Monday, January 21, 2013

Couch #2! (Starting Over)

Who would have known that buying a couch would be all drama drama drama?

If you're just tuning in, back at this post in November we'd decided, after visiting a literal dozen furniture stores, to buy this couch:

Klaussner's "Seraphina"
We were told 4 weeks until the couch would arrive. We excitedly waited, dreaming of a nice soft couch to sit in while we sat in our lawn chairs in the living room.

Fast forward to well over two months later (end of December).  We had called a few times for updates about the couch, and were last told it was shipping on the 19th and should arrive around Christmas.  When that didn't happen, and then New Year's came and went without any word, we decided it was time to lay down some law.  We wrote a succinct but respectful email to our sales-lady, detailing our frustrations and the failure to fulfill our order.

The lady who sold us the couch responded and insisted that Klaussner kept changing the shipping date on her for our couch and several other customer's orders.  Whether or not this was true, at the least the inconsistencies we'd been experiencing made us wary; with the economy the way it is right now, it could even be a sign that the company was going under for all we knew.

She also wrote to say she had received confirmation from Klaussner that the final delivery date would be January 25th, and offered us free delivery and $100 extra off of the couch if we "stuck it out".

It was a tempting offer, to be sure.  However, after getting some opinions from family that could be summed up as "get your money back and get out of there", and Karl and I already being dubious in our trust of both the sales-lady and/or the Klaussner company, we decided to ask her for a full refund.  Thankfully, she complied without trouble and we were able to breathe a sigh of relief at having that ordeal over with.

That relief didn't last long, as we'd already realized we were now starting at square-one again in our search for a couch.

*insert groan*

So, I began a new search online and started filling my pinterest full of couches we liked, then called a bunch of stores that were listed as retailers for my pinned brands to find if they had the couch in their showroom for us to try out.

None of them carried what we were looking for.

Then I was referred to a newspaper ad for a furniture store holding a sale.  Digging a bit more, I found out from a few people I knew that they recommended them.  Still a bit wary of furniture sellers, I went there on a whim, not expecting much.  I went straight to their advertised "on sale" room, and found nothing there.  I was about to walk out of the store when the girl that had initially greeted me at the door asked what I was looking for.  For a split second my first reaction was to just thank her and say it was "ok" and leave, but dang I'm glad I decided to instead answer her question.  She led me to their upstairs showroom and let me explore.  Turning a corner, my eyes rested on a sectional that. was. exactly. what we had been looking for (and had given up on finding and thus why we went with the Klaussner).

England's "Telisa"

Cream colored, nail-head trim, exposed wooden legs - it was all there.  *que angel choir*  Oh but wait - was it comfy?

Oooh yeah it was.

Was the price good?

It was more than the Klaussner, but you could also tell that this sofa was better made.  Hmmm.

When I asked the sales-girl more about it, she said that the sectional (and sofa version if we wanted that instead) were actually on sale, and when she gave me the final price, it wasn't much more than the Klaussner.  Score.

She went on to say they had a brand-new sectional just like the one in the showroom there in their warehouse, but if we wanted the sofa, it'd be 4-6 weeks.

My thoughts: "Oh really?  I could have the sectional in our house in a matter of a day or two, versus another 4-6 weeks?  Well then heck,  maybe sectionals are the way to go!"

I don't think I was back inside our house more than a few seconds before I cornered Karl and gushed about the sofa I'd found.  We decided to go to the store for him to see and try out the sectional in-person this past weekend, and to my glee he liked it as well.

Buuut, we didn't go with the sectional - the sofa still won in the end.  Between the time I'd stumbled across the sectional and the few days before we went back to the store, we had some time to think and measure things out in the living room.  By the time we went to the store again, we were both in agreement that we still wanted a sofa, so we hunkered down and decided we could wait a little while longer.

Oh, and did I mention we also sprung for a matching chair?  It was on sale too, so now we have a set on its way!

Because of England's reputation to get their orders out relatively fast, I'm double-crossing my fingers and toes that it's true and we get the furniture within 4 weeks (and we can send the lawn furniture back to whence it came!).

So, we found and ordered a new sofa and chair just one week after we got our refund (and all before our Klaussner couch would have even been shipped!).  Not bad for a second round.  :)  Let's hope things go more smoothly this time!

Update: The couch has arrived! See how fast it shipped and our first impressions here.

Next up: Because of the sofa delays over the last few months, I've also had plenty of time to muse over my first mood board for the living room, and I've been making a few small changes.  Will share details in the next post!  :)   [Update: Go and see the new mood board for the living room here.]

Friday, January 11, 2013

Film Extravaganza!

I have some fun news to catch you all up on!  If you have been with me since this past spring, you'll remember when I was documenting my experience of producing for the film, Guests of a Nation, a film set during the Irish War for Independence.

Well, over the holidays we learned that the film had been accepted to the Idyllwild Cinema Fest in Idyllwild, CA!  We were also delightfully taken aback when their press singled out our film from the 96 selected films to highlight, saying, ""This year's Idyllwild picks include ... "Guests of a Nation," a British short film about Ireland's War for Independence"".  

More exciting still, this morning marked our film's debut at the film festival!  Our Director, Daniel Speers, is currently at the event and reports that "Guests Of A Nation got a great reaction from the audience. One person was overheard saying "That was probably the best short I've seem at this festival.""

I'm trying to not get my hopes up that we'll walk away with an award (it's privlage enough to be a part of the selected films!)  At least I don't have long to wait, as we'll find out this coming Sunday evening at the awards ceremony with how it did!

In more film news, my second film I've produced and worked with Speers on is a sci-fi drama titled Infinite that we debuted at several theaters this past autumn. Because of the niche audience this genre of film garners, and to meet the demand we were getting from an international audience to be able to view it, yesterday we released the full film online.

INFINITE from Swift-Speers on Vimeo.

So far we've gained several hundred views in the past 24 hours and made it to the front page of reddit r/movies, which I'm relatively pleased with.  We're still working to get the word out there that it is available on different sites.  We're hoping it continues to gain a broader audience.  This is the first time we've released something online like this, so it's a learning-as-we-go experience.  Hoping we glean some good stuff from it one way or another.  I will report any nuggets we find or "what not to do".  ;)

More film news to follow soon!

Update 1/13/13: Congrats to everyone involved on "Guests of a Nation", which was nominated for Best Screenplay at the Idyllwild Cinema Fest! Whether we win tonight or not, you all should be proud of your work!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Home Goods...My Picks

I decided to treat myself today and go to one of my favorite places for home decor and get inspired: Home Goods.  They're a bit on the pricey side with some things, but they have some relatively unique things for decorating, and there's always something there that catches my eye.  Today was quite an exception when I kept finding item after item that I really liked.  Seriously, if I'd had several hundred dollars at my disposal, I'd have gone nuts today!

Unfortunately, reality prevented me from going on a spending spree, but I thought I'd share some of the highlights of finds I was pining after for the living room.

First up, a 2-toned cushioned low bench with nail trim:

I can't remember what the price was (sorry! $70-something?).  I can picture getting two of these and storing them under a coffee table to be pulled out for extra seating when company is over, or for sitting around the coffee table with a good board game.  It also made me think of a how-to I recently found for making a tufted  ottoman from a coffee table.  I could easily make this piece of furniture myself, or find 2 stools on craigslist and cover them in a burlap-type fabric....I'll be putting this potential project on the shelf for now, but it is something I'll be keeping an eye out for doing in the future.  :)

Next up while on the subject of coffee tables, I saw this wooden tray and loved the checker-board going on with it!

This was on sale from $30-something to now $22 - still too much for a simple tray.  But this is another project that I could very easily make myself on a shoe-string budget.  Another one to tack up for the future.

I've found myself having a particular interest in art depicting old planes ever since I found this pic of my ideal living room from the post about how Karl and I were trying to mesh our two styles.

So naturally this metal plane propeller drew my eyes like a magnet as soon as it came into view.  It was a fair price at $30, and I was fixated on it for awhile; even circled the whole store and came back around to consider it some more (I think the propeller started to feel a bit awkward at the attention).

In the end I did walk away from it (que this music while doing the charlie brown walk), but I may go back for it if the budget allows at the end of the month!

Karl and I both love industrial-styled (and slightly steampunk) accessories, and this fan was pretty cool in my book.  However, I didn't want to pay $20 for a non-functioning fan.  At least this one from Joss&Main has a clock on it. (really wanted it too, but alas, the dratted budget likes to get in the way a lot, heh).  Pass.

Remember when I mentioned my current fixation on airplanes?  Well, truth is I've always had a soft spot for the classics, especially when they speak of travel and adventure.  Stumbling across these wooden boxes made to look like books and hat boxes, I was REALLY tempted to get at least one of them.  I had one in my hand, then even my cart for a bit.  With further inspection of them though, I realized that I could get these type of fake wooden boxes I've seen at AC Moore, get out my modpodge, and decoupage a printout of similar pictures I can find on, I again have a project in mind.  :)

I DID buy two things.  One was a sturdy reed basket on clearance for a whopping $5!  I have already added it to the bathroom's deep-set windowsill with rolled towels in it, freeing up some much-needed closet space for us as well.

Second was the biggest purchase ($50), but I had the help of a giftcard from Xmas.  I'm still kind of road-testing this rug (the pix of it are from in the office).  I really like the colors it lends...time will tell.  I'm up for opinions.  :)

Anyone else have a Home Goods near them?  Find anything awesome lately?  (or had to force yourself to walk away from?)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ch-ch-ch-ch changes! Home Update

Hi all!  How was everyone's holidays?  I'm ready to start the new year with a looooooong overdue update.  Time to document what has been happening around here since December!


First, we received our new dining chairs via the Groupon dealio.

We got 2 Baxton chairs in the set.  They're covered with faux dark brown leather and have comfortable cushioning.  They are a little cheap feeling when you sit in them: the wooden legs are hollow, making the chair lightweight, and the seat's back feels a little flimsy.  But, they do the job and look and feel nice, and $94 total for the two chairs is still a great price.  They're keepers.

Dining Room:

Just for fun, this is what our dining room looked like approx. a month ago - curtain-less (& curtain rod-less), and no head chairs at the table.

...and now:

Curtains really help make a room feel more finished, don't they?  I made these curtains for a total of $6.  I'm very happy with how they turned out!  *sigh of relief*

close-up of the curtain material
I'd still like to add a block of gray material to the bottoms of the curtains to help ground the room a bit.  I need help though - I can't decide yet if I'd like the curtains to be touching the floor, or just above the floor (thus the two different heights you see in the pix below, lol).  I'd appreciate anyone who wants to offer their 2 cents about which looks better.

slightly shorter or slightly longer...?  which one which one....


Little-by-little as our budget allows we're making the house we're in feel more like a home.  Though furniture is still escaping us for now, I've been scouting craigslist on a weekly basis, and am on the lookout for a good console table for the entryway.  Here's a pic to give an idea of what I'm going for (I want to arrange the pix on the wall similar to this too):

A "before" pic from the week we moved in:

Presently: it's not much of a change, but the mat does still make it feel a bit more home-y.

The mat and wet-shoe tray were scored from the Christmas Tree Shop for a total of $8 (woot!)

This guy guards the entrance to the gardens of Brookgreen, SC that we visited last spring.  I don't know why, but I was drawn to him.  Maybe it's his stoic gaze, or that I simply find lions to be beautiful creatures.  He now graces our wall and guards our entryway.  I hope to have more framed art to add around him soon so he won't be so lonely.


This was our stark bathroom when we first moved in (though the shower liner was an improvement from the first day, heh).


Since then I've been finding things from our mood board to make this room happen.  Presently, this is what our bathroom looks like:

A lot more welcoming, right?  Thanks to Black Friday, we scored new towels to replace our (literally) threadbare set, and the shaggy mat ($12).

For the pitcher I used a 50% off coupon at AC Moore to get it for $3.50, then filled it with flowers I already had.

Lastly needed for the bathroom is a curtain for the lone window - I have the material and dimensions all taken; I just need to take the time to sit down and sew it!

Le Stove:

Here's the electric stove that came with the rental home we're in.  It was old but a fairly nice stove (for an electric, that is - I'm a fan of gas stoves and their instant heat).  I got easily annoyed whenever using a green energy and/or smooth glass top stove when we were house-sitting or vacationing last summer because of the wait time for them to even start heating up.  Thus this stove was very tolerable when I found it heated up relatively well in comparison.

Then our landlord, who was converting things to natural gas in the house (a natural gas hot water tank was already installed before we moved in) asked if we'd consider a gas stove in the kitchen.  We couldn't nod our heads any faster in an emphatic "yes!".

Two weeks before Christmas, our new addition to the family came in all its glory:

I feel absolutely spoiled giddy with this stove!  The stove I used in our old apartment was 40+ years old and had a window-less oven (let alone have a feature like an oven light).  Every time I wanted to check on something in that oven, I'd have to fully open the door and pull out the rack to look, letting out all the heat.
THIS little beauty not only has a window, and an oven light, but also a convection oven, and the bottom rack pulls out with the oven door.  I flippin' LOVE it.

Living Room - Bookshelves:

This is our living room not long after we'd moved in.  The bookshelves are to the right in the pic.

As also shown in this post, here they are after being moved into the garage and de-shelved for painting:

I was no fan of the fake wood-grain and black edges on these flakeboard bookcases.  Wanting to go with a crisp, fresh look, I decided to match them to the white trim in the living room and ran with it.  I found a can of white paint for $8, which was paid for with a giftcard I had, so total cost of the project was to the tune of $0.  My kind of tune. 

The shelf to the far left is the only one not yet painted - quite the difference!
Unfortunately as I painted them, the holes in the sides of the cases from where the shelf pegs went really showed when painted white.  It looked terrible.  Luckily we had some beadboard leftover from another project, so Karl fashioned a few cutouts for the sides and bottoms.  I liked how the beadboard added a nice texture and a more finished look, so in retrospect those holes were actually a good thing.

Painted and in its new home by the fireplace.
...a quick revisit to the "before" picture:

Here they are now!

Much better looking, and in a much more practical location in the room!  We'd originally intended to keep the bookshelves against the far wall, but this arrangement is an improvement, dontcha think?  I'm still tossing around the idea of making simple hinged doors for them so we can "hide" all of the media in them.  We'll see.  I'm also wanting to slowly-but-surely get nicer things to display on the in-wall shelves, as what's there now is stuff we didn't know what to do with during the first week we moved in and threw up there.  Something tells me I'm going to be at a lot of yardsales this spring....  

p.s. - Y'all like our leftover "shrine" on the mantle from the LOTR trilogy party we had earlier in
December?  ;)  We've left it up there because we haven't found anything else to take the place of the items, so "it is what it is" for now, hehe.

Oh, and subsequently our bookshelves made us finally move the TV stand to the middle of the wall, as we'd planned it.  Muchos better. couch yet...  grrrrrrr.  We've been having issues with the manufacturer (Klaussner) since it was ordered for us over 2 months ago (it was supposed to be in our possession a month ago).  The lady who ordered for us says they now have a firm date by the 25th of this month it will ship. Ugh. At this rate we may have to start all over again with couch shopping, which I'll talk about in another post, but either way, it'll be a few more weeks until we own a couch.  *thuds head against nearby wall*

Despite the couch setback, lots of small (and good) changes!  We've made progress, some even unexpected like the stove, which is encouraging despite the couch-less-ness.  Once the couch arrives, I think things will start to roll a bit more in the furniture department once we have the couch for a point of reference.

It'll be interesting to see what changes take place over this new year and how our new home takes shape!

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