The Finished Kitchen

Nothing to say, just lots of pics of the kitchen of my dreams. Since it’s been about 6 months since we’ve finished, I wanted to let you know how things have held up.

The countertops: Still looking great. We’ve been conscientious about keeping them wiped, but we have gotten up the next day to see some wine there from the night before. It’s cleaned right up. When I cook anything that might splash oil, I cover the countertop near the stove with a cloth, just to be on the safe side. Our kitchen gets a lot of use, and I can honestly say the concrete looks as good as it did the day we finished. I need to re-grout, though, because that’s not looking so good. The gap was pretty big between the countertops and tile, so the grout is cracking. I’m going to chip it out and just add some to the concrete that we used for the bathroom walls and then re-seal.

Butcher block: Another win. It’s probably time to re-oil them, but they still look almost pristine. It doesn’t get as much use as the concrete, but it is used. I’ve found a few wine rings on it, but they wipe off with just a whisper of a ring left. After a while, you can’t even tell.

Floors: They’ve held up about as well as I expected. I’m going to wax them again soon.

Seat cushions: I had the lowest expectations for these. Too many little bottoms and feet on and off of them, I thought. Surprisingly, they still look ok, which is a relief because the fabric was kind of expensive, especially when you add in the vinyl and batting. Hopefully they will continue to hold up.

Paint: Walls and cabinets look ok, but the screws and hinges are showing some wear.























So, what do you think? Should I move on to show the bathroom redo, or take a renovation break and show you what we did for the wedding?

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Back to the Kitchen

Well, I really dropped the ball, didn’t I? Of course I thought I could blog, take a couple of trips, redo part of my house and host a rehearsal dinner, all while making whatever was needed that came up for a wedding. Of COURSE I did. You can see how successful that was. I was a little more successful on the other fronts. The house is “finished”, the quotations marks meaning as finished as it could get and not look unfinished to the casual eye. We are going to leave it like a game of I Spy and if you come over to my house and find the things we haven’t gotten to (and may not until after Christmas), then good for you. The rehearsal dinner was a success, but you’ll have to take my word for it. I have very few pictures except for the ones a sweet friend took when I shoved my camera into her hands. My goal was to be in the moment, but the photographer in me is DYING that I didn’t take more pics. Being in the moment may be a little over rated if you’re the kind of person who likes to relive the moment time after time. Lesson learned.

SO…back to the kitchen. I thought posting the progress a little at a time would keep me on track, but it hasn’t. Sorry this has taken so long, but I’m gonna finish this! After all the floor/wall/cabinet stuff was done, the stuff I had my heart set on was going up. I had 4 things that weren’t necessary and/or maybe a little overpriced, but what I wanted to make the kitchen my dream kitchen. One was a pot filler. At about $100, it wasn’t a great buy, but that price was on the low end and I really wanted one. I call it kitchen jewelry. Not necessary, but it fancied things up. Another was the chimney vent hood. The one we had worked ok, but not great, and I hated the microwave built in. Instead of going the less expensive hood route, we did the chimney. It required tearing out cabinets and adding more tile, but so worth it in looks.


The other thing I wanted that could have been accomplished with less $$ was the tile. I had my heart set on marble subway. There was other stuff that would have given me a similar look, but saving bucks on doing the work ourselves made paying the extra for the tile I wanted a little more palatable.



My hands were cramped for days.

The last thing on my list of must-haves was wallpaper.  I really wanted a vintage, period appropriate wallpaper but found it impossible to find one I liked or could afford. I had used Spoonflower to make fabric before and they make wallpaper, too, so I decided to design my own. Freeing and yet stressful.  I used a tablecloth pattern as my inspiration. I did a screenshot and opened it in Photoshop to edit. I changed the colors to match the kitchen, repeated the pattern and saved it as a jpeg. I then uploaded it to the website and order it in a wallpaper. That easy *sarcasm*. It took hours and hours and HOURS to get the color, size and pattern repeat just right. I thought my eyes were going to fall out of my head.  After all that work, I decided that I should go ahead and order fabric, too, to cover the banquet seats.  I can’t tell you how happy that made me.


wallpaper on the inside of the buffet cabinets.


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After sewing the fabric end to end, matching the pattern, I ironed on a vinyl covering. I also added iron on interfacing to the inside of the fabric to give it more strength. The seat was made of plywood, I added a foam cushion, covered that with batting and the fabric and, ta-da!, covered seating.

The last 2 element of the kitchen were the lighting. There are 3 lights in the kitchen. One is an old one. Maybe original but I’m not sure. The other 2 were cheap Home Depot kits that the previous owners threw up there just to have something.  I found an old one for over the sink at Old Home Supply. I had a vintage fixture in my utility room that I loved, so I moved that one into the kitchen and painted the other old one over the table to match. Not bad if I do say so myself.


I picked this up years ago at a flea market. I had it in the utility room but moved it into the kitchen.


Original (?) fixture


painted to match the floral fixture

So, I think that’s it. Kitchen is finished. Next, the finished product!

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And the Winner is…

Thanks for so much interest in the Give Away! So much fun for me and, hopefully, for you. I used to pick the winners. Vicki Horton, you get first choice and Chris Liddle, you get second. Make sure I have your physical address and I’ll be shipping (or carrying) your goodie to you.  Tell me, do you think another attic clean out or maybe some of my fabric stash or wedding leftovers? What interests you????

This is the last post about the update process. Next will be the pics of the final results. I can’t wait to show you!




 After *squeal*

I posted earlier about my desire for some wallpaper. I know wallpaper itself is kinda 90’s, but I love the vintage stuff and had been looking at various sites for years. No way could I afford the real stuff, unless I found some cache in a barn somewhere and no one knew what it was worth. I looked at some reproductions, but still couldn’t find or afford what I wanted.  Then I remembered that sold wall paper and even made custom wallpaper. I had made custom fabric there before and was happy with it, so I thought I’d give it a try. Perfection would not be overstating it. I looked thru Google images until I found a vintage tablecloth pattern I liked. I took a screenshot and opened it in Photoshop. From there I cut and pasted the particular components I liked and then changed the colors to match my paint. I duplicated the grouping of patterns and repeated it a few times. I then made sure the resolution was large enough to produce a sharp enough image. I uploaded it to Spoonflower and ordered enough for the back of the buffet.  I loved my pattern so much that I tweaked it a bit, making the pattern a little bigger, and made fabric with it, too. I used the fabric to cover the banquette seats.

The reason I wanted the bench seating was to fit more baby bottoms around the table. Since my grandkids aren’t as concerned about controlling messes as I, fabric cushions weren’t the way I intended to go. After deciding on my pattern for the wallpaper, I ordered the fabric, too, and used fabric laminate to protect it. I’d used it before for another project so had some experience using it. The hardest part was matching the pattern when I pieced it together. Being able to design your own fabric is wonderful, but it’s not cheap. My tightwad-itude and poor math skills often lead to disaster. Very often. This time though, I look brilliant, or at least very lucky. I matched the pattern, sewed it together and then laminated it, having only a few inches left.

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The same luck held out hanging the wallpaper. I truly forgot about pattern matching when I ordered, but I think they factor it in when they estimate your needs. I REALLY didn’t want to order another whole roll for a few inches. There might be a place or two that have random squares of wall paper that don’t match up, but I was smart (lucky) enough to strategically place them.

Aside from the light above my sink (I got it for $20 at a home demolition place), both lights were recycled from my house. The light above the table was original to the house (I was told) and the other was something I picked up in at Warrington a few years ago and had in my utility room. Who knew it was just waiting to be promoted to the kitchen?


Before and after

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Before and after

I repainted the chandelier to mimic the style of the other light. It took a pretty good soak and scrubbing in the bathtub to get rid of the decades of grime that had accumulated. Regular almond and metallic spray paint took care of the makeover.

The tile was probably the most expensive part of the renovation. Not ridiculously, but it could have cost less. I knew I wanted something light and I have always been partial to subway tile. We did a cute mini tile at Meg’s so I didn’t want to do the same. My heart longed for marble, but I had a hard time justifying the extra cost when a regular white tile could do the trick. I was finally convinced (thanks Meg and Kenny) to get what I wanted. I don’t plan on doing this again and I didn’t want to look at it for 50 more years with regret. I cannot tell you how much I love it. I love, love, love, LOVE it!



A couple of other things  were not totally necessary but we thought it might add value to the house. One was a chimney vent. It looks so great and we found one at a reasonable price on Amazon. The other was a pot filler, kitchen jewelry that says “Hey, I’m a serious cook” without a really high cost. We added a new faucet which was less fancy than the one we had, but it went better with the feel of the kitchen. I also bought a farm sink at the home demolition resale place. She’s a beauty, I tell you. The original sink was still in good shape and I was completely satisfied with it, but it couldn’t be undermounted. If you are in need of an almost 90 year old cast iron kitchen sink, I’ve got a deal for you!

So, there you have it. A complete redo, done in 2 months completely DIY on a very limited budget. Marriage intact, family still speaking and everything is functional. Let’s see if the luck holds out for the bathroom with are finishing up.


Tile all finished. This is a good look at the floor as I was staining it. I don’t know why I couldn’t find this picture for the last post.

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World’s Longest Yard Sale Give Away

Photo Aug 06, 2 44 49 PM

A lifetime of garage sale-ing, thrifting, Canton and 3 years of making my pilgrimage to this most exciting sale-a-thon have resulted in a cache of vintage greatness. Some might call it junk but you know what they say about one man’s trash….

If you enjoy old things, my attic looks like the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin. Treasures untold, for sure. My husband, the firefighter, says that if the house catches on fire, he pities the guys who have to put it out. This has worked to my advantage with the wedding/rehearsal dinner planning. Need 9 large frames to make chalk boards? Got ’em right here. A dozen silver pieces to make table arrangements? 40 linen napkins? Enough brooches to make a bouquet? A Victorian couch? Check, check and check. But when I was posting recently and referred back to the previous trips, I noticed that some of the things I’d gotten hadn’t even made it out of the box. An embarrassment of riches.

So, following my daughter’s sage advice, I am giving a couple of things away. If this goes well, maybe I can do it often and clean out my attic. It can be like my Tom Sawyer-ish way of cleaning out my flower beds using my neighborhood forum. “Free phlox for the digging!” Folks came running, I tell you.  This might even work for all the post wedding stuff I’ll have on hand… hmmmm. I want  my things to go to a good home, though, and I figure my friends here in the internets will provide that.

This is what’s going:



Square vintage tablecloth, red and purple flowers, circa 1950? No holes, a couple of light stains that should come out (I’ll tell you how), hem is frayed in a couple of areas, typical of use. Approx. 50×50. I say approximately because all I did was hold it up to me and it didn’t come to the top of my 60 inch frame.


Item #2


5 antique bottles. I LOVE these, but I bought  boxes (yes, plural) full and don’t need dozens and dozens of bottles. I thought these were  interesting and I like the mix. Green Duraglas bottle, circa 1920. Small clear Gebhardt Eagle Chili powder bottle, also from the ’20’s. 2 clear medicine bottles, narrow throat, cork instead of screw top, no markings but with some nice iridescence going on.  Tall brown, ribbed, screw top medicine bottle with lid and what appears to be remnants of the medicine still in the bottle 🙂

You can see both of these things here when they held such promise but were quickly forgotten. I’m still looking for the crocheted grape tablecloth. I had planned on giving it away, as well as the game board, but I can’t find either. Oops.

So, here’s the deal if you want to be gifted with one of the goodies.  First, follow this blog.  Then share this post, or pin something from this or any of my other posts for extra entries. Leave a comment for EACH thing you did and I’ll enter your name for each one.  I’m headed out to get the grands today to bring them back, but let’s say I’ll pick a winner and post it Sunday night. First person gets their choice of 1 item, second person gets the other. How does that sound? Since I’ve never done anything like this before, I’ve no experience with giveaway etiquette, but I promise there will be no shenanigans. Any advice would be appreciated 🙂



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The Floors

Photo Feb 27, 4 30 47 PM

Back to the kitchen for a bit. Redoing the floors was not on the radar when we started, but it’s the same thing that happens when you change anything in a room. One thing needs to be fixed and then the other problems stand out like a sore thumb. Pretty soon you are redoing an entire room just because you changed a door knob. Well, when we started talking about walls and cabinets, the floors wanted their day in the sun. I took a good look at them and agreed. The holes in the wood and the scratches made me embarrassed for every previous time I had had anyone over. I grabbed the wood fill and a hand sander and got to work. EVERYTHING I read about refinishing a hardwood floor said it was a difficult, time consuming job that required renting a powerful sander that sucked up the dust as it sanded. Then you had to carefully stain and topcoat with a polyurethane. Really?? How hard can it be???  Don’t believe it. In a pinch, it can be done 4 nights before a party, and it only took that many days because I had to let the wood filler dry. Now, perhaps the floor won’t endure the traffic of thousands of feet, both human and dog, for a dozen years, but I say it was so easy, I can do it every few years and won’t mind. Also, my house was already a mess so a little more dust wasn’t going to bother me.

The above picture (sorry it’s so awful. I guess taking pictures with your phone at 10 pm after working on the floors all evening isn’t the way to get award winning shots) was taken after I had filled gaps and holes between and in the wood. What started out as one noticeable hole grew to almost the entire floor. I had to make myself stop. After letting the fill dry for a couple of days, I sanded down the dried putty and the rest of the floor. It only took a couple of hours. Then we had to cover it up and work on paint, etc., so things were put off for a while. When it was time to turn my attention back, that delay came back to haunt me.

I deliberated forever in the aisles of Home Depot. Oak or Walnut? Red tint or yellowish??? Since I couldn’t bring my floor in to match, I had to rely on a picture from my phone. The stain sample display was juuuuust high enough that I couldn’t really see it. I think we ended up buying 2 different colors and mixing up a concoction ourselves which will surely come back to haunt us when we need to touch up. When the excruciating color decision had been made, I went home and I vacuumed, swiffed, swept and mopped. Then did it again. The floor had to be REALLY clean. Finally I started staining. SCARY!! Turns out it’s much easier than the actual stain choosing!

After wiping the stain on in a small area with an old cotton rag, I simply wiped it off. Easy as that. When the floor was all done, I gave it another wipe and let it dry. Maybe it took an hour to do the whole room. Easy, I tell you. The next day, it was time to put a protective coat on it. The only thing I knew to do was polyurethane for a protective finish. It’s smelly, expensive and takes some time. None of those are on my list of likes.  Worst of all, our timing was off. After buying the expensive, stinky poly, it said it had to cure 2 days to walk on it and a week to be protective (or something like that). We had less than 48 hours. A conundrum, I tell you. Do I leave an unprotected floor or do I seal it and tell people to walk softly?  I then asked myself that question that so many of us do when faced with life decisions…What would Laura do?  What would Laura Ingalls Wilder do way back in the day before there was even poly? That did not provide the enlightenment that it usually does, so I move it up a few decades and thought, what about June Cleaver? Then it hit me, PASTE WAX! It protects and seals, can be put on with a rag, for goodness sakes, and is CHEAP! Kenny ran to the store and got some. I applied it and buffed it out with his sander (with buffing attachment, not the sanding thingy) and in less than 2 hours and I had a nice, shiny floor that would hold up to the party traffic.

It’s been 5 months and it still looks good. I’d say great, but with all the bathroom renovation in the room next door, it’s pretty dusty right now. When all the dust clears, my guess it that we are going to have to wax again. I don’t mind, though. I think I prefer the satin look of the wax to the gloss of poly and I love that isn’t that much harder than mopping the floor.

Back to the topic of the WLYS. I’ve picked out a couple of things from last year’s sale that never made the rotation into the house. I’m gonna take some pics and post them and you can pick what you want if you are the lucky winner. I’ll try to get them up tomorrow.

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World’s Longest Yard Sale ’14


My Philco radio already at home in my kitchen with my red diamond tea (Diet Coke) glass.

The first week in August for the last 3 years has been like Christmas for me. Just like the last two years, here and here, I made my list and had my fingers crossed that I would find the vintage goods/antiques/junk that I felt my year of good behavior warranted. My list was heavy on things I needed for the rehearsal dinner I am hosting in October. This year did not disappoint.

We left a day earlier this year. Instead of driving all day on Wed. for the opening day on Thursday, we left Tuesday afternoon and drove to Memphis for the night. That left only 5 hours to Jamestown, where it all started. My travel partner this year, Donna, was a first timer. She will definitely be on the travel roster in the future, whether she wants to go or not! Having just sold her antique shop, which she had worked in for 25 years, she was a wealth of information and knowledge. Lori, my travel partner the last 2 years had planned to go, but 2 new grandchildren in 6 weeks had left her with new grandma brain. After texting me that she could get off work early the next day to leave, I replied that I hoped she meant today and not tomorrow. Nope, she meant tomorrow. Got her days mixed up and there was NO CHANCE  of her getting off. Bless her heart, she was pretty upset, and I really wanted her to go, but what do you do? Shop on, my friends, you shop on. Did I mention we were going in her car? Soooo, at 3:30, it was decided that I would take the Fofo (as my kids refer to my Ford Focus). The car was unloaded, Donna culled down her luggage to about half and we took off. 8 hours of chit chat made the drive feel like 2 and we were in Memphis in no time.

We left Memphis around 9 and when we got on Hwy 127 (the entire sale is held on this highway, from Alabama to Michigan),  we started seeing sales immediately. Our plan to head to Jamestown first lost its wheels. I was powerless to stop the pull of tents filled with old stuff and my cohort wasn’t any stronger.  We parked, jumped out, hearts pounding and breathing fast, and headed for the goodies. I think we could have shopped there all day, spent all our money and filled the car, and then gone home. Lots and lots of wonderful stuff. Some prices were  “dealer” prices, but there were plenty of things that were more than reasonable. I wish I still needed vintage kitchen tablecloths, ’cause there were tons for $10 each.  I ended up with a Fenton hobnail vase, candle sticks, a box of coffee cups and saucers, and some napkins. The last 3 things were wedding oriented, the vase was for me 🙂 I saw some chairs I wanted, but weighed the want/need against space/money, and I decided to leave them (foreshadowing here). After a few hours, we headed to Jamestown. It was a little anticlimactic after all the shopping we had already done and because it was around 5, folks were starting to shut down. We finished up and Donna found a place that was a farm to table in Byrdstown, TN where we had dinner. A wonderful way to end the first day.

That night, I was looking at hash tagged pics on Instagram of the sale and saw a chair, exactly like the ones I had seen earlier, but decoupaged with a map. SO CUTE! Now I wanted those chairs with all my heart!!!! Donna said we could go back the next morning, but I didn’t want to revisit. Our plan was to start farther south and then work north, so were were going to have to drive by anyway, and maybe we could take a peek if that happened. I wanted to stop at a place in Crossville that had tin marquee letters. I had seen them the year before, but wedding plans weren’t firm so I decided against buying it (want/need, space/money again). This year, I wanted to pick it up. They were in the same place and it was early, but they had just sold the last big C. I was so sad. They did have some other painted letters, though, and I dug thru the pile until I could spell out my last name. Yea! Perfect for my new kitchen.

I posted a pic of the C on Instagram and my future DIL commented that she had been looking for one and if they had another, could I pick it up. Well, they didn’t, but I’m gonna give her the C and keep the “loud” for my kitchen wall. I think it fits me, my kitchen and my family better anyway.

We successfully shopped all day, only making it about 5 miles the first half because of the density of vendors.  My one indulgent buy was a red and white Philco clock radio for $45. So worth it, so beautiful in my kitchen. It only plays AM stations, of course, but that monophonic sound takes me back to my childhood and I want it to be a part of the soundtrack of my grandchildren’s childhoods, too.

We ate our ice chest lunch as we drove and were getting on down the highway to where we had seen the chairs. They were near the road the day before, so Donna kept her peepers peeped as we crept by. She saw them, covered with clothes and yelled. I pulled in an exit, left the car parked behind some cars and jumped out, as Donna yelled, “Don’t act like you want them!!!!” We thought we remembered them being $15 each. Not bad, but not a steal. However, the need/want had increased considerably since I had seen the decoupaged chair. I strolled over, moved all the clothes off and acted like I was checking them out. I saw $15 alright, $15 a PAIR!!! Oh, yeah! Still, you don’t yardsale/junk without asking “Can you do better?”.  She said she could do $12/pair. WHAT??? I’ll take them. (For future reference, I might have a map decoupaged chair available for purchase, if you are interested). Our car was pretty full, so we had to unload the whole thing and puzzle piece everything in, shoving things into nooks and crannies until we made it all fit. We were pretty proud of ourselves until we realized that we still had our luggage to load.

During the day, Donna had received several texts and phone calls concerning her husband. A medical issue had come up in the morning and although she was sure it was nothing, he did go to the doctor. The fact that she was able to get reception at all was a miracle. The day before, we weren’t able to get anything in that area or anywhere until that night when we got back to our hotel. My phone still wasn’t getting anything, but hers did. Call it what you want, but looking back, I can see God’s hand intervening.  As the day went on, it was evident the situation was more serious than they initially thought. By 3 in the afternoon, the news wasn’t as good as she had hoped. I asked Donna if she wanted to leave, but she was hesitant. Our plan was to shop one more day, but the car was nearly full anyway, so any more shopping would only be for small things. Also, we had found almost everything we had on our lists. She was still on the search for a pink Princess phone and I still hadn’t found any vintage white damask tablecloths at a good price, but overall, we had checked a lot of boxes. I saw a tablecloth the first day at $20, but I can pay that here or on Etsy. I wanted cheap because I need a lot and I had only seen that one. Anyway, we got out of the car and I told Donna to think about it and we would do whatever she decided.

If I said God spoke to me thru yard sale-ing, would you laugh? I left the car worried about Donna’s husband (we are family) and also worried that she was worried about cutting the trip short. Anyway, we headed to the tents and I started digging through a bin of linens. Guess what I found? A damask tablecloth. How much? Three dollars!!!! I kept digging and found FOUR MORE. He gave them all to me for $12. He also had hankies, my addiction, 14 for $10. I won’t say that my desires are always lined up with God’s, but it was sweet to know that the desires of my materialistic heart were met then. For me, it was a sign that we were done, go home.  We were light headed with the euphoria of a good deal, but there was more to come. In the next tent, guess what I found? A pink Princess phone! HA!  AND he came down $15 on the price! Needless to say, we left knowing that it was time to come home.  The next day, instead of heading up to thru KY, we headed west to Texas. As we left the hotel, it started to rain and it didn’t stop in the area for the whole weekend. Shopping would have been impossible in the rain and with the lightning.

Most of the loot is still out at the house. The things that I’m using for the wedding are already stored in the wedding bullpen, aka Clark’s crib, but some is waiting for a home. Which brings me to my dilemma, too much of a good thing. When discussing this with my daughter, she suggested a WLYS ’13 give away on this blog. Last year’s finds that didn’t find a home and are languishing in the attic. What do you think? People are always doing sponsored give aways on their blogs. I’ll just do it to sponsor the “clean out the Cloud’s attic” cause. I’ll gather a few things that I’ve decided I don’t need or have already served their purpose and you get a chance to be gifted with them. Let me know what you think and stay tuned, I’ll be getting together a plan.

And now…just some of this year’s bounty!


Bowls and crocks for pickles at the dinner.


Home made popsicles! I can’t wait!!!


 Metal letters soon to be seen on my kitchen wall instead of the floor.


1. vintage baby vases

2. toy globe

3. 24 hankies, 2 pillow cases (for dresses), a tablecloth, and a pair of little girl’s gloves

4. 16 vintage salt cellars, the winner of the best buy award. I got 6 with the silver plated collars for $5 (just saw some on Etsy, 3 for $79) and 11 Victorian crystal cellars. Donna said she sold them in her shop for $15-20. I paid $12 for all of them. I’m gonna need to get an Etsy shop going. A couple are chipped, but I’ll just put them at the places of the people I don’t like as much.

5. hammered aluminum serving tray $3.  I hope I remember where I “stored” the others.

6. little blue bowl that is part of a set. I already have the larger one. mint green melamine bowl, just ’cause I liked it. itty bitty pyrex baking dish, expect to see it with warm dips this fall.

7. the fabulous chairs.

8. crystal candle holders (I bought another but it didn’t make the photo shoot).

9. Fenton hobnail milk glass.  I have tons of vases, but I needed that one, too. I’d never seen this pattern for the creamer and sugar bowl and it was cheap.

10. silver vintage souvenir “Paris” ashtray. just loved it so it came home with me. 5 bucks.

The most expensive 1 item on this list was $15 for the Fenton vase. Other than the radio, the other big buy was this:


Swoooooon! A zinc baker’s trough, used back in the day to mix up large batches of bread. I priced them when I got home and found on at $225. Probably over priced but made me feel great about dropping $45. You WILL be seeing this baby at future parties at the Honeysuckle House!



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We Interrupt the Regularly Scheduled Post…

..for the greatest road trip ever! I leave tomorrow for the World’s Longest Yard Sale. Stretching from Gadsden, Alabama to Addison, Michigan. 690 miles of junking glory!  I’ve gone the past two years, once on the north end from Ohio to mid-Kentucky and last year from Clarkrange down to Gadsden. (Please excuse the generally stinky quality of the pics on the links. Since I’ve switched, all my old posts’s pics are grainy.)



Last year’s first buy. It’s still under my bed, but I know I’ll find a place for it some day.

Lots of you have said longingly, “Oh, I wish I could go” with a heavy sigh. Well, why don’t you go with me virtually?  🙂 I’ll keep you posted on where we are, what goodies we’ve found and what we are eating (always important).  If you are lucky, we might get to see some of Kentucky’s finest, maybe even with their pet raccoon. You never know when you will strike photographic gold. Just to forewarn those of you with higher expectations on public grooming, this will be a makeup and hair fixin’ free trip. Remember, too, that it’s the South in August. We may be glowing a bit. Good news, you won’t be able to smell us or see our feet (they will get a little dirty since a lot of these places are in fields). Maybe you’ll see a pic of something you’ve been looking for and I can pick it up for you. Don’t expect furniture, but I don’t mind hauling back a little doodad for you. I’ll be posting pics on Instagram so follow me there @arlenecloud.

I’m excited that we will have some virtual friends going with us. The best part is you won’t take up any room in the car and we won’t have to stop for you to go to the bathroom! Let’s go junking!!!!

 Some more of last year’s loot.


 Box of bottles. Still in the attic, but again, the perfect spot will make itself known.


1920’s silk wedding dress. I used part of it to make a dress up wedding gown for Helena.

9729248995_17023919dc_kLight fixture. We are putting it in the new bathroom.


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The Countertops


 Corner of the built in buffet with the bread box that was my color inspiration.

As was mentioned in the previous posts, what I disliked most about my kitchen were the countertops. Granite is ok, but they were granite tile which meant that food would collect in the grout. They was dark, and since my cabinets were a dark color, it made the recesses seem cave-like.  Worst offense, poorly installed. They were glued onto the previous avocado green formica. The front tiles started falling off a few years in and no amount of gorilla glue could keep them on.

When we redid Meg’s kitchen 3(!) years ago, we did the counters in concrete. I loved them and HAD to have some, too. It took some time, but we made it happen. Having concrete counters done is one of the most expensive solid surfaces, but doing them yourself makes them about the cheapest counters you can get. And they are sexy. All you need are a couple of bags of concrete, something to reinforce with (we used rebar but some people us chicken wire) and material for the forms. We already have a mixer and someone who can measure reeeeeaal good. Not me.  The measuring is the most important part so I leave that to the expert, Kenny. Concrete is labor intensive and has to be exact. A little bit off in the wrong place, and you will find yourself starting over. The means adding weeks onto the job, not hours.

Some people pour their countertops in place, but Kenny does ours in frames and then installs them. After measuring what we need, frames are built in the exact size using melamine and 2x4s. The smoother the frame surfaces, the smoother the counter surface. He also caulks in the joints where the boards meet so there isn’t any seepage which would result in sharp edges. If you have a set in sink or need any other openings, you would put them in place now.Concrete is mixed and poured into the frames (we chose not to color ours, but it can be tinted at this point).  The reinforcing steel is put in and covered, being sure that it’s not too deep. Then you shake it. And shake it more. Still more. I can’t stress how important this step it. If all the bubbles aren’t brought to the top (which is really the bottom), you’ll end up with lots of craters and divots in your surface. A hand sander is used to vibrate the bejeebers out of it. After a few days, the tops are unframed and then left to cure for at least 3 weeks. Some people keep the concrete wet and do other things to it, but we keep it simple and it’s worked for us so far.

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Out of the forms and curing in the driveway. The wood in the middle will be the hole for the sink.

After curing, Kenny takes the sander to it again, this time to smooth it out. Using water, he goes over it several times till it’s smmmmooooth. Then comes the moment of truth. We carry it in and make sure it fits. STRESSFUL, and heavy.


 My job is to hold it up with the board while he puts the adhesive my pajamas.

When it was all in place, and a perfect fit I might add, my job starts. I do all the sealing and I agonize over it. We used the Chen system with Meg’s and although we were happy with the outcome, I felt like I needed more durability. In the few years since we did hers, sealers had come a long way. I finally decided on the TK6 Nanocoat topical sealer (I love that name, don’t you?). It was less than $40 and supposedly protects the counter top from oil and acids for up to 24 hours. I don’t plan on testing that, but it is reassuring since I cook so much. Here is a link to the product

It was easy to apply and I’ve been really happy with the results. I chose a low gloss finish. I didn’t want it to be shiny, but I was told by their Customer Service guy that the matte would just look like a concrete sidewalk. Not the look I was going for.  After a few days of sealing and letting it set, I caulked the seams.





All pics are before I applied the sealer.

Originally, we thought about doing the built in the same way, but decided that a more “furniture” look is what would look best. I love this feature in the kitchen, and I wanted to showcase it a little more. We left it white, put bead board on the back and put in a butcher block counter top. We ordered it from Lumber Liquidators and I think we got the grade that wasn’t their top of the line. I liked the imperfections. Kenny had to cut it down to fit, sanded it and then attached it. It was that easy. I then sealed it with a food grade mineral oil. I saturated an old cut up cotton t-shirt and just wiped it on. I did this 2 times the first and second days, waiting for it to soak in before starting the next. It didn’t take too long with the first several coats. I then put on a coat at bedtime and let it set overnight. By the morning after the 4th night, there were some shiny spots left  and that’s when I stopped. After wiping up the left over oil and giving it a buff, I was done. It’s been 4 months and it still looks great. I’m careful about wiping up spills and not leaving a lot of wet things sitting on it, but we’ve had lots of guests and parties and it looks as good as it did when we installed it.

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Gutted and ready to be dolled up.

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wiping down with mineral oil


Fabulous, right?

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It Always Gets Worse Before It Gets Better



The above is how we lived for a while. We decided to take out the microwave above the stove and remove some cabinets. The stove had to be pulled out to do this. We didn’t have a sink because it had been removed to replace pipes and we couldn’t put the new (old) sink in until the cabinets were poured. You can see the obvious dilemma of paint color choices *sarcasm*.  Until I decided whether it was going to be mint shake or peridot, we couldn’t move on. Anyway, we washed dishes in the one bathroom we had (because we had already gutted the back bath and hadn’t done anything with it) and had a microwave in the family room, which was now being used as a pantry/storage room.



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The bathroom/kitchen. “Bitchen” perhaps could be the term? It would fit.

We finally got everything torn out that we wanted out and prepped for the work. From what I can remember, It took about a month from coming home from work and finding my kitchen missing until we were ready to paint. We built the seating for around the table, something I thought was necessary with our rapidly growing family, since it provided enough padded sitting space for several tiny bottoms.  We added bead board over the ugly paneling and also at the back of our built in buffet. We tore out cabinets above the stove and ran a new water line so I could have a pot filler, All cabinet doors were removed as well as the hinges and pulls.

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In the process of tearing out, we found the original wallpaper of the kitchen. I can’t tell you how much that thrilled my soul. I love old wallpaper. There is some of the original still in one of closets and every time I see it, I wonder about the woman who picked it out. Was she so excited about her new house? Did she fret over the perfect pattern? I thought long and hard about wallpapering the kitchen. I had done a lot of research about period wallpaper, but could afford the real vintage stuff and couldn’t find anything new that had the same look. When Kenny yelled out that he made a find and that I would be thrilled, he was right. NOW I would know exactly what to put up in the kitchen. At first, you could only see a little of the colors. I saw something that was a lot like the green I had decided on for the cabinets. FATE! The original owner and I had like minds. My head was spinning about the possibility that we had chosen the same colors. (It really doesn’t take much to stir me up). When he got the cabinet down, this is what I saw:




*record scratch* Yep, my “like minded” circa 1927 housewife had chosen mint green poodles and ivy. Needless to say, my wallpaper fascination came to an abrupt halt.

We taped everything off and hung plastic on the doors and started by painting all the cabinets with liquid sandpaper. I had done a lot of looking about the ideal way to cover my red cabinets with the best money/effort ratio. This was a lot less messier than sanding them all down and not that expensive. It was also something I could do myself (by “I”, I mean Kenny, of course). We just brushed it on and that was it. After that was done, we sprayed the entire room with primer. The. Entire. Room. Kenny looked like a ghost when he was done.



Things still weren’t livable, but we were making progress. Then everything halted. My brother had a health scare and ended up in the hospital for nearly 3 weeks, 2 of those in ICU. I spent almost all day, every day there and then tried to work on the kitchen in the evenings.  At one point, my kids came in to see him and we had 4 adults and 3 children, ages 4 and under,  living in 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and no kitchen and with power tools everywhere, but no doors.  Then the baby got RSV and went to the hospital, too. A glorious week, I tell you. I did a lot of cabinet door painting in the garage of the empty house next door. We are not above breaking into an empty garage for extra space. It was kinda weird though when a realtor showed the house and I was in there, painting.



The sellers didn’t do a really spiffy job painting the cabinets, they pretty much just slapped red paint on everything. Since we weren’t changing out the doors or boxes, it made sense to keep all the original hardware so it would fit. Kenny soaked all the screws, about a million or so, and the hinges in stripper for a few days and then scrubbed them with a wire brush. When they were all clean, Reid and I stuck all the screws in a piece of styrofoam and spray painted them a metallic brushed nickel. They turned out surprisingly well and only cost a few bucks and several days of work 🙂


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 Yes, he’s drinking a Fresca…for breakfast. We were at that point.

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Everybody works.

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Green,  I mean “peridot” going on.

God is good, though.  Health was restored *absolutely NO sarcasm here* and with, oh, about a 10 days left until the reunion at our house, we turned on the jet fuel.


Next, counter tops, the floor, and pulling it all back together.


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How I Redid My Kitchen and Didn’t Lose My Husband or My Mind



At first glance, you probably see what I saw for about 12 years. A wonderfully red kitchen, with the charm of the 1927 house it is, dolled up with some modern necessities.  When we bought the house, the kitchen was in the process of renovation. It hadn’t even gone on the market. We knew we wanted to live in this neighborhood and would drive around, weekly, looking for a house.  It was the first “suburb” of Ft. Worth, just across the river from downtown, had an old feel and lots of trees.  It wasn’t unusual to meet people who where the original owners of the house in which they lived. Our neighbor’s house was built by her parents and they or she had been the only occupants. We literally had to wait for someone to die. And, as life usually  goes, someone did. Grand dad had died the year before after having spent several years in a nursing home before that. The family was fixing it up to get ready to sell.  We saw them working on it, stepped inside and asked if the reno was for them or to sell and bought it on the spot. It had been in the family for almost 50 years and you could tell some things hadn’t been changed in at least that long.  The good part of that is it still had original hardwood floors and glass doorknobs, but it also had pink and brown tile in the bathroom (not the pretty, retro cute stuff) and these crazy crank louvered windows in the back. They had started on the kitchen because it needed the most help. This is a guess, but you can see yourself from some of the before pictures that there was avocado green formica and there were remnants of green carpet on the floor. I’d call it need for help in my book, but I’m a little judge-y like that. They had already picked out the granite tile (yuck) and the tumbled stone backsplash. It wasn’t a bad look, I just wasn’t my style. Since it was already going in, I felt like it was something I could deal with. The paint color hadn’t been chosen, so I went with the happiest red I could find. I have to say, more than one person said the red “was me”.  Flattered? Scared? I’m not sure what it was supposed to mean, but I’m assuming they meant it in the nicest of ways. We got to pick the appliances and I put chalkboard paint on the door. (I know, cutting edge 12 years ago. Can I sniff out a coming trend or what?) I also got some Pottery Barn pulls and knobs. I was very happy with it, but knew it wasn’t my forever kitchen.



IMG_0008_0037-1We had already started some renovation. We were in the process of adding a banquette for extra seating.

You can see the ugly light fixture in the top pic. I think they just went to Home Depot and picked out the cheapest thing they had for above the sink and stove. Then they wanted to get rid of this light above the table, which was original to the house. I put a stop to that, fast.



So let’s talk about how I fell out of love with my kitchen. First, I was never committed to the counter tops. I lusted after a solid surface. The tumbled stone was as boring as that guy at a party who wants to talk about computer programming. The floors were worn from sooooo many teenagers and dogs running back and forth. And my lovely red? It started to feel just a little bit like a 50 year old trying too hard. There was also that 70’s paneling on the wall that was painted, hoping to disguise its age. Add to that the granite tile started FALLING OFF because the folks that put it in glued it on the formica instead of, I don’t know, maybe INSTALLING IT the right way! All the little problems that didn’t bother me in the beginning started grating on my nerves and I knew we needed an intervention.





The point of no return came January 30th. A couple of days before, I had been talking to a cousin as she tried to figure logistics of a family reunion for March 23rd. I offered the use of our house. It’s not big but it is party friendly and we love throwing them. I may have said something about sprucing up before and Kenny said, “Why don’t we renovate the kitchen?”  I laughed. The next day I went to work and when I came home, my kitchen look like this.



The point of no return.

To be continued….




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