Saturday, October 26, 2013

Finished Plate Wall (and How My Husband Saved My Life)

And here it is, in all it's finished glory! My pictures don't do it justice, but it's one of my favorite spots in the house.

But even with all my prep work, the final install didn't come without hitting a snag. Do you see that random light switch in the lower right corner below?
Well, my Beloved happened to come home for lunch when I was working on nailing up the last plates, and pointed out that three of my plates were right above the switch and that if I nailed into a live wire, I could conceivably shock and/or electrocute myself.
Being just minutes away from a finished project, this was not what I wanted to hear.  After living in this house for five years, I still have no idea what that switch is supposed to do, other than mess up a perfectly nice wall. We've switched it on and off many times, without any visable effect. Which, however, doesn't prove that it's not live.  

After a few minutes of deep dejection, I came up with a plan B - buy some plastic plates. I hopped on e-bay, found two cheapies in the right size with colors I liked, and got them on their way. It ended up stretching out the project a few extra days, but the tacks in Kelly's hanging method don't go through the drywall, thus, possibly, sparing my life. (Thanks, Honey!)

And now, the Sad Before:

. . . and the Happily Ever After!

I am just delighted with how things turned out! Now that blank spot is filled, I have my plate wall, and . . . I'm still alive to enjoy it! ;-)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Plate Wall: How I Did It

Now, on to the nitty gritty how-tos. I did a lot of messing off the wall, which totally paid off. My finished wall has one hole for each plate. :-)
First I collected all the plates I wanted to use. I laid them out on my unmade bed. I know, I know, such elegance. But I wanted a white background, and I didn't want chinking noises that would wake the napping Littles.
I knew that I liked the contrast of traditional looking plates in a freeform, modern arrangement. But my first effort was too far apart, and too close to traditional looking. So I tried again.

Much better with a little overlap hear and there, but the colors didn't look balanced. So I messed . . .

. . . and messed . . .

 . . . until I looked right. We girls are great at messing, aren't we? I took pictures as I went along, because I knew there was no way I'd remember what I had done. After I found my arrangement, I made little paper templates to tape on the wall.

And it's a good thing I did, because I made changing things very easy. I put everything up, and immediately decided the design needed to be flipped.

I wanted those two little plates on the end to lead your eye down the hall. With templates, all the adjustments were a breeze. I left the paper on the wall for a few days, just to be sure everything looked good. Then I started hanging.
That doesn't sound very good, does it?

I used these little guys for all but the lightest plates, where Kelli's idea worked beautifully. To avoid measuring (measuring should always be avoided, when possible) I rubbed some sidwalk chalk on the top of the hanger, then pressed the plate against my template. The chalk made a little mark, showing me where the top of the hanger hit, so I just tapped in a nail right through the template just under the mark. SO EASY!
So, there you have it, a plate wall made easy. Tune in next time to see the finished pictures and hear how my Husband saved my life. (Yes, it's all related.)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Dreaded Couch Wall

I've finally addressed the empty wall behind the couch:

(Yes, I've been on a decorating-the-house kick, since about January.) I've been wanting to do something easy, cheap and with large impact. I don't ask for much, do I? I wracked my brain for ages before finally coming up with a very simple solution.
Want a hint? A big one?
A little beauty from The Lettered Cottage.
I drooled over this picture for months before it hit me - it's the perfect fix for that big wall! I've always loved plates on the wall (well, at least since I was 17 and, thanks to my wonderful Mother, started collecting pictures of interiors that I liked.). Not only that, it's easy, and I already had all the plates I needed!
Once I made up my mind, I started seeing plate walls everywhere:

Love the color at Domestic Imperfection.

Around the corner at View Along the Way.
So, mine is definitely not original, but I love how it turned out! Coming soon - how I did it, and how it looks!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

To Sleeve, or Not to Sleeve?

I really need to make some winter Sunday dresses for Sugar Muffin (my daughter, name changed to protect the adorable). A friend gave me some fabric I'd like to use:

I can't make up my mind on the design though. I'm thinking of trying a bubble skirt, with flower trim either at the neck or waist.

I can't decide if I should do it sleeveless to wear with a sweater (which I need to buy for her anyway, but which she will probably want to take off), or put short sleeves on it, which at least looks a little warmer.

I'm thinking third from the left, on the top or bottom row.

Any ideas? What do you think?

To sleeve, or not to sleeve? free polls 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

An Epiphany

As I alluded to earlier, I love flowers in the house. Thanks to my green thumb Hubby, I keep flowers on the kitchen table pretty much from May to October. It's something (along with bookshelves) that I'm always drawn to in pictures. Have you ever had a conversation with yourself that sounded like this?

"Oh, how pretty, I like that room! I don't really like the colors, though. Or the furniture. I don't care for the the window treatment either. I guess I really just like the greenery!" (Or the bookshelf.)

I've played around with flower arranging in the past, but this summer I've kept it pretty simple, usually just a vase of garden roses. Or, other stuff, as you'll see in a moment.

One day I was browsing the blog of one of my favorite interior designers when she mentioned sticking some branches from the yard into a vase for a photo shoot.



Why didn't I think of this? Totally easy, fast and cheap! So, when the flowers aren't blooming, or I've been in the mood, I've been doing stuff like this:

 Can you believe that exotic, leafy beauty came from my yard, here in Midwest Cornfield US? Well it did. See, here's a picture to prove it:

Some of those leaves are about 8"x10"! Sometimes I've put cuttings from this jobber on the table. It makes me think of those exotic vacations so popular in the 1940s, so I like it even though my table is really too small for it. Someday . . . when I get a larger table  . . . well, for now, it looks best on the piano.
Next, I've got my eye on the rhododendron. Watch out, little bush.
Oh, and if you have any idea what that tree is, let me know!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall Finery

Well, maybe not finery, per se, but I do like the sound of it. Where we're at the weather has turned, and I'm starting to dig out my warm stuff. I'm always on the lookout for pretty and modest outfit ideas, so if I hit on an outfit I like, I'll share. Maybe it will spark something for you. :-)

Sugar Muffin makes an appearance. Mom cannot get out the camera unobserved :-)

When I pick an outfit, I've got a couple things in mind: what looks good on me, modesty, comfort and femininity. I've been thinking about femininity last a lot more since getting my hair cut short (to someone who had waist long locks as a teenager, this is short). God made me a woman, I love being a woman, and I want to look like I love it! I try to make sure that if I'm wearing pants, I still look unmistakably feminine, and I love working skirts into my everyday routine too.

Anyway, here is something I came up with that didn't feel too fancy for everyday. I'd change the boots if I was going out, but, in the interest of honesty, left them on for the picture. ;-) They're just so comfy for around the house!

Do you have favorite pieces to add femininity to your outfits girls? Ever thought about it? Do tell!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Texturized Bathroom

Earlier this year I decided to do something about one of my less favorite rooms - the Laundry/Bathroom. I've never been fond of the outhouse border around the ceiling, but it occurred to me that if I added some elements I liked I would have something else to look at while I'm in there. So I started making some small changes that added up to . . .  a new favorite room. :-)

Before: some baskets are a good start, but this room needs some texture! All that clutter doesn't help either.

 I started by putting a curtain over the cleaning supplies, and giving the lonely picture a friend:

It made such a difference, especially walking into the room!

Then I added some simple textural touches in the sink area. Soaps and toothpaste go into the woven charger I got from my sweet Grandma. I've got a soft spot for those chargers, they've held many a happy lunch. The toothbrushes live in a canning jar I covered with rope. It reminds me of a bee skep.

 In case you're wondering, there have been fresh flowers in that room nonstop since late March. Since my Wonderful Husband is a gardener, it's on of my free luxuries. :-)
Once I got started, I had to do something about the window. It's pretty private, and I wanted something that would let in the light. Before:
After: A quick fix for texture and color!
As for the budget, here's the breakdown:
Curtain rods: $6
Curtain rings: $10
Rope: $3.50
Burlap $2.75
Grand Total: $22.25
Not bad for an easy room freshener!  As I said, they were all small changes, but together they give the room a different feel. Now when I walk in to this room (which is often), I hardly even notice the outhouses. I just smile.
What do you use to bring texture to a room? Have you ever done a room refresh for $25 or less? Do tell!