Decorating on a budget — THE SPRING FLIP



The wrought-iron, faded bench had been sitting on my front porch since the spring of 2007.

No one ever really sat on it for the fear of getting a splinter in their butt-cheek.

On occasion, I would toss a basket of flowers on the poor, sad, discolored bench, but it didn’t bring it to life.

And then came Pinterest.

I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. Some ideas are right up my crafty-alley. Others are just flops.

But as of lately, Pinterest and I are just simply getting along.

First came the wall of faces on my newly painted gray walls. It’s really a photo wall using a combination of white, black and darker gray frames that I refurbished from Good Will. For $10 I was able to buy eight different frames.

Next came the painted wine bottles with various words of encouragement. My favorite is the wine bottle that was at first going to end up in the trash after the white paint dried a bit too rough for my liking. But then I added a splash of gray paint over it and it resembles a newspaper with words “HOPE” and “INSPIRE” painted alongside the bottle. Those were wonderful Christmas presents.

And that leads us to spring, and my sad bench.

Well, the bench isn’t sad anymore.

Using old purple paint (from another project) stored in the basement, I painted the seats and then using my new favorite product – SPRAY PAINT – I painted the backside of the bench teal.

It is gorgeous and provides just enough color. It will soon be placed in my new flower garden where it will be surrounded by Shasta daisies and lavender plants.

Once I find a cute table to repaint, the flower garden will become my favorite spot in the yard to relax, read a book and sip a glass of vino.

It’s amazing how something old and tarnished can be refurbished to look like new.

All you need sometimes, is Pinterest … and old paint.



Channeling my inner ‘artist’ out of nowhere

New hobby

Something is seriously wrong with me. No, I’m not sick. I’m not depressed. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.

All three of my lovely children returned to school several weeks ago and all I want to do every single day is paint!

It started when my aunt gave me these two otherwise-blank very large canvasses. From May until the end of August, they sat in a corner of my room. Untouched, except for a few dust bunnies.

And then, BOOM, I decided to get creative.

I now have two large prints – of a pumpkin and snowmen (dear God, with lights hooked up in the background to reflect the snow) and six smaller prints.

What am I doing with these so-called paintings? Giving them away as birthday gifts. What else am I going to do with them?

Several “friends” have suggested I enter them into a craft show. That’s taking my talent a bit too far in my opinion. While my prints look cute, anyone can do them.

TRUST ME when I say anyone.

Because you see, 25 years ago, I stepped foot inside my first (and I think last) ART class in junior high. I didn’t want to take art any more than I wanted to take gym or home economics, but back in the day, schools wanted us to be “well-rounded” students. (Today, if you say the words, “Home Economics” out loud, in say, a high school, people will look at you as if you grew a second head.)

Back to my art class. I sucked. And I’m pretty sure my teacher knew I sucked too. At one point all students were “selected to have their art displayed” in the high school-level art show. I got the pity vote. My piece represented a self-portrait. Obviously, my mom didn’t save that piece of work, but it’s forever stashed away in my memory bank – mostly because it was so awful. I had two different levels of hair – trying to represent it longer on one side, with the other side tucked behind my ear. And try drawing “feathered” bangs … that was a joke. My eyes were two different sizes, but both had the correct amount of blue eye shadow. My lips were crooked, but had just enough lipstick to make them look like human lips rather than ape-lips. My neck was too long on one side and shorter on the other. I also made sure I drew some ears so I could add a touch of plastic-hoop earrings.

I was a hot mess. I remember seeing this horrid self-portrait, thinking to myself, “God, Melissa, don’t ever major in ART, EVER …”

So, to my art teacher, Mr. Witteborg, I just wanted you to know that while I still cannot for the life of me draw a person, I can damn well draw random pumpkins, snowflakes and snowflakes. So, how about you can go back into the grading system from 25 years ago and change my C to like a B now? Thanks, I appreciate it!

Children are destructive creatures

Children are destructive creatures – specifically, mine.
Since moving into our home in BFE, my husband has made several improvements.
He painted all the rooms, except the massive living room/hallway. He even painted the basement bathroom in OSU colors.
We have re-carpeted three bedrooms.
Then the twins came along.
Since they have been born, they have added a bit of “art” to our house.
For example, did you know that white front doors make a GREAT art canvas? The best part … she used permanent marker.
My husband had to paint the front door.
The permanent markers are now in a cupboard, on the top shelf.
Also, stickers are everywhere. They adore my “work filing cabinet;” the twins’ craft table; her play kitchen; and on occasion, I find them on my kitchen counters and bedroom doors. About 80 percent of the time, the stickers are stuck on surfaces that I can use my fingernail and pluck them off. However, my filing cabinet is not one of those surfaces. Until the day I pitch the ugly 1980 beige cabinet, I will forever be staring at stickers with the following sayings: “Guiding Eyes for the Blind;” “Super Star;” and my favorite (clearly theirs too) … “Easter Seals.”
My daughter has far-exceeded a sticker “collector.” She is now a sticker HOARDER.
Let’s move on to the interior walls.
As I sit here, typing this in what will one day be our “formal dining room” I am reminded that I have years to go before I will allow this room to be transformed.
A few years ago, I introduced the twins to pencils.
That was my downfall.
They used them on the wall.
And yes, I know that Mr. Clean has a Magic Eraser, but you see, the people who lived here before us used the cheapest paint ever made. Therefore, when I use Mr. Clean’s eraser, it not only removes the pencil, but the paint as well.
So, until we actually paint this room, which leads into the living room, I am stuck looking at random scribbles on the wall.
Speaking of random … here’s another activity my kids love to par-take in during every season. I am calling it “Let’s Make Mom Go Crazy by Taking Her Utensils.”
Yes, I do not own a set of nice silverware. That’s because they use spoons and other various “baking utensils” for outside recreation (think winter-time soup made with snow and spring-time mud pies), as well as bath time. Perhaps they are working on their cooking skills at a young age … which I guess I should commend since I still can hardly make a toasted cheese sandwich without burning it to a crisp.
They also love to “borrow” my pots and pans, and serving dishes. I find these random objects in all the toy bins. And, when I find several in one spot, it’s like I found buried treasure!
So, gone are the days when I am able to blame my husband for doing dumb things around the house, or even my oldest son.
Until the twins are at least 10, I am just using my “Mom Blinders” and ignoring the “decorative touches” around my house.