Archive for the ‘Interior Decorating’ Category

McHubby enjoys keeping busy. I enjoy him being happy. Sometimes his projects allow me to charge up my creative juices and experience some joy of my own. Hopefully, we are working on one of those projects now.

This fall, McHubby has been working to develop an events business for his old employer. Rust Manor House is a beautiful old house that has hosted weddings in the past, but has been primarily an office and education location for the Audubon Naturalist Society. McHubby’s old employer is negotiating with Audubon to reinvigorate the events business.

Lucky me, McHubby asked me to guide him in sprucing up the interiors. I’ll get to try on interior decorating for a client as a potential career direction. I’m looking forward to the work and have lots of plans. Until the legal work is finalized, we are on hold. Although I did decorate for the November Board Meeting with buffet dinner.

Here are a few pictures from the foyer/buffet space:

A nature inspired winter decoration.

A nature inspired winter decoration.

Lighted branches with greenery and white floral accessories.

Lighted branches with greenery and white floral accessories.

A few greenery picks from Michael's up the stair railing.

A few greenery picks from Michael’s up the stair railing.

The bird house centerpiece was created with pine branches and a cherry tree limb that were toppled during Superstorm Sandy. I bought an unfinished birdhouse at Michael’s painting it and adorning it with faux snow, glitter and pine cone pieces. The berry vine and the bird with the nest were from Michael’s. I made the sign hanging from the branch using scrap wood, white paint and black vinyl cut with my Silhouette Cameo.

I hope you like the few touches I added for the festivities. I’ll show more decor when we are able to get up and running.

How are your holidays going so far?





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Busy or lazy? I’m not quite sure whether I’ve been keeping too busy to blog or I’ve been involved with schools for so much of my life that summer means taking it easy and focusing on fun. Either way, I’ve had a very interesting summer filled with lots of rich experiences.

I got to hang out with friends at some fun parties. I attended an Independence Day Parade in our small town and hung out with friends afterwards. Luckily, some of my friends still have small children. I think parades are so much better with little ones around. Their excitement adds so much to the experience.


Watching the parade on a very sunny July 4th


I had the opportunity to attend my first professional major league baseball game: The Mets vs. The Nationals. The game was terrific and hard played/won. McHubby explained whispering in my ear all the nuances of baseball throughout the game which really helped me understand that professional baseball is as much about strategy as it is athletics. I enjoyed myself so much that I’ve been following the Nationals games ever since. I’ve got my “Natitude” on.

Nationals Park

We had the opportunity to see President Obama speak. We don’t have the chance to seeing a sitting president in person that often so we jumped at the chance. Maybe I should say, we stood in line for tickets for over an hour and stood waiting in line and in the audience for three hours before he spoke. The experience was very surreal. People were passing out from the heat and were treated by emergency personnel. News personalities were filming their segments for the nightly news. Security was very, very tight. It was worth all the effort.

President Obama speaking

President Obama Speech

Now for the bittersweet part of the summer…my oldest son, Kyle, became engaged this spring to a very lovely young woman. She was offered one of those can’t pass up deals to attend a Ph. D. program at Tulane University in New Orleans. Gulp. So very far away. What about hurricanes…remember Katrina? So, the beginning of August found McHubby and I helping Kyle move to New Orleans. McHubby rode with Kyle to New Orleans while my other son and I flew.

Tulane University

While New Orleans has never been a place I felt the need to visit, I absolutely fell in love with it. The laid back ambience is very different than the highly focused and professional Washington, D.C. suburbs. I felt much better leaving my son there than before my visit. After getting Kyle and his fiancé moved in, we were able to sightsee.

We went to Olivier’s with the future in-laws. Olivier’s is a 130 year old family owned restaurant in the French Quarter. The food was delicious and made from old family recipes. Delicious! We had met the future in-laws the week before going to New Orleans when we hosted them for dinner at our home. We’ve really enjoyed getting to know them.


McHubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by taking a bus tour of New Orleans (a must) and eating dinner at Nola’s (one of Emeril Lagasse’s three New Orleans restaurants). I highly recommend eating there. McHubby ordered Scallops Gratinere (a Julia Childs’ recipe on the menu to celebrate her 100th birthday) and a crème brulee trio. I had shrimp and grits followed by Bread Pudding and Mexican chocolate ice cream. All the dishes were Nirvana on a plate.

Nola Restaurant

Our flight home was delayed by bad storms in the east. We were travelling for almost a full day for a short plane ride (maybe going with the cheapest rate with layovers isn’t the best way to go.) Much of the following week was spent resting up from travelling. Then, we started preparing for my younger son, Kelly, to return to college.

I suspect that most of the preparation was mentally getting ready to be an empty nester, but I did make some dorm décor with the help of McHubby’s carpentry. Kelly is a huge fan of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series. He’s been hooked on the series for years long before the HBO series. I used my Silhouette machine to make some removable wall stickers and some iron-on transfer paper to make a board with the Game of Thrones family crests (most but not all of them). McHubby constructed a C-table from Ana White plans. I covered it with black faux leather.

Game of Thrones decor

Game of Thrones Decor

Plans for Ana White C Table

Kelly excelled at packing this year making the move in quick and easy. Plus, the skies waited until McHubby and I were returning home to start pouring rain. (Last year, we weren’t so lucky. The cardboard cart on wheels disintegrated from the deluge before we made it to the dorm building.)

But wait there’s more…I almost forgot the derecho. We lucked out since we are close to the mountains and had very little damage or disruption from the derecho. Unfortunately, many in our area weren’t so fortunate.

Washington, D.C. during the derecho in June

So, I am officially an empty nester. Boy, am I missing my kids. Boy, am I worried about my oldest son waiting out Hurricane Isaac in New Orleans. He assures me that they are on high ground in their neighborhood so my worry is somewhat less.

Hurricane Isaac

I’m planning on some minor changes to the blog which I will outline in my next post. Primarily, I’m going to have different themes for each day of the week.

I hope you all have had a great summer and you will stay safe if you are in the path of Hurricane Isaac.

I’d like to hear about your adventures.

TTFN- Ta Ta For Now


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One of the amazing traits of being a creative person is getting tons of ideas about how to use items in different ways and how to change my spaces. Unfortunately, I can get frustrated when I decide to move a piece of art, furniture, window treatment or other decorative piece out of their original location and to the basement storage area. Luckily, McHubby is a good sport about my creative urges and fully supports my “process”. ; ) I strongly dislike wasting money; so I try to re-purpose when I can.

Recently, I re-purposed a metal art pieces from Kirkland’s into a pot (basket) rack over the kitchen island. I had been using this piece and an identical one back to back to hang from the ceiling as a visual divider between the family room and kitchen. When I switched gears and wanted a more open space between the rooms, I had two metal art pieces to store in the basement. Bummer…

Before I show you how my project turned out, I’ll show a quick survey of other creative ideas for making a pot rack.

A Ladder:

Pot Rack from Found Ladder

An old coffee table:

Pot Rack

An old door:

Creative use of old screen door

A sled:

Pot rack from sled

Here is my interpretation:

Basket rack

Re-purposed Art to Pot Rack

Hmmmmm….what else could be made into a pot rack?


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I seem to have a bit of an obsession with words. I have decorated with them everywhere in my house. I recently refreshed a piece of manufactured art that I had gotten at Kirkland’s a few years ago. Originally, the colors were gray, grayish blue and tan with a quote something to the effect of life isn’t about staying away from storms; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

When I started tweaking the family room, I wanted to brighten the colors. While I was in the process, I decided to change the quote to the one by Henry Van Dyke that inspired my blog title. “Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”

Update your art

Inexpensively refresh your decor

I used scrapbook papers on the inner and outer areas. I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut the quote. I had some issues with lettering, so it is a little crooked in places.

You don’t have to be stuck with a piece of art that when you have become tired of it. For a little bit of money and some creativity you can update it perfectly.

What do you do when you get tired of your decor?


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It seemed so easy…such a cool feature. What an unexpected challenge. Have you ever been excited to try a project and have it be more difficult and less lovely than you thought? I think there ought to be a Murphy’s Law corollary about this. Well, perhaps it is really about the creative process and not giving up until you get it the way you want it.

When we were building out home nine years ago, I was looking forward to decorating the niche between the family room and kitchen. The builder had cut off the right angle corner and recessed the top half into the wall. (I don’t think I have pictures from nine years ago.) “What a dramatic spot. I could do something so cool here,” I mused.

Ha, ha. I had an Asian inspired vase with curly branches there for a while. I tried faux finishes. Somehow none of these solutions was right. Then, one day I had a lightbulb moment. The niche looked a lot like my parents’ corner cabinet. Would some wood and glass knobs create a realistic look?

What do you think?

Niche all dressed up

A tricky niche turned into a corner cabinet

With details…
details: header, moulding, knobs, shelves

decorations on faux cabinet shelves

Shelves close up

I’m glad that I didn’t give up. The only changes that I might make would be to add glass paneled doors and attach a wooden decor piece on the board at the top.

What creative challenges have you had?

Linking up to the NEWBIE party at Debbiedoos.


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Joining the Linky Party over at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia,  Power of Paint Party at Domestically Speaking and Inspiration Friday At the Picket Fence with my Rustic Cruiser Bike Art.

Linky Button

My UnCommon Slice of Suburbia Tuesday’s Treasures

Domestically Speaking

At the Picket Fence

Inspiration Friday

Rustic Cruiser Bike Art Tutorial:

Wooden Bike Picture

Rustic Cruiser Bike Art

1. Cut wood board to length desired. We used leftover fence boards. Cut two pieces of woods to the height desired when all lengthwise piece are laid side by side. While lengthwise pieces are laid together with the backside up, nail the vertical pieces to each board. Nail twice on each board.

2. Choose an image to make into a stencil.

Cruiser bike

via google

3. Using the Silhouette Cameo software, outline image. Click here for a you tube video on how to transfer an image to you Silhouette Cameo software and outline the image.

4. Once you have the image outlined, re-size the image to your dimensions. I made mine about two-thirds of the totally artwork dimension. I used the 24 inch cutting mat. In order to make the stencil the correct size, I cut the top half of the stencil first and then the bottom half.  I fit the top and bottom together on the boards once both were cut.

5. Cut out on vinyl. Put on board.

Stencil on wood

Bike stencils on wood

6. Stencil with paint. I used acrylic.

Bike Stencil with paint

Painting bike stencil

7. Remove stencil and fill in the gaps with paint. For instance, the software did not pick up the bike spokes. I used a pencil to lightly sketch in the spokes and then painted with aluminum colored acrylic.

Finished cruiser bike image

Bike image with stenciled breaks filled in

8. I made the frame using plans from Ana White’s site. Click here for instructions.

Frame made from Ana White plans

Finished frame waiting to be painted gray

9. Paint/stain and attach with nails to artwork. Hang

Bike art hung over mantel

Finished artwork hung over mantel

Hope this was helpful.  Thanks for visiting.

Also linking to Stuff and Nonsense for Fridays Unfolded

Stuff and Nonsense

Fridays Unfolded


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Several weeks ago I previewed a piece of art that I created.

Rustic Art Peak

Sneak Peak of Rustic Art piece

Since many of my other projects are in various states of progress, I decided to unveil this piece. I’m actually quite happy with the way it turned out. I used old fence boards, paint and a stencil which was made with my Silhouette Cameo.


I took this image and turned it into this:

Wooden fence boards to bike picture

Rustic bike art

Ta da! Tomorrow, I’ll take you through a complete tutorial.


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