Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Banishing the White Elephant (in which I celebrate the start of spray paint season)

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

No, not Ken. That’s a whole other thing. ūüėČ

I’m talking about the¬†actual elephant in our living room. This guy:

white "ceramic" spray-painted toy elephant

Yes, I realize he’s already been the topic of his own blog post, this one here, where I spray painted him white. He’s actually a plastic Target dollar spot toy, but he can really pull off the white paint.

But the white paint was getting old, and, well, it’s spray paint season.

Did you catch that? Let me reiterate, because it’s important. IT IS SPRAY PAINT SEASON.

Here in Michigan, there is a very narrow window for spraypainting stuff. The whole process works best when your fingers aren’t completely numb and when the paint can actually dry in *normal-ish* temps.

To celebrate the start of spray paint season, I spraypainted. (Appropriate, no?)

And the white elephant was the victim.

white elephant spraypainted silver

Now he’s looking a wee bit shinier, which is never a bad thing, IMO.

You’ll see in the below picture that it seems that the yellow task lamp that I painted for the Pinterest challenge has regressed back to black. Although it appears that way, don’t worry: I just blogged about things in the wrong order. Life happens. Bonus points to you if you noticed the silver elephant in the lamp post, though.

white elephant spraypainted silver


I think I’ve said this before, but the long term plan for that deep bookcase (and it’s twin, not pictured) is to paint it or strip and restain it. But I can say with almost 100% certainty that that project won’t happen until we move into our next place. Which we have no immediate plans to do until that graduate guy gets a job…unless someone wants to give us a house. Anybody? Anybody??

So. In conclusion, get outside and spraypaint something. That is all.



Elephant Decor (in which I walk the thin line between eccentric and whimsical)


I love phonetic spellings. This may be because, as an avid young reader, much of my vocabulary came from the written word and not the spoken word. This lead to MANY an embarrassing mispronunciation when I tried to use those learned words in everyday conversation. I still fear there are words lurking in my subconscious waiting to pop out of my mouth incorrectly, just waiting to embarrass me at the most inopportune moment, like at a work meeting or something like that.

Annnnnd that was way more than you needed to know about me. Moving on.

A few months ago, I adopted this little rubbery-plastic elephant from the Target dollar spot and knew just what to do with him (thanks to Pinterest, obviously, and my new Young House Love book that Santa DID bring for Christmas!).


He was nice as-is, but I was looking to create a piece of decor that was a little more refined-looking. Enter spray paint (about a billion coats since I didn’t use primer).

white "ceramic" elephant

He now lives north of our record player and south of our collection of cookbooks. Yes, we definitely have a “Venison Lover’s” cookbook. That was one of my husband’s many contributions to this marriage.

Reading corner

I’m still trying to decide if this little guy is whimsical, which I could work with, or if it is moving into the eccentric side of the spectrum, which I usually try to avoid.¬†Usually without a lot of success, but still.

At some point, Ken and I have plans to refinish those two matching bookshelves we have (one pictured above), but I think that will happen once we have a more permanent home. I want to paint them white or a light gray, which would blend in with our off-white apartment-colored walls. And we are not painting in here, since we’d just have to paint it back once we move out. So I settle for painting the bookshelves’ contents white instead.

The books are next.

Ha! Just kidding.


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Mason Jar Pincushion (in which I spend an inordinate amount of time making a purely functional object look “cute”)

A few months ago, necessity and inspiration smacked me in the face. It’s nice when those things occur simultaneously, or nearly so.

Necessity: I needed a pincushion. Pins don’t like “just hanging out” in ziplock baggies.

Inspiration: I had a teeny-tiny mason jar and cute houndstooth fabric. A match made in heaven? Probably not, but cute nonetheless.

So I created this cute little guy and stabbed my pins into it. We lived happily like this for a good long while.

But then I got sick of the slightly rusted canning ring and went and spray painted it red. Here’s how I created it the second time.

I should note that, for about one blissful hour after I made this the first time, I thought I’d come up with an¬†original idea.¬†HA! Nope. This has definitely been done before. I don’t know what I was thinking for those first 60 minutes…

The supplies needed are pretty self explanatory but are pictured here in the hopes that I might trick you into thinking that this a “real” tutorial and that I’m a “real” blogger. Is it working?

I do realize that if I have to ask, the answer is “no.” I’ll learn someday.

As for the “tutorial” part of this post: you kind of just jam the small bit of fluff up in the round piece of fabric and shove it all into the canning ring, wedging it in there very tightly with the canning lid.

I then went the extra mile and hand stitched the round bit of fabric so that it wouldn’t hang down into the jar. My needles were very conveniently located for this project since they had been stuck into version 1.0, so I didn’t have to work very hard to complete this step. If I’d needed to reach for them, or, God forbid, stand up and¬†go find the needles, this step very well may not have happened.

And then, once again, I stabbed all of the pins into the fluff after screwing the whole contraption back onto it’s mason jar bottom.

If you were wondering where all of the white pins are (which I’m sure you were), I can answer that–they made their way into my brooch bouquet¬†for our wedding, masquerading as pearl pins. I’ll let them stay there indefinitely, I think. I have no plans of yet to¬†disassemble¬†that beast.

And here’s a fancy overhead picture for your pleasure. I’m not normally one to make such a big deal over purely functional objects, but this blog and my recent spray paint addiction have gotten the best of me. It’s the fumes, I think. The spray paint fumes, not the blog fumes. It would certainly be strange if my blog started emanating a scent.

And since I’m over-explaining things altogether too much, I’m just going to end this here.


Chalkboard Chargers (in which I douse nearly everything I own in spray paint)

I’ve been on a bit of a spray paint kick lately, which will become more evident in future posts.¬†Bam. Teaser.

Part of the reason is that I am desperately clinging onto the last vestiges of autumn before it slips through my fingers and winter rears it’s nasty head.

And part of the reason is just because I really like spraying things with paint. Those aerosol cans can help release a lot of stress, you know?

The latest of my¬†possessions¬†to receive a spray paint dousing was a set of 4 gold plastic chargers that I’d purchased from a thrift store about a year ago but had never used. This is probably because I rarely entertain, and when I do, chargers are the last thing I think of. We’re usually lucky if I just remember to put forks on the table.

Of course, to fit in with recent trends, I had to use chalkboard spray paint. (Plus, I had some leftover from the wedding and from¬†this project and from a shall-not-be-named project, to be revealed once Christmas is over). See? I’m a spray paint maniac. And you haven’t even heard the half of it.

Here’s my faux dining set-up. We didn’t actually host thanksgiving (have you¬†seen the size of our apartment?), though I did make this scrumptious pumpkin pull-apart bread with a rum glaze.

If you look more closely, you can see the chalkboard chargers. No in-process pictures of this, because, well, it’s just spray paint.

After I conditioned the chargers by getting chalk¬†everywhere, I did jot down some nice thanksgiving-y words like grateful and blessed. Because they’re true, and I need lots of reminders.

But let’s zoom in on this other table¬†accouterment (that word means accessory, but for some ODD reason, “accouterment” is what popped into my head first. I may have issues.)

This little bird is a napkin holder that my grandpa made. Not joking. DO YOU SEE HOW SMALL THAT EYELID PIECE IS? I come from a rich heritage of craftiness.

So if any of you want to come to our place and risk getting chalk dust in your dinner, you are ¬†most welcome. But you’ll probably have to remind me to use the chargers for your visit, because once they go back in the cupboard, there’s a good chance that I’ll forget they exist.

Now, what else can I cover with this glorious chalky liquid?

I’m sharing this at the Dare to DIY party hosted by Decor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda, Newly Woodwards, and Two Twenty One!


Chalkboard Wine Bottle Centerpiece (in which I contract a mysterious ailment)

This past weekend, I went a little crazy with the spraypaint. I figured I’d better get it all out of my system before we enter this next season season here in Michigan.

We have a saying here that there are two seasons: the “road-construction” season and the “unable-to-spraypaint” season. At least I think that’s how it goes.

For the past few weeks, I hadn’t let Kenny throw away any of our empty wine bottles. I knew I could do something with them, but the vision didn’t come to me until I had amassed quite a sum and they were taking over our kitchen. In short, I knew it was time to act.

First, I soaked the bottles in hot water and scraped off the labels to get these nice green jars that were not as blurry in real life as they are in this photo.

I was tempted to keep them like this, but pressed on toward my original vision and got these:

It was then that I was horrified to find that I had contracted this most¬†devastating¬†ailment…

Spray Paint Finger.

(Cue ominous music).

Yeah. I’m still cleaning the black paint out from under my fingernails…

The fun part came after I let them dry. This part was also the most tricky…it is difficult to write on rounded surfaces! Especially with chalk. I find that to be a tricky medium to work with in general, and when you factor in the curvature of the bottle… you get sloppy lines. It happens.

chalkboard wine bottles

Let’s just call the messy lines whimsical, shall we?

Once I stuck some fake flowers in the top, I had a pretty nice centerpiece type of thing going on.

Spray paint=best friend. In the craft world, that is. Spray paint would never tell me when I had something in my teeth… and I would hope a real best friend would. And a real best friend would definitely ignore ¬†the spray paint underneath my fingernails.

At least, if they know what’s good for them.

My apologies for that thinly veiled threat.

I should note that, though I don’t yet HAVE the Young House Love book¬†(hint, hint!), this project is included in it and was my inspiration (based on the TV interview they did in Toronto). Love that blog!

On a completely unrelated note: if you’re at all like me and like free things and reading, check out this post from awhile back on the Tyndale Rewards program. I’ve gotten several free books this way and it is SO EASY to get your first book for free. It took me like 10 minutes to get enough points for a free book!

I’m sharing this at the Dare to DIY party hosted by Decor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda, Newly Woodwards, and Two Twenty One!

I’m also linking up to Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest!