Sunday, December 29, 2013

All in the Family!

I'm so excited to share these photos with you
 because MY SISTER painted this adorable table and chairs. 
Didn't she do a great job? 

My sister is an inveterate "curb-side shopper." 
She finds her treasures while walking her dog,
and then races home to get the truck
in order to snag the prize before anyone else does.
She has quite the knack for finding wonderful furniture this way!

This cute fabric inspired her color scheme.
She has just begun to dive into the world of painted furniture,
and I'm delighted to cheer her on.
I wish we lived near each other so we could 'play with paint' together!

Now she faces the challenge of deciding to keep the furniture,
or to find it a new home!

Here's hoping the New Year finds her painting more furniture.

And that's my hope for you, too.
Paint something - whether large or small -
and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment,
knowing you have something that is uniquely yours.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas!

There was time for one quick painting project yesterday
....and this one was for our house.

Months ago I painted a pair of bookcases in our den dark olive green
 -- a lovely change from their previous golden oak.  
I had hoped to replace the clear glass in the doors with vintage, seeded glass,
 but given the cost, it seemed a frivolous thing to do.
Click to see how spray paint can turn clear glass into vintage mirror.
I was thrilled with the improvement!
 No more looking at the messiness that quickly accumulates on the shelves.

With this project quickly finished,
there was time to make one more batch of cookies,
 using a recipe shared by a friend, Miss Niki,
for the best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!

If you love your cookies melt-in-your-mouth-moist,
then this is a recipe for you. 
The key is to let the dough rest for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator. 
 This allows the gluten in the flour to relax and not make your cookies hard.  
 Don't ask me how or why, I just know it works.

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package  Ghiardelli bittersweet chocolate baking chips
  • 1 package Ghiardelli semi-sweet chocolate baking chips
  • sea salt for sprinkling

1. Sift the flours, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl and set aside
2. Using electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended.  Add the vanilla extract.  Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until blended.  Stir in the chocolate baking chips until evenly distributed through the dough.
3.  Cover the dough by pressing  plastic wrap against it.  Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
4.  When ready to bake, let the dough come to room temperature so you can scoop it.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line or grease your baking sheets.  Scoop dough and place on baking sheet.
I use an ice cream scoop - about 2 Tablespoons worth for each cookie, but you can make the cookies larger if you wish.  Don't press the dough down -- let it stay the way it is.  Sprinkle the cookies lightly with sea salt.
5.  Bake 10-12 minutes for smaller cookies, or 18-20 minutes for the larger ones.
6.  Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheet, then move them to another surface to cool.

Can freeze these for up to 2 months, but they won't last that long!


....and Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Detour Around Town: It's Looking like Christmas

This week I attended a fund-raising event
sponsored by local charity that serves needy children in our county. 
The Macomb Charitable Foundation
 was established by a woman I am proud to know, Miss Shelly.
She works passionately 
to alleviate the suffering of underprivileged children and their families. 
Her energy is boundless.
And I admire her very much.
The event was a Christmas Walk,
a chance to visit six beautifully decorated houses.
Each one was different -- each a beautiful reflection of their owner's lives.

Would you  like to take a peek?

This was an amazing light display,
 with the focal point being a village that represents
the homeowner's family and neighbors.
We saw gorgeous trees

Grand stairways

Lush mantles

And kitchens to warm the soul.

Best of all, because of the event's success,
the Foundation is able to assist more than 500 children this season.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Painted Headboard

For years, I've been thinking about a new headboard for the bedroom. 
I drooled over this one -- but lovely tho' it is, it's too expensive.
Nikola Bed - Farmhouse Collection
I thought about building one -- but never found the time.
Or maybe a fabric covered one -- no, since we have cats, 
it would be a magnet for their hair.

Then quite unexpectedly, I saw this in a re-sale shop.
.....and I was smitten.

It was tall.  It was the "right" shape.
It had interesting details. And it was already painted!
Thank you, to the unknown artist.  
...and there's always a BUT isn't there?

My Dearly Beloved didn't seem to share my enthusiasm.
He looked warily at the monolith leaning on his workbench.,

"Yes, it is  too wide, king sized, and we needed a queen,
But it looks easy enough to cut down, doesn't it?"

If he had any disparaging thoughts, he wisely kept silent,
though I suspect inwardly he was saying, "did she really buy this?!"

Now, I'm aware that Dearly Beloved's daily habit
 is to do the least desirable task first. 
He reasons that once the job is done, the rest of the day is stress-free.

So, when he began to cut down the headboard before 9 am,
I knew it wasn't because he was thrilled to have a new piece of furniture!

Still, I had to ask,
"Are you doing this because you really, like the headboard,
or because you just want to get it over with?"

"I'm doing it because I love you."
...and that was enough.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

3 Ways to Change a Mirror

Sometimes the perfect mirror presents itself.
The size and design are just right.
But the color is all wrong.
Or the technique looks inelegant.

I tell my clients to make the purchase.
Don't hesitate ---
the finish can be changed to fit their d├ęcor.
Here are three ways to get the look you want.
1. Dry Brush 

Huh? What's that?

It's using a paint brush with just a little paint on the tip to tickle on the paint.
The result shows the brush strokes, 
and let's some of the background color show. 

Like this. 
Initially this mirror had an unappealing, splotchy silver finish.
We wanted something more muted with warmer colors.

Modern Masters WARM SILVER was dry brushed on top to correct the color.
You know from last week's post that this color is one of my "go-to" silver colors!
By adding some dark brown glaze onto the molding, 
the mirror now looks much nicer in my client's room.


2. Silver or Gold Leaf

It's a bit messy....but so-oo worth it!

Your local craft store will have the spray adhesive
and leaf that you'd need.
Try it out on a small project first --
a box, a finial, or lamp base.
You'll be hooked!

This mirror went from Gold Leaf

to Silver Leaf.


3.  Rattle Can

Ahh, the easiest of all! 
A simple can of Spray Paint.

When we modeled our bath, I simply sprayed the old mirror frame white!
It was an economical and quick fix that can't be beat.


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