Through the years

On September 7th, Green Door Studio will have officially been open for 3 years. We started out on this crazy adventure after I was laid off from my job. I had always dreamed of having my own business, and my mom was out of her mind enough to be a willing participant. Since then, I have gotten married, moved around, had other jobs, quit working, and became more involved again in the business. Mom has been the consistent face of the business, and has worked her butt off to make it what it is today.


Mom and me on opening day, September 7, 2013.

We went from having a fairly empty shop:

to having a very crowded shop:


in a brand new location:

This journey has been a whole lot of hard work, but luckily we’ve had wonderful friends and family helping us along the way, from one location to the next. The most amazing of all is my dad, who helps us with pretty much everything.


(I’m a little surprised he hasn’t disowned us yet.)

While we do paint furniture in our own styles:


we also do custom paint jobs with either your furniture or our unfinished furniture:


and large variety artsy classes, which are always a great time:

and we have a great selection of home decor and accessories:


We have also recently become a stockist for Pixie Dust Paint Company, carrying the company’s full line of mineral paint additives and all-natural, vegan-friendly finishing waxes.


Our three-year celebration begins Wednesday, August 31st and ends Saturday, September 3rd. On Saturday, come enjoy light refreshments, creating a fall-themed tag, and discounts including 10% off purchases $50 or more or 15% off purchases of $150 or more. (Sale excludes custom-paint quotes, classes, and previous purchases.) Discounts are valid Wednesday-Saturday. We will be spilling out into the parking lot, weather permitting, with every piece – finished or unfinished – that we currently have at the shop, in storage, and at our houses.

Candy Scraps will also be a vendor on Saturday, so come check out her garden-themed pieces and more.

Green Door Studio is located at 6105 Grand River Ave, Brighton, MI 48114. Our phone number is (517)-618-7700. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.


In it for the long haul

I’m whooped! The back aches from all the driving and I have a garage full of treasured finds that will need to go through some intense cleaning tomorrow.

horizontal mirror

The old guy, my friend, Cathy, and myself spent the day traveling West on US-12 for the annual Heritage Trail Longest Garage Sale. It was our first time and we’ve already discussed plans to attend next year’s sale.

14030830_10207113953352552_1222459977_nI drive an Equinox so space is at a premium and we make every inch count. It takes a lot of skill to load so much stuff into such a small space but we’ve got this.

The old guy was relegated to the smaller portion of the split back seat as Cathy and I manned the front – me as driver, and she as spotter. We make a good team and the old guy tends to find the good stuff we miss so it all works out.

We were told the crowds were lighter today than Friday and Saturday and it sounded like the vendors all really enjoy the weekend and the crowds.


Did you see those windows in the back seat? What a find! Enough for a class – six, six-pane windows and they’re in great shape! It will take a few buckets of hot soapy water to be able to see through the glass, but then they’ll be already for a great class.

vertical mirror with detailAnd mirrors; the old guy spotted so many beautiful mirrors. I think we came home with at least four and they’re all just gorgeous and very, very old. The silver is worn off one or two in all the right places; can’t wait to get them cleaned up to see what they really look like.

At our very first stop Cathy found a large coffee table (similar to the run she ran over recently. Yep; she really did – just ask her about that one).

We met some really nice people along the way and seen some things we just can’t un-see. It was a really enjoyable day and the weather was perfect.

Cathy and I prefer to eat where the locals hang out instead of the typical chain and a lovely couple manning a sale recommended Saucy Dog’s Barbecue in Jonesville. The place was really hoppin’ and once the food arrived we realized why! Casual dining but really good food – with homemade potato chips!

me and den at saucy dogs

As long as I get a lot of cleaning done tomorrow you’ll find the new stuff moved into the Studio come Wednesday. I’ve got the perfect mirror for you!

Crowd-pleaser salad travels well

linda june mugIt seems I always need a quick-and-easy dish to take to potlucks, picnics, reunions and on short road or kayak trips. A food that doesn’t need constant refrigeration. Something the majority of people will eat. And a dish you can take in a reusable container that you can leave with the host.

For the past several years it’s been a pasta salad recipe that the old guy found in one of his cooking magazines. It’s done well by us, but I was tired of it and looking for something a little different.

So, we’re coming back from the casino one afternoon and I knew I needed a dish for an upcoming potluck I would be attending. I remembered that I had three boxes of orzo in the pantry because I never cook it. It’s not one of favorite pasta styles and I don’t like it in soups. It comes with the three pack that we buy so it just seems to accumulate in the pantry.

I got out the phone and started surfing while he was driving. I keyed in orzo recipe and tons came up. I scrolled through till I found this one from The Pioneer Woman. It was easy, plus I had most ingredients at home.


Let me tell you, everyone loved this salad including me and the old guy! There were very little leftovers and I found that to actually be disappointing. Everyone continues to ask for the recipe when I take it somewhere and we haven’t tired of it yet – I’ve made it at least four times in the past two months! Give it a try, and let me know what you think. It’s a crowd pleaser!


Mediterranean Orzo Salad (from The Pioneer Woman)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 whole lemon, juiced (it’s so much better with fresh rather than jar)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces orzo (I used the entire box), cooked, drained and cooled
1 cup red grape or cherry tomatoes (I used the mixed heirloom organic package)
1 cup yellow grape or cherry tomatoes (see above, they added lots of color)
1 cup Kalamata olives, halved
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup chickpeas, drained
1/2 whole red onion, diced
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley ( I used cilantro to add a kick)

Preparation: in a jar or bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper until totally combined (I used my stick blender, did a nice job).

Place the orzo and all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Stir to continue, taste and adjust seasonings, and refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Top with more feta and parsley.


This is a great side dish or main dish salad. Make it a meal and serve with grilled chicken, fish or burgers.

Securing a magnetic attraction for art and inspiration

We’ve been in our new location going on eight months now so I guess it’s really not so new anymore. I’ve always felt bad because we never had time to paint before we moved everything in and then it’s just been busy keeping up with classes, custom furniture painting and painting pieces to sell in the Studio.

This week’s workload was a little light so I got the itch to put some paint on a wall. I tested four or five colors last week and not one was well received by the majority so I finally settled on the beautiful light grey we had at our first location. There was about a half gallon of paint left and I knew it would be close, but I had a plan.

green_door_studio_magnetic_corner_tapeI taped a rectangle off and had this great plan to paint a magnet board to display all our ATC’s from club, along with my scrapbook layout class samples for Sketch your Stash and Scrap your Stash.

Rust-oleum is the only brand I could find that offered a magnetic primer and at $20 a quart I thought it was a tad pricey. I checked online reviews and they weren’t that good. I asked the paint staff at Home Depot if they’ve had any feedback from customers, but they had none. I checked to make sure I could get a refund if the product didn’t work as it said it would as long as I followed application instructions. I was told it could be returned, so I figured I’d give it go.

First off, have the paint staff shake your can for you. I didn’t have the first can shaken and it took me over 15 minutes of stirring to get a nice creamy mix. Buy a roller and brush with every intention of throwing it out when done, and don’t buy foam. My foam brush just soaked up the liquid and dropped big gobs of paint everywhere. Wear a large smock and gloves.

green_door_studio_magnetic_paint_trayI figured I’d have a 4′ by 8′ magnet board but the more grey I painted on the wall, the more I realized I was not going to have enough wall paint. I painted what I could and when it was dry I just taped off a huge area with blue painter’s tape. This would be my magnet board.

Stir the magnetic primer very well. It needs to be smooth and creamy (it looks and feels like really heavy motor oil – smells a little like it too). I lined my paint tray with foil so I could just throw it all away at the end. I used the smooth, to semi-smooth roller, like the can said. The magnetic primer spreads really well but spatters everywhere – thus, the large smock to cover all clothing. I also added gloves to my second round of painting to avoid the black speckled hands.

I eventually got three coats of the primer on my board. I had to buy another quart because my taped-off space was so large that I got one-and-a-half coats on and ran out. I had them shake the second can for me at the store and it was much easier to stir than the first.

green_door_studio_magnetic_paint_wallI couldn’t wait for it to dry to see if it worked as I hoped. It actually dries pretty quickly – in about 4 hours or so. The can says you can paint over it when dry but we liked the black. It’s a nice background for the art work that hangs on it.

Most of the bad reviews I read were complaints about the thickness, the inability to stir it easily and the fact that magnets don’t hold as they thought they should. I had read the information listed on the can of Rust-oleum so I knew it was very thick and hard to stir, that it needed smelly stuff for clean-up (that’s why I chose to buy stuff I could just throw out), and I knew it would not hold heavy stuff like a refrigerator magnet will; it’s recommended for lightweight items.


I am so pleased with the results! I couldn’t wait to give it a try to see if it worked. I’ve used magnet tape on the backs of ATC’s and a scrapbook layout and it’s holding well. This board is going add a lot of color and inspiration to our classroom area. It’s going to look so cool when all the ATC cards are hung; they’ll create a border. It also gives me space to display our scrapbook layout samples for upcoming classes. Come check it out for yourself.

Remembering Grandpa Doyle

Dennis and I were talking this morning in his room about junk that needs to be sorted and gotten rid of. As I was looking around he mentioned the stack of his mom’s pictures. They were sitting under a shelf in a storage cabinet, just out in the open. Under the pile of photos was a little brag book of photos called ‘Grandma’s Show-and-Tell. We opened it as we turned the pages we could see our two youngest kids grow up right before our eyes.


Those photos brought back a flood of happy memories as both of our parents are gone now. We were fortunate our kids were able to spend a lot of time with both sets of grandparents as they were growing up.

This morning I also read an article that says in 10 years the most photographed generation will have no pictures. I actually read the whole article and it really hit home. My photos are very precious to me and the thought of my children not having those photos down the road to jog their memory of all the good times they shared with family and friends really made me want to get back to my scrapbooking.

This photo was in the little brag book and I really just wanted to get it out and onto a page. It’s amazing all the memories that flood back when I’m scrapping the older photos. My youngest is turning 33-years-old this month; she was much younger here. My in-laws had retired to Florida and we were able to fly Kevin and Rachel down so grandma and grandpa could take them to Disney. They had the best time and couldn’t wait to tell us all about it!

close up photo

I really tried to use fun, festive papers but that old nostalgia thing just kept creeping in and I settled on a vintage paper with a printed nursery rhyme. It seemed to fit my mood and the photo. I added some glittered hearts to represent all the love and cherished memories of this time. The layout also called out for a piece of delicate vintage lace I had collected on a recent road trip. I kept the title simple – grandpa – it says it all.

vintage lace

This layout is the sample for Scrap your Stash, a class offered in the Studio from 10 a.m. to noon and from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 18. I’d rather document my memories in a scrapbook that can be enjoyed and looked at over and over, how about you? To get started, call (517) 618-7700 to register for class; $12.

Grandpa Doyle

Breaking routine for weekend art experience

I spent the weekend with inky fingers, creating art with my peers at Artiscape in Dublin, Ohio. I had so been looking forward to the annual weekend-long event. My friend Cathy and I travel together – she’s the driver. We left Friday morning and took nearly the whole day to get there, stopping at any antique store along our path. We even ventured into one estate sale where we scored some interesting objects!

We took a little side trip to Wapakoneta to visit Gild the Lily, a lovely little antique shop we visited about three years ago. We were so glad we made to effort to get there because Glenna, who is 90 years old and the shop’s owner, was selling everything off in preparation for her retirement. We had a lovely chat with her and I bought some beautiful vintage lace to use in classes and on my own projects. Love my road trips with Cathy!


My first class Saturday was with Nancy Curry, who I was not familiar with, but her class sample intrigued me. I’m so glad I ventured into her class. It was three hours of play time with intense water colors, beautiful fibers and beads and I am so pleased with the final results. I walked away with a new enthusiasm for playing with watercolors!

green_door_studio_artiscape_tin640Saturday afternoon I played with burned band-aid tins, rusted metal, vintage papers and old photos. This wonderful little tin houses an adorable mini book created from small Formica tiles, vintage papers and other little dangly things all tied together with raggedy muslin. I would have never thought old rusty stuff could look so nice. Four full hours of creative, free-flow fun with Lesley Venable! It doesn’t get much better than this – unless, you get to do it all over again Sunday!

And I did! Sunday’s class with Lesley included a kit with more Formica tile samples – large ones this time! In the bag were also vintage cabinet cards and papers, mica and a few other little trinkets. Another three hours of free, creative time, chatting with new friends and sharing a laugh or two.

green_door_studio_artiscape_tag640There’s something to be said about breaking routine, meeting new friends and being open to learning new techniques.

It’s good to get away and enjoy new experiences, but now it’s back to work. We’re prepping this week for the popular Davisburg Antique Festival.

This will be our first major show so it’s a little nerve-racking trying to figure out what to take and how to get it there. I spent an hour today making a list of necessary items to bring along with the furniture. Stuff like phone charging cord, rope, signage, Sharpie, credit card reader and so much more! My biggest fear is we’ll get out there, the show will start and THEN I realize I forgot a very important thing like the change box! Hoping for good weather and lots of people who like to shop. Search out our booth – we’ll be in the tented section (not quite sure where that is). It’s a great show and they have lots of fair food – love me some elephant ears!

Cabinet doors are perfect recipe for boy’s rooms

Discarded cabinet doors are pretty easy to come by, especially if you have a friend or neighbor upgrading their kitchen. They’re also easy to up-cycle into a number of projects so we usually have a stack sitting around the Studio. When a client asked if we could make personalized bulletin boards for her grandchildren I suggested using the cabinet doors rather than buying bulletin boards to use as the base.

Each cabinet door got a light sanding and thorough cleaning. Instead of a cork board I split the cabinet doors into a chalkboard and a magnetic board. I used Rust-oleum’s Chalkboard Paint and painted the entire base and frame. That way the kids could even write in chalk on the frame if they wanted.


Chalkboard paint takes several coats and it needs to dry between each. One of the cabinet doors had a divider, the other did not so I cut a piece of trim to attach down the center and help to secure the metal flashing.


I adhered metal flashing to one half of the cabinet door with caulk and secured in place with trim. Each board is personalized with the children’s favorite hobbies. Lance is big on music and Shawn, the younger, loves Star Wars. I was able to add a shelf to the top for Shawn so he could display some small Star Wars toys. An upside-down drawer pull is the perfect resting place for chalk.


I decoupaged vintage music sheet papers to trim out the board for Lance and added some music note stickers to jazz it up a bit.


When they were all done I used chalk to season the boards for use. The boys loved them and because they are chalk and magnetic, no worries of thumbtacks falling to the floor!