Old Lamp Makeover

I think I have been talking about doing a makeover on this lamp for years now. Well, I finally did it, and I couldn’t be happier. And because I had the spray primer and spray paint on hand from other projects, I basically got a brand new lamp for $5.00 (more on that in a minute.

Here’s the before picture –


Not ugly, but very outdated with it’s blue and brass color scheme, and pleated shade. It’s actually got good bones, with a really classic shape and style. So it’s nothing a little spray paint and a new shade can’t fix! First, I ditched the shade and bagged up and taped off all of the parts that I didn’t want to get painted. Then I sprayed on a coat of primer. I used gray because that’s what we had on hand –


Once the primer was dry, I applied two separate coats of oil rubbed bronze spray paint for a nice, classic finish –


And once that was dry, I brought it inside and put the shade on. And that’s it – here’s our brand new lamp –


The lamp shade was a thrift store find at Savers, for just $5.00. It’s a very smooth burlap, which I had been hunting for, for months on end. I never found one in the right size, or that was in a good condition until last month, when I snapped it up.

So even though we still have to finish the walls, re-do the flooring and upgrade the furniture, this lamp epitomizes the look we’re headed to in the end. We’ll getting closer, one lamp at a time!

Fall Flowers

I really like mums in the fall – we even had some at our wedding years and years ago. So I picked up some in a burnt orange color for the front two porches this year –



I really had to search at the store to find ones that didn’t have completely spent blooms already; seems like everything came on extra early this year. I was able to find four in the same color that were still in bud though, so I think these should start to open up in the next few days. I also got a much smaller one in a burgundy color, and planted it in a milk glass planter to go on our dining table for a little color, but of course I forgot to photograph it, and I’m too lazy to go do it now. So you get to see two out of three. And you’ll notice in the top picture I’ve got two more plants to take care of – those are yarrow, that I scored on clearance for just $2.50 each. I just love yarrow, so that was quite a happy score. The plan for those is to rip out the purple gladiola (that I don’t care for because it’s in shade and blooms very late, and also is so tall it gets top heavy and just flops over) in the planting beds in front of the porch. So maybe I’ll take care of those tomorrow… or next weekend at the latest!

Canned Tomatoes!

Lest you think I’ve done no preserving this year, I have proof of life photos to show otherwise. I broke from my usual practice of canning plain whole tomatoes in their own juice, to do some prepared tomato products – grab and go convenience won the day. I did one canner load of marinara sauce –

marinara (1)

And one canner load of salsa –


And when I finished doing these, I promptly took a jar inventory, as those were practically the only pint jars I had in the house! I have over 50 quart jars, but only a measly 10 pint jars (I still have a couple of the squat Elite ones left). So I’ll have to remedy that before next season, as pint jars are really the perfect size for so many things.

So I have put up just a little bit – not as much as I intended, but who knows? Maybe I’ll get in another batch of two yet, if the harvest holds another week or so. Oh – and I love our stove. It’s been the first five burner stove with a continuous grid on it that we’ve ever had, and it’s just a dream to can on. No more worrying about the wide base of the canning pot getting all wobbly trying to balance on a single burner setup. Love it!

So This Happened…


I’ve been scoring fabric every time I go to the thrift store, and I’ve bought a few things at online sales… some of what you see is earmarked for blouses, pants, and infinity scarves for Christmas gifts. This is in addition to the trunk full of fabric living in the basement too.  So I suppose it’s time to pull out the sewing machine and start working through this stuff. If I can find it under this avalanche, that is.

Hello September

I struggled for a few minutes over how to title this post – “goodbye summer”  or “hello fall” or… ? I like to think of myself as a glass half full person who lives in the moment, so I thought welcoming the next thing sounded better than saying goodbye to a summer that went by too quickly.

Which marks the other conundrum – when is summer over? Is that even a thing anymore, for adults that work twelve straight months of the year? Is it over when the kids go back to school? Labor day? Meteorological autumn? I don’t really know. My kid started school two weeks ago (curse you, early start schools!), Labor Day is “late” this year due to some weird calendar situation and the leaves are orange and falling to the ground. So I think for me, mentally, the season is shifting.

What is the point of this? Well… it’s early in the morning and I’d rather be in bed and I just needed to share that with the world. But while I’m here, I may as well give you an update on Apartment Farm happenings.

Ten months after moving in, we have a dining set! This table was a welcome hand me down (see those beautiful turned legs!) from my aunt-in-law. It had previously been sitting in a corner of their garage, serving as a catch-all table. Functional, but certainly not living up to it’s full potential.


When it came to us, it was in a pieces and half covered in it’s former paint job(s) and half sanded. We forgot to take a picture of that hot mess, but this is what it looked like after husband spent a few days sanding it down the rest of the way –

table before

Isn’t the transformation amazing? Didn’t husband do a bang up job? I couldn’t be more pleased with it. Let me tell you – we talked hard about that paint color. Husband wanted white and I wanted black. We’re going to have a bit of bold (for us) color scheme in the dining room when it’s all said and done with the warm honey colored hutch and muted mint green walls, so we needed a third color that accented and didn’t clash. White was the obvious choice for husband, but a lot of our other accents (picture frames, small pieces, etc.) are in black so I lobbied hard for it. Also, I’m just sick of everything being white, after living in apartments for years, and we have already decided that our shiplap walls in the living room will be white washed – so that’s the token white thing we will have in the house. You can see he conceded, to my great delight! I will owe him another victory choice down the line to be fair, but that’s okay. I got my black dining table in the end.

The chairs are from Ikea (what, we get a discount…), the Lindigby Windsor chair. In fairness, we searched all summer for second hand chairs, as we prefer not to buy new when ever we can, but we didn’t find the right ones. They were all too ornate, or had arms that made them too wide to slide under the table. So we purchased the Ikea ones instead, with the added bonus that they were already black and no painting would be required. We obviously need to get another two so we have a full set of four, but only so many big things will fit in a Honda Civic in one go.

In the garden, we’ve got a decent supply of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, and a few watermelons that may ripen up in time to eat. There’s not much else doing, but eh, it’s the first year. The farmer’s market keeps us rounded out with the rest of what we want – sweet corn, greens, onions, potatoes, bread (for when I’m to lazy to bake my own, which has been most of this summer), apple cider, raspberries… we’ve had lots of lovely things on the table.

And in other news, I recently made sea salt spray for my hair and I am loving it. I used coconut oil because that’s what I had on hand, and I swapped the lemon essential oil for lavender. Love it! I am not a hair product person, but this is just a really simple two-second fix that allows me to turn bed head (not a cute thing on me, or for that matter, most real humans I think) into something passable for public consumption. Sea salt can be really drying though, so we’ll have to see if I need to start deep conditioning once a week to keep things in balance. And next time I’ll just make a half batch in one go, because this took up two mini spray bottles (which I prefer because they fit in my cabinet and a portable) and I really only need one at a time, obviously. It literally takes about two minutes to mix up a batch, so it’s no hardship to do it a couple times a month.

Forthcoming projects? Some Halloween crafts, “finishing” the dining room, building a loft bed for Little Man and starting on the shiplap walls in the living room… some big ticket items to get situated before the weather turns!

Chalkboard-Style Apothecary Labels

Just a few days ago I was talking about the DIY health and beauty products I need to make for fall. So I got to thinking, I’m going to have to label all of this stuff and they may as well be pretty. And then I serendipitously got an email from Avery highlighting chalkboard-style label designs. Problem solved.

And then I figured if I was going to design four labels I may as well design twelve, and if I’m going to design twelve I may as well share them with all of you as a free download! So that is how my mind works.

So, without further ado, here is my set of a dozen labels for DIY health and beauty products that I think are great to have around –

DIY Chalkboard Apothecary Labels

label pic

And here are links to the pages of the recipes that these labels reference, from some of my favorite blogs and home remedy resources (these are not my recipes) –

Elderberry Syrup

Ginger Salve

Burn Salve

Peppermint Foot Cream

Sleep Salve

Sea Salt Spray

Lavender Bath Salts

Valerian Mint Cordial

Lavender Salve

Shower Tablets

Oatmeal Bath

Body Butter

And to state the obvious – please enjoy these labels for personal use only. These are not allowed to be sold or used on products that are made for sale. Please also thoroughly research any home remedy before use, especially when using on children.


The Fall Apothecary: Preparing for Cool Weather

It’s been ninety degrees and humid for the last two days. It is still summer. But school starts next week (and Little Man will be headed off to preschool!) and there are little hints here and there that the season is waning. The first leaves have started to yellow, and a few have drifted to the ground. And the days are shorter – the sun isn’t fully up until just after six, and it’s dark by eight – somewhere along the way, we’ve lost an hour and a half of glorious summer sunlight. You can be in denial all you want, but summer is coming to an end. So why waste time of denial? Better to plan ahead for the fall season and be sure you’re prepared to face it head on.

There are a few things I’d like to be sure to have on hand to be ready for cold and flu season, and to deal with the aches and pains that seem more prevalent when cold weather sets in. Here’s my to do list for the next couple of weeks –

Elderberry Syrup (for colds and flu)

Ginger Salve (for sore muscles)

Valerian Mint Cordial (as a sleep aid)

Sea Salt Spray (to keep my summer waves/hairstyle a little while longer)