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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Ugly and Scary Truth about Light Bulbs!

The other night I made a trip to Walmart to get some light bulbs. I was shocked to find hardly any regular old light bulbs on the shelves. I did find some however.
I'm not switching to the new supposedly greener florescent bulbs. The light bulb has been around forever without changing all that much. It's a great design. People complain that they burn out too fast. Here's an idea.... make the metal inside a little heavier and they last much much longer. My Dad told me this one years ago..."they can make em last forever...they just don't....so we have to keep buying them". Seems simple to me.

Here's the ugly truth...the new florescent bulbs that are being pushed on us....are not good for the environment at all, actually they are going to cause much harm to the environment. Did you know they contain mercury and with millions of us using them and disposing of them....there will soon be high levels of mercury in our ground water? Everyone knows how dangerous mercury is.

I will admit....I bought one of the florescent bulbs...did not like the light it put out or the way it looked in the lamp I put it in and took it out immediately and did not buy another. Then one day, I'm reading Claudia's lovely blog The Paris Apartment and she starts posting about the harm florescent bulbs will do to the environment and how we are all being sold a bill of goods because some major corporations are making tons of money off the switch. We've all been hoodwinked.

These new florescent bulbs are not about being green at all...they are about making money for greedy corporations.

Claudia has taken the time to research the subject. Like me, originally she just didn't want to give up her old fashioned bulbs and she wanted to find a source to continue to buy them. She was horrified by what she soon learned.

Please go to Claudia's blog and learn the truth about incandescent versus florescent light bulbs.

I'm doing all I can to spread the word about how harmful these new bulbs actually are.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Movie Decorating Inspiration - "Topper" circa 1937

I've been under the weather the past few days...lying low...trying to get over the world's worst cold and flu. This afternoon as I recuperated on the sofa...I watched the 1937 movie, "Topper". I can't believe I'd never seen it as I love old movies. But somehow I'd missed it all these years. Oh...I knew of it...but I didn't even know that the great Cary Grant was in it much less...Constance Bennett who I love. So as I lay being sick on the sofa (under a pile of weenie dogs)...I thoroughly enjoyed the silliness of it all and especially the 1937 clothing and sets. It's certainly worth looking for if you haven't seen it. Cary and Constance are just delightful together.

image source: www.moviegoods.com

image source: www.carygrant.net

Then after I watched the movie...I started thinking about having a bedroom inspired by the great art deco sets. So I compiled what I'd run out and buy tomorrow if I were going to do a bedroom fitting Constance Bennett. Even though I was imaginary shopping,  I tried to make this realistic and so shopped affordable options. Believe it or not I got almost all of this at Pier 1. If you haven't shopped Pier 1 in awhile...you are in for a surprise. I used to think of it as dorm and apartment furniture. But it's not that any more at all. It's full of budget priced options for a well dressed home. I for real bought the smoke blue ruffle pillow in this montage there last week. 

Here's Constance's bedroom ala 2010. Pier 1 does not have bedding...so I found this one at JC Penney online. Everything else is Pier 1. I especially love the range of chairs they carry. Like the one pictured below...that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I love mirrored furniture and eventually will have a piece in my home...just haven't found the piece for me yet. 

Today my new camera came so I'll be able to take better photos for future posts and now that I'm feeling better, I'll be able to get back to projects around my house. Stay tuned....

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Online Magazine - Nesting Newbies

I just discovered this new online magazine - Nesting Newbies. I'm not new to nesting....but I found lots of great new ideas in their winter issue. I'm not in to cooking much but I found several things in the food section that made me want to try their recipes out. That is way unusual for me.

This is just a sampling of what's inside their winter/second issue. There's like 133 pages of inspiration. Last night I looked at the magazine isle in my local supermarket and was saddened that there are barely any magazines being published any more that I feel I must have each issue.

I came home empty handed, thinking I'll just spend a little more time online and find something new. Today I found it. My new must read..."Nesting Newbies".

Looking for a Good Book?

This weekend is the Friends of the Metropolitan Library System Book Sale in Oklahoma City. You'll find incredible deals on hard cover books. Every year the Metropolitan Library purges its shelves to make room for new books. This sale is held at the Oklahoma Expo Hall at the State Fairgrounds on Saturday & Sunday, February 20 & 21 from 9:00am - 5:30pm.

I'm going to the pre-sale on Friday night...so I'll snap up what I want then. Friday night is for members only but last year I went on Sunday at like 3:00pm and found plenty of books I found interesting. All for about $1 - $2 each.

I'll hit the decor book section first. I'm hoping to find some of the books on my Amazon Wish List. There will be lots of recent titles as they buy many of the popular books to have them on the shelves and then purge them to make room for the next round of best sellers. So if you think it will only be old tired volumes....you are wrong. There will be lots of good books. 

I'm hoping to find some ratty ones too to use for projects. Last year my last find was the 1973 copy of

I don't know why I bought it. I won't eat Jello ever since I found out that it's made of animal by-products.  ick

Maybe it was because of the chic party pics inside. Nothing says chic New York Penthouse Party like Jello!

but really...there are lots of great books there. 
For more information go to Friends of the Library Book Sale

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bright New Star

A couple of weeks ago, I saw "An Education" which introduced Carey Mulligan to audiences. She is amazing in the film and we are sure to see a lot of her in the future. I'm saying nothing new...many have said this...but she really is delightful.

I picked up the January issue of Vogue and there she was! I loved the clothing they photographed her in. Just thought I'd include here in case anyone reading missed this issue of Vogue.

Isn't she precious? 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just a little more love...

Well, Valentine's Day is wrapping up.

I thought I'd share a few more pictures of lamps in my house. And I had several requests to see more of my chandelier in the living room. I have chandeliers all over the house and will be posting pictures of them very soon.

This chandelier that hangs in the living room, I bought on Ebay. I was told it was from the 1920's but I think it's a little newer than that...but not sure exactly the age. There was one exactly like it in the first Shabby Chic book. I got a great deal on it because the photos of it on Ebay were terrible. It wasn't lit in the photos but they said it worked. I could tell from the photos that it was the kind of chandi I'd been looking for. I guess since the photos weren't great, no one else bid on it. I was thrilled to get it for about 1/4 of what it should have cost. I could not have bought it otherwise.

The ceiling medallion I painted to look old and painted over...I didn't want the colors of the flowers, shells and leaves to be too noticeable. So I painted the detail and then crackle painted over it with the blue. Then added a few highlights on top till I had the look I wanted.

I bought this lamp a few years ago at Tuesday Morning. I painted it white, shabby chic'd it and recovered the shade.

This is one of my favorite lamps...and one of the least expensive and one with the least amount of work put into it. I got this lamp at Garden Ridge.

I added the beaded trim and then some aqua colored french wired ribbon and a rhinestone belt buckle, a few silk flowers with rhinestone centers. Lastly I tucked in photos of Jean Harlow...I have many images of her around the house. She represents the old Hollywood Glamour I strive for in my home.

This art deco clock lamp I bought many years ago at The Lakewood Flea Market in Atlanta, Georgia. The shade on this lamp has had several incarnations...and it may have another soon. I'm much more into silver than gold...and I am fighting the urge to paint this lamp. I probably won't...since the gold is original and it's in excellent shape. But I think I would like it more in silver...what do you think?

This one I bought last summer at Antiques Avenue, here in Oklahoma City. It's really a plant stand. I just placed the pink paper shade where a pot would normally go. It was already white...with chips and rust spots...just perfect. Please ignore the base board that needs to be repainted...it's on the list of things to do. It was removed and put back when I put in the fireplace and suffered chipping because of that...so it's on the list to be repainted. But then all the woodwork in the house is on the list to be repainted and that's a daunting task...so just haven't done it. 

This one I've had a very very long time. I bought it right out of college at Buchanan's Flea Market in OKC. It's a bakelite boudoir lamp. I took it to the "Antiques Road Show" when they were in town. They said it was worth about $300. I paid $25. I like the quirkiness of it. Although it really doesn't look that good in this spot of the house and I'll probably move it soon. 

This one is very special to me. My Dad made it for me from a silver teapot I brought home from a thrift store. I'm always putting small lamps on top of books to make them taller. The shade I covered with some Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic fabric.

And finally, last week in the mail I received these Shabby Chic coasters (they used to sell these at Target). I bought them off of Ebay. I've bought quite a few of these because they are part of my over the top mirror decor project. I was so happy to find four more of these coasters. I'll show you later in the week what I do with these. 

See that fabulous silver leaf looking tray? It came from Target on sale in their After Christmas stuff at 75% off. I kind of have an obsession with mercury glass. I've told myself I will not buy another mercury glass candlestick no matter how good the price. But that mercury glass pear...I could not resist when I found it last spring at Marshall's. 

This post part of at Show & Tell Friday over at My Romantic Home

Friday, February 12, 2010

Light Love for Valentine's Day

Have a little heart....

I wish I had the before of this lamp that is in my living room. My super great friend, Tina gave this lamp to me last spring. I went home with her for lunch one day. We pulled into her garage and I saw this lamp sitting on top of a shelf. The base was brown with gold highlights and a square gold shade. I said, "Oh, I like that lamp". I didn't like the brown, but I could see the potential. She said..."Oh, you can have it. I don't have a place for it any more". "Really"?, I said, and gladly took it.

I switched the square shade to this oval one I had from another lamp that I had changed the shade on already. I covered it in this fabric and added beads to the edge. I spray painted the base with white paint, sanded the edges a bit and whalla....a lamp I would have bought if I'd seen in a store.

And what makes it better? I've never seen one like it in a store. It's the only one and it's mine...thanks, Tina.

This post is part of Show & Tell Fridays over at My Romantic Home. Go there to see more great Show & Tells.

and more at 


Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Kind of Valentine...The Dresden Dolls "Coin Operated Boy"

This video is how I discovered The Dresden Dolls and the incredible Amanda Palmer.

I adore this video and I adore all things Amanda Palmer.

I wish I could get away with having eyebrows like that.

I read that she recently got engaged and unfortunately not to her Coin Operated Boy.

He probably cried and rusted.

I just had to share....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Anatomy of a Fireplace

or how Nita's house got her Fireplace Groove back.

First project in my home...was fixing the cracks in the plaster in the living room. My Mom did this. She did a great job. She'd never plastered before...and she was amazing. But then she can always do whatever she sets her mind to. 

Second project in my house...was designing and building a fireplace.

As I stated in a previous post, someone had removed the fireplace from my home ages and ages ago. I talked to people who'd been in the home within the last 15 years and they said there was no fireplace then. The next door neighbor was a man of 75 who'd lived here since the 70's and he had been in the home many times and said there was no fireplace.

But you could plainly see where a fireplace had once been.

The fireplace had been where the TV cabinet was in the Realtor photos. This is how my home appeared the day I bought it.

When I first got the house I knew I had to have a fireplace put back in. I figured I'd find a vintage mantel I liked and use that or I'd find something new that would mix well. But my Mom had a whole other idea.

You see, almost all the houses in my neighborhood have art tile fireplaces. These fireplaces were very common in the late teens, 20's and 30's. They are most often associated with Bungalows but they are also very common in tudor revivals and storybook houses.

Each of the homes I considered before finding my house had art tile fireplaces and I had my heart set on one. It was really unbelievable that mine had been taken out.

This fireplace was in one of the houses I considered buying.

Arts & Crafts fireplaces are often seen in Bungalows but they usually have bookcases on either side when in a Bungalow whereas in a Storybook or Tudor Revival...they are stand alone....although sometimes you'll see one with bookcases on either side. Such as this one below...

and here's another stand alone....

There were many tile manufacturers in the 20's and 30's. Most of them existing in California. Many of these tile manufacturers had showrooms in prominent cities across the U.S. and sold tile across the U.S. A few of these tile companies remained in production into the 40's but most went out of business during the depression of the 30's. Some of these manufacturers were ...Claycraft, Malibu, Grueby and Batchelder.

These are some books that have been invaluable to me to learn about the history of art tile. These books show many examples...
You can find this great  two book set all about California Art Tile on Amazon.

These books tell about all the big art tile manufacturers and show lots of examples.

So my Mom decided I needed a tile fireplace. Therefore, I started searching for tile. We looked all over town at new tile sources...nothing was right. I started searching on Ebay and within a few weeks, I scored a 6"x6" Batchelder tile from the late twenties - early thirties. This tile was pristine and sold as an art piece but I told the seller that I was actually going to use it for it's original intent...that it would be the center piece of my new fireplace. At first he was upset that a pristine tile would be used as such, but then he decided that since the tile was originally intended for that purpose and I was putting it in a historic home, he approved and offered me some smaller decorative tiles....also Batchelder.

The center tile was $300 and the smaller tiles were $45 each, so it wasn't cheap and it took me months to save the money to buy all the tiles I needed. I ended up buying 18 of the smaller tiles.

While researching Batchelder tile, I soon learned that he was a big name in tile back when my 1931 house was brand new. And therefore totally appropriate to the age of my home.

There is a book all about Batchelder...

also on Amazon.com

I did searches for Batchelder tile on the internet and soon found a website that actually sells copies of old tile catalogs. Another site had scans of pages from an old Batchelder catalog with the plans of how to build them.

Here are the pages from the original catalog that inspired my fireplace.


Here's a link to the site where I found these pages. There you'll find many more examples of the designs of the old batchelder fireplaces. TileNut.com

Many of the Batchelder tile fireplaces had the actual top mantel part built out of tile too...but all tile fireplaces I was finding in Oklahoma City had wooden ones. My Mom and I went from Open House to Open House on Sundays in the Historic neighborhoods doing research on how the fireplace should look.

A friend recommended a tile rep who'd helped her with her vintage kitchen tile. We contacted her and she helped us find field tile to go with the vintage Batchelder tile. Originally, I was going to do a very neutral field tile. But then I found this teal/aqua/green colored handmade field tile and it just went so well with the Batchelder tile...that I went with that.

The side serpentine column tiles were a closeout at the tile store. Our rep said no one could really come up with a use for them, so they were discontinuing them. They were perfect for my application and although they were a closeout...they were not discounted...bummer. Handmade tile is very expensive.

So with all my ingredients picked out....I did a quicky drawing on the computer to figure out how many tiles I would need and how I wanted the fireplace to look exactly.

The only snafu in the planning...I could not find stone or tile corbels. So I had to buy wooden ones that I would faux paint to match the columns.

And here are photos of the final fireplace....



 One of the faux painted wood corbels

Detail of the wood mantel with it's finish 
I did several stain colors with a little white paint on top highlighting the decorative details. I sanded between every coat of varnish with steal wool. My Mom says it feels to the touch like a store bought piece of furniture because the finish is so smooth. And my Mom is the pickiest when it comes to the feeling of a furniture finish. So that was a real compliment.


Now after all that...it is not a working fireplace. 

In the twenties and thirties it was considered modern and affluent to not have a wood burning fireplace but to have a gas heater in it instead. Of course my gas heater was long gone. Many of the homeowners in my neighborhood put candles in their's or ventless gas logs.

The funny thing was, everyone at work knew all about my fireplace creation...they kept asking when it would be done. One friend of mine just could not believe I was putting all this work into a faux fireplace. A fireplace that would never ever have a fire in it. I would just laugh and say...I only want it to have candles in it.

So...shortly after it was completely finished...we had a huge ice storm and I lost power at my house. I came in to work the next day complaining that me and the dogs had been soooo cold and weren't looking forward to being cold the next night. And my friend who had been teasing me all along about this whole fireplace project....said, "Oh, it's a good thing you built that fireplace and can have a fire. Oh...wait a minute...it's a FAUX fireplace...looks like you'll be cold. Too bad you didn't build a REAL fireplace that burned wood and could keep you warm".

Of course we laughed about that.

If you are lucky and your home has an original arts and crafts fireplace in it...it adds about $20,000 to the value of the home. The cost of creating this one was about $7,500.

Now, I go visiting my neighbors and love to look at their fireplaces but I always return home and think mine is the prettiest. I'll even catch myself thinking how lucky I am that I have such a beautiful original tile fireplace in my home. I totally forget sometimes that I designed and built it. It's only been completed about three years. Give myself another three years and I probably will totally forget that I made it.

Last thing. At the time that I completed this fireplace I was the editor of the neighborhood newsletter. I wrote an article about vintage arts and crafts tile and how I created my fireplace and included a few photos. After the issue came out. I received a letter and photos from a woman whose daughter had lived in my neighborhood at the time of the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City. Her name is Sally Ferrell and she wrote me telling me how much she'd enjoyed my article in the newsletter and she wanted to send me photos of her daughter's fireplace and tell me about her. Her daughter, Susan, had been killed in the bombing but she had loved her home and her fireplace and she wanted to share the photos of it. She and her husband do not live in Oklahoma City. But they have kept the home and stay there when in town. I don't think she will mind if I share photos of her daughter's beautiful fireplace. I want to share them...because I think about her often. I think of how excited I was to be in this house and to have this home and how Susan felt the same and had her life taken away in such a horrific senseless manner. I think of her every time I drive or walk by her house. I know I would have liked her. She had a lavender living room....and I know anyone who had a lavender living room would have been my friend. So I wanted to share photos of the fireplace she loved...so others can appreciate something she loved and she isn't forgotten.

It really is a spectacular one...with the original gas stove in place. Her mother, Sally and I had talked about doing a book on fireplaces...I don't know that I will ever get that done...but I wanted to share her fireplace. I know both Sally and Susan would approve.

Now, I'd like to share a little fireplace fashion created by a very talented blogger.

Go over to The Lettered Cottage to see Layla's fireplace makeover...
Click here to go directly to her fireplace redo post....

This is the before...wait till you see the after!

and here's another fireplace makeover I've admired

again this is the before...go to The Old Painted Cottage to see the after

join the others sharing at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special

linking up with all the others over at Miss Mustard Seed's

I don't have a hubby, so of course I made it without one. I'm linking up