Tuesday, November 29, 2011

~* Fa La La La La *~

I am a hoarder of Christmas gift wrap. I know that seems like an exaggerated statement. After all this doesn't look like it is out of control...

There are a total of 30 rolls of gift wrap paper. Yes 30. As in I could wrap a Christmas gift every day for 30 days and not use the same paper twice.

There were 16 packages of tissue paper. Each package contains between 16-60 pieces of tissue paper. I have combined all the like colors, so it gives the illusion of being much more contained. 

The gift boxes aren't bad. Well that is because somewhere before  my daughter's December 18th wedding last year,  I misplaced an ENTIRE Rubbermaid tote of various sized gift boxes. I still can't find them...

Then there are the gift bags. Ok not so bad except remember that missing Rubbermaid tote of gift boxes? Yeah, there was also a stack of bags with the boxes.

Then there are these nifty little paper boxes. I only have a few of these. Only because there wasn't any room in the current container.

Oh you need a gift tag? Um, why yes, I happen to have a few.

At least the bows are under control.

These are the only 4 remaining boxes of Christmas cards. That is because I donated an entire copier box filled with my excess cards. (And in case you are wondering that is a box dimension of 11.5 inch wide x 17.75 in long  x 9 inch high). That is a lot of Xmas cards!

I suppose it is worth it after the family sees a big ol' stack of presents.

I don't have the tree up yet. Just wait until you see all of the Christmas decorations. (That is another post!)  

 Years ago the hubbs said I could have my own paper factory. Perhaps not a factory but I certainly could set up shop as a gift wrap center. If anyone happens to see me browsing the aisles, pushing a cart of Christmas wrapping papers, ribbons and bows... for goodness sake.. STOP Me! 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

♪ ♫ It's the most wonderful time of the year ♫ ♪

Gaahhh...I am beside myself! I  luuuuurrrrvvvveeee this time of the year! Thanksgiving is the kickoff to the season of festivities...or as I like to call it--The Eating Season!

All the yummy goodness awaits...

 Adult libations to wash it all down!

 And it isn't just the food. It's the music. Christmas music to be specific. How can you not be in a good mood when there are Christmas Carols?!

Andy Williams, "The Christmas Song"

Then there is the shopping and all of the trimmings for beautiful presents 

Courtesy of HGTV

And putting up the Christmas Tree

Courtesy of Martha Stewart.com

 and you need to have a festive and welcoming entry to show the world you are in a holiday frame of mind!

I can't wait to watch my favorite holiday movies, make cookies with my daughter and enjoy the season! Let the Ho-Ho-Ho Holidays commence!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life (if only for a day)

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a joyful day filled with love, laughter and lot of delicious food. The hubbs and I celebrated Turkey day at my sisters house. It was a great time of joking, reminiscing and eating. There was more food than we could ever eat!

My brother-in-law made 2 kinds of turkey (smoked and oven roasted), there were 3 types of stuffing, all the usual side dishes and our mom must have brought 7 different desserts. There was poignancy since our Grandpa T is no longer with us, but our family is expanding as we welcomed our sister's fiancee to the family. (We did warn him and give him a chance to run, haha!)

Of course all the men gathered out back for a small fire. (Seriously what is the deal with men and fire?) The kids were running around, playing and laughing. The sounds of family all around us. For just a while we escaped from the harsh realities of ill health, financial woes, past hurts, everyday stresses and truly enjoyed each other. For once there was no in-fighting or family drama. It was as is should be. Norman Rockwell-esque instead of the Norman Bates, haha.

Eventually after all the food was packed away and the dishes washed, it was time to go our separate ways.  We made plans for Christmas (our newly engaged sister was volunteered by me to host-(ha-ha I am gonna pay for that one!), said our I love you's, be careful's and goodbyes. And so the magic little bubble that enveloped us for just a little while was gone.

Coming home, I was greeted by my dogs (Chubbs and Tovah), my cat Sam-Sam,  my Guinea Pigs  (Pansy and Petunia) wheeked and shrilled since they are cage bound. And while I enjoyed all the noise and chaos with my family it is nice to have quiet at home. The other thing that greeted me were the lingering smells from what I had cooked to take to my sisters and for our personal dinner tomorrow.  Just a hint of apple, onion and sage perfume the air from the stuffing. There is also the wafting smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and caramelized sugar for the candied yams. My house is so warm and cozy!

Reflecting on the events the day I am feeling pensive. I have a very blessed life. I am thankful for all the opportunities in education, employment and interpersonal relationships. I am grateful that I have family that lives local. And while I don't  say it very often (and I probably should work on that), they know I love them. Today was truly one of the best family gatherings we have had in a very long time.

If ever there a word that meant  Love, Family and Home I think today (Thanksgiving) is the very definition.

Don’t let it be forgot, That once there was a spot -For one brief shining moment That was known as Camelot.

Monday, November 21, 2011

For art's sake

Replica of a Victorian roof finial, a
gift from my husband
 A carved wooden shelf.
Art is such a personal matter and can cover nearly every subject under the sun. 

Wikepedia defines art as-- "the product or process of deliberately arranging items (often with symbolic significance) in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, photography, sculpture, and paintings." 

I think everyone should have some form of art in their life. You should always surround yourself with things you love. Some people purchase art objects for the investment opportunity. Others for the emotional connection.

I fall in the latter category. And looking around my house the majority of my collectibles or objets d'art (haha-I feel fancy for writing in French) have a common factor of nature. Whether it be the subject or an interpretation via texture, shape or color. I LOVE pictures of landscapes, birds and botanical's. I also tend to favor the colors found in nature. I like the texture rocks, wood and metals. I also try to use plants in every room. 

My design style, including my art and collectibles, is completely different than today than it was 10 years ago. I have grown and changed. My design and art aesthetic reflects this. I like my displays to look collected over time--not picked out of a catalog. I am constantly editing and re-arranging things. Change is good! 

Art, collectibles or chtatkes (as referred by some) should be grouped in a manner, as to set a tone for a room.

I bought these cute (and cheap) little prints up at Walmart. They look like vintage postcards.
These items are nice on their own, but grouped together they begin to tell a story.

This display is in my dining room.

Some objects provide a sense of whimsy.

I love this little, metal folk art bird.
It's a bird! It's a watering can! It's cute! 

Others foster a sense of contemplation.

My favorite art.

Others make you feel at home.

Plants, home sign, birds and a vintage postcard vibe. love!

These are but a few of my favorite things. What kind of art and collectibles do you have?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bedroom 1: Work in Progress

I have been working to update one of our bedrooms. When we first moved into the house there was paneling EVERYWHERE! The front bedroom was no exception. Dark walnut paneling, 40 year old drab royal blue carpet, and dingy ceiling tiles. This was designated my daughter's room. She tacked posters all over the ceilings and painted the walls what can only be described as egg yolk yellow. And so the room has remained untouched. Poorly painted paneling covering our degrading plaster walls, carpet so worn  the holes were patched with duct tape (I AM NOT KIDDING!) and  no storage space.

After my daughter moved out we moved our furniture in and lived with the dysfunctionf or about 2 years. FINALLY our new carpet was installed October 22 but I wasn't able to complete all the painting prior to the install. Since all the furniture was out the room it seem like a fine time to paint and reconfigure the space.

Before (West facing window)

 Before (North facing window)

Unfortunately, we just didn't have the budget to gut the bedroom to the studs. For now we will work with what we have. The loose paneling was re-adhered to the walls using  construction adhesive and finishing brads. All the big gouges were filled with wood putty, left to dry and sanded. The large seams/ gaps were caulked using a paintable silicone caulk.

The windows and trim were cleaned and thoroughly dried. The window trim was sanded using 120 grit sandpaper to take off the varnish and smooth out some of the roughness. This was wiped down to remove any grit and given the once over with a water based primer (Kilz 2). I allowed the primer to set up overnight before I applied the trim coat. I use Valspar Ultra  Kitchen and Bath Enamel White.

Walls painted, trim in progress (West window)

Since we couldn't afford to do much with the ceiling either, the hubbs picked out all of the staples left behind from our daughters' posters. (Haha glad he had that job and not me!) The gouges were filled  in with  light weight spackle and all the rough edges had a seam of paintable silicone caulk.

The ceiling was painted Valspar Oatlands Subtle Taupe (6005-1B). It is sort of a greige (grey + beige) color, depending on the light. Granted the room is small and low ceilings, so we could have gone with white but that is so boring...bland...expected. My [NEW] mantra is do the unexpected! The walls were painted a creamy buttermilk color.  It is a custom mix of leftover paint from the living room -2 parts Cozy Cottage (Behr 740C-3) and 1 part Oatstraw (Behr 740D-4).

Something unexpected but trendy!  The shades I have picked are not so trendy that I need to re-paint 6 months from now.  Here are my inspiration rooms. 

~*Inspiration Rooms*~
Courtesy of http://adiaryoflovely.blogspot.com
 Courtesy vi.sualize.us
courtesy Country Living

There are 3 windows in the room so we have a North, South and West exposure. Our bed was placed  in front of the West exposure window which I hated because I didn't have access to the largest window and all the light was blocked. Unfortunately there just isn't one wall that suitably fits our queen bed due to the weird little windows (we call them the cat windows). After much consideration this room will be returned to spare room because our furniture just doesn't fit this space. Since we just finished the upstairs bathroom it make sense to have the Master bedroom adjacent  the master bath. 

Now what to do with this space?  hmmmm....

Spare Bedroom (aka The Girly Room) Checklist
[✓] carpet
[✓] repair walls
[✓] paint walls
[✓] prep window trim
[✓] prime window trim
[] paint window trim
[] prime baseboards
[] paint baseboards
[] install ceiling trim molding
[] install new window blinds
[] install window treatments
[] clean up antique bed frame
[] set up bed
[] amp up the charm with a faux fireplace--YES PLEASE!
[] convert closet to entertainment nook
[] install new ceiling light fixture
[] decorate
[] enjoy!

So as you can see my To Do list is extensive but I will keep you apprised of my progress.
 SIIIIIGGGGHHH, a woman's work is never done....

Friday, November 18, 2011

Stencil Madness

Earlier this month I lamented the lack of design in my stairwell (as shown here). Well I went on a mission of inspiration to one of the happiest places on earth. No--not Disneyland. Or  IKEA. I went to Michael's. I love craft stores!

While shopping for some Christmas craft goodies (which is another post), I decided to wander the aisles and I stumbled upon some stencils! I found my inspiration!

Martha Stewart Crafts™ Arabesque Laser-Cut Stencils

There are 11 different stencils in this pack. originally priced at $16.99 but I had a coupon for 40% . After the coupon discount and tax I paid $10.90 which is the equivalent of $0.99 per stencil. Not to bad my little mathematical minions!  I envision all sorts of stenciling projects. WOOT!

 I like these 2 the best.

Iron works

Arabesque tile

The lower portion of the staircase 

will be painted Valspar Smoked Oyster 


The  upper portion of the staircase

will be painted  Valspar Oatlands Subtle Taupe

Then to break up the expanse I will stencil the Ironwork's pattern in a Pearlized white. I think the white will provide a nice contrast. The pearl will have just enough sheen and shimmer to bounce the light around. I do plan to add artwork, photos, and possibly a quilt.  (Don't forget the stair treads will be a nice dark Cappuccino color and the risers a bright crisp white!) 

I love the ideal of this stencil. It will look like wallpaper without all the icky glue. So excited to work on this! That is until I have a hunchback and claw-hands from spouncing paint for the stencil effect. Oh and there is the whole afraid of heights  and climbing a 14 foot ladder issue. Details, details....

And to my daughter who said-"Your just gonna paint it Beige and Cream, Mom. It's your thing."  I say  "Hush yer' mouth!"

(And I just might work that Arabesque tile pattern onto my risers...you just never know!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another milestone!

My blog is chugging along and I just hit 500 views!   I am truly humbled by your continued encouragement and support . Thank you everyone!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Be thankful

Another year is nearly over and I cannot believe next week is Thanksgiving!  I must admit this is really my favorite time of year. Nature has painted the landscape with gorgeous earth toned colors of orange, brown, yellow, red and purple. We are  tantalized with the spicy smells of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.  The air is crisp and cool. And there's nothing like cozying up on the sofa, after a long day, with nice hot cup of chai tea.

I know many preparations are under way to accommodate family and friends for Thanksgiving Day. Make your  home inviting and cheerful throughout.

Welcome your friends and family with with a nice arrangement of bittersweet and gourds.

Courtesy of BHG

Set the mood for your entire house. Keep it simple. Drawing inspiration from nature.

Courtesy HGTV

Have lots of soft pillows and and a cozy blanket. Great for those long conversations (or quick naps!)

Courtesy http://www.inspired-design-daily.com

What's more cozy than a fireplace? Here's a great example of a well decorated hearth.

Courtesy http://www.updatedallas.org

The heart of every home is the kitchen!

Courtesy Decorations.net

You need a place to wash your hands!

Courtesy http://www.savvyseasons.com

And a place to eat...
Courtesy http://casa-diseno-blog.com

And now that your belly is full it is time to sleep...

Courtesy TheLennoxx.com

I hope  that everyone takes a moment from their hurry scurry lives, to be thankful, to enjoy the time you have with friends and family, to savor every moment and to enjoy the beauty all around us.