Archive for the ‘Transformation: the second 40 days’ Category

Chairs, Chairs, And More Chairs

Last Friday I mentioned my chair problem and a few of the readers said that they wanted to see the chairs. I became a little bit concerned about this because out of the five chairs I mentioned in my post, four look exactly alike. But then I started to think of all the chairs I have purchased in the last year, and suddenly I had a little more variety. I realize by posting these pictures, that any of you who had sympathy for me after reading this post, will now switch to the husband’s side. In an effort to retain as many people on my team as possible, I will be telling you of the bargains I got on each purchase. 🙂

One of my first purchases last spring were these wood folding chairs from World Market. I had a gift card (thanks, Katie!), so I was only $10.00 out of pocket.

Don’t folding chairs look classy in my formal dining room? 🙂 Also, please ignore the chandelier and the swagness on the windows. I haven’t really worked on this room yet.

Right next door is the formal living room, where these two Wisteria chairs are the only furniture in the room.

I had my eye on those chairs for about a year before I bought them. They were 30% off when I finally did. I didn’t have to pay shipping because Wisteria is located less than 10 minutes from my house! In case you were wondering, this does not make the husband happy. Here is a close up of one chair, in case you wanted a better look (throw from Anthropologie):

Around the same time as the folding chairs, I purchased two of these from Pier 1:

This is the one that resides in my blue guest room. I haven’t put any pictures of that room on here before. The matching chair is in the master bedroom, under a pile of clothes that need to be put away. Therefore, you will not be seeing that one. Can I just do a little plug for Pier 1? I don’t work for them and they aren’t paying me. People, don’t forget about Pier 1! Next time you need something for your home, be sure to check them out. They have great stuff and great prices! I can’t remember how much I paid for the chairs, but I do remember that they were 50% off.

You already saw this chair in a post a couple of weeks ago. It’s a leather recliner from JC Penney.

If you are looking for sturdy furniture and bargain prices, JC Penney has to be on your list. This recliner isn’t as nice as the Crate and Barrel one I lusted after, but it’s also less than half the price. And we like it.

These are the office chairs:

Now that I praised JC Penney above, I can give them a little dig here. The chair on the right was purchased from them less than a year ago. It has not held up well and is uncomfortable. This necessitated the purchase of the chair on the left three weeks ago. Much more comfortable. We’ll see about the longevity.

You also saw this new chair on this blog a couple of weeks ago:

It is from Pottery Barn and was on sale as a new introduction.

And now the final four chairs. I bought these at Pottery Barn two at a time over the last couple of weeks.

I have admired chairs like this for a couple of years, but didn’t have a dining table for the patio until recently. I went with these because they were the cheapest with this shape. I do like the color of the Crate and Barrel ones a bit better. These chairs are very comfortable and right now PB is waiving their shipping surcharge on a lot of furniture. If you want to be really impressed with my bargain shopping, check out the chairs like this in Frontgate sometime.

Have any favorites? Which one(s)? Anyone else with a chair problem? What’s really sad is that I clearly need more chairs. I would say at least eight for the dining room. I can just imagine the husband sitting in his office, reading this, and yelling, “Noooooooooooooo!”. My day is complete. 😉

Frisbee Dog!

Mr. Darcy loves to play. If you come to our house, it is his mission to get you to play with him. It is surprisingly difficult to throw a frisbee and then get a shot of him in action!

Come on, let's play!

Look at me! I'm not old!

My arthritis is going to kill me later!

I need a nap.

PS The shots of the yard and garden above were taken before the big trim and clean up last week. The garden looks a bit different now. But the yard still looks about the same. Did I mention that chinch bugs are killing our grass? No? Well they are and I’m not a happy camper. More garden pictures to come, probably next week. We haven’t planted any new plants yet. Tomorrow…chairs!

Something Is Very Wrong

The husband and I received this card for our anniversary:

Tragic Couple #1

Tragic couple #2 and apparently #3.

Need I say more?

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. I have a chair problem. In the last three weeks, I’ve purchased five chairs. The husband is not happy. I have vowed to stop.

2. We are having some of our landscaping removed and/or repaired today. There are some large plants in our garden that have become unwieldy and must go. I can’t wait to have space to be creative and plant new stuff! We also have a small flagstone patio that is cracking and deteriorating. That will be repaired and hopefully prevent further damage.

3. I’m not a professional gardener, but I play one for my friends! In the last two weeks, two friends have asked for my opinion about what to plant. We’ll see how that turns out. I’m a little concerned.

4. Mr. Bingley seems to have fully recovered from his over active thyroid. No more issues and he’s even put on a little weight. 🙂

5. The running is going okay. I haven’t had any issues with my shins or knees, so I’m going to declare the funky shoes a success. I only ran twice last week and it looks like this week will be the same. I have been trying to take really long walks on the days that I don’t run. But I would like to have the running at three to four times a week, not two.

6. We are going to the Symphony this weekend with some friends and then out to dinner. I’m excited! It should be really fun.

7. It was my sister in-law’s birthday this week and my Grandmother’s is tomorrow. Happy Birthday!

Check out all the links over at Conversion Diary. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

What Are You Reading?

The living room at my old house, featuring the bookshelves the husband sanded(3x), polyed(3x), and assembled.

I read all the time. And I usually read fiction almost exclusively. But every once in a while I get on a non-fiction, usually self improvement kick. I’m on one right now. I decided to search on Amazon last week for books that might be inspirational about home keeping. By inspirational, I do not mean a prayer or reflection for each day or week. I mean kick in the pants, fired up inspirational. I wasn’t extremely successful in my search. Maybe I needed better search terms.

I ended up orderingRadical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes. Haven’t cracked it open yet, but am a bit frightened by the illustration on the front cover. It looks like a roided out woman athlete from the old Soviet Block. There’s even a shadow over the armpit which suggests hair to me. Ewww!

I also ordered two books by Julie Morgenstern: SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life and Never Check E-Mail In The Morning. The last one seems more geared towards people who have a job, but I thought it might help me. I should be treating homemaking as my job, but I really don’t. The fact is that if I worked for someone else, I would do a better job (or I would be fired!). And that’s just wrong.

You know how Amazon will show you books that other people bought when they bought what’s in your cart? Well, a really interesting marriage book popped up and I got it. It’s called 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great by Terri L. Orbuch Ph.D.. What really intrigued me about this book is that she is getting her information from the longest running study on marriage in U.S.. These people had been in this study for 22 years at the time of publication. There was some interesting and surprising information in this book. She also debunks a lot of myths and quizzes you to see if your are a moron (my term, not hers) or not when it comes to your knowledge about marriage and the myths associated with it. It was an easy read and I didn’t feel as though I had wasted my time. Here’s an interesting tidbit, most divorces are caused by… frustration. Yet another argument in favor of my “whatever, jackass!” policy. If you have no idea what I’m talking about read this.

I’m in the beginning of the SHED book now, but not far enough to give an opinion. I guess we’ll know the verdict if I clean out the Room Of No Purpose!

It’s very possible that I will get distracted by fiction in the middle of my self improvement attack. I have the latest installment in the Spellman series waiting for me, taunting me. 🙂 But I think it’s easier to read a fiction and a non-fiction book at the same time, rather than two fiction books.

What are you reading right now? Anything you have read recently that you would recommend?

My Stairway Got Hit With The Ugly Stick!

My house has two sets of stairs. One is quite nice looking and is in the front entry. The stair treads are wood and there’s a chandelier, and blah, blah, blah.

The only picture I could find was a Christmas one. Sorry!

You can even see my old white blinds in the family room in the picture above. Anyway, I don’t use the front stairs very often. And that’s because we share our house with two giant, furry beasts. And I don’t want their big paws with sharp nails going up and down those wood stairs. This guy in particular can be a real problem:

Mr. Darcy likes to be wherever the action is.

He pretty much follows me around all day. And even though I don’t use those stairs, he has started to at least once a day. Whenever I talk to him about it, I imagine him thinking, Whatever lady! I’m older than you! I can do what I want!

I use this stairway, off of the kitchen:

The window and one of the light fixtures in the back stairway. A definite case of the uglies!

We have been looking at those ugly window treatments and those ick light fixtures for a year and a half. This weekend we finally did something about it! Here is an in progress photo:

New light fixture up, old window treatments down, old holes filled and painted!

Here’s another photo, so you can see how brave the husband was to change a light fixture in a stairwell:

The husband was less than enthused about this chore. 🙂

If you would like to know just annoyed the husband was about changing the lights out, read this.

Here is the after:

Done! This makes me so happy!

And here’s what it looks like with the blind down:

We did get the privacy liner - blocks 40% of light

So that was our mini-facelift of the stairway. You can see that window on the landing from the kitchen. So, that’s probably one of the reasons it bothered me so much. Here is the cost breakdown of our project:

quart of paint: $9.26
foam brush: $.57
new cordless drill: $49.97
2 light fixtures @ $19.97 ea.: $39.94
woven wood blind w/ privacy liner: $196.95
Total: $296.69

I need to point out here, that because of generous gift cards from my father (Christmas & birthday), we were only out of pocket $42.00. Thanks Dad! And if we had forgone the privacy liner, we would not have been out of pocket at all. This project could of course be done even cheaper by using the woven wood blinds you find at discount and home improvement stores. I chose to order mine from because I knew they had a color which closely matched the cabinets in my kitchen. There is cabinetry in the same sight line as the blind from the kitchen. Also, I chose to order one big blind to cover two windows and to cheat it up towards the ceiling to make it look bigger. That is the one characteristic of the old window treatments that I did like.

I know it’s not the most glamorous change, but I really hated those valances and brass lights. This is so much better. And I appreciate not having my senses assaulted 20 times a day as I go up and down the stairs!

It’s Monday! That means I’m linking this post to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On The Porch. Check it out!

A Phone Conversation

While at the Home Depot tonight I had to call the husband to see if the cordless drill I was buying him would pass muster. It did. I then informed him that I was buying two replacement light fixtures for the back stairwell, which is our project area. So I said, “Go ahead and remove the lights so we can change them out.” Don’t you love my liberal use of “we”? The husband began to grumble about one of the lights being impossible to reach and declared, “It’s not going to happen”. I then tried to cajole him by saying how awesome he is and how he can do anything. He wasn’t buying it.

While walking out to the car I received another call from him, and it went like this:

husband: “How exactly was I going to see to install new lights in a stairwell at night?”

me: “Umm, good point. We’ll have to do the lights tomorrow.”

husband: “Uh yeah, I think that will work better since you can’t do that in the dark.”

me: “You seem like you are in a bad mood. What’s wrong? I just used some of my birthday money to buy you a new cordless drill.”

husband: “That’s not my drill. That’s your drill for me to use on your projects. And who comes up with a project for their husband to remove light fixtures in a stairwell at night? A wife who is trying to kill her husband, that’s who! Maybe I’m in a bad mood because I started doing your stupid project and realized I was going to break my neck in the dark!”

me: no words, just laughing

husband: “Why are you trying to kill me?!”

me: more laughing

The husband hangs up.

Psychological Plant Problems

A bright spot in my yard

Over my years of home ownership, I’ve grown to like flower gardening and to learn a little about it. In fact, one of the things I was saddest about when we moved was leaving our yard and all of our plants and trees. I’m sure that makes me sound like a freak. I kind of feel like one! But we chose and planted nearly everything in our yard ourselves and even designed the shape of the flower beds, patio, etc…

The rose arbor in the background was planted for our 5 year anniversary.

We actually had trees planted in our backyard when we bought our first house before we ever bought new furniture. We had a lot of successes and a lot of failures. But I almost always felt a sense of pride and was happy to do the work. I am sure my husband would probably interject here that in the beginning, he did the brunt of the work. I think this is true, because in the beginning there was a lot of digging and heavy lifting. But for the last 4 or 5 years in the house, I did everything but the mowing. And I enjoyed it.

Looks pretty, but is actually a picture of some of my failures. Many of these plants never came back for a second year.

Once we moved, I had some trouble getting that feeling back. I’m guessing this has to do with none of the plantings being my idea. Last year was our first full year in the house. Luckily, I had a large party on the horizon. There’s nothing like vanity to spur you on when all else fails! This year I don’t have that. And the husband has been extremely busy at work again. So, I have resorted to hiring someone to come in and give me a little help. This should be easy, but is actually stressful. And also seems to have highlighted some communication problems between myself and the husband. Am I the only person to become attached to my plants? Is what to do about the garden a “discussion” in your house? Please weigh in and hopefully make me feel better! I’m feeling like a nut job!

To Make My Friend Feel Better

I’m apparently giving a friend of mine a complex about her lovely home, by only posting pictures of the rooms I like and are pretty much “done” of my home. So, here is the worst room in my house. This revelation will make my friend feel better, but will also horrify my mother and make another friend start to twitch. 🙂 Even with all of the fall out, posting these pictures is still the right thing to do. No one’s home is perfect and mine isn’t even close.

This is the Room Of No Purpose:
You may remember my mention of it in my post about House Faking.

Isn’t it awful? Beyond the incredible mess, which is mostly unpacked boxes and things I haven’t known what to do with, there are those lovely curtains. They are actually way too long and are draped over the rod and gathered. Hideous! I have no idea how old they are or how long they have been hanging in that room. The house is 15 years old, and I think the original white paint is on the walls. We are the third owners and I don’t think anyone has used this room for a purpose.

Here is the closet:

It’s not much better and is certainly not being used to it’s full potential. I have no “vision” for this room right now. We already have two guest rooms with their own attached baths, so another guest room is not really needed. It’s the bedroom farthest away from the master, so even if I could get my uterus to work, it’s not a nursery contender. Maybe I need to go all crazy Container Store and make a giant storage room!!! (The husband is reading this at work right now and becoming extremely concerned!)

The room is so bad that Mr. Bingley cannot bring himself to look at it, much less enter!

Mr. Darcy may look brave, but the truth is he’s nosy and can’t stand to feel left out!

If you have any suggestions for me, bring it on! The only thing I can think of is that I don’t have a room with twin beds, yet. And I do have lots of nieces and nephews. So, it would definitely get used. Also, it’s quite a large room. So if I needed extra storage, I could do one of those Ikea closets along an entire wall. This house actually lacks a linen closet. So, the need for extra storage is not completely laughable. Well, maybe a little bit funny! What do you think? And do you have a room like this in your house? If so, are you brave enough to admit it?!

It’s Spring In The Family Room

I finally did my spring cleaning in the family room. I also changed out the pillows and did a tray on the coffee table instead of the basket I had been using.


I am so proud of myself, because I actually went online and looked at Martha’s spring cleaning tips. And then I did a lot of them. Amazing! I even cleaned the windows. But I have one teeny, tiny bone to pick with Miss Martha’s notion that all books and objects must come off the shelves for spring cleaning. I say, that’s why God created a person who invented the Swiffer Duster. I love Swiffer! Amen!

BTW, have you seen the blog In Pursuit Of Martha Points? It was on the WordPress homepage last weekend. I think it’s really funny.

Here is my family room before the spring time transformation:

Woops! I cut off the TV

And here is another angle:

Look how nicely Mr. Darcy is posing for the camera.

Here’s what Mr. Darcy used to think about cameras in his adolescence:

Devil Dog!

Are you still with me? Did Mr. Darcy scare everyone off? It’s the perfect name for him. He’s very misunderstood. Here is the family room after my cleaning and refreshing:

My poor couches are ready to be re-covered. The green one looks especially sad. 😦

One more angle:

Clean windows!

I’m linking up this springtime transformation to Metamorphosis Monday over at Between Naps On The Porch. There are lots of great links every Monday to before and afters of all kinds of projects. Take a look.

Here is some sourcing information in case you are interested. I bought all of the pillow covers last year from Pottery Barn. So, they don’t have these exact pillows available anymore. But, there’s always a nice, bold red stripe available in their pillow collection. And I found the butterfly pillow along with two more in a similar style at Plow & Hearth right now. I am quite certain their price is better than what I paid at PB last year. The actual pillows inside the decorative covers were bought from an online retailer whose information I cannot find. They are organic cotton covers filled with organic wool. They have held up really well and dust mites don’t like wool, which means I love wool. The only new piece in the room is the tray. It is Jonathan Adler, but his site was sold out. Pieces in Atlanta was able to help me out. I want to do something to update the mantle and I’m not super happy with the table lamp either. I thinks it’s the right shape, but I think I wish it was white ceramic. Overall, I’m happy with the change brought by the pillows and the addition of the tray. Happy Monday!