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?

List, 2017: October Progress

At the beginning of the month I had made rigorous but reasonable plans for projects I wanted to accomplish.  I’ve been posting updates regularly but here is the summary.


We refinished our king-sized bed frame for the master bedroom.

We started by cutting down the footboard.
The new finish is charcoal grey with a darker drybrush finish.

We cut off the sleigh end on the footboard then painted it.

We’re still working on baseboard trim.

While the bed was pulled away from the wall we installed baseboard trim.


While we were concentrating on projects in the master suite I stained the doors to the closet much like the ones in the conservatory.


Charlie and I have both started working with our Christmas choir.  There are only 8 Sundays left until Christmas eve. Yee ha.


We had no guests at the house. We stayed totally focused on DIY projects.


Charlie, Sug, and I took a day trip to the Statue of Liberty.  It’s as grand as I remember.  My traveling companions were very excited to see this welcoming icon up close.

Lady Liberty

Our tickets were for the crown. We climbed the 146-step spiral staircase. Miss Liberty is fantastic.

Exterior Outsourcing

I listed some old Halloween costumes on Craigslist but was not successful off-loading them.  Maybe next time.

Hoods and leggings are crucial for cool Halloween nights.

It was fun to revisit old photos of our son when he was a little boy.

I cleaned up the old computer.

Time to get rid of this old computer.

It’s been plugged in for years without being used or hardly used.  We have a new set-up now so it is time for this relic to go.

We’re scheduled with Sug’s contractor to install window trim on 3 interior windows in the house.

The master closet window needs a sill and casing then I can hang a curtain.

Two round windows and the window in the master closet are trickier than we think we can manage ourselves.


I’m back at the gym on a regular basis riding the recumbent bike.

I have advanced to level 9.

Maybe next month I’ll add weights.

What’s your plan for November?


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?