Thursday, February 24, 2011

Disappearing Bricks

I'm on a roll now.  Wiping out the faux painting in one room has made it easier to tackle the next one.  The kitchen was done in a drywall mud tinted with paint and applied in a random manner to resemble a plaster wall.  To add to the effect, I left parts "unplastered" to show the bricks beneath the surface.  In this case those bricks were only painted on the wall with grout lines and the texture of real bricks.
You can see some of these faux bricks above the stove, in the middle of the photo just above the countertop and above the shelf on the left.  Also note the light fixture.  I fell in love with this at Arhaus and when it went on sale it came home with me.  However, I started thinking this might also be one of those "owner specific" items and if that was the case then it is definately going with me when I move.  So a replacement fixture became the goal.

I found this one at the Habitat for Humanity Restore for $15.00.  They even threw in a light bulb for that price.  I bought black chain and painted the gold parts black.  It sat around for awhile in pieces while other things took priority.  The day I arranged for my brother, Dan, to switch out the fixtures, I started to move all the parts to the kitchen.  When I picked up the glass globe, a 2" circle of the globe remained on the table and the rest of the globe was in my hand.  I could not believe what took place.  I was dumbfounded, ticked, and at a loss for what to do next.  All this in a split second.  Sure, I should have taken a picture but....ok, you get it.  Nothing to do but throw it out or....get the glue.  So glue it I did.  There was a very, very thin rim to apply the glue to but I tried it anyway.  I put the two pieces together and laid a heavy wooden cutting board on top for a couple hours.
It has been up for over a week now and seems to holding fine.  If you look above the light you will see more of the faux bricks peaking through.  So now let's talk about how to take care of those.  It probably goes without saying that I don't have the paint that I used when I originally did this finish and I don't have a record of the colors I used.  So it was time to wing it.  I paint like some people cook...often without a recipe.  I finished the cover up today and I'm pretty happy with the results.

Sorry about the lighting.  It has been raining all day and I could not rely on natural light for the finished photo.

The cover up continues.

I am pretty pleased with the results since I was not sure how this was going to work when I started.

There were a couple more sections to cover that are not show here but they have all disappeared now.  I really was rather tired of that look myself but couldn't seem to get the gumption to change it.  But I'm motivated now so stay tuned for what gets nixed next.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Matter of Taste

Anyone who has ever put a house on the market while still living there could probably top any story I have to tell.  Let's just say it is not really "living" in your home and it's not anything like what you'd call "home" during that time.

For starters, you have to neuter the entire house because most prospective buyers cannot see past your taste in anything.  That includes artwork, photographs, books, furniture, accessories, color, and probably even your music collection.

In preparation for putting my house on the market, I have stripped away as much as I could without renting storage. (well, actually I am using part of my brother's garage for some things.)  But it seems that is not good enough.  My home is still considered too "owner specific." 

You see in the early 90's I got very involved in faux painting.  I took lots of classes.  Then to help pay for more classes I painted a few restaurants and took on many residential jobs.  Of course, I tried out the various finishes on my own walls too.  Fifteen to twenty years later those finishes are not as appealing to the masses.

This is one room that I still found cozy but I understood why not everyone would find it appealing.

The Tuscan finish is a mottled blend of autumn yellows, browns and reds.  Even the baseboards were painted.  The benches over the radiators were upholstered in a red and goldish yellow animal print.

As you can see, the furniture, rug and art definately falls into the same color scheme so changing the walls will have repercussions there.

It is obvious this was one of those all or nothing decisions.  Painting the walls required skim coating the textured finish to prepare for a smooth painted surface.

So it got way worse before it got better.
Then came the dilemma of what color to choose that would appeal to a general audience and still complement the wood trim and the blue tiles of the fireplace.  I tested colors early on by painting over the existing color.
It took three tries to come up with a color that satisfied all the criteria.

The winning color is called Favorite Tan SW6157 and now that the room is completely painted I am satisfied with my choice.  It doesn't fight with the wood trim.  It complements the blue tile, and should not be found offensive by more that 2% of the population. (no official poll on that one)

The radiators had to be painted too.

They went from a yellowy shade to a rather non descript greenish hue.

 The seats were stripped of the faux animal print and covered in a neutral fabric with no pattern. 

I added a couple pieces of furniture in an attempt to make it look inviting but that is difficult when these pieces were not chosen to make this wall color look good.

 Since the baseboards had first been painted red and then covered with a mustard color in a way that parts of the red peered through, it seemed cost effective to remove them and start over.

 With quarter round, cap, and base to stain, I had my work cut out for me.

In an attempt to match the rest of the trim, I stained first with Deep Mahogany and then with Rosewood.  This was followed with orange shellac once they were in place.

Most of my furnishings no longer work in this room so it no longer looks like I live here.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dream Group

For over 25 years I have belonged to a group that meets once a month to discuss and analyze our dreams.  (The kind you have while you are sleeping.)  February was my month to host this event that begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends somewhere around one o'clock.  So, of course, this involves food.

It's a chance to try out new recipes as these gals are pretty adventuresome.
I started with Praline-Pecan French Toast.  (Recipe is in Southern Living, Feb. 2011).  I actually have a very similar recipe that I called Night Before French Toast so I blended the two. 
The changes I made to the magazine recipe are as follows:
8 eggs instead of 4
3 cups of milk rather than 1 cup.
My recipe says you can chill for 4-36 hours and this time I did the 36 hours.
I baked it for 45 minutes which is about 10 minutes longer than the SL recipe.

It was pretty tasty so if you can't find the recipe, just leave me a comment and I will forward it to you.  You won't be sorry.  Oh, yes, the little pitcher with the reddish sauce is for pouring over the French Toast.  It is blood red oranges with all the membranes removed.  Drizzle with a little honey, rest for 5 minutes and stir gently.

The second item on the menu was baked peaches and sausage.
Six-eight peach halves are place in a well greased glass baking dish. (pie plate works well) Pour in 1/2 cup peach juice.  Mix together 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teasp. cinnamon, and 1/4 teasp. ground cloves. Sprinkle over peach halves.  Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. ( I wish I had taken a picture at this point as they were beautiful but you will have to use your imagination.)  By now you have browned one pound of pork sausage and drained it on a paper towel.  You remove the peaches from the oven and spinkle with the sausage.  Return to the oven for 15 minutes.   Could not have been easier.  I would have taken a picture at this point but all you could see was the sausage.

Now we come to what is billed as "Chocolate of the Gods Mousse with Raspberries and Mint."  This comes from House Beautiful May 2010).  Again, if you can't find it I will send it to you.

This is really easy to make as it is all done in the food processor.  It has some rather unusual ingredients including balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, and coconut oil.  Gross you say?  Hold on!  THERE IS MORE.  It also has l cup of cocoa powder and the secret ingredient....Avocados!  Don't jump to conclusions my friends.  It is beautiful.

  I had no complaints from the girls

as you can see.

Of course, it's not all about the food.  It is also a chance to use the the thrift shop dishes.

Even though I had used these dishes for Thanksgiving, I had not had the chance to use them for dream group.  The story behind these can be found here.

The thing is, I had found a tablecloth and six matching napkins at a resale shop that were perfect with these dishes.

That started things off.  Because my chair seats and chandelier shades are a burnt orange, that seemed like a logical accent color.

My mantel decorations from Christmas had been stripped down from this

To just the mercury vases and white and silver twigs.  No birds, no ribbon, and nothing in between so, I just added a bit of the burnt orange leaning towards salmon color.

They really are prettier than the pictures.  I just have a tough time getting good pictures in this room.

The table was very simple with just a couple candles in the same color.

The little bags were filled with candy favors and topped with a tissue paper that I found in just the right bluish color.

I wanted to use my snowflake placecard holders but there really was no need for placecards.  So I pulled some cards from my deck of Medicine Cards which is about the discovery of power through the ways of animals.

The color of the cards blended nicely with the table setting and

it offered the opportunity for more introspection and discussion.

And as a good friend will, Vicki arrived dressed in the colors of the day.

That was accidental.  We had not talked about my table setting.  But then, speech is not always required between close friends.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Take down the tree!

It has been a very long time between posts and I hate when that happens.  But sometimes it's unavoidable.  I had a several things going on the past few weeks and I still have not decided whether they are worth blogging about.  While I ponder that, I'll post a few pictures of a little project I completed two days ago.

To backtrack just a bit:  My neice broke her ankle a few weeks ago so the family is coming to her assistance in ways that they can.  My offering was to gather the materials and put together a new door decoration.  She already had the wire urn shaped container and she knew her color scheme so this is the result.

She asked for icy blue and winter white with some evergreen.

I think her beautiful door adds a great deal to this decoration.

After finishing that project, it dawned on me that I still had a Christmas tree and reindeer on my front door.  Because getting around in the ice and snow is a pain in the tusch these days, I gathered together some things I had available.

I had purchased this wreath at a thrift shop some time ago and the ribbon was left over from another project.

The coffee filters and ink pad were already in the house.  The brownish filters I had purchased after seeing them used to make a flowered wreath on another blog.  Now was the time to give that a try.  I scrunched them up, darkened the edges by dragging them across the ink pad, and hot glued them to the wreath.

I glued buttons in the center of three of the flowers for added detail.

I wound the ribbon loosly around the wreath and placed a few strategic dabs of hot glue to keep it in place.

Then for a little drama on the left side, I added a cameo broach and a few more buttons.

I should have photographed this before I hung it on the door to avoid the refection but I didn't.

A closeup of the broach.

I think this will carry me through until Spring.

Maybe I will tuck in a few bits of fuscia for Valentine's Day.

I am linking to Metamorphisis Monday.