Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Grand *Porch* Details

 What a lovely day we had today.  
Here in Northern Illinois, you just can't beat sunshine and temperatures in the fifties in January!  
I was able to read (blogs on my iPad) out on the porch today!  
It was pure heaven.  A true cabin fever reliever!  
I soaked it up eagerly, because I know it can't last.

Careful observers may recall that we remodeled our porch several years ago.  
You can read about it here.
I swore at the time that I wanted a good old fashioned screened porch, not a sun room.
We designed the porch using custom wood storm doors that we ordered online.  They came with storm window inserts and we thought, what the heck, the storms might keep the porch cleaner over the winter.  Well, we put them in for the very first winter and we have never taken them out!  So much for the screened porch thing.  The screens sit, unused, in the basement. We get so much more use out of the porch with the glass inserts- it stays much warmer for three seasons, and it stays much cleaner year round.  For someone with allergies, it's nice to feel like you are outside, but without the pollen.
Today, I took some interior photos to share with you. 

On fair days, you will often find me sitting in the little rocker below.
I'm kind of like Goldilocks - only brunette and slightly older- and this rocker is just right.  
I can sit there and survey the neighborhood, keep an eye on the front door 
and the bird feeders  (Hello, Gladys Kravitz)
 and never have to budge.
Today was one of those days.
(After I went for a long walk with a good friend and our happy dogs...)

We like to "dine" out on the porch as often as we can.  
With a little space heater, we can be out here in three seasons, and sometimes four!

This buffet cabinet was made for us by - can you guess - my talented friend, Ed!  
Remember Dr. Ed?
He does some pretty nice work.  

 We needed a large serving piece for this area and I shopped around for one but couldn't find exactly what I wanted.  For Christmas that year, Mr. Grand suggested I design a cabinet just the way I wanted it and have Ed build it!  Now, that's my idea of heaven.
I have often thought that if I won the lottery,
I would sit around designing things that Ed could make for me.  
So I designed a cabinet and Ed made it real.

 It's almost six feet wide and three feet tall.  
We wanted something that could handle a crowd.

I love the beaded edge on the doors and drawers
and the way the diamonds insets are glazed.
Bravo, Ed!

The mirror is by Ralph Lauren.  
I love the texture of the weave and all the detail on the edges.

Do you remember the Chandelfan?  I found the chandelier at the flea market and really, really wanted to hang it out on the porch, below the ceiling fan.  Our trusty electrician said "No problem!".

Can't wait til it's warm enough to need the fan again!

Until recently, I wasn't quite happy with the pillows I'd made for the porch.  
I like the fabric and  pom-pom fringe and the color,
but something about the proportions always bothered me.  
Then, (thank you, Blog world) I read about Karate chopping your pillows to give them a crease.

So I gave 'em a good chop and now I think they're just right! 

Do you Karate chop your pillows? 
Did everyone but me already know about this???

Thanks for visiting the Grand porch with me!

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Friday, January 27, 2012

*Grand* Custom Luggage Tag Tutorial

Hello!  Oh, Happy Day! The sun is (finally) shining this morning and so I can take pictures indoors without needing a professional photo studio...  Forgive the glare... I miss the sun and so I won't complain.  Here is a tutorial on making your very own custom luggage tags - this one is pretty basic, but I am sure some of you extra creative types can come up with more amazing versions than I did....

Here is the finished project:

 I started with a package of 5 Laminating Pouches that I bought at Staples for about $5.99.
I got the SelfSeal version since I don't have a thermal laminating machine... Do you?

Here is what comes in the packages - 5 plastic sleeves and 5 plastic ties that seem reasonably strong.

 For the detail oriented types, this is the size of the tag - 2 7/8" x 4 5/8".

I printed out a picture that would be colorful and noticeable at the airport -
this photo is of the Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park,  
from our trip there several years ago.

 Then I printed out the info for the tag to go on the flip side.  
It has been blurred to protect the innocent...  
According to my extensive research (Google Search this a.m.) 
there are several things you do want to put on your luggage tags 
and there are a couple of big No-No's.
To save you the trouble of doing your own extensive  research, here is the advice: 
Put your name, Cell phone number and email address on the tag.  
Do not put your home phone number or home address on the tag.  
Apparently, there are thieves lurking at airport gates, nestling up to fellow travelers, 
reading their names and addresses off of their luggage tags 
and promptly heading to their homes to rob them! 
Don't let this happen to you!

 I used a glue stick to attach the photo I printed to the ID info card I printed, wrong sides together.

 Then I centered the photo/ID info on the handy grid provided.

And then I carefully peeled the non-stick grid paper off .

 I carefully pressed the sticky sides together, looped the plastic strap through the handy slot provided  and Voila!
I have a custom luggage tag- it's colorful and useful and a nice memento of our trip too. 

Here's the tag attached to the leather backpack that we bought on the Ponte Vecchio on our first day in Florence many years ago.  This backpack traveled all over Italy with us and then on to many National Parks and other adventures with us.

Me, on the Ponte Vecchio, eating some wonderful Dolce...

And finally, Mr. Grand, sporting the leather backpack in Tuscany 

and looking pretty darn Dolce to me!

 I think these luggage tags would make great gifts...  filing for Christmas 2012.

Linking to Potpourri Friday at 2805
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dining Room *Grand* Mash-up

Today I am going to show you a mini make-over of our dining room here on Grand Avenue.  
Really only a few small changes - fresh paint and new drapery fabric, 
but they have freshened it up for me.
 In the picture below, you will see the dining room in a picture from a few years ago.  
I loved the washed matalasse drapes I had made, with the french flop valance and the tasselly trim, but the sun had done some serious damage to the fabric and it was looking shabby, but not chic.  
I spotted the green fabric and the deal was done. Some of you careful observers will notice that this is the same fabric used in the living room make over and you get a gold star!!! 
My talented seamstress friend Patti patiently removed the tassel trim from the faded red drapes and made me some gorgeous new green taffeta drapes, re- using the same trim. 
Patti will be mad at me for calling them "drapes", but I just can't stand saying "window treatments"!  At least I didn't say "curtains"...  That's a mortal sin, apparently.  
Anyhoo, here is the before of the old dining room paint color and the red drapes:

The wall paint was a khaki color that looked good on the sample, but in my house, it made everyone in the room look a little drab... I never loved it.  
We chose a lighter, glowy yellow gold for the walls and here they are with the new drapes:

It looks much fresher to me, lighter and sunnier, a little bit luminous 
and you careful observers know how much I like things to be luminous!  
Since we basically live in the woods (14 oak trees!) this room only gets sunlight in the morning.  
And I am rarely dining here in the morning... 
So lighter and brighter is always better for me.

 Here is a close up of the new green drapes sporting their tasselly trim:

And here's the dining room table, set for lunch in a simple silver, green and white color scheme.

 I recovered the vanilla looking fabric on the dining chairs with 4 different printed fabrics - 
and the shades on the chandelier are also different - a mash-up, if you will...  
When I was trying to decide which fabric to use to recover the chairs, I had lots of fabric left over from various projects in the house. I laid them out on the chairs and I loved them all, 
so I thought - why not use them all?  
There are four different fabrics on eight chairs, since I love symmetry, even in my mash-ups.  
You careful observers might recognize some of the chair fabrics, too.

Forgive the different lighting in the above photos -
the chairs really do look nice together in the same room.
Does this help?

I loved being able to use the leftover fabrics.  
Now, what to do with the boxes of fabric in the basement 
from when I worked in a fabric store in High School???   

Here's the chandelier with two different kinds of shades.  What do you think?  
The kraft paper colored ones were nice, but seemed kind of blah
and using all red paisley ones made the room too dark, so...

A Mash -up!

And here's a sneak peak at my red transfer ware collection- it's on display in the dining room-
maybe a nice Valentines Day post...

Does this house look familiar to anyone else?
I guess I just like what I like...

Linking to Savvy Southern Style

Linking to Miss Mustard Seed

Linking to 5D5W
Linking to My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Linking to A Bowl Full of Lemons

Linking to Not Just a Housewife

Linking to Between Naps on the Porch

Linking to Thrifty Decor Chick - Show us your dining rooms!
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