It’s Gonna Be a BLUE Christmas

Hi . . . How are you?

I’m blue.

Well . . . at least my 2018 Christmas look is.

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Three factors determined our holiday decor this year.

  1. Low energy & ambition .
  2. Della
  3. Quick thrift trip

The last half of this year has been a circus of doctors, surgeons, hospitals and appointments, which has put energy levels, ambition and creativity on a constant roller coaster ride.  Things are much improved but still not up to par.

When Hubs began gathering the decoration bins, most sat unopened, as my mood quickly changed from excitement to exhaustion.  A peek at the ornament boxes revealed the blue, white and silver pieces on top, so that became our 2018 color scheme.

Holidays mean Hubs gladly allows me to do all of the decorating, especially the BIG tree.  Below is a look from past years.

The second obstacle this season is Della, our eight month puppy.

While still cute . . . not so small anymore.

She can only lay on top of that chair now.

So no big tree this time! Not yet grown out of her puppy personality (destructiveness).

The blues became official with a quick trip to a favorite thrift store, where ALL CHRISTMAS items happened to be 1/2 off.  Some great pieces, and so many in blue hues.

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So at home, a blue Christmas it is, which works quite well with the new accent color we’re using in our open dining/kitchen area.

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A small tree instead of the tall.

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Little vignettes on the tables . . .

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. . . and the wall

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Cabinet tops join in, with glass, trees, plates and tins.

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Our hutch is the place most fun.  Della can’t reach so it’s a safe one

Two nativity sets are always a go . . .

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. . .  it’s modern in the bedroom . . .

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and traditional on the piano.

With this Christmas of blue, my hopes are that you will enjoy this colorful season, too.  Have a wonderful holiday, stay safe and warm, and we’ll meet the new year together.

Merry Christmas from me and the Hubs 🙂

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Later – Cheryl

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Have to Admit It … Fall is Here

Okay, okay … I’m finally willing to say … it’s Fall.

The days are shorter and even the nights are changing, with temperatures dropping down after dark.  Weather has been wonderful though, allowing time to finish up outdoor “summer chores” that still sat undone.

After playing on polyvore this week, Fall finally kicked into gear for me.  It was prob’ly all that gorgeous orange!  Ya know how I love my oranges and browns.

So … today, we “Autumn-ed up” the place a little.

The orange vase was already in the table look, but with Summer’s tail end florals.

An easy switch here, simply using some of my spectacular seedums, a few colorful shrub branches and some rose hips from the garden.

Another quick change, was replacing the middle plate on this wall rack, from summer green to autumn burnt orange.

The hand painted plates, top and bottom, will work right up to Christmas, so they stay.

A bright lamp and one of my glass birds keeps company with more of the artisan pottery set, featured in the table arrangement … and on the coffee table.

Hubs’ favorite wildlife print has moved from over the fireplace, and now resides in the living room, along with an Edna Wolfe water color.

The blues, sands and browns in the painting, play nicely with the room’s orange, brown and aqua accents.

A large strand of silk Autumn leaves, was divided and included in several vignettes throughout the open living spaces, uniting the entire area with a continued look and theme.

Some of the leaves, a different scarf beneath and some earthy pieces now sit atop the piano.  The fun, scalloped table cloth is a mainstay, featured with most every arrangement there.

Remember when we switched rooms around a while back?

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Below is the newest look for the fireplace grouping, now in what was once the dining area.

The painting is one of mine … an acrylic, with subject and colors that keep the current look going.

TIP:  Remember Mixing = Maximum Interest.

My group here, has a few larger pieces at varied heights; woods and metallic are combined with glass and pottery items in finishes that – to me – complement each other.

More silk leaves were brought in, and a bit more of turquoise and orange are smuggled in, with the mini vases and fresh flowers (the only blooms left in the garden).

Mom’s copper cannisters were moved from countertop to cabinet top, for some sparkle up there.

Of course, I couldn’t exclude the hutch.  Ooh look at the “O” here!

Featured on a bottom half shelf is part of a cute pottery set I found at DISCOVERY THRIFT.  It was love at first site, but I only wanted the creamer and sugar bowl.  Wendy made me a terrific deal on the entire group; eight covered soup bowls, teapot, creamer and sugar … NEW in the box … $12.00.  Had to take it!

TIP:  Using only glass and china items in a hutch isn’t necessary, and may not be the best way to display.

When all is shiny and bright (especially with the mirror backing), everything just melds together and you don’t see the individual, unique pieces.  Mixing and separating a few groupings, keeps the eye interested and moving to see what’s next.

Some favorite books, a metal, pinecone paperweight and the beautiful walnut mallet Hubs made, occupy the other half of that bottom hutch shelf.  Oh and those cute, vintage bookends.

The front door WREATH was changed out a bit.  Some of the silk maple leaves were added … but the sparkly butterfly stayed.  I couldn’t part with it yet.

Recently, I purchased two indoor/outdoor rugs from BALLARD DESIGNS during one of their great sales.  One is for the entry area right by our front door and the other, a runner for our bathroom (I refuse to use those shaggy toilet rugs!)

As we have no actual foyer, I cover the builder’s vinyl with a nice rug (here, my Ballard Sale rug) and have a small scale chair nearby (ready for taking off those boots).  For Fall, I’ve used a mid-century side chair and used orange & white chalk on my message board

Before closing, a final update.  The two end-tables in the family room got identical little arrangements.  I always keep these small, to allow for frequent use in the seating group.

That was my day.  So, what awesome autumn decorating have you been up to?

Remember, stress less and start more.  And lately, I’m trying hard to stay positive, as it helps me be productive.  Maybe it’ll work for you too 🙂   Have a great weekend.

Later – Cheryl

Decisions, Decisions … Wah Wah

Hi readers.  I have a dilemma but I don’t know if opinions will help or confuse things more. Keep or sell … what should I do?  Do you recall our “married” dining room pieces?  The chairs and table aren’t a matched set, they were purchased separately.

Artzzle DECISION FeatureWell, while I’ve always liked it, Hubs doesn’t care for  the whole “dining room” idea … said we – just us two – never use it.  It’s true, he and I never shared one meal … or game … or coffee chat at that little dining table.  Adamant about getting rid of it, he continued with other valid points.

  1. Why even have a dining “room” at all?
  2. How many times, in eleven years, have we ever used the leaf and had a “family dinner” there?  ANSWER:  Only twice.
  3. Do we use it when people come over? ANSWER:  Very rarely.
  4. In this home, as in our past two, where do/did we always end up eating? ANSWER:  At the kitchen counter or in the TV room.

You now understand Hubs’ view on the issue.
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So … we posted the set on Craigslist, both in the Twin Cities and the St. Cloud areas.  For you non-Minnesota residents, we live in between St. Paul/Minneapolis and St. Cloud, so I always post in both listings.  And wow … I had interest right away.  Great, except  they only wanted the chairs.  Their offer was right on mark, but they lived much farther away (Wisconsin) and wondered if we could meet half way.

Wah Wah.  I really dislike having to make all these decisions!  So, I broke it down again.

  1. Price is right.
  2. I DID purchase the table separately from the chairs, so know it has sold that way.
  3. I DID have a temporary, alternative use for the table.
  4. We didn’t want to load and travel to sell anything.

SOLUTION:  They came to us, loved the chairs and bought them.  Very nice people.  They even sent us a picture of their set with their “new” chairs.

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NEXT STEP:  I changed my craigslist ad, to feature only the table; gave the dimensions both W/WO  the leaf, and noted it’s advantages at either size; great for a foyer, a game table or small apartment.

MEANTIME:  I started rearranging and Hubs quickly retreated to his workshop.  Minus his aid, I couldn’t move any big stuff, so this was my first try.

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I brought out the set of side chairs from the guest bedroom – which happened to fit just right pulled in to the table.  This was nice, looked good (I thought).  After all, there are just two of us living here, right?

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Well, guess what, Hubs still didn’t care for it.  He told me to try to come up with a totally different use for the dining room space, and thinking that would keep me occupied for quite a while, he smiled smugly and went back to his workshop.  Foolish man seriously how many years have we been together??!!

Ten minutes later, I called him back and said to bring the dolly with him.  Hey, he told me to come up with something different!  I just followed instructions.

You may not recall it, but we have a fireplace.  Nice thing for me is that it’s electric, hence movable, hence the dolly . . . hence, this . . .

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and a bit further to this final look.  Don’t worry – – that corner of the counter at the bottom left, just looks that close because of the angle of the shot.  There’s actually almost five feet between the corner of the chair and the island.

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Now, you’re wondering what I did with the table.  You are wondering, right?

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I put it in the living room (the front room).

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I even pulled out some of our old board games to have close by . . . just in case 🙂

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Okay now everyone, what would you do with the table?  Keep or Sell?  FYI, I presently have two different parties that are supposedly interested in buying it.  I’m waiting to hear back from either or both.

MEANTIME:  C’mon friends, let me know – stay or go?  What do you think?

By the way, we’ve played those board games about as frequently as we’ve used the table for dining.

Remember, staying positive helps to stay productive, so don’t stress too much, just start something 🙂

Later – Cheryl

 

Room Tour

It isn’t a very mobile Monday as my back remains out of whack, but I don’t like to miss a post. Recently I’ve gotten some requests to feature our place in a home tour, so thought this might be a good time to put some of those pictures out there. Today the light was decent for getting some living room shots so that’s what I’ll share this time.

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This angle is looking into our living room from the kitchen.

Our house is a basic one level. In Minnesota it’s called a rambler, but is also sometimes referred to as a ranch style. The main living areas of the house flow into each other, in a very open floor plan. This includes a living room, dining room and kitchen, and on into a family room.

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You’ve seen this shelf piece before. We purchased it several years ago at Crate and Barrel. Such a versatile unit, it can be on a flat wall, up against a corner wall or straddled across a corner as it is here. You can also pair it back to back with an identical shelf for a nice look. We’ve even used ours horizontally on the floor as well. The two glass owls in this display are from KOHL’s (a birthday gift). Except for the photography and plants here, everything else is from thrift stores or garage sales, and was purchased for next to nothing (including the Hull, Frankoma and noemi pottery pieces).

The blue metallic piece is simply a small table from an outdoor patio set. It holds our electronics and a little basket for movie storage. The open leg area makes a perfect spot for extra toss pillows too.

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This is a small credenza piece, circa mid 1960’s. It was one in a set of three tables in my mom’s home; a brown, wood-look formica style popular at that time. I have redone this table three times. This treatment is my favorite as I used metallic copper paint to resurface the top and hardware, and added a light texture treatment to the paint in the body of the piece. Formica can be easily and economically redone. I love this credenza because its’unique shape and size can be used in so many places, and it was a special piece to my mom.

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The art piece pictured here is something I painted several years ago. I just plotted out a geometric layout that I liked. It is painted on masonite, simply using latex wall paint. Then the blocks were outlined with a copper paint pen. Over time, as I change colors in my houses, these colors change as well. The piece is designed to hang either horizontally or vertically as featured here.

The orange lamp, petite coffee table and its’ accessories are all thrift store finds. $7.00 for the lamp (new with tags), $10.00 for the table and $.75 for the scarf (which is an original Vera Wang textile). The copper tray was under a dollar.

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Our living room is wonderfully workable for several layouts. The couch out into the room as it is here, is one of our favorite arrangements. We also like our hutch across the angled walls as you see here.

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The larger, square toss pillows are in indoor-outdoor fabric, and were purchased new at Wal-Mart for $4.64 each. I liked the design and durability, especially with our pets. The orange and patchwork corduroy pillows are part of a comforter set that I found at a garage sale recently. The material washed up quite nicely and is very durable. And by using some of the items in different rooms, it helps unite the spaces.

Finally pictured is Hubs’ favorite chair. Let it be known that a man is not easily separated from his electronics OR his favorite chair. I can hear someone saying “that looks like one of those vinyl sets you used to buy at big box stores”. Yes it does look like those, but it has a special story. In the late 1990’s I worked for Dayton’s, a wonderful upscale store in Minneapolis. At that time employees got fantastic discounts, and even more so twice a year during their “employee appreciation days”. Hubs fell in love with this chair, which was an exclusive design, in leather, imported from Italy. We had never seen anything like it. Even with my discounts, it was pretty spendy for us, but I wanted him to have the chair. Fortunately for some, but unfortunately for us, within a year’s time, there were vinyl knock-offs of this design in every big box store around, going for about $99. The only proof we have of its’ authenticity is that it is nearly 20 years old, and still looks and feels like new.

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The three framed items were made with dollar store picture frames. I removed what was originally displayed, lined the back with black velvet, and then arranged several pieces of jewelry that had belonged to my mom, my aunt and my grandmother. The lamp is another thrift store purchase @ $5.00. TIPS: Always inspect wiring on these lamps; you don’t want dried out, or taped cords, or cracked cords or switches. Take a light bulb with you on your thrift trips, to test the lamp before you buy. REMEMBER, shades are easy to buy and or replace now days, so don’t pass up a great lamp base because of an ugly shade!

Thanks for stopping by today. Let your friends know we’re here. The more the merrier.

Later – Cheryl