It's The Fall That Will Kill You

During the ten months that I waited from the time I signed the contract until the time I closed on the house, I didn't give a lot of thought to the actual moving. At the time, I thought it was because I had bigger fish to fry. Now I know I was in denial.

The move, ya'll, was ugly.

Thankfully, I don't actually have any pictures of it - which is good because I don't think I could look at them, even if I had them.

We do have some shots of the "house in progress" complete with newly delivered furniture and painter's tape.

Here are the new chairs I bought for the living room. I felt like such a grownup when I bought them. They are elegant and I like that about them.

Here's the new couch that was delivered for the sunroom. I love this picture because even though I hadn't moved, had no food in the house and no bed to sleep in, I managed to accessorize the couch and find some coffee table books for the table.

And finally, here is my stack of uninstalled window blinds. Their purchase and the ensuing headache of having them installed prompted my darling friend - who is much younger than me - to remark "When I get ready to buy a house, I'm going to buy a 'used' one so that I don't have to install blinds."

Ain't that a cotton picken' mouthful?


The Luxury of a Thousand Years

"We're all going to die. Write that down, miss. We don't have the luxury of a thousand years on this earth. Only sixty, or maybe eighty little years if we're lucky. And these years pass in a flash. Why not offer flowers to your spouse every night? Why deprive yourself of the happiness of making your house a home? Why resist your impulse? Daily life is the most beautiful voyage..." - Louis Pauzé

The Day We Became Home Owners

We closed on our house on February 28th last year. Afterward, I went and picked up Finn and Lola so they could come with me for our first visit to the house that was now officially ours. One of the first things they noticed was that all our windows are Corgi height which comes in handy when you are on the lookout for Hottentots and marauders.

They also enjoyed running up and down the hall.

And of course, Finny had a good time because having a good time is what he does best. Even though he wasn't quite sure where he was, he sure enjoyed being there.


House Tour Part VIII

Welcome to the second guest bedroom/office! I know, I know, you've mostly seen it all before but since it's pretty much together at this point I thought I'd "officially" blog it.

Notice the snazzy art grid of Ikea happiness on the wall! I just finished it tonight. I used a laser level and a tape measure. I swear, the cussing was minimal.
I am talking about this room so late because it has been difficult from the beginning. There are two reasons this room is so problematic. First of all, I would have really liked to just have the room be an office/den. However, I needed another bed, but because the room is so small, I had to go with a twin bed. Since it's a mixed use room, it feels a little schizophrenic to me. The second problem is that the room is long and very narrow so furniture placement possibilities are limited.

My darling decorator believes that we should make the wall behind the bed the focal point in the room by hanging floor to ceiling curtains that stretch all the way across. Therefore, the curtains behind the bed right now are temporary until this issue is resolved. However, just today my darling decorator emailed me and she has successfully tracked down perfect drapery fabric! It's the right color, the right pattern and the right price. She is supernaturally talented! We'll keep you posted on our progress but we hope to measure and get the drapes going really soon.
Here's my little bill paying desk. I got it for Christmas from my best friend about 8 years ago. I love it. It is from Target and is certainly not expensive, but it has good lines and is the perfect size for my needs - and of course it looks fabulous with the Formerly Ugly Chair. I also want to point out my vintage genie bottle lamp which I scored at the Sleepy Poet's Antique Mall. I am very proud to have found it, sort of like I won a prize or something.
Finally, here is a shot of the opposite wall which is mostly taken up with a large and well used book case. In case you haven't noticed, I have a lot of books. I try to keep it moderately organized but I really need to spend some time making it a little prettier. Bookcases are a science and an art and I really need to be in the mood to do them and suffice it to say I haven't been in the mood for a very. long. time. If I decide to work on it, I'll be sure to let ya'll know.

Thanks For the Memories

This week we're counting down to the first anniversary of closing on the house. Here are some pictures from our final walk through before closing.

Here's a shot of my dinette area. This lovely light fixture made me twitch and one of the first things I did was rip.it.down. It was literally so ugly I could barely stand it. The blue tape? That's where the builder had to touch up the paint and fix the nail pops.

In case you haven't been involved in buying a newly constructed house, nail pops are a thing. We'll talk more about that later.

Here's the living room and fireplace, before paint and curtains. I'm a little startled by how Builder's Beige it was. Even though the paint colors I've chosen are very light, they make quite a difference, I think. Most of the lower level of my house is painted "Tuscan Beige" by Behr. In my opinion this is the greatest paint color - ever! It is quite neutral but during the day when the room is filled with sun it has a beautiful pale pink undertone. I don't think a man would ever look at it and know it was pink, but every female who's ever been in here noticed it. I, however, get a great deal of happiness in the thought of living in a little pink house - and when I say "house" in my mind I think "Palais", just so ya know.

Here's a shot of the kitchen before the refrigerator was delivered. In fact, at this point, I didn't even own a refrigerator. After the walk through I went to HHGregg and bought one. And if you are in need of an appliance or a piece of electronic equipment, go on over to HHGregg. They don't pay me but they have consistently provided excellent service.

Finally, here's a shot of the sunroom, again, glaringly Builder's Beige. After consultation with the decorator, we painted the sunroom a color that is actually about two shades darker than the rest of the downstairs. Since there is so much light in there and we opted for minimal window treatments, the darker color is sublty different during the day but it creates a level of interest that I don't think would be there had we painted it all the same. As I've said before, small decisions can make a big impact in your beautiful home.


I'd Love To, I Can't

I started doing Facebook last month. I had all these friends doing Facebook and they said "Come on! Do Facebook! It's fun!".

I have to say that it has been pretty cool. I've been able to reconnect with some friends from school and catch up with them and see pictures of their kids and I have truly enjoyed talking to them.

Of course, I suppose there is always a downside to everything.

I've noticed that many people have TONS of Facebook friends.


I have, like 17. I think it's because I don't want to be Facebook friends with every single person I have ever seen, heard of or shaken hands with.

I have been contacted by more than a few people whose names I remember from high school but who I didn't even know in high school and that's when I was in the same building with them every day. Needless to say, I'm not too keen on inviting them into my life at this point. Of course the people from high school and college who I would really like to catch up with aren't doing Facebook. Quelle surprise.

Yesterday I got a friend request from a guy who's name I kind of remember. I think his sister was in my third grade class in elementary school. This is the sum total of my knowlege of him. He sent me a message and said "Hi! Remember me?"

Um, no. Not so much really.

I mention him because he has sent a couple of emails to my work address over the years asking me if I remember him and what my parents are up to. I have ignored this person in every way I know how. I literally would not know who he was if he walked up and smacked me. I ignored his request and then I blocked him.

Am I the only person who is concerned about creepy stalker people on Facebook?

Does this make me a snob, the character trait associated with so much high school derision and scorn? Or does it make me a smart modern woman who believes she must control the amount of information that she makes available to strangers on the internet?

Since I have to live with myself I am going to pick the latter. And if the high school people I don't really know think that I'm a snob, I guess I'll just have to live with it.

Now, of course, my friends want me to do "Twitter". I'm gonna have to get back to you on that.

The New Table and the New Ugly Chair

The new table arrived from Wisteria today and packages from Wisteria are always cause for celebration here at Chateau Bee Charmer.

It is shiny and pretty!

We put it next to the New Ugly Chair in the guest room.

As discussed last week, we recently sent our Old Ugly Chair off to be reupholstered and it isn't ugly anymore. Since I am always a girl in search of a household decorating project, you can only imagine my happiness when I discovered the New Ugly Chair at a consignment store in Mooresville! It is perfectly suited for this little corner of our guest room and I knew that the new aluminum side table would complement it's shape and height - don't ask me how I knew, I just did - and you know I love it when a plan comes together.

The chair is super cute but it is covered in cheapy cheap gray vinyl and the upholstery job is less than spectacular. Therefore, it will be going off to Darren as soon as I am able to locate some appropriate velvet to recover it in. I went over to Calico Corners during lunch yesterday but, of course, the fabric I fell in love with was pewter colored velvet that costs $65.00 per yard.

Damn! Sometimes I hate having such good taste!

I guess I will just have to keep looking. I am sure that I can find something that will do.


The Right Frame of Mind

As I said, this time last year I was anxiously awaiting closing on my first house.

You could say I was a little stressed. And for a long time, I wasn't stressed in a good way, especially in the beginning. I wanted to enjoy this process but I was making myself miserable.

A few weeks after I signed the contract I re-read "Under the Tuscan Sun". I really love that book. Frances Mayes has the same affinity for houses and their meaning as I do. As I read about the stress and anxiety she felt when she bought a house in a foreign country, I was comforted in knowing that others had suffered with the same kind of excitement and worry that I was feeling. Then I read the line that really changed it all for me.

"Think: What if the sky does not fall? What if it's glorious?"

And I started to think about my glorious house and you know what?

That's what I got.

First Anniversary

At this time last year, I was anxiously looking forward to closing on my house after almost a year of anticipation.

I thought we'd walk back through it a little this week. Here are the pictures from my first visit after the kitchen cabinets were installed. Despite the sunshine on this January day, it was cold and rainy and there were several inches of mud in what is now my front yard.

But I was too excited to notice. All I could focus on was the fact that I was soon to have a fireplace!

I was also quite taken with my soon-to-be sunroom, despite the lovely particle wood subfloor and the sea of mud out my windows. I just knew that this would be my new home and I am so happy to say that now, it is.


Ikea Conversation

My darling friend and I walked into Ikea Thursday night.

We had a list. We had a plan. We were pretty sure we had arrived during a lull.

A pile of these vases were displayed by the door and I picked one up and put it in my cart.

My darling friend said "Put that back, that's not on the list, THIS is how we get in trouble in here". And I said, "I don't care, I saw it in the ad, I want it". She was annoyed.

Yesterday, I looked at my receipt to see just how much this little gem cost me - $1.49.

I love Ikea.


IKEA Hangover

My dear friend and I met up and went to Ikea last night.

It was, I am proud to report, exactly like every other Ikea I have ever visited. Which is comforting, in a way.

It was crowded at 8 o'clock last night, but not overly so. The parking lot was full but there were still lots of parking spaces, so not an impossible situation. There were a lot of people out directing traffic which really helped move things along. Inside, there were a lot of employees all over the place, so help was available if you needed it. They had jugglers and people performing magic tricks and a band playing Tom Petty covers. It was a very excited, party atmosphere.

I bought frames for my office and frames for my extra bedroom and a cool vase for the house.

All in all, not an unenjoyable experience.

I wouldn't brave it this weekend, though.


The Ugly Chair

Here is the ugly chair. I got it at a yard sale about 10 years ago and I paid $10.00 for it.

I slip-covered it in $5 worth of fabric that I found on the sale table at the fabric shop and it's been an occasional chair around the house ever since. Most recently it is living as a desk chair in the spare bedroom.

Underneath it's tea rose slip-cover, it is covered in beige naugahyde.

Let me say that again....



That's right. Many naugas died to make this chair. I am sure ya'll are stunned that I covered it up!

Here's a closeup of the naugahyde, along with an attractive blemish. Isn't it lovely?

Last week, Darren, from The Upholstery Shop in Lincolnton, came to my house and took the ugly chair away. Today, he brought it back, reupholstered in shiny white faux alligator vinyl!

Can you believe it???

I'd like to say I had this idea totally on my own, but actually, it came from Domino Magazine. They did a story on a lady who covered an antique camel back sofa in white faux ostrich vinyl. The juxtaposition was so completely cool that I have always remembered it and when I decided to redo the ugly chair, faux ostrich was my first thought. Then I saw the faux alligator. You know I never met a faux reptile I didn't love!

Let the ugly chair be a lesson to you. If you find a cool piece with good lines, grab it. If you play your cards right you'll end up with a one-of-a-kind piece and a story to tell.

Oh, and make sure you call Darren. He rocks.


I just ordered this table from Wisteria.

I don't really need it.

I don't really know what I am going to do with it.

I just think it is way, way cool and it has been consistently marked down since after Christmas.

I started to buy it two weeks ago and then thought "You don't need that" and so I didn't order it.

I was thinking about it this morning while I was in the shower - about how much I love it.

Wisteria emailed me today - an additional 15% off the sale price for online orders.

So I bought it.

And I don't feel bad.

Happy Wednesday

It's raining in Charlotte.

The puppies enjoyed it. They are, after all, Welsh.

The IKEA campers are damp.

I wish I could stay snuggled in front of my fire this morning. Maybe I'll get an office fireplace for my birthday this year. Wouldn't that be so cool?


IKEA Countdown

I wanna buy enough RIBBA frames to do this in my guest room......

Can you imagine how much I would cuss trying to get them straight? Believe me, it'll be a lotta cussin'.

The Observer reports that the City of Charlotte has installed traffic control measures for Wednesday's IKEA Grand Opening.

They are expecting Race Day like traffic - for those of you without NASCAR in your backyard, that means a LOT of cars. Residents are advised to use Interstate 85 and follow the signs. Yeah, we never would have figured that out. Thanksalotmeanitbye.

It is my understanding that people are camping out.

I am not quite sure it is THAT good.

If you're going and you've never been before, my advice to you is to rest up and take plenty of water. Hydration is key. Also? If you could leave your small children at home, that would help out a lot. They'll just slow you down.

A bunch of us are going on Saturday and my friend suggested that we wait until lunch and hope there's a lull.



I headed down to Home Goods at Blakeney to look for a new powder room mirror. Unfortunately, they didn't have one to suit me. More unfortunately, they did have a lotta lamps on sale.

Yeah, I had to buy them.

I have to confess that Home Goods always makes me a little nervous. It's always crowded and cramped. Usually, I just don't want to fight for the stuff.

Ya'll, these lamps made a fighter outta me.

Aren't they great??? They flank the sofa in the living room. They add just a bit of sparkle.

I have been looking for living room lamps for years. Really, YEARS. And then, when I'm not looking for them, there they are and at an unbeatable price.

Here's a close up of the crystal base. I have a thing for crystal lamps. Very 1930's French, which is sort of my guiding design principal here at Chateau Bee Charmer.

I also snapped up this little one for the desk in my room. The other one, from Target, rattled when you walked by and that just bugged me. This one is gorgeous and perfect, and frankly, didn't cost much more than the old Target one. I LOVE a good deal and it makes me love the lamps even more.

This trip was also a good reminder to me to be open to all possibilities when shopping for one's home, because I found something at a place where I generally don't enjoy shopping.

It also struck me again that your home shouldn't be like a Candace Olsen makeover, with everything new and beautiful but with very little - or no - personal meaning. Anyone can throw a lot of money at a room and make something that is objectively beautiful. However, most people don't have the money to spend in such a way and as beautiful as the room might be, it's a little soulless. Your home isn't hatched, you have to build it a bit at a time and often that means waiting for a while to find just the right thing.

As much, or more than your money, your beautiful home needs your time, your devotion, your thought and your energy. The perfect addition could pop up when you least expect it - and sometimes, at a perfectly affordable price.

I still need a mirror for that powder room, though.


Guest Room Redux

By now ya'll have probably figured out that I am seldom satisfied with the state of my home. I am constantly scheming to make it a little bit better. The guest room is one of my biggest challenges.

In my experience, guest rooms have often been uncomfortable. This is the room where others house the uncomfortable mattress, the mismatched furniture, the sheets they got as a gift and have never actually washed and the lumpy pillows that they got, somewhere, over the past few years (few people actually know where the pillows on their guest beds came from). Often the air is stale and the furniture is dusty.

I have slept on lumpy mattresses, flat pillows, scratchy sheets and, on at least one occasion, with a metal bar pressing into the middle of my back. One time my pillowcase was so covered with my host's cat's hair I actually had to turn the pillowcase inside out. No really, I was just glad she was kind enough to give me a place to sleep.... really. My severe cat allergy really isn't that bad.

Believe me, there is nothing worse than laying awake all night in a strange place - hot, uncomfortable and miserable. I know. I've done it.

Therefore, guest comfort is of the utmost importance to me. I want my guests to feel welcome, adored and pampered.

This is my justification for redoing the guest room. As you can see, it went from brown to light. I love it! It's like being in a cloud.

Here is a closeup of the head of the bed. Don't ya just want to crawl in there?

One of the coolest things for me (and I know I'm a big, fat design geek) is that the guest room bedding now matches the guest bathroom towels and shower curtain.

Isn't that cool? Aren't you buzzing and charmed? I thought you would bee.

See there? I'm so happy I even made a little pun.

The guest bathroom accoutrement were given to me as a housewarming gift by my dear and darling friends at work. Aren't they great? And notice the lovely monogram in the middle of my shower curtain. I did that. And when I said "I did that" I actually meant I took it over to Alphabet Soup and told them to do that. It really makes a difference, though, doesn't it?

Remember, a simple thing like a monogram can elevate a run of the mill shower curtain from Target. It makes it special and unique and that is always charming.


Sunday Brunch

I have been inexplicably craving Pasta Carbonara this week. It's not like me. I am, however, pretty addicted to bacon so maybe that has something to do with it.

Anyway, I dragged my dear friend down to Mama Ricotta's last Tuesday night with the express intent to eat Spaghetti Carbonara. Mama Ricotta's also has the most amazing garlic rolls and also purveys a lovely libation which they call a Mamatini.

Now, I know that I talk a lot about alcohol on this blog and I do it partially for irony because I really really do not drink very much. However, the Mamatinis are the exception. I could slurp them down until I could no longer walk, talk or think rationally. Fortunately, knowing this, I usually limit myself to two. Tuesday was a two-fer night. If you ever go there, have one and think of me.

Where was I? Oh yeah, pasta carbonara. Anyway, one serving on Tuesday was not enough to quench my craving so I bought stuff yesterday so that I could make it at home. I was going to have it for dinner tonight but I decided not to wait and instead, made if for brunch.

Let me tell ya'll, it was really, really good.

I haven't been cooking much since I moved into the new place. I used to cook much more but for whatever reason, I haven't cooked much since I moved. I discovered this morning how much I've missed it. It was as much a joy to haul out all of my nice cooking stuff as it was to sit down and eat. I especially enjoyed cooking in my deep, stainless steel skillet. It rendered the fat out of my pancetta so beautifully.

I have to say, though, I didn't so much love the carbonara recipe that I used. It had a bitterness to it that I am not quite sure where it came from. Maybe the wine that I used? For this reason, I will continue the search for a carbonara recipe. Good doesn't get it done for me. When I cook, I want excellence. Or as close as I can get to it, given my limited skills.

Nonetheless, I am proud of myself for trying. That means a lot. You really have no idea.


No Time to Blog

Sorry I have been lax in my blogging lately. I feel really, really bad about it.

The truth is, I have been on a romance-novel-reading jag for the past two weeks. I have read seven books by Rachel Gibson and I still crave more. I have two on reserve and two that I haven't purchased yet. Her new one is out in May.

Has this ever happened to any of you? I remember reading them a lot in college when I was angsty but really had no problems. Now it's just cold and dark and they are consuming and easy.

That's right. The economy has forced me to retreat into the reading of mind candy.

I bought new bedding for my guest room last week and have now re-done it. I plan to blog about it real soon as I know ya'll are just dying to see it. I promise it will be worth the wait. And since the new stuff goes so much better with the guest bathroom, I'll go ahead and show you that, as well.


Blogging on Facebook

I started doing Facebook a couple of weeks ago.

I tend to overthink things, so this has been somewhat stressful for me.

Last week, my dear friend "tagged" me on Facebook to write 25 Random Things About Me. Since I spent about 30 minutes thinking these things up, I decided I'd post them here, too.

You think that's cheating? Deal with it.

So without further delay, here are 25 Random Things about The Bee Charmer:

1. I am not personable in the morning until I have had at least one cup of caffeinated coffee.

2. I'm really good at my job.

3. When I am bored in Court I try to make a list of all the counties in North Carolina.

4. If I could get away with it, I'd wear black every single day.

5. I have a weakness for shoes. The higher the heel, the better.

6. I wake up early every morning so that I can pray. I try to thank God for as many mundane things as possible. I believe we should be as grateful for the small things as the big things.

7. Paris is my favorite big city. I feel at home there, even though I don't speak the language.

8. My biggest educational regret is not studying French in school, when I had the opportunity.

9. The Shipping News is my favorite book. To Kill a Mockingbird is number 2.

10. If I were stranded on a desert island and could only take one CD, I'd take Steely Dan -Showbiz Kids.

11. My favorite song is IGY by Donald Fagan.

12. I wish I liked people as much as I like dogs.

13. I wrecked my mother's Honda when I was in college. Not a little bit, either. I kicked it's ass.

14. My puppies, Finn and Lola, are the loves of my life.

15. My Ipod's name is Harper.

16. I have a crush on J.K. Simmons. I don't know why but I love him.

17. Online bill pay is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

18. I loved everything about college.

19. Finn is named after Neil Finn.

20. Lola's middle name is Margaret because I am half convinced that she is my grandmother, reincarnated.

21. I am legally blind.

22. I have never broken a bone.

23. I will not watch horror movies.

24. I keep emergency backup diet coke in my refrigerator.

25. I love to shop at flea markets.


The Worst Fetchers in the World

We went over to play in the grass this morning. There is a little lawn over at Coca Cola headquarters where we go to run off the leash.

We played Stick in the Grass. Other dog owners refer to this game as "fetch" but Finn and Lola reject the premise.

Stick in the Grass goes like this: We find a stick - this step is cause for great excitement. Lots of jumping around and barking.

Next, I throw the stick and Finn and Lola run after it as fast as they can. Upon reaching the stick, Finn lays down beside it and waits and Lola runs back to me as fast as possible.

I then have to walk over to the stick (while being herded by Lola) and then I throw it back the other way and we repeat it until they are too tired to chase.

They are the worst fetchers in the whole world.
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