Christmas starts here…

With this…


And this…

When I was a child, my family celebrated every aspect of Christmas, beginning with the Advent Wreath.  During Advent, we’d gather together in the living room after the dinner dishes were done, dim the lights and get on our knees for prayer.

Mom usually read the prayers from a sheet she got from the church.  Dad would lead the rosary, and the littlest one of us (with help) would light the candle of the week.

That little candle, and the ones that followed, brought light to the dark room, and a sense of connection and warmth to all of us.  Each week, the anticipation would build, until Christmas Eve finally arrived.

It’s been 30 years since I lived at home, but the warmth, joy and love of this season speaks to me even more loudly than it did then.

And it always started with a candle laden wreath.  Mom and Dad’s was always made of fresh fir branches Dad gathered.   Mine will not be.

To start, I used a defunct, wired, wrought iron “chandelier” light fixture that had been stored in the basement by the previous tenants.

I dismantled it totally, removed the wiring and gave it a good cleaning.

Then, the creative fun started.  I wanted this piece to be able to sit flat on a table, so I played with the pieces until I got a configuration that would work sitting on a tabletop or hung by ribbon.

I scavenged greenery from the Salvation Army wreath I purchased last year.

Using florists wire, I secured the greenery to  the chandelier.  A few ribbons and candles, and my Advent Wreath is ready!

chandelier top

At the moment, I’m keeping it on the table that will house the 3 ft tree I’ve got stashed somewhere.  It may migrate as I work on more decorating.  For now, though, it’s a touch of my family, my childhood and Christmas – front and center in the living room.

Advent Wreath


I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Dining Decision

For months, literally, I’ve treated our dining area as nothing more than a hallway.

On one side, a glass topped table…  On the other, a brown paper bag console table.

That’s it.

No art.  In fact, the only ornamentation was the fruit bowl I put together.  The console has exactly three candles and a mirror.

I’ve managed to get the rest of the room almost in shape.  I even managed to get new curtains from the local Salvation Army (for $9.99!).  The room does need artwork and some tweaking, but that will come in time.

Back to the dining area….

The glass-topped table and modern chairs just aren’t working in sync with the rest of the room.  They’re just too modern and cold, while the rest of the room is comfy and traditional(ish).   It left me uninspired… to say the least.

I had a breakthrough today!  My local Salvation Army had a solid wood, round, pedestal table!  One that needs work – but you can’t expect perfection for $24.99!  Right now, it’s in two pieces in my living room, waiting for me to decide what to do with it!

And there is the dilema.

I’m thinking a white base, dark stained top and a compass rose overlay.

The Ogre?  Well, he’s not on board with the white base, although he is very approving of the compass rose.  I suggested black…. he doesn’t think that will work, either.

This decision could be a while in making.

I’ll keep you posted as to who wins!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

An Empty Guest Room Reveal

I had BARELY gotten the guest room in order when my Mom came to visit.  She’s spending the weekend with my sister before heading back home to Dad, so the room is empty and ready for photos.

You know what?  I’d gladly skip the photos and still have her here.  Really.  After all, what use is a pretty room if it doesn’t have anyone to enjoy it?

That’s where sharing with you comes in!  I hope you like it as much as she did.  Mind you, I didn’t manage to get photos of the really cute little basket of toiletries or the two new copies of her favorite books, so you’ll just have to imagine those!

When you first open the door, you’re greeted with a doorless closet.  It was the perfect size to slide in the dresser with mirror.  There’s even room on each side of the dresser to hang a few articles of clothing from the rod.  As you can tell, I haven’t staged much yet… but I’m working on it!

The dresser is topped with cut-outs from plastic overlays I purchased at the Dollarama and painted with Benjamin Moore’s Turquoise Powder.  I glued them in place, but haven’t yet gotten a sealer on there!

Here’s a shot of what you see when looking into the mirror from the doorway.  The window treatment is simply lace mesh curtains with a roller blind.  Simple, light and airy – but the roller blind does allow the room to be sufficiently dark at night time.  (There is a stop light just a quarter block outside of this window, and the light can be distracting!)

The mirror was a Salvation Army find.  I removed the mirror from the ornate resin frame it had been in and beaded the  edge with a peyote stitch.  I used plastic pearls and turquise sequins to create a “frame”, then hung it centered with the dresser.  Here’s a closer shot of the trim.

If you turn your head slightly, while still standing in the doorway, you’ll see the rattan chair I found curbside!  I just had to do a few repairs, then paint it white for it to be perfect here.

The hanging lamp came from a local yard sale and, after I painted over the turned oak beads on it, it fit in perfectly!  It’s a hit of color that isn’t found ANYWHERE else in the house and casts such a nice warm glow when lit.

I hung the Keep Calm sign higher than I normally would for placement beside a chair, but I’m planning on putting a table in here and didn’t want the sign to be obstructed!

If you stand with your back to the chair, you get to see the Chinese Silk Embroidery artwork that my friend, Laura, gave me.  It’s PERFECT here!  I didn’t do a thing to it other than hang it.

Now that we’ve come through the “foyer” of the room, let’s have a look at the rest, shall we?

The lamp bases also came from the local yard sale.  They were originally black wrought iron that a previous owner had painted white.  A few coats of red and I was very happy with them!  Simple white shades from the Salvation Army finish them off.  The little red dish is perfect for putting your jewelery in or for setting down a glass of water.

The ornamental frame I removed from the oval mirror became the basis to the “Thompson 1987″ artwork I made.  With the white, yellow and turquoise, it has exactly the cottagey feel I like for this room.

I used the overlays on the night stand I refurbished as well.  This time, though, I placed them on the front of the piece.  It was a bit challenging to work around the handles, so I ended up simply painting in a portion of the design to keep it relatively seamless.

I made the headboard and the table topper out of fabric my friend Roxane downsized.  The bed skirt fabric came from the same source!

Another oval!  This mirror came from Laura, and didn’t need a thing.  It brings a nice touch of wood to the room.  The oval table was made by my grandfather about 40 years ago.  I’ll be re-doing the top of it, and you’ll get to see more of it then!

This framed English cottage print was given to me by a friend several years ago.  It seems to have found it’s home.

With your back to the framed print and the window, this is your view.

Now you’ve had the grand tour!  I hope you enjoyed it.

There are still some projects to be done in this room.  I’m working on a cushion for the chair, and I definitely need some decorative pillows for the bed.  The dresser and night stand both need sealer.  My grandfather’s table needs a bit of work and I definitely need to figure out how to decorate that closet shelf!

Nonetheless, it was pretty and ready for my Mom.  I really like this room.  It’s sunny and feminine, but not so girly that a male guest will cringe.  In fact, when the Ogre is working bizarre shifts, I may even find myself sleeping here – and it won’t be a hardship at all!

If you have any suggestions for the closet shelf, I’d love to hear them!  That really has me stumped.

Sharing this here…

UndertheTableandDreamingBecolorful DIY Show Off
52 Mantels In The Old Road

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Thrift Store Find – With Ombre!

Last week, I went hunting for a basket for the guest room.  I wanted something that could be carried, so I could fill it with toiletries and our guests could carry it to the bath and back without having to juggle things.

I found this for $2.99.  A little worse for the wear, but the perfect shape and size!

A few coats of Stone White later…

It was OK, but I wasn’t loving it.

Then I remembered all of the ombre paint I had mixed up for the Keep Calm sign!

Darkest color.

Second color…

Third color…


Closeup of the ombre…

Now, I’m loving it!  I think it needs something on the handle.  And, of course, toiletries!  But it will do what I wanted it to, and it’s kind of cute!


I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday Fangles – Patio Style!

In the last two weeks, I managed score a few pieces for the beautiful (a girl can dream!) patio I’m planning.

At Salvation Army, I found this table with two chairs…

The only things these pieces need is a good scrub.  And, of course, cushions for the chairs.

But curb shopping took care of the cushions for me…

Not the colors I’m planning on going with, but a coat or two of Krylon Fusion spray paint will fix that!  I’m not worried about the feel… they already feel plastic-y.  The’ve gotten a good wash and have dripped dry, so they’re ready to be redone.

The last item I found was also at the curb… and I even drove around the block to approach it from a better angle!

She’s in really bad shape, I’m afraid.  I think I can salvage the back, but the seat slats will HAVE to be replaced.  Not only are they worn and rotting, the very back one is broken.

But the iron is beautiful.  Here’s a glimpse of detail…

Isn’t she beautiful?  She’s going to be wonderful when she’s refinished.

Total for this weeks’ haul…. $20 for the table and two chairs.  And a few more projects for my list!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Wee Wallet Wednesday – More lamps!

The Salvation Army has been my go-to place for lamp bases.  And this explains why.

This ginger jar lamp was one of a pair.  At 18″ tall, they are the perfect size and shape for the console behind my sofa.

The color and the condition of the “gold” left something to be desired, but the price certainly was right.

First, I saw the blue tag.  The one that says $5.99.  And I certainly thought that was cheap enough.

But then, I turned the piece and saw the red and white sticker…

Yup, the sticker that says “Last Chance $.99″

They came home with me.  Both of them.  They’ll be sprayed with Krylon Silver, and I’ll see how the $.99 shades I picked up the same day look with them.

Really… $3.96 for TWO full sized lamps.  That I like, and may well love once they’re redone.  The only thing that would be better would be free.

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Killing grass in my own backyard!

Now, before you call the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Flora, I have a good reason to destroy the grass in my back yard.  Yes, I really do.  Several reasons, as a matter of fact.

1.  The sod that was laid (whenever THAT was) wasn’t properly rolled.  I could literally lift up strips of it if I chose.  That wouldn’t be very attractive once the dry weather hits, now would it?

2.  25 square feet of grass really doesn’t add anything to the value or usage of my back yard – which is tiny as it is!

3.  The grass was all in the eastern side of the yard – the west had patio tile.   The ratio of grass to tile was probably 2 to 3.

4.  I don’t own a mower.  Or trimmer.  Or edger.  Or any other grass related tool.  And paying for something to care for spindly, sparse grass just doesn’t work for me.

So, I am in the process of killing it.  If you’re squeamish, let’s call it “removing”.

It’s supposed to be a wonderfully un-seasonally warm weekend here, so I thought I’d take the time to first tidy up my back yard and then plan a new patio arrangement.  A bowling alley patio really isn’t something I’d get a lot of use out of and that’s what was there before.

Now, before you think I’m a far messier person than I’d like to believe I am, I want to reassure you that this is what I FOUND in our backyard.  We moved into this home when the snow was on the ground, and it’s only been in the last two weeks that I saw this mess.

I cleaned this all out on Thursday night, to hit the Friday garbage.  And I was rewarded by getting 6 bags out of the deal.  SIX!!!

I did feel better when I had that accomplished, but then I could see the mis-matched patio stones.  Believe it or not, there are five different patterns here.

The first is a series of 2′ X 2′  squares with a small diamond pattern.  9 of a trellis pattern in 20″ X 30″.  4 of a 2′ X 2′ square pattern tile.  2 red tiles in a trellis pattern and about 8 12″ X 12″ square patterned tile. There’s also a scalloped brick colored edging tile.

What a mess.  It honestly looked like people just kept adding tiles here and there, with no rhyme or reason.

Obviously, that HAS to change.

So, when I got home from work on Friday night, I  put on my painting clothes, my rubber booties and my work gloves.  I started manhandling those patio times out of the ground and moved them into stacks.  Each type of tile will get it’s own tidy pile until I figure out where they will live.

Here’s what it looked like when I finished for the evening.  Just an hour’s worth of work… Because the Ogre MADE me come in for the nummy dinner he cooked.

This is obviously the middle part of this project.    The weather this weekend is supposed to be marvelous – warm and bright.  I’m hoping to finish the demolition portion of this project done on Saturday.  I’m not sure if I’ll move forward on the rebuilding portion yet.  That may have to wait a while longer.

First, of course, I have to plan where the stones are going to go.  Those darn things are heavy!  I don’t want to move them any more than I have to.

And the patio table and chairs?  $20 at the Salvation Army!  I am sooooo the win.  Two chairs and a glass topped table.  The chairs need cushions or a cover, but I’ve got a plan for that, too.

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Don’t be afraid… it’s just a little paint!

With the technology mostly restored, I can get on with other things.  Here’s a bit of an explanation about how I have to do things for now.

Monday, Thursday and Friday, I have enough time to do 3-4 hour projects.   Tuesday and Wednesday are  spent on dance related things and, occasionally, photo editing or blog planning… for both the DIY and dance blogs.  The weekends, unless marred by disaster of some sort (such as technology failure!) are for the bigger things.

This weekend was a tad messed up.  But I did manage to get a few “weekday”-like things done.  Here’s a few shots of what I ended up finishing!

First, the before…



I found this large-ish print at the Salvation Army a while back.  The center of the mat is 11′ X 17″ – exactly what I needed to frame a calendar print I’ve been hoarding for about 5 years!

The frame, glass and mat were in great condition… but the wrong colors for what I had in mind.  That’s a VERY easy fix!

I sanded and I primed…

Sanded and primed

I gave it four coats of regular, old fashioned Oops paint and painted the mat with the same burgundy I’ve used for the candlesticks and wall sconces that will be displayed in the same area.

Painted frame and mat

I left the center portion of the mat the original pinky-white and used a black Sharpie to separate the white from the burgundy section.

Finally, I mounted the calendar print.  It’s from a calendar the Ogre and I got at Costco in 2005.  Each “page” was a double sided copy of Pan Am’s 1940’s travel advertisements.  The lush colors of this one really speak to me.  So much, that I’ve planned a complete display around it.

I haven’t been able to take very good photos of the finished result, but the real thing makes me smile every time I see it.  That, and think of my friend Laura who just came back from Cuba.  I can imagine her dancing to the music, too!

I was able to find a better image of this poster at  This is MUCH closer to the richness of color than I can capture!  Check them out if you’re interested in vintage travel posters.  Their selection is wonderful!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Wee Wallet Wednesday!

For those of us with more taste than budget.  I won’t be putting a price limit on Wee Wallet Wednesday’s, simply because there are so many different price ranges to be explored!

Today’s example comes from Monday’s fail.  Obviously, since I put all the effort into trying to make a pool noodle wreath (without using a pool noodle), I’m rather hesitant to throw out the result.  Even if it is ugly and misshapen.

There’s also another wreath I’ve been working on that just isn’t living up to expectations.  Between the two, though, I just might be able to have a pretty spring wreath!

I’m fortunate enough that I have a glass/screen door in front of my front door.  Because of this, the wreath on my front door isn’t subjected to the elements on a full time basis.  That gives me a few more options.

The first step was to make the fabric covered base more sturdy and green.  Since I didn’t want to sink more $$ into this, I used 2″ wide painter’s tape that was close at hand.

It already looks better!  It’s also a lot sturdier and will be less prone to sagging out of shape.

Then, I gave it a coat of Crayola’s Pearl it!  This was a Dollarama score at $2.  It’s meant to be mixed in with craft paint, but my craft paint supply is still in boxes somewhere.  So I braved it and just went with the pearl medium on it’s own.  This adds a bit of pearly sheen (’cause I’m ALL about bling!).  It also provides a bit of protection to the painter’s tape from the elements.

While that was drying, I cut the long grass strands from the paper roll wreath.   The grasses are plastic, but very delicate.  Each stalk cost me $1 at the Dollarama or $.99 at the Salvation Army.  In all, I had 3  yellow and 3 green on hand.

I started out just applying the green.

But it looked rather sparse…

So I added the yellow…

Pin It

And called it done.  I’ll embellish it more before hanging it, I’m sure but, for now, it’s a pretty decent and cheap spring wreath base.

Cost breakdown-

Failed pool noodle wreath – 1/2 of a $2 camper mat – $1.00

6 strands of grass – $6.00

Painter’s tape – about $1.00 worth

Crayola Pearl it! – $2.00 – and I used less than 1/20th of the bottle

Wire and hot glue – from my stash… but would cost $2.00 at Dollarama.

There you have it.  If I went out right now to purchase everything to make it, I’d spend approximately $12.  Since it was all here in my living room, it was, effectively, FREE!

I like free.

- – -

Of course, it was only AFTER I thought I had created something new that I realized Allison at House of Hepworths had done a spring/summer grass wreath.  Check it out here.  Hers even has pinwheels!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.