Shabby Chic Medicine Cabinet

I tried my hand at hand painting a medicine cabinet for the girls bathroom and giving it some shabby chic character. I’m not a huge fan of “paint everything” but I do like a few pieces of furniture, shelving, etc that distinguish it from the rest. This is something I do in moderation. It can get too over the top when EVERYTHING looks old and distressed.

In this case I had an old oak medicine cabinet from our old house that needed some TLC. It’s not very high quality cabinetry, only the doors and frame are actual oak, the rest is mdf or particle board so it was the best jumping off point for me to take a crack at it. You can see the progress below. Enjoy!


The original medicine cabinet.


First step was sanding all the old varnish off and cleaning it up.


I used a hand sanding block to get into the grooves.


I used spray paint for this one because I was impatient. Next time I’ll probably use a brush.


I used a combination of three different colors to get the graffiti look I wanted, plush I could show more highlights and depth.


The doors I painted a solid green then let them dry. The I painted a two tone yellow and blue over the top and made “paint” layers.


Added more blue highlights and dry brushed it.


Here I added the blue and yellow to the doors an then dry brushed those colors to give more depth.


Once all the paint was completely dry, I used a block sander and sanded all the raised edges, panels and door edges to get that worn look.


I was going to paint the antiqued handles, but realized that I kind of liked the looks of the darker worn handles, so I kept them. Just sanded them up a touch.


Put the hinges back on and hardware. When you paint the doors they may stick to the frame if you don’t have little stoppers. You can also use flat thumbtacks as stoppers as well.


I also used a chestnut stain I had left over to darken the panel grooves. I also dry brushed on some white spray paint on the frame and raised panels. And here it is finished, only took a couple of hours!


So I hung it above the girls toilet in their bathroom. My daughters decorated it with their toys.


Overall I think it works really well with the colors we had going on.


No medicine in these cabinets!



Day 3 – Hill City

Actually Hill City was day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…  I think we hit Hill City just about everyday, but I’m okay with that, because it is MY favorite Black Hills town. And you need to see “Iron Star” a 1400 pound horse statue made from scrap iron created by artist John Lopez. As I was taking photos, an older gentleman was circling the sculpture in silence. I asked him what he thought and he said, “It’s unbelievable, I could look at it all day.” Yes, that sums it up nicely. Cheers to the Hill City Art Council.

"Iron Star" sculpture

An amazing sculpture

There is a spoon in the middle of the nose

Hill City shops

As you are driving from Hill City back to Rapid City, you drive under this massive wood timber bridge called the Keystone Wye. Back in college, I painted this bridge because I’m a weird bridge fanatic and I’m tempted to paint it again. You can’t just stop on the road to get this shot, you have to yell at your mom to get the camera out and have her take photos as you go under it while you slow down to at least 45 miles an hour. Not that I did that, er, well here is the photo and my college painting equivalent.

Keystone Wye (PS Thanks Mom!)

In my ignorance, I just called it: "Keystone Bridge" Oil on Canvas, 1997. AHC

Storybook Gown of Golden Books

My daughter has a growing collection of Golden Books and I have read quite a few myself but this is jaw dropping on so many levels! I’ve seen recycled paper dresses, but this is ridiculously amazing!

From Ryan Novelline @rnovelline

“Storybook gown constructed entirely out of recycled and discarded children’s Golden Books. The skirt is comprised entirely of the illustrations from the books sewn together with metallic gold thread, and the bodice is made from the books’ foil spines.”

You must visit the site to see the full construction process. I’m floored!

Visit the Site:

Forward Facing Bookshelves

Forward Facing Bookshelves 1

My oldest daughter loves books (which is obviously encouraged) and of course I try to be the mom that reads to her every night. After a glass of water, making sure their are no monsters under the bed and the sides of the blanket are tucked in tight, we usually grab the same pile of books on her nightstand and dig in. I’ve read aloud the same stories so many times that I can pretty much recite them by heart and it’s getting BORING!

Forward Facing Bookshelf

So to encourage NEW reading material from the shelf, I’ve decided to install some “forward facing” bookshelves so that she can see the covers rather than the spine. I’ve researched them online and I’ve seen everything from vinyl gutters to spice racks to built from scratch scrap wood.  I’m thinking to myself, there has to be an alternative that isn’t ridiculously expensive or wastes my time in the shed. So off to Menards I go and I find an eight dollar picture frame shelf called a “Stafford”.  It was unfinished wood which was fine by me, I have plenty of paint that can whip them into shape.  So after a paint job and an overnight to dry they are now on the wall. Overall I think they turned out really cute and bring more color to an already brightly colored room!

Forward Facing Shelves

Even my younger daughter has her own forward facing bookshelves with “age” appropriate reading material! Who doesn’t love counting, shapes and colors!?

Dating Ball Jars

Ball Jars - Perfect Mason, Ideal

I have always liked glassware, usually various colors and shapes and have taken to collecting odd vases and jars through the years. A few years ago, my grandparents gifted me a few of their old Mason Ball jars they had stored in the basement. One was a “Perfect Mason #11” and one was an “Ideal”. Up until this point, I really didn’t know how old they were or too much of the history of the ball jar but I always knew they were quite old and many people like to collect them. They have been in my kitchen now for over a decade and who knows how long they were in my grandparents canning room so I thought today was the day that I scour the internets trying to find some backstory on this wonderful piece of history.

Jar 1: Ball Perfect Mason Mold #11 (1910-1923)

Ball "Perfect Mason"

Jar 2: Ball Ideal Mold #7?? Defect? (1923-1933)

Ball Ideal

It’s pretty easy to see the difference between the two in the “Ball” script. Jar 1 has “ascender” on the letter “a” in Ball as well as a full underscore line under the whole word “Ball”. According to a few sites I’ve read that immediately dates it somewhere between 1910-1923. The second jar has an “open B” in the word “Ball” and no underscore. This dates the second jar between 1923-1933.  These are averages but good enough for me.

Script Comparison

Script Comparison

The patent date is just that, it also doesn’t “date” when the jar was made. Also, the numbers on the bottom of the jars just mean the mold number and unfortunately don’t help date the jars any better but I thought it was interesting that the second jar’s bottom number doesn’t really look like a number. Is this a defect? Was this a 7 or 2 skewed in the process? Who knows! Either way, I dusted them off, cleaned them up and now they reside back on my kitchen shelf where they belong.

Do you have any “Ball” jars? My goal is to get one from every “era” based on their script style. Have a look at how to date them and the difference in the script style: Bob Clay – Dating Ball Jars

Recycling Mason Jars

While I’m going to leave mine as is, I couldn’t help but love these Recycled Mason Jar Lights from Lamp Goods on Etsy. Very country chic:

Bright Turquoise Spray Paint

Rubber Duckie Holders

Spray paint isn't for the faint of heart!

Call me a cheater, but I’m loving spray paint right now.  And I’m finding that my spray paint addiction has got to stop before I do some major damage! I’ve realized that it’s hard for me to get rid of stuff so I’m trying to find new ways to recycle things and my “easy goto” is running to the hardware store for PAINT! For instance, I had these black boring candle holders stuck in the closet holding… no candles. So pick up a can of crazy bright turquoise spray paint and boom!  RUBBER DUCKIE HOLDERS! I know you think it’s silly but my daughter loves them.

Cinnamon Scented Pinecones

Leftover Pinecones from Thanksgiving!

Leftover pinecones from Thanksgiving!

Now nothing compares to a real tree for christmas, the scent of pine in your home is refreshing and nostalgic.  But not everyone can have a real tree. Especially places of business (dropping needles, watering, fire hazard, etc).

Now I’m all for the holiday season, so I recently surprised the ladies at work by decorating an artificial christmas tree in their waiting room.  It was an old tree that I had in storage for a couple of years and it was in need of some major TLC.  I bought new decorations, sparkles, lights, everything I could think of to give it new life in it’s new home. And that also includes the scent! (Now I don’t mean hanging pine tree air fresheners from hooks, keep those in the car) A quick trick I learned was to hide a few cinnamon scented pinecones in the branches and your artificial tree will smell like the attic no longer! Three or four will do depending on how scented you want it, you don’t want it to get overwhelming!

Pinecones in Christmas Tree

Sneak a few scented pinecones into your "fake" christmas tree!

Cinnamon scented pinecones can be found at just about any craft store or big chain store, but you can also make your own.  Collect some pinecones. (If you are like me you can just pick them up off the ground in front of your house!) Bake them on a tinfoiled pan at 200 degrees to harden the sap, let them cool and put in a ziplock bag with cinnamon oil and sticks. A week or so later you can take them out and glitter spray them or keep them natural.