Recently, I starting working on an old, large, quite heavy solid pine Ethan Allen dry sink that had Coach picked up at a flea market for $20 (sorry about the pic-typically Coach takes them at the scene and sends them to me for pre-approval prior to purchase-he’s the buyer, I’m the DIY’er- then I take my own pic for the blog…whoops, missed that step.) It is dark and quite massive, as dry sinks go, so the original muddy brown stain just had to be updated to something a bit lighter and more DIY Dud Dry Sink Beforemodern. Searching for inspiration, somewhere online I had seen these awesome arrow drawer pulls…

Hobby Lobby Arrow Drawer Pullsand I instantly knew the direction this DIY transformation would take. First step, order the drawer pulls from Hobby Lobby (they were on sale : ) Second step, apply General Finishes Heritage Blue Stain

General Finished Hertiage Blue Water Based Stainto the main frame of the piece. Love the finish it produces!

Dry Sink Heritage Blue General Finishes StainThird step...insert the sound of screeching tires…because I missed a VERY IMPORTANT STEP…which as a result has now produced my DIY Dud…this sink stinks! Before I put that first coat of stain all over the wood, I should have scratched and sniffed it…because this dry sink now smells like a giant ashtray! The thing about the stench of nicotine is that it permeates the surface finish and becomes one with the wood. Why, you ask, did you not clean it more thoroughly before you started?  Why did you not scrub it and sand it and seal it and air it out to remove all the nicotine odors?? Why?? You’ve been DIY’ing forever-you know better! Well, my excuse is that I couldn’t get it outdoors because of the giant snowbanks surrounding my house.

Snow Barn Country Design HomeTypically, I take a piece like this onto the driveway and literally scrub it down with a bucket of soapy water and a hose, allow it to dry in the sun for days, spray it with smoke remover, sand it and then clean it again until the lovely scent of vintage Lucky Strikes

Lucky Strike Poster via JVoyage Etsyis gone. But, alas, that just couldn’t happen…thanks Mother Nature for the 10 foot it simply got a wipe down with some spray cleaner and a damp rag. Again, I KNOW BETTER!!! OK, so back to the DIY part of the story. Once the pretty blue stain was applied, I noticed the nicotine scent had intensified, but I figured perhaps if I just added more paint and finishes, it would somehow diminish the odor. (Now, Coach says he really can’t smell it. But I have a freakishly keen-some say distorted- sense of smell when it comes to certain odors, like nicotine and gasoline and mildew-I can ID them a mile away. But ask me if there’s a tray of cookies…or dish towels…burning in the oven…well, can’t help you there.)

kitchen burningSo, I kept going and added more layers of paints, dry brushing complementary coastal colors until I had this cool finish…which seemed like it might work until I started sanding down the edges to distress it…that smell was back. With a vengeance. Now the only thing that is distressed is me…

DIY Dud Dry Sink Painting LayersBut, silly me, I kept going! Remember the time when you were driving alone at night and hit something in the road and then you heard the thump, thump of a tire starting to go flat but instead of pulling over you turned up the radio to make it go away? No? Well, I do, and that’s what was happening with this project! Denial is a powerful thing... For the top, I painted the inside wainscoting with white chalk paint, then added planking to the sink area for some contrast.

DIY Dud Dry Sink PlankingWhen I noticed the smell wafting through the glued down boards, I figured staining them would help. Pretty, right?

DIY Dud Dry Sink Stained PlanksWell, beauty is in the eye (and the nose) of the beholder. With each layer, I kept my fingers crossed and hoped for the best, but alas, nothing changed…the odor remained and intensified as the moisture in the products caused a leeching effect and brought the nicotine odor to the surface. Being frustrated with the sink, and hoping that somehow the smell would go away if I left it alone for a bit, I decided to concentrate on the old pine doors.

DIY Dud Dry Sink DoorI used some vintage coastal maps of Massachusetts harbors and applied them to the front panels with WundaSize

Wunda Size(if you haven’t tried this stuff in place of other decoupage glues, you must-it’s awesome-no buckles or wrinkles!)

DIY Dud Dry Sink Doors with MapsThen I painted and distressed the frames and edges with chalk paint and finished them with a new matte polyurethane varnish from Varathane.

DIY Dud Map Framed on DoorIt’s called Soft Touch and it mimics the look of waxing but gives a nice poly finish…which I was hoping against hope would finally seal in that obnoxious odor.

Varathan Soft Touch Matte Finish PolyurethaneBut alas, it was not to be, so I halted this amazing dry sink DIY project. It is now sitting on the porch awaiting some spring weather. Yeah, right…

DIY Dud Dry Sink PaintedNot wasting another minute on this until I can take it outside, sand it and scrub it and shellac the s**t out of it until the odor is gone, baby gone. Moral of this story? Always, always, always sniff the pieces you are about to purchase at flea markets and estate sales. I know, it looks a little strange to be hanging around sniffing other people’s junk, but better safe than sorry! You know a LOT of folks were smokers back in the day and that smell just permeates wood like nobodies business (can you only imagine what it was doing to people’s lungs…). In the meantime, its back to globe painting for me,

Global LOVE Painted Globe by Country Design Homeuntil I find another three- door project where I can use those awesome arrow drawer pulls. It’s Tuesday everyone…I hope it doesn’t stink for you!! Susan

PS: If anyone has any great ideas or solutions for my smelly dry sink, please share!

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The Easter festivities aren’t coming to our house this year, as we are still in the throes of a bathroom makeover. With a fine coating of plaster dust having permeated the entire house (if you’ve been through a room makeover, you know what I’m talking about) it seems like a great idea to have another family member take over the ham and scalloped potato duties…thanks, mom! But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a beautiful Easter table! So I thought a would share a few inspired Easter table settings…and I’m saving these for next year when hopefully the dust has cleared…
Bunny In The Garden!!

Traditional Dining Room by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Designs by Gollum

Pretty Aquas:

Dining Room by St. John’s Interior Designers & Decorators Seaside Interiors

Cool Coral with Black and White

Contemporary Dining Room by Winston-Salem Interior Designers & Decorators FOCAL POINT STYLING

Rustic Spring Flowers

Rustic Dining Room by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Dreamy Whites

Floral Sprays and Tiny Nests

Eclectic Dining Room by Winston-Salem Interior Designers & Decorators FOCAL POINT STYLING

Brightly Colored Eggs on Rustic Table

Traditional Dining Room by Chattanooga General Contractors Collier Construction

Easter Egg Chandelier

Eclectic Dining Room by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Adeeni Design Group

Vintage Easter Bunny

Traditional Spaces by Swansboro Interior Designers & Decorators Lisa’s Creative Designs

A Trio of Bunnies!

Spaces by Plano Furniture & Accessories Holiday Warehouse Inc.

OK, I realize that this isn’t a table setting, but can you imagine THIS Easter Egg Hunt!?!?

Mediterranean Landscape by Other Metro Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers GARDENIA-Sharly & Tanya Illuz

I’ll just be hopping along now to keep on painting the bathroom…have a “hoppy” Easter everyone! Susan

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Since I started blogging a few years back, I have read hundreds (nea, thousands) of other DIY blogs for entertainment, DIY information and inspiration to…

Hobby Lobby Do What You Love SignMany times, I have seen the craft store Hobby Lobby mentioned as THE place to go for craft, hobby & DIY supplies. I have shopped at Hobby Lobby online, but the stores were not local enough for me to make a shopping trip. Well, with the opening of their newest store in Seabrook, NH, Hobby Lobby is now within my driving range. So last week Mom and I took a road trip to check out what all the fuss was about.

Hobby Lobby Welcome SignHave to say, Hobby Lobby did not disappoint! This is not a hobby shop. Hobby Lobby is a mega-craft-DIY-decor-Store…essentially all of my local craft and sewing outlets combined into one huge superstore.  If you paint, decoupage, sew, design shirts, scrapbook, bake cakes, throw parties or just decorate your home…there is an aisle (or two) for you! As we strolled up and down the aisles…and aisles…and more aisles…we were blow away by the enormity, not only of the physical store itself, but of the sheer quantity and selection of vintage and modern home decor and DIY products. Loving these cute little clocks! I’ll take one in every color, please : )

Hobby Lobby Vintage ClocksI snapped a few pics as we strolled the aisles, but there is no way to convey the sheer enormity of this mega-store without seeing it for yourself. In the home decor area, we discovered rows of modern and traditional lamps

Hobby Lobby Lamp AisleI don’t think I’ve ever seen such an enormous collection of knobs and pulls anyway…ever

Hobby Lobby Knob SelectionWant to identify what’s in your drawers? You can write on these little chalkboard pulls!

Hobby Lobby Chalkboard Drawer PullsAre you into gardening (my style- all fake so you can’t kill them) Aisle after aisle of colorful blooms await!

Hobby Lobby Flower AisleNeeding some fabric for a sewing project…well, they’ve got bolts…and bolts…and more bolts!

Hobby Lobby Fabric AisleAnd then in the home decor aisles…all sorts of trendy signs (this collection is JUST for the laundry!)

Hobby Lobby Laundry SignsLetters-loads of alphabets in many colors and styles- some were lit up,

Hobby Lobby Red Marquee Letter Stacksome were colorfully painted…all were on sale (and if not, they have coupons!)

Hobby Lobby Wood Craft LettersSeasonal decor was scattered throughout the store, featuring outdoor patio sets (that we may or may not ever get to use this year if the weather doesn’t break soon!)

Hobby Lobby Red Bench VignetteAnd there were loads of Paris-inspired pieces as well.

Hobby Lobby Paris Milk Jug We spent over an hour wandering around, taking in the sights, listening to other folks exclaiming “wow, this place is amazing” and thinking of creative ways to add “just one more piece” to our already crowded walls and halls.  In the end, we simply purchased some drawer knobs for mom’s bathroom makeover and these amazing vintage porcelain door knobs for me.

Hobby Lobby Porcelain KnobsAnd then it was time to…

Hobby Lobby Exit SignBut not to worry, Hobby Lobby…I’ll be back! Have a terrific Thursday, everyone!! Susan

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Have you heard of It’s a website devoted to sharing lots of fun and interesting tidbits of information…with loads of photos and video clips of cute puppies and funny babies and uplifting stories of real, everday people doing nice things for one another. No heavy news stories featured, this site is strictly for entertainment and to provide a few chuckles and “awwws” along the way to its millions of users. And I mean MILLIONS…read for yourself…

Little Things About Us

Recently, I received an email from Todd Briscoe, a senior editor at, requesting my permission to feature my Rusty Bedspring Marquee Project on their website.

Rusty Bedspring Marquee Sign

He thought my upcycling bedspring project was innovative and interesting enough that it was worth sharing with the world! So thanks, Todd! Click on the link to view the post here in the #amazing category:

Little Things Bedsprings Headline


If you would like to share an interesting video or photo (not necessarily a DIY project, but something cute or funny or inspirational that makes you laugh or cry or just sigh : ) you can go to the website: and click on the “Submit Content” link. According to the website, your video may end up being featured on Letterman or the Today Show! So, if you have a minute (or an hour or two…this website is totally addictive!) and you could use a laugh or a few uplifting stories to start your Sunday, check out And Todd, if you really want to own that Rusty Bedspring Marquee Light, well, I’ve got a deal for you : )  Have a sweet Sunday everyone and just remember…it’s the little things in life that really matter! Susan  

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Hometalk Creative Chalkboard CraftsHave you been Hometalking? If you are a DIY, home improvement, gardening or decorating enthusiast of any kind, Hometalk is an amazing resource hosting thousands of helpful members…regular folks like me and you…who ask, answer and share all sorts of useful home and gardening tidbits. Much like Pinterest (but strictly for home- no recipes or fashion allowed), you browse through postings-in every imaginable home decor category-and choose your favorites.

Hometalk But, not only do you add them to the clipboards you create, there is also a Q & A component where you can post a question for the thousands of Hometalkers to answer at any given moment, or you can add your own two cents worth to help a fellow Hometalker out with a DIY or decorating dilemma. Whenever I post on my blog about my latest DIY projects, I share them on my Hometalk boards where folks can take a look, make a comment or suggestion or clip to their own boards for inspiration. Recently, the good folks at Hometalk reached out to me because they loved my USA Chalkboard Map

USA Chalkboard Map

and asked if I would be willing to create an entire Chalkboard Inspired Craft ClipBoard. Well, heck, yeah! I was blown away by the level of creativity and inspired design as I was browsing through the hundreds of photos of DIY projects featuring chalkboard paint. With everything from sweet party banners to decorated dressers to kitchen doors turned grocery lists, it was so difficult to choose which ones to feature! So…without further ado…presenting my

Creative Chalkboard Crafts Board

HomeTalk Curated ChalkboardA few favs: This Faux Zinc Metal Cabinet from Pretty Handy Girl features some amazing chalk graphics!

Pretty Handy Girl Faux Zinc Metal DresserHave an old window kicking around but you really need a monthly calendar instead? Check out what the blogger from Serendipity Refined created!

Chalkboard wall Calendar from Serendipity RefinedWhat do you get when you have a junky sawhorse leg, some pipe and some chalkboard paint? Well, if you’re Donna from Funky Junk Interiors, you create this ridiculously awesome lamp with the chalkboard shade! (as if I need something to remind me to drink coffee…lol)

Funky Junk Interiors Sawhorse Lamp
Linda from It All Started With Paint was coveting an old door to create her chalkboard grocery list.  Not any more! She took a standard, builder-grade paneled door, added some foam core and trim and created a vintage look chalkboard door. Brilliant!

It All Started With Paint Chalkboard Door

To see more of my Creative Chalkboard Craft ideas, click on Bartlet in his wedding chalkboard attire! Bartlet with signWhile you’re there, try creating a Hometalk board from some of your own favorite photos and projects! Have a great Thursday everyone and just remember: when you need some advice about what color to paint your walls…ruby red is a lovely accent color…just click three times and say…Ruby Slippersthere’s no place like Home(talk). xoxo Susan

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Inspired. Rustic. New Country Style.


Welcome To Country Design Home!

Inspired. Rustic. New Country the suburbs. Because you don't have to live on a farm to create a warm and inviting country-styled home. Follow my DIY junkin' journey as I give tips of the trades and inspired fresh country design ideas to create your own Country Design Home.

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