The Red Door

My son and I were driving home from a lunch/shopping date when we spotted this door leaning up against a tree in someone’s front yard. I turned around for a better look, then hopped out and saw a tiny sticker that read “$25 OBO”. I knew that meant that I could probably talk them down to $20 at least. Thankfully I had a 20 dollar bill left over from our shopping trip. Josiah helped me scrounge up as much change as we could find in the car. I knocked expectantly on the front door, but no one answered. So I left $23.46 on their front porch and happily loaded my new red door into the back of my car. PTDC0186 The door stayed in my garage for a couple days until I had a minute to clean it up. I used Windex and cleaned the whole thing. I made a Pinterest board and started pinning ideas. The possibilities were endless! Would I use chalkboard paint and cover a couple of the panes for leaving sweet notes and writing lists? Would I make a shelf and mount it below the windows? Maybe I could add hooks and turn it into a place to hang things? IMG_3906 IMG_3908 In the end, I just brought the door in and leaned it against the wall, deciding to decide later what I would do. IMG_3952 Before I found the red door, my friend Jen was working on a new art piece for my blank wall. She is a talented photographer and artist and I love her style! She came over, eyed my wall, and started brainstorming a piece that would not only compliment, but be an inspirational focal point. What she came up with is amazing!

The piece is called “Timeless Ballad”. It’s based on Hebrews 13:8, an extremely meaningful verse to me. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

I remember sitting on our small apartment floor as a 21-year-old newlywed. I was sobbing. My dad had recently gone to Heaven after an accident and I was struggling. My new husband spoke calmly and reassuringly as he comforted me. He shared Hebrews 13:8 with me and God spoke to my hurting heart. My Savior. He was the same God He always had been. He was good. Even when I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death. I didn’t have to be afraid, for He was with me every step. Every day.

As I shared this story with Jen, she listened thoughtfully. I also gave her a letter I’d found that was written to my dad when he was 8 years old. It is from his grandmother. It is a happy letter that talks about kittens and ducks. A special treasure.

Two weeks later, Jen brought me the finished piece. She had artistically inserted clocks with no time (Jesus is timeless), the sentimental letter, the words of Hebrews 13:8, and sheet music, all in a field of wildflowers. Very “organic” as she described it. And very symbolic and special to me. IMG_4101 IMG_4103IMG_4097 Initially I hung “Timeless Ballad” on the music room wall, but decided it looked better next to the red door. “Timeless Ballad” and the red door are a good pair and a special reminder to me of God’s grace in a difficult time. IMG_6072IMG_9862

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Dining Set Makeover Take 2

The wonderful thing about having a hand-me-down free table and chairs is that if I get the urge to redo it, I don’t feel bad or fear I could mess it up! If you’ll remember, I redid my kitchen table and chairs about a year and half ago. This is how the table looked originally.

IMG_2100  And the chairs:Dining chair redoThe corner-cutting paint job:
IMG_2102 IMG_2121I was excited about my Pottery Barn-inspired black look, but my style has evolved and it was badly in need of refinishing. I cut some corners back when I painted it the first time, so now, I was determined to do it right. (I didn’t sand at all!! Eeek!)

This is the progression of my table: (Wow! It’s a little scary looking back at these ancient pictures!) As you can see, I usually kept the table covered with a tablecloth or placemats because I didn’t like the look of it. After being stored for a season, it got water damage on one side, and then I felt it really needed to be covered.

This was our little apartment where we lived while we finished college:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then our first rental house:IMG_2063

I had known for awhile that I wanted to redo it again, so I looked for inspiration everywhere.

At one of my favorite antique malls:

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Pinterest:
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IMG_6843When I saw the burlap and white chairs at the antique store, I knew instantly that was what I wanted to do. The black and lime green was just not cutting it anymore. The plastic that I had covered the seats with had long since torn off and the kid’s chairs in particular were showing worse for wear. Lesson learned: lime green isn’t a good color choice for dining chairs when you have little kids.

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First, I removed the seats. Then I cut the burlap (7 yards from Hobby Lobby– an excessive amount! You would have plenty and then some with 5 yards for 5 chairs!) a couple inches larger than the seats. Using my staple gun, I pulled the burlap tight and stapled all the way around.

Then I spray painted the frames satin white. When they dried, I sprayed on a clear polyurethane to protect the finish. I LOVE how they turned out! (And so does my hubby!) 😉 Score!

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Next I tackled the table. I really wanted to get it done before my good friend Kimmie came to visit us! The first step was to spray some paint stripper in sections on the top and edge of the table (Crown Tuff-Strip). Using a plastic scraper, the paint peeled right off in chunks. It worked great, as long as it didn’t dry on the tabletop. Be sure to have adequate ventilation, like in your garage with the door open.

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After all the black paint was removed from the top and edge of the table, I gave it a light sanding. In some places, the edge of the table sanded down to bare wood that was lighter than the rest, so I went ahead and stained the edge with some Zar dark stain. (The best stain ever!) It blended the whole thing very well.IMG_8350-1I opted to just paint over the legs rather than hassle with stripping and sanding them down. I gave it a good coat of Kilz primer though just to be safe, then brought the table inside and painted the legs and skirt satin white.

IMG_8352IMG_8365I instantly loved the new look! I’m excited that the set has gone back to the heart of some of its original beauty, but still is updated and modernized.IMG_8399

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So again, we went from this (and this):

Dining Table Redo

To this:

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DIY Deer Antler Mount

Most gals don’t go out hunting and bag, tag, field dress, process and prepare their deer. But I do. I grew up hunting. When I was too small to carry a gun, I just trudged along with my parents, looking through the wrong end of the binoculars at my little sister and giggling. All the while learning to hunt. When I was 12, I bagged my first buck. My dad helped me mount the antlers. I have since done a couple of horn mounts. That leads me to today’s post. October 5, 2004- Hunting 2 026 I recently watched a “Design Rambling” on Miss Mustard Seed’s blog (which I ardently follow). Marian and her assistant Kriste were talking about the recent trend of deer heads/antlers/animal heads and whether the fad should stay or go in their opinion. Their conclusion at the end was that real ones and classy ones should stay. (Miss Mustard Seed has a rustic-looking cow head above her stove, after all…)

My deer from this year, although not huge, was mountable. Definitely not the trophy buck that my mom got, but nonetheless, one that I’m not ashamed to hang up in my house.IMG_4646 IMG_4638After the antlers and skull were removed from the rest of the animal, I started by boiling the skull to get off all the hair, etc. I chose to do this outside on my BBQ burner so as to not stink up the house. It took a good day and a half of boiling. (Actually you don’t want the water to be fully boiling, but almost.) For the last few hours, I added some Dawn dish soap to help de-grease. (I don’t have any pictures of this process.) I put a 2×4 across the pot to hold the antlers up out of the water since it will stain the antlers. Just the skull should be submerged. I added about half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to a bowl-full of water to whiten and brighten. (The experts suggest using a 40% peroxide solution.) Here’s what they looked like after all that process- by far the most gross, stinky, and time-consuming. 😉 IMG_9859 Next, I wrapped the skull in jute cord, making sure to cover all the white that I had just whitened and brightened. 🙂 (So I guess really the whitening and brightening would be more for a European-style mount with the skull showing… oh well.) 😉 IMG_9883 In my garage I have a stash of barn wood… you never know when it could come in handy! This last summer I drove down the road to the neighbor’s and stuffed my poor car full. (I say poor car because I have a nice car. But she has hauled everything from straw to goats to dogs to baby trees to barn wood… She’s a good car!) The wood is gorgeous wood from an old barn that was being torn down. I cut a piece in half and mounted my antlers on it with two long screws, one through the existing hole near the bottom of the skull and another through a pilot hole I drilled through the top. Lastly, I nailed a picture mounting thingy on the back. (One of these.) IMG_9942 And, voila! The finished mount hanging in my entryway.DSC_4654 DSC_4693 DSC_4694