Another Drexel Accolade addition to the family....

It has actually been in the garage for months...but when I needed a large piece in my space at 410 Vintage Market and dug it out,I couldn't bring myself to turn loose.

A Drexel Accolade dry bar/server. The top actually flips open.

It isn't the first piece I bought for resale that wormed it's way into my heart...no secret that I love mid century pieces.

But this Drexel Accolade bar is more of the "Hollywood Regency" style. Identical to this little Drexel side table I painted with a high gloss lacquer and love in my den....

There is a good chance I will paint it if I decide to keep it...for now I have shined up the brass hardware and will leave it at that.

Over the years I have snagged some amazing bargains at auctions and on Craigslist...a little DIY magic and they are stunning additions to any home!

This Drexel coffee table....

My growing collection of mid century dressers...

This one is Matt's...I just don't have any more room!

My never ending collection of side tables!

I started collecting Lane Acclaim tables years ago...I think between the kids and I we are up to 10! That doesn't include the 2 walnut Lane coffee tables and the end table I just refinished for Katie and Matt!

Chairs...

Odd little bookcases are always fun!

If you walked through my home you might think I lean more towards the "traditional" side of home decor at a glance...but all these pieces have blended in to created a cohesive "eclectic" style. This "style" of home decor allows me to infuse pieces I love without worrying too much about whether I am breaking a "decorating rule" for a specific style!

So...back to the amazing Drexel Accolade console/bar...

In my opinion, there is too much "wood tone" in this space...I absolutely love the wood grain on this piece but there has to be a good balance...it just doesn't feel "balanced."

So there is a good chance that IF it stays, it will get painted. Again, that is a big "if." I think I have had no less than 5 different buffets and hutches in this space at one time or another and I always end up moving them out and moving the table back against the wall...as I mentioned before my toes tend to find anything out of place, and since the dining table has been against the wall for the better part of 19 years, it may not work well in the middle of the dining room where it REALLY belongs!

We'll see...that is one of the beauties of learning to DIY furniture...you can buy it cheap, paint, upholstery or refinish it and promptly move it out if it doesn't suit your needs. Without the guilt of having to live with something you hate because you paid a fortune for!!!!

OR it can find a permanent home where it can shine for another lifetime!

Another campaign dresser makeover!

If I find one, I'm gonna buy it! A campaign dresser!

This one isn't a "vintage" campaign dresser...probably an imitation but sweet all the same! Well...it wasn't when I bought it....

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Structurally it was in great shape but the finish was definitely lacking. A little KSTP (Kilz, sand, tack and paint...high gloss white lacquer), scrubbed up the brass hardware, and presto....

Again, this one wasn't a REAL vintage campaign dresser...but that didn't stop someone from buying it 1 hour after taking it to 410 Vintage.

This, my friends, is a REAL campaign dresser!!

I have already scrubbed up the brass hardware (no tricks there...Brasso, Brillo and A LOT of elbow grease.) I had to order a few replacement hardware pieces...holy cow those little brass doo-dads are expensive (found them on Etsy.) I sprayed on Kilz and sanded it down. Now I just need to apply a few coats of white lacquer...I can't wait! I will make sure I share it when it is done because I know it will be beautiful!

PORCH MINI-MAKEOVER....

Now that Matt has settled into his new house, we have started on a few little projects that make his home a little bit more...well..."him." (If you search "Matt's house" on this site you can will see several of the projects we have worked on!)

The back yard was a total disaster...lots of trees and years of neglect. I wish we had been smart enough to take before and after pictures of the side yard we have been working on. We added a few flower beds, raked up a truck load of rocks and brought in four truck loads of dirt and mulch. We seeded with fescue. I know it will probably burn up this summer but he was so excited to see the little guys sprouting! We dug up some of my neighbor's lirope and transplanted it in his new flower bed....repurposed the stones that were originally used as a "pad" to make a stepping stone path....a new little Japanese maple. I think it will all be wonderful when he is finished. My yard is an oasis...I have remind him it took 19 years of hard work to get it that way!

The back patio was a tad on the blah side. I did remember to snap a few pictures with my Iphone before we added just a few little touches.

We changed out the flush mount "boob" light for a pendant light...seriously, who puts a dinky flush mount light on a vaulted ceiling?

Threw down a pretty striped rug and added a potted palm and hanging basket. Nothing earth shatter but just a few simple touches to dress the space a bit!

He still needs to change out the seat cushions and eventually I would like to add a baker's rack or build a potting bench...maybe add some kind of wall decor on the wall! We could paint the wood railing but he is determined to eventually add a large deck off the patio so no sense in putting out the effort for the time being!

A few little touches here and there can add personality and style to a space.

It takes time to make a house your home... 

Losing weight is a bitch...

Okay, so it's not the WORST journey I have ever embarked on...quitting smoking was a tough one. After 27 years of smoking and countless failed attempts to quit, I finally did it...it has been 4 or 5 years and I still use an e-cig. I am so hell-bent on NEVER picking up another cigarette I will use these little e-cigs as long as there is a smidge of urge or until someone convinces me they are worse than smoking a real cigarette.

My grandmother chewed nicotine gum for the last 10 years of her life after a life time of smoking 3 packs a day. 

I was also a down-to-bleeding-finger-tips nail bitter through my teens...

My point...quiting smoking, loosing weight or dropping any bad habit is tough...no question. But I approached each with the same mind set I approach a daunting DIY project.

How do you eat an elephant...one bite at a time.

Through my 20s I stayed in the 120s...through my 30s I stayed in the 130s...in my 40s I crept into the 140s and got so frustrated I tossed my scales (like it was their fault!). I hit 50, quit smoking and went through menopause and that was when all hell (and seams) broke loose! I finally realized that at this rate I am going to die a very over weight person.

My daughter Katie is my inspiration (and my hero) After gaining the obligatory 10+ pounds (and more) her first two years in college she finally set out to loose weight last year...65 pounds to date. I am in complete awe of that girl! She looks and feels amazing!

Because of the extra weight I am carrying I look and feel like a complete frump.

Sooooo....last month I decided to take the first bite and loose a few pounds.

So here are a few tips I would like to share that seem to be working for me. 

Get your mind right. Seriously...this can't be an "I want," it has to be an "I need"...and you have to really get your mind right. In other words, be committed to making some serious changes and be willing to make the sacrifices...every day. 

Set REALISTIC goals. The thought of losing 30 pounds was mentally defeating and seemed so daunting. So don't think big, think small baby steps. For the first six weeks my goal was 10 pounds. I have reached that goal and now my goal is to get to a solid 150 (2 more pounds) by the end of the month. My next goal will be another 10 pounds by the end of June. I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't make it, but I will make an honest assessment of what I am doing wrong! If I meet that goal, I will set a new REALISTIC goal.

Maybe pounds isn't your goal...maybe it is a specific clothing size...regardless, set realistic baby steps! 

Buy a good set of scales. I bought the dial kind because I didn't want a digital scale telling me I gained or lost 2/10ths of a pound. Just a personal preference! I weigh every day.

Skip the fad diets. And pills...and shakes...and wraps. I know they are all the rage and you can loose a lot of weight fast, but when you go back to eating carbs or protein or normal homemade meals, you will not only gain all the weight back, you may gain even more. So I decided to NOT "diet." Rather I made a decision to make a "food-choice" change.

Identify foods you can and need to live without...your "danger" foods.

Cutting out ALL sugary drinks is a must. Fortunately I did this years ago...no more sweet tea or cokes. I drink water...but now I make it a priority to drink more every day. I fill my large Yeti cup with ice water in the morning and drink it all day! Coffee is okay and I even allow myself creamer...knowing there ARE calories in creamer!

I love bread but I can live without it...so no breads (or chips or crackers)! Same with white potatoes, pasta, nuts, cheese, ice cream, cookies and brownies. Love them all...and I can do some serious binging on all of them... but I can live without them!

No more sandwiches or hamburgers...no more bowls of Cheez-Its and peanuts...no more big bowls of ice cream/chocolate chip cookies/brownies every single night! No more afternoon binging on crackers and cheese and no more french fries or bake potatoes smothered in butter, sour cream and cheese!

I don't completely deprive myself...I ate some tortilleni alfredo during Sarah's birthday dinner and I had a bite or two of some brownies Sunday night.... but I am VERY cognizant of how much I eat of my "danger" foods!

Count calories. They matter! I love ranch dressing but I thought oil and vinegar dressing would be better...but come to find out olive oil has TWICE the calories as most ranch dressings. WHAT!!!!!???? I know olive oil is probably "healthier" but since my goal is to seriously cut down on calories for the time being, ranch it is.

HOWEVER, I read labels, I know the calories I am taking in and I carefully watch the portion size! I found a chart online that tells me how many calories I can eat a day and while I don't micro-count every single calorie, I have a good, HONEST idea of what I eat every day.

The first week is tough! Just getting out of the "habit" of grazing all day and not snacking on sweets in the evening takes some serious self-discipline! But once you get through the first week or two and you see the results on the scales it gets a little easier. For me, it has made me even more determined!

Increase the calories you burn. After all losing weight is all about calories in, calories out! So do something. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a walk around the block. Get out and do some gardening. Do something. No need to buy a gym membership, a new bike, or an expensive piece of exercise equipment just yet. Just increase your movement. Eventually you might want to add some REAL exercise to your regiment, but at first, just get moving!

What does my daily "diet" look like?

I eat two scrambled eggs every morning. 

For lunch I have a veggie salad.

I eat a normal dinner...eliminating potatoes, bread and pasta. So while I may still cook potatoes, I fill my plate with the veggies and skip the "fattening" stuff!

For snacks I stick with dehydrated bananas (crunchy and sweet) and veggies. If I get desperate for something sweet, I keep "diet" candy bars on hand...like Atkins or Weight Watchers...but again, watch the calories in each bar...they can run 200+ and that is a lot of calories if you are trying to keep your daily intake below 1200! I eat ONE...not all 10 in the box like I use to...again, this takes some self-discipline!

My go-to warm veggie salad is super filling and super yummy!

I saute' chopped veggies in bulk and keep them in the refrigerator and warm when I am ready to eat. 

1-2 scallion (or onion if you prefer...)

6 small zucchinis (chopped 1/2" cubes)

2 bunches of asparagus (chopped 1" long)

1-2 cups of frozen corn

I saute' these veggies in 1 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. I also splash in a tad of balsamic vinegar and oil dressing...just for some flavor.

Balsamic vinegar and oil dressing

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of agave nectar

1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice (the bottled kind works just fine!)

6 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt and pepper

Every week I chop up leaf lettuce and a bag of spinach for salad. Handful of salad, a cup or two of sauteed veggies and low fat ranch. Sooooo yummy and very filling.

All this being said, if you HONESTLY watch your calories and increase your daily activity and the scales just don't budge, I would suggest having your thyroid and hormone levels checked...those things really can affect your weight...but again, be honest...are you REALLY making a conscience effort?!

One time I went to the doctor and told him I just knew something was wrong with my thyroid...I had gained 10+ pounds in a month. He checked...nothing. After the visit I made my daily run to Starbucks....my son had given me a $150 gift card for Christmas so I had been going to Starbucks and getting a venti mocha every day...for over a month. Yeah, lightbulb moment!

That one little "habit" had added 450 empty calories to my daily intake!

Losing weight is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It took getting brutally honest with myself about what exactly I was doing (and not doing) every single day.

Most important, I had to realize that it took decades for me develop some pretty bad "food choice" habits and gain this weight...so losing it wasn't going to happen in a month...or even two. 

I hesitate to even share this journey...but here it is. If I eat a loaded baked potato or bag of Reese's peanut butter cups tomorrow I know I will feel like crud. But at least I know I can get up the next day and start eating that elephant again. 

Baby steps.....

 

 

 

 

Just ANOTHER mid century dresser!

I can't help myself...when I see one, I just gotta have it!!!

A mid century bedroom set...Fashion Trend by Johnson Carper. I couldn't find a maker's mark anywhere on the set so I googled "mid century dresser" and found a picture of one like it!

(Look at the curves on this lady!)

I ended up having to buy the entire set at an auction...dresser, chest of drawers and full size bed frame. I sold the chest to off set the cost of the dresser...which is the piece I really wanted! I have a full size bed in  Mitchell's room so I might use the bed frame in there.

I decided not to strip and oil the drawers...they really are in excellent condition....I wiped them down with Restor-a-finish just to clean and brighten a bit. I painted the "box" (KSTP...high gloss white) only because the top was laminate... I did that with Matt's dresser and I love how it turned out!

My original plan was to put the new dresser in the guest room until I get this one back from Katie in a year or so...

But then I got to thinking...why would I hide a beautiful piece like this in a guest room? 

So I took the dresser out of my room and put it in the guest room and put the new one in my room!

LOVE!!!

The only other thing I have added to my "proper" guest room is this little rattan table (bought two and sold one) and the magazine rack from the living room. 

Again, you will not find AFFORDABLE new furniture that is built as well and with woods like walnut, teak, rosewood and mahogany! There is a reason vintage and antique furniture have managed to survive decades of use!

When I walk around my house and look at some of the beautiful vintage pieces I have collected I am amazed at just how little I have paid for them. Keep in mind MOST were in much need of a little care and attention but if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work, you can create a home filled with beautiful pieces too! 

That is why I have this blog...to show you just how easy it can be!!!

Stop drooling and start doing!!!

Finally...painted walls!

I finally did it...I painted the walls in the main living areas! 

Over a year ago I seriously contemplated painting the downstairs living areas. I called my painter friend and set up a time for him to paint while we were on vacation! I painted samples all over the walls...and promptly cancelled the painter and painted over the sample spots with the same ole' "Cream" paint color that has been on the walls for 19 years.

I just couldn't pull the trigger! I know one of the issues was my inability to commit to a paint color. The other issue is my inability to admit I am just getting too old to tackle these big projects.

But last year I painted my master bedroom SW Nuance (a much smaller project, but a butt-kicker all the same!) I then used the same color in the guest room makeover.

I really love it. It contrasts nicely with the Swiss Coffee trim but it's not so dark that it over powers the room. It seems to be the perfect back drop for any decor accent I want to add in a room.

After living with this new paint color in my bedroom for a bit, I kinda sorta thought I might like it in the living areas. I called my painter friend and rescheduled.

It is no secret that major changes are tough for me...so the fact that I picked a paint that wasn't TOO different from what I had before isn't surprising.

While it isn't a HUGE difference, it is indeed different. The original color was "SW Cream" and it was definitely on the "yellow" spectrum. The Nuance is more of a very light "griege" ...one shade lighter than Useful Grey on the color chart! 

You can really see the difference on the walls side by side....

When it was all said and done, I really love it...it looks clean and fresh. While I had everything off the cabinets and walls I took the opportunity to deep clean (OMGosh there was some nasty gunk lurking behind and beneath!) and rethink all the stuff I had adorning the walls and cabinet tops! 

I removed the "heirloom china" from the dining room walls and pass throughs and a few knick-knacks and china plates from the cabinet tops...not huge changes but enough to open it up a bit.

One of my favorite changes was the dining room art...

Several years ago I painted the frames and changed the mats...but I was never a huge fan of the actual prints. 

A few weeks ago I bought some botanical prints at an auction. They are numbered prints by Kate Nesslar (Google her!) and they really are beautiful! I removed the not-so-pretty black and gold matting and they fit perfectly in the red mat! And they look awesome!

I don't know why picking a paint color is so hard for me...paint is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to make a big change...and the best thing is if you don't like the color, no biggy...just repaint it. 

Hiring something to do what I could have easily done myself ten years ago is another toughy.

But in the end, I can't believe I waited this long to make this change and I certainly don't regret hiring someone else to do it for me!

The next big chore on my list of home improvements is the tub/shower in the master bath! I want to take out the whirlpool tub (that I have literally used MAYBE 3 times in 19 years) and add a large walk in shower. And that my friends will get hired out as well!

Getting older has a few advantages...

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Gel stain tutorial on table makeovers...

I did it again...dove head straight into a project without taking a "before" picture. But at least this time I got an "inbetween" picture!

These little tables were simple makeovers. I picked up the side table at an auction a few weeks ago. Got it for a few dollars because, well, it was nasty, the color is pretty putrid AND the top had come unglued.

No biggy for me. I glued and clamped the top, then I sanded off the old finish on it. Yes, you heard me right, I sanded it. Two reason...first, I got glue on the top when I repaired it and stain will not adhere to glue. Second, it is solid wood and I knew I couldn't do a lot of damage to it. Light sanding...220 grit! Just enough to remove the old finish and glue residue.

I got the drop leaf table from my neighbors. I told you I am the dumping ground for neighborhood furniture...it just "appears." Again, the top is solid so I gave it a light sanding.

I knew I wanted to paint both tables but as always I have to have my fix of stained wood. So I used gel stain on both tops. 

Gel stain is SUPER easy to apply IF you use the right technique and product. As I have said before the ONLY gel stain I will use is General Finishes. It is not a brand the big box improvement stores carry so I usually order mine on Amazon. I have tried other gel stains and have not been happy with the results. The General Finishes brand never disappoints. I have used both the Java and Brown Mahogany colors.

I am going to share how I gel stain...it is a super easy application process and perfect for real wood or even that cheapo fake stuff you find on the ends of cabinets. Since it goes on fairly translucent, the wood grain (real or fake) will show through.

I have used this process on cabinets, tables, dresser tops and drawer fronts....some I have stripped down to bare wood, others I simply applied it over the existing finish.  It is a great process to use on any project where you want "stain" but know you might not get a good result by completely stripping the piece and applying penetrating stain!

First step for ANY makeover (after repairs of course)...give the piece a good cleaning. In this case, since both tops were solid wood, I also gave them a good sanding. Sanding is NOT necessary but you want to make sure that any old finish is stable and somewhat smooth. So if your old finish is flaking or a bit rough, sand it smooth with 220 grit paper.

You will need....

The gel stain...again, I ONLY use General Finishes. A quart will cost you around $30+ but it seriously goes a loooong way!!! If you just have a small project, get a pint. I have found that it doesn't store well.

The gel stain top coat...in this case I used the GF Poly wipe-on top coat. But I have used a spray on Polyurethane and Polycrylic and they work just as well. 

Disposable rubber gloves. I always have those on hand. Just the cheap latex gloves you buy in a box so you can toss when finished.

Old athletic socks. Again, I keep a stash on hand. Any time I find old socks at thrift stores or garage sales I buy them. They are perfect for applying any type of stain or finish and I can toss them when I am finished.

That's it...a relatively short list of supplies!

The trick to applying gel stain is to remember it is suppose to be somewhat "translucent." Put on a rubber glove, then an old sock over the glove...dip you finger tips into the gel stain and wipe the gel stain on the piece with the grain. The first coat will look like crud so don't try to get perfect solid coverage! Just wipe it on LIGHTLY WITH THE GRAIN....do not "glob" it or apply it thick...it is NOT paint. I usually wipe it on, then use the clean side of the sock to give it one final wipe WITH THE GRAIN...working edge to edge. 

THE FIRST COAT WILL LOOK LIKE CRUD!!!! I can not stress this enough...you are better to go light than to try to make the first coat look decent. It is not going to! If you can't see the grain through the coat of stain, it is WAY to thick.

Now, let that dry over night. Then do it again. New glove, new sock. Wipe on a second LIGHT COAT! The second coat will look a tad better, but not great. THAT IS OKAY. Keep it light and translucent! 

Let the second coat dry over night. Then with a new glove and sock, apply the third coat. NOW it should look good. The stain should allow the grain to show through!

If you feel like you have messed up....too thick, too streaky, just don't like it...you can still wash this stain off with mineral spirits if you haven't applied a top coat! 

Let the third coat dry overnight. If you are happy with the look, apply your top coat. Again, I used the GF gel wipe on poly on these tables...super easy to apply. Rubber glove, sock, wipe on. As simple as it sounds. You may want to apply 2-3 coats of the finish...especially on tops or cabinets that get a lot of use...just make sure you wipe it down with 0000 steel wool and tack cloth between coats. You will get a nice smooth finish that way!

Presto, bingo! This really is an easy application IF you don't overthink it and try to get a decent looking finish on the first and second coat...if you do, you will put the gel stain on too thick and I promise you won't be happy with it! My neighbor, Tammy, tried this process on a little side table...and sure enough she put the stain on too thick...it did not turn out well! Each coat should be light and "translucent." 

After I let the top coat dry well for a few days, I painted the rest with chalk paint...a light distressing with 220 grit sand paper and sealed with a spray on polyurethane. Again, sometimes I use polyurethane, sometimes polycrylic. I find that the urethane tends to "yellow" and give the piece a bit of an aged look...which is kind of what I was going for here. The polycrylic is a true clear coat and won't alter the color of the paint or yellow with time.

(As you can see the sun was very bright the day I tried to get decent pictures of these two tables...trust me that was the ONLY day this past week that it wasn't dreary, raining or cold as crud. I even had to cover my hostas this week to protect them from a freeze...and they are predicting another freeze this weekend...grrr!)

My recipe for chalk paint is 5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris, 3 tablespoons of water, mix well then add two cups of flat latex paint. I usually paint two thin coats, then sand and seal.

Cute as a bugs ear and ready for another generation of use!

This week I decided I am getting too old and tired to paint my own house. I actually hired someone to paint my living room, kitchen and den! Ten years ago I would never have paid someone to do something like that! 

But just the process of getting ready to paint creates a mess and is exhausting!

This, my friends, is the reality of home improvement...normally we bloggers only share the beautifully styled and perfect "after." Truth is, most projects make a mess!

I'm a pretty clean person...or so I thought until I moved things that haven't been moved in years...yuck! 

I'm painting my living areas the same color I used in the master bedroom and guest room....SW Nuance. I'm a little nervous about painting these rooms a different color...I told you, change is hard for me. But I have lived with this color in those two rooms and I THINK I will like it! The painter will be here around 10 so there is no turning back now!

Hopefully the weather will take a turn for the better and I can finish and share a few fun projects I have waiting in the wings next week!

Until then....

Spring has arrived....

I wish I had the time, patience and photography skills to share a "Spring Home Tour"...but if you want a peak at some very talented lady's homes, start with my bliend's (blog-friend...guess it could be flog...lol!) home tour here...Cristina has a beautiful home. While it started out as your typical "builder grade" house, she has transformed it into a warm and inviting home. She is a champ at featuring the "how" on any DIY project! While I am more about the "doing" she is a champ at "doing" and "froo-frooing."

Truth is, I feel like I have been inside all winter. so when the temps climb above 60, I have to be outside working in the yard! It is time to start prepping for summer!

First, raking the beds AGAIN! Naturally I rake leaves and pine needles in the fall...then I do a little at some point after Christmas. Then a few weeks ago I did another 20 bag rake. So honestly, there isn't much to clean out...but there are always those stragglers that have to be cleaned up!

The hostas are popping their little heads so it is time to mulch. While not fun and glamorous, a necessity. 

A fresh topping of mulch dresses the beds and helps insulate the early bloomers from any freezes we might have in the next few weeks. Later in the year it is a must for moisture retention and weed control!

Still way to early to plant annuals but the spring blooms are coming alive.

The Bradfords are blooming...

and the vinca is coming to life... 

The daffodils were in full glory the last few weeks, but the blooms are beginning to wilt.

This picture popped up on my Facebook memories...eight years ago we had snow! This year the daffodils made it through their season so I didn't have to bring them in to enjoy them!

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Next up, tulips.

Years ago I planted about 100 tulip bulbs...the first two years they were glorious! But tulip bulbs tend to rot easily so now I only have 2-3 left.

Sarah's birthday is the first week of April and I always know when the tulips will bloom...the week of her birthday!

So while I would love to be inside "prepping" my house for spring, there is no place I would rather be than outside soaking in the sun and digging in the dirt!

And Cleo agrees...

Her 4th birthday is tomorrow so she is definitely a spring baby!

The temps are suppose to be in the 70s for the next few days and I have plenty more to do. Cleaning and prepping pots for planting, cleaning out the water feature and planting summer bulbs! 

I notice the pictures on the "Landscapes" link several years old so maybe this year I can get them updated! 

Eastlake chair makeover!

Years ago, the "wood purist" in me would never have painted an antique anything!

But slowly I have evolved and my snobbishness has taken a back seat to reality...some "antique" pieces have little use in today's world of decor trends. The rich color and grain of walnut, the depth and beauty of rosewood, the vibrate color and delicate grain of mahogany...zip, zilch, nada.

The day will come when those who followed the decor trends of today will glare at their painted furniture and shiplap walls and growl...it happens. NOTHING is timeless. Honey oak cabinets were timeless...8x8 tile floors were timeless...white appliances were timeless. 

The fact is decor trends come and go and we realize that which we thought was timeless, really isn't.

(There are still some who cherish antique pieces...and of course, as always, do a lot of research and make sure the piece you want to paint is not a valuable antique "as is!")

I have no doubt that this piece I slathered in chalk paint and covered in buffalo check fabric will catch the eye of someone looking for a great side chair...but it will someday be stripped down and refinished...exposing the amazing walnut grain and delicate incised carvings. Someday...but not today.

That was my original plan. Strip the old finish to expose the beautiful walnut grain and intricate carvings, reconstruct, seal with oil and reupholster in a fabric worthy of an antique walnut Eastlake piece.

Knowing all that hard work would garner little favor with my "target market," this chair sat in my garage for YEARS. Seriously, I'm not sure when I bought it but I can't remember a time when it wasn't lurking in the back of my garage.

(If you are a "purist" or antique lover, turn away NOW!)

Some would look at this and think EEEWWWWW!

Yes, it was pretty "eeewwwy." And yes, this is pretty much the shape it was in when I bought it. I think I remember removing the original rotted fabric and a few thousand upholstery nails and I did start stripping it using this process. But I eventually shoved it into a corner of the garage where it languished until I got over my snobbiness. 

I constructed a new seat out of plywood...not even close to the original but then again furniture no longer sits in the parlor only to be used by tea sipping adults. 

The richness and beauty of oiled walnut has fallen out of favor for the "farmhouse" chalk paint and distressed everything!

New foam padding and batting...the old horse hair of yesteryear just doesn't cut it these days. (Thank God...that stuff is nasty!)

The crushed velvet or needlepoint fabric that would have originally ordained this piece was a no-go. I went with the trendy buffalo check that I suspect will be as popular as chevron was a few short years ago!

A bazillion metal upholstery nails...no way Jose! Hot glued gimp is the way to go!

Don't get me wrong, I think it is as cute as a bug's ear! I have no doubt someone will LOVE it! It would be a precious side chair or even a dining chair paired with a farmhouse table that are all the rage!

And as always, it is Litty and Mr. Jinx approved....

As much as I would like to think of myself as a "purist" I can certainly appreciate the desire to fill our homes with pieces we love or suit our desire for "going with the flow" without breaking the bank! 

C'est la vie.

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Cherry tv cabinet makeover....

I've said it before...I am a bad blogger and mediocre photographer at best.

Bad because I often get in such a hurry to start a project I completely forget to take a "before" picture. Mediocre photographer because...well, my photos speak for themselves.

As is the case of this Queen Anne Cherry tv cabinet. Hello 1998! 

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No, I did not take a "before" picture. So I did a little google search and found a cabinet that was SIMILAR to the one I acquired from my neighbor. Color and style are the same, but mine does not have a drawer. 

We have all seen this furniture style...many of us still have it in our homes! I had similar bedroom furniture...not the Queen Anne style, but heavy and dark. I painted my bedroom furniture a few years ago and honestly I don't give it a second thought these days!! In other words, update the outdated and you may stop feeling the need to spend thousands on new!

There are several problems with this tv cabinet. First, who still uses these cabinets for housing tvs? Most of us have transitioned to flat screens...I finally pitched my last hold out a few years ago. 

Second...it is dark and "heavy" looking. Not really the in thing right now.

But they are still good solid pieces that have use and purpose. Maybe not for their original intent, but who couldn't use more storage! 

It is super simple to give these pieces a little update. I know most will not want this piece for a tv cabinet but everyone is looking for storage pieces for crafts, linens or even clothing. Honestly, it could be used in a kitchen for pantry space or a bathroom for towels and such!

Again, it just needs a little facelift.

I removed the back...super simple since they are usually just stapled on.

I added a new shelf then primed the inside of the cabinet with Kilz, sanded, tacked and spray painted it with white paint (KTSP!)

I used bead board to make a new back to add a little "interest." I used THIS process to "stain" it. Normally I would use an accent color but this time I used the same latex paint I mixed up as chalk paint for the exterior.

Making your own chalk paint is super simple...thoroughly mix 3 tablespoons of water and 5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris and then add 2 cups of FLAT latex paint. You can use satin or eggshell paint but I have found that the flat tends to "chalk" better when you sand.

Sand and seal! Again I never use wax on chalk paint...usually polyurethane or polycrylic. If you want the added character that you get with dark wax, try applying a dark "glaze" before you seal. Personally, I think you get the same affect without having to use wax. I have even used stain as a "glaze"...this mirror being a good example.

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Finally, I added simple knobs.

Sealing the piece with poly makes it super simple to repaint when the "distressed" craze ends...and trust me it will eventually! 

Some of us remember when this dark "cherry" look was all the rage...

How do I keep my house "clean"?

I often joke about having "OCD" tendencies. Probably not a "politically correct" thing to do since OCD is in fact a very real problem for people who actually suffer from it! I found this description of the disorder on the National Institute for Mental Illness website.

TECHNICALLY I probably don't have OCD...but when my dryer broke down two weeks ago, I found the piles of laundry triggered a very real anxiety!

It stopped working properly on Tuesday. I normally do 2-3 loads of laundry every other day. Wash, dry, fold and put up. 

We had to order a part so it was not repaired for EIGHT WHOLE DAYS....that was about 10 loads of laundry plus all the bedding that I usually do once a week (I know a few young moms who are rolling their eyes!) 

We ran out of bath towels ...

(Ignore the finish on the vanity...I do! Someday I will get around to doing something about it!)

We ran out of dish towels ...

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Okay so I still have a stockpile of spare towels in the guest bath and spare dish towels in the laundry room! And Brian assured me he had enough clothes to last a few weeks, but that did nothing for my growing panic over the looming chore of doing a billion loads of laundry all at once.

The bedding was a real issue for me....

I wash my sheets and blankets once a week...without fail. The fact that I had to skip a week and sleep on sheets that had not been laundered that weekend creeped me out. Seriously, just how big can those dust mites that live on your bed get!? 

And I don't even want to share how furry and dirty the blankets get from the big dog and two cats who sleep with us! Ewwwwww!

Eight days...had the repair man not shown up when he did we were seriously going to go buy a new dryer!

I kept walking into the laundry room and staring at the growing piles of dirty laundry....

Bedtime became a nightmare! I had visions of rat-sized dust mites!

I think I was on the verge of a total meltdown.

This entire ordeal really got me thinking about my cleaning HABITS...I say habit verses obsession because truth be told, I am not technically obsessed with cleaning...I have developed chiseled-in-stone habits that keep my house in order. When those habits were disrupted by a broken appliance, it completely threw a wrench in my daily life!

I had a friend ask me one time..."How do you keep such a clean house?"

Simple...I have developed daily habits that keep my home and life in order. (That and I don't have kids at home anymore!) My house may not always be spotlessly clean, but it is almost always in order.

So what are my "habits?" What is my secret to keeping an orderly home?

When I was young my mom gave us until 9 a.m. Saturday morning to watch cartoons. Then we all spent a few hours cleaning...bummer at the time but now I understand the need for a weekly marathon cleaning!

So now Brian and I have a weekly "deep clean" marathon. Once a week we do major cleaning...he vacuums the entire down stairs and helps me with the bedding, I deep clean the bathrooms and kitchen, dust everything and mop the floors. It takes about two hours. It sets the tone. (A clean house is much easier to keep up with throughout the week.)

So how do I keep things in order throughout the week?

1) No clutter. If I don't NEED it or use it, I don't keep it. If a closet, cabinet or drawer gets cluttered, I completely empty it then I toss, donate or sell anything I don't need or use! "But I might need it"...you might, or it might sit there gathering dust and taking up real estate for 5 years...seriously, get rid of it! The less you have the easier it is to keep it all in order and clean!

I purge regularly and it is SO much easier to keep everything organized!!! Don't think you have to do the entire house in one weekend...do one drawer, closet or cabinet at a time...cuz you are going to make a mess when you pull everything out! 

If I have to think about something for more than 3 seconds, I don't NEED it!!!

You might notice I don't do a lot of the cutesy storage baskets. If I have something I need corralled in baskets (like cords or loose paper) I use clear storage tubs so I can SEE what is in them...I found that if I just tossed things in baskets (out of sight out of mind) it is a sure fire way to collect stuff you really don't need!

Even your junk drawer should have a little bit of order! 

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2) I pick up as I go. Rarely do I walk through a room without picking up something and putting it in it's proper place. Shoes in the den...take them to the closet on your way to the bathroom. Dish on the table... put it in the dishwasher on your way to raid the fridge. Coat on the chair...hang it in the closet. I don't just absentmindedly walk through my house...if something is out of place, I pick it up and put it where it belongs. And every night before bed I walk through the "common areas" (living room/den, kitchen, baths) and make sure everything is in order.

The "habit" of keeping my drawers, closet and cabinets purged and organized makes it a breeze to put items where they belong when I have a space for them

3) I make my bed every day...EVERY day. If it takes more than 60 seconds to make your bed, I would suggest rethinking your bedding. Get rid of froo-froo pillows and throws if those have become a hinderance to making your bed. What is the use of having all those pretty decorative pillows if you don't make your bed! 

4) I load the dishwasher and clean my kitchen after every meal. We never let dishes pile in the sink. If we use a dish or pan, we wash it and put it up or put it in the dishwasher. It takes 10-15 minutes to do the dishes, load the dishwasher, put everything where it belongs and wipe down the kitchen after dinner. Brian and I do this together...it is a great time for us to chit-chat and connect before we sit down and zone out in front of the tv for the evening.

5) I don't do "laundry hampers" in the bedrooms or baths. After we shower, dirty clothes and towels go staight to the laundry room...there are never piles of dirty clothes laying around! I would ask the kids to AT LEAST throw their dirty clothes over the upstairs bannister so I would have it! And I take time to do all the laundry every other day...wash, dry, fold and put up...I don't let it pile up...dirty or clean.

6) I dust with dirty clothes. I know it sounds gross, but I will often wipe down a side table, dresser top or the tv with a dirty shirt or towel as I carry it to the laundry room. Works for me!

7) I open my mail by the trash can...daily! Junk mail and envelops immediately get tossed, necessary things are distributed where they belong...bills to the desk, kid's mail on the table by the door so they can pick it up, magazines in the magazine rack so I can read them when I have time...then when I do read them, I toss them (yes I know I have a Christmas magazine...haven't read it yet!) No piles of unopened envelops or junk mail!

8) I keep a set schedule for the "once or twice a year" chores. Washing windows, changing smoke detector batteries, cleaning behind big appliances, deep cleaning the inside and tops of my kitchen cabinets, etc. Usually in the spring and fall. And of course now I will add "cleaning the dry vent" to that list since that was evidently the issue...my dryer vent got clogged and burned up a part that is somewhat important! 

9) This little guy...

We only use the "heavy duty vacuum" once a week but several times a week I pull out my cordless vacuum and run it over the floors. A necessity if you have animals or kids! And since it is cordless and easy to empty, I don't think twice about grabbing it and giving the floors a once over! (This is something you NEED!)

10) White towels and dish cloths. Everything! It makes it super simple to wash loads of whites...bleach in hot water...so you know everything is sanitized. Musty towels...no more! Suspect dish towels...no more. And when you need additional towels or wash cloths, it is super simple to find white, even if they aren't the exact same style or brand. I do the same with dishes...white! 

11)Wipe down bath vanities! After I wash my face at night, I use the wash cloth to wipe down the vanity...sometimes I will even use it to give the floor a quick wipe. 

I know kids throw a wrench into this process...I get it...I raised four. The amount of laundry they generate and the crap they leave laying around the house can drive you mad! And don't even get me started on their crazy schedules...homework, ball games, dance recitals, school functions, Boy/Girl Scouts, etc. Crazy but necessary!

I can only give a few pieces of advice on that matter.

1) Assign SIMPLE chores. Of course I did this but it seemed they were always too busy to do their chores. Assign them anyway. Put up dishes daily, take out the trash, clean a bathroom, run the little cordless sweeper...whatever needs to be done daily. There is no reason even the youngest kid can't spend 15 minutes a day doing a chore.  "Clean up, clean up, everybody do their share!"

2) No toys in "common areas" of the house. They have a bedroom (and if you are lucky, a play room)...that is where their toys and personal items should be. Not in the living room, not in your room, not in the dining room. THEIR ROOM! If they want to play with their toys, they do it in their room...family rooms are for family time. The only exception to this rule is any "toy" that requires a computer...computers should be used where parents can supervise...but you know what...I NEVER bought my kids video games...and they all survived to adulthood. 

3) The parent's room should be off limits. Period. I would NEVER have dreamed of going into my parents room without an invitation...and I certainly wouldn't have left my toys, clothes or dishes in their room. Set some boundaries parents!

4) Kids do NOT have the ability to "organize" so stop expecting them to keep a spotless bedroom. Yes, I would have to go into their bedrooms once a week to grab their bedding and gather moldy dishes and mildewed clothing. But if I wanted their rooms spotlessly cleaned and organized I would have to do that task myself when I had time...and I did. This is one of those "pick your battles" issues...expecting your kid to keep a clean room is not a battle you want to fight! Again, expect them to keep their stuff in THEIR room...not the common areas. On more than one occasion I picked up their crap and tossed it in their nasty rooms and slammed the door shut! 

5) Keep kid's bedding simple. Basically my kids had a pillow, fitted sheet and a washable blanket. Again, pick your battles and make your lives easier. Keep bedding simple!

6) Certain chores should be "family chores"....cleaning the kitchen after meals, yard work, folding and putting up laundry. All things parents and kids can and should do together! 

My daughter, Sarah, has a neat idea for her two boys..."discipline chores"...a list of chores the boys have to do if they get in trouble. Wash down baseboards, scrub a bathroom floor, clean all the mirrors, clean the interior/exterior doors, sweep the porch, etc. Anything that needs to be done but maybe doesn't get done as much as needed. If they break a rule, talk back, get in MINOR trouble at school...they get assigned a chore. Then when they are done, they get praise for doing a job well...win/win! The kid learns there are consequences to bad behavior...if they complete an assigned task, they get praise...and you get your baseboards cleaned! Sweet.

But one of the most important things ANY parent can do to motivate their kiddos is set a good example by their own behavior. Don't expect your kid to keep a clean bedroom and pick up their dishes if you don't do it as well. This is no guarantee your kids will become mini-Martha Stewarts but they do learn by example...so set a good one!

"DO AS I DO, NOT AS I SAY!" 

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

Note it does not say "when he is a teenager" or "at this very minute"....it says when he is old.