Toilet in the Snow

Bathroom Toilet in the snow bankOr “toilettes dans la neige”. Sounds so much lovelier in French, oui? Last night I came home from work and discovered this toilet in the snow in front of the barn. Why, you ask? Well, before I left for work, demo commenced on our bathroom remodel (finally!!) on our upstairs bath. Now, this is not the master bath. This is THE bath. Back in the mid-1800’s, folks were fortunate to have indoor plumbing, never mind a special bath dedicated to the master(s) of the house. Since we purchased this home many, many years ago, this bathroom has undergone some minor transformations as I attempted to keep putting “lipstick on the pig” as they say. It has so many different color coats of paint on it, I think it is actually smaller in size (which, to me feels tiny, but am told by the contractor that it is a pretty standard 5 x 8 bath, just laid out improperly.) When we moved in, the bath had a gray tub (still does),

Gray Bathtub Beforeaqua tiles on the walls (those are long gone and replaced by the wainscoting installed by yours truly), a gray sink on rusted metal spindle legs and a beige toilet. Oh, and old speckled linoleum on the floor. GROSS.

Old Linoleum FlooringI have been talking about and thinking about and deciding what finishes I wanted for this bath for awhile now. Finally, Coach and I decided that it was time to take the plunge and gut the entire room and start over. You would think with a bath this small that it wouldn’t be difficult to decide on fixtures and finishes. But, since I wanted to design the bathroom in a country, vintage style, ala 1800’s farmhouse, it takes a little more searching to find the right stuff.  For that, I have been saving some favorite bathroom photos on my Pinterest Bathing Beauties board for inspiration. This is the mirror. Simple, beveled edges with the polished chrome brackets from Hooked on Houses. LOVE.

Bathroom Mirror via Hooked On Houses

Photo courtesy of Hooked On Houses

This country bath from Chip & Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper- well this is kind of exactly what I am looking for in our bath. Country charming. Loving the vessel sinks with the wall-mounted faucets and the painted dresser turned vanity.

Bathroom via HGTV Fixer Upper

Photo Courtesy of Joanna Gaines via Fixer Upper on HGTV

The walls will be 3/4 board and batten as in this pic courtesy of Infarranty Creative. Although it is quite fun, the painted areas in our bath will not be quite that bright shade of purple.

Board and Batten Walls

Photo Courtesy of Infarrantly Creative

The flooring? Marble of course. So many choices…

Marble Tile Sample BoardThe only thing in the room that I am hoping to save is this beautiful heating grate. Love the heart designs.

Bathroom GrateOther than that, we’re going with a new toilet, new door and window, and blingy chrome hardware. And the best part is, the only thing I will be doing is choosing a new shower curtain and some matching towels! No DIY for me this time! And the second best part, we will finally be able to finish the Hall of Shame that has been in limbo for the past two years since I ripped out the old red rug. My thinking has been that we wouldn’t put down a new rug until the bathroom was remodeled, so we’ve been living with ugly, slippery white painted, un-carpeted stairs since then. Which, as it turned out was a great plan, since there was a stream of blue Tidy-Bowl going down the stairs yesterday when they removed the old toilet, which is now laying in the snow. So now I am dreaming of the new bathroom and happy that these tools are not mine : )

Bathroom Remodel ToolsI hope that by the time the snow is gone and that toilet is actually hitting the driveway pavement, the bathroom remodel will be completed…I will keep you posted as things progress! TGIF everyone! No snow today! Susan 

 

Fountain App for Home & Garden Help

Fountain.com LogoThis past week, I decided to replace a light switch in my study that had burned out awhile ago. Having never done this before (and of course, being completely unconcerned about my personal well-being…) I decided to give it a try. What’s the worse that can happen, I thought?? So, with new switch in hand and the power turned off, I unscrewed the switch plate and discovered this…yikes. That’s what you get with an old house. Old scary wires.

Burned out light switchMy first thought was oh, crap, who can I call to ask what I should do with these frayed wires? Fortunately for us, we do have friends and family who can come to our rescue on short notice with questions like this. However, if you are not that lucky and need to make a switch change, what would you do? Well, there is a brand new app called Fountain that was unveiled last night at the 2015 Launch Festival in San Francisco that may just have your answer!

Fountain App Front PageThe brainchild of Aaron Patzer, the same innovator who created Mint.com, Fountain is a new app that is designed to give regular homeowners who are searching for answers some expert assistance in a moment’s notice.  You simply download the free app from the Apple store to your iPhone (Android is in the works : )

Fountain App English Ask

When you have a question, you call up the app and either type in or voice text your dilemma, whether it’s how to plant a garden or repairing a hole in your wall or replacing a burned out light switch. The home and garden categories cover a wide array of topics, including painting, plumbing, furnishings, space planning, real estate, with experts at the ready in their chosen field.

Fountain App Ask PageOnce you ask the question, the app first attempts to obtain as much info from you so it can accurately pinpoint the exact information requested. It then finds the proper expert(s) in the database to answer and immediately pushes a notification to them.

Fountain App Immediate HelpIn this instance, I typed in “replace a light switch”, but Fountain wants to know whether its for a home, a car or an appliance so it can direct me to the proper expert.

Fountain Ask WindowOnce the app is happy with the question, it will connect you with the chosen expert and the chat process begins. On this app, there is a “face-time” type component so that you are actually discussing your issue face to face with someone in the know while they talk you through your home improvement issue. You can even take them shopping with you…asking real time questions about the products or brands you need to purchase for your project while your in the store.

Fountain App Unbiased AdviceDuring the chat, the other option is to share and compare still photos while you are in the middle of the video discussion. So the pics are sent back and forth between the homeowner and the expert, which makes the process unlike any other “help” forum  presently available online.

Fountain App Show and TellOnce you have your answers for your project and your call is completed, you are left with a “recent history” where you can go back and review the information, with texts and photos provided. And so, with that, I am excited to announce that I am one of the Fountain “experts” in the DIY and Home Decor categories! We have been in beta testing for months, and it was so exciting to finally see the app launched in front of a national audience last night!

Fountain Twitter Launch Party

For more questions, you can tweet to @askFountain or download the app and give it a try…and perhaps I will be the lucky expert to help you out!! Have an “app”solutely fabulous Tuesday, everyone! Susan

ps: In case you were worried, I did indeed replace the light switch without any issues…for once : )

How To Lighten Up A Lamp

As I sit here at 4am contemplating yet another snowstorm on the way, I am feeling a little down in the dumps and very uninspired. With little sunlight and mountains of snow obscuring our lives and making it just plain difficult to get around town, it’s hard to imagine that spring is just a few short weeks away.

Snow Barn Country Design HomeWhat used to feel warm and cozy about this spare bedroom/office/study when I remodeled it a few (or maybe 10) years ago is now feeling dark and oppressive. With an antique oriental carpet in shades of reds and blues,

Oriental Rug in Studya deep red accent wall, heavy rose-patterned drapes with velvet trim

Study Wall and Drapesand a red quilted chenille bedspread with a fleecy fur moose throw,

Vintage Fleece BlanketI feel like this room cannot breathe (nor me in it!). Time for some freshening up, and since it’s 4am and some people are still sleeping, I am starting (quietly) with this lamp.

Black Lamp with Paisley Shade BeforeEvery morning for the past few years, I have entered this room and switched on this desk lamp, relying on its ability to deliver light, but never really looking at the lamp itself. Because it is all black, the exquisite detail just does not show through.

Black Lamp BeforeThe base has this raised ruffled border and medallions

Lamp Base Beforeand some beautiful bouquets with bows-how did I miss this?!

Lamp Before Bows and FlowersBecause it’s all black and has absolutely no contrast, that’s how. So what to do with the lamp to brighten it up in the wee hours of the morning? Lets start with some Americana Chalky Paint in Promise (a light pink) mixed with a touch of Relic (a deep gray)

Americana Chalky Paint Mixto create a soft lavender gray color. I dry-brushed it on,

Drybrushing Mixed Paintand as I did you can see how that the details began to pop, with all those hidden black flowers

Lamp Enhanced Floral Bowand ruffles now springing to life.

Dry Brushing Lamp BaseOnce I finished the painting, which dried almost instantly because I used so little, I added a coat of Americana Clear Creme Wax

Americana Decor Creme Wax Finishjust to protect the paint finish and add a slight glow when the light hits it. I have always loved this paisley shade, but the color combination with the black lamp bothered me, and the dark color dampened the lamp light.

Lamp Paisley ShadePlus. red and black just scream bordello to me.

Bordello Photo Courtesy of The Chic Site

Photo Courtesy of The Chic Site

I assumed that once I had painted the lamp, I would pop the paisley shade back on and be done with it. But, alas, the dark, squared-off shade does nothing to enhance the newly found beauty of the lamp with all of its florals and curves. So I swapped the shade out from another lamp and, although it is the right shape, its still not quite the right color. But now its only 5:16am

Boston Time Stampand HomeGoods won’t open just for me to find a new lampshade, so it will have to wait. (Wouldn’t it be awesome to have HomeGoods on demand, where you could call them up and tell  them you need something and they would open the store just for you!? Now that would make me HomeGoods Happy : ) But for now, I am very happy with my new (old) much brighter lamp that has the appearance of alabaster or marble

Lampshade Baseinstead of plain dark black resin.

Americana Chalk Painted Lamp AfterJust the thing to lighten up yet another dreary day. Time to tackle that red wall! I hope you have a sunny Sunday, everyone, wherever you are! Susan  

BHG Flea Market Decorating Book…A Review

Better Homes and Gardens Flea Market Decorating Book

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Everyone know Coach has books. Lots of books. Thousands of books.

Stacks of books in the barnAlthough typically he is more inclined to pick up historical books and vintage magazines rather than novels or DIY manuals, he recently came across this Flea Market Decorating Book at a…where else…flea market, so he grabbed it for me. This Flea Market Decorating…Creating Style with Vintage Finds book by Better Homes and Gardens (*BHG) was published in 2000, but is even more relevant today than it was than a decade ago. Today, flea marketing is big business, and dealers, decorators and homeowners alike know the thrill of the hunt and how to create home environs with one amazing found piece as the inspiration. This book contains page after page of glossy photos with inspired decorating ideas utilizing all styles of flea market finds. Some are maintained in their original form, some are altered in the necessary way to fit the intended space, like this hospital gurney turned bathroom vanity.

BHG Flea Market Decorating Hospital Gurney Bathroom Vanity

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

The book is separated into chapters: The hunt (what to look for when flea market shopping), defining a style (which style suits you?

Cottage Style

BHG Flea Market Decorating Antique Cupboard Cottage Style

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Retro Rustic

BHG Flea Market Decorating Retro Rustic Dining Set

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Modern Country

BHG Flea Market Modern Country Decorating Bedroom

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Salvage Chic

BHG Defining a Style Salvage Chic

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

or Fifties Plus

BHG Flea Market Decorating Mid-Century Modern Fifties Plus

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Once you find your treasure, you’ll find the chapters bringing it home (integrating your newly found pieces into your existing home decor, both inside…

BHG Flea Market Decorating Dresser in Kitchen

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

…and out

BHG Flea Market Decorating Outdoor Patio

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

&  can it be saved (with helpful DIY tips…everything from refinishing wood to rewiring old lamps)

BHG Flea Market Decorating Book Restoring Finish on Table

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

to be most invaluable. At the end there is a national listing of flea markets and look here..my two favorite Massachusetts markets! Brimfield Flea Market and our very own Todd Farm Flea Market (April can’t come fast enough, my friends!)

BHG Flea Market Decorating Book Todd Farm AdIf you are an avid flea marketer (like me and Coach) and love to decorate with vintage furnishings, this book could quickly become your flea market bible. So many inspired ideas and great design mixed in with helpful hints and information. If you are lucky enough, you can find it at your local flea market, or it is still available on Amazon.com. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go make a bowling pin trunk : )

BHG Bowling Pin Trunk Table

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Do you have a favorite room designs with flea market decor?? If so, please share it with me- just send a pic and I will post it here and on my social media pages : ) Have a great (& not too snowy) Sunday everyone!! Susan

 

Better Homes & Gardens’ 2015 Color Palette of the Year

BHG Color Palette of the Year ADVENTUREEver since I wrote the blog post about different paint companies introducing their “colors of the year” I have been asked again and again, “who decides that? and how do I get to be the person who chooses the color for the entire year? and why does it have to be just one color?”  Recently, I was approached by Meredith Corp, the parent company of *Better Homes and Gardens to request that I take a look at their trending “Better Homes and Gardens’ 2015 Color Palette of the Year”. Unlike other publications and paint companies, I was happy to see that BHG chose not just one color, but an entire color palette for your design inspiration. According to the press release, ” The collection of six colors highlights the most current trends in home and fashion, in hues that complement each other through multiple combinations.”  

BHG 2015 Color Palette of the Year BOLDThe pressing question for me is how was this particular palette chosen? “To design the palette, Better Homes and Gardens editors scouted trend forecasts, runway shows, trade show booths, and spoke with color experts at the Color Marketing Group’s International Summit. BHG editors then fine-tuned the tones to offer hues that are modern, lasting, and most importantly, livable.”  I believe the key word there is livable. I have seen many single “colors of the year” that I just could not imagine living with in my home. But this palette provides a much broader array of colors that could fit any style of decor, whether its country, mid-century or sleek and modern.

So, here are two room samples; the differences are striking, but the colors are exactly the same in each space. It’s the color placement choices that create the entirely different moods in the two rooms. You want deep and dreamy?

BHG Color Palette of the Year DEEP & DREAMYChoose the darker, richer color- in this case the Pratt & Lambert Stone’s Throw Gray- in the palette for the walls to envelop you and use the lighter colors for the furnishings and decor. Light and Lively is accomplished with the alternate approach:

BHG Color Palette of the Year LIGHT & LIVELYpainting the walls in the lightest color of the palette and accessorize with the darker hues for pops of color creates a fresh, cheery space.

So what are the six colors in this year’s Better Homes & Gardens’ palette?

Essential Teal by BehrOCEANIC BLUE: Deep and dreamy with a refreshing intensity.

Behr Essential Teal BHG Color Palette of the Year 2015 CodeStone’s Throw by Pratt & Lambert...SOPHISICATED GRAY: Dripping with drama. Rich, sexy and serene.

Pratt & Lambert Stones Throw BHG Color Palette of the Year CodedPanama Rose by PPG...FRESH BERRY: The perfect kick of color, bursting with life.

PPG Panama Rose 1181-7 BHG Color Palette of the Year 2015 CodeSalmon Rose by ValsparSHAPE-SHIFTING CORAL: Like a chameleon – sassy, yet soft.

Valspar Salmon Rose BHG Color Palette of the Year 2015 CodedNaive Peach by Sherwin-Williams...WARM BLUSH: Romantic in the home and flattering on every skin type.

Sherwin Williams Naive Peach BHG Color Palette of the Year 2015 CodedParadise by Sherwin-WilliamsRAINFOREST GREEN: A show-stopping jewel tone that looks and feels alive.

Sherwin Williams Paradise BHG Color Palette of the Year 2015 CodedWith a tropical flair and inspired by nature, these colors can be used in any combination or combined altogether to add a bright, cheerful, welcoming feeling to any room. According to designer Eddie Ross, Better Homes and Gardens’ East Coast Editor:  “We’ve created a foundation that not only works well together, but allows readers to isolate a single color or combination to create a sophisticated, yet livable room. Color can be very personal, and while certain colors may be trending, we want to make sure ours have staying power. The colors we’ve chosen are meant to give readers the building blocks for experimenting with no-fail creativity,” he adds. “Modern switches in color can completely change the look and feel of anything from a container garden to a table setting. Even the right shade of glassware can elevate the experience of something as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee.”

You can view additional rooms and styles with this year’s color palette online or in the March Color Issue of Better Homes and Gardens, available on newsstands today. Or by visiting their Instagram page where they have been sharing pics of inspired decor from bloggers using the hashtag #BHGColor.  So if I had to choose one of these colors for my color of the year, it would be Essential Teal by Behr-I do love my blues… How about you? Does this palette speak to you? Would you use any or all of it in your home? I am dreaming of color right now because all I am seeing around me is mountains of white snow!! Have a colorful Tuesday everyone! Susan

 

IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light

 

IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light by CDH

After I created my Times-Square featured Vintage Bedspring Marquee Light,

Black & Decker Times Square Billboard Times SquareCoach quickly found a second bedspring that he thought I could transform as well. But, one giant marquee sign is more than this girl needs, so I had him cut the springs off of the frame to save for other projects. Like this cute little votive candle holder I created over the holidays.

Rusty Bedspring Coil Votive Candle Holder Country Design HomeBeing trapped in the house this weekend while the snow mountains build, I figured I’d take another look at the bin of bedsprings and see what I could create. Here is my latest project, simple and fun with a cool, vintage look! So what do you have when you take an

IKEA Sekond Black & White Textile Light Cord Set

IKEA Bedspring Pendant Light Sekond Cord Kit

 

Plus SignAn Edison Bulb

IKEA Hack Vintage Light Fixture
Plus SignA vintage bedspring coil painted silver?

Ikea Sekond Bedspring LightYou get this!

IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light by CDHA vintage pendant light to hang anywhere in your home that could use a spot of light. (which, is pretty much everywhere in my house right now since there is absolutely NO sunlight…)

Very simple project, actually. You take the cord and unscrew the flange from the base.

IKEA Sekond Pendant Light attach to bedspringI used a silver-painted coil spring, but you could certainly use a rusted metal one, or paint one pink or blue or whatever color you wish.

Insert the socket of the light into the top of the spring. Fits perfectly! Then you take the flange and screw it in from the bottom of the spring and turn it clockwise until you have a snug fit with a coil.

IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light

Screw in the lightbulb. (Remember that old joke about how many bloggers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Yeah, me neither. But if you think of one, let me know)

IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light W Edison BulbHang the cord from the ceiling hooks provided in the cord kit or use your favorite wall bracket or lantern holder. Twist and knot the cord to keep it from slipping, then plug it in. Voila! A DIY vintage light fixture-no wiring needed!

IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light by CDH

Hope you’re having a great Sunday everyone. If you’re in  New England, stay safe. And if you’re in some warm, sunny place, then stay there. Seriously. Susan

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top LogoSince I have discovered these French Typography stencils from Americana Decor

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Americana French Typography StencilsI have been dreaming of Paris in springtime…BUT, the cold, stark reality is that there are icicles coating my windows

Icicle Windowand snowbanks the size of small mountains in my yard…with more snow in the forecast!  So, in the warmth of my home (and, I am indeed lucky enough to have a roof over my head and oil in my tank and warm cappuccino at the ready)

Cappuccino I am recreating Paris around me. First, with the Paris Hamper,

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Country Design Home TMthen with the Vintage Rooster French Commode,

Vintage Rooster Commode Finished TMand now with my latest makeover, this Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table…Ooh, La La!! This is a small side table, painted with chalk paint and then detailed with gold leaf and stencils.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top Here is the how-I-did-it:

1. I am sorry to say that I do not have a before pic of this little side table. It was another junk pick that had seen better days, but it had such nice lines and pretty legs and a top that needed some work (sounds familiar…). So, I cleaned it, then painted it with two coats of chalk paint I had mixed from some different paint pots I had handy. The trouble with mixing your own paint is that eventually you run out. If I decided I wanted to paint something else with this color, I am out of luck. So I took a camera shot and analyzed it with my Benjamin Moore Color Capture and it matched my home made color to their Mythic...a perfect color match!

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Paint Color2. Once the table was painted and dried, I taped off the top because I only wanted the gold leaf on the bottom surface and not the sides.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top Taped OffThis gold leaf kit comes with two bottles: one is the glue, the other is the sealer, and a package of gold leafing sandwiched between tissue paper.
This stuff is super thin and fragile (not the paper, the gold) and tears very easily, so you have to handle it very carefully. A little leafing goes a very long way. Mona Lisa knows the deal… You can purchase this kit at your local craft supply store, or if you don’t want to brave the snow, you can order it on this Amazon.com link.
Paris Inspired Gold Leaf KitIt comes with the two bottles of adhesive and finish and 25 sheets of gold.  I had this one kicking around my craft supplies bin for quite awhile, so not sure where I originally purchased it. But I’m guessing I used a coupon…

3. I painted the entire surface with a coat of Metal Leaf Adhesive Size.

Metal Leaf Adhesive Size for Gold Leaf Table TopThis is the glue that holds the leafing in place. You paint it on, making sure you leave no bubbles or puddles, then allow to dry for 60 minutes or until the milky white glue turns clear. It really doesn’t feel tacky to the touch when dry, but no worries, it works great.

4. I started applying the gold leaf, one sheet at a time. This is a rather tedious process and takes a while to get the technique down. Basically, you have to almost “float” the sheet of gold leaf onto the surface, trying to avoid wrinkles and fold overs the best you can.

Applying Gold Leaf to Paris TableOnce it hits the glue, it stays put. But it won’t be a smooth surface until you take a small dry paint brush and start smoothing it out. Once you finish one piece, you simply add another until the entire surface is covered with gold. As you add more pieces, they will only stick to the exposed glue and will brush off the already adhered sheets. You just brush the excess away to another area and smooth it down. Once completed, the surface will look like a gorgeous antiqued crackled gold finish, like this:

Gold Leaf Applied to Paris Table5. Once I had covered the entire surface covered with the gold leaf, I painted on the Metal Leaf Sealer. Once coat is all it requires.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Metal Leaf Sealer6. For a little extra detail, I decided to paint the trim line encircling the outside of the table top.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Side Detail Gold Metallic PaintFor this, I simply used a thin paint brush and some gold metallic acrylic paint.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top Metallic Paint for side detailIt would have been virtually impossible to get the gold leaf into the tiny thin line.

7. I added the stencil using my “no-fail” stenciling technique. Now, I really wasn’t sure if I could stencil OVER the sealed gold leaf, but I figured, why not give it a try? This particular French Typography stencil fit perfectly onto the top, so I simply set it into place,

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Stenciled Table Top Applying Stencilthen stenciled with Relic Chalky Paint from Americana. Voila!

Stenciled Gold Leaf Paris Table Top8. Once that dried, I held my breath as I painted on the sealer because I just didn’t know if the stencil on the sealed gold leaf would smear or not. Yay-NOT! This is a clear poly-acrylic sealer from General Finishes.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table General Finishes PolyAcrylic FinishThese products have very little odor and wash up with soap and water. Love that, especially since I am working indoors right now. I painted the gold leaf surface, plus the bottom shelf with that, then treated the rest with Americana Creme Wax

Americana Creme Wax Clearfor a less shiny, more buffed appearance.

9. Here is the finished Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table. Loving the way the gold leaf top glows in the candlelight.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top LogoHave a safe and warm Friday everyone! Bonne Journee! xoxo Susan

 

Lucky In Love? Or Just Lucky Enough…

…to find one of these little Pyrex “Lucky In Love” bowls at an estate or rummage sale? Well hang on to your lucky little heart if you have! The bidding on this bowl, presently being auctioned on Ebay by Molliec917, is up to $3155.00 with four days remaining!

Lucky in Love Pyrex Bowl on EbayManufactured by the Corning USA company back in 1959, this sweet little Pyrex bowl is the rarest of the rare of the Pyrex Collection. On Sunday, I was alerted to an ongoing Ebay auction for this very bowl, with the bidding that is presently at $3155.00 with 4 days to go until the end of the auction!!

Lucky in Love Pyrex Bowl Ebay AuctionWait, what?!?!? $3000+ for a Pyrex bowl, as cute as it may be, has to be some sort of record. Especially since this particular bowl doesn’t even have its original white glass cover and has, according to the description, some “light scratches.” So, how on earth does a one quart covered bowl become the “holy grail” of Pyrex bowls and the object of such affection and adoration? According to several websites (and there are, by the way, many,  many websites that are solely dedicated to the passion of collecting Pyrex-who knew!?!?), this particular bowl was created as a seasonal promotional pattern back in 1959. But because the green grass bled through the red hearts, it did not meet Corning standards and the style was quickly abandoned and never mass produced. The original prototype sits in the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning NY, but I guess it was only “lucky” back then, because the hearts are missing!

Lucky in Love Pyrex PrototypeWhile searching online for additional Pyrex information, I was amazed, not only at the number of Pyrex-dedicated websites, but also by the prices these vintage little pieces were commanding on Ebay

Ebay Vintage Pyrex Bowl Listingsand Etsy.

Etsy Pyrex Bowl ListingsAt the shop in the Barn at Todd Farm, Lisa (our resident Pyrex guru) has been selling Pyrex pieces at some seriously amazing prices as well. So what’s the deal with Pyrex...why is she the most popular girl at the party…and where did she come from? The history of Pyrex started back in the railroads in the early 1900’s, according to the website Classic Kitchens and More. Corning Glass Works scientists developed train lantern glass that did not shatter when exposed to extremes in heat and cold. From the website:

“In July 1913, a series of events involving Bessie Littleton, the wife of the company’s newest scientist, forced Corning managers to focus their attention on the consumer venture. Apparently, Mrs. Littleton had used a Guernsey brand casserole only twice when it fractured in the oven. Knowing the strength of the glass her husband worked with on a daily basis, she implored him to bring home a substitute from the Corning Glass Works plant. He returned the next evening with the bottoms of two sawed-off battery jars made from low-expansion glasses. Mrs. Littleton cooked a sponge cake in one of the surrogate baking dishes. She noted several remarkable findings:
• The cooking time was shorter
• The cake did not stick to the glass; it was easy to remove with little adhesion
• The cake was unusually uniform
• The flavor of the cake did not remain in the dish after washing
• She could watch the cake bake and know it was done by looking at the underside.”
  From Classic Kitchens and More 

For the following two years, Corning developers worked on perfecting Pyrex, then introduced it to the general public in 1915 when Jordan Marsh in Boston placed the first Pyrex bakeware order and Corning Glass Works Pyrex AdPyrex became a household name. The rest is unbreakable history. So why has Pyrex endured the test of time? Well, first of all, how many of you have Pyrex pieces in your kitchens that have been passed down from generation to generation? It’s highly break and chip-resistant, so it will last long after others have joined the broken glass pile. And, it’s just plain cute. Over the years, the manufacturers of Pyrex have followed design trends and created new colorful patterns and styles consistent with the times.

Pyrex Blue Corning Glass Works Museum

But those mid-century vintage pieces, those are the coveted patterns in aquas and pinks and harvest golds and avocado greens. They are, like so many mid-century artifacts, a reminder of our gentler past and our grandmother’s Sunday dinners created in beautifully patterned mixing bowls.  So, start digging through your china cupboards and see what treasures you may have hidden away! And if you are lucky enough to have the coveted “Lucky In Love” 1959 Pyrex bowl in your possession, then well, you’re lucky enough. Have a great Tuesday everyone…I hope that you’re lucky enough not to be buried in snow the way we are!! xoxo Susan

Fun Friday Cash Giveaway!

Well, it’s finally Friday. Somehow we made it through this week of unending snowfall (with more on the way!), school closings and Super Bowl parades-yay, Patriots! As a way to welcome in February, I’ve teamed up with some generous fellow bloggers from All Bloggers United

All Bloggers United Facebook Group

for a little fun Friday Cash Giveaway called Treat Yo Self!

Treat Yo Self $$$ GiveawayJust enter using the Rafflecoptor form below. So, what can you do with $100?? Well,  you can  just take a winter break…dine out, have a spa day…or perhaps a little retail therapy-just make sure you use it to treat yourself! From now until February 18th, you can enter here to win a $100 Paypal Cash Prize! Just click the Rafflecoptor link below and follow the simple instructions to enter.

 

Rafflecoptor Giveaway

Thanks to the following All Bloggers United for participating in this giveaway…

Paint By Number…Vintage Sideboard Makeover

Today’s Vintage Sideboard Makeover brought to you by DecoArt’s Americana Paints and the numbers 1 through 7 : )

Americana Sideboard Makeover on Country Design HomeI’m so pleased to announce that I am now a contributing blogger to the Deco Art Blogger Outreach Program!

DecoArt Blogger Outreach ProgramI use their line of Americana chalky paints and finishes quite frequently and am happy to share my latest furniture makeover featuring their great products with you! This vintage sideboard has been in our family room since we purchased it at a second-hand shop a few years back. Every time I walked in the back door, I was greeted by this drab brown large block of wood.

Americana SideBoard BeforeNo matter how I styled the top, the fact was that it was dark and sucked up all the light in the space. I have been on a painting and DIY overdrive since all of the snow started piling up, and I figured it was high time to take this old wood-paneled station wagon and transform it into a bright, shiny red cadillac. Here is the how-to:

1. Cleaned the wood surfaces. The top was not part of the original piece, it was constructed with reclaimed wood, attached and sanded down to a clean blonde wood (but not by me-thanks to whomever did this step for me : ) Which is how has remained until I got inspired. Because the plank wood was quite pretty in its raw state, I knew I did not want to paint it, so decided to wax/stain it instead.

Americana Vintage Sideboard Top Before Unfinished2. So I finished the top with two coats of Americana Crème Wax in Golden Brown, allowing time to dry between the coats, which enhances the color and grain of the wood while providing a beautiful glowing finish.

Americana Creme Wax Golden Brown RagThese waxes are water based, have no odor, are very easy to apply and clean up. You paint on or wipe on with a soft rag,

Vintage Sideboard Wiping on Golden Brown Wax on Topthen wipe off the excess. If it gets too tacky while you are working, you can dampen the rag to soften the wax and smooth the edges. Allow to dry, then buff with a soft cloth.

3. I was on the fence about the wood knobs-whether to replace them or not-when I realized they were screwed and glued into place. Decision made. I taped them and painted around them to keep the wood knobs to match the wood top.

Americana Painted Sideboard Taped Off KnobsFor the doors and drawers, I painted them with two coats of Americana Chalky Paint called Primitive, which is a creamy greige (that’s a gray and beige combined). Using Americana stencils and Chalky Paint called Relic (a deep charcoal gray) per my No-Fail Stenciling Techniques, I added the numbers to the drawers and doors for a touch of whimsy, then sanded the edges and finished with a coat of Americana Clear Creme Wax. 

Americana Vintage Door Panel Antiqued4. I decided to antique the doors’ center panels for a little bit of color and contrast, so I taped them off, then painted with two coats of Americana Serene Blue Chalky Paint.

Americana Painted Sideboard Serene Blue Chalky Paint5. Allowed to dry, then painted with a coat of Americana Crackle Medium. This is a clear finish that you paint on to a sealed or painted surface, then allow to dry. As it dries, it crackles the paint underneath it and antiques it at the same time. If I had the time-lapse option on my camera, I could’ve shared this process. But trust me when I tell you it looks like a science experiment! The thicker you paint it on, the more crackling appears. In this case, I put it on really thick and most of the blue paint actually crackled off.

Americana Vintage Sideboard Door Panel FinishedWhoops. But I was OK with that, as it gave the panels the appearance of old paint that had been worn away by time and use.

6. For the body of the piece, I had decided to paint it an antique red to co-ordinate with the rug that sits directly in front of it. The plan was to paint with two coats, then add the darker wax finish. But, when I started painting the Americana Chalky Paint in Romance Red

Americana Chalky Paint Romance Redover the dark brown finished wood (remember, with these paints you do not need to prep or sand…just paint away!)

Vintage Brown Sideboard Panel BeforeI got a little panicky because it was really, really bright!

Americana Painted Sideboard Romance Red Chalky PaintBUT, then a miracle happened (not unlike that end zone interception with 30 seconds left in the game last night…) it basically antiqued itself! I painted it on, then wiped off the excess with a rag,

Americana Chalky Paint Romance Red Wiping Offessentially staining it red while allowing the brown tone and grain of the wood to show through! The chalky paint acted like a stain, allowing me to leave on as much or little as I preferred to get the perfect shade of antique red. I love it when the unexpected happens…in a good way : ) Had I preferred, I could have painted the entire piece with the two coats of red and then waxed with the darker finish. But this was so much easier! So all it took was one quick coat of paint on the wood, wiping it off, allowing it to dry, then coating with the Americana Clear Crème Wax, which gives the entire piece a bright, glowing finish.

Americana Painted Sideboard Closeup TM7. After I re-affixed the doors back onto the sideboard, I then re-staged it with some of my favorite things. And although much of those are the same, the entire wall takes on a whole new look with this bright, fun Americana Vintage Sideboard Makeover. This sideboard is a very functional piece of furniture in our home, holding a variety of household items like glasses, batteries, candles and more-essentially one large junk drawer…now when Coach asks me where I can find the IPhone chargers and cases, I can direct him to drawer #5!

Americana Sideboard Drawer #5Thanks to Deco-Art for supplying the Americana Chalky Paints and finishes but allowing me to use my own DIY imagination. Hope you all had a Super Sunday, everyone-I know we Pats fans sure did!  Time for some more snow shoveling… but at least we’ll know where to find our winter scarves…behind door #6!! Xoxo Susan

 

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