Wedding Bell Blues

Well, it’s back to school time for Coach! So, what did we do on our summer vacation, you ask? Opened up a vintage shop in The Barn at Todd Farm.

Todd Farm Display PMSpent two glorious weeks touring the UK and Ireland. Didn’t get a chance to visit with the queen, but her house is quite lovely : )

London Buckingham Palace Gates SunsetPlus, we celebrated my milestone birthday and announced our daughter’s wedding engagement! Woo Hoo! Let the wedding planning begin! Admittedly, I have been thinking about this for quite some time. After all, what mother doesn’t dream of the perfect wedding for their daughter? But I have to say that I was not quite prepared for the amount of traveling, viewing and decision-making this past weekend just to secure a venue for the summer of 2015. When Coach and I asked where my daughter and her fiancé would like to have their wedding, their response was “anywhere along the ocean from Maine to Rhode Island.” Yikes.

Coastal MapWhen you grow up along the coast, the stunning blue hues of the shimmering ocean as a perfect wedding backdrop seems the obvious choice. BUT, that’s quite a span of coastline to cover in just a few days, so we did our best and came up with a couple of obvious front runners. Friday we drove north, “down Maine” as the natives call it, along the coastal route through Wells, York, Ogunquit, Kennebunkport and Portland. Yes, we did. There were the quintessential New England venues like Union Bluff in York

Grand Entrance Union Bluff York Maineand The Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport.

Flower Gardens Nonantum Kennebunkport Maine

A View From the TentIn Portland, we discovered The State Theatre,

Lobby State Theatre Portlanda very cool turn-of-the-century movie theatre with no outdoor views. Next we ventured to the Portland Regency, a downtown hotel with a spectacular roof top deck at 25 Pearl Street

Roof Deck at 25 Pearl Portlandwith amazing views of the Portland harbor.

Portland Harbor ViewAll fantastic, each with its own quirky and charming selling points. Day two, we ventured to the South Shore and Cape Cod. Since we had vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard for many summers over the years, we had often discussed that as the wedding destination of choice. But since many, many of our guests will be flying in from around the world, we decided that asking them to land in Boston, then drive to the Cape, then board a ferry to the island seemed a bit much to ask. So, we are sticking to mainland America. What did we discover on Saturday’s southbound trip? There was the absolute Cape Cod charm of The Popponesset,

Popponesset Tentthe tented venue on the dunes in Mashpee-I mean, have you ever seen a bluer blue sky??

Popponesset ViewThen, The Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth,

Sea Crest Beach Hotel Beach Scenefeaturing bright Orange-Crush-colored umbrellas scattered down the beach as a contrast to the deep blues of the ocean and sky, a “bubble room” on a golf course in Onset (not on the ocean, but still quite beautiful)

Bay Pointe Club Bubble Room

and the White Cliffs Country Club in Plymouth,

White Cliffs Viewliterally perched on a cliff with the most spectacular ocean vistas

White Cliff CC Ocean ViewI have seen in a very long time. Not surprisingly, many of these venues had very few dates still available for the summer of 2015! But since we have teachers and students who will be traveling and attending the nuptials, July & August are it. So we need to move quickly in order to secure our spot or we will be blue! Do you have a favorite in this bunch?? And do you have any other suggestions, north or south of the city of Boston? Speak now or forever hold your peace : ) Have a terrific Thursday, everyone! We’ll keep you posted! Susan

Wall Decals Pop!

In the midst of all of the DIY’ing for the shop, I decided to “freshen up” my daughter’s old bedroom, which now serves as a guest room/ironing board room. (doesn’t everyone have one of those?) Since her high school days, when we added white wainscoting and painted the walls sage green, her favorite color,

Wall Decal Green Wall AlcoveI have always thought that someday, after she “flew the coop” I would paint it something a little ” softer and prettier”. Although I am a lover of mother nature, I am not necessarily a “green” person and prefer lighter, brighter colors for my walls. PINK, I can live with that, and since there is already a fun pink floral area carpet in place,

Daisy RugI mixed up a can of bright, light pink for the walls. I had a can of flat white on hand, to which I mixed some bright pink and soft gray to avoid that “bubble gum” tone.

Wall Decal Soft Pink Wall PaintThe room is a square shape, with a small alcove at one end where there is a day bed tucked under the eaves. Which leaves an oddly-shaped, off-center wall for hanging pictures or mirrors. So when I was contacted by the folks at www.vinylwallartdecal.com

DecDecals

to sample their product, I knew this would be the perfect solution! The graphic I chose was “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful”, which is such a powerful statement, especially in a little girl’s room.

Beautiful CloseupThe graphic is stunning, was very easy to apply and looks amazing. I like that it was actually in smaller pieces once I cut it apart, making it much easier to handle than one large graphic.

Wall Decal Closeup DetailHere is the “how-to apply the graphics” instruction sheet, included in the package,

Wall Decal Instruction Sheetwhich I have enhanced with some additional instruction and illustrations, as it was just a bit unclear. Also, the package did not include a pic of the original graphic, so I had to go online to make sure I had it right, since I had to cut it apart and re-align it prior to hanging on the wall. Here we go:

Step 1: “Take the transfer film out”, which initially I took to mean you remove it from the mailing package. There are two separate sheets in the package, both on white paper backing. One is the transfer film and one is the graphic. The instructions don’t say to actually remove the transfer film from the backing and place the tacky side on to the graphic, but that is what you do. Here is the graphic sheet with the shiny transfer film on top of it.
Wall Decal with Transfer Film Applied
Step 2: Then step 2 makes more sense, that you rub the clear transfer film with a towel to adhere it to the graphic, removing any wrinkles or bubbles.
Wall Decal Rubbing Transfer Film with Soft Cloth
Note: the included clear transfer film wasn’t quite as large as the actual graphic, so I had to do a bit of cutting and pasting for that. But that didn’t matter because it is removed once the graphic is transferred anyway.
Wall Decal Cutting And Pasting Film Transfer
Step 3: Cut out the images and clear transfer film together, leaving room around the edges of the graphic for handling.
Wall Decal Cutting Out Pieces
Since I now had a pile of cut-apart sections,
Wall Decal Cut Pieces
at that point I actually taped the entire graphic to the wall to make sure I had it positioned correctly.
Wall Decal Taped Design on Wall
Step 4: Peel off clear transfer film from the white paper graphic backing with the graphic attached and press that onto wall or dry surface in the position you’d like it to be.Wall Decal Peeling off White Backing Paper
Step 5: Rub clear transfer all over with your fingertop, making sure you rub the edges of the graphic for full adhesion onto the wall.
Wall Decal Rubbing on With Fingertip
I did one section at a time and left the others taped to the wall until it was completed. Wall Decal Applied with Taped Sections
Step 6: Peel off the clear transfer film from graphic on wall. If it starts to pull graphic with it, just rub again to adhere graphic to wall.
Wall Decal Peeling Off Transfer Film
Step 7: Step back and admire : ) I know it sounds like quite a few steps, but the final product is just lovely and in this room, creates a statement next to a B&W photo of the iconic Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who was the epitome of being her own kind of beautiful.
Wall Decal Completed Wall & Bed
So thank you to Vinyl Wall Art, who provided the graphic sample for me to review. You can check out their website here: where you will find so many thoughtful quotes and adorable graphics for your home! Loving this Cute Owls and Cute Tree- so whimsical!
Cute Owls in Tree Wall Decal
They even offer large black board stickers-brilliant!!
Wall Decal Blackboard Stickers
If you have any questions, you can check out their blog Notepad Corner, which provides you with lots of information about their products. So, if you do get a chance to shop their beautiful website please tell them that Sue from Country Design Home sent you! Hope you have you’re own kind of beautiful Monday, eveyone!! Susan
PS: Although I was provided with the sample from the company Vinyl Wall Art, the written opinions are strictly my own.

 

Everything AND The Kitchen Sink!

As you all know by now, we have now opened our vintage shop in the Barn at Todd Farm,

Barn Postcard no emailsand so far things are going very, very well! Lots of our rescued, re-cycled and re-furbished pieces have been sold, and shoppers appear to be very excited about the variety of vintage goods we are offering.

Todd Farm Display PMFollowing our first Sunday (which seems like a lifetime ago, but was actually just a mere three weeks ago!) I realized we needed to make a change in our displays. When we set everything up and stepped back to admire our work that first day, we all said “this is great, as long as nobody buys these big pieces that have all of our dishes and pottery on them”.

Todd Farm Kitchen Display Area BeforeBUT, that is exactly what happened, leaving us scrambling to find new spots for pie plates and Pyrex and pots and pans. So, I decided that we needed a permanent, dedicated spot to safely and attractively display our kitchen wares. The perfect solution, in my mind, was an old kitchen sink and countertop with shelves above it, so off to Craigslist land I ventured and found this awesome old General Electric porcelain sink for $40!!! A steal!!!

Vintage Kitchen Sink BeforeOnce I had acquired the sink, it really was just a matter of building a solid base that would be sturdy enough to hold the weight of the sink and anything else we put on it. I started with a plywood top, cut with an extra 1/2 inch around the perimeter, and a hole cutout for the sink. Which turned into several cuts, which in turn created a nice new Mustachio for Coach.

Vintage Sink Coach's MustachioWho, by the way, was really not on board with this whole sink thing. He did help me, but reluctantly, not seeing my vision and thinking that I was wasting valuable time that could have been spent working on other “saleable” projects.

The legs were built from 4×4 scraps Coach had hanging around somewhere behind the barn, cut to standard countertop height of 35 inches.

Vintage Sink Plywood Base for SinkI simply attached those with large L brackets and some screws, then created some cross-pieces for stability, attaching those with smaller L brackets as well.

Vintage Sink on BaseI would show you the rough-cut details, but they are really not very pretty and you can’t see them anyway : ) Once that was completed, I added an old, chippy shutter for the front panel,

Vintage Sink on Base with Blue Shutterand then I added some of these little metal strips (I have a big bin of these I grabbed at a yard sale. Have no idea what they are for, but they make a nice 1 inch decorative edge. Got plenty more if you need any…)

Vintage Sink Metal Bracketsfor the decorative edge trim. Conveniently, there are holes already drilled in the strips, so I just used some brass tacks to attach them to the plywood edge.

Vintage Sink Metal Bracket TrimFor the sides, I affixed some burlap panels with a dowel and some tacks. Nothing fancy. We don’t really have any kind of a storage area in the barn shop, so the burlap panels allow us to use the under-sink for keeping bags and tools, etc.  The sides are simple blue burlap panels, but the front panels are actually made from old burlap potato sacks (which we have plenty of for sale in the shop : ).

Vintage Sink Burlap Potato SacksNot crazy about how those look, so I’ll be changing those this upcoming weekend. Once we brought the sink to the shop, it was simply a matter of finding the perfect spot to build it in, then adding the shutter shelving and filling it up with our kitchenware and painted mason jars.

Vintage Sink adding Shutter ShelvesWe even added an old window because everyone loves to look out the window when they are at the kitchen sink, right??

Todd Farm Kitchen Display AfterSo, what happened when we opened up the shop 6 am Sunday morning?? Every person walking by and into the shop went right to my sink display and admired it, inspected it, asked how much it was. Initially shocked that folks were interested in buying my old sink, Coach quickly recovered and started asking $650. Wait, what?!?!?! THE SINK IS NOT FOR SALE. REPEAT. THE SINK IS NOT FOR SALE!

Todd Farm Vintage Sink Side Profile PMBut both Coach and Lisa (his partner in crime this week) were hell-bent on selling that sink out from under me. Soooo, I compromised and used the old “if I really don’t want to sell it, then ask a ridiculously high price and if someone really wants it, they can have it trick”. $1000. FIRM. In the meantime, I am off to paint the pieces that I didn’t get a chance to paint because I was building the kitchen sink. Have an unsinkable Wednesday, everyone!! Susan

 

 

Classic, Rustic or Modern?

Which decorating style are you?!? For all you decorating oldies and newbies out there, the upcoming September issue of Country Living Magazine (my country bible : ) features a great article on choosing your own personal design style.

Country Living Decorating Cover

“What’s Your Decorating Style” helps you pinpoint which style of decor best represents you and your design choices for your home.

Country Living Decorating Style

There’s even a quiz featuring everyday items that you choose, and then tally your answers to give you an idea of what kind of design items attracts you and gives you an overall cohesive plan to help you decorate like a pro!

The first of the three distinct decorating styles is Classic

Classic Style Colorsfeaturing deep brilliant reds, blues and greens, lush upholstered furniture and elegant creamy white accents. For your fabrics, crisp plaids and stripes with a touch of pristine linen.

Classic Style FeaturesFlooring and furniture tend to be rich, dark woods accented with creamy white trim and collectibles like crisp white ironstone pottery. Think Ralph Lauren Home.

The second featured style? Rustic. 

Rustic Style ColorsSubtly combining soft colors and a mix of rustic textures gives you that “down-home” sense of style. Your paint color choices tend to be more muted tans, teals and creamy whites. The fabric choices are vintage-inspired floral and striped linens in muted shades of whites and tans with some quilted textures for dimension and interest. The flooring and furniture are lighter, white-washed and distressed using reclaimed lumber and woven rush seating.

Rustic Style Features

A soft, cushy slipcovered sofa paired with a cream-colored sisal rug adds a distinctly casual style. For lighting, try some mercury glass to add a touch of bling and of course, you need a set of antlers or two. Think the Fixer-Upper Style of Chip and Joanna Gaines. If you haven’t seen this HGTV show, and you love this particular style of design, you MUST check it out!

The third featured style is Modern.

Modern Style ColorsBut this is not 1960’s mid-century modern with harvest gold and avocado green paint. This is fresh, colorful sleek design with a few vintage-inspired pieces to accessorize. Your color choices are Aquas and teals, peaches and oranges, yellows and grays with chrome and stainless steel accents. Your fabric choices are vintage inspired with a modern twist: bright and bold geometrics and stripes.

Modern Style FeaturesAlthough the furniture and accessories are strictly Mad Men in design, the bold color choices bring this look into the 21st century.

So, which style am I? Well, I took the quiz and sure enough, I scored equally on all three!! Which means that my style is a combination of all the looks combined! My design style is whatever makes me happy : ) I love bright colors, and some of our rooms feature bold reds and teals, but I also love rustic, muted tones, so some rooms are awash in blues and creams. And that’s the beauty of decorating your home. You don’t have to stick to one distinct design style-you can choose whatever makes you smile-and that is what design is really all about. Have a great weekend choosing your design style, everyone!! Susan

 

 

Rustic USA Chalkboard Map-DIY!

Remember the time when I built the cupcake tower for the wedding and then it broke apart and toppled over and the cupcakes went tumbling onto the wet grass? No? So that’s just my bad luck…

fallen cupcakes in grassWell, the one good thing that came of all of it was that I spotted this USA plank map that is proudly hanging in our friend’s log cabin home where we stayed for the wedding weekend.

USA Map Pottery Barn

It is an amazing focal point for their great room! Naturally, when I first admired it, my initial response was “that’s amazing”, quickly followed by “gee, I wonder if I can make that?!” Soooo, here is my version of the Pottery Barn Rustic USA map.

USA Map Displayed on Mantel PM

I created it using an old, very large framed print that Coach had picked up at a yard sale, some balsa wood slats, glue, stain and chalkboard paint. Here is the how-it-did-it:

1. I kept the print in place, since it was just a piece of fiberboard that had been printed on and adhered to the frame. Sorry about those creepy flowers, but they just had to go…

USA Map Before Photo…but the frame, however, is gorgeous, so that remained as is!

2. The balsa wood slats came from a bin we purchased at a yard sale last summer. Tons of pieces of wood in various widths and lengths. Love this stuff-super easy to work with! Just mark with a pencil,

USA Map Marking Wood Cutscut with scissors,

USA Map Cutting Balsa Wood with Scissorsthen glue down. I chose random pieces so it would look more rustic and deconstructed,

USA Map Balsa Wood Pattern on Picture

rather than just using all the same widths and lengths.

USA Map Balsa Wood Patterned

3. Once I had placed the wood into position, I lifted each piece and spread wood glue onto the base, using a foam brush to create a nice even surface.

Rustic USA Map Painting Glue4. I lifted one slat at a time, then placed the slats back down onto the glued surface, then weighted them down with various cans and bottles I had handy. If you do this, make sure you don’t use anything porous or it will stick to your project!

USA Map Weighting Down Balsa Wood Glued

5. Once dried, I had to decide which stain to use.

Rustic USA Map StainsOnce the color was chosen, I simply followed the stain instructions (for the record, I went with the Minwax). You brush it on,

Rustic USA Map Staining Slatswait a minute, then wipe off any excess with a soft, clean cloth. Then allow to dry. You see all those little white dots? Apparently, I wasn’t as neat with the glue as I thought! No worries, I am going to dry brush some paint on there anyway, so they won’t be visible : )

Rustic USA Map Stained Slats

6. For the dry-brushing, I taped off the frame edges,

USA Map Stained and Taped for Dry Brushingthen dry-brushed the surface with two tones of Americana Chalky Paint.

USA Map Americana Chalky PaintI knew if I just left it stained, the black map itself wouldn’t show up against the dark background.

Dry Brushing USA MapDry brushing allows you to see the stained wood underneath.

USA Map Dry Brushing Completed7. Once that was dry, I needed to add the map. Initially I tried to print out a USA map outline, but of course, the first one was too small and then my printer ran out of ink.

USA Map Printed OutlineSo, I grabbed one of Coach’s USA maps and cut around that. (No worries, this wasn’t one of the antique ones, just one of a few hundred he has hanging around)

USA Map Outlined8. Traced the map outline onto the prepped surface with a pencil. Then I painted it with three coats of chalkboard paint. This one is from FolkArt by Plaid,

USA Map Folk Art Chalkboard Paint

but there are many other manufacturer’s and they all seem to do the trick.

USA Map Completed Chalk Paint

9. Once the chalkboard paint was dry, I “primed” the surface by covering the entire map with chalk. )It needs to be primed so that when you do write on it with chalk, the images will easily wipe off. Otherwise they will leave “ghost images”)

USA Map Surface Chalked(rub with the side of the chalk)

USA Map Chalking the Surface

then wiped it off with a damp cloth.

 

USA Map Wiping Off Chalking10. With my mouse sander, I simply roughed up the surface and softened the edges with fine sandpaper to give the entire piece the rustic look.

USA Map Sanding Edges of Map

11. This is the finished piece, proudly displayed on my mantel.

USA Map Displayed on Mantel TMAnd remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! Thanks Pottery Barn for the inspiration! Have an inspired weekend, everyone! Susan

Ice Bucket Challenge-How Cool Are You?!?

In recent days, you may have seen videos of seemingly insane (or really hot) people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads being posted throughout the social media world.

Ice Bucket Challenge Twitter PicsThis phenomena? The Ice-Bucket Challenge, initiated by Bostonian Pete Frates to raise awareness of ALS: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gherig’s Disease. Last summer, I wrote about Pete’s appearance at ALS awareness night at Fenway Park

Fenway Parkand have continued to follow his courageous battle against this dreadful disease. Pete and his team of family and friends called the “Frate Train” are waging an ongoing media campaign to continue to raise awareness and funds for research in hopes of someday eradicating this incurable disease. They have sponsored bike races and polar plunges and fashion shows, but in this latest event, Pete called out his friends and family to dump a bucket of ice water on themselves, then nominate their friends and families, and they have responded in spades!!

Pete Frates Video

Every day when I open up Facebook ,Twitter or You Tube, there are newer and funnier, more imaginative and wetter videos of people taking an ice bath to raise funds and awareness for ALS. This one is pretty hilarious:

Pete Frates Video California

The deal is, you get nominated, you take the ice bath and then you get to nominate three more people to take the plunge. Then they do the same, and so on and so on, to the point where in just a few short days, the videos are going viral all over social media! Even some local sports heroes, like Matt Ryan, a BC grad (Pete’s Alma Mater)

Matt Ryan You Tube Video

and Boston sports legend Jason Varitek have gotten into the act.

Jason Varitek

So, of course, Coach decided he wanted in as well. He was nominated by our daughter, Kate and wholeheartedly embraced the frigid concept. And, since he was Pete’s high school baseball coach, and is still a coach today, a baseball theme was naturally the only way to go. So here is Coach taking one (well, actually three, for the team : )

Coach doing Pete Frates ChallengeOh, and by the way- that was me pitching and I was throwing all strikes : ) So if you are interested in learning more about the Ice Bucket Challenge, or would like to make a donation to Pete’s Frates #3 Fund click on the link. And to view more hilarious videos and pics on social media, use the hashtag #icebucketchallenge or #strikeoutALS. Hope you have an iced Tuesday everyone! Susan

The Barn at Todd Farm

Greetings!! Back from my blogging break and ready to start sharing some very exciting news! Beginning Sunday, August 3, Coach and I, along with Lisa from RitaJosVintage will be setting up shop in the Barn at Todd Farm!! Woo Hoo!

Barn Postcard no emailsMany of you already know about the historic Todd Farm in Rowley, Mass-the amazing Sunday flea markets with hundreds of vendors selling everything under the sun-and even a kitchen sink or two. (to read about our outdoor selling experience, click here)

Todd Farm SignBut what many of you may not know is that the beautiful huge yellow barn

Barn View Closeupin the center of the property has undergone a restoration and has been transformed from an antique functioning dairy barn

Todd Farm Dairy Cows Phototo an antiques co-operative. Inside the barn there are many vendors (with more to come) that have filled each of the old cow stalls with antiques, collectibles, junque and recycled, refurbished and reloved furniture and accessories. So, what will we be selling?? Some of the items you have seen me transform on the blog will be there,

Vintage Painted Cabinet PMalong with an ever-changing stock of old and really old and newly old stuff from our barn (and porch, and yard, and deck, and dining room and living room…) along with Lisa’s vintage kitsch collections. I will be posting pics of new items and stock each week on this blog, but also on my Facebook pages, as well as Craigslist (look under north shore garage and yard sales and just search Todd Farm). For now, we will be open at the crack of dawn on Sundays…or by chance…or by appointment. But, for now I have to sign off-the truck is arriving shortly and the packing and moving begins now! See you at the Farm

Rusty Bed Spring Arrow Marqueejust look for the stall with the rusty bedspring arrow marquee : ) xoxox Susan

 

 

Thrifty Kitchen Transformation-Granite Day!

Yesterday was such an exciting day in the thrifty kitchen transformation process-granite installation day! Thanks to Alpha-Granite in Wakefield, Ma, we secured this gorgeous hunk of granite called Steel Gray at a great price, with great service.

Alpha Granite Wakefield, MA

Ten days from choosing the granite to the install, they arrived on time, worked quickly and efficiently and cleaned up before they left.  As promised, the truck rolled up at 8am and the process of removing the old formica countertops commenced.

Granite Kitchen 8am ArrivalNow, as an avid DIY’er, I  like to think that I can pretty much do most everything myself. That is, after all, what DIY means: Do It Yourself. However, I do know my limits, and fabricating and hauling around giant slabs of very heavy granite just was not in my job description for this particular project.

Granite Slabs in TruckSo, here is the before: yucky yellow 1970’s Formica with the over-counter-installed stainless sink which they quickly removed and junked.

Granite Kitchen Stove Countertop Before

 

Granite Kitchen Sink BeforeAnd here is the after: shiny black with flecks of grays and browns, which really complements the painted white cabinets and the awesome hardware!

Granite Stove Side Counter AfterAs we’ve continued the work on the kitchen, the one thing mom and I keep noticing is how much lighter and brighter it appears now.

Granite New Undermount SinkOf course, painting out the dark oak cabinets really helped, but the new, shiny dark gray granite reflects the light as well. LOVE. More importantly, mom is so happy to have gorgeous granite countertops in her kitchen! Next up, the backsplash. You’re not gonna want to miss this one! But that won’t be for another week or so, because I am taking a quick blogging hiatus to upgrade my computer server (this ought to go well) and prepare for our newest junking adventure! So, until August 1, I’ll be seeing you on Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram-so come on over and say hi! Hope you are all having a great summer!  Susan

Hey, I Made That! Artistic License with Aaron Foster

Right around the 4th of July, I posted a pic of this amazing USA license plate map that I spotted at HomeGoods.

USA Map HomeGoods

It received thousands of hits and shares on Facebook and Pinterest, and so many folks commented on its colorful beauty and unique construction-every state is represented with its own license plate! Then, I spotted this note on my Facebook page:

Aaron Foster USA License Plate Map

Naturally, I had to follow up and find out who the mystery artist was who created this patriotic masterpiece because I always strive to give proper credit to artists and makers. His name is Aaron Foster, he is an artist, an entrepenuer, former standup comic and an aspiring actor as well!

Aaron FosterCheck out this quite hilarious Who is Aaron Foster? video. Turns out, he was on HGTV in its early days, as the host of a show named Freestyle-where rooms were re-decorated using only furniture and decorative accessories already on hand. He created his first USA license plate map back in 2001 to impress a female artist friend. Not sure how that worked out, but the license plate art biz took off. So now, he sells his artwork online via his website, Aaron Foster Designs, at shows and by commission-he has created his artwork for CNN

Aaron Foster CNN logoHost of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert

Aaron Foster Art Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert with Aaron Foster USA Map Art

& network television. This super large Liberty Flag was for ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition for the NYC Firefighter’s edition.

Aaron Foster Liberty FlagHe also sells on Etsy, where he is presently offering some of his artwork at discounted prices, so you should definitely check that out here:

Aaron Foster EtsyHere is my recent Q & A with Aaron

Me: Hi, Aaron! I was surprised to see your comment on my Facebook page and am wondering if you could share how that all came about? I have a few questions:

1. Is the photo of the one I shared on my page a picture of the actual one that you created? I took that photo at HomeGoods in Danvers, MA
    Aaron: Yes, that is a photo of one of many USA License Plate Maps I have created since 2001 when I made my first one to impress a woman who was an artist and inadvertently
   began a career as an artist.
2. Did you create it specifically for HomeGoods?
    The piece pictured was created specifically for Home Goods in the sense that they decided the style for the background, rough cedar planks aged and distressed, but I have been
    making the USA Map out of license plates since 2001.
3. Have you made any others?
    While there are well over 100 designs in my collection, everything from American Flags, Classic Cars, Cowboy scenes and iconic American Highway signs such as Route 66 and the 
    Hollywood sign, the USA map has always been my most popular piece.  I have created 1200+ of them. (blogger’s note: 1200+!!!!)
4. How did you obtain all of the license plates?
     I have been doing this a long time and have many suppliers of the vintage plates throughout the country.  At any given time I probably have somewhere in the neighborhood of    
    20,000 license plates in my workshop. (blogger’s note: 20,000!!!)
5. Do you have a website/Etsy page where you sell handmade items such as this online?
     The Etsy Page:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/AaronFoster  
     The Aaron Foster website where you can purchase and/or commission works of license plate art is http://www.aaronfoster.com/
6. Are you interested in sharing the actual construction details?
    While it’s certainly not rocket science, this is how I make my living, pay my mortgage, feed my family, etc., so for those reasons, I’d rather keep my methods to myself. Sorry!
No apologies necessary. Everyone needs to make a living, and Aaron certainly does that with this amazing and unique license plate artwork. A few of my personal favorites:
USA Heart Map (every state represented)
USA Heart Map Aaron Foster License Plate Art
Aaron Foster USA Flag
Vintage Pickup Truck (from any state)
Aaron Foster Pickup Truck
CU-Boulder Logo (my daughter’s alma mater-GO BUFFS!!) Hmmm, I wonder if he makes a Sparky the Sun Devil too??
CU Boulder License Plate Art Aaron Foster
To contact Aaron (whether to purchase a piece or offer him an acting gig) you can reach him at Email: info@aaronfoster.com or Phone: 323-302-3908. And if you do happen to contact him, please tell him that Sue from Country Design Home sent you : ) Now I’m giving you license to have a terrific Thursday, everyone! Susan

 

 

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard DIY Makeover

Blogger’s note: NO REAL WOOD WAS HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS CUPBOARD**

This past weekend, I completed a few more projects while awaiting the granite guy’s countertop installation at mom’s house. I have been working on this piece in my kitchen for quite awhile, and am happy to finally have it done! This is the before:

Coastal Kitchen Cabinet Beforea red cupboard (made of MDF) we purchased a few years back at Jordan’s Furniture Colossal Clearance Center in Avon, Mass (if you haven’t been there, it is so definitely worth the trip! Lots of great furniture at significantly discounted prices!) This piece fits nicely in the narrow passageway between our kitchen and dining room and holds a ton of stuff like paper towels, napkins and several pieces of kitchen equipment that just won’t fit anywhere else. The problem is, since it’s in the highest traffic point of our home, it had been scratched and worn-the finish was like a plastic veneer and scratched off quite easily (and I was tired of the dark red anyway…). Time for a fix, so this is the after: a pretty, light coastal cabinet with a top created from reclaimed window shutters!

Coastal Kitchen CupboardHere is the how-I-did-it: Sanded everything down to rough up the shiny veneer plasticy surface, and sanded the edges to round them off a bit.

Sanding the edges Nothing says “mass-produced” more than sharp, clean edges on furniture. Primed with my go-to primer: Glidden Gripper (you can find this at Home Depot in the paint dept)

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Glidden Gripper Primer

The Americana Chalky paint I planned on using says it doesn’t need a primer, but the before color was so dark, and the new color was so light, I figured I had better just to be safe.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Chalky Paint Palette DecoArt

Before I painted the entire piece, I accented the frames around the door panel inserts with the Americana Chalky Paint Called Vintage. It is a soft blue/green color that ties in beautifully with the shutter slats on the top.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Framed Cabinet Doors with Chalky Paint

Then I applied some wallpaper wainscoting (LOVE this stuff too!) to the inside of the panels to give a more country feel to the piece. (For the DIY  how-to on using the wallpaper, click here.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard with Wainscoting Wallpaper Panel Inserts

I then painted the entire cupboard, including the inside panels, with two coats of Americana Chalky paint in the color Everlasting-so soft and pretty white.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Chalky Paint for Knob Americana

The more I used this paint, the more I love it. No brush strokes, so easy to apply and clean up. I then sanded the edges to give it a bit of character and contrast.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Wainscoting Wallpaper Doors

The final coat was the Americana Ultra Matte Varnish from DecoArt. No shine, protects the white paint from fingerprints.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Ultra Matte Varnish Americana

For the star of this show, the top, I used some old shutter slats that Coach and I had picked up off the side of the road on a drive to Cape Cod. That was one of my very first blog posts, and also one of the first times we trash picked on the side of the road. What a score! The colors are all the original ones-so coastal pretty!!

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Arranging Shutter Slats

I have been using parts of them for several projects, including some little hanging chalkboards which I decided to reclaim for this project. As I was arranging the slats on the top, my original plan was to flip the chalkboard ones over and use the reverse side. But then I thought, why not just leave them so I could write cute little sayings on the surface? Fun!

Coastal Cupboard Makeover Chalkboard

Once I had placed all of the slats, there were a few that hung over the edges, which I quickly remedied with a few jigsaw cuts.

Cutting Shutter slats with jigsawThen sanded the edge smooth with my Black & Decker Mouse sander, which I also picked up at my local Home Depot.  Honestly, I spend more time at Home Depot and Home Goods than I do at home!!

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Cut Shutter Slat Edges

While I was sanding, I made sure that I sanded the top edge just a bit so that the cut pieces had the same worn edge as the rest. (this is the area that fits into the frame of the shutters when they are whole).

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Mouse Sander Edges

Once they were cut and sanded, I glued them into place with this strong sticky stuff-didn’t even require any nailing!!

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard Wood Glue

The original knobs were a nice heavy iron, but I wanted something lighter so there wasn’t as much of a contrast. These mercury glass knobs I found at (where else) HomeGoods, but I couldn’t find handles for the doors that I really liked.

Home Goods Mercury KnobsSo, I grabbed a pair of stainless ones I kept from my old kitchen and painted them with the chalk paint. What, you say?! Painted knobs? But, of course! This week’s Tuesday DIY Tip: you can paint any hardware quickly and easily, especially with this chalk paint! You just paint it on, Painting knobs with chalk paintmaking sure you get in all the tiny holes and crevices, then wipe it off,

Wiping off Chalk Paintallow to dry and done. Wipe away as much or as little depending on the look you are going for.

Painted knobs with chalky paintThe finished cupboard now stands in the space under my incredible driftwood mirror I purchased at (where else) HomeGoods a few months back, along with some other coastal-inspired decor.

Coastal Kitchen Cupboard After Shutter Slat Top PM

Which will all go so nicely in my coastal dream home (if I ever get a coast dream home…) In the meantime, have a dreamy Tuesday, everyone!! Susan

**PS: That disclaimer at the top of this article is for all the wood enthusiasts who think that no wood furniture should ever be painted…

 

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