DIY Update to Coastal Desk and Mirror

I find the most beautiful things when I thrift shop. Yet, those items are not always in the color, shape or design I want. Buying a large mirror in the wrong color could be a simple update with the right paint and accessories.

Hand painted mirror with sand dollar garland.

Hand painted mirror with sand dollar garland.

I filled in the places with acrylic navy blue paint where the wrong color was on the mirror. Use a dry brush technique to blend the new color into the remaining colors on the mirror for best results.

Closeup to dry brush technique and replacing old color with new.

Closeup to dry brush technique and replacing old color with new.

You’ll see a sand dollar garland I made with light weight string and small seashells. I’m a sucker when it comes to seashells of any kind. As a scuba diver I spend time taking pictures and collecting only the dead shells I find in the sand underwater. Ending any life just isn’t part of who I am.

This project took less than a half hour and drying time was about the same. I hung up the mirror in my unfinished living room just to give the space a little color. Can you see inside the mirror where I blocked off a hallway with matching shiplap. The ceilings in the home are all bare until I get every single nail out. Whew! I Really need to paint that wall today.

As a retired person I thought I’d lay in the sun at the beach and eat fruit, cheese and crackers with cold imported

Vintage dresser upcycle to desk.

Vintage dresser upcycle to desk.

beer. But nooooo, I have to nest and create and paint my watercolors. So, I plunged into a reconstruction project to gain a desk from the bottom piece of a vintage dresser.

Bought this vintage dresser 2 pieces for $75.

Bought this vintage dresser 2 pieces for $75.













I know it’s difficult to see under that gorgeous afghan that I did buy for a friend, but there is a two drawer piece behind the roses. I took the drawers out for another project, used a hacksaw blade and gutted the piece that is now my desk. I chose not to keep any of the drawers so my legs wouldn’t get cramped in the small space. I have plenty of storage with built in bookshelves and a huge armoire in my bedroom.

I shaped the legs, glued a leg back on and painted the whole piece with white chalk paint, Inside the desk I painted panels sea green to match the chair I found when thrifting for $15.00. I plan to use a dark wax to bring out the swirls on the legs…they’re very cool.

Well, I have to go, my dog Reilly is using my desk as a viewing post of the cat next door…sigh.



DIY Beach Mail Delivery Sign

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Many of my projects come from need as opposed to desire. Yesterday the new mailman was confused with the names of the individuals in the front and back house. Like most women I have two names I’ve been associated with and get mail that comes in different combinations. Desues-Wil or Wilson-De or, well you get the point. On top of that I’m new in the community and so is the family who rents my two story home in the back.

Add to this mayhem the amount of renters that lived in these homes previously who have not forwarded their mail and the whole mail delivery system collapses at my mailbox…sniff. So I have a need to help the mail person know what my name is right away.

Last night, I forged through my boxes of art supplies, seashells and hardware to fashion a sign. I found clear glue, glass beads in different sizes, seashells, and sea glass. A trip to the woodpile was successful for the sign. All I needed was something to print my name with; paint, marker, or stickers. I found some black stickers I’d purchased on a whim at a dollar store and got to work.

When the sign looks more appealing than the surrounding area.

When the sign looks more appealing than the surrounding area it’s project time!

Mission accomplished, right? Oh, no…sadly, I’m renovating my two beach houses and everything looks like it could use paint or hammer and nail. Soooooo, recognizing that my mailbox, metal fence and 4X4 is drab, ancient and sad looking to my neighbors, I had to begin a curb appeal project.

The front home is a shotgun style. Narrow in the width and long in the length to avoid extra taxes by taking up too much space in the width of a home, circa 1920’s laws. So many islanders on Galveston have this style with a one, two or three story home.

Fence, mailbox and mail delivery sign upgrade.

Fence, mailbox and mail delivery sign upgrade.

Hi, I’m back…So after an hour of finding the three spray paint cans of white paint, applying the color to the fence and 4X4, I think the job is done for now. Oh, and I found these cute starfish shower curtain hangers I added to the hooks to hang on the fence.

The wood looks like driftwood now and I really like that surprise. The fence still looks silver, but with a face lift. I plan to put one more coat of spray paint on to cover a few polka-dots on the posts. Still, my neighbor came out and loves the upgrade. Not bad for a 100 y/o home, what do you think?

A little spray paint and the metal fence is looking much better!

A little spray paint and the metal fence is looking much better!

Shopping for Beach, Sea and Ocean Decor on Galveston Island

It’s a perfectly beautiful day to go shopping on Galveston Island in the state of Texas. Once you cross the bridge, one main road, Broadway, takes you through the entire town and ends at the water’s edge.

The shopping in Galveston has some of the best coastal art, artifacts and furniture I’ve ever seen. We have a large port with cruise ships coming in daily, so the Strand near the port is full of unique shops that carry nautical goods.

Gulf Coast Decor, Galveston Shopping

Gulf Coast Decor, Galveston Shopping

Every time I shop with friends I find something new to add to the two beach homes I’m refurbishing. I love a coastal beach decor and have begun to collect pieces that reflect my taste.

Buoys to hang indoors or out.

Buoys to hang indoors or out.

The buoys I found from a shop located at the Strand are a great bargain. Many DIY’ers will cut 4X4’s, then use a jig saw to make the curvy cuts. Use a drill for the rope to hold up the buoy. A little paint job and voila, you have a great patio art piece.

If you’re short on cash, look for ideas when you shop that you can copy with your own version. So bring a camera and take pics of art made from wood and paint. This is one of the easiest ways to understand the structure of the piece, then add your own saying with paint or markers.

DIY with wood and paint.

DIY with wood and paint.

We all have an artistic gene somewhere in our bodies, you just have to find yours. Gluing three cut boards together, then hand painting a beach message like, “I LOVE THE BEACH, is as easy as making your kids lunch and putting their name on the paper sack. Add some beach sand and glued on shells for an extra bit of fun. Kids love these kinds of projects. Give it a shot.

Shopping for furniture in Galveston is pretty easy with the number of resale, wholesale and bargain hunting thrift stores on the island. I’ve found cane chairs, wood Adirondack loungers and beach lamps with rope and seashells.

You’ll find a casual light, bright and airy decor on the island. Whites, ecru, soft sea greens and light blues are a constant color scheme. Leaning portraits, mirrors and artifacts is common with large pieces or grouping small ones together.

Most homes decorated here on the island are light, bright and airy.

Most homes decorated here on the island are light, bright and airy.

Large fluffy white or off white chairs and couches are arranged around the fireplace. Seashells in various sizes are around the mantle and windows here on the island. If anyone uses curtains in the Spring or Summer it will be lace or diaphanous drapes that let in the light and air.

If you take the ocean view scenic route along “the wall” you’ll find many shops that cater to the taste of beach decor. Plan to spend the whole day and don’t forget your camera.

Painting, Stenciling, Sticking to Coastal Floors, Cement or Wood

Like most DIY homeowners at the beach or really anywhere, USA, who want a coastal decor, I will fill every possible nook with ocean finds. You give me a corner and I’ll make a vignette of a painted sea green table, shells, a coral fan and ocean watercolor. (I actually paint watercolors).

Side view of Shotgun beach house, Galveston, Texas

Galveston House55So what about the cement patio, the wooden floor under your feet, the lonely wall in the kid’s room?

For the small 8 X 15 cement and wrought iron enclosed patio in the front Shotgun house I want a large compass in aqua blue and yellow/gold. The blue will match the shutters I plan to attach to this 100 year old home and the yellow is to match the color of the house. I have white trim, so I can use that color as the base if I paint the entire cement pad, three stairs and short path to the fence. If you’re not an artist, no problem, stencils and huge stickers are available at every hobby place or online. Not so tough, right?

I want to point out the original gate, dogs on the top and mailbox that will very quickly get a facelift with paint and landscaping. I’ve already planted fuchsia bougainvillea to climb the iron trellis and a gardenia bush near the mailbox. Photos to come soon.

Okay, now let’s talk about the shiplap walls that this home is completely exposed now.octopus (Thanks to my accidentally picking at the drywall when I moved in and finding this gold mine). I fancy an octopus for the painted white wood in my bathroom. A really big blue one! I found this Huge sticker at Amazon for $28.00 and it is less expensive for me to buy the sticker than to paint an art wall. The best part is a waterproof sticker is perfect for a salty sea bathroom.

HINT: When you choose your project, just remember to seal your artwork with polyurethane, a spray sealant or wax if you’re applying to furniture or wood.


Shotgun House Renovation

Galveston House11


Galveston House02


One day I’m on the internet looking for a place to retire at the beach and I find some great bargains on Galveston Island, Texas. I’ve been to this island to work at the hospital for a short contract and loved the area. Soooo, with the help of a real estate agent, I buy these two beach houses on the same lot sight unseen. (Agent gave me LOTS of pictures though.) The front home is a 100 year old Shotgun House modeled after the beauties in New Orleans, LA built in the 1920’s. It has wrought iron work around the front patio. Lovely. The home in the back is two stories and was built around the late 1940’s for the daughter of the owner. Both have wooden flooring, but the front home was too damaged by Hurricane Ike to reveal and fix the floor. The pictures show the day I found out that the front house is completely done in shiplap. I was picking at the drywall with my fingers and kept peeling off hunks and found a mix of shiplap and fencing on a kitchen wall. Further picking, (by now I had found my tools and started taking off sheets), and I found tight beautiful shiplap on every wall in the house. OMG! Galveston House06Remember, I had just moved to Galveston and hadn’t unpacked yet. Three months later, I’m finally done ripping the nasty drywall off. You probably don’t want to know about the termite poop that looks like swirls of sand where you have to use a sander. Ten foot ceilings made it a real touch and go for my sanity. Oh, and don’t forget the hundreds of nails that held up the drywall that needed to be pulled out. Of course, one of the most exciting moments is finding the 100 year old wallpaper.Galveston House49 Still, I am certain I have been introduced to every creeping, crawling, spinning, bug in Galveston.