Hi friends!

Y’all know by now that I like to paint things. I’ll throw a coat of paint on almost anything, without an invitation. If it’s in our home, it’s probably been painted multiple times. I have MCPD…Multiple Coats of Paint Disorder. It’s a real disorder, I found it on the internet when I was researching my symptoms….

I decided to paint my antique icebox. Gasp!! If you believe that every vintage piece should remain unpainted, stop reading right now. I don’t want to be responsible for raising your blood pressure.

photo credit from google images, the creativity exchange

I said more than once I would never paint it. But……………well times change as they say, and I changed my mind about this old piece one day and decided it needed to be white. In my defense, it had already been refinished a couple of times so the “value” of it was already diminished. And truly, the value of anything is only what someone will pay for it.

My ice box had damage from rot on one of the rear legs, didn’t have all the original parts inside, had a large hole in the galvanized cladding inside, and had broken  and lifted veneer, which could not be repaired. So painting it would be a mercy. The wood was dry from years of hard use, I’d waxed it about 20 years ago with Briwax and while that gave it a soft luster, I guess in the end, I just wanted a different look.

prepping for paint

How is it I can find no “before” photos?? And I didn’t take any before we took the doors off. I have a hard time remembering the photo thing. So just imagine the ice box with brown doors.

I decided to use Krylon Chalky Paint in a spray. Colonial Ivory seemed to be the logical choice. I prepped the ice box by removing the hardware, lightly sanding, inserted cardboard cut to fit the door openings, (to protect the inside from overspray) and wiped it down to remove sanding dust. When the prep was done the change began… I’m always a little nervous and excited as the first coat of paint goes on.

First coat and all is well

I do not recommend using a new product on a large important piece of furniture. I’ve used spray paint for years and am usually successful. I started this project with high hopes, I wanted a smooth matte finish and I’d successfully used this paint on a frame, so I didn’t think twice. However…….it pays to read the information on every can of paint. Especially when using it for the first time on something important.

First coat on the door, coverage is good

I Rooky mistake. The project got off to a great start. I applied several thin coats with an hour between each coat. On the very LAST coat, (why it is always the last one that goes sideways????) I guess I failed to shake the can enough to get it mixed properly, the paint came out darker and like a fine powder. It was as if I’d sprayed cornmeal on it!! OMG!!! and other words of distress!!! Words that shall not be published.  I was not happy. I was horrified. I had to let it dry. And then sand it down to try to smooth it. All that careful painting only to have my project ruined at the last moment. I was in tears.

I read the info on the can, it recommends shaking vigorously for a full minute (of course you really should shake it another minute or so). And to shake during painting. I know this part. I shake cans of paint vigorously. What I didn’t do was shake it periodically during painting. I don’t know if I was just in a hurry or was excited because it was going so well.  The range of temps was also an eye opener. Turns out you aren’t supposed to paint in 90+ degree weather with humidity to match!

most of the “damage” was on the left side, and with the usual dim light in this room, it isn’t noticeable

Good grief. So humiliated and head hanging low, I sanded and sanded some more starting with 150 grit and then using 120, then 220. And finally with 400. It didn’t take all the dark shading off and it still feels rough to touch, but it’s done. I’ll wait a couple of weeks and then add wax, at least to the top. I bought a small buffer to make it easier on my neck and shoulders. I’ll live.

Although the finish isn’t the perfectly smooth matte finish I’d envisioned, I like the new look

So the verdict??? Krylon Chalky Spray Paint gets a 7 our of 10 stars from me. It will leave a nice smooth matte finish in perfect weather conditions. Which I rarely have. Humidity is a beast here and the temps seem to get hotter every year.  If I waited to paint when the temps are between 65 and 85 degrees with relative humidity I’d only be able to paint in November through February. Um…..that ain’t happenin. I can’t wait for perfect weather to spray paint something. I could…..but I won’t. So there’s that.

I do think this paint is great for small projects. I won’t use it again on larger pieces. Even though the bad finish was due to operator error, and ultimately the weather conditions, the cost of buying multiple cans of paint isn’t worth it.

Remember: Reading is Fundamental

Lesson learned. Read the directions. All of them. Pay attention to the recommended weather conditions. Shake that can, then shake it again. And shake it during painting. I spoke to a Krylon rep who said shaking the can is even more important when using chalk type paint. The paint is thicker and the ingredients sink to the bottom, so shaking is mandatory throughout the painting process. The powder that was sprayed at the end of my project? That was the ingredient that gives that matte  finish. By not shaking my can often enough or hard enough the paint and other ingredients didn’t get mixed properly. Duh. Well, I know that NOW……

Create your sanctuary one spray paint can at a time. Create the home you see in your heart, no matter where you live.



I posted a photo of a bunch of my magazines recently in three of the Facebook groups I’m in, and judging from the big response, I’d have to answer my own question with a resounding, YES! Magazines are still relevant. I have a shameful secret, I’m a magaholic. I have purchased magazines for years. I still have some  from the 90’s. I do get rid of old ones  every now and then. When we moved here in 1999, I brought along two cases of magazines. Mr B, ever the brave soul, gently suggested that maybe it was time to get rid of some…..WHAT????? I immediately got sweaty and there was a strange buzzing in my ears. Get rid of them???? Um, no. I use them. “For what?”   “I rip my favorite pages out to keep in a folder for future inspiration.”  “Well, if those are your favorite pages and you’ve ripped them out, why are you keeping a magazine with missing pages?”  STOP CONFUSING ME!!” I keep them because my style might change and I might find future inspiration among the pages I didn’t rip out.” sigh. I clearly have some issues.

Modern Farmhouse Style….NOT to be confused with American Farmhouse Style, both showcase one of the hottest trends in design. Modern lives up to its name, and emphasizes minimal modern use of vintage items.

I do donate some, once in awhile, but because I buy every decorating/design magazine published anywhere on a monthly basis, I have LOTS of inspiration. I keep mine in vintage wood boxes, in stacks near my reading chair and in stacks on a little table by the sofa. I read them, then I reread them, then I re-reread them. I tear out pages. And on it goes.

Some of the commenters in the Facebook groups, gently reminded me that I could read them for free in the library. Um, yes, I am familiar with the concept of the library, I’ve actually borrowed books from one. But magazines???? Reading magazines at the Library means I have to leave them there. GASP! I I must acquire them. Hold them. Browse through them. Flip through the pages. Tear some out.

Vintage wood boxes help keep me organized

The other suggestion was going with on-line subscriptions to end  hoarding preserving my favorites. I can’t do that either. For the same reason I  very seldom use my Kindle. I love actual books, the feel of the pages, even the way they are bound. I love that books can be shared, donated and gifted.

My Kindle doesn’t give me that same experience. Mr B is now totally Kindle when it comes to reading. I offer him a new book once I’ve finished and the answer is “no, I’m good.” geez. So my new, just read book goes in the basket I keep in the guest room for guests to take. I buy bags of books at Goodwill and Salvation Army and thrift stores. Reading allows me to visit far away places without leaving the comfort of my home. Then I donate them. You can’t do that with a Kindle. Just sayin.

I love magazines the same way. For me there is nothing like sitting in my chair with an icy Barqs perusing the latest edition of Country Living, or American Farmhouse or Flea Market Style. Besides I can’t tear pages from my Kindle.

Pinterest? Yep, I do Pinterest. I have scads of boards. I have secret boards for friends and clients. I have a secret board for things I want for my home. I have lots of public boards for lots of subjects. But I cannot break my habit of buying magazines. And they are expensive. I realize I am spending money on something I could easily have in another format, for less money. Then I’d have more money to spend on actual decor. But, alas, my addiction keeps me buying.

I buy genealogy magazines. Photography magazines. I subscribe to a dozen decorating magazines. I buy special edition magazines.  I buy British and Canadian magazines when I’ve gone through all the American ones. I buy old magazines at thrift stores. The magazine I don’t buy is anything having to do with food, or the making of it. Although someone once sent me a subscription to some chef magazine which Mr B took advantage of. I also buy Handyman magazine so that I can learn all about the tools I never use and offer helpful tips to Mr B while he’s using those tools. And he LOVES when I do that. (I lie.) Magazines are gifts to the mind. Just sayin.

I will purge my stash…..maybe this week, although I’m pretty busy with some projects and I may need to look through my tear sheets to see what I’ve forgotten. But I’ll purge for sure next week. Unless the weather is bad. If it’s sunny and pleasant, I’ll make one of my semi-regular visits to my doctor’s office and donate them to be left in reception. Why is it that the offices of health care professionals only seem to have Guns and Ammo and Sport Fishing or Hot Rod?? Because women like me TAKE the decorating mags home! (with permission of course.) Or sneaky office staff make off with them. I can live with that.

One of the questions asked often enough to be addressed here was, which one is your favorite?? Hard to answer that, I have more than one favorite, but I love Country Home. I was brokenhearted when it went from a monthly publication to a special edition that comes out with no rhyme nor reason. It’s beautifully photographed and keeps current with trends and changing styles. Unlike Country Sampler which is still stuck in Prim and doesn’t deviate much. I did let that subscription expire and only buy their special editions, Living Simply is a recent offering. And I eagerly wait for Prairie Style which comes out twice a year. Cottage Journal is another favorite, along with American Farmhouse Style. And I love Christmas and holiday editions. I enjoy seeing what my fellow bloggers are doing in their homes and enjoy looking for ways to spruce up my holiday decor.

Cottage Journal offers several special editions a year, one that’s dedicated to all white like this one. This is a must have for me

So, I think the question, are magazines still relevant has been answered. If you want some older editions, message me at I’ll gladly share some with you. Free. Except for Cottage Journal and Country Home. Sorry. Those are keepers. And maybe Flea Market Style.

Another essential is Country Home, once a monthly offering, sadly now whenever Meredith Publishing feels like it. I must have every issue and it there’s one magazine I will keep for years, it’s this one.
A special edition of Country Sampler, Prairie Stye offers simpler ways of styling our homes using authentic items, I’ve only been disappointed in one issue

If you’re stuck trying to figure out your style, or want some fresh ideas for creating your sanctuary, chances are I have a magazine that will help or you can just head to the news stand and pick up your very own copy.

Create your sanctuary, no matter where you live. Create the home you see in your heart.



I’m a lover of white rooms, or mostly white rooms. I love the different shades and nuances of white. I love the serenity a white room offers. I love that an all white room can be changed just by adding a couple of colorful pillows or throws. For anyone who feels white is too hard to live with,  Sunbrella offers wonderfully soft fabrics for use in interior rooms, and of course offers white. Slip covers make white sofas easy peasy to live with if you have kids or dogs or both. Bemz has many slip cover options in a multitude of designs and colors to fit Ikea furniture, including a hard wearing white cotton blend and a gorgeous white linen.

I love the fact that white rooms aren’t boring. Adding different sheens and texture makes an all white room come to life. Soft and hard. Shiny and dull. Rough and smooth. Adding opposites makes an all white room feel dynamic, not static. Adding a few pieces of natural wood or some accents of black takes it to another level.

I say all this even though I have dark leather in the family room and brown velvet in the living room. If white is so easy and I love it so much, why don’t I have it?? Good question…….  When we moved here 19 years ago I invested in a Restoration Hardware sofa in a beautiful chocolate brown. It’s soft, warm and cozy. It brought back memories of my favorite sofa of all time, a chocolate brown velvet of indeterminate brand that I had for years. The years of life with a young boy and many dogs, rescues and fosters, plus assorted cats, kittens, gerbils, hamsters and a couple of birds.  That sofa held up so well. I cleaned all manner of gunk from that sofa over its lifetime. There was nothing wrong with it when I got rid of it, I just wanted a new look. I was never happy with another sofa. It was musical sofas for a few years and my son complained that he left for school in the morning and came home to a different sofa at night.

I found another brown velvet sofa at Goodwill for $80.00! Of course I bought it and the merry-go-round of sofas stopped for a time. It was wide and deep and perfect for snuggling and watching movies or taking a nap. I marveled at my luck. It was in perfect condition. I was in love. Then I went shopping with my bestie and she bought new living room furniture. It was the height of the preppy Hunter Green, Burgandy and Navy craze and I walked out of that store with a receipt for guess what? A Hunter Green, Burgandy and Navy sofa and loveseat. annnd, it was plaid. PLAID! UGH. What was I thinking???  That was one of the most uncomfortable sofas ever. Scratchy fabric and after just a few months the cushions sagged. Plus it was ugly. Really, really ugly.

When we moved into this house I knew that  I was shopping for odds and ends with my daughter-in-law and of course we had to check out Resto and Pottery Barn. I have an on-going love affair with both stores. I think I squealed when we walked in to Resto. There was a chocolate brown velvet sofa. I sat on it. I fell in love. I left with a receipt and a delivery date. I didn’t measure it, never considered that it might be too large for our tiny living sitting room. Consequently we removed the two columns that separated the entry from the afore mentioned sitting room to make space for it. I will never give it up. It’s soft, it’s cushy, it’s lovely. White grainsack pillows look marvelous on it and give it a farmhouse look. The end.

Comfy, squishy brown velvet

Of course that story doesn’t explain why I have brown leather, and to make this post even longer,  the reason why I have leather in the family room is….. I live with Pig Pen, otherwise known as Mr B. He is the love of my life, complete with twigs and grass clippings on his clothes and in his hair, bark and mud and dirt on his shoes. I vacuum, he brings leaves and dirt in. I vacuum again. He brings leaves and dirt in. Again. It’s never ending. I also have two dogs…..but they don’t bring in leaves and twigs or debris. (That may be a lie, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Leather in the family room works for our lifestyle

The biggest reason I don’t have white sofas???? It isn’t about Pig Pen, or my fur babies. Nope. It’s because I’m lazy physically challenged. Since I injured my spine I can no longer do the whole remove, wash and replace slip covers. OK…..I’m also lazy. So we have leather. Very dark leather. It’s great. Wipe and go. It’s comfy. It doesn’t give me my desired all white room, but I also don’t have to fight slip covers. So I bring in as much white as I can. It’s all about compromise and making my home work for me…….and Pig Pen.

 If you don’t mind wrestling slipcovers, I highly recommend getting a white sofa for your farmhouse home. Even if you live in a fake farmhouse. Or a wannabe farmhouse. I love all white rooms and I cannot lie. White is for every season. White is beautiful. Go for it and let me live vicariously through you. Send me photos of your white rooms and I’ll show them off in future blog posts. Send them to Below is a link to 75 beautiful rooms done in my favorite color scheme.

Click HERE for photos of beautiful rooms and get ideas to incorporate white in your home which was the point of this post……. but I  got ambushed by memories, so now it’s mostly about white. With some brown. sigh

Create your sanctuary, no matter where you live. Create the home you see in your heart.







Alrighty then. I’m done with the 30 day challenge and…..wait for it……It was….not much of a challenge. Maybe I should really challenge myself, to perhaps 6 months of no shopping…..or something actually challenging.  Eek….that might be a bit much…… I’m not sure I could go 6 months without hitting an antique store. But then again, isn’t that what a challenge is all about? To do something difficult? Sigh… this is a question best left to the wisdom of……. someone.

It’s been fun to see what I could do around the house without adding anything new or shopping for new junk decor. And believe it or not, I’m still giving things away. What?? How can I have so much stuff when I am perpetually purging? This is a sign my friends. A sign that perhaps I have too much. Don’t tell Mr B I said that. He’s been telling me that forever . I would secretly roll my eyes thinking, “how can anyone have too much?” Except for those hoarder people. They clearly have too much stuff. But not great stuff like me. I have really great stuff.  But not too much……er……???

One of the areas I DO have a problem is…. throw pillows, so named because men everywhere throw them off countless sofas and beds to make room to sit or sleep on said sofas and beds. My son made fun of me for years, because as soon as he got up to leave, I would rearrange my pillows. At night, I’m in charge of getting the bed ready because Mr B has no patience with folding throws, quilts and a plethora of pillows  just to get in the bed.

I am constantly buying pillows. I have no idea why. How many pillows do I truly need? And shouldn’t my sofas be welcoming and actually have space for friends to sit?? Or room for me and Mr B? Without the constant playing games of musical pillows…… moving pillows from the chairs to the sofa and back again any time we want to…..sit? So the great pillow purge is on. I have bags…. BAGS of pillows in the attic. It’s ridiculous.

I am hereby declaring a moratorium on any new pillows! Now THAT’S a challenge. But I’m going to do it try to do it. I will finish making a couple of grain sack pillows that have been waiting to be finished for a year, but I already have the grainsack so it doesn’t count. See how clever I am at getting around moratoriums??


Did I accomplish all I set out to do during the last 30 days? Nope.  My goals were a bit much to accomplish in 30 days in retrospect.  But I’m OK with that. I’m on track. And I will continue to do those things that were part of the challenge, um….except for the no shopping part. However, I will shop more purposefully, with a list and a vision instead of just buying anything that appeals to me.

Lily is walking a tad bit better on the leash and I’ll continue working with her. She’s smart and eager to please. But she’s also a 6 year old rescue and a bit nutso. This will be a long term gig.

I added Audra Day, The Chainsmokers and Kendrick Lamar to my regular music rotation. And I’ve been listening to some artists I never appreciated before. So that’s a win. I didn’t get all the CD’s ripped and burned to share with the Grands, that’s an on-going project, I have hundreds of CD’s, some they actually like. Updating my on-line music files is a bonus and I might get rid of some CD’s to clear up space.  I also worked on my family tree a bit, that is also an on-going project but at least my files are neat and tidy so I can find things.

 I painted two shelves in the dining room and some frames. And I played with creating more chippy paint on some odds and ends before I try the technique on anything important. In my defense, the weather has been so rainy and/or humid I couldn’t paint as much as I wanted. Plus I spent most of my time with my Granddaughter and frankly, painting and projects could wait. The time with her is precious and since she’s older I might not get the opportunity as often. My oldest Grand has already curtailed her visits due to college and a job. It won’t be long until the younger one does the same. So when either one of them is here, time just sort of revolves around them.  And that’s as it should be. Time spent with two of my loves is time well spent.

The shelves were a quick, one day project. There wasn’t anything wrong with them, I was just tired of the stain and wanted a different look. (There’s a big surprise.)  I like them better white. And I completed a small shutter that had been lying around. That’s about it since my last update. I’m content with the projects I completed. And totally OK without shopping. I may do it again. Just to clear my head and keep my priorities straight. I also cut back on social media to avoid temptation. Another plus that allowed the time to catch up on reading. I’ll list the books in a future post.

I made a master list, room by room, of all the major and minor projects I would like to complete by the end of this year. (When I say I…..picture Mr B). This requires some cooperation and coordination with Mr B and his schedule is jam packed with trips, his singing gigs and of course, golf.  Projects must be scheduled around all that. We’re going to be completing projects in the kitchen and the guest room that have been in the works for awhile. I’m so excited! And the search is on for a console in preparation for a new TV and upgraded sound system. Oh yes! I love me some big TV and we desperately need I want a sound system that wasn’t designed in the 90’s. It’s past time for an upgrade. More on that front later.

So that’s it. My 30 day challenge is over. Let the shopping begin! Just kidding. But I do have plans to rearrange some furniture and who knows where that will lead?? Thanks for coming along on my  our journey to update our home. I’m creating my our sanctuary one room at a time. I’m creating the home I see in my heart. Mr B says my heart needs new glasses, but I like my vision just fine.

Love where you live. Create your sanctuary. One room at a time.




I’m three weeks in my 30 day self imposed no shopping challenge and it’s going well. I’m really surprised at how easy it has been. If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE to go to junk stores, antique malls or roadside pop-ups loaded with vintage stuff. It cheers me up when I’m down, lifts my spirits and inspires me to try new things in my own home. Not doing any of that should have left me down in the dumps. Strangely enough, it’s had the opposite effect.

I walk through my rooms now and look to see what can be removed, changed or gadzooks! I might even like what I see. I don’t look to see what I can add, I don’t walk around thinking….”If I only had ……, or I should get……., or I wish I had one of those………. Nope, I’m enjoying the process of changing things up by using what I have.

My attic is a crawl space and it’s about 200 degrees up there right now. So any forays into that hellish space must be thought out and planned like a Special Ops raid. Like right after a storm in the evening. Crawling up in there ain’t for the faint of heart. I usually ask Mr B to do that for me, but I just can’t bring myself to do that right now. I like my husband, I want to keep him around. Heat exhaustion is not an option.

The result of not getting into the attic means that all those items I’m hiding saving for future use, are in boxes in the garage. This has resulted in some remarks from Mr Grumbly Pants, aka the a fore mentioned love of my life. I asked for another project to be completed and the look I received in return withered my eyebrows. (Almost…. I have some pretty wiry brows and not even the wrath of Mr B can scorch those completely.) Normally his stink eye renders me silent…..but I’m on a mission. And no amount of stink eye will stop me. “I can’t do any more projects until I get my garage back,” said Mr Crabby Appleton. “But it’s sooo hot in the attic.” I whined….. “It’s too hot to go up there.” He stood firm and stink eyed.

So yesterday I lost 22 pounds of water weight sweating in the attic, moving bags of pillows. BAGS of pillows. Um, who needs that many pillows??? My responsible Self said… “just donate those.”  My normal Self  said, commented, screamed, “What if the world suddenly has a pillow shortage and my attic stash saves women everywhere from dying from the loss of pillows for sofas and beds??”  I cannot be responsible for that. So I’ll keep those bags of pillows. Just in case.

I still have boxes to move, but now I’m too weak from yesterday’s heat, weight loss and the thought of no more pillows. I’m guessing Mr B will begin project completion for me in November when the attic temp comes down to a reasonable 95. In the meantime I’m using what I have in the house or hidden stored in the garage.

I recently became enamored of seltzer bottles. Again. Especially the ones with faceted glass. They look so pretty in social media photos. I HAD to have one. Completely forgetting I already have three that I never use. “But they aren’t faceted,” my must-have-everything-Self said. “I  already have those others,” my I’m-trying-to-purge-Self remarked. The internal arguments between these two are draining. If you see me wandering around, wide eyed and mumbling, just give me space. Don’t make any sudden moves, speak quietly, lest my brain implodes.

A few days ago in the midst of a mumbling fit I happened to be looking up at those seltzer bottles when I had a Holy Cats!  moment. On the top shelf in the laundry room, snuggled up next to the seltzer bottles I don’t use and really have no good spot for were my vintage lemonade bottles. I totally spazzed. I was so excited I grabbed the ladder and brought them down immediately. I can’t believe I’d forgotten these gems.

I went to an elderly widow’s home in the 80’s to look at a Singer treadle sewing machine. While we were chatting my son became infatuated with some bottles and asked about them. The woman’s late husband had invested in a company that wanted to offer a soda that would compete with 7Up and/or Sprite. She said the plan died because, in her words, “no one wanted to buy anything German.”

She had cases of bottles left and offered them for $1.00 each. We left her house with the treadle sewing machine and 6 “Limonade” bottles.  The labels on the these bottles have been loosely translated…. The drink was to be a carbonated Lemonade with Citrus and Orange extract, sweetened with sugar, by Peter Wiertz and bottled by the Aachener Buger Brau company. They have porcelain stoppers! They still seal. I had a brainstorm. Where the elderly woman saw failure, I saw possibilities.

I sterilized them in a water bath. You can Google sterilizing methods, there are several, but I just did the simple, stick em in a pan of water and boil them until everything in them, or on them is dead. After they were cool I used them to hold…..wait for it…..Lemonade! I decided to decant my lemonade into them and use them to serve friends and family. I love those stoppers and the bottles offer a neat way to pour and serve any beverage this summer.

If you have vintage bottles that are just collecting dust, think about ways they can be used. Decanters for laundry supplies? Bath oils? Dish detergent? With the lemon craze that has hit Blogland this summer, I’m doing my part, except I won’t be adding lemons as decor on my table. I want to sit outside where I can enjoy the humidity and buzzing of insects, while I sweat buckets but look oh-so-cool serving lemonade from these old bottles. Fresh squeezed lemonade, I might add. Yeah…..I’m all about the fresh.

Look around your home, are there things “hiding in plain sight?” Have you grown so used to your displays that you no longer see what is there?” Move things around. Look at them with new eyes. Don’t store things in a drawer. Or keep them in a cabinet. Find ways to add them to your daily life. After years in a box, I now use my Grandmother’s silver. It make me feel connected to her, brings back memories of childhood Sunday dinners, and using that silver makes my heart smile.  I’ve added some vintage transferware to my every day dishes. Those dishes also make me smile. Isn’t that what a sanctuary should be? A place for smiling hearts.

Create your own sanctuary no matter where you live. One room at a time. Create the home you see in your heart.



Sooo, I’m in the middle of my 30 day challenge and am here to report, I’ve not done a lot of anything! What???? Where’s all that get up and go? All those little projects waiting to be completed? Photos to be filed? Furbaby to be trained? Books to be read? My get up and go…..went somewhere. It left me curiously un-inspired this last week. Each morning I get up and greet the day with…….”geez, I’m still tired.” “Think I’ll take a nap.” I did finish a couple of small projects, but truth be told, I’ve spent the majority of my time just hanging out with my Granddaughter, watching senseless TV, reading, listening to music, eating junk food and being lazy. It’s been pretty darn good, my friends. I treasure these last few days with her, she’ll be returning to Ohio soon. Projects can wait. I needed to recharge my creative brain cells.

There is no sanctuary for me without family, friends, and critters.

I’m not all  twitchy to go shopping, in fact I don’t miss it! OH! my stars! I can’t believe I just said that….in print…..on-line…..where it will live forever.

I have been reading quite a bit. I’ve finished 4 books and am working on a fifth. I read every night before turning out the lights and almost every day poolside. I can feel the fat collecting on my body as I write. I see lots of walking in my future and maybe cutting back on the Barqs. Catching up on my reading was on my list and as I write this, I realize I’ve accomplished at least one of my 30 day goals.

I grew tired of this clock a few years ago and it’s been on the trow away list for awhile. A good candidate for experimenting with paint

I did finish a project and played with paint as I hinted in my last update. I tried Amy Howard One Step paint for the first time and followed her tutorial for getting an authentic looking crackle finish.

It seems a bit strange to be doing a faux finish that needs to look authentic…….but who wants their fauxs to look fake? Right???

So here’s my opinion on Amy Howard’s paint. I’m unsure. Ha! How’s that for a ringing endorsement? The paint itself is smooth and  creamy but it isn’t a one step, or one coat product. I’ll  have to try it on another piece of furniture and I’ll know more.

Crackle finish is almost instant gratification. I took a throw-away-clock I’ve had forever and didn’t much care for and gave it a makeover. All I did for prep was to clean it with my trusty 50/50 water and vinegar solution and remove twenty years worth of dust. It was hanging high on a wall and I don’t climb ladders to dust, I’m almost ashamed to admit that if something in my house is hung high on a wall or placed on top of a cabinet, it probably doesn’t get touched more than once a year, when I clean to add Christmas decor. Truth is harsh. I’m suspicious of folks who climb to clean. It’s unnatural. That clock was pretty grimy. Um…..Maybe I should take another look at my cleaning habits. I taped off around the glass after it dried and it was good to go.

I slapped a coat of paint on it with an old chip brush, (don’t use a good brush for this project), and let it dry, then I applied a layer of crackle medium. I used some old Lowes crackle medium that I had on hand. When it was dry to the touch, ( about 15 minutes) I applied another coat of paint, using smooth strokes. Don’t go over your second layer in a back and forth motion, it will remove the crackle. Lay the paint on in one direction, it doesn’t have to be precise.


First paint and crackle medium sandwich, you can begin to see the crackle finish

The magic appears within a few minutes. For best results use flat or chalk type paint.  You want to make a paint and crackle medium “sandwich.” A base of flat/chalk paint, followed by crackle medium, followed by another coat of flat/chalk  paint. When the second coat of paint is about half dry, use your fingers, or a brush and push your paint here and there to lift it and cause it to lump.

You can really see the layers here and where I pushed the paint a bit to make a lumpy finish

This causes those bumpy, lumpy spots that appear on old finishes where paint dripped or wasn’t applied smoothly and was painted over with new paint over time.  Repeat your layers as often as you wish to replicate years of paint. Use contrasting colors for a dramatic look or various shades of the same color for a more subtle finish. When your project is almost dry, use a scraper to remove some paint from the edges, but don’t go along an entire edge. Think about how old pieces get dinged and bumped and scratched over the years. That’s what you are aiming for. I used 3 different colors of paint, besides the Amy Howard, I used Waverly Chalky Paint from Walmart as the final layer.

After the second paint and crackle sandwich you can really see the uneven finish

When you are satisfied with the amount of crackling and the number of layers and the amount of distressing, let the project dry completely. Top coat with matte sealer or wax if desired and buff to a soft luster. You can highlight with dark wax to bring out the crackled areas or leave it plain. I opted to leave mine without a top coat for a more tired, old look and kept it to the white and ivory paints, I didn’t want a lot of contrast. I finished this update by using a single edge razor blade to remove some of the painted gold accent from the glass to make it look worn. And I aged the clock face with some burnt umber acrylic craft paint. I dabbed some paint around the edge of the face, then immediately wiped most of it off with a damp rag. The final steps were to remove the tape, clean the glass and reinstall the knob.  A project completed! I might keep this clock now…. Or not…. What do you think?


I have to admit, this is some pretty good crackle!


The finished clock, I might actually keep it now

It’s a fun and easy project and gives a much older crazed look than the crackling kits of the 80’s and 90’s.

Supplies I used:

Amy Howard One Step Paint in Bauhaus and Linen

Waverly Chalk paint in Cashew

Burnt Umber acrylic craft paint (optional)

Lowes Crackle medium

Chip brushes

Old paint scraper for distressing the edges

Damp rag

Painters Tape

Single Edge Razor Blade

I like how the color changes with the light through out the day

Have fun with paint and don’t be afraid to experiment.

As always, I recommend that you watch on-line tutorials, read blog posts and use scrap wood or “throw-away” pieces until you are sure you have mastered a technique. And always read the directions for your product. Different brands of paint, crackle medium and waxes all have different drying and working times. Follow the directions for your chosen brand.

In the evening with artificial light

Create the home you see in your heart. Create your sanctuary no matter where you live.



Hey y’all! Over a week into my self imposed 30 day challenge and I’m surprised and happy to say things are going well. Surprisingly, (especially to Mr B) I have not shopped. at all. Except for school clothes for the Grands, but that kind of shopping was exempt…. and only happens once a year. Maybe twice…. or for special events….or holidays…. and birthdays. OK, I spoil my Grands, what can I say?

But once I made the decision to stay away from my favorite haunts, it was as if a weight I didn’t even know I carried had been lifted. I felt, and still do feel, a certain amount of peace. I’m no longer in a fever to buy new things, add to my collections or show off the latest “great buy.” Projects are being completed, albeit slowly since Mr B is leaving for a week. But small projects are getting done. I’m no longer a power tool kind of woman, nor can I lift much over about 15 pounds so I need Mr B. Physical limitations aside, I’ve been able to enjoy this summer in a way I haven’t for a couple of years.

I’ve focused on my Granddaughter without the hurry, hurry, let’s go somewhere attitude. Sleeping late, pool, and sun time and watching movies and The 100 together in the evenings have been the routine. Eating dinner together each evening without electronic devices. Reading. I’ve finished several books, even discovered a new author to add to my rotation. And of course, listening to music, she is exposing me to new artists, just like her father did while he was growing up

Part of a load of books waiting to be read

I’ve taken the time to add some information to one branch of my family tree and did some searching for a long lost Grandfather who hailed from Scotland. That’s becoming a slog. John Ross was a very common name. I tracked him back to Plum Township in Pennsylvania in the 1700’s, but can find no information on his parents, nor do any of his children, or grandchildren have any. It’s maddening. I know his parents were more than likely the emigres from Scotland and that John was born in Pennsylvania but their are no records to be found except a Ross line that isn’t mine. GAH! The search continues!

This is “Pennsylvania John’s” Grandson and namesake, one John William Ross with his mother, Elmeda Bowser Ross

Projects completed were simple but impactful. The new light was installed in my “office.” I’ve had it for over a year and now I’m not even sure I like it anymore! That’s a major bummer.  And with the help of Shayla, my middle Granddaughter I was able to finish updating my cheap bookcases. I’d been saving an old gardening book with pen and ink drawings, as well as an old dictionary just for this purpose. We’d planned on doing this project last summer but never got around to it. So, I’m really happy to have that checked off the list.

The new light in my office

It was a simple update to add interest to the backs of the bookcases. I didn’t want to do my usual beadboard or beadboard wallpaper. So I removed the pages in the book, took the dictionary apart and we simply applied the pages to the back of the bookcases with wallpaper paste. Easy peasy. You know by now that I’m not into the whole measure and make sure everything’s level process, so this was a very forgiving project. Just eyeball the pages as you apply them to get some semblance of level. Smooth air bubbles out with a damp sponge as you go, rinsing it often and overlap your pages a bit. That’s it. This is a simple beginner project, no experience necessary. I’m really happy with the outcome. The finishing touch was adding some tiny enameled number plates on the face of the shelves. I found them in the scrapbooking section at Joannes. Mr B pre-drilled the holes for me and the plates were just tacked on with tiny nails.



Shay doing the hard part, the bottom… while Lily keeps her company


These little enamel number plates were the finishing touch


Showing off favorite mementos and photos

Last but probably the most fun was making a mess “learning” a new paint technique for getting that chippy look we all love. I tried Amy Howard’s paint for the first time and will post my thoughts in a future post. I had a cheap 1980’s clock. You know how I feel about 80’s oak and I am systematically getting rid of any of that horrendous oak finish in my home. If you love it, please accept my apologies. To each her own. For me, it’s outdated and ugly. It.must.go. So I decided to experiment with the paint and crackle to see if I could get the chippy worn look.

Trying a new technique to get a more authentic faux

I’ve used crackle finish in the past but was never really happy with it, it looked like a “faux” finish and not authentic. I would like my “fauxs” to look authentic. I’ll let you decide if I accomplished an authentic chippy finish. The clock is still ugly. I may not keep it. But I’m pretty pleased with my first attempt at the chippy.

some pretty good chippy crackle goodness right there

That’s the update, my friends. I’ll post more in the weeks to come. For now, I’ll leave you with my usual advice. Love where you live, no matter where that is. Create a sanctuary, one room at a time, one project at a time. Create the home you see in your heart.


Some recent purchases

I’ve given myself a 30 day challenge and I’m going on a diet. A shopping diet. After returning from the Tennessee trip to celebrate my good friend’s birthday  go shopping recently, I realized I have a huge slight problem with shopping and bringing home things I have no space for. Decorating and design are my jam, ain’t gonna lie. A junk store is my happy place, shopping is  therapeutic. BUT when I come home with NO money left and piles of things I “HAD TO HAVE” but have no space in which to put a.single.thing…. It’s a problem that leads to buyers remorse and negates the therapeutic part. It’s actually stressful. So I’ve challenged myself to 30 days of no shopping. NOTE…this diet pertains only to shopping for the house. Food (I like to eat), personal hygiene items (I enjoy being clean and sweet smelling), and clothing ( I must have shoes and clothes, the alternative would be frightening), are exempt. Just want to be clear. I also apologize for the awful photos in this post. No excuses, they’re just bad.

No fabulous junk, no great vintage pieces, no more wonderful old stuff. In the next 30 days I must use whatever I have stashed in the attic or closets to change up my look. I will finish projects growing mold waiting patiently in the garage and attic with materials we have on hand. OK…. if Mr B needs supplies to finish those projects he’s exempt from the shopping diet. (Mr B, if you’re reading this….. we need beadboard). He’ll have no problem sticking to the plan, he already said I’ll never make it 30 days. HA! I’ll show him! I have will power! (No, I don’t……. Is will power something I can buy??? Where? Does Amazon carry it? I have Amazon Prime!) I  am determined to find will power. I may need help.

REMEMBER THIS? THE SPOILS FROM OUR RECENT TRIP       Please note…no one in our home needs training pants.

In the next 30 days I’m not only going to stop shopping, I’m going to spend some time catching up with my dead relatives on I’m going to hunt my history. I’ve neglected my ancestors and they have stories that need to be told. Some are still waiting to be found. I want to find them and help tell their stories as well.

WHO IS THIS MAN? Ebenezer McCormick from the Danville, IL area? possibly

In the next 30 days I’m going to catch up on reading. I have a pile of books beckoning with stories of far away places,  murders to be solved and all manner of mayhem to prevent.

I buy books by the bag at Goodwill, or anywhere there is a good discount

In the next 30 days I’m finally going to teach Lily, our second rescue furbaby to walk properly on a leash.

Lily thinks a leash means she should run and jump and hop and then run as fast as possible while choking

In the next 30 days I’m going to add to my music library, rip and burn some CDs to share with the Grands, listen to some music I normally don’t listen to….. and find at least one new artist to love.

I’m going to copy some CD’s to share with the Grands who are also music lovers


In the next 30 days I’m going to spend some time organizing my 20,000 photos.

Photos from the past 40 decades are housed in these bins and boxes, they need to be categorized and placed in scrapbooks or at least organized by decade and family name


Yep, the next 30 days are gonna be BUSY. BUT I WILL.NOT.SHOP.

I’ll keep you posted with my  extremely successful  what-am-I-thinking-30 day challenge. I’m confident hopeful I can do this.  If you hear the faint sounds of  laughter coming from Central Florida it will be Mr B…. who is convinced I will fold and head to the shops within a week, like a dog searching for its buried bones. But I am WOMAN. Hear me ROAR….. in my case it may very well be the sound of piteous whimpering.

Create your sanctuary no matter where you live.



We Southerners take our traditions seriously. And even though I am a yankee transplant I adopted a couple of those traditions as my own. If you drive far enough into the south you are likely to see one, or more bottle trees. Bottle trees are one of those things that northerners don’t “get.” Oh, they like them, they may even attempt one in their own gardens, but in the south a bottle tree is a necessity. Because. They capture bad spirits. Genies, and imps who want to cause problems. It’s true! I have a bottle tree in my back yard and I have yet to see a bad spirit, genie or imp in my home. So there. Proof positive these trees work!

Bottle trees are a southern tradition to protect against spirits

The practice began in the ninth century in the Congo according to historians, and since I don’t know anyone from the ninth century to ask….well, I have to believe the historians know what they are talking about. Or maybe they have a direct line to the ninth century. Anyway….. Central African people believed that they could capture imps and bad spirits in glass bottles and began hanging bottles in trees to attract the spirits and trap them before they could enter their homes. The practice  was taken to Europe and North America and the Caribbean islands by slaves and over the years became embedded in the south.

The Smithsonian  says, “Bottle Trees have a long history as an element of spiritual, cultural and aesthetic significance in American History and garden design.” WOW! Who knew? Mr B says it’s just another way for me to add junk to the yard and advertise to the neighbors that we may have a drinking problem. Let me just say up front that I have no problem, zero…. with drinking and some of the nastiest tasting wines come out of the prettiest bottles. Make of that what you will.


Legend says that the bright colors attract the spirits and when they enter the bottle they can’t get out. Makes perfect sense…..I can’t get IN a bottle, much less get out of one. I have enough  trouble getting in and out of my jeans. HOWEVER…… once trapped inside the bottle sunlight fries the little pranksters before they can do harm. Good thing, I’m not sure I’d want any mess making imps in my home….I still remember the Grands when they were toddlers….. I never thought about trapping them in bottles…………I did, however threaten to send them to “Hell Western Crooked,” a place my Grams always threatened to send me. It sounded like a very bad place and I never, ever wanted to go there. Glad she didn’t have a bottle tree….. Just sayin.


You can purchase pre-made bottle trees from on-line sites or through many  local garden centers (if you live in the south). You can also add individual bottles to your garden just by sinking a length of rebar in the ground. You can find rebar in the building section of Home Depot or Lowes. If you don’t know what rebar is, just ask one of the friendly associates.  Or use any sturdy metal rod, copper works well and has the added bonus of developing patina with time. (Make sure your metal rods are a smaller diameter than your bottle opening.) You can suspend the bottles from your tree branches by tying them with sturdy twine around the neck of the bottles.  A glob of glue for outdoor projects will hold the twine around the neck of the bottle. For the record, I do not recommend  pruning tree limbs and placing the bottles on the end of the branches. It causes unnecessary trauma to the tree and improper pruning may actually kill your tree. Just stick with a pre-made one. Unless you have a sturdy dead tree (Is that an oxymoron?) Then prune away and add bottles to your heart’s content.

You can add individual bottles by using lengths of copper or lengths of rebar.

Author Eudora Welty (1909-2001) made the southern bottle tree famous in her short story, “Livvie.”

“Coming around up the path from the deep cut of the Natchez Trace below was a line of bare Crape Myrtle trees with every branch ending in a colored bottle, green or blue. There was no word that fell from Solomon’s lips to say what they were there for, but Livvie knew there could be a spell put on trees and she was familiar from the time she was born with the way bottle trees kept evil form coming into the house… Solomon had made the bottle trees with his own hands over the nine years, in labor amounting to about a tree a year, and without a sign that he had any uneasiness in his heart,  for he took as much pride in his precautions against spirits entering the house as he took in the house….”

Special note: Clean your bottles before using them in the garden. You don’t need drunken bees hurtling around. They like wine. You won’t like tipsy bees.


If you want to protect your home and take the necessary  precautions to catch evil spirits, make a bottle tree. You don’t have to become a wine-o. Just do what I did, ask your neighbors to drink the wine and save the bottles for you. They’ll be happy to help. Trust me.

Create the home you see in your heart. You deserve a sanctuary, no matter where you live. 





I’m a collector of things, which means I’m also a buyer. But what happens when buying becomes more than adding a sought after item to a thoughtful, curated collection and becomes….. just buying more stuff? Is there a line between being a collector and becoming a hoarder? How do you know when you’ve crossed that line? Can you see the line? Is it marked in your mind’s eye? Is there a warning bell that lets you know when you are approaching the Hoarder Line? Like the flashing lights and clanging bells at railroad crossings? That would come in handy.

I “have a thing” for lots of things…..skeleton keys and padlocks, door knobs and hardware in general. Scales, oh yes, I surely do have scale love. And I suffer from a terminal case of grain sack love. The more the better.  I get a bad case of heart eyes over crocks and stoneware bottles. Throw in a love of McCoy Pottery, (the matte white “Floraline”)  and an obsession with old clocks, vintage radios and fans, Royal Copley Dog planters and old bottles, and my home could be a museum with me as the curator.


I’ve been getting rid of things I’ve outgrown or anything that no longer supports my style for a couple of years. YEARS! And during that time, I’ve also purchased more things. Mr B routinely asks, “What are you going to do with that?” “Don’t you have X  number of those already??” “Oh, I see you’ve purchased something else for the attic.” You know….all the helpful statements and questions that frankly make me a bit angry and defensive. “I know what I’m buying”. (no, I really don’t) “I know exactly how many of “those” I have” (No clue) ……. “I routinely rotate things so my collections don’t become overwhelming” (sounds good in theory but I don’t do it) …..“I have a place for this” (Not without a second house.) …… All those responses that I make to justify whatever it is I want to buy.

Not too long ago I announced I was cutting back on shopping, I actually heard his eyes roll. It sounded a bit like ball bearings clanking around in an empty drum. Not that Mr B’s head is empty or remotely drum shaped….. I didn’t even have to look, but I was surprised he could still see to drive….. what with the eyeballs rolled all the way back in his head. I was serious.  He was scoffing. This took place in the car when we were going to pick up the commode I recently wrote about.

Mr B loaded the commode in the back of the car and said he was going to “browse” the Play It Again Sports store located a couple of doors down from the antique shop, meaning he would speed walk through the store and be out the door within a minute, purchased item in hand. An item I might add, from HIS shopping list….. which he had researched the pros and cons and price checked.  He was gone for only  a few minutes and during that time, I decided I couldn’t live without a WWII phone, a sewing machine drawer, a mirror, a feedsack pillow and a large vintage bowl. WHAT???? I have a problem.


On a recent trip to Tennessee to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend, Mr B said the rest of the trip was mine, we could do anything I wanted to do. I had a glorious week in the mountains. We enjoyed Nashville of course, because I’m a Honky Tonk Woman. And we both love music. Then there are all those antique malls and a town with a section of shops that I MUST visit each time we go. And one of us loves those. I had a list of several items I needed (relative term) to finish a display or fill a space (we have no empty space at the Brown abode). Did I buy any of those items? NOOOOO. I bought other things. Things I HAD TO HAVE. Little things. Inexpensive things. Things I had no use or space for. Things that I didn’t even like after I got them home. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?  I obviously looked at the things, I apparently thought I wanted or needed them, so why was there even ONE THING I decided after plunking down my cash that I didn’t really need, want or…..even like???   I require an intervention.


I have to face the ugly truth. I have a shopping problem. Actually I have an IMPULSE SHOPPING problem. When the impulse registers in my brain that I need, want, must have that key, vase, sack, scale, pot, crock, bottle or clock I simply cannot resist it. But this it! I have acknowledged my problem. I am going to stop with the shopping…. I’m calling a shopping moratorium…Except my Granddaughter is coming for a visit and she has a love of vintage cameras and “stuff.” We enjoy junking together. I cannot deny her that pleasure…..right?

I don’t have a handy tip or trick to circumvent the impulse buy dilemma, if there is one, please let me know. My good friend, Iona shares this affliction, but she’s much more philosophic about it than I. I’m betting we are not alone. The desire to feather our nests runs deep, there may not be a cure. Perhaps I should be more thoughtful about what I bring into my home.  BUT…… As I look around, I see things that bring me joy, make me smile, or bring back a precious memory……and not many clunkers.  That, in the end is what keeps me returning to those shops….. I’m  buying memories…. and those memories are priceless.

Create the home you see in your heart.  Surround yourself with things you love, things that make you smile. Love the home you’re in no matter where you live, it’s your sanctuary.


Wife, Mother and Grandmother, lover of junking and vintage stuff, photography, music, books, and critters. I heart Hersheys, Barqs Rootbeer and Keds. Join me as I create my own suburban sanctuary and help you create one too.

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