Monday, January 31, 2011

Three to Sixteen Inches?

When I woke up this morning, it was all over the news that the Kansas City area was expecting a major snow storm. The prediction was 3-16 inches.

THREE to SIXTEEN inches?!? Um, that's quite a range. Three inches is nothing. Sixteen inches of snow is a crippling weather event in these parts.

This afternoon, the weather service is saying eight to sixteen inches.  We had company this past weekend, so the house is already clean.  There are lots of leftovers in the fridge.  I suppose I'm ready to be snowed in.  I poked around in my great-grandmother's sewing chest for some inspiration this morning.

I've never taken anything from the box.  I just gingerly poke around inside and think of how she would quilt this time of year.  There are lots of old buttons, some still on their original cards.

I love that her sewing box has been left just the way it was when she passed away 12 years ago.

If we don't lose our power tomorrow (unlikely but not impossible), I might spend the day sewing between trips outside to shovel the driveway.

Is snow heading your way?  Are you ready?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Everything Sounds Better in French

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I used to be an English teacher.  Mostly high school.

Notice the sentence fragment?  I left the profession before texting.  Email was still a novel way to communicate.  I'd hate to teach grammar now.

My students always loved etymology, probably because it hadn't been beat to death, like proper comma usage, symbolism, and six-trait writing.

Do they still teach six-trait writing?  I digress...

Anyway, I'd point out that English is a Germanic language.  But thanks to the Norman conquest in (anyone? anyone?) 1066, French had a huge influence on our language.  And when faced with trying to use the best word, usually the words with French or Latin etymologies sound more sophisticated than those with Germanic roots.  "He received a present" sounds more refined than "He got a present."  The verb "receive" arrived into the English language from French.  The word's earliest origins are found in Latin.

OK, now I'm really off topic!

As I originally said, everything sounds better in French.  Like Bienvenue.  (By the way, "welcome" originated from Old Norse).

I painted this welcome sign this weekend.  It's origins was in cabinetry.  It's a salvaged cabinet door.  You know how much I love to repurpose!

My original plan was to turn it into another message board.  In the end, I decided it was a little too small for a chalkboard.  So I broke out the little paintbrushes.  Yes, in the days of the Cricut, I handpainted the lettering.

I love the warmth glazing gives!  Since it's French, I added a touch of fuss.

Je t'adore!

If you haven't read about it yet, be sure to check out my Spare a Square project for a great cause!  Thanks!

I'm linkin' up...

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Can You Spare a Square?

Every year at Christmas, the South Central Region of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Service takes donations of quilts for children living in foster care in South Central Kansas.  I have wanted to participate in this quiliting project ever since I read about it.

The deadline is typically late November, but you know how quickly the days fill up in the autumn!  So this year, I am going to start EARLY.  I recently discovered the blog Inspired By Charm and read about Michael's "Spare a Square" quilt project.  Immediately, I thought of the quilts for Kansas foster children.

So, I'm asking for your help.  Do you have some nice fabric scraps in your collection?  Can you "Spare a Square" for a quilt that will be given to a foster child this Christmas? 

Here are some guidelines:
1. I'm asking for 6 inch squares of 100% cotton fabric.  It should be a nice quilt-weight fabric, so not too thin or too thick, please.
2. The greatest need is for twin sized quilts for older children and teens, so please spare a square that would be appropriate for a pre-teen or teenager.  Something bright and colorful and as gender-neutral as possible. 
Think lime greens, oranges, yellows, aquas, blues and reds.

Just to clarify, I'm only asking for 6 inch fabric pieces.  No quilting skills required on your part!  Just send me your leftovers!

If you are interested in donating a square, please send them to:

Heather at Tallgrass Design
PO Box 3041
Olathe, KS 66063

I'll let you know when I have enough squares.  And I'll keep you posted on the progress of the quilt.

It would be great if you'd spread the word!  I'm adding buttons on the right for your blog.  If you donate a square, please take a button to display proudly!

Update:  The buttons should be working now!  I missed an "http" when I typed the codes the first time.  Oops! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tiny Elegance

I love this little mirror.

It reminds me of the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles.

Of course, not the BIG mirrors on the wall.  Look at the ceiling.

Look a little closer.  See the sweet cherubs gazing from under the tapestry?

We loved how the painting of the cherubs transitioned into the architectural details of the room.

Someone posted a "free garage sale leftovers" last fall on Craigslist.  I pulled this little mirror from the heap destined for the garbage.  I need to find a place to hang it.  I'm scheming...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Keeping Things in Balance

Have you heard about the new zodiac calendar?  Did your sign change?  My sign suppposedly changed and I say, "Phooey!"  In my book, I'm still a Libra.

Which means I must keep things in balance.  Since I ranted about trends I dislike earlier this week, I'll balance that post with what I DO like today.

1. Recycling or Upcycling
Keeping things out of landfills is always a GOOD thing.  I love to trove Habitat ReStore for kitchen cabinet doors to make into message boards. 

Which leads us to Number Two...

2. Being Proud of Thrifting and Dumpster Diving
I mentioned before that I pulled this vanity from someone's trash.  In my pre-blogging days, I snagged two bar stools from the trash a couple of blocks from my house (read: no before pics).  They were originally medium tone wood with broken rush seats and lots of mysterious crud stuck to the legs.  Gross!  I gave them a fierce cleaning, removed the remains of the shredded rush, and considered teaching myself how to re-weave the seats.  In the end, I just removed the rush seat frames, painted the stools black and cut solid plywood seats for some new upholstery. 

Compare them to Pottery Barn's Napoleon Barstool, which is currently selling for $249.  EACH!  That's $500 for TWO!  Insanity!  Mine were FREEEE!!!

3. Cloches
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chic turned me on to these, and it is on my to-do list this month!

I finally found a platform for a cloche at a thrift store, but it's horrible green right now. As soon as the temperatures get above freezing, I'm going to repaint it. I like the way that cloches display fussy stuff together under cover and keeps them from getting dusty.

4. Burlap
This one teetered between "yes please" and "no thank you."  I was a slow burlap convert.  I wouldn't use it everywhere in my house, but I am loving these burlap totes.  Can't wait to spend a lazy Saturday morning at the farmers market with it.

I made six burlap totes last week for a bridal party.  I think I gave my bridesmaids necklaces that they probably never wore again after the wedding.  :(

5. Damask
I'd love to hang some damask curtains SOMEWHERE in my house.  I just can't figure out where!

6. Antique Accents
Like finials.  Reclaimed wood.  Mixing old dishes with the new.  Weathered garden statuary.  I'd take them all.

7. Trays
Same principal as the cloches.  Love them for keeping clutter together.  I keep one on every coffee tables so I can quickly gather magazines, books, and remotes and dump them in one neat pile.  And they don't have to be the rectangular wooden variety.  I corral all of Mr. Tallgrass's toiletries and what-nots in a tray that's actually the bottom disk of a ceramic planter. 

Pick one up at the garden center for a couple of bucks because they are usually sold separately from the flower pots.  It's easy to clean and I don't have to worry about the alcohol in the cologne or moisture from the sink ruining the finish.  Since the bottom is rather rough, I lined the underside with a piece of felt from a craft store.  I keep sheets of adhesive black felt on hand to protect just about anything.  Just outline the bottom of the object, cut, peel and stick!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pardon My Rant

Allow me a moment to climb onto my soapbox and address the following trends:

1. Antlers
I'm not a vegan, vegetarian, PETA member, anti-hunting, etc, but I don't think antlers look classy.  They are the last thing I'd want in my house.  Period.

2. Faux Deer Heads
And that also goes for the trend of mounting faux deer heads too.  Funny how there were NO paper mache deer left in the craft stores after Christmas because everyone thought it was a great idea to saw the heads off them and glue them to a wood plaque.  Then paint the whole mess white.  Ick!

3. Numbers on Everything
Where did this come from?  It might work in a toddler's room.  I say don't put it anywhere else in your house, unless you are catering your decor for a three-year-old who can't count.

(No, I didn't add numbers to my favorite lamp!)

4. "Keep Calm and Carry On"
Darling, you've worn out your welcome.

5. Painting Kitchen Cabinets
Let's stop hating on the oak.  Now, I know golden oak is out, out, out.  And I've got it all over my circa 1993 house.  Yeah, I'd love to replace the kitchen with a more contemporary wood and stain.  But I don't think too many kitchens are so hidious that painting wood cabinets in GOOD condition green, yellow or teal is a good long term improvement.  It will look awful when the paint gives out.  Or that color goes out of style.  Kitchen cabinets are ex-pen-sive.  Switch out the hardware and call it a day.

6. Painting Wood Furniture without Regard to Style
I saw before/after photos on a popular blog recently, and I kid you not, I thought they switched the photos.  It was a sideboard that was green and it looked colonial and classic.  Then someone got their mits on it, painted it bright yellow and decoupaged blue birds on the doors.  Someday, it's going to be sitting on the curb and people will walk by and shudder.

7. The Moustache Motif
It was funny the first time.  Now it's giving me the heebies.  Just. go. away. NOW!

8. Religious Objects As Superficial Decorating Accessories
If you are Catholic, by all means, hang a crucifix on your wall.  If you are a serious scholar and collector, you get a pass if you display religious artifacts.  But, I noticed a lot of santos, religious icons and crucifixes in home decor boutiques lately.  Ballard Design has even gotten in on this action with their santos dollmaker forms.  It's like the Buddha trend from a couple of years ago.  If you have it in your home because you believe it and it is the guiding force of your life, you have my blessing.  Religion is serious stuff.  People have laid down their lives for their beliefs.  And still do.  It's not a fashion accessory, poser.

9. Chalkboard Paint on Everything
Especially tabletops. Why on creation would you want smeary, dusty looking furniture?  Keep the chalkboard paint on actual chalkboards.

10. Chandeliers EVERYWHERE
Like laundry rooms.  Get over yourself already.

I'm climbing off my soapbox now.  Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Beat You to It, Ballard!

Did you get a bunch of snow this week?  We had about five inches at our house.  I shoveled the driveway yesterday, then about half the snow blew back onto the drive overnight.  Fan-tastic.

Have I mentioned that I miss the days when the mail was actually delivered to your house?  Our first house had a mailbox at the curb.  Our current house has a community mailbox further into the cul-de-sac.  Thankfully, our new neighbors who have the mailbox at their curb do a better job of shoveling the snow in comparison to the previous residents.

But guess what was waiting in the mailbox?  The latest catalog from Ballard Designs.  Whoot!  Definitely worth a little snow in the boots!

Did you see the Carina Mirror?  It's a round mirror with circular beads surrourding the frame.  Sound familiar?

If you've been following me for a while, you might recall the oak mirror I updated in our powder room last year.

See the resemblance?  I'm patting myself on the back.  If you missed the original post, here's the before of the mirror.

I just glued inch wooden half spheres from Hobby Lobby onto the wood frame and spray painted the whole thing ORB.

But the pride and joy of the project is still the vanity light.  Let's see that before up close again.

And the after...

I saved myself some major dough by spray painting the old shiny brass fixture and replacing the light shades.  I found these shades at Home Depot for about $16 each.

Let's do some math:
Ballard Designs Carina Mirror - $239 + S&H
My "new" mirror - About $10 for wooden spheres and about $4 for a can of ORB spray paint

New light fixture - $120
My "new" light fixture - $32 for the shades and the remainder of the ORB from the mirror.

Maybe I'll apply the savings toward a snowblower.

I'm linkin' up...

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