Friday, April 5, 2013


I am fortunate to have a shed coming off the back of my garage that I use for garden supplies but this week a CONTEST renewed my interest in the mess back there and I hope to clean it out and start anew. Spring seems to do that to people...and so does this website that I am completely head over heels about!

It is called Gardenista and the link to the contest is here.

The prize is a lovely potting table from Williams Sonoma Agarian.

Now to enter the contest you must "pin" images of your dream garden shed onto a board entitled "Visions of Gardening Sheds." First though, I thought I would capture the before look just in case I win and therefore would be forced to clean up the old shed to make room for my prize.

Rustic, old and a mess!

Inside, even worse. Quite a ways back I removed the old rotting floor and put down gravel, fixed the roof the best I could (it only leaks a tiny bit!) and put up plexiglass where the window fell out and broke. For a time it was semi organized. Over time junk started to collect amongst my treasures of driftwood, old pots, old wood shutters and more. Bed frames, the shop vac, coolers and anything else we didn't know where to put.

This photo was taken about 2 years ago and you can see how nice the shed can be. A paint job on the door, flowers in bloom, the Cedar Chalet Play House looking ok. So now, how to get back there or even better? Competition!

This is the first shed photo I "pinned". Nice brick floor, shelf for pots...

old table, area to work and fun storage captured on the second "pin". And on & on I went....

even down to the clothing and shoes I will wear in my new shed with my new prize!

No time to waste, I must get back to my board and see what else I should add....contest ends this Sunday, wish me luck!

For my gardening friends, if you don't already subscribe to Gardenista, go to the home site and be inspired. Happy Spring!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shelf to Shoe Cubby

Being stuck indoors for the most part this winter was "project prime time". I was painting, cleaning and dreaming during the seemingly long January & February months. One project that I am especially proud of (if I may say so) was the transformation of an old book shelf into a hip, versatile and useful shoe cubby! 

This all wood, well made book shelf housed a plethora of dust along with books, photo negatives and other old belongings. I believe you can still buy shelves like this one at A.C. Moore...just in case you want to make your own shoe cubby project! Emptied and cleaned up, it was aching to be given a second life.

So, I had an idea! Turn that shelf on its side, and what does it kinda look like? The needed shoe solution for my lovely daughter and her new fiance. If I add feet I told her, paint it and build a top would you think twice about it? Smiling, she said sure Mom....go for it! Then on a beach walk (yes, I tried to get out there as often as the weather allowed) I found my inspiration. The large chunk of weathered pressure treated wood. Perfect idea for the top–a picnic bench like seat!

Initially I could not find any wood that had rounded edges and would fit the 11.5 inch top so I took a defiant gulp and said I am not stopping now! I have this project halfway done! Onward to the basic pine, buy 3 pieces (one wider to make the fit) take out the sander and produce my own! Luckily it was a sunny day and the sanding of all edges did not take too long. A few purposeful swipes of the sander, a hammer, screw and hyde produced the weathered, banged up look I was aiming for. Two colors of stain and it was a close match to the inspiration piece.

The top was initially glued on with wood glue while the screw holes for the feet were patched. Semi-gloss black was the chosen color and finish to hide inevitable dirt from shoes and boots!

The top was then nailed on with shiny aluminum roofing nails to add interest along with their obvious job of holding the top in place.

Finished in the basement...soon to be delivered to its new home.

Finally, the cubby in place with a few happy recipients! The bench is perfect for sitting while removing boots & shoes. Overall, they were astonished with the outcome!

Oscar immediately claimed this bench as his own...

while Sally doesn't quite fit or doesn't feel the need to join her "brother".  Next time around Sal I will make you a special piece of furniture, I promise! Now onto the next project....hmmm.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Making the Best of the Blizzard

All inconveniences aside, the storm dubbed Nemo was quite the blizzard with a blizzard of awesome images on facebook, the news and every place you looked. I couldn't help but try my own hand in capturing the wrath, the beauty and the power of Mother Nature.

It started out strong. By about 8:30 am on Friday, February 8th there was already a good covering. A very dark and stormy sky warned of what was to follow.

Drifting began early we watched, we shoveled what we could and we waited.

Night fall brought questions as to just how much are we talking now? The real storm had yet to begin as far as weather forecasts were concerned.

It's 5 am on this Saturday and the regular plow isn't rushing in....we woke to find a winter wonderland that was wayyyy beyond all expectations! Nurse Claire was ready early for the shift she was scheduled and we all got to shoveling in high hopes a plow just might be on the way. This drift hides (very nicely I might add) my car!

Winter Willie was having a blast while we wiggled our way down the street to see if any cross roads had been plowed. Claire stayed dressed in scrubs for quite some time still oping to get into work. No such luck. We were just snowbound all day Saturday.

Drifted snow made some unique shapes while our little Cedar Chalet hung on for dear life. I was very surprised this little structure in our backyard survived the storm!

While the sun was shining on Sunday I ventured out and my destination was as always, the beach. Soft drifts with magnificent markings, water reflecting the blue sky and gentle waves lapping the shore were all breathtaking (and so was the thigh high snow that I trudged through). I think between shoveling and walking I can truly say I experienced the storm to the best of my physical ability! Now it is time to let it melt.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Chalkboard Christmas Card

Sadly, I haven't mailed out a snail mail Christmas card in quite a few years. This year, I decided I would put my love of lettering & "chalkboarding" to use big time. Facebook afforded me an easy, quick way to say Merry Christmas to many but first I would have to design the message! (Intention of then printing and really mailing a card or postcard!)

In Stage One, two initial sketches were created combining some fun fonts a nice big those.  Family did not like the word X-MAS so that one was out. They all loved the word "little" being little though!

Starting the board with a rough chalk much erasing! Centering the letters is a trial and error process if truly done freehand (with no help from a projector or transfer paper).

Using white paint marker that appears chalky yet won't rub off once dry, I loosely finish the lettering. Water based paint marker is easily erased just like chalk with a bit of rubbing alcohol and can be applied in a sketchy manner to resemble real chalk...and it is water resistant – meaning these boards can go outside in any weather! Back to the design though, you can see how the words changed (another family edit) and the fonts were still being questioned.  With so many fantastic typefaces to browse online it is a hard decision for a font freak like myself.

A few more touches and the board is finished. Unfortunately, I didn't like it! You have to understand that quality of putting your best foot forward and this was just not cutting it for me. So, out with the chalkboard paint and just start over. No problem... another chance to sketch, design and Christmas was only a week or two away!

Remember that first sketch? I back tracked a bit because I liked parts of that one. Not wasting too much time, I did more designing this time directly on the chalkboard using elements of other sketches. See my tools? Chalk, wet paper towel, paint marker and t-square at the very bottom. Words changed again too!

Still erasing and editing but having fun with it. 

Voila! Finished, photographed and posted on facebook with the still-to-this-date resolve to get a card printed and snail mailed.  Photographing I must say was more difficult than I imagined. Indoor lighting cast shadows so outdoors I went. Photoshop helped the contrast but took the chalky nature and swallowed it up whole. That will be a challenge now as I move forward by wishing all a wonderful New Year! Have some fun & keep trying new things this year – I am, check it out!

With that said, I may post on less often in the year to come. If a great project comes along or I explore other seaglass jewelry options I will be sure to share them!

is in its infancy and the new wordpress site (sorry, blogspot) is under construction! Please follow me and take a look at some of the chalkboard options and ideas I have finished already.