The Instant Cottage

This Spring was drier and warmer than most and I soon found myself armpit deep in meadow grass and chin deep in yard chores. I did find time however, for a quick project that brought a charming cottage feeling to my little home.

Just a little bit of charm

Just a little bit of charm

By adding this little architectural interest in the door ways of my laundry room I was able to take a bland, boring opening to a charming archway. Which is a good thing since there’s no hiding those laundry machines.

the view from the kitchen/dinning room

the view from the kitchen/dinning room

This was an easy project that took two nights to finish but only because I had to let paint dry. I found my brackets at the ReStore but most hardware stores will have something similar. They came primed so I just slapped on a coat of trim paint. I needed to modify the brackets for the first doorway as it is narrower than standard.  A classic symptom of old houses.

working the details

working the details

Installation was a dream. With pre-drilled holes I just tapped in some finishing nails and presto! Charming, cottage architectural interest.

cottage accent closeup SM

the view into the mud room

(Don’t mind the knotty pine mud room in the distance. It’s a project waiting to happen.) I love to see the archway from across the room. It’s just so dang cute!

How’s your summer going? Any big projects getting done?

Cheers,

Miss Ellie

the Gift of Time

the Gift of Time

With more light at the end of the work day there is a whole lot more to see and photograph.

When I arrived home from work around 5 (which felt like 4) I venture out to the yard as I could see signs of spring. It is the most beautiful and non threatening time of year.  The grass is green but doesn’t scream to be mowed.  The trees are blooming and leafing-out and hide the fact I haven’t pruned them yet. The ground is still wet so planting much of anything is ill-advised. I have yet to notice that the garden shed and the fences and the clubhouse all need some kind of wood protection. Oh! And the deck too.

“But chippy, aged wood is my friend.” I say to myself.

I see the stack, or six, of lumber my Dad and I have collect from old barns and sheds, and a coral and horse shelter. There is some lapped siding from Restore and some deck railings from a friends old deck. They’re neatly stack on pallets in my future vegetable garden.

Barn wood

When I pull back the recycled rubber roof membrane that has kept the lumber dry all winter, a sense of wonder comes over me as all my dreams and aspiration come flooding back. The barn wood is destined to become an outdoor farm table. There are two shed doors, with the ‘Z’ bracing that will make a great head-board or garden shed table. The coral 2 x 6s and 4 x 4s are the beginnings of the raised beds so mandatory in my red clay, water-logged soil.  And the old 16 feet long foundation forms that are the future home of the blue berry patch.

back 40 road duringSM

I see the mountain of crushed granite and rock that the dump truck driver left in the middle of the road to the back forty, because it was so soppy last January the dump truck sunk to its axles.  I’m in denial about its relocation to the rest of the road. I can only see the beautiful boulders mixed in that will one day be part of the rock borders on either side of the walkways.

Rock wall

With more light after work, I’ll have some time to work on these projects and others. As part of the effort to bring balance to my second life, working in many smaller increments rather than an all out push in a single day is more effective. It also gives my creativity an opportunity to evolve.

And though I’ll get use to the time change, this time of year feels like a gift. How are your spring projects shaping up?

Cheers,

Miss Ellie

Word of the Year… Balance

Image

The future lies beyond.

That’s what I’m going for this year. B A L A N C E. In Blogging. In Family. In Career. In Finances. In Service. In Faith. In Exercise. In housework and socializing. In home maintenance and decorating. In gardening and farming. And maybe even in treasure hunting. But will see about that one.

I’ll write about it all. The hopes and the dreams. The failures and the successes and all that stuff in between. It’ll be maddening and fun all at the same time.

Am I setting myself up?

Cheers,  Miss Ellie

P.S. This is a Word press ‘Quick press’. Kinda like a status update on Facebook but different. It might help bring balance to blogging.

Chalkboard Menu

Been crazy busy around here. Did my first show in October and have another one next week. With a full-time job and a home and family to care for, DIYing happens after dark. Not the best time to take pictures; and I love picture heavy post. In the new year I will find a happy medium. In the mean time, lets talk chalk boards.
I love the idea of chalkboards. You can see them all over the web. I find them so versatile, and communicating my thoughts is really easy. With the use of Chalkboard paint, anything I love can be come a chalkboard. And the concept of colored chalk makes me kinda giddy. Have you seen what a ‘chalk artist’ can do? So it was time I made one of my own. A few months ago I came upon a small coffee table that had no legs. It was dirty and shabby and unloved. So I took it home and washed and sanded it. Sanding is very important. Spray on Chalkboard paint did not smooth out the surface of my piece. I had to do that myself. And if you don’t, you’ll end up with shaky, lumpy lines when you draw on the board with chalk. I brushed on a quick primer coat and then sprayed on the chalk paint. I’d recommend a thick coat or three, of primer. I only used one thin coat and now wish I’d done two or three. The rim of the table was painted white, sanded and then glazed with dark walnut stain. I added a vintage typography from the graphic fairy to finish the board. Karen has a wonderful tutorial on how to transfer typography to furniture. It’s simple and easy. After hand painting the letters I sanded them down a bit to give them some aging. Good Morning! I really like the way it turned out. It makes my family happy to get up in the morning and see a message from me. And I’ve left a menu for the daughter and she had dinner ready when I got home from work! And it’s a great finish at the end of our long gallery kitchen. You remember the Small Kitchen Tour.

I’ve tried the spray chalk paint on a silver plated tray that’s waiting for a hanger. I’ll give you a look-see when I have her on display. Check back soon, or sign up for emails and I’ll just drop into your inbox when I’ve got her done. Have you done a chalkboard paint project yet? Did you use the spray on or the paint on? Would love to hear how it worked for you. Cheers, Miss Ellie

I’m linking this post to Linda’s Nifty Thrifty Tuesday over at Coastal Charm.

I’m linking this post to Cassie’s POWW over at Primitive and Proper.

I’m linking this post to Courtney’s Feather Nest Friday over at French Country Cottage.

I’m linking this post to Marion’s Furniture Feature Friday over at Miss Mustard Seed.

I’m linking this post to Donna’s Saturday Nite Special over at Funky Junk Interiors.

Preserving the Harvest

Just as I harvest vintage pieces from estate sales, flea markets, second-hand stores and friend’s attics, making them useful and loved again, I also reap the harvest of the land. I’m still building up the orchard and have yet to put in a veggie garden, but the friends and neighbors with a plentiful supply and the farmers markets, provide all that I need. I was gifted a bucket of Sebastopol Gravenstein apples from my Aunt at our family reunion.

The Gravenstein was first introduced to North America in 1811 and is the first apple to ripen in late July.

The apples were ripe and ready to go. We made 5 apple pies for the family reunion and I took my bucket home to dry and freeze. My process uses an apple peeler, corer to remove the seeds, stems and skins.

It’s a beautiful process. The green and red skin piling up in a neat little mass. The house sweet with the smell of fresh apples.

The first batch went into the dehydrator. Cut the rings apart, dip in food fresh, spread on the racks and turn on the machine. By dinner the next day I had a gallon zip bag filled up. The plan was to re-hydrate in December and make pies. Alas, the daughter and her friends discover this little stash and enjoyed most of it. I assure you, those kids would not have eaten that many fresh apples if they had been place on a stick surrounded by caramel.

So I have to take time out from furniture re-purposing to preserve the harvest. Next up… tomatoes!

Hope you’re enjoying this bountiful season.

Cheers,

Miss Ellie

Dear Blog

It’s been so long. I’ve missed you. Have you been busy? I have! This summer has just flown by and now its fall. Can you believe it?

Lets catch up. Grab a cup of tea and we’ll chat.

In early August I had the cottage painted. I went with a professional. It was a hard decision being a DIYer. But they had the tools, I did  not. They had the time, I did not. It was a good price, although just barely within my budget. I got to work with them; sanding and scraping and spraying. I learned a great deal about painting a house. Being an exterior situation the paint had to survive harsh winters and blazing summers, creating a shield against the elements. Unlike painting furniture where we want a chippy, faded look. Not so much on my house. If you’re hiring a pro ask to see samples that are 10, 15, 20 years old. You’ll know how long the job will look good. I still have shutters and window boxes to paint and install but here’s a peek at the color.

When the house was done I promptly went on the family vacation. A little sister time, a little Mom and Dad time, a little me time. Well, not me alone time, but me away from the ‘to do’ list time. We tried new food, new beverages and new yoga poses (with my Dad). The mornings were cool, the days hot, and the evenings beautiful.

With the cottage painted I could now tackle the landscaping. So for the later part of August or was it early September, I worked landscaping after the day job.  I dug up the rock path at the front of the cottage and moved it to the drive way. I used the cement blocks from around the trees to start a flower bed. I’m 32 blocks short so when the budget allows I’ll get more. I had to dig up half the lawn so it wouldn’t grow back. I’ll tell ya, it could have been back braking but my new exercise plan has made me a lot stronger. Oh! I didn’t tell you about my new plan?

In September I moved compost. Once the flower bed was complete I had to figure out how to fill it with some good dirt. My native soil is mostly clay and grows natives just fine, but I wanted to branch out seeing as I was going to fence it off from the Deer. Yes, I have deer that dine in my yard. It’s an amazing nuance. I love to  see the babies in the spring but hate how they eat everything I like to plant. So I was watching Freecycle and a lady posted she had compost/manure available. “Great” I thought. I’ll just fill the bed and let it mellow over the winter. Turns out she has a never-ending supply. Yah! I go every two weeks or so with my little trailer and pick up two loads. I should have it filled up by… Oh… say December.

And some where in late August I hosted with my parents the family reunion of about 50 family members, who came to town and then tacked on a 50th wedding anniversary for my parents at the end of it. Busy, busy.

And here comes fall. I love this time of year. I have several things brewing on the horizon that have me excited and energized. As they come about I’ll share. Can’t jinx anything.

And you. Have you been swamped lately and neglecting the blog?

Cheers,

Miss Ellie

New TV Stand from Old

This winter was the year for new electronics. I say that because being a resourceful gal I take second-hand goods, TVs, Computers, VCRs, and appliances, and make them work for my family. This year my house earned me an energy rebate so I decided it was time for a flat screen TV. I needed the TV to take up less room and be compatible with the electronics my family was tiring to plug into it. But it also meant the current TV arrangement was not going to work.

I spent a couple of months looking for just the right TV stand. And then I found the best one ever at the Restore. But it needed a lot of love.

It’s mahogany veneer on most of it. But I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it so I just started sanding. You’ll remember the post about getting a paint brush back in my hand. Well, I decided to paint it orange. Yup! Orange. It’s a beautiful soft shade of pumpkin.

I glazed the lower half with chocolate and finished the top with a dark oak stain and hand rubbed poly. And gave the hardware a good cleaning too.

The TV fits perfectly. And with the addition of wall decor above the TV it almost doesn’t look like a big black box.

Dinner and a movie has taken on a whole new meaning in our house.

Next up? The coffee table.

While photo shooting this piece I sat on the table and one leg gave way and I went crashing to the floor. So, furniture Repair and Re-finishing are my next adventure. Stay tune for the details.

Cheers!

Miss Ellie

I’m linking this post to Courtney’s Feathered Nest Friday over at French Country Cottage.

I’m linking this post to Donna’s Saturday Nite Special over at Funky Junk Interiors.

I’m liking this post to Marian’s Furniture Feature Friday over at Miss Mustard Seed.  

I’m linking this post to Casie’s POWW107 over at Primitive & Proper.