The Baby’s Room :: Dressing the Windows

I’m making progress, one slow little baby step at a time, on the littlest one’s room. I’d really like to have it “done” by the end of the week, but the more time I spend in there, the more ideas I come up with, which isn’t helping with the whole let’s get it done mentality.

One of the things I worked on this weekend was dressing up her bare naked windows.

Bare Naked Blinds

How do you feel about window coverings? There were sheers and curtains on nearly every window in each room in the house when I was growing up. And my mom still feels like a window without a curtain is pretty close to a criminal act. But I’ve got to tell you, here in this house, we hate the though of covering any little bit of the view out of ours. It might have something to do with how dark our first house was and how light-starved we felt, or possibly it’s how sometimes we have to pinch ourselves just to make sure that view is real life, or maybe it’s just that I’m too cheap to buy large swaths of fabric that do so very little other than look nice. I do have to admit there are certain windows that needs some sort of privacy covering (bathroom, anybody?), but I still have trouble finding anything I want to put up.

Whatever the reason for our window covering hesitation, we were incredibly thankful that the previous owners had installed room-darkening roller blinds on all the bedroom windows. Our kids go down incredibly early every night (5 pm for the baby and 6.30 for the older kids) and those room darkening shades certainly help in the spring and summer months when there is more light in the evening. I have to tell you, I am not so enamored with the brown/tan/taupe material used to make each one. The good thing is, when they’re down, it’s too dark to see them, and when they’re rolled up, you see only the tiny bit of the topper. But, those few inches really aggravated me.

I had a little idea, and thanks to ebay, a little box arrived in the mail a few days later. I found a sweet lot of delicate white handkerchiefs, which I thought would work nicely laid across the valance (how do you pronounce this… VALance or vaLANCE?) helping me achieving the vintage feel I’m trying to create in the room.

Handkerchiefs

When I opened the box, I caught the faint scent of a delicate perfume. The handkerchiefs themselves were in beautiful condition and the handwork blew me away. Tiny little knots, crocheted lace, hemstitching, embroidered details, super fine fabric; all of it reminiscent of another, more genteel time.

Not So Naked Anymore

I’m happy to report that this idea came together very easily and just as I imagined. The fabric is so airy light it is very nearly transparent.

Little Details

All those beautiful details are even more pronounced when the sunlight filters through and it doesn’t feel like we are blocking any of our spectacular sea view.

Hemstiched

Handkerchief Valance

Beautiful Hand Embroidery

The best thing about this? It is completely no-sew. They are simply folded and tucked into the crevice between the topper and the window frame. And when they get dusty? I can just give them a little tug and throw them into the washing machine.

Beautiful Borders

Such Detail

Crocheted Edge

They cover that rather indelicate brown/taupe/tan valance with just a hint of girliness.

Quite the View

Well, that was pretty easy! Now, onto a few more changes before the week is out!

Decorating with Humor

Crap

I found a few things a few weeks ago. They’re, um, quite bright, yes? But they were kind of cute and I thought with a little bit of good old fashioned spray paint and a few plants they could fit in on the shelves in the living room.

Right Shelf\

So this is how the right shelf looks as of today…

Left Shelf

… and here’s the left shelf. What do you think?

I’m up to four shelves done now… I’ll take this as good progress. The terrarium thing has worked out pretty well, although I’ve had to replace a plant or two here and there. Sticking with plants that do well in indirect light has been key. And it only took me a few weeks to figure it out! Look, even more progress!

The Swan

I think the swan is looking a little bit more classy in her coat of white (please don’t look too closely or you’ll see all the spots I missed that glow just a touch blue!)

Swan Deet

And how about these little vases?

Lovely Ladies

Brainless Beauty

I’m trying not to think about them as brainless beauties, but rather as lovely ladies with awesome hats. But the bad seed has been planted I’m afraid.

Air Plants

These three little plants—two in the vases and one as the lovely lady’s hat—are all the air plants from Brimfield. One is already blooming, and the two pictured here are getting ready to flower in the next few weeks.

Peacock

I used to have a pair of these peacocks, but the baby managed to get a hold of one of them and then smash it to smithereens within the two seconds we had her eyes off of her. I may or may not have held on to the pieces for a few weeks thinking that maybe somehow it would magically be glued together again when I came down for my morning coffee.

Begonia

I really hope these plants do well. This curly spiral leafed Begonia is something else!

But I have to admit my favorite part is this…

Gnomey Gnomey

Looky

Gnome

Yeah, definitely my favorite.

Terrariums are popping up everywhere these days, and I’ve enjoyed figuring out how to pull in a few more on the shelves. The thing is, there are only so many glass jars and vases that I felt I could fit in, so finding these goofy little containers seemed like a fun way to fill more space and add more plants.

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Linked to these fine and fun DIY sites ::

UndertheTableandDreaming ==Tip Junkie handmade projects==Today's Creative Blog====Rooted In Thyme

The Loot

In case any of you were worried, I didn’t leave Brimfield empty handed. As a matter of fact, I had spent the majority of my budget three hours after we arrived around 6 am.As hard as it is to believe, even that early we came across several tents absolutely covered with SOLD tags. But I persevered!

Muffins Tins

Firstly, a set of muffin tins, waiting to go up on the wall in our kitchen.

Crocks

Then I found a huge number of crocks, and I brought four of them home for me. Perfect for all those pickled veggies I’ll need to put up should the garden work out!

Drawers

And the set of drawers in one of the images from yesterday just jumped right off the display and into my car. I have to test it for lead paint before I bring it in the house… fingers crossed!

Trellis

There was a gentleman from New York who had exactly 100 of these hard wood trellises that he brings to every Brimfield show. 100 only, not one more nor one less. Five of these guys came home with me and will be put in the garden to trellis the beans and cucumbers (once I get the other beds built that is… really gotta work on that!)

Blocks

I found these blocks in a tent filled with rugs from India and Pakistan. I have big plans for these guys, hopefully I’ll be able to get to that this weekend.

Jenny Lind

This Jenny Lind bed will be painted and put in the girls’ room once I begin that project. Now if I can find two more I’ll be set!

Crate

This crate, also featured on yesterday’s post, was from a bottling factory in my mother’s childhood home. Neither one of us had heard of the company before. The man who we purchased the box from had twenty five of them all told, and of course, now that I’m home, I wish I would’ve picked up two or three more.

Air Plants

And last but not least, right before we left we found a tent selling nothing but air plants. I can’t wait to show you what I’ve done with these… hopefully by tomorrow.

Today at Brimfield

We spent a rainy day looking, watching, bargaining, buying, schlepping, sloshing all around the hugest flea market I could have ever imagined. The textures and colors, the lovingly arranged displays, the incidental compositions… all of it was absolutely inspiring. If you ever get a chance to attend one of the three yearly shows, run there, don’t walk.

Files

Drawers

Display

Chandelier

Bottles

Printing Blocks

Statuary

Glass Floats

Garden Goods

Rocking Horse

Type

Mermaids

Cookbooks

Yellow

Red

Grey

Buoy String

Buoy

Silverware

Hastings

Giant Yarn

Boxes

Storage

Letters

Colors

Portrait

I would go back tomorrow, if it were at all possible.

A New Year, A Few New Adventures

2011. The year that left this blog in the dust. Since last we spoke, uh, a year and a half ago a few changes have occurred ::

  • a surprise pregnancy (discovered very shortly after the previous post on June 20), which led to
  • a difficult, challenging pregnancy (filled with lots of stress, health issues, and more bed rest than anyone could shake a stick at), which led to
  • a brand new and fantastically healthy baby girl (only two weeks early), which led to
  • a shopping trip for the new family car (yes, we found this family of six eying up the dreaded minivan), which led to, of course
  • a surprise home purchase! (wha?)

Yup, it’s a true story that has garnered many laughs these past few months; we left our lovely rental home one day to pick up a minivan and came home with a house! No one could have been more surprised than we were, but an unexpected opportunity popped up, and we suddenly found ourselves finagling our finances to make a down payment only two short weeks after extending our lease for a total of three years. Whoops! Amazingly, it all came together without a hitch, and suddenly, before we could even grasp the luck we managed to fall into, we became home owners once again!

There is so much to show and record as we make this new house our home. Since we moved in I’ve been itching to get back here to keep track of all my ideas, my progress, and the things that keep us busy during the day. 2011—well 2009 and 2010 as well, I suppose— were years full of transition and upheaval and I’m hoping 2012 is a year where some deeper roots take hold and keep us quiet and content for a bit.

But before I delve into the new home, let’s celebrate (or memorialize even!) a few things I did manage to get to in the rental. One of which was the breakfast room.

Ah, the breakfast room. In our two years for looking for homes here, it was rare the property we saw that didn’t have a breakfast room. It wasn’t something that was on our list, and as a matter of fact, we both felt it was a bit of wasted space, especially since we wanted a kitchen island with space enough for an eat-in counter. So when we saw this rental home, we weren’t thrilled to find one between the kitchen and dining room, although it was a “flaw” we were willing to overlook, especially in a rental.  Also, that particular shade of brown wasn’t doing much for me and we couldn’t justify the cost they wanted to charge us to paint those four tiny little corner walls. And finally, one of the biggest problems we had with this little room was the fact that we had absolutely no furniture for it. Since we weren’t really fans of the breakfast room thing in the first place, we didn’t want to spend lots of money outfitting it for our needs. So, off to the thrift/consignment stores I went, just to see if I could find anything at all.

And I totally scored, let me tell you! See that table? Those chairs? Both the bookshelf and the corner cabinet? ALL from the same place, and all used, well, mostly! The table came with a bench seat as well as the six chairs you see here as well as a huge lazy susan for the center of the table that unfolds into a square that seats eight with a stored-under-the-top leaf. All of that for 100 bucks, and there wasn’t a scratch nor dent on one  single piece. They were brand spanking new! I painted all the chairs to add a bit of color, the bookshelf and corner cabinet also got the spray can spray tan, and voila! We have a breakfast room for less than the cost of two dining room chairs.

As an added bonus the colors all coordinated with my fiestaware, which was a happy accident. We wanted to have all the pieces out where our kids could reach them so they could help set the table for mealtimes. I also added a bit of blackboard paint to the inside of the cabinet doors on both pieces to give the kids something fun to do on a rainy day or the mornings before I have my coffee. I have to admit, they really did enjoy being able to draw on the doors!

We had quite a few challenges to meet in this room beyond finding the furnishings. One, there weren’t really that many walls. The room is basically a pass through room that barely separates the kitchen and dining room. It also has a set of lovely french doors that open into the living rooms as well as a door that leads outside. That brown wall color really had me stumped until I came upon this post from Sherry and John of Young House Love. This was the first post I saw on their site, and I’ve been reading their blog ever since. That light! Oh that light!! I wanted that lamp shade in the worst way and it totally became the inspiration that brought this room together. If we had actually stayed in that house for as long as we originally planned, I would have owned that shade by now and it would be happily swinging above that table!

And one of my favorite elements in the room was our little family photo wall. Such a fun project!! I bought a bunch of tiny place card holder frame favors online for about a buck a piece, spray painted them with the colors I already had for the chairs, popped the stands off the backs, and stuck them on the wall using the 3m Command Picture Hanging Strips. They are similar to little strips of velcro that allow you to hang pictures on the walls without worrying about damage from nail holes; definitely a bonus when renting a home. I only had to touch up one little spot from when I pulled one strip a little too vigorously. All the pictures are food related snapshots of the kids and our extended family; it’s a great way to use some of those crazy baby feeding pictures, or jelly/spaghetti faces, family feasts, or little ice cream shop stops! I applied a little photoshop filter to fade the colors a bit and add a sepia tone wash which helped keep it from getting too busy. We all loved looking at all these pictures, and I am really looking forward to adding it to the new home, although it will have to wait until we get a bit more painting done! All in good time!

And in the end, the little room that almost wasn’t really became one of our favorite rooms in the house. It was open, in the middle of everything going on, bright with natural light, colorful and lively, and despite our best efforts, it’s where the kids would inevitably plop down their toys and crafts to hang out.

Ah, the breakfast room indeed!

Changes Are A’Comin’

Hello Friends. Tomorrow is a big, big day for us. After nearly two years of upheaval, we are finally ready to settle down into our new digs. Granted, our new home is a rental, but man-o-man… what a rental she is! Tomorrow our furniture is being delivered, so I am pretty sure I’ll be busy this week, but I wanted to share one more project that I’m working on for the new home–yet another thrifty find–a corner curio cabinet.

Here she is in her found state ::

And here’s what I’ve been using to get me through all the sanding and prep ::

She’s almost done and ready to be moved, but I ran out of sandpaper and spray paint, so I had to take a small hiatus. I’m hoping to have her all finished tonight, although we’ll see how those plans work out. I also need to get over the the new house to clean before the guys show up tomorrow.

Wish me luck!!

Another Thrifty Find

Here is the next of my fun finds while out and about searching for a table and chair set: this cool seventies china hutch!

I have to say, I’ve found more awesome things back home in Pennsylvania than here in Massachusetts. There were at least four or five little treasures that were calling out my name, but I resisted until I found this piece! She is destined for the craft room, err, rather the craft “area” in the house as a home for yarn. I’m deathly afraid of moths, so having a place to put the fiber in something a bit more secure than a wicker basket is something I’ve been trying to resolve for a while.

She’s not very big, but she’s really cute! And after a nice spray of turquoise paint, a lovely black and white damask paper on her back, and a harware update (oh the possibilities!!) her personality is going to shine right through!

Now!! I just have to figure out how to get this and the desk up here from PA where my parents have lovingly obliged to store my finds for a few weeks. Can’t wait to get them back here to work on!

A Find From the Heavens

We are soon moving to a new home, not quite the home we hoped for, but given our bit of insecurity in the job and housing market, the house we’ll be with for at least two years. I am busily making plans for it, and in doing so, have decided to try to find as many used items as possible. I thought it would be really run to grab an old wooden kitchen table set, a few different chairs, a used corner hutch, and a few cans of spray paint, which is exactly what I did. Well, at least, I found a table and chair set that I’m excited to paint; it wasn’t exactly beat-up or old, but in excellent condition and much much less than a new set.

Anyway, this is my way of setting the scene for the most improbable find, which jumped out at me upon the first little antique store I visited.

A child-sized roll-top desk for my beautiful soon-to-be-five-year-old.

Can you believe that I almost considered–for a full minute–walking away from this precious beauty? This was such a personal find for me as I remember when I was a child I thought a roll-top desk was the bees knees. It will need a bit of TLC; the finish is worn in spots, but overall the condition is excellent. The desk rolls up and down without a hitch and the chair swivels up and down which I know will be the biggest hit with my new-to-school girl.

The plans is to sand it down, and paint it white, personalize it with a few touches and a new desk set.

I can’t wait!!