Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Decor Challenges: Styling a Piano

I recently was perusing the interwebs and after following a link to a lovely blog called Little Black Door, I came across a post discussing a challenge - how to incorporate a rather large musical instrument into one's decor.  (I absolutely loved reading the story about how Elizabeth's grandmother saved money to buy the piano!)   How fabulous it is to have a family heirloom, and I'm such a music lover that any instrument will be welcome in my house.

Mr. Handyverger and I are lucky enough to own quite a few guitars, a few doumbeks and now, thanks to his parents, a piano.  They, too, were downsizing and moving far, far away (*sniff*), and didn't want to transport it - understandably!  So a piano came to live with us, much to our delight.   When it arrived, the first challenge was finding a home for it.   It came to live in our dining room, which makes our dining room a wee bit crowded, but we think it's worth it.  To accommodate it, we removed the middle leaf from our dining room table, and downsized to four chairs around it.  We can always add more for company!  (And we used the two extra chairs to create a little seating area on the hall that leads away from the dining room.  The cats are particularly enjoying it.)

Yes, the fabric on the chairs is a little stained.  
They'll be reupholstered someday.  Any good suggestions on 
removing stains from velvet?

Once we found a home for the piano, we were faced with the challenge of making it pretty.  I happen to think pianos are inherently pretty, so that was a good start!  One of the first things I did was to recover the plain, black leather of the piano bench with a vibrant print (and add a little extra cushioning for the tuckus).

I knew I'd find a great place to use this fabric!  

After that was done, I stepped back and took a good look at the piano.  Hm, nice horizontal surfaces, I thought to myself - and then I realized that a piano didn't need to be any harder to style than a fireplace mantel - so that's what I did!

BTW, got the new camera today.  So far, I love it, but boy do 
I have a lot to figure out about taking good pictures!  
Bear with me, please!

I'm excited to decorate the piano for fall - can't you just see it with cute little pumpkins along the top, maybe with my ratues tucked in there, and fall leaf garlands?  I'll definitely keep the sparkly black candles!

What unexpected decor challenges have you had to deal with?  I'd love to hear your stories, and I'd love to hear additional suggestions on making musical instruments a part of a home's style.

Mrs. H.

Sharing at DIY by Design's Sizzle into Summerparty
Krafty Kat's Gettin' Krafty With It party

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Painting and Puns

In addition to working a lot, I've found some time to paint this summer.

Summer Haze

"You know how the time flies

Only yesterday was the time of our lives

We were born and raised in a summer haze
Bound by the surprise of our glory days."

I always think of my angel-kitty Pippin when I hear this song by Adele. This painting was for him.

Now for the pun... One day, my orange tabbycat, Karma, wandered by, and I was struck by just how geometric his spots and stripes are.  And then I thought about how popular ikat prints are lately.

And this is what happened. 

I think my next painting might be a Mewzanni.  Followed by a Pawsley.

Finally, I'm working on something more autumnal.  The working title is "Autumn Fire."  I can't show the whole painting, but here's a preview.

Mrs. H.

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Krafty Kat's Gettin' Krafty With It party

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Late Summer Updates

It's been a fairly busy summer at the Handyverger house.  I'm busily preparing for my trip to Alaska in September - part of which is picking up extra hours to pay for a few bonuses on the trip... like taking a floatplane to see the Misty Fjords National Monument.

I can't wait to see it in person!   Of course, this means that my Droid's camera simply won't do, so a new camera is winging its way toward me, even as I type.  Fortunately, this also means I'll have better pictures of my projects.  Hurray!

Speaking of projects, we're heading toward my favorite part of the year: the end of summer and autumn.  There has to be an easier way to say that, doesn't there?  How about "harvest season?"  Either way, I love this time of year.   I love the feeling of new beginnings - even if I'm not going off to school, and I'm certainly not sending my four-footed children off to school (although, hm...), the shortening days, golden light, and the cooling evening air always makes me feel like it's the real start of the new year.  And then, the leaves will begin to turn color, and there will be that wonderful crispness to the New England autumn.  Can you tell that I love it?  Apples, pumpkins, cider... I could go on forever!

I'm excited to freshen up the house for fall.  I've been tucking a few late summer decorations here and there, though I haven't gone so far as to start bringing out the real fall decor.

Sunflowers, in particular, are my go-to for giving things a late summer refresh.  I have a stash of sunflower garlands that I bought at Michael's years ago that come out every August.

 Yes, that's a dragon puppet peeking down over 
the top of the china cabinet.  And a Halloween cat.  
Don't ask.

And at the beginning of the month, I bought two little sunflower bouquets at Michael's for the pitcher that lives near the entryway.  I realized that I'd left the silk tulips in there from this spring - oops!   We tend to stick to decent silk flowers, since the cats just love to eat plants.   I love fresh flowers, but what I love even more is having a stash of pretty flowers to rotate.  I think the key is to take your time when you're selecting them, or they can scream "fake." Also, don't let them get dusty!

That's our Roomba lurking under the table here.  
He's a quirky little guy, but we love him.

Even my vanity is getting a head start on fall, with some fiery color courtesy of a wrap I bought in NYC when we took our 5 year anniversary trip.  (That was five years ago, by the way. Mr. Handyverger and I celebrated our tenth anniversary this month.)  In case you can't tell, shoes and sparklies are a few of my favorite things.  

My favorite, most display-worth shoes are resting on top of boxes of perfume.  I collect perfume oils, and I've found that tea chests are a fantastic, pretty way to store them.  I've gotten fantastic deals by purchasing imperfect tea chests.  The flaws are barely noticeable, at least if you're careful about which one you're buying.

The itty bitty dress form was something I picked up at Michael's this spring.  On sale, of course.  Surprise, right? 

So, are you decorating for fall yet?  Do you ease into it, like I do, or just go whole hog and bring out the pumpkins and fall leaves?

Mrs. H.

Also?  Obligatory kitty picture.
Stalking a bug, right before he swang from the chandelier.  
Well, almost.  His back paws stayed on 
the table, at least.

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