Decorating with the traditional colors of fall!

The week before Brian and I left for our annual vacation to Colorado, I spent several days cruising the blogosphere and enjoying all the beautifully decorated homes on the "Fall Tour." I noticed many are now decorating with more "whites and blues" and neutrals for the and white pumpkins, vintage containers, natural elements, muted greenery.

I think it is all beautiful but as I decorated my home for the season I realized that all my fall decor are the bright and bold colors of traditional fall foliage....reds, oranges, yellows, browns and deep greens.

And as I have mentioned before, when I am done, it looks like fall has puked in my house. I LOVE this time of the year and every time I stroll through the isles of department stores, craft stores or a flea market I find more fall "stuff" I just can't resist.

I had pretty much convinced myself that I needed to transition to the more "neutral" pallet of the "farmhouse fall" next year. Until....

I neglected to take pictures of the southern view at Mesa Verde so I stole this picture from Thomas Mangan...he has some breath-taking photos....the colors are AMAZING and a pretty representation of the southern slope of Mesa Verde! 

....Colorado...the vivid yellows and orange of the Aspens, the deep reds of the mountain sides and red oak foliage, the vibrant greens of the pines.

Yes, there are whites and blues and neutrals...the stark white of the Aspen bark, the muted "pinks" of Mesa Verde (a MUST see!)....

...the neutral pallet of a canyon wall along the river...

...snow capped mountains reflecting in the crystal blue waters of a mountain top lake!

...white snow filled clouds creeping over a mountain pass.

All beautiful...all colors found in nature!

For me, I am still in love with the vibrant colors of fall that are so prevalent here in the Ozarks...the yellows, orange, reds and deep greens. I have shared my "fall home" before, but I thought I would share again this year...nothing much changes from year to year and that is just fine with me!

Notice the "Colorado red" flagstone...yes, that is native Colorado stone and yes, there are rivers and mountains that color!

These little lanterns are "multi-seasonal." I can easily change them up for fall, Christmas and even spring/summer!

Every holiday I hang a "seasonal" wreath on the big mirror in the living room! I now have one for fall, Christmas, Valentine's and the 4th!

Still love my black doors! In the fall I hang simple "candle wreaths" with ribbon to decorate every door and window. I simply change them out for Christmas wreaths after Thanksgiving!

Several years ago I hit the 90% clearance at Hobby Lobby and snatched up all the high dollar fall garland...I wrap it in the dining light fixture, lay it on top of the display hutch and in the transoms, and lay it across the fireplace mental!

Say hello to Litty...she loves the camera! 

Years ago I made two "table top" fall wreaths...I use to put hurricane candles in both but I found this awesome little grapevine pumpkin last year. What do you know...I actually do change things up a bit every now and again!

For vases and urns, I just bundled a bunch of fall stuff I like together and stick them in the container...simple! This one is a glass vase filled with fall glass beads I picked up for Pier One years ago! 

Mr. Owl was actually one of those ugly plastic "decoy" owls I picked up at an auction. I painted him off white...again, super simple!

Here I shared how easy it is to make a little seasonal vintage box that can be easily changed up throughout the year...

THIS is what I love to decorate with...the traditional colors of fall. I love the blues and whites and neutrals but every year I take a 14 hour trip west to see the vibrant colors of the Colorado Aspens. 

For some, it is the beach....white sands and blue waters and sky. For me, when I see a grove of shimmering fall Aspens, it fills my heart with pure joy! When I stand on a mountain top at Mesa Verde and look down at the red, orange and yellow foliage on a mountain side, I feel at peace.

So for now, I will continue to decorate with the colors I love. Maybe some day I will transition to the "in" colors, but this year, I am at peace in my home surrounded with the vivid colors of a traditional fall! 

And that, my friends, is what decorating a home is all about!

The kitchen makeover reveal!

It is time for the big KITCHEN REVEAL!!!

First, I had to wait on the maple trim...then I decided to wait on the new doors and glass!

I had not intended to start decorating for fall before "the big reveal." My plan for this week was to do the glass doors Tuesday, take pictures of the kitchen and get ready for Matt's birthday celebration Wednesday (he turns 26 Saturday!), post the reveal Thursday morning and then get most of the fall decor up and get my hair and nails done ...AND LEAVE FOR COLORADO FRIDAY!!! Yippeee!

One hitch...I got a call Tuesday morning that the glass wasn't on the delivery truck so it wasn't going to be in until Thursday...well that just threw a wrench in my whole week. So Tuesday I started working on my fall decor. Tuesday afternoon, the glass place called and said they "found" my glass and it was ready. Sooooo....short story long, the "reveal" pictures are going to have smatterings of fall! 

I think I have mentioned before that I have a bad case of "Pinterest envy" when it comes to kitchens. 

Tipsaholic recently featured some beautiful kitchen pantry/storage ideas. I love the painted kitchens and all the open shelving but the one thing I noticed about EVERY picture, whether featuring beautiful glass containers or pull out drawers, was the ORGANIZATION of every item and space.

For me, the key to a great kitchen (or any space for that matter) is making sure everything is organized and functional for MY needs! And of course aesthetically appealing, but unless it is organized and functional, I am wasting my time making it pretty!

While I love all the neat pull-outs and storage inspiration, I think the first thing you need to do BEFORE you start any kitchen remodel is get every drawer and cabinet purged and organized and see what you have, what you need and what space you can rework, organize or add to make your kitchen function for YOU! Plan, plan, plan!

Here is a post on purging and organizing your kitchen drawers! A super simple little project but it has made a big difference in my ability to find stuff I need!

My goal in "resetting" my kitchen was to make it more functional for my purposes.....and of course, change things up a bit aesthetically so I am not tempted to take a paint brush to these beautiful cabinets 

I basically had a "standard" (and small) kitchen layout.

I do love stained wood and as drawn as I am to painted cabinets, I knew the day would come in the future when I would regret painting mine. My stain color (Paprika Cherry on Maple) isn't totally offensive and fairly "timeless" if that is possible, unlike my daughter's kitchen which had "pickled oak," a stain my dad and I were putting in houses in the 1990s!! I did not discourage her in the least when they decided to paint their cabinets. 

For those who believe "white is classic and will never go out of style" obviously don't remember the "honey oak" trend of the 90s..."oak is classic and will never go out of style!" EVERYTHING goes out of style...eventually! Which is why we are all painting honey oak cabinets!

Earlier this year I made an offer on a smaller house with a smaller yard in a subdivision I would love to live in. The house was basically a "gut job" and the new kitchen I designed had NO upper cabinets...none! I wanted lots of windows, maybe a few open shelves, tons of base cabinets with drawers and a big island.

But that deal didn't work out and I don't have the "footprint" to build a kitchen even remotely close to what I would have put in that house. Right now I don't have the funds (or energy) to make major changes and I can't bring myself to change out appliances that aren't totally offensive and work perfectly fine! 

What to do, what to do!? I wanted some changes, but I didn't want to do something I might regret down the road.

This is one of those times when I had to "work with whatcha got" and make changes that would give me a few elements I crave, without spending a ton of money or eating out for 2 months while the kitchen is in complete disarray. In the end I probably spend under $800 (doing the work myself!) and I think we ate out two nights! Keep in mind that the three doors cost around $200 and special order maple trim can be costly. The changes I made would be A LOT cheaper if you use stock trim and don't add new doors!

If you aren't in a position to spend a lot of money on major changes and upgrades but you love the concept of open shelving and more storage, these few changes might just be the answer!

I did not paint my cabinets but I was making changes that required a few pieces of new maple trim the color of the existing. THAT is a Herculian task and one I would advise you do BEFORE you start moving things around...unless you have stock wood like oak or poplar, or intend to paint the cabinets! My kitchen cabinets are 16 years old and honestly even if I knew who, what, and where the odds that they would have trim pieces to match after all these years are pretty slim. I tried finding stock trim that came close, but none was close enough. There are cabinet manufacturers that will do "color matches" but unfortunately they won't do it for a few pieces of trim.

As I have mentioned before, most manufactured cabinets and furniture have a stain and finish that is sprayed matching an existing finish can be pretty difficult! Thank you David, at Sherwin Williams in Springdale...most amazing color match EVER! I honestly can not tell the difference between the original and the new! I took a door and a few samples of the new trim and he matched it right up...amazing!

There were a few things I wanted to accomplish in this little "makeover." First, I knew I wanted open shelving. That is one element I am always drawn to in my quest for "inspiration." (Here I talk about finding your inspiration for ANY project!)

I wanted to "pop up" a few of my cabinets and open a few up for display. In the post featuring my laundry room, I tell you exactly how to "pop up" existing cabinets.

Moving the dish cabinet, spice cabinet and the two cabinets on either side of the refrigerator allowed me to add the open shelving beneath them. 

Here you can see a step by step tutorial for constructing three different types of floating shelves!

The frame to the left is just foam board with scanned copied of my grandmother's old recipe cards tacked to it! The boys always gripe about my "shallow" bowls so I pulled a couple Philbe Fire King bowls I had in my booth and then ordered small matching custard cups I found on Ebay for dips and such! 

My spices, along with my cooking and serving spoons, are now at my finger tips!

I love all the different glass jars! I painted my old knife block a pretty teal just to freshen it up a bit! I love refinishing and repurposing old cutting boards...this one is perfect for holding recipe cards!

This is now my "baking corner." I added the antique fan for can see how easy it was to rewire this 80 year old fan here and bring it back to life! 

I choose not to pop the cabinets all the way to the ceiling. I know some would, but I have 9' ceilings and to do so would have looked funny and made the cabinets completely unusable. 

One thing I really love are the stainless and glass vent hoods. I really dislike the big hulking, over the range microwaves. The truth is, I don't have the real estate for a counter model, so for now I will stick with the big hulking over the range microwave!  Poo. 

I removed the doors on two of the cabinets and painted the interiors. After looking at them for a few weeks, I decided I did not like that open look even with all the "pretties," so I ordered new maple doors, stained them and added reeded glass my laundry room door! (LOVE!)

I get the "openness"  without the cabinets looking "unfinished." There is a chance I may eventually do this with the doors on both sides of the refrigerator!

I did add some under counter lighting above the pasta shelf and the "baking" shelf. 

I wired into the existing under counter lighting and ran the wires between the cabinets and across the top of the cabinet above the refrigerator that was covered by a shelf. Now all the under counter lighting can be turned on with a flip of the switch that was added when we did the original lighting! 

I added glass jars here and there to hold tea, baking stuff, beans, and pasta. I love the Anchor Hocking Heritage jars for flour and white sugar but they don't have sealed lids which is necessary for brown sugar. (That was one great thing about reworking and organizing my pantry...I was able to designate one cabinet and shelf area specifically for baking stuff.) 

I found sealed jars similar to the Anchor Hocking Heritage jars, as well as jars tall enough for spaghetti and linguini at TJ Maxx! I ended up with a variety of jar styles I picked up at TJ Maxx, flea markets and Oneida online.... and I like the different looks! 

While I think the matchy-matchy boxes and storage bins are super cute in pantries, I prefer to actually SEE what I I organized my pantry and cabinets so that like items are together and I am able to see what I have and what I need at a glance!

The upper shelves were a great addition...mostly so I can now openly display my cookbooks and a tiny bit of my china (I have 6 sets!) and also a few little decorative do-dads. 

The old coffee grinder is one I have had in my booth for MONTHS...probably because it is missing a piece of the top...but it looks pretty neat on the shelf with the big gold B I picked up at the flea market, a fall berry wreath (I also have a boxwood, but the berry wreath is a new fall find this year) and an old chopping board I turned into a little "chalkboard." 

This shelf had to be removable for one special reason! "Lord ?" He is stored away in the attic for the time being, but he has to have a special place when I decorate for Christmas and he would be too large for the space if the shelf could not be removed. So I painted the shelf bracing the same color as the wall and the shelf can easily be removed when it is time to display him!


As you can see, my kitchen is pretty "traditional." With furniture, I tend to lean more towards the clean lines of "modern/mid century" now but as with everything in my house, my kitchen is more of a mix of traditional, modern, and "farm house." Eclectic, to say the least. That seems to be the "style" I am most comfortable with...not too much of any one style, but a broad mix of everything!

A toss of this, a pinch of that, a smidge of whatever strikes my fancy!

One of the great things about being "eclectic" in your decorating style is you can pick up anything without worrying about whether it fits in with the "style" of the room. Whether it is modern, traditional, transitional or farm house...if I like it, I can usually make it work!

The biggest improvement for me is the addition of the open shelves and my ability to reorganize a few spaces to make the over-all kitchen a tad more functional and organized. 

And that my friends should be the PRIMARY goal for any "makeover." Because let's be honest...if the piece or space isn't functional and organized, all the pretty it the world isn't going to cut it!

First and foremost, make your space or piece functional and organized. THEN make it pretty!

BTW, as much as I debated painting the fireplace wall when I remodeled my den I am SO glad I didn' is perfect for the holiday seasons...fall AND Christmas.... and I can't imagine it any other color!

Friday we head out for our annual train/zipline/fishing/Aspens adventure! I am soooo ready. Matt will be here holding down the fort and when I get home, fall will be in full swing...regardless of the temperatures! 

Fun and quirky pumpkins and fall in the Ozarks!

The high Saturday was in the low 70s!!! Fall is in the air! But as always, the "early fall" was fleeting and this week we are back in the 80s. Cruuuuud!

I want desperately to break out all the fall decor but I will wait! I usually decorate right before we head out to Colorado...after a trip to the mountains and a week in the glorious Aspens, it will officially be fall in my mind...regardless of the temperatures! 

I have been tweeking a few things in preparation for fall decorating. I picked up a few boxes of holiday knick-knacks at an auction a few weeks ago and found four really cute ceramic pumpkins and two wooden pumpkins.

As much as I love the fall colors, I decided I have WAAAAY too much orangey stuff so I decided to get a little creative with these. 

Metallic gold? Hum...interesting.

Maybe white pumpkins?  

Candy corn pumpkins? Kinda like these little jars I made a few years ago...super simple and a quick, quirky update to otherwise boring pumpkins!

Dunno...I have a few hundred pumpkins stored in the attic so I will see how these mesh when I finally drag it all down and start setting it up! The great thing about hitting the clearance sales after the season (besides the great savings) is all the wonderful surprises I find the next year!

A few years ago I shared a tutorial for making fall floral urns! Now is the time to get busy and make a few of these! This is the perfect way to use old pumpkins and garland you have grown tired of and no longer want to decorate with!

For me, decorating for fall is a two day process....seriously, I have THAT much! Insane! 

Fall in the Arkansas Ozarks can be amazing! One of the greatest traditions in our area is the Fall Craft Fairs, anchored by the War Eagle Mill Craft fair! This year the fair will be October 15-18.

My advise for attending this event....go early to avoid traffic...wear comfortable walking shoes...come hungry (OMGosh the food is amazing!)...and make sure you clean out your trunk!

Not sure if you can even book a hotel in this area at this late date, but even if you hve to stay 1-2 hours away, it would be worth it. 

War Eagle is not the only craft fair in the area...Northwest Arkansas will be covered with craft venues and the local papers will print maps of all the places where you can literally get lost ALL day just browsing and buying and filling your head with all kinds of inspiration for the holidays and home decorating.

Since I DIY almost everything, I rarely come home with a lot of "stuff" but I do come home with a head full of inspiration! 

If you don't have anything planned for that week and want to take a little road trip with your girlfriends or family, I can promise you will have an amazing time! And maybe the trees will cooperate and  you can see the glory of fall in the Ozarks!

A marvelous mid century lamp!

Week three of waiting on the trim for the kitchen. Now I think I may just wait until I get the new doors with glass inserts installed before I do a full the rate I am going with the trim, the doors will be here about the same time! Curses...

SOOOOO, in the meantime, I want to share a darling little lamp I picked up at an auction for next to nothing. I probably would have paid a little more for it since I knew the minute I saw it, I wanted it. 

Why you ask? Let's be honest, it wasn't much to behold in it's "before" state. But what 50-60 year old piece ever really is! That is the great thing about learning to DIY can always take a $1 find and give it a good little makeover.

What drew me to this piece originally was the style. TOTALLY different than anything I had ever seen and definitely leaning towards the "mid century" style. My true love. I tried to find one similar...I Googled "mid century wood brass lamp"...."walnut brass lamp"..."atomic lamp." I found a few "similar" but nothing close enough to consider a hit. 

Less the dreaded "oops," this little lamp didn't take a lot of work. I stripped the wood with the 1/2 acetone-1/2 lacquer thinner...that took all of about 5 minutes! I taped off the wood, cord and the sockets, gave the old copper base, finial and sockets a coat of metal primer, light sanding with steel wool, tack cloth, and a couple of coats of gold metallic spray paint! (The "oops" was my impatience which resulted in the need to completely strip the base and reprime and paint the entire thing!) 

Did you know you can easily paint brass...yep...just prime it with metal primer and then paint it any color you want. Have an old brass lamp your mom gave you or you picked up at the thrift store. PAINT IT!!!!

I am slowly coming to terms with gold metallic accents and honestly, I'm kind of digging it! I even painted some ceramic pumpkins with gold metallic for my fall decor!

After the paint dried I applied a couple of coats of tung oil finish to the wood. New lamp shade from Hobby Lobby (40% off...yeah!!!!) and it is ready for another lifetime of use!!!

What is that blue "dish" you asked? I found it in one of the cabinets when I was purging my kitchen...a true gem! (My son would have been 12 when he made this!)

As I mentioned here, I think it is important to decorate with things you love and with things your children have created!

Fortunately, the wiring and sockets were in great shape, but seriously no biggy if an old lamp needs a little rewiring. Here I created a new light fixture out of industrial-type fans, but the general steps for rewiring a lamp would pretty much be the same!

If you are tired of your old boring lamp, paddle fan, or light fixture, check out these posts for just about any lighting project. Fairly simple projects that help you update ANY fixture or "lighten" a room without breaking the bank...because let's be honest...brand new lamps, light fixtures and paddle fans can be expensive. 

Installing a new light fixture

New outdoor lighting

Painting designs on light or lamp shades

Painting light fixtures and paddle fans

Adding under counter lighting to the kitchen


Painting a brass lamp

Rewiring a fan or appliance

There are so many ways to change and update lighting! And super simple! Give it a shot...again, what's the worst that can happen. You still hate it and you still won't get more than a couple of bucks at a garage sale for it! 

Also...a quick reminder! I have mentioned before that if you aren't sure what to do with something, take it down to "base neutral." In my case I have a garage full of projects I haven't decided what to do with yet. But I know one thing for all has to be repaired, primed and sanded. So yesterday, that is exactly what I did with a wood stool, 2 chests, 1 dresser, a ratan shelf, a few frame shelves and a set of ratan chairs. THIS is "base nuetral".....

Now that it is all prepped and ready for a new look, I am ready whenever the "creative bug" hits!!! If a piece of furniture has got a bad case of the "uglies" and you just don't know what to do with it, just remove the hardware, prime it, sand it, and eventually inspiration will come! 

Antique mahogany dresser makeover....

AGAIN, no kitchen reveal. I know...disappointing! But I am still waiting on the trim I ordered to finish out the little details and when I get that done, I will share. Course now I mulling over the idea of putting in glass doors...maybe a little more paint...maybe a little more lighting. See, it never ends!

So while I impatiently wait I am going to share a pathetic little dresser that came to me by way of my neighbor. It had a few more repairs than he was willing to tackle...for me, no biggy!

Chipped drawer fronts, damaged veneer top, and a pretty sketch wiring job on the back legs that was evidently keeping the entire thing from exploding...because when I removed it, the cabinet pretty much fell apart!

The veneer really wasn't in that bad of shape when I got it. Naturally, I forgot to take a picture BEFORE I started ripping into it!

Like many old pieces, it had a beautiful mahogany veneer on the top, but time had taken it's toll on this one and the veneer had lifted and chipped. Course the edges came right off with little was the rest of it that took a lot of work! 

On these older pieces, the beautiful veneer is usually laid over a pretty decent piece of wood. Like this oak library table my daughter and I refinished, removing the veneer just entails a good steam iron, a scraper and a lot of elbow grease! Always be VERY careful when removing old veneer...scrape WITH the grain and make sure you don't gouge the substructure. And if you are using an iron for a heat source, make sure you put an old rag between the iron and the veneer!

When you remove the veneer,  you are going to reveal all the "warts." While the wood is solid and often beautiful, it will probably have a prominent grain and a few knots here and there...embrace it! If you ask me, that is what makes wood's "character." 

The back of the cabinet required glue and clamps. Again, ALWAYS make sure your pieces are properly repaired before you start "refinishing." Or honestly, you are wasting your time! In this case, I didn't have much choice since it really did fall apart when I removed the wire that was "clamping" the back two legs together, which was basically holding the entire back in place. 

The next chore was repairing the two damaged drawers. Not only was the mahogany veneer chipped and missing, but the "substructure" it was adhered to was missing. 

This may seem like a daunting task, and is probably what frightened my neighbor the most, but it is just a little "puzzle." Just recreate a new base by glueing a scrap piece in place and then use wood filler to "sculpt" a new corner...lots of patience and some careful sanding! This may take 2-3 shots to get it right, but it is doable! Since I planned on painting the drawer fronts, it worked perfectly!

After all the repairs were completed and the veneer top was completely removed, I chalk painted and distressed the cabinet and the drawers and applied a walnut stain to the top. I sealed the top with three coats of tung oil finish and the chalk paint with a few coats of spray on poly!

The inside of the top drawers were a bit worn and stained so I gave them a little KTSP treatment with a bright teal! 

New porcelain knobs...and OH MY! Beautiful again! 

Don't turn your noise up at old, damaged pieces. This piece had three strikes against it, but it was hardly down and out. Yes, it took a little work, but in the end it was well worth the time and effort!

This piece would be perfect for one of those precious French graphics from "The Graphics Fairy," but I think I will let the new owner add their own creative touches!

Another piece ready for another lifetime of use!

Rewiring an old fan and my home's 15 seconds of fame....

The trim pieces for the kitchen still have not come in so as much as I would love the share my kitchen "reset" I am going to hold off until it is ALL done. I did share the construction and addition of the floating shelves last week, and you can check that out here.

This week I want to share an easy little project that I incorporated into my kitchen.

I have always wanted a fan in my kitchen...especially now that I am at the age when sudden bursts of "heat" wash over me (some call them hot flashes...but those are for old women!) A paddle fan isn't really a good idea in the kitchen, especially if you have a gas range like I do.

Over the years I have bought several "vintage" and "antique" fans at auctions. My favorite was a teal fan I had in my room for months...but as with a lot of things, it eventually went to the flea market and was sold...darn it! NOW I have the perfect place for it! 

A month or so ago I picked up two antique fans at an a Westinghouse and the other an Emerson. I did a little research and found that both were from the 1930s. One had a decent, intact cord on it so I tested it and it worked beautifully after it was cleaned up and oiled. The other had a pretty ratty cord and there was NO WAY I was plugging that sucker in!

I took the working fan to my booth and kept the one that had the ratty cord. Since it had the "least value" and was a tad smaller and lighter, I decided to keep it and replace the cord!

The first thing I had to do was give it a good scrubbing. Most of the fans I have bought have been pretty nasty. Straight ammonia and steel wool! Not fun but necessary. Then I spritz all the insides with WD40.

Replacing the cord on any appliance, especially these old fans, is not difficult. If you can open it up and find the electrical connections, its pretty simple. These old fans have a few screws holding the baseplate onto the base of the fan...just remove the screws and remove the base plate.

Make sure you note where the old connections want to make sure you hook up the new wiring properly. Occasionally, I will use painter's tape to actually "label" the posts or wiring so I don't forget...or better yet take a picture of it. 

(Disclaimer...I actually used an old extension cord I had stripped to make sure the fan actually worked before I invested in a new cord! No sense in replacing the cord, only to discover that the fan motor wasn't working!) 

Once I opened it up and got a look at the connections (and cleaned it up a bit...ewww), I purchased a new cord and electrical connectors at Lowe's. 

The replacement cords have two bare wires on one end and a plug on the other. Just "crimp" the connectors on each wire and then attach the new wiring to the fan (or appliance) like the original wiring was connected. In my case, one wire went on one bolt and the other wire went on another bolt...then just tightened with a nut and washer...simple simon! 

Then reassemble the fan. On this fan, it was just a matter of putting the base back on!

This fan is a little "vintagey" for my decor tastes, but I like that it adds just a touch of "eclectic" to this space. And as with everything, it will serve a great purpose when those heat waves hit!


A few weeks ago, an old classmate of my son posted on Facebook that a producer he works for needed a fireplace to use in a photo shoot. Hey, I have TWO fireplaces...sweet!

I thought "photo shoot" meant they wanted to come take a few pictures. Um, no. Verge Videos is currently shooting a commercial for Dayspring Greeting Cards in my den. And since it is a Christmas commercial, we had to haul a bunch of Christmas decorations down out of the attic to "stage" the shots!

I know several bloggers who have had to decorate their house for Christmas in JUNE for magazine shoots! Pish-posh...not happening...and now it is! 

Truth is, it is fun to watch all the work (and mess) that goes into making a simple little commercial! Lighting, props, hair and makeup...the whole shabang! Super cool process! 

I have no idea if this is a local or national commercial. Doesn't house is officially a "pro" and will get it's 15 seconds of fame. 


THREE different Floating shelf tutorials...

I am going to wait to do a full reveal on my kitchen "reset." I call it a "reset" because I didn't paint the exterior of the cabinets or get new flooring or counters...just moved cabinets around, removed a few doors, painted the inside of a few cabinets, added some under-counter lighting and added shelving. So while it is a major change, and looks and functions MUCH better, it isn't a full-blown makeover.

Today I am going to share a tutorial on floating shelves. Actually THREE different tutorials!

The first thing I had to do was figure out which cabinets I wanted to "pop up" and where I wanted open shelving. That was what all the planning and measuring and drawing has been all about for the last few months. After I decided on the "configuration" of the cabinetry, I moved the cabinets that needed to be moved (see a tutorial on doing that hereand decided what "stuff" I wanted on each shelf...that is an important part of the plan because you don't want to plan on storing a 10" tall Anchor Hocking jar on a shelf that, in the end, only has 9" clearance!

The problem with adding floating shelves to any room is the need to plan for the weight of the items it will hold and whether or not there are studs to anchor the support.

In my kitchen, I had four areas I wanted to add floating shelves. I didn't want brackets, so the "support" for each shelf was a huge issue. In the end, I had to construct and anchor three different types of shelving to give me the clean look of floating shelves!

The first area was the hardest only because it was the longest span and will hold all my dishes. When I weighed my dishes they came to SIXTY FOUR POUNDS!!!! Just for plates, bowls and salad plates....that didn't account for cups, glasses or condiment bowls! Course then it dawned on me that I really didn't NEED to display ALL my dishes so I pulled out 8 place settings and stored the rest above the pantry! Not a great place to store something you use every day, but perfect for things you only need a few times a year! I actually have MORE of these dishes in my hall pantry...they are Pier One Bianca ironstone and they don't make it any I stock up every time I find them on Ebay or Etsy!

The two shelves were still going to hold a lot of weight and I knew I needed something sturdier than a pre-build floating shelf you buy at Lowe's. 

The wiring is from my under counter lighting that was attached to the cabinet! Notice the black piece of electrical tape on the switch so someone didn't accidentally flip that switch!!

I found a tutorial online for floating shelves using metal brackets attached to the studs by cutting out the sheetrock. God help me, I did not save the link! Since I knew what I needed to do, I didn't need to refer back to the tutorial! Hopefully my tutorial will give you the information you need!

My plan was to attach L brackets directly to the studs and then conceal them with sheetrock and the construction of the shelf! 

The first thing I did was locate the two studs with a stud-finder. I marked the location, used my L brackets to "trace" out the area I needed to cut out and then cut out the sheetrock. 

You can use a Dremel with a cutting blade but I didn't want to blow dust all over the place. I just cut it out with a utility knife and chisel.

After cutting out the opening, I set the L brackets directly on the studs, made sure it was level between the brackets by laying a 24" level across the two, predrilled the holes for the screws and then attached them to the studs using heavy duty wood screws...3/8" bolts will work as well!!! 

You may notice that the brackets are set 1/4" above the top of the tile...that is because the underside of the shelf will be 1/4" plywood and I want to be able to slip it on top of the tile. Someday I MIGHT change my backsplash and I want to be able to remove the tile without messing with the shelving!

After the brackets were attached, I used sheetrock mud to fill in the holes...right over the bracket attached to the studs. You could "patch" the area like I showed you here, or you can just fill them with mud. As the mud dries, it will crack, and you may have to sand and refill it 2-3 biggy....I had a lot of stuff going on over several days so I wasn't in a hurry!

After the mud dried, I sanded it well, sprayed it with texture (again, this tutorial shows you how to do that) and then painted it (AGAIN, this is where having leftover touchup paint is SO important...unless you are repainting the entire wall!)

Here is the downside to doing tutorials...I don't always take the pictures I should take! Sooooooo......try to follow me here. The shelf was pretty much constructed the same way the shelves adjacent to the refrigerator you can see pictures of the construction later in this post!

I cut, primed, sanded and put one coat of paint on all the shelving components before I put them together...that way, once it was all constructed all I had to do was caulk, putty the holes and give it one final coat of paint! (I used oil based paint on the shelves...maybe overkill but I know it will hold up!)

I used 3/8" plywood for the top of the shelf...I cut it (and the 1/4" ply for the underside) the size I wanted the shelf, LESS the 1/2" for the strips of wood used to face the front and both sides (Example, if you want your shelf to be 8" deep and 30" wide, you would cut your plywood 7 1/2" x 29"). I glued and nailed 1/2" plywood strips to the underside of the 3/8" top to create a "channel" for the electrical cord for the under counter lighting and for the bracket. I laid the 3/8" plywood across the two brackets and attached the top to the L bracket with #10-3/8" screws and then glued and nailed 1/4" plywood to the underside. So all in all, the thickness of each shelf was 1 1/8" thick (3/8" top + 1/2" inside strips + 1/4" underside = 1 1/8" thick.)

I wanted to reinstall my under counter lighting to the bottom shelf so I measured for it's placement and drilled holes for the electrical wiring in the underside (1/4" plywood) of the bottom shelf and ran the wiring between the "channels" and through the holes before I attached the bottom to the top of the shelf. KNOW WHERE YOUR ELECTRICAL WIRING IS so you don't put a nail through it when you are nailing the underside to the top!

I capped the edges off with 1/2" boards...1/2 x 2" (actually 1/2" x 1 1/2") for the top shelf with no light and 1/2 x 3" (actually 1/2" x 2 1/2") for the bottom shelf so the light fixture would not show when it was installed. Caulked, puttied and gave them one final coat of paint!

A huge advantage to constructing your own support or frame is you can make the shelves any depth you want...I actually made the bottom shelf a little deeper than the top shelf.

The spice corner was a tad easier. Since the items on those shelves were pretty light weight I used premade floating shelves. The only adjustment was the width of the shelves. The smallest premade floating shelf I could find was 18" but my space was only 15". The upside is the metal bracket the shelf slips on to was only 15" wide, so I was able to cut the actual shelf down...1 1/2" off each side, and still use the metal bracket! I painted those to match the dish shelf and installed them per the directions. (Yes, you can easily paint pre-made floating aren't limited to white or black!)

The two 15" shelves on either side of the refrigerator were another "challenge" and constructed completely different because one side had NO studs in the 15" span and the other side only had ONE stud. Curses.

Not a biggy. Sometimes you just have to get creative!!! 

I built a "skeleton" for each shelf using 1x2 material (actually 3/4" x 1 1/2") I didn't want to make the skeleton too terribly heavy but since only one side of each shelf could be attached to the adjacent cabinet, I decided to beef up the "free floating" side with a 2x2" (actually 1 1/2" x 1 1/2") I used oak on the side that attaches to the wall since it is a "harder" wood! The rest is poplar since it is a little bit lighter! Make sure when you "design" your skeleton that you account for the 1/2" "facing" that will go on the front and sides. For example, my space was 15" wide x 14" deep...since I was "facing" the shelves with 1/2" material on the front and one side, I made my skeleton 14 1/2" x 13 1/2". Sometimes it helps to actually draw it out with the measurements!

I glued each joint, tacked them with a trim nailer and then counter sunk screws...just to make it all nice and sturdy!

If you don't have a special "counter sink" screw bit, you can always cheat like I do...first, predrill the hole using a small bit (1/16th ish bit!)...

...then use a bit that is a tad larger than your screw head and drill on top of the small bit hole, maybe 1/8" deep...then just put your screw in!

It is important to predrill holes because the wood WILL split if you do not!

After constructing the "skeleton" for the shelf, I placed it on the wall, leveled it, then predrilled 4 holes through the skeleton into the sheetrock. 

Notice I tacked a piece of 1/4" plywood to the bottom of the skeleton so I could maintain enough space to slip the 1/4" plywood underside on after the skeleton and top were installed!

After pre-drilling the holes through the skeleton and into the wall, I removed the shelf and inserted "self-screwing" sheetrock anchors into the wall... the package says they hold 80 pounds each...I'm hoping four will do the job since there is no stud in this area!!!

I used the screws that came with the self-drilling drywall anchors to secure the skeleton to the wall. I added washers on the left shelf since it didn't have a stud in the wall to attach to.... just for good measure!

Litty inspected my work every step of the way!!!!

 The right side had one stud to anchor to, so I used two self-drilling drywall anchors (no washers this time) and two sheetrock screws into the stud. For good measure I used my nail gun to nail from the inside of the skeleton into the adjoining cabinet (making sure it was level from back to front!)...again, probably overkill!

After the skeletons for the shelves were securely anchored, I used 1/2" plywood for the top and 1/4"  for the underside. Glue and a few trim nails. The thickness of the shelf is 1/2" top + 1 1/2" skeleton + 1/4" underside = 2 1/4"... so I used 1/2" x 3" boards (again, actually 2 1/2") for the front and sides (all pre-primed and 1 coat of paint). Caulk, putty, paint!

Three different construction methods...this is one of those times when one shoe WILL NOT fit all and you really have to get creative! 

This may all seem like a daunting task...and I may make it seem easy. But even for me, it is not. You really have to think, and draw, and measure and plan. And be willing to throw your hands up and start over when something doesn't work the way you thought it would! THAT is what DIY is all about.

You may have noticed that since I popped up the cabinets, you can actually see the underside now...that will not do! And that is one of the pieces of "trim" I am waiting on to finish things up...1/8" maple ply that will cover the underside of the cabinets. I had David at Sherwin Williams do a stain match and he did an AWESOME as soon as the trim and skins come in and I get them stained and installed, I will do a full reveal! 

In the end...I have exactly what I shelving in my kitchen and when I reveal the entire kitchen you will see how this all ties together. At least for now you know that you are not limited to the measly little 10 pound limit of a pre-built floating shelf! You CAN build a floating shelf that will hold more weight, anywhere you want! 

"Blah" to "BAM" cheap furniture makeovers...YOU CAN DO IT!!!

This past week I have been working on my kitchen (I told you the "small" projects wouldn't squash the urge!) I still have a few little trim details to hunt down and then I will try to do a feature next week. I had to construct three different types of open shelving and I rewired an 80 year old Westinghouse fan...AND IT WORKS!!! I'll share all that as well!

This week I want to share a few little projects that YOU can do! Do you have a piece of furniture (or two or ten) that is just "blah?" A cheap little shelving unit you picked up at the big box store and put together with the little allen wrench that came with the screws. Maybe a few ancient bedside tables you inherited from your mom. A particle board table that has seen it's better days.

I know I have harped on this before, but seriously it bares repeating! If you are just starting out, are on a tight budget, feel the need to keep furniture given to you by family, or just want to change things up a bit, you NEED to be able to do simple makeovers!

Before you toss a piece of furniture to the curb, think about "updating" it a tad. Even the cheapest, most basic piece can be saved with just a tiny bit of time and effort! As I have said time and again, the worst that can happen is you still hate it and it still only brings $1 at your next garage sale. 

I find pieces like this all the time at my apartments. I drag them home, clean them up with ammonia (stinky but gets the old gunk off!) and then give them a little facelift!

This was one haul out of one unit....

The little bedside tables are the old orange maple...ugly as sin but super sturdy and solid wood! The little coffee table is one of those inexpensive "fake" wood things that comes with the little allen wrench tool for the bolts! And the spindle shelf had particle board shelving. All in all, pretty dated stuff!

This little shelf came out of another unit...

It was missing a drawer and it had a few loose bolts, but whatever...still salvageable!

I find these things in my apartments, but you can find them at thrift stores and garage sales for next to nothing! 

All I did to the little shelf with reeded drawers was give it a little KSTP treatment (Kilz, sand, tack cloth and paint!

Perfect for added storage in a bathroom, kitchen or kid's room!

I decided to do something a little fancier on the coffee table and bedside tables. I striped the tops with the acetone/lacquer thinner mixture, added a little java gel stain, then sealed them with spray on poly (if stripping and staining is beyond your skill level, just paint the tops!)

The bases are simple KSTP treatment. New hardware on the bedside tables and these pieces are perfect for updating any space! 

The spindle corner shelf got a simple KSTP treatment! 

I don't have a "before" picture of the little chalkboard shelf. Basically it was a stained wood frame with an ugly picture of a teddy bear! Ewwwww. Gave the frame a chalkpaint and distress treatment (spray paint would work too!) and I painted the board backing with chalkboard paint. Super simple "upcycle!"

Years ago I scrapbooked all the boys athletic pictures. A chore considering they both played football and baseball their entire childhood! (I strongly suggest you do this every year rather than try to find time to do all 15 years at once!)

The square frames were a perfect fit for a 12x12 piece of scrapbook paper and would be perfect for someone who wanted an easy way to display their kid's sports pictures. I applied the scrapbook paper onto the foam backing with a spritz of spray adhesive, used a glue stick to attach pictures and KSTP the frames. This would be the perfect way to "scrapbook" photos...then you can take them out of the frame and just slip them into an album when it is time to change out the pictures next year!

Before you paint a piece, make sure all the "bolts and joints" are tight and the piece is sturdy. If tightening a screw or bolt doesn't solve the wobbles, take time to GLUE AND CLAMP whatever ails the piece. No sense in making it pretty if it is going to collapse the first time one of the kids leans on it! 

All these projects have one thing in common. Spray paint. Seriously...a little primer, a little sanding and a little spray paint...and you have changed the entire look! 

I have shared many of these simple little makeovers in the past! A few dressers here, here here and here. Several coffee tables here, here and here and Lord knows how many frame makeovers (herehere, and here!)

Challenge yourself. Pick out ONE piece of furniture or a frame in your house you really don't like. Go to Lowes and pick up a can of Kilz, a little sandpaper, a package of tack cloth and a can of your favorite color spray paint (total under $15) and give it a go! YOU CAN DO IT! 

I promise!

Another feature on Remodeloholic!

It is always a great honor to have my projects featured on Remodeloholic!

I was featured on Remodelaholic

This week they are featuring this tutorial for installing a glass insert in an interior hollow core door! You can check out their post here!

Several months ago they featured my tutorial for stripping and refinishing a dining room table!

I received a lot of positive feedback but most important for me was the opportunity to share a super easy way to refinish even the most ornate and difficult piece of furniture!

I was fortunate to have a dad who knew EVERYTHING about construction and "projecting." It always makes me kind of sad that I don't have his knowledge to lean on when I start any project. He didn't have the internet...just a lifetime of experience.

My dad wasn't around long enough to teach me everything I know about DIYing and projecting...he didn't teach me to to tile or build shelves or repair furniture. What he did teach me is that if I want "nice" and "pretty," I need to be able to roll up my sleeves and go to work...and use the resources I have available to teach myself how to "JUST DO IT!" 

So I am so grateful that there is a blogosphere filled with information, helpful tips, tutorials, inspiration and support for anything and everything DIY.....sites like AWESOME resource for just about any DIY project. And I am honored to be one of the few who share what we do so you can do it too!


It's the simple (and cheap!) things in life...

Yes, I get excited about towels. I'm weird like that.

Over the years I have transitioned to all white towels, wash cloths and dish towels.

First, if I need additional towels, I don't have to worry about finding the right "red" or "green" or "blue." I just buy white.

Second, I like the fact that I can bleach everything. Ever think your towels smell "musty?" Adding vinegar to the rinse cycle does making sure you don't let them sit in the washing machine too long! But if all your towels are white, it is easy to get rid of any musty smell by bleaching and you always know your bath towels and kitchen towels are sanitized! 

A few years ago I had a tenant who worked for a commercial laundry facility and she would bring me HUGE bags of dish towels and wash clothes. Some had stains or rips and those were perfect for my "shop rags" or cleaning rags at the apartments. But some were in pretty good shape and I used them as kitchen dish towels. When those got stained or worn, I just tossed them in my "rag box" in the garage!

She doesn't work there any more so when I decided I needed hand towels, I went on line and started shopping around for "bar towels." I like those pretty decorative dish towels (I have a few for the holidays), but let's be honest, who wants to pay $5-10 for a stupid dish towel! 

I found them...on Ebay sold by Georgia Towels. The exact same towels I have been using, but new....

For less than $31 (free shipping) for FIVE dozen (60 total) I got perfect little hand/dish towels for my kitchen. Even though they have a blue stripe they can still be bleached. The hand towels also come in yellow, red and green stripes and they have 12 x 12 white wash cloths, which I use quite a bit in my kitchen! 

MUCH cheaper than using roll after roll of paper towels! Big enough to dry pots and pans but small enough to wipe down counters and clean up spills.

If you are going "paperless" like Martyea suggests on her blog, this is the perfect, inexpensive solution!

I love the quality and price of these little towels so much I decided to give their bath towels a shot!

These are "ringspun" 100% cotton towels. According to, "Ringspun cotton bath towels are made by twisting long and short fibers together to make smoother, finer yarn. The created yarn feels more luxurious than combed cotton bath towels threads."

These towels are "17# per dozen" so they are considered a "medium/heavy weight" towel!

They are totally awesome towels!!! At less than $7 a towel, they are much less expensive than what you will pay for the same quality in retail stores. Much plusher than I thought they would be!!!

This brings me to my "lecture" for those of you who "impulse" buy. Thankfully, I am not a shopper...I honestly don't like shopping. At Christmas, I burn up the internet and wear out my UPS guys and pretty much make one visit to the mall.

I avoid "discount stores" even when buying groceries. I shop in a grocery store to avoid being temped to buy new towels, sheets, clothing, auto supplies, office supplies, etc on a whim. Yes, prices on groceries may be a smidge cheaper at the "discount stores," but your overall shopping experience can end up costing you more because of "impulse" purchases! 

For personal products (detergent, shampoo, tooth care, makeup, pet food, etc) I coupon shop. I use the sites and (there is a CVS site as well!) to help me identify great deals on products I can stock up on! To give you an idea of how much money I save, I rarely pay ANYTHING for toothpaste, toothbrushes, and soap, I never pay over $1 for shampoo and conditioner (high dollar brands too!), and just pennies for high end razors and shave cream, meds, and detergents! 

No, you do not have to be one of those crazy "extreme couponers" who sit and clip coupons and make excel spreadsheets all day. Just scroll through those two sites and identify the products you use...or will use! They tell you exactly how to "structure the deal" and what coupons you will need. Many coupons can be printed right off your computer or Iphone. When you combine manufacturer coupons, store coupons, online apps (like Target's cartwheel) and sales, you can save TONS!

Before you "impulse" buy necessities, look around and see what you REALLY need. Limit your grocery shopping to ONLY things you your "personal products" using coupon sites to help you identify great deals on items you can stock up on.

A tiny bit of homework and limiting your "impulse buying" can save you thousands a year!!!

This week I started working on my kitchen...OH MY! Now I remember why I don't tear into huge projects any more. Long days, major frustrations, several trips to the home improvement store a day....and the mess. I'm just moving cabinets and building shelves and we have eaten take out two nights in a row!!! Just too much clutter going on in there!

Hopefully I will be able to share a little bit of the progress next week!