Source: Online Buyer Beware
Back in the fall, I found some amazing buffalo plaid curtain panels for a steal at the Christmas Tree Shops.
The ones I purchased are cream and teal, and I originally paid $16.99 for per pair, which I thought was a steal! When I decided I needed one more pair for our large window, I found the last pair in a markdown bin for $4.99- now that’s a real steal! They are hanging in our master bedroom, and every time I walk in the room, I love them again! But, you know how, when you change one thing, then the old stuff looks really old and needs to be updated? So, that happened. Time to for a spring-time spruce up! I needed to find some new bedding that would complement the curtains and the existing palette in the room. I did a lot of online searching until I finally stumbled upon this perfect set
on this website: www.extrablanket.com. They had lots of comforters and curtains at great prices! This particular set was marked down from $249.95 to $67.68! I know, right?! Since I had never heard of the company before, I did my due diligence (or so I thought) and checked into the website. They have a PayPal account and loads of listings on EBay and Amazon (although under different names in each case…which I thought was rather strange but I really wanted that comforter set…so I ignored the red flags). So, I ordered the set, paying for it with my credit card…and waited. I did receive a confirmation from extrablanket.com with tracking information. Then the second payment confirmation email came from PayPal, but from a company called Domestic Décors, but the email listed was from GrandLinen@yahoo.com…hmm. Another red flag. So now there are three different names being used. The PayPal payment page stated that the shipment would be within 5-7 days, and there was an order and tracking # so I figured it was all good. Then after the 5-7 days, I checked the tracking # page and it was blank. BLANK. Crap. So, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I waited some more (did I say how much that I REALLY wanted that comforter set?!) At the end of February I sent my first “Hey, I haven’t heard from you” email and waited for a response. Nothing. On March 2, I sent a “Hey, where’s my stuff, I am going to report you, blah, blah, blah” email. Again, NO RESPONSE. There is no phone number on the website, but there was one on my PayPal statement, so I called it. NOTHING. Just a ring and then a non-descript voice-mail message. Finally, reluctantly (because I REALLY wanted that comforter set) I called my credit card fraud division and reported them. The CC rep said it happens all the time-these companies open up websites and “sell” non-existent stuff, and no sooner does someone report them and shut them down, then they re-open under another name and keep on scamming consumers. The CC company refunded my money (initially I told her I didn’t want the money back because I REALLY wanted that comforter set- she laughed and said “well, that’s not gonna happen) and sent me an email stating that they had contacted the company and were waiting for a response. In the meantime, the website is still up and running and their postings on Amazon and EBay remain in place, which baffles me. How does this company remain open under all these different names on reputable websites if they are really not selling anything??? So, I am back on the hunt for another comforter set. If you happen to see anything king-sized that is teal and navy blue with some embroidered flowers, give me a shout out. (unless, of course, you spot it on extrablanket.com). Here’s hoping you’re keeping warm…under your nice, stylish comforter set…because it’s still so chilly here in Boston!! So beware! xoxo Susan
This past year has been one of great joys and great sorrows for me personally. The birth of our very first grandchild (he’s a wee bit camera shy, but suffice to say-and this is my totally unbiased opinion- that he is the cutest baby in the whole world…) followed by the incredible wedding celebration of our son to his lovely bride, were both the happiest of occasions.
But, those extraordinary events were overshadowed by the diagnosis, illness and subsequent death of my mother,
(their beloved grandmother and great-grandmother) who passed away recently at 89 years young from cancer. To say that the events of the past year were overwhelming is an understatement. Each presented its own set of unique demands and daily challenges, and each was equally important in its own right. So, during that time, blogging was most definitely not in the forefront of my mind. Getting through each day, surviving until the next dawn broke was about all I had the time and energy for…and so it had been some time, until quite recently, since I had put “pen to paper” to write my stories. But time marches on, as they say, and life settles down, and we move forward…or in this case, backwards…to a time when I was happily painting and sawing and sanding and DIY’ing and sharing it all with you on social media.
In the past few weeks, I have started (and finished!) some new projects, remembered to take photos
and share them on social media-which, in itself, was pretty amazing! So, I am finally beginning to re-furbish and re-love the pieces that have been lying dormant in the basement…and the barn…and the shed during this long and lonely winter. Loving this sweet little side table I recently re-did but completely forgot to write about.
But I do have one problem. I recently moved my blog server back to WordPress.com (a long and frustrating story for another day). But with that move, I was not able to bring all of you, my lovely readers along with me! Those of you who had joined the ranks of my blog followers over the past few years will no longer receive my blog posts…unless we take action…so I need your help! If you wish to continue receiving email notices of my blog posts and DIY escapades (and, remember, we never, ever, EVER use your email for any other purpose : ), and I hope that you do, you need to click on this link to the home page of my blog https://countrydesignhome.com/
scroll down to the right side of the screen until you get to the line that reads “follow my blog”. Fill in the little window your email address, click send, and you will receive a confirmation email from me via Word Press. Just hit confirm, and you are done! Now, I know this is a pain in the neck and you are thinking, “well, this is a pain in the neck”, so I am going to sweeten the pot a wee bit. All of the email confirmations I receive by April 15th will be placed in a random drawing and one lucky person will win a $50 Amazon.com gift card…as a personal thanks from me to you…
…because we can all use a little fun news on Tax Day, right? So, thanks for understanding, and thanks for being part of my life and allowing me to share my stories with you…and I am hoping that we can now we can finally begin anew. Susan xoxo
Coach and I, well, we just love whales. I am not certain how it all began, but I can say that one of our very first “all day” dates took place in lovely Mystic Connecticut. In Mystic Seaport, it is all things nautical, and I suspect perhaps that day spent touring the Charles W. Morgan (the last wooden whale ship in the world!)
the Seaport Museum and the Mystic Aquarium, all the while basking in the glow of young love, might have sparked the beginning of a life-long passion for those majestic denizens of the deep. So, I paint a lot of whales…on trunks and planks and tables, pretty much any flat surface.
After all, who can resist a gentle, giant creature with a hint of a smile-especially when decorated with the American flag? Recently, Coach came upon a stack of old cabinet doors (well, it might not have been recently, it’s just what has surfaced in the barn most recently.)
They were simply painted creamy white, or so we thought. Until he started to sand the edges and behold! This amazing teal blue emerged.
Sometimes you have in your mind what color scheme to use on a piece, sometimes the piece dictates the palette. In this case, there was cream and teal and a country red color…perfect for an American Flag Whale! I went with a black background for greater impact and contrast to the flag whale itself. For the flag colors, I mixed paints until I came up with the exact shades of teals and reds that matched the existing colors on the frame. I have, in my workshop, perhaps 50 or so of those little Behr sample paint pots
that you get at Home Depot for a couple of bucks…in a multitude of colors. These are my go-to samples when I am mixing paints-economical and plentiful…and if I mix a color I really love, I just use the color match app to have them mix whatever amount I need! Once I painted the background, it was a pretty simple process-I used a whale stencil
for the overall pattern in cream, then taped off the stripes, and added the red.
Now, I know there aren’t 13 stripes- he was just too narrow and it looked too tight, so I went with a more interpretive look.
After that, I added the star field using a stencil I cut out with my Cricut Air machine.
Do you have one of these?? If not, you need to hustle over to your favorite craft store and buy one, like now! If you do crafts, or scrapbooking, or make signs or stencils or just about anything where you need to apply graphics, this is your go-to machine. See this little square of stars?
By hand, that would have taken me hours to cut…and then a few more in the ER getting stitched up from the X-acto knife thumb slice… With the Cricut, it took maybe ten minutes to design and cut the stencil. Simply incredible!
Once the whale had dried, I added the matching stars in the four corners. Upon close inspection, you can see where I allowed the faint outline of the original hardware to remain.
I think it gives the piece character to leave the blemishes there for everyone to see. After that, it was simply a matter of a topcoat…and I went with my go-to favorite: Flat Out Flat by General Finishes. **As a side-note, when you paint on this topcoat, it initially appears milky white,
which kind of freaked me out the first time I tried it. But, once it dried to a clear, softly glowing finish, I was sold. So, the whale is now finished and ready for his new home.
This is the wall grouping that greets visitors at my back door, but alas, he’s not staying put.
He’s migrating north to the Barn at Todd Farm where he’ll have a whale of a time with some other pieces I have recently completed. Have a “whale-y”great Wednesday, everyone! Susan xoxo
I have wanted to try painting a fabric something for quite some time now. But I had never found just the right piece that I could paint (so that if I really messed it up, I could recover it myself…) So, along came this floral footstool- quite solid and sturdy, but somewhat dated with its pretty pink floral brocade fabric.
I thought, what the heck, it is worth a shot…so I grabbed my can of Annie Sloan Old White and got to work. Now, apparently there is not much of a trick to painting fabric, other than a few simple tips to ensure a good outcome. First, wipe down the fabric and make sure there are no greasy or oily spots. Then, just dampen the fabric (not wet, just damp). The brush style really doesn’t seem to matter- just make sure its big and soft and bristly (is that even a word?) so you are able to smoosh (that is definitely a word) the paint into the fabric.
It took three layers of paint to completely cover the textured fabric with an even coat of the paint. This is the fabric after one coat. Flowers still blooming!
Once I laid down the first, rather heavy, coat of paint and really worked it into the fabric, the second and third coats were simply to even out the white color. I am certain that a darker paint would only have required two coats, however. The legs, also dark in color, required three coats as well.
For the design, I decided on the French ticking stripe look that is pretty popular these days. Taping it off was a simple matter of proper measurements, and making sure to tuck the tape down securely along the edges to prevent the paint from bleeding. (Note the happy red frog in the background watching over me? My new reality…my family room is more land of flashing plastic than country living inspired these days : )
Extra tucking into the folds of the welting ensured a nice, clean edge all the way down.
For the stripes, I used a pot of Behr paint that I mixed myself- I am quite enamored with all things Fixer Upper right now, and this gray was a pretty close match to one in Joanna’s new paint collection (which, by the way, I am also dying to try. But I am waiting until her new chalk line debuts…). So I painted away, making sure that I brushed away from the tape edges, not into them to prevent bleeding under the tape.
Once I pulled the tape off to reveal the stripes, well, this is starting to look pretty sweet, right?!
There were a few areas where the edges weren’t quite clean- and me being Type A perfectionist, I went back and cleaned those up with some AS paint on a small brush.
The next step was to sand it down with some 500 grit sandpaper to smooth out the finish. Apparently, with a smooth fabric, it gives the piece a silky finish. However, with a raised fabric, you need to be careful because overzealous sanding can cause the paint to be removed from those textured lines. So, I switched to a wad of super fine steel wool, and that did the trick. Woops, forgot the picture here…Sanding the legs to give it a bit of a worn appearance was all this piece needed to complete the look.
Next up, the finish. According to the Annie Sloan book(s) I have, painted fabric should be finished with a coat of wax to ensure durability. But I didn’t have any on hand, and I am not sure I liked the idea of a waxy finish on fabric that little hands were going to be touching, so I wasn’t quite sure what to do. Luckily, Amy Chalmers from Maison Décor (our local Annie Sloan aficionado) came to my rescue with some tips on finishing the fabric footstool. So, no need for wax-so I went with General Finishes Flat Out Flat Finish-my personal go-to finishing product!
It gave the stool a soft vinyl look- not shiny, but kind of glowy (I know, I am just making this stuff up now) Without the finish, the white would have turned yucky pretty quickly, of that I am certain (sticky baby fingers provide a kaleidoscope of colors and textures : ). But with two coats of FOF, this stool should stand the test of time- even in the nana-nursery- where it is currently residing by the rocking chair. Baby grandson is in the “crawling and pulling himself up on any surface” stage, so this is soft and sturdy and safe for all sorts of baby boy shenanigans.
So, there you have it. Fun with Fabric Painting 101. Would I do this on a chair? Not sure, but it would be worth a try, compared to having it slipcovered or re-upholstered, which costs more than a pretty penny (or a can of paint). I guess we will see how well it holds up in the Nana-nursery. And, now, in honor of St Patrick’s Day, a blessing for you: Happy St. Patty’s Day Friday everyone!! x0x0 Susan
I have had this little end table beside my bed for quite some time now. Since the day I purchased it, I have loved the style, but not the color or the rough-textured finish. I always had the notion that some day I would change it, but never had the time or energy to paint all those little divots in the finish! So when I was offered the opportunity through the Fab Furniture Flipping Contest to Spray It Pretty
to try the HomeRight Finish Max Fine Finish Sprayer, this was the project that immediately popped into my head!
- Received the sprayer,
- opened the manual and read it in its entirety. YOU NEED TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.
- They may seem wordy and somewhat complicated, but once you follow the steps, you will be happy that you did.
- Set up a mock spray tent in the basement with a large plastic tarp and some duct tape. I had no idea how far the spray would splatter, so I encircled the table and left an opening in the front.
- Grabbed a mask (these are from the dollar store. Best $$ you’ll ever spend!) and donned my safety glasses.
- Chose this pretty Rustoleum Chalked Paint in Serenity Blue. I figured if it was going to be next to my pillow, it should be serene.
- Filled the sprayer according to the instructions. I did not need to check the thickness of this particular paint, because it was pretty thin by chalk paint standards. But they show you how to do that in the instruction manual-if its too thick, it won’t spray.
- Tested the sprayer on a piece of cardboard (per the instructions). Note the cloudy, soft edge. This prevents that striped look you often get with spray paint cans.
- Tested one drawer- it took- I don’t know- 30 seconds!? Woo Hoo! Off and painting. So easy, just pull the trigger and move back and forth over the piece until it is completely covered. All those crevices filled with paint in an instant. If I saw a spot that wasn’t quite dark enough, I went back over it until the entire table was finished with an even coat of paint. And, unlike an aerosol spray paint, there was no “paint cloud” and no odor! The paint didn’t go on any surface that I wasn’t spraying directly. And NO DRIPS!! This thing is magical!
- I could not remove the knobs, they were somehow attached with whatever that texture paint was. But I wanted some sort of contrast, so I added some Martha Stewart Metallic Pearl paint to the knobs.
- Cleaning time! This is super important! If you don’t pull it apart per the manual and clean out all of the pieces, the paint will dry inside and render the sprayer useless. So, I used warm soapy water and cleaned each piece. By the time I was done, the table was dry!
- Once the piece was dry, I decided to add a stencil to the top with the same metallic paint I used for the knobs.
- The piece is done and back in its spot. Took an hour, tops to do the entire thing. I can’t wait til the weather warms up so I can start using it outside- so many pieces to paint- this is going to be fun! Many thanks to the HomeRight Company, who make all sorts of great products for the DIY enthusiast, and to the Fab Furniture Flipping Contest for providing the tools I needed to make this project a reality! Hope you are having a great day everyone. xoxo Susan
Have you heard of Saltwash paint additive?
No? Well, I hadn’t either until I was introduced to this product for this month’s Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest. Amazing stuff made with real sea salt that creates a worn, rustic look on any piece! You mix it with any paint type and color, smoosh it on literally anything that accepts paint (wood, metal, plastic, you name it, it sticks). Then you paint an overcoat, allow to dry, sand it and stand back and admire your truly transformed piece! In this case, an old wooden trunk that had seen (much) better days,
Find an old piece of furniture that needs a bit of TLC to bring it back to life. In this case, an old trunk that had cracks and dents. I had already started a transformation by painting it silver, but I wasn’t in love with it. Once I received the Saltwash, it was an easy decision to use it for this project.
I Coach (yes, Coach got into the act with the project : ) painted the trunk with several shades of blue, covering all of the metal and wood and canvas surfaces.
Dabbed on the Saltwash Blue Mixture any where I wanted to have the textured surface, then allowed to dry. The trick is to dab it on thickly and heavily. The beauty of it is that is does hide any cracks or imperfections!
And if you might be interested in joining the Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest, click this:
Have a great week leading up to the 4th! I will be out of blogging range, but will be back with more flipping fun projects when I return.
Hello…..it’s me. I realize it has been awhile…I must have thought a thousand times…that I needed to write something. But it has been a crazy few weeks and time has just slipped by while life has taken over. Today I stop and exhale…for just a brief respite before I dive back into reality. Its funny how the things that you believe are so necessary for creating a happy and fulfilling life can, in an instant, take a back seat to the truly important things…love, friends, family, life. Today I proudly announce the arrival of our precious grandson, Declan, who made his way into the world 1 month ahead of schedule. He is a wee lad, but is absolutely perfect in every way.
Coach and I, along with his mommy and daddy and our collectively amazing extended families, are over-the-moon in love and are so excited to see the changes in him every single day as he grows bigger and stronger. He is surrounded by so much love and caring from both near and afar ( Bartlet the Frenchie is still not quite sure what’s happening, but he’s getting there too : ).
Hello everyone! A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my participation in the “Fab Furniture Flippin Contest”, where each month, contestants are provided with paints and products to create a unique project and win prizes! For April, we were provided with 2 quarts of Pure & Original Classico Paint in our choice of colors…well, today is the big reveal! This project was not without much angst and frustration, as I stumbled along the way quite frequently, but I am so happy it is finished and sooo kitschy cute! The inspiration for the furniture flip was this vintage wallpaper Coach picked up awhile age that I had been hanging onto for just the right piece to transform.
Judging from the colors and the cartoon-like illustrations, I am thinking it was from the 60’s or 70’s, but I am not quite sure. What I am sure about is that 50 year old wallpaper is quite brittle and tears super easily, which wreaked havoc with my overall design plan! But here is the flippin’ how-to:
This old simple cupboard was hand-made of plywood with a rough finish.
It had been painted multiple times, with the final coat being a dark hunter green with some (I think they were supposed to be) celtic designs painted on the doors and side panels. First
I , OK, Coach sanded it to remove the white designs as they were thick and raised. Then I pulled off the chair rail molding they had put on the base front and added some baseboard trim to the front and sides, followed with painting the cupboard body in White. The nice thing about this particular paint brand is that although it has a matte, chalk-like finish, it requires no waxing or final coat of poly for protection.
I know, you’re thinking “yikes- that’s a lotta color”- but just wait and see : ) The doors and interior were painted in Nautique, (no primer needed, BTW, but I will disclose that covering the celtic designs with the White required an extra coat or 2…)
a yummy green- blue, and the body was painted in White. I had originally planned to wallpaper the back panels with the vintage paper, but I didn’t have much and it just kept tearing. So I saved two pieces and used them for the door panels. So then I had planned to use bead board for the back panels, but the piece, being constructed of plywood, was already super heavy. So I chose my favorite faux beadboard wallpaper and used that instead.
Once the coral dried, I mixed the White with a small amount of satin glaze, painted it over the pink, then wiped it off quickly with a damp rag,
and painted it the Nautique, then glued and screwed it onto the original arc.
So there you have it, from dark green drab to whimsical coral and aqua fab. I know that these 70’s colors aren’t for everyone, but for me, I feel that they honor the vintage wallpaper and bring this dingy old cupboard back to life.
Thanks to #Pure&Original Paints who provided the gorgeous paints and colors…if you’re interested in trying out this amazing paint, click on the link to the right on this blog. And a huge thanks to the hosts of the #FabFurnitureFlippinContest
Have a flippin’ fab Thursday, everyone! Susan