Archives

My Trash Story

Since working at Community Forklift for three years now, I’ve taken to a different view of dumpster diving. It’s a sort of rescue mission, a diversionary tactic for landfill-headed junk. I am not a dumpster diver…. I AM SAVING THE EARTH! This is an empowering feeling, even if the skeptics call it spin. I never exactly felt bad about dumpster diving before, but now it holds an elevated sense of purpose bordering my morality.

You would not believe the stuff people throw away. It is true that trash tells a story. I often wonder why someone would get rid of this…. or that. Things that are fabulous among the rubble, no matter your sense of style. Trash is an exercise in diversity.

Working in a reuse store gives you a birds-eye view of the excess of American culture. Imagine creating 30-40 jobs just sorting out and selling old stuff: the cast-offs, dirty and dusty, waiting to be claimed and given a little TLC. That is what we do every day.

Just yesterday I dragged this chair home with me. While on our evening walk, the dog and I examined it with our cellphone flashlight and carried it at least half a mile. Juggling the poo bag, the found rocking chair, and the leash was a workout rivaling Crossfit. We did make it all the way home in tact.

img_3813

A rocking chair story.

Behold this beauty! I have only one question for you all: why are we wasting our time shopping for anything new? Let your trash tell its’ story.

img_3809

Found rocking chair.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2017 at Simply Turquoise.

Advertisements

Shower Doors-1, Marriage-0

Why does the word divorcee seem so glamorous? In my mind, that word evokes images of socialite Wallis Simpson, holding a martini and seeming free of obligations or burden.

When I tell you that ripping out the shower doors in my downstairs bathroom almost caused the demise of my marriage, I am mostly not kidding. But that glamorized version in my mind of the divorcee causes me to proceed with reckless abandon. This is not good. Not good at all.

The Before

The Before.

It all started with an innocent search of the Internet. My downfall came when I read that one woman had removed her shower doors in half an hour. Liar.

Easy Going

Easy Going

Things went smoothly at first. Parts of the doors just fell off (with the help of the drill) while my husband was in a huff about how he can’t ever turn his back on me because I’ll start removing pieces of the house if he isn’t looking and other such nonsense. Normally, he is very supportive of my DIY projects, as long as I give him three years’ notice.

Almost done!

Almost done! This is what was left of a 2×4.

After he exited the scene, I started running into trouble. The frame came out, but there was wood behind it and it was glued to the tile.

I struggled and struggled and finally got it free. In my moment of glory the three year old said, “I knew you could do it Mommy!” Of course, she was the only one willing to hang out with me, and I had been wrestling with that wood for an hour. It was either IT or ME.

They are gone!

They are gone!

I like how visually clean it looks now. I had to grout the tile behind the frame, wrestle with all the caulk and glue, and re-do the caulk in the shower. But I did it. All by myself! Well, me and my mini cheerleader together.

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink!

Now that calls for a martini!
© copyright 2015 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

A Little Help From My Friends

This week, I called in the cavalry. Decorating has been reduced to lusting after pillows in Target as I head for the grocery aisle, usually at some ungodly hour, wondering if I’m the only human who knows Target stays open this late.

You may recall a post in which I photographed a few botanicals (Budget Botanicals) from my yard. I printed them on photo paper and then framed them for a “gallery style” wall in my upstairs hallway. This hallway is too narrow for any furniture, and dwarfed any of the artwork I had to hang on it. Without any real light coming in, it was also dark.

The Botanicals.

The Botanicals Before.

The homemade botanicals looked great, but the wall did not. This week, I hired my friend to paint that hallway. The color is a color I have throughout my house in other places and is Benjamin Moore’s Green Hydrangea (CSP-850) from their Color Stories Collection. It is the color of a granny smith apple, and it brightens that space. The botanicals look so fresh and pretty against that wall color. Now the project is finally complete.

The Botanical Update.

The Botanical Update.

 

A narrow pass-through.

A narrow pass-through.

Benjamin Moore's Green Hydrangea.

Benjamin Moore’s Green Hydrangea.

 

Benjamin Moore- Green Hydrangea.

Benjamin Moore- Green Hydrangea.

If you stand at the bottom of the stairs, you see the downstairs hallway and the upstairs hallway together, and they complete a color circle as they are both painted in Green Hydrangea. This is an interesting effect and while I am a fan of color, the risk is to use too much or too many different colors in one house. I have achieved a balance here and the amount of color feels just right.

Peaking into the downstairs hallway.

Peaking into the downstairs hallway.

 

A view of both hallways at once.

A view of both hallways at once.

The best part was coming home to a project done. Sometimes we just need a bit of help.

 © copyright 2014 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

This Post Brought to You by…. Me!

Two of the decorating blogs that I read on a regular basis, both had posts about how pretty the Kleenex box is, on the same day. It was a Kleenex marketing invasion. God save me from this type of success. The first thing I do when I get sick is scour the house looking for the Puffs Plus with lotion, for the sake of my poor runny nose. I don’t care about the design of the Kleenex box. That is like trying to pretty up the toilet paper or the paper towels. I am just grateful we have tissues, and I’m not blowing my nose into a leaf, or a piece of Soviet newspaper.

Puffs Plus!

Puffs Plus!

I promise this post has not been sponsored by Puffs Plus.

In the news of The World’s Slowest Kitchen Renovation, I have a blind on my kitchen window! I also have an outrageous estimate for getting the window replaced with a larger window, but for now, I am thrilled to have a blind. The morning sun is brutal. My mom said she wasn’t able to do the dishes because the sun was in her eyes. This is tragic. I can’t risk losing an opportunity for someone else to do the dishes, so we installed a blind.

Ikea kitchen blind.

Ikea kitchen blind.

These blinds are wood blinds from Ikea. We have put them on all of our upstairs windows for privacy, but they come a little too wide for our windows. Long ago I bought one, just to see if we could trim it down, and it worked!

Downstairs in the office.

Downstairs in the office.

Using a jigsaw, we were able to trim that extra inch from one side of the blind, so they fit the window (by we, I mean Stuart). You can’t tell that they have been altered and we have saved lots of money this way. The cost was $25 per blind, which is an approximate savings of $1000 per window. Wood blinds that are not from Ikea cost a fortune.

Bedroom windows.

Bedroom windows.

The color match on these Ikea blinds is just right for our old wood trim. They come in white and blonde wood and several different sizes, and if you own a jigsaw, you can cut them to fit.

I promise this post has not been sponsored by Ikea either, although I am open to offers.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2014 at Simply Turquoise.

The Dead of Winter

I have no inspiring words for you. It is cold and dreary and if you were to take an “i” out of inspiring, you would get in-spring. But alas, we are not in-spring yet. Even the groundhog has dashed our hopes with a forecast of six more weeks of winter. I can’t blog because I am so easily distracted by Expedia offers and checking the “Wanna Get Away” deals on Southwest Airlines. The arctic, tundra-like landscape seems to be here for good.

But the other day, in the cool, crisp morning and freshly fallen snow, I was walking the dog and was struck by the quiet. There is nothing so still as a fresh snowfall. I seemed to be waiting an interminable amount of time for her to do her business, when I spotted the red head of a woodpecker. He was so bright in contrast to the white snow and the brown woods. He was singing his song and was alone in the landscape. This woodpecker was beautiful and my spirits were lifted. Perhaps, spring is not as far off as I think. In fact, we may already be over the hump.

So take heart! In between episodes of “Sherlock” and replacing the keys the baby keeps lifting off of my computer keyboard, I have a few projects simmering. I have officially started “The World’s Slowest Kitchen Renovation” with a found batch of hardware from Craig’s List. I scored 40 handles for $20. They are the shape I was looking for, but need to be painted. After consulting a friend who is a paint expert, I soaked them in a vinegar solution, primed and painted some of them. I have to wait for warmer weather to spray paint, but I have finished a few. Here is a sneak peak:

Vinegar solution.

Vinegar solution.

Primed.

Primed.

Painting.

Painting.

New hardware!

New hardware!

Okay, so far I’ve only done three.

What are you doing to shake this cold? I love to snuggle with my pup and drink some hot tea. Daydreaming about Benedict Cumberbatch warms me up a bit too. Excuse me, I think “Sherlock” is on again. Until next time!

© copyright 2014 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

How To Install A Stair Runner

I have had a runner rolled up in the closet for 11 months. This implies a sad backstory, and it is true, there is a sad backstory. Here is a picture of the grim day, 1 year ago, when my project failed:

Stair Runner Fail.

Stair Runner Fail.

I wanted a runner on my stairs, but did not want to spend the money on a proper runner and rushed into it. I nailed thin cotton runners to the stairs before I knew what I was doing, and it did not work. The material was too thin and it would not stay put and after pulling up the failed runner, I had large holes in the staircase.

I bit the bullet and ordered a custom runner, made of a black and natural sisal weave with a sturdy backing, from Will’s Home Decorating. It ended up costing about $600 and took a long time for me to get it.

A black and natural sisal weave.

A black and natural sisal weave.

By the time I got it, I felt defeated and did not want to try to install it on my own. I had done a bit of research and found this helpful tutorial from This Old House, but I was not ready to tackle the project. Hence the 11 months it has sat in my closet.

Until recently, when my friend told me that Young House Love had just posted on stair runners. My first thought was, “I hate them! They are so industrious! Why do they always beat me to it?” Uncharitable thoughts I know. Of course, my carpet was still in the closet, so that should have been the first clue as to why they are more successful bloggers than I.

I actually read their post (found here) and it was quite helpful. They went through the steps more thoroughly and I was inspired to try again. With only two trips to the hardware store, I did it. All By Myself.

The new stair runner!

The new stair runner!

At times, the oak staircase seemed to laugh at me, practically repelling the staples as I was trying to drive them in. Next time I install a runner, please let it be a pinewood staircase instead of oak. Oh man.

View from the top.

View from the top.

 Materials:

one carpet runner (Choose carefully as this will make or break your project.)

3 2×8 grip pads

electric or pneumatic staple gun (Use caution as you could shoot your eye out with this thing. I purchased mine from Home Depot. It was a PowerShot Pro and cost $27.46.)

eye protection

staples– this depends on how bulky your runner and padding are. I used ½” staples which were long enough to grip and go in, but not so long that I was not able to drive them into the oak at all.

Tape Measure

Black Sharpie 

Blue Tape

Hammer

Ibuprofen (For the day after.)

How-To:

Measure the height of each riser and the depth of each tread. Add this together to get the length of carpet needed and multiply times the number of stairs. Add an extra foot of length for overlapping any seams.

My stairs get wider at the bottom, so I had to center the runner at the narrowest point. I marked the lines with tape where the rug would go, and made sure it looked straight.

Use tape to mark the stairs.

Use tape to mark the stairs.

Cut the grip pads into sections and color the staples with Black Sharpie. A genius idea by the Young House Love team.

Carpet gripping pad.

Carpet gripping pad.

Color the staples.

Color the staples.

+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++

I started at the bottom of the staircase and stapled the runner on the riser and under the bull-nose. I did not staple the treads, except at the very back, as close to the riser as possible, to secure the rug. I had to put some muscle into it and briefly wished Stuart was not at work.

Stapling was the hardest part.

Stapling was the hardest part.

My runner was in two pieces, so there is a seam. I lined up the second piece under the first piece and stapled it down. I then trimmed the first piece of carpet with scissors so it would end just under the bull-nose and stapled it over the second piece. This made the seam less obvious. I then continued up the stairs with the second piece of carpet. At the top, I trimmed the carpet just under the bull-nose of the top step and stapled it in place.

The rug in two pieces.

The rug in two pieces.

I was able to finish in an afternoon. Today I am taking Ibuprofen and trying not to walk past the staircase every 5 minutes to admire my handy work.

Sisal stair runner.

Sisal stair runner.

It feels good. It feels sturdy. The decibel level of the children going up and down has dimmed to a quiet thumping. I only wish I had not waited 11 months to install it.

 ©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.