Friday, January 26, 2007

*A Few of My Favorite Things #1

As I am trying to be more organized at the beginning of this year, I realize that we accumulate things and then they tend to lose our attention for the next thing we want.

When decorating, it is the synergy of what we have collected and how we arrange it that makes us so unique. I love seeing other people's homes for this reason.

While I am putting my focus more on what already exists within my life and being totally thankful everyday for it, I've noticed more and more little things that I already have which make me smile. It's funny how you rediscover things and they are special again. If this happens now, I give them a second chance. If the romance doesn't last, I can happily give them away and know someone else will treasure them.
It makes me wonder about the rest of the story with my lovely little chandelier. Who has owned it before, and when did it get released into the universe, looking for my home. I found it at the Antique Market about an hour away, but it had traveled far.

There were several chandeliers at the market that day. We found this one and then went comparison shopping. The other vendors had lesser quality ones and and/or more expensive. The difference in price was not a factor in chosing this one. It was purely her glowing personality. We also liked the seller, who was a nice little ol' guy.

So this source of light traveled from Italy to us, to our home. Even a couple of years ago, this is not what I would have chosen. It just happened when I decided I needed something older in the DR.

I remember seeing the movie Pollyanna as a kid. But I don't remember a single thing about the movie except when Pollyanna used the crystal prisms to make rainbows on the walls. I think my heart and soul has been longing for a chandelier with dancing prisms of light ever since.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

*Doors of Welcome

One architectural element that always draws me to a house is if the front door is arched, with a half-round top, because they are so welcoming. We have discussed moving the door out so we could have this. But I'm always looking for a less expensive way of getting the look I want. We were able to give the illusion of the door being rounded with a little bit of woodworking tricks.

The paintings throughout the house are almost all by husband. Although we are both artists, I enjoy his work more than I mine. I concentrated on interior design for years but now I'm getting rather itchy to create some art again. But first I'd like to just get this place done!

During the last year I repainted the LR by adding two layers of glaze. It looks the same to my daughter, but I can see a BIG difference. OK, not big, but different. The new rug came from a seller on Ebay whom I have purchased from before. It has the pefect blend of the limey greens and ochre yellows that I wanted. Everything else was chosen from the rug colors. But the rug was chosen from the colors I already was using!

We added additional moldings at the bottom of the walls when we were working on arch top for the door. My husband did all the woodwork and really loves doing it even when the angles sometimes try to beat us.

The sofa and coffee table might get replaced sometime if I ever find something else I really love. They have both been with us for years. So far nothing has jumped out at me except a smaller table. I'm not sure if a smaller one will serve as well. So for now, they old ones stay.

The silk drapes were added last year. They were ready mades that I inter-lined and made the top valances for. I'm really pleased with them and they will probably be here in 20 years. We will see.

Monday, January 15, 2007

*Decorating with Silver & Bromeliads

Saturday was a great day because we went out to the Salvation Army store to leave somethings off. It felt wonderful to go through the closests and pull out anything that had not been worn in the last few months, no matter how good it was, or if I thought I would want it again later on. The fact is that if I hadn't missed it lately, then I really did not "need" it. So off we went running around half the day.
As we were unloading our bags and boxes, I just happen to spot something silver in the big bins of donations waiting to be sorted to go inside. It is the silver bowl/dish you see in the photo. Just what I needed! Really.

I've been looking for an old silver footed bowl or dish to put orchids and bromeliads in for quite a while. So long story made short, I asked about it, they couldn't sell it from that area, but gave it to me instead. Because of that good deed I had to go inside to find a couple more silver things so I could overpay for them and not feel any guilt. It was a good day at Sally's!

Tip for the day: Bromeliads and orchids last quite a while in bloom if they have some nice light. They require very little attention. I put some river rocks and orchid bark around the potted bromeliad in bloom, then I added some others from the yard which were not blooming, to fill in. The bromeliad needs water placed in the cup formed by the top leaves. Be careful not to overwater either plant since it will kill them, both need to drain completely.
Last I added sheet moss to the top after using "Design Master" green spray paint to get a nice spring green color. This can be found at any craft store.

~ See Y'All Soon ~

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

*New Year~New Entry Design

I confess I gave in and brought the bell jar/cloche out of the garden and into the house some time ago. A Mary Garrity effect, and of course I've seen them decorated beautifully in magazines and other places. I was ready to take it back outside. But not today. This one sometimes has the normal small plant like Victorians would do. Today it has something different. This is one of my favorite pictures of my daughter. Her cheeks are so chubby and she is playing with leaves, oblivious to everything but the beauty in nature. Along with the picture are some antique books including a old bible which belonged to my husband's great grandfather. The inside of the jar changes with the seasons, but today I have a snapshot of my heart inside it.

The living room was repainted last year. It is still a simliar mix of colors, so no big change. The entry table is the same, but with a new top. After looking for a new iron & marble entry table, I wasn't finding anything much different than what I already had, except mine had a wood top. However, I had a black marble top in the guest room. So I just switched them out.

I was longing for an old mirror, but the antique ones were more than I was willing to pay. I found this one hiding in the back of a store that has junk, old stuff, and antiques. It gives a new and different feeling to the entry. It was cool out today, but isn't that sun shining in so beautiful?

Monday, January 8, 2007

*The House Who Loved Me


When we first moved in, I knew we would be here for no more than 5 years. Such was the plan, to me, not so sure about my husband. I think he got his secret wish to put down roots among the trees and stay here.

(The MLS picture from way back when. It looks lonely to me now, obviously waiting for us. )

It wasn't big, it wasn't fancy, it wasn't a dream house, but we had to move quickly since our old house was sold. I was doing design work for larger houses and of course that was what I wanted, too. I was young and dumb. But that's OK when you are young. Life is for learning who we are. It was the oak tree lined street that brought us here, and helped keep us here.

Today this house makes me smile everytime I come home. I love that we are close to downtown, something that meant nothing at first. It is in an older area with oak lined streets, which was always extremely important to us.

More than anything else, this home is a symbol of the unconditional love of my husband. Whatever ideas I came up with, he has always worked and worked to accomplish it.

The front porch area with gable added early in the remodeling.

It was built to last forever. It has beautiful wood floors, hand troweled plaster walls and ceilings and a large yard. Aaaaah...
it's all so good...

Well, not quite. We have worked and worked on this house for 20 years and now it's time to do more work. The small bathrooms need to be gutted, but we won't be doing the grunt work this time. We will let someone else enjoy it and be happy to pay them to do so.

The backyard, once filled with shrubs and flowers, is totally torn up awaiting the final plans. The front yard, lush and green at the beginning of last year, was a dinner for bugs before we could stop them. So another big project.

When it gets overwhelming looking at the work to do, I have thought of moving. But then I walk through the house and all the memories of this labor of love by me and my husband flood my mind. I want the next generation to be touched by this house.
In the last couple of years, in the good times or when I was sick, when we went through the eye of a (small) hurricane, this house loved and sheltered us, no matter what. It is not big, but it holds us safely in her walls. It is not new, but it shelters us with strength. It is a challenge at times, but it looks like our future, as well as our past. Except the missing gardens in the back. But stay tuned, and hopefully that too will be a reflection of us again sometime soon.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

*Welcoming Wisdom

The first of the decorations each year is the creche which always seems to go here on the entry table. It is tucked away again after the Wisemen's visit. The tree and ornaments are already taken down & put away, but we can savor one last day of the Season.

Today I'm making one of our favorite Holiday meals. For several years we have had French Onion Soup, fresh bread, Fruit Salad, and usually Chocolate Pie on this day. When my daughter was little and even now, I wanted to make Christmas last a bit longer, so I would find small gifts for the days between Christmas Day and the Epiphany, the Day of the Wisemen. I love the story of the Wisemen/Astrologers' long journey. It reminds me to seek Wisdom and all else will follow from the heart. It isn't that I have mastered that, I am in need of constant reminders and I welcome them. There is a beautiful book called the Fourth Wiseman. A wonderful book to read especially this time of year. Somewhere along the way of celebrating this day, food became an important part! No surprise to many of us.
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