My DIY projects are being completed at a record pace this month, knowing that Thanksgiving dinner for twenty is fast approaching and our Vintage Thymes Monthly Market will be the following weekend! One of this week’s projects was refurbishing a cute little side table.

Teeny Tiny Tea Table BeforeThe original finish was a shiny scratched shellac with large milky stains on the top over a dark mahogany wood. After several unsuccessful attempts to remove the stains, I made the decision to paint and antique it instead. Since I wanted to show off the pretty delicate floral border, I decided to go with two coats of Annie Sloan French Linen for the base and a specialty deeper gray color that I created. (I’m calling it CDH Parisian Gray : ) I have been mixing my own colors and creating a chalk-like paint using a recipe I recently discovered online. LOVE it. Blog for another day.

CDH Parisiian Gray Paint

For the finishes, I used some Martha Stewart products I discovered in a 50% off mark down bin at MichaelsCrackle Effect for the center, Antique Tintable Glaze for the contrast and a Satin Acrylic Finish. 

Martha Stewart Glazes and FinishesHere is the How-To:

1. Cleaned the table and remove cobwebs and dust (it was in the barn…).

2. Painted the base coat with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The beauty of ASCP is that you don’t need to prep or prime anything. Just paint and go. Two coats. 3. Sanded the edges to give the table a more rustic appearance. (You can skip this step if you want it to be a bit more refined : )

Annie Sloan French Linen Paint- 2 coats legs4. I had left the middle circle untouched, thinking that I would just add the crackle medium and then paint over that to allow the dark wood to show through. (For more info on using crackling medium, check out my Big Rack Attack Towel Rack tutorial)

Martha Stewart Crackle Medium over shellacFAIL. The crackling medium dried, and when I painted over it for the contrast, it looked fine.

Martha Stewart Crackle Glaze Over ShellacUntil I started to add the glaze. What a mess. All of the paint started coming off with the rag! Apparently the crackle medium did not adhere to the unprepped and shellacked inner circle. So I scraped it off,

Scraping off Crackle Glaze and Paintcleaned it well, sanded it down,

Sanded Table toppainted it with my CDH Parisian gray,

Painted Inner Circle of Tea Tablecrackle glazed and repainted that inner circle again, allowed to dry thoroughly,

Repainting inner circlethen proceeded on to the next step.

5. Mixed the Antique Effects Glaze with my darker gray paint.

Martha Stewart Antique Glaze and paintRemember, the more paint you use, the darker the glaze effect will be, so just use a small amount of paint. Paint it on, wipe it off with a damp rag. Do one section at a time, as this product dries pretty quickly and you want it to be blended smoothly and not leave streaky lines.

Painting on Martha Stewart GlazeI started out with a fairly dark mixture of paint and glaze, then added more glaze to lighten up as I went on. The great part about this product is that it is water based, so just taking a damp rag to it removed the excess perfectly. You can see how the glaze enhances not only the crackling effect in the center, but also the medallion of flowers along the border. So country pretty!

Wiping Off Excess Glaze6. Allowed to dry, then added the Martha Stewart Satin Finish for protection. Done. Overall, I give the Martha Stewart products two thumbs up! They go on smoothly (the crackle fiasco was my bad, not Martha’s), clean up with soap and water, are essentially odorless and a little goes a very long way, so it’s inexpensive as well. But the refurbishing of this little table cost me a lot of time. Good thing Coach got it for FREE-99!!

Table with Martha Stewart Satin Finish7. So, where could you use a Teeny Tiny Tea Table? How about next to a pretty pink victorian rocking chair in the Parisian-inspired guest room?

Teeny Tiny Tea Table Vignette PMOK, I am off to decoupage the world! Or, at the very least, some more stars… Have a super Sunday everyone, and GO PATS! Susan 

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Nothing like a fun DIY project to get ready for the upcoming holidays! I had a box full of vintage jelly jars kicking around,

Jelly Jars Empty Stackso I decided to make some candles as stocking stuffers. This is really quite easy, as most of the products I used from Country Lane

Candle Making Kitcame with very explicit instructions on the packaging. I purchased the starter kit, plus all of the additional materials including the colorants

Country Lane Candle Colorant

the scent bottles (so many yummy flavors to choose from!!)Country Lane Candle Scentsand extra wicks

Waxed Wicksat AC Moore, but you can also buy in quantity from various candle makers through Etsy or Ebay as well. I figured I would give it a try on a smaller scale before I got into wholesale lots of wax and wicks. Here is the How-To-Do-It:

1. Wash the little jars or whatever you are planning on using. In my case, if the tops were really rusted, I spray painted them so you could see the embossed Jelly Jar writing.

Jelly Jar Pre-Washed2. Bring water to a boil in a pan large enough to hold the candle melting pot, but with only enough water to submerge the bottom of the pot!

Pot of Simmering WaterThe melting pot has a handle so it hangs onto the edge of the pan of boiling water. Once the water is boiling, reduce to simmer. Place pot filled with wax chips into the hot water, making sure you don’t splash any water into the melting pot!

Melting Wax3. Leave the pot in the simmering water until the wax melts completely. DO NOT ALLOW THE WAX TO BOIL!!! Soy wax melts very quickly on the lowest setting, so it only takes a couple of minutes to melt the entire bag.

Soy Wax Chips4. Get the little wicks and dip them into the melted wax, then adhere them centered in the bottom of the jar. Allow to cool completely!

Jelly Jar EmptyThat way when you go to pour the wax in, they will stay upright. Nothing worse than a crooked wick!

5. Add scent and colorant to the desired colors and scent levels. Obviously, the more you add, the darker the color and the stronger the scent. The melted wax appears darker than when it cools and sets, so color accordingly.

Adding colorant

6. Pour melted wax carefully into prepared jars, making sure you avoid the centered wick, so it won’t melt and warp. Allow to cool.

Pouring Wax7. To create some labels, I went to Staples and got these cute little Martha Stewart Brown Kraft Paper labels numbers 72428 and 72429. (If the packages look a little ink-stained to you, that is not your computer screen. They were in a bag with a jar of black grout and I was fumbling for my keys and dropped the bag in the driveway and…you can guess the rest.)

Martha Stewart Brown Kraft Paper Labels8. Go to Avery.com Design & Print Online, and plug in the label numbers in the search box.

Avery Design and Print

A template will pop up and you can design it however you would like your label to look. Remember, these are enlarged on the computer screen, so when you actually print them in sheets of 6, the print will be smaller!

Jelly Jar Label Reverse9. I have a pretty old printer, and it doesn’t take kindly to adjusting for different size cards and papers. So I simply taped my labels onto a sheet of standard copy paper in the proper position,

Labels Taped to paperthen printed them-perfectly placed and spaced!

Jelly Jar Candle Label

10. Add the printed labels to the jars and put the tops on. Cute! And they smell great too! If you have questions or are looking for additional information, go to Soap Expressions.com and they have lots of candle-making tutorials using their Country Lane product line.

CDH Jelly Jar Soy Candles

Have a fab Friday, everyone! Time to start preparing for Turkey Trot Thursday!! Susan

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Sunday morning, Coach and I ventured to Todd Farm in Rowley, not as shoppers, but for the first time ever, as vendors.

Todd Farm Sign

Coach had been yard and estate-saling all summer long, and the barn was bursting at the seams. This weekend was the last available one for us (but the flea markets are still going on until December 1) where we could try to move some stuff, to essentially make room for more stuff. Alarm went off at 4am. Groan. Pitch black outside, damp and freezing cold @ 31 degrees.

31 Degrees at Game Time!

Fortunately, we had packed both cars the night before so we were ready to travel to Rowley, arriving at 5am under the cloak of darkness. We were ushered to a row of parking spaces marked with orange cones, next to the lovely Lisa from Rita Joes Vintage, who was already set up and ready to sell! As we began untying the ropes to take down our display tables from the roof of the car, we noticed flashing lights in the foggy distance,

Flashlight Posse

reminiscent of an old western where the sheriff and his posse are desperately searching for the escaped fugitive. The only things missing were the baying bloodhounds. An amazing and surreal sight. And simply AWESOME. These were the many dealers with head lamps and flashlights swarming the incoming vehicles,

Dealers checking cars

checking the interiors for hidden treasures and asking “any old toys, any old artwork?”

Dealers at Dawn

 So once we set up shop,

Its A Sign

I strolled around to take a few photos as the sun began to rise over the fields.

Todds Farm Truck At Dawn

Pink sky at morning…

Pink Sky at Morning

Finally in daylight, I was able to see what some of the other vendors were offering, and discovered a few of my favorite things:

A very jaunty Mr. Snowman

Frosty the Snowman

I have never seen a mannequin like this one, but I would be happy every day if I had her in my dressing room…

Laughing Manequin

This is an entire Marionette’s traveling road show suitcase.

Marrionette Suitcase

As the breaking daylight illuminated the quickly-occupied fields, it became apparent that there are many levels of sellers. Those, like us, who packed their mini vans and SUV’s with household wares and crafts,

Mini Van Unloading

and then there are those who press their company trucks and vans into service for the day.

Junk Removal TruckAnd then there are the big guns, the vendors who we see every time we shop at Todd Farm, with large cargo vans

Unloading vanand trailers packed to the rafters with furniture and goods.

Unloading trucksI love the Christmas vignette from this vendor with the antique sleigh and vintage life sized Santa…Holly Lane…Ho Ho Ho!

Holly LaneIf you happen to be searching for anything unusual, like an antique circus wagon

Circus Wagonor a weathered stone mermaid,

Mermaid of Stoneor a box of gorgeous bright blue bulbs from an airport runway,

Blue Bulbs

Todd Farm is the place for you! And if you are interested in selling some of your prized possessions, they make it so easy. You drive up, park your car, pay your $35 and you are in business! Just remember, the early bird gets the worm,

Early Bird with Wormso getting there before daybreak is the best way to showcase your wares to dozens of dealers before the general public arrives. As for Coach, what exactly did he sell? The signs in the above photo? Pretty much gone. As a matter of fact, some of the old metal auto and cigar signs were purchased by another vendor who promptly walked across the pathway and resold them in his booth! Shades of Killer Stuff and Tons of Money.

Market Tasco SignThose antique coffee grinder wheels we scored at The Elephant Trunk? Sold.

Enterprise Coffee Grinder WheelsThis antique retro table with the cool graphics. Gone to a good home. Top included, just not in the photo.

Retro Rocket TableThis gorgeous aqua metal trunk? Sold. (That one killed me. I loved that thing! But just had no where to put it!)

Market Aqua Steel BoxCoach did alright selling his stuff, and I loved the people-watching, the photo-taking, getting rid of a bunch of stuff and the donuts from the canteen truck that was conveniently situated nearby. The amazing Marty’s donuts. OMG.

Marty's DonutAnd since Coach did so great selling his finds, I think we have may have just found his new summer job! But for now, it’s time to get out there and find some new stuff to sell! Happy treasure hunting, everyone! Susan

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Merry Christmas Sign HGTV

With stenciled holiday signs being so popular this season, I decided to decorate an old pine box for the market. The trouble with pre-made and purchased stencils? There are only a limited number of fonts available with the letter stencils.

Stencil PileSometimes a 3″ Times New Roman or a 2″

Arialwon’t do the trick. Also, the pre-made ones that have specific sayings and designs can be quite pricey, even with a coupon from your favorite local crafts store! You can order custom stencils online as well, but again, the price could be prohibitive for one project. Unless you are planning on making a ton of signs with the same design, it is difficult to justify spending upwards of $30 on a large pre-cut stencil for just one creation. So, I decided to try a do-it-myself stencil with stuff I already had in my workshop. Success! This is the “how-I-did-it”: Tools you will need: regular copy paper, printer (ink or laser, doesn’t matter), plastic sheet protectors

Sheet Protectorsor transparency film,

Transparency Filmspray craft bond (the kind that is temporary and moveable, like this Elmer’s),

Elmers Craft Bondan X-acto knife, razor cutter or small sharp scissors, a cutting surface (I used an old sewing cutting mat) scotch or any transparent tape, paint and stenciling sponge or brush and, most importantly,  a pattern or idea for the design.

Stenciling Supplies

Step 1: On my Paint program on the desktop, I found the font I wanted and created the sign I needed: Pine Cones 5c. Saved the file. You can use your own favorite program and be as elaborate as you like as long as you can print it out and cut it out.

Pasting Together Stencil Pieces

Step 2: Go to Blockposters.com

Blockposters.com

and download your file. It is easy and free! They customize your sign to whatever size you need. In this case, I needed a long narrow horizontal sign, so it printed out on four pieces of paper. Print it out. Cut apart the words and tape them back together with the correct order and spacing to fit.

Stencil Cut To SizeStep 3: Take the plastic sheets and cut and tape them to the same size as the paper sign.

Cutting Stencil with T-squareYou may need more than one sheet of plastic, depending on the size of the sign you are making. Use the scotch tape to piece together.

Sign Adhered to Plastic

Step 4: Spray the craft bond to the back of the transparent plastic sheet and adhere that to the paper pattern, front side up, so you can see the print. Make sure it is solidly in place there are no wrinkles!

Elmers Craft BondStep 5: Take your razor cutter or knife, or scissors if you don’t have those, and cut out the stencil. (Yikes! Looking at this pic I realized how rusty that razor is! And no, that is not my blood on the mat…)

Cutting on Mat BoardRemember, when you are stenciling, you need the little middles of the round letters to have some definition! You can do one of two things: leave a small line attached to the middle piece, or cut it away completely.

Cutting Out Whole LettersKeep the little middle pieces and glue them onto the piece separately before you paint. Cut Out Letters CloseupStep 6: Once your stencil is cut to your liking, you can peel away the white paper pattern in the back and that will leave the plastic stencil.

Stencil 5c cut

Or you can leave it on, as long as it is adhered solidly. Now spray the back of the stencil lightly and press it onto your prepared piece, making sure you press firmly along the cut lines so the paint doesn’t bleed underneath.

Step 7: Paint inside the cut stencil areas. I actually started with a base of spray paint, then added layers til I got the look and color I wanted. You can use spray paint, or a damp sponge or an actual flat stencil pouncing brush with acrylic paint, whatever you have available (if you have never stenciled before, then you might want to check this out for more details.)

Step 8: Stand back and admire : ) Stencil on Box Completed Cute, right?! Now, I realize this is a lot of steps, but I wanted to make sure I covered all of the bases. This is actually quite simple, and allows you the flexibility to create whatever style stencil you want or need for your specific project! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask here or drop me a line @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com. And if you do create a project with your own design, please send it to me or post on my Facebook page-can’t wait to see them!  Happy stenciling Saturday, everyone! Susan

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The other day, I was checking my iPhone for email messages when an error message like this one popped up…hmmm.

gmail error message

So I tried logging in again. Nothing. Investigated further, discovered that my gmail account had been deleted!!! Now, if I had received this error message,

deleting account warning

I would have said no thank you. But I never did. So somehow, someway, someone had deleted my gmail account. It took a couple of frantic hours, the names of my first born nephew and my third grade nun (and some timely assistance from my daughter, who just happened to be dropping off the pup for a little nana-time)

sowa bartlet

to finally get this email message from Google:

google verfication code

the magic restoration code that allowed me to enter a new password and restore my account. (Gmail doesn’t have a customer service number to call, you just have to follow their email resolution questions or get redirected to essentially useless user forums.) Account restored, all is great….but, wait. The file categories are there, just like they were when I was so rudely deleted, but the saved emails? Gone, baby, gone.

Gmail file names

All of my correspondence, banking, photos, shopping and blog information. All of my contacts, poof. Disappeared into cyberspace. With no way to retrieve them. Thankfully, all of my financial files had been backed up on other servers. But, if you have recently contacted me for information, an affiliation, a collaboration or just to say hello, those emails are toast. So please contact me again at countrydesignhome@gmail.com and I will get back to you! Ironically, the reason I have a gmail account is due to the fact that my previous Comcast account had been allowing my inbox to be flooded with spam! After a frustrating, lost weekend spending countless hours on the phone speaking to customer service reps around the world with no resolution to my hacking issue other than to pay an additional $15 per month for special security-what!?!- I cancelled Comcast and switched to Verizon. (I never wrote about it, but you can read this Forbes story about another writer’s Comcast follies to get the general idea.) But I decided to switch my email to gmail to avoid having to change over all of my accounts again, in the event that Verizon didn’t work out. But, alas, here I am, back in email hell. So…does anyone have a fool and hack-proof email system I could use? Susan

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Welcome To Country Design Home!

Inspired. Rustic. New Country Style...in 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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