Archive for the ‘the Journey of a Stylish Renovation’ Category

Thought you might like to see some of those holiday stockings

I’ve been sewing.  Yes, they’re all on the feminine side.
Probably more for decorating with than truly stuffing!
And, at the end of the day~ I liked the plainness of them and wrinkled linen.
Like this, I think they’ll be more flexible to embellish with/in other holiday decorating.  Like- stuffing them with a bit of evergreen, sage, or holly.  Or by hanging a personalized initial from the backside hanging loop.
Holiday Stockings
And these are two other styles and textures I was playing with. . .

...a couple other styles and textures-

...a couple other styles and textures-


Besides sewing, I’ve been hard at it on the fall clean upoh my aching muscles!

Raking leaves -endlessly- rounding up and covering furniture, cleaning out gardens, cutting down a LOT of plants prepping for the snow to fly.  Unfortunately SOONER than later—they’re predicting a big snow storm this weekend.  Boooooo

fall clean up-

fall clean up-

fall clean up-.


. . . and prepping for

holiday decorating. . .

I decided on this iron urn for this season’s front steps arrangement.

*only bumped finger like 21 times getting work done.







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We sure do ♥♥♥ spending time on the different levels of the deck—both day AND night!

the deck -in July

*Above- is the deck in July, from when I was REworking all the umbrellas!

Although the existing, varied lighting, IS beautiful at night, we were still missing the old market umbrella that had built-in lights at the dining table.  SO

Replacing the Deck Step Lights


what I found!

Umbrella Lights!

You just NEVER know where you’re going to find solutions!

And that PRICE!

Umbrella- standard and plain

umbrella- with LIGHTS!

Check out this beautiful glow of light at dusk!

That’s what we were missing from the old umbrella!

the ambient lighting from the new UMBRELLA LIGHTS

pretty, ambient lighting on the dining deck!

Super easy to install-  just needed a screw driver.

And about 30 minutes.

Well, and a scissors.  You’ll probably want to cut off the excess of the baby zip ties that hold the end of the light strings tight at each spline! (it just looks neater)

It’s the little touches


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The chairs at the breakfast table are really wearing out.  They were thrift store finds to begin that needed work—in 1999.

One was only $4, the other was a gift.

The breakfast area has a very ethereal feel to it. . .with all miss-matched pieces brought together by fabric and paint.

mom's breakfast area-

I’ve been watching for a couple of interesting replacement chairs    for a while now—and hoping for a matching pair this time around.

But LOOK WHAT I FOUND -but there was only ONE left—there were TWO, someone bought just one of them, dang it!  I presume because of the broken cane in the seat.  I negotiated $20.  I  LUV the super tall back!

Caned Chair from Diego's store $20

Well, first thing to do was -make sure it looked good at the table and with the banquett!   -Whew!

working on the new caned chair-

I painted the chair white.

I really couldn’t see the benefit in ripping out the cane, so I applied webbing right over the top -and decided to hot glue the cane and webbing together for extra strength.  Now you can sit in confidence!

Next, I grabbed some card stock paper to create a seat pattern.

Then I transferred the seat pattern to the grain sack I wanted to use.

* THE GRAIN SACK has a very special connection!  The farm my mother grew up on was eventually sold to distant cousins, who gave me one of their farm grain sacks on one of our yearly trips down to there—SO nice!

working on the new caned chair-

working on the new caned chair-

Thick Grain Sack can be very exhausting to cut, so I like to use the old electric scissors!

(Do they even sell these anymore?)

I cut banding strips too to sew a boxed seat cover.

~and I was off to the sewing machine…

Next I used batting and left over foam to give the seat a little extra cush’…

and finally I could apply the boxed cover…

working on the new caned chair-

working on the new caned chair-

The seat is a little shallow, but it’s wide and very comfortable!

working on the new caned chair-

I love the grain sack -and the personal connection to it- and I love the bespoke look and feel!  The other side of it, or, back side of it is in reserve for whatever 2nd chair I find.  As for the banquette—I’m hunting for some upholstery-grade linen (or if I’m lucky enough to find some HEMP), and I’ll REcover that as well!

The ceiling is in for a design change too- including chandelier, and a change to the back wall~but that’s a little down the pike!  Stay tuned. . .


the new caned chair!

making some changes-

making changes-

I’m sharing this project with–

French Country Cottage

The Curator’s Collection

Savvy Southern Style

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Craigslist--Victorian Theatre seats!Taking refuge on Craigslist to distract myself from a winter storm (late February), I stumbled onto these really cOOl Victorian Theatre seats$25!

The first thought that popped in my head was, These would be amAZing as outdoor seating on the deck!”

I text an offer,

they were still available,

and my offer was accepted—$15!

I chased off to get them—at this incredible house to boot!

Check out the front doors!

The house of those Victorian Theatre seats from CL!

getting started on the seats--

So—on to the seats!

I got boardsdeck boards– so it would “blend” more and not detract from the vintage patio table (another story) already there!  Deck boards would be rigid, meant for the outdoor elements, and hold up to the wider span of the bigger seat without a center support.

I cut the boards down, had to rip one, ran them through the router, dry fit them, stained them—then applied them!

The seat frames were already “PLACED” in position to figure out the boards and lengths needed.

the Victorian Theatre seats set in place--

the seat frames--

dry-fitting the boards--







sanded and getting stained to match the deck itself--




I dry-fit the boards to make any adjustments needed, then sanded and stained them before the final application.

The Victorian Theatre seats getting put to use!

And here they are in actual application—I screwed them to the deck to keep them totally stable!

Perfect extra seating when needed—and the seats flip up out of the way when not needed!  Perfect!  And this whole project only cost about $35.

◊ I think I’m going to create a wood arm-rest too!

◊ Ugh- the deck needs to be stained again too!


The Victorian Theatre seats!


The Victorian Theatre seats--folded out of the way when not needed!


The Victorian Theatre seats from Craigslist!

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Tomorrow will be 6 weeks since I sprained my ankle so badly.  I’ve had ups and downs trying to heal, and our recent tornado scare was certainly no help—but all in all, it’s “better!”  I’ve been trying to work on small, non-stressful things, and was finally about to jump back into a big furniture project when the storms hit, so once again, things got side-lined for clean up.  However

the deck step lights died and needed replacing, and since that was a pretty low key project~I jumped on it!

The Deck--the step lights need replacing....


I found white·clear rope lights seemed to work well for this project.

  • They gave a nice, even illumination of the steps AND the flagstone at night for safety—and pretty, ambient lighting too!
  • BUT—they yellow with age and don’t have a long life.
  • They are low profile (½”) and fit well under the lip of the step,
  • except- their mounting clips push them back out.
  • And until recently, they didn’t have  l o n g  lengths so you had to connect multiple strands to get the length you wanted (which could be a gOOd thing too).

The Deck--the step lights need replacing....The guy at the store told me I might prefer to try out the 

  • longer lengths,
  • lower profile (3/8″),
  • brighter light, and
  • longer LIFE – lower energy consumption

of the LED rope lights!

And how convenient—I needed 48ft!

So I bought them & installed them AT DUSK—so I could see where I was putting them, but also, how I wanted to REadjust the lighting layout this time around!

The Deck--the step lights need replacing...And- instead of using the included mounting clips (same issue of projecting out more than I wanted), I used cable staples.  I could secure the lights in more places and tighter to the deck!  I just had to hammer them in place one at a time—really easy!

Mom snapped a couple of pictures of me working on it as the sun set (it was not as dark as the picture would have you believe).

Replacing the Deck Step Lights

Replacing the Deck Step Lights

Thought you’d like to compare—with lightswithout!

Now you see why we need’m?

Replacing the Deck Step Lights

Replacing the Deck Step Lights

And you can see they aren’t too in your face by daylight.

Replacing the Deck Step Lights

Btw—those are outdoor floor lamps on each side of the porch swing!  Totally portable, except that I did screw them in place after a few wind storms knocked them over.  And, they have built-in dimmers!


the outdoor floor lamps on each side of the porch swing-

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Between Mother Nature and my ankle, we/I seem to be shaking all about.

"Auntie" time--pool time!I put wind chimes up in mom’s trees when I first came back here.  The storms here scare me.  The chimes are quick to get our attention when they come.

Sunday evening my second brother and s-i-l brought the girls for some much needed “Auntie” time.  Let the  g a m e s  begin!  (Their parents FLED to the car, locking the doors, to escape soaking wet good bye hugs!)  We played in the pool, danced around, acted goofy, watched a movie, and finally– headed for bed- late.

The wind chimes woke me about 3:40. Instincts said to check the Local Weather Chanel—was just looking like a severe thunderstorm with high winds, and I stood at the deck door praying hard for the Box Elder tree to be kept safe.

Pre-3 storms worth of damages below—this poor tree has to come down now.

the Box Elder tree PRE-storms

WoW, it seemed really bad—and another check of the TV was now reporting a tornado NW of us heading our direction.  I sprinted up the stairs (on a bad ankle) to grab the girls from the alcove, the library, and mom in the Master.  My phone app started screeching out an emergency alert as we hit the LL, and the city’s emergency sirens finally sounded off closer to 4:30 (someone was asleep at the wheel for the late alert).

When all seemed clear and we headed upstairs, we could see the tree took another hit, but we’d have to wait for day break to see all.

another storm--another hit

We were only grazed,

the tornado moved more North, but even from the fringes, this town took some damages and lost power in multiple areas (not us thankfully).

The hUge branch came down right between the corner of the garage and my vintage furniture!

The only thing I could really think to do -until guys with chainsaws come- was to DE-leaf the tree.  I think it will all be more manageable now, and all the small branch-leaf debris is stacked neatly to be hauled off.

MORE Storm Damage

So- back to play-time with the girls!

◊ We cooled off in the pool,

◊ I rested and soaked my ankle—again,

◊ and I showed them how to do The Electric Slide!

Learn the steps -so you can join in next wedding you go to!

We’re recovering!

Auntie Catherine

The Electric Slide w/the girls!

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working from my outdoor office!I. am. bORed. siLLy.

But I’m behaving and doing as the Dr. saidmostly.  You  -I- can only sit still for so long.  And the swelling is down enough you can almost see the knobby-bone of my ankle again—yAy!

So I’m working from the deck!


Because I forgot to get the Rit Dye COLOR STRIPPER to use when first washing the patio umbrella covers, they weren’t taking the dye very well.

*Really helps to cut through “finished” layers too-

REdying the umbrella covers-That water resistant “layer” in the outdoor fabric was worn down and sun faded enough—I didn’t think I would have too much trouble.  But 24hrs in, they were only marginally brighter.

So I just left them to soak all week.

And poked them around a lot.

I had over done some other things and my ankle was really painful and swelling again.  So I sat.  The umbrella covers sat. [Everything] sat.  Since last week Friday.

Yesterday I finally pulled the plug. Ran them back through the wash just to rinse them out –no soap.  Twice—to clean the dye residue out of the washer too..  Although the 2nd time was early this morning.

the REdyed the umbrella covers-I put each cover back on and opened them fully so they would stretch back out and dry without wrinkles.

Plus—it just looked good to see them back UP!

And they look bright and cheery once again!

What do you think?

Better, right?!

And -I think- worth the trouble.

Btw—the BEIGE umbrella cover from out in the yard did take a little tint of the yellow and doesn’t look so comPLETELY orphaned!


restoring the REdyed umbrella covers-

. . . might not look dramatically different in the BEFORE and AFTER pics, but you can really tell “LIVE!”

the REdyed umbrella covers- B & A

the REfreshed umbrella covers
. . . umbrellas drying everywhere!
The deck--getting REfreshed!
. . . my current OFFICE CHAIR! ; D
The deck--getting REfreshed!

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