Friday, November 6, 2015

Ugly Chair Makeovers

This is the first time I've actually purchased a copy of HGTV Magazine. I think I was subconsciously protesting their new TV format which seems to feature much more house hunting than decorating. But, there's always a first time. I was attracted to the current issue (November 2015) because of the article on "Amazing Chair Makeovers". (OK, I'll admit it, the great colors on the cover caught my eye too!)
My friend, Anita, recovered this old chair for her home in Pemaquid Point, Maine. Last year, when she and her husband downsized, she gave it to me.
I had loved this sweet little chair in Anita's home and am now loving it in mine. It was exactly what I needed to complete this conversation grouping at one end of our (very long) living room. Every time I see it I think of good times we've had traveling with Anita and her husband, Fred.
This chair inspired my sister, Joanne, and I to re-do an old chair from our Mom's house last winter.
The inspiration chair cost $1199.00; we did ours for under $50.00. Here's our chair "Before". Or maybe I should say "During" as we'd already painted the wood and rattan frame.  You can read more about this project here.
And here's our finished chair. We were pretty happy with the results since we really didn't know what we were doing when we started!
I did quite a few posts  about the work Joanne and I did to update our Mom's condo. Now Joanne and her husband own the condo and are doing even more renovations. They're currently having new flooring installed in the guest room/study. Since the condo is on Casco Bay, the flooring they chose is a driftwood color.

View of Portland from the condo

Last weekend, Joanne and I were brainstorming color schemes for this room. (Well, mostly me . . . wait until she sees the inspiration swatches I taped al over her wall while she's been at work!)

One idea she had was to use neutral gray walls with bright yellow accessories.

That's where the HGTV chair article comes in. Mom had a wing chair very similar to the "before" chair below and Joanne saved it . . . temporarily camouflaged by a simple beige Sure Fit slipcover.

When I saw this photo I got excited to try my hand at amateur re-upholstery again. I could see this "after" chair in a gray and white fabric with the bright yellow legs and piping in Joanne's soon-to-be-painted guest room/office.

Here's another "ugly chair makeover" from the HGTV Magazine article that would also work well in a gray room.

I love how this chair came out too. It would add lots of color to a boring room.

This chair wouldn't work in Joanne's room but I'd love to see six of these around a dining room table!

I think I'm probably referred to by my sisters as their "ADD older sister", always coming up with projects for them to do. Now all I have to do is sell Joanne on my latest crazy idea. Maybe we'll soon be re-doing Mom's old wing chair for her new room


Get out the yellow paint and upholstery tacks, Joanne
Here I come!

Partying with:
Flaunt It Friday at Chic On a Shoestring
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Party Junk at Funky Junk Interiors

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Holiday Napkins "On the Cheap"

Like so many over-worked, over-stressed Martha Stewart wanna be's of you, I'm already thinking of holiday table settings . . .

So I couldn't wait to read the November issue of Real Simple  for ideas.

I loved their article about updating your holiday table with new napkins BUT . . . 

 At up to $59.00 for just four napkins, I found myself almost yelling thinking, "Are you cracked???"

Call me cheap but I wouldn't even think of paying almost $15.00 for a simple napkin to "brighten my holiday table".
So I started thinking . . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Creativity at 35,000 Feet!

"Necessity is the Mother of Invention."
What do you do if you need a Birthday hat in a hurry at 35,000 feet?

Make one out of pretzel bags and coffee stirrers, of course!

We were returning from our trip to Disney World with our daughter, Kristen, who had just celebrated her 40th birthday with Mickey Mouse and friends. She was still wearing her “It’s My Birthday” badge from Disney World when she boarded the plane. Flight Attendant Diane noticed, wished her a "Happy Birthday", and introduced her to the pilot. 
But the best was yet to come!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Your Call Is Important To Us..."

Have you ever spent so long on hold that you thought you would go crazy?   I have.

So I guess I can call this an official blog-rant. I spent Monday on hold.
Not part of Monday . . . all of Monday.

I was sure that if I heard this one more time, I would have to admit myself to the nearest hospital for the almost criminally insane:
"Thank you for calling Disney Travel. Your call is important to us. I’m sorry, but all of our operators are busy at the moment, but please stay on the line. Your call will be answered shortly".
[Generic muffled music]

Now that I'm back out of cell phone hell, I'm trying really hard not to blame the whole thing on this guy . . .

You see, I made an error booking "My Disney Experience" and ended up being charged for the same (major) Disney purchase not once, but three times! As soon as I realized my error, I called Disney, only to be welcomed by . . .

Friday, October 2, 2015

An Easy DIY Headboard

My friend, Mary Elizabeth, is always coming up with new projects! This one is so simple that I couldn't wait to share it.

She was just about to donate this little folding "fireplace screen" to Goodwill when she got a another crazy brilliant idea.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Sewing Bee for Women with Cancer

While I was in Searsport for Fiber College, I was finally able to join the ladies of the "Searsport Sewing Bee" as they made chemo scarves to donate to women with cancer. That seemed especially appropriate to me since September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.
 I started sewing scarves for my sister, Nancy, when she began chemo for ovarian cancer in 2006. I made them for her and for other women having infusions at Maine Medical Center.
Nancy at MMC
Then, when Nancy passed away in 2010, I just stopped sewing.
I was crazy with grief and
couldn't concentrate on the scarves anymore.

Until I met Kendra.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Making Ceramic Buttons

As a sewer, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn to make ceramic buttons with potter Conni Whittaker from Fryeburg Pottery at Fiber College of Maine. What fun!

Conni had lots of small "cookie cutters" to use for cutting the button shapes out of terra-cotta clay. Once they were cut out, we used a variety of stamps to make impressions in the clay.

I love how Connie used found objects (like a butterfly-shaped earring her husband found on the ground at the Common Ground Fair) to make her stamps. She attached each object to the "head" of an old-fashioned clothespin . . .

Which provided the "handle" of the stamp. She even had steampunk clothespin-stamps made from old gears and watch parts.

Potter Conni Whittaker (right) teaches a Rolling Class at Fiber College 2015

After our buttons were cut out and stamped, we applied two coats of glaze to the edges and both sides of each button.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Faces of Fiber College, Part 2

There were so many amazing people at Fiber College that I couldn't include all of their faces in one post. So here's Part 2 . . .

Steve is a chainmail artist! He designs clothing and jewelry, link by painstaking little link. When he's not making suits of armor and whatever, he is "Santa" to hundreds of children and a few dozen elves. In his "real life", Steve does biochemistry or astrophysics or something incredible like that at Johns Hopkins. We recently discovered that Steve and I were undergrads at UMass Amherst at the same time, as was . . . 

Steve "Santa" Schreurs

His wife, Susan.  Susan loves to knit, sew, and play with fiber. She modeled this shawl she made at the "Wear Your Art" cocktail reception.


And then there's Larry. Larry and his wife just moved to Maine from Florida after spending many summers working at Searsport Shores, where Fiber College takes place. Larry loves to cook. He "rescured" an old (1930's?) industrial-size potato chip machine and tried it out for us on Friday night.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Faces of Fiber College, Part 1

I've been away from the blog enjoying camping on Penobscot Bay at beautiful Searsport Shores, the home of Fiber College of Maine. One of the best things about Fiber College is the chance to make new friends from different backgrounds and cultures. Here are some of their faces . . .

Waiting patiently while Mom & Grandma cook our Somali feast

"Fiber College of Maine is an annual fiber festival whose sole reason for being is to celebrate the fiber arts in all forms. Maine is particularly blessed with artistic energy and inspiration from the flow of the tides, the rolling hills of the blueberry fields and the stars in the night sky."
 ~Fiber College website

Phoenix making a ceramic button

At the beach bonfire, I met three very funny women who had come to Fiber College together from Massachusetts. Somehow we started talking about the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and our tendencies to hoard materials for whatever our fiber passion is. (Somehow, that seemed hilarious at the time.) After we parted, I worried that I never find my new friends again. . . we'd been talking and laughing in the dark!

Hula Hoops on the Beach

But, the next day, they found me. 
And here they are, the self-proclaimed "Three Hoarders"!

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Pottery Barn Inspired Bedroom Update

My sister and I spent the last two weeks of August decluttering, reorganizing and redecorating much of her home as she prepares for retirement in January.  We started with her new downstairs family room and "Andi room" and then moved upstairs for a living room re-do.  
All that was left was the Master Bedroom. We just finished that and I thought I'd share what we accomplished.  I think we learned, once again, that "Less is More".


Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Nightingale: A Book To Keep

Combining history and the stories of two sisters doing what is necessary to survive the horrors of war, The Nightingale held me in its grip from first chapter to the last.  It still does.

As Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale begins,  an elderly woman is packing to leave her home of fifty years to move to an assisted living facility. She opens her old trunk and retrieves an identification card - "Juliette Gervais". Insisting that her son permit her to take the old trunk with her, the woman allows herself to remember her past life during the years of the Nazi occupation of France. Most of the rest of the story is a flashback as the Nazi's take first Paris and then the French countryside.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Less Is More: Budget Living Room Re-do

If you've been following this blog, you know that I've been helping my sister prepare for retirement by decluttering and updating her newly-empty nest. She's been reorganizing using the KonMari method of keeping only "what sparks joy" in her home. Andi started with a major purge and the determination to "Collect Moments Not Things".
Now that her home is drastically decluttered, Andi is finally able to see the "bones" of her rooms and decide what she wants to put back, replace, or eliminate completely. This is the fun part!
Here's a peek at the newly-decluttered living room and a look at how we re-did it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Oh Canada!

I don't spend all my time organizing and decorating. Camping is pretty important too! We spent the second week of August road-tripping through Down East Maine and New Brunswick, Canada in our little Casita.


We stayed at beautiful Cobscook Bay State Park in Dennysville, Maine. The sites here are huge , wooded, very private, and sit high over the Bay. In fact, the current issue of Down East Magazine lists it as one of Maine's 10 Best State Parks. We agree.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Collect Moments Not Things

“ While you are alive, collect moments not things."   
                                                  ~Aarti Khurana

I've had a great time this year helping friends and family members declutter, reorganize and redecorate their homes. I've always loved to organize (my spices were in alphabetical order long before Fly Lady and Marie Kondo!), never pursued it as a career, but look forward to being asked to help others "spark joy" in their homes.

So far, "The Accidental Organizer" (me!) has had great fun this year helping to "reclaim" the homes of  BFF Mary Elizabeth, niece Katy, and (the current project) my sister, Andi. Andi and her DH both had homes before they were married so the first step was a major decluttering. We had both learned a lot from reading (repeatedly!) The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Andi was determined to keep only those items which "sparked joy".

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