Friday, September 28, 2012

Found french door

Oh, how I love curb shopping! Especially when it lands me stuff like this french door. It was free, solid wood and all panes intact - what are the chances?!?! Per usual I have no real before picture so please just use your imagination, OK? :)

 This door looked like it may have been one of a pair so it was a little uneven, wider on one side than the other as well as shorter on top than on the bottom. My sweet husband managed to install it all by himself and after that was done a 2x2 scrap piece of wood was screwed onto the top and a 1x2 onto the side to even things out a bit (notice my fancy arrows pointing to them above?).

 Then I took over and went overboard with wood filler to try to disguise the add-ons. We debated over whether to add on some scrap wood to the bottom of the door too but in the name of laziness decided not to. Besides, this doorway is a little wonky (like most in our house) and the previous door was scraping the floor when we tried to open it so a little extra room at the bottom means good clearance from the floor when open. We can easily add some on in the future if we ever feel the need to.

After some sanding, two coats of black paint and many hours scraping the panes - tada!

Is it perfect? Not at all. (See that gap between the door and the door frame, for example). But it is good enough and boy does it add a little something to this previously dark L-shaped pass-through hallway!

The door is still a tad too small for this door opening (if you compare to professional standards which I guess is what people do?) but you won't notice unless you look closely. The add-ons are still visible when the light falls on them just right. But, you know, we live in an older house where almost nothing is perfect and this door fits right in. I'd rather have character than perfection.

The door leads to our kids' shared bedroom. They're not in need of much privacy at this age and the panes give us a clear view of what goes on even behind closed doors. It even provides the perfect amount of night light for the kids to feel at ease going to bed at night. When the need for more privacy arises we can easily add some frosting to the panes.

For now the panes are used as an ever-changing kiddie art exhibit. The door is still awaiting a proper locking door knob but I guess that will come in time. Who knows what I might find at the curb the next time? :)

I forgot to take a before pic but the door we replaced with the french door was identical to this one above (leading to our "master" bedroom from the same hallway). Nothing much wrong with it (except being builder grade and hollow core, that is) but a french door is just better. Almost anywhere, and most certainly in our hallway.

So now I'm both itching to paint and dreading it. Itching because the hallway would look so much better with the wide horizontal white/gray stripes I have in mind and the kids' room would look much more sophisticated in an airy gray/blue as well, next to that handsome door. But dreading it because it's so much work to take all that stuff off the walls, tape things off and just DO it.

Ugh, a hobby decorators job is never done, I guess. Wish me luck with my procrastination/inspiration... :)

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Miss USA pics

I'm in the middle of scraping the panes of a freshly painted french door found on the curb that my sweet husband installed for me and I'll show you the result as soon as I'm done. It's looking so good!

 In the mean time I thought I'd share these exotic glam shots of the Miss USA 2012 competition. I have no interest in pageants whatsoever and I couldn't tell you who actually won even if you payed me :) BUT these ladies make for beautiful pictures and the gorgeous styling, settings and accessories drew me in. And really, who doesn't like to see pretty women styled to the nines?

 This first one is my absolute favorite! She's exotic but elegant and draped in gold jewelry reminiscent of an Indian bride. They called this a goddess shoot or something along those lines and this lady certainly hit the mark (in my book at least :)). I have a thing for this kind of hair style, I find them so sumptuous. I tried for something similar for my wedding.

 Wonderful blue feathers go well with her eyes.

I love these braided crown hair styles as well.

 Some of these ladies were styled to look a little too much Xena the warrior princess for my taste. This lady is borderline but passed because of the classic white/gold/ancient statue :) And the eyes.

 This collar is something I'd love to duplicate one day. I don't think it would be too hard or costly if you don't mind faking it (which as you know, I have no problems with). Over a white maxi dress I think it could be wonderful.

 I really do love the "jewelry glove" look even though I think it might be a little too impractical for me to attempt in real life. Going to the bathroom would take an eternity if you have to take it off, do your business, wash your hands and then put them on again. Times however many times you do that a day.

 And the braids again!

I found this tutorial on how to make a similar braided crown hairstyle over on the blog The Letter 4 a while ago and I intend to try my hand at this one of these days. Go on, click on over there! Her pics are just as gorgeous as these ones, on a more everyday wearability level.

 All pics above were found in this yahoo article from June, except the last one which is from the official Miss USA page where you can see more pics and read their bios etc. If that tickles your fancy :)

Which one of these pics do you like best?

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Halloween skull, the artsy way

I'm not a big fan of Halloween. I have no need for ghosts, goblins and various creatures with severed heads in my life.

But for some reason this year I had a vision of a realistic white skull, artfully placed on top or near books? I have no recollection of seeing this anywhere but a quick search for "skull and books" on Pinterest led me to something called vanitas still life.

A definition I found reads;

Vanitas is a specific genre of art in which the artist uses morbid symbolic objects (such as skulls, rotting food, fading flowers etc.) in order to produce in the viewer's mind an acute awareness of the brevity of life and the inevitability of death. The origins of the term can be traced back to the latin biblical aphorism: vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas (Ecclesiastes 1:2) [Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.] The style rose to prominence in the 16th and 17th century, primarily in the Netherlands, Flanders and France. Though it lost much of its popularity around 1650, its influence remains clearly visible in many modern works of art, such as Paul Cezanne's Pyramid of Skulls

I had no idea (mainly because I'm not that into art). And while I may not necessarily disagree with the sentiment behind this kind of art I wasn't looking for anything morbid but rather something elegant, moody and artsy. Unusual, if you will. Brainy, even :) And this kind of looks like what I had in mind.

The skulls I saw at Dollar Tree were just too fake looking but I landed this guy at the thrift store.

You can tell he's made of plastic but a fairly realistic plastic, at least. For $2 I thought he was worth a shot.

 After a few thin coats of ivory spray paint (only had satin on hand, a flat would have been better) and a very diluted wash of brown craft paint to age him he was looking less cheesy and more artsy.
 I decided to explore what he would look like with some realistic eyes. I made the eyes following this tutorial. He looks scared, poor thing. And I can't really blame him.
 And then I started having a little too much fun by adding these glasses :) Grandpa now looks like a deer in the headlights.
 The glasses were left over from this ancestor glasses specimen frame I made not long ago (they all belonged to my husband's great grandfather and I thought it would be fun to have them displayed instead of sitting around in some box).

Ok, so the realistic eyes look didn't appeal to me and things calmed down around here again. I have no good place to have him artfully rest atop some books so for now he hangs out here on our computer desk, helping us ponder the brevity of life :) He's not Halloween décor, he'll be a decorative addition to our home year round. I imagine sometime in the future having a big bookshelf styled to the nines with books and decorative items. I'll save him a spot in there, for sure.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

New (school) year, new beginnings

Hi everyone!

The kids are back in school since a couple of weeks and that seems to go really well, thankfully. The youngest is now doing 3 hours of school in the afternoons which means that for those 3 hours I'm completely on my own at home. I think it's the first time that's happened since the kids were born :)

 I wish I could say I feel rested and have all the time in the world to do all the things I like but strangely that hasn't been the case! I fight school traffic congestion in the morning to drop the oldest off, do the same at lunch for the youngest and then again in the afternoon to pick both of them up. Phew!

Sure, I have those 3 hours to myself in between but somehow they don't seem to amount to much. None of this has become routine yet and I'm anxiously watching the time all the time, reminding myself to drop that kid off and to pick that one up etc. Juggling two kids and their schedules somehow makes the likelihood of forgetting something that much more real and my flying by the seat of my pants mommy style certainly doesn't help the odds of that equation. My husband seems genuinely surprised sometimes that I've managed to not forget a kid someplace :) I'm just trying to not live up to his expectations on this one...

Nevertheless I'm going to do my best to be more regular on here. I have a ton of projects waiting to get done and while I'm waiting for the force to be with me and make me do them ( :) ) I'm doing some organizing as well as smaller copycat projects around the house. At least I feel like I'm starting to narrow down the feel I want for our house to have and that is priceless (at least to me).

While reading one of my favorite blogs the other day (From Moon to Moon) I came across what might be the most perfect incarnation of my dream home, at least when it comes to the feel of the place. See for yourselves.

 I just love the stately elegance combined with inviting coziness, the over the top but down to earth,
 mirrors and macramé, jungle plants and hides,
 layers, textures, patterns,
 lace and fringe, peacock chairs and disco balls,
 travel mementos, wacky and pretty,
 perfect and imperfect,
 crooked and exotic. But so beautiful! A place I could call home.
 I've been poring over these pictures over the last few days, noticing the details and combinations.

There's many, many more pics over at the original source, Shootfactory, in case you want more :)

My favorite room is the one with all the patterns and colors. The others I would personally add more color and texture to to make them just perfect. But what really caught my eye here was the macramé lighting, especially combined with high ceilings and wonderful moldings. I've seen macramé before (usually musty hemp crammed in a corner with a dusty plant somewhere in there) but this is the first time I see a lit chandelier (you'll have to go to Shootfactory for that one), and they're hung and used to their full potential as chandeliers in such a stately home. I think I need to try my hand at macramé and see where it leads me :)

Does this style of decorating scream crazy hippie days to you or do you see the appeal and potential like I do?

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