Sunday, August 31, 2008

I love this house, it's near my parent's and I drive by it a couple times a month. It's not particularly grandiose - in fact, I could probably afford it if went on the market, but the heating bill more than likely puts it out of my budget. These older homes are poorly insulated, and notoriously drafty.

It's also a 'Main Street, Small Town' location, which I love, but it's too far from work. I would cut the shrubs down somewhat - they look way too overgrown, though they provide a ton of privacy from the street.

I love the double 2-story bay windows in the front and the Victorian porch trim. You can't really see them, but there are double entry doors in dark wood. I would paint the trim a couple different colors though. I imagine it's got a center hall and double parlor, possibly with pocket doors. (sigh...)

This next one is also on the way to my parents and so the location has the same good and bad points. It's semi-detached, so that is not ideal, and it's on a steep hill.

I do love the color scheme and the pretty gingerbread trim. This was recently redone. I can't even tell you what it looked like before, I never noticed it until they updated it.

More than likely it's not laid out very well and is probably missing most of the original architectural features, but you never know.

Another bad thing about old houses is the overhead electrical lines. They sort of spoil the view.

Both these houses also have 2 story side porches with pretty railings and trim. Love that.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Model Home, originally uploaded by tracyleighb.

I still have not heard anything about the mortgage, but I went to the model today anyway and took some photos, which I am posting here using the cool mosaic photo tool that Cindy was kind enough to tell everyone else how to access. I mentioned Cindy in my last post, hers is my favorite blog.

The model home pictured here has mostly the same layout as my home will, but there are several options that are different. My carpeting is chocolate brown, I do not have any wood floors, I will have linoleum flooring in the entry, kitchen, and bathrooms (for financial reasons, obviously I would prefer wood). I will have dark cherry cabinets in the kitchen with black appliances and gray/black/white speckled counterops. I don't have the stair rails and spindles, I will have half-walls so my blind cat does not fall through the holes. This one is also an end unit so there are a couple windows on the sides I won't have, but I still have 14 windows which seems like plenty to me.

I plan to paint the walls from the entry all the way up through the living area and up the steps to the bedroom level hallway in a caramel color. I want to put a brick red accent wall in the dining area, and the downstairs bath maybe robins egg blue. I will probably paint the master bedroom a soft gray-green.

Two of my daughters are in the living room photo, they went along to see the house. Steph is standing on the left, she's the oldest and she's in grad school, and Dani is seated on the right, she's the youngest and in high school. Mandy, my middle daughter, is away at Penn State U.

While I always wanted a huge old rambling Victorian style farmhouse, I do like this house alot. It's bright and not too big for me to live in alone (in a few years) or too small to live with 1 and a half daughters (for now). Also, it's very energy efficient and will be relatively easy to maintain, which I would never get in an older home.

Do I sound like I'm talking myself into it? I'm not sure, but I think I will be excited if I do get it, but if I don't, I will take it as a sign that I need to wait a little longer and look for an older house.

Before we went to look at the house, we went to Zern's to get some fruits and veggies. I also bought 2 white plates with a cutwork border for $1 each. They had lots of mums and Halloween decorations for sale, but I resisted, at least for a couple more weeks.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I finished a couple of small projects. I had bought an urn at the Goodwill last week:

I didn't really love it gold, so I repainted it and gave it an antique finish - which is to say, I made it look a bit dirty so it would be more interesting:

I also refinished a laundry basket, inspired by Cindy at She has the most amazing taste. She did a picnic and laundry basket in light colors and then whitewashed them. I had a similar style basket that my kids gave me years ago with a Christmas present inside. I never really liked the light finish, so I had tried to stain it darker but that failed, so I've just had it in the closet for years. I didn't have a color I wanted to make it, so I just did the whitewash on it and made a liner. Cindy mentioned trying a liner but found it difficult. I am by no means a sewing expert, so I made a pattern out of newspaper and then sewed it up out of some old fabric:

I sort of wish I had got some nicer fabric, because I don't totally love this (actually the picture makes it look better than it looks in person), but I am happy that I did it successfully. I put drawstring in the top, made out of a complimentary fabric. Basically I ironed long strips into a bias tape form and folded it over, then sewed it to create long "strings".

I could probably line a lot of baskets now that I figured out how to do it. I have pretty many. Something I'm thinking about doing is figuring out all the collections I have and showing them all. I have quite a few. But I will save that for another day.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I keep driving past where my house is going to be. Well, not precisely past that spot, because there is nothing to see but a sign in the mud, but past the development. I have not heard anything else about the mortgage, but at this point I think I'll be sort of relieved if I don't get it. I'm not sure I'm doing the right thing.

Here is the back of a unit just like mine - 2 story sunroom off the kitchen with a tiny deck off the dining room. I want to go in and take some interior photos now that I have a camera, but I might wait til I find out for sure if I'm getting it.

Lunch hour goes fast on the internet. I have to go back to work!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Well, this is not so great, but I'm working on it. I had a shelf up above my TV before and some of these things were on that, but I'm either tired of looking at them or this just looks tired. I did pot my dark purple sweet potato vine cutting (on the left side of the old box), but it's not going to get enough light there, so that is probably going to get moved.

I was looking around and realized I have LOADS of things all over (ok, maybe mostly junk). This is my dining room hutch. I bought this hutch at a yard sale about 8 years ago for $5. It had been stripped but the back veneer panels came up a little and the guy decided he didn't want to bother with refinishing it. I just stained and polyurethaned it, and it looks pretty good.

Most of the stuff on here I have had for 20 years. I used to go to auctions all the time, so some of it comes from there, the plates are from my mom, who collects blue willow and has tons of it - these are reproduction, most of hers are old. Some of this stuff I made in ceramics class in the 80's (you could tell if you looked close, so I should probably get rid of it).

This is a pie safe that I bought a couple months ago at Zern's, which is kind of a flea market/ farmers market that is open every Friday and Saturday. This started me on my black furniture kick. I also bought the shelf above it at a similar market called Green Dragon, which is just open Friday nights. The display "stuff" here is also not thrilling me, but again, I've had most of it forever, so I suppose I just need to work in some new things.

I've been looking at other blogs and I realized that my photography is pretty bad. I just got the camera 2 weeks ago for my birthday (from my totally awesome kids), so I sort of have an excuse. I will try to get better.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Today was my daughter Danielle's first day back to school, and when I stopped at the grocery store in the afternoon, there were mums out. I love autumn, especially the colors. I can't wait to get a few mums and some pumpkins and gourds.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Here it is - my new armoire! I really love it, it's just beautiful. It's also enormous and incredibly heavy - my poor brother was sweating bullets helping the guy carry it down the steps of their house, but we were able to back his truck right up to my apartment door to get it out. I got it set up with the TV and all my stereo components, and it looks really nice. I had originally been thinking about painting it black, but it looks really good for used furniture, so I'm leaving it as is. I will take another picture after I decorate around it.

I didn't get to do anything else today - working for a living is over-rated.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I worked on my little projects today, but around 2pm I felt like getting out of the house, so I went on a little shopping jaunt. My niece works at Marshalls but was not there today (she could have got me her discount). I bought 4 things to go in the bathroom - a small set of lead crystal candle holders for $1 each, a large cream colored antiqued ceramic canister on sale for $10, a shallow dish in the same finish for $7.99, and a picture for $14.99. Here is a photo with the canister, candlesticks and picture in it. The dish is on the back of the toilet; I tried photographing it but it just looks too white. I think that once I can paint the walls, my things will look a bit better. Also, I could use some new candles, the ones in the photo are from an old box of cheap candles and they are yellowing. I am using the canister to store feminine hygiene products - much nicer than a blue cardboard box. I'm also planning to replace this little black wire etagere with a black cabinet, which will be more practical for holding all my other not-so-pretty things like hairspray, and also will be easier to dust.

The other day I happened to go to Joanne Fabric because I was looking for projects in the Goodwill next door, and I bought some Waverly upholstery weight fabric to make 2 large pillows for my sofa. It's a brick red floral pattern with earthy tones (see photo, I used it as a backdrop for a cute little tureen I bought at Goodwill) that I think will look nice with the brown leather. I thought my pillow forms (which I bought months ago) were 18 inches, so I asked for 1 1/2 yards of fabric. It was 30% off, so it would have been a little under $9, but there was about 3/4 yard left on the roll and she asked if I wanted it at a remnant price, so I took it. I got 2 1/4 yards for $11. When I got home that day I looked at my pillow forms and they are 24 inches, which I can't cover even with 2 1/4 yards. So, I was figuring on getting a coordinating stripe to make a large border around the fabric I have, which is why I was at the fabric store after Marshalls, and my phone rang.

Late last night someone posted a solid cherry tv armoire on Craigslist for $125, and I emailed them about it. I look on there all the time but I've never bought anything. I had checked my email before I left for Marshalls, and I had not heard from the seller, so I figured I missed out, but she called me and I left immediately (without buying the fabric) to go look at the armoire. It is in very nice shape, there is a crack in the lower door but you don't really see it unless you're looking hard, and I think I can repair it with wood glue. It was a nice family in a good neighborhood, so I gave her a $20 deposit to hold it for me until I can get my brother to help me pick it up, hopefully tomorrow. I'm very excited about it; I have wanted a tv armoire since I threw out my dilapidated entertainment cabinet 4 years ago, but have not been in a position to spend $1000 or so on something I don't truly need.

I believe you can contribute a great deal to your own happiness by surrounding yourself with things that you think are beautiful, but it's very important that you can afford them, otherwise you have created stress and that cancels out happiness.

Here is my little apartment patio. This is pretty much all the outdoor space I currently have to work with. I love the black-eyed susan vine (hanging on the right), I never saw one before this year and I had to have it. I get my plants at a little nursery nearby, they are not the cheapest place but they have nice things. Next year I will probably be spending considerably more money there since I will have a little garden area in front and in back, as well as a small deck.

I took some cuttings of my sweet potato vines to try and keep over the winter. They rooted really quickly, so soon I will be potting them up. I'm thinking about taking several more, but I have few windows in my apartment and I don't know how well they will do without a ton of light. I will have a little sunroom in my new house - can't wait to put plants all over that.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I'm buying a house.

Last year around this time, I found out my rent was going up about $70/month so I went to look at some townhouses that were being built nearby. They were a little bit out of my budget comfort zone, so I didn't pursue it, but last month they called me about some incentives they were running. Next thing you know, I'm buying a house. Well, hopefully. Right now I'm waiting to hear about the mortgage. This is what it's going to look like (not precisely, because I'm getting a different door header and a single gable on the top, but you get the idea). I really need to find something creative to do to camoflauge the hideous electrical panels and whatever else that is poking out the front. Yuck. Other than that, they are actually quite attractive, and the neighborhood is great.

Since I've been renting for 6 years since my divorce, and before that I was married for 17 years, this is really the first time I will have a place of my own where I can do whatever I want. I already picked out all my "options", which was fun to do, but now that I'm thinking about the furniture and color schemes, I hope my options are going to work! Sherwin Williams has a color visualizer tool on their website, which I have been playing with a great deal because I am really excited about painting, and I recently bought some furniture, some new, and some "new to me".

I have also been all over HGTV's Rate My Space pages looking for inspiration, and I'm completely drawn to the Shabby Chic look, loads of pretty things in all white and washed-out pastels. I have 2 of Rachel Ashwell's books and I have some of her things from Target in my bedroom, but the rest of my spaces have more of a romantic country feel. By which I mean I have alot of cluttery stuff like teapots and dishes and lacy things and fringy things, but mostly in a warmer color palette.

So, I'm not going to be able to go all white, but I want to do something as romantic and pretty as the spaces I've seen. I've started searching for some interesting used stuff to fix up, and I'll post some projects as I get them completed.
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