Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Bit Festive

I have been hard at work trying to get my Fall and Halloween decorating inside completed.  I have nearly finished with just a few things left I would really like to add. Perhaps I will be able to add the finishing touches over the weekend.  
Tomorrow I am determined to get back to work on my kitchen cabinet doors so I can get some pictures of them all hung up early next week.  
In the meantime, here are some pictures of the decorating I completed today.

I can't believe how fast this week has flown by. For that matter, I can't believe how fast the year has flown by.  I had a friend point out to me that there are only 7 more paydays (assuming you get paid twice per month) until Christmas!  Yikes!

Happy Decorating!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A New Way to Welcome Visitors

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, over the weekend I was able to take advantage of the cooler weather and I painted our front door.  It's not that the color of the door was all that bad to begin with, I just decided that it needed a change.  
Here is the before:

Here is the after:

Well, I am going to get back to working on my Fall/Halloween decorations!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Trying to Get Back on Track

Ok, so after failing to post anything for several days, I am determined to get back on track.  I am still working on my cabinet doors and really have nothing new to show as far as that goes.  I have also taken advantage of the cooler weather and painted the front door.  It turned out good and will post some pictures tomorrow.  I have also been working on making some Fall/Halloween decorations for the house.  Today I cut out some pumpkins from some magazines I had laying around.  I then painted them and am waiting overnight for them to get good and dry so that I can glitter them and then dangle them from my chandelier in the dining room.  I will definitely post pictures of my progress in that department sometime this week.  In addition to all of my projects around the house, I have also been making a Nutcracker Christmas tree skirt with my mother-in-law and her embroidery machine.  I do have pictures of the embroidered panels so I thought I would post pictures of those tonight. I realize that once again the pictures are not the greatest quality.  I have a camera on my Christmas List so hopefully Santa will see what a good girl I have been and convince my hubby to get it for me.  :)

Obviously my ADD has been out of control lately.  I really need to buckle down and focus on getting the cabinet doors done.  I have made a promise to myself that I will get back on just the doors after I get the mantle decorations done and the chandelier decor done.  Soooo, that means I should be back on track by Wednesday.  Geez, days like today I feel like a mess!

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Since I am still working on my kitchen cabinet doors, I thought I would share a peek at my other passion.  It all started a few years ago when I took a metalsmithing class and I was hooked.  Here are pictures(not great ones though) of the last project I completed.  

I made the necklace using black beading thread that I braided and added turquoise and copper bi-colored beads as I went along.  For the pendant I used copper.  I cut out the design using my trusty jewelers saw and then soldered it onto another piece of copper.  I then soldered on my homemade bail, cleaned it, polished it.  It then got sent off as a birthday gift.  

Gotta love creating!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Monday...

Monday came way too fast as usual.  My Hubby and I had a good weekend together despite the fact that he was stuck with his on-call phone.  We spent Saturday at his mother's housesitting.  I tried to figure out her Pfaff Creative Vision design programs while I was there, but after spending an entire day and accomplishing nothing other than developing a few bald spots (not really) I decided that I just needed to bite the bullet and take some classes.  Aside from pulling my hair out over the embroidery machine, I enjoyed watching football with my Hubby. We are fierce Notre Dame and Chicago Bears fans.

Today I spent time working on my cabinet doors.  I am sooo over the working on them part, but every time I look at the end result I just remind myself of why I keep going.  Here is a sneak peek of what I am doing:
Small Cabinet Door that goes over Refrigerator
Big Cabinet Door
Closer View of the Big Cabinet Door
I had been debating what I could do to give the cabinet doors some more pizzaz for quite some time and while watching Julie and Julia for the millionth time, I had a bit of kitchen decor inspiration.  I love Julia Child and what better to have in the kitchen than a reminder of her, right?  Soooo, after some research I picked out the a quote from Julia  that I loved.  It is , "Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all."   I then went online and found a free translator to get the quote in French.  I copied the translation into my Word document and found the font that I liked.  I dug out my tracing paper and made a template to follow.  Next step was to choose my door to experiment on.  For that reason, I picked the smallest door I had. After I painted the wording on the door, I decided that they still needed a little something so for the small doors I found a crown design and made a stencil.  For the bigger doors I found a Fleur de Lis design and had to make several different size stencils.  Needless to say, I have a ton of cabinet doors to complete and hope to have some hung for pictures later this week.

Tomorrow I am going to spend the day with my Mom.  She has a day off from work and needs some help getting her closets organized. Hopefully that does not mean that I find a bunch of stuff I think I need to add to my piles of stuff. :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Moving Right Along

Oh Happy Day! It is Friday and the weather is glorious today. I am thinking that I need to find a way to take my projects out on the front porch so that I can enjoy the weather that much more...
In the meantime I thought I would move along and begin posting pictures of the next room I decided to do after the entryway.... the kitchen. Yes, I said the kitchen.  I must say that there was not a whole lot going right with the kitchen. While I would have loved the thought of replacing the cabinets and moving some things around in the process, reality set in and I had to be more realistic.  I was going to have to dig deep and come up with some creative ways to remodel.  My first biggest accomplishment in the kitchen was an area over the kitchen sink which was very plain.  
Close-up of detail
In order to complete this project I found some scrap tiles and some mosaic glass that my mother-in-law had given me a long time ago.  I measured out and realized that I did not have quite enough tiles to do the entire area so I improvised some more.  I found some scrap plywood that I had in the garage and had it cut down to the size I needed.  To give the board some texture and conceal the fact that it was just a simple piece of plywood, I used some spackling compound and covered the face of the board and let it dry.  I put a couple of coats of primer and then painted the blue background.  Once the paint dried I penciled on the sunflower design and began painting away.  I mounted it on the wall above the sink once it was completely dry.  Then came my first attempts at tiling.  I have heard horror stories and was a little nervous about it, but other than being a bit time consuming I enjoyed it.  Fortunately my mother-in-law loaned me her tiling tools and spacers so all I had to buy was the adhesive and the grout.  I went with a black grout in hopes that it would help bring out some of the colors in the tile and glass design. Once I was happy with the results I sealed the painting and then sealed the grout. I definitely can't say that the space is plain and boring anymore.  As you can see in the sides of the "After" picture, I painted the exterior of the cabinets a golden cream color and then painted the insides of the cabinets red. Next week I will post what I am doing with the cabinet doors.
I have decided to take a break from blogging over the weekend.  I plan to spend some much needed time with the Hubby and also to try to figure out how to make my own embroidery designs using my mother-in-laws Pfaff Creative Vision. 

Here's Hoping for a Wonderful Weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hello Fall...I'm getting ready for you!

I am sooo happy that I actually managed to get my Fall wreath completed with few distractions today.  I decided to take advantage of the Magnolia tree we have in our front yard and I collected the leaves that had turned and fallen onto the lawn.  They are still so pretty with colors of golds, browns and reds dotting the grass.  Earlier this week I managed to get away to Michaels and purchase an 18" wire wreath form and some ribbon.  I used some wire and made bunches of the leaves and wired them onto the wreath form until it looked nice and full. I think I might need to get a bit more ribbon and make a bigger bow though, or maybe it doesn't need a bow.  What do you think?
I am still tweaking my mantle decorations and don't want to post any photos until I am happy with it. Guess that is just my inner perfectionist talking again.  Anyway, I hope that everyone is able to take time out to enjoy something that is inspirational to them today.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Well, today I was hoping to post some of my Fall decorating but I have had entirely too many distractions to get it all accomplished.  To begin, my husband's work schedule changed for today and he had to get up at 1am.  It threw my schedule off too because for some reason after 8 years of marriage I have trouble sleeping when he is not around (I am sure that some can relate).  I did manage to start decorating my fireplace mantel and I started the wreath I am making out of magnolia leaves but while my husband was away my furry babies decided to act up too.  I have decided to throw my hands in the air for the day and just go with the chaos instead of trying to fight it.  So, I decided to post some pictures of my furry babies today instead.  Hopefully I will get more accomplished tomorrow or at least feel like going through my photos and posting more of my home renovations I have completed.
Here are my furry friends:
Bernie is a St. Bernard/Lab mix that we rescued.  He was approximately 9  years old when we got him and have been really blessed to still have him 3 years later and counting.

Sadie is our Corgi mix that we also rescued .  She was a 6 month old puppy that we got because we felt Bernie needed a friend to help keep him young. She likes to dress up for Halloween and Christmas.

We also have 4 cats who all compete to rule the roost.  They are all rescue animals and are shown in order as listed (Corrina, Valor, Magnus, and Maggie Mae)

Embrace the wonderful distractions around you!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Entryway Continued

I just have to start out by saying that I love nothing more that opening up my front door, latching the screen door so the cats can't escape and listening to the sound of a glorious rain shower.  I just wanted to curl up on the couch with a soft fuzzy blanket and daydream my entire morning away.  Fortunately, the more sensible side of me intervened and convinced myself that I could actually get some much needed work done and still enjoy the rain shower.
Well, enough of my rant.... To pick up where I left off yesterday, I am posting some more pictures of the projects I completed in my entryway remodel.  The first picture is a better view of the bench that is the first thing you see when you walk through our front door.
After I finished the insanity of painting the checkers, I moved on to the facings of my stairs.  Before they were just plain white; I painted them the Full Moon by Sherwin Williams.  I then went on a great hunt online for some designs I liked and then got out my handy stencil plastic and traced the designs to cut out and make my own stencils.  Here is the end result:
Once my knees recovered from stenciling the stairs, I moved onto the stairwell.  I painted the banisters black.  I have not completed one side of the stairwell, but I did get it all painted a red color my husband picked out called Ablaze by Sherwin Williams. On the red wall shown, I used the same tissue technique described in my previous post to add texture to the walls. On the stairwell wall that you can't see I want to use paper mache to make dimensional branches, butterflies and birds to hide some of the imperfections on the wall.
One of my final projects in the entryway was to make a stencil with the initial of our last name to go in the inset panels that separate the entryway from the living room. Oh! and I also decided to do something about the eyesore of a doorbell that we had hanging so I bought a small wood decorative piece and attached it over the speaker and silver leafed the whole thing.

Well, that pretty much covers what I have accomplished so far in the entryway.  As I mentioned earlier I still need to find a perfect Armoire to house our coats and such as well as a rug.  I also want to take a stained glass class someday and redo our little window which had a faux stained glass application on it when we bought the house.

Here is to another day of decorating and dreaming....

Monday, September 13, 2010

Let the Home Remodel Begin....

I decided that since I began remodeling our house before I decided to start blogging, I would do a little back tracking and show the projects I have accomplished so far.  I decided to start the remodeling in the most logical place...the entryway.  I have pretty well finished everything in the entryway except paint the front door and locate the perfect armoire and rug.
Here are some before pictures(you will have to forgive the quality of some of the photos as I took them with a camera phone). I really did not take enough before photos of the entryway so there is much you will not be able to see, but I think you can still get the idea of what it looked like.
As you can see the trim and molding were white and the rest was painted a dark green.  It really made the entryway look sad.
Here I had everything scraped and sanded down.  As you can see on the left I had already painted the walls a pretty blue color.
When I first started the renovations in the entryway my perfectionism came out and I tried to patch the plaster walls and get everything sanded to a nice even finish.  After several attempts at getting everything perfectly smooth, I came to the realization that it was not going to happen.  I got creative in how I could give the walls texture without costing a  lot of money.  I know it may sound crazy, but I used tissue paper and diluted glue.  I crumpled up the tissue and then opened it back up and tore in pieces.  I used a small roller and rolled on the wall a thin layer of the diluted glue and then placed the pieces of tissue on the wall and went back over it with the roller and glue mixture. I let the tissue cure and dry on the wall for 24 hours and then painted the walls a blue color called Dazzle by Sherwin Williams.  The trim and molding were painted a yellow called Full Moon also by Sherwin Williams.In the inset panels on the stairway in the entry, I decided to channel my inner Mackenzie- Childs and paint a checkered pattern.  I measured each panel and then drew in the checkers lightly labeling which were to be black and which were to be white.  I then embarked on my journey down the lane of insanity.  I hand-painted the checkered pattern in panels.  There are still some that I think I need to fix as I walk up the stairway, but have since decided to ignore the urge to fiddle with it anymore.  I did not feel ambitious enough to make the bench cushion, so I enlisted the assistance of Calico Corners for that (you can see a glimpse of the Fleur De Lis patterned material we chose to use in one of the pictures below).

For some reason the yellows all look different in each picture, but they are all the same pale light yellow called Full Moon.
To keep this posting from being a million miles long, I will break it up a bit and post more on my entryway renovations tomorrow!

Until then, keep on dreaming and creating...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Beginnings

In the past few years I have recognized that I have had a history of starting many projects but never really finishing any of them.  Since recognizing this in myself, I have made a conscious effort to always finish what I start.  As another step of accountability and in an effort to chronicle my progress I have decided to enter into the blog universe.  I have been a closet blog reader for quite some time and have realized how inspiring it has been to see so many others on a similar journey. 
My husband and I have lived in our 100 year old home for the past 3 years.  It was not until a little over a year ago that I was able to really focus my attention on remodeling our home to reflect our taste and personality.  As most couples in our economy today, we are trying to complete our home transformation on a limited budget.  Instead of looking at this as a curse, I have focused on the positive fact that being limited has forced me to expand my creative talents.  I have most recently been inspired by designer Tracy Porter and have focused my attention on repurposing much of what we already have.  
In addition to remodeling our home I have also slowly been working toward my dream of starting my home-based jewelry making business.  I am in the very elementary stages of this process and am equally scared and excited about this dream coming to fruition.  I hope to make leaps and bounds in my jewelry journey in the next year.
So.... here is to taking the first steps of the journey.  Please feel free to share your comments with me.