“Mother Knows Best” Needs You!!

Two weekends ago (it actually seems like eons ago, with all the events of the past week!), I participated in a team Guerilla Staging Competition at Mill 77 Trading Company in Amesbury. What a blast!

Mill 77 Trading Company

I was part of the team “Mother Knows Best“, two moms and daughters who love vintage style and decorating, fun competition and winning $$! Just to refresh, we blindly chose a category, then had 40 minutes to transform an empty room from four blank walls with lots of nails and a couple of white columns and hanging ladders into a gorgeous camera-ready vignette. Choosing “Clothing and Accessories” out of a hat, we raced through the store, collecting draperies (our apologies to the owner of that booth) and wrought iron gates, vintage clothing and jewelry, dressers and chairs to create a vintage vignette worthy of any Parisian Boudoir. This is the before:

Mill 77 Before

Here is the after:

Mill 77 Parisian Boudoir

Here’s the how-to: we suspended the toile drapes from the two columns, creating a focal wall. In front of that we wheeled in the vintage painted dresser, and used the tall wrought iron gate as a clothing rack. The dresser is laden with crystal and jewels, which, unfortunately you cannot see clearly here. On padded hangers we draped satin dresses and slips, scarves and a fox wrap. Sparkling shoes and boots were tucked under the dresser and antique frames served as jewelry hangers. The chic wool coat with mink trim and the chiffon scarf were on an antique dress form. We added the vintage needlepoint rug featuring many of the room’s muted colors and an antique blue ceramic heater. Finally, we created a small seating area with the painted table and chairs and dressed that with crystal and lace.  And then I Instagrammed it to give it a true vintage feel (well, minus the lime green price tags which we couldn’t remove)

Parisian Boudoir Instagram

So now comes the part where you can help! We have one more week to collect enough votes, either on Mill 77’s Website or YouTube links, where you can actually see us in action! The team’s room with the most votes wins $500, the runners-up win gift certificates to Mill 77. Great prizes, plus it was actually a fund-raiser for Our Neighbor’s Table in Amesbury- a win, win all around! So now all we need is your vote! If, after viewing our before and after (and remember, we only had 40 minutes!!) you think our Parisian Boudoir is worthy of your vote, please click here by filling in the info requested, along with our team name: Mother Knows Best or here to “Like” our video. If not, c’est la vie, there’s always next year. Here’s hoping for a great week, and lots of votes!! Stay Strong, everyone. Susan

Boston, You’re The One

So it appears that this long week of terror in our fair city has finally come to an abrupt end. Beginning on Marathon Monday, and culminating in the death of one, and the capture of another suspect in the bombings, this week has been filled with 24-7 news coverage, lockdowns, shootouts and horrific deaths. Nothing short of an epic Hollywood motion picture, only this time it was real…and personal.

Boston Skyline Chris Mathison

It has been difficult to imagine and write about anything other than the events that were unfolding before our eyes, in our hometown. Blogging about design and decor seemed irrelevant while all of this was happening, and now reflecting on that drama brings a few thoughts to mind. Firstly, thanking the law enforcement officials and officers who bravely put their own lives on the line in the pursuit and ultimate capture of these suspects. Secondly, being grateful that our friends and families are safe, and that we are free to resume our normal daily activities, whether it’s shopping, taking in a show or just enjoying a walk outside without fearing for our safety. Lastly, remembering and honoring those who have lost their lives, and those whose lives have been forever changed by this week’s tragic events. To that end, the Governor and Mayor of Boston have set up

The One Fund

The One Fund

From their website: “Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Menino today announced the formation of The One Fund Boston, the purpose of which is to raise money to help those families most affected by the tragic events that unfolded during Monday’s Boston Marathon.

“I am humbled by the outpouring of support by the business community and individuals who are united in their desire to help. The One Fund Boston will act as a central fund to receive much needed financial support,” Governor Patrick said. “At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people.””

Donating any amount will assist those most affected by the bombings. You can do that here, knowing that your donations will provide financial assistance to those citizens in greatest need during their, in many cases, long and painful and costly recovery. Stay strong, Boston,

Boston Strong Logo

and have a safe and finally peaceful weekend everyone. Susan  

Boston, You’re My Home…

Boston, You’re My Home…

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, but this week, instead of my usual trip across the pond or from the deck of a cruise ship, I am reposting this blog I wrote one year ago on April 15, 2012, Patriots Day. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of those who were impacted by the horrific events that unfolded on Marathon Monday. In the wake of those recent tragedies at this year’s Boston Marathon, I wanted to re-share this blog with all of my readers, and any onlookers watching from afar who are interested in capturing the essence of the amazing, wonderful, joyful city we call Boston.

So here it is:

In honor of Patriots Day, a uniquely Massachusetts holiday, a little Boston history for your reading pleasure. Facts confirmed by Wikipedia, several historical societies and my historian-in-residence, Coach.  Click on the pictures for links to websites and information.

Boston (pronounced baws-tun). The Capital of Massachusetts. The Hub. The City of Champions (see Boston Red Sox, N.E. Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins). Although significantly smaller in population than The Big Apple, what we lack in size we make up for in historic stature. We are the site of the world’s oldest marathon, begun in 1897, the Boston Marathon.We have the oldest MLB ballpark, Fenway Park (c.1912)

the Swan Boats (c.1877) in the Public Garden

and Harvard University, founded in 1636 and the alma mater of 7 US Presidents.

We are Beantown, named for Boston Baked Beans, a dish created by the Colonials, using beans cooked in molasses, a plentiful product due to the slave trade.

Home of the USS Constitution, nicknamed “Old Ironsides”, (C.1787) the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat.

Named The Cradle of Liberty, and founded by the Puritans in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Instigators of the American Revolution, and the site of the Boston Tea Party

The Boston Massacre 

and the famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (the reason for this holiday!)

Penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1860, this poem details Revere’s April 18th journey by horseback from Charlestown to Lexington & Concord to warn the townspeople to take up arms in defense of the oncoming British invasion.

“…He said to his friend, “If the British march By land or sea from the town to-night, Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch Of the North Church tower as a signal light,– One if by land, and two if by sea; And I on the opposite shore will be, Ready to ride and spread the alarm Through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country folk to be up and to arm.” 

The British, whose ships were in Boston Harbor, were planning a march to Concord, where they were to destroy supplies and munitions stored by the local militia. Revere’s plan was to make his way there ahead of the advancing British troops, alerting the locals along the way of the impending British invasion. On the night of April 18, 1775,  alerted by the two lanterns hanging in the Old North Church, indicating the British would be advancing in boats over the Charles River, Revere began his historic journey on horseback. He travelled from Charlestown to Concord, alerting the local minutemen of the advancing regiments. Captured and released by the British, he made his way to

The Old North Bridge, the site of the Battles of Lexington and Concord

on April 19, 1775, the beginning of the American Revolution. Yes, you do need to know this for the exam. No, you cannot bring your musket to class for show and tell. Whether this is a holiday for you or not, enjoy the day. And whether you are running or watching the Boston Marathon tomorrow, be careful in the heat! Happy Patriots Day! Susan

Waxing Nostalgic

In a recent post, I blogged about transferring French Typography onto wooden furniture using wax paper– this week’s High Five For Friday! Yup-regular old wax paper– the old-fashioned kind we used to wrap our sandwiches in for our tin lunch boxes-is suddenly all the rage again.Sandwich wrapped in wax paperSo I thought I would give the wax paper transfer method currently posted on my D.I.M. Pinterest page a try, since I am working on some new pieces. Coach found this cute little old pine telephone table that I thought would work nicely.

Telephone Table Before

(This one’s from the olden days, folks, when we had those gadgets attached to the wall called telephones, with an attached cord so you had to sit down to talk on them and use loads of paper books with names and addresses and phone numbers in them : )…

Wax Transfer Phone Image

Here are the steps:

1. Cleaned and steel wooled. It hardly had any finish on it so no sanding needed. But I made sure that the inside was clean as well. Nothing worse than opening up some cute, vintage refinished piece only to inhale the strong odor of musty cigarette smoke.

2. Added 2 coats of Annie Sloan French Linen paint. Love the soft color and the flat finish.

Telephone Table Painted

3. Got some wax paper (this pic shows parchment paper which apparently works as well, but I haven’t tried that yet)

Wax papers

4. Find a picture- I got mine from the Graphics Fairy– and print it in your REGULAR INK JET PRINTER!! Not a laser printer, apparently that just melts the wax. Make sure when you go to settings you reverse it for the transfer process prior to printing. Cut the wax paper to the same size as a regular sheet of copy paper. Slowly feed the wax paper into the printer, being careful not to let it wrinkle or crease. Once printed, allow time for it to dry so it won’t smear when you lay it down on your piece.

Wax Paper in Printer

5. Dampen (NOT WET!) the furniture so it will accept the ink. Center the wax paper, print side down, on to your piece of furniture.

Wax paper transfer on table

6. Now just start rubbing all over the design, pressing firmly. I tried two methods of transfer- the credit card- which I found had too sharp of an edge to really press.

Wax paper transfer with credit card

The back of a spoon-perfect! Rub the image until  it is completely transferred.

Wax paper transfer with spoon

The harder and longer you rub, the darker and clearer your image will be. You can carefully pick up the paper and check underneath as you go along, but just make sure you put it back exactly in the same spot- otherwise the image will appear blurry. Allow to dry (about 5 minutes)

7. Finish with a coat of Annie Sloan Soft Wax.

Wax paper French Typography transfer

8. Since we no longer have giant phones and tons of phone books, I discovered a cute new storage place for my Ipad!

Wax Paper French Typography Transfer

TGIF everyone!! So happy to finally have some nice sunny weather-NOT!!! Susan

Coming Unhinged

Recently I have been working on quite a few pieces of “junk-tiques”, so Coach and I have been frequenting the auction, estate sale and flea market circuit, and have come home with quite a few great country finds.

CDH Junk-Tiques

Of course, most of them need a little, nea, a LOT of TLC, so over the weekend we opened up the HICC (seriously, you don’t know what that is?!?)

HICC

fired up the sander and got to work on the transformation process. When I came across an old commode at an indoor flea market, my intention was to sand it all down and then restain/antique it. But I just couldn’t bring myself to strip away all those years of paint and the beautiful layers of colors, ending with the final soft pink it is today. However, the same did not hold true for the drawer pulls and hinges-years of caked-on paint had obliterated the design and the finishes- who does that?!? Paint Removal with Vinegar I get painting the chest, heck, we all do that. And I understand that painted hardware is “in” right now, but people, if the hardware has beautiful inlaid flowers and a gorgeous pewter patina, leave it alone!!! Paint Removal from Hardware That being said, I needed to find a way to strip all of the old paint off without harming the hardware, my granite countertops and my sinuses. Pinterest to the rescue!! I found several DIY pins with all kinds of methods that did not include harsh chemicals, so I kind of combined a few and came up with my own quick and easy method. Simply: fill an old saucepan with water (enough to cover the hardware completely), add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. Any kind of white vinegar will do, but I especially like this one because it says “Nice!”, and nice matters, as a friend of mine recently reminded me : )

Paint Removal with Vinegar

Drop in the hardware.

Removing Paint in Water and Vinegar

Bring the whole concoction to a boil. Paint Removal with Boiling Water Allow to slow boil for 20-30 minutes (keep making sure you have enough water in the pan- don’t want to singe the hinges!). Keep checking the pieces- after 10 minutes or so you will begin to notice stuff floating in the water, and if you pick up a piece, you can see the paint starting to peel away. Paint Removal Boiling Water After 30 minutes, start taking the pieces out one at a time-you need to keep the others submerged until you are ready to clean them, otherwise the paint will reharden and stick. I used a toothpick and a small toothbrush (preferably not one you are using again!) to get into the crevices. Paint Removal with Toothbrush Buff the piece with a terry cloth towel to remove any clinging bits, then rinse in water and wipe dry. Can you believe the beautiful detail I uncovered under those layers of paint!?!? Paint Removal Paint Peel At this point, you can use a little metal polisher-like this awesome stuff use because: 1. It’s from Cape Cod- which we love and 2. It really works!! Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths

Individual little cloths already soaked with not-too-smelly cleaner-easy and neat. Polish, buff dry and you are done. Once completed, the drawer pulls were re-attached to the pretty little pink commode, which I finished with a crystal door pull and a touch of Annie Sloan French Linen Chalk Paint and Soft Wax. Annie Sloan French Linen

So now the once simple pink commode with the layers of painted hardware has a new look, not exactly what I had envisioned when I first spotted it at an antiques market, but I think the improvised version is even better…do you agree?

Pink Commode Finished

And it also has a new heart– which I uncovered as I was sanding the layers on the bottom of the chest-so sweet!! Paint Removal Heart Detail Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone!  Just remember to do what you love, follow your instincts and don’t come unhinged if it all doesn’t quite go according to plan. Susan

PS: I have joined a new weekend blogging link party sponsored by Serenity Now: Creative Solutions for Staying Sane. It’s a fun read and has loads of great ideas for everything from cooking to awesome DIY projects! Check them out!

Weekend Update-Vintage Style!

This weekend is gonna be fun for vintage and antiques shopping! Loads of pickin’ places to choose from, so this week’s High Five goes to Antiques and Flea Market Finds! On the south shore of Boston, the weekend shops at WinSmith Mill Market Winsmith Market Legendin Norwood (recently featured on Channel 5’s Chronicle) are open, as usual, but this weekend also marks the return of the Vintage Thymes Monthly Market! Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they have restocked their shelves and are ready to sell!

 Vintage Thymes

Here is a pic from Beach Cottage Living’s new booth in the Vintage Thymes Market-great soft colors and fun beachy stuff-now if only we could have some beach weather around here…

Beach Cottage Living

This Sunday, Todd Farm in Rowley is opening for the season, cold weather be damned!

Todd Farm Sign

For those of you unfamiliar with Todd Farm, it is like a smaller slice of Brimfield heaven on the north shore of Boston. Hundreds of vendors, selling everything from old furniture to vintage guitars and just loads of fun junk and stuff. Well worth the trip up Rte 1a, but better go early- they open at 5am and they are only open on Sundays!!

And lastly, the Guerilla Staging Competition at the Mill 77 Trading Company in Amesbury begins tomorrow!

Mill 77 Guerilla Sign

Yours truly will be participating as a team member of “Mother Knows Best”. This is a first annual event to benefit “Our Neighbors Table“, so it should be a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. 40 minutes to design a room using only the available props on hand is most definitely a challenge, but they do have some really nice props! I will be blogging and tweeting about it, unless of course, we come in last place : (

Mill 77 Trading Company

Have a great weekend everyone! Hope you “pick” something fun to do!! Susan

A Map Mea Culpa

Ok, my mistake. Have you noticed that many of the current design magazines and catalogs are showing maps on the walls? This breathtaking wall treatment from Pottery Barn is amazing- although I’m not sure about open flames in front of those antique wall maps…

Maps Pottery Barn

More and more popular design blogs and Pinterest boards suggest the use of old maps for wall decor and DIY projects.

Maps globe pendants

Recently, Steven Fuller from An Urban Cottage featured some beautiful antique coastal maps he had acquired as a way to create framed art. Such soft, muted colors…

Maps An Urban Cottage

And from Erin Gates of Elements of Style comes this beauty of a bedroom, with an enlarged map creating a unique feature wall.

Maps Elements of Style

Quite a while ago (consequently, I would like to think that I had a hand in starting this map trend-lol), I blogged about maps. Loads of maps. All kinds of maps and ways to decorate with them.  LOVE this kids room from HGTV. For more creative map ideas, click here.

Map from HGTV

In one of my very first posts “Map Out It”, I showcased many ways to use vintage maps in your home to personalize a space. But a little back story on that. Over a year ago, Coach came home from an estate sale one day with a bunch of about 15 cardboard rolls under his arm, very excited about his purchases: nice Coastal Survey maps, mainly of the East Coast of the US and the islands.

The Maps

Unbeknownst to me, the next day he returned to the sale and purchased the remaining maps- all 160+ of them!!! Gotta say, I was more than a bit annoyed at that. So the maps sat, festering in the basement, while I fumed about having them taking up so much space. AND, he wouldn’t let me use any of them for decorating!!! Kept saying he was going to sell them. RIGHT.  Well, now is his chance to say “I told you so”.

Maps Maine Ward Maps

He has started selling his maps, two most recently at a pretty fancy art gallery on Charles Street in Boston, for a very pretty penny. The remainder of the maps are now being featured at Ward Maps in Cambridge. Coach even has his own curated title on the front page of the website: MATHISON COLLECTION OF COASTAL CHARTS!!!

Ward Map Mathison

Are you freakin’ kidding me!?! He finally made this dream a reality.

Humble Pie

So now I have to eat a little humble pie, as they say, but then I will start cashing those checks as he finally, finally starts selling those maps. If you are interested in acquiring some gorgeous vintage maps for your decorating, or just to brag that you own a map from the Mathison Curated Collection,  you can visit Ward Maps online or at their retail store at 1735 Mass Ave in Cambridge, Mass. And if you do stop in for a visit, tell them Coach sent you!!  Map out your Thursday everyone, and then, like Coach, make it happen! Susan

Pretty Perfect Pastels

So, you would think that after being bombarded with pastel Easter decorations for the past month

Pastels Candles

with pastel candy and decorated eggs and spring flowers Pastels eggs and flowers and sweet little bunnies (how cute are these from the Etsy shop Fairyfolk…)Pastels Bunnies by Fairyfolk and oh, did I mention handmade pastel soaps from the Charming Frog? (who has the time to do all this stuff?!)Pastels Bunny Soaps by The Charming Frog Etsy that I would be sick of pastels-any pastels. But in truth, pastels can be the perfect palette for a dreamy bedroom…and not just for baby rooms! This stunner in lavenders by Tara Dudley Interiors would be a perfectly restful retreat.

 Tara Dudley Interiors or this soothing neutral palette with a touch of pinks by Heather O’Donovan Interiors Heather O'Donovan Interior Design Adding some pastel brightness wakes up an eclectic vintage parlor-like this one from CWB Architects

or this sitting room from The DecoristaMirror Painted The DecoristaLoving the pastel palette in this eclectic bedroom from Tobi Fairley Interior Design. LOVE that punch of orange and red!! Parlor by Tobi Fairley Interior Designs Who couldn’t take a restful soak in this pastel beauty by Kelly Scanlon?  Bath Kelly Scanlon Interior Design As much as I love trendy grays, nothing calms a room like soft blues and lavenders- this one from the Design House of the Hamptoms

Sitting Room from Design House of the Hamptons

Or this stunner from Tobi Fairley Interior Design

Tobi Fairley Interior Design

Now we get to the heart of the home. Pastel kitchens. YUM.

Pastel Blue from BHG

Pretty whites and greens by Martha O’Hara Interiors Kitchen by Martha O'Hara Interiors This vintage kitchen would be just as at home in a double wide as it would in a little California cottage! Pastel Pink Kitchen Rustic country cupboards filled with dotted bowls of pinks and blues from Houzz.com are the epitome of country pretty.

or you could add these gorgeous pastel bowls…

Pastels Bowls

Or these amazing salt and pepper shakers from Huckleberry Vintage on Etsy.

Pastel Salt and Peppers

Or how about an entire pastel palette of spoons from The House That Lars Built? These would be great in an old crock or as an art display.

Spoons House that Lars Built

But a pastel palette doesn’t have to scream country style. An ocean-side home calls for the hues of the water, sand and sky. This kitchen from Plato Woodwork, has neutral white cabinetry set off with contemporary blue tiles and countertops that draw your eye to the window and the fabulous ocean views.

Pastels KitchenAnd this softly artful living space has just the right touches of aquas and greens to brighten it up!

Pawleys Island Posh

Using pastels in your living space can be funky or fun, and adding pops of bright colors can keep it fresh and young! Have a pretty perfect Tuesday, everyone! Susan

Design Challenge!!

Have you ever seen the “White Box Challenge” on HGTV?! Do you ever watch design shows and think “I could do a better room than that!” Well, now is your chance to strut your design and staging stuff and show off your style sense to the world- and you don’t even have to fly to L.A!

Mill 77 Exterior

Next weekend, April 6 & 7, The Mill 77 Trading Company in Amesbury, Mass will be hosting its first annual Guerilla Staging Competition!

This is a two-day event, where teams of 2-4 amateur design fanatics will compete to win cash prizes or gift certificates, all to benefit Our Neighbors Table in Amesbury.  Mill 77 Our Neighbors Table

The idea? There will be a staging area set up (not necessarily a white box, more like a cleared out space, but you get the picture.)  HGTV White Box Challenge

The teams will blindly choose a category- there is a long list of potential ones, including Cats and Dogs, Vintage Kitchen Goods, Mid Century Modern and Make Yourself At Home. Then the team has 40 minutes, that’s right, 40 minutes, to run through the shop, grabbing whatever would work to tell the story and then create a themed space, using only the items available in the store! If you’ve not been to the Mill before, there are so many great things you could use to decorate your space. Room after room of everything from antique dressers and desks, kitchenware and clocks…

Mill 77 Trading Company

to vintage toys, artwork,  lighting and sports memorabilia.

Mill 77 Trading Company

The event will be video-taped and the show-stopping rooms will be photographed for publicity and online voting. You can sign up online, its only $10 per person, and remember, the proceeds go to a great cause!

Mill 77 Trading Company

I’m a member of the team “Mother Knows Best”- two moms and their daughters who love to decorate, have fun and win money : ) So sign up today for your chance to be a design star- you never know who might be watching! Have a great weekend everyone! Susan

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