Boost Your Roost Contest

Okay, so I’m really going all out here by posting my attic and stack of coats/ blankets displaced from our basement by a flood. But I really want to win the Boost Your Roost Contest by HouseLogic that I found on Making It Lovely so the photos need to be posted somewhere. Fair warning, these aren’t pretty!

Stair Location Before Picture

This shows our current access to the attic. Those stairs are so great, you can walk up and down them facing forward, not like the scary fold up stairs they sell now. They also have a huge spring that acts like a pulley making them very easy to get up and down despite their weight. We would replace these with a u-shaped staircase starting where the nearest end of the sofa is.

What’s that, you don’t see a sofa? Oh, that’s because for the past 3 months it has been our temporary storage for coats and blankets due to a basement flood that called for their immediate relocation. Also, take a peek at the gallery wall I re-created and have been unable to blog about due to the coats!

Unfinished attic soon to be Office

I’ve got windows saved up to replace these, much bigger and operable (for emergency egress) and will probably put some more little windows around it for fun and light. That file cabinet was left by the previous owner, but is old and operates like new, so I think I’d keep it and refinish it. You can see the stash of insulation that was saved from a job site, I’ve got stockpiles of stuff everywhere!

unfinished attic to be master suite

This is about 35′ to 40′ of attic space stretching to the west end of the house, you can barely see the window on the other end peeking out from behind the mound of stuff. I can assure  you this looks like much more stuff than it really is. The massive pile to the left is made mostly out of old work desks left by the previous owner. So stuff is just piled on top. There’s some good stuff in there, glass door knobs, furniture from an old bank downtown, wood and metal chairs, artwork, empty frames etc. Believe me when I say that this pile barely scratches the surface of what used to be up here.

sketch of attic space potential

I know, I know. I do have the space on AutoCAD somewhere, but it must still be on the old computer. I wasn’t about to take the time to hook it back up and find it, I should be working right now as it is!! Anyway, it almost shows the potential of this space. I think there would also be closets on the outside of the bathroom wall as well, but couldn’t remember quite how much space there is.

And finally, if you’re still here, how about some pretty. I pulled together a quick inspiration board for how I want the space to feel. I’ve been saving some of these images for years. There are a couple of images of a white attic with glass walls dividing the interior spaces missing, maybe they are on the old computer too?

attic interior inspiration board

If this room is ever finished, I see lots of white, light, warm wood tones, some soft blues and oranges. The space will certainly have some mid-century furniture and a little industrial meets zen.

Okay, no more scary attic pics. Come visit me over here at the make:Tulsa blog today. And after looking at my round-up of studio inspiration over there, I really want to win the opportunity for this makeover! Not only will it drastically change my work life, but every morning, noon and night will be positively different, how exciting. So I’ll let you know if I make a finalist, and you’ll have to help me :)

Living in a Modern Way and Knit Local Book Highlights

Sometimes I have a hard time letting go of my library books and end up taking quick pictures of some of my favorite pages. This week is Living in a Modern Way California Design 1930-1965. Loved it! I didn’t have a chance to absorb all the writing, but I am enamored with the design presence in all items, from homes to mundane everyday kitchen tools, utilitarian commercial items and decorative goods.

I think this clock is one of my favorites. Attending the Streamlined exhibit at Philbrook last year, I reacquainted myself with this era and could not get over my attraction to train design. This little clock reminds me of them and I waking up to it every morning would be a little reminder of possibility in design.

How about that elephant? I’ve consistently wondered why children’s furniture and play things must be so, ummm, colorful. Watching friends struggle to find a balance between spending loads of money or having to deal with primary colors plastered all over the house, I find it hard to believe there are so few affordable resources for decent looking kid’s accessories. The bent wood elephant would be a great find and doubly exciting with the resurgence in elephant love these days.

These kinds of fabrics make me want to learn screen printing, but I’m beginning to realize that I can’t. do. it. all. As much as I want to take classes on this new craft or that new craft, I must let go of those urges and just enjoy the talents of those around me. Perhaps I can get Christine Sharp Crowe to do some custom fabric for me one day. I have a rocking chair from my great grandmother’s house that I’d love to cover in something retro. Oh, I just had a fabulous idea to design a mod looking fabric but use symbols and signs that were meaningful to our family and her life! Must add that one to the list…

Speaking of trains, that poster shows a beauty. I wonder if my amazement is less design based and more of my incessant travel bug. Spending a couple of years lunching with my Grandparents I think I caught the desire for train travel as Grandpa would talk about his wish to take a train tour and sometimes had brochures laying around. (Or maybe we ordered the literature because he was always talking about it) However, I long for the days of train travel to come back in vogue, or just to come at all in my part of the country. Imagine how many finished crafts I could share here if I had an hour commute on a train instead of in my car!

The rest, a killer (shiny) tea set, perfect for adding a touch of sparkle, a woven rug in an appealing gray and yellow color scheme and a good looking stretcher. I know it’s strange, but why not have good design in all aspects of our lives, besides, the stretcher looks like it might be lightweight, strong and easy to store. I’ll leave you with a parting shot of a home near the front of the book and encourage you to check it out yourself, you get the best ideas from these sorts of books.

Next up, Knit Local. I’ll show a few patterns that I’d like to try someday, but mostly I just love to read about the farms and artisans that raise the animals and create the yarn used in these projects. Someday I’ll attend one of those weekend retreats where you get to shear and process your own wool into yarn that can be knitted or crocheted into some garment. The entire process sound so fun, I think I’d have the hardest time deciding on what colors I might want to dye my wool!

Funny, I just noticed that all of my choices are outer garments. I think that’s true of all the knitted or crocheted patterns that I’ve filed away for future use. I especially like that little short sleeve number and would probably want to make several. I guess a girl can dream, right?

You know, I’ve always thought the bucket list thing was so silly, but as it seems, there’s plenty I could put on mine (just from this post alone). Perhaps the undesirable thing for me is calling it a “bucket list.” I think I prefer something more romantic, such as Life Dreams :) An avid list maker, I’m sure I have several of those in past notebooks.

Home To Do: Our Den

I’ve decided to introduce a series called “Home To Do” which will consist of pictures of various rooms in our home with their (very detailed) “to do” list attached. All part of my new attitude to expose my home in order to motivate myself to make some moves on my lists. You see these lists already exist, written, typed, in the back of a notebook, everywhere! I just found one titled “32 Things To Do Before I turn 32″ and think I finished maybe 8 of them. In my defense, I made the list less than a month before my 32nd birthday and some of the items were pretty ambitious. So in this series I am going to break down my lists by room, put them in picture form with numbers and everything and let you guys hold me accountable.

Let me introduce you to our den. This is technically supposed to be Jeff’s room so the color, fabric and furniture choices are ultimately his, but you know I dream up all kinds of ideas as you can see in my Current Attractions post here. We also use this as our television watching space and have put quite a mix of found and given items in here to create a seating arrangement. In a nutshell, it is quite hodge podge and I’m itching to streamline it so there is a recognizable cohesive design.

This is an overview of how the room looks on any given day. Boots out, blanket laying across sofa and chair seat, tennis rackets, guitars, movies and other things that do not have a home. The theme is loosely centered around music and art, with show posters from shows Jeff promoted at the Cain’s Ballroom or his own venue taking center stage. They are the starting point for the design and create some interesting details to work with. The plans are to keep things warm, comfortable and funky with a touch of old Hollywood glam.1. This says “Artwork, Girl Getting shot with Arrow” and it needs to go.  It was a gift and has beautiful colors and interesting subject matter, but doesn’t say “Home” the way I would like.

2. A friend’s unfinished drawing. This lady has always been missing a face and I’ve wanted to re-frame it will a nice matte and create multiple faces that can be interchanged. Not sure this will still happen, but if so, she may move over to my gallery wall and be available for visiting guests to re-arrange if they so choose.

3. Door opening is now closed off and needs to be finished. This is on my January organization projects list, so we’ll see how that goes, so I’ll leave the details for another post.

4. Jeff has a tiger collection from his childhood that needs a decent home. I’m thinking of including these in my grandmother’s refinished glass curio cabinet. It currently houses part of my pottery and rock collections and might be just the place. I think they need some sort of home to be displayed on. Perhaps I can make a multi-level display out of different colors of scrap wood. (Mental note: make a sketch as soon as I save this post)

5. This media stand (term used loosely) is actually the lower half of my grandparent’s dining room hutch. I have plans to build a top for it, paint it and I’ve been toying with the idea to put some simple bun feet on it. That would make this small room feel a little more spacious and definitely help with the cleaning.

6. This huge honkin’ television has never had a home in any room I’ve designed so a new flat screen TV is on the list. I’m positive that someday one will just appear at the secondhand store for next to nothing!

7. I have a surround sound system with my old stereo and hope that once our media collection moves to the doorway-turned-built-in-shelves, we’ll have enough open space in the media console to house all the equipment. Then we’ll only see some small shelves in the corners of the room holding the small speakers.

8. Ah, the attention grabbing light switch is quite white on that wall. I had hoped to create a copper switch plate in the shape of a guitar when I was in a class at Garden Deva’s. But my attempt turned out much too small so was reassigned to Christmas ornament status. I still have a few options up my sleeve for this and I’m hope a new artwork arrangement combined with moving some furniture and maybe a new switch cover will solve this problem.

9.   The artwork on this wall will be rearranged and possibly re-framed in simple black with white or gray mattes. Since the wall color and music poster art is already so bold I think some non-competing frames and a symmetrical arrangement will calm things nicely.

10. Hmmm, things that need a home include the tennis racket, guitar, a random throw pillow, boot stretcher, lap desk, box of CD’s and a couple of other small boxes of who knows what. I guess this is what happens when you don’t have a junk drawer.

11. I already have fabric I would love to use on the ottoman and the plaid chair. I’ve got a half-finished chair cover cut out of an old light brown sofa cover. Once the chair is solid, I’ll place some festive pillows for interest. I want the chair to stay (it is very comfortable) but need it to be less of a focal point. The ottoman needs the cushion cut down since it is about 2 inches taller the sofa seat and elevates your legs. It will be recovered with something much more appealing and hopefully just as durable.

12. This poor rug has seen much better days. It ended up in here because we moved in in a hurry and needed some soft rugs to help absorb the sound since the house is really just one big open space. I think there is a rug out there that I can borrow that will be neutral enough to work until we put a new rug in the budget.

13. These were quick drop cloth curtains put up when we moved in. They still have the manufactured seam down the middle. I plan to re-sew that seam and correctly hem all edges. It might be nice to put a screen printed medallion design across them as well. I will also make tie backs and roman shades for the individual windows. I like lots of options for my window coverings depending on the weather and time of day and in these old houses (1920) the layers certainly help in the winter.

14. This is one of the original light fixtures in the house and I just need to clean it, screw the canopy in properly and I’ve been thinking of a way to modernize it just a bit with an etched glass column slipped around the bulbs to soften the light. This light is the reason for the “bit of old hollywood glamour” in it’s no apologies gold and I love it.

15. Like I said, hodge podge. These pillows are just some my Grandma was getting rid of and are quite soft and comfy, but just don’t fit the other criteria.

16. Yes, the throw blanket needs to go, but in the coldest part of winter and the hottest part of summer we always leave a blanket down. I’d like to attempt quilt making and put together something reversible that could be draped down the back and seat of the sofa. That one sounds like quite a project, so don’t be surprised if you see me brainstorm on that here and there.

17. This rug is just temporary and is actually gone now, so one thing crossed off the list already!

18. Ah, well this is more like user error. I always have piles and piles of books and just need a better system and/or more accommodating side table. In all honesty it’s usually worse with some crochet or embroidery project piled on and topped off with a glass of tea. Anyone else have this problem?

19. My lamps do not coordinate. You know, with each other, the room, or the shade with the base. They’re just ones we had that fit on the tables and that was that.

20. Oh this is the best artwork and needs to earn a spot opposite on the large wall. Jeff’s grandma made him these “Michael Jackson” gloves for him when he was a kid and they’re great. She beaded them! Close-ups to come soon for that’s a project I should be able to tackle quickly.

Anyone still with me? Wow, sorry for the exhaustive list, but you know, the motivation doesn’t work unless it is all out there for me to look back on and see how the progress is. Just typing it out has my mind reeling with ideas and how-tos!

Huge Clothes Pin

or, fun Garage Sale finds!  Who wouldn't walk away with this huge wooden clothespin inlaid with what looks like a mother of pearl design?  I know for a quarter, I just couldn't say no.  A little worn, yes, but with tons of charm.  I have not found a final home for this guy, but maybe it will be my glorified shopping list holder, or I could find a spot on my gallery wall to hold changing artwork.


Here's the entire haul from working at my Aunt's garage sale last weekend.

Garage Sale all items

All right, from left to right starting on the top row, there's Harvey the owl.  Read more about Harvey's fate over at Prairie Hive.


Next, there is a little black leather clutch.  I have no idea if I'll ever use this purse as is, but just check out the clever pull-out mirror design.  I also have a soft spot for those triangle accents.


I have a habit of bringing home anything cobalt blue for the kitchen and these bowls were no exception.  I think these will be favorites for frito chili pie, stew and potato soup.  I'm sure they would be great for some chopped salad in the summer as well, but they are quite deceiving on how much they hold.

The cut glass serving bowl came home by default because it was pretty.  I had never seen one with the silver metal rim and I love the egg and dart motif that wraps around.  I'm sure you'll see this in a future table setting.

Oooh, books.  I always look through, even if it is a pile of romance novels, you never know what you might find hiding between.  I listen to Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac before The Diane Rehm Show on Public Radio Tulsa 89.5.  I've never read one of his novels, but I certainly thought it was time for that when I saw this book so I snatched it right up.  As for VanGogh, there is so much to say.  He has been a favorite of mine all of my remembered life.  I have always loved the movement in his paintings and own several coffee table books showcasing his works.  This is one novel about him that I had not come yet come across.  I would say that even if I was not a fan of his art, I would still pick this up.  The lives of artists are often fascinating and I could compare to some of the composers I've been studying from the same era.


Last but not least are the beautiful little paintings.  I imagine these were practice works by someone, does anyone have anything similar.  They are framed in gold plastic frames with traditional details, so I thought they could be spruced up and used for a pop of color anywhere.  They are small, perhaps 6"x8" total so you could fit them in all kinds of spaces.  Here they are before:


I do love the gold frames for the certain personality they bring, but probably would never hang them in my house this way.  So I painted them white and I think it really brings out the highlights in the paintings themselves and just updates them a bit.


As soon as everything finds a more permanent home, I'll let you know where they end up.  I always love to mess with garage sale and flea market finds.  I feel I can take some risks and not worry so much about the end result.  Here I have a little more fun, especially easy since everything was free.

My Christmas Mantle

I am so excited to decorate my mantle because I didn't have one last year.  We don't even spend much time in that room, especially in the winter because the fireplace is not yet functional, but one step at a time, right?  This year mantle, next year… fire! Hopefully.

If you've read About Me, you know I just use what I have (and often if I don't have something I might be able to borrow it from my mom – she has the greatest collection).  So here's a shot of my decorating attempt.

Christmas 2010 Mantle - Closeup

The blue bottles are a mixed collection. Two were gifts from my mom, the tall ones in back, and the other two were from a whiskey bottle collection of J's grandparents.  We have several more bottles from that collection that I should show off sometime, they have great patterns and shapes. The white poinsettia garland was borrowed from my mom, as were the brass reindeer stocking holders. You can also spot a Snowbaby from my childhood and the moravian star is my Christmas tree topper that I decided to use here instead.

Christmas 2010 Mantle - Solid Stockings

This shows the full effect and the elephant and deer that stand amongst those bottles.  They are two of my favorite items in the house and always make me smile when I catch a glimpse.  The elephant came in a box of J's childhood goodies and I immediately snatched it for my own purposes.  The deer is part of my grandparent's pottery collection that was so vast I still can't believe it.  Grandma helped us sort through everything and still supposedly has the "good stuff". That may be true, but the pieces I received from her are pretty great and are my "good stuff".

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