Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Post-Thanksgiving Essay About My Thanksgiving (in case you happen to be a teacher!)

My poor mother-in-law!  She's always so patient with me and my decorating impulses which, despite my best efforts at restraint, I can never seem to keep from imposing on her!  She let me build a sofa table for her.  She lets me store my big Pottery Barn-esque sectional sofa in her living room.  She let me organize her laundry room cabinets!  She even let me re-formulate the third bedroom!

This Thanksgiving, all I had to do was make the green bean casserole.  So I offered to decorate the tables for her Thanksgiving dinner for 18.  I think I was probably being more selfish and impulsive than helpful. 

Orange plastic table cloths and four little turkey votive holders are usually enough for Ruth -- her joy comes from having so many guests that she has to rent tables and chairs!  She would be sorely disappointed if she had enough seating on hand for everyone without a trip to the party rental store!

So Ruth graciously agreed to let me decorate the tables.  Oh joy!  Like a kid in a candy store, I took a box and went around Taylor and gathered free stuff to decorate with:  table cloths (which, in retrospect, I wish I'd taken the time to iron), candles, a wooden bowl, a silver compote, a wooden box.  Next I headed outside.  I gathered pecans from under the tree down the street until I felt guilty for stealing from the squirrels.  I gathered pine cones from the back yard.  I gathered acorns from beneath another tree (again feeling squirrel guilt!).  Lastly, I clipped branches of gorgeous autumn-colored leaves from Ruth's Bradford pear trees -- complete with little, tiny, immature ornamental pears the size of pearl onions!

Here's what I came up with:

And here's a rare photo of Mark and I.  Usually I'm behind the camera!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Decorating Inspiration from Bud's Auto Salvage

Welcome to Bud's Salvage in tiny Aline, Oklahoma (pronounced Alene, not A-line) about 40 minutes west of Enid, Oklahoma.  Seems like anyone who knows about Aline knows about it because of Bud's!  They do a lot of online business so they are surprisingly well-known!

On a recent trip to Bud's to pick up some car parts for my ex-husband (because Aline is close to Enid and shipping car parts can be prohibitively expensive), I met Rocky.

Rocky (who was not overly thrilled to be photographed!) began pasting photos of cars on the wall 26 years ago.  He's tapped into his own, testosterone-driven, man-cave version of something I've always wanted to do -- wallpaper a powder room with something unexpected! 

I'm picturing a tiny little powder room, maybe tucked under the stairs somewhere, that might just be so interesting no one ever wants to come out of it!  When I was a kid, my grandparents' powder room was wallpapered with similes:  "Fit as a fiddle", "happy as a lark", "deaf as a post" (I remember this one best because it was accompanied by an illustration of a fencepost with an ear on it!).  I would get lost in reading the wallpaper and stay in the bathroom WAY too long -- sometimes until people started missing me and wondering if I was sick! 

The idea of using multiples of something as wallpaper first came to me when I had an MRI done of my brain.  Wouldn't it be cool to wallpaper with photos of slices of my brain?  Of course, I'd always be worried about finding some spot that the radiologist missed!

I have a nice big full-body X-ray of my cat that might be fun to use! But maybe just for Halloween!  It's kind of ghoulish the rest of the year -- but that could be the fun of it!

I've also considered using bingo cards, playing cards, sheet music, paper shooting targets (because I found 100s of them in a dumpster -- in fact, I've found multiples of all of these things in dumpsters!).  And I think I've seen Time magazine covers used somewhere too!

Alas, Rocky beat me to it in terms of actual installation!  While he may not have the tidiest, trendiest application of the concept, it is definitely a jumping-off point for inspriation!  Here are a couple more shots of his wall for your inspection!

I've also always wanted to make a boy's bed out of old truck parts --maybe from a really cool old vintage model:  tailgate for the headboard, front grill and headlights for the footboard (maybe even with WORKING headlights!) and license plates and hub caps for accessories.  If you found a cool enough bench seat from an old car or truck (cooler than Rocky's velour version -- sorry, Rocky!) that could provide fun seating too.   It could be really great if done right!  Maybe Rocky can help me!  He'll probably think I'm totally nuts like he did when I took his picture but OH WELL!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

There Are Naked Women In My Bathroom!

And now, to rev up your Thanksgiving...

I found these nudes in a dumpster.  They hang in the main bathroom at 419 S. Taylor.  They are oil on canvas -- very much like REAL art!  I like the subtle colors and the impressionistic shapes.  Actually, I think they're pretty good considering how awful most amateur art is (my apologies to amateur artists everywhere!). 

Here are a couple of closer-ups so you can see them better (or, in case you're a pervert!). 

I think the artist gave up on this one when the face wouldn't come together.  But, somehow, it's rather intriguing in its borderline grotesqueness.  I'm always trying to figure out what the face was supposed to end up looking like!

This one has a tendency to look like slabs of flesh but, if you look deeper, the mirror images and the artist's figure and the easels in the background provide an interesting mental excursion.

To me, the sign of good art is the blending of unexpected colors in unexpected places into something that looks incredibly accurate.  If I were to try to paint flesh, I would use flesh tones.  This artist clearly knows more than I do because these flesh tones have patches of blue and purple and green and orange and it comes out looking like real skin! 

To me, these nudes provide interest for the eye but they also provide amusement for the brain!  Should I take them down when my very demure mother-in-law comes over?  Would she be just completely scandalized? What about my step-sons?  Do guests find them embarrassing?  Inspiring?  Mark sometimes takes them down when I've been away too long.  I guess that answers one of my questions!  Or maybe they're just ugly? 

What do YOU think?  Please leave me some comments!  I get lonely talking to myself!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Candles for Couch Potatoes!

If you're not one of those people who is going to use weights for fitness purposes (like, um, ME!), you can use them for ambiance purposes! This alleviates at least some of the guilt!  And it gives you something to look at from your perch on the couch!

Sorry my photography is substandard as usual. If anyone wants to send me a fancy-pants high resolution, mega-pixel digital camera, I can maybe fix that! Until then, just squint and try to be patient with me!


I adore my candle grouping. The candle holders are mostly old metal weights. I'm lucky that Mark is such a hunky Mr. Universe because he let me have all those pesky little weights that are too light for him to bother his massive muscles with! There is also a wonderful old rusty cog, a weathered old flag pole holder bracket thingy, one actual real candle holder (the smallest one on the table) and, somewhere in my world but not on this table at the moment unfortunately, a rusty circular saw blade. You can slap an candle on top of many things, why not use something interesting, textural, and unusual?

In case you were wondering, all the candles were free from dumpsters or very cheap from the thrift store (but you probably knew that already!).

A recent guest said it looks like we're preparing to have seances!  Hmmm... that's an idea!  We're pretty sure we have some transparent roommates in this house!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meet Kelvin!

One of our favorite and most adored possessions is our vintage Kelvinator refrigerator! 

Of course, his name is Kelvin! 

We walked into a thrift store one day (and went our separate directions immediately, as is our pattern) and each fell in love independently with Kelvin!  And then we were SO delighted when we discovered that what we each feared the other would view as silly was a mutual passion!

We can't understand why Kelvin hadn't already been snapped up but he was still there, waiting for his new home, and had been there long enough to have been reduced to 66% off.  We paid $29.30!  I guess no one had the right spot for a vintage fridge.  But WE did! 

Kelvin immediately became the focal point of the Taylor house kitchen!  The color scheme for the kitchen quickly became "Kelvinator Green" and red which is basically Coca-Cola colors!  As Coke stuff was already a passion, this was PERFECT!

Here's a shot I'm a little embarrassed to show because it's so "in-process" rather than so "finished and perfect"!  I took off all the horrible plaid wallpaper and haven't gotten to finish with the next step in my plan for the kitchen!  The top 18" of the wall will be beadboard (ok, beadboard textured wallpaper but you probably won't be able to tell when it's done) painted Kelvinator Green.  The lower 4' of the walls (on either side of Kelvin) will be corrogated tin.  The shelves will all remain white.

Kelvin worked when we bought him but now needs a little coolant refill -- probably to be paid for with garage sale $.  But, even if he never cools anything ever again, we still love him and will find something to store in him!

Here are a few shots of Kelvin's details!

Also, meet Kelvin's friend:  the cutest set of drawers around, as far as I'm concerned (though I'm well aware that you might not share my crush)!

I fell in love with these vintage drawers at the thrift store.  Mark talked them down to $4 for me.  When the thrift store guy loaded them into the truck for us, he suggested that they would make good kindling if they fell apart!  Clearly he had no vision!  I had the slab of granite laying around and it was the PERFECT size to go on top!  And the combination fits perfectly in the space next to Kelvin and adds much-needed counter space in our tiny kitchen! 

BTW, it looks a little mauve in the photo but the rug on the floor is actually woven brown leather which is actually really neat and 100% dumpster (as in FREE)!

Another design element in the kitchen is black board paint.  Here is a shot of the other side of the kitchen (still sporting that awful plaid wallpaper but soon to be Kelvinator Green instead) that shows the original vintage cabinets with their blackboard-painted insets.  I use these for these grocery lists, menus, and notes.  That curtain is going to go somewhere else soon!

On the other side of the kitchen is the door to the back sun porch.  It's hard to see (so I made the picture BIG!), but each panel has a day of the week written on it in chalk.  I love this!

So that's where we are so far!  Stay tuned!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Catching Up With Myself!

This post is a whole jumble of miscellaneous items each not quite worthy of their own posts!

Whew!  Another quick weekend run to Enid!  This time for Mark's birthday!  I happened into the Potter's House thrift store the day they received someone's whole Coca-Cola collection so Mark got a whole basket full of individually-wrapped Coke items for his birthday and I spent very little dinero which is all the better to both of us!  Of course, I forgot to take photos but there were two bottle openers, a cardboard Santa holding a Coke, four tiny Coke mugs, a set of Coke machine salt and pepper shakers, a deck of Coke playing cards, a Coke mug, and whatever else I'm forgettting!  Mark loves collecting Coke stuff and I have a great time finding stuff for him!

We did some great dumpster diving yesterday which involved both Mark and I climbing all the way into the dumpster!  We conclude every dumpster-diving episode with Mark saying, "We have a problem!".  No, Mark, we have FUN!  Here are just a couple of items we snagged.

Santa will be holding the "Garage Sale" sign at our upcoming garage sale (until someone, hopefully, buys him!).  The little table will fit perfectly somewhere -- can't wait to see where that is!

In reselling for profit news:

I took three trash bags of aluminum cans to the recycling center this morning:  13lbs. = $7.15!

Sold five books to the Dickson Street Bookstore: $10.

I have a stack of dumpster kids' clothes (mostly Old Navy, some with tags still on them!) that will be going to the resale store as soon as I wash them.  I'm always nervous about selling clothes because of the potential of soul-crushing rejection (they can see spots that are invisible to me!) but I'll let you know how it goes!

I was finally able to get photos of a few things I've mentioned before but not had photos of so here they are!

The original 1915 hardware in the house just fascinates me.  To me, they are just works of art.  I often ponder who has touched these doorknobs.  They were there on big days in history.  Who touched that door knob on Pearl Harbor day?  On the day Kennedy was assassinated (BTW, that was 47 years ago today)?  On the day man stepped on the moon?  On the day I was born (and on the day my mother was born too!)?  How did they feel those days? 

The fancy doorknob!

The plain but still-full-of-character doorknob!

The artistic hinge.

The plain but handsome hinge.
I didn't notice until just now that this hinge has a 4 on it!  Our lucky number! 

And here's a picture of the third rocking chair from Angel Stephanie.

I'm about to get a lesson in how to replace that missing arm!  But I love it!

Here are the vintage adding machines that Mark got with the vintage radios ($4 for all).  The older adding machine is one of our favorite things!  We love to lay in bed and look at it (because it's across from the bed)and marvel that it even came with extra paper!

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Angel Gifts

Today's blog post consists of as many photos as I can slap online in the next ten minutes!  Crazy day!  Hopefully the pictures can speak for themselves!

Isn't this the most yummy photo?

Wonderful decorating books!

A shot of the bench and you can kind of see the third rocking chair!

Drawer pulls!

Hardware heaven!

Glorious tools!

Yay!  Painting supplies!

More useful supplies!

Vintage lamp family!

Are these vintage lamp bases wonderful?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Angels in Pickup Trucks

Several weeks ago I received an email from an old high school friend who reads my blog.  Blatantly disregarding my "no donations rule", Stephanie cleverly justified her rebellion by calling her pickup truck a "moveable dumpster".  And she was offering to fill this "moveable dumpster" with STUFF and deliver it to my doorstep!  In her words...

"I have a BUNCH of stuff...odd pieces of furniture...some used and abused, paint, stuff, stuff, and more stuff that I will never do anything with (this I know), but I don't have the heart to throw it away either.  And I have a small truck.  And a significant other who wants the garage for his man cave.  So I was thinking  - give me a heads up the next time you are in Enid, and I will be more than willing to turn my little truck into your personal dumpster.  Pick anything you want, I'll dump the rest." 

That "no donations" rule was really stupid anyway. 

So Stephanie -- from here on to be referred to as ANGEL Stephanie! -- really did bring me a truckload of stuff.  WONDERFUL STUFF:  a bench, three antique rocking chairs, three antique floor lamps, LOTS of paint, four bins full of tools, a gajillion glass beads, and lots of other wonderful stuff, and two sets of organizer drawers full of all sorts of hardware that I SO value because it gets me down the road with my projects without $ or a trip to the store!  Let me show you!

Angel Stephanie and Clint (who, apparently, is a really good sport!)

I adore this rocking chair and can't wait to make a new seat cushion for it!

Well, the computer refuses to let me upload any more photos so I that's it for today!  Guess what tomorrow's post will be about!

It was wonderful to see Angel Stephanie again!  Of course, the Taylor house was at its absolute WORST!  My last three trips to Enid have consisted of screeching into town late, throwing items for the garage sale (that never seems to happen) into the house, adding in some dumpster diving treasures, and blowing out of town in about 36 hours.  Also, sometimes I think men just can't help but live like pigs -- er, I mean bachelors! -- when left to their own devices (no, actually, I think that happens to us all when we're busy)!  Add to that a down comforter with a hole it in (it looks like Mark's been killing chickens in the bedroom!) and the fact that the power was off!  All that adds up to a dark, cold, very non-magazine looking house for me to show off to Angel Stephanie.  Ugh.  I'm pretty sure all her pretty illusions about my freesourcefull house have been shattered and her hoarding antenae are up and sniffing around!

I emailed her that I was freaking out about all of the above.  This was her reply:

Stop freaking out. We have no standards, no expectations, but we do have our pants! See you @ 1!

To which I couldn't resist replying:

Oh thank God!  I was SO worried you were going to come without pants!

Heehee!  We crack me up!  I'm so delighted to have Stephanie and her brain and her sense of humor back in my life -- with or without a truckload of goodies!  Facebook has given me back so many wonderful friends that I'd lost track of over the years!

More tomorrow (I hope... but, because I promised, it probably won't happen because that's just my luck)!

I'm Trying!

Whew!  There is nothing like a whirlwind long weekend road trip to throw me off my blogging groove!  MUST FOCUS! 


I've been working on a blog post all morning and have been positively SHOWERED with technical difficulties!  Nothing like photo loading problems when you're working on a photo-heavy piece! Ugh!

I've got to run off to TWO Thanksgiving lunches but I'll try later to overcome the inevitable food fade and get it posted. 

Just wanted to assure you that I didn't fall off the planet!  I'll be returning from Pluto later (I hope!).

Monday, November 15, 2010


Sorry folks! No blog post today! I'm still in Enid with minimal Internet access. But I'm all stocked up on photos and topics for future posts! So come back soon for upcoming posts! I even found inspiration at Bud's Auto Salvage in little bitty Aline, Oklahoma! Photos to come!

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Office

I'm low on Taylor house photos until I can take some more when I'm in Enid this weekend so I'm reverting from showing you free stuff (the pinnacle of stuff, in my mind) to showing you cheap stuff (which is almost but not quite as good because it cost actual MONEY -- geez!).  Hope you don't mind! 

Pictured is my little "broom closet office" at the realty where I work.  Rather than being unhappy about my little office, let me assure you that I adore it.  I have even refused invitations to move into a real office -- you know, the kind with a DOOR! 

I love my office because it has THREE walls that I can decorate, because it's cozy, because it's near the computer and the copy machine, and because it's right in the middle of the office (read: "action") so I always know what's going on and because everyone there now knows that I can at least manage to LOOK like I'm working!

I must say, for starters, that I detest the desk but, oh well.  On the other hand, I really like the brown chair as brown is sort of my color and I HATE blue desk chairs which seems to be the uniform for desk chairs. 

First, the free stuff!  The green shelves were free off the curb.  They're very unsophistocated -- just boards nailed together -- but I LOVE the color!  The small frames on the wall (where I have finally hung my degrees and diploma after years of gathering dust) were all free.  I spray painted them with a can of metallic chrome spray paint (MUCH better than silver) that I got at a garage sale for 50 cents. 

Second, the "expensive" stuff in my office:  my very favorite lamps on the planet ($20 each), the pressed tin shelf (half price at Hobby Lobby $20), and the silver "A" ($10 because I really love it).

Third, an accounting of the rest of the (cheap) stuff in my office:  pretty much everything else was $2 per item.  I simply ADORE the botanical print reproduction ($2).  I collect the matte white Haegar pottery of which there are two examples on the green shelves.  There were 5 but I stole three of them for a staging project.  I think I have about 100 pieces of vintage white pottery which I use frequently at home and when staging.  I pick up silver pieces whenever I find them for $2 or less and I use them everywhere just like the white pottery!

I learned about chrome spray paint from the large frame which I bought (already pre-chromed) for $4. I LOVE the finish on it!  I have been chrome-ing everything in sight ever since!  It is supposed to be a burlap-covered bulletin board but I haven't put the burlap and the cardboard and the frame together yet. 

The yellow post-it note is written in simulated Chinese and was left for me by my prankster husband.  It makes me smile!

I'm scheming to do an en masse hanging of framed photos and drawings of the houses I've lived in during my 44 years (maybe in place of the large silver frame).  Seems like that would be a fitting theme in a real estate office, don't you think?  There!  Now that I've said it, I'll have to DO it so I can show you!

Forgive me for this not being the most polished piece!  Crazy busy lately! 

I'm off to Enid for the weekend and planning to stock up on Taylor house photos so I can be more focused on the original intent for this blog!  Unless I get interested in something else!  Just humor me!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Curb Appeal Makeover

Forgive me for forgoing the free stuff for a minute -- I haven't been in Enid for quite a few weeks and I'm running out of photos (but, never fear, I'm going this weekend)! 

In my free time (ha!) I have a little side business called Upstage.  I stage houses that are for sale and optimize houses for people who are staying put.  It's great fun!  Mostly what I do is furnish EMPTY houses that are for sale. 

Every once in a while I get a chance to do one of my very favorite things:  a curb appeal makeover!  This post features a curb appeal makeover I got to do recently.  We didn't do it up completely (for example, it wasn't in the budget to repaint the whole exterior) but this shows how much difference a little paint (on the door and the new porch rails) and polish and COLOR can make!

Porch Before

Porch with new rails, new red door, new mailbox, new house numbers, and new porch light.
This picture just makes me HAPPY!

Carport Before

Carport with lattice removed and jazzed up with a couple of red Adirondack chairs!
Don't you just want to sit a spell?

Remember this chair makeover from a previous post?  This is where they went!

Here, for your appreciation, is a shot of the old mailbox, storm door, astroturf, and "No Soliciting" sign.

And here's the spiffy new mailbox and house numbers! 
I also spray painted the old brass doorbell with bronze to subdue it's outdated shininess a bit!
Front facade before.

Front facade after (with quite a bit of help from the landscapers)!

Next idea:  red wooden shutters!

Many thanks to Cheri for letting me play with her mama's house and for trusting the vision in my head!