Saturday, November 9, 2013

Master Bedroom Library - the CHAIR

The Perfect Chair

Let me introduce you to the inspiration chair - I found this awesome chair and its twin on the side of the road, not far from my house. The color is amazing - tomato red. The shape is inviting - it literally hugs you. It's in fabulous shape - sturdy as hell. More amazement - there were TWO of them. And, really - Naugahyde? I know - the world is jealous of this incredible chair find. 

So this pair of chairs are the inspiration for my library, a space off the master bedroom that I painted a lovely blue that is the exact color from the bedroom curtains. Then came The Dilemma! There is a huge (72") window in the library that needs curtains. My original plan was to use the same fabric I had used in the bedroom - it's one large space, the library is sort of an alcove.
So, off I go to my favorite fabric store... GASP!!... they've sold out of my fabric!! No, they will not be ordering more - its discontinued! *sigh*
 I needed to find a great fabric to make the curtains. Something to compliment the Perfect Chair and the fabric I had already used for the bedroom.

A reminder of the bedroom fabric

Here's what I found...
I love the fabric. I'm a little nervous because I've never used two different fabrics in the same space - the color is great, I love the pattern - now I just have to decide about style and find time to get them put together. Maybe it'll snow and I'll be trapped at home....

Creating Creative Space!

Basement... ugly word.
When we moved into this house the basement was unfinished. We weren't completely sure what we were going to do with the space, so I've been pondering, thinking, planning... ! Eureka! It's going to be space for the computer on one end and my Create Space on the other. I'll finally have a place to do my sewing, painting, beading and whatever else I get into. No one else will have to see it - I won't have to start a project that I can't finish, pack it up and clean everything and set it up again when I can find a few free minutes to work on it again. Such a wonderful thought!

So - we hired an awesome local handyman who came and ran all the electrical and framed it in. Then we hung the drywall, my brother came and fixed my mistakes (thanks Joe!! Love YOU). Flooring is the next part -- waffled between laminate, hardwood, tile and carpet for a couple months. Decided that carpet was the best choice because the floor is cement and cold on the feet. I picked a beautiful Shaw brand carpet in the palest grey. Very short, sculpted wave pattern - unbelievable!

Now back to pondering - where to put everything - how to hide the ugly utility closet in the middle of the room - lights! - curtains? - cutting table? (YES!) - the color - and on and on and on....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Home Away From Home

Recently I had to go on a little business trip. The company I work for sent us on a little jaunt to meet some folks from our corporate office. So, I drove to Pennsylvania to a town called Narvon. Which is truly in the middle of nowhere. It's a camp resort called Lake in Wood - near Lancaster.

I got to stay in the most amazing little 'cottage' - a converted train caboose!

So, even though this isn't a home reno in MY home - I thought you'd get a kick out of seeing it! I loved all the little details in here. The 1950's kitchen table, all the railroad pictures and lights and the stove!
This is the view from the front door. All the way at the back on the left is a tiny (no REALLY tiny!!) bathroom with a little stand up shower and a very small sink.
 This is the bedroom to the left when you come in the front door - the Master Suite!!
The kitchen 'stove' is actually storage for the dishes, but the microwave, coffee pot and fridge are recent additions.

A few of the other unique options! They also have a yurt on the lake, a converted boat and frontier cabin. There are plenty of cabins, RV sites and even some tent sites as well. It was one of the most interesting business trips I've ever been on!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Custom Drapes (with grommets!)

   In which the saga of finding the perfect fabric continues...

I seem to be doing this master bedroom make over all out of order - I still need to move my workroom stuff to the as yet not built work room, I've only painted one wall, I changed my mind about the color of the dresser (again!), and instead of continuing with the paint, I made the curtains ~ this sounds like the making of a disaster, right?

Not exactly - the curtains are AWESOME! ...and I learned how to make grommet drapes! High five me!! It goes like this.....

1. Make the curtain panels
2. Figure out the spacing of the grommets. You want to start about 1 1/2" to 2" from the edge for your first grommet and about 1" down from the top. Then evenly space the grommets across the fabric. After I marked the locations with pins I folded the fabric to make sure I was happy with the spacing, using the pins as the hole centers. I used the 1" (2.54cm) grommets spaced every 5.5" on 54" wide fabric. This will give you an idea of the size of the folds your going to end up with.
3. Using the template that comes with the package, mark your circles in pencil or chalk all the way across.
4. Then came the scary part - cutting holes in my expensive fabric! Cut the holes one at a time, installing the grommet and then moving to the next hole. The grommets are two pieces, one side has a little raised lip which goes on the back of the fabric. The other side has small raised pins, this one goes on the front. The two pieces snap together. There is a small slot on the front piece, if you want to remove the grommet simply put a flat head screwdriver in the slot and twist. It pops right open.

5. Pretty simple. I ended up using 10 grommets per panel. The package said I would need 8. It depends on how full you want the panels to be, the size of the rod your using, weight of the fabric, etc... I bought the grommets at JoAnne's, they run about $8.00 per package for the 1" and $12.00 for the 2".
6. Then comes the fun part - hang 'em high!
 This is pretty heavy drapery fabric so I simply turned a 3" hem at the top. If you're using a light weight fabric adding an interfacing would be a good idea to keep the shape and support the weight of the fabric.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Master Bedroom ~ Stage ONE

   The master bedroom is not a room that I was ready to start working on just yet. It's a huge space, with a sitting room area. At the moment the sitting area is my office\work space. It's where I make jewelry, paint, sew etc... It's not what I want to do in the space, but I don't currently have a craft~art~sewing room and it's tucked out of the way upstairs. The garage will eventually be the work room but I haven't reached that room yet either!

   Anyway, sometimes creativity has a mind of its own. I found a piece of fabric.... not just any piece of fabric - the fabric. The one that you just know is the perfect fabric for that room. I'm just crazy about travel & advertising art. I especially love the work from the 50's and 60's. It's all so fun and colorful. When I saw this fabric with the awesome Hawaiian vacation motif I just knew I had to have it. So, of course I bought 10 yards of it without actually having a plan.
    As the plan began to coalesce in my tiny pea brain, I saw curtains out of the fabric and the walls in red, dusty blue and green... too much? NO!! Fabric in hand, I head for Lowe's -- I need paint samples! I'm a huge fan of paint samples - it's a great way to see if what's in your head is actually going to work out on the wall, and I had a coupon for free samples!
   I got samples of all the major colors in the fabric, even though the red is very intense. The thought being that maybe it would be okay as an accent wall - besides, my sister said it would be ok and she's very color conservative. What I like to do is try the samples out on several walls so that I can see what the paint will look like in different light sources. I also put all the colors close together to see if they're going to reflect in an odd or unpleasant way.

   I decided that the red is going to make a great accent wall and the dusty blue is going to be a nice calming influence. The green.... hmm, still thinking - might be the bathroom color... or the ceiling.... think, think... I'll get back to you on the green.

   While I'm pondering paint, I got distracted on the internet while looking for art for my new master bedroom. I found a fun, graphic piece for an airline. When I tried to order one it turned out the the largest size they had was 12"x16" - harumph! What I had in mind was more like 30"x40" - sigh. Fine, I'll do it myself.... and that's how the master bedroom project became several projects.

   I went to the Hobby Lobby - bought the biggest picture I could find on clearance - it's 33"x44" - cost me $10.00 - this is a great way to get canvas cheap, a stretched canvas that large would have cost upwards of $80.00. I got a container of Gesso, which is an awesome product for prepping a canvas for paint. I coated the ugly picture with Gesso. While I waited for it to dry - I went back to the internet and saved the picture I had found. I printed it onto a clear transparency and put it on my handy overhead projector. With a little putzing around I got the image the size I wanted and in the right spot on the canvas.
   I lightly traced the image onto the canvas in pencil and, using the poster as my guide, I painted the picture.

   Now, I have this great piece of art that will go on my very red accent wall... right - back to painting the walls. Next time I'll show you the finished walls and we'll talk about making curtains!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ladies Day!!

   This month was my turn to host our Lady's Day - a day to get together with friends and learn something new. Well, I decided that I'd like to learn how to make the perfect martini - so of course, everyone else wants to learn that too, right?

   So, here's my version of the perfect martini cocktail party.

First - select the martini's you want to serve. For each martini there should be a food pairing.

 I decided that we should start with the classic - James Bond type martini - vodka, vermouth - 'nough said.
When you want to learn how to make a perfect cocktail you go to the experts.... right? I went to Esquire - they have a really nice web site full of great drink recipes!

According to Esquire - the key to the perfect martini is quality ingredients and cold... cold... cold! I use Grey Goose Vodka and Noilly Prat Vermouth.  Swirl a little vermouth around your chilled glass, dump it out, add the vodka and an olive or lemon peel. I served this with a baked brie - so easy, so elegant looking, so delicious and gone so fast!!

The second round was a tribute to the 1980's  and Patrick Swayze - whew! We had a Cosmo and paired it with shrimp cocktail - delightful!
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz cranberry juice

Shake vodka, triple sec, lime and cranberry juice vigorously in a shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass, garnish with a lime wedge on the rim, and serve.
I had to end with a killer dessert martini right? As a modern tribute to Ryan Gosling... I served an absolutely decadent Espresso Martini with a fruit plate. This was by far the favorite of all the ladies!
1oz Vodka
1oz Espresso
1\2 oz Creme de Cacao
1\2 oz Kahula

The fruit was served with Amaretto Breeze Fruit Dip - not gonna lie, there were spoons involved!

So, have a variety of martini's - there are hundreds to choose from - and pair them with great foods. Also, if you're serving several different martini's, you can get sample size martini glasses at any good party supply store.  There are also tons of great websites that will help you with your food pairings. Round up some great friends and a few supplies and get ready to enjoy the day!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Derby Hat Break

   My sister owns a condo in Soloman's, Maryland. A lovely place to go relax, nice home, great neighbors, a boat.... the works. They have a lot of free time on their hands so they have a lot of ... events.One of the events they have every year is in May - the official Opening of the Pier (or somesuch title). All the neighbors form teams, there are costumes, great food, too much to drink and a pretty serious competition for which pier has the best overall theme.

   This year my sisters group has decided on a Kentucky Derby theme - so, of course she needs an awesome Audrey-Hepburn-My-Fair-Lady-type-derby-hat. I love this idea, its one of my all time favorite movies so of course I offer to make the hat.

   No, I don't know how to make a hat.

   No, I've never attempted anything like this, although I did make a large cheese head for one of my kids.

   Yea, sure -- I got this.

Step 1 - Gather supplies...
 A big (no, really big!) hat
Hot Glue
Stuff that sparkles is especially nice.

Step 2 - Add the hat band, ribbon and feathers - it's all background. Feathers are essential - fluffy  movement is elegant and adds to the general awesomeness of the hat. (Note the sparkly ribbon)
Step 3 - Add the flowers - if they're really big, wire is a great way to secure them. If they're not too heavy the hot glue works. Go for flowers with a ruffly, romantic feel - it suits the event.
Step 4 - Check the back and sides, add some ribbon and a few touches to the back - you have to look good coming and going. Try the hat on to make sure its not too heavy on one side - you can't be listing to one side all evening - people will think you're drunk.
Final Step --
Find a dress that you can rock with the awesome hat - a parasol is a handy item as well - if it rains you have to protect the hat. If it doesn't rain, you can serve chips in the parasol.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sometimes.... You Just Need An Expert

   Some brilliant man decided that the perfect place to have the cable was on the only long wall in the living room. The same man decided that the perfect place to locate the cable jack was 6ft up on the wall. He thoughtfully added a pvc pipe and and electrical outlet so I could hang the tv on the wall. Sigh.

   So I said, "Can we move the cable to the other wall?" To which husband replies, "Sure, no problem." Months go by, no moving happens. I keep asking.... maybe I should call someone, you know, an expert. No, we can do this... Finally.... after 11 months - the moving commences!

   It looks like this:
   The trough happened because getting the cable through the wall is much harder then you'd think. I don't know why the box had to be cut larger.

   Then it looked like this:
   Draw the future location of the 'stuff' on the wall, cut a hole, put in the frame thingy and some wire. End.

   Then this happened:
   Oh, well ---- hmmm, now what?

Call the damn guy! I did - he's great, going to fix the entire situation for under $300. Sometimes you have to know your limits - apparently our limit is electrical work!

   And while I'm here I'll share another good tip - Angie's List is a great place to find exactly what you need. Great reviews, easy to use & its cheap!

Later, there will be finished pictures of the cable in the right place!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What the Duck??

   I was in a craft store yesterday afternoon on the hunt for foam rubber and I got distracted by an incredible display of colorful tape! What? YES ~ tape! Duck brand duct tape now comes in about a zillion patterns and colors. Brilliant marketing move! I completely forgot why I was in the store and before I knew it I was zooming home with a truly cool 10yd roll of black and white checked tape!

   This was my plan:

   I have this absurd hallway of doors ~
   Really? Who thought this was a good idea? Those lead to the basement, garage, powder room and closet. Even better, they don't all match, the garage door is completely different then the rest of them - you know a man came up with this. Besides the pile of doors, the hallway is dark and has a very closed in feel.


    Some bright yellow paint to liven things up because yellow has this wonderful reflective property and is perfect for a dark, dingy hallway. I'm a huge fan of brightly painted hallways, it's such a nice surprise, and who doesn't want to be led somewhere by a fun color? Then to complete the transformation, Duck tape! I love the playfulness of this and the best part is of course that when I change my mind it's an easy removal!

All this fun for a quart of paint and $4 worth of tape - who knew?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Rug Binding 101

   So - I'm in the middle of painting the main floor when I suddenly realize that my livingroom rug HAS GOT TO GO! I love this rug but it's green and brown and beige circles - nice. The living room colors are purple, blue and yellow - definitely not gonna be okay.

   Not to worry, I have a purple rug (handy, right?). The only problem is that it's a remnant so the edges aren't finished, it looks like a crazy frayed mess.

 On to the internet I go....I'm envisioning myself hand binding a rug with a curved needle and embroidery floss for the next 5 years.... GAK! After about 11 seconds of searching I find this awesome product from a company called Bond Products, Instabind. For well under $100.00 I get a 54' roll of instant rug binding! The website is really nice, there are videos of how to use the binding, clear pictures of the colors and styles available, prices right up front and super zippy shipping!

   Two days later, the binding arrives. Its a piece of binding attached to a 2" wide section of adhesive. The adhesive sticks to the back of the carpet, you run a little bead of hot glue along the edge and in no time flat you have an amazing carpet at a fraction of the cost of buying finished rugs!

     The entire process took me about an hour to do a 10'x12' rug. You simply make sure your rug edges are straight. I used a rotary cutter for that because cutting carpet with scissors is a nightmare! Peel the paper backing off the binding to expose the adhesive. Stick the adhesive strip to the back of the carpet starting in the center of one side of the rug. When you get to the corner, cut the adhesive strip up to the binding, bend it around the corner and keep going. The adhesive gets stronger as it sets so you have time to fudge it around if you don't get it perfect.

    Once the tape is all on, you go back around with your hot glue gun, run a little bead along the edge and press the carpet down firmly. When you get to the end, you overlap slightly and glue the ends together.

   This was so simple and so inexpensive. I paid $80.00 for the rug at a remnant sale, $10.00 for padding and $54.00 for the binding. I don't think I could have purchased the rug for under $500.00 - Whoa! High five ME!

   Now back to painting the livingroom!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

That White Has GOT to GO!!

    We're fast approaching our first anniversary in this house... time flies, fun... you know. I'm finally desperate enough to have color that I'm pushing past my fear of these tall ceilings and all this open space. I just can't stand it anymore, I have to have color. Just like I need oxygen, I need to be surrounded by color. I worried that I would have to paint everything the same color because you can see every room from everywhere. Then I decided that I would just paint what I loved and if it was frightening I could always paint over it!!
    A trip to the paint store resulted in this:
 A SALE!! on Behr Premium Plus paint in Martha Stewart colors - Plum Wine, Lagoon, Wampum and Mimosa. An absolute steal at $21 a gallon. Martha Stewart paints have this little symbol on the corner so you can flawlessly match colors - gotta love that woman's organizational skills!
   The lighter shade of purple (Wampum) is the color I started with. I painted two walls and knew I was on the right track.

      The blue (Lagoon) was next. It's almost a teal but not quite - it looks great as a frame to my yellow, blue and orange kitchen.
   The green (Mimosa) went on the half wall that separates the living room and dining room and down the hallway of doors. It's a fun color, depending on the light or the paint on the adjoining wall it looks yellow to green. It really brightens up the hallway!

   A day and a half of work and I was able to go from this:
   To THIS!!!

   It makes me smile every time I walk into this room. If you're wondering where the dark purple is, don't worry I'm not done yet, I still have the living room to paint!