Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Yes - The Decorating gods smiled on me today!

With such a gloomy gus Memorial Day weekend here in Chicago, I made lots o progress on my indoor projects including my window bench. Unfortunately, I hit a snag and had no idea how to fix it. When this happens, I usually grab a huge glass of grape kool-aid, hit my hammock and think it out! I would have a margarita but I don't think it would be a good mix with a mitre saw.

Then, I remembered a stack of old molding that has been sitting in the garage for years. My Dad worked for the city of Chicago and so he had access to a lot of amazing places and residences. From time to time he would come home with awesome items which people were throwing away or were just laying around. Forget flowers and candy, my Mom much preferred his Windy City treasures. Even though they are now hanging out in Heaven (I am sure my Mom is re-arranging clouds and picking out a new paint color for the pearly gates), they still seem to find a way from time to time to help me out when I am in a quandary. :-)

So there, behind the badminton set and the croquet mallets, six pieces of 6' antique molding were sitting engulfed in spiderwebs and dust. As I examined it, it was going to work out perfectly! Yes I had to dust it, sand it and paint it but I have finished one piece and I think it is going to be gorgeous!

Thanks Dad for having such a keen eye for "the good stuff". And I am so glad I didn't take this stuff to the curb years ago. Ok, I'm off - lots of work to do...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dining Chairs - Craigslist or World Market? HELP!

I am in desperate need of dining chairs as my makeover is finally starting to take shape. Here is my Craigslist table which is sitting in my garage and has become my catch all for garden tools. :-)

My dream chairs are obviously these - I love them!

Then, I found these at World Market and I have a raincheck on them for $99 each and are backordered until August or September. Love them! Don't really mind the wait because I will need more time to finish the room.

But I found four of these on Craigslist for only $95 and I am sure they will come down even more (fingers crossed). The question is - do we like the ladderback for a dining room? Are they too country? Casual? They are camelback which adds to the elegance. And the front turned legs are beautiful.

I would paint them white and re-upholster them with a lovely, vibrant navy and white fabric. So many to chose:

This bottom fabric is my dream fabric but it is discontinued. It is Ralph Lauren Tennis Club embroidery (LFY30007F) from the Coastal Harbor Collection and I have been searching for it for years! It also comes in navy with white racquets - if anyone sees it anywhere in your travels - PLEASE LET ME KNOW ASAP! I will love you forever and be eternally grateful! :-)

Thanks for your opinions and insight and have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Rainy Day Goodwill Finds...

On the way to buy more wood for my window seat, I stopped at Goodwill to see if they had a cabinet or something I could use as a base for the window seat. No luck; however, I did find these little beauties:

1. A lovely birdcage. I have way too much stuff so I called the sister up to see if she wanted it. I am sure she will be spray-paint it and it will look amazing. Although, now that I am Googling pics of cute birdcages, I may have to tell her some witchy lady grabbed it out of my hands. LOL! $7

2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this little round table. It is by LANE and has the cutest little metal accents on the four legs. I am going to paint is white and top it off with a mirror and silver rub the accents. Perfect as a night stand in my room. Can't wait to get started! $12

3. I found this adorable blue and white (of course) striped metal sand pail. It is from the William-Sonoma beachcomber cookie cutters which, ironically, I received as birthday present years ago. The bucket is adorable for anything summer! $1

Monday, May 23, 2011

My New Best Friend - Mr. Powerwasher!

I have taken a break from my indoor projects to try out my latest toy - the POWERWASHER! My sister and I decided to go halfs on it and I would have to say I think it is going to be one of my best investments EVER!

My projects for outside are cleaning the cobblestone and retaining walls, painting the "tiki shed" which was cute at one time, but now I am bored. I think a green and white "tennis club" shed is on the horizon. Clean and stain the composite deck, etc. The list is SO long. I plugged it in and fired it up and WOW - this thing is awesome! I felt like a Ghostbuster trying to hold it steady and "not cross the streams"! :-)

The cobblestone pathway to the shed looks so dingy and dirty - I tried it on one stone to see how it would look - AMAZING!

PVC railings. I dread this job. Normally, I have to get bleach water and scrub each side and it is a lot of work. Enter Mr. Powerwasher. Here is the result! This was just a trial run and took about 4 minutes. I am thrilled...

These projects are going to take a long time but I will be sure to post the finished products - probably about September! Yikes - I hope not! LOL

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Backyard Beach - "How To"

Aloha! :-)

Since posting the pictures of my backyard beach on Houzz.com, I have been getting a lot of e-mails and questions about how I pulled this off. Firstly, everyone told me I was nuts to even attempt this. But alas, four years later, I still LOVE it!

My very large evergreen was just ugly and it was $1,000 to have it removed. R U KIDDING ME? So I borrowed my sister's chain saw and started to chop away. HUGE job but I saved lots o' money! I kept the center trunk as a support for the ladder and climbing up to get the high branches. One day, I thought - HEY, this would be a great place for a hammock! The grass around the bottom of the tree was gone due to the low branches and I thought maybe I would fill it with dirt and flowers. Way too expensive and too large a space. Then came the idea for a "beach".

I am a huge Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney and overall fan of the "islands". Living in Chicago - you don't see too many palm trees so I decided to create my own patch of paradise.

I cleared out the debris and cut a large circle off the deck where the tree used to be. I then used a heavy vinyl landscape fabric and laid it out in the shape of the circle and secured it with landscape fabric u clips. I then purchased the mini log border and placed it around the edge of the landscape fabric. I then had sand delivered on my driveway. I think it was a yard of play sand and it was $125 with delivery. Since I was still healing from two breast cancer surgeries, chemo and radiation, I could only move a very small amount of sand at a time. So I used my lawn spreader! LOL - not kidding. It worked out perfectly. I couldn't ask for help because I would have gotten the lecture on how stupid this was.

I filled it in and it was WONDERFUL! I bought a plastic tiki umbrella and used u clamps on the back side of the tree to hold it in place. It is also very easy to remove the umbrella for a storm and for during the winter. Here is when I didn't remove it in time for the summer storm.

I have since painted the adirondack chair bahama blue and the beach is still awesome. During the winter it sits under tons of snow and when spring comes, I simply get a shovel and turn all the sand over and rake it. The hammock pillow is from LL Bean and it is fantastic. I have it monogrammed to say "ISLAND GIRL". The tiki lights around the umbrella are awesome at night and I also have a light up flamingo who sits in the back. I also added fake grasses I bought at Dollar Tree and it looks pretty authentic. Yes, animals do play in it - among other things. I have yet to find any fecal matter in it and the bunnies love to roll around in the sand. It is pretty funny.

I use a sand sifter toy to get out any leaves or berries so I don't lose too much of the sand. I am going to repeat it in the other side of the deck where I took down a second tree. The lifeguard chair is from Blizzard Beach water park in Walt Disney World - EBAY! I also found a Lilo n Stitch authentic surfboard - given to the animators as a thank you gift from Walt Disney Studios. Pretty cool!

I love to sit on my hammock and put my toes in the sand. Life is good today! Good luck!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kitchen Paint Color - I need your help please!

I have so many unfinished projects I do not need to begin another one! With that being said, I THINK I have decided to paint my kitchen. I had absolutely no desire to do this because I love the bright green color that it is right now. So the other day I was poking around the OOPS! paint shelf at Home Depot and found this gorgeous ice blue grey paint sample for only $1. Well I absolutely love this color! I have been thinking where I could use it and it hit me! The kitchen. I am thinking that this soft blue against the black and white damask would be so lovely. Opinions? Paint it or leave it the color it is?

Here are a few pics of my current kitchen:

Here are my inspiration pics:

Source: GardenWeb

Source: kitchenisms.com
Source: Decorpad

And lest we not forget this Something's Gotta Give inspired kitchen:

Thanks for your help! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Door Makeover in This Old House magazine... WOW!

Well, how excited am I? I just received a phone call that This Old House magazine needs a "head shot" for the July issue. R U kidding me? They want to feature my faux carriage garage doors.

It is a feature called "Cheapskate Hall of Fame". How great is that? Since the makeover only cost me $65, I guess I qualify. :-)

Last summer was dedicated to giving my front door and garage door makeovers as well as a new house paint color. Here are the Before & Afters:

Good-bye wrought iron railing. I also had a 4 x 4 cement extension of my front step. I love it - it makes such a difference.

The step-by-step tutorial is here:


Happy Thursday!