Monday, January 14, 2013

Two Cheery Green Makeovers

How about a little spring green to chase those winter blues away?  After the holidays it's easy to feel a little blue.  The parties and excitement of the holidays are over and the winter seems to stretch on.  Here are two quick makeovers that are sure to have you singing for spring.

The first, is a little side table that I picked up at the thrift store. My initial thought was to paint the body white and re-stain the top. However, the little side table had other plans. 

It insisted on being painted a fun color, like apple green.  The color is so cheery and fun, that I couldn't bare to part with it.  Little Green now resides in my son's room. 

The second green makeover is of a little lamp that lost its way.

The silver lamp I already had and the shade I picked up from the thrift store for 49 cents.  The girl who checked me out put it in a bag with a sharp metal cross, that ended up slicing a large hole in it by the time I got home. (I took a picture of its "good" side.)

My original thought was to paint a design on the shade, but with the rip, ended up covering it instead.  A quick coat of spray paint for the base and this little lamp is lost no more.

This is the first chevron piece I made that I decided to keep for my own home.  Every time I see the green, it makes me smile. :-)

So, tell me, which colors lighten your spirit and brighten your day?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Grandma's Chocolate Cake - Gluten Free

My hubby's sweet grandma is celebrating her 100th birthday today!  In honor of this special day, I wanted to share with you her scrumptious chocolate cake recipe.   

Grandma's Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups GF multi-blend flour
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 - 1 ounce squares semi-sweet baking chocolate - melted
1 cup mash potatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup water
*Preheat oven to 350 F.
*Combine flour and xanthan gum in a large mixing bowl.
*Add sugar, shortening, eggs, milk, salt, cocoa and vanilla.  Beat at medium speed until smooth.
*Mix in melted baking chocolate.
*Add mash potatoes and beat well.
*Dissolve baking soda in 1/4 cup water. Add to mixture and beat just until blended.
*Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan.
*Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until toothpick in center comes out clean. 

This moist, chocolaty cake tastes great served plain or lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar and a tall, cold glass of milk. 
Happy 100th Birthday, Grandma!
Joining in the fun at:
Debbiedoo's Newbie with a Twist Party 

(This recipe was modified to make it gluten-free.  For the original recipe, replace the GF flour with regular white flour and omit the xanthan gum. )

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy New Year!

I'm so happy to be back at blogging after taking an unexpected break.  The last couple of months have been CRAZY.  I have a tendency to say "YES" more than I say "NO".  As a result, I found my cart not only in FRONT of my horse, but careening down the hill while my horse munch on some grass by the side of the road.

I have managed to stop the cart and am working on getting the horse hitched up properly again.  After much soul searching, I have decided that my inspirational word for the New Year is the word "NO".  

No, I don't have to have a perfectly spotless home (a few dust bunnies and paw prints add character).  No, I don't have to bake cookies from scratch every time (that's what Pillsbury is for). 

No, I don't have to have perfectly coiffured hair everyday (Oh, the wonders of a pink baseball cap).  No, I don't have to volunteer for every committee, activity, or club that asks. 

No, I do not have to not post a project just because I forgot to take the "before" shot.

No, I don't have to be perfect. . .trying to be perfect all the time is perfectly boring.  I'm discovering that "good enough" may not be perfect, but it is just fine.

Here's hoping your Wednesday is "good enough"!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The "Out-Dated" Duckling

Once upon a time in an out-of-the-way thrift store, there lived an old coffee table that had seen better days.  Her previous owners had painted her white and transformed her into a padded bench.  At first, the old coffee table wasn't sure of her new look and purpose.  But as time went by she got use to being sat on day end and day out and resigned herself to being a bench for the rest of her life.

Then one day, her owners decided that they didn't want her anymore and sent her away.  The old coffee table was sad and wondered what ever would become of her?  After being shuffled here and there, she finally found refuge in an old second hand shop.

Day in and day out she waited in that dusty little shop, hoping for something to happen, for her luck to change.

  Then one day, it finally happened!  A kind lady spied the old coffee table in the corner of the shop and brought her home.  At first the old coffee table was scared, but the kind lady told her that she was going to make her beautiful.

First, the old coffee table got some new legs.  Next, she was painted a lovely turquoise color and then distressed.  Then the kind lady rubbed the old coffee table all over with a dark stain and when that dried, she was buffed up with a clear wax.  Finally, the old coffee table was given some fancy new "bling" to wear.

The old coffee table could hardly believe it!  She was no longer an "out-dated" duckling, but an "up-dated" swan!

Then, the kind lady took her to a special place where "up-dated" swans go to find new families.  And she lived happily ever after.  The End.

Here's hoping today is a "Fairy Tale" kind of day.
Happy Tuesday!

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's easy as One, Two, Three!

Do you know what it's like to have a song stuck in your head that just won't go away no matter how hard you try to think of something else?

I must of had The Jackson Five's hit song, "ABC -  It's easy as one-two-three",  playing away in my brain when I discovered this little bureau at The Salvation Army.

I decided to strip the top and stain it a dark walnut. I remembered to take the "before" picture after I had already completed this step.  I then painted the rest of the bureau an antique white.  Next, I distress it and finished with a clear wax.  

I added the "One, Two, Three" by first, printing out the words from my computer.  Next, using carbon paper, I traced out the letters onto the drawers and then using a tiny brush filled them in with black acrylic craft paint.  Last, I lightly sanded over the words, then finished the drawers off with a clear wax.

The knobs were a shiny brass ReStore find that I sprayed with rubbed-oil bronze paint and then sealed with a clear poly-acrylic.

I'm happy to report that this little fella found a good home and that I NO LONGER have "It's easy as One, Two, Three" playing in my head. :-)

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Little Red's Cousin

I adore the color RED!  Even though I have not been brave enough to paint a room this color. . .yet.  For now I content myself with splashing this deliciously bold color on sad, neglected furniture that needs a little cheering up.

Several months ago, I found this "down in the dump" bookcase at a local thrift store.  (It probably should have gone to the dump as it was suffering from a bad case of mildew.)

Structurally, it was sound but boy did it smell bad!  Of course, I didn't discover this till the ride home.  I left it outside to "air out" for several weeks before tackling it.  First, I thoroughly scrubbed it with a bleach/water solution and then allowed it to dry in the sun for several days.  After that, it smelled MUCH better.

I then primed the entire piece with Kiltz primer/sealer.  Inspired by my  Little Red Makeover, I decided to do a similar finish.  I painted it my favorite red color, distressed it a little, added a mocha glaze, and then a clear wax to finish it off. 

I added French Toile fabric to the back of the bookcase and for the final touch, two painted knobs.  (I was on my way out the door to take it to the shop, when I realized I hadn't taken an after shot.)

Little Red's Cousin is so much happier now in her "new" color.  What colors make you happy? 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Perfect Match

Have you ever bought a skirt because it was too cute only to find that you didn't have a single shirt to go with it?  And then, after many hours of frustrated shopping looking for something/anything to go with it, you finally hit pay dirt. . .a perfect match!

Here is my "cute little skirt".  I found this hutch at the ReStore several months ago.  The price was right and I knew (hoped) that I could find another piece to go with it.

Well, a few weeks later, this little desk turned up at the ReStore.

A perfect match!  I primed both pieces with Kiltz primer made for slick surfaces and let them cure for a couple of days.  After that, both pieces were painted a pale gray and then lightly distressed and a mocha glaze was applied.  I finished off with a clear wax.

The back of the hutch was painted in black chalkboard paint.  The "new" hardware also came from the ReStore and was painted white to coordinate with the new look.  For a final touch, metal stars were added in the upper corners of the hutch.

So, have you found any "perfect" matches lately?
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