Monday, April 28, 2014


The sun really wreaks havoc on our patio umbrellas.  I really completed this project last fall to get the last bit of use out of this umbrella.

 I was ready to chuck the umbrella until I came across this product at the store.
For a few dollars and about 15 minutes, I fixed the problem, at least to finish out the season.

A rich full bodied black once again graced the umbrella.   I was very pleased with this product.

If you look closely, some shadows still remain, but definitely no white spots.

Once again, the patio umbrella can maybe last until the end of the season.  The good thing about this spray paint is that there is no visible flaking.
       When spring finally arrives this year, try your hand at this easy fix.  Then go out and purchase your new summer umbrella.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


This posting begins with a found object from Goodwill Industries that cost me $2.00. 
I loved the shape and distressed look of this basket.

What a complete surprise to find out that it was not vintage at all but a Harry David prop basket for one of their gift packages.

Last spring while visiting in Ohio, I found a warehouse faux flower store called the Flower Factory.  It sort of reminded me of a Garden Ridge, but this immense store was full of flowers of one sort or another.  The thing that set this store apart was that the faux(I hate to use the term fake) flowers were just incredible in detail.
Here are some of the flowers that I purchased.
Lilacs in cream.
Delphiniums in purple.
Peony stems.
Since this was a gathering basket, I just laid the flowers in the basket casually as I imagined myself walking through the garden and taking cuttings off of the plants in bloom.
 The last item I purchased that day was a lime green table runner.  I tied the runner around the stems of the flowers and created a flouncy, draped bow.
That was it.  I will say that these flowers even though purchased through this warehouse store were cheaper,  still cost me a pretty penny.  I had to look at it as I would be using these same flowers for years especially for the fact that they are some of my most favorite flowers.

And while spring arrives later this year, I will have this gorgeous gathering basket to view.


It is a breath of fresh air to pass by this delicate flower basket. 
Spring does come.


Sunday, April 20, 2014


 Easter Tidings to all.

I wanted to share one more posting this Easter.  It is a story of giving.
This post begins with the story about how much my friend Tara and I love estate sales.  We are always telling each other of our special finds.  One particular day, I stopped by an estate sale after dropping my youngest daughter off at school.  When I returned home, and we were on the phone,  I had mentioned that I found this adorable crystal bowl with a base of silver plate.  I didn't purchase it because I couldn't think of a use for it.  As we were talking, she said that she was looking for a sweet little crystal bowl to put on her vanity.  After getting off the phone, I immediately called the estate sale lady and asked if the piece had been sold.  The answer was no.  I asked if she would hold it, and off I went.

The silver band is almost unblemished.

I decided to put it on my vanity to hold jewelry.  I couldn't keep it.  Tara wanted it, so the decision was made.  I waited until Easter and filled it with a cute decoupage egg.

 Besides being an old piece, I wonder what the last owner  used this delicate piece of crystal for?
And now onto a new owner.
I'm sure she will be pleasantly surprised when she opens this little Easter surprise.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


This posting continues the cleanup of the Maywood house last summer.  We(my two daughters and myself, a painter and handyman) converged onto the property for 3 weeks to ready the house for the real estate market.
In the kitchen, I had one point in my favor.  When I originally bought the house, I painted the walls, cabinets and baseboards enamel high gloss oil paint.  Oil paint is more of a challenge when painting, but the coat of paint has much more structural integrity.  Any area around water holds up so much better with the enamel paint.
Looking at the following pictures taken by my dear friend, you will see that this kitchen is disgustingly dirty.  All lot of elbow grease would be needed to bring it back to life.

Under the sink, the back was knocked out to get to the pipes.  Remember that this house was built in 1939.  This is the original sink.  Our fine handyman cut a piece of wood out and screwed it to the back of the wall.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture.

The kitchen stove appeared to have been caught on fire.  It was one of the first items to be removed to the alley.  This area is great for the junkman that drives up and down the alley on garbage day.  The stove didn't last one day.  The house would now go on the market without a stove.

More grease and lots of grime!  Notice the caning in the upper part of the cabinet door.  Because this is on an outside wall, I'm sure the circulation helped in letting warmer air in to avoid frozen water pipes.

This bottom cabinet sliding door was kicked out and broken leaving a gaping hole.  Not too attractive?  I removed its companion door.

I put up the cherry border before I moved out in 2000.  I didn't have the time to remove it.

This is a close-up of the above cabinet door.  Years and years of dirt were soon coming to an end.

This architectural radiator cover was full of rust.  This picture was taken after I cleaned the dirt that had accumulated.  I couldn't see the rust before I cleaned it.   Once the rust was sanded off by my oldest daughter, a coat of gray primer spruced it back up.  I realized that I didn't take an 'after' picture. 

With buckets in hand and 2 bottles of lavender scented Pine-sol, we got down to business.  Starting with the ceiling, everything was washed down and rinsed twice.  The bright whiteness came back.  I did have to repaint the baseboards.  They were so banged up and black that no amount of scrubbing would have made them presentable.

The only way the cabinet could have been fixed would have been to take it to a millwright to rebuild one. Instead, I picked up 4 baskets at Wal-Mart to place on the two shelves.  I think they present a fresher look to the kitchen.  The open concept cabinet shows well.

The linoleum came back too with vigorous scrubbing.

The Pine-sol did the trick.

The sink area was re-grouted.

A view from the dining room.

A view from the hallway.

I can't believe that we got back to the original shine on the vintage sink.

A much cleaner look.  Our work paid off.

And the final picture taken by the realtor.

Granted, the new owner will probably want to make drastic upgrades to the kitchen, but at least when purchased, the kitchen was sparkling clean.
Keep an eye out for a future posting, Maywood-Basement Part IV.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


 I wanted to come up with a different use for my paper decoupage Easter eggs.  In the past, I laid them in a silver plate vegetable server.

 I also use a gorgeous lavender monogrammed tablecloth that I found in Peoria at an estate sale over 30 years ago. The story be told, it belonged to the family who owned the famous south side department store called Szold's. 

I found this decorative plate in a decorator store for 75% off ages ago.

The next picture shows a silver plated holder for a glass bowl.  I wasn't crazy about the bowl, so I passed that on to Goodwill and used the base for the table display. 

To marry the two pieces, I set the frame onto the plate.

I pulled my decoupage eggs out of the Easter bin and filled another crystal bowl.

I really like all the pastel colors for spring decorating.

Adding two lime green candles in crystal candlesticks finish the table.  Now that was an easy centerpiece.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Mr. Thrifty has given me Russian carved glass and gilded eggs for years.  I was surprised at how many I have collected over the years.
 It was time to display them in a unique matter.  My favorite colors are the cobalt blue and cranberry glass.


Also in the mix were my enameled eggs with gold accents.

You might recall that I like to collect old bird nests.  Usually during the winter, I will pull one out of the tree in the yard.  I have collected a few over the years.
I know it seems strange to place such gorgeous pieces of art in dirty bird nests, but it seemed so appropriate.
I pulled one of my scratched silver plate trays out and casually arranged the bird nests on the surface.
I carefully placed the larger eggs in the nests and laid the smaller ones to the sides.

On the marble topped sewing stand, the eggs are holding court.  What a splendid way to recall Easter  tidings!