Saturday, August 31, 2013

OMG - I so want this!!!

Craigslist you do not disappoint. I missed out on the Sarreid chest a little bit ago. So I am getting a gift,  a second chance. It's like the cheap furniture Gods shine down upon my head. Ladies this is a 1960's Sarreid coffee table designed by Charrak. It's 40" x 40" and 14" tall. It is currently for sale for only $125!!! And they might even deliver it for me (because there is no way that will fit in either my car or the little station wagon I can sometimes borrow). The kicker is I already really like my coffee table with the glass top. And this is kinda too big to switch out with it even if I decide to do so. Also I really don't even have the space to store it until I can flip it on eBay. But I WWWWAAAAAANNNNTTTTTT THIS so bad! I'm trying to be strong... be practical. I'm having all these conversations with myself. But seriously. This is just a bad ass coffee table. Imagine it all shined up and full of brassy goodness. I think I'm going to go for it and purchase it if they will deliver it. Its a little crazy to want something just because its pretty - with no place to put it. And its not like I'm going to magically be getting a family room added onto my condo any time soon where I could use this. What would you do? Pull out your wallet so fast its smoking or just keep walking?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Updates to the Living Room

Finally!! I've got a bunch of things to show you so the post is long. I think I've mentioned that I wanted to move away from my totally mid century modern style to more of a Hollywood regency/Chinoiserie style. The mid century stuff was pretty and mostly good designer pieces but it never felt like me.  I've been making changes for the last several months but just haven't gotten around to taking pictures. And unfortunately my picture taking ability hasn't improved any from the last time I took pictures of the living room. It must be my camera. Every picture is fuzzy and grainy. Because really can I be this bad? I think these are all new to you. If not, just play along.

So this wall of the living room had an old mid century modern oak chair with crappy upholstery (actually the colors and flame-stitch pattern are pretty just not in my blue/turquoise living room) that I always meant to change but never got around to it. It has had a pretty green and turquoise micro stripe fabric draped and tucked for a couple years. Next to it is a Jon Van Koert mid century modern walnut table with a white ginger jar lamp with a pleated shade and some pheasant statues from the 1960s. I changed the lamp on this table several times. It used to be a blue lamp, prior to that a wood mid-century modern one. On the floor is my plant in an Ikea white pot. On the wall are 9 framed Audubon prints from 1960's. I've had the chevron rug for a while. There used to be a brown and turquoise rug. And back a couple years this wall was painted brown with random artwork.

The new look is a pretty Italian regency side chair with a blue floral stripe. The chair was $90 from an estate/consignment shop. Typically more than I would pay but I fell in love with it. Its much smaller than the old chair and frankly not as comfortable. If it was a chair that was used in the living room all the time I don't think it would work. But realistically I'm the only one in the living room 90% of the time. My son is away at college.  Its fine for guests for a couple of hours. Next to it is a fruit wood octagon table with creamy marble top. I love all the hidden storage this table gives me and the carved pattern on the table. I do worry that the octagon shape dates the table. Even though the table is probably from the 1970's I don't really want it to scream I'm old.  I'm going for a timeless look rather than retro or old. I also like how the leggy chair looks next to the solid to the ground table. In my old living room everything had exposed legs and it drove me nuts.

On top is a mirrored/mercury glass ribbed lamp with a rectangle shade from Target, but I found it for 1/3 the price at the Salvation Army in perfect condition with the Target tags still on it. I'd like to add some trim the the bottom of the shade. I've thought about a pretty greek key but am using that in a large scale in another room so would like something different here. I've got a pretty royal blue vase, from TJ Maxx for only $2 on clearance, with paper flowers I made. I like how the royal blue ties into the royal blue in the drapes across the room.

A Nate Burkus spiky gold urchin and an african violet plant rounds out the top. I want to remove the violet and add another item to the table but I'm not sure what. I'm thinking a small 4"x6" abstract. I have a pretty lucite easel I'd love to use. I worry that will be too busy with the Audubon prints behind it. Maybe use just a photograph in a geometric frame. I'm not very good at the small decorating touches because I typically like clean surfaces. Its hard to make a clear surface look intentional and finished and not just bare.

On the floor is a large asian pot with pretty colorful flowers and a hand painted scene. It makes my plant look so much bigger but its the same plant! I got the pot from Craigslist for $25.

On the opposite side of the room I had my pretty vintage drapes in blues and greens on a creamy background (They are a little short but whatever. I sometimes think about adding a bottom panel and a leading edge in a solid fabric to make them fit better. But that sounds like a lot of work). In front is my 1960's Hans Wegner AP 27 chair and ottoman in a pretty avocado green color with an Ikea pillow. Next to it is another Jon Von Koert side table accessorized with live plants.

Now I have a pretty peacock blue slipper chair with ottoman pipped in a cream color. There are casters and little brass caps on the chairs legs and some button tufting. The ottoman has fluted detail on its legs. Again this chair is more petite and not quite as comfortable as the loungy former chairs. The scale is better for the room. It's also primarily for guests and isn't used on a daily basis so its fine. I bought it at the same time from the same estate as the striped blue chair and it was $120. The fabrics coordinate beautifully. I seriously die for that cream pipping. It really makes the chair.

Next to it is my elephant table I purchased from Craigslist for $45. I'm still debating painting him a creamy white and getting rid of the brown highlighting but can't decide. On top I put a glass round, some of my decorating books and a Christmas cactus plant. The top of the elephant isn't perfectly flat so the glass wobbles. That's why I added the books as their weight stabilizes everything. I don't like that there is no place for guests to put a glass so the top will probably be tweaked sometime in the future. I found the pretty emerald green pot at an estate sale for $2.50. 

On the wall opposite of the front door is my Ikea couch with a black slipcover. It was a quick Craigslist purchase for $35 when my Room and Board sofa wouldn't fit up the stairs to my condo when I moved in. The style was fine for the room and it was comfortable. The fuchsia pillows are from my colorful phase awhile back. The tables are designed by Peter Hvidt & Orla Molgaard – Nielsen for France & Son along with the coffee table that you can't really see well. The lamps are a white raised design with shades with silver linings.

The new look keeps the Ikea couch.  I have my eye on a pretty sofa from Room and Board in custom upholstery in an Ink color. My couch savings have been diverted to other necessary projects like saving for a new car. I think I'm going to have to live with it for another year or so. The chevron rug is still here. It's held up well and the cream still looks pretty good. You might notice that I turned the orientation of the rug so it runs the width of the condo. I wish it were a little bigger but think this direction change makes the room feel more cohesive.

The Chicago skyline at sunset triptych in chunky black frames, taken by my Son, is still up. I'm not crazy about the orange color. I'd love some black and white photography or prints from The Pink Pagoda or maybe move in the large abstract from the dining room here. The pillows are a pretty blue and green pattern from TJ Maxx. The white throw is still here. I want to replace it but will wait for a new couch first so I know what to get.

The lamps have been replaced by mercury glass lamps from Target for $55 each. I've used a black Nate Burkus shade for $25. Unfortunately the shade do-hicky that sits on the light socket is a little too big for the lamp so the shades rock. I could have taken the shades back but I really love the opaque look of the shades. I'm going to wrap the light socket with a little electrical tape so the shade doesn't wobble.

The end tables have a pretty carved design and creamy marble tops that match the octagon on the other side of the room. I love their deep drawers. Storage is always an issue. I purchased all 3 of  them from Craigslist for $125 (I think) and getting them all into my car was a challenge. I added a small lucite tray on the one table. It works great as a catch all for pens, papers, jewelry I take off in the evening, etc. There is a basked under the one table for excess dog toys. I added back the kennel to the side of the table. It's ugly but Sebastian my dog loves it. On the other end table I have a large Van Briggle Console bowl with 3 orchids in it. The orchids are growing new leaves but not blooming. I've got to figure out why. The plant stand to the left has been in my family for years. I want a new pot for my plant. Something with a little flair.

The coffee table is a large glass top oriental table with Ming style legs. The finish is a green malachite but looks black in most lights. As Emily Henderson would say it engages the space better than the rectangle that was here before. I purchased the table from Craigslist for $125 plus free delivery. I moved my african violets from the white dish to the gold bowl from Target. I think the table needs some other decorative object but can't figure out how to make it work with the plants, which have to stay.

The wall with the front door hasn't changed. It still has the Murano lamp I purchased from Craigslist for $25 with the thrift store pagoda shade. The Dorothy Draper chests have great storage and were a steal for $35 for the pair with $25 delivery. I really love how they look. They need to be repainted. I'd love to send them out to be lacquered but have no idea how expensive that would be. I might be painting them myself. The TV is big but I enjoy it. I spray painted the retro clock a champagne gold (kinda a silver/gold look). Even though its has a bit of that retro/mid century vibe to it I think it stays. I love its feminine shape and it fills the wall nicely.  I want to add some pink handmade paper flowers to the vase on the left side of the dressers. The door in the middle is my front door with the closet to the right. I want to paint both doors black. Maybe sometime this summer.

Whew! I think that is about all the updates to the living room I've made over the last few months. As you can tell many things have changed. I really love the way the room feels now. After 6 years in the condo it finally feels like home.  The funny thing is that this is very much the style of my old house. When I moved I changed everything up and went with mid-century modern and all new (vintage) furniture which never felt right. I need to stick with what I'm comfortable with and quite trying to do something different.

Things left to do: paint the ceiling. It has streaks from when the last owners painted it and it drives me nuts. They are very faint and only visible in certain lights but I know they are there. I am also thinking about painting the living room and dining room so the space is more cohesive. They are open to each other. Currently the dining room is green and the living room turquoise. I am not afraid of color! I'm a messy painter and don't enjoy the process so I'm avoiding the painting issue for now. Oh I also need to hide the cable for the TV that runs around the perimeter of the room. I'm astounded there wasn't a better solution than this when the cable was installed and hate how it looks.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Zucchini Bread

This is all that's left! Good thing I took pictures when I did.
 Its that wonderful time of year ... zucchini and summer squash are taking over! I made zucchini bread last night. It's a big challenge cooking in my tiny kitchen. Yikes! It would have helped if I didn't have several dirty dishes sitting on the counter to wash, a large fruit bowl, my espresso machine and a Britta water pitcher. And this is all the counter space in my kitchen. T.I.N.Y. (Look! A picture of the new paint color! Hopefully soon I'll get around to updating pictures of this space).

Anyway I used this recipe from a September 1981 issue of Decorating Crafts Ideas. This has been my go to quick bread recipe for many many many years. Yes, I'm old. You can swap out the zucchini with little to no changes for carrots, sweet potato, apple, etc. Its a great basic recipe.

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I always double it  because I like it)
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice drained
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium)

Combine flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon set aside.

Beat eggs lightly in a large mixing bowl; add sugar, oil and vanilla; beat until creamy.

Drain pineapple. Stir in pineapple and zucchini

Add dry ingredients, stirring only until dry ingredients are moistened.

Spoon batter into 2 9x5 loaf pans sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans. Turn out on a rack and cool completely. Yield 2 loaves.

This is yummy bread. The pineapple and zucchini make it so moist.  I've got one loaf to eat now and one to freeze. I also have about 6 more zucchini in my refrigerator so I think I've got more bread in my future. Next time I'm going to make them in a muffin tin for a little bit easier portion control. I can get carried away eating this! You can also bake them in a bunt pan for 45 minutes and it looks a little more fancy.

Give it a try. You'll love it!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Craigslist Score (Almost)

I usually search Craigslist every day. I use terms like brass, gold, chinoiserie, asian, bamboo, etc. I've had an out of town guest so my daily routine is messed up. I just missed out on scoring this vintage brass Sarreid chest on a wooden stand for $200. I am just kicking myself. Boo hoo.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Great Purge - Summer 2013 Continues

I'm not sure what has gotten into me. I bought a new china cabinet and decided to not put back everything from the old cabinet into the new cabinet. And that snowballed. I've gone through every cabinet, drawer and closet in my condo. Yes its a small condo, but still. My second donate pile is HUGE! And surprisingly when you now look into drawers and closets it doesn't feel like this much stuff is missing. How can that be?

Luckily my son came home from Boston (where he was teaching computer game design software to 13 year old kids at an enrichment camp for 7 weeks) and helped me load up the car. It was full to the brim. I drove it to the local Salvation Army. And I must say I was miffed. I pull up to the donation door and there are 5 guys sitting outside doing nothing. None of them got up to help unload my car. They just pointed to a truck and bin and said to put my stuff in it. Now there is no way I'm climbing with my castoffs into a semi-truck. I just put them everything down by the side of the driveway and let them deal with it. They were grumbling about it but then again so was I. Then they made a big deal about me wanting a tax receipt. What?! I've never had that experience at any charity shop, ever.

I still have my downstairs storage locker to go through. I know I have some supplies from when I did upholstery work that I kept (like 75 yards of the black dust cover fabric you use on the bottom of furniture.) Really? What was I thinking. It will take me decades to use that for just personal use. Sometimes I can be a little crazy thrifty.

Also, I hoard boxes. You never know when you need to ship something and boxes can be expensive. Ask me the last time I needed a box to ship something. Go ahead ask. I'll tell you. 4 years ago I shipped a "birthday party in a box" to my son for his birthday while he was in college in Savannah Georgia. Otherwise if I have to ship something I use the flat rate boxes from the post office or once I had a delicate item packed at a UPS store with packing peanuts and insurance. No need for 2 dozen boxes here.

And did you catch the part where I bought a new china cabinet? Details to come.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sneeky Peeky

I am still in the midst of "The Great Purge  - Summer 2013". I had to go to work so was delayed some. I need to finish up my Son's room (where I store extra fabrics, pillows, and tools) today and get all the 2nd load of stuff donated on Saturday. That way Sunday I can give everything a deep clean. My Son is coming home Sunday evening and I want to have everything back to normal by then.

Anyway enough about that. This rug came in the mail yesterday! I should have pictures of it in its room next week. It's not finished yet (really when is anything of mine really finished) but its a pretty big change.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Great Purge - Summer 2013

I'm in the midst of "The Great Purge Summer 2013". Seriously I am in the mood to organize and get rid of stuff. And you probably know when the mood hits to take advantage of it. I've got the items above, plus a couple additional lamps, and a large lampshade to donate to the Salvation Army on Monday.

I still have to go thru the craft closet, my fabric stash, items I've stashed in my son's closet while he's away at college and most of the kitchen cabinets. So basically I've gone thru the bathroom, hall closet, my bedroom and the china cabinet. I've also thrown away a couple bags of trash and donated a big box of non-perishables and unused health and beauty items to a shelter. I have so much fun doing this! The only part that is a pain is that I'm on the 3rd floor and it's a lot of work carrying things out to the car or dumpster. 

It's 8:30 pm and I'm starting to run out of steam. But its been a super productive day.

How was your weekend?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Where have I been?

Gosh its been forever since I posted. Things have been busy around here. My son was home from college for 3 weeks before jetting off today to Boston for a teaching job this summer. He's working at a camp teaching computer gaming software for 13 year olds. He'll be back in a few weeks and I'll have him home for a month before he's back in school in Savannah. It's hard to believe that my baby will be a Senior in college this coming fall. Boo hoo. This is probably the last summer he will be home, assuming he gets a full time job next summer after graduation in his hoped for company in Seattle.

I've been having car trouble. My little Saturn is 13 years old and has 103,000 miles. I've been in the repair shop once a month for the last couple months now. The last time I had to have it towed in. It's to the point where I'm nervous about driving it even though the repair guys say its fine and in safe condition. I know it's just time until something else goes wrong with it. I'm dreading buying a new car and having a car payment again.

But a part of me is excited about the prospect of getting a vehicle with a hatch back and large (ish) trunk area. That will open up my furniture buying abilities quite a bit. I'm having fun reselling things on eBay. Of course my "to sell" pile is still too large. It's more fun buying than selling. I'm at the point where I can't purchase anything new until I reduce my inventory some. I probably have 8 big things and a dozen and half small things to sell. I'm always buying new things on Craigslist or at an estate sale, rearranging, and selling my old stuff. Making a profit is a happy bonus!

My job as an Elder Companion came to an end. The 95 year old lady I worked with is having health problems and is required more care than I can provide. I don't do any nursing or CNA type of activities. I've got baby sitting lined up for the summer and have been interviewing for a new nanny job come fall. Hopefully that will all work out with out too much down time between jobs. This is such a different feeling than my past life as an Information Technology Executive at a national bank. It's so nice not working 70 hour work weeks any more. Semi-retirement is nice and a lot less stressful!

So that's what has been going on around here. I have some new finds and updates around the house to share to share in the coming weeks. And pictures. Yeah, the post would be more interesting with pictures. But then I probably wouldn't post. So. Pictures in the future!