The key to not feeling overwhelmed for me is to keep moving. It’s when I stand still that things start to close in on me. We have been so busy and surrounded by chaos for so long, I forgot what its like to just be quiet. If I really think about what has happened in the last year and a half, I start to wonder how I was able to push through. The global pandemic that took us out of the classroom .The addition/renovation that we planned in order for my mother-in-law to move in. The construction finally starting, only to find out I am extremely allergic to dry wall dust. The solution was to live in a tent in our backyard for months. My mother-in-law becoming ill and having to move in with us before everything was finished. My husband and I struggling to finish her area so she would be comfortable. Returning back to the classroom excited, but also afraid.
I know I am not the only person who has felt overwhelmed, but I can only speak for myself. I believe I was able to push through because I learned from one of the strongest women I knew. My mother! She faced a lot of difficulties in her life, but got up every morning and did what had to be done. If I am a little bit like her I am grateful! I also have an amazing husband who was there every step of the way. We have been married for twenty-eight years and have had many challenges (which included sleeping outside in the tent with me for months). We tackle them together and in the end, come out stronger! My boys, every time I look at them they remind me of what is important in life. Of course my friends too. We stayed in touch during the shut down via Zoom and socially distance coffees. We were able to talk freely about our struggles and how we were coping. Mostly, we laughed and I believe grew closer. This post was supposed to be about my new pantry, but I have been thinking about this a lot lately and wanted to thank the people who helped me through.
I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life. I appreciate and love all of them. My mother-in-law included! She has recovered nicely and is acclimating herself to the new space and being part of our everyday lives.
Next week will be all about the long awaited pantry!
I heard the word “Gobsmacked” on a television show the other night. I didn’t know the meaning, so I Googled it. It is an informal British word which means surprised, astounded, thunderstruck! When I decided to write about a new technique I was trying, Gobsmacked was the perfect word to use in the post. Plus I love the word and really wanted to use it!
Recently, I started watching the “You Tube” channel looking for new ideas. My morning routine now includes: eating breakfast, drinking coffee and watching “You Tube” for inspiration. There are so many talented people with amazing ideas. It’s a plethora of projects in the making. I narrowed it down to one that really caught my eye. A faux cement technique using chalk paint. I found the video on “Julie’s Designs and Signs”. In the video she used the technique on old paint cans and they came out so good, I just had to try it!
These are some of the items I planned on using the technique on. Two pitchers, a ceramic box and two candles holders all purchased at Good Will. The two glass bottles I already had.
In the video, she used Waverly Chalk Paint in Mineral and mixed it with baking soda.
The first coat went on thin.
This is how it looked after the second coat.It is hard to believe it is the same pitcher. Look at that texture!
At the same time I was painting the pitcher, I also worked on one of the bottles. Once they were dry, I did the second part of the technique, adding Waverly White Wax.
After applying the white wax you wipe if off with dry paper towel. The texture from the baking soda picks up the white wax and really makes it look like cement.
See what I mean about being Gobsmacked!I am so impressed with this technique. I want to try it on everything! I wish you could touch them. They have the look and feel of real stone.
Next up was the large ceramic box. Part of the video I watched showed how to use molds and stamps to embellish the pieces. I ordered a bird mold and stamps from “Iron Orchid Design”.The bird mold was available, but the stamps are on back order. I guess I wasn’t the only one who wanted to try this technique.
I purchased DAS air dry modeling clay at Michael’s. I want to add birds to the front of the box.
They recommend putting flour or corn starch in the mold to keep the clay from sticking.
Press the clay in the mold, get rid of the extra and pop it out.
I attached the bird molds with Gorilla Glue and let them dry overnight.
Here it is after two coats of chalk paint mixture. I know, right!!
I couldn’t wait to put on the white wax!
This is what it looked like after applying the white wax.
I think it would be gorgeous as a planter. You could also use it in an entryway with the lid to hold the mail.
The pitcher would be perfect for flowers. You can also use it in the kitchen to hold utensils.
Lastly, the bottle. It has so much character it can stand alone or maybe as a bud vase.
It took longer than I thought to dry in between so I was not able to complete all of the items. I will definitely use this technique again. I can’t wait to try out the crockery stamps using this technique with clay! I will keep you posted (ha ha no pun intended)!
I will say it again, I love corbels! They can add interest, texture and most definitely a wow factor! We put corbels on the island in our kitchen and it changed feel of the entire piece. The curves softened the edges and brought it to the next level. And now, I have found another great application for them that I would like to share with you.
During the addition/renovation, we removed a small closet and the soffit between the kitchen and family room. These changes opened up the family room into the kitchen and dining area, making it feel like one open space. The transformation is amazing. I love it, but I am having trouble tying in the area where the closet was into the family room. It almost feels like an afterthought. I contemplated buying a larger media console that would extend into the new area, but the cost of consoles was not in the budget. I was a bit stumped at this point, so I started looking for inspiration in magazines and online. I found a picture of the most amazing shelf with antique corbels. The perfect solution to tie in the new space. I looked everywhere, Etsy, Rehouse Architectural Salvage in Rochester NY, Facebook Market Place and Craigslist. It was either over priced, too small, too large or not the style I was looking for. I had almost given up hope, until I went to my local Annie Sloan Stockist “The Purple Painted Lady”. I was there to purchase Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but what did I spy with my little eye, the perfect pair of corbels! They were reproduction, but looked like old antique ones, and they were the perfect size. Best of all, the price was amazing! Sometimes, I forget that the “Purple Painted Lady” sells much more than chalk paint. FYI: The Purple Painted Lady Festival is happening this year… September 18th and 19th, 2021, and I will be a vendor again! So excited!
I took the corbels home and began to look for wood to use as a shelf. Lucky for me, my husband went dumpster diving during the addition/renovation and pulled usable wood for future projects. Hello future project!
Here is one of the corbels. Perfection!
The width of the shelf we wanted was 48 inches We took it outside, cut it to size and sanded lightly.
To give the wood a more weathered look, I used a mixture of Annie Sloan Chicago Gray Chalk Paint and water to create a gray wash.
I put it on in light coats so I could keep the wood graining.
It reminds me of driftwood.
I sealed it with Annie Sloan Clear Wax.
The corbel was a little dark so I added a some of the gray wash to lighten it.
The finished product! Now, on to the fun stuff; Styling!
This oil painting is one of my mother-in-law’s. It does not go with the décor in her room, so she asked if we could use it somewhere. Yes!!!
As soon as I saw this statue, I fell in love with it. It is the epitome of a mother and child connection!
I was having so much fun. I decided to do two more vignettes.
Vignette number two!
I bought this Mary Cassett print at a rummage sale. It cost one dollar! I can never decide if she is sad or perplexed!
Vignette number three! I got to use my monkey’s!
You should have seen my house. I was taking items from everywhere trying to put these vignettes together. My son came home and saw the mess and did not blink an eye. He is used to my creative process!
I really enjoyed this project. It has been a long time since I just got to play! I would really like to hear which vignette you like the best.
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Our laundry room/mudroom is finally done! It took nine months to complete and definitely had some challenges along the way. Having the laundry on the first floor is amazing in itself, but having a place for shoes, boots and coats is even more so. One of my pet peeves are shoes in the foyer as you come in the door. With the laundry right off the entrance from the garage, now everyone can take off their shoes and coats before entering the main part of the house. Just the idea makes me do a happy dance in my head!
I remember when I was writing this blog entry. I was trying to explain my vision and having no success. I finally just drew on the picture to explain.
I wanted a utility sink for the laundry room with character. I could have purchased a new one, but I was not willing to pay over a thousand dollars. Instead, I bought one to refinish.
I used the Rust-Oleum Sink and Tub refinishing kit. I also asked my readers to help me choose between black and yellow paint for the sink base. Yellow won out!
For this entire project, I was making decisions about long term items such as flooring, counter tops and cabinets that had classic style and would stand the test of time. To me this tile will never go out of style with its timeless pattern and neutral color. It is one for the long haul!
Picking out wallpaper was a time consuming process. I knew I wanted something that was fun, but not too over the top. I looked at many samples and this one just spoke to me. The pattern and color is not too over powering and will go with anything. It makes me smile every time I go in there!
Next the lighting fixtures and washer and dryer were installed. This is when things came to a stand still. Our contractor was having problems finding a plumber who would put in the utility sink. The drain needed to be replaced and he was afraid the sink would break. The sink also weighs a lot and needed extra support. Our contractor ended up changing the drain. He also found out the framer had put in extra support knowing we were going to hang the sink. With the drain done and enough support, he was able to find a plumber and get it installed!
I was so excited to finally see my sink hung up! Unfortunately, we had some glitches. The original faucet we picked out was too long so we had to replace it. The replacement had a pin hole leak in the metal and a fine stream of water was spraying out like a fountain so we had to order yet another one. Finally, it all came together and the sink was installed.
When the plumber was finished putting in the sink it was scraped up quite a bit. It was no fault of the plumber. He had to tighten the faucets and the finish came off.
Rust-Oleum has a repair kit for touch ups like this. I ordered it and while I waited, worked on shelves for shoe storage.
We built the shelves to hold shoes and boots. However, we purposely built it tucked around the corner so none of it could be seen from the dining room. Because it may look pretty now, but with boys who have size twelve and thirteen size shoes, it won’t always look this good.
Here is the result after I used the Rust-Oleum repair kit and touched up the base of the sink with yellow paint. I think it looks fantastic!
These are the hooks I put up for coats and bags. The finish is an antique wrought iron. It adds texture and character.
Each person has their own shelf. The shelves are lined with clear plastic to protect it from wet shoes. On the top shelf there is a bin (m) for mittens, (h) for hats. To the left of the shelves is a place for my broom and mop.
Under the shelves is a place for boots.
I had to return the bench I originally purchased for the space. After the shelves went in, it was too big. I replaced it with this metal bistro chair. It looks great and does not take up to much room
This is another shelf above the washer and dryer. The brackets are the same as the ones I used in the powder room, except I did not paint these.
I love these bins. They have a pale gray stripe. It looks great with the wall paper!
Because the washer and dryer needs to be away from the wall, all the wiring and tubing behind it was a real eyesore!
We build a unit that goes right over the top to hide it all. It also provides a place to put things like the cute soap dish a dear friend gave me in the perfect shade of yellow.
Lastly, my Bee Plates. Bee Kind, Bee Joyful and Let’s Bee Friends. Could not have said it better!
I think I accomplished most everything I set out to do. I have shoe and boot storage. A place for mittens, hats and coats. A niche for my broom and mop. Another shelf for detergent and what not. A sink to wash brushes and cut flowers. I do have a hanger for my ironing board and iron, but the cute ironing board cover did not come in time and the one I have has a burn mark on it. The only thing I do not have is a place to fold clothes. All my other boxes were checked off so I am okay with that!
When you are doing a major addition/renovation like we have been doing for the last nine months, every penny you can save matters. I am always on the lookout for ways to stay within a budget without compromising style. Over the years, I have gathered many ideas from design shows, blogs, magazines etc. Sometimes I use the information immediately or store it away for a later date. One such idea, I have been kicking around for awhile is using canvas drop cloth to make drapes. This concept is not new to me. I came across it years ago in a blog I follow, ” Miss Mustard Seed”. She used drop cloth to make slip covers and to reupholster her dining room chairs. I have since used drop cloth to reupholster dining room chairs and other chairs I have sold. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. The material is so stiff when it first comes out of the packaging, I did not see how it would work. But, after several washings it softens and takes on the look of linen. That being said it was also off white and with two small boys, I could see a disaster waiting to happen. Of course there were many spills, but the drop cloth held up beautifully. I was sold on using drop cloth for future projects!
On to present day and the need for drapes in my new office space. The room has taken on a French cottagey look. I wanted drapes that were off-white, with an airy, casual look that did not cost a lot. Drop cloth popped right into my mind. It is the perfect solution, off white, casual look, airy romantic feel! Boom!
In my search for ways to save money, I have also used decorative plates as art work several times. It has become a tried and true method to create beautiful and affordable pieces. Naturally, when I came upon the most adorable bee plates for the laundry room, I knew I would be going in that direction.
My original dining room chairs upholstered with drop cloth.
My drapery material…
See how the drop cloth takes on the look of linen material.
Once I finished the drapery panels, I felt it needed a little something more. I had left over drop cloth and started playing with ideas.
It started to look like what I called a ruffle pleat.
After pinning all the pleats, I realized how much work I was making for myself; times two since I needed one for each panel!
The finished product. To think these started out as drop cloth!
The infamous ruffle pleats. It took about five hours to pin and sew both of them. Not too bad for a first try!
I did not open the drapes because the front yard is still a mess from all the the trucks and machinery used in construction. Once the weather gets warmer they are going to grade it and reseed the lawn.
I found these adorable bee plates at Michael’s. They were not the right colors for the laundry room, but I knew I could modify themusing yellow, green and black permanent makers.
I used yellow permanent maker to change the flower pots from purple to yellow.
ThenI used black permanent marker to change the lettering.
Mistakes…no worries! Nail polish remover takes it off and you can try again!
They are going to “bee” perfect in the laundry room!
Next, I added Velcro to the plate and the back of a shadow box to secure it all together. (I know what your thinking, but it works great).
The black frames were the right answer.
I think we could all take some life lessons from our bee friends!
Those of you who have been following my Blog know that my mother-in-law moved in a few months ago. We were in the midst of an addition/renovation and she needed to move in before completion due to health reasons. My mother-in-law has recovered nicely and the addition/renovation is now mostly completed. Because we needed to focus on her health at first, we made my mother-in-law’s space as nice as it could be on a very quick turnaround. We brought some of the things that she treasures with her, but were not able to unpack all of them. At this point, we are finally able to start making her space feel more like her home.
My mother-in-law was an antique dealer years ago. She collected many pieces that she gathered into beautiful collections. One such collection are her eleven portraits of turn-of-the-century ladies. She had them hanging on the wall going up her staircase at her home in Binghamton, NY and they really were a sight to see. Here in Rochester, we thought the best place for them would be above her bed. Since the portraits are different sizes and shapes I decided to pull out my fool proof way to hang pictures. I am not a measurer. When I hang pictures, I like to eyeball it. It works, but can take a lot of time and I end up with a lots holes in the wall. A few months ago I was watching a YouTube video and they were hanging a gallery wall with a kit they purchased. I took the concept and used paper bags instead of buying the kit. I am here to tell you, it works. It was the easiest and fastest method I have ever used. It took less than an hour to hang all the portraits!
I laid the portraits on the paper bag, outlined with a Sharpie, and cut them out.
As I cut them out, I labeled each one so we would know what portrait we were placing on the wall.
These are all her ladies! She was so excited to get them hung up!
This is the configuration we thought was the best. I measured each picture from the ceiling and the distance between each picture. To find nail placement, I turned the picture around and poked a hole in the paper where the nail would be.
Here is the result. It took one try and less than an hour. And one nail hole! My mother-in-law was over the moon!
I have been known to paint a room, repaint and then paint again in order to find the right color. When it comes to my furniture pieces, I usually do not have this problem. The furniture speaks to me (not literally, I just get a feeling) and I go with it. There may have been a couple times that I changed color or reworked the original idea. But, I have not had anything that kept me up at night until now. I have been working on a old buffet that we use as a console for our television. Over the course of three weeks, I have been painting and repainting the dresser trying to get the right color. At the end, the tally was seven colors! Starting with Old White, then Svenska Blue, Lem Lem, Amsterdam Green, Napoleonic Blue, Aubusson Blue, and finally CoCo. All of these colors are from the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint collection. This piece has been one heck of a ride for sure. One I hope not to repeat anytime soon!
This is the piece in the original two tone color I did years ago. I knew I wanted to re-do it in one shade, but I did not know what color. Thus, begins the saga that would last three weeks and almost have me pushing it to the curb!!
All the shades of paint I have tried.
After first trying Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint (a tried and true favorite), I decided wanted a little more color. So I went with Svenska Blue also a Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I liked the color, but something felt off. I thought maybe it was the dark wood top. So, I sanded the top down to the raw wood and lived with the look for a couple days. Ultimately, I opted to change the color.
Next I went with Amsterdam Green Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The color was a beautiful rich green, but did not go well in the room. I continued on with Lem Lem, then Napoleonic Blue also from Annie Sloan Chalk Paints. Neither worked for me.My frustration was very high at this point. I had spent hours painting , waxing and distressing the same piece of furniture over and over!
I took a couple of days to center myself and then decided to try again. This time, I picked Aubusson Blue from Annie Sloan. I had used it before and really liked the results. As I was painting it, deep down I knew it was going to be too much blue in the room. After it was done, I was right, too much blue! Oy Vey!
I gave it one more try. If it did not work, the piece and I would part ways. To the curb with you!!For my final attempt I picked Annie Sloan Coco Chalk Paint. The irony is, I was going to use this color originally, but I used it on the hutch in the dining room and wanted something different.
I like the way it came out. Am I over the moon? No, but I can live with it. I can tell you one thing, I will never paint this piece again!
Was there a lesson to be learned here? I am not sure. I will still be a perfection, keep working until I drop and keep going on something until I feel its right. ( I can actually feel my husband shaking his head over this statement) Ha Ha! (:
During the addition/renovation, our laundry room was moved from the basement to the first floor to make it easy for my mother-in-law to have access. I have talked about the laundry room in a few posts. Choosing a wallpaper, finding an antique sink, refinishing it and asking all of you to help pick out the sink color. The sink is up in the laundry room now, but it was damaged a little during the installation. The paint was dinged up and the finish on the sink was chipped off in places. I do have paint left over for touch up. The finish on the sink could have been an issue. If you recall I had to work outside because the fumes were so strong. If I had to refinish the whole thing it would have to be removed from the wall again. Fortunately, I was able to order a repair kit. The kit will allow me to fix small areas without having to do the whole sink again. Yeah!
With the laundry room almost completely finished I have set my sights on another use for it. It is located right off the entrance from the garage to the house. This location makes it the perfect place for a mudroom. I don’t know about you, but tripping over shoes left by the front door, or seeing coats thrown on the newel post, is definitely not my idea of a first impression. Having a mudroom to hide the clutter would be amazing! The tricky part comes with the size of the room and all the things I want to put in the space. Here are some of the things on my wish list: shoe and boot storage, a bench for putting on and taking off shoes, hooks for coats and belongings, a place for mops and brooms, a shelf to hold laundry essentials (detergent, softener etc.), ironing board and iron storage, and a place to fold laundry. I decided to start with storage since that is a priority. In my original plan I envisioned a shiplap wall with coat hooks and a built in bench with a place for shoes underneath. But the only place I could put it gives a full view of all the shoes and boots from the dining room (not a pretty sight). It was time to reevaluate the plan. I realized that I can build a shelving unit to hold all the shoes and keep them hidden at the same time. There would also be space to tuck a mop and brooms out of sight. I am still going to put up shiplap and attach hooks for coats, but I am not going to do a built-in bench. I did find the perfect bench though at Home Goods. It has an upholstered top and a wood bottom with room for baskets. The baskets can hold things like gloves, hats and scarfs. Okay that takes care of shoe and boot storage, seating and mops and brooms. Next on the list is a place for laundry essentials, ironing board and iron and a folding table. On the opposite side of the room is a blank wall. It will be a perfect spot to put all the laundry needs. I also found an ironing board and iron holder that hangs on the wall through Amazon. The only thing I was not able to find a solution for is a table to fold laundry. I’d say that is a pretty good use of the space I have so far! I will keep working on a folding table, but if it does not work out, I still call it a win!
The bottom of sink has a couple dents and the paint was scraped up. I will touch it up the paint. But, I may keep the dents to add more character!
Most of the damage to the sink finish is around the faucets. When they were installing them the wrenches chipped it off.
Don’t laugh! This is my mock up of what the shelves will look like. It will come out about twelve inches which will keep them out of sight from the dining room.
This is the bench I found at Home Goods. I love the fabric and the wood warms up the space.
This is the wall where the shelf is going to be. It will hold all the laundry essentials.
I am so looking forward to this being done so all the clutter will have a place!
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When we first purchased our home it was suppose to be a starter. Our neighborhood is filled with people who thought the same thing. Move in, stay a few years, then get a bigger home. But we, like them, love our neighborhood and decided to stay. It is centrally located to most anything you need and the neighbors are great! The homes are mostly center entrance colonials with your standard living room, dining room, family room off the kitchen and bedrooms upstairs. Over the years, there have definitely been times that we questioned our choice. We like to entertain and having more than ten people for dinner was definitely a challenge. In order to fit everyone we had to turn the table diagonally, corner to corner in the dining room. In doing so, we blocked off access to the kitchen for half our guests at the table. They would have to go all the way around to get there food then all the way back to their seats. We would always laugh at the situation and take it in stride. But on occasion, we would talk about having a larger space to entertain and what it would look like. Well, our dream of having a larger space to entertain has come true! We pinch ourselves everyday when we walk into the kitchen and dining room area to make sure it is really not just a dream!
This was our dining room before the addition/renovation. The opening leading into the kitchen was closed off and is now a wall in my office and the new powder room.
The dining room used to be to right as you walked in the house. We removed the hall closet (black door) to make the entry much bigger. The wall going up the stairs was opened up and a new railing was added.
This is the framing for the new closet.
It is unbelievable how much space was gained in the foyer by just moving the closet.
Here is the opened wall with the new railing and newel post on the staircase.
I loved my old dining room. It was chocked full of great memories spent with family and friends. Even if half of them were blocked from the kitchen!
This picture shows the framing for the new dining room. In the original plans the ceiling in the dining room was flat. My husband noticed thevaulted roof line during the construction and asked if we could have the ceiling follow that line. The framers said that it could be done and best of all, it would not cost any more money! Thanks to my husband, the half vaulted ceiling is a major feature of the new dining area.
The new dining room is so much bigger than our old one! We even have extra seating at the island so no one will be blocked from the kitchen in here!
The three windows keep the room filled with lots of light all day.
I was going to make roman blinds, but made drapes instead. I am so glad I did. It adds a softness to the room that the blinds could not have done.
I got this fabric on Etsy. The blues and greens work perfectly with the rest of the room!
We are so truly grateful for our new space. We are looking forward to making many great new memories with family and friends!
I want to thank everyone for helping me choose a lamp shade to go in our family room. On my Blog post” Color or No Color” I had two choices a Beige Paisley or a French Blue lamp shade. The winner was French Blue and here is a picture of them in the room!
Styling pieces such as bookshelves, mantels, hutches and china cabinets can be a very difficult job, but at the same time rewarding. These pieces are often responsible for pulling a room together. They work by creating a focal point that draws your eye in. By using the same colors and textures that are in the room, it creates a cohesive and balanced look. The hard part is deciding what pieces to use and where to put them. I happen to love the challenge and when it is done, it feels great!
I am currently styling a hutch that I refinished a couple months ago. The hutch is one of the first things you see when you enter the kitchen/dining room area. Therefore, it needs to make an impression! I began by deciding what colors I would pull from the other rooms. I chose indigo, green and French blue. The dining area has upholstered French chairs, a chandelier and sconces. To keep the room from feeling to formal, I thought the hutch needed to have a more casual feel. I know I wanted to use some of my pieces from the Pfaltzgraff, “Pistoulet” collection. They are colorful and fun and will fit perfectly into the design. I also found “Pad Print” salad plates that have the green I wanted to bring into the display. Now begins the exciting part for me, putting it all together!
As you can see, the hutch used to be very formal looking, until I refinished it.
It is just waiting to be styled!
The small plate is the “Pad Print” from Pfaltzgraff. I love the green dot design!
My soup tureen from my Pfalztgraff collection found its place! Although, I did find use for it as a vase a couple weeks ago!
I added a cup and saucer from my collection, but I am still not feeling it. I think it is the white plate.
I was shopping in Wegmans grocery store in Rochester, N.Y and found these indigo plates. I really like the plates, but the “Pad Print” plate is too small next to it.
My solution was to add a larger white plate behind the “Pad Print” plate.
I love the way the place settings have their own little square in the hutch.
I went shopping to look for other pieces for the hutch. I found this beauty at Home Goods.
While I was at Home Goods, I picked up two faux boxwood plants to use as filler.
The colors of the pitcher go perfectly!
I still need one more thing for the bottom. I have been trying various items in my home with no success.
I was not able to find anything, but the mixing bowl works for now.
I am very pleased with how it came out. I will most definitely tweak it some more; because that is what I do!
Thanks to everyone who voted on which lamp shade to use in the family room. The over all winner was the French blue one! I will be showing how they look in the next Blog!