Tag Archive | decorating

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.

+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
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.

I Fish My Wish!

I have a Guardfish. Right now you are probably wondering, “What type of fish is that, and how does it taste”? I mean the kind that sits by the front door and watches over the house. You know, in case Cocoa is asleep on the job.

Guardfish.

So let me backtrack a little. I was shopping in a “nicer than I can afford” antique store and I saw this ceramic fish. I was intrigued by it, but I could not pay $65 for a ceramic fish. I went home a little sad, with no fish.

Ceramic fish.

A $65 Ceramic Fish.

The next day, I was shopping in the “a little more affordable GW & Co.,” and saw another fish. A plastic one for $4.44. I smiled and thought, “now this is more like it”.

I was so anxious to transform my fish before anyone actually saw what I had purchased, that I barely had time to get a picture in it’s original condition. I was even a little embarrassed by him in the checkout line. I always wonder what they think of my crazy purchases, but so it goes. One must suffer for one’s art.

Before Fish.

The fish is actually quite heavy for plastic, and has a bit of heft to him. I quickly slapped some white high-gloss paint all over him and let him dry overnight. I applied a second coat the next day and set him in the sun to dry.

During Fish.

 I love the shiny gloss finish on him. He is unexpected and a little bit quirky. Kind of like me.

Through the door.

Now, he sits by my front door in the vestibule and stands guard. Although admittedly, he is not very scary.

After Fish.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Full Circle Farm

My grandmother is one interesting lady. If that has peaked your interest, go read her recently published memoir: Tempered With Fire, by Barbara Knox. At first I was worried that writing a blog would be too public, but then I read Grandma’s book and realized, there are no secrets left in this family. My little blog was nothing compared to her tell-all life and times growing up in Oklahoma, being married to a powerful doctor, surviving a horrible car accident, her twelve-year relationship with a woman, and toward the end of his life, re-kindling the relationship with my grandfather. This memoir is not for the faint of heart. Grandma is 88 and still full of life and spitfire, and I have always admired her.

Tempered With Fire by Barbara Knox.

In 1990 Grandma purchased a 150-acre farm, in south-central Pennsylvania, by herself. Her plan was to re-do the old farmhouse, have a big vegetable garden, and preserve some acreage for woods, walking, and a little peace and quiet. Of course this was a weekend farm, as she still worked during the week. The amazing thing is, she did it.

Sugar Maple at Full Circle Farm.

The beautiful sugar maple tree in front of the farm is a sight to behold and makes me feel glad for the coming fall. It evokes images of the wood-stove, apple pie, shelves lined up with canned goodies from the garden, and days and days of stripping wallpaper from the old plaster walls.

Vegetable garden.

Canned goodies from the garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my teenage years, I probably ingested my fair share of dust, grime and lead from that farm, helping Grandma whenever I could get up there for a visit. We spent many holidays there and this time of year brings all that nostalgia for the old farmhouse right back.

Do Not Enter: The Parlor.

Grandma decorated the farmhouse with comfort in mind. It was warm and cozy, and we were allowed in every room except the parlor. The rugs are braided or rag and the country style was perfectly suited to life on the farm.

Wood-stove.

Stenciled Stairs.

Dining room.

Dining room.

Even now, if I get the itch, I can go up to that farm, sweep out the dust and air out the house. It is pretty much the same even though Grandma does not live there full-time anymore. And this old farmhouse will always have a special place in my heart, particularly in the fall.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

My Little Corner of Paris

It has been exactly twenty-one years since I was in Paris. Traveling with an orchestra, I managed a break-away and had the afternoon all to myself. I wandered the streets, looking every part the tourist, wearing the most uncomfortable shoes! In spite of my aching feet, it was extraordinary. I will always remember the art and the cafés. And to this day, my common sense is always overruled when it comes to shoes.

I have a little corner in my kitchen that reminds me of Paris. Perhaps it is all the peeling and cracking paint on the nearby sunporch that evokes some sort of old-world charm, or just the rose-colored glasses I put on this morning, I am not sure which. But either way, my corner is French and it is where I go to drink my coffee.

My little corner of Paris.

I set up the gate-leg table against the wall and replaced the sci-fi sconce with an outdoor lantern. I put two chairs that I had from a bistro set with it and hung all the paintings I had collected over the years around it. Landscapes, birds, boats, you name it. The theme here was “French Country Clutter” and it works! My pots are hanging on the adjacent wall and the limited amount of space you have to stand up from your chair and hit your head on a pot is definitely European. I love it!

French Country Clutter.

Sometimes it is nice to be short.

I have to tell you about the sconce. It got a new life here in my Parisian corner when I purchased it from Community Forklift and painted it with black metal paint. I covered up the shiny brass and now it is transformed.

Brass Before.

Black After

Before with Sci-Fi Sconce.

I still have to paint the walls in the kitchen, and renovate the rest of it, but for now I am enjoying my little corner of Paris.
© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.