The “before” . . . duh!

4 Oct

So I’m a bad blogger. There’s nothing better than a good “before” photo and I forgot to take one. Here is a mocked-up one taken before we started painting. Although the chair is sanded, you get the idea . . .

It was pretty rough (ps – My little assistant is helping me in this one. We spend Tuesday and Thursday afternoons together and he’s getting quite good at thrifting and painting and being patient with my little projects).

I liked the fabric . . . at one time, it was definitely pretty but it was mildewy and completely faded.

The green is going to work well, I think, as the background of the new Ivy Leaf. I’m hoping it will take a few less coats.

Here’s to small bits of PROGRESS at a time.

A Wild Hammock Chair

3 Oct

So I’ve had an old hammock chair sitting in the garage for the past three or four years. I have another one that is in decent condition that has sat on my front porch throughout the summer.  I love the look of these chairs (fully expect them to come back in fashion soon). They are comfortable, compatible and cute.

I had purchased this fabric for yet another clever project on my list.

I love it and thought it would be adorable on the chair sitting on my porch throughout the fall. I think I was subconsciously inspired by my favorite flip-flops.

They are the most comfortable, versatile shoes that I wear all summer. They seriously go with everything and I’ve looked for replacements and they don’t make this pattern anymore. 😦

So what frame color? I thought a true Kelly green would be cute. I had something specific in mind but finding the right spray paint can be difficult. I picked up this at Home Depot.

The color is too Christmasy and not what I was looking for. I started to think about just getting some canned paint and tracking down our paint-sprayer from one of the neighbors. That would certainly make for two or three days of posts–me working with the paint sprayer and extend this one project throughout the month of October . . . but then I found this color at Joann’s.

It’s definitely more expected and trendier than I was originally thinking, but I think it’s going to work perfectly. It’s called Ivy Leaf but it definitely reads good old-fashioned Pea Green to me (not a name a marketer is going to use on a can).

Thankfully we’ve been having beautiful weather, so this is the week to get the sanding and spraying done. Stay tuned.

31 Days of . . .

1 Oct

So it’s October 1 and I’ve got an experiment. The Nester introduced the 31 Days concept and I thought “it’s either now or never.” I’m committed to writing for 31 days, and at the end of it, I’m going to decide whether to keep this blog going or hang it up for another day.

I won’t be mad at myself or disappointed either if the answer is “hang it up.” But I think I need the 31 days to decide.

So my 31 days? Thirty-one days of progress. I have a list I started of house projects. Clever little things I intend to get done–ideas that are good but are going to take some effort to get accomplished. And with two littles at home, work every day, and other commitments, I make very small, sporadic dents in my little list. And I think I’m very scattered when it comes to the things needed to get the things done. I’ll go to the fabric store and start thinking of my curtains that I want for the living room, then I’ll see some other fabric and think that would work great to recover that chair, then I’ll see some other that I like and think “what can I do with that?” And I leave with more ideas to add to the list and very little accomplished.

So I’m going to just going to pick a project (not necessarily the top of the list) but just one and work on that and get that accomplished so I can mark it off and move on to the next.

So here’s to progress . . . and blogging. 🙂

Reunion Centerpieces – On the Cheap

15 Sep

This summer I helped to organize my 20-year high school reunion. As the Marketing Director-type on the three-person committee, I was charged with the visual and promotional side of things. I designed the invitations, set us up on Facebook, and thought through the decorations.

To say our budget was tight was an understatement. My two dear friends and I were footing the bill for this thing and praying that our classmates would make their reservations. My goal for the decorations was to spend as little as possible but still have a nice, thoughtful vibe for the event.


And we don't look 20 years out of high school, do we? DO WE?!?










I was inspired by by Miss Mustard Seed, who even gives a tutorial on letter-glittering but first of all, I couldn’t afford the German glass and secondly, I couldn’t find chipboard numbers ANYWHERE! I was fine doing my own gluing and glittering—I have a first-grade daughter for goodness sake, I knew I would have assistance. I checked everywhere (meaning online and at every hobby store in town) and I could find a lot of chipboard letters but no numbers. I could find thick wooden numbers and sticker numbers but no chipboard numbers.

OK, so nobody mentioned the centerpieces but look how much they add. 🙂











What I did find was the number style I was looking for in a stencil and foam core board in our colors, blue and red. (You could just get white foam core and use the color glitter that you want but it’s a lot more difficult. The backs of these numbers were just not as nice. The white showed through.)











So I took out the Exacto Knife, cut me a bunch o’ 9s and 1s, and got to gluing and glittering. This was tedious work, so I just set up a glitter station on my dining table and went to it every day for 30 minutes or so.

I bought small dowels but realized that Bamboo Skewers worked a lot better than anything. They were the right size and weight plus their sharp ends poked into both the foam core and the floral foam I used at the bottom of the bucket

I owned the buckets already (from some past party) but found some additional ones at Garden Ridge for $4.99. Those along with some red and blue cellophane (about $5 per roll) and I think they turned out pretty good.











Glitter’s a bitch. It gets everywhere. Kids want to play in it and they track it everywhere on their shoes. And sometimes I had just worked out when I was working on it so it was sticking to my sweaty neck and stuff. In general I made a mess, but I was proud of the centerpieces.

I did them in blue and red.






Is this working?

21 Jul

Plus will the kids just swivel the heck out of those until they make divots in my nice black table?

I’m surprisingly feeling more contemporary in my tastes as of late and so decided to mix up my dining room a bit. I have two of these Eames-style chairs. I bought them on a whim at an Antiques Fair in Iowa about five years ago. They were $15 a piece. A smokin’ deal, I know!

Anyway, one has been in my dressing room as the Quiet Chair in the corner (which just means more space to throw clothes) and one in my six-year-old daughter’s room (she’s quickly learning the quiet-chair-turned-clothes-storage space as well). I love my black spindle chairs but they are kinda crappy (read: some of the tops come off when you try to move them or the spindles pop out). Anyway, I’m just trying this . . . I painted the adjoining living room Robin’s Egg Blue last year, so that color works ok, but I seriously don’t know about the style.


Here’s how it looked before.

pretty, I think.










Here’s with the change.

I think I'll ask for a good camera for my b-day. These photos aren't so good.

Are they working?

They would be working a lot better if there were four instead of two, right?

Should I do four different chairs? Too much, right?

Anyone know where I can get another two of these for that price? 🙂

Any advice/feedback is truly appreciated. And I apologize for my photography . . . I don’t have the lighting thing down quite yet (never mind I’m shooting with my iPhone). Thanks!

Summer Solstice

24 Jun

It’s my favorite day (or one of them at least). It’s June 21, the Summer Solstice and longest day of sunlight of the year. For someone with a serious case of (laugh if you must) S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder), I take sunlight pretty seriously.
So maybe that’s why I haven’t been blogging. I’m not alone, I’ve noticed. Many of my favorite sites are on hiatus or at least have taken a noticeable break. I have been busy. There was a wedding.

Loved this dress. It moved like a peacock.













Then my mom’s b-day.

The Card Shower I organized on Facebook was a hit.










Then a dance recital.

Being goofy.










Then a trip to the beach.

Sunset Beach, North Carolina










With some highlights.

Grandpa's mini me.












Fortunately, we fly home through the always-inspiring Charleston, South Carolina. The day we left I had a Top 10 meal here.

Seriously TOP 10 with roasted vegetables, lots of olive oil and pesto.












And loved these at the restaurant.

Wish my ceilings were tall enough for something like this, but not-so-much.











Then we came home to lots of this.

A brand-spanking-new ballpark and my favorite time of year.











And, of course, this . . .

We have a great neighborhood pool.












So, when I’m feeling guilty about not blogging much, it’s not that I haven’t been doing much, it’s just sitting down and writing. I did hit my favorite Antiques Fair of the year last weekend with two of my favorite gals . . . more on that later. For now, enjoy the long, long day and get as much summer-lovin’ in as you can.



'60s Manners Book turned Campy Artwork

6 Jun

Whatever you call it–kitschy, campy, ironic . . . I like things in my house to make people smile. And I finally finished a project that does just that. I have saved this book now for over 10 years knowing that I wanted to do something with it. It must have been one of my mother-in-law’s books, but I loved it (definitely not for the same reason she probably bought it).

Only 95 cents but it's a wealth of information.












It was first published in 1963, which makes it oh-so-appropriate for my 1958 house.  The title pages are really what struck me–actually the titles themselves. Things like “How to Sweeten Your Personality,” “Avoiding Awkward Situations,” and “How to Add to Your Husband’s Prestige” (my personal favorite). Each chapter has a distinct color theme and a line drawing of a typical (I guess) 1960s scenario.

This one is MM's favorite. See, she's telling her son to be quiet because Daddy is back there working on the bills.













I found nicely worn-looking black frames at GardenRidge for $7.99 each and backed each page with a fun piece of scrapbook paper. (PS – I’m not a scrapbooker or a “cropper” or whatever you call them, but those stores have a lot of fun things and awesome paper designs that can be used a hundred different ways.) Most of the paper I chose had a retro vibe to it and I really think it works with each of  the pages. They are far from perfect, which actually adds to the charm for me. Some of the drawings are far from centered and the type is all left-justified, so none of them are the same but I trimmed them as closely as possible to show as much of the paper as I could.

This one reminds me of my friend Suzanne, who loves greeting cards--the dirtier the better.













I ended up hanging six of them. I typically do things in odd-numbered groupings but the space really called for six, plus there were so many goodies to choose from and I wanted all of the good colors represented.

The photos didn't turn out very well. There's a huge glass door behind them and a lot of glare. I tried to do it at night and still glare from the chandelier.










I hung them in the dining room . . . appropriate I believe because this is where most people struggle with their manners. 🙂 Anyway, I must stop writing now, I have some reading to do–on How to Sweeten My Personality.

The Pink Pantry

13 May

In our 1950s home we do not have a kitchen pantry. When we moved in 10 years ago, I had my contractor add shelves to a kitchen broom closet and lived with that for a few years. Eventually, I even bought the little wire pull-out “drawers” so it was a little more functional.

Photo courtesy of

Two years ago we got bids to renovate the kitchen, the main floor and the entire outside of the house including a new front porch. We couldn’t afford to do it all at once and decided to make the curb appeal the priority. Anyway, I told my husband I would live with the existing kitchen for a few more years but I definitely needed more storage.

I started looking for an armoire or a cabinet or something to use in the interim and found this:

Yes, it was REALLY Cotton Candy pink.

SomeTHING was wrong with it (besides the color). I think it had a crack somewhere because it was like $500 for a solid, Stanley Furniture piece. Here it is in a stylized shot and in a new, coral color.  It’s truly a really solid piece of furniture.

I think this is the update from Cotton Candy pink.


















So, much to MM’s chagrin, I brought it home and it took up his garage space for a good four months. It was dark in there, the lighting was bad, and I  needed better weather to get it painted the color I wanted.

Eventually the weather turned warmer. I researched some waxing paint techniques and painted part of it with a turquoise (I can’t remember the name exactly) from Ace Hardware. We then bought a paint sprayer (which also came in handy to stain the kids’ playset) and painted the whole thing India Black by Ace Hardware.


See. It holds a ton. PS - I don't buy mass quantities of Cheezits. That's MM. He thinks we have 8 kids.










































It’s really served its purpose well. We use it. The kids slam the doors. The hardware has gotten beat up a bit, but I still love it. And as we think about truly renovating the kitchen I wonder what I can do with this awesome piece of furniture. I love the look of furniture in kitchens. It’s pretty European. Perhaps I will incorporate it in what we do . . . who knows? For now, I dig it.






Alone on Mother's Day

11 May

And that’s all I wanted . . . to be alone in my house on Mother’s Day. While I know in 1o years or less, I will really want to be with my kids on Mother’s Day because they won’t want to be around me anymore,  today I just asked to be alone for a few hours. In my house.

And I’m not doing anything special. I may take a 20-minute break to read a magazine but I’m working through the laundry and the bills and a hundred other things I have to do, but I’m doing them uninterrupted and at my own pace (which is much faster than when there are littles around).

And instead of getting dressed up and taking my mother to an overcrowded restaurant, we are hitting some of our favorite antique haunts for the afternoon. My mom and I get to see each other a lot but rarely without my children. It will be a joy to spend time just the two of us doing something we both enjoy.

And I will spend time with the family later. We’ll have dinner and enjoy the evening, but for now, I’m enjoying the quiet and the space . . . of our home.

Got this that day. This little guy has a lot of what I love: red, tray, kitsch, a French vibe . . .


One-owner home = POTENTIAL

5 May

I came across this photo today while scouring the real estate listings in my zip code. I like to stay up on what’s on the market, what homes in my area are selling for, and basically play voyeur into people’s homes. I used to be looking for myself but that’s a story for another post. Now, it’s just a hobby.

Anyway, I came across this gem just now and had to share. This was listed as a “one-owner home” and it was built in 1955.

I can't tell from the photo what is on that wallpaper but I love it.












This is quintessentially what this blog is all about. LOOK AT THIS KITCHEN! It is a riot, but guess what? There is major potential there. Yes, you could rip it all out and start fresh,  but you could also remove the little peninsula island, update the countertops, change out appliances and add molding, new pulls and paint the cabinets. Sounds like a lot of work,  but think of the outcome.

I wish, oh how I wish, I had oodles of money. I would buy this sucker up and have so much fun taking its solid bones and making something divine out of it.

Check out the bathroom.

I love that nothing has changed in this house.










I have this same master bathroom. I am sad to report that the pink tile is still there (and that tile is as solid as it gets). The master bathroom/bedroom is a last priority in our household. We did change the mirror, sink, toilet and painted the vanity but otherwise, it’s AWFULLY similar.

But back to the potential. Look at these wood floors.

Whoever ends up with this home is lucky that the fireplace is actually centered on the wall. Some of us deal with corner units and off-center situations.













Wood floors were standard in homes in the 1950s. Even though wall-t0-wall carpet was the rage, you couldn’t get FHA loans without wood floors. Thus, many of these homes have pristine wood floors under old carpet. That was the case in our upstairs. We took out all of the carpet (I think carpet’s pretty gross anyway) a few years ago, and I’d never go back.

And look at this room.

Looking onto a near 1/2 acre lot--another advantage to an older neighborhood. Good lot sizes!










I really dig this room, but I’m also so wanting a screen porch right now. This sun room could be used all year and think of how awesome it could look  with a sisal rug, white-painted wood trim, comfy furniture and warm lighting.

All it takes, People, is vision . . . vision! Do you have it?