Friday, March 28, 2014

Kidstuff: Diftwood Gardens

Kidstuff: Diftwood Gardens: One of my dear friends has a very useful and clever blog. Driftwood Gardens has a variety of items. Bored? Driftwood Gardens is perfect for...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sorry Blogger... Switching to WordPress Was a Great Move

I made the switch from Blogger to WordPress about 4 months ago and haven't posted on this site since.  I have my own .com domain now and the design options for my site in WordPress are unending.  I don't even yet know half of what I can do using the platform.  I have teamed up with Deby from Moms Make Money to offer a chance to win a copy of her e-course How to Do Your Own Blogger to WordPress Transfer.

Deby helped me personally make the switch, and I can tell you she is very knowledgeable as well as patient. She walked me through every step and I didn't lose one post or reader.  The course comes with 30+ BONUS videos about how to customize your new site.

You can check out what I've done with my site and enter to win your free course here:

And if you can't wait to get your hands on the course you can get a special 50% discount by entering code DRIFTWOOD.

I don't regret starting out on Blogger one bit. It is free, easy and I still recommend it to someone starting out if they aren't sure if blogging is right for them.  But when it's time to take your blog to the next level, WordPress is the way to go.  If you make the switch please leave a comment on my WP site so I can see what you've done with your site!

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Website

I'm very excited about getting my own domain name and switching from Blogger (user friendly) to WordPress (super hard to learn), but only my posts switched over and I've lost my followers!  If you follow Driftwood Gardens please go to and sign up again there.  Be patient with me as I learn to navigate WordPress and build my site please.  Thank you all for your support and encouragement to do something I love.  Writing is my favorite creative outlet and I love you for reading!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I Heart Curb Alerts

SO shabby , so much potential

I was working on a longer post about how we took two rooms that were open to one another and made them into separate and functional rooms.  BUT... I saw a curb alert on craigslist last night that I had to have.  It's such a rush every time I pick up a great piece of furniture for FREE.  Here's a sneak preview of this sweet little antique dresser.  Hubby and I started working our magic on it today, so two DIY posts will be coming soon.  Thanks to all who are reading my blog in its infancy.  I am so grateful for your interest, your encouraging comments and your support!

The top is a veneer, the rest looks like solid mahogany.
3 layers of paint to remove

Isn't she cute?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Green Acres... my Happy Place

Green Acres in Waretown, NJ (referred to simply as "The Barn" by locals)  is the ULTIMATE antique shopping experience.  The property is set far back from the road and, as you are driving in, you see funky little seasonal and holiday displays set up along the path.  Just a preview of what's waiting at the end...
  Once you make your way down, around the house and into the parking lot this is what you see.
I hear angels singing every time I see it
 Beyond the barn are several outbuildings - sheds, military lockers, a garage.  This place is a picker's dream.  You could literally spend an entire day perusing through the enormous selection of antiques  and collectibles.  There is a little bit of everything here.  This is a frequent weekend outing for us because the barn is only open Fri. through Sun.  It's definitely more fun in nice weather since there is a lot of outdoor walking, but I have been known to brave rain and cold just to get my fix.
This guy came home with me today 
There is tons of stuff to see in the outbuildings and the main barn is two stories and filled with more than you can imagine.  My personal favorite things to look at, at the moment, are kitchen/ dining related, but upstairs there are clothes, jewelry, fabric, etc.  There are a lot of salvaged hardware pieces such as old doorknobs and chandelier crystals.  All around the outside are fun garden items - planters, birdbaths and the like.  Today I left with this great Italian ceramic fish who will be a nice addition to my kitchen decor.

I have my eye on this gorgeous green glass collection that would look
absolutely perfect in my dining room built ins.  I hope all or some of it is left by the time I make my next trip!
I want this!

Here are some more fun pics from today's visit...
Adorable garden art
Tons of old kitchen utensils


Whether you live locally or are visiting the Jersey Shore, Green Acres is a must see.  Be sure to visit this adorable mother/ daughter team at 540 Wells Mills Rd. in Waretown and tell them
Driftwood Gardens sent you!
Proprietor Connie Cluen and daughter Natalie Cluen Mondsini

Monday, August 26, 2013

Giant Table Makeover

The top before, with yellowed wood and cigarette burns
 I call this makeover "giant" because it was big in every way.  It was a big time score from craigslist, because a nice family who had purchased a new dining set gave it away for FREE.  I knew on first sight I had to have it.  Hubby and I have always wanted a round dining table and we've admired pedestal tables with a white pedestal and wood finish on top.  This was our chance to have something we certainly could not afford.  The table itself is HUGE - the diameter is over 5 feet.  I was worried right up to the moment we brought it in that it would be too big for the space. Now, it needed some work for sure but we were up for the challenge.  The wood finish definitely had a "patina", if you will.
Another view of the tabletop - it was a hot mess
The chairs and covers were filthy
The Before on the chair detail
 It was not a nice color.  It appeared yellowed and it was obvious that its previous owners used it frequently.  It had a few cigarette burns in the top, some black marks on it, glitter, sticky stuff - you name it, this table had it.  The chairs were in the same shape, but required some more intensive cleaning because of all the detail, cracks and crevices in the design.  The seat covers were white at one time but now had a greyish color, and were possibly the most offensive thing about the entire set.

 We got to work on the top, cleaning it up as best we could and sanding the finish off, which was very labor intensive (mostly for hubby).  We did the top and the side, but since we had already decided to paint the pedestal and the apron(?) part of the table, we left the finish on that part.
The edge had to be sanded by hand
 Four belts on our poor, tired old sander were broken during this part of the process.

We found the PERFECT fabric for the seats!
 Meanwhile, I got to work on the chairs.  They took 4 coats of paint each.  I used Martha Stewart's Heavy Cream for the color.  It is my favorite of all the whites, because I really don't care for white, but this one has a warmth I like.  We found a teal and white fabric with a great seahorse print on it - perfect for our house!
After all the painting was done I used a stain to accentuate the detail in the chairs, pedestal and bottom of the table.

The chairs looked better already with a couple coats of paint

The stuff we used to create the new finishes

We chose weathered oak by Minwax because we really like the grey color or it.  We used Watco Danish oil on the tabletop.  It's a product that the wood really absorbs.  We weren't sure about it with the first coat because the color is called Dark Walnut and it wasn't as dark as we expected.  It never did get as dark as what we had envisioned but with a couple more coats and a few hours of sinking in it turned a color that we liked.

The stain really brings out the detail in the chairs

I repeated the staining technique around the tabletop detail and on the pedestal as well.  Once everything was dry came the fun part of moving it into the house.  The table top we were able to carefully roll from the porch into the house.  The pedestal, however, was painted in our driveway and had to make it up three steps to get into the house.  Hubby carried it on a handtruck up the steps and had to use all his muscle power to get it into the front door, plus some creative angling since it was so enormous.  Once it was in place and it FIT I was overjoyed.  It looks truly amazing in our dining room.  I am very proud of this project.  For under $100 and several hours of labor we turned it into the dining set we've always dreamed of.

I can't wait to have some friends over to sit around it with us!

It looks fantastic in our dining room!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jewish Penicillin for the Soul

After a couple days of being home sick and having absolutely no voice I decided I must do something today.  It's ridiculously beautiful out at the Jersey Shore today and I hate that I am not taking my daughter to the beach, park, or somewhere outdoors.  So, making the best of it, I did a run through at the grocery store this morning, bed head and all.  I grabbed a 4 lb. roaster, some carrots and celery and made a b-line for home to hunker down for the day.  Luckily, I have the most well behaved and understanding 8 year old child there ever was.  She is okay with staying home, opening up all the windows for sunshine and fresh air, and playing with her barbies while I cook, write and rest my weary body.   

Making chicken soup today just feels essential.  The making of it is therapeutic for me - just as much as eating it and reaping its mystical health benefits.  This is not a recipe or a tutorial, more of an anecdote with pictures of my process.  The only "must have" ingredients for chicken soup are chicken, carrots, celery, onion.  The other seasonings can be whatever I have on hand, whatever I'm in the mood for.  Today I'm keeping it simple.  I'm roasting this little gal with nothing more than a rub down with canola oil, some salt and pepper and a couple of sage leaves, mainly because I have an overabundance of sage in my garden at the moment.  
This little lady is known as the "perfect pan".  She is the perfect size for baking ANYTHING!

 I'll pop her in the oven for an hour while I get the gizzards in my stock pot with some carrots, celery, onions, garlic and herbs.  I used all the herbs I have in my garden - a sprig or two of each, and extra thyme because I love the taste of chicken cooked with thyme.  

I use the leafy part of the celery because my grandmother taught me it adds flavor to soups.  Nothing gets chopped up here - carrots and celery are halved, onion is quartered and garlic is left whole.
 I add about 10 cups of water and boil it all down and discard everything that's not liquid gold anyway.  After this little beaut comes out of the oven with a bit of a tan, I plunk her entire body straight into the stock pot on top of everything else and simmer that down for another hour.  Meanwhile I chop more carrots and celery and one little secret ingredient.  The kids don't like their food too spicy but when I am stuffed up I need a little heat to help clear me out.  I picked this little baby jalapeno from the garden and I'm throwing it in, seeds and all.
By the time the kids read this it will be too late! *evil laugh*
  I've also decided to add some ginger.  Not a typical chicken soup ingredient but I love the spiciness and flavor so a little bit of that is going in.  Dried thyme in addition to the fresh, because there really is no such thing as too much thyme when cooking chicken, a *pinch* of this awesome Wildtree Garlic Galore seasoning because it's got really powerful flavor, and a splash of white wine never hurt anyone that I know of.
When my stock is cooked and drained I add these with the chopped veggies and chicken meat and cook for an hour.
For a little bird she gave me a lot of meat.

Last but not least, when this glorious pot of golden deliciousness is about 10 minutes away from being done, I add the only ingredient that is truly Jewish - the Manischewitz egg noodles.  There really is no substitute.

Finally, almost three hours later... my scrumptious labor of love is complete.  And, as I ladel the soup into my bowl I realize, I feel better already...