When did the glaze craze end....

I have always only used a handful of "furniture finishes." 

Naturally, there is the stain and oil finish. Again, rarely do I use poly on furniture unless it is to seal paint...never on a natural or stained piece. For those I use an oil finish...always.

Paint...I use spray paint, plaster/chalk paint and occasionally acrylic paint.

That's about it.

Glaze...when did we stop using glaze to accent pieces? I think it was when waxing furniture took over. Now you can "accent" a painted piece by waxing it with different colored waxes.

But what most people don't know is that wax is not actually a "finish." It bonds with the paint, but it really doesn't protect the wood from the elements or wear and tear. And if you ever want to paint over a waxed piece, you will have to strip the old wax. 

Last month I featured this awesome dining room table I picked up at an auction. I shared how I stripped all the old finish and how I stained and oiled the top. 

And then it sat...with the base unfinished and my head buzzing with ideas on what to do with it...okay so it was actually buzzing from frustration and confusion. 

I just did not know what I wanted to do with it.

Part of the problem is the fact that at some point I want to use my mid century chairs. I love the Duncan Phyfe chairs...especially after I painted and reupholstered them! But I have these awesome mid century chairs I want desperately to use after I get them oiled and when I can find the RIGHT fabric!

Here is a before and after...before I stripped and oiled and after...these chairs are hidden gems!

So here is my problem. I will not paint the mid century chairs...I believe that is a crime in most states! I still haven't decided whether I am going to use them, but just incase....

So I wanted to paint the base of the table...but that kind of seemed like a violation of some antique wood law or something. There is so much beautiful detailing on the base that really needs to be highlighted! 

I thought about doing the "plaster paint/distressing" treatment. But honestly, I think that may be something that will fall by the wayside at some point in the future and I like treatments that are a little more "timeless." I LIKE plaster painted and distressed pieces, I just don't want to use it on pieces I plan on keeping for years.

My original plan was to paint the base a light color and then somehow highlight, or accent, the engraving detail and the wood grain! My thought process....if I am going to leave the chairs stained, I should paint the base.

Then I remembered the can of glaze I have in the garage! Bingo! 

I originally did a "white wash" with watered down off-white paint and then applied a black glaze. Unfortunately, it just looked kinda muddy gray. So I decided to go with a black glaze over the entire base...wiping it down so the grain showed through. After that dried, I sanded it lightly with a 220 grit paper...that allowed the grain and detailing to show through a bit more. Then I applied 3 coats of tung oil finish.


Beautiful! I love it! I originally planned to go with a light colored finish, but I really love the "translucent" black. I probably could have just gone with a white glaze...but it's done and I really like it. 

I have decided I am going to add glaze back into my arsenal of products. I want to try it with different colors of paint and on different woods. I just love how it allows the grain to show through and has more of a colored stain appearance than a paint appearance. I think that is the whole point.

Glaze...it may be a "craze" that is over, but it certainly has a place in any arsenal of furniture finishes!



Painting and repairing a maple secretary! And a little auction action!

As I mentioned here, old maple furniture can be pretty "dated" (nice way of saying ugly!) But it is usually solid, well-constructed furniture and great for DIY projects.

Last week I bought a maple Baumritter (Ethan Allen) secretary at an auction.

This piece is really solid (and major heavy!) Some of the screw holes in the drop down top hinges were stripped out, so the top was a little wonky. It looked like someone had actually tried to glue the hinges to the top.

Easy fix...and this fix is perfect for any screw hole that is stripped, especially door hinge screws that are loose. Honestly, I do this just about every time I remove screws during a "makeover"....just to make sure the replacement screw is tight.

The first thing I do is remove the old screw and fill the hole with a good wood glue...

I have a stockpile of various sized wood dowel rods so I usually have one that will fit any hole. (You might want to "dry fit" your dowel rod before adding the glue.) You can also use 2-3 wood match sticks bundled together...dab a little glue on each match stick and stick one at a time in the hole until no more will fit. Then tap the dowel rod or match sticks with a hammer...

Snap the dowel rod or match sticks off flush and wipe the excess glue off with a damp rag. If the wood sticks up a bit, just tap it again with the hammer until it is flush or wait until the glue dries and scrape it with a chisel. Once the glue has dried well, you can put a new screw in.

I read a tutorial that suggests using a golf tee. Personally, I would not...only because they are not easy to break off. 

WARNING! Stain WILL NOT penetrate the wood if it has glue on it. If you are going to stain the piece make sure you do not get glue anywhere you intend to stain. If you do, immediately wipe it down well with mineral spirits!

I decided to paint the inside of the desk my new favorite Valspar color, La Fonda Mirage (a pretty pale teal color). First, I primed with Kilz, sanded and tacked. After I painted the inside, I chalk painted the exterior, distressed it a bit and then sprayed the entire piece with a clear coat.

I was originally going to replace the hardware, but I like the style, just not the color. So I stuck them all in styrofoam, sprayed them with metal primer and then sprayed them with the La Fonda Mirage. After they dried well, I hit them with a clear coat before reattaching them!

I love everything about this little desk now that it has been spruced up a bit. Few would have given it a second look as it was. Try to look past the dated finish on these old maple pieces...they can be awesome additions to any decor with a little primping! 

Awesome auction action!

The weather was perfect Saturday for a day at the auction....fall is in the air!  Usually we try to find an estate auction out in the "sticks." Always neat vintage treasures at those old places. This week we could only find one in town, but it did NOT disappoint!

Auctions are a great way to spend a Saturday if you are looking for a day of good food, good people and good deals!

I have discussed at length the "rules" of auctioning.  Auctions can be a great place to find affordable housewares, tools and furniture, as long as you know what things are worth (both new and used).Never get too emotionally attached to something you think you just have to have. Forget being "competitive." I have seen people pay more than what something cost new...just because they get caught up in a bidding war on something they think they just have to have! Not good. 

This week I brought home a few things that turned out to be exactly what I thought they were...awesome deals that will do well in my booths! And a thing or two I plan on keeping.

I rarely have time to do online research while I am at the auction but when I get home I search Ebay, Etsy and Google to determine how I should price an item.

One thing I definitely will be keeping is this Osterizer Galaxie vintage blender....

Love....it has a glass pitcher and it works! I could probably sell it for around $40, but I need a blender and this one is seriously awesome! 

These antique Penn Scales will be going to the booth even though they will be tough to let go! 

When I was researching them, I noticed most do not have the weights and/or the "scoop." This one had both...amazing!

I wasn't real sure about this vintage Webster manual typewriter.This one had the case and all the papers...I honestly don't think it had ever been used! This particular model is evidently "rare" and collectable. Vintage and antique typewriters usually sell quickly! 

Which was my plan...to sell it...until my teenage daughter saw it and snatched it up. Novelty...I have a feeling I will get it back at some point...she has figured out that typing on a manual typewriter is NOTHING like typing on a computer keyboard. How did any of us keep a fingernail back in the day!?

A wood caddy...again, love. Not sure exactly what I am going to do with it, but whatever...I think I paid $5 for it!

Yard birdies...they have a long stick on them and you can stick them in the ground or in planters. I am a sucker for yard ornaments. I'll probably end up being one of those old ladies with 47 cats and a yard full of pretties....

I also picked up this iron fireplace screen....

It won't go in the den because that fireplace is elevated. It is a little ornate for my room. It would have been perfect for the fake fireplace I had in my booth, but I sold it. I may have to build another for holiday displays...and I will have a perfect place for this iron screen!

Sooooo much more...an old, dated spice rack and bottles. The wood rack will be painted and "repurposed" and the little bottles should sell well even with out the rack. A framed mirror...perfect for a little spruce up with paint!

Glassware, stemware, a little stool, some awesome iron work...lots of goodies! 

Overall a good day well spent. 

Beefing up your door trim and a little "bartering" for a desk....

My precious neighbors, Tammy and BR (his real name is Brian but we call him BR), have been projecting at their house. Their entire living area has "honey oak" wainscoting and BR has been priming, caulking and painting it for weeks. I have to admit it looks soooo much better! 

One of the things Tammy wanted to do was beef up the trim around her front door and back sliding door. I did mine when I built the house and since it is an easy DIY project, I took a few minutes to show BR how to make a huge statement with just a little effort! 

As you can see, I used fluted molding and plinth blocks on mine, but you can get the same affect using just plain 1 x 4s as the casing without the blocks. 

Like many houses built in the 80s, Tammy and BR's trim is 2 1/4" colonial trim...stained! Since he is painting all the trim, this is the perfect time to jazz up the doors. We did the front door this week and he is going to try his hand at the back sliding doors...knowing I am a phone call away! 

Before I got there, BR pulled all the old 2 1/4" molding and nails.

Anytime you pull trim, make sure you "score" around all the trim, door jamb and wall with a shape razor so you don't pull off the paint that might be stuck to the trim! I show you how to do that in detail here. This is important because if any of the wall paint or jamb paint has stuck to the trim, you will pull it off with the trim...not good!

The molding consists basically of four pieces...

Material List! This is all "stock" stuff at Lowe's (and most home improvement stores) and most come in 8' sticks. It will cost about $30 a door...not including caulk, primer and paint!

3-1x4x8 casing material...if you decide to go with fluted, you will need 2 sticks of fluted and one flat 1 x 4. We used pre-primed 1x4 MDF. Cuts and paints nicely. I would NOT use this in areas where the trim is likely to get wet or exposed to moisture! For that I would suggest using 1x4 pine or poplar....and prime both sides and the edges to keep the wood from absorbing the moisture!

1-8' strip of door stop. In case you are wondering what "door stop" is, open an interior door and look on the inside of the jamb. See that little strip that is about 1/4" thick and 1-1 1/4" wide and "stops" your door when you close it? That is door stop.

It comes in several "profiles." Some are flat, some have a rounded edge, some have a fancy profile...pick the one you like best. You don't HAVE to add this piece...you can just set the 1x4 header on top of the casing...I just think it makes it look a little "fancier" and it is a super easy piece to add! 

1 piece of crown. You will only need about 5' but they come precut 8'. We used the 3 1/2" crown. You can go bigger, but don't go so big it makes your door look top heavy.

As you can see, I have a piece of 1x4 on top of my crown that creates a little "shelf." BR and I decided theirs looked better without it...but Tammy may decide she wants it...no biggy, it is easy to add and honestly, it is the last piece you add so see what you think when you get to that point! 

The first thing you will want to do is remove all the existing trim and nails. If you have narrow trim and you are making your door casing wider (1x4s are 3 1/2" wide), this would be the time to remove the baseboard adjacent to the door trim...you can cut it down and reinstall it against your new door casing!

Tammy and BR have wainscoting. Rather than cut the wainscoting, we just notched out the casing...no biggy...just a big "puzzle."

I would suggest checking the "gaps" between the door jamb and the framing stud and make sure you have ample insulation all around the door. This is a perfect time to stuff some more in there if you need to, or use spray foam insulation.

If you are going to use spray foam insulation (my fav!), spray it in the gap and then wait an hour or two and let it expand...you don't want it oozing out of the joints of your new trim. After it has expanded and has dried, just trim any that may have oozed out with your razor knife or scrape it with a chisel! It expands A LOT, so don't over do it! And don't mess with spray insulation foam while it is wet...it is sticky and will not come off without mineral spirits. Just let it dry and it basically becomes a hard foam that can be cut with a knife or scraped off.

You will work from "bottom to top" so the first pieces you will set are the two side casings. You want to leave a 1/4" reveal of the door jamb all the way around, so measure from the finish floor (tile, wood, whatever) to the inside of the top of the door opening, and add 1/4".


That will be your measurement for the side door casings. On most standard doors that should be around 80 1/4". Measure both sides...sometimes there is a smidge difference!

After you have MEASURED TWICE AND CUT ONCE, you will attach these two pieces to the door jamb with your trim nailer (see Tool Box here)! If you do not have a trim nailer (shame, shame) you can use trim nails and a hammer...the old fashion way...lol!

Before you drive in too many nails, now would be a good time to lay a level across the top of the two casings and make sure it is level. You will be laying your header on these two pieces and you want to make sure they are the same height. If you measured correctly, and left a 1/4" reveal, you should be good to go! 

The casing on the hinge side of the door should fit loosely against the hinges, and the casing on the knob side should fit against the door knob strike plate. Watch your "reveal" carefully when attaching these two pieces...remember, you want to leave about 1/4" reveal all the way around! If you have removed existing trim, you may even be able to follow the old paint or stain line left when you pulled the old trim! 

Once those two pieces are secure, measure from the outside of one side of the new casing to the outside of the other side of the new casing....

That will be the width of your "header" piece....the 1x4 that goes on top. Cut the 1 x 4 that length. Then cut the door stop 1" longer. (if you aren't using the door stop, skip this step)

Attach the door stop to the header BEFORE you attach it to the wall.

The best way to attach the door stop to the header is mark the center on both pieces. Dab a little glue on one edge of the header, lay the door stop on the glued edge, lining up the center marks, with the back edge of the doorstop flush with the back of the header, then tack the door stop to the header with a few nails. If you have a door stop that has a decorative edge, you want the decorative edge facing down...away from the header. Your doorstop should hang over the ends of the header by 1/2" on each side since you cut it 1" longer!

Now, attach the header, door stop on the bottom, directly above the door by setting it on the casings. If you measured correctly your header should be the same width as your door casing...you will line those up! 

Crown molding is a tad tricker only because you will have to make two miter cuts so that the crown actually "wraps around" the header. (If you don't know how to cut crown with a miter saw...Google it!) Your two crown ends will be 3/4" since that is the thickness of a 1 x 4...but measure just in case! The crown front will be the same measurement as your header.

To attach the crown, first measure  and mark 1/2" from the top of the header, on both sides...then draw a line. This allows you to attach the crown without having to fumble with a level. Run a little line of glue on the backside of the crown and then tack it with your nailer or trim nails.

I do not recommend using trim nails on the little pieces of crown or any small trim piece, unless you have a very small brad nailer. If you do not, I would suggest using a VERY tacky glue and just glue the end pieces in place. Remember, glue is really what holds everything together! If the glue is not tacky enough to hold the piece in place, try this little trick...dab a few small blobs of hot glue on the pieces...the hot glue will hold it in place until the wood glue sets up well! 

Now is the time to determine IF you want a little shelf thingy above the crown. I did, but Tammy and BR did not.

To add the little "shelf" on top, lay the 1 x4 on top of the crown and measure the distance from the front of the crown to the edge of the 1 x 4. You will want it to hang over the edges of the crown the same distance on each side. If it hangs over more than 1/2" to 3/4", you might want to rip the 1x4 down a bit. Cut your board and then smear a little glue on top of the crown, lay the shelf on top of the crown, and then just tack it in a few spots with a brad nailer. Again, if all you have is a big honkin' trim nailer or are "hand" nailing trim nails, you might want to just go with the glue...a good wood glue WILL hold when it sets up! 

See...super simple!!!!

Now just caulk all the joints, putty nail holes, prime any unprimed wood, give it a quick little sand and paint!

While I was there, I did a little bartering. Tammy had this ugly little maple desk in her garage and wanted to know if I wanted it. HECK YEAH! I told her I would help with the trim in exchange for the desk!

Truth is, I would have done the trim anyway but the desk was a great little find.

The old maple furniture is dated and a bit on the ugly side, but it is sturdy furniture and perfect for DIY projects. While I was working on this piece I also worked on a side table and a secretary...can't wait to share those!

A little plaster paint, a little distressing, a little "pop" of color on the inside and back panel, and this little guy is all decked out for another lifetime of use!!

Good trade if you ask me!

A project here...a project there...

This was one of those weeks when I had a serious case of ADD. I jumped from one project to another.

I worked on the Baumritter mid-century chairs (for ME!) I originally shared here.

I only managed to get two of them stripped. Two need repairs and I worked on those as well. 

My goal is to get them stripped, oiled and in the dining room...at some point the perfect fabric will speak to me and they need to be ready!

BTW, I am using the 1/2 acetone-1/2 lacquer thinner recipe for stripping... works amazing!!!

I stripped and oiled this nifty paper organizer thingy I picked up at Midtown. If something is unique, I can not resist!

It still has a pretty severe water stain. I tried all my old tricks and sanded it as much as I dared...but nothing worked. Oh well. That is part of the "character" of old stuff!

The little ceramic bulldog belonged to my Great-grandfather! He's in pretty rough shape but he's almost 100 years old...what do you expect!

I'm not real sure I am loving it on my desk...it takes up a lot of space! I may have to move it and use it for my coupons or something...not sure. Sometimes I just have to let something sit and grow on me.

I distressed an arm chair I need to eventually reupholster and distressed and started upholstering a child's rocking chair...it is going to be sooooo darling! I can't wait to reveal the finished project...and a little story about why I paid ENTIRELY too much for it at an auction!

I wish you could feel fabric through the web...this stuff is soooo stinking soft! I think I am going to make myself a blanket out of it!

When I work all day and don't manage to get at least ONE project completed, I get a little frustrated.

I did manage to finish a few little things after a few days in the heat. Last week I mentioned the signs Cristina (at Remodelando la Casa) made out of a drawer. I just happened to have some old drawer sides and the sides to an old mahogany dresser stashed in my garden cubby so I pulled them out, hosed them down with ant spray, cleaned them up and put on my creative cap!

I haven't finished all the drawer sides. I am holding on to a few until I find some more inspiration....maybe Christmas? I like the "chalkboard" signs because you can change them up! I really love how the dresser sides turned out...I plaster painted one and oiled the other...then I used chalkboard paint on the insets. I put hangers on the back of both. I was tempted to keep one for myself but I think I will just take them both to the booth and hope someone loves them as much as I do! 

Again...thank you Cristina for the wonderful inspiration! 

So much done...so much more to do. Someday I might get a few major projects finished up!

What a HOOT! And inspiration for a new project!

Sometimes I buy things at an auction and question myself. Seriously? A plastic owl? What the heck?

This is one of those silly "owl decoys." The plastic owls people put near their garden or in public areas to keep the small birds away. I certainly don't want to keep birds away...if anything I want to attract birds. Don't know why...with four cats, it may not be in their best interest to come to my back deck for a meal but in the winter I love sitting in my den and watching the birds gather around the feeders...cardinals, gold and house finches and titmouses, to name a few!

So what to do with this silly (and kinda creepy) little owl...

I painted him!!! Sprayed him with a little Kilz and then a hit him with a few coats of my favorite off-white, Valspar Rivera Dune. A ten minute makeover!

I taped off his eyes because I kind of like them. 

I doubt he makes his permanent home on my mantel...kind of freaks me out that he is staring at me when I sit at the bar during dinner! But I thought he would make a nice addition to my fall decor...maybe perch him in my window display along with the pumpkins and scarecrows. 

Who knows what I will do with him...but it is an example of how a little spray paint can cure the worst case of ugly!!!

If only attitudes where that easy to fix...how wonderful the world would be!


Cristina at Remodelando la Casa inspires me! That is one great thing about the blogesphere...you can always find something to do with ANYTHING!

Several months ago I shared these antique drawer front makeovers. They turned out darling and sold quickly. I tossed the drawer bottoms since they had been snacked on by the critters, but I kept the drawers sides and the sides of the dresser. I have NO idea why other than the fact that I just can't bring myself to toss certain woods...mahogany being one of them! I had NO idea what to do with them...until Cristina shared her precious little signs.

NOW I know what to do with them! Not sure when I will get to them since I am currently working on several massive furniture/paint projects (that is a queen size bed behind the dresser sides!) But I do know I want to get them done for the fall season. If I just can't get around to it in time, I guess they will get froo-frooed for Christmas. Regardless, it is nice to know WHAT I want to do with them eventually!

Cristina also shared a precious tripod table she made out of an old camera tripod. When I saw it I could have kicked myself because I had tossed a broken tripod not two weeks before! My son is a semi-professional photog and it would have been perfect for his room! Darn it! This is the one downside to NOT being a hoarder...sometimes you really can turn trash to treasure! You just have to hang on to the trash long enough to find the inspiration!

They say "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." I guess this is why we share what we do! Thanks for sharing Cristina!  

Staying organized!

The first trick to STAYING organized is GETTING organized in the first place.

The trick to GETTING organized... 1) tackling one space at a time (the big picture is just too overwhelming) and 2) PURGING. Yep...get rid of the stuff you seriously don't need. Whether you toss it or donate it, get it OUT of the house. (My number one rule for having a garage sale...if I take it out to sell, it NEVER comes back in!)

When tackling a "mess," empty the drawer, pantry or closet COMPLETELY and then only put back what you know you use all the time or will honestly need sometime in the near future!!! (BTW, this is a great time to slap on a fresh coat of paint...seriously, how often do you paint the insides of your closets or pantry!)

Then "organize" everything in a way that makes sense to YOU!

I can not tell you how many times I have gone out and bought something because I didn't realize I already had it. Or I knew I had it but had NO idea where it was! 

So I decided a long time ago that my only hope was getting organized and staying that way.

In other words, closets and drawers have to stay free of clutter and fairly organized. 

Regardless of my good intentions, sometimes life just gets away from me and the next thing I know I have a mess in my drawers and closets again! 

My trick to taking care of that is dumping or emptying the entire drawer or closet, purging the stuff that I really don't need or never use, clean everything, and then "reorganize" it. I know the space will eventually get all messy again...but every so often I just have to start with a clean slate.

This is my "storage closet." 

Here is the post on the awesome door shelves and why I organize this closet the way I do (specifically why I don't use all those pretty "froo-froo" baskets and boxes!) If you aren't handy with the tools and can't build one of these door organizers, just do a little search on Pinterest for "closet storage" and you will find all kinds of "premade" ideas that might work.

The absolute WORST thing you can do is run out and buy a bunch of storage stuff and then try to organize your closet or drawer to fit into what you bought. Empty, purge and THEN go buy what you NEED to organize your space. Otherwise you will end up with a bunch boxes and shelving you have no use for!!!

Last year I gave my master bedroom closet a makeover(See the pretty little "froo-froo" boxes on the shelf...yeah, I have NO idea what is in them...none!)

Today I purged, cleaned and organized my makeup drawer...took all of maybe 10 minutes. It may not seem like a HUGE difference because I do this every few months but it will make a world of difference every morning when I need to find my concealer or eyelash curler!

By the way, I like the IDEA of sticking all my makeup brushes in pretty little containers...but I am kind of weird about having stuff all over my counters and vanity. And I like all these "storage ideas" but I I like all my makeup out of sight and in a drawer! This is what works for ME! Do what works for YOU!

Let's be honest...organizing your closets and drawers isn't your typical "sexy" DIY project. But it is important to keep all your storage areas...drawers, closets, pantries, shelving, etc...organized. 

You can make it "sexy." You can buy pretty boxes or buy all the stuff to do those nifty little "Pinterest projects" that help you get organized. But be honest with yourself...do you REALLY have the time! Remember, the more you bring into the house, the more you have to "organize" and the harder you make it, the less likely you will be to tackle the project and get it done.

Keep it simple. Forget all the "froo-froo" projects and just get it organized! If you have the time and desire to "make it pretty," go right ahead...but get it purged and organized FIRST! 

I can not stress how important it is to "purge" your storage space...get rid of the stuff you just don't need or use any more! Or stuff that has expired or dried up!

Do you really need that 2 year old mascara or eyeliner...and honestly, is it really SAFE to keep it? Do you really need Christmas decorations that haven't seen the light of day since 1996? What about that "extra" set of sheets that fit the full size bed you no longer own ...maybe they would be useful in the garage as a drop cloth! Shoes that pinch or hurt your feet (seriously ladies, DO NOT wear shoes that hurt your feet...I don't care how much you paid for them!) And the worst...our "pre baby" clothes that we just KNOW we will fit into someday...seriously, by the time you get there, acid washed jeans probably won't be in style!

Some stuff you have to keep and store...like family heirlooms, every jersey or uniform your kid every wore, and every report card, attendance certificate,  or "project" your kid ever brought home. The best way to store them is in plastic or cardboard boxes, clearly labeled. I label everything with masking tape and sharpies so that when I do finally come to terms with tossing the contents, I can remove the tape and reuse the box! 

It is a CONSTANT process...but if you tackle one little space every so often it really isn't that hard to deal with the next time things get a little "cluttered." 

I do allow myself ONE junk drawer in the kitchen. It is the place you go to for pens, scissors, razorblades, chip clips, etc. But even that gets "purged" every so often!!!

Purge, clean and organize ONE space in your home that has been a boil on your backside. 

Now how does that make you feel? Trust me, if you toss it or donate it, you probably will NEVER miss it. But you will LOVE all the extra space you found!

A new bookshelf and my last first day....

Sometimes things last for YEARS around here...sometimes its just a matter of weeks until I switch things up.

Last week I bought a little oak mission bookshelf at an auction. First, mission is NOT my style. Second, oak is not my favorite wood. But I really liked this little shelf and when I switched out this "frosted berry" bookshelf...

I thought "Hum, that's kind of cool."

I like that it is narrower and taller. Doesn't "crowd" the corner as much as the other. 

My first thought was to paint it with my "frosted berry" paint...but so far the consensus is NOT to paint it. Hum....here I have worked so hard to lighten and brighten all my furniture and I bring in this dark piece.

I have always described my "style" first and foremost as "eclectic." This definitely brings a little more "eclectic" flair into this space! Duncan Phyfe table, mid-century chair, mission oak shelf and modern mirror and curtains. 

Not sure if that is eclectic or spastic. 

At the very least I want to refinish it...strip all the old heavy finish and give it a facelift. Maybe once I get that done it won't seem so "dreary." 

I'll put it in line along with my mid century dining chairs and the 4 or 5 other pieces I want to strip and refinish! Brian reminds me often...."You just make work for yourself." 


My Last First....

This is for all the mommies who feel like you are trapped in toddler or teenage Hades....

Monday was my "last first day." My oldest is 33... I have been parenting, struggling, crying, worrying, stressing...for THIRTY THREE YEARS!

This was my 28th "first day of school."

Bad news, it really never ends. Even when they "grow up" and legally become adults you still worry, stress, cry...and yes, struggle.   

Good news, the battles you are fighting today with your toddlers and teenagers and all the inbetweens WILL pay off in the future. As long as you "pick your battles" carefully and more than anything, really enjoy and embrace this time with your kiddos while they are young...because it will fly by faster than you can imagine.

Back to my original thought (I do ramble), Monday was my last day of a first day of public school. My youngest, Katie, started her senior year this year. So this is my last first day.

I can not tell you how quickly this has flown by! And I am SUPER fortunate to have four wonderful, healthy, intelligent children who USUALLY gave me little grief. 

Believe it or not, there was a time when photos were not digital. So these are just pictures of pictures....

I have already turned over all of Sarah's pictures to her...so I don't have a "first day" picture of her.

Mitchell's first day of school! What an awesome little man!

Matt was my "September baby" and could have started a year earlier...but when he was old enough to start school, he honestly didn't care what color something was or how to write any letter that was not in his name. So I waited a year...by then he was raring to go!

Katie...my baby...

Oh my gosh this just seems like yesterday. And now she is an intelligent, exceptionally talented young lady. She was a June baby and could have waited a year too but she knew ALL her colors and numbers and letters by the time she was 5 and was more than ready to start the adventures of education. She will not even be 18 when she graduates but you would never know it. The kid is a genius!

I am proud of all my babies. Sarah is a busy mom, wife and part time paralegal but still manages to attend college and make perfect grades! My oldest son, Mitchell, is on his second education...a college graduate who is now working on his EMT certification. Matt is working full time, studying for his commercial pilot's license, AND working on his masters. And of course Katie...she scores off the charts and I have no doubt she will be a stellar college student as well.

I am so grateful all my children value the importance of getting an education and continue to strive to be the best they can be!  

My daughter Sarah is passing that on to her children and I know that they have a tremendous amount of respect and pride for their mom as she works her way through college after all these years. As do I.

Here is to all the stressed out, worried, struggling moms! Your children love you and admire you! Never forget that they look to you for guidance and direction...so with love and respect guide them to be the best that they can be. 

We are all busy. We all have challenges and struggles. But our children should grow up in a home where they feel loved, respected, nurtured and safe. 

Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, we will fail time and time again. NO parent is perfect and it truly is a miracle our children survive all our mistakes. 

Two pieces of parenting advice I give....one, when you KNOW better you DO better. Two, never be the first to let go of a hug! 

If you will follow these two simple parenting tips, you will enjoy your "last first" and know that they have a wonderful life ahead of them!


Ugly lamp contest...

It's here...the annual "ugly lamp contest" on one of my favorite blogs....BetterAfter.net

I just have to share this contest because the level of "ugliness" is truly beyond words.

You can't imagine...you just have to see it for yourself.

But word of warning....

Years ago my mother forbid me from seeing the movie "The Exorcist." I watched it anyway. Needless to say, I had to sing hymns to myself every night for months because the imagine of a possessed Linda Blair kept popping into my head.

Now that image is replaced with the image of a Satanic booger lamp.

Seriously, go check it out and vote. 

Bookmark Lindsey's site...she doesn't always feature demonic lamps...usually she has awesome "before and after" pictures that are great inspiration when DIYing anything and everything!

Seriously, I know I can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear...but even I couldn't do anything with these lamps...geez!

Twas the night before Christmas...and MORE chairs!!!

Okay, so it's still four months until Christmas but you can never shop too early!

If I bragged on every "great deal" I scored at an auction, this whole blog would be about nothing but auction deals. But this find is amazing...and beautiful...and reminds me that the holidays, and cooler weather, are just around the corner!

This week I bought this beautiful nativity set....

At most auctions they pile the glassware and "knick-knacks" in boxes on a trailer. Sometimes it is hard to tell what is wrapped up in a box so you have to do a lot of digging to find goodies. I have found Wedgwood, milk glass and carnival glass deep in boxes of junk. This week I found a beautiful ironstone casserole dish, spotless, in a box of inexpensive stoneware. You just never know.

So when I started digging through a box and found little ceramic nativity pieces wrapped in 30 year old newspapers, I knew it could potentially be a great find. Naturally I didn't want to draw attention to it by unwrapping all the pieces, so I wasn't quite sure what all was in the box or even what condition they were in.

Anywho...at some point they did a "choice box" bid on all the boxes left on the trailer. Two dollars...for two bucks I would take my chances on what was in the box. 

All 18 pieces are in mint condition...not one little chip. No mark so I know little about the set, but I think it is beautiful and could be special addition to someone's Christmas decor! I can't wait to display it when I decorate my booths for the holidays!!! Until them the pieces will get rewrapped in bubble wrap and stored away properly. 


A few weeks ago I picked up some nifty old "mid centurish" chairs at an auction. I'm sure "back in the day" they were really something special, but not so much now. But each was unique and had the potential to be beautiful again!

A little paint, a little upholstery, and they are ready for another lifetime of WOW!!!

BTW, the orange vinyl chair and brown vinyl chair in the back...I didn't do a thing but clean them up a bit...sold in two days as is! As did another mid-century chair...sometimes people like to do their own thing!

It's hard to see this little guy in the "before" picture, but it is a beautiful walnut. With all the students returning for the fall semester, I thought a little "Razorback love" was in order!

I was amazed at the condition of all the caning on these two chairs...perfect...not one broken weave! I sprayed these two chairs and the red chair with Kilz, sanded smooth and then sprayed them with spray paint. 

I don't have one piece of fabric big enough for this seat...so for now it only has the batting on it. Hopefully I can find something this week I like!


A beautiful oak chair...but again, sometimes you have to paint wood to "enhance" it...or at least make it desirable again! This too was sprayed with primer and spray paint!

This chair had a dark blue vinyl seat. I had every intention of adding some foam and batting and covering it with something new and jazzy. Nope...I painted the vinyl...seriously, I sprayed it with Kilz and then a teal spray paint. It looks kind of cool if you ask me! 

This chair was painted with an off-white plaster paint, distressed and sealed with spray poly.

The chairs are all oak and walnut...great pieces that could easily be refinished.  But this is a prime example of "enhancing" a piece. In today's decor world, painted pieces are desirable...so painting them really does enhance them! Whether you chalk paint or spray paint...making over a chair is a simple project! 

Master bedroom laminate flooring reveal....

Well, the floor is done...now all I need to do is add a little "froo-froo," find some inspiration for wall decor and reupholstery the club chairs.

.....all in due time. 

This flooring has been a long time coming. With 4 cats and two dogs, carpet is NOT something I want in my house and this was the last holdout. I love how easy it is to clean this floor! Just sweep, then "mop" with a dust mop sprayed with a special laminate flooring cleaner. I personally avoid "Swiffers." I read once that the cleaner was toxic to animals...and truthfully, when I quit using it my older kitty perked right up after being a little sickly for a loooong time....coincidence? Maybe...but I'm not taking any chances!

There is a MAJOR downside to dark laminate (Imperial Teak)....it shows every little fuzz and fluff. Not a good thing when you have 2 white, long haired kitties and a light colored dog. Dark laminate and wood flooring may be all the rage, but think carefully before you install it...you WILL see the dust and crumbs!

But I am NOT going to gripe about having to sweep this floor! I would rather sweep it every day than shampoo carpet 2-3-4 times a year...and know it is STILL not clean! If you have ever pulled carpet, you know exactly what I mean. I don't care how clean you are, you could plant tomatoes under your carpet!!!

Anywho, I started this little journey here by painting the furniture...and added a little here with the addition of an "accent" color. But no matter how much painting I did or froo-froo I added, I just couldn't get past the flooring. So I ordered the laminate I wanted and ripped up the old carpet and glue down hardwood! (here)

Brian took two days vacation to help...God bless that wonderful man! Usually the DIY tasks are left up to me, but when I need a helping hand he is right there with me!

I could give a step by step tutorial on how to install laminate...but again, there are HUNDREDS of tutorials online. Your best bet is to follow the directions on the product you buy so you don't risk voiding any warranty! 

Is this a DIY project? For me yes. For your "average" DIYer...depends on your ability. Watch a few online tutorials and gauge for yourself. There is a little "skill" involved. And let me tell ya...two days of this and you will feel it!

My only regret is that I did not use the highest grade padding. I used the "mid-grade." The "cush" is fine, but I don't think it is as quiet as the flooring I installed upstairs with the high grade padding. Live and learn!

I have a little step down from the office to the bedroom...I made it using an oak tread and it was originally stained to match the light oak flooring. Rather than go to all the expense of buying a new tread, rebuilding the step and staining it to match the new laminate, I decided to try a little gel stain treatment. I ordered the General Finishes "Brown Mahogany" and PRESTO!!!

Dang near a perfect match...so close that I decided to try it on all the threshold pieces. If you have ever installed wood flooring or laminate, you know the threshold, transition and trim pieces can be a huge expense! Fortunately the gel stain worked like a charm and I was able to reuse everything I had!

I like my baseboard trim and I am not a big fan of base shoe molding so I removed all the existing trim before we installed the flooring (see how to do that here), pulled the nails and cleaned off all the caulk and "fuzz." I marked all the boards on the back so I knew were they all went! After the floors were done, I reinstalled the trim right on top of the new floor. I put wax paper under the trim so I wouldn't have to tape off the flooring when I repainted everything (a little trick my dad taught me!) When you are done painting, before the paint dries, just pull the wax paper from under the trim...simple!


Rather than buy a large rug, I decided to go with two "scatter" rugs on both sides of the bed. For now I am just reusing my old rug by the back door...someday I will probably change it for something different...someday. Just so you know how long I hang on to stuff...I have had this rug for over TWENTY years...seriously.

I keep the mantel decor clean and simple. The monkey? I have no idea when or where I got her, but she has been with me for many years! As a mom of young children, I could relate...

I went searching for material to make a new cushion cover for the mid century chair. I only found a few fabrics that had the right colors but none really tripped my trigger...sooooo...someday...maybe. The black vinyl is "true" to the piece and it doesn't bother me too terribly much!

I put new curtains up on the front window. I only put curtains there so I can block out the sun when it gets really hot...otherwise, I never close them! (I am at the end of a cul-de-sac...if you can see in my bedroom window you are probably standing in my yard...that's a whole nuther problem!) I love the color and the design but unfortunately they are a tad too short....soooo....what to do? Right now, ignore it. Maybe someday I will add some length...maybe...someday.

Day two we installed the flooring in the office...totally awesome and I love how the two rooms flow together!

Again, I still have a lot to do...but getting the floor done is a major accomplishment! Kind of creates a great pallet for any future changes.

As I have said often, I don't want "stuff" just to have "stuff." So I am usually pretty picky about what I decorate with. Even simple little "knick-knacks" and wall decor have to have meaning or purpose or I have to seriously love it. It has only taken me 14 years to get this far, so patience is obviously a virtue I have when it comes to decorating. 

Well, that and selective "blindness."