Monday, March 31, 2014

Do It The Right Way.....Anyway.

Just loving the creativity of Easter on Pinterest. This is from PB and I'm loving all of it.  Doesn't it just make you happy?   More so, I'm loving these words today:

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered; 
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; 
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
 Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
 Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; 
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; 
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
 Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; 
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; 
It was never between you and them anyway. 
~ Mother Teresa
Happy Monday!
Paula

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Fresh Start


Ok.....I know spring is coming.  As I look out at the trees in the back yard, the blooms here in South Carolina are just waiting for the sun to come out so they can burst open.  I look forward to that time of year when everything blooms.  Everything is new and fresh and comes to life.
I was reading a book the other day and came across this saying.  "May I wake ready for that daily yet greatest of gifts - a fresh start."

Unlike a tree that blooms and gets to show off it's colors each year, we have the marvelous opportunity to wake up each day and start over.  We get to have a fresh start every day to make it into something wonderful.

I'm looking forward to today, how about you?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Paula



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Little Rocker

There is something gentle and calming about a rocking chair.  Maybe it takes us back to being rocked as babies.  Maybe it's the memory of rocking my babies that pulled me to want this little chair.  This is a much smaller rocker than the one I used to lull my babies into that precious sweet sleep at 4am in the morning - but something about it called to me.  There is something about the stillness of the night or the quiet that overcomes you when all you have to do is rock.  Rocking is a great way to relieve stress and relax because you don't have to do anything but lean back and let go.  So that my dear friends is the message for today.  :)

I painted this in old white and wasn't sure if I should paint the cane.  I did a little distressing and then thought it would look better with the cane painted.  Cane needs to be painted with minimal paint and in several layers.  You don't want the paint to build up in between the weaved pieces.  You can check out my tutorial on Painting Cane here.


This is actually an old sewing rocker.  It sits a little over 3 feet at it's tallest.  It sits small to the ground so women didn't have to lean too far to get to their sewing supplies. It is also armless so you can pull the threads through your pieces without hitting your arms.  Cute right?  And yes, I can sit in it and rock...I just can't lean my head back on this one.  :)

No matter where you are today or what is on your mind, I hope you can find a few minutes to lean back and rock.  And if you don't have a rocker....just lean back.  Ahhhhh.

Happy Thursday.

Paula

Have a great day!

Linking with:
A Stroll Thru Life
Revisionary Life
Time Washed
Savy Southern Style
Ivy and Elephants
Green Willow Pond
The Style Sisters
Nancherrow
Redoux Interiors
Jennifer Rizzo


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Friendships and Seasons

I've been thinking a lot about friendships lately.  I am fortunate to have had some wonderful friends touch my life over the years.  Sometimes I think back to friends I had that I really liked and I wonder what happened to them and wonder where they are and what they are doing.  I have friends who I think of often but don't really talk to.  I have friends that I chat with on FB or call and text occasionally, but very few friends that I hold near and dear to my heart.  You know....those friends that are part of your BFF (best friends forever) circle.
I've watched my girls who are in college and high school, lose friends, make friends and change best friends as they grow up and find their own way.  They have friends that hurt them and they don't really understand why.

As I'm getting older, my friends are on my mind more and more these days.  Parents have become ill, a a spouse has passed away, a marriage has ended.  Life starts to hurt a little more in different ways. We need those special friends to help us navigate through emotions and troubles that are new to us. We need that shoulder to cry on and someone to lean on. But not all friends understand where you are and what you are going through. It takes a special friend to listen, love and pray with you. Sometimes your friends are there and you don't even know it.  They are with you in spirit.

I have told my girls that sometimes friendships run their own course. Friends are sometimes here for a reason and then they go away.  If you are lucky and blessed, you find one that will be with you throughout your life's journey.  Here is the poem  - unknown by author but a good reminder in understanding why some friends come and go and some stay forever.


Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
— Unknown

Forget Me Nots...  Do you have a friend that you need to reach out to today or maybe one that is on your mind?  Whether it's for a reason or a season - reach out.

“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Have a great day!
Paula


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dark Wax and The Muddy Look

I did a few posts recently about dark wax and talked about the danger of making a piece look muddy.  A couple of you asked what "muddy" means, so I thought I would show you on a chest I did previously.  I also want to reinforce that if you don't like how something turns out with your paint or your wax, you can simply paint over it.  No worries. Remember my hope chest? Well, she started out in a color called Provence.


This is a bold color that takes dark wax beautifully.  However.....knowing what I know now, I should have done my application differently.  I went for that all over rub in dark wax and this is what I got..... ick.
See how the wax makes the finish look muddy or dirty?  I did this in long strokes and it just didn't work. I liked how the top part took the wax where the carved detail was but when I got to the middle of the piece - it just didn't look good.

I actually loved the new depth of "color" but I did not like how the wax looked on the chest. Can you see how the dark wax changes the actual color of your paint? This was too much and too messy for me. Muddy is the best way to describe too much dark wax. I like my pieces to have more of an authentic aged look - like it went through years of use and this wasn't working for me.  One of my girls loved the bold color and dark wax, so it's all about  preference.

I repainted this in a much softer and neutral shade and used the dark wax to age it but not cover it.  That suits me much better.  Ahhh :)

Let me know if you have questions about dark wax or waxing in general.

Paula

Linking with:


Monday, March 24, 2014

Warm Weather Spaces

As spring approaches, one of my favorite things to do is to sit on my back porch. As it gets warmer, it is the place where you can find us early in the morning and later in the evening. Well....you can find me there in the middle of the day too. :)  When looking for an outdoor rug last year, I found a company called Mad Mats that makes rugs from recycled polypropylene (plastic).  The mats are made from recycled water bottles, plastic milk containers, soda bottles and other plastic packaging.

They come in fabulous colors, are fade resistant and soft on your feet.  
The Founders, are dedicated to the environment and to fairness in the work place. I also love the mats because you can wash them down with water and they are mildew resistant.  A great feature for any outdoor rug.  
And....they are reasonable.  Be on the lookout for rugs by Mad Mats.  I'm not being paid to support them, I just think they are a great product. 



Happy Monday.

Paula

Linking with:
Ivy and Elephants

Friday, March 21, 2014

Good Morning Joe meet Mr. Sandpaper

What is better in the morning that some pretty pink roses and a hot cup of coffee?  Not much if you ask me - especially if you are sitting on your porch watching the tide roll in.  I have a project in the garage that I'm procrastinating on.... it needs some major sanding.  Muddling over all that sanding, got me thinking about how people are kind of like sandpaper (work with me on this one....).

Sandpaper is basically abrasive paper that comes in all different strengths of irritation.  Ok, I'm laughing a bit but here, but we all come in contact with people that are rude or abrasive right? So how do we handle this?


When working with furniture, sandpaper is used to remove small amounts of material from surfaces, either to make them smoother, to distress, to remove layers of paint or varnish and sometimes, to make the surface more rough - where you might want to prime or glue something on it. The smaller the grit, the more abrasive the paper. The grit refers to the number of mineral grains found in a square inch.  I use a sanding block for almost all of my furniture distressing.  Primarily I use a 100 or 220 grit for this.  It's also where I take out some of my frustrations. :)  The neat thing......and this is where I'm going with my thought for the day......is that if we work with the irritations or those little annoyances in our lives, not against them, it helps us get where we want to go.  The sandpaper, although irritating in nature, produces the result that we are looking for.

If you are trying to minimize your brush strokes after you have painted, you can use a 320 or 400 grit to finely sand the strokes out. On occasion, I will use an 800 grit for that final glass like finish.  It rubs out all of the imperfections left on top of your last coat.  So it's still an irritant yes, but it gets you exactly what you want in the end.  (Steel wool "0000" grade does the same thing)

People aren't always nice.  So when they aren't, I try to work through what is happening and help make the situation better. Sometimes people are just having a bad day.  And....there are times, which I have to admit, when I'm the 80 grit sandpaper (not often, but admittedly it happens).  So we have to work with the annoyances and let them go, make amends where appropriate and work towards that 400 to 800 grit of good irritation.  Being slightly abrasive and willing to work out the little imperfections in life can sometimes be a good thing.

I hope you minimize finding abrasive people over the weekend.  And if you do, I hope it's those with the higher grit.

Have a great weekend.

Paula




Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Grey Hope Chest

One of my followers asked me to show a piece of furniture that I've done recently with dark wax.  I sense that this dark wax really has people on edge.  It's definitely a look you have to want on your piece.  Not all pieces are meant to have it.  Your piece will be beautiful with or without the dark wax.  As you can see in my video on dark wax (under tutorials), I only use the wax over a distressed area and lightly throughout the piece to add that "really worn" look.  I follow the dark wax with a 0000 grade of fine steel wool.  I don't use it across my whole piece......because I'm just not a fan of that look.  If you like that look - go ahead and do it.  Experiment with it.  It's your choice and really about what "you" like.


This was a chest I previewed earlier this week. I loved the antique finish, but over the years, the crackle began to chip and needed to be refinished. I debated about re-doing the finish but that meant stripping and honestly, I just didn't want to do that.  I decided to use a french linen which is a great color and goes with just about anything. I also used a bit of Provence in places I knew I would distress. This peeks through in a few places.  I used a clear and dark wax to finish.
Can you see where I gently use the dark wax in the details and lightly against the grain of the wood? Can you see a bit of the Provence color peeking through?
The chest also has a beautiful cedar lining inside of it and is in great shape.  Who knows, if I get tired of the french linen, I can always strip her down when the weather gets nicer and bring her natural wood back to life.  For now, I like how she turned out and love her new place in the upstairs hallway.

Let me know if you have more questions about dark wax or painting furniture in general.

Paula

Linking with:
Petite Michelle Louise

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Favorite Shrimp and Orzo Salad


We have lived in Charleston, SC for almost 4 years now.  I have fallen in love with this beautiful city and absolutely love the weather.  Except for all of this rain that we have had lately.  I know we are  blessed to have rain versus all of the snow that has been visiting my northern family and friends but.... enough already.  Although I miss an occasional snow, I've grown very fond of warm weather.  So I was looking at my summer recipes on Pinterest (more like yearning after them) and in the anticipation of warmer weather I want to share a really good summer salad recipe.

Shrimp and Orzo salad is a hit no matter where you are eating.  It's great for the family at home and it is a great "take along dish" if you need one. You can make it all year long - but it goes great with anything on the grill so I think of it as a summer salad.  It keeps great in the fridge too so I see that as an added bonus.  :)

Here you go.  Enjoy!

p.s.  you have to like fresh dill...or this won't be a big hit for you.

Shrimp and Orzo

1 package of plain orzo

2 lbs of shrimp (fresh or frozen uncooked) I use the 31-40 per pound from Costco!  The bigger shrimp work better. 

1 package of chopped feta cheese

1 small red onion

1 large cucumber
½ cup of olive oil
½ cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
fresh dill
sea salt
crushed black pepper

Cook the orzo according to directions with ½ tsp of sea salt.  Strain and put into a bowl while still hot.

Whisk together ½ cup of olive oil and ½ cup fresh lemon, 1tsp sea salt, 1tsp black pepper and pour over hot orzo.  The orzo will soak up the liquid.

On a cookie sheet, lay out shrimp – sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt and broil til pink and chop in half or thirds depending on how big your shrimp are.  Or, you can also add olive oil to pan, add shrimp and salt, cook til pink, then chop.  Whatever is easier. 

In a bowl:
Peel, cut in half, seed cucumber and chop
Chop half a small red onion.  Too much onion will overpower the orzo
Chop up a good amount of fresh dill and season to taste (this can overpower too…so start small and add as needed)
Add the shrimp

Add shrimp mixture to the orzo and mix.  Put in fridge until cool.  Then add crumbled feta and put in fridge to let flavors meld.

Before serving you may want to add some more olive oil and fresh lemon and salt to taste.  Some orzo soaks things up more than others.

Enjoy!

Happy Hump Day.

Paula


Linking with:

Green Willow Pond
The Dedicated House
I Should Be Mopping The Floor

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Easter Baskets

I love looking at all of the fun creative Easter Baskets that show up each year.  As I've gotten older, I now look for baskets that are functional and can be used throughout the year.  I'm loving this sweet little toolbox basket from Pottery Barn.  I'm already thinking of all the different ways I can use this.  It can even be monogrammed.  Nice!

Easter is celebrated because it signifies the resurrection of Christ.  Lent, the 40 days prior to Easter, is the time when many Christians sacrifice the consumption of certain foods until Easter Sunday. The 40 days of Lent is based on two Biblical accounts; the 40 years of wilderness wandering by the Israelites and our Lord's 40 days in the wilderness at which point he was tempted by Satan.

During our Lenten time, we participate in abstinence, fasting, confession and acts of mercy to strengthen our faith and devotional disciplines.  We should leave Lent stronger and more faithful than when we entered the season.The tradition of feasting on a large Easter meal is symbolic of the end of Lent.  Historically, the Easter feast was brought in large baskets to the church to be blessed by priests. This is where the link between the Easter holiday and Easter baskets was formed.




I'm loving this monogrammed toolbox.  How about you?

Have a great Tuesday and remember to be loving and be kind.

Paula

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mother's Wisdom

There is a light in this world,
a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness
we may encounter.
We sometimes lose sight of this force
when there is suffering and too much pain.
Then suddenly,
the spirit will emerge
through the lives of ordinary people
who hear a call
and answer in extraordinary ways.

~mother teresa

I've had this little writing with me for a long time.  It was cut out from an old magazine. My mom sent it to me at some point in my life when I needed to hear the message written above.  Occasionally, as I'm looking for something or cleaning out a few things, I find these little cut outs of wisdom that she has sent me over the years. I find them in drawers, books, old purses and special places where I have little keepsakes. Sometimes I wish I was more organized and had kept them all in one place like in a "mother's wisdom book" or something to that effect.  Or maybe not....  I actually like stumbling across them here and there and finding these little poems or sayings....reminding me of the strength of the message and of someone who loved me enough to send them.  

The bench above was painted in a french linen.  I'll post the before and after picture soon.  Right now I'm going to focus on the words of Mother Teresa.  How beautiful and how true.  

Have a great week.

Paula






Thursday, March 13, 2014

Growing Hydrangeas

With the start of spring,  I start thinking of what is growing outside, what needs attention and what needs to be planted.  My favorite plants of all are the hyndrangeas.  I found these beautiful starters at Harris Teeter!  I love my grocery store....they literally have everything.

We are fortunate to have beautiful large hydrangea bushes here in SC.  In our yard, we have big blue and pink bushes and the best part of all, is that I don't do anything to them. Hydrangeas are very easy to grow and do well in areas that have both sun and shade.  Any of your outdoor stores can help you support the type of hydrangeas you buy and what you need for your soil. You can also change the color of some hydrangeas. If you want blue ones your soil needs to have aluminum sulfate in it.  
 If you want pink ones, your soil needs to have dolomitic lime in it.  
White hydrangeas do not change colors. 
There are so many different varieties.  Look at these beautiful purple hydrangeas.
And the Double Delights....
If you want to grow hydrangeas, you should do a little research and see what kind is best for your climate.   Now is the right time to purchase and plant them so you can have beautiful blooms this summer.  The pictures above came randomly from pinterest.

I hope you have a great Thursday.  

Thanks for stopping by.

Paula



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Beautiful Little Tea Table

I've had this table for a long time and over the years she has moved around from room to room.  She belongs with a lower serving tea table that sits in my mom's house.  She had a very dark stain that had beautiful little flowers on the top and sides that were flaking off. She is beautiful as is.....but too dark for where I am in my life right now.  (Gasp! I can hear the antique collectors saying don't paint her).
The thing is....when you refinish furniture, you can also restore.  If I don't like how she turns out, I can strip the paint and restore her to her natural wood. That's what is so cool about furniture restoration. For now, I want those carvings to stand out and I want to lighten her up.
I put an antique white on her for starters. I added a little bit of Duck Egg Blue to her curves and used both a clear and dark wax. Now that I can see all of her beautiful details, I've totally fallen in love with her.

The paint brought out all of the little details that were hidden in the dark stain.    

Ok, I'm not the best photographer.....but isn't she sweet?  I love her lightened up.

I hope you have a great day.  Remember to be kind.

Paula

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

French Country Cottage
Chic By Tab
Nancherrow
Revisionary Life
Miss Mustard Seed
Green Willow Pond
A Stroll Thru Life
Coastal Charm
Upcycled Treasures
Savy Southern Style
Ivy and Elephants




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Permission to Procrastinate


Today I give you permission to procrastinate. Yes, take a walk, go see a friend, get some "fro-yo" (frozen yogurt) and sit outside in the sun.  Go do something that makes your heart feel warm.   We are all way too busy these days.  Take a look at your list.  What "has" to get done today - go get it done.  What is on the list but can really wait - let it wait.  Life is short.  We tend to get wrapped up in things that really don't add to what is truly important to our lives.  Throw caution to the wind today and forget your to-do list. Say thank you for all of your blessings, where you are, what you have and who is in your life.

This is a picture of Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant, SC.  You can sit here and watch all of the shrimp boats, kayakers and board surfers head out each morning.  It's about 5 minutes from where we live.  I might just have to meet my husband at sunset for a little drink. We'll sit back and watch all those shrimp boats, kayakers and board surfers come back home.

Go procrastinate.  I give you permission.  :)

Paula


Monday, March 10, 2014

March Madness - Organize With Baskets

It's that time of year......March Madness!  In our house that means so many things...but for now, I'm focusing on organizing the inside of the house so I can get outside of the house.  I'm not obsessively clean, but I am obsessively orderly.  I like things to have a place and for things to be where they are suppose to be.  Are you with me?  I don't like clutter.  Because of this, I am becoming a huge fan of baskets.  Big baskets with substance so they can hold things.  Looking at Ballard Designs and Wisteria the other day, I found three that caught my eye. Look at this great step basket.  As I look over and see several things on my steps that need to go upstairs..... Why not have them organized in a special place so when I go up, they can go with me?  Plus, things look better in an organized place even if they aren't where they are suppose to be - yet :)

With all of the rain lately, I realize that I don't have a place for our umbrellas. I can never seem to find one when I need one. They get left wherever they were last used.  I love a basket by the door that organizes them. This one would be perfect.
Now that the weather is warming up, we will be using our porch a lot more.  A long flat serving basket looks great on a counter and it will help take things back and forth. It also looks great on a coffee table.

You can find baskets pretty much anywhere these days.  Look for ones that are sturdy and durable so you can get good use out of them.   It is already 75 degrees here in South Carolina and I have to say that I am loving it.  Time to get outside.

Have a great Monday.

Paula

Friday, March 7, 2014

Apple Slab - Better Than Apple Pie

Apple Slab - is so much better than apple pie!  My family loves apple pie.  But to be perfectly honest, I have yet to find an apple pie recipe that I want to make again....and I've made a lot of them.  Apple Slab is a home run. It has the same ingredients as apple pie, but it's more of a bar or slab with apple glaze.  It's gooey and moist and it makes a lot. You can take this to a luncheon, cookout, dinner, holiday party or just make it because your family is crying for a good homemade dessert.  And the best part.....it is easy!
Take 5 or 6 large granny smith apples.  Peel and slice thin. You want the apples to bake down when cooking.

Put your apple slices in a large bowl.  Combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 2 tsp of cinnamon, 6 TBSP of corn starch and pour this over your apples.  Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over this mixture and toss.

Let your apples sit for a little bit so the juice begins to fall to the bottom. Grease a long flat baking pan.  I use a 17x11 pan or a jelly roll pan.

Take two of your pre-made pie crusts. This is where we short-step the time it takes to make homemade pie crusts. Look, those of you that are true bakers and have time to roll out your crust and get flour everywhere - go ahead and get happy.  I've made it both ways and no one in my house, friends included,  can tell it's not a homemade crust when I use the Pillsbury crusts :).   Grease your pan and place the pie crusts so that they fit.  You might have to do some cutting and pasting....that's fine.
 Dump in your apple mixture, but don't pour out the juice!
You should have about 1/2 cup of juice....or a little more leftover in your bowl.  Use what you have.
Put the two other crust pieces on top and pop this into the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.
Then cover your slab with foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes.  You don't want the top to get too brown. Take out and let cool.

Once this has cooled down but still warm, add 1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar, 1tsp of melted butter to the leftover apple juice.  If it's too thick, add a little milk.  Pour the apple glaze over the slab.


YUM!!!

Here is a recap of what you will need:

Filling:
5-6 large granny apple smith apples
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2tsp of cinnamon
Juice of a fresh lemon
6 tbsp of corn starch

Apple Glaze
Juice left over from the apple and cinnamon mixture
1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
1 tsp of butter

Crust
Two boxes of Pillsbury Pie Crusts (four pie rolls)

So good warm, cold and yes, even with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Have a great weekend and remember to be kind.

Paula