Playing to Your Strengths

There are times in your life when you have more time than money. That’s when you have to get creative in your decorating and also in your gift giving.

Being in college and studying abroad have impacted Baby Girl’s budget, but she surprised the family this year with lovely watercolors personalized for each of us.

For the MR, she painted a scene of palm trees and beaches, and for me, it was a rainbow viewed from the great room. Sweet Miss received a copy of one of her engagement photos, and the Fella got an inspiring outdoor scene that looked great for mountain biking.

While Sweet Miss and the Fella took theirs home with them, me and the MR’s painting have been sitting on the mantel for the last few weeks. The paintings are an odd size, so I’ve been certain I’d need to buy new frames and get them specially mounted.

Then I remembered the pair of framed school photos that used to grace the top of the piano years ago. They’d been displayed in the office area until we’d replaced them for senior photos on canvas a few years back. These old frames from Costco might just do the trick.

I found them in the storage room off the garage and was surprised at how faded Sweet Miss’ photo had become after a few years with all our sun in the great room. Maybe an area with less sun exposure would help our watercolors stay pristine.

We lose a little of the painting with the matting, but for now, I’m pleased with how these turned out and have hung them in the powder room out of direct sunlight. I especially like how my painting is reflected in the large mirror behind the door, so there are not one but two images echoing the angled roofline that defines our house.

Thank you Baby Girl for this sweet and thoughtful gift. And thanks also to your roommate for sending them in the mail when you were exhausted after finals and left them behind. We can proudly claim to have original art from an artist trained in Rome. Doesn’t that sound fancy?

How have you gotten creative when funds were tight? Any framing advise you can share? 

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Reboot

I spent much of last weekend packing up the Christmas decorations and putting the house back in order. After the over-the-top excess of the holidays with stockings, and trees, and nutcrackers, I’ve been slow to put back decorations on the mantel and shelves.

The fall season is over, and we’re not quite ready for fresh spring flowers. Do I give in to the cold and icy feel of winter or add some hearts and red in tribute to Valentine’s Day?

I noticed a friend from college still has her Christmas village decorating her living room just because she likes them. It’s OK not to rush into the next big thing.

Like a palate cleanse between courses, sometimes your eyes need a rest. Besides, this will give me a chance to touch up the paint on the fireplace and get Baby Girl’s sketches framed. It’ll all come together eventually.

Do you change up your decorating with the season or stick with tried and true?

Those Fall Touches

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to add a little of that fall flavor to our decor. Back in the day, Halloween pictures plastered the fridge, school art decorated the cabinets, and a few pumpkins would have been mouldering on the front porch.

We’re off the beaten path and the girls are on their own, so we don’t have that big push to decorate the house any more, but a little somethin’-somethin’ here and there makes me smile.

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Sweet Miss texted the other night, so I’ve packed up a few things for her, so she can decorate her classroom. I’m not ready to give up the little squishy ghost one of the girls made once upon a time. Those crafts always looked so cute in the magazines–before the age of Pinterest.

In other decorating news, I’ve been busy picking herbs and gathering sticks to make wreaths for the front doors. There’s no way on earth we can use all the sage we grow, so I thought it would make a great decoration. I thought about wires and bundles, but that would look so ugly from the backside. Remember we’re hanging them on windows.

Out in the yard with my scissors and basket, I picked lots of lavendar twigs and flowersto go with the other herbs. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick enough for two, and then it started raining, and then the foliage dried leaving some gaps. So I needed even more.

It’s all a learning process. Note to self: next time you want to hang wreaths pick double what you think you’ll need and make sure you have the 3M hooks before you get started. Nothing like getting part way through a project and having to put it on hold.

Looks like Cocoa gives it her stamp of approval.

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The goofy dog doesn’t trust me out in the front on my own. She is good company.

How’s your fall decorating?

Big Plans

You know how you order something online, and you’re so excited, and then you get this email that it will arrive in November, and it’s only August? Well, that’s what happens at my house.

I bought a bed for the sewing room. Remember when we got new carpet in the bedrooms last winter? And in my sewing room, too? I had big plans on how cool, and chic, and classy my creative space was going to be. And then I put all my stuff back in, and it was chaos, and I lost my mojo.

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And then I saw this bed, and it would totally step up the game in the sewing room. I mean after all, my grandma’s quilt is bright and cheery and reminds me of family, but it doesn’t really qualify as polished.

So I ordered the daybed from Joss & Main, and decided I could wait if that’s what I had to do. Then Me and Baby Girl came home to find giant boxes on the doorstep. Apparently, someone didn’t get the memo and my bed arrived in weeks rather than months.

I put it together with a little help from the MR, and boy howdy is it polished.

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I mean just check out that nailhead trim–tres chic.

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And then I put the quilt back on and the pale pink jersey sheets Sweet Miss had picked out once upon a time. And stepped back and said “Ugh”. Sophisticated just doesn’t work with my grandma’s quilts.

I went to four different stores without a bit of luck. All I wanted was a plain, gray bedspread that wasn’t overstuffed. When buying local failed, I went back to the internet, and for under $100, Joss & Main came through once more with a new bedspread and more sedate sheets.

Now you’re just going to have to be patient for the big reveal. I have paintings to hang, shelves to set up, pillows to fluff, clutter to corral–you know the drill.

Do you have a favorite local or online store? 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving In To Quirky

I’ve always liked the unusual. You might say I march to the beat of a different drum. I simply try not to take things too seriously. This has carried over into my decorating style.

It’s fun to have things that are a little different or unexpected. My brother and his family were over for dinner this summer when my neice picked up something off the table saying she was intrigued and asking what it was.

Why they’re cow hide coasters—doesn’t everyone have a set? We’d put them out on the table and hadn’t given them a second thought. They were a gift from the MR’s folks when they were visiting. MeeMee has worked for a friend at Cowboy Christmas in Las Vegas off and on and came across these in another booth.

With the holiday craft and bazaar season upon us, I want to encourage you to check out your local ones. You never know what you’ll find. People are amazingly creative, and it’s fun to support them.

At a little bazaar on the way to Chichen Itza, we picked up this black stone that shines like gold in the sunlight. I like decorative items that remind me of our travels.

Quirkiness helps keep our home from being too stuffy or predictable.

What inspires your decorating?

It Feels Like Fall

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are turning colors, and the nights are cool; it feels like fall.

Labor Day usually marks the beginning of the school year for kids around here. While back to school isn’t quite the same with the last one in college, I do enjoy all those sales the weekend boasts. With the internet, I don’t even have leave home to get some great deals.

To mark the change of seasons, I picked up this lovely pillow.

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Me and the MR do love our trees. I saw some beautiful wreaths at HomeGoods last week. At $60 a piece, I may have to wait for another sale. That’s the beauty of life; it doesn’t all have to happen in a day.

Are you adding a little of the season to your home? 

The Handyman Can…

That silly old song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been running through my head.

Who can take a sunrise
Sprinkle it with dew
Cover it with choc’late and a miracle or two
The Candy Man can…

I’ve changed the words a little:

Who can fix a broken faucet
Hang up all the shelves
Grab a few tools and make everything look swell
The Handyman can.

You see, the MR’s folks have been visiting, and we’ve been keeping Papa Larry busy. The MR has been hogging his services this year with dripping faucets, broken vacuum cleaners, and riding lawn mower maintenance. Doesn’t he know I have little jobs that need done, too?

So the other day, I was happy to see Papa with time on his hands, the MR at work, and me with a list of thing to keep him occupied. When I shuffle the trays on the worm bin,  I always hose out the base in the flower beds to remove the sludge and fertilize the plants. Well, the spicket I use is near the ground under some bushes, and the valve always falls off, so when I’m done, you’ll find me crawling on the ground looking for it. All it needs is a screw.  All it’s needed for the last five-and-a-half years is a screw, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to it. But the Handyman can.

And then I had some great honeycomb-shaped shelves that I oohed and aahed over for ages. And then they were on sale, and I bought them. And then they just sat around for a couple of years. Uggh, I don’t know why I’m so indecisive. They needed to be in a place where we wouldn’t bump into them. Did we really have anything decorative to showcase? Would they look good next to the art we bought or just weird? Would the screws and fasteners they came with really work? Sometimes I am filled with angst over nothing.

I remember when I told Baby Girl that I’d bought three different bedspreads and returned them all, because they just were’nt the right color of gray. She honestly told me that was ridiculous. At first I thought yeah, why don’t manufacturers make a better shade of gray? And then I realized she was talking about me. Hmm, sometimes you just have to go for it.

So I said Papa, we have these shelves, and the handyman took it from there.

Once they were up, I shopped my house and found bits and pieces to add here and there. A book art flower, some shell balls from Hawaii, vases from my mom. It all just seems to work.

With the change of seasons, I can swap out shells for more fall or wintery decor. And this will be a great place to display Christmas goodies.

With the MR busy spraying blackberries, mowing meadows, maintaining the driveway, and keeping the house in one piece, it’s nice to have the handyman visit.

Thanks Papa Larry!

We have a few other posts featuring Papa Larry for your reading pleasure: The Handyman Is Back and My Own Personal Handyman.