#Glamping

=#Glamping, according to Wikipedia: Glamping is a portmanteau of glamour and camping and describes a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping. In other words, glamorous camping.

This past week, Coach and I spent a few days “glamping” in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Our glampground, Huttopia,

Huttopia Front Pageis a concept that originated in Europe, and has now spread to Canada and the US, offering luxury camp accommodations for folks who want all of the outdoor natural ambiance and fun but none of the dirty work (like me!). There are several styles of accommodations, from tent pitches to log cabins, but Coach and I chose the Trappeur Tent

Trappeur Tent Huttopiawith a lake view- and oh! What a view!

Huttopia Clouds for daysYou literally bring your clothes and food and bug spray- that’s it! Everything else is on site to provide you with an effortless camping experience- from full-size beds with linens

Huttopia tent Bedroomto fully stocked kitchens

Huttopia Full Kitchenand…wait for it…a bathroom IN YOUR TENT!

Huttopia BathroomWith warm running water, a flushing toilet and a shower…IN YOUR TENT!! When I was a kid, we spent two weeks every summer in the White Mountains camping with our family and friends. It was an idyllic time with many fond memories, none of which involve “Old Stinky”, the gross communal bathhouse. Having tried camping once with our children, I do now appreciate so much more what my mom went through trying to feed and clean up after 4 kids with the most rudimentary of cooking and cleaning equipment with no running (never mind hot) water.

Day one: we arrived at 4PM, check-in time and were instructed to leave our car in the designated parking areas and grab a little green transport cart

Huttopia Wagonto tote our belongings to our site; they have left as much natural landscape as possible- no pavement, no sidewalks, so no cars are allowed into the camp site grounds. The Plus: there is no auto noise in the actual camping areas, which makes for a much quieter, peaceful stay. The Minus: you have to lug your stuff to your site, which was no big deal for myself and Coach, but could be a bit of a challenge with a large group and kids. But hey, you are there to rough it and get some exercise, right?!

After checking in, we found our Trappeur Tent- oh my!

Huttopia Front Tent DoorThis is a large, 3 room tent on a raised pine platform sitting directly on the water’s edge. These tents are log-like structures with canvas sides and tops with a solid beam frame construction. This is the view from our front door…sigh…

Huttopia View From the Tent DoorUpon entering, you are in a living/dining area, complete with table and chairs and the kitchen area, with a sink and mini-fridge, stocked with all sorts of cooking and dining equipment, down to the bottle openers. Straight ahead, the bathroom is flanked by two bedrooms, each with double beds (one is a bunk). The Plus: everything is in place and ready for your stay, just put your stuff away. The Minus: Now, I am not going to complain about the fact that THERE IS A FREAKING BATHROOM IN OUR TENT, but as a PSA, I will say that if you are taller than 5’7, it would be a challenge to sit on the toilet without hitting the wall with your knees : ) That being said, I AM NOT COMPLAINING, trust me!

Outside is a roomy deck with some butterfly chairs, a great cook stove,

Huttopia Cook Stovea fire pit, wood picnic table and most importantly, a spectacular view of the lake and surroundings.

Huttopia Ripples in the waterOnce we put our belongings in place and our food in the mini fridge (and by food I mean the beer and spiked seltzer, brandy and marshmallows-the important elements of camping), we toured the grounds, which were previously the site of a former scout camp on the banks of Lake Iona. Surrounded by pine trees, the lake views were nothing short of spectacular,

Huttopia Morning Mistas those of you who follow me on social media know by the obnoxious amount of pics I posted. Sunrise, sunset…

Huttopia Sunrise Lake IonaIn the center of the campground is the reception tent, a tidy general store stocked with snacks, firewood and water, a beautiful pool,

Huttopia Pool Sidechildren’s playground, basketball court and a vintage airstream trailer that provides nourishment from dusk to dawn. There is a small beach with Adirondack chairs for sitting and relaxing

Huttopia Beach Front with Adirondack Chairand there are canoes and paddle boards for hire. And for all of you folks that cannot be unplugged no matter what, there’s WIFI. The Plus: They have literally thought of everything you could want or need for your glamping stay. The Minus: there was no minus. It’s simply amazing.

Being late August, we had assumed that the nights would be chilly, but didn’t realize just how cold it would get inside our tent once the sun set. But we bundled up with the provided blankets and comforters; once we were tucked away in our bedroom, it was fine. In the morning, Coach noticed a fixture hanging over our heads in the living area- turns out it was a heater! Turning it on for 15 minutes warmed up the entire inside of the tent, creating a warm and comfortable temp for showering and dressing. Oh, did I mention that there was a BATHROOM IN OUR TENT!?!? Note to the Huttopia folks: might be helpful to have a small notebook or info regarding the operations of the overhead heater and the camp stove (some of us are novices at this kind of stuff!) So, what else is there to do but relax and unwindCoach Chillin on the porch Huttopiasip some brandy

Huttopia Brandy by the Fireand roast marshmallows by your campfire?

Huttopia Roasting MarshmallowsWell, you are just moments away from the North Conway outlets to shop to your heart’s content. You are also very close to the National Parks (where Coach and I purchased our $10 senior citizen lifetime passes- perhaps the ONLY benefit of finally being a senior citizen : (). We day-tripped up to the Mt. Washington Hotel

Mt. Washington Hotel Cloudy Skyto take in the scenic vistas,

Mt. Washington Hotel Porchfilling up our car with treasures from various yard sales and flea shops along the way and back. Next time we come I’m hanging one of these signs on our tent! Welcome to all!

Rustic Welcome SignsWe ended our day at Cafe Noche in Conway Village, sipping frozen margaritas

Mango and Raspberry Margaritasand watching the Pats and Sox. The Plus: since we didn’t have to pack up our car with all of the typical camping gear like tents, stoves, sleeping bags, etc., we had plenty of room for shopping! The Minus: Nope. None. Nada.

Was glamping everything we had hoped it would be? You bet! Would we highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get away from it all and enjoy nature, without all of the typical work? Absolutely! We are already planning a return trip for next summer, and hopefully bringing along friends and family for some sing-alongs by the campfire.

5 shooting stars, Huttopia! Have a #glamporous Tuesday, everyone! xoxo Susan

 

 

 

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

HGTV 2015 Dream Home…Martha’s Vineyard Bound

HGTV 2015 Dream Home Martha's VineyardMartha’s Vineyard here we come (fingers crossed xxxxxxx)!! For many, many years past, Coach and I, along with friends and families, had rented vacation homes during the summer months on Martha’s Vineyard. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Martha’s Vineyard is a small island off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, a quick trip by ferry boat or flight. Summer home to presidents and celebrities, this little gem of an island is the perfect getaway if you are longing for the sweet scent of salty air and the quintessential look of New England style architecture. Back when we were renting, a four bedroom home with a view of the sea would cost approximately $800 per week: nowawdays, that same four bedroom would now run you $5000+ for a week’s stay. So imagine my incredible delight when I received the email that this year’s HGTV Dream Home Giveaway is in Martha’s Vineyard!!

HGTV 2015 Dream Home Martha's Vineyard Front EntryNow, initially I was hesitant to share this with you, because the less people who enter means more chance for me to win. But, HGTV has a prettttty big following, so I am assuming that my little mention won’t make a whole lotta difference in the outcome of this contest… but just so you know, I am going to win this home… Here are a few of my favorite pics…

Welcome to my humble abode…

HGTV 2015 Dream Home Living Room EntranceThe soaring ceilings in this great room with rough-hewn posts and beams

HGTV 2015 Dream Home Great RoomCan you imagine having a dinner party in this combination kitchen…

HGTV 2015 Dream Home Kitchenand dining room space?

HGTV 2015 Dream Home Dining Room

Master Bedroom…sweet dreams.

HGTV 2015 Dream Home Master BedroomMaster Bath…what a view!

HGTV 2015 Dream Home Master BathGuest bedroom…if I were a guest here…would I ever leave?

HGTV 2015 Dream Home Guest BedroomNo Vineyard home is complete without some gorgeous outdoor living space. I can see me now, watching the sunset while sipping white wine…and don’t worry, I’ll invite all of you down for a visit : )

HGTV 2015 Dream Home Rear PatioFor more information and to enter, click here:

HGTV 2015 Dream Home Giveaway(but don’t really, because I’m going to win this anyway : ) Have a dreamy Tuesday, everyone! Susan

 

An Autumn Day on the Farm

Good morning! First I would like to say that I am soooo happy to be back and writing again! It has been a long month of technical voodoo that has plummeted me into the depths of blogging despair, only to be rescued by Matt from Pixel Junction.  He has been patiently answering my (numerous and voluminous) questions and repairing my word press mess, restoring and beautifying my blog. We are not quite there yet, but should be where I really want it to be shortly. In the meantime, there is no reason why I can’t start sharing with you again! Consider this my “soft opening” before the big grand opening. BUT, there is one thing I need from you, dear readers. In the process of moving my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org, my entire list of blog subscribers was lost in cyberspace. So that means all of you, even those of you who are reading this right now, only found me via another social media outlet. (or because you’re my family and friends and I begged you to please sign back up so I know at least someone is getting this!)

Yesterday was one of our final days of the season in the Barn at Todd Farm Flea Market.

Barn At Todd Farm PostcardIt has been a lot of fun, and we have met some really great people along the way! But I am looking forward to having the winter off (no more 4:30 am alarm on Sundays!!) FYI- the outdoor flea market season ends on November 30. However, the barn has an annex that is opening on that same day, and will remain open year round (they have heat!) In the meantime, you only have a few Sundays left to see the flea market in full Sunday operation. As we strolled around yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful everything looked, not only in the contrast of the bright autumn leaves, but also against the gray November sky in the background. On any given Sunday, there is so much going on at the flea market with shoppers and vendors trading and selling and bargaining. Strolling around, sipping coffee early in the morning is the best time to catch a glimpse of the goods that vendors bring along to sell.

Antique Grates

Todd Farm Antique Vent Grates

Mr. Tin Snowman – cute little guy. But he was back in the truck because he lost his arm and needed some fixin’. Happy that he’s made of tin and not real snow!!

Tin SnowMan Outdoor Lawn Ornmanet

 Neon Dog Sign– On any given Sunday, the fields and barn are filled with shoppers who are on the end of a leash. Dogs of all shapes and sizes come to visit. They need this sign.

Todd Farm Neon Dog Sign

Vintage License Plates. If you had a chance to view my blog post about the giant USA map created by Aaron Foster & decided to give that a try, then this is the go-to place to get your plates!

Todd Farm Rusted License Vintage Plates

Rusted Finials. If you look closely, you can see the leaf sitting in the middle of the pile-almost undetectable because the finials have rusted to the color of fallen leaves.

Todd Farm Flea Market Rusted Finials

The Antique Wagon. This beauty sits outside the barn door, where we get to look at it all day long. You know when you see something all of the time, you stop SEEING it? I am not sure if it was the sunlight or just the contrast of the blue sky, but this wagon looked especially blue today. Can you imagine what role this wagon played when Todd Farm was a working dairy farm?

Todd Farm Antique WagonThe Wheel. Gorgeous rusted, no longer functional.

Antique Wagon Wheel

American Made. The old rusted plate is a testament to the way things used to be made. This one’s from Detroit.

Todd Farm American Made Steel PlateFinally, our Rusty Bedspring Marquee Sign now says “JOY”. Which is exactly what I am feeling right now as I am writing this blog post.

Joy Rusted Bedspring Marquee Sign

I’m happy to be back and I hope you’ll join my “blog club” again (there is a “subscribe” box on the right side. Just add your email and you are done. I promise, we NEVER use your emails for promotional purposes. Only to hear from me!)  Have a great Monday, everyone! Susan

 

 

A Whale Of A Good Time @ The Vintage Bazaar

Is it possible that two weeks have already flown by since the latest (& greatest, IMHO) Vintage Bazaar at Pettengill Farm?!

Vintage Bazaar BannerEvery time I attend this ever-growing event, the sheer breadth and talent of the artists who sell their wares is so inspiring, and slightly overwhelming! Honestly, spending a day there just doesn’t allow enough time to savor every inch of this beautiful working flower farm decked out in its vintage finery.

Pettengill Farm Flower GardensIn September I may just curl up inside one of these adorable vintage trailers and stay overnight…

Sweet Spot Styleto get the best shot at the early morning and late evening goings-on before the shopping masses arrive.

Vintage Bazaar Crowd ShotTo name just a few favorite highlights seems so unfair to the 130+ vintage vendors who make the trek from near and far to join the cast of characters that make up the Vintage Bazaar. But, I can’t name them all, so I’ll do my best to show you my memorable moments. These stunningly hand-crafted whales

Whale of a Displaywere striking, not only because of the colors, but the detail as well

Vintage Bazaar WhaleI kept thinking about buying one but we already have so many. Do you think that you can NEVER have enough whales?! (BTW, if anyone happens to know who created these beauties, could you let me know?! I want to give credit to the artist.)

These hand-painted floorcloths were some of the nicest I have ever seen.

American Colonial FloorclothsCreated by artist Michelle Julian of Newburyport-based American Colonial, the floorcloths were expertly crafted and vividly illustrated works of art. Almost too pretty to use on the floor!!

American Colonial Floorcloths But with 7+ coats of varnish on each one, rest assured, they are created to last a generation or two. A few of my favorites vendors, like Nancy the Linens Lady, were hard at work in the bright sunshine, chatting about and selling their vintage finery.

Nancy the Linens LadyHere is the lovely Lisa-my vintage shopping buddy-from RitaJosVintage proudly wearing her “new” apron!

Lisa from Rita Jos VintageAnd I can’t mention the Bazaar without showcasing the artistry of Creative Glass Works , who always bring along their oversized flower pot filled with unique, fanciful glass flowers. I recently featured them on a post, which you can read here.

Creative Glass Works BostonLoving these adorable dinosaur bookends from R & S Living

Dino Bookends from R & S Living(Robin & Stuart traveled all the way from the Cape to be at the Bazaar!), but this little pooch was a scene-stealer when he just hopped up onto one of their recently salvaged and re-loved side chairs. Cute!!

R & S Living Yorkie PerchedWith loads of vintage and collectible stuff, the Swampscott River Antique & Salvage AKA “The Wooden Box Guy”  featured crates and wooden boxes filled with assorted everyday objects, like baseballs and rulers.

Swampscott RIver Antique & Salvage PMSingularly, they don’t make a huge impact, but grouped together, they catch the eye and become an artistic vignette. But the eye-catcher of the day: this huge tent staged by Howard’s Entertainment of Essex, MA. (I know what you’re thinking, didn’t you see the sign that says “no pictures?!” I did, but I asked, and was granted permission to take pics for my blog. The power of the press : )

Howards EntertainmentChanning Howard is the proprietor, and a wholesale supplier of vintage and nostalgic props.

http://www.howardsvm.com/These are available to rent for parties or functions for both private and retail events. If you are finding yourself in need of some Steampunk props,

Howards Entertainmentor perhaps some vintage cowboy paraphernalia, or any other imaginable vintage props for your special event,

Vintage Hats and Suitcases Howards EntertainmentHoward’s is your go-to! Since we had our VIP tickets in hand (thanks Devon : ) we were invited to a meet and greet featuring the weekend’s presenters,

Joanne, Desha & Devon at Vintage Bazaar Tentincluding Cari Cucksey from RePurpose Shop, Desha Peacock from Sweet Spot Style and Joanne Palmisano from Salvage Secrets whose DIY demo we attended later on in the day. She was a great presenter, funny and full of anecdotes and very helpful DIY tips! Like how to create an instant “old” wooden Lobster sign with paint and a screwdriver (without getting stitches : )

Joanne Palmisano Salvage SecretsHow to re-imagine old lamps using paint and jute rope

Joanne Palmisano Lamp DIYand creating a twig vase out of some sticks and an old glass jar (well, in this case, she used a plastic one-but who knew?)

DIY Vase Joanne PalmisanoOn this day, she was selling her latest book, Salvage Secrets Design & Decor and donating the proceeds to Juvenile Diabetes Foundation-SOLD. And autographed to me : )

Salvage Secrets Joanne Palmisano AutographedThis book is so chock full of all kinds of DIY’s using salvage materials in newly inspired ways. I had literally just opened the book when I got to page 16 and yelped-old coil bedsprings! re-purposed into decorative candle holders! It just so happened that Coach and I recently sprung for two of those old-timey bedsprings-a twin and a full size-and were contemplating where to begin re-purposing them…once we got them off the roof of my CRV. (OK, full disclosure. Coach got one a few weeks ago and then we saw another one at an estate sale last week and I refused to buy it because our back yard is already full and did we really need a second one?!? Until I opened up the book and saw the candleholders so we went back to the estate sale and bought the second one…)

Bedsprings on Car RoofWell, page 16 is a very good place to start : ). So, there you have it. Another amazing Vintage Bazaar come and gone with September waiting in the wings. Have an inspired Thursday, everyone! Susan

 

 

 

 

Creative Glass Works At The Vintage Bazaar

For all of you vintage lovers out there (and by that I don’t mean old folks, I mean folks who love vintage stuff. But then, again, old folks-like me-can love vintage stuff too…) it’s the weekend we’ve been waiting for- The Vintage Bazaar at Pettengill Farm!

Vintage Bazaar LogoThis weekend, June 21st & 22rd, make the journey to Salisbury Mass to discover some of the finest country hand crafts, vintage furnishings and accessories, jewelry, clothing and a few DIY television personalities (Yup, that’s me and Cari Cucksey from HGTV’s Cash & Cari at the Country Living Fair a few weekends ago. Gosh, I hope she doesn’t think I am following her like a vintage fair groupie when she sees me again…)

Sue & Cari from RePurposeall in a bucolic setting on a real working farm complete with live country music, vintage trucks

Vintage Bazaar Truckand this chick. Love this chick.

Chicken @ Vintage BazaarEach time I have visited the Vintage Bazaar, I’ve discovered new and innovative merchandise, all from re-purposed, re-cycled and re-loved everyday household items. One of my favorites has always been this spectacular planter filled with gorgeous glass flowers created with vintage glassware and plates from Creative Glass Works Boston. 

Creative Glass Works Bouquet PMRecently, I had the pleasure of chatting with the owners Ann Marie and Robert and visiting their home-based workshop.

Creative Glass Works Anne Marie and Robert PMThis husband and wife team began creating these gorgeous pieces for a local Artisans Workshop Market over four years ago. Anne Marie, whose background was in IT before becoming a master glass flower-crafter, reports that she was searching for a way to use the extensive collection of glassware she had accumulated over the years. Her husband, Robert owns and operates a renovation and restoration construction company-so beauty met brawn and the rest is history!

The workshop is bursting with shelves and tables laden with sparkling glass in every color, style and shape.

Creative Glass Works Flowers Laid Out PMThere are vases and dishes and tall blown glass sculptures.

Creative Glass Works Blue Glass Stand PMand jars filled with colorful glass beads and baubles.

Creative Glass WorksFrom light-catching dangling pendants

Creative Glass Works Pendantsto larger than life blossoms.

Creative Glass Works Red FlowerEach is individually hand-crafted, with carefully choosen pieces that complement one another and that together, resemble the anatomy of a life-like flower. Along with the clear and colored glass, Anne Marie and Robert work with ceramics and pottery,

Creative Glass Works Teapots PMcreating whimsical, one-of-a-kind teapot lamps

Creative Glass Works Teapot Lamp PMwith fashionably vintage shades.

Creative Glass Works Lampshades PM

So, make sure you visit The Creative Glass Works Boston booth while you are at the Vintage Bazaar this weekend. And if you see Anne Marie or Robert, say hello and tell them that Sue from Country Design Home sent you : ) Have a (hopefully not too bizarre) Thursday, everyone-see you at the fair! Susan

 

 

A Country Living Weekend!

Country Living Fair BannersThis past weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY. So, where do I begin to describe the sights and sounds of this fabulous fair?!? Let’s start with Hometalk.com and Country Living Magazine who extended the invitation and provided the VIP blogger tickets for the three day event. Here’s me with all of my fellow bloggers-I met so many nice people!!

Hometalk Bloggers The VIP passes meant we were allowed early entrance before the massive crowds arrived (and let me tell you, there were MASSIVE crowds!)

Crowd Scene from Country Living Fairto do some shopping, one-on-one chatting with so many fellow bloggers and fantastic vendors and snapping photos for Tweeting and Instagram-ming. There is no possible way for me to share information about every single vendor or event on this blog post, but I will highlight some of my favs here, with more to come in the days ahead. The fair was held in The Dutchess County Fairgrounds (if you are from around the Boston area, think Topsfield Fair, only quadruple in size), where there are many barns and outbuildings that would typically house livestock, (there were a few little guys in the 4H tent…)

Donkey at Country Living Fairbut for this weekend were home to the hundreds of sellers of the finest country wares I have seen in quite some time: antiques, vintage wares, original artwork, amazing crafts and DIY’s from the simplest of everyday items. Every time I see these custom doll statues from CA Mataruso of Tin Hearts, they make me smile : ) Late for Work on a vintage thermos-brilliant!

Custom Thermos Doll by Tin HeartsThe array was dizzying and required several go-arounds to ensure that we didn’t miss anything! Because I have so many photos to share, I am just providing a sampling today, and will focus on several of the vendors in greater detail in the coming weeks. As you all know, I am drawn to COLOR, the brighter the better, mixed all together. Now, I can appreciate the dreamy whites and creams that are so popular today, but could I live in an all-white space? Heck, no!!  While strolling through the fair grounds, these particular vendors caught my eye:

Modern June-Cool Stuff For The Hip Housewife: offering a brilliant array of colorful vintage-look oilcloths and chalk-cloths

Modern June Cool Stuff Sign CDH

Oilcloth Clutch purses from Modern JuneSome of the nicest vintage original artwork at the fair from Terri Palmer Signs

Jersey Shore by Terri Palmer

HiHo Home Market was one of our favorite booths, chock full of vintage items and so colorfully decorated! Loved these vintage checked saucepans (now why didn’t I buy those?!?)

HiHo Home Market

From Sentimentally Me was a colorful collection of beautifully preserved vintage quilts, banners, books and memorabilia. The vendor was sharing hilarious stories about her moment of fame on Flea Market Flip at the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market, where she normally sets up shop. So funny!

Sentimentally MeI was immediately drawn into the Olive Grace Studios booth because of the clever displays of vintage-inspired fabrics, pillows & quilts-so country pretty!

Olive Grace StudiosIn the showcase at Grandmother’s Buttons was this velvet case of brilliantly sparkling rings, each created from vintage buttons!

Grandmother's Buttons RingsOne of the very first booths we entered was that of Blue Bird Home Decor, where I was instantly taken by this beautifully painted country hutch (which was sold : (

Painted Cupboard by Blue Bird Home Decorand also of the lovingly rendered oil paintings of livestock by Shelly Broughton. Never thought I would think: “How sweet is this sheep?”

Cow Painting by Shelly Broughton

This willow porch swing from Around the Bend looked so inviting with the brightly colored pillows and cushions! Can you just imagine relaxing and sipping lemonade here on a beautiful summer day?

Willow Porch Swing from Around the BendAnd finally (at least for today!) we met up with Cari Cucksey from HGTV’s Cash & Cari, who was introducing her new line of Repurpose Paints, Stains and Finishes. Yummy colors, water-based and so easy to use! These will be available shortly on her website: RePurpose Shop.

RePurpose ShopCari was so sweet and incredibly gracious, standing in her space for hours and repeatedly explaining and demonstrating the how-to’s of her products, then posing for pictures with anyone who asked! Of course, I had to get in the act as well!

Sue & Cari from RePurposeSo, there you have it, today’s colorful commentary on the Country Living Fair. I have added links to all of the vendors above so you can click on them to read more and discover what else they have available. Check back soon for another episode of A Country Living Weekend! I hope you have a color-filled Tuesday, everyone! Susan

 

 

 

Country Living Fair Ticket Giveaway!

Next up on the blogging agenda is a trip to the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY on June 6-8.

Country Living Fair

I have been a huge fan of Country Living Magazine for as long as I can remember (after all, they are the bible of country design),

Country Living Fair Pictureand I am so excited to be finally attending their fabulous fair! For those of you who aren’t familiar, it truly is a celebration of all things country, “Bringing the pages of Country Living Magazine to Life”.

Country Living FairsThis 3-day event features vintage vendors with great wares to sell, DIY demonstrations, antiques appraisals, food and cooking demonstrations and meet & greets with HGTV and Cooking Channel Celebrities.

Country Living Fair LineupLuckily for you, I am hosting a ticket giveaway-2 three day VIP passes with early bird access- from the show’s organizers: StellaShows.com, Country Living Magazine and Hometalk! 

HomeTalk Country Design Home Logo

Since this is a quick turnaround-the fair is next weekend– the giveaway starts on May 31 (NOW!!) and ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 1.  To enter, just click the Rafflecopter link below and complete the form. Not a whole bunch of stuff to click, and if you already follow me on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter, you are way ahead of the game!

Rafflecoptor Fair Ticket Contest

Winners will be notified on Monday, June 2 and the tickets will be available at the “will call” window at the fair. Good luck, and I’ll see you at the fair!! (If you are not the lucky winner, there is still time to purchase the tickets from Stella Shows here. ) And for all of my local followers, it’s only 3+hours from Boston! Have a lucky weekend, everyone! Susan

 

Cupcake Tower of Terror

These past few weeks have been so incredibly busy with 2 destination weddings and a law school graduation (with the accompanying parties : ) thrown in for good measure. All of which has left precious little time for blogging, never mind DIY’ing! For a spectacular wedding in the clouds this past weekend,

Wedding on Pinnacle Mountain

I had volunteered to make some desserts, specifically cupcakes and mini fruit cobblers in mason jars.

Mini Cobblers in Mason Jars

(I’ll share the successful cobbler story later. Today’s blog is about the cupcakes. And the tower.) Remember those Life-Changing Cupcakes I made last year for a wedding shower?

Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Cupcakes

Well, I decided to use that recipe again, since those were such a big hit, but we had decided on two flavors for the wedding. The trouble really started with the lemon cupcakes. As I was baking the batches, one would come out OK, the next batch would collapse as soon as I took them out of the oven. As someone who has been baking since I was a kid, and having made my share of wedding cakes as well, I was baffled by this. But, I just kept baking until I had the necessary 6 dozen for the wedding guests. Those fallen lemon cupcakes were a sign…

Fallen Lemon Cupcakes

Now, everyone knows that the proper way to serve cupcakes at a wedding is to buy build a cupcake tower so that it has the appearance of a wedding cake, right? So, I did a little Pinterest research and came up with the best plans (or so I thought) for creating a strong and sturdy tower that would show off the decorated cupcakes. Here is the How-I-Did-It (but don’t you do this…)

5 stacked shelves were created, beginning with a 16 inch base and cutting them smaller in 2″ increments to the top. I purchased a package of cake rounds (these are moisture resistant cardboard that you can purchase at your local arts and crafts supply store).

Cupcake Boards and Foam Core Stacked

For added strength and support, I sandwiched a layer of foam core board that I cut to the same size for each shelf. For the supports in between, I took some old, empty, clean tin cans (OK, MISTAKE #1, they should have remained full to add extra weight to the tower), wrapped them in white craft foam cut to fit and hot glued into place

Cupcake Tower Wrapping Tin Can

(it looked like fondant, so I was quite happy with that).

Cupcake Cans Covered in Foam

But then I needed some sort of trim, so I used that foam faux wainscoting from my country cupboard makeover, cutting it along the ridges

Foam Wainscotting for Trim

and then hot gluing it into place for a nice clean edge. For a final trim, I glued purple satin ribbon around the edges.

Cupcake Tower Glueing Ribbon Trim

Once I had all the top layers ready, I stacked and hot glued as I built my tower, with the covered cans centered (MISTAKE #2-the top one was not quite centered, but once they were hot glued into place, there was no going back…) For an extra decorative touch, I cut some paper doilies

Cupcake Tower Lace Doilies

to fit around the edges and glued into place to create a lacy scalloped look.

Cupcake Tower Glueing Doilies

For the base, I used a 16″ scalloped plastic cake round on feet that is typically used for just this purpose. But, it was pretty plain, so I added the lacy doilies to that, but then also placed a scalloped, foiled cake round in the center. MISTAKE #3. Finally, I glued the entire tower to that foiled round (did I say MISTAKE #3 ?!?)

Cupcake Tower Completed

For the topper, I baked one six inch round, decorated it and then added a beautiful bouquet in shades of purple that was created by our friends at Parker Florist in Wakefield.

Parker Florist Cupcake Topper Bouquet

OK, everything was transported safely to the venue on the top of a mountain, the cupcakes tucked into these awesome boxes I picked up at Michaels (they have inserts with holes big enough to fit my fat fingers around the cakes to remove them once it was time to fill the tower.) Aren’t they so pretty!?

Cupcakes in Carrying Boxes from Michaels

Once the ceremony was performed and the delicious wedding dinner was finished, it was time to assemble the tower. So, with the help of my BFF’s,  we walked down the hill from the main house to the tent where the reception was taking place, me carrying the tower, them carrying the boxes of cupcakes (did I mention that it was raining as well?)

Wedding Venue Tent

The tower was settled down onto the designated table, which, because we were outdoors on the soggy lawn, had a bit of a tilt to it. (MISTAKE #4. NEVER ATTEMPT TO STACK A CUPCAKE TOWER ON A TILTED TABLE). I placed the floral round on the top (MISTAKE #5. DO NOT REST THE CAKE TOP ON THE TOP OF THE TOWER-IT MUST BE SECURED). As we were stacking the cupcakes on the tower, it started to wobble forward-remember, it was on a tilted table. So I decided to start stacking from the back to balance it. Reaching around behind to add more cupcakes, I accidentally hit the tower, which instantly fell forward, spilling cupcakes all over the table and ground.

Fallen Cupcakes in Grassy Box

And my shoes.

Cupcake Tower Frosting on Shoe

In an instant we went from Cupcake Wars to Cupcake Disaster. As the tower was plummeting to its grassy grave,  my dear friend Alice caught the flower topper as it was flying by, resulting in a splotch of bright purple frosting on her brand new jacket!! (Alice, please send me the dry cleaning bill : ) At one point, I attempted to put the tower back together, but if you recall MISTAKE #3, the piece that was glued to the foiled round based gave way, so there was no way to re-attach it to the base. Apparently, hot glue and foil don’t adhere well. Lesson learned.

Cupcake Holder After the Break

As we were scurrying around, attempting to save the remaining cupcakes, I was convulsed in laughter, thinking that this could have been an episode of I Love Lucy.  Turning around to see the table of guests directly behind me with their mouths agape, watching the spectacle unfolding before them,  I said “nobody saw that, right!?”, which resulted in more laughter from everyone involved. Now, if someone had been recording this, we most definitely would have won top prize on America’s Funniest Videos, which I then could have used to purchase a fabulous wooden cupcake tower like this one of these beauties on Etsy.  But, alas, I didn’t even have my camera with me until it was over! So, the remaining unharmed cupcakes were set out on the table for the guests to enjoy,

Cupcakes After the Fall

which they reportedly did. The bride graciously laughed it away and the party danced on into the night. My heartfelt congratulations to the bride and groom-hopefully this is the first and last disaster for many years to come. So, you ask, what’s my take-away from all of this? NEVER AGAIN. Don’t ask, I won’t bake them. I’m sticking to wood and paint, from this day forward. Hope you have a memorable Memorial Day, everyone! Susan

In A Country Garden

With the weather finally starting to turn a little more spring-like, it is time to head outside and do a little lot of landscaping in our much-neglected back yard. What used to be described as a backyard “oasis”

country garden purple phloxis now nothing more than a large brown patch of what used to be grass, overgrown flower beds and shrubs and a muddied, empty pond.

brown grass country gardenEven Bartlet the Frenchie doesn’t know quite what to do in the overgrown periwinkle mixed with dead leaves and scrub!

Country Garden Bartlet on Brick WalkThe problem with gardens is that they are quite beautiful when properly tended, but do require so much continuous work-weeding, trimming, feeding, watering, cutting back, mowing, pruning-the tasks are endless and oftentimes painful (thanks to Coach’s thorny rose bushes!) And with all of the DIY’ing and antiquing and barn-saleing we’ve been focusing on this year, we just haven’t had the time to spare. But, this is the summer that I am restoring my garden to its former lush beauty!

Country Garden by the BarnSo, in dire need of some gardening inspiration, I turned to Houzz.com, where I typed in the words Country Garden in the search box. Up popped literally thousands of garden photos, some by professionals, some by home improvement gurus, some by your average DIY’ers. All have one thing in common-lush, green grass, country pathways of cobblestone and brick, natural stone walls such as this one from Native Root Designs in Seattle

Native Root Designs Stone Walland colorful blooms. Here are just a few of my favorites:

The Seaside Garden in Wellfleet, Mass by Jean Brooks Landscapes.

Jean Brooks Landscapes WellfleetThe Traditional Garden by Maria Hickey & Associates Landscapes, Boston

Country Garden by Maria Hickey LandscapesNatural Stone Pathway and Stone Steps by Bret Achtenhagen Seasonal Services in Milwaukee

Bret Achtenhagens Seasonal ServicesRomantic Guest House Garden by Dear Garden Associates, Inc. in Philadelphia, PA.

Country Garden by DearGarden.Com

The lush green grass and bordered gardens lead up to the garden shed by Garden Tech Horticultural Services In Boston 

Garden Tech Horticultural Services

These gorgeous pink peonies and foxglove are in a sunken walled garden by Llama Property Developments in the UK.

llamadevelopments.comAlthough I am not a veggie gardener, I am loving the little white scalloped picket fence (it keeps the bunnies out so they don’t have their daily luncheon of carrots and lettuce : ) surrounding this Kitchen Garden by Green Craft Associates in NY

Green Craft Associates From A Blade of Grass Landscaping in Boston is this traditional pea stone driveway and plantings bordered by granite block.

Pea Stone Driveway A Blade of Grass LandscapingAnd, of course, I will need a super awesome potting bench to make all of this happen. This one by Amy Jesaitis would be perfect-rustic and repurposed!

Potter's Bench by Amy JesaitisAnd finally, a serenity pond with a rustic, flagstone patio by Myke Hodgins & Associates in Montreal, Canada. 

Country Pond MontrealDo you have a beautiful garden to share? We would love to see it!! Just send a photo or post to my Facebook Country Design Home page. I need inspiration, and I need it quickly!!  And with that, guess I better go change into my “playing in the dirt” clothes! Have a green thumb Thursday, everyone! Susan

 

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