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Little checkered curtains in the monkey room

1 Sep

I love to use little curtains to hide junky areas. I have very cute little curtains (from Savers) covering up the recycling area in the kitchen, and have used little sink skirts in homes past.

The monkey room (my office, cat HQ, and lounging area number 4) has a bank of bookshelves that I had built when I first moved in. They take up an entire wall and are quite handy for holding things. But they’re kind of unsightly. So I found some very cute (and not too dear) checkered fabric at Osgood’s the other day and sewed up these cute little curtains to hide some of the junque.

Looking at the photos, I realize that the upper shelves need to be tidied up, so I’ll tackle that this afternoon.

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Fabric: $21.00 (three yards at $7.00/yd), curtain rods: $10 (2 @ $5.00 each) — total cost: $31 and about 30 minutes of rod installation and sewing. A great thing about checks and stripes is that you don’t have to mark the fabric, you can just use the lines as guides, so it speeds up the process.

Fregan news

15 Nov

I’m kind of broke. That’s not news. The “economic downturn” Great Depression 2.0 has hit me pretty hard and while I’m not totally unemployed, let’s just say I’m not living up to my full earning potential.

In the past, I’ve borrowed and scraped and lived beyond my means, coming up with all sorts of crazy schemes to make ends meet which usually involved ever increasing debt. Wait, isn’t that what the government did, too? Anyway, I’m too small to get a bail-out, so I’m taking a totally new track and entering 2011 living within (hopefully below) my limited means.

A few years ago when I was similarly broke, I instituted “The Summer of Free” and pledged to spruce up my garden with all free or swapped plants. It worked out great — I always find that the universe provides. So I’m getting back to freganism and scouring Craigslist and Freecycle for free stuff that I need and/or want around the house.

Today, I got this lovely credenza for my office (I managed to load it into my little hatchback by myself and a friend was passing by when I got home and she helped me bring it inside):

It was free from Craigslist. Okay, it had some chicken feathers stuck to it and some of the drawers had come apart, but I wiped the feathers off and got busy with a hammer, and now it’s grand. It needs door pulls, but I think I have some around.

Over the weekend, my friend Liz (companion on many crazy outings and hare-brained schemes) and I went to a “Free Tag Sale” — the people were moving and getting rid of everything. I picked up a bunch of Christmas ornaments for the House Tour I’ve agreed to put my house on (Dec. 5th!).

So, I’m hoping that I can stick to my guns (and my budget) and save up for the new struts (for the car), new roof, storm windows, and other essentials that I need and use the excesses of our consumer culture to get stuff that is nonessential for free.

Painted brick wall, before and after

21 Jun

I think the painted brick looks FAB-U-LOUS! The room seems much more finished now. I love the navy color (it doesn’t come out accurately in my phone-photos). One day I’ll get a real digital camera and post some better photos.

In the meantime, all my money will be going into the bathroom. The plumber has been up there for three hours now…. $$$$….. sigh.

Bathroom break

20 Jun

There’s a leaking pipe in my bathroom, and the plumber is going to replace a bunch of the piping up there while he has the opportunity. The floor is going to be largely opened up, so I’m making an executive decision to re-do the subfloor. We (Walchek the plumber and I) also discovered a big hidey-hole under the bathroom. It’s full of lead pipes and lumber. No gold dubloons.

Anyway, I’m making use of the time I planned to be tiling the floor to instead paint the exposed brick wall in my home office. I’ve disliked the exposed brick in this room for the past eight years that I’ve lived here. I’ve wanted since day one to put up a plaster or drywall wall and paper it with a really neat wallpaper that has a black background and pastel-colored monkeys and hot air balloons. But I simply can’t afford that at the mo’. What I can afford is a can of paint, so I’m painting it.

I got a really cheap can of paint – $30.50 – Behr’s paint and primer all in one, flat interior paint, in Starless Night, a dark blue. Here’s the progress so far. I think it looks FABULOUS. I’m hoping to finish painting tonight, but I’m getting kind of tired, so it might be tomorrow. It needs two coats and even though I got a super deep nap roller, it requires a lot of brush work to get into the mortar.

I know people have strong feelings about painting brick. This was never meant to be exposed (someone knocked down the wall at some point in the 1980’s when exposed brick was all the rage), and I’ve always thought it didn’t fit with the elegant marble fireplace and generally finished look of the room. I really think the painted brick looks much better in this setting. The brick was old and dirty and flaky, and this looks much cleaner, too.

What me worry?

26 Jan

I continue to be unemployed and bored, so am trying to do no-cost projects. I got this rather fabulous (and surprisingly heavy) papier-mache balloon at Savers a while ago, and got the red and gold braid specifically for it. I tried installing it with a variety of cup-hooks, but the balloon kept crashing to the ground. So I borrowed a much more substantial toggle-bolt ceiling plant hook from a friend and put it up with Jerome’s supervision (he’s just completed some OSHA training).

The braid looks hideous, so I’m going to root around in my wrapping paper collection for some nice fabric ribbon that I could use instead (and the braid is also clearly too short. I do love the look (except for the braid). I’m imagining the brick wall covered up with real wall and papered in this fabulous wallpaper I’ve seen that is a matte black with vibrant monkeys, hot-air balloons, and other circus-folk.

If/when I get a job, the wall will be a top priority.

So Jerome probably weighs around 15lbs, the balloon weighs about 2lbs, and the hook is supposed to hold 40 pounds. So even if he takes a flying leap and the balloon, I think it will hold and NOT bring down the entire ceiling. But I guess we’ll just wait and see.

Jerome and balloon

New Year’s Resolutions

6 Jan

I have a big list of things I’d like to get down in my house in 2010 (funding permitting), but the two things that bug me every day are the exposed brick walls in the Monkey Room (my home office) and the Kitchen. I think of exposed brick as rustic and not refined at all. It just doesn’t fit in my very elegant office room. So I’m going to hire someone to install firring strips and dry wall and I’m going to paper over that one wall. I’ve seen a very elegant wallpaper that has a black field and monkeys in hot air balloons (really, it’s elegant) that I hope to find and install on that one wall.

The brick in the kitchen isn’t such a mis-match, but I just don’t like it. So I’m going to paint over it, and either tile the inside of the un-usable fireplace or install a period-appropriate fireback that I saw at Re-Store recently.

Both projects will probably happen in the summer.

Office>Bar>Office

20 Aug

When I first moved into my house, I was co-owner of a web-design business, and we decided to locate it in this room of my house. The company folded 😦 and I eventually made the room into a bar. I stopped drinking a few years ago, and am curtailing large parties that need a full bar to be a party, so I decided to turn the room back into an office for my accent modification business.

Like all the other rooms in my house, it was 100% white when I moved in (well, except for the brick wall). Hard to find any white today. I can’t find any early early photos (so sad to have lost all of those with the loss of the computer…), but there are some photos from when it was a bar on this site.

So here it is today. I had the big ungainly radiator removed and replaced with a daintier model from the basement. Just painted the big white spot (the paint is still wet!). It’s so hard to take photos in this room because it’s on the darkish side (just the way I like it). The colors are quite lovely, but they do look rather garish in the flash.

Some of the highlights of this room: drapes — I got the fabric at a going out of business sale for about $10.00. Monkey chandelier and sconces. Sink (from bar days) designed and built by New England School of Architectural Woodworking students. Marble shelf over bar is an old fireplace mantel bought at a salvage yard, and marble sink top was pieced together out of marble scraps; Italian faucet and basin from ebay. Fabulous couch was a free gift from a neighbor who didn’t want to pay for reupholstering it (it was scratched up 1980’s green ick). The reupholstering (it’s velvet on the black parts — very rich) was pricey, but worth it. Red wing chairs cost $10 each at a thrift store. Fabulous desk was $100 on ebay.

Future plans: I want to paint the outside edge of the shelves with a dark navy, and possibly add a gold pinstripe. Also need to add to my Hindu and Buddhist statuary collection 🙂

Here are the photos!