Organizing one tiny step at a time!

This time of the year the blogs are filled with organizing tips. They are all great but man, can they be overwhelming! 

They feed into our desire to get our lives and homes in order. So I thought I would share a few TINY things I have done in each room of the house that have, in one way or another, made my life a tad simpler. Nothing major or earth shattering...just little things you can do that don't require a pickup load of storage boxes or a week of total madness in your quest to "get it right."

So I walked around my house with my camera and asked myself...what in THIS room makes my life a little easier.

First...my bedroom. Getting my bedroom the way I love it was a looooong process that I revealed here. But there is one tiny element that makes my life a little simpler....

This tiny little change to the outlet next to my bed was super simple to install (here I share how to install one!) and has made my bedtime ritual so much easier. I can still have my clock and lamp plugged in while charging my phone and Ipad.....zero hassle! 

My office...I have a ton of organizing tips for home office spaces, but my absolute favorite is simple...binders!

These are just a few I keep at my finger tips...on a shelf in my closet I also have binders for home and car insurance documents, tax returns, legal papers, etc. Since I have a business, all my receipts and invoices get tossed in a paper box each month and at the end of the year stored in the attic...just in case the IRS comes knocking! Super simple "filing" system! But the documents I need on a regular basis are kept in binders at my finger tips!

The toilet paper holder. Okay, this may seem silly but if you have ever had a puppy, kitten or toddler, you know the struggle....the daily ritual of cleaning up the toilet paper that has been "unrolled!" I discovered this little trick with my last kitten...

Install an "open ended" toilet paper holder vertically rather than horizontally. Not only does it take away the entertainment value of "unrolling" the paper it makes it super simple to replace the roll!

See, I told you these were simple little changes...

On to the laundry room. I have said time and again, I like pretty but it has to have function. One of my favorite little things to collect are the old Lane cedar boxes. Some believe they are old "sample" boxes used by Lane salesmen for their cedar chest line. Not so! They were actually little cedar boxes Lane gave away to girls when they graduated from high school to entice them to buy a large Lane cedar chest. I find them all the time at auctions and in flea markets. A quick strip with my acetone/lacquer thinner mixture and a few coats of tung oil and they are as good as new...and super pretty!

I use one to hold dryer sheets in my laundry room and I also have one on my dresser for reading glasses and such and one in my den to hold the remotes. Pretty with a purpose!

Which brings me to my kitchen. So many neat little ways I have made this space much more functional and organized, but I chose to share one of my few loves that really serve little purpose...my cutting boards....

Here and here I share how super simple it is to revive old cutting boards! Except for the one I use as a recipe holder, they really serve no purpose because I don't use wood cutting boards. But I love the warmth and whimsy they add to kitchen!

In the den a few more of my favorites "with a purpose!" When I started seeing all the "old work benches" being repurposed in the blogosphere I remembered I had my dad's old tool bench stuck back in a storage shed. I pulled it out and gave it a little makeover! It is one of the few "primitive" pieces I feature in my home. Because it was actually built and used by my dad, I LOVE it!!!

It is relatively small and doesn't take up a lot of space and serves as a perfect little side table next to the lounge chair in the den! 

Coffins...again, morbid sounding, I know. But they aren't REALLY coffins, that is just what they are called! I have several and I use them for storing fire wood, photo albums and books!

Another super simple "makeover" project that yields "pretty with a purpose!"

I did manage one major "purge" this year...partially out of necessity. When I redid my entry this year I created a dust bowl that forced me to remove a 30 year collection of hardback books for cleaning and I decided it was time to finally let go! Over 150 books found a new home and my bookcases finally found room to breath! 

I kept the collections of two of my favorite authors but the rest were boxed up and given to a friend.

Truthfully, I haven't missed them and now I think twice before spending money on another hardback. I still read, I just don't "buy to have"...I buy paperbacks I can leave for others or I download them on my Kindle. 

I will say that getting rid of clutter, a real heart wrenching purge and declutter, is ESSENTIAL to making your house a home. Maybe one or all of these tips will make that process a little easier!

A special birthday celebration!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know my dog has become my "fifth child." Yep...that is what happens when you become an "empty nester." You take and post waaaay too many pictures of your animals and, of course, you celebrate their birthdays!

Wednesday we celebrated Cleo's 2nd birthday! If you go by "dog years," I officially have another teenager!

Our grandpuppy, Zoey, came to celebrate with us!

They LOVED the pup treats...the hats, not so much! Zoey wouldn't even wear one for a picture....party pooper!

And of course I have a TON of projects in the pipeline....three chairs to reupholster, five little dressers to repair and rehab and who knows how many other little projects piled in the back of the garage!

I did get a few pieces finished and ready to take to 410 Vintage...this shelf/desk is only one of many...but as usual I either forget to take before OR after pictures...in this case, the before.

Imagine honey oak...eeeck! A little KSTP treatment, and again, another lifetime of awesomeness!

I know I harp on it, but it bears repeating. The ugliest piece of furniture can be dolled up with a little paint! 

I have four dressers lined up in the driveway ready to strip and paint IF the weather will cooperate. I think that is one of the biggest problems this time of the year. One day it is 70, the next we have a freeze warning. So I shuffle stuff around and work on what I can depending on the weather. Some days it is too cold or windy to paint, so I use those days to do repairs or work inside on upholstery projects. Then when it warms up a bit, I paint, but if it is too windy I can't spray paint. Curses!

Not going to complain because in few short months I will be gripping about the heat! And honestly, this is what I love about Arkansas...four seasons! I just wish it would make up it's mind from one day to the next!

A few simple chair makeovers!

I usually have several chairs piled in my garage waiting on a makeover. The reason they get "piled" is because most require, at the very least, a smidge of sewing. My LEAST favorite thing to do! (Okay, root canals are pretty bad, but at least they give you drugs!) I usually wait until I have 2-3 projects that need sewing before I drag out the sewing table and get it all done at once! 

Right now I still have two of the mid century dining chairs waiting to be refinished...no sewing needed, but they are small and tend to get pushed aside...time and again.

And honestly, I had intended to refinish these and keep them but that plan didn't work out so I refinished and sold two of them! 

I have a mid century lounge chair I desperately want to refinish and reupholstery, but I bought it to keep so I have no doubt the selection of an appropriate upholstery will take months!

I did manage to get two chairs finished over the last few weeks.

The first is a simple little maple chair I picked up at Salvation Army.

A "tired and tattered" little thing to say the least. 

I decided to go simple...a little chalk paint and distress on the frame (followed by a coat of poly to seal it) and drop cloth for the seat. This is the first time I have used gimp for trim, but it turned out nice. I just hot glued it over the gathered skirt. 

I didn't even bother to make a back cushion...I like the look of the wood slats!

This cain chair was a tad more complex. Naturally I completely forgot to take a "before" picture until I had already started deconstructing it! But I have no doubt you have run across them in thrift stores and garage sales...a dime a dozen and pretty much what they are worth in their current state! The real gem is finding one with all the caning in tact!

I really was at a loss as to what to do with this chair...until my daughter suggested I do it in blue and gold! Actually, she suggested teal, but I found this blue and white material I really loved! She was right about the gold...it is all the "rage" right now and becoming very popular!

After removing the seat and all the upholstery, I primed the entire chair with Kilz, sanded and wiped it down with tack cloth. Then I sprayed it with white spray paint! After that had cured well, I taped off the legs and sprayed them with metallic gold spray paint. I wasn't sure whether I wanted to keep the tufting on the back but I sprayed the buttons and reused them. They didn't really turn out "gold" like I had hoped...more a "brownish" color, but honestly, close enough. I used metallic gold bias tape to make the piping and the double welting (Here is a tutorial on making piping out of bias tape!) A simple little process, but again, it does require hauling out the sewing machine (ick!) 

Again, I could provide a step by step tutorial on "reupholstering" these simple little chairs, but there are dozens of tutorials on line (including video tutorials) that are ten times better than anything I can do. And every chair is different, so find a tutorial that makes sense to you AND has a chair similar to what you have! This is the very first chair I ever tackled. Knowing what I know now, I can do better. I can honestly say that I learn something new every time I tackle a project like this and regardless of the little imperfections here and there, they always end up WAY better than what I started with!

I tend to be a tad on the OCD side when it comes to projects...but I have learned that nothing is ever going to be perfect! And again, as my very wise Daddy use to say "You'll never notice it on a passing train!"

Which reminds me...Happy Father's Day Daddy! It has been twenty years (this month), but some days it seems like we just talked yesterday. I wish you were here to see all the things I have learned to do. All because you taught me that working with my hands (and my head) and making something out of nothing really can be rewarding! I know you would be proud! Thank you.... and I miss you! 

Happy Father's Day to all the great men out there who are blessed with kiddos!!! Be the man you want your son to be and be the man you want your daughter to marry ;) 

Display hutch...before and after!

Brian has long since stopped questioning my purchases at auctions. I think he has developed a little bit of faith in my ability to make something out of nothing. But occasionally I do question myself. I must have subconscious flashes of inspiration that, in the stark light of day, are forgotten because occasionally I will look at a piece I brought home and think "WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!" 

This would be one of those pieces....

It's not a horrible piece...it's just very "ho-hum." Not an antique or even remotely interesting. Just...well...boring.... for lack of a better word.

Basically just a  "pine and particle board" piece that is pretty dated...seriously, hunter green?

The upside to this piece is it did not need any major repairs...just a few nuts and bolts tightened here and there. The stained top, shelves and crown where in good shape and didn't need to be refinished.

Honestly, it just needed a little "facelift." A brighter color to update it a bit! I taped and papered off the stained areas, removed the ugly wooden knobs and gave it a little KSTP treatment (Kilz, sand, tack cloth and paint!) 

My favorite teal spray paint and simple little black knobs and we are good to go!!!

I even "displayed" a few of my auction finds just so the pictures would have a tiny bit more interest! This piece would be an awesome addition to a kid's room, an office, or even in a kitchen!

Again, this is one of those "boring" or "dated" pieces you probably have floating around your house. Whether it be bedroom furniture, a little table,  an old dresser, or even a dated light fixture, a couple of hours and a few cans of spray paint can make all the difference. You don't have to be even remotely creative...just find your inspiration and go for it!!!

I have a garage full of projects I have been working on since the weather warmed a bit! I can't wait to share...something for everyone!


Simple piano bench makeover.....

This will be my last post until after the New Year. Just too many things going on between now and then...Christmas with the family and all the craziness that entails...falling asleep before midnight on the New Year's Eve...and of course the cold weather that makes it a little difficult to do too much outside!

My family will be arriving Christmas eve. Sarah and her family...the boys driving in from Phoenix! Before then, I have several days of baking and house cleaning to do! Lots of fun and excitement. I also have a few new "things" happening after the New Year that I will share in due time. 

So many wonderful changes going on around here!

So...the last project of 2014 is a simple little project that anyone over the age of 40 will appreciate! 

In the warmer months I pretty much live in flip-flops! This is the time of the year when I wear my boots almost every day and the older I get the harder it is to get those suckers on. I use to be able to steadily stand on one foot while I put on my shoes or boots...these days I tend to tip over. Not sure if it is the age or the weight...lol! And naturally there is the potential to be bowled over by a spastic dog or terrorized cat!

 I have the little ottoman by the chair in that room, but it is a tad low....

...God forbid I move the ottoman and sit in the chair!

When I found this little piano bench at an auction, I immediately knew it was the perfect size to set next to the closet so I would have a place to sit and put on my shoes.

I have reupholstered and refinished several little benches over the last year...naturally when I went looking for pictures I found I had a lot of "before" pictures and a few "after" pictures but never both of one bench...seriously, what is up with that!

This bench was in obvious need of a little "makeover." The top was in pretty rough shape but it was walnut veneer and the legs were pretty much mint after a little cleaning. Structurally it was sound and solid. 

I decided to strip and oil the top and paint the legs! 

First, I removed the top. I used the acetone/lacquer thinner mixture to quickly strip all the old varnish off the top. Took all of about 15 minutes. Then I applied 4 coats of tung oil, rubbing with steel wool and wiping with a tack cloth between each coat! 

I sprayed the legs with Kilz and after it dried I gave it a quick sanding and wiped it down with a tack cloth. Then I sprayed it with 2 coats of my favorite off-white spray paint.

Cute as a bugs ear!

It is the perfect height for sitting to put your shoes on and since it is a piano bench, the top lifts up for storage...perfect for boot brushes and cleaners! (Like I ever do that...that is what my OCD son is for) I didn't refinish or paint the inside...why bother! 

I have run across several old piano and sewing benches over the years. Sometimes I paint the tops or add upholstered cushions. The larger benches are perfect for the foot of the bed. Simple and perfect for storage for an extra blanket or shoe cleaning supplies.

Next time you run across an old beat up bench, use your imagination! This little makeover took less than one hour of actual "work." Trust me...when you hit forty, you will be glad you have someplace to sit while you put on your shoes!

I hope you all have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and may the New Year bring you happiness, health and wisdom! Trust me, if you have that, you have all the wealth you will ever need!

Goodbye 2014...thank you for the great times and the lessons I learned during the hard times.

Reflecting on 50 years of "decorating" life....

I started a post entitled 'Reflecting on 50 years of life."  I thought I might share all my "pearls" of wisdom. Really?  I, of all people, do not need to be giving life lessons...I'm 50 and still learning something new every day! Although I think if others would learn from MY mistakes, their lives would be a lot easier and pleasant. But truth is, everything you need to know to live a fulfilling life is either in the Bible or on Pinterest. Choose wisely (that is ONE of my "pearls"...ALWAYS choose wisely)

Anywho, I decided that I would be better off giving advice on how to make your home a place you will love. I'm not going to give you "decorator tips" because I am not a decorator...I am just a mom who has found a balance by trial and error. Besides, you can find REAL decorators all over the internet who will tell you how to decorate a room!

So here is some of what I know about "home interior decor".....

1) You won't ever wake up and say "THIS is perfect."  Your home is ever changing...families grow, kids get older, stuff gets out of date or worn...so embrace the ebb and flow of your changing life and go with it!

2) I give the same advice about major home decor purchases as I do cars...if I show you a stock and tell you that you will pay $40,000 for it today and I can GUARANTEE you it will be worth $20,000 next year, would you buy it?  Nope.  So why would you buy a brand new car or brand new anything? Personal property (furniture, cars, appliances) WILL depreciate.  Keep that in mind when making a home interior purchase.  Let someone else take the depreciation "hit" unless it is a piece you are madly in love with and you KNOW it will be in your home until...well, forever!  Here is a little trick I use sometimes...take the purchase price, divide it by the REAL number of years you think you will use that item...for example, my living room couch cost me $1500.  I knew I loved it and would use it for years...so far, I am going on 10.  So basically I paid $150 a year for this couch.  Yep, that is reasonable in my book! But the fact I have had it for 10 years is VERY unusual! Most people don't keep couches that long! Do the math...spend your money wisely!

3) With that advice in mind, whenever you can, buy used and make it your own!  Learn to paint...learn to refinish...learn to reupholster.  And if you just don't want to do that...or feel you can't...learn patience! Because I can promise you, that "vision" you have in your head for a new tv cabinet or bedroom set or chair will be out there at a garage sale or on craigslist or at a flea market....or seriously reduced at some point! 

I have wanted a coffee table like this for...well, decades.  But I never could find the EXACT coffee table I had in my mind...and when I did finally find it, it needed some attention!  But my patience and ability to DIY paid off...big time!

4) And with that in mind, NEVER BUY IT OR BRING IT HOME IF YOU DON'T SERIOUSLY LOVE IT! Or will love it with a little "tweeking," Because if you can look at it and say "Wow, I really love that!" there is a good chance it will be something you will still love years from now...you won't ever regret that purchase! My rule...if I have to think about it for more than 10 seconds, I don't need it! 

This tv cabinet was expensive...but I love it...it is 8-9 years old and I have NEVER regretted it or questioned the purchase. Great story. When I first fell in love with it, I really couldn't justify spending what they were asking...HOWEVER, they had one that was a "customer cancellation" and had a few VERY minor dings...at HALF the price of a new one. SOLD!  And the great thing was they had one of their experts fix the "dings!"

5) Use "fads" sparingly. Pillows, rugs, inexpensive pictures... basic accessories...can all be easily changed. So use "accessories" as a way to infuse "fads."  The big stuff...primarily furniture...should be something you LOVE and something you know you will probably love 10 years from now.  The only time I break that rule is if it is a second hand piece of furniture that is free or cheap that I am going to "repurpose" or "refinish"...knowing that next year I will pass it along to someone else, or repurpose or refinish it again!

As you can see in my living room I use pillows, framing and the rug to infuse the "blue and brown" that is currently all the rage.  In my den, I bought this little inexpensive side table at Salvation Army and stained and painted it.  

All can be changed or given away when I "change my style" without breaking the bank!

6) Keep "collecting" to a minimum.  Seriously, if you collect more than 1 or 2 things, choose one. Otherwise, it just becomes "clutter."  I collect hard back books.  And Lane Acclaim table...but those are part of my "timeless furniture" so I don't count them as a "collection." My point, "collections" can quickly become "clutter." 

7) If someone offers you a "family heirloom"...china, photos, knick-knacks, furniture...take it! Find a way to infuse it into your decor!  And if you just can't right now, store it away.  But take it!  My grandfathers' tools and leather case...my grandmothers' china...just a few heirlooms and THINGS I LOVE! and decorate with!

8) Pictures.  Photos of you, your family, your ancestors...surround yourself with them.  Find frames at garage sales and thrift stores and paint them...glue things to them...display them in groupings!  They are the people you love...surround yourself with them!

9) Pay attention to tips from designers.  There is a proper height for hanging pictures and a proper size rug...know them and follow those hard fast rules! I have a rug that is too small in my living room...I know it is too small and it bugs the heck out of me...which is why I just ordered a new, larger rug...can't wait to share!!!

10) Make your bedding a part of your "bedroom decor" and make it beautiful. You can buy beautiful, inexpensive bedding on Overstock and at T.J. Maxx and Marshall's. But more than anything keep it simple...and make your bed EVERY DAY! Simple is the key because if you have too much froo-froo and too many pillows you might be tempted to NOT make it because it is a tiresome chore!

IMPORTANT TIP!  Make your bedroom a "haven."  It should not be the room where you do book work, sew, fold clothes, scrapbook, etc...you should never go to bed or wake up to "work."  No matter how small your house is or how cramped you are for space, make it the one room in your house where you can "escape!"

11) Don't be afraid to TRY IT!!! If you see something you like on Pinterest, give it a shot! And if you just aren't the crafty/buildy/DIYER kinda person, find a few awesome flea markets and second hand stores to cruise through every so often...trust me, others are doing the DIY/Pinterest thing and usually you can find what you are looking for...but be PATIENT! 

12) Paint...there are so many tips and tricks to painting....again I could type a hundred posts on how to properly paint anything and everything...but they are already on the world wide web! But my best suggestion is to CHOOSE WISELY. And the only way to do that is to buy the samples pots and paint BIG swatches on your walls...then look at it...for days...or weeks...or whatever it takes to KNOW it is the color you want! I think I have shared how I choose my paint for my bedroom fireplace wall.  I THOUGHT I loved one color...but I kinda liked another too.  So I bought little samples of both, painted one half of the wall with each...and looked at it...for days.  Turns out, I liked the one I "kinda" liked better.  Had I gone with the one I thought I loved, I would have never been happy!

13) Shop thrift stores, flea markets, second hand stores, garage sales, auctions...be picky...be patient....you WILL find what you really love eventually!!!

14) DECLUTTER!!!  Clean out your closets, drawers, cabinets, pantries...GET RID OF STUFF! Don't have "stuff" just for the sake of having "stuff."  A few years ago, I opened up the cabinets under my book shelves...seriously, I bet I hadn't looked in there in 10 years.  You know what I found?  A lot of STUFF...and spiders...lots of spiders! I got rid of the stuff AND the spiders!

And before you bring more stuff home, or order it off QVC or Amazon, ask yourself..."Do I REALLY need this." Learn to distinguish between "need" and "want." And if it really isn't a "utility" item that you need, do you truly LOVE it? 

I watch those "hoarder" shows on TV and I don't get the sheer magnitude of it...because I can't understand the "mental illness" aspect of the whole thing.  But I do understand that we can get soooo caught up in the "wanties" and "gimees" and "Igottahavees" that we surround ourself with STUFF we really don't need. Or even want at some point.

It is one reason I strongly suggest using "fad" stuff sparingly in your decor....trust me, Chevron and burlap WILL go out of style...and your house will look like someone puked 2013 in your living room! It's cute...it can be fun to accent with...but use it sparingly and don't invest so much money in it that you don't feel like you can't get rid of it when it does go out of style!

EVERY SINGLE ITEM in your house should somehow enhance your life or have purpose...if it does not, get rid of it.

Am I guilty of breaking my own rules?  Are you KIDDING?  I'm just like everyone else...I make, and hopefully learn from my mistakes. I know that if I buy really expensive bedroom furniture because I just HAVE to have it right this minute, someday I will be stuck with furniture I don't really like but can't bare to part with because I paid a fortune for it! 

What do I love?  Heirlooms, furniture I was patient and waited for until I found THE perfect piece and the right price, stuff I paid little or nothing for and won't feel guilty kicking to the curb when I don't want it any more. I love my home because I have been very careful about surrounding myself with things that are timeless, things that have meaning (pictures, heirlooms, etc) and things I love. I still have a few "warts" here and there...and honestly, they are things I bought "on a whim" and/or paid too much for. But slowly I am trying to weed those things out!

ALWAYS keep your receipts.  And if it is something you can't return (from a garage sale or thrift store) make sure you pay so little you won't think twice about turning right around and donating it! 

And the NUMBER ONE RULE OF DECORATING YOUR HOME SO YOU WILL LOVE IT...get it clean and organized. Amazing how much more enjoyable your home will be when it is clean, decluttered and organized! 

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Bookcase round up....

Get it..."round up." Okay, seriously, I give up trying to come up with clever titles...they aren't clever, they are just corny! 

I love sniffing around thrift stores and flea markets.  I shop those stores like I shop for clothes and shoes....I walk through the store and wait for something to "jump out at me."  Unfortunately I have very little interest in clothes or shoes, but I LOVE unique and interesting pieces of furniture! 

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I have "googled" every possible description of this piece and can find nothing even close to it.  So I have no idea what style or period it is.  But I think it is so awesome and it gives me a unique and interesting way to display more of my book collection!  

 

I found this piece in the White Elephant Flea Market in Fayetteville and it is by far the most interesting piece I have ever discovered!  It was in mint condition so I didn't have to refinish it...and at $45, I thought it was a steal. 

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I rarely have time to just "leisurely" shop thrift stores and flea markets!  Normally I just drop in for a quick walk through to see if there is anything new and interesting...or something that catches my fancy.  You don't have to take an entire afternoon to dig through these stores...just pop in and walk through...if a piece wants to go home with you, it will make itself known.  For me, shopping in thrift stores and flea markets is like cleaning out a closet...if I have to look at something for more than 10 seconds and ponder its usefulness, I don't need it! 

For some people, and especially novice DIYers, it may take a little longer to "see through" the grunge or imagine how a piece can be repurposed....but over time you will find that the more you have to "think" about a piece, the less likely you are to like it no matter what you do with it.   

Happy hunting!!! 

Type A personalities should not blog......

It's not that I haven't been doing DIY projects for decades, it's that I have SOOOOO many I want to do and share NOW.  So I am going in 50 different directions trying to get a dozen little projects done so I can post them.  A dresser, an ottoman, an old office chair, pillows, the 3 legged table, ANOTHER table I picked up at Goodwill today (it has all it's legs intact), cork boards...you name it, I've got it going on here.  It's madness and my house is a disaster....NOT a good thing!

Seriously, I think I have a few years left in me....I mean honestly, eventually I'll run out of things to post if I try to do it all right this minute....typical "type-A" personality. 

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But I did get one project finished today....thank goodness.

About a month ago my son asked me to spend a Saturday at an auction with him....I LOVE auctions but more than anything I love spending time with the kids when they actually WANT to spend time with me! And it was a cabinet shop going out of business...fun fun!!  Ask me how much of the stuff I bought I REALLY needed....ummm...probably NONE of it.  But I picked up a huge stack of cork board....and of course that stuff is not cheap and who doesn't need a cork board?

So I set out searching for old frames...any interesting frame I could find.  Found most of them at Goodwill for next to nothing!

Pop the picture and glass out, cover the backing with cork board and paint the frame....PRESTO!!! Nifty cork board!

The large one is for Matt's girlfriend, Kaitlyn.  She is the mother of my grandpuppy, Beau.  Did you ever read "Marley and Me" or see the movie (OMG, if you want a good cry....)  That is Beau....silliest dog in the world but I just adore him.

Anyway, when I went back to Hancock Fabrics today to buy the other THIRTY BOXES of pearl and bead strands (seriously, who could pass them up at 90% off....I just didn't realize they had soooo many left!) I found these nifty little 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 magnetic picture frames on clearance for .40....paint them up and they are cute as a bug on the cork board. 

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Now, here is where I ran into a "design" problem.  When you run into a design issue, or your "best laid plans" aren't panning out, do what I do....wing it.   My PLAN was to put a strip of magnetic tape across the board, cover with the cute houndstooth ribbon and then stick the magnet photo frames on it.  No dice.  The magnetic tape was crap and NOTHING would stick to it and the magnets on the frames weren't any better.  To top it off, I soon found out that hot glue is NOT a good medium for cork board. 

So, I used regular glue to attach the ribbon onto the board, glued 3 super powerful magnetic "dots" on the ribbon, hot glued magnetic dots to the back of the frames, and PRESTO....we have take off!!!  Or at least we have some cute little frames that can easily be changed out from time to time!

There are soooo many things you could do to spruce up a cork board.  Cover the cork in fabric, attach vinyl lettering or even paint on the cork, cover with ribbons and bow....just so many ideas...Google cork board imagines and you will be surprised at the ideas that are out there.

I have some old window panes I took out of an old house...they have three divides in them and I am going to put cork in one, metal for magnets in one and chalk board in the one....I'll post that if I ever get to it....but before I do that project, I am bound and determined to get some of the others completed!

Off with its head...or upholstery...either one!

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I promised to tell you the story of this sad little chair.

I bought it YEARS ago at an estate auction.  I paid to have it reupholstered...lots if I remember correctly.  And 15-20 years ago, the green fabric and the style was to my liking. 

But over the last few years, I have matured a tad and my taste has become more refined.  Okay, so I changed my mind about what I like and don't like.  Regardless, I didn't like it any more and I didn't want it.

So, on Craigslist it went.  But for some reason, this pathetic little chair didn't seem to appeal to anyone...not even a little nibble. So one day in one of my manic "I CAN'T TAKE THIS CRAP AROUND HERE ANY MORE" moods, I picked it up to haul it to the curb.  See, in my neighborhood, if you set something on the curb of ANY value, it will be gone within an hour...I have done that with cabinets, vanity tops, light fixtures, furniture.  Gone.  Awesome.  Until you realize you could have taken it to Goodwill and gotten a tax write-off...but whatever.

But then I got to thinking...if I can sew on a button and make a decorative pillow, why can't I upholster a chair?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Seriously, what sane person thinks like that.

Obviously ME!  Because that is exactly what I did.  I stripped the little thing naked, taking hundreds of pictures along the way, bought the amount of upholstery the little chart told me to buy for this style chair, Googled "how to upholstery a chair", found a great tutorial...and settled in to complete a project I was certain would take me a day at the most.  Lets just say, it took me MORE than a day just to get all the stinking nails and staples out of the thing.  I can't even remember how long it actually took to finish the job entirely. (My youngest daughter agreed to help initially but quit when her hands began to bleed...not me, I'm a trooper!)

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This is now my little reading corner in my office...okay, so its really the cats' chair, but it looks good.  And a few side notes on the other items...the table is one of my Lane Acclaim tables I truly LOVE and adore...and buy whenever I can find one affordable. Hard to see, but on the bottom shelf are old wooden tape measures and a wooden level that were my great grandfathers and an old hand tooled leather briefcase that was my grandfathers. The wall is adorned with "things I love" as well....two original works of art by very talented artists (okay, my kids, but they are beautiful), my college diploma (nice to know it has some use) a cross stitch picture I did for my dad 20 years ago for Father's Day, and a picture of my BFF (my better half, Brian) and me on one of our first ski trips together! Things I love! The neeto mirror was a clearance at Hobby Lobby and the sweet little crystal lamp is a TJMaxx find!  And the red lantern was $1 at the thrift store and is filled with sea shells I picked up in California! 

Oh, and the pillow?  It was a lady's houndstooth jacket I bought at the thrift store for $2 and cut up for a pillow....sweet!

And now you know the story of the sad little green chair that was headed for the curb when a demented women thought she could actually turn it into something beautiful....see, this stuff isn't hard...it just takes a bit of imagination and a tad of insanity!

My home office....

I will try to post "before/after" projects as I muddle along and try to figure this all out.  I always have something new in the works, but a lot of the "old" projects are fun and interesting....and hopefully inspiring! 

Last year I decided I was fed up with my old office....big clunky desk, big clunky dresser, big clunky mess.  The problem is, when I first bought this house 13 years ago, my "style" was more traditional...now I am to the point where I want sleek and more "mid century."  Honestly, if the only cleaner I had in my house was windex, I would be happy....which might explain why I put glass tops on all my furniture! 

Anywho, I was digging my way through a little "junk" shop one day and stumbled upon a desk and a dresser with distinct "mid century" flare.  I couldn't get it in my truck fast enough!  This led to a complete transformation of my entire home office!!

 

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Once I got the desk home and stripped down the nastiness from the top, I knew I couldn't paint it. Less one little cigarette burn (a reminder of WHY I shouldn't start smoking again) it was beautiful!  So I coated it with 4 applications of my favorite tung oil and kilzed and painted the bottom of it.  I had the "modern" hardware leftover from my masterbath remodel, so I slapped it on there to save my nails.  The desk chair has been in my attic for 13 years...and honestly, I have NO idea where it came from or how long I have had it.  But again, after stripping it down, there was no way I was painting it....solid mahogany under all the dirt and grime!  So it too got a few coats of tung oil and a new seat cover.   

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One of the things you will see I do through out my house, is decorate with things I love.  The large diploma on the wall (to the left) is my great grandmothers University of Arkansas diploma from 1920.  The little bulldog statue on the desk (left corner) is one that sat on my great grandfather's desk umpteen years ago....both worthy of display! 

I will feature the dresser, refurbished paddle fan, and the sitting area (including the antique wingback chair I was literally carrying to the street when I decided to experiment on it)  in later posts....this room is loaded with "charm" and almost every piece has been refinished, reupholstered, repurposed or reinvented....stay tuned!!!