Vintage Window Addiction – One More

I have at least one, sometimes more, vintage windows in every room of my house. I guess I’m an addict. But when I finished the bedroom makeover and needed something over the bed, this one just seemed right there.

I can’t wait to finish the quilt that matches the room!


Trash to Treasure Decorating
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The inside scoop from author Davis Bunn on his latest work

Yesterday, I mentioned a new book from author Davis Bunn, Strait of Hormuz. Intrigued? You can read chapters 1-3 of the book for free.


Q: The first two books in the Marc Royce series have been bestsellers and also won praise from the critics. Lion of Babylon won the Library Journal’s Best Book of 2011 award, and Rare Earth won the 2013 Christy Award for Suspense Fiction. What do you see is behind this success?

Davis Bunn: The stories have certainly resonated with readers. I have tried to develop a strong sense of unfolding drama, combined with a unique spiritual theme. This moral structure plays out both in the story and the characters. My aim is to create an inspirational challenge that remains with the reader long after the book has been set down. 

Q: This story includes two special components from your early life. Tell us about them.

DB: My mother worked as an antiques dealer. In truth, ‘work’ was not really the correct term, because this was a passion she inherited from her mother. They bonded while my mom was still a child, going to small eastern Carolina towns and hunting around junk stores for the sort of bargains that don’t exist anymore. 

Their first love was early Americana, a type of colonial furniture known as Jacobean that predated America’s nationhood. I never really shared this passion, but in two previous books I came to respect and admire those who do.

And so I knew a great delight in re-entering this world in Strait of Hormuz, only this time at the very highest end. Strait takes place in the rarified world of multi-million dollar art, where the richest of collectors vie with museums and galleries for items that are no longer classed as antiques, but rather as treasures.

The second special component was the location. I lived in Switzerland for almost five years, and many of the venues were places where I worked, and walked, and came to discover myself as an author.

Q: In what way is the setting important to this book?

DB: The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most critical waterways. Stretching between Iran and the Gulf States, the strait us home to two US fleets. More than a third of all the oil consumed worldwide pass through these waters. But the story actually begins in Switzerland, before traveling to the Sinai and then into the hotly-contested Strait of Hormuz.

Q: What spiritual theme is the focus of this story?

DB: One growing area of the missionary church movement is with displaced persons. More than five million Iranians have been expelled from their homeland, or been forced to flee the current regime. This includes virtually the entire Christian population. The missionary church movement has made enormous strides in bringing peace to these families and introducing Christ into the world of Muslims fleeing a Muslim government.

Q: What drew you to the missionary church movement as a theme?  

DB: I came to faith in a missionary church. I was working as a consultant based in Germany. The year I accepted Christ, the Southern Baptist Mission Board founded a missionary church in Dusseldorf. I attended the church, I grew in the church, I studied under two amazing pastors, and one of them returned to Europe to marry us. 
It was also where I learned to write. Two weeks after coming to faith, I felt called to writing. I wrote for nine years and completed seven books before my first was accepted for publication. The church, its members, and the elders all played a critical role in bringing me to where I am now. I am living testimony to the vital role played by the missionary church. 

Q: All three of the books in this series have given significant insight into the Muslim world, something critics have picked up on. What experience do you have with this region?

DB: For the four years prior to moving to Germany, I lived and worked in the Middle East. I was the only non-Muslim in the management structure of a family-owned company. They had three major arms: construction equipment, shipping, and pharmaceuticals. I rose to become Marketing Manager of the pharmaceutical division. 

One of the requirements of this job was to take instruction in the Koran and Islamic history from an imam who taught at the local university. I think this experience played a major role in my coming to Christ. 

Q: How can readers find you on the Internet?

My website and blog are at
Facebook Author Page:
Pinterest: — check out my “Strait of Hormuz” board at 
Twitter: @davisbunn –


Pictured: Davis Bunn and his wife, Isabella Bunn

Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Defined by readers and reviewers as a “wise teacher,” “gentleman adventurer,” “consummate writer,” and “Renaissance man,” his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.
Strait of Hormuz is the series finale of the popular Marc Royce Adventures. Library Journal named Lion of Babylon (Book 1) a “Best Book of 2011.” Rare Earth (Book 2) won the 2013 Christy Award for best suspense novel and was a CBA top 20 best-seller.

Strait of Hormuz, a Tastefully Written Thriller

Are you looking for adventure?

I have followed fictional character Marc Royce through Iraq and Africa, and now through Switzerland, and in true Davis Bunn style, the journey didn’t disappoint. This just-released third book in the series continues with agent Marc Royce working on a covert mission for the U.S. State Department in Geneva, Switzerland. For readers who haven’t read the first two books, this one, titled Strait of Hormuz, contains enough back story to pick up without feeling lost, but I highly recommend the first two books, simply because it adds to the depth of the characters who reappear in this book. 

I’m a fan of Davis Bunn mostly because he has drawn me into a genre that isn’t typically my style. How? He does action, danger, and even violence so tastefully that my mind can fill in the details needed, without having every gory detail painted on the page. This book has its share of mystery, danger, gunfire, and betrayal, which kept a fast pace for readers who like action. It also has a softer, more relational theme, which brought balance to the plot. 

There are several threads that don’t seem to connect until near the end of the book. I enjoy that mystery. Royce is on assignment that begins with an explosion in an art gallery, and ends with, well, of course I won’t tell you how it ends. It had plenty of intrigue to keep me hooked all the way to the end. I like how Bunn weaves a faith element into the story line without it feeling pasted in. In this book, I learned something about Messianic believers without it seeming like a history lesson.

There were several aspects of this story that would make it suitable for the big screen, and I’d be thrilled to see that happen. The ongoing action, an attack from a mysterious motorcade, an assassination attempt, a chilling scene where Royce and his team encounter a vessel on the Red Sea, the multilayered relationships of Royce and his team, wondering if any of them was a mole, and much more. It was one of those books that played like a movie as I read. 

I love that this and Davis Bunn’s other books have the potential for a broad male and female audience.  The trilogy makes a great gift for the reader who likes a tastefully done thriller.

I received a complimentary copy of Strait of Hormuz from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

An under-the-radar phone call from the U.S. State Department puts Marc Royce once again on assignment—ferreting out rumors of a clandestine operation stretching from Asia to the Mideast. At stake is Iran’s threat to blockade the narrow Strait of Hormuz, cutting off vital shipping routes and escalating global tensions beyond the breaking point.

Under the guise of investigating money laundering via high-end art purchases in Europe, Royce finds himself in Switzerland with only sketchy information, no backup, and without a single weapon other than his wits.

His appointment with a gallery owner in Geneva is a dead end–the man is on the floor with a bullet through his chest. But it turns out Royce does have backup. The Mossad has sent someone to keep an eye on this undercover op, which is of more than casual interest to the Israelis. And it’s someone Royce knows…

Want to know more about the author, Davis Bunn? Check back for tomorrow’s post with a question and answer session on how he came to write this book, and more.

Click this image to find out how to enter the to win.

What Would You Do With This Blah Corner of the Bedroom?

When I did my bedroom makeover, there was this corner that I just didn’t know what to do with. Yes. I am a writer and just ended that sentence with a preposition. I am waiting for the grammar police to come take me away.

The TV has to stay here. Maybe someday, we will afford a wall-mounted flat screen. Maybe some generous sponsor will send me a TV for review. Hah. But in the meantime, my husband likes having a TV here. So, I was trying to figure out what to do with this blah corner. 

 I had these mirrors from our old bedroom and had painted the frames in sort of a white pickled look. I never really liked the frames that way, but liked having mirrors. 

 I decided to pop out the mirrors and give them an update.

 That’s the before picture above. I painted them with the wall color, and then antiqued them with brown glaze. I coated them with poly when finished.

 I tried to get a good close-up shot of the finish.

 It’s a start. Now I have mirrors on the wall, at least. 

But now what? How can I make this corner a lot more interesting? It’s still so boring! What would you do?


Trash to Treasure Decorating
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Transformation Tuesday – Desk Accessories Complete Makeover

When I did my desk makeover, I needed something for the wall. In my trash to treasure stash, I had some vintage windows that I had made into chalkboards. I decided one of those would be just the thing. So this blah space…
…became this.

 I accessorized the desk with some things I had around the house.

 This upcycled pencil container was a door prize from a recent speaking engagement. They had flowers in it when the coordinators graciously sent it home with me. I have repurposed the upcycled can. Grin.

 Next to be fixed up is that lamp shade. I got it at a yard sale with the lamp, and it badly needs help. 

 This is so much more attractive than what I used to have in the living room for a work area. Sort of blends in with the furniture now. I have owned the vintage chair for many years, and I love how it fits with the rest of the vignette. 


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Garland Turned Wreath – Quick Makeover Project

A friend gave me this garland for my birthday with the permission to upcycle it in whatever way I deemed best. I loved it just as it was, but didn’t have the right place for it.

But what I really did need was something to decorated these old skis. I had removed the sorry pine bough that was on it before because it was getting shabby.

 I twisted the garland into the shape of a circle. Then I used floral wire to hold it in place.

 Then, I hung it on the skis.

 A quick and easy makeover!


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Five things I figured out in Branson, Missouri

This month, I had the opportunity to take a bus ride to Branson, Missouri with the music students from our local high school. It was an opportunity to learn how puffy my feet could get and how stiff my back could become during an all night, all day ride. I learned how to operate my iPad, dig through a backpack, eat a snack, pick up a dropped cell phone from the bus floor, and more while keeping my elbows within my 18-inch allotted space. But, that’s not all I figured out during the five-day trip.

1. Despite statements people might give about the American teenager and the lack of manners in the next generation, I sat beside two wonderful gentlemen at one dinner show, and witnessed multiple occasions where teenage boys were polite to me on the trip.

On the Showboat Branson Belle for a lunch cruise.

2. The gospel is alive and well in the Bible belt. Up north, we’ve become accustomed to people saying happy holidays and pretty much avoiding Jesus in public venues at Christmas. Not in Branson. The gospel was given at every Christmas show, and the music was decidedly Jesus-centered.

The Haygoods family in concert during the Christmas portion of the show.

3. The loss of life on the Titanic stands as a testimony to what excessive faith in human ability can do. Despite its unsinkable promise, the boat went down within two hours of hitting an iceberg. Worse, the number of lifeboats in proportion to the number of passengers was underwhelming. A reminder to never trust so much in human power that I am irresponsible in my preparation. 

The Titanic museum in Branson.

4. Never get so preoccupied that you miss the little moments, even if they belong to someone else. As we walked past this little chapel at Silver Dollar City, I noticed a couple saying their wedding vows in the window. The bride wiped away a tear and then reached for her groom’s hand. A moment of joy borrowed from people I’ll never meet.

Silver Dollar City, Theme Park

5. Always notice the beauty around you, even if terror looms in the foreground. No, I did not ride this terrifying monster. Instead, I looked past it to God’s artwork in the sky. 

Silver Dollar City

I won’t forget my trip. I left Missouri sleep-deprived and over-nourished. But I figured out that there is good everywhere if you look for it.

Retro Desk Transformation – Before and After

Prior to giving this desk a makeover, I planned to throw it away and replace it with something newer. After all, it didn’t work for a computer at all, and it was old and SO beat up from belonging in my son’s room during his growing up years. I also thought about listing it on Craigslist to give it away, but then when I didn’t have the immediate funds to purchase a replacement, I considered a different plan. It’s nice and solid, which leaned in favor of keeping it.

Here is what it looked like when I hauled it into the workroom:

 I love the size of the drawers and the pull-out work boards on the sides, but it was in awful shape. My parents purchased the desk years ago from a prison auction, and it had an intricate system for locking the drawers. I removed all of that hardware. 

 My son built a lot of models at this desk. Thus, the paint all over the top.

I found a desk that totally inspired me on Pinterest, and used it as my inspiration. I had enough leftover paints on hand to complete the project, meaning it cost me nothing!

Here is the inspiration desk from Miss Mustard Seed. 

The top of my desk was a fake wood grain Formica, so I couldn’t strip the wood. But I came up with a faux finish that worked for me. So, without further ado, here is my finished desk and the process I used.

 I cut out the framework around the drawers on the right side, and then installed a board in the bottom so that I had a place for the tower. Then, I primed everything with BIN 123 primer that works on glossy surfaces.

 I also took the saw to the middle drawer and cut away all but a little frame. This way, I had a place for the keyboard. My husband helped with doing the long cut on the table saw, and then I finished it with a hand saw on each side.

 When it was all finished, I knew the wall needed something. You’ll see what I did on a future blog post.

 Seems like I always finish projects late at night, when picture-taking is bad and grainy. 

 After painting the bluish parts and the off-white parts, I antiqued everything with glaze, and then used some sandpaper to rough up the corners on purpose.

 The top is a faux finish that has fake wood grain. I gave it all several coats of poly after the glaze finish.

 Random photo-bomb from the vacuum cleaner. At least you know I clean. Sometimes.

 I LOVE the pull-out sides. 

One final close-up of the finish. I spray-painted the existing hardware with an oil rubbed bronze finish. Again, it was the budget-friendly option, since I had the paint already. Recognize the blue color on the desk? I mixed leftover paint from my bedroom makeover with a lighter color to get this shade.


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