Iron Orchid Design Molds and Updated Frames! – Part Two

This week brings more office updates, but not as many as I had planned. My youngest son, who has been working remotely and living with us for over a year, just achieved his goal of relocating to the Sunshine State. He received a job offer in Tampa, Florida and I am extremely proud and excited for him. Because the offer came in so fast, I have put most of my energy into spending time with him over the last two weeks.

I was, however, able to finish the other two picture frames for my office.

My son even jumped in to help! How great is that!

Here is Kevin pushing the air-dry clay into the mold.

He pulled the clay out of the mold like a pro!

Once the air-dry clay was dry, I painted the frames with with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.

I lay it on thick to fill in any small cracks.

I really love the mold design.

This paint is easy to use, but it really smells bad!

Once they were dry, I sealed them with Annie Sloan White Wax.

The zhuzhed up frames look amazing in my office.

Another thing checked off my office redesign to do list!

Upcycle A Picture Frame Inexpensively!

My office refresh is coming along wonderfully. I love the direction it is taking but I am coming to realize that many of the items I had in my office may not work anymore.

A perfect example would be the three “La Vie Parisienne prints I have. The prints still work, and I love them, but the frames are too plain. I priced out new frames and they are anywhere from $40-$70. Neither are what I wanted to spend.

Not to worry If I can’t buy them, I will tweak them instead!

I was looking for prints for months. I really wasn’t sure what I wanted, but the minute I saw them I knew they would be perfect.

I got these frames at Michael’s and they worked fine before, but not anymore.

I thought about how I could embellish them and came up with Iron Orchid design Molds and DAS air dry clay.

The molds are easy to use, and the designs are beautiful.

Work the clay into the mold then take a putty knife and scrape off the excess clay.

Making sure to push down to get into the mold detail

I forgot to get a picture of the clay coming out of the mold. I got this picture from the Iron Orchid Design website.

Hot glue clay mold to the frame.

The pieces do not reach all the way across. I had to piece them together.

I took small bits of clay and pushed them into the seam on the corner.

Using a brush, I smoothed the surface and worked it into the design.

When I was finished you could hardly tell that it was pieced together.

Once the molding was all on, I let it dry completely before painting.

I painted it with Anne Sloan Old White Chalk Paint.

The paint also helps to fill in any cracks that happened after drying.

It looks good like this, but I wanted to add some gold accent to complement my desk

I used Craftsmart Premium Gilding Paint in gold.

This stuff is stinky!

The finished frame. Just two more to go!

The before and after really shows the dramatic change! I am loving it!

Part Two Office Refresh: French Writing Desk Before And After!

My office refresh is coming along nicely. This week I tackled the French Writing Desk I purchased on Facebook Market Place. If I say so myself it came out pretty terrific!

The desk is nice, but it needs a little something, something! I started looking for inspiration online and found a few options.

Serene Chair 0

This is the one that spoke to me! Mine does not have the same embellishments, but I am pretty sure I can recreate something similar.

I had already given it a base coat of Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint. Next, I used Aubusson Blue as an undertone for depth and French Linen for richness.

Aubusson Blue

French Linen

I was not a fan of the cut out on the top of the legs.

I filled them in with spackle.

Once they dried, I sanded them down ready for painting.

You cannot even tell they were there.

It isn’t a French writing desk without some gold leaf.

Adding the gold highlights really made the piece.

Love the tone of the Aubusson Blue under the French Linen chalk paint.

After everything was dry, I used Annie Sloan waxes in clear, dark and white.

I always start with clear wax. It gives it a base so the other waxes blend better.

The waxes take it to the next level!

I touched up the hardware with Rub & Buff in antique gold.

Before and After.

Desk complete! Next, paint the walls and work on bookshelves!

Home Office Refresh: Part One!

We had a renovation about a year ago which included a new office for me. I love having my own creative space. However, the more I used my office I realized the layout was not working for me. I had tried moving my desk every which way in the office only to come to the conclusion it was just to too big for the space. The size of the desk also prevented me from adding much needed storage. Ultimately, I knew I would have to replace my desk in order to properly use my office.

With the decision made, I went in search of a new desk and storage solutions. Since I was making changes, I also decided to repaint my office, making it a total refresh!

After several weeks of looking, I was finally able to find what I was looking for on Facebook Marketplace…a French writing desk and two bookshelves for storage.

Part One: Office Refresh!

This is the desk I found on Facebook Marketplace. The size and the price were just right!

I am not sure what I want to do with it yet, so I cleaned it up and took off the hardware.

I also prepped it using Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint so it would be ready when I decide which direction I want to go.

I found two shelving units that are a little different in style, but the same height. I plan on making them look like one cohesive piece.

It is already more spacious after removing my original desk and bringing in the smaller one! I can’t wait to see the finished product!

Next week Part Two: Office Refresh

Tips On How To Find Artwork On A Budget!

I love making changes in my home. Zhuzhing this, tweaking that, adding, taking away, moving things around, you get what I mean. But alas, making changes usually involves spending money. To offset my creative self and the fact that it means spending money, I had to become very proficient in stretching a dollar. I began hunting for bargains at Good Will, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. I also refinished furniture, learned to sew and even picked up things off the side of the road (don’t judge, I found some really great stuff there).

So, after changes were made to our home during our recent renovation, I was again looking to stretch the dollar to fit my budget!

The changes made to our home were great. It gave us a lot more room and wall space, but I did not have enough artwork to fill it up. I tried looking at all my favorite places, Good Will, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to no avail. I was at the point of giving up and resigned myself to wait for warmer weather and garage sales. But by happen chance, I was looking on Etsy and saw some downloadable prints. I really did not know much about them, but the price was good and got even better when they had a fifty percent sale. I ordered three different sets of prints. Once the payment cleared, I received the download. I transferred them to a flash drive and brought it to Kinkos to have them printed. Kinkos prices were fantastic and ready in one day. I also purchased some frames from Michael’s. They were having a buy one, get one free deal. Wait until you see how they came out!


Black and white florals.


Color florals.

Of all the prints, the one on the right was the only disappointment. The coloring was dull, and you could not make out the design. I was very pleased with everything else.

The prints were too large for the frames.

I placed the mat on top of the print and traced a line.

Then cut them to fit.

The gray wash frames look great with the prints.

With your download, each print comes in either, 5×7, 8×10, 11×14,16×20 or 18×24. These two landscapes are 8×10’s.

This print is a 16×20. I had the frame from another piece of artwork I had done at Michaels. I went back to Michaels to get a mat and it cost twenty dollars including reframing. Bonus!

I used templates to figure out where to hang the art. It also helps with placement of the nail.

Love how this vignette came out!

I hung this print in the foyer.

I decided to hang the landscapes in the hallway to the kitchen instead of over the television.

Overall, I was very pleased with the quality of the prints. I will be hanging more once I decide on the size I want and get more frames. The great thing about this is I have the downloads forever!

How To Organize Your Home With Unique Storage Ideas!

Everyone likes having their home organized and tidy. I certainly do! But I was getting tired of using the typical baskets and bins. I wanted something unusual that would have more style and interest while still providing storage.

I recently found two such items. An old grape crate and a cigar box.

The grape crate was purchased at The Purple Painted Lady in Macedon N.Y. The patina is great and can be used in many ways!

I even like the letters on the side.

It holds three blankets easily and looks good doing it!

Instead of blankets, I could use it for pillows.

The distressed wood of the crate is a perfect contrast with the softness of the pillow.

Game night anyone!

An old cigar box makes a perfect place for storing remote controls.

First, I removed all stickers.

I wanted the top to have a smooth surface, so I filled in the lettering with spackle.

After sanding, it was ready for paint and decoupage.

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White and French Linen for the base.

This is one of a bunch of prints I purchased from Etsy.

I measured the box and cut the print to size.

Then decoupaged it to the top.

The remotes are kept together in a beautiful box that looks like part of the décor.

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How To Create A DIY Branch Chandelier!

When was the last time you did anything out of the box? Something that will make people say WOW! I tried to come up with a time when I went way out of my comfort zone and I came up with nothing. Don’t get me wrong. I can paint, refinish, decorate and DIY my butt off. But I have never really pushed past the imaginary line in the sand that says, this is where you stop. After seeing what my friend Beth and her husband Russ did, I am inspired to jump over the line and try something extraordinary myself!

Beth told me she got the idea to do the chandelier after seeing one at Dantiques in Macedon N.Y a few years ago and has been wanting to recreate it ever since.

Well, this was the year and wait until to you see how it turned out!

Dantiques is a unique store. Dan the owner is extremely creative. He definitely goes past that imaginary line. Actually, I think he lives over that line and just comes over to show us mere mortals his creations and inspire us in the process. I will leave a link below with more information about Dantiques.

The chandelier Beth saw at Dantiques. WOW right!

I was curious to see what a chandelier like this cost to purchase. I found something similar priced at $1,000. It is beautiful, but it doesn’t have the organic feel of the real branches and the price tag is too high.

Where did they go for branches? In their own backyard. They had recently trimmed their plum tree and the branches were perfect for the project.

It was genius to use the bar to hold the branches for trimming and gathering them together.

Beth and her husband used an industrial wire shade to provide the framework for the placement of the branches.

Into the dining room it goes!

To electrify it they took down their current dining room fixture and used the same power source.

The other light fixture had been swagged over the dining room table. They used the same hook and attached the wires.

I just love the natural feel of this chandelier!

They added tear drop crystals for their beauty and to help reflect the light.

Perfect touch!

Gorgeous, Gorgeous, Gorgeous and most definitely WOW!!

Dantiques unique, elegant and rustic decor.

The Purple Painted Lady Opens a New Shop! DIY’ers Rejoice!

Before the Covid shutdown, I had started a series of blogs about local Rochester treasures like The George Eastman House, Rochester Public Market and Memorial Art Gallery. I am rebooting the series featuring The Purple Painted Lady and her new digs!

Local entrepreneur Trish Kuntz has opened a new site for her Purple Painted Lady shops. It is located at 2621 RT 31 in Palmyra N.Y. The store itself is a six thousand square foot building that sits on six acres of land. Trish and her team have made it a must-see in the Rochester area and according to Trish, there is more to come in 2022. I can’t wait to see what else she has up her sleeve!

My first encounter with The Purple Painted Lady was ten plus years ago. I wanted to refinish a dining room table. Having never done anything like that before, l did some research and that is when I first learned about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Now all I had to do was find a place that sold it. I looked for local “stockists” and The Purple Painted Lady popped up. I have been getting my paint and other supplies there ever since. But paint and supplies are not the only reason I keep going back. Trish and her staff are genuinely interested in what you may be working on and are always willing to help in any way they can.

The store is not the only thing that carries The Purple Painted Lady name. Trish and her husband Steve have been showcasing local and travelling artisans in The Purple Painted Lady Festival for ten years. I was lucky enough to be a vendor at the festival in 2019 and again in 2021. It was a phenomenal experience! Make sure to mark your calendars for the 11th Purple Painted Lady Festival on September 17-18, 2022.

Tricia Kuntz ‘The Purple Painted Lady’ herself welcoming us into her new location at 2620 RT 31, Palmyra N.Y

When I first walked in, I was greeted with an array of color, texture and eye-catching vignettes. I wanted to see everything!

Yes, that is a grain bin and that is exactly where I went first!

I love the “boho” feel of this room. That’s me imagining I am living in my cool hip apartment in Greenwich Village N.Y.

Amazing furniture pieces!

I missed those vases when I was there. I am definitely going back to check those out!

Everything is so thoughtfully put together.

What a cool jacket!

Look at this this handmade garland! Beautiful!

The colors are gorgeous! I can see a grouping of these shells in a dish or bowl displayed on a table or counter.

My mind is racing on the many ways you can use these crates!

Signs for everyone!

The wide variety of products are any DIY’ers dream! On this wall are stamps, transfers, molds, and tools from Iron Orchid Design!

Milk Paint and other products from Miss Mustard Seed.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, Waxes, Glazes and Tools.

So many ways to use Chalk Paint. If you want to try one of the sample techniques above, anyone in the store will definitely try to help you achieve it!

They also teach classes! Just go to her website at and click on workshops.

If you live in this area, definitely check it out! If you’re in the area visiting or just passing through, put it on your list of things to do! It is so worth it!

Tips for Organizing Your Home!

The new year is here, and I inevitably start thinking about organizing my home. It is like some switch turns on in my head. Everything that seemed fine before the new year suddenly stands out and demands attention. It can be very overwhelming!

In the past when the need to organize struck, I have tried to organize my house in one weekend. It was a fiasco! I ended up with piles of things everywhere and exasperated beyond belief. The takeaway from that experience was to start slowly and work in one area at a time. It allows you to start organizing without being overwhelmed and gives you a sense of accomplishment without demolishing your entire house in the process.

To begin my 2022 organizing journey, I started with my junk drawer.

As always, full disclosure. Meet the junk drawer!

The first thing I did was separate everything into like piles. Keeping what I wanted to return to the drawer and allocating the rest to other areas.

To give the drawer order, I needed storage items. I did not want to spend a lot of money, so I went to Good Will. Before going, I measured the drawer and determined what I would need. When thrifting, I try thinking outside the box (haha no pun intended). An example would be the group of small boxes I found. They were not my decor style, but they were made out of wood, uniform in size and had the durability I was looking for. With a little paint I knew they would be perfect!

I also needed a container for the tools. This metal box fit the bill and it cost all of three dollars.

Small wire baskets are always a good choice. Even if I was not going to use them in the drawer, I would have picked them up anyway. They can be used anywhere and for most anything!

The chalkboard square wiped off easily. If it hadn’t, I would have painted it or turned it around.

The bottom even had a soft covering to prevent scratching. Bonus!

Does anyone else have an absurd amount of Allen wrenches. They come with many different items that need assembly and they can add up. We had fifteen, I kept three just in case

See the source image

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Athenian Black on the boxes.

A great use for left over pizza boxes.

The chalk paint looked great, but I wanted something to jazz it up.

I made labels for each box with the name of the item and picture of what is inside.

I used Mod Podge to adhere the labels to the boxes.

I painted on a thin layer and laid the label on top.

Then added another layer over the label to seal it.

They add just the punch of color it needed!

I love the way it came out!

If you can’t find me, I will be in the kitchen looking in my former junk drawer.

Look for more organizing tips in the coming weeks!

More Good Will Finds, After Christmas Sales and Decorating a New Year’s Table!

Just like our Christmas, we are staying home for New Year’s Eve also. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be special!

Of course, I want to set a beautiful table. We are also planning a buffet with appetizers instead of a more traditional sit-down dinner. As an accompaniment to our dinner, we will be serving wine and champagne. Some activities we have planned are a car tour of all the houses with amazing Christmas lights. I went online to get the list and there are one hundred and forty houses featured in the Rochester area. We are sticking to our immediate area which has about fourteen houses to see. After seeing the houses, my plan is to either play games or have a movie marathon. However, I have just been made aware of a Michigan college football playoff game being played on New Year’s Eve. I am not sure how this is going to play out, I will let you know.

In the meantime, I went shopping yesterday not only for the after Christmas sales, but also for inspiration for the New Year’s Eve table. Let me just say, it was definitely a good day!

My first stop was Good Will. I saw this storage container on a table and was curious as to what was inside.

The price was good. One of these containers alone cost at least fifteen dollars.

Look what I found! I could not believe my luck!

All the ornaments are glass and in perfect shape. There are also really beautiful hooks for each ornament. What a score!

Next I went to Joann’s. All Christmas décor was on sale for seventy percent off. I saw this flocked garland and really wanted it, but was hesitant because of the way it can shed. I did the shake test and to my delight there was no shedding. I grabbed six.

So lovely!

I was excited to see the sale extended to candles. I had my eye on these mercury glass Christmas trees but was not willing to pay full price. Seventy percent off was a different story. I bought two!

I had not decorated my chandelier fully for Christmas. I had a few icicles hanging that I had purchased from the Dollar Tree. I decided to add my new finds to Zhuzh it up!

Adding the garland and silver glass ornaments along with the icicles took it to the next level.

I also added silver balls to my dried Boxwood wreaths.

Now that the chandelier is done, on to the table. I wrapped the silverware in beautiful cloth napkins I had found earlier in the year at the Memorial Art Gallery Arts and Treasures sale and set them at each place setting.

So simple yet elegant at the same time.

The plates, Champagne and flutes will be on the buffet.

These themed champagne flutes are from Waterford Crystal each one represents a traditional toast… Love, Happiness, Peace and Prosperity.

Like I said low key, but still special!

I bought crackers for each person. I have never used them before I hope they work!

Happy New Year to All of You! Here comes 2022!