Arts-and-Crafts, and Cams and Cambolts

The projects your blog hostess has been working on lately have actually been more in lending a hand to my buddy Scoobie than anything pressing of my own. Her place is under full-on decorating attack. It started with updating the kitchen I showed you a week or so ago, and now it's been adding some arts-and-crafts style furniture.

This is where that extra hand has come in: unwieldy pieces of lovely wooden assemble-it-yourself furniture which assumes you not only have that hand to spare, but an extra couple of feet, a six-foot stature and possibly a mechanically inclined hunk at your disposal.
At the moment, there's just me.

(Disappointing, all around, I know. :) )

But so far, we're managing. Once you put together one flat-pack assemble-it-yourself piece, you begin to figure out how those tech writers think when they come up with the instructions...

You start to get inside their heads....

You begin to take for granted all the things that are not implicitly stated as steps toward finished furniture. Like just because they SAY to do a certain thing, doesn't mean they really, really, really mean to do it right then. Or just because they don't say to do it, doesn't mean it doesn't need to be done.

Their heads are a scary place to live sometimes. I know, I used to be a tech writer myself.
Anyway, you can see Scoobie's completed sideboard here. She's still arranging the decorative goodies on it, but this is an early draft sample of what it might look like.
Note, those peach curtains are on their way OUT. While nice, and while matching the wallpaper circa 1990, they were left for her from the previous owners. Scoobie plans to remove the wallpaper and paint the walls a nice lights arts-and-crafts green, to tie in her red-and-green William Morris rug.

Here is a display cabinet she assembled all by herself, no hand or hunk-to-spare involved.
And this is the barrister bookcase we assembled last weekend. It took a few hours, and then we both took some Advil. But it looks pretty sharp!
I'll be excited to see how her office will take shape. And when it does, with Scoobie's kind permission, I'll share it with you all, too.

So everybody sing: "Cam bolt's connected to the... locked cam! The locked cam's inserted into... Side B! Side B's connected to the... Top A! Top A's connected to the... Wood peg...."

Treasure Box Wednesday: Furry Funny?

My schedule is a bit wonky this week and I'm currently not posting this from home-- but hey, it's Treasure Box Wednesday and I don't want to leave you all with nothing in the virtual treasure chest.

So I was thinking, the pet lovers among you (and after all, how many homey homes don't contain a pet!) might get a smile from my latest humor post over on Of Cabbages and Kings-- "Object Identification from a Cat's Perspective." (Click here to check that out.)

The post draws on my extensive (okay, three months) observation of feline MacGyvering abilities. (Yes, MacGyver is a verb.)

And if you must move on to other locales in the blogosphere?... Then have yourself a furry nice rest of your week.

Seeing is Believing at the Madonna Inn

To go along with last week's little video tour of the Winchester Mansion, I thought you all also might get a kick out of seeing some of the rooms in the Madonna Inn, out in San Luis Obispo, California.

With 110 theme rooms all decorated in... um.... unique style-- from gaudy gilt to caveman kitsch, it's an eye-popping attraction! This is romantic decorating gone X-treme.

You can peruse the individual rooms by clicking the room names on their website here:

(You might want sunglasses.)

Don't forget to check out the Caveman Room. Y'know, for all your indoor waterfall and leopard skin bedspread needs. It's where Fred and Wilma second honeymooned, don'tchaknow.

Anyway, that's what I have for you today. Sorry I'm running behind on posts this week, dear people. Sunday I was helping one of my friends assemble some large pieces of furniture and didn't get back home until it was too late and I was too unmotivated to post. 

I hope to have pics of her recent updates for you on Wednesday. Yabba dabba dooooooo!

Treasure Box Wednesday: Lady Spring Gets Saucy in Autumn

My only find this week was one I had seen a while ago at an antique store in Bellevue, PA, and this week I nabbed it. I understand from the owner this Victorian lady print-- who appears to be the embodiment of Spring-- was actually on layaway for a while with a customer who was paying it off in $5 increments. And who then decided she didn't need it after all.
I think she works very well in my blue French sitting room, with her art nouveau style, soft colors and dramatic pose.

The owner was saying how these were the pin-up girls of the Victorian age, and admittedly Queen Victoria might have found her just a bit saucy for mixed company. But the print's condition is great, and it seems very at home along with the tapestries, fringed lampshades and other goodies in that room.

Hope you all have a great rest of your week!

Bewitchin' Kitchen Updates

My friend Scoobie's been working hard on redoing her kitchen, and I thought you folks might enjoy seeing some of the still-in-progress transformation.

For long-time readers, you might remember, she's the friend who bought a house last year and has been decorating it in a Western arts-and-crafts style. She's also my co-conspirator in Fiesta dishware obsession, though where I lean toward pastels, she favors the Tangerines, Evergreens and Browns.

When it started, her kitchen was kinda... dull... and not at all Western. The previous owners had gone with a moden coffee-themed wallpaper, that was somehow simultaneously not very interesting and also strangely busy-looking.

You can see some of the wallpaper here-- lots of little coffee cans-- and the thing was topped with a Very Coffee Wallborder.

Fine, I'm sure, in its time, but not really what Scoobie was going for...

So the more she looked at it, the more Scoobie decided the wallpaper had to go. She and her younger brother spent a week removing paper...

And then painting. Based on her dinner plates, which feature orange Western mesas and green cactii, my friend chose her color scheme. The orange paint (it's called "Indian Paintbrush" and it looks quite a bit brighter here than it does in natural light), is the same shade as her Tangerine Fiestaware dishes.

(Which you can see happily nestled on her green baker's rack.)

The piece of furniture below-- part pie-safe, part hutch, or as Scoobie gleefully refers to it, "the Putch"-- was designed and built by her dad specifically for this space...

It's pretty, simple, and incredibly functional. All canned goods and soda bottles become nestled away!

I noticed she's using the orange and green arts-and-crafts style breadbox I'd found for her at the Red, White and Blue Thrift Store in Bellevue a few months ago...
And even the apples of the season have a good home here in her happy Fiesta bowls!
Going forward, she wants to add some plate rails to display some green-and-orange Victorian pottery dishes with deer, pheasants and other game transferred on them.

She also would like to display her tin enamelware kitchenalia. This should help tone down the orange a bit.

As I said, it's a work in progress, but so far nobody misses those wallpaper coffee cups. If she's up for it, I'll share pictures with you all in the future as more things come together.

And so comes together the end of today's post! I hope to see you Wednesday to talk secondhand treasures. Take care, folks!

Treasure Box Wednesday: Demonic Decorating with the Winchester Mystery House

Welcome to Wednesday, my thrifty, nifty friends! While the thrifting this week was slim, never let it be said that The Thrift Shop Romantic lets its online buddies go eye-candyless on Treasure Box day.

So as Halloween approaches, I thought we would celebrate this spooky season in a way that combines both design and diabolic fun through this History Channel tour of the Winchester Mystery House.

Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester rifle fortune, believed she was cursed by the souls of the people the Winchester guns had killed. Her penance? To design and build a home that was never, ever finished.

The result became a startling mix of traditional Victorian decor with architectural madness-- staircases to nowhere, doors that open to nothing, winding hallways and mystery around every corner.

I think you'll enjoy this Weird U.S. video. Kinda makes our homes' own little quirks seem mild by comparison...

I mean, in my area just getting a contractor is difficult enough! :)

What the Woollybear Says -or- Autumn in Pennsylvania

A visit to the countryside around Western Pennsylvania offered plenty of souvenirs of this dry and dusty fall. The leaves are changing, yes, but crackle... Orange and browns mix and swirl in the Indian summer wind.

I thought you all might enjoy coming with me for a minute, as we savor the signs of autumnm and we listen to what our friend the woollybear caterpillar says...
"Harsher winter in the beginning, milder toward spring."

We'll see if our furry worm friend proves accurate!

It was a clear day yesterday for photos, but as for a kaleidoscope of color, well, it may not appear this year...
Still, I was nuts about this pair of happy acorns...
And the pumpkins await Halloween with brave faces...
The gourds offer a bountiful cornucopia of color...
Barns stand still and quiet awaiting next year's potential...
Weatherbeaten and waiting...
Afternoon sun casts long shadows through the lacy pine trees...
And we keep snapshots of 2010 because this year, like every year, goes by in a blur...

Wishing you a bountiful, beautiful week ahead of you!

Treasure Box Wednesday: Glass Amass

Hey there, folks! Well, I've successfully moved my Dad up north with me-- it was a long, strange adventure, but eventually we made it-- and I thought it was time to give you all some new pretties to look at.

I'd been hoping I'd come back from Florida with lovely shots of local flora and fauna, but unfortunately my activities didn't get a chance to run in that direction. So my first break in the last week led me to a little Thrift Therapy!

The first item I found was this cute little pottery bird planter. I think it might be California pottery, but haven't verified yet...
I liked the glaze, particularly around their feet.

I also got my hands on this pretty lusterware plate...
It's funny only recently I've found some interesting lusterware pieces after not seeing any for quite a while. The cycle of thrift is always surprising.

And last, I netted this stained glass lampshade...
I think it might be designed to go on some kind of jar candle, but I'm not sure yet. Anyway, the roses and general colors spoke to me. And at just $3 it seemed well worth it.

So that's what's in the Treasure Box for this week. I hope the week ahead of you is filled with shiny goodness, too!