Showing posts with label living room. Show all posts
Showing posts with label living room. Show all posts

Friday, November 16, 2012

I missed bloomsday and probably your birthday

So I missed garden bloggers' bloom day, even though I still have things blooming in my garden. I have been incredibly distracted lately, flitting from one thing to the next.

I'm hosting Thanksgiving, so I'm in full-on house-crazy mode. A couple of years ago I decided to install a range hood and patch the hole in my kitchen ceiling right before Thanksgiving. Lately I've been obsessing over decor in the living room, as if anyone is going to notice any of that. People will notice whether the turkey was dry or if we ran out of wine.

If we're being honest, having enough wine means no one notices the turkey.

My brain tends to home in on one thing, as if THAT'S the reason I can't [fill in the achievement]. Of course I didn't get a raise! How could I when my living room mantel is such a mess? Thanksgiving will be a disaster if I don't repaint the front door! Nevermind that I haven't answered emails all week, many of them ABOUT THANKSGIVING, that door! That door.

That mantel.

Last weekend I didn't really feel like working in the garden but I had 200 bulbs to plant. So I got out there and it turned out to be one of my favorite types of day for gardening. It was cold and brisk but I could get by with just a sweatshirt. I planted crocuses, camassia in the rain garden, tulips and alliums in the lab, and daffodils under the coreopsis. I'm hoping the coreopsis will hide the dying foliage of the daffs but I'm skeptical of my placement.

I also moved and removed a lot of plants. My Phylica pubescens that I was so excited about? I killed it. I don't feel so bad since there was a vigorous conversation about this plant on Scott's Facebook page.

I hate that plant! It dies if you look at it wrong!
You can't under-water it. But you also can't over-water it. Or it will die.
That plant drinks all the milk and then puts the empty carton back in the fridge.
Don't look at it, period. Or it will die. 
Phylica pubescens watches you while you sleep.

At least I'm in good company. I swapped it out for some of my cannas. I swapped those cannas out for some different cannas from the backyard. Clear as mud? Moving on!

I thought I ordered three New Zealand wind grasses last spring. I actually ordered three New Zealand sedges. They are fine sedges but they don't have the height and color I wanted for this area.

I moved two to the berm but I suspect I'll rip them out, come spring.

I'd write more but I need to sand that chemical burn out of the coffee table or Greg will never marry me. Happy Friday, happy bloom day!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Much better

Our dining room is kind of a mess. When Greg moved in we put his dresser in our bedroom and transferred mine to the dining room where it served as a buffet. It worked great for storing table linens and big bowls, but it couldn't store any of our alcohol out of site. 

We already have a lot of bottles of random stuff that we rarely use but might need for cocktails down the line. Then our friends moved to India and left their bar supplies with us, so we suddenly looked like full blown alcoholics. You can sort of see that in these two photos, which show the state of our dining room on a daily basis. Computers! Shoes! Cans of paint for no reason!

Boxes! More paint! Oh my god.

Enter the new bar storage and my attempt to style a shot.

I found this deco-styled buffet on craigslist for $100. I waited and watched and the price dropped to $80 and, miracle of miracles, Greg actually liked it. Guys, we never agree on furniture. Ever.

I want to replace the hardware, but otherwise it's exactly what we need. All of the extraneous bottles got tucked underneath and we can keep just a couple of bottles handy up top. I know, the carpet is fabulous. Someday that will go away.

Then my dresser could go where I really wanted it: in the living room. Previously we had a mid-century style corner table and a cheap pressboard TV stand.


Ignoring the fact that I'm still waiting on the delivery of the last rod for the left-hand window, this is making me like the curtains I made much more. They don't take center stage, they provide some contrast and texture, and they don't offend me. I also hung Enje blinds from Ikea, which give the room a wonderful gauzy light during the day.

I know the TV is awful. We only watch it if people come over for a movie night, or I'd huck it. I prefer to watch TV in bed, like a fat, lazy American.

One! million! pillows!

Now I just need a big-ass farmhouse style table for the dining room, some curtains (*sigh*), and to refinish the floors and maybe I'll be happy with that room. It'll still look like a tornado hit it, but it will be a stylish tornado.

Dream table, from Restoration Hardware

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to make your own French-Belgian linen drapes

Well, the curtains are done.


If you'd like to make your own version of CB2's French-Belgian linen panels you just have to follow a few easy steps.

First, fall in love with an expensive fabric. The hallmark of a good sewing project is thinking you're going to save money by making it yourself, then spending a TON of money and wondering if you should have hired child laborers instead (kids with ADD can sew a straighter seam than me). I chose a Tencel "linen-look" fabric that drapes beautifully and can be dyed.

Next, cut off eight foot lengths from your bolt of fabric. Don't vacuum or swiffer the floors first. You want the fabric to catch as much dust and hair as possible. Ideally you should be muttering, "Oh my god, what is wrong with me?" every couple of minutes.

Starch and iron all your edges. The rolled hem foot on the sewing machine is a bitch to use and if all the stars are not aligned correctly everything will go to hell and you'll be ripping out stitches for hours. A crisp fabric really helps in this case. Practice using your rolled hem foot until you feel confident using it. I bought a smaller piece of my fabric and sewed the edge, cut it off, then sewed it again and again and again, for what seemed like forever.

Start sewing on your real fabric. So far so good.

Oh my god, what is wrong with me? Son of a . . . bitch . . . shit. I hate the rolled hem foot.

Rip out the seams and redo it when this happens. Start to wonder if it wouldn't be faster to use a regular foot, even with all the pressing you'd need to do. Run your finished panels through the washing machine before hemming the bottom, just in case they shrink (pros do this before they ever start sewing but I have issues). Notice that a lot of your seams now look like hell when they seemed just fine pre-washing.

What is wrong with with my rolled hem foot? Blerg.

Spend an exorbitant amount of time at JC Penney (sorry, JCP) trying to special order the stupid corner bracket for your curtain rods. They have a new system and the clerk is 1000 years old (but nice! so nice!). Pull up the part on your phone and show her, as you realize that you could've just ordered online, in your pajamas no less, and saved everyone the headache.

Wait for freaking EVER for your hardware to arrive. Learn that JC Penney screwed up charging your gift card twice, so your order never shipped. Also, they processed the order under the name "Haether."

Hem your panels. You'd think by this point you could reasonably sew with your rolled hem foot but YOU ARE WRONG. Decide that the lack of overhead light in the living room is probably a good thing.

Hang up your panels with simple clip rings and realize that you can't really see the shitty hems, so maybe everything's gonna be okay. And you know what? They do vaguely resemble the inspiration panels.

Congrats! When they are closed they look like you spent a lot of time and money to hang white bedsheets.

Also, you screwed up the length.

So. Greg thinks they need some color and I'm worried about the sun bleaching any color we put in them, which is why I wanted white curtains in the first place. We're going to live with them for a while and I'm going to get more Ikea Enje blinds so I can get rid of the current situation:

This attractive option was installed by the house stager from my reveal. She was *so* worried I'd peek at the room that she posted signs everywhere and glued (OH, SO MUCH GLUE) those awful looking blind inserts into the window casing.

And then she emailed me, admonishing over and over not to peek. My friend told me I should peek, just to spite her, but I am a rule follower. I didn't peek. And I didn't remove those god-awful blinds until now.

I have a couple of options now. The first, to dye the curtains navy. We have a lot of blue in the room currently.

Second: dip dye the bottoms dark blue. The blue wouldn't bleach out because it would fall below the window. This is on-trend right now but it will eventually go out of style. Of course, if that happens I can just dye them navy at that point.

It might look something like this.

Or this.

So I guess the last step in making these panels is crippling self-doubt. Tada! Any opinions are greatly appreciated.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Curtain prototype is done

Last year I found the perfect mid-century pinch-pleat draperies at JC Penney. Pam at Retro Renovation said her readers found them to be a good source. At Christmas my parents gave me a gift certificate to JC Penney for so I could buy some . . . and JCP immediately stopped producing the style/color/length I needed.

Image from Retro Renovation

So I've been buying (and returning) curtains left and right, trying to find something I liked. Then I saw this post on Emily Henderson's site about where to find cheap but good curtains. I liked these "French-Belgian linen panels," but at $60 a pop I'd need to spend $600 just in the living room.

I am so sorry for these terrible photos. Do you know how hard it is to photograph a window with natural light streaming through? I picked up some "linen-look" tencel fabric, which is dyable, and used a rolled hem foot to zip a 3mm hem around all four sides. The real deal will be a floor-length panel with a more substantial curtain rod.

I have an Ikea Enje blind behind it, which is wonderful during the day but it provides zero privacy at night. I wonder if all the people who have installed Enjes in their house realize this? Wait for the sun to go down, turn on your lights, then step outside and see your life on display.

So now I start the laborious process of doing the prep work for a bunch of panels. The fabric is so thin and malleable that it has to be starched and ironed (and any stray threads trimmed) before running it through the rolled hem foot on my sewing machine. My hope is to get one panel prepped after work each night, then sew like crazy this weekend and get them hung. I figure that gives JC Penney enough time to magically start producing the pinch-pleat draperies I wanted in the first place.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The freakshow bulb keeps giving

I loved this freakshow bulb in health.

Allium schubertii

And I love it in death, too.

Greg doesn't seem to care for it but I'm going to keep loving it until terrifying bugs hatch out of it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Update on the living room

I still need to switch out the lamp and figure out window coverings and sew new throw pillows, but the living room is starting to feel like a real room again.

Just a reminder of what it looked like before:

And the huge cracked mirror behind the artwork on the mantle . . .

 . . . which we had to dismantle . . .

We know the mirror wasn't original to the house because it was stamped with "April '52" all over the back.

Spackle, spackle, paint, paint, paint! Swap in the boy's couch for mine and grab the painting from the dining room.

My grandma was stoked to see her clock over the mantle.

I found this label in the attic when Greg and I tried to fix the noisy bathroom fan.

The last mention of the Albina Shingle Company in The Oregonian was on May 3, 1946 when the  factory burned down. So I think that label dates from pretty close to when the house was built in 1938. It very likely came in the package with the original roof.

The view from the dining room.

Of course, these didn't go anywhere. I will not apologize for my Battlestar Galactica prints.

What do you think? Are my modern pieces playing well with the boy's traditional couch or do I need to kick him out?

Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm slowly making progress

The living room is starting to look less like a construction site.

The rug is Sakura from West Elm.  Window coverings as vexing me more than I should let them.  More on that later. 

Do we like?  The white fireplace looks alright, ya?