Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tiffany Blue!

When I read the comments from yesterday, I ran in and got one of my many Tiffany boxes, pffft, my ONLY Tiffany box, and sure enough, it matches. Suddenly the color is ok! I mean if it's Tiffany blue, how could it be wrong? Thank you Tara and Donna for pointing that out to me.
And jkj, the window goes outside on the East side of the house, but the glass is textured or frosted for privacy. Maybe that's why it looks like it goes into another room. Should I put a curtain on it? It looks onto the gated driveway, so it's not like anyone can actually walk by and peek in, but maybe some fabric is needed. You bloggers are such a fun bunch to decorate with. Thanks for all the help and input, especially telling me I painted my bathroom Tiffany Blue. Suddenly I love it!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Aqua, Seafoam, Robin Egg Blue?

Here is a sneak peek at the bathroom project. I don't really know what the color is called since I mixed it myself. And I'm not even sure it's exactly what I wanted. As I was applying it, it looked more blue. Now it looks more green. When I turn on the light over the vanity it really looks green, but maybe that's ok. Thank goodness there's not a lot of it, just in case I decide to repaint it. I've never had so much trouble/indecision with a color in my life. Usually I'm quite sure with my choices. What do you think?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Teen2's Bedroom

Teen2's bedroom is almost done. The blinds arrived yesterday so we installed them last night. And it's looking very modern and dramatic isn't it?
This is how it looked just two weeks ago.
The blinds are silvery like her new "Pixar" lamp. You know the little lamp that dances around at the beginning of their movies? Doesn't that lamp look just like that? Now we just have to make new drawer fronts and solve the carpet issue. She is very happy with it and so am I.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Color, Beautiful Color

I love color in my home, always have. When the Lord of the Manor and I were first married we bought a tiny bungalow that had yellow and blue tile in the kitchen so we wallpapered it in a lively blue and yellow and painted the cabinets blue. I thought it looked rather cute, but when my Mom saw it she said, "You could always add some white to the next coat." We didn't.

We had a lovely old Hoosier cabinet and an old meat block. We hung copper pans from the hood that the Lord of the Manor built over the old gas range. That kitchen was our first do-it-yourself project and we loved it. The rest of the house had boring white walls and we always meant to paint them, but then we found another house...
In that house we painted the living room blue and papered the dining room with blue and white. Our bedroom had pink wallpaper. The den was camel and terracotta. The bathroom had the original pink and gray tile. The kitchen had yellow, green, and orange plaid wallpaper (not our doing), and yellow tile. So that house was full of color too.

And now we live in a house with a yellow living room, red library, burgundy dining room, tan kitchen, one gold bedroom, one purple bedroom, one green bedroom, and believe it or not - white bathrooms. But something is being done about that. We are going to paint one of them robin egg blue. If I can just get the color right. First I bought some green and it was just wrong. Then I bought some blue and it was too bright. Then I started mixing the two

and came up with the color on the far right. I think it's the one, but what do you think? We have lots of white tile and all white fixtures in the room. The faucets and hardware are all chrome. The accessories can pick up the beachy theme. We have lots of shells that we've collected that could be mounted in shadow boxes to hang on the walls. We have some lovely old blue glasses that would match. And maybe I could make some shorebird "decoys" for the shelves. Your creative input would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
~Posted by Laura dabbling in color again Amongst The Oaks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ideas Needed

My friend has a few of these things and is looking for ideas. She would like to repurpose them into something for the garden, but can't figure out exactly what to do. They are rusty and dented, about 3' tall and the roof sort of hinges off. They could be painted, stenciled, cut down, or maybe have holes cut into them. She thought maybe a planteror lantern? Any ideas? Extra credit if you can identify their original purpose.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday's Task

I keep utensils in this crock near the stove. About a month ago one of the salad tongs somehow jumped out and fell behind the range. Bummer. I kept reaching for the remaining one forgetting its mate was gone. Double bummer. So I threw the remaining one back there too. Silly, I know, but at least they were together. Finally today I pulled out the range to retrieve them. I'm not going to show you what it looked like behind the range that hadn't moved in two years, but suffice it to say, IT WAS GROSS.

So I decided to clean it all out. I wiped down the tiles. I cleaned the sides of the cabinets. Then the Lord of the Manor came in and saw what I was doing. He got involved and...
we took these grease catchers out and cleaned them too. And all up inside the hood. And the fluorescent lights. And then I cleaned the top of the range.

And here is how it looked when we were done. Phew.

And almost two hours later I finally got the salad tongs back where they belonged. And that's how we spent our Sunday here Amongst The Oaks.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Goodbye Pink

In the little pink room there was a tassel from France,
and flowered curtains with no valance,
and soft pink carpet on which to dance,
and Teen2 defiantly taking a stance.
She won and so now it's Goodbye to pink.
Wallpaper, blankets and quilts; you all stink.
And the little old lady who loved the pink?
She sits in the corner crying in her drink.

Goodbye rose buds.

Goodbye broadloom.

Goodbye blankets.

Goodbye quilts.

Goodbye pink in this little room.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Teen2's room is almost all painted and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy painting. Used to be I rarely went a day without a paint brush in my hand. But that was waaaay back when we painted signs and I worked in production. Now they are all vinyl and I work in the office anyway, so no chance of touching a brush. And I miss it. I miss the soothing repetition of stroking paint on, the wandering thoughts that purely physical work induces, and the satisfaction of seeing the finished project at the end of the day. *sigh* If I had two weeks at home alone I think I could get the whole cottage painted, but darn it, I have to go to work every day!

Two walls are all double coated and I think I can finish up tomorrow. But we couldn't wait; we had to put the new bedding on the finished side. And it looks striking, doesn't it? Teen2 loves it so that's good. The blinds should arrive in about a week, try to imagine silver blinds on the windows instead of the chintz curtains. We are still looking for a desk and a chair. And the flooring issue requires more research, but basically I'm pleased with our progress. I'll keep you posted and thanks for all the input.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Look

If you'd told me I'd be doing this someday,
I wouldn't have believed you, but, alas, Teen2 has decided she wants a new look in her bedroom. So we are painting over the wallpaper and redecorating her bedroom.

When I decorated this room several years ago, I (mistakenly) thought it would last for many, many years. The Lord of the Manor made built-in beds with huge drawers underneath, a window seat between, and bookcases at the head of both beds. I wallpapered it in tiny pink rosebuds and made curtains from a beautiful rose chintz. We installed muted pink carpeting. It was so pretty and so English. I love it, Teen2 hates it. She has covered the walls with posters in an effort to disguise it. She has kept it in a dismal state of disarray. The rat chewed one curtain to smithereens. The time has come. No, actually, it's overdue!

So I gave in and agreed to a remodel. First we selected a color scheme: purple, green, black, white and silver. Then we shopped for linens. We found these black ones with white stitching at Tar-Zhay. We also found these bright green pillows with white feathers on the edges. And she selected the purple wall color and we ordered new silver blinds.

And then we found this shade and jazzed it up with more feathers.

And I am *sadly* painting out the wallpaper a little bit at a time. We are going to leave all the woodwork white. We are still looking for a new desk, an exciting easy chair, a lamp base and maybe a new television. So that just leaves the carpet; what do you think we should do with that? Could it be dyed or painted? We are trying to do this on the cheap, but maybe I just have to bite the bullet and get new carpet. What do you think?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Scalloped Potatoes

The Lord of the Manor requested meat loaf and scalloped potatoes for dinner last night. And it was darn good, too. I thought I'd share this recipe for scalloped potatoes. Actually, it's not much of a recipe, it's more of a guide.Gather together a 9"x13" pan, about 10 potatoes, a cube of butter, a quart of milk, flour, salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and cut the potatoes uniformly about 1/8" thick.

Lay 1/3 of the potatoes in the pan, sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons flour, salt, lots of pepper, and dabs of butter. Make two more layers like that. Keep the potatoes down about 1/2" from the top of the pan otherwise they will overflow and make a huge mess in the oven.
When all three layers are done, pour milk in the pan until it comes just to the bottom of the final layer of potatoes. It will hold quite a bit of milk, but don't bring it up over the potatoes, or it make a huge mess in the oven.

Did you notice how the bottom layer was all messy and this layer is all neat? That's because I put all the end slices on the bottom and save the uniform middle slices for the next two layers. Weird, huh? But I just can't help myself. I like it to look neat when it's done.

See the milk there just at the bottom of the potatoes? Perfect! That's where it should be so it doesn't make a huge mess in the oven.

Now bake at 350 for about an hour and a half until it looks like this. These are so good and so easy. Go make some. Then go clean your oven because no matter what you do they always seem to make a huge mess in the oven. But they're worth it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Seashore Theme Redwork

In my quest for redwork patterns, I found this wrapping paper and book. The wrapping paper is covered with pretty shells just the right size for embroidering onto tea towels or napkins. The book had the added bonus of crayfish, lobsters, and crabs.

So I traced six ideas with my bumwad.

I love that word.

And then I downloaded them to my new friend Scribd. And here they are for your enjoyment:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Redwork to share

Oh the places I've been trying to figure out how to share pdf files. I am obviously not a computer nerd or I'd know how to do this without even thinking! Anyway, here are two more. I settled on Scribd and uploaded a few there. I'll see how it goes for a while, and maybe do more next week. Let me know if it's user friendly, won't you? And if you have any particular requests.

First let's try a boy with a hoop.

Then let's try a girl at the shore.

Then I just had to share this photo of Teen2 helping the Lord of the Manor prune a tree last weekend. Here she is supposed to be operating the crane whilst her father is in the basket 40' off the ground, and she's on her cell phone! She certainly is giving him her full attention, isn't she? These are just some of the goofy things that go on here Amongst The Oaks.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Free Redwork Patterns

Remember yesterday when I suggested finding redwork patterns in books? Well I took my own advice and thumbed through this book looking for appropriate drawings. I found several that I thought might work and marked them with post-it notes.

Then I took some tissue paper and started tracing. I should talk about the tissue paper I use. It's called Bienfang bumwad (I kid you not) and it's used by architects. A roll 18" x 50 yards only costs about $10.00 and lasts forever. I not only use it for its original intention of tracing and refining floor plans, but also for tracing patterns and ideas from other sources. We've even used it to make patterns for custom clothing. If you can't find it at a crafts store, try an art supply house, or architectural printing service. (Look in the yellow pages under Blueprinting Equipment & Supplies.)
Back to the book. I ended up with several cute sketches
and thought I should share them with you. So I figured out how to use Google Docs, and Bob's Your Uncle! Now let's see if it works....

Kids1 Kids2 Kids3

I do hope you enjoy these patterns, and I'll try to make some more real soon. Any requests?
Apparently Bob is NOT your uncle, or mine either. I'm working on sharing the patterns. Please stand by.....
4:30pm: Ok, I figured it out. Just click on Kid1, save it to your computer, then print it as a pdf.

Redwork Patterns

I finally finished the Paris tea towel and realized I got a little carried away because it's way too complicated! I should have stopped at the Eiffel Tower, tulips, petanque and the Metro. I was so impressed with Paris I just wanted to squeeze it all in. Just like our trip, I wanted to see it all and do it all. Great for a trip, but not so good for a tea towel.

Here's my original drawing. First I printed out the words on the computer, then I sketched in images from the trip in pencil. When I was satisfied with the design, I darkened the lines with black ink. The cotton tea towels are thin enough to see through, so then I put the design beneath the towel and traced over it with the Mark-B-Gone pen. After embroidering the towel the marks disappeared with a few spritzes of water.

If you are not so artistically inclined, there are patterns available at the crafts store, online, or in books like this one my sister loaned me. It's full of beautiful examples of original pieces plus a history of the craft. It also includes a companion book with full size patterns of some of the most popular images.

Even if you can't find that book or these patterns, inspiration can be found all around you. You might find some cute little animals in a children's book. Or a motif to copy on some dishes. Or in a magazine or on fabric or wrapping paper. Those designs can easily be traced using tissue paper and resized if necessary on a copier or computer.
I hope you try some of this redwork. I've found it to be lots of fun and a great diversion. And you know what else? It keeps me from snacking in the evenings here Amongst The Oaks.