Category Archives: Bargains

Fabrics for the Living Room

I know when I get the living room set up I’ll need to consider curtains, maybe shades of some kind, and updated pillows.

The old living room set up had buff colored shades (no curtains) and stingy-sized throw pillows.

The old living room set up had buff colored shades (no curtains) and stingy-sized throw pillows.

To that end I pulled out my own stash of fabric that might work in the new living room now that the flowered love seats have been moved into the conservatory.

The chairs are remaining blue so finding these fabrics in my collection is a bonus.

The chairs are remaining blue so finding these fabrics in my collection is a bonus.

I found a roll of gorgeous grey interwoven with natural canvas.  This fabric is too stiff for curtains but might make a wonderful framed valance or pillow cover or ottoman upholstery.

Grey and natural linen weave canvas in the upper right-hand corner.

Grey and natural linen weave canvas in the upper right-hand corner.

I also have the printed fabric from the mid-century chair I recovered.  I think there’s enough for the seat of a padded bench in the mudroom and some pillows for the living room.

"Deauville Dance" in the color Luna is a Jacobean print on an Ikat diamond background.

“Deauville Dance” in the color Luna is a Jacobean print on an Ikat diamond background.

Finally I found a soft, creamy-colored textured cotton which would look great on some pillows.

This nubby soft cotton has a wide wale that would add a modern texture to the living room.

This nubby soft cotton (like chenille) has a wide wale that would add a modern, casual texture to the living room.

I’ll be looking for a fabric that drapes well near the color of the first fabric above, the canvas, to use for curtains.  I like curtains that continue the color of the walls so the room is not broken up too much.

Our old roller shades need a pick-up.

Our old roller shades need a pick-up because they don’t go with the new colors in the room.

One thing is for sure, the Smith and Noble roller shades in the light ochre color which used to match the walls are going to be changed.  Either I’ll recover them with something new or get rid of them altogether.  I must say they have held up over the past 15 years very well.

Do you keep a stash of fabric? Paint?

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?

 

Diminishing Returns

Even before our formal renovation began Charlie started to demolish our stone terrace, concrete porch, and brick walkway.

The demoed terrace which ultimately became our new kitchen

The demoed terrace which ultimately became our new kitchen

The result of all that jackhammering was a 40-ton pile of rubble.

Tons of rubble at the back of our driveway divided the cottage from the house.

Tons of rubble at the back of our driveway divided the cottage from the house.

Both our excavator and contractor thought I was crazy when I said I would get rid of it by listing it on Craigslist.

Our ad on Craigslist has elicited some interest.

Our ad on Craigslist has elicited some interest.

Over time the pile has reduced

Using the grey stones as a size gauge the pile was once enormous.

Using the grey stones as a size gauge the pile was once enormous.

and reduced

The volume of rubble is definitely diminishing and we haven't paid anyone to take it yet.

The volume of rubble is definitely diminishing and we haven’t paid anyone to take it yet.

and now I would estimate half a ton left — almost nothing.

Now the rubble pile is much smaller than the gravel we're saving to spread on the driveway.

Now the rubble pile is much smaller than the gravel we’re saving to spread on the driveway.

I think I’ll list it one more time before we call it gone.

What have you given away for free?

 

 

 

 

Above the Caffe Bar

I’ve been searching for something to hang in the small space – 27 inches wide — space on the wall above the coffee bar.

We keep the espresso machine and small toaster oven on the stainless steel topped peninsula.

We keep the espresso machine and small toaster oven on the stainless steel topped peninsula.

I tried a variety of small cabinets I already own: 2 handmade cabinets and one antique cabinet.

I was hoping to use this cabinet but it just didn't work in the space.

I was hoping to use this cabinet but it just didn’t work in the space.

On a stroll through Home Goods I saw this little wire shelf with 2 drawers and hooks for $30.

Grey painted metal shelf with hooks from Home Goods.

Grey painted metal shelf with hooks from Home Goods.

Even though I wasn’t sure if the color  was quite right (I can always paint it) the dimensions were perfect.

A perfect fit.

A perfect fit.

Here it is on the kitchen wall.

I'm leaving the tags on until I'm sure this is the right item (meaning "does Charlie approve?")

I’m leaving the tags on until I’m sure this is the right item (meaning “does Charlie approve?”)

On the top shelf I put a little espresso set we bought in Rome.

We bought this little set back in 2005 -- the colors are perfect.

We bought this little set back in 2005 — the colors are perfect.

Hanging from 2 of the hooks I added 2 cups we found in Paris (the matching snack plate/saucers are in the drawer).

I'm not quite finished accessorizing yet.

I’m not quite finished accessorizing yet.

Now I’m working on a little graphic or picture for the adjoining wall.

Where do you search for just the right something? Do you shop your house first? Or go straight for retail?

 

Low, Make That No, Energy

I told you here that I have a box of spare batteries. So while I was cleaning some odd items this past weekend I came across a battery-operated refrigerator freshener with no batteries.

A 6-inch tall refrigerator air purifier.

A 6-inch tall refrigerator air purifier.

I went to my trusty box of batteries and took out 8 C batteries figuring at least four of them would power this small machine.

2007 and 2001 expired batteries

2007 and 2011 expired batteries

The newest battery in the bunch was dated 2011.

One old battery I can understand but 8.

One old battery I can understand but 8.

Three of the batteries were “best if installed by January, 1998.”  Seriously, I’ve had these batteries since I moved into the house in 1997. Do I need to save everything?

What do you save beyond usefulness?

Very Little Thought

I had been searching online for a striped runner for our stairs but hadn’t really seen anything the perfect thing.

I could find the right colors but the price also has to be right. Right?

I could find the right colors but the price also has to be right. Right?

I often read Cottage and Vine and seeing Rene Zeig sitting on her runnered stairs I wanted a runner, too. And now I knew stripes were not my only choice.

Lots of color choice and sizes.

Lots of color choice and sizes.

I wanted a stair runner like hers for my narrow staircase at The Glade so without even taking measurements I ordered the exact same one from Ballard Designs only in blue.

Blue Navarre rug from Ballard Designs.

Blue Navarre rug from Ballard Designs.

Blue’s my color.

Lots of blues in my color palette

Lots of blues in my color palette

The 2′-7″ by 8′-2″ runner was $30. I bought 2 so I also received free shipping (over $50).

These are the stairs that really need rejuvenating.

These are the stairs that really need rejuvenating.

I’ll also be buying a grippy pad for under it when I actually get ready to paint and cover the stairs. Maybe this will be the kick in the pants paints I need to get going.

Have you got a new discounted project?

Suppose It’s Not My Style

I’m all about planters.  I made a rustic one from recycled wood here.

A rustic planter made from salvaged wood.  FREE!

A rustic planter made from salvaged wood. FREE!

And a pair of smaller cedar planters here.

Green planter boxes with boxwood stand guard on either side of the potager iron gate.

Green planter boxes with boxwood stand guard on either side of the potager iron gate.

Recently someone gave me a pair of cement planters that are very heavy.

These pots came pre-planted and were placed near our side porch.

These pots came pre-planted and were placed near our side porch.

Unfortunately they’re just not my style.

I could probably live with the Greek key motif but I'd like to obscure the grapes.

I could probably live with the Greek key motif but I’d like to obscure the grapes.

Do you think I could augment them and paint them so they would look more like a jaune Anduze pot?

Naturally I adore this ochre planter from Provence.

Naturally I adore this ochre planter from Provence.

Suggestions on how to do it are welcome.

How do you say no to a heartfelt gift?

I Didn’t Know I Wanted It

I went to our local Ace Hardware yesterday because I had a $10 off a $50 purchase coupon and they were giving away free one quart of Clark and Kensington flat paint, a paint that Consumer Reports rates well.

The quart in the front was free; the Minwax stain is for another project.

The quart in the front was free; the Minwax stain is for another project.

Since this hardware store also sells Benjamin Moore I asked for the quart to be made into the Affinity recipe for “Head Over Heels” which I used on the walls in our small bedroom and want to also use on the ceiling in the upstairs hall.

Head Over Heels for the upstairs hallway ceiling.

Head Over Heels for the upstairs hallway ceiling.

While I was cruising the aisles I found the mistint paint stash. Lo and behold an entire gallon of BM’s “Sparrow” in the Aura formulation.

A gallon of Benjamin Moore Aura paint in the color "Sparrow" for $5.

A gallon of Benjamin Moore Aura paint in the color “Sparrow” for $5.

$5 (normally over $60). And I have a place to use it.

Sparrow added to the palette.

Sparrow added to the palette.

I didn’t actually know I wanted it until I saw it for $5.

Would you call this an impulse purchase? Would you fall for it?

A Matched Pair

Every couple of weeks I stop by Home Goods, Marshalls, and Ross looking for kitchen rugs.

I snapped a picture as soon as I got the rugs to the car.

I snapped a picture as soon as I got the rugs to the car.

Yesterday was my lucky day.  I found 2 exactly alike at Home Goods made by Safavieh to use in front of the kitchen counters.

While I would have preferred a longer runner I was glad to get 2 rugs for the kitchen.

While I would have preferred a longer runner I was glad to get 2 rugs for the kitchen.

I almost played it safe with another pair in grey, coffee, and ochre colors but decided I would like some bright blue to tie the kitchen colors to the future dining room colors and the pantry.

Charlie's rug is in front of the sink while mine is centered on the counter between the sink and the stove.

Charlie’s rug is in front of the sink while mine is centered on the counter between the sink and the stove.

The rugs have a bold pattern of bright blue, greyish blue-green, and cream bordered by navy blue.

The pattern is bold.

The pattern is bold.

One consideration was that the color of the rugs shouldn’t be too light since we ‘ll be standing on them multiple times a day.

I'm still going keep my eye out for longer runners.

I’m still going keep my eye out for longer runners.

At $30 each I think I got a bargain.

How are you celebrating the summer solstice?