05 Feb

Fugly Friday

Fugly Wallpaper

Eighties wallpaper. When it comes to F’ing Ugly, I probably don’t need to say any more.

Nearly every room in our not-small house had eighties wallpaper in southwest and Laura Ashley motifs — sometimes even used together. Closets and doors were not immune. Team Deco/Reno did an absolutely amazing job removing the bulk of this now-dated eyesore last summer before we moved any of our furniture in. While wallpaper removal is not Instagram- or Pinterest-worthy, it has gone a HUGE way towards making our house on the whole look clean, contemporary, and much more us.

30 Jan

A Facelift

Time for a Before & After.

Staging was not really a priority for the previous owners of our house. Luckily, we could see through such surface annoyances (with each mortgage check I write I tell myself how much higher it would have been if the house and been staged and therefore attractive to buyers). The biggest offender was the wallpaper everywhere! But there are many other things that were just dated or not our style.

Here’s the kitchen before:Kit Before

 

And now:

Kit after 2

 

The core members of Team Deco/Reno (my mom and step-dad) removed all the wallpaper and I joined them to finish painting the entire space white. We hired an electrician to replace the kitchen lights with recessed can LED lights and to install a cute retro looking pendant from my dad. We replaced cheap mini blinds with new roller shades and I painted the sideboard cabinet solid white.

Looking the other direction:

DR Before

 

Which now looks like this:

Kit after 1

 

And here’s the “dining room” at the other end of the space:

DR Before 2

 

And here’s the dining room now:

DR 1

 

We’re guilty of bringing some ugly with us too. Our dining room chairs, while stylish enough just a few years ago, and still quite sturdy, decided to shed their leather upholstery. With a kitchen/dining room renovation on the horizon, I can’t bring myself to replace these otherwise perfectly good chairs, so I made slipcovers.

DR Chair slipcover

Not wanting to spend much money, I couldn’t find any oil cloth or upholstery fabric that I liked. However, white denim remnants were a great deal at the Mill Ends store. Of course white would stain quickly in a dining room so I needed to do something to the denim. I considered dyeing each slipcover a different color, but then, inspired by the designs of Timorous Beasties, figured I’d try painting them in colors based on my collection of Bauer pottery.

Eventually we’ll do a big kitchen remodel, but in the meantime the space is clean and now light and pleasant to live in for the near future.

 

29 Jan

Fugly Friday

Fugly Lamps

Seen together, these light fixtures are almost NOT Fugly. However, in context, I know we can do much better. The pendant lamp hangs over our dining table, and in combination with the other lights the previous owners had in the space it was really ugly (see photo below of the kitchen end of the room with the old lights). Now, with the simplified scheme we’ve had installed, I can almost live with this. The horizontal lights are in the bathrooms and will eventually be replaced with something more streamlined.

Kit Before 2

More about our kitchen/dining room transformation tomorrow.

27 Jan

Knit Night

Robin’s Friend Shawl was the hardest to choose. She’s a quiet, searching spirit. Her quilts are warm, rich colors that glow, and her personal style seems a bit bohemian. A simple color gradient didn’t feel right. One day when I was working at a fiber festival for Elisabeth, I spotted a unique Mega Skein that had more colors than usual and a natural warmth that reminded me of Robin. I snatched it up as part of my payment, happy that not only were the colors interesting, but it would give me the chance to make something with a new (to me) sized skein.

Robin Scarf 2

I knit this scarf as we drove across country from Virginia to our new home in Oregon. It pleased me to no end to see the colors of the yarn reflect the scenery as we drove — from the lush blues and greens of the Blue Ridge, through scrubby high desert, and then to red mesas and finally reddish pines and a blue river.

 

Robin Scarf 1

The pattern is The Way From Brighton. I chose it because of the funky bobble fringe and the simple striped ridges that would show off the color changes.

 

Robin Scarf 3

I had to guesstimate the size and cast-on because I had more yardage than the pattern called for and a thinner yarn. As I knit, I feared that I would get to the end before making it through all of the colors in the yarn, so I cut out sections as I went. Of course, as Murphy’s Law would have it, I ran out of yarn before I got to the end, so I ended up splicing back in some of the yarn I took out. I like how it turned out though because it gave me the chance to bring the blue to both ends of the scarf and give it a sort of symetry.

 

Robin Scarf 4

My Ravelry notes are here.

25 Jan

Portland SAQA Outing

The Portland chapter, or pod, of Studio Art Quilt Associates (to which I belong) is well attended and very active. Back in November or so, the group arranged to meet at the Portland Art Museum for a docent led tour of the Seeing Nature exhibit. It was great to get out of the routine of meeting in community center rooms and surround ourselves with inspirational art. It was even better to hear insight and connections from our well practiced docent. I highly recommend that groups similar to ours look to their local museum(s) and schedule a group tour once in a while. It’s inspiring and a fun change from the usual. I look forward to the next time Portland SAQA does this again.

Portland Museum 3

Portland Museum 4

 

I loved the way people’s outfits were matching the varied artworks!

 

Portland Museum 5

Portland Museum 7

 

A small painting by Klimt was reproduced writ large on a stairwell window. I think it looks even better than the original.

Portland Museum 6

 

Terry, Gerrie, Suzie and I took a little extra time to check out the Paradise, Fallen Fruit exhibit. It looked chaotic and “too much” at first, but once we realized that each wall had a unifying theme, then we started to draw connections between the individual works and the chaos became a conversation. It was very different, and quite interesting.

Portland Museum 2

 

This wall reminded me of the work of Kehinde Wiley. Mostly, I think it’s the pattern and color.

Portland Museum 1

22 Jan

Fugly Friday

Some of our home improvement projects are too boring to blog about. You don’t really want to see our backup battery for the sump pump do you? Painting a white ceiling white? Nope.  Light switches moved to make more sense? Not so blog-worthy (or photogenic).

But then other projects are so horrible, they just might be good. So, I’m going to experiment with “Fugly Friday” for a bit.

My first Fugly photo is this one which could be inspiration for a minimalist quilt, yes?

Fugly Deck 1

 

When we bought our house, the deck was 30 years old and rotting in many spots. We negotiated price so that the sellers wouldn’t try a quick fix and we could use the money to just start over. In the mean time though, the inspector wanted the sellers to paint the deck. They painted it, but they didn’t move the piles of door mats or extra wood. Nor did they remove the bird feeders for painting or bother with the spindles. Matching the existing paint? Didn’t even try! This has got to be the F’ing Ugliest paint job, and maybe deck, ever.

Fugly Deck 2

The good news is that as of last week, this deck has been removed and construction of a new, not at all ugly, deck has begun.

20 Jan

Knit Night

My third friend scarf was for Deborah.

Deborah loves green and purple together (who doesn’t?), so of course I had to use these colors for her scarf. That meant I had to wait for Elisabeth to make a purple and green combination. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait very long as her May color combo fit the bill.

Deb Scarf 2

For Deborah, I wanted a fresh and light scarf. Lacey but not too sweet. Brickless had the right amount of texture and variation and, to me looks great casually wrapped around the neck.

 

Deb Scarf 3  I knit this project to and from our family reunion trip to California, on planes and in our hotel lobby accompanied by a school of koi.

 

Deb Scarf 1

My Ravelry project page for this is here.

13 Jan

Knit Night

Friend Scarf number two was for Vivien.

Vivien’s style strikes me as classic simplicity. She wears plenty of color, but they never look childish or cheap. They look summery and happy. For her, I needed a neutral with a pop of fun color. Vivien is a dog person, but Feline and Saphire seemed like a good color combination for her.

I knit this scarf through many, many of my daughter’s bass lessons. It also went with me to North Carolina to install my Homefront & Downrange show.Knitting bass

 

As for patterns, I loved knitting Leftie for my mom and was itching to make another in new colors. (The original pattern calls for a plain background and different colored leaves, but I think it looks fantastic with an ombre background and contrasting leaves.) Simple but fun, I thought it would match Vivien’s style well.

Viv Scarf 1

 

My project notes are here on Ravelry.

Viv Scarf 2