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

American Flag Coffee Table

Inspired by the red, white and blue decor from last week’s blog, this past weekend I decided to create an American Flag Coffee Table.

American Flag Coffee Table LogoUsing an old brown table that we picked up at a flea market for $5 (you know, those ones that were mass-produced in the 70’s and are at every flea market and yard sale throughout the land…)

American Flag Coffee Table BeforeI transformed it from a drab brown circle to a colorful Americana coffee table! Here is the how-I-did-it:

1. I painted the base legs with a couple of coats of Heritage Blue Stain by General Finishes.

General Finished Hertiage Blue Water Based StainLove this stuff. It is water-based, has very little odor, dries quickly, can go on any surface and leaves a beautiful, satin finish.

2. Sanded the scratched and worn top…I am not sure what the finish was, but it certainly made a powdery white mess! Thank goodness it is finally warm enough to use my mouse sander outdoors!

American Flag Coffee Table Sanded3. Once it was sanded and wiped clean, I taped it off. The American Flag is probably one of the simplest designs you can use-stars and stripes. Easy to do with painter’s tape and a stencil. The table was just the right size to have 13 2″ stripes, so I doubled up my rows of 1″ painter’s tape from top to bottom.

American Flag Coffee Table Taped StripesThen I blocked off the area that would be the star field, and used the Heritage Blue to paint that area as well.

3. Painted the red stripes first, then allowed to dry completely…actually overnight. Because I knew I would be taping right on them and didn’t want to risk pulling the red paint off if it wasn’t completely dry. I used some homemade red chalk paint…need the recipe? Click here…

American Flag Coffee Table Red Stripes4. Re-taped along the edges of the red stripes and painted with white (also used some homemade custom chalk paint).

American Flag Coffee Table White Stripes5. Using the same white from the stripes, I stenciled the stars onto the blue field. You could also use a star-shaped stamp as well. I just happened to have a whole bunch of different style star stencils…

American Flag Star StencilI knew I would not be able to fit 50 stars, so I just went with a pleasing arrangement using a simple star pattern.

American Flag Coffee Table Stars and Stripes6. Sanded down the entire piece to distress it just a bit.

American Flag Coffee Table Sanded and DistressedTIP: when you are sanding red alongside white, keep the sanders separate. The red builds up on the sanding bar and can smear onto the white.

Red Tinted Sanding SpongeIn which case you end up with pink stripes. Which is cute, but not necessarily  all-american.

7. Finished with 2 coats of General Finishes Natural Stain. 

General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain NaturalIt is clear and works as a nice satin finish for any surface where you don’t want to add color.

8. Voila! A Red, white and blue table-perfect for a nautical or Americana theme for your red, white and blue porch or family room!

American Flag Coffee Table CompleteSo where is the table now? At the Barn at Todd Farm! Since I already have an American Flag Whale Table,

This Old House Whale Tableit only seems right that someone else has this beauty for their home. Wow-it’s Thursday again already, everyone!! Hope it is memorable! Susan

 

Bathroom Remodel Week One

Since the bathroom remodel is in week one and moving full steam ahead, I thought I would share a few photos along the way, kind of a NON-DIY diary. I am very, very grateful that this is NOT a DIY project by me, but instead is in the very capable hands of our contractor Matt from Couture Construction. I know that working in a 160-year-old house has its unique challenges and I think Matt has his hands full trying to make sense of the Jenga-style construction techniques that were used to build this bathroom back in the day.

Bathroom Demo Wall ExposedBetween the horsehair plaster and the patchwork of flooring (using whatever boards they happened to have handy) and an occasional mouse in the wall,

Bathroom Remodel Trapped Mouseevery day I see Matt digging in and pulling junk out until now there is less actual bathroom and more bags of demo trash sitting in the driveway next to the toilet and sink. So here is the before…please don’t judge me because of the seashell sink. It was a thing once…


Bathroom Remodel BeforeThis is day one: horsehair plaster & lathing exposed (wait, is there supposed to be daylight shining through along that eave?)

Bathroom Remodel Horsehair Plaster Wallsday two: the walls come down

Bathroom Remodel Day 2day three-whoops- almost fell in!

Bathroom Remodel Day Three FloorRemember the time when I tore up the hall carpet to remodel the hallway in time for Easter (in 2012?!?)? Well, thank goodness we never added the carpeting to the as of yet unfinished Hall of Shame, knowing that we would eventually be remodeling the bath at the top of the stairs. Because look at these stairs now!

Bathroom Remodel StairsThey were really bad to begin with after two years of white paint and no carpet, but now with muddy shoes and boots coming and going, they’re just plain gross. I cannot wait for this bathroom reno to be finished so I can finally carpet those stairs-perhaps in time for Easter 2014?? But from that point on, its shoes off when you hit the hallway! Have a great Thursday, everyone. Just remember to be grateful for the simple things we so often take for granted here in the US, like a functional toilet and a nice, hot shower…mine soon enough. Susan

 

 

BHG Flea Market Decorating Book…A Review

Better Homes and Gardens Flea Market Decorating Book

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Everyone know Coach has books. Lots of books. Thousands of books.

Stacks of books in the barnAlthough typically he is more inclined to pick up historical books and vintage magazines rather than novels or DIY manuals, he recently came across this Flea Market Decorating Book at a…where else…flea market, so he grabbed it for me. This Flea Market Decorating…Creating Style with Vintage Finds book by Better Homes and Gardens (*BHG) was published in 2000, but is even more relevant today than it was than a decade ago. Today, flea marketing is big business, and dealers, decorators and homeowners alike know the thrill of the hunt and how to create home environs with one amazing found piece as the inspiration. This book contains page after page of glossy photos with inspired decorating ideas utilizing all styles of flea market finds. Some are maintained in their original form, some are altered in the necessary way to fit the intended space, like this hospital gurney turned bathroom vanity.

BHG Flea Market Decorating Hospital Gurney Bathroom Vanity

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

The book is separated into chapters: The hunt (what to look for when flea market shopping), defining a style (which style suits you?

Cottage Style

BHG Flea Market Decorating Antique Cupboard Cottage Style

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Retro Rustic

BHG Flea Market Decorating Retro Rustic Dining Set

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Modern Country

BHG Flea Market Modern Country Decorating Bedroom

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Salvage Chic

BHG Defining a Style Salvage Chic

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

or Fifties Plus

BHG Flea Market Decorating Mid-Century Modern Fifties Plus

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Once you find your treasure, you’ll find the chapters bringing it home (integrating your newly found pieces into your existing home decor, both inside…

BHG Flea Market Decorating Dresser in Kitchen

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

…and out

BHG Flea Market Decorating Outdoor Patio

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

&  can it be saved (with helpful DIY tips…everything from refinishing wood to rewiring old lamps)

BHG Flea Market Decorating Book Restoring Finish on Table

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

to be most invaluable. At the end there is a national listing of flea markets and look here..my two favorite Massachusetts markets! Brimfield Flea Market and our very own Todd Farm Flea Market (April can’t come fast enough, my friends!)

BHG Flea Market Decorating Book Todd Farm AdIf you are an avid flea marketer (like me and Coach) and love to decorate with vintage furnishings, this book could quickly become your flea market bible. So many inspired ideas and great design mixed in with helpful hints and information. If you are lucky enough, you can find it at your local flea market, or it is still available on Amazon.com. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go make a bowling pin trunk : )

BHG Bowling Pin Trunk Table

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Do you have a favorite room designs with flea market decor?? If so, please share it with me- just send a pic and I will post it here and on my social media pages : ) Have a great (& not too snowy) Sunday everyone!! Susan

 

Paint By Number…Vintage Sideboard Makeover

Today’s Vintage Sideboard Makeover brought to you by DecoArt’s Americana Paints and the numbers 1 through 7 : )

Americana Sideboard Makeover on Country Design HomeI’m so pleased to announce that I am now a contributing blogger to the Deco Art Blogger Outreach Program!

DecoArt Blogger Outreach ProgramI use their line of Americana chalky paints and finishes quite frequently and am happy to share my latest furniture makeover featuring their great products with you! This vintage sideboard has been in our family room since we purchased it at a second-hand shop a few years back. Every time I walked in the back door, I was greeted by this drab brown large block of wood.

Americana SideBoard BeforeNo matter how I styled the top, the fact was that it was dark and sucked up all the light in the space. I have been on a painting and DIY overdrive since all of the snow started piling up, and I figured it was high time to take this old wood-paneled station wagon and transform it into a bright, shiny red cadillac. Here is the how-to:

1. Cleaned the wood surfaces. The top was not part of the original piece, it was constructed with reclaimed wood, attached and sanded down to a clean blonde wood (but not by me-thanks to whomever did this step for me : ) Which is how has remained until I got inspired. Because the plank wood was quite pretty in its raw state, I knew I did not want to paint it, so decided to wax/stain it instead.

Americana Vintage Sideboard Top Before Unfinished2. So I finished the top with two coats of Americana Crème Wax in Golden Brown, allowing time to dry between the coats, which enhances the color and grain of the wood while providing a beautiful glowing finish.

Americana Creme Wax Golden Brown RagThese waxes are water based, have no odor, are very easy to apply and clean up. You paint on or wipe on with a soft rag,

Vintage Sideboard Wiping on Golden Brown Wax on Topthen wipe off the excess. If it gets too tacky while you are working, you can dampen the rag to soften the wax and smooth the edges. Allow to dry, then buff with a soft cloth.

3. I was on the fence about the wood knobs-whether to replace them or not-when I realized they were screwed and glued into place. Decision made. I taped them and painted around them to keep the wood knobs to match the wood top.

Americana Painted Sideboard Taped Off KnobsFor the doors and drawers, I painted them with two coats of Americana Chalky Paint called Primitive, which is a creamy greige (that’s a gray and beige combined). Using Americana stencils and Chalky Paint called Relic (a deep charcoal gray) per my No-Fail Stenciling Techniques, I added the numbers to the drawers and doors for a touch of whimsy, then sanded the edges and finished with a coat of Americana Clear Creme Wax. 

Americana Vintage Door Panel Antiqued4. I decided to antique the doors’ center panels for a little bit of color and contrast, so I taped them off, then painted with two coats of Americana Serene Blue Chalky Paint.

Americana Painted Sideboard Serene Blue Chalky Paint5. Allowed to dry, then painted with a coat of Americana Crackle Medium. This is a clear finish that you paint on to a sealed or painted surface, then allow to dry. As it dries, it crackles the paint underneath it and antiques it at the same time. If I had the time-lapse option on my camera, I could’ve shared this process. But trust me when I tell you it looks like a science experiment! The thicker you paint it on, the more crackling appears. In this case, I put it on really thick and most of the blue paint actually crackled off.

Americana Vintage Sideboard Door Panel FinishedWhoops. But I was OK with that, as it gave the panels the appearance of old paint that had been worn away by time and use.

6. For the body of the piece, I had decided to paint it an antique red to co-ordinate with the rug that sits directly in front of it. The plan was to paint with two coats, then add the darker wax finish. But, when I started painting the Americana Chalky Paint in Romance Red

Americana Chalky Paint Romance Redover the dark brown finished wood (remember, with these paints you do not need to prep or sand…just paint away!)

Vintage Brown Sideboard Panel BeforeI got a little panicky because it was really, really bright!

Americana Painted Sideboard Romance Red Chalky PaintBUT, then a miracle happened (not unlike that end zone interception with 30 seconds left in the game last night…) it basically antiqued itself! I painted it on, then wiped off the excess with a rag,

Americana Chalky Paint Romance Red Wiping Offessentially staining it red while allowing the brown tone and grain of the wood to show through! The chalky paint acted like a stain, allowing me to leave on as much or little as I preferred to get the perfect shade of antique red. I love it when the unexpected happens…in a good way : ) Had I preferred, I could have painted the entire piece with the two coats of red and then waxed with the darker finish. But this was so much easier! So all it took was one quick coat of paint on the wood, wiping it off, allowing it to dry, then coating with the Americana Clear Crème Wax, which gives the entire piece a bright, glowing finish.

Americana Painted Sideboard Closeup TM7. After I re-affixed the doors back onto the sideboard, I then re-staged it with some of my favorite things. And although much of those are the same, the entire wall takes on a whole new look with this bright, fun Americana Vintage Sideboard Makeover. This sideboard is a very functional piece of furniture in our home, holding a variety of household items like glasses, batteries, candles and more-essentially one large junk drawer…now when Coach asks me where I can find the IPhone chargers and cases, I can direct him to drawer #5!

Americana Sideboard Drawer #5Thanks to Deco-Art for supplying the Americana Chalky Paints and finishes but allowing me to use my own DIY imagination. Hope you all had a Super Sunday, everyone-I know we Pats fans sure did!  Time for some more snow shoveling… but at least we’ll know where to find our winter scarves…behind door #6!! Xoxo Susan

 

Crown Molding Installation…Kitchen Makeover Redux

Hey, so it’s been awhile since we visited the thrifty transformation of my mom’s kitchen. My last episode of the kitchen makeover saga was the installation of the travertine subway tile backsplash...and that was back in the fall! I’ve been slowly making my way through multiple projects, including transforming a charming bookcase for all of mom’s cookbooks, painting the adjacent dining room, adding a shelf…but mainly I just kept putting off the crown molding installation along the top of the cabinets…because I simply didn’t know how to do it. This is the before picture, with painted and glazed cabinets ready for their crown. They just look so square…

Thrifty Kitchen Makeover Before Crown InstallationI had attempted crown molding cutting in the past, with miserable results. I just couldn’t figure out all the angles…until I found Sawdust Girl on Pinterest!

Crown Molding Illustration via Sawdust Girl

Crown Molding Illustration Courtesy of Sawdust Girl

This tutorial with the photos and graphics is simply the best with the most complete and least confusing instructions for the proper installation of crown molding. My post today is not actually the how-to, I am leaving that to Sawdust Girl to show you the way…to a crowning achievement! I am simply sharing a few do’s and don’ts for your reading pleasure. I downloaded these pics onto my phone for easy reference as I went along. I referred to them continuously while I was trying to figure out which way to mitre and bevel.

Outside right

Crown Molding Outside Right via Sawdust Girl

 

Outside left cut:

Crown Molding Outside Right via Sawdust Girl

Crown Molding Outside Right via Sawdust Girl

As I was trying to figure out how exactly I was going to find 36.1 and 33.9 for my bevels and miters (kind of sound like I know what I’m talking about, right?), I looked more closely at my Ryobi Miter Saw and lo and behold, the numbers were right there on the saw! With a locking position for each one-woo hoo!

Crown Molding Ryobi Saw Mitre MarksWith a sigh of relief I started my measuring and cutting according to Sawdust Girl’s instructions. It made me feel a little better when I was reading her instructions and she said that she gets confused every time she does these cuts! So, its not just me…

The first cut may be the deepest, but the last cut is the scariest. This is the final cut to the exact measurement of the length of the piece. Fortunately my little Ryobi Miter Saw has a laser beam that helped keep my on the straight and narrow : ) Too bad that laser couldn’t make the cuts as well…

Crown Molding Ryobi Chop Saw Laser Mark

This is the money shot, the one you cannot screw up or you have to start over. Which I did, more than once, despite Sawdust Girl’s best efforts to guide me.

Crown Molding Perfect CutsNOTE: A big DON’T. In the middle of the installation, DO NOT offer to cut some wire flower stems in your little miter saw for your mom’s spring flower arrangement she is working on in another room…because you’re procrastinating and not cutting molding. They will melt and get all twisty and stuck in your saw blade.

Crown Molding Wire Stems Stuck in SawWhich require an hour of your time to take the saw apart and remove the twisty wire.

Crown Molding Twisted and Melted Wire StemsOnce the cuts were made, it was time for the installation. Now, with short pieces, its pretty easy to hold it with one hand and hammer it in with the other as long as you hammer the nail into the trim 1/2 way to get it started. (Well, actually its not that easy, and I am totally getting a nail gun, despite Coach’s fear that I will somehow maim myself with an errant shot.) But with the long pieces, its near impossible to attach one end if the other end it hanging down. Sometimes you just need your mom…to use her fabulous zebra broom stick to hold up the other end while hammer yours into place.

Crown Molding Install Mom holding other endThere…installed crown molding!

Crown Molding InstalledI finished one section, then had to leave for the day. When I returned the next day to finish up, I was delighted to discover that the molding I had installed was still hanging proudly on the cabinet! Yay! I finished the install, using a hefty amount of spackle to fill up those nail holes and even out the corners…which were not quite as perfect as I would have liked. But, hey, that’s why they invented spackle, right? So here is the finished molding, my crowning achievement in the Thrifty Kitchen Makeover, all painted and glazed to match the cabinets. Is it perfect? Heck. no! But it looks great and mom is loving it…and that is all that really matters.

Crown Molding Painted and GlazedA special thanks to Sandra Powel AKA Sawdust Girl , my new DIY BFF, who gave me the courage to make those cuts and finally finish the crown molding installation! Just a few more tweaks and we’ll be ready for the final reveal. Hope you achieve something special today as well! Susan

 

 

New Life For An Old Cupboard-Without Paint!

When Coach first acquired this unpainted vintage glass front cupboard, my first inclination was to paint it, distress it and add some new knobs.

Vintage Glass Cupboard Before

But every time I walked past it, for some reason it tugged at my heartstrings just a bit, although I was not sure why. We don’t have anything else like it in our home, and its just a simple little cupboard…one that you would find in your grandmother’s kitchen. And then it hit me…it was reminiscent of my grandmother’s kitchen table…the same wood color, the same glowing finish. So, as an homage to time gone by and Sunday Pot Roast dinners at my grandmother’s house, I decided to clean it up, shine it up and give it new life, but to leave it unpainted. Some old furniture just screams for a coat of paint and some embellishment, but this vintage hutch quietly begged to be restored to its former quaint and simple beauty. It was quite dirty and greasy, so I cleaned it up with some household cleaner. I was left with a rather splotchy finish…it appears that someone along the way decided to add a layer of varnish or stain in a rather streaky fashion. Using some Mastercraft Poly Gel Wipe On Stain,

Vintage Cupboard Mastercraft Wipe On Gel StainI attempted to even out the overall color as best I could. You simply paint or wipe the stain on,

Vintage Cupboard Side Panel Gel Stainlet it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe it off, leaving as much or as little as you would like.

Vintage Cupboard Front Panel Gel AppliedYou need to work quickly and in small areas, as this stuff gets tacky fast. (It is a bit smelly, so despite the below freezing temps, I had the window open and a fan running continuously.) Once all of the wood was finished, I decided to add some vintage wallpaper to the back of it to add some color…this fresh green check is simple and looks like it could have been in grandma’s vintage kitchen.

 

Vintage Cupboard Check Paper Background and Drawer LinerI papered the back using decoupage glue…this wallpaper was not pre-pasted, and then followed suit with the drawer as well. The hinges were dirty and in need of some cleaning,

Vintage Cupboard Hinges Varnishedso I left them, along with a bottle of brass cleaner for Coach to use, thinking that would do the trick…until he called me and said it wasn’t working. So I instructed him to try the silver cleaner…again no luck. So I took another look at them, first thinking it was rust and then finally realized that whoever varnished the piece left the hinges in place and varnished right over them! Time for the heavy duty stuff: this LIFT-OFF varnish remover does the trick,

Vintage Cupboard Lift Off Varnish Removerhas very little odor and is water-based…so not too offensive to use indoors. I put the hinges in a metal tin with the remover, waited 20 minutes, scrubbed with a little warm water and an old toothbrush (do you save yours? I always do, just for times like these…,)

Vintage Cupboard Scrubbing Hinge with Toothbrushthen buffed with a bit of steel wool and they were good to go.

Vintage Hinge Buffed with Steel WoolI love the detail on these hinges…very art deco, and matched to top crown of the piece,

Vintage Cupboard Refurbish No Paint Top Crownwhich helps to determine what time period it originated from. There were six rather beat up wood knobs,

Vintage Cupboard Knobs Beforeso I replaced the glass door hardware with some cut glass knobs,

Vintage Glass Front Cupboard with Glass Knobsthen crackled and painted the door and drawer knobs to match the green plaid paper.

Vintage Cupboard Crackled Wood KnobsFinally, I filled the finished piece with some of my milk glass collection…can this be any cuter!?!

Vintage Cupboard Finished Filled with Milk GlassIs the finish perfect? No. I would’ve had to strip the entire piece down and start fresh if that was the look I was hoping to achieve. What I wanted was a fresh piece of furniture that looked as if it had been used and loved and worn, so that it would tug at someone else’s heart strings. Then they would use it for their own collectibles and kitchen wares…and someday their grandchildren would remember it fondly.

Vintage Glass Front Cupboard FinishedBecause, alas, I have no room for it in our home, so this one is in the Barn at Todd Farm if you’re interested in taking a look. Have a fresh new week, everyone! Susan

Wedding Date Chalkboard DIY

If you have been following my blog, you know that 2015 is the “Year of the Wedding” in our family. Our daughter and her fiance have set the date and plans are well under way for what we hope will be a great wedding weekend come this August. Of course, since we are a DIY kind of family, lots of the decor will be created by yours truly, with assistance from our multi-talented family and friends. One of the first things the newly engaged couple did…other than book the venue, the band, the photographer and the florist…and buy a dress, or two…was schedule a photo shoot for their engagement photographs. Since their dog Bartlet is such a big part of their lives, there could be no photos taken without the little guy in tow. The engagement photos are courtesy of Marcy Rolerson Photography and were taken in the North End of Boston.

Bartlet Photo Courtesy of Marcy Rolerson PhotographyMy daughter requested that I create a small sign with the wedding date that she could hang around his neck or attach to his collar, so I created this Wedding Date Chalkboard Sign. It is so simple and makes a really cute addition to the engagement photos, don’t you think?

Wedding Date Chalkboard Marcy Rolerson PhotographyHere is the How-I-Did-It:

1. I found an old chalkboard kicking around my workshop, but you can purchase these at any local crafts store.

Wedding Date Chalkboard Before Sanded EdgesSince Bartlet is mighty in personality but quite small in stature, we had to make sure it was little enough so it wouldn’t hang on the ground once it was attached to his collar. I dry-brushed it white and then sanded the edges, just for a bit of rustic contrast.

2. I created the chalkboard pattern on Avery.com.

Wedding Date Chalkboard Avery.com Screen ShotThere are a limitless amount of fonts and styles to choose from on this website, typically used for designing labels and cards. Design what you would like, then re-size it to the dimensions of the surface of your chalkboard. Simply print it out on a regular piece of copy paper that has been cut to the size of your chalkboard.

Wedding Date Chalkboard Printed Pattern3. Coat the BACK of the printed paper with the chalk-rubbing with the side of the chalk all over the surface until it is covered.

Wedding Date Chalkboard Coating Reverse Side of Pattern with Chalk4. Place the chalk-covered pattern on the surface you are transferring it onto-tape it down along the edges to secure-then take a sharpened pencil and trace the lines of the pattern onto the chalkboard.

Wedding Date Chalkboard Tracing Pattern with Pencil5. Carefully remove the paper pattern from the board and you will see the transferred pattern, faint but there.

Wedding Date Chalkboard Peeling off Pattern from Chalkboard6. Sharpen your chalk…did you know you can sharpen pieces of chalk with a little pencil sharpener? No? well, now you do!

Wedding Date Chalkboard Sharpening Chalk with pencil sharpening7. Begin tracing the transferred pattern with the chalk, re-sharpening as you go until the entire pattern is clearly defined. Try not to press on the paper other than what you are tracing, otherwise you’ll have more chalk than you bargained for on the chalkboard.

Wedding Date Chalkboard Re-chalking Printed Chalk8. To clean up the edges and smudges, you will need some Q-tips and water.

Wedding Date Chalkboard Q-Tip and Water CleanupJust dip the tip into the water, then squeeze most of it out until it is damp only. Use the dampened tip to wipe away all of the smudges and unwanted lines.

Wedding Date Chalkboard Cleaning up Chalk with damp Q-tip9. I had originally added some side scrolls on the printed pattern, but decided to erase those and add some color instead. That’s the beauty of chalk-simple to erase and start over! So I used some scroll stencils to create the blue side scrolls.

Wedding Date Chalkboard Stenciling Scroll Pattern10. It’s simple to make a perfect dot! Dip the butt end of your paint brush into the paint-just the very tip-

Wedding Date Chalkboard Paint Dot

and then dot it onto the board. The bigger the brush end, the bigger the dot. Makes a perfect circle every time.

Wedding Date Chalkboard Adding Paint Dot Embellishment11. The finished wedding date chalkboard. Now at this point, you have some options. I actually drilled two holes in the top and added the raffia rope for hanging, but you won’t need to do that if you are planning on hanging it on a wall rather than a dog. If you don’t have a drill, you can hot glue the rope or ribbon to the top- this piece is super light-weight so it should be fine.

DIY Wedding Chalkboard By Country Design Home12. Also, if you want this to be permanent, then you would just need to spray it with a light coating of varnish or acrylic finish so it doesn’t smudge or erase. NOTE: You cannot brush on a top coat because it will smear the chalk. Or, you can keep the painted pattern on there and use the chalkboard again (perhaps you could update it each anniversary with a new love message : )

13. So here is Big B with his chalkboard sign attached to his collar. Apparently he was quite the rock star that day and posed perfectly for the camera. Thanks to http://www.marcyrolerson.com/ for the beautiful photographs!

Wedding Date Chalkboard Bartlet with SignAnd we’ll just chalk this one up as wedding project number one-done! Have a terrific Thursday, everyone! Susan

Thanks, Black & Decker For My Big Finish!

Recently, I had heard of a contest sponsored by Black & Decker called Your Big Finish!

Black & Decker Your Big FinishTheir goal is to get America to finish what they started-“It’s All For Done…And Done For All”! You know all of those projects you have started along the way that are in different stages of completion…like my Hall of Shame...and my mom’s thrifty kitchen makeover? Well, those were not eligible because they are still (unbelievably) in the works. BUT, there is one finished project that I am super proud of…my HI! Rusty Bedspring Marquee Sign.

Rusty Bedspring Marquee SignSo I thought, sure why not enter it? Well, I did, and guess what? My mug is now plastered on a billboard in Times Square!

Black & Decker Times Square Billboard  Times SquareWhat?!?! Now, since I don’t live in NYC, I have no way of actually seeing my face in lights  (ugh, I hope it’s not high def so you can see all those wrinkles), but I am told that it is on the CNN billboard on the corner of 46th and 47th street. So, if anyone happens to be in Manhattan between now and December 27th, could you take a peek? Just look for the giant HI! that is rotating along with the 100’s of other featured projects. You can check out some of the others here (you’ll note that the Times Square featured projects have a little green street sign in the top right corner : )

Black & Decker Project Page

Like my friend Sarah, from Little Red Brick House’s beautiful Fireplace Makeover.

Little Red Brick House Fireplace MakeoverIn the meantime, if you would like to see the now famous Rusty Bedspring Marquee Light in person, it’s hanging in the shop at the Barn at Todd Farm. But right now it says JOY.

Joy Sign in the Barn at Todd FarmBecause that’s a little of what I am feeling right now : ) Thanks to Black & Decker for sponsoring this contest and allowing everyday folks the opportunity for their 15 minutes of fame. And for encouraging all of us procrastinators to finish what we started!! You, too can enter for the chance to have your photo plastered on a billboard in Times Square, but also for some great prizes like some new Black & Decker tools and a grand prize of $10,000!! (which I could then use to buy the new cordless drill that I have been coveting-Santa, are you reading this?!?) Have a great finish to your Friday everyone!! xoxo Susan

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