DIY Horseshoe Shaped Natural Wheat Fall Wreath

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I started decorating the farmhouse for fall this week.  Yeah, I know. I can hear some of you groaning...

                                                                                                                     even through the computer.

Now that my youngest is back at college, it feels like fall to me. When you take the fact that I'm back to being an empty-nest'er and add to it the chance that I won't have a front door or a front porch to decorate by the time the season actually rolls around, it makes perfect sense that I made a  horseshoe shaped wheat wreath and hung it on my door today.

                                                                                                                 It does, doesn't it?!

Black and Gray Painted Dresser : Webster's Challk Paint Powder

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Webster's Painted Furniture Chalk Paint Powder DIY Tutorial Black and Gray Painted Dresser by

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited by my sweet friends at Restyle to try a product that they carry called Webster's Chalk Paint Powder. I had a dresser that needed a makeover and I had decided on black and gray. I wanted to use a chalk finish paint but I didn't really want to purchase two quarts of paint because I knew that I really only needed a couple of cups of paint or less.

Fresh Peach Galette (Rustic Peach Tart)

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Fresh Peach Galette Simple Rustic French Tart

I love French food.  There's something about the sound of the words that makes everything sound fancy...and delicious. Take for example, today's recipe: Peach Galette. It's made with Pate Brisee.'s French.  Doesn't it sound fancy and like it would take some special culinary skill to make it?

                                                                                                                     Well, it 's not...and it doesn't.

DIY Updates: Glass Mosaic Tile Kitchen Backsplash and Marble Tile Fireplace Surround

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Since so many of you asked, today I'm sharing the after photos of the five day whirlwind renovation of the first floor of my sister's home. In less than a week, we installed a new marble face on her fireplace surround and a glass mosaic tile backsplash in her kitchen. We also painted three rooms, updated her kitchen cabinet hardware and reconfigured her laundry room storage.  Here's the recap:

While it wasn't the original focus of  my visit, we ended up doing several small projects in the kitchen including updating the hardware on the cabinets, installing new mosaic glass back splash tile and painting the green beveled edge and green laminate counter tops using a really cool product made by Rustoleum.

The countertop paint worked great on the beveled edge but we had some problems with streaking on the island and she'll probably end up replacing that counter top with a solid surface material. The good news is that she won't have to replace the rest of the counters in the kitchen until she's ready.

The glass backsplash tile was installed using premixed mastic tile cement which was applied with a trowel. Cutting the tile was easy using a hand held glass tile cutter and my wet saw.  We used electric box extenders to move the electric outlets flush with the surface of the new tile and grouted with non-sanded grout mixed with a stain blocking additive that will help to keep the grout clean.

We also primed and painted the kitchen walls in washable matte paint Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray. I don't have any "before" photos, but the walls were a dark tomato red and warm beige prior to painting.

The laundry room was a relatively quick makeover to resolve several functional issues.

It originally contained a sink which had not been used in  twenty years other than as a storage space for buckets and cleaning cloths. Since the laundry is next to the kitchen, there is a sink readily available should she need one. 

The laundry sink was removed and the pipes were capped so that we could install a floor to ceiling storage cabinet  (18 x 92 inches found for 80% off in the "scratch and dent" section at the Home Depot) which provides reachable shelves to hold cleaning and laundry supplies with upper storage for things that she doesn't use often.

The ceiling got a fresh coat of white paint and the walls were painted with matte finish paint in Copley Gray to cover some  long ago  sponge painting.

 The flooring is the same Armstrong solid surface laminate that was installed in the kitchen and mudroom to allow for continuity between the rooms. After the cabinet was in place, we installed a heavy oak closet rod to provide nearly six feet of hanging space which eliminated the need for the floor rack and freed up the floor space immediately in front of the dryer.

And finally, last but certainly not least...the real reason why I went to my sister's to help: installing new marble on the front of her family room fireplace:

With the family room carpet scheduled to be replaced in a much more neutral shade of gray-beige, my sister knew that the green marble tile on the front of the fireplace was no longer going to look appropriate. When she came to visit me in  mid-July, we went to a local tile supplier in my area and chose new 24 x 12 inch marble tiles.

My sister and her family removed the green tile and the wood trim from the front of the surround before I arrived which meant that all we had to do during my visit was to cut, install and grout the new tile.

Since I had a relatively new tile saw that I purchased when I repaired the tile at the apartment, I thought that we were all set.  In hindsight, if we had rented a saw that was meant to cut larger tiles, it would have been much easier. (My saw is made for up to 8 x 8 inch tiles so there was some creativity involved in making it work on the larger tiles.)

I still can't believe that we accomplished all of this in five days with trips for paint and supplies and me working my "real job" from her home during the process! Sure, it was crazy and the entire first floor of her house was a danger zone for a week but then, suddenly, it was complete and it looks like a new home!  As a side benefit, we had so much fun installing the marble on the fireplace and the mosaic glass backsplash that I recruited my sister to help me with the tile at the farmhouse when the time comes!

DIY Industrial Pipe Shelves for the Apartment: A Tutorial

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Last weekend, we finished the last of the projects at my son's apartment, we built industrial pipe shelves for his living room wall. The shelving was made of 1/2 inch black gas pipe and fittings with 1x10 pine shelves which were stained dark using General Finishes Java Gel Stain and Gel Top Coat to match the doors in the apartment.