Category Archives: Bargains

I Jumped on the Bandwagon a Little Late

Once again I can’t remember where I read it but apparently the trend of chalkboard writing is “so last year”.  Too bad because I just thought of something I wanted to write.

A beautiful refurbished frame.

A beautiful refurbished frame.

Two years ago I refurbished the gold leaf frame above but I didn’t have anything to put in it and I’m not just going to hang it up empty.

I like this frame so much I used it at the center of the gallery wall in the hall from the mudroom to the kitchen.

I like this frame so much I used it at the center of the gallery wall in the hall from the mudroom to the kitchen.

So I thought I should put a chalkboard in it until a better solution came along.

The beginning of a poem by Arthur O'Shaughnessy.

A practice sketch of the beginning of a poem by Arthur O’Shaughnessy.

I picked the opening lines of a poem by Arthur O’Shaughnessy:

Ode from his book Music and Moonlight (1874):

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties,
we build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story,
we fashion an empire’s glory.
One man, with a dream, at pleasure
can go forth and conquer a crown.
And three, with a new song’s measure
can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying,
in the buried past of the Earth,
built Nineveh with our sighing
and Babel itself with our mirth.
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
to the old of the New World’s worth.
For each age is a dream that is dying,
or one that is coming to birth.

I practiced the lettering on paper then tried it freehand on my makeshift chalkboard.

My chalkboard

My chalkboard

If a piece of real art that fits this frame comes along one day I’ll probably switch it out.

We're getting the gallery wall fleshed out at the same time.

We’re getting the gallery wall fleshed out at the same time.

But for now, I like it.

Do you have a favorite saying?

I Had to See It in Person

I discovered by reading someone’s blog (wish I could remember whose) that World Market is having a rug sale.  My dining room needs a rug.

The runner in the dining room is just temporary.

The runner in the dining room is just temporary.

I hopped right on their site to see if anything caught my eye and three items did. First the Kari Inspired Jute area rug — looks like old denim.  I wanted to see it in person and it’s out of stock online. I called the store to see if they had any in stock but, unfortunately, I had written down the names of the rugs and the store personnel needed a skew number.

This rug was very thin so I wouldn't want it in a high traffic area.

This rug was very thin so I wouldn’t want it in a high traffic area.

I decided to take my chance and drive 40 minutes to our nearest World Market to see it and maybe buy it.

Those are my fabric swatches on the rug -- they have little in common.

Those are my fabric swatches on the rug — they have little in common.

Not exactly what I had in mind and it didn’t really go with my fabrics and it was too small for the dining room. But for anyone interested they did have a few in stock.

The next rug came in 2 different colors and in a 9 by 12 size which it the size I need.

The dark blue hemp rug really is more of a dark charcoal grey.

The dark blue hemp rug really is more of a dark charcoal grey.

The blue grey Venora is more brown but went well with my fabric swatch.

The blue grey Venora is more brown but went well with my fabric swatch.

While I could see smaller versions of the rug at the store it really helped me decide the color.

The dark blue rug hanging. It's tricky to pick a rug that is hanging since it looks so different on the floor.

The dark blue rug hanging looks like the blue grey rug in the photos above. It’s tricky to pick a rug that is hanging since it looks so different on the floor.

Not the same in person.

It turns out this brownish rug which is called "blue gray" goes great with my fabrics.

It turns out this brownish rug which is called “blue grey” goes great with my fabrics.

The price was good and there would be free shipping except World Market was charging a $25 overweight fee. Wahhh?

Had I wanted a smaller rug World Market had a pretty good selection.

Had I wanted a smaller rug World Market had a pretty good selection.

Maybe I don’t want it that much.

I love this rug and it comes in a 9'-3" by 12'-6" size -- that would be perfect.

I love this rug and it comes in a 9′-3″ by 12′-6″ size — that would be perfect.

Finally I really like the light blue stained glass rug.  Even on sale it’s fairly expensive and has the same upcharge as the hemp rugs.

I was hoping this rug was it but when I looked back at the computer shot I realized it wasn't even close.

I was hoping this rug was it but when I looked back at the computer shot I realized it wasn’t even close.

Unfortunately WM didn’t have any size of The Stained Glass rug in the store so I thought it was a bit risky especially when I read a review that said it’s much lighter than the photo on the web. Then I saw this post by Steph at You Paid More Than Me where she compared the Preston rug to the Stained Glass Rug.

The Preston looks great and costs less but doesn't come it the 9 by 12 size.  Grrrr.

The Preston looks great and costs less but doesn’t come it the 9 by 12 size. Grrrr.

So I just walked away.

Do you get frustrated with surcharges and upcharges and fees and . . .?

My Trader Joe’s Holiday List

Trader Jo (whoops) Joe sells seasonal items.  Some of them sell out pretty quickly so I’m making my list early and buying what I want as soon as it shows up.

Fresh cranberries – I love homemade cranberry sauce.

I buy both dried and fresh cranberries but you can only get fresh ones in season.

I buy both dried and fresh cranberries but you can only get fresh ones in season.

Cinnamon Broom – I give these as presents to anyone with a fire place.  Last year TJs also had Cinnamon whisks which I missed out on.  This year: Cinnamon whisks for everyone!

We still have our cinnamon broom from last year and it smells heavenly.

We still have our cinnamon broom from last year and it smells heavenly.

Perugina Baci – Last year I bought a half dozen gift boxes of Baci and even saved one for us.  More kisses this year.

Bacio -- kiss in Italian.

Bacio — kiss in Italian.

 

Rosemary tree – What cook wouldn’t like the smell of rosemary in the house in winter? And it’s not impossible to start some new plants from cuttings.

Rosemary trees - so fragrant.

Rosemary trees – so fragrant.

Panettone – I’m not crazy about Panettone personally but I know people who are and Trader Joe’s is one of the best.  One year I went to an Italian bakery in downtown Baltimore’s Little Italy to buy fresh baked panettone at $30 a loaf– it was a BIG flop.  The next year I tried  TJ’s at about $5 — home run. (And now there’s mini-panettone.)

Mini-panettone — so cute.

Caramels –  To be more specific tins of “Caramels Caught in a Blizzard” is a special little gift that’s really yummy and comes in a flat tin box, a treasure in a treasure box.

Caramels

About 16 in each box, they won’t last long.

I sure some other items will make their way into my cart  so watch out, I be shoppin’.

What’s on your shopping list? Did I forget something?

UnStable, I Mean, UnStaple

I was all ready to put in the runner for the stairs from the first to the second floor when I ran into some roadblocks.

Ready for a runner.

Ready for a runner.

First of all, even though we have a hoard of staplers finding one that matches the staples I have along with one I can actually manage to utilize is a chore in itself (kind of like untangling Christmas lights). I can barely squeeze the manual staplers so I used the one electric stapler.

Half dozen staplers and a variety of staples

Half dozen staplers and a variety of staples

In the box with the staplers is a load of loose carpet tacks which I do know how to use even though it would be a lot easier if I could find my tacking hammer.

Traditional carpet tacks

Traditional carpet tacks

So armed with a full-size hammer and a dish of tacks I went to work on making 10 Ikea throw rugs into one long stair runner. The Ikea throw rugs were $2.99 each.

Peering down from the top of the steps.

Peering down from the top of the steps.

First I cut off the fringe from both ends.  The fringe might have been a novel look but I’m pretty sure it would have ultimately been grabbed by the vacuum cleaner which would have ripped the rug right off the steps. (Not that I’m a reliably dedicated vacuumer.)

One rug without fringe almost covers two steps completely.

One rug without fringe almost covers two steps completely.

I found that the rugs were just a bit short to cover two entire steps so I used one for a double step.

The rugs are not totally symmetrical so it takes a while to line up the stripes.

The rugs are not totally symmetrical so it takes a while to line up the stripes.

Then the next one I cut down for one step and alternated 2 then one all the way down.

While assembling this runner I found out the stairs are very uneven.

While assembling this runner I found out the stairs are very uneven.

I began at the top (more or less) and with a combination of staples and carpet tacks I runnered the steps from top to bottom.

Two steps up, a landing then two steps down.

Two steps up, a landing then two steps down.

I haven’t decided yet what to do with the landing  and the 2 steps down on either side (one set to the living room and one set to the powder room).

Do you come up with ridiculous, labor intensive ideas for an otherwise straightforward situation? (Remember, I read your blogs!)

Finally Laying the Ballard Rugs

A while ago I bought 2 runners from Ballard Designs to use on the stairs.  They were too wide and unusable for that application.

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

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

Instead I’ve put one in the kitchen hallway.

The hall that runs from the mudroom to the kitchen, basement door on the right.

The hall that runs from the mudroom to the kitchen, basement door on the right.

And ordered another in the same pattern but 4′ by 5′-7″ for the mudroom, $27 including shipping.

The rug comes rolled up in a tight package so it needs a few days to flatten itself.

The rug comes rolled up in a tight package so it needs a few days to flatten itself.

The rug from the mudroom is now on the porch.

The mudroom is entered from the side porch.

The mudroom is entered from the side porch.

I’ll have to find another spot for the other runner. It’s an indoor/outdoor rug so there are lots of possibilities.

Do you watch for sales? Free shipping?

I’m Just Not Progressing Fast Enough

In an effort to get motivated to get some projects finished I decided to make a 2 month week-by-week plan. I have lots of different things started but very little actually FINISHED.  I’m a great starter. As a matter of fact I’m a terrific 80 per center. It’s that last 20 per cent that stymies me almost every time.

The first floor layout is something like this right now.

The first floor layout is something like this right now.

And the work I’m planning can’t have a large cost attached to it.  After all I just spent a load of cash on my car and Christmas is right around the corner.

And here's the second floor.

And this is the second floor.

So here’s an 8-week break down:

September 22 – 28

  • Paint hallway ceiling pink Head Over Heels
  • Paint stairwell and upstairs hallway with Benjamin Moore Moonshine

    The painting is begun - stairwell ceiling: Edgecomb Gray, stairwell walls:  Moonshine.

    The painting is begun – stairwell ceiling: Edgecomb Gray, stairwell walls: Moonshine.

  • Reinstall cleaned and painted iron stair railing
  • Wipe down step baseboard and steps

    The risers have become scuffed up over the past 17 years.

    The risers have become scuffed up over the past 17 years.

  • Paint trim and risers
  • Add runner

September 29 – October 5

  • Paint, cut, and install baseboard for back of master bedroom (buy shoe molding)
  • Cut down footboard of sleigh bed
  • Strip sleigh bed frame (buy stripper)

October 6 – 12

  • Continue work on bed

    Our bed frame is stuffed into the future master closet under the window which makes sleeping in it very difficult.

    Our bed frame is stuffed into the future master closet under the window which makes sleeping in it very difficult.

  • Set up bed in master bedroom
  • Figure our how to support mattress without using Hollywood bed frames

October 13 – 19

  • Stain and install toe kick under island

    The island toe kick needs to be covered with a piece of trim.

    The island toe kick needs to be covered with a piece of trim.

  • Add polyurethaned oak shoe molding to island
  • Touch up kitchen paint

October 20 – 26

  • Clean and paint dining room paneling
  • Paint dining room window trim
  • Clean dining room windows

October 27 – November 2

  • Thoroughly clean dining room and living room
  • Decorate mantel and coffee table

    The big Chinese bowl on the bottom is a staple under the coffee table until we get the dining room table set up again.

    The big Chinese bowl on the bottom is a staple under the coffee table until we get the dining room table set up again.

  • Finish painting fireplace trim
  • Give inside of mudroom door second coat of paint

November 3 – 9

  • Get down Christmas decorations
  • Sort and distribute decorations

November 10 – 16

  • Clean out coat closet

    The mudroom closet doesn't look like this anymore.  Let's organize!

    The mudroom closet doesn’t look like this anymore. Let’s organize!

  • Select wood for bench from wood pile
  • Begin to build this bench for mudroom

If I make it through this quagmire of hodgepodgery  I’ll have plenty to write about.

Are you trying to make progress in a certain direction before the year’s end? How are your 2014 resolutions coming along?

Coffee Table Styling with an Assist

Most of the house is still a mess with paint cans, cushions, bare drywall, no curtains, etc. Sometimes I just need a quick little project to get my juices flowing.  Then I realize how far I still need to go to get finished.

Focus on the coffee table elements.

Focus on the coffee table elements.

I found the photo above in old Wisteria catalog that I’ve been keeping for inspiration.  I decided to use things we already own to tablescape the living room coffee table using the placement of objects similar to the ones in the Wisteria photo.

The big Chinese bowl on the bottom is a staple under the coffee table until we get the dining room table set up again.

The big Chinese bowl on the bottom is a staple under the coffee table until we get the dining room table set up again.

I looked at the elements in the photo and tried to find something similar in the house. The bowl of glass balls was easy — it was already in the living room.

My glass ball collection.

My glass ball collection.

I knew right where the blue and white ginger jar was so I went tot he kitchen to find it.  While in the kitchen I polished the silver tray.

A silver tray for the coffee table.

A silver tray for the coffee table.

I scoured the house looking for a statuette and remembered in the back of the dining room window seat cupboard was a Lladro knockoff that I had inherited from my mother.  The figurine’s delicate hands were well-wrapped in lamb’s wool and tape which has kept them from getting chipped or worse. (Good going, Mommie.)

This statue's hands are wrapped in lamb's wool and tape to protect their fragility.

This statue’s hands are wrapped in lamb’s wool and tape to protect their fragility.

Even though many of our decorative items are still in storage somewhere on the premises I found these things:

  • the statuette
  • silver tray
  • bowl of glass balls
  • bit of orange ribbon
  • 2 little verdigris froggies
  • a lantern on top of a candle stand (for height)
  • a pile of books
  • a blue and white ginger jar.

Here’s the result.

LivingRoomCoffeeTable

I’m not going to put my living room next to the first photo above because as I looked at the two I realized I still need curtains and pillows (both would really add a lot of style).

LivingRoomCoffeeTable

I also had to take the pictures around the clutter from other rooms that we’re storing in the living room “for the time being”.

A few items perched around the rooms that don't belong.

A few items perched around the rooms that don’t belong.

Getting there, folks.

From whence comes your inspiration?