Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gezebel, the side table

Gezebel was the youngest of four children to a couple of hard-working parents.  Pulling 100+ hour weeks between the two of them, she sometimes got lost in the cracks. 

Perhaps that is why, the summer after high school graduation, she ran away with carnival folk.  Apparently she became smitten with the operator for the Twister and she joined their entourage.  Formerly known as Victoria, she wore her new name Gezebel, like a badge.

Years later, reunited with her family, she shows some wear and tear from those crazy days.  But because of it, she has a better understanding of self.  And if it takes falling in love with a carnie, well, so be it.

This was another excuse to use Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint.  I ordered the Ironstone which is her truest white.  And boy did I get the chippy finish that this paint is known for.  I have used her paint in the past with this piece, but the chippy-ness was not to be found.  Well, it make up for it in spades with Gezebel.

To me, I think every home needs to have a chippy piece like Gezebel.  If not for the pure character of the piece, perhaps for the reminder that we all can grow from being a little footloose and fancy-free.  She can be found at Robin's Egg in Milford, NH.

Have a splendid day,


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Super Simple Holiday Card Display

I love to display our Christmas cards.  We especially enjoy looking at the picture cards throughout the month of December.  But gathering them in a pile, or putting them in a basket, or on one of those card trees that let's you display a max of 8 cards, well, none of that would do for me.

Seriously, the way I display our cards is super simple.  Yet I found it surprising that friends noted it was a good idea.  So I thought I would share just in case it never crossed your mind.

Clothespins.  They are more useful than you can imagine.

And twine.

Clothespins and twine.

That's it.  We have the perfect little spot to display cards in the wall opening between our living room and kitchen.  And it's great because we can display them back-to-back. But I've displayed cards on the twine using clothespins right down the staircase banister.  You can just do it on a blank wall.  How about in front of your picture window?  Over doors?

Holiday cards are a great way to decorate for the season.  And it just takes some clothespins and twine.

Have a Merry day,


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Meet Maggie, the hutch

 Meet Margaret.

Margaret grew up in a strict home where expectations were high.  She attended parochial school, was at the top of her class, and found a sense of balance by performing community service. 

While attending Smith College, she began to figure out who she was and started to break free from the constraints of her past.  Maggie (as she now prefers to be called), is a woman of the world, traveling near and far using her Environmental Science and Policy degree to make important changes that will be felt by generations to come.

Maggie has to be one of my favorite transformations to date. But I can't take the credit for the color scheme. If you haven't purchased Ana White's The Handbuilt Home, you're missing out.  It contains fabulous, easy to build plans for furniture in your home.  Any hoo, there is one plan for a hutch that was built for Ana's book by the husband and wife team from The Handmade Home blog.  The finish they used on this hutch has been on my mind and I just had to find a piece in which to recreate it's awesomeness.

I pulled the paneling off the back and replaced it with different width planks, stained in varying degrees.  I used my homemade version of chalk paint in this fantastic color that just pops. 

Love how the white pops against the other colors.

You can meet Maggie at Robin's Egg where she will be for sale tomorrow.

Have a fabulous day,


Thursday, November 29, 2012

DIY Neck Heat Pads


I take zero credit for these little babies.  Sew4Home gives an amazing tutorial and I just followed it.  That's it.  Well, I did make a few adjustments to fit my needs.  But that's it.  Really.

I followed the instructions to a tee the first time.  The bag came out great, but I thought it was a bit too big for me.  So, for my next try, I just cut the size down a little and created three compartments instead of two. I filled my bags with white rice and lavender buds.

 Here's the back . . . . loving on flannel.

 I've got a whole basket heading over to Robin's Egg tomorrow.  If you've got a sore neck, shoulders, back, or wherever, I've got the cure.  And they come in pretty fabric.  And they make fabulous gifts.  :)


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Meet Francesca, the dresser

Francesca started out like many dressers, stained your basic brown and coated with a sealer.  Over the years, the brown became more drab and the sealer was bruised, beat up and flaking.

She was just waiting for this makeover.

Yet I waited patiently for my shipment of Miss Mustard Seed's Tricycle Red Milk Paint. This was my first experience with her paint and it HAD to be Tricycle Red.  HAD to be.

Oh, such pretty packaging
After applying my first coat, I waited like an evil genius:  rubbing my hands together by my face, chanting something like, "Chip away, my pretty, chip away."  But, alas, no chipping.  I applied the second coat, still an evil genius, but definitely less conviction.  There was a little "wanna-be" chipping going on in a few places.  I put on a third coat, and not much more.  I had read (as I read all Miss Mustard Seed's posts), that this can happen, and the paint is unpredictable.  So, I just went with it and decided to whip out the sander and go to work.

After distressing,  I layered with clear and dark waxes.  The nooks and crannies of this piece screamed for some dark wax.  The top was stripped, stained, coated with polyurethane and then layers of wax, as I can't get enough of a wax finish.

Loving the dovetail construction

She is still "my pretty".  Francesca is available for the taking (unless she was swooped up this weekend at the big Holiday Event) at Robin's Egg.


Friday, November 23, 2012

The Anniversary of the Day that Changed My Life

It was one year ago today that the floor fell away from my feet.  One year ago today that Black Friday will now have a completely new meaning.  One year ago today that I had to call in the troops because I knew we couldn't handle it alone.  It was one year ago today that my sweet boy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Leukemia isn't all Jack has had to experience.  He was born with Down syndrome, which means absolutely nothing to him (and the more you know about Down syndrome, the more you realize that it shouldn't).  He smiles and laughs his way through the day.  He still does, even undergoing cancer treatments.  Jack has also had two major hip surgeries, both requiring a body cast for months at a time.  Once again, laughing and smiling, army crawling in his cast.

I know he'll get through this.  Maybe that's why I can say leukemia hasn't been all bad.  We've done things and met people we never would have if he wasn't stricken with this illness.  The love and outpouring of support from dear ones, but mostly from complete strangers, has turned our world upside down.  And the love keeps on coming.

One year down; 25 months to go.

One day it will be nice to see Black Friday as a day to freeze your ass off standing in lines at 2am for crazy deals, rather than remembering that alarming phone call that an oncologist is waiting for you to travel into Boston because we suspect your child has leukemia.

Take care,


Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Birch Tree Coat Rack

When I saw this little baby on Craigslist, I thought it looked like a tree.  And I have an affinity for birch trees.  So, after a few layers of paint, I'm hoping I achieved the look.  (***crossing fingers that you think so; no fine artist degree here***).

Here she is before, in all here orange pine stained glory:

And here she is after **trying** to achieve the look:

Am I the only one seeing it?  I think the design lends itself to a tree.  Or maybe I just need to get out of living in the woods.

I started with a base white after priming.  Then I added a tiny bit of black to the white to make a very light gray.  I used a large bristle brush so it would create a texture kind of look.  Then I added the black and brown "bark characteristics" of the birch tree with an artist's brush.  I thought much of that was too highlighted, so I went over those parts with the light gray again.  Three coats of polyacrylic later, and here she stands.

Everyone needs a place to hang their Christmas hats.  ;)  If you need a place to hang your Christmas hats, she's for sale at Robin's Egg.


Sharing with: 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

We're in Business! And a Holiday Event!

We are officially in business!  The creations by myself and my partner can be found at Robin's Egg and we're thrilled to be there.  If you read this post, you can check out the photos I took of the rest of the store.  In the meantime, here are photos of our little space:

Loving Brenda's dresser

Now that I've given you a glimpse of our shop, I'm giving you are extra special reason to visit:  The Holiday Open House at Robin's Egg.  This weekend, November 25th and 25th, is Robin's annual Holiday Open House.  If you print out the Early Bird ticket below, or head to their Facebook page to print it out, you can arrive one hour before the doors officially open.  Sounds good to me!

Also, the shop is collecting new fleece blankets for a wonderful local charity.  You bring a blanket, you get 10% off your entire purchase.  Another win win.

 Have fun shopping,


Sunday, November 11, 2012

DIY Ruffled Curtains

I've been wanting to make small changes to our kitchen, and shabby ruffled curtains were just the right touch!  Kind of happy with how these bad boys came out.  I mean, I am no seamstress.  Darts are what I throw at a board in the local pub and I still haven't figured out where that third thread comes from, somewhere in the depths of the bobbin.  It's such a mystery to me.

But, I've seen the rage of ruffles (yes, it's a thing) and I've been intrigued with using painter's cloth for a project, so I broke down and dug the sewing machine out of the bowels of the basement.  And I'm glad I did.  :)  Although my curtains are quite different than theirs, I have to credit two blogs for giving me the inspiration:  The Shabby Creek Cottage and Thistlewood Farm.  Check out both links if you can, as they are full of good information.

So, the first step was to head to my local handy, dandy Lowes and pick up a package of the thinnest painter's drop cloths they had.  I opted for the 6'X9' 8oz. cloth, thinking it might be enough (turns out I needed a little more, so I had to buy another package).  I made sure to wash and dry them before using.

Blue Hawk 9-ft x 6-ft 8 Oz. Canvas Drop Cloth

Next, I measured the width of my windows and decided on the length I wanted the valances.  I also knew that I wanted three ruffles, and knew that each ruffle needed to overlap the other by 2".  Also, as you can imagine, your ruffle strips needs to be 4X than the measured width of your window, as you "lose" so much fabric in the ruffling.  Since I'm not a girl about exact measurements (ha!), I decided to take the long end of the painter's cloth (9') and cut them into 6" wide strips hoping they would be long enough.  Since I am making lazy shabby curtains, I am leaving all the ends frayed and not creating a hem.

Now, I don't have one of those fancy, dancy ruffler feet for my machine, so I just winged it:  I folded over the fabric every 1/2" to 1 1/2", varying it so it wouldn't look so uniform.  I used a simple long, straight stitch.  (The hem you see is the original edge of the painter's cloth.)

When I was finished, this is what it looked like:

Now, after making my three ruffled strips, you need something to stitch them to.  So I measured the curtain size I wanted (width and length of the curtain) and cut a piece of painter's cloth that exact size.  I pinned my first strip, making sure the bottom of my ruffle matched the bottom of the back fabric, and stitched it on, going across the same stitch I made making the ruffles.

After stitching the first strip on, I then trimmed any excess of the ends (turns out using the 9' width worked out perfectly).  I then attached the second strip, overlapping by 2".  The final strip was stitched right at the top.  I knew I wanted to use black clips on the curtains (due to the black chairs in the kitchen), so I just clipped and hung away!


 The kitchen door window was a bit smaller, so I sized down the ruffles.

Overall, I'm very happy with the curtains.  My husband does wish I had hemmed the edges, but he is not on the same side of shabby that I am.   :)

Have a shabby, ruffled day!