Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Little Bit of Christmas

I've only been able to decorate the family room this year, since the rest of the house is completely discombobulated  by the ongoing renovation project.  It made it a little easier this year (I kept telling myself that)-- only one room to decorate. is Christmas in our family room.  I wasn't able to share anything about Christmas last year, so I was especially determined to post something this year, even if it was just a little bit... 

This is my chance to really break out all the red.  So cheery and Christmasy!  I don't think I could ever go with a 'blue' or 'green' color scheme. 

I went with a small Christmas tree this year.   And even at only about one week old, it's already dried out and drooping, thanks to the heat and winds that have plagued southern California over the past few weeks.  

Since we are so fortunate that we were not affected by the terrible fires that have raged (and still are as I write this) across the southern half of the state, I certainly won't complain about this very minor and inconsequential side effect of the horrible Santa Ana winds that just won't go away.

This year it was all about nostalgia and things that spoke to the little kid inside.  All my favorite little Christmas creatures and whimsical ornaments remind me of that magical, excited feeling I got every Christmas morning when I was little.  That feeling that impelled me to jump out of bed at around 5 am and wake everyone up!  (I'm happy to sleep in these days, no need to get up that early to open presents). 

Update:  Is this a Blogging No-No?  I don't care-- I was in such a hurry when I wrote this post that I forgot to include my favorite Christmas doggy (after, of course, my real, live doggies). So here he is...

I always bring out Teddy Bear Angel from his box every year, no matter what.  My mom gave him to me, so he is especially dear to me.

Mr. Foxy demanded that I take him home last year, and I agreed wholeheartedly.  I can never resist a cute animal of any sort and I loved this little guy's dapper outfit.  

Although it is risky to put him within reach of the dogs.  Especially right now: I had to hide their chew toys since Rosie must not play and romp about because of recent surgery, and she may be tempted by Mr. Foxy.  Sometimes they have a hard time distinguishing between their toys and mine ;-)


Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a prosperous, joyful New Year!

Thanks for visiting!


Most likely linking to the following this week....

Best of the Weekend at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Inspire Me Monday at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Happiness is Homemade at Ducks 'N a Row
DIY Salvaged Junk Projects at Funky Junk Interiors

I was featured at:

A Rustic & Romantic Christmas at My Thrift Store Addiction

My Thrift Store Addiction Rustic & Romantic Creating Christmas party

Share Your Style at 21 Rosemary Lane

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Recap of the Cabin Project

I'm slowly working my way through all the photos I took at the cabin over Thanksgiving, however this effort has been hijacked by major renovation efforts currently happening in my office.  In fact, I have no office right now: my desk and bookshelves are scattered in pieces across several rooms upstairs, and my computer is hiding under a dropcloth, along with the WiFi, so neither gets covered with all the dust from the sanding going on in my office... so it's a little hard for me to make any headway on photo editing.

So in the meantime, I thought I would give you a recap of the cabin journey from start to finish.

Water and Power

Our property had no water or power, so we had to bring it in from the main road a half mile away.  I'm still amazed that we managed to dig a half-mile long trench, get all the pipe and utility lines in place, get it inspected and approved, bury everything, and actually end up with running water on our property in one week.  

For more information on the first step of what has been an incredible journey for my husband and I, click here (this is also the very first post of this blog).

Weather-Tight Cabin

Originally my husband had wanted to build the cabin structure himself, but luckily the voice of reason prevailed and we hired a contractor to build the finished shell.  

For more on foundation building and framing fun (courtesy of our contractor), click here

Septic and Water System and Starting on the Interior

Once the weather-tight cabin was finished, it was our turn to step in and get to work on finishing the interior and installing the septic system and water tank and pump.  This was two years ago-- I can't believe I actually thought we were 'almost done'!

For more on this, click here.  

More Work on the Interior

We had to go back several more times to get the interior finished (my husband made several more trips than I did).  Finish work not only included installing the 'salvaged' wood ceilings and floors, but also installing and painting the tongue and groove ('shiplap') walls, staining and installing the window and door trim, installing the custom shower and converted vanity sink, the galvanized feed tub kitchen sink...

 Click here to see more on this.

Passing the Final Inpsection

Last September we passed the final inspection.  The week before we took care of some final details (including installing the kitchen cabinets, butcher block counter tops, open shelves, finish painting, among many others...).  We were beyond elated; we celebrated by going out to dinner with my brother. The whole evening was a blur, I was so tired and relieved that we finally did it.

Click here for more on this.   

Finally We Move in the Furniture

I can't believe it's taken us an entire year to get back to the cabin and furnish it, but we did it... here are a few photos of us getting stuff put in place.  More photos of the finished cabin to arrive soon...

Thanks for visiting!


Most likely linking to the following this week....

Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Happiness is Homemade at Ducks 'N a Row
DIY Salvaged Junk Projects at Funky Junk Interiors

Sunday, November 26, 2017

When You Are Afflicted With Projectitis....

I'm seeing lots of 'reality' posts on various blogs these days. People admitting to not having immaculate homes 24/7, admitting that not every room is perfectly styled and ready for a Country Living magazine shoot  (What!!?, don't we all live like that??).  

I see photos with a bit of artful messiness here and there as evidence of real-life lives: a few toys scattered around on the floor, a couple dirty dishes on the coffee table, some one's shoes tossed randomly under the sofa.  

I'll start off by saying right away that this post isn't going to show that kind of reality.  Thanks to the multitude of projects that we have going on right now, including major renovations, my home is neither magazine ready nor is it even just discretely untidy here and there--it's just AWFUL everywhere.  

This is, of course, one of the reasons why I haven't posted in so long: too many projects consuming all my time and energy, plus some other things that demanded my attention, equal no spare time and a pretty messy looking home.

So, since I don't have much in the way of pretty pictures to share, this will be more of a battlefield-tour, with select, highly edited photos of the nitty-gritty that is my current reality and a few brief, explanatory sentences. 

Man Cave

Let's start with the man cave, which until recently, has been a storage room for all of the stuff we didn't have room for anywhere else.   We borrowed several design ideas from the cabin, including using galvanized metal (click here for more info on this) for the wainscoting and creating salvaged-looking wood for a feature wall and for the trim throughout (click here and here for more info on the wood 'aging' process).

We stopped at about 85% complete so that it could briefly revert to the Storage Room and the juggernaut that is my renovating husband could continue rolling inexorably forward with more upstairs projects, forcing me to make decisions about paint color.

Details such as clearing out all of the tools and other stuff, finishing the switch plates and cleaning up all the sawdust, plus adding manly-type furnishings, remain.  

Flooring and Re-finishing the Walls

This is why the Man Cave remains almost, but not quite done.  We need a place for the big saw that is used to cut the wood floor planks and store all the stuff from the other rooms that are getting wood floors and refinished walls, and the Man Cave is the biggest room on the second floor.  

And what I mean by 'refinished' walls is my husband sanding away the ugly texture that came with the house so that the final, painted surface is nice and smooth.  The end result is lovely but the process is horrible and messy, with super-fine dust getting everywhere.

This also means that I need to decide on final paint colors for the sanded walls and I'm pretty sure that trying to choose a paint color that we both like will break my brain.

A medley of the upstairs mess...

The Deconstructed Chairs

These ugly escapees from the '70s were a Craigslist find (the twin to the chair below is lurking out of frame in full tacky glory).  But what could be better for a furniture deconstruction project?  They were almost free at $20 for both and had no redeeming qualities that I wanted to preserve.  The only thing that convinced me to bring them home (very reluctantly) was their solid wood construction, high back and side wings that could remain exposed, and relatively simple, unadorned style.  

This is my first attempt at chair deconstruction (I'd spent a lot of time looking covetously at Restoration Hardware's very pricey deconstructed chairs, which is where the idea was born).  In my ignorance I had assumed that full chair destruction could be accomplished in just a few hours instead of the month and a half of hard labor it actually took me to remove the dreadful, smelly fabric and batting and millions of staples and to sand away the icky, speckled finish so dear to the hearts of 1970's furniture makers.

These chairs are part of the cabin collection and I will share more on the deconstruction journey and their final, 'after' appearance later on in a separate post (although you get a glimpse of one that is finished at the end of this post).

Window/Map Wall Art

Another Restoration Hardware-inspired brainwave. I was sauntering around their store discretely trying out the deconstructed chairs and cogitating about how I could replicate them for MUCH, MUCH less than Restoration Hardware prices (see above) when I spotted some vintage maps on the walls of one of their show rooms (the theme of this particular 'room'  seemed to be world-traveling-manly-man from circa 1932 whose taste runs to over-sized leather chesterfield sofas, chunky, rustic coffee tables, weathered looking globes, a few chrome accents here and there...).  I remembered some windows-as-photo-frames I'd seen at World Market and a light bulb went off in my head as I stood there channeling Indiana Jones.  

I'll share more on how I put all this together later in another post; it involves a poster-making website and some free, vintage map images.

Bath Towels

This is so mundane but I thought I would share it anyway.  I think I got this idea from Sarah Richardson back when she still graced HGTV-USA (why is she only on HGTV-Canada now? Who knows.   Sarah, please, please come back to us all here in the lower 48, especially now that Fixer Upper is going away...).

Anyways, back to the towels.  It's simple: I sewed on grosgrain loops so that they would hang on hooks and stay put.  I find towels hanging spread out on towel racks very messy looking and opted for a vintage-looking hook and rail thing I got at Hobby Lobby instead.  Instant tidiness.

You'll be seeing more of this when I reveal the cabin bathroom.


It was a summer of pillows.  I'm a fabric junkie and grew up with a mom who sewed and made everything, so creating with my own two hands a custom collection of pillows that adequately expressed the right degree of cabin-ness was very important to me.  I did buy a couple  pillows when I couldn't stand the thought of one more sewing project.   

At least once a day my husband asked me if he needed to buy another container to haul all the pillows back to the cabin.  I think he is concerned that we will need to sleep outside because the bed and floors are covered with pillows...

I don't know what he is talking about...but I am looking forward to show you all my pillows in their proper place at the cabin. 

Coffee Table and Other Things

The next few photos show a random collection of various cabin-related furniture and accessories.

In it's former life, this coffee table started off as another 1970s piece.  I banished all semblance of '70s tackiness with some chalk paint and a gray-brown stain for the top. 

I've been collecting all sorts of cabin-related accessories and decor items over the years-- here they are sitting in our dining room, ready for packing and transport to the cabin.

I used painters drop cloth and black ticking fabric to create a shower curtain for the cabin bathroom. I then transferred, stenciled, and hand painted a message about how much it's going to cost to shower at our cabin...

Not all of my time has been spent on cabin or house related projects.

My family and I recently made a trip to Yosemite National Park to scatter my mom's ashes...

This gorgeously rustic bungalow was Jennie Curry's ('Mother Curry' of the Yosemite Park & Curry Company) home when she was still alive.  Don't you just want to go inside, sit down with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book and never, ever return to your daily grind of a life?

After the photo above of the divinely wonderful and rustic Mother Curry's Bungalow, it's entirely fitting to end this post with a sneak peak of our own little rustic cabin.  Yes, yes, YES it's finally, finally done and habitable in every sense of the word.  We just spent Thanksgiving there-- you can see our Thanksgiving Table below.

I will, of course, share more photos of the cabin over the next month or so as I work my way through all of the photos...

Thanks for visiting!


Most likely linking to the following this week....

Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive
DIY Salvaged Junk Projects at Funky Junk Interiors