Continuing to do what I do!

It is strange writing a Blog at a time like this. Things are changing everyday. I worry about what lays ahead of us in the following months. Not only for myself, family and friends, but for everyone affected by closings, loss of employment, individuals that are in the vulnerable population and the isolation of social distancing. The only thing we can do is keep moving forward! Taking one day at a time! I will keep writing, creating and sharing it all with you. In doing so I hope it will provide a little distraction!

I have been home from work since Monday. Our school closed last week and will remain closed until it is safe for students and staff to return. To keep myself busy I started to tear my house apart. I don’t mean in the deep cleaning since, I mean literally tearing it apart!

IMG_6240 (2) I started by removing the medallions on the risers on our staircase. I put them on many years ago and it was time for a change.

IMG_6113 (2)                               They were glued on so I carefully removed them.

IMG_6111 (2) I used the side of the hammer so I could keep it at a straight angle. This prevented any gouging of the wood.

IMG_6114 (3) Here we are! I still have to sand the risers. Once that is done I want to paint them white. I am also going to try refinishing the treads myself. Wish me luck!

IMG_6203 (2)             Next on the agenda was removing the wainscoting in our family room.

IMG_6205 (2) Removing the wainscoting was pretty easy. It was fun seeing the previous looks this room has had. I remember this stripe. It was hand painted and took forever!!

IMG_6207 (2)             I was able to save the bead board and hope to use it in the powder room.

After all the bead board was removed. It was now on to the baseboard.

IMG_6223 (2)                                             First I took off the shoe molding.

IMG_6229 (2)

I then tackled the baseboard. It turned out to be a bear! The hardwood floor was put in after the wainscoting was already on. It made it difficult to get leverage to pull the nails out.

IMG_6225 (2)           I had to get creative in order to reach the nails. I took the blade out of a hacksaw.

IMG_6226 (2)               By removing the blade I was able to reach the nail and saw it in half.

IMG_6238 This is the cut nail. It took longer than I thought it would. I was able to remove the baseboard, but it took over three hours!

IMG_6242 (2)                                                                No more base board.

I thought it would be fun to show you the rest of my house. Yikes! I am not worried, I will take it one day at a time and get it done!

I hope everyone will take moments to breath, reach out to family and friends via technology, play with your children, take a walk, read a book and enjoy the time together!


Taking back the linen closet!

I tackled my linen closet today. It is one of those things I have put off and put off and put off! Maybe I was hoping elves would come along and do it for me. No such luck! I call it a linen closet, but it no longer resembles one. It has become a catch all place with a few sheets thrown in. I really try to avoid it if I can. When I do go in there I grab what I need and get out quick. My plan of avoidance was foiled when someone left the linen closet door open. I came upstairs and got a full frontal assault. The view was not pretty and could no longer be ignored! So began my Sunday of cleaning, painting and organizing my linen closet.

IMG_6104 (3) This is the door that should have remained closed.

IMG_6105 (2) I was not kidding! I cringed at the thought of all of you seeing this mess. But for the sake of the post, full disclosure is needed!

IMG_6106 (2) Luckily, the shelves could be removed.

IMG_6108 (2) Once everything was out, I gave it a good cleaning.

IMG_6107 (2) When I removed the shelves I made sure to number them. This was a precaution in case there is a slight difference in size and each fit only in the original spot.

IMG_6133 (2) I painted the sides and shelves with Behr Pure White paint. The back of the cabinet was painted with Annie Sloan Paris Grey Chalk Paint.

IMG_6127 (2) The Annie Sloan Paris Grey paint gave the back wall a suede look.

IMG_6147 (2) In the past, if I did not put shelf liner on the shelves it would scratch the paint. I found this liner at the Dollar Store last week.

IMG_6152 (2) I stapled it to the underside to hold it in place. You do not have to do this, but I find it prevents puckering.

IMG_6193 (2) Of course I wanted to use pretty baskets and containers to house everything I wanted to store. I purchased four of these baskets at Homegoods at a great price!

IMG_6191 (2) I purchased two of these also. Love the print!

IMG_6188 (2) I like this one too! It has a lid so you can stack things on top.

IMG_6198 (2) I already had these glass containers. I tried to use them for sugar and flour at one time but they did not keep moisture out and the sugar lumped together. I fished them out and put soap, Q-tips and eventually cotton balls will go in the third one when I get to the store.

IMG_6173 (2) Here it is! So much better than it was before!

IMG_6178 (3) I really like the way the glass jars look and so glad I can finally use them!

IMG_6176 (2) I purchased the wire basket at Homegoods. It makes it easier to get a roll of toilet paper.

I really like the way it came out. Now when I go upstairs, if the door happens to get left  open, I will stand there and admire how it looks!

Guest Artist: Laura Abbott

I have been playing around with an idea for the Blog ever since I wrote about The Rochester Public Market and The George Eastman House. I received such positive feedback for each of these posts, it made me think I should do more of this kind of entry. Starting with this post, I am going to try to write about local artists, cultural events, historic sites and anything else that may be fun. I am not sure about the frequency of this kind of feature. It will be more research than my normal posts . With my work, family, weekly Blog schedule it will most likely be quarterly.

Today, I want to introduce all of you to someone I think is an extremely talented artist. Her name is Laura Abbott. After art school, Laura began her career teaching art. She taught in many places. New Hampshire, Syracuse area, and of course here in the Rochester region to name a few. She gives private lessons and has been a staple in the Fairport Canal Days festival as a face painter for over 20 years. Laura’s style is unique. She does not limit herself to one medium. She is always trying different ways to express herself artistically. In her words “Chefs will try new recipes, business men and women embrace new technology, hairstylists use new products, all to expand their knowledge. It is the same with art. Trying different mediums and techniques can only help to make you a better artist!”

I went to Laura’s home to discuss the Blog. As soon as you walk into her home you can tell someone with an artistic eye lives there. Her home is filled with an eclectic array of artwork, found items and heirlooms all working together to form a warm and inviting space. After showing me around her home pointing out the different art projects she had done and her works in progress. We settled on two to share with you. Zentangles Animals, and a watercolor painting she is currently working on.

As I stated before Laura is continually looking for ways to expand herself artistically. She had always wanted to try watercolor painting. When she found a class, that was being taught, by Kathy Armstrong an artist whose work she admired. She signed up!

peony 1 (2) Each student in the class picked a photo to work from. Laura chose a Peony.

IMG_6014 (2) She then drew the image on newsprint paper using a grid technique. She lightly mark the paper with squares. She said using this technique helps to keep your picture in proportion. Once this is done she then transfers it onto watercolor paper.

IMG_5987 (2) Once the picture is drawn on the paper, the real fun began, as she started to fill in with color!

IMG_5988 (2) Using a paint pallet, she meticulously brings the painting to life through shading and highlighting.

laura artist (2) Here is Laura with her finished watercolor painting. It is so beautiful, can you believe this is her first time using watercolor. Amazing!!

The second project was inspired by Zentagles. Laura had been looking for something to give her grand nieces and nephews as gifts. She decided to make art pieces for each using Zentagle patterns and their favorite animals.

zentangle (2) This is an example of the patterns.

laura 1 (2) She found images online of animals that her grand nieces and nephews liked. She then drew a contour line drawing,

laura (2)

Using the original drawing as reference, she divided it up into logical pieces-like muscles, fins, ears, legs-depending on the animal. The choices are endless for patterns and colors, so that part is what makes it special. She then chose a pattern for each part, outlined it with Micron Pen and added color with Prismacolor pencils. Wow!

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These are the other pieces she did! Lucky nieces and nephews! I love them all, but my favorite is the cow!

I hope you enjoyed learning about Laura! I am excited about this new feature in the Blog. I can not wait to find the next person, place or thing to share with you!



Slow going, but Progess!

Progress on the master bedroom has slowed down. My schedule has been pretty crammed. I have not been able to set aside time to work on the bedroom. I have had projects put on the back burner before. In those cases, I was able to tuck them out of sight. The problem with this project is I sleep in it every night. I face the unfinished bedroom on a daily basis! Of course when I am lying in bed I am thinking about what things I want to do next. Not very conducive to a good nights sleep. On the bright side, I was able to work on window treatments this weekend. I want to hang drapery on either side of the roman shades. I have beautiful white linen draperies from Pottery Barn that I have been using in our room for years. However, white will not work with the material I chose for the roman shades. So, I decided to dye them! I remember my mother dying items in our washing machine when I was younger. I went to the RIT dye website and it guided me every step of the way. It even has a color chart for mixing dyes.

faux 5IMG_5797 (2)

Just to get everyone up to speed first I built the faux window to create symmetry. Then made roman blinds for each using Aubusson Aegeon fabric, by Richloom.

IMG_6080 (2) These are the drapes. I was definitely nervous because I really like them.

IMG_6082 (2)  I took out the hem. I want to hang them high to give the illusion of tall ceilings..

IMG_6020 (2) I chose teal RIT dye. The directions said to fill the washer with hot water, add dye (in my case two bottles), one cup of salt and a teaspoon of dish soap.

IMG_6021 (2) Once everything is mixed together, you add the drapes. They suggest 30 minutes in the dye bath. If you want a darker color you can go up to an hour. After 30 minutes stop the wash and start regular machine cycle with detergent. Once done, you put them in the dryer. To clean the washer after, add two cups of bleach to hot water, machine cycle with a couple old towels. It was really easy and no mess.

IMG_6022 (2) After they were dry I ironed them and got them ready to hang.

IMG_6101 (2) I originally was going to hang a single drape on each side. Once I had them up I thought it needed the center panel also.

drapes 1 I am so happy I am still able to use the Pottery Barn Drapes. They came out beautifully!  Who knew using dye was so easy!

Next on the agenda is buying or making a headboard, new bedding, and painting our existing bedroom furniture.

Entertaining in a small space?

This weekend I had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday with my best gal pals and their spouses. My husband had asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said I would like to celebrate with my friends. As always, my husband said done! He put together an amazing evening of fun, food, friends, my sons Brian, Kevin and his girlfriend Kristen, and of course my wonderful husband. The plan was to have a sit down dinner for all. Of course the menu would be amazing. My husband was in charge of that. So there would be something for everyone’s tastes, it consisted of lasagna, roast pork tenderloins with cherry sauce, healthy Greek chicken kabobs, maple mashed sweet potatoes, asparagus bundles wrapped in bacon and a nice tossed salad with homemade honey mustard dressing. He also baked two cakes, one chocolate and one white cake (the white one is my favorite). With the menu planned we had to figure out how to seat 17 people in a space that just isn’t build for it. Yikes!!

IMG_2690 This is our dining room. I love it, but it would not hold seventeen people!

fam room adj 1 This is our family room. So what do you do to seat seventeen people? You move all the furniture around in your house.

IMG_6026 (2) We moved the family room furniture into the dining room. I have to say I am loving the wall color and chandelier with this furniture!

IMG_6025 (2) I even found a place for the new wine cabinet!

IMG_6035 (2) Then we moved the dining room furniture into the family room. We also added another table I had already refinished and voila! Seating for seventeen!

IMG_6040 (2) It also pays off when you refinish furniture and you have seventeen chairs available to you. It was a perfect solution to accommodate the seventeen people. It really was not that hard especially when you have two grown sons to help move the furniture!

Reimagined Music Cabinet!

I have made great progress on the Music Cabinet and I am very excited to share the results! In the last post, I painted it with Annie Sloan Athenian Black Chalk Paint and gilded the inside back wall with gold leafing.

IMG_5633 When I painted I kept the grooved slats in case I might have a use for them. After finalizing my design concept, I decided to remove them.

IMG_5698 Once the slats were removed I touched up the paint and gold leaf. I liked the result, but it drew your eye to the uneven gilded edges on the back corners.

IMG_5692 I looked around the garage and found some quarter round molding and thought it might do the trick. I cut it to size and painted it with Annie Sloan Athenian Black to match the  cabinet.

IMG_5809 (3) I glued the quarter round  pieces into place and immediately knew it was the right decision.  It created the clean line I was looking for.

IMG_5824 When I started working on this piece, I knew I wanted it to be a wine cabinet. I went back and forth about how the wine would be stored. I thought about an x design “wine rack” built into the cabinet, but I wanted the wine bottles to create interest and become part of the design. I settled on individual shelves running across the width and each shelf would hold five bottles. So, I cut six 1 x 1 pieces of wood that I used as support for the three shelves.

IMG_5825 (2) Once in place, I painted them with the Annie Sloan Athenian Black Chalk paint.

IMG_5827 (2) I used 12 x 1 select pine for the shelves. Again, painting with Annie Sloan Athenian Black Chalk Paint.

IMG_5838 (2) I needed something to keep the wine bottles from moving on the shelf, so I added four half rounds to each shelf to accommodate the bottles.

IMG_5689 I already had these knobs from another project and thought they would be perfect. I painted them (wait for it) with Annie Sloan Athenian Black Chalk Paint.

IMG_5781 I needed to bring the gold from inside the cabinet to the outside. I turned to one of my favorite items, Craft Smart metallic wax.

IMG_5782 I used my finger to apply the wax. It has a creamy texture and goes on like butter.

IMG_5783 Use small amounts when applying and gently touch it with your finger.

IMG_5785 Continuing with a light touch, I went over the raised pattern on the top of knob. It highlighted the detail beautifully!

IMG_5786 (2) Love it!

music 6 (2) The finished piece! Going with a dark color and removing the original filigree detailing on the drawer gave it a more dramatic look!

music 1 (2) We did not have enough wine on hand to fill it, but for the wine enthusiast, it will hold fifteen bottles.

music-6 The gold leafing inside gives you a surprise when you open it!

music-7 I love the way it shimmers behind the glassware.

music-8 Doing the shelves this way creates more interest and breaks up the negative space.

music 9

I was not certain that just having gold wax on the knobs would be enough. I am glad I went with my gut though. I think it warms up the outside and gives a hint of what is happening on the inside.

music 8 I got this copper pot at a garage sale for two dollars. (random information, but this is the first time I am using it.) It is so pretty, it was worthy of a plug!

music 6 (2) Originally, I did not like this piece. The more ornate detailing that it came with just did not fit my vision. Once I streamlined it by removing the intricate designs, it was game on! Welcome to the world Reimagined Bar Cabinet!!

Hopefully, clearing up my last post!

We were hit with a big snowstorm Thursday evening into Friday. As a result, I and the rest of the Fairport School district had a snow day! I decided to take advantage of the bonus day and work on my roman blinds. Before I go any further though I wanted to address the faux window in our master bedroom. My husband and I were talking and I mentioned that the last post I did on our bedroom “Return to the Master Bedroom” did not have a lot of response. My husband, being the wonderful man that he is, said maybe your readers couldn’t see the same vision you had. I went back to the post and looked at it again and realized he was right. It looked like molding on a wall in the shape of a window looking into the abyss. I hope today’s post will clear up where I was going with this project.

If you have been following my Blog you know that I changed directions concerning the faux window a few times. I really want to make it work so we can keep our new bedroom arrangement which makes the room seem so much bigger. So I keep plugging along and if it is a fail, then it’s a fail. I will never be afraid to show you my failures, and I assure you there have been many. These failures often lead me to something better. So I will keep pushing the boundaries and see where it takes me and hopefully you’ll come along for the ride!

faux 5 This is from “Return to the Master Bedroom” post. In the future, I will try and make the direction I am going in on these projects more clear.

IMG_5707 (2) Cutting the fabric for this project is a little more involved than usual. In this case I need to cut both panels exactly the same since they will be hanging next to each other and the pattern needs to match up.

IMG_5712 (2) The width of the window measures 35 1/2 inches. I added 4 inches more inches for seam allowances and begin to cut. I wanted the large medallion in the pattern to be centered in the middle of the shade. I divided 39 1/2 inches found the center point on the medallion and made my cuts.

IMG_5717 (2) Before I add the lining I make sure both panels line up.

IMG_5719 (2) Its a match! What a relief!

IMG_5714 I cut the lining 2 inches shorter so I can bring the fabric over the liner. This way you will not be able to see the liner from the front of shade.

IMG_5741 (2) Before I sew up the seams, I take it to the window to check measurements. I learned the hard way by having to rip seams out in the past because it didn’t fit.

IMG_5797 (2) This is the result. I still have work to do on the shade I want to add a draw cord. I have never done that before so I want to take my time with it. I will say you really can’t tell which is the faux and which is real.

IMG_5790 (2) The one next to the picture is the faux if you wanted to know!

window sunlight This is a picture of the view from our bedroom. My plan is to have this blown up to fit the faux window. If it works I am hoping when I raise the shade it will look like the view outside. I am going to wait until the snow melts so the picture can be used year round.

Our bedroom is coming along. I am excited about the window and will be tackling other projects in the coming months. These include, adding crown molding, refinishing the wood floor, painting our existing furniture to give it a whole new look and finding new bedding. Its a lot, but doing it in steps will make it less overwhelming!