Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Touring the Redecorated Bedroom

Today I'm taking you on a photo tour of my bedroom redecorating project. This first photo is the view from the doorway going into the bedroom looking right, and the second photo is the view looking left. The rocker is one of my first stripping and refinishing jobs in my teens.

Working my way around the walls...


The teddy bear on the side table is one I made back a year or two before Don's stroke. I had plans to make bears and sell them at arts and crafts fairs.




Above the bed and on another wall are art prints of Nantucket Cottages. I bought them a few years ago when I thought I was going to buy a condo. They should have been matted but I already owned these frames, left over from selling some guy stuff prints of my husband's, so I used them. I used to do all my own matting and framing and I got sticker shock when I inquired about having these done professionally.


The decorative pillow on the bed is named "Nantucket Bike" according to the tag and I couldn't resist it when I saw it today.



The narrow door on left side of the bed was my husband's gun cabinet. I sold the guns shortly after he died and now it holds a memory foam for my sleeper chair and teddy bear making stuff---some dreams die hard.


This clock was given to me in the '60s or '70s by my brother and sister-in-law. It says, "All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today." I've always loved its message and it's been hanging in the garage too many years.


On the other side of the a six foot wide window from the gun cabinet is this setup. The three drawer chest is another one of my refinishing jobs and the toolbox with small drawers used to hold my dad's tool and die making tools that he made a living with. The wide drawer in between was made by my dad when he needed more room for tools at the factory.


This shadow box holds all my baby stuff---a very fragile sipi cup, baby ring and locket, a vase my dad brought to the hospital the day I was born, diaper pins, silver spoon, a baby doll and my photo. The shoes on top were hand-me-downs from my brother as was the block next to the shadow box.


The basket below is almost as old as I am and it's what I got all my Easter candy and eggs in each year when I was growing up. The blanket is my baby blanket and the cat brings back a silly memory of the day my husband bid on it at an auction when we first started dating. I learned over the course of a few auctions to say, "I love this BUT I DON'T WANT TO OWN IT!" Otherwise he'd bid on anything I admired. What can I say, he was smitten.


In between the bath and closet doors is a medicine cabinet from the 1800's, another refinishing projects. Its burl walnut was covered with milk paint. The ice cream set below is a reproduction from the '60s. I love how my shower curtain looks from the bedroom. If I leave the shower light on at night the girl and the ocean look magical. (A photo tour of my bathroom is a few posts back.)


My ice cream table used to be on my sun porch and the three drawer chest used to set in this space and a small book case my dad made was where the three drawer chest is now. I'm painting the book case for the hallway. The table is now a place I can sit in the middle of the night when I can't sleep until I write down an idea that pops into my head, I discovered there are hummingbirds on the bed quilt so I moved this glass one in from the porch as well.




On the forth wall is my media cabinet with some of my primitive lamps on the top and Levi is below wondering what the heck I'm doing. The second ice cream chair will come in handy at the closet door because I like to lay out my clothes for the next day.



Leaving the room.


I wish I'd taken some before photos of my bedroom and bath but this one below will have to do. It shows the Pendleton wool reversible bed covers we used and the rooms' former color scheme. The photo was taken because I'm going to sell them on eBay. Most widows redecorate their master bedrooms long before I did. It's been seven years, but I've had the hardest time letting go of these bed covers because I won a $1,000 in a writing contest and these are what I bought with the money.


Speaking of money my little decorating project cost $2,469. Can you imagine how high that would have been if I had bought all new furniture, window coverings (I have mini blinds) and new flooring? That includes a new bed ($350) and the mattress set ($1,000), painting services for the bedroom and bath ($450), the shower curtain ($85) bed quilt ($140), sheets, mattress pad and towels ($200), rug in the bathroom ($100), pair of lamp shades ($30 on sale), decorative pillow ($15 also on sale) and carpet cleaning ($99). I still need a blanket. I've discovered those labeled full/queen are too big, making a trip hazard and let me tell you, the plain 'full' size are hard to find. I've got one on the way. Oops, I forgot to add in the box spring cover that is not skirt but serves the same purpose---that was $30 at Amazon. They are made out of swimsuit material and are so easy to put on; the mattress delivery guy and I had it on in less than a minute. He said he'd been delivering mattresses a long time and has helped lots of people put on bed skirts and he'd never seen this kind of cover before. I'd grown to hate bed skirts. I got my box spring cover to match the bed metal so it will go with any color sheets I could pick in the future.


This ends the tour.  I have a few more details to add to the room---a small lace doily my mom made, the paddle off my old sailboat, maybe a plant---but essentially I'm finished with this project. It was a lot of work but worth the effort. Levi and I have only slept in the new room four nights and we're still fighting over the fact that he wants to sleep at the end of bed,  stretched out from side to side instead of top to bottom where he'd take up less room. He's been staying a hour or two then leaving to sleep on the couch which is fine with me. According to my Fitbit I've been sleeping an extra hour without being restless in the bed bed.💓

P.S. Next I'm redecorating the back seat of the car for Levi. He's getting the red plush throw from my former bedroom decor and the red pillow cases. I keep pillows on the floor back there in case he gets thrown to the floor if I break too hard. 

32 comments:

  1. I love it! Thank you for the tour.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved the tour and your room is lovely and calming. A great place to shut out the world for you (well except Levi) You did a beautiful job Jean.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jean, what a great room. Thanks for the wonderful tour and I love that decorative pillow, "Nantucket Bike". You did a fantastic job my friend. Forget the money, if you're happy that's all that is needed. Enjoy the room. See ya.


    Cruisin Paul

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, ladies and Paul. I really don't care about the money. It was for two rooms that hadn't been redone in 18 years---except the mattresses they weren't that old. I put the costs in there because when I look at redecorating projects in magazines I always want to know how much it costs and sometimes they do share that. And they never show enough photos from the angles I want to see stuff in.

    I got an email this morning from the mother of the twins who are now using my old mattresses. They are reporting that they are sleeping better and love their 'new' beds.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh--you know I do love that beachy-cottagey theme and colors.
    What a wonderful, relaxing room.
    You did good!!!
    The shadow box and the bike pillow are my faves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Run down to your local Meijer, Judy. They have those pillows on sale this weekend. I wasn't even looking for pillows when I spotted this one. They had a cute old fashioned camper at the beach too, that I liked.

      The shadow box came from Michael's 5-6 years ago.

      Delete
  6. Looking good lady. It must be so comforting to have so many items with history. I have moved so much and started over decorating so often that only a few things here have a history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do like living with history...both mine and American history in general. My parents both grew up with only a few things from their early years so they kept stuff. Then I bought the house I grew up in and my parents left all my brother's and my toys etc. behind in the attic. By then I was really into antiques so my mom knew I'd treasure it and my brother was going through a divorce so she didn't want him to have it just then. I have since given him back all his toys...as gifts for holidays and birthdays. It became a joke. One time I did a shadow box of his old cowboy and Indian toys so he could display them and he said I was doing it because I was too cheat to buy him a gift so I was giving him his own stuff.

      Delete
  7. THANK YOU! I love the new look and a special thank you for the photos. Maybe one blog a week (add a 3rd?) just for photos???

    (I had that bicycle pillow in Maui!) This look is so beautiful and peaceful, perfect for resting. You really have an eye for putting it all together, old and new.

    Now ... enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. You can put any era stuff together if you pay attention to color and balance.

      Every year I resolve to do more photo documentations in my blogs but you can see how far I get.

      That pillow grows more special every time I walk past it. I can see it selling well in Maui.

      Delete
  8. Jean, thanks for the tour. Your room is fresh and feminine. I like how you've incorporated your refinished furniture, antiques and special personal items. I love that you sit at that bistro table and write. When I saw the picture of your bed facing the bathroom, I thought of that delicious shower curtain from a previous post. And then later in your post, you say - I love how my shower curtain looks from the bedroom. My bedroom is filled with personal items, i.e. a 2'x3.5' print of a quote from Women Who Run With the Wolves, a figurine of a fiddler/luthier (my grandpa was a fiddle player), my old dog's collar, polished rock from a colleague, books and art. It's like a hug, morning and night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I love the idea of your decor giving you a hug morning and night. I get how things that have meaning to our lives can do that, how our rooms can tell a story. I've never warmed up to places that look like they've been decorated entirely from one store or another. Or worse yet, I don't understand people who have decorators come in and pick everything out...those surprise redecorating shows on TV. My worst nightmare. Rooms should be a reflection of who we are and/or what we care about. I have a good friend who loves the hot Spanish inspired colors for her rooms. She couldn't live with what I have nor could I with her decor...and that's how it should be.

      There are lots of good quotes from that book!

      Delete
  9. It looks so cozy and warm!
    I was amused by your story of sending your brother his old toys, My mother lived near me and when she died, I had all her stuff including all the family photo albums. Every year I started sending my sister pictures of her and me that I knew she would not be pleased to see (old hairdos and funny looks). It was fine because she told me that she tore several and it meant we were weeding through the pictures gradually! I kept the good ones!
    Regards
    Leze

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love your story of the photos as well. Future generations will have so many photos online they will never know how it feels to see the old ones like we do.

      Delete
  10. Love it , Jean! It looks warm, cozy and relaxing - just as a bedroom should be!

    Deb

    ReplyDelete
  11. You have lots of lovely vignettes within your room. It really speaks of your vision. I know you're pleased with the outcome, and you'll enjoy spending time in it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks, Nance and Deb. I actually slept until 10 this morning! Boy, did that feel good. And the dog slept on his 'nest' on the floor for most of the night. During the day it can slide under my bed and out of sight so I'm keeping it in the room.

    I am pleased with the outcome even thought the thinking-it-out portion of a project like this can drive me nuts. It's a good kind of nuts to dream about all the possibilities and directions we have.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am so impressed, Jean. It looks terrific and I can tell that was a boatload of hard work -- and doing the two rooms simultaneously. I love all the Nantucket touches, the wonderful old cabinet and your sweet bear. And especially the basket and shadow box from your childhood. These touches make a room so personal and genuine. I think any one of us would love settling down at night in this room! Bravo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With your love of antiques and decorative touches, I knew you'd appreciate my efforts. It was fun to put that basket, cat and blanket together for the first time and display them. I still have the last gift the Easter bunny gave me in that basket, a small wooden box made of cedar. It had a note inside telling me that year would be last year the bunny would come to my house because I was getting too old.

      I think some people are afraid to make their rooms personal because that's not what the see in magazines. But I know you'll understand how much fun it is to have people come over and really study what you've got displayed because our stuff has stories...yours and mine both. I need to take a page from your book and start changing my "stories" with the seasons.

      Delete
  14. It's so cozy and warm feeling. I can't believe it, but yesterday, I looked at a similar pillow with a bicycle on it. I thought it was so cute. I'm looking for a chair to go in my kitchen and thought that pillow would give a nice vibe. I should have gotten it. Your Nantucket cottages look nice. The price of framing has gotten ridiculous. I really like the four drawer chest and your father's tool box and the extra drawer he made. We have some things like that from H's stepdad. They used to just make a new box or drawer or whatever to hold what they needed to store. No Dollar General back then. We are going to fill up the world with plastic. I feel guilty when I think of it. Loved this post. I always love a peek.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is fun to get a peek at how other bloggers like, to see if the imagine we have in our head fits the reality. I write a lot about having a lot of old things, so I'm betting a few people imagine my spaces hoarder full.

      My dad made me play furniture out of orange crates when I was little. I still have one that used to be a "stove." I painted over the 'burners' that were drawn on and found uses for it my entire life. No Dollar General is right!

      Delete
  15. This really is wonderful. Of all the things I enjoyed seeing, I was most drawn to those "stacked chests" that had so much history behind them. I still have some of my dad and grand-dad's tools, although none of the boxes. They really are special.

    I like the pillow, too, and the general feeling of openness and casual comfort. It's the sort of room I'd enjoy spending time in -- just reading or whatever, as well as sleeping.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of the old woodworking tools make wonderful wall hangings, like mini sculptures. The wood claims were made with great quality woods. I've refinished a few of them. I have a small collection of folding measuring sticks, that I love too. I can seem them displaced with photos of who they belonged to...except mine I bought.

      I got the idea for using the tool chest in my bedroom years ago from someone who had converted an old dentist's tool cabinet into an accessories station. Works great for that.

      Delete
    2. that's a nice gerstner chest; does it have the triangular mirror and worn green lining in the drawers?

      Delete
    3. It's not a Gerstner chest. It doesn't open at the top where the mirror appears. (I have one like that that used to be my husband's too box and that is a Gertner.) My dad's has a brand plate but it's worn off except for an "L" at the end of a short word, then "CO" and underneath is the word "Rockford." It did have the green lining in the drawers but I have black velvet lining over it. All the hardware on it looks like the Union Tool Chest Company which are pre-1930s. I'd love to ID it but I can't.

      Delete
  16. I love seeing your room update....your room, period. It is so wonderful to get a tour! Your project turned out beautifully and super economically! Way to go! I'm sure you (and Levi!) are loving the new look and feel of your home. Way to go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's yet to settle on a place to sleep. Last night he started out near the pillow which he's never done before. And the night before he stayed in the crate pad nest I made him on the floor for almost the entire night. I'm keeping it under the bed and pulling it out at night, hoping that he'll eventually decide that's a great place to sleep.

      Delete
  17. Your bedroom looks great! I'm assuming that the woman walking toward the water on your shower curtain arrived at the beach on the bicycle from your pillow. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think you did a beautiful job of transforming your bedroom!
    I'm in the process of replacing my old mattress and it's daunting. How did you decide?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coming from you with your art background that compliment means a lot!

      I already knew I wanted a full size mattress and I knew that the total height of the bed frame, box spring and mattress was extremely important for seniors. That ruled out the platform bed early on in the process. They do have 3" "boogly (?) boards" that you can add for extra height with the platforms but it wasn't enough to get me to the 26" total that I needed. (Two below your butt cheek is ideal.) I also knew I didn't want a mattress thicker than 9" because those thicker ones are very heavy. I went to a store that sells locally made mattresses and laid on a bunch of them do decide the firmest. I was pretty sure which one I wanted but I went home to think about it and double check the website where I got the bed to make sure the frame measures I had written down were right. The place I bought it lets you trade the mattress for another firmness after you've had it between 30 to 60 days but I like what I picked out. The one I had was the firmest that make and I went down one step for the new one. The very soft mattresses are harder to push yourself off from for seniors and you can always add a memory foam if needed, that was my thought. You're right, it's a daunting task! A friend of mine has had three mattresses in two years because they don't like them after they get them. Unfortunately she didn't get the same exchange offer that I got. Those that are exchanged, by the way, are donated to charity. Also, When you can see how those mattresses are constructed you can see the softer ones are just more memory foam on top of the same frame and memory foam does wear down. If you add your own topping of memory foam you can get a new layer every year. Slightly more trouble to make a bed but it's worth weighing up up the props and cons along with everything else.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for that info...every bit helps. I'm going for a thinner mattress too. My current mattress is 15" and I'm tired of trying to herf up those corners to get the bed made.

      Delete