“Fall”ing for Vintage Flair

Taking advantage of another gorgeous fall Sunday, Coach and I headed back to the Vintage Bazaar at Pettengill Farm in Salisbury, Mass. If you recall, we visited back in the spring, and instantly fell for the vibe of this rustic country bazaar. If you love re-furbished antiques and junque, like these adorable re-purposed suitcases from Yellow Chair Market  from Melrose, Ma.

or this stunningly colorful repurposed silver-turned-enamelware by BMc Vintage Design Studio)

or just taking in a quintessentially New England fall fair, this is a go-to destination! I love the sights and sounds of a fall country fair featuring live music, local foods and hundreds of shoppers happily strolling though the fields filled with imaginative offerings. Where else could you find life-sized pumpkin people

or perfectly pretty hand-crafted ceramic teacups and plates from Elizabeth Benotti

and funky furniture from her sister from My Simple Home Life who Renovates, Revamps and Remakes castoffs?

We discovered unique shelving and benches created from old wooden palettes,

all-natural, deliciously flavored goat milk soap from Magic Moon Soapworks (great for the complexion, I am told)

and spectacular re-purposed glass flowers spilling out of a garden pot from Creative Glass Works?  Creative Glass Works BostonOn our previous visit, we had discovered the work of Jess from Jwrobel, an artisan who re-cycles time-worn pieces into new treasures. Loving this bench re-purposed from an old headboard.  

The folks from a new vintage shop in Newburyport called Ivy Lane

were introducing an eco-friendly line of yummy paints and waxes from CeCe Caldwell. Even the quart containers are bio-degradable! Can’t wait to try these on my next D.I.M. project!

This time around, the fair was sharing their grounds with a vintage motorcyle show. This sparkling aqua Harley-Davidson was a show-stopper.

Can you imagine me out and about on this so pretty pink Vespa?!?

The vendor was trying desperately to entice me to purchase one (for a mere $4,000!), and I was strangely drawn to this PINK bike, until she mentioned the hot pink matching helmet. Yeah, my hair and helmets, not so much. Just a bad hair day waiting to happen. Move on.

Pettengill Farm, “a flower farm of distinction” that hosts this bi-annual vintage bazaar is a charming family-owned endeavor, with just the right touches of vintage and modern scattered throughout the property. These “cat shovels” were cute (I cheer whenever I see something that may have ended in a land-fill being repurposed into something fun and decorative) This recycled ostrich sculpture is fun- I think he would have looked great in Coach’s garden!

Kept spotting these peacefully charming fish sculptures scattered throughout the gardens

so I floated on over to “Fish in the Garden“. These life-like creatures are created from ceramic and stainless steel, and they curve in a way that mimics a school of fish. Lovely. Peaceful.

Along the way we ran into some local friends who had read my previous June blog about the Vintage Bazaar and decided to check out the fair for themselves. They were having a great time, with grandchildren in tow wearing crazy balloon animal hats. Happy to discover that my blog is reaching and informing my readers, and that helps to reinforce the small part I play in the blogging world. Have a terrific Tuesday everyone! Susan

“An Apple A Day…

…makes for great pie!”

Today, September 22,  is officially the first day of autumn. In New England, that means saying goodbye to summer style with aquas and blues and cool ocean hues. And saying hello to autumn – warm and cozy colors, fallen leaves crunching underfoot

pumpkins in patches…

and apples to pick!

While flipping thought this month’s issue of Country Living Magazine (which, by the way, is dark and moody halloween-y genius-check out these candy apples…)

I spotted this pullout ad from Glidden Paints.

Now, I normally go through a mag and immediately pull out and toss all the card ads, but this one caught my eye. Luscious fall colors called Granny Smith Apple, Macintosh and Golden Delicious. Yum. So I hopped onto their website and discovered these great interactive color idea boards. This one is for Red Delicious.

You choose a color, they show you a room inspiration plus they add complementary colors to complete the palettes. Brilliant! Along with the Granny Smith Apples,  I found fall-inspired color schemes like Pumpkin Patch Crisp Autumn Leaves 

and Cinnamon Stick, all of the colors true to their natural counterparts. 

Now in my dream design world, I would change my room’s paint colors with every season. But since my overall success rate with my current DIY projects (see Hall of Shame) is pretty poor, I decided it would be simpler to change a few accessories to add those warm autumn hues to my spaces.  This picture was sitting idly in the basement, waiting for its chance to shine.

Paired with a few pieces pulled from other parts of the house, I was able to create this fall-inspired vignette in my kitchen. Just take a look around your home and see what inspires you! Now if you will excuse me, I have an apple pie to bake. Happy Autumn!  Susan

High Five For Friday!

Yup, we’re all happy it’s Friday! End of another work week, hopefully got something fun planned for the weekend.?!. (Heading off to the Vintage Bazaar at Pettengill Farm– you should check it out too!) This week’s High Five For Friday goes to Buffalo Plaid Curtains. I wrote a blog post about Buffalo Plaid a few months back. Not only was it one of my most popular posts, it also continues to be one of my most “pinned” boards on Pinterest. Buffalo plaid gives a country feel to any space and can be paired nicely with anything from toiles to solids. If you are searching for a fresh look for fall and the upcoming holidays, why not change out your kitchen curtains and add a little country flair? If you’re lucky enough to live in Massachusetts, you can visit your local Country Curtains store, or shop online as well.

Happy Friday everyone! Susan

Essential Estonia

When we first saw Tallin, Estonia listed on our itinerary for last summer’s Baltic Sea Princess Cruise, I thought “Hey, isn’t Estonia that fake country that was in “The Princess Diaries!?” (actually, that was Genovia). Having never even heard of it, we really didn’t know what to expect until we approached the docks, spying the ancient towers of the town of the capital city of Tallin in the distance. Once inside the walled city

we were instantly transported back in time, surrounded by great stone churches including St. Olav’s Church– and yes, we did climb all the way to the top of the tower!

Climbing that narrow stone stairways was most definitely not for the faint of heart…but well worth the trip- what a view from the top!!)

360 degrees of spectacular sights greeted us

from the docks to the city center (thankfully there was a grill at the very top, so no chance of toppling out!)

We strolled through the walled city

taking in all the sights, including the chunky tower know affectionately as Fat Margaret – can you see where she gets her name?and the bustling Town Hall Square filled with shops and tourists alike.

The stunningly colorful architecture gives you the illusion of being on some medieval movie set,

I think Shrek and donkey may have gotten lost …

Although the official languages are Estonian and Russian, most of the vendors and townspeople spoke English, so it was quite easy to navigate our way around through the city, shop the local artisans

and dine in the famous Olde Hansa. 

Our lunch at Olde Hansa was one of the highlights of the day, sitting in the brilliant sunshine, enjoying the local cuisine. Although we passed on the Wild Boar and Rabbit Roast, we did enjoy a platter of oven-baked cheeses and herb beer. We tried to buy these amazing mugs at the restaurant shop, but they were not for sale!

If anyone knows a potter who could replicate these, let me know- they were fantastic!! What we did purchase was this hand-wrought, iron and copper candle lantern that now hangs proudly in our kitchen.

The salesclerk literally took it down from the wall and wrapped it up, screws and all, for us to take home. Try explaining that bundle to airport security.  So another great stop on our Baltic Sea tour, Estonia definitely being one of the highlights of our trip. And that’s no bull!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday… Susan

Simply Black and White

Great news from Washington D.C. yesterday, and it has nothing to do with the upcoming elections! A new baby Panda Bear was born at the National  Zoo! A four-ounce bundle of hairless joy, (who shall remain nameless for 100 days, bowing to Chinese culture) was born to Mei Xiang (pronounced may-SHONG), her second offspring born at the zoo. So, in honor of the panda, a few inspired black and white interiors to share with you today.  Black and white decor can be clean and modern, like this bedroom from Zack Benson or a little softer and romantic, just by adding a yummy toe-scrunching carpet and a touch of bling from The Decorholic

Black and white makes for a dramatic entryway, such as this one from LDa Architecture and Interiors

Don’t you just want to come in this sun-filled space and sit awhile?!? From Kim E. Courtney Interiors and Design, Inc.

Black and white makes for dramatic dining spaces as well. These chairs from Ramsey Interiors…oh my!!   One bright accent color such as pink, pops off of a black and white background and adds a touch of drama…

Which I love, along with this fabulous chair, also from The Yellow Cape Cod!!

Black and white can be dramatic and bold: this striped room from Usona

or simply charming like this bedroom from Pur Style Home

or a newborn panda cub  (awww!) For additional photographs and black and white inspiration, check out my ideabook on Houzz.com Here’s hoping you have a “beary” nice Tuesday! Susan

country.style.love

Since my decorating point of view is simply country style, I am always drawn to interiors and products that help me create that look. I realize that many folks appreciate, but don’t necessarily decorate with that homespun, down-home casual look, but I believe that one “countrified” piece can fit into any room, into any decorating scheme. It is all about blending and mixing pieces to come up with the perfect eclectic design for you; a style that stands the test of time. More importantly, a style that makes your house your home, whether it’s Refined Rustic

Country Pretty

or Mid-Century “Mad Men”.

Each week, on Features Friday, I am hoping to share a couple of items/ideas/recipes: anything that might inspire you to add a touch of country to your space! I will provide you with links to the sources we have used and the products that we love. First up: Lt. Willard Moses Lighting from The Great Windsor Chair Company. Located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Great Windsor Chairs sells a huge selection of country-style farm tables, chairs, clocks and lighting. When Coach and I were remodeling our kitchen, we needed the perfect chandelier, as it is the focal point and centerpiece of our space. We found and purchased this one online, hoping that the quality and style were right for our room, since we had never seen this brand in a local store.

Hanging from the vaulted ceiling, it instantly conveys that “country” feeling we were looking for, and it provides elegant ambiant lighting. LOVE. Another company, Urban Chandy, creates these uniquely rustic chandeliers from re-claimed lumber and vintage-look bulbs. Fabulous! These rustic pieces would work just as well in a country setting as in an urban, modern design. You can shop their stylish lighting on Etsy.com

If you have something to share, whether it’s a recipe, furniture source or design idea, I would love to share with my Country Design readers! Send a photo along with the link and information to countrydesignhome@gmail.com. T.G.I.F. everyone!!! Susan

“Dude, Where’s My Hammer?!?”

Since my last blog, I have had a bit of wrist re-furbishing, and typing left-handed is proving to be quite slow and tedious. So in the interest of my patience and sanity, the next few blogs (until the cast comes off) will be short, sweet and photo heavy. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Since my D.I.M. capabilities are severely limited at the moment, I am going to share a few recent projects that you might like to try. Since Coach and I are forever working on some home-and-barn improvement project, tools and supplies are constantly being moved around. It seems like whenever it’s time to hang a picture or sand a piece of furniture, the necessary tools are nowhere to be found. SO FRUSTRATING!!! How many of you out there in cyberspace have a junk drawer? Well, we do, and its so stuffed with junk I usually can’t find anything!

So, rather than going out and purchasing a fancy tool chest, I found some old plastic bins kicking around in the basement, and decided to use them to create my Home Improvement Command Center HICC for short.

In each labeled drawer there are the tools specific for that task. Stick: glue, duct tape, masking tape- anything that sticks-get it?

Cut and Scrape: razor cutters, blades, paint scrapers, chisels.

Screw and Drill: drivers, electric and manual, phillips head and flat head, along with the many drill bits we have purchased over the years because we couldn’t find the right one when we needed it. 

Hang: for pictures, curtains, rods (well, the rods don’t actually fit in these bins, but are you getting the hang of this?!?)

There are many more, including POUND, WRENCH&PLY and BRUSH- all pretty self-explanatory. Right after I completed this project, Coach came to me and said “Hey, I was looking for a hammer and found it right away- in the pound drawer!” HICC complete. Mission accomplished. Now if we can just remember to put them back! Have an inspiringly organized day! Susan

Back to Brimfield

Over the weekend, Coach and I made another road trip back to the Brimfield Antiques Show to see what we had missed the first time around! Many of my favorite vendors were there, like “My Sister’s Garages”, but there were many new vendors (or perhaps just new to us-that place is just so huge you could easily walk right past some great stuff!). Since my decorating point of view is “country” style, my eye is always drawn to vintage and rustic, which is more popular than ever. Creating lights out of anything but lamps is definitely trending in design. If there was a grate or a pulley or a pipe or basket

someone attached a bulb and a cord and lit up the joint.

Thomas Edison would have been proud. And although he did not hold the patent for the moonshine still, he may have enjoyed a shot or two from this beauty! Since it was the third and final day of the fair, the owner was trying to “move it” and was willing to part with it for $2500! I can see it now…The Red Barn Distillery…

Tin alphabet letetrs. Didn’t know what letter to buy, so didn’t buy any! Regretting that decision.

In a nod to Halloween, piles of tin pumpkins in a patch. Cute.

The Textile Trunk tent was filled with “antique and vintage European textiles”. I don’t know about you, but me in a fabric shop is like a kid in a candy store. (well, I like candy too, but vintage fabric is just so yummy, and better for the waistline).

There are always hand-made tables and benches for sale. I love these old farm trolleys turned coffee table. But it took 4 big guys to put one on the back of a pick up truck! How the heck would we get it into the house?!?

Loads of vintage tin buckets and pail being re-puposed into clocks, benches

and roosters- where would you put this larger-than- life-sized bird in your yard?!?

Coach and I have been to the fair a number of times, and have never ventured inside this tent. The Pandora de Balthazar is all about European Luxury Bedding, and luxurious it was! White, pressed, polished, love. Sooo country pretty.

Coach, being a coach and all, is always looking for sports paraphenalia. He spotted this rack with dozens of vintage baseball bats. Curious, not to purchase, but to assess the worth of his own Roberto Clemente signature bat.

After three+ hours of meandering through the rows of tents, we overheard the chatter on radios and walkie talkies of an impending severe storm and a possible tornado! Coach was none-too-happy about missing the entire second half of the fair, but let’s be honest, where does one seek shelter from a twister in a sea of white pop-up tents?!?

Time to head back to the car for the long drive home. Next time we will start on the opposite side of the street. I have this little sign hanging in my daughter’s childhood bedroom. Great advice.

So Coach and I stopped at several little church and yard sales on our drive to Brimfield. And, although I didn’t find any treasures at the big fair, I picked up this lovely white soup tureen for $3

and this precious tea table for $8!  This one’s gonna need some of the 3 R’s…but I guess you could say we found a litte joy- and it was cheap!

Hope you find joy in your journey today! Susan

Coffee, Tea or Free?

Another trash to treasure redo for the 3R’s: Recycle, Refurbish, Relove! At a not-so-recent yard sale, Coach and I came across this coffee table…

it was a little yellowed, scuffed and dinged, but I knew it was the perfect shape and size for my family room. The cost? It was a free “throw-in” because Coach was buying a “new” set of golf clubs, since the set he previously owned could have been used in the filming of “The Greatest Game Ever Played”. 

So for $80, he got a nice set of clubs with a bag and I got the table! We lived with it for awhile until I figured out how best to refurbish it. That was the before, this is the after:

Here is how I did it. Coach lightly sanded the whole thing, I added the dark blue paint coat to the base- this is the color you want to see when the crackling does its magic.

I wanted the top to remain a natural wood finish so I left that alone. This is the crackling medium from Plaid Enterprises. You can get it very cheaply at any local craft store. A little goes a very long way.

This is a liquid you apply wherever you want the topcoat to “crackle” to show the undercoat paint color. I applied it sparingly, to give the piece a more natural cracked finish. Paint the surface with crackling medium. Allow to dry. Paint over that with your top color.

Be careful to only brush in one direction. Do not go back over where you previously brushed as it will smear the crackled look!

Alow to dry. I added a coat of water-based matte polyurethane prior to brushing on the antiquing glaze, since I didn’t want the finish to be too dark. The poly blocks the glazing from being absorbed too deeply into the painted surfaces. This is the glaze I use, but you can also use any clear glaze with your color mixed in for a custom look.

Working in small sections, brush glaze on

then wipe off, leaving as much or as little as you like. (make sure you use gloves- this stuff stains-well, because it is stain!!)

At this point, I glazed the top as well, since I wanted it to be a bit deeper and richer color than the original unvarnished look. Allow to dry.

Final step. Annie Sloan  soft paste wax. Available in light and dark finishes. I probably could have skipped the glazing part if I had used the dark.

I had been hearing a lot about this product, and I was anxious to try it out. Very smooth application, you literally smear it on in a smooth coat (I left it lumpy here to illustrate, but you need to make it smooth) with a soft cloth…

allow to dry, then buff it off.

What a finish! Glowing and warm. Kind of like a freshly polished and buffed pair of old leather shoes. So country pretty. Family room table project complete. Total cost? Coffee table: free! Glazing: was $10 but it was from the Whale Table Project, and I only used a tiny amount, so lets say $1.00. Wax: $28.00, but only used 1/4 of the can, so $7.00 for that. Paints, brushes and water based poly are all stuff I had on hand from many previous projects, so we will say $2 tops for all. Total cost? $10.00!

Do you have a project you have been working on, and need some help with the finished look? Send questions or photos my way @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com. Can’t wait to get out to Brimfield for some new 3R’s projects!! Susan 

Crafts from the Castle(berry)

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and this week we stayed close to home! During the last official weekend of summer, it was essential to get outside and enjoy the glorious New England weather. We ventured down to the Topsfield Fairgrounds

for the Castleberry Fair.  Now, anyone from the New England area knows of the Topsfield Fair, the oldest country fair in the US, dating back to 1818. For 10 days every fall, these fairgrounds are home to carnival rides, livestock of all shapes and sizes and farmers vying for the grand prize in the Giant Pumkin Contest.   These would make quite some Jack-O-Lanterns!

This  weekend’s Castleberry Fair was a smaller sampling, with pop-up tents set amongst the (now empty) livestock and harvest barns. With handcrafted goods of all kinds, food trucks and a little country music, the fair was a nice way to spend a couple of hours in the warm afternoon sunshine. Whenever I attend these events, I always try to find something new, something out of the ordinary, something that you would not see at your local retailer. Todays finds included:  Sue Handman Collage Art. A unique collection of hand-decorated clothing and bags.

With loads of cute quotes and vintage photos printed on fabric for a one-of-a-kind look.

Lovely. Felted. Feathered. Flowered hats from Blue Moon Design Studios of Wethersfield, Conn. 

Docksmith Shop creates these organic docking stations for anything “i”- phones, pads or pods. Made from driftwood and rootwood, they are perfect for an eclectic, natural decor. Their slogan:      ::plug into something real::    LOVE.

Hebert Honey  David J. Hebert, from Oxford, Mass. offers a wide range of products that are 100% natural and organic.

You had me at Alpaca. This adorable face drew me into the booth of Clark Summit Alpacas from Deering New Hampshire. 

The lovely Kari Lewis, co-owner, shared her story of the farm and its origins. They breed the alpacas for sale (check out their “alpacas to love” link,  or to harvest their soft, luscious wool that is spun into skeins of yarn. From this wool they create stunning shawls, clothing and home accessories. Do you think Coach might consider adding an alpaca for the barn workshop?!

We’ve seen lots of alphabet photgraphy, framed into words, but these from Creative Letter Art are in a class of their own. Original, artistic, colorful photos are presented in specific genres: neon, beachy, architecture, musical. You can order your words directly from the website. This 3D wire mesh sculpture art from Peter Robinson-Smith was dramatic and eye-catching.

A country fair wouldn’t be complete without some food trucks! Love BostonPoppers Kettle Korn. Crunchy, sweet, best when freshly popped off the truck!

My final stop was to try a sample of this Muddy Mary’s Bloody Mary Mud.

This stuff is yummy- just add tomato juice and vodka! So, getting ready for the big one next weekend- Brimfield!!!  Susan

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