Helping a Friend

Everybody knows Sug will help do whatever needs to be done.

We needed to move furniture and fill a few holes.

So when our friend said her condo needed to be painted Sug offered her help.  And since Sug is part of my team I’m part of hers. And so is Charlie.

Ceilings take along time.

We started tonight with ceilings.

Sug looks like she’s conducting but she does most of the work.

Tomorrow we’ll cut-in and roll the walls.

Who’s on your team?


Painted Trim and Touch Ups

While I was away Good Ole Sug let herself into my house to paint the downstairs baseboard trim.

Newly painted white trim outlines the details of the room.

She totally finished the conservatory.

I decided that the thin wall between the kitchen and dining room should be the kitchen color, Waterbury Cream.

Then she moved into the kitchen also touching up scuffs on the wall and painting areas that had never been painted like the reveals between the kitchen and dining room.

The white paneling brightens the dining room which has minimal light.

The dining room has quite a bit of knotty pine paneling which I painted white just after the renovation.  It still needed another coat so Sug painted that as well.

The mantel is ready for a change — something Irish perhaps.

After the dining room she painted all the trim in the living room including the fireplace surround and mantel.

Before — The kneewall right after installation.
After — The kneewall cap between the kitchen and dining room is finally painted.

She supervised the installation of the final window trim and even painted that.

Sug and Charlie built the greenhouse under my supervision. That’s how the team usually works.

I know I’m blessed to have a friend like Sug. When she returns from a Central American mission trip the three of us — Sug, Charlie, and I, — are going to work on some local projects. As anyone who reads the blog regularly knows, Sug and Charlie actually do most of the work.  I am so grateful to be part of the trio.

What project would you like to have a team complete at your house?

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?


List, 2017: December Plans

How did it get to be the last month of a year already, and 2017 at that.  It’s difficult to make hard plans for December because so many items are already on the calendar.


I’ll be lucky this month to keep the laundry at bay while trying to decorate the house for Christmas.

I think we’ll place the tree, if we get one, in the front living room window.

Hoping to get lots of help in both areas.


I have to execute 3 Christmas services at church.  I’m still working on writing the narration and need to find one more narrator. By the time Christmas Day gets here I’ll be free!


Hoping everyone who attends will go home with a finished wreath.

Wreath making party on the first weekend in December.


We’ll be on a Walk to Bethlehem on Saturday night, December 2.

Charlie’s building fires to keep the walkers warm.

Exterior Outsourcing

While we are going through the holiday decorations maybe I can wean a few away from our collection.

I love these special ornaments from my sister.

We have amassed so many over the past umpteen years that curating is order.


The gym is off the calendar until I’m back to my good old self.

The gym has all sorts of equipment including weights.

Maybe January will prove a better month to actually get things done.

Favorite holiday tradition?

List, 2017: November Progress

November was not as cold as we thought it would be so we did get some projects underway.


The outdoor rug from the second floor master deck was hauled to the grass and cleaned by Sug.


The rug has been cleaned and stored for the winter in the Cottage attic.

Then we wanted to work on interior trim.

We’re getting better at installing baseboard trim.

We made some progress but are not nearly finished.


Total fail — not one sewing project was completed.  Nothing was even started.

The center cushion of the windowseat has never been upholstered like the other two but I have the fabric.

Perhaps January will be a better time to work on sewing projects.  However I have a lot of year-end financial work that keeps me busy and wears me down in January.


We did have game night in November.  It was tons of fun and I’m not sure why we don’t do it more often.

Food for game night was carefully selected not to be messy so the game could continue.

We played “Boxers and Briefs” and “MadGab”.


We did not go to any outside entertainment in November.  We were too busy.

Exterior Outsourcing

Someone might just need this chandelier over their Thanksgiving table.

I was also too busy to relist items on Craigslist.  That task is on-going and can be caught up to date at any time.


I’ve been back at the gym for 2 months riding the recumbent bike.

The gym has all sorts of equipment including weights.

I wanted to up my game by adding weights but (as usual) I got a little respiratory trouble that nixed my gym time for the time being.

Are you holiday decorations up?

The Painted Cross

An iron cross has hung on the Cottage for many years.

An iron cross hung on the Cottage near the front door.

Sug spruced up the paint when she painted the side panels on either side of her front door.

The cross didn’t look right on the shutters.

When we hung shutters on the door panels the cross needed to be moved.

The cross is easy to spray paint.

Sug hung it above the door but the white cross on pale grey was hardly visible so she asked me to repaint it.

Navy blue spray paint needs a few coats to bring out the true color.

I used navy spray paint misted with hammered charcoal metallic to give it a little interest.

The Cross at the Cottage.

Now it hangs more visibly above the door.

Are you changing the color of something?


List, 2017: November Plans

November is a cold month here in Maryland so I’m planning indoor projects.


Much, but not all, of the dirt was removed when we cleaned the rug in spring.

Clean and store for the winter the rug from the master suite deck.

WE should have enough trim on hand to finish the laundry room.

Install interior trim and clear up pile in hallway.


The center cushion of the windowseat has never been upholstered like the other two but I have the fabric.

Work on sewing projects.


I have a cabinet full of party games.

Let’s have a game night in November.


No tickets or events on the schedule for November.

Exterior Outsourcing

Someone might just need this chandelier over their Thanksgiving table.

Relist some large items on Craigslist like saddle, chandelier, Christmas items.


I’ve been back at the gym for a month riding the recumbent bike.

The gym has all sorts of equipment including weights.

Now it’s time to up the game to include some weight lifting.

When do you put up holiday decorations?