king me

so, indeed, sister’s new house had another interesting and creative paint application in the kitchen. 

i arrived 3 days after the house was officially hers and sister had already gotten to work covering up the kitchen cabinets from their mustard color on the top/forest green on the bottom.  the only “before” pics are from her home inspector.  and they’re not large.  get out your magnifiers. 

the green lower cabinets: 

the mustard upper cabinets:

yes – that little photo there is a hint.

faux checkerboard tile backsplash. 

in black and mustard.  with brighter yellow walls.

so beautiful.

of course i kid.

again – it had to go.

i did arrive in time to take a photo of yet another color introduced into the mustard/forest green combination.  the brick red tall cabinet.   

and here you can also get a glimpse of another mustard upper cabinet, which was eventually taken down.  why was it hung where it was hung?  why so high?  mysteries we will never unravel. 

the kitchen received the same whitening and brightening relief as the living room.  bright white paint on the window trim and cabinets and country linen paint on the walls.

more “before” shots (of the walls):

ahhhhh, a nice close-up of the checkerboard backsplash.

here you can see where the cabinets have been painted over.  gone is the mustard.  gone is the forest green.  the walls are still buttery yellow. 

beautiful (well, potentially beautiful) kitchen sink once it’s scrubbed up good and clean and the faucet is replaced.  all in due time.

sister adding last coat of paint to cabinets:

the cabinets look great, right?

before i had even seen the place, i had suggested maybe a black chalkboard wall somewhere in the kitchen.  i could see one on the above wall, the one where the kitchen sink is, possibly.  sister thought maybe the backsplash wall.  either/or.  for now it’s neither/nor.  for now it’s bright and happy and sunny.

and done.

well, done as far as the walls and cabinets are concerned.  (there still might be one tall cupboard that needs a couple coats of paint.)  and of course the countertops need to be sanded and oiled or waxed or however you treat wooden countertops.  and new appliances are coming in.  i tried my darndest to convince her to buy a smeg refrigerator to no avail – her home is screaming for a smeg – but any new appliances will look fantastic.  i believe she’s going stainless.  to be fair, she DID try asking someone at sears about the smeg fridge (they are listed on their website,) but apparently the sears help just shrugged their shoulders and said, “smeg?  we don’t know nothin’ about no smegs.” 


oooohhhhh, wouldn’t one of those look great in that empty space below?  (although i can’t be sure it would even fit.  might be too small for her space.  i can’t remember the dimensions she needed.)


sister is done.  over it.  finis. 

the following day i put another coat of primer on her last cupboard there in the corner while she mowed the lawn.  and then i took off for home.

she, on the other hand, still has this to contend with:

oh joy.


oh dear.  i love me some tina fey – really truly – she’s genius.  but doesn’t her (awful) gown from the emmys 2010 this past sunday night look like it was designed by the same folks who painted my sister’s bedroom?????  tragic.


i’m still having dreams of ferns. 

they will haunt me. 

they were everywhere.

and they needed to go.

sister bought a GREAT cottage-type home in a FANTASTIC location at a smokin’ great price.

yah, that’s right.  great.  fantastic.  and great.


her home is situated on a quiet, private lot, but is close to downtown, close to grocery shopping, close to restaurants, close to everything AND close to this:

and close to this:

and this:

“the sea was angry that day, my friends.”  – george costanza

(click that quote to watch one of the funniest scenes ever from seinfeld.)

anyway – the area is just gorgeous.  everywhere you look.  even on rainy days.

and the house – well, the house came with just a few questionable paint treatments inside.

green ferns.  bronze ones.  turquoise ones. 

mixtures of greens and bronzes.

are you asking yourself, “is that a faux painted mantle/fireplace of some sort?!?!”

why yes, yes it is. 

this is your brain on drugs. 

with a paintbrush.  and a few stamps.  or stencils.    

a faux fireplace and ferns.  the theme that day was let’s paint things that start with the letter “F.”  (cuz those ferns could also be feathers.  we couldn’t be sure.)

it was my job to cover those bitches.  sand.  prime.  prime some more.  prime a litte more after that. 

sister painted over that whole mess with “cottage linen” paint (sherwin williams.)

oh dear.

i just realized i don’t have an “after” shot.  it was so rainy and dark that day and i forgot to take “after” shots of the living room the following days.  oops. 

this is it somewhat done. 

i can’t believe i forgot to take completed “after” shots.  oh well.  you’ll have to take my word for it.

it looks good.  way good.  way better fernless.

stay tuned for the kitchen…

quoi de neuf?

more mysterious foreign language messages.

i believe this means “what’s new?” in french. 

that, or “what’s nine?”

i can’t be sure.

either way, it’s made it to my latest patchwork pillow top.


i’m showing you this unfinished pillow to leave you with something because i’m off for awhile to help paint walls and trim and offer unsolicited decorating advice in parts unknown. 

the boonies. 

you can’t get there from here. 

i’ll be away from my computer, away from my thrift stores, away from my sewing machine for who knows how long.  in who knows where.  it’s like i’m quitting everything i love cold turkey (except for maybe that sewing machine thing – i can’t quite say i love that.)  i hope i don’t have withdrawal symptoms.  i hope i don’t throw up. 

the thrift store employees might put out an all points bulletin for me.  you think i kid. 

speaking of thrifting…

sabra and vera.  2 lady artists whose first names end in “a.”  how’s that for a theme?

first up – sabra. 

a thrifted piece of GREAT art, a cobalt blue woodblock print, frame dimensions are 11-1/2″ x 12-1/2″.  i think this one must be pretty old.  found sabra’s website (it’s under her married name of sabra field, this piece is signed “sabra johnson,” which is why i’m assuming it’s old.)  but very modern looking, no?  and sort of scandinavian.  anyway, i love it.  it’s entitled “aspiration” and might resemble a corn stalk or a rooster tail and i’m deathly allergic to corn and does aspiration have something to do with breathing?  because i can’t breathe when i eat corn and therefore i was meant to have this print.  how’s that for a story?

next up – vera.  

vera neumann.  more vintage vera napkins.

i didn’t even realize they were vera when i bought them.  i  just liked the print when i saw them, and then saw the tag when i brought them in the house.  bonus surprise.

hopefully i’ll have some good house painting photos to share upon my return.  there is rain in the forecast for several days in my painting destination locale, so who knows if any photos will come out?  what can ya do?   

til then, mes amis… 

à bientôt.

ding-dong, it’s the little soldiers

i thought these were mid-century wooden warriors, vikings, soldiers, antique-something-or-others when i spied them all bagged up together at the thrift store.

i grabbed these precious woodies immediately.  hmmm, what drew me to them?  my eagle eye for spotting the great vintage stuff, or…? 

dr. freud?

upon closer inspection, after bringing them home and dusting them off, it appears i’ve got myself a little penis army.   

captain winky, mr. johnson, dick, willy, rod, jimmy, john-thomas, and d-train.

it’s not me, right?  i mean, c’mon.  all those different shapes and sizes?


i have a few similar mid-century wooden viking dudes, but these new guys have a different feel to them.  yet familiar.  there are no markings.  and they’re not as well made as some of my other viking guys.  i think they’re old.  there are a couple candleholders in the bunch.  are these just cheap knock-offs?  what the heck have i got here?  if i hear they were sold at “the christmas tree shop” a couple years ago, i’ll die.  i’m losing my touch. 

this poor guy.  dead soldier.  he’s got a busted base.  won’t stay up.  suppose it happens to the best of them.


following are a couple interesting brass items found thrifting.

brass apple. 


it’s actually a clip.

a brapplip.

brass clapple?

next up:

brass squirrel bell.



rhymes with gerbil.



clearly i’ve been into the tequila at this point.

whoa, that’s bright

patchwork pillow.  surprise surprise.  who’d have guessed?

this pic makes the pillow look like it’s got pointy doberman pinscher ears. 

down, boy.

what i think happened was the doberman elf ears were created from my hurried stuffing of the pillow form into the cover.  oops.  and it’s raining today so new outdoor pics ain’t gonna happen.  could be the first cruddy day of the summer.  so i’ll just post these few photos of my neon fabrics/neon thread/who-needs-sunshine-when-you’ve-got-this-nuclear-pillow quilted patchwork pillow today, and maybe take more photos later on.  or maybe not because i’ve GOT to break out of my comfort patchwork pillow zone and GET BUSY figuring out a baby quilt.  i thought i had til october to make a quilt, but the bébé shower is in 2 weeks.  it’s good for me to work with a deadline, but really, in my head i’m still convinced that i’ve got ’til october.  so this might be it for blog posts for awhile.  me and my machine will be forged together in holy matrimony these next couple weeks.  that, or i’ll be forced to visit a babys-R-us and buy something off the shelf.  ugh.  nope, i can’t do it.  i just can’t.  i won’t. 

this looks less doberman-y.


i’m off to buy some simple blue and white fabrics.  yup, it’s a dude baby.  and he’s getting a macho dude baby modern quilt.


maybe, baby.

new sheets

ok, well, old sheets. 

part of me is grossed out by buying used sheets to use on my bed when they’re not new in the package.  it’s just kinda weird.  but then i think about sleeping in hotels and hotels don’t use a new set of sheets every time they make the bed, so i just washed ’em as soon as i got home and make pretend i’m always sleeping hotel-style.  and just pray lice and bed bugs can’t survive the wash, rinse, spin-cycle, followed by the dryer at high heat.

a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and a set of pillowcases.  none of ’em match.  and yet they all kinda go together. 


but you came here today to see a little more patchwork pillow magic, right?

more vintage fabrics.  kinda ugly.  but kinda totally beautiful IMO.

see, when something becomes easyish and uncomplicated for me, i stick with it.  relationships, jobs, pillows, you name it.  as soon as it gets a little tricky (or boring,) i’m done.  i give up.  so here again, you have the same square patchwork.  a few pieces of vintage trim and rick-rack thrown in to shake things up.  expect to see this exact same pillow for the next 17 years. 


this version with neon pink quilting. 

now if i could only  e x p a n d  this by a couple dozen squares and knock out a baby quilt, obviously in more subtle colors as the poor baby would start out life with night terrors from these jarring prints.

oh, that’s good.

my talents run deep.

i finished another very complicated (translate:  very easy) pillow, this time with less swearing.

i’m IN LOVE with neon thread.

will i look back on this neon quilting in a couple years and think, “ewww?” 

of course i will.  we’re cyclical beings, right?  ya love something now, ya hate it next year.

but for now, in this moment, in this ZEN moment of mine, I LOVE IT.  and with that i give you my patchtacular, all vintage fabrics, neon orange quilted 16″ square of awesomeness.

oh wait, did i build it up too much?

you mean you’ve seen square patchwork pillows before?  a zillion times over?  i don’t care.  this one went so much more smoothly for me and i never felt like throwing my sewing machine through the kitchen window.  i confess there was a near tragedy.  have you ever been sewing in the kitchen, taken a little break, picked up a bottle of balsamic vinegar and then dropped it on the floor accidentally without the top on?  you have?  so, you know.  it makes for one awful mess, but clearly luck was on my side and nary a pillow top, nary a piece of fabric, nary a newly recovered tulip seat cushion, nary a tablecloth was harmed in the splattering of balsamic vinegar.  just a little aggravation from having to get down on my hands and knees and scrub the kitchen floor.       

i embroidered a patch in there to put pressure on myself to make this pillow beautiful, make it an exquisite piece of patchwork art.  in a foreign language (spanish) i wrote “oh, that’s good.”  apparently there’s no “oh” translation in spanish, so it’s a combination of english and spanish, which i like.  and i think “bien” is also french, so really it could be a triple language threat – english, spanish and french.  i like stuff written in foreign languages – it makes life mysterious.  well, mysterious for me since i don’t speak a foreign language, despite taking 5 years of french in high school.  well, jr. high and high school.  i wasn’t in high school 5 years.  that would make me dumb.  but 5 years of french – oui, that’s right, cinq years.  no speaky de french très well. 


but damn i can sew. 


i really put “oh, that’s good” on it so if you were a guest of mine and you sat against this pillow in one of my chairs, you would just be so taken with the cozy way it feels, your first thought would be, “oh, that’s good.”  and without realizing it, you would probably be thinking this thought in spanish for some unknown reason. 

ooooh, snazzy neon orange.  OLÉ.

and yes, there are more pillows to come. keep your dial tuned in if you know what’s good for you.

adiós, hombres.

still at my machine.

more fabric has been cut.

vintage flower fabrics seem to be a theme.

more sewing has been done.

neon colors are in full force.

nothing is finished. 

that’s about all i’ve got.

postively genius or hideously tacky?  stay tuned.

hopefully there will be more progress by the end of the week, i.e. a finished pillow or dos.  if not, we can blame the humidity and current heat wave which may force me to the shore to cool off a smidge.  and when i say shore, i mean an air conditioned goodwill in an upscale shore town.

and speaking of neon, i kinda love my new vintage anchor hocking bowls and plate with a dash of neon orange.

and –

sort of thrifting related –  

american pickers” has made it to my list of TV faves.  only discovered this show recently (this summer) while channel surfing – airs monday nights on the history channel.  those guys (mike wolfe and frank fritz) kill me.  they have the BEST JOB.

she’s so plastic.

it’s 1000 degrees and the dew point is off the charts and i’m buying xmas stuff.

well, not stuff.  one item. 

1954 hard plastic christmas tray.

ruth reeves design.

older than me.

and yet probably in better condition.