Posts Tagged ‘home decorating’

It’s gonna be a little kitsch, but I don’t care.

April 11, 2017

The idea came to me when I was on a run, like all of the best ideas do. I think I had passed a house that had a giant butterfly or two attached to the roof (talk about kitsch), which made me think of our neighbor when we were growing up, Albina.

Albina was like a grandmother to us. She was quiet, and kept to herself, and with our side yard being so big (more than two house lots, but just), it wasn’t like we could throw pleasantries over the fence. So we kids talked to her whenever she was out gardening and we were out playing, and she must have talked to my parents from time to time. I know that when she drove past in her little four-door sedan (with the electric windows that we thought were so. fancy.) and we were outside, she would stop and talk to mum.

Not only did we talk to Albina when she was outside gardening (which seemed like all the time – the woman loved her flowers and plants), she sometimes borrowed me to help her run errands. We go driving around the city, picking up various things. I think she liked the company. She didn’t have any family. So I was her stand-in granddaughter. And I liked that. She always took me to McDonald’s for lunch when we ran errands, and she knew all the best McDonald’s with the coolest outside playgrounds. Even if the “cool” ones were far away, she would take me there. She liked to treat me.

Sometimes the errands we ran included picking up new ceramics from her supplier. Albina ran a ceramics class out of the basement on her side of her duplex. The shelves were lines with unpainted figurines. Everything from bears to kittens to clocks to doll’s heads and hands. Everything! She had shelves and shelves. She had two long tables with chairs and so many jars of paint! And there was a TV and two giant kilns in the corner. It was a wonderland!

For a couple summers, Albina taught Kim and I ceramics two days a week. We’d go over in the afternoon and stay for an hour or so. Albina would pick out a piece for us (or sometimes ask us for ideas) and that’s what we’d work on. We did Care Bear banks, a Holly Hobby clock, a baseball nighlight for Joey, and so many other things. We’d paint whatever section Albina had picked out for us, and we’d use whatever paint she gave us. There wasn’t really a lot of choice involved, but we didn’t mind. And we watched Albina’s show, Days of Our Lives, while we painted. Mum wasn’t very pleased about that, but not enough to say something. I laughed to myself when my roommate in college was addicted to that show and I still knew so many of the characters, just from the short time I spent watching it with Albina.

One of our favorite things about ceramics class, though, was the walk. We’d leave our yard, walk to the end, past the three giant pine trees, and turn onto Beanie’s path. (Beanie is what we called her; she always chuckled so at her nickname!) Once we hit her walkway, Kim and I would start counting the ceramics we saw attached to Beanie’s roof, or the side of her house, or hidden in her garden. There were gnomes and butterflies, kittens and frogs, signs and mushrooms and stepping stones. It was all so magical! Truly, each piece felt like a talisman of some sort.

And so that’s my tribute: I want to start placing nice pieces of ceramics around my gardens, fairy gardens, and house. I want to cover my yard in a tribute to Albina. I’ll try my best to keep it from being too tacky, because I want to capture a little bit of the magic that Beanie’s house had. I think keeping most of the pieces at least partially hidden might be key.

We’ll see. I have an entire yard and house to start decorating. Kitschy or a bit magical – I’ll let you know how it turns out.


Holiday reds, greens and…blues?

December 1, 2010

I am all about the holidays this year. Okay, maybe you can’t tell because I’ve been (reluctantly) a little too busy with that elusive thing called Real Life to post, but I am! All about the holidays! I bought a 22 lb turkey for the girls and I. My tree is up and the decorations are waiting to trimmed upon the tree. (Or, um, something.) I even bought way-too-pricey holiday-scented candles! (Mmm…evergreen.) Christmas music has been playing, the gifts are all bought and wrapped, Christmas cookies have been planned out. I am awhirl with holiday bustle.

So of course I decided that after living with white walls in my bedroom for the past eight years, I needed to paint them right now when I had 86,000 other things going on.

I figured it was do-able – not easy, but I didn’t think it would ever be any easier and those white walls were killing me with their blank stares. I had a week off at Thanksgiving and no plans other than baking, so I could just do it then. Except, then I found out that I had the girls at Thanksgiving. No big deal, I could just work on prepping my room while the girls were at daycare early in the week and then do the actual painting on Friday while everyone else was slugging it out at the Black Friday sales. I love it when a good plan comes together!

So Monday and Tuesday I went ahead and vacuumed, cleaned the baseboards, and emptied as much of the clutter as I could. [Ha, ha, ha! I am so funny, collapsing all of that work into one sentence like that! People, I haven’t moved my bed in the eight years I’ve lived there. Know why? That sucker is heavy and impossible to move. Unmoved bed=8 years of dust. Ohmygod.] Ahem, where was I? Oh, yes. The room was in pretty good shape on Friday morning. I just had a few things to take care of and then I ran out to the Big Orange Store to get my paint.

The paint – it was a little tricky. I had decided against doing a sea breeze blue and off-white, Cape Cod summer cottage type look and decided to do more of a slate/wedgewood blue type thing. That way I could keep the warm white accents and do shades of blue in the room. Sophisticated and relaxing. I wanted the blue to be able to go with greys, dark blues, or greens so I could change up the look as needed. I have light wood in there now, but might want to change to darker wood later. And trickiest of all is the fact that I have absolutely zero talent when it comes to picking out paint schemes. Really – no eye for it at all. Great.

I had picked out my color – “Bon Voyage” – earlier in the week and slapped it up on the walls to make sure I really liked it. It was still the winner on Friday morning, so I went and ordered another gallon. I went with Behr’s Ultra Paint and Primer In One so I could be lazy and single coat everything. I grabbed new tray liners and sponge roller refill thingies (technical, aren’t I?) and some touch-up brushes and home I sped.

Looking back, I laugh at the silly little paint whore I was when I started. Singing along with Christmas music and being all happy and stuff. I was so funny with the optimism and the smiling! Three hours later, I finished one frickin’ wall and had gone through almost half of my paint. Mild panic set in. Where were the smiles then, missy, hmmm? I worried that I would get through most of the room and would need more paint as soon as that Stupid Orange Store closed, the way my luck was going. So I peeled the paint code sticker off the top of the can, stuffed my feet into the nearest shoes I could find, and dragged my paint-colored self back to the paint counter. The paint dude laughed when he recognized me and started mixing another gallon. I grabbed more Magic Blue Tape – because I wasn’t going back a third time – and headed home. Again.

Eight. Hours. Later. I finally finished. I had stopped with the Christmas songs hours ago. I had blisters on my blisters. I couldn’t uncurl my poor fingers. My back hurt, my shins hurt, and I was doing things on the ladder that I would have killed anyone else for trying. But I was done. The darn room was blue. Very…very…blue.

Thank goodness it looked a little more wedgewoodish in the morning light. Either that or the paint fumes had dissipated and stopped messing around with the color spectrum in my head. Four hours of touch-ups and de-tapifying and moving things back where they went, I still liked my color.

Not that I would have cared at that point. There is a reason, people, that the word “pain” fits neatly into “paint.” The unpainted portion of the house? It looks beautiful in white.

In the midst of my madness.

The "After" shot.

(P.S. You can’t really tell in the picture, but my bed is still about two feet out from the wall. When I walked in there just now to take a picture, I sort of forgot about that, even though I’ve been sleeping in there with it that way for five days. So I walked in there, not thinking, and BAM! I walked right into the footboard and knocked the wind out of me and possibly chipped my hipbone. If the bruise is as glorious as I think it’s gonna be, I’ll post a pic of that, too.)

I would blame the paint fumes, but I haven’t inhaled them yet.

November 23, 2010

It took eight years. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but after eight years the blank, white walls of my bedroom drove me to the brink of madness. It must be madness because why else would I decide to paint my bedroom in the three days I’m kidless this week? And that’s after I spend a day baking 7 pies. With the kids home. For the first time ever. And then the day after that cook (and clean up after) Thanksgiving dinner. And take the girls to our neighbors for an afternoon of (more) eating and a whole lotta fun. Then I’m going to trek to Home Depot and buy the paint I tested out and paint my bedroom. By myself.

Clearly, I’ve gone mental.

I don’t know what else to say except I have to do this. If I have to look at my bleak, blank walls of whiteness for even one more week, I’ll drift straight past mental into despair. And we don’t want that! And, if I’m being honest, I don’t mind painting. Yes, my arms will be sore and I’ll be complainy, but hey! You’re used to that! And then I will have very pretty walls and my house will feel just a leetle bit more homey. Homey is good. Homey is great!Plus, painting and creating hominess (homeyness?) will keep me out of the stores and away from the sales.

Now, if anyone is in the area and wants to help me eat leftovers from a 22 lb turkey and entertain me while I paint, just say the word. Misery Mental loves company! I have it on good authority that I am hilarious when I am mental – my sisters will provide references. Also, there will be free paint fumes and a giant vat of homemade chicken turkey soup. How can you resist? I can’t. Bring your spoons and words of validation that my colors are super purty because I AM NOT CHANGING MY MIND AGAIN. I can’t. I need to paint. Ahem.

There. Now that I’ve rather thoroughly convinced you that I’m mental, I am going to go tuck the children into bed and start panicking over the pie situation. No wonder my color choice is Paxil blue.


The color is really called Bon Voyage. (To my sanity, perhaps.) And it's not really as uneven as it looks - it's just drying. (Right??!)