Friday, September 30, 2011

Dining Room Makeover? STILL a work in progress...

When I first saw the AWESOME multi-blog, multi-room linky party ROOMSPIRATION, I was SO hopeful to be able to link my COMPLETED dining room up by the deadline.  Not happening!


Firstly, it is at times like these when I SO wish I would have gone through with getting married.  If only for the fact that I am getting tired of doing all of this work myself!  :-)  Don't know how much I would have let him do but at least he could make lunch and go on supply runs!  LOL!!!

I started this project in SPRING and here we are two seasons later and I'm still plugging away.  So, I am posting this to motivate myself to finish by November 1st!  So all of the amazing room Roomspiration link- ups have served their purpose and are totally inspiring me to finish this room once and for all!  Thank you!

It started with the removal of the "lovely" carpeting and wallpaper and it took quite a while to get the walls repaired and prepped for primer.  The green stripes were painted in case the wallpaper seams separated, the white wall wouldn't show through.  My parents were wallpaper masters.  :-D

I really liked the grey primer color!  I sanded the brown windows and painted them white.   I also removed the brass crystal chandelier and gave it new life by spraying it silver.  It still needs to be re-assembled - something to which I am NOT looking forward.

When it came to paint color, I never could have imagined that there are so many shades of navy blue!  I mean R U KIDDING ME?

I finally decided on Blue Velvet from Ace Hardware and once I got it on the walls, I hated it.  I think it took me about two weeks to pick a color but, in the end, I got it right.  BEHR paint - STILETTO!  It is a deep, dark navy blue and I couldn't be more thrilled!

I got rid of the old dining room furniture except for the hutch.  I was going to paint it white and buy a new table and chairs but then I had a total change of heart.

I decided to keep the sideboard intact and I took a hammer and dismantled the hutch to use the pieces for a WINDOW SEAT.  I know - crazy, right?  But it is almost finished and I LOVE it.  These crazy ideas keep entering into the original plans and wreaking havoc!  :-)  No wonder its still not completed!

I found my dining room table, chairs, mirror and buffet lamps on Craigslist and they are just sitting in the garage waiting to be put in place.  My dining room table (LOVE) is from a travel agency.  How funny is that?

Then I watched Something's Gotta Give for like the 200th time and I am so green with envy of her transom windows!
 Crazy idea #47 - "Hey, I can put those in my dining room!"  And so I did.  I bought two door sidelights at a builders supply house and put them on the horizontal and built frames for them.

 I then adhered them to the ceiling and I love it!  I just have to figure out how to trim it out - yet another delay.  UGH!

And I couldn't just have a NORMAL ceiling, right?  I found this awesome picture and decided to use it as my inspiration picture.  

I found these little beauties at Hobby Lobby on clearance for $2 and they were a rusted finish.  I painted them white and they will be put in the corners of the ceiling.

To prepare the ceiling, I painted the blue wall color onto the ceiling.  I painted the rest of the ceiling grey because I didn't want a traditional white ceiling.  Color:  Secret Passage.  Love the name!

So, all I have left to do really is finish the ceiling, chandelier, wainscoting, crown molding, transom room divider, and window seat.  YIKES!   Oh did I mention I am going to try to paint my underlayment to look like mahogany wood floors?   Hopefully, they will turn out as great as I am imagining them.    A temporary fix until I can afford the real thing... Someday.

 Can I get it done by November 1?  All of you amazing DIYers and ROOMSPIRATION linkys have totally inspired me to get in gear and get it done!  I Thank You all for sharing your beautiful rooms and please check back - I will be posting my progress!  (Fingers crossed)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

AWESOME Product: LOCTITE Repair Putty!

Earlier this summer, I purchased this gorgeous mirror at HomeGoods with the idea that I would like to use it for a ceiling medallion in my NEVER-ENDING dining room makeover.

I took it to a local glass shop to have a hole drilled and it turned out perfectly! The owner said that sometimes with a mirror this thin, it can shatter but I lucked out! YAY!

A few days later, I was really excited to see how it was going to look so I decided to put it up by myself. All was well until one of the wires came undone and the chandelier and mirror came CRASHING to the floor. I think I just stood on the ladder for a few seconds trying to come to grips with my stupidity. UGH!

The chandelier was ok, the mirror DID NOT CRACK (miracle), but the frame shattered into a bunch of little pieces. REALLY? If only I would have waited. I never learn.

So, the other day I came across it again in the corner and thought I am going to try to fix it - impossible as it seemed - I still really wanted to use it on my ceiling. I bought epoxy and glued all the parts together and it didn't look too bad except that if I looked closely, I could where the cracks were repaired.

The big problem was a 1" x 2" gaping hole on the one side. I searched for the pieces that fit it but I could not find them and it appeared hopeless.... or so I thought. Enter my sister - who is definitely the more craftier one between the two of us. She told me about this AMAZING product called Repair Putty. Here is the packaging:

You can basically mold it into any shape you want and it is sandable and paintable! YAY! She actually formed the filigree section with this stuff and it turned out great! Here is a picture before the sanding:

And here is a picture of the finished product - you can hardly tell, right? AWESOME!

Then she left the rest to me. I primed the entire frame white which meant I was starting from square one to get it to look like the original. I think I sprayed it about three different colors and used all types of rub and accent spray paint before I think I finally got it right. Here are the products I used:

Somewhere on the internet - I can't remember where - I read that you can antique something with black shoe polish. GENIUS! So, I gave it a try and it worked wonderfully. Not as bold and permanent as Rub N Buff so it was much easier to work with. I could wipe it on and off with ease and it was very subtle so it could be as light or as dark as I wanted.

Here is my result! It is not perfect but it is pretty close! I am SO excited to have a second chance at using this up as the ceiling medallion in my dining room. And yes, this time I will definitely wait for help. I have learned my lesson the hard way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

They're Back! WS Pumpkin Lights!

Wow - can we believe we are almost to the half way point of September? Almost time to be thinking about "things that go bump in the night"! I just had to share these amazing pumpkin lights from Williams Sonoma!

I remember that these sold out last because they are SO AWESOME! Here is the description from the website: (

You’ve carved your work of art, now it’s time to illuminate it for spooky effect. Instead of candles, place one of these handy remote controlled LED lights inside your jack-o’-lantern. Mini LEDs are specially designed for use in jack-o'-lanterns. Unlike candles, which can blow out or burn your pumpkin, the lights offer hours of foolproof illumination. Set them to continuous glow, or opt for the flicker setting to recreate the eerie allure of a traditional candle. Remote control changes brightness settings from up to 20 feet away, even from inside the house. Uses 3 AAA batteries (included).

So you can control them from inside the house, they will work even on a dark and stormy night, and you have have them be on steady or a spooky flicker! Batteries are even INCLUDED! How many times does that happen? :-) They are reasonably priced at $20 and I am sure I would find a bunch of ways to use them for Christmas as well. Happy Haunting!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering September 11, 2001...

On this day, as I wake, there is brilliant sunshine against a beautiful blue sky. Just as it was 10 years ago. My heart still breaks for all those who lost their lives in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. To hear the stories again brings back so many painful memories. Today is a heavy day and every one of us has scars we carry forth. As I watch the images again, the anger re-awakens and it is still SO unbelievable. My wish is to visit Ground Zero someday to see the new memorial and grand waterfalls that mark the footprint of the World Trade Towers.

Dear Lord, we ask for your comfort, your strength and your protection, and help us to ensure that GOOD will always prevail over evil. God Bless America! I wish you all a blessed and peaceful day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A $10,000 J Crew Gift Card....

That is about the amount I would need for all of the items on my J Crew MUST HAVE list! (Sorry if you thought I was announcing a give away). LOL The catalog arrived today and I simply had to gush...

Being in the Midwest, we have all four seasons and I love them all! But there is a magic about fall that just cannot be equaled. The crisp cool air, Autumn colors against the bright blue skies, harvest food, apple picking, crunchy leaves, mums and pansies, so many reasons it is quite wonderful.


And lest we not forget... SWEATER WEATHER! And tweeds and turtlenecks, flannel sheets and wool socks! I love dressing for fall in the tones of browns and olives and orange.


Every time I watch You've Got Mail, I vow to dress like Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) with all of my jumpers, tights and Mary Janes I have in my closet. And then I also have to resist the urge to call my stylist and cut my hair short until the feeling passes. Although, I've gotten the Kathleen Kelly cut a few times and LOVED it! If it wasn't for my love of a ponytail, I would be on the phone right now. How cute does Meg look picking out a pumpkin in all of her sartorial splendour? Adorable character and a charming movie!

SEE - now I am TOTALLY thinking about cutting it short for fall! UGH! :-)

Anyhoo - back to J. Crew... I absolutely love this brand and the ease and quality of their clothing. I mean seriously, who doesn't love broken in khaki chinos and cashmere. HELLO!

And the shoes...

These are the items I let slip through my fingers and am now forever searching for these items on eBay, Craigslist, etc.

J Crew Dream argyle jumper dress - my Holy Grail piece. L*O*V*E!

Such a pretty cardigan sweater - from the Dream Collection - can you imagine with skinny jeans and little sequin flats? *Sigh* And cute short hair (NO - I have to stop thinking about it)

I LOVE this sequined boyfriend sweater in oat! I love the J Crew color names: Oat, lake, grass, flamingo, etc. Too fun! This over a white t-shirt and shorts for fall? Gorgeous!

And this skirt is to die for - wonderful thing about J Crew is that you can wear it with stilettos and a silk blouse or a hoodie and flip flops - so pretty and shimmery!

I prolly shouldn't admit this but I have every J Crew catalog from 1997 on. I know - its a sickness. Do you love J Crew? What is your favorite store? Do you have a "holy grail" list?
Not sure of the reason of this post but I know it was brought about by the cooler temperatures today and the J Crew catalog the mail box! A very good thing! Sometimes randomness works!

And notice I didn't even mention handbags. We will save that for another day! :-)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

HOW TO: My $10 Shed Awning Tutorial

Firstly, THANK YOU all so very much for the wonderful response to my shed makeover. They have totally made my week. One item in particularly which is generating comments and e-mails is the awning. So here is my step-by-stop process of how I added the cute little awning.

I looked for black and white striped material but it all seemed so thin and flimsy and it wasn't cheap! So I was in the Menard's home store and I went down the tarp aisle. There was this grey tarp with a black backing and it was only $4.99! I was like, "R U KIDDING ME?" So I threw it in the cart.

Here is a picture of what it looks like and the material that it is. If you have a pool, then you are familiar with the woven winter covers. It has large seams all the way around with silver grommets that I cut off. Almost like cutting the crust off of a piece of bread.

I then took 1 x 2s (also called furring strips) and measured them to go about three inches beyond the door and cut two identical lengths of 65 inches. I then cut three support strips 14 inches long which will be coming out from the shed to create the A frame. These were simply painted white and nailed into the header above the shed doors. These were put on first. If you were standing in front of your doors, it would look like three strips of wood coming out towards you. One was stapled on each end and one in the middle. The bottom furring strip will be affixed to these. Here are side views so you can see where the three support pieces go:

I then measured out the tarp and cut it about six inches wider than my furring strips so I could fold it over and staple it and I would have clean edges and it would be less likely to tear from the harsh winter winds. I stapled it onto the furring strip and then rolled the furring strip over one complete time and stapled it again to make sure it was nice and secure. I then repeated that process with the other furring strip. When finished, it looks like a mini-stretcher. :-)

As far as the length and width, it depends on your specific project. My shed doors were six feet wide so I made the strips 6'6". The length of my awning from top to bottom was 24" with an overhang on the front board of 2" for a total of 26 between the two wooden boards.

I then folded over the extra material and taped it with strong grey duct tape. I used a few pieces to make sure it was very secure. I folded over the extra material over the furring strips and stapled the bejeezers out of it!

I then pre-drilled three holes in each strip right, left and middle. I centered the "awning" over the doors and nailed the center hole to the front of the shed. I then secured the right and left sides by nailing the pre-drilled holes. Now it looked like a piece of material hanging straight down. I then took the other furring strip and brought it out to the ends of the three support pieces. I nailed the furring strip to the support pieces right through the awning material. These nails will be covered up with a "stripe".

Once the awning was up and secure, I took white duct tape and centered the first stripe and simply pressed the tape in place and brought it down and up underneath the awning. I did this and worked my way out from the center to the end. I simply did it by eyeing it - I wasn't anal about them being perfectly straight although they turned out pretty good! :-)

And the awning is complete. It has been a few weeks now and the tape is still secure and we have had some wicked nasty storms and the awning has held up just fine! Good Luck!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Craigslist Bedroom Set - FAIL

It all started with a dresser I found at a re-sale shop! So pretty and vintage - GORGEOUS! The legs, the hardware, the little drawers - perfectly perfect. Price? $250 with a mirror. But there was NO mirror so they just scratched that off the tag but didn't adjust the price. WHA? The wood was beautiful but if I was going to get a set for the guest room, it absolutely had to be white! So I felt a little guilty thinking of painting over it. So I gave up on that idea. Enter Craigslist...

I found an "antiqued" bedroom that I absolutely loved and it was white! No stripping, scraping, sanding, painting, etc. Can you hear the angels sing? Fabulous! The seller lived over an hour from me and so we e-mailed about price back and forth until we were both satisfied. So I packed some snax, dragged my sister (aka partner in crime) and her mini-van along and headed out.

Here were the pictures from Craigslist:

Pretty right? I asked her about any scratches, damage, etc. She said there were a "few nicks and scratches" but it was in really good shape and THAT was the reason she wasn't SUPER flexible on the price. Well, I get there and it is basically a MESS! The paint was peeling, it was a brown set painted white but with a textured paint. UGH! I told her the pictures and the actual pieces differed significantly and she was slightly offended. She even stood right there while my sister and I tried to "tactfully" discuss it in her garage.

The problem was that I LOVED it - I could see the "bones" of the furniture and the lines were so pretty. It was exactly what I was looking for. Plus we drove over an hour to pick it up - gas and tolls add up fast!

I asked her to come down more and she refused. She knew she had me over a barrel having just drove this far but she did offer to throw in a desk and hutch that "sort of matched". SCORE - I was taking anything to make me feel like I was getting a "deal". How bad could it be? WELL...the hutch was industrial paint grey and the "desk" (I use that term lightly as it more closely resembled a meat cutting table from a slaughterhouse) was a lime green disaster.

SERIOUSLY! I would not have used this in my garage for my power tools. "Sort of matched"? R U KIDDING ME? We were trying so hard not to laugh - unbelievable. LOL

My sister (NEVER the voice of reason) told me to take the set, so I did. I hated to leave it there but I knew if I took it, I had SO much work ahead of me. We packed it up and now it sits in my garage while my poor little car now sits outside. I need to get busy!

I do love it - it is like Clark Kent and I know it can be Superman! It is just going to take a lot of time and effort to get it looking like I want it to. I started on it today - I did A drawer. ONE drawer out of the nightstand. :-) Seriously?

They didn't use primer or sand it so the paint is just peeling off as I sand and yet sticking like the dickens in other places.

I am going to keep the original hardware and simply rub it silver. Here are two knobs and a pull I did today. I do like the way they turned out. I thought about doing chalk paint and distressing it with black knobs but I think for this room silver and white is the way to go.

The headboard is pretty and so is the large mirror so I am excited abut it. I guess I just wish I could sand over the rough patches and spray it white. The textured paint will be a nightmare.

The funniest part is I had NO interest in even doing the guest room! Updates to follow ... LOL!