Designing Woman

My mother had two hobbies: reading and rearranging furniture. I shared her love of reading, but never understood her passion for decorating. Once I get my furnishings placed appropriately they might remain in the same place for years. The only times I've moved furniture around are when we've been transferred to a new location. I wouldn't do it even then, but I can't afford new stuff every time we change houses, and no one ever seems to want our old stuff.

Mom never had a budget for decorating, so our furniture was about as basic as it could be. We had a sofa, a love seat, and two chairs in varying shades of brown, tan, and black, but by simply rearranging the pieces from time to time and adding a new throw pillow or a crocheted afghan she'd create a completely different look.

Not long after I left home Mom bought a floral sofa. It kind of pissed me off. For all those years I thought furniture had to be a solid color and at the tender age of 18 I discovered florals exist! Had I not been worthy of a floral sofa? Was she making an exchange? Me for a sofa of flowers and leaves?

Studly Doright and I inherited my parents ugly black sofa when we married, but when I had the opportunity to buy a new one, it had flowers everywhere. It was ugly as sin, but at least it wasn't a solid. That'd show 'em.

Honestly, I have no skills in decorating. I never thought of it as something I'd enjoy doing for fun, but recently I was looking for an online game to keep me from overthinking everything in my life, and I found Design Home. Now I'm obsessed.

Here's how it works. Every few hours a design challenge is posted, usually with some criteria attached, i.e. two metal items, three rustic pieces, etc. Players select pieces either from their own inventory, from the inventories of friends, or from the shop, and then try to create a pleasing room. Players also get to vote on other designs. I get a kick out of seeing how others interpreted the challenge.

Here's one of my designs:

Isn't it pretty? My mom would have loved this game. Would she have chosen a floral sofa? I'll never know.

Peace, people. Go hug your mom.

Just Another Nail in the Wall

I’ve been a busy little decorator these past few days. After two years of living in the home I’ve dubbed Doright Manor I’m finally hanging some artwork. 

Now, the term “art” is used loosely here. There are no Ansel Adams or Georgia O’Keefe pieces gracing our walls. Instead, I’m fond of framing pretty greeting cards and random pictures from glossy magazines, a holdover practice from our days of living below the poverty line, along with finds from estate and garage sales. 

I like to say my taste in art is eclectic. That sounds so much better than questionable or dubious. The few pieces I’ve purchased from art galleries don’t do anything for me once I try to find a spot for them. I really have fared much better with my more frugal purchases.

Regardless of cost or source all of my pieces have something in common: They hide multiple nail holes. Never mind the amount of time I spend measuring and calculating, marking and leveling, I never get it right the first time. Even if I’m hanging a single picture I end up with roughly 9,643 holes in the wall. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but just barely.

My expertise comes in cleverly masking those holes. “Oh, look, you placed a butterfly on the corner of the frame! How cute!” people exclaim. Damned straight, Skippy–that butterfly is camouflaging at least three holes. 

I know at this point in the post I should provide a photo of a few of my displays, but no good could come of that. My readers will either pity me or laugh at me. And I’m not sure my fragile ego can handle that. 

Ok, just one. No laughing. Pity’s ok, though. Or vice versa. 

 

One of my garage sale finds. It makes me happy.
 
Peace, people!

A New Arrangement

A few weeks ago, Studly Doright and I spent all afternoon moving furniture from one end of Doright Manor to the other. 

When we moved in nearly two years ago I made an error in measuring our guest bedrooms. Ok, let’s be honest, I didn’t bother measuring, and one of the bedrooms ended up being cramped and claustrophobic, while the other felt cavernous. With two sets of company coming for a long weekend, we decided to right that wrong.

One set of bedroom furniture is antique and fragile. It belonged to my grandmother, and even though I’m sometimes tempted to sell it I just can’t bring myself to part with it. While the headboard and footboard are massive the bed is a small full size and barely allows one adult to sleep comfortably. 

   
 
The other set is fairly new, acquired when my dad lived with us. The queen sized bed and armoire are nothing fancy, but the mattress is top notch. I’ve dubbed it, The Texas Bedroom, and it holds my go-to bed when Studly’s snoring passes the merely annoying stage and heads into the sonic torture realm.

   
 
The moving process from one end of the house to another was tricky, in that one room would need to be completely empty before the other furniture could be moved down this hallway:

  
Studly, a self-proclaimed master of both logistics and wiseassery carefully studied the necessary steps for a week before finally declaring, “Well, this is gonna suck.”

It did indeed suck. Neither Studly nor I are young any more, and that antique bedroom set is both heavy and unwieldy. Add fragile into the mix and we had ourselves quite an afternoon of gently persuading the pieces to hold together while we balanced them precariously on moving dollies. At the end of the day copious amounts of both wood glue and Ben-Gay were involved.

The results, though, were pleasing. The beds are much better suited to their respective rooms, and I am a happy camper. And in the end, isn’t my happiness what it’s all about?

Peace, people! 

Presenting the Finished Tree

   
It’s not going to make it into the pages of Better Homes and Gardens or Southern Living. Martha Stewart isn’t going to copy my decorating technique, but it’s done. Or perhaps overdone. 

A couple of times I tried to stop hanging ornaments, but it was as if some one or some thing made me keep going until the tree itself was barely visible underneath the eclectic mix of Christmas tchotchkies. Must be the true spirit of Christmas at work right here in Doright Manor.

In the process of decorating the evergreen I managed to break not one, not two, but three ornaments: Dancer of eight tiny reindeer fame, Mickey Mouse dressed as Scrooge, and a random snowman. Now I’m down to just six reindeer, having never acquired Vixen. 

Maybe if I have another glass of wine this evening the tree will begin to look less cluttered and more classy. What goes best with kitsch? Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot?

Peace, people!

Too Much

Studly Doright and I are doing some home improvement projects this spring. His man-cave is approaching completion and we’ve found someone to help turn the area leading up to our front door into a mini courtyard. After that we’ll tackle our back porch which is lovely but almost unusable during the rainy season due to drainage issues.

In preparation for the courtyard project I’ve been browsing Pinterest and wandering around two of the local nurseries looking at paving stones, outdoor seating groups, and large pots and planters. My goal is to make the area pretty and low maintenance.

Even though I’m no gardener I enjoy trips to the nurseries. There’s such an abundance of colors, textures, and scents. And ornamental junk. Lots of ornamental junk.

  
Now, I have nothing against ornamental junk. I can see me owning a metal rooster or an ornate concrete birdbath. The problem is that I’m not sure if I’d know when to stop. 

  
Could I draw the line at one rooster or would I need a dozen metal hens and a few chicks to add to the display? If I buy the concrete birdbath do I then follow up with a concrete bench, a concrete fairy, a pair of concrete children reading a concrete book, and an array of concrete stepping stones?

  
We’ve all seen those yards that have so many little animals or whirlybirds or garden gnomes that one cannot even see the lawn or the front door. Who is to say that one lone rooster won’t lead to an entire flock?

Studly assures me he won’t let it come to that. Oh, look! A metal dolphin!

Peace, people!

Another Time Around

Many of my faithful readers might recall that Studly Doright and I moved to Tallahassee, Florida, a little over a year ago. The move was a transfer for Studly, so he had built-in contacts and connections while I was left adrift on a new, yet familiar ocean–that of being the new, yet old, girl in a strange town.

With no kids in school and no full-time job I pretty much spend my days in aimless limbo, exploring little boutiques and eating at local caf├ęs. I know, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it, right?

Today I popped into Another Time Around, a shop specializing in “Pre-Loved, Shabby Chic Furniture & Accessories.” Immediately I was struck by the creativity and artistry of proprietor Kim Parr. 

 
Kim’s work can be fun and funky or chaste and classic, and she will do custom work, as well. I even signed up to take a class in chalk painting! Imagine that! Me. Painting. Maybe someone should warn Kim of my dire lack of talent and tendency to klutziness.

 
Here’s just a peek at one of Kim’s creations. It started life as an octagonal end table. Now it’s a super cool pet area with a place for toys or even another pet bed on top. The details are so clever; I just might need this. Scout and Patches would probably bicker over who got the top bunk, though. Cats.

  
Here’s another pretty piece, even though my photo doesn’t do it justice. I wasn’t planning a blog post while I was wandering around the shop. 

I can’t wait to visit Kim’s shop again. So, keep mum on my klutziness issues. I’ll post a picture of the project I complete following the chalk painting class on the 19th of May. I’m not sure what I want my picture to reflect–chances are it will either deal with wine or cats. Or wine and cats. 

Seriously, look Kim up online at www.anothertimearoundtally.com and on Facebook she’s “Another Time Around TLH.” I seldom do plugs for businesses, so you know I really like her. 

Her pieces remind me a lot of my sister-in-law Lyn’s work, so I’ll shamelessly plug her site, too: TexanIslandGirl on Facebook.

Great day! Great discoveries! Peace, People!
 

Decorating Do’s, Dont’s, and Ne’er-do-walls

Have your ever shopped tirelessly for just the right piece of furniture or art for a specific spot in your home only to discover that upon finding the object of your search and placing it in that perfect spot that either the object is all wrong or the spot is all wrong? Yea, me neither. Ha. Ha Ha. Sob.

Actually, that’s my normal modus operandi. I wasn’t blessed with the decorating gene, so a lot of my style is by trial and error. After error. After error. Eventually I’ll wind up with something I like, and then, by golly, nobody better move it around.

Take this fun piece:

IMG_1814.JPG

I bought it to hang in my dining room for three reasons:

1) To tone down the formality of the room. The drapes are formal and the chandelier is so not us.

IMG_1815.JPG

IMG_1817.JPG

2) To economically decorate a large white wall.

It almost meets that goal; although, it needs a little something to make it pop.

And,

3) The woman in the picture reminds me of my mom shown here with my dad circa 1957-ish.

IMG_0046.JPG

So, do I find another place for the picture and keep on searching for something that works, or do I leave it and rid myself of the drapes and chandelier?

I really like my table and server. I just need (free) help pulling it all together.

IMG_1816.JPG

Peace, People!

Inferior Homes and Gardens

Some women are HOMEMAKERS. These women can put together an impromptu dinner party for thirty while simultaneously stitching Halloween costumes for their grandchildren without breaking a sweat. Their homes are immaculate and their decor like something out of a magazine. I have friends who fit this description, but I am not one of these women.

I’m the dreaded anti-homemaker whose arrival was prophesied in the book of Martha Stewart, Chapter IX, verses 3-7, “And lo, there will be among them women who can neither cook nor sew. Women who will weep and rend their garments when the microwave fritzeth. And these women shall feel no shame. Yea, ‘tho they walk through the halls of Betty Crocker and Southern Living, they shall gather no knowledge of domesticity. Woe unto the partner who finds himself yoked unto her, for his days shall be filled with ramen noodles and take out.”

My mom tried to teach me the domestic arts. She really did, but I had no interest. Even baking a cake from a box puzzled me. Every single step had it’s own special rules: “It’s this way, not that way. Drain this, not that. Flip it like this, no, no, not like that. Here. I’ll do it.” Her need for me to be perfect in the kitchen was superseded only by my total lack of interest.

Our home economics teacher, Mrs. Craig, did her best to mold me into a practitioner of the domestic arts, as well, but her efforts were for naught. I did learn multiple ways to freeze cantaloupe in her class, though. To this day I hate cantaloupe.

Mrs. Craig also taught a sewing unit that culminated in a runway type style show. We were to find a dress pattern we liked, buy the material, and make a finished outfit that we would then model for our final grade. My pattern was for a jumper and blouse. I selected a light weight blue denim material for the jumper and red and white checked gingham for the blouse.

I worked on my outfit every day in class, but as the date of the style show grew near I was still woefully behind schedule for completing the project. With many painfully patient late night hours of assistance from Mom, I had a presentable, ok, darned cute outfit for the style show. I’d venture to say it was one of the best final projects that semester, and I received an A for my efforts. Of course, Mom threatened to disown me if I ever signed up for a home ec. class again. She needn’t have worried. Happiness was home ec in the rear view mirror.

Mom has been gone for many years now. She pretty much gave up on me ever becoming a competent homemaker, but I’d want her to know that I’ve become an okay cook and a decent housekeeper in middle age. She’d be astonished and proud.

Peace, People!