Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Table Makeovers & Opinions Needed!

I've been working on some side and end tables I've had in my project stash for awhile.  Since I have quite a few, I decided to have fun with them and try a variety of different paint styles.  I'm going to show you the first two today, but I need your help in finishing one up!

The first table is a sweet little gate-leg end table that used to belong to my mom.  I painted it white a few years ago, so I decided to use that as my base coat. 

Sorry for the poor light quality of the "before" photos--they were taken in our basement, which is where I'm now painting.  It's our cats' private domain (the dogs aren't allowed down there), so you may notice kitty paraphernalia in some of the upcoming photos!

On both of the tables I'm going to show you, I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. On this table I went with my standard French shabby look, and put two coats of Paris Grey over the white, followed by clear wax.

I did something a bit different this time in that I used steel wool on the top, and coarse sandpaper on the base and legs to distress it.  I usually use a fine or medium sanding block and just do a light distress. 

Here's the finished piece.

I love the worn look the steel wool gave the top of the table.

And the chippy look of the legs and table base with lots of the original white paint showing through.

This next piece I picked up at a garage sale for $5.  It's from around the early 1960's. 

If you look closely you can see Louie and Mikey are quite interested in what's going on!

I painted the top and legs with ASCP in Graphite, and the sides, feet, shelf and drawer in Old White.  After a coat of clear wax had set, I gave it a distressing with my handy sanding block.  Then I did put clear and dark wax on the areas where I had painted it with Graphite.  I left the Old White areas with just a coat of clear.

And here it is.

As you can see though, it's missing hardware on the drawer.  That's where I need your help.  I didn't want to use the original hardware because I didn't think it fit the new look. But I can't make my mind up about what to replace it with!

I have these two choices on hand:

I also saw this pull in an online hunt and am thinking about ordering it. 

I think the black swirl on white might be a nice touch.  But the "Pull" knob is kind of cool too, while the crystal pull gives it a whole different vibe.

Help! What do you think?

Sharing at:
Savvy Southern Style: Wow Us Wednesdays
Primitive & Proper: Piece of Work Wednesdays
Elizabeth & Co.: Be Inspired
It' Overflowing: Overflowing with Creativity
The Shabby Creek: Transformation Thursday
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Orchids and More Orchids

Yesterday (Sunday, since as I'm writing this I still have one more hour of Monday left!) I went with some friends to the Smithsonian Gardens' annual Orchid display--which was held in the U.S. Botanical Gardens this year.  So for those of you who don't live in the DC area and won't get a chance to see it, I thought I'd share some eye candy. For those of you who live in the area, the exhibit will be open through April 29, and it's pretty spectacular!

They say that orchids are easy to grow.  "They" may find it easy, but I've never had much luck in the house we live in now.  For one thing, I don't think we get enough light for their liking.  Plus, although they like to dry out between watering's, I think maybe I take it a bit to the extreme.  I do know quite a few people who can keep them growing for years though, so I have proof it can be done!

Even if you can't keep it growing, an orchid is a great decorating accessory--and when you think about it, a good deal.  The flowers bloom for about 3 months.  Right now Safeway has orchid plants for $18.99.  That's a little over $6 a month for beautiful flowers in your home.  Depending on what flowers you're buying, if you wanted flowers in your house you'd probably be spending more than that a week! So at least until our gardens start blooming, they're a beautiful bargain!

While you're not going to find all these varieties in your local supermarket, whatever you do find will add beautiful color and a touch of spring to your decor. Orchids symbolize love, beauty, refinement and strength--all pretty good qualities to bring into your home if you ask me!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Doesn't Everyone?

So this morning I took the dogs up to get the paper.  Our paper is delivered to the communal mailbox area at the top of our pipestem, which is basically a very long hilly driveway. Since we own the property along one side of the pipestem I usually let the dogs run around to sniff the grass and under the trees. Deer and foxes and whatever go through there at night, so there are always lots of interesting smells.

Mosby, who has some kind of hound in him, was finding particularly fascinating aromas this morning, and Pepper (the little chihuahua mix) was trailing him because he needs to pee wherever Mosby pees, to mark his territory and try to prove that he, not Mosby, is the alpha male. So I was chatting to Angel while we were waiting for them. I find her a most appreciative audience--she looks at me adoringly, hangs on my every word, and wags her tail encouragingly--I wish my husband still did that! (The hanging on my every word and looking at me adoringly while I speak part ... he doesn't have a tail ... just so you know... :D )

The talk went something like this: "Isn't this just typical? We women get the job done and are ready to move on, and the boys are just dilly-dallying." (Tail thump, thump.) "I need coffee.  Mosby, come on ... He's blowing me off.  Did you see that?  That must be something really interesting he's smelling.  Okay, come on now, I haven't had my coffee yet. Mosby!   Now he's starting to tick me off.   You wouldn't do that to your momma would you?" (Thump, thump.) Mosby! Don't make me come over there! What part of 'come here' don't you understand?"

Right about then, Pepper (my protector) dashed by me, got into his fierce dog stance and started growling.  I looked behind me to see a woman whom I've never seen before standing there, apparently a neighbor from up the other pipestem.  She was staring at me with a funny look on her face.  At this point in the story I should probably mention how I looked: When I get the paper in the morning this time of year I usually just put my husband's long parka over my pj's. It's way too big for me, so the arms flap past my hands and I pretty much swim in it. It's also very warm, which I didn't need this morning since it was 54 degrees out, but I didn't realize that before I went out. (I mean, it is February in Northern Virginia, it's not supposed to be warm in the morning!) Also, since I don't expect to see anyone, I just go up looking like I do when I roll out of bed.

"Hi," I said, and she smiled that strained, polite smile some people give in situations they'd rather not be in.  In the meantime, Angel--who loves everyone and therefore thinks everyone loves her--had run up to her and was doing her best smiley-face and wiggle-butt routine at the lady's feet.  Angel's recall if she thinks she may get some attention from someone new is about as good as Mosby's on a scent trail, and this woman didn't seem like a dog person, so I headed toward her to get Angel.  That's when I saw a faint glimmer of fear pass through her eyes and it hit me -- this woman thinks I'm looney tunes.

And I couldn't say I blamed her actually.  Looking at it from her point of view: She comes upon a woman wearing a heavy, old oversized parka, pajama bottoms and slippers on a warm morning.  Bedhead hair is sticking out every which way and she has dogs running all around her.  Not only that, from where she was standing it probably looked like I was talking to myself. I looked like a crazy bag lady who had lost her shopping cart.

Embarrassed by my appearance, and to try to put her at ease, I said, "Don't mind us, we just came up to get the paper and I was having a little conversation with the dogs,"  thinking she'd feel better that I wasn't talking to myself--I was talking to my dogs. At which point she nodded, said "Uh-huh," and started walking away.  "Have a good day!" I called out to her retreating back.

I looked down at the three of them, who had by now all rejoined me, ready to go get breakfast. "That didn't seem to make her feel better," I said. "Doesn't everyone have conversations with their dogs?"  

Thump, thump, thump.

Guess she won't be coming to this year's neighborhood holiday cookie exchange if it's at my house!

It's going to be in the high 60's today! I've had my coffee, brushed my hair, and now I'm taking advantage of the weather and heading outside to sand furniture.  I should have some projects to share with you in a couple of days!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Decorating with Vintage Books

Hey there! Hope you all had a good weekend, and enjoyed the day off if you had it! I spent part of the weekend browsing through Craigslist and thrift stores looking for some reasonably priced vintage pieces to paint for Lucketts. I did find a couple of dressers, so I'm happy about that. I also found some "smalls" that may go to Lucketts but will probably end up on Etsy.

One of the things I found today was this book for 25 cents.

The cover is missing an inset illustration or something, but there are some wonderful old wildflower illustrations inside.

I'm a sucker for old books--I have been since I was a kid. Someone gave me an old copy of Little Women printed around 1900, and I was hooked. I love the history of an old book.  I like to hold it and think of all the people who read it before me, and how it may have touched their lives.

Personally I think books make a house a home, and I love to use vintage books in creating vignettes around the living room and family room.

There's been a trend lately to take the covers off the books and tie them with ribbon or twine.  I think Restoration Hardware started this--at least that's the first I saw it.

Restoration Hardware

I'm not a big fan of this.  It's not that I don't like how it looks--I think the neutral tone-on-tone is lovely.  I just think it's wrong to tear off the binding of an old book.  It should be left intact for future generations to read and share. 

Plus I think the covers of vintage books are beautiful.

Even when they are worn and showing their age--actually more so then!

I have no problem tearing off the covers of paperbacks though, so I guess if I ever want to get the Restoration Hardware look I can do it with paperbacks and age them with tea. 

But I think I'd rather just keep looking for beautiful old books to add to my collection!

Have a great week!

Sharing at:

Coastal Charm: Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Type A Decorating: Anything Goes
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Friday & Dining Room Tweaks

It's Friday!  Wanna sing the Friday song with me?  You'll have to make up your own tune since you can't hear my voice (and I must say, you're missing out because it is lovely!) :-)  Here we go:  "Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite day.  Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite day.  Monday is a bummer.  Tuesday's only fair.  Wednesday's getting better. Thursday's almost there.  But Friday, Friday...Friday is my favorite, Friday is my favorite, Friday is my favorite daayaayy!" Now give yourself a round of applause--yay Friday! Yay you!

I want to take just a moment to thank you all for hanging in there with me.  Between the camera issues and other things I won't bore you with, I know my content has been kind of sparse lately, and I see that I've lost some followers.  So I really want to express my appreciation for those of you who have stuck around!

Today I wanted to share a few little tweaks I've made to my money-making dining room redo that I showed to you all in December.  It actually turned out a little bit more formal-looking than I was going for--I wanted more of an old, French country manor mix.  At first I was worried it was the Famous Butt chairs.  I didn't want move them out because I just love them.  I thought of making some simple slipcovers for them, which I will do down the road to change out the look (which should be interesting since I don't really sew!).  But then I realized I just needed to change up the accessories.

First I took out most of the silver candle holders I had on the side table.  I put my mother's old copper tub below it and an old shutter I bought at Lucketts years ago behind it.

I brought in a wrought iron architectural element that I most recently had on the foyer table, a couple of urns and an iron fleur de leis.  

I just love the rusted iron against the old, peeling paint of the shutter! I know some people just do not get this style, but I love to have things that show their history around my house.

I didn't do anything much to the buffet wall, other than add a white iron wire candle holder.

On the china cabinet wall I put an antique harvest basket on top of the cabinet.  I took the more formal-looking centerpiece off the table and added a white iron wire bowl filled with (faux) green apples. 

I like the touch of green in the room with the apples and the moss in the urn, so I'll be looking for some other ways to add more in.

So that's it for now.  I think the tweaks added more of the French country vibe I was going for. The other wall still needs work.  The shelves that are currently there holding my bud vase collection just don't work with the rest of the room.  I have an idea for them though.  And I have the mate to the shutter I could work in somewhere too ...  Nothing's ever really "done" around here--there's always more tweaking that can be done!

Have a great weekend!

Sharing at French Country Cottage:  Feathered Nest Fridays