I'm excited to report that we are 90% finished with our farmhouse kitchen renovation! The Mister and I have been working in diligent fits and spurts (as time and money have allowed) since January of last year. It has been a long, sometimes stressful, but very rewarding process, throughout which, I am proud to say, that these Do-it-Yourself-ers did ALL the work with our own two hands!

Here's the quaint little kitchen BEFORE we began renovating:

 Wall-to-wall knotty pine wood paneling, linoleum stick-tile flooring, no pantry, no dishwasher, minimal storage, dated laminate counter-top, tiny sink... oh yeah, and what's with that weird beam in the middle of the room?

 Notice the basement door on the right side of the refrigerator (Guess what? we moved it!)

The tiny stove was bent in the middle so nothing cooked evenly (I may have knelt on it once when trying to reach something in the upper cabinets... ahem).  Even Albus, the cat, looks sad and confused in this dark and dated kitchen.

We had a huge TO-DO list and this is what we've CHECKED-OFF so far:

*Replace old, white appliances with new, stainless steel appliances
*Replace linoleum tiles with wood laminate flooring (beautiful mahogany finish)
*Move basement door to recess refrigerator and add new cabinets/counter-top between stove and refrigerator
*Replace overhead wooden light fixture with stainless steel fixture
*Install a dishwasher!!!
*Install new farmhouse sink (large enough to bathe a small child in) and new fixtures
*Add slate tile back-splash behind sink
*Replace old counter-tops
*Build walk-in pantry with floor to ceiling shelving and overhead switch-operated light
*Reface all cabinets and doors --- paint white
*Add multiple electrical outlets and replace old wiring to bring up to code
*Deep clean and reuse current stove-top hood and fan
*Install dry-wall over wood paneling throughout kitchen
*Paint dry-wall (Buttercream with Eggplant accent walls)
*Replace all cabinet hinges, hardware, and pulls (brushed nickel finishes)
*Paint all trim and moldings white
*Build additional counter-tops and cabinets between stove and refrigerator --- paint white
*Mount microwave on shelf above new counter-top
*Add window treatments

(90% finished with renovation):
Don't you just love wood on the floor so much more than on the walls?

Notice the door on the left? Since we couldn't move that beam in the middle of the room, we incorporated it into our new walk-in pantry that features floor-to-ceiling storage.

I repainted the entry door and commissioned a custom birdie valance, handmade by Miss Muffets Tuffet on Etsy

I just love this slate tile backsplash! The eggplant accent walls play up the purple brown tones in the slate so nicely.

Moving the basement door access out of the kitchen and around the corner allowed for a recessed refrigerator and extra counter-tops and cabinets between stove and refrigerator. 

A handmade owl tea towel, purchased from Zen Threads on Etsy 
and a colorful print from Artful Escapes add finishing touches to this handmade kitchen.


*Restore, sand, prime and paint original crown molding... scratch that... not able to reuse existing molding
*Purchase and paint brand new molding from our local lumber mill, Siewers.

 We picked out a wider molding with a little more pizazz than the original crown molding had. We will carry the new molding throughout the downstairs of the house as we continue our renovations (the living room is next).


*Install crown molding
*Install vertical trim along exterior pantry walls
*Install floor trim
*Paint behind and install trim around recessed refrigerator
*Replace windows with energy efficient and historically accurate wood windows $$$
*Add built-in double trashcan cabinet on left side of stove
*Complete final touch-ups 
and eventually...
*Remove baseboard heaters and install HVAC system and vents in entire house $$$$$

Total Cost of Kitchen Renovation: 
$5000 ($2800 went to new appliances, mind you).  

Not squabbling over whose turn it is to wash the dishes anymore: 



I will be exhibiting the full collection of my jewelry this Sunday at Forest Hill Park in Richmond,VA from Noon to 5:00 p.m. Hope you can make it out for:

 Live music; 
RVA Hoop Lovers & hula hoops; 
Yummy food, including free treats and ice cream for kids (while supplies last); 
Police, Fire and Sheriff' equipment displays; 
The famous Bike Rodeo by RCOP complete with giveaways; 
Children's activities including a moon bounce, crafts, games, magicians, Jonathan the Juggler, story telling and puppets;
 Tree climbing with Tru-Timber;
Richmond Raiders and Risky the mascot visiting and selling game tickets; 
Bruiser Wrestling Federation;
Environmental displays, programs and activities;
Urban Chicken display and educational outreach;
Nature walks, history & trolley car display, Stone House tours;
Catch and release fishing at the lake;

Whew, where else are you going to find all that in a lovely outdoor setting for FREE! 
See you there.



With my first 2012 Art Festival right around the corner (this Saturday), I thought I'd better list my Spring show line-up. All shows are held outdoors - rain or shine. Hope to see you there!


Fool for Art at John Tyler Community College
Saturday, April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
800 Charter Colony Parkway
Midlothian, VA

Sunday in the Park with Friends 
Sunday, April 29 from noon to 5:00 p.m.
Forest Hill Park in Richmond, VA

Stockley Gardens Art Festival  
Saturday, May 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. &
 Sunday, May 20 from noon to 6:00 p.m.
Stockley Gardens Park, located off Olney Road in the Ghent section of Norfolk, VA

This year I will not be participating in any summer shows, but I'll be back for a few favorites in the Fall. And remember you can always find a selection of my handmade jewelry at Dream Spiral Art on Etsy and at GlassBoat in Carytown. 

Here's a sneak peak of some brand new earrings that will be available this Saturday at Fool for Art.

Beads are back! Paired with a careful selection of gemstones and pearls, braided sterling silver hoops shine in these dangly handmade earrings.



Last weekend, my hubby and I enjoyed our first whole weekend off together in over a year! Inspired by the gorgeous Spring weather, we decided to use the time to finish landscaping around the front of the house. With a generous birthday gift from my mother-in-law, we were able to buy mulch, flowering perennials, and even a Viburnum tree at our local plant nursery, Ed's Landscaping. (We support local, small businesses whenever possible and this garden center is truly excellent!)

Just for perspective, below are some before and after photos. 

When I moved in with the Mister in 2006, this is what the landscaping looked like (actually the raised beds were a big mound of dirt with no plants in sight). Eager to paint on a blank canvas, I immediately spread and tilled the soil and began to fill it in with perennial splashes of color.  

Within the next couple of years, we re-painted the entire stucco facade white, screened in the front porch and painted the exterior trim around the sunroom, my beloved jewelry-making studio.

Yes, we still have work to do on this old house. More trim to paint, windows to replace, walls to repair. And each year there will be weeds to pull and plants to water and prune, but WOW! the rewards of our labor have been amazing. Caring for a garden and renovating an old home is a continuous work in progress.

But I must admit that after almost 7 years of being together, I am pretty pleased with our progress. (:


Covered in Cat

It has been liberating to replace the robust hum of the boiler with the sounds of Spring peepers and chirping birds. Needing neither heat nor A/C, we are in that glorious place between seasons when the air is so mild that we open windows and invite it to play. Most afternoons, the cats come and go as they please with an open-door policy to the screened-in porch. 

But this time of year, the nights are still cold, dropping sometimes to 38 degrees. Inside these stucco walls with no insulation, the first story of the farmhouse is cave-like, maintaining a 55 - 65 degree constant. Before the afternoon sun can heat up the house, the mornings here are chilly, leaving me wonder if perhaps we packed away the down comforter too soon.

But never fear... like me, the kitty-kids do not like to be chilly. So I've found myself a new kind of down comforter. With Sprout wrapped around my head, Potter nestled against my right side and Albus on my left (they always snuggle in this formation, by the way), I wake up covered in cat almost every morning. 

The post-winter world is waking up with greens that push through the soil, yawning with outstretched tendrils, shaking off sleep.

 And I wake up 
covered in a 
pile of cat.