Wait, Thanksgiving is THIS Thursday?!?!

Ok, so I’m running a bit behind schedule, so what else is new? I typically do my best work when I’m up against it anyway. Sipping my morning coffee, trying to find some Thanksgiving inspiration that I could replicate with stuff I have on hand and with little time to spare. Searching Houzz.com for creative and pretty ideas, I scored with a few fab finds that might just end up on my dining room table. Hopefully they will inspire you too…

1. This tablescape by… loving the striking simplicity of the white pumpkins and candles by Ann West Interiors.

White Pumpkin Tablescape

2. Stunning autumn colorful tablescape by Anita Diaz for Far Above Rubies

Thanksgiving Table Stunning Autumn Colors

3. Thankful tree from the French Larkspur Blog. This is so sweet. Except for the bird. But at least its encased in glass.

Thanksgiving Rustic Thankful Tree

4. Gratitude. I LOVE THIS. One word says it all. This one by Amelia Hirsch Design.

Thanksgiving Gratitude Banner

5. Elegant chocolate brown tablescape by Focal Point Styling.Thanksgiving Table Simple Chocolate Brown

6. Every time I see this holiday mantel from It’s the Little Things  it makes me smile : ) So much to be thankful for this year.

Thanksgiving Give Thanks Sign

7. Blue and white and gold by Savvy Southern Style . This I can do because I essentially have one of everything on this table.

Blue & White Savvy Southern Style Thanksgiving Tablescape

8. This place setting page by This Is Happiness Blog would be lovely to set on everyone’s plate to have them write what they might be thankful for and then share.

I am thankful for from This Is Happiness Blog

9. Simply rustic elegance. By Rikki Snyder NY. Love the acorn jute rope napkin rings and the mason jars. You all know how much I love mason jars!

Rikki Snyder NY Tree Slice Centerpiece

Black and Orange Tablescape

10. Sweet white and black chandelier decorated with  burlap, berries and oversized acorns on Houzz.com. (This one did not have a source listed, but if anyone knows who the rightful designer of this chandelier is, please let me know…I always want to give credit where credit is due : )

Thanksgiving Chandelier

Which reminds me, I need to go finish painting the chandelier I started last month! Gotta go! Have an inspired Tuesday, everyone! Susan

Rusty Bedspring Coil Votive Holder-DIY!

What do you do when you have not one, but two giant, antique, rusty bedspring frames? Well, the first one you transform into a large marquee sign for your shop,

Rusty Bedspring Marquee Sign

and the second one you mull over for awhile until you come up with a bright solution. So, without further ado, I’m introducing the

Rusty Bedspring Coil Votive Candle Holder!

Rusty Bedspring Coil Votive Candle Holder Country Design Home

Now, I have spotted many a rusty bedspring photo with a votive tucked underneath, but I wanted to take it up a notch by adding a second rustic element: the birch log slice. This elevates the rusty bedspring into a lovely woodland mantel decoration, does it not? Here’s the how I did it:

1. Get Coach to drag out the rusty bedspring frame from behind the fence where it had been weathering over the summer.

Vintage Rusty Bedspring Frame with Coils

Have Coach cut off all the rusty bedspring coils during your freezing cold yard sale. Watch the pile ( of coils and $$$) grow.

Rusty bedspring coils in box

2. Assemble your ingredients: A rusty bedspring coil (well, you know where I got these, and I have a ton more if you need one!), a birch log slice (this one I got at Michaels for $6.99 using  a 50% off coupon, but you could certainly go into the woods and grab a log or two and slice ’em up), a votive candle-whatever style you choose as long as it fits in the bottom of the ring

Rusty Bedspring Coil ingredients

and a small clamp and screw (these I had kicking around the workshop-but if you need to purchase one, they’re in the plumbing aisle at your local hardware store. And they don’t need to be old and rusty, they’re not going to show anyway.)

Small Clamp for Hinged Coil Spring Votive Holder

3. Place your rusty bedspring coil on the log slice and arrange in a pleasing manner. These springs are not exactly round, but neither are the log slices, so its a win-win. In this case, I kind of liked the little coiled knot in the front, but you could certainly turn that to the clamp side, or the rear of this rustic piece of art.

Rusty Bedspring Coil in place

3. Attach the rusty coil to the log slice with the clamp assuring that you hold the clamp securely in place with the coil underneath the arched part-this will create a hinge effect.

Attaching Rusty Bedspring to Log Slice clamped

Now, this can be a bit tricky, because in order to attach the screw properly, you need to hold it at a 90 degree angle while you push down. So, just use the spring as a “tunnel” and go right down the middle. Remember, its a spring, so you can push it down to get a better grip on your screwdriver.

Attaching rusty bedspring coil to log slice

4. Test out your mechanism by slowly lifting the coil away from the log slice and you will immediately see the simple brilliance of this design! You’ll note that the coil does not slide off the log, thereby creating a safe cage for your votive to sit inside. So, in the event that somehow your rusty bedspring coil votive holder gets knocked over while the candle is burning inside, the rusty coil and the votive stay firmly in place : )

Lifting Hinge of Coiled Bedspring Votive Holder

5.  Decorate your holiday mantel with your new rusty bedspring coil votive candle holder and wait for the compliments! So, there you have it. A simple, quick and easy project that costs under $4 (assuming that you have a box full of rusty bedspring coils).

Rusty Bedspring Coil Votive Candle Holder Country Design Home

Now you’ll have to excuse my while I go slice up one of my precious birch logs and make a few more of these. I see many potential Christmas gifts in the works! Hope you have a sunny Sunday everyone, Susan

 

Making A List(s)…

…but not for Santa!! I am so behind the Thanksgiving 8 ball this year. Somehow the holidays have snuck up on me while I was so busy doing other stuff like creating a constant stream of new DIY projects for the barn shop and the blog,

Lit Mason Jar Crackled Halloween

transitioning my blog from a .com to a .org, working with a new online company doing Beta testing for “the next big thing” (coming soon), and yesterday, in one of our proudest family moments, witnessing our daughter being sworn in to the Massachusetts Bar as a new attorney.

Kate Mathison EsquireWhat an incredible busy, crazy ride this has been, with so much to be thankful for! With the end result being Coach repeatedly asking me for a holiday shopping list over the past couple of weeks and me saying “sure, I’ll get right on it”. (Luckily for me, Coach is the grocery shopper in our home, and he constantly re-stocks our kitchen cabinets with whatever he has coupons for that particular week. Essentially, I cook what he buys-with few exceptions.) BUT, Thanksgiving is all on me and he has patiently waited for me to produce the massive shopping list that is required to feed a house full of hungry pilgrims.

Thanksgiving Pilgrim Free Clip Art

This morning, I awakened with that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realized that Thanksgiving is 5, yes 5 days away! Typically, by this time, my cupboards are stuffed with all of the necessary ingredients to start the baking and prepping process. But alas, just as Old Mother Hubbard discovered that her cupboards were bare,

Old Mother Hubbard Illustrationso are mine-at least by Thanksgiving standards- and its time to get a move on and get this done! So this morning over coffee, I created three lists:

Thanksgiving liststhe guest list with a head count, the menu and the shopping list, which I just handed over to Coach so he can begin his coupon-sorting and store selections.

Thanksgiving Shopping listOf course, Coach understands that this list is fluid and could change at any second as I remember something I forgot or someone offers to bring something that I had planned to make myself. I’m not doing anything fancy this year, just the typical Thanksgiving dinner I’ve served over the years, with the same recipes and ingredients that my mother prepared for us when we were kids. Thankfully, mom still makes the gravy, because I’ve never been able to master the art of lumpless gravy. This past week at work, I was asking everyone what one special “must-have” dish they served or ate on Thanksgiving, the one that everyone says “hey, where is the …???” and the holiday would be ruined without it. I was looking for some special side dish or secret family recipe that had become a new family tradition…perhaps in place of the traditional green peas and pearl onions…

Rachel Ray Creamed Peas and Onions Recipeor sweet potatoes with marshmallows. Pretty much, across the board, the answer was either the “family recipe” stuffing or the potatoes and gravy. One guy said lasagna (huh, did the Pilgrims eat pasta?), but no one mentioned the vegetables and side dishes! So, now I’m asking all of you. Do you have a special side dish you like to serve, perhaps a new one you just created or one that has passed down from generation to generation that you’d be willing to share? You can post it here, send it to me via email or if you have it “pinned”, just add the link so we can check it out and add the ingredients to our shopping list! We would be ever so thankful : ) OK, now back to work getting the last few DIY projects finished so they are out of my family room/dining room/living room and we can finally clear the way for the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities. Hope you are in a little better holiday shape than I am, everyone! Susan  

Weather-Proofing Your Porch!

This is a PSA for those of you who live in cooler climes…like we do here in the Northeast…and wish to “shrink-wrap” your screened-in porch before the winter hits. This most definitely will NOT be helpful for those of you in the Buffalo NY area-it’s a little too late for that! Anyway, this is a post from a couple of years ago when I was preparing to serve our Thanksgiving dinner outside. Yup, that happened. I figured if the Pilgrims could eat outside, then why not us??

The First Thanksgiving Dinner

But, even with a heater it was still a bit chilly, so we are back inside this year. So, without further ado-I give you…the shrink-wrapped porch!

“Last year Coach and I converted our deck into a screened-in porch, which was simply awesome. No more buggy nights, or rainy afternoons when we couldn’t use the deck for anything other than furniture storage! Since we had decorated it with quite a few pieces of antique wicker, I decided to “shrink-wrap” it to prevent any winter weather from ruining our newest addition. We used thin plastic sheeting and some lathing strips and tacked it up all the way around. Functional, not very pretty and it wasn’t very transparent, it flapped in the wind (which drove me crazy!) and the plastic kept ripping away from the lathing. Uggh. So this year I decided to get a more permanent wrap, something we could re-use each season. I went online to purchase a custom porch weather-proofing system, only to find the prices @ $1500.00 and up, to be a bit exhorbitant. Sooo, this past weekend’s project was weather-proofing the porch, country design home style! With this how-to video on You Tube as my guide, we began the laborious task of wrapping it up! The supplies: 20 gauge clear vinyl (heavy enough to withstand the winds and rain, clear to let in the light) and 2″ white Duck Tape Dritz 7/16″ steel grommets 5/16″ screw-eye hooks.  I measured each section, determining the placement for the grommets. Cut the vinyl, then wrapped the edges with the tape on both sides for extra stability, overlapping in the corners where the grommets will be installed. Some sections had to be taped together, since the width of the vinyl is only 54″. That proved to be the most difficult part of this project, as the unrolled edges were a bit curled. You just have to smooth it as you go. Mark the center holes for the grommets, cut out the circles and then hammer the grommet into place (this pounding away with a hammer activity is fun for anyone wanting to vent some anger or angst : ). Hanging the large panels requires 2 people to make it level and install the screw-eyes. The finished project : ) Hard, painstaking work, this easily took 20+ hours. The cost? All of the materials, with the exception of the screw-eyes ($5.19/50 @ Home Depot), were purchased at Joann’s using 60% coupons, of course! So the vinyl that normally would have been $7.99/yard became $3.20/yard and in total we will probably use 25 yards-so $80 + tax. The grommets, screws and tape totalled approximately $70, so the grand total (aside from the band-aids, the Motrin and a trip to the nail salon to repair that damage) comes to $150+ tax- one tenth of what the online estimate was! It wasn’t easy, but it looks great, the sun shines through year round AND we don’t have to pack away all of our deck/patio furniture-it just stays in place! And now we will have another functional space for the holidays- as long as you wear your winter coat and mittens : ) And remember, always measure 3Xcut once!! Susan”

So there you have it, but just a couple of side notes for those of you who are interested in doing this project on your screened porch. Since the installation, a few of the grommets have come loose, and some of the tape as well, so that needs replacing. Also, this installation needs to be done on a fairly warm day. The vinyl is quite thick and in the cold it’s very difficult to work with to get it to lay smoothly to tape the edges, and then stretch it out to attach it. Otherwise, it was a great DIY project that I am very thankful we have installed now! Have a great weekend, everyone! Susan 

A Bridal Party @ Crate & Barrel

Did I mention somewhere that our daughter is getting married next summer? Plans are well underway, and I know that what seems so far away right now will be here and gone in an instant! To date, we have secured the venue, the band, the photographer, the florist, 2 wedding dresses (yes, 2, at least for now) and an international guest list which should make for a very exciting event!  Now that our daughter and her fiancé have started their online planning journey on weddingwire.com, they have begun receiving invites from various local vendors who wish to offer their services for the newlyweds-to-be. This past Sunday, I got the call-up to attend a Crate & Barrel Wedding Registry

Crate & Barrel Wedding Registryprivate party with my daughter, as her fiancé was traveling on business and was unable to attend. At 9am sharp, 2 hours before the store opened to the general public, the doors opened and we were greeted by some very knowledgeable folks-meet Bill, everyone-

Crate & Barrel Wedding Party Registrywho took us through the ins and outs of proper wedding registry protocols and the how-to’s of utilizing the registry app. Of course, since I was not registering…

although I wanted to…

I have grown pretty weary of my 25-year-old Corelle dinnerware-that stuff just won’t break…

I stood in the background to follow the bridal goings-on, but was repeatedly distracted by the festive holiday displays scattered throughout the entire store. So many gorgeous holiday decorations and potential DIY projects!! These twigs are actually something (not sure if they were real twigs or wire or what, but I’m certain the store would have frowned upon me unwrapping them to figure it out…) wrapped in birch-log look paper. Gotta get my hands on some birch paper!

Birch Log TwigsDid you know that birch logs are a thing this year? I have three and I feel as if I am in possession of some coveted treasure. Loving these sweet log cabin holiday pillows.

Craet & Barrel House PillowHow many of you have the luxury of using holiday throw pillows in place of your regular ones? I know I would love a whole bunch of them scattered around my house, but what would I do with them after the holidays?? I have enough troubles storing all of those dishes!

Crate & Barrel Holiday Pillows

When we ventured over to the cooking section, while Kate chatted with the All-Clad rep about the virtues of stainless steel vs. non-stick cookware, I spotted these yummy (faux) cupcakes

Crate & Barrel Cupcake Displayand these adorable red striped mixing bowls

Crate & Barrel Red Stripe Mixing Bowlsand these holiday aprons and towels-I’ll take one of each, please!

Crate & Barrel Holiday Towel DisplayIn the Tree Lot, there were Christmas tree candles and soaring pines and spindly sparkly trees,

Crate & Barrel White Wire Treeresplendent in glittery ornaments

Crate & Barrel Christmas Ornamentsand twinkling lights for the upcoming holidays.

Crate & Barrel Christmas TreesHoliday dinnerware displays.

Crate & Barrel Holiday Dinnerware DisplayI have a confession to make…I’m a plate addict. Is there such a thing as Dinnerware Anonymous? I already have 6 sets of dishes, but every time I see new festive ones, I want to add them to my collection! I know, I mentioned that set of old Corelle that just won’t break-which is why we use them every single day. All of the other sets are “The Good Dishes“-preserved for holidays and special occasions. But I digress..I’m supposed to be helping pick out stuff for the bride-to-be to show her groom! But she only chose a few things, because she was waiting for him to return to the store with her to choose their items together. Sigh…young love.

Loving this dinnerware in all shades of chalky pastels. Wouldn’t these look amazing displayed in a chalk-painted antique cupboard?? Hmmm…

Crate & Barrel Pastel DinnerwareThe two hours flew by, as I know the next 10 months will, and we turned in the registry “gun” and headed out, but not before purchasing a couple of items for me to use for the upcoming holidays. You didn’t think I was going to get out of there without at least one new plate, did you?? I hope your Thursday is an eventful one, everyone! Susan

#SoMe2 SOcial MEdia Party for Twitter!!

Come join the Social Media Link Party!!!Welcome to #SoMe2 – Week #60
SOcial MEdia is all about ENGAGEMENT, and as bloggers, we want to do more than find new followers – we want to grow our engagement! At the #SoMe2 parties, we will link up a different Social Media platform and blog post from that platform each week.

This week we are growing and engaging with Twitter!

For Twitter, the
more we favorite and retweet each other’s tweets, the more engaged we
become and that makes the SOcial MEdia “algorithms” happy! So link up, and start retweeting!!
It's time for the #SoMe2 #Twitter Party! Join us, link up your Twitter account, a blog post you've tweeted, and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty

 

The more you put in to this SOcial MEdia link party, the more you will get out!
Don’t link and run – follow, tweet, favorite, retweet – tell your friends!!

#SoMe2 is a SOcial MEdia link party where we link up 2 items every  

Tuesday @ 7:00pm EST!

It's time for the #SoMe2 #Twitter Party! Join us, link up your Twitter account, a blog post you've tweeted, and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty

Image Map
We are pleased to introduce our #SoMe2 featured blogger of the week…

Amanda from The Kolb Corner!

 

Amanda has shared this with us:

Hello!  I’m Amanda, foodie, wife and DIYer.  The Kolb Corner is my little part of the web where I share my recipes, projects, and silly antics of my 3 crazy fur babies.  Thank you so much for stopping by!  Pull up a chair and stay awhile.  Thanks, Amanda!

 

Would you like to be a #SoMe2 featured blogger?
Everyone who enters the Rafflecopter below each week will have a
chance to win a spot as our featured blogger. We will feature your blog,
and links to your social media. Your links will be inserted into the
Rafflecopter for that week – gaining you more followers.
So be sure to enter to win the weekly featured blogger spot!

 

Note: Please be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form accurately. Entries are verified.

The rules are simple!

  1. Please follow your hostesses and featured blogger.
  • Please add the #SoMe2 button (found at the bottom of the post) to your sidebar or link page.

 

  • Tweet about the party! More partiers = More followers! All you have to do is click the “tweet” button!  // < ![CDATA[
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  • Use our hashtag #SoMe2 when tagging or posting so we can find each other!

 

You will automatically be entered into our email reminder list by entering a link. You may remove yourself from the list by using the un-subscribe option.

It's time for the #SoMe2 #Twitter Party! Join us, link up your Twitter account, a blog post you've tweeted, and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty


1) Link up your main Twitter Page

2) Follow your Hostesses and Featured Blogger (first 6 links)
3) Follow 2 people before your link, if you already follow them, find 2 new people to follow

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It's time for the #SoMe2 #Twitter Party! Join us, link up your Twitter account, a blog post you've tweeted, and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty
1) Link up 1 recent Tweet

(Go to your Twitter page, click on the “me” icon, click on the date or timestamp next to your twitter handle of the tweet you want to link, copy the tweet url, and paste that URL into link party.)
2) Re-tweet and favorite your Hostesses’ and Featured Blogger’s tweets. (first 6 links)
3) Re-tweet and favorite the 2 links in front of yours. That way everyone has some Twitter love! One of the hostesses will make sure the last two links are retweeted and favorited.

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Thanks for joining our SOcial MEdia link party!
See you next week – same time, same place!
DeDe,  Kim,  Sarah V.,  Sarah C.,  & Susan

 

It's time for the #SoMe2 #Twitter Party! Join us, link up your Twitter account, a blog post you've tweeted, and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty

**Pie Is Love**

I Love Pie.

Pie In The Sky Postcard Chocolate, blueberry, apple, pumpkin-if you bake it, I will eat it, but I’m not always crazy about cooking the filling and rolling out the dough. So, I am ever so grateful each year around this time, when I receive this postcard in the mail from a Boston-based food service called Community Servings. Comunity ServingsThis organization delivers nutritious meals to over 1500 homebound and critically ill patients daily. Their motto: Delivering Meals. Delivering Hope “As New England’s expert in home-delivered nutrition for the critically ill, Community Servings provides meals to the acutely ill, their families, and their caregivers. Our clients live in 18 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and battle over 35 different types of illnesses, including HIV/AIDS, breast and other cancers, and kidney disease.”  The fund-raiser they sponsor each Thanksgiving is called Pie In The Sky, a way for the community to give to those in need and enjoy a tasty pie! Pie In the Sky Pumkpin Pie The History of Pie in the Sky  In 1993, members of the restaurant community — who lost many friends and colleagues to AIDS — conceptualized and launched Pie in the Sky. Knowing how food can improve someone’s emotional and physical well-being, Pie in the Sky was an ideal way for Boston’s chefs, caterers, and restaurateurs to support Community Servings’ clients. As our mission has expanded to serve people struggling with any life-threatening illness, our friends in the restaurant community have stood by us. Through their generosity, Pie in the Sky is now the World’s Greatest Bake Sale — raising 15% of Community Servings’ private fundraising revenue! We are deeply grateful for their ongoing support and encourage you to frequent their establishments. Sweet Potato Pie Pie In the Sky

It’s Your Turn To Buy A Pie!

Ordering is as easy as pie! You go on to their website and order a pie or pies that are baked by some of the best pie bakers in Boston. And let me tell you, these are hands-down some of the most amazing pies your taste buds will ever feast on!  You can buy a pie for yourself, for your neighbors, for your friends and especially for someone in need. You get a pie, and you get a pie and you get a pie-everybody gets a pie!! Or, if you really don’t like pie, (seriously!?!?) then you can make a donation here. The day before Thanksgiving, you go to a local “pickup” spot-they are scattered all over the greater Boston area-and pick up your freshly-baked pie to enjoy on Thanksgiving. You can even take it out of the box and pretend you slaved all day making the perfect flaky crust and rich, yummy fillings! But I don’t. Because I want to keep spreading the word about this amazing organization. BUT, here’s the catch. The deadline for ordering pies this year is the 19th-only two days away!!! So please click on the links and order your pies today. If you are so very thankful for the life that you have this Thanksgiving, then this is your chance to make this one holiday just a bit sweeter for someone in need. Pie In The Sky Pecan PieThanks, now go order a pie!! Susan

Home For the Holidays @ Wayfair.com

Have you seen the Wayfair commercial where all the people are happily singing and dancing around while ordering their Christmas gifts online?

Wayfair.com Holiday Ad 2014

No? then click here to view a snippet:

Wayfair Holiday Commercial 2014

Well, I’ve discovered the secret as to why these folks are just so gosh darned happy! Last weekend, I attended a #Home For The Holidays

Home For the Holidays Boston Bloggers Wayfair

blogging event sponsored by Boston Bloggers and held at the Wayfair corporate offices in Copley Place in Boston. Oh, man, what gorgeous offices, like in “#canIcomelivehere” gorgeous! Exiting the elevator on the 7th floor, this trompe l’oeil mural transforms the office hallway into a welcoming space worthy of any elegant home. I am SO doing that paint treatment on a chest of drawers!

Wayfair.com Office Entrance

You know me, I am all about the eye candy, and Wayfair did not disappoint. A Christmas tree resplendent in holiday style

Christmas Tree @ Wayfair.comsparkling scattered holiday lights

Mason Jar Candlelight with Rice Lights @ Wayfair& wintery pillows on settees in little private vignettes

Wayfair.com holiday pillowsall set a welcoming holiday stage for myself and the other 149 BFB’s (Boston Female Bloggers).

Home for the Holidays Blogging @ Wayfair.comDuring the day-long event, we made our way through the different work spaces that would normally be home to Wayfair workers performing their various roles. It is easy to see how the creative juices would be flowing in a space that feels so much like a beautifully decorated home. Yup.

I Love This Place Pillow @ Wayfair.comI love this place is right. In the main lobby seating area, we were greeted by Abby Larson, the founder and editor of StyleMePretty,

Abby Larson Style Me Pretty

an uber-successful wedding and design website. Her session was on holiday decor and decorating and she did not disappoint with her trendy and stylish tabletop settings.

Boston Bloggers Wayfair #Style Me Pretty Place SettingShe was incredibly “down-to-earth” and informative and offered so many great tips of the blogging trade. It was comforting to know that even bloggers on that scale still use their iPhones to sometimes take photographs! BUT, while seated here on the scattered sofas and ottomans, I couldn’t help but be dazzlingly distracted by this wall of flat screens that kept rotating through a variety of decorated spaces,

Wayfair.com office flat screen mural

each one more beautiful than the previous.

Wayfair.com offices lobby wallWho wouldn’t be inspired by that? In the main conference room, for our first activity, we were treated to a blogging seminar with Christiane Lemieux Of DwellStudio and Heather Armstrong, the creator of Dooce.com and the original “mommy blogger”. Both were entertaining and enlightening, again offering so much information in a lively and quite funny Q & A session. At the end of the day, we were treated to a holiday-menu-inspired presentation by Jeremy Sewall, owner of the Island Creek Oyster Bar  and author of The New England Kitchen.

The New England Kitchen CookbookHe offered up lots of helpful entertaining and cooking tips, like did you know that when fresh oyster’s shells are opened a crack, that they are actually dead and not fit to eat? Well, I didn’t, so good to know so I don’t go poisoning my guests during the holidays.  In between the educational sessions, we had some fun creating holiday banners (I didn’t finish mine because I was too busy chatting with my co-crafters. who were sooo nice)

creating holiday banners at Wayfair.comand sparkly, festive gift tags. Not especially proud of the ones I put together-they were a bit underwhelming. Perhaps it was because I was too busy trying to determine just how this amazing overhead light fixture illuminating our workbench was constructed

Boston Bloggers Wayfair Offices Ladder Lighting Fixtureso that I could re-create it for the barn. But this rustic package that Kate, one of the co-founders of Boston Bloggers had decorated was super cute, so I photographed that instead.

Boston Bloggers Wayfair Gift Tag ProjectAll in all, a great day packed full of helpful blogging information and lots of laughs (and coffee-they have these amazing giant “Starbucks-worthy” espresso-mocha latte-macchiato machines scattered around the conference rooms. Can you say caffeine high?!) At the end of a long, but very productive day, I was so excited about the upcoming holidays

Wayfair Christmas Ornaments

and ready to dive back into my blogging with a renewed enthusiasm. My takeaway from this day? Well, other than the notebook filled with incredibly helpful blogging tips, the unfinished holiday banner, the cute gift tags and this amazing pillow that I received as a parting gift? (Remember that gigantic Christmas tree with all of those beautifully wrapped gifts? They were for us!)

Wayfair.com throw pillow I learned that creating a work environment where employees feel “at home” and welcome makes for a inspired workplace with happy employees who “LOVE THIS PLACE”. Hence, the Wayfair Dancing Shoppers commercial! Have a great Monday everyone-hope you have the chance to dance today! Susan

Being Thankful & A Giveaway!

Greetings, everyone! As we inch our way closer to the holiday season, I wanted to stop for a second and say how thankful I am for all of you that have followed me along this blogging changeover journey. This past month has been stressful and not very fun online, but while all of the cyberspace nonsense was going on, I was working away on so many projects that I am now able to share with you again! And, for that, I am soooo very thankful! Last month, I created a bunch of these pumpkin chalkboards for the barn shop in different styles and autumn colors.

chevron striped painted pumpkin chalkboardEach one has a jute rope hanger so you can flip it over and use either side. One is the graphic design, the other is the vintage-look erasable chalkboard.

Pumkpin Chalkboard MenuUnfortunately (I think in a moment of “forget-it-I-am-never-going-to-be-able-to-blog-again-frustration”), I deleted all of the how-to pics!! So, I will just say that they are solid pine cut into the shape of a pumpkin approximately 14″ high by 11″ wide, then painted and sealed with a satin poly finish. The embellishments are a few faux fall leaves and a burlap holder for your chalk to hang out and be at the ready for your creative words of wisdom.  Today, as a token of my thanks to all of you, I am giving this hand-decorated and stenciled “Thankful Pumpkin Chalkboard” one away!

Thankful Stenciled Pumpkin ChalkboardAll you need to do is:

1. If you haven’t done so yet, subscribe to my new blog posts (that’s the box in the right hand column under the chicken barn photo) and then leave a word or two in the comment section telling me why you’re thankful this holiday season. (I never use your emails for anything other than my awesome DIY and country design blog posts-promise!). Once you enter the subscribe email info, you will receive a confirmation email that you need to respond to, or your subscription is not completed.

2. If you already subscribe-and I thank you for that- just leave a word or two-or twenty, whatever you want to say : ) I am testing out all of the components of my blog and want to make sure everything is working properly!

That’s it! This is going to be a quick one, because I want to make sure to get it to you before turkey day! So, the time to enter starts now and runs through Sunday, November 16th at midnight, and the winner will be notified on Monday via the emails you entered to subscribe. Have a great Friday, everyone and be thankful the weekend is upon us! Susan

Through the Looking Glass Mirror-A DIY Project!

A few weeks ago, a customer came into the shop at the barn and purchased 6 of our old white, multi-paned windows for a wall installation. Once it was completed, she texted me this pic-which is awesomely creative and sooo Pinterest-worthy!

Window Wall InstallationShe took the windows and hung them on her dining room wall, framed by some old shutters, to create an interesting backdrop for her candles-she loves dining by candlelight- and the glass window panes reflect the light for some very romantic dining!! Loving that painted vintage buffet, BTW. Since Coach and I had recently sold our old gigantic dining room hutch, I now have a large blank wall in my dining room that is screaming for some attention. This seemed like the perfect solution, and since we have a bunch of old white windows hanging around,

White multi-paned windows for DIY

I thought it would be fun to experiment. But, I decided that I wanted at least one window to be a mirror, not clear panes of glass. Here’s where the fun started! Rather than going out and purchasing six mirrors to replace the window panes, I decided I would make my own with this can of Krylon Looking Glass Mirror Paint

Krylon Looking Glass  Mirror Paint

I cleaned the reverse side of the window  (pretty thoroughly, I thought) to make sure there was no dust or streaks.

White multi-paned window for DIY

Then I scraped the paint around the edges to clean it up.


Scraping window edges for paint prep

For this technique, you spray the reverse side of whatever object you want to transform into mirror so that the finished product has a glassy look. Taking it outside, (this stuff is a wee bit smelly, folks) I used the can of Krylon Looking Glass Mirror Paint and proceeded to spray the reverse side of the window. Following the instructions, I shook the can for 2 minutes, then held the can 8-10 inches away from the surface and lightly sprayed the first coat.

Spraying window with Krylon Looking Glass Mirror Paint

Then I waited a minute, shook the can for 10 seconds, then repeated, adding 5 layers of mirror paint in total. While each layer was drying, you could see the vapors evaporating into thin air, which was like a cool science experiment.

Mirror Paint Evaporating

As each layer was added, I could see that the window was becoming more opaque and less transparent. By the final coat, I could no longer see the trunk that the window frame was resting on.

Mirror Paint Evaporating

Then I waited for the magic to happen. After the drying period, I flipped it over and discovered that my window was now a mirror-yay! But not a crystal clear mirror, more like an old, dusty mirror, which is perfectly fine for the look I am trying to achieve with this wall installation.

DIY Window Mirror Reflection

But, why, you ask!? You followed the instructions perfectly! BUT,  I didn’t clean the glass properly! Behind the glass, you can see the streak marks that I left behind with my paper towels. Lesson learned. If you want a crystal clean mirror, you MUST start with a crystal clean glass surface! (When I first purchased this can of Krylon Looking Glass Mirror Paint, I started experimenting and sprayed this little candy dish, which came out beautifully mirrored. But I left it outside to dry and then it rained, so this is what happened.

Crackled Mirror Paint Apple Dish

Whoops. In both cases, total user error. But, I still love my mirrored window, and it is the first piece of my new dining room wall installation, coming soon! Have a great Thursday everyone and make it a reflection of the real you : ) Susan

PS: If you are in need of some awesome multi-paned white windows-we’ve got extra!

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