Tag Archive | decorating

Spring!

Nope, not dead… just busy and overworked. These tulips are from my garden. Happy spring!


© Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise 2016.

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Clean House Junkie

I am bringing back an old post that still rings true and makes me laugh. Enjoy!

My husband will not let me play bingo. Ever. He knows I maintain a delicate balance between my religiously induced disciplines and a genetic predisposition to all sorts of addictions, including gambling. As long as I avoid temptation, I stay in balance. That is why I am no good at backgammon. I am not allowed to practice.

With a somewhat naturally addictive slant to my personality, I can take many things to an extreme that is not necessarily normal. I just read an article in “Real Simple” magazine (see link below) about how American wives are not happy because they spend too much time maintaining a clean house and helicopter parenting their children. We should instead drink wine and ignore our children like the French do and they would grow up to be well-adjusted, successful adults. I promise you I drink wine and ignore my children as much as possible, but so far the jury is out on how they will turn out.

I do love a clean house. The cleaner the house, the more I want to clean. It is never done. It causes me to crave cleanliness and to yell at everyone when they come in and drop their backpacks on the floor. The high from a clean house is cheap and leaves me wanting more. I am a clean-house junkie now craving the next fix. The problem is then I want to chase the dog with the vacuum and confine my children to their rooms. This is no good for anyone, even me, and I have to find balance.

Of course these periods of manic cleaning are more often followed by periods of complete inaction. I let things go until I am embarrassed by a neighbor who wanders over, or a friend who pops by, which causes me to spring into action. Usually just in time for their departure and once again only my family is around to witness the clean house and start the cycle all over again.

The healthiest form of cleaning for me involves changing things up. A quick rearrange of the furniture gets rid of the dust bunnies and provides a decorating change of scenery. I usually play around with the things I already have, just to see how it will look over here instead. I encourage you to try a new arrangement; you might surprise yourself. Don’t be wedded to the things you have had in the same spot for the last ten years. Change is good.

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/time-management/spend-time-00100000077167/index.html#2

© 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio

A Girl, A Rag Rug, and Life

My dear readers, Happy New Year! As I sit here on a bright, snowy morning, I am contemplating BIG CHANGE. 2014 promises to be an exciting year, and I have been in a quiet, reflective mood. Prima will be entering High School this fall, and we are wrapped up in a flurry of applications, essay writing, entrance exams and deadlines. Oh my.

Prima, growing up.

Prima, growing up.

My crafty Prima made a present for me from scrap fabric. A little braided rag rug that fits perfectly in the downstairs bathroom. I added a funky piece of original art to the wall that I found in a local store, Peg Leg Vintage. Sometimes you’ve just gotta splurge. The handmade rug, with its splash of color, is cheery in this space.

A braided rag rug.

A braided rag rug.

The book she got the idea from is called, The Prairie Girl’s Guide To Life By Jennifer Worick. Every girl, prairie or otherwise, should have this book. With tips including, “arrange wildflowers,” and “practice the art of courtship,” how can you resist? This book is the key to a happy teenage girl, or at least a less dramatic one.

The braided rug.

The braided rug.

The Prairie Girl's Guide To Life.

The Prairie Girl’s Guide To Life.

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When change is afoot, I find myself rearranging my physical space, if only to impose a little order. Sometimes, I will bring in a bit of nature. Perhaps I am trying to deflect the teenage hormones that are flying through the atmosphere and bring calm to my surroundings.

A bit of nature.

A bit of nature.

My workspace is orderly with minimal distractions, my mind is clear, and I am ready to face the adventures 2014 may bring.

My workspace.

My workspace.

Simply Turquoise had an incredible year in 2013. This blog has grown beyond my expectations. I enjoy the creative outlet it provides and hope to continue to bring ideas and family life tidbits to you throughout 2014. Thank you, dear readers, you are an inspiration to me.

© copyright 2014 Mariam d’Eustachio at SimplyTurquoise.

The Perfect Tool

No, it is not my husband.

Milwaukee 12 V. Drill

Milwaukee M12 12-Volt Drill

I have to report that I have found the perfect tool. I am unstoppable with this little, cute and lightweight drill. It was a gift for my husband, but I think I may run off with it.

Portrait of the tools.

Portrait of the tools.

Secondo and I put up three sets of curtains, without any help… or drama. It was easy. This is a drill I could hold over my head for hours, and it packs a punch.

New curtains.

New curtains, with a navy blue stripe.

I have discovered the secret to handy men. The secret is… to own the right tools. 

The living room curtains

New curtains from Ikea.

I asked my neighbor (who was the first to recommend this little drill) to come over and show me how to change the bit. The tutorial took less than 30 seconds.

The living room curtains

The living room curtains

At first, I was intimidated by this new little drill. Periodically, I would eye it and wonder if I should touch it or not, when yesterdays rain inspired me to give it a try.

Secondo and I admire our work.

Secondo and I admire our work.

Now I am unstoppable! Excuse me, while I go hang a shelf in the bathroom.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Back to the Drawing Board

Here is a picture of my chairs. Glorious finds from the trash, only to end up back on the curb. I ordered fabric to cover the seats, bought a nearly-reportable amount of spray paint, and sadly, they are right back where they came from.

The chairs that were not meant to be.

The chairs that were not meant to be.

I was sanding chair #2 when the front leg snapped off.  I have invested emotionally in these trash chairs and find that I want to go spend a ridiculous amount of money on new chairs to recover from this loss. Does BlueCross BlueShield cover retail therapy?

Outdoor fabric.

The new outdoor fabric.

The table, another trash find, is another sad story. I was in such a state of euphoria when I saw it by the dumpster, that I failed to notice the text that was carefully etched into the top.

Prima, my surprisingly observant daughter, was the first to notice the script. “Mom? I think there is a problem with your table. Um, it says FU** on it.”

The table.

Look closely at the table.

“SH**!” I said, “I mean, ‘NO WAY!’ Who would do such a thing?” and then I apologized for exposing my children to more profanity, intentionally or otherwise.

You know how you worry about what your kids will be exposed to at a friend’s house on the Internet? Well at my house, it’s the graffiti you have to worry about.

Trying to fix it with wood putty.

Trying to fix it with wood putty.

One afternoon, I received a glorious text message from Stuart: “I sanded the FU** out of your table.”

Sanded!

Sanded!

And we were once again fit for polite company.

But alas, it has been sanded too much, and I am going to put it back on the curb. It is a sad day indeed. Now, I have a porch that needs paint, a new light fixture, AND furniture. But the rug looks nice! However, I am back to the drawing board. Good thing there is an awesome barrel in the basement, just waiting to be the base of my new table.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.

An Easy Spring Garden Wreath

I love wreaths. However, we have a sordid past and I am a little scarred as a result. It involves Martha Stewart + cranberries + 1 foam wreath form. I am a glutton for punishment, as I have attempted the Martha Stewart cranberry wreath 3 times, in my sordid wreath past. The first time was a gift for my mother-in-law and I came away, six hours later, with bloody fingers and cranberry stained hands. I did give her a gorgeous wreath that year, but all I could think was, “Damn that Martha Stewart!”

http://www.marthastewart.com/924286/how-make-cranberry-wreath

The second time I made two smaller cranberry wreaths. I stood back to admire my handiwork, as the wreath hanging on the left side of the twin doors I was decorating, came crashing down. The foam broke into a million pieces, scattering cranberries all over the porch. I cried and vowed to end my wreath-making career then and there.

A Square, Spring Garden Wreath.

A Square, Spring Garden Wreath.

So, wreaths and I are not on such great terms. But, I do love them so!

This wreath is easy. And Spring-like! It only took about an hour to make. I used fresh greenery, so it will not last forever. I love the square shape. Who says wreaths have to be round or oval?

A big bunch of greenery.

A big bunch of greenery.

Wire.

You can use floral wire.

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I cut greenery, from a completely overgrown bush in my backyard that had a small leaf that resembled boxwood.

Then, I wired together the stems, maintaining the square shape as I went along. I used enough stems to create a sturdy structure that would hold the square shape and used a stick across the top to keep it straight.

Wreath in process.

Wreath in process.

I cut a strip of leftover fabric that has a burlap-esque look to it, to hang it with. I did not have any burlap, which would have been ideal for the ribbon.

I love this piece of leftover fabric.

I love this piece of leftover fabric.

After a four-year hiatus from wreaths, I have decided to conquer this simple and elegant square-shaped wreath, and will enjoy it on my front door until it wilts, which will probably be tomorrow.

A Fresh Garden Wreath.

A Fresh Garden Wreath.

 Until then, Happy Spring!

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.

The Boudoir

Sometimes, I do not want to get out of bed in the morning. Let me rephrase that. Almost every day, I do not want to get out of bed in the morning. I wish I was a morning person. I crave that happy, post-good-night’s-sleep, alert and cheery mood. It almost never comes. And when it does, you just better watch out, because I am apt to do somethin’ crazy, like start up this blog, or refinance the mortgage. This is why I love coffee so much. With its help, it is as close as I come to being a morning person imposter.

The Boudoir.

The Boudoir.

This leads me to…. The Bedroom. My boudoir is clearly a space where I spend a lot of time. It is not the largest bedroom in the house (my almost teenager has that one) but it is cozy and warm, and when I need a place to hide from the world, or even my children, it is perfect.

Walnut Cabinets line one wall.

Walnut Cabinets line one wall, for much needed storage.

The room is painted yellow, Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Butter. This color name makes me think of Croissants and French Toast, which ultimately lead to thoughts of coffee: my favorite and the only reason I get up at all sometimes. I love the name of this paint color and spent several days agonizing over how bright it seemed at first until all the furniture was in, and everything was in place, which helped to soften the look of it.

My Reading Corner.

My Reading Corner, with a sheepskin remnant on the chair.

As the weather gets chilly, I thought a few simple tips to “winterize” your boudoir were in order. Add a quilt or throw to the foot of the bed. This will make it feel warm and inviting. Throw an old piece of sheepskin or anything furry to add a bit of fuzzy texture. I did this on the red reading chair. Ignore that bright overhead light and add lamps for a softer light that is good for reading… and any other bedroom activities that come to mind. A rug on the floor is crucial and will make the room feel cozy and warm under your feet.

The Master Bedroom.

This small bedroom has lots of storage.

Even the dog approves!

Even the dog approves!

With the cold outside, I want to curl up in my bed and hibernate. You should too, just cozy-up your bedroom a little first, and watch and see if your mood improves too.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2013.