A Temporary Solution to a Permanent Problem

Sun, rain, dirt, oak leaves, pollen, and a big dog equal “why I can’t justify the cost of nice lawn furniture”. About two years ago, we were driving down a neighborhood street when I yelled “Stop!” — all so we could take a look at a full set of wrought iron patio furniture for the lofty price of $35.00. It was rusty, the pillows were somewhat ugly, and because of the problems listed above it was perfect for us.

faded rusted patio furniture
This rusty faded furniture is king dog’s favorite spot at the castle

Now, two years down the road, the outdoor screened in porch hasn’t appeared yet (I’m still relying on magic to make that happen) and Ace Hardware was having a sale on spray paint. Oh happy day!!

Paint sale at Ace; $2.99 a can!
Paint sale at Ace; $2.99 a can!

So, I had this grand idea that if a screened in porch wasn’t going to magically appear, a new patio set was. I applied a quick new spray of white on the wrought iron (the set had previously been wire-brushed to remove rust, and painted with the same Heritage White. A refresher was all that was needed.) Then on to the pillows; I cleaned them up with the hose, scrub brush and TSP and let them dry for an hour. I applied the Lagoon, Marigold, and Seascape Gloss to the pillows, overlapping just slightly for a tie-dye effect. This paint applies nicely to plastic and holds up well to butts in seats. A half-hour later I flipped them over and painted the other side.

cushion painting in progress
Ombre painting in progress

Meanwhile, a generic green baker’s rack I had taken from my mother’s home got two nice coats of Aqua satin. And here is the final result, a new seating area (where an old shed used to be). In a couple a months we’ll lay down some packed shell or river rock to make the ground look nice and neat and maybe add a fire pit for those two nights in Florida when it gets cold. Let the relaxing begin!

inherited generic bakers rack
Generic green bakers rack
our new paradise seating spot
Our new paradise seating spot
patio furniture refreshed
Ready for its close up, patio furniture refreshed


Pumping up the Curb Appeal

2016-07-03 14.21.27
More swatches – we picked the bottom one, #3

Over the fourth of July weekend, Joe and I decided to finally paint the exterior of our house. Now, I want to be very clear. It is hot as every cliche ever written out there, plus 25 degrees of humid. NOT PLEASANT. Yes, of course we wanted to do this at a much more reasonable time of year, but those two days (otherwise known as fall) were probably taken up by a football game.
We also had to decide on a color. I’d had an idea for over a year, but inspiration is definitely not the same as the end result. After many color chips, samples, and trips up and down town, and facebook surveys for likes and dislikes, we finally decided on a color (well, actually we flipped a coin).

Going from a faded green with what I would call craftsman colors (tan trim and red door) to an all-out Florida coastal vibe was sure to turn a few heads. But after 3 days of sun, sweat, and laughs (no tears luckily) we were very pleased.

2016-07-03 14.21.48 HDR-2
Tedius cutting in – must be done!

As thought, we got about half “way to go!” and half puzzled looks. The blue we ended up with was perfect for us, it was a bit bluer than the sample but that was a good thing – we had been somewhat leary of the greener turquoise (#3).

Our house is now our home. Happy, beachy, and beautiful.

Final result
Final result

Next up, some shade for the front porch and door and some tropical plant solution to bring some shade relief to the west side of the house.

Our house, in the middle of the street

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve joined the masses of people who think others care what they do day in and day out. But I won’t be writing about every little thing (whew!), I’ll be writing a little about my charming new house within walking distance of the water in St. Petersburg. It was built in 1949 so it’s more of a ‘Florida cottage’ than a bungalow, but isn’t it cute? (Um, not quite yet, you think? Just wait!)  I really wanted something that was cozy, had some character and history, something I could truly make my own and do lots and lots of PROJECTS in!

pookies house 2

My house – Before

You see, I’ve been sanding and painting furniture for looong before HGTV and DIY started showing you how “easy” (with a background team of 20 professionals, of course!) it is, and now I once again have a lot of elbow room to get dirty in.

OK – fess’ up time…I’m totally ripping off/copy-catting my boss! She started a blog of her own, and it’s awesome if I do say (and I’m not just begging for points 🙂 ). I’d had a goal year after year to write more, and I also wanted to do more projects. But there was always tomorrow to start, right?  Well, she started 6 months ago and has kept it going for that long no matter how busy SHE is – so I figured I better JUST DO IT. Do I know what I’m doing? Nope – but that’s what WordPress is for. Trial by fire! So far, kind of easy. And no better way to get better at writing than to WRITE! Right?

So now that you know my intentions, please come subscribe or come back for the next post that will start demonstrating (or perhaps complaining about) projects!

P.S. I bet at least some of you looked at my blog background and thought to yourselves, “Oh my, how awful/clash/gauche/tacky/loud/busy/etc.” [EDIT – this was before my redesign which is really cool. ]

— I KNOW, RIGHT???? Isn’t it great?

I promise you, as much as I LOVE my blog layout, that all my taste isn’t along those lines (ok, some is…). Sometimes, I have really nice, toned-down Southern style taste 🙂  You’ll just have to stay tuned and see.  MWUAH!

Two easy trays – seeing red!

I thought I would start off with one of the easier projects on my long list, so I took two mismatching trays and decided to paint them something glamorous and matching.  Here are the befores:

Two (be)trays, before
Two (be)trays, before

I wanted to go for a lacquer look, not “distressed” so I knew I didn’t want bumps, drips, or brush-strokes. I looked for the color I wanted in the spray paint section of Lowe’s, but lo (haha, get it?) and behold, they didn’t have the exact color I wanted so I grabbed a quart of Gloss Cherry Red Enamel and took off.

The green tray was wood and I just gave it a light sand before starting with the paint and paintbrush. The other one looked like it was laminate, so I painted it with a coat of primer first. So, how did they look after the first coat? AWFUL!! This was going to take a while. (A friend walked by and commented: a) I like that distressed look you gave them. {well that’s just swell, but I’m not going for the distressed look. Great.} b) did you know if you put them up on a can or glass to paint, they wouldn’t stick to the newspaper? {well, of course I did, Mr. Know-it-all,  I just happen to WANT to sand pieces of newspaper off the bottom edge of my trays between each coat. grump grump grump. Translation…nope, totally forgot that little tip. Up on cans they go for coats 2, 3, 4…})

One primed, one brushstrokes galore!
One primed, one brushstrokes galore!

So after some 220-grain sandpaper, I switched from a paintbrush to the cool little foam brushes hoping to cut down on the brushstrokes. No such luck, the trays really didn’t look much better. After drying overnight (actually 24 hours) and one more coat, I was grumbling something along the lines of “I’m never using anything except for spray paint ever, EVER again.”

But finally after 4 days of painting, drying, sanding, and painting I was able to Mod Podge some really cool abstract fabric into the inner bottom of each tray and give them a SPRAY gloss seal (if you’re doing something like this yourself, be sure to match your sealer with your paint. For instance, I used a clear gloss acrylic enamel spray sealer. Don’t mix lacquer with enamel and vice versa).  Here they are, my “easy” (HA) first project for my blog. How do you think they turned out?

Red trays finished
Red trays finished 
Red trays - looking pink
Red trays looking pink

Saving rattan

Rattan dinette before
Distressed look? This poor thing was crying out for 911!

I’ve just been a busy little bee. Check out what I started this weekend! First, I now have this rattan dinette set (it used to be my boyfriend’s, but everyone knows that what used to be his is now mine, right? hee hee – just KIDDING, geez calm down!) that had been kept outside on a covered porch. Now it is outside on my porch – which DOESN’T HAVE SHADE!! So it has quickly gone from not toooo bad to much much worse. Especially with all of this pouring rain! “We’ve” been talking about refinishing it forever, it was time to get going.

The boyfriend (Joe 🙂 ) took off the soaking wet cushions that because OF THE RAIN (40 days and 40 nights, I’m not kidding – when it’s not humiditing, it’s raining. [Humiditing – a word I made up {like ‘prevening’, to which I can’t take credit} to define the neverending blanketing blasting of Floridian pea soup humidity]) can no longer be saved…I’ll have to make new ones. Ugh.

removing cushions
Those are not my arms!
Sogging wet dinette cushions
And try not to wince at the cushions…










Trying to put more enthusiasm into the job than into flapping away skeeters, I began. (a “skeeter” is a mosquito, for those of you who do not go outside, and they are stinging flying bugs that carry pig viruses and such – but I digress.) I did the best I could with my stain and a good ‘ole washcloth, but don’t look too closely. They look better, and since I was staying with the vintage weathered beach look – I’m happy enough. A spray (get that? A SPRAY) of spar varnish to keep it from “weather” and I should be off to the cushions — next weekend. For now, let’s see what other mischief I can get into.

2 chairs stained and one not
In the works – looking better, right?
staining the base
Staining the base… No, I’m NOT wearing gloves!

Hot Cocoa Beach

I know you’re just dying to hear about the new cushions I’m making for the rattan dining set , but you’ll just have to wait…because after almost two weeks, they’re still only half done! Work and life has been a bit tough lately, so I grabbed a great friend and took off on a spontaneous road trip to explore Florida. St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, and Jacksonville were all in the running but after some debating and a final ‘pick a number between 1 and 10’ game, the little surfing town of Cocoa Beach won out. No plans, no hotel (that’s what “spontaneous” means, correct?), no navigation – didn’t even bring up the GPS until I got to Orlando! We’d always been told it’s a 3-hour trip across the state, but it actually only took 2 hours and as we approached we could see the gigantic cruise ships at the docks waiting to launch. Not for me, but still neat to see.

It was supposed to rain non-stop that weekend, but heck, it’s been doing that for the past month anyway – so what if we’re in a different place while it monsoons? First, we went straight to the flagship Ron Jon Surf Shop – yep, the same one plastered all over at least half of the billboards all up and down the interstate highway system. Not as large as IKEA, but almost, and definitely “One of a Kind”.

20130713_130851     20130713_145734

After buying myself just the right surf t-shirt, tropical flower skirt, and beach flip-flops – I was starving. We asked several people where the best tiki hut to chill and dine was, and were told (of course) the Ron Jon surf cafe, and the Sandbar Sports Grill.  Not wanting a chain, we chose the Sandbar. It end up being just the right beach vibe with some pretty awesome a) fish and chips (made with planko bread crumbs instead of heavy beer batter) b) seafood stew in bread bowl, c) guacamole (nom, nom, nom), and (wait for it…) d) “Floridarita”! Coconut tequila, orange juice, and I don’t remember what else except that it was delish!!

20130713_152310 20130713_154051

After sitting awhile and observing the environment, we walked down the beach to the pier and watched some peeps trying to surf.

Soon it was getting closer to twilight, so it was time to find a hotel and got settled. Found out it’s twice as expensive to get a Starbucks in the Marriott cafe as it is in the outside world…but we got our afternoon jolt-a-caffeine down by the pool anyway. Hmmm, what do we do now?  We chose to drive across the bridge and take a nice little stroll at the Historic Cocoa downtown area with park/marina on the river. Did you know there are probably six ice cream/candy stores within a stones rock throw? You do now, and that alone is reason to make the trip! Downtown also contains what looked to be a hopping stage theatre – might check it out next time.

Next day — it was time to hit the beach!!! After dodging a few dark clouds and wondering whether to leave, I decided to stay and proved you’re never too old to boogie board in mediocre waves – had a blast! Said hello to the sand turtle crossing the boardwalk on the way out… Just what I needed for a relaxing weekend exploring my sunny Florida 🙂

boogie boarding    Why did the sand turtle cross the boardwalk?


Chinese Emperial meets Shabby Scandinavian style

Question for you: How many of you have several projects in the works at the same time? Thus not actually finishing any of them in a timely manner? Thought so; so do I! Recently I have had the cushions still in the works, along with the bamboo shelving unit and a small table. Because of unseen twerps in the other projects (plus a LOT of issues going on in my “real” world), I’ve only finished the table.

First, let me tell you how I obtained this table. One day a friend came over to retrieve her shovels (seemed I had borrowed, but hadn’t returned them. Oops!) While there, she takes off on a little tour around my house to see how far I’ve come. Next thing I know, she’s pointing out pieces of my furniture saying such things as “I like that” (not so bad, complimentary right?) and “I want this” (hmmm, a bit more assertive, LOL). Most things, as they are mine and I like them, too (or I wouldn’t own them) – it was a no go for said pieces going home with her. But one set of night stands I had been “planning” on refurbishing was stacked in a corner waiting their turn. As she wanted to use them for end tables, who was I to say no. I took them over to her place and came home with this table.

Shoot!  I forgot to take a picture before I started.

But, a) I don’t need a table, and b) It was dark and scratched. So out comes the shabby chic work.

Here’s how what I did:

1) After dusting the table off, painted the entire table with Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in white.

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2) Painted the accent trim in a chalky slate blue.

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3) After the paint dried, lightly distressed some edges with a sanding block.

4) Finished with Minwax special dark furniture wax, making sure the dark color stayed in the recessed edges.

2013-08-28 19.00.35 2013-08-28 19.01.16

I like it better now, I think it’s lighter and original. I hope you like it too 🙂 Let me know if you think I should add some stencil or artistic work to the top.

(And, as I don’t need it or don’t have room for it – I think I’ll sell this one. Craigslist, here we come!)

New frame of mind

After all the sanding, painting, and grumbling of trying to make my trays smooth and lacquer-like using brushes and foambrushes, I needed a break. I took a look at my loooong list of Possible Projects and settled on “repaint 3 frames”. Ok, THIS one should be easy.

Here are my 11 x 14 frames BEFORE, looking nice and old-fashioned…

Poor old-fashioned frames, before
Poor old-fashioned frames, before
Paint for project...Benjamin Moore color samples rock!
Paint for project…Benjamin Moore color samples rock!

What to do, the opportunities are endless! I saw some yellowish spray paint (a VERY important element – spray) I had been meaning to return to Lowe’s because I found some better paint for the “lawn chair project” (coming later, LOL) at Ace. Tangent here, ACE — what a GREAT PLACE!!! First, it’s closer. Second, it tends to be locally-owned. Third, it’s smaller and less crowded, BUT – get this…I think it has more of the day-to-day stuff! Especially paint 🙂  Plus, it’s where I found this wonderful little jar of Benjamin Moore color samples, oh my goodness I wanted to buy them all. But that day I only bought a pretty slate blue and this slightly metallic grey, shown here…

So I was ready to begin. Now let me explain that it has been raining non-stop for 40 days and 40 nights and this was the first day I saw some sun for the entire morning. I was going to make some progress at lunchtime! I took two of the frames outside (remember this for later) and saved one of them for another project – you’ll love what I do with it 🙂  Gave them a quick spray and thought, “Wow, these look pretty darn good! They might not even need another coat!”

rain over herbs
Surprise afternoon rain (really? I live in Florida, right?)

Now the funny part, not 30 minutes later it starts pouring down rain. Not kidding. Did it thunder first? Not that I noticed. Did it turn dark? Not BEFORE it rained. Totally out of the blue. How do you like that?

So I RAN outside to grab the frames thinking they were ruined, but because I’d SPRAYED them (with outdoors type paint, no less), they were already pretty much dry and looking good.  Take a look…

yellow Valspar outdoor spray paint on frames
Glossy yellow SPRAY paint

So you’re thinking to yourself, “hmm, yellow? Really?” Well, wait until you see what I did with the grey paint and a dry brush! (look it up, yellow and grey are “in” colors this year…)




15 minutes total work, much better than those darn trays! Do you like them?

7upcouple       7upgirl

Something for nothing, or — Pickers!

One day fairly recently, I had the most incredible day (for hobbies, anyway)!   I went to the auction with my boss and friend, it was my first time and I had a blast! 5 hours in the blazing hot sun, but I scored big – two bamboo shelf thingies, one “leather” padded coffee table ottoman, 4 art pictures, one small wood table, and an AWESOME leather alligator storage box. Then, when I dropped my filthy car off to be cleaned I ‘just happened’ to see a garage sale so I stopped by and found some coca-cola glasses and a very heavy wood medicine cabinet for (wait for it) TWO DOLLARS. Yep, you read that right. I’m sure some of these items will be ending up as a story here later.

Then after lunch and a couple of refreshing drinks (oh yes, THAT kind of drink, LOL. It was HOT, remember?) – I came back home and found the cherry on the top – two perfectly fine lawn chairs somebody had left by the trash, just need a bit of sanding and painting. Yep – FREE. Here’s what they looked like before I got to work on them.

Lawn chairs - One man's trash...
One man’s Trash
lawn chairs - ready to go
Will soon be another woman’s treasure!

When I inspected them closer, it was apparent they had been previously spray painted. Flat black over a dull beige – and I don’t think it was outdoor or metal or plastic paint. So I got to work with my trusty mouse sander and gave them a one-over and then a washing.

First, I sprayed the seats a couple of times with the Krylon Plastic green paint – but didn’t like it. Turned out more “mint” than “sage” so I dug out the yellow spray paint from my picture frame project and did them over. Much better!

Lawn chairs - covering up the green
Mint green?  No, not for me. Let’s try it again!

Lawn chairs - halfway through

After that dried, I re-taped and gave them a quick spray (because guess what? Yep, it was threatening to RAIN again. Super.) with dark bronze Metal Spray — much better than the flat black, plus it matched the lawn table that I found, guess where, the trash!! Yep – FREE. Shazaam! HGTV’s got nothin’ on me.

Brand new lawn chairs - with their cousin table
Gorgeous, right? And MY personal style :)

So what do you think? You love it, right? I figure I saved about $200 here. More pickin’ in my future, LOL

ReLaunch!! Beautiful New Web Design

Yep, been away nearly two years. A lot has happened in that time, but I’m excited to reveal my brand new look. The cool layout was designed and implemented by my fiance (yep, that’s one of the things that happened) Joe Finelli III. There was only a bit of art direction by yours truly, LOL. I’ve got a lot of material to share with you, just some topics are:

  • Kitchen and bath renovations (and hiring a handyman, groan)
  • Furniture makeover successes and fails
  • Owning a dog in the ‘Burg
  • Attempting to kayak in the ‘Burg

And…you HAVE to visit Trip’s Diner. I’ll write about it soon — just remember “cinnamon chips”. Yum!!