by laura janning

Be Careful What You Ask For!

April 26, 2013

Now don't get me wrong, I know I  have shared a few of my builders blunders here and here  but in all honesty, he did some things right..... well almost.....before we fired him anyways.
We went through an extensive interviewing process with a few of the local builders in our area. We selected our builder because he was was willing to let my husband and I put some of our own sweat equity into the house. My builder also came with a "specialty". 
You know, that builders trademark. 
You know, the thing that we absolutely had to have. 
The thing that we would not be able to add later down the road.
The thing that we would regret if we didn't add.
Well, in all this time, all 10 years of living in our home I can honestly say with no hesitation that I have not regretted that decision until....... recently, when I had to paint that trademark ceiling.
 You know, that signature quadruple 4 tier why didn't we do a standard when we built the house ceiling.
Without sounding like I am all that with a paint brush, I do consider myself to be the closet thing to a professional painter while retaining non-professional status, and this ceiling was a challenge. It took me more time to get this finished then most other paint projects. With the constant up and down on the ladder, two coats of the new color and two coats of the new trim color and head tilted back in an upright position, it was a bit more work then I thought it would be when I took the project on.
But this story does end on a good note. Other then some trim work around the windows, the painting is finally just about done.
Here's a sneak peek at the bedroom. When I get the new bedding and curtains up, I will show you the finished space.
So tell me, do you paint your ceilings or leave that for someone else?

PS- Moral of the story... when considering quadruple trey ceilings.....DON'T!

Grateful for~
Patience when painting

Sharing at
Between Naps on The Porch

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Coffee, Tea and a Table Makeover

April 24, 2013

I just love the chance to meet up with my girlfriends for a little uninterrupted chit chat don't you?

 The chance to catch up on whatever we want. Drinking our coffee or tea, and for a good hour just talking about our kids, our husbands, decorating and life. Oh....and tables.
 Tables like this that needed a little more cream, or sugar...or both.
I wasn't  exactly sure what this experienced coffee connoisseur  really needed, so I brought it home with me to figure it all out. Did I tell you that my girlfriends love when I come for coffee cause I always leave with a piece of furniture.
But I don't mind, because cause I get so much more then another project and a cup of coffee. I get someone's friendship and a glimpse into their heart. I get the chance to be a girlfriend, to be trusted and to be loved. We get to laugh at ourselves and kick back.... if only for that precious little hour. 
But that's okay. I will take my hour any morning!
Tell me, do you make time to have coffee/tea time with friends? 

PS- I used AS Old White Chalk paint on the base of the table and sanded the top and applied Minwax in Ebony followed with a clear protective on the top.

Grateful for~

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I miss the flowers but not the heat!

April 20, 2013

Happy Saturday!  This weekend I am in South Florida loving on my precious family.  I use to live in South Florida many years ago, but got out before it got hot...really hot. I guess that's why everyone has one of these....

The one thing though that I always miss about South Florida( besides my family) are the plants and flowers. Tropical bliss every time, regardless of the time of year....and heat.

It's funny that a true Floridian will "grab a sweater" when the temps dip down past 80 degrees. No sweaters this weekend though, temps are suppose to be in the 90's and perfect for a little of this.....

Regardless of the temperature wherever you are today, I truly hope you make the most of the day and enjoy it with the people that you love! 

Grateful for~
To be able to share beautiful memories of my niece with my family and her friends.

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The Best Pineapple Upside Cake You Will Ever Eat

April 18, 2013

Yes, you read  that correctly ...... The Best! 
And what's even more amazing about this delectable, finger licking, best Pineapple Upside Cake you'll ever eat, is how it's cooked.  Ready.... Cast iron skillet.... Really.
Most of us know a cast iron skillet for frying, searing and making up a batch of grandma's favorite cornbread.   But did you know cast iron has been around for 2500 years and if you season the pans  properly they can last for generations?

Cast Iron Skillet Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1 can of pineapple slices
2/3 cup butter
 3/4 cup brown sugar
Yellow Cake mix
1 jar of Maraschino Cherries
1/2 cup to a cup of chopped Pecan pieces* optional

1.  Place pineapples in the butter, sugar and pecan mixture. Put
cherries in the center of the pineapple. Cut the slices of
pineapple into halves and line the sides of the cast iron skillet
with them (standing up on edge).
2. Prepare a box of yellow cake mix following the directions on
the box to mix the batter (do not bake in a separate pan;
follow instructions below).
3. Pour the batter over the pineapple and cherries.

4. Bake at 350°F degrees. When the cake is done, loosen the
edges with a butter knife. Remove from heat and allow to sit
five minutes, then turn it upside down on a serving dish.
 Yes, generations of eating a cake from a skillet that is so moist and delicious that by the time
 you get in line for your piece... it will be all gone!  
Have you ever cooked a cake in a cast iron skillet before?
PS- To read the history and how to "season" your cast iron cookware click here.
Grateful for~
The chance to be able to head to Florida this weekend to be with my sister, Ron and Heather and the rest of my family.

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It's Much More Then Just a Haircut

April 16, 2013

You know when that moment hits you. 
You decide to do something that you have wanted to do
 for some time. 
Something important, something special.
You arrive for your appointment. You sit in the chair.
There's no turning back.
Your smock is on, you feel the scissors on your hair and
 in a split second.........

it's over.  Your hair falls to the floor. All 10.25  inches of it. 

You sit there happy, confident and proud. 
Unable to contain your emotions, a slight tear runs 
down your cheek. 
 After all this time you can finally cross this wish off 
your bucket list. 
#118. Donate Hair to Locks of Love

You see, this post really isn't about my haircut, 
it's about so much more.
 It's about finding purpose, meaning and making a difference.
 The haircut was my difference and my ability to donate the hair to such a wonderful cause is my purpose. 
Typically, I am not one to take self portraits in the car( parked) on the way home from the hairdresser and post them on my blog. 
 My posts are usually about a project, a household tip or a craft. 
Usually it's a funny story about my simple little country life, my dogs, pony, donkey's, fish and my wonderful family that
 I love dearly. 
But today it's different. 
Today I show you my hair as a way to inspire you to give back, have meaning and to
 make a difference.
 Our family's recent tragedy has reinforced the simple truths of life. That you must love every minute of your life, everyday.
 Love what you are doing and love the people that surround you.

Today, I am not asking you to run right out and get a cute new haircut. I am asking you though, to love your wonderful life, love what you are doing and to begin crossing off those wishes on your bucket list........  
What are you waiting for? 

What things are you doing in your life to make a positive and meaningful difference for yourself and for others?

PS-no more cheesy self portraits. I promise!

Grateful for~
The chance to give back.

Sharing at:
Savvy Southern Style

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I Love The Underdog and a New Coffee Station

April 11, 2013

I don't know what it is, but I have always cheered for the underdog. The guy, gal, team or furniture, that has so much potential but
 just can't .......... make it

Until I saw this piece of course. Sitting there in the corner of the twins preschool with all the other 1970's oak wood rejects. 
Waiting to be discovered. 
Waiting to be heard. 
Wanting to get out of detention hall.
I had a vision for this soon to be coffee station, for the teachers that help shape my kids lives and......drink coffee.
Wanting so bad to be noticed and to fit in, I began to think of ways to help my little underdog out using a sign from the preschool as my inspiration.
 After a good cleaning and sanding , I applied some primer to the base. 
That alone got it out of detention.
The rest of the plan was simple.  Paint the base with two coats in blue and stain the top with a few coats of stain in ebony .
Now, not only is my underdog turning heads, it's been invited to this years prom and was voted most likely to succeed by all the other left over 1970's oak furniture and.....
 from the teachers drinking their morning coffee.
Who or what's the last underdog that you helped out?

Grateful for~
The gals over at First Baptist Preschool for the love and learning that they share with my children.
French County Cottage
Crafty Scrappy Happy
Tatertots and Jello
Between Naps On The Porch
Savvy Southern Style
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Stop The Abuse....Of Your Hardwood Floors

April 8, 2013

I know, I know....Hardwood floors. Boooorinnnngggg.
Not a subject that we talk about frequently, but one that needs attention from time to time just like an orchid. 
But if you don't fall into the category of having hardwood floors, getting hardwood floors in your future or are a guru of home cleaning tips, you must know someone who has hardwoods and would benefit from this information. And if hardwoods still don't excite you,(for shame) perhaps my Spring Inspiration Board on Pinterest would here.

Back to exciting floors.  For the record I am not a flooring professional nor did I take flooring 101 in college, or am I being endorsed for my thoughts, but being the rightful owner and installer ( well actually my better half did the installation) of a house full in lots of sq feet of hardwood, I think I am qualified to share an opinion or two. 
I love my hardwood floors. I actually have 5 inch  #2 oak planks, which means they are in the second run when being processed through the mill. I wanted the #2 wood. I wanted them to have the knots, the holes and all the imperfections, but over the years they have lost a bit of their luster and shine.
With pink big wheels and roller skates buzzing around on these floors,  I will from time to time freshen them up with a product called reviver. I wanted to share  a quick demonstration of how it works so you can stop abusing your hardwoods too!

First clean your floors with whatever method you use. I generally vacuum and then use my Shark Steamer/Vacuum to clean the floors. 
BTW- another great product if you are in the market for a floor steamer. It omits just enough steam to NOT leave a wet residue on your floor surface.
After your floors are dry and you are ready to use your reviver product, you will also need a soft lambs wool floor applicator.  I picked the reviver product and brush up at Home Depot in the flooring section. I attached the applicator to a broom handle that I already had. 

You can follow the very small you may need a magnifier instructions on the back of the bottle or simply spread the product in a "S" shape on the floor and mop into your wood. It is important to use smooth even coats in the same direction when applying to your floors.
After my first coat dried I applied a second coat using the same process. Here's a pic of the finished floor with two coats of reviver.
At some point I will have to think about re-sanding and re-staining but for now, I am totally satisfied and love the renewed luster and shine 
 and this little girl buzzing around on her Pink Big Wheel.

Grateful for~
A wonderful mini vaca with the kids and my husband in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Lots of love, lots of fun and lots of memories.

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How do you follow me????

April 3, 2013

Have you heard????
 Google Reader is going away.
 But don't panic Google users.
No worries...
 You will still be able to find me....
In fact, there are several ways you can receive my updates and read my "amazing" posts.  oh no i did'nt just say that!!!
You don't even need to look that hard. 

I mean come on now, you don't want to miss anything now do you?
The easiest way is to have my posts come directly to your inbox via email. You can sign up here if you want, by entering your email address
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Other ways to follow me~
The so-called replacement and the closet thing to Google reader is called Bloglovin
Bloglovin here
Facebook here
Pinterest here
Twitter here
I am also on instagram @ Top This Top That

I truly do appreciate you following Top This Top That using  whatever method works for you. 

Grateful for~
A close and strong family who will continue to pull together and love each other more then we do today.

Can Organization Be Stylish....You Bet

April 1, 2013

So please tell me... 
Can you pat your head and rub your belly at the same time?

Is the grass really greener on the other side?

Did "Gnarly" really mean very cool in the 1980s?

Do you count your chickens before they hatch?
Can you really have your cake and eat it too? 
When saying good bye to others, do you find yourself saying, "Catch you on the flip side?"

The apple doesn't fall too far off the tree, does it?
Are you one who uses "groovy" to describe something
 so excellent? 
Can you really gag someone with a spoon?

Do you think you can be organized and stylish at the same time?  Do you think that something that looks so good can take minutes to put together?

 You bet... And my Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery Wall Manager proves that it is possible.

I have tried for a while to find something that fit the "look" of my office aesthetically, at the same time being completely functional. I mean who doesn't need a place to write notes, jot important events on a calendar, and store bills that need to get paid all while looking stylish?   Besides, being organized also helps me be productive. To achieve this stylish, organized and productive system, I started with an open frame that I painted to coordinate with the room.


Next, I cut a piece of foam board to fit inside the frame and covered it with fabric, using spray adhesive to secure to the foam board.

I placed my Martha Stewart Home Office Wall Manager - available in black and white, exclusively from Staples - on my board to determine the placement before securing it with the nails that were provided with the kit. There is also a built-in level to help keep things straight. This is perfect for people like me who tend to "eyeball" when hanging things on the wall. Is that you too?

As soon as the board went up, I immediately started to feel more organized because everything now has a place on the wall and is visible to me when sitting at my desk... and paying bills.

 Oh and for the record... the grass is only greener on the other side if it gets more water and fertilizer.

PPS- To see more of my projects, click here.

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