Sunday, November 29, 2009

this week's to-do list...

Just thought I would show you a little of what is going on in my house this week...its just another week full of building and painting...but I am super excited about this project!

You see, I fell in love with this desk from Pottery is a simple, uncomplicated style and it was my favorite color...white. It was love at first sight....

(photo: Pottery Barn)

...but I did not love the price tag. So, what's a girl to do??? one herself, of course! (Or cook a week full of fabulous meals for her husband and ask in her most persuasive voice for him to build one for her. I went with that plan.)

So this week, after my sweet hubby gets home from his super-stressful, manly-man job...he gets to unwind and relax by spending a little quiet time with his tape measure and table saw. I am forever grateful he loves to do these things for me, and even more grateful one of us took math class seriously in high-school. I think there would be a few frustrated freak-outs if I was really the one that had to build it. Hopefully, by the weekend I will be painting my gorgeous Pottery Barn inspired...but waaaaay less expesive desk for my newly renovated home office.

Oh, and just in case he gets my desk done a day early...I have drawn out the plans for one of these, too!

(photo: Martha Stewart Living)

 I have a wall in my kitchen just waiting for this. Each night, about 5:30, my husband hears me complaining about my train-wreck of a spice cabinet and how I can't find a freakin' thing in it! So I am sure he will be happy to accomodate.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

happy thanksgiving...

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving...

I thought I would show you this very "Pottery Barn looking" dining room I found on Rate My Space tonight!I think it is pretty darn fabulous! She was inspired to throw a Thanksgiving dinner party after finding the table, which seats a whopping 12 people by the way, at her local thrift store for $29! I want to shop where she shops!

Hope you all have a wonderful day...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

sweet potaotes + pecans = heaven

I am gearing up for Thursday...I will creep out of bed extra early that morning to start the turkey and all the yummy goodness that goes along with Thanksgiving. I love this time of year. Comfort foods...seeing my nieces and nephews...all the boys playing the annual family football game...its just a good old fashioned Holiday around here!

So that is why I need to share this recipe. Try it. Your guests will LOVE it. As in freak-out-when-they-take- the-first-bite-and-insist-on-the-recipe-so-they-can-claim-it-as-their-own - kind of love it.

I am not sure what kind of magic happens in that oven of mine....but when I combine some of this:

 with these:

and a little bit of this:

It comes out to be the most AMAZING creation ever known to grace a Thanksgiving table.

Here is the receipe.

4-5 sweet potatoes
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup pecans, choped
Wrap each sweet potato in foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. When soft, remove from oven and let cool. Unwrap, and they will mush right out of their skins.

In a bowl, combine sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9x13 baking dish.

In a bowl, combine sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.


Monday, November 23, 2009

i feel the love...

I thank you all for your emails, you are just so sweet and I am feelin' the painted furniture love over here, thats for sure! I am slooooly loading things up on Etsy, so bear with me.
A sincere THANK YOU to all you fabulous ladies that are patiently waiting for me to get my act together.

You see, with doing shows May-October, I don't have much of a life during that time. I work 7 days a week almost ever week of the summer. So, once that last show wraps in October, I relish in being able to do 'normal' things like...clean my house...cook...finsh off reno projects that are loooong overdue, do a little shopping now and then. Things I should always be able to do, but I have a little problem with the phrase "sure, I can get that done for you by next week" popping out of my mouth waaaaaay too often. I have been busy with custom orders, but with only 2 left to finish that I promised for this month, I have a little time to try to get some things posted before I start in on Decembers load. I am so lucky I love what I do!

So, heres a little preview. (sorry my pics are not the best, my camera had a little "accident" so I have to use my old one for a while.)

I have loads of frames to if you want enough to fill a wall, email me! I think I have 18 vintage ornate frames ready to go...

And yes....I finally have more necklaces done, too! If you ordered one, drop me an email to remind me! My brain is a little fried from all the paint fumes lately...I don't want to forget anyone!

To check out the few things I have listed...visit me on Etsy. I have a way to go to "pretty" the shop, but I at least wanted to get some things posted!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

today's crush...

I am flippin' out, girls! In a good way...because I am crazy in love with this bedroom from one of my favortite blogs. Just a little eye candy from me to you...courtsey of Bird Tweets.

Be sure to hop over and take a peek for more is fabulous beyond words! These 3 crazy ladies are amazingly talented!

Back to reality for me...I've got a floor to paint today! I'm working on getting my new studio space finished by Christmas so I can show you the results. I am giddy with excitement over this makeover!  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

my friend Anne...

I am lucky a lucky girl. I have wonderful friends in my life.

One of those friends is Anne. I met her last year when she came to a show I was selling at. You see, Anne loooooves painted furniture. She is changing over everthing in her home...she wants a softer look. Out with the with the paint! She quickly became one of my best customers, but I had no idea she would become a friend. We ended up seeing each other so often during our "furniture exchange rendevous" that we did just that.

Anne is so easy going. And real. A genuine, honest person. Those are hard to come by. She doesn't pretend on any level. She is up front, and you can feel the "take me as I am" feeling in the air when you talk to her. She doesn't pretend to be anything more than herself. I love that about her. She is not pretentious. She is not interested in the label that is in my shirt or what kind of car I drive. She is simple. She is real. And I need more people in my life like her.

I am so very sad because my friend has recently learned she has Breast Cancer.

She was shocked. And so was I. I have never had someone close to me have cancer. She had no family history, had her exams could this happen?? Her doctor told her only 8% of Breast Cancer comes from family history...I had no idea! The rest of the statistic is what he called "environmental". The foods we eat, the air we breath. I was stunned!

I don't mean this to be a sad post, really. I am not into dwelling on the sad moments, and neither is Anne. She is treating this as a minor speedbump in her life. Like it will be over soon, and we will move on. The day before she was to have surgery she insisted on bringing me a load of furniture to paint for her. I couldn't believe it. One would think you would have so many other things on your mind, but Anne has plans. Cancer is NOT going to get in her way of a beautiful dining room!

I was thinking of her all day yesterday while I painted her chairs. It got me thinking about the time we have and how we need to do the very best with it.

So that brings me to the reason for this long, some-what sad post. I want to send my friend a care-package. Just something to let her know I am thinking of her. But I am at a loss. I don't know what do send. That is where you girls come in. I want ideas. I want to send fun things. Things to lift her spirits and make her laugh. Things that will comfort her after Chemo.

Please...take a second to leave me a note. Let me know what you would send a dear friend going through a rough time. I want to make her smile.

(lovely photos from Kristybee...)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 see...I have this piano...

I have an antique upright piano that came with my house...why oh why did I let that slide through on the contract??? must have been the buzz I had from buying a new house.

So here is the story. The piano resides in my finished basement. I am currently going through a reno of my basement to transform it into a fabulous and long-awaited work room for my painting and whatever other projects come to life down there. I am so excited...painted floors, a 9ft antique farm table for an island...chandeliers...all kinds of old, chippy painted cabinets...I can't wait to show you!

So that brings me to the piano. Within my fabulous new space is this antique upright piano. It has been sitting downthere looking so sad and lonely. It has beautiful carved legs, and gorgeous bench that looks so graceful and would be great with a little restoration. It has seen some use and abuse over the years, so it is not a 'fine' piano, but it is still so pretty.

So there is my question...what the heck do you do with a piano that weighs 600 lbs and won't fit up the basement stairs?? Oh. did I fail to mention that? The previous owners finished the basement and now the piano won't go up the stairs. I would have to rip out part of the ceiling. Yikes!

Should I make lemonade out of these lemons??

Do I use it as part of the room...even though it would be an inefficent piece in a work-room where storage is so important? But look how darn cute those stocking them!

But this would be yet another project on my long list of things to do. And I already paint somewhere in the ballpark of 60 pieces of furniture each month. I don't know if I have it in me to take on a piano on top of that. Ugh!

I could sell it...but remember..that option would require a very sweet "honey, can we take out just a little bit of the ceiling so this baby can get up the stairs?" it worth the trouble?

Or do I just smash it. Put it out by the curb..and move on with my reno? That seems like such a dreadful idea, but according to my realtor happens all the time. Sellers find it is too heavy to move so they smash it and throw it out before their house goes on the market. Isn't that sad??

I want your thoughts! I am apparently too emotionally involved with this piano...more than I thought...and it is once again clouding my judgement. Similar to the day I said "sure the piano can stay...put it in the contract. No problem!"

My husband is such a keeper. He came up with the idea of gutting it and using it for storage. He said he could modify the inside (the front panel would lift and open) and make a custom "cabinet" out of it. How cool does that sound?? But...not much storage for how big that thing is.

Ugh! What's a girl to do?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Extreme Home Sunday night!

Did I ever tell you ABC came to town this summer? They were here for a week to film an episode of "Extreme Home Makeover"  and it is going to air THIS SUNDAY!

This episode features a family that lives on a farm outside Lena, IL. My parents live in Galena, IL so I have been passing by this old farmstead on the way to their house for 15 years...never dreaming I would be there when it got such an incredible makeover!

I was lucky enough to be able to sign up to work on the set. I was hoping to get to see Ty running around like this all day...

But I am sad to say Ty never really left his bus except to shoot his scenes. Paige and Pauly were saying he had "gone Hollywood" and didn't hang out much with the crew anymore. I really hope they were joking, because I was sad to hear that. Everyone else was so accessible. You could just walk right up and talk or knock on their trailer door. Ty was the only one with a big tour bus. It sat away from all the others...but I will give him the benefit of the doubt. He must have a lot on his plate hosting the he was probably busy in there and thats why he didn't "hang out" much.

But really...when Ty was out and about...he was just as cute as ever.

This is the family that will be featured in the episode...the photo is from right after Ty did the screaming thing to get them to come outside.

A super nice family, just trying to make their way in the world and live their dream of owning a self-sustained organic farm. Sidelined by an unexpected illness and a devestating fire, they thought all hope was lost. But, that was until ABC swooped in and rebuilt that dream.

I have so many photos I could post, but I can never figure out how to get them out of my phone and into my email. If there is anyone out there that has owns a Verizon EnV2, and knows how the heck to use it...please help a girl out! I am clueless when it comes to this sort of thing.

Pauly is always one of my fun and real. Just a down-to-earth regular guy. Although, I will say he hates it when all the women flock to him. Lets just say some of the volunteers got a little "friendly" during the week. He is not flattered by it. Hates it. I like that about him. Oh, and the designer was Paige. LOVE HER! She is so cute...and let me say t.i.n.y in person! Is there such a size as a -2? If so, that is her size. She would turn sideways and you would think she left the room.

Oh, the secrets I could tell about this experience! The ins-and-outs...the behind the scenes things that are sooooo different from what you see on the show...and lets just say the group from Extreme Home is a little...wild! Shhh...I didn't tell you this...but there were mornings when they came on set straight from being out the night before! woohoo! I lead quite a boring life, so that is a whole different world to me!

Oh...and I forgot to mention...David Duchovney stopped by. That is him on the right...and I someone mocking and alien with the cupola from the it.

I don't want to give away too much about the house so I am not going to post photos of it. For those of you that are going to watch this Sunday, I figure it would be like telling the end of a movie. I will say the house isn't as "grand" as they usually are, but still wonderful. Which I think is a good thing, there is always so much wasted space. The family wanted a comfortable home, but a more conservative size than they usually are. They were worried about taxes, etc. I have heard there are several families that have lost their homes to forclosure after mismanaging their new found equity, so I thought that was a good thing.

I will say this...some in that family better love the color yellow...a LOT! I don't mean a soft, butter yellow. I mean in Big Bird from Sesame Street. I guess it is just not my thing. I was a little shocked at their use...or should I say over-use...of this shade of yellow. They said it was because it was special to the family. I sure hope so.

But there is a fabulous butler's pantry...I have always wanted one. And watch closely for the furniture. A friend of mine worked alongside Pauly all week building most of the pieces. And dare I say....look real, real close for a few pieces of white painted furniture, too! Don't they look like they were plucked straight out of my booth the Kane County Flea Market?! Hmmmm...could they be??! I'm not telling...wink..wink..but I really need to get my Etsy store loaded up, don't I??

Don't forget to tune in. I want to hear what you have to say about it on Monday! I need reassurance I am not the only person out there that is not a fan of Big Bird Yellow on a gorgeous farmhouse!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

ooh la la...and a giveaway alert!

Oh my, girls...if you have not been there for a visit yet, you MUST to stop over to Tracey's gorgeous blog today...she is having an incredible giveaway, not to mention all the inspiration and eye candy while can enjoy while you are there, too!

She is stop over for a visit...sign up to be a follower...leave a comment...and you will be entered into her giveaway drawing for some incredibly beautiful things!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

a closer look...

I was going through some pictures from earlier this summer...and I was happy come across some of my super handsome nephew, Luke, so just had to share. You may not be able to see it in the photos, but he has a John Travolta chin-dimple. It is so cute, I just love it. In 15 years, the girls are going to be all over this guy...I can just tell.

You see, these photos are from when we went camping for the weekend. And everywhere he goes...tractors follow. I mean, really, how would we have moved all that sand if it wasn't for his John Deere rig?

But then I looked a little closer...and realized my all-american-iowa-farmboy-nephew with the big blue eyes and lady-killer chin dimple has a love for something other than green you see it??

I belive it involves stealing from his big-sisters toy box...

17 months old...and he already likes the ladies with long legs, pink go-go boots and a mini-skirt.

Maybe this is from some really bad country song he overheard. I hear their minds are like sponges at this age.

Ugh. They grow up waaaaay to fast.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

to front load...or not to front load...

That is the question...

I am embarking on a total gut and reno of a room in my basement to use as a new laundry room. As strange as this is going to sound...I love to do laundry. I do. And I am ok saying that outloud. It must be the part of my brain that likes everything to be neat and orderly...and smelling fabulous. Yes, I can stand next to you and tell you what brand of fabric softener you use. A strange and useless talent, but whats a girl to do...

Growing up we had a huge room for our laundry room. It was a big old farmhouse, and it had those great wood cabinets that went all the way to the ceiling, cabinets and counters everywhere. Lots of windows for natural light. Even then, when I was too young to know anything about the value of good counterspace and a deep farm sink, I remember loving all the workspace.

Sadly, in my current home, I don't have a huge room to use for my laundry room. I gave it up to my husband for a workshop. A backhanded gesture since he spends his time in there fixing and building the furniture I paint!

Anyway, my "new" laundryroom is in the basement, so has no luxury of natural light, and is only an unfortunate 7 ft x 8 ft. So...there goes my dream of a center island for folding. I am looking for a gorgeous yet space saving and efficent layout.

So the question I have for all of you is...

Do you have a front load washer??...and if you you love it..or hate it?

I am not totally sold on the whole front load thing, anyway. Maybe it  is because I am tall. At 5'11" those front loaders seem pretty short! It is going to be like doing squats every day getting the laundry in and out. Not that its a bad thing, I guess. Maybe my bum would shrink a little.

But I like the idea of having a counter on top, especially since my room is small. Is this a good idea? I am not sure...I would love to have the drawer underneath just for the sake of making them more user-friendly. I think having them right at my height would be a great idea.


Oh, and I am throwing the picture in below just becuase I think the sink is so stinkin' cute!!

I hope some of you will leave me a comment on your opinion of the front load washer. Are they really worth the expense? Do I want a counter over it, or should I have a drawer under it to make it a more comfortable??

Can't wait to show you the before and after pictures!