Friday, November 30, 2007
Well, I struggle onward. I kid. Really, I secretly get a kick out of having a 'project.' Yesterday my friend and I went to an antique mall on our lunch break. I found six really cute white plates. They were old AND marked Staffordshire England on the back. Not flashy, but still desirable. But, they had no price on them. I happen to know that these plates have been sitting, unsold and unpriced, on that shelf for several months.
Now, I had $6.00 in my wallet and vowed not to pay a penny more than that (snicker). BUT, the lady that ran the antique mall was totally unhelpful, couldn't reach the booth owner on her phone and shrugged her shoulders telling me to 'check back this weekend sometime.' She didn't take my name, or even my phone number. Humph. As my mother in law says, "The consumer is the owner's bread and butter." I guess this woman has never met my mother in law. So, my quest continues.
On the other hand, I shamefully surveyed my cabinets last night. I have so many dishes, a full set of fiesta ware, and a full set of china. I thought SURELY one of them would look good as a Christmas setting. As you can see... the answer is a resounding no.
As I gazed at my dishes, I realized that perhaps this quest is a tad materialistic. I mean, I don't need two sets of dishes, let alone buy more plates. Yet I console myself with the fact that I'm not spending a dime more than that $6.00 in my wallet. OK, and maybe the $3.00 in change in my car cup holder. Yeah, I know, I know. I'm gonna end up with paper plates.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I'll lay this problem out very simply.
1. These are my dishes. I love the color, it's bright, happy and makes me want to eat. But, as you can clearly see, it is not exactly conducive to a Christmas table setting.
2. This is my favorite Christmas tablecloth. I found it in a bargain bin for $5.00 last year. I couldnt belive it, and I was especially excited about the colors, red and turqoise instead of the traditional dark red and dark green.
3. Obviously, these dishes do not look good with this color scheme. On the other hand, I don't like Christmas dishes with little trees and teddy bears on them. Fine for other people, but it's just not my thing. SO... I was pondering buying some plain, cheap, white Corell dishes. The very thought of buying plain white dishes makes me really hesitate (painting white walls, no problem, buying plain white THINGS is a whole other ballgame). But, is it worth it to have an entire set of dishes that I may or may not use once a year? For all other seasons, I have plenty of table linens that look great with my fiestaware.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I started my Christmas decorating last Wednesday. Typically, this process takes me a couple of days, but since I was gone until Sunday night... it's stretching onward. At some point I'm going to slap stuff back into boxes and call it a day.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Thanks to Sarah's advice, I visited K-Mart. Martha Stewart.. you do not disappoint my friend. I found some fabulous vintage-looking ornaments (I bought three packs with no plan of how to use them). I also found three place mats in a gorgeous red stripe. Even though there weren't four ( and everybody knows you HAVE to have four place mats), I bought them anyway in hopes of using them as a table runner. Or something. I also bought two large plastic mixing bowls, which I can never seem to have too many of. And, a cute little red checked throw. I've got to stop.
It didn't end there. I found three curtain panels at Big Lots that I had to have. I've been searching for white and red curtains for forever. Wouldn't you know there were only three panels left. What is it with me and 3's? Not sure yet of how I'll use them, but I'm still loving the fabric.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I'm always baffled by people who manage to pull off a Christmas theme. It's impressive really. My mother in law is great at it, but she always manages to evoke more of a 'feeling' than a theme. One year it was snowmen, and white twinkly lights. Very winter-ish. Then one year she had red and white gingham ribbon and Santas, it was very country/cottage.
My usual drill is pulling out the same stuff, year after year, never really giving any thought to a 'theme.' I've been reading Linda's thoughts on this (I recommend this blog to anyone, especially if you're in the mood for some great Christmas tips) and became inspired. I decided to 'revamp' my Christmas style, not by doing away with anything I have (I'm way too sentimental) but by adding to it, so to speak.
I decided that, surprise surprise, I would go vintage. I had visions of 50's style ornaments and a vintage white tree. Simple enough right? I started watching in antique malls and realized, not simple. In fact, impossible. Vintage Christmas fans are die hard collectors, they do this year round. That stuff gets snatched up in a heart beat, and, it ain't cheap.
So, I reassessed, got my game face on and charged into Garden Ridge. It's not vintage, but it makes me happy. I have no idea where or how I'm going to use half of it, but for the first time, I just picked up what I liked and ran with it. I think I'll call this theme "Faux Vintage." Yep, that sounds much better than "Garden Ridge Chic."
Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
My dear friend Angela and I went walking on our lunch break this past week and I found these words bubbling out of my mouth,
"I don't want to do this anymore."
It felt so good to say it, I don't want to work. Verbalizing it felt wonderful, like barfing and being SO relieved afterward. What felt even better was that she completely understood (Ang is really good at that whole understanding/not judging thing).
I work full time. I wont go into those personal details of what I do, but I'm exhausted. I've had a job since I was 15. I cant remember NOT having a job. While friends were babysitting on the weekend and swimming at the local pool during high school, my friend Carrie and I were waiting tables 30 hours a week for almost three years (and we have the varicose veins to prove it). While my friends were studying overseas during college, I was married with two jobs. I dont mean to sound bitter, I'm really not. I don't regret my choices, but I've reached a point in my life where I wish I could slack off on a few responsiblities, change the pace. Do something creative instead of money related. And I cant.
Boohoo, right? I know. We all have to do things we don't like, everyone alive has some type of cross to bear and I'm grateful that mine is a dependable job that has FABULOUS vacation time. My great grandmother, Granny, was a tremendous lady. She used to say, "If everyone in a room could lay their problems out on a table and swap, you would look around and pick your same old problem back up and go home."
So for this post, I'm going to list the ways I keep my sanity amidst what is usually, a stressful and mind-numbing work week. It's the little things that really help me, keep me from focusing on what I think I need.
2. My morning tea/coffee. Ginger Peach Tea is my absolute favorite thing in the whole world. My commute to work is usually my quiet time, my prep time for the 'game.' I talk to myself, talk to God, and when I get here, have this to look forward to. Plus, drinking tea makes me feel a little less like a 'boring American.' Does that make any sense? Some of you know what I mean.
"In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
However, as I perused my endless choices I found myself on overload. Big fluffy flower balls or a snow village? Fake flower poinsettia wreath or star stamp? This has happened before, but usually in the paint section of Lowes. My head began to spin, I felt a cold sweat break out on my forehead and I just grabbed blindly. A few minutes later I had checked out and was sitting in my car, dizzily inspecting my odd choices. I managed to make it out with two rolls of wrapping paper and some random red ribbon. I had no idea what I was going to do with them. Other than the obvious choice (wrapping presents, which this year is going to be minimal), I was somewhat befuddled at my choices. You see, I'm not a 'wrapping' kind of gal. I love fluffy tissue paper and fun bags, but that is the extent of my gift giving artistry.
I got home last night, fixed myself a solo dinner (Matt worked late) and glared at my shopping choices as I watched HGTV. Determined, I continued to glare at them as I trudged sweatily on my elliptical. Finally, as I settled into my office to work on a project, a small light began to glow in the back of my brain. My office has been in need of a serious cleaning/over-haul for a long time now. It seems to be the dumping grounds for the house, and anything else I cant seem to organize or throw away. My cork boards have been in shambles the past few months, and it seemed that I had an opportunity to make them look a little better.
So, I hauled out my hot glue gun and stapler and got to work As you can see, the floor is obviously Mabel's domain and she presides over it quite pushily (if you look closely you can see HER hairballs in the corner, dont judge, this project was much more important then cleaning). I took down the giant mess of paperwork on my boards and covered them with the wrapping paper. Then I trimmed them with the red ribbon. I'm pretty excited about this, since I'll probably change it seasonally. And anything I can change seasonally makes me HAPPY!
This was the end result. Not fabulous, but better. I am sad to admit that if a room isn't pretty, I don't want to be in it. I don't think my office is 'pretty.' Quirky, yes. Packed to the gills, yep. But eventually, I would like to overhaul it with white painted bookshelves and a cheerful color on the walls. Until then, I think my Martha Stewart wrapping paper is going to good use.
Monday, November 12, 2007
My challenge with this space was making it flow with the living room. In other words, I had to hold it down. :) In my minds eye I wish my dining area had the colors in my kitchen, namely my turquoise glassware and Persimmon Fiestaware. But, my living room colors are mostly red (I'm trying for red and turquoise after I slipcover my sage green couch).
The light fixture was too small for the space, and not my style at all. I did save it though, still waiting to spray paint and put in another room somewhere. When we went shopping for light fixtures I hovered near the crystal chandeliers like a light obsessed moth. But, my hubby, brought me back down to earth and suggested something more plain. In the end, I'm pretty happy with it. It isn't very whimsical, a quality I love in light fixtures, but it will help in reselling the house. Plus, it was cheap. Cost: $40.00
I purchases plain white curtains to match the ones on the picture window in the LR area. I've never found curtains I loved enough to change. I've been contemplating some fabric suggestions from Chris, but it's so hard to incorporate red (the dominate color in my LR) and yet still find something that looks good with Persimmon Fiestaware. Plus, I have lots of vintage colorful tablecloths that might not look good next to patterned curtains. I know I know, I'm really over thinking this. Cost: $20.00
The wall lamps are one of my favorite things in the house. I knew I had to get some lighting up on either side of the window, but I also knew I didn't want them hardwired into the wall (mostly b/c again, I'm cheap and I want to take them with me when I move). I found these at a flea market: Cost $24.00.
The wall decor was the same as what I used in the bedroom. I bought all the frames and mats at the same time, so I saved more money. I love these two pictures of my mom when she was little. Cost: $35.00
When we moved into the house, there were a few odds and ends in our back shed left behind by the previous owners/renters. There were two louvered closet doors, brand new and never used. I just took off the hinges and door knobs. I spray painted the doors red (with paint I already had) to match my TV cabinet, propped them on either side of the curtains and called it a day. It's funny how the cheapest things turn out to have the biggest impact. Cost: $0.00
I added a bamboo shade to match the one on my front picture window. Since both windows are in such close vicinity to each other, they really do have to match. Plus, I like the fact that it breaks up all the white (white walls, white curtains, white blinds). These shades were from Lowes, and are the indoor outdoor cheapo kind. Cost: $12.00