Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bead Board Wallpaper Backsplash


A couple of Saturdays ago, I spent the day putting up a new backsplash in the kitchen.

Although we want to use real wood bead board someday, right now the wallpaper version was a much more affordable compromise.  And actually, it’s amazing how much it looks like the real thing.







Although it wasn’t terribly difficult to put up, I realized pretty quickly that it was important to measure carefully.




Each section contained an outlet or some corner I needed to cut around.

The hardest section was around the window.




Because there was a repeat in the pattern, although subtle, I had to to put in a tiny “patch” section, right behind the faucet.  If I hadn’t, the seam would have fallen just to the right of the window.  It would have been more noticeable than the tiny one I did behind the faucet. Can you see it? 




I also made sure to add a couple extra inches in length for each section, to tuck behind the counter.  We may still add a narrow trim piece as the base of the backsplash, but since I’m undecided, we left it as is for now.




I also spray painted the outlet covers white, to help them blend better with the wallpaper. But I liked the slight variation of the switch plate whites, so I left those alone.




For the top edge, we found a simple, pretty molding with a narrow ledge.


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And since the wallpaper is paintable, I painted it the same color as the trim and cabinets.




Only one more thing left to do now.  Decorative wooden cabinet brackets!  These may end up being more of a challenge than I initially thought, though, due to the placement of the outlets and switch plates.  But we’ll see!  I’ll let you know how it goes.


The kitchen has certainly changed since we first saw Kenilworth!  Even though all the cabinets and appliances are the same, paint has made a big difference.  See for yourself..






And then there is this pretty gold frame I found one day at GW.  Instantly I visualized it over the stove with scripture printed inside.


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I find myself reading these words every day when I am in the kitchen, and the comfort and reassurance they give are immeasurable.

Have a beautiful day, Friend!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall




A friend gave me this beautiful antique mirror for a Christmas gift.  It had very special carvings all around the frame, in the shapes of berries and leaves, which were painted in soft red and green.




I hung it in the kitchen and it has been the perfect accent on the wall there.


A few weekends ago, I put up beadboard wallpaper in the kitchen as a backsplash.  And of course that caused a domino effect for a few things.  Including the mirror.  The colors of the berries and leaves just didn’t blend quite as well as I hoped. 




Since I loved where it hung in the kitchen, and didn’t want to move it, I decided that changing the colors would be the most practical solution.


Thankfully, I knew this particular friend would have no problem with me changing that kind of detail.  In fact, if she reads this, she probably won’t even be surprised.




I started by painting with light brush strokes over the whole frame, using our white trim and cabinet paint.  It definitely needed more dimension, so after looking through my stash of acrylic paints, I found the one I had used on the bathroom vanity.  It’s kind of a light charcoal gray.




I used a small artist’s paint brush and just a little paint to go over the berries and leaves, and here and there along the edges.


But to help it keep the aged look it already had, I felt I should layer it with one more color.  So I found another can of almond colored paint in the basement, and used the artist’s brush to paint over the berries and leaves, and around the flat parts of the frame.  I tried to leave some of the original color showing through in spaces, as well as leaving the darker paint in the crevices alone. 




And that’s it!  I love the mirror – and for me, the new paint job makes it fit perfectly into our kitchen.




Before and After



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Have you ever changed a piece you loved, and ended up loving it even more? 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thrift Store Loveseat


I found this small loveseat during a trip through our local GW store a few months ago.




It had a great price and looked virtually unused.  The frame was sturdy, the fabric clean (even though it was the wrong color!), and there wasn’t a stain or scratch on it.


I hoped it would fit into Alix and Kate’s room.  Since they have loft beds, there isn’t a lot of seating space for them.  They are sociable girls and love to have friends over, and they often invite the 3 little girls into their room to watch a movie together.




It was the perfect size for their small room and they loved it.

But of course the color of the fabric just wasn’t our style.  But that’s easy to change….with drop cloth.  Smile




I knew this would be a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  I could make a new slipcover, and at the same time teach Alix and Kate how to measure and sew a slipcover themselves.  Hopefully, one day, knowing how to do this will be a help to them.




Before we cut the fabric, we talked about what we wanted the slipcover to look like.  Details like whether to use piping on the seams, whether to make a ruffled vs. pleated skirt, how to do the panels on the cushions.  It didn’t take long to figure out.  And in the end we are all three very happy with how it turned out!


(the sofa isn’t crooked, the floor is!)




We even made a cute little pillowcase from remnants of an old tablecloth, for added comfort.


Now all they need is a sleepover and a few girlfriends and cousins to come try it out!



Tuesday, July 15, 2014





Our county fair starts later this week.  This is our first year to be 4-H participants and thankfully, the girls were easy on us.  Kate did one drawing – a close up pencil sketch of Lil T’s eye, and Alix will be riding just 2 days at the Fair.

Kate dropped off her art project on Saturday morning and will hear soon about how it was judged. I can’t find a picture of it, but we’ll get one later and show you. 


And Alix is happily preparing everything she can for the riding and showmanship classes she and Lil T will be participating in on Friday and Saturday.




She’s entered in several classes – including dressage and jumping.  We watched her last week, practicing at the fairgrounds with T, and really enjoyed seeing how far she’s come in less than a year, without having many actual riding lessons.




Hope you all are having a good start to your week!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Beauty in a Wooden Tray


On a recent trip to Goodwill, I found a wooden tray; stained brown.  It was a sturdy little tray and I knew I could find a place for it, even though I wasn’t wild about the color.

I set it outside on the back porch, on a table that sits between a couple of chairs.  It helped fill in the space underneath an old painted pot of flowers I had there, and made the area look a little more layered and interesting. 




I resisted the urge to immediately get out my paintbrush and paint it, wanting to see if I would end up liking it fine just as it was.  And so it sat there patiently for several weeks.  


But something about it seemed a bit lackluster – as though I wasn’t helping it live up to its potential in life. 




It needed something.




After thinking about it, I remembered I still had some blue paint leftover from the dumpster dresser.

I lightly brushed it on, without priming, trying to skim over the stained wood, without completely covering it up.  I wanted it to look old and softly worn.  When I finished, it looked pretty enough, but it just didn’t seem to have any texture.  So since I was priming a shelf Glenn had just made for the boys’ room, I went ahead and dry brushed some of the primer over the blue paint.  Just enough to make it look as though the white was coming from underneath the blue. 




Now I love it. 


Not only does it have a purpose in life – it’s holding beautiful flowers and some special rocks picked up on our family walks – but it looks sweet as well.





It was so fast and easy, I find myself looking around at some of the other functional things I’m using, to see how they might be beautified. 

Sometimes it doesn’t take much at all; just a little imagination.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Long, Long, Very Long Stone Wall




It’s finished!




Our stone wall.




It took just 4 weeks, although it often felt as though we had been working on it far longer.




Altogether there were 5 dump truck loads of stone.




Initially we moved them just by walking to the pile and carrying them by hand, one by one, or as many as we could fit in our arms.




The bare spot shows where the pile sat those four weeks, as we moved it little by little.




And then soon, we settled into a routine with it.  It became too far to carry the stones from the pile to the growing wall, so we used two rather old wagons we had, and worked in teams.  Two big kids (or one and me) would pull in front, while one or two little ones pushed the back end.  We all loaded and unloaded each stone, one by one, and stacked them up as securely as possible.




Some days our goal was to move as many stones as we could with four wagon trips.




Other days we decided to work according to the clock – so we would move what we could in an hour or two.




Honestly?  There were a couple of rare moments when the kids… er… didn’t have a great attitude about it.




Which is of course when I encouraged them with the wise words of Proverbs, which flew thick and fast from my silvered tongue.


“In all labor there is profit.”




“The soul of the diligent is made fat.”




“The precious possession of a man is diligence.”




And although it’s not technically in the Proverbs, “Do everything without arguing or complaining,” from Philippians, might have been mentioned once or twice.




But truly, the kids amazed me.  Although they didn’t pretend to be excited about all the hard work, they were diligent.   They were often even cheerful, singing and laughing and encouraging each other as they worked. 


We had some great conversations while we worked.  Ones where I could teach them that this stone wall they were laboring to build was going to be a memorial for them. 





They could see the fruit of their efforts, little by little, as the wall grew longer and longer.  As they sweated, and smashed their fingers, or had to straighten up a small rockslide when one stone caused several to topple over, the wall continued to grow longer, and our pile diminished.

Throughout their lives, God is going to put them to the test. He is going to give them difficult things to achieve, and to endure.  And at first glance, those things will probably feel overwhelming and unattainable. 

Like 5 dump truck loads of stones in one huge pile.

But in the same way that they moved 5 loads of stones, little by little, load by load, into one long, sturdy, beautiful wall, He will equip them to get through the trials He is going to give them. 


The last day was one of the longest.  There had been a lot of dirt mixed in with the stones.  So we had to literally dig them out with our hands, sort them, cart the small ones to our shooting berm in the back of the yard, and put any that were large enough to fit on the wall into a little niche here or there. We had to shovel the dirt and cart it back to our garden area – twelve 5-gallon buckets of dirt.  Then we raked the bare earth left from the pile, to try to coax the few stalwart blades of remaining grass underneath back to life.  And, there were bits of trash to throw away.

But we were finished!


And there was much rejoicing at Kenilworth!




And ice cream. Of course.