What Is This Worth?

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

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

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

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

 

 

#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

 

 

 

Gone Fishing…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tin Whale Paint ColorsI painted it on…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh…Coffee…

Every morning, no matter what the hour…whether its 2, 6 or 9 AM, I find myself in need of a caffeine fix. So, I stumble down the stairs, hit the Keurig “on” button and wait a moment while it rumbles into action. Then I open up the pantry and reach in to grab one of the many, MANY, pods I have stashed for my morning coffee ritual.

K Cups

I know- this is really bad, right? Every morning when I slide open that pantry drawer, I feel a pang of guilt. Because I know that those little K-cups that help me to function with that morning burst of caffeine end up in a land fill somewhere. Sitting there for years and years, never decomposing…it almost makes me want to give up coffee…well, not really…but it does make me a wee bit sad. I know there is a better way to enjoy my morning brew without compromising nature’s fragile ecosystem quite so callously. Enter DeliBru re-useable single-serve brewing cups!

DeliBru cups

 

You simply fill the cup with your desired brand of coffee- for me its the darkest roast I can find- close the top and place into your Keurig-just as you would one of those disposable K-cups! Once your morning brew is brewed, you remove the K-cup and rinse it out- ready to use over and over again. And the coffee-well its the same deliciousness that I get with the K-Cups, but I have the choice of whichever flavor strikes my fancy that morning- Kona, Breakfast Blend or my favorite, favorite: Santo Domingo Café

Santo Domingo Coffee

( I discovered this one on a trip to the Dominican Republic a few years ago…but I’m almost out- perhaps time for a trip back to pick up a fresh supply?!) You can purchase these DeliBru cups on Amazon.com. The DeliBru cups are BPA free, are useable with any Keurig model and they’re dishwasher safe- so you brew your coffee, then wash and repeat- no more adding to your local land fill! Have a happy and caffeinated Monday, everyone…we are going to need that extra cup on this dark, dreary morning.

Peace & Love, Susan

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Online Buyer Beware

Back in the fall, I found some amazing buffalo plaid curtain panels for a steal at the Christmas Tree Shops.

Christmas Tree Shops Plaid Curtain Panel

The ones I purchased are cream and teal, and I originally paid $16.99 for per pair, which I thought was a steal! When I decided I needed one more pair for our large window, I found the last pair in a markdown bin for $4.99- now that’s a real steal! They are hanging in our master bedroom, and every time I walk in the room, I love them again! But, you know how, when you change one thing, then the old stuff looks really old and needs to be updated? So, that happened. Time to for a spring-time spruce up! I needed to find some new bedding that would complement the curtains and the existing palette in the room. I did a lot of online searching until I finally stumbled upon this perfect set

7-piece-queen-luxury-aqua-blue-navy-and-white-comforter-set-8

on this website: www.extrablanket.com. They had lots of comforters and curtains at great prices! This particular set was marked down from $249.95 to $67.68! I know, right?! Since I had never heard of the company before, I did my due diligence (or so I thought) and checked into the website. They have a PayPal account and loads of listings on EBay and Amazon (although under different names in each case…which I thought was rather strange but I really wanted that comforter set…so I ignored the red flags). So, I ordered the set, paying for it with my credit card…and waited. I did receive a confirmation from extrablanket.com with tracking information. Then the second payment confirmation email came from PayPal, but from a company called Domestic Décors, but the email listed was from GrandLinen@yahoo.com…hmm. Another red flag. So now there are three different names being used. The PayPal payment page stated that the shipment would be within 5-7 days, and there was an order and tracking # so I figured it was all good. Then after the 5-7 days, I checked the tracking # page and it was blank. BLANK. Crap. So, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I waited some more (did I say how much that I REALLY wanted that comforter set?!) At the end of February I sent my first “Hey, I haven’t heard from you” email and waited for a response. Nothing. On March 2, I sent a “Hey, where’s my stuff, I am going to report you, blah, blah, blah” email. Again, NO RESPONSE. There is no phone number on the website, but there was one on my PayPal statement, so I called it. NOTHING. Just a ring and then a non-descript voice-mail message. Finally, reluctantly (because I REALLY wanted that comforter set) I called my credit card fraud division and reported them. The CC rep said it happens all the time-these companies open up websites and “sell” non-existent stuff, and no sooner does someone report them and shut them down, then they re-open under another name and keep on scamming consumers. The CC company refunded my money (initially I told her I didn’t want the money back because I REALLY wanted that comforter set- she laughed and said “well, that’s not gonna happen) and sent me an email stating that they had contacted the company and were waiting for a response. In the meantime, the website is still up and running and their postings on Amazon and EBay remain in place, which baffles me. How does this company remain open under all these different names on reputable websites if they are really not selling anything??? So, I am back on the hunt for another comforter set. If you happen to see anything king-sized that is teal and navy blue with some embroidered flowers, give me a shout out. (unless, of course, you spot it on extrablanket.com). Here’s hoping you’re keeping warm…under your nice, stylish comforter set…because it’s still so chilly here in Boston!! So beware! xoxo Susan

Beginning Anew & A Giveaway!

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

Let's Dance 2016

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

Mom Green Sweater

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

Vintage Americana Heart Logo

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

Hail to the Whale Finished Logo

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

IMG_0037

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

Blog Home Page

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

Amazon Gift Card

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

 

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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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

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