Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Big Basket Case

As I turned the aisle of the thrift store I saw her. There she was standing tall, all 2 feet, 6 inches of her. She was calling my name, begging me to take her home. I glanced at her price tag, taking a few moments to decide. Then, to my husband's amazement ("Do you really need another basket?"), I claimed her as my own. She wasn't just any old basket that would end up in the storage room until I could find a use for her, she was special. I already had a vision of her destiny. And she was made even more special when I saw one similar to her, days later, at a "regular store" for fifteen times what I paid for her.
Yep, she was very special indeed.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lean On Me


Perhaps it's a side-effect of Design ADD, or of being Design Commitment Phobic (DCP). It could be a result of the combination of the two disorders (yeah, I know I'm a design basket case). But, whatever the cause, I enjoy leaning t
hings in my design. I've leaned pictures, mirrors, shutters, old windows, old tin---you name it, I've probably leaned it. The advantage to leaning is that there is no repair work needed when you change things out. Plus, I just like the more casual style of leaning items.

My favorite things to lean are huge, empty picture frames.
I like the way they frame out the items in front on them.
I like that they give the whole vignette some height and balance.

And there's a real advantage to an empty frame when you're DCP. . . you guessed it, no commitment!
, who says that just the frame itself can't be a work of art!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Design ADD

Hi, My name is Joy and I have Design ADD.
What is Design ADD, you may ask. It is the
NEED to change the design of your home at least on a quarterly, if not on a monthly, or weekly basis. Some may call it an addiction. And, as with most addictions, it can be costly. But it doesn't have to be. Take my tin mantle/shelf, (well, don't really take it because you'll leave some big holes in my wall and you'll have to hire a moving company to carry it out because it's 8 feet long) I changed out the decor on the shelf using things I already had in my house. The pictures came from my bedroom, the leaded glass window was in my kitchen, and the candle lights were in my family room. The only thing I did spend money on were the topiaries and they were 75% OFF! (oooh, I love a good clearance sale). You know, it just might be an addiction because I do get a bit of a high when I see how just a few, simple changes can transform an entire room.
If you decide to admit that you have Design ADD too, look around your house and see if you can make some changes without spending any (or very little) money. Then you can experience a design high too!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jots of Joy

Have a terrific weekend!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bookcase A-door-ation

I wanted a bookcase for my living room, not necessarily for books though. I wanted it to display my pottery collection. I had another requirement, it had to be T*A*L*L, taller than the average store bought bookcase. Oh, and another requirement, it had to have character. So there was just one thing to do. . . build it ourselves! And of course we used our favorite building material, an old door.

The sides are made from a door cut down the center.
I wanted the shelves to be bulky,
so we used stair treads. The crown molding is actually an expensive, fancy baseboard turned upside-down. And the feet came off of a coffee table from the thrift store.
Now that's what we call re-purposing!!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spray Paint is a Girl's Best Friend

I LOVVVVVVVVE paint! My husband always has to veer me away from the "oops" paint when we go to any home improvement store. I have a need to have a supply of paint on hand at all times, just in case I get a sudden desire to do a project. That was the case with my bathroom cabinets. I've wanted to do a major renovation in this room for years, but I feel that way about the majority of my house, so I have learned to pick my renovation battles carefully. What bothered me most about this bathroom was the cabinetry. Paint was the solution! But I needed immediate gratification . . . SPRAY paint was the solution! I masked off the floor, ceiling, and walls, opened the window for ventilation, and began to spray. Within minutes my bathroom was transformed! I added new hardware that I'd purchased at the thrift store and my cabinets had an inexpensive face lift that looked like a million bucks (okay, maybe a thousand bucks).
Spray paint is a cheap designer's best friend. I use it often to transform any trash into a treasure. Here's what I've learned from my best friend--- spray
short, even strokes, keep the can at a good distance from the project, and two light coats look much, much better than one heavy runny coat. Now, I'm off to find something else to put a coat of spray paint on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Here Kitty Kitty

For nearly a year now, our kitty has been served her meals in a crystal bowl on a lovely tray. The tray is practical because it helps to contain the food particles and the bowl is pretty. I'm sure that our cat could actually care less what she eats out of, but I think it looks so much nicer than the store bought kitty bowls. And since she eats in our kitchen I made the decision to have the spot decorative. After all, it's all about the details, right?
You may be wondering where her water bowl is---she actually prefers to drink out of the "white porcelain bowl" in the bathroom. So we compromised, I got the pretty, she got the porcelain.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. I'm not exactly sure how we're supposed to celebrate Earth Day, but I'm relieved that is doesn't involve gift giving. I chose to celebrate by getting my hands dirty moving dirt and rocks. The weather here is true to the season. It springs back and forth from cold to warm. Fortunately today is fairly warm. It's a perfect day to work on an easy water feature in my yard. Here's how it's done: you'll need a shovel, a five gallon bucket (remove the handle), a submersible pump with a long tube attached, wire mesh, tin, tin snips and various rocks.
Dig a hole in the ground large enough to bury the bucket. Place the pump and tube inside the bucket. It's best to put the pump on top of rock or bricks so if dirt falls in, the pump is above the dirt and sledge level. Cut a hole in the center of the wire screen for the tube to go through. Place the screen on top of the bucket making sure it is large enough to cover the mouth of the bucket and a few inches more. You may need to strategically place some tin around the opening to catch the splashing water and direct it back inside the bucket.
I had some leftover cultured stone (fake rock) from our house face lift. I drilled a hole through the stone, large enough for the tube, using a masonry bit. You can skip this step and just place rocks around the tubing to hide it. Cover all of the screen and tin with rocks. Plug in your pump and ENJOY!

Friday, April 18, 2008

A-door-able Shelf

We made this shelf using a panel from an old solid wood door, scrap wood and metal brackets.
It hangs in an alcove above the commode in our main bathroom.
It brightens up a spot
that can be very dull.

What can you do to brighten up that
"necessary area"
of your home?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Shutter Bug

I found myself with a free day a couple of days ago. I knew exactly how to fill it---go thrift store shopping!!! I hit three stores that day, but only found treasures at one. Two sets of shutters called my name and before I knew it, both sets had jumped into my cart. I love the big red wood shutters and have several ideas of how to use them so I need to narrow it down a bit. The smaller tan pair are made of plastic. I decided to glaze them so they looked more like wood (Picture shows one modeling the "before" and the other models the "after"). I'm not sure if it's a psychological thing that has to do with my getting older, but I like decorative pieces with the appearance of age. I think it gives them more character. Yeah, I like to think that's the advantage of age. . . more character! Once the glaze was dry, I knew right where to display my thrift store treasures!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Times and Places

My hubby and three of our children have had the opportunity to go out into the world to serve and teach people---we are Mormons, and they were called to serve missions. It has been a wonderful, life changing experience for each one of them. About a year and a half ago we had two children serving, one son in Russia and our daughter was in Argentina. To help us stay a little more connected, I hung this large map in our office/computer/game room. I found the frame while thrift shopping. Above the map hang five clocks, one for each time zone where each of my family members served and one for home. Below, on the thin board are labels of the cities. This wall is not just decorative, it helps bring back memories and serves as motivation for our two sons who have yet to be called to serve.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Topiary Anyone?

Spring is finally starting to arrive here. I am entertaining thoughts of playing outside and planting flowers. However, thoughts of weeding are never entertaining!
Here's a quick and easy project. Purchase those little inexpensive metal finials and a tomato cage or two. If your finials are rusty like mine, spray the cage with a primer paint that's reddish rust in color. Once dry, turn the cage upside-down and place the point ends into the finial. Use a two-part epoxy (I used JB Weld) to secure. If you want to dress it up a bit, place grapevine balls inside or spiral a grapevine around the form. You now have an inexpensive topiary form to grow climbing vines on.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Story of Our Home

Several years ago we were bursting at the seams of our old home----seven people in four TINY bedrooms was just a little too close. We sold our home and had plans to build a beautiful little two story. Months passed and our plans weren't coming together, so we had to choose Plan B. We searched for an existing home. We needed to find one that would be suitable for our entire family. At the time our children ranged in age from high school to toddler. While driving around one day, in a neighborhood we liked, we found this home. My first reaction was, "It's the ugliest house in the neighborhood!"(Please don't be offended if your house looks like this). It wasn't my style and had been a beaten-up rental for years. At the time we knew that our prayers of finding a home for our family had been answered---just not the way we thought. Now we know we were blessed with more than what we had asked. Our family has flourished here.
This home allowed me to develop my designing talents. I enlarged a picture of our home, placed it on a light board, put paper on top and I began to redesign. How could I make this home mine without doing an extreme makeover? Finally everything fell into place (good thing because several windows were broken and rocks were falling off).

We put our boys to work demolishing and found a friend to reconstruct. Now I smile every time I see my home because it truly is my home. If your home doesn't make you smile, think about changes you can make. It doesn't have to be a major overhaul, maybe just a fresh coat of paint on the door or some beautiful flowers planted along the walk. Spring is a great time to make changes to the outside of your home.

This picture was taken last fall when the grass was green and flowers were in bloom.


Welcome visitors from TCB! It's so nice to have you here. I am enjoying meeting you all and absolutely love reading your comments. You are all so awesome!!!!! I love the blog world! Enjoy your visit and please forgive me, I forgot to put out refreshments for you.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jumping for Joy

Very late Saturday evening the owner of this blog was found squealing, screaming, and jumping for JOY. It was at that time that I read the words, "I have featured you today." YES!!!! My little new blog baby has been featured on Today's Creative Blog---one of the best blogs ever! If you haven't discovered it yet, RUN, do not walk, over to Kim's blog (one of two---she's so creative). There you will find sweet Kim, the creative force behind the blog that links you to wonderfully creative blogging people.
I am feeling so very honored and incredibly HUMBLED. Thank you so very much Kim!!!! You have inspired me!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Jots of Joy

"It isn't the great big pleasures
that count the most;
it's making a great deal out of the little ones."
--— Jean Webster

Thursday, April 10, 2008


This is the first real piece of furniture that my husband and I built together. I adore this piece! It's actually three separate pieces made with one-and-a-half doors. It took several months to convince my husband that we could build it (we have no real cabinet building skills beyond the wood shop class hubby took in Jr. High). During those months I found the PERFECT door! As far as we can tell it is at least a hundred years old. We dated it by the knob, as well as by the faux paint technique that we discovered under layers of old paint. This technique can be found in many of the old homes built by the pioneers of our state. It is true craftsmanship and we are happy that it now has a place of honor in our home. People have asked why we didn't paint the door to match the rest of the piece. We explain it's history---that's the real deal when it comes to crackle paint and faux burled wood.
The other thing that I love, love, love about this piece is that it has become our inspiration. We built it, so we can build almost anything! It has inspired us to renovate areas of our home and yard and build many more furniture pieces. Most of the furniture we build is made from old doors. The wood is incredibly solid, has built-in character and is inexpensive. Oh yes, I "a-door" an old door!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Window to the World

When your window to the world shows the world a little more than you care to show, be creative! This is my bedroom window. It's very large. I love the light and the view. But it is a bedroom so we do need a degree of privacy (we don't want to scare the neighbors or cause them to die from hysterical laughter). I hung an old window backed with scrapbook paper. It's pretty and practical.
If you don't want to use an old window consider hanging or propping up a row of pictures or a large painting. Can't find a suitable painting? Hot glue some pretty fabric or wallpaper inside a large frame. How about hanging a lightweight door mirror sideways for a more contemporary look? Use thumb tacks to hang up lengths of pretty ribbon across the window. Or tack up a beautiful tablecloth across the bottom half of the window---you can even fold a square tablecloth into a triangle and hang it by the points. Think beyond the store's drapery isle. Hopefully your brain is now firing with ideas for your window to the world!

Monday, April 7, 2008


I am a collector! It is one of many hobbies that I love. Wikipedia states, "the hobby of collecting includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, displaying, and storing, whatever items are of interest to the individual collector." Yep, that's me! I am someone who loves to seek, locate, acquire, organize, display and store. I enjoy collecting vintage suitcases, off-white pottery, English ironstone, milk glass, old books, picnic baskets, bowls, candles, lamps, old door knobs, tarnished silver(it has more character if it's not polished), antique furniture, etc......I know, it's amazing that my family hasn't admitted me into a twelve-step program for addicts! Maybe it's because they have a small understanding that when I surround myself with people and things that I love, I find comfort. I especially enjoy old things that bring a sense of history. If these collectibles could talk, what stories would they tell? It's fun to imagine.

If you are daring enough to stand up and admit that you too are a collector, here's my advice. Pull all of your collections together. I have a friend who has a collection of shells from family vacations to the beach. I gave her a huge glass bowl so she could display them all. She wrote me a note to tell me how putting all the shells together made her realize just how many she had, but more than that it makes her smile every time she passes her collection because it now has a place of prominence in her home, a place where her family can talk about the memories of gathering those shells. Too often people have a little of this and a little of that all over their homes. When you take the time to arrange your collection, whatever it may be, into one place it has more of an impact on the design of your home. It also tells people a little bit about you. When I decided to take all of my suitcases and pile them into one big tower, people took notice. Almost everyone who enters my home comments on the suitcase stack. But even more than that, they begin to tell a story about themselves, "My grandmother had a suitcase like that..." Collections are a wonderful edition to your home. Enjoy the art of collecting and displaying!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Jots of Joy

"Write it on your heart
that everyday
is the best day
in the year."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dining Room Part 2

Our dining room has a built in china cabinet. It's rather large and was very dated. As you can see by the picture, the stained wood was a lovely shade of nondescript brown (sorry I don't have a "before" picture of the whole thing). I'm not sure what the cabinet builders were thinking when they installed it. One side of the cabinet was wider than the other. The top and bottom doors don't really line up and then when they attached the header piece they made it follow the ceiling which is significantly crooked so the piece wasn't the least bit level. On top of all this, the cabinet is fairly deep so it was like a dark abyss. Well, not anymore!
I tore off the header piece and with the help of my hubby we replaced it with crown molding that is level. We built up the sides so they match and added decorative molding. Then I painted the whole thing a deep shade of green. To show off the detail in the molding I highlighted it with a metallic copper. To eliminate the dark abyss I hung wallpaper inside the back with double sided tape. The wallpaper has the look of aged paper. Now my dishes stand out instead of disappearing. I love my china cabinet now! It's amazing what a little molding and paint can do.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

High School Welding Class

You have to really love a son that will take a feminine design to his high school welding class and cut it out just for his mom. Actually that's probably a great sign that my son really loves me. He did, however, admit that he waited until AFTER class to cut it. I was so excited when he brought it home. I had a design vision when I gave him the pattern.

I took a little wood, a little molding, paint, and a large empty frame and created this unique, original art work for my hallway. Even my husband seemed impressed as he helped hang it.

The moral of this blog? Don't be afraid to use any and all resources you have available to make your home design unique to you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

For the Love of Typography

I really like the hot design trend of typography! You may notice it when you look through catalogs like Pottery Barn. I wanted to incorporate this trend into my home, but there was no way that I was going to spend a lot of money doing it. So I came up with this idea. In my kitchen I have a plate rack that I like to change out through the year. I liked the idea of numbers on plates and thought it would really make an eye catching display. I found some nice white plates at the dollar store and then went to a print store that cuts vinyl lettering. I told them the size and font that I wanted. Then I applied the numbers to my plates. Voila! (one of the few words I remember from Jr. High school French) I now have a designer look at a dollar store price.

I didn't stop the trend there. After all, good design repeats itself. I purchased house numbers at the building store, dressed them up with ribbon and tassels and tied them onto jars. Then I built the little pedestal for the jars to sit on so the tassels could hang just right (I told you I can be a bit obsessive when it comes to design).

Trends are wonderful, but they are just that---a trend. Spending a lot of money on something that will go out of style leaves you feeling like you have to keep it for years passed the trend. Hopefully you're inspired to bring a design trend into your home in an inexpensive way. Now you'll have to excuse me, it looks like I need to run to the store to buy some flour.....
OH! A little warning, if you do choose to bring a little typography into your home design, be prepared for weird questions from family and friends!
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