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“Afternoon Delight”

On Day 2 of the Furlough/Shutdown/Political Clustermess that the United States government was inflicting on us all, Stuart embraced his status as temporarily unemployed. Think pajamas all day and “Anchorman” playing on continuous loop on the tele:

Ron Burgundy

Ron Burgundy

This was his favorite clip.

However, we did accomplish a few things around the house, but none of them so exciting as the day he spent on the roof. It was a beautiful day with blue skies and perfect weather. It would have been glorious if I was not so anxious he was going to plummet to his early demise below. I have always had an amazing imagination.

Stuart and the blue sky.

Stuart and the blue sky.

But he did not fall to his death. Instead he fixed the roof, damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and cleaned the gutters. Best of all, he removed an antenna that was attached to the roof.

An Eyesore that was seemingly impossible to remove. I hated this antenna. I think it was used to signal the aliens when they were trying to contact us back in the 1950’s, somewhere near Roswell.

The hideous antenna.

The hideous antenna.

It was a glorious day. It is amazing how satisfying removing something like this from the roof can be. We have removed them from three houses, so you may want to have a look outside and see if there is an old TV antenna attached to your roof. The trashmen hate us.

After.

After.

The antenna was attached over by the chimney and the house looks clean now. I love it! We also did four days of yard clean up, which is why the trash cans are hanging out in the front yard. The baby was very helpful through the whole furlough. We are all so glad it is over now and things are back to normal again.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

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Urban Landscapes

Photography is now accessible for the average Joe. I know this is not a kosher idea, and the idea of creating art with your phone is foreign to some, but you can capture cool images with your phone. (Photographers, please send your hate mail to mariam@simplyturquoise.com) Then frame them and hang them on the wall. Or better yet….

A Frozen Fountain.

A Frozen Fountain.

Order them from Costco, printed on canvas! A genius idea!

Purple Bike and Coffee Bags.

Purple Bike and Coffee Bags.

 The edges of the photo will wrap around the edges of the canvas and create the frame.

Bust in a Shop WIndow.

Bust in a Shop WIndow.

This is the beginning of the Simply Turquoise: Urban Landscapes series.

Crates

Crates

Everyday urban scenes, everyday art, for your home. If you are too lazy to take your own photos, or you do not want to see the smiling mugs of your family on the wall, you can now purchase any of these urban landscapes here at Simply Turquoise. Don’t say I don’t have a mind for business! This is it! The beginning of the Simply Turquoise Art Dynasty.

Abandoned House.

Abandoned House.

Actually, I am thrilled to make available some of my favorite images from my time blogging to the public. Even if “the public” in this case is just my mother, I am still thrilled. Each landscape tells a story and each image is unique.

Lynchburg Doors.

Lynchburg Doors.

Capturing the people around you, or the places you’ve been or want to go, will add a layer of excitement to the decor in your house. Your house will be filled with movement, action and stories, bringing your walls to life. And if you can’t wait, message me. I accept love mail in addition to hate mail, and money in all forms.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

The Sweatshop

I’ve dusted off the sewing machine and brought it out again after a 5-year hiatus. Sewing curtains for my house in Lynchburg was a job worthy of a sweatshop, and I got a bit burned out.

My old friend.

My old friend.

I once spent three days making the cutest school uniform jumper for my daughter, only to have her come home from her second time wearing it, with Sharpie all over the front. What kind of teacher gives second-graders Sharpies? After that, I packed it up.

Parson's chairs in my New Jersey dining room.

Parson’s chairs in my old New Jersey dining room.

Until now. These old parson’s chairs have been bugging me. Originally, I bought them cheap when my New Jersey house was on the market, just to stage the house.

I had already cut the skirts off of two of the chairs and bought shorty slipcovers from World Market a couple of years ago. I decided it was time to use the old slipcover from World Market as a pattern and change it up by bringing in a navy blue fabric.

Slipcover as pattern.

Slipcover as pattern.

New Fabric.

New Fabric.

Cutting it out.

Cutting out the fabric.

Pinning the pieces.

Pinning the pieces.

Technical Part:

Making these slipcovers was fairly simple. I studied the way the World Market covers were constructed. I carefully measured the 6 pieces and cut them out for each chair. One large piece for the front and back with two side panels, and a seat with two more side panels. I first sewed the top of the chair to the side panels, and then sewed the seat to it’s side panels. I then stitched the top and bottom together and hemmed it, making sure the fabric was facing the right direction. This was tricky. Think jigsaw puzzle.

End Technical Part.

What inspired me to drag out the sewing machine after so many years? Perhaps it was a case of chair-envy I caught at my sister-in-law’s when she bought these beauties from Pier1:

Chair Envy.

Chair Envy.

Or perhaps it was because I had a similar fabric taking up valuable real estate in my office and I was inspired by my recent thrift store chair find:

Thrift Store Chairs.

Thrift Store Chairs.

In the end, I think it was just the desire for change without spending a fortune. I sewed the slipcovers during naptime and a little into the evening. This is how the chairs look now:

New slipcover.

New slipcover, messy house.

It’s not quite Pier1, but it’s still pretty good and I am happy. Now I am eyeing the windows on the porch and thinking, “shades would be lovely!” and “New pillows for everyone!”

The new slipcover.

The new slipcover.

And I know of only one place to get them: My very own Simply Turquoise Sweatshop.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

The Date Porch

I have dubbed the screened porch “The Date Porch.” It has not yet had its turn at being fixed up, but the torn screens and broken overhead light add a quirky charm. The unfinished concrete floor and cracked walls add character, and a sort of romantic ambiance fills the air.

The Date Porch

The Date Porch

This porch sits up high and is on the corner of the house. The breeze is nice and fairly constant. Now that we have chairs, this is my favorite space.

Ikea chairs.

Ikea chairs, spray-painted.

The room glows with candlelight (see reference to broken lights above) and this contributes to the romantic old world charm of it all.  

Candlelight glow.

Candlelight glow.

I….Love….This….Room!

Candlelight glow.

Candlelight glow.

I know “the date porch” needs A LOT of work. I could list it all here, but I don’t want to bore you with the details. In the meantime, I am basking in the candlelight, which hides all flaws, including mine.

The Date Porch.

The Date Porch.

A lovely breeze comes through the porch and I think of the potential this space has. With just a hint of crisp Fall Air, I am distracted by my little romantic getaway porch, and for now, the fixing up can wait.

 © copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

“Become a Possibilitarian”

I am quoting a piece of fabric.

"become a possibilitarian"

“become a possibilitarian”

This whimsical lampshade grabbed my attention; “become a possibilitarian….” what does this mean? I felt drawn to the oblique shape of it, the colors and the bird, and the word “possibilitarian” stimulated my imagination. This was the perfect light for hanging over my desk.

A whimsical lampshade

A whimsical lampshade

A few additional accessories have given my office and sunporch a finished look. I hung my beloved peacock feather wreath on the window frame, bracketed by two old English-countryside landscapes. I hung them on top of the trim, creating a layered effect, and adding to the casual feeling of this space.

Peacock feather wreath.

Peacock feather wreath.

The art in this space is completely eclectic. A true reflection of me. The Vogue on the opposite wall, near my storage desk-hutch, is sleek and shiny, and a bit on the funky side.

Vogue.

Vogue.

The details are what make a space unique. I love this room and am thrilled to have such a creative place to work in. The possibilities are endless.

My office.

My office.

What is your definition of a “possibilitarian?”

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

Me and My Drill

I had a summer goal of re-doing the screened porch. It was even written on a post-it note, which is as good as set in stone.

Summer goals.

Summer goals.

It didn’t happen. I know summer isn’t over yet, but I feel the end barreling down on me like an oncoming train. School starts early this year, and August is just about here. My goals are as good as dead.

I stared down the list of un-done projects and thought: “The bathroom!” I can paint it during nap-time, one wall at a time, and it really is in need of attention.

This is the beginning.

This is the beginning.

The ceiling was stained with old water damage and the walls were a refreshing minty green. Perfect for a “York Peppermint Patty” commercial, but not really the look I was after.

I borrowed a paint sample of Benjamin Moore’s Museum Piece from my friend’s recent dining room project (view it here) and tried it out in my bathroom. It was gorgeous against the tile and I decided to use it. I painted the ceiling Benjamin Moore’s Antique Glass, which is greenish-blue, with the shimmery look of sea glass, to add a pop of color.

Ceiling done in Benjamin Moore's Antique Glass.

Ceiling done in Benjamin Moore’s Antique Glass.

I wrestled some time out of the days and got to work. I found a wire shelf from France at a consignment shop.

A wire shelf.

My French wire shelf.

I hung a different shelf, that I had bought at Lowe’s at least four months ago for hanging towels, on the opposite wall.

Me and my drill.

Feeling very studly.

I bought a shower curtain and rod to hang in front of the shower doors, both for privacy, and to conceal all of the plungers hanging out in the shower. When your husband brings home the softest, thickest, most luxuriant toilet paper money can buy, you will have at least one plunger hanging out in the shower.

Hiding the plungers.

Hiding the plungers.

There is a gaping hole, between the vanity and the wall, that I refer to as “the pit of despair.” This vanity is on the hit list, but not just yet.

The pit of despair.

The pit of despair.

The bathroom is much improved. I am always amazed at what a little thrift store art and paint can do to spruce up a space.

View from the hall.

View from the hall.

Mixing the finishes in the art gives the bathroom a European, carefree attitude. I love that! It is totally unexpected. Assembling and hanging a shelf on my own? Also totally unexpected. And nap-time? Nap-time is a glorious time of day around here.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

Hidden Treasure

The mini-tyrant and I had a very exciting morning. After sipping coffee together and throwing some blocks around, we photographed a finished dining room. A dining room that we helped create.

The Carpenter Dining Room

The Carpenter Dining Room.

It started with talk of paint colors, admiring the old chicken-feeder collection, and snowballed into cashing in some old savings bonds.

Antique Chicken-Feeders.

Antique Chicken-Feeders.

Actually, this entire makeover cost $500, including the bottle of gin on the mini-bar. (Note to self: always budget for alcohol when planning a reno.)

Pie safe and mini-bar.

Pie safe and mini-bar.

I worked with her existing furniture and drew her out of her comfort zone. A little at a time, we watched the room transform and got more excited as it went along. The ceiling is a beautiful blue, Benjamin Moore’s Sylvan Mist and the walls gray, Benjamin Moore’s Museum Piece. The wall color is hard to define…. A little lavender, a little taupe or gray, depending on the light.

Testing out the paint colors.

Testing out the paint colors.

Dining room, before.

Dining room, before.

To be fair, my kids were playing with the play-doh.

To be fair, my kids were playing with the play-doh.

We rearranged the furniture and the homeowner was then inspired to hang some art she had hidden in the basement. A fabulous old woodcut block print of a flag with blue accents, which she hung above the pie safe. I cannot believe this treasure was hiding out in the basement!

Throughout this process, I would occasionally say, “You know what we need? We need a whatchamacallit…” and she would inevitably say, “Oh! I have one of those! In the basement!”

Antique dresser, in the bay window.

Antique dresser, in the bay window.

We brainstormed about the light fixture and I eventually convinced her it needed to sparkle. She chose the contemporary light, which adds drama with whimsical shadows, and has a black finish that is elegant.

View into the living room.

View into the living room.

She had to have the chandelier re-centered over the table, because originally the chandelier was installed about 18 inches off-center. This would have caused me to twitch. The new chandelier sparkles, and brings just the right amount of crystal bling into the room, and now, it is even centered.

A little bling.

A little bling.

 The adjacent living room was also painted Benjamin Moore’s Museum Piece. This keeps the rooms connected and feeling open. She added white sheer curtains and painted all of the trim a crisp white.

The rooms flow.

The rooms flow.

These rooms now look fresh and clean, traditional, but with a hint of the unexpected. The adjacent living room is updated and the whole space looks pulled together. It reflects the homeowners’ personalities completely. Traditional with a pop of the unexpected.

Here’s to basements full of hidden treasure, and to friends willing to step out of their comfort zone. Cheers!

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.