RitaJos Vintage & Me

True story. Loved this hilarious account by Lisa of RitaJosVintage of the Saturday we just spent wheeling and dealing (NOT) at the Mill 77 Flea Market. The only thing she forgot was the part about all the crap falling from the trees that had both of us sneezing and coughing and popping Benedryls. Apparently nature and flea markets just don’t mix-lol!

Ritajos Vintage


Thanks, Lisa, for giving me a hearty laugh after more than a couple of days of sadness. Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone! Susan

Mill 77 Outdoor Bazaar

This week’s High Five for Friday goes to Mill 77 Trading Company in Amesbury!

Mill 77

As you may recall, yours truly recently entered and won a staging contest at the Mill-yay team Mother Knows Best! Well, this weekend, for one day only (Saturday, June 1), the Mill is hosting their Macy Street Bazaar from 8-noon.

Macy Street Bazaar

This is a monthly outdoor marketplace event featuring many of the inside vendors, as well as outsiders, like myself. I am teaming up with Lisa from RitaJosVintage


to offer a variety of vintage and “junk-tique” wares. By the way, if you haven’t started reading Lisa’s new blog, check it out! You are in for one hilarious ride : ) We will have refurbished furniture (the finished bench, perhaps?), china, glassware, linens and so much more! Please stop by for a visit-we will be there from 8-noon only! Which means we have to be up at the crack of dawn…I take my coffee iced and black, thanks! Here’s a map: Mill 77 Map

It’s a straight shot up 95 north, or just a quick ride from 495 (unless you are using your car’s compass, yes, COMPASS, in which case you may find yourself driving through cow pastures and hayfields…just saying) Have a sunny weekend everyone, hope to see you at the Mill! Susan

Impossible Dreams At The Ballpark

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and this week we are off to Fenway Park, the “beloved ballpark’ of the Boston Red Sox.

Ballgame Boston Strong Photo

My love affair with the Sox began in 1967, thanks to my math teacher, Sister Margaret Catherine. She tuned into the World Series on our classroom TV when we were supposed to be watching “Signed By the Artist” on Channel 2, while keeping one eye on the classroom door, in the event that Sister Superior might make a surprise visit.

Ballgame Yaz Homers

Yaz and Rico, Lonborg and Scott…my heroes back then, when I was able to recite batting averages and league standings verbatim, and hit a ball just about as well as any boy on the block. The anthem for that fateful baseball season? The Impossible Dream from Man of La Manchia.

 “To dream the impossible dream
  To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
  To run where the brave dare not go”

Fast forward to this glorious night at Fenway, where the emotional pre-game ceremony honored many new heroes among us, all worthy of that often-used, but not always deserved title. Standing behind home plate with my family, despite the best efforts of the security guards to move us along, (and the ticket-holders who graciously allowed us to remain in place) I had the opportunity to shoot some photos during the very moving introductions.

Ballgame Pete Frates

First announced, this young man, Pete Frates, at one time a standout high school and college baseball player, and a friend of my children and Coach, was diagnosed with ALS-Lou Gehrig’s Disease-last winter. Now, through his Frate Train #3 Fund, he follows his dream to raise awareness and money in hopes of finding a cure for this dreaded disease.

“This is my quest
  To follow that star
  No matter how hopeless
  No matter how far”

Then came this group of Boston Marathon runners…who, because of the bombings, ran short of their quest of 26.2 miles…but have achieved something much greater. Together they have raised thousands of dollars to find a cure for ALS.

Ballgame Marathon Runners

And finally, the introduction of the men who would throw out the ceremonial first pitch, marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman, and the man in the cowboy hat who rushed to his rescue at the marathon bombings, Carlos Arredondo.

Ballgame Heroes

 “To fight for the right
  Without question or pause
  To be willing to march into Hell
  For a heavenly cause”

Instead of running to safety, Carlos ran into the mayhem to assist the bloodied bombing victims. This photo, seen on every front page around the globe, shows Carlos wheeling Jeff, who was gravely injured in the blast, to safety and medical attention.

Ballgame Marathon Bombing Photos

 On this night, they were back together again to throw out the first pitch-and they both threw perfect strikes, to the roaring ovation of the Fenway faithful! Is there nothing better in American sports than the sight of families and friends, athletes and fans, all together for one great cause, cheering on victims and heroes alike?

Ballgame First Pitch

Those of you who have never been to Fenway Park, whether a fan of the game of baseball or not, need to just once, stroll along the concourse

Ballgame concession signs

and then up through the tunnel to view that vast expanse of brilliant green lawn, glowing in the evening sky, and then tell me that it’s just a ballpark.

Fenway Park

This is the same lush grass that Yaz and Tony C. and Andrews and Smith played on back in the 60’s,

Ballgame 67 Sox Cartoon

and the grass where Papi and Manny and Pedro and Schilling made us fall in love with the Sox all over again.

Ballgame 2004

1967 seems impossibly dream-like now, so many years have past. But the memories of sitting out on the porch as a kid with my dad on a warm summer’s night, listening to the ballgame on the radio will remain, just as the memories of the night’s ceremony, celebrated with family and friends by our sides, will as well.

Ballgame Kate and Wally

And that’s what sports is really about-not big contracts or egos, trades and standings, but a time to get together and root, root, root for your home team, whether its pros, high school or little league. It’s a chance to capture moments in time with the people you love, and snap a photo to pin to your heart and keep forever. So thank you, Fenway, my most beloved ballpark. Susan

Giveaway Winner!

Well, the bench painting has commenced…but not completed.

Chalk Paint French Linen

Started out this morning with the best of intentions, getting the gray undercoat finished, but quickly got sidetracked helping Coach host an impromptu barn sale, of all things! So the day was spent cleaning and clearing out, moving furniture in and out of the barn and selling a few things (have to remember that people don’t go to yard sales to purchase nice, re-purposed furniture-they want bargains!!) Had loads of interest in the tini table I finished yesterday,

Aqua Table Full Shot

but when it gone down to $15 and people were still walking away, I just called it a day. However, we still have some cool stuff left, so if you are in the market for an antique cupola that was removed from the roof of an 1857 barn (could be a really cute dog house with some TLC)

Antique Cupola

a thirty foot sail (old and with some holes, which makes for some pretty slow sailing, I would imagine)

Hood sail

a vintage beverage dispenser from the Cardullos in Cambridge (clearly used way before plastics were invented!)

Cardullo Catering Can

or an awesome mid-century modern hope chest…

Mid-Century Modern Hope Chest

you’ll know the first person to contact! But, on to more important things: the winner of the shutter chalkboard sign

Chalkboard Signs

is Mary Gasbarrino of Decorate in Style, Inc.  Congrats, Mary! If you could contact me with your color preference and a shipping address, I will send it to you! Thanks to all who voted and voiced their color opinions, I really appreciated needed the assistance with this one! Will post the finished bench later this week. Back to work tomorrow- hope its a terrific Tuesday for all…Susan



Color Me (Gulf Wind) Blue

An update on the bench color poll: Aqua blue/mint/distressed was the clear winner! Also of note, the colors Provence and Duck Egg Blue were chosen more than any other.

Behr Paint Palette

So the majority had spoken…but I still wasn’t convinced this was the way to go. So I grabbed an old tini table we had in the basement workshop and gave the colors a spin to see how the final product would look. Like it? Are you sure?

Aqua Table Full Shot

I used the color samples from Behr which closely resemble the Annie Sloan Paints from the palette I had posted. And, no, it isn’t chalk paint, but it is a high quality latex matte finish paint, which I think will look great on the bench.

Annie Sloan Paint Colors Chosen

Since I was going to use so many different colors, the Behr samples, at $2.94 apiece, allowed me to experiment and blend colors without breaking the bank. The colors I chose for the table project were:

Behr Gray MorningGray Morning, on the flat side of the leg turnings

Blue Table Closeup Gray Morning

Behr Gulf WindsGulf Winds (shown on the turned leg section here)

Blue Table Leg Detail Gulf Winds

Mint Frappe (this one is kind of hidden underneath the top for just a surprise of color : )

Behr Mint Frappe

For the grays I went with Battleship Gray & Sparrow.

Gray Table Top

The end result was soft and pretty, muted and just perfect for the table, and I think for the bench as well. It will have a whole new look, but still retain its rustic, antique feel. So, my question is, dear readers, is this the right palette for the bench?

If not, speak now or forever hold your piece, as I am painting it tomorrow!! And, I will also reveal the winner of the chalkboard sign. Coach will draw the name out of his helmet, since there were soooo many entries choosing that color palette. Good luck to all who voted, and let me know for sure if aqua blue is the way to go. Susan

Bench Voting Update!!

Woops! As the votes have been coming in, I realized that there is no way for me to track who is voting for what!! So if you do vote, please send me an email at countrydesignhome@gmail.com, post it on my Facebook Page, add a comment in the comments section at the bottom of the blog post or Tweet it to me here: https://twitter.com/countrypretty I am country pretty on Twitter.

Keep the votes coming!! Add your own ideas if you’d like : ) Susan

I’m Being Benched…

…due to my inability to make a clutch painting decision about this fine pine country style bench.

country pine bench front

Coach brought this one home last summer, and it has been sitting in the barn, awaiting its transformation. Alas, I have found myself stymied over the best course of action to take to turn this Plain Jane into a showpiece worthy of Vintage Thymes. I brought it to market last month, as is, with a cute embroidered Home Sweet Home cushion

Country Design Home Shop

where it sat in the back of my booth, apparently going unnoticed and unloved. Didn’t help that it was covered with stuff and completely overshadowed by its glamorous booth-mate, the shutter table : ) It has some really nice detail, like this curvy pediment top,

country pine bench top detail

and the circle cutouts on the bottom. As you can see, it does have a worn white-washed finish on it.

country pine bench front detail

Typically, furniture speaks to me (I know, I know) and the choices become apparent-painted, stained, crackled, sanded? But, the next market is almost upon us, I am still at a loss, and nothing has been done to highlight this piece! So it’s time for the seventh inning stretch and a trip to the hot dog stand for a dog and a cold one.

fenway franks

While I’m gone, I am hoping that you can pinch hit for me and decide what to do with this fabulous country bench!? My assumption is that it will reside on someone’s porch or deck, hopefully with a view of the ocean (wouldn’t a brightly colored bench look amazing on this porch!?!)

Porch white

Presently, the bench sits sadly on my back porch, where everyone who sees it says “Wow, that’s really nice”. Hmmm. But leaving it alone is no longer an option.

country pine bench side view

That being said, most New England homes are painted white, and the ones along the shore are typically weathered gray, so I am thinking that a pop of color, or Annie Sloan Graphite with a hint of color underneath is the way to hit a home run with this piece. Like this great piece from Lily Pad Cottage

Annie Sloan Painted Hutch Lily Pad Cottage

Or, I could even transform it like Mr. Whale Table here-I am ditching the cushion, so don’t worry about matching that!

 Whale Table Center

So, I am leaving this totally up to you. Here’s the deal: click your choice in the box below. You can add your own answer in the blank box-I am certainly open for any and all suggestions! Here is an Annie Sloan Color Chart you can use for ideas. (Just an FYI, probably not going to go with pink…unless you want to buy it and consign me to paint it pink for you…)

Annie Sloan Paint Colors

There is a one day limit on the poll, because it needs to be transformed over this long holiday weekend. The choice with the most votes wins, I will paint/stain it and show the results right here, and you win one of these cute little chalkboard signs in your choice of colors.

Chalkboard Signs

In the event of multiple choices of the same color, I’ll have Coach pick one out of a hat-or an old batting helmet-for the winner. If you choose other, then write in the box what you think it should be!

batting helmet

Thanks, and good luck! Let’s hit this one out of the park! Susan

Nautical Hallway Love

Perfectly You Decorating Service

Wouldn’t you love to come home to this nautically-inspired hallway, designed by Perfectly You-A Decorating Service from Winthrop, Mass?! I follow the designer, Pat Asquith, on Facebook, and when she posted these pics, it was instant love! This client’s hallway is a shared condo space, so the overall theme had to be approved by the adjacent owners. With the AOK to go full steam ahead, Pat took over and created a beautiful, nautical space-that would be the perfect entry to any home by the sea (or even for us by-the-sea-wanna-be’s). Even more impressive- this was a “design on a dime” project that looks like a million! The before pics: dreary hallway with dark red carpeting (hmm, that looks familiar-must have been done in the 80’s…) plain white walls and an old, tired insulated pipe.

Perfectly You Hall Before

A new door was added and painted a rich marine blue, and this comical detail was added.

Perfectly You Front Door Before

Wouldn’t you just laugh every time you came in the front door?!

Perfectly You Hall Door

Instead of the typical blue and white, Pat opted for this sunny and rich Benjamin Moore color palette of Lemon Grass Yellow for the walls, Wickham Gray for the trim and Van Deusen Blue for the doors. The carpet: 4 cotton runners from Garnet Hill affixed to stairway with carpet tacks. Anchors away!

Perfectly You Hallway Paddles

The window was dressed in matchstick rollup blinds with blue and white horizontal striped panels (made with a Target shower curtain!), cleverly tied back with clothesline rope and boat cleats from Walmart.

Perfectly You Drapery Detail

The railing was created by using two long boat paddles (from the barn of yours truly- and, no, they are not the kayak paddles, haven’t gotten rid of those yet…), mounted on brass railing brackets.

Perfectly You Hallway from top

And what’s a seaside space without a lighthouse? The rays of light beaming from this chrome overhead fixture from Overstock.com could steer any ship safely to shore, or Pat’s client safely home from the store.

Perfectly You Lighting

Adding the few final touches like the red wellies and the ahoy stencil in the ship’s wheel creates that finished look.

Perfectly You Hallway Red Boots

The overall effect: sunny and warm and so welcoming, with bright colors and beachy artwork that would make you happy to call this space home. If you have a space that needs some inspired design, Pat from Perfectly You would love to hear from you! She specializes in interior design and re-design, real estate staging and event staging. She can be reached at pasquith29@hotmail.com or 617-846-7501.  Anchors away everyone! Susan

Brimming With Fresh Ideas


Aqua Thunderbird

Whew! Another epic road trip adventure to Brimfield, via Framingham for a flea market stop and Palmer for an old church fair before we even reached the big show! This was the car after those stops, not much room left…

Brimfield Car Before

But once we had arrived, it was a go! Hours of walking, shopping, chatting and checking out what was hot and what was not. The hotBrimfield Signs Color

 of the year, if I was judging Brimfield trends? Fresh minty green

Mint Lamb

Mint Wicker Table and Dresser

Mint Statues

and pastel blues (ah, my dream truck- if only I had won the mega millions last night!)

Brimfield Aqua Pickup Truck

and not an orange anything in sight. This time it was all about more natural, muted colors

Brimfield Basket Pile Rustic

and pastel hues.

Brimfield Distressed Cupboard and Pitchers

Brimfield Vintage Stove

Worn, distressed, milk-painted and Annie Sloan’d furniture as far as the eye could see!

Aqua Desk

Even an old junky ladder takes on a new life with a coat of distressed blue paint : )

Mint Ladder

And architectural panels become dear hearts with some tin snips, satin ribbon and a few crystal baubles.

Mint Green Tin Heart

This year, the trend seemed to move away from industrial chic, and more into schoolhouse rock. Loads of old desks, chairs, science lab tables and beakers and lockers, lots of lockers.

Brimfield Barn Mint Lockers

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Brimfield Signs Wood

Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind

Brimfield Signs Parking

Do this, don’t do that,  can’t you read the sign? “

Brimfield Signs Warning

by the Five Man Electrical Band

Just wondering, where are people getting these signs? They all seemed to be in mint condition- are they climbing up poles under the cloak of darkness and taking them to sell at flea markets? These street signs were everywhere-and so not cheap either!

Along our five mile journey on foot, we came across this booth by Cari Cucksey from Cash & Cari. Loving her re-purposed sign.

Cash and Cari Sign

Her booth had all sorts of cute, remade, recycled products like these old license plate bags.

 Brimfield Cash and Cari License Plate Bags

And piles of plastic letters and numbers- one can only imagine where these originated!

Brimfield Cash and Cari Letters

This year, Nancy & Robin from Vintage Thymes Monthly Market had a fantastic booth representing the Norwood shops- they both look pretty great considering they had been working in a tent for a the past week!

The Girls from Vintage Thymes

As decorating trending goes, so does lighting. While last year’s lamps leaned more towards turbines and propellers, this year’s standouts were Steampunk-meets-Back-To-The-Future-inspired style.

Lighting Industrial Gears

Fanciful, intricate designs from fabulous, creative minds.

Brimfield Lighting Steampunk

Not to be unnoticed, these mid-century crystal beauties from Collection by Kelly McDonnell caught my eye as well.

Brimfield Lighting Crystal Orb Chandelier

What’s a market in farm country without some animals? Horses were big this year (well, they are big as a rule, so popular would be a more appropriate descriptive term)

 Animal Horses Animal Horse Head Animal Horse and Indian

but taxidermy appears to be making a comeback as well. What an angelic face- didn’t even know what hit it!

Animal Doe Head

And who wouldn’t need a gigantic yellow polka dot bear?!? Is the circus in town?

Yellow Dot Bear

Do you think this cage would be big enough?

Brimfield Peacock Cage

These two displays are a study in contrasts: the female mannequins accompanied by an ironing board,

Brimfield Mannequins and Ironing Board

while the male guy (why wasn’t he wearing those jeans, I wonder) was wearing a hard hat. Some things never change…

Brimfield Mannequin Army

Finally, we scored a couple of items: coach discovered this pile of old (well, I think they are old, but after reading Killer Stuff and Tons of Money, you never know what’s been artfully disguised) burlap potato sacks.

Brimfield Potato Sacks

They’re pretty stinky, but have great style and color. I discovered this campy violin shaped coffee table.

Brimfield Coffee Table

The dealer was asking $20, so coach started to walk away. This was the hard sell to me:

Seller Guy: “What do I need to do to make this deal work?”

Me: “You need to make it be shaped like a whale”

Seller Guy (looking befuddled): Why’d you ask me the price if you wanted a whale table and not a violin table?”

Me: “I was thinking I could make it into a whale.”

Seller Guy: “OK, you can have it for $10”   Sometimes it works when you act like you don’t have a clue…

At the end of five hours of traipsing through endless rows of tents, filled with anything and everything, I kind of felt like this guy.

Brimfield Crash Test Dummy

Dusty and exhausted. Destined for a crash landing. Which I did, in the car on the way home…but I can’t wait for July!! Have a sunny Sunday everyone! Susan

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