Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Couple of Quickies!

Here's a lamp shade I covered last week to go on a cute little rooster lamp I found after shopping my upstairs.  The fringe was a piece Baby Daughter's cat got ahold of, and it would've been headed to the trash had I not had a vision of poofiness!  (Of course these are the kinds of visions that lead to that exotic ambiance I talked about in an earlier post!)  This lamp now sits on a cake stand that was a birthday gift a few years back from my sister-friend Debbie.  And all of these goodies sit in my breakfast room on a butcher-block-topped antique Singer sewing machine base (painted barn red!) we inherited from St. Michael's childhood best friend, affectionately known as "Uncle Dave."  (The walls are really a much nicer, deeper shade of green, but they just don't photograph well.  Of course, it could be the photographer . . . )  The little sampler standing behind the cake plate was a recent ninety-cent Value Village purchase!  (I love old cross stitchings!) 


And this built-in corner cabinet used to have gathered fabric covering the opening, but last week -- inspired by all things rooster -- I covered a piece of foam board with the same tiny red check as the rooster lamp shade and then covered that with some chicken wire I'd spray painted black.  (The opening has to have some kind of covering as this is where I stash lots of craft crap.)  I used the dark green jute twine I had on hand to tie on some cute pics of roosters that I downloaded from the 'Net and then "mounted" on some postcard-sized pieces of tag board.  I also used some large red paper clips to attach some invites to some upcoming events.  (I figure if I see them every time I sit at the table, maybe I won't forget them!)

Hopefully, my pic-snapping will get better with more practice over the summer; meanwhile, maybe you can make out a little bit of the fun I'm having at Casa St. Michael.  (St. Michael is putting together a cornice board for me to cover and mount over the family room windows as we speak!)

Have a fabulous weekend, sistas!

Friday, May 29, 2009

LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!


Note the over-sized sweatshirt wearing a small child on the middle row:
Yes, it's hard having a teacher who experiences 
tropical disturbances on a regular basis.


Woo-hoo!  FIVE more days, and SUMMER is officially on at Casa St. Michael!  School will be out!  My Little Mama (also known as the Queen Mother) arrives in the Great State of Texas from North Carolina (birthplace of me and Billy Graham) the day school is out, and the fabric will flow freely!   (I've always wanted something with slipcovers!)  She'll sew and I'll paint, and also try to catch the whole she-bang on film!  (Wait -- do we still use that phrase now that we have digital cameras?  Well, I'll "snap some pics" regardless!)   

Meanwhile, I'll be sharing some pics tomorrow of a few small projects I've completed around the casa.   Maybe I'll even work up the courage to post some pics of my dead-ostrich-shrouded chandy.  (See previous post.)  Just promise to laugh WITH me, not AT me.   

And, oh yeah, for some reason my "comments" thingie isn't working, so I truly thank those of you who've E-mailed me comments and encouragement directly!  All blog-lovin' sistas:  Please feel free to do that until I can figure out how to fix this problem!  (See "My Complete Profile.")

Grins and blessings this fine weekend!

I'm joining the Audubon Society . . .

My fabulous chandelier!  NOT!
(I mean, I WISH this were my chandy; it isn't!)

Well, I think one o' ya'll out there in Bloggerland needs to host "The Ugliest/Wildest/Craziest . . . " -- or perhaps just plain ol' "Most Likely to Cause Other Humans to Bust Out Laughin'" -- " . . . Chandy Tops" Party.

Y'see, I spent the better part of Wednesday evening cuttin' patterns and gluin' fabric and fringy stuff to some chandy shades that came with the big ol' ten-armed brass chandy I scored off Craigslist a while back. (You may remember from another post that it was advertised as coming with ten smooth black silk shades, but it came with ten red pleated silk shades. Casa St. Michael is sporting more red day by day, but these particular red shades just weren't the look I wanted.) I had already tried painting these little darlin's black, but . . . well, that just doesn't work very well with pleated shades. Then I tried being creative with scrapbook-paper-covered half-a-toilet-paper roll cylinders in place of the actual shades. No go. (No pun intended.) Still, I couldn't bring myself to ditch 'em entirely, so I thought they might could be saved by some other equally creative redesign. Enter poster board, extra fabric, and fringy stuff.

The first problem I noticed was that as each "new" fluffed and poofed shade took its proper place, the dining room got darker . . . and darker . . . and darker. No problem, really -- I have two other accent lamps in there I can turn on, and besides, with a few candles lit, I'll rename the darkness ambiance and no one will be the wiser! NOT!

Despite St. Michael's enthusiastic declaration that the shades were "Great! Really great, baby!", I suspected there was a problem when Baby Daughter came home a little later and asked why I had a dead ostrich hanging from the dining room ceiling. Okay, not quite the look I was going for, either.

Baby Daughter suggested that perhaps they would look better if the chandy itself were painted black instead of showing its au natural brass. But I like the brass (I know I'm behind the times), and besides, this summer St. Michael and I are going to paint the dining room furniture black (its currently a flakey white), and I think the brass will look great with that. Anyways, I don't know that black would bring the ostrich back to life. (Not to mention that St. Michael just might have another heart attack if I asked him to take the chandy down after he spent a whole cussin' afternoon getting it up.)

What's a Trying-to-Reuse-Recycle-and-Redecorating Woman to do?

Well, this one's gonna let that dead ostrich swing a while longer under the guise of exotic ambiance. At least until I figure something else out (or notice the neighbors walking their kids to swim team practice stopping to point at my dining room window and laugh).



Friday, May 22, 2009

Flaunting Red: One of My Memorial Day Weekend Projects

BEFORE:




This is the only "before" pic I snapped before starting to repaint this kitchen cabinet last weekend. (I had just gotten the doors off when I thought about taking a pic.) And, yes, my kitchen cabinets are three different colors! The top cabinets are white (well, half of them are; the other half still needs to a new coat of white), the lower cabinets are a dark chocolate brown, and the tall cabinet where my oven and microwave are has been this "accent" sagey shade of green for a while. Since I'm putting more red into my house, I decided to change the color of this particular cabinet. (Wondering about the orange on the closed door to the left of the cabinet? It's an old football schedule of the high school where I used to teach. With all the guys pictures on it, I've had a hard time taking it down -- this IS Texas, y'know -- but this weekend, it goes!)

AFTER: Flaunting RED!

OMG! I had forgotten how hard it is to get red to cover really well. Despite a primer and SEVERAL coats of paint, it is still looking pretty streaky on the sides and not quite how I want it to look on the front, so this is NOT the finished product. This weekend, I'll be putting on what I hope will be the final coat on the sides of the cabinets, touching up some parts of the front, and then doing a little overall spattering to the whole thing to give it the look I want.

The mural above the cabinets has been done little by little over the years, and I'm going to add some more red to it over the summer. (There's already a little red school house just out of camera range, but maybe I'll add some little red cottages).

After this weekend, though, I plan to take a break from painting until my Little Mama gets here to make the slipcovers for the couch and St. Michael's recliner. I figure I can paint the rest of the cabinets while she's sewing. (It just doesn't seem right to make her work so hard while I'm watching HGTV and eating bon-bons.)
More red in the kitchen window above the sink. (And. yes, my lovely view consists of our driveway and the side of our neighbors' house.) This cute little lamp is a $5 yard sale find (same place where I got my wonderful breakfast room chandy). I just painted the ugly, worn metal parts and added some red accents to the handpainted primarily pink roses. The old wooden spindle candle holder was a fifty-cent find at another yard sale, and the brand-new cinammon-scented red candle-in-a-shaker-thingie was a $1.60 at Value Village.

This little angel flaunting red guards the plates in my open-storage cabinet. There's an old fasioned style to her, but I don't think she's really vintage since I got her at an ornament exchange Christmas party just a few years back.

Have a fabulous weekend, sistas!

(And next week I'll post pics of any projects I get finished this weekend.)


Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Flower Princess!


If this doesn't say "HAPPY SPRING!" then I don't know what does!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Look at this beauty!


(Isn't this gorgeous! I soooooo heart this most recent garage sale acquisition!)

I recently bought a great 10-armed brass chandy off Craigslist. It was advertised with ten smooth (ah, so easy to dust!) black silk shades, which was just what I wanted. When I arrived to pick it up, it had ten red silk pleated shades . . . pleated . . . (Ugh, I've told ya'll that I'm not the greatest housekeeper. Do you know the extra effort required to get the dust out of all those little pleats?) Still, the chandy was a bargain so I took it and tried painting the shades black. Hmmm, still don't think I like them, but I am now working on a dress-them-up solution involving -- are you ready? -- toilet paper rolls! If it turns out as cute as I think it will, I'll feature it on my blog later this week! (And all because Nester says, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!" Nestor, you free me up and inspire me to take those chances!)

Meanwhile . . . Thursday afternoon on my way home from the School House, I spotted a garage sale notice for a neighbor whose house always looks so cottagey-cute. Hmmmmm . . . now that, I figured, would be worth leaving Casa St. Michael's a few minutes early Friday morning!


Sure enough, the first thing I spotted in her driveway were these beautiful glass somethings. (I didn't even know what they were, but I liked 'em!) Turns out that the three white and green glass thingies with handpainted flowers on them were part of an old light fixture. (Looks like something from the forties or fifties to me, but I don't know. Does anyone out there have an idea?) The home owner's father pointed out the metal "framework" for the fixture, and for $15 I snapped up the whole thing, even though I had no idea what the all-put-together end product would look like. (I figured if it didn't work or looked really goofy, I could at least do something with that gorgeous, handpainted glass.)

(My boxed up treasure!)

(Here's the metal part prior to gussy-ing it up with some glossy black spray paint and a cord cozy.)
Since the garage sale hostess remembered me from a couple of college classes we had taken together (She was young at the time, and I was a L.O.L.I.T.A. -- Large Older Lady On Transition Again), she agreed to hold my goodies for me until I could return with cash during my afternoon conference period.
Imagine my surprise when I got home with my boxed treasures later and discovered MORE handpainted glass in the form of more pieces to the chandy!


I decided to paint the metal part of the chandy a glossy black, and since I'm working at going RED at Casa St. Michael, I turned the orange flowers into red blossoms. (A little craft paint works wonders, don'cha know.) I even made my very first cord cozy from some tiny red check fabric that I also used to cover the old chair cushions in my breakfast room. Voila! A fabulous, "new" one-of-a-kind light fixture!

(The pics don't do this baby justice!)

(Look at that metal work! .)

(The rest of the pic isn't very good, but you can see the metal work even better with the lights on.)

For more great re-dos, go see Susan at
Between Naps on the Porch
where she's hosting "Metamorphosis Monday."
Then mosey on over to Southern Hospitality
to check out more of
"Today's Thrifty Treasures."
Have fun!
























Wednesday, May 6, 2009

If you're not OCD, you just might be an EC!

How many of you are Emotional Cleaners? If you are, you know exactly what I mean, and if you're not, well, you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Let me explain.

There are some of us who just aren't predisposed to cleaning on a regular schedule or even on an as-needed basis. I know. We're sluggards in many ways. (Why do you think I don't have my full face on this blog -- I know it's a shameful way to be.) Ironically, we love beautiful homes, and we love to decorate, and so we wish we were different in this matter, but alas, we are not.

Since we ECs rarely do anything by regular method, we've learned alternative routes to getting to where we need to be. We know that for us ECs to really get a room whipped into shape, we must tap into that emotional part of ourselves.
There are a number of ways to do this, the most common ones being, 1) We plan some kind of social event at our house (thus, the emotion of mortification -- we know we'll be mortified if we don't get it together in time for our guests). 2) We complete a major remodel in some part of our home. (Of course, because of budget constraints, this is only good for once every 10 - 20 years or so. It took me, personally, 23 years before I got wood put down at Casa St. Michael. You should've seen that old carpet! Ugh!) And my personal favorite, 3) We buy some new piece of junque that we transfer into a fabulous jewel to put in one of our rooms, and then we hire a bulldozer to clean up the entire surrounding area just so that one new piece of fluff will be shown in its very best light! (A newly sewn pillow or window mistreatment or other finally-completed-but-previously-put-off-and-procrastinated project will also work wonders for us if there is no new piece of junque to be had.)
Well, I am excited to announce my new inspiration for getting things sorted out, thrown out, organized, re-fluffed, re-freshed, and re-furbished: My Little Mama is coming to Casa St. Michael on the last day of school! And she is coming to help me make slip covers for my couch and St. Michael's recliner! Woo-hoo! (If you remembering reading about the Great Couch Caper, a.k.a The Sofa Saga, then you know why this is an awesome happening!)


(This is the fabric I'm using to re-fluff and bring the RED into my breakfast room.)


(This is the 5' x 8' braided rug I got for the breakfast room from Overstock.com.)

As I mentioned in another posting, I'm moving from a more transitional look with rusts , browns, oranges, yellows, and greens to a cozier cottage look with a True Red (be still, my heart!), the same golden yellow, and the same greens. I've tried to scale back, but as my friend, Spencer, of Bellamare Cottage (http://bellamerecottage.blogspot.com/) says, "Too much is never enough!" (And I am just a sucker for that fuller, layer-upon-layer look, and I've decided to quit fighting it and just go for it!) At any rate, this means I need a new look for those previously mentioned pieces of furniture, and I decided to try my hand at making slipcovers from dropcloths.

Did, I mention, though, that I am not a seamstress?

Still, I'm kinda mechanically-minded (at least that's what my ninth-grade aptitude test said), and I can generally figure out a way to put something together. However, my Little Mama can do ANYTHING with fabric and a sewing machine! So when she mentioned that she might be willing to leave God's Country -- North Carolina -- for a few days to head to the Great State of Texas to help me, I jumped at the offer.

This is exactly the kind of event that an Emotional Cleaner needs to get on track or to stay on track!

Of course, I was pretty excited and ready to get back into the nesting groove when I got my first taste of freedom from my cast and crutches. But there's nothing for the EC like also receiving a firm deadline -- preferably one that's not so distant that we fool ourselves into thinking we can afford to procrastinate a little (yeah, right -- a "little," my foot) but also one that's not so up-close and personal that we feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

My Little Mama will be here in about four weeks, so if I work diligently in the evenings and on the weekends, I should be able to get lots done before she gets here. (And actually, this is a necessity unless she's going to share a bedroom with me and St. Michael. Yup, it's time to pack away all those Santas that have been leisurely lounging around on the bed in the guest room. Make room for Nanny Franny, as my girls call my Little Mama!)

I'll be keeping you posted on my progress, but meanwhile, just enjoy the peek!

Hippity Hoppity!

Bunnies!

I have BUNNIES!


I have to admit that I was kinda jealous when I started seeing all of those cute pretend-moss-covered bunnies that so many of you got at Pier One just before Easter. I was right in the middle of my crippledness at that time (my cast was such a pretty shade of pink, though!) and couldn't even make it up the stairs at Casa St. Michael for the Easter decor I already own, so there was definitely no going to PO for moi. (And as wonderful as the man is, I knew better than to ask St Michael to haul me over there. Some things a woman just has to do on her own, and setting out in search of pretend-moss-covered bunnies is one of them.)

Well, yesterday, after I had given out all the education I thought my little chil'ren could suck up for one day, I made my way over to the nearest PO, and low-and-behold! There were the bunnies: 75% OFF! That translates to 50 cents a piece!

Woo-hoo! I was so excited! And the girl behind the counter must've given me a senior discount or somethin', 'cause when I checked out with all TEN of my little critters, the total only came to $4.68! See, there are times when a mispent youth that has one looking much older than one really is can be a good thing! At least, that's how I choose to look at it. (Or maybe she was just giving me the happiness discount; I know she thought I was a little over the top the way I kept going on and on about how excited I was to find my bunnies.)

Now, let's just hope that I can find a place to put these cuties where I'll be able to find them next year! (I may just have to leave one or two out year-round, or at least through the rest of spring and maybe summer!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

OMG! It's also TASTY TUESDAY!

Okay, in some parts of Blogland, it's not only Trash to Treasure Tuesday, it's Tasty Tuesday! Now being the introvert that I am (don't laugh, even I need to unplug at times), I'm not much for big soirees, but if the party's in Blogland, well, I hate to miss out! So count me in!

I discovered a fabulous recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Bread at Tina's Cherry Hill Cottage. (Yes, she had me at "chocolate chip"!) But since St. Michael and I are both diabetic, I decided to play with it a little bit to make it a little healthier for us. Here's the Casa St. Michael's version:

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
(Makes l full-sized loaf)
Preheat the oven to 350.

In one bowl, combine:
1/4 stick of butter, softened (to be totaly accurate, when I first made this, I put in the originally called for 1/2 stick of butter in the microwave to soften it, and I totally forgot about it and NEVER did add it in, and my bread was still FANTASTIC. Still, next time I make some, I am going to put in this little bit of butter.)
2 eggs
2 or 3 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup Splenda
1/3 cup of Splenda Brown Sugar Mix
Use a fork, to squish the bananas and mix them up with the other ingredients. It is alright for there to be small chunks of banana in the batter, but you want most of the bananas to be reduced to mush.
In another bowl, combine:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients are blended together.
(And now here's the best part!) Stir in 1/2 cup of chopped pecans (or walnuts) and 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. (Okay, there IS a limit to how healthy I can stand to be). Pour the dough into a greased baking pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 - 60 minutes.
It was FABULOUS!
(Be sure to check out the original recipe at http://cherryhillcottage.typepad.com/cherryhill_cottage . And while you're there, don't miss the pics of Cherry Hill Cottage -- it is to die for!)

Now go check in with Jen of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam at http://inpassionatepursuit.blogspot.com/, and read her ideas for bringing not only yummy food to the table but some declicious atmosphere, as well!

Enjoy!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Trash to Treasure Tuesday!

Here's my own little Trash to Treasure project from this week:

A few of you have already seen this baby, but since The Fall (not Adam and Eve, but the demise of my original blog, sadly, at my own hands) resulted in the loss of all of the pitiful not-in-the-right-spot-anyways pics I'd posted, I decided to put this one out there again. I snagged this lamp at a garage sale the Friday afternoon I got my cast off. (I told St. Michael that morning that if the Ortho Dude said I could finally drive after eight weeks, I was going home and getting in my little car and not returning 'til nightfall, and that was just about the truth of it!)

I thought this was the cutest lamp, but it was wearing a tired old yellowed and water-stained lampshade with a big mauve heart surrounded by country blue squiggly, scroll-y thingies stenciled on it. Well, you know how we nesters love our craft paint -- and as I'm learning from my fellow bloggin' sistas, our spray paint -- so I rescued this sweet thing, took it home, and hit up that ugly ol' lampshade with some black spray paint, and VOILA! I popped it on the by-now-cleaned-up lamp base, and I think it looks adorable! I put it on the dryer in the laundry room, and I love it! I added some scrabble letters that spell out LAUNDRY (I never pass up a Scrabble game at a garage sale or thrift store 'cause I LOVE those letters!) and a cute 80-cent basket from Value Village (my favorite local thrift store). I put an empty Cool Whip container in the bottom of the basket, so that when Baby Daughter and St. Michael clean out the lint trap, they can drop the lint into the basket, without it sticking to the sides of the basket and make it all fuzzy and gross. (More about the "Mmmmmm!"-lettered cabinet door another time, but suffice to say that those are brown-paper-bag drops of "coffee" adding oomph! to the coffee pot-shaped knob on the door.)

Even though I didn't do a whole post on her, I also snapped up this fabulous frilly girl a couple of days ago at Ross for $5.24. (Yes, I know that's probably more than I should've spent, but though the picture doesn't really have anything in it to compare her with, take my word for it, she's HUGE! And wonderfully fluffy! AND she matches two smaller tassels that are hanging on my bedroom closet doors.) I'll probably add something to her, but even if I don't, she's already gorgeous, and I love her!

Speechless . . . well, almost

I tell you, sistas, this trying to pimp out my blog or gussy it up or "dress it up" has 'bout caused me to lose my religion.  (Of course, that would actually be a good thing, as Jesus didn't come to give us religion but to give us relationship, but that's a whole 'nother blogsite.)  Suffice it to say that this evening has been filled with many "Jaja words."  (That's what my godly son-in-law, St. Bill, calls those words and phrases that he does not want my grandchildren to learn.  I'm JaJa.) 

Fortunately, for St. Michael (and the surrounding neighbors), the Jaja words have only rattled around in my pea-sized, techno-challenged brain (I used to say if I had two brains, one would be lonely) and have not escaped my lips.  But for the record . . . ARGHHHHHHHH!  (*%#@!!$?+!!#%@&!!)  

In an effort to get my blog to look more . . . well, like all ya'll's blogs (you know who you are, you Exceptionally Fine Women of Blogland  . . . oh, heck, I can't even call you by name now 'cause of this mess I'm in), I have totally lost what little of a humble blog I did have!  I fear that whatever I have previously posted, as pitiful as it might have been, has now gone on to Blog Heaven.  Okay, maybe that is a little overly dramatic, 'cause I think I can dig up some of it that I saved in documents, but dadgummit, it will all have to be re-uploaded.  (Is that a word?)  Or maybe I should just start fresh, throwing all else out and letting all previous words go on "to the light."  Or maybe I should push my Mac off the edge of this TV-tray from which I pretend to be a writer and . . . and . . . oh, I don't know what!  (I can't really blame the Mac, I know it's the darn operator.  Besides all my Bible study material is saved to the Mac, and I'd be in a world o' hurt if I lost that, too.)

So what's a woman to do?  Well, since I've already had my no-sugar-added Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream with sugar-free caramel topping for the evening, I guess something like REAL chocolate would be outta the question.  (Besides I already ate the piece that Denise gave me at church yesterday, and I don't know where anymore is.  Double darnit.)   I guess this means that I'll just hafta start drinkin' again.

SOMEBODY BRING ME SOME CRYSTAL LIGHT!  

NOW, DAGNABBIT!

One last word from the insane sponsor of this blogette (I'm facing it, I'm a wannabe-blogger) . . . I will try to get this thing back to some semblance of normalcy -- okay, yes, it IS a relative term -- over the next few days.  In the meanwhile . . . well, keep reading the really good blogs out there, and check back here later.  Eventually, I'm gonna pimp out this baby if it kills me!

And in the words of John Mayer,
    "One more thing . . . "

Just so the night wouldn't be a total loss, here's a little "P.S." salute to Trash to Treasure Tuesday!

Also, after you read about my little Trash to Treasure project, dash on over to http://www.reinventedkb.com/2009/05/trash-to-treasure-tuesday.html to check out the original Trash-to-Treasure poster!  (Okay, ya'll, that's the very next thing I'll try to learn -- how to do the linky thingies!  For today, you'll have to cut and paste, I guess. OR go to the right side of my blog where I've listed the blogs I read, and just click on REINVENTED!  You'll be there in a flash!)





Friday, May 1, 2009

Fruition of Frugal Friday!

Okay, here's the deal . . . I am NOT a photographer, and I still don't have the hang of putting these pictures in the blog the way they should go, so just work with me here until I get it right!

Meanwhile, here are a few of the bargains I scored awhile back that are scattered throughout Casa St. Michael.   And, I'm spreading the bargain goodwill by putting lotsa goodies on Craigslist this week -- some rugs, decorative items, placemats, tablecloths, etc. -- 'cause I'm redecorating!  I love my deep red, "tearose" (golden yellow), and white bedroom, and have decided to go with that throughout the rest of the house.  I've noticed that when I see pictures of rooms done in those colors, my heart just about jumps outta my chest!  A sure sign that that is what I need to be surrounding myself with!  I'm keeping he tearose walls that are throughout most of the house (breakfast room is sort of a celery green), but I'm moving from lots of browns, rusts, golds, and oranges to that gorgeous red that I'm so crazy about.  As most of you can identify with, though, it's all about the budget (or lack of), so I am selling "old" stuff to buy "new" stuff!  (I've already bought my craft paint in the right shade of red, so I can repaint those things that are waiting for their re-do.  We frugal sistas love our craft paint, and as I'm learning in Blogland, our spray paint!)  

I'll definitely be covering the re-dos, but for now . . . here are those frugal frills I promised!