Farmhouse table....

Today I want to share a farmhouse table I put together using some "mismatched" pieces I picked up!

Sometimes I find things at the apartments and drag them home "just in case."

This ugly pine table top is a prime example....

(No, I have no idea what the black stuff was...paint maybe?)

It hung out in the garage for MONTHS because I knew I would have to find the perfect legs for it...and honestly it wasn't on my priority list.

Just so happens I snagged some nifty old table legs at an auction a few weeks ago...

By themselves they didn't amount to much!

I stripped the top using this process and stained it with gel stain. Chalk painted and distressed the legs and attached them to the top. Sealed it all with poly. 

Cute as a bugs ear.

I even managed to drag it into the dining room and stage it for a few pics. Okay, honestly it was cold outside when I decided to work on it so I brought it into the dining room to stain, paint and assemble! (NEVER strip furniture in the house...the chemicals are just too strong! I stripped it when it was warmer outside last week!)

You may notice that one of the wood castors on a leg was missing. I keep spares around but didn't have one the right size or four that matched so I just removed them all...no biggy!

Just another example of how easy it is to take something destined for the dumpster and create a beautiful piece!

I still love my dining table so this one is off to 410 Vintage! If you are local you should really drop in! Even if this table isn't your style, I PROMISE you will find something you will love! 

Next week I am going to share a few things that make my holidays soooo much easier!

Until then....

Thanksgiving bench....

Last year I shared a couple of little benches I whipped up out of necessity! 

My dining table spends 364 days a year against the wall with nothing more than a couple of chairs.

Since I host Thanksgiving dinner, the table is extended and pulled into the middle of the dining room so I need the additional seating!

It is no secret that I tend to stick with what I know so when it was time to pull out the table and get ready for Thanksgiving dinner last week, it was back to the garage to build another bench for the holiday!

Since I had already designed and built a few last year, I really didn't need to draw up new plans...I just needed to dig around in my scrap wood and find a few pieces I could use to construct a new bench.

That was pretty easy considering I had some oak left over from my stairway demo earlier in the year!  I found an old pine dresser at the apartments that was missing the drawers, but the sides and top were perfect slabs of solid wood for the top of the bench. I also had some trim from who knows what project. I always have paint and stain on hand! I had to pull a few nails and sand off some old mastic, but other than that I had everything I needed! In the end, the bench cost me nothing more than a little bit of time!

It's no secret that oak is not my favorite wood but since I just need this little bench for the day, no biggy! The benches I constructed last year served their purpose and then where promptly sold in my booth, which explains why I had to build a new one!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! After a day of stuffing our faces with turkey and EIGHT pies, I spent the weekend decorating for Christmas! Some people start off the holiday season fighting the crowds at the mall on Black Friday, I start mine wrestling with strings of lights and yards of garland...fun time! 

Little changes from year to year...rarely do I tackle holiday projects. Here I shared a cute little project made out of a butter dish ...

...and here you can see how I made this versatile primitive box display...

....but all in all things pretty much stay the same. 

Well, except the constant changes I keep making....

Fabric transfers...

I have shared several transfer and pillow creations...here, here and here

A few years ago I made this floor pillow out of drop cloth fabric and added a transfer graphic.

This weekend we went to an auction. At one point they had another one of those "nobody wants it" items so they add a few things...I ended up buying a pile of "stuff" just because I wanted a little stuffed opossum they threw in the pile. Seriously, a stuffed critter.

Turned out to be a pretty great pile for $1...some batting for upholstery projects, a few ticking cloth down pillows and of course, my critter.

Wasn't sure what to do with the pillows...cute but kind of plain! But they have that "farmhouse vibe" that is all the rage! I washed and dried them because, well, they are "used." 

Then I remembered my transfer paper.

I LOVE this stuff! I used it on the floor pillow and have used it on several other projects...never fails!

I buy it here, on Amazon. It's not the cheapest transfer paper you can buy but in my opinion it is the best!

For graphics, hands down, The Graphics Fairy! They have thousands of graphics for the taking. And they even have great tutorials for transferring to any project....fabric, furniture, signs, etc!

I choose this graphic for the pillows....

I decided to try to iron the transfer onto the pillows without deconstructing them. Probably not something I would have done had they been super stuffed, but they weren't and they turned out pretty good!

Print the graphic (mirror image) onto the transfer paper with any ink jet printer. I always trim the paper close to the graphic so there is no excess transfer paper.

 

Make sure the fabric you are transferring to has been washed and dried. Set your iron super hot, no steam, and iron away. I usually go over it until it is super hot, then CAREFULLY lift one corner to make sure the transfer is happening. If not, just keep ironing!

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Cute as a bugs ear!

Next week is Thanksgiving and I had to build another little bench for my dining table. I'll share that early next week. 

Lot of other projects going on around here...the biggest is the new privacy fence! Cleo has a habit of "wandering" so after 17 years I finally had to break down and put up a fence. I hired someone to install the fence but I had to rebuilt the swing harbor that was actually on the neighbor's property and God forbid I put in a plain ole' gate. So I did spend several days "constructing." I hate sharing anything in my yard this time of the year, but hopefully I will get around to it in the next few weeks! 

Until then....

Change is a coming....

If you have taken a peak at my "About me" page, you know Brian and I have been blissfully together for 16 years...me in my home, him in his.

This month, that all changed.

We are still blissful, but after 16 years we now have one home.

Truth be told, he's been here since his shoulder surgery in June. When you have to dress someone, put on their deodorant, cut up their food and share a relatively small bathroom, you find out real quick if you could live with that person full time. We have and we can. So over the last few months it has become apparent that living in the same household is doable and maintaining two households is a waste of time and money. 

Soooo....we took the leap. A couple of months ago he put his house on the market on a Tuesday, had two offers by Saturday and closed in three weeks. 

Wow! 

That was easy. 

The hard part was negotiating the "combining of households." And truthfully, that process really wasn't that difficult. We rented a storage building and had a massive garage sale. 

But there were still a few non-negotiables (even a few necessities).

Clothing: This is where Brian shows his "feminine" side....the man has waaaaay more clothes than I. Fortunately I am NOT a clothes hoarder and I am an "empty-nester." I donated 1/2 my clothes to free up space in the master closet. He also took over Katie's walk in closet upstairs for the clothes that didn't fit in the master closet. (I have to give him credit for scaling down from 3 to 1 1/2 closets!)

The brown leather couch and chair: First I am NOT a brown leather couch kinda gal.....not in my decor wheel-house. But honestly, it is kind of my fault. When Brian bought his house six years ago, we went furniture shopping. Being as that is not something I really enjoy, I yawned my way through most of the day. We found a beautiful couch and chair set at one store...price tag over $4500. We found another really nice couch priced around $1500. Later that day when he called for my opinion, he thought I told him to get the pricey one....I'm almost certain I did NOT! Anywho, a week later he had a $4500 couch and chair delivered....and six years later they had to come to my house! 

The black chair and ottoman will definitely need a makeover if it is going to stay in here...just too much "dark and heavy" going on. It will have to be moved out for the Christmas tree so maybe I will start on that project then...provided I can decide on a fabric!

Remember when I said something about decorating around a brown couch...yes, well, I am having to take my own advise. I am still struggling to mesh my "light and bright" quest with "humungus and dark," but somehow it will all come together...someday...maybe.

The flamingos and a frog: Not kidding. A pair of pink ceramic flamingos and a frog that lights up.

Again, my fault to some degree. He likes frogs. I found this "cute" lighted frog while picking up knick-knacks for his house. Honestly, it was kind of a joke but he loved it. The joke now has a new home....

He loves them, and I love him, and well....whatever.  

Almost forgot the massive giraffes...it's official, we have a zoo! Another auction buy. They are from Africa and were carved from some kind of tree root. They really are kind of cool, but again they will have to be relocated when I do my Christmas decorating. 

These are just a few of the "non-negotiables." There is also the massive safe that required a complete restructure of the master closet pantry. It is filled with his knife and coin collection. I had to clean out the large dresser to make room for his hoard of socks, under shirts, undies and such...I say hoard because, seriously the man has more undergarments than any reasonable human really needs. Especially considering I do laundry every other day! The Bow Flex and elliptical (we now have a "work out" room!)  His "electronic" obsession...2 computers, an ipad, blue ray players, stereo systems and OMGosh how many TVs does one person really need. 

Truth of the matter is, he made waaaay more sacrifices than I. And in the end, at our age and with the wisdom we have acquired over the years, the "give and takes" aren't really even sacrifices. 

I wish young couples REALLY understood this...

Heirlooms trump everything!

I have said it time and again....family heirlooms trump EVERYTHING!!! So when my uncle dropped off a china cabinet this week that had been my great-grandmother's, everything was rearranged to make room for it!

It's not "my style."(very traditional) It's not "my wood." (oak) It's not "my finish." (white-wash/pickled kinda look)

But it was my great-grandmother's and that is all that matters.

I even have a picture to prove it!

This is my maternal grandmother, great-grandfather and great-grandmother gathered at a holiday dinner in the early 80s....the china cabinet is in the background and the dishes on the table are my great-grandmother's china I recently acquired.

I vaguely remember this piece in my great grandparent's dining room when I was a child. They lived in a charming little post-war neighborhood in Dallas and during my childhood it was the family gathering spot for holiday's and special occasions.

While I was looking through my family photos for a picture of the cabinet, I also found this awesome holiday photo of my mother's entire family taken in 1948 at their home in Houston.

My mother is the sullen looking teenager in the red gingham shirt, my uncle to her left. The woman to the far left in the picture, in white, is my great aunt Judy. She inherited this china cabinet after my great-grandmother (woman far right) passed in 1986...and now it has come to me!

On the table are my grandmother's dishes I also acquired recently! 

These pictures are pure treasure!

Sooooo...now I have a china cabinet that is not my style, not my wood and not my finish.

I'm not sure what I will do with the finish...if anything. Right now I am just going to let it sit and mull it over. This is one of those pieces I will not touch until I have a very firm game plan in place. I know it needs a few small repairs but the beveled mirrors were replace in 1986...seriously, I found the receipt in the cabinet....$15 for two beveled mirrors. I just spent $130 to replace two mirrors that broke when my living room wall mirror fell off the wall!

I do know I would like to replace the wood shelves with glass...maybe add some interior lighting....and I couldn't wait to remove the metallic red paper inside the cabinet!

Had I picked this piece up at an auction, I would have immediately slathered it in paint. 

Not that I am opposed to making changes to family heirlooms. Sometimes you have to make changes to a piece so it will serve your family for many more decades. But when you are dealing with family heirlooms you should proceed with respect and caution! 

It's the little things!

Cheap and/or free are always my favorite way to add a little seasonal warmth to my home!

I shop sales, clearances, auctions, yard sales...it is always fun to find inexpensive little "treasures" I can use to decorate a space or add a touch of warmth or whimsy. 

Last Friday I actually did something I really hate. I shopped "retail stores." I was specifically looking for cotton stems or cotton wreaths. Evidently decorating with cotton is all the rage this fall and I wanted some...but evidently that is another "fad" that hasn't hit our area because after hitting every home decor store in the area I came home empty handed.

My neighbor Tammy dropped by this week...she had visited her daughter in south Arkansas and brought home some REAL cotton stems from their farm.

Tammy to the rescue!!!! I couldn't believe she had a pile of cotton stems in her garage just sitting there for the "pickin!" 

LOVE! I literally just snipped off the root ends and stuck them in a little vase. I probably should find a bigger vase, but I love how these REAL cotton stems fill this space! 

Last year I feature some awesome little "coffins."  Sounds morbid I know, but as I explained, they are actually the lids to antique sewing machines...and I absolutely love them! I used a couple for storing photo albums but I had one that was just sitting in the den.

My other neighbors, Kenny and Maryann, have these really cool trees in their backyard...they kind of look like Aspens and the bark is "whiter" than normal tree bark. I have no idea what they are but I used the branches in my little seasonal box I shared here. I decided to cut a few more of their branches and use those in this little coffin in front of the fireplace.

So simple!

Outdoors...an old galvanized bucket dressed for the season! Just drop a potted mum in it (no need to get your hands dirty!)....or if you don't want to spend the money on a mum, fill it with berry stems, pine cones and pine branches! Again, super simple!

 

My point? Adding seasonal touches to our home decor doesn't have to cost much, if anything. Just look to nature (and your neighbors!) We do it in the spring and summer when we bring in cut flowers. Fall gives us just as many ways to bring nature into our homes!

Green "horse apples," red berry bush stems, pine tree branches, tree limbs with colorful fall leaves...all ways to bring nature into your space. You can stick them in wood bowls or galvanized buckets or cheap vases or old wooden boxes. 

Some of the prettiest seasonal decorations are free!

It's finally FALL!!!!

...which explains why I have been MIA for a few weeks. Fall. Time for our "traditional" trip out west.

A week in the mountains NEVER disappoints. As I posted last year it is a trip we look forward to for a number of reasons...trees, fishing, train rides (two this time!), down time, inspiration! 

And this year I FINALLY landed my "trophy brown!" 

This was taken on the Colorado River with our guide, Adam, from Cutthroat Anglers out of Silverthorne, Colorado. This is our third year with him and we always have a great day on the river!!! Even if you aren't a die-hard fisherperson, the scenery is worth the trip!

Seriously girls, if you don't fly fish, learn. We take a guided trip in a boat every year, but we normally wade fish. I walk out into the middle of the river and the only thing I can see or hear are the bald eagles and the rushing water. No demanding kids, no barking dogs, no ringing phones.

Don't get me wrong...I love talking to and spending time with my kids. I love talking on the phone. I love my dog (but I don't let her bark!) But a few hours standing in the middle of a river can recharge my over worked brain!

The downside to the trip was the return. First, the jeans and boots went back in the closet...not nearly as cool here as it was there. Second, I came home to a broken refrigerator! I guess it could have been worse. I could have come home to a freezer full of rotted food. Fortunately my daughter caught it before everything thawed and managed to salvage the freezer foods. The stuff in the refrigerator was ruined.

One of the upsides to being an empty nester...you can survive for several weeks with a small temporary fridge until the one you really want comes in! 

Truth is, I'm kind of digging the "spacious" look of a small fridge....lol! Seriously, who needs anything more than a few quarts of ice cream and ice in the freezer!

Before we left I managed to get most of my fall decor up. I do this so I can come home and enjoy the season! 

Again, not much (if anything) has changed this year but I thought I would try out the new camera we bought before vacation to see if I could get better photographs. So while most of this might seem familiar (just "search" fall on this site...tons of inexpensive inspiration!), I'm hoping the pictures have improved a smidge from years past!

I have a young friend who mentioned recently that she was going decorate for Christmas because she didn't have any fall decor. I get it...when you are young with a growing family, it is tough to shell out a lot of money for seasonal decorations. But again, adding a few little things every year during the major blow out sales most stores have on seasonal decor this time of the year isn't a super stretch. And garage sales and estate sales are always great ways to build your seasonal stash if you can bring yourself to buy pumpkins and garland in June!

This is a new little sign I made out of a piece of old wood...printed off the lettering on my computer, traced it onto the wood and then handpainted it. Distressed and sealed! Super easy and inexpensive little touch!

I love these little lanterns. Super simple to decorate and change up for the different holiday seasons. Here I shared several ways to inexpensively and easily decorate for the fall season!

Inexpensive candle wreaths "repurposed." Think outside the box!

Another hand painted sign and a wreath I picked up from a garage sale for pennies!

Ugly ceramic pumpkins updated with a little spray paint scattered about. Its the little touches here and there that really warm up a space!

This is a cute little box can easily changed out for each holiday...I shared that here. Super simple, super inexpensive, super versatile! 

I'm stock-piling in the garage for a garage sale in a few weeks, but once that gets cleared out it will be "back to work" on a few projects I have waiting in the wings. 

This is my favorite time of the year! The weather is amazing and the trees are glorious! Enjoy!

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How to choose the right paint color....

I have lived in this home for 17 years. The main living area paint color has been the same for 17 years! 

Matt and I repainted about 8 years ago. I painted it the exact same color...SW Creme. 

I love this color. It is bright yet soothing in the day and warm and soothing at night. For me, it is the perfect color for this space.

But "yellow" isn't the "in" color right now...lots of whites and greiges and grays...very few "creams."

I've fallen in line with some home decor "fads"....I have infused teal and cool reds, embraced boxwood wreaths and replaced ceramic tile and marble with travertine. I have painted my interior doors black and replaced much of my flooring with the darker, hand-scraped hardwood and laminate. I can't bring myself to paint my kitchen cabinets but I did install glass front doors, a larger window and open shelving to brighten it up!  

I have used the "greige" colors (specifically Revere Pewter) in several of the bedrooms. Because of 20' ceilings in the living room and the massive task of painting around cabinets in the kitchen and all the window trim in the den, I have dreaded painting the main living area.

Since we leave on vacation next week, I thought it would be a good time for a painter friend to come in and paint my entire living area. The worst thing a woman can do is watch a painter paint her home.

Why? Because it WILL NOT look the way you want it to look until there are two dried coats on the wall and all your "stuff" is back in place. Until then it is either too dark or too light, too blue, too green, too pink, too purple. And inevitably you will begin to second guess your choice and in turn drive your painter insane! Go away...come back when it is all done and dried!

So that was my plan.

My M.O. for choosing a paint color has always been the same. I pick up a few hundred "paint chips" at the store and bring them home to look at in my light. DO NOT fall in love with a paint color at the store...it WILL NOT look the same in your home lighting.

Bring a few hundred paint chips home and start narrowing down your favorites. Trust me, you will be able to narrow it down to 3-4 colors you THINK you like! Then go buy sample pots of the paint you THINK you like.

Find several walls that get several different "lights" throughout the day. Trust me, paint changes color as the light changes outside....so while you may love the color in the morning, that horrid "green tone" you dislike may show up in the afternoon or evening. 

Since I already had a can of leftover paint from Mitchell's room makeover,  I started with the Revere Pewter. I love it in that room but in my living area...ECK! It was horrid...just too dark for my taste! Prime example of how a paint color can be amazing in one room of your home, and terrible in another!

So then I found a few others I THOUGHT I liked! Bought sample pots and painted large sections on two walls.

I have looked at these walls for two days...morning light, afternoon light, night light!

When it came right down to it, I still love the original color...more than anything I THOUGHT I might like.

So for now I am going to stick with the "cream" I picked out 17 years ago. It may not be the "in thing" right now, but it is a color I love.

And in the end that is what home decor is all about...finding what YOU love and doing it. In spite of what Pinterest and other bloggers tell you!

P.S. I was immediately asked "what did you do about the big painted splotches on your walls?" Remember my advise about ALWAYS keeping a can of touch up paint in the house, protected from extreme temperatures, so it will last? Yep, I have that...so painting over the large splotches was no biggy! If you don't have the paint or know exactly what you painted with originally, you may be in trouble! 

Armoir makeover....

Occasionally I find a piece I really love. This armoire is one of those pieces.

I obviously don't have room for it in my home, but it is a very unique piece that could serve a number of purposes in a home...dresser, kitchen pantry, tv cabinet or even bathroom storage! 

In it's original condition it wouldn't have been difficult to over-look. But this is one of those times one has to look beyond the years of neglect and abuse and know that it can be made beautiful and useful again! 

Again, I have to have my "wood fix" so I decided to strip and refinish the top. I stripped it using this process and then topped it with tung oil finish. I love how removing all the old "muddy" finish revealed a very unique and beautiful walnut veneer! Seriously, this took minutes...don't miss out on uncovering a piece of "art" just because you think this will be a difficult task and do not use the wrong process (like sanding!) 

I had originally planned to paint the inside, but after stripping the drawers I decided the mahogany was just too beautiful to slather in paint so I decided to strip and oil it as well.

The veneer doors and sides weren't anything to write home about. A little "chalk paint and distress" treatment brightened the piece and gave it a much needed "update." This "farmhouse" look isn't exactly my style but it really brought this cabinet into the 21st century!

In the end, a simple makeover made all the difference! 

This week has been "project" week for me. Usually I take inventory of what needs to be done and then make a plan for how and when....again, I use an "assembly line" process when I have a lot to work on!  Tuesday was sand, repair, build and prime day. Can't paint when saw dust is flying all over the place. Today I will sand the primed pieces and chalk paint a few. I like to let the chalkpaint cure a few days before I sand...I have found that the paint "distresses" rather than peels when it has cured well!  

Off to work I go!!!!