Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bah, Bah, Bah….


Meet  the newest addition to the pastoral scene in the back hallway- two sweet sheep grazing in the meadow. The picture isn’t very large; in fact, the painting itself is only 5x7 and the entire framed piece measures 10x12.

sheep canvas

I ordered this from my friend,Teresa, who blogs at Our Southern Country Home and Farm.  Last month, she opened her new shop, Spring Valley Junktique, and in her blog photos, I spied this beauty on the wall. She had many more cow and sheep pictures that I would have loved to have ordered, but that just wouldn’t have been practical for the budget! So I’m content with momma sheep and her baby for now.



They are a nice complement to the canvas above, where the cows are resting around the pond. The husband gave me with this several years ago as a Christmas gift.






pastoral wall

Here are the two canvases together hanging above a small table in the hallway. Since the tabletop is narrow- only 10 inches or so- there’s not much room to place any large objects.  So I kept the table quite simple and balanced-  a small lamp was elevated on a few books on the right side; an urn of greenery was placed in the middle of the table; and a silver baby cup, a small demi-john, and a button bouquet were utilized in a smaller vignette on the other end of the table. 



button bouquet




salt shaker

The  “vase” for the button bouquet is an old salt shaker filled with bits and pieces of lace. It was made by my friend, Kathy @ Sylvia’s Vintage Daughter, who sells her vintage and up-cycled finds in a booth in Mansfield, Ohio and at various shows throughout Ohio. Kathy will be exhibiting at the Vintage Marketplace during the Springfield Extravaganza on May 18-20. There will be so many other great vendors at the show and I can’t wait to connect with some of my other pals who’ll be showing their wares that weekend.  Did you know that Sue Whitney, of Junkmarket Style, will be there?  Now, I hope that you didn’t infer that I know her and that she’s a friend, but I certainly hope I get the opportunity to meet her. She is the queen of junk, in my book!


table 2

In this view, you can see just how narrow the table actually is. Anything wider would have us bumping into it trying to make our way through to the kitchen.  If I had had built this house, I would have had the architect add 12 inches to this four-foot wide hallway. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into the wall trying to bring things in from the garage.





hall tabletop 

As much as I love this red wallpaper, I’m contemplating white cabinetry for the kitchen reno. And for the new look I’m after, red just isn’t going to cut it. Right now, the cabinetry is glazed in a light brown country French finish so the wall covering works great. But the cleaner look I’m after is just calling out for painted walls.  I’m not going to worry about it for a long while-  the kitchen won’t get done until the roof and windows are replaced. I may be living with my red walls for some time to come!




Linking to:

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Colors of Spring….


The weather here in southwest Ohio has been so unseasonably warm for the past two weeks, so when I woke up to the sound of the furnace running this morning, I wasn’t sure what to think. Apparently, the temperatures dipped significantly overnight; but thankfully for the farmers, it didn’t freeze. And I’m counting my blessings that I forgot to set out my pots of pansies and other spring flowers. I had been working on a few pots yesterday afternoon, but promptly forgot about them when I received an invitation from the husband to go out to dinner. For me, food trumps flowers! 

I wanted to check out just how cold it had gotten this morning and was half expecting to see some frost on the grass. Instead, I was greeted with this sight-

backyard view1

A sea of green from the grass and the newly leafed out trees and undergrowth.



This is one of two redbud trees that just starting blooming in our backyard. This trees’s blooms aren’t as prolific as they are on the smaller tree on the other side of the yard, but this gorgeous purple adds such pretty contrast to an otherwise sea of green in the trees that have leafed out just within the past week.  I can’t believe that spring has made its appearance so early. I’m certainly not complaining, but I’m still wondering if we still might get hit with a freakish snow storm for Easter. Sure hope not, but it wouldn’t be the first time this has happened!


redbud 2

This is the smaller tree in the opposite end of the yard. Its blooms can be seen in the two photos below.




redbud 1

Isn’t this color just spectacular against the clear blue morning sky? Now, can anyone answer this question for me-  if the blooms are pinky-purple, why are these trees called redbuds?








I’m so anxious for our landscaping to begin filling in. You may recall that we had our backyard totally re-done last fall, so this will be the first time for us to see the spring blooms on the plantings.


blooms 2






The periwinkle started to bloom a few days ago. I know it will take some time to completely fill in this planting bed, but in a few years it should will look just like a carpet of purple flowers.





streambed 2

I was chomping at the bit to hear the stream up and running again, so last week when the temperatures were in the low 80’s, we put the pump back into place.  I still need to scrub off the moss and algae that grew on the rocks. Can you see the icky green stuff on this flat rock where the stream begins?   I stuck my foot into the stream to see how cold it was. Let’s just say my tootsies got pulled out of that cold water real fast!



The sound of the water spilling onto the rocks is just so soothing.



There is a still a lot to be done to get this backyard in shape after our long winter. The weeds seem to be running rampant, so this year, I’m going to try a natural method of eradicating them. I read that applying vinegar will kill them dead! I’m all for trying something less toxic to the environment, so later this afternoon, I’ll be toting my jug of white vinegar outside! I’ll let you know if it works or not.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Two-tone Desk- New Look for an Old Piece of Furniture

My largest chalk paint project to date was recently completed and I’m pretty satisfied with the result. I wish I could say that I knocked it off in just a few hours, but the truth is that it took me over two weeks. I’d work on it when I could and being the perfectionist that I tend to be, I re-did it several times. Yes, you read that right. Talk about using a lot of paint! So anyway, the desk in my study got a complete overhaul and was completely transformed from its previous dark finish. I’d been trying to find just the right desk to no avail and actually had plans to order one on our buying trip to the High Point Furniture Market next month; but the more I thought about it, I decided to give painting it a whirl.  I’m so glad that I did. Here is the end result- a new two-tone finish.  Was it worth the two weeks? You bet!


The finished look incorporates  a combination of paint colors for this project, including ASCP Old White and Graphite.  Knowing that I wanted a bit of a distressed look, I did quite a bit of sanding to the body of the desk. I used a little more restraint with the top of it. After two coats of paint, (the first time) I went over it with a coat of clear wax and then a coat of dark. I wasn’t crazy about the splotchy look  so I used more clear wax to pull off the dark. I still wasn’t happy, so I re-appled the Old White, once again. I applied the clear wax and then another coat of the dark wax and thought it still looked awful, ( I admit to not having completely mastered the dark wax technique) so I employed my own method of removing the excess dark wax – I rubbed the entire desk with a rag dampened with mineral spirits. The end result was some darker shading in the sanded areas and a yummy shade of creamy vanilla on the body!



original desk finish

This is the only shot I had that shows the original color of the desk- I had already begun working on the desk when I took this picture. The finish was very dark and worn and I was hating it.  I wanted a cleaner and fresher look and felt that the Old White would work well for the look I was after. 



top distressing2.

The desk top has a  lightly glazed look but there are also areas where I sanded back to the original dark finish in a few spots. The  round opening in the desktop is where I drop my monitor, speaker, and lamp wires through to the electrical outlet inside the knee area of the desk.





I was after more of a smooth factory finish with this project and this glazed look fit the bill perfectly. Obviously, my unconventional method of cleaning up the excess wax worked beautifully to create this finish.




finish 4

Here’s a closer look of the apron at the bottom of the desk.




I thought that a completely light-colored desk might be a bit stark for the darker hues that are going into the study, so I entertained the idea of using a darker shade on the drawers.  They are a taupe-y gray and they look wonderful against the lighter desk body. Since I didn’t have the linen ASCP to mix a custom color and I was too impatient to drive 45 minutes to pick some up from a local supplier, I pulled some butterscotch brown latex paint from the garage and created a batch of my own “chalky” paint. I simply added some calcium chloride and a bit of ASCP Graphite to it. It changed the color significantly and I was very happy with my custom mixture.  Just like the desk body, I finished it off with a coat of clear wax and then a light touch of the dark wax.  I had absolutely no issues with the dark wax on the drawers. Go figure!

This was my first experience creating faux “chalky paint” (you notice I am not calling it “chalk’ paint) and I’m anxious to see how the finish wears. All I know is that the look is very similar to the ASCP. 

As for the drawer pulls, I’ve grown tired of an oil rubbed bronze finish, so I remained a purist by leaving the heavy brass hardware in its original state.  Brass is back, haven’t you heard?




contrasting drawers

I love the color that I achieved when I created my custom mix.   Inside the knee area of the desk, you can see that the finish is much more distressed. I must have been simulating banging my legs and feet around in there!




This is the hand that I bought last year at the The French Hen Farm barn sale up in Marysville. Looking forward to Linda’s spring sale, once again! It will be May 11-12.



desk re-do

I like using a desk mat under the monitor because of the protection it offers messy ol’ me! I must confess that I like to bring in my cup of coffee or glass of Coke when I’m in here. Oh, and sometimes (?) a snack….



bunny cloche 1

Since my desk is always so cluttered with “stuff,” I don’t usually keep to many decorative items on it. But in preparation for Easter, I put together a bunny cloche and placed it on top of a small suitcase. I was shopping at our newly opened Home Goods Store last week and found this beauty for only $29.  It called to me when I saw it, so I listened and put it in the cart. Aren’t I obedient?



     bunny cloche

The bottle brush tree behind the bunnies says “Spring has sprung!”


mr  bunny      mrs bunny

Both bunnies have filled baskets- Mr. Bunny has tulips and Mrs. Bunny’s basket holds carrots.




bird topper

The glass finial of the cloche dome is topped with a little bird.




I love the footed base of the cloche  which features a wire edge on top. I’m contemplating a paint job for the metal parts of this cloche.  White?  A fun color?  Silverleaf?  What do you think?  I need to strike while the iron is still hot! LOL

I’ll be gone this weekend for a furniture show in Indiana, so I’d like to get it done by then. Let me hear from you!


Linking to :

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