Archive for the ‘Frugal choices’ Category


Wow, I’m doing awful with blogging this month, eh?  Sorry, haven’t been particularly chatty, was trying to keep up with the busy-ness of 3 online retail shops during the holiday rush (yay, thank you customers!!), developing a new line and 4th shop (yes, I’m a glutton for punishment!) and with the tragedy in CT (where I’m from) it didn’t feel right to talk about holiday decorating with such a heavy loss in all our hearts.

But now it’s Christmas eve – yikes, where did the time go?  And so I figured it time I wrapped this topic up and show off our, um, unique tree this year…

But first, some decorating in our bedroom…


I was able to top our dresser with lots of leftover items from my booth (too tired to list them in my shop this year!), so I took advantage of the extra decorative goods I had on hand…


Including more thrift store baking tins painted white, old iron finials painted white, unloved picture frames also painted white and distressed.  I have quite a few vintage ornaments and a pair of lovely vintage ice skates that I picked up for $12 and coated with snow glitter and topped with my good ol’ peonies that make it into all my decorations (they have certainly had their fare share of reuse this year!):


(Sorry for the double-watermarking…I was too tired to realize I did it and we’re heading out shortly so too pressed for time to fix it!).  As for our tree, well, we have a fake tree.  I hate to admit it but it was a necessity when I worked in college administration (oh, 12 years ago) and my job required me to live on campus but we weren’t allowed to have real trees for fire hazard reasons.  Even though I was an adult professional living on campus, I was required to live by the same rules as the students.  So, it was either fake tree or no tree.  And that’s exactly what we did.  And getting only a  year or two of use seemed very un-eco-friendly so we’ve used it the last 12 years.

web freezing fog 5

But this year, we had a change of heart.  We are hoping to put our house on the market for a myriad of reasons (if it’s even feasible) and because it could be our last Christmas in this house and because this is what our backyard looks like, we felt that we should cut down a tree in our yard (this is our view, but we only have an acre of it for our yard).  As you can see above, the middle clearing is primarily our lot, so finding a tree that wasn’t 30 feet tall was tricky, but alas, we did!

tree chopping

And yes, I picked up more pine cones…can never have enough in my opinion *wink*  And so, this is what our tree looked like barely dressed (now remember, this is not your average plush Christmas tree lot tree – this is mama nature all the way).


I made a simple, quick topper with paper cones from library discarded books…


And some burlap ribbon and even some very old carpenter’s measuring tape to give that rustic, country, eco-feel to our tree…


And of course, a mix of personalized/personal ornaments and crackly, vintage bulbs…


It’s very simple this year (not to mention we forgot how soft branches can barely hold onto ornaments, so we only hung 1/2 of the ornaments we usually do!) but we love it.  It feels very personal to have a tree from our own backyard to commemorate what could possibly be our last year here.


Well, we’re heading out to one of our favorite places where we will have lots of free time, so I hope to post some picturesque posts in the next couple days.  Hope you are all enjoying a warm holiday with friends and loved ones!! xo

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So holiday decorating is in full swing and this week I finished decorating our great room (it’s not that big, it’s just one room that holds our kitchen/dining room/living room) and bedroom (where we’ve decided to put the tree this year).  It might be a little silly to decorate as we don’t have any visitors for the holidays, don’t have kids and a random neighbor might stop by once every 6 months.  It can feel a little isolated here so decorating for the seasons really lifts my spirits.

You’ll see a lot of familiar items in my decorating.  I’m big on re-using items in your home in different ways for different seasons.  It’s easier on the wallet and environment.  I’m also big on eco-crafting and upcycling old/unused items into new things and of course, vintage elements which are natural eco-friendly (as they’ve passed many hands and have been used over and over and in many different ways).  I’ll explain as we go…


If you’ve been following me for a little while, you know I love to dress up our mantel (and yes, it has an unsightly TV above it, but we only have one living area, so the TV’s staying!).


In this photo, I used my trusty water can o’peonies (I use these in all my decorating regardless of time of year!), the vintage glass bottles I decorated earlier this year for my booth (these are angel/cherub specific so work well for this time of year) and my favorite bird house of all (I usually keep this on top of my kitchen cabinets, but took down for decorating.  The piece itself is made of reclaimed barn wood, a vintage doorknob, recycled aluminum “flashing” and an iron final from an old gate.  Love.


I have more vintage apothecary bottles here (will be selling in my shop in the future but just didn’t get around to it this year), my vintage kitchen scale topped with discarded library books that have had covers removed and tied up with ribbon and a vintage skeleton key.  The big star used to be our tree topper but it was always too heavy and bent the top branch, so I decided to use it as a decoration this year.  The print is of one of my first angels, Lovely Angel, which I popped into an old frame I used to have and was going to donate, but then I painted white, distressed and voila, now I like it again!


On our mantel, I also have lots and lots of pinecones (they are everywhere around here and add to the wintry feel) and I added a familial element by transferring some of my grandmother’s white vintage buttons into a mason-like jar.  Adds a personal touch and is a lovely connection to my white Christmas theme.  Have I mentioned I love blue and white for the holidays? *wink*  As if that wasn’t already evident!


On our endtable, I added some more goodies including this tin of vintage ornaments (mind you, during the rest of the year, our mantel and table tops are not nearly this cluttered but it’s the holidays…why not go all out!).


In between our picture window and the doors to our deck, there is a small area of shelves that I like to have photos on; I switched it up for the holidays and since I have a bunch of holiday art, I figured I might as well as put some of it up and mix it in with rusty and chippy paint vintage elements we have on hand.


We live in a log home, so pardon the cracked wood.  Notice all the old doorknobs?  I have a weird obsession with vintage hardware!


These are just rolled up book pages, which are ready to be made into a vintage book paper wreath (more on that later this week).  The circle piece in the back is architectural salvage that you might see on the trim of a door in an old house.  I bought a couple of these at an antique store (and move them around my house every month or so as a decorative element).


Over our dining table (which is now my paint area, so it’s not very photogenic at the moment!) we have a simple candelabra (instead of a light fixture) filled with candles and pine cones and from it I hung some vintage spoons that have been stamped with words like “joy” “love” and “peace.”


At the wall near our entrance is a wreath I made last year after buying up a bunch of marked down ornaments the day after Christmas.  Yes, I know this isn’t eco-friendly, but I couldn’t bring myself to use delicate vintage ornaments on this (not to mention this wreath took about 75 ornaments to make).  I did however use up some jingle bells that I had fallen out of love with (and other blue ornaments that I was going to donate) but then utilized in this project.  Now I’ll be honest, it was a bit time intensive and if using regular priced ornaments, would be quite expensive (hence the reason why most of these sell for $50 and up on Etsy).  Since I made it last year, I can’t quite remember the exact tutorial I used but here’s a good one as well as this one.


At our entrance, we have have a “sofa table” that we use to put our keys/wallets/phones/mail when we walk in the door (and has bins underneath to hold our shoes).  Usually I have a photo of us and some light decorative element on it, so I also jazzed it up for the holidays…


Look, more pinecones!  In this shot you’ll see an old clock in the background (a $2 thrift store find that was black, but I painted white and distressed for a shabby chic look).  I did the same with that heart baking tin (I always find a ton of these at thrift stores for under a dollar).


And look, another scale (another weird obsession I have – you may also recognize this and the tall tin from previous displays)!.  The paper cones are from a deconstructed giant paper wreath that I made last year (my first one and not so well made, so it started falling apart).  Then I have another birdhouse also made with reused/recycled materials.

So, there it is…holiday decorating which incorporates a lot of vintage/used/recycled elements (and shopping your home for items that you can use in new ways).  I still have Part 2 to share which includes our bedroom and tree…to come later this week.  Here’s a sneak peek:


Season’s Greetings!!

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Yes, this may be a bit old news, but I wanted to share with you this quick (and eco-friendly and free!) decorating idea that came up while spending Thanksgiving at my sister’s.  The merchandiser and creative spirit in me can’t help but decorate and when it came to Thanksgiving morning and I realized I had nothing, I got resourceful and went for a walk.

First I grabbed any decent leaves I could find in her yard and then gathered some dried fountain grasses and twigs; with scissors, I snipped away at some hedges and found dried flowering buds all around.  I didn’t have to look far, just had to open my mind and think of the possibilities.  I then took a piece of cardboard, pulled back the top layer to reveal the rustic, corrugated parts which I cut into leaf shapes.  Then I adhered pieces of paper upon which I wrote Thanksgiving themes, like “love” “family” and “gratitude.”  Tied ‘em into bunches with some bakers twine and voila!  Easy-peasy, eco-decorating!

And for a good laugh, my sister put out a Thanksgiving craft I made with my nieces about 10 years ago made with walnuts, pipe cleaners, felt and faux feathers.  Told ya, I was always crafty! ;)

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!  And next time you’re crunching for decorating ideas, just take a walk outside and get creative!

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I spent the morning “white-washing” a bunch of thrift store finds; tomorrow I need to distress them.  These types of items seem to be the primary things moving in my booth right now, so adapting my plan accordingly.  Gotta pay the bills!

I know, I should wear gloves…the upside is that this is non-toxic paint :)

I have a bunch of posts written in my head that I promise to get to.  Just trying to get my act together and last week we had a scare with our oldest pup and had to do the long-drawn (as in all several day), tear-filled conversations of pain management vs. quality of life.

The upside: after a 2nd opinion with our primary vet, after a visit with the ER vet and an orthopedic specialist, we learned that things weren’t so dire and we had more options.  Now we get to have our girl around for a little longer and she’s resting comfortably (and this mama is especially relieved)

Last weekend I was planning on working on some orders on Saturday, then catching up with my girlies on Sunday for our monthly brunch.  Then I got a call from The Barn saying I had a customer put a hold on two of my pieces of furniture.  She was going to come back the following day to purchase and pick up.  The customer was interested in my coffee table and french provincial desk – my first two pieces of furniture I refinished.  GREAT news I thought – this means people like my furniture and I get to make some much needed cash (booth sales have been awful terribly slow again, as in not even covering my costs this past month unfortunately)!!  CRAP I also thought – I only had one other piece of furniture, so unless I worked on new pieces, most of my stuff would be moved to the floor when she came to pick up those 2 pieces; I never imagined someone would purchase two pieces of furniture at once!

So I rearranged my schedule, started painting/staining/distressing two pieces that I had been meaning to get to (nothing like a TIGHT deadline to get you motivated!).  I worked all afternoon and right up to dark…putting the finishing touches on the french provincial dresser that I picked up along with the desk and a small table I also purchased at a goodwill.

Of course I forgot to take a “before” pic, but the dresser was the same style/color as the desk I did earlier

Here’s the after!

I had to cancel my plans with my girlfriends and the next morning, loaded the furniture into the car, made the hour+ drive and got to my booth before the customer came and cleared me out of fixtures.  The thought of my artwork and goods on the floor horrified me so I was glad I beat her there.

But then came the challenging task of trying to merchandise 5 pieces of furniture into a 6′x12′ booth.  Not easy.  I called the customer to tell her I was clearing off her pieces of furniture and leaving at the outskirts of booth for easy pick-up.  Unfortunately, she had a change of heart and wasn’t going to buy the furniture after all.  Appears her husband wasn’t into the style of furniture as much as she was.

Here I was in a 100+ year old, non-airconditioned barn, lugging furniture up the stairs, completely re-merchandising my space and dripping sweat in the 90+ degree heat.  And having to scramble the previous 24 hours and cancel my brunch.  All. for. naught.  Man, selling retail can really bite.  To say I was cranky is to put it mildly.

The upside:  Well my space is busting at the seams fully furnished and now I have more chances of selling higher cost goods in my booth *fingers crossed*

I had to stuff the coffee table under the small dining table I just refinished in order to get it to all fit!

Oh and did I mention that in my rush to get two pieces completed before the sun set, I dropped the can of very expensive chalk paint…all over our deck?

Top deck

And that it also splattered to the deck below and onto the side of our stained/log home?

Bottom deck

The upside:  Both decks needed to be sanded/restained this summer and the paint (CeCeCaldwell Chalk Paint) is eco-friendly, non-toxic and if not sealed in wax or poly, can be washed off (and most of it has come up after some soap and hard scrubbing).  I guess it could be worse!

Life is feeling a little “lemony” lately…but hey, at least the weather has been nice! ;)

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Recently we purchased a boat load of fruit…and not just because I was craving fruit salad with the rising temperatures, but because I also need to make more freezer jam as the batch I made only 6 weeks ago is already gone (and we only gave one of the 6 pints away!) and using frozen fruit this time of year seems blasphemous.  But David also mentioned that he’d like some fruit with his yogurt, something he often does with granola.

So it got me thinking, “why don’t I just make some from scratch?”  I don’t know why I haven’t thought of that before; if you’ve followed me for a while you know that I’m always trying to think of new ways to make he very items we normally purchase packaged.  And granola is quite expensive in the store and there’s nothing quite like warm, homemade granola!

I embarked on a search by checking my favorite place, AllRecipes.com, and made a simple, no-fuss recipe that would pair well with fresh fruit and vanilla yogurt.  I combined a couple recipes, took reviewer comments into consideration and focused on the two main ingredients David was interested in (maple and walnuts).

Though it takes a bit of tending to once in the oven to prevent burning, it really couldn’t be simpler to make.

Homemade Maple Walnut Granola

  • 4 c. rolled (not quick) oatmeal
  • 2 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 c. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon
  • sprinkle of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix oatmeal and nuts in one bowl; in another bowl, mix oil, syrup, vanilla and cinnamon.  Add wet ingredients to dry mix and combine thoroughly.  Spread onto 2 ungreased cookie sheets (I put mine on parchment paper on top of the cookie sheets per one reviewer, but found it unnecessary).  Lightly sprinkle sea salt on top of mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 10 min.  Then lower oven temperature to 250 and bake for 30 more minutes, stopping every 10 minutes to stir the mix.  It will smell AWESOME in your home…trust me.

Let cool completely before storing in mason jars (but not before enjoying!)

David wanted a large bowl of yogurt, fruit and granola.  Me?  Not being a huge yogurt or granola fan, I went for a smaller portion and made a pretty parfait out of it (and I must admit, I was smitten!)

David said he is also interested in a version with honey and almonds which is what I’ll make next in lieu of maple and walnuts; I’m betting it’ll be just as good.


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Sorry I’ve been MIA…I have a post I’ve been meaning to publish about the simple pleasures enjoyed on my trip back to CT, but you know how it is when you return back from a week long trip: you hit the ground running once you return and this last week was no exception.

In addition to catching up on orders, I knew I needed to beef up my display at The Barn, so I spent some time this weekend making more magnets (strangely my most popular item there the past two weeks), creating new items and upcycling thrift store finds and painting/embellishing old goods to make them new again.  (Full disclosure, my photos are pretty awful, but I was either in a hurry, forgetting to take photos along the way or trying to dodge customers on a busy holiday, so please bear with my pitiful photos!).

So I painted over a bunch of thrift store frames with chalk paint (a great all-in-one, meaning no stripping/priming needed, paint that is great for distressing; and I painted inside because the huge wildfire in New Mexico made for a very smoky day that would have killed my lungs and eyes and this paint is non-toxic and doesn’t smell one bit)…

And for the large frame, I added strings of wire…

Which I then hung some vintage inspired magnets in my booth:

I made two new paper cone wreaths, including this star-shaped one (which I’m now not sure should be considered a wreath?)

Embellished simple ho-hum buckets with some paint, distressing and vintage hardware…

Painted some chicken wire baskets and whitewashed/embellished a birdhouse that was originally painted in hideous colors…and even painted and distressed this awful looking thrift store find:

Into this (wish I took more photos of the top but just got so busy and forgot…but the curves/lines and legs on this baby looked great painted over):

(Note I forgot to add the hardware knob prior to taking this picture!  Ay, it was a bad weekend for photos; will try to remember to take more before, during and after photos next time!)  This is my first piece of painted/distressed furniture (after spending a year reading/learning/following blogs and practicing on frames and smaller objects).  That’s it.  I’m addicted and can’t stop looking at furniture in thrift stores and imagining how I can turn pieces into something new!

After we reset my booth and added new items, we spent the rest of the day antique shopping and hitting up all the thrift stores on our path as many of them had 50% storewide sales because of the holiday.  Even ran into Mondo, the winner of Project Runway All Stars in a Denver thrift store!  Found a lot of great things and will share later in the week.

If you follow my artwork and are wondering why I haven’t posted anything recently, it’s because I haven’t painted in several weeks.  If you’ve followed me for a while you know that I’m not a paint-every-day kind of girl.  I have ebbs and flows…weeks of massive creation followed by sometimes long breaks.  I’m a creative girl and painting/collaging is just one of the many things I do to feed my creative inclinations (as evidenced above).  Sometimes I just feel like focusing on papercrafting, sometimes its painting things (rather than painting art), sometimes it’s cooking/baking; I try to follow my muse and wherever it takes me.  So my artwork will probably come back to me in a wave in the near future.  For now, I’m having fun going back to my roots and upcycling/making new uses out of old things.

Hope you all had a nice long weekend!

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I used to make paper bows in my shop with recycled pieces of paper and was often asked how I made them.  I didn’t share at the time because frankly it took me a long time to hone my skill and I was trying to sell them in my shop.  There are lots of tutorial on-line which provide a great base, but I found they looked a bit cookie cutter or frumpy and don’t give the fullness or unique flair that I wanted, so I kept practicing until I created a couple variations I liked to work with.

Disclaimer, this is a pic-heavy (though colorful!) post; apologies for the obnoxious watermarks…old photos from my former shop!

Now these take a while to make so I did these in the evenings while on the couch and with the TV as company; I’m the type that likes TV on in the background, but find it awfully hard to just sit and watch TV.  I need to be doing something with my hands.  Typically I’d be able to make 5 or 6 in an hour (depending on size and type of paper) .  And seeing that most people don’t want to pay more than a $1 a bow, it wasn’t very profitable, unless you want to make $5/hour!

But hey, if you’re looking to spruce up your packages yet add a handmade touch, these are just the thing!

First there are a myriad of ways to make bows, so I’ll show you a couple varieties, but first, let’s start with your standard chunkie bow.

First here’s what you’ll need:

  • paper trimmer (I like my rotary trimmer for smaller pieces of paper as my big paper trimmer would wreck it); of course if you don’t have one, just use scissors!
  • scissors
  • tape
  • pieces of paper of varying sizes (I like using sheets from magazines – stores will often give them away free as they get credit from companies when they return covers; I also like using music sheets I find at the thrift store or used book stores)
  • tape
  • double-sided foam tape
  • embroidery floss, string or thick thread & needle (I use thicker needles as the eyelet can fit floss and it can punch through paper/cardstock easier)
  • leftover cardstock, paperboard, even thin cardboard
  • buttons (optional)

You’ll want to select pieces of paper that have a decent front side and back side.  The pieces I used for this example were from a holiday themed cookbook magazine which I knew would yield nice reds/greens and the backside was pink.  If you’re making a full-enclosed chunky bow, this won’t be an issue, but if you’re creating an open-faced bow with a button in the middle, the front and back side are equally important (more on that later).

Click on image to see in greater detail

First trim your paper along the long side of the paper, (Figure 1) making them the width of about 3/4″ (you can go thinner for a wispier bow or thicker for a chunkier bow).  I find that a standard size magazine page will be enough for one bow, but sometimes you need a little more, so play around with it until you’re happy with it.

Then fold each strip into a figure 8 (Figure 2 & 3) with the image you want showing on the outside of the strip.  Tape the backside of the strips to keep the figure 8 shape in place.  To make a fluffier, wispier closed bow, keep the figure 8 loose (Figure 4) or if you want pointy edges and an open faced bow, keep the figure 8 tight (Figure 5).  I like mine somewhere in the middle.

Click on image to see in greater detail

Once you have a pile of “folded” figure 8 strips (Figure 6) start aligning them loosely (Figure 7) saving the best pieces for the top (Figure 8).  You’ll see that the more piece you add, the more the bow starts to close in on itself (Figure 9).  If you find that after you have gathered your bow that it’s not closing in, just add more strips.

Then thread your needle doubling your thread (sorry, don’t know the official term of this!) and tying a knot at the end (Figure 10).  My piece of thread/floss is usually 18″ long (or 9″ when folded).

Click on image to see in greater detail

Taking your top strip and insert the threaded needle through the bottom (Figure 11) pulling through so the knotted end is underneath.  Then sew back through the top to the bottom (think if you were sewing through an imaginary button.  Now your threaded needle will be hanging from the bottom of that first strip.  Now keep adding more strips, this time just punching straight through (Figure 12) as if you were stringing popcorn for a garland.  This part goes really quick.

When you’ve added all your strips and are content with the fullness of the bow, punch through a piece of cardstock, cut your string and tie a knot (Figure 13).  Add a piece of double-sided foam tape for easy application onto gifts (I’ve found they work much better than regular double-sided tape with staying on).  Voila,  you’re done (Figure 15).

Click on image to see in greater detail

In Figure 16, I made a tiny bow (good for jewelery-sized boxes) and you can see that the end are a little bit pointier…

In these bows, the paper was longer which lends to a more open-faced bow.  These are great to add buttons to which gives them a unique flair.  You can see that I did the same thing as the first bow, but truly sewed a button on (Figure 17 & 18).  I kept adding strips (Figure 19) and you can see in Figure 20 that if you want a simple, flatter bow, you can stop after only 3 or 4 strips, or you can add more to create a fuller bow (Figure 21).

Here are more examples of “button” bows I’ve made in the past:

I like to use magazine ads as it is a way to use up paper before it heads to the recycling bin and often adds colorful variations…

But sometimes I’d use catalogs/junk mail that came in the mail…

You can see that this bow is more curly…to make this style, use thinner width strips, 1/4″ – 1/2″ – but keep in mind they’ll be more delicate.

I also loved to use vintage/used ledger sheets…

Heck, I even used coffee bags!

It’s really up to your imagination!!  And while you’re making bows, why not wrap your gifts in unique ways using materials you probably have in your house?  See my old post on eco-friendly wrapping paper.

Hope you found this helpful; now go and create fun bows for your holiday packages!

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Whew.  That was a long title.

So today I’m going to show you a super simple and fun way to add excitement to your boring ol’  corkboard.

First, do you remember this frame?  The ornate, antique one I got for free from the person selling me the antique doors from her 1907 bungalow?  *thank you universe*  The one I painted white and distressed and placed on my dresser with other white frames?

Well, I changed my mind and have decided to use it to jazz up the corkboard I have in my studio instead (now it’ll be decorative and functional).  You know how most corkboards come from an office supplies store with a plain wooden border around it?  Well, I determined that if I took off that wooden border that the cork panel would fit in my ornate frame (with a little sawing off of extra cork, that is).

I glue-gunned it together and voila…a new exciting corkboard!

Okay, but you probably came here for the pushpin tutorial.  It really couldn’t be easier and took me all of 10 minutes maybe?

First I got those relatively flat silver thumbtacks (I say relatively flat because they do have some curvature – couldn’t find anything flatter).  Because of this curve, I found that it was best to use buttons that had an inner curve in the middle – even if it meant I had to use the button upside down so that it could fit relatively flush to the metal.  And remember that the first button is the bottom button if you’re stacking, so most won’t be able to even tell if it’s upside down as you’ll have other buttons stacked on top.

I added a drop of hot glue from my glue gun to the larger, bottom button, then put the tack on top (with sharp end pointing up…just till it bonds which is typically less than a minute).

Then I flipped upright and added more glue, another button and repeated one more time until I had 3 buttons glued on top of the thumb tack.  I told you this was easy.

Hues of blue and aqua have been my latest obsession so I stuck with this color palette for my board.  And now my board not only has a new frame, but fun, customized, even personal pushpins (as these buttons were from my grandmother’s old stash).

Of course you don’t have to use vintage buttons; you can use whatever you have on hand, find funky ones at the flea market or even buy new (but you know me, I’m always trying to reuse before buying new).  And if you plan on selling these, I’d suggest skipping hot glue and going to a heavy-duty adhesive like E6000 as glue from hot glue guns can sometimes break off (no biggie if it happens in my home, but doesn’t look good to a customer!).

Have fun!

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Okay, so hopefully I’m not totally driving you all crazy with my never-ending posts about my redecorating around the house.  But it’s been really fun to switch things up and it’s really quite amazing how you can totally change the feel of a space with some minor changes (sometimes by simply moving something in from another part of your home or with a little paint and imagination with an old object).

First, a really simple makeover with our coffee table.  No, I didn’t paint or do anything to our actual coffee table.  It was the lack of anything decorative on it that started to bother me.  I didn’t want to make things so decorative that they weren’t functional, but I wanted to find a balance.

So I took that frame I found a couple weeks ago, painted/distressed the edges and decoupaged some old book pages right over the glass from the frame.  Easy-peasy centerpiece!

To it I added a .50 cent bucket I found at a garage sale (which I painted white and now holds our remote controls), I took that blue mason jar I got off Craigslist with the seltzer bottle and filled with seashells I picked up off the beach when visiting family in Florida, and finally a lantern that was originally silver that I painted an oil-rubbed bronze color to house candles for ambient lighting.  So simple and sweet and now it prevents me from treating our coffee table as another studio space, ha!

I had an old plaque award hanging in my studio that I really didn’t want to have up anymore and I was trying to think of ways to reuse it…

So I peeled off the metallic, embossed part (leaving just the wood) and tried painting a rustic sign…not in love with it (particularly my fat lettering) but still happy to turn it into something else rather than trash!

And with this first sign done, I decided to try on another piece of wood I picked up at a garage sale.

This is how it looked before…

Painted it gray and painted new lettering before distressing it to give it an old look…

I was planning on keeping it in the kitchen, but after taking pics of it over our mirror, I think I like it there.

And I’m now addicted to making paper wreaths, having made two more and wanting to make more!

On top of this, we are doing a very difficult task of sanding down our railings/log spindles in order to stain them…the high altitude sun and hail are downright brutal on wood and it’s taking the two of us armed with electric sanders 2 hours to do each 6-foot section (and we have 6 in all).

Here's the naked wood after being sanded down...

Before (on the right); we love the look of the naked wood, but as you can see by the big post, which was never stained and only a poly coat applied, it gets sunburn too easily...we learned this the hard way and had to stain the whole house last year; it's a never ending project

Yeah, total suckfest (and we still have to do our whole deck and the whole side of the house that got wrecked in the last hail storm, so this is going to be weeks in the making!)  I had about 1/4 inch of sawdust in my hair and in my bra and we could barely get out of bed this morning we were so sore, but what can you do?  I try to remind myself that doing this work means that we are fortunate to have a home and for that I’m grateful.

So, I’m hoping I’ve inspired you to shift things around in your home and/or check out your local thrift store/Craigslist/garage sales to give life to a used item before going new.  Anyone else have any upcycled projects to share?  ;)

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Sorry to disappoint any of you looking for my usual Whimsical Wednesday art update…I’ve been so busy working on projects around the house that I haven’t had a chance to work on new artwork lately, but I plan on having something new next week ;)

Meantime, I want to share with you one of our latest projects!  Last year I found a beautiful chippy paint antique door on Craigslist.  I just adored the shabby chic/french farmhouse look of it and the couple remodeling their 1920′s bungalow was anxious to get rid of it.  They were selling it with another heavy door for only $40 total (which is a steal as most antique doors sell for $100 each).  So I scooped it up not really quite sure what to do with that 2nd heavy door.  It sat downstairs for the past year until inspiration struck and it finally did last week.

We’ve never had a headboard and the solid ones we were always drawn to cost several hundreds of dollars – not worth the money in my book so we just went without.  But I always felt that the bed looked so “college-esque” without that anchoring of a headboard.  Not to mention that we’d often lose our pillows in that gap between wall and bed frame and would even get sap on our pillows from our sometimes still-leaking logs.

So here’s how our project went down:

The door had a green hue to it...

So David sanded it down (poor guy, it took hours to do and a mid-way trip to the local hardware store to pick up a heavier 60 grit sandpaper for our sander, this thing was so shellacked!)

I was able to save lots of cool hardware - yay, vintage metal knobs!

And I painted the previous brassy hinges an oil-rubbed bronze color

We had leftover stain from previous projects so David applied a coat of Dark Walnut and a coat of Bombay Mahogany

We lined things up (and rested this 75lb door on wooden blocks for extra support)

And added this cool finial I found at an antique store for an extra touch of detail

And voila…I think it really anchors the bed

Couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out!

I just love it when you can take something in your home (or a Craiglist find, in this case) and turn it into something much greater than it’s original use (the definition of upcycling) and on the cheap too!  DIY projects take time and a lot of sweat equity but are soooo satisfying when complete!

What’s your favorite upcycled/DIY project?

*Linking to Miss Mustard Seed*

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