A Room Without a View..

I have always loved decorating “powder rooms”.   Against almost everybody’s better judgement, I like to do something WOW in small spaces.  In a previous house, I used red wallpaper that sported vintage bunches of posies; it was beautiful.  Most of these teeny bathrooms are windowless, so it is important to give the people who use them something interesting to look at, right?

The mountain house sported a particularly nasty half-bath:

powder room before

Not only were the dirty walls painted Gulden’s mustard gold, but the vent in the ceiling (that vented to nowhere, it turns out), automatically turned on with the light switch, (so there was escaping it!); it sounded like a car with no muffler.  Needless to say, this room was not a pleasant  place to frequent.  Greg started the fix rolling by tearing out the wood ceiling planks, replacing the vent (properly!), and re-installing  a new ceiling.

I really wanted to put up wallpaper in the space, but my limited mobility didn’t lend itself to hanging paper. (I had visions of more product stuck to me than on the walls!)  But the WOW factor being a necessity, the rebirth of that sad little room began with paint.  Greg agreed to using an unconventional color on the walls; we ended up choosing Sherwin Williams’ Kumquat.  I purchased a very large wall stencil with a vine-y motif from Royal Stencils.  For the stenciling, I used the creamy color from the living room walls.  Then, to soften the overall effect of the kumquat orange, I dry-brushed the stencil color over everything.  The result is a very soft, subtle peachy-cream finish. (NOTE:  The color is not nearly as bold as this…the result of using artificial light!)

powder room 006

Greg then did his woodworking magic by adding wainscoting, which I dry-brushed with the stencil color and sealed with polyurethane.  The toilet was replaced (thank goodness…the original potty looked like it had crime tape strapped over it, for a very good reason!) and the pedestal sink was in good shape. We replaced the chrome fixtures with oiled bronze.  I already had a mirror that started out as Pottery Barn blackboard (consignment, of course!), that I had beveled glass installed in.  Since there is no vanity storage, a little shelving unit was a necessity.  I found the perfect little corner etagere at a local antiques store.  Dad spray painted it and it fits like a glove.

powder room 008

So far, so good, but something was lacking. The room needed a focal point, which was provided by a 36×26” picture  titled “Blue Moon”, by Melissa Graves-Brown, from art.com. I had it mounted on wood backing, and love the effect. (I know some say that your art and its framing shouldn’t have to match anything else in a room, but I totally disagree.  I think the colors, [ including the picture frames] in your accessories should be in harmony with everything else, or it will cause others to twitch!)  At any rate, in the future, all my art purchases will be mounted/frameless.  This picture, as you can see spans almost the entire width of the wall behind the commode.  I had my WOW!

powder room 012

The rest of the accessories in the room are star-themed.  A favorite is hanging from the ceiling. It fortuitously was left out of the storage box during the Christmas decoration stow-away, and on second thought, I decided it might be nice to enjoy it all year!


And now, (for grins) I leave you with a very important reminder.  This pearl of wisdom was found on a coaster from one of our favorite restaurants, Ted’s Montana Grill.  (When in Atlanta, there’s no escaping the Turner brand!)

teds coaster


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Two Tales…

The first tale is about two Dads, Greg’s and mine respectively.  Greg’s Dad turned 90 on Saturday, April 4th.  To celebrate this momentous occasion, 15 of his family members, including his two children and their spouses, three grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren, sneaked into Knoxville, TN on Saturday, March 28th, to surprise him at a dinner in his honor.  The event was held at Conner’s in Turkey Creek.  The restaurant staff did an amazing job of assuring that the evening was perfect.  (If you are in the Knoxville area, I highly recommend Connor’s as a wonderful dining experience; the food and service are fabulous!). They even added birthday candles for the divine Publix birthday cake that we supplied!

It was a wonderful evening, and Dad was absolutely surprised.  Below is a picture of him prior to the cake cutting:


My Dad, who will turn 88 years old in August, was also in attendance at this dinner. He has had a rough go of it,  health-wise, in the last few years.  Besides fighting multiple myeloma (and the debilitating chemo that is used to control it), he also has an abdominal aneurysm that is at critical mass.  This blog post was written on Friday, April 3rd, in the hospital, where his surgeon performed an angiogram with an intravenous ultra sound, to ascertain the location and size of the “problem”.  Saturday, he had a CAT scan.  Now, they have the information they need, and and can schedule surgery to repair the aneurysm.  Ironically, it was exactly one year ago (4/3/2014) that he broke his hip.  :>(

The good news is that he is basically in good physical shape, and his sense of humor is intact.  All the nurses fell in love with him.  One claimed that they wanted to keep him there; that they only send the grumpy ones home.  (Clearly, she does not live with my Dad! ;>)

We love you, Dads!


The second tale is about the two kids that were supposed to be living with LeeAnn by February.

I realized about a week ago that I started telling a story, and then left it hanging.  I assumed that you could divine what was transpiring,  but then realized that you can’t read my mind (the contents of which are often a mystery to me)!  Also, I was subconsciously avoiding reporting on the situation, because the outcome is still unknown, and the process has been painful.

Since the children are in Virginia and LeeAnn is in Georgia, there is a weenie-tug (a blunt, but accurate, description) going on between the states over who gets custody of the children.  Every time LeeAnn thinks she has fulfilled all of the informational and procedural requirements to obtain custody, a whole new set of demands is produced.  And a lot of the required information is downright redundant, intrusive, and extremely private!  But she is determined to see this through.  I told her she is my hero.  The love she displays for these kids, and the effort she is putting forth to get them, transcends any obstacle that any government agency throws at her. These kids are so lucky to have her as their Nana.

The other wrinkle is that Justin has told LeeAnn that he really doesn’t want to leave Virginia. As a high schooler, all of his friends are there, and he loves to hunt and fish in his favorite spots.  Ideally, he wants to stay with his paternal uncle, who is single.  Red flags, anyone?  That is  probably not the best living arrangement for a teen-aged boy. However, Justin says if the courts dictate that he must move to Georgia, he will.

On the other hand, Faith cannot wait to live with Nana.  The next court date is around May 10th.  Hopefully, that is the day her dream will come true.

And in closing, since this has been a rather somber post, (I promise that the the next posts  will be all about decorating and DIY projects), I thought I would close with a favorite quote, that I even prettied up and made suitable for printing:


Thank you so much for listening.  If you think about it, could you keep both my Dad and LeeAnn in your prayers?  It would be so appreciated.



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Hello, Again!

Finally! I can take a breather and compose a new post.   Yep, there’s been a lot of “doing” around here, with the brain firmly parked in neutral, so as not to overthink any of the design decisions that have already been made.  (And I will like the results, no matter what! ;>)

The project that is currently underway is getting the downstairs kitchen finished.  Since this is all being done on a very limited budget, it will take some creativity to give the finished space an upscale look.  My number one design challenge is to make the in-stock oak cabinets from Lowes look like something other than what they are.

I hate oak…not the trees, or those little miracles called acorns.  No, I dislike the wood, and any cabinets and furniture (and excluding hardwood floors) made out of the stuff.  The grain is very coarse, and very difficult to disguise (but I am trying!)  It reminds me of the 1980s, when everyone, including me, had those spindly farmhouse chairs with the wide engraved backs! (NOTE:  It is not my intent to insult anyody who loves and owns oak furniture; this is my opinion only, and opinions are worth what you pay for them!)

Back to my design decision.  I knew I would paint the cabinets, but it was difficult to decide on a color.  Finally settled on a Sherwin Williams hue called “Sleepy Blue”.  I got out my measuring equipment (in my mad scientist role), and mixed up a big batch of chalk paint.  Thankfully, one coat produced the desired amount of coverage.  Once I started applying it, the color was more gray than expected, but I will like it, no matter what!  Here’s a shot of the cabinets in the process of being painted (the paint hadn’t quite dried, so it looks a little funky):

ds cabs 001  ds cabs 003 ds cabs 004Here is a pic of the uppers completed:

ds cabs 007

We will use a lot of white subway tile (which is fairly inexpensive), and take it up the wall to almost the top of the window over the sink. The knobs from the old maple (sigh!) cabinets were very inexpensive and brassy-looking.  So…they will receive a coat of silver spray paint.  And for the countertops, we will use wood!

The bookcase was actually the first cabinetry that received the paint treatment.  I like the two-tone paint, and the darker panels on each side of the shelves will showcase some classic family pics.

ds cabs 010

We still have to add a wood countertop, and add veneer tape to the shelf edges.  For this piece, I placed an online order for drawer pulls from a store called D. Lawless Hardware, after reading about this venue on the Lilacs and Longhorns blog.  My, oh my!  If you are looking for cabinet or furniture “bling”, this is the place to shop. They have an unbelievable inventory of parts, pulls, and knobs, and the prices are awesome!  With the budget in mind, I headed right to the SALE tab, and struck gold!  Waiting for me were pulls that are stainless with bisque rods, 3” on center. They were originally close to $7 each and were reduced to $1.25 apiece! I can’t wait to put the sealer on the wood, so I can see those beauties in place.

Greg did some more work on the fireplace surround, and I am loving it.  (And yes, that is the mens’ NCAA b-ball tourney on the screen! ;>)

ds cabs 011

The fly in the ointment is the HUGE fuse box that is positioned on the wall above the fireplace; the television won’t entirely cover it, and we need to disguise it with something easily removable, when electrical issues arise.   Have no clue what I will do, but it will come to me.

And now I will leave you with a You Tube video that hopefully will elicit a smile, if not an outright guffaw!  The pup in this piece is my a double of our dog Bear, dyed brown.  Same “activities”, attitude, and if he could speak, voice!


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I Dyed on Vacation (Again!)

Sorry for the delay between posts.  We were on vacation the last week in February, and upon returning home, I have been busy painting walls and cabinets in our basement apartment. (That process will be chronicled in future blog entries.)

Our vacation, as many are, was a mixed bag of blessings and frustrations.  Luckily, the good stuff outweighed the bad, but in a nutshell, this is what transpired:

Good:  Leaving home just in time to escape the freezing rain, sleet, & 6” of snow that left many of our neighbors without power for several days. (Because of last year’s flooding fiasco, Greg DID turn off the water before we departed!)

Bad:  Arriving in Hilton Head to lousy weather.  The best day we had was Sunday, and everything, including the temperature and the moisture, went downhill from there.  (Greg & Dad brought their golf clubs, but they never saw the saw the light of day.  The thought of teeing off in windy, wet, 45 degree temperatures was not very enticing!)


Good:  Celebrating Reese’s 2nd birthday on Sunday. Because the weather was good, the boys were able to visit their favorite place on Sea Pines, a beautiful farm where they love to feed the resident horses some carrots.  :>}

iphone mar14 008


Bad:  Jen picking out Reese’s birthday cake, which sported a Ninja Turtle motif; it was covered in Crisco-laden dark blue and green frosting.  We all had to eat it.  :>{


Good:  Eating lots of wonderful seafood, and finding some new restaurants that we loved.

Bad:  Eating too much!  When you are bored, you tend to munch.  I unfortunately gained back 3 of the 30 pounds I lost over the last year on the Atkins diet.  So far, they are still with me.  :>(

Good:  Relaxing a lot.  My sister and I had plenty of time to catch up on each other’s lives (she lives in Connecticut, and was so grateful to see sand instead of snow, for a few days!) over glasses of wine.


Bad:  Getting bored after several days of inactivity.  So….to liven things up, I bought a box of L’Oreal color, and I dyed my hair RED!  The result was a color not found in nature.  (Note:  Last year’s Hilton Head vacation was a similar meteorological mess.  When sufficiently bored, I bought a box of L’Oreal color that produced the brassiest yellow highlights you have ever seen!)

(No Pics Available, EVER!!!)

Good:  Spending a week with our grandsons, our daughter, and our son-in-law.  It was such a treat to be able to dine with them every day, and wonderful to hear Riley recount their daily adventures.  Or to see Reese, strutting his stuff, while sporting the fedora that he picked out for himself at the outlet mall.


Bad:  Thinking about how quickly Riley and Reese are growing, and wishing they could stay this age for just a few more family vacations.

Good:  Greg getting a break from working with Bear, (who is being professionally trained not to be a knucklehead!) 3 times a day, on behavior commands.

Bad:  Greg desperately missing Bear, and their workout and joyride times together.


Priceless:  In closing, the picture that sums up this year’s family vacation, that will forever be burned into my memory and my heart, is this one, of “Pop” walking down the beach, followed by Reese, whose little legs just couldn’t quite catch up!


Yes, it was a wonderful week

P.S.  I am aware that the quality of these photos is not great. Anybody out there have better luck taking pics of 2 & 5 year old little boys? I didn’t think so!  ;>)


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Howdy, Neighbor!

Have you ever heard of Brian Patrick Flynn?  Well I hadn’t, until one Sunday about a year ago.  For some reason, on that particular morning, I felt the need to read the AJC (Atlanta Journal & Constitution). So we drove to a gas station that carries that newspaper.  (Due to Ellijay’s proximity to the Tennessee state line, most retail stores carry the Chattanooga paper. Unless you are willing to battle the hordes at Walmart, the few places nearby that do carry the AJC, have a limited number of copies. If you don’t get there by 9:30 in the morning, you are out of luck!)

I digress.  Oh, and be assured that for my purposes, the AJC is not bought for its news content.  No, I want the paper for four reasons:

  1. The HOME section
  2. Sports info (during football season!  :>)
  3. The TV guide
  4. All of the glorious sales flyers contained within

Well, on that particular Sunday, I dove straight into the HOME section, and there was an article featuring the most adorable boys’ bedroom, complete with fuzzy pictures of the space.  What really caught my attention about the room, however, was the wooden moose head hanging on the wall, and it was sporting a man’s tie.  Brilliant!


I was so taken with that room that a search of the internet for an actual photo of that room revealed….nothing.  There are plenty of Brian’s kids’ bedrooms out there, but the room in question was difficult to find…until today, when I came across these photos:

interiery-brian-patrick-flynn-33 interiery-brian-patrick-flynn-33-2

I was so intrigued by the room’s design, that I had to know more about the designer.  So a little research revealed that Brian is the mastermind behind Flynnside Out Productions, with offices in Atlanta & LA. He is a television producer-turned-self-taught-designer, whose work, punctuated by exuberant color, and immaculate attention to detail, along with more than a touch of whimsy, has been featured on HGTV and the Houzz site, to name just a few.  His blog is a hoot. This is a man with a big personality, huge talent, and the confidence to claim “You name it; we can produce it. And it will look amazing.”

The biggest revelation of all, upon reading his blog, is that he is my NEIGHBOR!  In 2013, he purchased a log cabin in Ellijay, that he remodeled, to erase “an extravaganza of cabin cliches”.  The photo below is a before picture:

bpf before cabin br

The after picture is the same bedroom!

 bpf after cabin br

(See, we really are kindred spirits!”) He loves the antique shops, the mountain views, and the sense of calm that Ellijay offers, not to mention its close proximity to Atlanta.  Oh, yeah, and he digs the apples (because Ellijay is the “Apple Capital of Georgia”, of course).

So now, I will be on the lookout for Brian.  If we ever do meet, can you imagine how elated he will be when he learns that I am his neighbor? The mind boggles just thinking about it!  ;>}

Now, back to the moose wall hanging.  The past Christmas was on Friday, and we weren’t going to see our grandsons, and deliver their gifts, until Sunday.  So,on Saturday, I drew patterns for a moose head and antlers.  Greg cut 2 each with a jigsaw, and assembled them.  I stained them, and then came the hard part for Greg…remembering how to tie a necktie knot (he can’t remember the last time he had to wear one!). After a few tries, each moose had his bling.


Now, Reese & Riley can progress confidently toward manhood, knowing they each have one of “Pop’s” Lands End ties to see them through, in a pinch.

(With apologies, that pic isn’t great, either.  My daughter, Jen, took it with her cell phone at a weird angle, but hopefully, you get the idea.)

And yes, it would seem that I am warming up to the whole moose thing!

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Deer Me!

Greg and I will be married for 27 years on Friday, February 13th.  As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving blog, it seems like just a few short years ago that we exchanged our vows, but the calendar says otherwise.  At any rate, you would think after all this time, I would be able to anticipate his reaction to things that I introduce into our décor.  However, the last piece of art that I hung on the foyer wall elicited a reaction that really surprised me. But first, a little background info….

I love antlers.  I love deer.  I’n fact, no matter how many times I see a deer on our property, I am blown away by its grace and beauty.  When we first moved into the mountain house, we had two does visit us regularly at the far edge of our driveway, hiding in the hemlock trees (not coincidentally, they always stand next to our 10’-tall blueberry bushes.  It seems they love that fruit as much as our family does.) One day, when my camera was handy, I captured these pictures of Flo; Lucy was hiding that day.  (By the way, for a reason even I can’t comprehend, I have a weird need to name every animal that makes my acquaintance…)


Four years later, I have yet to glimpse a male deer, but hope springs eternal.

Every now and then, Greg sees a buck on his afternoon run (not to mention that that one day last spring, he ran around a curve in the road, and SURPRISE!  A black bear was waiting for him as he rounded the bend!).  He has to recount exactly where he saw the deer, what size it was, etc.  Clearly, the novelty of sharing our surroundings with these gentle creatures has not worn off yet.  Therefore, I assumed he liked living with antlers, too!  Last year he agreed to let me buy the faux antler chandelier as an anniversary present, and sincerely seemed to like it, once it was professionally installed 7 months later.

antler chand

So, when I saw the large wooden cutout, with a monogram that was nestled between deer antlers, on GroopDealz (I find some pretty amazing stuff on that shopping site!), and it was under $15, I bought it.  When it arrived, it was so lovely, I considered hanging it, as is, without adding any finishing products.  (Sorry. As usual, I forgot to take a before picture.)  However, after a couple of days of thinking about it, I broke out the paintbrushes and had so much fun producing what I think of as Lily Pulitzer’s Antlers!

antler monogram

I wanted the resulting product to be light-hearted and colorful, since it was going to end up on a pale yellow wall, next to a weathered gold mirror.  So, I chose a salmon paint for the letter, but then overlaid some small floral stencils in a darker red.  The effect is very damask-like. Because there were so many twists and curls to the letter “V”, I was afraid if I didn’t paint part of the letter as a vine, that visitors would think our last name is Ampersand!  The vine sports little hand-painted leaves.

  lr beam feb 15 006

The antlers were painted brown, but wanting a little more texture, I broke out my favorite stencil, which yields a burlap effect.  Using a light gray paint with the stencil gave the desired rustic quality I was after.  The total effect of the painted piece is very subtle. In fact, it is so subtle, you need to really be up close to see the detail, which is why hanging it in the foyer works for me.

I like the end result, but was afraid that Greg would think it’s too girly.  Actually, he liked the paint job, but said he wasn’t so crazy about antlers!  Say what?  I wonder how he will feel when the faux deer head shows up, and he’ll be asked to hang it over the fireplace mantel?

After the holidays were over, we decided to shift the table that resided under the mirror to a spot behind the sofa, in order to move the lamps closer to people seated there.  Imagine that!  I now have enough light to be able to read a magazine in the living room!

moved sofa table

Moving the table solved one problem, but made the space under the mirror look very awkward and naked!  Sunday morning, I had a head-slapping, “why didn’t I think of this before?” moment.  Following our kitchen remodel, we had a ceiling beam left over.  We kept trying to think of the right use for this gorgeous, solid piece of wood.  Duh!  One hour after I suggested that we use it as a narrow ledge in the foyer, it was hanging on the wall!   I love the look of the rough-textured beam, and its installation with exposed black bolts, juxtaposed with the clear candlesticks.  (Sort of reminds me of that Stevie Nicks song, “Leather and Lace”.)

lr beam feb 15 002

And now, to round out this wild post, below is one of my favorite pictures ever, that a friend of LeeAnn’s took in her Ellijay yard.  It proves the existence of black bears in our neck of the woods.  The Momma and her baby look so huggable, don’t they?  LeeAnn said a zoom was used to capture this shot. It’s definitely not a close-up!  Enjoy….



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Getting it Done on a Shoestring!

Silence for over several weeks.  Must be thinking…”what’s with this woman? Either she posts daily, or she goes silent for days”!  Well, my excuse is that for a change, I’ve been doing more than I’ve been thinking.  In fact, yesterday, I crossed off 3 to-dos off of my list.  Normally, if I can turn one to-do into a ta-done, it’s a great accomplishment.  Yesterday was an extraordinary tour de force!

This past weekend, the goal was to make the house post-holiday presentable.  Bare shelves, where Santas and snowmen stood at attention less than a month ago, needed to be refilled with pottery, plates, and random other ”dustables”.  Mission accomplished, but just barely.

Finding the right pieces to fill two prominent shelves into a pleasing arrangement can be a  daunting task.  Even with the right stuff, it can take days of shifting bowls and other “tchotchkes” (Yiddish word for knick-knacks, or in my vernacular, dustables!) until a combination that pleases my eye is achieved.

 kitchen shelves

It became apparent during this process that I have lots of tchotchkes, but they are entirely wrong for this house. Our previous residence sported a vibe that I would describe as a “beachy British Colonial”.  There are lots of Caribbean-themed pictures, starfish, and even a silver-plated Pottery Barn crab in the collection, but they would look sadly out of place in this mountain home.  Clearly, I need more (different) tchotchkes.  Thrift stores and consignment shops, here I come!

The pictures in the dining room, which change with the seasons, went from pine cones and wreaths to flowers and birds…harbingers of an early Spring, we hope.  As an aside, I found awesome, and very inexpensive, picture frames at Wal-mart back in the fall, that make it a snap to change your wall art on a whim. The frames are a thin black plastic [so thin, you can’t really tell what the material is].  A mat and a piece of glass complete the package.  The glass easily pops out of the frame, and just as easily pops back in.  In typical Wal-mart fashion, they did not reorder them (I’m guessing they were too popular?).  Being  very familiar with their refusal to restock the really good stuff,  I bought as many of them as I could, but really wish I had more!

 dr pics

Sigh.  January always makes me want to change the house all around.  New Year, new look, I suppose.  And we have an entire downstairs that need some serious love.  However, with the decorating budget at an all-time low, thanks to the construction projects of 2014, I am going to have to fashion any changes with a sewing machine and paint.  Sounds like a challenge I can’t refuse.  Repeat after me:  “Necessity is the mother of invention”!

Stay tuned.

Bear update!  Sometime during the wee hours of the morning, Bear went out the doggy door to relieve himself.   I didn’t hear him go out, but his return created quite a ruckus.  He thoughtfully brought a frog into the bedroom (who knew that frogs are even around in January-February, and even so, how the heck do you spot and catch one in pitch darkness?).  Greg chased the frogger around and finally captured it in a towel. By the time he tossed it back out the doggy door, Bear was back in bed, snoring… :>}

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Post-Holiday Ruminations

I “filly-fart” around a lot.  There are several reasons for this phenomenon.  First, my medical condition has exacerbated my ADHD tendencies.  Second, because I am relegated to a wheelchair most of the time, I sit down a lot, and that posture usually occurs in front of my computer. The computer is like the ultimate sandbox for someone who has the attention span of a flea.  I get onto Pinterest, and before I know it, I’ve drilled down to China!

What I have discovered, though, is a growing fascination with fonts and calligraphy.  As an art major, I had to take a semester of calligraphy, and detested every moment!  It was difficult enough to form the letters correctly, but getting them all to slant at exactly the same angle…AARRGH!  How different this art form is today.  What is now referred to as calligraphy is a “free of any limitations” exercise, and letters are formed using botanical, zoological, architectural, and geometric elements, to name a few.

Free fonts are readily available, and they offer endless artistic possibilities. It is a wonderful outlet for me, since I am no longer able to write by hand (something I used to LOVE doing!) For instance, when I should have been painting her bedroom furniture, I flitted off and started working on a nameplate for Faith’s bedroom. I already had tall, skinny picture frame with (5) 4×6” mat cut-outs, so I went to an amazing website called dailydropcap.com.  It contains some of the most beautiful (and, in some cases, bizarre!) stylized representations of capital letters. I gathered the appropriate letters (it was hard to decide which ones to use), and “mounted” them, using Microsoft Publisher, on backgrounds culled from my collection of online fabric samples. I was so pleased with the results:

 faith nameplate

While I was messing around on Pinterest (looking for calligraphy sites), I found this quote, which made me stop and consider the possibilities of a future career!


Meanwhile, the furniture did get painted (not exactly on schedule, but close!).  Lee Ann picked up Faith’s bed and nightstand yesterday,

IMG_5644 IMG_5643

and dropped off the vanity & mirror, which will complete her bedroom suite. Then, it’s just a matter finishing Justin’s night table & dresser.   There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel!

I suppose I should mention that will all of this artistic activity occurring in my studio, there are still straggler Christmas decorations that have to be put away. Does anybody else look around, and find stray bows or snowflakes that have been hiding in plain sight?  My nativity set is still on display in the dining room, because when we were putting the decorations away, the box that it belongs in was nowhere to be found.  In years past, this half-done holiday un-decorating scenario would have driven me crazy.  Now, I think, “meh”!  The thought of gathering up the hangers-on decorations, and finding the correct boxes to put them in, leaves me tired and defeated, so they stay put.

As an aside, I love that little phrase “meh”. Every time I read it, I not only form the sound it makes in mind, but can also envision the shrug of the shoulders and the look of “whatever” that would surely accompany the “uh, not so much” sentiment those three letters convey.  (As a native New Yorker, there’s absolutely no question in my mind where that expression originated!)

Speaking of “work avoidance”, if I could meet any 2 people in the world, it would be Joanna and Chip Gaines, the hosts of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” show. They would be so much fun to share a bottle of wine with, or split a six-pack of beer with.  I would gladly move into one of their re-done homes, and probably not change a thing (which is an amazing statement from me, because  I am picky, picky, picky by nature, & a design snob, to boot!)  Joanna’s taste is so exquisite: classic, casually elegant, & timeless. I really admire the way this married couple works seamlessly together; one is the ying to the other’s yang.  And I adore glimpses of their life on the farm. Hopefully, they will weave more views of their family life into upcoming design segments.

I have to stop and cook dinner (even though there are about 40 things I would rather do!) And, in closing, I must share a quote I found online, that suits me just perfectly:

think to much

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Enough With the Water, Already!!! (Part 2)

January 8, 2015

We woke up this morning to 7 degree temps (wind chill was -2 degrees)!  And…(drumroll, please!) the downstairs pipes froze AGAIN!  Despite Harold’s reworking the pipe layout under the kitchen sink last year, and in spite of all the insulation that was packed around those same pipes, and despite the faucet that was left dripping all night, the $%#@ pipes froze again!

Greg just left for a doctor’s appointment 50 miles away.   Before leaving, he shut off the water to the entire house.  If there’s a silver lining in this, the mercury isn’t supposed to rise above 31 degrees today, and since the frozen section is outside of the house, it should still be rock-solid when he returns.  Then we have to figure out how to prevent another flood.

Just in case, maybe I should start pricing new laminate flooring?


January 9, 2015

Harold is on his way over.  Our attempts to warm the pipe with a heating pad did not work, so we have our checkbook in hand!

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Enough With the Water, Already!!!

January 7, 2015

For those of you faithful readers of this blog from its infancy, you will remember all of the plumbing problems we had when we moved into the mountain house. They were so bad that I dubbed this place the ”Leaky Tiki”, and half-heartedly joked about the checkbook that was reserved purely for plumbing emergencies.

With the new roof, the waterfalls in the living roof stopped. When the monstrosity of a jetted tub in the upper full bath was removed, and replaced with a stand-alone shower, the “rain” stopped falling in Dad’s bathroom. Things were looking up, and I suppose we were lulled into a false sense of security.

Last January, we left for a week’s family vacation to our Hilton Head timeshare. It just so happened that was the same week that a bitterly cold blast hit the southeast.  Hilton Head was iced in, and we reportedly got a fair amount of snow at home. Well, since we weren’t home to monitor the situation, and let the faucets drip, you can guess what happened.

Yep, upon arriving home, and before you could say “Jack Frost”, I was standing in 4” of water in the hallway outside of our bedroom, which is located in the basement apartment.  Greg grabbed a mop, & Dad commandeered the wet vac, and eventually the flood receded.  However, the damage was considerable.  All of the baseboards & door moldings, which Greg had just installed, were destroyed, as well as all of the newly laid laminate flooring in the remainder of the downstairs living area.

The insurance company paid us handsomely for the damage, and recommended some construction people who could make repairs. Unfortunately, about 90% of the residences in the area suffered a similar fate, so help was never forthcoming.  Greg (bless his heart!) ended up doing the flooring installation.  Since he works for a living, his free time to complete that enormous project was limited to weekends. Thus, it was several months until we had real floors (i.e., not concrete) to walk on.  The trim was never replaced. Ugly!!!


Then, last weekend, we had “the attack of the giant hair ball”.  It turns out, per Harold, our resident plumber, that every piece of hair and gunk that was trapped in the pipes since the house was built in 1997, finally conspired to back up the plumbing in the entire house. The end result, because we are bottom dwellers, and everything runs downhill, was a waterfall from our bathroom ceiling. The fix was to open a giant hole in the lovely wood ceiling, in order to drain the lines.  (That industrial look is starting to grow on me, in some perverse way.)


Now, I guess you are thinking that all of this water damage has me really upset, but in a word, no!  Now that the ceiling is torn up in the bathroom, a major gut is in order. Seems like this is the perfect time to rip out the ugly fiberglass shower/tub thing, with the broken vintage faucet knobs,


and replace it with a stand-up shower.  While we are at it, the tile floor we put down, that chipped and cracked (partially from water damage, but mostly because a good deal on tile isn’t always a good deal!) will be changed to ceramic wood plank-looking flooring. It’s time to change the color scheme, and rid that room of anything that reminds me of postdiluvian memories.

Speaking of color, I have already begun changing the color scheme in the living area.  Ironically, the first color we painted was called “Drizzle”.  I wasn’t really in love with it, but just the name of the paint said “outta here”.  Have started re-painting with a color called (SW) Elizabeth Street Blue”.  It’s part of their Charelston historical collection, and I love it!  Last weekend, Greg finished building the wall unit in that area,


and built a platform for the gas fireplace.


Next step is to construct the fireplace surround & add a mantel, and for me to paint the cabinets…(sigh…when???)

And for my final major project of 2015, I am going to tackle the master bedroom.  It is now a dog playpen, with the bed covered with half-chewed shoes and bones, and dog fur.  However, I am determined to have a beautiful, adult bedroom this year, that the dogs will enter by invitation only.  I purchased some snazzy vinyl wall stickers; the wall color will change dramatically; and I hope to convince Greg to construct a built-in bed with a storage surround. I love this look & the functionality, found on The Lily Pad Cottage blog:

IMG_5281 IMG_5280

I also purchased some new sheets (cannot remember the last time that happened), because they are all on sale now, and have a design wall of fabric swatches at Fabric.com (my go-to place for fabulous fabric, because of their selection, easy-to-use website, and great prices!) to choose from for sewing bed pillows, window treatments (for bath & bedroom), and a bed throw.

I will be chronicling all of these changes in the blog, and I’d be honored if you would join me, to view the progress, and provide occasional moral support!

My plate is full.  Oh, and LeeAnn called last night to say that her grandkids, Faith & Justin, will probably be arriving home on January 30, instead of February 10!  That is wonderful news, but it means I won’t be able to complete their rooms before they arrive. Now, the goal is to have all of the furniture done by then, and then everything else, as they say, is gravy!   I still have to finish Faith’s furniture (bed, nightstand, & vanity!), as well as Justin’s dresser and nightstand. Gotta get painting…

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