Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Staged Kitchen/Dining

When you think of home staging do you think of strategically placed candles that make the room smell like muffins or cookies baking?  Well don't.  Wipe your mind clean of that.  It's so 1990.  Or Clueless.  Lots of stagers still do it, but it is really very cliche and buyers see into it.  Instead, I was taught to use people's emotions to make them remember a house (and thereby, sell it).  So with this house I told a story.

First I went around the neighborhood and talked to people to find out who lives in the area.  I found that there were a lot of retired empty-nesters and about the same amount of young families.  Pretty diverse.  I decided to stage as though either the kids were at a babysitter's or there were no kids in the house and it was the couple's anniversary.  The kitchen and dining area was where the story really began.


After (bad lighting, I know)

spaghetti dinner scene

"Spaghetti for Two."

The note on this bottle says, "Happy anniversary!  Here's to 50 more."

Here's the dining set.  I think this is the only part that the builder and I don't agree on.  When he saw it he told me that he thinks the set looks cheap and that it looks too small for the area.  I agree with neither of those things.  First of all, the table/chairs/bench set is a $700 set.  I realize that there are more expensive sets, but there are also sets that cost way less.  And it's not really about how much it cost but how cheap it looks, and I don't think it looks cheap.  But that's totally my opinion and he is entitled to his.  

Also, I think the size is perfect for the space.  It is a full sized table that is designed to seat 5-6.  I should probably bring in a rug and it will make the space look smaller but I didn't have one when I was staging it.  

What do you think?  Who do you agree with about the table or do you have a completely different opinion?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Staged Bathrooms

Bathrooms are seriously the easiest rooms to stage.  Make sure anything in the tub points to the drain and then just make it look good.  Done.

master bath before

master bath after -- the towels on the side of the sinks say El and Ella.  So cute for a master!

bathroom #2 -- I must have forgotten to take a before.  I threw this in for free anyway.  Under promise, over deliver.  That's the secret to good business.

I changed the fish plate to a picture of a tub so I could put the plate in the living room.

I added a green towel on that ring and some hotel soap on the fish soap holder.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Staged Living Room

Haha.  Do you guys remember Golden Girls?  Remember how Sophia used to start her stories with, "picture it..?"  Yes?  Well, yesterday I gave a talk in church in front of the entire congregation and I started a story with, "picture it, August, 1995.  I was fifteen years old."  Ha!  So cool.  I really think Estelle Getty would be proud. ;)

Last week was one of the busiest weeks I have had in a long time.  I got to stage a new-build house so I spent the first two days shopping for it and the last three setting it all up.  I even rented a U-haul and everything.  Tom was out of town so it was basically me and Morgan moving everything.  I'm so tired... and buff.

This was my first time staging for a builder and I learned a lot.  First of all, I went to look at the house by myself to get ideas.  Next time I will have the builders meet me there so I can get an idea of what they are looking for.  That will prevent numerous trips, I think.  Also, I won't give a quote until after I have seen and planned out the house.  And I will rent furniture from a store that will deliver.  That will save me a lot of time and energy moving things and setting them up by myself.

living room before

in progress -- the builder wanted a couch instead of all four chairs (and I totally agree).  


I got this cool platter at Ross so Realtors could leave their cards in a specific place.

fireplace in process --  instead of the mirror, the builder wanted people to be able to see the t.v. hookups on that wall.


 What do you think?  Do you like it or is there something that needs to be moved?  I like it but am so close to it that I think it's all perfect so I could use a fresh set of eyes.  

I'll show the rest of the house throughout the week.  If you want to buy it, let me know. ;)

And, I entered this turkey into a "cutest kids" contest.  The one with the most "likes" on FB wins a photography session with Dana Peterson Photography (local Boise).  I'd sure appreciate if you "liked" Morgan's photo at here.  And be sure to like Dana Peterson Photography too.  Thanks!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Diet and Exercise Stuff

Well, yesterday's post was quite a success.  Yay!  I guess there are a lot of us in the same fat losing, muscle gaining boat.  I did get some questions that I'd like to address today, and if anyone wants to start a program, I'd be happy to post one each week for you to follow.  Just let me know and if I get enough interested, maybe I'll have a Saturday post dedicated to exercise and nutrition.


1. Do you use a website to count your calories?  No.  Sometimes I Google how many calories are in certain things, but I don't use a website.  I usually just figure out how many calories are in the meal I'm eating (I usually keep it around 200-300) then I add that number to the amount of the meal before and keep the running total of the day.  When I do things like casseroles I just add up the calories that are in the amount of each ingredient, then I divide it by the portion size that I'm eating (like 1/6th). So if there ends up being 1800 calories in a casserole, divide it by 6 and you have 300 calories for that serving. It is a pain but good to do if you're wanting to know exactly.

2. What about calorie restriction and breast feeding?  Can you lose your milk?  Yes.  You can lose it, but usually because you are not doing it right.  If you are breast feeding I would not have you on anything less than an 1800 calorie diet.

3. Why can't I lose weight while breast feeding or taking certain medications?  Some people just don't.  I don't know why.  It stinks and I'm sorry.

4. Will I look like a body builder if I lift weights?  Unless you are taking 'roids, there is no way you will look like a female version of Arnold Swarzennegger in the 90's.  Don't worry about it.  You will gain muscle, but also lose fat.  It will be more toning and leaning than body building.

5. Pregnancy and dieting?  You shouldn't try to lose weight while you are pregnant.  That said, you shouldn't stop watching what you eat either.  You've heard the phrase, "eating for two," right?  Well, unless the other one in your belly is a full-sized human being, it only needs about 300 calories above what you need.  That means you should at least be eating 1500 calories.  Nothing less.  But you don't need to eat 4000 calories either.

6. Where do I start?  Okay, I'll answer that one below.

You know that it is so important to exercise.  You need to be lifting weights at least twice per week.  I do four and I'll tell you why.  Not only is weight lifting good for your bones and your physique, but building muscle by lifting weights helps you to burn more fat, which ultimately is what you want to do.  Who cares about weight?  It's all about fat.

To start off with weight lifting, as your consultant I would have you lift 5 times per week, at least for forty minutes, for the first 6-ish weeks.  I would have you lift heavy weights and do 3-4 sets and few reps (6-8), fatiguing your muscles on the last rep.  So, Monday do chest and back.  Tuesday do shoulders and core.  Wednesday do legs.  Take Thursday off.  Friday do biceps and triceps.  And Saturday do a full body lift.  Take Sunday off.  If you want more specifics, let me know.

While you were lifting hard, I would have you you go light on cardio, like 20-30 minute speed walks, 6 days per week.

And finally, I would have you consume around 1800-2000 calories while doing this -- all very nutritious foods, of course.

Remember, it's 15% exercise and 85% nutrition, which sucks because I like exercising much more than counting calories.

And my husband just started the last episode of season two of Downton Abbey (have you seen that show? --  I know my British friends have.  Best. Show. Ever! and it's on for free until March) so I have to go now.  Again, let me know if you have questions or want me to go more in depth.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Just Eat It

This post isn't about real estate or DIY or decorating at all.  It's about me stepping up to the eating healthy plate (get the pun?).  So, this is kind of personal so don't get uncomfortable, mmkay?

I have been trying to get pregnant for, like, a year.  I have a little brother who is 4 years younger than me and I wanted my kids to be a lot closer in age (2 years).  Morgan is going to be 3 in April so things are looking to be closer to the 4 year mark.  Since I have had it in my mind for the past year that I am just going to get pregnant and fat, what's the point of losing those 5-10 pounds that are hanging on?  You know?  Well, I stepped on the scale for the first time in three months and it was up another 5 pounds.  What the?!!  Uh uh!  That is one pound over my high point in high school when I decided to stop eating except for gummy bears and Peach Ole (I've learned a lot about health and nutrition since then).

I'm really not overweight at all but the embarrassing thing is that got my bachelors degree in exercise science and I used to be a nutrition and exercise consultant.  Let me tell you something.  I would NEVER let my clients eat three sugar cookies, two crepes, and bacon for breakfast.  But that's just what I was doing to myself (literally -- the Saturday before last).

I weighed myself last Monday (the 13th) and started eating healthy and watching my caloric intake that day.  I lost 2 pounds the first day.  It was just my system cleaning itself out, don't think "miracle" or anything.  But I weighed myself yesterday (Monday the 20th) and I had lost 4.6 pounds total.  Super!  I have another 10 to go and I can healthily expect to lose 1-3 pounds per week from now on.  The first week is always the hardest and the best.

I know a lot of you want to get into swimsuit shape for the summer (that will be here before we know it -- wooh!) so I want to give you some healthy eating ideas and advice in order to reach your goals.

This is from me as a nutrition consultant.  Eh hem...

1. Your biggest meal should be breakfast.  Don't ever skip it!  You should be eating about 60% carbs, 30% protein, and 10% fat.  I eat one whole egg, one egg white, 1/2 cup of Fiber One with 1/2 cup of skim milk, and a serving of fruit.  I even sweeten the cereal with Splenda.  I know some of you are not okay with that and want to use more natural things but remember that honey has lots of calories like sugar.

2.  Depending on the amount of calories you want in your diet, eat 200-400 calories every 2-3 hours.  You will keep your metabolism up and hunger down.

3.  Taper your calories and carbs throughout the day.  This means that if you eat 400-500 calories for breakfast, you should be eating 200-300 at the end of the day (dinner).  I'm not always good at this because I really love dinner.  I still eat healthily and it still works, so I'm okay with that.  Also, your end of day meal and snack should consist of mostly protein and very few carbs.

4. Always have a snack bar with you in case you get caught away from home and hungry.  This could be a Fiber One bar, Atkins bar, South Beach bar, or other low cal power bars (be sure to check the calorie content though -- some bars are packed with calories).  If you do this, you'll save yourself the tub of popcorn at Target or the burger from McDonalds.  

I could eat the same breakfast, lunch and snacks every day, but I get so bored if I have to eat the same healthy dinner.  Instead of eating plain chicken or tilapia, I try to make our normal meals light.  I'm going to share some recipes that I made last week for dinners.  Tom and Morgan liked everything we had!

Zucchini Pizza 
1 cup low-fat part skim mozzarella cheese
1 can stewed tomatoes (I would have used pizza or spaghetti sauce but we were out)
approx 35 turkey pepperonis (so much less fat than regular pepperoni)
1 container sliced mushrooms (I used the styrofoam container, not a can)
3 zucchinis

Slice the zucchinis and put them in a pan (my pan was half of a large cookie sheet).  Put all the other ingredients on top in whichever order you prefer.  Bake at 350 until it looks done (yeah... I'm not really a great recipe writer).

Total Calories: 520 in the entire pizza

dessert: Apple Pie
For dessert after the pizza we had a pie with a little scoop of ice cream.  I made the crust with 1 cup of ground oats (that I just put in a food processor) and an egg white.  I mixed it together and pressed it into individual pie tins (two tins plus the bottom of another).  Then I sliced one apple and put the slices in each tin. I sprinkled cinnamon and Splenda over the top and baked at 350 until the crust was done and the apples were soft.  Then I put a scoop (1/2 serving) of reduced fat ice cream on top.

Total Calories: 410 in all the pies put together

Chicken Enchilada Stew (for lack of a better word)
I could not edit the green out of this picture with my free editing software but just know that the only thing that was green was the cucumbers.

1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
2 corn tortillas
1 c fat free sour cream
8 oz shredded chicken (already cooked)
3 roma tomatoes
2 cucumbers

Mix the soup and sour cream together in a pot.  Add chicken.  Tear the tortillas into bite size pieces and put into the mixture.  Cook until warm.  Garnish with tomatoes and cucumbers (don't mix the cucumbers with the "stew" -- no bueno).

Total Calories: 710

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Soup and Cucumber/Tomato Salad

sandwich -- use spray butter instead of butter to grill it.
2 slices Sarah Lee 45 calorie bread
1/4 cup low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese

Progresso Hearty Tomato soup

Cucumber and tomato mixed together with some fat free miracle whip

Total Calories: Around 300

I hope that gives you some ideas on how to eat and cook healthy meals.  Good luck if you are trying to cut back on the junk.  I know what you're going through!  Just remember, "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels" -- which is total bunk anyway (sometimes) but a good motivational quote.

Oh, and send some fertility vibes my way.  Thanks!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Huge Blog Party!

Happy Monday!  I'm so excited for this week.  I am staging a new-build empty house and I'm crazy busy with everything (love that!).  Today I get to go shopping!  I'll post some pics when it's all done.  Until then, I found a Linky party on The 36th Avenue.  It's a blog-growing party and seriously, It. Is. A. Party!  So many great blogs have linked up.  If you want to join, do it!  I have added it to my blog so link on up here!  If you are just in the market to find more blogs to waste time on read, take your pick.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest Post: The ArtsyGirl Connection

Hi guys!  I have a fantastic blog to introduce to you today.  I am sponsoring The ArtsyGirl Connection this month and have been a follower and Linky party joiner for months.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Here is the blog's very talented creator, Marilyn...

Happiest Of New Year's Friends... I am Super EXCITED to have an opportunity to be
sharing with you today from my space next door via The ArtsyGirl Connection.
I am Marilyn, the heart and creator of The ArtsyGirl Connection and really
thankful to be a sponsor here at Kelli's INCREDIBLY Creative
and Inspirational Space and very excited to get to know you all.
Below is a bit about me and a few of my favorite projects I've created
and shared on my blog..Hope you enjoy and stop in sometime..
I H.E.A.R.T My Artsy Friends.. Join Us..
I'm a mother to two beautiful mini Moon's, engaged to my very best friend, craft addict,
pixel lover, upcycling junkie and a DIY trial and error chef in my own world!! I love indulging 
in creative outlets from crafting to enhancing our home over the season's and creating unique 
items for my children. I craft for cause and totally light up at any opportunity to help bring 
awareness where needed to various issues close to my heart.  I will LOVE to get to know 
you all and an opportunity to indulge in more future blog shenanigans sometime.. 
Hope you can all stop in and say hello..
A Few Of My Fun Favorite Projects From My Blog
Strawberry Sweetheart Shakes
These are a SUPER delish and amazing treat for your loves!
I am a huge upcycling fanatic and LOVE to re-do things normally considered junk 
into fun artsy decor for my home. Here are a few of my Upcycling projects!
UpCycle Your Old Light Bulbs Into Pretty Vases
These amazing vases now hang on my kitchen window.. Very lovely!

Amazing Driftwood Bottles
These are used bottles collected and decorated using paint, driftwood
and flowers. It's one of my FAVORITE thing's I've created and shared via my blog.. 
A Special Christmas Soiree Featured Item
This is another upcycling project I made for Christmas, it features TP 
Roll's made into Christmas ornaments and stuffed with love notes 
and sweets. My family really enjoyed them.. 
Vintage Candy Corn Bottles
You guessed it... Another upcycling project I created for Halloween. These are
Vintage Candy Corn Bottles I created for decor from this past Halloween.
They turned out pretty festive and lovely for the seaaon.
I made these awesome place cards for Christmas Dinner this year. I have a zillion
of corks from years of collection and finally decided to start making use of them.
It was a big hit and everyone enjoyed the idea of having a special
place holder and got to take them home!
I also indulge in a lot of fun Cause related events and would LOVE to share in
any you have got going on. Please certainly let me know and I will share and join in!
Want to share inspiration..? Stop in and visit/link up sometime to my Thursday
Pin'Inspired Party ~ Pin Inspirational Thursdays every week! I would LOVE
to get to know you all and share in some of your creativity featured in your
space. You can also find me via Pinterest (Heart it!), Tweet with me,
or join in for fast updates via facebook anytime..
I sincerely appreciate you having me here today Kelli.
 Wishing you and all your lovely friends here at The Turquoise Piano
The HAPPIEST OF NEW YEAR'S!! Cheer's To Success,Love and Creativity!
Thanks, Marilyn, for joining us today.  I have to make the candy corn bottles for next Halloween!  And I love everything you do!  

Head on over to visit and show her some love!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Only Valentine's Decoration

Oh my goodness, you guys.  I am so tired!  I seriously spent most of the day yesterday in bed.  I feel fine, just tired.  Maybe I have mono.  Or maybe I just didn't have anything to do (besides house work, grocery shopping, and chairs to sand -- none of which got done).

What?  Valentine's is over.  Well, maybe I should show you my one and only decoration for the season.

Remember this fall wreath (bad picture, I know)?

Then it as a Christmas wreath.

Well, here it is as a Valentine's wreath.  

Now I have to find a way to make it a cool St. Patrick's wreath.  I'm thinking moss.  Any other ideas?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Real Estate Series: Power Team

Happy Valentines Day!  Yeah, not really my favorite "holiday."  I haven't decorated for it at all (minus a wreath) but I am going to go decorate cookies at a friend's house and possibly feed lobster to the missionaries since it's on sale at Albertson's.

Whelp, here's a real estate article for you.  If you're not really into the article, at least scroll down to see the property of the week.  Have a very lovable day!

Build Your Real Estate Power Team

Most people have found the greatest amount of success in real estate investing by creating a power team.  A real estate power team consists of the people to work with throughout the steps of buying and selling property, and everything in between.  This article will focus mainly on who your power team should be made up of to be most beneficial to you.  If you are a first time home buyer, this is also a good article for you because it explains the people involved in the real estate purchasing process.  It may help you be a little less overwhelmed (but probably not ;)).

The 9 most important and influential people on your power team are your Realtor, home inspector, rehab crew, property management company, title company, real estate attorney, insurance agent, mortgage broker, and mentor.  In this article you will find out how many people to use in each area and some strategies on how to utilize them most efficiently.


Your Realtors are probably the most important people on your team.  Realtors can find you fabulous deals.  Some markets have too many properties for one Realtor to handle.  You should have 2-3 Realtors per market where you invest.  This will ensure that you have access to many deals in the area.

The Realtors must be based in the city where you invest.  They will know the area and be able to get new deals to you quickly.  They will also know if the property is located in the type of area you want to invest.

Let them know that you are an investor and would be interested on working with them on a lot of deals.  They will be happy to send you many options.

You should work with Realtors who have experience working with investors in a specific area.  The following are examples of questions that you may want to ask your Realtors:

  • Where are you located? – Make sure they are in the area where you want to invest
  • Do you work with investors? – Work with Realtors that have experience working with investors, otherwise you may miss out on deals that would have benefited you because your Realtor didn’t know exactly what to do in the situation
  • What types of deals do you do with investors? – Make sure they do the type of deals you will be doing (foreclosures, flipping, etc)
  • How long have you been in the business? – Your Realtors should have at least 2 – 4 years experience as Realtors (this will ensure that they know what they are doing)

Home Inspectors

You should always get a home inspection!  Always.  Always.  Always!  Home inspectors go through the whole property -in depth- to see if anything is wrong.  They check the grounds, roof, plumbing, electric, etc.  If something is wrong in any area they will write it in a report that you will receive when the inspection is finished.  This will give you power to negotiate with the seller and thereby, save you money.

You will benefit most if you hire home inspectors with a lot of experience (200–300 jobs completed) because they will know exactly what to look for.  Your Realtor will be able to give you a list of good home inspectors in the area.  In my experience, the Realtors we have used ordered the inspection for us with a company they trust -- very helpful if you are new to buying houses and are completely overwhelmed.

Have your home inspector give you a repairs estimate.  A repairs estimate is a list of the estimated cost to fix the things that should run properly, but don’t.  With the repairs estimate you will be able to show the seller how much you will need to invest in repairs in order to make it “livable.”  You can then renegotiate the price of the property.

Rehab Crew

Your rehab crew is the group of specialized people you will hire to fix up your property (I talked about this in depth in an earlier article).  It is very important to get a rehab crew that is licensed (plumber, electrician, etc.).  This way you make sure you are dealing with a crew that is legal to work in your country and that the crew is obligated to do the work at the standards set by correct authorities.

You will benefit by asking them some specific questions, such as:

  • How long have you been in business? (You want someone that has had experience with the work you need done.)
  • Do you work in the city that I do business?
  • What kind of rehab do you do? – They must do the right rehab for your area and property (if the house is in a low income neighborhood it doesn’t need expensive countertops, etc.).
  • How many people are on the rehab crew? – This is for time efficiency.  The more people they have, the faster.
  • Are you bonded? – Get a copy of the certificate.
  • Do you have your own vehicle and tools? – Only use people that have the necessary things in order to get the job done.
  • Ask for references – If they have done a good job in the past they will be happy to give them to you.  If not, they are not good enough for you

You will also benefit by getting a copy of their drivers’ license.  You don’t want to be the victim of a scam.  If you have their drivers’ license you will have information for any legal recourse, in the event of a theft or anything they might do that could hurt your business.

Before you give your rehab crew a key to your property, you should make sure you have them sign a contractor’s agreement.  The contractor’s agreement should include:

  • A list of everything you want done to the property (including the little things such as light switch covers)
  • Payment phases – commit to paying your rehab crew in 2 or 3 phases. Pay at the end of the phase, but don’t pay until 100% of the phase is complete
  • Completion date – set a reasonable date by which the rehab crew should have everything finished.  Give them a week cushion if you’d like.  

Hint: some people put in an incentive such as: “if the job is not completed by DATE, a $50 fee will be deducted per day.  If the job is completed early, a $50 bonus will be paid for each day.”  This ensures that it will be completed on time, if not early.

Property Management Company

A property management company is worth using if you are planning on renting out your property/ies.  They will manage your properties usually for a percent of the rent you collect.  They will take care of leaks and other things that are small but could take a lot of your time.

To find a good management company get referrals from your Realtor.  They know the business in the area and have probably worked with people who used a property management company.

Ask the Property Management Company:

  • How long have you been in business? - Again, they should have at least 2 years experience.
  • How many units does the company manage? – This is to see what they can handle.
  • What types of units do you manage? - You want to hire a company that works with properties similar to yours.
  • How do you market for tenants/residents? - Do they market for the type of people you want.
  • What is the monthly management fee? – (Is it based on the money they collect or is it a flat fee?  You want to go with a company that only gets paid depending on what they collect.  They will be more motivated to collect the rent.)

You do have control over the type of tenant you rent to.  If it is important to you, have your property management company do a criminal and addiction background check on the tenants.

Title Company

Find a title company that is investor friendly and does a lot of work with investors.  They will have experience with deals like yours.  Once you find one you like, work with them over and over to establish a strong business relationship.  They might be able to help you out in some tough situations.  If you are a loyal returning client, they will do what they can to keep you.

Real Estate Attorney

Real Estate Attorneys understand the legalities of real estate and can help you protect yourself and your assets.  They can help you with your rental contracts, through the eviction process (if applicable), or anything else that has to do with your property.

When choosing your attorney, make sure they live in the city in which your investment property is located because they will know the area and possibly have some connections with someone you may eventually need.

Insurance Agents

Insurance agents search for the best rates for insuring your property.  Have at least two on your team.  They will both shop for the best rates but one may find you a better rate than the other.

Mortgage Brokers 

Loans are different for investors than they are for first-time home buyers.  It is very important to find mortgage brokers that know about investment loans.  To ensure that you find the right people, look for brokers that are investors themselves.  That way they will understand what the process of investment loans and be able to decide what kind of loans will be best for you.

They need to be able to find creative financing.  Most of the time there are better ways to come up with financing than doing an 80/20 conventional loan.  For example, you could get an 80% loan and have the seller finance the other 20%.  Your mortgage brokers should have different options available.  But don't forget that I recommend paying cash for any and all investment properties.

Your mortgage brokers should have at least 2 years experience.


Everyone should have their own mentor.  Your mentor will guide you through the process.  He/she understands the stress and frustration that you are going through and can help you through tough situations.

Mmmkay, as usual, here is the property of the week.  It is 3860 square feet with 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths.  The lot is 10 acres, with 2.5 fenced as horse property.  The other 7.5 acres are supposedly leasable (no, probably not a word) to grow hay.  It is very "country," which isn't exactly my style, and needs some updating, but for the right price, I'll make it my style.  It has been bank owned for months, so maybe the price they are asking is negotiable.  I'm going to look at it in person tomorrow.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Copycat Monday: Dining Room Table

I had such a great weekend!  Tom went to South Carolina to consult for a client so I decided to take Morgan to Utah on Wednesday to visit family.  She got to see the cows with grandpa, go swimming, ride the school bus, jump on the trampoline and have a picnic.  I got to go running without a jacket and take a lot of naps.  Seriously.  My mom asked if I was feeling alright.  YES!  I was just relaxed because someone else was watching Morgan.  Then Tom gave up his seat on the Saturday flight back to Boise (for a voucher, of course) and the airline put him on a flight to Utah so he surprised us at his mom's house on Saturday.  

Today's project is this table that I picked up for $20 at a thrift store.  The owner got it like this then put a layer of varnish over the top (to keep the ugly in, maybe?).  We had to take it apart to get it home so the before picture doesn't have legs, but you get the idea.  This is also another of my 12 of 2012 projects.  


I got most of my inspiration from Miss Mustard Seed and her explanation of top coats which was very helpful when I was doing this.  
Top Coats - Tips on Products & Polishes for sealing your painted or stained pieces. Thorough information.

I was going to do it Robyn Egg Blue like this one but in the end I realized that Heirloom White would be more versatile.  My friend makes fun of me because I paint everything white but I just can't help myself.  
Annie Sloan wax -- beautiful

I started by sanding the table.  I sanded the first half then decided to try to strip the other half.  I like the stripping best for this flat surface.  It took a lot less time.  I still had to sand a layer after stripping, but it still was faster.

When I was finished sanding, I spray painted (Heirloom White by Rustoleum) the legs and around the table under the table top.  This picture is on another camera so I'll update it later.  

Besides the paint, these are the other products I used.  The Valspar antiquing glaze was for the legs, the Minwax products were for the table top.  

Here is the table after the paint but before anything else.

This is before the Valsapar antiquing glaze.
 And this is after.  I just brushed the glaze in the lines and wiped off the excess glaze with a damp cloth.

To finish it, I stained the top Dark Walnut by Minwax and rubbed on a wax finish, also by Minwax.  It is not glossy and I absolutely love it.  I splashed some stain on the white paint (so tape off/cover the paint if you do this) so I ended up distressing it slightly.

It goes a lot better with my grandfather clock than the iron/glass set!

This week's project will be redoing the 4 chairs that I found on craigslist.  Then I can either sell or give away the iron/glass dining set.  Hooray!

And last, but not least, my husband is brilliant.  It was our wedding anniversary on the 2nd.  We budgeted $50 for dinner but nothing for gifts (we're not really gift people).  He brought me home one red rose.  Why is he brilliant?  He knew that a dozen would bother me rather than make me happy because I think it is a waste of money, but he showed that he remembered by bringing one.  Love that man!  Happy anniversary, Tom!

Linking up at the great Linky parties found at the bottom of the blog.  They are where I find most of my inspiration!  Check them out!


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