Home Improvement; Dream Craft Art Studio: Reveal – Move In Ready! – Part 3

Art Studio_web

Good gosh!  Is it me, or has this been a long. time. coming?
I am THRILLED to say, the art studio is DONE!! Construction and carpentry-wise, anyway.  I’m sure we’ll have a few more organization units to install, but I’ll figure out just what I need  in the process of moving in with all of my stuff!

Before you scroll down and see, you may want to see the previous states of progress, to really appreciate all it is now.  It’s still just a little bit hard to show you because….I’m afraid you all just might be bored by it!  It’s the reason I haven’t shared more of the progress along the way.  I’m the type who has the whole finished version in my head along the way, and so knowing where it’s going….anything prior to that is somehow……less than.  But, I did give you a few couple of progress updates as you know! It’s just that, it’s a whole lot of whiteness right now; as I said was my plan all along. My dream was a bright white canvas to work in and on, and to photograph in, with a whole lot of color accents.  And I must say, I do love it already, even just as all white at this point!  The light being thrown around, is divine!

Here’s a look inside now!

01_art-craft-studio A view from the entry door! 
It’s instant cheer for me, just walking in.
The bright natural light in the mid-day all through the afternoon, is phenomenal!  And if you all know me, I need light.

The creative space/room is 13′ 8″x 12′.
02_art-craft-studio One of the biggest features you may notice here, is that the single window was finally replaced with the larger (relocated) picture window, as planned.  It made the world of difference in the light that it lets in, as I knew it would.  
Those very simple shelves to the left are from Ikea; love them! While the plan was to build cabinetry, I realized we had white cabinets in 2 different rooms of the house that were emptied (of my craft stuff that was packed up), and they needed to get out of the rooms they were in.  After talking with Michael, we realized we could definitely re-purpose them into this art studio, and keep true to our original plans of white storage cabinets, drawers, cubbies, and one single counter space all along that wall. It worked!  The counter-top was custom-ordered through Lowe’s, and delivered. It is 13’4″.
We have a couple of white stools that fit well right under those cubbies, and are the perfect height for sitting and working. But I believe I’ll also be ordering some roll out paper storage, for the loads of paper I have in stock.
Also on the right wall will definitely be some art or a sign, over that control panel, and possibly another shelf or 2.

03_art-craft-studio The crafting table is long!  From Ikea: it’s actually two (60″) tabletops combined for a total of 10′ of workspace. 
There is space for 6 people to sit and work comfortably, with foot room and all.
I’ve picked out the chairs, but still need to order them.

04_art-craft-studio Also from Ikea, to support our tabletops:  2 work-horses, with cute storage shelving.

05_art-craft-studio As well as this unit, that offer even more storage shelving.

06_art-craft-studio So yes, the length of the work table is almost as long as the room; just like I wanted. The surface is perfect!  Quite stain and generally scratch resistant. 
But we’ll likely always protect the surface with newsprint or something just in case anyway.
In this photo you’ll also notice the 2 additional windows we have, to welcome more light in the late afternoon light.
Under the windows will likely be more shallow storage units of some kind, or something like that. I’m still unpacking, setting up, and figuring out what else I need.

07_art-craft-studio I’ll be storing the big, ugly and/or cumbersome items for our crafting projects. The drawers are deep and hold lots of little and long stuff.  As I said, there will be more storage worked into underneath the cubbies, but will also offer additional seating, if necessary.  My husband will be doing a lot of his designing and cutting at the end on the far left, and be able to weed material easily on the table. (If I don’t have a project mid-mess, of course.)

Speaking of Michael, I am SO THANKFUL to him for all of the many hours of hard work he put in, making this dream of mine come true for me, and for our family. I am so very blessed for the many ways in which he is a wonderful husband to have.

Did you notice the amazing barn doors?….
08_art-craft-studio Michael completely designed, custom-built and installed those, too. No small project!  I love them.  Perhaps I will do another post just on those, and give you a closer look with more verbal details.
And then there is yet another reveal behind those barn doors: one of our boy’s awesome bedroom!  He’s all moved in, and loving it.

My art studio reveal is not done though! 

There will be one more, showing you what it looks like all moved in!  Expect lots of COLOR added!  And instant happiness and inspiration. We actually started moving stuff in right after taking these photos for this post.
We are so thrilled with how it’s all coming together. What do you think?  Do you have a dedicated space to get creative? Tell us about it or share your links, please.
And be sure you are following us for our next art studio reveal!
Thanks for coming over, Friends.


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Doors to Storage. (Literally.)

We’re guessing many of you love to see little home transformations, and creative spaces, as we do, and that’s just what we hope to share with you today.  The photos we share will likely explain what we have done. But if you have just a bit of time, grab a drink of choice, and let us amuse you with a little more about the birth of this project.

We’ve heard some people try to ‘ keep up with the Jones’. But that’s not our style.  I’m sure they’re really nice peeps, and all. But they don’t run in our circles, and even if they did, I doubt we’d want or care what they have, even if we could  afford a thing.  No, our wants and needs are really quite simple. If not a little off-beat sometimes, I suppose.

What we would love to keep up with, is ourselves, and our own plans and ideas.  Michael and I enjoy walking around our home and yard, chat, brainstorm, and hatch a plan, that continues to make the best of our little piece of the world. Our ideas always have a purpose, whether they are to create a sense of decor, efficiency, organization, to save money, or simply to amuse ourselves because we think it’s cool. Many times, it’s all of the above. One thing is for sure; 100’s of plans have been laid out between us, in detail, and never come to fruition, whether it was intended to be done right away or not. Time and/or funds usually hold up the process a bit, until we’ve forgotten we even had the plan!  Sometimes, new plans and ideas have been made over the old ones we forgot, or remember we had.  And we always have more, than we could ever realistically get to, anyway.  It’s craziness, actually. So priority is the key, and some things just need to be dealt with once and for all.

Case in point is this hot mess, known as our shoes issue.  First, you should know, “I” am the kind of person, that really prefers one take off their shoes, before walking around the house.  Not because we have any fancy home, or carpet that mustn’t get dirty for appearances sake.  But, because of the things I notice in the world around me, the things I think of, and the things I know dang well those shoes have walked through.

Take for example, (just to make the most of my point), those teenage/adolescent boys you see walking through parking lots from point A to B, when you suddenly see and hear them do a big collecting sniff of sorts, hack it up, and just let it fly out onto the parking lot ground.  It turns-my-stomach. I’ve seen/heard it hundreds of times, and I have told my boys every time, “Don’t you EVAH, in your life time, do that.  I don’t care if you are 36. That is absolutely dis-gust-ting, rude and UNacceptable.” To which they reply, “We know Mama. You tell us that every time.”  So along with 100 other examples I could give (I’ll spare you), I simply know it’s a small sample of what is on the bottom of anyone’s shoes, and I really do not want to know such disgust is all over the floors of my home.

I’ll take earth-dirty-feet over that kind of what-nots, any day of the week.

So that helps explain all of the shoes, along the walls of our sun room, right inside our front door.  Keep in mind, this is also the room with our wood stove, and one of our family tables where we often eat and school, half the time. We originally imagined it as a cozier room for reading and such, possibly with a chaise lounge chair or 2, and an area rug under the table. Not the feel we had going here. Using the table for eating and schooling the other half of the time, it is the room we enter when we come home, and through which guests come as well. With only our shoes for that season out, with 6 of us, it’s too many. Any, is too many, for me.  It’s actually worse then you see. At the time of this photo, some had just been put away, and 5 other pairs were busy walking around in the world of what-not.  The bottom line is this:  the sight of these shoes always puts me in a bad mood. It looks terrible, and we are always tripping over them.  So, for a couple of years now, our plan was to build a storage bench along the wall you see. We had designed it right down to the details, and frankly, the shoes could never let us forget that plan.  It’s just been on a list of many things we’re been trying to get to.  But we finally did, with a whole new spin, and we’re about to show you.

But completely related, you need to see this…..

This is in (in part) our school room. If I ever took photos of these floor cabinets Michael built for our school room 4-5 years ago, I cannot find them.  So this photo and the one below, will have to give you an idea.  There are 3 of them along the 1/2 wall adjoining the kitchen.


If you can possibly look past one of our adorable boy when he was starting 1st grade, you will better see the size of these cabinets.  Michael did an great job, and they served us well in this room for 5 years.  But as of late I decided they are really (way) more specious inside, than we actually need, for our school books and materials. Very roomy.  And we probably did not need so much table-top space either.  As a whole, they take up a lot of space in this room, where there is also another long table and chairs, and where we also tend to gather to eat and school.

Since the sun room was meant to be cozier and loungier than it is, we thought a good first step, is to not let it be the door we come inside the house through, for one.  The back door would probably be better for that.  But there was still the shoes issue. We still needed somewhere to sit down and take our shoes off, and somewhere to store all of those shoes. What we did not need, was quite so much storage space, for all of our schooling materials.   I forget now exactly when, but the 2 matters collided at some point in my head, and ideas started rapidly coming together.  It was likely in the shower, which tends to be my most productive think-tank, but if that is TMI for you, disregard.

The gist of it all was….get rid of the big spacious cabinets in the school room, build some kind of more shallow shelving instead, and move this whole storage bench idea to the school room, where we should really enter the house from now on. A-hA!!  Then we can do better with the sun room! But that would be getting ahead of ourselves here.

I also had an idea of how/where else we could use the big cabinets, but that too is for another time. In a nutshell, they were moved elsewhere, and it occurred to me that it would probably come out pretty cool, and save us big-time in material costs, to build our storage bench and shelves, out of old doors.

In a matter of days, we had found 4 doors on ebay offered for dirt cheap, just a hop, skip, and maybe 2 jumps, from us. Michael arranged to meet the guy to take a look, and he brought them home. (2 of them from this photo were already moved to the school room.) The doors were dirty, and somewhat mismatched, but that was all workable.

Show and tell will go fast from here I think.All 4 doors were re-purposed in this project(s).

I loved the features on these old doors, and I knew I’d probably rough things up some more, from here.

First Michael relocated the huge cabinets to other locations. The floor space we gained just doing that, was unreal. Then, put up some leftover bead-board we had, as the back wall.

Then a bit of measuring and taking a moment to think things through, and we started to build.

The doors were sawed into half the long ways, as well as proper sized-pieces, for various parts, and we were able to start putting it together.   We wanted it a good height to sit on, and have as much room on the inside, to store/hide the abundance of shoes.

As you can see, the bench unit, using the doors, was built 3 sided, simply using the back wall as the back of the unit.   And all of our shoes fit in there perfectly.


Without all of the shoes inside yet, here is what the bottom looks like.  These removable racks are a feature we came up with, even when the plans was to build traditional storage benches in the front sun room:   The shoes we take off when we come indoors are not only dirty/sandy, but often times wet too.  I know what a mess the elements from the shoes made on the floor, so I had thought of that in terms of the inside of the bench, and what a pain it would be again, to move each pair of shoes, to vacuum up the sand and dirt.


So we built these shoe racks out out of strapping and chicken wire, so that a whole rack with shoes on it, could be lifted out, and we could vacuum underneath.  They would also keep the shoe off the floor of the bench, so they could dry easier.


At the same time, we were not only building the storage bench with our old doors, but wall shelves beside it, for all of our school books and materials.


I know it’s quirky, but I really love this part of the door-shelves.  I knew the doorknob would serve purpose, aside from looking cool. The sharpener simply needed to be relocated from elsewhere, as it ended up being located in such a way they we could no longer use it, without moving it, and this was the best place for it.

As you can see, a lot of the doors were beat-up, and the dark wood of the original door showed through. I liked that.  But a few parts of the structures were also necessarily built with new wood.

Such as the shelving itself, built with new wood.  So there was still some distressing and aging to do anyway, on new wood and not, which I did with course sand paper, and dark wax, to properly stain and age the new wood, with the old.


Here is the lid to the storage unit open, pre-distressed. Obviously a door, but this side was painted by the original owner more recently, it appeared.  To add interest, and of course organization and function, we added a collection of old and mismatched doorknobs along the wall above it.


Here’s a better look as you step back and look at it as a whole. Again, we obviously used doors, and we intended for it to remain obvious, keeping every lock , doorknob and door feature we could.

Coming into the house using the back door, we come in and sit down on the bench to take off our shoes, and put them inside.  I should add, we will be putting down a mud runner, from the backdoor to along the front of this bench.  The little kids can hang their jackets and hats on the doorknobs, which is much easier for them as they cannot reach well in the coat closet that is in the room.  Yes, some coats will be too long to hang completely, leaving the bottom of the coats to sit on the bench, but that’s fine.  Scarves, bags and all kinds of accessories can be hung on the knobs too.


The top shelves are for what you can see, as well as some of our music books.  I have many more of my teacher and resource school books that I plan to move from other shelves in the house to these upper ones, for my own use. But the depth we made the door shelves was just right for our needs.


The lower shelves are for the kid’s school books, and more of my every day teacher books.  As you can see, we found immediate use for this original doorknob, as well.


The kids hang their recorder instruments there. Perfect!

I forgot to take photos of the bench with the lid closed, before we embellished it just a little bit.  But in closing this post, I wanted to give you a better look at the finished bench and shelves.


In an upcoming post, we will share with you the embellishments details you see, and how exactly we did it, with a surprise inside as well! But that’s pretty much the finished project as a whole.

We have found the entire project to serve us much better. It’s all so much more convenient, functional, and we think, has a cool factor.  I would think it’s the kind of thing that one would either love, or hate.  And I wonder, would features such as these, have a negative 0r positive impact on the ability to sell a house, should the time arise?  What do you think? We personally love the uniqueness and interesting features of people’s homes, and this fits right in with why we love ours. Everyone’s tastes vary, and so our feelings could never be hurt. But we’re curious to know what you think of this idea?  Is it cool, creative, or downright crazy?

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Doorknob Project & LINKY PARTY #5: Wk. of May 17

(Scroll to end of this post, for T-Who’s-Day’s Linky Party #5)

I did a crafty / do-it-yourself project recently, that I have been so excited to show you.  It’s definitely one of my favorite projects lately.

My youngest daughter {O}, age 8, is all about her accessories. She loves fashion design, and gets great joy out of planning her outfits, head to toe, every day. Her hair accessories have been taking over my side of the bathroom cabinet, and she has been keeping a lot of her jewelry in a box, which as you can imagine, tends to get things a little tangled.  Something had to be done, and I had a great idea for an accessory holder!


There’s an antique place in E. Wareham nearby, called Clam Shack Antiques, that we’ve frequented often in the past couple of years.  I knew it was just the place to hit first, for some of the supplies I needed for my project, as I recalled there was a load of old antique door knobs there.   I rummaged through them all, chose some I really liked, and bought them for a deal.


At home, I already had the perfect piece of wood.  My father comes down to visit us a lot, and when he comes, he usually brings a load of stuff we may, or may not, want.  He knows how we love to make something, out of nothing.  Or take a piece of junk, and turn it into something nice or useful.   This nice solid piece of wood, was among the last load he showed up with.  It’s not truly perfect actually.  Someone had routered it, but the piece was not cut exactly even, to begin with.  But that’s alright.  We embrace imperfections. (Starting with ourselves.  Do we have a choice?  ; ).

I had all I needed, to get to work on my vision.


This is what I made.  I painted the wood, and then distressed it a little.  Then I had Michael install 3 of the door knobs I chose for this project, in my particular specified order. (So important, you know.)   I did not want any two knobs alike for this project, so we are saving the rest for another upcoming house project.


Here, is {O}’s accessory holder in use, just as I had envisioned it. Well, it’s not actually quite done, as you see.  I’ll tell you more about that in a minute.  But the knobs are just perfect, to hang her accessories on.  She has some nice pieces, too!  I have a photographer friend, Laureen in Canada.  She is unbelievably talented, is an amazing mom to 3 great boys, and has a beautiful soul to boot.  If you live in Canada, ever need a portrait photographer, and are anywhere near Laureen, you need to check out her work!!  Anyway…..Laureen was cleaning out her jewelry, and so generously sent what she no longer wanted, to {O}.  Let me tell you, the day that package arrived, was a fabulous mail day for {O}!


{O} is such a fun kid to have around.  She has such a feminine style, and gets so excited about anything I want to do with her, or her room. She appreciates my creative side, has one of her own, and is as enthusiastic as I am, about any project I brainstorm about, or work on.  She loves to work with me, too.


Hunting for door knobs, has been so fun.  I have discovered how unique door knobs can really be.


The glass ones can be especially fascinating, and beautiful.


But even this dinged up one has such character.  I think it’s brass, underneath that paint. This one, and it’s match, were pretty yellowed, when I brought them home.  We just washed them with hot water and soap, and they whitened quite a bit.  They still look old and discolored of course, which is why I love them.  But…not yellow.


I really still cannot believe, that I grew up in a house that is close to 100 years old, and I never appreciated it’s history, while I lived there.

I want a second chance!

Which reminds me.  Were you wondering what the 4th hole was for?  I’m going to get a door knob from my parent’s house, that I just mentioned, and add it to this piece of art, that I created for {O}’s room.  It is like art – don’t you think? My father will be selling the house soon, now that my mother has been gone for 6 years.  It’s just taken him a long time, to be ready to let go.  I think he’s still working on that, actually.  (So am I. ) Anyway, that house is loaded with all of the details that a house of that age does, including more doors and doorways than you can shake a stick at. And thus, door knobs.

That 4th hole will be filled, very soon.  I could easily find another door knob in my antique hunting, and I will be getting lots more, anyway.  But it’s important to me, that the last one be from my old home, and {O}’s grandparents, for this.

{O} confiscated the ceramic bunny, that was put aside to go back up in the attic, from our Easter house decorating pile.  It looks quite fitting and perfect, in her room.  And she found it’s ears, are just the right size for her bracelets.


And in these photos, have been peeks for you, of another project I have already mentioned I’ll be sharing.  That post will be up by Thursday, in The Homestead (Home & Gardens) section of this blog.

So, what did you think of this project?  Did you like my idea? Please share your thoughts, in the comments. : )  I love it so much, I get giddy.

Like this project? Than ‘Like’ our Facebook Page! There’s some more clever ideas coming up!!


I am thrilled to pieces to say, that this project is being featured this week as an inspiring project, at two other blogs I simply adore!!! THE COTTAGE CHICK and ALL THINGS HEART & HOME !!! << Click on those links, to see this project features. I highly recommend you check out these ladies places. You’ll be sure to want to subscribe or follow their blogs too, for more creative ideas, and inspiration!!Thank you, Ladies!!

The Cottage Chick

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Hey Everyone!!

PLEASE READ:  This is week #5 of our new link-up party here, and I have to say, the response has not been as great as we had hoped! : (  I’m a firm believer, in keeping what works, and tossing the rest. But I don’t want to give up quite yet!

I think one challenge a little more unique to Our House Of Joyful Noise, is the fact that we have a very mixed blog-reader audience, because our blog has a wider topic variety, than just crafty things, and how the separate topics are all sectioned out. There are pros and cons to everything.  But….our Home Page is the hub, and the tabs at the top make easy access to every area of interest & inspiration for you!  I can tell you, we have excellent traffic through the entire blog every day, and that page view number is growing stronger every day!

So we’re giving this party little more time, AND……if we get a healthy number of party participants this week, I will happily feature some of our favorite ideas you’ve linked up, next week! That means more exposure and traffic for your blog!!

We’re getting a new party started early this week RIGHT HERE in this post, on Monday night, May 16th @ 8 p.m./east coast, and will run through Saturday night.  So grab a tag now; coding for our button is in the sidebar under the title Linky-Love! Go ahead and re-size it for your blog needs if necessary.  Get ready to share your best ideas, and let’s have a real party!!  PLEASE HELP US MAKE THIS PARTY BLOG HOP A SUCCESS EVERY TUESDAY!! (This week, starting Monday night. When the party is started, you’ll see the InLinkz button to link up!: )

An Old Ladder, With New Purpose

In addition to our continual progress of finishing the inside of our home since our major house reconstruction, we’ve had a continually growing list of ideas for smaller projects around our home.

One of them has involved this ladder inside our home.

It has been right here where you see it, every since we bought our home in 1995.   What has changed a lot, is almost everything around the ladder.  For one thing, at the foot of this ladder, where you now see French doors to our sun room, was a brick hearth, to a black iron coal stove, that was built into a brick wall as a fireplace of sorts.

You may wonder just what the purpose of the ladder was.

Well, at the top of the ladder, was a carpeted crawl loft, that was open to and overlooked the living space.  We had a few large floor plants up there, that looked lovely in the sunlight, that streamed in from the skylights.

But when we added a second story to our home, the crawl loft, and all of the new construction to the backside of the house, became the boy’s room.  So, a wall replaced our beloved crawl loft.

As you’ve probably figured out along the way here, the ladder was the way to get up into the loft.


It’s a beautiful, solid, solid (read: HEAVY!!) wood.  It’s the same natural wood the beams were made of, that also used to be a part of the house.

As a humorous tidbit of knowledge for you, (if you’ve never been through our home reconstruction posts), the crawl loft became our (mine and Michael’s) bedroom, when we gave our own to our triplets following their birth.   The house only had 2 bedrooms at the time, and ours was by far the biggest.   So…we took our bed down, put the mattresses up in the crawl loft, and we climbed the ladder to bed every night.

We really didn’t mind it, much. You couldn’t really see our bedding that much, and it was….cozy. : )    I’d say it was even kind of fun.  Except for when one of the kids woke up, and needed us.  Or, when we had to go potty.   I feared in the dead of night many times, that I would fall trying to descend the ladder in my sleepy state, and splat on the brick hearth below.    But it never happened.  Maybe because Michael said “Be care-ful” every.single. time. I had to go down.  Even when he was sleeping.

Oh…..{A} just found a photo that will give you an idea of how much the house has changed:

See the loft at the top?  With big boxy openings, roped off with 2 ropes.  You can also see the natural beams I spoke of.  They were great for wrapping Christmas lights on, and using for outdoor toddler swings, in the house!  The beams were so strong, and with the cathedral ceiling, there was plenty of room! Of course they had outdoor swings too.  Boy did they love swinging.  You can also see what was the back door.  That wall came down, and there is a school room there now, on the other side of the stairwell that descends into the floor.   Yes…things have changed.  Drastically. Inside and out.   Do you love seeing houses transformations?  I’ll post the links on our OHOJN Facebook Page sometime soon, if you’d like.  But be sure to ‘Like’ the OHOJN Facebook Page, so you don’t miss them in your feed!  I put lots of fun extras there, for you all.


Anyway….ever since the loft was ripped out and the wall went up, the ladder-to-nowhere,  has remained there.  We couldn’t get rid of it! It was a sentimental piece.  We always loved that ladder, and it’s one of those things people always mention when they first visit our home.   It’s unique, and unusual, in a home. But really…. it’s needed purpose!  And it’s looked dark and ….. well, heavy, in our light and airy living space.

So I had an idea to make the ladder more useful, and we started by doing something possibly, crazy.


We painted it white.  After adding a few little pieces you may notice, which you’ll understand why in a moment.

Now, if you know me, I’m really not down with perfectly painted stuff.  I like things old. Beat up. Worn.


So I took a sandpaper covered block, and ‘had-at’ the newly painted ladder.


And wore a hole in it. : )  (The sandpaper of course. Not the ladder.)


I did my best to make it look……well, not ‘just painted’.


But I’m not any kind of expert at distressing pieces yet.  I’m sure it needs something more.  A glaze of some kind, to crack the paint some, or something.  I don’t want to yellow it, as a lot of the ‘new paint’ around is white as snow.  But, I plan to ask a friend what more I can do, to push it a little more.

But the purpose of painting the ladder, and adding the little crossbars to the back, was to use it for….


With the exception of when we were actually using the ladder every day to access the loft, we’ve always had photo frames and little things displayed on the ladder. I just took them off before photographing it before.  But, we are swimming in books around here.  So I thought it would be a creative and useful transformation.


Mostly it’s the kid’s books on the ladder for now, with the bottom step left open for stepping up and reaching higher.   There are lots more books, that will be relocated to the ladder, soon.  And we have more book shelving that Michael just installed as well, that will be for another post.


Because not only do the kids have more reading books, but then there are my own, and some of my mother’s too.   Books of all kinds.  For leisure, for education, for how-to, for you-name-it.  As I said, we’re swimming in them.


I actually filled a couple of boxes recently, with books to get rid of.    We have cabinets filled, and boxes downstairs, of more books – still needing sorting.


So this ladder transformation I think was a wise one.   The ladder now ahs purpose.  I’m sure it feels more worth, in it’s day to day life.  We all need purpose.  Don’t you think?

I have to admit:   I’m feeling a little pang inside, about painting over this beautiful wood.

Do you think that was a mistake?


But I do think the corner as a whole, looks a little cheerier, and more in keeping with what the rest of the house has going on.  Because we’ll probably be doing something with those wooden breakfast bar chairs too.  Not painting them white.  But they need stripping of the shellac , or something.


BEFORE                                                                                       AFTER

What do you think?  A good idea?   And are you cringing, because I painted that wood?  Go ahead and tell me the truth.  I think I can take it.


I shared this re-do project at All Things Heart & Home.

Smashing Magazine Rocks My Desktop!

If there is anyone out there, who was looking forward to a peek around our home this past Christmas, I apologize.  You know it’s something I most always share, but somehow I just didn’t this year.  Our home had plenty of Christmas decor (as if I could stop myself), and you can be sure I had fun photographing it all!…. (as if I could stop myself), but I just never blogged it.  I find the transitions between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, a bit of a quick turn-around.  Don’t you?  Especially Christmas to New Year’s!  Just one week to recover from Christmas, get it together,  clean, organize, de-clutter, and switch party-gears?  I need more time!!  Who came up with this calendar anyway?

Speaking of calendars, you are about to find out just how far I go, in helping the holidays and seasons that I love, be reflected in my home decor. At first, you may think I am crazy. (I mean, you know, if you don’t already.)  But that’s only because you’ll probably get all kinds of crazy visions that are just ludicrous, before I have a chance to even explain myself.  But really….you should have more faith in me.   So……Are you ready for this?  Here comes the big admission:

I decorate my computer.

Now, tell me you are not envisioning like……tinsel, Christmas balls, or worse…..blinking lights, hanging all about my monitor.  (Yes, I do still have a PC/tower.  I’m a professional photographer people, with high editing standards.).  Oh no….no decorations like that.  No plastic snowmen and the like, either.  (What do you think I am…..freakin’ tacky?) No, the computer decor I am referring to, is COOL.  Like ME, People.  What do you expect?

Let me tell you the truth.  Smashing Magazine let’s graphic designers (or anyone I think), submit desktop calendar wallpaper designs, every month. Then, they put the collection of submissions online, and you can take whatever you want for your desktop!  Yes, for FREE!  At the first of the month (or sometimes a few days in, as I occasionally forget what day, or month (or year) it is….) I go check out the all of the entries, and choose the one I like best. It’s a great kick-off to a new month for me. Alright…..so to help you get the picture about what I am talking about, here below is the desktop wallpaper design I chose and had on the desktop of my computer last January, in 2010:

Of course…..I have a little bit of clutter on my desktop.  Not much….but some icons I use as shortcuts, a few folders, etc.  I just move them around as to not cover my pretty picture. : )

It’s just  SO FUN to me, to check out what everyone came up with. There is always many to choose from, and such a variety, naturally reflecting various styles and personalities of the participating designers.  So I look through them all, and I find the one that speaks to me….makes me smile….or really helps me ‘feel’ the season within my home. I might start designing and submitting some sometime myself!  I get that much of a kick out of this.  Because I love to design with a theme in mind.  It brings me right back to art school, when I thrived on the creative juices pumping over that new assignment.   I just find lovely seasonal decor gives me ‘little happies’ inside when I see them around my home or when I am out and about.  It keeps me excited and in fun-planning mode for my kiddos (and me.).  Like this next one I used last year in February:

Can’t you feel the love?? How perfect for the month of Valentine’s Day?  There is LOTS to choose from every month, and it’s often a hard pick!!  There is often so many good ones, I have contemplated choosing like 4, and changing it every week. But let’s be honest:  Who has time for that? ; )   So, once you choose the one you want, you just click on the resolution/size for your screen/monitor (mine is 1024 x 768 for this monitor), it opens up bigger, you save the image, and then you set it in your screen display for your desktop!

I may have to be at my computer more than the average person, being that, a lot of my work is at this thing.   So anything I can do to make it more enjoyable, and a pleasant place to be, I’m going to do!  So, you know….I have pretty desktops, maybe a candle burning some evenings,  a little chocolate or sugar-free bubble gum around, my kids drawings and notes for me on my bulletin board right beside me, and frequent visits from those kiddos, with specially delivered XOXO’s just for me.  : )

Here is March.  This one  kept me hanging on a bit longer, and looking forward to that first day of spring right around the corner, when I had had it with the long, long winter.  Isn’t it so springy?

The great thing with these screen savers is, not only can you choose the right size for your computer screen, but you can often choose the design you want with or without the numbered dates! I usually keep the dates, if they are marked with the days of the week too.  If not, it’s not really helpful to me, sadly!

So I’ll let you take a browse through the rest of my picks for last year, and then I’ll give you the link, if you are interested in decorating your computer sometimes too.    Honestly….it takes a few enjoyable minutes to choose the screen saver you want, and less than 60 seconds to save the image (anywhere on your local drive) and go get it in your computer display settings.


OK….I may have to say a few little things here and there, before the end. Like…..“OH MY GOSH, How CUTE is THIS, huh??

I really dug that cow.  I have no idea why.  I wanted to hang out in that meadow with him for awhile. Gee, he looks like he could put out some chocolate milk…..huh?  Hmmmm. Yeah, we’d probably just hang out.

OK, this one had such a schoolish feel to me, and I have no clue why because….as you can see, there is no school house, any schoolin’ happening,  or anything.  But, I loved it, and it fed my back-to-school spirit somehow.  Also, the more I looked at it, the more I always found something I didn’t see before.  It really entertained me.  ALL September.  Go figure.

You all can bet the designing peeps had goulish-good time with October!  But, as much I love Halloween and October, I’m just not into all of that creepy part.  So this one floated my boat just fine.  (There were others I really liked too.)

Fall to winter transition…..pretty cool.

For this recent December, I was looking for something more Nativity-themed, but I’m always a sucker for snowmen.  And snowflakes.  And large areas of clean white snow, with no suspicious yellow spots.

This is the design on my desktop right now.  This January was another tough pick for me!  Because there were a few others I was drawn to…..and I’m going to show you in a few little thumbnails:

Again, another snowman than called my name.  I liked him….but a little too much blue going on.  The middle one I loved, with all of  the color.  It looked like watercolor, and the salt effect.  It made me want to paint.  Thirdly, I loved the door and all it implies…..walking into 2011, and who knows what amazing and beautiful things are behind that door, and will  happen this year?  Such potential and hope of all kinds of blessings! (I’ve come a long way, huh? ; )  )    Anyway….in the end, I let Michael and {A} help me narrow it down to choose January, and they loved the tree most.  And I learned something new about my own first-born kid:   ‘Doors ajar have always given her the creeps, a little bit.’  Huh.  How did I not know this?

Here’s the link for January.

You can just Google/search something like ‘Smashing Magazine Desktop Calendar Wallpaper January 2011″. or whatever month and year you need, and it should come up easy enough.

I hope someone makes use of it, and gets a little ‘happy’ on their desktop throughout the year because of it!  Because not only have I been so excited share this with you…..but it was kind of a lot of work!  But you know…fun work.

Have a happy month, all year long!!