A little stool project and a time to be thankful!

I spend several days preparing for our family holiday dinner...shopping, baking, cleaning...the usual. 

This year I added another little project to my long list of "to dos!"

A cute little bench to add additional seating to my Thanksgiving table.

Since we have the bar and rarely use the table, it usually sits against the wall in the dining room with only two chairs. For the holiday dinner, I pull it out and add the leaves. This year I have several sets of chairs in the garage waiting to go to the booth, so I pulled one set in. I like the red, but I didn't like all four of them....

...just "too much" for a smallish table.

I decided I wanted a bench. I searched around a few flea markets, but could never find anything that was just right. 

Even though they weren't the perfect size, I took note of how each was constructed and decided to build what I wanted so I would have the perfect width and height! 

Just one of the MANY things I am thankful for, year round. The ability to make what I need...

I wanted a bench that would fit under the table when not in use so I went with 36" wide. I wanted the same height as a normal dining room chair so I went with 18" tall. The depth of the bench was determined by the material I had for the top...solid oak planking I used on these tables here and here! Although I am not a huge fan of oak, I had a few pieces and it is solid and sturdy and perfect for a bench. Since I plan on selling these little benches after the holiday, it was perfect!

I used stock pine boards for the base since I knew I would be painting it!

The first thing I did was draw out the bench so I knew exactly what materials I would need, how I would construct it and what my cuts had to be. Again, nothing fancy...just paper and pencil! 

(Two buttons looked like a "sad face" so I ended up only adding one...lol!)

Keep in mind that most stock material will actually be LESS than the stated board size...for example a 1 x 4" will actually be 3/4" x 3 1/2". Make sure you take that into consideration when drawing out your "plan." 

The width of the material I used for the legs was a true 12" since I originally planned to use "craft board" as the top. Since I was using the oak planking I had on hand, three pieces of planked together ended up being 15" wide...perfect! So I used the 1 x 12 for the legs!

I ended up with enough "scrap" material to build a smaller bench as well! No need to waste good wood!

I used my chop saw to cut the lengths I needed and a skill saw to cut out the detail on the legs...nothing fancy!

After cutting and assembling all the pieces, I stained the top and base. Even though I was going to paint the base, I knew I would be doing a "distress" treatment on it and wanted the wood that showed through to be darker than natural pine. I did not sand the boards or fill the knots before I painted them so the grain really came out when I "distressed" the painted wood!

I used glue and my trim nailer to assemble everything. I ended up adding little wood "buttons" on the joints. Super easy. Measure and mark were you want the buttons, drill a hole with a tiny drill bit, then use a 1/2" paddle bit to make a 1/8" deep hole on top of the tiny hole. Put a sheetrock screw into the tiny hole, put a dab of glue on top of that, then insert the "button." Since I already secured the joints with glue and trim nails, the screws just add a little bit of stability and the buttons are purely decorative! Not a "have to" but they give the joints a little extra "pop." 

I didn't attach the tops until after I chalk painted and distressed the bases.

I painted the larger bench I will be using at the table my got-to "off white" and I painted the smaller bench red. After I painted and distressed them both, I wiped the red one down with walnut stain...it deepened the color of the wood showing through the "distressing" and darkened the red a bit. 

After the bases were painted and distressed, I attached the tops, again using glue and trim nails. I added a couple of oak buttons to the top of the larger bench just to give it a tiny bit more flare. After they were all assembled, I sprayed them both with poly. Again, I don't wax chalk paint...I like the durability of the clear coat!



I planned to make a really cute little center piece for the table this year. I even went out and knocked pine cones out of my pine trees...goodness knows I have plenty!

I wanted a few additional "fallish" things to add to my pine cones....maybe some reddish berry garland or rusty red flowers to tie the red in. But when I went to the craft store Tuesday, the only "fall" things left were a few ratty scarecrow. Curses! Made me want to drop kick a Christmas ornament across the store. Seriously people, can we not get through Thanksgiving before we drown ourselves in Christmas stuff!

Whatever. I am thankful I have the centerpiece I have!

For me, being "thankful" is not just a one day deal. It is something I TRY to do every day...it is what gets me through the tough days and what I have found makes my life so much happier!

If we would focus on what we are thankful for EVERY day, our lives would be so much easier. I tell my kids often...some days you just have to get up and put one foot in front of the other and force yourself to really focus on what you are thankful for! A beautiful blue sky. The blazing reds of the fall maples. The smell of a neighbors fireplace. Your home. Your family. Your God.

When we focus on the positives, even if we have to force ourselves, there is no room in our brains for negatives. Have you noticed that dwelling on the negatives seem to wear you out whereas focusing on the positives in your life lift you up and give you energy. Yep...that's the power of positive thinking! 

This week is the week we share one day of "thanks" with our friends and family!

This week, really focus on what you are thankful for...and then try to keep those positive thoughts in your head every day, all year!

When you find yourself immersed in your own private pity party, force yourself to focus on the positive.

Being happy, being thankful, loving the life you have...it is a choice. No matter what your circumstances are in life, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for...find it, embrace it, dwell on it. 


Updating a little chandelier...

I am almost embarrassed to admit where I got this ugly little brass chandelier....

Out of the back of a strangers pick up truck at the dump. Seriously...I was paying out at the local dump and this guy drove up in a truck loaded with trash. Sitting on top was this light fixture. So I asked him if I could have it...and he said SURE! 

Geez...I have become one of "those" people who dig through other people's trash! Crazy cat lady, annoying coupon lady...and now this...(shaking head in disgust)

Whatever...I wasn't sure what exactly I was going to do with it but I knew it could be "updated" if I could just find the right inspiration. I knew I was going to paint the dated brass, so I decided to start there until I could figure out exactly what I wanted to do with the fixture!

Originally I primed it with metal primer, then started painting it with plain ole' off white spray paint. (Remember, when you aren't sure what to do with something, take it to "base neutral.")

And that is when a little DIY project turned into a total disaster. Yes, it happens. Even to me. Even though I shook the spray paint can per the instructions, it still started spraying all "clumpy." I don't know how to describe it, but rather than a nice smooth finish, it was all grainy and rough....AAAAGGGGGHHHHH! 

Made me so mad I tossed the fixture in the back of the garage and said "SCREW IT." (Yes, I curse at innate objects!) I knew I was going to have to completely sand it down and considering the "ornateness" of it, I knew it would be a royal pain. My "vision" was just a heap of "mess." 

Then I saw this on Pinterest...

Andrea at  "Personally Andrea" took a plain ole' chandelier and dolled it up a bit by using jute twine to wrap the ugly little plastic tubes. 

Hum....just the "inspiration" I needed to dig the "ruined" chandelier out of the back of the garage and give it another shot! 

I sanded down the "grainy" finish, reprimed where needed and then painted it in my current favorite teal spray paint! (This time I shook the crud out of the can AND test sprayed it!) 

Covering the ugly plastic tubes is super easy. Andrea used tape, but I used hot glue. I ran a little line of hot glue along the tube as I wrapped it in the jute twine.

WORD OF WARNING!!! Hot glue is HOT...and the plastic sleeves are a tad flimsy so use the glue sparingly or you will actually melt the little tube which will make it impossible to slip back onto the light. (Lesson learned the hard way...fortunately Lowe's sells replacement socket covers for under $3 a pair!)  

I think painting the fixture in black or oil-rubbed bronze would have made it a little more "formal." But I was going for "fun" and "hip" and a little more casual! 

I liked the look so well I decided to do the same to my dining room fixture using the plastic covers I purchased at Lowes!

I found some glittery gold fabric/paper kinda looking stuff at the craft store that I am going to use to cover new socket covers for the Christmas holiday!  I will share that later when I do my Christmas decorating! 

Don't turn your nose up at the dated brass fixtures...as I have shared many times fixtures, lamps and fans are super simple to update with a little paint.

And of course a little inspiration! Thanks Andrea! 

Sewing table....

I have shared this project before but with sewing and upholstery projects lined up on the dining room floor, it deserves another feature!

After a few weeks of working non-stop at the apartments, I finally have a little time to tackle the growing mountain of projects in my garage. Yesterday was spent prepping, priming and painting.

There has been a real "chance" of rain predicted for today all week and Mother Nature did not disappoint. Rain. Lots of it. So today, with the rain preventing me from getting out and finishing up those projects, I decided it was time to tackle one of my LEAST favorite aspect of DIY projecting!

Sewing...my nemesis! But it is an (evil) necessity if you are a DIYer! Just too many little projects require, at the very least, a straight stitch. The simplest upholstery projects, decorative pillows and curtains require the service of a sewing machine!

As I mentioned in this post, it is important that I have a way to store and use my little portable (and very old) sewing machine! Nothing fancy...pretty much does just the basics...straight stitch, zig-zag, button holes (which I NEVER use!) 

This little portable table has been a life saver! 

This was a little rusty typewriter table I bought at an auction...you can see how I dealt with the rust here and brought it back to life with a little TLC. I use to set my machine on my dining table, risking scratches and damage to the table and limiting where I could work on my sewing projects!

The portability of this table make it super easy to store it in the laundry room cubby!

As I have mentioned before, if you don't know how to sew, learn the basics! Take a class at your local hobby store or have a friend teach you! It isn't difficult and again, definitely necessary! 

Old shop cart transformation....

Sometimes you have to look really hard to see the treasure lurking beneath all the gunk and layers of paint. 

This piece is a prime example....

I bought this old shop cart with metal castors at an auction several weeks ago. It was covered in decades of grease, grime and several layers of paint. My original plan was to clean it up and fix it up a bit to be used in a shop. 

After a good scrubbing, I began stripping the top with my favorite finish stripper.... 1/2 acetone-1/2 lacquer thinner. My original intent was to completely strip the top and then apply a stain and poly.

After stripping off a majority of the top paint layers, I started sanding....and that is when I discovered that this table didn't want to be hidden away in an old shop...it wanted to be a beautiful butcher block island! 

(I apologize for the pictures! I had fully intended to take it in the house and stage it all pretty...again, more doing, less froo-frooing! These were taken with my phone after I took it in to my booth!)

Even after stripping and sanding, the grain of the wood held onto an amazing "patina" that was so warm and beautiful I decided to leave it. I applied 3 coats of butcher block oil to hydrate and preserve the wood. No stain...this is just the natural color of the aged wood that was hiding under the layers of gunk and green paint! 

I applied a chalk paint treatment on the base and distressed it a tad so the green "peaked" through a tiny bit. After painting and distressing, I sprayed it with poly. Again, poly tends to "yellow" a tad which gives the new paint an aged look, as well as seals! The inside of the drawer was pretty nasty, so I scrubbed it with ammonia and gave it a KSTP treatment!

This is not some fancy antique...just an old shop cart made out of pine. But it is absolutely beautiful and I think after years of being hidden away in a shop covered in gunk and grease, it deserved a little love! I honestly would have kept it if I had a place for it! 

Again, don't turn your noise up on a piece that has years of neglect and abuse. Maybe, just maybe, there is a beautiful "soul" just waiting for you to reveal!

Simple bench or stool makeovers...

At least once a month I run across pathetic little benches or stools at the auctions or in thrift stores. I have featured a few in the past....

...this cute little piano bench here....

A bench I made for my daughter out of an old coffee table here....

My dad's old tool bench....

I use it as a little side table next to the chair in the den! This is one of those things that serves a purpose and has tremendous "sentimental" value as well! 

And at least a dozen or more I failed to take either before or after pictures of over the years! I'm a baaaad blogger!

Trust me....they are super simple to makeover with a little paint and fabric and always turn out precious! 

Recently I did a little footstool and bench and actually remembered to take a before AND after picture!

This little foot stool was pretty pathetic in it's original state....

I stripped the fabric (and removed at least 2,483 staples), chalk painted the base, distressed a bit and sealed with poly (gives lighter paint an "aged" look), added a little bit of foam to "fluff" it, new fabric and new "gimp" trim.

Cute as a bugs ear!

I found this old icky coffee table at the apartments. Like the old coffee table I turned into a houndstooth bench for my daughter, it was pretty worthless for it's intended use...a coffee table. 

I removed the top (super simple...a few screws), added foam padding and batting and covered it with fabric and gave the base a little KSTP treatment.  Reattached the top to the base with screws. Super simple! 

Both are now in my new flea market booth at 410 Vintage in Fayetteville! Awesome place so make sure to drop in sometime and check out all the AMAZING treasures! 

Next time you see a ratty old foot stool or a dated old coffee table, see it for its potential! They are super simple to make-over and are perfect for additional seating or a place to throw your clothes at the end of the day...and of course, they are the perfect little touch to add character to your home!

A few new storage solutions!

In my quest to make my kitchen a tad more "user friendly" I stumbled upon a nifty little storage gadget at Lowes that will help me manage my casserole dishes and mixing bowls a bit better. 

As I have mentioned, in my "dream kitchen" I have nothing but big deep drawers in my lower cabinets. Unfortunately that is a "dream" so I have to work with what I have and digging around in a lower cabinet for heavy casserole dishes and keeping all my mixing bowls organized has become an issue.  

Again, and I can not stress this enough, the number one key to getting organized is PURGING!

Pull it ALL out and ask yourself...DO I REALLY NEED THIS?! In my kitchen cabinet, I had several casserole dishes that were duplicates of what I have but they didn't have lids. Do not need! I had 5 large 9x13 casserole pans...do not need them all! I had 3 stainless bowls the same size, which made stacking them a impossible...do not need! I have FIVE crock pots...two smaller ones just for dips and such. I DO need those but only once or twice a year so there is no need for them to take up valuable kitchen real estate. So off to the hall pantry they went! 

I contemplated building and installing either 4 drawers or 2 large drawers in this cabinet base. Lots of work! So when I found these nifty little metal storage drawers at Lowe's I knew I had found a relatively easy solution.

The problem with these metal drawers is they are not custom sized so I was going to end up with a lot of "dead space." I decided to only install one for my bowls and casserole dishes since those are things I use almost every time I cook. I left the other side shelf space for crock pots and dishes I only use occasionally.

The drawer component lets me easily get to my bowls and casseroles dishes without wallering around on the floor and pulling everything out to get to the stuff in the back.

A perfect, and simple, solution for organizing a tough space.

When Brian and I went scrounging around the flea market out in Tontitown last weekend, I found this neat little wall decor. A framed chalkboard with two "distressed" wire baskets. I knew it would be perfect for organizing magazines that tend to get piled up in the coffee table, which in turn means they get ignored!

I'm pretty sure it is probably something one could pick up at Hobby Lobby, or something I could easily make with an old frame and paper storage racks from an office supply store. But it was there, and it was done...the only thing I did not like was the original  finish on the frame...kind of a "white-wash" natural wood looking thing. I immediately painted it with some chalk paint and distressed and sealed it. Great for magazines or mail. Remodelaholics featured a bathroom with a similar one.

I like it in the bathroom but I am of the opinion that if you are in the bathroom long enough to read an article, you probably ought to seek treatment. Just saying....

Last fall I bought this awesome antique sewing machine at an auction. The "lid" flips back to reveal the machine

I immediately fell in love with the little wood box that covered the machine. After a little research I discovered they are called coffins....most often in mahogany or walnut. BEAUTIFUL! I immediately jumped on Ebay and found a few of these amazing little boxes.

Naturally they needed to be refinished, but a little magic mixture and a few coats of tung oil and they are amazing!

My original plan was to use them in the "kitchen reset," but there really was no good place for them so I have them scattered around the house for storage. In the den, I use them to store some of my photo albums. They would be darling with little castors for "rolling" storage. l absolutely love them! 

When I reset my kitchen, I dug around in my flea booths looking for "functional decor." In other words, pretty with a purpose! A few things caught my eye.

The first was a little glass pumpkin...perfect for this time of the year! I usually keep my coffee in a crystal decanter, but this little pumpkin is perfect for the fall season.

Now I am going to be on the look out for one I can use for the Christmas season!

I also found this little sterling silver piece. I THINK it might have originally been for sugar since it has a little notch in the lid where a spoon may have rested but most sugar jars are smaller. Regardless, it is the perfect size for my coffee filters. 

And of course the need to store 1/2 of my dishes when I built my floating shelves...seriously, who needs 20 plates! I purchased this little basket from Kaufmann Merchantile with a gift certificate from my son but I also found some on Amazon and have ordered 3 for my holiday wrapping station! (I'll share that little project when I get it set up!)

I have mentioned time and again that I really don't decorate much with  "pretty" without "function" or purpose...unless something has sentimental meaning. 

I am learning that these little touches are what really give a home "character." No need to use boring old plastic containers or cardboard boxes if you can "think outside the box" and find interesting pieces that are "pretty" but can also serve a useful function! 

Anything that can make my life more organized is great...the fact that it is pretty or interesting is a huge plus!

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 season....blue 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 on...so 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 comfort...you 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 inserts...like 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 have...so 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't...it 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 reveal...at 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 anything...you 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 certain...it 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!