Tag Archives: decorating


I have Desha Peacock’s decorating book. I just missed seeing her at a bookstore event. Found out about it the week following. Anyway, I was intrigued and I bought the book: Create the Style You Crave on a Budget You Can Afford.

Off and on I’ve dipped into it. Most of it seems to be articles about hip bloggers, which doesn’t interest me much. I don’t care about their blogs, their lives or how popular they are. Many of them, because they are on average 20-30 years younger than I am, are talking about things I already know to save money: the dump’s swap shop, upcycle, antique stores, flea markets, swap, etc. I do all that and have. So, a half a dozen times I’ve resolved to get rid of the book, donate or sell it.

I’d gotten there this morning, again, and found one of her “quizzes” which are supposed to help you figure out your “sweet spot.” I write in books I buy for information, and had various notes in this one about colors, but nothing else. But today? Today I wrote this about a “mood board” (I’ve never managed to make a mood board, or creative board, or whatever work. I’ve tried!)

“Seriously? Decide to feel a certain way and you make that in a room?


Fat chance!!!

Part of this was “Ask yourself these questions:. . . (My pencilled notes are in boldface.)

How do I want to feel in this room? How do I want my family to feel and others who visit?” My comment here was: How the F do I know? Never thought I could control how I feel in a room. Rooms victimize you.

“What colors would I like to see in this room? How much of this color or colors can I envisage?” No envisaging. NO visualization. None. Forget it!

I feel a little like I did when I discovered I’d been traumatized by knitting. My lack of visualization was deliberate, once. I decided I had to do that because thinking in pictures yanked me around emotionally, and my emotions made me crazy.

Of course, that was almost 40 years ago, but I’ve discovered that flipping the switch I did, from thinking in pictures to thinking in words isn’t easy to do, or to undo.


desha peacock book

I’m not sure how to fix this. I like our new living room, mostly. I learned a lot doing it. But other than having an idea about how I want to combine colors in the house, spending as little as possible, and getting DH’s overall approval, I have no idea about what to do or how. I only know the next piece usually, if that.

The living room’s paint needs touch up and to be cleaned up in some areas. I want to take a strip out of one room to make a hallway, so I have a wall with a large bookcase. Aside from that? I have no next steps.

The back roof has to happen this year no matter what, and much of the available money will go to that. After that? I have no idea.

It annoys me that this is seemingly so simple for some people and so difficult for me. I know why I did what I did. It was necessary, when I was 20, but it isn’t necessary now and it makes my life difficult in all sorts of ways.

I can’t write fiction. I can’t plan craft projects without doing a “sketch” because when I imagine a finished project, it never turns out that way, etc. Not being able to imagine what something might look like is a total PITA!


Weird Space

The guy who built this house was a moron. Or, to be more fair, he may not be, but he had absolutely no sense of space or traffic flow. This place is all full of things like closets and cabinets that you can’t open because it gets in the way of the door, counters which are so big they’re an impediment rather than helpful, etc. It mostly sort of works, but doesn’t quite.

I’ve been reading decorating “tips” and “hints,” trying to find a solution to how to arrange furniture in a badly cut up room. The traffic flow, whether it’s cluttered or not, is basically one small walkway. Not because it should be that way, but because the walls and doors are placed so that’s just the way it works. You walk in the door, take 2 steps, go up the stairs (it’s rather like being confronted with a mountain) or make a 90 degree right turn into the living room and make another 90 degree step to the left to get into the room rather than inch along the front wall.

If we had unlimited money, I’d hire our friend who builds post & beam houses to fix the stairway problem. The idea I have in mind would create a landing for the stairs and turn it 90 degrees into the living room. This would also create an entry, a real one. But it requires a structural change involving the roof support — NOT cheap! In the meantime, I’m stuck with it.

Another alternate solution I came up with was to move the door. Well, that would have been a possibility up until DH found a fancy floor sample, cheap, and then spent a month building a jamb for that door, as the display the door came from didn’t have the jamb of course. So, moving the door? That’s not going to happen soon either, unless we get a lot of money, somewhere.

The long and short of this is that I’m stuck with this weirdly cut up room, it’s an elongated rectangle, with a weird entry  and exit with a huge chunk out of the middle of it for the woodstove and hearth. Then add actual living room furniture, a couch, table and chairs, a cabinet, not to mention the Dh’s hobby stuff and my bookcases? Right.

I suppose one answer is to embrace the hearth. Put the couch facing the hearth, with coffee table and chairs flanking. If we moved the bookcases under the wall where the couch was going and swapped the cabinet that’s now in the corner. . . Hmm. Make it one big room? You’d have to walk around the couch to get into the hallway and kitchen, but that might work, maybe. And because the bookcases are actually crates, I could stack them in front of the window, and. . .?


(Floor plan from google images, it’s not ours!)

I keep thinking the long-term answer to this is to make the flat file our bed. We keep talking about it. The piece is huge 6′ wide and 4′ deep I think. It’s two units one atop the other. If we make it into a platform bed, we’d still have the storage, but we’d make better use of the space and oh yes, reclaim a 24 square foot piece of the living room.

I don’t know the answer. I’ll keep whacking away at it. There may not be one, or the answer may be to get smaller furniture or less of it. I’m already selling furniture off, selling what I thought we’d use in the living room wasn’t in my plans, but we’ll see!

I’ve got a lot of decluttering to do yet, the hall and trim painting needs to be finished, and a few other details have to happen before this is decided, but . . . .


It’s easy to sit and write about what I want to do, intend to do, might do — and not do because I’m too busy typing.

I’m increasingly irritated by this. I can’t get anything decorated by making a decorating board on pinterest, for example. The Housekeeper we had as a kid used to buy cleaning products instead of cleaning. The result was that when she left we had a closet full of cleaning products, some of which (furniture wax) I’ve finally used up. (She left 40 years+ ago!)

Talking about, writing about, discussing and planning what to do rather than actual doing seems to me to be another of those types of things. It’s a substitute for the actual work.

There are things which are easy for me to find the balance between plan or discuss, etc. and actually do. There are others which aren’t so easy.

Need to work on this. Somehow, my real life needs to become as exciting as the planning of what I want it to be. Somehow . . . .

Working on it!

Need to go actually do something — other than sit at a keyboard.


What I’ve actually done: sort through the table linen, pull the excess off for storage elsewhere (I’ve already sold everything I pretty much want to). Rearranged the basket/baby rail storage for the table linen and trivets. Pulled the 2nd baby rail off and put it in the laundry room, where it will be mounted, sometime soon.

Wrapped and labelled the excess linen (wrapped in brown paper and tape, labels on the tape.) to go into the attic.

Made lunch (corn chowder with cheese, pepper, and onion) with hot rolls.

We have enriched bread ready to go into the oven.

The cat bench/recycling station has been pulled away from the wall, the floor and wall cleaned, and the bench cleaned. I used the last large piece of clear shelf liner on the top shelf of the recycling area. I need another piece. I made a sticky note which indicated where the floor register was and stuck it to the wall.

I cleaned the door area into the laundry room, around the battery station, reorganized the charger, etc. Found a new home for the placemats. Cleaned the battery basket, the typing table, the battery charger, the floor underneath all of this, and the wall, door and/or cabinet as appropriate.

With DH’s help, got apricot jam started (has to sit overnight) and made dinner: the infamous spinach, lemon & avocado soup — without disasters this time — and some of the new bread in toasted cheese sandwiches. The dishes, except those used to make/eat dinner are done and mostly put away. I have  one more load of laundry to finish and a load to put away. But after that? My chores are done for the day. Unless I get up hyperearly and am really productive, tomorrow is a bust in terms of house clearing and cleaning. I’m working for someone for a couple of hours then I go to the farm to get food.

Wednesday will be busy, not sure how that will work out.But today WAS productive.

Amazing what I can get done — away from a keyboard!



Culling Down, Cleaning Up & Kitsch

I’ve had more stuff going out the past few days, things I’ve sold or donated mostly, which is good. I’ve got more staged to go to the antique store today as well.

But here’s what prompted this post. I belong to a site that had an article about “How to Decorate Seasonally.” Okay, I opened the link. The text said something about decorating for fall can quickly become kitschy, and that’s unacceptable.


If that’s your taste, it is. Why does anyone have to bow down to the Style Police and do what another thinks is not tacky? I see more posts & articles on how to decorate that I think are ridiculous or just dumb, and so? I’ve found decorating books that advocate looks I wouldn’t pay to live in, both minimalist and country clutter. So?

I just don’t get it. My style is pretty much the same it was when I was a kid, except now I’m buying the furniture. I like word art (well, that’s a stretch for a former bookseller, a writer and an editor, ‘eh?) and visual jokes. If I add a pumpkin or two and put a roller skate under one, why should anyone get to tell me that’s wrong because it’s playful? WHY do I have to decorate my house, who next to no one ever sees, to conform to others’ taste or to confirm I’m an adult?

I think this is more of the paradoxes that the internet has created. We’re all “connected” but don’t actually talk to each other or see each other except in passing. We’re all more “creative” but are supposed to have basically the same taste.

I’ll keep my taste and decorate my home to suit myself. I don’t care if the great internet herd likes it or not. For us, things have to be practical first. DH just got into a discussion in one of his groups about whether you should get a stainless steel sink or composite? Someone said, “Stainless steel scratches.” Well, yeah, it does, but so does Corian and everything else. Get one with a brushed finish, then forget about it. It’s a TOOL, in this house, it has to be practical, has to function correctly FIRST, then we’ll worry about how it “looks.”

When I went to LA recently for a funeral, I was reminded, again, how very focused many people I’ve known are on how things look: themselves, their homes, their clothes, etc. What I’m after is practical, functional, frugal, and not ugly. That’s true of my clothes, my cars, my makeup, and my home. My makeup takes me < 5 minutes to put on, when I put it on. (I use 4 products: foundation, old lady skin goo, lip stain, powder.) What I’m trying to do with my home, the cleaning plan, etc. is essentially the same thing: pare the stuff down so that the required work is fast and easy. What it looks like comes AFTER that.

I’m not trying to keep up with the Joneses or be the Joneses, and if they don’t like it? Well, that’s their problem, not mine!

I just

reread this post


I’m dismayed to realize how much of this still isn’t done, sigh. It’s Saturday morning. I need to go get something done on the “TO DO” list!

First of the painting jobs is done

I bought a crib. I bought it to replace the warehouse boxes, under the couch,  our bedlinen is currently stored in them. Two reasons: 1) there’s almost always “stuff” in front of the couch, so the sheets, etc. wind up ON the couch. This means I get 2 dirty/messy/unused or unusable places for the price of one! So, my idea is that I have to find ways to break my old habits AND store things in ways that are both convenient and neat, the crib idea came up.

What exactly I’ll do with the boxes I don’t know. The couch is slated to go downstairs, if and when, into the living room.

The garden is sprouting, radishes, lettuce, and peas are all coming up. The carrots & parsnips haven’t appeared yet, nor has the 2nd planting of lettuce, but I hardly expected that, as I planted them 3 days ago!

The brass rack is now up in the bathroom. I like it better than our old towel bar because the towels don’t have to (in fact CAN’T) be folded to be hung. I might add some fabric tape loops on the towels, but in any case, they’re hung on their edges. No more fancy folding required for them to look good. 😀

There is also storage above where the towels go. This means that I don’t have to store towels in the bathroom closet anymore. Yay!

I see a towel/washcloth purchase in my future, not a big one, but a towel or two and new wash cloths would be lovely and fill out what we’ve got.

There are 3 hooks on the rack, which is s many towels as we usually have out, max. Frequently it’s only 2. I use 2 because I have long hair. There’s a washcloth bar in the tub area.

Because we replaced the TP holder last year (it now holds 2 rolls at once) the wall was patched. The old towel bar removal and new bar addition made new holes, so the bathroom wall needs to be painted again too. We’ve also talked about replacing the moulding near the ceiling. It was badly painted last time and frankly, I hate the moulding, which is just plain wood, badly stained. Ug. It’s part of this house’s “charm.”

The fellow who built this place worked in construction. From what I can see, he wasn’t a very good craftsman. I think most of the moulding is up there (throughout the entire upper floor) to hide the fact that the ceiling & walls don’t meet the way they should. I don’t *know* this, but I’d bet money on it after living in this house for the past 20+ years! Anyway, the plan is to repaint the bathroom, put up the new shower curtain, replace the moulding before we paint, and maybe buy a few towels and definitely get some more washcloths.

The next piece of furniture moving is a bookcase shuffle. There’s a short medium case that is slowly being emptied. It will go atop the other case the same size. The paperback “show” cases (they were made to take books to shows) will replace that case. I have 3 of these in the hallway and my idea is that maybe all 6 can go on the wall to replace the one bookcase. If so, the books will be easier to get at, the hallway will be more serene, and our space will be neater, as I can put more of the books I want to keep AWAY. All good!

The show cases are made of MDF and I’m debating whether I want to paint them first? Probably, but I haven’t actually decided yet.

The crib got its coat of “stop chip” which is what I call the sealer we use on the antiquey stuff around here to keep its patina and not degrade into just junky!

A Little Bit More

decorating stuff. I’m making a rug for the kitchen, it’s a small one, large rugs in the kitchen are a perennial maintenance problem. What I want is something to stand on when I work, so I’m making it, from t-shirt yarn. So, I bought 3 t shirts yesterday and 1 last weekend for the rug. The one from last weekend is a “tie dye” pattern and although the color works, the variegated color won’t, so that got set aside for another project or to donate. Two of the three I bought yesterday have side seams, which I’d missed.

Side seams make it harder to make the yarn the way it is usually done. I cut one shirt with seams into strips. I have 3 others, 2 from my clothing cull. Maybe I’ll make placemats or something out of them? Dunno.

Anyway, the new shirts got frozen, dried (to make sure there’s no bugs/bug eggs in it) then the one was cut into strips and worked into the rug. Fortunately, I needed dusky purple and that’s what it was. Now I need green, and I haven’t got any, which makes finding a shirt part of today’s quest.

I’m taking an ashtray and 2 vases to consign at a church thrift shop and although I hadn’t planned on buying anything, now I’ll be looking for t-shirt(s) for the rug (without side seams!).

On the purging front, the latest stack of crates/galvanized display shelf have taken what seems to be the last of the loose books in the living room — a milestone! I’ll count them later today and then post a new tally. I’m way behind, but I’m busy!