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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another "Thrifty" Tablescape

I couldn't help myself.
After telling my husband, "No blogging today; I have too much to do," I started looking at all the delightful Tablescapes and Thrift finds. . .
. . . and here I am, with a late to the gate entry.

(At the end, there are links to more Tablescapes and Thrifty Thursday stories. Don't miss them!)

We love house guests here at That Old House.

Breakfast is at the old oak table in the sunroom.

It's a simple meal.
(Hey, if you want crepes, go find The Pierres!)

Welcome to breakfast at That Old House!
(We hope you slept well.)

Howard picks up some scrumptious pastries, fresh from the local bakery.

I pour you some juice in old Czech crystal brandy snifters,
and ask if you like coffee (we brew it strong) or tea.

A little Tunstall pitcher holds the cream. (Ebay!)

A white porcelain cake stand that Howard bought for his
mother with paper-route money holds the pastries.

Come and sit; no flowers, no candles, but the table is all set ...

Set with my newest thrift shop find!

Last week, I shared my Aynsley China thrift shop tablescape;

I found this sweet little set at the same time.

6 luncheon plates, and 6 cup-and-saucer sets, all in perfect condition.
18 pieces for less than a dollar apiece.

I really like this old fashioned pattern, and it's smoky blue and rust red scheme.

It is "China Garden" by Imperial China.
I remember it, or a remarkably similar pattern, from years ago.

Well, what are you waiting for? Pull up a chair and sit.

What? Oh.
Howard's not back yet with the pastries.

Ummm... how about a bowl of Cap'n Crunch?

Many thanks to Leigh of Bloggeritaville for hosting Thrifty Thursday -- click here!

And thanks to Susan at Between Naps On The Porch for hosting Tablescape Thursday; click here!

See you tomorrow! -- Cass

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday -- The Stone Wall Behind That Old House

Welcome to Wednesday -- we are going outdoors, behind That Old House, where we'll take a look at our old stone wall, and what is (growing) on it.

At the end of this post, find links for more Outdoor Wednesday and What's On Your Wall posts! Or just click on the blog party titles, right here!


Our yard is sloped, and there's a long, old stone wall that keeps part of it from sliding down and burying the house. There's lots on this wall, besides a couple of sets of steps -- lichen, chipmunks who peek out from between loose stones, masses of overly enthusiastic ivy, and ground-cover myrtle -- look closely, below:

See the myrtle, or vinca, growing next to the very light-colored stone?
(That's the corner of my mini-van in the upper left of the picture, on the driveway.
It's quite excited at being in the blog, and can't wait to lord it over Howard's Jeep.)

Please excuse the landscape disarray.
It's cleanup time here at That Old House.

Along the wall ... some lovely spring bulbs and perennials, including

Bleeding Heart or Dicentra:


Bleeding Heart and Tulips:

And my favorite goofy looking spring blooming plant --

Howard thinks I make up these names, but it's really called Fritillaria.

Also called Crown Imperial. Odd looking crown.
If I were Queen, I'd ask for a do-over on the crown design.

(Some of our fading Hyacinths and the crazy rampant ivy, above.)

My favorite "plant" is our unruly grapevine, which is so heavy
that it has weighed down the steel cable that used to hold it up.

Now our grapevine just sort of sags between the support posts:

Pachysandra keeps the grapevine's feet warm.
Or cool, depending on the season!

The grapevine buds really burst out the past few days, with our unseasonably hot weather.
See those baby leaves? Those lumpy things in their centers will be grape clusters,
and my Dad will impatiently wait through the summer, till they are sweet enough for him to pluck right off the vine and eat.

He is worse than the birds.

Then our neighbor Ellen will come and pick all the remaining grapes,
and make the world's absolute most delicious grape jam, and give us a jar.

Which my Dad will also eat.
Being 89 has its privileges.

Enjoy your Wednesday! Our heat wave is over, but we're going to get some much-needed showers to water our buds and blossoms. Can't complain! -- Cass
Susan at A Southern Daydreamer hosts Outdoor Wednesday -- and she's got some gorgeous pictures of Southern spring flowers on her blog today -- and they bear a remarkable resemblance to Northern spring flowers! Visit Susan and the other Outdoor Wednesday participants here! Don't miss it!
Barb at Grits and Glamour (don't you love the name of that blog?) is our hostess for What's On Your Wall Wednesday, and I sure hope she doesn't mind my using my outdoor wall for this post. For a peek at -- well -- what's on people's walls, click here.

Three Or More Pets!

On Three Or More Tuesday, a brief little post ---

Family Pets Who Get Up On The Furniture And Shed:

That is Dion, above, our 10-year old Cavalier.
He loves soft places, and computers.

Our Connie, 11 years old. She also likes soft places.
She is especially fond of playing Princess and the Pea, with sofa pillows.
Connie is having a major bad hair day in this photo.

Connie is also pictured in the first shot, at the top of the post, napping with
a Cavalier friend who stayed with us for some weeks last year.

And lastly . . .

Howard, 57.
He likes soft places, too.

Visit Tam at The Gypsy's Corner for many more Three Or More Tuesday posts!
Click here to visit there!

Have a lovely day. It is nearing 90-degrees here in northern New Jersey; I'm going to go outside and rejoice! -- Cass

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Bath's Tale: Changing Yellow to Blue and Morphing into Pretty!

Once upon a time in a Kingdom far away -- if by "once upon a time" we mean "this morning" and by "a Kingdom far away" we mean "New Jersey" -- there was a bathroom that looked like this:

A year ago, before the King and Queen moved in, the bathroom looked like this:

. . . and the Queen was not happy.
"Off with its head!" she commanded.
The King quietly pointed out that a bathroom does not have a head,
unless it IS a head and is therefore on a boat.

Thus begins our saga for Metamorphosis Monday and Blue Monday: A Bath's Tale.

Be sure to check at the bottom of this post, for links to lots of other great
Metamorphosis Monday and Blue Monday stories!

Of the seven rooms on our second floor, four are decent-sized bedrooms, and three are very small -- average size 7' x 12' -- and we figure that years ago those three little rooms were probably nurseries, sewing rooms, "hired hand" rooms. One of them is now our only full bath, and a hardworking room it is.

Turning this room into something I could live with, and love, was really simple.

First, paint:

The color is Wythe Blue, a Benjamin Moore Historic Color. I love this color; it's not a wishy-washy blue, and it is changeable in different lights -- nearly aqua, nearly not. Most men "read" it as green, most women as blue.

Next to go, the chrome faucet. It leaked anyway, so that was an easy choice.
The bathroom was already tellling me to go dark, so we installed this:

Then, the medicine chest. Howard liked it because it was convenient,
and leaving it would mean that he didn't have to pull out the dreaded tool box.

We know who won this one, don't we, girls?
In place of the old oak medicine chest we hung a mirror I found on Craigslist:

And do I have a volunteer who will tell my husband and brother-in-law that the mirror is hung about 1-1/2-inches too high?
I am not brave enough.

I have two things in this bathroom that came from my parents' home.
Both used to be in the bathroom I lived in as a teenager.

One is a washstand, "antiqued" with blue paint and amber glaze by my Mom in the 1960s. It has come by its chips and shabby chic-ness honestly:

(Can anyone answer how I managed to take these pictures,
and not notice I hadn't closed the drawer?)

The other piece -- a wire ice cream parlor chair, also painted by my Mom in the 60s. It is very distressed -- maybe too much so. I may paint it. More likely I will just sew a cushion for the seat to cover the worst of the chips and scratches and stains:

The 60s blue isn't a great match for the Wythe Blue walls, but as Queen of this project I have decreed that all blues go together. It's a decorating dictum that I just now made up.

My biggest project was the vanity. It told me in no uncertain terms that it was fed up with being naked oak, and it needed it some chic. Well, what is more chic than black? Bone Black, by Ralph Lauren Paint.

But first, a $3 applique -- glued on at great pain to myself, since I had to stand and hold the danged thing in place forever, because it was a) broken in pieces and b) warped. Explains the $3 pricetag, and as my Mom used to say as she combed out our hair, "You have to suffer to be beautiful."

It was worth it. I also replaced brass knobs and pulls with dark bronze.

One of the joys of having a bathroom that was once a small bedroom is that it has real closets.
Since we have visitors, I took Howard's sleep shorts off the door hooks. You're welcome.
Can you see the lever on the toilet? Also replaced with dark bronze.

Some details:

Above, one of my little Limoges plates, a sweet spot to park a favorite bracelet and watch overnight.

A big Home Goods flowerpot, doing yeoman's duty as a wastebasket:

From T.J. Maxx, this seashell holds my many pairs of reading glasses:

Hanging on the back of the old washstand, a blue and brown printed towel from T.J. Maxx -- it's a thick velvety terry, lined with plain brown toweling. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but it may end up as a cushion on the ice cream parlor chair, or even as a couple of big pillows on my bed -- the fabric is a ringer for velvet! Meanwhile, it has a home here:

Things still to do: light fixtures. Did you notice them? They are not attractive, but they work. Someday . . . .

I'm sure HGTV would tell me to replace the "faux" onyx countertop, as it is certainly outdated and un-cool. But -- it's in good shape, this is a working bathroom, and this countertop works. I'm not going to get my knickers in a twist over a faux stone counter.

Not too sure about the frame around the mirror.
Should I tone down the gold with an over-wash of black?

And the window. Mini-blinds were in place already; I added K-Mart sheers for softness.
I know this isn't a permanent solution, but I'm still in the "what do I want here?" stage:

So, that's it. The hall bath.
Nothing fancy, and a cheap and easy metamorphosis if ever there was one.

Do you see the clock on the wall? My sister and I always put clocks in bathrooms, a habit from when our kids were dilly-dallying in the mornings before school. You know that decorating rule about not hanging things too high? Howard didn't get that memo. But I need more things on the walls anyway, so I'll move it then.

There's another room of this size next to the master bedroom. We use it as a closet, and someday it will morph into an en-suite master bath. Someday. . . .

And -- for many more stories of amazing makeovers, visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch, for Metamorphosis Monday. You can find her and all the stories here.

And then visit Sally at Smiling Sally, for Blue Monday. Click here for beautiful blues!

Thanks to both these ladies for hosting! I love having a theme to build a post around.

Coming soon, a post about this:

And I'm going to need you to put your thinking caps on for this one!

Have a lovely Monday! -- Cass