Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Beautiful Place v. 2.0

I know the blog has been very quiet this past week, but that’s because I’ve been incredibly busy!  You may remember this post  in February where I shared our decision NOT to move, but to stay here and enjoy our lovely home.

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In consequence of that decision, I have been making changes to the main living area of our home, as well as working on the front-room-to-office project (more about that here, here, and here).  This has involved electrical work, adding a phone jack, removing siding, putting siding back on, patching sheetrock, trimming windows, and LOTS of painting! 

One day soon, I will have more to share on those topics  Winking smile

But until then, it seemed appropriate to share a new “make a place beautiful” plaque I made for a reader.  She wanted gray, which was new for me—but I love it!  I used a dark gray paint, then distressed it and glazed it with both black and brown to give it some depth.

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Today she sent me a picture of it displayed in her home!  Thanks, Rena!  I’m so glad you like it.




I love to make signs and canvases! Please e-mail if I can make one for you!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Zack’s Room: Oak to Espresso

I have a friend who’s been putting gentle pressure on me to refinish some furniture for her son’s room (I painted a desk for her daughter last year). 

I kept telling her, “Wait till spring!”

As soon as we had two consecutive days of 60-degree weather, she was calling me  Winking smile

The tricky part was that she didn’t want painted furniture this time, she just wanted to darken the existing stain on some pieces she already had.  I will frankly admit that I was NOT excited about that plan.  The only way I knew to get a good, stained finish was to get down to bare wood as best as possible—and anything with creases and corners is a nightmare.

One lucky day, however, I came across this project from Monica Wants It where she used General Finishes Gel Stain to change a boring oak vanity to a beautiful espresso.

Can blogs be answer to prayers?  I think so!

And is it OK to be in love with a refinishing product?  I hope so!

I am SO impressed with the gel stain!  I did NOT have to strip or sand to bare wood.  After scuff-sanding all the surfaces…

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And trust me, there were a LOT of surfaces…

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A dresser with nine drawers and two cupboard doors…

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…a TV stand-turned-nightstand (also has two cupboard doors)…

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…and a bookcase headboard with two shelves…

Sorry, that’s all the “before” pictures I remembered to take!

I applied the gel stain (espresso color) using my husband’s old socks!  (That’s what Monica recommended for her project.)  It worked GREAT!  I may have to buy my husband some more socks so I can have the old ones!

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You can’t freak out after the first coat goes on…it’s going to look at little splotchy.

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OK, maybe it will look a LOT splotchy!

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But it’s better after two coats (I waited 24 hours between coats)…

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…and SO much better after three!

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The funny thing about this gel stain—it smells sweet!  And it looks (and feels) like chocolate pudding.  I was almost tempted to take a taste! 

No, not really!

To finish things up, I used two coats of General Finishes Top Coat (using more socks), and I painted the hinges and the casters with ORB spray paint.

Then I pestered my friend until she let me come take pictures of everything in Zack’s room!

general finishes gel stain espresso

darken stain color gel general finishes espresso

general finishes gel stain oak to espresso darken

how to darken stain color gel stain

Zacky was happy to show me his “new room.”

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I always like to see a satisfied customer!

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Featured on Better After!
Linking up here:
Coastal Charm’s Nifty Thrifty Tuesday Elizabeth & Co.
  No Minimalist Here’s Open House Thursday
Friday Remodelaholic 2805
My Simple Home Life’s Simple Creations Friday Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Feature Friday
Funky Junk’s Saturday Night Special The DIY Show Off
Primitive & Proper Thrifty Décor Chick
  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Perfectly Imperfect {Primp}
Simply Klassic Sundays My Repurposed Life
From My Front Porch to Yours It’s So Very Cheri
Common Ground {aka} design

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bubble Boy!

My daughter took this picture when we were visiting my parents last week.  It makes me feel like spring!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

For the Sun Room

No, it’s not MY sun room; I don’t have one!  But I got to have the fun of helping—in a very small way—to decorate one, and that’s almost as good, right?

Lisa asked me to make one of my “You are my sunshine” canvases for her sunroom.  She believes in the motto, “Go big or go home!”

Although I had only ever made this one in an 11 x 14” size, she wanted a 24 x 30” size.  I was pretty happy with how it turned out!

signs & jen 005signs & jen 006

However, I’m even happier that she sent me a picture of it in it’s new home.


OK, so I lied before. 

Just helping to decorate a sun room is not at all as good as having your own!  <sigh>  Isn’t it a lovely space?


I love to make signs and canvases!  Please e-mail if I can make one for you!

Linking up here:
Coastal Charm’s Nifty Thrifty Tuesday Elizabeth & Co.
Friday Remodelaholic 2805
My Simple Home Life’s Simple Creations Friday Someday Crafts
Funky Junk’s Saturday Night Special Domestically Speaking
Beyond the Picket Fence’s Under $100 Party  
Perfectly Imperfect {Primp}
Simply Klassic Sundays My Repurposed Life
  It’s So Very Cheri

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I love it when people are happy with the stuff I send them  Winking smile

Angie, from Knick of Time, won my latest giveaway for a beadboard sign.  Angie has an amazing collection of old clocks that she displays on her piano, and drawing on that love, she chose the word “Timeless” for her very own beadboard sign.  I *love* it when people choose something that has special meaning to them!

I was ornery and didn’t send Angie a picture of the sign ahead of time—I wanted her to be surprised when she opened the package!

Here’s what it looked like in my house…

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…but today she posted about it in hers!



I love it!  What do you think??


P.S. If you want to see more of Angie’s great collections and projects, be sure to visit her at Knick of Time.


P.P.S.  I love to make signs and canvases! Please e-mail if I can make one for you!


P.P.P.S.  I’ve had a couple of inquiries as to what happened with my ill-fated table purchase, but they have come from readers who are “no-reply” bloggers!  To those who asked—the store would NOT give me my money back.  So I had a LOT of store credit stashed away, waiting for the day I find something fabulous!  I hope it comes soon!!

Linking up here:
Coastal Charm’s Nifty Thrifty Tuesday Elizabeth & Co.
Friday Remodelaholic 2805
My Simple Home Life’s Simple Creations Friday Someday Crafts
Funky Junk’s Saturday Night Special Domestically Speaking
Beyond the Picket Fence’s Under $100 Party  
Perfectly Imperfect {Primp}
Simply Klassic Sundays My Repurposed Life
  It’s So Very Cheri

Friday, April 13, 2012

More Office Planning

I seem to have a new hobby…and that’s playing with Better Homes & Gardens’ “Arrange-a-Room” program!

It’s a pretty fun little program.  You can select a basic room shape from a few standard options, and then click and drag “corners” to match the shape of your room.


Next you can add furniture to your room, choosing from a wide variety of standard pieces for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, offices, etc.image

You can also alter the dimensions of the furniture you choose, and then you can even change colors (to some extent).

I am still working on the front-room-to-office project (more about that here and here).  Here are a few of the furniture arrangements I have been playing with:


The room isn’t exactly square, but that’s pretty much the shape of the workable space I have (and it’s really closer to 11’4” x 10’, but arranging those walls with a touch pad is a little tricky).  Imagine that the walkway is on the left side (not pictured), with the stair wall to the left of that.  The front door would be adjacent to the bottom left corner of this diagram.

In this arrangement, the desk (big white thing) has to butt up against the corner.  The big brown thing is an old card catalog that I have, and the little brown chair is one of my vintage folding chairs.  The smaller white thing is a low chest I have stashed in my garage.  It would actually sit under the window (I can’t get the window feature to work on the room planner), and could be painted and/or dressed up with some cushions or pillows.  I have a neat old wood-frame chair (in the garage, of course) that needs to be refinished and recovered that could go next to that (see, I’m trying to work with what I have).


In this next arrangement, the desk goes against the outside wall of the house.  I think I like the fact that you wouldn’t walk in the front door and be staring at a computer monitor!  I also think I could get away with displaying both of my folding wooden chairs this way.  The two accent chairs could be a problem—since I don’t have two easy chairs—but I kind of like this look as well.  But what do you think?  Too many chairs?


So combining elements from the previous two arrangements, you get the look above.  My guess is that that is what I’ll start with, but with no promises that it will stay that way!

What do you think?  Does it look like it will work?

So…exactly where am I on this project? 

Well, the good news is that I own all the furniture except for the desk and the rug. 

The bad news is that the chair, the bench/chest, and the card catalog all need some refinish work! 

I am NOT going to tackle building the 9-foot desk (which will look something like this)…

office drawing

… but I have found a local shop that will do it for me at a good price.  Tomorrow (I hope) I am going to go there to finalize the plans and pay a deposit (I love my tax refund)!

I am going to have to figure out how to get a DSL hook-up in that room (it’s the only room in the house without a phone jack!), and I need to see if I’m going to have to move an electrical outlet.  If I do—and I end up calling an electrician for that job—I may see about getting the room wired for an overhead light!  I *love* the idea of a chandelier in there…but my dear husband says,

“Just another light fixture for me to bump my head on.”

Men…they have no vision.

How about YOU?  Can YOU share my vision??

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Indoor Gardens–Guest Post by Patricia Hall

Patricia Hall is an online florist who came across my DIY enamel flower bucket a few weeks ago, and generously offered to share some of her knowledge about how to bring a bit of nature indoors!  Thank you, Patricia!

Indoor-Gardens and how you can use them as a natural décor for your home

While many people desire a more natural look for their home, they often feel at a loss when it comes to understanding how they can create this effect. The truth of the matter is that an indoor garden is a perfect choice when a natural, leafy texture is required in a certain room, and as long the room in question has plenty of light, there are few plants that cannot be grown in the home. Consider the options that most popular for homeowners and think about how to create the desired effect.


Choosing Plants

There are many plants that are suited for an indoor garden. Postal flowers and catalogs are a good choice when a homeowner is considering a new garden but is unable to get to a garden center. A cheap florist may also have plenty of potted plants that are ready to be taken home. Before deciding on what plants to purchase, consider the light needs and the eventual size of the plants in question. Many indoor gardens do very well with dwarf varieties or plants that are otherwise small in size. Be sure to choose plants that are going to create the desired effect. For example, some people adore the look of plants that have flowers and blooms, while other people prefer plants that have only showy foliage. Consider the desired effect and find plants that play to it accordingly. Also remember that different plants have different care requirements. A coleus plant, for example, has bright showy leaves and requires an absolute minimum of care. On the other hand, an orchid is a plant that has a gorgeous floral bloom, but the care itself is more difficult. An orchid needs to be regularly watered through flushing clean water through the bark substrate. This is time consuming and orchids should only be undertaken by people who have a thorough understanding of their care. If there is enough sunlight and plants that are easy to care for are required, consider succulents. Succulents can survive for an extended period of time without the need for constant care and supervision, and if they are given enough light, they are typically quite hardy.


Displaying Indoor Gardens

For the style-savvy indoor gardener, there are a number of different stands and displays that do very well for a number of plants. While it is possible to keep plants on a windowsill, windowsills are not ideal. They can be drafty and because they are so narrow, the plants sitting upon them can be easily knocked over or upset, especially if there are animals or small children in the home! If the indoor gardener is growing plants that do not directly have to be in the window, he or she may choose a corner shelf. A corner shelf fits snugly into the room’s corner and it has a rounded edge. The shape of the shelf from the top is that of a quarter circle, and there is plenty of room on this type of stand for many plants. Don’t forget to consider hanging plants as well. There are a number of plants that do well in hanging baskets, and a hanging basket allows the visual point of the room to be drawn up. This is a good choice if there is not a lot of space for a plant stand of any type, and it is an excellent choice for spaces like apartments and other areas where not a lot of space is possible.

One excellent choice for many different plants is a plant stand. A plant stand is open on all sides, allowing the plants to receive the most amount of sunlight possible. In many cases, a plant stand can be placed directly over a window, allowing for an excellent view of sunlight through green leafy foliage. This is a great way to reduce the light coming in through a southern exposure and also to keep beautiful healthy plants. When considering all of the options that are present for an indoor gardener, choose plants that suit the lifestyle in question. The best looking plant is one that is healthy and well cared for, so consider plants that match the possible care regimen. Once an indoor garden gets started, it can be a wonderful sight to see.

About the Author

Patricia Hall works part-time for an online florist in uk and loves to surround herself with flowers at any given point of time. Even in her free time she loves to involve herself with everything flora and fauna. 'To me there is nothing more beautiful and global as the language of flowers - it is the easiest to understand all around the world in the same way. That is one reason why I truly admire flowers for what they represent in some ways - unity of all mankind!'

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Popular Birthday

I know I have been MIA this past week…without a whole lot of advance planning, we decided to spend spring break in Montana with my parents.  I spent my time visiting and cooking, so there wasn’t much time to play on the Internet!  I had to reconcile myself to the fact that I was NEVER going to catch up on all my favorite blogs, and just pretend that everyone else was enjoying a spring break as well!

While we were in Montana, my oldest child turned the big ONE-FIVE!  This year we decided to grant her heart’s desire with a ticket to Wicked, which is coming to Salt Lake City in August.

She looks happy, don’t you think??

Actually, I’m happy, too!  I’m going with her!  (I haven’t seen it either.)

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I wrapped up the ticket along with a canvas I made especially for her with lyrics from the song “Popular” from the play.  I’ve watched this video on YouTube at least twenty times!

“Popular” from the musical “Wicked”

I showed the canvas to my husband, and he said, “You don’t really believe that, do you??”

Of course not!  It’s just FUNNY!!  Silly man.

Trust me, I was decidedly UNpopular in high school!

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The “Popular” canvas has a place of honor on her chest of drawers now—or at least until we get a chance to hang it up!

  Four more months till play-time!

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Linking up here:
Coastal Charm’s Nifty Thrifty Tuesday Elizabeth & Co.
Friday Remodelaholic 2805
My Simple Home Life’s Simple Creations Friday Someday Crafts
Funky Junk’s Saturday Night Special Domestically Speaking
Beyond the Picket Fence’s Under $100 Party  
Perfectly Imperfect {Primp}
Simply Klassic Sundays My Repurposed Life
  It’s So Very Cheri
  {aka} design

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to stop by my friends’ new Etsy shop:  Sister Time Creations!  Remember, cute baskets aren’t just for Easter!  Keep them in mind anytime you want a fun and unique gift idea (especially if you happen to know some birds-that-are-angry fans).

The winner of the beadboard sign giveaway is



Angie @ Knick of Time!  Congratulations, Angie!  I will be e-mailing you.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Easter Baskets & a Giveaway!

Two of my good friends have ventured into Etsy territory!  They are selling all sorts of painstakingly crocheted Easter baskets under the name Sister Time Creations.

What have they got to offer?  Well, take a look!

There are bunnies in all colors…



…a couple of bugs…



…and my personal favorites…the “birds who look angry.”

In all seriousness, Etsy can’t allow my friends advertise these under the famous name that probably popped into your head!  I suggested they call these “PerturBirds.” 

Think it would catch on??







…and their friends enemies!


There is still time to order these cute baskets before Easter!  And at $10 per basket, they are a bargain!

Now for the giveaway portion of this blog post.

I am offering one hand-painted 24” x 7” beadboard sign (below are a few examples, but use your imagination)!  If you want one larger than that, I will credit you the price of the smaller sign.


Two ways to enter!

  1. Simply visit Sister Time Creations Etsy shop, and come back leave me a comment telling me what your favorite basket is.
  2. Tweet, blog, or facebook about this giveaway for another entry!  Leave a separate comment telling me how you shared.

That’s it!  Giveaway will end Wednesday, April 4. 

Please note:  I cannot make the winner’s sign after April 9.