a scrapbook quilt

I'm plugging away on my list (here).  One of the items for the living room is to make a new throw for the sofa.  This is crucial, because my dog lives on the sofa.  I have a plain cotton blanket that I use to protect the slipcover as much as possible, but, let's just say, the slipcover, even though washed regularly, is no longer show room fresh.  Therefore, I've been using a decorative throw to hide the stains when guests are expected:  i whip off the plain white one and throw on a decorative one.  For most of the year, the throw was a piece of black/white/gold foral that I had quilted on to a jersey sheet to make a vintage looking throw.  It went well with my graphic black/white pillows.  However, I've been feeling the need for change, so I moved the black and white to the guest room and brought back my old faux raccoon pillow covers.  I needed a new throw, so I decided to kill a few birds with one stone.

I've been trying to improve my sewing skills.  I also have a stash of fabrics I've been saving for one day.  And finally, I've been handsewing at night while watching tv with my partner in order to curb my late night snacking.  Having project definitely distracts me from eating, and I certainly don't want to stain my projects.  Therefore, I decided to make a quilt for the throw out of some favorite fabrics.

At this point though, I had to save me from me.  One of my issues with hobbies, including sewing, in the past is that I try to ignore the learning curve and jump directly into a project that is too complicated for me, leading to frustration and abandonment of said project.  I didn't want this to happen with the quilt, so I ignored my inclination to try a complictated pieced pattern and keep the fabric squares in roughly the same size as the remnants.  I used some quilts from Anthropologie as a quide. 

quilt available at Anthropologie
The back is made from left overs from a project (the print is so big that I had to buy a massive amount to make matched pillows--i did not have enough to match the back of the quilt, but it's busy enough I don't mind):

 The quilt ended up being a fun scrapbook...it has fabric from a lot of my more recent projects:  my kitchen curtains, my bathroom curtains, my window seat, a client project, and an old ottoman slipcover.  I love the way it turned out. 

My recovered piano bench:

My kitchen curtains:

My bathroom curtains (the photo is washed out, but I swear they are there:
My window seat:



taking stock

Cleopatra demonstrating how to recharge one's batteries.
 The older I get, the more I love fall.  Maybe it's because it comes after New Orleans' brutally hot and humid summers.  Maybe it's the residual memories of the new beginning the school year always represented.  Maybe it's the chance to nestle in for a few months.  Or maybe it's the focus on friends and family that the holiday brings.  Whatever, the reason, I love it. 

Cleopatra, exhausted from living in a dog eat dog world.
I've shared my love of lists with you (and an update follows on how I'm doing on my to-do list to prep the house for my December 21 at home reception), and I always love to start my resolutions, for want of a better word) in the fall.  My birthday falls at the end of November, and it has always seemed a great time for reflecting on the good (and bad) that has come before and my hopes and plans for the future.  I've been working on a list of goals for the coming year. I've started the planning process, and I'm letting it marinate for a little while.

It's one of the areas, really, that I'm torn over.  On the one hand, how can there be anything wrong with self-improvement.  On the other, I sometimes think that if I took all the effort I've spent on improving myself (with, I have to admit, only qualified success) and used it to accept myself as is, I'd be better off.  But then, I wonder, is that a valid point, or a cop out?  At any rate, I'm come to realize that, paradoxically, the main point I need to accept about myself is that I'll always be trying to improve. 
Cleopatra and Damien focusing on their futures....I'm pretty sure their future goals included more naps.

 So, my first goal is to finish planning my year.  Then I plan to share some of my goals and how I hope to achieve them.  One of the first goals is to lose the 30 pounds I put on in 2005.  I like to describe it as my Katrina weight, but honestly, I had gained about 12 pounds of it pre-storm.  And in any case---7 years is way past the statute of limitations on weight gain blame.

 So, I've made some progress on the list.  Most importantly, I (with Thomas) have managed to cross off the two very big items:  The fence is fixed, and the laundry room is done.  All else, really, is gravy.

--neaten beds done
--plant seasonal color in pots
--touch up door and porch floor paint
--clean porch ceiling
--new pillow covers for porch chairs
Living Room:
--Rework existing cafe curtains
--Move side tables and butler's tray Done
--Switch out pillow covers on sofa (already have the covers) done
--make new pillow covers for side chairs
--recover piano bench
--find or make new sofa throw
--move rug upstairs to den done
Dining Room:
--make tailored white cloth for table
--redo existing sheer draperies and move in decorative panels from office
--frame large photo
--cover or replace lamp shades
--rework mantle display done
--polish silver
--clean up book cases
--repaint horizontal stripes
--make roman shade or cafe curtains for window  changed out curtains instead
--slipcover chair
--touch up paint on railing
--fix draperies (hem properly and line)
--add center support to drapery rod
--touch up ceiling paint
Laundry:  Done
--replace shelf over machines with hanging pole
--paint bookcase to match walls
--move in mirror for over sink
--paint sink cabinet
--create art
--make "closet" and privacy wall for toilet area
--make window treatments
--find outdoor rug 
 --Touch up paint and paint added beam
--hang bikes from ceiling beam
--make cover for grill
--dispose of unwanted paint pending
 --put another coat of paint on doors
 --make bigger top for buffet and skirt it
--paint furniture
--repair broken chairs
--recover throw pillows
--have damaged portion of fence (thank you, Hurricane Isaac) replaced done
 --plant something in  empty pots (only a handful)
--paint hutch like the faux Moroccan chest I painted for a client :
Tutorial here
--patch quilt
--make duvet cover
--fix bedskirt
--fix Roman shades
--touch up paint
--paint closet
--curtain closet?
--hang mirror or art over butler's tray Done--butler's tray replaced with desk
--replace handles on butler's tray and gold leaf the silver hardware handles replaced and table moved to laundry
--jazz up painted side table
--touch up or recover ottoman
--recover pillows in side chairs
--move rug back up done
--clean out closet
--press cafe curtains and sew on rings done
--buy orchid
--touch up railing
--touch up doors and trim
Guest room:
--clean out drawers
--organize Christmas storage
--finish client projects taking up valuable space in closet
--decopage top of sewing table
Honestly, the only really major project is the laundry room and backyard.  I've already lined up some professional help for the laundry, and Thomas is working on getting the fence back together and can be counted on for painting the furniture and doors.  I'll try to keep you updated on progress.
Peace out!! (translation:  after looking at that list, in print, I need a drink!)


my beautiful launderette finished

My laundry room is finally finished.  (To be honest.....95% finished.  I want to find an indoor/outdoor rug to soften the concrete floor, and there is some black wiring on one wall that needs to be hidden somehow---but I'm not too worried about either issue)

I started planning this project about seven months ago (first post here ), but got bogged down my work, lack of funds, lack of focus etc.  And since the laundry room is in a lean-to addition outside that is non-climate controlled except for a ceiling fan, working on it during a New Orleans summer was not a good idea.

Here's where I started, a laundry room that had become a junked up mess, with a non-working dryer and a temperamental washer:

I did struggle and flounder a little with how to finish the laundry room, especially since I had no money to work with.  But then two things happened.  Number one, I decided to embrace the challange, and to see if I could do a no money makeover using only things that I had.  Leftover from jobs, I had plenty of paint and supplies, and a great graphic trellis stencil.  I also had furniture left over from various moves and projects, so I decided to see how close I could come to my original inspirational pics---bright, bold, happy, with graphic pattern and vintage appeal.  Second, a fairy godmother gifted us with a brand new washer/dryer set as a "wedding" present, and I was determined to honor the gift with as nice a room as possible.  I think I succeeded.  All I know, is since the appliances arrived Thursday, I've actually been enjoying doing laundry!

The trellis stencil was used on a client project.  The old green painted china cabinet (antique purists should now that it was only painted after being damaged in a flood) was picked up at a moving sale, and had been being used in my studio.  However, it wasn't in a convenient location, and I realized that switching it and the shutter screen would work better.  Having the smaller footprint, really opened up the room.  The chairs and slips are World Market finds used in a long ago apartment.  They are so useful, I held on to them, and drag them outside for parties.  The tray table was a steal (the mirrored top was broken) that has been moved around quite a bit.  The tile that replaced the mirror was left over from a friend's project. 
I originally had put blinds up, but wasn't happy with how they looked.  This is one danger of trying to make what you already have fit when it just doesn't.  I sewed the tie on shade out of an old sheet (the rest of the set eventually shredded in the wash), trimmed with vintage trim.  The trim is left from the vintage cafe curtains that originally hung in the laundry room.  The fabric was too damaged from Katrina flooding to save, but the trim, once washed, was salvagable.  I had saved it, just in case.  The treatement is based on one in Mary Emmerling's Quick Decorating, and is designed so that the full panel can be let down like a Roman shade for complete privacy, tie at 2/3 height like a cafe curtain, tied all up like a valance, or at half mast, as shown, again like a soft Roman Shade.

I moved the wine box shelves to over the appliances, and tried to stage them attractively, but reasonably.

I painted the back wall to look like aged subway tile.  The three mirrors were a gift from a friend, and I rigged up a scone from a clip on lamp and curtain hardware.  I wrapped the cord in jute for a more finished look.  The black wall boxes were from Big Lots and had been part of a gallery wall in the living room a while back.  Again, I saved them for future use.

On one wall, I did a small gallery display, using a window I turned into a chalkboard and some vintage numbers.
I used large jars (which formerly housed pickles) to store left over Mardi  Gras beads, curtain rings, and other drapery hardware.  I corralled them in gifted wooden box.  The Beatles keep watch.

Looking back at some inspiration pics, I really feel I was able to capture the look and fell I was going for:



submitted to mod mix monday at Mod Vintage Life 
submitted to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch


patinated metal finish on cabinet

 Laundry Room update:

I had to work Saturday, and Sunday I had some client samples to work on and a client's piece of furniture to paint, so I didn't make quite as much progress as I would have liked.  I did however manage to finish stenciling one wall and, after the appliances were picked up, prime (twice) the wall behind the machines where the "subway tile" is going.

One thing I did manage to finish was the cabinet for the laundry sink (except for the pulls--I didn't paint them because I was planning to replace them with something nicer---then I realized the sink isn't level and the doors don't quite line up.  I don't want fancy pulls to call attention to this, so I'm going to just paint those.)

Before it looked like this, plain white melamine.  Though my sink hasn't been that white since 2007.  I did spend quite a bit of time scrubbing it this weekend, though, and have faith I can get almost that spotless:

I wanted a finish something like this metal covered chest from Restoration Hardware.  However, I wanted a more distressed finish---something that looked  really industrial and used.

 Something more like this:

So I primed the melamine with tinted x-i-m, painted with a blend of silver paints from Modern Masters, and then had a lot of fun with stain and paint thinner:

I still need to paint the knobs and tweek the finish just a little---I think I may have distressed it just a little too much, but I really like it, especially with the graphic stencil.


and so it begins.....

My partner is disconnecting the washer and dryer (marrying the son of a plumber is an excellent idea) to be picked up early tomorrow by Bridge House, a New Orleans charity.  After they are gone and before the replacements arrive, I plan to paint that wall in faux subway tile.  I did already switch the wine box shelves to the appliance side.  I do like them better there.   I also started the stencil on the other walls.  (Why yes, it's a fake Imperial trellis pattern.   Why no, it's not 2008.  Why do you ask?).  The sink cabinet is primed for it's distressed metal finish, and I've already spent hours scrubbing paint stains out of that utility sink.  If everything goes well, by next Thursday, the laundry room will be done.  Wish me luck


my beautiful launderette: final decisions

All images from Pinterest.  My laundry inspiration board is here.

It's official:  I am getting a new washer and dryer.  Words cannot express how excited and grateful I am.  The old washer and dryer are scheduled to be picked up by charity on Sat. morning, with the delivery of the new units coming on Wednesday or Thursday.  Just enough time to do a paint treatment on the wet wall in the laundry room. 

Since I will have new, shiny white machines, I am switching gears slightly back to my original, more cheerful idea for the laundry room.  I will still use the wine box shelves, and vanity painted liked age metal, but will probably change the wall color to a brighter shade.  One wall, however, I want to paint to look like subway tile---the wall with the washer and dryer.  Like so:

And I like the look of the shelves on the tile so much, I think I'm going to flip the wine boxes to over the washer and dryer.  Since I'm switching back to a top load washer, I won't have as much "counter" space as before, and it will be more convenient to have a place for the detergent, etc. on the wall above them.  It's no biggie--just a few screws per box, a little putty, and no one will ever know.

I do like the way the mirror area is defined, as below, though, and am thinking about doing that around my vanity mirrors:
 As for as the faux tile technique, it's pretty simple:  you paint the wall in the color of your grout in a flat finish.  let dry.  draw off the "tiles" with a level, tape them off with 1/4" masking tape, them roll on the tile color in satin or gloss.  top with poly if desired, then remove tape.  It's tedious, but not hard.  depending on how much detail I'm prepared to go to, I may add some cracks, shadows, and highlights.  I love the love of white tile and black grout, so that's what I'm planning to go to.  That much black and white means back to the zebra roman shade.

I'm also planning to make a sconce for the vanity area out of a clip light and part of a curtain rod bracket.  it's not as cool as the one below, but it will give you the idea.  I'm planning to wrap or braid the cord with jute for a vintage look.

I've already started the prep work---removing everything from the walls, puttying holes, and priming the vanity.  My plan is to disconnect the washer and dryer tomorrow, and maybe roll on the base coat.

I know I've been going on and on about this damn laundry room for almost a year.  Thanks for your patience and for still caring.


slipcovered industrial bar stools

When we moved into the house 5 years ago after the renovations were complete, I had this setup in the kitchen under the window:
 It was cute, but there was not really space fore dining chairs---but it was a case of using what I had at the time, and I really liked having the softness and pattern of the upholstery balancing the wood cabinets on the other side.

As time went on, I switched out the curtains (don't worry the green ones made out of the fantastic vintage sheet just moved to another room) for these also made out of vintage fabric.  One reason I switched them is because I had enough of the vintage floral to make curtains for my glass doored cabinets:

Note:  in real life, the backsplash is much brighter and the cabinet doors don't read as striped.
Other changes, including selling the original table, the need for more storage in the kitchen, and the need to find a home for my partner's beloved baker's rack--(don't ask me, I don't understand why he likes it either), I moved the baker's rack in front of the window.

I didn't hate this setup.  I liked the extra storage, and it did provide privacy.  It was awkward with the chairs, and we eventually replaced them with these great industrial style stools from world market.  Side note--I know industrial is trendy right now, but I've honestly been loving touches of industrial design, including stools, for years.  I dragged home my first rusting metal cart in the mid 1990s:  I really liked the stools, including the wood, but I felt this whole area had gotten a little dull, literally.  I mised my pattern and color from the upholstery.  I also got fed up trying to open and close the window (why yes, I occasionally burn dinner filling the kitchen with smoke....why do you ask?) with the rack in the way.  Plus, I felt it really closed in an already small space.

Then I remembered this kitchen.  I don't remember where it came from, though.  I know it was in a magazine.  I think Cottage Living, but I'm not sure.  What I am sure about is that I loved those slipcovered stools from the moment I saw them.  I remembered this image, looked at my stools and realized I could have that look.

The fabric is from a beloved and ink stained shirt.  I loved the color and stripes so much I saved it for a potential project.  I loved the way the stripe looks with the floral and how it pulls in aqua from the adjoining office and back splash. They are loose and just slip on the stools like a hat.  It was only after making the slips, though, that I realized they looked like prison hats from a 1930s movie.  I'm okay with that though.

Truth in blogging:  The stools are used rarely.  At most once a week.  Therefore, I didn't secure the slips.  They slide around a little if they've been sat on, but it's easy enough to straighten them.  If I used them daily, though, the looseness would be an issue.  I'd have to find a way to attach them, either with velcro, ties, or something else.  As of now, it hasn't presented enough of an issue for my to take the time and effort.

In conjunction with some other small changes, I switched the baker's rack with a metal cart I found in my father's pasture with peeling paint in a combo of royal blue and John Deere green.  I love the way it turned out.  I still have storage for things like my dutch ovens and mixer, but it keeps the room so much more open.  And I love the splash of color with the vintage daperies.  

Update on laundry and to do list:  I've done a couple of small items on the list, so that's going well.  The laundry room is kind of on hold...but for a good reason.  I have reason to believe a fairy godmother is going to gift us with a new washer/dryer set for our commitment ceremony;  in that case, if i have fresh, white appliances and don't have to work around a mis-matched washer, I will definitely make some different paint decisions.  I will keep y'all posted.