Pretty in Pink...

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

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

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

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

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

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

I featured the desk here.

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

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

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

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

The little bookcase…just adorbs!

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

…and a yummy smelling pink candle!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Painted kitchen cabinets and a new entry...

When Matt bought his house over a year ago I promised to share the projects. One year later, I am finally getting around to keeping that promise!

As I mentioned in earlier posts, Matt first had to find his inspiration and make a plan.

His first major project was the entry makeover. My entry makeover was obviously his inspiration but his entry felt SUPER tiny compared to mine.

These aren’t the best before pictures but you can see there is a header across the top of the opening between the living room and the “entry”…so the space felt really tight and cramped…wood flooring (again, a no-no in an entry IMO)…popcorn ceilings.

The “plan” was to remove the closet and header to open up the space, tile the floor and paint the door. Simple!

Before you remove a closet, make sure you have a plan in place for the things you would otherwise store in that space. In Matt’s case, he’s a single guy with two spare bedrooms and closets, a large master bedroom closet and a nice hall pantry. He had plenty of storage space for coats and such…getting rid of the entry closet was not a big deal.

UNTIIIIIL…you start hacking into walls and removing headers that are framed with aluminum studs instead of wood. Interesting to say the least and somewhat of a challenge for a “traditional” builder such as myself.

Lots of sheetrock repair, black paint on the front door that Matt is not real fond of but is living with for the time being, new trim, new tile, new paint. Eventually I think he will replace the light fixture…but it does the job for now.

Here you can see how the entry opens into the living room…before there was a “header” that dropped down 12” and really closed that space in…removing that header not only opened up the entry but it now matches the opening into the hallway that leads to the bedrooms on the other side of the living room.

Matt built the little bench! I found the beautiful metal mirror on clearance at a home interior store.

The fireplace was pretty “dated”…he painted it last year ….

…and we replaced the dated 8x8 beige tile with the same tile we used in the entry. MUUUUCH better!

The very first thing we did before he moved in was built open shelving in the kitchen. We used the “hidden bracket” method I shared here.

His kitchen cabinets were old, nasty oak and he knew he eventually wanted to paint them…but time and finances dictated he wait…the open shelving was a pretty easy and inexpensive way to give the kitchen a tiny update. Since he had his inspiration and had a plan, he knew what colors he wanted to eventually paint the kitchen cabinets…so he knew what color he wanted to paint the shelving.

We simply removed the cabinet to the right of the sink and installed 3 shelves. The cabinet we removed didn’t go to waste…he hung it in the garage above his work bench!

Painted cabinets…this summer he was finally able to complete this part of the plan.

The kitchen before…

The kitchen after…

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He hired the actual “painting” part but he did all the prep work himself. He changed out the hinges from nasty ole’ brass looking things to nice new satin nickel hinges.

He also changed out four upper cabinet doors and put reeded glass in them…

The shelves inside the cabinets were old and “sagging” so we built new shelves since you could see them through the glass.

I would like to think I was the inspiration behind that change since I am a tad partial to reed glass cabinet doors!

One element of his original plan was to change out the tile countertops to a solid surface like quartz or granite. Honestly, once the cabinets were painted neither of us found the tops to be nearly as offensive so that part of the plan got bumped to the bottom of the list. It will happen someday, but it is no longer a top priority!

This kitchen is a relatively small space…kind of a “shotgun” or “galley” kitchen if you will…brightening it up with paint and installing the glass front doors and the open shelving made a HUGE difference!

The next big project on his list is his master bathroom. He wants to remove the tub/shower insert and build a walk in shower similar to mine.

Last week I went to an auction and I was able to purchase enough 12x24 floor tile and subway tile for pennies on the dollar!!! He’s been researching the best way to build a shower pan and of course we are experts at demo! So this little project could commence any day!

In the meantime he is busy being a home owner…mowing and raking the yard, mundane chores and dealing with all the grief after a tree falls on your house during a storm! Yep, it even damaged his brand new storage building he is so proud of!

Such is the life of a home owner!

Next week is Christmas and I may take a few weeks off since the whole family will be here! I hope you and yours have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Traditional Christmas!

My Christmas decor changes so little from year to year I hesitate to even share. (search Christmas on this site…you’ll see what I mean!)

But every year I add one tiny element.

If you follow along you know that Brian and I travel to Colorado every year in the fall. We do our annual guided fishing trip and enjoy the fall Aspens. And every year we take a few hours to walk around Georgetown. A precious little mining town just off I-70.

Every year I try to find something a little Christmasy. It is a “tradition” I started years ago.

This year I picked up this little troll.

Too cute. I guess this year Santa trolls are the “in” thing. Again I rarely go all out with the latest “fad” but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to pick up one little piece to add to my “Colorado collection.”

This year as I set out my little collection it dawned on me that I have no idea what year I bought what. So this year I started writing on the underside of each piece the year I purchased them. Not important now but maybe 50 years from now it will mean something to someone.

Here are just a few pieces I have picked up over the years….

The snow birds….

I shared here the realization that I have an obsession with little birds.

The birch Santa…

I think Birch trees are the closest thing we “low landers” can get to an Aspen…I even bought a birch candle stick when I changed out the mantel decor this year…

This little guy….the older I get the less I want to hang and fluff so I love anything I can just tuck in a corner…

I didn’t actually buy this little guy…we stayed in a condo in Frisco and this was a little gift from the owners…just precious! How did they know?!

A “tradition” has to start sometime by someone! Don’t be afraid to start your own…time flies and before you know it your great-grandchildren will be reminiscing about years past at Grammy’s and how she always had Lord ? displayed in her kitchen…

The matching pajamas she gifted every Christmas eve and how she made everyone shower and primp Christmas morning for family pictures before they could open presents…

The 9’ tree adorned with priceless ornaments given to their grandparents by their great-great grandmother!

Sticking with “traditions” is the way to go for so many reasons…

1) It cuts down on the cost of the holiday. Decorating for any holiday can be expensive…especially if you change your decor every year trying to keep up with the latest “fads.”

Years ago I contemplated changing out the colors in these bannister wreaths to blue and silver…

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My daughter promptly reminded me that “gold and red” are traditional colors…she was right. I would have regretted spending a lot of money just to follow the “in” thing that year.
I ended up making a simple Christmas box with blue and silver and that pretty much fulfilled my desire to jump on the blue and silver decorwagon…

2) Your kids and grandkids won’t remember every gift you gave them but they will never forget the “traditions.” Whether it is the Christmas pajamas, a favorite dessert, the priceless ornaments. They don’t forget traditions…

3) While my “same-ole-same ole” holiday decor may seem a tad boring, decorating for the holiday is super simple since I pretty much know where everything goes and how everything is decorated, year to year. Little changes. It cuts down on the stress of holiday. I may pick up a few pillows or a knick-knack here and there if something strikes my fancy but most of it stays the same…i.e. easy and stress free.

This year I picked up a few “grey” holiday pillows for the couch…

But the guest bath is the “same-ole-same-ole.” I store a few trinkets under the vanity and pull it out…a festive candle, a little snowman, holiday hand towels, a holiday soap dispenser and a festive wreath I hang over the boxwood wreath. It takes me all of 2 minutes to “decorate” the guest bath.

4)Decorating for Christmas falls on the same day every year…without fail. The Friday after Thanksgiving. We fill the house with Christmas music, Brian heads to the storage building to pick up boxes while I take down all the fall decorations, and all day Friday and most of Saturday is spent decking the halls…and walls…and shelves. There is never a question of when we will find time to get ready for the holiday. Again, I may pick up a little something here and there throughout the season…but the bulk of it gets done that weekend.

Sticking with “traditional decor” (red, gold, green, silver) makes it easy to blend new with old if I see something that strikes my fancy!

5) I have no doubt that if the time comes when I can’t decorate my home myself, SOMEONE could step in and do it for me. Since little changes, all my kids know exactly how mom likes her mantle, the tree and her kitchen decorated. HOPEFULLY one of them will step up to the plate and take over the job if I am unable. Morbid? Maybe…but such is life…the day will come.

Keep the holiday decor simple and stick primarily with “traditional” vs. “the latest fad.”

These are my tips for enjoying this amazing season!

The grey couch....

If you remember, I had a booger of a time with my living room couch purchase. I ended up purchasing the “Michael” by Younger Furniture.

A year later, I love it!

One of my biggest concerns was the fact that it is grey. I wasn’t sure at the time if I was really going to like having a “grey” couch. Not grey-grey, but grey enough that I was afraid it would be dull or too trendy…or just “too.”

I felt at the time I was breaking my cardinal rule of going “trendy” on a big ticket purchase.

Truth is, it is a chameleon…it pretty much changes with whatever I throw at it. When I first got it, I had my Christmas decor up…and it looked great.

After the holidays I threw my teal and floral pillows and a teal throw on it and it looked just as awesome. (No photo…wow I need to take more pictures!)

Fall…oranges, yellows, greens, browns…wasn’t sure it was going to cut it.

But it did!

I love that it can take any color I throw at it! After the holidays I am considering transitioning to another color pallet in the living room…maybe a navy blue or olivey green. Don’t know yet but I know that whatever I do, the couch will not be a factor!

(You can see the transformations of grandmother’s chair here, the Drexel coffee table here, the club chair and ottoman here, the round walnut table here, and the large mirror over the couch here. )

And it really did turn out to be quite comfy.

Which brings me to the point I have often made…on big ticket purchases, stay neutral. I love the deep green and vibrant blue velvet couches. Beautiful! And if you KNOW you will love that couch for years to come, I say go for it. But if you just aren’t certain or you know you will want to regularly change up the look of your decor, stay neutral on the “big ticket” items and let your pillows, accent chairs, rugs, wall decor, throws, etc dictate the decor. Those elements can be easily and relatively inexpensively changed to make a big impact on the feel and look of a room!


Decorating for fall and Mr. Jinx....

Since it is time to decorate for fall and Halloween I thought I would take a minute and formally introduce one of my “rescues.” Mr. Jinx…

All fall decors should include a black cat…right?

I shared pictures of him last year at Christmas…black cats are super tough to photograph. When I look at pictures of him I understand why black is a “slimming” color…he is WAAAAY bigger than this picture reveals. The kids say he is fat…I argue he is just big boned and really fluffy.

Half the time his little fangs are showing…he can’t help it…he has big fangs. Kinda scary looking but super cute when he is stretched out on his back asleep with his little fangs and tongue sticking out…

I have more than a few pictures of him on my Iphone!


Funny story about how I acquired this kitty. He hung around the apartments for months…I knew he wasn’t a feral kitty because he was super friendly. He would rub against your legs and then roll over for a tummy rub. He loves to have his tummy rubbed!

One day I was sitting in my car talking with my manager and mentioned that we should probably take him to the shelter since he was a super friendly and beautiful kitty and someone would certainly adopt him. About that time he jumped in my car and made himself at home on my shoulder.

What was I to do?

Naturally I couldn’t bring him straight home since I didn’t know what I would be exposing my other cats to…so I took him to my vet and had him tested for all kitty diseases. Clean. My vet thought he was about 2 years old and because of his size probably a Maine Coon.

I told the vet to neuter him and give him shots.

At that point I had a small fortune invested in this cat…so I couldn’t very well take him to the shelter.

What was I to do?

Brian was NOT happy that I brought home another cat…

So I told Brian we would foster him. I promptly named him Mr. Jinx…because, well, he’s black…and black cats are suppose to be jinxed right?

This was two weeks before Christmas so with the whole family and their dogs here and all the chaos that goes with the holidays, Mr. Jinx’s nerves kicked in.

Another visit to the vet, a few nights stay, a staggering vet bill…now I REALLY had a small fortune invested in this cat.

What was I to do?

I couldn’t very well just GIVE him away…right?

Brian was still not happy there was another cat in the house (seriously, I only have four…that isn’t TOO many, right?)

But after the holidays, calm was restored and Mr. Jinx settled in…and promptly fell as madly in love with me as I was with him.

Two years later we are still “fostering” him…truth be told, you would have to pry this cat out of my cold, dead hands.

EVERYONE loves Mr. Jinx…even the dogs. He is the coolest, most chill cat I have ever owned…and while Molly was a tough cat to top, he ranks right up there with one of the best cats EVER!

Even Brian has fallen in love with this kitty!

What was he to do…lol!

DECORATING FOR FALL!

It is really tough for me to break out the fall decor when it is still in the 90s every day. But it’s my rule…the week before we leave for our annual trip to Colorado, I decorate for fall.

HOPEFULLY, when we get home it will be a bit cooler. Rarely. Usually I have to put the jeans and Ugg boots back in the depths of the closet for a few more weeks. But the decorating is done and I can sit back and enjoy my favorite time of the year!

Not much changes from year to year…a few years ago I painted these little pumpkins and changed up the window decor…

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Refurbished pumpkins, deer antlers, fall picks…nothing fancy! Still like this little vignette so it won’t change this year!

A few weeks ago I changed out the dining room light fixture

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I love the new fixture and I love even more that I can still add the fall garland!

I’ve added a few new elements to the den mantel…a tall vase and new candle sticks….

…but the garland and Mr. Owl are still the focal points. The same but different!

The entry…usually void of much because I still haven’t “decorated” it after it’s little makeover…but it’s a great place to infuse a little fall decor…

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The seasonal box I featured here…still one of my favorite super simple projects!

I changed out a few pillows and throws….

Even grandmother’s chair got a little pop of fall…

Every year I find pieces of garland, wreaths and picks at the bottom of my storage tubs…I just scatter them here and there for little touches of fall!

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Again, little changes, but I love it all the same!

So many don’t decorate for fall because of the cost of buying “stuff.” As I have mentioned before, I usually hit the home decor stores at the end of the season (which seems to be before Halloween these days) and pick up a few things here and there for pennies on the dollar! You may not get to enjoy it for a long time this year, but you will get to enjoy it for years to come!

This is also one reason I strongly recommend sticking with “traditional” vs. “fad” seasonal decor. As much as you might love those teal pumpkin pillows and chevron throws, I promise you won’t love them in a few short years.

I actually bought teal pumpkin pillows this year…

….knowing that I will tire of them quickly. No biggy…they have good forms I know I can reuse in the future!

There is no harm in spending a little money on the latest “fads” but be selective and thrifty. Create small vignettes with the latest trends but don’t blow your entire seasonal budget on it! And check out the blogs and Pinterest…there are thousands of nifty ideas for inexpensive seasonal projects that take little time, effort or money!

Fall may not be “in the air” just yet, but it is certainly “in the house.” Maybe this year it will actually feel like fall outside when we get home!

Finally...painted walls!

I finally did it...I painted the walls in the main living areas! 

Over a year ago I seriously contemplated painting the downstairs living areas. I called my painter friend and set up a time for him to paint while we were on vacation! I painted samples all over the walls...and promptly cancelled the painter and painted over the sample spots with the same ole' "Cream" paint color that has been on the walls for 19 years.

I just couldn't pull the trigger! I know one of the issues was my inability to commit to a paint color. The other issue is my inability to admit I am just getting too old to tackle these big projects.

But last year I painted my master bedroom SW Nuance (a much smaller project, but a butt-kicker all the same!) I then used the same color in the guest room makeover.

I really love it. It contrasts nicely with the Swiss Coffee trim but it's not so dark that it over powers the room. It seems to be the perfect back drop for any decor accent I want to add in a room.

After living with this new paint color in my bedroom for a bit, I kinda sorta thought I might like it in the living areas. I called my painter friend and rescheduled.

It is no secret that major changes are tough for me...so the fact that I picked a paint that wasn't TOO different from what I had before isn't surprising.

While it isn't a HUGE difference, it is indeed different. The original color was "SW Cream" and it was definitely on the "yellow" spectrum. The Nuance is more of a very light "griege" ...one shade lighter than Useful Grey on the color chart! 

You can really see the difference on the walls side by side....

When it was all said and done, I really love it...it looks clean and fresh. While I had everything off the cabinets and walls I took the opportunity to deep clean (OMGosh there was some nasty gunk lurking behind and beneath!) and rethink all the stuff I had adorning the walls and cabinet tops! 

I removed the "heirloom china" from the dining room walls and pass throughs and a few knick-knacks and china plates from the cabinet tops...not huge changes but enough to open it up a bit.

One of my favorite changes was the dining room art...

Several years ago I painted the frames and changed the mats...but I was never a huge fan of the actual prints. 

A few weeks ago I bought some botanical prints at an auction. They are numbered prints by Kate Nesslar (Google her!) and they really are beautiful! I removed the not-so-pretty black and gold matting and they fit perfectly in the red mat! And they look awesome!

I don't know why picking a paint color is so hard for me...paint is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to make a big change...and the best thing is if you don't like the color, no biggy...just repaint it. 

Hiring something to do what I could have easily done myself ten years ago is another toughy.

But in the end, I can't believe I waited this long to make this change and I certainly don't regret hiring someone else to do it for me!

The next big chore on my list of home improvements is the tub/shower in the master bath! I want to take out the whirlpool tub (that I have literally used MAYBE 3 times in 19 years) and add a large walk in shower. And that my friends will get hired out as well!

Getting older has a few advantages...

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Gel stain tutorial on table makeovers...

I did it again...dove head straight into a project without taking a "before" picture. But at least this time I got an "inbetween" picture!

These little tables were simple makeovers. I picked up the side table at an auction a few weeks ago. Got it for a few dollars because, well, it was nasty, the color is pretty putrid AND the top had come unglued.

No biggy for me. I glued and clamped the top, then I sanded off the old finish on it. Yes, you heard me right, I sanded it. Two reason...first, I got glue on the top when I repaired it and stain will not adhere to glue. Second, it is solid wood and I knew I couldn't do a lot of damage to it. Light sanding...220 grit! Just enough to remove the old finish and glue residue.

I got the drop leaf table from my neighbors. I told you I am the dumping ground for neighborhood furniture...it just "appears." Again, the top is solid so I gave it a light sanding.

I knew I wanted to paint both tables but as always I have to have my fix of stained wood. So I used gel stain on both tops. 

Gel stain is SUPER easy to apply IF you use the right technique and product. As I have said before the ONLY gel stain I will use is General Finishes. It is not a brand the big box improvement stores carry so I usually order mine on Amazon. I have tried other gel stains and have not been happy with the results. The General Finishes brand never disappoints. I have used both the Java and Brown Mahogany colors.

I am going to share how I gel stain...it is a super easy application process and perfect for real wood or even that cheapo fake stuff you find on the ends of cabinets. Since it goes on fairly translucent, the wood grain (real or fake) will show through.

I have used this process on cabinets, tables, dresser tops and drawer fronts....some I have stripped down to bare wood, others I simply applied it over the existing finish.  It is a great process to use on any project where you want "stain" but know you might not get a good result by completely stripping the piece and applying penetrating stain!

First step for ANY makeover (after repairs of course)...give the piece a good cleaning. In this case, since both tops were solid wood, I also gave them a good sanding. Sanding is NOT necessary but you want to make sure that any old finish is stable and somewhat smooth. So if your old finish is flaking or a bit rough, sand it smooth with 220 grit paper.

You will need....

The gel stain...again, I ONLY use General Finishes. A quart will cost you around $30+ but it seriously goes a loooong way!!! If you just have a small project, get a pint. I have found that it doesn't store well.

The gel stain top coat...in this case I used the GF Poly wipe-on top coat. But I have used a spray on Polyurethane and Polycrylic and they work just as well. 

Disposable rubber gloves. I always have those on hand. Just the cheap latex gloves you buy in a box so you can toss when finished.

Old athletic socks. Again, I keep a stash on hand. Any time I find old socks at thrift stores or garage sales I buy them. They are perfect for applying any type of stain or finish and I can toss them when I am finished.

That's it...a relatively short list of supplies!

The trick to applying gel stain is to remember it is suppose to be somewhat "translucent." Put on a rubber glove, then an old sock over the glove...dip you finger tips into the gel stain and wipe the gel stain on the piece with the grain. The first coat will look like crud so don't try to get perfect solid coverage! Just wipe it on LIGHTLY WITH THE GRAIN....do not "glob" it or apply it thick...it is NOT paint. I usually wipe it on, then use the clean side of the sock to give it one final wipe WITH THE GRAIN...working edge to edge. 

THE FIRST COAT WILL LOOK LIKE CRUD!!!! I can not stress this enough...you are better to go light than to try to make the first coat look decent. It is not going to! If you can't see the grain through the coat of stain, it is WAY to thick.

Now, let that dry over night. Then do it again. New glove, new sock. Wipe on a second LIGHT COAT! The second coat will look a tad better, but not great. THAT IS OKAY. Keep it light and translucent! 

Let the second coat dry over night. Then with a new glove and sock, apply the third coat. NOW it should look good. The stain should allow the grain to show through!

If you feel like you have messed up....too thick, too streaky, just don't like it...you can still wash this stain off with mineral spirits if you haven't applied a top coat! 

Let the third coat dry overnight. If you are happy with the look, apply your top coat. Again, I used the GF gel wipe on poly on these tables...super easy to apply. Rubber glove, sock, wipe on. As simple as it sounds. You may want to apply 2-3 coats of the finish...especially on tops or cabinets that get a lot of use...just make sure you wipe it down with 0000 steel wool and tack cloth between coats. You will get a nice smooth finish that way!

Presto, bingo! This really is an easy application IF you don't overthink it and try to get a decent looking finish on the first and second coat...if you do, you will put the gel stain on too thick and I promise you won't be happy with it! My neighbor, Tammy, tried this process on a little side table...and sure enough she put the stain on too thick...it did not turn out well! Each coat should be light and "translucent." 

After I let the top coat dry well for a few days, I painted the rest with chalk paint...a light distressing with 220 grit sand paper and sealed with a spray on polyurethane. Again, sometimes I use polyurethane, sometimes polycrylic. I find that the urethane tends to "yellow" and give the piece a bit of an aged look...which is kind of what I was going for here. The polycrylic is a true clear coat and won't alter the color of the paint or yellow with time.

(As you can see the sun was very bright the day I tried to get decent pictures of these two tables...trust me that was the ONLY day this past week that it wasn't dreary, raining or cold as crud. I even had to cover my hostas this week to protect them from a freeze...and they are predicting another freeze this weekend...grrr!)

My recipe for chalk paint is 5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris, 3 tablespoons of water, mix well then add two cups of flat latex paint. I usually paint two thin coats, then sand and seal.

Cute as a bugs ear and ready for another generation of use!

This week I decided I am getting too old and tired to paint my own house. I actually hired someone to paint my living room, kitchen and den! Ten years ago I would never have paid someone to do something like that! 

But just the process of getting ready to paint creates a mess and is exhausting!

This, my friends, is the reality of home improvement...normally we bloggers only share the beautifully styled and perfect "after." Truth is, most projects make a mess!

I'm a pretty clean person...or so I thought until I moved things that haven't been moved in years...yuck! 

I'm painting my living areas the same color I used in the master bedroom and guest room....SW Nuance. I'm a little nervous about painting these rooms a different color...I told you, change is hard for me. But I have lived with this color in those two rooms and I THINK I will like it! The painter will be here around 10 so there is no turning back now!

Hopefully the weather will take a turn for the better and I can finish and share a few fun projects I have waiting in the wings next week!

Until then....

The couch saga...

As I mentioned in this post, I custom ordered a new couch...in MAY...after MONTHS of shopping!!! (And we all know how much I hate to shop!) It was suppose to arrive in 8 weeks, but it took 10 weeks because my sales person went on vacation for two weeks and no one submitted the order. Thank goodness patience comes with age.

So it arrived in August....

I REALLY loved this couch...evident by the fact that I was patient AND I paid a small fortune for it.

HOWEVER, it had one major flaw. Because of the fabric choice, there were seams in the cushion and on the front of the couch.

One of the main reasons I special ordered an expensive couch was because I wanted the "seamless and clean" look of a single cushion. 

So for over two months I went back and forth with the store and the manufacturer. Fortunately for me, the digital "mock up" of the couch with that fabric did not show any seams...which gave me grounds to return it. But I didn't want to return it, I wanted THIS couch. It was super comfortable and the fabric was the perfect "creamy" with just a hint of "sparkle."

So I had the manufacturer send me several yards of the fabric to see if maybe I would like the fabric weave running "vertical" vs. "horizontal" which would eliminate the seams.

It only took two months to get the fabric sample. Only....

And then...hum...I just didn't know. So I went back to the store and looked at more fabric. Couldn't find one I liked so I decided to bite the bullet and have them rebuild the couch running the fabric "vertical," eliminating the seams. 

And then I waited...for over three weeks I waited THINKING the couch was on re-order. When I called to get an ETA, I was told they had not even ordered it yet.

This, my friends, is what they call "the end of my rope." 

Needless to say, I returned the couch and started over.

Which means I was not going to have a couch for the holidays. 

Several weeks before Thanksgiving I ordered a couch, "butt unfelt" (you know what I mean ladies!), that was suppose to "5 day quick ship.". While it did in fact ship in 5 days, it took the shipping company 3 weeks to deliver it. No, I did not have the couch for Thanksgiving.

The new couch? Well, I can't say I LOVE it...I love the style and have admired this couch many times online...it is the Younger "Michael" couch. A tad retro...single cushion, a tiny bit of tufting. The fabric selection was limited on the "quick ship" option so I picked a neutral fabric I could live with. Only the "standard" seat cushion was available in the "quick ship" and honestly, It's not as comfy as I would like. Again, I can't say I am madly in LOVE with the fabric and feel of the couch, but I certainly don't hate it. 

The upside is that it wasn't terribly expensive... and since I am not "in love" with this sofa, I won't feel terribly guilty about giving it to one of the kids in 5-6-7 years.

This week Christmas goes back to storage and then I tend to "hibernate" for a couple of months. It is just too cold to get much done. But I have already eyed a few projects I want to do inside...and I have a few projects I haven't shared. 

Happy New Year! Celebrate smart and stay safe!

 

 

 

The miracle chairs...

Even after years of proving I can turn just about any "trash" into a little "treasure," I think Brian still raises an eyebrow from time to time.

Such was the case with these chairs....

We went to a farm auction and these chairs had been tossed into an old barn, only to see the light of day when the auctioneer dug them out and sold them...to me!

What would possess me? They were literally caked with nastiness and two were in pieces. But I saw the potential (and of course the old mud dauber nests and spiders and bugs!). 

Rarely will I take a hose to a piece of wood furniture...but I had no choice. Even then I had to scrub them with a strong detergent and steel wool.

Then I pulled nails, scraped old glue, cut out broken spindles and removed splintered veneer.

Then I had to clamp and glue everything back together. One chair was missing a side apron so I cut a new one and secured it in place with glue and my Kreg jig! 

My original plan was to prime and paint them. They still had a few rough spots and I knew I wouldn't get a pristine finish I would be happy with so I decided to do a chalk paint and distress finish on them! Always a good choice for a piece that has a few "boo-boos!" 

I think the boo-boos and the distressed finish give the chairs "aged character." After recovering the seats on the two Duncan Phyfe style chairs and making a new seat for the other, I think they turned out pretty sweet.

My plan is to stage them with this trestle table I will be taking into 410 Vintage this week, just in time for the holidays! 

Just in time for Brian and me to take our annual trek to Colorado! I can't wait...two days of fly fishing, several days of sight-seeing and maybe even a day of gambling in Central City! The forecast shows the temps in the 50s and 60s so I will be packing my coat and Uggs! One thing is for sure, I always come home recharged and ready to enjoy my favorite season

I made a few changes to my fall decorating this year...one being these little pumpkins...

I added a few silk sunflowers, a fall garland, fall picks and deer antlers (yes, my kids killed them....ick!).

Not sure I am loving this little vignette but I have a few more months to make changes and additions!

 

Mirror, mirror, on the wall....

I gave up trying to come up with clever blog titles a loooong time ago, but I just couldn't resist!

Mirrors are the simplest way to add wall decor, light and depth to a room. In other words, if you have a small dark room, hang a mirror!

My master bedroom is a pretty large room and it gets tons of natural light but I am in the process of making a few changes. I have a really awesome antique mirror hanging out in my garage that may fit into the plan.

I use mirrors in just about every room of my house....

The living room (featured here)....

The den...

My home office....

And this fun little mirror hanging in a small corner of my room...

The change? Well, I am finally getting around to buying new chairs for my master bedroom. I originally intended to reupholster the chairs I have...

But as you can see, they are very large...and they are "matchy-matchy" which is something I am moving away from. Truth be told, I just don't like them any more!

While I was hunting for a new couch for the living room, I looked at a few chairs that might work in this space.

First, let me explain "this space." When the kids were younger, I added the den so we would have two living spaces. When they got a bit older (and louder), I added a large master suite with this awesome sitting area so we would have someplace to escape to.

Of course, now the kids are gone and we have this amazing sitting area in our bedroom and two living spaces. Um, no, we don't need all this space. Truthfully, we rarely use the sitting area in the master bedroom these days...but my oldest daughter really wants these two large club chairs...and well, it's just time to make a change!

So the hunt for the perfect chairs commenced.....

Two caught my eye, so this week I went back to the store and ordered them both....

This one is a leather recliner. A little bit of information about myself...I DO NOT do recliners. First, they are usually very bulky and unsightly. Second, I have an unfortunate history with recliners...hence, they seem to set off a form of PTSD. I don't really want to share, but suffice it to say, I swore there would never be a recliner in my home.

But I kind of like this one...it is very different from your typical barcalounger recliner and I really didn't find it the least bit offensive. It has a USB port and Brian thinks it is super comfy, so this will be "his" chair.

My chair is actually a "feed me a grape" kinda thing....

Perfect for those nights when my back won't let me lay in bed any longer or cold winter afternoons when I just want to curl up with a blanket and a good book!

I really didn't need an ottoman since Brian will have the recliner but I wanted to be able to stretch out.  This one fits the bill...and it is super comfy!

Which brings me to the mirror in the garage (see, I eventually get around to my point!) 

Months ago I bought a MCM dresser with a mirror. It had obviously been exposed to heat from a fire because the finish had a little bit of "bubbling" and it was covered in soot. I took off the mirror, cleaned up the dresser and sold it. 

These days dressers WITH mirrors just aren't the "in thing" so I kept the mirror and gave it a little makeover with the intent to sell it. The finish was damaged...and of course it was pretty "dark and dank."

I chalk painted it with an off-white paint and distressed it a bit. But I really didn't like the look of it...it just seemed too "white."

So I decided to give it a little "glaze" treatment with some stain. I wiped on pecan stain and then wiped it off. It gave the finish a nice "aged" look. After glazing the entire frame of the mirror, I sealed it with polycrylic and reattached the little medallions.

The mirror is "not my style" (again, whatever the heck that is! Eclectic?) and of course I will have to hang it higher...right now I just stuck it up where the old picture was to see if I MIGHT like it there...don't know. Truth is, I will have to wait until the new chairs are in place.

But my whole rambling point is this...you don't have to live with "dark and dank." Mirror frames can easily be painted. Even if the frame isn't quite "your style" a little paint can go a long way to making a simple cast off mirror a nice statement piece for your room! And trust me, if you have priced mirrors lately, you might want to rethink that thrift store gold framed mirror or that old dresser mirror!

Whether you paint it a bright, solid color or give it a little "aged look" treatment, mirrors are easy to change to fit any decor!

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