Pioneer Goods Co, Boston

This past Sunday, Coach and I took advantage of this incredible weather in Boston and headed into town to do a bit of vintage shopping.   I mean, guys, this weather, are you kidding me-63 degrees on February 1st!? I had been anxious for quite some time to check out this funky corner shop on Tremont Street called Pioneer Goods Co.

Pioneer Goods Co StoreFrontso we headed to Boston’s South End, enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Justin Power, the owner and shopkeeper,

Justin Pioneer Goods Cois the son of Amy Chalmers from Maison Decor, and upon entering the shop, you can instantly see how the artistic abilities run deep in this very talented family!

Pioneer Goods Co Interior ShotsBut while Maison Decor celebrated French culture and design, Pioneer Goods Co is showcasing Americana at its best:

Pioneer Goods Co Flagfeaturing flags and maps and dry goods for sale, as if you were in a grand general store in the adirondacks.

Pioneer Goods Co Hudson Bay BlanketOpen for less than two years, Pioneer Goods Co. has received many accolades from the  press and social media-his own apartment even being recently featured on Apartment Therapy. The shop is filled with incredible American treasures that Justin has collected

Pioneer Goods Co PTAand are displayed alongside masterfully painted pieces that he has transformed,

Pioneer Goods Painted Dresserusing Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (he is a stockist, as well, so you can purchase the paint directly from him). Justin has been a life-long antiquer and collector, thanks in part, to his mom, who just has such an eye for the potential beauty in simple objects. This stunning, oversized steamer trunk greets you upon entering the shop-we’ve all see these around, right? Those drab, dark green and gray hulking pieces-but have you even seen them looking like this?

Pioneer Goods Steamer TrunkPainted creamy white, with the glowing, opalescent hardware…

Pioneer Goods Co Trunk Detail…perfect for a dramatic entry way-with loads of extra storage! With the feeling of a warm and cozy cabin, every staged vignette is striking and could be a feature wall in your own home.

Pioneer Goods Co Frame VignetteJustin mixes new and old,

Pioneer Goods Co Flagssparkling…

Pioneer Goods Co Chandelier and Mapsplus rustic vintage and bold…

Pioneer Goods Co Pigs and Cows…with just a touch of whimsy, to create visual eye candy throughout the store.

Pioneer Goods Co Deer HeadAnd this month, as a special treat, Amy is bringing Maison Decor to Pioneer Goods in an exclusive pop-up shop, adding some pretty to the pioneer…

Pioneer Goods Co Maison Decor Pop Up SHop…through the end of February!

Msison Decor @ Pioneer Goods CoThe address is 764 Tremont Street, Boston (there is street parking all around the shop) They will be open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12-4 for the winter months (if you can call this winter…),

Pioneer Goods Co Pop Up Shop 2plus you can shop Pioneer Goods Co online, or if you see something you like in the photos (omg-that trunk!) you can email him at justin@pioneergoodsco.com, check it out on Instagram or by calling 857.263.8799. If you are a lover of rustic, rugged New England style, you must…

Pioneer Goods Co Go GLobeto Pioneer Goods Co. it is definitely a “must-see-and-shop”…either online or in person. Enjoy this crazy weather everyone…every day like this is just one day closer to spring! Susan

Grimy Granite Gone, Girl!

Country Design Home Kitchen RemodelWe designed and installed our new kitchen 6, no maybe  7 years ago-wow, that went by fast! And, although I still love it…a lot…one thing has always bothered me…the lack of sparkle on our granite countertops. See how they used to glow in the light??

Country Design Home Kitchen IslandOne of the reasons I chose them was because of the sparkle factor- tiny flakes of gold scattered throughout that caught the light and brought the otherwise dense black surface to life. For awhile, I only used the cleaning products recommended by the installer, but honestly, after the first year, the countertops just didn’t have that youthful glow any longer (join the club). Since then, I have been on the hunt for the perfect granite countertop cleaner- one that cleaned but left no residue, just a shiny, sparkling surface. So many expensive bottles and cans and jars…

Granite Cleaners and Sealers…no luck…the result was always the same. They would look good at first, but after a short time that light, filmy surface would re-surface. Ugh. Recently, I was browsing my favorite home and garden website called Hometalk, HomeTalk Logowhere folks post questions about anything from planting to painting to patching plaster . Other members then respond, some of whom are experts in their field, some are self-taught DIY’ers…like me…providing hopefully helpful answers. I happened to notice that someone else had posted that very question-how to get their granite countertops squeaky clean and remove the hazy glaze-and several people responded with the same technique! Take an empty misting/squirt bottle, add some 91% Isopropyl Alcohol, then fill with water (no one divulged their exact formula, so I just went with a 4 to 1 ratio of water to alcohol). Oh, and make sure you label the bottle! Don’t want to be misting your plants with alcohol…

Country Design Home Home Made Granite CleanerLightly mist the countertop, wait a few seconds, then wipe off with a cloth or paper towels. Guys, can I tell you how excited I was when the sparkle returned…happy dance around the kitchen! This is the reflection of the chandelier on the island after the cleaning : )

Country Design Home Kitchen Granite CleanersNow, one thing to note…for a few seconds, it does have a faint “hospital-like” smell, but that dissipates quickly, and you are left with renewed and re-sparkled countertops! No more spending $$$ on messy cleaners and sprays!! Country Design Home Granite Cleaners and PolishesSo there you have it-my PSA for today. And if anyone out there has a better idea for getting and keeping their granite squeaky and sparkly clean that’s cheaper and works better than a $3 bottle of alcohol…I’d love to hear it! Have a sparkling day, everyone! Susan

DIY Kitchen Pantry On A Serious Budget

Can you believe we built this DIY Kitchen Pantry from some reclaimed kitchen cabinets and and old door…for less than $100!?!?

DIY Pantry Finished Country Design HomeHere’s the how-we-did-it: Last weekend, my daughter and I (with a bit of help from Coach-he’s the table saw guy) installed a new pantry to house all of the appliances and glassware that just did not fit in the kitchen cabinets of their condo. So, for less than $100, what was once a back hall (leading out to the deck) is now a fully functional-and very sexy…if I do say so myself… pantry- with loads of storage. The before:

DIY Pantry BeforeThe after:

DIY Pantry Finished Country Design Home How did we do this for less than $100?!?! The pantry base was created from a fantastic Craigslist find-an old set of kitchen upper cabinets, with the shelves, that someone was GIVING AWAY FOR FREE! They were old, dark scratched and dented pine-beautiful!

DIY Pantry Base BeforeSince the space is pretty tight (behind those louvered doors is their laundry room) we had searched for a furniture piece that was long and narrow without much luck. Until I spotted the posting for this piece: it was exactly the right size: 12″deep, 61″ long and 37″ high. Perfect! I flipped the base over so that the hardware was now at the top instead of the bottom and got to work painting. So, I sanded,

DIY Pantry Base Sandedthen primed,

DIY Pantry Kitchen Uppers Primed(because I thought they were going to be light gray, but then she decided that red would be fun). This area is an open passageway with full view from the kitchen, which has the same color scheme of white, gray and red, so it flows nicely. And then she asked if they could be stained red. Um, nope. Once you’ve primed there is no going back.

DIY Pantry Red PaintedSo I used two coats of Americana Chalky Paint called Romance (aw, how sweet),

Americana Chalky Paint Romance Redsanded it to add a bit of distressing,

DIY Pantry Door Painted and Distressedthen used some General Finishes Natural Stain mixed with a bit of Brown Mahogany to achieve the “stained red” look.

General Finishes StainsFinished with Varathane Matte Poly for a slight sheen and protection.

Varathane Matte PolyFor the base top, Coach and I visited a shop on the south shore of Boston called Rustored Salvage.  Frank and Mike would have referred to this as a “honey-hole”- tons and tons of industrial salvage and interesting artifacts. This little guy must’ve been in old wood heaven!

DIY Pantry BeaverThere we found several items, including this old plank door-well, at least part of an old plank door

DIY Old Wood Door Plank Topwhich was the perfect size-14″ deep by 67″ long- so for $10 we had our top by just cutting a couple of inches off of the ends. These shelves had been kicking around in the barn for awhile…

Pantry Shelves…Coach said he got them for free. I don’t ask any more… I sanded and stained the two shelves

General Finishes Stainsand the pantry top with General Finishes Stain- mixing these two colors to even out the variations in the old wood planks, then finished with two coats of Varathane Satin Poly. Unlike the painted base, I wanted the stained wood to glow…

DIY Pantry Varathane Satin PolyI mean, seriously, how gorgeous is this piece of old planking now that its revived and refinished!?

Pantry Top Shelf Stained The shelving hardware brackets are Rubbermaid Brackets from Home Depot – they match the stainless appliances and hardware in the kitchen.

Rubbermaid Shelf BracketsWe had the chrome knobs on hand from a previous project-never used. We used the same hinges, just spray painted them silver to match the chrome knobs and shelving brackets. We’d gone shopping for something else but couldn’t find any that she liked. So, spray paint it is!

Spray Painted Silver HIngesThe installation was a bit tricky-this condo building was constructed at the turn of the century and has many quirks…one of which is slightly uneven floors and walls, another of which is off-center wall studs. So we had a little shimming and lifting to do to get everything level, but we secured the unit to the wall,

DIY Pantry Shelving Installedthen the top to the base, then the shelving above. There were two basic criteria: we had to leave a space to fit Bartlet the dog’s food bin-that’s a lotta food for such a little pup!

#BartletthefrenchieAnd… the shelving had to be secure enough to hold all of the glassware. Done. 

DIY Pantry Shelving by Country Design HomeAnd then came the fun part! Staging and storing.

DIY Pantry Shelves Country Design HomeAll of their beautiful glassware they had received for the shower and wedding gifts are now proudly on display, as well as several appliances that previously took up the precious little counter space they have in the kitchen.  So what was once an open hallway with an oversized black cupboard blocking the light…and the deck door…

DIY Pantry Before…is now a fully stocked pantry, ready for their next party…and the final tally was  $92.00!! $67.75 for the brackets, $5.00 for the screw stud drywall anchors- these are super sturdy anchors-necessary if you are going to be hanging shelves to hold precious glassware! The base was FREE, the paints and supplies I already had on hand (what DIY’er doesn’t) except I purchased the additional red Americana Chalky Paint at Michaels for $5.00

Americana Chalky Paint Romance(yay, coupons : ), but I will still add in a couple of bucks for all of the paintings supplies. So there you have it, a DIY Pantry on a serious budget…less than $100!!!

DIY Pantry Staged Country Design HomeThey get a great, much-needed storage space and we’ve saved a few more pieces of old wood from a landfill. 

DIY Budget Pantry Country Design HomeAnd I know you are wondering, what happened to the giant black cupboard that was in the hallway…to be continued. Hope you don’t get a lot of snow this weekend…cheers, everyone! Susan

DIY Country Door Chalkboard

Country Door Chalkboard Country Design HomeOver the holidays, I was working on quite a few projects simultaneously, neglecting to take either before or after pics or even no pics-my bad. Which makes for not very good DIY instruction-giving. But, I have managed to piece together enough photos of a couple of chalkboards I created so I could share them with you. Both of these chalkboards were originally vintage doors-the cupboards long gone, but the doors rescued for another purpose. One was very old pine

Country Door Chalkboard Before reversethat I painted and one was a beautiful cherry that I revived with stain and poly. The centers of both doors were painted with Benjamin Moore Chalkboard Paint (my personal favorite),

Ben Moore Chalkboard paintthen the hardware was added. In both cases, I used cup pulls, attached upside down, to create chalk holders (because what’s a chalkboard without some handy chalk?!). After much trial and error and incorrect measuring, I discovered that the simplest way to mark the drill holes for the handles is…paint. Place a tiny dab of paint on the edges of the posts…

Country Door Chalkboard Marked Holes…flip it over and press down on the surface of the wood. Lift up and voila, two holes spaced perfectly apart and ready for drilling.

Country Door Painted HolesFor the wood door, I used a copper cup pull, then added a matching copper knob for an interesting, more elegant detail.

Country Door Chalkboard Mahogany and CopperAwhile ago, Coach and I had been fortunate enough to find a bunch of old metal “stuff” at a yard sale- clamps and bolts and covers and registers and what not- which I have been using as needed for building and creating. When I first spotted this metal Country emblem,

Ford Country Squire Emblemit immediately brought back memories of all of us kids in the back of our Ford Country Squire station wagon (no seat belts or car seats back then, folks, just pile in and off you went!)

Ford Country Squire via Fordaddict.comSo I saved it until I could find just the right piece to use it on…and this is it! An old country pine door that was painted with a few coats of greens and blues and then waxed. (Sorry, I have no clue what colors these are- I just kept adding colors and sanding and then adding more colors til I got the desired effect.)

Country Door Chalkboard Detail CloseupI have about 100 of those little Behr paint pots in all different colors.

Behar Lavender Paint SamplesA little goes a longgggg way, so they just keep accumulating as I need another color for a project.

Once dried, I drilled a couple of holes at the top of my old door and tapped the “country” emblem into place.

Country Door Chalkboard Emblem in PlaceOf course, both of these pieces were intended for our shop in the Barn at Todd Farm, but I just couldn’t part with my Country Door Chalkboard. It now hangs proudly in our family room…for the holidays I used some children’s coloring page graphics for my message. This is so simple…reverse chalking for perfect chalkboard graphics! Print out your graphic on any paper,

Country Door Chalkboard Merry Christmas Graphicthen flip it over and rub chalk all over it.

Country Door Panel Reverse Chalking GraphicTape it into place on the chalkboard, then use a pencil and lightly trace the lettering (try not to press down with your whole hand, as any pressure on the chalk outside the lines will result in lots of smudginess.

Country Door ChalkboardWhich you will then clean off with a damp Q-tip.)

Country Door Chalkboard Q-Tip eraserOnce its time for a new graphic, simply wipe off with a damp cloth and say what you want to say! Which is:

Country Door Chalkboard Country Design HomeA gentle reminder to keep working towards my goals, not just keep thinking about them. So my goal for 2016 is to remember to take photos of my work to share, and my wish if for all of you to have a great weekend! Susan

My Favorite Holiday Dishes

This past holiday weekend was a whirlwind of celebrations with family, friends and lots of FOOD. TOO MUCH FOOD. After I had offered to make dishes for several get-togethers, I started checking around for some new and different recipes I could try (but they had to be tried and tested already- can’t take a chance to serve something awful…) For Christmas Eve (and day) dessert, I spotted this recipe for a Turtle Trifle

Turtle Trifle from I Dig Pinterestfrom I Dig Pinterest… all of the reviews said it was absolutely fabulous…so I figured I just couldn’t go wrong. Especially when it featured brownies, pecans, caramel, hot fudge and chocolate pudding. Well, it did not disappoint! Absolutely scrumptious. Very rich. Overloaded with calories, but who cares at Christmas?!?

Along with the dessert, I came across this recipe for Tater Tot Bacon Bombs from Damn Delicious,

Tater Tot Bacon Bombs from Damn Deliciouswhich I made for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day parties. Ridiculous. Damn Delicious. Here is the link to the recipe:

http://damndelicious.net/2014/07/26/bacon-wrapped-tater-tot-bombs/

PS: For the second batch I made for Christmas Day, I eliminated the cheese cube, as it really just melted away during the cooking process and didn’t seem to add anything extra to the flavor. Also, I cut my bacon slices in half, but then sliced them lengthwise- made it easier to wrap around the tot and secure tightly.

Next up: Christmas Morning Brunch. This Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole from Epicurious was amazing. (sorry, I don’t have a pic!)

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sausage-and-potato-breakfast-casserole-4387

It is egg-less, just using milk ( although it said not to, I used 2% milk and it was fine) and flour to create a roux, then adding cheese for flavor. I also tweaked this recipe a bit by adding some crumbled, left-over tater tots to the raw hash-brown potatoes and a 1/2 tsp of chili/garlic powder to give it a little extra kick. I used regular breakfast sausages that I cut out of the casings instead of the bulk sausage. And regular white onions instead of the green because that’s what I had on hand. You can do so many things with this dish, like adding spinach or broccoli, it’s just Delish!

Also for my Christmas Morning Brunch, my “foodie” co-worker gave me this recipe for Pillsbury Cinnamon French Toast Casserole.

Pillsbury Cinnamon French Toast CasseroleAmazing. Simple to make and feeds a lot of folks! You can use any type of cinnamon roll in the can, but I found Pillsbury Cinnabon Rolls and they were fantastic!

And finally, for our annual work cookie swap, I created these peanut butter balls,

PB Fudge Balls Chocolate Drizzle Panusing a simple PB fudge recipe I found using a can of vanilla frosting and a jar of peanut butter.

PB and FrostingYou literally just melt the frosting in the microwave for 30 seconds, then fold in the peanut butter,

Mixing PB and Frostingspread evenly in a foil lined pan and refrigerate until firm.

PB Fudge in PanBut once it cooled, and I cut and sampled a piece, I felt like it was missing something…chocolate! So I melted some dark chocolate wafers and semi-sweet chocolate bits in a sauce pan.

PB Fudge Balls ChocolateI cut the fudge into equal squares, then rolled each one into a ball.

PB Fudge BallsI dipped them into the chocolate and then into some crushed honey roasted peanuts. Then I drizzled the remaining chocolate over the tops for decorations.

PB Fudge Balls Chocolate DrizzleDecadent, delicious. But I did discover that one inch squares make really big balls, so next time I will definitely cut them smaller!So there you have it, a few of my new favorite recipes for you to try at your next celebration! And now it’s time to clean out the fridge and get ready for the new year of eating healthy! Have a tasty Tuesday, everyone! Hope you only get a dusting of snow…Susan

 

Re-Loved Red Country Cupboard

Good morning everyone!  I hope you all had an incredible holiday…for us the past two days have been a whirlwind of family, food and so much fun! Even this little guy has gotten into the holiday spirit (this IS his happy face : )Bartlet on the Christmas RugAnd we still have the weekend yet to party! But, in the meantime, I thought I would share my latest project with you, since it is so merry and bright : ) This was a Craigslist purchase that Coach picked up about a month ago. It sat on the porch, waiting for my broken foot to heal (UGH) until finally, I just went ahead and worked on it, boot and all,

Walking Boot for fractured footbecause I needed to get it out of the family room before the holiday! The BEFORE: scratched, dark pine cupboard with a veneer plywood backing.

Red Country Cupboard BeforeAFTER: A Re-Loved Red Country Cupboard with a ship-lap planking background. A happy piece for (I hope) a happy home!

Re-Loved Red Country CupboardHere’s my how-to:

  1. Sanded down the surfaces, buffing out the deep scratches on the lowest exposed shelf. Re-Loved Red Country Cupboard BeforeLuckily for me, other than some scratches and dirt, this piece was in good shape. No mildewy or cigarette odors-that is the worst to try and remove!
  2. Painted with two coats of Annie Sloan Emperor’s Silk Chalk Paint- the most gorgeous color red. Annie Sloan Emperor's Silk Red But, the funny thing about the color red is, no matter what brand you use, it still takes several coats to get a uniform color throughout the piece, especially when painting over a dark surface. In this case, I was planning to distress it anyway so it really didn’t matter that it wasn’t a super uniform finish. I sanded down the edges, Red Country Cupboard Sanded Edgesthen finished it with a coat of Varathane Matte Interior Polyurethane. I love this stuff- has essentially no odor, dries quickly and leaves a soft, slight sheen.
  3. For the backing, I just couldn’t leave that dark pine veneer, so I added some ship-lap pieces of rustic pine planking Coach dug out of the barn. I cut them to the right size, fitting them behind each shelf like a puzzle.Ship Lap Pine Planking
  4. I then stained them a with a General Finishes Country Pine stain for some added contrast.General Finishes Country Pine Stain
  5. Dry-brushed them with a light coat of Americana Chalky Paint.Americana Chalky Paint
  6. I laid them all into place, then used Gorilla glue Red Country Cupboard Gorilla Glueto secure them to the back wall. Once dried, I used my staple/ finish nail gun to secure them permanently without making any apparent nail holes.Re-Loved Red Country Cupboard Interior Planking
  7. Of course, as I was lining up the planking, I created a few scratches on the already finished red cupboard.
  8. So I mixed some paint and poly together and re-applied to the scratched areas, blending into the already finished wood.Red Country Cupboard Paint and Poly Glaze
  9. I replaced the “colonial kitchen hardware” with a simple wood knob and some iron hinges and we’re done!
  10. AFTER: the Red Country Cupboard all decked out and ready for the holidays : )Re-Loved Red Country CupboardI hope you all had a magical holiday and that your new year will bring you much joy-I know we are all looking forward to 2016!! Have a great post-holiday weekend, everyone! Susan

Crafting With Wood Pallets

Do you ever look at the thousands of Pinterest pages filled with pallet projects and think: “well, that looks fairly easy, I think I can make that”. No? Well, I have. All the time. I actually have one of those Pinterest pages: Pull Apart A Pallet, which I am continually adding to as new and innovative ideas pop up (170 pins and counting…). But I have yet to actually make anything. Why? Well, wood pallets are the perfect medium for creating rustic wood items for your home and garden-for FREE. But, the trick is to figure out: 1.Where to get them-for FREE  2.How to take them apart  3.How to transform the wood pieces into something else that is useful and attractive and  4.How to finish them so they actually look like a rustic pine piece and not like a pile of wood that you nailed together. So I was delighted when I recently received a copy of the book “Crafting With Wood Pallets” by Becky Lamb. (Published Sept, 2015 Ulysses Press)

Crafting with Wood Pallets CoverIt is the answer to a DIY’ers pallet prayer. Not only does it have the pretty pics of the projects, it also includes the nitty-gritty DIY details: everything from where to find them to what type of tools and equipment you will need , how to actually take them apart, all of the measurements and dimensions for each project and the final finishing touches. Loads of super cute projects to choose from as well, like this Catch-All Caddy with the leather strap handle.

Crafting with Wood PalletsHow about some inspirational wall art? The lowly pallet has been transformed into a truly unique piece using colorful paint…

Crafting With wood Pallets…Becky instructs on the proper techniques for that as well. Loving this Entry Table/Wine Bar-it is simple and the perfect size for a narrow entryway or tuck behind a sofa while safely storing your glasses and bottles.

Wood Pallet Wine BarJust in time for the holidays (with not a moment to spare…) a porch star! As you can see in the photo, she includes all of the specs: supplies you will need, tools required and the skill level, plus the time it will take!

Wood Pallet Porch StarAnd finally, you can’t forget your favorite family pet who could be convinced that this (and NOT your bed) would be the perfect curl up and cuddle spot.

Crafting with Wood Pallets Dog BedMore than 25 complete project plans in all, with full instructions, cutting measurements and finishing techniques. So, I know you are wondering which project I have made?! Well, the truthful answer is none-YET. I have been sidelined for the past month with a few fractured bones in my foot. Yup. Suffice to say it is never a good idea to clean out and organize your basement workshop in your bare feet.

Walking Boot for fractured footBut, even though I haven’t yet created my first pallet masterpiece, I wanted to share this book with you because it would be the perfect gift for a DIY’er on your list. It is available on Amazon.com (with Prime, you can still get it shipped in time!) but also at Barnes and Noble. And I promise, once I am back in full-on DIY mode, a pallet bed for Bartlet

#bartletthefrenchiewill be tops on my list, thanks to Becky Lamb and her book, Crafting with Wood Pallets! Have a great Friday everyone- one week & counting until you know who arrives! Susan 

The Wedding…Party Time!

If you didn’t have a chance to view part one, check it out here:Bride and Dad UmbrellaOnce we had dried off our clothing…and our tears…it was party time! Heading into the cocktail area, our guests finally had a first glimpse of what we had been working on over the course of the previous year leading up to the big event.

Candle Light DecorWe had devoted quite a bit of time to the DIY decor representing international travel as the theme…since many of our guests…including the groom’s family, who hail from Northern Ireland, were traveling to the US to attend the wedding. Throughout the year we had gathered our supplies, creating centerpieces of painted globes (remember the global love project?)

Globe Pilephotographs of the bride and groom with their various travel selfies

wedding globesand vintage windows featuring little teeny, tiny airplanes holding the escort cards.

Airplane Escort CardsA mile marker was also constructed representing the 19 different cities and countries that our guests had traveled from to help our families celebrate this special union.

mile marker sign(A special thanks to our son’s lovely fiance, Ashley

#Crashley 1for all of the hand-painted signs…a tedious labor of love…) As a special surprise to the bride and groom, I had ordered a cupcake tower from Let Them Eat Cake featuring their little Frenchie Bartlet perched on top of the world.

Let Them Eat Cake Cupcake TowerSo sweet!

Let Them Eat Cake Bartlet FigureAlthough he’s not quite as sweet in real life…

#bartletthefrenchiebut we do love our little guy anyway…Once the speeches were completed and dinner consumed, the party really got started. Honoring the groom’s Irish heritage, the night lead off with a troupe of incredible Irish Dancers from the Stillson School of Irish Dance,

Carlene Stilson Irish Dancerswho soared and shook the old inn to the rafters

Irish Dancers Shoesin their colorful costumes,

Carlene Stilson Irish Dancersand had our guests at the ready to jump in and dance as well!

Carlene Stilson Irish DancersA difficult act to follow for sure, but no problem for our band Bearfight,

Bearfight and Crowdwho rocked the night away and had the guests on their feet until closing time! Add in a couple more tunes from Andrea and Ben of BeatRoot

Beat Root At the Partyand a bridal rap with her brother, Bearfight’s lead singer Chris…and the night played on.

yo DiggityAt the evening’s close, the crowd joined forces with the band for a rousing rendition of Piano Man

Piano Man Crowd Sings(an “end-of-the-night” classic by Billy Joel). Once outside in the cool (now dry) night air, the guests had a perfect view of the wedding-yup, even the bride in her gown-party’s Ice Bucket Challenge (in honor of their friend, Pete Frates, who leads the fight against ALS)

Ice Bucket Challenge Bridal Party…from the In Town Trolley, who would take them to the “after party” at a downtown pub.

In Town Trolley(Now I don’t know about you, but after being up at the crack of dawn and partying all night, attending another party was the last thing on my mind. Off to sleep for this exhausted MOB!)  An incredible (albeit wet) ending to a perfect (albeit wet) day and night that most of our guests will not soon forget.

Slainte SignLooks like it’s gonna be another warm (albeit wet) day in the Northeast! Slainte, everyone!  Susan

 

The Wedding: The Ceremony

This past weekend I met up with some dear family members that I’m not in touch with very often…except via social media. They were asking me about my daughter’s recent wedding, which made me realize that I never really wrote about it or shared any photos! So, three months later ( boy, how time flies…) here is the beginning of the story…

Kate & Chris in ArborWe had spent a full year planning this wedding, focusing on every detail from decor to dining to the ceremony and music. But what we learned that day is despite your best efforts,  you just cannot control Mother Nature. During the week leading up to the date, we all kept checking our iPhone weather apps and noted little sunny icons in a row with the exception of the zero hour- 5pm on the wedding day-which was clearly marked by a lightning bolt and dark rain clouds. Hmmm. So, with our wedding planner checking the weather continuously on his radar, he decided we should go ahead with the outdoor ceremony as planned and rehearsed, keeping our fingers crossed that we made it before the weather hit.

780The warm, sunny day started out rather promising, with the groom leading many of the wedding guests…

IMG_7944in a Wedding Day 5K along the rocky Maine coastline.

 

While the bride and her party were busy being primpedand pampered by hair stylists and the lovely Kate from Kosmetics by Kate…

IMG_8011preparing for the day ahead.

After their run, the groomsmen were also getting set for the big day

(hair and makeup consultants not necessary here, just a brew or two : )

After the groom and his entourage

made their way to the reception site,

it was time to get some dancing shoes on and get this party started!

As our amazing photographer, Paul Granese, of Paul Granese Photography and other family members snapped away, creating pictorial mementos to last a lifetime,

in the bright, hot sunshine,

IMG_8072there were umbrellas at the ready to protect everyone from the heat…

so we optimistically assumed it was all going to be fine.

But, as the ceremony time rolled near and our guests gathered in their seats on the green expanse of lawn near the lighthouse…

Seated Guestsominous, threatening black storm clouds gathered overhead,

so we quickly gathered the wedding party together to begin the ceremony. Just as the dashing FOB (Father of the Bride, for those wedding-uninformed : ) took our daughter’s arm to begin their walk down the aisle,

the first gentle raindrops fell. Someone from the crowd dashed over to hand him an umbrella to protect the beautiful bride…

IMG_8151and as the first notes of the lilting folk music were sung by the lovely Andrea Magee of BeatRoot– the ceremony was interrupted by a startling flash of lightning and a tremendous clap of thunder.

BeatRoot Ceremony SongAt which point the wedding planner raced down the aisle and asked the bride and groom if they would like to move the ceremony inside…which they agreed would be a good  fantastic idea…

…creating a scene right out of an adventure film…everyone ducking for cover and looking back over their shoulders

Guests Running from Rainwhile scrambling to race inside as the pelting rain soaked suit jackets and shawls and created a “bad hair day” for all…

…and a pond of water where the lawn games had been played just moments before.IMG_8189But then, something quite magical happened. Dampened by the downpour but not shaken, the bridal party quickly reassembled, then entered the small function room (not really meant for the size of this crowd) to cheers and applause,

something you don’t often see at a wedding ceremony…and exchanged their loving

Vowsand oftentimes quite humorous vows,

surrounded by a very close circle of family and friends.

Circle of LoveWas this our ceremony space of choice? Nope. But it was perfectly suited for this happy couple and their guests…providing a much more intimate and moving ceremony that ended with a rousing rendition of “All You Need Is Love” by BeatRoot (and our guests : ).All You Need Is LoveA crazy start to an unforgettable wedding day celebration!  Part Two: The Party is next! Have a great weekend everyone-hope it doesn’t rain on your special day! Susan

The Artful Cranberry Wreath

When Thanksgiving time rolls around each November, one of the first purchases I always make is a big bag of fresh cranberries. With their vibrant, deep red color and lasting freshness, cranberries are the perfect fruit to bake with,  cook and decorate with, especially around the holidays in New England. (Who doesn’t remember stringing popcorn and cranberries on a long length of thread to create garland for the family Christmas tree? And, of course, we cannot forget cranberry sauce tube in a can!)  So, last week I was thrilled to receive a beautifully handcrafted, fresh cranberry wreath from the Artful Cranberry of Freeport Maine!

Artful Cranberry Wreath Logo

With row upon row of perfectly placed ruby-red cranberries, these wreaths are one-of-a-kind, and an elegant addition to any style of decor.

Artful Cranberry Fresh WreathAlthough sleek in their symmetry, the rustic nature of the fruited wreath will complement both modern and rustic decor.

Artful Cranberry Wreath on Picket FenceThey are suitable for hanging both inside or out, and will last up to two months in a 50-70 degree interior environment- perfect to take you through this holiday season! Once I received the wreath, I tortured myself trying to decide on the proper bow. I didn’t want anything too large that would cover much of the wreath, but just enough to add a touch of contrast. This “birch-like” ribbon seemed perfect to me.

Art

It is rustic in style, but the birch has just a touch of a silvery sheen to add a bit of bling to my holiday dining room sideboard decor.

Artful Cranberry Wreath Holiday Decor Country Design Home

So the wreath is now proudly on display in our bright red dining room, the perfect complement to my rustic arched window and sparkling candelabras. If you are interested in ordering a wreath from Artful Cranberry, click the log below. (and tell her Sue@CountryDesignHome sent you : )

Artful Cranberry Wreath Logo

They are available in several round sizes, plus a new heart-shaped wreath that honors Women’s Heart Health, with the proceeds being donated to the Go Red For Women Campaign to stop heart disease in women.

Artful Cranberry Heart WreathThe wreaths arrive beautifully packaged and wrapped

Artful Cranberry Wreath Wrappedand the shipping is free– a perfect gift to send to a loved one who is sentimental about a New England Thanksgiving.  The wreaths are named “Unity, Peace, Goodwill, Joy, Love and Wonder,”

Artful Cranberry Wreath on Evergreens powerful messages that creator Deena Prestegard attempts to spread throughout the year, but especially during the holidays.  Hopefully you can spread this message too! Have a thankful Tuesday, everyone! Susan

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