Saturday, July 30, 2011

A New Sign for my Kitchen

I've been admiring antique signage lately, but the "real deal" usually carries quite a hefty price tag. So I made my own!

I liked the natural rough-sawn texture on the backside of some old salvaged beadboard that I had, so I glued two pieces together to make a perfectly aged canvas for my sign. I painted it a creamy buttermilk color, and then used a brush and a rag to age it with some watered down paint in a couple different shades of golden tan and greenish grey, before painting "Hallberg Nursery" in black, with some heavy sanding to scuff it up.

It looks right at home above the window in my small but sunny rustic kitchen.

Photo courtesy of Country Living
I used a picture from Country Living of designer Nancy Fishelson's kitchen to pattern my sign after. If you've never seen Nancy's work, you are missing out - the rooms she designs are absolutely gorgeous, with a subdued color palette and stunning primitive antiques, including many wonderful examples of antique signs that are used as art.  

Photo courtesy of Country Living

Photo courtesy of Country Living

The thing I love about antique signs is the personality they bring to a space. I love the worn patina and the wonderful old typography, but most of all I love that they are specific and one-of-a-kind; uniquely and utilitarianly inscribed with the names, dates, and advertisements of businesses from long ago. A sign that reads "Hallberg Nursery" with a hand-painted arrow pointing the way sparks the imagination in a way that a generic "potting shed" or "garden" sign never will.

Does your house need a little personality? Add a sign!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Linen Shirt and Birthday Flowers

I purchased this antique child-sized linen shirt and wooden hanger at an estate sale last summer when we were living in Pennsylvania. I had it for sale in my etsy shop for months and months, and nobody bought it. It's been hanging in a lonely corner or my office, forgotten and unloved. 

Until now...

I was tweeking furniture placement in our bedroom this week, and I moved this dark wood side table that was tucked beside the bed to an open wall - where it would be more of a focal point - and I needed something to hang above it. I'm not a fan of framed artwork, and I tried an antique mirror, but nothing was working. And then I remembered this lonely little unwanted linen jacket. It was just right! I dug out this little black peg shelf from a closet, and the whole display was perfect.

Yesterday was my birthday (28!) and my sweet husband stopped and bought me a bouquet of flowers on his way home from work, and they were the perfect finishing touch to my bedroom vignette. The pinks look so pretty against the black wood and natural linen.

I must confess, though, that I am notorious for dismembering perfectly fine flower bouquets as soon as they enter my house...

These two yellow blooms didn't make the cut and were segregated to their own small ironstone pitcher in the kitchen. (Seriously, grocery-store flower-arranger lady - yellow flowers in a pink and white bouquet?!)

Luckily, my husband doesn't take it personally.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Favorite Thing of the Day

I was craving coffee ice cream tonight. Rich coffee ice cream with dark chocolate chunks...

$1.00 worth of deliciousness in a cute little single-serving cup (spoon included!) so I could start eating it before I even left the grocery store... Whoever came up with THAT is a genious.

Presented in a familiar cup, just like my favorite morning brew...

And so good it was gone before I got home.
Sorry, kids! No "before" pictures of this one. Wait, maybe this will help you out...

Sigh... A day of antiquing, dinner out with hubby, and java chip ice cream...
 Hope your day turned out as good as mine did!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Peak at My Quilting Progress

Remember when I said that I was going to make a quilt? Here's proof that I am actually doing it! I officially have 12 blocks done, with 8 more to go before I can start adding sashing and assembling the quilt top.  

I decided on a very traditional star pattern in a simple, solid color palette of dark navy on bone white, with warm grayish tan sashing between the blocks. With the THOUSANDS of colors and patterns of fabric available in quilting shops, and after what my husband would probably describe as THOUSANDS of hours of waiting in the car while I tried to make up my mind, I of course end up with 3 fairly neutral solid colors. But this quilt is going to be very "me", and that's what I like about it.

I wasn't sure about choosing a pattern with so many little triangles and points for my very first quilting attempt, but so far it is turning out really well - and the magic of opening up that finished block and revealing a perfect 8 pointed star is well worth the effort! Speaking of effort...

Each finished block is made up of 4 "flying geese" pieces, which each have 2 little navy squares sewn onto the corners...

...which are then folded back and pressed into place to make little triangles. One finished flying geese block.

With 20 blocks in the finished quilt, and 4 flying geese units per block, and 2 little squares sewn on each of those... I have now cut, sewn, and pressed 160 little navy squares! And that's just getting the pieces ready to start actually putting together blocks. Whew!

This Saturday I have another get-together with my quilting girls, so hopefully I can finish the rest of my blocks and start assembling!

Friday, July 22, 2011

China Cabinet Makeover

I painted my white china cabinet blue - and I love it!

I've been debating about whether I should do this for a while now. Just a few posts ago, I redecorated my dining room with my beautiful new french chairs from TJ Maxx, and the room had a really sophisticated, neutral palette. And I liked it. But I couldn't help thinking... I wonder what it would look like if I painted that cupboard blue?

The answer? Even more lovely than before!

I started with a can of "French Gray" paint from Glidden that I had picked out for FREE from their website a couple months ago during their paint giveaway promotion. I love free paint! By itself, the color was a little brighter blue than I wanted. But I watered down a bit of black acrylic paint (the kind you buy in little squeeze bottles from a craft store), brushed it on, and then wiped off the extra with a damp rag. It ended up being even better than I expected.

And my white ironstone has never looked better...

I've been wanting to repaint my dining room table for a while, too, and the new blue cabinet gave me the motivation I needed to finally do it. I used a nice warm grey called "Cobblestone" from Olde Century Colors, with just a touch of distressing. It's a cooler tone than before, and the finish is a little less "faux" looking...

Before.... and after!

Not to mention that the last time I got the urge to paint my table, I didn't really have the right paint on hand, so... being the impatient decorator that I am... I used leftover wall paint from my kitchen. Flat wall paint. Not the best finish for a dining room table - take my word for it!

The finishing touch was a grey and blue chippy wood bench from the basement, and the antique grainsack pillow from my couch. Now, I am on the lookout for a matching 4 gallon crock to go next to the 3 gallon on top of the cupboard... I saw the perfect one at an antique shop in Ohio when we were home for Christmas and I was THIS CLOSE to buying it. But I didn't, and now I want to kick myself. Oh well, just keep looking!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

This Little Piggy Went To Market...

Here is another antique sign that I am thinking of reproducing for my house.

I spotted it in a Country Living magazine, in the kitchen of Dan Thibeault. LOVE the style of his home.

I like his decorating philosophy, too - mixing a few splurges in with the bargains in a way that makes everything look rich. I am a bargain-hunter by nature (also known as cheap) and the thrill of a good deal gets me every time. But I also have a feeling that I'd be hard pressed to find a fabulous french chandelier like THAT at a garage sale, and somewhere down the road a splurge like that will be well worth it!

But back to the "Meat Market"... Remember the little black and white wooden pig that's hanging all alone on my dining room wall right now?

How cute would that be?! I needed something else to go on that wall, and a sign like this would be perfect.

My apologies to the pig, of course... His role in my dining room is about to take a tragic turn.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Pasta + fresh veggies + mozzerella cheese + italian dressing = YUM. And so pretty I had to photograph it before digging in!

This is a recipe we eat ALL THE TIME in my house, especially in the summer. It's so easy, you can barely call it a recipe. Those are my favorite kind. :)

My usual veggie combo is broccoli, carrots, green peppers, and cherry tomatoes, but you can add whatever you like, and leave out what you don't (like black olives - bleh). I use a bottled italian dressing - Kraft Italian Vinigarette made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil is my favorite - and finish it off with a generous shake of Greek Seasoning mix from Penseys Spices, which is a blend of salt, garlic, lemon, black pepper, oregano, and marjoram.

Quick, easy, and delicious. Pair it with grilled swiss cheese and ham sandwiches on rye bread and supper is done!
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