Monday, April 18, 2011

The Cottage Next Door and My Great Idea

This post turned out kind of long if you want to skip down to my idea that's OK.

Whenever you move you always worry a little about what your neighbors are going to be like. It's especially true in the country where you find nice houses next to not so nice houses next to rundown trailer/meth labs.
This is the little house that was next door, very very close, to our house. We never saw the owner when we looked at our house, but it was always neat and tidy so we weren't worried. Boy, were we wrong.

This was Joe's house. Joe was in his mid sixties but he looked like he was 80. He didn't work, he just sat on the porch and drank and smoked and coughed that deep smoker's cough all day. He called emergency services regularly when he was drunk and after the first couple of times we didn't even look out the window when we heard the sirens. All the drinking and smoking had given him a low raspy voice and Joe was a talker. The same stories over and over. We started sneaking in the back door to avoid him. He never really caused us any trouble he was just annoying and always there. Drinking and smoking and talking.

Joe drove an old Caddy, the kind with fins. The tag was three years old and he always took the back roads when he drove to avoid the sheriff. One day his drinking caught up with him, he had an accident, someone died, and he went to jail. So he was gone from our lives but some innocent person had to pay.
Joe was renting the house and after he was gone the owner sold it to us for a song. We donned coveralls and masks and rubber gloves and set about cleaning it out. We ripped up orange shag carpet, tore down cheap fruitwood paneling and pulled down the suspended ceiling. We threw everything away, including the stove and refridgerator (we recycled everything we could). The smell was awful. But underneath were the old board walls with their original paint, that gorgeous blue-green color you see on many things from the turn of the century. I fell in love with the board walls and with this tiny hundred year old house. I painted the walls and floor to bring in some light but I left the ceiling; you can see a tiny corner of it in the photo above.
This is just a spot I set up so I could get a photo of this group of pictures I'm selling on Etsy. They're 1896 Louis Prang. But let's have a little honesty here; the room really looks like this.
At first we had a little antique shop here and it was really cute but I wasn't blogging five years ago and I never thought to take any pictures. That lasted about a year. Having your own shop is not nearly as much fun as having a booth in a mall. Then I wanted to have my studio here but the light is only good for a few hours in the morning. Now we use it for storage and a place to paint things.

My Great Idea
I've taken a long time to get to how this little house inspired one of the best ideas I've ever had. As I said, I loved the way the board walls looked in this little house. It came to me that we could take down the paneling in our house, saw it into 6" strips and nail it up crosswise, back side out, and it would look like boards. (You need access to a table saw for this.)
Hubby was skeptical but we tried it and it worked! We didn't fill any nail holes; they just make it look more authentic. So the material was free and it was easy to put up. Especially if you have a nail gun. We ran short of paneling so we bought 4 x 8 sheets of luan plywood at $10 each and sawed them into boards to make up the difference. Still cheap, and we love this look.
The first time I took the picture you could see dust on the shelf so I dusted the furniture and took another picture but I forgot to dust under it. So my floor is dusty. I'm not doing it again.

Oh, and I always liked this photo JD took of the back and photoshopped to look like a painting.

Linking to -
Very Merry Vintage Style Share the Love Wednesday
No Minimalist Here Open House
My Romantic Home Show and Tell Friday

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Easy Way Out - Hanging Drapes

The first time we looked at this place we fell in love with these old industrial type windows that open with a chain. So loft-like. Sure, drapes were going to be a challenge because the windows tilt inward but we thought we could figure something out.

The living room has two windows on three sides for a total of six and the light is beautiful but the sun gets pretty intense in the afternoon. We finally splurged on some fairly expensive rods that swing open from the middle allowing the drapes to fold out of the way so the windows can open. That was before we tried to hang the first picture on the wall. What we thought were plaster walls turned out to be cement. Cement troweled over rock. When we realized it took approximately 27 minutes to drill one hole in the wall (yes we had a special drill and bit) and we had 8 holes to drill for each window.....we both bailed on that project.

So here's what I came up with. I just stapled some plain cream colored fabric (OK, they're sheets) to the crown molding.(I also started hanging pictures from the molding, I think that one may be a little low)
I really like the way they look and the room needed the height.
I always meant to go back and add something decorative over the staples but you really can't see them unless you get really close so I never got around to it. They're the same color as the walls so they just blend into the background anyway. Yes, I know when I need to wash them I'll have to do it all over again but it only takes about five minutes per window to put them up.

So that's my true confession for today. I am a mature grown woman and I am still using sheets as drapes and declining to put up curtain rods.
Mary may be my most favorite find ever. She has glass eyes that look real.

Linking to-
No Minimalist Here Open House Party
Very Merry Vintage Style
My Romantic HomeShow and Tell Friday
French Country CottageFeathered Nest Friday
Funky Junk SNS#77

Friday, April 8, 2011

He said She said

We've accumulated a lot of furniture and things over the years, being in the antique and junk business.

Here's what He likes. Real antiques. A continental look.

Here's what she likes. Painted shabby furniture and china with bluebirds and roses and funky chalkware lamps. A little bit of lace. An old farmhouse. Your grandmother's house. Maybe your great grandmother's house.

So decorating around here involves A LOT of compromise. On both our parts. So we don't do a lot of it. Our living room has looked pretty much like this for about four years now.

It's nice enough but something about it seems boring to me. So I changed out the table in the middle of the room and persuaded himself that lots of people have stacks of suitcases in their living room so it's ok.

I think I like it better but now that dark screen above the sofa has got to go. Something about the room still doesn't look right. I think we need a couple of big upholstered chairs to fill up some space, the room is too big.

But first I have to go see if I can find something else to go above the sofa. I know we have some old windows lying around.....

Linked to My Romantic Home show & tell Friday
French Country Cottage feathered nest Friday
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Night Special
No Minimalist Here: Open House

Monday, April 4, 2011

Things Are Not Always What They Seem

I don't get to go thrifting very often as I live in the middle of nowhere and the good stores are too far away. But when I'm in town and have time I always make the rounds. I don't find much because as everyone knows you have to go regularly to get lucky. But look what I found for a couple of dollars Friday.....don't laugh.

I know. It's awful. And big. Like a blowup party doll from Little House on the Prairie. But look what she has on underneath.

A perfectly preserved crinoline slip from the fifties!

Here it is freshly laundered and laid out to dry. If I were young I would so wear this with a little cotton sundress. But I'm not so off it goes to my Etsy shop.

This sold the next day. It's going to Finland.
I also bought some other things but they were all boring household things. Except for the white dishes which are going to be interesting when I have enough of them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lace and Linens on Etsy

I've got suitcases full of lace and linens to sell on Etsy and here's my starting point.
The first group is six pieces of crochet trim, each about a yard long, except for one which is over four yards long. You can see more at my shop, Red Lilly Vintage.

I've been looking for a chance to use this mannequin as a prop. Don't you love her haughty face? She's a miniature mannequin that once modeled a miniature girdle. She's in bad shape, both legs are gone and one arm is missing which is why she's always draped. I found her in a closet at an estate sale; I paid a quarter for her.

More crochet, wider pieces, 17" to 40" long, all in beautiful condition.

I put this groups together thinking of spring crafts. There's some embroidery and six pieces of crochet trim. My favorite is the piece with pink roses. It was saved from an old pillowcase. I just know there's something wonderful to be made with it.
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