Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Inspiration - Where Does It Come From? French Dresser ... Part 1

One of my readers recently asked me where my inspiration comes from for the things I work on. Well, for the most part, I get ideas from things I see.  Pictures from magazines, books and Pinterest are great motivators.  I'll see something and think.....ooooh I like that.  Or, sometimes I just want to try a new paint or new finish that someone has recently done on a project because it looks neat.  Or, maybe I have piece that is old and calling out for a makeover.  

So I thought I'd take you all through the process of finding some inspiration and making the inspiration come to life.

Here is my inspiration for the next piece I'm going to be working on.
I was at the bookstore about a month ago and found this picture above in Annie Sloan's book creating the French look.  The colors on the chair and the side table called out to me.  I love the worn look with the distressing and dark wax.  So of course, I was on the hunt for a side table where this would work. Do you see the little pops of blue peeking through under the grey.....?

Enter ugly green dresser.
This is a very old dresser that I found on Craigslist that was in very bad shape.  So bad, that I really shouldn't have bought it, but hey - I'm always up for a challenge.  I had visions of how I was going to turn this into my new little french side table.

When buying an old dresser.  My advice to you is to make sure it is in good shape.  Make sure the drawers work and that it is in fairly good condition, or you may be spending a lot more time fixing and replacing things than you intended.

Once sanded and ready to go I started with a blue paint.  If you look at the Annie Sloan finished picture above, you can see that once the piece is distressed, there are peeks of blue coming through the grey finish.  If you want that to happen, the blue needs to be your first layer.  I used Napoleonic Blue, which is really more of a navy - except when used on a bright green paint.  :)

On top of the green, the blue turned out to be much more vibrant than anticipated.
I actually thought the green and blue was very pretty and almost went into another direction (I get side tracked easily).  But I stayed tried and true and put another coat of blue on and then painted this in a Paris Grey and Old White.  I used Annie Sloan Graphite for the top.
Are you starting to see the transformation?  Amazing what a little paint can do.  Be with me tomorrow when I take this piece to the next step.....distressing and waxing.

Hope you have a great Wednesday!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Paper Lining A Drawer - Tutorial

 Lining the inside of a drawer is super easy and gives your piece a nice little extra touch.
Lining your drawers is also something good to do when the drawers you have are in really bad shape.
You will need some pretty paper - enough to cover the inside of your drawers.  Both Hobby Lobby and Michaels have great paper choices.  A good adhesive spray, scissors and either a board or paper to spray against.

Lay out your sheets so you know how many you will need and how they will fit.  The papers have repeating patterns so you can line them up and the drawer will look like it has one paper flow to it.

Turn your paper over and spray "the wrong side" covering the entire backside of paper. Then lay the paper down into your drawer.  Smooth the paper with your hands so there are no air bubbles.  Now, be careful with your next piece of paper.  Do not lay it down over the wet adhesive that you just sprayed.  You will ruin the front side of your new piece paper.  Make sure you are laying down where it is dry.  Do this until you have lined the entire length of your drawer.
Doesn't that look pretty?  Just a little extra touch.  I don't do this for all of my drawers, but if they are in bad shape I'll add a touch of paper.

Let me know if you have questions.

Thanks for stopping by.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Whatever You Do.....Do It With Love

I was talking with my friend the other day about happiness and success. You know... those conversations you have when you are talking about life and trying to find your purpose in it. Am I fulfilling my life's purpose? Am I doing what I'm suppose to be doing? We are a generation searching for fulfillment.

I worked in the corporate world for a long time and really felt the need to back out on our most recent move to SC.  Two of mine were going into high school and one was entering college. I was telling my friend that I may have done things backwards in life.  Sometimes I think I should have stayed home when they were younger....(she stays home with three little ones).  I love being home now but they are grown up and don't need me as much anymore.  Then she said something that really hit home for me.  She said, "your children know you are there for them if they need you and that you love them. That's what matters."  How true.

It's not so much what you do in life but how you do it.  No matter if you are blazing the corporate path or building a home for your family. What matters is that you do it with love.

“I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, “How many good things have you done in your life? Rather, he will ask, “how much love did you put into what you did?”

~mother teresa”

I hope you have a great week.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Feature....Bee Glassware

I am having a little crush on bee glassware.
The weight of the glasses is nice and heavy which is good - so they aren't prone to chipping.  I think they are fun and you can find them at most department stores that carry glassware. 

And a special bee for me.  :)

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Stroll Thru Life

Today, I have the wonderful opportunity to be a guest blogger at A Stroll Thru Life.  Marty has a great series every Thursday where she shows how people "pull it all together" in their homes.  Come join me over at Marty's blog where she is constantly changing, painting and sewing her way from ordinary to extraordinary, one project at a time.

It is a beautiful sunny day here in Charleston, SC.  Just like my little "gullfriend" above, I'm heading to the beach to drop my toes in the water.  :)

Thanks for stopping by.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rock Away

I don't think there is anything more soothing than rocking in a rocking chair.  It just kind of takes the stress of life away.  You might have an old rocking chair that was handed down to you or it might not fit with your style of today. But I want you to know you can paint that chair and bring a whole new life to it.  And if you don't have one, you can usually find them pretty cheap on craigslist.  :)
 They are easy to paint and you don't need a whole it's an easy and fun way to make a quick change to a room or porch.

 Throw in a couple of pillows and look how cute!

The great thing about a rocker is that it stands alone as it's own accent piece.  I'm actually on the hunt for a couple that I want on the back porch.

So don't throw that rocker out....paint it!

Hope you have a great day.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Strawberry Mascarpone Cake

Yep, ok..... this is it.  If you are looking for a fabulous cake with the sweet taste of whipped cream, strawberries and mascarpone - this is it.  This is the mother load of all cakes!  I made it for Easter, but this would be great for a shower, graduation or even a cookout.  If you love dessert like I do, then this is a no brainer.  It takes a little bit of time assembling, but worth it.
I originally found the recipe on For The Love Of Dessert.  I made a few adjustments to the filling and left off the graham cracker crumbs because it looked just fine without them to me.  I mean come on.....doesn't that look good?  If you like strawberries and whipped cream, I promise this won't disappoint.

Preheat Oven to 325F Degrees

1 box of white cake mix, sifted
1 c. cake flour, sifted
1 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. whole milk
1 c. sour cream
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 egg whites

1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp of white sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
2 cartons of strawberries (or 1 large carton)

12 oz. of mascarpone cheese (1 1/2 containers)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 c. heavy whipping cream

For the Cake:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, whisk together cake mix, flour and sugar. Then add in milk, sour cream, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Scrape down sides and mix again until well incorporated. Finally add in egg whites.

Grease 2-9 inch round pans (I used Pam). Divide batter equally in the 2 pans. Bake for 30-minutes until the top of the cakes are slightly golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Do not over cook.  You want the cake moist! Allow the cake to slightly cool. Then turn them out and let cool completely.

If cake is not completely flat, use either a cake leveler or knife, to make cake completely even.

For the Filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip heavy whipping cream, on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Add sugar and vanilla.  Whip to stiff peaks.   Set aside in refrigerator.

Using half a carton- hull strawberries and slice lengthwise. Set aside.

Then, place one carton of strawberries in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the sauce appears to be like a "chunky applesauce." Using a strainer, push the strawberry puree through- to get rid of excess water. Fold strained strawberry puree (i.e., puree minus the water) into the whipped cream. The whipped topping will become a pink color when puree is well incorporated. Then fold in sliced strawberries.

Keep in refrigerator until assembling cake. Reserve 1/2 carton of strawberries for decorating.

For the Frosting:
In a medium bowl, whisk together mascarpone cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar with a spatula until well blended and smooth. Then, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip heavy whipping cream, on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in whipped cream into the cheese mixture. I actually blended this on low to make sure it was mixed well.  

Assembling the Cake:
Place one 9-inch round cake on serving plate. Place a large, heaping scoop of strawberry filling on top(you may not use all of the filling). Using a spatula, spread the strawberry filling evenly.

Gently place the second 9-inch round cake directly on top of filling, slightly pressing down and making sure the second layer of cake is perfectly aligned with the second. Cover cake with mascarpone frosting. Decorate as desired using the remaining frosting and strawberries.

Let me know what you think!

Happy Tuesday.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Bird Houses

Do you have a bird house in your yard?  We have several that were left by the previous owners and I have to say that it is so sweet to sit and watch all the different little birds come by and perch on those little houses.  I've never fed the birds in our backyard - until just this past week.  I bought my first bag of bird feed and let me tell has been so much fun. We have more birds stopping by that it makes me want to get a few more of them.  I was amazed at all of the bird houses out there.  It's like a whole new world of houses to look at. Take a peek at a few that I found on pinterest....

Aren't they sweet?  I was blown away by all of the creativity out there. My family is worried that I'm becoming a bird lady.....but I can't help it.  :)

Hope you have a great week.  I'll be bird watching.  


Friday, April 18, 2014

Tulips, Hyacinths And Easter

Tulips and Hyacinths remind me of Easter and springtime. My mom had these planted right outside our front door growing up. I remember watching those little sprouts come up out of the ground after a long cold winter. There would be these little green tips that would poke out of the ground. I would open the door each day and see if they were ready to bloom. Those little buds were the hope that warmer weather was on the way.  We always took our Easter pictures on that little porch. Me in my Easter dress and bonnet and my brothers in their little suits.

And when the hyacinths bloomed, you could smell them coming up the driveway. Whenever I smell hyacinths now, either flowers or candles, I'm always taken back to that little porch on Locksley Lane.  
Such a sweet memory.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Life Isn't Always Fair

Ya know....there is a harsh reality in life that we all need to understand or sometimes we are forced to understand and that is simply -  that life is not always fair.  It's just not. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control and sometimes things happen because of something we have done, something that we cannot take back.

I think the mistakes we make where we have to own what we have done - are the hardest to make peace with.  We caused life to take a turn and we are responsible for our circumstances.  And sometimes this is the hardest thing to resolve within ourselves. Sometimes we make an error and the punishment does not fit the offense.  This can cause us to become bitter or resentful and finding a way to let these feelings go and make peace can be difficult.

But, if you believe in yourself and make amends for your part then you have done your part. You need to take a deep breath, let go and leave it in the past. Life goes on and you have to move with it. If you believe in a higher power, I truly believe that good will come out of your circumstances.  Easy to say when you are in the midst of turmoil but you have to have faith.

I wholeheartedly believe that when one door closes another one opens. Sometimes the new door leads you to something that is even better than anything you could have imagined. Have faith.

For those struggling with an error or a mistake, know that there is always another door to walk through.  You just have to open it.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pop Of Color

Sometimes you just need something in your house that gives you a "pop" of color.  I usually change out pillows or throws or bring home a pretty bunch of pink flowers.  Anything to brighten up the room or make me say " how pretty" when I walk into the room makes me happy.   How fun would it be to take a pretty piece of furniture like this couch and create your room around it?

Bring in pops of color and add something pretty to your favorite places.   It will make you feel good.

Have a great Tuesday.  Thanks for stopping by.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Chairs, Chairs, Chairs

Old chairs, re-done make the perfect accent chair for any room.  If you have an old chair, take a look at it before you throw it away or give it away.  If it has a good wood frame - then you can re-do it.  The options are endless.  Even if you've never reupholstered a chair I'm here to tell you that you can do this.  
I pulled an array of different chairs off of Pinterest last night to show you.  All you need is some paint and some fabric. I prefer Annie Sloan Chalk paint, because it is easy and there is little to no prep work before you start painting.  The one below may have been an old dining chair.  
Now, the next two chairs may need to go to a professional to upholster.  There is some talent when it comes to tufting with buttons and sewing a cushion.  But if you sew....go for it.  As we know, I don't sew. :)   If you have the frame, the outcome is worth it.

If you have a cane chair, don't think it's old and throw it away.  Caning is expensive and there is a beautiful art to it.  You can transform any cane chair into something beautiful.  Check out my tutorial on Painting Cane if you are going to do this.
If you have an old chair, don't throw it away.  Paint it and recreate it into something fun and beautiful.  Here is a chair that I did from start to finish.  You can check out my blog French Chair Makeover to see how.
The good thing about doing a chair is that it is easy and doesn't take a lot of time.  Chalk paint, fabric from a craft store, hot glue, staples and you are ready to go.  Every room can use a decorative chair.  Every time I look at mine, it makes me happy.

Have fun.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Feature.....Dough Bowls

Every once in awhile, I become obsessive.  It might be a new health smoothie, a new paint color or an European dough bowls.  I have been wanting one or several :) for awhile now.  I keep thinking I'm going to find one here or there in the nooks and crannies of the low country, but I am coming up with a big ole goose egg.  I think they are just beautiful and can be used in so many ways.
You know they are popular because they are showing up everywhere.  The ones above are pictures from PB and Ballard Designs.  I might just have to order one......

Have a great weekend, be thoughtful and kind.  

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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bless Your Heart

Charleston, SC is truly a charming city.  When I found out we were moving to Charleston several years ago, all I could think about was Gone With The Wind and how fun it would be to live there (It's one of my favorite movies of all time).  One of my BFF's teased me about moving to "Tara".  I imagined the quaintness of the city, the beautiful wrap around porches and gardens and the grace and elegance of the southern way.  I couldn't wait to be surrounded by that "southern charm".  Years later, I'm happy to say that the city hasn't disappointed my expectations.
Rainbow Row, a famous street in Charleston, is a spectacular array of colors and warmth of the south.

You find doors and shutters in all different colors.
Wrap around porches that just keep wrapping.
Beautiful iron and wood detail is found everywhere.
Horse drawn carriages still stroll through the streets. (Yep, mom and dad enjoying the city).

And yes, those beautiful plantations with their spanish moss hanging from the trees and fabulous entrances leading up to the southern home - exist! This is a plantation that part of Gone With The Wind was modeled after.  Right around the corner from me :)
As much of the history of Charleston is preserved, the manners of the South still very much exist here. There is a gentleness that you feel from the locals.  The city beats to a slower pace than larger metropolitan cities. The South still lives under a different cultural standard too. You hear yes ma'am and yes sir all the time.  And while its true that Southerners say harsh and unpleasant words at times, they still insist that it be done with grace and manners or in some way, with charm.  Southerners express these harsh thoughts with a twist of sympathy.  They tack on the words, "bless her/your heart."  For instance, if women are talking about another woman, they'll say "She has the ugliest haircut and her outfit was just awful.......bless her heart."

My dad, being part of the Northern Aggression (what Southerner's like to call the Civil War) thinks this is hilarious.  Now, after visiting Charleston multiple times, if he doesn't like something or has a differing opinion than yours, he'll gladly tell you what it is and then tack on...."bless your heart."   Maybe the South has it right.  Say what you really think but add blessings along with it.

I hope you have a great day and remember when you have something harsh to say to someone, just add "bless your heart" at the end of it.  It might just somehow make you feel better about it. :)

Have a great day.  It's sunny and 78 here in Charleston.  Not a cloud in the sky.....