Garage Conversion Part Two: The Reveal!

Our garage conversion is finally finished. It took longer than expected but was worth the wait.

Let’s see how it looks!

In order to be able to work in the garage year-round. The garage was insulated, dry walled and heat and air condition were added.

One thing I asked for is to have the bottoms of the trusses in the garage to be left visible. I wanted them to look like beams across the ceiling. They said not an issue and actually thought it ended up looking pretty cool.

While construction was going on, I painted the breakfront from my office and two shelves I got from Good Will to get them ready for the space. I picked a beautiful shade of blue to compliment the paint color in the garage. I also painted the cabinets we already had in the garage black. It looks fantastic!

To finish it off we found a worktable on Facebook Marketplace and two stools at Good Will.

The finished product. Everything really works well together. Look at my beams in the ceiling!

I can’t wait to do my first project here.

Now that I have new physical space to work in, it is time to redo this digital space also. On December 15th, the creative process of redesigning my website will kick into high gear and “construction” will begin. The build out will take place and continue through the holidays and the month of January.

I am so excited to share my new site with you in 2024. Be on the lookout for the announcement!

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year!

Decorating for Christmas Without A Christmas Tree!

Decorating for Christmas Without A Christmas Tree!

I saw something the other day and it inspired a great idea. It was a beautiful wall decoration using a bulletin board. It made me think…what about making a Christmas tree on the bulletin board as a perfect alternative for those who may not want to put up a tree but still want the Christmas feeling. College students could be a great example. People who live in small apartments, those who won’t be home for Christmas, elderly who don’t want all the fuss. Just to name a few. By using a bulletin board, you can hang the ornaments and still be able to reminisce, play Christmas music and drink whatever it is you drink while doing it. Best of all, cleanup will be a snap!

Let me show you what I did!

Lucky for me I had a large bulletin board that I snagged from the trash last summer. I took it out of storage, cleaned it up, re-covered it with linen fabric, made a frame, painted the frame white and finally attached it to the board with Liquid Nails.

Here it is ready for my Christmas tree.

Since I will be putting up a tree this year and using my ornaments, I went to the Dollar Tree to get ornaments for my bulletin board tree.

I zhuzhed up some of the ornaments. The bird and silver ring were two separate ornaments and I combined them. I had two of each of the deer and the sleigh, but they were pointing in the same direction, and I wanted them to face each other. To fix this I removed the decorations on one deer and one sleigh and attached it to the other side and just like that they face each other.

I used push pins and white tipped straight pins to attach the ornaments. The push pins worked better with flat pieces and the straight pins with larger ones which allowed the ornaments to hang more freely. To mimic branches, I used white trees to form the outline. While I was filling in the shape, I noticed a lot of empty space. I used white snowflakes to fill the space and it did the trick. Not only did it fill in the space, it also gave it depth and made the other ornaments pop.

I love the way it came out and look forward to making it a part of my Christmas decorations for years to come!

Please leave comments on what you think of this idea and how you might use it. I would love to hear about it!

Library Bookshelves For Garage Conversion!

The last time I wrote about the garage conversion was back in July. There have been some hiccups, but we are almost to the finish line.

In the meantime, I have been working on two bookshelves I plan on putting into my new space. I found them at Good Wiil for $9 a piece. They are solid and in great shape. I think they were library shelves in a school. The backs are angled, and the shelves have a ridge on them (maybe to keep books in place). Wherever they came from, they are perfect to hold all of my chalk paint.

I gave the piece a thorough cleaning. When it was dry, I filled in any holes with wood filler, then sanded and painted with primer.

I gave the shelves two coats of this beautiful blue color from Lowes. I will leave link down below.

I love the way they came out! I can’t wait to put them in my new space and fill them with all my supplies!

Interior Paint and Interior Primer Products | Valspar®

Christmas Gift Ideas Using IOD O’ Christmas Tree Mould!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree….Yes, I am thinking about Christmas already. Especially after seeing the new Christmas Tree mould from Iron Orchid Design. I used mine to create Christmas plaques that you can hang on the wall or put on a stand.

When I started this project, I had no idea how much fun I would have. I got to create little rooms and reminisce about Christmas‘s of my childhood.

Let me show you what I mean:

Look at the detailing in this mould!

I found these Hello Sunshine plaques at Michael’s and covered them with wrapping paper I got from Hobby Lobby.

I used Amazing Casting resin to make the moulds. When you make your mould, make sure to mix enough resin. It’s a large mould.

I attached the tree to the plaque with my glue gun, then painted it white with Waverly Snow White chalk paint and finished by adding Bling Stickers (look like pearls) by Recollections.

I did not like the tree floating in the middle of the paper. Using a paper towel and water I removed the paper around the tree. To finish, I whitewashed the plaque and added the sign (which I changed from green to gold using rub-n-buff).

For my next plaque I wanted to try and make the tree look like it was sitting in a room. I had an idea of how to achieve the look but wasn’t sure where to start. The next day at school, I asked our very talented art teacher Kristie if she could help. Oh, course she said yes. She proceeded to explain the concept and even mapped it out on a piece of paper for me.

Using my newfound knowledge, I drew out my one-point-perspective.

How cool is that!

For the floor I wanted something fun, so I marked out a checker pattern and painted it black and white.

The checkered floor reminded me of the 50’s so I went retro!

For the next one, I painted the tree green and then added red balls and tinsel (you can’t have a 70’s tree without tinsel).

For the inside, I did retro wallpaper (I got it from dollhouse section at Hobby Lobby) and wood floor (I couldn’t find any shag rug).

I hope you enjoyed this blog and will make your own gifts using the Iron Orchid Design mould.

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Estate Sales: Disturbing or Practical?

I like going to Good Will and shopping on Facebook Marketplace where I have found furniture pieces and home decor at great prices. However, I have avoided going to estate sales because the idea of them makes me uncomfortable. Going to Good Will or finding items on Facebook Marketplace is much different than walking through someone’s home (that usually has passed away) touching their personal items and going into their private spaces.

But after watching some You Tube videos and seeing the beautiful and sometimes unique pieces that have been found at estate sales, I decided to give them a try. My first attempt was a failure. The sale itself had a lot of nice things but I had no real direction and became overwhelmed by the number of items available and the amount of people at the sale. I ended up talking to one of the people in charge of the sale and voicing how I felt about going through someone else’s belongings. She told me I should use the website EstateSales.Net it will give you sales in your area but best of all pictures of what they are selling. It will allow you to see what’s available and help decide if you want to go to that sale. She also suggested that I look at purchasing an item as a way to give it a second life. It made me feel a little better, but I ended up not purchasing anything. My husband however found a Stanley tool chest on wheels for a great price.

In my second attempt I did use the website EstateSales.Net and was able to see pictures of what was at each sale. I found a sale that had a beautiful clock, and it gave me the reason to go to the sale.

Below are some photographs of items I have found at recent estate sales:

Here is the Stanley tool cabinet my husband found. It has a space for his chop saw on top and storage for his drills underneath.

This was the clock that motivated me.

I was the first one at the clock and purchased it for $65. It even chimes on the hour.

I also purchased this large cement basket for $20. It will look great in my garden.

I am not going to lie I will most likely still feel sad when I go to estate sales, but I will try to look at it differently. Instead of feeling like I am intruding, I will look at it as a gift. I have been given the chance to walk through someone else’s home and get a glimpse of how they may have lived. Like seeing decorations for every holiday and envisioning their home in full regalia. Maybe a chair that is more worn than others and knowing this was a favorite spot. Their choices in books, artwork, dishware, and so on. I hope that by purchasing one of the things they may have loved that I am honoring their life in some way.

I would love to hear your ideas about estate sales and definitely any experiences that you may have had.

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Good Will Artwork Finds And How To Style Them!

To me a room is not finished unless it has some type of artwork. But as much as I want artwork in my home, my budget does not include owning a lot of original art. In the past, to accommodate my desire for art on a limited budget, I ordered prints from Art.Com, All Posters,, and Society 6. But recently I have found some wonderful prints at Good Will. You may have to dig for it, but that is part of the thrill.

I have been reworking my hutch in my front room and wanted to add artwork to the shelves. I found both of these at Good Will. The frames were in rough shape, but the prints were adorable.

I put the prints into frames I already had and styled them in my hutch. Love the results!

This was also a Good Will find. The frame was broken but the print was what I was after.

I did not have a frame for this print, so I went to Micheals and found this antique gold one.

The print looked great, but I wasn’t sure how to put it into this type of frame. I went to the desk to ask and the person working said you would cut off the excess and add a backer board. She offered to cut the excess off for me and when she returned, she had put on a backer board and stapled it for me (no charge). I love going to Michaels. They are awesome there!

I put this one over the shelf in our family room. I needed more color in there and this did the trick!

A Wedding And Antiquing On An Impulse!

At the beginning of August, we attended the wedding of our beautiful niece Amanda and her husband Erik. It was a wonderful time with family and of course witnessing the beautiful union of two people who love each other very much is always very special.

Congratulations Amanda and Erik!

The next day we headed home. With no time frame for us to get home, we decided to extend our wonderful weekend by doing something we both love, antiquing. I plugged in antique stores nearby and The Syracuse Antique Exchange popped up. The description said it had four floors, 20,000 square feet of antiques to explore and it was on our way home. Woo Hoo!

We set our GPS and were on our way!

This is the back of the building. That’s a lot of floors to cover.

The entrance was so quaint.

My jaw dropped when I walked in. There was so much to see. In this picture alone the artwork, table, bookcase and chandelier blew me away.

I have been looking for pottery and decorative plates and there was a cornucopia of them but alas not enough time to go through them properly. In addition, there were too many shiny things pulling me elsewhere.

When I looked closer at these pieces, they had been decorated with cigar bands and lacquered over. So cool!

Some of the booths seemed to lean toward a certain style. This one was more mid-century modern.

This booth: That “70’s Show.”

Some of the booths had vintage clothing.

I purchased this purse in a booth with vintage items. I love that it snaps on the bottom.

These pieces of pottery were beautiful. Surprisingly the prices were not outrageous.

I liked the chairs, but they were humungous. I sat in one and felt like a little kid.

The further you went upstairs; the more mish mosh it seemed to get. It is difficult for me to think when everything is everywhere.

As we were leaving the store one of the booths was packing things up and I heard them say they were leaving for the Bouckville Antique show. We asked about the show, and they said it was the biggest show in New York State with 2,000 vendors running from August 14th-20th.

August 19th: Bouckville Antique Show here we come!

I don’t know why but as soon I started walking around, I was overwhelmed. I have been to large shows like Brimfield before and did not feel this way.

I was seeing a lot of items for collectors but nothing at this point that I was interested in.

Here I was thinking that we may have made the trip for nothing.

Then I saw these gorgeous corbels and knew there was stuff here for me.

Architectual details like this are so beautiful.


I loved this booth it was inviting and everything was well organized.

I could see this at an entrance to a garden.

These frames were made from old- reclaimed wood siding.

Some of the tents were empty. I’m not sure if that meant that they sold out or they just left.

This booth was selling everything for 1$. I purchased these three prints for my son who loves to fish.

I am not going to lie I was disappointed in this show. Maybe I was thinking it was going to be like Brimfield and my expectations were too high. I did however learn that the night before they had a torrential downpour which could be why tents were empty. We also came at the end of the show on the second to last day and several vendors said you need to come in the beginning of the show to get the best items.

Even though I did not have the best experience I will not mark it as a never go again. Instead, I will give it another try next year and come in the beginning like the vendors suggested. I also will research the vendors, so I know where to find what interests me.

Using Easy Off Oven Cleaner “Hack” To Strip Furniture!

Now that Summer is nearing an end and things are winding down, I have been looking at projects that I had been meaning to do but never got around to doing them. One such project was refinishing a half-moon table that was given to me. It will be perfect for our family room.

Originally, I was going to paint the piece but when I turned it over, I saw real wood. We already have a few painted pieces in the family room and having a wood piece would be nice. So, I decided to uncover the wood using a stripper we already had in the house. I started working on the top, but it was messy and stinky and taking way too long. We tried sanding it but again for such a small table I felt a lot of work was being put into it and there were other things I could be doing.

I stepped away from the project at this point to decide if I wanted to continue or move on to something less frustrating. While I was contemplating, I remembered seeing a video recently about using Easy Off oven spray to strip and bleach furniture. In the video it seemed to work well so I thought what can I lose. I went to the store purchased Easy Off oven spray and used it on my half-moon table.

Let’s see what happened!

This is the half-moon table and what I found underneath.

I have used Klean Strip before on tough projects, but it usually needs more than one application, and it has a strong odor.

First application.

After removing the paint, I sprayed it again to start on the varnish and gunk.

Even with the second application there was still a lot of varnish left. I was three hours in, and frustration was setting in.

Even after sanding for a half hour (my husband jumped in for me, my allergies were bad that day) you can see the stain embedded in the wood. This is where I stopped to plan my next move.

It said fume free, but I still used a mask.

I sprayed a thick layer of Easy Off on the piece and let it sit for twenty minutes.

When the time was up, I used steel wool and a wire brush to remove the paint and varnish then rinsed the residue off with the hose.

I did do another coat in some areas where the varnish was thicker.

After rinsing off the residue from the second application I let it dry in the sun.

Then gave it a light sand.

Before and After

I would definitely do this process again. It was much easier, and not only did it strip the wood it lightened it as well.

The finished product looks great in the room. Love it!

Creating A Garden Plant Map And Journal To Be A Better Gardener!

I really never thought I would be a “real” gardener. I thought I would have bushes, pots on the front stoop and maybe some flowers for some curb appeal. But here I am with three good sized gardens (at least that’s what I would call them) one is 22′ x 20′, another is 25′ x 8′ and the third is 23′ x 7′. I have to admit I am enjoying myself, it is hard work, but I like digging in the dirt, breaking a sweat and feeling tired in a good way at the end of the day.

However, I am definitely a rookie when it comes to my knowledge of plants and how to care for them. In the beginning I was moving plants around because I did not look at the heights they would grow. I now look at the tags that come with the plants (those of you who know me know I am not good at reading directions). But in this case, things might die if I water them too much, plant in full sun instead of part sun or shade, when to feed, mulch, cut back etc. It is because of everything you need to know to keep every plant happy and healthy that I am creating a plant map of my gardens and starting a journal.

The map is essential for me because I can never remember what is planted and where, so I have to wait until they start to grow to figure it out. I am hoping the journal will make me a better gardener by recording what works and what does not. It will also give me something to look back on to see my progress and also prevent me from creating yet another garden when I look back at how hard I worked on the other three.

Front Garden Map

Cottage Garden Map

Back Garden Map

I ordered this journal from Amazon. With this journal and my garden maps it should help me become a better gardener.

Cottage Garden Part Three: 2023 Improvement A New Fence!

I posted a blog in 2021 about “Creating A Cottage Garden Part One. In the post I talked about how after our addition/renovation was done on our home in 2021, we were left with a perfect place for a cottage garden. In preparation for the garden, we roto-tilled the area, added garden soil, laid pavers for a path, added a birdbath, and ending by selecting plants and placing them (some still in their pots) into a garden design. I followed this post with “Cottage Garden Part Two”. Here I actually planted the garden and was contemplating some type of enclosure. After seeing a video of making a fence out of pallets, I decided to give it a try. Getting the boards off the pallets was a lot harder than I expected and I gave up the idea. I chose instead to use boxwoods around the garden and as they mature, it would create a separation.

That brings us to this blog post. Honestly, I don’t think I ever gave up on the idea of a fence, but it was just too much at the time. Every time I watched Linda Vater on You Tube and saw her Potage Garden enclosed with a beautiful fence, I wanted one too. I was finally pushed into action when I saw four by eight-foot cottagey looking fencing at Home Depot. They would be perfect to enclose my garden. Yeah!

P.S: First I had to convince my husband since I needed a partner in crime to pull this off. Ultimately, he came around. Love that man!

As a reminder, this is where we were after “Cottage Garden Parts One And Two”.

These are the lengths of fencing from Home Depot we ended up purchasing. Now I had to decide what color to paint them.

I thought about painting the fence white, but I didn’t think it would work with the piece of “perfectly rusted” wrought iron fence I had found on Facebook Marketplace.

Returning to Linda Vater’s Potage Garden and the fact that her fence was a darker color, I looked online to see if she had ever mentioned the color that she used. Not only did she mention the color, she posted the formula and the fact she purchased it through Home Depot.

I set myself up in the backyard, put my earbuds in and proceeded to paint all for lengths of fence and the posts they would be attached to. I did some singing and dancing along the way.

I really like the color. It’s a bronzy black/brown which goes well with the wrought iron fence.

As I was painting, I could see the garden right in front of me and thought wouldn’t it be great to have decorative newel posts as an entrance to the garden. A large salvaged pillar that we purchased a couple years ago came to mind.

My idea was to cut the pillar in half and create two newel posts.

Two halves of the bottom and top of the pillar. Now we just had to screw them together.

Because these halves did not match up, the circled part on the right had to be removed to put them in line.

That piece was cut out then glued back together.

After the posts were dry, I painted them with the fence color but wiped some off because I wanted it to be lighter than the fence and for the paint to get into the cracks.

Next, we started putting it all together.

First, we dug all the post holes.

Added the posts, put rocks all around and then backfilled with dirt.

Dug out trenches to level the fence.

Once everything was level, attached a clamp to hold in place while screwing together.

When we added the newel post they were a little short, so we added wood to the bottom to raise it up.

The finished fence for my cottage garden. I love the fence but thought something was missing. Maybe a finial for the newel post top.

I went shopping in my house and found two candle holders made of resin in my front room.

I added the same color paint as the fence to the candle holders and I love the results!

It was a lot of work, but the end result was worth it!

Next up, a glass of wine on the patio looking at our new garden fence!