Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Thrifted Chalkboard Sign Makeover

I found this chalkboard sign at the thrift store for $3 a couple of months ago.  It sure was ugly, but I liked the idea of a freestanding sign and the size was perfect to go on top of a section of my kitchen cabinets that have thus far been bare because I didn't know what to put up there.  

I didn't want to do anything drastic to it, just update it.  The tole style vine painting and green chalkboard were out of date and it was just dirty and grimy looking.  
Had someone attempted to glaze it to make it appear aged?  Or was it coated in layers of nicotine?  I wasn't quite sure, but either way it looked gross.

I started the process by cleaning it and then swiping on some brown craft paint here and there that I wanted to peek through in the final product for a chippy look.

I've read about using Vaseline for aging a piece, but had never tried it before so I decided this would be the perfect thing to experiment on.

I (and my 5 year old son) dabbed a bit of it on the spots of brown.  Well...I dabbed, he smeared, lol!

Apparently I forgot to take any pictures of the next steps, but here's what I did.  I taped off the wood parts leaving just the chalkboard exposed and gave it a couple of coats of black chalkboard paint.  Once that was completely dry I covered the chalkboard area with newspaper and started spray painting the wood parts white.

For some reason, the spray paint was not covering up the leaves and dark brown spots well at all, so I switched to white craft paint and a foam brush.  It covered much better.

Once the white paint was dry, I went back and wiped/scraped off the areas of Vaseline.  I could easily tell where it was at because the paint had sort of bubbled and cracked in those areas and had never dried...thus the whole point of using the Vaseline.  The brown paint peeked through in the areas I wiped away giving it a nice chippy look.

In hind sight, I shouldn't have let the 5 year old help quite so much.  I had better results in the areas where it was thickly dabbed on than in the areas where he had smeared it all over.  Oh well....nothing hurt.

The neat thing about this sign is that it's double sided.  Both sides look identical and each has a chalkboard area.  

Let's compare the before and after.

I thought it turned out pretty well, and since I already had all of the supplies I needed, this little sign only cost me the initial $3.

So what did I end up doing with it?

I put it right where I had envisioned it from the beginning, up on top of the kitchen cabinets.  

I love that I'll be able to change out the words on it as the seasons change or as the mood strikes.  And since it's double sided, I also think it would be really neat used down the center of a table as part of a tablescape some time.

In other news, the weather is finally starting to cool off a smidgen here in northern Florida and I'm enjoying the cooler mornings and milder days.  

I hope you're enjoying fall as well.

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Story of a Sign (Opinions Needed)

I had wanted to get this post shared yesterday on the first day of fall, but that just didn't happen.  Oh well, one day late isn't too bad though.  

I wanted to share just the tiniest bit of my fall decor with you, but mostly I wanted to share the story of a sign.

This cute little chalkboard (leftover from last year's Christmas banquet) is hanging on the corner of one of my very favorite yard sale purchases.....maybe of all time.

I got this set of 3 authentic farm signs from a yard sale for only $10.  But it wasn't just any random yard sale I was at.  No, this one was meant to be and this sign was meant to be mine.

Let me explain.

A couple of years ago I shared the picture below on the Facebook page because I was really excited that I had found a local farm that sold raw milk (plus I loved their cute sign).  We had just recently moved back to Florida and were trying out different churches in the area.  At one of the churches we met the family who lived on this farm and that's how we discovered the local source of raw milk. 

We visited their farm a couple of times and fell in love with how sweet and loving their whole family was.  The last time we visited them they told us that they felt they had been called to go to Romania to be missionaries.  (The wife was originally from there.)  Well, life happened, time went by, we bought a house and were busy moving and such and we never did get back to visit them again.  When I realized it was close to the time they said they would be leaving the country we made one last trip to their farm hoping to say good-bye to them and get some info on how to stay in contact.  But sadly, they were already gone.  

I always regretted that life had been so busy and we hadn't taken the time to see them again.  I didn't know if we'd ever get the chance to see them again and that made me sad.  

Well, about 8 months or so went by and one day I was scouring the local newspaper looking for upcoming yard sale listings.  One of them caught my eye and from the description of it I just knew it had to be them!  I didn't know how it could possibly be since they were supposed to be across the ocean, but somehow I knew it just had to be.  So that Friday morning I packed up the kids and we drove across town in search of the sale.  Sure enough, it was them!  They had gone to Romania, but had to come back for a couple of months to finish dealing with the sale of their farm.

The wife and I stood there talking for probably half an hour as she shared their ministry with me and the miracles that God had done for them while there and how He had amazingly provided for each and every need.  I felt so encouraged and blessed by our talk and so thankful I had found them again.  I gave her our information and asked them to stay in contact with us and to continue to share their ministry with us.  

After we finished talking she encouraged me to look around at what they had for sale and see if there was anything we'd like to buy.  It didn't take me long to spot their milk sign leaning up against the barn, as well as the other two little signs they had used in the driveway.  

I was so excited to be able to take it home, because not only is it an adorable and perfect farmhouse style sign, but it also has a story and sentimental meaning behind it.  Now every time I look at it I think of them and it helps me remember to pray for them and their ministry.  

I love it when pieces in my home have a story.

I made a grouping of all 3 signs on a big blank wall in our dining room.  I had never put anything on this wall because I didn't want to hang up just anything ol' thing.  I knew that someday, somehow, the perfect piece would find me and I would know it when I saw it.

And that's just what happened with this milk sign.  I knew it was meant to be.

The sign is fairly large, over 2 feet wide by more than 3 feet long.  It's perfectly aged and weathered, and beautifully chippy.  Absolutely perfect for our home.

Now let me show you some perspective on where this is at and get some opinions from you all.  This is the wall in the dining room where it's located.  The doorway to the right on the edge of the picture leads to the laundry room as well as what we use as the main entrance to our home.  The doorway on the left of the picture is my son's room.  You can see all of his little art work he's taped on there.  Just keepin' it real folks.  :)  You can also see the corner of the table on the bottom left.

That's a big space to fill!  I don't intend to leave the two smaller signs there permanently.  I'd like to have some other sort of items paired with the milk sign, I just haven't figured out what yet.  The possibility of lanterns hanging on each side crossed my mind, maybe some greenery like a boxwood wreath or something would go well with it.  I'm just not sure and the perfect inspiration hasn't hit me yet.  So for now, the two little signs keep the milk sign company and help fill up the large space until I come up with something better.  

And that's where I need your opinions.  What would you guys put with this gorgeous milk sign?

Sharing over at:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Quick Update Post

I just wanted to pop in and let you know I'm still here and to share a couple of quick updates with you.

  The weather has started to cool down just slightly here in north Florida and I've got all my fall decor spread around the house trying to get it all set up and looking cozy.  I don't have any final pictures to share just yet, but I wanted to give you a hint at one of the big changes I'm making.

I shared the above picture with you back at Christmas time and it shows you the red buffalo check curtains that are usually in the dining room....well, that's about to change.

These burlap curtains were previously in me and Hubs bedroom back when we lived in Ohio.  They weren't currently being used, so I got the idea of replacing the red checked curtains with these in the dining room for the fall months.  I'm loving the temporary change.  I'll share the final pictures of the dining room soon.

Another quick little thing I wanted to share is this idea I found on Pinterest.


Someone had used a little lidded basket in their fall decor and I pinned it because my mom or my grandma had just given me a very similar one that I didn't know what to do with.

Here's a not-so-great cell phone shot of my version.  I never would have thought to use it this way, and I'm really liking it.  It's something different I've never tried before.

And the last little bit of update news, if you missed it on the Facebook page, we found out we're having another little girl!!! We're very excited for her to arrive, only 3 more months to go!  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Summer Living Room Decor

Can you even believe that it's September already?!?  On one hand it seems like the summer has just flown by, but on the other hand it feels like it will take forever before the cooler temperatures will return around here.  We usually get the beginnings of fall temps in early October here in north Florida and I am seriously looking forward to it!  

I've been itching to start on my fall decor already, but I decided I should do a quick post about how my living room has looked for the summer months know, now that summer is basically over.  :)

Here's a not so great cell phone picture to show you it in bigger perspective.  I love adding lots of red and blues for a patriotic feel, but this year I also just wanted more color in general.  Bright and cheery and happy.

I didn't bother with any sort of display on the coffee table, just a simple tray holding magazines.  My kids clear the top of this multiple times a day to build Legos, color/draw, or to eat lunch so I kept it really simple.

Of course, my picket fence flag took its place of honor again.  I've had that almost my entire marriage and still love it to pieces!  I threw the rest of the shelf decor together very quickly one afternoon before some company came over and that's how it stayed all summer.

A metal baking tray with a star shaped design continued the patriotic feel, and a license plate, vintage flour sack towel, and a sweet pitcher all brought touches of red and blue.

Even the wooden cheese box has red and blue and on it.  I love using the old picture of my husband's dad in his little league uniform.  Nothing says summer like baseball does.

To the side of the couch I replaced the plainer wooden crates with this colorful stack of old soda crates as an end table.  I found the navy blue lamp at a yard sale for 75¢.  A little bit of faux ivy sits on top of an old pulley as well.  Did you notice my curtain in the background?  I messed up a shower curtain order and instead of throwing it away I hung it up here in the living room to use as a window curtain for the time being.

On the other side of the couch, I replaced the black lamp with this more colorful one.  (You can read about its makeover {here}.)  I moved a potted plant over here and added a simple basket of croquet balls for even more color.  In the background you can see my antique penny square quilt displayed over my wooden ladder.

Our bedroom throw pillows came out to the couch as well as some thrifted blue pillows for a mix-n-match look.

Over on the loveseat I draped a small blue floral throw blanket and added the adorable throw pillow I got from my friend over at Peek Pillow Originals.

Isn't it just the cutest?!?  I liked how the "star" theme of it once again fit in with the patriotic feel I had going on.  If you haven't been over to Etsy to check out her pillows you must take a minute and stop over there!  She's got the cutest designs and has even come out with some amazing fall designs as well. And....if you ask very sweetly she's even willing to do custom designs.  So be sure to check out her shop.

The only thing I changed on the other side of the room was too add this wool plaid blanket with the perfect color scheme that I found at a yard sale for $2, as well as a little throw pillow.  For the pillow cover I simply wrapped a piece of fabric around it and safety pinned it closed.  Ta-da!  An instant "new" pillow.  :)  (You can also see that I took the shelf out of part of the entertainment center to make room for our scrapbooks/photo albums to be on display and within easy reach.)

I just loved this combination of patterns!

So, you can see I kept things really simple for the summer and didn't stress over having everything "blog-worthy" and perfect.  Just a few touches to freshen things up for the summer months.

Now that these pictures are shared I can move on to warm and cozy fall decor!

* P.S. - In baby news, I'm a little over 5 months along now and baby is healthy and active.  I had an ultrasound done, but baby didn't cooperate and we still don't know the gender.  I have another one coming up in a couple of weeks and we're hoping to find out then.  I guess one of these days soon I'll need to get started on making space for this new little one's crib.  :)


Monday, August 17, 2015

A 50¢ Makeover & a Lisa Frank 8th Birthday Party

A couple of weeks ago I shared this picture over on the Facebook page of a dirty little, ugly, neglected, ceramic unicorn that I bought at a thrift store for 50¢.  I asked if anyone had a guess as to why in the world I would buy such a thing.  Most people didn't have a clue why I would do that, but one person guessed right.  It was for a birthday party.

My daughter wanted a Lisa Frank birthday party this year and to help save money I usually try to be the one to do their cakes, even though I'm amateur at best.  She decided she wanted the inside to be rainbow colors and she picked out hot pink frosting for the outside.  We ordered a Lisa Frank cake topper to finish it off.  But.....I didn't bother to pay attention to the dimensions of the topper, I just assumed it would be a decent size.  Nope, it was tiny.  More like a cupcake topper.  Now what?  But one day at the thrift store I found this little unicorn and decided that for only 50¢ I could experiment with painting it and possibly use it as the topper instead.  

I took it home and cleaned it up, then sprayed it with a couple of coats of white spray paint I had.  Then using craft paints I also already had I got to work copying the Lisa Frank horse that was on her invitation.  Once I finished painting it I gave it a coat of glossy clear sealer and we ended up with this.

It certainly wasn't perfect by any means, but she was in love with it and so excited about it, especially because I told her she could keep it even after the party!  :)

I'll go ahead and share a few more pictures with you from the party while we're at it.  They aren't the greatest, I was running late and the party had already started by the time I could spare a few minutes to snap some.  I didn't want to hold the whole thing up because I was trying to stage every picture and make it "perfect", so I just quickly got a few.  I'm still sharing them though because I enjoy doing parties and accomplishing them on a small budget, and I enjoy sharing them with you all.

 A few months before her birthday we found Lisa Frank party supplies on clearance at our local Dollar General and she decided that's the theme she wanted for her 8th birthday.  We found some plates, napkins, invitations, and a banner marked down.  Later on we found a couple more matching banners at the thrift store for 25¢ each.  We even found favors and prizes on after Easter clearance that were bright and colorful as well.  She had fun picking out the rest of her party supplies from the party store.

She also decided she wanted to have a water party since August is SO very hot down here in Florida.  We prayed every day that the rain would hold off until after the party and it did, we had beautiful sunny weather and were able to do everything outside.  (This mama didn't want no soppin' wet kiddos traipsing through the house.)  We set up tables on the deck for food, drinks, and gifts, and set up chairs in the shade of our big tree for the adults.

I didn't realize until later that my camera was on the wrong setting and some of the pictures got washed out.  : (  

She had so much fun finding colorful and rainbow themed items to use.  This is the first year that she has really had a desire to have an input on her party, other than choosing a theme, and it was fun working together to plan it.

Everything looked so colorful and festive.

We found these little favor bags in the after Easter clearance stuff and they fit in with the theme perfectly.  I painted the words on with white paint to look like chalk.

We filled up one of those snap-set pools for the kids to play in, and also put a sprinkler under the trampoline which was a lot of fun for them.  There were also water guns and tubes of bubbles to blow.
We played a couple of water games, ate pizza, and had a great time.

The day before the party my two little helpers assisted with the birthday cake making.
Since she wanted the inside to be rainbow colors we bought a neon food coloring set and two cake mixes and made 6 different colors of batter.

We layered the multi-colored batter into the pans and hoped for the best.

The finished product!

We used purple frosting between the layers and then I piped the purple in a decorative edge around the bottom and also around the topper.  We found the colorful candy flowers at Walmart and used those to help bring in some more of the rainbow colors of Lisa Frank.

This is how the inside of the cake turned out and she thought it was awesome.  :)

I so enjoy planning parties and being creative to accomplish them on a small budget.  If it was left up to only me I would probably go overboard and decorate to the nine's and plan every little detail.  But my husband keeps me balanced and reigned in and has helped me learn to simplify things so that it's not so stressful for me and therefore ends up being more enjoyable for everyone involved.  :)

Little Man is already planning what he wants his party to be when it's his turn for a big party next year. He changes his mind almost daily, lol!

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