Make It Pretty #makeitpretty

Dresser redo for my youngest daughter's bedroom

I love this block party, because I love finding things and making them pretty. When I finely gave into doctors and my family and quit the job I loved, making things pretty helped me get through it.

       Dresser for Chloe’s room, she’s 13 and still loves it!

I was depressed, my job was my creative outlet, but I could no longer run a business or work with people. I was so angry at being sick and giving up my business that I no longer wanted to even pick up a camera. So I picked up a paintbrush.

As time went on the anger went away. Sometimes I would see things and they would hit a note with the photographer in me. I would know I could redo it make it into a beautiful photo prop, but not have a place for it in my home.

I started buying a few of these pieces and they inspired me to pick up the camera again. I usually sell these pieces to professional photographers when I’m done with them, using photos like the one below to advertise.

 (Maddie, my oldest who wants to be a general contractor)

Going from a full time job as an internationally published photographer – to being a chronically ill person forced onto disability was a huge hit to our income. I stopped bringing money in and the medical bills were/are insane! I still want to decorate my home, but I need to do it VERY inexpensively!  

(Maddie’s closet door is an old barn door, she wanted this small dresser as a bedside table, and wanted to look like her barn door. )

Making things pretty is the only way I can afford to do that. I don’t have ””extra”” income – so if I can flip two or three pieces a year it pays for itself, my supplies, and the pieces I flip to make my own home a home I love.

$5 garage sale buffet, now my basement entertainment center

 Most of these, and more are on my blog , although I’m not a very good blogger so I don’t always keep up with it. :)

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  1. 1

    Oh Deanna! I am so impressed with your strength and resilience. I see such a strong parallel to your work making things pretty and your life work of making the best of things! Truly inspirational!
    I really like how your pieces have received new life through your creativity. I have purchased a dresser last fall to refurbish for my guest room. Shortly thereafter I moved in with my mother and so I left that project. It looks like i will be able to work on it in the next few weeks and I will share when it is completed.
    Also wanted to make a comment on how your found pieces may have been older but I bet they have better bones than some of the furniture available today. So many people know the cost of everything but miss its value. Thanks for sharing this post.
    Your daughter is beautiful and I applaud how she is going to follow her own path. 🙂

    • 2

      Nancy, thank you for the great comment. I never thought of how “making the best of things,” something you have to learn to do when you have a chronic illness, parallels refurbishing these pieces, but can I can totally see it now, and love the comparison! Thank you for that.
      I can’t wait to see what you do with the dresser, I bet it will look awesome, and then you too will be hooked on refinishing old pieces. Your right they are made so much better then the new pieces and with just a little updating they are BETTER then new. 🙂

  2. 3

    Wow all the pieces you redid are just exceptionally beautiful. I don’t think I can ever do what you do, and I am not chronically sick. I really admire your strength. The pieces and the photos look so elegant but real and earthy.

    • 4

      Thank you Hanh, I think you underestimate yourself. It can be intimidating to start changing a piece but just remember anything you do can be redone, so you don’t really have to worry about mistakes. Just go for it and see what happens!

  3. 5

    Wow, Deanna, I truly admire your creativity and determination! I am just now embarking on what will likely be a challenging recovery from ovarian cancer (just home from the hospital after major surgery 6 days ago), as well as whatever future treatment may follow. Your ability to channel and transform your creative juices is truly inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing all that at what turns out to be a particularly emotional time for me! Your pieces are beautiful. I have dabbled a bit with refinishing old pieces of furniture, but I haven’t yet tried anything more daring than a basic re-paint, stain or distress technique.

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        Thanks so much, Nancy, especially for the hugs! 🙂 I hesitated mentioning anything, but it’s where I’m at right now, and Deanna’s post is truly inspiring. I’m staying positive. I don’t have the full biopsy pathology report yet, but indications so far are that it’s been caught in an early stage. Perhaps only a single round of chemo, and I’ll have this thing beat. Transition from noticeable symptoms to diagnosis to surgery has transpired within a matter of a few weeks, which is unnerving but also fortunate. I just have to figure out what my limits are right now, and I’m finding that they’re many. I won’t be doing any projects around the home for a while, but I can keep my creative juices flowing by enjoying the posts on this forum!

    • 8

      Thank you Jennifer,

      I am so sorry to hear about you cancer, but glad to hear you are on the road to recovery. Remember to take the time you need to heal, don’t rush it. Remember that it’s OK to ask for help. It’s ok to get mad or be scared. It’s Ok to have a house that looks like a twister went though it. Feeling guilty about not being able to do things is counter productive to getting well. You have a good life, even if you are having a bad day. 🙂
      It took a few years of being sick to get some of these things through my head, but I like to pass them on when I feel someone needs them. 🙂
      Good luck!

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    Deanna, Your story is truly inspiring! I hope can find peace in what you are doing now. It seems you have a talent in anything you do! The photo of your daughter is beautiful! And I know it takes a lot of time and patience to refinish furniture. I think your pieces have turned out so incredible! I would definitely try to flip furniture when you can. Just keep doing what you are doing and be strong!! 🙂

    • 12

      Thank you Maria,
      I think I have found peace with it. From 2007 – my 1st hospitalization – 2012 – when I agreed to quit my job – I was in the hospital or at Mayo clinic an average of every 3 months. After I quit I stayed out of the hospital and away from Mayo for 18 months. It was a real eye opener for me. I accepted that I was a chronically ill person and that quitting work was the best thing I had done for myself since I 1st got sick. It took a REALLY long time to get there though. 🙂 Doctors started telling me to quit in 2007, and it wasn’t until a year after I quit that I was OK with it. 🙂

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