Thursday, February 4, 2016


Okay guys, this a different sort of post than I've ever done but I couldn't resist because this is just SOOOO cute.

As you all know I am a Sunday School/Kids church teacher at my church.  Recently our new Sunday School Superintendent determined that our Sunday School and Kids church rooms needed a cohesive theme throughout for the quarter and it was decided that...."SECRET AGENT"...should be the theme. Since I am the lead over kids church it was my job to decorate the kids church area for that theme.  I googled and searched Pinterest for ideas and this is what I came up with...

This is the entrance to the Kids Church area...

Now I know this is a home decor blog but humor me this you might decide to do a theme like this in your pre-teen aged boys bedroom...if you happen to have one of those like I do...See my little "secret agent" on the left!

The Headquarters sign was made from black posterboard and yellow duct tape.  I printed the letters from my computer in 500 pt. "STENCIL" font.

The doors were covered in aluminum foil using spray adhesive.  The "guard" image was found on the internet and was printed off at and it was totally free.

The "vault" like door has a chip/dip platter spray painted silver for a handle and hung with a push pin through the center (that means no damage to the door when it's time to take it down).  The entrance code pad is a large calculator from dollar tree.  The secret to getting it stay on the door was to leave it in it's cardboard package and tape the whole thing to the door with shiny silver techno duct tape which I also found at dollar tree.  The green "Retinal Scanner was printed off the internet and taped to the door.  The little silver box is a "thumb print" scanner and was made from a room freshener I found for $1 at the grocery store and spray painted silver.

Open the headquarters "vault" with the secret code; of course, and you enter the registration room...

Where the kids registered to become AGENTS OF TRUTH. The posters on this wall were also made at with plain printer paper from images I found on the interest.  ( case your interested, Block is a totally free site where you can download any image you want and turn it into any size poster you want.)  A totally GREAT resource!!!  

The footprints and magnifying glasses are also plain printer paper printed from images I found on the internet.  Super easy and totally free.

Of course we had to give our new agents directions (clues) as to where everything was at so I made up signs to guide them to the different areas...These were made from posterboard.

Now moving right along we will enter into the hub of where everything happens...the classroom...or "TRAINING CENTER" I should say...

We have command central...with maps and clocks and cool music "spy" equipment.

No training center would be complete without a target range!

Or a body outline. Painters tape isn't just for painting anymore! Hehehe. I free handed the outline on the floor with painters's a little wonky but the kids loved it and it's one of my favorite things too!!

Of course every training room needs a briefing and assignment area.

You might have noticed that all the doors in this main area have signs saying what they are.  These are Sunday school classrooms.  The Evidence room is my Sunday school class so I especially wanted this door to be cool...

Though hard to see it all in this HORRIBLE picture, I covered the door in foil, added a "calculator" entrance code pad and three "combination code" vault handles made from plastic paper plate holders that I spray painted silver.  I love how it turned out...(I will try to upload a better picture of it later).  

Anyway, EVERYTHING turned out SUPER CUTE. The kids and even the adults love it....yes, because it's totally COOL!!! and what boy (or Sunday school student) do you know who wouldn't love a room decked out in "SPY" gear?   

This was really easy (and fun) to do.  Inexpensive too, and the best part is there was no painting or major projects involved.  The only supplies used were just printer paper, posterboard, aluminum foil, spray adhesive, duct tape, chip dip platters, plastic paper plate holders a couple calculators and few maps and things I already had.  You might say it is a "disposable" theme. There's not a lot of money or time tied up into it and when you are finished with it you simply take it all down and throw it away. No repainting, no re-anything.  So easy and just plain cool!!

So, are you feeling all "secret agenty" now?  Me too, so I think I am going to head on over to the thrift store and "spy" out some cute "secret agent" gear for my Sunday school class.

Have a great rest of the week!

Ta Ta,

Monday, January 11, 2016


Happy Monday everyone!!

So I have this friend who works with the hubs...(Hi Nancy)...who reads my blog (thank you so much) and who has asked me to make a few centerpieces for a banquet celebration honoring her hubby this weekend. I couldn't accept the job fast enough because I am super honored and super thrilled for the opportunity to work with such a sweet lady and...I hope she don't mind me sharing all the details here.

Now Nancy and I must think alike because I had come up with an idea for the centerpieces and before I even had time to share my idea with her, she sent a picture home with the hubs of EXACTLY what I was thinking. Can you believe that?  What fate...these centerpieces were meant to be I tell you!!

Anyway, she wanted tall winter wonderland type centerpieces with "Icy" branches dripping with snowflakes and that would contrast nicely with black tablecloths.

Nancy gathered up a few supplies and I "pruned" and "iced" forsythia branches from the side yard to come up with this...

What do you think, will something like this do the trick?  I sure do hope so!!

(Nancy if you are reading this and have any comments or concerns please shoot me a text)

Now are you curious as to how I got those branches so "icy"?

It's easy...quite messy and a little time consuming...but REALLY easy!!!

I simply hand painted each branch with plain ol' white school glue, dipped them into a mixture of Epsom salts and white sparkly glitter until they were nicely coated and then I stuck them in a dense piece of foam board to hang out and dry overnight.

That's it...nothing  rocket sciency here!!!

It worked like a charm if I do say so myself!!!

I think everything is looking really good and I think they will be simply gorgeous atop a contrasting black tablecloth don't you think?

I'm dying to find out what Nancy thinks of these. I REALLY hope she likes them!!

Anyway, I better get off here and get back to work....I have five arrangements still waiting to be made.

Until next time, HAVE A FABULOUS DAY!!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015


So are you psyched about the new year?  I am.  I totally am!!

First though, before launching into the future, the vastness of the unknown, let's take a moment to reflect on the year behind us.

I always love doing a year end review because it reminds me that I really did get some things accomplished throughout the year.  Though getting the house all clean at one time hardly ever happened because...I have kids...that live at home...need I say more?, I did get most everything checked off my to do list this year.  Wow, did I just say that?!

Anyway, after taking a look back at all the completed (or almost completed) projects this year, I feel pretty good about myself right now.

I set out in January to makeover the dining took A WHILE...but it went from this...

to this....

Major improvement wouldn't you say?

I still need to accessorize but that is only happening if the house doesn't sell soon.  I don't want to buy a lot of things that I might not use somewhere else.

Anyway, I hung a gorgeous chandelier that I found at the thrift store for just a few dollars, made over some Craigslist chairs, gave a Craigslist china hutch a facelift, made my own Restoration Hardware style art for the walls, and built a farmhouse style dining table.  Not too shabby, huh?

To update you on the costs of this makeover as promised way back when, after selling (or giving away) some things and purchasing mostly Craigslist finds, the entire makeover was around $200.00.  Not bad if I do say so myself!

In the spring we (the hubs and I) tackled the screened porch.  It was a total mess and was pretty much a complete rebuild.

It was SOOOO totally worth it.  The porch has been the most used and enjoyed room in the entire house since...seriously! And, it is the one thing that I am truly going to miss when we sell this place.

After that, we tackled the flower bed along the front and side of the house.

We took out all the weeds, laid down a cardboard weed barrier and filled in with some mulch and plants.


By the way, the all natural cardboard weed barrier worked like a weeds all summer long. Yayyyyy!!!

I finally got around to redoing the bubs' room.

EVERYTHING got a fresh coat of paint and he got a new (used) antique bed...

I have partially given the dresser a facelift and hung some new window treatments since this picture but I still have some accessorizing to do in there yet.  Again though, I hesitate to do anything else with the house being up for sale.

The biggest accomplishment (the biggest, hardest and most pain in the rear project) this year was redoing the hardwood floors throughout the entire house.  We completely moved out of the house for two whole and all...and lived in a camper in the backyard...but we got them done and though they are far from perfect, I am truly proud of us and of them.  They have made the biggest impact in this house to date and I couldn't be happier with them.  With that said, I will NEVER, and I do mean NEVER, refinish hardwood floors again!!!!!!!!!!!

With that, most of the major projects in the house are finished (as finished as they are going to get anyway) and I must say, after looking back at everything done, I have been VERY blessed and I truly do feel a big sense of accomplishment this year.

So that's 2015 in a nutshell here at Beyond the Portico. Now I am hoping the house sells soon because in 2016 I hope to get my hands on something a little farther out in the country!!  That would make for a REAL happy new year here for sure!

I pray that you have a very HAPPY NEW YEAR and that your 2016 is everything you hope it to be.



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