Sunday, March 20, 2016

Already Bored of Retirement, the Insomniac Gets a Job

It was inevitable that eventually one would grow tired of knitting. And when family and friends cease to visit for fear of having another pair of socks or mittens surreptitiously slipped inside their coat pockets as they're departing, it seems now might be a good time to set aside the needles and start thinking about decorating the Little Gothic Cottage properly. One could  spend her seemingly endless amount of free time cleaning, but as she already dusted and eliminated the majority of cobwebs well over a month ago now, feels it unnecessary to repeat the experience until at least the winter of 2017.

It may come as a surprise to learn that other than one burgundy sitting room and one royal purple guest bath, the majority of the walls in the Little Gothic Cottage are still painted Lancaster Whitewash. Except for the ones painted Kendall Charcoal, a colour which is slowly creeping from one wall to the next, helping relieve the monotony of endless white walls without having to commit to a decision on a final colour scheme for the cottage.

When this bookcase was discovered in an antique mall recently, at 25% off an already reasonable price, it seemed an ideal solution to the problem of the ten unpacked boxes of art and home decor books in the basement, still needing to find someplace to live other than inside a box.

But when one makes the poorly thought-out decision to bring a new piece of furniture into an already full cottage, things invariably need rearranging. As it happens, the only available wall that could accommodate the piece was next to the first piece of furniture the insomniac's  father made for her when she vacated the parental home many decades ago. Forty-three years later it needs refinishing but first, all the books need to be removed from the shelves so they can be stored on the guest bathroom floor until the proper wood stain is procured and the drop-cloth located in the basement.

Luckily there are three bathrooms in the Little Gothic Cottage so there's no great rush.


An emptied bookshelf provides the perfect opportunity to paint behind it, but before a person can decide exactly what that paint colour should be, it's also likely she'll decide it's high time to wallpaper behind the fireplace since paint and wallpaper will need to complement one another.

Endless hours will be spent online searching for the perfect Wm. Morris wallpaper before discovering Blackthorn in the perfect colourway of black, teal, grey and burgundy. But at £148 per roll, one would need to sell at least one, if not both, of her offspring to pay for it.

She would also need to need to win a 1930's Everything you Need to Know about Hanging Wallpaper booklet off eBay to refresh her memory as to how unpasted wallpaper is hung, as she may have forgotten a few important details since taking a course on the subject over a quarter of a century ago.


So until such time as one can procure a decent price for her first-born or her next pension cheque arrives - whichever comes first - all of these projects have been set aside for the time being.

Fortunately the insomniac  did win the book, as it's practically a certainty she would, of course, have been facing the wrong way when hanging the wallpaper. Hopefully her beret and bow-tie are still packed in with her painting clothes so she won't need to run out and buy replacements, causing further delays once the wallpaper is finally ordered.


To keep herself occupied until all the pieces of the wallpapering project eventually come together, she started making a pillow from half of a beaded tea cozy, but soon put it aside when the sound of microscopic beads flying off in all directions as she was sewing began to get on her nerves.


Turning her attention to a small cabinet also recently purchased, she proceeded to scrape off pieces of paint with her favourite tool - Grandpa Smith's old kitchen knife, which has been sharpened so many times the blade is paper thin and sharp as a ... um ... knife. The cabinet is now being used to store sewing trims, despite labels clearly indicating it was meant to store Electrical &c.

Grandpa's knife is also perfect for releasing muffins from their muffin tin, making it important to remember to wash it thoroughly before putting it away in the kitchen drawer.


Being a different wood than the drawers, the cabinet top didn't take the stain as well as originally hoped and might eventually be painted black to match the wooden drawer pulls. Covered with a few decorative pieces, it doesn't look half bad and will probably end up staying exactly as is - and not because one hasn't a clue where to find the black paint either.


Another massive  project recently undertaken was the relocation of a burgundy floor lamp from the burgundy room, where it all but disappeared into the wall colour, into the grey room, where it displays a bit better. The light hasn't worked since it came out of storage seventeen months ago and needs rewiring. The tiny half-moon table was moved downstairs from the guest bedroom and, once the light is fixed, that end of the sofa will be a perfect spot for drinking tea and daydreaming about future decorating plans in front of the fire. And perhaps knit.

The addition of those two items and the subsequent moving of the sofa have now caused Ophelia to hang completely off-centre, and a new hole will need hammering into the wall to set things right. If a person is going to move a sofa, rehang a picture and patch a nail hole then, while the area is clear of furniture, they might as well add a black glaze overtop the grey wall to darken things up a bit, possibly extending it around the corner and eliminating one more white wall while they're at it.

Ophelia really doesn't look right above the sofa though - the colours, if not the subject matter, are too bright. It's likely she'll be moving into the master bathroom on the last remaining piece of bare wall that will accommodate a picture that size. Of course, one will then need to find something else to hang in her place. It just never ends, does it?


But since we're here, that beige lampshade really needs to go, and while in the basement rummaging around for the drop-cloth the insomniac  ran across this half-finished shade which should do the job nicely. This particular project has been “in progress” for roughly ten years already ... these things take time, you understand.


Before she could decide which project to tackle next, the insomniac  got a text from one of the owners of the Rockyview Hotel asking for her help in redecorating the entire second floor, currently under renovation. And how excited was she - not only for a legitimate excuse to drop all thoughts of actually starting any of her own projects, but also to find out each room in the hotel is to have its own theme. Which she already started thinking about and has a few suggestions based on local history, and sure to be a huge success with visitors from around the world: 

  • The Mad Trapper Room - decorated in the style of a log cabin occupied by a solitary trapper. Obviously, this room needs a lot of taxidermy to make it work. Eventually the poor fellow goes off the deep end after enduring one too many brutally cold Canadian winters.
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  • The Pioneer Room - decorated in the style of a single-room prairie sod hut, occupied by a family of ten plus their animals. Eventually they all go off the deep end after enduring one too many brutally cold Canadian winters.
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  • The Woman in Black Room - decorated in a Victorian style similar to Eel Marsh House in the movie of the same name. Comes complete with a ghost who will ensure any guest who chooses to stay in the room is likely to go off the deep end.

The themes have yet to be finalized with the owners, so one fully expects there will be minor changes before her work commences, but definitely feels she has a firm grip on the decorating style they're both envisioning.


The insomniac - having been a solo decorator up until now, unless you count the handful of times she's asked the long-suffering spouse's opinion on something while exiting the room before the poor man has a chance to even open his mouth - imagines she'll find working with others whose opinion she actually needs to take into consideration will be a novel experience. As will toning down her natural inclination to paint everything black, grey or burgundy. Or having to design an environment which doesn't encourage the growth of cobwebs. And is safe for vacationing families. Speaking of which, does anyone happen to know where to find the regulations on clearances for hanging antler mounts to avoid having guests accidentally take out an eye?

As for her own projects ... well, there's always next year. Probably take that long to find the silly drop-cloth and black paint anyways.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA


PostScript: In all seriousness, the insomniac  would like to express her gratitude to JJ and Sheldon for trusting she has the good sense not to decorate their hotel in the “William Morris meets the Munsters” style employed in her own home, and has unilaterally decided the “Buffalo Bill meets the Addams Family” style is far more appropriate for such an historic structure. She's quite sure you'll both be thrilled with the outcome.

48 comments:

  1. "The Woman in Black Room? With its own ghost? Where do I sign?" :D
    Glad to hear you are doing well. Although a tad bored, I gather.

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    1. I'll send you an invite when that particular room is finished, shall I? LOL

      You know how they say “Be careful what you wish for?” Well, I'm certainly not bored any more, Variations on Light. Now I don't seem to have enough hours in the day to get everything done!

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  2. Selling an offspring at a decent price is difficult business. I'm not sure why. I mean, they have all of their own teeth and everything. And would even help around the house, if one nags enough. But for some reason no one wants to pay what the are worth. Maybe we should start thinking about selling them by pieces. I bet an eyeball would make you enough to buy some black paint.

    I can't wait to see pictures of the hotel. You're sharing pictures, right?

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    1. I had no idea it was so tough to sell a child, Magaly! Maybe I need to come up with a Plan B then. I suppose I could let them off the hook - now that I'm getting a paycheque, I suppose I could use some of that to buy black paint instead of making one of them sell an eyeball. ;)

      You bet I'm sharing pictures! You will be sick and tired of all the pictures by the time this project is finished. LOL

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  3. Congrats on the new job -- very exciting! I checked out the Rockyview Hotel's website and wow! Cochrane is a happening place! My Rare One and I must come and check it out sometime! I like your preliminary ideas for the hotel room themes -- much classier and more authentically Canadian than West Edmonton Mall's cheesy Fantasyland Hotel! I want to stay in the Trapper Room already!

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    1. Thank you, Debra! Cochrane IS a happening place - if you and the Rare One decide to come down for a visit, you really must come for Thursday Night Karaoke. I think the Trapper Room is going to be one of my personal favourites ... followed closely by the High Victorian Room, and - oh, never mind. I think I'm going to love them all, and I'm very excited to be able to decorate in a whole whack of different styles!

      I've never stayed in any of the theme rooms in the West Edmonton Mall, but I've seen pictures. Sadly, you just can't unsee some of that stuff. **shudders**

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  4. Golly! What a busy "retirement". Sounds like a wonderful opportunity for your creativity. Love the photos.

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    1. I like to have long spurts of extremely busy, followed closely by equally long spurts of total lethargy, Fran. I'm not as young as I used to be - yesterday after painting for six hours I didn't think I was going to be able to get up off the floor! LOL

      Thank you! :D

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  5. A dream job. I would love to land a job like that. I can be very very persuasive when it comes to why certain items NEED to be in certain place, not to mention that, like you, I have oodles of experience with theme rooms. Each of the 7 rooms and two baths in my own home each have their very own theme. I hope you will share pictures. Not that I will steal any ideas..... Your furniture pics are wonderful. I would leave the top on that chest that did not take the stain well just as it is. It fits your room perfectly I think. Congrats on the job and enjoy!

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    1. I feel so. very. lucky. If you'd have told me I'd ever be fortunate enough to land a job like this, I'd never have believed you in a million years, Debbi. I cannot say it enough - I feel so. very. lucky. Now I just have to hope I can do it justice. And I will share pictures. Scads and scads of pictures. Too bad you're not on Instagram - you could see one of the crew giving me the middle finger salute! LOL

      It's funny, but I've never really done themes in my own home - it's always been one big theme for the whole house. Probably why I'm having such difficulty decorating the LGC - I can't pick a damn theme! Also because I know I can only afford to do it once so I have to make good choices. I'd like to see pictures of your house one day. :)

      The more I look at it, the more I like the chest the way it is. There's so much painted furniture around these days, I think I may be getting tired of it. May I say how much I'm enjoying your latest batch of pictures on FB these days? Very beautiful. :)

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  6. Ah, the neverending project chain! After six years of project-hopping, I am forcing myself to focus on one room until it's completed. It is VERY DIFFICULT.

    Congrats on the job! How exciting! :D I can't wait to see "Buffalo Bill meets the Addams Family."

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    1. It is difficult sticking to one project! But I feel like when I have ten things on the go, I do much better at all of them. Today I sewed a buffalo plaid pillow for the hotel, and brought up an oil painting of mountains that used to belong to my parents and put it above our sofa. I was almost going to sell it because I thought I was so not a scenery painting kind of gal. Turns out it actually looks pretty good. And this is why I'm having trouble decorating the cottage - it's such a mishmash of styles I'm confusing even myself. ;)

      Oh, I'm going to have to tone it down, Bane - likely more Buffalo Bill than Addams Family. Still, we're in complete agreement there needs to be taxidermy. :D

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  7. Buffalo Bill meets the Addams Family! You are genius! To help the imagination of such an energetic soul, may I suggest a journal of thoughts / references with map. Hoe how you keep track of all this is wonderous to me! Bravo! no Cobweb's in that balcony!
    Just a suggestion, from mouse poop Ontario, bring Ophelia down closer to couch....antlers hung high! Hat toss height!
    xoDebi

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    1. Thank you, Debi! I have finally learned how to use the Notes feature on my phone because I cannot keep track of what plumbing to order, which lights are going in which room, what tile, etc. etc. without writing it down somewhere! There are definitely a whole whack of cobwebs in my balcony. ;)

      Ophelia went downstairs today and an old oil painting belong to my parents came upstairs to replace her. It's much taller and hangs closer to the couch. I may not love the picture as much as poor Ophelia, but the size is definitely much better.

      It's only eight foot ceilings in the hotel - I may have to use very tiny antlers to avoid wounding guests! LOL

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  8. The way I see it, this is both a challenge and a golden opportunity for you. I'm excited for you. Good luck!

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    1. A challenge definitely! A golden opportunity - I can only hope. Thank you, Nightwind!

      I'm sorry I've been remiss in emailing you back about your story. I absolutely LOVED it. Well done! Your next collection will be amazing. :)

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  9. So many projects! If only I had so many people objets d'art in my house! One day! Sigh!

    Ahhh the hotel will be wonderful!

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    1. One day you will, I just know it! Baby steps - it takes a lot of years to accumulate this much stuff. :D

      Oh, I hope so, Laura - I'm nervous.

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  10. Such pretty things! As you know I can't stand white walls, but I really like your gray walls, they kind of look like mine :) I wish I had enough rooms to make one burgundy and one royal purple one, but alas.
    Good luck with your new job!

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    1. I'm really fond of grey these days, Ms. Misantropia - but I need to stop before the house starts looking like a cave. Actually, the royal purple bathroom didn't turn out that well - I'm going to repaint it at some point, once I can make a definite decision about a colour! LOL

      Thank you! :D

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  11. So I would really like to book a night in the Woman in Black room. I definitely might go off the deep end but it sounds like it would be worth it. :)

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    1. I'll let you know when it's ready Mary, shall I? LOL

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  12. First and foremost, I am so sorry for being late to the party! Sheeze, I've been busy with mid-semester papers and grading, and a whole bunch of soul searching, as you know. I've also been spending way too much time on FB and politics than here on blogger reading my pal's blogs. BOOO! Bad Professor! BOOOOO!

    Secondly, WAHOO! Congrats on the job! I'm really excited to hear all about it, so I hope you'll share it with us. I second Mary Mourning's statement: I would love to stay in the Woman in Black room.

    Thirdly, it seems like everyone is taking a good, hard look at their homes/living spaces and cleaning or redecorating. It must be the Spring Cleaning bug. Ed and I are taking this weekend to rearrange our space, get rid of some stuff, and renegotiate the office space we share. I've decided that I'm sick of the Tuscan Gold that I seem to ALWAYS paint my living room/dining room. Perhaps the next apartment or house will have a different paint theme? Who knows.

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    1. And I apologize for the lateness in answering your comment, Franny - we were without internet for a few days and it cost $178 to have the tech come out and “adjust” the satellite dish - which took him all of three minutes. Anyway, don't worry about being late - I'm just glad you're here! :)

      Thank you! I'm really excited too, and a bit nervous. Already the decor in two of the rooms have substantial amounts of black, and even though it's been approved by the owner, I just hope I'm not influencing her decision by bringing in such beautiful fabric pieces from my own personal stash which, obviously, are predominantly black. :)

      I have so many things I'd like to do around here. Just today, I brought up one of two old oil paintings of mountains that belonged to my parents. When my mum passed, I stored them and never in a million years thought I'd ever hang them as they're definitely not my style. But I couldn't seem to part with them either, and I'm beyond thrilled to discover I actually love it above the sofa far more than I ever did Ophelia! And I thought I'd never paint anything burgundy again when we moved in here, but I guess I'll never grow tired of that particular colour - that and Kendall Charcoal. Maybe you'll do your next place in a Nordic style - that would suit a minimalist lifestyle. I envy your ability to get to that point - I just keep collecting and collecting and collecting. I can't seem to help myself. Thrill of the hunt and all that. ;)

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  13. laughing tears at the roundabout of unfinished chore, themed hotel rooms, so much fun potential, can't remember if it was in a Budget Living or Pad book, a couple had decorated their Victorian house with darkly humored rooms, stenciling "shadow" of fence on wall, red carpet "pooling" at foot of stairwell, crow weather vane, etc, Farrow and Ball have some delicious dark colors, used Black Blue in boy child's room, Railings on railings and stair risers, wishing you great fun and success

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    1. I think that's one of the reasons I've put off really decorating our place tess, because I know exactly what happens when you start on just one thing - it snowballs!

      That sounds so cool - I wonder if I Google it if I'd be able to find that couple's house. Sounds like the perfect place for some ideas! LOL

      I've seen Farrow & Ball paint in the UK magazines but I'm not sure I can even buy it up here. I must investigate that as well - Black Blue sounds pretty delightful! Thank you for the well wishes ... I'm already having a blast. ♥

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  14. poked around a little, Peacock House link
    http://hauntstyle.blogspot.com/2007/01/living-in-haunted-house.html

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    1. Oh my goodness - that's absolutely delightful, and they did it so economically too! I especially love that carpet. ;)

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  15. sorry for doubling comment, also thought of Canadian filmmaker, Guy Madden, inspiration for trippy decor, see "Saddest Music in the World" for beer baron decor, other magical films, love them, also Restoration Hardware & others sell faux fur throws

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    1. I'll definitely check out Saddest Music in the World - beer baron decor sounds right up my alley, tess. ;)

      I saw some faux fur throws at Pier One the other day too, and they're all on sale because spring is coming! Haha. As if.

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  16. So happy for you! Sounds like the perfect job/project for your talents! Plus, as a fellow retiree, I know how important such challenges can be to keep us sane! The Rockview Hotel is about to be put on the map of essential places to stay if I ever get up and over that way.

    Really like your cabinet although the different type of wood for the top would drive me nuts. There are ways around that but basically you would have had to catch the problem before staining the drawers. Your solution though sounds just as good. Black top would be awesome against the stain you used. Are those the original handles? Very unique.

    Excited to see the progress on your new decorating job! Congrats Lynne!

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    1. I hope at the end of it all the owners feel I was the perfect choice too, Mark! I never thought I'd get bored of retirement so quickly, but I also never thought such a dream job would come my way either. Probably would have been a whole different story if I'd been offered another retail job. ;) And if you get up here (in summer, when it's slightly warmer) you should totally come stay at the hotel!

      I didn't stain the drawers as they were covered in veneer, which has started to chip off in a lot of spots. I was kind of scared to touch them other than clean them up a bit. Knowing how long it takes me to get around to a project, the top will probably stay as it is for quite a while before I make the decision whether to paint it black or not. Although it would look really good with those handles, which are original ... aren't they cool? :)

      I'll be sharing pictures of the rooms as they're done - I hope the crew took some 'before' pictures of the two that were started before I came on the scene. I always love seeing the comparison of a good before and after picture. And thank you - I'm pretty darned excited about it all too! :)

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  17. This blog reads like the childs book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" only I would like to change to title to "If the insomniac buys herself a shelf..." Love the old Lampshade project and the beaded pillow. Hope you did not get a micro bead in the eye. The folks at the Rocky view Hotel have no idea what a gem they have uncovered. Can't wait to see the rooms. Gotta love decorating themes based around characters who all go mad!!! Where is this hotel?

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    1. OMG, I remember that story! I can't quite remember if it was the eldest or the youngest who wanted it read at bedtime every night for roughly four years straight though. ;)

      The spouse has indicated, after reading this post, that he does not care for the new lampshade in the slightest, so that project's been scrapped unless I can find a different base. When he does voice an opinion, I do TRY to listen even when I know he's wrong. LOL

      I think the folks at the Rockyview (Cochrane, Alberta) have no idea what they've uncovered, lady M ... some might not consider me a gem, but aren't you sweet for thinking it! I'm glad you love the themes. It's going to take some time before the rooms are completed, being the perfectionist I am, but I'll definitely be sharing pictures. And maybe I'll 'flesh out' the stories to go with the rooms a little bit, too. ;)

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  18. Congratulations on the new project with the Hotel! It sounds amazing and will be really interesting to see how it look when finished!

    P.S. I read your comment about the Krampus pillow and decided to send you email about the matter. So check your spam box, if my email is not showing up! ^_^

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    1. Haha, thanks Jade! I'll be interested to see what it ends up looking like when it's finished too! LOL

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  19. Congrats on the job! I suggest you spend the first paycheque on that posh wallpaper for the Cottage!

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    1. Thank you, Ali! And no money left over for the wallpaper so far. Having been on the hunt for antiques to decorate the rooms with, it probably goes without saying I've managed to find a few for our own house in the process. One for the hotel, one for me; one for the hotel, two for me ... The best job in the whole world and probably the worst, for a “collector” like me who now has a paycheque in her pocket just itching to be spent. ;)

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  20. Ohhh... Buffalo Bill meets the Addams Family, I'm totally diggin' it of coarse! *winks* Our New Villa Boheme' has been toned down slightly as well, I haven't painted everything Black, Grey or Blood Red... Imagine that! I'm rather in Love now with the majority of the New Home's Lovely shade of Tuscan Sepia on almost every wall, which reminds me of an Old Aged Photograph. You made me Smile with how you flitted from Project to Project, now I am relieved to know I'm not the only one with such ADHD Decorating and Project tendencies. *LOL* And everyone going off the deep end as a cohesive Theme, I'm really feeling that... may have to make a Road Trip to Canada one day to experience it firsthand... but wait, we're all already off the deep end so perhaps it would have a reverse effect upon us? *winks* Happy Spring... Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. I think your new place looks great ... I've always been very fond of black and sepia tones and actually considered that look for the LGC. But that would have meant recovering all the burgundy furniture which was definitely not in the budget, I'm afraid.

      Flitting from project to project ... yup, that's me for sure! Happiest when I have about twenty different irons in the fire, never finishing any of them unless I'm particularly excited about it (or getting paid to finish them). I consider it a major accomplishment that I finally figured out what to replace Ophelia with last week - an old oil painting of mountains that used to hang in my parents house, of all things. ;)

      Happy Spring to you, Dawn! Please come to Canada and stay in one of the rooms so we can test out your theory. LOL

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  21. I remember reading this, and could have sworn I'd commented already.
    I'm clearly wrong, and will, in future, keep the swearing to a minimum.

    I am (as always) insired by your creativeness. *goes in search of furniture to reupholster*

    So glad you won the wallpapering book and am excited at the prospect of seeing some William Morris wallpaper in a future post.

    Grandma's knife sure is handy. That desk is blooming gorgeous!

    I hope all is well with you, in that beautiful Gothic home of yours xx

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    1. Oh, and congratulations on your job, it sounds so perfect for you! ♥

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    2. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who does that, Yvonne! And feel free to swear as much as you like - you're in good company here. ;)

      I'm pretty excited to learn how to reupholster myself, but maybe you should talk to me in a few months after I've actually attempted one - I might have changed my mind. I must try and remember to set aside at least one paycheque for that wallpaper - trouble is, I'm around so many antiques these days that I just keep bringing more upholstery 'projects' home for myself instead of buying it! Isn't that little desk gorgeous? I fell in love instantly, and was compelled to spend my very first pension cheque on it. I think the government means for pension cheques to be used on food and other necessities, so I feel the desk was a very wise use of my money! LOL

      Things are good here and I'm loving the new job - hopefully, I'll stay on a decorating roll and will actually get around to finishing our house once the job is over! It's so nice to have you back in blogland AND on Instagram! ♥

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  22. Holy f*cking batshit that is a lot of things happening at the same time :-O don't put too much stress on yourself!

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    1. I seem to enjoy having a plate that is filled to overflowing, Ramona - never happier than when I have so many things to do, I don't know where to start. But I promise I won't get too stressed! :D

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  23. I need more of your dark humorous posts my Friend... I really do! Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. I hope to write something new soon, Dawn! Not only has it been crazy busy with the new job, but the FIL just recently passed so it's been hectic. I'm so far behind on everyone's blog posts etc., I feel like I may never catch up. Hope all is well with you and your family. ♥

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