Shopping Your Own Home for Halloween

A really easy way to decorate your home at any time is called “shopping your home.” What that means is that you look around your own home for items that you can rearrange, move, or group together to make “new” decor. I “shop my home” most often around holidays.

Via Etsy

When you shop your home, you’re saving money and repurposing items that you already own. If you get stumped while you’re doing this, an easy way to get started shopping your home for a holiday is to think of what colors that holiday is known for. Easter – pastels. Christmas – green, red, white, gold. Thanksgiving – brown, gold, orange, red, yellow. 4th of July – red, white, blue, silver. Halloween – black, orange, white (sometimes purple and green).

Any time you group items together by holiday colors, even if those items are not holiday related, they look like holiday decor. As you are walking around your home, focus on the colors that you need.

I’ve put together a list of items to look for if you “shop your home” for Halloween. Remember, it will be a snap if you focus on what colors you need. Of course, you’ll have to put the items together in a way that makes sense and looks nice. This is just a list to get your creativity flowing.

  • Books – black, orange, or white.
  • Black Picture Frames
  • Candles – black, white, or orange (possibly purple or green!)
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Black Boots
  • Scarves or Hats
  • Napkins or Tablecloths
  • Dishes
  • Beads or Buttons to use as vase fillers
  • Black Lamps
  • Flowers
  • Dried black beans (vase filler?)
  • Planters or Flower Pots

Once you have gathered your holiday colored items, think outside of the box for ways to use them. What can become a container? A scarf can be draped from a mantel or across a table. A tin can turns into a vase. Pictures can temporarily be taken out of frames and replaced with printed computer graphics or silhouettes. A black typewriter can display a spooky message. All of this for free because you used items that you already owned. Have a spooktacular time decorating for Halloween!

Better Homes & Gardens

Crafts to Make with Hymnal Pages


Yesterday I listed several vintage and antique hymnals in my Etsy shop, and I had a friend ask, “but what would someone do with an old hymnal…?”

Besides simply enjoying looking through it and being reminded of many of the traditional hymns that are no longer sung at church services, there are many wonderful ways you can repurpose them. In a way, repurposing will actually extend their “life.” Something like an old hymnal that may be worn thin and have no value to most people can be turned into things that will be used and treasured for years to come. Below are just a few of the neat crafts I found on Pinterest that use hymnal pages.

One of my favorites, Miss Mustard Seed used old hymnal pages on a lovely dresser:

Music Sheet Dresser....I would like to do this with some of the old hymnals I have
On AJ’s Trash to Treasure Blog, you can see that just about anything can get covered in hymnal pages, including lamp shades: 
10,7,10 CA projects110  SPECIAL HINT FOR LAMP SHADES:  Paper the INSIDE as well as the outside.  When the light shines through, all you seams and overlaps are OVERLY obvious.  By double layering your paper (one layer outside and one layer inside) it will minimize this.
The Picadilly Post turns hymnal pages in works of art:
I love this -- I think I would use the hymn 'The Old Rugged Cross' or 'In The Garden' or 'It Is Well With My Soul'...
Christmas ornaments seem like something doable even for the beginning crafter. These were found on Houzz
IDEA:  Hang on dining room window latches    in love with these diy cloth ornaments and color scheme for sun-room - all year
Use them to make a wreath. Here’s a How-To from HomeTalk:
A Hymnal Page Wreath :: Hometalk
Here’s an old blog post of mine where I used hymnal pages in a painting:
In my opinion the easiest and cheapest way to use hymnal pages is to simply frame them! In my home I have this framed song in our guest bedroom: 
Now let your imagination flow! 
Tips: You can link back to all sources. Hover in each introductory sentence to find the link.  If you are interested in purchasing one of the hymnals in my shop to use for a project or just to keep, go HERE. (Listed under “Books” on the left.) Depending on the day there’s usually 2 to 20 available. I’m happy to check a hymnal if you’re looking for a particular song, year, or church affiliation. 


Natural Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations inspired by nature can be very beautiful! Whether simple or extravagant, using natural elements is something easily done. Some materials that you may want to consider are fruit, pine cones, acorns, nuts, raw cotton, twine, jute, burlap, wood, berries, branches, feathers, and dried or fresh flowers. Here are just a few examples to inspire your holiday decorating. Tip: You can link back to all of the sources by clicking on the names.

This one from Better Homes & Gardens (click for link) looks very doable! Apples, pine cones, and evergreen branches. Did you know that most Christmas tree retailers will give you the cuttings for free? If you wanted to add a little something extra to those apples, try spraying them with a sheer glitter spray paint. Red apples would create a completely different feel, too.

There are so many ways to use pine cones in Christmas decorating.

One of ours:

 From Make It & Love It:

Over on the The Lettered Cottage you can see how a poinsettia gets updated in a metal bin and the raw cotton looks marvelous nestled into Layla’s Christmas tree:

Another example of using raw cotton from Sophia’s Decor. Her whole post is a great example of using natural elements such as pine cones, branches, birds, and cotton.


Classic and beautiful, check out this garland of dried oranges from Buckets of Burlap:

Here’s an example of a more detailed and sophisticated use of natural elements from Southern Living. 

Look around at what’s available outdoors (for free!) in your area. Simply filling a large clear vase with pecans, acorns, cranberries, or even evergreen stems will make a big impact.


Atlanta Fall Bucket List


October, the Southerners’ reward for surviving summer. 

I’ve never met a Southerner that doesn’t like love October. Honestly! Would such a person be human? Despite having 31 days, and sometimes 5 glorious weekends, there never seems to be enough October to go around. Unless I schedule our October days to make the most of the cool things happening around town, we just don’t get around to doing it all. 
I’ve made a list of some neat things both ITP and OTP (that’s inside-the-perimeter and outside-the-perimeter for all of you newbies) that you may want to take advantage of this fall. Each name links back to a website; Just hover your mouse and click for more details! I’m happy to add to the list. Just leave a comment or shoot me an email.
Now, go forth and get your pumpkin on!

Inside the Perimeter

1. Boo at the Zoo (Zoo Atlanta) – Special activities Saturdays and Sundays, October 18, 19, 25, & 26. 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
2. Ogre-tober and Scarecrows in the Garden (Atlanta Botanical Gardens) – Lots of Ogre-tober happenings! Click to check out their calender of events. 
3. Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tour (Oakland Cemetery) – The only time of year when tours are available after dark. Advance tickets must be purchased and sell out quickly!
4. Georgia A-Scary-Um (Georgia Aquarium) – Special extended hours. Kids 12 and under get in free if they dress in costume with each paying adult. Click the link for details!
5. Fernbank Boo-Seum Trick-or-Treat (Fernbank Museum of Natural History) – Lots of un-scary fun for the little monsters on the Saturday before Halloween. Special events throughout the museum from 10 – 2, all of which are included in admission or FREE for members.

Outside the Perimeter (and Beyond!)

5. Stone Mountain Park Pumpkin Festival – Tons to do here for the kids. Check out the website! Sometimes tickets go on flash-sale. 
6. Buford Corn Maze – More than just a corn maze! Hayrides, family activities, and a haunted forest. 
7. Jaemor Farms – Take a drive up to Alto, Georgia. The farm itself is gorgeous, and there are super fun things like apple canons, slides, corn maze, pick your own pumpkins, petting zoo, etc. Even a wonderful farm market with everything from fresh produce to fried pies. This is my fave!!! Click the link for more deets!
8. Gold Rush Days – Dahlonega, GA. Before the California gold rush, there was the Dahlonega gold rush! During peak times to see fall foliage, this should be a blast!
9. Oktoberfest – Helen, GA. The town of Helen is a re-creation of an alpine village, and this year marks their 44th annual Oktoberfest. 
10. Georgia Apple Festival – Ellijay, GA. It’s 43rd year as the Georgia Apple Festival, the town of Ellijay puts out quite the welcome wagon. Fun for the whole family, minus Fido (no pets allowed).
11. Six Flags Fright Fest – Frights by night and thrills by day!
12. The Great Miller Lite Chili & BBQ Cookoff – Chili? Yes, please! Held at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, GA. 
This is is far from being complete of everything Atlanta has to offer this fall. Make sure you take the time to create some awesome, life-long memories!

Before & After: Painted Wood Hutch

I’m so thankful for Spring. It really makes a big difference in my motivation. When it starts to really get cold again this fall, I’m going to give myself permission to forget about painting furniture until spring comes again. No expectations for myself to work in the cold, blah weather means no guilt for not accomplishing anything.

I’ve had this hutch in my garage. (We keep our cars in the driveway and our furniture in the garage. Don’t y’all?) I hadn’t planned on what I was going to do with it, but I got a burst of energy and motivation this week to just get it done.

Seriously. Ugly, right?

// think what I disliked about this the most is that there was no visual interest in the wood. I’m not against wood furniture, but this one was just like a big blog of orange-y stained wood. And the doors. Tragic. This isn’t a giant piece. I’ve been lifting and lugging it around all by my petite flower of a self. (I really hope you read that with sarcasm.) But it is a piece of furniture that will be extremely useful to someone. Not me, though. No room in the inn.

Much better. Much, much better.

// there is some visual interest. I left the surfaces unpainted that would get the most use. You can see a similarly dramatic difference in a before and after picture of me in makeup. #redhead

//’ve put some of my jadeite and jars on it so you can visualize what it would look like in use.

Hope you love it!

Use a Screen Door for an Organizer, Room Divider, or Craft Show Display

I wanted to share this screen door that we use a lot. Over time this has evolved into something that I’ve changed to be functional and beautiful.

I currently use something similar in my antiques booth to display items on, but here you can see that you can create a home organizational piece with a screen door.

Start by finding a screen door. You can either repurpose an old one or buy a new one from a home improvement store. I bought this one from Home Depot for around $20. Either paint or stain the door the color that you want. Staple chicken wire to the back of it. Make sure that you purchase a roll of chicken wire that is at least as wide as the door. At this point you can decide if you only want chicken wire on it, or if you want to back the chicken wire with something. For the one in my antiques booth I put some burlap fabric behind the chicken wire. On this one I used an old lace curtain that I purchased at a thrift store.

The final steps in this project are to make the door stand up. Screw some decorative wood corner pieces (Home Depot, trim department) onto the front and some metal L-brackets on to the back.

Diesel, our maltese, really thinks that you should give it a go and let us know if you like it!


UPDATE: Thank you for all of the interest in the desk and screen door, both have sold. 
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “product_link”; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “belbeaant-20”; amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”; amzn_assoc_region = “US”; amzn_assoc_placement = “B00CXAEQKK”; amzn_assoc_asins = “B00CXAEQKK”; amzn_assoc_show_border = true; amzn_assoc_link_opens_in_new_window = true;

Once You Go Black: The Dirty Details on Painting Doors

A few days ago I posted some before & after pictures of my painted black doors. I love how it looks. It’s completely changed the feel of the rooms. Despite how much I grumbled about it, I’m glad I did it.

I’ve gotten mostly positive feedback. It was a little funny when my mom commented, “What made you decide to do that? Well, it does take a little getting used to.” Translation: Why in tarnation would you paint your white doors black?? LOL, my mom rocks.

Now I’d like to share some things that I did or thought of while painting. I was completely wrong in estimating how long it would take and how hard it would be, but there were a couple of little things that I did that did cut down on the time and make it easier.

  • Research. Check out my Pinterest board on doors. I read a lot on how to paint a door. You might think that sounds silly, but there are specific ways to paint a door. Read on.
  • Doors should be painted with semi-gloss paint, similar to your baseboards and millwork.
  • The more sheen (shine) there is to paint, the more it shows brush marks. Semi-gloss has a lot  of sheen. Hence, there is a specific order on how to paint a door.
  • More sheen also means that if you use a roller for any of it, you need a large nap, at least 3/8″ or more. Otherwise, you’re going to see roller marks. It will drive you nuts once it dries.
  • Consider: Do you want to paint the entire door, or just the side that shows in the hallway? My thought was, “I want a black door, not a white door that has a black side.” So I painted the entire door.
  • Consider: Do you want to take the doors off of the hinges or leave them on? Taking the doors off of the hinges will greatly increase your workload for two reasons. One, You’ll most likely need two people to put the doors off and on the hinges. Two, you can only paint one side at a time.
  • If you’re leaving the doors on the hinges, prepping them will add some time.
If you leave the door on the hinges, be sure to tape them. Use an Xacto knife to trim the tape.
Prepping keeps it from looking sloppy.
Be sure to protect your floors. I taped down trash bags.
Drips don’t leak through the plastic. You can tape onto any surface, including carpet.
Paint can leak through canvas drop cloths or cardboard.

  • Each side of the door will need about 3 coats, even with primer.
  • Consider: Do you want to take the doorknobs off or leave them on? Taking them off adds time, but prepping (taping) and carefully painting around them adds time, too. I recommend taking them off. It’s not hard. I ended up painting all of my doorknobs and I’ll post about that soon.
  • Consider: It will take several days for the paint to cure and completely harden. Even if they are dry to the touch, they won’t be completely hardened for a few days. Ladies, think “nail polish.” Even if your nails feel dry on top, you know that it takes a few minutes for them to get rock hard.
  • Consider: Do you want to use a primer or a paint that has a primer already in it?

Okay, now there are some things that I would’ve done differently if I could do it all over again:

  1. I really hate to say this (hangs head), but I believe it would’ve made a huge difference. 😦 I wouldn’t have used Behr paint. I use Behr a lot for painting furniture. It is my go-to base for my homemade “chalk” paint colors. But, I never, ever, ever use it to paint walls. Ever. I always use Benjamin Moore paints. People often assume that Ben Moore paints are super expensive. They’re not. In fact, the gallon of Behr that I bought was more expensive than the last gallon of Ben Moore that I bought. Ben Moore paints are superior quality. It covers better. The color is better quality. It is better paint, hands down.
  2. Instead of a jet black color, I would have used a dark gray. I’m crushing on Dragon’s Breath by Benjamin Moore.

I hope this helps you! The biggest pains (literally) for me were my knee and hand. It is a lot of up & down, and my hand was killing me from holding onto the brush for so long. (sooooo.long.)


Distressed White China Cabinet with Homemade "Chalk" Paint

Deadlines. Due dates. Time Frames. I work well under pressure. I know this about myself, so I’ve given myself unmovable deadlines to make sure I get stuff done.

This fall I didn’t participate in any antique fairs. The kids’ sports schedules and Ken’s work schedule were a little chaotic, and I didn’t think that fairs were going to be doable this season. However I had a lot of inventory to get rid of. So I decided to throw a “Yard Market”, which is just fancy-talk for yard sale but with some above average inventory that you don’t usually find at yard sales.

I advertised and my reason for doing that was because once I told the world I was having a “Yard Market,” then I had to do it. All was going well and smoothly, but I had one large piece that I still hadn’t tackled yet. I needed some help from Ken for this one.

This china cabinet belonged to a family member that had tried a few times to sell it. As it was, it was average. As you can see it was dated 90’s oak, which isn’t in demand at all right now. I asked them if they would trust me to paint it and sell it for them, rather than just giving it away.

It was an enormous job, from the inside out. Everything from the light fixture to the hardware got a new look. The glass even got some attention. There is no way I could’ve done this piece as quickly as I did without Ken’s help. We pulled an all-nighter!

As fate would have it, a friend from college was looking for a distressed white china cabinet. So this actually sold before the Yard Market even started. (Win-Win!) Here’s a picture of it in her home:

Hope you love it!

Wait for it…Wait for it…

Once upon a time I painted my dining room three times in a weekend. Two of those times were in the same day. One of those colors was lilac. I make mistakes.

Enter: A chifferobe. This chifferobe started out in a cherry finish. And, well, no one wants cherry furniture right now. So since Ken and I were newbies to refinishing furniture, we sanded it. I can’t believe we did, but yes, we sanded it. Entirely. It took a lot of time. And then (embarrassingly) we used a vinegar barn wood stain on it. It was horrible.

After that the pig needed some lipstick, so we painted it white and put it in our antique booth. And there it sat. And sat. It got lots of compliments. And there it sat some more.

So we brought it home and put it in the garage. And one day I decided to slap some antiquing glaze on it, which was also horrible. It was so bad that it might as well have been cherry finish again. I cursed the chifferobe and spat on it (in my head) and turned my back on its ugliness for months.

Then last week I had a thought: Gray. And then I had another thought: Flat Spray Paint. Valspar sells some fantastic colors of flat spray paint at Lowe’s. So I picked up three cans and brought them home to introduce them to the chifferobe. But…gray is relative, apparently. And this wasn’t my idea of “gray” as much as “bluish ugly concrete primer color.”

So glad I quickly realized that the gray spray paint wasn’t the color I was looking for.

So, doing what I do best I went to Home Depot and picked out a nice shade of gray and mixed up a batch of “chalk” paint. And even though there was nothing wrong with the long mirror, I took it out. (hold the hate mail) I replaced it with some natural linen fabric.

We added a knob to the door after this picture was taken.

And now finally, finally, I love it. So I’m going to do what I do with all of my favorite pieces. I’m going to keep it (because I love it). At least for a few months until I decide that I love a paycheck more. And then I’m going to let one of you love it.

Mistakes are okay. They aren’t sins. They’re learning opportunities. I’ve made so, so many mistakes in my life. But I’ve also learned so, so much. I’m thankful for my learning opportunities.

Ephesians 4:22-24                
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.


The Gospel Truth

Have you ever unintentionally collected something? One minute you have one extra casserole dish/figurine/pound and the next you have twenty? (Hey, I know I’m not the only person to have unintentionally collected twenty pounds at some point!!)

I have unintentionally collected antique and vintage hymnals. I mean to say, I didn’t set out to collect them. The collection just sort of happened a long the way. Now here I sit with a stack of hymnals from the Bible Belt (that’s the South, y’all) in varying conditions.

I love the ones that are falling apart at the seams. There’s only way to get like that — by being used. Unfortunately some have no life left in them as a song book, but I just can’t bare to throw them away. (I might surprise you that I am the total opposite of a “hoarder.”) I haven’t had a plan for using them before, but this past Sunday at church I was completely inspired. The words to “Holy, Holy, Holy” are truly beautiful, and I was inspired by the verse, “Early in the morning, our song shall rise to Thee.”

I decided to use one of the hymnals that had seen better days to create something new.

Abby //