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Hark! Is this a post?

I’m not very fond of over sharing, but there are some current issues that are taking priority over projects and posting, and I will go in a bit more depth in upcoming posts. But it’s the holidays and we’re making merry and decking the halls. I’m happy to say this year is about a 95% recycled holiday season.

I’ll start with the last bits and go forward. After I finished the holiday decorating, I had some extra snow in the bag. I pulled a few ornaments from the tree and mantel (those will be fairly obvious), and made a little ornament vignette to save as inspiration for next year.


Go bold or go home

I took advantage of some $5 shelter magazine subscriptions over the holidays and we’re now getting House Beautiful. Part of me is experiencing some green guilt but there is nothing like holding a magazine in hand and seeing beautiful inspiration so close. This month’s issue is all about green, my favorite color. When I got to the page featuring a dining room styled by Meg Braff, I knew I’d found a breath of fresh inspiration for the dining room.

I love the grey in the dining room but the white lacks personality.

I think the green (in gloss) would be lovely addition to the room. I have several paint swatches that need to go on the wall. I think this could work.

{ First photo by James Merrell via House Beautiful. }

Oh hai, apparently I’ve been nominated in the Best DIY Blog category!

Bon Weekend

It’s beginning to feel like the holidays around here! We finished taking down the Thanksgiving decorations earlier this week, and sadly, I didn’t get any decent photos of the beautiful job my mother did. It became incredibly busy and I didn’t have time to set up the tripod and what I did snap wasn’t so good. Anyways, we unpacked all of the ornaments yesterday and got a good start on the rest of the inside of the house. I can’t wait to see how everything develops over the next several days.

The chandelier is far from ready, but I’m happy with the direction. So far.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Bon Weekend – Samhain preparations.

{ Thank you Sarah Rae! }

I’m posting this a little early as Michael and I will be out of town this weekend and it’s not very easy posting via my phone. Today’s post is focusing on our Samhain interior decorations. The main area we focused on was the dining room|foyer. Goodness, I find myself more excited than usual about the upcoming sabbat. We didn’t decorate or really take part in any festivities surrounding the sabbat last year as my fathers illness was progressing and we were still in the ‘trying to diagnose’ phase. He was hospitalized for the final time just after.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term Samhain and how I sometimes interchange it with Hallwe’en, I asked Michael to write some of the history|origins of the sabbat, and how it is celebrated. I wouldn’t be surprised if more things find their way into this setting!

On October 31 we celebrate the Celtic feast of Samhain. Samhain, is Gaelic for “summer’s end,” and is the most important of the ancient Celtic feasts. During this time we honor the opposing balance of intertwining forces of existence: darkness and light, night and day, cold and heat, death and life. Our year is divided into two seasons: the light and the dark, celebrating the light at Beltane on May 1st and the dark at Samhain on October 31st. Therefore, the Feast of Samhain marks one of the two great doorways of our year. We believe that Samhain is the most important festival, since it marks the beginning of a new dark-light cycle. We observe this time as proceeding from darkness to light because we understand that in dark silence comes whisperings of new beginnings, the stirring of the seed below the ground. Whereas Beltane was welcomed in the summer light with joyous celebrations at dawn, the most magically potent time of Samhain is at night. The Eve of Samhain, is the most important part of our celebration. We will gather our best autumn harvest for a feast. We will put out food and drink fthat was special to those who have passed on with great ceremony, and we will leave windows, doors, and gates unlocked to give our ancestors free passage into our homes. We will offer personal prayers in the form of objects symbolizing our wishes or notes stating ailments to be healed will be cast into a fire. We will offer up many gifts in thanksgiving for the harvest. We carve “jack o’lanterns” and keep them at our doors to keep out unwelcome visitors from the Otherworld. We also dress in costumes in the tradition of our ancestors symbolizing the spirits of departed family returning home for the festival. For us this is a great time of contimplation as we come to recognize our own part in the eternal cycle of Life.

I generally love to decorate for the seasons|sabbats|holidays using family heirlooms, but it always feels more appropriate during this particular time of year.

Samhain tablescape
{ All images click through to larger versions }

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

The tablecloth is basic gauze and the netting we picked up at the dollar store. I’m hoping that the gauze develops picks and runs as time progresses. I want it to feel tattered. That’s my mothers wedding china, silver and crystal, and we also acquired those 1960s wheat glasses several months ago. The black place mats can be seen in greater detail here. The black box in the center held my grandfathers important papers at the house and the birds were painted by my grandmother.

The very lovely tankard – or beer stein as my mother calls it 😉 – has been in my mother’s family for multiple generations and came from England. The branches were collected in the woods behind the house and we spray painted them black. The brass candleholders were part of a cache we scored from the thrift store recently. We painted some them black but keep these untouched, as they have a lovely patina on them.

Photos of our deceased family members have been placed on the hunt board as well as a dish, bowl, and glass.



Bat garland information can be found in this post.


Vintage glasses

Samhain tablescape

Samhain tablescape

The hexagonal terrarium in the front was purchased last fall at the same thrift store that we’ve found so many wonderful treasures. The tri-candle holder was purchased a while back on Etsy. The Staffordshire dog is another one of our ‘old’ things.

The dish that holds the eyeballs can be seen in more detail at



The tree in the foreground came from the DC area, I believe. My mother bought it in ’73 and I need to look on the plaque for the artist’s name. I’ve always loved this tree.

And of course some of my great loves, our Carew Rice tumblers.

Foyer scene


The black candleholder is actually brass and came from the same the thrift store we love so much, for about a dollar. We spray painted it matted black. The bowl the skull is sitting in is a Goodwill score from last week for $3.50. The black and gold tin tray has been with us for a very long time!

I downloaded the image of the bats from The Graphics Fairy and printed it. The frame came from the thrift store and the ribbon is was used to hang the photos on our memorial tree at our wedding:

Goodness, I hope I haven’t left anything out! Happy ready and bon weekend.

Pelmet Tutorial

We recently finished one of our many slated projects, the pelmet for the dining room. The word pelmet is a framework used to hide curtain fittings and to help retain heat inside a room. Pelmets are frequently called top treatments, cornices or valances. However, they differ from other top treatments in that the pelmet is generally a hardened valance or a treatment built over a structure. Some people make theirs with a wooden cover more like a box, or more of a facing, like the one we made.

Pelmet Box Tutorial 1

We found this remnant silk with embroidered lotus blossoms and mom fell in love with it. It was too narrow to fit the width of the window and the piece was too short to extend the pattern side-by-side, so we picked out a few complimentary remnants. I chose to use the color on the left, as I felt the darker color would dominate the the beautiful details. I cut off the stripe at the far left, and sewed the pieces together. The bottom photo shows them sewn together, before pressing.
Pelmet Box Tutorial 2

We bought a 1′ x 10″ x 8′ piece of pine board from Lowe’s. Michael sorted through them to find the straightest one in the lot. We measured ours to be 4″ wider than the window on each side, and and made it a depth of 6″. We used bridged L brackets to attach the corner pieces. We found the last time we built them that the regular L brackets caused the sides to turn in a bit. These do not.
Pelmet Box Tutorial 3


Inspiration to application

We finished the pelmet box in the dining room yesterday. A more detailed post is coming. I also painted the electrical ‘candle’ covers on the sconces yesterday. I posted my inspiration photo a while back, and now I have the two for comparison. I’m very pleased with it, but mom isn’t sure if she’ll warm up to the blue. If not, we’ll change it back to black.

{ Credit for photo on left: desire to inspire }

Dining room transformation, Part I

Now that my studio is finished (I will have an exciting post to share with you very soon!) we can move on to more projects. First up is the dining room. We’re trying to save as much money as we can by repurposing some of our old bedroom curtains, repainting our old dining room chairs/reupholstering them with stockpiled fabric, giving our sconces fresh paint, and we’ll try to use fabric we already have to cover the pelmet box we’re building.

We’re using Behr’s ‘Mined Coal’ on the walls.
Dining Room

Dining Room

We really wanted to feed the wire for the sconces through the wall, in the same manner as we did the last time we hung them. We decided that the wonderfully full insulation on the inside was a little too much to try to feed wire through, so Michael dug a trough in the drywall and laid it in that. We’ve covered it with joint tape and will add another coat of drywall compound.

Dining Room

I am inspired by the photo in the top right to paint the electrical covers for the lights blue. Valspar makes almost that exact color in spray paint. It will be lovely in a satin finish. We’re rubbing in some darker paint to add some more definition to the pieces.


Now, with frosty bulbs!

Click image to enlarge.

I think we’ve decided on ‘Mined Coal’ from Behr for the wall color. It’s a warmer grey.


I posted our awesome bamboo chandelier a while back and was considering painting it red. I knew better to wait and see it hanging in it’s new location before making that decision. Well, we’ve decided to go with a charcoal grey above the wainscoting in the dining room, and I’ve decided not to push the issue. I want to leave it the original color. Our sconces will need a gold touch up.

Click image to enlarge.

We’re off to pick out more paint samples and some frosty bulbs. I also found our mirrored switch plates during the move. I think they’ll be divine in this room.

Bright ideas

We had the house inspection on Tuesday and it went very, very well! We’re scheduled to close the first week of June. In the meantime, we need to organize a yard sale and pack. I know we need to unload things and not really add more to the inventory, but sometimes it can’t be helped. I’m a sucker for awesome light fixtures. Mom and I went to an estate sale a few weeks back and scored this beauty….

I’ve lost out on a few that have been on eBay in the last couple of years, and I think we took it for a damn good deal. It’s very heavy. I really, really want to paint it red and then paint our bamboo sconces (those we did score on eBay) the same color.

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