Any Excuse To Play With Chalk

My days are filled with projects. There are projects that are necessary, projects that are expensive, projects that are time consuming, projects that suck the life right out of you and projects that are just plain fun. Of course the fun ones are my favorite (it would be super weird if they weren’t). Luckily this project falls under fun.

I’ve been working on the entry way the last couple of weeks. Now that all the walls are painted and the trim…oh the trim…that’s one of the life-sucking projects I was talking about. Now that that’s out of the way I can focus on dressing up the space. Or in this case dressing down. I’m going casual on this one. I love the idea of a fancy, grand entry way. But let’s be real. We live on a farm. We aren’t fancy people, and function trumps beauty these days.

I know for sure there will be a bench and hooks along one wall of the entry, but the opposite wall is open for whatever. I’ve been wanting to do a chalkboard wall for a long time, but hadn’t found the right spot. Of course the playroom would be the obvious choice, but Hollis isn’t quite old enough for a chalkboard wall and I’d really like for the whole family to be able to use it (and by whole family, I mean me). I originally thought of the kitchen, but I just don’t have the wall space for it and I’m not crazy about the idea of chalk dust where we eat. So I think the entry way will be the best spot.

I started out drawing a free-form shape on the wall. Sorry for the blurry pic, I just used a pencil to sketch out my shape.
DIY Chalkboard Wall //

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comWe thought it would be fun to make it magnetic so we could hang artwork or notes too. I read online reviews of this Magnamagic and everyone said to use at least 4 coats to get magnets to really work on it. I got magnets to stick to it after one coat, but went ahead and did 4 anyway. I didn’t know if covering it up with chalkboard paint would make it less effective.

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comHere it is after a few coats. The paint is really thick and will leave a texture if you don’t smooth it out with a brush or a roller. I have a few ridges on mine that I didn’t catch in time before they dried. (oops!)

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter I got my four coats on and let them dry, I started adding the chalkboard paint. I used Valspar’s and only need two coats of it. It went on easily and covered really well.

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Chalkboard Wall //

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comI was also able to use one of my flea market finds. I think it was an old wall planter, and now it holds the chalk and eraser.

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter all my paint dried, I had to season the chalkboard by dragging a piece of chalk across the entire surface and then erasing it. It was messy, but necessary.

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comI’ve been having fun with my our new chalkboard. Some day Hollis can draw on it, but for now I like using to leave funny messages to the hubs and filling it with quotes from the Mindy Project and Brooklyn 99….you know, like most adults do.


Fireworks and Flea Markets

Hollis and I headed to Kansas City to spend the July 4th weekend with my family. (Brian had to stay here and cut wheat). We usually get together and stuff our faces and then blow some things up.  The fourth has become one of my favorite holidays. It’s just so relaxing and stress-free. There’s no gift buying or wrapping or slaving away in the kitchen. Everyone is happy just grilling and eating pasta salad all day and homemade ice cream….can’t forget the homemade ice cream. Along with the food, there was also sun rays being soaked up, outdoor games being played, catching up with family, and Sangria!

This was Hollis’ first 4th of July and her first look at fireworks….she wasn’t a fan. Luckily her Uncle Tyler brought some glow sticks which she was a BIG fan of. She was also a big fan of everyone fawning over her (only grandchild on my side) and her furry cousins (my furry nieces) running around. The weather was beautiful and made the day extra enjoyable. Normally we don’t really venture out of the house until it gets late enough to cool down, but the whole day was sunny with a nice cool breeze. Perfection.



The next day we had a relaxing morning (love it when the 4th falls on a Friday) and then my parents took us to Cockrell Mercantile. I’ve heard my mom talk about it forever, but I had never been…Now I’m going to want to go every time we visit. It’s made up of 4 or 5 buildings and each one is filled to the brim with kitchen goodies, housewares, accessories, and antiques. I fully intend on doing all of my Christmas shopping there, not just because I know I will find something for everyone, but because it gives me another excuse to go and oggle  look around. My mom and I got to leisurely stroll around and shop while my dad entertained the baby. (thanks dad!)

I walked away with this beauty…my kitchen was practically begging for it.



And I couldn’t pass up this little dinosaur creamer. I mean who doesn’t need a dino creamer?



On our last day (Sunday) we headed to church and then for some Chinese food. This is a big deal for me because I cannot get decent Chinese food out here in Central KS. Which is probably for the best as far as my waistline is concerned. Luckily I got to burn a lot of calories off by walking around a nearby flea market! Basically the best kind of exercise, ever. My mom had been there before and said that it’s kind of hit or miss. Of course it was a big hit for me because I had limited trunk space. If I had brought the truck and had plenty of room, I’m sure I wouldn’t have found anything.

Princess Ariel was there to greet me so I knew it was going to be a great trip…



I was in the market for a bench for our entry way, I also told myself I could use a telephone (or gossip) bench instead if I found one. Well….I found both! So ended up getting the telephone bench AND a bench for the entry way. They were only $25 and in really great shape. So I decided I would take them both and see which works best for the entry way and find a home for the other.

I’ve been seeing these telephone benches all over Pinterest and it has given me ideas on redoing it, but for now I kind of like him as-is. So until I figure out where he’s going, I’m going to just clean him up.



Here is the bench I also snagged for $25. I know, I know…it has hearts on it. It’s VERY early 90’s country-chic right now BUT I have some ideas on how to eliminate or at least disguise those hearts. I picked him up, not only for the price, but because he is solid wood and very sturdy. He’s also the perfect size for our somewhat narrow entry. I had to take him apart to fit in my trunk for my trip home, but I was able to easily screw him back together. (luckily!)




This copper tray jumped out at me and made me bring him home too. And for $5 I obliged.



This wire basket also grabbed my attention, he needs a new paint job, but for $3 I can handle it.




I was keeping an eye out for frames, they’re something I always need and try to look for at flea markets and garage sales. My grandma caught me about to buy one and told me not to buy anymore until I look in her attic at some old frames she’s no longer using. She let me take a whole box full of frames I could use and would have shelled out money for at the store, for free! Hollis also approves of my new frames…



My grandma also sent me home with this beautiful tapestry. Aren’t grandmas just the best?! Mine is. It’s so pretty and I love, love, love the colors. I don’t know for sure what I’m going to do with it, but I will find something. It’s enormous. It’s large enough that I could use it for a queen size bedspread…and maybe I will.



Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!

Not Your Grandma’s China Hutch…

Or maybe it is, I don’t actually know your grandma.

My husband, Brian got me a china hutch a few months before we got married. I was instantly in love. Even better, he got it for a great deal on Craigslist, which only made me love it more. We had registered for china and of course, wanted a place to house all of it. As the months rolled by and our wedding day came near, I had already accumulated a good deal of china. I opened each box excitedly, and started to display it in my new hutch. I wanted it to look pretty, and fancy, like I thought it should, in our formal dining room.

1383039_897326300865_4007006705870023573_nWhen we made the decision to move here to the farm and I started to pack up my china hutch, I was a little sad. All that hard work of meticulously placing each piece of china in the hutch in a formal display that I’m sure no one appreciated except for myself. At that point I was pretty sure we weren’t going to have a formal dining room here in the new house and the hutch was going to end up in the kitchen. I decided then that I wanted it to be a more functional piece and not just a display case.

I finally got around to unpacking all of my china and glassware a couple of weeks ago. (I didn’t want any of it to get dusty or broken while we were working away in the kitchen.) I decided to just unpack it all and lay everything out where I could see it. I collect turquoise glass and I’ve acquired quite a bit of it over the years. I’m not sure how the obsession with it started, but if I see a piece at a flea market or antique store, I instantly gravitate towards and knock anyone in my path out of the way. (So look out!) Now that we have a little one who is constantly on the move, I can no longer safely set my treasures out and about in the living room or anywhere else my little monster can hobble over to. So I knew I wanted to make room for some of my collection in the hutch out of her reach.

After seeing everything spread out across my living room floor, I realized how much of it goes unused. Not because I couldn’t use it, but because it’s normally packed away in a tote or a cabinet and I forget all about it. My favorite thing about moving is seeing all my stuff in a new light and trying to figure out a way to use it in the new space. I get so used to things being a certain way and then I get stuck in a rut. I need to take inventory of things more often and repurpose them instead of only doing it when I move!

I started out slow, just adding a few things at a time. I didn’t  want it to look too thought out. I wanted it to be like me in yoga pants on the couch drinking wine….casual and classy.

IMG_0413I tried to set things at varying heights and group like items together. I wanted it to look  interesting, not cray-cray….there’s a very fine line.

IMG_0417Of course not everything made the cut. Only a very small fraction of the turquoise collection made it. The rest, I tried to sprinkle around the kitchen and other parts of the house that the baby doesn’t play in. And a lot of things ended up in the built-in in our living room closet where I was able to at least unpack it and set it up where I can see it.

IMG_0481IMG_0484I can’t believe I wasted all that time using it for just china, it fit so much more and I haven’t even filled the drawers or lower cabinets. I love that I can walk by and see everything easily. And it doesn’t feel empty when I need to take something out to use it.

IMG_0518P.S. It does have glass doors that go on it, but I took them off while photographing to keep that darn glare down.

I’m A Cheap Date

I love flea markets…and garage sales…and thrift stores….and generally anything that saves me a few bucks. I just love shopping for stuff, even groceries. It’s a sickness I’m pretty sure. One of the reasons I became an interior designer is because I get to basically go shopping for pretty things with other people’s money. What’s better than that?! Nothing.

So when Brian pointed out to me that June Jaunt was coming up, I got super excited. “What is June Jaunt?”, you ask. Good question. It’s basically a neighborhood-wide garage sale on crack. It runs from Tribune to Ellinwood Kansas the first weekend in June. Each town along the way has their own activities going on. Some had concerts, dances, walk/run, car shows, relays, dodgeball tournaments….so many different things to do. Most importantly, there are flea markets, antique stores, garage sales, crafts, food, etc. We only went as far as Rush Center and then made our way back down to Ellinwood which is the closest town to us. This was my first time and I was really only interested in the shopping aspect this trip. When Hollis is older, we may hang out longer in each town and participate in more of the other activities going on.

Bright and early Saturday morning we headed to Rush Center with my list in hand. Yes, I take a list when flea market shopping. Sometimes I get too excited and want to buy every sparkly, shiny thing I see, so a list keeps me on track. Of course if I see something super awesome that’s not on my list, I still usually end up getting it. On my list for this particular trip was: a bench, unique containers, mirror, side table, and frames.

And here is what I actually ended up bringing home…

IMG_0457 ^^  Aren’t these 50’s style chairs great? I got the pair for $45 thanks to Brian’s aunt Carolyn. I hemmed and hawed a little bit before deciding I couldn’t leave without them. They weren’t on my list and I was trying to decide where I could use them in my house….I’m still not 100% sure, but I will find a place for them. I mean, they are gold and glittery! Not to mention they are in great shape, I don’t have to do anything to them except clean them up a bit.

IMG_0454^^ Here is a close-up of that gold glitter, it’s a little hard to photograph, but it’s there and it’s awesome.

IMG_0465^^I’ve been keeping an eye out for some new lamps for our bedroom and this guy was only $2. So now he’s mine. There was another brass one with him, a big chunky round one, and I’m regretting not snatching him up too.

IMG_0468^^I didn’t need this light at all, but he and the light above were both at garage sales that you could tell were heavily hit on Friday and didn’t have much left when we were there Saturday. The sellers were VERY motivated to sell the rest of their stuff and close shop. The owner of this light was going to throw it away. I offered her $1 and she said I could just take it, so I did. I might be able to use it on the back porch or something.

IMG_0472^^This mirror was actually on my list, so I was very excited to find him. We found him at our very first stop, so I almost didn’t get him because I thought for sure I’d find plenty of mirrors along the way. Luckily I did get him because I didn’t find anymore after that first stop. I paid the full $15, which I thought was a really fair price. It’s a BIG mirror, a lot bigger than I was really looking for and I couldn’t find a single scratch on him. Delilah is a big fan of lying around and looking at herself if in it already.

IMG_0474^^This little brass thing I think is a sconce plant holder of some sort. It was marked .50 but I ended up getting it for free with my other purchase. I’m wanting to do a chalkboard wall somewhere in the house and I thought this would be a cute little container to hold chalk and erasers.

IMG_0479^^I got these little tea boxes at the same place as the sconce. There’s so many things they could be used for and they were only a $1. For now I’m going to actually keep, wait for it….tea in them. They fit perfectly in the cubbies of my coffee bar.

IMG_0488^^I also came home with a handful of scarves and handkerchiefs. I love them for a few different things. My mom always gets hankies at antique stores and now she’s got me doing it too! But they are they perfect size and material for little baby head wraps.

10155883_880433065045_7337572592432989243_n^^See?! Perfect.

I’d like to check June Jaunt out again next year. I think I would try to go on Friday though instead of Saturday just to see if there is a lot more stuff. As sparce as some of the sales were on Saturday, I can’t imagine anything would be left on Sunday. Any other thrifty shoppers out there? What do you like to look for at flea markets and garage sales?