I had a fun February working on Villa del Vigneto - roof tiles notwithstanding. I did make some progress on the tile laying, but while that was satisfying, I can't say that it was fun. However, the Master Bedroom was waiting its turn to be furnished and accessorized - and that was pure pleasure. I also added some new touches of flora to the upper stair landing and the lower entrance hall. I seem to be working my way up, down, and sideways through the villa, bringing the empty rooms to life one by one. Joy!
THE MAKING OF THE MASTER BEDROOM
These are the miscellaneous furniture pieces that I planned to use in the master bedroom, along with choices of fabric for the bed linens and a table cover.
Finding the most satisfactory, convenient, and realistic furniture arrangement is always a challenge. I already knew where the bed had to be placed. Early on, when I decided belatedly to build a fireplace in this room, there were some contentious moments, with the bed and the fireplace vying for choice space. I intervened, and we all found an amiable solution; but it's a bit of a squeeze.
I thought that this cherub birdbath would make a perfect night table for the narrow space between the bed and the wall - but the top was slightly slanted. I built up one side with a spackling compound to level out the top. Then I found a picture frame just the right size for the table top and glued on a cardboard backing.
Now I have a level table top that needs only a coat of matching paint.
This is a battery-operated lamp that will be used as a desk lamp in the bedroom - but it's somewhat of a plain jane in need of a makeover.
I removed the leather cushion from the top of the chest and painted the chest, highlighting the carving in a darker color. The cherub table has a painted top, and the plain jane lamp is pleased with its new look. I also made the candlesticks and the clock a bit less "brassy."
This is a hat that's been in my stash for nearly forty years. (Should I even admit that?!)
I fancied it up a bit - but not too fancy for a country villa.
The bedroom needed fresh flowers, so I cut bits of flowers and leaves from stems of silk and plastic flowers from Hobby Lobby. I touched up the flowers with a little paint...
...and arranged them in this pretty silver vase.
This bedside table was in need of a floor-length cloth. I found a fabric that resembles crushed velvet - and it's just the right shade of "old gold."
The tablecloth will be lined with this sheer fabric to provide more stability.
I'm experimenting with a technique that I saw on an online tutorial for making bed linens. I looked at the site only briefly and forgot to bookmark it - then I couldn't find it again, so I had to "wing it" for my tablecloth. If anyone is familiar with the tutorial that I saw, please let me know! It's a brilliant idea for creating a very natural drape for linens or curtains (or tablecloths.) Sandwich aluminum foil between two layers of fabric, close all the edges of the fabric, and work in the gathers, pleats, or folds with your fingers.
The experiment worked beautifully - such natural folds in the table skirt! THANK YOU to whomever posted that tutorial!
I had planned to use a lovely embroidered antique handkerchief for the bedspread for this bed. But I realized that I would need to sort of chop it up for a proper fit, and I couldn't bear to do that. I decided to save the handkerchief for some other project. Besides, I want to keep all the villa bed linens very simple - so I used a plain cotton fabric instead.
I trimmed the fabric with very old cotton lace.
I'm happy with the simple look of the bed!
The desk was fun to put together. Some of the letters and postcards are from the "treasure packet" that I received from Elizabeth. I realized belatedly that the stamps in the stamp holder that I bought read "Love" instead of "Amore." Oops!
THE COMPLETED MASTER BEDROOM
Rosabella, the pretty white cat, has laid claim to this spot on the bed today. Tomorrow she'll have another favorite spot - she's rather a fickle feline!
The top of the mirrored armoire is a convenient place to store hat boxes and the large hats that are so fashionable in this year of 1910.
Following are various other views of the villa's master bedroom:
A BOUQUET AND A PLANT FOR UPSTAIRS AND DOWN
There is no room for furniture on the upstairs landing, but it has seemed bare from the beginning, so I decided that I could at least fit in a potted plant. As you may have guessed by now, I really, really, really do not want to make plants and flowers from scratch. So I returned to my usual technique of using bits of real-size artificial plants and adding a little paint for a better color and to cover any shiny material.
I potted this plant in a tall urn...
...and placed it on the stair landing near the master bedroom door.
It does add a little interest to that bare space. (It also hides the discrepancy in the spacing of that last baluster. But I'm not mentioning that.)
I also wanted a large flower arrangement for the entrance hall table - so back I went to my stash of paper, silk, and plastic flowers. The roses on the card are made of heavy paper - but they have very short stems and no leaves, so I cut small leaves from the real-size ones and clipped stems from other flowers.
I glued the longer stems and leaves to the short rose stems and painted the roses in the colors I wanted to use. I also found bits of other flowers to use as fillers in my rose bouquet.
More of the roses, stems, and leaves before painting...
I used an aged urn to hold the bouquet of roses and added a contemplative cherub to keep the roses company.
And here's the rose arrangement at home in the villa's entrance hall.
UP ON THE ROOF
All the tiles are in place on the back side of the roof. I started painting the tiles with a terra cotta base coat. That was much harder and more time consuming that I had anticipated - there are so many nooks, crannies, and hard-to-reach places! I may have to try once more to use the terra cotta colored Sculpey to make more tiles. As I've mentioned before, I changed to the white clay because it seems to be much easier to work with than the terra cotta. I can't think why! I used the terra cotta color when I made the French Farmhouse roof tiles, and it was fine then - only a few years ago.
The paint goes on - and on - and on.
The base coat of paint is finished on the back side of the villa roof - except for the edges all around, which will require a very small brush. And a cool hand and a keen eye - and patience, perseverance, and plain old hard work! But I'm very excited to see the finished roof, and that excitement is a great motivator to keep me moving along.
MARCH IS HERE! The month of SPRING! (Although spring has definitely not sprung yet.) But the temperature is rising, I've heard cardinals in the trees around our house, and the local geese are flying in this vicinity again. I can even walk the few yards to our mailbox without benefit of coat, hat, scarf, and gloves! (If I hurry.)
If I time the roofing of Villa del Vigneto right, I should have the work all done in time for the late spring thunderstorms, and the villa will be protected from "the rainfall, the nightfall, or anything that might fall." But Oh, Wait. Am I getting my worlds confused again? A Tuscan villa subjected to a Nebraska thunderstorm? I don't think so! In Tuscany, there are twenty-four hours of sunshine, and the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming, and I'm at home in Villa del Vigneto and happiness is mine.
Wherever your immediate world, and whatever your immediate circumstance, I wish you all the best that the promise of spring can bring! I wish you Joy.