Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Summer Getaway

I don't think you can ever underestimate the need for a change of scenery every once in a while. For me, crystal blue water and swaying palm trees does the trick every time!

Last year Marc and I flew to the Conch Republic - or Key West for those you who have never been. It was an amazing week that I still think on very fondly. The weather was amazing, the ocean breezes so fine, and the resort, food and shopping spectacular.

It is so easy to get around the island on foot or by bike. We rented beach bikes for the week and used them to go everywhere. There was so much to do and see. The architecture, gardens, and lush vegetation were simply amazing.

One interesting oddity was all of the wild chickens running around all over the island. They are very tame and protected by law. There were chickens, roosters and chicks all over the place. It made it a little difficult to order the chicken sandwich at the many open air cafes and restaurants that dot the island, but we did anyway! There was a lighthouse, amazing sunsets on the one and only Mallory Square where there is a sunset party every evening with jugglers, magicians, musicians, and more! The food was delicious, fresh and plentiful. The thing I remember the most were the beautiful evenings with the cool breezes. There is nothing like riding your bike down Duval Street at night and taking in all of the sounds, sights and smells.
If you ever get the chance to visit Key West, do it! It is a little slice of paradise!

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Way To "Handle It!"

Are you looking for a unique drawer or cabinet pull that is really different? During our kitchen re-do we used old spoons found at an antiques / junk shop. This is a very easy and decorative way to add a practical and whimsical look to your cabinets.

Depending on the design of the spoons you may want to drill a small hole in one or two places in the spoon. Bend the spoon outward as shown so as to create a handle shape. Attach to your cabinets with small round head screws and you are done!

Everyone who comes into our kitchen is instantly drawn to these pulls. We experimented with knives and forks but liked the look of the spoons better. Don't be afraid to mix and match the spoons for a collected look. It's these kind of details that make your house a home and a personal statement!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

This cute little chair was found at a back yard sale for $2.00. The lonely little fellow was an orphan with no mate, and I whisked it away in the back of my truck. 

I had been wanting to try my hand at decorative painting and this find seemed to scream to be painted. The seat is nice and flat and the perfect canvas for a cute paint job.

First I painted the chair a cheery robin's egg blue. Next I took a paper dessert-sized plate and centered it on the seat, tracing around its edges with a pencil so as to create the rounded shape I wanted. I sketched in the nest and eggs and began painting, using the paper plate as my artists palate. The nest was painted using a brown, black, and creme colored paint. I mixed them on the plate to create a multitude of shades of brown. I painted the eggs in the same robin's egg blue that I used for the chair.

The secret to this kind of painting is too take your time and shade so that the nest looks real. Darker brown paint around the eggs really makes them look like they are nestled down in the twigs and straw. The nest is lighter around the edge where the light would naturally hit it. I finished the chair by lightly distressing it with sandpaper (yes, also over the nest as well!) and applied a coat of clear wax.
I was very happy with the results and sold the cute chair the next day in the shop!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

World Traveler

Do you dream of traveling the world? Bring a global viewpoint to your room with a unique decoupage treatment on the drawers of an old chest of drawers. Here we painted the body of the chest a nice satin black and then distressed. Next we decoupaged an old map on the front of the drawers. A little help from the sandpaper and a light hand helped to distress the drawers. We swapped out the old ugly handles for pieces of rope which were knotted inside of the drawer so they hold in place nicely. Top the piece with an old vintage globe and tada! Amazing awsomeness!!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Garden Hose Wreath

Try a new twist on a wreath by thinking outside the box. Here I used an old garden hose to create a whimsical and unique garden-themed wreath for the front door. 

Start by cutting a length of old (or new) garden hose and wrap it around and around until you create an eye-pleasing design. Secure with wire so it will hold its shape.

Next embellish your wreath with some faux flowers or dried herbs. The flowers can be added so as to hide the wire. Here I added silk peonies, fern fronds, and a small birds' nest.

Make it your own and hang by using embellishments that "speak" to you, and hang your creation wherever you need a bit of summer color!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Country Living Fair In Atlanta / Stone Mountain

Even though it has been a couple of years, I look back with a smile on the brisk October weekend when Marc and I exhibited at The Country Living Fair in Atlanta. 

For those who may not be familiar with the event, it is an amazing gathering of antiques and vintage dealers, and unique artisans who create wares from vintage goods. It was just like stepping into the pages of the Country Living magazine!

This Show was held in the shadow of the huge Stone Mountain resort complex in a wooded area that looked a lot like a campsite. Thousands and thousands of visitors roamed the show and shopped the hundreds and hundreds of exhibitors. We sold a whole lot of cool stuff, but more importantly we met so many cool people - people from all over the country who yearned for this cool style of decorating.

If you ever get the chance to visit The Country Living Fair in Columbus Ohio, Atlanta, or the newest one in upstate New York, by all means do so!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Grandmother's Legacy

As a child I vividly remember my paternal grandmother washing clothes in her old ringer washer in the basement of the country farmhouse my grandfather built. I remember watching her wash the clothes in the big tub and then running the wet fabrics through the ringer before hanging them out on the line to dry in the sunshine. She did it with the skill of a woman who had done so many, many times probably every day of her life. It was in this manor that she washed all of the clothes for her family of six.

Later in life my three uncles and aunt pooled their funds and bought grandma a brand new Kenmore washer from Sears. She told them she did not want or need it, esoterically since there wasn't anything particularly wrong with the washer she already had. Not being a woman who easily embraced new things, the new sparkling white washing machine stood in the corner of the basement mostly becoming a great place to store garden baskets and canning jars.

When grandma developed Alzheimer's and had to be put into a nursing facility, her children, knowing that she would never come back to her home, sadly began the  task of dividing and selling off her possessions. Because money was needed for her care, many of the things in the old farmhouse were sold. One of the things I loved the most about grandma's country kitchen was her old hooiser cabinet. I remember her rolling out pie dough on the worn enamel topped work surface and sifting flour from the built in sifter. Taped to the inside of the doors were her most cherished recipes, most scrawled in pencil on yellowing index cards. I dissembled the treasured piece and brought it back to Richmond where it lives in my kitchen today.

Near the end of cleaning out her house, there were inevitably some things that no one wanted or knew what to do with. My dad told me in passing that they didn't know what to do with her old ringer washer. He laughed to himself when he thought of how his mother had snorted at the new Kenmore and had instead continued to wash and ring on the tried and true machine that she knew oh so well. I told him to not throw it out but instead bring it to me on the next trip to town. A few weeks later I was the proud recipient of a trophy to my grandmother's sweat and toil to keep her families clothes clean. I also had the cherished memory of a short, feisty woman with the tenacity of a pit bull, and the smile of an angel.

Today my grandma's "angel" smiles at me every day when I open my back door. Her old ringer washer beams back at me from the corner of my deck - but now instead of washing and ringing - it holds green and growing things that remind me every day of her. Love you grandma!