Waxing Nostalgic

When we were little kids (yup, that’s me, second from the left with those Will Smith dumbo ears : ), our family home had many rooms with hardwood floors. “Waxing day” was always so much fun- although now thinking about it, the actual hard, tedious waxing part was done by my mom on her hands and knees- we just had the fun! Once the wax was dried, she had us don some fat white socks and hit the floor running! Back and forth, slipping and sliding, having a blast and polishing the wax at the same time-genius! Would have been even more fun had Tom Cruise been dancing in the dining room…

So, imagine my delight when shopping last night, I came across these Slipper Genies! Someone- who also did some “slide-waxing” as a kid, perhaps?-came up with the ingenious idea of adding duster bottoms to slippers. Naturally, I had to buy them (well, my sister bought them for me-thanks, Nance!). In my home, we also have hardwood floors throughout. Between the plaster dust, the pollen and the shedding dog

I am forever grabbing the Swiffer to make a quick pass through- especially when company is on the way! So necessity being the mother of invention, it seemed logical to me that since I am walking through these spaces, why not put these on and dust at the same time?!  This morning was the  trial run of the sliding slippers. Note the legal disclaimers on the reverse side of the packaging, which included:

What a killjoy!! What good is a sliding slipper if you can’t slip and slide!?! And my balance can be a little off at times, but I swear I will not drink martinis while waxing the floors. So they say that they are not a toy, but, hey, why not add a stuffed animal head to the kids’ slippers?!? That seems logical to me.

Warnings be damned, I added a bit of hardwood flooring spray for some shine and added traction (really didn’t want to turn this house into a giant slip ‘n slide-I have stuff to do today that should not include a trip to the ER). The results? Success! See all the dog hairs under my toe? I couldn’t even see them, but the slipper genie grabbed them! So now the floor looks great, and after 5 minutes my thighs got an awesome workout- no need to order the “AS SEEN ON TV THIGH GLIDER“.  Now if someone would only invent some lawn mowing slippers… hope you glide through your day today!


Read ‘Em and Weed

Nothing better than waking up early on Friday mornings-no work today (well, at least not at my paying job- I do, however, have a long to-do list!) But it’s just after 5am and I have a bit of time to hang out on the porch with my first cup of coffee, and a pile of this week’s catalogs that I haven’t had a chance to look at yet. Now, I love cyberspace as much as the next girl (after all, where would you read my blog?), but is there anything better than turning the pages of a glossy catalog, dreaming of far off lands or decorating for summer? This week’s stash is all about outdoor spaces:

Ballard Designs with their gracious new Southern Living Collection:

Pottery Barn– always classic designs- this one with All-American splashes of color

PetEdge (just in case I need a life jacket for the dog when we launch the kayaks, long story-hahahahahahaha!)

Crate and Barrel-simple, colorful, so fun and oh, a 10% coupon!

Penny Lane featuring the works of David Bromstad from HGTV (already ordered the Pink Frenchies for my daughter!)

Princess CruisesDreams Start Here is right!

So now it’s 5:45 (yup, that’s AM) the sun is up and the first cup of turbo-charged coffee is long gone. One thing about relaxing on the porch, it’s hard not to notice that the gardens are in dire need of weeding. Off I go in my PJ’s and sweatshirt, barefoot and gloveless, ruthlessly yanking weeds and overgrown perennials. Fast forward one hour, three mountains of weeds and cuttings, muddy feet and one happy frog later.

Lots to do, time to get ready for the rest of my day! If you are lucky enough to have a little time off to yourself, savor every moment, whether it’s reading by the pool or weeding the garden. Do what you love, make it count. Have a great Friday! Susan

Love At First Stripe

Aside from Buffalo Plaid, my other favorite style icon is stripes! Big and bold or soft and dreamy, stripes make a statement about your style.

Define your space with stripes. Add a touch of bright to white.

Just a touch of bold for night.

Give the illusion of length

or height But not width. Stacy and Clinton warn most of us to avoid horizontal stripes, but honestly, if I looked like this, why not?!?!)

To me, navy stripes are nautical and beachy…like this comfy chair

Or umbrellas in a row or one perfect hat One fabulous suit

One perfect summer tote

One perfect sail

My latest obsession? Chevron Stripes. WOW! Introduced by the Missoni Fashion House back in the 70’s, chevron stripes are all the rage right now. You will find the signature zig zag pattern in eye-popping fashion,

Decorating vintage vignettes or modern, ecletic homes Even in nurseries! I am a lover of fashionable babies as much as the next mom, but not sure if even I could sleep in this room!

Recently spotted this picture in House Beautiful Magazine. You know that moment when you see something, really SEE something, and your heart starts pounding and your mind starts racing and you think, “where, oh where can I put this?!?” That “Ah, Ha!” decorating moment. This was it for me. I see another project in my future…

Time to get out the masking tape and paint supplies- oh, wait! – right after I finish the Hall of Shame!!! Susan

PS- I found this great tutorial on Pinterest on how to make perfect Chevron Stripes in your space. And if you happen to finish your project before I finish mine, please send me pics @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com and I will post them!

Thanks for Reading!

5046 and counting!! The number of hits I have had on my blog since my first published post on February 25, 2012 (such a rookie back then)! Thanks to everyone for continuing to read and respond to the posts about my crazy life. I will keep writing as long as you all keep reading : )

Memorial Day – The Weekend Update

The long weekend update : ) So far, this Memorial Day weekend has been well spent day-tripping, yard-saleing, dining (best nachos and view of the bay at the Black Cow in Newburyport) and hanging out with family and friends.  Took a ride up the coast on Saturday. Not sure whose idea it was, but never a smart choice to hit Hampton Beach on the first sunny day of a long holiday weekend (especially when you are stuck in miles of traffic with an empty tank of gas)!

Yesterday, I attended Boston’s Run to Remember (mentioned previously in this post), not as a runner, but as a spectator, cheering on my kids, their cousins and friends.

It was quite an impressive spectacle, with over 8000 runners participating in either a half-marathon or a 5 mile run, all to raise funds in honor of fallen Boston Police Officers. Coptors buzzing overhead, thousands of pounding feet, police motorcades and cheering spectators made for a memorable Sunday morning.

 Did a little window shopping while waiting at the 12 mile marker for our runners to arrive. Not sure what the marketing concept is behind the bird cage hat-bizarre!!!

Before I published the original post about Memorial Day, I asked my mom if she had any pictures of my dad in his naval uniform.

He served in the US Navy, aboard the USS Wakefield in WWII. Unexpectedly, the other day, she arrived at my house with an old leather scrapbook of my dad’s dated 1944-1946, filled with pictures and newspaper clippings of his time spent in Guam and the Phillipines. Especially amazing since I wasn’t even aware that this book existed! The edges literally crumbling in my hands as I carefully turn the pages, I am discovering a another chapter of my dad’s life he rarely mentioned during his lifetime. There are maps, typed clippings of naval co-ordinates, photos of his naval buddies and an “official” letter to his mom from the U.S. Naval Training Center.

A family treasure, to be sure, and one that I will try to preserve to pass on to the next generation. With this album they will discover that the man they knew simply as Grandpere was once a young man himself, with a love of family, an adventurous spirit and a wish to serve his country. Enjoy the rest of this long beautiful weekend!! Susan

Previous Post: With Memorial Day fast approaching, rather than discussing the latest decorating trends in red, white and blue or backyard BBQ’s, I would like to take a moment to share my thoughts about heroes. Male or female, military or civilian, heroes are just regular people who, when faced with extraordinary circumstances, rise to the occasion. Without thoughts of their own personal well-being, they give their bodies, hearts, souls and sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom and safety of others. To them, our friends and families, co-workers and neighbors, soldiers, firefighters and police officers, we say thank you on this upcoming Memorial Day.

In our family, we often participate in charitable events for organizations that honor and help our heroes. This is a legacy passed down from my father, a WWII veteran who donated his time and energy in many ways, and always expected the same from his children. A friend once referred to it as “the crazy charity gene”, which I am pleased to say has been passed on to my own children. My recollections of his generous spirit go way back to when I was attending St. Mary’s Annunciation Elementary School. I remember driving up to the convent in our Ford station wagon laden with donated loaves of bread for the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Fast forward a few decades, and that spirit of generosity and service lives on in this generation. There are so many charities striving to help those less fortunate, every penny counts, and there are countless ways to pitch in. Whether you run, walk, dance, sew, auction,  crawl, counsel or just volunteer your time or donate dollars, it matters.

 With that spirit of giving in mind, I would like to take a moment to mention a few events in the Boston area that support many of our local heroes. Last weekend, my brother ran the “Run to Home Base” at Fenway Park, where over 2 million dollars was raised for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. These funds are essential to continue to care for veterans and their families affected by combat stress and traumatic brain injury.  Congrats to Bob-so proud of you!!

This upcoming weekend, our children, their cousins and many of their friends will be running in Boston’s Run to Remember, a half-marathon and 5K to honor Massachusetts Law Enforcement Officers killed in the line of duty. The net proceeds benefit community and kids’ programs of the Boston Police Department and their families.

On May 30th, our family, along with hundreds of supporters, will be attending a benefit at Fenway Park for the Pete Frates #3 Fund. Pete is a 27-year-old, former Division 1 college athlete and Captain of Boston College Baseball, who was recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Having recently learned of his devastating diagnosis, Pete, along with his family and friends have stepped up to the plate, coordinating fund-raising events to aid in the research and development of a cure for ALS. Our best wishes go out to Pete, and we are excited to see him throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park next week!

Now me, I am not much of a runner, and I hung up my cleats years ago.(yup, that’s me at bat in bell-bottom jeans-we were lucky to have game shirts back then! Thank you Title IX : )  Sewing is my thing, and I make quilts, lots of them, to donate to local charities. On my Facebook page,  “Threads of Hope”, you can view some samples of my quilts that have helped to raise over $11,000.00 for local charities. And if you happen to know of a charity that could use a quilt, email me!

Click on the links above to learn more about, to participate in, or to make a donation to any of these great causes.If you have a charitable event you would like to share or have a picture of your hero, send it to me and I will post it here. On this Memorial Day weekend, it’s all about remembering and paying it forward. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend! Susan

You Light Up My Life

Recently, we have been searching for a new chandelier for our dining room. Now, as my husband would say, “there is nothing wrong with the old one”. Except that it is Colonial Williamsburg style, shiny brass, double tiered, circa 1983, and has no business being in my casual country dining room. Just because it still works, doesn’t mean it still works. So I have finally talked him into replacing it with something a bit more current. The trick is agreeing on a finish and style. Since it typically takes us a year or so to agree on a new couch or chair or car, I can see that this is going to be another “work in progress“. But I have pinned a few, in the hopes that one might spark his interest.

There is this popular iron orb style we saw last week in Brimfield. But it only has one bulb, and being the only light source in what is currently my sewing/workroom/office just won’t work-these old eyes require a bit more wattage. I spotted this wrought iron pyramid style on a recent trip to the Boston Design Center. Gorgeous, but more suited for a medieval castle perhaps?

This rustic reclaimed wood style from Urban Chandy might not necessarily work for the dining room, but I am keeping it in the back of my mind for the Barn Project.

The crystal chandeliers I lust after are a bit too “blingy”, definitely NOT country casual. I am still hoping to add this to the Hall of Shame!

Mason jar chandeliers are the rage right now, but those just scream porch to me. Speaking of which, I just finished my porch mason jar creation. Remember those rustic green hanging baskets I found back in Essex? I sealed all of the chipping paint with a spray rust inhibitor, added some mason jars we found in Brimfield– LOVE!

Sparkly starfish are stunning, but more suited for a beach house… and these million raindrops lights from Junk Gypsies definitely belong in a grand ballroom- which would be great if I had a castle!

Ever have one of these days…? I’m not sure what is going on here, but if I ever have a food truck or Airstream trailer, this is definitely my go-to look!

Now I love color as much as the next girl (or guy), but these lights scream Taj Mahal Vegas to me- the colors are right, but the mood is so wrong!

This is my oil-rubbed bronze kitchen chandelier from Great Windsor Chairs. I love the simplicity of it and it lights up our lives every day-I wonder if they have this in red? If you have any other suggestions, please drop me an email and enlighten me! Susan

HomeGoods Happy : )

I was killing time the other night, hanging around the HomeGoods parking lot, waiting for a car to be delivered. Long story. Since the truck was over an hour behind schedule, and I was already there, I figured I may as well check out the inside of the store. You know that commercial tagline: “HomeGoods Happy?”- that’s how I feel when I wander through the aisles of my local store. Now I know some high end designers wouldn’t dream of shopping at HomeGoods. Me? I am all about beauty and value. If it’s good enough for David Bromstad from HGTV (my color splash hero), it’s good enough for me! You just never know what you might find. Like this British-inspired wing chair. These French dressing mannequins.  Or one perfect seashell.


Inspiration around every corner.

Then I spotted the reflection of an amazing Ikat rug in this wall of mirrors! My favorite shades of blue, hand-hooked, 9X12 for $399! I thought “Jeez, I could build an entire room around this rug!”.  I decided to do a virtual bedroom-this is what happens when I have time to kill-the voices in my head start decorating! So I wandered around some more, snapping Iphone pics of items I thought would complement the rug-going with a rustic, ethnic, elegant vibe. (As a disclaimer, I will tell you the the Iphone pics aren’t the greatest, and the colors are slightly off. The rug tends more to the dark teal and grey/blue.)

This grey/blue painted, distressed cabinet would be great as a media console-TV on top, everything else hidden inside. The Trees painting was dreamy, and I thought it would hang perfectly over the bed(which they did not have at this HomeGoods, so I am improvising here) 

An antique spool bed adds a darker element that complements the the dark rattan chair. Obviously it needs a cushion, a pillow and a nubby, woven throw to make it a welcome reading nook. Found this throw at Joss and Main, another favorite online shopping place!

These sconces and mirror would give the room a touch of bling. I needed to find

some lamps but didn’t see anything that would work in my virtual room, and I didn’t have time to drive to the other three HomeGoods in my immediate area-which is what I typically would do. So I found these gorgeous rustic silver lamps online- perfect! I still had a lot more to find, but the truck finally arrived, so this shopping session was over. Now, if I only had another bedroom, so I could transform my virtual room into a reality! Anyone got a spare room they could volunteer for a makeover!?

Wishing you a “HomeGoods Happy” day! Susan

Filled to the “Brim”

We spent Saturday tromping through the fields of The Brimfield Antiques Show, “The world’s largest outdoor antique show”. One mile in length, scattered over 23 fields, with over 3000 dealers and 130,000 visitors that shop during the four show days, Brimfield is an adventure, to be sure. After spending the better part of 8 hours sorting through tents of refurbished furniture, industrial re-makes, textiles, bric-a-brac and other assorted “junktiques”, I can honestly say that I have had more than my fill of “treasure hunting”- at least for a while.  So many vendors, so little time…so I am just going to show you a few highlights here.

Color was the name of the game, like this row of pretty vintage dresses hanging in the sunshine. The landscape was littered with painted pots, buckets, stools, signs- anything you could paint got a splash of color- sometimes with good results, sometimes not so much.

Late in the afternoon I stumbled upon (literally, I was sunburned, sick, hungry and about to call it quits) this lovely tent from Windham, Maine, by the girls from My Sister’s Garage. Beautifully decorated, it had more the appearance of a lovely shabby chic showroom than the random piles of goods many dealers had laying around on the ground. Rejuvinated, I moved on to Beth Hylan Designs, another pretty booth featuring vintage creations by Beth, next to her partners from Nesting on Main, another lovely tent at the show.  The next stop was at Painted Pretty– and boy was it ever! The show-tent pulled me in with the color palette- teals and grays and black- so country pretty! I had seen badly re-painted furniture all day long, so I was so impressed with the quality and the beauty of their work. (By the way, they sell at the SoWa Vintage Market in Boston- definitely worth the trip if you are in the market for a vintage painted piece).

And the winner is..Industrial Chic! This table from Vintage Studios is an example of what you can do with some old factory parts, ingenuity and a lot of heavy lifting.

The biggest presence at the fair (other than those blue glazed jugs that seemed to be on every single table!) – was Industrial. If it came from an old warehouse, factory, barn or henhouse, someone up-cycled and re-purposed it into a bed, desk, sign, table, lamp, bench or light fixture. The more rustic and rustier the better. AMAZING. Got some great ideas for the Barn Workshop Project (details soon)

So with that I will leave you with a few more images of the best of the day, like these fabulous woven bags by Ahinsa Lifetime Weavers or these colorfully painted stools…and if you were wishing you had gone to “The Show”which I guess you could call the Big Leagues of Antiquing, don’t fret, they’ll be back in July! Signing off to put more sunburn cream on my face… Susan

Industrial Chic?

When you have to hold your screen on to the storm door with duct tape, is that considered “industrial chic!?”


Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

…I found a mirror for my new front hall!!! With the Hall of Shame project still ongoing, I have been searching for artwork, occasional tables and other assorted items to fill the space once it is completed. (and, yes, it is still a work in progress- but good things come to those who wait, right?) Along with my usual trips to HomeGoods and the various local antique and junque shops I frequent, I do make an occasional stop at my local Salvation Army Store. With a large furniture showroom in the back, you never know what you might find- like my fabulous new $10.00 mirror!

It’s a horrible brown circa 1970’s faux wood grain, but it’s the perfect size and the top detail is exquisite-it actually mirrors the curved shapes of the soon-to-be-hung damask wallpaper. You would almost think that was intentional, right?

Time to hit it with a coat of Kilz to cover that faux wood paint and the faint odor of mildew/smoke that often accompanies a cast-off piece of furniture, origins unknown. Looks better already! So I grabbed my Ipad and started searching on Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs for color inspiration.

Thinking bold and bright

or soft and dreamy

daring (not sure what happens when your toe hits those mirrors!)

or darling

Mirrors can open up your space (Ah,Versailles…)

Reflect your true face

And welcome you into a warm, homey space (hopefully mine : )

And then I saw this Jonathan Adler mirror and this entryway with pieces from Oomph! and that was it-color chosen.

Tangerine Tango is the Pantone Color of the Year, and what goes better with the Smoke Blue I’ve chosen for the walls than its complementary color, orange? So I chose this yummy shade called Mesa Sunrise from Behr. Now, Benjamin Moore is my go-to paint for just about everything, but Behr sells these little custom mixed sample pots for $2.95, with just enough paint in them for a small project. Here is a sneak preview of the Mesa Sunrise Mirror that will soon be welcoming you into my new front hall. And if Pantone comes out with the newest “color of the year” I can always change it! Total investment for this project: $12.95 + tax.

Mesa Sunrise Mirror in the making

Enjoy your Friday- and just remember to make each day a reflection of your best you! Susan

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