The weather has been nothing short of yucky the past month or so. Blazingly hot, thunderstorms and an occasional tornado watch has made for not-so-great outdoor relaxing and entertaining. Even our screened-in porch, which we converted from a deck a couple of summers ago, isn’t always so pleasant when it’s 95 degrees! So, since it’s Wanderlust Wednesday, I thought we might take a virtual tour of some of my favorite porch images on the web. I would love to dine here-bright, comfortable and cozy. Perfect summer porch.
As I was scrolling along, I noticed a trend in the images that caught my eye. Bright colors,
texture, natural woods and wicker
all make my list of things that create that “come on in and set a spell” look. I adore this bohemian chic look…
Although I am a huge fan of white wicker, an all-white porch does nothing for me. Adding a pop of color in the woodwork
or the pillows makes a dramatic contrast that draws you into the space.
Even adding a pot of brightly colored flowers makes an impact!
Nothing beats a porch with a water view, whether surfside (amazing, no?!)
or poolside (equally amazing)
or at lake-water’s edge. Can’t you just feel the cool breezes?
And then there are the sleepers.
Can you imagine taking an afternoon nap in one of these cozy nooks?
But at the end of the day, when we make our way to our own back porch,
I realize that it isn’t so much about the style or the design, whether it’s dramatic or simple, it really is just about the place you call home.
Time to head outside for this evening’s cool brew: Sam Adams Porch Rocker! It’s so yummy!
Care to join us? We’ll be on the porch! Susan
Over the 4th of July weekend, I traveled to Cape Cod to spend the holiday with a good friend at her family’s beach-side cottage in Falmouth. Is there anything more quintessentially Cape Cod than magnificent blooming hydrangeas against grey cedar shingles? Beautiful!!
We ate too much, drank margaritas, chatted for hours, watched the neighborhood fireworks and delighted in the joy of her two adorable tow-headed grandsons. The cottage is circa 1930’s, with dark beadboard walls and ceiling in the living room,
a vintage kitchy kitchen and many of the original furnishings still in place. Since she is slowly attempting to freshen and lighten the decor, her most recent flea market find was a white rattan living room set with green and blue striped cushions-so comfy and pretty!
But the dark brown, pressed-board, veneered-top coffee table had seen many better days,
so the choice was to toss it and get something new or refurbish it-nothing that a little paint, tape and time can’t fix! Since she has often admired my whale table,
our original plan was to cut the top of this table into the proper shape and then paint it. But the base was too wide, which didn’t leave a lot of room for cutting definition. The next choice was to define the background with a contrasting color and then paint the whale-perfect! The red, white and blue of my whale table would not have cut it in her beachy blues room, so we chose the Behr sample pots
that most closely matched the stripes in the cushion fabric.
(Funny story, when we went to the mixing counter to order our colors, the clerk said “Why is everyone calling these paint pots? They are jars!” I guess we can thank the British invasion for that one-so thanks, Annie Sloan!)
Here’s the how-to:
1. Get a table that fits a whale shape well. This one is oblong in shape so it was a natural fit with a curved middle and rounded edges. But since most coffee tables are rectangular, they lend themselves to the whale shape well. Prime it. I usually use Glidden Gripper
for its awesome priming ability to stick to pretty much anything.
2. Decide on a pattern
and then draw a whale on the primed table top surface.
It you don’t have any drawing skills, the next best thing is to find the shape online and then print it. My skills are primitive, at best, but they get the job done.
Whales are pretty simple though. They are kind of just a big old long blob with a mouth and a tail.
3. Paint the background color. In this case, we used the darker green to give it a good definition. That also wrapped around the edge of the table. Then we painted the skirt and the legs the other contrasting colors of Mother Nature, Grape Vine and Blue Fox.
4. Painted the background color of the whale. In this case, it was a Behr plain white.
Now you can really see the shape taking shape against the darker green background.
5. Tape off the stripes. I originally measured true center, then started a line across using the table edge as a guide. However, I soon realized that since the table is oblong, it gracefully slopes down as it nears the edges. We could have followed those lines and created a curved effect, but we were going with pin-striped preppy whale so we just started with the center lines, then pulled the tape taut across.
A quick tip: instead of measuring each individual stripe row spacing, we just placed a small piece of tape, then started the next row-quick and easy!
6. Painted the blue lines and tail. Make sure that when you are painting along the tape, you use light coats and strokes so it doesn’t bleed underneath the tape lines! Two light coats are better than one heavy coat. This paint takes so little time to dry, especially in the hot Cape Cod sunshine, that it was only a matter of minutes between coats.
7. Pull the tape and step back and admire the cute preppy whale emerging.
8. Decorate the tail. We wanted to make him look a little more fresh and beachy, so we used a starfish shape cut from an old sponge.
With the white paint, we began sponging the stars on his tail in a random pleasing pattern. This is your chance to use your creativity! Don’t want stars? Use circles or spirals! Anything you can think of you can cut out of a sponge or potato or find a stencil or stamp at your local craft store.
Tip: try to stamp a couple along the edges with a partial pattern so the overall effect is more even and not cramped into the defined space.
The sponge effect is lighter and makes for more realistic starfish.
9. Add an eye. This is a personal choice, but since whales have eyes and we wanted to add a touch of the soft green to the top, this half-moon shape worked beautifully.
10. Stand back and admire. The table is back in place in front of the new sofa, and it instantly added a bright, whimsical touch to the living room.
At that point, it was time for me to head back home (to avoid the notorious Cape bridge traffic). So she’ll be finishing her whale with a touch of glazing and a couple of coats of polyurethane. Need to protect our project from the battle beasts that were once played with by her sons, and now by her grandsons.
So thanks for a whale of a weekend, Mary! See you very soon. I’ll bring the sandpaper…and the margaritas. Susan
As you can see by my back porch decor, I’m a sucker for good ol’ American flag red, white and blue.
I wear my patriotic heart on my sleeve, and the singing of the national anthem still sends chills down my spine (especially the Whitney Houston version). I love the idea of using our American flag for design and color inspiration.
And sometimes just for fun : ) This is Yankee Doodle Bartlet!
So for your Independence Day pleasure, please enjoy some of my favorite flag-inspired red, white and blue design images.
To see many more of my favorite pics, check out my Pinterest board: Hooray for the Red, White and Blue.
Have a safe and joyful 4th of July everyone!! Susan
Yesterday afternoon, as I was relaxing after a long weekend of driving up and down the east coast and making airport runs and painting and sanding and prying up ceramic tiles…whew! I decided to take a break and watch some old movies on my DVR. Just as I am getting settled, my cell phone makes this unbelievable screeching noise- something like an old dying crow- so I grab it and this is what I see!
(Well, its not this one exactly, I was so freaked out I forgot to take a screen shot of it) Seriously?! Living just north of Boston, the closest I have even come to a Twister was in the movie theatre watching that cow go flying by!
But I did have a dear friend who lived in Kansas, and she told me all about the TV alerts and sirens and basement drills with the kids.
So, having seen the devastating destruction they can cause, I have to say, I was just a tad nervous. So I texted my daughter in Boston to let her know, just in case, since she was in Suffolk county, so she wouldn’t have received the text warning. This was her response:
thanks for that, sweetie…clearly not too concerned. So I had to decide between continuing to watch the unfolding news on the TV, which by the way, with those brightly colored graphics and super-excited weathermen reporting the impending doom, is a bit unnerving…)
or retreating to safety until the warning was lifted. First option, the downstairs bath, in the center of the house with no windows and surrounded by interior walls and doors. The one room where we would often find our dog when a thunderstorm was pounding overhead-she was a smart pooch! It is in demo state since I am doing a little renovation, so I was tempted to grab a paintbrush and start adding my topcoat as I waiting out the storm.
But imagining a tornado hitting my 1800’s home, I didn’t think that little bath would stand a chance. Down to the basement I went, where many, many projects await in my workshop. Did I paint? Nope. My stream of consciousness went something like this: “Well, if it hits this old house, I don’t stand a chance anyway. No sense working on projects that may get ruined. Wait, maybe it will just hit the barn.
That would be the easy way of getting rid of all the junk and books Coach has collected and I’ll be rid of those blasted kayaks!
Well, maybe if it didn’t hit the barn, I could hire a bulldozer and have it knocked down and then tell Coach that the tornado hit it (he’s out of town right now…). So I called my family on the north shore to make sure they were safe and secure, hung around the basement til 4:30, then headed back up to the daylight. Everything intact, disaster averted. Thanks for the warning, NWS, but I just have one question? Where did you get my number?!?! Have an un-twisted Tuesday everyone!! Susan
…with not one, not two, but three paddles! When Coach brought a pile of old wooden paddles home last year (5 in all), I was pretty ticked off, because at the time, we just didn’t have any place to store them and I had no use for them. These are not the type of paddles you would use for kayaking, and since that is the watery mode of transportation we are sporting these days,
So they sat in the barn over the winter until 1. I sold a couple of them to Pat from Perfectly You, A Decorating Service for her awesome nautical hallway project
and 2. I discovered this decorative box at, where else, HomeGoods,
which became my inspiration for this month’s nautical theme at the Vintage Thymes Market. With three paddles remaining, I decided to paint and distress them to look the ones pictured above. Except those are oars, so I am taking some artistic license here. Do you know the difference?! I made the necessary repairs to the handles, sanded them down, taped off the lines and stripes,
painted in the red and white and blue,
added the number 3 (found the one I wanted online and printed it out on a piece of paper. Cut it out, traced it on and painted it in. Easy!! You know you don’t have to paint perfectly when you are planning on sanding and distressing a piece, right?
I re-sanded the painted sections for that worn-out, been used to row across the ocean and back kind of look,
then added a coat of Annie Sloan Soft Wax,
which restored the original luster of the exposed, unpainted wooden areas.
Lovely. So I brought them, and the box to market, and only the #3 sold! So now there are two paddles remaining, which are presently hanging proudly in our summer porch.
The good news is that they are all painted and shiny and pretty. The bad news is that there is one short and one long-in case you have a lop-sided canoe. Which, thankfully, I do not. Hope you don’t spend your entire day paddling upstream!! Susan