Picture Frame Makeover Surprise

I recently got certified as a Pilates Mat teacher. After all that hard work I wanted to frame the certificate I received, so it was time for another craft project. All of the unused frames I had on hand were oak or painted white, neither which would work in my office. A quick look through my craft cabinet revealed a sample size of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite and I knew I’d be able to turn the oak frame into something that worked. What I love about the ASCP paint is you don’t have to pre-sand the wood before painting, you just go right over whatever finish is already on the piece. I painted the frame with the ASCP and after it dried used Annie Sloan Clear Wax on top of it.

Painted Frame

Frame painted in ASCP Graphite

I wanted to give the frame a slightly distressed look so I got out some fine grit sandpaper to rough up the edges of the frame. Here is where I got a small surprise. It turns out the oak frames weren’t actually oak but were some sort of composite material that looked like oak. What this meant was when I was sanding the paint almost peeled or chipped off which wasn’t what I was expecting. At first I was annoyed but then realized I actually liked how the distressing was turning out, so I went with it. Yes, sometimes the best things in life are a surprise!

Painted and Distressed Frame

Painted and Distressed Frame

Close Up of the Frame

Close Up of the Frame

I put a little more wax on just to give the piece a final buffing and popped the certificate in the frame and voila…it was done.

Ready to Hang

Ready to Hang


Island Beach State Park

Photos from a visit to Island Beach State Park late last summer.

A Butterfly Resting on the Sand

A Butterfly Resting on the Sand

Sea Birds Walking in the Surf

Sea Birds Walking in the Surf



Barnegat Lighthouse over the Dunes

Barnegat Lighthouse over the Dunes

Waves Crashing on the Jetty

Waves Crashing on the Jetty

Surf Fisherman Staking their Spot

Surf Fisherman Staking their Spot

Jar Candle Upcycle

I burn a lot of jar candles and have always just put the empty glass jars out with the rest of my recycling when I had finished with the candles. Lately I’ve been saving the jars thinking I could find a use for them around the house.

A few months ago I switched to using daily contact lenses and needed to find a way to store them in my bathroom in a way that allowed me to get to them easily each morning but also looked nice. The candle jars were a perfect size but I didn’t want to see the contact lens packets through the clear glass jar so I had to get crafty.

Empty Candle  Jar

All that is needed for this project is a roll of twine, a brush, Mod Podge and an empty jar. Starting at the top of the jar, simply brush the Mod Podge onto the jar and start unrolling the twine. I found brushing the glue around the jar in 1 inch increments worked well and allowed me to wrap the twine around a section of the jar before the glue dried up. Then I’d just repeat brushing on the glue and wrapping the jar in twine until I reached the bottom of the jar.

Mod Podge and Twine

I reinforced the two rows of twine at the top and the bottom of the jar by putting some extra Mod Podge on top of the twine. This will ensure the twine doesn’t start to unravel from the jar.

Reinforcing the Twine

Fully wrapped jar

Once it dried, I was pretty pleased with my little project, but felt it needed something extra. Since these particular jar candles had flat wood tops, I went ahead and stenciled the letters ‘L’ and ‘R’ on the top of the tops. One jar would hold the contacts for my left eye and the other would hold the contacts for my right eye. (Yes, I’m anal retentive!) For this part of the project I just used some letter stencils and some black craft paint, both of which I already had at home.

Stenciling items


Here’s the completed project sitting on my bathroom counter, entirely created with items I already had on hand. It cost me nothing except a little time!

Contact Lens Storage

Gettysburg National Cemetery

This is second of my 2 Gettysburg posts, focusing on the Gettysburg National Cemetery, the final resting place of over 3,500 Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. It is also where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the cemetery in November 1863.


Grave markers of unidentified soldiers.

Unknown Grave Markers

Unknown Grave Marker 407

New Jersey Grave Marker

Soldiers' National Monument

Soldiers’ National Monument

Cemetery Monument

New York State Monument

Gettysburg Battlefield 150th Anniversary

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, widely considered the turning point of the Civil War. At this battle Union forces defeated attacks by Confederate forces, ending General Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North. Three weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Gettysburg for the very first time.

The battlefield is filled with memorials to the various units that participated in this 3 day battle.

Pennsylvania Infantry marker

Pennsylvania Infantry Statue

Battlefield marker

Out of Many...One

Eternal Light Peace Memorial

Eternal Light Peace Memorial

View of the Battlefield from Seminary Ridge

View of the Battlefield from Seminary Ridge

View of Battlefield with cannon

The Virginia Memorial along Seminary Ridge is the sight of the last Confederate assault on July 3rd, known as “Pickett’s Charge”.  On top of the memorial is a statue of General Robert E. Lee on his horse Traveller.

Virginia Memorial

Statue of General Lee atop the Virginia Memorial

Battlefield from the Virginia Memorial

Site of Pickett's Charge

Civil War enthusiasts re-enacting part of the battle.

Battlefield Re-enactors

The observation tower allows for a birds eye view of the battlefield, specifically The Wheatfield, The Peach Orchard and Plum Run.

Observation Tower

View of Battlefield from the Observation Tower

Dial at top of Observation Tower

Looking Down the Stairs

The view from atop Little Round Top, site of an unsuccessful assault by the Confederate forces against Union forces.

Memorial atop Little Round Top

Battlefield from Little Round Top

Looking out a Memorial on Little Round Top

The 1st New Jersey Brigade Memorial.

First New Jersey Brigade Memorial

New Jersey Brigade

The Pennsylvania Memorial along Cemetery Ridge. It is the battlefield’s largest memorial.

Pennsylvania Memorial

Abraham Lincoln on the Pennsylvania Memorial

The 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Memorial at the High Water Mark, the farthest point reached by the Confederacy. It is where Union soldiers repelled “Pickett’s Charge”.

High Water Mark Statue

The View From the High Water Mark