Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mid-Week Surprise

Grant likes to be spontaneous in some ways. 

We've been talking about getting a new mattress for a while now because ours is a cheap, 5-year-old model, and we're both waking up sore in the morning.

When I came home Wednesday, Grant told me he had ordered a new mattress... but not a queen- a king.  Sweet! More roooooom.  Oh, wait: all of our current bedroom stuff is based around our queen bed- the headboard, the sheets, the coverlet, the shams, the throw.  And the bed is part of a set, which we have fallen out of love with, but at least we have nightstands and a dresser.

So we're starting from scratch with the bedroom.  

We'll move the bed into a guest bedroom and look for either a four-poster, brass bed, or a stand-alone headboard. (Antique king beds do not exist, so we'll have to find a reproduction piece.)  We'll sell the two nightstands and matching dresser in favor of two larger antique pieces to be bedside tables. (We don't necessarily need the storage of the dresser, and the room is so narrow that it's just in the way.)

We love the look of our bright-white matelasse coverlet, so we'll try to find something similar.  

So far, all the options are ridiculously expensive, and who knew there was such a thing as king-size shams?  $40 for a sham? Really?

We'll keep you updated as we hunt for deals and peruse Craigslist.  Meanwhile, we'll enjoy sleeping on a new, squishy mattress in a mismatched master.

Happy Saturday, and go Vols!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I am not unique in my obsession for all things fall: pumpkin, pretty leaves, cool air, mums, scarves, sweaters, Thanksgiving...

So I'm a stereotype. Whoopee.

With the first brisk morning, I was ready to prep our porch for fall.

First I trimmed the nandena at the bottom-center of the above pictures so that any flowers or pumpkins could be seen from the street.

I found the wreath...

...for about $17 at Greenbriar. I like that it's fall-ish without being Halloween- or Thanksgiving-specific.  The orange also ties in nicely with the University of Tennessee flag...

I searched high and low for a UT flag that wasn't too terribly tacky.  (I realize that some might think any university team flag is tacky, but hey, it's fall in the south: football is a way of life.)

I spent about $45 at Ace Hardware on mums (2 large, 4 small), which are annuals and provide color for a relatively short amount of time in the fall.

Grant also cleared out the summer plants from the planter box above the door to make room for pansies we'll plant late this fall.

Et voila...

I'm going to add some pumpkins to the stairs this weekend.

Happy fall!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Late Bloomer

We have a single hydrangea bush by our front porch.  Like every southern girl, I love hydrangeas, and I have been hoping it would bloom all summer (like ours in Little Rock did). I have been waiting... and waiting. A single bloom grew early this spring, but nothing since.

Until this week...

I love all the variation in color and size of the blossoms.

So pretty.

There are several more blooms coming through, too.
Just in time for fall, we have the flowers we've been wanting all summer.
"But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."
Romans 8:25 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Some Light Refinishing

I love antique wooden furniture, but I don't want the wood itself to show its age and wear.  I'm always on the hunt for ways to revitalize the finish.

In Little Rock I tried was Miss Mustard Seed's Hemp Oil ($13 for 250 ml). I used it on the 1880s kitchen table...

... and our previous dining set...

I even used it as the sealer when I painted the buffet with milk paint.
I really liked how easy it was to use (just wipe on with a rag) and that it's a natural, food-safe oil.

Lately, I've acquired some pieces that require more intensive refinishing.  I tried Restor-A-Finish (in "golden oak"; about $9 for 16 oz.) on the hoosier cabinet... of the side tables in the den...

...the vanity in the upstairs guest bathroom where water had worn away the finish...

...the antique buffet in the den (which had a lot of scratches after a cross-country move)...

...and even the interior of the front door because 30 years of families, children, and dog paws have taken a toll on the finish...

I think Restor-A-Finish works great on pieces that need a little stain and a little shine.  It does a great job removing water rings and can be used on wood with an existing finish (like the bathroom vanity did- I applied it all over, even though water had only worn away the finish in a few areas).  This product is simply wiped on.

I was hesitant to try Restor-A-Finish on my precious 1880s kitchen table because it's tiger oak, but a year after the hemp oil application, it needed something.  It was looking pretty dry-looking (I don't think it has ever had any varnish or anything)...

  I asked the owner of Greenbriar Antiques what he would do because he refinishes a lot of furniture.  He recommended this product ($18 for 16 oz):

I had never used anything quite like it; it's not something just applied and left on the furniture.  It also is not a liquid: it looks like Noxzema or Albolene.  I used a Viva paper towel to rub it onto the table following the grain.

After 5 minutes, I wiped off the excess with an old T-shirt.

It removed a layer of grime and restored some natural-looking shine.

Now it looks ready for the next 130 years...

I'm trying to find some Amish Secret to clean our wood furniture. Anyone have any experience with it or something else you like to use to clean/polish wood pieces?

Happy Saturday!

No, I was not paid by any of these brands to say I like their products.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

More Kitchen Progress

The kitchen rehab is taking forever... or so it seems. (Maybe because after working 10 hours, I'm not much in the mood to paint for hours on end.)  And any flat surface in our house looks like this...

Priming and painting the doors is a time-consuming process: every door gets sanded with a palm sander, all the knots get filled and sanded, both sides are primed, then painstakingly painted to ensure there are no brush/roller marks or particles stuck in the finish.

Painting and priming the boxes themselves is pretty quick and easy.
(Please ignore the backsplash... or lack thereof.)

Maybe you noticed our new range hood? Definitely a visual improvement over the previous almond-colored one.

Now, the appliances match. Woohoo!

Once Grant put the hood in place, I started contemplating the utility of the cabinet directly above it.  I can't reach anything inside, so I'm thinking of priming and painting the inside and back (on all the others, I'm only painting the face) and using it to display pretty cookbooks, dishes, etc.


Happy Sunday! And thanks to everyone who lifted us up in prayer on Thursday morning.

Other kitchen posts:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Too Soon?

Is it too soon for fall decor? I hope not.

Marshall's certainly doesn't think so.  During one of my regular after-work trips to the store this week, I was giddy to see all the fall home accessories in stock.  I stumbled upon this sweet reminder...

It's fall-ish in its color scheme (and for some reason, thankfulness is associated with the fall exclusively... can't we be thankful every season?), but I think I can get away with displaying it all year.  I'm a sucker for primitive-like needlepoints like this though, as I have started amassing them...

For now, the new frame is adorning the built-ins in the den, but it may end up in the ever-changing living room.

In case I don't post again before then, Grant & I would like to request your prayers Thursday morning.
Psalm 113

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cabinet Re-Do Part 1

Now that the cabinet doors Grant is making are in the works, I have started prepping the cabinet boxes for primer and paint...

I used the tips from our Little Rock Ace Hardware friend to prep the boxes (just like we did on the built-ins in LR).  We wrapped the countertops with craft paper to protect them, then I gathered two bowls, a coarse-grit sanding sponge, powdered dishwashing detergent, and a couple rags...

I put warm water with a couple tablespoons of the dishwashing detergent in the smaller bowl.  I dipped the sanding sponge in the soapy water and sanded down the surfaces.  Afterwards, I wiped down the surfaces using warm water. Then I dry everything.  (I do all three steps on one cabinet box then move to the next one.)

I sanded until I could see some natural wood showing through in the heavily-grained areas...

You can also tell you sanded sufficiently by a change in the finish: 

the sheen will be taken off when the wood has been sanded adequately.

We have two banks of upper cabinets prepped (Grant has already made doors for those boxes).  Next: priming!

Also, today is Callie's adoption day! We've had this sweet pup for a whole year...

This was her first day in her new home.
Happy adoptiversary, Callie!