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Bella Blue

She was headed to the trash but a quick rescue and she is beautiful.

I knew the moment she was unloaded that she was worth saving. After all, I think she has survived for well over one hundred years. Surely we could give her a few more with a little face lift.

This is her before.

Before Full Frontal View with Mirror                     Before Side View

She is made of solid oak constructed in stiles and panels. The drawers were trash and the fronts were worn but not impossible to repair. Someone had made previous repairs with a quick fix of nails straight through the front of the drawers. Not pretty.

But just think of the possibilities. She has a beautiful little rectangular mirror that is still largely clear and reflective. Most of her panels are intact even if they are cracked here and there.

Broken Down Drawers       Bad Repair to Drawer Fronts

And so on to the repairs.

She is fitted with brand new custom made drawers constructed of one half inch plywood and reattached to the original drawer fronts.  I feel much better knowing that the interior of the drawers are fresh and clean.

Brand New Drawers

In order to get all the color that I wanted, she gets a coat of an Annie Sloan French Linen Chalk Paint.

A clear coat to create a crackle effect is next. Once the crackle medium is dry, she is coated with Annie Sloan Pure White and a blend of Annie Sloan Pure White with a little Napoleonic Blue mixed together.

I wanted the blue to be really washed out and pale. A very subtle effect.

French Linen Gray Undercoat    First Coat of Crackle Paint    Crackle with French Linen Undercoat

This is the inspiration fabric from the room where she will rest. And the final touch of blue paint to her original wooden knobs.

Inspiration Fabric

Have a look at her final look in this gallery.  Click on a photo to enlarge and scroll through her pics.  She is a pastel beauty!


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Vintage Rose Beauty

A couple of months ago I saw this little secretary desk at an unusual shop off the side of the road. At the time I didn’t have a plan for it and didn’t really need it but I wanted it. My husband, who always does the haggling, tried to get a better price on it but was unable to make a deal. So I passed on it.

Recently I saw a large secretary on a Facebook page by Jonathon Marc Mendes-Painted Love.  I knew that I had to attempt this!

I knew that he (husband) had to go back and buy the smaller version so that I could paint it for myself. It had never left my mind and now that I saw what was possible for its new personality I had to have it. Bonus. He did get a better price since it had been a couple of months and she was still sitting there.

I knew she didn’t look like much but I liked the fact the she was small and didn’t take up much room. A nice place to drop the mail and write checks for bills. I already had the spot picked out for her in my living room.

She was old and still had her original tag on the back even though it is mostly illegible. But she wasn’t perfect. There was a bad crack on the front where the veneer wanted to peel but that was an easy repair. Since I was painting her, a little patch wouldn’t be noticed. Otherwise she was sound just a very boring shade of brown. She still had a brass key hole and beautiful little handles and knobs that were original on the drawers.

I started by cleaning off the old dirt and wax. Next I applied two coats of Annie Sloan Scandinavian Pink Chalk Paint. The interior was coated with Annie’s Old White.  Chalk paint is very forgiving and has great coverage on a brown piece of furniture.

I thought I had made a mistake. The pink looked far darker and bolder than Jonathan’s. I went back and checked his instructions and found that he had used a wash of another Annie Sloan paint called Versailles. After the quick washing with a very thin Versailles, the color was perfect. A soft medium pink. Not too dark. Not too bright. A simply imperfect vintage look.

Next I did some focal spots with a blend of Olive Green and Versailles. I trimmed out the little mail slots and painted a faux leather pad.

I distressed most of the edges and a few random spots.  I’m not a huge fan of lots of heavy distressing.  I normally try to imagine where a piece might have naturally worn.   I also lightly scuffed the Olive to reveal the Old White underneath. She began to look beautifully used.

Fly specks of a dark brown black mixture where created by using an artist brush and the tip of my finger to lightly flick and splatter the exterior. That process created a depth that didn’t exist before. It might not be everybody’s taste but it added another dimension of interest.

Now on to the thing that I dreaded the most. Jonathon added vines and berries to the interior of his secretary. I was going to skip it because I thought it might be too much for my little lady. Still I thought it would add yet another point of interest so I decided to push through. I drew dots at each end of the vines and free hand painted vines and leaves. The berries are Annie Sloan Emperor’s Silk (Red) done with the eraser on the end of a  new pencil. After they were dry I lightly sanded them to age them just a tiny bit.

A full coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax and Dark wax were applied to make the piece more durable and easy to dust. Finger tips coated with Bright Gold Gilding Wax add the final touches.

I must say that I so greatly appreciate that Jonathon encourages people to be inspired by his work. He is quick to answer others who are looking for his advice.  If you have never seen his work, check out his Facebook page.  He is an amazing talent. He has many projects that are unlike anything else I have seen.

Here is the final gallery of Pink is Her Name. Click on an image to enlarge it and view slideshow.

Enjoy. Feel free to comment or ask a question.

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Thanks so much for stopping by.



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Permission to Color

Coloring BookOne of my fondest memories of my childhood was crayons and coloring books.

The crayons were kept in a berry basket on the very top of, what seemed like, an enormously tall wardrobe. Of course I was only six so any wardrobe would have appeared tall to me. Because of their location you had to ask permission to use the crayons and an adult had to retrieve them for you.

My grandma would reach up and hand that beautiful basket of crayons to me and it would make me so happy. I would take the basket and my book and sit down on the floor to pour out my inspiration.

As an adult, I choose my coloring books with care and color whichever page I want. But as a child the book was chosen for me and I assure you, I colored every page. Coloring books usually were purchased at Christmas time and not often otherwise.

The berry basket held hundreds of crayons. Problem was that they were usually only one to three inches long and their beautifully colored paper wrappers had long since been removed. It was not uncommon to pick up a crayon and have to make a mark on the inside back cover of your book just to be sure of the color of your chosen crayon.

Still these early memories gave me a life-long love of color and paper. It allows the creative side of my brain to take over and the analytical side to take a much needed rest.

The purchase of my new coloring books has multiple meanings to me. You see, I feel guilty. I feel guilty taking the time to do something just for me. I feel guilty not working every moment of every day in my self-owned business. I feel guilty because the laundry and the dishes are not done. I feel guilty if I take time away to be still and recharge. The list goes on and on.

However, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot be the best me without a break!

So I buy these new coloring books with the promise that I will allow myself have some time to recharge. I will be using them during my devotional time in the morning because that is when I feel the most inspired and still.

I wonder if all women face this same problem?  Do we all feel guilty that we are not completely submersed in busyness all the time?

Give yourself a break. Take some time to be with God, read His Word, and pray. Take some time to read a book. Take some time to knit or sew. Take a walk or a run.  Whatever is your thing that helps you recharge.

Give yourself permission…and you will be a better you.

What do you do to recharge?

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Favorite Things

This is my favorite thing to do when it snows.

I can sit for hours clicking off shots of birds as they rush to and from the feeder.

I am completely taken by the texture of their feathers, the color of their beaks, and the attitudes they express with a tilt of their head.

Enjoy the gallery. Click on a photo to bring up larger image and scroll through the rest.  Thanks.

[envira-gallery id="809"]

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For most of my life I have prided myself at being a great multi-tasker. I worked for someone else at a job that consumed nearly fifty hours a week. I mothered two young men. I have been a wife for thirty five years. Later I owned a retail book store that required monstrous amounts of time. Doing more than one thing at a time seemed…well, necessary.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I read somewhere that when you do more than one thing at a time, you really don’t do either thing very well. I wondered if they might be right. Have I been fooling myself that multi tasking was a good thing? Or does my quality suffer when I concentrate on several things at the same time?

There are projects, both business and personal, scattered throughout my house. Being a work-at-home entrepreneur has its advantages. Your home is your office and workspace. The down side of that is that your home is your office and workspace. I try to keep all the “work” stuff in a room but it somehow winds up spilling over onto the dining room table.

So I ask you…is it creative? Or is it crazy!?

Our business has gone through many changes in just eight years. Our initial products were bath and body. But we have also had success in amateur/professional photography. My husband’s creative outlet is wood working; so fine wood crafted items were added. Why shouldn’t everyone benefit from his talent? Someone suggested that with my background in the paint and decorating business that I might enjoy painting vintage furniture. I loved taking broken things and making them new. It was another creative outlet. Vintage furniture and some antiques were added to the mix.

Don’t get me wrong. I love all that we create but I don’t want anyone to feel like we are created so much that it can’t possibly be well done.

So I ask you…is it creative? Or is it crazy!?

I really had to give this some thought when I was working on our “about us” page for the web site. Who are we? I don’t want to confuse our customers. Lots of advice said that I should simplify and set up different shops for different products. But I wanted to represent who we really are. Creatives.

I found all my products had one thing in common…home. So we made a name change to “Hidden Blessings At Home.” This is who we are.

I want to be able to offer anything that I might find lovely or helpful for your home. I want to work on soap one day, and the next day, work on photography. I love the buzz of the saw coming from the garage where my husband is finishing a new table. I also love a road side junk store and the treasures that I might find there.


It has been freeing to finally make the decision to put everything in one place. All businesses go through a type of evolution. If you refuse to change, you will probably not succeed.

I will manage to juggle all that is in the air because I love what I do. But I am trying to be better at focusing on one piece at a time.

So I ask you…is it creative? Or is it crazy!?