Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wallpapering the vestibule

Something I've been wanting to do in the house since before we moved in, was to update the entryway/vestibule.

The previous owners had stenciled a blue & silver pattern on the wall, and while I didn't hate it vehemently, I wasn't a fan.

Something about the silver & light blue just felt a little too weak, or sickly. That probably doesn't make sense - but I'm trying to say that it just didn't strike me at all.

I think everyone likes the birch tree wallpapers that are all over Pinterest, and I think coming back from the cottage - land of trees and especially beautiful birch trees, I felt even more attracted to it. There are a few different tree-papers available, but my favorite by far is Woods from Cole & Son.

I love that white one, but it wouldn't really suit our entryway, or the gold-framed mirror that hangs in there, so I chose it in the darker grey/white combo.

I have never wallpapered anything before. When I went to the Home Depot to buy wallpaper supplies I was told it was a "lost art" and they didn't really carry supplies because nobody does it. Annoying! FYI, Home Depot, if you're on Pinterest at all, you'll know that wallpaper has made a comeback. But, anyway. I did what I could, and was able to get paste at the HD.

Saturday, as L. napped, I 'papered. It was pretty easy, but don't look too carefully because there are definitely some mistakes in there. But, voila!

I'm pretty happy with the result! I can't stop looking at it, and I can stop opening my front door to gaze upon it as a visitor would! I'm pretty sure my neighbors think I've lost my mind. But, whatevs. I'm happy.

Monday, October 24, 2016

How to get cigarette smell out of paintings

Oh, hi!

Some time back I told you about my plan to change our drab bedroom. Well, I'm not done yet, but getting there.

One thing I wanted to add was some art, but I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted. A nice print of something I loved? Something original and cool? Or something vintage and cool? I felt pretty open about it, but I didn't want to spend much money, and I wanted it to suit the space.

After browsing eBay for weeks, I settled on two vintage/weird paintings of dancers.

I love the naive style, and the deep colors, and the gold frames, and they felt like they both suited our own vintage style. Ad for $32, they were certainly the right price!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know what happened: when they arrived they STANK like cigarettes. Like, stank beyond anything I have ever experienced. As soon as I opened the box, the smell hit me like a truck. It was disgusting. Worse than disgusting. Those of you who know me know that I have certainly enjoyed a cigarette or two (or 2,000) in my day (though happy to say haven't had a puff in 4 years) - but these smelled as though they had been locked in an airless room for 40 years with a 3-pack-a-day smoker.

The seller said they had come from and estate sale in Kentucky, and said "pet and smoke status unknown". I believe, however, that if the seller has a nose that probably the smoke status was known, but I digress.

For $32 I could have given up, thrown them out and moved on. But still, I liked these. I wanted to keep them, so I gave it a shot.

Here's how I cleaned them.

First, I used some gentle dish soap and warm water to clean the layers of nicotine off. Again, because they were only $32, I was willing to damage them - but from what I read on the internet, soap and water are ok to use gently on paintings (though if you're looking to clean your Renoirs and Picassos - take it to a pro).

The soap did a decent job on the nicotine stains, but the stank persisted. So, I took a lavender sachet and put the painting in an air-tight garbage bag for a week. This didn't work - it didn't absorb the smell, it only added lavender to the cigarette stank.

So, I did some more research into what ABSORBS smells, and settled on drying dryer sheets. So, I put the two paintings back in the air-tight garbage bag with a few sheets of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dryer Sheets - Lemon Verbena scent for about a week to ten days. And guess what! It worked! They absorbed the bad smell, and added a lighter, more tolerable smell.

And now those two pics happily hang in our bedroom, and still smell like Lemon Verbena dryer sheets.

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