Fireplace Makeover

In January I finally tackled our older style fireplace with the intention of updating it but not breaking the bank, as well as not hating it in the end. I was a little scared of how it would turn out but you never know if you don’t try, so I read a couple blogs and narrowed down the different things I wanted to try. Here is a picture of our fireplace how it was originally:IMG_1099

As you can see the paint job around it was kinda weird and sloppy and the Brass cover with smoke stained Bricks just wasn’t feeling very uplifting. Even with Christmas Decorations it felt sad. So I started by removing the brass cover (it was secured with several screws on the inside and not difficult to remove) and cleaning the brick. To clean it I simply vacuumed all the crevices and then wiped it down with a cloth soaked in water and vinegar, that’s it!!ย  IMG_1103

I think it looked even worse after that but it pushed me to be brave and keep going. After taping off the edges it was time to get started with the painting. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint the color Paris Grey, and the 32 oz size.IMG_2560

I mixed a cup of paint with 3 cups of water and it was close to the consistency of Milk. Then painted it on the bricks and the mortar. It was easy enough to do but the first coat was tricky as it had to be forced into all the nooks and crannies, but with the paint being so watered down that made it a lot easier to apply.

At first it looked like it wouldn’t fully cover the different colors of the stones (and the first coat didn’t) but I kept going. Two hours after the first coat I applied a second one and this time the paint wasn’t quite as watered down, so it was more like 1 cup paint to 2 1/2 cups water.

It looked so good already but needed to dry overnight to even out all the different tones. Once it was dry it looked great in comparison to the original, but very flat, like poured concrete.


So I went to home depot and bought a can of Stone White Flat Interior Paint.


Using this paint the next day I dry brushed the front of just the stones. To dry brush you take a dry brush and dip just the very tip in the paint, and then brush it along a scrap cloth (I used a t-shirt) until there is almost no paint on the brush. Then you brush the brick lightly at first but harder to apply the amount you like the look of.

This was fun but took a lot of time and patience. I didn’t want to apply too much paint and lose the marbled affect so it was just a matter of going over it with a touch on my brush till it was enough.


But as you can see in the picture above, it brought out the character and depth of the bricks so well.I was careful to make sure I didn’t brush in the grout lines so they stayed flat grey.IMG_1134IMG_1129IMG_1144


I love it!!!

But then I had to finish the brass front. I had considered leaving it off but decided with littles around, that was probably not a good idea. So I disassembled the front as best I could, taped off the glass, and laid it on plastic.


And then spray painted it with high heat Black paint from Rust-oleum.

Now I’ve never been good atย  spray painting but this time I tried something I had read online. They suggested to paint very very thin layers and just wait an hour in between and then do it again. Obviously this was why I’ve always had runs and weird paint spots since I’m not very patient and usually try to get it all covered in two coats ๐Ÿ™‚ well I tried the many light coats and it worked great. I think I did seven coats throughout the course of an entire day, but it turned out looking amazing.


So after reassembling it and installing it back onto the fireplace my fireplace makeover on a budget was complete.


What a difference a little paint and elbow grease can make!! My total cost for this makeover was about $75.00.

If you have Questions please post them in the comments and I will try to answer them all.


First Birthday Party with the new look!

This was the blog that most inspired me.

Inscribed Lettering on A Stained Table Top

Last summer after being in our new house for a year we decided we needed a big dining room table, so I started looking for one on our local auction sites and found a beauty for $50 that just needed to be updated. While refinishing the legs and top my husband pointed out that we should inscribe something on the top since it’s a huge space so why not make it a piece of art.tsble

So this is what I started with, it was stained but not polyurethaned. Pinterest was a great resource and I found a website that had French typography patterns for free called ‘the graphics fairy’.Soย I found one I liked and sized it to the table and printed it off on normal sheets of paper since I just have a regular printer.

I laid it out just to get a feel of what it would look like. Then I trimmed all the edges off the papers and taped it all together so it was a huge paper pattern. At this point I knew I wasn’t going to be using the lettering that was on the original graphic so I searched for free fonts online and found some that I liked.

ย ย I’m not sure which font I used for the ‘love is always’ words anymore, but I modified the font I did use a little when tracing it on anyway. And I know I did use the font ‘selfish’ for the word ‘victorious’ and all the words that circle the edges of the table. As you can see I just printed the letters individually for the words ‘love is always’, cut them out and placed them by hand, since it was curved, within the pattern and taped them in place. The ‘victorious’ was easier because it was straight so I just printed it out, centered it and taped it.

Here’s where the fun started. I then removed the whole paper pattern and placed carbon paper on the table where the pattern would be, (in the picture above you can see the Carbon paper under it) then put the pattern over top of the carbon paper and taped it exactly where I wanted it. Then I traced around every letter and along each line and mark.ย  I used this same process for the words around the edges.

Here’s a picture of the outside words just laying on it before the carbon paper is under them, I was playing with spacing and how to wrap the text around the corners.

And above is what was left on the table after I had traced the letters over the carbon paper and then removed the pattern completely. As you can see it was pretty light but just enough that I could now paint it and make it bold like in the picture on the right.

So I started with the word victorious since it was in the middle and a little bigger then the outside ones. I just used black water based paint and a very tiny detail brush (although I did switch to a wider brush later and used it kinda like you would a calligraphy pen). I had a picture of the word on my iPad so I could look at it and make sure I was painting it right since the font has so many swirls I could get them mixed up and paint in the wrong space or line.

Above you can see the word in progress as well as the very faint lines that were traced on. They didn’t show up in pictures well but they were pretty easy to see in real life.

ย ย I was a little worried because after the black paint dried it looked kinda grey and ashy so I tested the polyurethane over just the s and it popped perfectly.

Here it is before I polyurethaned it. I used the heavy-duty water base polyurethane by , in semi gloss, and coated it three times and it seems to be holding up well after almost a year.

The text inscribed was inspired by 1 Corinthians 13, and the attributes of love are all around the table. So you can read it ‘LOVE IS ALWAYS, Patient, Kind, Not Envious, etc. It makes for a good conversation starter as well, just amongst our little family, to look at the phrase you are seated by and think if it is something you need to work on or something you do well.IMG_6072 (3)
IMG_6088 (2)IMG_6089 (2)(I had to change the saturation of the pictures because the table kept looking orange so this is as close to the real look I could get)

Shortly after I had finished the table my parents had come to visit, because I was due with baby number three, and so our usual seating was all switched up and I looked down to see what it said by me and it was the word patient ๐Ÿ™‚ It was my due date and I needed that encouragement to keep going. I had him the next day. Here he is looking dapper.IMG_0006

Recipe: Italian sausage and potatoe soup

This can be a one pot meal and oh soo good. It’s also gluten free , and just plain fast and easy. Since making this for the first time it’s been a weekly meal, probably because I like potatoes and my husband loves sausage.


1 tablespoon olive oil

1pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed (I like to use the city market brand)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 onion diced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Salt and black pepper

5 cups chicken broth

1 pound red potatoes, diced

3 cups baby spinach

1/4 cup heavy cream

( I know fat free half and half isn’t heavy cream, but it’s all I had in the house ๐Ÿ™‚

Put the olive oil in a large pot and add the crumbled sausage to fry, I put it on pretty high heat to cook it all through.ย 

Then while the sausage was frying I put my chicken bouillon cubes in a separate sauce pan with 5 cups of water (I like to do this instead of using the broth) and put that on high to boil. Chop up an onion and put this in with the sausage so it fries and becomes translucent. Now I put all the other spices it the ‘broth’ and poured that over the sausage and onions. Then cube your potatoes and throw them in too.ย 

Cover and let boil for ten minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Then throw in the spinach and mix it all up. In about a minute when the spinach is nice and wilty, pour in the cream and it’s ready to serve. Yum yum.

Matching Cuties, and A Wedding.

As you probably know by now, I have two adorable boys. Often boys seem to not be as much fun to dress as girls, not as much pink and ruffles. Well that is true, I don’t normally dress my boys in pink, but they are SUPER fun to dress anyway. At least for me. And since they are so close in age its great to match them.

These cute hats
These cute hats

These hats were a gift from Susan at Denzel’s Baby Shower/Sprinkle. They came with matching outfits that I haven’t been able to get on them at the same time yet ๐Ÿ™‚ Laundry you know.

So this summer my little brother got married, to the wonderful Mallory, and of course I wanted my Boys outfits to match. I looked all over town to find something wedding appropriate and in their sizes, Jesse was 17 months and Denzel was 3 months, and I couldn’t find anything I liked. So I decided to make them matching outfits. It started with vests:

Matching Vests

I didn’t have a pattern for the vests but I did have vests that fit them at the time so I just copied them (I promise I’ll give a step by step tutorial on how to make a vest, pattern and all, but it will be in a later post. I didn’t have time to take step by step pictures along the way while making these) I thought I’ll make vests and just get white shirts and tan pants. Well I couldn’t find those either in their sizes, without costing an arm and a leg, so I planned to make the whole outfit. Here are the fabrics I used:
august 2014 025

I did use a pattern from Butterick for the Shirts and Pants it is number #B5510 and can be found here, or at the local Joanns fabric. This pattern was VERY Simple and I loved it. The pants were made from a thicker almost corduroy fabric. The shirts were just plain white cotton. I do wish I had used something a little different for the shirts since they wrinkle really badly when washed. Also I would make them longer next time. Here are a couple more pictures along the way:

august 2014 055The pants just had stitching to make it look like they had pockets and a fly, but they didn’t :-). I top stitched the waste band as well.

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I top stitched the entire collar and down the front to keep it all laying flat. I also found a great youtube tutorial of how to make my machine do buttonholes. It can be found by clicking here.
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Jesse helped a ton ๐Ÿ™‚ Here are the vests before they had buttons or were top stitched. I decided to top stitch them around the entire edge just to make them lay flat. I love the pocket square.

august 2014 039
All done and ready to wear:
august 2014 145

Unfortunately the pictures we took of them together at the wedding got deleted but we got this good one of Jesse:
jesse outfit
The two of them goofing off:


The following are a couple pictures of them in matching outfits just because I couldn’t resist. (Thank you Sharon Gross)

matching Plaid

This is from their Yiayia (greek for Grandma): Thank you! This picture was difficult to get as they kept wrestling, and honestly I think Denzel was winning.

And this is a picture of them on the right with Dominic and Uncle Cris when they were around the same age on the Left. The outfits were from Aunty Connie Laipis. Thank you!
Matching Daddy and Uncle
And finally Jesse and Daddy with matching smiles ๐Ÿ™‚

Daddy and baby

I would like to invite any local Moms who would like to do a small sewing project to contact me by commenting and we can find a night to get together and sew something small (vest for a boy, skirt for a girl). I would love to help you with sewing projects if you are interested.

This is a picture taken at the wedding, of my immediate family with the happy couple a little left of the center, we are on the far left.

Next up, Halloween Costumes.