Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Gorey Guest Bath

     I've been pondering the guest bath for a long time - three years to be exact. I knew that I wanted something fun, light hearted, amusing. But it's a really small bathroom and everything I came up with seemed as though it would overwhelm the tiny space.


But I also knew that I had to have some color! Gak! Look at all that beige!!!

So after much thought and the rejection of many ideas - including a really funny idea I had for using a Superman theme. Picture it - "This is a job for..." Bwahaahahahaha! I finally hit on the perfect thing. I decided to do a sort of a tribute to an artist and writer that I just love - Edward Gorey. If you're not familiar with his work Google The Gashlycrumb Tinies which is one of my favorites. I just crack up every time I see his work. 

So, first thing to do is begin to search for the right fabric to make the shower curtain. I found a great one in a color combination that looked perfect. Pale, sage green background with very pale pink highlights, lots of shades of grey. As soon as I saw it, I knew exactly what I was going to do!

           I whipped up a shower curtain - so easy. Basically a giant square with wide hems top and bottom. Measure your opening, you'll need one and a half times the width of fabric and about 72" long. I decided to use large grommets instead of shower curtain rings. I've done posts before on how to use these grommets before, so if you want the details check out this post: Drapes

But here's the quickie version of how to put them on. 

Using the template that comes in the package, measure and mark the locations for your grommets. Take the size of the grommets into consideration when you're spacing them and always use an even number. I used a dozen 2.5" grommets. 

Cut the holes, be careful to stay inside the line!

Put the half of the grommet with the ridges under the fabric, place the half of the grommet with the spikes on top. Make sure the fabric is  under the grommet and snap the two halves together. So simple - and aren't they so much better looking than those metal rings?

Now to get the paint up - and I do mean UP! I decided that I wanted to paint the ceiling as well as the walls. Why don't we all paint the ceilings?? It's one of my favorite things to do. This is a really dark little space so I wanted to stay away from overly dark colors and try to give the room the illusion of size and light. I did this by painting the ceiling a very pale pink. The color is called Pink Taffy by Valspar. The walls are a true grey called Gravity. Crisp, clean, light ~ perfect!

This is probably the worst picture ever. Don't worry, I have others!

Now for the fun part ~ I wanted an accent wall. I love really wide stripes, which I could have done but I wanted something a little more - dramatic. So, I decided to go with huge (12" wide) stripes at a 45' angle. In my head this sounded simple but after much pondering, mumbling, mathing, I gave up and called my daughter-in-law, the math teacher. She made me a gigantic template! It's the perfect 45' angle with little marks for the width of each stripe marked on it. All I had to do was start in the corner, make the first line, slide the template over until it lined up with the marks and zip the next line on - couldn't be easier!

Once all the lines are lightly penciled on the wall I taped off the stripes using Frog tape. It looked like this:

You'll notice that the stripes aren't the same width. The wider sections are the ones that will be painted the darker grey. Once the tape is on the wall you need to work fairly quickly because the longer the tape stays on the wall the harder it is to remove it cleanly. My process is to paint a stripe and then remove the tape while the paint is still wet. The lines come out much sharper that way.


Now we just have to put it all together!

I just love these quick, easy projects. A little fabric, a little paint ~ a big change!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bananas in the Bathroom!

Months ago when I was doing the master bedroom, I came across this fabric. It's a Tommy Bahama design that I absolutely fell in love with. There is just something so completely amusing about it - makes me smile every time I look at it. No, I didn't have anywhere to put it, yes, it was expensive; no, I didn't buy any.

 So, I went on with the bedroom plans, and other projects that came and went. But every time I looked for fabric online (which is a lot more often than you'd think), I would see this lovely banana covered fabric. I knew I was going to have to find a place for it in my life!

And I did!

 I had been puttering around in Hobby Lobby (an obsession of mine!!) when I came across these delightful little knobs. I really like the little world map images. An idea began to percolate! Of course I bought four to replace the knobs in the master bath. I had visions of a tropical vacation! I headed over to Home Depot, picked paint for the bathroom and zoomed home to get started on the transformation!

 I had decided that since that master bath is not a room that gets seen by very many visitors, it would be the perfect place to try some things that seemed like good ideas in my head. For example, painting the ceiling. I've wanted to paint the ceilings forever - it's really just another wall, right? So, the walls are a lovely shade of seafoam and the ceiling is aqua - I love the combination! It works really well with a buttery shade of yellow as accents.

One of the things I love about this bathroom is the two HUGE windows. The view isn't the best, a few of my backyard neighbors, but it faces South and the light is wonderful.Time to improve the view by making the curtains -- you see where this is going right? Yup, bananas!! I got four yards of bright bunches of banana fabric and whipped up the curtain panels.

 I wanted to keep as much light as possible, have a little privacy, (it is a bathroom after all!) but also get the most out of this fun fabric. I kept the curtains simple - they're 34" panels on tension rods. I like them a lot because I still get tons of light but there are plenty of bananas to keep me smiling.

...Bonus!! There was enough fabric left over to cover this little stool!

The paint and the fabric are always the easy parts for me, all those little accessories are the things I struggle with but this is coming together pretty well. I found this wall art of fish at Pier One - they look like they're swimming in the Caribbean above the tub.

I love the feeling of this painting - it's on wood and looks aged, as if it pointed wandering vactioners to tropical respite for many years before ending up in my bathroom. It feels cool, relaxed and promises fun times and beachy drinks just around the corner!

That took care of the bigger items - all I had left to find were the little things and storage. I hate a bathroom counter that's full of stuff. I realize that everyone puts on make up and brushes and shaves but I don't really want to see all that. My problem is that I have cabinet space which is great for towels and big things but - no drawers. So, small items were my problem.

As luck would have it - I found the perfect solution on one of my many forays through Hobby Lobby (I might need to buy stock with them!). I got this great little cabinet, three drawers and the top opens - perfect for all the little bits!

While I was there I also scored this delightful little mermaid dish - her job is to corral all my earrings and she's very good about it! Another great find was the towel hook - I absolutely love this little shark! They're both made from cast iron, the mermaid came in the aged white that you see, but the shark was au natural - a quick shot of spray paint and he fits right in! (Pretend that I've already painted the screw heads to match.)
Next came another cast iron piece - who doesn't want their washcloth delivered by Mr. Peanut?  He's perched on the edge of the tub waiting to assist the next bather. The wooden box is perfect for a few small items and a little fern - I love plants and this bath is the perfect room for them - lots of sunshine and natural humidity. I also have a great spider plant hanging in the corner. Eventually I'll figure out a better hanger for it - something with colorful beads maybe?

Last but not least is Mr. Chuckles -

Mr. Chuckles was a fixture in my bookstore for almost 20 years. He sat at the front counter and held candy for the customers. When I sold the store, I brought him home. Now he can have a new life relaxing in the bath. He's holding air plants and collected rocks - he looks completely happy under the banana curtains!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Guest Room Makeover

Furnishing a guest room is a special challenge. Of course there needs to be the typical things every bedroom needs - a place to sleep and a place to store clothing. But more than that, you need the space to convey a message; welcome, relax, enjoy. I want anyone who stays in my guest room to feel like they're on vacation. Even if it's just an overnight visit they should be relaxed, worry-free, cozy and comfortable. I wanted to fill the room with memories of past vacations, reminders of great places and times spent with friends and family: smiles.

 I love the guest room in our house. It's a really big room (14'x14'), has a good sized walk-in closet with a window, and a huge double window (72" wide), on one wall making it a wonderful, bright space.

 One of the very first things I found for the room was this amazing painting - one of those, stop-you-in-your-tracks kind of paintings. Loved the colors, the feeling of experiencing another time, days at the lake, family, vacations, endless summers - this was what I wanted in this room!

I decided that blue and yellow and lots of bright whites would be the perfect combination for this space. I didn't want the room to get crowded with a lot of bulky, dark furniture. Blue for the water - lakes, oceans, rivers, ponds and pools - places we all go to relax and have fun. Yellow for the sun, warmth, summer - happiness! White for the furniture and all the doors and trim - it keeps things light and fresh.

I already had a nice queen sized bed and nightstands for the room but needed a headboard. We have one of those unfinished furniture places here in town where I managed to score the perfect headboard,  simple, clean lines and the best part is that is was only $5.00!! It had a crack in the wood - whatever!

I filled the crack with wood filler, painted the headboard bright white and viola! Perfect headboard!

The other cool thing I found in the unfinished wood place was this nifty bench - which looks great and is a terrific place to put on your shoes. A quick coat of bright white paint and a cushion I made from a fabric remnant - whole project cost less then $25!

This little sign is one of my favorite things in the room. It's painted on wooden boards. I simply added the cup hooks along the bottom and used sea urchin shells and air plants to make little jellyfish which I hung from lengths of twine. How cute is that??

Every room needs a mirror and some hooks for hanging a towel, your purse, a robe - whatever. This piece combines the need for mirror, shelf and hooks - all with great style!

I added this little dresser to have a place to store things for guests staying more than a night. I keep travel size items in the top drawer like shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant and such in case items are forgotten. Small nightstands on either side of the bed with drawers for storage and lamps for night readers. These are the kinds of touches that I think make this room special. It's important to think of the little things that will make guests as comfortable and welcome as possible.

 Lots of vacation reminders complete the room. I know I got this one right because I want to sleep here! It feels welcoming and cheerful.

 I've even got a dog beg that I keep stored under the bed in case we have family or friends who visit with their canine companions.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Yard That Ate My Life

I bought a little tree ~ a beautiful, delicate looking, Green Laceleaf Japanese Maple. It was an impulse buy. My thought, when I saw it was that it would be fabulous on my deck. I don't have a deck. Yet. We're working on getting one built this summer (that's another post altogether!). After I got it home I apparently blacked out, drove to Lowe's and purchased 8 tons of dirt, mulch and plants thinking that I needed to "spruce up" the front yard. Then I thought that I might put the beautiful little tree in the front yard where it could be admired by all.

And so began the project that became enormous!

I looked through ideas on Pinterest, which, I have decided is a huge black hole of time wasting enormity, but I found a post that said something like, 30 easy ways to beautify your yard or somesuch nonsense - hmmm, I like the sound of "easy" and I do want a beautiful yard.

So, after looking through the choices I picked this edging that showed a man simply plopping stones down with his little trowel. I loved the look of it and it was practical because you could mow without having to do any edging! (I have a serious hate of edging) - and the best news, Lowe's carried the exact pavers!

O.k, so after doing some sketchy math, I head back to Lowe's where I purchase 140 of these pavers and various other yard type tools and one really bad ass pick axe that my husband talked me into because we live on a shale bed and can't afford to purchase our own backhoe.

By the time I finished getting supplies it looked something like this:

I was seriously beginning to question my sanity! I'm old! I just had full hip replacement surgery! What was I thinking? Too late to go back... so off I went with my shiny (very heavy!) new pick axe and shovel. The first 3 feet took me forever, apparently there's a learning curve to using a pick axe. But I doggedly persevered and after only (ha!) four hours my yard looks like this:

In my head, I was going to have the pavers down and all the sod out and the beds ready to plant by the end of the first day. I would then happily plant the flowers etc... and my yard would be the envy of the neighbors. Instead it looks like someone detonated a small explosive and ran away laughing. I might have passed out on the front steps.

I get up the morning of the second day - of course its raining. I wait and putter around the house, keep checking the window, finally around 11:00 am the rain stops. I'm out there in a flash with my bad ass pick axe slogging around in the mud. I promise myself I'm not going in until the sod is all up and the pavers are all in place. The mailman comes by and says, "isn't that exactly where you were yesterday?" I told her I was stuck in the mud.

Seven hours later I look up and it looks like this:

What?! Hey, not bad!! I had to stop because I ran out of plants and mulch. I also changed my mind about putting the Japanese Maple in the front garden, I really wanted him for the deck so for now, he's gonna chill on the front porch and when the deck gets finished, he can move to his final home.

Once I finish the plants and clean up the mud I'll post some more pictures.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results - not bad for an old lady!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Creative Space - Part II

     Last November I did a post about our basement. I really thought that I would have it finished by now and I'd be down there every day creating up a storm. Didn't happen. Life intruded ~ it looked like this:

I had to have a total hip replacement ~ *sigh* ~

     It went really well and now I'm walking and climbing stairs and ready to rock-n-roll on the basement! When I last posted about this project we had just finished the drywall and had the carpet installed (you can see it here: Basement - Stage I). The next step was to get the lights up and hang doors. We used pre-hung doors - a little more money but such a time saver! They come already in the frame, you simply pop off the  back of the frame, slide them into the opening, level the door using shims and put the frame back on. We have five doors down there and the whole project was done in less then a day.

     Then came the fun part.... paint!

     Painting the doors is something that I really stressed over. I love to paint, I just really don't usually love painted doors or trim. I normally paint both with a bright white. I do this because I love color and I change my mind a lot. It's easier to paint a wall then it is to paint a lot of trim! BUT - I want the basement to be bright colors ~ really bright. I found a poster that I really loved and decided to use it as my color inspiration - 

The winning colors are  ~ Sea Frolic and Pumpkin Custard.

     All the doors are this beautiful bright orange!

     I'm really happy with the color and really glad that I decided to paint the doors, the color makes me very happy. 

     Now I just have to find a free day to get those walls started! Stay tuned for Part III....

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pillow Case - The Easiest E-V-E-R!

     Sometimes you just luck out and the project you need to get done literally takes less then 30 minutes! I needed to make up a pillow case for my DIL's niece, who is moving into her first 'big girl' bed. We found a remnant of Hello Kitty fabric - perfect for a little girl, right?

     Now to get to sewing....

     First you need to figure out the size of pillow you will be making. Since this is for a small child, we're making a 'standard' size pillow - for a twin bed.

     I started by measuring the finished dimensions of a finished pillow case. Mine measured
28.5" x 19"

     Then I measured the band for the opening of the pillow case - 4"

Time to do a little MATH! 

Length + 4" (band) +1/2" (seam allowance) = 
28.5" + 4" = 32.5" + 1/2" = 33"

Width x2 (front & back) + 1/2" (seam allowance)
19" x 2 = 38" + 1/2" = 38.5"

     Cut one piece of fabric 38.5" x 33" - This will be folded in half lengthwise to form the pillow case.

Turn down 1/2" at the top edge, press. 

Turn down 3.5" and press again.

Stitch close to the folded edge, stitch again 1/4" away from the first stitching. This will fix the seam in place and make it look a bit tailored.

Fold the pillow case, right sides together stitch 1/2" seam along the open side and bottom edge.

If you're lucky enough to own a serger you can finish the seam with a serger. If you don't have a serger, you can use your zig zag stitch to finish the seam. This will keep the seam from fraying in the laundry and during intense hugging!

Turn the pillow case right side out, press and slip over a pillow - done! This is the perfect project for a complete novice sewer. You need very little fabric, almost no skills and only basic sewing equipment. In very short time you end up with a finished project and you've sharpened your skills!


A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by