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Longevity

Just looking at it on a hanger, you might not realize exactly what you’re looking at.  So I will tell you.  This is the coolest jeans jacket ever. If I had a dollar for every time a stranger asked me where I got it over the years, I’d be rich.  The thing I love about it is that it’s a feminine-looking jeans jacket, not a miniature man’s jacket.  Another great thing about it is that it nicely covers your derriere, which can be a plus in the looks and the warmth departments.  This jacket has class and personality.  If it had a voice, it would be saying, “you wish!”

When I think of all the places and the situations this jacket has shared with me, it’s easy to understand how attached I am to it.  It’s been with me longer than any one man…or woman for that matter!  It has been washed so many times that it’s finally starting to show its age.  I mean, this jacket was bought at a store that doesn’t even exist anymore!  Last year I noticed that it was beginning to look a little shabby, especially at a couple of the seams.  That made me feel so sad.  My sweet friend, Iris, who happens to be a great seamstress, did something on one of her good sewing machines to make sure those seams didn’t fray anymore, which sort of holds off the inevitable a little longer.  I wonder if a day will ever come when I’ll finally stop wearing it. Right now, I refer to it as “vintage.”  Kinda like me.

And then there are my  tables.  There are two end tables, two parsons tables and a six-sided one. When my ex-husband and I first got married, we were so poor that we had bargain basement furniture in our first apartment.  Back then they had these stores (maybe they still do) where you could go in and buy an entire room of furniture, including lamps, for like $100.  We also had odds and ends that were hand-me-downs from relatives who had gotten better stuff. That was the best we could do.

We had a couple we socialized with who were older and more established than we were.  The husband was a history teacher like mine, but the wife had a great paying job working in the front office of the Kansas City Royals.  Whenever we went over to their house, we were very impressed by the quality of their furnishings.  Their home was like a showcase.  Well, it turns out that the wife’s brother was an interior decorator who had gotten all their furniture for them at a place that sold exclusively to decorators.  This came as no surprise to us because the stuff was really classy.

What did come as a surprise was that the wife got us a private pass to this decorator store (as if we could afford anything!)  Nonetheless, my ex-husband said “we can at least go and look.”  So we did.  The place was as awe-inspiring as we expected it to be, with a bunch of snooty salespeople gliding around, pretending not to see us.  We must have looked like Jethro and Ellie Mae Clampett, wandering through, eyes as big as saucers.  But then Max saw these tables – rustic, yet still quality and very, very heavy.  The cost was way out of our league.  But, the more we looked at them and imagined them as ours, the more we wanted them.  We finally figured out a way to swing it, using money he made by painting in the summers and on the weekends.  And I must admit they brought a touch of class to every place we lived.

The funny thing is, when we got divorced and were taking turns splitting things up, my ex-husband chose the pool table, leaving me the tables by default.  And so I’ve hauled these heavy, sturdy tables with me every time I’ve moved (which has been quite a few times!)  A couple of them have scratches and maybe a nick here and there but they are still strong and look fine.  There have been times when I’ve thought of replacing them just for a change and because they’re so old, but I couldn’t justify getting rid of something so substantial that was still good.

It’s nice to know that some things in this world were made to last.  Maybe I’ve been pondering longevity because I have a birthday coming up next week and I always get philosophical as I take another step down that hill.  Like the jacket, some of my seams are fraying just a little bit.  And like the tables, I have my share of nicks and scars.

But, also, like both of them – I’m still here.  🙂

 

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In my last post, I talked about how satisfying it is to find a good solution to a problem that has been plaguing you and wrote about how I avoided paying $45 for a replacement bowl for my mist fountain.  Well, today I have another one to share.

I have two nightstands that don’t match.  One is tall and narrow and one is shorter and much wider.  Recently I decided to switch them around because I realized I needed the wider nightstand on the side of the bed I use, in order to have more room to set my tea and other things.  After moving them I realized how much this narrowed my path to the master bathroom, so much so that I kept hitting my hipbone with the corner of the nightstand, especially in the middle of the night.  I checked the other side of the bed and there was about 12 inches from the nightstand to the wall!  So, why not move the bed?

Here was the problem:  First, for some reason there is an indention in the wall and my movers put the head of the bed into that indention.  I don’t know if this picture helps or not, but the bed was in the niche where the star is now.  The far right tip of the star shows where the wall juts back out.

So, the bed would not only need to be moved sideways, but would also need to be pulled forward first.  And that was the second problem…moving the bed.  My bed is a big queen-sized four-poster with a mattress and box springs and big heavy legs that look like this:

It had no intention of going anywhere!  I could push and pull with everything I’ve got and it didn’t budge, not even a little bit.  And I certainly don’t have four strong men I can summon up with the snap of a finger.  So, I thought I was stuck.  However, I decided to call my friend, Iris, who is a strong, independent do-it-yourself-er like me, to brainstorm the problem.  At one point we came up with the idea of sliding off the mattress and box springs and trying to move it then, but we quickly dismissed it.  One time I tried to flip my mattress by myself and ended up pulling my back out!  We’re both too small to handle that.  Then Iris said, “What about those furniture sliders you put under your TV and stand when you had to move it for the new carpet?”  Bingo!  That 32″ TV and stand were also very, very heavy but once I managed to get sliders under every leg, I scooted it with no problem.

I bought four really big sliders and a pry bar of sorts.  Here were the tools I ended up using.  It turned out that the end of the pry bar was too thick to slide under the bed’s leg, which was sunk way down into the carpet.  I thought I was out of business before I started.  Then I got a screwdriver and found I could get it under.  But it, alone was not enough so I put in another and then lifted both screwdrivers just enough to enable me to get the edge of the pry bar under the leg.

Then I pulled the pry bar back very SLOW-LY and, as that big heavy leg raised up I quickly slid a furniture slider under it!  This whole procedure turned out to be one of timing and strength and it took some time.  After I finally went through it for all four legs, it was the moment of truth.

I began to push the bed out and…it moved easily!  To the side…easily!  Hallelujah!  Another problem solved!

And you know what?  It felt good.

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Don’t you love it when you have a problem for which you suddenly find a solution…and it works?  I do!  It’s one of my favorite feelings in the world.  It’s not usually easy to arrive at an answer, but that’s what makes it even more fulfilling.  I’ve had two such successes in the past week.  I’m going to tell you about one here and the other in my next post.

First off, maybe you regular readers remember me talking about my mist fountain last year.  For those of you who weren’t around, I have a mist fountain that I run in my bedroom every evening and it solved a problem I was having every winter of having scabs in my nose from the dry air.  Humidifiers didn’t help, but this thing did.  Go figure.  Anyway, this is what it looked like.

I say “looked like” because last week when I was cleaning it in the bathroom sink, the bowl hit the marble too hard and I found myself with a sink full of broken glass!  So sad.  After cleaning it up and cutting myself a million times, I got on-line and began to look for a replacement bowl because I need that fountain. The only one I could find that was in stock was about $45.00!!!!  That’s just a little less than I paid for the entire thing!!!  But, what was I going to do?  I put it in my cart and was just about to fill in the credit card information when I thought, “It’s just a bowl…decorative edge, yes, but just a bowl.”  So before I did anything else, I started looking at big serving bowls and giant salad bowls and saw many things for $20 or less.  So I decided to wait until the next day when I could check real stores.

I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and found a set of three Pyrex bowls with lids for $19.99.  And the biggest bowl was really, really big!  I knew it would work!  But that’s not all!  I had a 20% off coupon which made it $15.99.  But that’s not all!  It had a $5.00 mail in rebate which made it $10.99.  Then you take $10.99 and divide it by three bowls and I got a replacement bowl for $3.66!  And I got a bonus of two other bowls with lids!  This new one is not curvy or frosted glass, but it’s neat looking in its own way.

And, what with it being clear, you can see the little color-changing lights in the bottom.

So, did I do well, or what?  I’m very pleased.  Sometimes you’ve got to think out of the box!  Next post I’ll tell you about my other problem solving adventure which was even a bigger dilemma.

Stay tuned…

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It was just one of those gloomy, frigid December days until I went out to the mailbox and discovered a little 6″ by 8″ box waiting for me.  I had quite recently placed a custom order for something for my house, but this couldn’t be it this soon, could it?  Turns out, it could!

It was the kind of project I knew I’d need plenty of time for, so I had to wait a couple of days, but Saturday was THE DAY.  I went into the kitchen and looked up at the clock, specifically the area to the right of the clock.  It’s a bit dull, wouldn’t you say?

I began installation at once.  This was part of the positioning, which is vital with something like this. What made this project more challenging than the previous ones was that I had to keep climbing a six-foot ladder to get things right.  The piece, itself, is six feet long, too, and there’s only one of me.

Here are what my lovely birds look like up close…

Then, moving back a bit…

And, finally, ta-dah!  Voila!  The finished product!  So, what do you think?  I think it’s pretty cool and fun.

Just think!  I’ll never have to be alone in the kitchen again!  I wish you could see it in person because the whole effect is pretty charming.  I know, I know, I said I was going to slow down on the decals, what with my addiction and all.  But this really is the last one…

…for now.  🙂

 

 

P.S.  The lovely decal was created by Single Stone Studios at Etsy.com.

 

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Hi.  I’m Star.  And I’m a decal-oholic. There, I’ve said it!  Oh, I could pretend that it was just a little decorating sideline, but the problem has really gone a little too far for that.  It turns out I’m obsessed with wall decals.  When I’m not actually busy installing one, I’m thinking about what the next one will be.  I picture myself receiving the box in the mail, slowing unrolling the design and then using my scraper to smooth it all out.  I think of all the time it will take to try various arrangements on the wall, the technical expertise it will require to apply it smoothly and then the ecstasy I’ll feel when I’ve done the permanent application and stand back to admire my creation.  Oh!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes! But then, of course, it’s over all too fast and I catch my wandering eye surveying the walls of every room for that perfect spot that “needs a little something.”  And so it goes.  Yes, I may have a problem.

A week or so ago in “My Living Room Forest” I showed you the tree decals I installed in the living room.  They make me so happy every time I walk down the hall.  But while I was doing that job, it ignited something within me.  Doing these things is a challenge I really love.  There are plenty of problems, but solving them gives me so much satisfaction.  So anyway, about a half an hour after that was finished,  I was, ah, “resting,” in my tiny downstairs restroom.  As you sit there, you are forced to gaze up at a perfectly blank, ugly wall which, unknown to me before I painted it, had been patched sometime in the past.  I had always kept my eye out for a picture for in there, but had never found the right thing.  Until now.  Before I knew what I was doing, I started exploring decal stores, not only the ones on Etsy this time, but some of the hundreds on the Internet.  There were so many possibilities, but I finally settled on one that just felt right to me.

Here is the ugly bathroom wall BEFORE.

And, ta-dah!  Here it is NOW!

Here it is at a little different angle.  It totally brightens up the whole room.  I even had to go out and get bright white switch and outlet plates to match.  The room was so small that it was hard to get back to get perspective as I was hanging it.  I was so sure that the birdcage was perfectly straight.  But, the next day I was washing my hands and saw it through the mirror and it appeared that the cage might be tilting, just the smallest bit.  It could be because I couldn’t get back far enough to eyeball it or, as I suspect, it could be a result of my double vision.  Or it could be the weight of the bird, (ha, ha!)  But, nonetheless, I think it still looks great.  It definitely improves that room.

When I finished it, I told myself, “Okay Sister, you’ve got to back away from these things now.  Think about something else.”  But that’s just silly because I don’t think I have anywhere else to put one.  I do have other artwork in my house, after all.  Well, okay, there is one really cool thing that would look so neat in my new kitchen, but I’m trying to exercise self-control.  I called my friend, Iris, and told her she needed to look at some of these stores and if she found one she liked, I’d install it for free.  And suddenly I felt like a vampire, with Iris holding up a cross, saying, “Oh no!  I don’t have any place for one of those things  Now you get away!”   Some people are no fun.

So I guess it’s just one day at a time from here on out.  I’m going to try to contain the hungry monster within me.  But darn!  It’s so fun that I’m not making any promises.  After all, I’m only human.

 

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Yesterday I was rummaging around in some of my jewelry when I came across a handmade necklace that my little sister, Randi, had given me from her last vacation to Mexico.  Naturally, it made me stop and think about her, as I so often do.  And it also reminded me of the last birthday gift I gave her, something I made just for her, before we became estranged.

Let me preface this show-and-tell by telling you that Randi was the Queen of Green Thumbs.  She could grow anything.  And behind her house she had cultivated a huge English garden, filled with every kind of beautiful flower you could think of.  And, what was neat about it, was that there was a little path that meandered through it.  So, as you wandered along the path, you’d discover little wire sculptures or landscape lights or whatever.  It was very fairytale-ish.  I decided there were several places where a nice bench to sit and ponder would be perfect.  So I bought a plain, unfinished wood one and drew up plans on how I wanted to paint it.  I can still remember the many days I spent sitting out on my balcony with this bench, painting in the sun and listening to audiobooks.  It became a part of my summer.  I wanted it to be mystical and whimsical and a bit silly and I think I succeeded.  So, without further adieu, here’s the “Randi Bench.”

This is the front, but the picture doesn’t really do justice to all the detail involved. And, of course, I’m not a professional painter.   This next one shows you the bench’s back and side.

This next shot is a close-up of the worm on the front and the clouds on the front sides.

And here’s a close-up of the flowers on the back.

And, finally, here’s a close-up of the back.

The seat of the bench also lifted up so that you could put things inside.  After I put several coats of varnish on it, and it was finally ready, I ended up “wrapping” it in newspaper and added a big red bow.  At her house I made her come out to my car so that when I unloaded it, she could unwrap it right there because I knew I’d need her to help me carry it back to the garden.  She went crazy!  She loved it.  After much deliberation we agreed on the perfect place for it and it looked wonderful. It fit right into the enchanting feeling of her garden.

Right before our break-up, she told me that, although her husband had wanted to take it into the shed for the winter, she waited too long and then confessed that the sun and the moon pictures had suffered.  I assured her that I would do the necessary repairs…but never got the chance.  My wicked stepmother (Randi’s mother) died and her will split up the family.  Well no, actually, it did what it was intended to do, it split ME off from Mable’s “natural daughters.”  And the little sister I had loved with all my heart, who had promised to “have my back,” decided it was so much easier to just cut me out of her life.

So anyway, I wanted to share the bench with you all.  The pictures are all I have left.  But believe me when I say, it was truly a labor of love.

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My Living Room Forest

Well, I’ve been at it again!  You all know how much I love doing decorating stuff and, since I’ve been trying to distract myself, I just finished another project.  I don’t know if you remember when I put the abstract flower wall decals on one of my living room walls.  This is the only picture I could find of them, although I must have better ones somewhere else.  At any rate, flowers hadn’t been what I really wanted.  I had wanted trees, but couldn’t find any that would fit between the wall sconces and yet stop short of the air intake vent.

However, in the meantime I had gotten this lovely tree wall sculpture which I put on another wall.  It’s really not crooked, it just looks that way from the angle I from which I took it.

So anyway, I was sitting there the other evening thinking how cool it would be if I had trees on the other wall because then it would be like I was sitting in a forest, with trees on two sides of me.  (And yes, I do live in a fantasy world!) So I went on Etsy.com and combed through many decal stores until I found some trees that would do the trick.  I ordered them and then figured I’d better start removing the old decals.  The sellers always say that they don’t damage walls, so now it was time to put that statement to the test. As you can see, they didn’t leave a mark or mar the wall.  As you can also see, I didn’t have the heart to remove the white bird perched on the light switch.  He’s become a friend.

Very soon my package came and it included two trees, eight birds and nineteen leaves.  The name of the purchase was “Changing Seasons” and the picture showed leaves falling from the trees.  All in all, I was very pleased with everything but the birds.  With the exception of one, all of the other “birds” looked more like splashes of fungus.  Honestly, you could not tell they were birds.  That was a bit disappointing.

On the evening that I got them I put up one tree…  (Ignore that strip of brown paper hanging from the stairs.)

Then two trees.   Already I was liking these WAYYYY better than the flowers that were up before.  At this point I decided to wait until the next morning to deal with the leaves and birds because I knew the positioning would be important.

The next day I used tiny pieces of masking tape to attach the leaves (which still had transfer paper on them) in various positions.  At first I used the store’s example but then realized that less would be more in my case.  I pulled out the birds and tried to stare some meaning into them, but had to face the fact that they were merely blobs.  I saved the one good guy and added him at the very last, almost as an afterthought.  (But he does provide company to my ghost bird.)

I’m pretty pleased with the finished product and anytime I decide I can always remove the leaves or the black bird.  Oh yeah, and just to add a touch of whimsy, I made it look like one of the leaves had blown across the hall!  Very fun, I think!

So, lovely readers, what do you think?  Do you like it?  Should I lose the leaves?  Or do you like it just the way it is?

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