Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Sister’s Kitchen Makeover


Last week I helped my sister redo her entire kitchen and here I am, a week and a half later finally writing a post about it. I’m residing in one of my favorite spots to write this… what I call “my little beach house.” Smile The circumstances are just right to escape to this haven down here. The weather is a little rainy and the boys are playing Nintendo baseball with their cousins…


They hardly noticed me as I scurried about the house getting some Saturday morning chores done. They did glance up blankly when I told them that I’m heading to the cabin down by the pond and the only reason they can come down is if it’s a life or death situation. (yes, I can be that type of mom.) Smile 

Hubby is playing softball, if they didn’t get rained out, that is. I imagine they probably played through the downpours. Maybe I’ll remind him of that next time I want him to clean out spouting or something and he spots one dark cloud on the horizon.


So, with everyone occupied with their own things, I get to have a most peaceful time at my little retreat. The only sounds are the splash of a fish or frog once in a while and the squeak of a frog. A bit ago I heard a Kingfisher’s call as he flew overhead. Following are a few pics from my perch since I had my trusty camera by my side anyway. If you want to read more about “my beach house” click here:My little beach house


I love just being surrounded by our beach memories, even though I’m not actually at the beach, it almost feels as though I am…



The open window beside me with a breeze drifting through…


Anyway, back to the subject…

It had been awhile since I’d done any makeovers so I had quite an enjoyable time last week. What made it even more fun was the fact that my mom, my sis & her girls, and my boys helped too! It’s amazing how much more can be done when there are more hands at work! Here are some “before” pics of the kitchen:




Note the orangish glowing cupboards…so common with stained oak.

The dining area…



Literally everything got a coat or two of paint. The cupboard doors and drawers were sprayed outside on the driveway…


The trim and cupboards were painted with “bistro white” paint by Valspar. I’ve always wanted to try the paintable wallpaper from Lowes that looks like beadboard so my sister offered to be my guinea pig and we added that underneath the chair rail.


This picture was taken before it was painted. The directions said to wait 24 hours before painting. That also got a coat of bistro white. It was fairly simple to apply, a self adhesive backing. It was very important to really smooth it out so there would be no air bubbles.

The only thing that hindered us a little was the weather. A nasty storm tore through the area, uprooting trees and causing power outages. We ended up running for the basement in the middle of painting, as we heard trees crash down. The electric was off for a few days but thankfully we had generators to power our appliances and lights.

So, after the walls, ceiling, trim, cabinets and a few pieces of furniture getting coats of paint, here is the result…







It hardly looks like the same kitchen, does it!?

I would trade kitchens in a heartbeat. It’s such a bright, cheery place. The gray on the walls is “filtered shade” also from Valspar.


For the cabinet by the table I used the same gray as the walls for the back, then I mixed white and just a drop of gray for the rest. It gives it a nice white gray color.


I had made this bench & shelf a few years ago, looking off of Pottery Barns’ set. It was also a dark red and looks quite fresh with bistro white paint. The decorations weren’t all up when I took these pics. She was going to add a few cushions on the bench and some d├ęcor on the shelf.


This was one of the few kitchens I did that got no distressing. It was very quick and easy and I love the clean look!

It’s amazing how a room can go from this…


to this… (in a short amount of time for not a lot of money)…


It makes me think about getting rid of the red in my kitchen!

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Amish Country Strawberries


I’m surprising myself here by labeling something with the word “Amish” ( growing up Amish, myself, that used to annoy me) but I feel the strawberries we hunted down a few weeks ago deserve the title. Big, juicy, red berries for a great price.

Mom and I decided we want around thirty quart strawberries to make jam with or mash and put in the freezer for later use, so without having placed any orders for them, we set out.

We hit an area where there are settlements of what we call “Swartzentruber Amish.” They live a very primitive life, with no electricity or running water. Everything is so simplified, down to no gravel on their driveways. A lot of these people raise produce so that is why we chose this area to look. Thankfully, it was dry so we cud travel on these dirt lanes without getting stuck. (although, we did bottom out onceSad smile)


The above picture is the longest lane I have ever seen! Those buildings you see in the distance is their farm. We had even gone a fourth mile already before I took the picture! It must have been almost over a mile long!

I had the fun part. I drove and sent mom in to ask if they have any berries. Then while she chatted with the people, I got to put my new Canon powershot 50x optical zoom camera to test! I’m still trying to decide if I feel a little guilty about snapping numerous pictures of these private people’s children. Maybe if they weren’t so cute, it wouldn’t have been so tempting so maybe it’s really not my fault…Anyway, I do remember though, how that used to irritate me when tourists did that. When I took the pictures, I made sure they didn’t see me do it. I think that’s probably the difference.



Thankfully, with the great zoom this new Canon has, I could take half decent pictures being far off. Of course, they were taken through the windshield or side window, making them a little less clear.

I know I’m rambling more about these adorable kids than the strawberries but I must say, I was a bit more intrigued with this simplified country life than the berries and I want to share some of the pictures with you.












 I saved my favorites for last. First, three children stood on the porch curiously watching while my mom talked with the mom outside…




A fourth appeared…




While they stood there, a baby (the fifth child, I figured) was crying in the house! These Amish are known for their large families. With kids this cute, one a year would be great, maybe? I’m kidding, though!

After visiting a half a dozen farms we did end up getting our berries…





We had fun washing and mashing them. It’s so much more fun if they are nice and big!










What a great feeling of knowing we can be enjoying these delicious berries next winter!

Home Sweet Home


Home was a swimming hole and a fishing pole and the feel of a muddy row between my toes
Home was a back porch swing where I would sit and mom would sing amazing grace
While she hung out the clothes,
Home was an easy chair with my daddy there and the smell of Sunday supper on the stove
My footsteps carry me away but in my mind I'm always going home


I always loved this song! I would love to imprint this image of home into the minds of our boys. Of course I’d add the smell of honeysuckle wafting through the air, the sound of trickling water, the haunting song of the wood thrush, the chorus of the tree frogs and crickets, the croak of grandfather bullfrog echoing across the pond…the list could go on and on. What a glorious time of year! All seasons have their beauty, but to me, spring tops them all. You can actually smell the green! Ok, I’ll stop fussing..although I need to add that I’m already looking forward to next spring! I know, I’m strange in that way…

I’ve taken a break from blogging due to crazy busyness which I won’t elaborate on. Let’s just say that my plans are to slow down now and really enjoy the summer; picnics with the boys, sleeping late,even sitting down daily  just to watch the birds while reading a good book and sipping on a cold glass of iced tea freshly made by my maid who gathered the tea from my herb garden that hasn’t materialized yet...oh yeah, I do have a few projects on my to-do list yet…

I’m exaggerating, but you probably get the point…I do want to slow down and spend more quality time with the “things” I love…family being first on my list.

A few months ago I felt the front porch needed a makeover. I  still love our porch swing but I’d gotten kind of tired of the reds and browns and felt it needed a little freshening up. This is what it looked like last summer…


Here’s the after…




I basically just painted the swing and added a different quilt& cushions, all of which I already had. The “home” sign is the same sign I had displayed at Christmas time. I just used the other side.


I also added an old door as a divider to the right of the swing.


I  painted the bench that used to be red..


I added our house number after painting light green and white stripes on it.

The pergola that I built a few years ago using branches and twigs had seen it’s better days so I ended up redoing that too using old lumber that was still in good shape. Hopefully it will last awhile.



This past winter wreaked havoc with snow weighing down the branches, breaking them off.

Now the after…


I added the screen door to give the honeysuckle a place to expand. I can’t wait to smell those blooms again! It should happen any day…

So with a little bit of time and no money (the best part) I gave the porch a makeover that should last for a while..( I can almost sense hubby rolling his eyes)..for some reason. Smile

Happy Spring everyone!

If you want to read the original post on how I made this porch swing, here is the link:

Our Country Porch Swing