Friday, February 24, 2017

A Crazy Week of Waiting

The dumpster was delivered! Our project that started with a simple television has exploded into an old familiar mantra; "as long as we have to do that... we might as well do this..."

I've had a couple weeks (waiting for warmer weather) to scheme dream of how I want things to look when they are done. I've been on Pinterest, Home Talk, Houzz and HGTV looking at things I like and trying to figure out how to get them into my plans for less.

I have already shared that what started as a simple moving of the television turned into one living room wall being taken down to studs and that led to issues that meant my bedroom was affected.

We've kept busy up there. It is painted now in a color I never in a million years would have thought I would choose! There is also an FIY (faux it yourself) in there.

I've been shopping. Yeah, I know you're not surprised. About now Mister is starting to wonder why this whole blogging thing has not produced sponsors. I have been on Wayfair, Overstock, Amazon... Birch Lane, Arhaus and Joss & Main.  I've also been in brick and mortars; Home Goods, Home Depot and Lowes. Have you been in Lowe's lately? I found this lovely section of product by Allen + Roth. They have paint, curtains, rugs, throws and artwork all sectioned out by color combos. It takes all the guess work out of decorating! Genius.

I am on a budget so I have curtailed most of my shopping to mere window shopping but I did buy a ceiling light! Our bedroom never had an overhead light so this is exciting for me and I can't wait for it to come in!  Oh....

Agh! It just came, I opened it and it is broken! Nooooooo! Delays, delays. I'm sure there is a lesson in patience here. Now I have message Amazon, send it back, wait for a new one.... boo!

On Monday the weather was warmer and we took down laths and plaster. The living room was emptied and plastic went up on the doorways to attempt to keep the mess contained. I had hoped to have our bedroom settled for the most part by then but alas, no.

I am painting today. I picked up two chairs on a yard sale site last year. This is one in progress.

Seasonal decorating has taken a backseat for now as things are topsy-turvy around here right now and there are a hodge-podge of things going on. I'll try to remember to take pictures along the way.

I will be sharing more of our progress on the next post. We really did get quite far in a matter or three days but I will save that for next time!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Decorative Wall Crown Tutorial

I need a crown! No, that is not an ploy to make sure my family know I should to be treated like a queen (ha!) and no, there was no costume party... not that type of crown. I was looking for the type of crown that hangs on the wall and usually has some kind of fabric hanging down from it. I found pictures on line....

like this on Pinterest...

Valicity Decorative Wall Teester Bed Crown:

and this, also on Pinterest...

French country antique Louis Philippe bed with contempary French fabrics and antique French Louis XVI mirror:

....but I didn't want to spend a lot of money. How can I make it for less? Here is what I came up with.


Foam core board
Metal decorated edge trim or flat lace 1.5" tall
Lace 4" tall
1"x1.5" piece of wood-36" long. (I think I bought it at A.C.Moore's by the doweling)
Tacky glue
Plastic wrap
Gold spray paint (or any color you want)
Small 'L' brackets-2

First I guessed at about how big I wanted my crown using a tape measure bent into a semi-circle. Also I was trying to use what I had on hand! I cut a piece of  foam core board 20" long by 4" wide using a metal ruler and an Exacto knife. Tip: make several passes at it, do not try to cut all the way through the first time and put something underneath to protect your floor, table, ect.

My 20" x 4" piece of foam core wouldn't bend enough and I did not want to break it. This is where my obsession with home improvement shows pays off a bit. On one side I measured out and marked approximately 1" intervals; about 19 marks. At the first mark, with my Exacto knife, I cut across the board, cutting about 1/2 way through the foam. (Be careful not to cut all the way through.) Just a hair next to that first cut I made another cut parallel to it but at a slight angle into the first cut. I used the tip of the knife to dig out some of the foam to form a channel. I repeated that procedure another 18 times or so until the 20" long foam core board has about 19 very thin channels cut into it. This will be the inside of the crown. Now your board will bend nicely but still have good structure.

I wanted my crown to have points. I purchased a 4" deep piece of lace with pointy things to go at the top of my crown. Laying my board flat I measured a piece of lace to match. My lace has tall points that would have made me cut into one of the points making it uneven. I chose to shorten my board a smidge to fit the lace pattern. Pull out a cookie sheet or cutting board and cover it with plastic wrap. Pour some Tacky glue into a bowl and put your lace into it. Using your fingers really try to work the glue into the lace. This takes some effort, don't skimp.  When it is sufficiently saturated lay the lace out flat on the plastic wrap. I wanted my lace to fan out at the top so I rolled up a piece of tin foil and scooted it up under the plastic wrap to push up the top edge of the lace. Leave it to dry. Depending on the weather this can take a couple days.

There is a "lace" at the bottom of the crown. On my crown I used a piece of metal trim that I had laying around from a project from several years ago.

If you do not have this or cannot find it, don't worry, just use another piece of lace. This lace should be about 1.5" wide. Cut it about 1" longer than your board. Follow the same steps you just did for the top lace. Lay it flat on the plastic wrapped cutting board to dry.

Once your lace is completely dry pull it off the plastic. The plastic may stick a bit, don't worry. Use tweezers to pull bits off. Run a generous amount of glue where your top piece of lace will lay on the foam core board. In my case it was about the top 2" of the board. I laid the lace on top of that. Do the same for the bottom lace making sure to have about 3/4-1" hanging below the board. You should have about 1/2" extra on either side. Just wrap it around the foam core to the back side. Run your finger along the lace to smooth out any glue poking through the holes. Using another piece of plastic wrap cover your glued lace and put a couple books on top to weigh it down. Let it dry completely. You glue will dry clear. Remove books and plastic.

I cut two pieces of wood from the doweling I purchased at the craft store. Each piece was cut to 13". With a brad nailer or staple gun (this may be too thick for a staple gun- I didn't try it) attach the wood to the ends inside your crown. This will give your crown a nice rounded front.

Yup, I kinda missed. There was no easy way to pull it out without damaging something and so I left it.

The entire thing got a good coating of gold spray paint.

If you are putting this above a bed secure it to the wall with 'L' brackets. It could probably be secured with 3M pieces. Mine was a temporary installment so I didn't need to do anything drastic.  

These photos were taken with my phone. I forgot my camera that night!

And there you have it. Let me know if you try this project! 
Thanks for stopping by.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

BBQ Sign Tutorial

On a trip to vintage and antiques fair last summer Mister picked up some tin letters and commented that we should make a sign for his barbecue area in the back yard. Hmm....I picked up two B's and a Q, with no specific plan-but, really, when has that stopped me?

Many weeks (or months) later inspiration struck and off I went to the hardware store. I bought one piece of 1x4 (which is actually 1 x 3.5). I bought an 8 foot length and cut three 24" lengths. Why not purchase a 6 foot length, you ask? You want to make sure to cut the end off so you have a nice, square end. Then, cut your lengths.

Apply a coat of stain making sure to get all the sides and ends. When the stain has dried turn the pieces face down. I used paint sticks for spacers and laid the three pieces next to each other.

The pieces were secured in that configuration using mending plates and screws. Make sure you are using short screws, less than the width of you wood, so that you do not go through the front of your piece.

I laid the metal letters on the wood and here is where I kinda thought uh-oh. There were no hangers on the backs of the letters.

How was I going to keep them on the wood?  I cut six small pieces of wood about 3/4 x 1 1/2". I traced the letters onto the wood for points of reference.

Then, just inside the trace marks I secured the small wood blocks where the flat part of each letter would rest against it. Since these are such small pieces of wood you want to pre-drill a hole in each first then screw them in, otherwise they will split.

My thought was that I could use the brad nailer to secure each letter on the blocks! Genius, right? Umm... no. The brad nailer could not pierce the metal. Now what? Super glue! I tried super glue for metal and wood. I walked away from the project for a few weeks during the Christmas season.

During that time I decided it needed a frame of some sort. I purchased a piece of flat trim from my local home store for a few dollars. None of my photos came out for this step! Sorry.  I cut pieces for the top, bottom and sides. All four pieces were stained Weathered Gray by Verthane. I used the brad nailer to attach them. While doing this step the letters started falling off! The glue was not holding! Gah!

New plan. I drilled holes in the metal letters where they met the wood blocks, being careful to avoid the screws that held each block in place. ( A word to the wise here, metal shards from drilling can be extremely sharp and go in like splinters only FAR worse! Keep sticky tape near by to clean off the drill bit and pick up the metal bits.)

I set the letters in place and drilled back through the hole with a very small bit into the wood block- again trying to avoid splitting. Don't go too deep; you want the nail to catch something.  I secured each letter, top and bottom to the wood blocks with a nail. It took a little finessing and a nail set as the trim work was in the way of getting a clean shot.

I did apply a coat of poly on the outside trim but left the inside wood with just the stain. I have not put hangers on the back yet as we are not sure where it will hang exactly so when we figure it out we will adjust accordingly.

Here is the finished product. I can't wait for warmer weather so we can take it outside and hang it!

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Ultimate Construction Instruction

Hello from the other side!

We are head long into a huge work in the house. It all started with a new television and boy did that get out of control real quick!

I like things to look pretty. I love making our home a place that showcases the things we love. I like when people walk in and want to know what we've been up to lately and I am so humbled when people like what we've done here enough to ask for help or advice for their own homes.

I worked so hard to get my gallery wall just right last year. I loved that way it turned out but underneath the paint and pictures were some real problems, problems I did not want to know about or look at. As I sit now in my living room I am looking at one wall that has been taken back to the "studs" on one side...

and then there are three walls still in tact. If I put my back to the destruction everything is okay but I know that is not truth, the mess is still there. In fact the three intact walls, nice as they look are not truth either. The reality is that there is no insulation behind the three painted and in-tact outside walls. So, while they look good they are really empty and of not much worth below the surface. Their effectiveness is limited because they are lacking something important inside. Hmm... what is God trying to teach me here?

Perhaps I am being told:

How good it looks on the outside, either physically or spiritually, is no substitute for tangible matter inside. If I am not walking with the Lord, spending time with Him daily, I have very little to offer anyone else. They may see the outside, comment that it appears nice, but is there anything below the surface that is of worth? Am I two chocolate cookies pressed together with no stuff in between? What good is that? None! So, when I say I am a Christian, there needs to be something behind that. Something that will benefit others; something of substance that others can count on and trust in.

I look back to the torn apart wall. Electrical wiring is an issue. We had to see what was happening with it as it was suspect. That led to knocking holes in the ceiling...

and then it took us upstairs to our bedroom.

A few holes later and then ultimately another entire wall being exposed to the studs revealed how problems were hidden and spread out to places we didn't know about. Ugh! I cried at the mess that was left. Hmm... what is God trying to teach me here?

Perhaps I am being told:

Sometimes I'm just too busy (A lie I often tell myself) to spend quality time with Jesus. I throw a verse out, or a quick Psalm, maybe a ten minute devotional as a quick fix and take off to another area of life where I am even more busy. I got my God fix for the minute, patch over the trouble spot and move on... but it wasn't done right, sin was not dealt with, errors not confessed and it spiderwebs into other areas. Before I know it there are problems everywhere with poor patch jobs. Patch jobs that have been there for years or decades. The wrong fix did not make the problem go away. It just got forgotten about. Somewhere along the line something else popped up and into that wrong line of thinking something else was spliced in as a quick fix... In the mess I cry out to the Lord. It all needs to be brought low and dealt with rightly in light of who I am before my God.

Now my eyes rest on the door in my living room. A door that was covered over and forgotten long ago when a wall was removed. From what I can tell and what I know of old architecture the room it led to might have been the "keeping room". Keeping rooms were located off the kitchen and served several purposes. The one that interested me most was that it was used as an infirmary when someone in the family was ill. It was a warm room due to it's close proximity to the kitchen. I my case the room sits between the kitchen and living room that used to have a fireplace, now long gone. The keeping room would have been a nice and toasty place to rest for a sick person. I am glad the wall was removed and it was a good call by whoever did it and so the door was no longer needed. Hmm...what is God trying to teach me here?

This one had/has me really stumped. A door that no longer serves a purpose... once again exposed it tells some of the history of this old house. My thoughts are all over the place. This is a not a true confessions post so no need to hit the mute button or run for popcorn. I just think there is a reason I am pondering these questions. What doors have I closed and covered? Was it a good thing? Were those doors closed by God when healing took place? When they are uncovered do I give glory to God for the healing?

I am not 100 percent sure what I am supposed to be learning here and maybe way off base. These are just the random thoughts of a woman stuck in a perpetual DIY project but still things to ponder. Recently, a dear friend , upon hearing that we were in the middle of this project, said " I’m beginning to think you all are addicted to re-doing your rooms continually." While I would like to say she's wrong it does make me think. We do seem to always be in the middle of a project or looking for the next project or how we can do something better. That is how I handle my heart, too. I need to constantly be examining and repairing what does not work. I need to be tearing out the things that are wrong and do not make sense. Build it right, with the truth of God's word- construction instructions for godliness.  Praise God that he keeps prodding me to become more like my King, albeit a slow process in my case.  I love how God uses the temporal to set my mind on heavenly things. In the midst of it all we will figure out our next steps with the practical.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Controlled Chaos-The Myth

Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas and New Year celebrations were fun and sweet! I took a couple weeks off from the blog; enjoyed being with my family, nursed a cold and ear infection, got my home back to "normal" (bahahahaha) and started back to school with my youngest.

The new year always catches me by surprise. I don't know why. I sit here staring at the computer with writer's/diy-er block. What do I do? What can I do? I need to do something so I will have something to write about. What if I have run out of ideas? ... GAH! What about all the things I thought about after meeting Miss Mustard Seed? What were they???? .... GAH! I'm doomed. the distance I saw a knight in shining armor coming to my rescue....

Actually, it was Mister sitting opposite me at the dining table.

He said he doesn't like the dining room (finished product here) being in the front room. We switched it to that room over two years ago after we renovated the kitchen (that work can be seen here). I had pushed for and loved the idea and talked Mister into it but apparently the old adage is still true " A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still". He honestly did give it a good run and wasn't saying it was a must but just put in his two cents. Oh, and he hates the way my work space looks! He has a point there.

For about a month our tv has been on the fritz. The sound was way off from the picture. Everybody looked like they were in a b-rated, foreign monster movie from the 70's. We lived with it for a while but had finally had enough and headed to the store to scope out sales- because you know all those MLK Day sales that happen, right?! We came home with an even bigger screen than before! They really are getting ridiculous. I should charge admission and serve popcorn.

Anyway, that all led to Mister thinking the tv needed to be moved to another wall. And, well, that is a whole 'nother something! Old houses have quirky things about them that often far surpass painted trim and carpet over hardwood. There are doors boarded over, walls moved, fireplaces removed and floors poorly patched, additions and after-thoughts, and so on and so on. We have seen it all in this house. Oh, but I am way headed of myself...

So, that "new" gallery wall I completed just a few months ago needed to make way for Mister's new tv. I get totally annoyed reading some other blogs when I see a beautiful room completed only to see everything redone three months later. The waste of money kills me! I can think of a million things to waste money on- but rehabs and reno's? I am a one and done type of person. Do, do it right, and move on. Paint colors and moving furniture is a different thing. Fortunately, I can move my gallery wall to another wall and nothing will be lost-except my time. Right!

Exploratory work. This is where the gallery wall was. Mister is looking to see where he can hide the cords for the new tv. 

Fake bead board wainscotting removed revealed a layer of wall paper. 

Wall paper layer #2 with 8" baseboards. 

  The bead board must come down, he said. Obviously we're not ready for demo as we did not even move the rug or furniture!

Third layer of wall paper-art deco style.

A doorway dry-walled over. There must have been a wall extending across making this two rooms at one time. 

Maybe NOW we should consider putting up some protection... Yes, that is knob and tube electrical wires.... What started as a little hole has turned into this! He is out of control. 

Half my living room is this right now. 
Our new tv has opened a can of worms that has been sitting on the shelf for the 13+ years that we have owned the house. We always went back and forth with the idea but it always went the way of "let it be someone else's project, someday". But, here we Mister thinks we should do this in sections to "control the chaos", as he puts it. I think we should just do it...except that it is January and opening the outside walls that have  NO INSULATION AT ALL seems crazy to me but living with half my living room like this until spring is not an attractive option. With all that said, any seasonal decorating posts in the near future will be contained to the kitchen and dining room (which is on hold for now).

The year to come has lots of fun things in store. I am working on another project right now that I will tell you more about later. It is for someone else which makes it even more exciting for me. Suddenly, there are a lot of projects in my future and lots to share with you along the way. What was I worried about? Controlled chaos? It's a myth! Chaos has been unleashed and I need some chocolate cuz' this one's gonna be a doozy!

Happy 2017! It's going to be a fun year!