Just in case you missed it: February '12 recap

Aloha, my friends!  It's been quite a balmy month of February here in East Tennessee.  It's so warm today that we actually are under a tornado warning.  Not to worry, that happens somewhat regularly around here.  Unfortunately we know the drill and keep our eyes and ears on the weather forecasters.

Since I worked away from home most of the day today and most of this week, I thought I'd do a recap of my posts from this month just in case you missed any of them.  I can't do a post everyday, so there's not that many of them, but I thought I'd catch you up anyway.  Click on the various links to view any of the posts, or check the sidebar if you'd rather see the listings that way.

I started out the month with an organizing project we're calling our family command center.  We have an 8' brick wall in our kitchen that is now used as a landing strip and message center.   You can see the project and get the 411 by clicking here.  I've added a bench below the bulletin board since doing this post and it's really been helpful for keeping our bags and "stuff" off the floor. 

Earlier this month the Mr. and I spent a weekend at our favorite inn in the Smoky Mountains to celebrate being married for 20 years.  I took some pics of the inn and shared a bit about our weekend, including being attacked by a swan (no kidding),  here.

In the spirit of love and Valentine's Day, I shared some of my favorite red-inspired pins from pinterest in this post.  The pictures on pinterest are always so inspiring.  Are you as addicted to this site as I am?  I think I need a pintervention or something. 

I posted in January about a floor that I had faux painted.  I linked up that post to several link parties and was fortunate enough to have it featured on a few blogs.  In case you want to see the original post where I shared the how-to for the floor, here it is.

Getting in the mood for Valentine's Day means doing a bit of baking around here.  I shared a recipe for some yummy Valentine's m & m's blondies in a post here.  You could make these anytime of the year with chocolate chips or, as I did a couple of weeks ago, white chocolate chips.  They're the same kind of wonderful with any variety.  And they're non-fattening.  But only if you just look at them and don't eat them....

Of course, I did a little romantic post on Valentine's day.  The pics and quotes are from pinterest, but they're oh so sweet and romantic.  Click here to see the post and read the mushy quotes.

I had to share some pics I took of some beautiful roses in this post.  The Mr. brought one each for me and the girls and they were so pretty.  He doesn't bring me flowers near as much as he did when we were dating a couple of decades ago, so I always have to take pictures of them.  :)

I also have a sneak peek at a piece of thrifted furniture I'm trying to finish.  I'll get it finished up very soon and will share the process I used on it in case you're interested. There's just not enough hours in the day sometimes.  Can I get an amen?

Next up is a post on lots of creative ways to use chalkboard paint, including an area in my daughter's room where we used magnetic primer underneath some chalkboard paint for a unique message center.  The other pics are ideas from pinterest and the web and are so fun.

My most recent post is a collection of pics I took when we recently made a wrong turn and stumbled upon some relics from the past.  Sometimes the road less traveled is the most interesting one, for sure.  I wish the old truck we found could tell us some of the stories it's seen.

I hope you have a fabulous "leap day", and that your March starts off just as well.  

I read and appreciate all of your comments.

Thanks for stopping by!


If you like my posts, I'd love it if you'd become a follower. You can keep up with my latest recipes, projects, tutorials, photos and tips many ways, including:

An old barn and a mossy truck

It's been such a gorgeous day.  I went junking and had lunch with my mom and sister.  We found several treasures, of course.  Not too many, since my garage has several unfinished projects and the Mr. is going to find a new Mrs. if I don't get some of them finished soon.

I did a nice 3 mile walk when I got home.  It was so warm that I was sweating by the time I got home. In February.  Something is just not right about that.  I'm sure we'll get snow in mid-March or something crazy like that.

I'm still working on finishing up a couple of projects to show, but wanted to share a few pictures I snapped when we were in the Smoky Mountains a few weeks ago.  We were out for a drive and took a wrong turn, but it ended up being a good mistake.  We stumbled upon an abandoned barn and a very old and forgotten truck.  It felt like we had stepped back in time.  We didn't stay long for fear of being greeted with a shotgun.

Anyway, here's a few pics of what we found.

I tinkered with that last shot by using my photoshop lightroom software.  I cropped it, increased the blacks, and added a bit of grain to it.  It looks like a very old photo. 

I hope you're enjoying great weather like we are here in East Tennessee.  Have a great weekend!


Creative Uses for Chalkboard Paint, Ch. 2

I love chalkboard paint.  There's just something magical about a paint that makes it okay to write on the walls, tables, doors, or wherever.  And not get in trouble for it.  I used to sneak and write on the walls in my closet and underneath my bed when I was a little girl, and those walls weren't painted with chalkboard paint.  Let's just say that my mom didn't appreciate the artistic value in my scribblings and drawings in the way that I thought she might.  Who am I kidding, I didn't think at all, I just drew!

Chalkboard paint is a great thing for budding graffiti artists children who like to create.  Or if you need an area for grocery lists and reminders, phone messages, or just a place to doodle, it's the ideal paint.

I recently painted an area in my teenage daughter's room with chalkboard paint.  I primed it first with magnetic paint.  I'm not an artist, so it's nothing special, but she really likes it.  It gives her a place to jot down her to-do list for the week and she can also attach photos or notes without having to put thumbtack holes in the wall.

I used Rustoleum Magnetic primer ($26.99/qt) and Benjamin Moore's chalkboard paint ($18.99/qt), purchased at Kittrell Paint and Wallpaper, where I happen to work 3 days a week.  The magnetic primer requires 3 coats, and the chalkboard paint recommends 2 or 3 coats.  Allow for drying time in between coats.  And no, I didn't realize when I was trying to make it into an interesting shape that it would resemble a violin.  As I said, I'm no artist, but I can paint walls and furniture decently.

There are so many other great uses for chalkboard paint, and I've got lots of them pinned on my pinterest page,  DIY ~ creative use of chalkboard paint.  These are not my pictures or projects, but are pins from various places throughout the internet. 

Click at the bottom on the pinterest button to visit the board, and then click on each photo to find out more info.

Here's just a few of my favorites:

So, are you inspired to paint something with chalkboard paint now?  I know I am.  I've just got to figure out which wall in my kitchen is about to become a doodle wall.  And I can't wait to paint my salvaged doors.

There are so many clever ways to use this stuff, where have you used it?

If you like my posts, I'd love it if you'd become a follower.  You can keep up with my latest projects, tutorials, photos and tips many ways, including:

Have a great weekend!


A Rose is a Rose; And a sneak peek

Valentine's day has come and gone again, but we've still got some beautiful roses at our house that the Mr. brought home to me and the girls.  He's such a romantic.  We each got a single long-stemmed rose and some candy.

I've been playing around with my photoshop light software this morning and getting my fix of photo-therapy, and wanted to share a few pics of the roses.  I've also got a sneak peek at a little paint project that I hope to complete this weekend.

It's hard to mess up a photo with something as beautiful as these.  

A closeup.  Beauty in nature.

I didn't have a good vase for them, but I kinda like the wine bottle.  

Another closeup.

And a sneak peek at a thrift store find I'm transforming with paint.  I hope to finish it this weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.  I know I always ask, but if you're new here and are not a follower already, please follow me or find me on facebook here.  I'm still a bit of a newbie at the blog thing and really appreciate support and kind words.

Have a great weekend!


Adventures in Baking ~ Valentine's m & m's blondies

I have loved to bake since I was a little girl.  Sugary, sweet goodness always makes me smile.  I don't bake very much these days because it seems like my backside gets bigger when I even think about eating sweets.  But on special occasions I still like to  get out the mixer and sifter and bake something sweet and sinful. 

Today I decided to make a recipe that I've had for several years that came from the cookbook of "The Charleston Cake Lady".  I modified it by leaving out the chocolate chips and walnuts, and replaced them with those cute valentine's m & m's.

I found the m & m's at Krogers.  How could you resist with him looking all seductive like that?

Mix the ingredients by hand.  Simple enough.

Spread the the pan.

Bake, remove from the oven, and let cool.  This is the really hard part.  :) making me wait.

The finished product.  These won't last long around here!

See?  They're disappearing already.  How did that happen?

The original recipe is fabulous, so I knew this one would be just as good.  These are chewy and yummy with the consistency of a brownie (but blonde) which is how I like my cookies.  The Mr. and the kids will hopefully eat most of them and keep my derriere from expanding any further than it already has.

Here's the recipe I used for these:

(The original recipe is called "chocolate chip chews")


1/2 cup margarine or sweet butter, melted (I used butter)
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, well beaten
2 cups self-rising flour, sifted
8 ounces m & m's
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13 x 9-inch pan.

In a medium bowl, stir the melted margarine or butter and brown sugar just until the sugar is evenly moistened.  Add the beaten eggs and mix well.  Stir in the sifted flour.  Add the vanilla extract.  Fold in the m & m's. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.  Cool in the pan, the cut into squares.


This is an easy recipe; one that you probably have the ingredients on hand for.

Have a wonderful weekend.  Thanks for stopping by!


p.s.  This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon.  
If you like my posts, I'd love it if you'd become a follower. You can keep up with my latest recipes, projects, tutorials, photos and tips many ways, including:

A visit to the Buckhorn Inn in the Great Smoky Mountains

See why we love the Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg, TN

Mission Organization: Family Command Center

It looks like it's going to be another gorgeous "winter" day here in the ridge.  The temp is supposed to get up to 63 degrees.  I think I can stand 6 more weeks of this!

First off, I just want to say a big thank you, thank you, thank you to all of my new followers.  I'm certainly not in this for the money, so all of the love and support is greatly appreciated!  I'm also on facebook, and if you want to follow me there, click here to go to my page.

One of the areas we've been trying to improve in around here is keeping up with everyone's schedule.  I just finished a little project that will hopefully help us with that.  And will also keep the kitchen island somewhat cleared off if I'm lucky.

The project started with a 48" x 48' bulletin board that I had picked up at a yard sale a year or so ago for $5.  I hadn't found the right spot for it until now.

Here's what it looked like when I bought it.  I laid it on a table (my next project) in the basement and painted the somewhat dinky frame that was on it.  I didn't like the frame even after I painted it, so I pried it off with my hammer and a 5-in-1 tool.  Easy enough.  Notice the ugly basement floor.  I recently painted a bedroom in our basement that was the blue and white version of this floor, and made it look like large tiles.  You can see the tutorial for it here.

After I took off the frame, I carried the bulletin board upstairs and covered it with burlap.  I tucked in the corners and attached it with my staple gun. 

I didn't mind the selvage edge showing, but I don't like the look of raw fabric edges and  turned them under before stapling.  Not that anyone else will ever see it or care, but I did it anyway.  It looked better that way. 

Next I added two sizes of ribbons and tacked them to the backside, then added picture hanging wire. I was finished with covering the board.  

The goal was to have places to jot down grocery needs, upcoming events for the week, and our weekly menu.  I attached to the board 3 dry-erase boards, a monthly calendar, and my favorite perpetual calendar that I've had for years. 

Our menu board.  I don't cook like this every week, but it makes my life so much easier if we've planned the menu together and I've shopped for the items.  This way, I don't even have to think about what to make for dinner when I get home, or wonder if I have the right ingredients.

I love this calendar.  I've had it for probably 10 or 15 years.  It never gets old to me.  I just have to remember to change the date every day.  The girls usually remember if I forget.  But sometimes the date mysteriously gets changed to November 22, regardless of the actual date.  I wonder if it's a coincidence that my youngest was born on that day???  It doesn't hurt to try, right?

Adding a mail rack was part of the project, too.  I found this one at T J Maxx.  I've seen similar ones in the Ballard catalog for about twice as much.

And I added the coolest basket to the bottom of it to toss junk mail into for recycling.

It's actually made from recycled newspaper!  How cool is that?  I saw it the other day at Marshall's and knew I had to have it.

Here's a few of the items I've "decorated" the board with.  It'll all change in a couple of weeks, of course.  I stole the metal letter "K" from our den bookcase and attached it with 2 screws. 

I don't really do much decorating for valentine's day.  So I stuck some of my Mary Engelbreit valentines on here for a little bit of fun.

Here's a shot of my cleaned off kitchen island.  This is about as clean as it gets.  

And my favorite coffee mug waiting for me.

This is totally unrelated to the project, but I had to share what was blooming in the front flower bed yesterday.  Beautiful crocuses. Looks like spring is coming early.  I don't care what the groundhog said yesterday.

Here's a quick rundown of what I spent on this project:

Bulletin board (already had it)  $5
2 yards of burlap fabric from $10.79, including shipping
3 Dry erase boards from Staples     $17.54 for all 3, including tax
Mail rack from TJ Maxx  $21.88, including tax
Recycle basket from Marshall's  $14.22
Ribbon from Hobby Lobby $4.18

I already had the picture hanging wire, staples and staple gun, and all of the other items I added to the board.

Total spent for family organization $68.61

It's totally worth every penny.  And a bargain compared to smaller burlap covered boards I've seen in catalogs for 2 or 3 times that, without the mail rack and other fun stuff!

I hope you have a great weekend.  Thanks for stopping by.

If you're new here, I'd love for you to follow along and see several other upcoming projects, including a stenciled chest of drawers, a new kitchen faucet, and much more.  You can follow here:
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