Monthly Archives: April 2013

Martha’s At JCP!

Who among us still reads the Sunday paper?

Just wondering, because our Parade magazine this week had a

cover story on Martha Stewart.

martha - parade

She’s written a new book about aging for baby boomers, which is nice + all . . .

. . . but what really piqued my interest was that she’s got stuff at JCP!

martha JCP logo

JC-what?  You ask?

Penneys is now JCP!

They have totally revamped themselves, + so far, I’m digging the changes.

Everything’s preppy , trendy + positively J. Crew-esque!

 — at great prices!

But Martha + JCP?

I haven’t been this excited since Martha was at K-Mart . . .

martha + k-mart logo

. . . or when the old Penneys + Ralph Lauren teamed up

with that awesome American Living collection!

american living

I took a little trip through JCP online this morning,

just to see what’s what.

Martha’s got custom natural shades (yes, please!)

martha shade edge banding

+ voile* floor-length sheers

(*meaning no pesky polyester sheen!)

martha sheers pinch-pleat

Just the treatment I had in mind for the

living room windows

 of our Dutch colonial!

This room is my inspiration:

black room w. desk

Look how the golden wood tones
‘pop’ against those dark gray walls!

 Look at the golden wood tones of Martha’s ‘cinnamon’ shade!

martha shade sample -- cinnamon

They, too, would pop against dark gray walls!

Cinnamon is but one of dozens of choices

for Martha’s natural shades.

They’re also available edged with

either a 2″ or 1″ wide banding ,

in your choice of colors:

martha shade banding

The banding makes the shades
look more expensive!

For my sheers, I have choices, too!

martha sheer grommet top

Plain Jane solids . . .

. . . or something  with a pattern!

. . . or something
with a pattern!


Well, THAT was fun!  Methinks I’ll gas up the car + head to a JCP store,

to see all of this good stuff in person!

Our Garage Gets Its Makeover

Today our garage gets a new roof!

G.O. spent the past several days prepping things . . .


. . . with new wood replacing rotten wood + nailing down roof paper.

We’ll be siding the house with Sterling gray on the 1st story,

with a darker Flagstone gray on the 2nd story gables,

similar to this house:

Speaking of inspirations,  this is our  garage's . . .

Speaking of inspirations,
this^^ is our
garage’s . . .

. . . + we've chosen board + batten  (in white)  from Certainteed.

. . . + we’ve chosen board + batten
(in white)
from Certainteed.

I worried about vinyl board + batten’s looking + feeling cheapie

or screaming “PLASTIC!”, God forbid.

We investigated at our local build-o-rama,

+ it was really heavy and “real-looking”!

SO, while G.O. was busy working on our roof . . .

SO, while G.O. was busy working on our roof . . .

. . .  I kept MY nose to the house grindstone, here at home,

shopping online for garage light fixtures!

Here’s my absolute favorite:

$169.91  Budapest Lampsplus


I know! — hubba hubba, right?

But that price!  We’re going to need 4 of them,

+ sadly, 4 x $169.91 is a tad over our garage lighting budget!

My quest, then, is to find something equally groovy

but at a lower price point.

Galvanized, check! $30 each from Home Depot

Galvanized, check!
$30 each
from Home Depot

I really do like this ^^ one.  It’s a plain Jane lantern,

which is right up my lighting alley.

It’s got the rustic galvanized metal, which I love.

My thoughts are to ramp up its awesome-ness

by springing for Edison light bulbs — LOVE!

$15 Schoolhouse Electric Co.

Schoolhouse Electric Co.

Quick: somebody multiply $15 bulbs x 4 light fixtures!

 J/K! — that’s why God gave us calculators!

Anyway, back to the light fixture choicee:

here’s something that’s more similar, in style, to my favorite, too-spendy light:

Hampton Bay  outdoor cottage lantern $29 from Home Depot

Hampton Bay
outdoor cottage lantern
$29 from Home Depot

What say ye?  I think it’s almost as cool as its $169.91 inspiration,

but I’m a little leary of the shiny nickel finish.

I prefer the more rustic galvanized metal of the other 2 finalists:

But wait!

Surely we could do something to tone down the nickel finish sheen, no?

As luck would have it, one of my favorite bloggers

— the guys from The Cavender Diary —

just posted about their own metal do-over project!



Something about spritzing with bleach.  Read for yourself:

? ? ?

I guess this means I need to investigate adding patina to the pesky shiny metal.

Then it’s time for me to make up my mind, already,

+ place an online order!

Is anyone going to help me by choosing between substitute #1 and #2?

New Laundry Stuff At Crate + Barrel

Do you know what’s fun?

1. Shopping.

2. Having your friend shop + report back with news of something you’d love.


Free shipping!

Who knew, Crate + Barrel?!?

My friend, Alan, knew . . .

Kay, Chloe + Alan, in front of his late, great Chicago store, Patina.

Kay, Chloe + Alan,
in front of his late, great Chicago antiques store,

. . . + he e-mailed me with the heads up!

OMG!  I’m all over these

  commerical-grade sorting bins,

featuring the Steele factory stenciled logo dating from 1921.

I was ready to splurge

 + order myself the small square one . . .


Free shipping!

. . . but then I realized that my “laundry room” doesn’t look like THIS laundry room (from Pinterest):

. . . when I realized my laundry room isn't this laundry room!

Nice upper cabs, vintage sink,
wicker hamper, striped rug, etc.

Or any of these, sadly (more Pinterest):

All those cupboards -- some open, some with glass doors, that sawbuck table + topiary!

The cupboards —
some with glass doors + others without,
that sawbuck table + topiary!

Vintage-style sink, baskets + that sconce!

Vintage-style sink,
+ that sconce!

Sarah Richardson!

Sarah Richardson!
Loving the glass canisters
+ the metal tray with cleaning supplies!

And now, my favorite:

That sink, the gray wainscoting, those watering cans, the plants!

That sink, the ceiling beam,
the gray wainscoting,
the watering cans + plants!

Our laundry room, in fact, is a former small kitchen pantry,

into which an apartment-sized stackable washer + dryer set has been shoe-horned.

All is not lost — I can still add some Crate + Barrel grooviness to our laundry pantry:

I'd like to buy this + kick my plastic laundry basket to the curb!  $34.95

I’d like to buy this
+ kick my plastic laundry basket
to the curb! $34.95

Vintage packaging rules my world!

Vintage packaging rules my world!

Crate + Barrel's new Laundress line of products -- awesome!

Crate + Barrel’s new Laundress line of products — awesome!

This is adorable @ $29.95, but you can find cuter vintage ones.

This is adorable @ $29.95, but you can find cuter vintage ones.

And finally, while not technically a laundry accesory, I am crazy for this cool, red metal dust pan!


Vintage style + red metal = happy me,

Garage Hopes + Dreams

Yesterday a.m. G.O. went to our fixer upper, as usual.

As you may know, we’ve been in demo mode, inside . . .

Are words necessary here?  I think not!

Our very, very naughty ‘before’ bathroom.

. . . so I was a little surprised when he came home for lunch

+ announced that he had spent the a.m. tackling the garage roof!



I just switched from house re-do mode to garage re-do.

Look at the inspiration I found:

Vertical board + batten siding from Certainteed.

Vertical board + batten siding from Certainteed.

For our garage, I want vertical board + batten siding like you see here ^^

 . . . in white, please, like this:

Nothing says cottage quite like board + batten siding!

Nothing says cottage quite like board + batten siding!

Look closely, + you will see the highly-coveted garage door arbor

(or is that a pergola?)

I dunno.



No garage door should exist without one . . .

. . . + every single one would have something climbing + flowering on it, like this:

What's prettier than the blue flowers of morning glories?  Nothing!

What’s prettier than the blue flowers of morning glories? Nothing!

But wait!

I also think all garage doors should be a color.

I think the dark door 'pops'.

I think the dark door ‘pops’.

Our door may be 1 of the 2 siding colors I have chosen for our Dutch colonial house re-do.

Remember, the garage will be white + cottage-y!

Sterling gray from Certainteed.  This will be the first story of our Dutch colonial.

Sterling gray from Certainteed.
This will be the 1st story of our Dutch colonial.

Flagstone gray, which will be on our house's 2nd story exterior.

Flagstone gray,
which will be on our house’s 2nd story exterior,
hopefully in shingles if our budget allows.

Of course, I can’t decide, because that’s how I roll.

But wait!

Another ‘must-have’ for the garage would be

your roof spire, like this:

Kay's arbor + roof spire.

Kay’s tan door, brown arbor + roof spire.

If you want your own cool roof spire . . .

. . . a fab antiques store in my former town has a really nice + very affordable one!

I blogged about the shop last month:

Call Karen Tucker @ 815.440.4931 + ask her to set it aside for you!

Artifacts Antique. Art. Accents. 221 W. Washington St. Oregon, Illinois

Artifacts Antique. Art. Accents.
221 W. Washington St.
Oregon, Illinois

Now the exterior lights!

I’m going to insist on something industrial to flank our garage door.

What say ye?

Barnlight Electric Co.

The Original Warehouse Gooseneck
from Barnhouse Electric Co.

The gray of the galvanized metal would complement my gray garage doors.

People.  This company has the most fabulous light fixtures.

Their motto is ‘Where Vintage + Modern Collide’ . . .

. . . I love it!

Anyway, here are more light fixtures in my most favorite color, ever . . .

Sydney gooseneck. $284  :-O

Sydney gooseneck.
$284 :-O

Sinclair 12" gooseneck.

Sinclair 12″ gooseneck.
Oops. Didn’t get the price.

Esso 10" gooseneck

Esso 10″ gooseneck
Darn, forgot to get the price.

Pretty cool, no?  Well, feast your eyes on the light fixture I really, really want:

Seaside radial wave 12" gooseneck.

Seaside radial wave 12″ gooseneck
$237 each. :-O

I’ve always thought that red is a great accent color when one has a gray house.

My very 1st house sported that color scheme!

I think it’s time for the sequel!

Are 2 Light Fixtures Better than 1?

I love staring at Pinterest in the morning!

Today’s inspirational fun involves dining room light fixtures.

I noticed that people are hanging 2 lights over the table, instead of the usual 1.

dining room light drums

Nobody loves a drum shade more than I do.

Nobody loves navy blue ticking stripe more than I do.

dining room ticking drumsdining room ticking drums

I wonder how a pair of these beauties would look, hanging over our pine farmhouse table!

Kay's house

Our table — the pine is from an old structure in Manchester, Englad.

Blue ticking drum shades are of the modern-meets-granny persuasion, don’t you think?

I like to describe my decor as such.

Speaking of which, here’s a stunning modern/granny/industrial dining room:

dining room light tin

It’s all good, but I think I’m most smitten with that cabinet!

NO, I don’t have it, but I do have a close runner-up . . .

 . . . my 20’s-era postal sorter!

P is for postal sorter

A quarrel ensued when I told G.O. this was going in our house!

I think I paid $75 for this, way back in ’91 when I had my first retail shop . . .

. . .  Heart-in-Hand, in my then-hometown of Oregon, Illinois

(about 2 hours straight west of Chicago).

I stayed up til the wee hours, stenciling that sign!

I stayed up til the wee hours, stenciling that sign!

But I digress.

What I am saying is: that postal sorter is definitely moving with us to the Dutch colonial.

Now all I have to do is decide whether it will be in our living or dining room.

Today my vote would go to the dining room.

Stay tuned!

No ‘Before’ Photos — The Sequel!

Somehow, we failed to take any before snapshots of our most recent past house re-do . . .


20’s brick bungalow, tricked out for the yuletide.

. . . so THIS time, we vowed to do better.

30's Dutch colonial, 'before'.

30’s Dutch colonial, ‘before’.


In our very first interior demo, our kitchen,

we missed the ‘before’ photo ops!

We did manage to get ONE picture of the last upper cabinets going away:

Bye bye cabinets!

Bye bye cabinets!

So, were lessons learned, you ask?  Sadly, no!

Our second demo of this project — the bathroom — suffered the same fate, photo-wise!

Camera M.I.A.

We did pick up the ball  mid-way through the demo:

Are words necessary here?  I think not!

Are words necessary here? I think not!

Just imagine one of those bad 70’s fiberglass tub + shower surrounds,

totally obscuring that window.


Can you believe it!?   The peeps next door did the same thing!

Just feast your eyes on the remudel:

Why?  People?  Why?

Why? People? Why?

Oh, look!  A cat!

Oh, look! A cat!

But I digress.  Here’s one more bad ‘before’ of our bathroom:

'Nice' paint job on that cast iron pipe.

‘Nice’ paint job on that cast iron pipe.

The wall bump-out next to that cast iron pipe is an obsolete brick chimney . . .

IMG_0521(1). . . . + I’m considering whether or not to keep the exposed brick.

I have OCD, though, + can’t decide.

Anybody have thoughts?

Stay tuned

Etsy Shopping Spree

I love etsy!

It’s an online site where people can sell their handmade + vintage stuff.

Trust me, it rocks, + you need to go to there, now.

etsy banner

I opened my own etsy shop a few years ago

+ sell my own hand-stenciled pillows:

 When it comes to etsy, I think I like buying even more than selling!!

Just this morning I bought this awesome letterpress card for my grandlad’s April birthday:

etsy card 8

Man vs. George Design on etsy

I know!!  Isn’t it cool?  I’m a huge fan of letterpress anything + numbers!

    Here’s hoping my grandlad will be somewhat impressed (no pun intended).

He’s actually been antiquing with us a few times.

He asked for + received the following:

a compass

a vintage metal toy airplane to hang from the ceiling in his room.

(HIS idea — honest!)

Since we’ve got ourselves a budding antiquer,

I think I’ll order this book for one of his birthday gifts:

american pickers

And yes, I am ‘THAT grandma’!

And yes, I am Facebook friends with Mike Wolfe!

BUT, once again, I digress.

My etsy shopping spree continued!

Since we’ll be moving soon-ish, I ordered us this custom-made rubber stamp:

etsy OK return addy stamp myclearstamps

  I asked the etsy seller if I could have an ‘OK’ monogram . . .

 . . . which is my ‘kooky fun’ thing to do with G.O.’s name + mine.

Get it?  O + K?

But wait!

I ordered yet another custom rubber stamp from an etsy seller, MJ’s art stamps.

They call this their ‘newspaper typewriter’ design.

Within hours of my request, they sent me a couple proofs:

etsy rubber stampI love it — it’s simple, rustic, vintage-style + looks handmade . . .

. . . which I think is a good match for my pillowmaking business.

When my stamp arrives, I shall stamp some of these red tags with black ink:

Artecrafts on etsy

Artecrafts on etsy

 I’ll add a little baker’s twine just because it’s cool + comes in the correct color:

etsy red twine

And voila!  I think I’ll have a unique, eye-catching business card!

Thanks for tagging along with me on my etsy shopping spree.

How about you?  Do you shop there?

Window World + Welcome To It

Today G.O. is headed to Home Depot

to order the 1st of our replacement windows.

We’re using this brand:

High quality

High quality

Disclaimer:  I know SOME of us consider vinyl windows to be a faux pas,

but our budget is quite modest, as is our new neighborhood . . .

beverly hillbillies

. . . which is NOT here.

Please don’t judge.

Or go ahead . . . I know I would!  😉

But I digress.

 I recently blogged about window sashes + my love of the colored ones:

People, the color choices are nearly endless!


Here we have Hunter green in action.

Here we have Hunter green in action.

Perhaps you’ll recall  my saying I liked red sashes

with our gray + white exterior plans:

Medium gray + darker gray + white trim + red window sashes.

If not red — black would be equally awesome.


I see a red door + I want it painted black.  No color any more . . .

I see a red door + I want it painted black. No color any more . . .

Yes, I had this LP when I was in high school,

+ yes, this song will be stuck in  my head all day . . .

. . . and yours, too.

But I digress.

It’s twue! —  black window sashes DO look fantastic on a gray house!

This is one of my favorite blogs.

But the harsh reality is that colored sashes are 2 X’s as spendy as white ones . . . and besides, the American Craftsman windows we can afford aren’t even available in colors!

Only white or beige!

We will compromise + choose white, + I’m sure they will look great + not boring at all!

But wait.  All is not lost.  There are grille choices!

High profile grilles inside + out -- looks more authentic.First up, I’m insisting upon getting these ^^ high-profile grilles on both the inside and exterior.

Looks more authentic than the flatties between the glass.

And for the grille pattern?  Here’s our  winner + first runner-up:

window grill -- farmhouse with 2 stripes

Farmhouse, which we considered . . . .

window grill -- farmhouse

. . . . and Estate, which is what we chose.

So I’m happy that our windows, while vinyl + white,

will look cool because of their on-trend, period-appropriate grilles.

Stay tuned; I’ll need your approval, after all.  😉

Kitchen Reno Has Begun

Game 1 day of the '11 World Series.  We won.

Game 1 day of the ’11 World Series. We won.

We bought our current fixer-upper — a 20’s-era brick bungalow — in the autumn of ’06.

Fun factoid: our Cardinals emerged victorious in the World Series that year.  See also: ^^ flag.

But I digress.

This is hard to believe, because I’m all about the snapshot, but we took ZERO ‘before’ photos of this house.

How’s that possible?!?

That’s sad, because the ‘befores’ + ‘afters’ would have been pretty dramatic.

SO, we vowed to do things differently in or current re-do, but whoops!  — turns out we didn’t take any ‘befores’ of our gross kitchen! . . .

. . . just a few ‘in progress’ pictures:


There’s our neighbor, Bob, lending a hand. Hi, Bob.

Looks like those ^^  are the very last cabinets to go.

IMG_0485(1)Sure wish I could show you the naughty penninsula with cabinets above it, but you’ll have to trust me: they were awful!

And now, they’re gone, as are the suspended ceiling + part of the soffits.

SO, since we were finally able to take some measurements . . . last p.m. we took a trip to + designed our kitchen cabs.

It was a LOT of math but still super fun.

I’ve not yet decided on the style + color of the cabs — maybe we’ll just go all white.

I HAVE decided on hanging Roman shades for the kitchen windows, + this a.m. I’ve been online shopping for said-same!

More fun!

There's G.O., toiling away.

The single window to the left will be doubled to 2 side-by-side,
which means we need 3 shades.

Here’s what I’m liking so far — from Pottery Barn (of course!)

roman shade - gray ribbon

Grosgrain ribbon cordless Roman shade
Sale $189 – $249

Like just about everybody these days, I’m using lots of gray in my decor, so these ^^ grosgrain ribbon-trimmed pretties would work.

The colors are right, but I’m wanting some sort of print for the kitchen.  Maybe these will head to the living room.

roman grosgrain ribbon in room

These might be a tad too formal for me.
If I have doubts about stuff, that usually means ‘no-go’.

But wait! — there’s more!

roman shade - narrow red stripes

Mini Stripe Cordless Roman Shades
Sale $119 – $144.99

Hello, gorgeous!  I can’t resist a Frenchie stripe, I need to add pattern, + I love this ^^.

People.  I think that you can order the fabric by the yard!

This means pillows, + lots of ’em!

Since kitchens usually don’t need pillows, maybe I’ll use these in the bedroom, instead, as we have a yummy Ralph Lauren red coverlet.

Love it.  Got it at HomeGoods.  Photos soon.

roman shade - blue Frenchie stripes

Riviera Stripe Cordless Shade

Oh, dear.  I love this ^^, of course.

Pale blue is just about my favorite color!  I want a pale blue beadboard ceiling in our kitchen, so maybe these would go.

Whatevah.  I think I should order the shades that are on sale before they’re gone.

Same goes for some kitchen lighting from Pottery Barn.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ !

Stay tuned!

Dining Room Dilema

Today we will sign the papers for our Dutch colonial foreclosure.  Let’s have another look-see, shall we?

Dutch Colonial "before".

Dutch Colonial “before”.

Of course, it’s homely now . . . that horrid white siding, the ill-conceived enclosed porch, those naughty overgrown shrubs in front.

 What I envision, instead, will be something like this:

Must haves: 2nd story switch of siding color + charming porch like this.

Must haves: 2nd story switch of siding color + charming porch like this. Wish we could spring for the contrasting window sashes, but $$$.

My choice of siding colors will be a medium gray with a darker gray 2nd story, with lots of white trim.  YUM!

In fact, I’ve sketched out said-same for your perusal:

Medium gray + darker gray + white trim + red window sashes.

Seriously. Gray houses ‘call’ for red window sashes, am I right?

I don’t know about you, but to me, contrasting window sashes ‘make’ a home’s curb appeal.

They pop + they look very vintage, methinks.  We’ve comparison shopped already, + here are the sad facts:

white replacement windows @ $200 each

red replacement windows @ $400 each.

No can do, unless I start sewing pillows 24 hours a day!

^^ Here’s my source of income, if you don’t count G.O. ^^

More of the 2nd story change of siding + color.

More of the 2nd story change of siding + color.

What's prettier than a Dutch colonial done right?

What’s prettier than a Dutch colonial done right?

Of course, I’d love it if our first chore would be sprucing up that exterior — so that all the passersby can see.

Sadly, however,  G.O. has already told me the exterior is not a priority + might not be tackled this summer!

What the WHAT?!  People will think we LIKE it this way?!?

Okay, then.  No problem.  I’ve already redone the interior in my head.

Let’s have a look-see at one of my favorites for our dining room.  Since I love catalog shopping, today’s happiness comes from West Elm:

Seriously.  Gray felt drum shade light fixture.

Seriously. Gray felt drum shade light fixture! Beautiful! Unique! No longer available!

Major hubba hubba on the gray felt drumshade for over our dining room table — no?  Well, actually, it IS no.

 West Elm doesn’t carry their products for very long — + this one’s sold out!

Listen + learn from my tragedy:  if you see something that you like, get it NOW.

Anyway, after my gray felt heartbreak, my 2nd choice might be this linen one . . .

Love it but not getting it.  Too bland.

Love it but not getting it. Too bland. $149.

. . . or not.

SO.  Here’s the West Elm dining room light fixture that I really wanted, all along:

Mercury glass.  $395.

Mercury glass. $395.

big light 2

big light

No one loves the mercury glass more than I do.  No one.

That means it’s a must-buy in my little world.  Today.  Immediately after we sign the papers + get those keys!

And one more thing — please view my large, gray sorter, for which I paid a mere $50, circa 1990:

Purchased for $50, circa 1990.

It’s that groovy gray sorter that’s against the wall. I originally bought it for my then-store, Heart-in-Hand in Oregon, Illinois.

It currently is residing inside a cool store here:

This is the sorter that I could not decide to sell or to put in our new dining room.  Is it too weird?  I asked myself!

Well, NO, it’s NOT — I concluded, just after  I gazed upon Ellen DeGeneres’ sorter in the current issue of Elle Decor magazine.  Check it out:

I love the way this has been staged + hope to do something equally wonderful with my sorter.

I love the way this has been staged + hope to do something equally wonderful with my sorter.

I blogged about this just yesterday:


Thanks for viewing + stay tuned!



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