Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

I am in no way a winter person. Oh I enjoy Christmas well enough, with the pomp and circumstance that comes with it. But after the holidays, there is the long, brutal trudge of January, February, March, and most of April. Miserable dark, cold, boring months. UGH. And this year it's come early. We have three inches of snow on the ground and is saying 10-14 inches when all is said and done. Oh, and we're probably going to lose power, as if we didn't have enough of that from Irene, just two months ago. So last night I bought some flowers from the grocery store, and picked everything that was still blooming in my garden, and made a couple of center pieces. The last hurrah of the warmer months. I love arranging flowers. It's probably snowing, or at least cold, where you are too, so here are some pretty pictures of floral centerpieces. Mine are the last ones.
I love the green hydrangea here

Daffodils are one of my favorites. I'm always so happy to see them in April!

Such a beautiful shade of green.

How beautiful. It makes me yearn for spring already.

I love the simplicity of this centerpiece. It looks just plucked from the garden.

Elegant and simple. Tulips are fabulous.

The host leaves are from my garden. Everything else is from the Stop and Shop flower shop

The sedum and lemon verbena mint are from my garden. I collect antique mason jars in pretty colors. They make great vases.

This is all from my garden. The mint smells wonderful.

And here they are in my kitchen!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I keep

These days about 85% of what I buy, I purchase in order to re-sell. The other 15%- well those are things I just cannot stand to part with, for any price. Those are the things that speak to me. They may not necessarily be the best, oldest, or most valuable pieces, but something about them and I just know that every time I see them in my house, it will make me happy. I encourage you all to fill your homes with items like this. Your home should contain things that are meaningful and beautiful to you. This does not mean you have to spend a lot of money on your furnishings- most of the things I keep and love are relatively cheap. And love is a fickle thing, you may change your mind down the road. I certainly do. Most items last about 3 years in my house before I rotate them out (sell them) and buy something new (old that is, never actually new).
                Sooo, if that was a bit circuitous, here are some visual aides to help. These are things I've bought in the last 2 months that I intend to keep. And since I'm keeping them, I can tell you how much I spent (which is fun!). None of these items are currently on the main floor in the decor. They're all being stored in my workshop, waiting to be taken out for the Holiday decor next week. I can hardly wait to pull them onto the floor because they are so. freaking. beautiful.
I got this little antique table at the flea market. I love the old aqua colored paint on it- and the splayed legs. I think it's probably from the 1920s or 30s- but it was definitely made as a "make-do" piece, so it's hard to date accurately. But that's the best part- a make-do rustic table, but they went ahead and painted it bright turquoise. $8.
(I talked the dealer down from $10)

Just another shot so you can see the shaped top. Super cute!

My boss (I have arguably the best boss in the world) got me this chair as a gift at the most recent Antiques show our business did. It's an 18th century Connecticut side chair, and probably dates from about 1770-1790. That makes it one of the oldest items in my house. The carriage striping paint is a 19th century addition. It's totally solid, but about as comfortable as a straw bed.

I got this pretty little mission oak picture frame at the flea market. It's in perfect condition and
probably dates to 1900-1915. I'm going to put a white matted vintage Christmas card in it for the holiday decor. $4 (talked them down from $5).

I'm a sucker for painted furniture (especially tables!). The white stool/table on the left was from a barn sale, which is just a tag sale in a barn. Barn sales usually have great stuff and are my favorite. The stool was $1, and I'll put a delicate little tabletop christmas tree on it in the corner of my dining room. The other light green table is quite old, possibly 19th century, and also a farm/rustic piece. I adore it, and will be using it as a side table in my family room- it was $12 (talked the dealer down from $15).

just a close up. Look at the smashing old light green paint.

This was a bit more than I usually spend on ANYTHING ($30 from a tag sale).  It's a victorian dresser with...wait for it.... a soapstone top. Holy god how wonderful! I've been looking for a stone topped dresser since February. They're always crazy expensive, and I thought I would have to settle for marble. I've never even seen a soapstone one! Love at first sight. It will be in my dining room, and may be one of the few pieces I will keep forever. I painted it my favorite color- light springy green, and painted all the insides of the drawers white. 

It's on casters (LOVE) and it has c. 1940s white enamel drawer pulls. It just exudes freshness. It's perfect.

The moment I saw this at the flea market, I knew I would buy it, no matter the price. Luckily the price was insanely reasonable ($15), but I'm a haggler, so I talked the guy down to $12. hah! It's double sided and dates to the 1950s or 60s. I'm going to put in on a white shelf in my kitchen. Appropriate non?

Weird right? Well, they're crab traps. Vintage ones (no they don't smell). I got them for $3 each at a tag sale. I have no idea how they will fit in my decor. I got them after I drew up my christmas floor plans. They're so funky and sculptural. If I knew anything about lighting, I would turn them into a pair of hanging lamps...someday maybe! Eat your heart out Pottery Barn, I know you'll have a  repro set in your spring catalog.

Great rusty milk bottle carrier. I dunno what I'll do with it. It was just too cool to pass up, and it was $2. 

Completely out of my normal buying strategy. I saw it at the flea market in August and had an instant image of it up on a table with christmas presents in the sweet little basket. Its got great emerald green paint and I love the rusty seat. $35. but well worth it. Such a sweet little thing. 

Christmas sneak peek

Are you ready? I'm ready. It's supposed to snow tomorrow. I'm listening to Christmas music right now. I've already got about 25% of my holiday shopping done, and Stop and Shop is now selling eggnog. It's time. And because I put A LOT of work into my Christmas decor, I like to put it up early so I can enjoy it a little longer. The husband objected to the fact that I will be putting it up on Nov. 1. I told him to consider it "holiday" rather than "Christmas" and so it encapsulates Thanksgiving as well. Because those pumpkins have to go the day after Halloween- they just feel tired.
Those who know me have seen the detailed schematics I draw up for my seasonal decor flips. The holiday one has been done since the first week of October. And it all starts with a theme.
        The theme this year is "Christmas in a Greenhouse" Lots of flowers, lots of boxwood garland, terra-cotta pots with rosemary topiaries, and green and white painted furniture. I am banishing both red and gold from my holiday decor this year. I only want fresh white and green. (Who knows, maybe I will do all red and gold next year). I like to mix it up. So here is some of my inspiration for the style. Next week I'll post the pictures (it won't be complete until the xmas trees go up at the end of November), of the new floor set. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
I adore a live topiary in a terracotta pot. So fresh and sweet. I've been saving my terra-cotta pots outside all summer and now they have a beautiful mossy patina. 

The use of vintage ironstone as a planter is simply brilliant. And the contrast of the stark white against the chipped painted stairs is lovely.

The blues and green here make me think of sea glass, and the tarnished silver adds warmth. You can get stunning vintage silver plated pieces at your local goodwill for under $5. 

The retro starburst here keeps the mantel from being too folky. I've had the same (beautiful) antique round wood mirror over my mantel for three years now...and I'm itching to put something new up there.

I know this isn't a Christmas picture- but it has just the feel I want for my Christmas decor-everything green and fresh and growing.

The swedish influence and milky wall color are perfect. This picture is from one of my favorite blogs Willow Decor- they're definitely worth checking out here

This tree has so much restraint and beauty- you can actually enjoy the tree for its natural beauty rather than just the gobs of stuff most get draped in.

This sums up the look completely. Boxwood wreath, spring green bow, antique dark wood .

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I've been busy

Yes, a bit busy this past weekend. I've been selling faster than I can come up with new furniture, so I've been working around the clock on furniture so I can get it up on craigslist. I really sincerely enjoy refurbishing furniture, so all the work is a good thing, but I amt always covered in the grime my hobby generates. Last night my husband looked at me over dinner and asked kindly, "So this is it then, you'll always be covered in paint from now on, won't you?". And yes, I was covered in paint, and varnish, and stain, and sawdust. Luckily, it all washes off with some scrubbing! Sooo- would you like to see what I've been working on? Here are a bunch of before and afters- the descriptions are in the captions. Enjoy!
This is a great little Queen Anne style 1940s chair that I found on the side of the road with what became my two kitchen chairs. It's solid, but obviously needed some paint and TLC.

Well one of our readers won the chair in the color of her choice for responding to a post. She choose Tiffany blue (awesome color) and I painted it up for her. Sweet right? 

just a little close up on the original pierced seat. 

This is a solid pine vintage coffee table I got at a tagsale, It suffered from what I'm coming to think of as 70's furniture syndrome. Dark, heavy, blah.

So I sanded the top to reveal the gorgeous pine planks, no stain, just poly to protect it, and then painted the legs a soft green. I just put the last coat of poly on it tonight and it is so smooth it practically glows.

Here's a very similar coffee table I also got at tagsale- suffered from the same 70's syndrome. I took this one darker and sleeker to make it feel more modern.

Black high gloss paint on the legs. The picture doesn't do it justice, but the top is a warm rich dark oak color. 

I got this standard boring dining table at the boy scouts tagsale in town this past weekend. 

along with this set of four solid pine vintage chairs...I had big plans for both ~

Tada! Less than 48 hours after buying them- black high gloss on the legs of the table and on the chairs- the top of the table, I'm not gonna lie, it's my best table yet. So SO SO smooth and the color is just right. I've started mixing the mini wax stains to get just the right richness in color.. It's a gorgeous set, but it took like 8 hours of solid labor. 

And no before pic on this set (I forget to take one!) but I got the coffee table at the flea market on Sunday, and I had the side table stowed away in the attic. They're both vintage 1940s-50s with cool legs and brass feet, and with a little paint, are now a perfect set!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kitchen Island Adventures

I love kitchen islands. Love love love them. I finally got to have my own kitchen island this past spring when we knocked down a wall in our 1923 bungalow to open up our kitchen from being barely a closet to a massive pine floored space. I actually bought an island before we had even installed the floors- I just couldn't wait. The island was cute, functional, and had wine storage (an added bonus!) but lacked imagination and wasn't vintage (unacceptable). About three months later I found an amazing sideboard on craigslist. I passed on it at first since I already had a kitchen island, but it literally haunted my dreams for several days and I finally bought it for $45. Luckily, I sold the other island for a tidy profit (it was the only way my husband would let me get the new one). I painted the sideboard the light creamy yellow of our kitchen cabinets, replaced the knobs with matching hardware, put beadboard panels on the sides and back (to finish the look), and installed a new butcher block countertop that matches my other counters, right over top of the sideboard. I love my island, it's perfect and cottage-y and one of a kind. But like all addicts, I'm always eyeing other ones. I have a 19th century dresser (or buffet-it's HUGE) in my workshop right now that I'm going to turn into a kitchen island and sell on craigslist.... Except that I really want to keep it for myself!
kitchen with island number one

and Island number two- and check out those bar stools. I got them for $5 each at at a tagsale!

I love it because the sideboard was probably from the 1920s, right around when my house was built.

Great chippy paint here!

Fabulous zinc top. I really need to learn how to put zinc tops on stuff

The turquoise color is so amazingly bold.

Awesome old countertop.

What a cool iron table

If I ever come across a wonderful long antique table like this,
either my dining room table or kitchen island is gone have to go!

Great use of a vintage dresser! so sassy.

Another old hardware counter with a new incredible zinc top. So beautiful.

         There are so many amazing and unique kitchen islands out there. Hardware store counters, work benches, sideboards and dressers, there is absolutely no excuse for buying a new one from a furniture store. Where's the fun in that! Here are some I've been admiring lately as well as my first and second kitchen islands (the first two). Enjoy!