Profound Makeover 101 – We Can Go Back and Fix Anything

A kitchen makeover (if you can call simply painting cabinets a “makeover”) under the guidance of a long time, special friend brings with it profound moments.

Our new mantra, for instance …

“Don’t worry. Just do it … we can go back and fix anything.”

“… a little sandpaper … some more paint … we’ll cover up any boo boos.”

I appreciated this cheerleading from H as I slapped blue-grey-green paint onto otherwise beautiful (albeit old and a bit battered) wood cabinets. Have to admit, I had second thoughts for the smallest of a moment about preserving the natural look of the wood. But a “well-if-that’s-what-you-want-look” that really meant “don’t-you-dare-look” from H kept me on course.

I shook off the doubts, picked up the sandpaper, and went back to work. We cranked up Casey Casem’s top 40’s countdown of the 70’s and 80’s (I♥️Radio app). and went to work. The music took us back in time while my cupboards got with the times.

Glad I stuck with the course as I love the results.

Ignore the green towel on the counter. Ugh! It spoils the picture a bit but I’m too lazy to take another one since at this precise moment, it would mean having to do the dishes first.

Mostly, I’m pretty bold and have no problems taking risks.

A little too often though, I’ve spent a life time fighting through nerves that keep me awake at night, wishing I could have done things better or differently. I can be especially fretful when it come to anything that pushes me beyond my skill level and out of the comfort zone. Finding ways to improve a 110 year-old-house on a teeny tiny budget and with little no-how definitely pushes all the “fret-about-this”, perfectionist buttons.

Thankfully, there’s H. “Just try it,” she urged regarding painting my cupboards … her immediate inclination the very moment she set eyes on them. “These will look so good painted. You’ll love it.”

It was only after we started that I found out that she’d never actually painted kitchen cabinets before. Other, smaller, pieces of furniture, yes. And lots of rooms. I’ve sat in some of those rooms mid-project when our kids were young and watched her put her mad-skills (she’d tell you to interpret “mad” however you want) to use and create a world of picket fences and bright flowers for her daughters to dream and play in.

So I had no doubt that if she didn’t know what she’s doing, she’d figure it out … or find a sledge hammer and give us a reason to call in the pros. But again, I didn’t worry, because H is one of those friend’s who balances me with her willingness to try anything at least once, mixed with a dose of curiosity. (This is a total side track, but it’s curious to me that curiosity is spelled the way it is.)

I say “almost-finished” because we’re taking a look at appliances now. The yellow-tinted fridge may have to go one of these days. Also, I have a makeshift island that needs an update now. One project always seems to create that ripple effect, doesn’t. Also, I’m finding a few of those boos boos mentioned earlier, so I think it’s going to be a while before the sandpaper and can of paint are fully tucked away.

Makeover Lessons 101 – Take a risk, we can go back and fix anything.

I sincerely hope this is true, because barely has the paint dried on the cabinets but I’ve been pushed into a new risk taking venture.

Tilly is an Aussie

Meet Tilly (although, we’re also toying with the idea of Tully for a name, which I like better … but that’s before I remembered that Tully is one of the main character’s in Firefly Lane … Hannah Krista novel … Netflix Series. As much as my heart goes out to Tully of the series, not sure we should name our dog after an extremely co-dependent, self-destructive person. But … I really love the name. We’ll see.)

Back to risk taking.

I did not want another dog. My Guy did. So after some compromising, here’s Tilly/Tully. I’m sure she’ll make great blogging fodder, as she’s already made life quite entertaining (and tiring) in the last 48 hours.

Entertaining for us. Not so much for the cats.

Simba’s reaction to a barking fur ball. He disappeared to the second floor only to sneak down to his food bowl at night.
Sophie took over our bed. She’s the Queen and her Diva attitude is in full force now that we’ve dared to bring a dog into her kingdom.

Not sure I’m up to training another dog (we’ve had several over the years) but she sure is sweet. After all, you don’t get something good without a little risk. Sandpaper and paint might not work for puppy booboos., but with some patience and consistency, we can go back and fix anything. Right? And of course, there is all the blogging fodder that she brings into the picture!

You weigh in. Tilly or Tully?

Have a wonderful week … and keep your fingers crossed that we will too … at least when it comes to getting some sleep!

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I write.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly


Creating Space 2

It felt so good to organize my office and creative space that I had to write a post about it. Part I is here.

A place to write, craft, think, read, pray, pay bills, listen to music, read old letters.

A place to be interrupted.

Every day … every night … everywhere … here’s Sophie. Her cat attitude insists that no space meant for inspiration has any worth if she’s not at the center of it all. Darn cat … elusive when we initiate affection … demanding when she feels that she’s being ignored. I once had a 15-year-old in a lit class compare the temperament of a cat to that of his girlfriend in the same terms I just used. I hate to think it … but he was spot on in describing women in general. (Not all women, of course!)

Sophie is a high maintenance feline. She’s a talker and a clinger but NOT a cuddler.

To balance her out, we got her a playmate. This is Simba.

Sophie was not impressed with our choice of companions. It’s been six years … still not impressed. I won’t go so far as to say that Sophie hates Simba. I don’t think cats lower themselves to hatred. Disdain. That sums up Sophies attitude for that “other” cat in our house.

I should insert that My Guy and I kinda get Sophie’s point about Simba. We love him, but he’s not especially affectionate either, unless you are willing to put in 8 hours a day scratching his head. That’s it. You can only scratch him behind his ears and under his chin. He has a stealthy way of tricking you into thinking that you can pet him all over … then WHACK! He scratches you in half of a blink, and he has a high batting average for drawing blood.

Dang cat.

We get our revenge with the red laser light. Forever … he’ll run and chase that light, leaping into the air, burning calories by racing from the kitchen to the living room. Jokes certainly on him though … we know and he apparently doesn’t … that he’ll NEVER catch that red spot.

When I first started blogging, articles insisted that it was good to write about anything that interested me… anything except CATS. “Don’t fill up your posts with photos and stories of your cat. You’ll bore your readers.”

I don’t follow rules well.

But … this is a post about organizing a creative space and having a peace of “normalcy” in the mild of a pandemic and daily political tensions.While it’s fun to distract myself with cat photos and stories, I really have no excuse to not get back to work on projects. My button jars are glaring down from the shelf … urging me to plan ahead rather than wait two weeks before the holidays, when people start contacting me to see if I have any more cows or trees. (Maybe I need to add cats this year.)

As I think about how much I love having a crafting/creating space all to myself, (almost all … don’t forget Sophie) a few things occur to me:

  1. I was browsing through Pinterest today and realized that several years ago I started saving ideas under “Craft Room”. The Pinterest versions and my results are vastly different and not necessarily in a good way. Oh well.
  2. My Nikon takes much better photos than my iPhone. I’m sure you can tell which is which in this post.
  3. I find crafting with buttons to be very relaxing. I am not a natural born artist (if an artist at all) and know that my pictures find their charm in nostalgia (these are OLD buttons … not your typical crafting buttons) more than talent, but there’s something about filtering through hundreds of buttons and forming them into something interesting to look at. It’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
  4. Sophie wants me to finish up this post and check her food bowl. Most likely she can see the bottom … a major source of alarm in our house.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I keep.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever your ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

Creating Space

It’s only taken two years, but I finally have an office space/craft room.

There are no before pictures, but you can take my word that it was a mess. Three moves in three years left me lacking motivation. Plus, there was that nagging thought, “Are we really staying put here?”

That question was settled shortly after our landlords asked us if we wanted to buy the house. Our first response was “no!” Fixing up a very old house seemed daunting … BUT not as daunting as moving AGAIN. So we changed our minds and here we are, making things truly our own. I should clarify, that for the moment, making things our own is not anything like a “Chip & Joanna Makeover”. I’m talking about pulling things out of boxes and using what I have to create a fun, usable space. Chip & Joanna we are not. Nor is this a Pinterest-worthy craft room … I didn’t paint any furniture, build any cabinets or make anything match. Like I said, I just organized what I had.

Two things in particular have inspired me to organize my “creating space” where, next to my garden, I spend most of my time when at home. (Notice that I did not say that most of my time is in the kitchen. My Guy, sadly, will vouch for that.)

The first inspiration? Leftover glass jars from a yard sale last year. We helped a friend sell decades worth of possessions. Among the junk were boxes and boxes of canning jars, but after watching 3 or 4 boxes quickly walk away, we must of hit the saturation point with those who like to can in our community. Suddenly they were the most ignored item at the sale. Feeling bad about the possibility of sending the jars to a thrift store (but not bad enough to start canning myself), I decided that I might just need them after all. So while some would see them well suited for green bean or peaches, I have filled my jars with buttons.

Having them out and organized … well, sort of organized … is meant to inspire me to keep on creating. This is probably weird, but I love to just sit in my desk chair and look at them. Makes me happy for some completely unknown reason.

Second inspiration was a shelf.

The shelf was among Mom’s possessions. We lost Mom to illness this year and have been sorting through her things as she left instructions for us to do so.

I think it was the shelf that used to be under the kitchen window on the back porch of my childhood home, although it looked different somehow. A cheerful spot on the porch, it was sad and cast off in the corner of the dark storage room, weighted down with neglect and dust. Like a whimpering puppy in the pet shop window, it begged me to make it useful, and I’m quite pleased with the results.

The shelf is cheerful again; the keeper of some of my favorite things, like the button-filled-jars. What you see in the pictures is just the tip of the iceberg. I started collecting buttons as a kid. “Everybody needs at least one thing they collect,” Mom always said. My one big jar of buttons was forgotten when I went off to college, but Mom kept collecting for me. The results are rather overwhelming, but have led me to creating button magnets and button pictures … mostly Christmas trees and cows (you can hunt for a partially visible cow in one of the pictures … the trees are out right now). And I’ve tried my hand at something off the cuff like the owl below.

This whole space has become about favorite things; things that inspire me to write or to craft or just to be thankful. It’s a jumble really … but now, a much more organized jumble of things like …

Family photos. There are couple of doozies of My Guy, discovered when our daughter invaded his selfies folder on his phone. It was for a good cause though, as he had taken quite ill and was in a comma for several days. She “threatened” to post one of his goofy selfies each day that he didn’t wake up until he came back to us. Thankfully, I think he heard her! When I get stuck on a project, whether writing or crafting, I push back my chair and look into the faces of people who have shaped my life and find new vigor.

Journals. Journal writing started in 3rd or 4th grade. It has been very sporadic over the years but has resulted in a big box of musings. What will I do with them? I have no I idea … I hardly ever look inside of them. But somehow they made it into “favorite things” category.

Books. Among my favorite authors are Jan Karon, Ray Bradbury, O. Henry, Beverly Clearly (as in Romana the Pest), C.S. Lewis, and books about Abraham Lincoln. That’s an odd assortment, right?

Cookbooks. They should probably be in the kitchen, but that would be for someone who actually cooks. I look. I don’t cook (much). Think that has been well established in this post.

Scrapbook papers. I don’t even keep scrapbooks any more, but it feels neglectful to walk past one of the $5 sales at Michaels and not bring home a new collection of beautiful papers. Part of the magic of this room is having things on hand should inspiration strike.

Stacks of my photos, They represent more and future projects … some of which I hope to frame and several which will become greeting cards. I used to do that in the past and am finally coming around to time with the camera again.

Paints. Kind of falls into the scrap book paper category.

Baskets. Do I need to explain why I love baskets?

My dad’s journals. What a treasure trove they have been.

Old family letters. Old … like my mom and dad’s generation … when people actually wrote to each other … when long distance calling was only for emergencies and texting not even dreamed of.

Paper clips and scissors … must haves in my life. I get huffy when all of my scissors “walk off” and feel panicked when low on paper clips. Like I said, must haves!

My camera.

My laptop.

Lots of light …especially in the morning.

Do you have a “creator’s space?” What do you like best about it? Feel free to post a picture and share what you love about it.

Finally in full disclosure, I did not include the photo of the stack of school supplies and past lessons stacked five crates high and three crates wide behind the door. Oh well … progress is progress, even if there is more work to be done.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs.  You can find more on my “Thought Blog” at Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.