America the Beautiful.

Map and Sign on Wall Signed

Sorry that I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with maps recently, but I am sharing my latest DIY project with you anyway because I especially LOVE IT.

Map Tacked Corners

I recently spotted a gorgeous, artistically designed wooden US map in a shop window and was hoping to purchase it for the final piece of our bathroom remodel. Alas, with a price tag of $650 (which was more than we spent for the new slate tile floor!) that just wasn’t happening. Then I remembered a framed, wooden something-or-other Coach had stored in the barn awhile back.

Map Old FrameNot sure what it used to be, but there seemed to be some torn felt and patches of black backing still affixed to it. But I loved the colors and the shape was perfect for the bathroom wall. So here is the How-I-Made-An-Artistic-Map:
1. Find a map outline online. Save it to your computer. Go to Blockposters.com and download the pic.

Map Blockposters ScreenNow create the proper size pattern for your project. Blockposters automatically cuts the pieces up in proper proportion to fit! Print it out, then tape back together to create the pattern.

Blockposter Enlargement

2. I outlined the edge of the pattern with a black marker to create a smooth line (do you know how many little inlets the great lakes have?!) and to mark the reverse side.

Map Tracing Outline with Sharpie3. Back from when scrapbooking was a hobby obsession, I have a trunk filled with decorative papers to choose from, so I went with ones that had some sort of meaning, like baseball in Boston and redwoods in California, friendship and love and in the heartlands and football in Texas.  But you can use anything you want, even an old map!

Map Craft Paper PileI cut all the papers into 1″ strips lengthwise.

Map One Inch StripsThen I taped them onto the map pattern, making sure they were tight to one another.

Map Taping Pattern4. Glued the strips to the map pattern on the front side, one strip at a time, smoothing out wrinkles and creases as I went. Don’t worry about following the shape of the pattern, you will be cutting all the excess away once everything is glued into place.

Map Glueing Strips to Backing5. Once dried, I flipped the map over to the reverse side, and cut around the marker outline I had created earlier. I cut through all of the glued on paper strips as well.

Map ReverseHere is the finished map cutout. Cute!

Map Cutout6. The patchwork map is quite colorful, but was a little lost in the rough background of the frame. So I decided to mount it onto a piece of black foam core board.  Elmers Craft Bond works great for that!

Map Mounting with Elmers Craft Bond7. Since there won’t be any glass on this picture, it needed a smooth finish for protection, so I painted it with Martha Stewart Decoupage Matte.

Map MS Matte DecoupageI really like this stuff. It is very smooth and leaves a nice finish on any piece. Initially when you paint it on, the paper sometimes bubbles up, but once it dries, it is perfect.

Map MS Matte Finish8. Mounted the map to the black background, and allowed it to dry. Now it really pops off the page!

Map Mounted on Black Board

While that was happening, I cleaned the frame and added a little picture hanging thingy on the back. It is very light, so didn’t require any special screws.

Map Hanging9. I used small old-fashioned black iron tacks for the corners just to dress it up a bit and give it an aged appearance.

Map Tacked Corners10. Done! Hung in the remodeled bathroom, with the antique National Cash register sign we purchased at the Elephant’s Trunk Flea this past summer.

Map and Sign on WallTotal cost of the project: zippo-I saved $650, using the Three “R”s-recycle, refurbish, relove. Everything I needed for this project I already had on hand, so Coach, you owe me one… Have a crafty Tuesday everyone! Susan

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If you follow the website “I F***ing Love Science”, you will understand why I decorated this table the way I did. That website, with its somewhat irreverent style, has over 6.9 million followers-apparently the founder is not alone in her love for all things scientific! (No worries, there is a kid-friendly mirror page as well : https://www.facebook.com/ScienceIsSeriouslyAwesome.

Kennebunkport HarborThe last time we were in Kennebunkport, (nice segue-you’ll see in a moment…) we discovered these gorgeous decorative papers in a shop downtown.

Printed Papers

Since I bought them early in the spring, I had been searching for a clever way to use them, so when Coach brought this metal Sexton table home, to me it screamed science lab.

Sexton Metal Table

I went with it, using the Astronomy Chart as the inspiration.

Astronomy Chart

The table base was missing and was replaced with a piece of plywood, which I painted around the edges with my newest paint obsession Behr Stealth Jet.

Table Base Painted Frame

Then I clear coated the entire piece to prevent any bleeding through onto the beautiful paper. Measured and cut the paper to fit the plywood. If you don’t have a rotary cutter and a T-Square, you should. They make perfect cuts every time!

Cutting Paper to fit

Modge Podge application was up next to

Modge Podge

 affix the paper to the wood- you coat the wood piece,

Modge Podge on table

and the back of the paper, smoothing it into place, removing the air bubbles as you go. If it bubbles while wet, no worries, they disappear upon drying.

Adhering paper with Modge Podge

Once dry, added another coat of Modge Podge to seal and protect the paper. For the table top, I wanted to stencil some science-solar-system-type stuff.

Rough Sketch

I created a pattern on a piece of notebook paper (I think we were driving somewhere, hence the directions on the side), then transferred that to a paper the size of the table top.

Creating a Pattern

Began stenciling, starting with the 3″ letters spelling out SCIENCE in the center. These are available at any of your local craft emporiums, and if you have a coupon, which I always do- they are only a few $$ each. Totally re-useable!

Stencils

Then I kept adding on words, trying different size stencils until I got the spacing correct. (Unfortunately, not all the words in my design in my head fit on the table. Guess my measurements weren’t quite scientific enough.)

Stencil Painted

With each word, I taped the stencil on, then spray painted the letters with Rustoleum Painter’s Touch in a dark gray that matched the bottom piece…

Rustoleum Painters Touch

…allowed to dry, then went on to the next word. I did find that the cardboard stencils allowed more bleeding underneath (the paint spread under the actual cut-out letter opening) so I switched to all plastic, and adhered each panel with a bit of this Elmer’s spray adhesive prior to taping down.

Elmer's Craft Bond

Once the top was complete, I finished it a clear spray coating for durability. At the last moment, I decided the base wasn’t jazzy enough, so I cut away the border of the paper and created a sunburst effect. Brilliant! This is the table in my shop last weekend-SOLD!!

Science Table at Vintage Thymes MarketApparently other folks f***ing love science too! Have a great weekend everyone-heading up to the Vintage Bazaar on Saturday-see you there! Susan

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It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and normally I write about places we’ve already been in the past. But today, I wanted to give the heads-up

Funky Chicken

that the Vintage Bazaar at Pettengill Farm

Vintage Bazaar

is taking place this weekend, September 21 & 22 in Salisbury, Mass. This is one of my all-time favorite country fairs, featuring live bluegrass music, great food trucks and over 125+ craftsmen and artisans creating one of a kind pieces for you to take home and treasure!

Vintage Cash & Cari

Many of my old favs will be rocking the farm, along with some inspiring new crafty folks. Here is a sneak peek at the newest members of the Vintage Bazaar flock:
Pop & Circumstance

Pop and Circumstance

Simplicity (loving all the red and white and buffalo plaid!)

Simplicity

Happy Days Vintage

Happy Days Vintage

Bottles & Bonfires (ah, sipping wine by a bonfire…how romantic)

Bottles and Bonfires

Sundaes Best Hot Fudge Sauce  (oh, man, this just keeps getting better and better)

Sundaes Best

There is so much to see and do, including a kid’s tent and pumpkin bowling (!?),

Family Fun

dreamy trucks

Dream Vintage Truck

a Sunday vintage motorcycle show (remember this pink beauty?!)

Vespa Pink

and shopping, loads of shopping!

Vintage Bazaar Tote Bag

The Vintage Bazaar will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10-5 on the grounds of Pettengill Farm

Pettengill Farm

So don’t be chicken, come down to the fair! Hope to see you all there! Susan

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Did you ever decide that you wanted to paint some drawer pulls, but the pulling part that is hinged to the face plate keeps swinging back and forth while you are trying to hold it still to apply the paint? So frustrating! Simple solution: drawer pull puppets!

Pull Puppets

All you need is a place to hang the pulls while you paint, some thread, (you can use string, but the thinner the better so you don’t see the lines),

Thread and Scissorsscissors, painters tape and some newspaper, and of course, the paint. In this case I used Rustoleum Hammered Silver paint purchased at The Home Depot.

Hammered Rustoleumto give the old pitted brass a new old distressed look. Cut the thread and loop it over the wire. I used our cable wires in the basement that are attached to the beams in the ceiling over my work space.

Thread and wire

Now, obviously, if you have a nice, decorated basement, you would not be spray-painting in there anyway. I, on the other hand, have become a basement dweller surrounded by old pipes and cobwebs, concrete floors, hanging exposed wires and gray stone walls. No worries about ruining anything. So, I hung the hinges to just above the work table top, then taped them underneath to the table to stop them from swinging-uggh!

Pitted Brass Pulls

(if I ever tell you I want to add a puppeteer to my bucket list, remind me of this post, please).

Puppets in Window

Spray painted them, one coat needed. This paint adds a cool textured finish to the metal.

Hammered Silver Paint

Now, I wanted to add a little more interest to them, so I dry-brushed some of the Behr Stealth Jet Gray on top, the same color as the desk I had painted.

Antiquing pulls

Then I wiped most of it away, leaving just a hint of the darker gray to match the desk. Allowed to dry, then cut them down.

Hanging Pulls

This is the point where I typically show you the finished piece. Sadly, I forgot to take that pic! (sigh, I really need a camera crew to follow me around to take pics. Too many things to remember!!) Happily, I sold the desk at the Vintage Thymes Market this past weekend : ) But it did look pretty awesome, and that’s my unbiased opinion.

Desk Drawer Pulls

Have a non-distressing Tuesday everyone- stop hanging around and go do something today!! Susan

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Recently, I had the good fortune to observe an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint class instructed by Amy Chalmers, owner of Maison Decor in Reading, Mass.

Amy Chalmers

With the perfect blend of skill, patience and great humor, Amy was able to successfully educate the attendees of the class on the basic techniques of using chalk paint to make their life more beautiful.

Maison Decor Life More Beautiful SignI first met Amy about a year ago, when I ventured into her store in Malden (now being used primarily as a workshop). Although we chatted that day about her blog and her company, I hadn’t really had an opportunity to learn about her own design experience until now. When questioned about her art background (when you see her shop, you know there is a very talented artist in residence), this was her response:

Amy Painting Armoire“I did study art at Northeastern and our program involved taking classes at the Museum of Fine Arts, which was amazing. But I was an English major in creative writing and art was my minor. I just always was the artsy kid, and my dad built me my own special art table when I was 12…it was modeled after an architects drafting table with a raised work surface and it had lots of cubbies on one side for me to put my art supplies. My parents just encouraged my creative leanings and I am glad they did. I painted a mural on my bedroom wall in high school~so it was just something that I found very natural. I think it was my first grade art teacher that ignited the fire inside of me, I was so excited about my art classes with her, and I remember thinking that I wanted to grow up to be an art teacher!”

After her schooling, Amy got into fabrics, making slipcovers and drapes, and started her own business in her late twenties sewing custom pieces. Interior design work followed, and for over 20 years she had her own business specializing in window treatments and color selections. Focusing primarily on residential interiors, she did do an occasional commercial space, including the McDonalds in Fanueil Hall in Boston! (what Annie Sloan colors are in that yellow and red palette?!)

Chalk Paints on Windowsill at Maison Decor

Fast forward to the present, where Amy spends the bulk of her time in the Reading Shop as an Annie Sloan “stockist” and teacher, offering painting workshops while creating and selling gorgeous pieces of furniture and decor, all finished with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Maison Decor Chalk Paint SuppliesEntering into the store from Main Street, you feel as if you are stepping into an old chateau in the French countryside.

Maison Decor Shop VignetteHer style is quintessential French Country: loads of soft, muted colors, (Duck Egg Blue, oh yum!)

Duck Egg Bluestunning crystal chandeliers

Maison Decor French Crystal Chandelierand vintage pieces, all restyled and refinished using Annie Sloan paints and finishes.

Blue Painted DresserShe and her sons, Justin and Colin, also working in the business, created this cobblestone floor using sponges and chalk paint. Magnifique! FYI-the guys teach a “men’s-only” class, for the gents who would like to learn the painting techniques while not surrounded by women. Or maybe not.

Maison Decor Cobblestone FloorI arrived a bit early on workshop day, checking out the work table at the back of the shop, all set with the necessary tools and aprons her participants would need.

Maison Decor Class PrepOnce the class got rolling, Amy was a great teacher, at first educating her students on the paints, the company and furniture styles, but then it was time to get messy!

Time Clock @ Maison Decor

Amy’s charming teaching style is stand-up comedy meets mad scientist meets art professor.

Class PaintingShe knows her stuff, and is eager to impart her vast knowledge and expertise to her students, demonstrating technique and patiently answering any questions from her class. This is a hands-on workshop- no boring lectures here!

Amy Chalmers Teaching ClassAfter a few hours of painting and glazing and using blow-dryers (you’ll have to take the class to find out what those are for : ) the final reveal: These were Amy’s demo pieces:

Completed Samples, Teacher

and here are some samples from one of the class members: pretty close, agreed?

Completed Samples, Student

If you are interested in learning about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and if you don’t know what that is, check out Pinterest (and if you don’t know what that is, you clearly have not been reading my blog…)

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

This unique paint, originating in England by a former rocker, is slowly making its way through the US and changing the way American craftspeople re-purpose and restyle their furniture.) Or, you can head over to Maison Decor at 150 Main Street in Reading, and learn everything you need to know from the master, Amy Chalmers, in one of her continually added workshops. They stock all of the necessary supplies there, or you can order online.  And if you do check her out, tell her Sue from Country Design Home sent you! Have a charming Sunday, 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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