Finishing Touches!

With my annual holiday party coming up, I took Friday off from work and set myself up to clean. I put the music on so I could dance and sing myself through the drudgery. But as it happens, I got side tracked. Sometimes this happens to me (a lot really). It started by tweaking one holiday decoration, then another and another, and another until a few hours had gone by and no cleaning in sight. It looked great though and I checked that off my to do list! I will not be giving you any cleaning tips (Ha Ha), but I will share what I did!

adj lantern 4 love I had already finished this, but wanted to start from the outside in. This was the easiest Christmas flowerbox I have ever done! I bought greens from Wegmans, laid them in the bottom, placed the lantern in the middle, added three holiday stems from Michael’s on either side of lantern and ended with ribbon. Voila!

adj outside 2                                                       The snow looks great with the greenery!

IMG_4796                                                        Time to go inside, its cold out here!

adj banister 2 I started with the Newel Post. It is the first thing you see as you walk in the house. So welcoming!

adj mantle sun.jpg             Remember the vases I worked on? Here they are with the finished mantle!

adj-man-6-2.jpg                                           I am really pleased with the way they came out!

adj mantle 9.jpg                              All the stockings are hung by the faux chimney with care!

adj mantle 7.jpg These were such a find! I got them at the after Christmas sale at Target. They are the perfect color and style for my living room.

adj lantern.jpg               I love my old chippy lanterns! Simple design, just tie a bow and add candle.

adj chandelier These trimmings were purchased at Target from the dollar bin area. I wait every year for those items. Such cute Christmas décor, good quality and great prices! Don’t tell anyone else!

adj hat.jpg                                           This hat reminds me of Frosty the Snowman!

adj santa.jpg This guy has been with us forever! I used to have him outside sitting on a sled every year. You can tell his gloves used to be a brighter green. He’s earned his stripes and now has a permanent spot in the house every Christmas!

adj sign                                            I am going to leave you with this sign. It says it all!


I best get back to cleaning!!

Setting the table!

For as long as I can remember, setting the table has been one of my favorite things to do! It started when I was young. I was at my Aunt Bev’s house and was asked to help set the table. She had beautiful china, crystal and cloth napkins the likes of which I had never seen. I carefully carried every single crystal goblet and china plate with both hands placing them ever so gently on the table. Then I laid a napkin next to each place. The result was so beautiful it changed my perception of mealtime forever! I became determined to do the same with our family table even though we only had Corelle Dinnerware and paper napkins. It didn’t matter! I started by folding the paper napkins and putting the silverware in its proper place and then added candles (I was big on candles). The candles however, were not a big hit with my father and brothers who would complain they were not able to see their food! Luckily for me, my mom was there to shush the Naysayers and encourage my efforts! I have since upped my game from folded paper napkins and candles, to crystal, china and cloth napkins. I still love candles, but also experiment with different place settings, flower arrangements and unique items to incorporate into my design. I will be hosting Christmas Eve dinner this year so I have been looking online for inspiration. I pulled some of my favorites to share with you.

miss mustard seed table

This table setting by  “Miss Mustard Seed” is the perfect example of using colors other than red and green to dress a holiday table!

sara richardson

This is a simple but elegant table setting by one of my favorite designers, Sarah Richardson. She used items you can find in nature as her center piece, kraft paper for name tags and mason jars as candle holders. It just shows you that setting a pretty table can be low key and still knock your socks off!!

sara richardson 2                                          Here, Sarah Richardson adds a colorful plate to create a holiday mood!


You know I love candles! With greenery and flowers this table is spectacular!

So many great ideas! I can not wait to create my Christmas Eve table and share it with you!

Tis The Season!

I started my holiday decorating today! Over the years my approach to decorating has changed. I used to spend hours removing items from a room and bringing in holiday décor. I really got tired of having to pack everything up only to put it back in a few weeks. When I decorate now rather than remove items I modify them to reflect the holiday. I used this technique on two large Pottery Barn Vases I have on my mantle.

vase adj 1  I love pussy willows they are a simple organic element that give much needed height.

IMG_4748 Some are artificial I purchased them at Pier One and Michael’s. I fill in during the year with real ones I get at Wegmans Grocery Store.

IMG_4789  I chose artificial red berry stems to add color.

IMG_4790 I placed one stem in at a time stepping back periodically to see how it looked and tweaking if needed.

IMG_4792 Next I used artificial pine branches from Michael’s. I put them around the rim to add greenery and a little sparkle.

IMG_4793 Remember to walk around the vase to make sure all angles look good.

IMG_4822 (2) When everything was done I took stems out and placed where there might have been empty space.

IMG_4818 (2) I will not lie it took me more than an hour to do each vase.

img_4813-2.jpg I think the result was worth the time put in. I guess I still spend a lot of time decorating, but at least I will not have to drag things back in.

Another time saver is using the same wreath for all seasons and holidays. I bought a gerneric green wreath.

IMG_2947 (6) This is the wreath and how it looks in the spring.

IMG_4223 (2) This is the same wreath just embellished with fall décor.

img_4796.jpg Again, using the same wreath changing out for the Christmas season.

Next week more decorating ideas!

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Gilding the Lily!

In a previous post,  I mentioned a mirror that I wanted to brighten up by putting on gold leafing. The mirror was given to us by my husband’s grandmother. I loved the detailing of the mirror, but not the brassy tone. I found a kit at Michael’s that chemically changed the color to an aged copper. The color was great but became really dark over the years and the detailing was lost. So I decided to gold leaf the mirror (something I have never done before) .

IMG_4356 This is the mirror before gold leafing. See how dark it is?

IMG_4357 It all just blends in. It needs something to make it pop!

IMG_4442 I am using Martha Stewart gilding adhesive.

IMG_4443 There were a lot of gold leaf products to choose from at Micheals. After sorting through them all I chose Craft Smart because they came in larger sheets IMG_4446 The first step is to apply the adhesive to the area you wish to work on. Since I had have never done gold leafing before, I worked on one small area at a time.

IMG_4447 (2) The adhesive will dry clear in about five minutes. Once it is dry lay the gold leaf on top of the area and gently tap on it, pushing it into the crevices and then brushing it smooth.

IMG_4461 This is what it will look like when the adhesive dries.

IMG_4473 Then continue brushing and smoothing until it completely lies flat.

IMG_4472 Once the gold leaf is secure brush away any loose pieces with a soft brush.

IMG_4480 It was fairly simple and it adheres quickly with smooth coverage.

IMG_4485 You can put on as many layers that you want to have complete coverage. I liked the exposed area and decided to leave it this way.

img_4578.jpg It actually reminds me of how the mirror looked originally. I knew I was going to tone it down, I just had to figure out how.

IMG_4614 I painted over it with Annie Sloan Napoleon Blue Chalk Paint. I know you are probably saying what??

IMG_4612 It is dark, but just the first layer.

IMG_4619 I then painted it with a mixture of Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue, Antibes Green and Louis Blue Chalk Paints.

IMG_4620 (2) You can start to see the depth with the undertones.

img_4641.jpg With really fine sand paper, I started to uncover the layers.

IMG_4645 (2) See how the dark blue shows through in spots also?

img_4584.jpg Once I was done removing some of the layers it was time to wax. I used a different technique. I dipped my brush first in Annie Sloan clear wax, then Annie Sloan dark wax working them together at the same time.

waxed mirror 2 The waxes take it to the next level. Look how much the detail is popping out now!

waxed mirror 1 I always make sure to get the entire piece so all sides will look good from any view.

waxed mirror 3 (2) It was a risk to do all the work of gold leafing and then paint over it. Believe me, there have been times when the risk did not pay off and I had to start all over. But times like this one, that  work out well, keep pushing me to try something new!

Great finds in Pittsburgh!

I was in Pittsburgh, PA this past weekend and scored big! While visiting my son and his girlfriend, we decided to go to a architectural salvage place called “Construction Junction”. I was very excited about this place because Leann Ford of the HGTV show “Restored by the Fords” uses this place for her designs.

IMG_4526 (2) This is my son Kevin and his girlfriend Kristen.

cj picture The salvage yard is a major recycling hub in the city. It promotes reuse and upcycling and highlights some designs in their showroom.
IMG_4528 This is just the outside of building. They used recycled items to make art!  We could not decide what they were, maybe a Koala Bear on bottom and Monkey on top? Not sure, but either way they were amazing!

IMG_4512 (2) Here is another piece of art made with recycled cans.

IMG_4513 (2)

These windows are beautiful, I believe they were saved from an old church.

IMG_4527 This table top was made out of bottle caps. They are raffling it off and my son bought some tickets. Hopefully he will win!

I was looking at some lighting and noticed a large box in the middle of the aisle.

IMG_4524 (2) This is where you walk away or start to dig. I always dig!

IMG_4523 (2) I would say it was worth it!  It’s times like these I know how Mike and Frank of “American Pickers” feel!

globes I found two hanging globe lights. The detailing is beautiful! They were only $5 each.

globe closeup

sconces These sconces are really heavy. I can see these in a bathroom on either side of the mirror. I paid $10 each for the sconces.

sconces side Again the detail is amazing!

chandelier This chandelier was only $20

chandelier chrystal I cant believe how lucky I was to find these treasures at such great prices. They all need a little love and rewiring, but what a find!

Next week:

I am in the process of putting gold leaf on a mirror. Details to follow…



I love the term upcycling. Recycling always makes me think of bottles, cans and old newspapers. With upcycling you take something and bring it back to its original self or transform it into something completely different. That is exactly what I did to an old trunk I purchased at a garage sale.

IMG_4354  I really liked the bones of the trunk, but the army green was not for me.

adj annie sloan book I purchased this Annie Sloan book awhile ago. It is full of great ideas, some of which I used on this project.

IMG_4381 The book shows how to work specifically with Annie Sloan Paint.

IMG_4382 It even has a color wheel for all Annie Sloan Paint.  It shows you what to mix to make another color and also what the complementary colors would be.

IMG_4361 I decided to use Annie Sloan Chicago Grey as a base coat. You don’t have to do a base coat, but I plan on layering color and did not want any of the army green to show through after distressing.

IMG_4360 As always with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint you can use it on anything with no prep!

IMG_4363 What a difference just lightening it up makes!

IMG_4367 The first layer was Annie Sloan Antibes Green. I know it is bright, but remember I’m layering.

IMG_4374.JPG Look how the hardware pops.

adj inspiration trunk fabric For the second layer I pulled inspiration from the fabric I plan to use in the Master Bedroom.

I combined Annie Sloan Antibes Green and Napoleonic Blue.

adj 1st paint layer trunk The color turned a deep teal which compliments the soft greenish- blue color I chose for the bedroom walls.

IMG_4389 After painting the entire trunk I added clear wax and dark wax to give the piece depth and the look of age. I tried a technique I learned in Annie Sloan’s book, Color Recipes for Painted Furniture. In the book it says you can apply wax before the paint dries, allowing the waxes to drag the paint more easily and give it texture at the same time. It worked beautifully!

adj completed front trunk This is the finished piece. I still want to add feet for height.

adj completed painted trunk I love this color and it looks great with the patina on the hardware!

adj trunk hardware The only thing I did to the hardware was clean it up a with a wet cloth.

adj trunk hardware 2

adj feet trunk unstained These are the feet I purchased at Lowes.

adj stains I wanted to get a color that would go well with the hardware. I mixed three colors together, Minmax Gunstock, Dark Walnut and Classic Gray stains.

adj feet trunk They really look like they have been around awhile..

IMG_3763 Once the stain was dry I put on a coat of  Varathane matte water based polyurethane.

adj finished trunk I could not be happier with the outcome! The color, the hardware and feet all came together so well!

adj finished trunk 4 This will be great for extra storage in the bedroom!

Lets here it for upcycling!!

Repainting, refinishing and reworking the Master Bedroom!

Next up, the Master Bedroom! I decided to keep the original color. Its beautiful and this way I get to keep the accessories I already have. The room was painted years ago, so I took an old cable wire cover that had been painted to the Home Depot for a color match. The young lady at the Home Depot was terrific and was able to match it perfectly. They also have a database to keep all your paint colors. So helpful!  With the color choice decided, I started to prep the room. The large shelf on the wall was removed along with drapery poles and the wall art. There was quite a bit of spackling to do especially where the shelf had been screwed into the wall. I will let the spackle dry overnight, sand it smooth and start painting tomorrow.

img_4342.jpg This is the large shelf that was removed from the wall. These are some of the accessories I will keep.

IMG_4358 Things are really coming together. I ordered two fabric samples and really like them both! Usually it takes weeks or months to find the perfect fabric.

IMG_4354 I am also going to refinish this trunk to use as storage in our room.

IMG_4355 An yet another project is this mirror. I had originally used a kit that changed gold leaf to a beautiful patina. I did this years ago and it has turned darker than I like. I am going to use Annie Sloan Paint to lighten it up.


Lastly, I am still working on the faux window idea. It has been difficult to find used shutters that fit the window. Buying new would be way more than I want to spend. I may have to rethink my idea.