Fun with Fabric Footstool Painting!

I have wanted to try painting a fabric something for quite some time now. But I had never found just the right piece that I could paint (so that if I really messed it up, I could recover it myself…) So, along came this floral footstool- quite solid and sturdy, but somewhat dated with its pretty pink floral brocade fabric.

Painted Footstool Before

I thought, what the heck, it is worth a shot…so I grabbed my can of Annie Sloan Old White and got to work. Now, apparently there is not much of a trick to painting fabric, other than a few simple tips to ensure a good outcome. First, wipe down the fabric and make sure there are no greasy or oily spots. Then, just dampen the fabric (not wet, just damp). The brush style really doesn’t seem to matter- just make sure its big and soft and bristly (is that even a word?) so you are able to smoosh (that is definitely a word) the paint into the fabric.

Painted Footstool Annie Sloan Old White

It took three layers of paint to completely cover the textured fabric with an even coat of the paint. This is the fabric after one coat. Flowers still blooming!

Painted Footstool One Coat Annie Sloan Paint

Once I laid down the first, rather heavy, coat of paint and really worked it into the fabric, the second and third coats were simply to even out the white color. I am certain that a darker paint would only have required two coats, however. The legs, also dark in color, required three coats as well.

For the design, I decided on the French ticking stripe look that is pretty popular these days. Taping it off was a simple matter of proper measurements, and making sure to tuck the tape down securely along the edges to prevent the paint from bleeding. (Note the happy red frog in the background watching over me? My new reality…my family room is more land of flashing plastic than country living inspired these days : )

Painted Footstool Painters Tape and Measuring Stick

Extra tucking into the folds of the welting ensured a nice, clean edge all the way down.

Painted Footstool Taping Welting

For the stripes, I used a pot of Behr paint that I mixed myself- I am quite enamored with all things Fixer Upper right now, and this gray was a pretty close match to one in Joanna’s new paint collection (which, by the way, I am also dying to try. But I am waiting until her new chalk line debuts…). So I painted away, making sure that I brushed away from the tape edges, not into them to prevent bleeding under the tape.

Painted Footstool Gray Paint

Once I pulled the tape off to reveal the stripes, well, this is starting to look pretty sweet, right?!

Painted Footstool Pulling Tape

There were a few areas where the edges weren’t quite clean- and me being Type A perfectionist, I went back and cleaned those up with some AS paint on a small brush.

The next step was to sand it down with some 500 grit sandpaper to smooth out the finish. Apparently, with a smooth fabric, it gives the piece a silky finish. However, with a raised fabric, you need to be careful because overzealous sanding can cause the paint to be removed from those textured lines. So, I switched to a wad of super fine steel wool, and that did the trick. Woops, forgot the picture here…Sanding the legs to give it a bit of a worn appearance was all this piece needed to complete the look.

Painted Footstool Sanded Distressed Legs

Next up, the finish. According to the Annie Sloan book(s) I have, painted fabric should be finished with a coat of wax to ensure durability. But I didn’t have any on hand, and I am not sure I liked the idea of a waxy finish on fabric that little hands were going to be touching, so I wasn’t quite sure what to do. Luckily, Amy Chalmers from Maison Décor (our local Annie Sloan aficionado) came to my rescue with some tips on finishing the fabric footstool. So, no need for wax-so I went with General Finishes Flat Out Flat Finish-my personal go-to finishing product!

Painted Fabric Footstool W/ General Finishes Flat Out Flat Finish

It gave the stool a soft vinyl look- not shiny, but kind of glowy (I know, I am just making this stuff up now) Without the finish, the white would have turned yucky pretty quickly, of that I am certain (sticky baby fingers provide a kaleidoscope of colors and textures : ). But with two coats of FOF, this stool should stand the test of time- even in the nana-nursery- where it is currently residing by the rocking chair. Baby grandson is in the “crawling and pulling himself up on any surface” stage, so this is soft and sturdy and safe for all sorts of baby boy shenanigans.

Painted Fabric Footstool Finished in Nana-Nursery

So, there you have it. Fun with Fabric Painting 101. Would I do this on a chair? Not sure, but it would be worth a try, compared to having it slipcovered or re-upholstered, which costs more than a pretty penny (or a can of paint). I guess we will see how well it holds up in the Nana-nursery. And, now, in honor of St Patrick’s Day, a blessing for you: Irish BlessingHappy St. Patty’s Day Friday everyone!! x0x0 Susan

Sprayin’ It Pretty with HomeRight

I have had this little end table beside my bed for quite some time now. HR Sprayer Tented Table BeforeSince the day I purchased it, I have loved the style, but not the color or the rough-textured finish. I always had the notion that some day I would change it, but never had the time or energy to paint all those little divots in the finish! So when I was offered the opportunity through the Fab Furniture Flipping Contest to Spray It Pretty

Fab Furniture Flippin Contest Poster

to try the HomeRight Finish Max Fine Finish Sprayer, this was the project that immediately popped into my head!

So it went from this:HR Sprayer Tented Table Before

to this: HR Sprayer AfterIn about an hour. ONE HOUR. Amazing. Here’s the how-to:

  1. Received the sprayer,Home Right Paint Sprayer
  2. opened the manual and read it in its entirety. YOU NEED TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.
  3. HR Paint Sprayer ManualThey may seem wordy and somewhat complicated, but once you follow the steps, you will be happy that you did.
  4. Set up a mock spray tent in the basement with a large plastic tarp and some duct tape. I had no idea how far the spray would splatter, so I encircled the table and left an opening in the front.
  5.  Grabbed a mask (these are from the dollar store. Best $$ you’ll ever spend!) and donned my safety glasses. HR Sprayer Dollar Store Mask
  6. Chose this pretty Rustoleum Chalked Paint in Serenity Blue. HR Sprayer Rustoleum Chalk PaintI figured if it was going to be next to my pillow, it should be serene.
  7.  Filled the sprayer according to the instructions. I did not need to check the thickness of this particular paint, because it was pretty thin by chalk paint standards. But they show you how to do that in the instruction manual-if its too thick, it won’t spray.
  8. Tested the sprayer on a piece of cardboard (per the instructions). Note the cloudy, soft edge. This prevents that striped look you often get with spray paint cans. HR Sprayer Test Card sheet
  9. Tested one drawer- it took- I don’t know- 30 seconds!? HR Sprayer Drawers Before and AfterWoo Hoo! Off and painting. So easy, just pull the trigger and move back and forth over the piece until it is completely covered. All those crevices filled with paint in an instant. If I saw a spot that wasn’t quite dark enough, I went back over it until the entire table was finished with an even coat of paint. HR Sprayer at WorkAnd, unlike an aerosol spray paint, there was no “paint cloud” and no odor! The paint didn’t go on any surface that I wasn’t spraying directly. And NO DRIPS!! This thing is magical!
  10. I could not remove the knobs, they were somehow attached with whatever that texture paint was. But I wanted some sort of contrast, so I added some Martha Stewart Metallic Pearl paint to the knobs. HR Sprayer Table Metallic Knob
  11. Cleaning time! This is super important! If you don’t pull it apart per the manual and clean out all of the pieces, the paint will dry inside and render the sprayer useless. So, I used warm soapy water and cleaned each piece. HR Sprayer WashingBy the time I was done, the table was dry!
  12. Once the piece was dry, I decided to add a stencil to the top with the same metallic paint I used for the knobs. HR Sprayer Project Martha Stewart Metallic Paint
  13. The piece is done and back in its spot. HR Sprayer AfterTook an hour, tops to do the entire thing. I can’t wait til the weather warms up so I can start using it outside- so many pieces to paint- this is going to be fun! Many thanks to the HomeRight Company, who make all sorts of great products for the DIY enthusiast, and to the Fab Furniture Flipping Contest for providing the tools I needed to make this project a reality! Hope you are having a great day everyone. xoxo Susan

Saltwash Blues

Have you heard of Saltwash paint additive?

Saltwash BannerNo? Well, I hadn’t either until I was introduced to this product for this month’s Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest. Amazing stuff made with real sea salt that creates a worn, rustic look on any piece! You mix it with any paint type and color, smoosh it on literally anything that accepts paint (wood, metal, plastic, you name it, it sticks). Then you paint an overcoat, allow to dry, sand it and stand back and admire your truly transformed piece! In this case, an old wooden trunk that had seen (much) better days,

Old Trunk Paintedtransformed into this gorgeous sea worthy trunk in various shades of blues.

Finished Trunk Staged LOGOHere is the how-to:

Find an old piece of furniture that needs a bit of TLC to bring it back to life. In this case, an old trunk that had cracks and dents. I had already started a transformation by painting it silver, but I wasn’t in love with it. Once I received the Saltwash, it was an easy decision to use it for this project. I Coach (yes, Coach got into the act with the project : ) painted the trunk with several shades of blue, covering all of the metal and wood and canvas surfaces.

Painted Trunk TopMix the paint with the Saltwash until is is the consistency of cake frosting.

Saltwash Mixture FrostingTaped off the wood slats because I wanted them to appear dry brushed but not textured.

Painted TrunkDabbed on the Saltwash Blue Mixture any where I wanted to have the textured surface, then allowed to dry. The trick is to dab it on thickly and heavily. The beauty of it is that is does hide any cracks or imperfections!

Dabbing Thick Paint on TrunkPainted on a lighter coat of blue over the textured finish and allowed to dry. Already looks pretty awesome right?!

Overpainting Trunk TopcoatSanded down everything, including the wood and metal trim (which allowed the original silver finish to show through)

Saltwash Trunk Sanding off Top LayerFinished with a spray coat of matte acrylic. Here is the finished trunk in beautiful shades of Saltwash Blues. (but you can use any color you wish- the Saltwash has no color in it!)

Finished Trunk Staged LOGOFor more outstanding transformations by this month’s sponsors, click the links below:

http://www.thirtyeighthstreet.com/2016/06/saltwash-coastal-inspirations-fab.html

http://www.58waterstreet.com/2016/06/fab-furniture-flippin-contest-saltwash.html

And if you might be interested in joining the Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest, click this:

Fab Furniture Flippin Contest Poster

Have a great week leading up to the 4th! I will be out of blogging range, but will be back with more flipping fun projects when I return.

xoxoSusan
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Bling It Up With Country Chic Paint

This month’s #Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest was sponsored by Country Chic Paint.

Country Chic PaintThe theme: #BlingBling featuring Country Chic’s Metallic Cream Paints. Now, pastel and blingy is typically not in my wheelhouse, as I am pretty much a rustic, country kind of gal. But this challenge was SO FUN!! I chose a vintage waterfall night stand cabinet as my project piece because it had lots of trimwork and details, perfect for showing off the bling.

Vintage Art Deco Night Stand Trim

And I picked these particular two colors because, well, they are just gorgeous. They are Elegance Country Chic Paint, a soft gray-green pastel hue:

Country Chic Paint Eleganceand Silver Bullet: a metallic cream paint that leaves a bright, shiny finish.

Country Chic Paint Silver Bullet This was the before: a sad, scratched and worn little brown night stand that Coach and I picked up at an estate sale for a couple of bucks.

Art Deco Night Stand BeforeWhen I look for a piece to refurbish, I always have that moment of “should I or shouldn’t I paint?” I didn’t hesitate to paint this piece because there were cracks and chips and gouges and unmatched pieces.

Vintage Art Deco Night Stand SideUnsalvageable, in its former condition, really. But this is the after:

Vintage Art Deco Night Stand Staged LogoPretty and blingy and so freakin’ cute! Here’s the how-to: per the instructions that arrived with the paint, I cleaned the whole piece, then primed it with a coat of blocker/sealer.

Vintage Art Deco Night Stand PrimedThe body of the cabinet was painted with Elegance– this is a very smooth, rich paint with great coverage and deep pigments. It leaves a very flat, chalky finish that is smooth to the touch with no chalky residue. LOVE. The luscious Silver Bullet metallic cream paint had the appearance and texture of silver marshmallow fluff-YUM. Brushed on thickly but smoothly, filling in some small cracks and evened out the finish. Vintage Night Stand Painted Country Chic PaintI then used it to paint the tarnished and worn metal handles as well. It adhered just as well to the metal handles as it did to the primed wood.

Vintage Night Stand Art Deco HandlesTwo coats of the silver cream and I was finished with my piece. Or was I… In order to take this to the next level, I decided to add some real bling to the wood trim.

Bling StripA bit of bedazzling

Vintage Art Deco Night Stand Closeupand a final coat of matte finish poly was all it needed to bring this little night stand back to life. Thanks to the Country Chic Paint Company, who provided each of the contestants with the paints and supplies necessary to transform our pieces. And, of course, thanks to the ladies of the Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest

FFFC main graphic updated (4.9.2016)who never cease to amaze me with their skills-both with painting and transforming furniture and with their organization of the monthly contests! To view some of the other great Country Chic transformations, click the links below!

http://www.sweettearefinishing.com/2016/05/may-fab-flippin-contest-with-country.html

 

http://www.slightlycoastal.com/diy-metallic-furniture-chair-makeover/

Have a great long weekend everyone! Hope yours days are touched with a bit of bling : ) xoxo Susan

Hello, It’s Me.

Hello…..it’s me. I realize it has been awhile…I must have thought a thousand times…that I needed to write something. But it has been a crazy few weeks and time has just slipped by while life has taken over. Today I stop and exhale…for just a brief respite before I dive back into reality. Its funny how the things that you believe are so necessary for creating a happy and fulfilling life can, in an instant, take a back seat to the truly important things…love, friends, family, life. Today I proudly announce the arrival of our precious grandson, Declan, who made his way into the world 1 month ahead of schedule. He is a wee lad, but is absolutely perfect in every way.
Declan and Mom Original LogoCoach and I, along with his mommy and daddy and our collectively amazing extended families, are over-the-moon in love and are so excited to see the changes in him every single day as he grows bigger and stronger. He is surrounded by so much love and caring from both near and afar ( Bartlet the Frenchie is still not quite sure what’s happening, but he’s getting there too : ).

Bartlet Living Room CloseupSo please bear with me for the time being…my posts may be sporatic, but I promise there are many good things to come.  Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone! xoxo Susan

Kitschy Coral Coastal Cupboard

Kitchy Coral Coastal Cupboard Logo ViewHello everyone! A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my participation in the “Fab Furniture Flippin Contest”, where each month, contestants are provided with paints and products to create a unique project and win prizes! For April, we were provided with 2 quarts of Pure & Original Classico Paint in our choice of colors…well, today is the big reveal! This project was not without much angst and frustration, as I stumbled along the way quite frequently, but I am so happy it is finished and sooo kitschy cute! The inspiration for the furniture flip was this vintage wallpaper Coach picked up awhile age that I had been hanging onto for just the right piece to transform.

Coral Coastal Cupboard Vintage Wallpaper InspirationJudging from the colors and the cartoon-like illustrations, I am thinking it was from the 60’s or 70’s, but I am not quite sure. What I am sure about is that 50 year old wallpaper is quite brittle and tears super easily, which wreaked havoc with my overall design plan! But here is the flippin’ how-to:

This old simple cupboard was hand-made of plywood with a rough finish.

Coral Coastal Cupboard BeforeIt had been painted multiple times, with the final coat being a dark hunter green with some (I think they were supposed to be) celtic designs painted on the doors and side panels. First  I , OK, Coach sanded it to remove the white designs as they were thick and raised. Then I pulled off the chair rail molding they had put on the base front and added some baseboard trim to the front and sides, followed with painting the cupboard body in White. The nice thing about this particular paint brand is that although it has a matte, chalk-like finish, it requires no waxing or final coat of poly for protection.

Coral Coastal Cupboard Base MoldingThe paints colors I originally chose did not quite match my vision, so I ended up ordering a couple more colors for contrast and accents.

Coral Coastal Cupboard Pure and Original PaintsI know, you’re thinking “yikes- that’s a lotta color”- but just wait and see : ) The doors and interior were painted in Nautique, (no primer needed, BTW, but I will disclose that covering the celtic designs with the White required an extra coat or 2…)

Coral Coastal Cupboard Pure and Original Paint Nautiquea yummy green- blue, and the body was painted in White. I had originally planned to wallpaper the back panels with the vintage paper, but I didn’t have much and it just kept tearing. So I saved two pieces and used them for the door panels. So then I had planned to use bead board for the back panels, but the piece, being constructed of plywood, was already super heavy. So I chose my favorite faux beadboard wallpaper and used that instead.

Coral Coastal Cupboard Interior Backing Beadboard WallpaperI wanted to match the coral color in the wallpaper, so that’s where the other two paints, Lipstick and Clear Amber came into play.

Coral Coastal Cupboard Salmon Pink MixtureMixed with the White, I matched the color perfectly

Coastal Coral Cubboard Pink Paint Mixtureand painted the wallpapered back panels with that, along with some trim I used to frame out the wallpaper panels that I had glued with some Wunda Size onto the doors panels.

Coral Coastal Cupboard Glazing Mixture for TrimOnce the coral dried, I mixed the White with a small amount of satin glaze, painted it over the pink, then wiped it off quickly with a damp rag,

Coral Cupboard Glazing Beadboardleaving the white glazing in the grooves and detailed areas, softening the overall color and giving it a more vintage appearance.  

Wallpaper Panel with TrimThe original top was just a low arc which was not really visible. To amp that up, I cut out a piece of old pine

Coral Coastal Cupboard Decorative Top Pedimentand painted it the Nautique, then glued and screwed it onto the original arc.

Coral Coastal Cupboard Completed Beadboard and Painted Top(In this pic you can see how the glazing softened the coral paint color on the beadboard) But the new top looked just a bit too plain, so I added a glazed coral starfish as the crowning touch!  

Kitschy Coral Cupboard StarfishAnd finally, I spray painted the hardware copper so it would go with the coral, 

Copper Painted Hingesand added some vintage white porcelain knobs to the doors.

Coral Cupboard Door DetailSo there you have it, from dark green drab to whimsical coral and aqua fab. I know that these 70’s colors aren’t for everyone, but for me, I feel that they honor the vintage wallpaper and bring this dingy old cupboard back to life. 

Kitchy Coral Coastal Cupboard Side ViewThanks to #Pure&Original Paints who provided the gorgeous paints and colors…if you’re interested in trying out this amazing paint, click on the link to the right on this blog. And a huge thanks to the hosts of the  #FabFurnitureFlippinContest

FFFC main graphic updated (4.9.2016)


for giving me the opportunity to enter this challenge!  To check out the transformation magic that they did with their paint choices click here:

http://www.thirtyeighthstreet.com/2016/04/fab-furniture-flippin-contest-pure.html or

here: http://www.sweettearefinishing.com/2016/04/pure-colors-original-elegance-april.html

Have a flippin’ fab Thursday, everyone! Susan

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Flippin’ Fab Pure & Original Paint USA

Fab Furniture Flippin ContestThis month, I am participating in the #Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest, an event featuring some of the best furniture flippers in blog-land. This contest is the brainchild of the bloggers from Evey’s Creations and Anastasia Vintage, both of whom love design, DIY and bringing new life to old pieces. Evey was even on one of my favorite DIY shows- Flea Market Flip! I had read about the contest a few months back, and since I am a devoted furniture flipper, I was eager to get started, so I submitted my application.  Of course, that was before the broken foot incident, which temporarily put me on the sidelines, but I am finally primed and ready to participate in this month’s contest. Which is this: each month, a theme is chosen, and different companies sponsor the contest, providing either supplies or prizes to the flippers (that’s me!). We are allowed to choose any item to work on using the products supplied, and we have approximately 3 weeks from start to finish to paint, stain, decoupage, sand, wax and finish our chosen pieces before photographing them for submissions for judging. Once the judging is completed, a winner is announced, and its on to next month’s flippin’ contest! It was my good fortune to be selected as a contestant this month, because I have now had the opportunity to sample an extraordinary paint from Pure & Original Paint USA,

Pure & Original Paint Boxeswhich was created in the Netherlands and is now distributed in the US through Luxury Dutch Importers, LLC. This paint...well, the only word to describe it is luscious…the colors are simply soft and natural.

Pure & Original Paint Spring PaletteIt has a creamy and smooth texture, brushes on like a dream (even with a not-very-new-brush)

Pure & Original Paint USAand get this, does not need any finish. Even though it has a matte appearance, there is no waxing or varnishing or polyurethaning needed, because, unlike other chalk paints, it does not leave a chalky residue mark when you touch or scratch it. It actually dries to a rock hard finish that can be used both indoors and out…amazing. And the brush cleaned up easily with just water. So, before I started working on my contest piece, I decided to give the paint a test run on a simple brown console table. I cleaned it, did not sand or prime it, just painted with two coats of Nautique Pure & Original Paint

Pure & Original Paint Nautiquethis beautiful green/blue color that caught my eye when I was choosing my 2 cans of free paint provided by Pure & Original for the contest- there are 140 to choose from!  The finish is a lovely smooth matte, but I decided to sand it just to see what would happen. Instead of just sanding off entirely, the paint had already cured and adhered to the wood finish, so the sanding exposed the now “stained” wood grain for a stunning effect.

Pure & Original Wood Grain Closeup BlueThe more I sanded, the prettier it looked and the smoother it was to the touch. And still no final coat needed. Wow. So now I am off to prepare my actual contest piece, with the addition of a few more colors. I will keep you posted as the work progresses. In the meantime, if you are interested in reading more about Pure & Natural Paint USA, click the pic below:

Inspired By ColorAnd, if you are interested in sampling this fabulous paint, you can do so by using this link- : https://www.pureoriginalpaint.com/usa/?ref=118  (I love this paint so much, I’m now an affiliate for Pure and Original Paint USA) A special thanks to the FFFC Team at the Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest for allowing me to participate- this is going to be so much fun! Have a great weekend everyone! If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the painting workshop : ) Susan 

Vintage American Heart Sign

Awhile back, I received this large wooden wall-hanging of an elephant painted on some slats.

Vintage Americana Heart BeforeIt was free, and free is good, but the graphic was just a bit too brown and black for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE elephants, but it just seemed a little colorless and blah to me. I have had it hanging around in the workshop for quite some time, literally painting over it a dozen times with all sorts of blues and grays, awaiting some inspiration to hit me.

Vintage Americana Heart Dry Brushed BackgroundGenerally, I find that when all else fails, go with the American Flag with its bold colors and simple but striking graphics. So, stars and stripes it is! But, it was essentially a square, and of course, our flag is a rectangle, so I had to come up with a shape…a star? the map of the US? a rectangle? a heart : ) So I left the background as it was…dry-brushed with multiple shades of grays and blues and added the heart shaped design.

Vintage Americana Heart Red White and BlueThe easiest way to create a symmetrical heart of any size? Take a piece of paper (in this case, a newspaper because of the size I needed), fold it in 1/2, then draw out your shape on one side. Cut along the edge of the folded paper, and then when you open it up, voila!  A perfectly proportioned heart!

Vintage Americana Heart Newspaper PatternOnce I traced the heart shape onto the wood with some chalk, it was simply a matter of taping off the 13 red and white stripes…

Vintage Americana Heart Patternwhich was not as easy as you would have imagined…while leaving one block for the dark blue star field.

Vintage Americana Heart TemplateOnce the stars and stripes were completed, I stenciled in the stars…quite badly as it turns out.

Vintage Americana Heart Stripes and Star FieldBecause of the curves of the heart shape and the spaces between the slats, it was impossible to fit all 50 stars into the field in rows, as they are on the real flag. So I painted over the first go and tried it again.  I taped off the edges and winged it…just stamping them wherever there was an open space…not symmetrical, not perfect by any means.

Vintage Americana Heart StarsThere are a few states hanging off the edge…hello, Alaska and Hawaii! And there are a few states missing representation…then again, aren’t there a few states that are threatening to secede from the union if a certain candidate wins this year’s presidential election? But you get the general idea, right? Then I added the graphics above and below via my reverse chalking method.

Vintage Americana Heart Chalking PatternThat was the easiest part of the entire piece! Once I was reasonably happy with that, I sanded the whole thing down to give it a distressed look,

Vintage Americana Heart Sanding Stars Distressingthen finished with a coating of Krylon spray matte varnish

Krylon Matte Finish

(of course, that was a few days ago, when it was 60 outside, so I could spray it, as opposed to this morning’s temps, which are hovering in the 20’s). This graphic could easily be applied to a wood palette- another great project idea! Vintage Americana Heart LogoHave a totally terrific Tuesday, everyone (even if you’re buried in snow…) Susan

Things I Learned From Hosting Easter Dinner

With another Easter now done and gone, I am reflecting back on a few things that I could have done a little differently so that everyone would have had a safe and happy holiday! Such as:

1.  Use cheese in the garlic smashed potatoes-lots of cheese. This year I attempted to make things that were a little healthier and not so creamy and cheesy, so I omitted the cream and cheddar cheeses in the smashed red potatoes recipe…MY BAD. So instead of being yummy and gooey, they were kind of dry and chunky…even with the added melted butter. Use cheese, people!

Easter Dinner Roasted Potatoes2. On that same note, DO NOT USE FAT FREE CREAM CHEESE WHEN YOU ARE MAKING CREAM CHEESE FROSTING for the carrot cake. Did you read that? Well, remember it. Because otherwise, your carrot cake will have a oozy, bulgy middle and weird consistency and everyone will be saying “yeah, what happened to that cake- you usually make such good cakes!”

Easter Dinner Cream Cheese Disaster3. Secure the paintings to the wall with heavy duty screws, or else it may fall off and hit your mother and brother in the back of the head on its way to the floor. Heavy, framed pictures and little nail hangers from the dollar store do not go well together.

Easter Dinner Brackets PictureMake sure you use bolts to secure it to the wall or your dog will take a fall…fortunately it hit the chair rail before it hit them…

Easter Dinner Disasters Dog Pictre4. When you are done dusting the wine bottles on the cupboard shelves in the dining room while making the room pretty, make sure you push them all the way back into the rack so they don’t fall out during dinner and nearly take out your niece and your future daughter-in-law!

Easter Dinner Wine Bottles5. Make the damn green bean casserole. It has been a family tradition over the years to have green bean casserole on Easter, but I had been noticing that I was throwing more away than people were consuming. So I sent out a group text asking for a show of hands on who actually LIKED green bean casserole. The only yays were from my two kids. The remaining conversation looked like this:

Easter Dinner TextsClearly my family has a sense of humor…so I made lemon- roasted green beans with garlic, mushrooms and onions. I am throwing away most of that dish too.

Easter Dinner Roasted Green BeansI am thinking we need a new vegetable.

6. Ham has always been the go-to meat for this particular holiday, and as usual, I had Coach purchase one that was the “size of a basketball”.  This year, I also made some roasted turkey tenderloins for the guests who do not particularly care for ham. What I have noted is that, while the turkey is long gone, we still have a large platter of ham left over that Coach and I now have to eat.

Easter Dinner Leftover hamSo, for future Easters, we will be serving turkey or some other meat that is not pink and basketball-shaped.

Other than that, it was a wonderful holiday filled with fun and laughter…and thankfully, no fatalities. I hope yours was as well! Now, I need to find some recipes to use up the rest of that ham…any suggestions?? (Please do not say pea soup. I do not make, or eat, pea soup…) Susan

 

Perfect Country-Style Mud Rooms

With the melting of the final snow…and spring in the air…its time for mud. Yes, yucky mud. When the sun shines down and warms up the earth and the snow melts and the rains come pouring down…there is mud. Which is why mud rooms were created..that catchall entry space for boots and coats and muddy paws and dripping umbrellas.  Now as for me, I am not fortunate enough to have a mudroom in our home, but if I did (or when I finally do build that dream home) these are the essential elements needed for a perfect blend of country style and modern convenience. Today, I am sharing a blog post about the Perfect Country-Style Mudroom written by Becca Grady from Zillow.com, “a leading home and real estate marketplace with quality data and design insight for homeowners, buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals. She has some great tips and tricks for creating the perfect country-style mudroom…

6 Features of the Perfect Country-Style Mudroom

By Becca Grady

Entry by Tim Hebert from Zillow Digs

Source:  Tim Hebert on Zillow Digs®

April showers bring May flowers. But it also brings mud, dirt and mess into your otherwise clean home. With the arrival of spring, now is the perfect time to prepare your home, making sure you’re equipped to stop the seasonal mess at the door. As a designated space to slough off wet-weather gear, mudrooms are one of the most hardworking spaces in any New England home, and it’s imperative that the area is properly equipped to do so. Design the perfect country-style mudroom using these helpful tips.

Creative Seating As a designated area to shed coats and shoes, it’s best to have seating options available for guests and family. Benches work great for mudrooms because they are simple and often include storage space underneath. Extra storage is always handy for storing shoes and boots. Opting for a reclaimed wooden bench adds a rustic touch, or try white washing it for an airy, cottage feel.

Modular Shelves and Cubbies

Zillow Entry Way Source: SiemaskoVerbridge on Zillow Digs®

Open shelves and cubbies are useful features of a well-designed mudroom. Cubbies allow each member of the family to have personal space for their belongings as they walk in the door. Whether it’s used for backpacks or sports gear, designated spaces for personal belongings helps keep the family organized.

Hanging Space Another important feature of a country-style mudroom is ample hanging space for jackets, coats and hats. Space can be created by purchasing a mounted coat rack, or try making your own by attaching hooks to a slab of wood. Mounting single hooks in the wall can be damaging, so attaching it to a plank, wainscoting or even an old door can add a rustic element, while saving your walls.

 

Easy-to-Clean Surfaces

Terracotta Design Builds ZillowSource:  Terracotta Design Build on Zillow Digs®

Mudrooms see a lot of mess – from muddy shoes to dirty paws – so it’s important that the space has surfaces that can be wiped easily. For flooring, consider choosing a moisture-proof surface like tile or stone. Linoleum is also a great option for a more affordable alternative. Look for a non-slip, easy-to-wash carpet runner to help collect any dirt and water from shoes upon entry. Paneling and wainscoting can also be a great choice for easy-to-clean walls. In addition to being more functional, white paneling also adds country charm.

Organizing Accessories

Terracotta Design Builds BenchesSource:  Terracotta Design Build on Zillow Digs®

Baskets and bins are useful for organizing smaller items. Consider using a decorative bucket or bin as a place to store umbrellas. Create a designated area for mail, keys, notes and reminders. You can buy a wall mount that includes all of these organizing features in one – incorporating hooks, organizing baskets and a memo board.

 Upcycled Finds

Put the finishing touches on your mudroom by adding décor elements that tie the home together. Look for flea market finds such as bins, wall signs or vases. Also, keep an eye out for salvaged materials that can be used for benches or turned into mounted hooks, adding the perfect rustic appeal. Get ahead of the weather and ensure that your home is ready to manage the mud and dirt of spring. Whether you choose to add organizational elements to your entryway or create a complete mudroom, try using these tips to achieve the perfect country-style space.

Thanks to Becca for sharing some inspired ideas-definitely some great tips when you are searching for your new home…or rehabbing your present one! Have a great hump day everyone…more sunny days to come! Susan 

 

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