Most Viewed This Week

In the past week lots of people have apparently looked up and viewed my 2011 post on ceramic Christmas trees.  I only have one small tree left which I use yearly.  The other 3 I sold on Craigslist to a very happy fellow.

I painted this small ceramic Christmas tree a few years ago.

Since there seems to be some interest in transforming these trees I’m reposting my 2011 article below.  It might be of interest to revisit the original article and read some of the comments. People are very sensitive about these ceramic trees.

Heirloom Ceramic Christmas Tree Desecration

We inherited 3 green ceramic Christmas trees from our grandparents. They’re missing bulbs and have chips at various places on the trees. Charlie was horrified when I asked him what color he thought they should become.  He likes how they are now. (Son said the same thing.) I, on the other hand, think they need some modernizing.

3 green ceramic Christmas trees

First they needed a good bath.  They were dusty and dirty so I removed all the little plastic bulbs (not an easy task) and washed the trees in the kitchen sink using dish detergent, a handled brush and the sink’s sprayer attachment.

Just soap them up and spray them down

I toyed with all kinds of color combos: aqua and lime green, white, yellow and blue. Finally I thought some kind of metallic would be sparkly and holidayish. So I pulled out all the metallic spray paints I have.

Metallic spray paints

And sprayed each one a little differently. The smallest one is painted with a mercury glass finish which is accomplished by spraying bright silver metallic over hammered bronze while the bronze is still wet.  Work quickly.

The small one has a mercury glass appearance

The second one sprays satin nickel over the hammered bronze which gives a pewterlike finish.

Satin nickel over hammered bronze looks like pewter.

The third tree was sprayed with hammered bronze topped with metallic charcoal.  This turned very dark so I gave it just a dusting of bright silver.

Left to right: Satin nickel, bright silver, metallic charcoal with silver highlights

I haven’t decided yet if I should put the little plastic flame-shaped bulbs back in or not.

The plastic bulbs are separated by color; should I replace them?

The trio all lit up.

All 3 trees are now cloaked in sparkle and shimmer.

What your verdict?

I’m partial to the silver one.

Upgraded or ruined?

Have you taken a risk changing a family heirloom? Was it great or ghastly?



The Last of the Security Barricade

Back in November of 2014 the part of the renovation done by our contractor was complete.

We were not meant to use the master deck until it has a railing.

When everything was inspected I removed the security barricade from the French doors leading out onto the master deck.

A superfluous piece of wood is attached to both sides of the French doorframe.

However I missed one piece of wood on each side of the doors because I was afraid I’d mess up the permanent casing.

A piece of wood behind the prybar protected the surface of the door trim.

While I was on the deck staining the closet doors, Charlie carefully removed these last pieces of wood.

He also used a shim to aid in pulling out pneumatic staples which had held the wood on the frame.

Charlie used a wood shim to protect the door trim while he pried off the extra pieces with Sug’s set of crowbars.

Caulk used to fill nail holes on the Azek door trim has become dirty and needs to be removed with a Magic Eraser or sandpaper.

Next step: clean up the hole caulk with a Magic Eraser.

Have you got one small job that needs some concentration and care but would take less than half an hour to accomplish?

Master Closet Doors

The closet doors in the master suite are Shaker-style solid pine.

The master closet doors are solid pine.

They needed to be stained like the ones in the conservatory.

The doors are heavy.

We unhinged them and laid them on sawhorses on our master suite deck which was covered with drop cloths.

Charlie brought me a cappuccino while I was staining the door.

I lightly sanded any marks off the doors which might show through the stain. After applying pre-stain conditioner to the wood I used a small sponge brush to apply the stain and wiped it off with a clean cotton rag.

Sug helped me rehang the doors.

We let the doors dry for about an hour then rehung them.

The door on the left is open, closet doors center, bathroom door on the right.

The new door color goes with (but doesn’t match exactly) the painted doors to the hall and bathroom.

What cozy element do you add to your bedroom décor in the fall?

Rolling Cabinet Update

Sug has a large, handy rolling cabinet in the Cottage kitchen that’s just too useful to get rid of.

The Cottage kitchen has wood-tone cabinet that is useful but not too attractive.

Unfortunately this cabinet doesn’t really go with the fresh look of the rest of the kitchen space.

There was an extra piece of countertop.

And after the installation of the butcher block countertop we had a piece left over.

The kitchen cabinet began with a medium wood finish.

Happily the piece of countertop was an exact fit for the brown cabinet so Sug decided to paint the cabinet to match the others which she had painted previously.

It takes many light layers of paint to change a cabinet to a lighter color.

While I was using the paint sprayer on her door shutters I asked if she would like me to prime the cabinet with a sprayer.

The beadboard front would have been difficult to paint smoothly with a brush or roller.

So I primed the cabinet which took very little time using a sprayer. And the sprayer gives a nice smooth finish.

Very cottagey.

Sug used the leftover, custom-mixed cabinet paint to finish the transformation. Then she glued the woodblock countertop to the cabinet.

After – The only item remaining is to change the knobs and handles to match the other ones in the kitchen.

A dark corner brightened.

What piece of furniture is your best storage piece?

Door Shutters

I decided back here not to use the old door shutters on our front door.

Our old front door was decorated with non-functional shutters.
The shutters are leaning against the front door. There is not enough room for them.

They just didn’t fit.

How can this little Cottage look any cuter?

However we found another place to use them.

These long shutters sprayed up very quickly.

Sug primed the shutters. I spray painted them the Cottage trim color.

The shutters are held in by two large screws: one top and one bottom.

Then we hung them on the panels of the same color on either side of the Cottage door.

Compare the left side of the door to the right.

On this door they look great.

We’re surprised how much we like the shutters near the Cottage door.

Just the subtle adornment the Cottage was missing.

Our neighbor’s goat tried to butt both Sug and Charlie.

While we were working on this project the neighbor’s goat came to visit — twice.  We must have great weeds because he came to munch.

How do you decide when to stop adding details?

Ever Since the Floor

The floor in the master bedroom addition was installed last year.

The floor in the master bedroom (left) is lower than the new floor in the hall.

Since then the new door to the master suite has rubbed along the floor.

The floor is scraped near the door jamb.

It has even caused a subtle scape on the floor near the hinge side of the door.

The hinge was taking a lot of pressure as the door was hung up on the floor.

The real problem is that the hinges were getting a workout each time the door got held up on the floor.  I was concerned that the hinges would pull loose from the door or jamb.

The bottom of the door is wood and easily trimmed.

Charlie took the door down and planed some of the wood off the bottom.

The Surform can be used to plane the bottom of the doors.

He used our large Surform.

The door on the left is working great now.

Now the door closes easily and no longer marks the floor.

Do you sleep with your bedroom door closed?

Prettying the Porch

Over the past few months while we’ve been working on projects the side porch had become cluttered with all sorts of home improvement paraphernalia.

The side porch was a cluttered mess.

The porch was loaded with stuff: paint, tools, furniture, papers, rags . . . get the picture.

We don’t have time to decorate the porch, just clean it.

When I arrived home yesterday evening the porch was bare.

All this clutter must be put away or thrown away.

The driveway was a shambles.

I was surprised that the polar bear mat was more turquoise than blue.

Charlie had removed everything and washed down the porch. And I had received my new polar bear door mat so I gave it a try.

It’s a relief to have the porch cleaned up.

I decided to save the new mat until I clean the front porch and put the twin mat out there.

What spot in your house is needy?