Robin Flies South...

A blog about decorating and tablescaping with an emphasis on creativity and smart shopping over cash!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Craigslist Caution!

This is a post from a fews months back but I think it's important to show again.  This is relevant to anyone who loves picking up used furniture.  All the paint in the world can't help sometimes.  So if you missed this the first time around, please give it a read and good luck with all your furniture projects!

Welcome to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.  Today's before and after involves something many of you are familiar with.  Some of you may be tempted to give it a try and haven't taken the plunge yet.  I'm talking about that wonderful something called Craigslist.  In case you aren't familiar with it, I looked it up for you.   According to the always trustworthy reference, Wikipedia -Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements – with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums.

 I am a big fan of Craigslist.  While still living in NJ, I needed to sell quite a bit of furniture. I listed it on Craigslist and sometimes things went smoothly, sometimes not.  I was always careful to have my husband home when someone came to see something and we usually brought the item out to the garage if we could.  This post isn't going to be about Craigslist safety but about another issue you need to be aware of, cigarette smoke odor!

I never buy upholstered items used.  A long time ago a friend of mine bought a couch from an estate sale and brought it home.  Next thing you know she had a flea infestation.  That event has stuck with me for 20 years!

 When we sold our house we decided not to bring most of our furniture on our move.  I took pictures, put them up on CL and sold everything.  Some things I made a nice profit, some I practically gave away but it got me thinking that I was selling things that were clean and in nice condition.  I brought that attitude to Florida, thinking I could furnish my new house with things that were nice but people just didn't need anymore.  Our first experience went very well.  We bought a glass topped table for our breakfast area from a seller in the town south of us.  The people we bought it from had one of the most beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean homes I have ever seen.  I'm sure my husband and I seemed really nosy checking the place out as we stood in the dining area looking at the table.  Long story short, we bought the table and couldn't be happier with it.  It's like brand new and saved us hundreds.

Later on we bought our wall unit.  It was in a million pieces (not really, but there are many parts to it) and covered with dust but the seller assisted us with moving and again we feel we got a good deal.  I did a post on my office furniture HERE, and again we had a good experience.

 Then came time for Dining Room furniture.  I did a post on that HERE but I didn't go into what really happened with that experience.  Here's the details of that purchase.  My husband and I went to look at it one late afternoon.  The seller was moving.  Didn't see any pets or notice any smells.  There was some upholstery on the chairs but I thought it would be fine.  Fast forward to the night we picked it up and put it in our house.  Almost simultaneously, we said "What smells?".  Sure enough the whole set reeked of smoke.  How could we have not noticed?  What could we do?  Luckily we could bring it all out back in the fresh air for a few days while we tried every remedy the Internet had to offer.  We can't be sure which one did the trick or if it was a combination of all of them but we were lucky to eliminate it.  There is still a slight odor inside the china cabinet but otherwise it's gone and we know that it is really, really clean now, too.

Make sure the CL ad states that whatever you are buying is from a smoke free home and make sure you pay attention when you go to inspect it.  Stick you nose right up to it.  Once you buy it, there's no going back.  Have you ever had a similar experience?  Let me know and tell me what you did about it.  And best of luck with your CL purchases and I hope you will all be  a bit more cautious after hearing our story.

Be sure to visit Creating Wonderful Spaces and see what my sister, Elaine, is doing today!

I am joining the party at Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed
I am joining Thrifty Decor Chick for her monthly Before and After party.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Peacock Blue for Two

The weather was so "Picture Perfect" this weekend that I decided to take advantage and do two tablescapes, both using my favorite gold dishes.. One I will save  for next week.  I still can't get used to the weather down here and the fact that I will have months and months of weather to set tables outside.

 It seems lately that I've had a case of the blues.  No, I'm not feeling depressed.  I'm just hooked on the color blue, especially aquas and teals.  You are all probably sick and tired of me and my Goodwill finds, but here's another one.  Months ago I bought 2 blue wine goblets (I guess that's what they would be called).  Normally I don't buy things in twos, but I did this time.  Then I was at GW again and found a piece of fabric rolled up and wrapped  with masking tape. It was marked $1.99.  From what I could tell it looked good so I bought it.  After I got it home, I discovered it was a Waverly Fabric and the piece was square (my favorite shape for a table!).  The design was very attractive and included peacocks without their tails open.  You know, like peacocks that didn't need to show off.

We ran into this guy in a flea market parking lot not too long ago. You've got to love the bird life in Florida!
He even stayed still long enough for a few pictures (he knows he looks good!).

Sorry, let's get back to my table.  I hemmed  the edges (with fabric glue) and decided to pair it with my 2 blue goblets for my first table for 2.  Come on out back and I will show you.

I layered my topper over a drop cloth from Home Depot.  My Adirondack chairs are nice and comfy with my pillows from Pottery Barn and Old Time Pottery.   The color of the pool and the color of the sky cooperated beautifully.

 A bird cage just seemed like the appropriate centerpiece.  This is the same one my sister painted but I am using it the way I found it for now.  (We tend to buy the exact same things all the time even though we live thousands of miles apart!)

The place setting went together quickly.  I've had these glass chargers (Ross) for almost a year and used my gold stoneware (again, I know!) but this time I used the bowls, too.  It's cool enough here to eat soup.  I found the teal blue salad plates and napkins at Ross.  I layered the teal
 napkin with a gold one and used a napkin ring from Kohl's.

My blue goblets against a blue sky.

These colors all work together so well.  For once I had to do very little editing to my pictures thanks to the  sunny day.  I placed a candle in the bird cage and filled it with greens, some pine cones, blue berries and gold twig balls.  I placed it on a stand for height.

OK, I know he's not a peacock but I felt I needed to add a bird. 

I moved my fern behind the table to add a backdrop.  I usually have the cement pieces on my front porch.

Can you spot the uninvited guest? 

Right above the fork.  He's tiny to fit through our screen! 

And as the sun started going down...

Thank you for joining me at my table for two bathed in blue!  I am linking to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch where you will find tablescapes created by a wonderful group of people who just love to play with dishes (just like me!).

Also make sure to visit Creating Wonderful Spaces to see what my sister, Elaine, has done this week. She and I are making plans for a different take on our usual tables for some time in November.  Details soon!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Drapes from a Shower Curtain???

Thanks to Susan, from Between Naps on the Porch, for hosting another Metamorphosis Monday.  The weather has been fantastic here in Florida and the air conditioning is getting a well deserved rest.  Windows are open, breezes are blowing and I've been busy!  I'm still working on my bathroom that was painted blue last weekend.  I bought fabric to make a shower curtain so look for a complete before and after in a few weeks.  

This weekend I did something I have been planning for months now.  Our entrance way was still looking pretty boring.  We added an area rug.  Still boring.  Added a light fixture (you can read about that HERE).  Close but not yet.  There is a large transom window over the front door just screaming for some attention.  Please ignore the frog footprints on the window.  If you wash the window with salt water it will keep the frogs away but you have to do it every week or so.  Obviously, we are overdue for a cleaning!  At first we thought the frog was cute, hanging out on our porch eating bugs, but he's a messy little guy.

What if I tried a drapery panel hung above the window so it doesn't block the light but adds interest and color?  The room has 11 foot ceilings and some nice architecture with arches leading to the other spaces.  I thought if I added color up high it would draw attention to the best features of this room that's the first thing you see when you come in and the last thing you see when you leave.

 I found a shower curtain that matches (not exactly but close) the "inspiration" fabric I have in the rest of the house.   I considered making some kind of cornice box (not that I've ever done that!) but I didn't have enough width in the fabric.  I would have to do something in 2 pieces.  I went with my old standard,  two panels hanging from a rod. 

I could get a width measurement but it was too high to get a height measurement.  I just decided to wing it and for that price it wouldn't be the end of the world if I screwed up.  I cut the curtain in half and folded all the ends over gluing them with my trusty fabric glue (read about it HERE).

 After pressing the panels, I hung them with curtain rings that I had left from another project ($2.99 for 7 at Old Time Pottery).  I purchased an oil rubbed bronze rod at Ross and put it all together.  My husband braved our rickety old ladder to hang them for me.  It's really just an accident waiting to happen!

Oops!  Too long.  It's always better to be too long than too short.  He took them down, I turned the hem up and glued again.  I didn't even have to remove the rings (I'm a bit lazy!).  Tried it again.  My husband fussed with them a bit and then he gave me a long stick so I could fix them from the ground.  I still need to play with them but all in all I'm very happy with how this turned out. 

How about with my "Pottery Barn Knock Off" light on?

They coordinate with my Dining Room curtains and my Breakfast Area curtains (I made these with drop cloths from Home Depot).

Here is my take on this whole project.  Of course they can't compare with true custom made window treatments, but while you are waiting to be able to afford them why leave your windows bare?  This whole project cost under $20!  If I can do it, believe me, anyone can!  If you are going to try this make sure your fabric is heavy with some weight to it and not sheer.  Also when you are buying rings and rods try to get them as big as you can.  Tuesday Morning has great curtain accessories especially tassels for good prices.  Ross has some nice rods and metal tiebacks.  I've gotten good deals on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  If you are at all handy, you can make rods from wooden dowels.  My Dad made my rods and brackets in my Breakfast Area.  When we moved here I spray painted them and my husband cut them down to fit. 

Be sure to stop by Creating Wonderful Spaces and see what my sister Elaine has going this Monday.  Have you made your own curtains minus a sewing machine?  I would love to hear about it.  I'm also looking for advice on making a shower curtain from fabric.  An I the only person who turns their shower curtain into drapes and fabric into a shower curtain?

I am also joining Debbiedoo's Newbie Party, come take a look there too!
I am also joining Wow Us Wednesdays.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Skulls and Cross Bones for Six!

Thank you to Susan for hosting this week's Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.  You can view around a hundred more tables there. Something tells me you will see quite an assortment of Halloween themes from kid friendly to adult creepy!  Don't worry, there will be other kinds of tablescapes, too.

I knew I wanted to do something for Halloween that was a little more on the "dark" side but I am not a fan of blood and gore in my Dining Room.  My cooking isn't that great to begin with, so the last thing I need is  have my decor  take away my dinner guest's appetites!  I needed a starting point and I found that at Ross (of course) with 2 sets of small dinner plates with a skull and crossbones design.  I'm always thinking ahead and trying to get double (or triple!) duty from my plates and I knew these would work for another tablescape I will be doing for Gasparilla (a Pirate Festival in Tampa). 

I wish everyone could see this table in person.  An almost all black table is tough to photograph for someone who really doesn't have a clue what she's doing.  So when you look at these photos please try to picture them better than what they are.  You can do that, right? 

I already had a black tablecloth that fits nicely with the leaf  in the table.  I have a full set of black dishes that I thought would work with the skull plates but I ran into two problems.  First, they got lost in this sea of black and they were so big they covered the skulls on the round woven place mats.  I tried several different options and found a set of 6 smaller dinner plates that I bought on clearance at Marshall's a few months ago ($2.00 a piece).  The edge of this plate sticks out just enough and they matched my black and striped napkins. 

The purple wine glasses are from Goodwill (.59 each) and the black water goblets are from Dollar Tree and Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Purple seems to have joined black and orange as the Halloween colors of choice this year.

My "new" silverware is making it's tablescape debut today.  You can read about it HERE  I think it's age and style fit right in with this table.  If you squint a little the flowers look like skulls (maybe?).

The round woven place mats are from Kohl's.  I was there again yesterday and all their Halloween items are marked down 55% or 60%  now.  The napkins are from Ross and the napkin ring is from Old Time Pottery. 

The centerpiece consists of a black faux pumpkin from Michael's.  I repainted the stem with a mixture of brown and tan craft paint and added a crow from Dollar Tree.  The glitter pumpkin is also from Michael's as is the skull under a cloche from GW.  I think the toile tray is from Ross.  The kitchen in my old house was decorated in black and cream toile so I have a collection of pieces I can use.

I wanted to add another touch of purple so I used the leaf dishes that I used last week with black and purple tea lights.  The other candles are black with silver spiders in glass candlesticks.  It's tough to find straight tapers in Florida.  All the ones they had at Marshall's were droopy so I bought these at Ross.  One still droops a bit. 

 Just for fun I draped cobwebs from the chandelier.  I don't know what these things are made of but I had to use a scissors to cut off a piece!

My favorite part of this table is the flower arrangements.  They look so much better in person!  I used black silk roses (Tuesday Morning), more black roses with skulls (Michael's), feather picks (Rustic Rose, Michael's), more picks and some leaves from plants in my yard.  I am so into feathers right now.  I want to stick them all over the house.

You could see all the plastic stems through the glass vase so I just stuck a piece of decorative computer paper I had leftover inside.  The table runner is "Creepy Cloth" from Dollar Tree.  The salt and pepper shakers are from Ross.

How about a little candlelight to set the mood?

Thank you for stopping by and viewing my not really scary, not really Gothic, definitely not gory, Halloween Dinner Tablescape.   Don't forget to scroll down and see the story of my silverware.  Please visit my sister, Elaine at Creating Wonderful Spaces.