Monday, August 2, 2010

Foyer Re-Do

I really loved it...
It was beautiful and looked just like the day I hung it...
...but it was time.
I wanted a new look.
(It is the last area of the house I hadn't re-done.)
I was hesitant because it's really high up there.
I wanted to do this for so long.
How happy I was that most of it came off like this.
Abbey and I removed (almost) all of the paper in less than two hours!
Fourteen years ago I had no problem climbing ladders and standing on scaffolding to hang this wallpaper way up in the stairwell.
Today, I'm not so brave.
I still have to tackle this lofty mess,
but look how much I have accomplished!
After stripping the wallpaper and scrubbing the walls, I have spackled and primed the walls, painted the walls and given all of the trim two fresh coats of paint.
A few years ago, we pulled off very worn and yucky carpet and hired someone to do the difficult job of removing the builders paint from the step treads.
We thought of replacing the steps with new treads but the way
this staircase was constructed it was not possible.
John added some molding and I planned on filling all of the
gaps and nail holes and painting them.
I had a vision of what I wanted the foyer to look like but had to wait until
the wallpaper could be removed.
Now I could proceed!
I spackled, I primed and I painted with a white semi-gloss to make them look like new.
At first I wanted numerals but made the decision to stencil a motif on each riser.
But something troubled me with this design.
It reminded me of... 

a peering man with a mustache!
Yup... there goes my crazy imagination again.

I couldn't live with twelve angry men looking at me each
time I went up the steps.

I covered this sinister fellow with primer and two more coats of semi-gloss paint.  Waited for it to dry, re-measured center and  stamped this...

Much better!
I mentioned to my daughter, Jamie that I wanted to replace the foyer mirror with a larger one that had a silver-ish frame.  She said she had a brand new one she bought for a new house that they decided not to purchase and that I could have it.  She got it from Home Goods for a whopping $15.00 because two of the corners are damaged.  It measures 41.5-inches x 31-inches.  Which means...

the sconces on the wall had to be moved further apart.
John did the electrical part and I did
priming, spackling and painting!
 Originally we had a large vent covering the cold-air in-take right in the foyer,
A few years ago John sealed it off and opened one in the family room where our fireplace insert is used.
He left the vent and now was the time to correct it.
He purchased a piece of wall board and filled the area and I did
spackling, priming and painting!
Now, we all know those bright gold sconces dangling there just don't work any longer.
I found some pewter color Liquid Leaf by Plaid and painted them!
Along with a lamp that I have had on the foyer table for ages.
 This works!
When we moved into the house, the original banister was all a very dark pine.  A couple of years ago I sanded and painted the whole thing semi-gloss white.  But, it wasn't long before it looked like this...

So, I have been scraping and sanding and scraping and sanding and scraping and...
well, I'm getting there.
Here is how it looks so far.
This beautiful orchid was a table centerpiece at the wedding of my dear friends daughter.
She was so kind to give one to me!
 There are a few more projects I am working on for this area and will share them soon.
But now I have to try and repair my fingernails and hands, get ready for a two week visit from my daughter, Jill and her family arriving Thursday night, Erin's birthday on Friday, a high school graduation party for Abbey on Saturday,  and all of our August family birthdays!
Note:  upper Wall color Woodrow Wilson Putty from Valspar

Plum Blueberry Upside Down Cake

Looking to use some plums ripening on the counter, I searched and found this
very colorful upside down cake recipe.
Thinly sliced plums surround a center of blueberries.
Just the right amount of sweetness from the fruit and glazed topping for the lovely tender cake.  I baked it in the suggested 9-inch pan and placed the pan on a cookie sheet because the batter seemed a bit high.  The cake did not spill over the rim but it came close.

Plum Blueberry Upside Down Cake 


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 black plums, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch cake pan. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the prepared pan, combine 3 tablespoons margarine and brown sugar. Place pan inside the preheated oven until the margarine melts and begins to bubble. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the 1/3 cup margarine and 1 cup white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. Arrange plums around the edges of the prepared pan, overlapping slightly. Distribute the blueberries in the center. Pour batter into prepared pan, covering fruit completely. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.                                                                                                             Amount Per Serving (12)  Calories: 229 | Total Fat: 8.8g | Cholesterol: 19mg

No, that's not fuzzy blueberries, just frost from berries taken from the freezer for a photo :)


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