Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rhoda Morgenstern called, she wants her light back! :-)

In the upstairs foyer, there has always been this unassuming poor excuse for track lighting light.  When I look at it, it always reminded me of something from the 1970s as if it should be in Greg Brady's room shining on a Carpenters poster.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Since I am in the middle of remodeling (aka destroying) the foyer along with every other room in my house, it had come time for the light to go.  The stripes you see above were to hide any shrinking seams from the green floral wallpaper that is FINALLY history to be covered by the bright LEMON primer as showcased on the other wall that was a paint option which proved to be a mistake.  :-)

Enter this open box beauty I found on the clearance shelf at Menard's.  It was only $19.99 and even though the box was pretty disheveled, it appeared that all of the pieces were present and accounted for and nothing was broken.   For $20 bucks, it was worth a shot so I bought it!

I removed the Rhoda light and unfortunately it left two large holes in the ceiling.  I simply put white masking tape over them to prevent them from becoming a spider portal for anything looking to escape from the attic.  I am not sure that is even a real possibility but two pieces of tape are worth the piece of mind it offered.  :-)

Ta-Da!  A few minutes later, the light was up and it even lit (a very good thing)!  I really like the way I can adjust the lights to shine on the different walls.  The bright lemonhead yellow primer is not something I want to showcase right now and hopefully will soon be a gallery wall to my Disney art collection.

I chose not to repair the holes right now because I am going to beadboard this part of the ceiling in the very near future.  I am quite thrilled with my bargain light fixture and cannot wait for this area of the house to be completed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Goodwill TRICK becomes a Halloween TREAT!

As I was browsing Goodwill for any interesting Halloween items, I came across this lovely candlestick for only $2.99 and a candle which fit perfectly for only 99 cents.

When I got home, I noticed it was pretty beat up and one piece was even cracked.  It didn't matter because the spray paint will camouflage it nicely.

So, I took it all apart and spayed it with the awesome $1.00 spray paint from Wal-Mart which I love for trivial tasks such as this.  It covers nicely and does the job for basically pennies.

I sprayed it a shiny black and then Rub N Buffed it in silver to bring out some of the detail and to glam it up a little bit.  I also rubbed the gold rod silver so it wouldn't be quite so noticeable through the glass pieces and it worked out wonderfully.  I had these adhesive glitter decals in my Halloween stash and it worked perfectly on the short candle.  It is finished and put away until October but I really like the way it turned out.  A classic spooky candlestick and candle for under $5.00.  Nothing scary about that.  :-)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kitchen Backsplash... Stencil or Stone? Stone!

I found this on Pinterest and really love the rich, warm feeling this stacked stone backsplash brings.

But then I found this stenciled backslash idea on Etsy.  It could be really pretty and economical.

Since I have been SLOWLY changing my kitchen over from bright green to a calming grey blue, I have the itch to change up the backsplash.  I decided on the stencil effect done in blue and white.  I bought a roll of white adhesive contact paper and cut out the pieces by hand.  SHOOT ME!  

I painted a patch and applied one of the stencils "just to see".  I decided this could be totally adorable.  

So just as I was almost done cutting out all the pieces I would need to begin application, I found this stacked stone on special at a home outlet store.  I could do the entire backsplash for under $100.  WHAT?  I did some serious calculations regarding Bang for your Buck and already having the under cabinet lights in place to highlight the stone - yes the Beachwalk stacked stone was the WINNER!  

A few years ago, this is what I started with.  Wood trim cabinets, brass hardware and the creme de la creme - hunter green formica countertops.  Yay me.

So, I painted the wood trim white to blend in with the cabinets, painted my formica to look like black granite, added a wood backsplash to match and changed out the hardware.  HUGE difference.  

The countertop area prepared for the stone - cutting around the outlets is not going to be fun.  :-(

Here is the stacked stone well "stacked" up against the wall so I could see how this would look in my kitchen.  I instantly LOVED it.  It will totally give a natural and coastal look to the kitchen.  Coupled with the color, the kitchen went from WOW and loud to Ahhh and very calming.  Don't get me wrong, I loved the black and green harlequin decor, but the day after it was done, I wished I had painted it blue instead.  Now here - four years later - it is to be blue.   I can't wait to finish this.

Here again is just another angle to show how it is eventually going to look.  Lots of work to do but I am eager to get this project completed so I can share the final result!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ralph Lauren Chicago store - American flag improperly displayed...

I was in the Ralph Lauren store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago which is amazing and took some photos of their Olympic uniform displays.

Inside the store is this gorgeous display case showcasing all things London 2012.  But as I looked at the photo, it quickly dawned on me and hit me like a ton of bricks.  The American Flag - the coveted Star Spangled Banner - the Stars and Stripes - is BACKWARDS!  Are you kidding me?

Now we all know that poor Ralph is having a bad couple of months with the whole "Uniforms-gate"and the public outrage that the uniforms for Team USA were indeed made in China.  And in Ralph's defense, so are the Nike, Adidas, and other major brands the Olympians will be wearing.

But what upsets me the most is that this display has probably been up for a while and no one has noticed it?  No employees, no tourists, no customers, etc?  Come on people - get a clue.

My Dad was a veteran and also a HUGE patriot.  He would only fly the flag if there was a light on it, he would ceremoniously fold it when he took it down and rarely flew it in inclement weather.  He taught me all about flag etiquette and I feel it is very important to honor the American flag because of everything it represents. Here are the proper ways to display the American flag:

Horizontally is a no-brainer with the stars on top and to the left or the flag's right.  However, when hanging vertically, the union needs to be to the viewer's left or the flag's right.  Ralph Lauren has it backwards and even though it is for aesthetic purposes in a store display, it is wrong and disrespectful.

Ralph Lauren Olympic attire display at Macy's on State Street in Chicago
Now, I don't hate Ralph for the whole uniforms thing and I actually think they are awesome but I don't have $125 to spend on a shirt and I don't think most Americans do.  And anyone who has read my blog knows my extreme affinity for all things Ralph Lauren.  But China?  Yes - it stings a little bit.

I loved the Roots uniforms and they were made in Canada and they were awesome but hey - it was still Canada.  Ralph Lauren is quintessentially American and I think he is a good choice.  But I do wish that showing your pride for the US wasn't so out of touch for so many Americans, especially in this economy.

With the Roots line of shirts and the famous berets, it was available at the Target stores and I felt like it was much more communal and we were all sporting the red, white and blue that you could pick up when you went in for window cleaner and school supplies.  The Ralph Lauren collection is SO expensive and not as readily available.  I don't feel it truly represents the nation as most of the people who comprise it  cannot partake in the Olympic fever simply because they don't have $150 to spend on a shirt.  I will wait until next year when they are on eBay for $25 bucks.  Free shipping of course.  :-)

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Summer Day in beautiful Chicago...

The Chicago River at the end of a beautiful summer day.

 I spent a lovely summer day in downtown Chicago.  I don't get downtown as much as I used to and to spend a day on a gorgeous summer day, it always renews my love affair with such a beautiful city.

The Chicago Farmers Market was at the Daley Center Plaza complete with the famous Picasso art sculpture.
We started the day at the Chicago Farmer's Market. A lovely al fresco assortment of both flowers, fresh produce, and various other products.  

Such pretty sunflowers!

Gorgeous bouquets of wild flowers!  Only $4.00.  

String beans, green beans galore!

Shopping on Michigan Avenue, this is the AMAZING Burberry remodel in which they are going to replicate the signature plaid on the building.  I cannot wait for this to be completed!

There is a a new TOMMY BAHAMA (LOVE) store opening on Michigan Avenue in Fall 2012.  This was the adorable advertisement in the windows of the new store.  We should all follow this sentiment, agree?

Then it was down to the piece de resistance - the Ralph Lauren Store - a true landmark on the famed Mag Mile.  I have been here before but I always take a deep breath upon entering - it is that gorgeous!

The other side of the store as it is on a corner.  The Summer Sale Event window was TOO adorable to not take a picture.

The foyer and grand staircase.  The first floor is completely dedicated to the London Olympic Games 2012.  It is awesome.  The Ralph Lauren Store Chicago is the largest Ralph Lauren store in the world.

The staircase is absolutely STUNNING and the rich woods and wainscoting are unbelievable.

The landing of the staircase on the way to the next floor is adorned with a gorgeous clock and amazing equestrian themed art.

Yes, this is the women's department upstairs.  Exquisite - would you expect anything less?

                                                      Women's shoes and jewelry.

A beautiful pair of saddles flank a doorway in the Women's clothing area.  Gorgeous!

The Women's London Olympic Collection room.  

The entrance to the Home section.  Breathtaking.  The larger portion of this floor was closed as they prepare for the Home Collection for Fall 2012.  So exciting.

Beautiful etched caraffe and leather embossed tray.  Wow!
These huge and stunning hurricanes were on the floor and were GORGEOUS.  Love the sand and shells!
Another beautiful tray and liqueur set.  Love the glasses!

In the Water Tower Place shopping center, one of the windows was a Chicago Skyline done in LEGOS!  Does it get any better than this?  Even Buckingham Fountain and the water.  So amazing!
 Such a lovely day in Chicago - "definitely my kind of town"!