Our Awesome Junk Can Be Your Awesome Junk!

Have you seen this cartoon that showed up on my FB feed a few weeks back?

Well, my kids have, and they were not amused, fearing that they will be stuck with so much stuff upon our ultimate demise. So, the time has come to start clearing out the barn, the shed, the porch, the basement and the house. As we have been slowly acquiring furnishings and necessities for our new cottage, and deciding what to bring up from our home, we are feeling a bit overrun and filled to the brim with WAY too much stuff that needs to be purged. The general rule of thumb now: if we can’t use it here, and we don’t want it in the Maine cottage, it goes. So, tomorrow, Saturday, June 15th is your lucky day!! Because all of the awesomeness that we (well, mainly Coach) have collected over the years is now yours for the purchasing. I have a few signs ready to go, and Coach has these great roll-down maps of the US and Alaska. And maps, loads of maps. And books…

Mill Shop Wall

No reasonable offers refused, I promise! Here is the yard sale listing that Coach has posted with lots of pics- but I assure you there is PLENTY more where that came from!! If you need it, we probably have one- or more.

https://www.yardsalesearch.com/yss-garage-sale.jsp?id=192013209

Except for the whale coffee table- he is one of a kind : )

Whale Table Tail CloseupStarts at 8 and goes until…if there’s a customer, Coach will stay!  See you tomorrow, bring lots of $$$ : )

xoxo Susan



 

How Many Whales Can One Cottage Hold?

It all started with this sweet little pillow…

Whale PillowWay back when Coach and first made the decision to purchase our cottage, I started looking around our own home and our shop for inspiration…thinking that we could bring a lot of our present décor to Maine-save some $$$, decorate with the things we love. We tend towards the nautical, as you can see by the photos. But, what else did I see? WHALES. Pods of them scattered throughout the house.

Nantucket Brand Whale PaintingOn our porch, in the family room, in the bathroom, in the shop.

Tin Whales Country Design HomeSome hand-crafted by me, some by local artisans, different styles, shapes and colors.

Hail to the Whale Wall Grouping Logo 1Whale, its a full-on WHALE invasion!

Whale Table Tail CloseupNow, anyone that follows my blog knows that Coach and I love those majestic denizens of the deep blue sea. In taking a quick inventory in our home, I came across this beautiful hand-crafted whale cutting board

Granite Whale Cutting Boardwe recently purchased at the Vintage Bazaar…and this whale rocking toy…

Whale Rocking Toy…and these little guys in our kitchen…

Whale Vignette…and of course, we cannot forget about our patriotic whale coffee table on the porch!

Whale Porch TableOK, so maybe we whale-y have a problem…and this is only in a few rooms in our house!  I recently read an article about the 30 worst decorating trends that hopefully will never return: Over-Done Coastal was listed as decorating no-no…too much of a good thing will drown out your style, apparently. So, how many whales can a little Maine cottage hold? Whale, we’ll have to wait and see : ) So, for now, I am scaling back on the whales and looking to simplify some of the spaces I have designed (all in my head and on Pinterest Country Design Homefor now, thankfully : ). But this guy, hand-crafted by the very talented Jess Wrobel

Whale Pillowwhale, he’s coming with us because he makes me whale-y happy : ) Have a whale of a Wednesday, everyone! xoxoxo Susan

Moving On…

For the past few years, Coach and I have been part of a co-op shop in the Barn at Todd Farm. It’s been a lot of work and loads of fun, but with time comes inevitable change. When we were told last fall that the barn was going to be converted into some type of event venue, we decided that it was a sign to close up our shop and move on-no more early Sunday mornings-yay!

Mill Shop Aqua CupboardBUT, what to do with all of the stuff we still have to sell?!? Well, some of it will be going to our new place in Maine (more on that later : ) but the rest of it came home bit by bit- thanks primarily to Coach- and literally filled our porch, shed, basement and living room. Until now. We are happy to announce that we have moved into our new digs at The Mills at Pulaski Antiques Street in Peabody!

Mill Shop ShelvingThis rustic, turn-of-the century mill building has been converted into multiple co-ops and shops scattered throughout 4 floors of antique architecture-if you love exposed brick, huge windows, old planking and vintage charm- this is your place-well, this is OUR place- but we’d love for you to come visit : )

Mill Shop Blank WallLuckily for us, we are on the first floor in the center! And, the shop will be open from 10-6 from Thursday through Monday weekly. We’re joining the Timely Treasures Co who specialize in home cleanouts and sales,  Serendipity Vintage Goods (also formerly of Todd Farm) and various other antiques and furniture vendors. No matter what your design style or furniture era, you will surely find some treasures here! Coach is bringing in his maps-so many maps- and I will be working on new pieces for sale, like this little antique beauty.

Mill Shop Console TableSo, if you happen to be on the north shore of Boston, come on by and take a peek at our new space. We’ve been working hard to make it pretty and you can’t miss the signs…have a hopefully not too wet Wednesday everyone!!! xoxo SusanMill Shop Wall

It’s A Sign…

Coach and I have been very, very busy- while he’s been cleaning out his stall in the Barn at Todd Farm and finding new homes for his “junque”, (more about that later) I have been working on my block-printed signs.

Holiday Signs Country Design Home

I have shared them on my Facebook Country Design Home and Instagram pages (NOT the actual DIY instructions, because that’s my secret : ) The signs are completely hand-crafted, by me, and are built using the reclaimed wood from antique crates used by a c.1800’s Boston shoe company.

Allen Shoe Co Boston Crate

Coach pulls them apart, then I get to work painting, sanding, cutting and framing each sign. Last week, I even shared my first nail-gun misadventure, which resulted in a slight, but painful puncture wound : 0  I do have a sampling of them at our shop in the Barn at Todd Farm, but if you are interested in one of my signs, just don’t happen to fancy shopping in an unheated barn, I have some great news! My signs are now being offered in three local shops on the North Shore!

The first is a pop-up holiday shop in Ipswich, Ma. The 4 Elm Street Holiday Market opened on November 17th and features local and imported gifts and home décor by Hutton Home Design. It is open now through Christmas.

4 Elm Holiday Market

The second shop is The Brass Monkey in Gloucester, MA. An expansive, beautiful gift shop filled with unique gifts, jewelry, clothing and home décor, both antique and new. And of course, now bursting with Christmas JOY!

The Brass Monkey.jpgFinally, The Tin Bucket in Reading is a warm and cozy shop that offers lots of sweet, unique, one-of-a kind gifts and fresh home décor items. But, they are not just a retail shop-they also offer classes and craft parties for adults and children! They are carrying a selection of Coach’s antique maps as well-a perfect gift for someone special!

The Tin Bucket ReadingSo, if skipping the mall is your thing and you’d like to find the perfect gift for under your Christmas tree (like a rustic, hand-painted sign, perhaps!?!?), take a ride and check out these lovely shops. And tell them that Sue from Country Design Home sent you!! Hope you have a shop-a-rific Saturday everyone!! Susan xoxo

 

What Is This Worth?

For those of you who subscribe to Country Living Magazine (and, I mean, who doesn’t ?!?), you are aware of their monthly feature entitled “What Is It Worth?”. For those of you who do not, this is where folks send photos of interesting old and antique items to find out what they are and how much they might be worth. If you are a picker like Coach, you are always hoping to find that one amazing item that you rescue from a throw-away box for a couple of bucks, only to discover that its worth thousands…or perhaps millions!! Well, that probably never happens, but he has managed to find a few gems along the way…like this thing…Gould & Cook Pencil Sharpener

He had picked it up at a yard sale, and it was hanging around the barn in a box for awhile when I finally asked him what it was-he had no idea, thinking it was an antique portable sander of some sort. So I said “well, we should bring this to the barn, someone will like it.” And so we did. Long story short, a customer informed us of its true origins and usage-and we were astonished-not only at its intended use, but its value! Do you know have an inkling as what to this contraption really is and what it is used for???

Click on our Ebay link below to get the story behind the story.

EbayHere’s hoping you find your one in a million treasure! And for all of you out there in peril’s way, please be safe…you are all in our thoughts and prayers. xoxo Susan

 

 

Lights, Camera, Wayfair.com!

Howdy, everyone- happy almost fall! A few weeks ago I received an email from the good folks at Wayfair.com (yup, that Wayfair.com, the one that has just what you need : ). They had seen my giant bedspring marquee light board that I had built ( the one that ended up on a Times Square billboard)

Rusty Bedspring Marquee Signand were asking permission to use it in an article they were featuring on their website! Well, that’s pretty exciting, but what do you suppose Wayfair would want with my old rusty bedspring light? Turns out that the content director was writing a piece on recycling old used mattresses and thought my rusty bedsprings would be a fun addition to the story- oh, JOY!!

Joy Rusted Bedspring Marquee SignDid you know that mattresses are completely recyclable-well, I had no idea!! According to the Wayfair article, over 20 million mattresses are sent to trash dumps every year, where they will essentially sit and rot for eternity because they are not bio-degradable. Sadly, the reality is that the padding, cotton fabric coverings, metal and wood components are all recyclable materials, if only folks knew how or where to dispose of them. Click on the link below to read the story and get ideas on what to do with your old used mattresses, doing your little part to save our planet : )

Wayfair.com Recycle Mattress

Wayfair.com

Make sure you check out their few other photos of old, re-used bedsprings that you can use as inspiration! Have a great Labor Day, everyone! Susan xoxo

Gone Fishing…

Where have I been, you ask? Long time no hear, you say. Whelp, no excuses! I’ve been trying to relax and have some fun this summer, but basically that means I’ve been incredible busy with furniture sanding and staining and painting and stenciling and lifting and hauling and hammering and oh, yeah, selling it all at the Barn at Todd Farm! The only fishing I have actually done is for some cute whale patterns for my hand-crafted Tin Whale Signs. So much for a summer of R & R…which for me means Re-Cycle & Re-Love.

Today’s DIY post features some super cute whales I’ve created from tin, copper, wood and some paints. Typically, this is what happens: Coach says “I have these boards, can you do something with them?” He paints or stains them a background color while I search for some inspiration- nothing a pile of tin can’t provide! Where this stuff comes from, I do not know or care to ask- it just magically appears in the workshop…or on the porch…or in the yard…or under the work tent. But, somehow it all comes together and we go from this:

Tin Whale Outdoor Panelsto this: Tin Whales Country Design HomeHere’s the how-I-did-it:

Get a piece of wood (we have tons in the barn if you need some…) Have Coach paint or stain the wood with whatever back ground color you’d like to showcase your designs. Get some old tin sheets (good luck with that one) I needed enough tin to create a whale pattern the length of the wood-it did not have to be one large piece because I was planning on slicing it anyway.

Tin Whale SheetsLay down your whale pattern (hey, if you don’t like whales, you can pretty much take your pick of fish or animals or anything else. Then again, who doesn’t like whales?? Trace the pattern onto the tin panels.

Tin Whale Tracing PatternCut the pattern out with scissors. Now, I am not sure where to actually find aged tin this thin-once my stash is gone, I am not sure what I will do! But I am sure Coach will figure it out. Evenly slice the pieces into as many as you would like to create your design.

Tin Whale Pattern StencilI chose two different paint colors to create the stripes. So many colors, so many choices…

Tin Whale Paint ColorsI painted it on…

Tin Whale Painted Tail Before…then sanded it off to expose the tin texture.

Tin Whale Sanded PaintSometimes I don’t paint it at all- just leaving the aged tin…which has the appearance of an old whale (well, at least from what I can see in old photographs…)

Tin Whale Natural SurfaceOnce all the pieces were painted, I laid them back down, evenly spacing them with a ruler. (I used to just eyeball stuff, but I guess these old eyes don’t quite measure like they used to…)

Tin Whale SpacingI glued the pieces to the wood…I’ve tried all sorts of glues, but this one works really well and its clear and doesn’t smell too bad. Painted it on the back of the pieces, then laid it down on the wood panel-once I had them positioned correctly- thenI weighted them down with paint cans until they dried.

Tin Whale Tacky GlueNow, here’s the fun part. Well, I guess you could call it fun if you enjoy individually punching dozens of teeny, tiny copper tacks into tin and wood using jewelry pliers and a small hammer…

Tin Whale Copper Tacks with PliersThese tiny copper tacks are from a company in Ohio- they are specifically made for shaker boxes…but I think they are perfect for my whales!

Tin Whale Copper TacksEach whale is unique in both the finishes and the finishing decorations. Depending on the color choices, sometimes I will use black carpet tacks instead of the copper tacks…those are available at your local hardware store.

Tin Whales 2 by 2As for the whales, well, sometimes I paint them, sometimes I leave them natural (after all, whales are not typically blue striped) Sometimes I use vintage hooks, sometimes I glue jute rope around the edges to finish them off…whatever strikes my artistic fancy while I am in my create mode. So, here are the whales hanging on the wall at the barn, along with many other pieces that I have created.

Tin Whales Barn Vignette Country Design Home.jpgDon’t they look totally at home there?? If I ever have coastal cottage (working on it!) they will be making waves there : ) Have a whale of a Monday, everyone! xoxo Susan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve Moved! (but not far…)

This past couple of months, Coach and I have been working really hard to create a new fresh look for our space in the Barn at Todd Farm. Well, actually, its my new space…but I didn’t move far- just across the aisle! Our friends and barn co-inhabitants from The Laughing Cottage moved down to the front entrance of the barn, leaving their space available. So, Coach and I decided that because of its size and orientation (it is wide rather than deep) it made sense for me to make the move to give us a lot more wall space to hang our artwork and decorative stuff. We moved into a blank slate, basically plywood walls and floors, and set out to create a warm and welcoming space with a slightly nautical theme. We painted the back chipwood wall, first with an undercoat of white,

Barn Booth painted wall

and then I dry-brushed over it in shades of grays and blues. (woops, I forgot to take the after picture, but if you look real close behind the whales, you can see the finished wall).

Barn Booth Back Wall Styled

The bookcase wall, which had been covered with rustic shutters, took on a mid-century modern look once I painted random squares with pops of color and stained the rest.

Barn Booth Painted Shelving

Then, we filled it with all sorts of curated items, hung a ladder and some fish net and patio lights for ambiance. So cute!

Barn Booth Bookcase Wall Lights

Then, the floor! Well, what was once a dusty, plain brown plywood

Barn Booth Plywood Plank Flooring

is now a striped and stenciled masterpiece that continually draws customers’ attention and comments-who just love it!

Barn Booth Old Trunk

The painted floor stripes were simple to do-measured, then taped off, followed by painting alternating stripes of General Finishes Milk Paint in Coastal and Federal Blue. You can see in the photo below that I did create more of a paint-washed look rather than a solid color. I wanted it to look old and worn, not shiny and new, so I used a brush rather than a roller- an arduous task, but worthwhile in the end.

Barn Booth Painted Stripe Flooring

By the time I was finished with the stripes, they were already dry and ready for the stencils! I created a large pattern on my handy-dandy Cricut machine and cut it-so large, that I had to piece it together with tape!

Barn Booth Cut Stencil

Stenciling was done with a large sponge and some random acrylic paint I mixed together in a pale chartreuse.

Barn Booth Spacing Stencils

Spacing was a bit tricky- I started in the middle in front of the beam (which I thought was centered, but not quite) and worked to the left and right. Along the way, I gave up the measuring tape and just eyeballed it to make sure I could fit it all in. As is sometimes the case (but not always), the stenciled design fit perfectly! So now my space is filled with pieces that I have refurbished and lots of cool junk that Coach has picked along the way. Actually, quite a few of these pieces sold on our flea market opening day this past Sunday- but there are plenty more where those came from!

Barn Booth Styled

If you haven’t been up in awhile, or have never been to The Barn at Todd Farm, come on up and visit us in our sweet new space.

Barn Booth Bookcase Wall

(and Coach is now in my old space with the rusty bedspring light)- with a new name- American Vintage GoodsRusty Bedspring Marquee Light In Shop PM

So stop on by and say Hi!! And have a wonderful (albeit WET) Wednesday! Susan xoxo

DIY Aha Moment

With all of the painting and staining and top-coating I do on a daily basis, you would think that I know all the tricks of the trade. And I do…kinda…sorta, well, for the most part. Except every once in awhile I have an “aha” moment where I think- “geesh- why didn’t I think of this before?!?”

Do you ever open a brand new can of paint and think, “oooh, how pretty!?” Well, I do, every time, because I love the potential and promise that a fresh new paint color brings to any project. So, I use the paint for that project, then slap the lid back on until the next time…and then I pry it off (because now it’s kinda stuck to the rim because of the left- over paint from the last time) for the next project. And so it goes, and with each project the rim becomes more caked and coated with dried paint (that break off into little tiny micro-chips..which eventually fall into the can and leave lumps while I am painting.) And eventually, I can no longer get a nice snug seal on the paint can and the remaining paint becomes dried and unusable. Ugh.

Annie Sloan Old White Can Edge

So, the other day, after I opened my can of Annie Sloan Greek Blue Chalk Paint (oh, my goodness, this color is swoon-worthy…) I vowed to make sure the cover and rim were clean and clear when I was finished for the day. But here is the issue: there is that second indent in the edge of the can where the lid fits- and that fills up with paint as you wipe your brush along the edge to remove excess paint during the painting process.

Paint Can Edge.jpg

It is virtually impossible to get it clean and paint-free unless you do some surgical intervention with Q-tip(s)-time consuming and messy!

I have tried using the “rubber band” method, where you place the rubber band in the center of the opening and run your brush along that instead of the can’s edge.

Paint Can Rubber Ban Method

But I can attest to the fact that since rubber bands are made out of, well, rubber, there are times when they “bounce back” and the paint will splatter around. And, its messy to remove. Plus, every once in awhile I need to stop and restir my paint and then the rubber band is in the way.

Yesterday, I was looking at the can of paint I was about to open (well, actually, I was searching for the paint can opener because I always seem to lose those), and right beside it was a roll of painter’s tape. You know, the blue kind that we use to mask off anything and everything. My AHA moment! So I grabbed the tape and created a rim guard all around the perimeter of the opening, inside that second indent where the paint typically collects.

Painters Tape Edge Annie Sloan Greek Blue

Because the tape is straight and a quart can is round, I used several small pieces, overlapping as I went along to create a paint barrier. I went to work, painting my pieces, and when I was done, I simply peeled the tape away from the edge and voila!

Removing Tape from Annie Sloan Greek Blue

Perfectly clean…no more caked edges and micro-dots of paint on my projects! Shark Tank here I come! This is a sneak peek at the pieces I am using the Annie Sloan Greek Blue Chalk Paint on- isn’t it gorgeous!?

Annie Sloan Greek Blue Painted Chair

Here’s hoping you have a perfectly mess-free Friday, everyone! Susan xoxo

 

 

 

Hail to the Whale!

Coach and I, well, we just love whales. I am not certain how it all began, but I can say that one of our very first “all day” dates took place in lovely Mystic Connecticut. In Mystic Seaport, it is all things nautical, and I suspect perhaps that day spent touring the Charles W. Morgan (the last wooden whale ship in the world!)

Charles W. Morgan

the Seaport Museum and the Mystic Aquarium, all the while basking in the glow of young love, might have sparked the beginning of a life-long passion for those majestic denizens of the deep. So, I paint a lot of whales…on trunks and planks and tables, pretty much any flat surface.

Whale Porch Table

After all, who can resist a gentle, giant creature with a hint of a smile-especially when decorated with the American flag? Recently, Coach came upon a stack of old cabinet doors (well, it might not have been recently, it’s just what has surfaced in the barn most recently.)

Hail to the Whale Before Cupboard Door

They were simply painted creamy white, or so we thought. Until he started to sand the edges and behold! This amazing teal blue emerged.

Hail to the Whale Black Background

Sometimes you have in your mind what color scheme to use on a piece, sometimes the piece dictates the palette. In this case, there was cream and teal and a country red color…perfect for an American Flag Whale! I went with a black background for greater impact and contrast to the flag whale itself. For the flag colors, I mixed paints until I came up with the exact shades of teals and reds that matched the existing colors on the frame. I have, in my workshop, perhaps 50 or so of those little Behr sample paint pots

Behr Sample Pots

that you get at Home Depot for a couple of bucks…in a multitude of colors. These are my go-to samples when I am mixing paints-economical and plentiful…and if I mix a color I really love, I just use the color match app to have them mix whatever amount I need! Once I painted the background, it was a pretty simple process-I used a whale stencil

 

Whale Stencil

for the overall pattern in cream, then taped off the stripes, and added the red.

Hail to the Whale Taped Stripes

Now, I know there aren’t 13 stripes- he was just too narrow and it looked too tight, so I went with a more interpretive look.

Hail to the Whale Star Field

After that, I added the star field using a stencil I cut out with my Cricut Air machine.

Cricut Gold

Do you have one of these?? If not, you need to hustle over to your favorite craft store and buy one, like now! If you do crafts, or scrapbooking, or make signs or stencils or just about anything where you need to apply graphics, this is your go-to machine. See this little square of stars?

Star Stencil

By hand, that would have taken me hours to cut…and then a few more in the ER getting stitched up from the X-acto knife thumb slice… With the Cricut, it took maybe ten minutes to design and cut the stencil. Simply incredible!

Once the whale had dried, I added the matching stars in the four corners. Upon close inspection, you can see where I allowed the faint outline of the original hardware to remain.

Hail to the Whale Hinge Detail

I think it gives the piece character to leave the blemishes there for everyone to see. After that, it was simply a matter of a topcoat…and I went with my go-to favorite: Flat Out Flat by General Finishes. **As a side-note, when you paint on this topcoat, it initially appears milky white,

Hail to the Whale FOF Wet Finish

which kind of freaked me out the first time I tried it. But, once it dried to a clear, softly glowing finish, I was sold. So, the whale is now finished and ready for his new home.

Hail to the Whale Finished Logo

This is the wall grouping that greets visitors at my back door, but alas, he’s not staying put.

Hail to the Whale Wall Grouping Logo 1

He’s migrating north to the Barn at Todd Farm where he’ll have a whale of a time with some other pieces I have recently completed. Have a “whale-y”great Wednesday, everyone! Susan xoxo

 

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