Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013 Home Goals

 I've been working on some goals for 2013. Other than the perennial lose weight, that is. But that's another post. Here are my home goals for next year.
  • Finish the living room: paint the closet, ceiling and black dressers, upholster the oak chair, teak oil the teak, make some decorative accents, replace couch, replace coffee table
  • Finish my son's room: make/purchase drapes, make some pillows, complete some artwork, replace the ceiling fan and have the water damaged window sill replaced.
  • Finish the bathroom: repair the door, hang towel racks, seal grout over sink.
  • Finish the dining room: paper back the china cabinet, find new chairs & reupholster them, set up the bar cart, make a gallery wall with shelves and leaning black frames.
  • Misc: hide the cable tv cable, paint all the trim white, paint all the doors black, wash all windows & screens inside and out.
I'd love to throw kitchen and master bedroom projects on the list, but those rooms are barely started and I don't realistically think I can get it all done. I would prefer to finish the rooms that are almost complete and finally be done with them. I don't know if I'll have a focus room for the month and work on projects for that room only for the month or if I'll jump around and do projects that sound interesting. I really want to get the rooms finished so I might focus one at a time and really wrap them up.

I do know that with these house goals and the personal goals I'll share later I need to be more productive. Less sitting on my butt, more doing. All the projects sound so easy on paper. I have a whole year. How can I NOT get these done?  Everything takes longer than I anticipate. I also overestimate the amount of time, energy and patience I actually DO have.

How about you? Do you make goals for the year?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Thank You Google

I've owned two Starbuck's Barista Espresso machines in the last 15 (?) years or so. My first was a Christmas gift and was a pretty forest green. It matched my kitchen at the time (remember the 90's colors of forest green, navy blue and burgundy? They are making a come back except more of a kelly green this time.) Anyway. My first one died in my last move 5.5 years ago. I purchased a used one on eBay. Well that one has been brewing slower and slower. Like drip..... drip.....drip. Over 15 minutes to make a latte. I thought it was slowly dying.

I turned to Google to see if there was anything I could do to fix the problem. After a little reading I realized I had never descaled the machine (which is recommended every 3-4 months). Oops. I ordered the recommended descaler from Amazon (and got a couple more things I really didn't need just to get the free shipping. Do you do that too?)

I also read to use a pin to clean out the holes in the porta-filter. I ran water through it and watched as it just sat there. Hmmm.... maybe that's the problem! Well I found a pin and poked and poked. I used a little vinegar (even though they say not to clean the machine with vinegar but I thought the filter would be OK) and scrubbed and let it sit and poked some more. Then I rinsed for a couple minutes to get the vinegar taste/smell off, put it back together and pulled a shot. It took just seconds (instead of minutes) and had a great creama on top. Success! Thank you Google!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Christmas is kind of a bust for me this year. I've run out of time and haven't even brought the decorations up from the basement yet. I haven't done any baking. I didn't send out cards. I had plans of making some food type gifts that were scraped. I'm even taking store bought appetizers to my family's party. I'm pretty lame - although I did manage to get gifts for the 4 people/couples I buy for. It just seemed like there was no time and I wasn't in the mood. Now it's too late and I've given myself permission to just forget all of it and let it go. Maybe next year will be better.

I did manage to make two gifts. Well with some help.

I purchased a pretty lucite tray from The Container Store for $11.99. My son made a chevron liner with a monogram in Photoshop. We went to Office Depot and had it printed and then laminated for $2.50. Voila - a personalized tray. One is with red chevrons and the other has orange chevrons to coordinate with my sister's-in-laws houses. I hope they like it.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Trumpets are blaring, a lone sunbeam shines down upon it and the clouds part and behold there is a TV.

 Ha ha. I have a new TV. It is really kind of a big deal for me. I haven't owned a TV  for about 8 or 9 years. As in no TV in the house at all. I watch a couple shows (Hoarders, Project Runway, Top Chef, Chopped) on the internet but that's about it.

Then why the new purchase you might ask? Well I find that I'm behind on everyday common culture. That might sound stupid. But I have no idea when most people talk about minor/local news stories, TV shows, commercials/new products, movies, celebrities on TV. I've lost a common frame of reference with many people. What started years ago as a respite from the constant bombardment of commercialism and sensationalized news has turned into being out of step. I feel like my 94 year old Great Aunt Helen, living in a technology free bubble, not even aware of what's going on around her. OK. I'm not that bad - I read the national news online. But you get the idea.

So when my internet/cable provider forcibly upgraded my internet service, offered free cable installation, a great rate, free DRV and $200 cash back all for one decent price I took the plunge and signed up for cable TV, all 200+ glorious channels. Bonus - my internet speeds quadrupled!

Here's hoping I don't overdose on HGTV and the Food Channel.

Monday, December 17, 2012


I've been doing well selling items on Craigs List or eBay lately. I've sold my old living room rug, my mid-century modern credenza, my mid-century modern bar cabinet, my mid-century modern sewing cabinet, my Ikea platform bed frame, two bamboo chairs, a Lucite chandelier and an old Minolta camera.

I'm so happy to free up some space in the condo and get these extra pieces out of here. To sell I still have a teak rocking chair, a mid-century modern day bed without cushions (that I hauled out of someones trash - but in excellent condition!), an extra mid-century modern coffee table with some water damage (I was going to refinish it) and two Lucite chandeliers (purchased to resell) and two crystal lighting fixtures (also purchased to resell).  Although I might save the chandeliers and update the dining room and my bedroom. I also purchased to resell some designer clothes and a Prada handbag found while out thrifting. Some items didn't sell and I donated them - most notably my mid-century modern china set and some large canvases.

Things I'm still looking for / want to purchase: a new mattress and box spring, bedside tables, new dining room chairs, couch with chaise, possibly new drapes for the dining room, and possibly a new coffee table and end tables by the couch and finally possibly changing out the abstract art in the dining room for a gallery wall.

 In the upcoming months I want to tackle these projects: paint all the interior doors black, repaint all the trim white, paint my bedroom (still undecided on the color but with black and white accents), repaint the kitchen aqua plus about two dozen smaller projects. I'll probably give it some more thought and come up with a dozen home goals for 2013 so I have some focus and organization.

Writing things down like this helps me see that I am making progress in my home. Sometimes it feels like I'm standing still. Of course I will never "finish" because I'm constantly changing things like the credenza and bar cabinets in the living room, drapes, etc - things that are perfectly fine the way they are but I just want a change.

What about you? Sell any stuff lately? Make any purchases you've been planning for your house?

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I just had a fun discussion about 80's music with my sister-in-law. We were talking about Erasure but neither of us could come up with the songs they were famous for. I turned to Youtube to refresh my memory (after all it's been ~ 25 years) and found these from the 1988 album The Innocents. Boy the memories they brings back. Makes me want to have big hair, wear neon and dance around. When these came out I had graduated high school, was in my first year of college (studying to be a secretary!) while still living at home and was contemplating marrying my sweetheart. I hope you listen and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Cactus

Sorry for the radio silence the last couple weeks. My son is home from college for the holidays and I've been working a lot. Busy, busy, busy. I haven't even decorated yet for Christmas! Although I do have a pine scented candle burning so the house smells nice and festive.

I am so excited! This is the first time my Christmas Cactus plant has blossomed! While maybe not a big deal to most, I'm kind of a plant person and am very excited by this development. My African violets are also in bloom. All during the summer they are dormant. I have the large trees shading my condo so they don't get enough sun to do anything. But come fall - yippie! I give them a dose of fertilizer and watch them take off. I'll have lovely white, pink and purple blossoms for months. Now all I have to do is figure out why my orchids aren't blooming.

I just love having healthy, colorful plants around me.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Elephant Table

Remember how I was talking about an elephant table in the living room not long ago here? Well I purchased one just a few days ago for $45. It was a bit of a drive to get it but I didn't have to go into the city which was a bonus. I'll take suburbs over city driving any day.

Here he is. An elephant with its trunk raised is a symbol of good luck. So my elephant hunt had to have an elephant with its trunk up, be less than $50, tall enough for a table, and bonus an easy drive to get.

He's a pretty ivory color with dark highlighting. I had planned to paint him a bright white and leave out the highlighting for a more modern look (like the examples in my prior post). However the ivory is growing on me. I think I'll hold off painting for awhile and see what direction I end up going.

I also have to figure out where to put him. I'm not sure I like the elephant table where I thought I would put it - next to the green chair in the living room. The mid-century modern table there is a recent edition. I had it in my basement storage locker and brought it up to try before I sold it. Well turns out I really like it next to the green chair. So I have a homeless elephant. I think he'll go live in the "office" / my sons bedroom when he's home from college. My son doesn't think so but I'll just move it in there when he's back at school - none the wiser. For now he's hanging out in the living room with a plant on him. He makes me smile (but totally freaks out the dog).

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pumpkin "Dump" Cake - FAIL

We usually spend Thanksgiving at my brothers' house with about 20 other folks. Well this year they are out of town so we are kind of on our own. I'm totally OK with that. I'm making a chicken instead of a turkey. My son requested pumpkin pecan pie. I have a tried and true recipe and it always turns out great. I asked him if I could make something different this year. I wanted to try the pumpkin dump cake recipe floating around Pinterest. I made a dump cake back here that turned out really well. I wanted to actually make something from Pinterest instead of just always pinning stuff. It was easy and based on my prior results I thought it would taste pretty good. BTW - I'm not a fan of "baking" with convenience foods like a cake mix. But how could so many glowing reviews be so wrong?

I followed this recipe. Blah. I don't recommend it. I added more than double the amount of spices in the recipe (we really like cinnamon and ginger). The cake was overly salty and pretty bland. The bland surprised me. There was not enough butter on top. So after cooking for 50 minutes I had an inch of powdered cake mix on top of my pumpkin and it was still soupy underneath. I sliced up more butter and put it all around the top. I baked it again for another 10 minutes. After 10 minutes it looked like it needed more time. I baked it another 10 minutes. Then an additional 10 minutes. Then still an additional 10 minutes. Finally it wasn't jiggly any more and the additional butter seemed to have soaked in. All you can taste is salty and sweet with a buttery feel in your mouth. The pumpkin is hardly present. What a huge disappointment.

It gets tons of good reviews on multiple recipe sites. I followed the recipe exactly up to the point that it was "done cooking" but under done and consisted of a box of dry cake mix on top of a soupy mixture. Then I checked out other recipes and see that some use a much smaller can of pumpkin and 1/2 cup more butter than the recipe that I followed. I would also use less sugar and totally skip the salt. I would also recommend slicing the butter and putting it on top instead of melting and drizzling. Drizzling left many spots with no butter = dry cake mix.  If I just sliced first I wouldn't have had to add more butter at the end. Frankly I'm not entirely sure that I won't chuck the entire thing into the garbage (and I have a huge sweet tooth and will eat just about anything). FAIL. FAIL. (It's a two fail kind of recipe).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dining Room Drapes

I've been so happy with the drapes that I finally got around to hanging in the living room, I made it a priority to get the dining room done also. Now I haven't had drapes in the 5 years that I've lived here. That might sound weird. But I'm on the 3rd floor surrounded by tall oak trees. In the summer you can't see in at all. In the winter you need to stand at some weird angles on the street to see in the windows and then you only see from the chest up. So I really wasn't worried about privacy and enjoyed the open, airy look.

The drapes in the living room just made the room feel finished in a way I wasn't able to achieve otherwise. So onward! Drapes for everybody!

I hung this pair of pretty raspberry, pinky/coral and chartreuse drapes that I purchased for $35 + shipping from Etsy. I love that the green is an exact match for the walls. I'm really pleased with the way they look. I hung the drapes in such a way that the window now looks centered on the wall. It really is 17" inches closer to the bar than to the other wall. It always drove me nuts that it wasn't centered. How did I do it? The drape by the bar cart is hiding about 17" of window. The other side is hung so that the edge of the drape is just even with the end of the window (covering 17" of wall space).  So to measure, I hung each bracket 17" inward from the corners of the walls, centering the curtain on the wall, not the window. Easy peasy.

I'm not sure I'm pleased with the way the drapes look with the abstract art on the wall. I'm back to that issue of wanting everything to match instead of just being happy with coordinate. What do you think? Does it look OK? Do I leave the abstract or remove it and go with a gallery wall of leaning black frames on picture ledges? I like the idea of having an easy way to display lots of pictures. I also like that I already own the abstract and don't have to spend any more money on decorating this wall. I'm not sure but I really need to decide before I screw the art to the wall to make it lay flat. It's warped. It's a PITA to fix holes in a plaster wall. Also this is the only possible location for the abstract in the condo.

Maybe I just have to paint the blue lamp a different color? Perhaps black? Or remove the lamp and do something with the art behind the bar cart as it is too high above the cart.  I never turn the lamp on. It's just there to add something tall to the space. Oh! Maybe I add the owl umbrella holder with peacock feathers on the bar cart? I currently have it in the corner of the dining room. You can see it peaking out of the corner above. It really does get lost in this location. I just put it there so it would have a spot in the house.

So to recap, should I:

Paint the lamp black
Replace the lamp with the owl umbrella holder with peacock feathers
Redo the art behind the lamp so it works with the now lower Lucite bar and remove the lamp and umbrella holder
Replace the abstract with a gallery wall of picture ledges and leaning pictures

I'm still looking for the perfect set of  Hollywood Regency chairs to replace my mid century modern ones. It'll be an easy/cheap way to add that Hollywood Regency style I'm trying to add to the condo.


My son came home from college for winter break in Saturday! I'm so glad to have him home. I miss him terribly when he is gone. It's been just the two of use since he was about 3 years old so we are really close.

Something happened over the summer and all of a sudden he wanted to go to thrift stores with me! We had so much fun. So on the way home from the airport we stopped in two different Salvation Army's. I found a small print for the bathroom and a milk glass vase. It seems I've been starting a collection of milk glass vases. Not consciously but all of a sudden I have 6 or so.  He didn't find anything to purchase. I don't think he ever has purchased anything but he does enjoy the hunt.

I did a lot of updating to the condo while he was gone. He gets a little frustrated with my constant changes so I tried to do as much as I could without him here. While he is home he will help me paint my bedroom, purchase a couple nightstands, do a ton of spraypainting (Wednesday is the day! It's supposed to be 58 degrees and only a slight wind. I have a list of items to paint.) and a couple more projects I've got up my sleeve. It'll be fun to see how much we get accomplished.

It is so nice to have him home! He is home thru the 1st of January.

Monday, November 19, 2012


I had set up a little bar area in my dining room using a left over bedroom dresser. It looked pretty nice, fit the corner well. I just needed to accessories it (like maybe purchase some booze). I loved that it had tons of storage for my vintage set of dishes that I'm trying to sell. It was a great mid-century modern piece.

But as I've mentioned I'm trying to move away from the mid-century look to a more Hollywood Regency look. I thought an easy way to update the dining room is to replace the bar cart and the dining chairs (more on that later). I've been searching Craigs List for an oriental cabinet to put in the space. I just wasn't finding anything I liked that would fit. I wanted something special looking.

Then one day last week I came across this lucite bar cart and fell in love. It really lightens up the area of the dining room. I think it's so beautiful. I'm working on how to accessorize it and really make it shine.

I sold the mid-century piece and bought the lucite piece within a couple days of each other and made a $50 profit. I'm very happy with my purchase.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Murano Lamp Shade

I haven't been happy with the lampshade on my vintage Murano lamp. When I purchased the lamp for $20 it had a horrible pleated, over-sized, yellow and terribly dusty shade. I had the homeowner just throw it away. I didn't even want it in my car. I then purchased the shade you see below. I tried going to a lighting store for a shade but they didn't have anything big enough in stock. Special order would have been $175+ for a basic shade. Well that wouldn't do.

So I ordered the shade online ( I believe) for $55+ shipping. It was OK. Nothing special. The shape was OK but the fabric was a coarse weave and looked kind of cheap. So I've been thinking of getting a new shade for the past 1.5 years.. Emily Henderson mentioned a good custom shade source that wasn't too expensive (sorry I can't find it right now). Then I wasn't sure about shape and color. I'm not sure you can tell but the lamp is oval shaped and fairly thin. I could go white, black, fuchsia with the lampshade if I wanted. Decisions, decisions. I was pretty paralyzed on what to do next.

Then last week when I was making my weekly pilgrimage to a thrift store I found this wonderful silk pagoda shade for $6.99. I picked it up and then put it back down. I thought $6.99 was expensive for a used shade. There was a small water stain on one side. I carried it around the store not sure if it was worth the $6.99 to try it and see if it would fit. I thought the size was OK but wasn't sure. I must have spent 20 minutes deciding to spend $6.99 or not. Some times I'm so cheap I surprise myself. Anyway I decided it was worth trying to see if it would look OK and brought it home.

Yea! After wiping it down with a damp cloth, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the size is perfect. The pagoda shape really compliments the lamp and adds a nice design element for that corner. The water stain is facing the back and you would never know it was there. I'm very pleased with my $6.99 solution.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Updates to the Bathroom

Other than painting the biggest update you can make to your bathroom is a new shower curtain. I had a plain white waffle weave curtain. It was really nice and gave the room a clean, airy feeling. I was going for a spa feel. But as I've discussed before I'm in the mood for a lot of color and contrast so I purchased a new shower curtain.

Isn't it fun? I really love the colors and it picks up on the aqua blue of the walls, the royal blue that in the living room curtains and has my favorite fuchsia/purples.

I added some hand towels that are a perfect fuchsia match. These are actually kitchen towels from Target but they work perfect in here. I even found some hand soap in the right color.

 I added some fun black and white chevron baskets to the top of my cabinet to hold head bands and rollers. With my hair longer now I find I "need" a ton of hair accessories. The baskets are a good way to corral them. They look like they are falling off the cabinet for some reason in the picture but they aren't.

I added a piece of artwork on the open wall opposite the sink and toilet. Black and white again. It's kind of trendy but I like it. I wish it were a bit bigger.


I love the floor. The bathroom has the original 1950's black and white tile and tub. The floor also has gray tiles so it looks like plaid. About a year ago I had the tile blacksplash added to the sink area. It was constantly being splashed with water and always looked messy. I couldn't find smaller white tile that didn't cost a fortune so I used a white glass tile and the black boarder found in the rest of the room. I also updated the faucet at the same time.

I read a post on Making It Lovely about black and white bathroom inspirations. In it Nicole talked about adding a black toilet seat to a white bathroom for some more color. I love the idea. I never would have thought about it. In my life white toilets have always had white seats. My seat had a chip in the screw cover and is missing a bit of white porcelain. I checked out Home Depot and they don't carry black toilet seats in their stores. The couple they had on their web site all had bad reviews. Really how bad can a toilet seat be? Well these were thin plastic and flimsey for $50+ dollars. I want a heavy one or wood so it doesn't feel cheap. The search continues.

I still have the project to hang a towel rod and a robe hook on the back of the door. I also want to fix some damage to the door front from the previous owner and paint the door black.

I only have one bathroom in the condo and you can see it's pretty small. But it packs a colorful punch and makes me smile.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Koi Table

OK, I need some help. Your opinion please. Is this just the coolest koi table? Or is it weird and ugly? I think it's a fantastic Hollywood Regency table. And it's super cheap at $40 and has a 36" glass top. It would definitely make a statement in my living room. My family would think I'm nuts. I'm OK with that from time to time. Usually if I'm unsure it means I shouldn't purchase it. But it's really cool looking. What do you think?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Drapes & Dressers

I finally got around to making a few changes to the living room.

I've been wanting to move my Dorothy Draper Espana Bunching Chests (totally a knock-off but look exactly like the famous ones) from my bedroom to the living room and replace the Mid-Century Modern credenza (actually a bedroom dresser minus the mirror). The chests need to be refinished. They look OK in pictures but the black finish is pretty scratched and cloudy in places. I will probably tackle it this winter. If you remember when I painted a long ago blue dresser for the same spot I have to paint in my condo as I have no other location to spread out. It's definitely a challenge. In the mean time I plan to go over the scratches with a black sharpie so it doesn't drive me nuts for the next couple of months. I still need to style the top of the dressers and find a place for my owl umbrella holders with peacock feathers in it. The chests are much larger than the credenza that was there. The chests were totally a steal for $35 for THE PAIR with $25 delivery to my door. Gotta love Craig's List.

I also finally got around to hanging drapes. I think I've had these drapes for 18 months or so. I purchased them on eBay for about $100. They are a wonderful floral of turquoise, vivid green and royal blue on an ivory background. They are vintage and so pretty.

I have this fear of measuring incorrectly and putting unnecessary holes in my plaster walls. I also fear drilling into my 60 year old plaster walls and having chunks fall down upon me (although that has never happened to anyone in my building). I really like how they turned out. They really make the room feel complete. Now that they are hanging and not folded up in a closet I realize they have a bit of a musty smell. Hopefully that dissipates or I'll have to have them dry cleaned - which wouldn't be a bad thing because they are kind of wrinkled and I hate to iron. Besides they have a weird plastic like coating on the back. Not sure how that would work with ironing or even dry cleaning. I'm going to let them hang for a little while and see if the wrinkles fall out. And yes, they are hung a few inches above the floor. It might be dorky looking but I can't have them blocking the heat from the radiator as it is the only one in the room. Also my dog Sebastian lays right there and I don't want the bottom to get all dirty from his fur. Practical won out over good design.

In other news, I have new fuchsia pillows on the couch.

I'm still looking for some upholstery fabric for the chair on the other side of the room. I purchased a micro-stripe tweedy fabric from eBay a while ago in the same green as the other chair with bits of black, white and turquoise in it. It's draped over the cushions in the picture below. It's pretty fabric and would be a good neutral in the room. It's just kind of blah looking. I think I want a WOW fabric. Possibly in fuchsia! The hunt continues. (That blue lamp has since moved into the dining room on the bar cabinet with a white ginger jar lamp replacing it.)

I'm also thinking of replacing the tables in the room. All the tables and chairs are very leggy with all exposed spindle legs. The black dressers really help the look of the room since they go down to the floor. I've started looking for tables next to the chairs. Maybe something glass. But it needs to be small scale. I'm still thinking of a ceramic elephant stool next to the green chair and ottoman. There is currently a very cheap one for sale on Craig's List but is far away and I'm not sure I feel like driving into downtown Chicago to go get it. We'll see if its still for sale Saturday when I will be closer to where it is located.

I've also started looking at sofas. I've been saving to replace my IKEA Klippan sofa. It was purchased hurriedly (from Craig's List for $35) when my leather Room and Board couch wouldn't fit up the stairs when I moved in. I like its shape. I just wish it was longer and the cushions didn't sag as you sit. You kind of get the Homer Simpson butt divot effect. I think I want something with a chaise. I've got to measure to see how it will fit in the room. It's hard to find a sofa with a chaise that comes in pieces so it will fit up my stairs and looks modern. Everything I find is so over stuffed. I need an apartment sized sofa, small scale. Oh and it can't cost a fortune and needs to have good upholstery options. I'm actually considering this one from IKEA but worry that it will not last long and that the cushions will sag. I do like that the cover can be removed and washed and comes in pieces so it will for sure fit up my crazy narrow, short stairs. I'm also considering this one from Room and Board. It's definitely more of the Hollywood Regency look instead of the Mid-Century Modern look which is OK with me. I wouldn't have to worry about it lasting. And for $35 they will come out and measure to ensure that the sofa would fit up the stairs which would be money well spent since the sofa would be custom with the fabric option I want. However I do like to sit with my feet up. Decisions. Luckily it will probably be after Christmas before I purchase anything so I have time to think. I want to get the chair upholstered first since its kind of ugly in its current state.

As you have probably guessed I've dropped out of the 31 Days of blogging series. Blogging every day is hard work! I had the posts planned out and even managed to get several done ahead of time in September and have them scheduled and still didn't make it very far. Oh well.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'm behind on my 31 Days of Updates Around the Condo series and hope to play catch up over the next few days!

As long as things go as planned I'll have updates posted by Monday.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 13 - Another New Futon Cover

Remember back on Day 2 of my 31 Days of Updates Around the Condo when I showed you a new black futon cover for my Son's bedroom? Well I didn't like the way it fit. See the wrinkles? It was too big (even though I ordered the correct size) and the fabric was too thin. You could see/feel the dimples on the futon from the stitching which I didn't like. The reviews of the cover were mixed. I don't know why I thought mine would be OK. Silly of me. I wasted $12 in shipping and return shipping costs. Anyway I returned it and purchased another one.

The new one had great reviews on It also came in more colors. I thought a gray color would be nice rather than black. I have a light haired cat who likes to hang out in the room. Her hair always showed up and required a lot of vacuuming to look nice. I decided that the gray would be a better solution. I'm still not sure I like it. I have a lot of black in the room. I instinctively want everything to match although when I think about it I know that some of the decorated rooms I like best have no matching in them. Yes things will coordinate but it doesn't have to be the same. I think as I pull together the rest of the room the gray will be fine. Besides I'm not returning this cover so I'll have to make it work!

Day 12 - Blue and White Pottery

I've been cleaning out some extra stuff around the house and making small trips to the Salvation Army to donate. While there I feel obligated to stop in and see if there is anything that has to come home with me. Well I've lucked out and found a piece of blue and white oriental pottery each time I'm at the store. I don't know how that it is possible but it's been once a week or every other week for almost 2 months and I find a piece of blue and white pottery. Usually I purchase said pottery. Each piece has only $2 or $3 dollars. I now have a nice collection in my office, otherwise know as my son's bedroom when he is home from college. I've rearranged the shelves to display my new collection. I like how it looks.

Day 11 - Desk Accessories

I updated my desk accessories. I used to use a silverware holder from Ikea. It worked fine but was a little boring.

I upgraded to this.

It's an antique glass ice bucket with silver handle. I've had this tucked away in my china cabinet for a year or so. I really like having it out where it is used every day. Next to it I have a little blue and white pottery dish I picked up at the Salvation Army. It's perfect for holding spare change, rubber bands and clips. I already had the blue vase. I really love the gradation of color of the vase. I have plans to make some coffee filter roses to go in the tall vase sometime soon. This little change makes me smile.

This post is part of my series of 31 Days of Updates Around the Condo.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10 - Update to the Doors

This update to the condo was boring but necessary. With all the heat this summer my 60 year old building did some major settling. It caused several cracks in my plaster and my back door, bathroom door and bedroom door would no longer open and close without sticking.

I purchased a wood file/rasp from Home Depot and tried to file away the door tops so they would close properly again. Well that was the wrong tool. It chipped away at the wood veneer instead of smoothly taking off the wood. And it wouldn't take off enough wood for the doors to close.

Then I purchased a wood plane. I've never used one before. I assumed it would have directions or pictures on how to set the blade. Nope. Nothing. So I fiddled with it and got the blade adjusted (didn't know if it was correct) and used it. It smoothly took off shavings of the top and then side of the door. It worked quickly and didn't crack the veneer. Soon I had the doors done and the floor vacuumed up.

Then the back door lock was sticking. You would have to push and wiggle the key to get the lock open. On my 2nd trip to Home Depot I purchased two new locks so I could replace the front and back door lock. (The front door lock worked fine. I just wanted the two locks to use the same key.) It was a little challenging to get the screws to line up properly but easy enough to change out the locks.

So that is today's updates. Doors that close properly and locks that work. Boring but necessary.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Elephant Table - Need Your Help

I need your help. I found the above elephant wicker table for sale. It's not cheap at $99. I'm really drawn to it. I would put it in my living room and possibly paint it a sunny yellow. What do you think? Too cutesy?

Emily Henderson used one in her Lake House redo. Check out her post here. In her room I like it. I'm just not so sure about it in my mid century modern moving toward a Hollywood Regency or Chinoiserie look.

Here is another elephant table. This one isn't wicker.

Here they used two together and made a cocktail table.

Yesterday I missed out on purchasing a large brass elephant from Craigs List for $75 similar to the one below.

So I'm pretty sure I want a large elephant in the living room. The big brass elephant on the table that I missed out on would have been ideal.

I also want a yellow side table. The garden stool is about the perfect size and color. I also missed out on one of these on Craigs List this week for $35.

So what if I purchase the wicker elephant and spray him yellow? Is it the wicker that I'm having a hard time with - is it too casual? A yellow elephant? Both? Maybe I get a white ceramic elephant table and just use a yellow throw pillow? Get the yellow garden stool and bring in an elephant some other way?

Anyone else have terrible luck on Craigs List lately?

Day 9 - New Lamp

This is a picture of my dresser in my bedroom the way it started out. I'm slowly working on updating my room. The lamp is something I found at a resale shop. I don't remember what I paid for it but I'm cheap so it was probably under $10. I purchased the lampshade at Target. The lamp used to live in my living room. Then I moved it to my son's room, then the dining room and finally in here. I like its Mid-Century Modern look however I'm moving in a more Hollywood Regency style for my bedroom and it has to go. I'll try to sell it on Craigs List.

The dresser and painting are not tilted. I just take bad pictures.
I found this lamp on sale at the Salvation Army for $3.99. I loved its feminine shape and pretty crystal look. It seems very romantic to me. I purchased the lamp shade at Target on clearance for $4.48. I had to go to a couple Targets to find a lampshade. Maybe they are phasing out carrying them? The selection was really poor, but I'm happy with what I found. The tall skinny shade is very different looking. It's a nice contrast against the other lights in the room. I added a low wattage blub for some mood lighting in the bedroom.

So for under $10.00 I have a new, more feminine lamp with a modern shade in my bedroom. I'm trying to sell the old lamp for $35 on Craigs List so I just might turn a profit on this update!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 8 - More New Chairs

I bought some new chairs. They were $35 on Craigs List (for the pair!). They are a great pair of bamboo Chippendale, Hollywood Regency chairs. I had plans to paint them a glossy black and use them at the head and foot of my dining room table. Wouldn't that be nice? Unfortunately they are a bit narrow and my fat behind doesn't fit comfortably into the chairs. Womp womp. So I'm selling them on eBay for hopefully a nice profit.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 7 - Leaky kitchen sink

My very busy brother stopped by today to fix my leaking cold water supply pipe. When the plumber was out clearing the clogged drain he mentioned that I have a slow leak. Well I don't want the water to accumulate and damage my downstairs neighbor ceiling. It was kind of urgent to fix the leak.

Well my brother came over to look at what the issue was. He agreed with the plumber that it should be an easy fix. After he turned off the water supply, he unscrewed the flexible pipe for the cold water. It was a little messy as the water in the pipe went all over the bottom of my cabinet as it was unscrewed. I had towels waiting to mop things up so it wasn't too bad.

Tim, my brother, took the existing leaking piece with him when he went to the hardware store. Smart thinking. That way he's sure to get the right replacement piece. Just match them up.

When he returned he screwed the new flexible pipe in place and slowly turned on the water. It leaked a little bit. He again tightened the nut(?) holding the pipe in place. No leaks! Yeah! It really was a quick fix. I still didn't have the right adjustable wrenches needed to turn off the water or unscrew the flexible pipe. Good thing he had the tools and the time. Isn't it so nice when family helps you out? Hopefully this is the last of my plumbing issues for a long time.

Now to put all the cleaning supplies and misc. stuff back under the sink. That little space is just packed full. Currently its all over my dining room table. Ugh.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 6 - Switch Covers

Did you ever do something and years later wonder what you were thinking? Back in Janurary 2010 (see the original post here) I thought it would be fun to replace some switch covers with a clear one with scrapbook paper inside. They didn't look bad, I guess. Over the last couple years I've changed my decorating style to something more sophisticated. The crafty looking covers didn't go anymore.

I went shopping at Home Depot for some new covers. I was surprised by the narrow selection. They had a couple nice black ones but I didn't know how they would look. I thought I wanted white, but they only had white plastic covers.  I settled on some brass covers with a nickel finish. 

I like the way they look. One thing I didn't think about was finger prints. These show finger prints so I will be constantly wiping them off. I know this is a small change, but sometimes the details can make or break a room.

I can't wait to paint the trim a fresh coat of white! I'm not sure when it was last painted, but I've lived here 5 years. Even after washing, they are pretty grungy looking. Trim painting is my January project.