Wednesday, January 31, 2018

"In a Fix" - the Living Room

Hi ya! How's your week going? I don't know about you, but I can't believe January is over. I have a feeling this year is going to just fly by! One thing I won't mind flying by is winter. I'm over it and ready for warm, sunny days! :) :) :)

This week, I want to share another installment of "In a Fix," which is my journey through fixing up my cottage here in Wilmington, NC. I decided I just couldn't stand the gray walls any longer and the ugly "hole in the wall" as I called it.

Here's what it looked like with the previous owners. Note: this photo was from the real estate listing and was altered. The walls look beige here, but they were actually grey. You'll see in my photographs.

Back in 2001 when our cottage was built, everyone still had those tube TV's and builders would add these openings for the TV's. You can see where the TV use to go in the middle of that opening. I'm not sure why the builder didn't make a nice cabinet at the bottom.  Also, the shelving up top was added by someone along the way. We are the 4th owners. It didn't match any of the other stuff and was sagging in the middle. In addition, the living area is wired for surround sound. See those those dark speakers up top. They are also in the dining room. The previous owners had a more modern style and this worked well for them.

One day, a few months ago, I got a "wild hare" and decided to rip all that stuff out. I was saving my pennies for a new, custom, real wood piece. I knew it would be a while, so I  put a bunny in there to occupy the space for a bit. hee,hee,hee.

 Now you can see the actual color of the walls. Amazing what photo editing can do to a picture eh?  I know everyone loves the gray, but I just can't handle it. It makes me sleepy and depressed and reminds me of my dentist office where I just spent 6 weeks in pain and agony. I don't need that reminder in my house.

The other thing that bothered me is that this is a small living room and I felt like the fireplace mantle was overwhelming the space. So we took the top piece of moulding off. In addition, we had the electrical boxes moved and plugged the makeshift holes the previous owner had made to hang the TV. Then it was time to start patching the walls.

This is David's brother, Mitchell. He came to visit us after Christmas. He is a master carpenter and such an incredible craftsman. He helped us do lots of repair work to the walls, trim, electrical etc. He can do everything!

There was a piece of dentil moulding in the dining room. I'm not a fan of this traditional moulding as it gathers lots of dust. Plus, I just thought it looked dorky on the wall there. So Mitchell and David removed it. You can see the other two speakers there as well. Ick.

It was so cool to see the original wall colors underneath the moulding. Ahhhh yes, burgundy and yellow. I betcha they hand hunter green furniture and a splash of azalea pink thrown in and, of course, some Laura Ashley fabrics. Mark my words, those colors will come back in style within the next ten years just like the gray (Hello 1982) came back in style. Just say'in.

So David patched and

patched and

patched some more.

Then the painting began. I'm using the same color throughout the entire house. It's Sherwin Williams Aged White with Extra White for the ceilings and trim. It's a soft cream color. Not too white, not too yellow, but right in the middle.

I saved enough pennies to have the custom piece made by Hollingsworth Cabinetry here in Wilmington. They are super busy because they work mainly for home builders. It took them 3 months to get this piece built, but it was totally worth the wait! I saved some money by having it installed unfinished. We figured since we were painting all the trim and walls anyway, we could go ahead and paint this too.

This is how it turned out! I love the soft arch at the top.  We also added a small piece of moulding to the top of the fireplace mantle. Now it looks finished, but not overpowering.

I love how cozy and well "cottagey" the room looks now. We even took out the speakers. David will hang up the soundbar for the TV soon. I can't help but think about what the TV of the future will look like. For some reason, I feel like there won't be one. I think everyone will have their own personal device with their own set of headphones or something and will watch things independently. Hmmmm..... what to hang there if that happens. hee,hee,hee.

I love the way the sunlight pours into this room in the afternoon. It makes me smile and it feels like a warm hug on these cold winter days.

This is the view looking back towards the kitchen and the foyer. The kitchen is on our list for the distant future. I have to save lots of pennies for that one. Not that it will be all that fancy, but because it will involve new flooring at the same time.

Speaking of flooring. I got this new bench for the foyer. It's made from reclaimed wood and has a super strong iron base. I love that this piece is made to last. I also love the color of the wood and when I redo the hardwood floors and replace the carpet in the bedrooms with hardwood, this is the color I want. It's so warm and isn't too dark or too light. It's just right in the middle.

And, speaking of being in the middle. Have you heard of this? My new friend, Susan Schwant, in Michigan told me about this after I was telling the class that I consider myself two notches above being a minimalist. I told them that I find minimalism too harsh and that it looks like a college student who just moved out. At the same time, I can't handle clutter. I'm a neat freak who hates to clean, so the less there is to dust the better! LOL! Plus, I feel there is just too much, as I say "Happy Crappy," out there. People fill their homes and fill their homes and fill their homes with stuff that has absolutely no purpose or meaning. It's just a bunch of stuff their kids get stuck with getting rid of. I explained to the class that I was a "cozy minimalist." I liked "Not too little, Not too much." Susan then told me about this book and it describes me and my design style perfectly!

I'll be sharing more about Lagom in upcoming blog posts and in new adventures. But I wanted to share one of my favorite things about this lifestyle that ties into my business tagline of "Designs to Inspire." You see, your home should be a reflection of YOU! It should be a statement about what makes YOU happy. It doesn't matter one bit about what the trend is (grey walls) or that all the decor in the box stores looks like it belongs in the dentist office. You should decorate your home in a way that brings YOU the most joy.

For me, that is "Calm, Clean and Serene." Neutral, warm colors and items that add texture such as linen, cotton and wool. It also means decorating with art that makes my heart happy every time I look at it. For instance, my beloved Sir Walter Harrington and Lady Hannah Goldenhare original watercolor paintings by my dearest friend, Jules Woolford in England. Both custom framed by dear friends Mary Kay and Maryann in New Bern, NC.

And, this print from my talented artist friend, Jeri Landers. Again custom framed by my friends.

This bunny picture has been passed back and forth between Mommy Syl (Captain's mom) and me several times. It has also had several different mats and frames. Mommy isn't getting it back this time. ;)

This next piece is a whimsical and fun piece. It is a real bag that held bunny food from England. I love it because it reminds me of my beloved Harrington bunny who I lost in 2015. My friend Sue, who lives in Canada, had her daughter in England purchase it. I had it custom framed. It has meaning to nobody but me and I love that.

These pieces were picked up on special adventures with friends.

This is a vintage piece of hammered aluminum, which was popular as wedding gifts from the 1930's through 1950. It was made by someone's hands here in the USA and I will take that any day over a mass produced piece of junk from China.

This too is a vintage pewter candlestick. It's heavy and whenever I look at it, I imagine someone lighting the candle and walking through the house on their way to tell a bedtime story to a child.

Finally, these three pictures are extra special too. The photo on the left is my grandmother. She became an angel in 2009 at age 92. In this photo, she was in her 20's. She loved the ocean and swimming in it. My grandmother was smart, sassy, loving and didn't take crap off anyone. Her favorite thing in the whole world was a hug.... oh how I miss her and her hugs.

The center piece is an original watercolor painting of my Sugie bunny by friend, Sue Andre. Sugie loved to lay under her willow tent. I lost her in 2011 from a rare rabbit disease called Megacolon syndrome. She was such a sweet girl.

The last photo was taken in 2001, the same year this little cottage of mine was built. This is my oldest niece, Laura, talking to me on the phone. Remember our giant, cordless phones that would get static if we moved too far away from the base? In this photo, Laura is one year old. I can't believe she will be 18 this year. Isn't it funny how TV's, phones and even little kiddos change within a blink of an eye? All the more reason to make the things and the people we surround ourselves with extra special.

There are many, more projects to be done and truthfully, I'm not in any hurry. I'm having such a fun time enjoying this journey.

Hugs and see ya next week,

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Classes in Michigan

Well hello there!

Are you staying warm? Good gracious this weather is just crazy! I was in Ann Arbor, Michigan last week teaching. I left on Thursday and got home Monday evening. What a super fun time even though I had major stress in getting there, thus the reason I didn't get to my blog post last week.

I shipped three huge boxes of supplies a week and a half ahead of time for the two classes I was teaching. Well, the box of wool got lost! So Wednesday night, I was up until 11 p.m. cutting more wool for the class to put in my suitcase. The wool ended up showing up Thursday evening. Thank goodness. I tell ya, shipping and travel have become such a nightmare.

Anyhoo, at least I had a fun time when I got there. This was my second trip to Michigan. The first trip was in November, right after I got back from Houston. I had a super fun Play Date with the Cameo Quilters in Clawson Michigan. Here are my girlfriends with their creations.

Jan wanted to make a snowflake instead of a flower. Cool!!!

Not sure what was going on with my cell phone when I was taking these photos, but Henya (love her name) looks magical with the light swirls!

This is my friend, Sharon. She is just a sweetie!

This is Cindy. Her last name is also May! We aren't related though. She didn't want her photo taken. I spent a lot of time with her. She is a retired art teacher. Fun!!!

This next group of photos if from my recent trip and Play Date with the Greater Ann Arbor Quilters Guild. Here's my girlfriends from Thursday's "Beekeeper Pincushion" class.

This is my dear friend, Brenda. She took a class with me back in 2015 and has been a blog buddy for many years. She is an Architect and just opened her own firm. I'm sooooooo excited and proud of her!

Carol is a riot. :)

I told Norma she could make a bikini top from her flowers. :)

Next, here are my girlfriends from Sunday's "Heart Felt Notes" class.

Brenda took this class too.

I asked her to bring her cat quilt she designed. This is an actual replica of a window in her house with her cats! Don't you just love it?

This is Norma. She is just a doll. She teaches embroidery at some local shops. Here she is with her embroidery book. What a fun class this must be!

Don't you just love the bees?

I love the dragonflies too.

Here's Norma with her postcard.

 This sweet lady is a dear friend of mine. Carol and I were both members of Make Mine Pink, which was an online marketplace and where I got my start selling things through The Raspberry Rabbits. Carol and I haven't seen each other in 11 years. She recently lost her husband and wanted to start the year off with something fun. She saw that I was teaching in Michigan and drove over an hour to take my class. It was wonderful to get to hug her neck after all these years!

This is my new friend, Susan Schwant. She is the lady who is in charge of programs for the guild. She is an absolute sweetie!

 Here is Liz again. She took both classes. She is friends with Roberta and was visiting from Portland, Oregon. One day I hope to visit Portland.

I loved this combination of colors she choose. Very unique!

Liz brought her finished pincushion from Friday's class.

Roberta took this class too. These two gals are lots of fun. They gave me a beautiful clay bunny ornament. I would show it to you, but it is in the box on the way back from Michigan. Hopefully it won't get lost like the wool box!

Roberta also brought her finished pincushion from Friday's class.

Kathy is also a quilt teacher and author! I loved how she doodled her name tag. Fun!

 This was the rug in the hotel.

Looks like a quilt doesn't it?

This guy was in the lobby of the hotel. He made me smile.

I have so much fun teaching and inspiring creativity in others. If you know of anyone who would like a Play Date with the crazy bunny lady, please send them my information. I'm booked through 2018 and now booking 2019.

Hugs and see ya back next week with another installment of "In a Fix." I've been working on the cottage and can't wait to show you the progress. :)

Michelle and the Fuzzies

Lady Hannah Goldenhare - Nothing Gold Can Stay

Hello dear friends, It's been a minute hasn't it? My last post was over a year ago. I decided I wanted to stay in my bubble where it...