Friday, February 28, 2020

Getting it all together. . . . . . .

Change is in the air.
The furniture store called yesterday afternoon with good news . . . . .  
. . . . . our purchase had arrived after its long road trip across the USA!

The sad part is that not too long ago, almost all American furniture was
 manufactured right here in North Carolina. Just an hour or so down the
 highway were all the factories turning out beautiful wood case goods and 
upholstery, employing thousands of quality employees. Furniture 
manufacturing was the lifeblood of this southeastern state. 
Like most manufacturing companies they have gone. . . . . . and yes,
 I know, my furniture probably took a long sea voyage prior to being loaded
 onto a truck in California to bring it to North Carolina!
The circle of life is not always what we would like it to be.

Anyway I'm happy it's on the way and will be ready when
 the delivery truck shows up this afternoon.

The bedside rug is a new purchase. Then I 'shopped the cottage' to see what
 other items I could find and might be considered in bringing the bedroom
 together - my favorite part.

Textures - I love to mix them, and I feel with neutral colors especially
 they are most important.

These pillows came with the Drexel living room sofa bought 18 months ago. 
For some reason the lovely saleslady threw them in with our purchase - I was
 shocked later when I unzipped the covers and discovered $95 price tags on each!
They are good quality with feather/down fillers (Ralph Lauren Home) but I didn't
 use them as I had other larger, more comfortable ones. They might be fine on 
 this loveseat. The throw is a find from years back, made in Scotland, soft, cozy
 chenille. The colors are good with the rug, especially the cute tassels. 

Next view of this room will, hopefully, look a lot better - fingers are crossed, 
making knitting somewhat difficult but keeping me busy until I see the truck
pull up!

Tweedy texture with Hobby Lobby yarn - my favorite to knit with.

A beautiful sunny, but very chilly, day here.
Lots to do indoors so I won't be venturing further than the potting shed!

More later. . . . . . . .

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Thirteen years!

Thirteen years ago today in 2007 I started blogging, first at Across The Pond, 
 followed by A Breath of Fresh Air since 2010.
 I have done my best to share a lot of what I've done, where I've traveled, 
things I've seen, and what I love in life.

Below is a link to last year's anniversary post - it's longer and will tell you
a little more about my blogging history, how it tweaked my interest in
so many new and exciting things, and brought so many  
wonderful friends into my life.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who have stuck with me.
Blogging has changed a lot over these thirteen years and it 
continues to be a challenge. I will try to continue best I can. . . . . . 
. . . . . . because you are fabulous and I don't want to lose
touch with you!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

I'm in a fog!

Beyond the fog lies clarity - Anonymous

What a dreary morning it was here. 
Any color in the garden was drained by a heavy fog wet fog. 
I stepped outside with my iPhone at 7:15 AM. I could feel the moisture
 envelope me as I took a few quick photos . . . . . . . . then hurried back
 inside to flip the switch on the coffee pot.

Later:   the sun didn't shine today and more rain coming this evening.
Tomorrow cooler with sunshine - sounds good to me.
Meanwhile - the good news is Magnolia liliiflora survived last week's
snow and ice storm. . . . . . . . and is now blooming brightly.

Tomorrow is a special day for me. . . . . . . . an anniversary!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Before and after, as promised!

The bedroom makeover is coming along well. 
Painting completed and new flooring installed.
New ceiling fan/light is up.
New blinds being made.
New furniture traveling cross country, hopefully!

Only piece of furniture remaining from before - the loveseat, with freshly
 laundered slip cover, awaiting new pillows.
This is my favorite place to read during daytime hours.

Before was OK but getting tired looking.  Carpeting too hard to keep clean, paint fading.

Entry hallway in Kendall Charcoal - a few shades darker than the bedroom's
 Chelsea Gray.  We did this area in eggshell finish rather than flat paint
so it has a soft gleam in the sunlight from the front door, plus resists 
scuffs in a busy traffic area.

Taking the same flooring through from the other downstairs areas - our master
 bedroom is on this level - is more cohesive, easier to clean and makes
 the first floor appear larger than when chopped up by different floor coverings.  
Only the kitchen floor is different.

I popped into our local AT HOME store yesterday afternoon for
a quick look at rugs. OMG what a selection - that home store requires a 
week at least to cover every department!
Bob insists on a throw rug on his side of the bed now the carpet is
history.  This is the one I brought home to try and I love it. 
It's so soft, non-slip, and the colors are perfect with the flooring, 
Do you agree?
Just enough of that terra cotta shade I mentioned before when thinking 
about adding color with accessories, along with greys, creams, and the 
darkest background shade matches the flooring. For just $30 I think it's super.


The south facing front door has also been refinished as it was faded from the
 sun and heat. Sanded, two coats of stain, a good sealer. . . .it looks like new.

 Now a word or two on stained wood! 
Yes I know many people are painting every piece of their woodwork
white these days, especially if new construction. We sometimes check out
 the million dollar plus new homes being built all around us and are
astonished that there is very little real wood used for trim, doors etc.
This house is now thirty five years old and we've been the only owners. 
I won't say I wouldn't enjoy painting all the wood - well having someone
 with a stronger shoulder, younger knees, and more patience than myself
doing such a huge, expensive job - wood trim, crown moldings, chair rails,
baseboards, six-panel doors etc. . . . . BUT, and it's a gigantic 'but', 
the cons far outweigh the pros at this point for us!
Natural wood is beautiful, all oak here, is a good fit in this cottage-style
 house. . . . . . and, believe it or not, the darker paint colors in a couple
of areas really work well, giving it cottage warmth plus sophistication.

I'm happy with the outcome of my project - dreaming about the 
next one will keep me out of trouble!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Sweet dreams returning later. . . . . .

. . . . . . it's said we should make the bedroom feel like a comfy retreat or an
 oasis from our often hectic modern day lives. I totally agree.

I love this glimpse into a bedroom of an obviously much-loved older house.  
It's in England and found in one of the several UK magazines I buy. 
I have many folders of clippings from these decorating publications, with
  the beautiful UK Country Living being my favorite. 

Being English, growing up on the Devon coast, and with the countryside
 "just up the road" from my childhood home, I'm comfortable in rural settings.
 Villages and hamlets full of thatched cottages were all around, so living in a
 smaller cottage-style home here in the USA, I find all I could ever really want in
 those magazines when it comes to decorating ideas . . . . . 

 . . . and I always look through them first when planning a makeover around the house.

My dresser - part of the bedroom set purchased many years ago when I was
 really into country cottage and Shabby Chic - thank you Rachel Ashwell. 

The entire set has gone to the bedroom of our neighbor's teenage daughter. 
I hope she will love it as much as I did. She'll definitely have plenty of storage
 for all those colorful, trendy teenage fashions!

Moving out the furniture required assistance.
My painter was grateful to have a perfectly empty room
to work in. . . . . . and carpet where any paint drips wouldn't 
matter as it is to be removed!

Meanwhile the two of us are squished together in the guest room, the
 third bedroom being our office, living out of boxes piled high, . . . . eagerly
 awaiting the completed master bedroom project.

Lovely colors similar to which I embraced for the project. 
The 'granite' shade is close to the Chelsea Gray now on the bedroom walls. 
The 'slate' blue grey in a paler hue - Stonington Gray - is in the walk-in closet. 
The dark, rich 'charcoal' - Kendall Charcoal - is in the entry hallway off the 
bedroom. All Benjamin Moore colors.

The bedding, curtains etc. are all a creamy white or natural linen and will
 remain for the time being. The new furniture color is 'hazelnut'.
There is also the loveseat which fits into the window bay and is slip-covered
in creamy white matelassé.  
I will try to find an accessory in the muted terra-cotta shade - perhaps a pillow
 for the loveseat, a bedside rug, or a beautiful painting to hang - maybe even 
all of those!
As I said - nights with sweet dreams will return. . . . .and soon I hope.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Postcards from the sunny south!

Yesterday, a beautiful Saturday here. . . . . . . the snow and ice melted where
 the sun hit, and the afternoon temperature reached 53F.  
Our back deck is in shade so we have to step carefully out there, it will take
 a couple more days to melt the ice which formed Friday night when it was really cold. 
 Rain is predicted for Monday so that will help.

Who said red birds clash with purplish pink flowers?  
Hey, when it comes to the garden you embrace all the color you can get, 
especially in the dull, often dreary, winter months.

Winter hydrangeas will be deadheaded and pruned later.

Here you can see we did get a couple of inches of wet snow - one of our many
garden visitors under the bird feeders digging for dropped seeds.

I think this is the only snow we'll see in the south this winter.
BUT, never say never!

New floor was installed as planned on Friday morning - all went well and I love it.
Photos coming soon.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Late winter in the southern garden. . . . . . . . .

Sunrise today..............

Yesterday afternoon our only snow so far in this strange, mild and wet winter season,
fell silently. A new dimension in the garden as the mid-afternoon light changed
 rapidly, and the fig tree suddenly became illuminated with cardinals, male and 
female, and several other species of beautiful garden birds. All were very
 hungry, pushing and shoving for space on the feeders as well as the ground 
It was quite a heavy snow. Flimsy branches on shrubs and smaller trees
 seemed to bow under the weight of just an inch of so within an hour.

 Mrs. Cardinal
 Mr. Cardinal

 Light snow fell until around midnight so we ended up with a couple of inches.
Very wet, heavy snow so tree/shrub damage possible again. 
There were many power outages but thankfully we didn't lose ours.
Brilliant sunshine this morning and melting is happening quickly.

Good news - my flooring guys arrived on time despite some icy roads, 
and by noon the new bedroom floor installation should be completed.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Let's Paint. . . . . . before the snow falls!

The choices are overwhelming!  
You have probably gone through it yourself. 
Choosing a new paint color for your walls.  
Visiting a paint store will start your head spinning. . . . . . . there are literally
 thousands of colored paint chips, cans of sample colors, and piles of 
brochures showing awesome photos of room settings in every colorway
 under the sun.

If you want grey, don't pick this one - it's very blue!

I needed three colors for bedroom walls, walk-in bedroom closet and
 the entry hallway.
Above was my first choice - below is what I ended up with.

This strip made all that searching and buying expensive sample cans 
(Benjamin Moore's are $7.99) much easier (though I did buy four and
 will have little pots of paint to use for other projects!). 
 Being able to run with a coordinated paint strip, once I set my sights
 on the Chelsea Gray for for the bedroom walls, was great.

Before - the greenish blue walls - quite pleasant for many
 years - with the much disliked popcorn ceiling (a hex on whoever invented
 that 80's dust-catching, impossible to re-paint, finish!).  All the ceilings
 of the cottage are now smooth thankfully.
Carpet will be going, hopefully tomorrow when the new floor is laid. 

Snow is forecast for tonight - our first of the season. 
This late in February is quite a surprise, and this being the south
 the city is already going crazy with early school closings, and
the run on the grocery stores began last night!

During - first coat. Chelsea Gray, described as "a sophisticated dark warm gray". . . and
 I'm in love with it!  
Note ceiling now scraped smooth and freshly painted, such a huge difference. 
New ceiling fan installed last evening.

Bruce, who has done most of my painting for many years, rolling the
 first coat, a second coat done later made the color richer and even.

Here's the finished paint. I realize some screens may not show the color
perfectly - but hopefully you get a close idea.

Will share more before and after shots another time. 
As mentioned, furniture is on its journey across country. . . . . . .
taking the scenic route I do believe!
This means plenty of time to do good spring clean. . . . . . . 
after what I'm hoping will be a white wonderland when I awake
tomorrow. I will pull on my boots and bobble hat and go outside
to photograph the birds.  Bob is filling the feeders as I write!