Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nacho Trays

Okay, this may just be my favorite thing EVER!  I was at Sam's Wholesale yesterday and spotted some nacho trays.  They were about $5.00 for a hundred and seventy-five trays.  I am often in need of something to put paint in, and I want it to be disposable.  I also usually need a little water to mix in with my paint for blending and such.  This tray has a small compartment (meant for cheese) that I can put just enough water in (gotta stay hydrated!) and to pour paint into the larger compartment.  My nieces,  Preslee and Maycee were over crafting (getting ready for the big wedding shower this weekend!) and I showed them my new found favorite painting tool (uhm, slash nacho tray).  They thought of several other uses for them, such as carrots, with ranch dip.  Also, edamame beans, and a compartment for the shells! ha ha. Strawberries and powdered sugar.  So, as you can see, these are a staple in any home!

I hope you have a wonderful day!  It's almost Friday!
Nee' Nee'

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

50 Years of Wedded Bliss

In September, my parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary.  Not many folks can say that these days! 

I am feeling sentimental as I get ready to start celebrations for my first born niece, Ashlee's upcoming nuptials.  Since I don't have any children of my own, I am very close to my sisters' children.  Being an Aunt is really a gravy job.  I can do all of the fun stuff with them, and then send them home.  I once taught Ashlee all of the words to the song that starts out "I Like Big Butts."  Her mother (my sister Rhonda) was really pleased when she picked her up.  She said most kids learn songs like "Jesus Loves Me," from their Auntie!!  (I guess I missed that in the Aunt rule book!)  I think I taught her all of the moves to an MC Hammer dance on that same visit....she was 5.  (No need to thank me, Rhonda)  One of my favorite lines was, "If I were your mother I would buy that for you."  That one back fired on me when Rhonda figured out the retort, "Well that's okay, you are their Aunt, Nee' Nee', so you can buy it for them."  (I guess she showed me!) 

When Ashlee told me she was engaged, Rhonda (her mother) came and got me and we rushed right over to see her ring and celebrate.  Immediately upon starting plans for the wedding, I wanted to be in on it all!  At all of the bridal shows we were frequenting, I just decided it would be easier to start introducing myself as mother of the bride.  (My sister doesn't seem to mind, but I am going to be careful, because I am seriously NOT footing the bill for this one!)  I tease Ashlee and tell her that my "mother-of-the-bride" dress is a pink version of her wedding dress.  Ash, if you are will just have to wait 'till October to see! 

So, my wish today is that my niece and new son-in-law (notice how I slipped that in?), will have all of the joy that my parents have had. 

I was once with my mom and dad at the Astrodome (remember that place?).  It must have been a rodeo.  My father had gone to the men's room.  When he passed under the tunnel, he looked up at us and my mom waved at him like she was still a school girl.  Another time I was riding in the car with my mom and we passed my daddy on the road.  She honked and waved, as if she hadn't seen him in....8 hours!  I pray that Chris and Ashlee are blessed with the ability to cling together and respect one another as my parents have done all of these years.  They are a fine example of what a marriage should be.

I will leave you with some pictures of our family celebration for my parent's 50th.  We went to our favorite restaurant in Houston, Vic & Anthony's, and surprised them with a serenade of inspirational songs by the Salvation Army Harbor Light Choir.  For a donation, the choir can be booked for events.  I have them at my Christmas party each year.  Fred Smith is a fabulous man, and is doing a great job over there!!! 

Daddy, Mama and Me! (blocking with my Texas big hair!)


The Fabulous Salvation Army Harbor Light Choir!

The Fabulous Salvation Army Harbor Light Choir (and me!)

The family looking on as my parents are surprised.

Left to right:  My husband Frank;  Middle Sister Robin;  J.T. - Meagan's boyfriend;  Meagan - my niece and Robin's daughter (also my partner in crime for pulling off the surprise!);  Niece Ashlee;  Her Mother - My Oldest Sister - Rhonda
Clear as mud???

By the end of it all, my sisters and I were gathered around singing in a circle with the choir, locked arm in arm with my parents.  What I didn't know, is that all of our husband's were looking on with tears streaming down their faces!


Go hug someone...doesn't it just look like fun?

Nee' Nee'

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Glamorous Bathroom Makeover

Okay, don't laugh at the before pictures, because I actually painted this in the 90's. My mother had a bathroom emergency, so I painted it (NO LIE) on my lunch hour in my bra and skirt.  I didn't want to go back to work with paint on my jacket, and I was pressed for time, so I stripped and painted.  It became a bit dated, but was really cute at the time. My mother still loved it, (probably because she loves me!) but I told her a make over was in order. In fact, it was my late Christmas present to her!  It was very difficult to try and do something without total reconstruction of her bathroom, because her home was built in the era of pink and green tile.

  I came across a paint color by Modern Masters called Teal.  I thought, this was a very close shade to my mother's tile.  I set out on a mission to update her bathroom.  The glamorous powder bath is the "in" thing right now.  I do a ton of bathrooms ceiling to floor!  With that in mind, I wanted to make her bathroom very glamorous as well.  Working with the teal color as a base, it literally took me months of tossing around different ideas to come up with the final product. (Mama is very picky, so I think I was more nervous picking her finish than I am for paying customers!)  I base coated the walls with the metallic teal, and tried several different textures on top of that.  I still couldn't decide what to do, so I painted the ceiling my favorite color, Warm Silver.  What I finally came up with, was a very chunky raised stencil in a floral swirl pattern.  I base coated the raised areas Teal, and then hand rubbed Warm Silver over each of them.  Below is the final result.

I darkened the toilet seat to match the hardware on cabinets.  It still looked a little plain, so I added a huge fleur-de-lis.

This is a nice shot that shows how the shower curtain makes the bathroom more luxurious.

I added a few clear acrylic jewels to the embellished texture under the window for a little shine.

I left the same vintage chandelier, but added a medallion on the Warm Silver ceiling.

The older sink is not a decorator's dream, I decided to fashion "legs" out of candle sticks that I faux painted to match other accents.

I used stucco cement to attach them to the porcelain sink and then faux painted over them.

Decorative hardware was added to the cabinets.

Shower curtain was made to look like drapes in coordinating colors.

All in all, it turned out very well!  My daddy LOVED it, and he is a man's man.  You may not live in a brand new home, but you can certainly update with a little paint and some creativity. 

I hope you enjoyed the tour!
Take time today to see what you might be able to update in  your home or life.  Out with the old, in with the new!

God bless you, and have a great day!
Nee' Nee'

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cupolas and Weathervanes

My husband has family in New England, so we go to visit often.  This is JUST FINE with me, because I developed a love for that part of the country years ago when I was a flight attendant stationed in New York.  I am not a city girl, so I would escape to Martha's Vineyard or go to Boston and walk around Fanueil Hall  I felt an instant kinship, and this is where my obsession for Halloween and pumpkins was born.  Everyone in New England decorates for Fall!  (even people in New Jersey!) 

They put cornstalks, pumpkins and mums in their yard in early September.  The above is a typical New England porch in autumn.  To learn how to do this yourself, visit  When I came home to Texas, I started doing the same thing, although I had a very hard time finding cornstalks.  (I had to get me a corn farmer friend to save some from his joke!)   Sitting here now, in the summer heat of Texas, I can drift off in my mind to a cooler temperature with orange leaves dropping down from trees.  It is a very magical place, the birthplace of our country, and it is not uncommon to enter a building that was built in the 1700's.  My husband and I once took a break from a bike ride in Vermont and walked through a cemetery (creepy, huh?) We saw names like Ichabod and the grave stones were dated in the 1700 's and 1800's.  I recommend a visit if you can ever get up that way.

One of our favorite destinations in New England is Maine. When I was there last September, I became obsessed with what looked to me like tiny little rooms on top of the houses, usually topped by a weather vane. 

This picture came from

With the help of my wonderful niece and nephew, Shawn and Katy, I learned about these charming pieces of architecture called cupolas.  Originally they were used to emit light and air, or were used for a lookout.  Today they are not a necessity, unless you are me!  I have to have this on my house!  Upon our most recent visit to Wells Beach Maine, I happened upon the most wonderful little store called Weathervanes of Maine  They had tons!  They had faux cupolas that anyone can attach to their roof, shed, or garage.  Along with that, they had every kind of weather vane you could imagine.  I took lots of pictures!

When pigs fly!  I LOVE THIS!!

And my personal favorite, the little witch that could!

If a cupola isn't in your future for the top of your house, check out the bird houses!

I hope you can capture some of the magic that I felt from these pictures.  Is there another piece of architecture or accent for the home that you have fallen in love with?  Please share, I might not be able to live without it! 

Have a blessed day!

XOXXO (hug, kiss, hug, hug, kiss)
Nee' Nee'

Friday, July 22, 2011

Whimsical Chairs

I ran across a woman who wanted a little change in her life.  Well, okay, she wanted a lot of change.  She was going to start with some chairs.  She lived in the custom home that she built 13 years ago, and it was stark raving white.  It was white EVERYWHERE!  This sweet woman decided it was time for some color, so bless her heart, she up and spray painted her kitchen chair purple.  Now, as furniture goes, I am not what you would call a purple gal.  She knew that the solid purple chairs were a "miss", so she decided to enlist my services.  She had a bowl that she really liked, with a very contemporary pattern.  She told me that she wanted something different on every rung of the chair, and lots of color.  I sketched out what I thought she might be talking about and showed her some designers on the Internet that I thought could help her describe her vision to me. 

One was Mackenzie Childs  LOVE THIS!!!  I was introduced to Mackenzie Childs by my friend Vanessa's sister.  She had her entire kitchen done from top to bottom with Mackenzie Childs dishes, rugs and accessories.  She even had Mackenzie Childs knobs on her cabinets.  I fell in love with their things, and had dreams of how fun it would be to work there and paint these beautiful things every day!  (dreams can come true...I now paint beautiful things every day for a living!) 

Another artist that I wanted her to look at was Mary Engelbreit  She makes great use of the colors black and white, and she mixes lots of patterns together, which is exactly what my lady was looking for. 

Both of the above were not quite as contemporary as my customer wanted, but helped us to see a vision together.  If you are starting a project, I can't emphasize enough how important the research is!  It will save you a lot of wasted time and money in the end! 

With that research and her bowl, I created chairs that she absolutely did back flips over.  These were very time consuming.  I hand painted each one like a canvas.  I wanted to protect her investment in these chairs, so I chose a topcoat that would endure anything!  I topped them with Faux Effects C-500 Urethane for maximum durability.  Faux Effects is an awesome line of products for faux finishing.  You will see what wonderful effects can be created by visiting their website.  I purchase my Faux Effects products from Epic Paint on Jones Rd. in Houston, Texas.  Bo or John know almost everything there is to know about they can help you find what you are looking for.  I call them my "Epic Family". 

So, are you ready to see what we came up with?  Ta-da!

She ABSOLUTELY LOVED them.  It made me so happy to bring a little (okay a lot) of color to this dear woman's life.  As you can tell, her house isn't stark raving white anymore!

God bless, and have a great day!
Nee' Nee'

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Faux Painting (it's not just for girls!)

I just completed a faux finish in a bachelor pad!  It was in the master bathroom...he is not even a metro-sexual...he is a deer hunting, fishing, Duck's Unlimited kind of guy!  (if you understood the Duck's Unlimited reference, you know EXACTLY what kind of man I am talking about!)  In fact, I met him when I was painting in a woman's home all weekend while her husband was on a deep sea fishing trip.  As I was finishing up the lady's project on Sunday, the guys came home and proceeded to unload their catch.  When my bachelor walked in, he was very interested in the transformation that had taken place over the weekend and loved my work.  Before I knew it, we were talking shop, and next thing you know, I was painting his master bathroom.  I don't think he would have ever set out to hire a faux painter, but as fate would have it...we crossed paths.  He had just renovated his master bathroom, and had some very pretty tile work done, along with granite counter tops. He knew he had some texture work to do, so what a perfect way to kill two birds with one stone...have it faux finished with a textured treatment.  Now, this fella is from Louisiana, so fleur-de-lis are his thang!  I just so happen to love both Louisiana and fleur-de-lis, so I was very inspired!  It was wonderful, because he told me what he wanted, and let me run with the ball.  Let me tell you, that is the best way to get your money's worth out of me, because I will pour my heart and soul into a new idea that gets my blood stirring.  His tile was in the earthy beige tones, and his border work was a metallic pewter fleur-de-lis pattern, so that got the ball rolling. 

Pure inspiration right there!  I had my entire vision when I walked in the room.  His cabinets and doors were "factory" white, so I shared a vision with him of rustic cabinetry and trim, after that, he was hooked (notice how I picked up the fishing lingo so quickly?) so we proceeded with paint from ceiling to floor! 

First I had to apply the texture to the wall.  This is done with a trowel.  I named my trowel, because she is my most prized possession!  I use her for almost every job I do.  I call her Lucy, and Lucy is a hard working lady!  Later on you will meet Ethel and Little Ricky!  I use a texture called Rough Irregular Texture, made by Proceed.  This is a line of products that was created by artists but designed specifically for faux painters.  I have used almost all of their products at one time, and I highly recommend them!  In Houston, their products can be found at Epic Paint on Jones Rd. 

After two coats of texture dried a bit, we added a raised fleur-de-lis stencil, randomly on  all walls.  This was done by troweling the texture over a fleur-de-lis stencil, and carefully removing it.

All of this had to dry overnight.  The next day, the fleur-de-lis were painted pewter, an oil based glaze (for bathroom durability) was added, along with a hint of sparkle.  (just a hint...remember Ducks Unlimited!) A Dark Walnut glaze was added to the cabinets in short strokes and shading to look just like wood.  The ceiling was painted with an old world application of silver and pewter to match fleur-de-lis on wall and tile.  I went back at the end and added shading anywhere I thought it needed it.  I basically aged around the top of walls, corners and fleur-de-lis for dimension.  Behold the reveal.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

There's more:

Note the hint of sparkle?  How about the pewter ceiling, this was something new for me, I usually put bronze on the ceiling with a treatment like this, but I wanted to tie in the pewter from tile and fleur-de-lis on walls. 

This turned out very rich, luxurious, but not to feminine.  It is a very earthy and masculine look.  He loved the end result, and was especially pleased with the cabinets and doors that look exactly like we carved them out of wood!

So as you can see, faux painting is not just for girls.  Would your husband or significant other dwell in this bathroom?  You would be surprised, I will show you my daddy's bathroom in a later blog.  As he would say, "This is one fine crapper!"

On that note, I will leave you to have a wonderful day!

Hugs and kisses,
Nee' Nee'