Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pretty in Pink

In my last post, I posted pictures of my living room, and I’ve discovered that I really hate how my living room looks.  It wasn’t what I envisioned AT ALL.  And it really doesn’t look like me. I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I was trying too hard to make sure everyone else was comfortable, that I forgot that I need to be comfortable.  I forgot to please myself.  And after all, it is MY house; I’m the one who needs to be the most comfortable here.  And, when I look at the pictures, I just cringe. It's not me at all.

I’m a girly girl.  I love feminine stuff. China.  Romantic lace.  Floral embroidery. Roses.  And I LOVE pink.   That has been my favorite color my entire life. A few examples throughout my home:
In the kitchen:
I even have a pink frying pan, for crying out loud.

In the bedroom:
 This embroidery is on the wall behind my bed.

Pink hat and gloves on my vanity.

 My mom’s pink purse hangs on the wall, along with many other vintage purses.

Pink spaghetti poodles in the bathroom. 

As you can see, I love my pink. So, why oh why oh why do I not have a feminine, romantic, flowery, girly PINK living room?!  I can’t imagine what I was thinking. So, this week, I’m reworking my living room.  And I’m not spending a dime. I call it “freestyling”.

Some projects and or inspiration:

These will be painted, as I'm thoroughly sick of the colors. They will hold china & other collectibles, although I can't decide whether I should use them together or if I should use the hutch top elsewhere. I'm not sure if I like them together, but it's hard to tell with the different paint jobs.  These are definitely shabby, but they were free.
They both held books, but I moved all the books to a china cabinet in the dining room.  I hated having my china in it, because I really couldn’t see the china behind the glass. I always like open shelving for the china so I can see it.  The china cabinet actually holds a lot more books than the shelves, and it looks pretty good.

This will be moved. It won't be painted, however, since I really like the finish and the design on the veneer.

These will be covered.

I love this fabric.  I’ve had it several years and haven’t figured out what to do with it. Maybe at the windows?

This wrapping paper is so sweet. The color in the photo is off; it's a much warmer pink in reality.

 More china and other stuff:

This silverware box that I thrifted will be getting a makeover.

I love robin’s egg blue, aqua & turquoise as well, so you may be seeing some of these as well:

After all, my sofa and chair are an aqua color, of sorts.

And I haven't forgotten about these projects either. I'm working on them, but have been busy yelling at roofers and job hunting.

So that's my project for the next week or so.  I'll be posting the results as soon as I'm finished.  If anyone has any suggestions on the restyle, feel free to comment.

Hope everyone is enjoying their week.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In Living Color

My living room is aptly named: I do A LOT of living in this room.  I don’t have a family room or den, and am not one to spend time holed up in my bedroom.  In the living room, I sprawl on the sofa to read or to watch an old movie (or to even nap on occasion), I write blog posts at the desk, do crafting, entertain guests, job hunt online, even eat dinner.  So, I needed the room to serve a variety of functions.

I wanted the room to be beautiful, but functional, formal enough to welcome newcomers to my home, but comfortable enough that guests would feel at home.  It needed comfortable seating, space for collectibles and objects that hold sentimental value to me, storage for books, music and old movies, and, most importantly, it needed COLOR.

Although I love seeing beautiful homes with the all-white, Jeanne D’Arc look that is so popular, that just isn’t me. I. MUST. HAVE. COLOR.  I spent the majority of the past 25 years living in apartments with Navajo White walls.  I call it Apartment White. I hate that color. My walls always looked dirty to me (well, okay, the last few years at the last apartment, they probably WERE dirty). But anyway, I vowed when I moved here that I would paint every wall a deliciously beautiful color. 

So much for that vow. The walls haven’t seen a drop of paint.  Maybe in the spring when it’s warm enough to throw open a few windows to air out the room, I'll take paint roller in hand and get some color on these walls.  Right now, I’m living with tan walls.  At least they aren’t  Navajo White.

I’m not sure what my style could be called, assuming that anything in my home even has style.  Most of what I own is secondhand, purchased from thrift stores, antique stores, garage sales, friends.  I think my sofa is the only piece of furniture that I bought new.  (If I’d been able to find a vintage sofa in good condition at a great price, I would have purchased that secondhand, as well.)  I pretty much buy what I like and can afford, add as many sentimental family pieces as I can, throw it all together, rearrange it a couple dozen times, and hope for the best. It's not perfect, certainly not chic or sophisticated, and I'm not sure that it could be called beautiful, but it's starting to feel like home.

My living room is definitely a work-in-progress, but for now, here it is:  (Please excuse the dust on some of the furniture in the pictures.  Apparently, my maid, who, coincidentally, looks and sounds an awful like me, is a terrible housekeeper and needs to be fired immediately!)

The view from my desk behind the sofa. As you can see, I’m still working on the desk rehab. It will get a coat of paint soon.  It’s also painfully obvious that those windows need some sort of valance or drape.  I’m not crazy about the vertical blinds, but they do provide privacy.

Yeah, I know, the lamp is very gaudy, but I couldn’t resist it.  In fact, I love what I call “courtship figures”, and, as you can see from the next couple of pictures, I have several plates and 1950’s airbrush pictures depicting these scenes.

Behind the desk is a china cabinet filled with books. I even put paperbacks in the drawers. I would love to have bookshelves built, but can’t afford it right now, and since I got rather tired of having to dig through 35 boxes of books in the garage, I moved some of my favorites to the cabinet.   
In the cabinet:
Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, according to Madame Alexander, that is.  To this day, I still love reading Little Women.

This little girl reminds me of myself in second grade.  I went to 12 years of Catholic schools, so I wore a uniform jumper quite similar to this.  I even wore my hair styled this way.

I even have a picture in the cabinet of one of my heroes and a favorite author, Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have read all of her children's books several times over, and have even read the writings she did for Missouri farm journals and national magazines.  About four years ago, on a trip to Missouri, I was able to visit Rocky Ridge farm, which is the home she and Almanzo shared until their deaths.  Geek that I am, this was the highlight of my trip! 

I love old books!

I was so glad to find a house with a used brick fireplace.  You've seen this china before, so you're probably sick of it, but I never get tired of looking at it.

I love the old barkcloth.  This is actually a small drapery panel that I threw on the chair, then left it there as I kind of liked the look.  The endtable was $20 at a thrift store.  The chair was an antique store find that I put on layaway. 

A great place from which to watch a movie.

These old suitcases hold craft supplies.

This old bench was $20 at Salvation Army.  The finish isn’t in great shape, but I love the needlepoint seat. 

This lamp and plate were both thrifted from my favorite Salvation Army store.

Dad, circa 1942.

Dad made these bookends when he was in high school, sometime around 1936.  I don’t have a lot of stuff from my dad, so I treasure these.  They hold old mystery novels from the 1930's and 40's.

I love this 30’s art deco waterfall chest.  It holds craft and sewing supplies.  I used birthday money to purchase this two years ago.

Mom, high school graduation, 1949.

One of Mom’s high school yearbooks. On top is a ceramic hand that belonged to my grandmother. The lavender smells so wonderful!

Mom bought this radio in the 50’s.  When I was a very little girl, before my younger brother was born, I was home alone with Mom while my older brother and sister were in school.  Mom listened to an LA radio station that played music from the 1940’s and 50’s, and the radio was on ALL morning.  To this day, it’s my favorite kind of music, as I'm always reminded of those times when I had Mom all to myself!  By the way, the radio still works!

I hope you've enjoyed the little mini tour of my living room. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Heart of the Home

When I lived in my apartment, my kitchen was approximately 7 feet by 7 feet. That included the cabinets, so my floor space was approximately 5 x 5.  Because the water heater was in the kitchen, cupboard space was limited, so I had a freestanding particle board cabinet on the free wall, which limited floor space even further.  This was definitely a 1-person kitchen.  Actually, it wasn’t even comfortable for 1 person. Needless to say, I very rarely cooked.  I ate off paper plates; I used plastic utensils.

So, when I bought a house, I wanted a great kitchen. I wanted a kitchen where I could bake dozens of Christmas cookies, my first apple pie, my first turkey dinner.  Oddly enough for someone who rarely cooks, I have collected a lot of kitchen stuff from the 1940’s and 50’s (old linens, jadite, china, vintage aprons, etc.), so I wanted a kitchen large enough to not only display these things, but also large enough to have space left for me to work.  I wanted a kitchen where family and friends would gather. I wanted my kitchen to be a cozy heart of the home, sort of like grandma’s kitchen, circa 1950.

I’ve been very shy about posting pictures of the inside of my home, out of fear that it won’t measure up to all the beautifully decorated homes that I see on other blogs. Right now, money is tight, so I’m working with a use-what-you-already-have mentality when it comes to decorating. I have big plans, but I'm not yet in a position to put most of them into effect.I don't have elegant stuff and my style is anything but sophisticated and chic. Most of what I have is rather kitschy; it all reminds of cozy grandma kitchens.  So, I've done the best I could with what I have at the moment. 

So, without further ado, here is my a-work-in-progress kitchen:

Since the light fixture over the sink made it impossible to hang curtains, I hung a vintage apron instead. I love the embroidery and crochet detail.

This dresser was in the bedroom that my sister and I shared when we were kids. I added a shelf that I thrifted last year.  Believe it or not, I found the original 1964 purchase receipt for the dresser when I was going through Mom's things after she died (Mom saved everything).  

The King's Crown goblets were my mother's.  Somehow, wine tastes so much better served in something pretty (so does rum and coke, for that matter!)

I love old silver pieces, and find them often at thrift stores. As you can see, I'm pretty lazy about silver polishing, but the tarnished patina has its charm.

These girls were on my grandmother's kitchen wall for as long as I could remember.

I love embroidered linens. So cute!

I should have ironed these first before I took the picture. My grandmother embroidered this set of kitchen towels for my mom when Mom & Dad married in 1954.

I have a small collection of jadite and moderntone platonite. And yes, I do use them.

Like I said, I'm using what I have for the time being.  When the weather warms up in the spring, I'll paint the walls (the tan color is okay, but not what I envisioned). Eventually, I would like to find a something to serve as a kitchen island, and would love to replace the tile with hardwood floors, but I'm happy with what I have for now.

By the way, I did make my first turkey last Thanksgiving. I was traumatized by the disgusting sight of the neck and the giblets, but other than that, I must have done an okay job, since no one died as a result of the meal.