Although it’s still snowy and cold outside, Melissa has motivated me via her #loveyourhomechallenge to bring some spring cheer into my home and prep for this year’s Easter tablescape. I’ve cleared the normal daily clutter off our dining table and created two centerpieces composed of eggs and crocuses. I’ve currently used natural egg shells, but I’m contemplating dying them in colors to match the place settings. I also placed moss in one glass vase to cover up the crocus pot and old straw in the other. I’m as yet also undecided on which of those I like best, though I’m leaning toward the moss. What do you think?
I love ceramics and glass, and I enjoy combining them into colorful place settings. Here, I’ve mixed my set of vintage Alfred Meakin “Audubon Birds of America“ dinner plates that each feature a different illustration along with some duck-egg blue salad plates, Portmeirion “Birds of Britain” appetizer/dessert plates and a set of glass bowls from Biot in France. The glass bowls blend very well with a set of wine goblets I found years ago in Murano in Italy and a set of 1950s water glasses my mother-in-law gave me. I complete the look with my favorite spring-time silverware set embossed with daffodils, which I notice need a good polish. Good thing I’ve got a couple of weeks left before Easter to get to that little chore!
I wish everyone a cheery spring season!
Summer season is just about to be over; at last 4 new bookshelves stacked against the walls in my foyer room. I have had a strong desire to have bookshelves in my foyer for a long time. The front red door opens to the foyer; inside the foyer the French/glass door opens to the house. I like the fact that the foyer room is a buffer between the front door and the rest of the house. I put in enough books and some decor so I could take some pictures, but the real goal is to put books on the shelves—as is the function of bookshelves. I don’t really like to overstyle or overdecorate bookshelves because I have many books and need each shelf for each subject heading. I Like symmetry so I fully decorated the top of each of my 4 shelves; this way the eyes are drawn vertically upward because my foyer has high/tall ceiling. #loveyourhomechallenge.
Summertime projects were at a minimum this year! Summer has passed so quickly! Early summer, in June, we went to Emerald Isle, North Carolina and enjoyed a week of vacation on the beach with two of our children, the loves of their lives, and our grandchildren.
Back home, our oldest daughter, Danielle, who was pregnant with her first baby, ended up having severe pre-eclampsia and her daughter, Memphis Belle, was born six weeks early! She called us earlier in the week to let us know what was happening, but Memphis was born Saturday morning just before we left for home. She weighed four pounds two ounces and was breathing on her own! This is a picture of the first time I was allowed to hold this little cutie the next morning!
Summer has flown by with the new grandbaby, but I have still managed to work on the second bathroom and am almost finished! A decorative piece over the toilet is the remaining project.
We ripped up the vinyl flooring and Dave put down the cement backer board. I laid the travertine tile and grouted it. I LOVE the new floor!
We removed the builder grade mirror. Crown molding was added, along with new thicker baseboards and both were painted an off-white color. The walls were painted a Dublin gray, which was pulled from the travertine tile. I painted the doors the same Dublin gray, following the indentations in the door. It seems to give the door so much more character.
The vanity was ordered from Home Depot. It was on sale and I love it. Did I tell you I love the beach? This piece reminds me of the beach because of the shutter doors, I guess. There is an understated touch of the beach in every room of our home.
The mirror is a purchase from years ago and has been positioned over my antique sofa in the living room, but I think it is perfect over the vanity. I love the new look and wish I had tiled these floors long ago!
Finally! I finished a major project that I had planned to begin before the hot summer days arrived; however, one of life’s curve balls threw me off course for a bit. I only managed to complete it as autumn’s cooler days approach, but there are still a few sunny days to enjoy some relaxing meals outside! I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted some shade over the pergola so that we can sit at the outdoor dining table without the sun glaring down on our backs or in our eyes. It will take a few years before the wisteria we planted around a couple of the posts grows to provide an attractive cover. I created a flexible shade cover composed of fabric panels strung on a frame of stainless cable wires. I can pull each panel forward or backward as desired using this simple hand-made pole with a hook on the end.
I cut the panels to size and sewed the hems (I’m a novice sewer, but straight lines were not too difficult). I then inserted grommets at intervals along each side and attached them to swiveled lobster clasps so they can hang loosely from the cables. I attached the cables to the pergola using turnbuckles on one end and S-hooks on the other. The turnbuckles will allow me to tighten the cables if they sag a little from the weight of the panels or force of the wind, which is VERY strong here in Belgium.
The lobster clasps give me the option of easily removing the panels during bad weather or if they need to be cleaned. Since I used strong outdoor fabric, I can also leave the panels in place and retracted overnight without worry.
Here’s one last photo, with the sun glaring down, just to give a sense for why I really wanted some shade over the dining area. There’s a noticeable difference now when sitting at the table. I am happy with the result of this #loveyourhomechallenge!
Yay! I’ve successfully completed at least one home project I set out to do this summer! A cushion for this outdoor bench was actually #2 on my list. I haven’t posted anything about #1 yet because my initial attempt went awry during execution, and I’m now back in the design phase…more about that one later.
I’m no seamstress, so this cushion proved quite the challenge for me. I’m still learning how to use all the functions and accessories on my sewing machine—mostly by trial and error. I’m not one to read instruction manuals and usually like to jump right in and figure out how to use an appliance all by myself, but I had to keep the manual close at hand throughout this project. Unfortunately, I don’t recall reading any details about proper needle placement when using the zipper foot. Perhaps those of you more experienced with sewing will chuckle a bit at my failure to re-position the needle from the center point to either the left or the right of the zipper foot so that it would stitch through the fabric and not smash into the metal foot. Duh! I lost that needle but learned how to remove and replace it in the process.
My goal this summer has been to make our backyard space more comfortable. The bench I placed in this corner definitely needed a cushion to soften the seat. Since it’s not a standard rectangular size, I couldn’t simply buy a ready-made cushion. And, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a custom-made order when I knew I had the resources necessary to do it myself. So, I did it! I chose a floral fabric to go with the blue paint I’d already applied last year. I attached piping to the top and bottom as well as a zipper on the back so that I can remove the cover when it needs to be cleaned. Ok, it’s not perfect…don’t look too closely at the seams around the piping nor the extra stitching around the zipper! But, it was my first big sewing project, and it works. Mission accomplished with enough sunny days still left to enjoy it this summer.
Now, back to Challenge #1. I want some shade over the pergola so that we can sit at the outdoor dining table without the sun glaring down on our backs or in our eyes. The yard faces south, thus it gets sun throughout the day. We’ve planted wisteria around a few of the supporting posts, but it will take a few more years before it grows to provide an attractive cover. I found some great ideas on Pinterest, but again I didn’t want to spend the money for someone else to customize and install something. I came up with a plan to drape fabric panels across the top, but I wanted it to be easily retractable so just hanging them on the wood beams was not the best option. I successfully sewed eight 4-meter long fabric panels. (Yay! I’m getting somewhat adept at sewing in straight lines.) I purchased black curtain rails and rods and successfully installed them. I hung four of the panels on one side of the frame and was very proud of myself…for a few hours. I took this photo before the rails failed the fierce Belgian wind stress test and the whole thing came falling to the ground. I should have paid more attention in my university mechanical engineering course!
Back to the drawing board, and I’ve come up with a new design using stainless wire cables attached to the pergola frame with eye screws. I’ll also use turnbuckles, cable clamps and grommets to string the fabric panels onto the cables. This SHOULD work! It will be manually retractable, and I’ll be able to remove the panels during the winter or when they need to be cleaned. Hopefully I’ll gather all the materials and install before the official end of summer—I’ve still got a few weeks.
Fortunately, I’ve also come up with a plan to salvage the curtain rails and rods so that they’re not a complete waste of money. I’ll use them indoors—for which they were designed—by rigging retractable shade panels for the sunroom/conservatory ceiling. That project might get done in time for next summer’s #loveyourhomechallenge! We’ll see…
HELP! How did a room in my house get so out of control?! That is a question I ask myself every day and so begins Day 2: decluttering. I could make decluttering my home a never ending #LoveYourHomeChallenge, but when I think of one place that is OUT OF CONTROL it is my desk area, which is also part of the kid’s playroom. So today I will focus on getting order in this space, and through order in the space I will hopefully clear space in my mind to think, work, and create.
Here is my before picture…
Stay tuned and later I will post the (hopefully) amazing after
Okay, so days later and I am still not completely finished…but I wanted to post the “after” since it is almost done. What I did – got rid of the hutch, decluttered and tossed a lot, and made a chore chart station that now holds the kid’s school stuff/art stuff/and other office items.
So here is what I have left to do:
Get my papers filed
Get art on the wall (which requires painting a frame I have laying around)
And go through one last small basket of stuff to keep/toss/etc.
I feel my head already a bit clearer now that I have made so much progress on this project!!
As I finish up “Love The Home You Have” I see that I may have a long process ahead of me to cultivate contentment and love for my home, but that is not going to stop me! I am excited to begin the #LoveYourHomeChallenge today!
Yesterday as I was standing outside watching my kids play, (which I am extremely grateful and blessed that I can be home with my kids every day, and that we have a home where we can go outside and play and ride bikes!), I dug through unused items in our garage, items that were being saved for a future garage sale no less, and I made a lovely welcoming display for our front door.
Since these are items that I was getting rid of, what difference did it make if they were going to get weathered? And so began this journey of seeing my home in a new light, learning to use what I have in new ways, and ultimately loving the home I have.
A quick and FREE update to our foyer. Found objects from the yard and repurposed items in our home helped me create this welcoming Spring vignette. See more on my blog. #loveyourhomechallenge