Thursday, June 30, 2011

Min's Room Makeover

I just started unpacking Min's closet last night and sorting her various articles of clothing into different storage bins. This may take a while, that girl has a ton of clothes! Anyway, I figured this would be a good time to begin posting about her room makeover. Since I'm doing this in real time, don't expect daily updates. It's going to take a week to clean out the room, another half a week for the sanding and painting and another few days to get everything back in the room, but I will post as I go along.

Okay, let me preface this post with this picture. This is the closest visual example I could find on-line to explain the look I'm planning to do in Min's bedroom makeover. As simple as possible, pale walls, wood floors with pops of color in the furnishings. In more detail, I'm going for a Swedish folk look. Traditional Swedish farm houses would have pale walls to reflect light because the winters are so long and dark up there. They would also add pops of vivid colors to make the pale rooms cheerier. Notice the little red stand on the far left. I found a white stand very similar to that, that I will paint red.

That said, I think I mentioned in an earlier post that this pillow I found in IKEA started all this. I could not walk away from it and I was especially attracted to the red color in it. I immediately began envisioning re-doing Min's room with bold reds. The modern slant on the traditional bed ticking on the back of the pillow also inspired me. I wanted to bring in elements from a 1920s-30s farm house and use traditional ticking in the bedsheets and embroidered and crocheted blankets.

Here's an example of the ticking I'm referring to. For those of you who can remember, or if you've seen it in movies, old mattresses and pillows used to be done in blue/cream colored ticking stripes. Since I wanted to use that in the bedroom, I began searching for just the right sheets last year. I started early because the blue ticking is easy to find and still in use in a lot of bedding today. I of course, having to be different, wanted red stripe ticking. I found just a few examples on-line and they were all _very_ expensive. Also being the cheapskate I am, I had no intention of paying that much. So for at least 6 months I searched on-line and in every store I went into. No luck. I was either going to have to fork over the big bucks (over $100 for a set of sheets) or alter my design. I chose to alter the design and go with solid red sheets from K-Mart on sale. They were horribly thin and wouldn't do.

Then, after I'd given up hope of finding red striped ticking within my budget, I visited a local buyout store we have here, Ollie's. Here I finally found a close approximation of the type of sheets I was looking for, for around $20, and they're actually very nice quality sheets. Yes! Success!

So I decided on Swedish folk for the room. Min already had a traditional Swedish Dala horse in her bedroom for me to pull other ideas in. I like the colors painted on the horse and did research on Swedish Kurbit flowers to incorporate them into the design as well.

Here's an example of the Swedish Kurbit flower. This screams Swedish Folk, but it's also a VERY bold statement and could too easily take over a room and make it kitschy. So I've decided to keep this to a minimum. I will only have two examples of this in the room.

The first example will be on a small wooden bookcase that I will paint red and have Kurbit flowers going up the side, and the second example will be around the heart in this blanket rack. I will paint the rack red, and the Kurbit design will lend itself to wrapping around the heart cutout.

Speaking of red furniture. I knew I needed to find a small bedside end table, but it needed to be period accurate, you know, older in style, not modern. I went looking for that as well. I found this at the local K-Mart, but it was nearly $160. Besides refusing to spend that much money on a little end table, I also planned to paint it. No way was I going to drop that kind of money on something I was going to slap paint on!

Then, like magic, Voila! The redecorating gods and the yard sale gods got together on my behalf and presented me with this perfect table for $3. Can you say BARGAIN?! So obviously, this is going to be painted a vivid true red, and I plan to remove the wooden drawer pull and replace it with a glass drawer pull.

Here's an example of the drawer pull. Remember the glass door knobs in old houses? This knob is reminiscent of that. I'm also planning to remove all the wooden knobs and drawer pulls on Min's built-in cabinets and replacing all of them with glass knobs as well. Oh, so I guess this is a good place in my descriptions to actually show you pictures of Min's room "before" so you can see what I'm talking about.

This is your first view of Min's room as you approach. You immediately see the side of the ceiling-to-floor built-in cabinets, along with her collection of license plates.

As you walk in the bedroom door, you're immediately confronted with the full-sized bed that takes up most of the room. I don't like the placement of the bed like this because it interrupts the flow of the room as you walk in and it dominates the room. I plan to move the bed over into the far corner up against the wall to free up more floor space. We couldn't do this previously because of a wicker desk we had in that corner that I've since given away.

This is some of what remains in that far corner, Breyer horse statues, horse tack, trophies, and ribbons, along with supplies for the room makeover and tons of books I moved out of the office and don't have a place for just yet.

This is going over to that far wall and looking back. Obviously this is a very small room, but it looks smaller because the bed is in the middle of it all. Notice the wall colors in the room, the blue on the bottom and the yellow on the top. I was debating on whether to paint at all because I planned to use blue on the bottom and yellow on the top anyway, then I decided I should re-paint so it will be fresher and cleaner, plus I plan to go with a much paler blue and a much paler yellow.

Next let's take a look at the built-ins. Min likes them because they look like barn doors and that fits in nicely with the horsey theme of the room. I don't like them because they look like barn doors. I'm going for a farmhouse look, not a barn look. I plan to sand these cabinets down and then white wash them so they will bring a lot more light to the room but you'll still be able to see the wood grain in them.

Take a closer look at these drawers and cabinets. Notice all the colored wooden knobs on there? As I said earlier, I plan to replace all of those with glass knobs. However, since the wood will be whitewashed, I'm worried clear knobs will get lost. I'm thinking of going with either a green depression glass or blue glass so they stand out. Remember the walls will be blue. Which one do you think would look better? I'm leaning toward the green because it's softer and looks more period authentic.

Oh, and let's not forget the rug, the lovely green rug. Traditional wooden floors with an area rug or throw rug are what goes in a traditional Swedish farmhouse, not matted green rugs.

Not matted, stained green rugs, that got that way because no matter how many times Min was told to clean her saddles and tack outside on the porch, she ended up doing it in her room, thinking we wouldn't smell the oils and soaps and that an oily bottle placed on the rug would never be noticed. Uh-huh. Needless to say, we're ripping out the rug. There are hardwoods underneath.

Lastly, here are some of the pieces I've already got to put in the room. I have a lot more to pick up, but I'm getting there. This is the red afghan I had my mom crochet for the bed.

This is the traditional embroidered quilt I found for the bed.

And here are other assorted objects I picked up for their color value. What do you think?

This last item is an IKEA chair I hope to put in the room with a matching ottoman if I have room for it. There's a skinnier, straighter version of it at IKEA, but it doesn't have the look I'm going for; I want it to be a big comfy reading chair that just calls to you to come sit down and get lost in a good book. I'm hoping this will become my new favorite reading spot.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Glimmer of Hope

Just when I was losing my faith in humanity, I saw this:

The Last 30 Days . . .

{Warning: View this in Mozilla Firefox for pix and words to line up. They're all over the place in MS Explorer.}

Okay, I'm going to try to breeze through all this, because if I get bogged down, I'll never get a post out. Here's what we've been up to and why I've been so sparse on the postings:

It's been like Destruction Central here lately as we work on home improvement projects. You might remember our front porch step fiasco that we had done wrong by one crew only to have re-done properly by another guy last year. Well the remaining efforts of these first guys was in the sidewalk they patched when they did the front steps. Needless to say, if they didn't know what they were doing with laying brick, they certainly didn't know how to mix concrete. The sidewalk they patched was crumbling like peanut brittle (click on pic to see what I mean) a mess and a hazard to walk around.

Since we _had_ to get this fixed to avoid injury, we decided to also get our front retaining wall fixed. That had also been crumbling in spots as well as tipping over.

The guy came in with heavy machinery which made the destruction part easier and quicker, but it also made a huge mess of our front yard.

All that mess got clean up eventually and the new wall finally got poured.

That just left us with the clean up of all that dirt, and reseeding all the grass. At some point soon, we'll probably paint the whole wall white again so it looks sharper out front.

In the midst of all this destruction, we also had another progressive dinner. The theme for this last one was "Canadian" food, courtesy of Michele who lives here now, but is from Canada. It was fun trying to find recipes. Of course, Poutine was served (fries smothered in cheese and gravy).

We also attended a local minor league baseball game. A couple of the players were #1 draft picks that likely will go on to the major leagues.

We thought the game wouldn't happen because of the chance of rain. We got 2 innings behind us when the rain came.

After that, they kept covering and uncovering the field in between rain showers. We eventually decided to go around 9:30 p.m. rather than wait until around 10 p.m. for it to start back up again.

We also took in an Air Show at the beach one day. There were lots of turbo prop planes and some military jets as well as parachute sky writers.

M's parents came to visit us last Thursday through Tuesday, I believe. So we made the obligatory trip to the beach, ate lots of crab, had a fire on the beach, and,

saw our first dolphins of the season. M had just commented "it's been ages since we've seen any dolphins," when Bam! There they were just off-shore. Click on the pic to see the best shot I could get of one of them as they quickly surfaced then went back under.

While M's parents were here, her mom (who is a weeding machine) began cleaning up our side yard. M then planted all the flowers I'd gotten at the plant sale and brought some much needed color back to our side yard.

Now if all that isn't enough, remember we both still have work and personal things going on, and I am now beginning to do a make over on my daughter, Min's room. Are we busy yet? I expect the clearing out of Min's room to take a week, then there will be the sanding, painting, and ripping out the green rug, before I can put it all back together again. I'll do a starter post on that soon. Back to work!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What do you think of these stories?

From Anderson Cooper's "Ridiculist"

Who's more messed up - the parents who gave permission, the 16 yr. or the dirty old man, er, new husband?

Is our healthcare system broken?

I knew it! I knew it! Cats are evil and up to no good.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blueberry Picking

Today was a lovely rainy Sunday, a light rain, a slow soak, so it was much better for blueberry picking than previous years when it was sunny and unbearably hot.

My friend, Julie and I went picking berries. For some reason I have the vague memory that somebody asked me to invite them the next time I went berry picking, but for the life of me, I can't remember who that was. So if you're reading this and I didn't invite you along, I apologize. Just remind me and I'll got out Mon-Wed of this week with you and pick some more.

I really like picking these blueberries because they are up off the ground on short trees or tall shrubs, rather than the squat bushes or ground cover I remember from way up north. It's much easier on the back and I'm all about making manual labor as easy as possible.

The orchard covers a number of acres so there were plenty of bushes to choose from. Some you could tell were picked clean, others weren't quite ripe, but there were still plenty very ripe and heavy with fruit. My technique for picking is to find a stem with at least 90% ripe berries, wrap my hand around the stem then gently roll the berries in my hand as I tug down on the branch to loosen the berries so they all fall into my waiting bucket directly below the branch. It beats picking them one-by-one.

This was the early view of my bucket. I think I picked around 7 pounds, I can't remember. But that's what I picked last time by filling the bucket. I also bought some berries for a neighbor. I took them home, lightly washed them off. Now they're all drying on a towel on the kitchen counter, next I'll bag them up and put them in the freezer. It's as simple as that. Our last 7 pounds of berries lasted us 2 years. We use them mostly on cereal or in hot oatmeal in the winter. Julie says blackberry picking will be in a few weeks in July. I'll go picking for those as well, even though our blackberry bush is full with unripened berries right now.

Last full day in Europe

Ahh, all good things must come to an end.  Our European vacation is drawing to a close.  We leave Nice this morning to drive back to Barcelo...