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!


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!




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