Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Florist Garden

Even though we are planning to overhaul a portion of our garden to make room for more vegetables this year, I still love my flowers.

I picked up this piece of wood at ReStore.

I think it was originally some sort of cabinet face.

I love finding things like this.  No cutting.  No router required.

I handpainted the lettering.  I find this detailwork to be very relaxing. 

It fits perfectly over the door to the backyard.

Not bad for a salvaged trim piece that cost me a dollar, huh?

I'm linkin' up...

Transformation Thursday Chic on a Shoestring Decorating Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special Tip Junkie handmade projects
Domestically Speaking Photobucket

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Down on the Farm

I think I must have cabin fever because I'm dreaming of being outside. I have big plans for the garden this year that I can't wait to start.

Last week, my sister-in-law and I enjoyed a "girls day out" together. We strolled through some of the shops in historic downtown Overland Park, KS. Well, as historic as a city that only dates back to 1905 can be!  I did score some FUN rain boots at a secondhand clothing store that benefits a great charity.

I learned from the salesperson that some of their stock is donated by a hoity-toity store on the Plaza (an upscale shopping district in Kansas City, MO).  They had a big donation of Tamara Henriques rain boots, but only two pairs in my size, so I went with the dogs.  Springs are notoriously rainy in KC which makes gardening a muddy mess, but now I'm ready.  Bring on the April showers!

I have some interesting additions to my Etsy shop in keeping with the gardening/farming theme, like this cute "Farm Fresh" pig sign.

He was a much used and abused cutting board when I found him.  He was scrubbed, sanitized, sanded and sealed before I handpainted him "Farm Fresh."  He's ready for retirement in someone's charming homestead.

I also went through my stash of oddities and found this interesting wheel.

I'm not sure what it was from, but it has a great rusty patina.  I could see it setting on someone's desk, perhaps used as a paperweight.  It would also make some interesting jewelry.

Finally, I found this strange gear-like thing.

I looked at it for a long time.  It was too good to just toss away.  There was a new purpose for it somewhere.  Then I figured it out.

How stinkin' clever is that?  And the people in the photograph?  My great-grandparents.  Can you believe that I had FOUR living great-grandparents when I was in my early twenties?  Three great-grandmothers and one great-grandfather.  The grandparents in the photo where married for almost 68 years!  Wow!!  She was the most prolific quilter in my family.  I remember when they came to our wedding.  Everyone commented on the pretty woman in the lavender suit, and they admired the size of Grandpa's enormous hands.

Speaking of quilting, I'm still taking donations for my Spare a Square project.  I've started cutting the pieces and I can't wait to start sewing!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Reading Never Looked So Good

Anyone else out there think it is RIDICULOUS that Pottery Barn is selling vintage stripped books for $39 for a six inch bundle?


 If you want stripped books, this is what you need to do:

1. Find a handful of trashy romance novels
2. Pull the covers off
3. Toss them in the back window of your car
4. Forget about them for at least two weeks while the paper yellows in the sun
5. Tie them together with garden twine

Voila!  A "vintage" look for a fraction of the cost!

Honestly, I think bundled stripped books look like a fire-starter for a weenie roast.  Right now, I have a crush on old Reader's Digest Condensed Books.
I'm head-over-heels in love with the vintage patterns on the covers.
PB can keep their $39 stripped books.  Give me this beauty any day!
If you love these vintage lovelies as much as I do, I now have them in my Etsy shop.  They'll give your space a one-of-a-kind pop of color and texture.  Spare me the stripped books unless you are offering them with a side of s'mores.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Evolving Mantel, Spelled "-EL"

The English geek in me had to double-check the spelling of "mantel."  Too many hours of looking at postings for "dinning tables," "rot iron," "rod iron," "chester drawers" on Craigslist has corrupted my spelling skills.

And it's "mantel" when we're talking about this:
A mantle (spelled with an LE) has several meanings, all of them referring to some sort of cover: a cloak or cape, the layer of earth between the crust and the core, a particular outgrowth on a mollusk, a layer of bird plummage,  etc.

Got it?  We're talking mantels today, specifically my evolving mantel.

Last fall, I decided the mantel of our hearth room was due for an overhaul.  Here was the cluttered before:
And the after, the first time:
You can read all about it here.  If you recall, I had picked up all the vases at a thrift store with a 30% off entire purchase coupon.  Oh, yeah.
And I spray painted all of them with Krylon in Georgia Clay.  Pretty, cohesive and cheap.  Love that!

Since I was working on this project as the holidays were approaching, I left myself some space for decorations.  Now that the holidays are over, I decided the space was looking a little sparse.  I knew I wanted some greenery up there.  And I also felt like the space needed something dark to anchor it.

I shopped my own house first.  I found this pot in the backroom of the basement.  I'd scored it at a garage sale, but then I couldn't figure out how to use it.  I decided it was the faux stone look that just wasn't working for me.  Nothing a little paint couldn't fix.
I just squirted a little Brunt Umber on a palette with some Glossy Black next to it.  I'd dip my brush into each one and randomly blended the two colors on the pot.  Check it out now on the left:
Being that I am a former English teacher and Mr. Tallgrass is a former history teacher, we have A LOT of old books, either collected or handed down to us.  They are scattered on display throughout our house, but this room didn't have any yet.  There were still plenty in the basement from which I could "shop" for the hearth room.

Of course, I had to put a bird on the mantel.
I call this little fellow my "guilty bird."  Ever walk into a shop with absolutely no intentions of buying anything, you just want to look?  I did that last month and the shopkeeper was so sweet.  We really hit it off and she gave me lots of tips of other independently-owned antique and antique-inspired stores in the area.  I felt badly for not buying anything, so the little bird came home with me.

I wanted a little green on the other side of the mantel, but I'd worked through the house's inventory and couldn't come up with another pot that was dark or could be painted a dark color.  Good thing Goodwill isn't far.  This was just what I needed, and it was only 99 cents.
Last year, I put all my silk flowers and plants in one oversized Rubbermaid tote, and it was one of the smartest things I ever did.  Now, I look there first BEFORE heading to the craft store.  I had this leafy green plant already on hand.  Since Hobby Lobby is next door to the Goodwill (yes, a dangerous combination),  I picked up a bunch of plastic boxwood for one of the vases at 50% off.
My one splurge was the little clock.  We really missed having a clock on the mantel.  I've looked everywhere for a small, vintage clock.  When I would find one, it had been wound too tightly and didn't work anymore, or it needed to be plugged in, or it was more expensive than the one I found at Target that I really liked.  Tar-jay won in the end.
I'll make some coffee, and we'll warm ourselves next to the fire.

I'm linkin' up...
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating Bubbly Nature Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special Its So Very Cheri Savvy Southern Style

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I'm giving myself a big "WHOO-HOO" because I hit 50 followers this past weekend.

(And I'm not going to dwell on the fact that my favorite blogs have THOUSANDS of followers. Nope, nope, nope!  Rome wasn't built in a day.)

Fact of the matter is I don't feature posts of my drool-worthy kitchen.

Because it's not drool-worthy. 

I don't have daily furniture make-overs.

  So sorry.

And this isn't a blog about the rehab of a 100-year-old farmhouse.

I'm just trying to live pretty in the 'burbs.

Yet 50 of you follow me and I know a lot more of you are lurking.  ;)  I appreciate all of you stopping by!

More appreciation going out there to those of you who have donated fabric to my Spare a Square project.

If you aren't up to speed on Spare a Square, I'm going to make a quilt that will be given to an anonymous foster child this Christmas.  If you sew and you have a 6 inch square scrap to spare, please put it in an envelope and a mail it to me.  You can read all about the details here.

A big THANK YOU to those who have donated so far!