Thursday, January 23, 2014

The City Farm

I have been searching for just the right tray for a long time now.  Well, since the week after Christmas.  It feels like longer.  I have invested (wasted?) waaaaayyyy too much time in this search, and have been plagued by indecision.  The tray is for our new coffee area that I created in the dining room.  John gave me a lovely espresso maker for Christmas, and with our tiny amount of counter space in the kitchen we just didn't have a square inch in which to keep it.

Hence the coffee bar in the dining room.  And the need for a tray to keep my buffet from getting splashed/stained every time we slosh a hot beverage while pouring.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to decide what I want, other than the obvious . . . it needs to be waterproof-ish.

After a ridiculous amount of online shopping, I finally found a tray on a new site I linked to from who-knows-where . . . the City Farm shop.  Hooray!  $23 or so later and my tray was on it's way.

Much excitement was in the air the other day when the tray arrived . . . best packaging ever!  I felt like I was opening an amazing gift with the burlap bag tied with ribbon and complementary hand cream.

Unfortunately, awesome as the packaging was, the tray was just not "It."  While it is waterproof-ish inside, the outside is some sort of shellacked paper.  And the paper was torn on one handle.  Boo.

Not a huge deal, but if I am going to spend $23 on an item, no boo-boos allowed.  So I called the City Farm and left a message, saying that I would prefer to return it, not just get a replacement.  (As unlikely as it is to have a spill hit the outside of the tray, I am leery of using it for a beverage tray.)  And I prepped to send pictures, fight to get them to pay shipping, etc etc etc.  The usual return hassle.

So I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least, when I got a call the next day from the City Farm, and was told that they were going to be refunding my money, but to go ahead and keep the tray!

Pretty sure I have never experienced the like as far as customer service goes.  I have yet to see the moolah appear back in my account as she just let me know yesterday, but have no doubt that I will see it come thru soon.

Having had such a good experience when I was expecting a negative, I am planning to keep the City Farm on my go-to list for fun and whimsical home accents.  Like these fun little dogs that require no training, don't pee on your rug, and don't need any food . . . happy shopping!

(The City Farm had no idea I was going to write this blog post when we spoke . . . I have not received any gifts or services in return.)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Art wall progress

Sometimes I hear "How do you find the time?!" in regards to doing projects around the house.  The answer is, little bits here and there.  Jude is in a particularly clingy phase right now, so I snatch the moments that I can, usually nap time.

So remember what the art wall looked like yesterday?

Sideways pics, holes in the wall, and very dirty frames.

Just in case you don't believe me about the volume of holes . . .

I had a definite idea of where I wanted to go with the glass frames . . .

The black paper that had previously been behind the B&W photos was so sun-lightened it was a horrible brown.  This time around I wanted some sort of fabric behind color photos.  Perhaps a white or other light fabric.  I found some fabulous shirting in my fabric stash, white with a slim blue stripe.  Ironed, cut, placed behind my chosen photo, put it back up on the wall . . .

UGH!!!  Hated it.  Too little contrast.  Looks like some sort of 1970's mistake.  SO blah.  What else could I try?

How about a little bit of the 31 yards of burlap I have from my curtain debacle?  That would add some texture and contrast.

I completed that part of the project first, and then during nap time did the boring stuff.  Finalized frame placement (i.e. made more holes), filled holes, repainted lower wall trim that was still stained from a long-ago coffee spill (thanks, Jude), cleaned lots of pencil marks off the wall (also courtesy of Jude . . . thank God for white erase sponges!), and finally painted over the filled holes and re-hung the art.

STILL not done.  I need to rotate out the old B&W photos of Sophia as a baby and do something with the picture of the Eiffel Tower, which I chose for the frame.  Not sure what I am going to put in it, so that will be a project for another day.  Stay tuned!  (And check out how CLEAN the little house needlepoint is now!  Ok, so maybe you can't tell, but I can.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A (new) art wall

Some of you may remember the photo wall we had up in our living room back in the days of purple . . .

Since then we've added a kid, changed the paint color, and rearranged a few . . . ok, a bunch . . . of times.  And because I've never really loved any arrangement, I've hesitated to put much art up on the walls.  But lo and behold, I have finally hit on a living room arrangement that I think is going to stick, and the art wall is back!

I say "art wall" because I decided that what I really wanted to do was work in some favorite pieces that actually aren't photographs, along with some family photos.  Items that have significance to our family, like the amazing drawing our niece made me for Christmas 2010 that finally has a home!  More on that piece later, but here's how today's start to the art wall went . . .

And a few hours later . . .

In case you were wondering, NO, it's not finished.  Far from it.  But I decided to go about it a little differently this time.  I chose things to hang partly by size, deciding that I would then find just the right picture for each frame afterward.  I wanted a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and have special plans for the three frames that are all glass . . .

For now the picture wall is hanging out with sideways pictures,

VERY dirty frames/glass,

and some pretty giant holes in the wall!  Anyone who knows my picture hanging process knows that no matter how much I test things out with paper mock-ups taped up, I still end up with about triple the holes that are actually necessary.  The holes here are from the huge mirror that I most recently had hanging in this spot.  There are three more behind the art on the right!  Yup, it took three tries to get that mirror to its happy place.

Hopefully it won't take three tries per pic to get this wall right, but you never know.  Stay tuned for the evolution of the "art wall!"
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