Hi All,

It's been a while so I wanted to share a little of what has been happening here.   Yesterday, when I got home - I  was greeted by this.   Uh-oh...
We really should have had the deck stained last year - but it never happened.  So it was at the top of our list for this year.  Only every time it has been nice enough to do it - we have had something else going on.  We have gone back and forth between doing it ourselves - or just hiring someone. 

It's not that it's a huge deck it's just that this year the horizontal and vertical surfaces all need done and since it is about twelve foot off the ground with a patio underneath - the underside also needs restained. 

Yesterday, the hubby decided to get started.  The first thing he found was one of the top boards on the rail around the deck had started to rot.  There is probably a proper name for that top board but I certainly don't know what it is.  

So I came home to a deck with no "top boards" and this waiting on the patio -  
Ohhh wow - we are finally getting the deck stained and we need the power tools  - I am sooooo liking this!!!  After a quick bite to eat we got started measuring, sawing and tightening screws and it now looks like this. 
All the top boards and hand rails have been replaced.  Now all it needs is stained.   I am excited to get it done so that we can put the furniture back and do a little decorating.   I have some little projects I want to do on the deck and patio (some are almost ready to reveal) but I have been holding off knowing the deck had to be stained - and that means the patio gets all scrambled as well.  I can hardly believe it's almost July and were just starting to stain.  But hey - it's all in the name of progress so just a couple of more days and then it is back to the fun stuff!

They are forecasting hot, hot, hot weather for at least the next week -  I want to try to get this done before it gets to hot and definitely before the 4th of July.  
See you soon!
Hi All!

The month of May zipped by - much as I had expected; but it was packed with fun and adventure.  During part of my absence from posting last month, we headed for the shores of South Carolina.   Fortunately, we were ahead of the storms and had a great time!

First stop - Hilton Head Island (HHI).  This post contains some pictures from our stay at HHI.  I don't know about you, but a trip to the ocean is to me what a can of spray paint is to a piece of tired furniture -  good for renewing and refreshing me. 

I love to travel this time of the year - you are a little bit ahead of the summer crowds - allowing you to really enjoy your surroundings. 
I got the impression I wasn't the only one that enjoyed relaxing without the hustle and bustle of the crowds.  There were times you had the place to yourself - well almost.  Check this guy out - just chillin' near the pool - he's huge!
I just couldn't resist capturing some of the vibrant colors of the flowers in full bloom. 
Just look at those colors!
As luck would have it, some friends were staying nearby.  We got to spend some time together and had a lot of fun!

Curved paths lined with flowers seem to be everywhere just begging you to explore. 
Where the flowers and the palms end there is always the beach to explore.   I found an awesome piece of driftwood on one of our walks.  I was so bummed
8-(  when I discovered I had forgotten to pick it up at one of our stops along the way.  Oh well, I guess we have to go back - so I can find it!
As evenings would close in, I would look forward to starting the next day with a cup of coffee,  watching the sunrise.    Most mornings, during our visit, started too hazy to capture the actual sunrise; however,  we were able to enjoy watching it slowly burn through the haze.   Not that I am complaining...isn't it beautiful!!! 
After sunrise and breakfast we would check out some of the local shops prior to spending the rest of the day at the beach.  I will share some of my great finds with you during later posts.

Stay tuned for a future post featuring our next stop, Charleston...

Putting together this post - reminds me of the wonderful time we had, how grateful I am that we are able to travel and hoping to go back in the future (after all, I gotta find that driftwood).  

This weekend I plan on working outdoors and hopefully will have time to work on putting some of those great finds to work.  How about you?  What have you been up to?

Hi All!

Happy Wednesday!  Hope you are having a great week.  You may have caught a glimpse of dark hardwood floors in some of my posts.  Today I would like to share the stairway transformation that became part of updating to hardwood floors.  Here's a sneak peek at how it looks today. 
Below you see how our stairway looked before we got started - navy blue carpet with lots of cherry wood. 
It was time for some updates!

Before we could get started, my husband and  I first had to find common ground in our vision of what an upgrade meant.  Our initial translations were just a tad different.


     To my husband upgrades meant buying new navy blue carpet to
replace the old navy blue carpet.  (mmmmm, no)

    To me upgrades meant hardwood floors, with stained treads on the stairs to match the new floors, risers painted white and a much darker handrail.
Once we decided on hardwood flooring (enough said) - I still had it in my head that I also wanted to update the stairway.  You might as well know - when I get something in my head I am determined to accomplish it.  I joke about Mr Niche's resistance to change sometimes - but he really is a good sport; he concedes that when it comes to decorating that's my area - - and when it's all done  - - he's happy when I'm happy.   But I still try to incorporate his desires into any major changes. 
Sooooo, one day I removed the little wooden plugs and started to sand and sand and sand and wonder what the heck I  got my self into and sand and sand and wonder and sand and sand.  Seriously - it  seemed like a gazillion spindles - okay maybe not quite a gazillion - but  there are over 50 of them!   Then after all the sanding and cleaning up  was done I started to stain and then paint.  That part of the process seemed to  go much quicker.  Sorry, no in between photos. 

At some point, I peaked under  the carpet - that is when, I slapped it back down and decided to let the treads  to the professional.  I am determined; however, I also know when to step aside  and hire someone.  Who knew - there are different types of stairs - one for  putting carpet on and the other for looking at - these were not the looking at  kind!!!

So here is what we ended up with. 
I couldn't find the right color of stain; so I ended up blending colors to match the darkest tones in the hardwood flooring.
A view from the top - that's a lot of spindles!
Another look.
So do you have a stairway that you would love to update?  If so, maybe this can be your inspiration for getting started or maybe you've already refinished yours - either way, I'd love to hear about it. 
Hi All!

Do you find yourself sometimes hanging onto something that just doesn't work anymore - like this teal vase?
Although, this vase is almost 20 years old - I remember the day I bought it like it was yesterday.  I was in the process of redecorating our guest room and we were traveling through Tennessee.  We stopped to do some shopping and I spotted this vase - it went perfectly with the picture that was serving as the inspiration for the room.  I brought it home and it served its purpose.  When we moved, the vase came with us - and was used for a while before being retired to that "shelf in the basement".  That place where I keep things thinking they may get repurposed some day.

Recently, I was looking for something for inside the front door and this vase filled the bill - except for the color.  I already had the candle pillars and they are a dark bronze - they actually came that way.  Believe it or not - I have not painted everything in my house (yet).  Anyway...after removing a bit of dust and adding some Oil Rubbed Bronze paint that I had on hand - I had a new look without spending a dime!
Without a color change this vase didn't have a chance with my current decor.  But with little effort it now has a place at the front door.  Another look...
Don't you just love bringing new life to something you already have?  I sure do!

Hi All!

Wow - what is this???  I actually have time to post two days in a row!!!  How can this be.  Whatever it is - I am liking it.  So today I want to share the very recent history of how this rubber mat came to look like this...
Last year I purchased this rubber mat for my backdoor.  Sorry, no picture of how
nice it looked when I originally purchased it.  But, as you can see (below) - it quickly faded and by  the end of last summer it looked like this...all worn and faded.  Needless to say, I was highly disappointed. 
Why didn't I just pitch it?  Well, as is the case with so many things, I still liked it - it just didn't look so good.  If you looked closely, it was in great condition - it was just the worn and faded paint that was bringing it down.  So yesterday morning, I grabbed a couple of craft paints I had on hand and decided to revive it. 

Using a stencil brush, I pounced on some Folk Art - 420 Linen, Americana - Honey Brown and Americana - Khaki Tan.  About 45 minutes later, it looked like this. 
Needless to say, I am quite pleased with this improvement!  And since I used things that I already had (the mat and the paint) - - it didn't cost me a penny.  Now...I can't wait to get the deck stained!

One more look...
From this - before...
to this - after!!!
So, maybe you have a door mat that is looking worn or doesn't match your color scheme any more..before you replace that worn, faded or outdated door mat, you may want to consider adding some paint.

Next, I am heading outside to enjoy this beautiful day...hard to tell what I might get into - because I have lots of outdoor projects I want to tackle!   Have a great day!

Hi All!

Congratulations to the  Graduates - Class of 2012!!!
Here it is June already, May certainly flew by - like a blink of the eye.  Today I have some birdhouses to share.  We wanted some table decorations for Jess and J's (aka "the twins") Graduation Party.  Um wait - - -ummmmm... did I just say Jess and J's graduation party???  OMG!!!  Where did those 18 years go!!!  Time, just slow down some would you - here I am thinking a month flew by when in reality - I am not sure where the last 18 years went...that's scary!!! 

Reality is - I could spend the rest of this post gushing over how great these two graduates are  - - but if I do - I may not be very popular with them for a while so - - suffice it to say we are soooooooooooo proud of both of them!!!  Congratulations!!!

Since we are honoring two graduates, I decided on two birds on each  birdhouse.  Each bird is perched - ready for a little test flight (just to the beach for Senior Week though - - as long as it is okay with Mom).    
I picked up the birds, unfinished birdhouses and twig branches at Michael's. 

I thought the birdhouses looked pretty good - so I dug right in and started to spray on a coat of primer.  OOooops!  Reality is - once I had a coat of primer on the first one - - I realized they were going to need additional prep work to cover  the nail holes and some other rough spots that had magically appeared.  So I spread a little Bondo on, let it dry and sanded.  Sure it required more effort but it greatly improved the finished look (and let me tell you - these two are worth it). 

After sanding - make sure you remove all of the dust prior to applying the primer and then painting.  I keep an old hairdryer with my other tools, it works great for getting into some of the nooks and crannies that you otherwise just can't reach.  Once the paint dried, the birds were hot glued to the house and small river rocks were scattered in the bottom. 

If you decide to add a tea light (or candle) - do not  burn candles unattended and I also recommend you glue the bottom of the tealight  or votive to the bottom of the bird cage to ensure it does not become a fire hazard.  Sound like the voice of experience???  Yep...you bet - apparently one of the tea lights shifted during transportation and was toooooooo close to the side of the cage.  Fortunately our lovely daughter-in-law was standing nearby and quickly extinguished the growing flame. 

We had eight  tables so we made two birdhouses in each of the four colors.  Two green... 
I wasn't pleased with the way the twigs were fastened in that picture above - so I made a slight modification to hot glue the branches to the roof and then added a bow to look like this. 
(That's better).  Then I proceeded to make two in blue...
Two in red...
And...two in brown...
To break up the white birdhouses on the white tablecloth - we used a varigated green placemat under each of the birdhouses. 
The variations in green in the placemat tied in with the varigated greens in the candles used in the hurricanes.  I picked up the candles on clearance at Michael's for less than $2 a piece.  I already had the hurricanes and the twigs were left over from the birdhouses. 

The bottom of the hurricanes were filled with river rocks to match the flooring in the birdhouse and twisted twigs were added to further tie them into the birdhouses.   On the tables, we alternated the birdhouses and hurricanes.
We liked the way that all the materials used for the hurricanes and birdhouses tied in with the outdoor setting for the graduation party. 
While I was making these, I got to thinking you could use these little birdhouses for various events such as baby and bridal showers, weddings, birthdays, Easter or Spring... 

A word to the Graduates:  Your dedication, energy, time and other sacrifices have certainly paid off.   As you reach this milestone - you  can be very proud of your accomplishments.  As you celebrate, pause to recognize the strength within you to be everything you dream to be through self-determination.   We wish you continued success and fulfillment in all of your future endeavors.  We love you!!!Congratulations!!!

So I am curious, anybody else decorating for a graduation party?  If so, I'd love to hear your ideas. 

(aka Nan)  XOXOX  Hugs, kisses and Best Wishes!
Candace Creations