Saturday, March 31, 2012

Blue Bells and Horse Tales

I was planning on finishing up a project to show you today, but I went on a 5-hour, 10-mile ride yesterday ... mostly trotting. Can I just say--"Ow?"  It used to be that long of a ride wouldn't faze me, but that was before a fractured pelvis and tailbone, knee surgery, and disintegrating discs did a number on my body. And oh yeah, I'm a bit out of shape these days (a bit?). But it was a beautiful, sun-filled day in Bull Run National Park, and fields of Blue Bells were in bloom. 

Even Rusty was checking out the Blue Bells!

I may be in pain.  I may not have been able to get much done today. But I'd do it again tomorrow in a heartbeat!

Well ... maybe not tomorrow, but definitely in a couple of days!

Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

From Ugly Duckling to Swan

There's an ongoing garage sale about 15 miles from me that I like to visit occasionally (found it on Craigslist ... of course).  I like the deals I've found, but also the critters that live there. It's on a well-maintained horse boarding property that also has goats, a few chickens, and some kind of funny-looking crested quail or something that either thinks she's the official greeter, or a guard dog--I haven't figured out which.  She runs up to the front of each car that drives up, then runs around it and is at the car door when you open it.  After you get out she circles around you  for a while making little squeaks until she decides if you're acceptable. She cracks me up.

I've gotten to know the owner  a bit and he knows I paint vintage furniture.  So whenever I stop by, he pulls out something he thinks I might be interested in from one of his barns.  On my last visit he pulled this out, saying,  "I don't know if you can do anything with it, but if you want it you can have it."

To be honest, I didn't really know if I could do anything with it either--it was a bit wobbly, and that burn was big and deep--but it had such nice detailing and great legs that I thought it deserved a chance. Plus it was free.  And I really like free.

So it came home with me. Inside the drawer I found a rectangular metal plate that said "KLING, Mayville, New York" and part of a stamp that said mahogany.  I looked up Kling furniture and found out they were in business in Mayville from 1911 to 1962, when the family sold the business to the company that became Ethan Allen.  Ethan Allen used the factory until closing it in 2003.  The plate in my piece was used between 1946 and 1962, so that's the age range of the table.

First I re-glued and nailed the wobbly bits, then I sanded the top.  I got quite a bit of the burn off, but I was sanding a divot into the wood, and I didn't want to make it deeper.  So I filled it in with wood filler.  I actually had to fill in with the wood filler a couple of times during the painting process so there wasn't a dip.

I used ASCP Old White for the top and the shelf.   I also used Old White as a base coat for some of the detailing I wanted to highlight.  I used ASCP Emile for the body of the table.  This is the first time I've used this color, and it is a very pretty lavender.

So ... here she is ...

You can see where I sanded to let the white show through.

Then I did a light distressing over the rest of the piece.

I replaced the drawer pull with one I had bought from Hobby Lobby a while ago.  It actually came with a back plate, but it seemed too much for the scale of the table, so I just used the knob.  Then I finished with ASCP clear wax.

I learned a new tip about fixing a problem that some of you may have encountered with ASCP:  The wood kept bleeding through the paint on the top of the table--showing up as kind of a pinkish hue.  I looked on the Annie Sloan website and apparently this is a problem with some vintage mahogany pieces from the '30s and '40s.  The website said to use shellac to fix the problem, but it didn't give much more info.  Never having used shellac before, and not being clear whether I needed to remove the paint I'd already done or if I could just put the shellac right over it; I asked chalk paint guru and stockist Janet from The Empty Nest.  She told me you put it right on the existing paint.  It dries very quickly, then you can paint over it.  And it works!

Between the burn, filling in the wood and the bleeding issue, let alone the painting and detailing, she took a lot of work and a lot of time--but I definitely think she was worth it!  (I don't usually assign gender to my furniture pieces, but I just feel this piece is like a former belle of the ball brought back to her prime!) I think she would be sweet in a little girl's or a teenager's bedroom, or perfect in a romantic bedroom with a bit of a French accent. 

She may have started out as an ugly duckling in a barn with a "guard quail", but now she's a beautiful swan!

Sharing at:

Not Just a Housewife: Show Me What Ya Got
Type A Decorating: Anything Goes
Elizabeth & Co: Be Inspired
Primitive & Proper: POW Wednesday
Savvy Southern Style: Wow us Wednesday
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia: Tuesdays Treasures
Etcetorize: Make it Great Monday
No Minimalist Here: Open House Party
Embracing Change: Creative Inspirations
Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday
My Romantic Home: Show & Tell Friday
My Repurposed Life: Catch As Catch Can
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday
It's Overflowing: Overflowing with Creativity
Redoux: Friday Feature Party
Curb Alert: Friday Block Party

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy First Day of Spring!!!!

It's officially here!  Woohoo!

We've been having 70 degree weather here in Northern Virginia--much warmer than normal.  Not that I'm complaining!  I've been taking advantage of it to get the garden beds cleaned up before the humidity hits and the mosquitoes come out to use me as their personal banquet table. Although I've mostly been working outside, I have done some spring sprucing inside, and today I'm showing you the latest vignette on the foyer table.

Okay, I can hear some of you now: "It's spring!  What's with the white?"  Because I love white.  I find it soothing and beautiful. And I have spring pastels in other places throughout the house, like the mantel that I've already shown you.  So don't have a conniption--I've got color, don't worry!

But white is seasonless.  It's peaceful.  Having it in the foyer sets a mood as soon as you walk in the front door.

White tulips are one of my favorite flowers.

The tin is a find from Home Goods.

I love all the different textures.

And of course I must have bunnies in any spring vignette--white or not!

I needed some peace and calm after the day I had yesterday.  I had to take two vet-phobic dogs in for check-ups. Actually Mosby's the really phobic one, but Angel picks up on his fear and decides she's afraid too.  So both of them decide they have to crawl in my lap while we're waiting for the doctor. Mosby weighs 40lbs. and Angel weighs 65. That's over 100lbs. of furry, quivering dogness fighting to get on my lap.  Did I mention they're overdue for their baths? Furry, quivering, smelly dogness. Panting and whining. It's really quite ridiculous.

Then when the vet comes in, Mosby turns into
a barking, growling vicious-sounding beast.  We've tried everything with him, including switching vets and locations.  He's actually fine during the exam (once I put a muzzle on him, just in case), but we go through this every time.  It's really stressful for all of us (luckily we have a great vet who deals with him very well).

Once we made it home after that ordeal I sat in front of my white vignette, focused on the beautiful white tulips and did some deep breathing exercises to bring myself to a state of serene well-being again ...

Okay, I totally didn't do that.  But I did glance at the vignette on my way to do something else, and I swear it made me calmer!

Happy Spring!

Sharing at:

Savvy Southern Style: Wow Us Wednesdays
Type A Decorating: Anything Goes
Elizabeth & Co: Be Inspired
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday
My Repurposed Life: Catch as Catch Can
My Romantic Home: Show & Tell Friday
It's Overflowing: Overflowing with Creativity

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Mantel

It's confirmed. I officially have spring fever.  The weather here in Northern VA has been incredible this week -- high 70's!  It's amazing what a little sunshine does for one's attitude!  Outside I've been doing garden clean-up; inside I pulled out my spring decor bin and have been doing some spring spiffing.

I usually start with my mantel, and today I'm showing you what I've done so far.  I decided to keep it pretty simple this year, and keep the color scheme natural.  I went with greens, neutrals, and pale pastels.

When I think of spring, I think of birds, flowers -- and of course, bunnies!  So those are the elements I added into the mantel.  I filled my big glass ginger jar with apples and eggs in greens and taupes, and plopped my green bunny next to it.

I love this little guy.

I buy something new every year for the season (just can't help myself, and hey, at least I limited it to one thing this year!), and this year it was this vintage-looking  Happy Easter sign.  It went in the middle in front of the mirrors.

In both corners of one of the mirrors I tucked in an old Easter postcard, each with a hand-crafted little pin.

I bought them at a flea market in California years ago.  One pin is a little angel, and one is a bunny.  The bunny's my favorite. The postcards were mailed, and have writing on the otherside.  I have a bunch of old sent postcards--I love the glimpses into the lives of people who received them.  I don't know what to do with them though, and I thought the way the flea market vendor used them to display her pins was really creative--so I just never took them off!

I added a couple of birds and birdhouses, and a little bottle I picked up from Michaels last year. 

Pretty cute for something like $2.99.  I saw they have them again this year -- I just might need another!

And of course, it isn't spring without tulips ...

I tucked in a strip of moss, and I need to add some more in the front, but this is it for now. 

I'm working on the rest of my spring spiffing, and I'll show you that soon! 

Sharing at:

You're Talking Too Much:  Meet Me Mondays
No Minimalist Here: Open House
Not Just a Housewife: Show Me What Ya Got
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday
My Romantic Home: Show & Tell Friday
It's Overflowing: Overflowing with Creativity
French Country Cottage: Spring Link Party Blog Hop

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lazy Saturday

Google Images/Flickr

Hope you're enjoying your weekend! I'm having a fairly lazy Saturday after a pretty unproductive week:  I putzed and procrastinated. I did laundry and procrastinated. I read blog posts about all the wonderful projects other people were doing, and procrastinated. Thinking maybe I needed some fresh air and sunshine to get the energy flowing, yesterday I went riding.  Then I came home and -- you guessed it --procrastinated. Painting furniture?  Not so much.

I don't know what my problem is, but I have to pick up the pace if I'm going to have anything in my booth at Lucketts in May!  So I'm letting myself have one more lazy day. Then this evening I have a Dining for Women dinner (FYI if you've never heard of this organization, it's a great non-profit where groups of women get together for dinner and donate the money we would have spent going out, to charitable groups helping women in impoverished countries become self sufficient).  Tomorrow I plan on being an amazing dynamo--but this afternoon I may just join Louie for a little nap ...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Putzing around the Kitchen

I don't like to brag, but I am very, very good at putzing. I can, and have whiled away hours--even days--putzing around the house.  I could quite possibly be the putzing queen.

Now some people confuse putzing with tweaking, but they are very different.  Tweaking involves prior thought, and is more labor intensive.  For example, painting a wall or adding a rug or bringing new accessories into a room.  Putzing is more spur of the moment, and while it can be productive, it usually takes place when you're putting off doing something you really should be doing rather than putzing.

Anything can set off a putzing phase. In my case today it was an orchid plant. Inspired by my trip to the Orchid Show, I bought a little orchid at Safeway a couple of weeks ago.  It was originally in the living room, but not wanting it to meet the fate of its predecessors, I decided to move it to the kitchen which gets more light, thus increasing its chance of survival.

That's when the putzing started.  I should have been painting furniture today to keep my preparation for Lucketts on track. And that's what I planned to do.  But before I knew it I was putzing.

I put some faux apples in the basket because we ate all the real fruit and the basket looked lonely empty.

I polished the vintage canisters I've been meaning to polish.

I decided to put some insulators that I've had on Etsy in the window because they matched the "Gather" sign and I thought they'd be pretty catching the light.

I moved this bamboo area rug from my office into the kitchen because I thought the colors would go nicely with the cabinets and countertop.

I finally hung this little art piece a friend gave me for Christmas.  She knows me too well ...

I even dusted and turned spice bottles so that all of the labels are facing out where I can see them.

I was about to organize under the sink when I realized hours had gone by and I hadn't done any painting.  So I was on my way to get started when I realized -- I need to write a blog post! (Apparently for some reason today, I just wasn't feeling the painting!)

I have no finished project to show you, but I do have a putzed kitchen.  And tomorrow I'm going to get started painting bright and early!

Sharing at: Type A Decorating:  Anything Goes

Monday, March 5, 2012


My bad battery mojo turned into just plain old bad mojo yesterday because I ended up coming down with the flu and couldn't finish the table. (I blame the weather around here lately-- it's 70 degrees one day; snowing a few days later!). But the hardware is now on and I can finally show you which one I went with: 

As you can see I ended up going with the "Pull" knob.  I did go back and forth, precisely for the reasons those who suggested the crystal pull stated--it would give it a bit of shine and a touch of elegance. I loved Stacey Anne from Rendition Road's analogy of the table looking like a well-worn tuxedo with stories to tell!

But in the end I decided to go with the majority's choice of the "Pull" knob. I like the touch of whimsy, and its graphic quality.

I'm really happy with how it turned out.



Thanks for all your input!