

What I read - paraphrasing - is this:  If you don't want to be carried out feet first through your door, don't sleep with your feet pointing toward the entry/exit of your bedroom! 

Well, there was my bed, and while my body and feet were not directly aligned with the door to my bedroom, it was close enough for me to go "hmmmm....." 


A "before" bedroom photo.  This was taken from just inside the entry to my bedroom -- there is a little "entry hallway" before one is in the room proper.  Notice the position of the entry to the bed.  As a restless sleeper, it is not uncommon for me to wake up in the morning with my body stretched out diagonally across the bed - with my feet pointed right toward that doorway!  Eek!

So, I did some additional reading on the subject of feng shui principles specifically applied to one's bedroom, and learned some interesting things:

1.  Best not to have any mirrors in your bedroom at all, but if you do have a mirror, make sure it's not reflecting the bed.  Oh oh.  Before photo below: triple mirror directly across from my bed!  Eek! 



2.  Other than a soft canopy, have nothing hanging above your bed (ceiling fan, beams, chandelier).  A-okay in that area.

3.  Don't have your bed aligned with the entry door.  Best position for a bed is called the "command" position, which is a location farthest away from the door but where you can still see anyone entering.  A bed placed diagonally in this position is fine.  Because of the configuration of my room, I've got my bed in probably the "second best" command position.

4.  Don't put your bed underneath a window.  A-okay there.  If bed is near a window, it should preferably be on the right hand side of the bed.  A-okay there.

5.  Have a wood or upholstered headboard attached to your bed for a "solid backing."  A-okay there, although I do have some "plastic" wood trim in addition to actual wood making up my headboard.  I think it's the thought (intent) that counts :)

6.  Do not block the flow of chi (basically, invisible energy created by all things in the universe) around your bed - so make sure your bed is elevated off the ground and there is room around any canopy and below the bed for the chi to flow freely.

7.  Close all doors to your bedroom when you are sleeping, including doors to en suite bath, closet doors, and entry door.  This restricts the flow of active chi energy from entering into the room and disrupting your sleep.  Hmmm... not a habit I have -- when alone in the house I sleep with my bedroom door open.  But for no reason, really.  Closet door is always closed except when I'm getting dressed or undressed and moving from bedroom to bathroom (outside off the hallway). 

8.  Even if you don't have the best designed room to achieve maximum beneficial chi flow, you can use elements of feng shui to mitigate not so favorable aspects and increase the favorable aspects.  These principles involve the use of metal, wood, water, air, and "fire" (usually represented by candles and fire-like colors), arrangements of art, floral arrangements, use of books, and other decorative objects strategically placed around the room to create a well-balanced and yet soothing environment in which to regenerate yourself. 

9.  Remove exercise equipment, computers, televisions, and even your clock-radio (oh no!) from your bedroom, if possible.  These objects are conducive to "work" and not to rest and regeneration.  They obstruct the chi you need to recharge during sleep. 

10.  Soft lighting - use a dimmer switch if you have a central light fixture and make sure your bed is not situtated underneath it.  Candlelight is conducive to creating the flow of regenerative chi.  Several different levels of light is best for bedroom use.  No harsh, glaring lamps.  With flameless candles readily available, one can now fall asleep with battery-operated candles "flickering" without worrying about burning the house down! 

11.  There should be balancing tables or nightstands on either side of the bedhead.  Oh oh. 

There are many more principles involved, but these are the ones that I recall. 

Which leads me to my redone bedroom.  While the new location of the bed was better as a "command" position in relation to the entry to the bedroom, part of the bed was still reflected in the triple mirror!


This "after" photo was taken on February 13, 2012.  Notice how much of the bed you can see in the mirror even though the canopy obscures part of it! 

What to do, what to do?  I could remove the mirror from the dresser, leaving a big blank wall in need of decorating!  The mirror is detachable, but I'm not sure it's a project I could tackle by myself.  I could see headlines "Woman Found Crushed by Fallen Mirror..."  And not sure that is something I'd want to do.  I like that mirror!  It adds light and substance to the room. 

So, I did some more reading yesterday and found some excellent advice.  I can use an artificial floral arrangement placed in the center of the dresser to block (deflect is probably the more correct concept) a large portion of the mirror.  I am thinking about what to use from around the house.  I do have many silk flowers stashed away here and there, plus the bouquet of silk roses currently adorning the dinette table -- they look so pretty there!  It was also suggested that photographs and artwork could be used on the dresser to block the mirror, as well as book arrangements and other accessories.

The first thing I did was change the angle of the bed in relation to its corner, so that now not quite so much of it is reflected in the mirror. In addition, I experimented with raising the height of the two end corners of my canopy during the day, so one can see "into" the room better, and lowing them at night -- even lower than shown in the above photograph from February 13th -- you can see the canopy in the mirror and that deflects the "water" chi flowing from the mirror. 

Last night the ties were moved far down, to a few inches below the top mattress level, which resulted in the netting material ballooning out and gently blocking most of the view in the mirror. I can also simply untie the cords holding back the netting, thereby "enclosing" the bottom half of the bed at night while still leaving plenty of room for the good chi to flow around the bed.

After adjusting the position of the bed, I then "shopped my house" as the saying goes.  When I put my eyes to it, I discovered many cream-colored accessories that I moved to and arranged on the triple dresser.  I put more stuff accessories on my dresser than I've ever had on it - ever!  There are now multiple "layers" of items, all designed to deflect the view of the bed in the mirror, thus deflecting the water chi of the mirror.

Here are a couple of "after" photos of the dresser taken after I did my changes yesterday.  Notice how, even with the bottom half of the bed canopy tied high up, the view of the bed has been substantially blocked in the mirror:



"After" photo of dresser top, applying feng shui principles to deflect mirror energy from bed.  Added elements included (1) two sets of candlesticks (one brass - a "metal" element, one carved soapstone - an "earth" element) and candles ("fire" element) flanking (2) large (11 x 14)  much loved photograph taken in Chicago in 2007 - framed in wood (earth element, the opposite of the mirror's "water" energy); (3) perfume and cologne bottles now removed from plastic bucket and displayed on shined-up brass tray (adding metal element to counteract the "water" element of the mirror); (4) two decorated ginger jars added to either side of the dresserscape (made of ceramic, an earth element (clay), to counteract the "water" element of the mirror); (5) two other special photographs added to dresserscape, one framed in metal, one in wood.  All elements were "balanced" across the surface of the dresser, while not stricly symmetrical.  Prior elements to counteract the "water" chi of the mirror include wood lamps, ceramic music/trinket box, metal-framed picture, and wood/metal trimmed jewelry box.

Now, perhaps it was just psychological, darlings, but last night I slept pretty darn well for me.  I did wake up a few (4-5) times but was able to fall back asleep quickly, and felt generally well-rested this morning, until I tried to walk around with my bum right ankle!  Ach!  Tonight I'm going to experiment and untie the canopy draping at the end of the bed so it encloses the bottom half of the bed.

Still to be addressed is balancing either side of the bedhead with tables or nightstands -- they do not have to match.  Right now, I figure that The Mother Goddess with her subtle but powerful presence on the right side of the bedhead on her wall plinth balances out the energy of the nightstand with lamp on the left side of the bed.  But I really do want to add a second nightstand.  Which means I need to shop - and also find a second lamp.

Oh my, here I go again...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Doing an "Artsy Craftsy" Framed Bird Wall Art


This is one of the photos of my bedroom redo "reveal" earlier today, ta da!

I am very proud of the framed bird print above my 52 or 53 year old Lady Buxton jewelry box atop the bureau.

Here's a close-up - sorry it's not cropped:


I had purchased the frame off a clearance table at TJ Maxx about a month ago.  Paid well under $10 for it.  The outside dimensions are not quite 12 inches by not quite 14 inches, LOL!  The inside dimensions are 8 x10 OR, if you want to use the "mat" that came along with the frame (just the photo cover page in not quite white) a 5 x 7 print or photo would fit over the center area of the "mat." 

I had orginally intended this frame to hold a picture of Mr. Don and I taken in Toledo (Spain) during our January, 2012 trip, but I was not able to do anything with the poor quality photo that was taken of us there (unfortunately we were cast in deep shadow), and even though he is really a graphics genius, Mr. Don wasn't able to improve that photo, either.  So - nix that idea. 

There was the frame - sitting empty on my dinette table. Forlorn. Lonely.  Crying out to me.  "I am USELESS," it wailed.  "No, you're not!" I yelled back.

What happened next I can only blame on too much reading of blogs by women who spend the equivalent of my full-time job each week and more decorating their homes.  Damn - sure wish I could afford to stay at home and do that! 

I already had bird prints that I wanted to use in my bedroom redo.  Four of them are just greeting cards (mostly Christmas cards from past years) that I saved and framed in 5 x7 frames because I thought they were so beautiful.  And this big framed print (about 24 x 24) - that used to hang above the bed in the guest room and then moved to my room after it was painted ts current "Powder Puff" (Sears Easy Living Satin) in 2009 - this photo shows its location prior to my bedroom redo (see prior post for "after" pics to see where it is hanging now:


Not the best photo, that's for sure!  But you can see that the bird pic itself is framed by a square of colors that acts as a sort of "mat," set off by an even darker narrow border, and finally framed by a creamy-colored "mat" inside the frame.

I was aiming for a similar effect in my much smaller TJ Maxx frame.

First, I hunted online for prints of black-capped chickadees because, despite looking, I could not find a suitable greeting card.  I settled on one print from an old book that had been hand drawn and colored.  It had just the "look" I was after!   I saved the image and then printed it out on mat photo paper.  First, as an 8 x 10 and then as a 5 x 7 colored print that I cut down to size with scissors (not exactly even, unfortunately) and laid over the 5 x 7 area of the "mat." 

I decided I liked the scale of the 5 x 7 print better in relation to the size of the frame.  Sorry - no "before" photos while I was experimenting with all of this. 

I hung up the framed 5 x 7 print on the nearly white "mat" and was happy with it. But, it was missing something.

So, I decided to see if I could add some drama around the print.  I took my cue from the inner-most colored area in the 24 x 24 framed bird print:  it's tan/gold/cream brocade-looking (not real brocade).  I didn't think I could replicate it exactly but I did have an idea to try.

I printed out an enlarged image of a beautiful black and white toile wallpaper that I'd saved a few days before.  Unfortunately, when I printed it out, it came out sort of dark grey and light grey, not black and white! 

Even if it had printed out pure white and stark black, it probably would not have worked the way I wanted, because the background of the 5 x 7 bird print I snatched off the internet is very white.

I decided that the wallpaper print needed a "tea-dyed" effect.  I didn't want to bother with making tea, so I made up a strong brew of instant coffee, added hot water to the sink, dumped in the coffee, mixed it up, and then dunked in the photo paper printed with the toile pattern.

I tore off a part of the paper while fishing it out of the hot brew in the sink!  Left it in a wee back too long I guess and it started to turn to mush, eek!  Managed to splat it onto some newspaper and blotted it off with some paper towels.  Turned it over and did the same thing, then set the thing aside to dry. 

This morning, it was a little crinkly looking, but dry.  And a very nice sort of "aged" light coffee color!  I cut it to fit the frame.  Then I took my 5 x7 bird print and after several tries, got it more or less to a satisfactory position on the new "mat."  Here's a photo of the completed look:


The coffee-stained toile wallpaper print that acts as a "mat" for the 5 x7 bird print turned out pretty good!  The coffee-dyed "mat" coordinates very well with the antique gold inner part of the frame and mates this put-together print well with the colors and "feeling" of the professionally created 24 x 24 bird print that hangs on a neighboring wall in my bedroom.

I seriously need to do this cutting stuff on the paper-cutter at the office!  I can't cut a straight line (even a drawn-on straight line) with scissors to save my life!  Wobble-wobble...  I did think about trying to add a black border around the bird print, but couldn't think what to use that I had on hand and thought - leave well enough alone!

Bedroom Redo - Grand Finale!!!

My bedroom is finished, at long last, to the point where it is presentable!  And so, without further ado, here are more photos than your probably care to look at!  I don't care, this is my blog:


I fancied things up a little by borrowing the square cushions from the family room sofa just for these photographs and 'arranging' them on the bed.  And I see my staging was off center, damn!  So much for being a fancy-pants, LOL!   I'm very happy with how the canopy turned out. It perfectly disguises the "dead" space behind the head of my angled bed.  The toile comforter and pillow shams are very white and black.  I made a wise decision in purchasing the "very white" mosquito net canopy rather than the ivory color.

The sheet set presently on the bed was purchased in 2009 in anticipation of this eventual re-do and was, along with the toile curtains and other bedding, all bought online over a couple of months.  Thus, I unfortunately ended up with several different shades of what was supposed to be black and "white" toile! (I also bought what was supposed to be a coordinating red/black/white toile comforter and valances -- don't get me started on the "white" that looks "pink"!) These pillow cases, as you can see, are decidedly "yellowy."  The black and white gingham checked sheet set (Penney's) that I photographed in my last set of photos of this room during its transition is in the wash.  Guess I need to buy another sheet set to "go" with...


For this photo and the one below, I tied back the curtains on the window facing west that overlooks my backyard and gardens.  I just love how the sunlight is streaming in today, and how romantic and cozy everything looks.  Even though these photos look dark, the room was filled with beautiful light and shadows about 3 p.m. when I took these photos.  The view is toward the southwest.


You can sorta kinda peek 'through' the lace undercurtain and see the outline of my leafless trees, asleep over the winter.  Because this window is very "private" I could keep the overcurtains tied back like this at night, but I do like the cozy feel the closed curtains give to the room.  I also how the daylight (it doesn't even have to be sunny) shows a hazy pattern of the lace undercurtain through to the semi-sheer overcurtains.


My bureau! I took this photo while sitting on my bed, thus part of the canopy is in the scene.  The light streaming in from the right is from a southern window -- I did not use a flash but I did have the lamps turned on. This photo gives you a pretty good idea of the various "views" I now have from my soft, comfy bed through its canopy! The bureau is on the east wall and its left side faces the entrance and hallway.  She looks pretty darn good, doesn't she, after my touch-up/refinishing/clean-up/polishing/buffing frenzy of yesterday.  Maybe you can see why I fell in love with this set way back in 1977 or 1978 and am still in love with it, all these years later.  She's got great bones, even if part of her is plastic wood :)  More about that bird picture in a subsequent post.  Sitting atop that old Lady Buxton jewelry box from my Daddy, a gift from many many moons ago, is a black soapstone carved Bast (or Bastet), the "Cat" Goddess of ancient Egypt.  She's really beautifully rendered.


My chair corner, southeast corner of the room.  The window faces south.  Through that door is my walk-in closet which is large enough for me to use as a mini-dressing room.  I angled the wing chair so that it mirrors the angle of my bed, upon which I was sitting when I took this photo, LOL!  The chair color has changed from "woodrose" to black through the magic of an old slip-cover that I borrowed from the guest room wing chair. 

I keep the heat set pretty low in the house during the cool/cold months and I can get cold, thus there is a nice plump down throw over the back of the chair to wrap up in if I need it, or layer over the bed at night for "extra" if needed.  All my chair corner lacks for total comfort is a footstool -- must look for one that will fit the tiny space...  The old pharmacy lamp that used to light the nightstand in my old set-up now lights my reading chair, and I added a little metal "garden" side table (a purchase from some years ago stashed in the garage) to hold my wine glass when I sit and read.  Not shown in this photo are the books I subsequently stashed "inside" the lower frame of that little table that will be my reading material for the next few weeks -- former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov ("How Life Imitates Chess") and Dan Brown (a re-read of "Solomon's Key").  This photo was also taken while seated on my bed, this time at the end of the bed -- thus you can see a small part of the net canopy to the left, LOL!


Well, some photographer I am!  I got myself in the photo, duh!  The triple dresser is on the south wall of the bedroom.  I will explain about all the stuff accessories on it in another post.  I was on the other side of the bed to take this photo, and you can see parts of the canopy.  Again, very representative of my "view" when lounging underneath my canopy feeling like Cleopatra.


My Chinese trio of ideograms for "good luck, good fortune (money), and long life."  They are solid brass and beautifully rendered; a little tarnished (I used up the last of my brass polish on the brass tray now sitting on the triple dresser holding my various perfumes and colognes) but still lovely.  This is one of two sets that were gifted to me by my sister Yvonne in 1990 when I moved into this house.  This set had been in storage for some time; the other set has been in constant use in my living room since 1990 and presently signs horizontally on the wall above the fireplace mantle in that room. 


Here is The Goddess relocated to the west wall, between the window that streams in warm afternoon sunlight and my bed. Notice how she now appears to be "curtained" on both sides (by the window curtain on the left and canopied bed on the right).  She is much happier in this spot!  In both ancient Egyptian and ancient Chinese legends, the "West" was the land over which She Ruled and where the dead went to live again in various versions of "Paradise" and also to be reborn back into the world every day.  While in a prior post ("Lonely Goddess") I had placed Her on this very same plinth on the east wall of my bedroom (sun rising position/birth/rebirth) above my bureau, She just did not "feel" right there, and I "knew" that She was not happy in that location, either.  Okay, call me crazy :)

Now, when entering into the room or when lounging in my bed, I see Her through the "veil" of the canopy.  Only fitting, since one should get up close and personal with The Goddess most intimately to make oneself and one's petitions know to Her.  One now has to walk into the room, orient one's self, and then walk through the narrow pathway between corner of bed and triple dresser to reach the Goddess' perch on the west wall and see Her clearly and not through a "veil."




The north wall of my bedroom.  We're nearly finished with the tour. You can see the exit from the bedroom at the far right.  There's that "brown" lamp I bought on clearance at Penney's and that's how I decided to put up the wall art.  When I took this photo, I forgot to add in the important "Three Goddesses" photo taken of my honorary sister, Georgia, her daugher, Michelle, and I taken in August, 2008 by Mr. Don. It's one of my favorite photos of the three of us together.  You can see it in the photo below.


There are still many putsy things to do.  Cleaning and restoration-wise, I want to give the triple dresser and nightstand a good going over with a sanding block, spot refinisher and a touch-up pen and give the bureau a second going-over (I worked on it yesterday for a good hour, sanding, buffing, polishing and touching-up the finish with various products). For the time being, though, this is it!

The carpeting will be cleaned in May (when it's usually warm enough to keep windows open to get rid of the chemical smells and speed dry time), it needs to be replaced (it's 21 years old, eek!) but that's not in the budget this year.  I would like to get a 5x7 area rug in an "oriental" pattern with a black background. That will add some color to the floor and also cover up some of the worst of the worn areas in the carpet and be a welcome accent on future new carpet.

I would like to have the wing chair that's presently in the guest room reupholstered in black brocade or black microfiber and move it into my room.and donate my current bedroom wing chair to the Goodwill.  It's 25 years old and despite my best efforts, it's sagging after much use and ready to be retired - or picked up by some clever thrifter and painted or otherwise utilized.  Don't get me wrong, it's still very comfortable, I just sort of "sink" into it now, LOL! 

I would like to move my Chinese good luck, good money and long life idiograms horizontally on the wall above the mirror on the triple dresser, and put some nice bird prints in their place.

I would like to finish off the space "behind the veil" at the head of the bed with a few wall shelves and some battery-operated candles to add to the ambiance.

Ideally, I would like to have a nightstand or end table with drawer(s) on both sides of the bed.

So, I still have work ahead of me...

October 31, 2013 -- Happy Hallow'een!  I'm sharing this post at Glitter, Glue & Paint's Throwback Thursday

Inspired by "Shades of White"

Hola darlings!

I happened a across a link to this wonderful bedroom makeover yesterday and I wanted to post about it then, but I got side-tracked doing other things -- nothing new there!

It's from Back Porch Musings.  I haven't had time to explore, but from what I've seen, its owner, Pat, and I, must have been separated at birth.  I just love her style and decorative bent; me thinks we are two peas out of the same pod.

I was so struck by Pat's bedroom makeover in 2011 because it was pretty much based on shades of white with a few dark accents.  As it turns out, my own bedroom redo that started out with visions of a sort of sophisticated French toile bedroom morphed into a black and white bedroom, but in execution has resulted in more or less a -- well, let's just say it's a real mish-mash, but mostly "white" -- except for everything that isn't "white."

LOL!  That did not used to be the case with me.  I used to be the sort of disciplined person who worked relentlessly toward a goal, rarely deviating, and that determination has got me to a more or less pretty good place in my life. But starting some months before my 60th birthday, I found myself deviating from my life-long path of making a plan, checking it twice, and then carrying it out come hell or high water.  Since my birthday last August, well, let's just say that the change in my modus operandi has become even more pronounced.  I start out with one vision in mind and by the end of the trail have ended up in a totally different place from where I'd intended to go!  More about that later --

But I want to show you a couple of Pat's before and after photos:


I love this photograph of Pat's bedroom.  In other photos, it looks like she has a very large bedroom, it might be 2x as large as my 11 x14!  And so I concentrated on this photo that shows the bed and its immediate surroundings.

What struck me first about this "Before" room was the dark metal canopy bed.  I have a thing about canopies, and as you know if you've read some of my earlier posts, I recently put up a "mosquito net" canopy over my own canopy-less bed to create the "look and feel" of a canopy bed without the cost of actually buying a new bed -- part of  my current bedroom redo (fortunately now seeing the finish line in sight!)

I love Pat's metal bed, I love its draping without actually being a "canopy."  I love the white table, dressers and accessories.  No white furniture in my bedroom, alas.  Her bird prints seem to echo the bird prints I had/retained in my bedroom, although mine are not Pottery Barn nice! 

What I don't like is the dresser at the end of the bed -- it looks out of proportion to the scale of the other pieces, but not the size of the room overall.  And it's beautiful - and looks French provincial, too :)


And here's the "After" photo!  Canopy bed is - GONE!  Truthfully, I would have kept it.  The dresser at the foot of the bed was moved to another part of the house and replaced by this wonderful bench.

Notice that the white table and dresser in the "Before" photo simply swapped sides of the bed.  New lamps came in, the dark mirror formerly on the left was replaced by a print, and a small pediment was added above the bird prints on the right.  Some accessories were changed/swapped out.  A wing chair and foot stool were also added (on the right, not fully seen in this photo). 

Pat's room (both "Before" and "After") are incredible inspirations -- just what I needed to spur me on toward my finish line!  Thanks, Pat.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Owls!

While digging through my stash of decorating stuff a few days ago, I came across these two miscreants:


Can't you tell by their expressions, they're already planning no good! 

They are designed to hold small votive candles or something larger.  They both have openings in their backs to easily insert a votive candle holder or small candle; they both have holes in their heads (LOL!) as well as the front ventings you can see.  In addition, the shorter owl has venting "slits" cut into its two wings.

These were given to me by one of my sisters some years ago, perhaps 2003 or 2004.  I used them once, and put them away.  Because - THEY'RE UGLY!!!!!!!


Well, maybe that is an overstatement, but trust me, they look better in these photographs than they do in person!  It grieves me to say so.  After all, the owl is a harbinger of the Goddess. Some of the oldest cave drawings in Europe show owl-like birds in close association with female fertility symbols, dated to perhaps 14,000 or 15,000 years ago. Much later, in ancient Greece, the owl was the companion and psychopomp of the Goddess Athena.  One of Athena's attributes was "wisdom," and thus the owl became closely associated with wisdom, similar to the Christian concept of "Sophia" being associated with the Holy Spirit in the form of a Dove. 

I don't like the colors this owl is painted, but generally speaking, and proportionally, she is cute.  I think she would look great in my bedroom, but I need to repaint her -- only, what color?  Or colors?


Here is the larger owl.  Notice the cock-eyed eyes!  Oy!  Artistically, not as finely rendered as the smaller owl.

But - if they are meant to be a "couple" (you know what I mean), who am I to break them up?  Or maybe they are mother and daughter.  Or sisters.  Or big brother and small sister, or big sister and small brother.  Or mother and father.  Hooo hoooo hooooooo knows....

So, should I repaint both owls and hope for the best?  Should I even be worried about owls, since after all, they are "fashionable" right now, which generally means I ignore them because they are "trendy" and darlings, I just do not do "trendy." 

Poor Lonely Goddess

After my last post (regarding bedroom redo), I had a brainstorm and thought "You should really really move your Goddess up to your bedroom."

And so I did.

But She was not very happy...
Not that I blame Her.  I mean, look at that wall.  Everthing is totally out of proportion to the Goddess!  She should be the most important thing on that wall!  But She is not.  And She is very beautiful, even though you can't really see it in this photo.

The object was to replace the 24x24 bird print that I had previously stuck up above this bureau and my vintage Lady Buxton jewelry box given to me by my Daddy when I was still a wee little lass (about 7 or 8, maybe).  That bird print just did not look right there. The proportions were just "off" -- can't explain it any other way.  It just didn't look "comfortable" there, just not right.  I ended up putting it somewhere else where I think it is now very happy.

After I removed the bird print, I had a hole in my wall above the bureau (where the hooky thing had been pounded into the wall to hold the bird print) that was crying out for something else to be hung there.

And so...

I got the idea for placing the Goddess on this acanthus leaf thingy while I was digging through my stash of stuff in drawers, closets and cupboards and I came across a pair of them. I believe this process is called "shopping your house."  The acanthus leaf thingys have holes through the bottom part and they used to hold up a lace scarf across the large window in my family room.  I took them down in November, 2009 when I put the house on the market and, against my own better instincts, I listened to a pair of absolutely clueless female brokers who told me that my house needed to be "decluttered."  I should have kicked them out right there and then...

Anyway, while I was initially very happy with this placement of the Goddess, and She seemed happy to be in the most intimate part of the house, I soon became worried that a good slam of the bedroom door would cause Her to fall off her perch.  So, I pulled out the rickety step-ladder, went to Her perch, and placed masking tape roundels onto Her base, and then stuck Her on to the acanthus leaf thingy.

She seemed sturdy enough, but still, I worried.  What if the lady who helps me keep this place clean bumps the wall and the Goddess tumbles to the bureau below?  Poor Goddess! I've already broken Her once and patched Her back together with Elmer's Glue-All. Poor already scarred up old bureau - with a new dent to be added, oh my. 

I have not sleep well since the night after I put Her up on that perch.

Fast forward to today.  As it so happens, I took a day off to go see my favorite doctor who doesn't scold me for refusing to have a colonoscopy or take my statin meds for my "high" cholesterol. I walked into my front room after my appointment just about noon.  Ahhhh, still plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day!

This afternoon, I pulled out my rickety old step-ladder and carefully took the Goddess down from Her acanthus leaf thingy.  Goddess will stay in my bedroom, just not on the acanthus leafy thingy. 

Ideally, I would love to see Her enshrined in a sort of mini-grotto...

But for the life of me, I can't figure out how I'd achieve such a look that would be suitable to my rather conservative decorating esthetic.  Unless I buy a second-hand creche scene and junk most of it... or make a paper-mache "grotto" in which to place Her?  Hmmm.....

Ahem.  Fantasies aside, I re-thought using that old Home Interiors shelf that I'd cleaned up last Saturday.  Since I'm trying to redo this bedroom on the cheap and not buy anything new for it (other than the unsuitable brown lamp that I am still using), I have been digging through my various decorative thing stashes here and there about the house to see what I have that might be usable to fulfill my vision.  Well, the vision isn't going so well...  The shelf is in good shape and cleaned up very well.  All it took to finalize it's look was a tap here and there with my trusty narrow-head hammer (shielded with a dry washcloth) to tighten up the joints and voila, the shelf was as good as new!

So this afternoon I measured carefully and marked up my formerly pristine wall above the bureau with all kinds of pencil marks, and now I have a ton of pink erasure gunk that needs to be vacuumed up from the baseboard and carpet behind the bureau, and good luck doing that without pulling the sucker away from the wall.  What a pain in the arse!  Anyway, I stuck the shelf up on the wall and it looks to be hanging more-or-less even, ta da! 

Then I went through several EPIC FAILS trying to arrange the Goddess on the shelf; first alone, then when She looked far too alone, with this and that, and finally just nearly threw everything out the window but carefully put away the hammer and what-nots instead, for another day.

No pictures!  Not until the bedroom is finally finished.  Yeah yeah, I know I said that before.  But damn it, this time I mean it.  And so, there is only the image of my poor lonely Goddess perched precariously upon the acanthus leaf thingy, which qualifies as a "before" photo even though it was meant to be part of the "after"...

This evening the Goddess is on Her new shelf.  But She needs something more around Her.  I need to come up with something that will make Her look spectacular, while fitting into my decorating aestetic (whatever that is). Am I just imagining it, that I'm hearing the sound of an impatiently tapping foot...

I think I need to take a long hot bubble bath.  And drink three glasses of wine. Seriously.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Sensible Way To Arrange Wall Art - Duh!

After the last post, I had a brain storm while preparing supper and finishing up the laundry.  I took down the large bird print and traced it on newspaper, ditto the small framed bird print - times three.

Duh!  Should have tried this from the beginning, but it didn't occur to me until after I finished my previous post.  No more fruitless nail holes in the walls; no more laying out arrangements on the floor where you really don't get the full potential effect...

I took my cut-outs to my bedroom and taped them to the wall in a few different configurations -- more, perhaps, to follow.  This makes so much sense!  And I know it's crazy, but I'm liking putting all my current stuff on this one wall, and doing something else on the other wall next to the triple dresser:




Hmmm...

Victoria Beckham's New Line

Supposedly "moderately priced" ($435 - $1,250) - well, not for the likes of me, that's for sure!  But I give applause to the lady, she has a knack for designing extremely wearable clothes.  Kudos to Victoria Beckham - actually designing clothes for real women!

Who Wore It Better?

  As of tonight just a few minutes ago, fans voted 51% to Beckham versus 49% to Williams. I prefer Williams' look (she wore it to a pre-award tea party in Great Britain in January, 2012), but I'm a more formal type of gal :)

I love this dress because Beckham shows that it can be worn in two very different ways:  fun and flirty (her look) -- notice the pink soles on her ridiculous platform shoe-booties, and Williams' more sophisticated look in classic black and white.

Now, if only women would start wearing hosiery again!  Bare-nekked legs = Epic FAIL!

The Birds Aren't Working...

One of the pleasures of Sunday is sitting down with a cup of coffee to read the Sunday newspaper, including all the sale papers.  I love sitting at the dinette table with the sunlight streaming in, a smooth jazz station playing softly in the background.  Along with the trek to the supermarket for hot ham and rolls, it is one of my best-loved Sunday rituals!

Today that trek to the supermarket was especially nice.  It was hovering a little above freezing when I left home to walk the nine blocks plus to visit Walgreens and then the Pick 'n Save supermarket.  I got home about an hour later and had actually worked up a bit of a sweat - my winter jacket, wool beret, scarf and mittens were too warm when lugging two cloth bags of groceries!  The Sun felt so good on my face!  No frozen cheeks today. 

The Sun is getting more intense every day, and I'm loving every second of it.  While this has been one of the mildest winters on record in southeast Wisconsin, I'm sick of winter!  I'm itching to get out in the yard and get dirt under my fingernails again.  I want to hang out on the deck on long sunny afternoons before the mosquitoes and the awful heat and humidity of last summer arrive again! 

I want to have this bout of decoratitis over by then!  But I'm not sure I'm going to be cured by then.  Sigh.

I am more or less a "serial" decorator.  I'm not the sort to start ten different projects and hop from one to the other, to and fro, and leave them in various stages of unfinished-ness!  I usually start something and see it through to the finish, and focus on one project at a time.  But, the relatively few finishing touches needed to complete the bathroom are languishing even though I have everything I need to finish it, because I got struck with a bug up my butt to redo my bedroom!  This is how I know I've got decoratitis, because if I were behaving normally, I would have finished the bathroom first.  That was the logical thing to do.  All I have to do is assemble the towel rack, put up the new shower curtain rod, and install the wireless wall sconces on either side of the mirror.  And it shall be finished!

But NOOOOOOOOOOOO. 

And now, I'm being punished, darlings.  Hera is schooling me, I'm sure of it! 

I can't decide where to put stuff on the bedroom walls or even what to put on the walls.  After I thought I knew it all!

Today I thought I had figured it out. While at Walgreens, I stopped by the section where the picture frames, etc. are and, lo and behold, they were having a 2 for 1 sale on many of the frames, including frames identical to the nice brown frames that hold two of my small bird prints! (I posted a photo of them yesterday).  I would not pay $6.99 for one frame, but $6.99 for two frames, you betcha!  So I snapped up two of the three on the shelf and congratulated myself!  Now, instead of having to reframe all four bird prints, I would only need to reframe two!  I was congratulating myself on how much work I would save myself...

So, that is what I did - reframed two of the bird prints.  And gave everything a good swipe and wipe, too.  Voila!  Shiny new!


So, I figured, that is how I would put them up on the only other large expanse of wall in the bedroom, the one next to the dresser on the right.

But I'm just not seeing it.

So then, I erased the odd-bird print out:


Somehow, that's not doing it for me, either.

I toyed with the idea of adding an old Home Interiors shelf below this arrangement, and putting something (Goddess only knows what) on it.  I even went so far as to dig through my cabinet stash and pulled out the shelf, cleaned it up and everything!  Then I plunked it down on the carpet underneath the pics and went - nah.  Ain't working, baby!  I didn't even take a photo of it.

Then I tried a couple of birdy plates that I have in my curio cabinet in the living room in various arrangements with the bird prints.  Nope, ain't working, baby.

Wish I had another day to this weekend.  Damn!  I've got laundry going, I need to feed myself again since the hot ham, cheese and hardroll I had this morning has worked its way through my digestive system and my body is saying FEED ME FEED ME, and tonight is a kick back and watch t.v. night in preparation for having to drag my butt back to the office tomorrow, UGH: Once Upon a Time, then Downton Abbey.  I'll save the premiere of the new season of Celebrity Apprentice for tomorrow night. 

I think I know what the problem is.  The proportions are off.  I used to have these bird prints in the 10 x 10 guest bedroom that is cute and cozy.  They fit in fine there, alongside the window opposite the doorway, where they had immediate visual impact.  But in my larger bedroom, they will get lost in the expanse of whites! 

So, back to the original plan, which was to reframe them in my $5 Walgreens frames that have large mats around them rimmed by dark brown wood (picture of those frames posted yesterday). 

Not sure what I'm going to do with these 'other' Walgreens frames once the birdies have vacated them; maybe see if they'll work on the memory/gallery wall I'm thinking about doing on the dinette wall.  But no more starting any more projects until my bedroom, and the upstairs bathroom, are complete! 

And the brown lamp on my nightstand - it MUST go.  The white/cream colored lamp from the guest room didn't work in the space, but neither does the brown lamp.  Sigh.  Back to the online catalogs...

BTW, this is where I stuck the large bird print:


Above the bureau.  It's not bad there, but it isn't the greatest there, either.  It's color sorta/kinda goes with the celadon green of my ancient jewelry box.  That's real, life patina on that sucker, people!  I have scrubbed this baby off, too, because I'm not a fan of "patina" -- but it refuses to go away.  I should have left it in its formerly more uniform grunge color!  Now I have parts that look cleaned and parts that still look filthy dirty.  What an insult to this gorgeous old Lady Buxton jewelry box that was a gift from my Daddy when I was maybe 8 years old.  I even still have the key to lock it up! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Do I Put On My Bedroom Walls?

 What do I put on my bedroom walls? 

I should have spent at least part of today putting the birdy pics in the Walgreens frames.  Didn't.  Instead, pulled out tons of old stuff from the closets (seemed to have multiplied over the years, what?) and spread it out in the light of the bedroom.  But it was really sunny today and even with both windows fully covered and the curtains not pulled back, I couldn't get semi-decent photos of the main contenders until close to 5 p.m.

Which means, darlings, that SPRING IS ALMOST HERE!  That also means we may still experience one or more blizzards...

OHMYGODDESS, you have no idea how happy that makes me.

Back to bedroom decor -- here are the major pieces I have.  Major meaning size-wise.  Sorry for the photos, not the best.  Instead of dealing with too little light, I was dealing with too much light!  And trying to get the full pics into these pics, so I plopped everything on top of the bureau and photographed them that way:


Suspect No. 1:  A Home Interiors entry. Love the frame.  Not so hot on the rather greenish and definitely MAUVE faux borders.  Because despite the price I paid for the lovely, it doesn't have its own separate mat!  But the subject is beautiful.  I believe they are dogwood blossoms.


Suspect No. 2:  Mom gave this to me I don't know how many years ago, exactly.  More than 25, to be sure!  I love the print, but the frame has seen better days and doesn't evoke the kind of vibe I'm into these days.  This is all of one piece and I'd have to strip it down, probably trashing the frame, in order to get at the "print," and then somehow cut it down to size to fit into a different frame if I'm not able to get a mat and frame that would exactly fit it otherwise.  Talk about CHA-CHING!!!!!  Not to mention those pastel colors, faded over the years, would be very hard to match. But oh, the ethereal look of this -- still love it after all these years.  And it sure would look fab in my room, wouldn't it?  If there was just the perfect spot for it...


Suspect No. 3:  This is actually a poster I picked up hmmm, don't remember when.  It's put over an earlier Home Interiors pic of two cardinals.  Beautiful in its hey-day, now grossly faded.  I took the mat and painted it - those 90's colors again!  It's big and beautiful, and would definitely make a statement.  But the mat needs to be repainted, or disappeared entirely???


Suspect No. 4:  Not the best photo.  This is another Home Interiors entry called "Roses, Roses!" and it really is lovely, although faded.  Considering what I paid for these Home Interiors wall art, it is disappointing, to say the least.  I have at least three Home Interiors prints stashed away in my upstairs closets!  Geez, I never realized how big those seemingly smallish looking closets are until I started digging around in them... Rather like Alice Through The Looking Glass.  I love the frame on t his pic and when it was not faded, it was gorgeous.  It's still very pretty, and very very girly.  As you can see, it definitely as a "green" element going.  Don't think it's what I'm looking for. I was thinking that part of Suspect No. 2 would look gorgeous framed out in this.  But then, Suspect No. 2 would also look gorgeous framed out in Suspect No. 3...


Suspect No. 5:  Birds, ordered from K-Mart online some years ago.  It actually came form some merchant-sharing program they had at the time, I think.  I love it!  I love the frame, the mat, and the compositiojn of the print.  It actually looks like it has a third (or is that fourth?) mat around it, but that damask-look  around the bird pic is actually not a mat at all, but part of the pic.  This was originally ordered for the guest room, and hung in there for at least a few years until I abducted it in late 2009 after my bedroom had been repainted. 

Soooo, what do I do?  What do I do? 

Going Birdy

Before I tore my bedroom apart, I used to have a lovely single large print (about 24 x 24) stationed above the center of my bed.  It featured two birds and had a sort of "oriental" feel to it:


Well, you can't really see the print clearly here, but this was the ONLY thing I had hanging on the walls in my bedroom after it was repainted to this "Powder Puff" color (Sears Easy Living Satin Finish paint) in November, 2009.  I had bought the paint in 2007, meaning, always, to just get around to repainting my room, to banish once and for all the bubble-gum pink I'd painted it 19 years before!  But I never got around to it until I put the house on the market in November 2009 and hired Kevin the handyman to do all sorts of things around here that badly needed to be done!

Kevin, oh Kevin, I miss you so much!  Why, oh why, did you have to go back to a full-time well-paying job with good benefits, leaving me and dozens of other customers bereft of your services???

Sorry for that - sometimes I get distracted, darlings.

After the recent tear-down and reconstruct, my bedroom currently looks like this:



Wow! As you can see, I've been a Busy Beaver (har!)  Okay, enough of the off-color references. 

As you can also see, nowhere now to place wall art above my headboard unless I suspend something from the ceiling, and I aint gonna do that.

And, because of the configuration of the room and it's smallish space (11 x 14), with the: (1) entrance door and mini-hallway, (2) closet door, (3) two windows, and (4) angled bed, limited as to how I can configure the art work.  I've much less wall space now to hang art work and such than before

I would like to keep the large bird print in the room, if possible.  Which leads me to the other birds in my life --

Prior to a mini-revamp after our second trip to New York City in 2009, I used to have these prints hanging in the guest room.  After that "revamp", they were stashed in that same black hole of a closet from which I pulled out the two lamp shade (another post).  To photograph these birdy prints, I arranged them on my old light grey carpet) in the "den":


There is something about each of them that just speaks to me, I find them so compelling.  So beautiful.  They are greeting card covers that, over the years, I either sent to people or received from people.  I saved them and eventually framed them. Seems I have a thing for birds. Wonder what that means...

The black/gold frames are old.  I bought those prior to 1986; I don't remember exactly what year I bought them, but they once resided in an apartment I lived in during my undergrad years.  I graduated from college in 1980. The dark wood frames are Walgreens purchased in c. 2005 or 2006.



These cheap Walgreens frames (in the junk room den) currently hold some of Mr. Don's fab photos from our first trip to NYC in 2005, when he was still working with his old FILM camera (we had not yet moved into the digital age during that trip, but it was during that trip that we realized we should do so...) 

At some point or other I printed the photos off in black and white, because my old scanner (since junked), refused to do anything in colors other than fuchia and white. Trns out they worked fabously in the down brown/off white of these fames.  The top and bottom photos were taken at sunset in Times Square; the center photo was taken at the well-known circular fountain at Columbia and Fifth Avenue.  I'm sure going to use them somewhere else in the house because they are both personally precious and really really great photos.  Maybe in the guest room, which has sort of evolved into a New York Remembrances room.  But I may need to find new frames for them, because...

...I am thinking about reframing those birdy cards in the frames that hold the New York pictures and rehanging them somewhere in my newly-rearranged bedroom. 

But wait, you say, there are only three frames shown in your photo (above).

So true, so true, mon amis!   I accumulated these frames (and identical frames, but in black), from Walgreens over the years, at $5 each (spectacular bargain!!!)   Finally, one recent day when I stopped in at my neighborhood Walgreens and went to the aisle where the photo stuff is, there were NO such frames left.  OH NO!

I had, though, managed to locate and purchase a fourth brown frame during a prior expedition.  Where there is a will, there is a way! 

But wait!!!  I discovered last night in a stash of family tree research tucked away on a shelf on one of the deep bookcases in the family room, yet a FIFTH brown frame, still in its Walgreens bag! When did I buy it? Total blank-out. Anyway, an abundance of riches! And just for the hell of it, because I was giddy for not having taken my blood pressure meds a week or so ago, I went to Walgreens in the Shoppes at Grande Avenue downtown one lunch hour and picked up a black frame (identical in structure). It was the only such frame of its kind, and still at $5. I could not resist.

So now I have an odd-out brown frame and an odd-out black frame. Can inspiration be far behind???

Ahem!  Back to the point.  If I re-hang the birdies, where do I put them???  Which begs the question, because now I need to get off this damn computer and actually start doing some real work, like reframing my birdy prints.

Those OTHER Lamp Shades...

Dug out from the depths of the junk room den closet:


This is covered in the same wallpaper that I used to have on the lower portion of the walls in my family room (replaced in about 1996 or thereabouts).  Wow - that was back in the JEWEL TONES era.  LOL!  I still do find it pretty, amazingly enough, although I would not pick out such a richly colored print today.  What a change my neutral tone-on-tone family room is, now.  How much our tastes change over time, even when we think we're not being influenced by "trends" and such.  Digging around in my closets has proven to be like taking a trip through a decorating time capsule! 

One thing that has not changed in the 21 years I've lived here:  that light grey carpeting!


OHMYGODDESS!  I swear this is the twin to the sponged gold and bronze stripped-down lampshade!  This one actually isn't in such bad shape, except the pleated material has some decided "dents" in it, no doubt caused by its being stashed inside the closet for so many years!  I forgot they'd even been stashed there, to tell you the truth...

Can this lamp shade be saved?

Bonjour, darlings!

I should be busy reframing my little birdy prints into my beautiful $5 matted wood frames from Walgreens, in preparation for hanging them - somewhere - in my newly gussied-up bedroom, but since I'm still suffering from a major brain blockage when it comes to just, exactly, WHAT to hang and just, exactly, WHERE to hang it, I'm distracting myself instead.  Medicine 101.  When you cannot cure the patient, distract the patient with shiny objects...

And so, VOILA!


This is one of my woe-begone lamps banished inside a large black plastic trash bag, stashed underneath a junky old melamine kitchen table in the basement.  As you can see, a not very attractive basement, complete with spiders, EEK!

At some point during its existence, the neatly pleated light beige cloth, suitably trimmed out around the top and the bottom of the shade, got so old that it started delaminating away from its base.  There were bubbles, in other words.  Eventually it got to the point where it looked awful - like giant chicken pox all over the shade.  One day, in a fit of madness, I ripped off all of the glued-on material and was left with a sticky, icky, plastic (I think), under-shade, with some glue residue on it, to give it a sort of "texture."  In short - this (photo) -- before I got "artistic" and decided to try and revive it with some paint.  Hmmm, where did that dent come from???  I don't remember a dent in this shade.  Maybe a mouse tried to eat it one day...

This lamp is very old as things at Maison Newton go.  I inherited it from my sister, Debs, back in the 1980's, when she got married and totally redid new digs with her hubby, and this lamp no longer fit in.  It has a beautiful teal blue base (yeah, I know, teal is really BIG right now), and a shiny chrome bottom that is still in excellent shape, despite years of abuse.  It's not really a classic ginger-jar shape, it's just sort of funky with this roundish body.  "Mod" maybe?

Now what on earth ever possessed me to sponge paint this shade in gold and bronze, when the base is chrome -- only Hera knows. That was done - oh, 2004 maybe?  For awhile, the lamp resided on the dresser in the guest room, in all its blazing mis-matched glory!  Then, about 2007 or 2008, I got a pair of matching little lamps for the guest room dresser and the teal lamp was banished to the dungeon basement, kicking and screaming all the way, let me tell you...

Now yes, I know, I could just go to Target and get a new shade.  I even looked online at some.  But it seems all the shades I like, well, let's just say it would be cheaper to buy an entirely new lamp.  And no no no, mon amis, that just won't do!  Mind you, I've no idea where I would put a totally revived teal blue lamp in my home of mostly neutrals, with some shades of red and green thrown in.  But I'm now obsessed, obsessed, I tell you, with reviving this shade, if it can be saved at all.  Perhaps it has seen it's final days???  Should I, at last, send it to its final resting place in the county dump?

The thought makes me shudder!

So, I went on a hunt for possible ways to resurrect this lamp shade (although it isn't, quite, dead yet).

My oh my, what an overload of information is available on the internet today, to be sure, darlings!  I first tried "painting a lamp shade" or something like that.  A kajillion sites, all about women (are there no men doing this kind of thing???) painting millions and millions of lampshades in millions of clever ways to revive them.  Let me tell you, if all of that creative female energy could just be directed toward solving our country's economic problems, we would never experience a recession or depression again.  Ever.  Ever!

Narrowing down the selections (ahem), I found this blog entry extremely interesting, about how to use lace to create a beautiful pattern on a tired old lampshade (like mine):


I love the look of this lamp shade, it's just drop dead gorgeous.  The lamp base - meh.  Paint it yellow or blue, or even better, put on some lace appliques and ...  OHMYGODDESS, it's that damn decoratitis causing a brain fever again, oh no...  Back, back (Jan now desperately fighting off decoratitis...)

Then I found this lampshade fished out of a pond after a long, hard winter.  No kidding!  Since this is the sort of thing that can happen around Maison Newton despite not having a pond, it had me inappropriately screaming with laughter at the office while I was supposed to be working:


After being fished out of pond, but before the remake...  Gee, I think my seriously ill lampshade might be saved after all after looking at this baby!  But you know, I do wonder what this shade would have looked like had the mildew and algae been allowed to grow/petrify in the normal course of events.  Never-before seen on the internet shades of earth tones and greens, complete with a unique texture...  A perfect lampshade for the Creature From the Black Lagoon?  Bringing new meaning to the buzz-word these days "GREEN!

Well, I'm all for easy and as little work as possible.  Frankly, I don't have time to be scootching around doing all this decorating revamp stuff (it's the disease, the disease, I tell you!) and while I love the lace overlay look, and the LET ME AT IT AND NO PRISONERS TAKEN approach of just globbing on tons of paint (after bleaching -- she never mentioned bleaching...) the pond scum lampshade and it's ultimately unique opaque look, both approaches seem to have taken quite a bit of time.  Time, precious time.

So, then I had a brain flash - SLIP COVERS!

Seriously, darlings, who the heck makes slip covers for lamp shades?  I did a google search and lo and behold!  Could not believe my eyes.  Surefit makes slip covers for lamp shades, for one!  I fell in love with this look, and thought it would be perfect, and I'd even pay over $30 for it, too!


Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, at present Surefit only offers this Shabby Chic (har!) lamp shade slip cover in large and small drum shapes instead of the shape in the photo, above, which would be a perfect fit for my poor lampshade!  SIGH. 

Isn't that always the way it goes?  You find what you think is the perfect relatively pain-free solution (yes, it costs $$ but it uses practically none of your precious time at all) but nooooooooo, the damn thing isn't in stock anymore, or was never actually made to begin with because, after all, other than me, who the hell has those quasi-"coolie" shaped lamp shades these days, anyway?  So politically incorrect, you know....  ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!

So, I don't know what the hell I'm going to do with this lamp shade.  I thought about making my own slip cover and I may yet try that.  I did find some online general guidelines about how to proceed.  And, being a college graduate with a higher degree under my belt to boot, I should be able to figure it out, doncha think?   ...

An honorable mention to the venerable and venerated Martha Stewart.  She has instructions online for how to make a pleated paper slip cover for a lampshade:


OHMYGODDESS!  While I took a short break and was digging around in one of the upstairs closets for potential art work to hang in my bedroom, I came across ---- TWO MORE LAMP SHADES wrapped up in black trash bags!  I thought those suckers (the trash bags) were supposed to decompose after a certain number of years in an anaerobic atmosphere...

They are not in as sad a shape as the bronze and gold sponge-painted number (see photo at top of blog, ugh).  Oh no!  Now I've got three possible resurrection projects.

Anyway...... what I thought I could possibly do to revive the lampshade - the one in the photo at the top of this post painted bronze and gold, that would be sort of putzy but not really hard or complicated work, is this:  print out a mess of Paris related pics from the internet in black and white, see if I can find toile patterns online and do likewise (like from places that sell wallpaper?), cut out a mess of images and modge-podge the mess onto the lamp shade.

It will be opaque, but I'm not looking for a reading lamp, I'm looking for mood and attitude.  Do you think I need to paint over the gold and bronze first, with white?  I've got lots of white primer in the basement.  Well, some of it is 21 years old, but when I shake the cans I still hear stuff sloshing around inside, so it should be good to use if I maybe add some water and stir and shake the hell out of it -- good exercise!

Oh oh.  That means I've been subconsciously thinking about using this lamp shade in my bedroom, to tie into the Paris-themed bathroom just down the hall (it serves all three upstairs bedrooms and is, therefore, fairly gender-neutral).  Black and white toile, Paris, le Tour Eiffel, all that jazz...

And that means I would need to repaint the other lamp I used to have in my formerly really girly pink bedroom (because I cannot bear the thought of painting over that beautiful teal lamp with the pristine chrome base).  That other lamp is, at present, pink sponged over white.  It is the lamp that has the cheap (really really cheap) PLASTIC ribbon lamp shade.  The base, however, is a classic ginger-jar shape.  It shares a place in the dungeon basement, wrapped up in a large black plastic trash bag, with the teal lamp. 

Oh oh.  It just occurred to me.  I have absolutely no place in my bedroom as currently configured to stash such a revamped lamp, should I ever get around to actually doing this project.  It wouldn't really fit on the night stand, I'd have to pull the night stand too far away from the wall in order for the lamp to fit properly on its surface, with the wide shade; otherwise, it would be smushed up against the wall.

Oh my oh my oh my.  What to do, what to do.  Maybe I need another room. 

Oh oh.  it just occurred to me.  I have another room.  The middle - junk - room.  It used to be a "den" of sorts and even served as a guest-room for a short time, and still houses 3 really junky bookcases, a 2-drawer file cabinet and a computer hutch that houses an old desk top computer that, try as I might to hook up to the wireless network in the house, refuses to update itself into the 21st century by continuously bouncing itself off the network.  Rebellious wench!

Oh Goddess.  I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about all of these possibilities.  I think I need a big glass of wine and a good rest up in my recliner.  And then a big, juicy fat steak.  With a mountain of mashed potatoes, smothered in sauteed mushrooms...