Wednesday, December 22, 2010

~ The Nativity Dog, Christmas 2010


For this year, I am again displaying the older, vintage nativity pieces. The newer sets stayed in the boxes. I'm sure they will find a place again another time. But for this year I longed for the old that brings back so many memories.

If you are an old friend you know that some of the pieces were given to me over 40 years ago by a much loved family member. And this took me on a search for some replacement pieces. last year. Along the way, I found the nativity dog, or actually 3 of them. Last year only the little guy to the left was added to the nativity, of course because he kind of reminded me of Cody Puppy a little bit.


My intentions were to sell my duplicate items. However, when got all the pieces out, having all three pups reminded me of my little family of three, so all three dogs made it to the nativity this year.


Friday, December 3, 2010

~ Fabulous Blue Antique Ledger Paper




F
or a long time I have looked for some really old, but hopefully in good condition, antique ledger papers. In Blue. A kind friend had some her shop a couple of years ago, and I used the couple of sheets that I received from her. But the beauty of those gray blue pages stayed with me. And it remained elusive for a long time.

Recently I was fortunate to find a gorgeous ledger full of these stunning handwritten pages, and in perfect condition. But as usual, there is much more that I can use all by myself. So I have it listed in the newer shop.

Olivia Blue Vintage & Supplies on Etsy

The color is gorgeous. So subtle. And that handwriting! I thought I heard somewhere that they don't teach cursive writing in schools anymore??!! I can't image.

The tree is up. And the lights are almost on it. One string short again because one of the longest strands was half burned out. You know "they" do this on purpose. I don't mind being slow to get it done this year. I'm clearing out as I go along. Another trip to the GoodWill is in the immediate future. Anything out the door (of my own choosing) is a very good thing.

Have a Bright & Cozy Day!
See Y'All Sooon~
Donna

Friday, August 13, 2010

~ A Little More Gardening





In the deep, deep south nothing holds up to the heat but the very strong and then it takes water, lots of water. Sweet hubby is holding up better than I am. It is finally bearable about 6:30 at night. Odd time to garden, but I can get twice as much done.
For a while it was nearly impossible to find the more red pentas instead of just the lighter pink. The red goes better with my color combination. What a performer! With the array of tiny star shaped blooms it's always dependable.

I love pots filled with flowers, plants and small trees. This year I got a late start, but the pots are really blooming beautifully after just a few weeks. I forgot how much work they are to keep looking good. Some needed watering more than once day until they got a bit more established. They cannot go one whole day with being tended to with a big drink. Though wonder Disney crews work all night to keep their pots so fabulous.


ThR simple coleus, so pretty. I use them for the quick punch of lime green. Usually he gets deadheaded so that it will last longer and fill out more. But he was determined to bloom. Then I remembered how delicate and lovely those blue shoots of flowers are when it is in bloom.

This little blue/purple guy loves the heat, he just wants enough water to keep from getting too thirsty.

Fortunately I bought a couple large pots years ago. Some days I think that they would look so good painted to look like old concrete. But it would be difficult to turn them back to terracotta. It's tough when you love two (or more) different looks and have to choose.


See Y'All Soon~
Donna

Thursday, August 5, 2010

~ Rosemary & Time, Again... Too Hot To Garden!

When I first posted this it was Jan. Now it's August. How did that happen? It's time to slow time down again. The heat has been a unforgiving, and I know it's not a good time for planting. It's actually more remarkable how many things can take the heat, if you water them twice a day. The small patch of new grass was incredibly perfect, until today. Now it needs some help. I remember why I don't add grass to the landscape. It just seemed to be needed in one place though.

The beautiful rosemary in the picture below was moved outside by the back door for a few months,and did fabulous, until I got busy with other things and just forgot to water it or give it any attention. I'm going to put it in the yard and see if I can nurse it back to health. But getting more herbs planted will have to wait.

For now, a little repost from when the pretty rosemary first came by.
____________________________________________


After holidays, most of us either miss the decorations and ornaments because the house looks empty, or you are thrilled to have less clutter. For me, it feels like a breath of fresh air, and it reminds me to start the year fresh. Time to start anew again.




I love the smell of rosemary. Usually at Christmastime you can find some really pretty cone shaped topiary rosemary plants. (Lowe's, Home Depot and many garden shops carry them.) This one has been sitting on the window sill in the kitchen where I can see when it needs water and it has been doing very well. It's really wonderful in the living room window, but we'll see how long it can stay there without me forgetting to water it.

The pot is terracotta which was painted a few years ago. First I painted it a creamy white, then aged it with some brown/taupe glaze and added a bit of mossy lime green to imitate the moss that would be growing on a pot left outside.

A little word of warning about these Santos cage dolls. I have recently seen them being sold as "vintage" and they are not. Although they look a little older, they are being made today and imported. Sticking a vintage label on them seems to garnish a higher price.

See Y'all Soon~
Donna

Monday, August 2, 2010

~ Outdoor Living Spaces


As I go through the one million and one pictures I've saved over the years, most of the garden and outdoor spaces photos are still beautiful. Unlike decorating inside, outdoor spaces are usually less likely to fall victim to how trends go out of style. Sometimes you can tell an approximate time period from the colors or the materials being used.








(Poynter Landscape & Construction)

This particular outdoor living area will be just as beautiful 20 years from now as it is now. I kept this picture because of the slightly different design of the arbor. The arched piece joining the sides is really a nice detail. We are using pavers right now too, so I was happy to find this picture with this lovely step design.

See Y'All Soon~
Donna

Monday, July 26, 2010

~ Blue Bedroom Inspiration


What a week. I haven't been this dirty every single day in a long time. Or this tired. We've been digging and planting, digging and planting for days. After several trips for plants, more plants, mulch and sod, the backyard is looking better. I just have to remember that it's a big job, and it can't be done in a week. Or even in a month, or two.

One thing for sure, you appreciate a nice comfortable bed at the end of long day of digging. And if it's in a beautiful room, it is even better.

Nothing new happening inside these days. And the bedroom is way down the list of things to do. However, these pictures just popped up from my old files. Thought I'd share them.


I might not be much a blue person, but this bedroom really draws me to it. There are things I'd change, but the feeling is so soothing, even though there is not blue bedroom in my future.

As with most showhouse rooms, this one doesn't actually look lived in. But the architecture and colors are still nice inspiration.

See Y'All Soon~
Donna

Monday, July 19, 2010

~ Dining Chair Upholstery How-To Part 2... The Top Front




There are two different ways that I did the front top of the chairs even though they were all cane backs. The ones that came from the thrift store in the last post were so cheap that it didn't matter if I stapled or glued the fabric and trim to them. On the other hand, I did not want to do anything that could damage the wood or cane of dining rooms chairs, or be too difficult to remove later on. So they did take a little longer to do.

For the black and antique white chairs, I made the template to the size of the back, cut the fabric, fit it to the back and used a staple gun to attach the fabric to the front of the chair. You will use the same wood on the inside of the cane that I showed you in the last post, and here.


After that you can hot glue or fabric glue the trim in place to cover the staples or brads holding the fabric. Really easy!


But for the dining room chairs I needed something different. These chairs have been changed over a dozen times through the years. Sometimes with splurge fabrics or just as often with a sale or bargain fabric. This time I found a fabric I loved that was already quilted. I knew it would stay for a longer period of time. But it still couldn't be permanent nor did I want to harm the wood of the chairs. My disclaimer is this, pros who do upholstery for a living probably do not do it this way. But it was perfect for me!


Since the fabric was quilted I did not need to add a layer of batting as I would have done with either method to give the fabric some cushion and body. After I cut and played with the fabric until it fit the inset area perfectly allowing an inch all around, I turned the edges and stitched around them.

The I taped the fabric gently to the front and I carefully sewed the piece on to the cane by taking tiny stitches to from the front which would not show to a more wide and probably messier look to the back. It was covered up with the fabric as I showed in the last post so it didn't matter what it looked like on the back. This is made easier by the fact that the cane has the holes in it of course.



Hope you all have a great weekend,
~ See Y'All Soon

Monday, July 12, 2010

~ Dining Chair Upholstery How-To ...The Backside of A Good Chair Tale


After the last post about the 2 twin chairs, I got questions and emails about how to do the finishing upholstery work on them. Although I am not an expert at upholstering furniture here are some tricks I've learned along the way.

This post is for the back, I'll be back with a shorter one for the front.

I started with a nice, older Thomasville cane back chair. A much better version of the ones in the last post. But they are all made in a similar way and can be covered to update, change or to cover up in the case of the really cheapy ones. This one I've had since it was new in 1986 as part of a set. I still love them, the pecan wood is beautiful. I would not paint them, but I've changed the fabric a few dozen times. The lime green and brown toile that is on them now is still one of my favorite fabrics.

When you look closely, you will see that the cane is on the front and then there is a piece of wood holding it in place from the back. Turn the chair around and look at the back and you will see the the cane is snuggly inside that area you just looked at on the front.


This is the view from the back. Gently push the cane away from you. See, there is a tiny space.That is where the fabric goes. You have about a half inch of room. So you do need to cut it pretty close, but this isn't that hard at all.

Start with a larger piece of paper at least the size of the back of the chair in order to make a template. I've used newspaper in a pinch, but be careful of the ink getting on your hands and then getting on your fabric.

Lay this piece of the paper that you cut about the size of the opening plus a few inches, against the back of the chair and draw a template for the area of back of the chair where the cane shows through. Use a pencil to draw along the edge as your press the paper against the chair. Try to make it the exact size of the opening. Cut it out, try it on for size, and if it's not quite right just start over again, it's only paper!

TIP: After you have your drawing, be sure to mark the template FRONT as the SIDE FACING YOU as you draw, and mark Left & Right. The opening will be a different from side to side. And you may want to center a pattern. The front will be the front side of the fabric.

Now take the perfect fitting template and make a new one by using a ruler and just mark line or dashes around it, about 1/2 inch larger. Connect your dashes and cut it out.

After you see that the fabric is the perfect size, cut a piece of fabric to test. You can make the test piece out of cheap fabric like an old sheet or muslin. You want to make sure that it really is perfect before cutting your actual fabric.

Lay the test piece against the chair back and center it so that it is the fabric is 1/2 inch past the inset area on all sides. Tuck in a little on each side to make sure you don't have too much excess fabric, then remove. Cut the actual fabric now using the the paper template that you have adjusting if needed after seeing how the test piece fits.


Now, gently push the fabric into the area between the cane and the back of the chair, with a blunt tool. A butter knife from your eating utensils works well, or a large flat head screwdriver.

Your are "stretching" this piece, which means that you start at the middle of on side and go to the middle of the opposite side, and then the middle top and middle bottom. Back to the beginning side, tuck and go to the opposite side. Then you work your way in a little a time 3 or 4 tucks then go the opposite side. This will keep the fabric centered, too.

The fronts of these chairs were done differently than the thrift stores ones, but I'll show you both ways in the next post.

~ Happy Friday!
See Y'All Soon
___________________________

{ALL ART WORK AND TEXT IS COPYRIGHTED
© DONNA COURTNEY, THE DECORATED HOUSE}

Friday, July 2, 2010

~ Bedroom Color Inspiration, Tale of Two Chairs

I so enjoyed hearing what you liked about the bedrooms in the previous post!

Even though I'm not really redoing the bedroom right now....

It was so interesting to hear what you liked about the bedrooms in the previous post!

None the less I'm thinking about the possibilities. The fact that I spent a little bit of cash on the silk fabric for the drapery isn't enough to stop me from changing them out. I might be able to use them at Sweet Daughter's house anyway. But I totally forget I have the perfect Oriental rug that goes so well with the golds. I bet I can find another room for it. :)

This got me looking to see if I had anything left from my fabric stash that I had not given away. I still have the fabric from the chair I had redone for this room several years ago.
So some of this post is revisiting the "Tale Of Two Chairs" while I contemplate if I would get tired of a fabric I had used before......
_________________________________________________

Isn't it fascinating when you see twins how they can start out life looking so identical but then as they age, each one takes on a different personality and appearance.

This is exactly what happen happen to our twins, the Chair Girls. It also could have been titled the "Ugly Duckling" but neither of them wish to be compared to a duck and didn't understand that the ugly duckling turned into a swan. Oh well.

Wandering into this thrift store is not one of my favorite things. And even though I've complained about such trips, I have to admit I have saved a few forlorn little gems from this place. So through the crowds of women checking out the clothing I go, all the way to the back. I really wanted just a cheap chair.

And what do I see, oh a set of uglies! They were French inspired, but they were "inexpensive" to began with and had truly seen better days. In the photo , you can see there was work to be done even before I would let this one out of the garage.

I only needed one is what I thought at the time. I kindly paid them the price of $20 that they had marked for all 3 chairs, and told them to just keep the other two and took the best one and put it in the car. Then I thought better of my decision and decided maybe down the road I could fix the second one as well. The third, sorry there was no hope for it.

The first one was painted creamy white with accents of the taupe color that I used in the master bedroom. It was also aged and antiqued with a glaze of raw umber. There was a lot of work with a small artist's brush. It makes a huge difference in your finished piece if you can do this when there is some carving to play with.


The second chair was done in black. I had a lot of black in the house at that time. These were my two different loves, light furniture and black. Both were recovered in medallion toile fabrics and with different kinds of trim.

When I last wrote about these, I had intended to redo the lighter chair and keep the black on as it was. My decorating has changed quite a bit since then. I have very little black pieces and have plans to paint most of them.

In the close ups, you can see some of the ways the chairs became transformed. Light sanding on the black one showing the wood along edges.

I always use Krylon Satin spray paint. I've found that it is the best for me.
The one that says dries in 12 mins. or something like that. Great paint.


The lighter colored chair got the opposite treatment of adding the darker colors in the deeper areas for aging, and the taupe color was added to the flat area on the back.

So the fun thing is that now I'm in love with the colors of this chair all over again! Hey we can change our minds, can't we? It sure feels better when it's just a thrift shop chair to change out though.

~Wishing you all a Happy Weekend!

See Y'All Soon~

______________________________

{ALL ART WORK AND TEXT IS COPYRIGHTED
© DONNA COURTNEY, THE DECORATED HOUSE}

Friday, June 11, 2010

~ Summer, Chill Out








When summer comes knocking on the door, all I can think of is water and its cooling properties, even just looking at water helps cool you down. About now, it's almost too late to get anything new in the ground, and it is a good amount of work just keeping newly planted lovelies alive through their fledgling year. No new plants for me yet. But I think there is a lot of planting and digging in the not so distant future. Digging, dust, and dirt flying is going on, just no plants yet. The best part is that I'm not doing the digging at the moment.

Ponds. Running water, the sound and sight sure helps to take the edge off the heat. Our pond will need an overhaul when the backyard landscaping begins. It might need to be moved. But that is not something to even think about right now. I'm saving that idea for Sweet Husband a ways down the list of things to do!


Be Cool!
See Y'All Soon~

Thursday, June 3, 2010

~ Outdoor Spaces & Longing For Flowers









I
t actually makes no sense that I long for flowers right now. Oh it's not the hottest time of the year, that will be a couple of months down the road, but it's getting there. I think it's "only" the lower 90's today.


~ My Favorite Pot Garden ~
I'd like to do this again.

Even though the temperatures say it's way too hot to be outside digging, I see others out there doing it as well. We just can't help ourselves! Longer days, lots of sunshine to bring blossoms, and it is hard to resist a pretty flower.

~ The "old" Potting Room ~
I miss you, too.

The place where I used to create my garden pots is torn down. It was getting old and needed to be taken down for the backyard redo.


In place of what we tore down, I've been planning something like this for years. And years.
Annie Brahler's arbor is my starting point for a new covered arbor and sitting area. For awhile I've loved the look of natural wood on top and the white columns. Of course her beautiful dogs certainly add to the ambiance!

It might be Fall before the major gardening actually gets underway. There is so much more heavy duty work to do first. But good things come to those who are patient and will to get to dirty. Or those who start out with a big bank account and don't have to get dirty, I guess. But I've never minded playing in the dirt from the time I can remember.

See Y'All Soon~

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

~ Mixed Woods Kitchen, Natural and White Cabinets



What a beautiful example of how to mix natural wood finishes with white painted cabinets in a kitchen!

One of the elements that really works is the details of the island. Here they used a wood top, great for food prep, with the same white finish as most of the cabinets.

On the side/front of the island there is an inlaid tile area. It's different from the backsplash and mimics the color of the island counter top.


On the other side where the bank cabinets features the cook top, you see the same beautiful wood repeated in the bottom cabinets, side by side with the white painted ones.


I had a wood counter before the current granite. It would not be a choice that I would make again if I could have stone. The upkeep was not terribly bad, but it is quite a bit more than a granite.

Quite a pot rack there isn't it? The kitchen is quite large, and it actually was not oversized for the area.

Since I keep looking a kitchen pictures in my file, I'm concerned that I'm itchin' to do something in the kitchen. Fortunately I have plenty to keep me busy on other house projects right now so the kitchen is far down on the list.

See Y'All Soon~

Friday, May 21, 2010

~ White Kitchen Inspiration 3, Home Office & Fireplace

There are some things about this kitchen and adjoining areas that would be very difficult for me add to my home. Especially the fact that the ceilings are 2 stories high. Interestingly though, these very high ceilings from this time period of building have given way to a 10 foot ceiling height as being more livable, both the scale of living in the spaces, and for heating and cooling them. I do however love a vaulted ceiling, and a little over the 10 foot height is perfect to me for the vault.

Looking at closeups of the upper cabinets of the desk area and kitchen, you can see that the homeowner added color in a very subtle way through the color in her green and yellow dishes that show off from behind the glass front doors. Wonder if she has added or deleted any colors since this was taken.

This is a custom built desk center, but of course you could accomplish a lot of this by using some stock cabinets or older wood furniture pieces and have a top cut for it.

For instance the cabinets were built to mimic vintage cupboards. So it would not only work equally as well to use a fabulous find from a flea market, thrift store or antique market, it would add a little more character to a kitchen as well. And most likely at a good price!

white glazed cabinet kitchen office
white glazed built-ins kitchen office
The entire picture shows some really great ideas for organizing and hiding the computer parts. Behind the doors and drawers are a file cabinet, storage, and places for the cpu and printer, etc.

white kitchen with sitting area
This whole area was created with great skill from many people. The only thing that was disappointing was with a budget like this, there was no original art work. Lots of prints that everyone has, but nothing that really completed the space as being personal to these people. Now maybe the stylist took out everything that made it more personal except for the wedding picture on the desk. Maybe there really was a captivating painting over that beautiful fireplace.
kitchen inspirationI noticed that there were very small touches of yellow. Again the stylist may have dictated that by the use of the yellow flowers on the table. The homeowner did have some yellow dishes as I mentioned earlier. But in a room that is so very neutral, I just had a craving for a dash of color to accent that incredible fireplace. But that's just my preference I know.

(Art work in last photo provided by Robert Courtney. Thanks Sweet Hubby!)

See Y'All Soon~

( Home owner: Christine Ryan
Kitchen Designer: Eline Nealer
from: Beautiful Kitchens 2003.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

~ Inspiration From A White Kitchen Part 2



This kitchen had so much to see, today will be part 2, and then one more post after that. The entire area consists of the kitchen with a counter bar for eating, a dining room and a sitting room with a fabulous fireplace. The combination of the homeowners' vision along with the skill and knowledge of their architect, kitchen designer and builder made this one special place to live.




There is a richness and warmth in this white kitchen which is not always present in a room without more obvious colors. This comes from the textures and surfaces. The stone floor, which could be cold, instead reflects hints of the gold and umbers that we see in the wall treatment. All this brings forward the vision and plan of the homeowners' for a farm style kitchen updated to for today's needs and look.



The bar stools look very comfortable and mimic the same curved lines of the back of the dining chairs, without being an exact copy since they feature a beautiful open design on the back and a different leg. Although a dressier choice that what you would think of in a farm style design, they give a classy contrast to the use of the beadboard on the sides of the cabinets and the counter bar area which it usually thought of as country style.


Although the table and chairs are beautiful pieces of furniture, it would make little difference to me if they were replaced by an old wood board table and a couple of comfortable chairs. Why? It's the windows. The star of this side of the house is this glorious bank of windows. I am not too sure how to have so much window area without an unbearable heat gain in the deep south. But I certainly love the look.


As you can now see the kitchen and adjoining rooms are actually 2 stories high. It certainly adds the spacious feeling.

One of the things that was so nice to see in this photo shoot is the lack of "stuff" brought in. I'd be curious if it was necessary for them to take out much that belonged to the homeowner. Her taste seems already quite edited and uncluttered.

See Y'All Soon~


{Owner: Christine Ryan. Kitchen Designer: Eline Nealer.
from Beautiful Kitchens, 2003}

Sunday, May 16, 2010

~ A White Kitchen To Inspire







Are you one of those people who just loves open shelving in a kitchen? Although I understand the love, I'm not in that group, entirely anyway.

Although pretty and great for grabbing something quickly, open shelving drives me crazy. I love the look of "open" only with glass doors instead. You can show some texture and color of your dishes, etc., but you don't have the problem of dust. And for most people there is also the grease in the air from cooking meats.

As you can tell, I'm not in love with doing more cleaning than necessary.

Another great idea from the kitchen featured here is the closed storage above the cabinets. When the owner planned her kitchen, she had the architect include a very high ceiling for the kitchen. This presents the problem of how to treat the cabinets in such a way as to keep them in scale, but still usable.

Excellent solution here.

A few years ago I feel back in love with the simple beauty of whites and silvers, again. We do go through whims of loving colors and combinations of colors don't we? After going through a strong white phase several years ago, I really craved color, especially the colors of the French and Italian countryside. Too much white is still a bit stark for me, but I continue to long for more whites in my decorating.

This kitchen utilized more expensive nickle finishes, but of course you can achieve much the same beauty with chrome. I never thought I'd come back to loving chrome. But you just never know what you will find appealing as time goes by. Most interesting is that this kitchen was completed at least 7 years ago, and still looks quite undated.

If I were planning a house right now, I would love to have a kitchen window like this one below. Even a smaller version, in a smaller space would be wonderful.

I especially like the wall finish. Mine has been golden yellow for a number of years, and will be painted a parchment color. This aged finish is like done like the gold one I'm painting over. So I will most likely do something like it again.

Although this is a big budget kitchen for most of us, it has lots of simple ideas to make a kitchen simply beautiful as well as highly functional.

I had white kitchen cabinets for many years. For my busy, and I guess messy, family it was so much work. I was constantly cleaning coffee and juice stains, scrubbing off dirty paw (kid and adult ones) prints, and touching up the paint from all the wear and tear. When I did the faux bois wood paint treatment on my cabinets, it was wonderful not to have all every little thing show up and look grimy on them.

Somtimes I think about painting them white again. But not today.

{Owner: Christine Ryan. Kitchen Designer: Eline Nealer. from Beautiful Kitchens 2003}

See Y'All Soon~
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