A Sweet Pause…

…from my daily routine of decorating and painting and furniture re-doing to bring you this heartwarming story. I follow (and donate and sometimes volunteer when I can) to this amazing organization, Sweet Paws Rescue.

Sweet Paws Rescue Logo

Based in Groveland, Mass., it is the brainchild of founder Cynthia Sweet, who witnessed first-hand during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina just how many puppies, dogs and strays are uncared for and lost, not just after a natural disaster, but on a daily basis. They continually post pics of adorable, but often abused and abandoned canines (and felines!) that are transported from southern states and are then in turn, fostered and eventually adopted into permanent, loving homes by this incredible organization. Today’s story, however, has a bit of a sad and different twist. This beautiful elderly lab, Sunny,

Sunnywas owned by a local man who had fallen on hard times and was homeless and living in his car near the Sweet Paws facility. Suffering through yet another freezing winter, the man decided it would be safer and more comfortable for the aging dog to live out her final years in a warm, loving home. So, he surrendered her to Cynthia and her Sweet Paws family so that they could find her a home. Can you even imagine the heartbreak of not only being homeless, but also having to give up your one constant-a loyal and loving companion? But he did, and Sweet Paws has been assisting Sunny with medical care and finding a new home…but they also have been working with Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley to assist his owner, who is now safe in a local shelter and awaiting some permanent housing options. Now, Sweet Paws Rescue has turned to their loyal following, requesting donations, not only for the medical care of Sunny, but also to help this man get back on his feet. If you have a chance, head over to the Sweet Paws FB page and read the story, share it with your friends and family and donate if you can. And when you think of Sunny, remember how blessed you truly are if you have a roof over your head, plenty of food and loved ones to care for you in your darkest hour.

Have a Sunny Sunday, everyone! xoxo Susan

 

 

Beginning Anew & A Giveaway!

This past year has been one of great joys and great sorrows for me personally. The birth of our very first grandchild (he’s a wee bit camera shy, but suffice to say-and this is my totally unbiased opinion- that he is the cutest baby in the whole world…) followed by the incredible wedding celebration of our son to his lovely bride, were both the happiest of  occasions.

Let's Dance 2016

But, those extraordinary events were overshadowed by the diagnosis, illness and subsequent death of my mother,

Mom Green Sweater

(their beloved grandmother and great-grandmother) who passed away recently at 89 years young from cancer. To say that the events of the past year were overwhelming is an understatement. Each presented its own set of unique demands and daily challenges, and each was equally important in its own right. So, during that time, blogging was most definitely not in the forefront of my mind. Getting through each day, surviving until the next dawn broke was about all I had the time and energy for…and so it had been some time, until quite recently, since I had put “pen to paper” to write my stories. But time marches on, as they say, and life settles down, and we move forward…or in this case, backwards…to a time when I was happily painting and sawing and sanding and DIY’ing and sharing it all with you on social media.

Vintage Americana Heart Logo

In the past few weeks, I have started (and finished!) some new projects, remembered to take photos

Hail to the Whale Finished Logo

and share them on social media-which, in itself, was pretty amazing! So, I am finally beginning to re-furbish and re-love the pieces that have been lying dormant in the basement…and the barn…and the shed during this long and lonely winter. Loving this sweet little side table I recently re-did but completely forgot to write about.

IMG_0037

But I do have one problem. I recently moved my blog server back to WordPress.com (a long and frustrating story for another day). But with that move, I was not able to bring all of you, my lovely readers along with me! Those of you who had joined the ranks of my blog followers over the past few years will no longer receive my blog posts…unless we take action…so I need your help! If you wish to continue receiving email notices of my blog posts and DIY escapades (and, remember, we never, ever, EVER use your email for any other purpose : ), and I hope that you do, you need to click on this link to the home page of my blog https://countrydesignhome.com/

Blog Home Page

scroll down to the right side of the screen until you get to the line that reads “follow my blog”. Fill in the little window your email address, click send, and you will receive a confirmation email from me via Word Press. Just hit confirm, and you are done! Now, I know this is a pain in the neck and you are thinking, “well, this is a pain in the neck”, so I am going to sweeten the pot a wee bit. All of the email confirmations I receive by April 15th will be placed in a random drawing and one lucky person will win a $50 Amazon.com gift card…as a personal thanks from me to you…

Amazon Gift Card

…because we can all use a little fun news on Tax Day, right? So, thanks for understanding, and thanks for being part of my life and allowing me to share my stories with you…and I am hoping that we can now we can finally begin anew. Susan xoxo

 

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 Marketplace at Adams Farm

Marketplace at Adams FarmFor those of you who have followed my blog since its inception, you’ll remember that I got my start in the “junkin'” business at the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market in Norwood. I had some great times staging my monthly-themed space in the old mill with all kinds of reclaimed and reloved vintage wares.

Vintage Thymes Monthly MarketSince then, I’ve moved north and staked my claim at the Barn at Todd Farm, while Nancy Murphy and Robin Hanlon,

Robin Hanlon and Nancy Murphythe original founders of Vintage Thymes,

Vintage Thymes have temporarily closed the monthly market while they search for some new digs. In the meantime, in order to keep their huge following of vintage-lovers happy, they have focused their attentions on an exciting new endeavor, The Marketplace at Adams Farm in Walpole, MA!

The Marketplace at Adams FarmNow partnered with Carol Bentley from Fleurish Home & Garden

Fleurish Home & Gardenand Marybeth Grey from Vintage Shade of Grey,

The ladies of Marketplace at Adams Farmthese four ladies are hosting a 2-day event at the Marketplace at Adams Farm on this coming Saturday & Sunday, October 24 & 25th from 10-4. The Marketplace will be much like the weekend markets at the mill: amazingly talented vendors offering their hand-made, re-refurbished and re-loved wares. You’ll be strolling the grounds of this bucolic “field of vintage dreams”

Adams Farm Walpole, MAwhile enjoying live local music, furniture painting demonstrations, food trucks, raffles and of course, shopping-lots of shopping!! Admission is only $5, but a word to the wise: arrive early-on both days!

The Marketplace at Adams FarmWhy? Well, if you ever had the opportunity to visit the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market on the opening day, you’re aware of the immensely passionate following these ladies have garnered over the years. I suspect there’ll be lots of folks waiting at the entrance for their chance to have first dibs on the vintage wares being offered at the Marketplace. If you love vintage (and, I mean, who doesn’t!?), it’s going to be an event that you do NOT want to miss (and it looks like we may have a nice, sunny weekend as well : ). So, I’ll be seeing you at the The Marketplace at Adams Farm… and if you happen to run into Robin, Nancy, Mary Beth or Carol, tell them Sue from CountryDesignHome sent you! Have a terrific Tuesday everyone! Susan

Mason Jar Margaritas!

Mason Jar Margarita Wedding Shower FavorsLast Sunday we kicked off our “summer of wedding fun” with a bridal shower honoring our daughter, the bride-to-be, Kate and her fiance Chris at River Bar in Assembly Row in Somerville.

The Bride & GroomThe day was stormy, so the original plan of being outdoors on the patio was a wash. But this trendy restaurant, with its glass walls overlooking the Mystic River

River Bar Somerville MAwas the perfect (dry) setting for a casual brunch with family and friends. When my generation were the “brides-to-be”, a shower favor was typically some Jordan almonds (um, yuck) wrapped in mesh and tied with a pretty ribbon with maybe a plastic ring as an embellishment. Whoops…so apparently those are still a thing…when I googled it to find a picture, there were almond favors everywhere! Apparently there is some significant history to the almonds…to read, click the link below…

Jordan Almond Favors via The Knot

Jordan Almond Favors via The Knot

 

Instead of those, for our shower favors I decided to create a Mason Jar Margarita (the bride’s fav : ). Most of the supplies came from Michaels Crafts…with the exception of the tequila and drink mixes! I bought the pint mason jars by the case

Pint Mason Jars MichaelsNext came the filler, strings and straws…

Mason Jar Shower Favors Paper Shredblue for margaritas,

Mason Jar Margaria Shower Favorsred for non-alcoholic strawberry lemonade.

Mason Jar Shower Favor Lemonade MixI spray painted the metal ring tops to match.

Rustoleum PaintThese cute little chalkboard circles, also from Michaels, were the perfect size to cover the floral design stamped on the metal sealing lids of the mason jars.

Mason Jar Shower Favors Jar TopsTo those, I stamped a “Thank You” and embossed it with special powder and a heat gun.

Mason Jar Shower Favors Shaking Off Powder(If you don’t know about embossing…which is totally awesome and magical…that DIY will be following shortly) I found the Bartender’s Margarita mix at our local grocery store and added the Starbucks Strawberry Lemonade for a non-alcoholic treat.

Lemonade and MargaritasI created these labels to adhere to the fronts of the paper mix packets.

Mason Jar Margarita Bridal Shower PoemTo assemble: a bit of paper shred, a tequila nip (which are the perfect size to fit inside the pint mason jar)

Tequila Nip for Mason Jar Margaritaa drink mix packet. Screw on the tops, add a straw (we taped the straws to the side first to secure them, then tied the string around for the design.) The assembly went quickly once all the components were ready to go.

Mason Jar Margarita Shower Favors

And then, the sign.

Shower Marquee Chalkboard SignI had the chalkboard for weeks, awaiting my design genius to kick in to create something fun…you know, nothing really rhymes with margarita… which didn’t happen until 5 am on the morning of the shower…sometimes I do my best work under extreme pressure…so you’ll have to excuse the slightly off-centered-ness. The jars looked so cute all stacked up, and along with some mason jar centerpieces,

Mason Jar Flower Vasesadded a touch of bright color to the decor. The shower was a huge success, the bride and groom had a great time, and everyone departed carrying a mason jar-hopefully making a toast to the bride while enjoying their drink of choice. Next up, invitation assembly day! Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone! Susan

 

Americana Decor Chalky Paint Contest-WOW!

Announcing…Second Chances Americana Paints How ToWhenever I am choosing chalk paints to transform a piece of furniture, I typically go to Michaels to grab a pot or two of Americana Chalky Paints by DecoArt.

Americana Chalky PaintThese are 8oz containers, which is usually enough to transform one to two pieces of furniture, depending on the size. They are available in an array of colors and, with a coupon, are incredibly affordable at around $4.00 each-that’s $16 per quart!!  This paint requires little to no prep work and leaves a smooth, ultra-matte finish. Most recently, I completed this sideboard for my family room:

Americana Sideboard Makeover on Country Design Home and this incredible painted globe that we will be using at our daughter’s upcoming wedding (yikes, it’s getting closer…)

Global LOVE Painted Globe by Country Design Homebut now I’m excitedly planning my newest project because this time I can win a prize…a BIG prize… for the best design…and so can you!!! DecoArt is holding a contest called “All About Second Chances Chalky Paint Contest!” . This is your chance to show off that gem of a makeover using Americana Decor Chalky Paints and win…wait for it…$$$...the Grand Prize is $2000 cash and $500 in retail prizes…amazing!!! The judging will be based on 40% creativity, 40% final photo and 20% inspiration story…was this grandmother’s treasured chest that was tucked away in the attic, or did you rescue an old table in total disrepair from the dumpster and give it a fresh new look??? Either way, it’s time to grab a paintbrush and start your makeover today…because everyone…and everything…needs a second chance. The contest runs through August 31st, which gives you plenty of time to get inspired and complete your transformation. For contest details, go to http://decoart.com/secondchances/ or click the pic below:

Americana Decor All About Second Chances ContestNow if you’ll excuse me, I have a dresser to chalky paint…here’s hope your week starts off with a fresh new look! Susan

One Ocean, One Love Shop

This past weekend, we had the great pleasure of attending the grand opening of One Ocean, One Love Shop in Rockport, Mass.

One Ocean One Love ShopOne Ocean Arts, the brainchild of our super-talented and artistic niece Jamie, is a retail shop in the heart of Bearskin Neck in Rockport. For those of you who do not know about Rockport, it is an iconic little seaside town about 50 minutes north of Boston, most famous for its “Motif #1” fishing shack.

Rockport Motif #1The entire downtown, including the enclave know as Bearskin Neck is dotted with art galleries, retail shops, ice cream parlors and candy shops with a spectacular ocean view-perfect for a Sunday summer stroll. A year ago, Jamie started her One Ocean Arts Etsy shop featuring sea-inspired block-printed clothing and accessories, then expanded to her website, One Ocean Arts, then offering her wares at local craft fairs and events. With the incredibly positive response (and repeat customers!) opening the shop with her business partner Erin

Jamie and Erin One Ocean Artswas the next step in spreading their “Once Ocean, One Love” mantra.

One Ocean Arts Shop WindowYou see, Jamie is not only a talented artist, she is also a marine mammal trainer at the NE Aquarium,

Jamie Mathison OneOceanArtsand her love of the sea and all of its creatures is most evident in her hand-carved blocks…

One Ocean Arts Octopus Blockthat she uses for printing her merchandise.

One Ocean Arts Whale PrintThe shop, although brand new, has a time-worn surf shop appearance

One Ocean Arts Short Boardwith natural planking and old weathered docking used to create the display fixtures throughout the shop.

One Ocean Arts WindowJamie is also an outstanding photographer, and many of her black and white ocean images dot the walls,

One Ocean Arts Dock Photographcreating the perfect backdrop for their vintage-washed clothing line.

One Ocean Arts PhotographyThis is the incredible view from the rear window…not sure how I would get any work done looking at this all day : )

One Ocean Arts rear windowOne of my personal favs…it’s all about saving our oceans…

One Ocean Arts T-ShirtThe clothing is super soft cotton, eco-friendly, hand block-printed and washing machine safe.

One Ocean Arts SurferThere are baby clothes…three little fishes!

One Ocean Arts Baby Capsand all sorts of sea-inspired accessories including tote bags

One Ocean Arts Tote Bagsand hand-crafted dog leashes…

One Ocean Arts Dog LeashesJamie’s love of animals extends to her own two dogs, Brooks and Parker, who you may find hanging around the shop when you stop in for a visit.

One Ocean Arts the dogsBy the end of the evening, as the party was drawing to a close…and the sangria was all but gone…

One Ocean Arts Partyit looked like everyone was wearing a bit of One Ocean Arts…

One Ocean Arts Apparelincluding surfer dude Coach…

Once Ocean Arts CoachSo if you happen to be in Rockport taking in the sights and sounds, make sure you look for the shop with the bright blue door…

One Ocean Arts Front Doorit’s the third one down on the left as you enter Bearskin Neck…#6…and tell Jamie and Erin that Auntie Sue sent you!! And if you can’t get to Rockport, be sure to check out the website @ OneOceanArts.com Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone! Susan

 

 

 

Fun Friday Cash Giveaway!

Well, it’s finally Friday. Somehow we made it through this week of unending snowfall (with more on the way!), school closings and Super Bowl parades-yay, Patriots! As a way to welcome in February, I’ve teamed up with some generous fellow bloggers from All Bloggers United

All Bloggers United Facebook Group

for a little fun Friday Cash Giveaway called Treat Yo Self!

Treat Yo Self $$$ GiveawayJust enter using the Rafflecoptor form below. So, what can you do with $100?? Well,  you can  just take a winter break…dine out, have a spa day…or perhaps a little retail therapy-just make sure you use it to treat yourself! From now until February 18th, you can enter here to win a $100 Paypal Cash Prize! Just click the Rafflecoptor link below and follow the simple instructions to enter.

 

Rafflecoptor Giveaway

Thanks to the following All Bloggers United for participating in this giveaway…

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