Friday, January 21, 2011

Flowers to Lighten the Mood of Winter

Right about now I start to get spring fever. I start to look through the seed catalogs and dream of squeezing one more lilac or hydrangea somewhere in the yard! I also begin to buy flowers for each room - sometimes I will carry a favorite bouquet with me through the house so I can look at them constantly - maybe I should rig a jar on a rope to carry over my neck like the Bill Murray's character Bob did with his gold fish in "What About Bob"! LOL I went to the flower market Tuesday when I took the day off. The Met Market on top of Queen Anne hill has the best flower selection in town. The day was wet, cold and gray-dreary so the flowers on the outside stands glowed with color. I chose red and white roses for my friend Cathy, red tulips for my friend Scott and for me I chose pale blue and white hydrangeas which ended up on the coffee table in the living room (so the kitties could easily reach them to drink out of - can't stop them from doing it so I might as well make it easier to reach so they don't tip them over!) and a small bunch of pink tea roses which stayed on the table so I can look at them as I eat breakfast and dinner each day. So lovely!! I'm really feeling the need for spring now - luckily we're in for warmer and sunnier weather for the next 5 days.

I just love them and they make me smile each time I pass them by.


My collection is growing. I added a couple this winter. I originally had only the Royal Copenhagen Blue Flowers teapot but then found a cute one on eBay for $3.99 from Nepal - not sure if it's food safe so I will use it for decoration only. Then the white one from TJ Maxx for $7.99, and the Blue Onion one also from TJ Maxx for $12.99. The older blue flow teapot came as a gift from my 80 year Norwegian neighbor who said her mother once owned it. These will all be put to use in February when I have my tea party. For now I love how they look on the sideboard. Eventually they will all live in the hutch, when it's finished being painted and gold leafed.

Library Wallpaper

I still need to work on the smaller bedroom which I now call the library. It currently has sunny yellow walls but the room does not fit into the rest of the house's blue & white scheme. I already hung the glass chandelier in there and swapped some of the clear crystal drops out for cobalt blue ones. (inexpensive glass chandeliers are from - paid $88 for a four-arm 17" chandelier).

I would love to wallpaper the room in some dramatic pattern. I found this paisley wallpaper online. The book its from is called "Cottage English" and the paper is $27.75 per single roll. Its a bit out of my budget range right now (my bedroom wallpaper was only $10 per single roll) but if I can swing it later this year, I might send for it!

The library room is smaller but light and bright/facing south and west, so I think it can carry the pattern. The blue is the right shade of blue too...goes well with denim and Atmosphere Blue from Restoration Hardware.

New Tea Set

As my list for the tea party in February grew, I realized I didn't have enough teacups or teapots to serve everyone! I checked out a website for china painters called Maryland China. There I found this English style set (#6462) on clearance for $22.95!! I sent for it a couple of paychecks ago - had nearly forgotten about it - and it finally came Tuesday! Its beautiful!!

A nice clean white with 4 oblong-shaped teacups on saucers, teapot, sugar and creamer. Combined with what I already have, I think I'll be fine now if everyone invited decides to show up for tea.
This website, Maryland China, has great prices on even non-sale merchandise. Worth checking out. Great source.

Priming for Gold Leaf

I am still in the process of applying the gold leaf to my hutch.
Time is everything right now and there is little of it!

This is a detail photo of what I first had to do in order to apply the leaf. Every little area I want gold leaf to go, I first had to prime it with this ocher primer. Many of the areas are small and I had to use tiny brushes and do it by hand.
The primer is all done now and I am applying the leaf - will give updated photos later on when I get a sizable area done.

Sweet Pea

She's a goofy one - this kitty I brought with me from my sister Laura's rural country house in Wisconsin one year. Goofy, but also smart as a whip. She keeps the other 3 in line. When I asked her to pose for a picture on my newly painted and upholstered chair, this is how she chose to present herself!

Dinner Guest

I had a delicious beef stew for dinner at my friend Norma's house a week or so ago and I just had to post this image of one of our uninvited dinner guests - Pavvy. I thought this was so funny...and I felt slightly guilty eating in front of her. What's with the tablecloth disquise...did she think I couldn't see her? You'd think she'd want me to see her! hehe

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm thinking "Curtains"

I think the year is upon me to dress up my windows. I have a set of lovely, old cotton Shabby Chic curtains in British Rose in my bedroom and a glorious set of blue/white toile cotton curtains in my family room.

But the library, family room, kitchen, spare bedroom and studio have something make-shift and not-so-attractive covering them and I am tired of it!
I just got the new "Country Curtains" catalog in the mail and am drooling over some of their new patterns.

check them out online - they have well made curtains and I have ordered many times from them and they are great to work with! All the toile curtains and bedding in my house came from them. I especially love the new Apple Blossoms curtains in a linen/cotton mix. The pink is very appealing but my cottage is all blue & white so I sent for a free swatch of the blue version - but that pink keeps calling to me because its so fresh and feminine! I was thinking of using this pattern in the living room where I currently have those inexpensive sheer panels from IKEA on each picture window - not enough privacy!! I need lace panels under the living room curtains so I thought the Balmoral Lace in white would work best.

Country Curtains also sells rods that allow for a double layer of curtains.
For the library, which will have blue/white ticking stripe wallpaper up soon, I thought the Sophia pattern in a soft floral toile on white would work best in there. The room faces south and west to the backyard and gets loads of beautiful sunlight which gives the small room a great feeling so I wanted to keep the curtains light and airy too. I have it all planned, now all I need is my tax refund! But I do feel this is the year to get some decent curtains up on my windows! Its such a large area, it gets noticed immediately so its important to have them look good - right?

Turning my thoughts to House Projects

The ornaments are down and put away until next year and now my thoughts turn to the projects I had put on hold while I enjoyed the holiday season. I work best when under pressure and so I decided to add some pressure to ensure some of those "on-hold" projects get done in a timely manner! I have a large yard in dire need of help so I hope to spend spring and summer outside tending to it, so, having the interior projects done before we thaw out will help me concentrate on the yard when the time comes. I've decided to have a February tea party! Nothing will make me whip the rooms into shape faster then the thought of 30 style-savvy women descending upon my little house, looking to see what I have accomplished! I have until February 20th to get a long list done but if I write on a calender what I'll do each night once home from work, I can make some progress. First up: finish that hutch! Second: finish painting the family room's walls and adding the stencil. Then there's the coffee table in need of a couple coats of white - and the cedar trunk that I want to turn into a replica of a 17th C. dowry chest. OH! And the wallpaper needs to go up in the library. The list goes TV for a month!

I got some new CD's to keep my ears happy while I work - all 1940's pop and Big Band. Happy music! Then the new Country Curtains catalog came yesterday in the mail and in it I find the curtains I want for my library ("Sophia") to match the blue ticking wallpaper. And the "Apple Blossoms" linen curtains (in blue) for the living room... I see alot of people on other blogs talking about their "word for the year". My word for the year is "COMPLETION". I have alot of unfinished projects that I'd like to get done so I'm not embarrassed anymore when someone comes over and sees the same project half done as it was several months before when they last visited! hehe