Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bathroom Redo

Awhile back I posted that I was re-doing some things in my bathroom.  My whole house is always evolving, actually.  When are we ever really done.  Anyway, when we first moved in, the bathroom was gross.  The glass was falling out of the window and ready to fall on someone down below (literally), the tile was old and cracky and moldy from a leaky toilet, the mirror was hanging off the wall and ready to kill someone (we removed that right away), and the decor included egg yolk yellow walls and cabinets with navy curtains.  I DID take a before photo, five years ago, before I owned a digital camera.  That picture is in an album of all our befores and afters.  Consider yourself spared. 

Here's what the bathroom looked like after we moved in and freshened it up.

The tile, paint, vanity, tub, window and window treatment all got replaced.  We kept things simple because we had a lot to do around the house.  Really, every room was worse than the last one.  But, I had always wanted to do more in here and just never got around to it.

Then, one evening we found a prairie dove shelf/hutch thing.  I was going to restyle her for our summer garage sale, but then Melanie, of My Sweet Savannah, posted about a bathroom shelf she picked up at a thrift store.

I love Melanie's style and she always seems to know just what to do with any space in her home.  Her blog is an inspiration to anyone.  If you haven't checked out her site yet, please do.

Melanie's shelf was very similar to mine.  I was really diggin' what hers was doin'. 

I decided my husband would be hanging our prairie dove shelf on our bathroom wall.  I also purchased some Shabby Chic curtains from Target in a grey linen fabric.  They have beautiful white embroidery on the bottom.  I got some odds and ends from around the house to spice up my rack...voila!

It is so much cozier now!

Of course, it's still a work in progress.  I want to find/make some strung shells or skeleton keys or decorative washcloths to hang from the pegs.

Right now, the display is set for the end of summer.  Soon, I will be swapping out my deco for fall acorns and a metallic pumpkin or two.  But for now, let's enjoy summer while she's holding out.

There are still a few more plans for this room.  1) White wainscotting under the window and behind the toilet, an easy add on.  2)  Picture frame molding around the bathroom mirror to make it more cohesive with the rest of the room (I'm just going to miter it and stick it on with heavy duty double-sided tape.  Someone else I know did this and it is

But for now, it feels new again!

Linking up this week with:
(please find buttons on side bar)
Homemade Monday of Erin's Homemade Savvy A to Z
Debbie Doo's Newbie Party (thanks Debbie for featuring me last week!  :D)

                                        Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm
{PRIMP} Primp Your Home Wednesday
Faded Charm's White Wednesday
Good Life Wednesday at a Beach Cottage


It was totally my fault.  I fed them some timothy hay last night, in the dark, and the latch must not have caught properly.  Pearl got out.  Sharkey got Pearl.

Of course, I do not blame the dog.  I love my dog, and I loved my rabbit.  What happened was a result of my doing.  And the dog was honestly not eating my rabbit.  She was playing with her...a little too rough for the bunny to withstand.  Boxers are high energy dogs and love to play, play, play. 

When you have lots of critters, there's a higher chance for losing your critters.  Eventually, in a way, you become a little desensitized to it.  I feel bad that I didn't cry.  I was more angry with myself that I hadn't closed the latch properly.  We have lost so many pets in the last few years.  We lost a chicken two months ago, and I'm pretty sure it was the one my son took to show and tell.  I've read that they don't always do so well with crowds and germs.  We lost our two dogs of ten years last year, which we felt terribly about, and then adopted a shelter dog which went after my baby girl...and he had to go back.  I felt bad about that, too.  Not so much good luck with pets lately.

And so, Pearl lies in our flower garden.  Smokey, my other Angora, will have to be alone for awhile until I can locate another.  I don't want her to be alone forever.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Makin' Some Sauce

Well, it's a late night for me.  We had a mandatory school meeting and I honestly am usually not up past this time because I rise at 4am.  But, you know how it goes, when you are so wound up there is no point in sleeping... might as well blog.  And, since I didn't have any real dinner meal earlier, I am stuffing my face with these new chips I found at Aldi's...Clancy's Pita Chips- Parmesan, Garlic and Herb flavored.  Holy cow, I can't even type how good they taste right now.  It's a feel good, bad for me food, and I don't care.

And, this blog is not just about art and furniture remodels.  No, we have a way of life we are learnin' to live, and we are forging our own way and figuring it out one chicken coop at a time.  So, I figured it's a good time for a garden post. 

We DO have farmstyle fancies, you know.  Trying to grow a bunch of our own food, trying to learn how to do things ourselves.  I want to learn how to make my own soap and detergent.  But, right now we're just working on gettin' the food part right.

So this week hubby said we were gonna make some sauce.  For those of you with a garden, you know that everything just decides to ripen all at the same time this time of year.  What to do with 30 something tomatoes??  It was time to make spaghetti sauce.  This was his second attempt this summer and I did make an effort to chronical the endeavor.  His last mission was completed in secret, as he didn't want me to see the giant mess partaking all over the kitchen (like I really care about that, you should see the trunk of my car).  So here goes...

Here's a sampling of a summer harvest.  Obviously, we used way more tomatoes and peppers than pictured, but the colors are truly beautiful.  My husband is the vegetable gardener and has invested his summertime into expanding his garden every year.  This year, our homegrown sauce ingredients included:

green peppers
banana peppers
white onion
red zepplin onion

He began by dicing up the peppers and zuccinis (this was chunky-style sauce in the makin' so he uses however much he wants, there is no set limit as to how many peppers he will use) (that is our typical family way of doing anything, by the way, just figure it out as we go...).  He put a little vegetable oil in the stock pot and just let the greenies saute as I stirred.  He went back to cutting.

He also finely chopped the fresh basil and put that in the pot as well.  Hey, I fully realize here the cutting board is serving a utilitarian function and not one of decoration.  Therefore, let us momentarily revel in her exhuberant self-sacrifice and move on to better pictures.

(Dang, these chips are a third of the way down the bag).

The tomatoes had to be washed, de-stemmed, halved, and quartered.  Then they were ready for the strainer.

This sick puppy came from Farm and Fleet.  (Oh, I almost forgot, turn on your mental sauce-making music.  It should probably be Italian in nature, but a little festive).   So he places the tomatoes in the top form and shoves them down the pipe all the while cranking the crankshaft.  The tomato juice get forced out the strainer holes and into the green bowl.  The seeds and skins get shucked out the side hole into the kitchen pot.  This is a very tedious process.  I was reprimanded several times for takin' pictures instead of helping remove the thicker juice particles off of the strainer with a spatula.  During this task, the tomato juice spits fitfully everywhere, in bursts, and gets on your face, your clothing, and the wall behind you.  Red dots everywhere.



After the tomatoes are strained, the tomato juice gets poured into the stock pot with the greenies that are still sauteeing.  We also added a spaghetti sauce spice packet that we picked up at the supermarket.  It had a lot of different salts and garlic varieties in it.   The whole pot was set to boil and then simmer for two hours until the sauce thickened a bit.  When cooled, the sauce was ready for freezer packing in plastic containers.  It tasted awesome, I'll admit I sampled.

Don't waste your garden veggies!  Try some sauce!  You lika the sauce??!!  I knew you would.  Tune in later for more prairie dove love, or visit my labels for reruns if you can't wait.


Monday, August 22, 2011

For Great Bloggin' Sistas'

Today I had the honor of receiving a blog award.  The Liebster tag translates as 'Sweetheart' in German and is meant to identify a new blogger that you feel is inspiring.  Thank you, Barb and Dell, from Barb and Dell Designs, for gracing my blog with Liebster luv.  Barb and Dell were there for me when I first started blogging last month and have been kind enough to recognize my little old blog.

Now, I must pass on this lovely tag to five bloggers, with less than 200 followers, whom I feel have inspired me and stirred my heart.  The rules for passing on this award ladies, is that you keep pushing each other to be good writers, share the love, and link up with each other so we can all share the love.

My Liebster luv goes out to:

Anita Young, of Anita Young Designs.  I met Anita at the Three French Hens Flea in Morris, IL last weekend and we have been gabbin' online ever since.  I posted some of her lovely work and then she goes and sends me this...

The most beautiful thank you!  Lavendar sachets, which immediately made their way into my bathroom ( and I will be posting about some redecoratin' in there very soon).  I almost fell over when I opened the box... the lavendar is super pungent and the handpainted chickens were adorable ....Anita, did you know I love chickens???  Anyway, Anita is a painter from Illinois and her work is featured at
Really, Anita, you didn't have to.  If you only saw the lady who yelled at me and WOULDN"T let me photograph her booth.  You're the best!

Emily, of Lovely Beasts.  Emily sent me a comment on one of my farm posts about a hankerin' she was havin' for some grainsack love.  Emily is like my BBFF and I've only known her about a month, which is about as long as my whole bloggin' career.  I think Emily and I are going to be BBFF for a long time.  That's what BBFF is all about anyway.  Emily will be receiving some grainsacks in the mail sometime this week from me.  They are in transit and awaiting their new home in Houston, after sittin' in a barn for decades.  We're all gonna hafta watch what this girl does with fiber art!  Her work is featured at


She loves to paint, just like me!  Can't wait to see what she'll do with this...

Robyn Farmer of the Farmer Family is an awesome photographer who specializes in photographing magic moments with children and families.  I have been inspired by her work before I even started blogging myself and I would be remiss if I didn't admit that she has given me some great bloggin' advice about getting started and also about camera investments. Just check out what this woman can see through a lens...

 Her work is featured at

Carol-Anne of Use the Good Dishes always leaves me the best comments.  She is so cheerful and happy and she has some neat projects you should check out sometime!  Carol-Anne thinks she looks like this:

But she is truly a beautiful woman, I swear!  Her sense of humor is hilarious and if you need a healthy dose of comedy in your bloggin' adventures, you definitely want to tune in and read about hers!

Carol-Anne loves to get creative with paint, as evidenced in her perfect color-selection on this chair she just completed for her office.

Her work is featured at

And to send the Liebster luv back over the ocean to Europe, blog love goes out to Trine of the Cottage of Vinnord.  Trine's beautiful home has been featured as a Cottage of the Month at the Old Painted Cottage, a very coveted award in blogland.  She has, room by room, redone a cottage in the most beautiful soothing tones of pistacchio.  I am a die-hard fan of the Old Painted Cottage and since she was featured I have been stalking her blog ever since.  Oh, and did I tell you about her pony???   There's no shame in it Trine, you are an ocean away.  So if you love all things green, aqua and equine, please give her blog a visit and admire her home.

Thank you ladies, for inspiring me to be a better blogger and artist and to push myself.  Please send on to those who make your heart flutter.

Friday, August 19, 2011

That ol' Swedish Trunk

Awhile back I posted about this old trunk...

Our farmer neighbor asked us if we wanted it.  It was destined for 'the burn pile.'

Of course we took it!  He said it was from 1885.  Edith (a family member) had brought the trunk with her when she emmigrated from Sweden.

The trunk was super musty.

The interior was lined with old images... but not that old.  I think it had been relined in maybe the 60's???

I began by peeling off the pages glued inside.  They were adhered to the trunk with what seemed to be a homemade wheat-paste.  Most of it came off easily.

She was uber-grubby.  One person who commented on the trunk earlier suggested I use a mixture of veggie oil and vinegar to clean her up.  I did.  I also added hot water to the mix.

After just an eensy bit of scrubbing....

I was surprised at how well, and how quickly, she cleaned up!  The odor had also been eliminated.  Good ol' fashioned vinegar  ;)

I really thought about what to do next.  It came clean down to, what appeared to be, the original paint.

I know, I know.  The purists will be so angry.
But, I decided to paint her.  I didn't have any sentimental attachment to her, as she wasn't part of my own family history, and that is part of what factored into this decision.

Edith (that's the woman who crossed the Atlantic, and heretofore the trunk is named after) received a paint job in vanilla milkshake.

I really liked the hardware so I decided to leave it alone.

I wanted to do some writing on top of the trunk.  One commentor suggested I paint the year of arrival on her.  I thought it was an excellent idea.  I looked at some fonts online and then scripted them myself onto the trunk top.  I did modify them a bit.

Here is Edith with her script and nail heads painted black.  After this step, my husband commented that it would've been cooler to paint 'Sweden' in Swedish.  Yes, it would have.  But that would have been information that would have been useful to me prior to doing this step.

I then took the orbital sander to the surface and did some distressing.   I really liked the effect I was getting.

I started to lay on a black glaze.  However, this step was immediately halted to a complete stop.  I did not care for the look I was getting, AND it was stripping a lot of my white paint off.  I let it dry out and then repainted that area white and sanded again.

I finished with some MInwax and brought her in the house for some beauty shots.

And there she is folks, 1885, Edith Alexander!

Linking up with:

Savvy Homemade Monday at Erin's HomeSavvy A to Z
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm
{PRIMP}  Primp's Wednesday Party
Debbie Doos Monday Newbie Party
Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Night Special
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday
Laurie Anna's Vintage Home
Show and Tell Friday- My Romantic Home

Monday, August 15, 2011


One day this summer, Dan was driving into town to get some gas.  On the way there, he picked up "Betty."

"Betty" was found on the curb of the highway...a local storage center just off the road.  True prairie dove style.  Storage centers are hot spots for pickin'.  People always end up throwing away what they put in there anyway.

Well, Betty had some damaged corners (which Dan repaired in this photo already with wood putty and filler).  She also was lined with very ugly avacado and black FLOCKED contact paper.  But, she boasted beautiful hardware and a '1948' stamp on her back.   Forties' furniture--- cool!

She received a good sanding, a coat of Ace primer, and several coats of paint.  Then, she got her spa treatment with the orbital sander for distressing.  We also had to replace the two glass knobs on the bottom cabinets.  We still thought she was rather stuffy, so Dan replaced the front panel with chicken wire.  He built a frame of slender wood and then stapled the wire directly to it.  The frame was then inserted into the panel door and carefully nailed in.

Now she is more airy, and I honestly feel like she can breathe. 

When the contact paper was peeled away she was so excited because it had stifled her for decades.  She was trashed on the roadside and then she was found.   This old gal has life in her, yet!!
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