You Want It? You Got It!

Building bedsSo, what are you doing?

Building BedsThe boys have decided they want to sleep in the same room, so I’m building beds.

Building bedsOh, I see.  Wouldn’t it have been easier to buy them?

Building bedsUmm, maybe, but I had this idea and I really like working with wood.  

Building bedsThe contrasting white oak and walnut is a lovely, warm combination that she is finishing with wax.

Building bedsFinished and in place, the beds look like they are coming right out of the newly installed white oak board wall.  This was a very practical move because it didn’t take long to see that a painted wall behind the beds was going to take a beating from 3 energetic little boys.

Building beds

It’s no surprise that the boys are up and down the ladder many times, including some when they are supposed to be sleeping!
Building beds
In quieter moments, the beds double as a great play space.

building bedsI’d say these boys are pretty lucky to have a mom that is both creative and handy and can find a way to make many of their wishes come true.  There may come a time when each wants his own space, but for now they are loving their shared room.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHey, daughter, I wouldn’t mind if you built me a little table like this if there’s any more scrap lumber!

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Centerpiece Magic

Linda  050This candle mold (or is it a sugar mold?) is one of my favorite things, and I look for any opportunity to use it.  Thanks to my friend Lynne, there is new inspiration.

centerpieceThis was her centerpiece at a recent dinner.  For me, it was instant love, and I couldn’t resist deconstructing to see how it was done.

Linda  046In addition to the mold, here’s what is needed: a candle holder and candle, florist’s foam, burlap, scissors and flowers.

Linda  047Step 1:  Cut a small piece of the foam and stuff it into a candle holder.   Wet it thoroughly and place the candle in the middle.

Linda  048Step 2: Cut flowers of your choice to a short length and insert them into the saturated foam, covering the entire surface.

Linda  049Step 3: Cut burlap strips and work them among the candle/holders.

Linda  043Step 4:  Stand back and admire your handiwork.

From start to finish, this centerpiece is a simple one, but the effect is dramatic,  magical and can be adapted to suit many occasions.  Isn’t this just the kind of project we all like?

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Let’s Make It!

Maine house/diyThis clever and cute creation has been hanging on my door for several weeks, and every time I look at it I think what a wonderfully simple idea this is that anyone could do.

Let’s take a closer look to see how it’s done.  

diyBegin with a pair of toddler overalls. Dab with paint and for fun add a few patches.  I’d iron them on with stitch witchery.  Tie the legs with twine, stuff the overalls with polyester filling and finish the overalls off with seasonal items.  That’s all there is to it.

Now, let your imagination run wild.  What changes can you see for Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter, July 4…..heck, any other holiday?  As for me, I’m already imagining candy canes, a stuffed bear with a big red ribbon, pinecones and nuts falling out of the top of the overalls.  

How is yours going to look?

I would love to give credit to the person who came up with this idea, but I don’t know who it is.

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Final Touches

Maine HouseChanging the sofa seemed simple, but rarely is anything as simple as we first think.  That yellow coffee table just didn’t resonate with the new sofa, so it had to change.  Some of you suggested painting it red, orange, turquoise or white, all good ideas.

My first inclination was to go with one of the colors, but as I looked at the room, several things struck me.  First, there is a lot of white trim.  There is  more contrast between the sofa and the wall color than previously.  There is ample color in the accessories.  With all this going on, I feared this relatively small room getting too chaotic.

Maine houseThe final decision: paint the table the same color as the wall.  Looking at the table, you might think the color different from the walls.  It does differ slightly, and this is why.  The wall is a flat paint that absorbs light making it appear darker.  The table is a satin gloss which reflects light making it appear shades lighter.  When you are painting different surfaces with a different paint, this is something to remember.  To come close to matching color, have gloss paints made darker by doubling  or tripling the formula.  For this paint, I also had black added for more depth.  When adding black, however, do be careful because too much can muddy the color.

Maine houseLook and you will see another change: the rug.  While waiting for the paint on the table to dry, I kept looking at the purple rug and feeling that it no longer worked.  The new one is from eSaleRugs, a wonderful internet resource. The multiple shades of green tie everything together as well as relate to the dining room rug which is a few feet from this space.  The rug is slightly larger than 5×8 and was a great price, $148 including shipping.  To my amazement, it arrived two days after the order was placed.  How often does that happen!

Maine houseAll done, most everything is different.  One thing that did stay the same is the art over the sofa.  It is a piece by one of my talented daughters whose work is always our favorite.  Maine houseLook closely and you will see that it is a combination of painted and collaged surfaces, and the house shapes are suspended with tape measures.   Such a clever presentation.

Well, that’s it.  It’s amazing what a few changes can do to give a room a whole different look, and, in this case, make it a much more comfortable space. 

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The Making of Seaglass Cottage

At the time we bought our Maine house, there were two of us, two daughters, one son-in-law and an infant granddaughter.  There was a place for everyone, but it wasn’t too long before the hubby and I realized we’d soon need more room or at least another bedroom.  So began Seaglass Cottage.

Seaglass CottageA stone wall wraps around the garden area, and we wanted the cottage to look as if it were part of the wall.  Also, we wanted it to be as invisible as possible from the street making it a very special retreat. 

Seaglass CottageThanks to a very talented architect, we got just what we wanted.

Seaglass CottageWhen no one is visiting, I enjoy going down to the cottage to sit quietly, read or take in the sights on Rockport Harbor.  

Seaglass CottageSometimes kayakers drift by adding color to the surroundings which look so different from this vantage point.

Seaglass CottageWant to peek inside?  Come on in.

Seaglass CottageIt’s a simple space…concrete floors, exposed rough hewn beams, a mantle made from one of the 2×12’s I found during the construction process.

Seaglass CottageIt was fun collaborating with a Houston artisan to come up with a creative fireplace surround and countertop for the bathroom.  He made both from stainless steel and polished it to look like a pewter finish.  If the surface streaks or scratches, it can be buffed out.  So far, no maintenance has been required.

Seaglass Cottage.I bought yards of white material on sale and made a duvet cover and pillow shams.  The quilt is a Texas star made many years ago by my grandmother and great aunt.  I have about 15 of their creations, and I’m so happy to have a place to use some of them.The cottage also proved to be the perfect place for a collection of photographs I bought when we first started coming to Maine more than 20 years ago.  They have now come full circle.

Seaglass CottageMy favorite piece of art in the cottage hangs over the fireplace.  It is one of my daughter’s multi media paintings, and I am so glad it didn’t fit into the car when she returned to Houston from Boston!

Seaglass CottageFurnishings in this space are minimalist: a bed, a bureau, a small TV and this wonderful rocking chair I found in an antique shop in the south of Maine.  I had thought to paint it, but you know, I like it just the way it is.

As you might guess from what you see, my taste is quite eclectic.  There are just so many things to like that I have a hard time resisting what catches my eye.  In any case the cottage is quite comfortable, and what I know for sure is that guests linger there for a very long time!

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Come for Dinner

ImageThis now lovely dining room was once, I think, a living area or den.  The daughter’s over long table and very large hutch didn’t fit the dining space in her farmhouse, so some adjustments had to be made.  No one will feel crowded here.

Lucky me, I just happened to be with her in advance of the first dinner party in her new home.  Knowing how I love to do tables, she actually let me do my thing with her things, of course!

French country tableAs you might guess if you read here, the table linens, cutlery, dishes and glassware complement her French country look.  This girl does not have her mom’s eclectic taste which you see  so often in my posts.

French country tableWith the table being long and narrow, it did not seem necessary to have placemats.  Besides the plates are a lovely contrast to  the rustic wood surface.

French country tableThe linen napkins were a purchase in Provence, and would you believe LH is the daughter’s initial?  Some things are just too perfect.

French country tableFinished, the table looked lovely except for one thing….the topiaries had to go as they impeded conversation from one end of the table to the other.

French country tableThis is a house of many crowns which turned out not only to be a perfect centerpiece but added a touch of whimsy to the table. 

French country tableA word about the chairs.  This one was purchased from a hotel that was redecorating.  The bones were good, and with a lot of the daughter’s TLC and new French linen upholstery they have the perfect look at a more than reasonable cost.

French linen tableThis chair is from Ikea and covered with a white linen slip.  It was another inexpensive way to get the right look.

French country tableThe table is ready.  Don’t you wish we were invited to dinner?

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P.S.  Lulu’s Musings now has a Facebook page.  If you are there and would enjoy following along, check Like.

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On the Porch

screen porchMost of my days start on the porch where I can hear the faint trickle of water from the fountain, hear bird sounds, think quietly, read and enjoy that first cup of coffee.

chamelionSometimes I’m joined by a little critter who found its way in and lounges above my head.  So long as he doesn’t jump down, I’m OK with that!

screen porchI had to beg and plead for this space when we built our house.  The architect and I envisioned it as something wonderful, my husband couldn’t imagine ever spending a minute there making the cost of the porch unnecessary.  I don’t remember now whether the architect just made it a part of the total design or if the hubby got so tired of my whining he gave in!  In any case, the porch has been much used and enjoyed.

screen porchUntil a few days ago, past their prime cushions were on most of the furniture and no where could I find replacement pieces.  After spending hours on the internet, I finally found Cushion.com in Sherman Oaks, CA.  Pick your sunbrella fabric, send your measurements and a couple of weeks later custom cushions are delivered.

embroidered pillowAdd to them embroidered pillows on sale at Pier One and there’s a whole new look.

holiday decor on the porchWith it being the holiday season I could see no reason for the porch not to have some festive touches.  Santa speeds by a candle lit tree, probably off to hear children’s special Christmas wishes.

holiday decor on the porchA reindeer finds its way onto the porch, no doubt waiting for Santa’s request to pull his sleigh.

holiday decor on the porchAs long as the weather stays nice, there’s no question many evening meals will be enjoyed here, and there’s no better time to use the Christmas dishes than now.

Santa platesWith their happy Santa design, these are my favorites.  They are Bella Ceramica and were ordered from an unremembered catalog some years ago.

porch tablescapeMother gave me the Spode Christmas tree glasses and taking them out of the cabinet for the season is like welcoming an old friend as well as a reminder of her.

porch tablescapeBecause they are so easy to make, I have many sets of seasonal napkins.  All you have to do is serge the edges, no hem required!

porch tablescapeIt’s time for that second cup of coffee.  If you are any where close, stop in.  It only takes a second to brew another cup, and it’s a beautiful day on the porch.

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