Saturday, February 28, 2009

Vintage Finds!

I think I'm going to start a series on my blog of some of the vintage goodies I find yard saleing/thrift storing/craig's listing. This time of year I don't do as much of it, but during the warmer months we go out almost every weekend. Yesterday my Mom and I stopped by Northern Thrift which isn't my favorite thrift store for housewares, but it is the closest. I got one of those old school office file organizers - you know the expandible accordian style ones? - for $5. Not bad, though more than I would have spent at a yard sale (it is a somewhat pricey thrift store) but I have a thing for old school office supplies so you know...I also found this fabulous vintage modern silk armchair on craigs list! It's really more gold than orange and it will eventually go into my office/ craft space once the dining room is finished. That print is one I just got from Geninne on Etsy. I need to go get a mat for it so I can frame it. Usually Craig's list on LI is fairly sad- lots of bad 80's stuff, but someone in Melville is selling a bunch of fabulous furniture. This Peacock blue silk sofa is still for sale if anyone wants it. It's been covered in plastic for 30 years so the upolstry is in fantastic shape. The cushions may need some new foam, though. I wish I had a place for it it's so great! There is also a coffee table and matching end tables as well.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Itchin' for Spring

Even though it was pretty mild Saturday, it got fairly icky on Sunday and today is just plain cold! This is the time of year when I'm starting to lose patience waiting for spring. These little snowdrops gave me a bit of hope the other day. I keep looking around the yard to see if anything else is coming up. Usually what I do this time of year is go to the Arboretum in Oyster Bay which also has a number of greenhouses. I like to spend an afternoon in the warm, humid air amongst the flowers getting a "fix" of the scent of lots and lots of living (not dormant) plants. Since I have fallen behind on my creativity exercises, maybe I'll bring my watercolors and try a two for one helping both my creative and emotional side.

And the walls came tumbling down

Okay, maybe not tumbling, but we managed to completely rip out the closets that had been built in our dining room by the previous owners. Even though they took up less than 1/4 of the floor space, the room now feels twice as big. Besides removing the closets, we got rid of the extra wall that had made the opening between the office and dining room smaller that the original opening. The opening between the two rooms is now two feet wider and about a foot taller. The space feels huge! There's going to be a lot of repair work to both the plaster and the flooring where the closets were connected. The floors had been refinished after the closets were installed so that the floor where the walls were is a completely different color and about 1/16" higher than the rest of the floor (plus full of nail holes). Well, we'll see what we get done next weekend.(action shot of fiance bustin' though the wall)(me hammin' it for the camera)

Monday, February 16, 2009


(a photo of a work by Andy Goldsworthy, one of my favorite artists)
I finally got around to really reading Holly's Creativity series over at Decor8. I'm really glad she's doing this because sometimes I feel like I'm stuck in some sort of creative rut. I read lots of people's blogs and see all of the beautiful crafts they're doing and wonder why I can't seem to get anywhere creatively. Sometimes I say that it's because I have a "creative" job and that it saps all of the creative juices out of me, but I don't really think that's the case. Sure there is creativity involved in being an architect. Sometimes you can spend a whole day just trying to get the layout of a kitchen and mudroom to work (Seriously, it can be harder than it sounds). I don't feel like I'm being creative while doing it, I'm just doing my job, but there is a level of problem solving while keeping the aesthetics in mind that is creativity on some level. I do have ideas for projects or crafts that I'd like to do, I just have a hard time making them happen. There is always some hurdle that I have to get over that stops me from making progress. The hurdle isn't even usually something all that big, usually it's just enough so that something else will distract me and try to do that instead.
So far I've mind mapped, which was very helpful and I just returned from a walk around my neighborhood. I also finished reading the entry about journal-ing. Here's where I might run into trouble. I've never been one to journal. I probably have a half dozen journals somewhere with one or two entries in them. Even keeping up with a blog has been a challenge for me. I am going to try to keep a sketchbook with me at all times in the hopes that I will sketch and make notes more often. We'll see if that works. For now I'm going to put up a list of ideas I have in the public domain in hopes that it will motivate me to make progress on them. Here goes...
1. Organize a class for growing and preserving your own food
2. Look into working with the town to plant edibles in some public parks either through the Public Arts Initiative or through the parks program
3. Design and make a "decorators kit/pouch" for my own use and possible to sell on Etsy
4. Make more "Snoogis" pillows for Etsy
5. Start painting a watercolor a week (maybe I'll move up to one a day, but for now I'm starting small)

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Okay. As far as I am aware, and please correct me if I am wrong, the only real skill required of a painter (one who paints houses, not an artist) is neatness. Right?! I mean it pretty much boils down to "stay within the lines." If you are aware that you skills as a painter cannot handle this level of accuracy, the marketplace has even come up with a product to help you known as blue tape. Yes, there is knowledge that is required as far as what sort of prep work is required and can you put latex over oil or oil over latex, but as far as skills go it still really comes down to neatness. Apparently whoever the previous owner of our house hired to paint last time was not up to the task.
90% of the woodwork in our house has been painted over through the years. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I'm a bit of a preservationist and a purist which tells me that the woodwork should remain in its original dark stained state, on the other hand for such a small house in a relatively shady neighborhood all that darkness can make the house pretty gloomy. Anyway, it is what it is and I'm not ready to take on the task of stripping of 90+ years of paint. Unlike the rest of the house, our foyer's trim has not been painted in the 95 year history of the house and I'd like to keep it that way. Even though the trim in the "lesser" rooms of the house is some sort of nondescript softwood, the trim in the foyer is a nice old oak with nice grain. It's not super dark, but not that ugly light 80's color of oak either. However around every single piece of molding that abuts a painted wall there is about a 1/4" of white paint overlapping onto the molding. Everywhere. Every piece of base molding, every bit of door casing, and every piece of trim around the stairs. It's killing me! I want to paint the walls and ceiling a soft dove gray to set off the ceiling medallion and be a sort of neutral core at the center of the house since every room surrounding it will be a different color, but I can't paint the walls until I figure out how to get rid of the stupid 1/4" of white paint! I really don't want to have to strip all of the molding down because, with the exception of the perimeter, it's in pretty good shape. So after all of my ranting, I guess my question to the blogosphere is this:

How can I remove the paint without removing the finish beneath?


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dining Room Ideas

I've been figuring out what to do with my dining room. It's been sort of percolating in my head since I first found this image from Domino (R.I.P.). I've been really into the idea of a blue ceiling overhead, sort of glowing like the sky and this picture gets the feeling across perfectly. I've had this very old Alphonse Mucha print for at least a decade. I found it at a yard sale for $20 years ago, but it's been hanging in my parents house because I've never had a place for it. I don't know how old it is, but judging from the look of the old frame and ripply glass, it's at least from the 30's if not before. I'd like to think it's as old as the house. I don't have photos of the furniture that I have for the space, but I have a danish modern-esque dining set that I got from Craigslist and a small modern dresser that I will be using as a sideboard. I decided to put it all together to see how everything works together and I'm really happy with it. I also have a small but growing collection of this turquoise glassware that I think will help give the room a little sparkle. I think I've only bought one or two pieces for myself, but friends and family seem to keep finding them and getting them for me!
The chairs for the dining set are covered with a surprisingly inoffensive brown-ish/khaki-ish vinyl. I may leave them as is or I may recover them in one of the many fabrics above- which will, of course, require more decision making. I'm not sure why I have such issues picking out fabrics! I think I'll decide that after the room is done. Patterns on the chairs might be too much for the room, or it might be just what it needs. I guess we'll have to wait and see!
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