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 

 

Drinking ‘O The Green

Can you believe its already March 15?! Where did this month go…and more importantly, where did our winter go?? The mountains of snow from last year are becoming just a distant memory nightmare as we are about to turn the corner and head into spring. Time to celebrate, and what better way than to raise a glass of cheer on St. Patrick’s Day!? With this variety of Sparkling Ice Flavored Waters & Teas, the combinations are endless.

Sparkling Ice Flavor LineupI buy these tall bottles all the time at the grocery store-typically for less than $1.00 each-they have a great, bold flavors , zero calories and are delicious served with, or without alcohol. Rather then your standard tonic water or club soda for mixers, these colorful sparkling waters add a punch to any beverage…or punch!

Here are a few green recipes to try…just in time for the Wearing ‘O The Green!

Sparkling Irish Appletini

Drinking 'O The Green Apple MartiniIngredients

1 oz vodka

1 1/2 oz Sour Apple Pucker

1 1/2 oz Sparkling Ice Crisp Apple

2 cups ice

Apple wedges for garnish

Instructions

Fill a martini shaker with ice. Pour in the vodka, sour apple pucker and juice into shaker. Stir ingredients, then pour into martini glass. Garnish with an apple wedge. Enjoy!

 

Shamrock  Lime Sherbet Punch (Non-Alcoholic)

Lime Sherbert CocktailIngredients

Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime

Lime Sherbet

Pineapple Juice

Instructions

Fill mason jar 1/3 way with Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime. Fill to 2/3 with Pineapple Juice. Top with two scoops Lime Sherbet. YUM.

Sparkling Ice Whiskey Sour

Sparkling Ice Tea Whiskey SourIngredients

1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 3/4 0z. Sparkling Ice Lemon Tea

1 1/4 oz. Bourbon Whiskey

1/4 oz. simple syrup or 1 packet Splenda

Place all ingredients in mixing cup or shaker. Stir and strain over ice. Pour into glass. Garnish with lemon slice and cherry.

Shamrock Cupcakes! 

Shamrock CupcakesYou can even bake cupcakes with these- no eggs, no oil, just sparkling ice and cake mix!

(I was skeptical too, thinking how does a cupcake rise without eggs? So I made them. They are light and fluffy and very delish : )

Ingredients

1 box any brand white cake mix

12 oz. room temperature Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners. In a large mixing bowl, stir cake mix and soda with wire whisk until blended and most of the lumps are gone.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until cupcakes are springy and toothpicks come out clean. Allow to cool completely and frost with your favorite vanilla frosting. Decorate with some shamrocks and you’re ready to party! For more party recipes, click here: Recipes-Sparkling Ice.  Have a fun-filled St. Patty’s Day everyone.  And don’t partake in too much of the Drinking ‘O The Green if you have to work on Friday! Susan

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The Nana-Nursery Diaries…The Rug

When designing a room, I find it essential to create a “mood board” containing all of the elements: styles, colors, fabrics, etc. This helps to create some cohesiveness in the overall design (at least, in my scattered mind…). And, I always need a “jumping off” point, some piece of furniture, architectural detail or fabric design that inspires the design for the space. In this case, it is this beautiful iron changing table I mentioned in last week’s post.

Nana Nursery Changing TableThe color is a dark pewter/bronze, so I’m working my color scheme around it. With changing table in place, what I needed next was an accent rug, something soft underfoot for baby to play on. But, since this is a guest bedroom as well, I needed to find something that wasn’t too “baby-ish”. After quite a bit of online shopping and a few trips to actual stores (that happens less and less these days it seeems…) I discovered this Sorel Rug “old world style” beauty online from Jerome’s Furniture in California.

Nana Nursery Changing Table and Sorel Rug FurThe colors are spot-on…a perfect blend of creams, grays and beiges, and the style of the rug is that “worn down, well-loved” look that is so popular today (without the scratchy exposed backing of rugs that actually do have worn-out spots). Now, a lot of the neutral nurseries I looked at online had pastel rugs, which were quite pretty (but we all know that pastel really isn’t my calling card…), and since I knew I was going to have darker furniture elements in the room, I wanted something with “weight” to anchor those pieces. What absolutely drew me to this gorgeous rug was the circular pattern with the floral and scroll inlays…

Nana Nursery Diaries Rug Detailwhich has now inspired the overall design of the room: vintage, old-world travel (I have maps, I have globes, mommy & daddy-to-be love to travel…perfect!) Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of a pattern to hide spills and stains…after all, this is a baby (and I’m sure…Bartlet the Frenchie’s)#Bartletthefrenchie room! This rug certainly fits the bill and more, thanks to Jerome’s Furniture , a family-run business based in southern California.

The Nana Nursery Diaries Sorel Rug Jeromes FurnitureThey have loads of furnishings and rugs and decorative accents to choose from online…very reasonably priced…believe me…I had a tough time deciding! So, with rug and changing table now in place (I know, amazing, right?!)…

Nana Nursery Diaries Sorel Rug and Changing Table…I need some help from you! Time to choose a paint color for the walls above the wainscoting-which will remain a soft, creamy white. Can you take a look at these Benjamin Moore paint samples and tell me what you think? The top three are Harbor Gray, (more true gray) London Fog (more beige) or Revere Pewter (slightly darker taupe undertones). I love them all and they are all in the rug!

Nana Nursery Paint ChipsSo many colors, so little time…I will update again next Friday…and every Friday until we are done! Have fun Friday everyone! Susan

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The Nana-Nursery Diaries

It all started with a changing table. Well, it actually started when our daughter and son-in-law announced that they’re expecting their first child in May! Which means that Coach and I are going to be grandparents for the first time. Beyond excited! So, since Bartlet the Frenchie

Bartlet the Frenchiealready knows us as Nana and Coach, we’ve decided to stick with those nicknames for the new baby, (no, we don’t know the gender, they decided to be surprised : ) With our kids grown and gone, Coach and I are empty-nesters, which means we have two spare bedrooms to use for other purposes. One, our son’s old room, is a guestroom/office (which is where I do most of my writing),

Nana Nursery Diaries Office Study Logothe other (our daughter’s childhood room)

Pink Girl's Bedroomis simply the ironing board/spare closet room for me. Initially, my intention was to just keep a pack ‘n play handy for baby visits, never intending to transform her old room into a full-on nursery, until I found the changing table…THIS gorgeous changing table…

Nana Nursery Changing Tableon a Facebook yard sale page…for next to nothing. It is a heavy pewter/bronze tone wrought iron beauty that happens to be the same shape and style as the wrought iron daybed she slept in as a child…so I guess it was just meant to be. When our children were babies, I didn’t have the time, or the means, to decorate a space from top to bottom…but here we go! So, what was once going to be a spare crib tucked in the corner has now become a “nana-nursery-to-be”… presently in the planning stages. And, since gray is the new pink and blue for nurseries this year and the changing table is pewter gray, I am going with a soft, gender-neutral palette of grays, taupes and creamy whites…

Nana Nursery Diaries Paint Chips…once the baby boy or girl has arrived, we can add in some color. I happened upon these neutral nurseries while doing some online searching/shopping- each one-although soft in palette…has such an impact that it is difficult to choose the design focus for the space…country, whimsical, nautical, old world charm…but one thing for sure, it all starts with the changing table.

This one from Pottery Barn Kids is whimsical…

The Nana Nursery Diaries Pottery Barn Kids NurseryThis one from Restoration Hardware Baby and Child is so elegant

Nana Nursery Restoration Hardware NurseryThis one from the Blog Sharps Farm is simply lovely

Nana Nursery Diaries Sharps Farm NurseryAny and all of these would be perfect for the nana-nursery, but this one is going to be special, created just for our newest family member! To see what I have pinned so far…check out my Pinterest page. There are only a hundred or so…It will remain a guest bedroom as well, so the decor needs to remain somewhat neutral. And, it goes without saying that I will be doing this on a budget, using craigslist finds and re-loved pieces from other sources.  I will be updating as I go along, painting and shopping and sewing…essentially transforming the entire space, hopefully in time for our new love’s arrival in May! And, I will be asking your for help as well…so many decisions to make, so little time, so much work to do….time to clear out the room! Have a super Sunday everyone…Susan

 

Nautical Map Trunk Makeover

Nautical Trunk Makeover Finished Country Design HomeCoach picked up an old (sort of) trunk from a friend who is selling their home and moving away to warmer climates (so lucky!!) The trunk was in very good shape, it just needed some sprucing up. The inside was near perfect, so I left that alone.

Nautical Trunk InteriorThis piece is solid pine, with these medallion cutouts on the front panel that were just screaming for some pretty decorations.

Nautical Trunk Makeover BeforeEnter, the maps. You know, they seem to keep multiplying (can maps actually produce offspring? its appears so…) so I just have to keep finding ways to use them!  The soft honey pine color was still quite nice but a wee bit too light, so a quick sanding and a coat of General Finishes Antique Oak was all it took to bring it back to life.

Nautical Trunk Makeover General Finishes Antique OakFor the three medallions, I pulled a map from Coach’s stash with some gorgeous nautical colors in greens and blues,

Nautical Trunk Makeover mapso I grabbed some paint cans and started mixing until I got just the right colors to match the map.

General Finishes PaintsSince the wood was so nice, I just couldn’t bring myself to paint the entire thing. So I just did the front panels to complement the maps, keeping the edges clean so they would create a wood “frame” that matched the remainder of the stained wood.

Nautical Trunk Makeover Wiping edgesRealizing the that medallions were hand-routed, so they would not be identical, I made patterns for each one and labeled them,

Nautical Trunk Makeover Paper Patterns for Mapsthen used them to cut the medallions out of the maps. Perfect fit! I have had difficulty in the past getting a nice, smooth surface with paper adhesion using modge-podge type products. They always seemed to buckle and pucker, no matter how much I smoothed them during the process. A tip I garnered from Hometalk.com worked perfectly! Prior to attaching with the glue, I sprayed the map pieces, both front and back, with a couple of coats of this Krylon matte finish, then allowed to dry.

Krylon Low Odor Matte Finish SprayNow on the can it said “low odor- safe for indoors”, and since it is still winter here (even though it was 60 degrees yesterday-amazing…) I gave it a try, using my dining room table, windows slightly open for ventilation. Well, I am here to tell you that, even though there was some odor, it was significantly less than anything else I had previously used. And it dissipated super quickly! And, now, you ask, did it work for its intended purpose? Did it eliminate the wrinkles??? Yes, indeed!! When I painted the glue on the panels and placed them on the surface, they laid super flat and smooth!!!

Nautical Trunk Makeover Wrinkle Free Maps(hmm, do you think it could eliminate my wrinkles??)  Once in place, I added a final coat of the Krylon Spray just to secure them into place and protect them. I kept the shiny brass hinges and added these nautical arrow handles

Nautical Trunk Makeover Arrow Handle Detail PMthat I picked up at Hobby Lobby-love! So here is the final project top- the colorful maps and the brass hardware are a nice contrast to the glowing wood finish. This trunk is the perfect “coffee-table” size, and provides quite a bit of neat storage. 

Nautical Trunk Top ViewNow I am off to find another “map-it-out” project! Have a great first day of March everyone. Let’s hope it stays like a lamb...Susan

Faux Gold Leaf…It’s A Sign

Vintage Grocery Sign Completed Gold LogoThe other morning I woke up dreaming about how to make my own gold leaf for little to no $$$. What, that’s not a thing? Doesn’t everyone wake up dreaming about DIY projects? I had been working on a vintage GROCERY sign and had decided it needed more pizzazz than what a plain cream background could provide. So, I thought that since gold leafing

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top clear coatwas simply some hammered paper-thin gold sheets that you glued on the surface,

Applying Gold Leaf to Paris Tablewhy not use glued, thin textured paper that you painted gold? I know it’s not 24K…I mean, after all, I’m not going to be wearing the darned thing, so I am pretty sure that its OK for a wood sign, am I right? For those of you not familiar with “gold-leafing”, suffice to say that it has been used for gilding and decorating for centuries…click here for a little Wikipedia history lesson.

So I grabbed this antique oak dresser panel

Vintage Grocery Sign Dresser Side Panel(yes, this is the side panel from a vintage oak dresser that was beyond repair…I broke it down and am using the wood and salvaged pieces) and began the sign-making process. Here is the How-I-Did-It:

I cleaned the panel, then rubbed it down with some steel wool just to remove any surface stickies and smooth it out.

Vintage Grocery Sign Cleaning Old Frame with Steel WoolThere were two little dowels that were protruding from one end-they had attached the panel to the top of the dresser in its original form. I was in the kitchen so I didn’t want to drag out the power saw- enter the Ginsu Knife!

Vintage Grocery Sign Ginsu Knife CuttingThe ad says “cuts through a log, and then slices pineapple perfectly”. Well, I didn’t slice any fruit with it after I sliced off the dowels, but it worked great!

Refreshed the entire oak frame areas with some General Finishes Antique Oak Stain.

Vintage Grocery Sign General Finishes Antique Oak StainPainted the inside of the frame with a coat of chalk paint to lighten it up and create a bonding surface for the glue.

DecoArts Americana Chalky Paint PrimitiveCut out two pieces of wrapping tissue- this was in a gift box I saved from Christmas-so it was free!! But you can buy a whole package of it at the dollar store for well, $1. The thinner and cheaper, the better.

Vintage Grocery Sign Tissue Paper Cut To SizeSpread “Wunda Size”, a water-based glue which I use for all of my paper-adhesion projects…

Vintage Grocery Sign Wunda Size Glue…all over the surface-my original intent was to do 1/2 at a time, but the bottle spilled out a little more than I needed.

Vintage Grocery Sign Spilled GlueSo I scooped up what I could save (this stuff is like liquid gold…every drop counts!) and spread the rest out across the entire surface. Waited about 10 minutes until the surface was tacky and sticky (NOT dried!) Remember, wherever you put the glue, that is where the paper is going to stick! You can use any type of glue-even watered-down school glue- for this, but I would not use a “Modge-Podge” type product, as I think it would be too thick.

Laid the tissue down onto the tacky surface, beginning at the corners and then working along, smoothing it with my fingertips as I moved down the length of the board.

Vintage Grocery Sign Smoothing TissueIt is OK to have the creases and wrinkles, that’s what gives it the gold leaf appearance. (this stuff is really sticky-thankfully it washes off with water!)

Vintage Grocery Sign Sticky FingersI used two pieces, so there was a seam down the middle, but I just tore off the edge of the overlap piece and then smoothed it down.

Vintage Grocery Sign Tearing Tissue along edgeNow, tissue paper is not quite as fragile as real gold leafing, so I had a few seconds to reposition and move the paper until it was properly placed. However, once it touches the glue, you cannot slide it or it will tear-just lift it and move it along. But if it does tear, just smooth it back down with your fingertips and keep going. That is part of the look you are trying to achieve anyway. Once I was finished smoothing, I allowed it to dry completely-about an hour.

Vintage Grocery Sign Drying Tissue Paper with GluePainted with two coats of this gold paint

intage Grocery Sign Gold Metallic Paintyou could use any gold paint you have on hand-as long as it is metallic. I found this one in a mark down bin at AC Moore for like, 50 cents. As the paint went on, it enhanced the wrinkly surface, creating the veining effect of real gold leaf.

Vintage Grocery Sign Gold PaintFinally, using a stencil,

Vintage Grocery Sign StencilsI spelled out GROCERY,

Vintage Grocery Sign Gold Leaf Closeupthen painted it free-hand with some black chalkboard paint. See how pretty the black lettering looks against the glowing gold?

Vintage Grocery Sign Stenciled and PaintedFinished with a coat of spray matte acrylic sealer.

Krylon Matte FinishAdded two vintage hooks for hanging. Done. But this one’s not staying in my kitchen…

Vintage Grocery Sign in Window…it is just one of the many projects I’m bringing up to the Barn at Todd Farm this weekend! The total cost for this project? Zero. Zip. Nada. (well, except for my very valuable time and expertise : ) Everything I used I had on hand. If I had to purchase a large package of gold leafing, enough to cover this project, it would have cost a pretty penny (hmmm, now that I have this leafing thing down, I could definitely try coppering something, or even faux leathering…) So there you have it…gold leafing on the cheap. And speaking of gold, its Oscar weekend! Hope your favorite movie wins! Susan

The Kindness Diaries

This past week I discovered a new documentary called The Kindness Diaries...One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the World…have you heard of it?

The Kindness Diaries Amazon.com book Based on a book of the same name, the author, Leon Logothetis,

Leon Logothetisdecided that there were enough good people in the world to help him on this remarkable quest around the world. Traveling penniless, he is solely dependent on the kindness of complete strangers, who, expecting nothing in return, provide him with food, shelter and gas for his (somewhat) trusty vintage yellow motorcycle known as “Kindness One”.

Leon Logothetis Kindness OneHis 25,000-mile “kindness journey” begins in LA, where he encounters the first of many individuals who go out of their way to help him out on his quest to discover the goodness in everyday humans. After the first episode, I was hooked, so I set my DVR for a series recording. In the few episodes I have already viewed, he has traveled across the US and into Europe,

Kindness One Mapintroducing his generous hosts along the way, who oftentimes give him not only a place to stay, but an insight into the struggle of their daily lives. Sometimes, he also gives back in powerful ways…airfare for parents who otherwise could not afford to see their son be married in England…a new cow for a family in Eastern Europe…an apartment for a homeless man in Pittsburgh. In a TV world populated with with TLC drama,  macabre crime shows and the latest ugly politics, it is refreshing to view a show that speaks to the goodness of mankind.  On Verizon, the AWE channel is 669, but you’d have to check your local listings in your area. You can also follow Leon’s adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter Leon Logothetis or one of his many other social media outlets. And, following in his footsteps, I will take today, this beautiful, sunny, warm Thursday in Boston, to #GoBeKind (and I hope you will too : ) Susan

Friends of the Heart

This is a repost from 2014, but just a meaningful today as it was then, so I thought I would share it one more time. Many years ago, in a college psychology class, I participated in a group discussion regarding friendships: how we enter into a friendship, how we maintain it and how friendship fades away, despite the best of intentions. Although much time has passed, an observation that one of my classmates made has remained with me to this day. That there are essentially two types of friends: Friends of the Road and Friends of the Heart. What does that mean, exactly? Friends of the Road are those that we encounter along the way while being busy with life. A childhood neighbor, a classmate, a co-worker, a teammate or dorm-mate, these friendships are formed due to time, place and circumstance. At that moment, the friendship appears to be unstoppable, an unbreakable link formed from a common bond that you promise will last forever. But once you change jobs, move away or graduate from school, the friendship, despite your most ardent efforts to keep in touch, fades into fond memories and Facebook reminders.

Friends of the Heart PM

Ah, but Friends of the Heart. Those people you meet along the way whose paths are forever intertwined with your own. They are not your family, but these are the friends you can turn to in a moment’s notice, in joy and in sorrow, in illness or trouble. They are your people. Your back door friends. The “I-don’t-have-to-clean-up-the-house-because-I-am-having-company” kind of friends. Because they see you, know you and love you just the way you are. I have been so very blessed, in my life, to have found a group of friends of the heart. We started out as neighbors, bonded by our children who shared classrooms and ball fields. The dads coached, the moms cheered on, brought the water and snacks and patched up skinned knees. As we proudly watched our children grow and thrive, we stood side by side on the sidelines, in the bleachers and auditoriums and cheered them on, comforted their sorrows, rejoiced in their victories, agonized over their defeats. And while that business of life was happening, our friendships became those of the heart: strong, unstoppable, unbreakable bonds. And then, once our children were grown and happily on their own, our friendships did not waver, but instead, grew stronger. We traveled around the world together, planned birthday parties and weddings and showers together and spent many an evening over dinner and drinks just enjoying each other’s company.  Two years ago (but it seems like yesterday…), I lost one of my dearest friends of the heart after a much-too-short battle with pancreatic cancer. She was the youngest of our group, so much fun, full of life and eager to see whatever the world had to offer. Now, each passing day brings a fresh reminder of how very fragile and sometimes too short life can be on this earth.  If I could tell her one more time, if I could show her one more way, if I could only have a few more precious moments with her, I would let her know again just how special and truly blessed I was to have her in my life. Now, if you are fortunate enough, like me, to have a friend of the heart, choose today, this Valentine’s Day, to tell them you love them. But, it really doesn’t need to be a holiday or special occasion. You don’t need chocolate or fancy flowers, greeting cards or expensive gifts. Just text them or tweet them or Facebook message them or call them or even send them a copy of this and tell them how much they mean to you. It may be weirdly out-of-character, feel funny or awkward, but do it anyway. Because you never know when it may be your final chance to let them know how you feel.  And so, I would like to say to all of my dearest friends of the heart, I love you. You have enriched my life in immeasurable ways, and life will never be the same without all of you in it.

XOXOXO Susan 

Dried Paintbrush Rescue

Remember the time when you were painting something and then got distracted and left the wet paintbrush on the work table and discovered it the next day all dried up and hard as a rock-like they can stand up on their own hard as rocks?

Dried Paintbrush Rescue BeforeNo? Well, I do…because I’ve done it more than once actually too many times to count. Which makes me mad, because good paintbrushes, especially my favorite Shortcuts by Wooster

Wooster ShortCut Paintbrush

…ain’t cheap. I had tried many possible remedies to bring them back to life in the past, but alas, no matter what I tried, the outcome was always the same…trash time. Until now! Recently I spotted a post about this very subject (and of course, I cannot remember if it was on Facebook or Pinterest or Hometalk or Instagram or Twitter…so much social media makes my head spin…which is why I most likely got distracted and forgot the brushes in the first place…). But the solution was simple- just soak the hardened brushes in fabric softener! So, off to the dollar store I dashed where I purchased a bottle of LA’s Totally Awesome Fabric Softener…for a $1!!!

Dried Paintbrush Rescue Totally Awesome Fabric SoftenerLet me tell you…it is totally awesome!! I dropped the rock-hard brushes into the blue drink and left them overnight.

Dried Paintbrush Rescue in Fabric SoftenerThe next morning…with little expectations of a positive outcome…I pulled out the brushes out

Dried Paintbrush Rescue Softener on Brushrinsed them off, and…tada!!! I now have soft, usable brushes again-and they have a clean, fresh scent too!

Dried Painbrush Rescue After(I know what you’re thinking…this brush looks disgusting…why would she want this anyway?! It happens to be my favorite detailing and dry-brushing brush so I just hated to see it go…) So now I keep a jar of the softener on my work bench. When I finish a project, I rinse the brushes off and then drop them into the softening tank, keeping them ready for action. And that’s my DIY PSA for this Friday folks…more to come! Have a great weekend everyone-stay warm in the knowledge that we are inching towards spring…Susan  

Editor’s Note: After I published this, I came across the original article I had read with this great idea! Thanks to Jennifer Allwood from The Magic Brush for the great DIY tip!!

 

Coastal Cottage Cabinet

A couple of weeks ago I shared the pantry makeover that we had just completed at my daughter’s condo. In that story, I mentioned a big, black cabinet that she had been previously using to store her kitchen overflow of appliances and food and tupperware (LOTS of tupperware : ). So, this was the cabinet then:

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Before Black

and this is the cabinet now! A beautiful Coastal Cottage Cabinet to that fits perfectly into cozy, beachy study.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Full TMThis piece was originally purchased-by me!- many years ago at HomeGoods-and right from the get-go, Coach never really cared for it-he thought it was too modern for our country farmhouse style. So after a couple of years, we found a new (old) cupboard to replace it, and this one was delivered to my brother’s home, where it became part of their home office. Fast forward a few years, when they were moving and the cabinet needed to go. So off it went to my daughter’s condo for her pantry, where it remained until she decided she needed something narrower in its place, so we built this:

DIY Pantry FinishedSo, we offered for sale on Craigslist (no takers) and then my mom said she thought she could use it in her new study. SOLD! So we loaded up a trailer and transported it to its final destination, (thanks, Chris and Coach!) mom’s house. But the black color was just not going to cut it in her breezy coastal-inspired study. Painting time! Since it is winter here, the transformation took place in her guest bathroom (which is actually larger than both of mine put together…). so some of the photos are a little dark…but, here is the how-I-did-it:

We decided on a creamy white, so Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White was the choice.

Annie Sloan Old White Chalk PaintWe toyed around with colors for the back wall of the cabinet

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Background Blueand I ended up custom mixing a soft coastal blue using some of my Behr paint pots…I have quite a selection if you need any…

Behr Sample PotsFor the doors, I first used a can of Krylon Spray Chalk Paint in Paver Gray...

Krylon Chalky Spray Paint…simply blocking the window panes with paper that I slid under the wood to protect the glass.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Paper MaskingIt worked perfectly! Isn’t this color gorgeous?!?

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Painted DoorBut, alas, it was a little too dark for mom’s taste, so I ended up dry-brushing the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint over it to lighten it up.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Dry Brush Annie Sloan Old WhiteThen sanded the edges to distress it.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Door PanelFinished everything with a coat of Varathane Matte Polyurethane.

Varathane Matte PolyBut, once it slid the completed cabinet into place, it still looked a little blah,

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Lit Aso mom and I both thought that some maps on the bottom half (which are not windows, but actually faux-wood panels) to add some interest. Asked Coach for some maps…he delivered.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet MapsApplied the map squares with two coats of Wunda-Size

Wunda Sizeand smoothed them out to make them wrinkle free. (You can have all the tools in the world, but sometimes the best thing to use is the palm of your hand : )

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Smoothing PaperSo now the base looks like this. I cut the maps with some space in between so it appears as if you are looking through a window.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Map Detail

Added one final coat of poly to the maps and the cabinet was done! Time for mom to fill it with some of her favorite pieces.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Doors Open LogoThe beauty of this cabinet is in the multi-paned windows…which is why I loved it in the first place.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Clay VignetteWhile the entire cabinet is striking… it is the special vignettes…

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Starfish Vignette LOGOthat mom has created in each window that makes it her own.

Coastal Cottage Cabinet One DoorHere it is in the corner by the window…she’s not quite done decorating the rest of the room…so pics to follow once everything is in place. At night, it adds a soft glow, and in the daytime, it reflects the light from the large windows that span the entire wall…so even on the darkest day, there is lots of light in this space. 

Coastal Cottage Cabinet Full TMSo there you have it, an ugly duckling transformed into a beautiful swan. This poor tired cabinet that had been around the block…more than a few times…now has its forever home. Have a great Friday everyone…even if its snowing in your neck of the woods-as it is here! Susan

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