I am attempting to take photos of all the rooms in my house and today, I will post some pics of my red powder room. I am getting tired of the red and will probably soon change it but is has served well as a great backdrop for Christmas decorations, Valentines Day doo-dads and even Fourth of July kitsch. The thing I love most about this room is the little 2 inch ledge on the cap of the wainscoting. I have collected heart shaped rocks for a number of years and love to display them in the bathroom. My son, Sam, took the photo of rocks in his hand while we were walking along the shore of Lake Superior one summer day. The room is full of wonderful memories of trips to Costa Rica, Florida, Texas, California, and my cabin near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
I’m also thankful for fun stuff, like decorating. I’m thankful that my mom likes to collect dishes and housewares so we can put together a beautiful setting for our family to gather.
My family hosted a huge dinner of 20 people for Thanksgiving. I arrived a day early to help my mom cook and prepare. And we prepared this gorgeous golden themed Thanksgiving table.
The china was found at an estate sale, and is vintage deco, probably from the 20s or 30s, and still in pristine condition. It shows how little people use their fine china. The set was for 12 with about 10 extra serving pieces, and we mixed in a few scalloped gold edge plates that my grandma had on hand to accommodate all 20 people (like mother, like daughter!). The marks on the bottom of the pieces vary, some saying Bavaria, some Limoges, and a few other prints. I’m curious about the story there, but may never know.
Mr. Rooster oversaw the dinner on the far wall. My mom has a thing for chickens and roosters. She used to have a few to give us fresh eggs in the morning. The poultry theme extends a bit to the pretty pheasant feathers on top of the plates. They were given to my mom by a good friends who likes to hunt pheasants.
You can see the gourd-y dessert table I made in the far corner. Fortunately my mom has a gazillion cake plates and platters, which was nice for ALL 5 of the pies we had for Thanksgiving. Yum. My grandma’s pecan pie is to die for.
And here’ s the table right before dinner with plated salads and wine and lit candles. The crystal candlesticks are leftover from my wedding. My mom collected them over the year of my engagement at estate sales and they were centerpieces on all of the tables. I have a set at home, and my mom has about 50 more sets at her home.
The great thing about this table is that it would work well as a Christmas table too. Just replace the white pumpkins with some greenery, and add some red tapers, and you would be good to go!
It was a talkative and fun Thanksgiving. I hope your’s was great as well. I’ll show you later this week how I made the festive runner for the table.
After our little family trip to wine country last week my mom stayed a few extra days in California to help me with a little project called upholstery 101. My mom has upholstered numerous couches and chairs, and when she was my age she even had her own futon making business. So I was thrilled when she volunteered herself to help me out with reupholstering my found club chair. I’ve done a few seats before, but nothing this large scale, so it was nice to have a guide. Remember what it looked like before? It was in a neighbor’s yard, all ready to be thrown out. And boy, was that brown faux leather gross. It was sticky and dirty and ready to go.
And now it is gone! I didn’t even tell you which fabric I really picked after going back and forth and back and forth. I finally ordered Annie Selke Links in Taupe. I ordered 7 yards from joann.com and it was plenty. I think I have about 2 yards left (any takers for the extra?), and joann.com ships much faster than ordering custom fabric from the brick and mortar Joann.
We put the pattern on sideways so it would have a vertical effect on the low chair. I sanded and re-stained the legs so they would look nice and clean, like the new fabric. It’s all new and shiny and I just want to sit in it all of the time. Do you see all the cording? I think that may be my favorite part. That, and the sexy, sexy legs.I took Monday and Tuesday off work so I could learn about the process and help my mom as she worked. She mostly told me what to do and it took us both full days of working 8am to 5 or 6pm to finish it. Not a quick process.
I am proud of us, and proud that it looks really good. My grandma even told me it looks ‘professional’ on facebook. And she has definitely worked on her fair share of sewing and upholstery!
I am also proud that I only needed to take one trip to Joann in the two days of work. I had anticipated about 3 or 4, but we dealt with using thread that wasn’t meant for my sewing machine, and I was able to buy most of my supplies online beforehand. (I used onlinefabricstore.net, and despite a few bad reviews online I received all the correct supplies very quickly since I expedited shipping for 3 business days).
I’ll share some in progress photos and more about the upholstery process in a later post. Meanwhile, you can imagine me sitting curled up in this chair drinking a big cup of coffee (very careful not to spill any on the new fabric!).
Want to know more about the process and how to recover an old chair? Check out my tutorial!
My friend, Sarah, texted me this photo last night. It’s a picture of her living room with some new curtains installed.
The curtains are made from old bedsheets that I found at an estate sale about 6 months ago. I was going to make curtains with them, but couldn’t find a good place in my house for them. So when I saw Sarah on Saturday I gave them to her. She quickly whipped up some no-sew curtains! The sheets were already the perfect shape and size for her large living room window.
I love thrifting karma and the fact that something that isn’t right in my house can look so good in someone else’s!
Luckily, Brentan and I walked by and asked to have him.
Are you wondering what those gray things are on the seat? Well, Mr. Chair didn’t have a seat cushion, so between walking home to pick up the car and driving back over to the neighbor’s house, the neighbor made a seat cushion out of medical device packaging foam. Isn’t that sweet!
I have great plans, which include a real seat and cushion, and learning to really upholster with welting and everything. I watched a few videos online, and it is going to be tough, especially since my sewing skills are really basic. I stumbled across this one, which shows the founders of Spruce Home in Austin reupholstering and making chairs really beautiful, emphasizing the craft and history of upholstery.
I haven’t decided on a fabric yet, or even a style. Crazy pattern (like the chair in the video?) Nice neutral? Interesting texture?
Do you have any suggestions for my new chair friend? Can you offer me any help on really reupholstering (I’m specifically talking to you Mom, and Sarah!)?
Hey there! I told you earlier that I found some interesting containers for my succulents!
I went epic estate sale-ing with Brentan and Sarah this weekend and found a cute ceramic bowl at the first stop, and found a stack of small and medium loaf pans at sale #4 in Alameda. Loaf pans! Who would have thought that I would be inspired to plant things in them. I think it’s because I like the old school metal school lunch trays at the Alameda Antiques Fair a while ago, and am feeling the vintage metal bake ware.
So I have a stack, and planted a few full. One now sits on my kitchen table (below) and one is on my bedside table (not pictured). And you can sort of see the pile of the rest of the pans in the left side of the picture below waiting to be planted.
So I may not be Flora Grubb yet, but I’m working on my container gardening skills.
I’m still on the lookout for some larger containers to hold my larger plants. I saw a good sale on containers at Crate and Barrel, so maybe I’ll pick up one of these blue guys.
It was a nice weekend this past weekend. Brentan and I got some projects nearly finished, and started some new ones, and ran a 12k through San Francisco!
First off, Brentan put a nice frame around our bathroom window. It’s not painted, but it’s already looking much better.
I worked on finishing a shade for this window, but of course it’s not up because the frame still needs to be painted. So you’ll just have to wait and see.
As we were walking Daphne on Saturday, we came across a garage sale in the neighborhood. Usually garage sales in our area suck, but this guy was selling a bunch of succulents he propogated for $1 each. I bought a bunch and have plans for these babies! I got all of the below succulents for only $12! That was a nice day, and a nice feeling.
I think I have a new obsession: mid-mod chrome.
I was doing some research for a mood board for Korin’s bedroom on etsy and found this fantastic chrome fruit bowl. It reminds me of this West Elm table that I’m planning on putting in the bedroom mood board. Isn’t the bowl fantastic? Don’t buy it though, unless you’re making it a present for me!
I even bought a chrome ice bucket a while ago.
What are you loving?
Alameda Antique Fair: April 2011 Edition
I was on the lookout for some cute nightstands for my bedroom yesterday at the Alameda Antiques fair. And I found them! I’m not sure if the top will stay green, but the color definitely helped them pop out at the fair. I’m hoping to put some sconces on the wall above the matching tables, like these from Pottery Barn, so I don’t have to keep Brentan awake with my crossword puzzle nighttime activities all the time.
I went to the antiques fair with Sarah, who was looking for new light fixtures for her house, and her friends Maryanne and Sam. I ‘did’ the fair a little differently than usual, thanks to Maryanne’s insider tip of starting at the back, and it was successful. Everyone found a little something.
And I discovered how important it is to find a good booth.
There are several kinds of booths and sellers at the antiques fair. Among them are:
- The Minimalist. Usually just a guy and a his truck full of random stuff, or the woman with a card table full of knicknacks. Generally low prices, and not usually stuff I’m looking for.
- The Haute Couture. Heavily styled. Usually full of French linens, boudoir items, and fashion stuff. They put a lot of work into creating an image for themselves and curating a beautiful selection of products, and you will pay for it. Pretty pretty eye candy and out of my budget.
- The Danish Modern. Full of Danish modern and 60′s teak furniture and accessories. Sarah and I drool as we pass, perhaps sit in a chair or sofa, but know that we already have beautiful teak pieces at home (and the best place to find theses pieces is Craigslist).
- The Specialty Shop. This seller only sells one thing. Like vintage telephones. Or antique hardware (see below). Or beer steins (not kidding, there is a booth that only sells beer steins!)
However, the best booth is the Sweet Spot booth. That is where I found the nightstands. Practical prices, fun, pretty items, and stuff you just really want.
These tables just called to me, but another woman was contemplating buying them. As she hemmed and hawed with her friend, I overheard the (completely reasonable) price of $80 for both looking around at the rest of the booth, and praying she would decide against them. I also discovered these gems: 60′s silver rimmed glasses, perfect for my bar! She passed, and I managed to negotiate the seller to throw in the glasses for free! Score one for me.
When you come across a good booth (or any decent seller, really):
- Check out all of their items. Some things might be hidden. If I didn’t look around, I wouldn’t have found perfect new bar ware.
- Ask them to hold the stuff you’ve just bought. Most sellers will honor this, and not make you carry around tons of stuff.
- Bring your friends back to check it out. If you saw something you liked, they might too. Sarah and Maryanne found things when I went back to pick up the tables before we left.
- Negotiate price. Or suggest a deal. At a different booth, Sarah got a great deal on a set of plates by asking for a discount on buying four. The seller originally asked for $8 a piece, but she negotiated it down to $23 for 4 ($5.75/plate).
- Go back! Ask for their card, make a note of their location, and buy again next month. They’ll appreciate the business, and you’ll appreciate the selection.
- And of course, smile, be friendly, and chatty. You’ll feel good, they’ll feel good, and you might get a good deal for being so gosh darn cute.
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