Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Sheets

I love new sheets on a bed - freshly laundered and soft, in a lovely pattern. I found this set of RL blue rose/floral sheets at TJ Maxx about a week back and couldn't believe my luck - they match my room like they were made for it!
As you can see, the kitties loved them too...

Lace Curtains and Plain Cotton

I have also made up my mind as to what kind of curtains will hang in the library and living room.
The sunny library will also be my studio/work room so I do not want to darken it in any way so I found a great deal on white lace panels from Brylane Home.
In the living room, which faces north and east, it is darker, especially with the walls painted a pale purplish-blue. the woodwork, trim, Georgian style fireplace and slipcovers are mostly white so I decided white curtains would work best.
I found plain white panels on Country Curtains website and decided that if they needed some details, I could add little sew-on or glue-on embroidered baby blue bees or flower springs.
But first I'll hang them and see how they look. Right now I have IKEA white sheers and they look fine but they give no privacy....

Library Wall Treatment

After a year of going back and forth on what to do with the 2nd small bedroom in Elinor Cottage, I have decided how to treat the walls. I was bouncing back and forth between painting, half wallpaper/half paint with chair rail, or all wallpaper.
I decided I LOVE the look of an entire room wallpapered in one pattern so that is how I will go. It reminds me of old 1930's farmhouse bedrooms...

I had tried to order wallpaper last fall but ordered incorrectly and then the WP was discontinued so I couldn't get any more (duh!)
I then ordered a blue ticking stripe but the background is cream instead of white (not a cream fan) so I will use that paper to line the drawers and built-in cupboards upstairs. Then I checked the same book I had bought my bedroom wallpaper from off a website called and saw a similar print in the same blue colorway and fell in love with it. That sealed it - and the price is so low I can't pass it up!
Its a lovely purplish-denim shade of blue in a rose sprig print on a soft white background. Looks very Shabby Chic to me.
As soon as I get the wallpaper hung, I can begin painting the bookcases, add books and move my computer/studio into the room.
It's such a light-filled, airy room it will be a joy to sit in there and work on my art and graphic design. It has 2 windows which face a sunny western-side patio with rose bushes and a blue hydrangea and a southern-facing window that faces a green, grassy backyard with lots of trees.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tea Party Set Up

Here are photos from Sunday's tea party - of course I was unable to snap any photos once people arrived because I was too busy brewing tea, answering the door and directing people to the food table! Besides, I am not sure everyone wants their photo posted online for all to see. ;)

I was busy Thursday and Friday cleaning house and baking. I made fairy cakes, jam cookies, fudge, lemon-lime cookies, cherry coconut macaroons, smoked salmon and halibut sandwiches on mini croissants, egg salad sandwiches and a plate or cheese and sliced fruit.

Teas included Scottish breakfast, English breakfast, York Black, Jasmine and Early Grey. I had around 19 people show up and it was so exciting - so many guests brought me flowers or plants I was overwhelmed. The hydrangeas and roses I bought from the Met Market on Queen Anne Hill were also beautiful!

I do not have the hutch finished yet but I did get the base painted white so that I could stack the topper on it and use it for the party - I can't wait to get the whole thing done because it really made a lot of room with the two pieces stacked on one wall. I made a small sign for the hutch to let people know it was a "work in progress".
Tea cups were stacked inside on the first tier while plates and napkins were below. Tea pots/sugar/cream/honey was lined up on the sideboard while the food was laid out on the table. I made small tags for each tea pot so people knew what tea they were drinking.

Most people arrived right at 2 PM and most were gone by 5 PM except for a few friends who I invited to sit awhile in front of the fire and chat by candlelight. It was cozy and relaxing. I hope everyone had fun - I sure enjoyed hosting the tea!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sign for my Library Door

My "library room" is currently unfinished/undecorated and full of things I don't know what to do with right now so the door will be closed during my tea party on the 20th. Instead of putting an unfriendly "do not enter" sign on the door, I will post this instead - a "step beyond" and almost a "dare" for anyone to open that door! Here's a free download for you all in case you want to use it too!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Timeless Dining Room

This is from an older Laura Ashley Home Furnishing catalog (at least 20+ years old, I kid you not!) but you'd never know it. It is as timeless as any room can be! It's French, its Swedish and its "elegant country".

The French blue, keeps the room light and elegant while the worn wooden French style furniture adds warmth and character. I have always loved that Palace garden wallpaper - I still have a roll of it in that same light blue colorway in storage. If I had several rolls, I'd cover every inch of my living room with it! The hutch is lovely too - a pale blue and white, filled with gorgeous china and crystal.

An Idea for my Library Walls

I don't know what was wrong with me at the time but when I ordered the wallpaper for my library last fall, I ordered only half the amount needed (and I knew all about the confusing single roll/double roll thingy).

I must have been working with half a brain that day. But then it took me 4 months to realize it and call the company I'd ordered it from, only to be told it was no longer available! Ahh! What to do - I loved the pale blue and white damask wallpaper but had only enough for half the room!

Well, here's the solution: wallpaper the upper half of the room (which means I can then avoid cutting around all those outlets, heaters and window sills!!) This is from a 20+ year old Laura Ashley Home Furnishing catalog and it is still the perfect solution! I can paint the lower half of the walls a pale blue, and add trim and wallpaper above that. It will keep the room airy and I won't have to try and find an extra $300 in my budget to order new wallpaper when I got the original for the smoking deal of $10 per roll! I just have to make sure I wallpaper high enough so as to not run out - will measure the square footage before making that decision.

I also like the idea of two rows of trim - the trim can be white, with the space in between and the lower half, being blue.

And curtains - I'm thinking a pair of white linen....tied back with a baby blue tassel on a polished brass hook.

On my next trip to the paint store I will have to take along a swatch of the WP so I can match the blues. This project will begin AFTER my February 20th tea party. Last night, in a moment of panic, I painted half the family room and added a bunch more gold leaf to the hutch. I realized I only had 13 days to the party. My friend Scott will come this Saturday to tile the step from the kitchen down into the family room. Progress IS being made....and I always did work best under EXTREME pressure!

Blue & White is Always in Style!

Case in point: this bedroom in an old Laura Ashley home furnishing catalog. In a dramatic blue rose pattern, it is still as fresh and inviting as it was back then. (I think this is at least 12-15 years old)

One can never go wrong with this color combination and I myself could never say "no" to a blue floral wallpapered room!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Waiting for Spring

With the living room space heater always on during this chilly Seattle winter, I often find huddled masses in front of it.

Here are my fab four this past weekend, soaking up the heat - this is a special moment because they don't normally want to be that close to each other!

I think they are barely hanging in there, waiting for the warmer days of spring when Mama lets them outside to roll in the warm grass.

Just had to share - I thought it was so cute.

Under the Eaves Redo

I have a one and a half story house - a Cape Cod from the 1950's - you know the house style. Most who pass by have no idea there is a second story and the rooms ARE pretty small. But they are also cozy, quiet and private - up a small, narrow, paneled staircase painted white and gray.

There is an open studio on the west side as you come up the stairs and then up two steps to the right gets you into the small, low-ceiling bedroom with storage built in along the eaves/walls. Up under the eaves, one can hear the squirrels on the roof, the rain and unfortunately feel the summertime heat and winter cold too.

I had to shut off the electric heater breakers because the heaters wouldn't turn off. Now I keep a space heater up there and a fan in the summer (I think I'll get a $100 air conditioner from Sears this summer so my old iMac doesn't get too hot).

I recently found a renter for the east side room - a young gal at my weekend job whom I really like. She is very happy to be moving into the room so she can be near school and work. I will appreciate the added income by renting out an otherwise unused room.

But the room was dark - with dark wide plank pine paneling. Even in summer's light days, one needed a flashlight to see into the drawers or around the room! And I do not like dark rooms so it was a no-brainer for me - the room needed to be transformed into a light, airy haven. But in a room with such temp extremes and paneling with old varnish, it would prove time consuming and labor intensive if I sanded it all.

The studio side was painted before I bought Elinor Cottage and it shows what will happen when done wrong! The paint is peeling and cracking and will need some touch up soon. The other side, if I was spending the time and money to do it would be done right and the secret is: TSP in powder form. Add to water, wear gloves, and wash the surfaces to be painted with a big sponge. Clean as many times as needed, until the water comes out clean. Then rinse with cool, clean water and a sponge. An instant clean surface with a little tooth.

Once dry, apply a coat of KILZ stainblocker primer. It won't be an opaque coverage but it WILL stop stains from the old wood seeping through when you cover the walls with white paint.
My signature white is Waverly's "Cottage Linen White". It takes 3 coats. I did half the room 2 years ago when I was still occupying it and it hasn't crackled yet so I know I did it right!

Now I am scrambling to get the rest of the room done - just did the north side of drawers this past weekend.
A trip to ROSS scored me 2 sets of twin cotton sheets, Laura Ashley brand for $12.99 each so I had instant, budget-conscious curtains and sheets for the bed.

The rest of the ceiling and the south side of drawers need to be painted next as well as the new ceiling light installed. Its a round, ceiling-hugging white sculpture of leaves and clear crystal flowers. It was under $75 from
The interior of the desk will be lined with my leftover bedroom wallpaper. Each drawer and closed closet space will also be lined in various blue & white wallpapers and then the new Shabby Chic room will be all ready for my new room mate!