Hi All!

Today, I have another piece to add to the furniture revival.  Here is an old cherry desk that I feel in love with on a recent scouting adventure.  
She had some rough spots, needed a good cleaning and some good old fashioned tender loving care.  But look at those lines - great legs, carved detail and the interior is like new!   All for a great price.  Sold! 

This is where I can't wait to phone Mr Niche to find out when he can come and pick it up - oops that should read pick them up.  Them being, not only did I find this great desk but I also found a bookcase and dresser.  Score!!!  And as luck would have it DH was headed in this direction so we would have them home the same afternoon!!!

When I got the pieces home I started cleaning the desk right away.  I came across a couple of address stickers.  It seems the previous owner's name was Amelia - so I decided to name this project Amelia. 

Although I don't normally prime when I use ASCP, Amelia had some rough  spots that I had to touch up prior to getting started.  Some markings add character, you just have to decide which ones you want to live with.   Likewise,  knowing what look you are going for shoul also help you determine how much  prep  work to do.  For example if I was going for a distressed look - I  would have cleaned her up and started painting. 

So here we are after the prep work and a coat of primer.
From the moment I saw Amelia, I knew this was going to be an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint  (ASCP) Project.  I decided to mix up a batch of my home brew that I call Vanilla Frosting. 

Here she is - still up on blocks.
Here's a close up of some of Amelia's details; displaying her new coat and her
original hardware now finished in Oil Rubbed Bronze.  As indicated earlier, I am  planning on a seperate post for hardware.
And here is another angle - I just love the details. 
And the total new look. 
I recently picked up a chair that needs a fresh coat of paint - it should look great with this desk.  Hope to get it posted in the near future. 

And now for the side-by-side before and after.  So how do you like Amelia's new style?  Have you done any makeovers lately; if so, I'd love to see them.
It's a furniture revival - one piece at a time!

Don't you just love all the candleholders and lanterns on the market today?  There are porcelain ones, metal ones, metal and glass and everything in between.  Well I love them too in fact they are the inspiration for today's post - showing you how you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. 

Recently, I was shopping at Ace hardware and spotted these sheets (36 "x 24") of aluminum mesh.  Here they are in their original color.
Aren't they great?   I'll bet you are already thinking of a project for these.   When I saw them - I just knew I had to have some!  I picked some  up and couldn't wait to get home to experiment.  Side note - I recently saw Lowe's also carries the aluminum sheets in this size and a smaller size - I don't recall the measurements of the smaller one (I am guessing it's half the size).   So here we go.  
Gather your supplies:

Glass Cylinder(s)
Aluminum Mesh
Paint in the color of your choice
Aluminum Snips

Candles or Tealights
Rubber bands

I had some glass cylinders from Michael's.  I started out by cleaning the glass but you can wait to do that when you are done.  You are  going to be handling them throughout this process so I'd just  wait until you are done to make them sparkle.  Unless you want to clean them twice, like me!

Measure  the height and the distance around each container.  To ensure that I would have  enough mesh to secure the ends after wrapping the mesh around the cylinder I  added one inch to that measurement.  I didn't get a picture of cutting the pieces but it is relatively simple - just be careful - - the edges are a little sharp.  So you may want to sand off any sharp edges before you paint. 

While the pieces are still flat, paint both sides of the mesh.  If you want to do both sides at the same time just hang each piece up with a piece of wire.  Be sure to paint the edges for a finished look.  Let your paint dry at least 24 hours - just to be sure you don't mess it up while handling it in the next steps.
After the pieces are dry - take a piece of sheeting, with the right side out and shape it  snugly around your container.  You don't want to make it too tight though - a  snug fit will still allow you to remove the sheeting (by sliding it off the bottom of the glass) when you need to clean the glass.  By the way, no - my glass isn't cracked in the picture above - that is just where I started to unroll the wire and remembered to take a picture.

Next, wrap a piece of sheeting around your glass container - you can secure the lighter weight one with a couple of rubber bands or you can wire the middle and ends temporarily while you lace your wire in and out of the holes.  Cut a piece of wire approximately 2 arms length long.  Fold the wire in half.  Start at the bottom of the sheeting, and very similar to lacing a pair of sneakers - pull half of the wire through the bottom hole on the left and the other half through the bottom hole on the right.  Continue  lacing the wire up through the holes - cross the wires on the inside and outside.  If your wire is too short to make it to the top - don't worry, just twist the two ends together on the inside of the sleeve cut another wire and continue on. 

Gently slide the glass out of the sleeve as you are lacing.  Keeping the glass in place helps to keep the desired shape. 
After you have laced the sheeting together - you can lightly spray paint over the wire.  This step helps make your piece look more professional.  Even in a close up photo the wires fade away. 
Now you can wash your cylinders - because as soon as the lightly painted wires are dry - you are ready to slip the aluminum sleeve over the cylinder.  My cylinders have a tiny lip around the top so I just slide the new sleeve on from the bottom.  You are now ready to add candles or tea lights - the tea lights create nice shadows through the pattern of the sleeve. 
I liked these so much I made a few more in the Oil Rubbed Bronze as well as a set in almond.  They look awesome lit up at night.  I love candles!

Have you made anything out of aluminum sheeting or made anything similar?  If so, I'd love to hear from you. 
Hi - I'm back!!! 

Didn't mean to take so long since my last post - but sometimes you'll have that.  You know, a girl has gotta have time to create in amongst all the other things in life that demand our time.  Certainly not the least of the time drains is the trips to the hardware stores - I've been there about a dozen times since I last posted.  Pick up paint samples, check them out at home, buy paint - color doesn't look right in this lighting, back for samples, check again at home, back for paint, need more supplies...it's enough to wear a person out!!!  Oh, and that doesn't count the trips my husband made for me!!! 

But even if it takes me a while between posts - please be patient with me as it likely means I am busy creating.  Hmmmmm, let's see, when was the last time I wasn't working on something...I can't remember; in fact I usually have a few projects going at any given time. 

I am also working to improve my camera skills to capture my efforts.   That has been a real struggle!!!  It seems like one day I have it and the next day I am all over the place.  I have always considered my photos above average; but, for some reason taking pictures to share with you has been a challenge.  Part of it is that we get a lot of sunlight and that is a challenge and the other part I would say is the operator - that would be me!!! 

Anyway - - about that accent table...

Here is a small accent table I picked up about a month ago.  I liked the spindles and its sturdy bones.  It's a perfect size for sitting your drink down next to your favorite chair without adding a full sized table.  The finish, although this picture didn't capture it well (surprise!!!), is a high gloss black.  Listen...do you hear something?
A few shake, shake, shakes and the familiar pssssssssssst, pssssssssssst, psssssssssssssssssssssst and it takes on a new look.  
Add a vase filled with pussy willows for a Spring look and pull up a chair .
One more look.
If you look closely in the background of the before picture you will have a sneak peek at an upcoming post.

It's all part of a furniture revival - one piece at a time! 

Decor Niche


As part of my ongoing journey to update, today we take a look at the fireplace.  This is a really easy project that pays great dividends in blending with my current style.  The fireplace is a natural focal point within the room; however, it seemed like the brass surrounding this fireplace was getting all of the attention.  Here is the look before.
The brass was playing center stage.  In an effort to tone it down a bit, I picked up a can of high temperature paint in black - this paint is also used for painting bar-b-que grills.  The man at the hardware store said I wouldn't need to use the high temperature paint but just to be safe - - I purchased it anyway.  (I am sure the hubby will find some use for the leftover paint).  For this project I went with the brush on paint - it just seemed like a whole lot of unnecessary effort to remove the pieces and mask it off in order to use spray paint.

About a half hour later, ta-da - the new look. 
I prefer the updated look - yeah - I know, someday I may be sorry I did this but for now it's what I like. 
So, how about you, have you updated your fireplace?  If so I'd love to hear from you.  Someday I might surprise myself and paint the actual fireplace - but for now, this will do just fine.

Decor Niche
Good Afternoon,

Things are moving along on some of my other projects but I am taking a little break - actually letting some paint dry - so I thought I would post a project I completed earlier. 

I had a spot on a low bookshelf that was missing something and needed a little accent.  The bookcase is black and I needed something with some lift.  So I sorted through some items that I had from past decor and came up with this collection. 
Just an assortment of shapes in different finishes.  The one on the front left (above) still has a tag on it - revealing it's never been used (shhhhh - don't tell anyone).  All are pretty in their current state - but they just don't go with my current style.  About now you can probably hear the rattle of a paint can shaking.  That's right, they are headed for a new look.

Remove any stickers, wash, rinse and dry thoroughly.  Proceed with painting.  Remember several light coats are better than heavy coats and will give you a much nicer finish without any runs.  These are just for accent pieces and won't get heavy wear, so - I skipped the primer.  I like to wipe them down with alcohol as an extra precaution to make sure they are nice and clean.  I wear rubber gloves to handle them after they are clean to ensure they have a clean surface for the paint to stick.  

Here are three of the vases - finished in white and ready for their new place on the bookshelf.  They are actually the same color, the lighting in this picture makes them appear differently. 
And below is the small planter. 
If you wanted a little more color you could add some interest by adding ribbons or other embellishments - or use another color from your decor.  In the picture below red bows were added. 
This little update was all done with items I already had on hand - the vases, planter, paint and ribbons.   Do you have a spot that could use a "new" accent?  Have you looked at those items you just haven't parted with yet to see if a new skin (e.g., a fresh coat of paint) would make it appear as a new accent?  Perhaps you too can use the power of paint to make those unused items into a unique "new" collection.
So go have fun with it - revive something you already have into something that goes with your current decor. 

Back to painting...
Decor Niche
Hi All,

Geesh - where has this week gone?!  I have a couple of projects near completion; if this weekend goes as planned, they should be posted over the next couple of days.  I have made some changes to the site over the last couple of days.  I think the new format is much easier to read and I like the larger photos.  
Today we look at another painting project. Have I told you I love the power of paint?  Well, I do!  I found these lovely medallions on clearance at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I love the detail on them and although I love the original colors, I immediately thought they would be great painted and used in a grouping. Aha - there is a spot above the guest room bed where these would be perfect!  That area has been a little difficult to fill in; I have tried various items in different shapes and groupings and just haven't been satisfied. As headboards continue to reach greater heights the area above the headboard can sometimes present a decorating challenge - - but with a little ingenuity we can tackle them. That's part of the fun!!!

Here's another look at the medallions in their original colors.  They came with hanging brackets attached; however, we had to move one hanger on the dark medallion because I wanted to hang it as a diamond rather than a square. 
I decided to paint them black to match the finish on the guest room furniture.  Next, - - well, then I hesitated - (thinking) wouldn't they be great in white in the dining room???  However, I did not give in to the temptation and kept my focus on filling in the space above the headboard.  Besides - nothing says they can't be switched out at a later date.  After all, there is satisfaction in using what you already have in a different way. 

Here's a close-up shot after a coat of paint.   The grouping works well in this space because the staggered heights mimic the lines of the headboard. 
Here you can see them with more of the surrounding area.   
Always consider the power of paint when you find something you like but it doesn't come in the right color. 

Decor Niche


Yesterday, I mentioned doing a post on the chandelier.  Well here it is.  This is a picture of the original brass fixture that hung in the dining room.  I was ready for a change   As I started to shop around for new lighting fixtures, I quickly realized that I really didn't mind the shape but I was looking for something - well, in this case not so brassy.  Hmmmmm, I started to wonder - what would happen if I painted it? 
Basically, my options were: a) shell out at least $100.00 for a fixture very, very similar to the one I had (but in a different finsh) or b) spray paint it.  Let's see - I could just buy a new one and figure out what to do with the old light or give it a whirl and see how it looked with a fresh coat of spray paint.  Guess which one I picked...if you selected (b) - hooray for you!!!  (If you selected (a) - well, you need to get to know me a little better!). 

I decided on (b) - - because if I painted it and didn't like it I could try again or give in to frustration and go buy a new light.  You know the old saying - nothing ventured, nothing gained.  If I went with (a) I would never know if (b) was a valid option and get the satisfaction of having done it myself. 

So, first step - Shut off the power to the fixture in your electrical panel!!!!  Always, always, always, make sure you have shut off the power before doing any electrical work. 
After I was sure (checked and double checked) that the power was off in the dining room.  I removed the bulbs and took down the lighting fixture.

I then removed the little white plastic things that look like the base of the candles and the little round things at the base of each candle.  Then I taped off each of the light bulb sockets on the fixture so that paint doesn't get down in those holes (this is also important). 

Next, I figured out a way to hang the fixture, so that I could access the entire fixture in one painting session.  A couple of bungee cords suspended from the garage ceiling seemed to work quite nicely.  I did consider taking it outside and hanging it from a tree but the weather wasn't cooperating.  

With the fixture securely hung, I broke out a fresh can of Rust-oleum, Oil Rubbed Bronze, (ORB) spray paint.  Follow the directions on the can and remember that several light coats(emphasis added - light coats)  will give you a professional finish.  I painted the chain and the cord that run up through the chain in the same manner.  Don't give into the urge to cover all the brass in one coat - you will end up with runs in the paint and you will not be happy!

You will also need to paint the little round things that go at the base of each
candle - I set mine up separately and gave them a light coat each time I
coated the chandelier. 

After applying several light coats to all of the pieces, give your fixture plenty of time to dry.  Once it is completely dry, make sure that the power is off BEFORE rehanging your fixture. 

Reconnect the fixture.  Assemble all of the pieces and screw in the light bulbs.  Turn the power back on.  Enjoy your new look and celebrate the fact that you just saved yourself over 100 of your hard earned dollars.

It wasn't until I took this next picture that I realized - photographing light fixtures is not an easy task - at least not for me.  So forgive my photography...but I hope you still get the general idea.
One more look at the before and after.
So which way do you like it?  Before - brassy or After - Bronzy?  For my current style, I am glad I decided to go-for-it and saved at least $100.00.  

Decor Niche

Happy Easter to all!  I hope you all are enjoying Easter Sunday.
We started the morning with an Easter Brunch with omelets a potato, egg and cheese casserole and Strawberry/Banana Smoothies.  Yummy!

The table setting started with  a centerpiece I made from white berry branches with a layer of river rocks in the bottom.  The cute little bunnies with magenta wrapped chocolate eggs marked each place setting. 
I love the chocolate brown of the placemats and napkins with the hot pink accents. 

Yesterday, we finally got the mirror hung.  I found it a few years ago on a treasure hunt.  Until recently, we had been using it in one of the guest rooms.  I lugged it downstairs a week or so ago and propped it up on top of the buffet...and there it sat.  Until  yesterday, I enlisted the help of my husband to help me get it hung.  It looks so much better now that it's up. 
The china was also a find on another treasure hunt.
The pattern has little, light brown outlined flowers with a brown, beige and  olive vine; all is set on a creamy background.  The china and the placemats kind of meld together like a blend of white and milk chocolate.
Below is an updated photo of the buffet - after the bunny stopped by with some goodies.  Candlestick holders - you guessed it - found them on a treasure hunt.  Some other items in this room to be covered in upcoming  posts - the chandelier and the creamy bowls on the buffet.   
I picked up the fresh flowers on the buffet at Costco; they were actually the inspiration for the bright pink accents.  I love fresh flowers - you can normally find at least one vase full at my house at any given time.
It's been a really nice day the whole way around, time spent with some family (always a plus), beautiful weather for such a beautiful day and my husband made reservations for later in the day to go out to eat (again - I was still stuffed from our brunch).  We went to Harper's Tavern.

Going to Harper's is such a treat to me because a few years ago I was working on some genealogy and discovered that in 1763 my ancestors (I don't have my reference handy but that's something like my g-g-g-g-g+ grandfather) owned the property and built the original tavern on that site.  The original tavern burned down; however, in 1804, his son rebuilt the building that stands today.  It is interesting to think of my grandparents and their 10 children living on that property.  Today I couldn't help but wonder how they spent their Easter Sundays. 

Anyway, it's been a great day!  How did you spend Easter Sunday?

Decor Niche

Wow - it's been a few busy days.  Other than popping onto Pinterest a couple of times when I was in between projects or waiting for paint to dry this is the first time I have really sat down.  It feels good!!!  But I can't get used to it - because I just realized I forgot about a pie I wanted to make for tomorrow. 

So, tomorrow is Easter already.  I know Easter is early this year but wasn't it just Christmas???  Where did the time go??? 

Anyway, here's an early shot of the dining room buffet for our Easter Brunch. 
I say an early shot because the mirror hadn't been hung when I took these pictures.  It's just kind of propped there, I needed the hubby to help me though because it weighs a ton! 

Here's a closer look at the Spring bouquet.  It served as the inspiration for the rest of the details for our brunch. 
That's all for now - stop by tomorrow to see the final details for the brunch. 

Decor Niche
Here is a simple DIY project that can serve as a tabletop accent or centerpiece.  It's inexpensive, it's easy and you can easily change the look basically for the cost  of a bag of candy. 
Start with a picture frame; mine came from the Dollar Store.  You may already have a frame on hand.  Don't worry about what the picture looks like because you are going to cover it up. 

Using a screwdriver, remove any picture hanging hardware from the back of the frame.  This would also be a good time to add some small felt protectors to the back of the frame so that it doesn't scratch your table surface. 
If you can remove the back - take the picture out, cover the picture in a craft  or wrapping paper of your choice and return the freshly covered picture back   into the frame.  If for some reason you can't remove the picture - you could  spray paint the frame and glass or you could cover the top of the glass.  You  really aren't going to see the paper anyway.  I used some left over wrapping paper right over the glass (secured with double faced tape) - because as I said you won't see it, the filler will cover it up. 

Add candles and a filler of your choice and woah-lah a customizable accent for your home.  Here it is with yummy jelly beans.
And at night...
I am sure you can come up with dozens of ideas for different fillers for different holidays and seasons.  The possibilities are endless so don't limit yourself to edibles. 

Oh, and if you do go with candy or other edibles - - you might want to have some extra on hand - it seems to gradually disappear.  Hmmmm...

For another dollar at the Dollar Store, I picked up a bag of river rocks they come in handy when the edible fillers disappear!!!
Decor Niche