Mirror makeover

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When I stopped teaching dance a couple of years ago, I converted the little dance studio behind our house into a guest bedroom. It came in pretty handy because we often have visitors who stay with us when they come down to Costa Rica on vacation. However, I didn’t really know what to do with all the mirrors that still hung on the studio walls. Although they had been a necessity in the dance studio, they now looked odd and out of place in a bedroom. They weren’t even pretty. They were just plain ordinary aluminum framed mirrors quite large in size, the kind you might find in a gym. Last year, after we renovated our kitchen and dining room I ended up with a large empty wall that I couldn’t think of anything to put on. Then I remembered the aluminum mirrors that were still hanging in the guest bedroom and decided to bring one of them into the house and hang it on that bare wall. It was a good fit and it filled most of the space, but it looked just as unattractive there as it had looked in the guest room.

Close up of the frame

Close up of the frame

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The frame was very narrow so there weren’t alot of options as far as updating it. I wondered if perhaps it would be possible to glue some appliques on it and then paint the whole thing a different color to hide the aluminum. I had a few left over appliques from a previous furniture project as well as an assortment of silicone molds and a huge bottle of resin in the tool shed. So after a couple of months of thinking about it I figured it was worth a try and surely it wouldn’t look any worse.

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These scroll like curliecues were just the right width

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It took me several days to make enough appliques to cover the entire mirror. I made roses and curlicues and cherubs until I was bleary-eyed. Then I began to glue them on with No more Nails, crossing my fingers that they wouldn’t fall off the slippery narrow frame. I think I used about four tubes of No more nails and thankfully they held fast. That stuff is good! I had given the frame a couple of coats of white paint before putting on the appliques because I knew that it would be very difficult, if not impossible to get into all the nooks and crannies with the paintbrush after the appliques were glued on.

I gave the mirror a couple of coats of white paint first because I knew it would be nearly impossible to get into all the nooks and crannies with a paintbrush after the appliques were glued on.

 

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I added a small rose to the center of this curlicue applique

I added a small rose to the center of these scroll appliques

Two sweet little cherubs quietly watch over the dining room from the top of the mirror.

Two sweet little cherubs quietly watch over the dining room from the top of the mirror. I placed one on either end.

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After the appliques were set in place I allowed them to dry completely for a couple of days before applying a final coat of white paint.  In the empty space between the top of the mirror and the molding  I hung a few blue and white plates that I had stored away which matched the blue and white plate collection on the other wall.

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It’s a very tiny dining room, it actually used to be my daughter’s bedroom right off the kitchen. That was a sort of weird Costa Rican floorplan. Or lack of floorplan, I should say. The previous owners of the house had added on rooms wherever they had fancied a new room without giving any thought to the logic of the layout. So there was this fourth bedroom that could only be accessed through the kitchen. How weird is that. When my oldest daughter moved out last year, my youngest daughter moved into her bedroom and I turned her “kitchen bedroom” into a little secondary dining room, which made so much more sense.

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I think the mirror helps make the dining room look a little larger than it really is.

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Joining

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

AND

From my garden this week

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There were many things blooming in my garden this past week-end.  In spite of having neglected my roses for the last couple of months, Mother Nature has been forgiving and has given me an extraordinary gift of color and fragrance.  I was able to cut enough flowers for several bouquets to bring down to our city house and enjoy all week long.

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For the past couple of months I’ve been organizing the storage rooms in our store and haven’t had as much time to spend in the garden as I would have liked. I found weeds sneaking their way into the rose beds and algae threatening to take over the pond, embracing the water hyacinths and creeping up on the lily pads.

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Everything was thriving. The Lilies and the Amaryllis were in full bloom. The little fig tree was laden with small green figs that will very soon ripen into plump black giants which will be turned into a delicious fig compote to be eaten with fresh cheese.  Even the nameless pink rambling roses that cling to the fence all along the property line were almost exploding with bouquet-like clusters.

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Roses with regal names like Miss Amber, Mr. Lincoln, Princess De Monaco, Queen Elizabeth and Diana Princess of Wales all contributed fragrant blooms which were placed in pretty vases.

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And in pitchers high atop cabinets where curious kitties wouldn’t reach them or nibble them like the ones on the table

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Someone is very sleepy and probably not even thinking about nibbling flowers…..

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Joining the fun at these parties:

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Show And Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Saturday Show Off at Rose Garden in Malevik

Fan Tale

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In the 1980’s when we lived in Ecuador I bought two ceiling fans for a house that we were building at the time. They were considered fashionable in those days and I was happy to have fixtures that were not only stylish but also functional. The temperature often got quite high in the tropical port city of Guayaquil and they provided much needed relief from the stifling heat . Fast forward 28 years. I’m sad to admit that now my little fans are considered tacky, dated and downright ugly. One of them stopped working long ago and only the lights portion was still functioning, but the other fan still works perfectly. That’s pretty amazing after 28 years. I actually like ceiling fans and I was reluctant to throw away the one that still worked. We don’t live in such a hot country anymore but it can sometimes get into the 80 to 85 degree range so I still use the fan quite often.  I have it installed in the kitchen. The only problem is that it just looked outdated and boring.

Here is a before shot

Here is a before shot. The woven center part of the blades was particularly passé

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I decided to at least try and give it a facelift. What I had initially planned on doing was to simply paint the blades a bright color. I unscrewed  the 8 little screws that held them in place and took them down. After cleaning them up (isn’t it amazing how grimy kitchen fixtures can get?)  I remembered the bottle of Mod Podge that was lurking in my crafts box and I figured I could decoupage something on the blades rather than just painting them. I ended up using some left over fabric from the dining room chairs.

After spraying on a primer, I spray painted the edges yellow because they would be visible

After spraying on a primer, I spray painted the edges yellow because I didn’t want to extend the decoupage fabric up over the edges of the blades.

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I cut the pieces of fabric in the shape of the blades, using one of the blade as a template.

I cut the pieces of fabric in the shape of the blades, using one of the blades as a template

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In order to get a smooth finish I turned the blades over and glued the fabric to the  non-wicker side. Now the woven wicker part faces the ceiling and is not visible. I used Mod Podge as glue to decoupage the fabric onto the blades, adding a couple of generous coats of it on top of the fabric too. After the blades were dry, I sprayed on two coats of clear varnish.

The blades ended up looking like they were actually hand painted and they even fooled hubby who complimented me on my artistic skills. If he only knew that I can’t paint anything more advanced than a stick figure, hehe.  After checking out a couple of blogs and a few websites I realized that it was also possible to spray paint the metal face plates on ceiling fans. Alot of people had done it and it looked really cool. I wanted to camouflage the outdated brass tone on the body of the fan and paint was the perfect solution. There were only four screws holding it in place and it was  simple enough to remove them and slide the face plate off. Easy peasy…right? Wrong. I didn’t realize at the time that all those online instructions for removing the face plate were meant for fans without lights. It wasn’t until I excitedly began taking out the screws that I realized that the middle hole of the plate would never slide down past the four tulip lights. I hate it when I do dumb things like that. I ended up having to convince hubby to help me take the whole fan down off the ceiling and temporarily unwiring and separating the center portion in order to get the plate off.  What a hassle. Thankfully he is very handy with these things.

See that center opening? How in the world did I ever think that it was going to slide down past the four tulip lights that jut out to the sides?

See that center opening? How in the world did I ever think that it was going to slide down past the four tulip lights that jut out to the sides?

I had to separate the lights portion from the rest of the fan in orde to get the face plate to come off. That meant separating two of the wires.

I had to separate the lights portion from the rest of the fan in order to get the face plate to come off. That meant separating two of the wires.

Here's the faceplate and the hardware from the blades after their first coat of yellow paint.

Here’s the faceplate and the hardware from the blades after their first coat of yellow paint.

These are the blades drying in the sun after the final coat of glossy spray varnish

These are the blades drying in the sun after the final coat of glossy spray varnish

The glass parts got a much needed scrubbing

The glass parts got a much needed scrubbing

Here it is all finished and hung back in it's place above the kitchen island

Here it is all finished and hung back in it’s place above the kitchen island

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I also harvested some of the parts from the non working fan including the four blades and their hardware which I spray painted pink. I decoupaged these in a different style and I can just change the blades whenever I want a whole different look. It’s just a matter of removing the screws and it doesn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes. Admittedly  pink doesn’t really go with anything in my kitchen but who cares? Who says fans have to match!

Four extra fan blades for a different look

Four extra fan blades for a different look. These got a top coat of clear matte varnish. I didn’t want them as shiny as the other ones.

I couldn't resist sprinkling on a little bit of glitter for some fun sparkle

I couldn’t resist sprinkling on a little bit of glitter for some fun sparkle

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Joining these link parties:

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage 

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

A Weird Ebay Experience

The photos of my waterlilies don't have anything to do with this post but they are colorful, aren't they? hee

The photos of my waterlilies don’t have anything to do with this post but they are colorful, aren’t they? 

I’ve been buying things on Ebay since about 2001 or so. My friends and family laugh because I have been able to score some pretty good deals over the years. I actually buy pretty much everything on Ebay mostly because it allows me to shop from home and my purchases are delivered right to my door. Can’t get more convenient than that. Also, alot of things aren’t available locally so it’s nice to be able to purchase them online.  I would say that about 99% of my Ebay purchases have been satisfactory. Last month I was browsing Ebay looking for a few things that I wanted to buy, among them a small shelf for my bathroom that I intended to paint ivory to match the mirror above the vanity. So after searching for a few days I came across a listing for one of those little vintage 70s shelves at the starting price of 99 cents plus 20 dollars for shipping. That sounded about right and it was more or less what most sellers were asking for these little shelves…..about 20 to 25 dollars shipping and all. The description said that it was chipped but I figured that was ok because I was going to paint it anyway and the chip probably wouldn’t be visible. I placed my bid and won, as nobody else bid on it. A couple of days later I get a message from the seller informing me that she (I’m fairly certain it’s a she) was unable to ship it out for the price that was listed on the auction page and seeing as how I won it for only 99 cents, could I send her X amount of additional money for shipping otherwise she would have to cancel the sale. In almost 15 years of buying on Ebay, this was a first.  So, I messaged her back and told her that no, I wasn’t willing to pay more than 20 dollars for shipping and that it wasn’t cool to cancel and refund for this reason as now I would lose money on the currency conversion (twice) because I pay with an international Paypal account and I am charged a conversion fee for every conversion into dollars or back. Next thing I know, I get another message from her this time in an unpleasant and sarcastic tone, telling me that the “math” was easy, she wasn’t making any profit from the deal, Ebay was charging her a fee and it would be stupid for her to lose money just so that I could get a “tacky shelf “. (Yes, those were her words) She accused me of not being understanding and then told me that I obviously had difficulty “doing the math” being from Florida and all.  I really have no clue what being from Florida has to do with doing math…I’m not from Florida and have never lived there, although my Ebay courier service is located in Miami and that’s where my Ebay purchases are delivered and then forwarded to me. So she must have assumed that I lived there. Whatever.

Wanvisa water lily

Wanvisa water lily

I messaged her back and in my politest tone told her that it’s not my responsibility to “do the math” because I’m not the seller. It’s actually her responsibility to calculate all her costs before posting a listing on Ebay. I told her that a business transaction was a business transaction and didn’t carry with it a responsibility for the buyer to be understanding. It is also a violation of Ebay rules for a seller to ask a buyer to send additional money on the side and that in skimming over her feedback score, I noticed that I was not the only person that she had done this to. But in any case, if she wanted to cancel the transaction then go ahead. That spurred a barrage of insults in her next message where she called me among other epithets an “entitled jerk” who was unecessarily stalking her feedback.  I ended up just ignoring her and her rants and had to wait 5 days for Paypal to issue me a refund.

Well, it was a no brainer that I was going to leave this seller  negative feedback considering all the uncalled for insults, my loss of money and her violation of Ebay rules. I thought that would be the end of that. No so.

Antares water lily

Antares water lily

When I went to leave the feedback, I noticed that she had written a lengthy comment on her Ebay profile page where she had included my Ebay seller ID, my husband’s full name that appears on our Ebay account and our Florida shipping address. I was horrified that anyone would be deranged enough to do this. She had put all this personal and confidential information in a paragraph stating that she was selling stuff on Ebay to help someone that had cancer, and that my husband HATED (she wrote that in capital letters) cancer victims. And that he liked to STEAL from cancer victims. (again in capital letters) She also admonished buyers not to be cancer victim haters like XXX XXXX (My husband’s name)  WTF?? I had no idea what she was talking about or how the subject went from a failed transaction into a supposed persecution of cancer victims but I immediately telephoned Ebay to alert them because posting personal information is a serious violation of Ebay policy and grounds for suspending the seller. They gave her 24 hours to remove it. Thankfully she did, but now she has replaced it with something about being a cancer fighter and about the “sub-human” buyer who hates people with cancer and who left her negative feedback.  Talk about lunatics.  Sadly she doesn’t seem to realize that her ridiculous rant will only scare away potential customers because it makes her sound quite deranged and it calls even more attention to the negative feedback comments (mine was not the only one)  that might otherwise not even be seen. In the end, I will just buy another shelf from one of the many pleasant and polite (and sane!)  sellers on Ebay and she will have to live with the negative feedback.

Wish I knew the name of this one

Wish I knew the name of this one

Two Tables in Teal

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These little wooden tables have gone under the brush before.  Their first facelift was two or three years ago when they went from boring brown to a soft buttery yellow. They’re just cheapy little wood tables that I purchased to use as temporary night stands in my bedroom up at the mountain house.  They were quite rustic when I bought them and I had the impression that they were probably made out of old beat up recycled wood. People do that alot here in Costa Rica, which of course is a good thing. I’m all for recycling. But rustic just isn’t my favorite look so I painted them faux chalk paint yellow. You can read about that fiasco here.  The legs were long and spindly not to mention wiggly. I guess whoever made these wasn’t much concerned about proportions because the long legs made them look sort of like shelves on stilts. I added the little plywood shelf at the bottom of each table which gave them quite a bit more stability and reduced the stilty look somewhat. I also added some wooden appliques to the front. Here they are in all their hideous rustic glory:

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After the yellow paint and the appliques, they ended up looking like this:

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Fast forward to last month when I finally got around to painting an old bedroom set that used to be in my daughter’s room. That set has now replaced all the unmatched pieces that were in my bedroom at the mountain house including these two little tables. For some strange reason, I had become oddly fond of them after all this time and I didn’t want to throw them out or give them away so decided to find a new location for them. One table was placed on the stair landing and the other went in the downstairs hallway. But yellow just wasn’t cutting it anymore…they seemed a bit too pale for their new location. They didn’t really blend well with the Moroccan pattern of the stair risers.

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Now, I usually don’t like furniture in loud colors but on an impulse I went out and purchased a can of teal paint. And then crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t be sorry afterwards.

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Three coats of teal paint later, they looked like this:

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The only drawback to the teal paint was that the appliques seemed to become nearly invisible so I highlighted the deeper lines with gold paint to make them stand out a bit.

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So here they are with their new facelifts in their new locations:

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And here is the other identical one in the downstairs hallway

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After a thorough inspection of the tables and their new color, Semsema has given them both her seal of approval.

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Joining Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Tuscan Trip

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My daughter left for Italy a couple of weeks ago, this time she’s staying in Siena where she rented a delightful little second floor room from an elderly Italian lady in an old Tuscan house right across the street from her school. Italy is like her second home and she actually lived in Urbania for a time while studying Italian. She speaks it fluently but still likes to return as often as she can and take additional classes.  I kind of think the classes are just an excuse because she really spends most of her time travelling around with friends. A few days ago she sent me some pictures of her little rented room. It’s small but cozy and has quaint old world wooden shuttered windows that overlook rooftops and a nearby square.

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The bathroom is a mix of old and new. They’ve tucked a full sized bathtub in a little niche underneath gorgeous old rafter beams.

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I love the brass fixtures

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This little carved wooden shelf holds knick-knacks and bath accessories

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There’s a washing machine conveniently located in the bathroom right next to the sink, which I kind of think is a pretty good idea.

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I’m somewhat intrigued by the two glasses and picnic basket on top of the washer though.  Maybe some folks enjoy having a little glass of refreshment while they wait for their laundry to be done….I’m guessing? Or maybe it’s just for decoration. Either way it’s a pretty and colorful washer top.

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I’ll bet this bathroom is never stuffy with a window that opens up like this one!

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I was curious about that antique metal pot on the marble window ledge. I thought it held towels and reckoned it was a cute idea. I asked my daughter about it and she said it actually holds a roll of plastic bags.

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Here’s something we don’t see much here in Costa Rica, or in the United States for that matter. A bidet. They’re very common in Europe as well as in some Latin American countries. When we lived in Ecuador, every house had them.

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I don’t know about the painting but I am really coveting this antique frame.

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Speaking of antiques, there was a large antique flea market in Siena last Sunday which is held on the third Sunday of each month. I gave my daughter a list of things to look out for, the most important being antique silver ex-votos. Italy is the best place to shop for religious art. I was counting the days til the flea market and I anxiously questioned her about it Sunday evening and as it turns out, she didn’t go! She went to visit friends in Bologna instead. Go figure.  Only a 20-something-year-old would forgo a flea market full of antiques and treasures waiting to be discovered and opt for a day trip to a nearby town instead. Arrrghh. In an attempt to pacify me, she did ask at a nearby Catholic shop where they indeed had some beautiful ex-votos but of course they cost five times as much. And they weren’t antiques. Or even silver.

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The rest of the time that she’s not in class or on day trips visiting friends, she’s at the local ice cream shop enjoying one of these award winning treats. Too bad she can’t bring one back!

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Joining Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage 

Wall of Crosses

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Religious art has always interested me. Not that we had much of it at home growing up. My mom thought it was tacky.  Aside from the mandatory crucifix above each bed and a large gilded Last Supper portrait that was a permanent fixture in my grandmother’s dining room, I can’t say that we really had much in the way of religious art. But I always loved the look of old Spanish and Mexican Colonial religious articles, particularly the large and ornate silver ex-votos and the beautifully carved wooden santos.  With this in mind and also because I couldn’t think of anything else to hang, I decided to fill my ridiculously large bedroom wall up at the mountain house with crosses and ex votos of different sizes and styles. I still have a long way to go before the wall is complete as the ceilings are about 20 ft. high in that room, but I think I’ve got a decent start.

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Now that my family knows that I’ve started collecting crosses from different countries, they’ve begun to contribute to the collection and have brought back some lovely ones whenever they’ve travelled…which fortunately for me is pretty often. I have to admit that my kids think the wall of crosses idea is kind of weird and my daughter wondered if I was perhaps expecting a visit from vampires and wanted to know why I would collect such a thing as crosses?

Daughter: WHY did you hang all those crosses on that wall???

Me: Because I like them. I particularly really like antique crosses.

Daughter: Yeah but don’t you think it’s kind of weird?

Me: Not really. I think it looks cool.

Daughter: It’s creepy. My friend took a picture of it.

Me: Hmmm. That weird huh?

I think it’s actually grown on her at this point and I’m hoping she will bring me back a nice one from the vatican when she goes to Italy next week.

The largest cross in the center of the wall is a Mexican plaster cross. It needed restoring when I bought it because it had several nicks and the paint was chipped. You can read about that  here.

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This little white cross is from Egypt and it’s all inlaid with mother of pearl. This type of inlaid work is typical of the Middle East and the technique reportedly dates back to Phoenician times.

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Here’s a jeweled cross. You can never have too much bling. I’m a sucker for rhinestones and sparkly things.

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I made this one myself out of matchsticks on a plywood cross shaped base.

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Here’s one I made with different colors and sizes of glass beads.

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My daughter in law brought me this cute little hand painted ceramic cross that she purchased during a trip to Mexico City.

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This one is made with different colored pearls.

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I did hang a few other things on the wall besides crosses and ex-votos including a hand made wrought iron door knocker that my other daughter in law gave me (made by her uncle) in an attempt to avoid a monotonous look. The orthodox icons in square gold frames are from Russia.

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There’s still quite a bit of wall to cover upwards and I’m always on the look out for antique or foreign religious art, even at the risk of looking like Carrie’s mother.

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Joining Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Abracadabra

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We’ve had a welcome respite from the rain these past couple of weeks. I love warm sunny days when I can go out in the garden at any hour without worrying about menacing thunder clouds lurking on the horizon. But it’s literally the calm before the storm and I know it won’t last. In just a few days time, the break will end and the daily downpours will resume once more.

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 This week some of my Abracadabra roses were in various stages of bloom.

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This is one my favorite roses. I’d been coveting one for the longest time but I was unable to find any nurseries that sold them. The only place I had ever seen Abracadabra for sale was in Australia. That was a tad too far for me. I regularly checked all the major rose vendors in the U.S. and Europe as well as on Ebay and even Google but I had no luck. Apparently not too many sellers carry Abracadabra because it’s a very unreliable rose as it doesn’t always produce the same color of blooms. Some plants produce the desired burgundy blooms splashed with bright yellow, however other plants can produce solid burgundy blooms with no trace of yellow. Or yellow blooms with no trace of burgundy, or half yellow and half burgundy. The combinations are endless.

Isn't this crazy?

Isn’t this crazy?

Additionally, the same plant can produce both solid and striped flowers. You never really know what it’s going to do.  I had pretty much given up on finding any for sale and had accepted the fact that this rose was about as elusive as El Dorado. Then one day I noticed a post on a Facebook plant group in my area where someone had posted a picture of an abracadabra rose. I snickered. Surely nobody could possibly be selling these in Costa Rica of all places. A few days later, there it was again. The same photo. This time I asked if they had them for sale and to my complete surprise, the seller responded that indeed he did. For just four dollars a plant.

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So after getting vague directions from the seller over the phone, I drove out with one of our store employees to a run down old farm that was pretty much out in the middle of the jungle and perched on the edge of a deep ravine. I have to say that I was more than a bit uneasy, but my yearning for that rose superseded all caution. I half expected to be greeted by someone who was a cross between Freddy, Jason and Hannibal Lechter but instead I was greeted by a very gentle and kind older gentleman with graying hair tied neatly in a pony tail, who’s hobby it was to putter in the garden and to experiment with rose grafting. He explained to me that a friend of his had given him some cuttings of Abracadabra some time ago which he had rooted. It was from those plants that he had begun grafting his own cuttings and selling the them (as well as other rose varieties) to earn a little extra income. I bought four baby plants which are now thriving in my garden.  Several other roses are blooming as well.

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Lady Banks Rose

Lady Banks Rose

Julio Iglesias

Julio Iglesias

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This is the blackest rose I've ever seen.  Before the buds open, it looks quite black. After they open, the rose is actually a very deep blackish maroon.

This is the closest to black rose I’ve ever seen. Before the buds open, it looks quite black. After they open, the rose is actually a very deep blackish maroon.

Purple Sage

Purple Sage

As I looked out over the central valley, I spied a faint rainbow, one of it’s ends sprouting from the the middle of a nearby field. Can you see it? It’s right in the center of the photograph. I could have sworn I saw the glimmer of gold among the bright green grass.

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Even though I always feel guilty cutting flowers to put in vases, I wanted to be able to enjoy them inside the house as well.

A tropical flower bouquet

A tropical flower bouquet

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A rose bouquet. The orange ones are called Miss Amber

A rose bouquet. The deep orange ones are called Miss Amber

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Joining:

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Saturday Show Off at The Rose Garden in Malevik

Antique Parlor Cabinet Re-do

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Back in January of this year I posted some pictures of an antique cabinet that we bought from our friend Richie. You can read about that here.  After managing to get it up the stairs, it sat in a small space against the dining room wall for months until our home renovation was finished. I admit that I’d been feeling a little lazy and had put the cabinet re-do project on the back burner for longer than anticipated. There were so many other things to finish up first before I could take on a project that involved not only painting but hours of sanding and breathing in dust as well.  I finally got fed up enough with the boring brownness of it and decided to go ahead and get started. I selected an antique white paint for the body of the cabinet and a soft gray shade for the doors. Good thing I had made alot of furniture appliques beforehand and it was just a matter of selecting the ones that I wanted to use. This is what the cabinet looked like before:

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After sanding the shiny finish off for what seemed like eons, I glued on the appliques with No More Nails and held them in place with masking tape just in case.

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Then I started painting. I must confess that I didn’t paint the cabinet in any particular order and I didn’t empty it of the crystal before starting on the outside.  It took me about two weeks to finish it because I didn’t work on it for long periods at a time and I  just randomly painted whatever part I felt like painting on any given day. I figured I wouldn’t get as bored or antsy with the project that way.

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It wasn’t without it’s problems however. Even though I sanded it quite thoroughly, brown stains kept coming up through every single coat of white paint that I applied. I have no idea why that happened, it’s never happened before on any other piece of furniture that I’ve painted. I have a feeling that whoever stained and varnished this cabinet all those many decades ago must have used some kind of really strong home mixed concoction that kept coming up to the surface as each coat of white paint dried. Who knows what they used. I was starting to feel like Lady MacBeth. Had it not been for fear of breaking my toe, I would have kicked the cabinet right out the door and down the stairs at that point. Finally I just painted over the stains with a really dark gray color and then applied more white over the gray. That pretty much solved it.

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Semsema helped me out by inspecting the project regularly. She had to approve everything beforehand.

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The inside middle section of the cabinet and the two drawers had been covered in a hideous beige textured shelf paper that had fused to the shelves in some spots. I removed it all and scrubbed the  inside of the cabinet with Pine Sol. Then I painted it white and put new shelf paper in.

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And finally after a couple of weeks and about 6 or 7 (or maybe 8)  coats of paint….it was done.

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The gray doors seem to make the white appliques stand out. The back part of the glass enclosures are also painted gray.

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I finally found a place for my Halloween tableware which had previously been stored in cardboard boxes.

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I shared a couple of pictures of the finished cabinet on my Facebook page and was surprised when a friend of mine who lives in France asked me if it was french. Just the fact that a french woman could mistake the cabinet for a french antique was compliment enough for me. I just smiled and said, Oui, cést francaise maintenant!

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mueblecris5 bf

Joining Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Shabbilicious Friday at Shabby Art Boutique

Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed

Three Mini Chairs And A Patio

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I’ve had these little mini chairs in my garden since forever and over the years they’ve seen sun and rain as well as several different colors of paint. My neighbor Elmer, who is a carpenter made them for me to hang on the wall as plant holders but they’ve been used for many things, mostly as junk holders where I would place garden stuff that had to be kept out of the reach of children and of pets. When my youngest daughter was little, she used to make me take them down off the wall so she could play house with them.  A few weeks ago I decided that it was time to repaint them once again because they were looking very faded and weather worn and I also wanted to refresh my patio garden with new plants and a new coat of paint on the walls.

I can't remember the last time I painted them but obviously it had been years.

Before: I can’t remember the last time I painted them but obviously it had been years.

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I have to admit that I’ve neglected the little courtyard garden at our city house.  It’s such a small space after all and there isn’t really alot of room for plants unless they’re potted.  I usually spend more time in the much larger garden up at our mountain house but this rainy season I’ve decided to  pay a bit more attention to my little patio and thus spent a good part of the week weeding, fertilizing and planting new seeds. I mostly went with climbing plants because the space is small and the walls were bare. I planted Morning Glory seeds, Sweet Peas and Moon Flower seeds as well as three Clematis vines and even a few pumpkin seeds which will hopefully yield pumpkins by Halloween, unlike last year when I planted “fungus resistant” pumpkin seeds up at the mountain house only to have them ALL succumb to a woolly white fungus just as they were beginning to set fruit! Maybe they’ll do better in the city, it’s not as humid. Keeping my fingers crossed this time.

Suha and Giza think the pumpkin seedlings smell lovely.

Suha and Giza think the pumpkin seedlings smell lovely.

The three little chairs got a complete makeover which meant new paint and a bit of decoupage. I sealed them with a thick coat of polyurethane varnish so that they’d be sun and rain resistant….at least for a couple of years.

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Much better!

Much better!

I’ve had to put a wire mesh around and above my seedlings as well as more stones in some of the larger flower pots because my naughty kitty girls love to scratch the bare soil and use it as a litter box. I’ve seen them completely bypass their fresh clean litter boxes and head straight for the planters.  The mesh will keep them out until the plants grow in and there won’t be so much visible soil, then I can remove it.

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These solid violet colored morning glories grew from seeds dropped by striped morning glories.

These solid violet colored morning glories grew from seeds dropped by striped morning glories. These keep reseeding themselves and I find myself having to yank out new seedlings every so often, otherwise they’ll just take over the garden.

Some of the seeds did produce striped flowers that looked like the parents.

Some of the seeds did produce striped flowers that looked like the parents.

These are Grandpa Ott morning glories. I've never tried this variety before.  The color is so intense.

These are Grandpa Ott morning glories. I’ve never tried this variety before. The color is quite intense.

This is a lavender flowered Clematis that I got on Ebay. It's an unamed variety that the seller grew from seed.

This is a lavender flowered Clematis that I got on Ebay. It’s an unamed variety that produces huge blooms. Apparently the seller grew these from seed.

My orchids are beggining to bloom. I have several varieties. Most of them are heavily scented and they make the entire courtyard smell like vanilla.

My orchids are beginning to bloom. I have several varieties and they’re actually really easy to grow. Most of them are heavily scented and they make the entire courtyard smell like vanilla.

This is another heavily scented flower. The perfume is absolutely intoxicating.  It's Frangipani also known as Plumeria.  I always thought Plumeria was Hawaiian, but it's actually native to Central America.

This is another intensely fragrant flower. The perfume is absolutely intoxicating. It’s Frangipani also known as Plumeria. I always thought Plumeria was Hawaiian, but it’s actually native to Central America. It’s a tall tree like shrub and it’s one of the few larger plants that I have in my little garden.

Bougainvillea. I have this one growing in a large pot.

Bougainvillea. I have this one growing in a  pot right outside the patio door.

Here's a red Bromelia.  This one's native to Costa Rica. I've got several of these as they reproduce quite easily.

A red Bromelia. This one’s native to Costa Rica. I have several of these growing in pots. They reproduce quite easily.

Here's a potted Hydrangea. They grow everywhere here in Costa Rica, even on roadsides.  I've never seen them in any other color around here though. They're always varying shades of blue and even the ones that open white, eventually turn blue. I've never seen a pink hydrangea in Costa Rica. I wonder if it's the soil.

Here’s a potted Hydrangea. They grow abundantly in my area, even on roadsides.  They always seem to bloom in varying shades of  blue however, and even the ones that open white will eventually turn blue. I’ve never seen a pink hydrangea in Costa Rica. I wonder if it’s the soil.

Leyla is looking longingly at the flower bed. There's mesh all around it but it's mostly hidden between the greenery.

Leyla is looking longingly at the flower bed. There’s mesh all around it but it’s mostly hidden among the greenery.

Semsema likes to lay in the flower pots. I guess the damp soil and cool rocks are refreshing on a hot tropical afternoon.

Semsema loves to lay in the flower pots. I guess the damp soil and cool rocks are refreshing on a hot tropical afternoon.

This is a little shady spot where I keep the staghorn ferns and some of the orchids. Notice the mesh over the planter. That's so the kitties won't scratch the soil around until the seeds germinate.

This is a little shady spot where I keep the staghorn ferns and some of the orchids. Notice the mesh over the planter. That’s so the kitties won’t scratch the soil around until the seeds germinate.

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Most of the seeds that I planted a couple of weeks ago have sprouted and are growing nicely thanks to the abundant rain but there is still so much to do in the garden.  I’m thinking of buying some miniature roses ….or maybe even some hanging roses, more water lilies for the pond and perhaps some quick growing ivy to trail up the stark walls.

Joining Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Joining Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Joining Saturday Show Off at The Rose Garden in Malevik