Monday, March 26, 2012

Flowers around the House

While spring pretended to be summer for a few weeks, topiaries wait patiently to go outside for the summer and winter bulbs continue to impress.  The La Paz amaryllis sent up an impressive third stalk towering nearly three feet tall to look at the action outside.

Outside, David Autin roses were fooled into budding.  They didn't hear the forecast for temps in the teens and twenties tonight.

Hollyhocks not willing to wait for raking to be done.

Bergenia (Pig Squeak) blooms are about three to four weeks early.

And peonies make an early appearance to greet the crocus.

At this rate my garden might be done by June.

Linking to Jane's Flowers in the House party today.  Stop in and smell the lilacs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stripping Hardware...24 Little Hours

If you missed my earlier post on Stripping Hardware Without Harsh Chemicals, you can find it here

What a difference a day makes.  I thought I'd check on my stripping bath and take photos to show how the paint was softening up day by day, (that's why I have the "1 Day" sign) but they're looking pretty good already. 

See how the paint is all bubbled up?  Let's give them a test.

This is the knob that was on the back of the bathroom door.  

The majority of the paint slides tight off and my heart races!  I think I know what this knob is.

It's a Bennington knob or, probably more accurately, a Rockingham knob!  I've looked at them in antique salvage shops and I love them.  It's a porcelain knob with glazed finish "made to present a close imitation of the richest shell..." by the maker's own description.  Probably made in mid to late 1880s.

Isn't that amazing?  Can you imagine painting over it?  Was this like a harvest gold refrigerator at one time and someone decided painting it pink was a better idea?

Oh, I'd recommend wearing gloves.  I'm sure this is lead paint.  (Do as I say, not as I do.)

This is one I showed the other day.

All but the first coat just slides right off.

And, as I thought, it's white porcelain.  Not as handsome as the other one.  So someone used two old mismatched knobs and they just painted them -- hospital green -- to match.

One of the back plates.

Several layers come right off.  A few are left behind.  They're going back in to the bath.

Not a lot of work, right?

I wish stripping the door would be this easy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bedroom Update

I had to call an end to the plastering and sanding.  I could really obsess about how perfect things need to be.  I was pretty sure thigns were in pretty good shape but there's nothing better than a coat of primer on the walls to see what things really look like.

Plaster dust makes a pretty good hair product really.  Just add a little water and you can shape it any way you want; kind of like Play-do hair.  I'm sporting a faux-hawk today.   

See how the turquoise floor color bounces color up on the ceiling and ceiling fan?  It's really throwing all the color off.

My manager was on the lookout for holes and cracks.

The reason the wallpaper failed in here is the old (pink) paint surface actually split when the wallpaper paste dried so I had these gaps every 22 inches around the room.  (In the front bedroom, I painted the walls before I decided to put up wallpaper and that layer of latex paint seemed to have prevented that problem.)

I got most of these cracks filled but this is one I couldn't see until everything was primed.

My new ivory leather tufted headboard (from West Elm) is my "Barcelona chair" from the inspiration photos.  

Even though I had the intention this room would be very light...

... I thought it would be nice to see a dark value behind the headboard to highlight it.  This is the BM Fairview Taupe that I used on beadboard in the dining room bookshelves.  I'm not sure about it.

The draperies will be Pottery Barn Peyton linen in oatmeal and I'll be using a bamboo roman blind underneath.  I'm stealing them from the living room.  Not sure what I'll do in there.

Here's the headboard up against the taupe wall with the light fixture I bought.  I decided the fixture needed to be something old.  This will be a little "brooch" for the ceiling.  I like it all together but might have to live with it for a little bit.  I also need to get a coat of white paint on the floor because the turquoise floor is affecting the color of everything.

I've also been working on getting the door hardware and hinges off so I can strip everything. 

I chipped away at the paint to get at the screws.

I can't even begin to guess how many layers of paint on this.

And when I popped the plate off...

This was underneath and fell on the floor.  Is it a fishing fly?

I'm going to strip the hardware but wanted to make sure the door knob wasn't wood before I soak it for a few days.  I'm pretty sure it's porcelain or glass.  Hopefully it will be a nice surprise.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Online Photography Classes - Shoot Fly Shoot

Click image to go to Shoot Fly Shoot DSLR camera online photography classes website

One of things that blogging has enabled me to do is work on my photography skills.  I've really enjoyed experimenting with my camera to improve photos of my interior, vignettes and occasional food posts but there's always room for improvement, right?

I thought I'd let you know about:

Click link to go to website

 ...Shoot Fly Shoot, a website and blog, that helps the helpless when it comes to improving your photography.  The brainchild of photographers Kevin Palmer and Josh Moates, Shoot Fly Shoot has just started the first of what I hope will be several online classes in photography, film and Photoshop.  If the name Kevin Palmer isn't immediately familiar, you'll most likely recognize him as half of "Kevin and Layla" from The Lettered Cottage.  I dont' think there could be any better testimonial for this course than the wonderful photographs we've all enjoyed on their blog.

The "classes" are all video which was great for me because my eyes typically glaze over when I start reading about this stuff.  The Photography 101 workshop is for beginners and focuses on getting your DSLR camera off the automatic setting to improve your photographs.  They use a Canon Rebel 5D (I believe) for their demonstrations and actually show you how and where to change each of the settings.  It would be a bonus if you had a Canon camera but the settings they talk about are universal enough that it shouldn't be a problem if you have another make and model unless you have a simple point and shoot.

The lessons in the Photography 101 class are:

  • Exposure
  • ISO
  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • Metering
  • Lenses
  • Equipment
  • (Beginner) Interior Photography
  • (Beginner) Portrait Photography
  • (Beginner) Product Photography
  • (Beginner) Landscape Photography
Each of the lessons builds on the next so if you're the kind of person that needs to have things repeated several times before you absorb them, that's built in to the program.

The cost of the Photography 101 workshop is $69 and I would say it was a great value.  They say that's an introductory price so I'm not sure it that will change at some point.  You'd really have to take a course somewhere to get what's packed into this video series.  Once you purchase the course, you can watch it as many times as you want.

Shoot Fly Shoot also has a blog and a camera shop that has recommendations for cameras and lenses  at "good" "better" and "best" price points.

I really enjoyed the course and I'm really inspired to upgrade my equipment put some of what I learned to use.  I should also add that I am not being compensated in any way for this post.  Some of you have expressed an interest in taking better photographs and thought you would appreciate knowing about it.

                  Check out Shoot Fly Shoot by clicking on the icon below:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Ahead

I don't care one bit about losing an hour's sleep.  I love when the clocks spring ahead.  It's my own official beginning of spring.  Getting out of work when it's still daylight always allows me to get more out of my day.

To mark spring's arrival, I stopped to visit Shelley and Sarah at Bow Street Flowers where roses, tulips and the most amazing purple Queen Anne's Lace where selling like hotcakes.  The hyacinths had already sold out. It seems like everyone was celebrating spring with fresh flowers.  I felt lucky to get my own bundle of cherry and quince branches.

I thought I'd take advantage of the crusty pink backdrop one last time before things get patched up and painted.

This bedroom used to be the kitchen of the upstairs apartment when this was a two-family home.  I think there was an old apron sink attached to this wall adjacent to the bathroom.

I'm not sure why they tint the joint compound but I was shocked to see that it was straight up Bubbalicious pink.  The pink actually goes away before it dries so I don't see the point.

On all the other walls, there's an indentation created by an old chair rail.  It's pretty easy to fill in so a second coat tomorrow should do it.  And then I'll be able sand after work next week..before it gets dark each day.

The cats keep a close eye to make sure I'm doing a good job.

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Flush Mount Ceiling Lights

I should have my head examined.  Why can't I leave well enough alone?  Now I remember why I put up wallpaper.  The walls in this room are a wreck.  A little pattern hides a multitude of sins. 

But I can appreciate the decay.  It sets a mood and I thought I should try to capture it.

But I'm all done stripping the wallpaper.  The room looks like hell.

Can I just thank you for all the "This Old House" votes?  You guys are the best.  Thank you also for all your lighting suggestions.  I guess it wasn't fair to ask you to make recommendations without knowing where I'm going with the room.  Let me show you where my inspiration is coming from.

I recently saw this photo on Katie Rosenfeld's blog Bogle Street.  Katie's a local designer and if you don't know her, you have to check out her work.  She's a wonderful colorist.  Her home is also in this month's Better Homes & Gardens.

Anyway, I really like this living room from Nuevo Estilo magazine.  I know the photo is a few years old but I apparently live under a rock and had never seen it before.  I love anything by Mies van der Rohe and I've always wanted a pair of white Barcelona chairs, paired with a Gustavian chest.  I think they're great here mixed with the Louis chairs, modern coffee table, antique sideboard and ornate gold frames.  Love the shutters and the white floors but it does make it a little cold.

So let's add some drapes and a rug (I'm loving vintage Moroccan rugs lately) and a plant...

Tom Delavan, Traditional Home
...and maybe you've got this room.  

What kind of light would this room have?

Here are some of your suggestions.  I've listed the source and the name or a few keywords underneath in case anyone's dying for one of them.  And then I made up my own name for each one so we can talk about them.

Ballard Designs

The "Star." 

LBC Lighting - Cassini

The "Murano Flower."

Circa Lighting - Basil Flush Mount

The "St. Stephen Quatrefoil."

Installations Antiques - Industrial

The "Industrial Gear." -Maxim 21340DWUB

The "Bubble."

Lowe's - Alan & Roth Flush Mount

The "Lattice Drum."

The "Yellow Jacket."

Shades of Light - Gear

The "Gearhead."

Euro Lighting, Forecast Embarcadero

The "Stuck-Up Drum"

Visual Comfort - Thomas O'Brien Merchant

The "Bell Jar."

I also thought I would check out etsy to see if I could find anything vintage that would work.  Here's a 1930's flush mount light that's really pretty ugly but almost in a good way.  At least it has some authenticity to excuse its gaudiness.

The "Crusty Triplet."

Or how about this Jere-style fixture?  I've been dismayed by the return of brass. My mother had all that cheap brass crap on the wall growing up and now people are paying thousands of dollars for a Jere raindrops sculpture.  I guess I drank the brass kool-aid because I'm starting to like them.

I call this one the "Brutalist."

Ruth, of gin-and-paperwhites fame reminded me that we have to local shops that sell vintage and antique light fixtures.  They both do custom work so I might be able to take a little bit of this and little bit of that and make my own customer creation.  A Frankenfixture.

So, does anything move you?

Could you see any of these lights in that room?  

Pick your top two or three.   I'll do what you say.