Practical Beauty – A Guest Post

A guest post!  A guest post!  When I put out the S.O.S. call for guest bloggers, the fantastic and wonderful breida with a b. was the first to jump at the opportunity.  I was thrilled she reached out because she has a “certain something” when it comes to writing AND she just recently had the pleasure of meeting one of my inspirations, Miss Mustard Seed.  So does this mean that I kind of met her, too, through osmosis?  A girl can dream.  Read Breida’s post about her encounter with THE Miss Mustard Seed here.

Anyways, Breida put together an amazing project for you!  Thank you for helping me out, Breida, while we’re on a little hiatus with a little wee one.  It’s a pleasure to have you here!

Please be sure to stop by Breida’s blog:  breida with a b. and show her some love, won’t you?


Hello there!  I’m Breida.  I’m so thankful to Laura for letting me do a little guest post here at The Ironstone Nest.  It’s been a while since we’ve had a new baby in the house and I’m feeling a little nostalgic for those days.  When you have a moment, please come on over and visit me at breida with a b.  I’m blogging about the projects that I make, in the house and around the garden – and I’m writing about the whole process as I go.  Please, join me!

When I was a kid I never heard anyone using the term “DIY”.  Doing projects around the house and improving your own space didn’t have a cute acronym (to my knowledge).  There certainly wasn’t enough money to be calling other people up and paying them to do stuff. . . so, yes, we did DIY before it was a “thing”.  What do you know?  We were trendy!   We were also resourceful, practical, thrifty, and crafty.   We’ve been all of those things for a long time.  But, trendy?  That’s a first.

I think the most important of those traits for me (when it comes to decorating) is practicality.   It might seem like those two ideas don’t really go hand in hand.  At least, in my mind, they are often at odds.   It sometimes takes a while for me to come up with a practical reason to decorate. . .thus the snail’s pace at which my house becomes “decorated”.  I want an object to both beautiful and useful.   I want it to be pleasing to the eye and a sturdy workhorse at the same time.  When my Aunt asked me if I wanted this little bench she’d acquired – I took it.  It was a little bit ugly. . . but it was rock solid.  I snapped it up in a second.   It, as they say, spoke to me.

Here is what it looked like when I got it.  And for about the first two years I had it.

Plywood – painted with a very thin coat of silvery spray paint. . .
I first put it to use in my garden shed.  When the doors of my shed (which sits at one end of my vegetable garden) are open, I can sit inside and survey the fruits of all the hard work I’ve done out there.  The sitting and the viewing only last about 45 seconds or so. . . and then I go back to do more battle with the weeds.  I liked having the bench out there, but it became more of a shelf to pile things on instead of a place to sit down.
See?  Just plywood – nothing special. . . and pretty dinged up, too
a little bit of the process. . .

6″ stick on vinyl letters from Hobby Lobby – i painted over them and removed them
I was just itching to use some Emperor’s Silk on something. . .

Last Christmas, Mr. Social Media and I bought the kids their own desk (to share) and we put it in our center hall.  (someday i’ll share pictures of this old house – but not today) I have a desk there too.  I had a great old office desk chair for them but the arms didn’t fit under the desk.  Having the chair sticking out into the hallway all the time was making me nuts – and so I thought of the bench.   It’s just the right size.  The height is perfect for the kids to use the desk comfortably and it fits all the way under when it’s not being used.  And there it sat – being extremely useful but not so very beautiful for about a year.  I decided to give it a makeover with some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I would really like to start making some vintage style signs as well – and I decided to try out one method of sign lettering on this project.  I’m pretty pleased with the final product – though I’m not crazy about the font.  While I was deciding what word(s) to put on the bench, I thought of another “use” that an object like this one could be put to.  I pinned a similar idea on Pinterest just yesterday.

You’ve seen the before – here is the after!

We’ve lived in our house for 13 years without a house number

The bench got it’s makeover and went out to the porch for a little photo shoot. The red and white enamelware that you see here is probably my best example of decorating with practicality in mind.  You’ll see it in my photos all the time – because I have a lot of it.  And I use it.  The big lidded bucket on the left is full of dog food.  I have another piece (you can see it here) with a very tight fitting lid that I use as my counter top compost bucket.  Beautiful, practical and functional.  That really pushes all of my buttons.  Okay.  Sorry. Back to the bench!  I kept it out on the porch for a few days – because it looked so perfect – but it’s back doing hard duty as a seat for the kids once again.  Here are some more glam shots – I’m working on my staging, too!

Though the bench is back in the house now – this project did make me decide that I want to put a bench out there on the porch – for decoration!  I have another bench in the house – antique, but very simple that I’m going to try and copy using my new power tools.  This one has never been painted and it’s got fantastic age on it – I’d never paint it.  I hope you’ll come on back and check in with me to see if I’ve still got all my fingers I’ve been able to do a good job building my first piece of furniture.

How do you feel about practicality and functionality?  Do they figure into your design scheme?  Drop me a line and let me know!  I’d love to hear from you!

My thanks go out to Laura here at The Ironstone Nest.  What a fantastic opportunity.  I love doing guest posts!  I’m hoping that once Laura is back on her feet and that new babe has settled into the family, that maybe she’ll be a guest over at breida with a b.  It’s always nice to have company!

Thank you for reading!




  1. That bench is just lovely! Great job Breida! You can come guest post for me too :)

  2. I absolutely love this little vignette!

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