Gone Fishing…

Where have I been, you ask? Long time no hear, you say. Whelp, no excuses! I’ve been trying to relax and have some fun this summer, but basically that means I’ve been incredible busy with furniture sanding and staining and painting and stenciling and lifting and hauling and hammering and oh, yeah, selling it all at the Barn at Todd Farm! The only fishing I have actually done is for some cute whale patterns for my hand-crafted Tin Whale Signs. So much for a summer of R & R…which for me means Re-Cycle & Re-Love.

Today’s DIY post features some super cute whales I’ve created from tin, copper, wood and some paints. Typically, this is what happens: Coach says “I have these boards, can you do something with them?” He paints or stains them a background color while I search for some inspiration- nothing a pile of tin can’t provide! Where this stuff comes from, I do not know or care to ask- it just magically appears in the workshop…or on the porch…or in the yard…or under the work tent. But, somehow it all comes together and we go from this:

Tin Whale Outdoor Panelsto this: Tin Whales Country Design HomeHere’s the how-I-did-it:

Get a piece of wood (we have tons in the barn if you need some…) Have Coach paint or stain the wood with whatever back ground color you’d like to showcase your designs. Get some old tin sheets (good luck with that one) I needed enough tin to create a whale pattern the length of the wood-it did not have to be one large piece because I was planning on slicing it anyway.

Tin Whale SheetsLay down your whale pattern (hey, if you don’t like whales, you can pretty much take your pick of fish or animals or anything else. Then again, who doesn’t like whales?? Trace the pattern onto the tin panels.

Tin Whale Tracing PatternCut the pattern out with scissors. Now, I am not sure where to actually find aged tin this thin-once my stash is gone, I am not sure what I will do! But I am sure Coach will figure it out. Evenly slice the pieces into as many as you would like to create your design.

Tin Whale Pattern StencilI chose two different paint colors to create the stripes. So many colors, so many choices…

Tin Whale Paint ColorsI painted it on…

Tin Whale Painted Tail Before…then sanded it off to expose the tin texture.

Tin Whale Sanded PaintSometimes I don’t paint it at all- just leaving the aged tin…which has the appearance of an old whale (well, at least from what I can see in old photographs…)

Tin Whale Natural SurfaceOnce all the pieces were painted, I laid them back down, evenly spacing them with a ruler. (I used to just eyeball stuff, but I guess these old eyes don’t quite measure like they used to…)

Tin Whale SpacingI glued the pieces to the wood…I’ve tried all sorts of glues, but this one works really well and its clear and doesn’t smell too bad. Painted it on the back of the pieces, then laid it down on the wood panel-once I had them positioned correctly- thenI weighted them down with paint cans until they dried.

Tin Whale Tacky GlueNow, here’s the fun part. Well, I guess you could call it fun if you enjoy individually punching dozens of teeny, tiny copper tacks into tin and wood using jewelry pliers and a small hammer…

Tin Whale Copper Tacks with PliersThese tiny copper tacks are from a company in Ohio- they are specifically made for shaker boxes…but I think they are perfect for my whales!

Tin Whale Copper TacksEach whale is unique in both the finishes and the finishing decorations. Depending on the color choices, sometimes I will use black carpet tacks instead of the copper tacks…those are available at your local hardware store.

Tin Whales 2 by 2As for the whales, well, sometimes I paint them, sometimes I leave them natural (after all, whales are not typically blue striped) Sometimes I use vintage hooks, sometimes I glue jute rope around the edges to finish them off…whatever strikes my artistic fancy while I am in my create mode. So, here are the whales hanging on the wall at the barn, along with many other pieces that I have created.

Tin Whales Barn Vignette Country Design Home.jpgDon’t they look totally at home there?? If I ever have coastal cottage (working on it!) they will be making waves there : ) Have a whale of a Monday, everyone! xoxo Susan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve Moved! (but not far…)

This past couple of months, Coach and I have been working really hard to create a new fresh look for our space in the Barn at Todd Farm. Well, actually, its my new space…but I didn’t move far- just across the aisle! Our friends and barn co-inhabitants from The Laughing Cottage moved down to the front entrance of the barn, leaving their space available. So, Coach and I decided that because of its size and orientation (it is wide rather than deep) it made sense for me to make the move to give us a lot more wall space to hang our artwork and decorative stuff. We moved into a blank slate, basically plywood walls and floors, and set out to create a warm and welcoming space with a slightly nautical theme. We painted the back chipwood wall, first with an undercoat of white,

Barn Booth painted wall

and then I dry-brushed over it in shades of grays and blues. (woops, I forgot to take the after picture, but if you look real close behind the whales, you can see the finished wall).

Barn Booth Back Wall Styled

The bookcase wall, which had been covered with rustic shutters, took on a mid-century modern look once I painted random squares with pops of color and stained the rest.

Barn Booth Painted Shelving

Then, we filled it with all sorts of curated items, hung a ladder and some fish net and patio lights for ambiance. So cute!

Barn Booth Bookcase Wall Lights

Then, the floor! Well, what was once a dusty, plain brown plywood

Barn Booth Plywood Plank Flooring

is now a striped and stenciled masterpiece that continually draws customers’ attention and comments-who just love it!

Barn Booth Old Trunk

The painted floor stripes were simple to do-measured, then taped off, followed by painting alternating stripes of General Finishes Milk Paint in Coastal and Federal Blue. You can see in the photo below that I did create more of a paint-washed look rather than a solid color. I wanted it to look old and worn, not shiny and new, so I used a brush rather than a roller- an arduous task, but worthwhile in the end.

Barn Booth Painted Stripe Flooring

By the time I was finished with the stripes, they were already dry and ready for the stencils! I created a large pattern on my handy-dandy Cricut machine and cut it-so large, that I had to piece it together with tape!

Barn Booth Cut Stencil

Stenciling was done with a large sponge and some random acrylic paint I mixed together in a pale chartreuse.

Barn Booth Spacing Stencils

Spacing was a bit tricky- I started in the middle in front of the beam (which I thought was centered, but not quite) and worked to the left and right. Along the way, I gave up the measuring tape and just eyeballed it to make sure I could fit it all in. As is sometimes the case (but not always), the stenciled design fit perfectly! So now my space is filled with pieces that I have refurbished and lots of cool junk that Coach has picked along the way. Actually, quite a few of these pieces sold on our flea market opening day this past Sunday- but there are plenty more where those came from!

Barn Booth Styled

If you haven’t been up in awhile, or have never been to The Barn at Todd Farm, come on up and visit us in our sweet new space.

Barn Booth Bookcase Wall

(and Coach is now in my old space with the rusty bedspring light)- with a new name- American Vintage GoodsRusty Bedspring Marquee Light In Shop PM

So stop on by and say Hi!! And have a wonderful (albeit WET) Wednesday! Susan xoxo

Faux Gold Leaf…It’s A Sign

Vintage Grocery Sign Completed Gold LogoThe other morning I woke up dreaming about how to make my own gold leaf for little to no $$$. What, that’s not a thing? Doesn’t everyone wake up dreaming about DIY projects? I had been working on a vintage GROCERY sign and had decided it needed more pizzazz than what a plain cream background could provide. So, I thought that since gold leafing

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top clear coatwas simply some hammered paper-thin gold sheets that you glued on the surface,

Applying Gold Leaf to Paris Tablewhy not use glued, thin textured paper that you painted gold? I know it’s not 24K…I mean, after all, I’m not going to be wearing the darned thing, so I am pretty sure that its OK for a wood sign, am I right? For those of you not familiar with “gold-leafing”, suffice to say that it has been used for gilding and decorating for centuries…click here for a little Wikipedia history lesson.

So I grabbed this antique oak dresser panel

Vintage Grocery Sign Dresser Side Panel(yes, this is the side panel from a vintage oak dresser that was beyond repair…I broke it down and am using the wood and salvaged pieces) and began the sign-making process. Here is the How-I-Did-It:

I cleaned the panel, then rubbed it down with some steel wool just to remove any surface stickies and smooth it out.

Vintage Grocery Sign Cleaning Old Frame with Steel WoolThere were two little dowels that were protruding from one end-they had attached the panel to the top of the dresser in its original form. I was in the kitchen so I didn’t want to drag out the power saw- enter the Ginsu Knife!

Vintage Grocery Sign Ginsu Knife CuttingThe ad says “cuts through a log, and then slices pineapple perfectly”. Well, I didn’t slice any fruit with it after I sliced off the dowels, but it worked great!

Refreshed the entire oak frame areas with some General Finishes Antique Oak Stain.

Vintage Grocery Sign General Finishes Antique Oak StainPainted the inside of the frame with a coat of chalk paint to lighten it up and create a bonding surface for the glue.

DecoArts Americana Chalky Paint PrimitiveCut out two pieces of wrapping tissue- this was in a gift box I saved from Christmas-so it was free!! But you can buy a whole package of it at the dollar store for well, $1. The thinner and cheaper, the better.

Vintage Grocery Sign Tissue Paper Cut To SizeSpread “Wunda Size”, a water-based glue which I use for all of my paper-adhesion projects…

Vintage Grocery Sign Wunda Size Glue…all over the surface-my original intent was to do 1/2 at a time, but the bottle spilled out a little more than I needed.

Vintage Grocery Sign Spilled GlueSo I scooped up what I could save (this stuff is like liquid gold…every drop counts!) and spread the rest out across the entire surface. Waited about 10 minutes until the surface was tacky and sticky (NOT dried!) Remember, wherever you put the glue, that is where the paper is going to stick! You can use any type of glue-even watered-down school glue- for this, but I would not use a “Modge-Podge” type product, as I think it would be too thick.

Laid the tissue down onto the tacky surface, beginning at the corners and then working along, smoothing it with my fingertips as I moved down the length of the board.

Vintage Grocery Sign Smoothing TissueIt is OK to have the creases and wrinkles, that’s what gives it the gold leaf appearance. (this stuff is really sticky-thankfully it washes off with water!)

Vintage Grocery Sign Sticky FingersI used two pieces, so there was a seam down the middle, but I just tore off the edge of the overlap piece and then smoothed it down.

Vintage Grocery Sign Tearing Tissue along edgeNow, tissue paper is not quite as fragile as real gold leafing, so I had a few seconds to reposition and move the paper until it was properly placed. However, once it touches the glue, you cannot slide it or it will tear-just lift it and move it along. But if it does tear, just smooth it back down with your fingertips and keep going. That is part of the look you are trying to achieve anyway. Once I was finished smoothing, I allowed it to dry completely-about an hour.

Vintage Grocery Sign Drying Tissue Paper with GluePainted with two coats of this gold paint

intage Grocery Sign Gold Metallic Paintyou could use any gold paint you have on hand-as long as it is metallic. I found this one in a mark down bin at AC Moore for like, 50 cents. As the paint went on, it enhanced the wrinkly surface, creating the veining effect of real gold leaf.

Vintage Grocery Sign Gold PaintFinally, using a stencil,

Vintage Grocery Sign StencilsI spelled out GROCERY,

Vintage Grocery Sign Gold Leaf Closeupthen painted it free-hand with some black chalkboard paint. See how pretty the black lettering looks against the glowing gold?

Vintage Grocery Sign Stenciled and PaintedFinished with a coat of spray matte acrylic sealer.

Krylon Matte FinishAdded two vintage hooks for hanging. Done. But this one’s not staying in my kitchen…

Vintage Grocery Sign in Window…it is just one of the many projects I’m bringing up to the Barn at Todd Farm this weekend! The total cost for this project? Zero. Zip. Nada. (well, except for my very valuable time and expertise : ) Everything I used I had on hand. If I had to purchase a large package of gold leafing, enough to cover this project, it would have cost a pretty penny (hmmm, now that I have this leafing thing down, I could definitely try coppering something, or even faux leathering…) So there you have it…gold leafing on the cheap. And speaking of gold, its Oscar weekend! Hope your favorite movie wins! Susan

Hello…again.

It is been three months (and a day) since my last blog post on June 25th. During these past few months of summer, we sold my mom’s condo and moved her into a sunny new two bedroom apartment, which she loves. Obviously, this is the before…”afters” coming shortly!

Moms Apartment 1We hosted the bridal shower,

Shower Marquee Chalkboard Signthen spent the summer prepping for the Kennebunkport wedding (more of that coming shortly but I will tell you that those sun umbrellas came in quite handy…)

Kennebunkport Wedding Pic Sunshineand Coach and I spent the weekends at the Barn at Todd Farm selling our “junk-tiques”.

American Flag Coffee Table VignetteWe managed to fit in a James Taylor/Bonnie Raitt concert at Fenway Park-absolutely incredible!

James Taylor at Fenway Park 2015I completely redecorated our guest bedroom

Nautical Bedroom Makeoverand finally finished both the Hall of Shame  (LOVING the new herringbone carpet-so soft!)

Herringbone CarpetAND the upstairs bath (that’s what happens when you have international guests coming to stay and the pressure is on : 0

Oak vanity with vessel farmhouse sinkDuring this time, I kept thinking that perhaps it was time to say goodbye to this blog because frankly, I really didn’t think I had anything left to say. Every time I was working on a new DIY project for the wedding (or the barn) I would start to take photographs…but then I would get distracted and forget until the project was completed.

Painting Globes for weddingWhoops. Or I would see something very similar to my project on Pinterest or on another blog and think “It’s all been done before. How many ways can you decorate a mason jar (turns out there are millions…)?

Mason Jar Margarita Wedding Shower FavorsWhy would anyone want to read what I have to say?” The pressure of just thinking about writing, never mind actually doing the writing had me teetering near the edge. But now, after being idle (for a quarter of a year!!) I realize that my walking away was just the stress talking…I just couldn’t handle ONE MORE THING. Now that the summer has ended and our lives have settled back into some sort of normalcy (until we start gearing up for wedding #2 in 2016 with our son Chris and his beautiful bride-to-be, Ashley),

#Crashley 1

it occurs to me that perhaps I have a little blog left in me. And I am hoping that you still have a little blog reading left in you? I’m not promising much, just a few snippets of our lives here and there and any interesting DIY projects-if I remember to take the photos along the way! I am staying true to my country design roots, but adding some fresh new country style decorating ideas for your reading pleasure. Oh, and one final piece of business. My current gmail account-countrydesignhome@gmail.com-has been repeatedly hacked and I’m sick of getting spam emails-FROM ME-selling Viagra and promising me millions of inherited $$$ from a king in a foreign land. Thanks, google. So I’m in the process of shutting it down entirely. My new email is changing to newcountrystyle@countrydesignhome.com, so if you’re trying to reach me (other than within the comments section of this blog) that’s where I’ll be. Thanks for being a patient and faithful follower…we’ll talk again soon, OK? Susan 

Everything AND The Kitchen Sink!

As you all know by now, we have now opened our vintage shop in the Barn at Todd Farm,

Barn Postcard no emailsand so far things are going very, very well! Lots of our rescued, re-cycled and re-furbished pieces have been sold, and shoppers appear to be very excited about the variety of vintage goods we are offering.

Todd Farm Display PMFollowing our first Sunday (which seems like a lifetime ago, but was actually just a mere three weeks ago!) I realized we needed to make a change in our displays. When we set everything up and stepped back to admire our work that first day, we all said “this is great, as long as nobody buys these big pieces that have all of our dishes and pottery on them”.

Todd Farm Kitchen Display Area BeforeBUT, that is exactly what happened, leaving us scrambling to find new spots for pie plates and Pyrex and pots and pans. So, I decided that we needed a permanent, dedicated spot to safely and attractively display our kitchen wares. The perfect solution, in my mind, was an old kitchen sink and countertop with shelves above it, so off to Craigslist land I ventured and found this awesome old General Electric porcelain sink for $40!!! A steal!!!

Vintage Kitchen Sink BeforeOnce I had acquired the sink, it really was just a matter of building a solid base that would be sturdy enough to hold the weight of the sink and anything else we put on it. I started with a plywood top, cut with an extra 1/2 inch around the perimeter, and a hole cutout for the sink. Which turned into several cuts, which in turn created a nice new Mustachio for Coach.

Vintage Sink Coach's MustachioWho, by the way, was really not on board with this whole sink thing. He did help me, but reluctantly, not seeing my vision and thinking that I was wasting valuable time that could have been spent working on other “saleable” projects.

The legs were built from 4×4 scraps Coach had hanging around somewhere behind the barn, cut to standard countertop height of 35 inches.

Vintage Sink Plywood Base for SinkI simply attached those with large L brackets and some screws, then created some cross-pieces for stability, attaching those with smaller L brackets as well.

Vintage Sink on BaseI would show you the rough-cut details, but they are really not very pretty and you can’t see them anyway : ) Once that was completed, I added an old, chippy shutter for the front panel,

Vintage Sink on Base with Blue Shutterand then I added some of these little metal strips (I have a big bin of these I grabbed at a yard sale. Have no idea what they are for, but they make a nice 1 inch decorative edge. Got plenty more if you need any…)

Vintage Sink Metal Bracketsfor the decorative edge trim. Conveniently, there are holes already drilled in the strips, so I just used some brass tacks to attach them to the plywood edge.

Vintage Sink Metal Bracket TrimFor the sides, I affixed some burlap panels with a dowel and some tacks. Nothing fancy. We don’t really have any kind of a storage area in the barn shop, so the burlap panels allow us to use the under-sink for keeping bags and tools, etc.  The sides are simple blue burlap panels, but the front panels are actually made from old burlap potato sacks (which we have plenty of for sale in the shop : ).

Vintage Sink Burlap Potato SacksNot crazy about how those look, so I’ll be changing those this upcoming weekend. Once we brought the sink to the shop, it was simply a matter of finding the perfect spot to build it in, then adding the shutter shelving and filling it up with our kitchenware and painted mason jars.

Vintage Sink adding Shutter ShelvesWe even added an old window because everyone loves to look out the window when they are at the kitchen sink, right??

Todd Farm Kitchen Display AfterSo, what happened when we opened up the shop 6 am Sunday morning?? Every person walking by and into the shop went right to my sink display and admired it, inspected it, asked how much it was. Initially shocked that folks were interested in buying my old sink, Coach quickly recovered and started asking $650. Wait, what?!?!?! THE SINK IS NOT FOR SALE. REPEAT. THE SINK IS NOT FOR SALE!

Todd Farm Vintage Sink Side Profile PMBut both Coach and Lisa (his partner in crime this week) were hell-bent on selling that sink out from under me. Soooo, I compromised and used the old “if I really don’t want to sell it, then ask a ridiculously high price and if someone really wants it, they can have it trick”. $1000. FIRM. In the meantime, I am off to paint the pieces that I didn’t get a chance to paint because I was building the kitchen sink. Have an unsinkable Wednesday, everyone!! Susan

 

 

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