Winter Cheer in the Living Room

I’ve been busy with a number of projects so housekeeping has taken second place to other things.

8 roses for $4.99.
8 roses for $4.99.

I bought an 8-flower bouquet of roses at Trader Joe’s in a very interesting color: something like mercurochrome.

The quince is trying to bloom during the few warm days in the middle of winter in Maryland.
The quince is trying to bloom during the few warm days in the middle of winter in Maryland.

The roses reminded me that our quince bush has been trying to bloom in the yard with very similar-colored buds.

In a few days we should have blooming quince in the house.
In a few days we should have blooming quince in the house.

I cut a few long switches and vased them onto the mantel.

Time to put some of the winter décor away.
Time to put some of the winter décor away.

One room at a time.

LivingRoomRoses

How do you brighten up a room?

A New Project — Offsite

My tenant, Charlie, and I have started a new project.

Adjacent walls of paneling and brick.
Adjacent walls of paneling and brick.

We’re helping another friend brighten up her living room.

The wall around a window had some water damage.
The wall around a window had some water damage.

Our first order of business is to paint the ceiling and walls.

I bravely started by priming the dark paneled wall.
I bravely started by priming the dark paneled wall.

To that end we spent yesterday evening removing everything from the walls and ceiling, taking down the curtains, spackling holes, and generally getting ready to paint.

One unexpected bonus was the floor under the wall-to-wall carpet seems to be in good condition.
One unexpected bonus was the floor under the wall-to-wall carpet seems to be in good condition.

Our mission for today is to get as much painting done as possible so we can at least put this area back together enough to use it on a daily basis until we finish the entire project.

We got everything spackled and primed last evening.
We got everything spackled and primed last evening.

A few additional improvements are in the works.

Have you ever painted paneling?

Fall Mantel Featuring the Red Wing Stag

One thing I can do well in advance of having a party is set up the mantel over the fireplace.

Recently the mantel was a bookshelf.
Recently the mantel was a bookshelf.

I try not to use the mantel as a catch-all but sometimes that’s just what happens.

The Red Wing Stag.
The Red Wing Stag.

After clearing and dusting the mantel I started with my Red Wing stag flower frog and matching bowl in the center under the mirror.  I’ve used this placement before.

A sunflower card painted by a friend, a white mini-pumpkin and glass bubbles.
A sunflower card painted by a friend, a white mini-pumpkin and glass bubbles.

Since I’m planning golden-yellow to be the party-theme decoration color, I surrounded the stag with shades of amber, ochre, and orange.

The mantel is not symmetrical just balanced.
The mantel is not symmetrical just balanced.

I searched through my vases and found a short ochre one to balance the height and mass of the card on the other side.

The colors are subtle.
The colors are subtle.

The kettle holder at the right bottom of the fireplace is wanting a large vase of bright flowers — sunflowers if the price is right.

The gourds will decorate the dining room table.
The gourds will decorate the dining room table.

At 50 cents a piece I bought enough gourds to fill an oval carved wood bowl.

What’s your autumn color this year?

Two Weeks Until . . .

.  .  . we have our Party with a Purpose at The Glade. We’re expecting 25 people or so.

Before
Cottage Before
After
Cottage After

Since we’ve been taking our clutter out of the Cottage so our new tenant can move in, the house now has items that we had been stashing out there.

This year trim lumber was move from the Cottage to the living room to the Cottage and back to the living room.
This year trim lumber was moved from the Cottage to the living room to the Cottage and back to the living room.

For instance the baseboard trim and bits of other trim were redeposited onto the living room floor.

Second floor hallway.
Second floor hallway.

After finishing up the downstairs baseboard Charlie moved the remaining 16-foot 1 by 4s, shoe molding, and ogee to the second floor hallway.

The master bedroom deck in on the left in the photo above.
The master bedroom deck in on the left in the photo above.
The master deck. Note the slanted roof on the center rear of the photo.
The master deck. Note the slanted roof on the center rear of the photo.

We couldn’t take it up the interior steps because the turns are too tight so he hoisted it up to the master bedroom deck,

Charlie moved the wood onto the small slanted roof and through the window on the right. YIKES!
Charlie moved the wood onto the small slanted roof and through the window on the right. YIKES!

then took it in through the window of the back bedroom.

Turning right at the top of the steps is no longer possible.
Turning right at the top of the steps is no longer possible.

The second floor hallway is no longer passable and the middle bedroom is blocked totally.

Moving lumber and finding a new place for it is a chore.
Moving lumber and finding a new place for it is a chore.

The good news is that living room is set up ready for a party,

The loveseats are back in place facing each other.
The loveseats are back in place facing each other.

the conservatory is close,

The dining room is in view behind the conservatory love seat.
The dining room is in view behind the conservatory love seat.

and so is the dining room.

What room in your house is ready for company?

Dying Curtains

Months ago I bought white curtains for the living room.

The new curtains are too white white.
The new curtains are too white white.

I thought they were too white.

While the fabric was in the coffee dye bath it looked like it might be a good color.
While the fabric was in the coffee dye bath it looked like it might be a good color.

I wanted them more the color of the linen shades that were in the windows so I dyed them with coffee grounds and a small touch of navy dye to tone down the orange/brownish tint. I was going for greige.

The curtain fabric turned out very blue after dying with coffee.
The curtain fabric turned out very blue after dying with coffee.

Unfortunately the curtains turned out a baby blue kind of color.

I redyed the curtains without removing the first color.
I redyed the curtains without removing the first color.

Since they were hideous I’ve waited to write about it until I redyed the curtains.

Taupe liquid dye from Rit.
Taupe liquid dye from Rit.

This time I used Taupe by Rit dye.

When dying cotton add salt to the dye bath.
When dying cotton add salt to the dye bath.

I rinsed the pale blue curtains in the washing machine.  While they were spinning I filled our 30-inch stainless kitchen sink with 11 gallons of very hot tap water, half a gallon of boiling water, 2 cups of salt, and 2 bottles of taupe dye.

The curtains looked very brown almost immediately.
The curtains looked very brown almost immediately.

When I submerged the wet cloth it immediately took on the taupe dye which has a brown tint to it. I was hoping the blue would make the curtains more warm grey than brown.

The curtains are just a little darker than I'd prefer.
The curtains are just a little darker than I’d prefer.

The directions called for stirring the dye into the cloth for 30 to 60 minutes.  After about 15 minutes I called it quits.  The curtains seemed dark enough to me.  I rinsed the curtains well in the sink then washed them with a small bit of detergent in the washing machine.

The living room has been decluttered and curtains are hanging at the window.
The living room has been decluttered and curtains are hanging at the window.

I dried them slightly in the dryer and ironed them while they were still damp. I was hoping they’d be a little less brown and a little lighter shade. They’re kind of growing on me and I can have curtains up until I finish the lined pairs I’m making from scratch.

Have you ever dyed anything that turned out perfectly?

Tea Dye For

I bought new curtains for the living room here.

The new curtains are too white white.
The new curtains are too white white.

My plan is to dye the curtains so they go with the greige color of the shades and the creamy white of the sofa.

I wet the fabric swatches and marked them as to the batch.
I wet the fabric swatches and marked them as to the batch.

To do a trial run I cut up an old white cotton pillowcase to use as test swatches for dying the new white living room curtains.

Coffee on the left and tea on the right.
Coffee on the left and tea on the right.

I brewed some dark coffee from already used coffee grounds hoping most of the greasiness would be gone.  I also brewed some strong tea to test the difference in color between coffee and tea.

Tea on the left; coffee on the right.
Tea on the left; coffee on the right.

I timed the duration of the soaking of the pre-wetted swatches in 10 minute intervals.

  • 1T = 10 minute in tea dye
  • 2T = 20 minutes in tea dye
  • 1C = 10 minutes in coffee dye
  • 2C = 20 minutes in coffee dye
Tea on the left; coffee on the right. Shade fabric at the top of the photo.
Tea on the left; coffee on the right. Shade fabric at the top of the photo.

The tea dyed fabric was very peachy colored and so I rejected tea as a dye.

C1 is the closest match to the shade fabric.
C1 is the closest match to the shade fabric.

The coffee was much better. It tinted the white fabric so it looked like unbleached muslin. The color I ultimately want would be a little greyer.

I have a half bottle of navy dye remaining from this project.
I have a half bottle of navy dye remaining from this project.

In my next test I’m going to add a small amount of navy dye to the coffee and hope it adds just a bit of grey.

Have you ever used natural dyes?

Lighter Curtains

Since changing the sofa cover from dark grey back to white the still unfinished living room curtains look a little heavy.

The slip cover is changed for the summer.
The slip cover is changed for the summer.

I found some billowy curtains in Soft Belongings I like but at over $100 per panel I’m going to look around a bit for something cheaper.

I was attracted to this print also.
I was attracted to this print also.

Headed to these stores: Home Goods, Marshalls, Ross, and TJ Maxx.

This subtle embroidered paisley design was my first choice.
This subtle embroidered paisley design was my first choice.

Home Goods has a nice embroidered panel in an off-white color.  I would need 4 panels but alas there was only one.

White eyelet panels at Home Goods.
White eyelet panels at Home Goods.

The Cynthia Rowley eyelet would have been nice and a good price but at only 84 inches long they would be too short. Same for the Laura Ashley curtains.

White plisse churtains.
White plisse churtains.

I found some unpriced pure-white plisse panels at Marshalls.  They are 96 inches long and $30 for 2 panels. I bought 2 sets.  I checked the final two stores but found nothing better.

Changing out these curtains.
Changing out these curtains.

When I got home I took down the still unfinished curtains I started in 2014.

The curtains hooks onto curtain clips.
The curtains hooked onto curtain clips.

On the front window I hung the white panels with clips.

Curtains hung by sewn-in tabs.
Curtains hung by sewn-in tabs.

Behind the sofa I hung the curtains using the tabs that were sewn into the back of the panel.

Hanging from the tabs, the curtains just brush the floor.
Hanging from the tabs, the curtains just brush the floor.

They are the perfect length when hanging from the sewn in tabs and I think they actually look better this way.

Which hanging style do you prefer?
Which hanging style do you prefer?

Unfortunately the stark white fabric doesn’t really look great with the creamy white sofa, Revere Pewter walls, and natural linen shades.

The white curtains need to be converted to the color of natural linen.
The white curtains need to be converted to the color of natural linen.

Naturally my plan is to dye the new curtains.  The color I’m going for is close to the shade tone.  The question is do I try to tea dye the fabric or buy some commercial dye.

Do you change up your décor with the seasons?