Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Dining Room - White Autumn Table Scape

It all began with an eight feet long poplar table, a birthday gift another lifetime ago.  I wanted a large table for hosting big family dinners. I loved this table! It was handmade and the maker oiled it instead of putting a durable polyurethane finish on it. Unfortunately, the oiled finish allowed the table to become stained and uneven looking. I tried sanding and putting a water-based poly finish, but still it wasn't great looking. It was poplar, and I'd gotten the pine hutch, so they weren't a perfect match. 

What to do? Well, what else? What better excuse to paint? I loved the mixed white thing, so I bought two shades of off white - the hutch is a tad grayish. The table also received a good sanding with the palm sander, and a coat of Minwax Gel Stain in walnut. It's been very durable, and I love the way it lightened up the dining room!

Currently, my walls are a beige-yellow color. I've enjoyed it for 8 years now. and have changed color schemes at least 3 times, and it has worked with all of them. (It's not as yellow as it appears in the photos.)
Now, I'm feeling a need for change. I don't know what that will be yet, but I plan to go neutral and light, so it will work with whites. 

In past years, I've decorated with traditional autumn colors - oranges, rusts, reds, browns, blacks, and greens. I still love those colors, but I wanted to play with a different palette this year - predominately whites. So for the past couple of weeks, I have painted orange styrofoam pumpkins with mis-tint satin wall paint,

and I have spray painted cheap gold-tone lanterns in glossy white. I've dug into my antique linens. I've unpacked my dried gourds, corn, leaves and Spanish moss.

With your help, I've learned that my little glossy white chubby birds are probably quail. 

I also had one vote for partridge. Both birds remind me of my faith - quail was provided to grumbling Israelites when they were wandering the desert. And partridge, well, a partridge in a pear tree reminds me Christmas is just around the corner! 

Did you notice the little hand-carved wooden sign on the wall by the hutch? I recently painted it white and distressed it. I think it stands out better than when it was old oxidized wood. It says, "Christ Is the Head of the House, The Unseen Guest At Every Meal, The Silent Listener  To Every Conversation."

I purchased it almost 20 years ago at a garage sale for $5, and I love it. It is quite detailed, with stars, leaves, and textures in the corners. I sometimes imagine someone carving it, and I hope somehow they know how much I treasure it. 

It pains me to tell you I loved this little hunk of wood even before I really knew or loved HIM. As pathetic as that is, it's a perfect reminder of how He loves us and works in our lives before we are even aware of Him. I am amazed and thankful that He is patient, loving and full of grace and mercy. I need an abundance of all those every day!

Words for the Day:

Luke 24:30

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.

1 Corinthians 10:21

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.

May you feel His presence at your table and throughout your day!


Linking with:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Better Photos for Your Blog for FREE Using Google Picasa

Like me, you may be relatively new to blogging. You may not have an amazing SLR camera. (Yet) Never fear! There's a way to make your photos look better without spending a cent using Google’s Picasa free photo editing software.
I am NOT a very good photographer. I have a little Sony Cyber Shot my son gave me for my birthday several years ago.
I love it. It has served me well as a family photo tool, and it has enabled me to begin blogging. It is only a 7 megapixel camera, so my photos are not amazing.
Using Picasa, they can be vastly improved, so I can post them without too much shame.
Here's an example of a photo before and after Picasa:
Now, using Picasa to tweak:

See the difference? Picasa allows you to straighten, crop, adjust light, color and add special effects to your photos. This photo has been straightened, cropped, and lightened using "fill light."
Here's another photo of my sweet little nephew a couple of Novembers back:

Here's the same photo after tweaking in Picasa Basic Fixes using cropping, fill light, and auto contrast. Then in Tuning, adjusting highlights and shadows.

Here’s where to find Picasa: 
Click on “Download Picasa 3.8.”
You’ll have to allow it to run an .exe file, agree to the licensing agreement and choose a folder to download it to. (I make mine on my desktop so it’s convenient to open.)
Picasa will ask permission to search your computer for photos, and will store them in a folder for you.
The whole process takes only a few minutes, depending on how many photos you have on your computer.
Picasa is good for web and electronic design, and for emailing photos. Have you ever visited a blog and had it take a LONG TIME to download? They could certainly benefit from using Picasa, which automatically changes photos to a smaller size.  
Picasa works very well for blogging. It allows you to keep an online photo album and easily upload photos to post on your blog. You decide who may see them - whether you want to share them with everyone, with friends only or just view them yourself.
Picasa DOES NOT change your original photos – they’re still in your computer in the original format. They're only tweaked in your Picasa album.
To preserve the editing, any photos you tweak in Picasa can be emailed to yourself and treated as you would any emailed photo.
At work, every year I choose favorite photos from the past year to enlarge and have printed on canvas. We hang them in our hallways. I couldn’t figure out why they looked so good the first year I did it, and so bad the next! I didn’t know Picasa automatically made it a smaller pixel size, therefore not crisp and clear when you blow it up. If you want to do that, it’s better to use a program like Microsoft Office Picture Manager.
It is best to learn how to use Picasa by just playing around with it. I don't usually use the special effects, but the ability to adjust lighting, cropping and straightening have made me appear to take much better photos than I really do! Thank you Google Picasa!
Word for the Day:

1 Corinthians 13:12

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

May you see more fully today than yesterday, know and be known and loved more fully as well!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lover of All White, Are YOU a BLANCOPHILE? (Plus After Photos!)

I would like to propose a new word: Blancophile. I looked it up at and it does not exist. But Francophile is there: a person who is friendly to or has a strong admiration of France or the French. And Anglophile is there: a person who is friendly to or admires England or English customs,institutions, etc. So how about Blancophile? No dictionary results. 

White-ophile just doesn't do anything for me. Blanc is old french for white. It flows a bit more trippingly off the tongue. Blancophile. I like it. Maybe because I seem to have been either spraying or brushing a coat of white on everything in my path! 

Case in point:

Remember these poor little drab chubby birds? (Does anyone know what kind of bird these are supposed to be?)

Voila. Whitewashed in Rustoleum gloss white, and they take on a new life. (Hmmm, maybe I should wear more white?)

Case 2: Recognize this lovely old beat-up gold frame that's cracked, chipped and repaired? I bought it for a dollar at a neighborhood yard sale. (The chippy white bird cage above was another purchase at the same sale!)

A coat of flat off white mis-tint paint from Lowe's, and again, to my eye, lovely. I purposefully left some of the gold showing. I like to see a hint of  the past peeking through.

Even the repair looks better - more intentional.

Case #3 - the cheap gold lanterns. (Does that sound like a Nancy Drew Mystery to anyone else?)

White unifies them and really lights them up - no pun intended. These are the second component of a table-scape I'm cogitating about now. They'll go with the whitewashed pumpkins from Dollar Tree.

Don't they look cuter? I think they do. And I think blancophile is cuter than white-o-phile. What do you think? 

Word for the Day:

Watchfulness ] “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,

May your lamp be always burning! And may a light always be burning in the window to welcome you home!


Linking to: (Show and Tell Monday) (Inspired by YOU Wednesdays) (Feathered Nest Friday)    (Fridays on Remodelaholic) (Friday Redoux Link Party)   (Frugal Friday)  ( Frugalicious Friday)  (Saturday Nite Special)