Weekend Work

I did not have the traditional long Thanksgiving weekend since I work in purchasing for a retail corporation. We work when our stores need us and Black Friday is one of those days.

My weekend started on Saturday morning. I woke up early and started with some housecleaning. I dragged out some Christmas decorations out of storage. I couldn’t believe the amount of spider webs there were in my storage unit since the last time I was in there at the end of summer.

I have an irrational fear of getting spiders stuck in my extremely thick and curly hair. I know it’s silly but I jumped in the shower right after I was done getting the boxes.

I was relaxing on the couch having a very late breakfast while I browsed the Jo-Ann sale flyer. I knew that there was a 20% off entire purchase coupon in there and I needed some essentials.

I made a list (FINALLY!) of the remaining floss needed for Nora Corbett’s Holly.

I hoped that some of the Door Buster interfacing would be left too. 10 yards for $2.99 – That’s a great price! Some novelty fabric I needed was $2 off as well.

Jo-Ann’s had coupons for Saturday only as well. I tore them out and was reading them carefully to make sure I had the right ones. Yup, both said Saturday! The 20% off coupon also said good from 7am – Noon.


omg – I frantically though what time is it? I checked the clock and saw it was 10:30!


I have never, ever gotten dressed so quickly to go shopping. I was out the door and backing my car out within 5 minutes of reading the coupon fine print!

Thankfully my Jo-Ann’s is only about 10 minutes away from me. No more than 15 even with traffic congestion.

I entered the store around 10:50 and went straight to the DMC racks. I grabbed my Holly supplies and some colors I thought might look good for my John and Abigail Adams ornament I designed.

I quickly went to fabrics; grabbed a number for the cutting table and then went off to get my bolts. There was plenty of interfacing left so I picked up 4 bolts. 40 yards of interfacing should hold me for a while, right?

Since I picked up my number first I didn’t have long to wait at the cutting table and soon had my cuts and was on my way to the check out after I picked up Buy One Get One Free sewing thread and stopped in the button aisle for Buy One Get One Free Buttons.

On my way out of sewing I stopped to drool over the scissors I want. I love black and white!







I also saw some 90% off Halloween items and grabbed a few $10 pieces that were now $1! I made it to the check out by 11:20am and was only third in line!

I made it!!! I got my extra 20% off! Whoo-hoo!!!

I stopped for a coffee then a little grocery shopping. I was out of Coke Zero so it was a grocery emergency!!

The coffee and Coke seemed to energize me (I wonder why). I made room for and assembled my artificial tree. I like to wait until December but my 6 1/2 year old, 16 pound Maine coon mixed cat still thinks she’s a kitten and can sleep in the bottom boughs.

I put the tree up (undecorated) so she can get used to it and get any tree climbing out of her system. To my surprise she paid little attention to it. She went around the back of the tree and curled up UNDER the boughs not on top of them!

Maturity has come. What a good kitty! She just calmly watched as I arranged the tips of my Norwegian Blue Spruce. Maybe an odd choice for most people’s artificial tree but I wanted a tree that reminded me of Northern European Yule festivities. This is the reason why I enjoy holly and mistletoe items as well. Their usage in Winter festivities traces back to Druid, Celtic and Viking eras.

See how the branches aren’t bright, perfect evergreen? I love that!

The bird in the nest decoration is a nod to my Polish heritage where it was believed that birds in a Christmas tree brought joy, good luck and happiness.

Angel – the symbol of purity, peace and love – is represented by my tree topper. Yes, it’s a Barbie but I have yet to find a topper I enjoy more.  I like the non-traditional colors of her gown because I don’t hold to the traditional dictates of Christmas.

I’m not sure anyone else has every taken a Barbie off its stand and said “Hmm, I could just put the branch between her legs just like the stand.”

Yeah, only I would think that.

I found this little Snowflake Fairy from the Boyds Collection. She reminds me of the Russian Snow Maiden Myth…

On Sunday I packed up the rest of my Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving decor and finished unpacking my Winter/Christmas things.

The remainder of the day was devoted to work on my Round Robin piece – Angel of Spring.

I have finally found some kind of a groove on this project. I have done the square-shaped section below the straight line of the skirt. I hope to have it filled in and maybe do another 2 inches before she goes in the mail next Monday.

I have also been working on the back design for my stitching group’s ornament exchange on Saturday. I will share the picture after we swap!

All in all a pretty good weekend worth of work.

Design on less than a dime

I posted earlier this summer about my attempt to redecorate my apartment on the cheap in a Hollywood Glamour style. Hollywood Glamour uses cool blues and grays with pale tans and lots of black, white, silver and crystal. Since most of the apartment is in a satisfactory state of design I have been focused on the pit that is my bedroom.

Anything that I don’t have room for gets shoved in a corner of a bedroom. Let me tell you, there is a lot I don’t have room for.

I picked up some bed risers at Walmart. After searching the store I finally found them in the closet organizer section. Silly me, what was I thinking? Don’t I always store my bed in my closet?? The risers lifted my bed frame about five and a half inches off the ground and giving me about nine and half inches of storage space. Perfect for sliding “storage” boxes under the bed.

Now I am far to cheap to buy storage boxes when there are plenty of cardboard shipping boxes at work to be recycled. A little cutting, some tape, some paint, a few scraps of fabric and ribbon and viola! I had custom underbed storage boxes for free! I punched a couple of holes and secured a length of ribbon in each to function as a pull handle and I am thrilled with the results and the extra storage.

In the free section of Craigslist I found a very nice entertainment center with glass doors and covered storage along the bottom. It had a slide out shelf in the tv section and looked to be in very good shape. My Dad helped me out by gettting a buddy to help load the piece and bring it into my apartment. He also added some casters on the bottom to make it easier to move around. There are four deep shelves covered by the glass doors and they make excellent dust free book shelves!

It is a drab, worn oak laminate with giant brass knockers as door handles. It will be primed and painted white to help make the bedroom look larger since I have some pretty large storage pieces in there already. The handles with be switched out with some brushed nickel knobs I have or maybe something new in bright silver.

The section where the tv would go in perfect for some large storage baskets that I have. The slide out shelf is the new home for my printer. The cut out for tv wires in the back make it a snap to string the power cord back there and the shelf is large enough for the printer and my laptop when I need to print stuff out. This is a much better place for my printer than on the bottom of a very cramped computer desk.

I moved my desktop pc into the living room and hooked it up to my tv. WOW! You Tube never looked so good! Now I just need to start playing FarmVille again just so I can do it on a full sized tv screen!

I repurposed my metal and glass computer desk from the bedroom into a sewing table. A few quickly sewn clearance fabric drapes and storage baskets completely transformed it and hides the very modern style of the desk.

I began refinishing the very large, very sturdy, very gorgeous armoire from the 1940’s that I paid $40 for from a college student. Paint is my only option at this time since college kids apparently thought the armoire would be as good as a paper journal to write their feelings on.

I am painting it white also but keeping the original oil rubbed bronze hardware and handles.  While the entertainment center is being used for computer accessories and books the armoire (with it’s 2 huge, 3 large and 1 medium sized drawers) is chock-o-block full of cross stitch stash *hangs head in shame*

I know I have a problem. This just confirms it.

The bedroom is no where near finished but it is painted a beautiful pale aqua blue from True Value called Paper Lantern. The key pieces for storage are in place. Now I just need to set aside a weekend for unloading the closet and putting everything in it’s place.

Once that is done I have given myself permission to start decorating the walls with some lovely Art Deco/1920’s era photographs that remind me of ladies of leisure in their boudoirs. I just found a book at the library about Art Deco design and will be pouring through it to see what I can do to transform my own boudoir into the high style of the Jazz Age. I scoured the internet in search of beautiful dresses to grace my walls with and  found some real stunners! I also am toying with the idea of framing a series of stained glass pics from the period as well. I have always been fascinated by stained glass. Weird, I know.

I have tons of old oak frames that I plan on painting in shiny black enamel to frame the lovelies in so I can group them together on a wall.


I am not sure where my fascination with Marilyn Monroe came from. Too many musicals on the UHF channels on Saturdays as a child? Hearing Candle in the Wind by Elton John too many times on the radio in middle school? The 30th anniversary of her death when I was 19? Who really knows?

The tragedy of her life enraptured me enough that I wrote my developmental psych case study using her as my subject. The thing was such a joy to research and write that it was over 40 pages when it was finished.

The charm of Miss M still holds my attention today. My favorite movie of hers “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” has been in rotation on the cable movie channels and I watch it every time I see it is on. I adore it.

I recently found pictures of Marilyn putting on makeup or doing her hair and framed them for inclusion in my bathroom remodel. I have always loved the pictures of her caught unaware or doing everyday things instead of the high velocity sex pot shots.

While searching for my “bathroom” pics (which I’ll get around to showcasing here eventually!) I found some beautiful shots to share.

They struck me with their simplicity, honesty and heart.

Color me David

David Bromstad that is.

He’s the host of HGtv’s Color Splash and Color Splash: Miami . He’s also the reason for my latest design frenzy (which I still have not revealed in this blog)! I have loved the original show for the past few years. The new show is ok but I miss David’s old paint expert Danielle and the carpenter Ian.  The good natured ribbing is gone in the new show as he tries to train to newbie’s to his design aesthetic. I also miss David’s hands-on approach he used in the original. 😦

I set the original show to record re-runs on my dvr in the Spring so maybe I could pick up a few ideas for my apartment decor. And, to be honest, David isn’t too hard to look at.

In April I stumbled across an episode of Color Splash I had never seen before and was smitten!! With the decor people! 😀

Taken at face value the room is extreme but the elements and the ideas are what appealed to me.

David took an original Victorian dining room and gave it a Mid-Century Modern/Hollywood Glamour makeover. I fell in love with it – the colors and the sparkle were fantastic!! When I decided to redo my apartment this make over immediately came to mind!

I wasn’t creating a formal dining room but I adored the stormy blue colors with the lead crystal and aqua accents.

David always asks his clients what their color inspiration is for the room and this was exactly mine!! I love those lotus crystal tea light holders. I need to find a couple of those for my own room! The stormy (David’s adjective; not mine) blue/green/gray color on the wall and ceilings looks so great with the white trim. The color I picked for my living/dining room is a little cooler and bluer but was directly inspired by David’s design.

And one last pic just because….

Just what I need….

is to start one more project! At least this time it is crochet and not another home diy paint related project!

I have some Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice yarn in Sweet Pea that I got for a real steal at a local closeout store. It compliments my new living room Hollywood Glamour decor. I have had it for almost 2 months and have been looking for a suitable pattern.

I was super picky because I didn’t want lacey (too feminine), granny squares (too traditional), aran (too boring), flowers (too girly) or shells (I’m just plain bored with them).

I found a pattern called Diamond Trellis on the Coats and Clark website that really struck me. Geometric style without having to whip stitch squares or panels together. I really wanted to keep things simple with a repeat pattern for a throw. Here is the sample throw from the website.

So far it is super simple and working up quickly. I am almost done with the first set of rows for the pattern. I would like to do more tonight but my arms and hands keep going numb (carpal tunnel??) so I gave up! For now!!!!!  🙂

Curtain Complete

Having finished painting the dining room area in my apartment – including the baseboards and windows – I turned my attention towards the one large window on that wall.

Since I live in an apartment, half of the wall belongs to the dining room (with the window) and the other half to the living room (with a sliding glass door). I used the same paint color for the living room, kitchen and dining area to help unify things and make it seem bigger.

I used a beautiful True Value paint color called Del Rio (satin interior latex). It is a green toned gray/blue.I thought I would help make the spaces distinct by using different colored fabrics and accessories. I stumbled upon a pretty fabric last year in Jo-Ann Fabric’s and have been drooling over it ever since! It went on sale (it is normally $10 a yard) so I scooped up 2 yards!! It is Modern Heart from Legacy Studio.

I sewed up a simple “scarf” and used curtain clips to hang the valance. I was even lucky enough to find the curtain clips on clearance! They are the best thing for the simple home sewer like me. You just clip the rings on the fabric and Voila! you have a curtain!

I hung the rod about 6 inches over the top edge of the window and extended the rod 3 inches past the window on either side. This makes the room feel larger by showing more sunlight and tricking the eye as to ceiling height.

When I emptied out part of my sewing basket to get to today’s project, my assistant was at the ready to lend a helping paw.

Dumpster Diva

One evening in early January I turned into the parking lot of my apartment building and something caught my eye. I swiveled my head towards the dumpster to get a better look. Stacked in front of the dumpster were two wooden dining chairs – Captain chairs – the kind with the arms on them.

I quickly parked my car and briskly walked to the dumpster to pick up someone else’s trash.

I was super-psyched. I had a nice farm style dining room table but only one slightly wobbly Windsor chair left. The other chairs were broken in some rather colorful, X-rated ways and I never set aside the money to replace them.

Now I had two chairs! whoo-hoo!!! And the chairs were in great condition!

They cleaned up nice and I debated about what to do with them to refinish them. Then about three weeks later I was in my Dad’s truck on the way to a hockey game. It was freezing and pouring rain. As Dad drove past the dumpster on our way out I shrieked in delight and starting yelling stop the truck!!

There next to the dumpster were two more of the same chair! These two were side chairs since they had no arms but they were a matched set with the two I already had “acquired”. My Dad braved the cold, stinging rain and rescued the chairs for me. I set them to dry on some towels in the living room and hoped they weren’t too damaged from the rain.

My hopes were wrong and there was a lot of damaged to the rain chairs. The wood was splitting and was grey with water damage. After experimenting with some stain I realized that I would not be able to make the four chairs match.

Paint was my only alternative.

After a large amount of wood glue, wood filler, sandpaper and primer I have 4 matching chairs just ready for a French Country style paint treatment. I painted out the legs of my farmhouse table and stained the tabletop a dark walnut. A creamy white paint (as soon as I decide what kind) is all I need to finish off my “new” set.

While I was filling and sanding and gluing I noticed a label and date stamped on the underside of the seat. It was a Keller Furniture company chair made in June 1964. For some that would make it old and nasty. For me, it made it a set of retro wonderful chairs! I was very excited that I had mid-century furniture for free!

I am tempted to take a photo of the finished chairs and tape it to the dumpster with a note saying “Thank You” but I’m afraid that will deter people from throwing stuff away!!

Just this week someone threw out a large, sturdy wicker basket apparently because it had a dollar bill sized splash of white paint on it. No problem for me. I thinned out some white primer with water and now have a lovely white wicker basket that I am sewing a liner for. I can’t wait for the next treasure I rescue from the dumpster!