Monday, May 30, 2016

The Neglected Mailbox

Last fall, we had the exterior of the Fixer Upper House painted in Sherwin Williams Ethereal Mood, with crisp Extra White trim. It made the house look new again! But the mailbox was still covered in the old house color, and looking sad and chipped, too.

I finally got around to painting the mailbox with the leftover Ethereal Mood that the painters left us when they'd finished the house.

Aah, much better!

A garden flag, some potted flowers, and a packet of Morning Glory seeds that will cover the mailbox in blooms this summer.

Just one more little thing on a LONG list of little things that needed to get checked off the TO DO list.

Happy Memorial Day, café friends!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fun With Spray Paint

It's amazing how quickly a can of spray paint can refresh items around the house.

I purchased a can of Rustoleum spray paint in Heritage Red to give some of the items in my garden a quick update.

When reds are left out in the sun for any length of time, they can fade to a funny shade of pink. And faded red/pink isn't really very patriotic. But Heritage Red certainly is!

I painted my watering can planter, and then gave a quick refresh to this star, too.

My vintage metal rockers are looking a little worse for the wear. I think I'll give them a quick coat of Heritage Red soon, too.

Watercolors, room paint, spray paint. Having fun with color this week! Hope your week is colorful, too!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Fixer Upper House: The Laundry Room Cleans Up

The laundry room was in some serious need of a clean up. And it just so happened that we had a half gallon of Sherwin Williams Lemongrass paint leftover from the boys bath room refresh. Perfect!

I did a little sorting and organizing, too.

I found the old green jar in my stash, and thought I'd use it to store my dryer sheets. The tall glass lidded jar was on a clearance rack at Hobby Lobby for $13. It was filled with an assortment of potpourri, which I removed. It's the perfect size to hold a box of Tide detergent, and now I don't have to lug the ugly box out of the cupboard for every load.

The paintings are old and from my stash. I thought they added the right amount of shabby chic, and I liked how the pale colors of pink, blue, cream and green worked in this room.

It's silly, I know, but I'm so happy that the paint color and floors now match my old Laura Ashley ironing board.

It's a little room, but at least it looks a lot happier now. Remodel cost? Leftover paint=free. Decor=under $20.

A cup of coffee, and now I'm ready to tackle that basket of ironing.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

PTI May Blog Hop

Today is Blog Hop day at Papertrey Ink! Our inspiration art looks so sweet! I was really enamored with this watercolor and its painterly effect. I decided to swap out popsicles (unless they're sugar free, or course!) with coffee cups. Warm weather may be here, but it's never too warm for coffee!

 {Today's Brew: Heart to Heart Stamp Set(PTI),  Think Big Favorites stamp set (PTI), Fine Linen and Dark Chocolate ink (PTI), PTI kraft card stock, Strathmore watercolor paper. Gansai Tambi watercolors, button twine (PTI) }

I decided to stamp the coffee cups in PTI's Fine Linen. Then I watercolored each image using my Gansais Tambi watercolors. I used a wet brush dipped in paint to flick some splatters onto the finished images. Finally, I stamped the sentiment on top of everything after it had dried.

And if the message of nine coffee cups wasn't enough, I thought the inside sentiment made it loud and clear.

This watercolor project came at the perfect time, as I had just been playing with my watercolors last week.

I finally got around to creating an index of all of the colors.

And I also did a little blending with each one. This really came in handy for today's project!

Watercoloring is so forgiving and so much fun. I plan to take my paints outdoors for some "en plein air" painting soon.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Monday, May 23, 2016

From Trash To Treasure: My Weekend Curbside Find

Happy Monday, cafe friends!

Weather has improved here in the Midwest, which means that I'm working as quickly as possible to get the seeds planted and the garden in order. It looks like this nice weather is just a short window, as rain is expected in the forecast in the days ahead. That's will give all the flower seeds a good watering!

This weekend, I was running a few errands with the boys. We cut through a side street in the historic downtown area of Batavia, and that's when I spotted a pile of treasures at the curb with a cardboard sign advertising "FREE".

I brake for free stuff, especially if that free stuff is cool.

I found this adorable table, and knew right away that it was just the right size and shape to go in my sun room.

I'm guessing that this was once used as a telephone table back in the day. Telephone rested on top, and phone books went below. And if a phone book wasn't handy, just carve the telephone numbers right into the wood on the top. Oops! Yes, it had a few imperfections, but I knew those could be remedied.

I got to work right away, cleaning the surface with Simple Green. Then I took it outside for the painting process. I had recently purchased a container of ReClaim paint in Licorice when I last visited Noblesville, Indiana.

If you are in the neighborhood, you must visit A Corner Cottage. It was always one of my favorite stores there. They have the most lovely and creative window displays, and the owners and staff are all so helpful and friendly. The owner's dear mother, Virginia, was a sweet friend of mine from our church lady's bible study. She went home to the Lord just a year or two ago. I keep a card she gave me when we moved to Pittsburgh tucked in my Bible. You know the sort of beautiful, cheerful woman that everyone wants to be when they grow up? That was Virginia.

The ReClaim paint worked like a charm! It's a very unique paint with a texture like pudding. It goes on best with the roller, and if you cannot roll, then it's a good idea to use a chipping brush and sort of smoosh it in the nooks and crannies. I applied two coats. This paint requires no sanding and no priming, and clean up was a breeze.

I let it dry overnight, and then I gave the edges a light sanding for a distressed look.

I love it so much! My family was amazed that the dirty little table could be transformed with just a little paint.

It's a nice place for one's chickens to come home to roost.

And the rack below is the perfect spot to store some gardening magazines.

I have been looking at similar tables in catalogs, like Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, and they usually run about $200. My table? Free! That, my friends, was not luck. That was a blessing! I think Virginia would agree.

This table was good practice for me, as I'm still planning on using the same paint to paint the chairs and pedestal  table base one day soon.

I might need a little more paint, though. Looks like another trip to Noblesville is in my future.

Hope you are blessed today, too!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How To Be A Frugal Gardener

It's no secret that I love flowers. Put me in a garden center, and I can spend an hour dreaming. Annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, I want them all.

But here's the thing. I am tired of spending money on this house, tired of investing in something that will probably not pay off in the end. Everything I do to this house is for the sole purpose of selling it one day in the not too distant future. This, ladies and gentlemen, is not my home.

For this reason, I am not going to spend a lot of money on any more landscaping projects. Instead, I'm going to work hard at being a frugal gardener.

I have a lot of holes to fill in the back yard garden, and if I do not get them filled with plants, then the weeds are likely to take over. I've decided to plant a lot of easy growing flowers by seed. For a dollar and some change, I can buy a packet of seeds that will grow to the equivalent of one or two flats of flowers at the garden center.

Here are a few varieties that are easy to grow by seed:

Bachelor's Buttons
Morning Glory
Sweet Peas

Another way that I am saving money is by cannibalizing my own garden. I'm taking mature plants, splitting them, and moving them around the garden beds to fill holes. This is a great project for the fall, but our weather has been cool enough to transplant this spring too.

Some perennials that can easily be split:

Tiger Lilies
Lamb's Ear
Purple Coneflower
Black-Eyed Susans

Gardening will be a little tricky this year with the addition of my new garden helper. Jemma loves to play in the yard, but for some reason she gets overly excited whenever she sees me weeding. I think she just wants to play, and weeding looks like a fun game of grab and chase.

And did I mention that she's a bit of a digger?

Look at those paws! They're huge! They're like big shovels. She's such a sweet girl, though. That face. Who could get angry with that face? I do love having her around the house and garden with me.

The weather is supposed to improve this week, so I'm getting my beds ready for planting. Lots of weeding, lots of seed sowing, and a prayer that it will all grow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 2016 Simple Stories Carpe Diem Planner

Hello, everyone! I've been working on my planner pages this week, and for a good reason, too. Sam's last day of school is May 24th. That's just one week from today. Wow. Where did the school year go? I seriously cannot believe that he is nearly done with sixth grade.

I take my summers and calendar planning pretty seriously. I've found that if you don't get it on the calendar in pen, then you will either a.) not do it, or b.) not know about it until after the fact, and then kick yourself for not writing it down.

A well-stocked summer calendar is my secret weapon against the "I'm so bored"s. I can look at my calendar and see what's happening at the parks or libraries or nearby town festivals. I even include happenings in Indiana (if we happen to be visiting our son, John) and events back home in Michigan and Ohio (in case I'm thinking of planning a trip to visit family).

For some reason, the Hebrew word "Shekinah" has been turning up this month. I heard it described in a Beth Moore study recently as the manifestation of God's glory. The children of Israel saw the Shekinah when God lead them through the wilderness as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. And we have the physical manifestation of God's glory in the form of Jesus, who took on flesh and dwelt among us, and now lives within us.

1 John 3:2-3 says :

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure."

I want to see that Shekinah, and when I do, I will be like him. What a comforting thought. I don't know what I will be, but I do know this. Colossians 1:27 tells me that Christ is in me, and I have the hope of glory. I need that hope today.

So at church on Sunday, our pastor challenged us to pray for the children of the orphanage that we support in Haiti. He told us to go back to the bulletin board, look at their photos, and take a photo of a child that we would commit to praying for in the days ahead.

A bulletin board full of beautiful faces. How could I pick one? I asked God to tell me which one to choose, and that's when I saw this beautiful young girl, dressed in purple with a flower in her hair, and holding up a board with her name written upon it.


Thank you, God, for your glory!

Hope. Just when I needed it.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fixer Upper House: The Boys' Bath Room Before and After

Another weekend, another room remodel. Are you sensing a pattern here?

The weather has been erratic in the Midwest...nice and sunny one day, cold and damp the next. On the sunny days we work outdoors in the yard and garden, and on the rainy days we try to get a job done inside the house.

The boy's bathroom needed some attention. For starters, the tan walls were painted in the same terrible quality flat paint that we've encountered throughout the house. In a bathroom, it's really best to go with something like a Satin (which we did) or semi-gloss for a little added protection from moisture.

And how many years has it been since these wooden fixtures were popular? They had to go.

I knew we could do better.

Here it is:

We painted the room in Sherwin Williams Lemongrass, a nice soothing spring green.

We also purchased some new fixtures in brushed nickel to match the existing light fixture and pulls on the cabinets. We added a new towel rod and a new toilet paper holder, which happened to match the bath accessories we purchased for our Pittsburgh house.

Yes, the boys use this bath room, but it is also a bath room for guests. I try to keep the decor neutral for this reason.

I wish I could tell you that I repurposed an old door, but that would be a lie. I actually picked this shabby piece up at Hobby Lobby on clearance for $10! It came with the clothespins, too. So I rummaged through my paper crafting supplies and found a few cute seasonal papers to attach to the chicken wire. Fun!

As long as we were freshening up this room, I decided to add a new shower caddy, some new scrubbies, and some much needed hooks for the back door.

The hooks look like they were made to match the new fixtures, when in fact they are just Command Strip hooks in the same finish.

I think the new color did a nice job of tying in the existing tile with the shower curtain and bath towels and mats from Target that we'd purchased last year.

This update was pretty cheap. Paint and accessories were under $100.

The good news is that we only needed to use half a gallon of the paint, so we will use the same color when we paint the laundry room next weekend.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today! Blessings!