Why Am I So Nervous?

Why am I so nervous?  Good question!  For one very good reason, the Haven Conference.  When I started blogging last year I read about this conference's inaugural year all over the blogs I follow.  I was so jealous that I hadn't planned ahead and bought a ticket.  This year the same thing almost happened.  I almost missed out again!  That was until Kelly from Eclectically Vintage asked me if I was going to Haven.  I got a bit panicky when she asked me and thought, "OH NO!  I missed it again!"  It turns out I had missed the ticket sales by a few months.  I missed out on getting a ticket, but with a little help I found someone who was selling one that I was able to purchase.  I was ecstatic when I realized I was going to be able to attend Haven!!!  It was this bloggers dream come true!  

OK, I still haven't really explained what this whole Haven Conference is about have I?  To be honest I'm still learning what it's all about.  Let's just say it's a chance to learn, network and talk about blogging with some of the biggest DIY and home decor bloggers as well as vendors out there.  It's that great opportunity to meet bloggers I look up to and admire as well as some I don't know of yet.  It's a chance to meet and connect with representatives from big companies like Home Depot, Moen, Ryobi and so many more. There will be workshops that will teach me more about taking better pictures, growing my blog and making better connections with my fellow bloggers (to name a few.....there are so many workshops!).  

Well, if I'm so excited and this is such an amazing opportunity then why am I so nervous?  I feel like I'm going back to college and taking a final exam, but I'm completely unprepared and have no idea what subject I'm being tested on.  After 18 months of blogging, I still consider myself a new and inexperienced blogger .  One of the reasons I feel this way is I have so much to learn still!  I didn't know what an SEO was until recently (I had to Google it!).  For those of you who also don't know what that is it's Search Engine Optimization.  It has something to do with how people find your site on search engines, but that's about as far as my knowledge goes.  I still don't know what a media kit is, how to properly use hashtags or use Twitter.  I'm on a huge learning curve here and I'm not technical at all.  I can hardly operate my laptop!  The idea of attending a conference with about 300 other bloggers who know what they're doing makes me VERY nervous!  

I've written about Miss Mustardseed (her real name is Marian) on the blog before.  Well, she's my blog idol!  I almost passed out with excitement when she picked my furniture projects not once, but twice as one of her favorites during her Furniture Feature Friday.   She's a big deal in the DIY blogging world.  She has written a book and has her own milk paint line. Yep, even writing all this makes me sound like a huge decor nerd and stalker (I'm really not a stalker!).  Well Marian is going to be at Haven teaching a workshop on painting.  Of course I can't wait to take her course.  I paint, so I should be completely fine and not nervous about taking the workshop and possibly meeting her, right?  WRONG!  What if I say something stupid and make a fool of myself?  She's a mega-blogger, an author and entrepreneur!  I'm just a little blog that doesn't advertise and doesn't post consistently!

Then there's the 'what to wear' issue.  I shouldn't even get started with this subject.  My every day typical outfit really and truly is yoga pants, a workout shirt and running shoes.  You can ask anyone that knows me in my every day life, they will attest to this.  My hair is usually in a bun or up in some other way.   I'm lucky if I remember to put on my New Balance watch and wedding ring.  My nails are always done, but they usually have paint, stain or wax on them.  I hardly even remember how to put together an outfit that doesn't consist of something from my Mommy uniform (this is what the hubby calls it).  I'm always worried about what to wear to a function, but this time it's off the hook!  First impressions always scare me!

You're probably asking yourself, if you weren't already, why I'm writing about all of this.  It might sound like the panicked rantings of an insecure lunatic.   However, if you follow me on a regular basis you probably already know I do all this blogging stuff for fun.  It's cathartic for me.  It's my form of therapy if you will.  Sharing my creativity in a public forum is good for me because it pushes me to 'do something that scares me every day.'  I need to be creative, it's like breathing for me.  I'm hoping if I write all of this out for the world to see then I will feel better and it will help me feel more confident. I've been worrying and fretting over this conference for a couple of months now and what has it accomplished?  Nothing at all!  Well, it's given me a few sleepless nights and some headaches if that counts.  What I have learned from all of this worrying is that I need to be confident in who I am.  No one else can do this for me.  It has to come from within. 

This is one of my favorite quotes and I think it's a good reminder for everyone, but especially for me. I'm always telling my son, Hunter to be himself and allow himself to be unique so why am I not taking my own advice?  Why not just go with it?

I've decided that Instead of being nervous and worrying about how I will compare to everyone else I'm going to be myself.  Take it or leave it.  Either my fellow bloggers will like me or they won't.  I doubt anyone will remember what I wore or whether I knew what an SEO was.  It's not the end of the world if I don't 'click' with everyone I meet, right?  I might put my foot in my mouth, or commit some faux pas, but at least I will know I was being true to myself.  

I have to remind myself why I wanted to attend this conference in the first place.  I wanted to push myself and go outside my comfort zone.  I wanted to meet new, like-minded people and fellow bloggers.   I wanted to go for all of these reasons, but most of all I wanted to learn from experienced bloggers so I can grow.   I'm hoping this will push me to grow my blog a bit more so I can reach more people who enjoy the same things I do.  I write this blog for fun, not for a salary.  This whole conference is supposed to be fun, not a source of worry or nervousness.  

This idea of 'being yourself' doesn't just apply to me and this conference.  It applies to everyone.  The world would be a really boring place if we were all the same.  I'm commiting be myself and let my uniqueness shine through.  I hope you'll do the same!

Thank you for reading this and if you stuck with it and made it to the end, here's a big virtual HUG for you!!  I hope on Aug 1, 2 & 3 when I'm attending Haven, you will all send out some positive thoughts  my way and maybe an extra helping of courage!


My Favorite Spot, The Living Room

I don't normally do room tours of my home.  There are a few reasons I don't do this.  First, this is a rental so the home is not really what I want it to be.  There are a lot of things that bother me that I can't change.  For example the flooring in a few of the rooms, the kitchen, the bathrooms etc.  Second reason, the lighting is awful!  If I don't get the timing perfectly right the pictures don't not turn out.  This means all the conditions have to be perfect to get good pictures or I'm just a terrible photographer (it might be the last reason!).  Third and last reason, I'm constantly changing things around our home so I never really think a room is 'finished' and ready to photograph.  However, with the fact we are moving changed my mind.  I thought it might be time to take some pictures of my favorite room in our home while I still had the time and the packers hadn't started their job. 

My favorite room in the house is our living room.  When I walk into this room I feel a sense of calm, peace and relaxation.  Out of every room in the house I feel this room really reflects me, my sense of style and the 'things' I love and collect.  It's always a work in progress for me as things move in and out, but it always feels comfortable and cozy to me. 

Recently I changed up the mantel in the living room.  I've written before about how my decor style and tastes are always evolving.  Lately I've had a real affinity for anything industrial, school related or mid-century modern.   I think the mantel showcases a bit of all of these styles.  I love how the mantel turned out!

Here it is

The window I purchased last summer at a Flea Market and it sat in the garage for a few months, then spent time in other parts of the house before I placed it on the mantel.  I love to layer the mantel to give it depth and interest and rarely hang anything, but prefer to lean the items instead.  I'm not a formal person and I like how leaning pictures, windows, etc gives the mantel a more casual look.

The chalkboard I purchased for $5 at an estate sale this spring.  The best part about it is the chalkboard is an actual old school chalkboard and is a piece of slate.  It has such depth and character that isn't found in the new chalkboards.  

The clock is my favorite piece on the mantel.  I have lots of 'collections' and clocks are one of the things I love to collect.  The clocks play tricks with people when they're over for a visit.   I have three clocks in the living room and none of them work so they all say different times.  It's fun to see my guests reactions when they ask, "Is that time right?!"   I bought this particular clock at a tag sale for $15.   It was originally from a high school.

The toy blocks I bought recently at the flea market.  I got a big bag full of blocks for $10.  I decided to have fun with them by spelling out our names on the mantel.   I still have tons of blocks leftover that are sitting in an old wood tool box on my dining room table.   Hunter definitely got a kick of the blocks spelling out our names.

The sconces on either side of the fire place are one thing I did change in the room, other than the paint color on the walls.  They were brass, which I wasn't really loving, so one day I decided to paint them.  I took them off and gave them a few coats of oil rubbed bronze spray paint by Rustoleum.  Then I hung them back up and put on new black shades.  This little change of color and shades made a huge difference and really updated the look of the family room.  Such a quick, easy and inexpensive fix!

The only non-vintage pieces on the mantel are the Orchid, vase and the black and white graphic canisters.  The canisters I found at Target.  I'd been stalking them at Target since the day they came out and finally they put them on clearance and I scooped them up!  Who doesn't love Target clearance bargains?!

One of my favorite pieces I've ever purchased is my little Hudson Coaster Wagon.  I bought this last year at an estate sale.  When I saw it sitting by itself at the sale I had to have it!  The wagon sits in front of the fireplace which is a perfect sport because we never use the fireplace.  We tried a few times to use it when we first moved in, but it didn't give off any heat.  Also thee fact we couldn't even see the fire because the doors had to be closed made it pointless to have a fire.  If I have a fire, I want to see it and feel the warmth!  

One other item I love to collect is old lanterns, especially if they're colorful and a bit beat up and rusty.  

The elephant on the mantel I purchased at another estate sale for $2.  It's solid and made of some sort of metal and it's really heavy.  The paint is black and red and chippy,  which gives it a bit more interest and charm.  I love how unexpected it is to see an elephant on the mantel!  

Here's a better picture of my little wagon. 

Finally on to the rest of the room!  I have to warn you there are lots of pictures!  I had to take advantage of some decent light.  

I love, love, love my couch.  This couch has been around for along time now.  It's from IKEA and it's called the Ekeskog.  They no longer sell this couch.  We've had it for about 12 years and it's still solid and just as comfy as the day we bought it.  The cushions have memory foam in them, which adds to the comfort.  We've had many slipcovers on the couch, but this slipcover is my favorite.  I bought it from Bemz.  They make slipcovers for all upholstered IKEA furniture.  I purchased the slipcover first then the ottoman cover a few years later.  It's held up so well and it was a great purchase.  It's machine washable and this pattern hides any dirt.  

This is the view toward the back window as you enter the room.

I should have taken a better picture of my trunk!  I bought this old trunk from another estate sale for $5.  I brought it home, cleaned it up and put some legs from Home Depot on it.  I stained the legs in a dark walnut stain and attached them to the bottom of the trunk.   It's a great coffee table and conversation piece now.  I won't show you the inside of the trunk because it's full of encyclopedias I bought.  They come in handy for projects.  The room is very long so it needed two coffee tables.  There's one for the couch and one for the leather arm chairs.  

This is the view from the couch to the front of the house.  This room holds a lot of furniture and is rather large.  The leather chairs are also from IKEA and we've had these for a long time as well.  They're from the Ektorp line.  They've held up for the last 10 or 11 years and are still in perfect condition.  This is saying a lot since we've moved many times in their lives.   The ottoman is also IKEA and it's from the Ektorp line as well.  Again another piece we've had for about 11 years.   The top comes off and there's storage inside.

I adore the sign above the china cabinet.  I bought this from Restore for $30 last summer.  It was a bit too 'new' looking so I roughed it up a bit and added some dark wax to give it some rustic character.

The French bull dog book ends on the round black table are from Target.  These were another item I stalked until they went on clearance.  

This is behind the couch and in front of the back window.  This is actually a coffee table made of reclaimed wood we purchased in Canada from a furniture store we love.  I have too many coffee tables in the house so I decided to use this as a bench instead.  Hunter likes to sit here and look out the window or read a book.

Right next to the bench/coffee table is another favorite piece of mine.  I purchased this stacking library card, filing cabinet from an estate sale last summer.  It's another one of those I have to have that pieces.  I fell instantly in love with it when I saw it.  So much so that I wouldn't walk away from it until they'd written SOLD on it.  The cabinet now houses all of Hunter's craft supplies.  All of his pencils, markers, paper, scissors and such are stored in the drawers.   Hunter and I labelled each of the drawers so he knows exactly what's in each one.  It works great for him and keeps him organized, which is tough for anyone, but especially an 8 year old boy!

The framed etchings I purchased for a steal at an estate sale last summer.  When I looked them up online I found out they're worth a lot more than I paid for them.  That always makes my day!

Something else I love to collect is old silver or silver plated trophies, candlesticks, etc.  There's something about them that just makes me happy.  I like the tarnished and aged look of them.  I have one  trophy in a drawer somewhere from a skeet shooting competition.  

I wrote a post last year about this china cabinet.  I purchased it on Craigslist for $30 and it was in rough shape.  It was dirty, disgusting and had been stored in a barn for many years.  I stripped it down, cleaned it up and painted it in Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan in Paris Grey with dark wax on top.  (You can read about the process here Battered Craigslist Hutch)

On the right you can see the dining room.  I might try and do a tour of that room before we move as well, but it gets even worse light and it's difficult to get good pictures of the room because of the layout.  

A few other favorite things in this room are my mid-century modern cabinet and part of my globe collection.  I wrote a post about the cabinet and my globe obsession/collection earlier this year you can check those posts out here Globe Collection and Mid-Century Cabinet.  I purchased the mid-century cabinet at Restore for $100 and the globes I've been collecting for the last few years.  I haven't purchased anymore globes for awhile though.  I promised the hubby I wouldn't buy anymore unless I sold one first.  Funny story, when we went to the flea market recently Hunter was walking around talking to all the vendors and getting his negotiation on.  He saw a few globes at different stalls and told each one of the vendors, "My Mom isn't allowed to buy anymore globes because she already has 28 globes at home."  Wow, thanks for telling everyone I'm a globe hoarder!  The vendors thought it was funny, but I didn't :-)

I hope you enjoyed this long, photo packed tour of my favorite room in our house.  I did this partly for me so.  I figure when I move I will have pictures of how I had the room set up and I can attempt to recreate this in our new home!  I usually do this before we move anyway.  Although because I don't like doing the same thing twice, I usually end up arranging things differently anyway.  

In case you've missed some of my posts recently, we've been renting this home for a little over 18 months while the hubby was on a work visa with his company.  The company transferred him here on a 3 year work visa with the understanding we'd move back to Canada after the visa was up.  We honestly thought we'd be moving back to Canada this year, but the hubby was given have the amazing opportunity to stay here with his company and live in the US permanently.   This meant we could finally buy a home here and set down some roots.   We've purchased a home in a town close to where we are currently living.  After putting in three offers on three different houses, that didn't work out for one reason or another, we're so thrilled to finally find a home we all love.  Bonus....it didn't have a million problems, need a new roof, siding or a new outbuilding for me to work in!  We close on the house and move in the middle of August.  This can't come soon enough for us!
Hunter can't wait to live in his own home again!  It's been three years of renting and not feeling settled since selling our home in Canada so it's time.  Hunter's excited to start at his new school in a few weeks too.  There are lots of  exciting changes on the way for us....and possibly a puppy!

Here's the front of our new home.

I'm excited for the next chapter in our journey as a family to begin.  I'm ready to make new and lasting memories as a family in our new home.  Hunter can't wait to explore the 3.5 acres of yard, forest and creek.   What 8 year old boy wouldn't think it's cool to have their own creek with a fire pit and lots of room to put up a tent?   He's already planning his first camp out with his Daddy by the creek.  

I'm off to the Haven conference next week, so stay tuned to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  If you don't already follow me on any of these you can click the icons on the side bar and start following me.  I'll be posting lots of pictures and updates from Haven.  This is my first blog conference and it's kind of a big deal for me!  I still consider myself a rookie in the blogosphere even after 19 months of blogging because I still have so much to learn!  I'll have the amazing opportunity to take some workshops and learn from some talented and experienced bloggers.  I'll get to meet some of my blogging favorites like Marian from Miss Mustardseed, Rhoda from Southern Hospitality, Roeshel from DIY Showoff and many others, too many others to list here!  Now I just hope I don't go and make a fool out of myself or act like a crazy blog stalker!  Fingers crossed!  :-)

We're going early to Haven which is in Atlanta, GA.  We decided to make a family vacation out of the trip and explore the area together.  It couldn't come at a better time.  With everything that's been going on over the last few months with moving, finding a home, etc Hunter has two mysterious lumps on his body.   Please keep my little man in your thoughts.  We took him to see our doctor and he wasn't sure what the lumps were, but he was concerned about the way they felt.  So he has referred us to a surgeon at Yale University Hospital.  Our appointment is scheduled for when we return from Atlanta.  This Mommy is worried and a bit overwhelmed by life right now, but all I care about is making sure my little monkey is healthy and safe.  Positive thoughts and prayers are much appreciated. 

Well,  I sure covered tons of ground in this post!   A lot is going on right now and I'm not the best at doing anything the easy, short or condensed way.   Thank you for your patience!  As always, thank you for reading my posts and being a part of my 'life'.  Your comments and emails mean the world to me.  I love getting emails from readers who are inspired by what I do and start their own DIY and painting projects.  It makes my day and inspires me when I get pictures from a reader sharing pictures of their projects they've worked so hard to create.  Keep your comments and emails coming!

Thank you and take care,


Mahogany Buffet Makeover With Olive And Country Grey

I know it's been a long time between posts, but with this crazy heat we've been having here in New England and the fact we're moving and going on vacation finding time to paint has proven difficult.

Last August at an estate sale I scored this amazing mahogany buffet.  I'd been searching for one like this for quite awhile so I was beyond excited to find one.   It's only taken me almost a year to get to this project, but I'm glad I waited until the time was right.  

Here's a few before pictures.  

When I found the buffet at the estate sale it was sitting in a moldy, musty basement and had a tiny bit of water damage and some cracking veneer.   

It was a bit smelly and dirty.  Plus the top was a scratched up mess.

Originally when I bought this piece I thought I would sell it, but I just couldn't part with it.  I started thinking about what I wanted to do with it and then I got some inspiration from my blog friend Laura at Whimsical Perspective.  She painted a piece of furniture in her home with a color I fell in love with....Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan in Olive.  I loved the depth of the color and knew it would be gorgeous with dark wax.

I decided to keep the top stained, but that meant I had to strip and sand it smooth.  This always proves tricky for me.  I seem to choose to do this during the hottest days of the year.  I used Citristrip and it took a few times, but the stain and varnish came off.  It needed quite a bit of sanding to get it smooth.  I started with 150 grit then ended with 220 grit.  

Here's how it looked after the stripping and sanding process.

A few weeks ago I bought some Danish Oil and decided it would be a good time to try it out on the top of the buffet.  I applied the Danish Oil on the top with a cloth, let the oil sit a bit, then wiped it off after 30 minutes or so.  I did this 5 or 6 times until I was happy with the depth of the color.  Finally I let it sit for a day and sealed it all with some Annie Sloan soft dark wax for protection.

The rest of the buffet I painted in Olive.  I liked how it looked, but it felt really boring and flat to me.  I have to admit I do this all the time.  I always want to try something different.  I don't like doing the same thing over and over.  I wanted this to be special, not just a painted buffet.  

Here's the Olive on the drawer.  You can see the texture in the paint that was caused by the cracking veneer.  The veneer wasn't peeling or coming off, just cracked.  I liked the added texture and that gave me an idea.

In this picture the Olive paint isn't quite dry and doesn't have the depth of color it has once it's dry.

To add texture and character to the piece I decided to dry brush some Country Grey over top the Olive. I liked how it looked, but wanted the finish to look deep and layered.  I took a damp cloth and wiped off some of the excess paint to give it a worn off look.

This is how one of the smaller drawers looked before I wiped off the Country Grey.

Here's a picture of the buffet after I did a few coats of Country Grey and wiped it off.  I was happy with it, but not thrilled.  I thought it needed more depth so I added some Olive back in and then wiped that off.  After 6 coats of Country Grey, wiping that off, then adding Olive and wiping that off I was happy with the look.  It was time to wax!  I waxed each drawer with Annie Sloan soft clear wax.

 For the rest of the buffet I mixed Annie Sloan soft clear and dark wax and wiped that on everything that was painted Olive.  The last step was to paint the drawer hardware.  I thought the best look for this piece was Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic spray paint by Rustoleum.  

Here's the finished buffet all dressed up for some pictures by my favorite tree.

I love the depth of the layered and wiped off paint finish on the drawers and doors.  

The Danish Oil gave the top a gorgeous finish and the color looks amazing with the Olive and Country Grey paint.

I really like how the Oil Rubbed Bronze drawer hardware pops off the buffet now.  It's exactly what it needed to finish the piece off.

The pulls on the doors are really cute, they look like little keys in a keyhole.  

Here's an up close picture of that texture I was talking about from the cracking veneer.  The veneer is solid and not coming off which is a huge plus!  It just added that wonderful texture and character the piece needed.

Here you can see the great Danish Oil finish.  If you can't already tell I love old fans.  The one at the right I bought last weekend at our local flea market and I love how rusty and old it is.  

In this picture you can really see the depth the paint layering gave the piece.

 I mentioned I had originally bought this piece to sell, but I couldn't part with it.  Now after how it's turned out there's no way I can sell this buffet.  I've moved it in to my dining room and it looks great there.  It will look beautiful in the dining room of our new house.  It has so much storage and the colors work perfectly with the dining room rug.  

The next three weeks are going to be a busy time around the Smith house.  We're leaving for a family vacation and I'm also attending the Haven Conference in Atlanta (I can't wait to meet all my blogging idols!).  After we get back from our vacation we will begin the move to our new home.  I will do my best to keep posting as often as I can.  There will be lots of posts in the future about the house and all the projects I have sitting waiting for me in my storage locker!

Thank you for reading.  It means so much to me that you take the time to read about my projects.  I love hearing from you and please know anytime you comment I respond via email so if you're not a follower it makes it a bit harder to respond to your comments.  

I hope you're all enjoying your summer!

Take care,


Linking to:

DIY Show Off

Mod Vintage Life

Furniture Feature Fridays