Painted Brick Fireplace

Yes, I know, it has been awhile since I have been here. Life can get in the way sometimes, can’t it?

I have written on this subject on Facebook a while back but I think it worthwhile to give some details in case any of you are struggling with the decision to paint your old fireplace or not.

It is understandably daunting. And it is defitiely a commitment. But it can totally change the look of a room, as you will see. In this case the fireplace, (actually the mortar was the worse), was rather dated. And, well, replacing a fireplace can be quite expensive and very messy.

My client and I tried to keep an open mind. Their home is a remodel and they were making several changes at the time, so we wanted to stay open as far as how to progress.

First off I gave it a good cleaning, trying to get into all of the wholes and crevices. Putting down dropcloths to catch the dirt was well worth it.
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My client wanted to soften what was heavy black mortar. My suggestion to her is that we but a medium brown glaze over the black mortar. Not straight paint. Straight paint will give you a painted look and it most likely wouldn’t look authentic. It was rather time consuming. When it was my turn to work on it I would give myself a certain number of rows to complete. As you can see from the photo it helped immensely.
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This is a see through fireplace and this is the living room side. We did something really different on the dining room side. I will be taking final pictures tomorrow and posting them on Thursday. I think you will be amazed!

Have a good day! It’s beautiful here in northern Illinois!

Chicken Fajitas

Want a quick and easy fajita recipe? I should mention delicious too! Then this is one for you! I don’t remember where I got this recipe from and I have made my own adjustments along the way, but it is definitely a keeper!

Chicken Fajitas

1lb boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
2T vegetable oil
2tsp chili powder
1 1/2tsp cumin (I don’t add this)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4tsp seasoned salt (I use regular)
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilis (Rotel), well drained
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper

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400 degree oven.
Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
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In a small bowl combine oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
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Slice peppers and onions and drain tomatoes. I was using things up so this time I used a half of yellow and orange pepper instead of the red and green. Also, you will notice in the picture that I used 2 kinds of onion, not necessary to do this.
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Add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the mix and stir to combine.
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Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
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Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. I am thinking that tofu could be easily substitued for the chicken in this recipe. What do you think?

I am also thinking that they could work quite well in the homemade pitas that my niece makes. Yum!

Christmas In July! Free Shipping!

It’s a sale! Yay!

Every year I run a Christmas In July Sale offering a discount on Christmas items in my Etsy shop. This year is no different. This year I have decided to offer free shipping on anything relating to Christmas. Whether it be a tree skirt or stocking, or maybe a custom painting that has a Christmas theme.
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A little too warm and rainy for you to be thinking of Christmas? Can’t forget the first day of summer was just 9 days ago? That’s okay! You have all month to warm up to the idea! (Pun intended, lol)
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There are so many things I love about silk…..the feel, the sheen, the way it drapes. And believe it or not, it is a pleasure to paint on.
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These are some of the Christmas related items that I have in my shop right now. I am, however starting on handpainted ornaments and a vintage/shabby chic tree skirt and stocking. That is besides a couple of Hydrangea paintings I have in the works, which I will be posting on before too long.
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I really love combining sewing and painting. The cream colored silk tree skirt and stocking I even got to do some hand sewing in the way of quilting and sewing on beadwork.
It’s all good!

You can find the sizes and prices on my Etsy shop…

Have a good week!

Primitive Flag

Hi there! With 4th of July upon us it seems to put everyone in the mood for the good ole red, white, and blue. I have always wanted a primitive flag and this year I finally got around to doing something about it.

I started by thinking of what kind of fabric I wanted to make it out of. First thought was muslin of course, but I happened to be in the kitchen section at Walmart and came across a perfect solution. White cotton kitchen towels. And the best part? They come in a package of 2 for under $3.00. I took them home and immediately washed and dried them. They took a little pressing but then they were ready to go.
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I stretched the first towel so I could paint the actual flag on it.I decided on the size 14″x25″. It just seemed to suit my needs. Trying to keep things as simple as possible I used 1″ tape to measure off the red and white stripes. Once they were painted I used a navy blue in the upper left hand corner on which to paint the stars. (tip: I cut a small stencil from poster board to keep the stars simple and regulated).
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Once the painting had dried thoroughly (ideally overnight), I cut the flag out , leaving at least a good inch around it.I also cut out 3 tabs aproximately 3″x8″. I used pinking shears so that I could keep a rough edge. I had some quilt batting laying around, but you could even use an old white towel. Just something to give it a little body. I stiched around the flag wrong sides together, leaving about a 4″ opening and inserting the tabs on the top. I cut a piece of batting just a smidge smaller than the stitching line. With a little maneuvering I slid the batting inside the flag and then stitched up the opening.

I used regular thread and ran sticthes along the stripes and pulled knots through the stars for a quilted effect.
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It was at this time I aged the flag. Remember my friend Karen? I used her instant coffee recipe for aging it. (Karen uses instant coffee. 1cup of water to 1/4cup of instant coffee to be exact.) After it had soaked sufficiently I wrung it out and hung it on a line to dry. It may need a little touching up with an iron to get out any dominant wrinkles, but other than that it is ready to hang. I found a few twigs and pulled them through the tabs and Voila!
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I hope everyone has a festive and safe 4th of July this year!


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Stepables. Yes that’s what it is called. That much I know, but I have searched the internet looking for the name of this type of Stepable with no results. I am hoping that my botanist nephew, Chuck, can help me, but if any of you know the name in the meantime I would appreciate. It has bothered me for some time because people will ask what it is, and, I, not being much of a gardener, had thrown out the name of the plant when I planted it a few years back.
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So, what do I know about it? I do know that it bursts every spring with little purple flowers. And they are in mass too. As you can see from the photo it fills up with flowers in the small bed that I created.
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I also know that it is very low maintenance. For me that is crucial. :). Except for the first one or two years when I was devoted to watering it in order to get the roots to take hold, I have done very little. I know it needs thinning a bit every year. My form of thinning? I dig up a scoop here and there to give to people who want to start it in their own yards. It actually looks like divots in a golf course. Maybe that’s not such a great idea but the groundcover keeps on flowering and filling in every year.
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I feel like I was darn lucky when I came across this type while searching for plants in a large nursery down in Frankfort, Il.

I hope it continues to thrive and bring joy to those who see it.

Have a good weekend everyone!

P.S. I use a latex glove when painting and doing other odd jobs around the house. I have found them to be quite useful when working in the yards as well. You can get them at a pharmacy.
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My Knitting Sister

My sister Joyce and I go way back. LOL. No really. Out of the 11 children Joyce is closest to me in age.

Joyce took up knitting not too long ago and she has been making delightful scarves with her craft. I went and visited her last week. We went to a conservatory which was lovely. All of the beautiful plants and it felt tropical!

Upon arriving at her home I asked to take some photos of her knitting including some of her actually working on a scarf. The scarf that Joyce was working on was a pastel one, she also showed me 2 others that she had completed.
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When my sister charges for her scarves, which is rarely she charges $10.00. I have never seen them that low, but like I said she usually does not charge for them. She enjoys making them and giving them for gifts and to someone who, perhaps, needs their day brightened.
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Joyce said that there is quite an array of colors of yarn to choose from when picking one out to make a scarf. The yarn is called Sashay and it can be found at Michael’s, JoAnne’s, and Hobby Lobby. And if you are really lucky you will have a coupon to purchase it at a 40 or 50 percent savings. I think I will leave the making of them to Joyce. :)
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I hope that you are all having a good week,