Sep 20, 2014

My Hutch Over The Years

 I hope you're all having fun this last summer weekend of 2014.

I was organizing some photos on my computer earlier today and came across some old ones of my hutch. I thought you might like to see what it looked like before I painted it, and some different ways it's been decorated over the years.

This before photo really cracks me up! Can you believe all those pictures and frames! What was I thinking?! I had all my favorite photos of my husband and me, all my favorites of our daughters, and at least one of every extended family member. 


My mother and father bought this Heywood-Wakefield maple hutch and the matching drop leaf table with four chairs for their first kitchen eating area after they were married. The blond midcentury Heywood-Wakefield furniture is very collectible and pricey, but this reproduction colonial style furniture that was manufactured in the 1940's, isn't. In fact, my google search found the same table and chairs to this set for sale for around $175, and I've seen it numerous times on Craigslist, too. 

It's not "collectible," but it's really good quality sturdy maple furniture. I never cared for the red maple finish and reproduction colonial style, and I had considered selling it many times. But I lived with it because it had been my mother's, and that tugged at my heartstrings every time I got really sick of it and almost gave up on it. 

It wasn't until I painted it and replaced the hardware that I began to love it. Painting black furniture is tricky. It's hard to get the paint smooth; almost like it has a nap, like fabric. Also, the second coat is like painting a shadow because you can't tell what's already been done, since it's so dark. This was the first furniture I ever painted (pre-chalk paint), and I cherish every little mistake. I've learned so much since this!  

The photo above is my hutch a few years ago in summer. I'm still learning how to decorate my hutch. Some people just really have a knack for styling, and I've been pinning and studying other blogger's techniques. I think I'm still so afraid of overdoing it, like in my before photo, that I go a bit sparse sometimes. But I don't think you can go wrong by decorating with things that are meaningful to you and with things you personally find beautiful. After all, you're the one who has to see it everyday!

This was the first time I tried my hand at decorating my hutch for a holiday. It was so much fun, and I was hooked!

 This was Christmas two years ago. Most of these photos were taken before I learned to use a tripod. So, no, it's not your eyes, these previous photos are a bit blurry. :}

This is a photo I took last week of how my hutch has looked this summer. I love how the silver, white, black, and brown looks against the new softer wall color (BM Manchester Tan). The autumn sun is starting to shine through the west windows and make these silver trays glow in the evenings, so I think I'll leave them here when I start my fall decorating next week. I haven't a clue what to do yet, but I know I'll have fun.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my before and after hutch, and a little in-between. 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

It's a good day for a party!

Sep 18, 2014

Graphic End Table

We've been enjoying spectacular late summer weather here in Boise, and I've been taking advantage of the cooler temperatures to refinish some furniture. 

This consignment store table we purchased recently has found a prominent place in our living room between two chairs, so its unattractive grain patterns and unfortunate shade of orange stain has made refinishing it a must. 

When I saw that my sanding, conditioning, and re-staining the top darker wasn't going to cover the bad grain pattern, I went hunting on Pinterest for ideas. I found a fun table created by the Sisters of the Wild West that was inspired by some Pottery Barn wall art. All I had to do was modify the shape of Amy's and Emily's number graphic to fit our square table.

After measuring the table and resizing the graphic to fit it here, I used white chalk on the back of the printout to transfer the number outlines to the table top. I freehand painted the numbers with an artist's brush and two coats of white acrylic craft paint. Next, I distressed the numbers and toned their white paint down even more with some dark glaze. To finish the top I protected it with two coats of wipe-on poly. 

The bottom was sanded, primed, and painted with two coats of homemade chalk paint. After lightly distressing, I used both light and dark furniture wax just on the bottom for an antique look. 

I think refinishing this little table used just about every technique I know!

If you like my graphic end table, make sure you hop on over to the Sisters of the Wild West to see the beautiful inspiration.

Have a great week, everyone!

Let's go party!

Sep 8, 2014

Late Summer Vignette

I've been busily painting a couple of pieces of furniture before turning my efforts towards decorating our home for fall. I've been so inspired by the gorgeous autumn displays I'm seeing on all my favorite blogs, but I feel a compulsion to finish the hard work before doing the fun stuff around here. 

The furniture I'm painting will hopefully be the last of my big projects this year, then I'm excited to turn my efforts towards smaller seasonal craft projects and for just enjoying the heck out of all the upcoming holidays in our new home. We don't really have a new home, of course, but having our new master suite completed last month, and our new kitchen completed late last year, it's all still feeling like a brand new home to us. 

I'm appallingly backed-up on responding to all of your heartwarming comments, especially on our new master bedroom and bathroom posts. Your friendship, enthusiasm, and support make blogging such a wonderful undertaking, and I appreciate all of you so much. Please know I haven't forgotten you, I'm just really late!

I wanted to take a few quick minutes to share this dining room table vignette before summer slips away completely. I have a weird obsessive love of chicken wire, so when I saw this chicken wire cloche offered on Antique Farm House, I snapped it right up.

 I can think of dozens of ways to use it for every season. For late summer, I placed it over an old iron tray atop a huge wood Lazy Susan with some faux artichokes. I don't know what it is about artichokes, but I just love them, both for decorating and eating! 

Well, it's back to painting for me now. I have two coats left to paint today on our dresser, then some distressing and waxing for tomorrow. I can't wait to show you!

Thanks for coming by today, and I hope you have a really great week!

Let's party this week at

Sep 3, 2014

Summer Barn Dance Chalkboard Art

When I was thinking of summer art for my chalkboard earlier this summer, I tried to come up with something that would celebrate our new farmhouse decor. 

Nothing is more symbolic of a farm than a barn, and what could be more fun in the summer than a good old barn dance?

 I decided to hang this chalkboard in a little corner of the entryway between two windows, and use it to welcome visitors into our home.


Do you remember this old chair my husband's parents gave us that I painted a while back, upholstery and all? (You can find the before photos and the tutorial here.)


I brought this old dresser home from an antique store twenty years ago. It was primitively made by hand, and I love every single mark and scratch on it. You can still see the remnants of green paint someone before me stripped off to the original finish.

The dresser used to be in our bedroom, but I'm using it to hold table linens now.


The large tray is from Antique Farmhouse.


 I think I'm the only blogger who shows a vignette with Reader's Digests that haven't been covered with beautiful paper or painted with an artistic faux process. (I think that's item #587 on my to-do list.)

I'm not sure if this is a brass sheep or a cow, but it was on the top of a 4H trophy I found at the thrift store. It's very solid and heavy. 

The old Elvin Bishop song is one of my all-time favorites.

 I bought this frame at a yard sale last summer for $5, and just painted the old scratched and faded fiberboard print inside it with black chalkboard paint. I've found that the store-bought black chalkboard paint holds up to repeated erasing with a wet rag better than my own homemade chalk paint. A complete tutorial for creating your own large chalkboard from a frame can be found here.

My SUMMER banner is card stock-reinforced burlap with the black letters transferred on using charcoal and then painted in by hand.


Bright flowers in antique bottles for a splash of summer color.

Autumn is just around the corner, but I'm squeezing every sweet moment left out of summer. I can close my eyes and still imagine the warm sun setting over a barn lit by fairy lights, full of laughter and dancing. 

We're gonna party till the cows come home!

Let's take this party to:

Vintage Inspiration Party 
Cozy Little House 

Aug 28, 2014

Our New Rugs and Rug Pad USA

Sometimes things happen at just the right time.
For us, it was being contacted by the rug pad company, Rug Pad USA, right after we purchased two new rugs for our living room this summer.

We needed new rug pads! So yay!

The first thing I liked about this company is that they have a fabulous website, and I love doing business on easy to navigate websites. A store's website design is something you rarely notice if it's good, but always if it's bad, right? This one is good enough to mention. In fact, it's one of the best I've seen, and it sold me pretty quickly on agreeing to review their rug pads.

Rug Pad USA exclusively offers rug pads made in the USA by American workers. And if going greener is a concern for you, choices range from having less petrochemicals used in the manufacture of the pad you choose, to full LEED Certification and more. There are rug pads offered for almost every situation, even soundproof rug pads. And they're all guaranteed.

Little did I know when I agreed to try them out, that these rug pads would end up being the solution to some very unique and aggravating problems we were having with our rugs. 

Our biggest problem was with this new rug in our entryway. We love the way this 5x7 indoor/outdoor rug from Ballard Designs looks here. We like the color and unique pattern, and we love that when it gets tracked with muddy footprints, we can just take it outside on the lawn and rinse it off with a hose. 

"Who, me?"
 The problem isn't really even with the rug at all. It's with this fella right here. Tucker. When someone comes knocking at our front door, Tucker (all 80 glorious pounds of him) races from the back of the house to answer it, and when he puts the brakes on at this rug, he surfs it all the way up the wall! 

Before we can answer the door, we have to back Tucker off the rug, which is not so easy when he's super excited to see who's come to visit. Finally, before we can get the door open, we have to slide the rug back off the wall and onto the floor. 

It's like the Three Stooges live here, or something!

Until I received Rug Pad USA's kind offer to review their products, it didn't even occur to me that a rug pad would solve this problem, because the rug pads we already have won't even keep a small hall rug from slipping around (let alone the surfing of The Three Stooges dog.)

After just a few minutes reading the glowing customer reviews for their non-slip rug pads, I was seeing the light, and more than ready to give one a try.

Good timing, right?

After studying all the descriptions carefully, I chose this Eco-Solid Non-Slip Rug Pad for our entryway rug. Our rug is thin and lightweight, but it's stiff, and this pad sounded like it wouldn't be so bulky that the rug wouldn't lay flat over it. I gave the exact rug dimensions (no extra charge for custom sizes) and requested the free option of having the pad trimmed one inch around the perimeter.

The rug pads arrived rolled up and wrapped in thick plastic within a week. They were easy to unroll and lay flat on the floor. Having the pads trimmed one inch smaller allowed the edges of the rug to rest lightly on the floor, so we can't see the edges of the pad beneath it from the other rooms. In fact, except for being softer and cushier to walk on now, you can't tell by looking that there's a pad under the rug at all.

We also had a problem with the chevron pattern rug from Joss and Main that's in the other side of our living room. It's a heavier indoor/outdoor rug that we also love, but when we would push our heavy ottoman away from our leather chair to stand up, the entire rug would move with it.

For this rug I chose the Superior-Lock Non-Slip Rug Pad, which is non-slip on two sides to hold the rug to the pad, as well as to hold the pad to the floor.

I also requested the one-inch trim for this pad, and as you can see, it allows the rug to lay perfectly flat on the floor. I was pleasantly surprised how plush this thin rug pad makes our low pile indoor/outdoor rug feel when walking on it. Best of all, our heavy ottoman can't even budge this rug anymore.
"Oh, darn!"

So, our new rug pads look and feel great, but did they pass the Tucker test? 

In fact, not only has this rug not been surfed up the wall since we put the rug pad under it; it hasn't budged an inch in any direction, even with all the traffic going through our entryway every day. It is so nice to not be constantly straightening this rug anymore. 

Tucker might be missing his surfing days, but I can honestly say a big thank you to Rug Pad USA for allowing me to review the best non-slip rug pads we've ever had.

Good timing!

{Rug Pad USA graciously supplied me with the rug pads reviewed in this post, but the opinions expressed here are my own.}

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