Monday, December 13, 2010

One Bird

Collections, Collections

We all have them... collections.  Whether they are of rocks, throw pillows, figurines, books or candles, they can become borderline obsessions. I could go on and on,  I mean one can really picture themselves on an episode of 'Hoarders' if you don't keep them under control.  Look around your home, you will probably notice a lot of 'a-like' items... yes, these are your collections.  The best way to display your treasures, are to group like items together, otherwise they tend to look like a lot of stuff and not a contained collection.  For example try grouping all of your shells in various apothecary jars in a bookshelf then maybe scatter the larger shells on stacks of books within the same bookshelf.
 A few of my collections/obsessions are matches, candles (who doesn't), black and white pictures and corks:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chalkboard Paint

For those of you that know me, you know I love to paint with chalkboard paint. Pretty much anything that doesn't move will or has received a coat of the stuff. I have attached a couple of examples; one is of a 'what-the-heck-should-I-hang' on that empty space make-shift wall art... two MDF boards I painted, the second is of an (inherited with the house) fridge, and the third is of the hallway closet. The fun thing about chalkboard paint is of course the ability to use chalk! You or someone in your home can let their inner artist out. You can also make lists or write messages. Some other great ideas for chalkboard paint would be to paint a square in the dining room to maybe add a menu, a kid's room, or you can paint on glassware and label names of the contents. I have even been playing around with the idea of painting river rocks, then write sayings on them to place in a glass jar. Or you can label the rocks with different food dishes or cheese options for a buffet... the ideas are endless.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010


Blue Jay in white..


One of the perks to living near water is driftwood. I absolutely, absolutely love collecting a variety of things that nature provides, but driftwood has to be one of my favorites. Here are a couple of finds that I have incorporated into my home. The first picture is a piece I thought looked like a deer mount, the second are small pieces hung on a string. The third was a find I turned into instant wall art.... and the fourth were found planks probably from a dock that I hung as a headboard.
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Wall ReDo

My dining room wall before and after: At first I had the fork, knife spoon art... which was okay, but I needed something with a little more impact.  I had seen a very cool, rusty old tin wall in one of the local wineries here in town and wanted to replicate the look. I didn't have much luck finding a piece of tin that was already rusted, so I bought a galvanized piece at my local hardware store. I had the ol' hubs cut it and install it for me with rivets (I wanted them to show). I then applied a 'rust' treatment using acrylic paint. I had a tealight wall sconce that I then attached to the center (individual tealights would also be fun). At night it illuminates the tin with a beautiful reflective glow. What do you think?
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Coffee Table/Chest

With the Holidays around the corner our stress levels rise and we start to run around like deranged chickens with their heads cutoff, or turkeys... to try to make everything 'perfect'. We seem to think our families and friends need to believe that we live in perfect homes with never a thing askew! Ya right!? Not having the right amount of plates, glassware, linens, or a centerpiece are easy fixes.. but when it comes to furniture, that can be a little tricky and at times expensive.  Such a predicament happened to me when I needed a coffee table. I did not want to have to buy a new one and was really wanting a vintage/distressed table anyway. With that I went on a quest searching through many second hand stores.  I did finally find a chest for $25!  I purchased some $5 casters...and voila! instant table with built in storage. So for a total of $30 I had a 'new' coffee table that added instant charm, with all its dents and rust... and if someone spills, scratches or stains the top, it will only add to the patina. This is great for my OCD issues.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010


You know we all have them. Tchotchkes, whether they were given to us or we tend to have serious addiction issues with collecting these lovely items.. they are in our homes.  Some of us do not realize they are small, worthless pieces of crap.  To us they are decorative knick knacks with little or no purpose, but can be sentimental and pretty (sometimes only to ourselves).  If you have a hard time recognizing them or are in denial.... just look around your house and whatever a burgler wouldn't probably a chotchie.
With that,  I thought I would scour Goodwill to find a couple of bird figurines.  Yes, I like bird chotchies!  I actually had a hard time finding some that weren't too over the top, ones with sayings or cutsie hearts ( I do have some taste..haha).  I managed to find a gold 'leafed' one and another one at the local Dollar Store.  My goal was to spray paint them with white spray paint to make them look modern. Think about using the spray paint in a gloss finish to give them a ceramic look.  I have seen quite a few versions of this in high end catalogs and thought I would try it myself.  Take a look at the results.  You can of course do this in any color, black, red, or even a fun chartreuse! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Decorating with stripes can make a huge impact! The last picture with the fireplace has very subtle stripes. I used the same color just used two different finishes, satin vs. gloss.

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Natural Decor

Bring nature into your life. Flowers, driftwood, rocks, etc.
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Monday, November 1, 2010


Wishing everyone has the time to notice the beauty of Fall...

Monday, October 25, 2010

DIY Match Boxes

You have probably seen the match boxes you can purchase at cute little boutiques that have fun prints on them.  I absolutely love collecting matches, whether they come from a bar or purchased at a shop.  I thought I'd take the idea and put my own twist on it. I'd try painting them.  I also did a decoupage one..
How nice and 'thrifty' to make a small gift for someone.  Just add a candle with your match box creation.. instant one-of-a-kind gift!  Great idea for hostess gifts....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Glasses, glasses

Thanksgiving seems to be the holiday that I choose to run around and stress about what I am going to use to set the table.  In the past I would wait til the last minute to realize that I never had enough glasses to set a 'perfect' table for my company/family.  I would then choose to run around in search for the mega box o'glasses that are usually  stacked in aisles or on tables in large box stores for people in the same situation. Unprepared losers.. I manage to get thru the table setting disaster only to find out that I will soon approach yet the same problem the following year. How did I always end up with only 5 of the 12 glasses?

 I needed to become creative and yes, thrifty and begin to 'collect' stemware/glasses.  I would scour thrift stores, garage sales and antique markets.  I came to realize quickly that the glassware they were trying to sell were only sold in sets of two, three, five... etc.  Sometimes  I would only find one... the ONE I always fell in love with of couse.  Other people were in the same situation I was and were trying to pawn off their cast offs.
And voila, creative solution:  Buy sets of two or four and mix n match! Yes... I have since become addicted to searching out fun and colorful glasses to set for the holidays or even simple get-to-gethers.  So when a glass magically disappears or accidentally breaks.... I don't freak out, it just gives me an excuse to find new ones.  Ha!

With the holidays quickly approaching, here are a couple of my favorite warm drinks to serve in your new found glassware:

3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar or honey
1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange w/10 whole cloves inserted
1 bottle cheap red wine
warm over stove and serve.  if you don't wanna be martha stewartishy...i buy premade mulling spices and put in cloth tea bags...

Hot Buttered Rum
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup sweat cream butter
2 cups vanilla ice cream (softened)
boiling water
combine sugar, b sugar and butter in saucepan. stir til dissolved
in bowl w/mixer combine mixture with ice cream and beat til smooth
store refrigerated (up to 2 weeks)
for each serving, fill mug with 1/4 mixture, 1 ounce rum and 3/4 boiling water, sprinkle w/nutmeg
You may want to play with the different levels..more mixture with less water...rum...etc.  Of course the non adults love this without the rum. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Fall has set in to lovely Northwestern Montana.. and one of my fondest Fall memories from childhood were roasted chestnuts. Walking around the Holiday Markets in Germany with warm chestnuts in a simple paper cone. And the fragrance..spellbounding. My dad's large fingers peeling them for me so as to not have to take my mittens off. To this day I still try to find that smell in store bought candles.

One brisk morning my son and I ventured out on a quick stroll with the dog, and to my surprise we found some of the lime green/brown spiky pods on the ground, surrounding a tree, a chestnut tree! We started pulling apart the fleshy covering to expose our treasures. I was so excited! My son thought I had lost my mind when I explained that you roast and eat these 'nuts'.

I realize that I should have taken the time and roast them outside on our fire pit, on coals or over a gas range in a perforated cast iron pan so that the flames engulf the shell and they get slightly blackened.... but I went ahead and 'googled' how to do it inside.. the oven. Yes, it would be easier to have a street vendor hand you over a bag or paper cone of fresh, warm chestnuts, but the smell and experience I had with my son will hopefully remain with him. And maybe he will be on a stroll with his children someday and stumble upon a chestnut tree...

*preheat oven to 425

*with a paring knife, cut an x on each

*arrange on baking sheet with x pointing up

*roast 15-25 min, til tender and easy to peel

*peel while warm

Enjoy the rich, sweet tender chestnuts with a beautiful red wine.
Make sure they are not horse chestnuts! You can't eat those..