Passionate About Purple?

Or not so much? If you haven’t heard (and seen) by now, Pantone’s Color of the Year is Radiant Orchid. Beautiful color, sort of a purp[y-pinkish hue, perfect for the runway.

Lady Lux.com

Photo by LadyLux.com

On the color wheel, it is complementary to yellow, and leans towards the red-violet family rather than the blues.

Color Wheel

But, honestly, when I first saw the announcement, I thought “where would you use this in design?!” Where does this lovely shade of purple fit in, other than Hawaii? Especially if you live in and design in a country style home?! So, I went searching on Houzz.com to see how designers and decorators are treating this latest trend, and what I discovered was amazing. Room after room of orchids and lavenders in all shades and hues, from the deepest purple to the loveliest, palest lavender.  Here are a few inspirational spaces, and some simple ways to add just a touch of Radiant Orchid to your life (without having to spring for a plane ticket to Hawaii : )

City Style

Robert Schwartz and Karen Williams for St Charles

Robert Schwartz and Karen Williams for St Charles

Country Style

Bedroom by Locati Architects

Bedroom by Locati Architects

Pretty Little Girl’s Room

Child's Room by Nicole Freezer Rubens

Child’s Room by Nicole Freezer Rubens

Country Cupboard in Rustic Entryway

Rustic Cupboard by Mark EnglishArchitects AIA

Rustic Cupboard by Mark EnglishArchitects AIA

Tropical Paradise

Kim E Courtney Interiors and Design

Kim E Courtney Interiors and Design

Dreamy White Style

Table Vignette by Dreamy WhitesSlick and Modern Kitchen

Kitchen by Mokomo MortonOMG-Kitty!!! (Jackie, this one’s for you : )

One Beacon Court Contemporary by Duane Kaschak

Kitty Room by Duane Kaschak

Man Cave-golfer’s paradise.

Study by Dave Fox Design Build

Study by Dave Fox Design Build

Who would think to paint a man’s study lavender? Love the rustic table, old leather chair, stone fireplace with lavender hued stone. Genius!

Office by Benjamin Moore. I could work here. All day long.

Office by Benjamin Moore

Office by Benjamin Moore

Sweet Dreams.

Bedroom by Tara Dudley Interiors

Bedroom by Tara Dudley Interiors

One Little Perfect Pillow

Passionate Purple by Mark English ArchitectsComplementary

Complementary Colors by Capitol Lighting

Complementary by Capitol Lighting

To see more of my favorite purple rooms, check out Passionate Purple on Houzz.com or Pinterest. So what do you think? Are you passionate about purple? Have a radiant Thursday, everyone! Susan

The Dangers of DIY

When doing any DIY project, there is always an inherent danger in using a table saw or a razor blade improperly,

Stitched up Thumb

or even using a large, unsecured pineapple that could hit you in the head and give you a concussion.

Williamsburg Apple Fan Holiday DecorationOr even this: fortunately, I realized I had dipped my paintbrush in my coffee before I took another sip. In my defense, the coffee and the paint were almost exactly the same color…

Paintbrush in Coffee CupBut recently, I came across this “Pin” for a collapsible spray painting tent made with PVC pipes and disposable clear plastic drop cloths from the DIY blog Makely School for Girls that gave me pause…

Makely Collapsible Spray TentWhat a great idea to be able to set up an enclosed area where you can spray, and then break it down and get it out of the way, right?! If you look closely at the tent, it is completely sealed on all sides, except for the double-draped opening.  Which is the intention, after all, to contain the spray to a confined area, but clearly you also have to be inside the sealed tent while spraying. Now, on this blog, called Makely School for Girls (so adorable!) the writer repeatedly cautions everyone about being properly protected from fumes and spray, encouraging, no, demanding that anyone who builds and uses this tent must wear proper protective clothing to cover her/him AND a respirator (NOT one of those little surgical masks either-we are talking the big mask with an air vent-like this 3M Tekk Protection Demolition one from Home Depot.

3M Respirator Mask @ Home Depot

(Imagine that $24.97 is all it takes to keep you safe from harmful fumes!)  In this post, the blogger, Lindsay Ballard’s cautions:

“*****IMPORTANT!  I also need to say that you MUST wear a respirator when you are in the tent.  MUST, MUST, MUST.  If you go in there without one, I’ll drive to your house and give you a stern talking to.  And no, those little paper masks just won’t work.  You should ALWAYS use a respirator for your projects if there’s any chance that some harmful particles (paint, wood sand, metal etc) will be in the air.  Don’t make me hunt you down.  Because I will.  And I can be mean.  Not really, but seriously.  My granddaddy was a machinist and we are certain that the metal dust is what caused his lung disease. I also recommend wearing safety glasses (which you should be wearing anyway when you spray paint), nitrile/latex gloves and long sleeves/pants when you go in there (so you won’t be covered in a fine mist of paint yourself).”

Kudos to the author for stressing the importance of proper protection and educating us all about the dangers of spray painting in an enclosed space. BUT, I know, myself, (and I am sure that there are many, many more guilty DIY’ers out there), and I might just be tempted to jump in there and spray one little thing without being hazmatted up.

Cordova Defender Hazmat Suit Home Depot

Cordova Defender ll Microporous Suit from Home Depot

Because even now I sometimes just grab a can of spray adhesive or paint while working in my (essentially unvented) basement workshop and think, “oh, it’s just this little bit, It will be fine.” Well, its not, folks. Not in the least. These companies are putting the warnings on their products for a reason! Just for my own FYI, I grabbed a few of my favorite products that I use on a daily basis in my workshop and was astounded at the levels of toxicity present in so many cans and bottles of goop and spray and paints that I thought were completely safe!! Here are just a few samples- this one is from a little pot of latex paint. It contains Ethylene Glycol– the chemical they use to make anti-freeze & airplane de-icer . According to eHow: Ethylene Glycol is a colorless, odorless synthetic liquid substance used to make antifreeze and for de-icing airplanes and runways. Ethylene glycol breaks down in the body, producing poisons that can damage the brain, heart and kidneys. Even with medical treatment, swallowing antifreeze is often fatal. Read more:  http://www.ehow.com/about_5977662_polyethylene-glycol-vs_-ethylene-glycol.html#ixzz2qk8hoEFC.

 Paint Pot Warning Label

Now clearly, I am not going to drink the stuff, unless, of course I happen to dip my paintbrush in it by mistake. But, breathing in stuff can be just as harmful. This is from my favorite spray adhesive:

Spray Adhesive Warning LabelProbably not the best decision to have a portable space heater right next to my work table… This label is from a popular brand of chalk paint:

Chalk Paint Can WarningAnd this one is from a can of furniture refinisher that I like to use:

Furniture Refinisher LabelAnd this one from my “odorless mineral spirits” that I sometimes use to clean up brushes:

Mineral Spirits Label

And finally this bottle of a cleaner/degreaser that I got at a natural food store to transfer prints onto wood. I saw this on a DIY show where the host actually put her nose to the bottle and took a deep breath to illustrate how non-toxic and great-smelling and harmless this stuff was! Yikes!

Citrisolv CleanerI looked up some of the ingredients on the above labels and this one scared the crap out of me!! Toluene: Toluene is primarily used as an octane-boosting additive to gasoline. It is also used as a solvent in paints, household aerosols, adhesives, solvent-based cleaning agents, and synthetic fragrances.
Read more:  http://www.ehow.com/about_6530607_toluene-made_.html#ixzz2qk9mAbwC According to Wikipedia: “Inhalation of toluene in low to moderate levels can cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, drunken-type actions, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color vision loss. These symptoms usually disappear when exposure is stopped. Inhaling high levels of toluene in a short time may cause light-headedness, nausea, or sleepiness. It can also cause unconsciousness, and even death.” 
On top of that, I started thinking about all of the old furniture I have been working on, sanding and releasing particles into the air-that I am breathing in without a mask-that could very well be mold, old toxic chemicals and even lead paint. If you notice, all of the above labels contain warnings about making sure that your work area is properly ventilated, and the importance of wearing protective masks and clothing.

Dangers poisonSo, enough label reading, time for action! What’s a DIY’er to do if you don’t have a vented workshop or an outdoor space you can use year-round? Well, for myself, a few decisions have been made and are being implemented immediately. No more spray painting or sanding or gluing in the basement, PERIOD. Until spring, when I can set up shop outdoors again, (at which time I may entertain the idea of a collapsible painting tent ala the Makely School for Girls project, because that is AWESOME : ) I am temporarily going to roll up the oriental rug and move my workshop to our upstairs living room (which is quite lovely, but essentially gets used once a year, on Thanksgiving. Hopefully, by then I will be moved out of our house and into a nice, open studio or workshop.)

Living Room Fireplace PMThis parlor has high ceilings, 4 windows for ventilation and a fake fireplace for a little ambiance : ). Electric sanding will be done outdoors, regardless of the temperature, and masks and gloves on from now on! Just out of curiosity, where do all of you DIY’ers do your painting, sanding and staining? Do you have the luxury of a beautiful, vented and well-lit workshop? Do you have any suggestions on the best place to DIY? And, on that note, gotta head to Home Depot  to pick up my mask and gloves. I suggest, if you are planning on doing any future painting, gluing, sanding or staining DIY projects, that you do the same. Have a happy and non-toxic Sunday, everyone! Susan

The Dangers of DIY

When doing any DIY project, there is always an inherent danger in using a table saw or a razor blade improperly,

Stitched up Thumb

or even using a large, unsecured pineapple that could hit you in the head and give you a concussion.

Williamsburg Apple Fan Holiday DecorationOr even this: fortunately, I realized I had dipped my paintbrush in my coffee before I took another sip. In my defense, the coffee and the paint were almost exactly the same color…

Paintbrush in Coffee CupBut recently, I came across this “Pin” for a collapsible spray painting tent made with PVC pipes and disposable clear plastic drop cloths from the DIY blog Makely School for Girls that gave me pause…

Makely Collapsible Spray TentWhat a great idea to be able to set up an enclosed area where you can spray, and then break it down and get it out of the way, right?! If you look closely at the tent, it is completely sealed on all sides, except for the double-draped opening.  Which is the intention, after all, to contain the spray to a confined area, but clearly you also have to be inside the sealed tent while spraying. Now, on this blog, called Makely School for Girls (so adorable!) the writer repeatedly cautions everyone about being properly protected from fumes and spray, encouraging, no, demanding that anyone who builds and uses this tent must wear proper protective clothing to cover her/him AND a respirator (NOT one of those little surgical masks either-we are talking the big mask with an air vent-like this 3M Tekk Protection Demolition one from Home Depot.

3M Respirator Mask @ Home Depot

(Imagine that $24.97 is all it takes to keep you safe from harmful fumes!)  In this post, the blogger, Lindsay Ballard’s cautions:

“*****IMPORTANT!  I also need to say that you MUST wear a respirator when you are in the tent.  MUST, MUST, MUST.  If you go in there without one, I’ll drive to your house and give you a stern talking to.  And no, those little paper masks just won’t work.  You should ALWAYS use a respirator for your projects if there’s any chance that some harmful particles (paint, wood sand, metal etc) will be in the air.  Don’t make me hunt you down.  Because I will.  And I can be mean.  Not really, but seriously.  My granddaddy was a machinist and we are certain that the metal dust is what caused his lung disease. I also recommend wearing safety glasses (which you should be wearing anyway when you spray paint), nitrile/latex gloves and long sleeves/pants when you go in there (so you won’t be covered in a fine mist of paint yourself).”

Kudos to the author for stressing the importance of proper protection and educating us all about the dangers of spray painting in an enclosed space. BUT, I know, myself, (and I am sure that there are many, many more guilty DIY’ers out there), and I might just be tempted to jump in there and spray one little thing without being hazmatted up.

Cordova Defender Hazmat Suit Home Depot

Cordova Defender ll Microporous Suit from Home Depot

Because even now I sometimes just grab a can of spray adhesive or paint while working in my (essentially unvented) basement workshop and think, “oh, it’s just this little bit, It will be fine.” Well, its not, folks. Not in the least. These companies are putting the warnings on their products for a reason! Just for my own FYI, I grabbed a few of my favorite products that I use on a daily basis in my workshop and was astounded at the levels of toxicity present in so many cans and bottles of goop and spray and paints that I thought were completely safe!! Here are just a few samples- this one is from a little pot of latex paint. It contains Ethylene Glycol– the chemical they use to make anti-freeze & airplane de-icer . According to eHow: Ethylene Glycol is a colorless, odorless synthetic liquid substance used to make antifreeze and for de-icing airplanes and runways. Ethylene glycol breaks down in the body, producing poisons that can damage the brain, heart and kidneys. Even with medical treatment, swallowing antifreeze is often fatal. Read more:  http://www.ehow.com/about_5977662_polyethylene-glycol-vs_-ethylene-glycol.html#ixzz2qk8hoEFC.

 Paint Pot Warning Label

Now clearly, I am not going to drink the stuff, unless, of course I happen to dip my paintbrush in it by mistake. But, breathing in stuff can be just as harmful. This is from my favorite spray adhesive:

Spray Adhesive Warning LabelProbably not the best decision to have a portable space heater right next to my work table… This label is from a popular brand of chalk paint:

Chalk Paint Can WarningAnd this one is from a can of furniture refinisher that I like to use:

Furniture Refinisher LabelAnd this one from my “odorless mineral spirits” that I sometimes use to clean up brushes:

Mineral Spirits Label

And finally this bottle of a cleaner/degreaser that I got at a natural food store to transfer prints onto wood. I saw this on a DIY show where the host actually put her nose to the bottle and took a deep breath to illustrate how non-toxic and great-smelling and harmless this stuff was! Yikes!

Citrisolv CleanerI looked up some of the ingredients on the above labels and this one scared the crap out of me!! Toluene: Toluene is primarily used as an octane-boosting additive to gasoline. It is also used as a solvent in paints, household aerosols, adhesives, solvent-based cleaning agents, and synthetic fragrances.
Read more:  http://www.ehow.com/about_6530607_toluene-made_.html#ixzz2qk9mAbwC According to Wikipedia: “Inhalation of toluene in low to moderate levels can cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, drunken-type actions, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color vision loss. These symptoms usually disappear when exposure is stopped. Inhaling high levels of toluene in a short time may cause light-headedness, nausea, or sleepiness. It can also cause unconsciousness, and even death.” 
On top of that, I started thinking about all of the old furniture I have been working on, sanding and releasing particles into the air-that I am breathing in without a mask-that could very well be mold, old toxic chemicals and even lead paint. If you notice, all of the above labels contain warnings about making sure that your work area is properly ventilated, and the importance of wearing protective masks and clothing.

Dangers poisonSo, enough label reading, time for action! What’s a DIY’er to do if you don’t have a vented workshop or an outdoor space you can use year-round? Well, for myself, a few decisions have been made and are being implemented immediately. No more spray painting or sanding or gluing in the basement, PERIOD. Until spring, when I can set up shop outdoors again, (at which time I may entertain the idea of a collapsible painting tent ala the Makely School for Girls project, because that is AWESOME : ) I am temporarily going to roll up the oriental rug and move my workshop to our upstairs living room (which is quite lovely, but essentially gets used once a year, on Thanksgiving. Hopefully, by then I will be moved out of our house and into a nice, open studio or workshop.)

Living Room Fireplace PMThis parlor has high ceilings, 4 windows for ventilation and a fake fireplace for a little ambiance : ). Electric sanding will be done outdoors, regardless of the temperature, and masks and gloves on from now on! Just out of curiosity, where do all of you DIY’ers do your painting, sanding and staining? Do you have the luxury of a beautiful, vented and well-lit workshop? Do you have any suggestions on the best place to DIY? And, on that note, gotta head to Home Depot  to pick up my mask and gloves. I suggest, if you are planning on doing any future painting, gluing, sanding or staining DIY projects, that you do the same. Have a happy and non-toxic Sunday, everyone! Susan

Vintage Butcher Block Table

Yet another DIY project to share. This butcher block table was actually in two pieces-the bottom had been kicking around the barn loft for the past 15-20 years, and the top was a throw-away Coach picked up over the summer at a yard sale.

The bottom looked like this:

Butcher Block Base Before

The top looked like this:

Butcher Block Top Before

And now the whole piece looks like this!

Finished Butcher Block Table CDH LOGO

I started with the base, painting it in my favorite dark charcoal gray home-made chalk-like paint.

CDH Parisiian Gray Paint

You can find that recipe here. Then I sanded down the edges, added a glaze finish with Martha Stewart Antique Glaze  mixed with Madagascar Mocha Couture Paint.

Paint Couture Madagascar Mocha

The glazing technique is so simple: Mix the glaze and paint together, paint it on your piece,

Martha Stewart Glaze painting on

then wipe it off where you don’t want it.

Martha Stewart Glaze wiping off

Allowed the entire base to dry. Finished with a coat of Fidde’s Soft Wax, which gives it a nice glowing finish.

Sanded and Glazed Leg

The top required a bit more elbow grease and some heavy implements.

Butcher Block Top Distressed

I wanted to rough it up just a bit to give it a more “antiqued” appearance, but since there will be food prep on it, I didn’t want it to be so rustic as to have holes in it where food could get caught!

Butcher Block Distressing ToolsUsed a chain, a hammer and a screwdriver and just banged it around a bit. (I wonder why my hands are so cracked and bleeding…) Since I wanted this to be a food safe butcher block top, but also wanted a shade or two darker, I attempted a technique I had found online: staining with brewed coffee grounds.

Staining with Coffee Grounds

Really didn’t work out too well, but it smelled great! The butcher block top is finished with Howard Butcher Block Conditioner. This is a product that I picked up at Home Depot -its FDA food safe-perfect!

Howard Butcher Block Conditioner

To secure the top to the base, I used some old black iron decorative brackets Coach got from somewhere…(seems to be a recurrent theme, right? I tell him what I need, he finds it.)

Ornamental Brackets

The brackets were a little too black and “new-looking”, even though they are pretty old, so I sprayed them with Rustoleum Gray gloss paint,

Rustoleum Gray Painters Touch

but that was a bit too shiny, so I resprayed them with Rustoelum soft flat iron black spray paint.

Rustoleum Metallic Paint for Brackets

to complement the antiqued gray base color. I found that the simplest way to attach the top to the base was to place it on top, measured the four corners to ensure they were evenly spaced,

Measuring corners

marked the holes with a sharpie, (apologies for the blurry pic-too much leftover coffee, perhaps?)

Marking holes for drillingthen drilled starter holes for the screws,

Predrilling holes for bracketsflipped the top upside down and secured the brackets to the underside of the top.

Brackets affixed to bottom of butcher block top

Slipped the top back onto the base and secured it with screws. For the embellishments, I added this cool, rustic, vintage, winged front piece to be used as a towel or utensil hanger.

Bracket on front of Butcher Block

I am told it was the handle to an old wood planer. These side pieces

Butcher Block Hooks

are old window lock parts.

Butcher Block Side Ring Hangers

Perfect for hanging a pot or pan with an “s” hook. Old wooden rulers are kind of a thing right now, so I added one from “A.J. Wilkinson, The Oldest Hardware Company in Boston” across the front (perfect for measuring out dough!) and secured it with some rustic corner brackets to give it industrial “old general store” kind of vibe. Then I rubbed that with the Howard Butcher Block Conditioning to finish it.

Butcher Block Ruler and Corner BracketsDone and ready for some butchering, or pie-making, or whatever. But it won’t be in my kitchen, or my daughter’s (sorry, Kate-I promise I will make you another one), because it was sold this past weekend at the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market-yay! And, if you are in the market for an old wooden ruler, drop me a line. Since I mentioned to Coach that I needed a few, he’s been on the lookout, and now I have an immeasurable amount to choose from!

Rulers

Have a “block-buster” Tuesday everyone! Susan

Wax On, Wax Off

Winter. Cold outside. Cold inside. (with oil at $3.99 per gallon, our home doesn’t reach much higher than 62 degrees-EVER). Forced hot air furnace. Dry. Dusty. Dry. I am continually washing my hands, both at work (in the medical field, sterile is key) and at home. All of the painting, sanding, cleaning and woodworking I am doing has left my hands incredibly cracked and painful and bloody.

Cracked, Dy and Bleeding HandThe other day I looked down and saw the hands of a longshoreman, not a creative DIY blogger! I have tried all kinds of creams and potions and lotions and goops, but nothing has any lasting effects that have soothed my aching and crackling digits. So, I went on Amazon.com and ordered a Dr. Scholl’s for Her (I am not sure why guys can’t use this…) Quick Heat Thermal Therapy Paraffin Bath.

Dr. Scholls Bath and Supplies

Only took a couple of days to get here, and I was anxious to give it a try. The kit, for $29.95 came complete with the unit that has adjustable heat settings, 3 pounds of scented paraffin wax, 2 thermal mitts & 30 plastic glove liners. Now, one word of caution: the included paraffin was very heavily scented. so if you have allergies, this may not be the one for you! Once it was plugged in and warming up, the entire upstairs of our home had the strong scent of orchids. Which kind of made me feel like I was in Hawaii…OK, well, maybe not. But be forewarned. Unpacked the unit, followed the basic instructions.

Dr. Scholls Instructions

Placed it on a flat surface. I would also say that you need to place it somewhere where a little splattering wax won’t harm the surface. The three pounds of wax were packaged in three separately sealed bags.

Dr. Scholls Paraffin in Bag

The instructions were to open each one, then break the wax brick into quarters. Really?! Unless you are the Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk Mitts(and he wouldn’t be using this anyway because it’s for HER), I don’t see how this is possible without some sort of large, sharp implement. In this case, some old, heavy Fiskar shears did the trick-don’t use your good scissors unless you want them to be waxed and slippery!

Waxed ScissorsI used the stab and split method.

Paraffin Bath Wax CuttingPlaced the wax pieces into the unit and turned it to high. The red light indicates it is heating.

Dr. Scholls Paraffin Bath LightsThere is also a flat plastic plate with holes in it that is to rest inside on the bottom of the unit once the wax is melted. This is clearly to keep you from resting your hands on the hot elements. Smart move, Dr. Scholl.

Bottom Surface PlateNow, I realize that the name on the box says “Quick Heat Paraffin Bath“, but if you were in a hurry to smooth your rough edges before a night on the town, I’m afraid you would be sorely disappointed. The warming time is 2 hours! (the instructions say 120 minutes, I think to throw you off, but I can do the math…) So I plugged it in and went off to do more stuff in my workshop and get ready for the football game, which I determined would coincide with the precise melting point time. Fast forward…green light on…dipping time! You place your hand into the warm pretty hot wax, fingers slightly apart, dipping for just a couple of seconds, then pulling your hand out.

Dipping hand in wax bathWait a few seconds until the wax starts to harden, then dip again, each time adding another coat of wax to your hand. They recommended 5 coats, and that was just about right to create a waxy, sealed glove.

Re-dipping to for wax glove

Placed my hand in one of the baggies,

Plastic bag covering wax

then donned the terry mitt.

One Mitt OnClearly, at this point, I could not longer take pics, so I came downstairs at the start of the game and asked Coach to help me out. He had no clue why I was wearing pastel blue oven mitts, nor why I was asking him to take my photo-lol!

Mitts onDuring the first quarter, the wax slowly cooled off (as did the Colts), so after approx. 15 minutes I removed the mitts and the plastic baggies to uncover this-

Waxed hand afterthe wax had cooled but stayed somewhat soft, so I pulled that off too and I was left with a baggie full of cooled wax.

Remainder Wax After The instructions recommend discarding the wax, (you know, germs and all) but I figured, since I am the only one using it, why not recycle? What was left on my hands was a layer of lotion that I then massaged into my hands, per the instructions. Which felt great, but the scent was still quite heavy, so I ended up washing them a couple of times and then creaming them up.

Hand after wax bath

The verdict? Overall, I love this Dr. Scholl’s paraffin bath! My hands felt instantly smoother and less cracked and my knuckles were less achy too! For the time being, I am planning on making this a nightly ritual until my hands start looking less like a lumberjack’s, or until the warm weather arrives, whichever comes first. However, I am planning on purchasing some new, unscented wax to replace the orchids-if I can’t be in Hawaii, then I don’t want to be reminded of tropical breezes while the wind is howling outside here in New England.

Holiday Palm Trees

Hopefully it’s warm where you are, and just remember to do a bit of pampering for yourself today…Susan

Docksmith Is In The House

Well, the New Year’s Cash Giveaway is history! I am not sure who won yet, that will be posted shortly, but congrats!! Even though I wasn’t eligible to win the cash, since I was one of the sponsors, I feel like I did win, because I made a whole lot of new Facebook friends : ) I, myself, hardly ever enter any contests because, frankly, I never win anything. (Well, maybe because I never enter anything…) BUT, last week I happened to see a posting to win an iPhone docking station from Docksmith

Docksmith Logo

on Facebook,  and imagine that-I won!!! This company, based in Brunswick, Maine, takes all-natural pieces of driftwood and rootwood and transforms them into functional docking stations for your electronic devices-brilliant! (Ironically, I had actually blogged about this very company last year

Docksmith @ Fair

when I encountered their booth at the Castleberry Fair) Actually, these are pieces of organic art that you can display anywhere, but it just so happens that you can recharge your battery as well. If we are going to live with hard-edged technology all around us, we may as well make it softer and prettier, right? This is the one I received.

Docksmith iPhone 5 Docking Station

Brilliant packaging, BTW. I love it when companies actually say THANK YOU. (OK, I know, I didn’t actually purchase this, but it was nice anyway : )

Docksmith Packaging

This is a striking piece of soft gray driftwood that has been left in its natural state but with the middle drilled out and a docking station affixed inside. Now, instead of leaving my phone hanging around and searching for it whenever it rings, beeps or buzzes, it sits upright in its docking station in the kitchen, soaking up battery juice and in plain sight. They make endless combinations of pieces to fit your smartphones and smartpads. So, I got to thinking that I could actually design an entire room around this one accessory! With the style options, I could do a nautical theme-can you imagine this piece with room enough for two…

Docksmith Double Smartphones #170

perched on this desk?

Coastal Home via Zeroenergy

Zeroenergy Design via Houzz.com

Or a rustic but light log cabin with this one

Snap It Photography

Snap It Photography via Houzz.com

with this birch log beauty?

Docksmith iPhone Birch Log #162How about a warm, cozy fireside space

SFB Girl via Houzz.com

with a darker, more organic piece that would sit perched on the table or mantel?

Docksmith #123 iPad Mini or Galaxy Pad

Or a water-view retreat

DKOR Interiors Via Houzz.com

(where you can tweet) on this double-docking driftwood stationDocksmith Double Driftwood

The design is naturally flawless. The design possibilities are endless. Thanks to Docksmith for offering this giveaway! I guess the moral of this story is, if you don’t enter, you can’t win. Hope you all have a winning day today…Susan

Love you , mom.

This is a quick aside from my typical DIY blogging kind of posts. Today I receive a Facebook notification that my son had posted this video on my news feed along with the comment“oh, man this. I LOVE YOU MOM”  Just watch this Sochi 2014 video from Proctor & Gamble. If you have ever been a mom, or hope to be one, or had an awesome one who picked you up, wiped you off, cleaned you up, cheered you on, iced you down, hugged you in victory, held you & kissed your tears away in defeat, then this is meant for you.

Sochi 2014 Proctor & Gamble

http://mashable.com/2014/01/06/sochi-moms-ad/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link

PS: LOVE YOU TOO SON

143mom

Time Out!

Coach and I took time out of our busy holiday schedule to attend another Crown Auction on Sunday. After the auction, where we scored 3 awesome pieces of vintage furniture, including this little beauty,

French Provincial Side Table

I remarked to Coach how happy I am to see all of the old, worn, broken, dusty, tired items being purchased for re-use and re-purposing. Perhaps even 10 years ago, you would have seen many of the furniture items that were sold on Sunday in someone’s trash pile-unloved and unwanted. But, with the resurgence of DIY and so many new painting and finishing techniques on the blogs and Pinterest, everything old is new again! Case in point: Coach found this little child’s TIME OUT chair that was ready for the trash heap at a local yard sale.

Time Out Chair Before

It was weathered, gray and faded, and looked like it had been set outside in a time out corner years ago.But, with a thorough cleaning, some fresh paint, some crackle glaze and a pretty new cushion, this time out chair is now a comfortable fireside chair for reading or even playing some video games.

Time Out Chair with Bear PM

Here is the how-I-did-it:

1.Cleaned the chair and sanded lightly just to even the surface and get rid of the raised TIME OUT lettering.

2. Added a base coat of Glidden Gripper Glidden Gripperprimer to seal it.

3. Used Martha Stewart crackle medium all over the piece.

Martha Stewart Crackle Effect

Just brush over the base coat wherever you want the top coat to crackle to give an aged appearance and expose the base coat. The heavier coat of the glaze you paint on, the deeper and larger the cracks will appear. For the complete DIY info on that process, click here:

4. Added the top coat, in this case a Behr Paint pot in pale aqua blue I had picked up at Home Depot for a previous project. Those little pots of paint go a long way!

Time Out Chair Base CoatWhen you first brush it on over the base coat and glaze, it just looks like a painted piece. But slowly, the cracks begin to emerge.

Time Out Chair Crackle FinishYou can see that I left the seat unpainted, as I am adding a seat cushion to it. But notice the uneven paint, the cracks and crackles. This is the weathered effect I was going for.

Time Out Chair Crackled Finish

5. Instead of re-creating this as a TIME OUT chair, I wanted to create a welcoming spot for a small child. So I fashioned a little cushion using some foam core board that was cut to the size of the seat of the chair, some poly batting and a piece of black and white toile I had on hand.

Time Out Chair with cushion6. Since I wanted the toile to appear a faded blue, I decided to dye it with some diluted paint, the same color as the chair. (You know how you splatter latex paint on your nice new jeans and then you can’t get it off, ever? Same thing applies here.) I just added some paint to a bowl of warm water and stirred til mixed.

Time Out Chair paint and water mixture

7.Dropped in the fabric and allowed to soak for a couple of minutes to absorb the paint.

Time Out Chair fabric in paint bath

8. Rinsed it thoroughly until the water ran clear but there was just a hint of blue in the fabric. Wanted to make sure no-one ended up with a little blue butt! Then threw it in the dryer on high heat to set the color.

Time Out Chair rinsing fabric

9. I pressed it out and added some fusible interfacing just to stiffen it a bit to hold its shape.

Time Out Chair Fusible Interfacing

10. Attached the fabric to the foam core board and then attached that to the chair with some hot glue to keep it securely in place.

Time Out Chair Back

There you have it! A perfect little fireside seat for a special little someone. So, the next time you see an old piece of furniture that has seen better days, take a time out and think about the endless DIY possibilities!

Time Out Chair with Bear PM

And now it’s time to head out and hit the stores before we get buried in fresh snow! Hope you won’t have a lot of shoveling to do! Susan

 

A New Year’s Day Giveaway!!

New Year Sign

Happy New Year everyone! To kick off 2014, I have teamed up with so many amazing blogging, Facebook and Etsy friends to sponsor a cash giveaway by Toadstool Pond and Junky, Funky, Rusty & Re-purposed by Sue! This is the link (and you can also find it on my Facebook page as well if you would like to share it-and please do!)

https://www.facebook.com/SuesCountryCorner?sk=app_228910107186452

Just click on it, visit the sponsor pages and “like” them on Facebook, fill out your contact info, and done. That’s it! You won’t get any residual emails, we don’t use your info for any purpose other than to contact you if you win (Or should I say, WHEN you win : ) The contest runs from Jan 1, 2014 through Jan 7, 2014 . 4 prizes will be awarded including a $500 first place cash prize! Which means more $$$ to go buy new junky stuff to repurpose and re-love. So put on your lucky shoes, kick 2013 to the curb and start the new year off right! Good luck! Susan

Dropping The Ball

I could bore you all with my 2013 retrospective of my favorite or most popular blogs, but I will spare you the time on this New Year’s Eve, when I am certain you have better, more exciting things to do tonight. But, unlike some of you revelers, New Year’s celebrations have never been too successful in our lives, beginning with the very first one Coach and I celebrated together so many years ago. That Dec 31, way back before Dick Clark was the emcee to be in NYC,

Times Square New Year's Eve Flight Center

I attempted to make my very first pot roast (Coach’s favorite). It cooked for hours, and hours, and hours, until we finally decided to eat it before the ball dropped at midnight. That evening, we dined on what essentially was a browned rubber basketball.

Pot Roast Burned

But being young, and in love, Coach graciously choked it down and we popped the cork at midnight (a little champagne goes a long way…)

Champagne Popping

Over the years, we have attempted to celebrate in style, hosting dinner parties and game nights, even venturing into First Night in Boston. But almost always we ended up home before midnight, yawning and trying desperately to stay awake until Auld Langs Syne was played. So what’s cooking this year? Not much, I’m afraid. I am working until pretty late in the evening, meaning no prepping or party hosting for me. We will most likely grab a pizza or Chinese food when I get home and try to stay awake until midnight, quite happily saying goodbye to 2013 and welcoming in this brave new year with open arms. You see, 2013 has not been such a great year for our ourselves, our friends and our families. By my own declaration on last year’s blog post, 2013 was supposed to be The Year of Fun!

plane soaring

It read, and I quote:“If there is an opportunity to learn, create, travel, design, teach, cook, dine, soar, entertain or be entertained, count me in! Time for a fresh start and a new perspective, time for some fun!” We were going to laugh more, travel more, be a bit more daring, maybe even take the kayaks out for another spin.

Kayaking- The Launch

So, in reflection, on this last day of 2013, how did the year turn out in the end? Allow me to start by saying that there were some very bright moments in the past 365 days. Our family & friends have experienced so many high notes this year with new jobs, an eye-opening mission trip to a Dominican Republic orphanage through Mustard Seed Communities,

Mustard Seed Mission Trip Village

new business ventures (thank you Vintage Thymes Monthly Market),

Vintage Thymes Market Shop

new babies (sweet, adorable Elsie : )

Elsie

moves to the West Coast,

PG Photos

an improbable World Series victory,

Victorious Victorino

and running faster then ever before to qualify for The Boston Marathon (not me, definitely not me!).

Boston MarathonAnd even in the aftermath of this year’s marathon bombings we found hope, when Boston came together as one city to capture a fugitive

Boston Strong Logo

and celebrate who we are as a community.

The Next 26.

There were joyous celebrations of young new lives together

Bridal Party Dockside

and new babies on the way (making their debut in 2014), which all helped to brighten our days. But with that joy came much sorrow that cast a pall over our everyday lives, including job losses, saying farewell to our beloved old girl, Daisy

Daisy

and devastating illnesses in our inner circle of dear friends, who fight onward and bravely with amazing grace, demonstrating incredible strength of spirit every single day.

Bravelets

So, as the clock ticks on, I am most definitely not declaring another year of fun (certainly dropped the ball on that one). Instead, I am simply hoping that we are all blessed with a new beginning each day, and given an opportunity, we gladly extend a hand, grant a wish, give a hug and express our love and gratitude for the people in our lives.

Ball in Times Square

And, unlike Coach and me, who have totally dropped the ball on New Year’s celebrations, if you do venture out tonight, be careful, be safe and have a great beginning to 2014! Susan

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