Entries from November 30th, 2011

A Mantle to Hang the Stockings

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30.11.11

Ok so our stocking aren’t hung yet, but we have a bright as a shiny new penny mantle on which to hang the stockings. Which I would say is more than half the battle.

Since I last wrote I found a old picture from our home inspection back in September of 2009 of how the fireplace looked when we bought the house. We’ve never been really fond of the awkward corner fireplace that left a lot to be desired in our minds in the terms of the style of home we were after. Apart from painting the paneling and adding a a pellet stove insert which provides awesome heat in the winter that we got for free from my aunt who was replacing hers. All in all we’ve mostly ignored it not really knowing where to start.

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When last we left off in our story, our hero Bryan had completely removed the paneling and wall on the top of the fireplace to find some “creative” use of 2 x4’s and drywall damage from an old roof leak that had been repaired long ago but the damaged drywall had never been removed.

WaterDamage

It was fun job reframing the support wall and removing the water damaged sheetrock …not really, but a necessary step to getting the mantel complete in time to hang the stockings. Good thing Bryan had his Father here to help. At least I managed to stay behind the camera for this step. Score one for the camera woman.

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Removing Water Damage

After all the behind the walls work was done Bryan moved on to adding the new pine bead board to the wall and building the mantel box. The core of the mantel itself is a simple wood box screwed into and few supports that he added during the framing stage to support the mantel.

Bead Board

And then he got a little bit ahead of himself and decided he needed to hang the TV over the fireplace before we could call it done. Don’t get in between a man and his 47 inch TV mounted on the wall even if the wall is still a work-in-progress.

Hanging the TV

At this point it still needed A LOT of extra molding to dress it up and finish it off, including where the stone bottom meets the pine bead board.

P1130445 copy Thank goodness for the long weekend. Over the next couple of days Bryan diligently added additional molding and trim around the top and sides, a piece of wood I’ve been calling the apron to transition from the stone to the wood and some pieces to dress up the boxy molding.

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You can see above where he added the vertical pieces to add depth and break up the long horizontal line.

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Then as a finishing touch we added decorative molding to the top edge taking it from just a wood box bolted to the wall to a beautiful mantle we are over the moon about.

Just for comparison sake and mostly because we can’t believe how much has changed here’s how the fireplace looked when we first bought our home.

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Then it evolved only a bit once we painted the top and added the pellet stove. It still left a lot to be desired in our minds though. Fireplace

And today this is how it looks.

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Overall we’re kind of giddy excited over how this whole fireplace mantel thing turned out. Bryan’s also pretty impressed with himself on how he was able to pull it together. Seeing as this was his first big project with large amounts of 45 degree angles to cut he was cautious as he cut each piece, checking and double checking as he went.  We went into this with an idea to move the TV allowing us extra floor space in our narrow living room and are pleasantly surprised how much it changed the look of the entire room.

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But before it’s actually ready to hang stockings on we’ll need to stain and seal it. Right now we’re leaning towards a white washed finish to keep with the Lake House feel since this room has a direct view of the lake through the sliding glass doors. But I’ll be sure to show off how it all ends up.

Hopefully we’ll get that all completed this weekend along with putting up the tree.  But for now we’re totally in love with the way it turned out. Is it weird that we keep staring at it?

Whimsical Christmas Tree

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28.11.11

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. We did. We got a lot done on our fireplace mantel project and it looks so great.  I’ll promise to share all the details soon.  I’m so happy that it will be ready just in time to hang our stockings by the chimney with care.

Now that Thanksgiving 2011 has officially come to a close we can officially begin Christmas decorating of course. And nothing says handmade projects to me more than Christmas time.

Growing up we always had special holiday art that my Mom had made, hers was a wonderful embroidered Santa Claus I always admired. Each year at Christmastime it was part of the holiday preparations that magically transformed our house into the familiar Christmas home we’d grown up loving.

Christmas Tree

I’m definitely no stranger to fun Christmas projects to bring in that Holiday cheer. I love to paint and this little whimsical tree was a fun afternoon project.

To paint this Whimsical Tree I used a 12 x 12 inch canvas I had in my art closet and painted the entire canvas, background and sides a light blue color.

Background

Next I transferred my Christmas Tree Sketch I drew (downloadable here) using carbon transfer paper.

Sketch

Once the background is dry to the touch I painted the body of the tree a light Christmas Green.

Christmas Tree Green

I  painted the snow by using the eraser end of a pencil in cream, white and gray dipping the eraser in the paint and dotted in a random pattern. The Christmas lights are painted the same way using an eraser in dipped and dotted in purple, pink and yellow paint.

Christmas Tree Snow and Lights

Next, I painted the hot pink tree skirt and outline the tree in dark green and the tree skirt and star in black.

Christmas Tree Outline

Finally paint the package squares first in white which acts like primer over the darker background paint allowing the present colors to shine.

Christmas Tree Presents

If you’re looking for a fun project to do with the kids this would be a fun and simple project. Just sketch yourself a tree or use my sketch and add some painted snow dots, Christmas lights and presents.

Christmas Tree Finished

It also looks pretty darn cute propped on a table with few of your favorite Christmas things.

An Impromptu Project

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23.11.11

Inevitably when the holidays roll around there’s always one or two or twelve things you’d like to accomplish before the big day. The holidays always spur a flurry of activity around here from the traditional holiday baking, shopping and gift wrapping. To the more in depth projects like making room for the Christmas tree by completely redesigning our fireplace to allow for the television to be mounted to the wall above it.

I don’t think I’ve shown photos of our Living room how it is now on the site before. It’s a good size space but relatively long and narrow at about 20’ x 12’, with multiple doors, a wall cut out, a window and a fireplace that chop up the space and make for difficult furniture arranging not to mention the challenging act of adding something large like a Christmas tree.

Living Room

It’s come a long way and of course we still have big plans like adding some art to the walls, rearranging/changing some furniture and moving the TV to it’s future home over the fireplace. For comparison’s sake here’s what it looked like during our home inspection back when we were just two months short of our move in date.

Living Room Before

Oh, and just so you have a better idea of how this is all laid out here’s a quick little (totally not to scale)  floor plan I put together to help visualize where everything is including the fireplace in the corner and the TV along the back wall. living room plan 2

The fireplace is not original to our home and is set into the corner of the room at a slightly odd angle. The construction of the top portion is a bit wonky to say the least. The trim piece weren’t put up correctly and in when you’re in person you can tell the top angles of the bead board don’t quite match the bottom angles of the stone, making for a generally wonky looking fireplace.

Fireplace

For the most part it’s been neglected and ignored by us other than painting the to paneling from it’s original light wood existence as we focused on other areas of the house. So far we’ve been using it as a place to dry my latest works of art and a catch all for random items as the mantel is too narrow to hold most everyday objects.

So with that in mind and the approaching holidays we had a brain storm to finally put the TV over the fireplaceto free up some much needed floor space for a Christmas tree at this time of year and some occasional chairs for the rest of the months of the year that don’t require us to have a 7 foot tree in the middle of the room.

Fireplace deconstruction

So Bryan set out Friday night to remove the paneling so we could add new knotty pine, run the cable for the TV and add some additional supports to hold the TV so it doesn’t come crashing down.

Which led us to find all sorts of wonderful stuff like drywall damaged from an old roof leak that had been repaired from above but the never removed behind the wall.

Water Damage

After that was all sorted out, cleaned up and removed they made quick work of reframing it in a slightly more sturdy fashion.

framing

We also bought some really great knotty pine that we plan to whitewash and add chunky mantel  along with some other ideas that are kind of up in the air. Needless to say we’re super excited and we have our fingers crossed that we can finish it up over the Thanksgiving weekend so we can put up the Christmas tree in it’s new home.

Lilly Pads

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22.11.11

Just stopping in quickly to share my latest painting.

Lilly Pads

I love the turquoise, green and pink palette.

Lilly Pads 2

To me it feels at once calming and cheerful.

A Pair of Chairs, an Emu and an Alpaca

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21.11.11

Unorthodox post title you say, not in our world, in our world it’s just another average day discussing decorating decisions between Bryan and I.

But let’s start at the beginning shall we? With these 2 very vintage chairs that used to belong to my great-grandmother. Yes I said great-grandmother. I’ve actually been hanging onto these chairs for quite some time storing them in my in-laws attic for just the right place to bring them into the house and rescue them from their very orange, very neglected and very vinyl state that they are currently in. In short, they’re a mess.

Old Chairs

I’ve always loved these chairs for their fantastic modern lines, nail head trim and piping detail. But right now they’re in pretty pathetic shape. When you touch them they feel sticky, even though we’ve cleaned them a couple of times so they’re suitable enough to bring indoors and  there’s one spring that needs some replacing.

Old Chairs 2

They’re the perfect size and scale for our bedroom and will fit snugly in their new home between the bookcase that flank the window in our room once our entire plan comes together. We’re planning to reupholster these, hopefully (fingers crossed) on our own with the help of a lot of you tube videos and a few great blog posts…Well that’s the plan anyway.

Bedroom Before

As for the bedroom I’ve chosen the key fabric for the room. It’s Silsila, Curry fabric from Tonic Livingat around $25 a yard it’s not cheap but we’ll be using it on pillows and accents around the room so it won’t be ridiculously expensive.

silsilacurry

via Tonic Living

I’m kind of in love with it. It’s so much prettier in person than it is online. The picture doesn’t really do it justice. As far as other fabrics in the room everything else is still very much in the air (more on that in another post).

Which brings me back to our currently very vinyl chairs.  I’m thinking a somewhat neutral faux leather would be perfect on these. I can bring them from room to room if I ever want to switch things up. Faux leather would also be a stain and sticky finger resistant option, an added bonus in my mind.

Emu

Emu Faux Leather

I sent this picture to Bryan asking what he thought.

Bryan said, “How about black?”

I responded “Brown will look better with the fabric I showed you the other day.”

Bryan then said, “what is that alligator”

I responded “No, it’s faux Emu, and no I’m not kidding.”

emu 2

Emu image via

Bryan’s response “Of course you’re not kidding, what’s the matter you couldn’t find faux Alpaca?”

HuacayaAlpaca

Alpaca image via

…and that’s how an Emu and an Alpaca came to be a part of our conversation on bedroom chairs.

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