Outdoor Fireplace: From Blah to Wow!

I usually have a bold vision for our reno projects. In our marriage, it’s me shouting, “Stop the car!” so we can pick up curbside treasures. But even I have to admit that this project scared me a bit.

When a friend offered me this outdoor fireplace, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Was it even salvageable?


I snapped a picture and sent it to Kevin almost certain he would want me to pass. Surprise surprise, this time HE had the vision.

It sat on our patio for a year before we tackled it. Some parental advice gave us the boot in the pants we needed to get started. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

After I scrubbed it down with soap and water, I taped off the sections I wanted to paint bronze.

So far, so good. I was feeling pretty encouraged. I brushed on the black sections after the bronze dried. Both paints are BBQ paint, so I am hopeful they will hold up.

As you can see, the inside of the firebox was badly damaged. I don’t have a picture of the damaged topper. All the steel mesh preventing embers from flying out the chimney was destroyed. We popped off the topper, measured the inside box, and headed to a local sheet metal business, and they created a new insert and re-meshed the topper. (Is re-meshed a word??)




The project came in at $70. Not a bad price for such a beautiful outdoor fireplace. We can’t wait to use it.

Faux Stained Glass

Many of you are already aware of my love for leaded glass. I hang old windows in place of pictures and make faux leaded glass:

I love leaded glass, and I do not want to cover it with curtains. So, when I added leaded glass to our bathroom window, I had a dilemma. Either curtain it or stain the glass. I do favor the plain leaded glass with no color, but a bathroom needs privacy, and that trumps design. I followed the instructions on a previous post and created this design.


I used a few inexpensive supplies from a craft store:


I dabbed on the blue first (which dried a bit more purple than I had hoped, but thankfully I still like it.


Next, I dabbed on the white. Here, I freaked out a bit. I did NOT want it to be white. I wanted it clear. It was an exercise in patience waiting for it to dry.

I am quite pleased with the results, and I love that all the light can shine in undisrupted by a curtain!


4 Best Christmas Hacks and DIY’s

1. The Christmas Kissing Ball was a hit last December, receiving 181 video plays on Facebook alone. If you haven’t made your kissing ball yet, watch the video below.

2. Last Minute Christmas Food received 127 video plays on Facebook and is worthy of a mention.

3. Buttercream Icing Transfer: While this is not a Christmas video, you can buttercream transfer any image onto a cake making this easily the best hack for creating that perfect Christmas treat. Receiving a crazy 9300 video plays on Facebook – it comes in as the winner.

4. Nativity Silhouette: This video releases today and is an easy way to add some Christmas decor to your home.



Candle Chandelier

Isn’t it pretty? I wish I had a before picture.


I was updating things on my phone (which held all the before pictures) when I lost everything. Sigh. You’ll just have to believe me when I say that this chandelier needed some TLC. (Think: brown, rusted, and weather damaged.)

Since this was an electric light fixture, the first step involved in its transformation was removing all the electrical components. It wasn’t anything a bit of snipping and tugging couldn’t handle. (Insert in your mind a picture of me yanking out cords and wires.)

Then, I suspended the fixture from a bungee cord in our garage and painted the entire fixture white. (I even had a picture of this step before the ‘unfortunate incident’.)

It looked a little plain, so I hot glued a string of beads around it. At first, I had a LOT more beads. (I’m not so sad this picture is missing. It was kind of ugly all tacky and sparkly.)  I removed all but two simple strands. Less is more.


Finally, I inserted a hook in the ceiling and used chain link to suspend the light. I added the candles and, ta-da! The perfect accent for my burlap wreath.


Don’t Reupholster that Fabric, Paint!

Mary loves this chair from the family’s rec room in the basement, but after some significant renovating, there was no time or budget left for reupholstering. So instead, she picked up discounted paint, fabric medium, and a water bottle.

Following the instructions on the fabric medium, she taped off the wood trim, sprayed the fabric with water, mixed the latex paint and the medium, and painted the material a soft gray. It took three coats of paint.

That’s a quick and easy fix anyone can reproduce! Thanks, Mary!



Inexpensive Side Table Makeover

We received this table as a wedding gift nearly 20 years ago. Yup, 20 years. We are that old. Ten moves later (that’s an average of one move every two years – but hey, who’s counting?), it is still kicking around. But, it has seen better days.



It’s nothing a slap of chalk paint can’t fix! I mix:

one part paint (I used a latex semi-gloss)

one part Plaster of Paris,

and add just enough water so that its consistency becomes like pancake batter.

Paint, gently sand, and voila! It’s finished.





Display your wreath

What do you get when you add a burlap wreath and an old window? Perfect country style! Special thanks to my friend Mary, who had this idea first 🙂





Last Makeover Monday we learned how to create this beautiful burlap wreath. This week, we’ll display it on an old window.







I was given this huge, old window from a friend taking down a greenhouse. (Thanks, Julie!) It’s been in my garage for almost a year. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I knew I wanted it. I soaped it down, and it cleaned up surprisingly well.


I like it when large pictures sit or lean against a wall, so put up this shelf. The window is heavier than most pictures, so after I installed the shelf using the predrilled holes, I added more screws ensuring I hit the studs. (I also got my hubby to double check. I don’t want this falling on anyone.)

Using one of those “peel and stick” plastic hooks, I found the center and stuck on the hook. Let the hook set for 24 hours before use. This was seriously the hardest part. Waiting.


Finally, hang the wreath! I love how this fills the wall going down the stairs and into our basement.  Stay tuned for a chandelier makeover that repurposes it into decor with no need for electricity. It just might hang in this staircase when it’s done as well.


How to make an easy burlap wreath

First, gather your supplies. For my project, I used a square wreath frame, thin wire, and two burlap bags found at a surplus store.

Next, cut the burlap bags into strips. I used both bags, but only one is shown in the picture.


Then, fold one end over the wreath frame and tie with the thin wire. Next, weave the burlap over and under the frame. Make sure to leave a few inches of burlap loose.

Twist the burlap two to three times and weave it back. Continue this pattern until the frame is covered. When you reach the end of your burlap, use the wire to tie it to the frame. Repeat the process with a new strip. Scrunch the loops together.

Once you are finished, use the wire to create a loop from which to hang your wreath.

Come back on the 25th and see how I chose to display this wreath!

You’re gonna love it ❤


Leaded glass windows

I have a huge weakness for leaded glass windows. I love the look. When I discovered this product I KNEW I had to try it out. And I had the PERFECT window.

This is our plain and boring kitchen window. Too new to replace. Too old to be pretty.

When we renovated our kitchen, I was unsure what sort of treatment I wanted. I’m not worried about privacy (since we look at a brick wall), but I didn’t want to lose light. As soon as I saw this I knew it was the window treatment for me. I ordered two packs of self adhesive lead strips and while I wanted for them to arrive, I started searching online for design templates. Of course, there was nothing ready made for my window size, just design ideas.

I cut newspaper to the size of one slider window and found the centre. Then, using my mad math skills, I measured out a cathedral pattern to fit my template. I taped it to the back side of the window.

This is the hard part. Peel and stick the lead strips. Remove the template and put it behind slider window number two and repeat. Seriously, that’s as hard as it gets.

Up close


This updated older window is now one of my favourites!