Category Archives: Chelle’s Blog

Wedding 79 Years Ago Today

In my daily ritual of perusing the Internet today, I was put onto newspapers.com as a resource for searching the history of old houses.  So I went out PDQ to get a free trial for 7 days to see what all I could dig up.

Wow!  I have chills!

The first article I pulled up was in Jackson, Mississippi’s Daily Clarion Ledger, dated January 22, 1939, about a wedding that took place in our home on 2:00 p.m. of the same date.. which is TODAY, seventy-nine years ago!

So, posting this at 2:50 p.m. CST on January 22, 2018, means that 79 years ago to the date and time, the wedding was probably just finishing up.

My little 85 year old mother-in-law who lives with us (Louise) would have been almost 7 years old back then and could have made an ideal flower girl!

Check it out for yourself by clicking the article below.  🙂

Custom Table Lamps

I just finished customizing a pair table lamps for our bedside tables:

Right after we closed on Miss Sadie, I realized I would need to employ the use of table lamps in some of the larger rooms to have adequate lighting, and learned PDQ that nice looking lamps are ridiculously expensive.  Most of my lamp needs were met by buying vintage lamps found on ebay, which had the desired look for the period of the house, but needed to be rewired, making them much cheaper.

But for our bedside table lamps, I really wanted lamps that included a receptacle to charge our phones at night.  The options for stick lamps with phone charging bases are vast and cheap, but since you never know what port your phone will require in a year or two, I went with a pair that included a simple plug receptacle.  They aren’t apt to change every plug on everything in the U.S… at least within a year.. and without a good safety related reason, rather than one of big phone proprietorship.

So these are the two gray Room Essentials stick desk lamps I bought from Target.  Very simple, reliable and cheap.  And I love the pull chain with the metal ball at the end… it really is the little things.  🙂

But I wanted something more sophisticated than a table lamp on a pole,  Otherwise, I might feel like I was living in a college dormitory,

After moving in, I found a couple of Asian artist-signed prints in the workshop attic, steering me towards a koi theme, so the mad search began for matching ceramic vases with just the right look.  I found a pair of vintage Royal Copley goldfish ceramic vases on Ebay ($20 for the pair, SCORE! :D)

Here’s the pinterest information on the vases I used, but you could recreate this project with vases that fit your preference.  All that you really need to be sure of is:

  1. If you are using the vase cap I have listed below, make sure the top opening outside dimension of your vase is around 4″ but less than 4-1/4″ in diameter;
  2. The vase is flat/stable enough to balance on the lamp base and not so heavy or bulky that the lamp base can’t support it;
  3. You can drill through the bottom with a masonry bit to run the lamp pole and cord through;
  4. The width and height of the vase will work with your stick lamp.  My lamps had the convenience receptacle on the side of the base, but I wanted to stay within the diameter of the inset circle of the base.

I knew I would also need a cap to close the top of the vase on the lamp (find in materials list below), but wanted to add another piece to finish it out.  I found my solution in these cut-out alloy incense lids, designed in simple lines with an Chinese artisan look to them that seemed fluid enough to simulate “water” to me.  Against the blue walls of my bedroom, I could really see these goldfish swimming around happily.  🙂

 

 

If you would like to recreate these lamps, you will need the following materials: 

Room Essentials - Gray Stick Desk Lamp
Asian Style Ceramic Vase with Top Opening Measurement of 4" Diameter
Cut-Out Alloy Incense Burner Lid - Black
4 1/4" Vase Cap, Unfinished Brass
Tools and Working Materials:
Stanley All-in-One Screwdriver
Stanley Tools 3-Piece Basic Plier Set
Black & Decker 5.2-Amp Drill/Driver, 3/8-Inch
High-Speed Steel Reduced-Shank Drill Bit, 5/8"
Irwin Tools Masonry Drill Bit, 5/8" x 6"
E6000 Craft Adhesive Mini (4 Pack)

I began by taking my lamp base apart from the pole, starting at the base.  The bottom felt circle under the Room Essentials – Gray Stick Desk Lamp came right off with a little prying, then below that, a plastic disc cover was held in by three screws which easily come out.  The wires were crimped together inside a plastic cover, but that was easily un-crimped (then re-crimped later) with a pair of needle-nose pliers.  I removed the two wires connecting the power cord to the rest of the wiring, then kept the other two wire-sets together (take photos if it helps to remember).  The nut, holding the base against the pole was removed with a pair of pliers.

I made sure to keep all the parts I was disassembling in a ziplock bag and took photos at various intervals of the process to know exactly how everything looked before I took it apart, and should look again later, when I put it back together.

The lamp pole was fabricated with the flared “ends” as one piece, so all holes to be drilled would need to be 5/8″ in diameter, for those flared ends to pass through.

I started drilling the bottom of the vases with my Irwin Tools Masonry Drill Bit, 5/8″ x 6″.  Because drilling ceramic can heat it up to the point of cracking and breaking, I sat my vase top down into the bowl of my kitchen sink on top of a dish towel for slight cushioning.  I ran a trickle of cool water from the faucet onto the base of where I would be drilling to keep it lubricated and cool.  Be sure to run the water as a trickle, not wide open and please be certain that your drill motor isn’t getting in the water.  The only parts of this project you want getting wet, are the surface of the vase where you are drilling your hole and the drill bit end.

A good tip for masonry drilling is to not run the drill wide open and not so slow that nothing is happening.  A nice medium low speed will work best, and don’t press your weight and might against the drill, just let the bit do it’s job.  As you get to the bottom or inside layer of your masonry hole, be ready to pull back lightly, so you don’t fall through the hole with your bit and drill, like a doomed space cadet tripping into a black hole. 🙂  Also, you don’t want to be so out of control, that you somehow drill into your sink bowl.  :-O  If you are unfamiliar enough with drilling that this might be a concern, go outside and do this in the grass with a water hose trickling over your vase.

You will also need to drill a 5/8″ diameter hole in your incense burner lid, but you don’t want to do that with the masonry bit, use the Irwin Tools Masonry Drill Bit, 5/8″ x 6″ for that part.  First unscrew the top lid handle from the lid, then find your center point in the lid where you will drill out your hole.  Set the lid onto a thick piece of junk wood or work surface that can take an oopsie drill hole, should you make one.

When you have completed your drilling, it’s time to put everything back together, and having a second person there to lend their hands during this process will be crucial.  You don’t want to get this far to just have the vase crash to the floor because you couldn’t hold it all together and tighten everything up.

Have someone sit in a chair and hold the lamp, shade side down.  Standing over them, feed onto the pole:

  1. the drilled out incense burn
  2. er lid, dome side towards the shade;
  3. the vase cap, dome side towards the shade;
  4. the big washer, as it will return to be on the inside of the vase;
  5. the vase, with the opening towards the shade.  Feeding the cord then the pole through the smaller end of the vase, can be a little tricky, so be patient and careful.  Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to help feed the cord through the hole if necessary.
  6. Finally feed the cord and pole through the lamp base, good side towards the shade.
  7. Rewire (twist the wires together) the power cord to both sets in the base, then add the crimps you removed back to cover each set, then recrimp by squeezing them with the crimping edge (not the cutting edge) of your needle-nose pliers.
  8. Thread and tighten your nut onto the pole until everything is secure.
  9. Return your plastic disc cover, lining the holes with the ones in the base, screw back in.
  10. Cover with the felt you removed.
  11. Get all features turned and set where you want them, then dot the underside base of your vase with a tube of E6000 Craft Adhesive Mini (4 Pack), making sure it is contained under the vase and not showing.  Fix your vase cover where you want it and dot the underside with E6000, to the hidden rim of the vase and repeat this process with the incense cover onto the vase cover.
  12. Enjoy your custom lamp!  And please post photos of your lamps in the comments so I can see your work!  🙂
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Indian Sari-Patchwork Ottoman Cover

The holidays have kept Kenny and I busier than normal with surprise plumbing and floor bracing issues.  You gotta love old houses to live in them because they drop surprise bombs on you from time to time.  We have a lot of things on the MUST DO! check list besides these sudden problems so that has kept us from getting too cozy.

But in between the priming, mudding, painting and clean-up, there has to be a fun project to lose myself in and I have found two, one of which I will share today.  The other will have to wait till after Christmas as I want to keep it surprise for my son, Clayton.

When I bought the blue chair for our master sitting room, I knew it would need an ottoman, but didn’t want to spend a ton of money on one that wasn’t perfect for it, anyway.  Luckily, I ran across a damaged storage ottoman at a surplus store (a cut in the fabric, no one would see anyway and scored for $9, W00T! :D) and started thinking about how I could make it better fit my style.

I have always loved Indian saris, and in fact, more than ten years ago, I decorated the entire lobby ceiling of my old web design business in them, which was a vast improvement to the drop ceiling provided in my commercial space.  I started looking on Ebay, and found lots of different Indian sari-patchwork covers, but none of them in the shape of my ottoman/footstool, which is a cube of 15″ with a padded lid.  So I decided to buy 5 pieces of 16″ Indian sari-patchwork pillow covers and put one together.  Yes, a cube has six sides, but who wants beautiful cloth and beads underneath the thing, scratching up the hardwoods.

The search for the matching five began, and I fell in love with these, but there were only two of them and I needed five.  🙁

I finally found a set of five, that didn’t excite me as much as the pair, but I thought I could definitely work with them.  The price was also nice, I snagged all five for $19.99 and free shipping off Ebay.

They weren’t all exact, unfortunately.  Two of them were bigger on two sides by an inch, so I had to adjust for that when putting them all together.

I put 2 of each of the best matching sizes together for the sides, then kept the smallest one for the top.  With the good sides facing each other and in the same direction, I ran the four side pieces through my serging machine, which attached them very securely to one another.

Because I was dealing with different sizes in my side pieces, I knew I would have to attach the top with a sewing machine, to allow for the excessive edge needed to make it fit.  UNFORTUNATELY, I forgot to bring my foot pedal and power cord to my fancy Singer from our old house.  Not to be deterred by trifling obstacles, I attached the top with my granddaughter, Izzee’s, Pixie sewing machine.  Oh what a sight that had to be!  🙂

Anyway, it did the job.  Did it do it well?  No, of course not, it’s practically a toy!  But it will suffice until I get the rest of my good sewing machine here.  And it kept me from hand-sewing it, which-I-hate, so thank you, PIXIE!  😀

Chandelier Installed

Kenny finished assembling and installing the blown glass chandelier that we bought from Cristalleria Murano late last night and we spent about an hour looking at it like light-struck moths!  To say we are over the moon with it, is a complete understatement!

After a few emails to identify a foreign looking electrical component, Kenny got to work on it yesterday afternoon.  A couple of extra trips to town to get a bracket, specific length of screw and the right light bulbs (that turned out to be the wrong ones), and she is up and shining like the beautiful star she is.

I have named her Gracie so I can say, “Goodnight, Gracie!” as I turn her out for the night.  🙂

She looks so gorgeous with her new ceiling medallion, I’m pretty pleased with myself.  🙂  Click here for yesterday’s blog with a tutorial on painting ceiling medallions.

Below are a few shots I took this morning in sunlight to see details in the glass you can’t determine in photographs when the chandelier is lit.

Medallion Satisfaction

Grandfather Clock Trim Needs Work

With the Stairway

Lit! Who Needs a Christmas Tree?!

Ceiling Medallions

I’ve finished two of the three ceiling medallions for the parlor, living room and formal-dining-room- turned-front-bedroom.  We just aren’t formal dining room folk, and that room will be occupied by my 85 year old mother-in-law, heretofore known as Louise.  And for those of you who are physically hurting from the thought of us not using the room as a formal dining room, consider that your desires could cause an 85 year old woman to plummet to her death down the stairs, if we were to put her in one of those bedrooms.  That has to help you, right?  🙂

Anywho.  Here are the two finished medallions:

Parlor Medallion

Living Room Medallion

 

The first one will be installed above this chandelier that we bought from Cristalleria Murano for the parlor.

I ordered it in September and had them change the gold hardware to silver (the nerve I have to second guess an artist!) because I knew if the gold hardware looked brassy or cheap in any way, I would be tortured into eternity.  The artist took my changes well and offered the option of chrome.  There was not a matte silver option (I asked) but the chrome isn’t overly shiny and parts are even brushed, so I am very happy with my decision to be audacious that day.  😀

I ordered the chandelier back in early September because I knew it would have to be made, then shipped from Italy, and thought it would take at least a month.  It didn’t, it arrived in less than three weeks and was very well packed, practically crated!  Most was in tact except for one blown-glass shade, which the company replaced immediately (even though I didn’t open the box for a month while we were dry-walling our ceiling).

Wahhhhhhh! :(((

Something told me to open it immediately and I really should have since normally Cristalleria Murano requires notice of damage within ten days of receipt of shipment.   We were just about to drywall the parlor ceiling when it arrived and I was worried it would get damaged in the chaos, so I left it unopened in an undisturbed corner until all was clear.  My heart sank when I saw the broken piece!  :(((  But they replaced it free of charge when I explained to them I didn’t expect to receive the chandelier until their projected date of delivery, and therefore, wasn’t ready to unpack it safely.

How can you really complain about a company that sends their product faster than expected.  You just can’t!  Thank you Cristalleria Murano!  <3

Kenny is assembling the chandelier now and if he breaks a piece in the process (a real fear considering glass parts will be put in place from a ladder, 12 feet above the ground!!) Coldwater will suffer a flood from the river of tears I will cry!!  :(..,  The Great Mississippi River Flood will be a puddle by comparison!

If you would like to recreate the medallions I have painted, 
you will need the following materials:

Medallions:
Ekena Millwork CM17RO 18-Inch OD x 3 1/2-Inch ID x 1 1/2-Inch Rotherham Ceiling Medallion

Ekena Millwork CM15LI 15 3/8-Inch OD x 7-Inch ID x 1-Inch Lisbon Ceiling Medallion

Paints:
Jacquard Lumiere Metallic Acrylic Paint 2.25 Ounces-Citrine

Jacquard Products Lumiere Fabric Paint 2 Oz. Jar: Metallic Olive Green

Jacquard Lumiere Metallic Acrylic Paint 2.25 Ounces-Bright Gold

Jacquard Lumiere Metallic Acrylic Paint 2.25 Ounces-True Gold

Jacquard Lumiere Metallic Acrylic Paint 2.25 Ounces-Metallic Silver

Jacquard Products Lumiere Fabric Paint 2 Oz. Jar: Metallic Bronze

Brushes:

Xubox Pointed-Round Paintbrush Set, 10 Pieces Nylon Hair Artist Detail

These medallions come in a very stark white color (which you could totally use without paint against a white ceiling and be great) and the paints are somewhat glazed: which is great for perfecting your brushstrokes before total commitment, but not so great for quick coverage.  Expect to cover your medallion in at least three coats of your base coat.

I wanted some dimension in my base coat, so I started with a total coverage of Lumiere 542 Citrine then added Lumiere 562 Metallic Olive Green in the concave parts of the medallion I knew would stay green.  I added a light coat of Lumiere 552 Bright Gold to the raised inner ring on both medallions and the outer ring of the parlor medallion to keep a nice representation of chartreuse on both rings without going crazy.  I love chartreuse, but the green paint in the living room is period, and I didn’t want to:

  1. Change the existing wall color that looks great and respects the history of Miss Sadie or
  2. Create a clashing of greens just because I love chartreuse.

After my base color was established, I then made decisions to add different colors to give the medallions further depth.  I’ve seen a lot of medallions with one flat base color followed by one glazed relief color.  And that’s fine.  But I wanted more complexity in my medallions.  I also wanted them to coordinate with each other since they will be in the front three rooms of the house and adding silver, gold and bronze gave me the freedom to go wherever I wanted with the front bedroom which is a period color in rose.

I wanted lots of green in the parlor medallion to represent the ground and first green leaves of Spring, especially daffodils, as those will be the blown glass flowers hanging below it in the chandelier.  I also wanted green represented in the living room medallion to restate the walls.  As there is soooo much gold in the room, (gold was was established and built on with the light fixture that absolutely stays since it is the only light fixture original to the house) I wanted to use very little gold and silver tones in the medallion and play on more bronze elements to bring the wattage down somewhat.  The living room medallion is round and there is a very real danger when using the color green to start looking like a Christmas wreath.  So while I did use a band of green, I used bronze on the simpler wide bands to pull it back into the other 364 days of the year.

Within the green parts of the living room medallion I painted raised details in Lumiere  550 True Gold, Lumiere 565 Metallic Bronze, with much smaller representations of Lumiere 563 Metallic Silver and Lumiere 552 Bright Gold.  Keeping the lighter colors minimal helped keep the Lumiere Metallic paints from looking too bling-y.  On a small scale, the Lumiere 563 Metallic Silver almost resembles pearls. :)))

These paints are pretty forgiving and the medallions can withstand light sanding, so you should be able to proceed with your project in confidence that you can paint or lightly sand and repaint any mistakes away.  Use your finest brush for detail and touch-ups at the end.

If everything goes as planned, I should have the new chandelier hung and ready to share photos with you, so be sure to check back!

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Predestined Product Placement

It’s funny how the right things have found their way into our new home, at times overcoming great obstacles.  The first time I remember it happening (outside of passing inspection and the closing, ha!) was when we bought our living room sofa and chair from Facebook Marketplace.

:pause:
Let me take a quick detour here to try and illustrate my complete addiction and love of Facebook Marketplace (much to Kenny’s dismay!).  You can literally (and how I hate the overuse of “literally” but it LITERALLY applies to Facebook Marketplace!!!) find whatever notion that floated in your head within an hour from you.  Well… sometimes you have to resort to Ebay.
:unpause:

It was right after I learned that the green color in the living room, I didn’t care for initially, was period; and maybe I should rethink painting the whole interior gray… especially since Kenny wasn’t warming up to the idea of gray everywhere.

Then I found it:  a reproduction French Provencial sofa and chair from the mid 1960’s in gold and green velvet, and in mint condition!  It had been posted for nearly an hour and my heart sank thinking someone may have snagged it before me.

Then there was the price:  $400.  Would seller take $300?  I didn’t have much of a budget to work with, Kenny would need most all we had for the new roof and HVAC.

Seller would not take $300 and I was second in line to buy them.  Oh no!  So close to the perfect furniture for my living room and it was surely going to the earlier bird.

But the furniture was destined to be here and I got my set.  🙂  And it looks stunning in that room along with the green leather wing back chair with ottoman I also scored from Facebook Marketplace for $75.

Please try to ignore the TV trays we are currently using as end tables. Kenny is restoring an Anglo-Indian coffee table set that is in the pipeline but not even started. However, enjoy the $12 coffee table I got thrift store shopping. Someday, that honey is going in my art studio.

It happened again when Kenny was shopping for a grandfather clock.  He’d wanted a grandfather clock since he was a kid, so the quest for the perfect yet price-attainable grandfather clock began.

It came down to two clocks:  a German grandfather clock (without much more information than seller’s father bought it in Germany in the 60’s as an antique) that he really liked for $875 and an English grandfather clock for $400, located a couple of hours closer.  From our very limited experience, they seemed to be from the same period.  Of equal importance, either would go well setting across from a Scottish astragal cabinet I wanted for the entryway.

We decided to go with the $400 English clock, since we are poorer than usual, what with the house acquisition.

So off we went to Greenwood, MS, to buy the English grandfather clock, where sellers threw in a Anchor Hocking luster glass vase in daffodils, setting forth my search of all things daffodil in the process.  I have so much more to tell you about how I am bringing daffodils into my decor, but that is for another day.  Right now, what I will tell you is, afterwards, I bought several perfect items focusing on yellow and daffodils, and weeks after those decisions, I learned that Miss Sadie’s place blooms each Spring in a five foot span of daffodils along the front Southern edge of the yard that you can literally (haha, sorry!) smell from the street.

All very kismet, and reinforcing my shopping addiction in Facebook Marketplace, Ebay and various antique shops.  😀

English grandfather clock we bought in Greenwood, MS, for $400

We bring the clock home and my friend, Dana, felt sorry for me and sold me her Scottish astragal cabinet, since I was looking for one EXACTLY. LIKE. HERS.

And they looked fabulous together, like they were built on the same day with the same materials by the same maker.

It gets better!

The lady who was selling the German clock is moving to California and contacts Kenny, telling him she would love to give us the clock, believing her father would want it to be in our home.

FLOORED!  Kindness and generosity always catches me off guard.  I email seller and tell her I would love to give her a painting for her lovely gesture.  We meet, she loves my work, we adore her clock, all is great in the world!

So the German grandfather clock is now downstairs in our entryway across from the cabinet and looks even better than the first clock.  The English clock is smaller and will live upstairs at the end of the hall, where it will look perfect with our library.

      

Buying Miss Sadie’s

On Wednesday, September 6, 2017, we bought Miss Sadie’s Place! 😀

We had put in our offer for her 15 days after she hit the market, and that was about 14-1/2 days past my comfort level!  I am the more impulsive one of our marriage, while Kenny is the thoroughly researching rock that keeps us from sudden bankruptcy.  But I must admit to giving him the evil eye a time or two as his COMPLETE LACK OF ACTION WAS DRIVING ME INSANE!!!

I knew the minute we looked at Miss Sadie’s that she had immediately ruined me for all other houses and was the only one I could ever love!  I would enter each room in complete awe, then leave it wondering how to trick Kenny into we could make this beautiful place our new home.

I remember looking at two other properties directly after Miss Sadie’s and feeling irritation in Kenny’s interest in a newer property with a pond, requiring less work.  How dare he!  Has he no loyalty?!  Had he not just witnessed the same perfection in architecture and History as I?  Where is your honor, SIR!

I even told the realtor that day that I was ready to make an offer.

I have no poker face.  🙁  Kenny tried to teach me how to keep my cards off the table on the drive home and while I said, “Yes, dear.  How right you are.  Okay.”, the only real thought looping in my head was “HOW CAN I GET THIS HOUSE!  OMG!  STUDIO!!!  STAIRCASE!!!  I THINK MY HEART MIGHT EXPLODE FROM MY CHEST THIS MINUTE, CALM DOWN!!!”

When Kenny FINALLY called to make the offer, he told me not to get our hopes up because the realtor said there was a couple who had seen the place four times and was probably about to make an offer.  That we would have to wait out the weekend to get our bank letter in place for our offer to be legit.. something we totally didn’t know you had to do before this experience.

Directly following this blow, we went out of state to see my mother, where I spent the weekend tortured by thoughts of of barely missing our chance to put in our offer on the perfect house.  That it was the perfect price and place for us to consolidate our lives with Kenny’s 85 year old mother (Louise) and all this back and forth working on and worrying about two different houses could have been resolved if we had only ACTED SOONER.  And while my impulsiveness can be careless, it would have us the perfect house right now. >;(

Then I left it to fate.  Then I became angry at fate.  How dare fate not want the same things for me as I do?  What does fate know anyway!

Repeat.

:clears throat:  So when we got back with bank letter in hand, we put in our offer.  AND IT WAS ACCEPTED!  😀

We danced in the front yard, and couldn’t get to sleep from the over restless joy of the future.

And we visited the house often.  Like EVERYDAY!  It wasn’t along any path either, it’s a good 15 miles from our old house.  It was compete, consumptive, absolute love, from the very start.

And now she is ours!  😀