Home Beautiful

 Happy Monday My Friends! 

Hope your weekend was wonderful.  I was able to spend time with a friend, get some needed time away from home, and do some thrifting. 

What a perfect weekend!

Aren't these fun and springy? 
The flowers are for my son to give to his bus driver. 
She is so cheerful and good with the kids...she deserves them!

Before I show you the rest of what I found this weekend, I want to share this excerpt from a book with you.  I hope you enjoy it.  No new projects today, but soon!

The book is "Don't Stop Laughing Now!
Stories to tickle your funny bone and strengthen your faith"
~ selected by Ann Spangler, with Shari MacDonald

by: Marsha Crocket

I used to think ony a few people really possessed the gift of creative decorating. I was equally certain I wasn't one of them. After all, my kitchen cabinets hold more plastic action-figure cups than lovely goblets. I've been known to let my children and husband turn the living room into an exercise room. My bedroom is not a haven of rest or an oasis of love (unless you get a thrill from stepping over the stacks of file folders, magazines, and a basket of unfolded clothes next to my computer).
      On the other hand, my neighbor, Sally, seems to have a natural ability for creating beauty. For a long time, I explained away her beautifully spotless house on the fact that she stayed home and had only one child. I chuckled at the ease of her life. My house would look like that too, if I didn't have two chidren and a job!   I told myself.
      But then Sally opened a day care in her home and had six kids in her house every day. This I had to see!   So measuring cup in hand, I headed to Sally's in no time flat to borrow some sugar. That's when I got my first clue about what to expect: Hanging on her front door was a cute little blackboard with a "Memo to Parents." On it was neatly written: "Today's Lunch -- homemade vegetable soup, orange slice smiles, and whole wheat crackers. Today's Snack -- peanut-butter-and-jelly stars" !?
      I guess Sally saw me coming up the walk because she opened the door before I could close my mouth.
      "Cute sign," I commented. "I just need a cup of sugar. I'm making...uh, clown-shaped snickerdoodle cookies for the girls."
      "Oh, some special occasion?" she asked, as if she really had made these things before.
       "No, just one of those fun things we like to do now and then."
       I looked around. I heard children laughing -- but didn't see them or any mess in the house. "What happened to the kids?"
      "They're in the playroom. You're welcome to go see what I did in there."
      I went down the hall with a sense of foreboding and looked in. It wasn't a room, it was a park. Sally had actually painted an outdoor motif on the walls, complete with sky, puffy clouds, grass, and trees. Little white park benches perched against two walls, with a rack full of books in between. Next to the silk tree sat a picnic table covered in a red-and-white checked plastic tablecloth. Jars of Play-Doh stood at attention in the center.
      "It's beautiful in here, Sally. But I bet the kids can really make a mess of it, huh?"
      "Oh, they know the rules: 'Put away before you play,'" she replied.
      I couldn't take it any more, so I asked her for some sugar, thanked her, and headed toward my front door -- the one with the leaves stuck in the spiderwebs at the corner of the doorjamb. I went inside and looked around at my home, the one with crooked curtains, four pairs of shoes in the living room, and a red stain on the dining room carpet. The girls were playing with Lincoln Logs and Barbies...in the kitchen.
      With a deep sigh I said to my husband, "Honey, I think I'll move in with Sally."
      "No, you can't," he said with a teasing grin. "Who would clean up this mess?"
      After living next to Sally for eleven years, I'm finally learning I can't be Sally, or Martha Stewart, or anyone else for that matter. I agree with author Primo Levi, who wrote, "I live in my house as I live inside my skin; I know more beautiful, more ample, more sturdy, and more picturesque skins; but it would seem to me unnatural to exchange them for mine." I think maybe I do have what it takes to create beauty. It's just that I have to be more comfortable with my own style, my own likes and dislikes in my home.
      This realization called for celebration. So I poured red punch into four plastic Batman cups. My family and I raised our glasses and toasted who we are in Christ, and I reveled in the miracle of this "home beautiful".
This story makes me feel so happy.  Especially to know that I'm not the only one out there who looks at others' "picture perfect" homes and feels a sense of inadequacy at times.  It's reassuring.   I spent the weekend hanging out with my best friend.  We didn't do anything other than hanging out and a bit of thrifting.  It was good for me to get away from home for a weekend.  I wasn't overwhelmed with the feeling that I should be working on some project.  Yay for me!!!  I did find some fun items at a "For Youth" Thrift Store.  Everything just happened to be 50% off when we went!  The five wicker baskets (pictured above and below) are lined with plastic inside so you can put your flower pots into them, they were $1.00 each.  They will look lovely on the porch or the back deck, with spring flowers in them.  Yes, I am determined to ring in spring!

This little green and white striped vase was $1 and it has my two favorite colors, no less.
 I can just picture it with a bouquet of fresh flowers in it!

This piece was $1.50 after discount.  It is flat on the back and has a wire hanger attached to it...just perfect for hanging some flowers from my back fence.
 I can't wait to get it up there.

I found five matching woven placemats for $3.  I love this look. 

All of these plates are new except the blue Wedgewood in the top right corner, it's one of two which came from my grandma, and I really wanted to incorporate them into my plate wall so I hunted for more plates with both blue and green in them.  I love what I found including the one in the center from Sweden, and the little one, top left, is an Oregon plate.  I think they will all look really wonderful together. 

Now I can't wait to pick up some plate hangers at the dollar store and get these plates on the wall!

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Our Very Own Vintage Window

{I told you I would share when our very own window was done...}

Beautiful Windows

Like These:

 Destined for a landfill.

Just doesn't seem right, does it?

These beautiful windows have so much history. 

They still have life left in them.

Too much to just be wasted, broken and forgotten.

So we rescued them.

And we started giving them new life and new homes.

One by One.

You may have seen one or two of them before, cleaned up and ready for their new families.

This one's part of Our Family now:

Painted in a soft green with crisp white lettering.
Just needs a little distressing.  :)


I wonder what all our other orphan windows will become?

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I can barely believe it!  Beckie Farrant of Roadkill Rescue is featuring the Outdoor Bench we made over from some old pizza parlor seating.

Please go and check it out and tell Beckie "HI".  I love what she is doing ~ sharing the creativity that so many people have when recreating something old, discarded or free.  Just be glad you can't hear me singing her praises for real...my singing voice sucks.  Really!  Now don't you feel lucky?



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Family Pride

I have a love affair with windows.  They let in the LIGHT.  Who wants to live in a cave?  Well, not this girl!  The only time I like it dark is when I'm watching a movie or sleeping...well...maybe one other thing...

...Uh Hummm...as I was saying...

I like to think of the windows in our home acting like a frame for our family.  A beautiful portrait of what life is like when we are able to share it with those we love.  Some of our family we are born with, and others we are privileged enough to choose.  Whichever way we become family, we are here to support each other, encourage one another, help each other up when we've fallen, and just be there through the good and bad.  (And I guess maybe stink up the bathroom...just saying.  You know who you are!)

We all can appreciate the need for family, right?  So, it goes without saying that with a strong, loving family comes Family Pride.  This is a good thing.  We all want to feel proud.  Proud of where we come from, proud of who we are.  Proud to say we are a FAMILY.  It helps us build each other up and root each other on throughout our lives.  That's so cool!

Can you imagine a life without either windows or family?  It's easy to forget how truly important both of these things are to us on a daily basis.  Yet they both add so much to our lives.  Our families love us, care for us and protect us.  They allow us to grow and and thrive in a world that is so big and impersonal at times.   Windows protect us from the wind, rain, heat and cold and yet they still allow in the light.  Leaving us protected but not feeling confined. 

I love Family Established signs.
And old windows.

The fact that we are able to combine the two into a welcoming sign ~ proclaiming pride in our family for all to see ~ makes me very happy.  It adds so much warmth to our homes!
Here is our newest sign.  I think it looks quite elegant in black.  I hope the family we've prepared this for finds much joy in viewing it each day.  We are finishing up our own family sign in soft green today as well.  Of course I'll have to share how it turns out when it's done!

Having a place to go - is a home. Having someone to love - is a family. Having both - is a blessing. ~Donna Hedges

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Green Themed Plate Wall

It was a good weekend for us. 

How about you?

My Mom and Dad were here for the weekend.  They were able to see the little guy playing basketball and we did some thrifting after.  We went to a little town called Mt. Angel, Oregon.   

We visited a place called the White Corner Store there.  This store had the most amazing things.  There were little themed vignettes with like colors all displayed together.  I love these type of displays. 

This photo shows the Black, White, Crystal and Silver!!!
My daughter was having fun with Grandma's new camera and the panorama feature.  Can you tell?

If you are ever in the Mt. Angel, OR area, you should stop by the White Corner Store on E. College Street and say hi to Diane, the owner.  She was so nice to talk to.  Not to mention she had the coolest things! 

She had a green and blue display that had some of the most darling pieces tucked into it.

I found my new green plate there!

It depicts a foxhunt scene and on the back it simply says "ENGLAND":

Then My Mom and I went to Goodwill and I found these:

I think I might have enough to start a plate wall. Why is it so difficult to find attractive green plates?  I'm getting there though.  Take a look at what I did, trying a couple of different arrangements, and tell me what you think. 

I kind of like the second one where I take out one of the three solid green plates to make it more balanced.  I just couldn't get them to fit any better with all three green plates in and I tried them in every possible pattern I could think of.  Hmmmmm....I'm going to play around with them some more.  I have a couple of blue print plates also...maybe those will look good mixed in.  We'll see...
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Bench Makeover ~ I think I have Spring Fever

Lately I've been drawn to pictures of outdoor spaces. 
Light, bright and cheerful spaces such as these:
{Click on photos to follow links to available sources}

Aren't they wonderful???
It's no wonder I'm pining for some sunny outdoor time.

After such an extended period of short, gray, rainy days that are the norm around the Pacific Northwest ~ It takes it's toll on my level of cheerfulness.  I'm not joking when I say I prefer summer months.  I am lucky that in my job I'm able to spend a decent amount of time outside even in winter, so I can get as much Vitamin D as possible.  I also lean towards Cottage and Scandinavian design due to their use of light, white and bright colors.  It may be dark outside more often, but I have some control over the evironment inside my home!

A lack of daylight hours combined with cold and rain for extended periods of time can take it's toll on all of us.  Mother Nature seems to understand this and starts throwing in beautiful, crisp, sunny days here and there this time of year.  Just enough to keep me satisfied!  It's sunny days like these that cause me to start dreaming of those long, warm, lazy summer days.  I thought I would work on a project that would help get me into a breezy, summertime mood.

One of Scott's Craigslist runs a few months ago scored us a couple of free benches.  There were two benches, one about 4 feet long and the other about 6 feet.  They had a pizza parlor label underneath.  I don't know why, but that seems kind of funny to me...how we ended up with these pizza parlor cast offs.  They weren't very pretty...painted a dark brown and covered in brown vinyl.  The vinyl upholstery had numerous cracks and repairs in it also. 

We were in need of some more furniture suitable for our back deck area for the warmer spring and summer months.  I thought it would be fun to make these benches over with some paint and outdoor fabric.  I was able to work on the smaller 4 foot bench this weekend.  Here is what I was able to accomplish:

The metal piece was painted silver to freshen it up, then the wood was painted a pale green with a touch of grey in it and distressed.

The seat was reupholstered in an indoor/outdoor fabric in a beachy, tropical pattern

Fun metal hardware was just an easy spray paint fix.

Bright Shiny Silver on this fabulous feature of the bench.

Colors that bring long, hot, relaxing summer days to mind. 
(And it doesn't clash with the pool either, that's a bonus!)

New life given to a discarded piece.  The fabric was attached to the underside of the seat with a manual staple gun.

A place to sit and sip lemonade!!!

Just in case you forgot how bad it was ~ ANOTHER BEFORE.
And again the AFTER shot!    ;)

This might be the perfect spot for a tiny nap...

I have a whole bunch of thrift store stuff to show you that I'll be using to finish jazzing up this back deck.  This little project took maybe two hours time and $10 in fabric.  The paint used we had on hand.  I purchased $20 total in outdoor fabric so I would have plenty to do some other back deck projects.  Can't wait to show you!!!

Here's hoping that your week is filled with fun projects, little naps, sun breaks and happiness!

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What I look like at the end of a long day...LOL!

Recently I had a Portland Art Institute Student come by and take some photos of me in my environment with the kids ~ for an assignment.  This girl, Chelsie, is amazingly talented.  As a matter of fact, because of her talent and hard work, she has just earned a scholarship to RIT and will be heading to New York this spring.  Here's what we did for fun yesterday.  This is depicting me at the end of an (apparently very long) day with the kids:

Yeah, that's me.  Pretty funny, huh!?

It is supposed to be comical ~ but Chelsie does serious and artistic shots also.  I'm really hoping to get her to do some interior shots for me once I get some of my projects DONE.  If I'm lucky!!! 

You can see more of her work at her photography blog:  http://chelsiecraigphotog.com/2012/02/16/building-blocks/ . 

She has some really cool stuff that isn't even up on this site.  If you ask nicely she might add it or give you a FB invite.  She's pretty sweet.  I think you will like her!

Just make sure you bookmark her or follower her, whatever it is you do.  That way you can say you discovered her even before she broke out into the big time as an artist/photographer!


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Downstairs Project Tour

Here goes the downstairs tour!   Welcome to Our Home!!!

Some of this is a bit rough, but, I think you've been fairly warned.
I'm going to start at the front door and make notes about what we've done and what we hope to do as I go. 

If you stick with me through this you deserve a glass of wine in the hot tub tonight!  (That's going to be my reward to myself for getting this done!)

I apologize to those of you who have been hanging around for a bit.  Sorry if some of this is repetitive.

We are so glad you came to visit.  You have just entered our front door...

I love the deep color of this wood and the black iron scroll work mimics the dining chandelier and the wine rack ;)

On the wall directly to the right is my plain ole cork board with our friends and family photo display. Eventually I will figure out how I want to cover this board. I wanted to wait until I had a clear picture of what the downstairs color scheme would be. (Ahem, that cork board would be project #2. Sorry if I've confused you but #1 comes later).

***Note to Builders that care...it is not attractive or convenient to walk directly into a stairwell when you enter the front door.***

Once inside the front door you take a left and you will be "in" our mudroom.  This feature was created when we put two tall vertical shelves along the wall and connected them with a board as a bench and added hooks.  There are also pull out bins at the bottom for our shoes.  Love this!!!

Because who wants to see everybodies shoes all over the floor?

Click on the photo above if you want to see the original post.
Do you see the open door to the left?  That's our downstairs half bath...we'll go there next...

These are white painted, oak shelves.  I have added four banana leaf baskets from Ikea ~ so each of us has a place for our miscellaneous belongings.

Not that we all put our things where we're supposed to!  Ha, that would be a dream...

The mirror leaning there came from an antique mall in Oregon City.  I don't believe it's actually antique, but it appears to be hand made.  I purchased it just for this spot but haven't hung it yet (project #3) because I'm not convinced it is "right" here.  Maybe it's just the predominance of white in this space.  Or the mirror might be too busy.  Maybe the color is just slightly off from the other white.  I still need to put wainscot wall paper on the back of those shelves (project #4) and maybe add some color via paint (project #5).  Once I have that done I can sew a cushion for the bench (project #6) and possibly those two little Ikea footstools that fit perfectly underneath (project #7).

When we have company there are plenty of seats!

Okay, off to check out the half bath...we've done a couple of updates in there already, but it's not easy to get a nice picture of such a tiny little room with no windows ~ don't expect a lot!

Let's see...
We replaced the builders' mirror with this beauty that we got from some friends.  Thanks Andrew and Gina, you are so awesome!  It came unfinished so I was able to stain it with the same stain I used on the lower sink cabinet.  I stained the builder grade oak cabinets a rich brown.  I didn't bother to take a before photo.  I wasn't blogging about DIY then, so it didn't seem so important.  ;)   Scott added the granite counter top.  It was a scrap piece that came from his boss.  We installed the wall shelves so we could add a few accessories.   We haven't really taken the time to do anything more in here.  It's used for my preschool during the day so it takes a lot of abuse.  You can't see in the picture, but we added some pale gray Italian ceramic tiles to the floor...the same tiles as in the laundry room and the upstairs bathrooms.  The tiles were donated to us very generously by Scott's Sister and Brother-In-Law when they had leftover from their remodel. It just needs a new light fixture and maybe more colorful accessories...that's it!  (project #8)

When you exit this bathroom you can take a left back into the main part of the house or a right into the laundry room.
We just finished redoing the laundry room too!  I love this space.  I haven't gotten backed up on the laundry yet.  Just click on the photo below if you want to read more about it:

I almost forgot to mention, Scott wants to replace the window with a glass door...this would lead right to the poolside :)
(That makes project #9)

Now let's go back past the "mudroom" and I'll show you where we put the new pantry...right under the stairs!  If you want to see more details on that pantry you can see that post by clicking on the photo below. 

(Oh holler!  I need to go shopping!)

This pantry is on the opposite wall from the "mudroom" space.

It took us about a month to completely finish this space.  Scott did the built in shelving really quickly, but I wanted to make sure we planned enough space and ORGANIZED everything well, so it wouldn't just end up another huge mess.  It's such a useful, organized space.  It really has simplified our lives.  We love the chalkboard grocery list and menu planner.  All the kids know right where to go to grab a snack.  I can check what ingredients I have with just a glance and know what I have to eat.  What a dream!!!  I hadn't realized how messed up our "pantry" space and storage situation had become.  I still want to do something more interesting with the door and maybe make a fun "Corner Market" sign.  (project #10)

Let's shut this door and just turn around...you'll find yourself in my craft room slash workspace.  This room is my baby.  (If you're getting tired ~ feel free to take a break.  After all this blogging I feel like I need one too.  Come back when you are ready...we'll still be here!

This room's been stripped down to bare bones.  Tomorrow I'm going to be pushing that HUGE cabinet around.  I want to play with the layout in here before doing anything else.  Once I'm sure that cabinet is exactly where we want it ~ we will be doing some fun things to the wall above it (project #11). 

But I'm not spilling the beans!

Oh, check out the floor!  We scored this wood flooring when a family member was ripping it out of their home to be replaced with wide, dark, rough hewn plank.  Jealous!  We still had wall to wall carpeting from the front door to in here, so we jumped at the chance to bring this wood flooring home (nails and all) and install it.  Scott helped with their demo and installation so they were more than happy to pass it on.  We put it in ourselves using a pneumatic nail gun.  Scott is so good about doing these projects with me.  We started out removing the old nails.  Eventually we grew weary and ended up just pounding them flush into the bottoms. Needless to say,  it's a little bit squeaky.  At least we know when Sadie is being sneaky...

To the left you can see back to the front door from here. 
Oh, and Scott's temporary chalkboard wall is right there!
 See my Ikea espresso leather sofa?  I saved for that  puppy for so long!    I like that it's easily wiped down.  There are so many sticky little fingers around here.   I just wish the pillows didn't slip all over the place.  Haha.   And that little wooden end table, I have plans for that ~ it needs to be stained.  (Project # 12)
This cabinet is the coolest ever. It houses all of my crafting and home office supplies. It still needs some trim work at the bottom (project # 13) and I'm hoping someday we can put a stained wooden countertop...if not metal (project # 14)
If you are interested in reading about this cabinet makeover just click on the photo above.

You can see one of the chalkboards we are working on above.  You can special order these personalized from our ETSY SHOP.

And those lamps were a fun little project...I'll be putting some of those in our Etsy shop as well.  If you want to see how easy they are to make, so you can do it yourself, just go HERE.

That bare window in the corner is (project # 15) and the bench beneath is waiting for some new upholstery (project # 16)
Two of my favorite things:  White paint and the color green.

This is where the 1930's Vintage Radio Cabinet Mini Bar lives.  Plllllllfffth.  That was a mouth full. 
It still needs casters attached to the bottom (project #17)

Click the photo above if you are interested in seeing what Scott did to turn this cabinet into a mini bar.

I made these fully lined curtains (in ivory burlap) to hang in front of the sliding glass door. 
Otherwise, you can't see a thing if the sun is shining full force.  These windows face south so the craft room and kitchen get an abundance of sunshine (if the sun makes an appearance, that is). 
And the little green pie shelf can be found HERE

In my kitchen I want to add: back splash (project #18), and some form of color to the backs of these open cabinets (project #19)

We painted the cabinets white over a year ago. It's something I had wanted to do since moving in. One day, right before Thanksgiving at our place, Scott said,
"Are you ready to paint the cabinets white?"
Can you guess what I said?
"Heck, YES!"
 Now they need some touch up (project #20).

I seriously can hear the wine and hot tub calling my name now...

Also in this room we (read as I) want to paint over that "horrendous excuse for the color green" that is on the walls (project #21),
Refinish the counter tops (project # 22),
And add some type of decorative window treatment over the rolling blind (project #23).

Now pass through this opening into our little dining room.  It really is quite small.  Oh, the flooring in the kitchen and the dining room is peel and stick tiles.  These are very dimensional and realistic looking and can even be grouted.  We chose not to grout and just installed them flush with each other.  They have held up quite nicely for as inexpensive as they were. 

Our dining room:

The Chandelier was a hand me down and the shades were one of my favorite thrifty knockoff projects. 

Click the photo below if you want to read more about them!

Hmmm, lets see....

The table and chairs were free and became a family project.  We sanded, we sprayed, we painted we glazed, we poly'd and finally slip covered

Click the photo below if you want to see more about this fun filled project!

That huge mirror on the wall actually came from our dresser upstairs. I dare say it might be a later project. I'm not counting it!!!

Those curtains aren't really curtains...yet.  If you look closely you can see the raw edges and (sigh) strings.  Kristi from A2D taught me about a well dressed window, so I decided that my white, wood-look blinds needed some dressing up.  This is just a piece of fabric cut in half and clipped up there on some curtain rings.  I wanted to live with it for a bit before doing anything more.  I think I'll find a piece of coordinating fabric to make a wide band at the top or bottom so they run all the way to the floor?  Tell me what you think!  I haven't committed to anything yet and this fabric can be used for something else...say those ottomans under the bench in the entryway.  :)  (Oh yeah, that's project # 24)

Okay, turn around...we're almost done! 

Through the arch is our living room.  This is where we HANG OUT.  Watch movies, play video games, do our homework and read.  This room is really just comfortable and can use many improvements.
(See those semi-naked windows back there?  They need some decorative treatments also.  They are project # 25)

See that tripod lamp in the front left of the photo?  If you want to see how it came to be, just click HERE.

That little camel sofa came from Craigslist...it's a sleeper.  (That's project #26)  It will be getting a new slipcover!  Just as soon as I get up the nerve!!!  Sheesh people...this stuff is nerve wracking!  Why do you think I'm always drinking coffee, eating chocolate and dreaming about wine in the hot tub?

That adorable young man, he's actually project #1.  He comes first!  He's so cool and so fun.  You'd love him!  But don't challenge him to soccer, basketball or football. 
(The carpet in this room is project # 27).  I cannot stand wall to wall carpet.  I can't be the only one.  I run a preschool in our home.  It gets a lot of traffic. 

That black wire thingy there between the sofa and orange chair is project # 28).  We found it on the side of the road.  It won't stay here in this spot though.  I'm going to spray it a fun color and use it for something...you'll have to wait.  (We have two end tables for this room but they are refinishing project # 29)!!!  Sheesh, I'm tired!

We hope you've had fun looking around Our Place.  Nothing fancy.  Just our home.  We're really very thrifty.  I'd say over 75% of our furnishings, and accessories come by way of Craigslist, thrifting, yard sales, hand-me-downs, curbside finds, or re-purposing.  This was helped define how far we have come and how far we still have to go.  It will always be a work in progress.  That I know!

We'd love to hear what you think.  Don't feel like you need to mention how many projects are on our ToDo list!  We're getting to them...one by one...

Thanks for stopping by!
Hugs, Sherry 

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