How often do I think how well “I” did something… how well “I” (add most anything). 
The truth is, I’ve had many mentors in life that encompass many aspects of my life…those people who came alongside me to encourage and guide me and, in the name of honesty, there were moments a 2×4 was called for up side of my skull (figuratively speaking, of course)…or a palm laid firmly across my backside (not so figuratively speaking). By the way, parents of a very stubborn, strong-willed child have very strong palms.  I digress.

We all have mentors…people who encourage us, inspire us to kick it up a notch, challenge us to take leaps of faith, guide and teach us.  We have them for all areas of our lives.  Parents, siblings, God, pastors, friends. If we ever feel like God’s left us on our own, we only need to look for those He placed in our lives to move us forward…upward. Sometimes they stretch out a hand to pull us up…sometimes they fall in step beside us…sometimes they jog backward in front of us saying, “Oh, yes you can!”

Here are three women who’ve mentored me, encouraged me beyond measure and helped me come to a place where I actually believe I can turn my home and property into beauty without breaking the bank.  Surprisingly, we have never met and have never talked or communicated personally though we are “in touch” daily via their DIY blogs. They don’t even know the impact they’ve had on me. There are many DIY blogs I follow, but these three made me believe I could DIY.

Big Boy Room

It all started when I stumbled across a DIY blog by Sarah, Thrifty Decor Chick, a couple of years or so ago. Located in the Mid-West, this woman didn’t fear power tools or pounding nails into already beautiful walls (uhmmm…I’m not there yet about the pounding nails into walls – I start to twitch thinking about it.  Yeah, I’m fearless like that). She could take a mudpie and turn it into a work of art if you gave her one. She inspires me to look outside of my “box” and see things with an imagination that is slowly coming back to life. She is truly thrifty, not someone who sends you out to purchase stuff out of budget, but shows you how to substitute less expensive products for high-end, lasting projects. Molding?  This girl knows her stuff and makes it look easy! And if Sarah does recommend a particular item or brand, I don’t have to second guess if it’s great or not…it is. Even though she may stage her home for pictures of her projects, she is equally honest that her house is not always in perfect condition. Sarah even has those “fail” projects and is humble enough to let us readers know what didn’t work and why. If you’re looking to refresh or update your interior, please drop in and visit her.

Ana’s Plans

Now that the door had been opened to a whole new world, I started checking out others.  The next one I ran across was Ana White (Ana-White). This was like a little kid’s perfect Christmas morning! Sarah was helping me decide how to update and make my mark on my home inside; Ana was about to teach me how to build furniture (and more) for both inside and out! No more drooling over really expensive outdoor dining sets or bed frames! Ana and her husband built their home in interior Alaska from the ground up while living with a newborn in the garage area. Ana wanted nice furniture to complement her home and threw her fear of power tools to the wind and started to make furniture out of leftover wood from the build. She posts detailed, yet simple to understand, plans. People who use her plans also post their “version” on her blog. Currently, Ana and Ram (that’s how we know her husband) are currently building “The Momplex” – an incredible duplex so each of their moms will have a really warm, safe and secure home to live out their lives for many, many years. If you are looking for a less expensive way to have incredible furniture or how to make a great raised garden bed or whatever your heart fancies, visit Ana. Oh! And while you’re there, view the incredible majesty of interior Alaska through Ana’s photography.

The Liberty House

I next “met” Kit (DIY Diva) who is also somewhere in the Mid-West. Seriously,  I couldn’t resist her tag line: Bridging the Gap Between Woman and Power Tool Wielding Badass One Project At A Time. I have to wonder if she was a stubborn, strong-willed child.  This woman just bought an old 1800’s classic, brick farmhouse on acres of land that has 2 or 3 barns as well and is now busy crossing the bank’s “to do” items off the list to get her money out of escrow (stinking appraiser).  As of the most recent post, she spent some time asleep in the middle of the master bedroom floor while being abducted by aliens painting due to exhaustion (she also holds down a full time job in addition to revamping The Liberty House) and then a couple of hours hanging out on top of the future miniature donkey barn (yes, I did say “miniature donkey barn”) convincing herself that she needed roof jacks before tackling a new roof on the barn (stinking appraiser). Kit has previously renovated/built two other houses and wields power tools like I wield cooking utensils! About a year ago she got her contractor’s license….because she could. Her sense of humor is priceless. Her ability to do … well, it seems about anything, is infectious (she’s even ready for a zombie attack). I would have to say that Kit is responsible for fully reigniting the “I can do anything” streak in me.  Her fault, my friends…and you thought I’d mellowed out. Take it out on her and no, I do not plan to build a barn…maybe a good sized shed. I can trust Kit’s judgement about tools, no questions, no doubt. (I also trusted her about winter boots…now I’m good to about 40-60 below.) If you want to install anything, this is the girl to visit. If you need to replace just about anything (windows, doors, floors, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.), this is the girl to visit…if you want to do it yourself.  Kit’s also very honest about when to call a professional in like when all else fails. Now, it’s time to check out that sliding compound miter saw she convinced me was a must have.  Yep…her fault.

So go visiting. They’d love to have you! You won’t leave them without new ideas, inspiration and dreams. And dreams are a necessity!


Rainy Day (No Paint Fumes) and a Bench Pt 3

Finally, the wrought iron garden bench is done….well almost.  It still needs to be moved from my dining room to the yard!  Remember this poor thing?

Poor Thing
Cousin Deb graciously agreed to come over and help put her back together and now Poor Thing looks like this!
Not So Shabby Now!
Screwdrivers create great marks!
Did some marking & measuring.
Steady Back!
The back was reframed and secured using the original 1/2 inch screws and new washers.
A few nuts, washers and bolts
The seat boards are secured with 1.5 inch long 1/4 inch machine screws with nuts & washers to fit.
Finished  (Unsteady) Seat

A finished seat….but quite unsteady!
Together again!
A few more machine screws to add the back to the seat and TAH-DAH! Fit for family & friends!
Now to get her moved outside! I’m hoping Ryan, when he comes to take off my storm door tomorrow, will take pity be kind and help me move it out of the dining room! And yes, it really was raining…again…torrential downpour with thunder and awesome lightening!

Funky Pots

Finally, a chance to show you the Funky Flower Pots for next Spring!  My cousin, Janine, blessed me with a couple of plastic, fake terracotta pots. I promptly sprayed them with Krylon Fusion for Plastic in white satin and let them cure for a week or so.

Very fake looking terracotta!

So long, farewell……

Hmm…..very fake looking white pots!
A slight improvement.

Let’s add some “Funky”! I decided on horizontal stripes. First I had to measure multiple times around each pot to have straight stripes! Okay…say “straight stripes” 5 times in a row! I had no plan for the size and just randomly decided on the spacing and duplicated on both.  Nice summer nail polish, too!

Then the taping begins. The Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape worked well. I only ended up with a couple of “drips” where I didn’t pay attention to sealing the edges well.

All taped….almost! After taking this picture I added one more strip on the upper side.  Then it was time to spray, spray, spray! For the stripes I chose a medium gray by Krylon Fusion for Plastic in gloss to add some dimension.

And here the pretty ladies are! Just waiting for Spring to arrive!

Picture from Wikipedia

Currently, the plan is to fill with bright, dramatic coleus and lime potato vine which will cover the drips.  Love the tri-color in the lower right corner and the lime/burgundy right above it! May add some bright pink flowers underneath as well!

We’ll see what next Spring brings! I’m guessing they’ll look good with the pallet table!

This week’s plan is for the storm door to finally come off and get painted. This project has been frustrated multiple times by the crazy weather here. And hopefully the bench will finally get put together! Now for the rain to pass through and the sun to shine!

Busy Bee & A Wedding

Hey, Everyone! It’s been a bit hectic the past few weeks trying to get projects done, an unexpected, but welcome house guest, a wedding to photograph and time to just breathe! All while working around either intense heat & humidity or rain!

Bride’s Rule #1
Feed the Bride’s Entourage!

First up is Amanda & Taylor’s outdoor wedding! 4 p.m. on an August afternoon that was running about 90 degrees and felt like 90 percent humidity! Let me walk you through the day with the bride!

Nails & Hair

Bride’s Rule #2 – Put the Entourage to Work!

And more hair! This girl has HAIR!
…Rule #2 took a very long time. Wedding at 4 p.m. …just starting about 1:30 p.m.  See where this is going?
“Is she here yet?”

Meanwhile, down at the sight of the ceremony, the Groom is sweating it out as the Bride is late! Looks like he had a quick nip!

“We’re good!”

But the Best Man assures us all is well…as long as the Groom remains sitting. No, he wasn’t tipsy from a nip, but had a few shakes due to nerves the excitement!

“Who’s here?”
Ahhhh…Bride’s Rule #3….Scope it all out when you arrive to be sure your guests and photographer haven’t passed out from the heat!
All the Beautiful Girls

One quick pic before THE MOMENT arrives!

“I’m the Announcer!  Really?”

Okay…a few quick pics while waiting for the guests to move out of the shade and into the sunny backyard!

Father & Daughter
And it’s a GO!  About time! No more rules!

Mr & Mrs. Taylor Salva

And they ended up like this!  A new family has formed!

“I’m so cool!”

And the Bride had this beautiful smile for the rest of the night except when she danced the Father/Daughter dance!

Yes, it was a brutally hot and humid day, even on the shore, but every minute was worth it to be a part of this girl’s wedding day. She holds a special place in my heart and may they receive their hearts’ desires!  To end, here’s a pic from the private home where they were married. We are so blessed to live with such beauty!

Backyard View!
(I’d never make it to work!)

I’ll be back with updates on the Funky Flower Pots and the Garden Bench! Looking good!