Re-making Vintage Prams & Strollers Part I: a Hedstrom Bassinet/Carrycot

This is something I haven’t really found anyone else writing about: re-making/re-covering/re-upholstering old prams.  Although in researching them I’ve found some bloggers using older prams for their kids I haven’t seen anyone take one apart to revamp it with new fabrics.  That kind of surprises me!  Today I’ll talk about the first pram that I re-made, and then I’ll be posting about an ongoing project that I’m excited about.  The new project is unfortunately going to be subjected to delays thanks to lack of materials on hand and the impending arrival of Mini.  (She was due this past Saturday and is being evicted one way or another before this weekend.  While I’m very excited I’m also worried about ever finishing the newest pram!)

Prams and strollers/pushchairs, vintage or not, weren’t on my radar until I spotted an old Hedstrom in one of my favourite thrift stores a few years ago.  I didn’t need it.  I hadn’t known I wanted it, but once I found it; I did.  😀  Sure, I hesitated while the more sane part of my brain tried to win, but I kept pushing around the store as I browsed, it was only something like $10, and soon it was going home with me in hopes that we’d be making use of it some day.  I just liked how it looked, all metal and old fashioned, and I thought it seemed practical with the detachable bassinet and gentle rocking motion.  The fabric wasn’t so lovely and a bit crumbly, but I knew I could either clean or fix it up.  Once home the frame polished up nicely, and I began Googling old prams.  Right away I decided on using linen to re-make the bassinet, because I just didn’t like the knit navy fabric very well or expect it to last much longer.

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It was very difficult to select a fabric.  A somewhat lime green was my favourite option with a fairly muted red next in line.  Dusty shades of pink, green, and blue were runners up.  On the one hand I wanted to use a fun colour, but on the other I was afraid to have it clash with my outfit too often and also deferred to L’s preference and used the dull khaki green.  I still have the lime yardage and wish I’d used it instead, because it would have been a much more dramatic change and look, and this has influenced my choices for the new pram project.

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Anyway, I have very few photos on hand from re-vamping the Hedstrom.  I tore it apart completely and jumped in with creating a pattern from the old pieces and re-builidng as best I could.  I had to replace the rivets with bolts and cap screw things, and sadly I didn’t make a matching cover to snap on, although I did include the snaps on the body to attach one.  I’m not sure what happened to the remaining fabric to make the cover.  😦  Everything was replaced except the frames and supports.  I used a fancy vinyl inside and to cover the mattress board.  The mattress support has a portion that snaps up into a seated position, which is nifty, and I made a mattress cover and pillow to match with the same green ticking striped cotton as the hood lining.  I was fairly pleased with how it all turned out.

Here are some recent shots:

Since then I’ve seen other similar prams, and I realised that I was missing more than the weather cover.  Technically the Hedstrom was complete aside from the weather cover, but plenty of other similar prams had seat attachments to turn them into strollers.  Shoot.  That’s far more useful!  Some brands and models are prettier, like the curvaceous and velvety Herlag brand I’ve only spotted rarely, some are boxy and less appealing to me, and some have a bit of a following like Emmaljunga’s “Viking” model.  As with most things like this I became a little obsessed, collected a few strollers, and still ended up crossing the river and a state line to pick up an early ’90s Viking frame, bassinet, and stroller seat set after seeing a particular listing on Craigslist forever at a steal of a price.  (I just couldn’t ignore it and let it go.)

Not the best Herlag example, but I saw a shiny one just like it but in better condition that really looked amazing with the curves:

Oh wait, here is another swiped photo but of the shiny one:

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I took these photos from an eBay listing.  If only I had unlimited funds and space I’d probably get a Herlag too… polished up it would be soooooo gorgeous!  *sigh*  This brand is by far the most elegant in my opinion, and I wish I could trade the Hedstrom for one.  The corduroy inspired me to use velvet for the Emmaljunga to get a similarly rich look if not the elegance.

Emmaljunga’s Viking is the only somewhat popular old stroller people are using out there, as far as I can tell, aside from hard-bodied varieties like Silver Cross.  They came in navy blue most frequently and sometimes forest green or bright red all with white vinyl accents.  Other models had some funky fabric and vinyl options especially in the ’80s.  While you can still buy new hard-bodied prams that look old the soft upholstered kind turned into a modern take before 2000, and it seems that Scandinavians were the last to do upholstered prams that would pass as more vintage to most eyes.  (Emmaljunga is Swedish, and more common to find, but Simo is a similar Norwegian brand with a few American strollers out there from the ’90s too.)

Here is sneak peek preview of the Viking project…  I made a lot of progress today and should complete the stroller half tomorrow.  The bassinet portion will be on hold indefinitely, which sucks, but I don’t have the time or fabric for it now.  Also, I’d banked on using a $15 “donor” seat and bassinet set in order to save and use the red whenever it suited my fancy, but that fell through.  😦  The carrycot is in better condition, so I can’t bear to take it apart aside from the time and materials dilemma.  Either I’ll never end up making the matching bassinet that I envision or it’ll be with a suitable one in poor condition later.  *Sigh*  It was going to be gorgeous.  So, hopefully I’ll get to write after I’m done tomorrow but for now here is the original red stroller and the fabric I’ve used to re-make it:

I do feel terrible about ruining the original red set.  Gah!  All I can tell myself, and you, is that the stroller seat/hood part of the set was somewhat ratty up close… even with a spot or two worn right through.  It was still super cute though, and original!  And I had a red and pink Haba stroller toy thing that matched it so well, and a quilted seat pad too…  Gah!!!  I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for a replacement if I can ever happen upon one.  (The hood portion is all that I really need if anyone out there has one for some reason.  Well, the bassinet too if I want to re-cover one some day.  Anyway…)

A Mobile for Baby

Today I was supposed to work on the rocking chair.  (It has been stripped another time, sanded, and dragged up into the house.)  I was going to tear off more upholstery, sand a little again, stain, and clear coat it, but I guess that isn’t what I really felt like doing with the day after all.  Instead I spent the entire afternoon making a mobile!  I really didn’t expect it to take so long.

finished baby mobile

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The other day I spent far too much time in the craft store selecting items that might make a nice and somewhat eye catching dangly thing for the baby to gaze at from her crib.  For months I’d had a vague idea to make a mobile after seeing a few cute ones at Pottery Barn Kids or someplace, but the idea was very hazy.  Googling gave too much inspiration.  I suppose I meant to sew little things our of linen scraps, but in the store I saw sea urchin shells with a hint of purple, and I knew I had to use them.  Then I went to the bead section and chose a bunch of interesting white ceramic and glass beads.  As for the hanger part there were so many directions to go with.  I grabbed a foam wreath form to wrap with strips of pale grey linen, a wire ring for a second tier, and then spotted a galvanised plate that I really liked.  Hmmm.  There were other forms that I decided against or I could have used sticks or driftwood, but I had a feeling that I’d go with the platter.  I just hoped it wouldn’t look odd to have used a plate.   😀

Supplies:

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…and a close-up of the beads:

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I used a ruler, grid, and marker to evenly space marks for punching holes.

Then I spent a long time stringing things onto jute cord.

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It doesn’t really show, but the strings of beads at the top are a pretty iridescent purple:

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Part I: Reupholstering & Refinishing a Rocking Chair

Today I meant to write about the nursery dresser restoration, but I’m very close to completing it and should wait until I have final photos.  The most important task of the day is to clear coat it, but I can never be sure when I’ll get to write the post.  So, I’m here this morning  with my next-ish project for a Before…

For a few months I’ve thought about getting a new (but fairly ugly and stupidly expensive) glider, reupholstering a small recliner (that I have waiting in a state of sad neglect,) or nabbing a (cheap, used) rocking chair.  I hated the idea of purchasing a new glider since they aren’t very attractive, cost a lot, and don’t meet my usual quality criteria.  A couple display models have been persuadingly comfortable though, and we began to seriously consider going for one.  Another annoyance with those is that it seems you must order in advance, and the few I’d liked (in the sitting test) were not available without a trip to inconveniently located stores.  Given my hesitancy I don’t know how likely it is that we’d deal with that in time?  Meanwhile I saw a very nice old rocking chair at a local sale.  The wooden frame was gorgeous and very compact, it was cheap at $15, and I was able to convince L that reupholstering would make a world of difference (and was simple thanks to the design)… then it turned out to have already been sold.  I would have snapped a photo but didn’t.  :Sigh:  Besides this I do have a comfortable and small recliner from a thrift store years ago.  I even reupholstered it once.  It could work out pretty nicely with better fabric, but I’d need to buy some for it and deal with the complicated shapes and sewing involved.  Most recently I was leaning toward doing this although L was suggesting a glider.  I still browsed CL, thrift stores, and ReStore but never felt like actually purchasing any of the many rocking chairs I found.

Then I was chatting with a friend about organising, and it came up that she had a “really cool rocking chair” from when her son was a baby, and she lit up with the idea that I might want it although it needed $1k of reupholstering.  Not a problem, I can tackle that myself!  A couple of days later she sent me a few photos, and yes!  I did want it.  She’d tried describing it, and I had imagined and Googled, but I’d never come up with the actual design or anything close:

I’m not sure what to call the style at all.  ???  I think it is pretty darned neat though, and I love having a nice backstory, so I’m excited to get it.  Hopefully that will be soon although I’m trying to be patient considering that I have painting and things that ought to be done first anyway.

The excitement of a new project has all of the fabric and refinishing options constantly on my mind regardless.  She said her cat had peed on it, but I wondered for a moment if I could save the leather (assuming it isn’t vinyl) or somehow manage to re-do it with a gorgeous new hide.  (Yeah, not likely given how much is needed and the unknowns of working with thick leather for the first time.)  Then I pondered upholstery fabrics and prices until I remembered that I have some on hand that may work too.  The most economical new fabric would be “Warsaw” linen from Grayline, which is what I used for our sofa (in wheat, I believe.)  It would look good, I think, but if I’m realistic then something a little heavier and more forgiving would be more ideal to work with and better for longevity.  Next up would be something from eBay… maybe even leather?  Maybe?  The most likely candidate is some beautiful linen velvet that I won on eBay at least seven years ago without having a plan for it.  It is fabulous steel/pearly/dark grey that I couldn’t love more.  I’m sure it would look awesome, and my biggest concern is just that I’ll have a hard time actually using the fabric for fear of messing up or wishing I had it for something else, haha.  When I looked in the closet to take a photo of the grey velvet I saw a forgotten remnant of light sand coloured velvet too.  It has some synthetic content and there might not be enough of it, but it is a perfectly decent option otherwise.  Next to the sandy taupe is a roll of sage green linen velvet, but that is slated for a sweet little round and tufted chair that I’ll hopefully get to some year.  Besides, I’d better stick to a more neutral colour.

The colours may not have come out so well in the photos, but there you go: steel grey, sage, sand, and wheat.

I highly doubt I’ll buy anything new, but I did think of using something fun like these when considering options for the recliner or this rocker:

 

Anyway, I need to get to work now.  I was delayed by writing this and phone calls, and it is getting rather late!  Just let me add a photo of a marble end table that I scored this week at one of my favourite thrift stores.  (I miss the thrifting on Long Island so much!  Furniture is hard to come by and pricey where I live now, but on LI I always found cool items, and it was often really cheap too!)  I ended up saving 50% off of it too, so I’m pretty thrilled.  I just have to make some repairs and then do some painting or a whitewash.  That same day I visited the Restoration Hardware outlet and scored a dresser topper (to make a diapering area) for only 20$ too!  I’m saving the photo for the dresser post though.

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Both the base and marble can perfectly match the coffee table in our media room, but I might use it as a night table in the nursery?  (The coffee table is supposed to be replaced some day after all, but it has hung around for five years and a move despite the broken marble top, so… I’ll see.)

An Extremely Ambitious To Do List…

I’ve been quite absent from blogging, haven’t I?  Well, that is just about entirely due to tackling my crazy-long home improvement to do list with a level of energy and dedication that is making my head spin!  It is glorious though… I’ve made so much progress on the tasks that were delayed due to jobs (since this time of year, not long after moving in, 2015.)  Now that I have every day free (aside from weekends,) seemingly boundless supplies of motivation, and a hard deadline with our daughter’s due date: woooooooooooo progress!  😀

My usual need to improve and organise has been boosted by the hormonal nesting of pregnancy.  It is like a superpower so far, but I fear the day my stamina fails and doesn’t return.   Behold one example of organising:

fabric organisation

This is the result of eliminating three under-bed storage bin things which held all of my hoarded fabric.  It was in Mini’s room, and I planned to put it upstairs under our bed before deciding to make use of the BILLY bookcases instead.  All the fabrics are folded to fit nicely and sorted by all types of categories.  I also finally framed a 1920s fashion catalogue that I purchased on eBay years ago.  I have another floating around storage at my mother’s that I must rescue too.

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So, what else have I been working on?  Here is the list I made on April 18th with completed tasks crossed off:

Front of house
-Patch broken front steps.
-Paint foundation a more pleasing shade.
-Buy new light fixture and install with sensor bulb.
-Last bit of patching.  (I ran out of Quickcrete.)
-Last bit of painting.

Media room
-Get rid of giant speakers and console.
-Mount TV and sound bar.
-Rip out crappy laminate.
-Remove trim.
-Installl DryCore.
-Lay insulating underlayment.
-Install vinyl planks.
-Reinstall trim.
-Paint touchups.
-Arrange furniture.
LATER:
-Replace coffee table.
-Paint or replace stained ceiling tile.  (or ideally change to 2×2′)
-Box in electrical panel.
-Put together BILLY bookcases and glass doors.

Storage room (now office)
-Remove stored items from storage/office.
-Rip out carpet and pad.
-Remove panelling.
-Patch and caulk.
-Prime.
-Brush paint.
-Roll walls.
-Paint sewer pipe with hammered finish.
-Paint ceiling.
LATER:
-Change light fixtures.
-Change outlets and cover plates.
-Frame the two cinderblock walls
-Install foam insulation panels
-Drywall or panelling…
-Prime and paint newly insulated walls

Mini’s room
-Brush final trim coat on nursery panelling.
-Remove storm windows, disassemble, and replace screens.  Reinstall.
-Remove security crap from windows. Patch.
-Paint windows.
-Change light switch and cover plate.
-Buy floor lamp.
-Buy and install shades.
-Attach casters to crib. Make replacement hardware.
-Attach casters to walker and assemble.
-Bring dresser from Dad’s and refinish.
-Refinish crib or clear coat.
-Set up furniture.
-Fix leaky valve.

Main living areas and stuff
-Replace certain outlets, switches, and cover plates.
-Paint dining/living windows.
-Scrape messy paint.
-Touch up caulk.
-Repaint living/dining ceiling.
-Apply sealant on entry and hearth tile/grout.
-Sew back of sofa.
-Staple cambric.
-Sew pillow covers.
-Finish sanding dining chairs.
-Stain and wax chairs.
-Paint and modge podge travel chest.
-Touch up kitchen chairs and hoosiers.
LATER:
-Reupholster recliner.
-Reaupholster little round chair.
-Finish brushing kitchen trim paint.

Exterior
-Stain east side of house.
-Stain or hire west side of house.
-Powerwash patios and chairs.
-Stain patios.
-Powerwash fence.
-Stain fence.

Unfinished part of basement
-Finish painting walls.
-Rewaterproof spot on floor.
-Touch up floor paint.

Organisation
-Organise storage area.
-Organise basement.
-Organise Garage.
-Organise attic.
-Organise kitchen.
-Organise sewing room.
-Organise baby items.
-Organise master closet.

-Have yard sale.

Dressing room and spiral stairwell
-Touch up ceiling paint.
-Shift PAX and MALM to left.
-Patch.
-Brush edges.
-Roll walls.
-Paint trim.

Master
-Caulk.
-Paint master ceiling.
-Touch up master bath vanity.
-Recoat walls.
-Poperly hang mirror.
LATER:
-Install tub trim kit and drain.
-Install shower trim kit.

Sewing room
-Remove sewing room door.
-Mark and chisel hinge mortises.
-Mark and drill door knob.
-Install knob.
-Hang door.
-Paint.

As you see, this is beyond ridiculous.  I also have working on and continue to have a to do list for sewing projects (and have been gardening.)  Also I had to make many, many trips to Home Depot to haul home the flooring, sub flooring, and other materials.  Many trips…

Things are starting to shape up nicely though, and I’m very pleased.  I’ve just uploaded tonnes of photos and will be able to blog more soon to show all kinds of progress.

 

 

 

Stencilling a Subfloor: a budget friendly makeover

Ah, this was a project I planned to tackle before we even moved into our house just over two years ago.  How time flies!

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Perhaps you’ve already read about my first stencilling project?  Well, I knew that the solution to the stained (and in my opinion very unappealing) master suite carpeting was to rip it out and stencil just like I’d done to the apartment kitchen.  I even decided to stick with the same colours  and pattern!  According to the mix information I purchased the paint for this before we even moved… and here I am finally done with it.

I began tearing up the carpet on Monday the 13th thinking that with luck I could be done for the weekend.  Ha!  I just completed it on Thursday and only did so by opting not to clear coat.  (I’d wanted to do everything properly and thus apply several coats and let it dry for days as directed, but that meant not stepping into the room until next week, doing things in stages thanks to furniture issues, plus a lot of work… nah.  It’s good.)

Here is a before picture showing the carpeting.  It seems I did not take many photos of the room before we moved in, and you do not see the brown mystery stains here.  Any shades of tan, beige, and brown have never been my thing, and by the time I finally began tearing it out the carpet had additional pulls and damage.  It was beyond time to go.

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It was easiest to start inside the closets, and oh look!  A mystery stain!

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The padding underneath was actually really nice, but it had to go since I wasn’t about to put in another dust collecting carpet.  Annoyingly, previous workers had been rather careless with spackle and paint which left the floor a bit lumpy.  I didn’t want to try sanding anything though, because with the plywood it seemed weird to.

This was a lot of work, and I didn’t quite finish removing the carpet on day one.  I’d begun thinking it was perfect timing to bring the trash out for collection the next morning, and it ended up being 12 contractor bags full at the kerb not counting what was still on the floor when I quit for the evening.  At this point I may have been having a second thought or two.  The were about two million staples to find and pull up!

Last time when I stencilled the apartment kitchen floor I neglected to prime first.  That was not to be skipped now!  When I was nearly done brushing it on I noticed that the can said it wasn’t meant to be used on flooring.  Oops.  Perhaps it would have been better to stick with only the floor paint after all and no primer?

It looked a lot cleaner after priming anyway.  The next day I brushed on a few coats of the base colour.  In the apartment I’d regretted having the edges dark since it showed dust bunnies too well, but I ended up doing the same thing here with the navy blue exposed at the edges.  Actually, I was very close to switching to the grey except that I’d already completed the cutting in and taping for the navy.  In the end I suppose it works out better in this case to have the darker one at the edges to disappear better under the heaters and disguise imperfections?

I filled in most gaps which included rough cuts around doors and a lot of gaps in the landing area.  I’m unsure why they never installed any trim there and had to add some myself.  I really don’t like quarter round and always opt for cove moulding instead.  Rather than wood I used the foam stuff thinking it would curve with the “tower” wall, but the piece I had ended up snapping around a nail, so I filled the wide gap instead.  Eh, it works?

Previously I had made a painted border, and I wanted to again, because I think it looks more complete with one, but I was intimidated by the idea of taping a curve.  Whether this room would end up with a border or not was up in the air until I actually attempted to tape.  It wasn’t bad at all with just a bit of care and finessing.  I was rather proud of myself!  😀

The navy had an entire holiday weekend to cure before taping and stencilling.  I only eyeballed the distance from walls and tried to account for projecting bits of trim to balance with the baseboard heating units.  No portion is perfect, but I am entirely pleased with the results.

It was at this point that I considered switching to grey for the outside border, but I’d not trimmed the tape or planned for that.  The navy matches very well with the bits of carpet on the stairs too, and that helped me decide to keep it as the main colour.  So, another line of tape was added within the perimeter of this.  Just look at this!  So proud!  😀

Before quitting for the day I wanted to complete the border by brushing on the navy to seal the edges and then two coats of the grey.  I peeled up the inner tape before anything dried too much in hopes that it wouldn’t lift any layers that weren’t supposed to.  Success.

In the kitchen I’d measured and begun the pattern symmetrically, because the room was narrow.  Here I decided that the most important focal point was the space between the entry door as one walks up to the landing, so I began there.

 

This is how far I made it the first day:

And finally I was done late on day two and just barely with enough paint in the tray for the last bit:

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Working on a much wider room was a challenge, and I had a difficult time keeping the pattern on track.  It isn’t perfect, but I’m still quite pleased with everything.  Here is the tour starting with the landing:

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Standing in the corner is one of the steamer trunks that my paternal great-grandfather used when he left Slovakia in 1900.  Each of my uncles has one or two, I’m told, and my parents had two but kept this “uglier” one in the damp basement (and mum painted the “nice” one, sigh.)  I rescued it a couple of years ago, washing and waxing away rust and mildew and treating the leather, but the bottom (back here) is falling apart.  😦  It is a fairly awkward item to keep around, but I don’t want to lose a rare bit of family history, and so here it lives.

Last fall I scored an older one, with at curved top, free from a neighbour after it didn’t sell at their yard sale and about to be tossed!  It is also in less than excellent condition but has a nice look with neat metal reinforcements at the edges and lovely bare wood. I’m going to let it dry out this summer then preserve it.  I’ll be sure to write about it here.

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For the photos I decided to set up the cradle that I refinished to match the bed (which I also stained and waxed to have a greyed Restoration Hardware look.)

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L and I are much happier now with the room and feel like it finally has our style.  I’m also glad to be rid of the dust-trapping aspect of carpet and look forward to a much easier time when vacuuming.  The only thing that I might do something about are the closet doors and trim colour.  It would be a pain, but it could be worth gel-staining the wood to a darker tone?  I’d really like to paint it but think that would be a shame to do and will not, but a deeper shade could make a big difference.  The trim already looks significantly better here than it used to having been touched up to hide strange fading and wear.  As for the doors, they are loud and feel flimsy.  Depending on measurements I could rig up some Ikea PAX sliding doors or something one day?

Next I’ll have to finish painting the bathroom.  Colour goes a long way, and paint disguised the nasty formica-like vanity, but one day we hope to renovate it.  I’m sure that will be many years from now if ever, but it doesn’t stop me from envisioning marble tile and some sort of wonderful tub.

 

Xmas Decor 2016 & List of Upcoming Projects

Yesterday I brought the tree down from the attic, put it together, and decorated.  We were away around Thanksgiving, and I haven’t been terribly productive recently, but at least the house feels nice and Christmas-y.

Actually, I’ve been working on things here and there, like massive organisation bursts, but in the last week and this one not much else could be done.  L worked from home, took this entire week off, we were away, and I’m about to flip out for lack of alone time, so… I’m looking forward to more productive times.  Also, I’m now in the midst of the IVF cycle (number II,) and it is rather inconvenient.  For example, we left for Manhattan well before 7 on Monday and weren’t home until noon.  Thankfully on week days I can mostly go to a nearer location for monitoring, but city trips make for an exhausting day without much hope for large projects.  However, I do have a long list in mind to complete before family visits for Christmas.

Definitely:

-Purchase quartz tile and supplies to re-tile the entry area and hearth.  (Likely to be done this Friday when I go for local-ish monitoring.)

-Tile the hearth and entry.  This would have been ideally done before putting the tree up, but alas.  I am antsy to do this in particular, because it is a small enough project that I’ll get a lot of satisfaction quickly, and it will make a huge change to the look of our place.  Of course I’d like that done before we have the rare occasion of house guests.  (It already irks me that my tree photos now showcase the old tile!)

-Finish sanding the dining chairs before staining and waxing them to match the Restoration Hardware style dining table that I completed at least two years ago.  (!!!)  While I’m at it I ought to touch up the coffee table.

-Brush trim paint (coconut ice) on the remaining 40% of the kitchen beadboard that is sadly still only primed after about two years.  (Also !!!)

-(Semi-temporary) repairs to the front steps.  I began this and ran out of Quickcrete.  L would like this to be completed, so if I get warm enough weather and a chance to then I’d better get to it.

-Brush edges of masonry that I painted earlier in the fall.

-Finish the sofa reupholstering.  Specifically to staple the back properly, stitch the upper back as needed, and staple black cambric stuff to finish underneath.  (Why haven’t I done this yet?   This is why I should never let myself stop at “good enough for now.”)  To truly complete it I’ll have to sew four-six throw pillow covers of the same linen as the sofa.  I have them all cut and ready to go, but I suspect this will be a long term sort of thing, because the jewel toned silk dupioni covers that I make long ago are “good enough for now.”

-Paint ceilings of guest room, hall, and main bath; guest and main bath walls; guest paneling, doors, and re-coat other doors; and re-paint main bath headboard with gloss.

-Pattern and make a winter coat.  I’ve planned this for two years and have all the fabric and notions required.  I actually started work on this last week but felt a bit overwhelmed and stopped, because nothing but wasted work ever comes from pushing through when I’m not in the right creative mode.

-Change out all remaining switch plates and outlet covers after painting.

Hopefully, but maybe:

-Change all door hinges to brushed nickel, adjust, and touch up paint.

-Fix the drop ceiling droop, add cross bars for 2×2′ tiles, and install fancier new tiles to replace the institutional styled 2×4′ kind.  (I may have to cut this from the allowed budget thanks to a fancy Butchers&Bicycles bakfiets we bought.  This change would make such a huge difference in the appearance of the media room part of the basement, but it is one of the most sensible to cut from this year’s list and save for later.  I anticipate it being a very messy, fussy, and time consuming hassle of a project.)

-Replace the sewing room and probably dressing room/master suite doors with some that have a frosted glass panel to let in light.  (I’m dying to do this too, but it is the other sensible thing to cut from the budget as it costs a lot for likely a less dramatic change.  It makes less of an impact than the drop ceiling, I guess, but it is a far easier task without all the hassle and mess of the ceiling project.  We’ll see.)

-The exterior staining project.  Soon I’ll write an update post about this, but due to ladder circumstances I haven’t finished the two sides of the house.  I began the west side and wanted it done this fall, but the ladder thing complicated the matter.  Not only do I need good enough weather and L’s availability and willingness to help, but the hillside is a severe obstacle.  While I purchased legs for the ladder I’m still nervous.  The other side would have been easy, but first we needed to have a nastily rotten old pile of firewood removed, and that happened way too late.  It makes sense to leave that until spring now.  I sure wish the warm and dry weather lasted longer here!  A part of me still holds out hope of finishing the west side before winter.

-Paint dining/living window trim with coconut ice.

Future projects that I won’t even think of trying before Christmas but do intend to do within 6-9 months:

-Rip up the carpeting of the master bedroom.  Prime, paint, and stencil the sub flooring.

-Sort and organise the remaining boxes and stuff in the storage room and basement.

-Tear out the laminate and carpet in the media room and storage room.  Level whatever I find beneath, and install vinyl planks.  This is huge.  I’ll need to remove or move around L’s workstation and big entertainment thing, furniture, and a tonne of stored crap (see previous item.)  Then I have to deal with the demolition and rubbish, but I’m most concerned about what I’ll find beneath the laminate.  I can only fear what has caused bouncing dips and unlevelled spans as drastic as we have down there…  I hope that some levelling concrete is all that is required, but all sorts of nightmares plague my plans with this especially after we had a massive swarm of carpenter ants to eliminate this spring.  It’ll be a gorgeous change though.

-Paint the dressing room and curved stairwell.  Maybe re-do the master bedroom too now that I have selected the proper pale grey?

-Continue to replace torn and ugly aluminium screens of storm windows and re-glase windows.

-Refinish a crib, maybe???

-Lots of sewing.

-Reupholster a recliner and a cute little tufted round chair.

-Restore or basically do something to make an antique travel trunk useable as furniture.

 

Anyway… On to the holiday decorations:img_7982Above is the sofa featured in my reupholstering instructional posts (that I have yet to finish.)  Actually, I did that round chair/loveseat twice too!  You might also see that the crown moulding has been finished but the window is only white primer?

 

The tree.img_7992

 

This year’s additions.  I found a few more of the Egyptian glass, liked the random matte white with black ornaments, and finally added a pickle!  img_7930

 

A closeup of the centre-piece on the coffee table:img_8009

 

I have these allllllll organised when stored!  Each year some ornaments are put into rotation or maybe not.  Believe it or not, I’d like even more options to select from!  Since I do add a dozen or so each year that is becoming more of a reality.img_7940

 

Truly Unusual & Very Goth Garden Plants: an Extremely Extensive List

black and white violets and black mondo and white-green grass

I am particularly excited about this post.  I’ve spent a LOT of time on it and on researching the plants found in it.  This is the largest and most unique list of goth and unusual plants if my Googling has not failed me.  I hope you enjoy the results!

This March has been extremely warm, and I have been gardening whenever I have the chance and energy.  Mostly that has meant gathering up leaves and stones to clear the yard and create a new flower bed.  However, I have even sown seeds and transplanted a bunch of plants trusting that the temperatures will remain tolerably mild.  All of this, and some pleasant craziness at work, has left me little time for actually writing.  Meanwhile, I have been finding more and more dark and beautifully strange plants to share here.  They are not found on the usual lists of ideas I’ve seen, and  I’m really excited to share what I’ve found by digging further and further into the depths of Google.  😀

First of all, I have to give appreciation to the websites from which I took the photos used in this post.  I’m including links to everything in hopes of not upsetting anyone.  Of course I’ll post pictures of my own specimens during or after the growing season, but also I cannot buy and try to grow everything that I’m sharing today!  (Dream on, dream on…)

This photo above is of the new flowerbed that I want to fill with goth inspired blooms and such.  So far I’ve put in black mondo grass, black and white violas, some sort of white and green grass, black pearl peppers, ballerina red thrift, black charm lilies, black elephant ears, white caladium, and I have sown black bachelor’s button, delft blue nigella, and mother of pearl poppy.  Later I hope to add penny black.  (See my earlier post about other plans and plants that I’ve used, like black petunias, black hollyhock, queen of night tulips, black diamond crepe myrtle…)  I’ve also planted a black elderberry bush and am looking forward to the colours of it and the berries too.

black viola

IMG_0252

black pearl pepper

black and white row

ballerina red thrift

black and white violets and black mondo and white-green grass

new garden bed

 

 

And here are quite a few more beautiful dark plants which you may not have seen before:

Bat flower, which is gorgeous and perfectly goth but tropical…

7793701524_214b7569e8_b

(A thanks to Google images and The Wild Papaya for the photo.)

Also lovely in white:

white bat plant

 

Snake plant which would contrast nicely in a goth garden if you are in a dry and hot area.snake plant

 

Black shield plant, another perfect houseplant for the theme.black shield

 

Black rose tree  another one for warm dry climates or inside.   black rose tree travellingmcfrothys(The Google provided photo is lovely, and I found it at the Travelling McFrothys.)

 

Crossing over Jack in the pulpit:Arisaema-Crossing-Over.i-4094.s-63786.r-01

 

The very strange and splendid Japanese cobra lily:

Arisaema-ringens.i-2531.s-63983

 

Japanese Jack in the pulpitArisaema-sikokianum.i-1850.s-64351.r-1

Dominatrix Jack in the pulpit

arisaema-urashima-in-flower.i-2663.s-61238.r-01

 

Belleville, which I think is particularly gorgeous in colour.

bellevallia pycnantha

 

Wild ginger:

asarum-maximum-shell-shocked-in-flower.i-9566.s-62937.r-01

 

Cleopatra canna:

Canna-Cleopatra.i-2399.s-13269.r-1

 

Moonlight caladium:

moonlight caladium

 

Mojito colocasia:

colocasia-esculenta-mojito-leaf.i-8545.s-60827.r-01

 

and tropical storm colocasia:

Colocasia-esculenta-Tropical-Storm.i-11746.s-64372.r-1

 

Pottawotomie clematis pitcheri:

Clematis-pitcheri-Pottawotomie.i-11081.s-64194.r-01

 

Mountain king lady slipper orchid:

Cypripedium-Froschs-Mountain-King.s-63342.i-3590.y-2014

 

Black sprite:

black sprite

 

Voodoo lily:

Dracunculus-vulgaris.i-2821.s-64381.r-1

 

Night heron fairy bells:

Disporum-longistylum-Night-Heron.s-63350.i-8307.y-2014

 

Alba bleeding heart:

dicentra alba:

 

Kentucky lady slipper:

Cypripedium-kentuckiense.i-8931.s-64375.r-1

 

Sandy claws fairy wings:

epimedium-wushanense-spiny-lvs-in-flower.i-8861.s-62502.r-01

 

and super mottle fairy wings:

Epimedium-wushanense-Super-Mottle.i-9195.s-64392.r-1

 

Fritillaria meleagris mix:

create_thumb-5.php

 

and fritillaria uva vulpus:

fritillaria uva vulpis

 

Zwanenburg peruvian daffodil:

zwanenburg

 

Harrisiana Peruvian dafodil:

harrisiana peruvian daffodil.jpeg

 

Ruby ribbons grass:

panicum-virgatum-ruby-ribbons.i-8334.s-60389.r-01.jpg

 

Narcissus cantabricus:

narcissus cantabricus.jpeg

 

Netty’s pride lily:

netty's pride lily.jpeg

 

Pauline iris reticulata:

pauline.jpeg

 

Frank Elder iris:

Frank Elder.jpeg

 

Underwood trillium:

trillium-underwoodiii-a1fl-001-in-flower.i-2973.s-62948.r-02.jpg

 

Shelbyville trillium:

Trillium-gracile-Shelbyville.i-10410.s-63958.r-01.jpg

 

And I must include Adam’s Family trillium, of course:

Trillium-foetidissimum-Adams-Family.i-10803.s-64099.jpg

 

Royal maroon sweet pea:

peamaroon.jpg

 

Sumter white topped pitcher plant:

Sarracenia-leucophylla-Sumter.i-9370.s-64252.r-01.jpg

 

Lastly, here is a tropical looking bit of foliage that can tolerate New York winters:

sabal-minor-mccurtain.i-2006.s-17540.r-02.jpg

 

And here are a few more things currently growing:

siberian iris and allium

herb bed

herb and flower bed

HD hellebore

hellebore onyx o

chocolate vine year two spring buds

IMG_0256

pastel pansies

IMG_0253

And just a few from previous posts in case you didn’t check out the link: