It’s GARAGE SALE Time!!!!

 - by Judy Treptau

Yes, folks!  You read that right!  Garage Sales are right around the corner!!!

I have been Garage Sale-ing for years.  So I guess you could call me a “seasoned saler”.   I thought it would be fun to give you a few tips in order to help you use your time wisely and get the best bargains possible!!  Are you ready???  Here we go!!!

#1 – Arrive early.  Find out what time the sale begins, then make sure you are there at least 20 minutes early.  Some people will actually open their doors early if there’s enough people waiting.  The old saying, “you snooze, you lose” applies to garage sale-ing.  If you arrive late, you might miss out on the best stuff!!

#2 – Bring food & water.  Seriously.  Make sure you stay hydrated and fed, so you can shop longer!

#3 – Make a list before you head out.  Many people shop for clothes – maybe it’s home improvement items.  For others, they are looking for furniture.  Whatever it might be, make a list of the items you are specifically looking for.  That way you won’t waste alot of time at places that don’t have exactly what you want.

#4 – Move steadily through the sale.  Unless there are many items you are interested in, breeze through and head on to the next!

#5 – If you see something you love, BUY IT RIGHT AWAY!  Don’t wait and hope it might show up someplace else.  You can do that in a department store.  Not at a garage sale.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  As long as the price seems right, snatch it up!!!

#6 – Don’t hesitate to ask if they will take a lower price.  Usually this will not happen first thing in the morning.  Later in the day, many people just want to get rid of stuff, so they just might make a deal with you.

#7 –  Bring cash, small bills and change with you.

#8 – Map out your route.  Especially if there is a neighborhood sale going on.  Check out where the sales are and have a plan set.  This will allow you to hit more places and get more bargains!

#9 – If you go with a friend, make sure you both understand why you are going – to browse or to find some specific items.  If your lists are similar, then go and have fun!  If you are on a mission to find the perfect dresser for your child’s bedroom, you might decide to go alone.    Otherwise you will be ready to go and your friend is still sorting through the piles and piles of jeans!  (this can be frustrating).

#10 – Arrive in a vehicle that’s big enough to fit all your purchases in!   If you are a serious saler, you will bring a truck.  Because you just never know when you’ll find the perfect “thing” and need to haul it home in a pick-up!  Tell the hubby he gets to stay home that morning and clean – you’re taking the truck!!!

So there are 10 tips to help you make the most out of your garage sale-ing!  Most of all remember, go and have fun!  It’s such a fun way to get outside, find a great deal, and meet some fun people!!!

Happy Garage Sale Time!!!!


Simplify this Spring!!

 - by Judy Treptau

I spent the better part of last week helping my parent’s pack.  They are moving from their 2 bedroom split level town home into a one-bedroom apartment.  Now, I’m not good at math, but even I know that moving all your stuff from a 1734 square foot home into a 739 square foot home just won’t work.  So we began to simplify.

At first it was tough.  Getting rid of 50+ years of “stuff” isn’t easy.   Throughout the entire process, we had moments of sadness, difficulty and confusion…..”Should I really get rid of that?  What if I need it again someday”?  Soon the give-away pile started to grow and eventually it got easier and easier to simplify.  At the end of 2 days, we had 90% of their “stuff” sorted out – either to give away, sell or throw.

As we tried to catch our breath on Day 2, I looked at my Mom and asked her, “How are you feeling now that we’ve gotten rid of so much “stuff”?”  She looked at me and said, “It feels GREAT”!!!!!!   I was surprised and relieved to hear her say that.  We did keep several things that had great sentimental value to her – but we only kept a few instead of a ton!!  She felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders now that she has less “stuff” and was able to simplify.

Spring is a time for new beginnings.  The flowers begin to grow, the grass begins to turn green, baby birds are born and new leaves will soon be on the trees.   How about for you?  Isn’t it time for you to have a new beginning and start simplifying your home???   Start with one room (don’t do a whole entire house like I just did!) like your bedroom.  Start going through all the piles of “stuff” you have in there.  Sort through all your drawers and closet.  Get rid of any and all the clothes you haven’t worn in 2 years – believe me, if you haven’t worn them by now, you never will!  Get rid of the decorations that are old and dusty.  It’s ok – I give you permission!!!

Make sure you have a large garbage bag with you for throw away stuff, a box for giveaway stuff and for the stuff you want to keep, put away in a neat & organized way.  After your done sorting the “stuff”, then do some deep cleaning.  Clean the floor, shampoo the carpet, wash the windows, even wash the walls!!  Get some oil soap and scrub your woodwork!  Not only will it shine, but your room will smell awesome!!  Wash your window treatments and bedding.   Believe me, once you are finished you will feel like a new person!!  And you’ll have a bright, shiny & simplified new room!!!

Cleaning and simplifying is very therapeutic.  After spending those days at my parents’ house, I came home exhausted.  Yet do you know what I did?  I went into one of the rooms in my own home and began to simplify it!  It only took me a couple of hours and when I was done, I was totally energized!!  Amazing what simplifying can do to a person!

So don’t waste any more time reading this!  Turn off your computer, choose a room, grab a garbage bag & empty box and START SIMPLIFYING!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy cleaning!!!





Happy 1st Day of Spring!!

 - by Judy Treptau

Hooray!!!  It’s Spring!!!

The calendar might say it’s the first day of Spring, but the weather outside my window surely doesn’t believe it!!   It’s a balmy 19 degrees out.  Yes, you can see your breath.  Yes, you can see the piles and piles of snow.  Oh, how I long to see green grass (I’d even take brown grass) and hear the birds sing!!!

So if you are like me and even though it’s technically the 1st day of Spring, but it sure as heck doesn’t feel like it – let me share with you something that might perk you right up!  Are you ready?  Cuz here it comes……


Yep.  I’m not kidding.

Find a room in your home – living room, office, bedroom – wherever.  Now start moving furniture around.  If you have the sofa up against the wall, move it away from there!!  Create a cozy sitting space by placing your furniture closer to and across from each other – away from the walls.  Bring in a different piece of furniture from another room – a lamp, table or even a picture.   If you are changing your bedroom, how about angling your bed in a corner?   C’mon!  Change it up, people!!!

You don’t have to spend tons of money or tons of time on a room to change it.  Just by tweaking a few things can completely change a dreary room from blah to awesome!!

I spent this morning helping out a local business with their seating arrangement in their lobby and common areas.  In a short amount of time, using only things they had on hand, we transformed 5 areas!!!  YES!!!  5!!!!!   The people were thrilled and it completely made their day!!  They feel like they are in a brand new place!  How awesome is that?!?!

So what are you waiting for???  Get up and move that sofa!!!  Move that chair!!  Re-arrange that furniture!!!  You will be amazed at how great your room looks and how great you will feel!!!!

Not feeling like you can take this on by yourself??  You can always call me and I’d be happy come over and help you out!!!!

Happy Creating!!!



Primer 101

 - by Judy Treptau

As promised, today I’m going to give you all the deets on Primers!!!!!    Well, not ALL the deets, cuz if I did, then this article would get waaay too long!!!  So I’m going to make understanding Primers easy for you!

Basically, a primer is an undercoat you put on your walls to help the paint adhere better to them.

When should you use a primer?   Over brand- spankin’ new sheet rock, over bare wood if you plan to paint the wood, to block stains such as smoke damaged walls or water-stained ones, after you remove wallpaper and have scrubbed the walls down, or if you are changing from a light wall to a dark wall or vice versa.

There are different types of primers:  Latex, Oil-based, Bonding

LATEX – This is the primer I use most in my business.  It is water-based, so it doesn’t smell hardly at all.  It dries fast – which is another plus!  It is easy to clean-up – all you need is soap & water!!   I use this primer when painting on new sheet rock or if a wall hasn’t been painted in a long time and needs a bit more TLC (tender loving care).  I will also break out the primer if the existing wall is a deep, dark color and you decide to change it to a very light color.   Latex primers can be tinted to match the new color you decide to put on your wall.  All-in-all I think latex primer is awesome!!!

OIL-BASED – The only time I use this primer is after one of my clients has just removed wallpaper from their walls and has decided to put some beautiful paint on them.  Now some paint pros will tell you to use latex primer after wallpaper removal.  Well, take it from me – I’ve painted over a ton of walls where my client removed the wallpaper and the BEST primer to use is oil-based.  The oil-based primer will block out ANY residue that might be lingering on those poor walls.  Removing wallpaper is one of the most horrible jobs I can imagine.  Scrubbing your walls after removing that paper is probably the 2nd most horrible job I can think of.  (Can you tell I am NOT a fan of wallpaper?)  Even the best scrubber in the world won’t get all the stuff off those walls, so your best bet is to open up the oil-based primer and get a nice coat on there.  Remember, it’s super smelly – you MUST, I repeat, MUST keep all doors & windows open AND keep several fans going in the room as you paint.  Best thing to do is wear a mask if you have one, for extra protection from the fumes (I do this and it does help alot).   Oil-based primer dries slowly but it’s awesome for covering up residue (like old wallpaper residue) and stained walls.   If you decide you would like to keep your brushes & rollers after using oil-based primer (or paint), you need to use smelly agents like turpentine to clean them.  Want my opinion?  Just throw everything away!!  It’s seriously not worth the effort, mess and smell!

BONDING PRIMER – I was introduced to bonding primer about 5 years ago.  I had a client who had a vinyl material for their kitchen back splash.  They didn’t want to remove the vinyl, as it was in great condition, but desperately wanted to change its color, so I did some research and found BONDING PRIMER.  Seriously – this stuff is amazing.  You can paint anything with it.  Glass, metal, plastic, you name it, anything.  I have used bonding primer to change a once cute looking lamp into an adorable shabby chic masterpiece!  I’ve also taken worn-out looking cabinet handles in my kitchen and turned them into current, oil-bronzed jewels!  (check out the tutorial).   Bonding primer is easy to use, doesn’t cost much, doesn’t smell bad and clean-up is a breeze – just use soap & water!

Now don’t get too hung up on Primers.  If you still have questions about Primers, do not hesitate to visit one of our awesome stores in the area that sells paint & primer.  Or if you would rather talk to ME (which I would love), then leave me a comment!  OR you can contact me via my website – I’m always happy to help out in any way I can.

Until next time – Happy Creating!!!!




Paint – just the basics!!!

 - by Judy Treptau

Today I’m going to fill you in on the wonderful world of paint!!!   Now I could go on and on and on for days about paint, so for now, I will give you the basics…..just enough to wet your appetite and help you get excited about painting a sad, outdated room!   10 years ago, all the decorating shows were telling you that paint is the cheapest way to change or redecorate a room.  Well, that’s still right!!!!   Paint can run anywhere from $15.00 to $45.00 a gallon these days.  If you catch a sale “just right” you can get up to 50% off a gallon!!  Now that will take some good planning and patience.  But if you are like me – you get something in your head and you want to do it NOW then you just might not get that discounted price.  But you’ll have a brand spankin’ new room faster!!

So what paint is best to use?   It depends on your project, the condition of your walls and the room you are going to paint.

Think about the last time you painted your room.  For most people, it’s about 10 to 15 years!  Really!  So if it’s been that long, your walls are gonna be pretty thirsty!!!  You may want to consider getting the paint that also has primer in it, sometimes called, “Self priming paint”.   I have used this particular type of paint many times before and have had wonderful results!!!    Not only are the Self-Priming paints good for walls that haven’t been painted in a good many years, it’s also good for going over a “dark” wall.  So for instance, let’s say you have a gorgeous red wall that you would like to change to a lovely gold color.  Using the paint & primer combo would be an excellent choice to use!!!  You will still need to do 2 coats, but that should about do it.  Seriously.  It’s awesome paint and it saves you a step (because if you did it the traditional way, you will need to apply a coat of plain primer, THEN add 2 coats of paint to your wall – this way the primer’s built in and you only have to paint the wall 2 times) and it saves you money (because you are only purchasing the paint & primer combo instead of a gallon of primer AND a gallon or two of paint)!

So let’s say you are going to paint your bathroom -which is a great room to start with!  You decide you don’t need to get the Self-Priming Paint, as the room is white and you would like to paint it a beautiful latte color.  So you go to the store, look at the paint cans and you notice the words, Water-based Latex and Oil-based.  What in the world does that mean?

WATER-BASED LATEX – This paint or primer is water-based.  PROS – You can use this for practically any project.  It’s super easy to clean out of rollers & brushes – just use water!!  It doesn’t yellow over time and dries super fast. Plus the smell is eliminated with a fan and an open window.   CONS – If you are using this type to paint over wood, it will swell the grain, which would cause you to have to sand in between applications.

OIL-BASED – This paint or primer is oil-based.  PROS – This will go on smoother than water-based paints & primers.  It will shrink less and it’s great for trim work.  This is perfect when applying over a wall that had wallpaper recently removed from it.  It will block out any foreign materials that didn’t get removed after washing the walls.  CONS – The smell could literally knock you off your feet!  I’m highly allergic to this stuff and if I need to use it, I call on my “hired-man” to do the job.  Seriously the fumes can be lethal.  You MUST work in a WELL-VENTILATED room – Not kidding.  Open every window, door, ceiling – everything.  This type of paint or primer will also crack, fade & yellow faster than water-based.  Plus the clean-up is difficult – you must use mineral spirits or turpentine to clean your tools.

So now you know there’s a difference in types of paint.  But did you know once you decide what type of paint to use, you need to also pick out a sheen?  Paint comes in 5 sheens:  Flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and gloss.

FLAT – This sheen has no shine.  PROS – it covers a multitude of sins, so if your walls have alot of imperfections on them (cracks, bumps, etc), then this is the paint for you!  CONS – It’s boring.  No shine, no pizzazz, no nothing.  Seriously, use it on the ceiling and that’s it.  You can clean it, but don’t scrub it!  If you do, make sure you have extra on hand, cuz you’ll be touching up!!!

EGGSHELL – This sheen has slight shine.  Check out the outside of an egg the next time you’re cooking breakfast and you’ll get a good idea what kind of shine it will have.  PROS – This sheen looks great in Living Rooms, Hallways, Bedrooms, Offices.  It cleans much better than flat.  It has some “attitude” when it comes to sheen.  CONS – I can’t seriously think of any.  It’s a great sheen and could be used practically anywhere.

SATIN – This sheen has a smooth, velvet look to it.  It’s the one I use the most.  PROS – Great used on trim, doors, walls.  Perfect for Kid’s Rooms, Kitchen Bath, Bedroom & Living Room.  Cleans easily.  CONS – I seriously can’t think of any.  This is the sheen I use 95% of the time.

SEMI-GLOSS – This sheen gives you a nice, shiny finish.   You will use Semi-Gloss in rooms where you need extra protection for the walls – like Bathroom, Kitchen, Doors & trim.  PROS – Cleans great.  CONS – It IS quite shiny.  I would recommend mainly using it on Doors & Trim instead of walls.  Unless you have an unusual technique or idea you want to achieve on your wall, don’t use semi-gloss.

GLOSS – Looks like plastic or enamel.  Mostly used on Cabinets, Trim or Furniture.  This is one you will rarely use on your walls – if ever.

By now, you may be thinking – WOW!  I totally feel like I can go out and buy myself some paint!  If so – then what are you waiting for?!  GO!!!!

If you are thinking – WOW!  I am totally confused!  Don’t worry.  I am here to help you even more!!  My job as a professional painter is not only to paint a room, but to offer advice as your personal consultant!!!  Check out my webpage – for more information on how I can help you with your painting needs!!!

Next blog – I’m going to tackle the different types of primer and how & when to use them!!!!

Happy Creating!














The Artist vs. the Hand Mixer

 - by Judy Treptau

Not only am I an artist of “things”, I’m an artist of food!!!  (well, sort of – it all depends on how you look at it – my artist’s mind says, “why not”!?)

Our lovely Snow Day on Sunday inspired me to do a bit of baking!  We are trying not to eat too many yummy treats these days  (still working on getting rid of those extra pounds we packed on over the holidays)!  Yet, in light of the blustery day, I pretty much decided, what the heck, and dove into making a batch of Mint Chocolate Brownies!  I ran to the pantry and found a Low-Fat Brownie mix – not even kidding!!!  This idea is getting better and better!!

I grabbed all my other ingredients, along with my handy dandy hand mixer.  Now, let me ask you – do you just love your hand mixer?  Seriously!  I just love my hand mixer.  In fact, my first hand mixer I had was one I got as a wedding gift!  That lovely appliance lasted me a good 20+ years until it’s demise 3 years ago.   My husband felt so bad for my loss that the same day it died, he ran out and bought me a new one!  It was a fancy automated one that you got to program to make it run.  It was top of the line.

Well, that little beauty lasted me 1 year.  Yep.  One year.  My heart was deeply saddened as I am a person who will use something until it dies.  I do not like to waste things and it’s pretty safe to say I’m quite frugal.

When it came to looking for another hand mixer, I went to one of my most favorite websites, AMAZON!!!!

I researched the different hand mixers for several days.  I didn’t want to spend too much money, yet I didn’t want to buy a piece of cheap junk either. I wanted one that would last and last and last!  I finally settled on a black, Hamilton Beach 6-speed hand mixer (not a fancy programmable one – just a normal type one) and excitedly waited for it’s arrival.

(you might be wondering about how those Mint Chocolate Brownies turned out – and I’m getting to that I promise!!!)….

Fast forward 2 years to this Sunday……I was happily mixing together my low-fat brownie mix with my hand mixer when I noticed that it wasn’t beating properly.  One of the blades totally wouldn’t spin.  So I stopped it.  I started it.  I removed the mixing blades and replaced them.  Nothing.  I took out the mixing blades, cleaned out the holes they go into – put them back & tried again.  Nothing.  I tried everything I could think of to get that little blade to start spinning again, but the darn thing just refused to go.

So now, I mourn yet another hand mixer.  It breaks my heart that I have to go out looking AGAIN – only 2 years later – and find ANOTHER mixer.  I guess they just don’t make ’em like they used to.

If you have a hand mixer you love, and has lasted more than 2 years, let me know what it is!  Until then, my search for the perfect hand mixer continues.


OH!  And if you’re wondering about my brownies – they still turned out great!!!    I had to do some of the mixing by HAND, but it worked out.  They were so good, we polished them off in 2 days!!!!  Guess I won’t be eating any chocolate hearts on Valentine’s Day!!!

Happy Creating!!!!









Here We Go!!!

 - by Judy Treptau

Well, I finally did it!  I started a blog!!!

Being a professional painter & artist, I have created many things over the years.  Not only beautiful walls in people’s homes, but I have also transformed many of their old, outdated furniture, lamps, coffee tables, medicine cabinets, etc. into current, usable pieces they will never want to get rid of!!!   It is so satisfying to take something old and turn it into something new – and doing it for very little money!!   I absolutely love making people happy and especially helping them love their home and the items in it.

With this Blog……….

I hope to inspire you with the projects I plan to share with you.

I hope my tips will be informative to you and your needs.

I hope my ramblings and ideas will allow your imagination to run wild as you open up your mind into believing you, too, can create beautiful things in your home!!!

I am an artist at heart who can hardly wait to begin this journey with you!!

So get ready, ‘cuz HERE WE GO!!!!!!


The Artist vs. The Blog

 - by Judy Treptau

Hi friends!

So my blog has been “up” for about 3 hours now and ALREADY I’ve changed my background graphic 8 times!  It started out as a cheerful yellow daisy – almost as if it was smiling and reminding us that spring is just around the corner!  (hoping….hoping….hoping)!   When I saw it, I exclaimed, THAT’S IT!   That’s the perfect background for my new blog.  I was wrong.  Now you must understand something….I’m an artist.  I like to create.  I like to change things quite regularly.   I am not technical.   So I went to check out my new blog page and to my surprise  the format of the post and all the other stuff (like Recent Posts, Recent Comments, Archives, Categories and the About Me sections) was all messed up!  The post was ok, but all the other stuff (the stuff listed before this sentence) was at the bottom of the page.  Well, I wanted them on the side of the page.  How in the heck do I get them there?  PLUS!  (Yes, there’s more)!  Plus the graphic of the yellow rectangle (that had the cheerful yellow daisy in it) extended all the way from the right hand side of the page to the left hand side of the page but the post wasn’t centered and there was a HUGE blank spot on the right hand side of the screen.   Are you following all of this???


Now as our friendship grows and develops over this blog, you will find that the Artist (me) and technology (in this case, The Blog) have a hard time mixing!!!  So for those of you who are good with technology & computers PLEASE help me out time to time in the comment section!!!!    Understand that you need to talk to me in normal terms and give me step-by-step instructions that are detailed and easy for me to understand.  Otherwise I will be lost forever.

So until I figure out how to set up my blog and all it’s fun, inspirational and informative tips, hints and stories, please have patience as this Artist figures out The Blog!!!

Happy Creating!!!