Hand Painted Armoire in the Master Bedroom

I didn’t know what “The Red Raider House” was when a friend asked me to go to an estate sale there “with great stuff” a while back. I didn’t ask because she actually had me at “great stuff” and I didn’t care. It turned out to be the house of a couple who embezzlement millions from a hospital and then committed suicide, but I was the only person for 500 miles around here that didn’t know anything about it (I have got to start watching the evening news more often). So this was an “infamous” house in my neighborhood and, I felt a little creepy even coming but, my friend and I and about a million other people lined up for the sale. We, finally, got our turn to go through the house and it was most definitely full of beautiful, extravagant, luxurious items. I guess it’s easy to spare no expense when you are just taking millions of dollars that aren’t yours. Anyway, when we walked into the master bedroom, I saw this:
Hand Painted Armoire with birds and florals I was in the market for something to hold a widescreen TV in our master bedroom. The armoire that I had held an old fashion 500 pound square TV. This armoire is really huge inside and had been customized a bit as an entertainment cabinet.
Hand Painted Entertainment Armoire
It is oak with really pretty carving details all over
Painted Armoire Painted Armoire

and, it’s painted and glazed with hand painted birds and flowers

Hand Painted Armoire with Birds and Floral Design When I saw this piece of furniture I couldn’t believe it. This is the fabric for my master bedroom curtains.

A side-by-side of the large painted design and the fabric… Hand painted entertainment armoire

It was like it was meant to be and it definitely came home with me. I paid $375 for it and it is still one of my favorite furniture purchases ever, even with its creepy past. :)

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Craft Room Storage Ideas

Craft Room Storage Ideas

My Office/Sewing/Craft Room is an alcove in the basement.  It’s just a hodgepodge of stuff with no style and definitely not a creative space. The basement is finished as one big room so I haven’t put any effort into trying to make it pretty and organized because what I want for my craft room doesn’t go with the way the rest of the basement is decorated. A further problem is that I have no door for privacy or quiet if anyone else wants use the basement. Then there is the honest truth that I just don’t like working in the basement. It’s a nice finished basement with windows and light but it is just so much more convienient for me to be upstairs. Here’s a look at the mess.

Craft Room Before

To that end, I have two guest rooms upstairs. One of them gets used pretty regularly, but the other is used MAYBE once a year.  It’s nice to have when we manage to get everyone from Maryland to Cleveland for a weekend but I live here 365 days a year and I need a space!  I finally decided to go for it. I put all of the other projects on hold and I am making myself a girl cave, upstairs, where I want to be. Hopefully, when this is finished, all of those other projects will go a little more quickly and smoothly.  That is the plan anyway.

I have removed all of the furniture and my husband is painting the room for me. It had rusty red textured walls and they were going to be painted whether the room was a bedroom or an office anyway. This wasn’t a planned project so there is no budget.  For the big stuff/furniture in here, I’ll be using or repurposing what I already have. What I need are inexpensive organization and style ideas. I have a 4’ x 8’ walk in closet in this room but it is storing the triple dresser and mirror, tall chest, nightstands and four poster bed that used to be in the bedroom, so I have to get creative with my storage. I’ve been gathering inspiration that will solve my organization and style issues, without spending much money and I thought I would share.

Creative Storage Ideas

First up, I have a large Pottery Barn bulletin board that used to be in my daughter’s playroom. I was thinking it would be a great idea to remove the cork and replace it with pegboard. I went searching the internet for ideas of how to use the framed pegboard and I found this on honeybearlane.com.  I LOVE this project. I know using pegboard for craft storage is about as new as fire but, this example has lots of good ideas for how to use it in one well organized and visually pleasing place. Don’t you love how she threw in the little framed quote in the middle of all of the storage? You can view her post for all of the details.  She did a lot of creative little things on this one big board.

Pegboard Craft Storage Ideas

I also really love these framed pegboards from Tatertots and Jello.  She is so creative and great with color and pulling things together. They are fabulous and fun and I might make use of this idea too. I have a lot of stuff and I need to zone this room. I love the pegboard idea for so many things and mixing up the design will allow me to use them in a couple of places without pegboard overdose.

Craft Room Organization Ideas

This is a great way to store punches from Wishing you Blue Skies and Sunny Days.  It’s one of the sections that will be going on my pegboard (I have a lot of punches).

Craft Punch Storage Ideas

This Pottery Barn Teen image is from an old post, from 2008, at Handmade with Joy.   It would be a fun project to DIY in my own colors and fabrics and would be pretty and useful in the office area of the room to keep things at hand but off of the desk. I think I might make one of these for my daughter’s room too.

Craft Room Storage Ideas

Here’s some fabulous storage from The Farm Chicks.  I love the oilcloth covered sewing table. I have an old table in the basement that might get that treatment.  I also really like the shelves above, trimmed out and styled. She got a lot of storage out of three shelves and they look pretty and organized too.  I like the color coded white magazine holders.  I am a bit of a magazine hoarder. I got rid of lots the last time we moved (and it almost killed me) but I still have plenty. I think they will be too heavy to store on a wall shelf like this but I’m on the hunt for the style and the shelves will be a great and inexpensive way to use the walls for storage.  Baskets, boxes and jars are pretty inexpensive and I can hide store lots of stuff that way.  If everything is labeled, it will work out pretty great.

Craft Room Storage

I love this idea for storing ribbon from Spunky Junky.  I pinned it from someone else and their comment was “ribbon storage “duh””.  I think that sums it up.  This is so simple and so smart.

Ribbon Storage Ideas

If I can’t see my stuff, I do tend to forget that I have it.  This is a cute idea for storing stamps from Spool and Spoon . I can see using these containers for lots of little items.

Craft Room Storage Ideas

I also have lots of fabric, trim, batting, pillow forms, etc. that I need to store in clear plastic boxes or tubs. I like to have all that stuff accessible and handy but I want to keep the dust off too. Since I sacrificed my entire walk in closet for this project, my sewing table will be getting a little skirt treatment (like this one shown on Artsy Crafty Babe) so I can slide all of those tubs underneath. That way everything will be handy and easy to get to, but out of sight until I want it.

Skirted Table Ideas

That’s the plan so far and it’s underway.  I will keep you up to date with the progress.

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Homemade Peanut Butter Cups for Valentine’s Day

homemade peanut butter cups I tried a few new candy recipes for Christmas this year, and they were all good, but the favorite by far were these homemade peanut butter cups. They also happened to be the easiest thing that I made, so yea!  Change up the paper liners and/or the sprinkles and these are great for any occasion.  If you take them to a party, I promise you won’t have to bring home leftovers.

You can find the complete recipe at Taste of Home with comments and tips from others who have tried it, but here are the basics:

homemade peanut butter cups ingredients

These are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, (divided)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons butter, (softened)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 oz. each), coarsely chopped
  • colored sprinkles (optional)

And the easy directions:

  • In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup peanut butter, butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt until smooth; set aside.
  • In a microwave, melt the chocolate chips, candy bars and remaining peanut butter; stir until smooth.
  • Drop teaspoonfuls of chocolate mixture into paper-lined miniature muffin cups. Top each with a scant teaspoonful of peanut butter mixture; top with another teaspoonful of chocolate mixture. Decorate with sprinkles if desired. Refrigerate until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3 dozen.

I paired them up with some cute Valentine’s cookies, but I confess that I didn’t make those.

homemade peanut butter cups with cookies for Valentines

This pretty silver bud vase came from Portobello Road in London.  I really love the shape of this little vase and I even polished it to display a few red roses for Valentine’s Day.

silver bud vase

homemade peanut butter cups with roses

This was a nice little break but I have to get back to work. I’m almost finished with my new kitchen chair cushions, and for that matter, the kitchen reno. I have plenty to share on that project so look for those posts soon.

Happy Valentine’s Day and thanks for visiting!

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Kansas City Baked Beans Recipe

Kansas City Baked Beans Recipe

Hi there everyone.  This is just a quick post to share a great recipe for Kansas City Baked Beans.  This will be our main course for the Superbowl tonight when it’s all about food, football, commercials and, hopefully, a terrific half-time show.  I’m a Bronco’s fan from way back (Elway was the quarterback, not VP of operations). Who are you rooting for?  No matter what, I think it will be a really good game. Here’s hoping and here’s the recipe:


1/2 lb. crisp bacon, crumbled      1/2 c. ketchup
1 lb. ground beef, drained            1/4 c. molasses
1 sm. onion, chopped                    1/2 c. barbecue sauce
2 cloves minced garlic                    1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 c. brown sugar                          4 cans beans, any kind you like, drained
1 T. prepared mustard


Drain beans and put into crock pot. Brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Add ground beef to beans and mix in bacon and brown sugar. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour over mixture and stir. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours (stir once in a while).

Choose a variety of beans for the best flavor but you can use any kind you like (kidney, pinto, black, red, pork and beans, limas, great northern, butter, etc.). I usually choose a variety of colors because it looks pretty (ha).

These are great in the winter and for summer cookouts.  They are alway a hit.

Enjoy the game and thanks for visiting!

Decorating with Toile de Jouy

This post is kind of the decorating with toile de jouy version of “War and Peace” but stick with me. When we were building a new house in Maryland, so that make this about 17 years ago, I found this blue toile duvet and the matching round ruffled pillow in the clearance room at Ethan Allen.

Decorating with Toile A friend in the design business tracked down the discontinued Waverly fabric somewhere.  I wanted to have an upholstered headboard, shams, dressing table and drapes made. It never hurts to have some extra, so I decided to just buy it all.

Fast forward 7 years to a move to Cleveland. The drapes that I had made for the first guest room were too short for the new guest room, so I used more of the fabric to have a valence made and used the old drapes for a shower curtain in the attached bath. I posted that valence in “The Old House Tour” post but here it is again.  (The skirt looks so funny, we had already taken the bed out of the house and staged this with boxes and an air mattress that seems to have sprung a leak :))
Blue Toile Guest Room
Now, 7 years after that, another new house with a completely different set of windows.  I cut down the valance and one of the original curtain panels to make three valences for the new guest room.  I haven’t actually put them together yet and I started thinking, maybe I would rather have pretty draped panels in here this time, so I pulled out the fabric and I think I might be able to squeeze it out. Whew.

Now in the meantime, Courtney at French Country Cottage shared a picture on Facebook.  I lOVE this room, but some of the comments made me pause.

I had long been told that, when decorating with toile, you should go full on toile.  Toile is not an accent, it is a beautiful WOW statement. Many of the comments on the picture that she posted were expressing quite the opposite.  I know, decorating is personal, it’s what you like, what makes your heart sing when you walk into a room, but insecure decorator that I am, I decided to do a little research to see what the pros think about the correct way to use this beautiful type of fabric.

I found a great spread on Traditional Home’s website with a history lesson on the fabric and a lot of contradiction on the correct use. With every breath I was hearing less is more, too much of a good thing, use in moderation and nearly every photo was a pretty big dose of toile (that I LOVED).  There are 27 photos in their spread, which you can view here.  These were some of my favorites.
Red Toile Bedroom Blue Toile Bedroom Decorating with Toile
One common element is that they have toned things down with the neutral coverlets and I am thinking about doing that (ironic since the darn coverlet started this whole thing).  I might switch out the duvet for a white coverlet and turn the duvet into a skirt (depending on the window treatments).

Here’s a pretty living room from Better Homes and Gardens (since this post isn’t long enough yet)
Decorating with Toile

Anyway, there were some out there that advocate using toile fabric as an accent like this one from HGTV.com

cottage style girls bedroom And this on the Tradition Home spread
French Country Kitchen

The two pictures above are obviously pretty rooms.  If the pillows or stools were covered in something else I think I would like the result, but just a little bit of toile makes me want more of it.

So what do you think?  Less is more or full on toile de jouy?

Thanks for visiting,

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Family Room Fireplace

This morning, instead of getting to work on one of the hundred projects that I should be working on, I pulled out my inspiration binder and started flipping though.  I love the internet and get tons of inspiration from beautiful blogs, Google Images, Pinterest, etc., but I also love my “old school” magazines.  Sometimes I want to take a break from the cyber world (did a blogger just say that) and flip through my piles of magazines.  I still pull out pictures that strike me for one reason or another and file them away in my binder.  Anyway, I stumbled across an inspiration photo from Traditional Home for my family room fireplace mantel.  I was able to locate the image on the web so that I could show it to you.

Traditional Home Fireplace Mantle

And this is the fireplace in my family room:

Family Room Fireplace

It’s pretty darn big (9’ across) and a very different style from what I’m used to.   I think the mantel is too long for the fireplace, and it’s a traditional style that “clashes” with the rustic look of the stone.

This chunky beam mantel is exactly what we need in here.  It’s cut to just the width of the fireplace and looks proportional to me.  I also love the artwork over the mantel.  Maybe not this exact image for me, but I would really love some color up there.  The piece that I have now was purchased from the original owner, and everyone loves it, but I think it is time for an update.

OK, that’s enough postulating for today.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject so feel free to comment away. Maybe I’ll be back sometime this year with a beautiful family room fireplace update, stay tuned.

Thanks for Visiting,

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The “Old” House Tour

I am in the process of completing some projects around here and getting the related posts put together, but in the meantime, I just noticed that the home we sold just three years ago is for sale again.  That poor beautiful house just can’t seem to find the right owner. I thought it might be fun to take a look at what it looked like when we lived there.  I dug out some pictures that I have of the house when we had it on the market. We had already moved out when these were taken so a few things had been removed (note the missing TV in the library as an example) but for the most part we left it “staged”.  It’s VERY different from the house we have now!  I only purchased one new piece/set of furniture for this house (the kitchen table and chairs) after we moved from Maryland.  Everything that I had worked pretty well.  The new house is a totally different story, as you will see in the coming weeks.  For now, here’s the “old” house.

Exterior: (I couldn’t find a good shot of my own for the exterior.  This is from the current MLS)

Expanded Cape Cod Exterior


Foyer Decorating Ideas

Living Room:

Living Room Decorating Ideas
Living Room Decorating Ideas

Dining Room:

Dining Room Decorating Ideas

Family Room:

Family Room Decorating Ideas
Family Room Decorating Ideas


Kitchen Design Ideas
Kitchen Design Ideas
Kitchen Design Ideas


Library Ideas

Master Bedroom:

Master Bedroom Decorating Ideas

Master Bathroom:

Master Bath Ideas
Master Bath Ideas

Blue Guest Room:

Blue Toile Guest Room

Guest Room Number 2

Guest Room Ideas

Girl’s “Suite”

Girls Bedroom
Girl's Bedroom Decorating Ideas

That’s about it. We worked pretty hard on this house in the seven years that we lived there and we really enjoyed the house. In the end, it was just too big for us and we decided to “downsize”. It was fun for me to go back and look though. I hope that you enjoyed it too.

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Laundry Room Tour

I know that I said in my last post that I would start my house tour in the Dining Room but I took a quick look at the posts so far on this young blog. I’m pretty sure that you guys must think I only have a Dining Room.  So, I’m shifting gears today and moving from what is typically the most expensively furnished and least used room in the house to one of the most used with no actual furniture in it, the Laundry Room.
Iowa State University Laundry Photo from 1926

Source:  Iowa State University

No, that’s not it, but it does show how far we’ve come in almost 100 years!  Seriously, here’s a view of mine
Laundry Room
And another from the other side
Laundry Room
When we bought this house, about 3 years ago, the washer and dryer were up against the wall, where the sink is now and the door swung in the other direction so the door banged into the dryer every time you opened it.  That’s another little thing; the dryer was on the left of the washer.  I’m right handed and it drove me nuts.  I know that the door was added to the house after it was built when the pool went in.  Why they put it in here instead of the full bath that is right next door, I don’t know.  If this was my forever house it would be out of here but for now, I got a guy to change the way the door swings and I moved the washer and dryer over a little bit.  I had also actually planned to move the washer and dryer to the opposite wall for this little reno but the plumbers (and I called a few) all thought that it was a bad idea because the other side of that wall is the garage and there was a danger of the pipes freezing.  I finally gave in and after this week (34 below wind chills), um, maybe they were right after all.  It would have been prettier, but not worth the risk.  Once the plumbing was all moved around and all of the cabinets were out my husband put down new ceramic tile to replace the old laminate that was in here, we reconfigured the existing cabinets and got those in place and then, way after that, we finally got the counters done.  Here’s a close up of those
Laundry Room Countertops
These counters were really easy to install and pretty inexpensive which I needed on the heels of my kitchen reno.  I found that glass mosaic at Home Depot totally by accident when I went to buy the plain white tile for the counters and I just had to use it.  I’m thinking about adding it for a backsplash too but I haven’t checked to see if Home Depot has any more yet.
Laundry Room Tile Backsplash
There isn’t much decorating in here yet and I wanted a little whimsy for this post so I decided to put up these stencils that I bought at Kohl’s a while back.
Laundry Room Stencils
These things were such a pain! I won’t go into all of the details but hanging them involved a tweezers, a kitchen spatula, and the Dammit Doll that my mom got me for Christmas
Dammit Doll
There was a big swirly thing that went under the words but it is in the trash and never to be discussed again.

I found this basket at Target to use for the pool towels so when it does warm up, we’re ready
Pool Towels
Here’s a final look at this room
Laundry Room

And here’s the to-do list for this room in 2014:

  • Touch up paint
  • Fill holes in cabinets (where they were connected before we reconfigured)
  • Hang the cute iron rope hooks that I found in Hamden Maryland for pool towels
  • Make new bags for the laundry sorter
  • Change out buzzing fluorescent light fixture
  • Decorate and fluff

Not too much of a list!  I think I got this.

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Dining Room Drapery Panels

I decided to start my house tour with the dining room but before I go through the whole room, I thought I would talk a little bit about the drapery panels.  I love fabric and I love pretty window treatments.  I started out with this silk fabric from Calico Corner as my plan for this room but at $45 per yard, 12 yards for 4 panels, lining, fabrication, $$$$$, I decided to think about it. Calico Corners Silk Fabric As luck would have it, I was wondering through Pier 1 not long after, and found these for about $35 per panel.  They are not the same quality as the silk. These are polyester and the checks are bigger, but they are lined and the colors are almost identical.  I had to give them a try.  The panels went up as soon as I got home. The previous homeowner has left 2” poles up (they also left the stationary shades behind the panels).  I slid the curtains on the poles and I had more luck, they were almost the exact right length for the height that the poles were already mounted.  I had planned to pleat these and fancy them up a little but I kinda liked the simple shirred look on the pole look and decided to live with it for a while.  Pier 1 Drapery Panels Now, the issues.

First, I just bought four random panels and raced home to get them up for some instant gratification.  They were up for a few days and something was wrong.  I finally realized that the colors weren’t lining up the same on the panels (duh!).  These panels have three different rows of variations in the colors and when they were made they obviously just cut the fabric and started where they left off for the next one.  So, back to Pier 1 I went.  It took 3 stores and opening every panel that they had in stock but I found four that matched up pretty nicely so that problem was solved.

Second, these panels are not great quality on the fabrication.  What do I expect for $35 each? They machine stitched the hems on the sides and the bottom which makes them pucker and there are no lead weights in the corners so they didn’t hang nicely.   Drapery Panels without weights

Drapery Panels without lead weights  Eventually, I need to create new, hand-stitched hems on the sides and bottom, but I’m still not sure if I’m going to leave these shirred on the poles or pleat them.  For now I decided to press down the seams as well as I could to flatten them out a little and then add some drapery weights to the corners.  These will make them hang evenly and allow me to tuck them around the back for a little more polished look.  I got my weights at Joanne’s and just opened up the corners to tuck in the weights.  Drapery lead weights

Inserting lead drapery weights It’s a little hard to tell from my pictures, but these panels look so much better now.  If you have panels without the weights, consider adding them.  It’s a cheap and easy way to get a little more custom and polished look.  Drapery Panels after adding lead weights I’ll be back soon with a full tour of the dining room.  It needs a little staging and fluffing after the Christmas decor clear out.

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Happy New Year! Time to get organized!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!  You might have noticed that I have been off the radar for a couple of weeks.  I had such great intentions to keep up with Christmas and this blog but, I got very behind and something had to give.  Note to self, START EARLIER NEXT YEAR!!!  We spent Christmas with my family in Kansas and left here on the 21st of December for 10 days.   I would have mentioned that before but, I didn’t want to advertise that my house would be empty for 10 days on the internet.  Anyway, I’m back, to this, snow, snow and more snow!

Front of the House in Winter

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?  I really don’t formally do that.  Instead, I kind of have a running list of, things that I want to accomplish, that gets modified often throughout the year.  A big item on everyone’s list (formal or not) is to get organized.  Is anyone out there old enough to remember George Carlin’s “Stuff” routine?  If you have never seen it, check it out on YouTube for a good laugh.    The bottom line, we are constantly accumulating more and more stuff and we either have to fight the battle to organize/de-clutter or risk becoming the next episode of Hoarders, Buried Alive.  You could try the old “one item out for every new item in”.  Right, WE WANT OUR STUFF! This image that I found on “The Bookshelf of Emily J” pretty much sums it up.  My daughter is 13 now but I do miss those Bears.

Too much stuff

Source:  The Bookshelf of Emily J

There are lots of tutorials, kits, advice, etc. out there for getting organized and some really good ideas of ways to do it.  I’m sure I’ll be sharing some of them in the coming months as I tackle some projects around here.  For starters, make a list, prioritize, set reasonable achievable goals and knock things off one at a time.  Nothing new there, I know, but it does work, if you can get beyond making the list (ha).

images (5)

I’m going to be tackling a few big organization projects in the coming months.  Top of the list for me are my kitchen pantry, crafting/sewing area, the basement storage area and my office.  These projects are going to take a little time but, I’ll keep you updated along the way and as I visit “Google University” for creative ideas to help accomplish my goals, I’ll let you know what I find.

In addition to the organizing projects, I’ll also be posting the house tour, room by room, over the next couple of months.  Every room has a to-do list and I’ll be looking forward to feedback on what’s accomplished so far and advice on what’s left.

Finally, you would never know it right now, but spring and summer do come to Northeast Ohio and, I will also be doing some stuff outside this year that, eventually, I’ll share with you.  That will just about bring us back to the Holidays…

Thanks for visiting & Happy New Year!