Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Feature....Giving, Just Because

Instead of featuring something for the home today, I want to feature putting something into action.  Doing something nice for someone that is out of the ordinary and not for an occasion or special celebration.
I know we are all busy and you are probably thinking...I wish I could but I just don't have the time....I get that.  I do. But, sometimes we need to step away from our busy crazy lives and allow ourselves the wonderful gift of giving. The gift of appreciation. When was the last time you stopped by a friends house with a card and some flowers or a plate of cookies for no reason at all?  Just a simple "thank you" for being my friend, or thank you for caring?  Maybe someone you know is having a hard time and just needs to know someone cares about them.

To give is a wonderful feeling.  To give without a reason, trumps that in a big way.

Do something for someone today just because you want to. Go buy a card, or pick up a little plant from the hardware store.  Bake something out of the goodness of your heart for no real reason - other than to say "I was thinking of you."  You will be amazed at the gift that you get back in return.  You will be amazed at how a simple act or a thoughtful gesture can change the course of the day. Lift up your friends or someone in your family and show them you care.
I've learned that people will forget what you said....
People will forget what you did....
But people will never forget how you made them feel.
~Maya Angelou

Imagine how much better the world would be if we all did this more often.   

I hope you have a great weekend and that you find time to lift someone up.  


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Painting Questions and Answers

I've received some similar questions recently about painting and refinishing furniture so I thought I'd answer them in one post.

How come I see so many brush strokes in my ASCP?
There could be several reasons to your problem here.  Sometimes the ASCP can be a little thick.  You may have left the top off for awhile or it could be a little thick to begin with. Take some paint and put it in another container and add "a little bit of water" to your paint.  A little bit means a tablespoon or two at a time - no more.  Don't stick your can under the faucet and let the water run into your can!  Too much water will ruin your paint.

Another reason for your brush strokes could be due to your brush.  You don't have to use an ASCP brush, but I recommend using a good quality brush.  I use a Purdy brush with long bristles.

Brush strokes can also be seen based on how you are "laying" your paint.  Your "finishing stroke", meaning your last stroke with your paint brush on a row should go from left to right (or right to left), all the way from one side to the other. All strokes should start on the same side. On the sides you should be going top to bottom.  If you pick up your brush in the middle of the stroke, you are going to see this.  You also can't go back over an last time, after it has started to dry.  This can be in just a few minutes.  Lay your paint. Do one clean sweep from left to right and then move to the next section.

How much wax is too much wax?
You don't want a lot of wax on your brush.  Just enough to rub into your wood and then rub off.  I work in very small sections when waxing.  I am very specific in where the wax is going.  I wax like I paint.  I work from left to right and when taking off my wax my last stroke goes completely from one end to the other.  Don't overwork your wax or you will get streaks. When you take your wax off, let it dry before you go back and buff.  If you wipe too start buffing.  Then it looks like you have some shiny areas and some not so shiny areas.  Make sense?  Practice on a small piece of furniture before you do a big piece.

How do you clean your wax brushes?
You can use hot soapy water right after you finish a project but this doesn't always get all the wax off. Trust me, you want it off. If you don't, the next time you use your brush, it is going to be flaky and those flakes will end up on your next piece which is not good.  Lye soap, which can be found in hardware stores is very good in getting the wax off. But the best thing to use is Mineral Spirits.  The plain spirits in the blue and aluminum can.  Put a little in a plastic cup enough to come up a 1/4 of the way on your brush.  Dip your brush in the spirits.  It will soak up through the bristles and then squeeze the wax out of your brush and rinse with warm water.  Your bristles will be super soft!

How do you get the streaks out of the Annie Sloan wax?
In my personal opinion, ASCP and waxes are meant to be used for a vintage look.  Vintage meaning, old, worn and distressed.  Now don't get me wrong, you can get a good shiny look with your wax but if you are looking for a glossy finish with no streaks or brush strokes - use a polyurethane!  There is a technique to get a nice glossy finish but if you want perfectly smooth wax and no streaks showing you don't want a wax.  You can use a poly on ASCP so if that is what you want - try it.  I like the wax.  I like imperfect pieces. You can add a little bit of mineral spirits to your wax too.  Put some wax in a cup, add a few drops of mineral spirits and mix.  This will help the wax spread smoother and evenly.

You can also use 0000 steel wool or a buffing brush after your wax has dried and this helps get a smoother finish.

What is one and a half layers of Annie Sloan paint?
This means, one coat of ASCP and then after this has dried, on your next coat, dip your brush in the paint and then in a "little bit of water" and do your next coat.  Be careful with this.  If you are not consistent, you will be able to see the differences in paint on your piece.  I like to do a full coat first.  Then, pour some paint in a cup, add a little water and mix and then do your next coat a little thinner.  Thinning your paint out will also give a smoother appearance to your brush strokes.  But remember - not too much! A little water goes a long way.

What are your favorite colors to use?
I am a neutral person.  I like Old White, French Linen, Country Grey and Paris Grey.  I like colors that I know can be used in all rooms.  For pops of color I like Duck Egg and my new favorite is Antoinette.

Is Graphite grey or black?
Graphite is not a true black.  It has grey tones in it.  I used it here with Paris Grey and Old White and it looks black as a top but it's not a true black.  In the sunlight, it can take on a softer shade so look at where you are putting your piece before you cover it in graphite.  An all graphite piece may look a little more grey than you want.

Do you have to use the dark wax?
You do not have to use the dark wax.  If you like your piece with just the clear wax, then leave it.  If you want to use a little dark wax - use a little.  See my Dark Wax tutorial here.  I add a little mineral spirits to my dark wax.  Just a little bit will make it smoother and give you time to play with it versus using the dark wax out of the can.  Use it in areas that you have distressed and follow it immediately with 0000 steel wool.

Do you distress before or after you wax?
I distress before I wax.  I like to see my piece distressed before I start the waxing process.  There have been many a times, when I've done too much distressing and I need to go back and touch up.  I don't want to wax and then go back and re-wax.

How do you clean your pieces once they are done?  
Once your piece is fully cured, about 30 days, I just use a soft cloth with water or dust the old fashioned way with a soft cloth.  Stay away from harsh cleaners.

Hopefully these answer some of your questions.  If you have others, let me know!  You can reach me at


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day - Thank You

This post is in honor of all the men and women that have fought, died and served our country.  I am blessed to live in a country where I am free and live in a land protected by these brave men and women.  I don't think I could ever understand what they have been through or seen or encountered.  I only know that I am very thankful for them and all that they have endured.

For all of the brave men and women that have served or continue to serve, I thank you and am grateful for you.

If you can give to a military or veteran cause, please find one in your area to support.  It is a small piece of gratitude for the grace and blessings we are given every day.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Feature.....

 William and Sonoma boxed candles.

We have a big Williams and Sonoma here in Charleston, SC and one of my favorite things that they carry are their candles.  Reasonably priced and beautiful scents.  My favorite is the french lavender.  They also have meyer lemon and pink grapefruit that smell wonderful!

If you are looking for a nice fresh scent that isn't overpowering, check these out.  They also make great gifts.  :)

Have a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Graduating and Finding Purpose

I have two children graduating right now; one from college and the other from high school. If you are like me, it is hard not to reflect about life.  Where did the time go?  How did they grow up so quickly?  What will they do with their lives?  And that thought also makes me take an introspective look at my own life, places I have been, things I have done and wonder - what is next?  What is next for them?  What is next for me? What is behind the next door that we each will go through?  As adults, we all know that there is always another door.
But for those that are younger, this may be their first time on their own or they may be venturing off to their first "real" job.  If I remember back to that time, it was both exciting and scary.  I pined for the days of fun and freedom and lack of worry.  I wasn't ready to grow up and "find my way."  I hadn't found my passion in life or heard that voice inside leading me to my purpose in life.
So I did what most of us are taught to do.  I found a good job with a good company, worked hard and brought home a nice paycheck.  But that is not the advice I want to give my children (although I love the concept).  Society pressures us to fulfill what other people expect of us instead of fulfilling our hearts desires or finding our own true potential. What college did you get into? What company are you working for? How much are you making? What do you drive?  It's about things and standards and expectations to be better than the Joneses and not about what truly makes us happy. We are looking for prestige and approval and not finding our true purpose or calling in life. We end up doing what we are expected to do and not what we really want to do.  And that...leads to an unfulfilled life. That feeling that something is missing or not quite right.  Maybe it is a feeling of unrest or boredom.
We are so busy today with our phones, internet, snapchats....that our life has become about instant everything. "Insta-life!" Our children (and adults today), have a hard time being still. If you can't be still and I mean, actually make time to just sit quietly, then you aren't making time to listen to that little voice inside your head, or hear the soft whisper of a higher calling in life.  You can't tune into the instinct that we are each born with (I'm calling it your life's purpose) and you may miss out on the most wonderful syncopated journey in life....the one you are meant to live!
I think most of us play it safe and do what we are suppose to do.  We follow the steps laid out before us and follow the road that leads to a job or career, rather than having our own rendezvous with destiny.  (That sounds so profound doesn't it? :)  Finding the thing you were created to do in your life, isn't always easy.  Many of us don't have the time to dedicate our early lives to a soul searching spiritual journey.  Most of us cruise along, take the good job (or bad job) and never find what we were truly meant to do.  We get locked into bills, and mortgages and paying for our things and never find what makes our souls sing.
So my advice to those graduating and those of us who graduated a long time to find time to listen to your heart. Open those doors, multiple ones and take time to listen.  Listen to that higher power or that little voice and follow the instinct we are all born with to find our passions in life.  If you have to work to pay the realities of the world, that's ok, but keep walking through those doors of interest.  Take some chances and say "yes" to that "thing" out there that is calling your name or tugging at your soul. We are born with instincts....but we don't always follow them.  Our purpose in life doesn't always jump out and yell to us that "this is it!" We have to make time to listen, follow our instincts and take steps to find what we are called to do.

When my first graduated from high school, I left her with the words to "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. I still read these words and wholeheartedly wish them for each of my children as they take off into the world.  And to my friends like me....this is also for you.  It's never too late.

"I Hope You Dance"

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin',
Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin',
Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin' out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

Dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance..
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Spaghetti Squash?

Ok, those of you that know me...know that I love spaghetti.  I could eat spaghetti or pasta every night of the week - if my family would let me. I even eat it cold out of the fridge the next day (so good).  But we all need a little variety in our lives and we need to focus on eating healthy.  Eating healthy doesn't have to be bland or boring.  Living in South Carolina, we are fortunate to have great farm fresh veggies and I use them alone or in pasta all the time.  So cutting, chopping and sauteing is pretty much an every night occurrence of some kind in our house.

I have a new favorite veggie that I want to share with you.  It's not new exactly, but it is a veggie that gets over looked often.  It's that big orange-ish, yellow looking thing you see in the grocery store and just keep on walking past it. Or you look at it and think...not.  It's spaghetti squash!
There are two main reasons to eat spaghetti squash. One, it is super easy to cook and two it is delicious!  That get's 5 stars in my book.  If you are trying to watch your weight or take off a few pounds or just enjoy good veggies - this is the one.  Did I tell you that this is easy?

I haven't figured out how to tell if a spaghetti squash is ripe or not.  I just pick one off the shelf and haven't been disappointed yet.  Set your oven to 400. Cut your squash in half.  Scrape those little seeds out, shake a little salt and pepper on the squash and put the two halves on a greased piece of foil on a cookie sheet.  Cook for about 40 min.   Let the squash cool for 15 min or until its not to hot to handle.  Take a fork and scrape out the inside.  It will shred into a whole bunch of spaghetti looking squash.
I usually scrape the squash right into a skillet of shrimp that has been cooked with a little olive oil and sea salt.  Cook it all together for a few minutes.  You can keep it clean with just the olive oil or add a little butter if you want (go ahead, it won't hurt you) and sprinkle with a good pecorino romano cheese additional salt and pepper. Serve it with a side salad and you are good to go.
You are going to be surprised at how good this is.  And, it heats up great the next day!

So next time you are at the grocery store, buy a big old spaghetti squash, cut it in half and throw it in the oven.  It cooks all by itself and when it's done, you can go from squash to plates in about 15 min.

Let me know what you think!

Happy and Healthy Wednesday.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Own Window Box....

Last week, I was obsessing over window boxes (click to see) in Charleston.  Window boxes are like any other planter - simple to create! You just need a place to hang them. I chose the front railing that leades up to our front porch.  There's little Isabelle, "queen of the porch" sleeping up above.  :)

 The key to a good window box is choosing plants the will both grow up and over the box.  I got all of my supplies at a local hardware store.
 I chose an iron box with garden netting to hold the soil.

Now my box is ready to start growing and overflowing.

Hope you have a nice Tuesday.  Thanks for stopping by.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Old Dining Room Table?

Do you have an old dining room set?  Maybe an old Queen Anne set from when you first were married?   Maybe you are ready for a new set.  I want you to know that you can get a new set or feel like you have a new dining set just by painting it.
 Look at this beautiful set that was painted all in one color and distressed.  If you look closely at the drawer handles on the hutch, you can see that they were painted too.
 This set kept the table the same but painted the chairs.
And this set, has the chairs and legs painted but the top of the table was left alone.  Before you throw away or give away your old dining set, try painting it.  There are so many options and if you really don't like it can still give it away.  These images were all found on Pinterest.

I'm getting ready to do mine....I just haven't quite decided what to do.  :)

Have a great Monday!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Feature......Galvanized Tubs

Don't you just love these galvanized tubs?  I see them everywhere and the ones right below are from PB and they are super cute.  You can get the large one for about $75 with shipping and handling...but wait!
These are cute below right?  I found them on Pinterest. I think that they look pretty much the same and they serve the same purpose.  Well guess what?
You can get a galvanized bucket from Home Depot or Lowes for about $15.00.  Yep......go ahead and stencil your own bucket for waaaaay less.  :)  

Why pay all that money when you can get the same thing for less?  I'm there.   

I hope you have a great weekend!  


Wednesday, May 14, 2014


To change or not to change your hardware......that is the question.  The good thing about this dilemma is that changing your hardware is easy.  You can always keep what you have and if you don't like it, you can change it.
 I love old hardware.  If it is in good shape and has detail, then I tend to keep the hardware.  Sometimes I paint it and sometimes I don't.
If you want to add interest to an old piece that is plain, you can always search for new knobs.  They are everywhere.  You can find them at hardware, craft and furniture stores.
 You can even find them on ebay.
And, if you don't want to paint an old piece, try changing the knobs out first.  Sometimes it's just a small change that makes a piece look new.

Have a great Wednesday!


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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Window Boxes

So I was downtown in Charleston, SC the other day and I was blown away by all of the beautiful window boxes that I saw.  The weather has been very wet and is now sunny and warm so all of the flowers were in full bloom.  So as you can imagine, I have window boxes on my mind..... Turning to the Pinterest for inspiration, look at these beautiful boxes.

I'm going to be working on a window box of my own this week.  Can't wait to show you.  Do you have a window box?  If so, take a picture and send it to me so I can see!

Have a great Tuesday!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Loving Neutrals

It's funny how your taste can change over the years.  I am loving neutrals these days and am working my way piece by piece in that direction.  Start with an end table or chair.  See how it fits anywhere you put it...

I found these pictures on Pinterest.  Grab a quart of Old White paint from Annie Sloan and some dark wax. It really is easier than you think.

Have a great week!


Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Feature......Sculpture Planters

Sculpture planters are so pretty.  They remind me of my grandparents garden in their backyard in Brooklyn, NY.  Even in a big borough of NYC my grandparents had a cute little garden out back.  It was a very small garden with a wrought iron fence around it.  Kind of like the one below.  It had a little fountain, different flowers and succulents and fig trees.  Maybe that little garden reminded my grandpa of his home back in Italy. I'm not sure, but I remember it as sweet and different.  
The swan planter below reminds me of that little place outside my grandpa's back door.  Maybe it's the statue and the whimsy that goes with it...I'm not sure.  I am also taken back to that little garden whenever I see figs.  :)
You can get this one on sale at One Kings Lane...
I'm not paid to promote this at all....I just love birds and think this planter is beautiful.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cucumber Salad

This is a great side dish - especially for summer.  It's easy to make and actually very good for you.  Cucumbers are very good for the liver and for your gallbladder.  The cucumbers get nice and cold so it's perfect for the summer.

Peel and cut four cucumbers (yes, you want to peel all that nasty waxy skin off the cucumbers)
Thinly slice half of a small red onion.
Pour apple cider vinegar over the cukes.  About half a cup.
1 Tbsp sugar (I know....just do it!  it cuts out the bitterness and makes it sweet)
Fresh dill
Stir it all together and store in the fridge until you are ready to eat it.

So yummy and healthy!

Have a great Thursday. Thanks for stopping by.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014


There are so many creative ways to say "welcome" to your home.  How do you convey this?

The thing I love about an entrance, is that it is easy to change.  I've got flowers and ferns by the rockers.  Hmmm...what's next?  :)  

Have a great Tuesday.