A Lousy Im”Press”ion

So, it appears as if you all received an email from Country Design Home yesterday that held no content, just a link to a post that was password protected. Apologies for that! Apparently, if you privately publish a post, Word Press (my blog hosting site) still sends out an email with the link to all of your followers, even if they cannot view it! I am not sure what the concept is there, but I will tell you that the blog post in question is now live, and I would love for you to read it- it is part 1 of 2 posts! Here is the link: https://countrydesignhome.com/2012/12/18/thegliddenproject/ This is a project I have been working hard on for the past couple of months, and would love any comments or feedback! Again, I apologize for the snafu…and I hope you enjoy the blog! Susan

The Glidden Project

Glidden Autumn Paint ChipBack in October, I spied this insert from Glidden Paints inside the Halloween issue of Country Living Magazine The brilliant autumn-inspired colors in the ad caught my eye, as did their interactive Country Living October 2012website, so I blogged about it. Well, the good people at Glidden saw my blog (yay!) and asked if I would be interested in doing a room makeover using their paint brand. They would send me the paints of my choice, I would paint it myself and then write about the experience. Now, those of you who read my blog know that I am a one-paint kind of decorista. Over the years I have tried just about every paint brand, only to keep returning to my personal favorite. But, since I had been contemplating a facelift for our family room anyway, it seemed like the perfect time to sieze an amazing opportunity to try something new and write a blog for the whole world to see (well, maybe not the whole world, but at least my blogging world).

Here’s the story: The last time we re-painted the family room, I had decided to add an accent color to the fireplace wall.

Glidden Before Mantel

At the time, it worked to enhance the fireplace and mantel that were viewable from the kitchen, which was the same color. However, last fall we converted our adjacent deck to a screened-in porch, which we LOVE, but any natural light we had streaming into the picture window wasGlidden porch

greatly diminished, making the room darker and less appealing. Along with that, I had changed the sofa slipcover from this light toile print

Glidden Blue Toile

to a brick red solid, creating a cavernous feel.

Glidden Brick Red Sofa

 Of course, that was not my intent. The original blue slipcover that came with the sofa we bought back in 2005 was too flowery for this more “countrified” space, and the red slipcover I purchased online looked a lot brighter on my computer screen than in person. Bright, cheerful color is my thing…dark and gloomy, not so much. And several of the decorating elements in the room- like this hand-carved whale-also creamy white, just faded into the walls, which were the same color as the trim. Glidden Whale

Time for a change. The new colors I chose were Antique Beige Glidden Antique Beige

for the walls, because I needed a color just a shade or two darker than the trim but still bright and light, and this one has just a hint of pink, and Steel Blue for the accents to match the rugs and curtains that I was planning to keep. Glidden Steel Blue

I kept the trim, fireplace and bookcases the same creamy white semi-gloss. But before I could paint the wall, I had to do a wee bit of patching since I had made some pretty big screw holes while hanging a mirror awhile back.

IMG_5957

A hole this big cannot just be filled with putty, you actually need to use some of this mesh tape to bridge it, and give it something to grab onto.

Mesh Spackling Tape

Patching the Hole

Once the putty was dry and sanded, I used this Glidden Primer called Gripper . (I had given this a High Five For Friday awhile ago-see Primed for Success...)

Glidden Gripper CanIt has a school-glue consistency, covers everything and seals in stains and dark colors, yet it is water-based for easy cleanup.

Blue wall with Gripper Primer

I was able to paint all of these shelves that were stained and polyurethaned over 25 years ago-without even sanding them!

Shelving

IMG_5965

Amazing stuff.  Next up was two coats of the eggshell finish Antique Beige Glidden. Having stated above that I have been using the same paint brand for years, I have to tell you that I was very happily surprised by how great this paint is! I typically judge my paint by the several factors listed below; in each case, the Glidden paint passed with flying colors!

1.Drippiness: Minimal dripping and splattering, both from the brush and the rollers (foam and low nap), even from up high on the ladder.

2.Sagging: No sagging at all (that’s when you roll or brush the paint on, then look back a minute or two later and find that the paint is literally     sagging from the wall, which you then have to go and redo before it sets).

3.Ease of Use: The paint rolled and brushed on smoothly and quickly, covered beautifully, cleaned up easily with soap and water.

4.Overall Depth of Color. The color is deep and even and the eggshell finish has just enough glow so the light from the window is refracted- exactly what I needed to brighten up the room!

Coach walked in after I was done (yup, the interior painting is my thing, he sticks to the outdoors), and said “wow, this looks really amazing!”, which, if you know coach, is a lot for him to say… Sooo, this is the before:

Glidden Blue Wall Before

Bookcases Dark

But you will have to come back tomorrow for the after : ) Happy last minute shopping everyone!!! Susan

Holidays…Naturally

As those of you who follow my blog know, I do love a touch of bling on pretty much everything, especially when it comes to holiday decorating. This year, I decided to try a more rustic vibe using fresh greens, burlap and jute in our recently repainted family room-sooo country pretty!

Christmas Flowerpots Candles

Here are a couple of just-completed projects, as I continue to race against time to get the house in shape for the holidays! Colorful Pinecones: On a recent episode of Sarah’s Holiday Party (for those of you who are not HGTV fanatics, Sarah Richardson is a Canadian designer

Christmas Sarah's Housewho creates breathtaking interiors in everything from a secluded island summer home to a rustic pigsty), Sarah shared many holiday decorating ideas with her assistant and “quick-to-quip” sidekick Tommy. One that I immediately fell for was colorfully painted pinecones.

Photo Source: Stich, Craft, Create

Photo Source: Stich, Craft, Create

Hers were tinted in various shades of pinks and greens, but I needed to use these for family room decorations, so I went with my recently-painted contrast color, Steel Blue by Glidden. (more on that later) This is a simple but slightly messy project. First, gather all of your materials (we happen to live near conservation land, so there is a never-ending supply of fresh greens and pinecones : )

Christmas Pinecone supplies

Take a leak-proof container with a sealable top that is large enough to accomodate the pine cones you wish to paint.

Christmas Pinecone Paint

Add a paint color of your choice- about 1/2 cup, then dilute it with some water, about 1/4 cup- you just want to make the paint the consistency of whole milk.

Christmas Diluted Paint with Water

Drop in a pinecone

Christmas Pinecone in Paint on Country Design Home

seal lid, shake, (If you have ever attempted to paint a pine cone, you know how hard it is to get the paint into all the crevices- this is brilliant!!!)remove and allow to drip, then place on wax paper to dry. Christmas Pine Cones Blue  (if you place on newspaper, the cone will stick to it when dried).

Christmas Glitter

I added a little glitter while the paint was still wet for my touch of bling.

Christmas Painted Pinecones

When dry, decorate! In this case, I had an old tin bucket from the porch.

Christmas Tin Pail on Country Design Home

Added some pine boughs that Coach and I had gathered along with the pinecones. Add the colored and plain cones, some votives and you’re done!

Christmas Tin Pail Decorated on Country Design Home

Speaking of pine boughs, I needed to decorate the mantel, and staying with the natural theme, had gathered some a few days ago while Coach and I were pinecone hunting. No bling here, just tied the boughs in lengths with jute rope until I had the desired length to create a garland.

Christmas Pine Boughs on Country Design Home

Added some berries and draped it along the mantel for a fresh and natural holiday decor.

Tree is up, family room is done-the dining room is all that remains! Susan

High Five for Easy Holiday Decorating!

Loving Christmas carols this time of year. One of my favs is “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas“…but I’m not really. Although I love a bit of white on the ground, the rest of it (shoveling, boots, cleaning off the car, dodging giant icicles hanging from the roof, etc) is not my cup of tea.

My Little Red Ice House

But, we live in New England, so we take what we get! So far, no snow to be seen-yay! So I wanted to make some decorations with a little fake snow to give the illusion of winter, without the hassle. So, this week’s High Five For Friday goes to Santa Snow in a can!! Makes everything merry and bright and cheerful and white : )Wreath Santa Snow & Glitter My latest D.I.M. project: needing a new holiday front door wreath, I found an old autumn wreath in the barn.

 

Wreath Autumn

It was a little beat up, and quite a few of the berries had little bites taken out of them. Hmmm…

Wreath Berries

I think one of our barn critters thought they were having themselves a feast! So I pulled out all of the autumn leaves, and sprayed an undercoat of white enamel paint. I always keep a few of these around- at 99 cents a can, you can’t go wrong!

Wreath White Quick Color

 

Wreath Painted

Then I hit it with my new favorite decorating tool- fake Santa Snow in a can!! This week’s High Five For Friday! LOVE. And some sprinkle glitter- it’s bling in a bottle. LOVE. So then the berries looked like this (well, it looks prettier in person- this kind of looks like a magnified science experiment…)Winter Berries on Country Design Home Added a cheery bow (thanks to my new bowmaking skills I learned on Pinterest : ) And we have a pretty new Christmas wreath!!

Wreath Winter White

Total investment: $2.99 for the Santa Snow, $4.99 for the glitter (but I had a 40% coupon, so do the math on that) $.99 for the paint. But I only  used a fraction of those supplies, so I have plenty left over to decorate more stuff! Ribbon: $1.50 for a 5 yard roll. The wreath was a free reclaimed castoff!  Total investment: $3.00 tops! (Disclaimer: just be warned that it is very possible that you are having soooo much fun spraying snow and tying bows that you forget to go to work on time. Just saying…)

My other High Five goes to this amazing Krinner Christmas Tree Standsation.

Krinner Tree Stand Box

Nicknamed the “marriage-saver” for a reason, this is the absolutely world’s best fresh tree stand!

Krinner Tree Stand

For many years, Coach and I have done the annual tree dance of anger using one of those old screw-in type stands. There was always lots of hammering and sawing and rope-tieing and occasional yelling and frustrated sighs…Tree Stand

It would typically take a couple of hours for us to get the tree up in the stand, straightened and tightened, and then tethered to the wall. This year, putting the tree up took…1 minute!!! Straight and secure, no worries about toppling over. Simply amazing. To watch a YouTube how-to video, click here  (Note- this is NOT me and Coach!!!) We purchased ours last year at Orvis.com, but this year every major retailer has them, including Amazon.com. Best investment you will ever make, guaranteed!!! Now we just need to decorate it…anyone have an easy way to string lights?!10 Days til Christmas- make every minute count. Susan

Chalking It Up

I am still playing catch-up from our tropical weekend, and slowly but surely I am making the final push to get the house decorated for the holidays! For quite some time, I have been wanting a chalk board for the kitchen, not so much for notes and memos, but to add a bit of my own brand of humor to our environs. Not wanting to go out and purchase a chalkboard, and knowing that we have dozens of bins of holiday stuff that I could upcycle, I found this old tavern sign hanging around the basement. Cute, huh? Mistletoe Sign       Time for some simple D.I.M! (Do It Myself,  because if I don’t, who else will!? ) I really didn’t want to ruin the cute pic on the front, in the event that I would want to use it again. So I flipped it over to the back side, where there was a nice, clean, even surface to work with. You can pretty much transform anything into a chalkboard! Here’s how:

1. Clean, then sand the surface lightly to remove any dust or surface imperfections. Then, wipe it down with a tack cloth (you can pick these up at your local hardware store). The tack cloth is a little sticky, so it picks up all of the extra fine dust that your rag may not.

2. For the first coat, I used Martha Stewart Magnetic Paint, so the surface becomes a magnet board as well. If you don’t want that, then proceed to the next step.

Chalk Magnetic Paint Marthat Stewart

3. In between coats, lightly sand and wipe down with the tack cloth again. See what you missed with that damp rag!?

Chalk Tack Cloth

4. Paint on the chalkboard paint with a sponge brush to avoid lines.

Chalkboard Paint finish

Make sure you don’t leave any streaks or blobs of paint. Wait an hour, apply a second coat. Allow to dry for 24 hours.  Chalkboard Plaid Paint

5. Take a piece of chalk on its side and rub it all over the board- this “cures” the surface and allows you to write easily on your new board. Now write some funny, witty holiday greeting for all to see and enjoy!

Chalk curing

6. Hang it up. Decorate around it. Add a few candles. Done. So my niche in the kitchen went from this fall vignette:

Chalk board Fall Vignette

To this holiday greeting!

Chalk Finished Wall

Time to tackle the mantel! Susan 

Fruits Of My Labor

Have you ever found yourself perched on the top of a step-ladder on your front stairs, attempting to hang a decorative Apple Fan Board

Fruits of Labor Apple Fan

to enter a Holiday Front Door Decorating Contest in your town? And once you were at the very top, having the centerpiece pineapple fall off the fan board, hitting you in the head and nearly knocking you out, then having to chase it as it rolled down the sidewalk and into the street? No? So that’s just me. A little back story…

The first time Coach took me to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia for the Christmas holidays, I immediately fell in love with all of the natural decorating elements that were used to adorn homes Fruits of Labor Apple Wreath

front doors

Citrus Wreath from Colonial Willamsburg Decorates for Christmas

Citrus Wreath from Colonial Willamsburg Decorates for Christmas

dining tables Fruits of Labor Table Setting

and front gates. Fruits of Labor Gate Wreath

No giant blow-up snowglobe lawn ornaments here! Fruits of Labor Snow Globe

Just fresh fruit, greens, pinecones, nuts and berries were used to create beautiful centerpieces and fresh garland door decorations. Since we live in an old colonial home that is perfect for this style of decor,

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my thoughts turned to natural decor when our town announced its annual Holiday Front Door Decorating Contest a few years ago. This book, Colonial Willamsburg Decorates for Christmas“, has instructions on how to create your own fruit-laden garlands, wreaths and mantels. Perfect!

Colonial Williamsburg Book

Coach  I got out my jigsaw and cut out the half-moon shaped piece of plywood, hammering in the nails in rows where the fruit would be attached. (See illustration below)

Colonial Williamsburg Decorates for Chrismas Apple Fan Board

Colonial Williamsburg Decorates for Chrismas Apple Fan Board

Once that is done, simply staple some magnolia leaves (yeah, I know, we have plenty of those in the Northeast in winter!) to create a fan border. Impale the apples on to the nails in rows. Now here is the part I skipped…”Drive 3 tenpenny nails (that’s the size in colonial jargon- they are big) into the center of the frame in a triangle. Drive the fourpenny nail into the frame above the triangle. Twist a piece of #22 gauge floral wire around the nail. IT WILL BE USED TO SECURE THE PINEAPPLE TOP.”  No need for wire, I thought! That pineapple will stay on those nails just fine. Finished with my masterpiece and anxious to hang it for all to see and admire, I dragged out the ladder and hoisted the board over head. Now I am not certain as to the weight of this piece of art, but figuring a large plywood board with dozens of apples and a large pineapple, you’re talking 20lbs., easy. The rest, shall we say, is history. Fruits of Labor Pineapple on Street

I retrieved the rolling pineapple, stuck it back on the board after I had secured the board to the house. Perfect! Now I know you are wondering if I won the Holiday Front Door Decorating Contest, right? I think I came in second, but you really can’t hold me to that, since I had a bit of a head injury. Hope you enjoy the fruits of your decorating labor! Susan

Green With Envy

Emerald PantoneFor all of you decoristas and fashionistas out there, the 2013 “Color of the Year” was just announce by Pantone– and it is luscious Emerald Green!

Valentino Coat via Fashion In Details

Gotta say, I am just a bit envious that this company gets to determine the color that the entire world-wide fashion and design industry will set its collective sights on, but this spring you most definitely will begin to see sprinklings of emerald on runways and in design showrooms. By the summer, emerald accents will be on every shelf in every big box store and gracing every magazine cover. Which is kind of a bummer, because I am still crushing on orange, and orange, as if I need to remind you, was the color I chose for my hall of shame mirror (no, the hall is still not done, and now I have to repaint!!) Hall of Shame Mirror Luckily for me, the painter’s tape is still on it…

Emerald Ring Gemvara

Ring from Gemvara.com

The Emerald is thought to possess powers of luck and hope, and more kinds of physical healing have been ascribed to the emerald than to almost any other stone. It is supposed to improve mental skills, bringing clarity and focus to the workplace. Emerald is also known to have physical healing properties that boost your immune system and improve eyesight, healing infections of the respiratory system (which really might come in handy, since I have developed this barking cough in the past couple of months that is so real, I am actually scaring the dog.) I am thinking that perhaps one of these  in my Christmas stocking might help chase those germs away! At the very least, it could help me focus on writing more blogs : ) In the meantime, I thought I would share a few pics with you to get your next decorating project in focus. I, myself, would not consider painting an entire room emerald, unless, of course, it was in my castle. Emerald Castle Walls

Otherwise, an emerald accent pillow would add a little drama in a white room

Emerald Accent Pillows via Better Homes and Gardens

Emerald Accent Pillows via Better Homes and Gardens

Or to brighten a neutral interior

Lilving Room via Martha O'Hara Interiors

Lilving Room via Martha O’Hara Interiors

You could add green with these amazing buffalo plaid curtains (you all know how much I LOVE buffalo plaid!)

Living Room via Alexandra Rae Interior Design

Living Room via Alexandra Rae Interior Design

Or to bring focus to the amazing bed in this divine bedroom.

Bedroom by Edwin Pepper Interiors

Bedroom by Edwin Pepper Interiors

Try adding a touch of bright color to a charming white country kitchen

Kitchen by Katie Ridder

Kitchen by Katie Ridder

or a rustic outdoor dining space- magnifique!

Emerald Chairs in Rustic Courtyard via La Belle Vie

Emerald Chairs in Rustic Courtyard via La Belle Vie

After all, Emerald is the color of nature- manicured green lawns, Emerald Lawn

sprigs of clover, mossy caverns. I wonder where the name Emerald Gorge came from?

Emerald Gorge Oregon

So if you happen to be redecorating your space, consider adding a touch of emerald. I cannot guarantee that it will make you smarter or healthier, but your friends will be green with envy! Happy Friday everyone!! Susan

Holiday Happenings

So, I feel like I have some serious catching-up to do for the Christmas holiday that is just three weeks away!! I am receiving hundreds of emails from vendors and bloggers with so many great ideas for gifts and holiday decor- a wee bit overwhelming, as I have not even made my list, never mind checking it twice. Wenham Santa-Wish-List

This time of year I especially enjoy local craft fairs and events that highlight the Christmas season without being too “mall”ish. Because of our crazy schedule last month, I have missed many of my favs already. However, on Wednesday, December 5th, I am hoping to check out the Holiday Shop and Sip at the Wenham Tea House,

Wenham Tea House Shop logo

to benefit the Wenham Village Improvement Society. Formed in 1893 by a small group of women,  its original objective was to beautify the Town of Wenham, Massachusetts and make it a better place to live. Today the mission statement of the WVIS is “To serve the changing needs of the Wenham community, while honoring the history and traditions of the Wenham Village Improvement Society.” The Wenham Tea House, owned by the WVIS, hosts various events, including breakfasts, luncheons and teas, Wenham Teacatered by Henry’s Market of Beverly, a favorite local gourmet grocer for over 65 years.

Wenham Tea House

So I am hoping to make a dent in my shopping at the Shop and Sip, while listening to some Christmas music and having a glass of cheer. And if that doesn’t get me into the swing of things, there is always the Gingerbread House Construction Party on the 8th!

Photo courtesy of Simplyrecipes.com

Photo courtesy of Simplyrecipes.com

Now that would be a sweet way to start the holidays! Susan

I’m Dreaming of A Tropical Holiday

While I was whiling away the hours ocean-side in a tropical paradise called St. John this past weekend

Tropical Paradise

I was only too aware that upon our return to Boston, we would be in for some dramatically different weather. The virgin white sands

Tropical Beach on Country Design Home

would be replaced by drifting white snow (although today is it 60 degrees, so there’s that!)

Holiday Snow Covered Street

and the tropical green palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze Holiday Palm Trees

would be replaced with tall evergreens bedecked in Christmas finery.

Holiday Christmas Tree

Other than a few evergreen-swagged railingsHoliday Swag Railing

and balconies (which looked oddly out of place in this land of pastel blues…)

Holiday swag

or a lighted palm tree (although I suspect this was a year-round part of the decor)

Holiday Palm Lit

and an occasional surfing santa Holiday Surfin' Santathere wasn’t much in the way of holiday decor. So while I was hanging around the pool in between all of the wedding festivites, I found a few online suggestions for decorating your sea-side villa for the holidays. A simple seashell ornament could be the start of a dramatic tree design using blues and golds Holiday Seashell Ornament Or you could do an entire tree in seashells and starfish for dramatic tropical effect

Holiday Interior Yellow

Some colorful twinkling lights and baubles on your palm trees or Holiday Free Christmas Wallpapers.net

multi-colored lights reflecting on the water make a dazzling display that will surely attract Santa’s attention!

Holiday Outdoor display

Or you could go full-on tropical holiday with starfish trees- so pretty!! Holiday Starfish Tree on DIYnetwork

One final tree image today…one of the most ridiculously scrumptious desserts I have ever tasted! Deep-fried Key Lime Pie. I know, right?!?

Deep Fried Key Lime Pie on Country Design Home

Take a big slice of pie, wrap it in what appears to be jelly donut dough, deep fry it and then dust it with sugar and cinammon. Add the fruity red and green drizzle for a holiday effect. AMAZING. And with that, I need to unpack (both my suitcases and the Christmas decorations-yikes!) Have a sunny Monday, no matter where you are! Susan

A Gem of A Christmas Gift

You know when you have an idea in your head of the perfect gift you want to buy, and you wander around the mall or scour the internet for hours trying to find it? Only to settle for something less than perfect because it just doesn’t exist!? Then this week’s High Five for Friday is for you! Gemvara is a Boston-based online jewelry company that allows you to create your own custom piece of gorgeous jewelry. Recently featured on Oprah’s “My Favorite Things” show for military spouses, these Naked Cushion Triple Earrings were worn by Oprah during the show,

and she presented a pair to each of the incredibly deserving recipients in the audience. Not to be outdone, this is me modeling my “Mother’s Day” ring that I received this past May. With both of my children’s stones, it was a meaningful and so special gift. LOVE. On the website, Gemvara.com, the offerings are endless, as they provide the inspired original designs for custom rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets and you take it from there. Any stone, from brilliant top-quality diamonds (I know, right?!?)and exquisite emeralds are available, and they have golds I have never seen before- check out this Whirling Heart Pendant in 18k Rose Gold-amazing!! The description: “Lined with tiny round gems, this heart pendant whirls into abstraction, forever suspended in a blissful dance” Couldn’t have said it better myself!

So if you are looking for a bit of sparkle and bling to light up your Christmas morning, check out Gemvara.com. And if you happen to see Coach wandering the mall, could you mention it to him? Thanks and have a gem of a Friday! Susan

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