Stay-At-Home! What Is It Good For?

Staying at home is good for finishing projects that got off to a great start but then languished incomplete due to waning interest.

Spray paint. More than 2 years and 7 months ago, I brought home some sad patio chairs that I intended to paint beige with teal straps. I did mange to paint one chair solid beige during the first week but then lost interest in going further. A week ago, I pulled out the three year old can of teal spray paint and finished the job. Sort of. There’s still one chair untouched.


Needlepoint. Many years ago maybe 6, I saw a beautiful English needlepoint kit on eBay that I had to have. I made a high bid on it but then went on a business trip. The auction closed while I was sitting at an airport gate and someone outbid me. I was crushed. And that is why 2 years ago, I saw the same kit, brand new, on eBay again. I was so happy and thankful that I got anther chance at it that I didn’t want to risk losing it again so I  paid the But It Now price. It arrived within days and then sat collecting dust while I alternately ignored and cursed over the work-in-progress I had already going on. Very few additional stitches but a lot of curses happened on the WIP until three weeks ago when I just bought another frame and and started work on the beloved. It’s fast going , is simple enough that I can hold conversations or follow a tv show in the background while I stitch. As you can see, I already have about 2 inches done across the top.


Doorway plants. This isn’t much to write home about yet – see me in about 3 months when it all fills out and it’s magnificent – but I never got the doorway plants right before. The entrance looks symmetrical but it’s not so I needed similar plantings in matching pots of different sizes. I think this is it. I don’t expect you to get all excited about this especially since I half-assesd it and worked around plants that survived sun and freeze in other locations.  The photo is noteworthy to show you a slice of my life that is hardly meaningful to anyone else but charms me every time. I put those blinds up on the sidelights of the door to block Stedman from licking the glass whenever anyone came to the door.  Or a car drove by. Or the mail truck pulled up. Now whenever the glass separates us, he lifts up a slat with his nose. I think he’s trying to see out but he never managed to actually get a look. Every time I come back from being out, I’m greeted by crooked blinds and a little black nose. It’s charming.



I’d like to be able to say that i fonsihed recovering the dining room chairs, or the chair in my oyster-painting studio, or the gold chair that I resprayed brown and now I need a new piece of fabric to cover over the hot pink zebra, but none of that has happened. Maybe I’ll get that all done during the stay at home order for Wu Flu Part 2.

You’d Be Better Off Just Taking A Wild Stab At It On Your Own.

Listen – I’m all for “The People” and everything but at some point, reason must prevail.

I was looking at a few videos to prepare myself for turning a very damaged Craigslist night stand into a golden luxury item but YouTube is not the place to prepare for such an activity.

My God. These people are idiots.

Not only should they be vetted before being allowed to post a DIY video but somebody better institute a suitability screening process before they can be allowed to even buy a can of spray paint.

That is all.

She Buys Sea Shells At The Online Store

Let me tell you something that you probably already know: in modern-day America it is extremely difficult to escape the siren call of a coastal decor theme.

I have succumbed. But in a tasteful, understated way (I think). I believe that for the most part, I have successfully avoided coastal kitch but still created a tranquil space reminiscent of the beach. I say “for the most part” because there are two things in this bedroom-turned-den/tv room that border on the questionable but really give me a lot of pleasure: the starfish finial on the curtain rod and the single, delicate string of starfish and shells that I hung up with the curtains.

this is still tasteful and understated, right?

I came by the curtain rod legitimately.  This is the smallest bedroom – 10 ft x 13 ft – and it was decorated for a pint-sized surfer dude and used as a baby nursery. The rod was left behind by the previous owners. In fact, they also left the same rod in white in one of the other bedrooms. I spray painted the bronze rod and hardware to a more compatible sand color but left the resin finals alone.

We planned on using this as a guest room but realized that would only work if there were no people or suitcases in it. The space between the edge of that mattress and the closet doors is only 12″.


For the whole time we’ve been here, we’ve called this room “the baby room”. Now we call it the “baby tv room”. We’re very clever! It’s a tiny informal hideaway for TV viewing, needle pointing and cocktail-ing when inclement weather stops us from going outside.

The photos of the new paint color look different in every shot because they were taken at different times of the day on several devices.

The Ikea love seat turned out to be a great thing. It was very easy and trouble-free to put together. Even putting the slip cover on was no big deal. Online reviews of this particular Ikea piece all made remarks about how putting the cover on was the hardest part of the job, but I guess most online reviews for Ikea things are done by the youngs who may have never met up with a slipcover before and are lacking real life experience about how slipcovers work.  That slip cover gives a very casual, summery feel to the place – perfect for the effect I am going for here. It’s impossible to get a clean shot of this room – it’s just too small.

Still a work in progress but these are the bones of it. I’m thinking of covering that black footstool with a burlap coffee bean bag.

There’s still work to be done before I can call this finished. I just can’t get that lamp color right – it’s been bronze, unintentionally silver, bright glossy white, iridescent pearly white and today its getting a shower of Rustoleum “Sand” gloss (same as the curtain rod). They all look wrong 😦 . I have to give the upholstery of that rocker a good scrubbing. It was one of Sami’s happy trash pile garbage day finds from several years ago and he wont give it up even though I have made it quite clear that IT IS SPOILING MY PERFECT ROOM. Ah, well the things we do for love – am I right, ladies?

Here’s what I used to accomplished a tranquil beachy/coastal feel without mermaids, seahorses, coral, surf boards or wooden signs that say things about sand between your toes :

  • a laid back color scheme of aqua, beige and white
  • curtains that have a white-on-white nautical rope design ( a happy coincidence – I bought these at Christmas Tree Shops last year because they were the only $10 pair in the store on the day I went).
  • a string of starfish and shells hung with the curtains that I got from a too-expensive online place that was on sale for an amazing $8.99. Nothing else in that shop is anywhere near that price, sale or not.
  • a $20.00 watercolor of dune fencing also from Christmas Tree Shops that I bought on impulse last year but never hung.
  • a hurricane glass with sea glass-ish beads from Joann Fabrics to hold the TV remotes.
  • place mats from Amazon made of sail cloth strips interwoven with twisted banana leaf  to tie together the odd bits of furniture.
  • a clearance-priced rattan tray from Hobby Lobby.
  • a ceramic pot in a basket weave pattern from Christmas Tree Shops.
  • a stretched out duck-like shore bird.

Note – if you don’t know Christmas Tree Shops, start now. It’s not a Christmas store, it’s a …. I don’t know. A store full of stuff you don’t need but cannot resist buying. It’s a chain that started in the northeast and NJ had several locations. The Jacksonville store (only 2 in Florida! where they’re known as andThat!) opened shortly after I moved here. It’s ~ 40 miles away from where I live, but I mange somehow [cough] to get there at least once a month. And I never walk-out empty handed.





Redecoratin’ 2: Bedroom Boogaloo

The race to have a guest room before the Christmas guests get here is on. Considering that it takes us an average of 5 weeks to get through a project, prospects look dim at the moment.

The room formerly known as “the little TV room” has been emptied out, stripped down and taped off and is ready for paint. I spent a long time looking for the perfect shade of cream to coat the walls of what I was planning to be a decor theme of “Quaint Cottage Style“. But when I looked at the accumulation of the things I’ve amassed so far, the theme has actually turned out to be “Looks Like It Came From Craigslist“. Which it did, more or less. Once I realized that, I was free to abandon the cream idea and go with Behr Country Linens for the wall color. (Look familiar?)

This room was the guest room before we bought the house.gb1

Once we got here, we turned it into a den-like TV room. It was roomy and comfortable and it was where I was set up to do my needlepoint. But the former baby room next door was too small to be a comfortable guest room, so we had to rethink. We sold the big comfy sofa last week, jammed the remaining stuff into the baby room temporarily and here we are today:


Time is short and we aren’t 25 anymore so the going will be slow. We’re aiming for painted walls, cleaned carpeting and a place to sleep by the time the first guests arrive.  The frills will have to come later.

Psych! I have plenty of frills all lined up and ready to be deployed. What do you think I’ve been doing all this time if not scouring Craigslist, the local Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace sites, second hand shops and antique centers? And by antique centers, I mean consignment shops where villains slop chalk paint onto good old wooden furniture. Here’s what I have so far:

  • an off-white federal style secretary. perfect as it is
  • a bamboo side chair which I was told came from a furniture sale at the nearby Ritz -Carlton resort. I believe it. It’s the most elegant thing in the room.
  • a badly damaged maple wood colonial night stand which I was planning to paint off-white but now I’m thinking metallic gold. Seriously.
  • a colonial head board. I want to tell you that it’s maple wood but it has a very plastic-y vibe to it. I don’t know.
  • an off-white wicker arm chair
  • a bridge lamp with a beaded shade.
  • a latex orchid in a marigold glass creamer.
  • a small braided rug basket to hold bottled water.
  • a small rectangular bamboo table in a dull gray. I might paint that metallic gold, too.
  • 3 (or 5) vintage Modern Orchid plates as wall decor.

So that’s a start. I need a wall clock, some art work and maybe another lamp. Oh, did I mention that I’ll be using the Modern Orchid lamp in that room?

How does it all sound? Like random Craiglist ads? I think it’s all going to come together very nicely.

I really do.

Who Among Us Doesn’t Like A Good Trash-To-Treasure Story?

I wish I could convey to you the mesmerizing sparkle of Rustoleum’s Metallic Vintage Copper Spray paint. You can get a hint of it in this photo but in person, its hypnotic. I think so anyway. Although my opinion might be influenced by the fumes.

This was a great Craigslist find. It’s got the retro design elements that I love, matches two steel mesh tables I already have (one painted the same; one still dull black and awaiting its turn to be sparkled) and it’s the right size for this corner. It does kind of spoil the quasi-mid century vibe I had going on out there but I am what I am and what I am is not a purist. You can see how rusty it was but you cant really tell that the back is not entirely straight and the top two shelves lean slightly forward. But for my purposes, it’s fine. And my purposes are to load it up with plants and tasteful accessories and a minimal amount of utilitarian objects.

When Sami saw the finished product , he thought the coloring was too dull and didn’t have enough contrast compared to the wall color. I had to remind him that my decorating strategy is to have a decor foundation as bland as possible so that when I inevitably go overboard with the doodads,  the base will fade way and the oddities will be showcased. And then I begged him to stop me from putting things on the shelves for at least a week so the many layers of primer and top coat can properly cure.


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This is only what I couldn’t help accumulating in only 2 days. I have two more Talavera planters to add and some nice little battery operated tealights and 3″ tall mason jars to put them into. It was all I could do to hold back from buying a few mini-gnomes but I did manage to resist that impulse. Somewhere along the line, I have to fit in a wire basket of suntan lotion and bug sprays, plus a waterproof container for the outdoor ceiling fan remote control. Maybe I can hide those behind a chicken.