Painted Sand Dollars

I went into this year of homeschooling our son and daughter-my first with both of them-thinking we would make this the EPIC YEAR OF HOMESCHOOLING!!!! I figured as my son healed we may never do this again so should take advantage of things like not being tied to a location. Wanderlust, it’s never far from my surface.

How ’bout that view? Fort Morgan, Alabama

So, I planned a month at the beach in Alabama near my family. Of course, this year didn’t go exactly as planned, but, man…. am I glad I made those beach plans! It was so lovely to spend so much time with my mother and our family. Not to mention spending February on the beach during an outrageously warm winter!

We played and walked and learned. It made me realize how true it is that kids can learn anywhere! We found more dead sand dollars on the beach than I have ever seen! We had so many and so much time we started painting them with water colors. It’s such an easy craft and we loved watching the ways they just soak up the paint, I thought I’d share the idea. Maybe you’ll find it rather summery and zen, too.

And a quick PSA for sand dollars, please buy your sand dollars at a shell shop if you’re not finding dead ones! If it looks greenish-yellow and furry, put it back in the water, that one might still be alive. If they are white to light gray (put it in the sun on a porch and it will bleach white quickly) those are already dead so no murdering guilt for you!

Click here if you’re still not sure how to tell. 

And now we have a sand dollar tree center piece!



Thanksgiving Wishes


A quickie transformation and warm wishes to you for this holiday of thanks and loved ones. Our family continues to heal as our son’s health slowly improves. We find more to be thankful for each day. More of the ordinary. I wish you all some ordinary happiness, too.


As usual, I found this beauty was in someone’s trash heap. Ugh. I love flower urns but they are so expensive.  Luckily, there we’re two. I think these things are like Foo Dogs, you can’t have just one.


Can you see my little pumpkin carver in the reflection?

They are the plastic kind which I never like at the store, but I think the fact they were all beat up and crusty made them great for a make over. And the plastic made it possible for me to get them in the car! I swept off the loose dirt and put on two coats of shiny black spray paint and swooped up to the flower store for $10 mums. Next up, little evergreens for winter!


Oddly, I lucked into this aged beauty earlier this year. I bought a chair from a vintage shop and when I drove into the back alley to pick it up, this was in the trash next door behind a restaurant! Score. It weighs about 75 pounds! No idea how I got it in the car. rusty-urn-pl

And one more bit of randomness-we grew this! Actually, my son did. With love and care all summer and fall. The only one from a huge patch. Chipmunks? Cucumber beetles? This little guy is about as lucky as we feel.


Happy Thanksgiving!

From Icky Brown to Blue with Spots!

My Mother


And her ex-chairs.


Well, I’m not exactly a chip off the old block… but we do both love a bargain.


A couple of years ago we were at Lucketts Spring Market (click here)basically Mecca for junk and furniture makeover lovers like me! While she was shopping a picker’s booth, I was chatting with him and she comes up with a chair-how much for the pair of these?

Picker: “$9”

Me: “Um, for both?”

My mother: “SHHHH!”

Picker: “Yep.”

Okie dokie. Seriously, where did he come up with that number? I totally see my mother’s point, but at that price… really!? We could have swung the $18. Two chairs! Cute chairs….

So, here’s what they looked like when we got them. A bit on the yucky brown side.


Here’s how we got them to the car.


Perhaps you’ve seen these photos before? Just sayin. A lot of people thought we were hilarious and leaned out their car windows to snap a pic!

They moved to my house where they sat and sat and finally I pried my daughter out of one-she loves them. My poor mother will never get them back.

I used a hammer to pull up the old seats.


Basically a cardboard backing with light padding and fabric stapled on. The nails were already under the fabric, so when you nail it on, there’s nothing to cover with welt or trim.


I liked the clean look of the chairs, so gave them a scrub, gave them a couple of coats of bright white spray paint, then just covered the existing seats to keep the same lines.


When covering a seat in this way, I find it helpful to put a staple or two in the middle of each side, then work around the rest of the edges. It helps me keep the fabric straight and smooth. Then, I pushed the fabric over the old nails to let them poke out for reuse. All that was left was to nail the seats back down.


at-table-pl* A quick note on this fabric-it’s curtains! I saw them on the clearance rack at HomeGoods (we have no affiliation) and immediately thought of chairs-it’s a heavy linen and I loved the colors and pattern. I often find fabrics in this way and usually it’s much less expensive than buying the same quality at the fabric store and often totally unique.

**We did steal the chairs from my mother, but she already found another bargain pair that need a makeover!

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