Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For…It Just Might Come True


Have you ever had a  goal or a dream that you have thought about for a long time…
and wished for…
and maybe worked toward
and then…
just when you are on the threshold of achieving that goal or dream…
right when it is almost within your grasp…
and it has the potential to become  a reality
you begin to have serious doubts…
second-guessing yourself and repeatedly asking…
Is this the right decision?


Check back because I will be revealing some big news within the next day or two.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Do You Have a Smelly Washer?

Before long, I am going to be in the market for a new washer and dryer.   I was thinking about purchasing one of  the front load (FL) models.  They are not only attractive but they are suppose to be much more energy efficient.
BH&G Laundry Room photo credit:  BetterHomes&Garden.com
My husband and I went to Lowe’s to check them out.  Initially, I was thinking about GE or Samsung but the salesman cited mold problems with those, and several other brands. However, he raved about the Whirlpool Duet and said that’s what he and his wife have. My husband was ready to buy the Whirlpool set on the spot but I wanted to come home and do a little research.
Oh. My. Gosh.  After reading reviews, I am more confused than ever!    There seems to be so much conflicting information on  front loader washers.  People seem to either love them…or hate them with a passion.

elfa-laundry-area photo credit:  furnitureforsmallspaces.com

Complaints of mold issues seem to be rampant!  By far, mold appeared to be the #1 complaint with front load washers.   The Whirlpool Duet model that the salesman had pushed had far too many complaints about mold to make me want to rush out and spend my my husband’s hard earned money on this washer/dryer set!
It wasn’t just the Whirlpool brand though.  Every website I visited cited problems with mold growing on the door gasket and detergent dispenser, a pervasive moldy smell in clothes and towels—sometimes appearing only a few months after the machine was purchased.  There were also complaints from front load washer owners that they and/or their children had serious health issues related to the moldy smell in their homes and “clean” clothes etc.   I even found class action lawsuits have been filed against several of the leading manufacturers of  front loaders.
remodelingcenter.com 1 photo credit:  remodelingcenter.com
Some owners said they got little satisfaction when they complained to the companies who made their FL washers.  Reportedly, some companies refused to even acknowledge mold problems, claiming they had never had any  other complaints!  But if they did admit they knew about the problem, the FL washer owners reported the companies were quick to point the  finger  at the consumer for things like not using the special HE  (High Efficiency)  detergent, using too much detergent, or adding fabric softener…which is apparently a big no-no  for FL washers.
country living.com laundry roomphoto credit:  countryliving.com
Many FL washer owners reported they were given additional tips on how to reduce or eliminate the mold growth in their FL washers.  Some of those suggestions included leaving the washer door and the detergent dispenser open when the washer wasn’t in use, wiping the interior of the washer and the door gasket completely dry at the conclusion of  the last load, frequent hot water and bleach loads, and even the addition of washer cleaner products  specially formulated to eliminate the unpleasant moldy smell i.e., Affresh and Smelly Washer.   But it seems a large majority of  owners reported little or no success with these methods of preventing or dealing with the mold issues.  If they did help, oftentimes it was short-lived and the problem would quickly return.
katiesclosets photo source:  Katiescloset.com
But I can’t help but wonder… if you have to frequently wash in hot water or run special hot water washes, keep re-washing clothes in an attempt to remove the moldy smell, replace towels that always reek of mold,  or add other products to keep the mold at bay, doesn’t that negate your savings on water and electricity?
Apparently nothing but  FL washers have been used in Europe for years, as well as many Laundromats here in the United States and  they don’t seem to have mold problems.  I wonder why that is?
Anyway, after researching front load washers available for home use here in the US,  and  reading all the negative comments and reviews, I am having SERIOUS second thoughts about purchasing ANY brand of front load washer.
Canadian home & garden
 photo source:  CanadianHome&Garden.com
I would like to know what you think or know about front loading washers. 
Do you have a front load washer that you love…or hate? 
What brand and model is it? 
How long have you had it?
If you have had problems with mold or a moldy smell, how have you handled it?   
If you don’t own a FL, tell me the experiences your family,  friends and neighbors  have had with their  FL washers.
I’m all ears…


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall Decorating

It’s official.  Whether the weather indicates it or not where you live, the calendar says it’s fall.  
Me…I’m still clinging to the hope that summer won’t ever leave.  
But did you notice?    In an attempt to get into the spirit of fall, I (somewhat reluctantly) changed out my blog header from the bowl of pink shells to white pumpkins.  In my house though, I’ll probably be keeping my pink roses and sea shells out until it’s time to decorate for Christmas, which will be pink, of course!  :)
Since many of you greet this time of year with open arms and are happily sprucing up your homes, porches, and yards with touches of  fall decor, I thought I would  share a couple decorating ideas I saw last fall and saved to the “Inspiration File” I keep on my computer.    Unfortunately, I do not know all of the photo  sources to be able to give the appropriate credit.
I loved this bowl of  potpourri with the pumpkin candles, child’s chalkboard and metal scoop.    This just screams “fall” to me and I think it would be so cute displayed on the kitchen counter.



I think this vignette of candles would look fabulous on a fireplace mantel, a buffet, or as a table centerpiece.  It would be so easy and inexpensive to  create this look  with glass containers of different sizes and shapes  purchased from thrift stores or yard sales.


For people who have trouble decorating with traditional fall colors (like me), a bowlful of little white pumpkins could be decorated with bits of ribbon in colors that coordinate with your decor.  A dot of hot glue or double-stick tape would be an easy way to attach the ribbon to each pumpkin.

www.goodhousekeeping.comphoto source:  www.goodhousekeeping.com


I think I might have pulled the following photo from somebody’s blog so if it is yours, or you know who it belongs to, please, please let me know and I will give full credit and a link.   The wannabe gardener in me thought this was a beautiful, yet simple,  yard display. 


So happy fall ya’ll and have fun decorating! 


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Celebrating Bead Board Wallpaper With a Party

Wallpaper is not just for walls anymore!
Bead board wallpaper must certainly be the hottest trend in decorating projects  right now  and if it is, it most probably was single-handedly started by Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality when she used it on  the exposed ends of her kitchen cabinets. 
Within a day or two of  Rhoda’s  tutorial  post (or maybe it  was within just HOURS),  HomeDepot.com  sold out of it!    I told Rhoda I could just imagine the Home Depot warehouse employees who fill the on-line orders shaking their heads and asking each other, “What the heck caused the huge,  sudden  demand for that bead board wallpaper?” 
Rhoda is now so graciously hosting  a Bead Board Wallpaper Party so we can all share the various ways we have used it.
First, before I show you what I did with it, let me say, if you haven’t tried it,  the Graham & Brown (Super Fresco) bead board wallpaper from HomeDepot.com is fantastic.  It looks like the real deal and  has actual texture and grooves  like wood bead board.   The wallpaper  is  already pre-pasted and  extremely easy to work with.  I didn’t even have to use caulk between the seams because the pieces went together so nicely. 
I had a set of  old, tired, out-dated bedroom furniture  and  I wanted to use the  bead board wallpaper  to give it a fresher, coastal cottage look. 
The three drawers on the left are how the  dresser looked “before.”    The three drawers on the right are after I applied the bead board wallpaper to the center sections of the drawers and added new brushed silver drawer pulls.

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With a little bit of the wallpaper, the lattice design on the top of the dresser mirror went from this…IMG_2462 (C&E)
to this…IMG_2488 (C&E)
I also used the wallpaper on the corner hutch and desk chair that goes with this furniture set, as well as the exposed sides of the pieces.  If you would like to see photos of how the other furniture pieces came out,  you can go here.
Next, I used the bead board wallpaper for a couple little bathroom projects.
Several years ago,  my husband installed  real bead board in our bathroom.  I’ve mentioned how my husband hates carpentry work so I wish I had known about this look alike wallpaper then because it  would have saved him us a lot of grief.

IMG_0592 (C&E) 

Anyway, there was  one awkward 5 inch section of wall between the bathtub and walk-in shower that seemed too narrow to apply the real stuff. We felt that only a very small piece of the real bead board would end up being exposed once   trim  molding was  put on to hide the raw vertical edges.  Therefore,  Hubby just applied the same horizontal molding that was on all the other walls  and then I  painted the lower section  white in a lame  attempt to avoid drawing too much attention to the fact that little section of wall  didn’t have bead board on it.
This is how that narrow section of wall looks now with the bead board wallpaper applied to it.  I don’t think anyone would immediately realize it’s not real bead board, do you?
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There is a removable panel on the front of our whirlpool bathtub to allow for access to the motor and plumbing.   I’m not sure there is really anything that would truly improve the looks of it, short of building a false front,  but  I applied the wallpaper to the panel anyway.



Hmmmm….like I said, not much will improve this.


I was really on a roll now so I moved on to the kitchen to see what I could use the  wallpaper on in there! 
It was about this time that my husband walked by and I heard him mumble, “It’s a good thing I like bead board.”    LOL. 
On the wall behind the cook top,  was a piece of white laminate that really stuck out like a sore thumb and irritated me.

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I cleaned the laminate good with a degreasing cleanser, applied the bead board wallpaper, painted it the same color as the rest of my kitchen walls and …


It doesn’t irritate me anymore!  :)

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I’m not really sure how practical  using the wallpaper in this location would be over a long period of time.  Continually scrubbing  cooking  splatters off  this area might eventually cause a good deal of wear and tear on the wallpaper but a  total kitchen remodel is  in my  future anyway…whenever  I can get it together and finally decide exactly what kind of cabinets, countertop, backsplash,  flooring etc.,  I want.    Since I already had  leftover wallpaper,  I didn’t mind trying a little of it here  as an easy short-term  fix for something that had been bothering me for a long time.
With all of the creativity that exists in Blogland, I know you will be utterly amazed at all the different ways this  bead board wallpaper has been used so please visit the other bloggers who are participating in Rhoda’s Bead Board Wallpaper Party and prepare to be inspired.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Dining Room Inspiration

In a previous post, I told you how my mom's crystal chandelier was the motivating force behind converting my decor to cottage style. Once I made the decision to redecorate, I was excited and anxious to get the chandelier hung so my dining room was the first room to get a cottage makeover.
The photo below was my inspiration photo for furniture.

DR Inspiration (3) 

It certainly is not a conventional dining room look.  And maybe it is more suited for a patio, as shown here,  but there was something about the mix of the wrought iron chairs with the painted white table that I really liked.   It was definitely quite a departure from the obsessively matchy-matchy decorating I had always done in the past.
My dining and living rooms are open to one another so I also reasoned if I used wrought iron chairs in the dining room they would coordinate nicely with the wood and wrought iron coffee and end tables I already had in my living room…and wanted to keep.

IMG_0333 (C&E) (Ick! Please rest assured the sage green wall color is not as yellow as it appears in these photos.)

Although not as chunky as the table in my inspiration photo, I found a dark wood dining table at a local furniture consignment store for $100 and I painted it white.
I bought the wrought iron chairs new at a discount furniture warehouse and immediately covered the boring beige fabric seats with a pink, green and white plaid decorator fabric that I bought right off the bolt at JoAnn Fabrics.
IMG_2613 (C&E) 2
I had a modern china cabinet that I wanted to replace with something more cottagey but  my dining room is open to 3 other rooms and I have very little wall space. Most china cabinets, new and used, were much too big for the wall space I had to work with…just a mere 45 inches, max! 
While I continued to look for a suitable replacement, the old china cabinet got a coat of white paint, a new bead board back that I painted pale pink, some new knobs, a couple appliqu├ęs, and a little bit of curvy molding to try to camouflage its too modern lines. Not a perfect fix but an acceptable temporary solution.

IMG_0380 (2)-cropped (2)                            making do with the old china cabinet…

As luck would have it, within just a month or two after painting the old one, I found the "perfect" china cabinet on Craigslist. It was the exact style I had mentally envisioned and the right size.
It was also the right price...$100.00!

IMG_0858 (3)                                          before…

The finish on it was actually quite pretty and I almost hated to paint it but since the dark wood didn't fit in with my decorating plans, it got several coats of crisp white paint to match the dining room table. I also painted the inside a pale pink, and replaced the knobs on the doors with faux crystal knobs.


IMG_2641 (C&E)                                             after…

Sometimes the best laid plans go astray. The wrought iron coffee and end tables in the living room I wanted to keep...  
Well, I ended up replacing them with painted white pieces.

IMG_2710 (C&E) 

Since I no longer have that continuity of wrought iron in the living room and dining room now, some people don't "get" why I have chosen to use wrought iron chairs in the dining room. 

IMG_2613 (C&E) 

In the future, I may decide to replace the wrought iron   with chairs that more closely resemble the style of my dining room table and china cabinet but,  for now, I'm still liking the casual mis-matched look.  In addition,  the chairs do  seem to provide a little visual variation from all the white painted furniture.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Old Photos

In past posts, I have mentioned my mother died a little over 4 1/2 years ago.  My father passed away in April of this year.  One of the tasks of dispersing the remainder of their belongings was sorting through all of their old photos.  In the process, I got a glimpse of my parents’  early years and I wanted to share of few of these old photos with you.
My father was born in 1927 and surprisingly, there were quite a few photos of him as a baby, a young boy, and young man.
These are just a sampling.

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Check out that cloth diaper!

IMG_0499 (C&E) 

Here he is as a young boy.IMG_2785 (C&E)
I wonder if this was his first car?IMG_0502 (C&E)
The photo on the left was probably taken in his late teens.  I would estimate the photo on the right was taken when he was in his late 30’s.IMG_2786 (R&E)


There were no photos of my mom as a baby or young child.  She met my father when she was approximately 17 so the oldest photos I have of her would have been taken around the time they met in about 1948.

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My dad enjoyed photography as a hobby so after he met my mom,  she was the subject of many of his pictures.

IMG_0506 (R&E)


After John F. Kennedy was elected president,  people often remarked how much  my mom  resembled Jackie Kennedy.

IMG_0507 (C&E) 

I love this photo  where she had written “Sadie loves Jack’ in the sand.

ma2 (C&E)


She is pregnant with me in these two pictures.

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These are a few of the photos that were taken of my parents as a couple through the years.

IMG_2793 (C&E)


This is one of my favorite photos of them.

ma1 (C&E)

As far as I know, this is the only picture that exists of my parents  on their wedding day.  For being newlyweds, they sure don’t look very happy, do they?

IMG_0511 (CR&E)

I even found a few photos that were taken of some of my ancestors before, and right after, 1900!  My paternal grandfather is the little boy standing between my great-grandparents in the picture on the bottom left.  That is his older sister standing behind them. In the top left picture,  my grandfather wasn’t born yet.  His parents are standing on the left in the back row and  his older sister is just a baby herself in that photo.   She is  in the white dress sitting on the woman’s lap.  I don’t know how many years difference there was between my grandfather and his sister but I would estimate at least 8 or 10, which would mean that top left photo was probably taken sometime during the last decade of the 1800’s since my grandfather was born in 1903!

IMG_2796 (C&E)


While sorting through all of these old photos, there were quite a few people I could not identify. 
There are mothers and babies…

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men who look like they could be movie stars from the 1940’s…

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boy scouts and photo Christmas cards…

IMG_0520 (C&E) 

bathing beauties and dances…

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and class photos…
This one really baffles me.  I have studied it and studied it.  I even used  a magnifying glass, trying to pick out someone I know.   I am positive  neither my mom or dad are in this photo.  I don’t see any aunts or uncles I recognize.  I can’t imagine what the significance of this photo would have been to my parents.

IMG_0521 (C&E) 

Since I don’t know any of these people, I have no interest in keeping their pictures.  However, I hate to just throw them away.

IMG_2798 (C&E)

If you do mixed media art, or have any other use for these photos, leave me a comment mentioning you would like to have them.  I will randomly draw a name from those who are interested…if there is anyone… and then forward the pictures of  these mystery people to the person selected.