(If you want to skip the story below and go right to the directions for making these cool flowers, click here.)
Just as an aside, my home is not professionally decorated. I don't have that particular talent, nor do I have the money to have someone who has those skills do it for me. I also can't afford to go out and buy new furniture on a whim. When we moved to this home over 12 years ago, we sold pretty much everything before moving, so I did purchase new things for this house. But I also over-extended myself and paid dearly for that lack of judgement. So, when we paint, or fix, or move things around, I pretty much use what I have and find a different way to use it or feature it in a room. Necessity is the mother of invention maybe?
So... the armoire. When I first began teaching back in 1979, I worked at an elementary school in Baldwin Park, CA. I was 21. During my five years at that school, I developed a friendship with one of the teachers there whose livelihood was collecting antiques. He and his sister would frequently travel to England and purchase furniture, then ship it back to the US. He would keep items in his home then eventually sell them. One day he offered to sell me a few pieces for $500. I was thrilled. I had gotten married the year before, we had bought a fixer-upper and desperately needed furniture. So, in return for my $500, we were given the armoire, an antique single bed, and a three drawered mirrored chest. With the exception of the bed, we still have the pieces and I think of that friend often.
The armoire, until recently, was in our upstairs bedroom. It has been a storage place for pillows, blankets, photo albums, coats, you name it. But it was a shame that it was upstairs and just a collecting place for stuff. So when we painted, much to my husband's chagrin, I asked that we move it downstairs. Down a curvy staircase. Piece by huge piece. (It has three pieces: a base, a top, and a HUGE boxy middle.) I had to leave the room as he and a helpful neighbor carried that thing down the stairs. They were successful in relocating it, but, alas, when I went to open the door, the lock had inadvertently closed and we had no key. Insert big sigh here. We visited antique stores and key shops to try to find a skeleton key that would work. No luck. We jiggled the lock. We tipped the darn thing over. We tried to get at it from the top and the bottom. We eventually gave up. And then, one day, on a fluke, my husband tried once more, jiggled it just the right way, and it unlocked. So now we have a very much appreciated storage spot in the living room which also is a beautiful piece of furniture to look at that reminds me of a very cool colleague from when I was oh so young.
The piano... oh that beautiful baby grand. I took lessons throughout my childhood up until I was in high school. But, as with most teenagers, there came a day when having long fingernails trumped piano lessons. We always had a piano in our house. The first was an old upright that never was quite in tune, but it was very cool. Then, one day, my father found a baby grand for $600 - it wasn't pristine, but it was a well-made instrument and could be tuned. It was eventually passed down from my parents' house to ours and my daughter started playing when she was around 10 years old. When we sold our house and were in transition for a year waiting for our new house to be ready, as a gift to our family, my husband had it restored. It took an entire year. We even got to visit it when it was in pieces in a warehouse! It was delivered after we moved in and it has been front and center since.
Oh, and the paper roses made out of sheet music? The wreath that I want to make from them is a work in progress. I figure I will need about 300 of them so, maybe in a few months, I'll be posting how I made that wreath. But for now, it's one rose at a time. One NOTEworthy rose at a time.