Category Archives: Painting


After a trip to Goodwill I ended up with an old frame with a wood backing to it. I really had no idea what to do with it so I gathered a few different blue paints I had from past projects and began painting. It quickly began to look like water and I thought that was OK. It remained that way for many months. Recently I decided I needed a rather large piece to use in the bathroom so I pulled it out (thinking it was calming) and hung it up. It was all wrong and so bland! It was very obvious it needed to have a mermaid swimming in it. DUH!

Mermaid Tail


I used a white chalk marker and drew directly onto the painted surface. It took a few layers.  I then began to draw a pattern in the middle with a pencil. After I was satisfied with my pattern, I used blue chalk markers to trace over the pencil lines.


I used 2 different shades of blue, a gold marker,  and weighted the lines. 20140210-185606.jpg

The finished result:


I love it in our bathroom – just the splash we needed.


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Painted Hallway

GliddenSealGreyThere is a small landing at the bottom of our stairs that coincides with the entry to the bathroom, our spare room, the living room, and kitchen. I call it a hallway, but it’s more like a corridor. When we moved into our new place, there was a dark, maroon wall that held a lot of secrets:

HallwayBefore2I liked the idea of painting that area to give it a presence, but I wasn’t completely excited about the color. Maroon is the team color at the University of Montana where I graduated and I only see it as that. It was my first painting project of the house and here I am to show you the before and after!


HallwayBeforeAnd after:





All of the above photos were blessed with Seattle sun and the following picture is a view of the corridor without direct sunlight.

HallwaysAfter3I love how the grey can go from a bright cheery color to a moody, meaningful grey. Easy peasy, pudding grey.

Paint: Seal Grey by Glidden.

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DIY Wall Paper { Yes, it’s paper on the wall}

Butterfly Wall Paper I am a renter and I am blessed with a wonderful landlord who allows me to paint. I am so lucky in the renters world. The other day I decided to paint the bathroom and after I had bumped the toilet and caused it to leak, I called my landlord when she reminded me that the bathroom was the ONLY room in the house that she would like left as is. SHOOT! I felt awful and now I am a bit wary for tackling any painting projects. It’s not that she won’t allow me to; she wrote me a nice email saying that I could paint any other room that I wanted and to enjoy it. But as I tackle my remorse, I am creating more ways to change my surroundings in a way that is easily reverted back to normal.

At work, I stumbled upon paper place-mats. They were beautiful with colors and different designs. Intended to be used at the table and then thrown away, I saw a different use. Wallpaper! And when they were marked down and put on the sale table, I immediately snagged up the butterflies,  and owls, and knives, and spoons and forks! I went a bit overboard. I had the perfect place for them – I found them a landing headed upstairs to our loft bedroom.

I didn’t take a before shot, but I do have a few somewhat questionable photos of my pets on the stairs:

Archer Stairs Before

Black Cat to Grey Cat: "Show me how you walk seductively"

Black Cat to Grey Cat: “Show me how you walk seductively”

"I'll try to walk seductively, as well."

“I’ll try to walk seductively, as well.”


I had my pad of Kitchen Papers in Butterfly, double-sided tape, a pencil, scissors, and a ruler. WARNING: you may not be able to stop taping paper to your walls. ADDICTING.

I started at the top and taped my first one on and then began to tape the others on side by side.

Kitchen Paper Butterflys


And I kept moving down from there.

Second RowAnd when I got to the corners where I couldn’t lay down an entire sheet, I left a blank space. I saved these spaces for the end so that I could tape up all the full sheets and then use the remaining pieces to fill in the holes.

Butterfly Wall Papers

Wall Papers with G1


To make the pieces fit into the empty spaces, I lined up the piece with the others and then placed it where it went, and when I reached the area that needed to be cut off, I grabbed my ruler and pencil and drew a line. I then cut the remainder off, and then taped down my new piece. I filled in all the empty spaces that ran along the hand-rail and then cut pieces to fit around the shelf.
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Butterfly Wall Paper


The entire process took maybe 40 minutes and it really packs a punch. I feel great that I can take it down when we move and that we have a beautiful stairway.



"This hallway needs more character if I am going to shine!"

“This hallway needs more character if I am going to shine!”


Butterfly Wall Paper




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Oak Table Gone Dark {Refinishing an Oak Table}

TableRemodelCoverNow that the rain is lightening up, I have had an opportunity to tackle refinishing  our dining table.  I love a round table, it seems a bit more communal. Since there is usually only two of us eating at the table (when we can pull ourselves away from the TV and couch), it’s a bit stiff sitting across from each other. The round table is awesome – only as close as you care to be.

Oak Table

This is the first time we have had room for a table since moving to Washington, so we have been putting a lot of thought into what we wanted.  I knew a solid Oak table was expensive but I also knew you can get them quite frequently for free on Craigslists. The only problem was (and I have this problem quite often) that I wanted it at that very moment. So, when we found an oak table to Goodwillys for $65 and talked them down to $50… SOLD. I had done quite a bit of research on how to sand and stain/paint an oak table and learned that Oak tables love to absorb stain. So I made sure I had enough stain and and all my supplies before I began my project. I knew I wanted the top to be sanded a dark walnut and the bottom to be white.

Oak Table Before

I rolled the table top outside and brought the leaf  along to refinish at the same time. The table had a bit of marker on it and general nastiness that I was glad to bid ado.  I used my rotary sander and my drexel tool to get into the crevices. After the entire top surface and the lip had been sanded, I wiped of the excess sanding dust and let it dry in the sun.

Table Before Sanding

A bit of marker about to meet it’s enemy the sander.


Ready for some conditioning.


The worst part was over! Now onto the coloring magic. BUT WAIT! I wanted this to be a quality piece which meant I needed to condition the wood first! I knew I wanted to get down to the fun part, but I also knew I didn’t want to do this entire process again.

I applied the wood conditioning treatment just like you do stain. It didn’t smell like something I should have been breathing in, so I was happy I only needed to apply one coat.


After letting the conditioning soak in and dry, I excitedly jumped into staining. I had chosen Dark Walnut for this project and I threw on the first coat.


It seemed so light! I knew after the first coat that I would need to apply nearly 6 coats to achieve the dark nuttyness I wanted. I threw on the second coat after the first had dried.

First coat on the Left and second coat on the Right

First coat on the Left and second coat on the Right

And after the second coat, I threw on the third coat…

Table3CoatsThe table was becoming darker, but it wasn’t absorbing the rich dark brown I had hoped for. And like any professional painter, I decided now was a great time to mix my stains. I gathered a can of Kona stain from the basement and mixed it with the Dark Walnut and without looking back, I put on a coat.

TableRemodelKonaAnd hope slowly resurfaced in my mixture of Kona and Dark Walnut which we will now call Dr. Walona. I wasn’t so sure that I needed two coats of Dr. Walona, so I let the first coat dry and then headed onto another round of Dark Walnut. It was getting late and I wasn’t sure how dark it would dry, so after 4 coats of Dark Walnut and one coat of Dr. Walona, I went to bed and anxiously awoke to this:

TableRemodelMorninganad I was OK with it! It had dried very evenly and I loved the wood grain. The color was on par. I knew I wanted it a bit darker, so I did one more coat of Dr. Walona and then moved onto the sealant. The wood sealant was all it needed. It was finally the perfect shade of Dr. Walona.






“It’s not rich mahogany, but it will do.”


It was finally done! Well…..Almost done:

TableNOTFinishedI still have to finish the bottom. And yes, if you’re thinking that sanding into the angles of the beautifully articulate base is hindering me, than yes, you are exactly correct. I’m thinking I may just prime it and paint it white… someday. For now, we are enjoying our table top and sitting however far or close to each other we like.

Just a reminder:


Oak Table And AFTER


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Chalkboard Plaque {Don’t believe me, ask the dishes!}

Plaque Turtorial

I’m pretty sure you can buy these sorts of plaques at any craft store or if you aren’t as crafty but you are a bit thrifty, I found mine at Goodwillys.

I was immediately drawn to it because it looked a lot like a disney character. Do you see it, too? Without hesitation, I bought the plaque and then quickly put it in my craft box until I was ready for it. I ended up ‘being ready’ for it 8 months later. It just so happened that I needed a chalk board. I put 2 and 2 together and decided to craft myself a chalkboard plaque.

I finished the project within 2 hours including drying time between layers of chalk paint. Here’s how I did it.

Using a Clorox bleach wipe, I wiped the entire plaque to reveal its glory.

Plaque Before

The sun was out in Seattle, so Archer and I took advantage of this by completing our entire project outside in the yard.

Plaque Archer

Are you awarding me with that? It’s not gold.

Using my orbital sander, I began sanding the top of the plaque to remove the veneer. I didn’t sand the edge of the plaque as I thought it gave it a Made Men look. They wouldn’t use chalk, I know, but they would like that I was using something that designates achievement.

Plaque Sanding

I was able to completely remove the veneer by sanding. After doing so, I used another Clorox wipe and washed off all of the sanding debris.

Plaque Sanding Finished

Are you beginning to see which Disney character this looks like? Hint: “This is yet another example of the late neoclassic Baroque period. And, as I always say, “If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it!”

I used painters tape to tape around the top surface. This was a bit tricky, as the face, er, the plaque surface had angled edges. It took a lot of tape maneuvering and tearing.

Plaque Taped for Painting

Using an old bottle of chalkboard spray paint, I did as I’ve been told to do by every can of spray paint, ever.

Light, even strokes and let it dry in between coats.

Chalkboard Spraypaint

After the first coat:
Plaque Chalkdboard Paint Layers

And after the 5th coat I peeled away the painters tape to reveal my perfect chalkboard plaque.

Plaque Finshed

I hung it in the kitchen where we tend to do most of our documenting: shopping lists, to-do lists, recipes, menus, etc.

Plaque Finished Close - up

Have you guessed which Disney character I am referring to, yet?

If you are like me and immediately saw Cogsworth from The Beauty and The Beast, then you, too, are amazing!

Naturally, G1 and I took turns drawing on our best Cogsworth face. I went first….

Plaque Candice

Cogsworth according to G2
“[singing] Well, perhaps there’s something there that wasn’t there before.”

And G2 took it to the next level. He can do no wrong to Cogsworth.

Plaque Patrick

Cogsworth according to G1:
“Well, there’s the usual things: flowers… chocolates… promises you don’t intend to keep… “

We love having Gaston in our kitchen, servicing us like the true Beauty and the Beast that we are.


…A tale as old as time….

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Organizing A Dump Zone After Moving

MovingInDumpZoneThe boxes that once held our home have been slashed and broken down to flat, lifeless, 2D objects yet the items they once held are still making a big impact in our life. Our goal was to unload all the boxes – no problem (except the two boxes that still sit in the office; those are a problem). All the  boxes are empty and the bonus? everything is piling up in the kitchen on a shelf that came with the house. I’m pretty sure that all of it is piled up here because it’s on it’s way downstairs, but someone didn’t have the enthusiasm to actually take it downstairs.

For some reason, and I blame it on living in tiny apartments until now, we will avoid any task that involves up going upstairs or downstairs. The laundry is downstairs and our bedroom is upstairs. We may have bought a few more laundry baskets to try and do laundry less and our room may be the only place in the house where we haven’t done any actual moving-in.

I recently read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin  where she made a ‘rule’ to do anything that doesn’t take more than a minute to do. For us, that means taking the laundry downstairs, putting our shoes in the closet, hanging our jackets instead of throwing them over the couch, and filling up the Brita pitcher with water before we put it back in the fridge. All these little things, when left undone, can create a bit of chaos so we started using the one minute roll as well. Everywhere except the shelf in the kitchen! Time for a new goal : Organize the kitchen dump zone, where everything that doesn’t have a designated home (or belongs in the basement) lands.

MessyClutterBothThe shelf in the kitchen came from the basement and belongs to the home’s owner and since we were desperate for counter space we brought it up to tie us over.  It had collected the fruit bowl, dinner plates that don’t fit in the cupboard, a box of lightbulbs, a tool box and drill, and a lovely hydrangea that is waiting to be planted.

First thing I did was take the dreaded descent into the basement. I gathered all the tools and lightbulbs and general ‘garage stuff’and took it downstairs where it belongs. I then vowed to implement the ‘one minute rule’ to make sure that this tool pile-up didn’t happen again.

And just like that, I had my shelf back.

ShelfStage1It was a breath of fresh air. And then it was a very long exhale as I realized that the shelf seemed unwarranted, and that I needed to make it useful. I had been wanting to move the coffee machine and accessories off of our counter to make more space, so I decided to make a coffee station on the shelf.


Now we’re talking. I liked that I was able to bring all of the coffee supplies together and free up some space on the kitchen counters. Was I in love with it? No, but it was much better than where it started  so I decided to move onto the built-in hutch.


At least the hutch wasn’t full of tools. There were a few things that gathered that didn’t belong: two spice racks from Ikea, vases, a flashlight, and doggy-doo-doo bags. So as I did with the shelf, I took everything away that didn’t belong.


The plates that used to be on the shelf fit nicely on the hutch but looked a little out of place, so I added the rest of our collection. I added the vintage radio for a splash of color and my ‘deer’ friend for a bit of decor. The jar on the bottom is the most important as it is home to a variety of dog treats and we all know that a happy dog is a happy home.

HutchDetailI bought the cracker jars at Wal-mart and found the labels at World Market. The style of labels on the right were pre-printed  and the jar on the left is a chalkboard label. Did I mention that World Market is quickly becoming my favorite store?




I was happy with my progress thus far. I had a nice organized hutch and a coffee station shelf. Buuuuuuuuuut, I didn’t really love the shelf.

So, I brought in it’s replacement:

HutchandShelfFinalThe Ikea shoe cabinet. This cabinet is amazing! The drawers pull towards you and you can slide in your shoes. We haven’t really found a great place for it in our house where we can actually use it as a shoe cabinet, so I was happy to bring it in and replace the shelf. It seemed to fit perfectly; both the white color and the size.


My sister-in-law came over and came up with the brilliant idea to put wine bottles in the cabinets.


Now that I was content with that corner of the kitchen, I only had one corner left: the butcher block.


I quickly tidied up the butcher block corner of the kitchen by hanging the knife magnet and adding a picture.


The cook books found a home on the bottom shelf of the kitchen cart.



And Archer found a home right in front of my camera.



The entire dump-zone organization wasn’t as awful as I imagined it to be. It really consisted of taking everything that didn’t belong in the kitchen away and then re-situating what did belong until I liked what I saw.


There is a list accumulating with projects that I want to complete in the kitchen including paint and add curtains.

I’ll keep you posted on any other updates!

Waiting to Move

Last Friday we found out we were approved for our favorite apartment! We have been so happy and excited, imagining life in a bigger place and in a new neighborhood! The apartment is officially ours beginning March 1st, but we won’t move until we get back from Hawaii (eek!) the second week in March. We are expecting a mad-crazy-intense move all in one weekend – can’t wait.

Since we found out, we have been discussing our decorating and arrangement options as well as how excited our dog is going to be with a yard.  We will have a room dedicated to an office. Currently our kitchen/living room/entry-way also share a room with our office. We have been dealing with the combo for nearly 4 years, so I’m a little over-whelmed with all the possibilities!

Our new home will also have an extra bedroom! This is an entirely new idea to us. We have always (and we aren’t proud of this) had our guests sleep on the couch or on an inflatable mattress. What makes it worse is that we are living it up in a queen size bed while they do so. We can’t wait to have a guest room!

We started painting the interior of our shelf-turned-hutch a brilliant white. To demonstrate how great it is working in a small apartment I have included a picture of how we make it work. I line the counters with plastic and then use that area to paint. If you have the will, there is a way.


Our work-bench

But, hey, it works and we have a basement and a yard to look forward to in the next month!

While I had the white paint out, I decided to give a deer antler a coast of paint.

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Shine bright like a white paint.

I was given the antlers from a friend in Montana who found them on his ranch. And when I say he found them, I mean they were still attached to the skull and they were still wearing a bit of fur. This meant that I had to take on the task of de-robing the deer as well as detaching the antlers. I’ll have to get back to that story another time.

The antlers turned out quite nice. I had previously bleached them to try and get them white but wasn’t able to get them the shade of white I desired. The paint did a great job of masking the antler’s flaws and cheering it up.

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White paint + Antler = BFF

I ended up painting a piece of particle board white that I had also acquired in Montana.When I made my JOY sign, my FIL gave me an additional piece of board as I intended to make my own JOY sign. Since that never came into fruition, I have been holding onto it waiting for a great project. I thought I would paint it white to give it a nice base and also because once I get the paint out, I go a little over-board. I won’t include it in this post, but I might have also painted the legs on a bench. ho-hum.

In another demonstration of how great it is to work in a small apartment, I have placed the particle board on top of my work-bench (er, dog crate) to paint it. I don’t mind as much as G1 does. I know it’s only temporary and that after I’m done I can clean up my supplies and put everything away, but its a little stressful for someone who isn’t partaking in the paint-madness.

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Particle board gone white.

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So fresh and so white.

I then taped off the inside of the hutch so the back panel would remain untouched and began painting the interior – you guessed it – white !

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White interior of hutch.

After the painting was done, we let everything dry and got ready for the Superbowl!

With the excitement of our new home, we have had quite a busy week. Of course the Superbowl came and went. We enjoyed that by wearing any form of jersey we had available. Mine was a hand-me-down from my dearest friend. She acquired the BL jersey while working at a restaurant. I was rooting for the Ravens and G1 was rooting for the Niners.

Go Ravens!

Go Ravens!

Thank goodness the Ravens won, despite the Niner’s attempt at shutting off the lights, because we placed a friendly bet on the game. If the Niner’s won, G1 would have had me be in charge of cleaning out the kennel (a job that has thus far been reserved for him) for a month. If the Ravens won, I would have had G2 be the person who gets out of bed at night to do the silly things we forget.

For example: G2- Did you turn off the heater?  G2 – Shoooooot. I forgot.    G2 – No dibs.    G1: But you’re closer.    G2: Ravens.   G1: (shuffles out of bed and turns off the heater in silence while cursing the Niners)

Thank you Ravens!

We gave our puppy Archer all the attention he had been waiting for all week. He is incredibly happy when he knows we are staying home for a couple days over the weekend and we shower him with love, and full body hugs.

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Is it Monday yet?

We were also able to register one of our cars in WA. We are hoping this will lead to an immediate decline in the number of road-rage response incidents we experience as a direct result of our MT license plates. I am being completely honest when I tell you that I witnessed a guy give me the bird in his rear-view mirror as well as pound his fist repeatedly at me after I merged in front of him on an off-ramp. pft.

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If you can’t beat them, join them.

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