’m going to share something with you that you may not know: I love a great repurpose project!

Upcycles are nice. Crafts are fun. Thrift store finds can be thrilling. But nothing is as satisfying to me as taking a piece and making it into something new and different.

Do you know what I mean?

That’s why I love this month’s theme and hope you’re excited about it too.

(This post contains affiliate links.)


We’ve got repurposed projects going on around here all throughout September, and today’s project features a lamp that is…good grief…so many years old I can’t even remember how old it actually is!

This heavy Stiffel lamp was one of those work premiums from a company Tony worked for all those years ago. It sat on our desk for a few years, made a ridiculous number of moves with us, and somewhere along the way was relieved of its shade.

Then it just sat, unused, for a few more years.

See, I told you it was old!

I figured I’d do something with it eventually.


This lamp had been very well-made and I have to admit that I got a little understanding of why our boys love demolition work so much.

Here’s an extra bonus when repurposing a lamp: you get to learn a little about wiring, construction, and quality. And, as a bonus for your bonus: you may even have some extra parts to save for other projects. How cool is that?

The sockets and wiring weren’t so useful, so I got rid of them.

The center rod had to go too, but I saved the finial and screwed it back to the bottom. It almost looks like it had been there all along, don’t you think?

As always, a great makeover comes from paint, and the newly designed base was ready for its transformation.


I used Rust-Oleum Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint and I’m a little in love now!

I’m so pleased with how it turned out. This is the color and finish I’ve had swirling around in my head for weeks, and I’ve already got two more pieces around the house that are on the list to get a shot of this paint.

I may even get the kids if they stand still long enough. 🙂 The color and finish are gorgeous!

I did give it a coat of primer first since the metal was bare and I had no interest in even beginning to sand this thing. It worked perfectly.


My last paint crush was the faux marble finish I used on the little thrift store stool, and I was just waiting for a good chance to marble something else.

So for the top of the stand, I used a 12-inch terra-cotta tray and marbled it up!

It’s not so easy to see in the photo, but the center ring is slightly higher than those on the three columns. It worked well when holding up the center rod for the lamp; not so well when you want to sit a clay tray on top without it toppling off.

Round felt furniture pads were perfect for the job. A couple in each column provided an even top for the tray to sit on.

And to be sure a stray swishing tail doesn’t take it off (these things happen with a Golden Retriever in the house), I added some E6000 to each column before attaching the tray.

This was another first-try for me. I’ve been a gorilla glue fan for a long time, but decided it was time to give E6000 a try to see how it might compare. So far, I’m impressed.

I just love the sharp contrast between the bronzed base and the creamy top. And there’s no end to the vignette options this newly crafted stand can display.

The curved edges will provide plenty of stability for pieces that might otherwise roll off, or a nice lift for flowing elements spilling over the sides.


So with a brand new vignette stand ready to go to work, I couldn’t just plop any old stuff on it.

I’m finally giving in to the idea that fall is coming (even though the weather hasn’t much noticed around here) and decided to add the first fall pieces to my decor.

I’ve always been a traditionalist when it comes to fall decor, but wanted to go more neutral this year. So I went shopping for a new palette of colors and came up with these beauties:

Soft and warm – just what I was looking for.

Last year’s brashly-colored pumpkins, pine cones, and acorns got a softening job, and with my tail tucked, I humbly welcome fall – whenever it decides to come.


Don’t have a Stiffel lamp just like this one? No problem! Take the idea to your thrift store or local yard sales and find a lamp that will repurpose well. Make it unique. Make it your own.

Then share it with us! Any of your repurposed projects are welcomed in the Repurpose It! section of Your Gallery!

The DIY Vignette Stand is the second project in the Repurpose It! series. Here’s more:


It’s been way too long since I’ve made a trip to a yard sale.

I tend to go in spurts and it was during one of those spurts last year that I picked up this wonderful lamp.

Not necessarily for its good looks, but for its potential because I had an idea.

I decided it was time to add a fountain to the garden, but didn’t want to spend the money for a new one. I thought it would be fun and easy to make my own with a few supplies, so I went on the prowl for a good lamp to use as the base.

When I saw this one, I knew I had found it.

I brought it home and set it aside while I collected the other materials.

Fast forward a year and the sad lamp was still sitting in the garage. Somehow that fountain idea didn’t materialize.

Another one did though, and I like this project so much that I’m glad my fountain idea derailed.

When I saw these repurposed lamps, I began to think about how I could incorporate a similar idea in my own yard. I thought about the Gaura I found on the clearance rack at Lowe’s this summer and the rest, as they say, is history. I was ready to go!

I found this great little solar light at Lowe’s and a coordinating can of spray paint, then stripped the lamp of its shade, socket, and wiring.

The really great thing about this lamp is that it has a nice and heavy metal base. It’s perfect for stability and taking a couple coats of Rust-Oleum spray paint.

After the paint was dry, I removed the solar lamp from its base and glued it to the top of the lamp. Then it was time to head to the yard.

The walkway from our driveway to the front door has no landscaping, so I decided a nice little bed of flowers and decor at the beginning would be perfect. I got to work digging out the sod…

then added the upcycled solar lamp and some plants that I had either picked up on clearance or propagated from our garden before we moved last spring. I’m so happy with how well my littl $1 Gaura is doing! I love the bring delicate blooms and wispy stems.

I also added one of my favorites – Angelonia – another clearance plant from Lowe’s, a couple of Mexican Heather plants, a balloon plant, an English daisy, and finished with a ground cover of Sedum – which will have the entire bed quickly covered.

One day I may tackle that fountain project after all, but for now, I’m enjoying a bright and lovely entrance to the front door and that old lamp in now useful again.

Wood Crate Turned Faux Planter: Holiday Crate x 10

If I keep telling you I’m excited to share something new, you just might stop believing me, but ya’ll (I’m from the south, remember, so I get to say that) I am so excited about this wood crate project!

A few weeks ago, my awesome friend, Carole, from Garden Up Green contacted me about joining her for a holiday collaboration post with 7 other talented bloggers. Working with Carole is always fun, so of course I said, “Yes!”

Nine bloggers, each with the same basic wood crate, were given the assignment to get creative and come up with a holiday-themed project. Today, each of us are publishing our finished projects. Isn’t that fun?

I knew immediately that I wanted to incorporate a plant into my project. 

I’ve always loved the small Norfolk pines that show up in garden centers this time of year, but it had been years (YEARS) since I had gotten one. And the wood crate – it would make a perfect faux planter.

I tried to decide if I wanted to stain or paint. In the end, stain won, and I’m glad it did because I love how it turned out. I used Minwax cherry stain, and the color was exactly what I had envisioned. I had a couple of eager helpers, so that gave me a perfect opportunity to take a picture of the work-in-progress.

Once the stain was dry, I added a strip of wired plaid ribbon around the top edge and secured it with hot glue at the corners, made a bow, and added it to the front. This is why I love wired ribbon. The bow was so easy to bend and shape into a perfect fluffy shape.

Next, I strung lights onto the tree and added some small Christmas balls. I also had help with this and there was a nice little discussion about how it should be done (directed by the very decorating-savvy 7-year old). 🙂

Finally, I dropped the potted pine into the crate, and used crumpled tissue paper to fill in the space between the pot and crate.

This is the first year ever that we’ve had any Christmas decor up before Thanksgiving, and when the teenagers came home later that evening, the first question was, “What’s up with the Christmas decorations?” At least they noticed…

I’m sure you’re eager to see what everyone else did with their wood crate, so here’s links to the other 8 bloggers and their posts. These ladies are so talented, and I’m sure you’ll love what they’ve come up with. Be sure to let them know how you like their projects!

Savory Ham & Cheese Muffins

Who says muffins have to be sweet?

Have you notice this? Nearly every muffin recipe out there is sweet.

While my gang would have no issue with my serving them sweet muffins for breakfast – even several times per week, I get that “bad mama” feeling going when I think about that. Do you know what I mean?

While I do serve them delicious sweet muffins sometimes that they dearly love, I try to make savory breakfasts more of the norm and keep the sweet ones in check.

Yet, they do love muffins, and if I plan ahead the night before, mixing up a batch for breakfast isn’t a big deal.

So, a while back, I decided to merge the muffin and the classic savory breakfast flavors into a delicious and filling breakfast. Maybe you could think of these as handfuls of little sandwiches for breakfast. My kids do and a few of them even enjoy spreading mayonnaise on their muffins. (To each his own, huh?)

However you enjoy them, these yummy muffins have healthy carbohydrates, protein, and good fats that fuel the mornings without that predictable mid-morning slump – which is a homeschooling mom’s nemesis, right?

The version I make is pretty basic, but you could certainly toss in some chopped chives, sweet bell peppers, or onions – or all three.

And if you have extra time, some scrambled eggs and fresh fruit would compliment these muffins perfectly.

Savory Ham & Cheese Muffins

Author: Karen @ To Work With My Hands

Recipe type: Muffin Cuisine: American

Prep time:  10 minsCook time:  20 minsTotal time:  30 mins

Serves: 12 

Who says muffins have to be sweet? These savory ham and cheese muffins might just change your mind.


  • 2-1/4 cups pastry flour (or 2 cups all purpose flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the ham and cheese and stir to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the milk, egg, and oil.
  5. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
  6. Scoop into lightly greased muffin tins.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned on the tops.
  8. Allow to cool before removing from pan.
  9. Refrigerate leftovers.

One of the nice things about these muffins is that they’re also a great afternoon snack. I sometimes make a double batch and have extras for a couple of days.

Whether you add mayonnaise or not, eat them for breakfast or a snack, keep them simple or toss in some vegetables and herbs, these versatile muffins might just change the way you look at muffins.

Life Is Beautiful #13

Picture-books in Winter

From Child’s Garden of Verses

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Summer fading, winter comes–
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
Window robins, winter rooks,
And the picture story-books.

Water now is turned to stone
Nurse and I can walk upon;
Still we find the flowing brooks
In the picture story-books.

All the pretty things put by,
Wait upon the children’s eye,
Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,
In the picture story-books.

We may see how all things are
Seas and cities, near and far,
And the flying fairies’ looks,
In the picture story-books.

How am I to sing your praise,
Happy chimney-corner days,
Sitting safe in nursery nooks,
Reading picture story-books?

With every passing day, they are getting one day older – a little closer to the ending of the bedtime stories.

I’ve spent hours of my life reading beside little ones; priceless moments –  at times with blurry eyes, exhausted from the day’s activity, but full of warmth and comfort and memories of another special time.

The days are clicking past. The picture books spend more time on the shelves these days than on the floor, or couch, or tucked under sheets with a sleeping child.

But the memories are thick – the special books line the shelves; the bubbling joy when an older child sees a forgotten favorite tucked away on a shelf and flies back to younger days with the joy of chanting the rhyming words, of recording images right from the page into their minds.

And I am thankful. I’m thankful for the times of reading just “one more story” when I really just wanted to close the book and rest. I’m thankful for the memories of small hands entwined around my arm, hanging on to each new word. I’m thankful for the rich heritage of words that have inspired imaginations and creative expression.

When I realize one day that the last “the end” has been read, I’ll look back and I’ll know. I’ll know that those precious bedtime stories were yet another expression that life is beautiful. And I’ll smile and my heart will be warm with memories.