Thanksgiving / Pre-Christmas Decor

With Thanksgiving next week and Christmas soon to follow I was ready to clear out Fall décor and start thinking about Christmas. Not quite ready to get a tree but wanting to start the Christmas cheer sooner than later. I love, love, love Christmas time and all my decorations and I only get to enjoy them for a month each year.
Here is my Thanksgiving/ Pre-Christmas mantel:
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Made these little mason jar snow globes last year with some of my grandkiddos:

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My bedroom retreat layered with quilts and pillows:

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So that’s a sneak peek into my home at the moment. As the Thanksgiving turkey is being made into leftovers the real Christmas decorating will begin with JOY !

Come back again after Thanksgiving and see my home glitter with Christmas cheer !

Only Took Me 33 Years to Finish !

This past week I finished a project that I started a looooooong time ago. I think at least 33 years is more like it.
I had this little wooden step stool that was my Gramma’s when I was a little girl. I used to stand on it to bake with her in her warm kitchen and even sit on it at the table when I was really small. Ok I’m still pretty small, but this was in a little toddler type of small. Anyhow…. I ended up with it when I had my first child,I wanted to use it with my children the way my Gramma did with me. So I started to strip the many layers of paint off the well worn wood. Using some paint striper that you applied and let eat away at the paint was a pain and the toxic smell made me decide it wasn’t worth the effort. So my little step stool moved from house to house usually stuffed in the garage or attic waiting to be finished….Someday. I couldn’t bare to part with it since I had such fond warm memories associated with it.

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It started when I was looking for some paint to use on some vintage doors I want to convert to a headboard and another one to a chalkboard when I came across Annie Sloan Chalk Paint(http://www.anniesloan.com/). The stuff is magic ! I watched all the YouTube videos I could to learn the application process and various techniques.

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The best selling point to me was’ You don’t need to prep the surface, just clean it if it needs it with soap and water lightly, no primer, no sanding , just start painting’.

I KNOW ! Crazy hunh? Sure you can lightly sand if you want to remove some imperfections but for me it was motivation enough to give it a try.

So I decide to test the claims of the paint on my little step stool before I tackled a larger project. It did not disappoint ! I am a FAN !

Before :

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Here it is after one coat:

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Yes you can paint in your house ! No fumes or odor ! It does suggest you leave a window open for ventilation. Additional information is given on the can of paint or at Annie Sloan’s web site.(http://www.anniesloan.com/)

And finally 2 coats and a coat of the clear wax:

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The paint covers great and dries fast. Colors can be mixed and the choices are fantastic. I used 50% Old White with 50% French Linen for a light gray look.

No longer stashed in the garage or collecting dust in the attic now the little step stool sits in my kitchen waiting for my granddaughter to stand on it to bake cookies with me.

You can distress a piece or leave it finished in a more contemporary look.  The possibilities are plentiful and only limited by your imagination. I encourage you to watch a few videos of the process and decide if it would work for your next painting project. http://www.youtube.com/anniesloanofficial

I can hardly wait to start my next one!

Linda

Vintage Travel Theme

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For the past few months I have been working on a project with a vintage travel theme. I have hunted down vintage luggage, globes, maps and travel paraphernalia. I have more ideas than I can incorporate but it is all starting to come together.

Pinterest is inspiring with it’s abundance of creative suggestions. However with vintage  items I can’t just run to the store and purchase what I need or want, instead I spend my time searching garage and yard sales as well as family attics for treasures that fit the theme. I have been repurposing found items and crafting some of my own to pull it all together. I am still working on this endeavor but I thought I would share what I have so far.

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License Plate Wall Sign

The map covered letters ‘TRAVEL’ at the top of this post are available at World Market for $69.99. I think I will be doing my own version of these with the maps I have.

I hope to share some of my repurposing and crafts in future post, for example I am in the process of painting a road on canvas and it is turning out pretty well so far.

I think the theme would make a great office, family room or boy’s room décor. From the looks of things on Pinterest it has been  a common wedding theme as well.

I will post about the completed project after the event in November.

In the meantime if you have any old die cast cars or airplanes you would like to part with I would be interested as well old globes or travel books. This is a non-profit event and donations of such items would be fantastic.

Off  to finish painting my road !

Linda

Not Quite Ready for Fall….Mantel #1

Seems like everyone is posting about Fall and sharing inspiring projects and I am still here hanging on to Summer as long as I can. As a matter of fact the forecast is for 91 degrees today so to me it’s still Summer until the weather changes.
I did take a walk on our trails today and grabbed a few branches from the hazelnut trees. They always seem to lose their leaves first and show the first signs Fall.
So I succumbed to easing into the season change and did a quick mantel decorating. Believe me this will last 2 weeks tops, but I am just not ready for pumpkins and such yet.
So here is my quick fall mantel with things I had on hand :

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Now out to lay in the sun !
Linda

Drying Hydrangeas

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Well it has been a busy summer around here and blogging has been low on the list of priorities for me. I hope to pick up where I left off and post more often.

This is the time of year where I want to hold on to a little bit of summer for a while longer and one way I do that is by drying some of my hydrangeas. I have found this is the best time of the year for easy and successful preservation of the lush blooms.

I have many colors and varieties in my yard and they change color as the weather cools and days become shorter. From vibrant blue to shades of green and lavender they hang heavy on the stems.

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I start by choosing blossoms that have been blooming for a while. I have found that new tender blossoms don’t dry and just shrivel up. They even start to dry on the plant if conditions are right. I cut the stem long enough to fit into my chosen container and remove the majority of the leaves if not all of them.

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Once the leaves are removed I place the stems in small amount of water. As the water evaporates the hydrangeas dry out and they last and last. I toss them when they get dusty or I am ready to replace them with something else. DSC_0043

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So easy and beautiful too !

Linda

PS: I saw they were selling a 3 stem bunch of vintage looking hydrangeas blossoms (same as I have shown here ) for $14.99 at Whole Foods. I think cutting and drying your own is a much better value, like say” FREE”. If you don’t have them in your yard stop and ask a neighbor who has a shrub bursting with blossoms if you can snip a couple, who knows they might just be flattered you think their flowers are worth preserving and share their bounty with you.

Balconies of Barcelona

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Maybe it’s because I love houses and architecture so very much that I was drawn to the personal spaces of the people of Barcelona. Sure there were many famous sights and history abound, but I found myself looking up to the windows and balconies above me. Each balcony gave a peek to the everyday people of this amazing city and the beautiful iron work and Spanish details captivated me.
So I hope you enjoy the images I captured and get a sense of the beauty of the ‘Balconies of Barcelona’.

 

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My other obsession…. Doors ! And yes I have file of Doors of the Mediterranean and will post those soon.

Ciao for now,

Linda

Our Amazing Mediterranean Adventure

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We just returned home after being gone for 3 weeks in Europe, 12 of the days on Mediterranean Cruise with friends.
It was a vacation of a lifetime and so very amazing. History and sights that gave us a taste of Europe and begs us to return someday.
We began with traveling to Barcelona, Spain and spending 4 days there before we embarked on our 12 day Western Mediterranean cruise. Six couples and almost 3 weeks together and it was incredible. The most wonderful, fun, loving people and I can’t wait to do another adventure together.

After traveling from Seattle to Barcelona we arrive at our apartment that we all shared for the first 4 days of our vacation. Here are some highlights from our days in Barcelona, Spain:

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P1000260Our apartment was on the top floor, dining room in turret.

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Barcelona exceeded our expectations and was an incredible city to visit. We used the ‘ Hop on, Hop off ” tour bus to get us around the sights and it was the best way to see the city and experience the different points of interest in the short time we had. We made the most of each day and memories to last a lifetime.

That’s just the beginning so check back as I post of our cruise and highlights of our ports of call.

Ciao,

Linda

Window Trim Project Update

Have you ever started a project and then it creates another project and another project…. and on and on…….? Well that has been the case with my idea to add some more detailed trim to our home.

First having the front columns redone and while that was fantastic in the construction , they then needed to be painted and calked and while we were at it noticed other areas in our front entry that need some attention, like gaps that needed calking and areas that just needed repair. So far the columns are painted and the rest of the entry is waiting for touch up paint. I will say more about that in a moment.

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Now on to the window trim. While it took our contractor a bit longer due to weather and a change in how the bay window was to be addressed it turned out nice enough. Now came the time to paint the trim and siding that was replaced and also surrounding areas. Trim no problem, paint matched and went on like a breeze. Our siding color however…. not so easy. After living here 7 years and maybe initially the painters didn’t apply the paint very thick, and the fact that our paint color was discontinued(which they still have the color formula so it should match right?) and the company reformulated the base, needless to say it didn’t look exactly the same going on. It appeared lighter and so minor touch up of the calked areas made it look like some sort of camo/ splotchy disaster. Not happy! We waited a week to see if the humidity and temperature were affecting drying time and hoping it would blend it. Didn’t happen. So we ( I say we but I mean my dear husband since I can’t reach most of the areas and he is a much better painter than I), are in the process of repainting the entire deck area. Yeah, not what we planned to do for this simple “touch -up ” project.  So the entry will likely have to be painted more extensively than we had anticipated. ARG!

So here is the window trim project and the area around the deck we are working on:

Before :

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After:

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We’re getting there slowly but surely. We are not planning to paint the entire house at this point and hoping we can hold off for a few more years before we tackle that. As for now we just want to finish this phase and enjoy the rest of the summer without any more house projects. Is that even possible? We shall see.

Make it a great day!

Linda

Spring into Summer Front Entry

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and traditionally a day of family and flowers.

I have been out all morning planting seeds and gardening. Love the sight of that little seedling poking up through the soil.

While I was outside I decided it was time to give the front entry some lovin’ and freshen it up a bit for the season.

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Did you know Costco has some lovely large white hydrangeas for $14.99 each ? They are fantastic ! I think I want to pick up a couple more they are so amazing.

Window Trim Update:   Construction is completed in regard to our window trim project, but we still need to paint. The bay window on the deck was a little tricky and took more work and time than we had anticipated. Now we need to pressure wash the deck and siding a bit and paint to finish it off. I will share when we are completely finished.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mommy’s, Mom and Grammie’s and Mimi’s out there. How blessed I am to have been called all of the above. Best job titles in the world I would say. As a mother of 4 and grandmother of 9, I wear the title with honor and humility. Grateful for the legacy and heritage from my Mom of how to love sacrificially and unconditionally and trust in Jesus. Living a life that passes that on to the next generation and the next and the next….. is what I’m praying for. Thankfully I see the blessing of that in the lives of my daughters with their husbands and children, loving Jesus and touching other peoples lives with generousity and compassion.               What more could a mother ask for?

So again… Happy Mother’s Day !

Linda

Window Trim Project

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We’ve started another project that was on my ‘ home improvement to do’ list . This time it is trimming out the windows in the back of our home.

I think some builders cut corners with less trim work as to save money and knowing the house will sell anyway just trim the windows in the front of the house and not the back. That was the case at our house.

Front :

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Back:

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Somehow to me it just looked unfinished. We didn’t want to start a huge project but wanted to add some detail to the back of our house we thought this would help. So the project began yesterday.

Before:

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So far:

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This is just the beginning as we have 2 stories and the windows on the deck area to be wrapped and trimmed.

Here is where I need your help :

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We are not sure how to trim out this area. Sort of a bay window ( there’s a 3rd window you can’t see from this photo on the far right side) and the windows aren’t evenly spaced from the corners. I am thinking we take off the white trim and totally retrim it as one big window and then we add the trim on the corners as needed above and below the window trim. We would need wider boards to cover the spaces between the window and the corners and no siding would be shown in the window area. Does that make sense? I don’t exactly know how to describe it and really not sure that is the best approach. I could really use some advice, needed before Saturday as that is when our friend will be back to finish up. HELP!

A friend of mine has this around a group of windows at her house:

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Her home is one where they didn’t cut corners and the details are amazing. I am hoping for neat and finished with improvement from the current appearance.

Please post your suggestions and if you can attach a photo. I have searched Houzz and Pinterest and still can’t find a photo of exactly what I should do.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have,

Linda