More Polar Bears

Expanding on my polar bear theme I decided to look for some flannel sheets with the cozy white bear.

Polar bear flannel

I found a reasonably priced set on Amazon. (Where else?)

Are these bear not cute?

The sheets are grey with very simple yet not cartooney bears.

They grey sheets go well with the painted bed frame.

The mostly white quilt and down comforter create a tundra-like field with the bears peeking over the top.

I laundered the sheets before using them.

And they’re very comfy.

Do you have a whimsical aspect to your decor?


Most Viewed This Week

In the past week lots of people have apparently looked up and viewed my 2011 post on ceramic Christmas trees.  I only have one small tree left which I use yearly.  The other 3 I sold on Craigslist to a very happy fellow.

I painted this small ceramic Christmas tree a few years ago.

Since there seems to be some interest in transforming these trees I’m reposting my 2011 article below.  It might be of interest to revisit the original article and read some of the comments. People are very sensitive about these ceramic trees.

Heirloom Ceramic Christmas Tree Desecration

We inherited 3 green ceramic Christmas trees from our grandparents. They’re missing bulbs and have chips at various places on the trees. Charlie was horrified when I asked him what color he thought they should become.  He likes how they are now. (Son said the same thing.) I, on the other hand, think they need some modernizing.

3 green ceramic Christmas trees

First they needed a good bath.  They were dusty and dirty so I removed all the little plastic bulbs (not an easy task) and washed the trees in the kitchen sink using dish detergent, a handled brush and the sink’s sprayer attachment.

Just soap them up and spray them down

I toyed with all kinds of color combos: aqua and lime green, white, yellow and blue. Finally I thought some kind of metallic would be sparkly and holidayish. So I pulled out all the metallic spray paints I have.

Metallic spray paints

And sprayed each one a little differently. The smallest one is painted with a mercury glass finish which is accomplished by spraying bright silver metallic over hammered bronze while the bronze is still wet.  Work quickly.

The small one has a mercury glass appearance

The second one sprays satin nickel over the hammered bronze which gives a pewterlike finish.

Satin nickel over hammered bronze looks like pewter.

The third tree was sprayed with hammered bronze topped with metallic charcoal.  This turned very dark so I gave it just a dusting of bright silver.

Left to right: Satin nickel, bright silver, metallic charcoal with silver highlights

I haven’t decided yet if I should put the little plastic flame-shaped bulbs back in or not.

The plastic bulbs are separated by color; should I replace them?

The trio all lit up.

All 3 trees are now cloaked in sparkle and shimmer.

What your verdict?

I’m partial to the silver one.

Upgraded or ruined?

Have you taken a risk changing a family heirloom? Was it great or ghastly?


Let’s Plant the Fall Color

I bought some ochre mums a few weeks ago to brighten up the porch.

These flowers from 2014 are forever gone.
These flowers from 2014 are forever gone.

I did the same thing last year with every intention of planting them once they started to fade.

The purple asters and golden mums can be planted in the yard and should come back year after year.
The purple asters and golden mums from last year should have been planted in the yard.

That didn’t happen but this year I’ve asked Charlie to plant 5 mums in a clump at the right side of the potager.

Hoping Charlie will plant five tawny mums in a clump so they’ll return next year.

Charlie doesn’t think much of plants that can’t be eaten but a little persuasion encouraged him to transplant these fall-blooming plants.

I’d like mums in this area near the potager.

Can’t wait to see what we get next year.

What perennials come back for you every year?

The Painted Cross

An iron cross has hung on the Cottage for many years.

An iron cross hung on the Cottage near the front door.

Sug spruced up the paint when she painted the side panels on either side of her front door.

The cross didn’t look right on the shutters.

When we hung shutters on the door panels the cross needed to be moved.

The cross is easy to spray paint.

Sug hung it above the door but the white cross on pale grey was hardly visible so she asked me to repaint it.

Navy blue spray paint needs a few coats to bring out the true color.

I used navy spray paint misted with hammered charcoal metallic to give it a little interest.

The Cross at the Cottage.

Now it hangs more visibly above the door.

Are you changing the color of something?


Master Closet Doors

The closet doors in the master suite are Shaker-style solid pine.

The master closet doors are solid pine.

They needed to be stained like the ones in the conservatory.

The doors are heavy.

We unhinged them and laid them on sawhorses on our master suite deck which was covered with drop cloths.

Charlie brought me a cappuccino while I was staining the door.

I lightly sanded any marks off the doors which might show through the stain. After applying pre-stain conditioner to the wood I used a small sponge brush to apply the stain and wiped it off with a clean cotton rag.

Sug helped me rehang the doors.

We let the doors dry for about an hour then rehung them.

The door on the left is open, closet doors center, bathroom door on the right.

The new door color goes with (but doesn’t match exactly) the painted doors to the hall and bathroom.

What cozy element do you add to your bedroom décor in the fall?

Changing the Stone Walkway Stone

We visited the Stone Store on Saturday to watch a fire pit building demonstration.

We would like a fire pit like this only smaller — this is about 4-feet in diameter.

The fire pit kits that were being offered were both too large and too expensive for us.  On the plus side the kits came with everything needed and the stone did not have to be cut.

3/4-inch crushed stone in a little clunky for a walkway.

While we were there I looked at and walked on the 3/4-inch grey-tan stone I had chosen for the front walkway.  I immediately realized I would want something finer.

Smaller stone creates a better more walkable pathway.

They also sell grey-tan stone in a 3/8-inch size.  Unfortunately this is so popular it is backordered until at least January.

1/2-inch Delaware Valley River jack is colored much like our blue stone porches.

While I was looking at their sample counter I saw even a smaller/finer stone called 1/2-inch Delaware Valley River jack.

We plan to lay 2-3 inches of stone on the clay path on top of a lining cloth to keep the clay from mingling with the stone.

I think this is the answer. It won’t stay put as well as crushed stone but small river jack is a good compromise.

Do you find your choices limited by availability?

Now I Know the Difference

We are thinking of putting in a gravel path in the front of the house.

The front of house preliminary foundation plan.

I was corrected by the president of a local sand and gravel pit that gravel is not good for a path because when it gets wet it’s slippery.

Pea gravel is slippery when wet.

I was told, instead of gravel, to use crushed stone. Crushed stone is more angular than gravel and it not slippery when wet.

Our driveway has black stone.

I wanted to use crushed stone from this local company but they only have black stone remaining in their quarry.

We want crushed stone under the downspout water diverter.

Charlie visited a local stone emporium to see if we could get something that would blend better with our bluestone porches and field stone dry waterfall.

Sandstone is a lighter than we want but much cheaper than regular stone.
Grey and tan crushed stone blends well with our stone.

He brought home pea gravel, crushed sandstone, and crushed tan and grey stone.

Grey and tan crushed stone on our field stone.

We’ll be making a decision soon. I fear my choice will be the highest priced.

What’s your favorite path material: cement, brick, stone, crushed stone, sand?