Monday, October 17, 2016

Falling into a Fall Frame of Mind

Light weight coverlet, pastel shams and pillow on summer bed
Wool throw and flannel shams

More pictures than words today as we transition to the cooler days of Fall. Even though I just checked the weather and it will be 80ยบ today! John couldn't wait for me to change out the accents on our bed. He doesn't care for pastels and loves the stronger colors and pattern of the buffalo checks and wool plaid throw.  

It does make quite the difference. Haven't switched out the curtains yet, because I had to order some new ones to replace the full size heavier fabric ones I use for the darker, earlier, cooler, yes much colder, days of winter. And with eight windows in our "sleeping porch" kind of bedroom, covering up all that glass is necessary for privacy (when I go upstairs early, cover up, and read in bed) and for warmth. The curtains were in a different room in the house when we purchased it 35 years ago, and after 35+ years, they were splitting at the sides last year. Can you imagine that!?! I had no choice, so I ordered very similar, "weaver's cloth" from  Country Curtains.They are well made and simple. My rods don't look like this photo, just simple tension rods within the window frame.

Country Curtains "weaver cloth" plain and simple!

Ironstone tureen with silver and faux fall garland

I did the table with a simple cream and grey runner topped by a vintage ironstone soup tureen, silver candlesticks and collected-over-time napkin rings, starting with my grandmother's engraved one. Then the touch of color - pumpkin spreaders and a faux fall garland. 

grandmother Irene's silver napkin ring

Touch of faux fall leaves with rust and neutral pumpkins and "g's" plus a painting

On the front hall shelf, actually a wood enclosure of a front hall radiator, is a collection of "g"s, and another tureen, this one pewter, purchased on our 40th anniversary trip to Italy, a gift from our children (an advantage of having a large family, plus they all contribute to our social security!), and another bit of faux fall, all gathered under an unfinished painting of a farm building by Tom Heflin.

Nesting time sign
Finally a couple of simple hand done signs - fall and rustic- one painted on an old fence board and the other on a board from Amish country in Indiana.(available in my Etsy shop along with that wicker bed tray shown on the bed)

Rough hand down "lodge" sign
Hope you are enjoying the change of seasons as much as I am as I look forward to being done with yard work, (at least here in the north), and cooking up some of those "comfort" foods that warm the body as well as the spirit.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sharing Shipshewana

Just had to share a post about our little outing with the Mending Club. To recap, the Mending Club was started by Sandy (shown in the kitchen) who along with Cyndy had The Pink Cupboard located in what is now the Prairie Street Brewhouse before it looked as it does now. Many of us who were a part of that wonderful vision are still involved in antiques and decor and get together once a month for various activities, mostly dinners at each other's homes We try to escape once a year in the fall. This year we visited Shipshewana, IN, an Amish community.

And here is Sandy pointing out the red dishes. Could she coordinate any better ?!?!

Hall way from Kitchen to Living Room
Sandy and Sandi had already been there and they wanted us to experience it too. They had stayed in this delightful cottage I am sharing. It is decorated in all red, white, and blue. We walked into the kitchen, and you can see what I mean: blue countertops, red dishes, white cabinets, and so it goes. Not your usual lake cottage for sure. 

There were 7 of us and we rented this 3 bedroom, 2 full bath bright clean cottage, and this is the unbelievable part. It cost each of us a grand total of $35.00 - yes! and that was for 2 nights! The hallway show doors to a bedroom and closet and a view of the living room. Note the ceiling and the floors. That TV was not turned on once. We just sat around and talked and laughed and shared.

Part of Living Room showing two of the three sofas

Red and white Bedroom

On to the bedrooms: the red and white one housed 3 of us and we had our own bath. My big fear was that I would drive them crazy with my snoring. Fortunately, both roomies assured me I did no such thing!

Bunks and Queen size beds with en suite bath

Twin red, white and blue quilts room

Here is another bedroom, again in red, white, and blue! And I should mention that on this trip we got to know two kindred spirits - past/present vendors at Country Cottage in Rockton, IL. We had openings so Sandy, who had been there also, invited them. Make new friends but keep the old...
At the theater showing the 1950's musical Plain and Fancy 

We shopped, ate, toured an Amish Farm which also held a theater in a barn with an unbelievable ceiling. We found out from our guide that this barn actually belonged to her family and was disassembled, moved, and rebuilt on the foundation of the original barn which was destroyed in a fire.

Shopping for jellies and Amish baked goods
The ceiling of the theater

Did I mention we ate? Oh my, just to describe one meal which was part of the dinner/theater package: Cabbage salad, bread with an amazing peanut butter spread (did not want to say with marshmallow fluff), bean soup, turkey, fried chicken, ham, beef and noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green beans, and choice of pie for dessert - coconut cream, apple, lemon meringue, peach, pecan, etc. You get the picture. Just a FEW carbs.

And the finale - a fleamarket/auction venue that featured a three ring auction that was so loud, I could hardly hear the auctioneer right in front of me. The merchandise was amazing. Sandy told us, before going in, that the huge room would be absolutely cleared by the time it was over. If a bidder liked one wire locker basket, he/she bought the whole stack. It was a bit out of my league. 

The only things I purchased on the trip were some Amish jams which contained no sugar but were sweetened with concentrated grape juice - love that idea! and some salvaged boards for signs. The old barn wood and other salvaged boards were behind an amazing store with architectural salvage plus smaller antique items. I am hand-lettering them (the boards), and they are or will be in my Etsy shop, which I am updating (after a few years of neglect) because Stella & Notte is still closed for remodeling, and I need a sales venue.

I just love our little group and our always fun outings! Here's to faith and friendship and fun!

Monday, September 19, 2016

All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

Barrell, crate, and baskets, etc set for store

As Some of you are aware, Stella & Notte where I am located, has been closed for remodeling going on two months now. I miss seeing everyone and rearranging and taking in new/old things, and hope we will be reopening soon. In the meantime, I am working on items so I can change out my space for Fall and looking forward to Halloween.  

Before I could do that I had to work on my work space which is our garage/she shed/escape. It has been remodeled and insulated and equipped with a heater for those really cold winter days. It also has a ceiling fan, and I thought if I opened windows and turned on the fan, it would be comfortable. It is temperature-wise, but it is humid! So I paint outside and store inside and it had turned into a mess with moving so much of John's and my "stuff" from the shop which was torn down for the state highway (N. Main) project. To help me get into a frame of mind to create, I had to pitch, and clean, and sort and arrange, and here is a glimpse of the "getting there" space.

As you can see there are goodies being gathered which need to be worked on or embellished.  I had fun redoing this chair. It was naturally dark and shiny, but scratched wood with a musty icky leather cover that was scuffed and ripped. I tore it apart added wool batting and love the black with the leopard print fabric. It is very small scale and will easily fit under a desk or be perfect as a side chair with a little table. I will also be working on more very rustic and hand-lettered signs. Bought some fantastic old wood pieces in Shipshewanna IN, Amish country. But, that is another story

Leopard print adds a nice touch to so many settings
And I am working on Halloween in the style I prefer, more "haunted house" than cute Halloween decorations. Don't you love the way the black candles got melted. They almost look like crows. And speaking of crows, I added one to this wrought iron frame along with the skull hanging from a hook, some "dead" moss and a piece of old grapevine.

Wrought iron and chicken wire frame decked out for all hallowed eve

Silver mottled mirror with image plus rustic and glitz

Victorian light - perfect for haunted house look

tea light in cracked skull atop a metal candle stand

 I thought this old Victorian style ceiling light would look fantastic among some bats hanging in a hallway or entryway. John wired it to a plug so it can either be plugged in somewhere for the effect or used as intended-a ceiling fixture in a Victorian style home. Finally, a tea light lit skull perched on a dark metal candlestick wearing a dark red almost black leaf boa. Quite classy, don't you think? Hope we will see you soon when the store reopens. Maybe I should have a little open house in the garage.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Setting the Table

Our Mending Club is one of my favorite groups because we do so many fun activities: antiquing, kayaking, soap making, and pottery making, to name a few. In between those activities, every other month, we take turns entertaining in our homes. We are a group of 12, many of us having shared space in the Pink Cupboard, a wonderful antique and decor store at one time located in The Prairie Street Brewhouse

Today I am focusing on our home entertaining and the table settings for those. I already shared the April gathering at our home which was also a surprise bridal shower. It was a bit more formal than usual, because I was trying to have a very "bridal" feeling (and use what I had, including the yellow roses, a wedding anniversary gift from John which helped set the yellow and bridal theme).

 I also picked up 12 of these mini cups and saucers to plant with succulents. They were 1/2 price at one of my favorite thrift haunts. They became the take-home favors and they introduced the pink to the setting.


In June, the gathering was at Julia's rustic/cottage decorated home. John and I had an out of town visitation to attend, so I arrived late, and I missed the opportunity to take a photo of the undisturbed table as set up in Julia's perfect and string-lit back yard. Consequently, you don't get to see the pristine table, but you get the idea - burlap table covering and aqua plates with Cath Kidston style signature red and aqua combination print napkins - AND you get to also see the girlfriends. I am so fortunate to be a part of that group. I am actually the senior of the group, and love that we have such a broad age range, from the 40's up to the 70's. By the way, the geraniums all wrapped in burlap and twine, marching down the center of the table, are the favors we took home.


  And, last, is sweet Robin's 50's floral tablecloth on top of an aqua tablecloth  adorned with aqua mason jars filled with flowers from her yard Add to that the square blue and green pottery plates with a bird and branch design paired with red and white gingham checked napkins. Her table reminded me again of Cath Kidston. Check out that link, and you will see what I mean and become an instant fan. The setting included hand made and stamped drawstring fabric pocket favors filled with rosemary and thyme sprigs. Did they smell heavenly! An enlarged photo of this little treasure is pictured hanging on my antique spice cabinet. I think you get the picture. Decor items in these styles and much more are on display at Stella & Notte  and in my Just A Second space at the store. The store is undergoing a bit of a transformation, so be sure to "like" our facebook pages: Just A Second and Stella & Notte so you don't miss our next big event with all the decor to go with it. We are looking forward to your visit!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

B & B weekend plus a Baptism

Bed tray from store to add a B & B touch

 Just came off a fun and busy weekend. We were joined by four of our six children some with spouses and children, two of whom were home for class reunions, one attending a wedding, and one visiting to see his siblings. Three families stayed overnight, one for one night, one for two nights, and one for three nights. 

The snazzy icoffee machine made by Remington which accepts all 
different brands of coffee cups

To add to the B & B feel, on the top of a cupboard in the upstairs hallway, we added a coffee station using the coffee maker I purchased for the store, complete with a selection of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. I did it to be funny, but it was actually used and enjoyed. It is still there and was utilized by John and me Tuesday morning. We felt just a little self indulgent.

The "green room" with iron bed

The green room features an iron bed, an antique quilt at the foot of the bed, and a "Polly Hood" made pillow. I'm almost afraid to show all the bedrooms, because when I posted our bedroom before, one of the comments was that it looked like someone's grandmother's bedroom.  I suppose that it is correct, and after all, I am a grandmother, but I like to describe it as cottage style. 

The "blue room" with plaid comforter and newer iron bed
And the bedroom I just finished - the blue room. It has royal blue walls (as seen in Crate and Barrel's latest catalogue) white woodwork and white painted wood floors with a jute look indoor outdoor rug. I also used artwork from our children's high school artwork portfolios that had been stored in our attic, which had to be emptied for John's loft writing space.

Artwork from high school art classes formerly stored in attic

Fisher Price toys added to "Addy's room"

Papa added favorite vintage Fisher Price toys to "Addy's room".

Baby Betty all ready for her special day

Elizabeth Faith with godmother Faith

Dawn, DJ, Addy, and Betty





Nana and Papa with just baptized Elizabeth Faith

It was a wonderful and full weekend, including a family lunch and cousin fest on Saturday afternoon and culminating  Sunday morning with the baptism of Addy's little sister, Elizabeth Faith.  Now we will have to wait until Thanksgiving for our next full house.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Have a chair!

These chairs started out as a kind of rusty and brown with green coming through. I picked them up at a garage sale to the chagrin of John, and I really worked to improve them. I primed them, and spray painted them in bright blue, bright purple, and bright pink. Yes, that middle one was bright pink. It may have been the only water based spray paint that I used on the chairs, so I guess those toxic based paints have more staying power, but still no award for longevity. You can see they are all down to the primer on the seat where the water sits after a rain.

We had a yard sale and John couldn't believe I wasn't going to just give them away. But I liked the bones, as they say. So here we go again

I scraped the loose paint chips off and sprayed the chairs with bleach trying to remove some greenish mold off them. Then I started painting them with Barcelona orange Annie Sloan chalk paint. I was basically going for coverage, nothing fancy, just coverage. 

The first coat skipped the legs because I didn't want to deal with the gravel, and could not lift up wet chairs. Second time around I flipped the chairs over and did the legs first, and then was able to grab the now dry chairs, set them upright, and give the main part of the chairs their second coat. John says the color makes his teeth hurt because they look so sweet. I like that they look sweet!

After two coats, they look pretty good, but I noticed that after rain sat on one chair, there are some rust or mold spots coming through the seat. I think I am going to have to sand it and spray it again with bleach, hoping to get a good finish. But that's just one chair. I also gave the legs their second coat, just painting them in place and not doing the underside of the legs.

Two finished or almost finished chairs remain out on the gravel facing the mobile outdoor fireplace, while one finished chair sits in the yard under the apple tree and across from the fountain. It is here where I like to sit, because it is in the shade and a bit cooler than the patio which is almost always sunny after having to remove a tree which had shaded it. According to what I have read, Annie Sloan chalk paint does very well outside. It doesn't peel, but rather just fades as it gets worn. Hope that's the case and that it lasts a couple of years. I did read that sitting water will diminish the life of the paint job, so I have to be sure and wipe the water off the seat after a rain. Another project done and another small feeling of accomplishment in turning real eye sores into a pleasant addition to the yard.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall...

When I decided to do this post on mirrors, I didn't think about a few things, the number one being, how do you photograph a mirror without getting yourself reflected in it? and how do I avoid getting the messy workshop/studio captured in the mirror? Not easy, and the result not always pretty.

This metal framed mirror is my favorite of the moment: hammered metal with bamboo beveled mirror. It is a nice size, 28.5" X 22.5", and it can be hung vertically or horizontally. It looks old on the back, but the little philips head screws tell you it is not older than the 30's, and in fact, I am sure it is much newer than that.
But Just A Second is just as much about decor as it is about antiques, maybe more so.

The next one is more of a cottage style, white with aqua stencil and 22.5" square. Someone said it may be from IKEA, and that may be so. I don't get to IKEA that often. At any rate I could see it in any number of settings, including bathroom or bedroom. It, too, is beveled.

The last one is older, varnished wood, needs some touch up, and will most likely be painted.  

I am thinking white or silver or something else. It will come to me. All will be showing up at Stella & Notte sometime in the near future. Check us out on Facebook, to keep up with our event schedule.