Saturday, October 26, 2013

On Craigslist?

Okay.  I have to share this with you!

What now, you ask?

A Swedish tile stove.  That's what!

Here are the tiles...

Some details...

I am not buying this.  I have no room for it!  I wish I did!  
But because I love you guys I thought I should give you the opportunity to own this for a fraction of its true value!

Guess what?
It costs less than $2,000!

Do you know what these usually sell for?!!!

If you are interested just click here!



Thursday, October 24, 2013

I Think I've Got It!

...and it's nothing like I planned.

The secretary I found on Craigslist has proven to be quite a challenge to transform!  It was lovely in its found condition but it wasn't what I wanted.
What did I want?  I have no clue.  I was smitten with the shape.  That's all I knew!

Here is a peek at what it looks like now.
Before and during...

I am not using the grisaille (and here) panels after all.  What I plan to do is paint plexiglass sheets with Krylon Looking Glass Paint and apply mirrors to the door panels.

I will keep the ormolu but I am going to age the finish with Annie Sloan Old White and French Linen, followed with Dark Wax.  I may also gild the trim with an antique gold gilding wax.
Annie Sloan French Linen
From my How I Saved $12,000 or More post.

With the Old White combined with the French Linen it will look more like this...
Annie Sloan French Linen over Old White, then sanded.
From my Gustavian Armoire Tutorial, here.

The interior will be Annie Sloan Duck Egg and Dark Wax

I was inspired by stunning images of mirrored secretaries on Pinterest.  Click here to see my Project Board, filled with inspiration!

Here is one of my favorites!

I promise to do a tutorial!

More on this as it develops!



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Whiling Away the Hours

I should be outside.  The garden needs me.  

Here I am, though, goofing off, lollygagging, fiddling around, wasting precious time on the internet!


I dunno.

I just am.

I messed with Pixlr.

Then I messed with Blogger.

See my new header?

It's huge.  I know.  I just spent two hours of my life fussing with it.  Tempus fugit.  Indeed.

Then I took photos of my house...

Well, not the house, merely the area within ten, or so, feet from where I was sitting.

I had to get up out of the chair to do that.

Then I tinkered with Pixlr some more.

Then I contemplated the orange hue of my woodwork

I did that for a long time.  Pondered my woodwork, that is.

I am willing to bet that if you look up the synonym for wasting time you will see the phrase "pondering the woodwork".

I would have written a poem about my woodwork but, as you know, nothing rhymes with orange.

So I pondered onward...

I spied the gardens through the windows.

"I really need to get out there," I muttered to myself.

Then I photographed my new French Louis XVI vitrine from Craigslist.

Then I whiled away some time on Pixlr again.

I cast a few furtive glances toward the yard.  It isn't going to water/weed/plant itself.
Twenty arborvitae...waiting.

Hold on!

I'll be right there!

Then I took a dramatic close-up shot of my Craigslist Louis XVI vitrine.

I know it's too full!

The key is stuck.

My stuff is trapped inside!

Here I sit.


My beautiful daughter padded downstairs a bit ago.

"Mom?" she queried.  "You're sitting down.  You never sit down."  

She stood there, incredulous for an entire 30 seconds.

"Who are you and what have you done with my mother?!" she demanded.

I tried to reply.

"It's so good to see you relaxing, Mom!" she continued.

I didn't mention my inner turmoil and guilt to her.  Why ruin the moment?

I should go outside.

This relaxation is killing me!



Participating in:

Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Am I fickle or what?  I bought my Montgolfier Hot Air Balloon chandelier because I thought it was the most awesome chandelier ever known to mankind!
Of course, I found it on Craigslist.
Alas!  It really does not work in the area I placed it!  You see, I originally wanted it for Gracie's play room but the ceilings are eight feet tall and the chandelier is four feet tall.
I wish I could find a spot for it.  Just looking at it makes me happy!  
Any ideas?

I hung it in the Breakfast Room.  However, it doesn't complement the grisaille panels I am installing in the adjacent secretary.  Well, if I ever finish that particular project!

Along came Craigslist and all my problems are solved!

Enter the Manoir Chandelier  from Canopy Designs!

Here it is in its original habitat:
People actually live like this!
When I googled the address before I went to pick this up on Craigslist I saw the real estate listing.  This home is in Chicago's Lincoln Park area.  It had a price tag of $3,000,000.  Yessir.  Three million dollars.  American currency.
As I was driving to pick up the chandelier I did the math in my head.  This gentleman could buy a substantial number of homes in my neighborhood and still have money left over!
I usual.

I am waiting for the electrician to come and hang this!
I will post a photo the very second he does!



Monday, October 14, 2013


I have no fond childhood memories of this place.

Altgeld Gardens is one of Chicago's many Housing Projects.  A cloister for the forlorn.

We lived there but it was never home. 

I suppose I may have looked forward to walking through that door once or twice.  However, there was no loving mother or father to greet my siblings and me.  No love to be found at all.

My mother would leave us for days on end.  My older sister would pull a cushion from the dingy couch and the four of us would huddle in the nest that it formed until she returned.

More often, however, we would be tied to our cots in a locked room until she came back, whispering sweet nothings and offering us fruit in plastic cups. We warmed ourselves around the oven in the kitchen and we basked in her fleeting attention.

We were grimy.  We had no clothes.  No shoes.

Sometimes we would escape and run to the playground, naked and dirty.  
Occasionally, a kind hearted person would leave scraps of white bread for us in the trash cans where we would scavenge.  I'm sure it was intentionally placed there, for it was set on newspaper on top of the cans.
We were certain it was left by Jesus Himself.

I met my first hero here.  A tall, lanky, black boy of about 14 years with an afro as big as the world!  He carried me home after I stepped on a burning cigarette butt with my bare feet while watching him play basketball with the other kids.
Whenever I come upon that scar on the heel of my foot I think of him.

Where are you now, my hero?

Altgeld Gardens, Chicago Housing Projects

I imagine there are happy tales that come out of the projects.   After all, a home does not solely consist of four walls.  Even as a child I knew that all it really took to make a home was love.

This was my backyard, where my beloved kitty died in my arms. My mother had been gone for days and kitty waited for us by the door after being hit by a car. I heard her crying but I could not escape my bonds.  I ran to the back door as soon as my mother arrived and released us but it was too late. I don't remember her name.  It keeps me awake some nights, trying to recall her name.

Then one day our mother left for good.

The Chicago police found us naked, tied to soiled cots.  What must they have thought of  our protruding bellies and emaciated limbs?  I remember the creak of their leather coats as they took them off and placed them on our frail, shivering, filthy bodies.
They even let us wear their hats.
I wish I could see them again, to thank them.  I have tried to find them to no avail.

We were placed in various foster homes around the city.  Sometimes with our siblings, other times alone.

The abuse that we endured in those places made life with our mother look like paradise in comparison. Malnourished bodies, broken bones, bloody noses and crushed spirits.  We lived in constant fear. 

 We soon discovered that sometimes people become foster parents merely for the money.

Dark days indeed.

I recall the first time I saw a book at the home of a foster parent; Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Match Girl.  It mesmerized me.  I could not read because we had not attended school but I studied the photographs.
 Determined to be a part of her world, I learned to read in earnest.

Books became my refuge.  The one constant in a life of tumult.  They became my home. 

When my husband and I bought our first home my first endeavor was to create a room for my dear friends.
Each room in my home bears resemblance to something I plucked from a fairytale or a book long ago.  If you look you will see the dining room from the Little Match Girl, the armoire from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, details from Alice InWonderland, even glimpses of Miss Havisham's home from Great Expectations and The Secret Garden among many others.

This particular room is not just an ordinary library!  This is where I go to visit with Charles Dickens, Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm and so many other beloved companions whose stories changed the course of my life.

This is where I sit with my precious daughter and introduce her to the artistry of words that have the magical ability to transform and heal.

I am eternally grateful for the life I have been given.  I wouldn't change a thing. This is where I belong.

I am home.



Saturday, October 12, 2013

Enlighten Me!

Most of you already know that I don't blog because I know what I am doing.  I blog because you do!

Once again, I need your advice...please!?

I am not certain as to whether I will paint the cabinet.  If I do, you know it's going to be gray, right? quandary has to do with the wings.  Are they to close?  Too far?  Too high?  Too low?  Too wing-y?
Maybe it's the Blackamoor sconces?  Are they too high?
Something just doesn't seem right.

The painting is six feet tall and the cabinet is about four feet, for a total of 10 feet.  I am trying to dazzle you with my mathematical skills since my decorating ability is questionable!

Please help!



Friday, October 11, 2013


In my last post I shared the Montgolfier chandelier in the Breakfast Room.  Though lovely, there was something about it that didn't feel congruous with the room.

So I did what I always do...
I became serenity challenged, unbalanced and a little restless.

Has this ever happened to you?

I feel it is my obligation to create an air of calm in our home environment and this...this mere chandelier was determined to threaten our harmonious existence!?

I think not.

Each time I passed I would scrutinize it...but not too obviously, lest it sense my vulnerability.

"Dost thou mock me, fixture?"

When I saw my chance I leapt with a stealth I had never before known!

I crept upon it when the lights were extinguished and I bound the miscreant with crystal embellishments!
Feverishly, I worked to tame the beastie who had taunted my waking moments and menaced my slumber! 

 I had vanquished the traitorous villain and returned our home to the halcyon days of yore!
It shall vex me no more!

Woe be unto the next rogue of scurrilous intent who dares to pass through these halls...

I am ready for you!

Whatever the threat, I shall emerge victorious!

This is what happens when I don't get enough sleep!

Hope you like the chandelier!



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Get Thee To Craigslist!

I admit it.  I have been hogging buying all the good stuff on Craigslist.  This has been previously established.
My deepest apologies to those who came after me...
Alas! My conscience can take no more!

Before you start to think I have come to this decision based on my selfless, giving, magnanimous nature I must reveal the truth.

I have everything that I need! Well, with a few exceptions.
I know it's difficult to believe, but I am done (ish).

Disclaimer:  Blogger reserves the right to change or modify the aforementioned statement at her sole discretion at any time. Any change or modification to the Terms will be effective immediately upon posting.  For any material changes to the Terms, Blogger will take reasonable steps to notify you of such changes.
(Just in case Blogger sees something Blogger didn't know she needed.)
Now that that's out of the way...

Please use this handy guide to help to navigate through the hallowed halls of the towering monolith that is Craigslist.  Most of us have Pemberley tastes on an Ikea budget but that needn't stop us!

Here is a sampling of recent Craigslist finds to inspire...

The Montgolfier hot-air ballon chandelier, the table, dining chairs, armoire, armchairs, Louis XVI parlor table, altar candlestick lamp...even the marble that is in the front, left side of the photo; all of these came from Craigslist.  The remainder came from ebay. Except for the cat toys scattered on the carpet.  Can you see them?  Can you see Atticus, our beloved black and white kitty?  Look behind the chair.  Hi Atticus!  Gosh, how I love that cat!  Such a little gentleman!

This French cabinet is almost five feet long and  four feet high.  See the raven-drawn pumpkin carriage that I made for Gracie last year?  The chairs came from Craigslist, as did the French brass candlesticks.
The cabinet is perfect for the entry!  I had the pier mirror- turned French trumeau there but I really wanted something that I could use to display seasonal decor.  
The pier trumeau now blocks off the front stairwell.  I like it there.  Handsome Husband says it can stay!  We have two staircases leading to the second story.  How many staircases do we need?  I mean, really?

The painting is almost six feet tall!  It is perfect in the foyer, with its 18 foot ceiling!
Handsome Husband bought the painting for me from a local shop after my daughter was born.  It is a reproduction, done in oil, of William-Adolphe Bouguereau's La Charite

I originally wanted to hang one of my large French pier mirrors over the chest but they are the kind of heavy that would make me neurotic. 
The kind of heavy that would make me worry day and night.
The kind of heavy that cannot and will not be  hanged hung installed on my walls. 

There are many ways to die.
  I will not accommodate any arrangement that risks a loved one being crushed by the massive weight, whilst simultaneously punctured by shards of antique mirror. 
But, honestly, what a way to go!
Seriously.  Have you seen those mirrors?

Everyone is gearing up for Halloween!
Craigslist mirror, painted with Annie Sloan Paris Grey and Dark Wax.

The chandeliers are finally hung hanged installed.  However, a few are from Europe and I am waiting on my socket adaptors from ebay.  The bulbs in Europe are a different size than in the States.  I had no idea how much it would cost to hang all 25 chandeliers! Well, it's worth the peace of mind to know it was done right!  
That's what I keep telling myself, anyhow.

With that kind of money we could have adopted this perfect angel and even fed her for a week or two!
This is Sadie, one of our recent transports!  I wish we could have kept her!

I am so pleased with the way the Library looks!
Sometimes, I go stand in the Library so when Gracie or Handsome Husband ask me where I am, I can say "I'm in the Library!" in a falsetto, fake British accent.
It's just something that I have wanted to do since I was a child.
It never gets old!

Guess who?

French chest from original Craigslist ad.  
I practically stalked the poor people who were selling it until I was certain they got my emails.
It was so inexpensive that I feel like I stole it!  I half expected police helicopters to hover overhead on the ride home!
I added escutcheons that I happened to have on hand (doesn't everyone?).

One of six French Walnut Cane Seated Fauteuils (foh-TAY'-yuh) from Craigslist.  I didn't need them but for $200 they came home with me!
Now what?
I have carried them into each and every room of my home and remain uninspired.  There just has to be a place for them!
I need a flow chart  Yes!   A flow chart!
All my problems would be solved if I had a flow chart!

Finally!  This chandelier has been waiting a long time to be hanged hung installed!

Here is her transformation...
The image on the far left is what she looked like on Craigslist.

Not sure if I like this chandelier hanging in the Breakfast Room.  
Now I want to trade it with the one in the Master Bedroom.
Ugh!  Make up your mind, Andie!

I have yet to install the grisaille ( gree-zah-yuh) panels and repaint the secretary.  So please stop asking, Betsy.
This has been a very good Summer to work on the gardens, so the inside had to wait.

I promise to take photos in the next few days! Wait until you see the potager!
I am sitting at this table at this very moment.  I think it's the first time I sat down all Summer!
So much more to share!

            In the coming days and weeks, be prepared to gasp in abject awe and admiration!



Sharing with Sherry, at No Minimalist Here, Open House Party Thursdays!

Pamela, at From My Front Porch to Yours, Treasure Hunt Thursdays!

Yvonne, at Stone Gable, Tutorials, Tips and Tidbits!

Kathryn at The Dedicated House, Make It Pretty Monday!

Courtney, at French Country Cottage, Feathered Nest Friday!

Cindy, at My Romantic Home, Show and Tell Friday!


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