Category Archives: home

Tweaking my bedroom decor

I made small updates to my bedroom last week, primarily the wall behind the bed.

I wasn’t totally satisfied with the picture I had there seen in this post and have tried a different one since but it wasn’t quite right either. I was trying to use what I have and not buy anything. I think, though, that the wall needs something large and bold. I was hoping I might think of a clever thing to make but that hasn’t happened (yet?). I did make the “headboard” from cast-off IKEA shelves; the bed is a full-size futon and the frame has no headboard or place to attach one so mine is merely nailed to the wall.

My dream artwork is a large, like 4′ wide picture of the woods in summer, whether it’s a framed poster or a photo-on-canvas, either of which would be pricey. Second choice would be the same idea but featuring the ocean. In the meantime I needed an improvement so I used what I have and did another idea entirely.
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The mirrors were a set of three I found at Ross a year or so ago for $7. I got the center piece with the moon for $6 also from Ross several years back; previously I hung it from a hook in the corner of the ceiling. (As it’s heavy and I didn’t use a molly bolt or anything I was kind of half expecting the moon to fall down from the ceiling and knock me silly one day.ūüėē)
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The long blue tealight holder (featuring a smiling sun & butterflies) on the right was another great $5 Ross deal that I’ve had many years. The white lantern to the left of the bed is new. I bought a hanging lamp cord a couple years ago thinking I could make my own hanging lamp and save money. Well, nothing I tried worked, either the shade got too hot or the bulb was too blinding. I’d occasionally look on Amazon for cheap shades and finally found this pretty 12″ round lace one in August for $3. I love it. The light cast from it is so cheerful and pretty and this winter pick-me-up was a lot less expensive than the pricey SAD lamps I routinely look at online.
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I think it’s so important, especially for someone like me, to have a beautiful, comfortable home. I spend a lot of time in my bedroom, and over time it’s become a very decent space that suits both my practical and creative sides. I love to sit in my chair and and look around – walking into the room and being greeted by the bed and its wall as I have it now immediately gives me a kind of calming lift.

1/1/19: I’m editing this post to show another idea I thought of yesterday after posting. I have it plugged into a tap with switch. They are great!
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New arrangement for dining table & rug

When we last visited my living room in August, I’d arrived at the idea of angling the couch (loveseat I think?) in the room as well as the 5×8 rug that goes with it. I was really pleased with how it worked out; angling the couch makes it possible to see both the TV (this is important) AND out the window (also important and something I’d wanted for a long time but couldn’t figure out how to do in the room). Prior to now I just don’t think I would have had the confidence/inspiration/creativity/whatever to do this kind of arrangement.

So the other day, inspiration again hit and I did the same thing with the square dining table and its 5×8 rug on their half of the “space”. This too really worked out. I didn’t lose anything in the bargain and in fact more of the rug shows, which is nice.

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Here you can see how BOTH rugs are at angles

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The angled table

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Panorama photo

Basically, I’m pretty satisfied with how I have things but there is always room for “tweaking” (I am mad for tweaking stuff). One small change I made by the couch was to swap out the baby blue lamp (it went to a better spot) for one in the red family. The only thing I still want to improve is the table between the couch and chair; it’s a makeshift one (literally I made the top and put it on a smaller table). A round end table would look better I think. Hopefully one will turn up in my “travels” eventually.

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Couch with red lamp; I also took off the red slipcover for winter when there’s less chance of dirtying up all that WHITE

Easy, inexpensive holiday evergreen swags

I’ve been in the mood for a bit of decorating and made these super easy evergreen swags. All I did was take a bunch of branches and tie them together with dental floss, leaving enough strand to tie them to whatever, then add a big Dollar Tree red ribbon. They look great.

Here’s one with my pal¬†Put Upon Santa, who I was moved to bring out of storage.

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This is the back showing the dental floss tie

Making space in the summer closet (inexpensively)

If you took a look at my wardrobe you might think I live in a tropical climate. I don’t. I just favor warm-weather clothes and have built up a nice little collection of casual clothes over a period of years. Because space is tight, I have to seasonally swap clothes in and out of my closet (and tall IKEA unit) in order to make things fit. Nonetheless things have gotten particularly tight in my small 2×5′ closet this year.

Last October I put up a¬†post¬†showing how I organize my closet and clothes in small spaces.¬† That post has a ton of photos so I won’t duplicate them here so much as show my seasonal changes and a few new fixes.

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In winter I keep boots on the lower shelf but in summer swap them out for bins.

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Year-round I keep rain boots and some hiking boots on the upper shelf I added. The key to adding a second shelf is to make it more shallow than the lower one.

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Summer shoes plus an inexpensive 5′ runner I found on Amazon. The closet gets COLD in winter so I thought the carpet would help. And it’s a homey touch.

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Belts on the back wall

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To save space I bought this tie/belt rack hanger to hold tank tops. It’s worked out very well and it was cheaper than hangers sold as “tank top hangers.”

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Dollar Tree bins plus Dollar Tree plastic hangers (8 for $1) that are skinnier than typical plastic hangers so they save space. And I love the blue and green colors!

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I recently treated myself to space-saving metal pants hangers from Amazon.They’re very nice; I didn’t know they made such a thing.

 

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A tall, cylindrical laundry basket on the left side.

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Hard to see, but laundry basket for sheets on right side

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It folds flat when I’m not using it

Finally, I want to mention that the fabric covering the closet opening is a Kate Spade fabric shower curtain that I added an extra piece of fabric to in order to make it long enough for the closet opening. I found the curtain at Ross and immediately fell in love with it and while it took awhile to figure out its best use (I didn’t want it for the shower). I am delighted with this use. Since Kate Spade’s suicide earlier this year I have looked at this with bittersweetness. I am grateful to have her beautiful design but always saddened when someone of such talent dies, especially at their own hand.

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No more “House arrest” in the living room

I’m pretty happy with the things I’ve done with my living room, which I’ve shown from time to time on the blog.¬† Inspiration hit again recently, partly from a memory from a number of years ago when Nate Berkus, the charming interior decorator, spoke on¬†Oprah about people’s tendency to place their furniture under “house arrest” – it was all “up against the wall.” I looked around and stood accused; the furniture tended to cling to the walls but given the fairly small space, I wasn’t sure how to fix it.

I have longed to have seating which faced the window, especially for winter (if you can’t BE outside, it helps to at least be able to¬†look). Here’s my solution: pulling the couch away from the wall and¬†angling¬†it and the 5×8 rug in the space. The couch now faces neither the TV nor the window straight-on but each at an angle, but not so much of one or the other that your neck will complain. And there’s still plenty of room to walk around.

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The couch is very deep and I thought it didn’t look good – big wall-o-couch – till I put the plant and small table at the end, which soften the appearance.

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I made other small switchups. I put the white IKEA chair cover back in my bedroom and brought the flowered one to the living room (restoring each to the chair they came with). I pulled the blue lamp with the old-fashioned pull chain at the base out of storage. I had thought the baby blue co!or wouldn’t work before, given my general color scheme, but for now it’s okay and picks up blue in the chair cover. (I have since made a larger wood off-white top to put under the lamp so there’s a place to set drinks. When I put a drink on the coffee table I am at risk of kicking it off as I did once this summer, breaking a clear glass and sending my beverage flying, oops).

I have previously shown a high, narrow shelf I put up, one with pretty white lights strung from it. The lights are on a timer, 6:30-10:30pm. Well, last winter I got the bright idea to hang them in front of the window, despite knowing they acted up when moved. When I went to put them back on my high shelf for summer they promptly died and all the shaking and¬† “rearranging” in the world wasn’t bringing them back. I was kicking myself – I¬†loved¬†them on the shelf. Why hadn’t I left them alone? However, in¬† mid-summer I went to a local church rummage sale, the same annual one where I’d initially found the lights, and damned if I didn’t find another set. Yay! In addition to re-hanging my beautiful lights, I painted the unfinished wood white. Aaahhh,¬†happy.

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My Dracena “Corn” Plant had a baby, er, flower!

I don’t have children or pets. I have plants. I bought a Dracena plant back in the ’80’s from a home store. It cost $4.¬† These are the plants that look like the ones seen in a corn field, hence the name. It grew & grew and I hauled it with me, over the course of many moves, even after it was taller than I was (and I’m 5’8″ ). It shocked me once when it grew a flower. I didn’t know they did that! I remember thinking it was kind of like when your dog¬†Rex up and has puppies. Who knew?!

The flower was peculiar; it grew out from the side of the plant rapidly on a long “stalk”. And it had a¬†potent scent. I was renting a room on the second floor in someone’s home at the time and could smell that bloom when I entered the front door of the house.

Years passed. The plant, now in another home with me, reached the ceiling. I cut off and rooted no less than three offshoots. Two survived. In time tbe original plant died. I was very sad to see it go but I still had its “children.” Two years ago one of those plants also grew a bloom. I had the blog then and took photos with the thought of sharing them here. I never got around to it and lost all the photos when my tablet took ill.

Which brings us to now. The¬†other plant has a bloom! I am quite excited. Once the bloom stalk mysteriously begins to emerge from¬† the plant, which it did about 10 days ago,¬† it grows fast. Every day there was visible growth till the stalk was about 15″ or more (I forgot to measure but it’s seriously long). The process is really quite something to watch – I’m fascinated and I bet a kid would love it.¬† The bloom was literally reaching for a nearby tall lamp which it got to and proceeded to hook itself over the edge. I hadn’t realized until I moved the plant a bit to take photos and the bloom wouldn’t let go! The bloom was so tenacious in its desire to reach the lamp that it pulled the upper part of tbe plant crooked (I’ll correct this after it’s done blooming by turning that side of the plant¬†away¬†from the light source).

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It’s strange and beautiful

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The other plant occasionally turns up in my blog photos. Here’s a photo including it.

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I took this today to show you how it’s touching the ceiling. It may soon be time to cut that off but I’m reluctant and a bit nervous to do it! That sure was $4 well spent I must say.

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Painting a roadside find in bright colors

When it was still cold I spied this piece of wood (no pressboard crap) furniture¬† by the road. It’s half cabinet and half drawers. A true find! I was on foot so I had to abandon the drawers in order to haul the main piece home. Fortunately it wasn’t too heavy.¬†More¬†fortunately the drawers were still there upon my return. Not that I thought they’d make a break for it once set free… I just hoped no other passerby would find 3 smallish drawers all that is interesting.

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It’s 33″ long, 29″ tall, 13″ deep (a great size for many options)

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Only once I had it home did I notice the front left leg was a bit chewed up. What the hell??¬† I guessed a dog might have done the damage (or a big cat?) but I couldn’t think why a pet would gnaw on just the one leg.

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I decided to do a quick-n-dirty repair with spackle. I know that’s unorthodox and remembered about¬†wood filler after the fact. Oh well.

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Somebody had stained the piece dark brown. Nothing wrong with that but I wanted color. First a coat of prime.

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I decided to get brave/experimental with the colors. I am more inclined to do this on a roadside freebee. As always I just selected from what I already have. Even these paints, except the white, were free, abandoned. This is with one coat of color. I could add another if the spirit moves me. I am super happy with how it turned out.¬† (By the by, now that I think about it, everything¬†on top¬†also was free –¬† from past finds and giveaways, except the actual plant and the lamp shade.)

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It only looks bad up close. Good enough!

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