Signature Finishes

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and this week we are off to North Grafton, Massachusetts to visit the fabulous antiques, vintage furniture and home decor shop, Signature Finishes.

Signature Finishes Maureen Bane

Owned and operated by the lovely Maureen Bane, Signature Finishes is the nearest vendor to me for Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paints and finishes. And since I was on the hunt for my “Eulalie’s Sky” milk paint,

MMS Eulalie's Sky sampler

a recent road trip was in order. All of the pieces for sale in the shop have been expertly and artistically rescued and refurbished by Maureen,

Signature Finishes Arch Window Vignette

and she offers several workshops on how to achieve that “instantly antiqued” look using her paints and finishes.

Signature Finishes Green Desk

Stocked on her shelves are two lines of paints for both the the novice and accomplished DIY’er.

Paint Cupboard

The first, Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint, is available in a powdered form that you mix at home with water. (Remember my Mixing Milk Paint Misstep?

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

Perhaps I should have taken the class before I attempted to mix the paint with my cake mixer!?) The newer line is Paint Couture, a pre-mixed, self-priming, matte finish paint that is available in the most gorgeous country colors-perfect for refurbishing an antique or “junk-tique” piece.

Paint Couture Samples

Along with the paints, Maureen also offers many one-of-a-kind decorative

Signature Finishes Vintage Tablescape

and gift items.

Signature Finishes Store View

LOVE these amazing canvas and leather tote bags,

Signature Finishes Canvas Totes

and these candles and soaps by Sweet Grass Farm.,

Sweet Grass Farm Products

and this beautiful vintage glassware-you’ll be sure to find something for everyone on your holiday shopping list!

Signature Finishes Glasses and Trays

So if you have a piece of old furniture that you would like to put your “signature finish” on, make sure to visit Signature Finishes in North Grafton. It’s right off 495 near Worcester, and you won’t believe the incredible scenery along the way!

Signature Finishes Scenery

Tell Maureen “hello” from Sue @ Country Design Home, and have a wanderful Wednesday, everyone! Susan

Mixing Milk Paint Misstep

This past week I have been working on quite a few pieces for the upcoming Vintage Thymes Market in November. It’s fun, other than the fact that my house looks like a bomb hit it-I have bits and pieces of projects going on everywhere!

Family Room WorkshopThe smaller pieces I can do in my basement workshop, but the big pieces stay upstairs. Man, I really, really, really do need a studio! For my current project, I decided to use my Miss Mustard Seed’s “Eulalie’s Sky” Milk Paint for the back of a beautiful step-back cupboard I am working on.

Cupboard Back BeforeI read the instructions and set out my necessary tools: air-tight container, measuring cup, warm water, bag of milk paint, mixer-what?!?

Milk Paint Mixing ToolsYup, a mixer. You see, milk paint comes in powdered form, in much the same consistency as powdered milk we used to use as kids when we ran out of regular milk. (I can’t help but notice that in this advertisement, they are using a cocktail stirrer to mix the milk. Those were some crazy times…)

Non Fat Dry MilkInterestingly, when I first opened the package, it appeared to be white.

Mustard Seed Paint PowderUh, oh, I thought, they put the wrong color in here! But once I added the water, the magic began. Now, according to the instructions I had read, this paint needs to be blended for 3-5 minutes, which makes sense, to break up all the powder bits and get them blended smoothly.

Mixing Paint with MixerAnd it says you could use a blended or a stirrer stick. Well, my blended is reserved solely for frozen margaritas, so not using that! And, standing there for 5 minutes stirring paint didn’t seem like all that much fun, so I decided to use a single whisk on my mixer. FAIL. BIG FAIL. I should have stopped once I noticed that my paint was looking more like a blue vanilla frappe than a bucket of paint, but I didn’t. So once the 5 minutes were up, I had this:

Blue Frappe

A big container of frothy blue milk. You cannot paint with blue bubbles. I repeat, you cannot paint with blue bubbles. So, I put it in the fridge for awhile to allow it to settle-it is milk paint, after all! Once I removed it, it looked a lot less frothy, so I attempted to paint the cupboard. While it was actually useable, the color was very sheer, obviously from the aeration still present.

First Coat SheerIf I had wanted it to have a stained appearance, it would have been perfect. So I waited awhile, stirred up the paint again with a stick to smooth, then added a second coat.

Breaking Down the FoamBetter, but still kind of streaky and with a lot of color variation.

Second Coat Milk Paint

So, then I went online and watched all of the Miss Mustard Seed Tutorials to make sure I was doing this correctly.

Miss Mustard Seed Video

(You would have thought it would’ve been a no-brainer to do that first, right?) And I was doing it right, with that one fatal flaw-frothing the paint first. That was most definitely NOT in the tutorial. Oh, well, another DIY lesson learned. One more coat, and now the color is deep and true on the inside of the cupboard.

Final Coat Eulalie's Sky

And, although there are variations and some streaks, it gives the piece some striations and depth of color-much like the sky itself. (I took this from my car yesterday-so beautiful!)

Rainbow Sky PM

Now I just have to finish the rest of it! And I will, while watching the Red Sox Duck Boat Parade from the comfort of our family room  paint workshop. In the meantime, anyone got a studio for rent? Happy weekend, everyone! Susan

Eulalie’s Sky

When I was a kid and old enough to realize I actually had a middle name, it was a very long time before I was comfortable sharing it with anyone. Kids are cruel, and the “I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours” game did not set well with me, being the very awkward and shy child that I was.

Susan Eulalie PM

Because, while my friends’ middle names (and why do we have middle names, anyway?) were short and cute, like Ann and Jane and Beth, mine was unheard of, unpronounceable and French, no less! So, I would typically give the hint “It begins with an E” and let the games begin. First of all, there weren’t that many names beginning with “E”- Ellen, Elaine, Emily-kids could guess all day long and NEVER figure it out! Secondly, even if I divulged my middle name, the typical response was “WHAT?!?? no way, you’re making that up, how do you spell it?!” And so it was my well-guarded secret, shared only with my closest allies. But I never told my mother about my childhood angst because I was named after my beautiful and talented maternal godmother, my great-aunt Eulalie. (it’s pronounced you-la-lee).

Lally and John at our WeddingShe was a fashionista before it was a thing, all five foot nothing of her,

Lally, Arthur and Bernadette at Disneyand what she lacked in stature she made up for in spunk and style.

Lally ActressAccording to my mom, when she was a small child in boarding school, the teachers would stand her on the lunch tables and she would sing and dance-a born entertainer!

Child Lally with White BowWhat I remember most about her in my adolescent years was her fabulous spiky red hair, fishnet stockings, mini skirts and thoroughly modern style-even into her 80’s.

Lally & John at homeShe would have been a star in today’s social-media-driven world. Aunt Lally, as we called her, was an amazing musician, playing both piano and organ professionally.

Lally at the pianoAt every family gathering, there was always that moment when Lally sat down at the piano to play some jazz tunes, oftentimes accompanied by her sister Bernadette, a talented opera singer. So many fond memories…

Lally & Bernadette at pianoSo why am I sharing all of this with you now? Well, I would first like to think that I (and my friends-ahem…) are more mature now, and able to appreciate the name for what it is: a beautiful reminder of a wonderful wife and mother

Lally & Donaldwho was a role model for my generation of women-fabulous, talented & sexy.

Lally and Norma PMSecondly, in all of the years that I have carried my middle name, I have never once seen it in print, until recently, when a Google search (we didn’t have Google back when I was a kid. Heck, we didn’t even have blow dryers!) revealed that there is an 1845 poem by Edgar Allen Poe named Eulalie. And amazingly, a very short while ago, I spotted this on a blog that I follow,

Miss Mustard Seed-this is one of her newest milk paint colors:

Eulalie's Sky MMS Milk Paint

What’s so interesting is that this beautiful shade of pale aqua-green milk paint called Eulalie’s Sky is one of my very favorite colors.

MMS Eulalie's Sky sampler

So now I am planning to use this color in some new pieces I am currently working on, leaving my own personal stamp. Last week, I drove out to Worcester to obtain my very first Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in my new favorite color, Eulalie’s Sky!

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

Now, I am not certain where Miss Mustard Seed happened upon the name Eulalie, or how she chose it as a paint color, but I am so happy to share it-finally-with all of you. And the meaning of my middle name? “Well-Spoken”. So perhaps the legacy my Aunt Eulalie left for me with her name was not her fabulous fashion sense (that’s for sure!) or her incredible musical talent, but the ability to communicate with all of you through the written word. To that end, I am eternally grateful that I was chosen to carry forward the beautiful name Eulalie.  Susan 

Paint A La Cart

Coach and I did a LOT of picking this weekend and scored many great items for some upcoming markets. Mirrors, and oak bookcases, furniture, rugs, and more mirrors-all amazing!

Rug and MirrorSaturday morning, I was busy doing house sort of stuff, so Coach went off himself, only to call me within a few minutes to tell me that someone was selling cases of paint for $1 per can! So he grabbed the first boxful of colors he thought I might use.

General Finishes Case of Paint

I went back with him later and struck up a convo with the homeowner. Turns out he had owned an unfinished furniture store for years, and had recently closed it down. These were the leftover paints, stains and finishes.

General Finishes Paint Supply

So I grabbed some stains (now, I know Hunter Green is not in style right now, but you never know when it might return to its former backwoods glory)

General Finishes Green Stain

some Milk Paints-can’t wait to try these

General Finishes Milk Paint

and Glazes- so many colors to choose from.

General Finishes Black Glaze

This ought to be fun! But my best yard sale buy of the weekend? This awesome heavy-duty stainless steel rolling kitchen cart!

Paint Cart Cleaned

The guy was asking $10 and Coach asked if he would take $5. He said “sure, quick, just take it before my wife comes back outside-she has an emotional attachment to everything!” LOL!! We all know how that goes! So, I brought it home with the intent of finally organizing all of my paints, stains and finishes into one spot instead of scattered all over my work shop.

Workbench Paints

Before I could use it, though, I spent about 2 hours with many household products including Awesome Orange cleaner, vinegar, baking soda, bleach spray, scrubbing brushes and many kettles of boiling water to clean off layer upon layer of grease-yuck! I am not sure where this thing had been, but I sure as heck didn’t want it in my basement attracting critters! Finally, the finished cart was sparkly and ready to go. I made quick work of filling it with so many cans and bottles and pots of paints and finishes.

Finish Cans

So now its filled with my newest additions

Filled Paint Cart

to go along with my ever-growing collection of Behr paint sample pots I get at Home Depot,

Behr Sample Pots From Home Depot

plus a new paint with some amazing colors

Paint Couture Color Samples

from a company called Paint Couture

Belize Blue Paint Couture

and my first ever Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint (in a very special color, more on that later..).

/Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

Boy, do I have a lot of work to do in the next couple of weeks! As I try each new product, I will give my unbiased opinion on the overall painting experience. But tonight is game one of the World Series, so paintbrushes away! And Go SOX! Susan

“Every Little Thing’s…

Gonna Be Alright”. Bob Marley. Shane Victorino. Another epic baseball night at the old ballpark in Boston.

Victorious VictorinoWho knew when this season began that this little band of bearded misfits would turn into the team that would not quit? In honor of this remarkable season, I am sharing a few vintage baseball-inspired images, to which I have added my own little decorating touch. In lieu of growing a beard to show my support,

head shot large BeardI have added this Red Sox/Fenway Park vignette,

Fenway Park Vignette PM

which is now gracing our kitchen, awaiting the start of the World Series-can you believe it!?

Sox Fan Vignette

(Truth be told, these are all pieces that we have collected over the years, that banner is from 1975! But they were packed away last year mid-season in protest of all that was wrong with the 2012 Sox.) I am happy to restore them to their rightful spot for all the world to see. Hey, Wally, welcome back!!

Wally The Green Monster PM

Here are a few other baseball-inspired images that caught my eye this morning while browsing my Ipad as I was watching the replays of last night’s drama. These inspired ideas are a GRAND SLAM in my book!

Mason’s Party by Hostess with the Mostess– lucky Mason!

Photo from Hostess with the Mostess

Baseball Bedroom by Knockoff Decor

Baseball Bedroom From Knock Off Decor

Baseball Mural Bedroom by Theme Rooms Blogspot

Red Sox Room by ThemeRooms

Baseball Wedding by Evoke Blog

Baseball Inspired Wedding by Evoked C Blog

Rustic Brick Wall & Clock-Game Time by Cool Kids Rooms

Baseball Brick Wall and Balls

Vintage Man Cave by Nathan Taylor for Obelisk Home

Man Cave by Nathan Taylor

Combing two of my favorite things! Baseball and Buffalo Plaid by Colorful Living Interiors

Baseball and Buffalo Plaid

And finally, this extraordinary baseball bat wall installation by Intimate Living Interiors

Baseball Bat Wall Installation by Intimate Living Interiors

So, no matter what happens in the coming weeks, we can always celebrate the special moments of this extraordinary Red Sox season.

Koji Celebrating

And remember,

Sign by The Silver Spider Etsy

unless, of course, they are tears of joy. Go Sox!!! Susan

Fancy Fringed Footstool

This past weekend was a whirlwind of events including a surprise birthday fiesta for our beautiful daughter,

Fiesta!

followed the next day by a “leftover” enchilada party featuring our favorite legendary local sports heroes,

Illustration by  Larry Johnson

Illustration by
Larry Johnson

followed by yet another birthday party (we do have a lot of family birthdays in October!) PLUS the 4 day  Vintage Thymes Monthly Market-whew! Didn’t leave any time for DIY’ing or blogging, but I am slowly cleaning up the final messes and getting back on the blogging bus. Sort of. This was the actual party bus we hired to move the party to Boston- fun!

Bus Ride to Boston

Today I am featuring this little project, a before and after of a footstool that I picked up in a thrift shop for a couple of bucks. It was very outdated but pretty sturdy, even though the middle was sort of sunken in.

Original Footstool

Here’s the how-I-did-it:  Pulled off the old, tattered dirty fringe, but left the rest intact, since I was just going to cover it anyway. Piled some batting on top of the sunken middle, as I wanted it to have more of a “poof” appearance than a flat top.

Adding Batting to top

I recently heard the name “gout stool” for the first time, which was apparently a term used in the Victorian era regarding footstools for people to rest their feet on while suffering from gout. So I thought that a poufier cushion might be a bit more comfy for any sore feet-this poor guy has two!

Gout Illustration

Cut the top fabric to fit over the new poufy top.

Cutting Top Fabric to Fit

Stapled it all the way around,

Stapling Top Fabric in Place

folding the corners down, but leaving the rest kind of casually creased.

Stapling Top Fabric 1

Measured the height of the bottom fabric- there was already a dividing line in the stool where the seam was, so I just used that. I had already finished off the top edge with a buttonhole stitch on my sewing machine, but  you can just fold it over and press if you don’t have a machine. Measuring Base Height

I glued it around the edges overlapping the floral fabric, then flipped it over and stapled it to the bottom.

Stapling Fabric to Base

Since it just looked like a big lumpy pouf, I decided to add the covered button, with one large stitch that pulled through all the foam and batting into the bottom, which tucked the middle down to create a tufting effect.

Center Covered Button

The feet were just simple cylinders, but they had the nice metal sliders on the bottoms, so I simply painted them.

Feet

The easiest way to paint anything mounted on a screw is to stand it up, so I put them into place in their existing corner brackets,  but screwed them in just enough to hold them upright, then added some wax paper to mask the fabric.

Masking with Wax Paper

Painted two coats of Behr Stealth Gray,

Painting Footstool Feet

allowed to dry and then pulled away the wax paper. Before I securely tightened the feet, I glued down a piece of burlap I had handy just to finish the base.

Burlap Base Cover

Added the fringe with a hot glue gun.

New Fringe

This is the finished “gout stool” that co-ordinates with an antique oak chair that I had already recovered with the matching Waverly Fabric. Which creates a lovely fireside vignette.

Footstool and Chair Completed

Both will be available at next month’s Vintage Thymes Market. In the meantime, I think I might use that stool to rest my weary feet while I watch the game today. Go Sox! Susan

Party Time at Vintage Thymes

Last night I participated in the one-year anniversary celebration at the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market -what a blast from the past!

History PlanterThere was delicious food and drink, great live music and sooo many shoppers (the line to get in started forming at 4:30!) I have been involved in this vintage market for a few months now, and have been continuously impressed by the owners, Robin and Nancy,

Vintage Thymes Founders Robin & Nancyas well as the many talented vendors,

Vintage Shades of Grey Mantel

who pull out all the stops to create breath-taking vignettes within the confines of their booth spaces. (this is my space : )

Country Design Home

This month, in particular, was more fabulous than ever, IMHO!

Vintage Bike VignetteThe range of vintage items available, from rustic tin pigs

Big Tin Pigto gorgeous florals

Vintage Shades Floralto ingeniously funky remade home wares-whoooo would think that two old saws could be so adorable?!

Saw Owlswas overwhelming, and I noticed that many shoppers stayed for hours trying to take it all in and find some perfect pieces for their homes and shops.

Harvest ThymeI had a chance to take a few pics before the mayhem began

Autumn Waresto give you an idea of the breadth of talent that is showcased in this monthly event.

Vintage Thymes Trunk(Disclaimer: some of the items in these pics were sold last night, but I assure you there is so much more to see and purchase over this long weekend!)

Vintage Cream and HydrangeasSo, if you have a chance to get down (or up) to the south shore this weekend, make sure you head on over to the WinSmith Mill Market to take it all in.

Starfish Tablescape

And, on Sunday, a special treat-there will be an outdoor anniversary fair as well, with music and food trucks and more vintage goodies with over 30 dealers! Have a happy harvest weekend, everyone! Susan

Cabbage Roses to Country Charm

The 80’s called and they wanted their dusty rose cabbage roses back. So I obliged. And our downstairs 1/2 bath, that used to look like this

Before Mirror
now looks like this! (I need to apologize for the not-so-great-pics. Do you know how difficult it was to squeeze into a 5 x 8 bathroom to take these?!)

Bathroom Completed 2

Many of the DIY projects in this tiny bath have been featured on my blog, including the vanity transformation, from boring beige

Vanity Before White Coffee

to rustic navy

After Tile and Vanity

the American flag art piece

Map and Sign on Wall Signed

and of course, my Oh Deer Buck Towel Rack.

Oh Deer Towel Rack
So what was once pink and beige with roses and LLadro dolls and shiny brass fixtures

Before Dolls and Statues

is now all dolled up with the new color palette of navy and green and polished nickel fixtures. The inspiration came from the fabulous wallpaper.

Bathroom Color Palette

This paper, that I scooped out of a clearance bin over a year ago for $10, has the appearance of old barn walls with textured crackled vertical striping. The woodwork, once Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee, is now Benjamin Moore Snowfall White.

After Toilet Side Vintage Vignette
The floor, previously smoky pale blue tiles (many of which were broken or cracked)

Old Bathroom Tile Removal

is now a stunning slate subway tile I picked up in a clearance bin at Lowes for $1.12 per s/f!

Slate Subway Tiles

Love our new faucet from Home Depot, which resembles an old well pump.

Faucet

The sconces used to be shiny brass and hung next to an ornate, floral gold mirror.

Before Cabbage Roses and Brass Sconces

but when I (my daughter found these, actually, but as soon as I saw them I had to have them! She and I installed them together, so thanks Kate!)

Sconce Closeup

found these at Home Depot I knew they would be the perfect complement to the rustic old mirror Coach had picked up at a yard sale. I just cleaned it and added some Annie Sloan Soft Wax for a glowing finish.

Mirror Wall Complete

This cute little tin shelf came from a downtown shop, and its the perfect size for holding tissues, soaps and some reading material.

Tin Shelf Complete

Love this feature wall. Well, this was the feature wall until I was blow-drying my hair the other morning and the needlepoint picture ($1 at a flea market, oak frame from AC Moore with a coupon) that was resting on the shelf got blown off the shelf, taking the brown wood vase with it, smashing them onto the new slate floor. Luckily, the floor was spared any damage.

After Toilet Side Vintage Vignette

So now this is the feature wall.

Toilet Wall After 2

This was a budget makeover, with the only major changes being a new toilet, new faucet and the sconces, all from Home Depot. The towels, candle holders, soap dispenser, toilet paper holder and scatter rug were from Home Goods, of course. Everything else is reclaimed, refashioned and repurposed, like these beautiful Mason Jars, once filled with preserves, now preserving the past while serving as functional containers.

Mason Jars Edited

The only thing I am still on the fence about is the sink. It is old, and has lost most of its shine, but it is granite. And blue.

Sink Wall Edited

My original intent was to paint it white using epoxy paint. But, after reading the scary warning label (my nervous system has taken enough hits lately…)

Warning Label

and knowing that there is virtually no ventilation in the tiny space, I decided to pass for now. So blue it stays, but it does look like a sink you might find in an old farm bathroom, so I’m OK with it. This, by far, has been one of my all-time favorite transformation projects in our home. It captures the essence and stays true to our country design home style, don’t you think? Stay true to your Tuesday style! Susan

Joyful Wedding By The Sea

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and this week I am sharing some pics from an amazing wedding Coach and I recently attended in Kennebunkport, Maine.

A View From the TentWhen you have the good fortune to witness two people, blissfully in love, surrounded by family and friends in an incredible ocean-side setting, well, there are simply no words to describe it. These photos can only hint at the incredibly beautiful celebration that surrounded this young couple as they committed their lives to one another in a joyful wedding by the sea.

Trolleys at the Ready

Trolleys at the Ready
A View From the Church Lawn

Ocean View from the Church
The Stone Church Tower

Stone Church
The Aisle Illuminated

The Aisle Illuminated
The Soaring Tent

The Soaring Tent
Their Monogrammed Banners Flying High

Monogrammed Banners
A Nautical Boutonniere

Nautical Boutinierre
Pretty in Pink

One Perfect Rose
The Perfect Settings

Perfect Place Settings
Hydrangeas and Roses on the Bar

Hydrangeas & Roses

The Bridal Party Dockside

Bridal Party Dockside
Adirondack Chairs on the Lawn

The Setting Sun in the Harbor
Boats Afloat

Boats in the Setting Sun
The End of A Perfect Evening

The Setting Sun with Chairs
As we were seated in the church, I noticed this stained glass window above me.

Stained Glass Window

So I am so very cheerfully giving the bride and groom our very best wishes for a lifetime of joy and happiness! XOXO Susan & Coach

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