Our Easter Mantel

//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.jsI thought I’d share a few photos of our Easter mantel this year. If you’ve read my past posts then you know that I like to decorate by “shopping” my house for items I can use. I always gravitate towards shopping for items of specific color. This time I was on the hunt for blue.

To see the photo larger, just click on it!

I can’t for the life of me remember where I bought the banner, but I am certain that it was one year after Easter and on discount. Then it sat in a Rubbermaid bin for a couple of years before Samantha and I put it together last year. We stamped “Hoppy Easter” on it.

The blue books on the mantel were easy to collect throughout the house. And well, Ball mason jars are pretty common around here. Let’s just say that I’ve hoarded passionately collected them. I regret every one of them that I’ve sold!

You might recognize the little bunnies from this post HERE. They’re from World Market.

I keep meaning to spray paint that candle holder. Warmer temps are here, so now may be the time!

I am pretty sure the bunnies (one piece) came from Hobby Lobby. The wall color is Danville Tan by Benjamin Moore. It’s been our wall color since we moved in ten years ago, and I still love it as much as I did the first day. It looks different at night than in the day. It’s very calming in person. (P.S. This color looks great in person. It looks totally wonky on my cellphone screen, so keep an open mind!)

Do you remember the barn wood that Ken and I got off of a an old barn/army building HERE? And also used to make THIS?

We used some our favorite pieces to make some free wall art for our mantel. The color is all natural and original. All we did was cut it and attach it together.

The “S” is for our last name. 😉 The window was picked up on one of our Craig’s List adventures.

I had fun pulling everything together. Everything other than the fresh tulips and the tiny bunnies on top of the books are things we already had. My favorite kind of decorating…FREE!

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Barn Wood China Cabinet: Before & After

I like refinishing hutches. I have a whole folder on our hard drive dedicated to before and after pictures of hutches that we’ve done. They are straight forward, and they sell really well for us. (BONUS!)

So I don’t know why it is that we hate china cabinets. But both Ken and I do. Somehow those simple doors on the front that officially make it a “china cabinet” also turn it into a project from hell. I also have a folder dedicated to before & after pictures of china cabinets. I hope I don’t ever have to add another picture to it. I don’t want to say, “never” but, I never want to refinish another china cabinet again. Unless it’s free. And unless I’m doing it for myself.

Ugly, ugly!

Here’s the before of the latest china cabinet that we’ve redone. It was next to free because the glass shelves on the inside were gone. Buying it we knew we’d have to invest in the expense of replacing them, but we know a guy. 😉 Not really. We know Ace Hardware. They sell and cut glass.

Now, this is the point that I also have to point out the missing pane of glass on the right. I wish I could blame that on the kids. But that was an adult in the house. And not me.

The other pane came out and some chicken wire went in. Because chicken wire definitely goes with what we had planned for this.

Yesterday I posted about how we came upon the jackpot of barn wood. Check out that post (here). Before we even started on this china cabinet we knew that we wanted to add some of the barn wood to it and change the look completely. This is where I get on my soap box and proclaim, “Please do not throw out furniture. Find a way to reuse it. Invest in quality furniture to begin with and you will never need to replace it!”

Ahem, without further ado, the AFTER:

This took over a week to complete. Seriously, it did. With prepping, cutting wood, installing wood, drying wait time, painting, drying wait time, sanding, curing wait time, waxing, hardening wait time, installing chicken wire, and new glass shelves it was a FULL WORK WEEK. The wood is priceless. It cannot be replaced or replicated. This is a one of a kind, truly unique piece. And since I’m never making another one (never say never?), there is only one opportunity to get anything like it from us!

Now THAT’S a makeover! Completely different.

//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.jsHope you enjoy the before & after. If you’re local and you’re interested in purchasing this, please use the icons at the top to contact us. Facebook is the best way!

Update: This piece has sold and is no longer available,

Barn Wood: The wood that almost wasn’t.

The area we live in, a suburb of Atlanta, has changed a lot in the past 25 years. Like, a LOT. It’s not the same place it was when Ken and I grew up. There aren’t many open fields left. It’s mostly businesses and neighborhoods and concrete. And more people. And it wasn’t. Before.

Atlanta is known for having the native-born people far outnumbered by the transplants. But we’ve lived here our whole lives, and we know a lot of other people that have, too. So this story is for them. And us. But I have to start from the beginning:
Fort Daniel isn’t just the name of an elementary school in Gwinnett County, and Hog Mountain isn’t just the name of a road (or two). Fort Daniel was an actual military fort built in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries on Hog Mountain, which was the southern boundary of the Native American hunting grounds.  This area is approximately located on Scenic Highway and in between Old Peachtree Road and Gravel Springs Road. The fort was rebuilt in 1814, but there is some speculation as to whether it was completely rebuilt from the ground up, or rebuilt using the existing structures. For our purposes, it just matters that it’s old.
Recently a barn-type structure located near our home was being demolished. A sign invited anyone that wanted to take whatever wood they liked. And so, being us, we started the process of removing wood.  During our visits there to load up our truck, we talked with the landowner, Mr. Boyce, a few times. He was having the structure removed so that his two sons could build their homes there. Someone was supposed to come demolish the building and haul it away, but those plans didn’t work out. And, it turns out, this wasn’t just a barn. Mr. Boyce bought the property 25+ years ago, and he was told that at some point in time someone had moved one of the old barracks from Fort Daniel there, and it had been used as a storage barn ever since.
Ken carefully removing pieces of wood from the structure. At one point he was balancing
on a rotten tree stump to get the perfect pieces for me.
This wood that we got, is, at youngest, from the early nineteenth century. Each piece of wood is stunning. On the sides that were exposed to the elements you can see the faint, original green color, places where a “newer” (which may be decades old, as well) whitewash color shows. Mostly there is the much sought-after silver gray color. On the back, the sides that were not exposed, the wood is rich and brown. It is a color that you can only get with time, and a lot of it. This color is enough to move you me emotionally.
This is my favorite piece of wood that we got. Isn’t it beautiful?! I’m saving it for something special.
We’ve taken some of the wood that we collected that weekend and added it to a china cabinet that we’ve customized. The wood looks weathered and beautiful, but don’t mistake it as fragile and brittle. This wood is rock hard and strong. It has lasted a very, very long time. This wood is our history. It’s special. And it was almost trash.
Here’s the china cabinet! I was trying to avoid my reflection, so you have to see it from an angle. 😉
Ready to be filled with special things!
Ahhh! THIS WOOD is a dream!
This piece is currently available and can be seen by appointment. Use the icons at the top of the page to contact us. 
To learn more about Fort Daniel, Georgia, visit these websites:

Before & After: A dresser saved from the dump.

Last weekend I revived a dying 1930’s dresser. I assumed that it was going to be a fairly straight forward and easy project, but it turned out to take quite a bit of time. Grrr. I’m happy with how it turned out, and I’m even happier that I was able to save the fantastic Art Deco hardware.

Here it is before:


Everyone refinishes furniture on their kitchen floor, right?

I decided to use Martha Stewart “Barn Red.” I make my own chalk paint, but that is the base that I used.

After the chalk paint, I used Valspar Glaze in “Mocha.” I bought this at Lowe’s. A little goes a long way.

The hardware needed some love and elbow grease. I used steel wool, baking soda and vinegar, baking soda and Dawn and vinegar, baking soda and water, more steel wool. You get my point; it took a while.

All said and done….

P.S. This dresser was not saved literally from the dump. As in, I did not go to the dump and get it. Rather, it was close to being headed to the dump. I don’t even know where a dump is. But if I did, it wouldn’t be beneath me to go there. And look for a dresser.//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js

New Wheels, New You!

If someone bottled the “Old Wood” smell in a perfume bottle, I’d buy it. Do you know the smell? It sends me on a trip to my granddaddy’s barn every time. Old wood that has lived a life full of seasons and adventure, long after its death as a tree. I’ve been known to date things by their smell. Open a drawer of an old chest. Check for spiders. (DO NOT skip that step.) Insert face into the drawer and inhale deeply. Oooooh yeah. It doesn’t get much better than that. 
So my bff, Cady, and I were on a Saturday morning adventure a few weeks ago. I think she secretly came along for three reasons. 1. She wanted to witness my “junkin’ and not messin’ around” face in person. 2. The mimosa sampler at Mimi’s Café at brunch afterwards. 3. Coming with me meant that she didn’t have to stay home and clean house. I don’t blame her. In fact, I’m happy that I could help her out on all three accounts! That’s what a bff is for.
At garage sale #246 of the day (Not really, but gooood lawdy, could it please get easier to find good junk?!) I found a box. Well, the bottom half of a box, anyway. I could tell right away that it was old. And, true enough, the smell test confirmed it. It was full of some basic, rusty tools that I wasn’t much interested in. The lady at the sale told me it was an old tool box, and she didn’t want to separate the box and the tools. So, needless to say, I picked up a box full of tools when all I really wanted was the box. And, also needless to say, I spent more on it than I wanted to.

 If you aren’t up for playing the garage sale lottery, and you want to find some crates to do this project with, these are a great set to get you started: Imax Corporation 29128-3 Midway Wood Crates- Set of 3 (Google Affiliate Ad).

I’ve set the tools aside until I’m ready to do something with them. (i.e. Sell them and get rid of them!) But the box, oh I had plans for that box. And I can’t wait to take you on that adventure with me. Here we go!

The handles. The hinges. The split boards. THE SMELL. What’s not to love about this gentleman? Not much, but I think I can make life on his creaky old joints a little easier. I’m putting this bad boy on wheels!

Here are my materials that I *think* I’m going to start with: A drill, castor wheels, wood screws

Why is it that I “think” I’m using these? Because once I start working, I realize that 1. A drill is going to be much too hard on this box. Since I don’t want to split the wood and ruin the box, I switch to a simple screw driver. The wood is old and soft, so there isn’t much trouble getting the screws in. 2. I decide that the wheels I originally purchased are too small. They are not a good scale for the box and they look puny.

See that? See how we can roll with the punches? Go with the flow, folks. No rules here. If one thing doesn’t work, well don’t do that thing then.

See? Bigger is better in this case:

I purchased these castor wheels from Home Depot. They come in all kinds of sizes. They swivel. I likey. The price ranges depending on what size you buy. The wheel I ended up going with is a 2 inch rubber wheel. But if you are doing a similar project, you pick the wheels that *you* like. Can’t go wrong, as long as you like it.

A new guy comes to the party, and his name is WASHER:

The more the merrier, right? Okay, so remember how we are rolling with the punches? The screws were a smidge, and I mean SMIDGE too long. (A girl at Home Depot in an orange apron can help you find the right screws.) The tips of their teeny, tiny points came through on the other side of the wood. Solution? Washer man! Er, washer, man! The washer helped add a little bit of space so that when the screw was all of the way in, it didn’t poke through. I’d hate for someone to buy this beautiful piece from me, fill it with throw blankets, and then have the blankets snag on the screw. See, I do care!


 The possibilities are endless of what you could do with this guy! Here’s just one idea:

Now here’s to hoping that I can double my money on him. Let me know what you think!