Thursday, August 29, 2013

Garden Gate Doors

It was our town junk day (a lot of my stories start like this). It was rainy, and I wasn't really sure I wanted to run around sifting through soggy, moldy garbage for treasures, but the allure of free stuff was just too strong.

As I drove up and down the streets, occasionally slowing down to examine things more closely, I came upon a house where someone was throwing out LOTS of old wood. It was weathered and split and broken and PERFECT. I didn't know what I would use it for, but I knew it had potential. So, with a little elbow grease (and mud and wet and ICKY) I got it loaded into my van.

And then.... nothing. It sat and sat and sat for a couple months. I even tried to sell it at a craft fair and a yard sale. Nobody bought it.

Then I saw something online: it was a cute little garden gate, complete with old rusty hardware, that someone had painted a sign on! I fell in love with the idea and got to work! With help from amazing, super-Hubby, I was able to make a few Garden Gate Doors of my own. Now I'm addicted. I LOVE these! Hope you do, too.

I found this key at a thrift store and just KNEW I would use it someday.

The hardware for this door was picked up at a flea market. Isn't it PERFECT?!

As an author, I am in LOVE with BOOKS! So, a bookshelf  "door" is a must.
This one is a work in progress. Still have to add the hardware.

When Hubby showed me this door, I knew it was MINE. It's hanging in my dining room.
The weathered wood is naturally perfect.
And the elegant corbels lend a bit of class to this old door.

The next generation! I just stained these two doors and with a little help from Photoshop,
I'm envisioning what they might look like with "Love" and "Family" painted on them. What do you think?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Antique Dresser MAKEOVER

I was surfing Craigslist when I saw an ad for an amazing wooden radio cabinet. I knew I just had to have it!
I talked hubby into driving two hours with me to go get it. When we arrived at the store where it was being sold, I LOVED it and bought it. Then I started looking around and wow! There were LOTS of items in that store that I could have come home with! But I didn't. I was very restrained. I only bought a few books, some small hardware pieces and THIS!

You would have done the same. Trust me. The beautiful moldings, the pretty curves and character, character, character! This antique wood dresser with its dovetailed drawers and awesome hardware was mine. It had just been waiting for me to come and buy it and make it into a shabby chic masterpiece! I got to work sanding, priming, painting, sanding some more and glazing with a dark walnut stain. Here's the result. The hardest part was selling it!

This shabby chic dresser turned out beautiful! Elegant lines, pretty moldings and graceful curves. LOVE.

Yes, I painted the hardware. I used to leave it natural or replace or spray paint it on lots of my other pieces, but
then I saw someone else paint it and realized how incredibly charming it looked!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Day on Dad's Farm

We spent last weekend with family: first with hubby's side at a reunion/picnic, then a couple days on my dad's farm. I got to visit my aunt and uncle and just enjoy the peace and quiet. Plus, Dad let me pick over the junk in his barn. Bonus! Here's a photo adventure of my favorite finds and a few family pics, too. Enjoy!

Old dented/rusty buckets. Dad: "They have holes!" Me: "Perfect! I'll take them."

Another bucket with a hole, this time intentional. :)

Love this tall bucket with the wood handle grip. Another planter for my impatiens!

I am a hardware JUNKIE. And this rusty strap hinge is huge and AWESOME.

Cool rusty chain.

Cool rusty hook.

I don't even want to KNOW what this was for, but it was just so unique, I had to take it, despite dad's jokes and concerned glances. :)

Dad was so excited about this. He'd actually SAVED it for me.
It's an old dustpan that flattens so you can sweep in it, then straightens when you lift.
Handy! And it has "Cedar Falls Iowa" on the tag. Very cool. :)

I found this thing in the barn playing with wild kittens. I guess I'll keep her.

Dad, looking the part. :)

Hollyhocks blooming.

My daughter and Dad's border collie, Maggie.

Maggie hiding from my kids' attentions.

Grandpa & Granddaughter: two peas in a pod.

A kiss for my daddy.

The whole gang. You have no idea how many tries it takes to get everybody to look straight and smile. :)

Overall, a great time on the farm! Can't wait to go back when the wasps are sleeping and REALLY clean out Dad's barn!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dining Room Makeover

We saw this place on the way to the
Renaissance faire. I promise I don't always
dress my kids like that.
It's funny how we neglect ourselves. As a mom, I usually make sure my kiddos have clean clothes, haircuts, transportation, etc., while I myself run out the door without brushing my hair (or sometimes teeth). The same thing happens with my house. I find myself making over furniture pieces for everyone under the sun, while my own home suffers.

I finally decided to do something about it! I was sighing over Pinterest boards when I realized I could do that! Or something like that, anyway. I didn't have to live with fifteen shades of wood and mystery piles in the corner anymore! And so began my DINING ROOM MAKEOVER! Yay!
Attempt #3 or #4 at painting the dining room.
To really tell this story, I have to go back, waaaay back to square wheels and dinosaurs and this house in 2006, the year we bought it. It was a fixer-upper, and by fixer-upper, I mean that it looked like it should be condemned. I still remember the first time we drove by. My husband had had a dream when he was a teenager about a woman with dark curly hair and a little girl in front of a house with a corner door. So, when we saw this house had a corner door, we had to stop, even though it really did look like it was about to fall down. Hubby got out to look while I stayed in the car. Then I saw him waving frantically from the saggy porch.

"Oh brother," I said as I dragged myself out to see what had him so excited. Then I looked in the picture window and saw this:

It was a beautiful wooden staircase. We bought it soon thereafter and began the WORK. The work never finished. We are, at this moment, still working. But that's another story. On to the dining room!

The dining room started out with pink painted walls (over wallpaper) and green carpet, or at least it had once been green. I'm pretty sure. Since then, it has been painted, I believe, FIVE times. Yes. I painted it yellow, then added stripes, then green, then white, then the current color which is a kind of off-white. With all those layers, I think the room has actually shrunk by a quarter inch.

First attempt: yellow!

Yellow=bad. Very bad.
Yikes! Second attempt: Stripes!

Uh, nope. Things get fuzzy here. Maybe it's all the paint fumes... I'm pretty sure third attempt was army-green, then white. But I don't have a picture of the "white" phase.

My "green" phase. Did not work. Made the room very dark.

So, I finally found a color I can live with, but then I realized I really didn't like my dining room. It had eight thousand clashing shades of wood furniture/trim/flooring. I've changed the table twice. Computer desks have come and gone and come again (our dining room doubles as an office). And I've also gone through various storage units, finally settling on a Salvation Army hutch, a gutted radio cabinet, and a Walmart cabinet that I made over after Hubby put it together upside down. :)

I won't go through the details of before and after. Instead I will show you how things have progressed. The end result isn't really the end. I still have plans and will likely paint two or three more times. But I'm happy.
For now.
Pretty light curtains give an airy feeling to this boxy room.

My favorite! I LOVE how the dining table turned out!

Lead paint didn't stop me from loving this little door.
I simply gave it a few clear coats to seal in those naughty paint chips.

I <3 old windows!

Found these corbels at a thrift store. They are a perfect fit for my new shabby/French country dining room!

As an author, I LOVE old books.

Finally painted this mirror my mom gave me. So shabby-chic!

Old radio cabinet now stores art supplies. LOVE it!

Here's the "final" product. For now. :)