Spring Fresh Country Decor

Well, the weather may have turned a bit warmer and the ice and snow banks have virtually disappeared so the ducks can have a bath, but the landscape is still quite brown around here.

Ducks at Lake QuannapowittTime to interject a bit of springtime color decor inside to add a bit of cheeriness to our otherwise drab and dark days. Photos via Houzz.com

How about a pop of orange?? Are you brave enough?

This bright apple green is perfect for a baby’s nursery!

Such pretty, pretty pastels…pink and green are just so fresh!

Loving the soothing coastal colors in this bedroom.

How sweet is this breakfast nook? Love the light shiplap planking and the pastel soft furnishings.Could definitely enjoy a latte here!

Charming dining area with pops of orange and green. Makes me want to go paint something…now!

I am typically not a huge fan of yellow, but this room would make you feel like you were sleeping in sunshine : )

If I had a kitchen do-over…this would be it! No more beige cabinets for me!

Do you have the longing to add some color to your space?? Grab a can of paint and start the makeover you’ve been thinking about today! You’ll be amazed what one can of paint can do for your room (and your gloomy mood : ). Have a colorful Friday everyone…today’s the day I decide on the color for my bathroom makeover! Susan

Country Bath Style

With the bathroom project finally winding down, my attention turns to styling this beautiful little jewel of a bath. With chrome fixtures
Bathroom Chrome Wall Mount Faucetand sparkling marble floors

Marble Hexagon Tilethis bathroom deserves some extra decorating lovin’! In keeping with my country bath style, I am in search of the perfect shower and window curtains along with the necessary bath accessories to bring everything together and create the refined country look I am going for. Off to internet land to search for the perfect country style where I discovered a few front-runners (and actually made me rethink my wall color choice, which presently is a color called

” target=”_blank”> ThunderCloud Gray from Benjamin Moore.)

Benjamin Moore Thunder Cloud GrayEven though it looks light in this sample, I am thinking it might be a little too dark for this pretty little room…) First, some pictures of stylish country baths:

1.Something about this little vintage powder room speaks to me. The pale blue walls against the distressed white vanity and the vintage beveled mirror…wow.

2.This rustic gray and white French Country bath is so sweet, but might be lacking just a touch of color for my taste.

3. Am loving the pale aqua walls, but I think it may be a bit too retro for my country bath.

4.Well, this one is simply spectacular with the wood beams and the stunning linen closet. But this just won’t fit in my 5 x 8 space. But I’m saving this idea into my fixer upper dream home file.

5. That vintage sink and chrome faucet is similar in feel to the ones I chose. But the rest of the creamy white may need a wee bit more contrast for me.

6. This pale silver sage color-Benjamin Moore Imperial Gray-

Benjamin Moore Imperial Gray

may be just the one I’ve been searching for since I started this whole project. Love, love, love it.

Then I searched for curtains:
1.The white ruffles are so sweet, but not sure how Coach will feel about those!

2. I do love a nautical look, but I am thinking the dark blue walls may present the same problem as the deep gray.

3.I’ve been thinking about a roman shade for the one window, but I don’t want plain white, as it is straight ahead when you look into the room from the hall. These are pretty and simple.

4. Hmmm, would I want to do a matching shower curtain and window valance? This is pretty much the setup in my bath. I do like the way they work together to create a cohesive look.

5 .These tie-backs. Well, I think they’re perfect for that little white window. Now if I can only find a shower curtain to match we’re in business!

So all of this online searching has only resulted in more confusion and indecision about which colors to actually choose for my little country bath! You know, sometimes it’s easier to give other folks advice about their decorating rather than your own…that whole plumber not fixing his own pipes thing, I imagine. I think my best bet will be to head out and look for a shower curtain first, find the perfect one, then match my curtains and paint colors to that. Make sense? Well, to me it does, so store shopping it is! Hope you have a more decisive Thursday than I am everyone! Susan

DIY Dud…This Sink Stinks!

Recently, I starting working on an old, large, quite heavy solid pine Ethan Allen dry sink that had Coach picked up at a flea market for $20 (sorry about the pic-typically Coach takes them at the scene and sends them to me for pre-approval prior to purchase-he’s the buyer, I’m the DIY’er- then I take my own pic for the blog…whoops, missed that step.) It is dark and quite massive, as dry sinks go, so the original muddy brown stain just had to be updated to something a bit lighter and more DIY Dud Dry Sink Beforemodern. Searching for inspiration, somewhere online I had seen these awesome arrow drawer pulls…

Hobby Lobby Arrow Drawer Pullsand I instantly knew the direction this DIY transformation would take. First step, order the drawer pulls from Hobby Lobby (they were on sale : ) Second step, apply General Finishes Heritage Blue Stain

General Finished Hertiage Blue Water Based Stainto the main frame of the piece. Love the finish it produces!

Dry Sink Heritage Blue General Finishes StainThird step...insert the sound of screeching tires…because I missed a VERY IMPORTANT STEP…which as a result has now produced my DIY Dud…this sink stinks! Before I put that first coat of stain all over the wood, I should have scratched and sniffed it…because this dry sink now smells like a giant ashtray! The thing about the stench of nicotine is that it permeates the surface finish and becomes one with the wood. Why, you ask, did you not clean it more thoroughly before you started?  Why did you not scrub it and sand it and seal it and air it out to remove all the nicotine odors?? Why?? You’ve been DIY’ing forever-you know better! Well, my excuse is that I couldn’t get it outdoors because of the giant snowbanks surrounding my house.

Snow Barn Country Design HomeTypically, I take a piece like this onto the driveway and literally scrub it down with a bucket of soapy water and a hose, allow it to dry in the sun for days, spray it with smoke remover, sand it and then clean it again until the lovely scent of vintage Lucky Strikes

Lucky Strike Poster via JVoyage Etsyis gone. But, alas, that just couldn’t happen…thanks Mother Nature for the 10 foot snowbanks...so it simply got a wipe down with some spray cleaner and a damp rag. Again, I KNOW BETTER!!! OK, so back to the DIY part of the story. Once the pretty blue stain was applied, I noticed the nicotine scent had intensified, but I figured perhaps if I just added more paint and finishes, it would somehow diminish the odor. (Now, Coach says he really can’t smell it. But I have a freakishly keen-some say distorted- sense of smell when it comes to certain odors, like nicotine and gasoline and mildew-I can ID them a mile away. But ask me if there’s a tray of cookies…or dish towels…burning in the oven…well, can’t help you there.)

kitchen burningSo, I kept going and added more layers of paints, dry brushing complementary coastal colors until I had this cool finish…which seemed like it might work until I started sanding down the edges to distress it…that smell was back. With a vengeance. Now the only thing that is distressed is me…

DIY Dud Dry Sink Painting LayersBut, silly me, I kept going! Remember the time when you were driving alone at night and hit something in the road and then you heard the thump, thump of a tire starting to go flat but instead of pulling over you turned up the radio to make it go away? No? Well, I do, and that’s what was happening with this project! Denial is a powerful thing... For the top, I painted the inside wainscoting with white chalk paint, then added planking to the sink area for some contrast.

DIY Dud Dry Sink PlankingWhen I noticed the smell wafting through the glued down boards, I figured staining them would help. Pretty, right?

DIY Dud Dry Sink Stained PlanksWell, beauty is in the eye (and the nose) of the beholder. With each layer, I kept my fingers crossed and hoped for the best, but alas, nothing changed…the odor remained and intensified as the moisture in the products caused a leeching effect and brought the nicotine odor to the surface. Being frustrated with the sink, and hoping that somehow the smell would go away if I left it alone for a bit, I decided to concentrate on the old pine doors.

DIY Dud Dry Sink DoorI used some vintage coastal maps of Massachusetts harbors and applied them to the front panels with WundaSize

Wunda Size(if you haven’t tried this stuff in place of other decoupage glues, you must-it’s awesome-no buckles or wrinkles!)

DIY Dud Dry Sink Doors with MapsThen I painted and distressed the frames and edges with chalk paint and finished them with a new matte polyurethane varnish from Varathane.

DIY Dud Map Framed on DoorIt’s called Soft Touch and it mimics the look of waxing but gives a nice poly finish…which I was hoping against hope would finally seal in that obnoxious odor.

Varathan Soft Touch Matte Finish PolyurethaneBut alas, it was not to be, so I halted this amazing dry sink DIY project. It is now sitting on the porch awaiting some spring weather. Yeah, right…

DIY Dud Dry Sink PaintedNot wasting another minute on this until I can take it outside, sand it and scrub it and shellac the s**t out of it until the odor is gone, baby gone. Moral of this story? Always, always, always sniff the pieces you are about to purchase at flea markets and estate sales. I know, it looks a little strange to be hanging around sniffing other people’s junk, but better safe than sorry! You know a LOT of folks were smokers back in the day and that smell just permeates wood like nobodies business (can you only imagine what it was doing to people’s lungs…). In the meantime, its back to globe painting for me,

Global LOVE Painted Globe by Country Design Homeuntil I find another three- door project where I can use those awesome arrow drawer pulls. It’s Tuesday everyone…I hope it doesn’t stink for you!! Susan

PS: If anyone has any great ideas or solutions for my smelly dry sink, please share!

Inspired Easter Table Settings

The Easter festivities aren’t coming to our house this year, as we are still in the throes of a bathroom makeover. With a fine coating of plaster dust having permeated the entire house (if you’ve been through a room makeover, you know what I’m talking about) it seems like a great idea to have another family member take over the ham and scalloped potato duties…thanks, mom! But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a beautiful Easter table! So I thought a would share a few inspired Easter table settings…and I’m saving these for next year when hopefully the dust has cleared…
Bunny In The Garden!!

Pretty Aquas:

Cool Coral with Black and White

Rustic Spring Flowers

Floral Sprays and Tiny Nests

Brightly Colored Eggs on Rustic Table

Easter Egg Chandelier

Vintage Easter Bunny

A Trio of Bunnies!

OK, I realize that this isn’t a table setting, but can you imagine THIS Easter Egg Hunt!?!?

I’ll just be hopping along now to keep on painting the bathroom…have a “hoppy” Easter everyone! Susan

Hobby Lobby Mega-Craft-DIY-Decor-Store

Since I started blogging a few years back, I have read hundreds (nea, thousands) of other DIY blogs for entertainment, DIY information and inspiration to…

Hobby Lobby Do What You Love SignMany times, I have seen the craft store Hobby Lobby mentioned as THE place to go for craft, hobby & DIY supplies. I have shopped at Hobby Lobby online, but the stores were not local enough for me to make a shopping trip. Well, with the opening of their newest store in Seabrook, NH, Hobby Lobby is now within my driving range. So last week Mom and I took a road trip to check out what all the fuss was about.

Hobby Lobby Welcome SignHave to say, Hobby Lobby did not disappoint! This is not a hobby shop. Hobby Lobby is a mega-craft-DIY-decor-Store…essentially all of my local craft and sewing outlets combined into one huge superstore.  If you paint, decoupage, sew, design shirts, scrapbook, bake cakes, throw parties or just decorate your home…there is an aisle (or two) for you! As we strolled up and down the aisles…and aisles…and more aisles…we were blow away by the enormity, not only of the physical store itself, but of the sheer quantity and selection of vintage and modern home decor and DIY products. Loving these cute little clocks! I’ll take one in every color, please : )

Hobby Lobby Vintage ClocksI snapped a few pics as we strolled the aisles, but there is no way to convey the sheer enormity of this mega-store without seeing it for yourself. In the home decor area, we discovered rows of modern and traditional lamps

Hobby Lobby Lamp AisleI don’t think I’ve ever seen such an enormous collection of knobs and pulls anyway…ever

Hobby Lobby Knob SelectionWant to identify what’s in your drawers? You can write on these little chalkboard pulls!

Hobby Lobby Chalkboard Drawer PullsAre you into gardening (my style- all fake so you can’t kill them) Aisle after aisle of colorful blooms await!

Hobby Lobby Flower AisleNeeding some fabric for a sewing project…well, they’ve got bolts…and bolts…and more bolts!

Hobby Lobby Fabric AisleAnd then in the home decor aisles…all sorts of trendy signs (this collection is JUST for the laundry!)

Hobby Lobby Laundry SignsLetters-loads of alphabets in many colors and styles- some were lit up,

Hobby Lobby Red Marquee Letter Stacksome were colorfully painted…all were on sale (and if not, they have coupons!)

Hobby Lobby Wood Craft LettersSeasonal decor was scattered throughout the store, featuring outdoor patio sets (that we may or may not ever get to use this year if the weather doesn’t break soon!)

Hobby Lobby Red Bench VignetteAnd there were loads of Paris-inspired pieces as well.

Hobby Lobby Paris Milk Jug We spent over an hour wandering around, taking in the sights, listening to other folks exclaiming “wow, this place is amazing” and thinking of creative ways to add “just one more piece” to our already crowded walls and halls.  In the end, we simply purchased some drawer knobs for mom’s bathroom makeover and these amazing vintage porcelain door knobs for me.

Hobby Lobby Porcelain KnobsAnd then it was time to…

Hobby Lobby Exit SignBut not to worry, Hobby Lobby…I’ll be back! Have a terrific Thursday, everyone!! Susan

It’s the Little Things(.com)

Littlethings.com
Have you heard of LittleThings.com? It’s a website devoted to sharing lots of fun and interesting tidbits of information…with loads of photos and video clips of cute puppies and funny babies and uplifting stories of real, everday people doing nice things for one another. No heavy news stories featured, this site is strictly for entertainment and to provide a few chuckles and “awwws” along the way to its millions of users. And I mean MILLIONS…read for yourself…

Little Things About Us

Recently, I received an email from Todd Briscoe, a senior editor at littlethings.com, requesting my permission to feature my Rusty Bedspring Marquee Project on their website.

Rusty Bedspring Marquee Sign

He thought my upcycling bedspring project was innovative and interesting enough that it was worth sharing with the world! So thanks, Todd! Click on the link to view the post here in the #amazing category:

Little Things Bedsprings Headline

 

If you would like to share an interesting video or photo (not necessarily a DIY project, but something cute or funny or inspirational that makes you laugh or cry or just sigh : ) you can go to the website: www.littlethings.com and click on the “Submit Content” link. According to the website, your video may end up being featured on Letterman or the Today Show! So, if you have a minute (or an hour or two…this website is totally addictive!) and you could use a laugh or a few uplifting stories to start your Sunday, check out littlethings.com. And Todd, if you really want to own that Rusty Bedspring Marquee Light, well, I’ve got a deal for you : )  Have a sweet Sunday everyone and just remember…it’s the little things in life that really matter! Susan  

Can We (Home)Talk?

Hometalk Creative Chalkboard CraftsHave you been Hometalking? If you are a DIY, home improvement, gardening or decorating enthusiast of any kind, Hometalk is an amazing resource hosting thousands of helpful members…regular folks like me and you…who ask, answer and share all sorts of useful home and gardening tidbits. Much like Pinterest (but strictly for home- no recipes or fashion allowed), you browse through postings-in every imaginable home decor category-and choose your favorites.

Hometalk But, not only do you add them to the clipboards you create, there is also a Q & A component where you can post a question for the thousands of Hometalkers to answer at any given moment, or you can add your own two cents worth to help a fellow Hometalker out with a DIY or decorating dilemma. Whenever I post on my blog about my latest DIY projects, I share them on my Hometalk boards where folks can take a look, make a comment or suggestion or clip to their own boards for inspiration. Recently, the good folks at Hometalk reached out to me because they loved my USA Chalkboard Map

USA Chalkboard Map

and asked if I would be willing to create an entire Chalkboard Inspired Craft ClipBoard. Well, heck, yeah! I was blown away by the level of creativity and inspired design as I was browsing through the hundreds of photos of DIY projects featuring chalkboard paint. With everything from sweet party banners to decorated dressers to kitchen doors turned grocery lists, it was so difficult to choose which ones to feature! So…without further ado…presenting my

Creative Chalkboard Crafts Board

HomeTalk Curated ChalkboardA few favs: This Faux Zinc Metal Cabinet from Pretty Handy Girl features some amazing chalk graphics!

Pretty Handy Girl Faux Zinc Metal DresserHave an old window kicking around but you really need a monthly calendar instead? Check out what the blogger from Serendipity Refined created!

Chalkboard wall Calendar from Serendipity RefinedWhat do you get when you have a junky sawhorse leg, some pipe and some chalkboard paint? Well, if you’re Donna from Funky Junk Interiors, you create this ridiculously awesome lamp with the chalkboard shade! (as if I need something to remind me to drink coffee…lol)


Funky Junk Interiors Sawhorse Lamp
Linda from It All Started With Paint was coveting an old door to create her chalkboard grocery list.  Not any more! She took a standard, builder-grade paneled door, added some foam core and trim and created a vintage look chalkboard door. Brilliant!

It All Started With Paint Chalkboard Door

To see more of my Creative Chalkboard Craft ideas, click on Bartlet in his wedding chalkboard attire! Bartlet with signWhile you’re there, try creating a Hometalk board from some of your own favorite photos and projects! Have a great Thursday everyone and just remember: when you need some advice about what color to paint your walls…ruby red is a lovely accent color…just click three times and say…Ruby Slippersthere’s no place like Home(talk). xoxo Susan

On the 12th day…

Bathroom Shower Head Rays…there was rain. Well, not so much rain as a functional shower!! So that we can finally take a shower in our home instead of packing up clothing and running down to mom’s or over to our daughter’s homes for some hot running water and a bar of soap. You never know how much you take something for granted until it’s not available…like a nice hot shower to get you moving in the morning or warm you up after another long day out on the ball fields in 30 degree weather (you do know that Coach is really…well…a coach, right?) The bathroom project is moving along and although the rest of it is still in construction state,

Bathroom Demo ToolsI feel like we are starting to see it finally taking shape. We have floors, and plaster walls, and get this: separate light and fan switches

Bathroom Light Switchall this new-fangled modern day stuff is amazing!! There is a big new window

Bathroom Windowand light, tons of light because we tore out the old very low ceiling and raised the new one to the rafters!

Bathroom Walls and Ceiling PlasteredThere is still tons to be done, but its getting there…and thankfully, I am not the one doing it! I love coming home at the end of each day and peeking in to see what construction miracle has happened. Well, that day wasn’t so much a miracle as a crime scene…

Bathroom Tub SurroundCannot wait to start adding all the bling : ) But for now, off to take a shower-door or no door!! Have a wet and wild Wednesday, everyone! Susan

Global Love

Sharing a little global LOVE this morning : )

Global LOVE Painted Globe by Country Design HomeAs those of you who follow my blog may know, we are deep into the planning stages of our daughter’s wedding that is happening this August. What you may not know is that now we have TWO weddings in the making, as our son proposed to his lovely fiancé over the weekend as well!!  For our daughter’s celebration (#1 on the calendar), we’ve started having  monthly “craft days” to start chipping away at all of the DIY designs and decorations we are hoping to have displayed at this very international wedding. But of course, before we could begin crafting this past Sunday, we popped some bubbly (and shared some fries : ) to celebrate both of our lovely brides-to-be!

Engagement Rings BFFs Fries with Ketchup #McDonaldsThe project of the day was painted globes featuring the cities and countries of some very special places around the world that are near and dear to our daughter’s and her fiancé’s hearts.

Global Craft DayCoach has been collecting globes for the past few months and we’ve been painting the bases and handles teal blue, one of the chosen colors in the wedding palette. So even though they are all a little different in shape and size, the base colors tie them all together.

Painted Globes CitiesThe process of painting the globes is fairly simple, but tedious. First, we chose these cutout letters

Michael's Crafts Sticky LettersI got from Michaels as the font pattern and traced them onto contact paper,

Global LOVE contact paperone city at a time. Then they were carefully cut out (this was, thankfully, not my job!) with little scissors and an exacto knife. We decided each globe would have a slightly different letter placement depending on the colors of the globe itself. You have to make sure that the unpainted lettered areas show through once you paint the globe, so you want to choose the darker areas of the globe, like the land masses vs. the oceans.

New Zealand Globe CloseupOnce the placement was determined, the letters were peeled off the contact paper backing and placed on the globe, rubbing the edges firmly to ensure proper adherence so the paint wouldn’t bleed under.  (I really couldn’t take an accurate photo of this, as the contact paper is clear…) I made a concoction of Americana Paints, clear wax and soft finish varnish because I wanted it to be opaque and dark enough to contrast with the lettered areas.

Americana Creme Wax and PaintOnce the letters were in place, we simply used small brushes and started adding light coats of the white paint/glaze, allowing to dry until we were happy with the depth of color and contrast. Once slightly dried, we peeled off the letters using a small Exacto knife and tweezers. Voilà! Aspen!

Peeling letters off painted globeThe very first craft day, we were able to create this one LOVE globe while sorting out all of the exact craft details.

Tall LOVE Globe Country Design HomeThis past Sunday, we busted out 8, even while shipping champagne and discussing all of the wedding(s) planning. We have more to do, but we are at a standstill because we didn’t run out of countries, we’ve run out of globes! So if anyone has a globe they are willing to donate to the cause, let me know! Have a world class Wednesday everyone! Susan

Bathroom Remodel Week One

Since the bathroom remodel is in week one and moving full steam ahead, I thought I would share a few photos along the way, kind of a NON-DIY diary. I am very, very grateful that this is NOT a DIY project by me, but instead is in the very capable hands of our contractor Matt from Couture Construction. I know that working in a 160-year-old house has its unique challenges and I think Matt has his hands full trying to make sense of the Jenga-style construction techniques

Jenga Game Amazon.com

 

that were used to build this bathroom back in the day.

Bathroom Demo Wall ExposedBetween the horsehair plaster and the patchwork of flooring (using whatever boards they happened to have handy) and an occasional mouse in the wall,

Bathroom Remodel Trapped Mouseevery day I see Matt digging in and pulling junk out until now there is less actual bathroom and more bags of demo trash sitting in the driveway next to the toilet and sink. So here is the before…please don’t judge me because of the seashell sink. It was a thing once…


Bathroom Remodel BeforeThis is day one: horsehair plaster & lathing exposed (wait, is there supposed to be daylight shining through along that eave?)

Bathroom Remodel Horsehair Plaster Wallsday two: the walls come down

Bathroom Remodel Day 2day three-whoops- almost fell in!

Bathroom Remodel Day Three FloorRemember the time when I tore up the hall carpet to remodel the hallway in time for Easter (in 2012?!?)? Well, thank goodness we never added the carpeting to the as of yet unfinished Hall of Shame, knowing that we would eventually be remodeling the bath at the top of the stairs. Because look at these stairs now!

Bathroom Remodel StairsThey were really bad to begin with after two years of white paint and no carpet, but now with muddy shoes and boots coming and going, they’re just plain gross. I cannot wait for this bathroom reno to be finished so I can finally carpet those stairs-perhaps in time for Easter 2014?? But from that point on, its shoes off when you hit the hallway! Have a great Thursday, everyone. Just remember to be grateful for the simple things we so often take for granted here in the US, like a functional toilet and a nice, hot shower…mine soon enough. Susan

 

 

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