Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spooky Outdoor Halloween Candles!

WOW! So hard to believe that Labor Day already. But I must admit I am super excited for cooler weather, harvest cuisine, fall colors, college football and Autumn holidays. I LOVE FALL!

But, I also love Halloween! It may be a little premature to talk about Halloween decorations and table scapes, but it is the perfect time to talk about DIY projects that go bump in the night!

I was Googling Halloween stuff a few years ago and came upon these AWESOME homemade candles. As the cooler weather starts to creep in (no pun intended) and a quick stop at HomeGoods today, my thoughts turned to Halloween. Side note: HOMEGOODS Halloween collection is unbelievable! The stuff they have this year is so over the top - I could have spent SO much money there today but I behaved. The black and silver is so chic - paired with skulls and spiders - way cool!

I decided to search again for this project and YAY - I found it! I just think they are so eerie and brilliant that I had to share. They are made out of PVC and even though they seem a little involved, I think they would SO be worth the effort! And I can only imagine them in my planters with evergreens for the Christmas holidays! SWEET!

Here is another picture of them in her graveyard - this woman is AMAZING!

Her HOW TO Tutorial can be found here! I guess there are different versions out there but I like that she used Christmas lights so she could put them on a timer and not have to use batteries. SO COOL!

I think these are totally amazing and I hope to construct a set or two in time for Halloween! BOO!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

C25K - You can be a runner - yes YOU! It WORKS! Even for ME!

I have always been an athlete. When I was five I had a Chicago Bears Dick Butkus #51 jersey.

Tennis is a big deal in my life. I absolutely love it and cannot remember when I was not known for being a tennis player, instructor, or coach. I also played soccer and ran track as a sprinter. Long distance running has always been the bane of my existence! I have always envied "runners". They all have those cool marathon shirts and look like they truly enjoy running for hours at a time - what are they nuts? Then I heard about the C25K. I was like WHAT IS THAT? I thought I would give it a try and I'm shocked to admit it has changed my life!

If you keep your ears open or ask around, someone knows someone who is doing this! Its huge!

C25K is a training program which stands for Couch to a 5 k race in only 9 weeks. In 27 workouts, it takes you from walking with a little bit of running and pushes you as a pace you can totally handle. You can even repeat weeks if you are not ready to advance. Being a breast and ovarian cancer survivor, it is crucial for me to maintain an ideal weight. The problem is that my "ideal" weight and that of my oncology team is a little different. :-) Fat cells house estrogen which can wreak havoc on my cancers and my overall health. I like to bike and walk but I have always hated running! I mean HATE it - mostly because I could never do it. Until now.

I started the program and downloaded the app to my iPod Touch and I can even run to my own playlist. My crazy playlist has everything from Mamma Mia soundtrack to Glee to High School Musical songs. Anything that keeps me running!

I am now on week SIX and I couldn't be happier. The other night I was so nervous because the workout called for a 5 minute walk followed by a 20 minute run with a 5 minutes cool down. R U KIDDING ME? I took my time and stayed focused and I did it! I felt like Rocky Balboa reaching my driveway after I completed W5D3 (week 5 day 3). Such an amazing feeling! I am actually looking for 5k that I can sign up for. Never in a million years would I ever expect to do this!

My sister who isn't quite the athlete is starting on Monday as she says I have inspired her. We are going to start it together and I will run it on my off days. I just wanted to post this because if you have ever wanted to run - START TODAY! This totally works and it will change your life! I PROMISE!

Maybe you have always wanted to run too or just "do something". Now that the kids have gone back to school or you have some extra time here and there, why not give it a try? Best part- its free. Put on some sneakers, and just use a watch to do the sequences. I recommend the app $2.99 and worth every penny) but if you don't have an iPod or smart phone, you can use a good old fashioned watch or cell phone as a stop watch. Try it and let me know what you think. Just try it once - the first workout is a 5 minute walk followed by 60 seconds of running followed by 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes and a 5 minute cool down walk. That's not too bad, right? I guarantee you will feel so proud of yourself once you are finshed! Only three times a week!

And with these glorious days of fall with Carolina blue skies and warm temperatures, why not give yourself the gift of 30 minutes outdoors in the Autumn sunshine. YOU CAN DO IT - you can be a runner! Good luck and Happy Running!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mini Thrift Makeovers! Love You Rub N Buff

I came across a bag today buried in my trunk full of three little thrift store treasures and decided to wash and paint them up today!

I loved the detail on the little frame and the cherry and gold was pretty but not my colors. The cherub potpourri holder was cute but I needed it to be silver. And the ice bucket was adorable but the handle was pitted and awful. Enter Rub n Buff - my favorite thing!

I prefer to use my fingers because I think it works the best that way but my fingers look like the tin man for a few days until it wears away.

I decided to paint the frame white and rub it silver. When it was completed, I didn't like it as well as I thought I would. So I decided to makeover the makeover. :-) I painted it black and rubbed it silver and I am much happier. I have to fix a few mess ups. Whoops.

The cherub thinga-ma-jig - bowl? Candle holder? Potpourri dish? It caught my eye because the bow on top. I LOVE bows. I was looking for something to hold my AROMATIQUE Splendour in the Bath potpourri (LOVE) in the bathroom upstairs which has all chrome fixtures. I gave it a little silver rub n buff and I really like the way it turned out.

My favorite item of the three is the ice bucket. It turns out that it is from a company called Heller Co. from Brooklyn, NY and quite collectible. Not bad for $2.50! :-)

A few people picked it up and put it down because of the awful handle, but I couldn't leave it there.

I love the way the handle comes off and little glass knobs hold it in place. Too cool. I rubbed both sides of the handle silver and I like it much better than the goldy brass. And the design on the handle is chevron and the silver rub really accentuates the pattern. Since my new dining room is going to be all silver - I cannot wait to use it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do they have rehab for Craigslist addicts? I SO need it!

FUNNY t-shirt. I bet I can find it on... wait for it.... CRAIGSLIST! LMAO!

I am to the point where if I see someone in a furniture store paying like $800 for a night stand, I just want to go up to them and klunk 'em in the head and say REALLY? I mean REALLY? Hey crazy lady, haven't you ever heard of Craigslist? Or spray paint? LOL!

Craigslist is like a treasure trove of everything - it never ceases to amaze me what I can find on there. Being in the Chicago area, there is definitely not a shortage of people a little touched in the head. But on the upside, if you are looking for something, chances are you will not only find it, but will have multiples from which to choose on Craigslist Chicago.

It was a lovely late summer rainy day today so I was on Craigslist a little longer than I should have been but it paid off! I scored some amazing molding - 4 1/2 inch crown - 121 feet total in 16' lengths! Hello! So this means very little matching as I can have full pieces from wall to wall. I got it for about 41 cents a linear foot! AWESOME!

I also have my eye on something else but I have to think long and hard about this one. But I LOVE it and it is not sold yet. Yay! I may be posting later this week about my find!

As I finish my dining room in the next month, my table and chairs are from Craigslist! My dining room table is from a travel agency! How great is that?

I even have my tennis players buying racquets from Craigs and the parents are thrilled with the savings! Although some of the expressed concerns about safety and the infamous "Craigslist Killer!" But hey, if I am getting a night stand for $15, sometimes its worth the risk! LOL - Kidding! I am always super safe - I never go alone - and I try to meet in a public place. But I so don't see this poor man hauling 121 feet of molding into Panera! :-) I guess I will have to meet him in the parking lot - this time.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Ok so maybe I am not offering $10,000 but maybe a box of Frango Mints (Chicago legend), Notre Dame football tickets, HomeGoods gift card? I know all of us are in and out of thrift stores, resale shops, warehouse sales, etc. So I am asking for your help!

Now that I have my thrift store chairs that need to be completely re-done, I am more determined than ever to find this Ralph Lauren fabric over which I have been obsessing for years!

It is discontinued - that I know but some furniture stores still have it and they won't sell it to me unless it is on - well - a piece of furniture! LOL I know a bolt is just sitting somewhere in a store or clearing house. I mean really - how many people want tennis racquet upholstered furniture in their house? I am thinking only a select few so there has to be some of this stuff around SOMEWHERE! There is white with blue racquets but just as hard to find! I know Townhouse Galleries - a furniture store chain in Alabama lists it on their website but they have never responded to my attempts. And there is no way I would ever pay the $275/yard MSRP. An on-line fabric store had it on clearance for $24.95 a yard but I was too late! INFO:

It is by Ralph Lauren - Tennis Club Embroidery - Navy. It is a navy blue cotton fabric with white embroidered tennis racquets.

Product No: SKU LFY30007F
Cover Type: Ditsy
Description: Tennis Club Embroidery - Navy
Category: Accessories
Cover Collection: Coastal Harbor
Horizontal repeat: 7.5 inch, vertical repeat: 7.75 inch
Construction: 100 Percent cotton
Additional Information To insure the long life and beauty of this piece, avoid excessive sunlight, dampness, and hot or cold conditions.

That is all I know about it - it used to be on the Ralph Lauren Home website but no more. If you ever come across any information about this fabric or see it somewhere - PLEASE contact me! I will esteem you forever and be eternally grateful! Who says love means nothing to a tennis player? THANK YOU!

Thrift store chairs and bench - YAY!

Well I went to pick up my "new" chairs and bench/coffee table today at the thrift store and all of the women who work there told me how lovely the pieces are and they are sad to see the chairs go because they sat in them for a rest throughout the day. Sweet!
The chairs are butt ugly but I hope they are going to turn out gorgeous! They resemble a plantation chair and are made by Statesville Chair Company. After a little research, I discovered that is a VERY good thing. :-) Here they are:

I LOVE the criss cross legs and the lines of the chair. Orange and yellow not quite my choice of colors but I totally see painting the frames white or silver with a very crisp navy blue and white or navy and silver fabric. Or stripping the chairs and staining them mahoghany. I will have to think about this for a while - so many options! I am thinking:

And you can never go wrong with Ralph Lauren fabrics - no one does navy blue better!

My dream fabric but it is discontinued and impossible to find! I want the other version in navy with white tennis racquets - I have given up as I will never find it. This would be perfect!

The next item was so bizarre that I have to post a bunch of pics to quite explain it. Firstly, it is a coffee table? 6 feet long is a really long coffee table but it is awesome.

There are three very heavy marble pieces which make up the top and are removable. Then they gave me a cushion which came in with it so I am thinking it was used it as a bench.

This is totally going white with silver accents or all silver. I think am going to make a very comfy light grey tufted cushion for the top so it can go under the windows in the guest room. Here is my inspiration picture from the September issue of Veranda (<3 this magazine).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Guest Room Plan: Grey and White!

I seriously think I have ADD(Attention Deficit Disorder) because it is so hard for me to stay focused on one ROOM! So I just "stopped for a look" at my favorite local thrift store and found this awesome six foot bench - picking it up Monday and I will post pics! It is perfect for the end of a bed or under a window! So of course, this gets me thinking. My one guest bedroom has become a storage nightmare and for what? Stuff I will probably never use? I am waiting for the Hoarders Show to ring the doorbel - its not pretty.

I am so on a grey kick ever since I primed my dining room walls with a grey primer and absolutely loved the way they looked.

And then I found these pictures and began dreaming off all that room could be:






So those are my total inspiration pictures to not only empty this room but completely make it over for about 1,000th of a cost as the pictures of the rooms above! LOL! I just need to search the thrift stores for some good, cheap furniture. :-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Featured on Remodelaholic today!

Good Morning!

I was checking my Gmail this morning and received notice that my kitchen countertops are going to be featured today on Remodelaholic! Wow quite the big week for me! That blog is the one where I keep clicking and clicking and before I know it - an hour has slipped by. But there are so many wonderful things there it is hard to tear myself away. Please stop by if you haven't done so - you will be so glad you did! Ok off to rip out bushes and makeover and mulch my front landscaping. Not fun! :-)


Here is the link:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Featured on Better After today...

One of my absolutely favorite blogs and a daily read is Better After! The talent of people and the ideas they have are unbelievable! But the best part is Linsdey's off the wall commentary as she sets up each before and after. SO FUNNY! I usually end up talking or laughing out loud when I'm perusing Linsdey's site. Not a good thing when I am in an airport, library or Panera!


If you have never visited her blog, treat yourself and check it out! Thank you Lindsey for the feature - yet again! :-)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Favorite: LOVE the Rustoleum Paint Pen

This goes under the heading, "Why didn't I think of that?" I needed something to spruce up the old garden sign. I used a sharpie black permanent marker and in only a few days it faded.

Walking down the paint aisle at Menard's (Midwest home improvement store), I came across this Rustoleum American Accents Decorative Paint Pen. It came in a bunch of basic colors including black which was the color I needed. So I decided to give it a try!

Well lo and behold - it is totally wonderful! It worked like a charm! It has a chisel tip so you can make fat or skinny lines and you have complete control and freedom of movement. It goes on just like magic marker but with the durability and saturation of paint.

I can see it for monogramming pillows, signs, furniture touch-ups, calligraphy, the uses are endless!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

REVEAL: My $40 Shed Makeover

Well, it is finally done - my shed makeover is complete! Here is the BEFORE:

It was a typical "barn" shed and it was painted yellow with white trim and a green roof. Cute for a few years, but it needed a little punch! So, I made it into a Tiki Hut complete with a thatch roof, flamingo lights, painted waves, etc. I SO wish I had a picture because it was really something. LOL!

As the snow melted this spring, it was looking quite awful. The shark lagoon was full of weeds (did I really just type that sentence?), the thatch roof needed to be replaced, etc. After taking a good look at the shed, it appeared that ants were totally hanging out at the tiki bar and setting up shop in the wood trim on the doors. YIKES - time for a big RAID umbrella drink for them! So I ripped all the wood off the doors and decided to give the shed a totally new look...

This is my new shed and I am so pleased with the final result. It has totally given the yard a very calming and eloquent feel. The entire project was only about $40 as most of the stuff was, ironically, already "in the shed". I already had the paint as it is the color I chose for my house (Behr - Hilltop). The scrolls were on sale for $5.88 each and the finial was on clearance at Hobby Lobby (LOVE) for a dollar!

I simply shaped a piece of 1 x 4 and attached it to look like a finial and spray painted it all white. I added new 1 x 4 wood trim because I felt it needed some substantial trim to detract from the barn line of the roof.

I removed all the wood and painted the doors white and then added black gloss paint squares to give the illusion of french doors. I added screen door molding painted white to mimic window grids.

The planter was my Mom's and was just hanging on the wall in the shed and I thought - how perfectly perfect! A little white gloss spray paint and it turned out pretty sweet!

The Bay Lake Tennis Club sign was made from a geranium garden sign I found "in the shed". I simply painted it white, spray painted some old tennis racquet coasters black and used the Rustoleum paint pen in black (my new favorite thing) to give it new life.

The window boxes were a redwood mess that I had sitting on the side of the house - why I was saving them I have no idea but now I'm glad I hung on to them. The brackets were from a thrift store - 50 cents for the set. Again - a little white paint and they worked out perfectly!

I used a 1 x 4s and furring strips to make board and batten shutters.

I originally wanted to have the racquets crossed on the peak over the doors but it was just too much. So I incorporated them into the shutters and I like they way they add a bit of pop to the side. I spray painted two old wooden racquets - I have a collection of about 50 and it was hard to choose which two to ruin. But I love them white.

I ripped out the shark lagoon, buried the blue sand with dirt and mulch and threw some New Guinea impatiens there - I love how clean it looks. On the right side, I had that urn at my front door but I love it in the backyard so much better. I received the clock for my birthday from my sister so I was looking for the perfect place to enjoy it. I cut out about a 3 foot circle used a shovel and straight edge to remove the grass. I really like how it enhanced the shed. Note to self - if I ever do this again - try to pick a day when the heat index is not 115! :-)

*** UPDATE*****  Here is the tutorial for the awning:        

Domestically Speaking




I was also featured at by Joselyn and I cannot get her button to work - just wanted to say go visit her charming blog - and thank you!


That DIY Party summer link party button