The Master in Class at Maison Decor

Recently, I had the good fortune to observe an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint class instructed by Amy Chalmers, owner of Maison Decor in Reading, Mass.

Amy Chalmers

With the perfect blend of skill, patience and great humor, Amy was able to successfully educate the attendees of the class on the basic techniques of using chalk paint to make their life more beautiful.

Maison Decor Life More Beautiful SignI first met Amy about a year ago, when I ventured into her store in Malden (now being used primarily as a workshop). Although we chatted that day about her blog and her company, I hadn’t really had an opportunity to learn about her own design experience until now. When questioned about her art background (when you see her shop, you know there is a very talented artist in residence), this was her response:

Amy Painting Armoire“I did study art at Northeastern and our program involved taking classes at the Museum of Fine Arts, which was amazing. But I was an English major in creative writing and art was my minor. I just always was the artsy kid, and my dad built me my own special art table when I was 12…it was modeled after an architects drafting table with a raised work surface and it had lots of cubbies on one side for me to put my art supplies. My parents just encouraged my creative leanings and I am glad they did. I painted a mural on my bedroom wall in high school~so it was just something that I found very natural. I think it was my first grade art teacher that ignited the fire inside of me, I was so excited about my art classes with her, and I remember thinking that I wanted to grow up to be an art teacher!”

After her schooling, Amy got into fabrics, making slipcovers and drapes, and started her own business in her late twenties sewing custom pieces. Interior design work followed, and for over 20 years she had her own business specializing in window treatments and color selections. Focusing primarily on residential interiors, she did do an occasional commercial space, including the McDonalds in Fanueil Hall in Boston! (what Annie Sloan colors are in that yellow and red palette?!)

Chalk Paints on Windowsill at Maison Decor

Fast forward to the present, where Amy spends the bulk of her time in the Reading Shop as an Annie Sloan “stockist” and teacher, offering painting workshops while creating and selling gorgeous pieces of furniture and decor, all finished with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Maison Decor Chalk Paint SuppliesEntering into the store from Main Street, you feel as if you are stepping into an old chateau in the French countryside.

Maison Decor Shop VignetteHer style is quintessential French Country: loads of soft, muted colors, (Duck Egg Blue, oh yum!)

Duck Egg Bluestunning crystal chandeliers

Maison Decor French Crystal Chandelierand vintage pieces, all restyled and refinished using Annie Sloan paints and finishes.

Blue Painted DresserShe and her sons, Justin and Colin, also working in the business, created this cobblestone floor using sponges and chalk paint. Magnifique! FYI-the guys teach a “men’s-only” class, for the gents who would like to learn the painting techniques while not surrounded by women. Or maybe not.

Maison Decor Cobblestone FloorI arrived a bit early on workshop day, checking out the work table at the back of the shop, all set with the necessary tools and aprons her participants would need.

Maison Decor Class PrepOnce the class got rolling, Amy was a great teacher, at first educating her students on the paints, the company and furniture styles, but then it was time to get messy!

Time Clock @ Maison Decor

Amy’s charming teaching style is stand-up comedy meets mad scientist meets art professor.

Class PaintingShe knows her stuff, and is eager to impart her vast knowledge and expertise to her students, demonstrating technique and patiently answering any questions from her class. This is a hands-on workshop- no boring lectures here!

Amy Chalmers Teaching ClassAfter a few hours of painting and glazing and using blow-dryers (you’ll have to take the class to find out what those are for : ) the final reveal: These were Amy’s demo pieces:

Completed Samples, Teacher

and here are some samples from one of the class members: pretty close, agreed?

Completed Samples, Student

If you are interested in learning about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and if you don’t know what that is, check out Pinterest (and if you don’t know what that is, you clearly have not been reading my blog…)

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

This unique paint, originating in England by a former rocker, is slowly making its way through the US and changing the way American craftspeople re-purpose and restyle their furniture.) Or, you can head over to Maison Decor at 150 Main Street in Reading, and learn everything you need to know from the master, Amy Chalmers, in one of her continually added workshops. They stock all of the necessary supplies there, or you can order online.  And if you do check her out, tell her Sue from Country Design Home sent you! Have a charming Sunday, Susan

A Global Intervention

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and as much as I would like to be jetting to some fab location on the globe, this week I have to settle for repurposing a couple of globes instead. My shop in this weekend’s Vintage Thymes Market is all about back to school, and I have so many maps and globes, it’s a bit ridiculous. So a couple of them got a little makeover. A plain Jane, run-of-the-mill globe is now a chalkboard- thanks to some Benjamin Moore Chalkboard paint.Unpainted Globe

Super easy to do: literally take a globe (we found all of ours at yard and estate sales for just a couple of bucks), paint on a coat of chalkboard paint to cover. Wait a day. Add a second coat.

Globe Chalkboard Painted 2 coats

Wait a couple of days. Now you want to “size” the surface so when you write on it, you can change it easily by wiping with a damp cloth.

Chalking the Globe

You literally take the side of the chalk and paint the entire surface until it looks like an inverted snow globe…then wipe it with a damp rag.

Chalked Globe

The finished globe-guess this is what earth looks like at night when viewed from Mars. Kinda cool, right?

Chalk Globe Completed

The other great find was a standing, light-up globe-awesome! The base was an old, scratched and scraped cherry wood.

Stand Globe in Car

So I hit it will some steel wool and Liquid Sander. A little goes a long way. I think I’ve had this can since 1999!

Klean Strip Liquid Sander It cleans and preps the surface and creates a solid bond for the paint to adhere. I use this when I don’t want to use a white primer or chalk paint. The paint is Behr’s Enduring. I used two coats and then, to finish, I mixed some Annie Sloan Soft Wax with a bit of Behr Stealth Jet (my newest color obsession-it’s dark charcoal with a hint of chocolate)

Soft Wax and Paint Mix

and painted that into the crevices and molding edges to highlight the details.

Brushing On Wax

Wiped most of it away,

Rubbing Off Wax

allowed to dry, then finished the whole thing with a light coat of wax.

Stand Globe Painted

The results are out of this world!

Stand Globe Lit

Both will be available this weekend at the market, so if you happen to be wandering about on the south shore, stop by and say hello! I will be there on Friday, and would love to meet you all! Happy wandering…Susan

Vanity, Be Thy Name

I am just about finished with our downstairs 1/2 bath budget remodel. The original plan was to remove some old wallpaper and freshen up with a coat of paint. Well, you know how that works out…decorating dominoes. One thing leads to another and before you know it, you’ve remodeled your downstairs bath!

Bathroom floor

Before I show you the before and afters of the completed entire bath, I wanted to share a couple of simple projects that require little work and supplies and $$$, but make a huge impact in a space. You’ve already seen my Oh, Deer Towel Rack,

Oh Deer Completed

now hanging next to the sink. Next up is the old vanity makeover.

Vanity Before Open Doors

This was built back in the 80’s, using some old lumber and planking and painted a tan color. Since this was a budget remodel, every penny counted, and replacing the sink and vanity was not an option. The color palette I chose for the room was based on this awesome rustic wallpaper I found in a markdown bin at our local paint store, over a year ago!

Bathroom Color Palette

I hung on to it, knowing that someday I would be using it somewhere… So here is the vanity base how-I-did-it:Vanity Before White Coffee1.Removed the old (not-so-shiny anymore) brass knobs. Sanded down the old paint on the vanity. The old paint was an oil semi-gloss and after 20+ years it was rock hard. But I managed to rough it up enough. BTW- my favorite workshop toy is this little mouse sander (perhaps the little mouse I discovered a few weeks back was looking for his buddy?).

Black & Decker Mouse Sander

This thing is small and the pointed tip makes it easy to get into crevices and corners. I use it to sand, but also to buff and shine with a foam pad or a soft cloth. The sandpaper is attached with Velcro, super easy and quick!

2. Base coat of Behr Midnight Dream, then a second coat of  Mood Indigo  blue, dry brushed to add color but not completely cover the undercoat. The little sample pots at Home Depot are perfect for small projects! The hinges were painted right along with the doors and frame, so that they just blended in.

Vanity Blue Coats

4. I sanded it all down so that the wood grain showed through, but the colors were still there. (woops, think I was a little overzealous on that middle section!)

Sanded Middle

5. Added the Rustoleum Glaze to bring down the blue, enhance the wood grain and give it a more rustic, aged feeling.

Rustoleum Transformations Decorative Glaze

The left side is unglazed, the right side with a coat of glaze that you paint on and then rub off with a soft cloth.

Glazing Before and After

You only need a little, and you can wipe off as much or as little as you like to achieve the richness of the color.

6. Added a coat of Varathane Polyurethane Matte finish. I love this stuff. It dries fast and leaves a hard, durable finish, and hardly has any odor! And, it doesn’t yellow the color of the paint at all, like some polys do.

Varathan Polyurethane

This is a bathroom, so I needed a water resistant finish that looked good but not shiny, in keeping with the “old worn blue jeans” look I was going for. It needed to look old and chippy without actually being old and chippy. Don’t want any rough surfaces where water and germs could collect!

7. Added these rustic polished nickel knobs to complete the look.

Brushed Nickel Pulls

Done! So, for a total cost of about $14, $3 each for the pewter knobs, $3 each for the 2 Behr Paint Pots, and I only used a tiny bit of the Rustoleum Glaze and the Varathane Poly that I already had on hand-so $1 each for those-all purchased at The Home Depot. Now we have a brand-new-old-looking rustic vanity base!

Vanity Complete

But, you’ll have to tune in again to view the bathroom remodel in its entirety. In the meantime, have a transformative Tuesday, everyone! Susan

KEEP CALM & CRAFT ON

We’ve all seen those signs…everywhere. The original

keep-calm-and-carry-on

plus many (HOLY GRAPHICS BATMAN!)

Keep Calm Batman

many

Keep Calm Gallery

clever original versions. Me want cookies!

Keep Calm Cookie Monster

I’ve been working on a chalkboard sign for my back to school booth next weekend. I knew what I wanted to say, but I needed the correct font to get the look. Google search tells me that it could be Avenir, Gill Sans MT, or a few other. But the Google search also brought me to this awesome website:

KEEP CALM O MATIC

This brilliant site from the UK (that is where the phrase originated, after all) allows you to enter any original saying you would like, make color changes and even add backgrounds and photos. They will print it up for you on any number of items including mugs,

Keep Calm Mug

shirts, aprons,

Keep Calm Apron

If you can dream it up, they will make it.  So now knowing what the font was, I made my sign using the reverse chalking method. See Here:

Reverse Chalking

And I transformed this old, unused paneled cabinet door

Keep Calm Door

into this vintage chalkboard, perfect for any classroom!

Be NICE Sign

Try out the website, it’s free and so fun! The creative possibilities are endless. And, KEEP CALM & RELAX, everyone, it’s the weekend!!! Susan

It’s About Time

Vintage Clocks Bubby & Bean

A few of my favorite images on the Pinterest boards are of vintage clocks. I LOVE clocks. The bigger and bolder and older the better.

Large Blue Vintage Clock Shelterness

Photo via Shelterness.com

Since I am always so stressed for time, and oftentimes so immersed in my work that I forget the hour, clocks keep me in line and on time. (Except for the time when I was so busy sparkling up my holiday wreaths that I actually forgot to go to work!) Since I don’t wear a watch, I depend on my cell phone to tick away the hours and notify me when my time is up.

CDH iPhone clocks

But old timepieces, worn and shabby and oftentimes not even keeping time, evoke memories of simpler times passed by.

Cherubs and Clocks Indulgy

Photo Via Indulgy.com

Which is why, I believe, they are so appealing in today’s interior designs. No matter what the style, they blend perfectly and give a timeless presence.

Vintage Clock Shelterness

Vintage Clock Vignette via Shelterness

You will find vintage and shabby clocks on the pages of Pottery Barn

Vintage Clocks Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn Square Pocket Watch Clocks

 Ballard Designs

Vintage Clock Vignette Ballard Designs

Joss & Main

Clock Vignette Joss and Main

Joss & Main

and, of course, on Country Design Home! These are two of my favorites- this Paris clock sits in the alcove in my kitchen

CDH Kitchen Clock

and this one graces the glass and mirror bookshelves in my living room. Both are from, where else, Home Goods : )

CDH Living Room Clock

But my favorite vintage clock is this little beauty. Sooo love this! (Anyone happen to know where I can find one of these?)

Vintage Rhinstone Clock

So it’s about time for me to get back to work! One more week til the Vintage Thymes September Market– aptly name Vintage Thymes. To see more beautifully timeless images, click here.  Have a great time this weekend everyone! Susan

Blotting a Map

This week I have been up to my eyeballs in maps-all kinds, shapes and sizes-in preparation for next week’s Vintage Thymes Market.

Maps books

My September Theme is Back to School-you won’t believe all the cool retro school stuff we have found! But the maps are Coach’s thing, and these are not the hundred plus he already has at a Ward Maps Shop in Cambridge! This is an expansive collection of are all sorts of maps: countries, cities, roadways, the heavens, the earth, the ocean floors. My favorite is this gorgeous 1950’s Map of Outer Space- the colors are amazing!

Map of Outer Space

And they will all be available next week at the shop. Well, except one. I decided I needed a blotter for the desk I have been working on-also for the shop, so I grabbed an Upper Northeast map to cut up and use for the blotter.

This is the How-I-Did-It:
Supplies: foam board cut to size, fabric or paper (or one of the maps you will be purchasing at my shop next week : ), glue, vinyl sheet (optional), backing paper or mat board, cutter & T-square or scissors, tape
1. Measure out your foam core board to the size you wish to have the finished mat. Cut with scissors or rotary cutter and T-square.

Foam Board Cutting

2. Measure out the map, making sure the design you want to show on the front is positioned correctly. Before you cut it, make sure it is very smooth with no wrinkles. You can iron paper, BTW. Just use a no-steam, cotton setting and keeping moving the iron!

Ironing Map

Cut with at least a one inch border around the edges. You will be turning these under to give the edge a smooth finished edge.

Map Edges on Board

3. Spray adhesive on the foam board, then position the cut map with even edges on all sides.

Elmer's Craft Bond

I love this Elmer’s Craft Bond glue because it is temporary before its permanent, so it gives you a bit of time to reposition if you need to. It is quite messy, however, so make sure you mask the entire area you are spraying or you’ll end up glued to the table!
4. Add a layer of vinyl (this part is optional). I happened to have a roll left over from when we shrink-wrapped the porch last fall. I know, it’s almost that time of year again, yuck. This will give the blotter a wipeable, durable finish.

Vinyl Coated

Measure out the vinyl, leaving at least a couple of inches all the way around. This stuff is thick, so you need some extra to grab on to the back. By the way, vinyl is one of those things that tends to attract dust and dirt, especially in the basement. The cleaning solution? A dryer cling sheet!

Cling Sheets
5. Cut away the corners at an angle and then fold the vinyl in like a Christmas present corner. Tape securely to the back. (don’t worry, you are not going to see it anyway)

Vinyl Corners6. Add the sides.

Side Pieces

These are great for tucking in papers and paint chips and such. Measure out two pieces of foam or cardboard as wide as you like, but exactly the height of the blotter.

Side Pieces Measured

Measure out the map paper so that there is a few inches hanging over the ends.

Cutting Side Pieces

7. Position the side pieces, spray glue them, and then fold the ends over the edges and secure to the back with tape or glue. (The only thing I would have done differently would be to fold three sides over the edges to give it a cleaner look. The more you know…

Side Pieces Taped

8. Measure out a piece of backing to finish the reverse side.

Backing Paper

You can use paper, fabric, mat board, anything you would like, but remember, you are not going to see it anyway. If the surface is delicate or scratchable, I would definitely go with felt or fabric for softer protection. Glue the backing to the foam board, covering up all the messy folds and tape.

Glue on BackingAnd …

Blotter Completed

9. Voila! You have a customized, durable blotter for your desk! Have fun customizing it to your room- the skies (or the heavens) are the limit! Have a terrific Thursday, everyone! Susan

A Backsplash Backstory

Last week, I learned a few things about installing a backsplash while helping out with a DIY kitchen makeover. But before I share the how-to (or not-to-do), a little back-story:

Kate Wheel of Fortune

A few years ago, my daughter, Kate decided it might be fun to be on a game show, specifically Wheel of Fortune,

Wheel Of Fortune

because a co-worker had mentioned that she had been attempting to get on the show for years, and never got the call. Kate recalled that as a very young child, she had watched it with her grandfather and tried to guess the turning letters. My father’s tease was naming Vanna White in whatever color gown she happened to be wearing: Vanna Yellow,

Vanna Yellow

Vanna Purple,

Vanna Purple

which always delighted her (Kate, not Vanna). So she signed up online, got called almost immediately for an audition in NYC (much to the chagrin of her snubbed co-worker), made it on to the show, flew to LA, wore her lucky red shoes,

Ruby Slippers

and she won! See if you can guess the bonus round puzzle-it’s a thing.  +++

Puzzles

When you see a game show hosts tell a contestant “this $50,000 is life-changing money” and you scoff and think its not, think again. Following Kate’s victory (and once she received her winnings), she got one of these:

Bartlet Puppy

resigned from her job and was accepted to law school

Gaveland simultaneously purchased a 2 bedroom condo in the burbs of Boston with her boyfriend. Since purchasing that condo, they have slowly made significant improvements, including tearing out old beige carpet and installing hardwood floors, painting the rooms and making it their own-all DIY projects. The kitchen, most likely last updated in the 70’s, was functional but not so pretty. But starving (lol) law students don’t typically have the means to gut and renovate a kitchen, even if they do win game shows, so that was tackled piece-meal, changing out hardware, adding new appliances (some DIY, installing the microwave and disposal and faucet themselves) as the old ones finally sputtered and died, and finally adding granite countertops (not DIY) and the backsplash (cue how-to). So these are the lessons we learned:

1. Installing a backsplash is not as easy as it appears on all of those DIY shows where the host hands the trowel over to the homeowner and say “Here. Finish this tonight for homework while I go back to my hotel and sleep.” Make sure you assemble all of your necessary tools first before you begin the grouting process!

Grout Supplies

2. Use the cardboard backing from the tiles squares to mask the countertop and provide enough space for the caulk to fit once you have grouted.

Masking Cardboard

3. Use a level. Repeat. Use a level.

Backsplash cardboard

You have to make sure that ground zero (that starting point) is perfectly level and vertically straight or you will install the equivalent of a disco ball on your wall. Disco Ball

Which may not be a bad thing if you’re feelin’ a little groovy…

4. When you are installing stainless steel squares, either do not remove the protective plastic until you are finished grouting, or use unsanded grout to make sure you don’t scratch the steel. (After all, it’s called stainless steel, not scratchless steel!) If it doesn’t say unsanded on the package, it’s sanded. Lesson learned a bit too late.

Scratched Stainless Tile

5. Once you have discovered that the float with the grout is scratching the tiles, you switch over to the finger painting method, making sure you firmly press the grout into the cracks without scratching the steel tiles.

Backsplash Fingerpainting

Yucky work, but had to be done. Used these wipes to clean up the tiles, which worked very nicely.

Stainless Wipes

6. Make sure you protect all of the surfaces surrounding the backsplash, including your new granite countertops, because the grouting is messy and grout globs fly all over the place. And grab them before they hit the floor, so the dog doesn’t eat them!

Taping off for caulk

7. Have a BIG wet sponge handy to wipe up all the excess grout you are dropping and smearing all over the place. Better yet, cut the sponge in threes and keep a constant wet one handy to wipe and clean as you go.

Grout Supplies

8. Make sure you account for the NEW DEPTH of the electrical outlets. Because there was no backsplash when the plugs were installed, they were flush to the wall. We were part way around when we discovered this error-woops. So we ended up cutting off these little corners so the tiles would fit snugly. Not sure what those are for anyway…

Plugs

9. Make an appointment with a nail salon upon completion. You are going to need it.

10. Stand back and admire your sparkly new backsplash-the jewelry of the kitchen!

Backsplash Reflection

11. In the overall scheme of things, it’s fun, and cost effective to attempt DIY projects. But in the future, all tile installations will be left to the pros. But for now, what a beautiful, shiny, sparkling backsplash!

Backsplash Completed

Kind of looks like one of Vanna’s sparkly dresses, yes?

Vanna Silver

And if you ever decide you want to be on a game show, but think, no way, that will never happen, I just can’t do it, do it anyway. You never know where your wheel might steer you! Hope you are having a great long weekend everyone! Susan

+++ JOKES AND PUNS  (I know, right!?! How did she get that!?)

Mousetrap!

Mousetrap Game

As a kid, it was one of my favorite games. The little mouse was caught in the trap and the balls rolled around and if you did it correctly, it would untrap the mouse! Who would want to untrap a mouse in your house-what a nightmare! And, speaking of nightmares…you know when you have one of those restless nights at 3am when you just can’t sleep so you try to read and that doesn’t help so you decide to go down to your basement workshop and paint and as you are descending the stairs, you see this?!?

Mouse

No? So, that’s just me? The strange part was, he wasn’t scurrying around, just laying belly down on the concrete floor, commando style, but his mouth was twitching. Hmmm. Cancel that workshop idea. Went back to bed, making enough noise so that Coach asked if I was OK, to which I responded: “There is a mouse in the basement, can you go kill it?” I pretty much will do any home-renovating and restoring type projects, being the strong, independent, “I Can Do Anything” type of woman I am,

We can do anything

but that does not apply to rodent control. (Unless, of course, you count the time I captured the squirrel with the trash bag- read that saga here…)

squirrel trap!

Squirrel Trap!

His drowsy response: “You want me to go kill it now?!” So we went back to sleep, and Coach got up first thing and discovered the mouse in the exact same place I left it the night before. I don’t have any poison or mousetraps down there, and we haven’t seen one in quite awhile, so I am not sure exactly what killed the little guy. Coach suggested it was all of the chalk paint I have in my work shop-perhaps he got a taste of Duck Egg Blue or French Linen?

Chalk Paint French Linen

Since I think chalk paint is supposed to be non-toxic, it’s more likely he got a taste of some deadly paint remover or stain. Didn’t he see the skull and crossbones on the can!?

Skull and Crossbones

Obviously, I don’t need to set a trap, since I have some sort of mouse killer already in place. However, as a public service announcement, I will share with you my favorite mouse trap: The Ortho Max Defense Mouse Trap. We have tried them all, and this one rocks! This is a no-muss, no-fuss kind of gadget. Just set it, and when it’s done its job the little lever pops up. You don’t ever see the poor little country mouse who just got smooshed. Sad, but effective and necessary to keep your home rodent free. Why don’t they just stay outside with the other woodland creatures where they belong?

Ortho Home Defense Mouse Trap

So, with that, it’s time to return to the dark and dreary basement to work on some projects-but I’m thinking I need a new workshop! Something bright and beautiful and (preferably) not underground. Like this one I recently spotted on the blogs-can you believe that someone actually gets to create in this space? I’m certain you won’t find any mouses (meese, what’s the plural?) here-unless it’s attached to a Mac.

WorkRoom The Creativity Exchange

Workroom The Creativity Exchange

But a crafty girl can dream, right, even if she can’t sleep at 3am? Have a dreamy Friday, everyone-it’s a long weekend! Susan

The Green Mountain State

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, so I am sharing a few pics from the Green Mountain State- Vermont. Last week Coach and I joined some dear friends for a few days of R & R in Stowe, Vermont. Although we made a couple of antique and junk shop stops, this trip was meant to be a relaxing and non-working fun time-really?!

Vermont Holy Cow

No blogging, no painting, pickin’ and hauling cupboards and deer home in my CRV. We headed to Stow, a three hour drive from home, viewing not much along the way except brilliant blue skies and many, many miles of timber lining both sides of the highways.

Vermont Sky

We made a few stops along the way, including the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour in Waterbury.

Ben and Jerrys

This consisted of a brief movie detailing the beginnings of Ben & Jerry (yup, that’s their names, for real) and a short tour through the processing plant where they produce and package 250,000 pints per day!! After that came the free sample-Strawberry Cheesecake with chunks of graham cracker crust-yum.

Ben & Jerrys Strawberry Cheesecake

We made the requisite stop at Quechee Gorge, which was quite low, not much water rushing through here!

Vermont Quechee Gorge 1

The support struts were pretty impressive, however.

Vermont Quechee Gorge Struts 1

Here are a few pics of some highlights of our little vaca, including the gardens at the Woodstock Inn,

Vermont Woodstock Inn

some sweet yellow wildflowers in Stow

Vermont Wildflowers

and this cute little cub carved from a log.

Vermont Carved Bear Cub

(BTW, I have added chain-saw carving to my DIY bucket list, so does anyone have one I can borrow?) On our final morning, we took a gondola ride to the top of Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak in the Green Mountains.

Vermont Mt. Mansfield View

Those of you who know me personally know that it takes a lot for me to ride on a vehicle suspended in the air by a slim cable, climbing up into the sky without any chance of escaping. Vermont Gondola View

As we were waiting to board, this sign came into view-seriously!?

Mt. Mansfield Gondola Sign

The only life saving equipment I spotted were some rubber mats wrapped around the bases of the gondola poles. Fat chance that’s gonna stop a runaway car plummeting down 4,393 feet! The view, however, was well worth it : )

Vermont Mt. Mansfield Trees

And, even better news, I had cell phone service thanks to the mountain top cell towers!!

Vermont Cell Towers

What’s up with the no service again, AT&T? The “Around Me” App doesn’t really do much good if I don’t have any service!

AT&T No Service

First Maine, now Vermont and even 30 miles outside of Concord NH, I had no service while my friend sitting right beside me was happily playing Candy Crush with her Verizon iPhone! AT&T, are you not aware that New England is part of your “Fastest 4g Network?!?”  Despite the cell snafu, we had a great time with some great friends. We ate out, sunned by the pool, shopped, saw some wildlife,

Vermont Moose

did a little trivia, at out some more, and just kicked back and relaxed. And, since Ben & Jerry have asked, we will come back again soon : )

Ben & Jerrys Come Back Soon

Have a terrific Thursday everyone! One more day til the long weekend-yippee!! Susan

A D.I.Y. Project for Humanity

It’s been a week since my last post- I can’t believe it! Coach and I had a little getaway with some dear friends, this time to Vermont, and I took just a short respite from my blogging duties.

DIY Ben and Jerrys

That is not to say that I didn’t take photos, or shop for “junk-tiques”, but those I will be sharing in the next few days. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a blog that does more than just share DIY stuff.

One Project Closer's The Better Half

I began following One Project Closer’s The Better Half when I discovered their weekly DIY link-up contest.

DIY Contest 1

Loads of DIY blogs host these: you share your own favorite DIY post of the week, and a bunch of others bloggers do as well, and they all get posted on a link page. Then you get to see all the awesome ideas that craftspeople come up with! But this one has a twist: you link up your own before and after projects, and each week they choose a winner who receives a $50 gift card. And on behalf of that winner, they donate $100 to Habitat For Humanity!  (I did submit my Oh, Deer Towel Rack, but, sigh, he didn’t win…)

Deer Head Plaque Instagram

On top of that, these ladies have been involved in a project on a much grander scale. Over the summer, Jocie from The Better Half took part in the GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure, where she, along with 5 other DIY bloggers, ventured along the World’s Longest Yardsale. They drove and shopped and purchased items to refurbish and completely decorate one fortunate homeowner’s newly built Atlanta home, courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.  Today was the reveal, and what a reveal it was!

DIY Habitat for Humanity Home1

Habitat for Humanity

An entire home furnished with reclaimed, refurbished and reloved items! Amazing! This is Jocie’s Living Room.

DIY Living Room 1

Living Room by One Project Closer’s The Better Half

And this was the boys’ bedroom designed by Liz Marie Blog.

DIY Boys Room1

Boys’ Room by Liz Marie Blog

Loving this colorful, sweet girl’s room designed by Carissa from Good N Crazy.

DIY Girls Room 1

Girls’ Room by Good N Crazy

There are loads of other spaces and fresh DIY inspirational ideas- just click here:

DIY Framed S

And if you want to learn more about Habitat for Humanity in your area, click here:

Habitat for Humanity

Well done, One Project Closer and friends! You have taken an empty house and created a warm and loving home for this grateful family. Keep up the great work, and hopefully inspire us DIY’ers to use our skills for the greater good. Have an inspired week, everyone! Susan

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