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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Surprise Shower Easy to Pull Off

As some of you know, I am in a small group made up of special women who love decorating or collecting or crafting or all of the above, and we get together every other month for dinner and fun at each other's homes. There are 12 in our group, so each of us entertains just once every two years. 

It was my turn this month and one of our members is getting married soon and it was suggested that we do a surprise shower at the same time. I was already planning an "April Shower" theme (yes, some of us do some sort of seasonal or other theme). And I was able to invite Michelle to her own surprise shower without her having a clue that it was going on. Even when she saw the umbrella on the front door, she remained in the dark.

She walked right past this dining room, and still nothing seemed unusual. (That tells you a little bit about how we go all out for our get togethers.) Fortunately, Michelle was with me in the kitchen when others arrived bearing gifts, but I always managed to answer the door and then have them stash their gifts behind the sofa. We didn't want to announce the surprise until all had arrived. Who said women can't keep a secret?!?

This is how the table looked in anticipation of everyone's arriving. I found the little demitasse cups at one of my favorite haunts and was amazed there were 12. I didn't know if they would be nut cups or what, but finally decided they would be mini succulent planters. My co-conspirator helped me plate the dinner while everyone was enjoying appetizers and libations. So the plates were placed, and the candles lit, everyone summoned, and when we broke the news, Michelle was practically in tears she was so surprised.

I do feel bad I didn't get a photo of everyone in the candle lit dining room surprising Michelle, but I am sure you all have vivid imaginations and can readily picture the whole scene. I love being a part of this group, and to think it all started in 2005 when The Pink Cupboard closed and Sandy came up with the idea for our group, so we could continue to celebrate our friendships. Many of us still are present in various shops throughout the area. And speaking of shops, I hope you will come see us at Stella & Notte this weekend starting Thursday. Just A Second is proud to share a space in this beautiful north end store at 1416 N Main in Rockford.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Powder Room from Floral to Photos

Long overdue powder room redo... John never wanted me to paint over the flowers I had painted one chilly morning when I was avoiding attending a bible study. (I guess I do not do well with long term class commitments.)

The rice paper walls are looking more than a little tired and much in need of a refresh, and could you see me painting around and between those stems and leaves and flowers. Not if you know me very well. I do fine with details if I am rearranging, but certainly not while painting.

So out came the primer. No, first take these photos, so there will always be a memory. Then prime over the leaves and flowers so their shadows don't bleed through the new paint color.


I really wanted something akin to Sherwin Williams "rainwashed", but of course, when I want to do something, I want to do it now, not wait until I run to the store and have the paint mixed. (I believe that is called impulsive). So I dragged several paint cans from the basement and my garage/workshop/she-shed/studio...HELP!!! I don't know what to call it, so usually I still say "garage". 

I mixed a color in the same sort of color but a bit stronger than I had originally conceived. Fortunately I really like it, and it works for the look I was imagining.


The look was totally different, going from a light "rice paper" background to a deeper color of greenish aqua. I think it is the perfect backdrop for the framed print which started it all. I don't know what it was, but I had to buy this "classy lady", 
and then I reluctantly decided to sell her. When she didn't sell right away, I took it as a sign that I was supposed to have her.

So her new role is to be the inspiration piece for the bathroom redo. And I couldn't be happier with that decision. I was able to use most of the accessories I had used before. But in the new space, they took on a new life. And I am hoping the new photos including John's parents and mine do not feel that their new home is beneath them. I think they fit right in.

The powder room came out the way I was envisioning it, and the best part was that because I used what I already had, it cost me my time and labor, but no more than that. All the accessories were vintage finds, so the project was green with creative reuse, something we certainly encourage, and that's the type of decor items you are bound to find on the weekends we are open at Stella & Notte. Our next open weekend starts this Thursday, April 21 and goes thru Saturday, April 23. Our hours are 10-5. We are looking forward to your visit.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yellow is the New Spring

Isn't it funny how colors come and go. And why is it that as soon as magazines start talking about a color, we get on board.

I am loving bright yellow, and a few years ago I would never have been drawn to this sunshine of a color. 

Featured is this vintage large yellow Easter or anytime basket. I can see it in front of our summer fireplace full of daisies, or summer throws for that occasional chilly summer evening, or with white birch logs, changing the scene for the warmer months. Those cute little made in Italy Vietri pottery bird mugs add a nice touch of yellow also.


A cotton sprig and wooden bunny on a twig wreath, display no yellow, but the arrangement sure shines on our back yellow storm/screen door.

And I LOVE this chandelier. It is made of heavy enameled iron and would go with vintage styles, including 50's, as well as modern, but would also add a pop of color to any kitchen. I keep trying to find another one on ebay or etsy just to find out more about it but so far no go. Is is just plain fun and unique.

Finally, these egg shaped and decorated placemats. What a bright accent for your porch or patio table in the warmer areas of the country. And if your Easter is going to be cold and dreary as is forecast for the midwest, it will just have to festive up your kitchen or gathering room. I loved the little yellow pitcher with them, but that item has sold. All these items will be available this week from Thursday, March 24 - Saturday March 26 at Stella & Notte 1416 N. Main in Rockford, IL. We will have treats and good company for your visiting and shopping enjoyment. Looking forward to your visit. And may all of you have a very happy and blessed Easter, the message of the vintage yard stakes and large home made Easter Egg greeting.