dining room makeover...

For years my “dining room” has been little more than a pass-thru from the kitchen and living room into the den.

A few months ago I refinished a little table that is my current love…

You can see the evolution of my dining tables here. The criteria for a table is that it is compact but can expand to seat 8-10 people the one time a year we need a big table…basically Thanksgiving.

This new table fits the bill but try as I might, I could not find chairs I was really happy with. I knew what I wanted but I couldn’t find them in my normal “thrifty” way…I tried these “mid century” style chairs…

No way Jose’….super ick.

So I bit the bullet and ordered chairs from an actual retail store.

Whoa! Who knew dining chairs could be so stinking expensive!

Other than a revolving door of tables and chairs and a few changes to the art work and a new light fixture…and maybe the addition of ANOTHER buffet, the space never got a full-fledged “makeover.”

It has never really been styled as a “dining room.” Truth is, I have a bar we use regularly so other than our holiday gatherings, this space gets very little use.

I don’t really have an actual dining ROOM…it is more like a dining “space.” And again, it has always just been a thoroughfare from the kitchen to the den. So why bother styling it…

Because it is a very prominent space in my house that has been horribly neglected so it was time it got a little time and attention.

First, the table…I love the little mahogany trestle table. Maybe not specifically the style…or specifically the color…but just the whole of the sum. Don’t know how to explain it any better than that…it’s just pretty and small but easily expands.

The buffet. I love this piece…it only took me a year to figure out what to do with it, but now I love it….the style, the color, the size.

These two pieces alone are as different as night and day…one VERY traditional and antiquey looking and one very mid-century. That pretty much sums up my entire home decor…”eclectic.”

I changed up the buffet vignette a bit…just simplified it a tad…you can see HERE how I turned a candle stick into a lamp.

So, on to the rug.

What a nightmare. I THOUGHT I wanted to use this little space to infuse some serious color into my home.

Hum….not really loving it to be honest.

The first….

Wow…now that was some color.

ALL the pictures on Pinterest show rectangular rugs with rectangular table and round rugs with round tables….but because this space is a bit smallish and because we walk through this space A LOT, I tried a round rug…

Meh….

I LIKE the look of a round rug…but again, not sure I am digging all the color…even though I THOUGHT I wanted to infuse color into this space.

So I took the first one back and picked up another rectangular one with color, but a lighter background…

Hum again…

I LOVE this little scatter rug but alas it doesn’t come any bigger…curses.

I just love the colors and the amazing textures! But it did make me rethink my “color plan.”

This plain ole’ blue one….

I like the simplicity…I like the style…I like the quality. Nothing earth shattering and obviously I gave up on the idea of infusing color by putting down a “wild and crazy” rug. Oh well…I never professed to be a designer.

The wall decor. For a few decades I really liked the look of the two frames I had on this wall. They have “transitioned” over the years…first they went from the “dark and dank” to a chalk painted frame and new matting…then I changed up the matting and added botanical prints. So often I get so use to a certain look that it is difficult for me to see anything different…such was the case with these prints. I loved the pop of red of the matting and I adored the botanical prints. Unfortunately it was obvious two was not going to work…and one just looked so dinky.

Brian and I found these totally awesome mirrors.

IMO they look pretty awesome…not terribly expensive so when I tire of them I won’t feel too bad. But it took me 19 years to get rid of the two large frames so I doubt these go anywhere any time soon!

Fortunately, I LOVE the table, the buffet and the light fixture. Rugs and artwork are an easy change out if I find something I like better.

For now I will keep the little bench off to the side. It is perfect for when I expand the table and need a little extra seating.

I am excited to decorate this space for the holidays!

The only other thing I MIGHT add are curtains on the two flanking windows…or maybe shutters. Who knows…they have had blinds for 19 years…what’s the rush!

This is where I will admit I am like 90% of you out there… I just want Emily Henderson or Candice Olson or Joanna Gaines to swoop in and just do it all! I am always amazed that they can do in one hour what it has taken me 19 years to do!

I have avoided the whole “farmhouse decor” look only because I think it is a fad that will pass in short order…but this dining room gives me a little taste of the “farmhouse look” without going all out. Just a pinch and a dab that can easily and inexpensively be changed out when the time comes.

Making a lamp out of a candle stick...

Next week I hope to share my entire dining room makeover…just waiting on a rug and the chairs I ordered.

This week I want to share one tiny element.

In my quest to make a few improvements to my dining room I decided to change up the buffet vignette…specifically get rid of the floral arrangement and style it a bit differently.

(You can check out the buffet makeover HERE! )

So off to Home Goods and At Home I went. One element I wanted to add to the buffet was a tall lamp but I couldn’t find the one I had in my mind. I found some candle sticks I liked…only problem was I didn’t really like the tallest one as a candle stick…but when I stuck this little lamp shape on it I decided I kinda liked the look of it as a lamp…

Hum?

I THOUGHT the candle stick was ceramic or resin…I also thought it was hollow. So I THOUGHT I could drill a hole in the top and a hole in the base with a masonry bit, thread in some lamp cord, add a little socket and presto-bingo…a lamp.

What is the old saying about “best laid plans.”

Yeah…well…some things just don’t work out the way we THINK they should…this, my friends, is more the norm in DIY. Things often don’t go as planned….

So the first thing I discovered was that it is wood…not a biggy.

I can just drill a hole from the top to my bottom hole with one of my really long drill bits…right? Wrong. Because the drill hit metal…turns out the candle stick is actually made up of three different sections…with screws AND glue between each. Impossible to take apart so I ended up cutting the sections with my chop saw.

Fortunately it was a tad easier to drill through the individual sections than to drill through the entire tall candle stick.

Whew…that was a booger…but after that was all said and done, it was time to “repurpose” the whole thing into a lamp.

To make anything into a lamp, you will need a socket and a lamp cord…fortunately you can buy both of these things at Lowe’s.

To use the little top socket, I just removed the little screw on the side of the base…

… and drilled a hole in the top of the candle stick big enough for the base of the socket to sit in (1/2”).

To thread the new electrical cord through the stick, I threaded a thin wire (floral wiring works well) through the stick sections. Then I wrapped the thin wire around the end of the new electrical cord and pulled the wire back through.

Once the new electrical wiring was threaded through each section, I easily attached it to the new socket, set the socket into the 1/2” hole I drilled on the top section and hot glued it in.

Then to reconnect the three sections, I applied wood glue and a dab of hot glue just to hold it all together while the wood glue set up.

Presto-bingo…a lamp made out of a candle stick.

I like it.

Unfortunately I don’t think the existing art work will work with the candlestick/lamp…curses. For now I think I will just leave it be.

I took a few sprigs of the greenery from the old floral arrangement and stuck them in a little ironstone creamer…one of my little birdies…a stack of old books I had stashed away.

Trying to keep it simple for now but really looking forward to having a buffet to decorate for the holidays!

I THINK I will like the new rug and chairs I ordered…we will see. I already have one rug in the garage ready to go back to “At Home”…didn’t like it. My plan was to go with a tad more color but this rug has me second guessing that decision.

I am also contemplating curtains…I’ve had blinds for 20 years…we’ll see…one thing at a time.

It is coming along…


A few MCM makeovers and a life decision...

Again, I am a baaaad blogger. I jump head-long into a project and fail to take “before” pictures.

Prime example…

No “before” picture. It was in similar condition to THIS dresser…reeeeally bad. But of course I have no proof of that. Just take my word for it…again.

The entire piece was originally the old “natural” finish with a lot of “wear and tear.” I primed and painted the six side drawers and cabinet and stripped and oiled the top and middle drawers.

I absolutely love the wood handle “hardware” and the super nifty black concave and brass hardware. I sprayed the little concave pieces with metal primer and black paint.

The top had some chipped veneer. I originally planned to paint the top so I could repair these areas, but I just can’t resist beautiful walnut…even veneer. So I did what I often do…I just let it be what it is…an older piece with a few blemishes. You can buy replacement strips of veneer…but I would rather have flawed original…just a personal preference!

I did take a before picture of this piece….

I love the brass hardware on these pieces…again, the way to tell if it is solid brass is to use a magnet. A magnet will not stick to solid brass. Important because in order to clean these pieces I have to really scrub them with steel wool. No secret to cleaning brass hardware…lots of Brasso, steel wool and elbow grease!

IMG_5140.JPG

Now…on to my “life decision.”

I have decided to stop doing the whole “auction/flea booth/resale” thing. I love doing what I do but doing it to “pay the rent” has become tiresome. I am just not enjoying it the way I use to.

So this past week I gave my notice at 410 Vintage and I went on a major “purgefest” in my garage (aka shop). I sold a lot of stuff on Facebook Marketplace, I donated a truck load to our local community thrift store and I took a truck load to the dumpster.

I have a friend who opened an awesome little consignment/flea market (Gathered Goods) so I took a few things to her to sell on consignment.

My garage has been a disaster for some time.

I painted the walls and cleaned all the shelving and cabinets!

I installed a Rubbermaid track system for large items….

…and we installed a nifty metal peg board system for all our tools. I knew where all my tools were but no one else could really figure out where anything was.

I even gave the door between the garage and laundry room a fresh coat of paint.

I am not “retiring” completely. I will still refinish and rehab pieces…I just won’t have to go looking for projects. If I find a project I want to work on, I can always take it to Darlene at Gathered Goods.

So fear not…I will always have a project to share here…and of course there are always my enlightened “muse” posts.

Bleaching in an HE washer...who knew?

I know I have been MIA but June was a crazy busy month and this month isn’t going to be any better!

This past week we traveled to New Braunfels, Texas for a little family reunion. Great fun visiting family, floating the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers and doing the “tourist” thing at the Alamo and on the River Walk in San Antonio!

I had a few major projects at the apartments the last few months!

We moved Katie out of her college apartment and all of her stuff is in storage waiting on her move to Delaware in a few weeks. She is there this week apartment hunting.

I’m not looking forward to driving over 22 hours in a big moving truck but after we get her settled we are headed to New York City for a few days! One of my all-time favorite places to visit and I have wanted to take Katie for years! We will take the train from Philadelphia to New York! Just too much fun!

Matt sold his “starter home” and will close on it and his new home this month…bigger house with a pool!

So…what do I want to share today.

Something that is LIFE CHANGING!!!!

Bleach loads with HE detergent.

As I have mention before, I love white bath towels, bath rugs, sheets, dish towels, and wash clothes…and of course I love my white cotton undies and Brian always wears white cotton t-shirts. My favorite thing about them all is the fact that I can bleach everything…clean and sanitary.

Right?

WRONG!

I noticed something weird when i went from a “regular” washing machine and detergent to a front load machine and HE detergent…the white towels and wash clothes always seemed to have “stains” that just never came out…makeup, coffee, chocolate…and the under arms of the white t-shirts always seemed “dingy” and never really “smelled” clean.

A few months ago we bought a new washing machine…we went from a front load to a top load…but it still uses HE detergent.

Side note: this is exactly why I didn’t put one of those nifty counters across the top of my machines when I remodeled my laundry room a few years ago…I THOUGHT I might eventually go back to a top load machine. Sure enough, I had my fill of front load washers. Maybe it was brand, but we had two machines that lasted about 4 years each. This time we went with a good ole’ “American made” brand…we will see how it holds up!

ANYWHO….a few weeks after we installed it i noticed it was making a weird knocking noise during the spin cycle…so I called and they sent out a repair person who promptly IDed the problem…the water hose was hitting the back of the machine during the spin cycle.

But the BIG news was that I found out WHY my whites didn’t seem to be getting as “white” and clean as I thought they should.

According to the repair guy, HE detergent and bleach DO NOT mix….basically if you mix bleach and HE detergent, the detergent will not “clean.”

Some machines dispense the bleach AFTER the wash…mine does not so I have basically been bleaching my whites, but not really washing them.

So now I wash my whites in hot water with the HE detergent….then I do a “rinse and spin” cycle with the bleach.

Adds a step to my bleach loads but it is well worth the effort!

Now, I want to qualify that this is what the repair guy told me. After a few months of testing his theory, I have come to the conclusion that there is merit to his madness.

My whites are whiter, the stains have disappeared and the t-shirt pits smell fresh and are no longer “dingy.”

So…there you go!

Hope this bit of information works for some of you…as I said, for me, it has been life-changing!





Vintage car handle hardware...

I am trying desperately these days to be a bit more “creative” and get out of my “everything white” funk.

I saw a really cute idea on Pinterest….vintage car handles as hardware. Naturally I jumped on Ebay and began searching for vintage car handles. I looked back at my Ebay history…I ordered them in JANUARY!!! Didn’t have anything in the works, just thought is was a cute idea.

Did I save the link to the “inspiration?” Um, no. Did I have a plan in mind as to how to attach them to a drawer front.? Um, no. Did I have a table to even attach them to? Um, no.

Just thought it was a super cute idea.

The first thing I had to do was figure out how to attach the handles to a drawer front…the hole in the backside is not threaded. My original plan was to find a bolt that fit snuggly in the handle hole, then just use JBWeld…love that stuff. The problem with that is it would make it darn near impossible to remove the handles in the future. Not MY problem, but as I have said before, I want buyers to be able to makeover the piece again in the future.

Thought maybe I could JB Weld a light fixture bolt (threaded on both ends) into the handle, then just add a nut and washer…hum….that could work and still allow for removal in the future.

While I was at Lowes scouting bolts one of the nice associates showed me this nifty brass insert thingy….

Because brass is “soft” you can screw this little plug into the hole (using a flat screwdriver), then get a bolt that will fit the inside of the plug…in this case a 5/16 hex bolt. I slipped a washer onto the bolt so that it would sit snuggly against the back of the drawer.

Problem 1 solved.

Problem 2 is finding the perfect little table…fortunately I found a cute little solid wood side table at a garage sale for a few bucks….

Problem 3….as you may have noticed, the handles have a 1” “bump” on the backside which would make it impossible for them to sit flush on the drawer front.

I removed the little wood handles on the drawer fronts and puttied the little holes.

I took a 1 3/8” paddle bit (I couldn’t find my 1 1/4”) and made a hole in the front of the drawer front deep enough for the handle to sit flush. Then I used a 5/16” drill bit to make a hole in the center of that hole for the bolt.

TIP: To make sure you don’t drill your large hole all the way through the drawer front, wrap a piece of blue/masking tape on the paddle bit to indicate the depth you need to drill. (Not pictured)

Now I was able to set the car door handle flush on the front of the drawer and run the bolt (with washer) through the backside and into the little brass plug.

Since I knew the bolt may “loosen” and there is only one bolt holding the hardware in place, I added a dab of construction mastic (liquid nail will do) to the hole just to give the handle some stability.

Before applying the hardware, I primed, sanded, tacked and painted the table a high gloss red (See HERE why I can no longer call it my KSTP process.) The insides of the drawers were a tad cruddy so I primed those as well and painted them black…not necessary but kinda cute!

I found some “L” shaped metal floor trim and decided to add it to the front corners of the little table….installed the new door handle hardware….and presto bingo….

Too stinking cute!!!!

And now that I have figured out all the logistics to turning vintage car handles into hardware, grab a few and have some fun!!!

I have a few of these door handles left…now I just need to find another little table or small dresser!!!!

Craftsman dresser....

I have said it before…”Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Unfortunately, not every one likes to be “imitated”…or “copied.”

But I have to wonder…why do others post projects on blogs or Pinterest if not to give inspiration…inspire others to “imitate” their creativity.

I have NO problem with others “imitating” my creativity…imitate away! This entire blog is here to inspire you to make your home more beautiful. And if you are looking for inspiration for projects you intend to sell, help yourself….there are A LOT of people out there who couldn’t paint a piece of furniture or hammer a nail if their life depended on it. They need your abilities and creativity and if I can inspire you to create for others…yay me!

I try desperately to give credit where credit is due…if something “inspires” me I try to link back to the site. Unfortunately, I am the world’s worst at seeing something I like, “drag and dropping” the photo into my “inspiration folder” and not actually saving the link. I really do try to go back and find where the photo might be posted, but I can’t always find it! Same with recipes. I’ll see one I like, print it off and then I can’t find the original recipe.

Fortunately, this time I not only have a picture of the inspiration, I also have the link….HERE! (This dude has some mad woodworking skills and his dresser got some heavy duty reconstruction.)

The minute I saw this little dresser/changing table I knew I had to do one.

Fortunately I found a dresser that had perfect wood detailing on each drawer that allowed me to paint the “silver handles” rather than add new detailing. I also didn’t do any “reconstruction” on the piece other than adding bracing and wheels.

You can buy these wheels at Lowes…they just screw on!

Unfortunately, this is where I have to admit AGAIN what a bad blogger I am because I failed AGAIN to take a “before” picture. Suffice it to say, it was just a plain ole’ fake wood grain dresser…perfect for a little makeover!

Other than the wheels, the only other thing added was the “Craftsman” decal…believe it or not you can buy them on Ebay…HERE.

I found a red gloss spray paint that is a perfect match for the “Craftsman red”….the black on the drawer fronts is black lacquer…and of course the silver is just “stainless” paint. I primed the entire piece with primer, sanded well and wiped it down with tack cloth…then paint (KSTP).

Just too stinking cute!

Feel free to be “inspired” and copy away!

Drexel Accolade Makeover...

An entire year…A YEAR!!!! That is how long this Drexel buffet has sat in my dining room in it’s original state because I couldn’t pick a stinking paint color. I may be able to paint and refinish and upholstery…but picking a paint color or fabric is TORTURE!!!!

I LOVE the white lacquer finish on this little side table….

….and I love how the bright brass hardware just POPS on the white lacquer but I really wanted to do something different.

But I could NOT make up my mind. I did a lot of research and most of the painted Accolade pieces are white or black…and honestly I did not want to do black.

Hum….

I found a paint color I am madly in love with!!!! It is actually a Krylon “chalky paint” and I have used it on several pieces and I just LOVE the color…Krylon’s Anvil Gray. While it has “gray” in the name it really is a true deep, rich navy. And it sprays on beautifully!

There was one problem with this paint for this project…it is super flat…like most “chalk” paints. I desperately wanted a “high gloss” finish so I tested a few clear coats over the paint to see if I could find a good gloss. I tried a new product (at least to me), Krylon Triple-thick Crystal Clear Glaze. It SAYS it is a “glass-like coating” and “superior high-gloss finish” and it is as good as advertised.

The finish is super high gloss and exceptionally durable…I am VERY pleased.

So…

I changed up the art in the dining room over a year ago and I still love it. I still love the red fabric I used on the chairs. I love the draw leaf table. If you search “buffet” or “dining room table” on this site you will see few last long around here….but truthfully, I think I am finally loving the “look” of my dining room…so these pieces may actually make it a tad longer.

Again, no secret to cleaning brass….lots of brass cleaner, SOS pads, and elbow grease…but worth every bit of the work!

I have already stocked it with my holiday and seasonal dishes. Pretty with a purpose…my favorite. But as I said, buffets don’t last long around here so we’ll see how it fairs.

I think I have mentioned before that I DO NOT have a green thumb when it comes to indoor plants….so some of you may be shocked by the massive peace lily.

A little side story…we went to an auction…they were selling the plants (yes, they sell EVERYTHING!) Nobody would bid on this big ole’ monster so then they threw in a monster pothos plant…I’m talking HUGE!!!! My youngest daughter has been sprouting “cuttings” for her apartment so I knew she would love the pothos…so I ended up buying them both for ONE DOLLAR!!! No kidding….a dollar for two huge plants. She didn’t want the peace lily so I stuck it in my dining room and other than dump my leftover night time water in it every morning, I pretty much ignore it.

And you know what…it THRIVES. It is growing, it is healthy and it is constantly blooming. Go figure!

Now I want to share a little issue I am having with my beloved Kilz…I had this issue sometime back when I was using white lacquer…so honestly I attributed it to the paint since lacquer tends to be a “hot” finish.

But I had the same issue this time, and I was using plain ole’ spray paint.

I call it “alligatoring.”

I cleaned the pieces, sprayed on the Kilz, sanded smooth, then wiped it down with tack cloth. When I sprayed on the paint, it “alligatored.” Curses!!!

I thought MAYBE the tack cloth left a weird residue, so I sanded the spots smooth after they dried well, reapplied Kilz, sanded and then just wiped it down well with a rag…another coat of paint…same problem, just in different areas. The entire piece alligatored randomly. WTF!!! Temperature…nope…humidity…maybe. But I had the same problem when I painted on a drier day. So who the heck knows. Like I said, I had this problem sometime back on another project.

The Kilz is what is actually crackling…not just the paint. I contacted Kilz and they swear they didn’t mess with the formula and were as stumped as I was.

My solution….well I had to sand the entire piece down, paying close attention to the areas that “alligatored.” After everything was smooth and clean again, I used Bullseye 1-2-3 Primer, let it dry well, sanded, and tacked. Sprayed on the paint and presto-bingo…perfect.

Kilz was kind enough to send me a replacement can of primer. Yippee…somehow I guess that is suppose to make up for two days of grief and cursing.

So now my “KSTP” process will become “BSTP” …eck…not really a good acronym…but I hesitate to use Kilz if it really is the only common denominator in this little disaster. Since no other factors seemed to affect the out come, I can only assume it is the culprit.

Who knows…but from now on I can’t say that Kilz is the be-all end-all of primers when painting furniture.

Sorry guys!

Swing pergola tutorial...

With spring just around the corner this is a great time to revisit one of my favorite tutorials. An AWESOME outdoor project that takes a bit of muscle but not a lot of brain power.

This swing pergola is a “MUST HAVE” in any yard…so break out a few basic tools and follow THIS tutorial so you can impress your friends and have a great place to nap in the warm summer days ahead!!!


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!