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!

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
Welcome back!

We have  been busy around here and fortunately we got the shutters and doors painted just in time for the Spring blossoms to burst.  The shutters and door were previously dark green.  Ooops, no before picture - I know I have some, I just have to find them - probably on the other computer.  Anyway, this time we decided on black paint, with white trim.  I think it goes nicely with the brick.   It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for your curb appeal.    

A tutorial for the wreath on the front door is here.  The only difference now is-  I took the eggs off the wreath after Easter.   

Last year was pretty crazy around here, without getting into the all of the details - - suffice it to say, the shrubs and bushes just didn't get trimmed. They normally get trimmed after the blossoms fade and before the fresh mulch goes down. With last year being a bit very hectic - by the time we realized they needed trimmed the buds were already starting to push for this year. Decision time...shape them and not have as many buds this year or let them go. Shape or blossoms...blossoms or shape...I decided I would rather have flowers and we would worry about the shape later - so we left them go. I'm not saying it was easy, there were a few times after that decision when I just wanted to had to restrain myself from giving them a good trimming.

Now looking at all the blossoms, I am glad I didn't give into temptation and trim them.  But, trust me, as they begin to fade - they are in for a good trimming.

So how about you, would you have trimmed them despite beginning to produce buds or waited it out to enjoy the blossoms?

Hello Everyone,

Here it is the 6th of May already and I'm just making my first post for the month.  Time is flying - it has been busy around here and no signs of letting up for a while.  This month is packed with graduations, and various gatherings with family and friends - so postings may be a bit sporadic this month.  

Arrrrghhh, I can't believe it - I forgot to tell the contractor - do not install mirrors above the sinks.  You know the kind...plain contractor grade mirror, glued to the wall.  Yep, that's the one.  Well today we're going to learn how to take this plain powder room mirror...
and frame it to present a more finished look. 
Molding (available at hardware store)
Miter Saw
Product for hanging mirror (e.g., Liquid Nails read on for how I used Velcro)
Wood Glue
4 - Corner Clamps

Measure the width and height of your existing mirror.  Next determine how you want your frame to fit on the mirror.  I recommend you add at least 1/4 inch on all sides of the mirror for the frame to extend over the edges; 1/4 inch added to each side would add 1/2 inch to the length of each board. 

Picture frames have 45 degree mitered corners.  In order to make a perfect frame you will need to:

   (a)   Cut the top and bottom board to exactly the same size with a 45 degree angle on all ends
    (b)  Cut the left and right boards to exactly the same size with a 45 degree angle on all ends

If either the angles or the lengths are off by even by a smidgen of a degree or a fraction of an inch - it will show when you assemble your frame.  Yes, smidgen is a technical term.  Measure and mark each of your boards according to your desired measurements.  Remember, the thickest part of your molding will be the inside edge of your frame. 

To cut your boards and make your 45 degree corners, you can use either a hand miter saw like this.
or an electric miter saw.   The electric saw will give you a more precise cut but  either one will do. 
Regardless of which type of saw you use, you always want to make sure that the thickest edge of your molding is tightly secured (clamped) against the back edge of your saw.   When using tools always perform a safety check before operating. 

The thickest part of your molding will be the inside edge of your finished frame.  Double check the angle of your cut prior to sawing - after cutting the shortest edge should be along the thickest edge of your molding as shown in the photo above.  If using an electric miter saw make sure the saw blade is rotating at full speed prior to lowering the blade to cut through your wood.  You may want to practice on a spare piece of wood to see how the blade, your measurement marking and the laser are aligned so that you cut precisely. 

I prefer to cut all of the right ends then all of the left ends - that is just so I don't have to reset the angle of the saw each time. 
Once you have all four pieces cut, verify that the left and right sides are the same length and same angle.  Then make sure your top and bottom pieces are the same length and same angle.  This can be done by holding each piece against it mate - first holding the inside edges together then the outside edges together.  If the pieces  match, you are ready to assemble your frame.  

I use corner clamps  to give the corners an extra squeeze while your glue sets.   If you don't have corner clamps, you can get them at the hardware store they cost about $3 a piece and can significantly improve the look of your finished frame. 
Loosen the corner clamps enough to freely place your wood into the clamps.  Remove one of the short pieces and put glue on both ends.  Place the short piece back into the clamps, line up your corners and tighten the clamps - remove excess glue (as directed on your glue instructions).  Repeat on the other end - glue, place, line up and tighten.  Recheck all of your corners to make sure nothing shifted.
 Keep clamped for at least 30 minutes or as instructed by your glue.  Follow the directions on your glue for drying time - mine required 24 hours  before putting an stress on it. 

Once the glue is dry, paint both sides of the frame.  Both sides???  Yes, the edge of the backside of the frame will reflect in your mirror.
Allow the paint to thoroughly dry and you are ready to hang.  You can select from various products (such as Liquid Nails) and glue your frame right to the mirror.  I really didn't want to permanently mount the mirror - see how close this mirror is to the wall corner, well it can be a real pain when it comes to painting that corner.  Besides, I may want to change the color or style of the frame.  Soooo, I decided to try Velcro.  You may not be able to use velcro with all moldings; however, my molding has a ridge on the backside that allowed me to place a little strip of Velcro in each of the corners.  Since the Velcro sits in the ridge, it still allows the frame to sit tightly against the mirror.  So now I can just remove the mirror when I am ready to paint either the frame or the wall and simply rehang it.   

Check out those corners!!!  Mr Niche says they are so good that they look fake. 
And finally - here is the finished look.  The mirror was painted with Oil Rubbed Bronze to match the light fixture.  The light  was originally brass before getting an update with Oil Rubbed Bronze.  Learn how to update your brass fixtures with spray paint here.
Here's the side-by-side comparison of before and after.  This project is well worth it.  It all costs less than $20 and it definitely improved the look in this powder room. 
Now, I have two other contractor mirrors that need framed. 
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