My Sunflowers are Blooming

 

This photo must be enlarged and viewed from a distance.

This photo must be enlarged and viewed from a distance.

For the past few years I’ve asked Charlie to plant some sunflowers near the potager. He’s not a flower guy but he did it.

We grew these pale miniature, Italian White, sunflowers last year and I loved them right into Autumn.

We grew these pale miniature, Italian White, sunflowers last year and I loved them right into Autumn.

Last year we only got a few blooms on short but pretty creamy white blossoms.

The sunflowers are lined up along the back of the potager.

The sunflowers are lined up along the back of the potager.

This year I picked a taller type with a a creamy yellow flower.

The flower heads, even before opening, are spectacular.

The flower heads, even before opening, are spectacular.

They’ve been growing like soldiers on the back of the potager.

A row of sunflowers stands parallel to the gate of the potager between the lawn and the garden.

A row of sunflowers stands parallel to the gate of the potager between the lawn and the garden.

Charlie was happy to hop into the photo to give an idea of just how tall and lanky these plants are.

Charlie's about 5'-10" so that makes the sunflowers over 8 feet tall.

Charlie’s about 5′-10″ so that makes the sunflowers over 8 feet tall.

It’s a pleasure to see them waving in the breeze.

The blooms are not overly large but still very distinctive.

The blooms are not overly large but still very distinctive.

I’m expecting each plant will have multiple blossoms.

Sunflower 2014

Sunflower 2014

Honestly, when I look out the window it’s almost like they’re smiling at me.

SunflowerGarden

What’s making you happy?

Advice: Measure FIRST

That’s right, measure BEFORE you place the order for ANYTHING. I ordered 2 runners from Ballard Designs to use on the stairs. The narrow stairs. The extremely narrow stairs.

These are the stairs that really need rejuvenating.

These are the stairs that really need rejuvenating.

The runner is 2′-6″ wide the stairs, 2′-3″. And the runners that I bought are beautifully banded and finished on all four sides so I really can’t just cut them down to size. (Oh, I thought of it though.)

This Ballard Designs runner is bordered and banded on 4 sides.

This Ballard Designs runner is bordered and banded on 4 sides.

Errrrrgh! I can’t find a runner narrow enough that it would cover part of the steps with a little margin on each side. It’s very difficult to even search for such a thing.

Various colors and designs are available and they're machine washable.

Various colors and designs are available and they’re machine washable.

Then at Ikea a saw a little rug 1′-10″ wide by 2′-9″ long which will just cover to two steps. I wanted the blue and white one (first on the left above) but could only find the black and white (which I really think is navy and cream, 4th on the right). These are not orderable on the website; I had to go to my local store for availability.

I'm hoping these Ikea rugs will work on the stairs.

I’m hoping these Ikea rugs will work on the stairs.

So I went for them. Ten of them. At $2.99 each the entire lot was less than $30. I hope they do the trick.

And, fear not, I have some other places where the Pottery Barn runners will work. I hope.

Do you measure first?

Two Different Ikea Pillows

Back here Charlie and I took a trip to Ikea and bought all sorts of things.

I also bought 2 feather throw pillows for less than $8 each.

I  bought 2 feather FJADRAR throw pillows for less than $8 each.

I bought the above 20-inch-by-20-inch pillows thinking they would work with the shams I won from Crane and Canopy.

I won a gift certificate with which I purchased 2 Crane and Canopy pillow shams banded in Monaco blue.

I won a gift certificate with which I purchased 2 Crane and Canopy Euro pillow shams banded in Monaco blue.

They did not. Then I was in Ikea last weekend and saw two pillows that I thought were larger and also might work. (I thought they were larger in the store but I couldn’t actually remember what I had purchased in the first go-round.)

These pillows are 26 inches by 26 inches.

These pillows are 26 inches by 26 inches.

The larger Gosa Tulpan pillows for $13 each are a perfect Euro pillow fit.  I’m still saving the shams until the master bedroom is livable but now at least I have pillows to fill them and at a reasonable price.

Is life as confusing for you as it seems to be for me?

 

A Week’s Worth

Last week I began in earnest to work on getting furniture back in the living room.  No, I’m not that far yet.  Thanks for asking.

The list was:

I've worked my way around to the front wall which is next to paint.

I’ve worked my way around to the front wall which is next to paint.

The living room is painted.

The living room is painted.

I was all set to work my way around the rest of the room when Charlie got the bright idea to spackle a few more areas.  More days of waiting for spackle to dry, sanding, wiping then (aaahh) I can paint.

The fireplace was really discolored and dingy.

The fireplace was really discolored and dingy and then Charlie spackled almost the entire wall.  Ergh!

The fireplace wall still needs another coat of paint.

The fireplace wall still needs another coat of paint.

I set up the rug shampooer and got busy on what may have been the filthiest rug ever.  The wastewater was black (not muddy brown, black I tell you).

This is our original living room rug which has grey like the walls and ochre to tie it to the colors in the kitchen.

This is our original living room rug which has grey like the walls and ochre to tie it to the colors in the kitchen.

I pulled up all the old dirty rug pads, vacuumed the floor, dry-mopped the floor and Wet-Jet Swiffered it.

Yes, that's our king-sized headboard (or footboard) in the living room.

Yes, that’s our king-sized headboard (or footboard) in the living room.

Without a rug pad I laid the rug out on the newly clean floor and pulled the blue chairs into the room.

I'm not sure the chairs will remain in front of the seascape but the colors are perfect.

I’m not sure the chairs will remain in front of the seascape but the colors are perfect.

Three out of four things on the list are finished:

I added a little table between the chairs.

I added a little table between the chairs.

Before I attack the trim I noticed a major piece of shoe molding is missing along the front wall which must be installed.

This baseboard needs shoe molding for the entire run.

This baseboard needs shoe molding for the entire run.

Then I’ll get to both cleaning and painting the baseboard trim.  Not my favorite job.

Are you putting off some unsavory task?

Oh, The Doors

The thing is that our interior doors are all painted white,

3-panel door original door painted white

3-panel door original door painted white

Except for the newly installed pantry and closet doors which are bare wood.

The mudroom closet doors are bare wood which Charlie adores. Me, not so much.

The mudroom closet doors are bare wood which Charlie adores. Me, not so much.

All of the doors need to be painted. White is passé, outré, finito. Except maybe the second floor doors.

Charcoal grey stain on the mudroom closet.

Charcoal grey stain on the mudroom closet.

I’m thinking of dark grey especially for the raw wood.  Those doors could be stained to match the lower kitchen cabinets.

Likewise a grey door in the kitchen might look swell.

Likewise a grey door in the kitchen might look swell.

The other doors could be Benjamin Moore Sparrow since I have a $5 gallon of satin.

The living room door is currently dirty white.

The living room door is currently dirty white.

Sparrow living room door.

Sparrow living room door.

Maybe navy would be more exciting. Check out these Pinterest pins here and here.

Navy?

Navy?

I think black is too shocking although I always admire places with black doors.  Hmmm?

The conservatory doors will stay white.

The conservatory doors will stay white.

I would like all of the doors to complement each other which means all the same color.  The trim is remaining white and I don’t intend to paint the 2 sets of French doors at this time.  I shall treat them like windows which are white.

Master bedroom doors can remain white both inside and outside.

Master bedroom doors can remain white both inside and outside.

I don’t need to decide yet. Yea!!

What decisions are you pondering?

One Challenging Week

This past Monday I started a challenge which included getting rid of at least 10 items per day from the living space of my choice. I chose the back bedroom that I call the Treetops Room (since that’s what you can see when lying in bed) where I am temporarily bunked during the renovation.

Before:

I couldn't even walk around the end of the bed because of the clutter.

I couldn’t even walk around the end of the bed because of the clutter.

After:

This is the same angle as the photo above with catalogs gone, furniture moved and floor vacuumed.

This is the same angle as the photo above with catalogs gone, furniture moved and floor vacuumed.

Day One was effortless. It didn’t make a dent in the overall mess but it was a psychological beginning.

Day #1 -- I had to grit my teeth and just throw these catalogs away.

Day #1 — I had to grit my teeth and just throw these catalogs away.

Day 2 was more of the same.

In addition 2 a pile of catalogs I also let 2 pairs of broken glasses go.

In addition 2 a pile of catalogs I also let 2 pairs of broken glasses go.

Day 3 I branched out to things in other rooms and just plain crazy stuff that should never have been in a bedroom in the first place.

I gave away a bottle of gourmet maple syrup, hung my raincoat in the coat closet, put the CD case with the others, and threw away old rollers, paint pans, and shampoo bottle. The blue glass bottle is now in the fridge cooling some filtered water.

I gave away a bottle of gourmet maple syrup, hung my raincoat in the coat closet, put the CD case with the others, and threw away old rollers, paint pans, and shampoo bottle. The blue glass bottle is now in the fridge cooling some filtered water.

Day 4 I pulled out ridiculous non-bedroom items from the corners of the room.

One flip-flop, 2 paint sticks, a parking sign, a piece of trim, two hand-knit scarves with mouse holes, and a MOUSE TRAP.

One flip-flop, 2 paint sticks, a parking sign, a piece of trim, two hand-knit scarves with mouse holes, and a MOUSE TRAP.

Day 5 I realized I had actually been saving a lovely bag of trash among other useless items. And I found a box of money.  Even though it was a box of mostly pennies I can almost guarantee when one cleans up some money will also appear.

A bag of trash, a cookbook, a small game, an airplane blanket, and a small blue box full of money.

A bag of trash, a cookbook, a small game, a heart-shaped shelf, an airplane blanket, and a small blue box full of money.

This box of handy but diverse items was sorted and reassigned to the tool area.

This box of handy but diverse items was sorted and reassigned to the tool area.

Over the week I easily got rid of sixty items: some were thrown away, others given away, and finally the last bit were put away in the proper place (E.g, cookbook with the cookbooks in the kitchen). I met my goal in this respect but the room still has lots of clothes hung on every conceivable spot until our new master closet is finished.

I'm working on more appropriate artwork and the dressing table still need some attention but a lot has been accomplished in ten minute spurts this week.

I’m working on more appropriate artwork and the dressing table still needs some attention but a lot has been accomplished in ten minute spurts this week.

I had removed enough clutter to actually rearrange the furniture a little bit.

Do I feel like I accomplished something? Yes indeed.

Should I continue this pattern for 52 more weeks? Yes, I should.

Will I continue the 10 items per day purge? I’ll try.

How do you form a good habit?

Can I Be in Love?

I walked down into the barren living room and am in love with the color, Revere Pewter. The cornice and baseboard molding are nicely bold in the space.  Of course I would like to beef up the front door trim and paint the door.

I'm itching to move the furniture into this spacious and serene room.

I’m itching to move the furniture into this spacious and serene room.

It used to look like this (same viewpoint).

The living room door has exchanged places with the window on the right in the picture above.

The living room door has exchanged places with the window on the right in the picture above.

Was it genius to move the door or what?

I’m glad to have you weigh in on the door color.  Or wait until the furniture is in place.

What are you loving lately?