Sparking "joy" and my thoughts on purging....

Marie Kondo,…founder of the KonMari method ….an “organizational guru” who is all the rage now thanks to her Netflix show.

Her book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is worth the read…if nothing else it may inspire you to get off your butt and get organized!

I follow her methods to some extent…but I kinda get hung up on the “verbage.”

Tidying up is what I do before I go to bed at night…pick this up, put that away, wipe the counter down, blow the cookie crumbs off the table. ( I shared here how I keep my house “clean” and I love this blog article on “tidy people.”)

What she refers to as “tidying up” is what I call an all out “purge assault.” It is when I empty out the entire drawer, closet or dresser and toss stuff i have to think about for more than 3 seconds…none of this “does it spark joy” thing. If I have to think about it’s usefulness or importance for more than 3 seconds it’s a goner!

Joy…I actually “googled” the definition of joy…

Dictionary result for joy

/joi/

noun

  1. 1.

    a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

    "tears of joy"

    synonyms:delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, ebullience, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, transports of delight, rapture, radiance;

I guess you could say there are some innate objects that can “spark joy.” But truth be told, I am going to save that “sparking joy” feeling, in the true sense of the word, for more important things…like important people in my life…because they are what bring me “great pleasure” and true happiness.

A casserole dish…not so much! I can honestly say there is not one word in the definition of joy that describes my feelings towards a casserole dish…or a highlighter pen…or even a comfy pair of shoes.

Do I NEED a casserole dish…yes…does it “spark joy” when I hold it? Probably not.

When I cleaned out my kitchen cabinets

…I found FIVE identical casserole dishes, two of which were missing lids…the question for me was not “do they spark joy” but rather WTFrick! Do I really NEED five identical casserole dishes, two of which don’t even have lids. If I have to think about that for more than 3 seconds, the answer is no…so then I start working my way down. Four? Three? Two…yes in less than 3 seconds, so three of them got tossed (tossed meaning donated in this case!)

If you think three seconds is too short of time to make such a profound decision, ask your husband if he loves you. What would your reaction be if he hesitated for three seconds?

I truly believe if innate objects spark “joy”…if they give you feelings of “delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, ebullience, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, transports of delight, rapture, radiance”… you may need to reevaluate what is important in your life.

People…your spouse, your children, your parents, you siblings, your dear friends…this is what should “spark joy.” And I kinda have to throw my pets in there too…as frustrating as they can be at times, they do bring me “joy".”

Yes, I believe our homes should spark feelings of happiness…peace…serenity…and even joy. But I BELIEVE it should be the “whole of the sum”…not individual little “things” that spark those feelings.

Look at (or even imagine) the perfect vignette in your home…maybe a reading nook…a perfect, comfy chair with a perfect little table decorated with beautiful little knick-knacks, perfect little throw and pillow, plush little rug, a reading lamp with the perfect bulb for reading…the walls around it are decorated with beautiful botanical prints…this space does indeed “spark joy.” But is it the WHOLE space…or is it each little individual element?

If my house was on fire, would I save members of my family and pets or my “stuff?”

So how do I stay organized?

I use the “pile method.” When I was a teenager my mom went in my room and emptied EVERYTHING into a big pile in the middle of the floor…then told me I wasn’t doing anything until the pile was sorted. Ugh!!!

But you know what, I find the “pile method” works wonders…I empty the entire master closet (or kitchen drawer or makeup drawer or dresser) into a huge pile in the middle of the floor…EVERYTHING!!

First, I use this opportunity to really deep clean the empty space.

Then I start working my way through the pile.

And remember, if I have to think about something for more than 3 seconds, it gets tossed!

Trash…sometimes the “stuff” is just plain ole’ trash. I watch those “Hoarder” shows and my first thought is IT’S JUST TRASH. Now, if you have some weird attachment to what is obviously “trash” I am going to strongly suggest you get some professional help.

How do I define “trash?” Anything a NORMAL person would not want. I have a lot of paint clothes….when it is time to get rid of it, I ask myself “Would a normal person want a landscape company t-shirt covered in paint?”

Trash.

When I am purging, I always keep a “hesitation bag.” You know, that stuff you just aren’t sure you want to get rid of…the jeans you hope to someday wear again, the sweatshirt your son brought you from his vacation 5 years ago, those dishes your mom gave you for Christmas that have a fancy gold rim so you can’t put them in the microwave or the dishwasher.

Dang…do I REALLY want to get rid of those things? So I put them in my hesitation bag/box and set it in the garage. In about 2-3 weeks, I pick it up, put it in the car and drop it off at the donation center….every time! (Don’t forget to get a receipt!)

And you know what…not one time have I regretted it.

There are also those items that really don’t need to be in the space you THINK they should occupy. I have small kitchen appliances I rarely use…like the three pot slow cooker I use Thanksgiving and Christmas, the blender I use 2-3 times a year to make salsa, the large coffee pot I use 1-2 times a year when I have company. Those are all stored in the hall closet. I have a large pantry in my master closet where I store my office supplies as well as my personal care stockpile…shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lotion, soap, etc. Things you rarely use do not have to be stored in spaces that may be needed for daily use items, even though that is where you think it is SUPPOSE to go. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when you are tight on storage space!

My goal is to “purge” at least 1/2 of what is in the pile…whether it be trash, store elsewhere, donate or hesitation. I don’t always hit that goal, but I can usually make a pretty big dent. Everything put back into the space is folded neatly and clean…if I don’t want to clean it or fold it, I probably don’t care too much for it anyway…so it gets donated or trashed!

Also, I am not big on cute baskets, boxes and bins. As I have mentioned before, I like to see what I have…

(Again, you can see here how I “thought outside the box” and moved my pots and pans into the pantry.)

If things are in a box or basket, I probably don’t know what I have. If I have things that need to be organized in a box or bin (like ribbon or cords) I put them in clear storage tubs so I can see what is in there!

The older I get the less tolerant I am of “stuff.” I see all those cute organizational tools like baskets, bins and boxes and I think, “do you REALLY need all that “stuff?” How many serving spoons do you REALLY need, how many coffee cups do you REALLY need, how many RCA cables do you REALLY need!

I just don’t think “stuff” should “spark joy” in the real sense of the word.

Like everything else, I say DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU! Read the book and try this method of “tidying up.” It is a simple little read and like me, you may find motivation to “tidy up.” If the process works for you, GREAT!

If this methods gets your life and home in order, I am all for it. Because in the end, a home that is your haven, the place that brings you peace and serenity, THAT is something that sparks joy!

Herringbone dresser top....

I would love to take credit for all my incredibly creative makeovers but truth is I get a lot of inspiration from a lot of sources…Pinterest, other DIY bloggers, and random website.

This time it was my son. He found a really awesome entry bench online and built one for himself!

I shared his entry makeover here.

His girlfriend loved it so much he made her a desk for Christmas!

So when this dresser top turned out super cruddy, I decided to put a herringbone top on it.

The top is a veneer and had some “bubbling.”

I was able to sand the “bubbles” so that the top was smooth, but when I sanded, it took the stain and finish off and the gel stain just wasn’t covering it.

I could have sanded the entire top and removed all the stain and finish…or I could have painted it…. but nah….I kinda wanted an excuse to do something “different.”

Matt was out of town and couldn’t help me so he sent me THIS link…AWESOME tutorial. These girls do a bang up job on the video tutorial…if you love the look, they tell you exactly how to do it!

The top of the dresser hung over the front quite a bit so I decided to use my Kreg rip cut guide to cut down the top a tad.

My daughter got it for me for Christmas and this is the first time I was able to use it…LOVE! I have always used my “yard stick” trick to make straight cuts with my skill saw…this was SOOOO much better!!!

Using the linked tutorial, I started laying out the top. I used white pine 1x4 for the top boards and 1x2 for the edge banding.

Now, this is where I had to deviate a tad from the tutorial. Because I was covering a dresser top and not making a new top that I could flip over to cut down, I had to cut the herringbone boards from the top. If I covered the entire top before the cut, I wasn’t going to be able to “see” the edges of the existing top to know where to make my cut. So I laid all but the corner boards, used my long metal guide to draw my cut marks on all four sides, and then cut those boards first. Then I nailed down the corner pieces, marked them, and cut them.

I used a palm sander to sand all the edges before applying the trim boards around all four sides.

I puttied the holes with wood filler, let that dry, then I sanded the top and sides smooth. Remember, stain will not adhere to glue, so you want to make sure you sand well and remove any glue residue!

After sanding I applied the stain…pine does not take penetrating stain well so I used General Finishes gel stain. There will be tiny gaps between the boards…to get the stain down in between those gaps, I used a small craft brush. I sprayed on a polycrylic finish to seal it!

I had kilzed and sanded the cabinet and the drawer fronts before working on the top. After the stain dried, I painted those a “steel blue.” (Again, don’t ask me the color…it is a mix of blues and black I had on hand!)

I wanted to use the existing hardware but I wasn’t digging the original finish. I primed them with metal primer and painted them flat black…soooo much better and far cheaper than replacing it with new.

Just another “ick” saved from a life of “yuck.”

Again, you don’t have to go all fancy…I could have easily painted the top…but the tutorial on “Shanty-2-Chic” is super easy to follow!

Another MCM dresser makeover!

This is not a dresser…this is a chest of drawers. I think there is often confusion, and I am the world’s worst at referring to a chest of drawers as a dresser.

There is a difference!

But seriously who cares…lol!

Regardless of what you call it, it was A MESS! But oh the potential.

My very first love…MCM pieces. It would take a month of Sundays to link to all the MCM pieces I have refinished…just search MCM or mid century on this site. Truth be told I would have kept every one of them if I didn’t have a fear of being featured on Hoarders. So I find pieces I love, give them a good little makeover and am sincerely happy when someone else gives them a good home.

In spite of all it’s flaws, I loved this piece. It had the normal wear and tear, a seriously cruddy finish, a chipped wood handle (aren’t those wood handles AMAZING!!!!) and what I THOUGHT was some stains around the hardware on the top drawer…turns out it is a beautiful wood inlay. But you couldn’t really tell because the finish was so icky. (The missing knob was in the drawer…yipeee!)

Let’s be honest, we will all have a pretty worn finish after 60 years on this earth!

My first thought was to paint the wood handles an accent color so I could repair the chip. My daughter suggested I just strip them first. So glad I listened to her. I used this process to strip the drawer fronts, handles and legs…the old stain came off the wood handles and revealed a beautiful white wood (oak, teak? Couldn’t tell)….LOVE!!! I sanded the chip down…and you know what, I can live with it….it is obvious it isn’t the way it is suppose to be but HEY…this is a vintage piece and vintage pieces are going to have a few boo-boos!

The drawer fronts and base were stripped and oiled, the cabinet was given a KSTP treatment (Kilz, sand, tack and painted with white high gloss enamel)

(After I took the pictures, I saw the VERY fine over spray on the top drawer…curses…a little mineral spirits cleaned it right off!)

Personally, I love the high contrast of the wood handles and walnut veneer. The Lane Acclaim tables I collect have the same stark contrasting wood detailing when I refinish them…LOVE!

Often vintage pieces would have been stained and finished so all the differing woods and the entire piece had a “uniform” look and the grain detail was toned down a bit. I say LET IT SHINE BABY!!! If you are a “purist” and want vintage pieces to reflect their original state, you probably don’t want to use the processes I use to refinish pieces!

I am all for exposing the grain and the natural color of the wood.

And I am all for bringing the old pieces back to life!

MORE makeovers...

Surprisingly I have MORE makeovers to share. The weather has been fairly cold and dreary but we have had enough warm days here and there to get a little work done. I get kind of lazy during the winter months…when it is cold and dreary I like to curl up and read. When it is warmer, I NEED to be out working…either at the apartments or on projects.

This first dresser makeover is something you could pretty much do inside on a cold day.

The only thing I had to take it outside to do was distress and seal. But honestly you could do both inside.

I use latex paint for my chalk paint recipe (5 tbs. of Plaster of Paris, 3 tbs. of water, mixed well, then add 2 cups of flat latex paint) and that can used inside.

To do a “wet sand” you would use a sponge with a scrubby on one side…something like this…

After the second coat of chalk paint, before it has thoroughly dried, you would take your sponge, wet it (DAMP NOT DRIPPING!) and start “scrubbing” the areas you want to distress…kind of like dry sand distressing. Keep a bucket of water on hand to rinse the sponge periodically. Doing it like that cuts down on the “dust” created when you dry sand, so you can do it inside.

Then I just seal the entire piece by brushing on a polycrylic (or wax if that is your preference.)

Rather than spend the money on all new hardware, I painted the existing hardware. I use a spray primer and spray paint so that needs to be done outside…but truthfully, you could live with the existing hardware until warmer weather…or just replace it.

But all in all, you COULD do this entire project inside…and it is well worth the time when you consider how much better it looks!

This next piece pretty much had to be done outside on warmer days…I wanted a high gloss lacquer finish on the cabinet and that entails spraying. And I wanted to strip the old finish on the drawer fronts and that definitely has to be done outside.!

I removed and labeled each drawer…that is a MUST because the drawers need to go back into their original position…just mark the underside with a pencil.

I removed the old finish on the drawer fronts using THIS process! I know I refer back to this tutorial a lot, but it is the BEST way to remove old finish or paint…it works and on projects like this, it probably only took me about 30 minutes to remove the old finish on these drawer fronts. Once the old finish was removed, I applied three coats of tung oil finish, rubbing with 0000 steel wool and tack cloth between each coat.

I sprayed the “cabinet” with Kilz, sanded and wiped with tack cloth, and then sprayed 3 LIGHT coats of white lacquer (KTSP).

As you can see from the “before” picture, it did not have legs…but it would have originally and there was even places on the underside to screw in the legs. I ordered new legs HERE and stained them to match the oiled drawer fronts.

Each is completely different and each required a different technique…but both were relatively simple and make a huge impact.

AGAIN, I am sharing how easy it is to do this because AGAIN…

LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE WITH UGLY FURNITURE!



Just ANOTHER makeover!!!

A few weeks ago I promised to share some of these makeovers….

I shared the details of this one….

here….

It sold in a couple of days!

This chest was a mess…

It is solid wood and pretty sturdy. A few of the drawer tracks needed some minor repairs but all in all it was a decent piece…just super ick.

Again, I have to have my “wood fix.” Since the drawer fronts were solid wood, I decided to use gel stain on them.

First I removed all the old hardware and gave the entire piece a good cleaning with a mild detergent.

There is no need to remove the old finish when using gel stain…maybe a light sanding to remove any boogers and dull the shine on the existing finish.

I ONLY use General Finishes brand gel stain. I applied three LIGHT coats with an athletic sock over a rubber glove, allowing each coat to dry overnight. The first coat will look like crud, the second will look a tad better, the third coat looks awesome. I sprayed on polycrylic to seal them. General Finishes has a wipe-on poly and it is pretty awesome…but I had polycrylic on hand so that is what I used.

I sprayed the “cabinet” with Kilz, sand, tack and latex paint (KSTP). I ALWAYS use an additive with paints I am going to roll and brush…Flotroel for latex.

New hardware…and PRESTO….

Another piece saved from the clutches of ugly and dated!
I share these makeovers to remind you….IT’S NOT HARD to take dated, ugly furniture and turn it into something you will be proud to have in your home.

Life is too short to live with ugly furniture!

Pretty in Pink...

If you “came of age” in the 80’s chances are you saw a John Hughes film. If you haven’t, you are missing out! “Pretty in Pink” was one of my favorites! Check them out…you won’t be disappointed and I can’t think of one that isn’t “kid friendly.”

Which brings me to pink…a color I have always loved but have never really used in my home decor. I must have gotten a “pink bug” because all of a sudden I can’t seem to get enough of it….and since next week is Valentine’s Day, this is a great time to infuse a little pink into my home decor under the guise of “decorating for the holiday.”

I found this little bench in 410 Vintage…the tag said it is walnut but I really think it is mahogany. I used this process to refinish the frame and recovered the seat with the same pink velvet I used for the club chair pillow (makeover here).

Several years ago I refinished a little piano bench to set by the closet so I would have a place to sit and put my shoes on.

In one of my “purging” marathons I moved it out but in all honesty I kinda missed it…so this little bench is a perfect little replacement!

I love my office…a simple room that is really multi purpose…a “thoroughfare” from the living spaces to the master bedroom, a “dressing room,” and of course, an office.

I featured the desk here.

I have seen a few desks over the years that peaked my interest but I still love this desk…it is perfect! Prime example of “buy what you TRULY LOVE and you will never tire of it!”

My office chair looks a lot like a Marcel Gascoin C-chair….I can’t find a picture of this exact chair so I don’t know for certain! Again, I don’t buy pieces like this for their potential value…but because I LOVE them.

I bought it years ago and share it’s little makeover here. Again, still love it!

I have replaced the dresser several times over the years but I LOVE this one! Shared the makeover here and while I loved the dresser that was here before, this one is MORE better!

The little bookcase…just adorbs!

I digress…off to the living room … I found the cutest pink pillows…

…and a yummy smelling pink candle!

The little white pillow was kind of plain so I decided to add some cute pink pom-poms I made out of “furry” yarn. I just tacked them on so they can easily be taken off when I tire of the pink.

The pink pillows will go well with the little bit of Easter decorating I do!

While digging around TJMaxx for pink pillows and candles I found a few other things I thought would be fun for the holiday….cute hedgehog mugs and fun little Valentine’s hand towels!

IMG_4636.jpg

You don’t have to (or need to) spend a lot of money dressing your home for Valentine’s Day…but it is fun to infuse a little fun and color into an otherwise “drab” time of year!

Funny…I was wearing my pink tennis shoes and a pink vest when I was buying all this pink stuff…the check out lady remarked that I sure must like my pink…lol!

Turns out, I really do! It is so dreary and “wintery” outside and the pink just seems to brighten things up a bit!

I have some leftover pink velvet from the bench makeover…just enough for a few more pink pillows! Now if I can just being myself to sew them…eck!

Another antique chest makeover...

I promised last week to share all the dresser and chest of drawer makeovers I have been working on. This time of the year it is tough to get a lot of work done over several days because of the temperatures…fortunately this dresser was one I could work on inside.

Takes a little “strategizing” to figure out what I need to do outside on warm days and what can be done inside on cold days.

I knew I was going to paint the cabinet so I managed to get it (and a few others) Kilzed on a warm day. I try to avoid using Kilz inside because it is SUPER stinky…and I like to use the spray kilz on smaller pieces and that can’t be done inside. Sanding and wiping with tack cloth can be done when it is a tad colder so no biggy. I had to strip the drawers and top outside, but that can be done in the cold as well. I was able to bring everything inside to oil the drawers and top and paint the cabinet!

Again, this one didn’t need any major repairs…the only real boo-boo was one missing handle. This hardware was one of the most unique I had ever seen….not only the style but the fact that it was installed “vertically” vs. “horizontally.” Different…I like…so I was determined to use as much of the original hardware as I could.

I removed all the hardware. First I primed them with “metal primer” then I sprayed them with black lacquer.

Since one of the handles was missing and I knew there was NO way I was going to find a replacement, I decided to remove the handles on the top two drawers and replace them with knobs.

That meant the holes in the top drawers had to be puttied…and there is no good way to “disguise” putty holes without painting…but the wood on these drawer fronts was so pretty I really didn’t want to paint them!

The drawer on the right has been stripped…the drawer on the left has not. I just love how “clear and clean” the wood looks after removing the old finish (I used THIS process! Super easy!)

I decided the best way to disguise the puttied holes was to paint a stripe down the drawer fronts. I did this BEFORE applying the tung oil finish.

The stripe needed to be pristine…absolutely NO bleed through…and we all know how tough that is! I read a few tutorials on preventing that…some suggested using modge-podge…one suggested using caulk. I went with the caulk suggestion and it worked like a charm.

I used blue painter’s tape to tape off my stripes, then I ran clear LATEX (NOT silicone) caulk along the edges of the tape….

Then I used my finger to “mash” the caulk along the edge of the tape and wipe off any excess. WORKED LIKE A CHARM! Zero bleed through! I used clear caulk so any caulk that bleed through didn’t show!

I painted the stripes and cabinet. I used a grey latex I had on hand. I added Floetrol…ALWAYS add a paint additive…Penetrol for oil based paints, Floetrol for latex. I use a 4”foam roller and a high quality brush to minimize brush strokes and roller marks. And again, always apply 2-3 LIGHT coats to avoid drips and runs. I oiled the drawer fronts and top with 3 coats of tung oil finish (sand and tack between coats), drilled new holes for the knobs and reattached all the hardware and PRESTO!

Cute as a bug’s ear and super simple!

I just love bringing these pieces back to life!!!!

Antique dresser makeover....

It’s no secret that this antique dresser is really not “my style.” But I knew it could be beautiful with just a little work…

Okay, so it needed A LOT of work!

One of the first things I do when I buy an old piece like this is really examine it and figure out what, if anything, needs repairs and what is “salvageable.”

It would have been super easy to just slather the whole thing in paint, but I love the combination of paint and wood tones…and if I can salvage any of the wood by refinishing rather painting, I’m going to.

The drawers were in excellent condition…they were intact and they did not “stick.” The only real issue was the missing veneer on the front of the cabinet….a little wood filler and sanding fixed it right up.

The top was in relatively good condition…it did have a few “blemishes.” I have “fixed” blemishes using oxalic acid and it works wonders on solid wood surfaces. But this top is a wood veneer and I haven’t had as much luck on veneers…so I just “embraced” the blemishes and let it be what it is…an old piece with a history.

The drawer fronts were in mint condition…just super yucky. The top and drawer fronts were easily stripped using the 1/2 acetone and 1/2 lacquer thinner mixture. I scrubbed them with #2 steel wool and the mixture, wiping with old rags from time to time. After all the old finish was removed, I “washed” them with mineral spirits and applied three coats of tung oil finish, rubbing with 0000 steel wool and tack cloth between each coat. No stain, just a clear finish!

Rather than refinish the “cabinet” I chalk painted it with homemade chalk paint. My recipe for chalk paint is 5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris and 3 tablespoons of water, mixed well. Then I add 2 cups of flat paint. I painted two coats and distressed, then sealed it with polyurethane. Again, I do not wax over chalk paint…I just don’t think it is a durable finish.

I was SUPER pumped that ALL the original hardware was there…even the top drawer knobs. They had been replaced but the original knobs were in the drawers…major score! They are just so unique and authentic!

Often the stain is mixed into whatever finish is applied. They did this to make the piece look “uniform.” When you strip the original finish, there is a good chance you are going to strip the original stain color…you WILL see the wood grain and there is a good chance the “color” of the piece will be different. For example, the drawer fronts on this piece were a different tone than the top when all the old finish was stripped away…personally I LOVE this look! But if you want that “uniform” look you need to be prepared to stain the piece…and since different woods stain differently, I would suggest using a gel stain application…that is the only way to ensure a “uniform” look. Or in this case, you could paint the top and only leave the drawers original. To each his own!

This is just one of many I shared on Instagram…and there are even more that aren’t pictured here. Over the next few weeks I will share how each dresser’s makeover!

Each one required a different process to bring it back to life!

Stay tuned!

Building a cat shelter and a new dresser....

I don’t normally share “life hacks” but I just have to share this Kitty shelter. I hope the video tutorial stays up but just in case it doesn’t….basically you take a large storage tub, put a styrofoam cooler inside it…cut a little opening in the tub and cooler…”insulate” around the cooler with blankets (or insulation if you have it) and put a warm blanket in the cooler.

If you have followed along you know I am somewhat of a “cat person.” I have two indoor cats, Litty and Mr. Jinx, one indoor/outdoor cat, Ms. Kitty and then there is Finley. I truly believe Finley is autistic. He isn’t “mentally challenged” he just has “severe social anxiety.” He is terrified of everyone but me and now he will barely come to me. Occasionally I can entice him with food and get him close enough to snatch him up, but he pretty much avoids ALL human contact.

I have had him for 8 years. Before Cleo, he would come in the house but only appear after I was snuggled in bed…then he would get in bed with me. But when Cleo started sleeping with us, he went outside and will not come in the house. Last year when we had a week long deep freeze, I managed to grab him one day only because he was dang near frozen. I brought him in the house to warm him up but he was obviously terrified and spent the entire time hiding…as soon as he could bolt outside he was gone…and there he remains to this day.

Needless to say I worry about him constantly. I have no doubt he has found a cozy spot under the storage building to avoid the elements but I still worry.

When I saw this kitty shelter I immediately bought the stuff to make one for him.

It took a few day, but he eventually moved in and seems quite content in his new warm bed! I placed it in a spot I believe is sheltered from the cold wind and next to the dryer vent so the warm air can blow on it.

I insulated mine with actual insulation because that’s what I had on hand. I put my snuggie in for his bedding…I don’t wash it so it will retain it’s “smell.”

IF you can entice your kitty to come in the house when it is super cold, that is always best. If not, this is a perfect “hack” for an outdoor kitty or stray kitties.

MORE DRESSER MAKEOVERS….

I spent most of last week working on a few dressers. I have finished those up but now I have another batch to start on. It is super tough to find good days to paint outside during the winter months. Dang, I need a heated shop!

This was a teaser I posted on Instagram…

They all turned out super cute but each got a different treatment. So over the next few weeks I will share each one and explain what I had to do to each to bring them back to life!

In the meantime I want to share one that has been lurking in my garage since summer.

When I bought it, it was a nasty mess….

Someone had “stained” it and changed out the hardware. Eck! I think I remember that it had a few wonky drawers. No biggy but AGAIN, make sure you make any repairs BEFORE you make it pretty!

I removed all the hardware and gave it the old KSTP treatment (Kilz, sand, tack, paint)

New hardware….

Again, I’m stuck on white…blah. This weekend we took four dressers into 410 Vintage and ALL of them were white! B.O.R.I.N.G.

I have vowed to use a little color on the dressers I am working on right now!

Stay tuned!


My "SmileDirectClub" journey...


These are my precious baby girls Christmas morning! I am posting this picture first because some sites automatically snag the first picture in a post…you will see in a minute why I DO NOT want the photos with this post to pop up!

Sooooo….I hesitate to even share this journey for several reasons.

First, I really dislike “endorsing” any product. Not all products work well for everyone. The ortho aligners from SmileDirectClub have both glowing and horrendous reviews. Fortunately for me, my review would be glowing. But obviously that is not the case for everyone and I would hate to recommend this process and someone have a bad outcome. So I am NOT endorsing…I am just sharing MY experience and thoughts on the process! As always, do your own research and do what is best for YOU!

Second, the before and after photos are super nasty! There is NO camera setting or froo-froo staging that is gonna make a close up of 54 year old teeth pretty. I am going to share the photos I had to take of my teeth “before” and then the “after”….and let me tell ya they are NOT pretty! But they do show the progress I made with this system.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

(Told you they were nasty!)

All four of my kids needed braces. Since there is 16 years between the oldest and youngest, I think I figured one time that I paid monthly for orthodontic care for almost 20 years. TWENTY YEARS!!! And over $22,000 when you figure they averaged about $5500 a piece.

After my youngest finished her set, I talked to our orthodontist about getting braces myself…my teeth weren’t horrible, but the front top and bottom teeth were kind of crocked and it seems the older I get, the worse they get. At the time he suggested using Invisalign and the cost would be around $5000.

One thing about me I probably should share…I am not a vain person. I have no problem going out in public without makeup. While I use to color my hair and get a mani/pedi regularly, these days my roots could serve as a landing strip and right this minute my two big toenails are the only ones that have a smidge of summer pedi polish left. As far as clothes and shoes…lets just say I still have (and wear) sweatshirts and shoes from 15+ years ago.

I care about my appearance…when necessary, I can dress with the best. I bathe and groom regularly. I do try to make an effort to get my hair done just in case I need to do something other than throw it in a pony tail!

I’m just not going to spend good money on something that just really isn’t necessary. Spending $5000 to straighten a few kinda/sorta/just-a-tad crooked teeth just seemed kinda silly.

But in all honesty, the top front teeth were getting crookeder by the year and their protrusion was really beginning to bug me. My front bottom teeth have always been a little wonky and I just lived with it.

After losing my first 25 pounds (STILL working on that last ten), I was feeling pretty good about myself. I had to buy new bras (20 of the 25 seemed to come out of my boobs). I had to buy new jeans and tops. Brian and I bought bikes and began riding regularly.

So I was feeling pretty sassy…but I really hated my snaggle tooth smile.

That’s when I stumbled across SmileDirectClub…an invisible aligner system that cost WAY less than traditional braces or Invisalign. Rather than go into all the specifics about the product and process, I have provided a link to their site. Again, not endorsing, just sharing.

My process has taken 5 months…I started in August and finished the aligners and started wearing my retainer this week…I will wear the retainer day and night for two weeks and then only at night. I am a HORRIBLE tooth grinder and I think wearing the aligners and retainer at night has actually helped.

I still have two wonky bottom teeth…both have been “wonky” my whole life so I suspect they are tough nuts to move. I have submitted pictures and SmileDirect has agreed to continue the alignment process for the bottom teeth. They guarantee to continue to work with you (at no charge) if you aren’t satisfied. Truthfully I am THRILLED with the outcome, but if I am going to go through this process I might as well take advantage of their guarantee and get those two teeth lined up properly!

So what is my take-away for this process…

1) Be realistic about your teeth. If you have super whacked out teeth or a “bad bite”, I suggest consulting with an orthodontist. My molars were fine and my bite was fine…I just needed to straighten/align- my front teeth…pretty much the top and lower front 8. Remember, an orthodontist is not going to like these things because they take away their business. SmileDirect is going to tell you they can fix your smile because they want your business. So be realistic…do you have a “bite issue”…are your teeth SUPER crooked and/or rotated? If so, I would suggest going the traditional route with an orthodontist. This system is designed for “mild to moderate alignment.”

2) Have good dental health! Teeth, gums, bone structure. I am vigilant about going to the dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups. I get x-rays every year. I brush my teeth 3 times a day and floss every day. I would never recommend this process for someone who isn’t vigilant about their oral health. One of the biggest concerns about these systems that are not monitored by an orthodontist on a regular basis is the potential for bone and gum issues. I review my bone/gum/teeth health every six months with my dentist so I felt confident that I wouldn’t have issues…and I had a scheduled appointment with her during this process and we looked closely at the process together.

Before you start any orthodontic system (supervised or otherwise) make sure you have ALL recommended dental work done…removal of wisdom teeth, any needed crowns or fillings….anything your dentist has suggested, make sure you have it taken care of before you start any ortho work!

3) If you aren’t a discipline person, do not go this route. Having to wear an aligner 22 hours a day is a booger. You can NOT drink anything but water while the aligners are in. Fortunately not a problem for me. But if you are the kind of person who has a coke or tea in your hand all day, you will have a problem! Also, you MUST brush your teeth after you eat or drink anything…so if you snack throughout the day or have a problem with brushing your teeth in a restaurant bathroom, you are going to have issues.

I’ll be honest…taking these things out of your mouth is like taking off your bra after a long day!!!! You know that feeling girls! And it is tempting to want to leave them out and just let your teeth breath!

YOU CAN NOT!!! You have to wear them 22 hours a day for them to affectively work. For me, seeing the weekly progress was all I needed to keep me in line…but trust me when I say there were times when wearing them was just a royal PITA!

4) They may aid in a weight loss journey. Now, I can honestly say that has not been the case for me…I lost my first 25 lbs by August, and since I haven’t really been vigilant the last 4 months, I haven’t lost that last 8-10 lbs….and wearing these didn’t keep me from eating a few cookies after dinner or bacon with my eggs! And of course they have NO bearing on portion control.

But it is a pain to have to take out your aligners and then brush your teeth for a hand full of chips. And again, you won’t be sucking on a big gulp of coke or a Yeti full of sweet tea all day.

For me, seeing the change in my smile had a big impact on my overall self-confidence. That in turn could lead to wanting to eat healthier.

5) No pain, no gain. So if you are a big baby and can’t handle a little discomfort, don’t bother! There was some discomfort and tenderness in my teeth for the first few days after changing the aligners each week. Also, I learned to properly prep my aligners before I ever put them in by using a finger nail file and buffer to file and buff the edges of the aligners to avoid sore or raw spots inside my mouth. I did this EVERY time just to avoid any problems.

I also put new aligners in at night…they tend to be super tight when you first put them in and somewhat uncomfortable…sleeping through the first 8 hours of that was kinda nice.

I also learned to embrace the discomfort and tenderness in my teeth…that meant the aligners where moving those crooked little suckers and progress was being made!!!

SmileDirectClub has a referral system… feel free to use this referral link if you decide to go this route. I think you get some kind of discount and I get a “referral fee.” WIN-WIN!!!

Again, and I can not stress this enough, do your own research!! This has been a positive experience for me, but I can see where some might not benefit from or be successful with this system.

As always, you do what works best for you!