Thursday, August 20, 2015

Details, Details...

Hello Old Friends!

This summer was likely the longest summer of my life.  As you know, my father passed away in May.  A few weeks later I had a severe allergic reaction to medicine that required a hospital stay.  I was exposed to the flu in the hospital...which developed into pneumonia...first in one lung, then both.

No fun
I have had fun before and it was nothing like that.

I am finally back in good health and spirits!  My energy levels are not as high as usual but it's coming along!
We had a great deal of catching up to do as far as family summer adventures are concerned, so the house had to wait.
We did get a beautiful new fence this year.  The dogs are so happy!
I will post photos soon.
In the meantime, I am tackling small things, like painting doors and cabinets and adding better quality hardware, knobs, faucets, etc.

I was going to pull out the builder's grade oak cabinet but am glad I painted it instead.  I absolutely love it! I added antique French hardware and painted it with sample paints fromHome Depot.  I still have to add the legs after I find a way to shorten them.  

Cabinet before

It was a real challenge to photograph the entire cabinet in this tiny powder room.  McGillicuddy the Big, Orange Cat also had to be in the room with me.  When I say "with me", I mean "on me" and on the camera.  It took about  an hour to get this shot, while balancing precariously on one foot, camera pushed up against the door and one hand on the cat.
I do suffer for my art!

You can see a glimpse of the new bronze faucet.  I have not installed it yet.  It's a little intimidating.

Antique French bronze escutcheons applied to faux drawers.

Another set of antique French escutcheons.  This time with serpents.

Painting the front door.  I also painted the sidelight.  Ha!  No more looky-loos! It also balances the door and adds much needed symmetry.

I bought knobs and a deadbolt for the door.  Then I learned that the term "standard door" really has no meaning.  The hardware I bought is for a 2 3/8" backset and my doors are 2 3/4" backset (the measurement between the edge of the door and the center of the hole where the doorknob goes).
I ordered a universal latch set.  It wasn't as universal as they claimed.
So far, I have invested $150 dollars in a set that normally costs $500.  I may order brass push plated to cover the offset holes...more on this as it develops.  :)

We finally bought high gloss black and white paint to do the interior doors and trim.  I am really excited to begin!

Yu may have noticed that I have not finished one single task, but am mired in approximately 20.  Is that how you work or do you do one thing at a time?


Friday, July 10, 2015

Four Years Later...

It only took four years for me to get up the nerve to hang this pier mirror!  You can't tell from the photo but it is seven feet tall and four feet wide!  We also hung the ginormous Craigslist chandelier, which is five feet tall and four feet wide and a reproduction train station clock casing, also found on Craigslist, which is four feet tall and 14 feet long!  You can see the reflection of the chandelier and the clock casing in the mirror.

This is what the chandelier looked like in the Craigslist ad.  I paid $100 but it retails for $7,000!  You read that right!  So, what did I do with a $7,000 chandelier?  I cut it up with a pipe cutter, of course!  Off came the huge curlycues, down came the giant crystals (bigger than my hand)!

I can't put my finger on it, but this chandelier was a little bit too much, too something.  However, I saw the lines of an Empire chandelier underneath it all!

If you remember, I bought 500 feet of chandelier crystal from China.  I waited to paint and add the crystal until the chandelier was hanging because it was so big I could not move it out the door to spray paint it!  Instead, I will climb a ten foot ladder and brush the gold paint on then hang the crystals!  I already added white beeswax candle sleeves, which gives the chandelier some much needed levity!

This is the inspiration for the chandelier transformation.

More on this as it develops!
A view of the bank of windows,  to which I added a six foot long zinc architectural salvage element.
The five foot tall Bouguereau painting can be seen above the armoire to the left.

Here is the reproduction clock case I found on Craigslist.  It is fourteen feet long!  The ad said twelve, so I thought I could fit it in my SUV, albeit with it hanging out the back.  I have never been more mistaken!  You should have see the look on the faces of the men at the loading dock!  I called my trusted mover, Julian Collins, from JC Enterprises in Chicago and he was there within the hour to rescue me!
When the contractor hung this, we realized that the Craigslist ad dimensions were off by two feet.  Too long.  The contractor cut the ends off, removed the excess, then reattached them. It extends the entire length of the wall.
The clock case was custom made as a prop for a store opening in Chicago.  It is fabricated of fiberglass and metal plumbing pipe, then painted in a faux copper finish.  

So excited that everything is finally coming together!

Handsome Husband is excited because he no longer has to walk around a five foot tall chandelier, a fourteen foot long clock case, a five foot tall painting, a six foot long piece of architectural salvage and a seven foot tall mirror propped on the wall! 

 He is waltzing around giddily like Julie Andrews on the mountaintop in the Sound of Music!

So much SPACE! 

Do you have that one thing that you have been putting off?



Friday, May 29, 2015

Atticus in the Music Room...

Thank you for your warm condolences regarding my father, friends.  
We are busy counting our blessings, you amongst them!




Saturday, May 9, 2015

Good-Bye, Dad.

My beloved father passed away this morning at 9:05 Eastern Time.
He is in Maine, I am here in Illinois. It is what he wanted. He did not want anyone to see him that way. It is torture being so far away. There will be no service. No formal affair to honor his life.
We have a dog rescue today. A mama Labrador and her four nine-week old pups are coming from Southern Illinois and being transported to Northern Illinois.
The transport coordinator has graciously dedicated the transport to my Dad. It is fitting, for he is the one who fostered my love of animals and of compassion for others.
The transport will honor the memory of my father. The man who took in seven stray children and called them his own.
It will be a long day and for that, I am grateful. Grateful, too, that his memory is celebrated by sharing his charitable nature.
My Dad is no longer suffering. Now our suffering begins.
Please say a prayer?



Friday, March 27, 2015

Brightening the Entry

I didn't even know I was going to do this project until I was up on the ladder with my paint brush!

It took about an hour to gild the five and a half foot tall trumeau mirror I found on Craigslist...

...and it made all the difference in the world!
I just had to share!

Again, I use a stiff bristled artist's brush

Rub N Buff,  Gold Leaf.

I use a drop of lavender essential oil to keep the gilding wax fluid.  It is also very soothing!

I didn't want too much color for this small space.  It could be overwhelming.

The angels are five feet tall.  The commode and the mirror take up over nine feet of wall space, to give to some perspective!

The entire vignette, except for the angels, cost less than $300!
Yes, the mirror, the candle sconces, the iron urns, the crowns and even the commode...

Craigslist photo on left and the finished trumeau mirror on right.

I used multiple layers of color and washes, beginning with Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Chalk Paint  in Cloud, then washes of white and black acrylic craft paint.  I just played with the finish.  You really can't make mistakes! They just add to the patina!

Originally, I painted the mirror a solid grey.  Often, I will do that to better see the shape, so as not to be distracted by color. 

It was pretty this way but the gold leaf pulls the mirror into the entire room.
Don't you agree?

It really brightens up the space and makes the entry very welcoming!

 Raise your paw if you approve!

Thanks, Tallulah!  She's always so agreeable!



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bob's Your Uncle!

 Bob's your uncle!  

It is a British colloquialism similar to the term voilĂ !

Plus, it's fun to say!

Bob's your uncle!
Bob's your uncle!
Bob's your uncle!

It sums up this experience rather well...

My family fell in love with this piano when we saw it on Wisconsin Craigslist!

So much so, that we asked the gentleman who was selling it if he would take payments. Not only did he allow us to do so, but he also gave us two bottles of raspberry wine that he made himself!
Yay!  Wine!

A year later and the piano was ours!

If anyone in Illinois needs a good piano mover, let me know!

I had contemplated painting it, as I have mentioned here in the past.  However, it just didn't seem right.
Though it needed...something.

Instead, we drank the homemade raspberry wine and pondered...

...and pondered...

A year passed.

I tried to ignore the big brown blob in the Music Room, yet it mocked me.
It was beautiful but it could be so much more.
Should I paint it?
White?  Grey?

I turned to Facebook for inspiration...
So many creative friends there.  Surely, someone had something?
I was right!

Upon the advice of a friend, I merely gilded the foliate details with Rub N Buff in Gold Leaf.

That's it!  It cost less than $5.00 and an hour of my time!

I also wiped the piano with lavender essential oil and rubbed coconut oil on it, then buffed it.
Today, I will paint the wings and wire them to hang above the piano.

The gilded piano stool looks as if it were made for this piano!

The tutorial for the stool can be found here.

I have to admit, this piano was intimidating but it just may be my favorite makeover!

I used a stiff bristled brush to get the gilding paste into the details.

Rub N Buff retails for approximately $5.00 per tube.  I used 2/3 of the tube. A little goes a long way!

Be certain to use a small amount at a time, as it dries out quickly.

Like Frosty the Snowman's hat, the paint brought the piano to life!

Happy Birthday!

And there you have it!

Who's your uncle?

Why, Bob's your uncle! Of course!



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Cheshire Blogger

I have decided to pretend I have not been an absentee blogger. As a matter of fact, I am going to behave as if I was here the entire time.

Furthermore, I was hoping you wouldn't mind playing along.

Do you want to see what I have been up to?

Front entry hall, take 497!

You may recall that this is what it looked like this past Christmas.

It looked like this for about 2 days.

Then it looked like this for about a week.

The scale was off. 
 Also, since the wall is one side of a narrow hall opposite the library, you had to crane your neck to take in the entire vignette.
The chest is 3 feet tall , the angels are five feet tall and the crest is another 3 feet tall!

The ceiling is 18 feet from the floor!

The chest itself is only five feet wide.  I cannot use a longer one because then I could not open the front door.  Apparently, we have to let people and pets in and out....and "no, we can't just use the back door", according to Handsome Husband. 

Since when is he such a stickler for formality, I ask?

To give you an idea of we have to contend with. The Library is to the left.

I have a set of narrow double doors and a spiderweb transom to replace the builder's door and sidelight.
Soon, I hope!

The stars aligned and it happened!
I found this over five foot tall mirror on Craigslist.  It was right down the street from my house!  I could have walked there.

I was inspired by this paint finish, found on Pinterest.

Nine layers of paint later...

This is, perhaps, the 17th incarnation of the front hall.  It never felt quite right...until now.  I think. Well, I'm pretty sure.  For now.  Maybe.
The angels, as you recall, are 5 feet tall (including candles), to give you an idea of the perspective.

The entry leads to the Music Room.  It is to the right of the Library.
The chaise was also found on Craigslist, as was the secretary, the mirror, the curtains and the statue.  The tapestry panels were purchased from a friend .  I met her through Craigslist too!
The rug is from ebay.  It was a steal!

The Mora clock is in the hallway, outside the room. It isn't really a Mora clock.  It is a Craigslist clock painted to resemble one!
The room is far from finished, but I thought you might like to see it.
This room was the catch-all for all my errant "stuff".  It really was shameful.

View from the Music Room into the front entry hall. The fauteuil on the right is one of a pair I found on Craigslist.  I painted the upholstery with Annie Sloan Old White.

This brown velvet fauteuil is one of a pair I found on Craigslist!

One of a pair of Craigslist urns.

McGillicuddy, Mommy's little photo bomber!

Wow!    Here, I thought I wasn't getting much done...and this is only a small percentage of what I have been up to!

I have missed you!
I promise, I won't wait so long again!

I am off to visit you!



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