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antique school desk redo & fall welcome

September 23, 2014

school desk after photo with hydrangeas pleasure in simple things

This year’s start to the school year was very sad for me – no one to send off to the first day of school! Luckily, I found a distraction! I renovated an old school desk. I found the perfect way to welcome the new school year and the new season!

autumn quote pleasure  in simple things

This old wooden one-piece school desk was in my friend’s basement and it was just crying out for some attention. I decided to try Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint since I haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so. I used a color called grain sack – instantly my favorite in the line… it is a wonderful neutral. I was hoping to create a real chippy looking finish, but that wasn’t in the stars!

before and after photo old school desk pleasure in simple things

Mixing the paint myself, I thought if I skipped adding the bonding agent that helps the paint adhere to the surface, I would get tons of chipping… that didn’t happen. I guess the surface of my piece was too porous? Any experienced milk paint people willing to contemplate the lack of chippyness? I guess I need a little more experimentation with the paint to figure it out.

after photos school desk redo pleasure in simple things

 finished school desk with hydrangeas pleasure in simple things

So, without the chippyness, I decided to distress the finish. And, even though the piece didn’t chip, I love the way it came out. Of course, this old desk wouldn’t be complete without adding a chalkboard finish to the writing surface! After I finished waxing the rest of the piece, I used chalkboard spray paint on the desk’s writing surface – carefully masking off the finished sections of the piece.

 a desk redo with chalk board pleasure in simple things after photo

Can’t you just hear the school bell ringing? I can also hear the whisper of the new season in the air. The kiss of autumn has already started turning the hydrangeas a subtle color of pink.

autumn quote with hydrangrea pleasure in simple things

Happy fall, my friends.  Thanks so much for stopping by, Jackie

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coastal table redo (before & after)

September 19, 2014

 coastal table redo chatham pleasure in simple things

We are not traveling very far for today’s field trip…I want to show you one of my all-time favorite furniture transformations. This revamped piece is called Chatham – the name of a wonderfully enchanting seaside town in Cape Cod, Massachusetts…this town, like the table – is one of my favorites!

before collage Chatham table pleasure in simple things

When a friend showed me this piece in her garage and offered me the opportunity to give it a little loving care, I jumped at the chance! It was just one of those pieces that immediately got me inspired!  I couldn’t wait to give the table a coastal look!

anthropologie compass knobs on revamped coastal table pleasure in simple things

I knew right away I wanted to strip the top so I could give it a driftwood look. And, I had a specific Anthropologie knob in mind right from the start! Actually, four knobs since the single drawer on this piece used four knobs.

using Citristrip on coastal table redo pleasure in simple things

I chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg for the main part of the piece.

Furniture redo in process pleasure in simplet things

Here are the steps I used for this transformation:

• Strip top using Citristrip stripping gel (a wonderful product recommended to me by Danielle over at Finding Silver Pennies).
• Paint (all but top) with two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg
• Apply a wash to top of piece (using a clean lint-free cloth) with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White (thinned heavily with water)
• Paint detail on drawer front and around legs (using same thinned mixture above, careful not to let it drip)
• Apply a coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax
• Sand & lightly distress
• Apply a second coat of clear wax

a chatham coastal table redo after photo pleausre in simple things

a chatham coastal table redo pleasure in simple things

chatham table after pleasure in simple things

a chatham coastal table redo pleasure in simple things

As the finishing touch, I added a pretty blue watercolor patterned paper as a drawer liner. I am so happy with the way the piece came out. What do you think?

a coastal table redo chatham after pleasure in simple things

Thanks so much for stopping by! Enjoy the last weekend of summer and pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Finding Silver Pennies and  Miss Mustard Seed.

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pink velvet pumpkins to celebrate health

September 16, 2014

velvet pink pumpkins help celebrate october breast cancer awareness pleasure in simple things

I make velvet pumpkins at this time of year, as you may already know!  One of the fun parts about making the pumpkins is choosing the fabric. I love finding new and different velvets each year to make my velvet pumpkins – adding real pumpkin stems as a finishing detail.

 velvet pink pumpkin for breast cancer awareness pleasure in simple things

One velvet that I continue to use every year is a pink one. Since breast cancer awareness month is in October, what better way to celebrate it than with a pink velvet pumpkin!

pink pumpkins for breast cancer awareness pleasure in simple things

Every year I make some pink pumpkins to give to friends that have survived breast cancer that I may see during the month of October. (One year I had the opportunity to give a pink pumpkin to breast cancer survivor Hoda Kotb when I met her at a book signing!)

breast cancer awareness pink pumpkin diy

A pink pumpkin makes a thoughtful gift for a breast cancer survivor and displaying one is a wonderful reminder of breast cancer awareness month.

pink velvet pumpkins for breast cancer awareness pleasure in simple things

This year, for a friend celebrating 5 years cancer-free, I added a ‘5’ using a wooden tag stamped with the number 5.

pink velvet pumpkin with 5 year cancer free tag pleasure in simple things

A pink velvet pumpkin is a subtle and beautiful reminder of breast cancer awareness month. If you would like to make your own velvet pumpkin for yourself or a friend, click here for my tutorial.

Thanks for stopping by, Jackie

P.S. The ribbon used on the ‘5’ pumpkin was inexpensive white seam binding tape I bought on clearance and dyed with strong coffee…some of my favorite ribbon!

Sharing with Nancherrow, Crafts a la ModeCraftberry Bush, AKA Design, and  Sand & Sisal.

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diy mirror to chalkboard

August 19, 2014

before and after mirror to chalkboard pleasure in simple things

It has been a while since my last large chalkboard project when I used an old skim board to create a nautical themed chalkboard. I have wanted to make another large chalkboard for quite some time and when I saw this mirror, I knew it would be perfect to repurpose!

Mirror before renovation pleasure in simple thingsThe frame had such great detail at the top and it was in wonderful shape.

Today I am sharing the easy steps I used to create a chalkboard.

I took apart the mirror – separating it from the frame. I put a coat of shellac on the frame using a soft, clean cloth.

Then, I used Annie Sloan Chalkboard paint in French Linen with a Pure White wash (the same process I used for this Newport table). French Linen is one of my favorite Annie Sloan colors and I really love the way it looks with black… perfect for a chalkboard frame!

After using clear wax on the completed finish, I did a little distressing and then added a second coat of wax to the frame.

Mirror turned chalkboard detail pleasure in simple things

To create the chalkboard, I used chalkboard spray paint in very light coats (probably 5 or 6) right over the back side of the mirror. Why the back? I just figured it could always be used again as a mirror if I kept the mirror side intact.

Chalkboard spray paint works so well on smooth surfaces – the smoother, the better. For this reason, any picture frame or mirror repurposes really well as a chalkboard. These items are pretty easy to come by at yard sales or thrift shops. Or, maybe you are holding onto a frame you really like, but aren’t too crazy about the print in it…perfect to refinish as a chalkboard!

Mirror detail pleasure in simple things makeover

After the chalkboard paint was good and dry, I ‘seasoned’ the board by using a piece of chalk on its side to color in the entire surface and then wiped it off with a soft, clean rag.

Mirror turned chalkboard pleasure in simple things

After putting the mirror back into the frame, my project was complete! And, the mirror already had a hanger on the back so I didn’t need to add one. I love this kind of project – when I use all materials I have on hand…I didn’t need to purchase one supply to complete it!

completed chalkboard from a Mirror pleasure in simple things

I added a favorite ‘beachy’ quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson and my project is complete! Can’t you just see this elegant chalkboard in the entry way of a coastal home?

I hope this has inspired you to repurpose an old picture frame or mirror into a beautiful ‘new’ chalkboard!

Thank you for stopping by.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Finding Silver PenniesElizabeth and Co.Sand & Sisal and Coastal Charm.


newport table (before & after)

August 15, 2014

pleasure sin simple things Annie Sloan coastal table

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing the before and after photos of a newly refurbished piece I named Newport.

When I first saw this table, I loved the way the sides came up and the detailed legs…isn’t it pretty? Of course, I wanted to ‘beachify’ it!

pleasure in simple things Newport table before

As I suspected, the finish gave me a little trouble. Looking at the color, I thought the finish may require a shellac coat before I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I tried to get by without one, but realized after the first coat of paint that I would need the shellac. No worries! I just put a coat of shellac right over the paint and continued with my business!

For this piece, I used French Linen, probably my very favorite Annie Sloan color. I just love the way a white wash looks over French Linen!

 pleasure in simple things after photo coastal table Annie Sloan french linen

Here were my steps in revamping this piece:
• Clean the piece
• Apply one coat of Annie Sloan Old White
• Apply (with a clean cloth) one coat of Zinsser shellac
• Apply two coats of Annie Sloan French Linen
• Add a white wash – a mixture of Annie Sloan Pure White and water (probably about 60   percent water) using a dry brush technique and then using a soft cloth to soften some areas
• Hand paint seahorses across the drawer fronts with Annie Sloan Graphite
• Apply one coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax
• Lightly distress
• Apply an additional coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax

I made sure that my brush strokes were visible as I applied the paint so that later they would show when I added the white wash to the piece.

pleasure in simple things Annie Sloan coastal table

I chose to keep the original hardware since I planned on painting a sea inspired design on the front and I didn’t want the hardware to distract from the design.

pleasure in simple things Annie Sloan french linen finish coastal table

I painted the seahorses freehand, but patterned them from a design I found online. After looking around the internet for something with a vintage feel, I found a great pattern on The Graphics Fairy and used it as a reference as I painted the images.

pleasure in simple things Annie Sloan coastal table seashores

I didn’t do a lot of distressing on this piece, but since I didn’t want the seashores to look newly painted, I gave them a sanding with some fine sandpaper until I got the worn look I wanted.

pleasure in simple things Annie Sloan coastal table

As a final detail, I added drawer liners cut from a sheet of paper I chose from the large selection at The Paper Source.

Newport is complete! What do you think?

pleasure in simple things coastal table Annie Sloan french linen NEWPORT

Thank you so much for stopping by for Friday field trip and sharing my table transformation!

Have a fabulous weekend, Jackie

Sharing at City FarmhouseJennifer RizzoFinding Silver PenniesMiss Mustard Seed, Craftberry Bush, and Shabby Nest.


easy plastic bottle vase

August 12, 2014

diy plastic flower vase pleasure in simple things

Did you ever need a large quantity of centerpieces for your outdoor party tables? An easy DIY is to create vases from plastic bottles and add a few garden or meadow flowers!

The only materials you need are some bottles from your recycling bin…they don’t even need to match…some flowers or greens, and some leftover Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and wax.

diy plastic flower vase pleasure in simple things

Flowers are great to add to any occasion…or, even to no occasion at all!  My choice for vases gets a little more casual when I entertain outdoors, because I don’t like the thought of breaking any of my favorites at an outdoor party. So, when the entertaining gets more relaxed, so do the vases.

I like using old tea tins or oatmeal tins for flowers when entertaining outdoors, but sometimes rummaging through the recycling bin can be inspiration for a DIY vase!

diy upcycled flower vase pleasure in simple things

A plastic bottle can easily be upgraded to a fun flower vase to use for flower centerpieces at an outdoor party…no worries about breakage and so easy to make up large quantities!

upscale plastic bottle vase pleasure in simple things

I like the leaf detail imprinted in the plastic on this plastic tea bottle and I happened to have a case of empty ones in my recycling bin…perfect for my project!

Queen Anne's Lace in a diy vase pleasure in simple things

I simply painted the bottles with Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint! One of the great things about this paint is that you can virtually cover any surface! I added a coat of clear wax to protect it and it is good to go! Because I wanted my pattern to stand out, I did add a little dark wax in the patterned areas of the plastic. The amount of materials for one vase is very minimal. If you don’t have leftover paint, you can purchase a small sample size and have plenty to create some vases!

easy diy flower vase from a plastic bottle pleasure in simple things

Not bad for a plastic throwaway, right?! And, no worries about it breaking. I just added some wildflowers that were growing as ‘weeds’ and tied a piece of twine on the neck of the bottle and my centerpieces are complete! Fresh herbs are also a great option in place of flowers…there is so much mint, basil, and parsley in the garden at this time of year and they all make a great (and fragrant) addition to a vase.

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Sand & Sisal, Coastal Charm, and Crafts a la Mode.

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oyster shell place cards

August 5, 2014

pleasure in simple things diy oyster shell place card

Today, I am sharing a diy on painting oyster shells to use as place cards.

Growing up in Connecticut, crafts using materials from the beach started at an early age. Making necklaces out of small golden shells was more common than the macaroni variety and, constructing items from rocks or driftwood… or any items found on the sand…occurred regularly.

Fishing trips with my dad when I was really young were more often about creating adventures and finding ‘treasures’ than actually fishing. Remember back when playing with the worms was more fun that catching the fish?!

My crafts got more involved as I got older. In my high school crafts class, I once made clay tiles that were imprinted from found shells. Painting the smooth rocks found on the shore was always a fun activity. As I got older, creating wreaths or mirrors from shells seemed more in order…my favorites always made from oyster or mussel shells. I even created the paint palette for my home using the delicate colors from the inside of an oyster shell.

oyster shell place card

So, for me, painting shells is nothing new. But, sometimes details are perfected over time. I feel this way about oyster shells. I love using them as place cards and today, I am sharing a feminine way to paint an oyster shell to use as a place card…perfect for a bridal shower or luncheon.

oyster shell ring holder pleasure in simple things

Everyone has their own cleaning system for shells. My method is to boil found shells in a pot on the stove first and then soak them in white vinegar. After rinsing them in cold water, I let them air dry.

There are so many ways to paint oyster shells and you can experiment to fit the occasion…I think the inside of an oyster shell is so beautiful and I often just paint the outside of the shell, leaving the inside natural…try Krylon blue ocean breeze as an outside color!

For this project, I spray painted (insides only) of the shells with two coats of an off white (using Rust-oleum gloss navajo white). Then, I used a little gold leaf around the edges in an irregular fashion to add a little sparkle and to create a more formal look. (If you don’t have any gold leaf, you can purchase a small gold leaf kit online or in a craft store that includes the gold leaf sheets, an adhesive, and a protective coat.)

pleasure  in simple things a diy shell place card

As a place card, just use a small piece of decorative paper to hand write or stamp a name or table number and lay inside the shell…easy! Add a ‘pearl’ or pretty piece of sea glass. So pretty and so coastal!

Because this shell can be used as a ring holder, it makes a wonderful gift for a newly engaged friend. It also makes a great soap dish or salt cellar. For a bridal shower, a handmade beaded bracelet could be a pretty favor to include in the shell. Or, add a small square soap or sea glass shaped soap pieces. :)

pleasure in simple things oyster cell ring holder

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S. You may also enjoy monogrammed shell gift tie-on, beachy bridal shower, nautical gift wrap, shell candles, or beachy shower gift.

Sharing with Finding Silver Pennies, Craftberry Bush, Coastal Charm, and Sand & Sisal.

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diy paint sample deck

July 29, 2014

making a paint sample deck

Have you ever carried a used paint stirrer around with you while shopping to match a color? I have!

The color swatches for the paint I used in each room of my house are always neatly organized as a permanent part of my handbag…you just never know when you need to coordinate or match a color! But, for a long time, I did not have an organized system for carrying around the colors of any current projects. Often, I would grab a dirty paint stirrer that had a drip of the color still clinging to it…or, I would wear the shirt I painted in while shopping so I would have a sample! Not anymore!

a diy paint sample deck to make for free

I have a very organized system and I thought some of you may benefit from my experience! I have a simple way to carry around my paint samples and it can be created very easily at no cost…a modified version of my paint stirrer scenario!

Every time I work on a painting project, I make sure to take a few minutes to paint a pre-cut paint stirrer. I paint both sides. One side I leave the original color and on the opposite side, I add a stain or wax effect (or two). In the case of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I may paint one side and add a coat of clear wax, while the other side may have a dark wax or special effect I am happen to be using.

making a diy paint sample deck

I have a pile of wooden paint stirrers (available free at any home improvement center) that I have cut to 5“ lengths. I cut a whole pile at a time with one quick cut of a chop saw. If you don’t have tools, your local home improvement or hardware store will surely make one quick cut for you – especially if you are a regular customer. I find a 5” length a convenient size to carry around while it still provides enough painting room…you may decide you like a different size. By drilling a hole in each stirrer, I am able to use twine to attach as may color samples as I am currently transporting!

making a paint sample deck from wooden paint stirrers

I may have two samples that I am bringing to the fabric store to coordinate a fabric, or I may have many samples to show someone that is choosing a color or finish. This system makes it super easy to add or remove samples from the length of twine or to create several different ‘decks.’

making a sample paint deck from paint stirrers

It is easiest to cut up a bunch of stirrers and drill all the holes at one time – then, just keep a stack ready to use – store a pile with all your painting supplies.

Easy, right? I love this system and I think you will like it as well…give it a try!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Craftberry BushFinding Silver Pennies, Sand & Sisal, and Coastal Charm.


wicker table update

July 15, 2014

wicker redo Madison pleasure in simple things

How do you take an old, dark, and boring wicker table from blah to ‘beachy’ in one simple step?

wicker redo before photo pleasure in simple things

A little bit of white paint!  (But then, doesn’t a little white paint make everything better?)

Before and after wicker redo pleasure in simple things

This table was in wonderful shape, but it was coated in brown paint and stored in an attic for many years. After giving it a good cleaning, I used some Annie Sloan chalk paint in country white to add a little depth and a whole lot ‘beachyness’!

wicker table redo pleasure in simple things madison

I brushed the paint over the entire piece, using just the tip of the bristles, keeping a consistent pressure throughout the painting. By using a dry brush and keeping a small amount of paint on the brush, the results were great!

wicker redo pleasure in simple things

This piece is a wonderful example of how a little paint can give new life to a piece!  Now, for a name.

wicker table redo pleasure in simple things

I love that Danielle over at the blog Finding Silver Pennies names each piece of furniture she refinishes and I decided to start coming up with names for my refinished pieces. So, where to start? I haven’t named a creation since I named my very finest – my two kids!

I decided to go with something along the tradition of author Wally Lamb. The first time I met Mr. Lamb, I was intrigued to find out that he names every one of his novels after song titles. Not that I necessarily wanted to name all my furniture pieces after song titles, but I love the idea of tying all the names together with an underlying theme.

So, in the tradition of Wally Lamb, I came up with a theme.  From now on, I will name every furniture piece after a New England beach town… what is the name of the wicker table?  Madison.

furniture redo tag pleasure in simple things

I hope you are having a wonderful summer!   Thank you so much for stopping by, Jackie

Sharing at Liz Marie BlogSand & Sisal and Crafts a la Mode.


patriotic tie-dye on the beach

July 4, 2014

patriotic tees pleasure in simple things diy

Happy Fourth my friends!  For Friday field trip today, I am taking you to the beach to show you my summer shirt creations made to wear to today’s neighborhood parade and party on the beach!

Tie-dye is the perfect beach craft – not only because it is fun, but because as a beach activity, there is very little mess or clean up.

Both experienced and first-time tie-dyers enjoy making their own patriotic creations!

If you want to hold your own patriotic tie-dye session, not much is needed to have a really fun time that produces some great results!

patriotic tie=dye pleasure in simple things

Patriotic Tie-Dye Supplies

  • 1 bottle Rit Liquid Dye (8 oz.) in navy blue
  • 1 bottle Rit Liquid Dye (8 oz.) in cherry red
  • Rubber bands
  • 2 cups salt
  • All cotton tee shirts
  • 2 plastic dish pails (each large enough to accommodate 3 gallons of water)
  • Rubber gloves to protect hands from dye (optional, but recommended)

The most economical way to purchase shirts is to choose (all cotton) shirts in multiple packs at a discount store.  But, you don’t necessarily need to purchase shirts – you can use some shirts or other articles you already own!  (It is fine to use a white shirt with writing…maybe a tie-dyed version of a shirt from your alma mater!)  Another option, if purchasing shirts is not in your budget, is to simply ask your guests to bring their own!

tie-dye on the beach pleasure in simple things

As everyone gets wrapped up in the excitement of the activity, it is inevitable at our house that one of the kids raids their sock or underwear drawer to add some extra articles of clothing to the mix…old pillowcases and sheets are also fair game!

beach tie-dye pleasure in simple things

First, be sure to wet the articles of clothing you intend to dye and wring out excess water in preparation for dyeing…this produces the best results.

The next step is to add tie-dyeing at the beach pleasure in simple thingsthe elastics.   The elastics prevent the dye from getting to the part of the shirt they are attached to, so be sure to make them tight!  There are so many variations of designs that can be created.  Even experienced tie-dyers come up with new designs… If you are at a loss for ideas, you can use an online resource to find suggestions for applying elastics for specific designs.  We like to just wing it and see what results!

After the shirts are prepared with the elastics, prepare the dye baths.  I prefer liquid dye and I use it double strength.  For each color, first dissolve 1 cup of salt (it helps better set the dye) in 3 gallons of hot water before mixing in an 8 oz. bottle of liquid dye.

tie-dye on the beach pleasure in simple things

As far as the actual dyeing, like Easter eggs, everyone comes up with their own favorite technique.  That may be leaving the entire piece in one color…it may be dipping various parts of the shirt in each color, etc.  Dip or submerge your shirt into the desired color(s) and have fun!  The longer the piece remains in the dye, the stronger the color.

patriotic tie-dye on the sand pleasure in simple things

When you are done, squeeze the excess dye from the finished product and rinse with cold water from the hose until the runoff runs clear.  Cold saltwater helps set the color, so we end the process by throwing the item into the ocean!

tie-dye at the beach pleasure in simple things

Now to remove the elastics…this is the best part!  Everyone loves pulling off the elastics after the dyeing process to proudly admire the final results!  And, every shirt looks so good…it is impossible to mess up a shirt – every one looks super!

You now have a tee in patriotic colors!  Enjoy!

After the shirt is dry, you can further embellish it with fabric paint – In the past, I have used silver metallic puffy fabric paint to add stars to a 4th of July tee.

tie-dye at the beach pleasure in simple things

Thanks for stopping by and I hope today’s field trip will inspire you to hold a tie-dying session of your own!

Have a wonderful weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Silver Pennies, Coastal Charm, and Sand & Sisal.

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