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!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Friends, we all know how blessed we are. I am amazed at all God has given me on a daily basis.  I am especially blessed to have a home.  Beyond that, I have more than I ever dreamed of!  More than many people do.  I am forever grateful to God for that.

The gentleman pictured below Samuel Bassett, lost everything in a fire last week, his home, his possessions, his beloved dog.  
Can you imagine?
Sam is an Air Force Veteran who served our country proudly.

His eight year old daughter lost all the gifts Santa brought too.

I was lucky to be able to contact his lovely fiancĂ©, thanks to the efforts of the Chicago Police Department and the Greater Chicagoland Red Cross.

"Me and my best friend"

I am reaching out to my viewers to ask if you may have received a gift card this holiday that you can donate?  To my local followers, do you have anything that you are getting rid of that you can donate?  
They need absolutely everything.
I am willing to drive to pick up the items you do not need.



Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry and Bright!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, friends!

As you well know, I am not one of those bloggers who can juggle.
You know the ones...balancing work, home, blogging with such agility that the world stands in awe.
That's not me.
I am not an organized individual, as anyone who knows me can attest.
I am a seat of my pants, catch as catch can kind of a gal.

I'll show you several examples later in this post.  But for now, you're going to have to trust me.
We did manage to deck ye olde halls in time for Christmas! However, taking photos has just recently become an option.
That's why I'm here, the day after Christmas, with my blog.
Happy to be here, though!

Dining Room buffet...

Family Room mantel...

A bronze bust of Santa brings cheer to a corner of the Family Room.

It was very sunny and warm today.  The sun streaming through the windows was such a gift!  It doesn't make for good pictures, though.

A little better!  Gracie's playroom loft is up and to the right.  You can see the glow of her pink Christmas tree!
The miniature children's wingback chairs in the family room are from Restoration Hardware, by way of Craigslist!

I still have not hung the burlap drapes over the openings into the Music Room and centered the Craigslist tapestry.  Thinking it's not going to happen in 2014.  I might surprise myself, though!

On the other side of that opening, the Music Room is coming along! The burlap curtains are piled on the settee!

The Aubusson rug was an ebay find but quite a bargain.  I sharpened the image so you can see the detail and color more clearly.
Happy Birthday to me!

I hung this Moravian star in the sunroom knowing we would also be using it as a Christmas tree star.  We actually have eight hanging throughout the house!  I love the way they sparkle!


Handsome Husband surprised me with roses before the holidays...

The arrangement brightens up the back staircase that leads to the kitchen...

The Breakfast Room got a dash of Christmas cheer!  You know Handsome Husband can't wait to come down for breakfast in the morning!  

...and yes, the table is new!

I found the table and eight chairs for $100 on Craigslist!

Solid wood, painted with milk paint.  Heavier than I even imagined.  Gracie and I helped the owner bring it up her basement stairs but it got stuck and we had to run to her neighbor's house for help!
Her neighbor and his visiting father not only dislodged the table, but also attempted to take it apart for me so I could put it in my car! 
There are good people in this world.  Brian and his father spent over an hour trying to help me.  I am eternally grateful!

It didn't work, though.  The leaf mechanism was very complicated. 
 In the end I hired a moving company.  I solicited a mover on Craigslist, which I was loathe to do, due to myriad negative experiences.

But this time was GOLDEN!
Anyone in Illinois looking for a mover or a handyman, painter, etc.?
Look no further!

JC Enterprise to the rescue!

Here is his Facebook page.

You will thank me.

He picked up the table and had it delivered within two hours of our call!  The trip alone was over an hour!

I wish you could see the pretty windows, rather than a blob of light...but you get the idea...

A stocking for every member of the family...
Gratuitous picture of Mabel...

Even the refrigerator got a dose of cheer!  Gracie and I made the glittered doves last year.
This Sub Zero was purchased on Craigslist for $300!

Far right...on the floor...laundry basket.  I was going to retake the photo but I didn't want to get off the couch.

Detail of cherub ornament on Craigslist vitrine...

I painted the vitrine with Annie Sloan Paris Grey and gold metallic craft paint.

If you recall, this is what the vitrine looked like when I found it on Craigslist...

The French mirror I found on Craigslist is bedecked with a gilded magnolia wreath.

I have more to share with you but I will save it for another day...

There you have it...our family's day after Christmas decorations!

Hoping your day was Merry and Bright!



Monday, December 15, 2014


Milagro's Story...

This Summer, Gracie, Napoleon our Puggle and Tallulah our English Bulldog and I were driving behind a car that was going 25mph in a 55mph zone on a road leading out of the city into the country.

 I put my blinker on and tried to go around the slow driver. He sped up and matched my speed. I tried to meet the driver's eyes and I realized he was laughing

It was so frightening! I didn't know what to do! We were fast approaching a car coming in the other direction.  There was traffic behind his vehicle and there was no shoulder to pull over onto.

Out of nowhere, a small brown fox sprinted into the road, passed in front of the car we were attempting to pass and directly in front of my car.

 He looked me right in the eye.

 I slammed on my brakes as hard as I could but I still hit the little angel. I looked up and the car coming toward us did not realize were were going in the opposite direction. 

He had just enough time to swerve around.

I was heartbroken. We parked on the side of the road and walked over to the broken body of the fox and cried over the beautiful life that had just been extinguished...and cried and cried.

Days later, I was about to drift off to sleep when I awoke with a start.

 That fox looked at me. I know it. I saw his eyes. Wild and feral animals do not make eye contact with humans. 

Also, he was running through an empty field at the speed of light, like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, as if he were late for something.

Foxes are typically nocturnal hunters.

Why was he running so fast?  Where was he going?

It may sound crazy but I truly believe that little brown fox saved our lives that day by sacrificing his own

If he had not run in front of our car, forcing me to slam on the brakes, I am certain we would have hit the oncoming vehicle.

 We named him Milagro, it means miracle.

We have also built a garden in his honor.  I will share photos soon.

Thank you, Milagro.  I will never forget you.



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Crowning Touch!

Our front entry is actually a hallway.  When we were house hunting, a huge entry was on my list but the houses with huge entryways were short on other details that we I desired.  In the end, a big kitchen won out over a huge entry!
The battle to design the entry is ongoing, as you well know.

I recently came upon a stunning pair of Louis XV fauteuils with chocolate colored velvet upholstery on Craigslist for a steal!

They truly complete this vignette!
The awkward wall angle makes it difficult to get a perfect photograph!

The gold coronas in my Craigslist urns are the crowning glory!

I found the crowns on one of my favorite sites, The Kings Bay.  They also sell on ebay as purblebombauctions.  
The crowns are made to hang from the ceiling and have clips to hold photos and mementos below.

However, I only saw this...a golden crown on par with those I covet from Tara Shaw, though at prices that would allow me to stay married!

I never thought I would see the day that I was actually happy with the entryway!

I absolutely love this composition!  The chocolate brown of the upholstery is very soothing against the grey and gold, as well as the aged silver patina of the urns. The deep, rich brown brings out the rust tones in the aged iron urns.   

I feel as if my decorating has evolved since I started this blog, thanks to the inspiration and valuable input I receive from my blogmates. I have learned so much on this journey!

Thanks to all of you for helping me to make my house a home!

Your friendship is truly the crowning touch!


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