Sep 30, 2014

Our Early Fall Garden

Today I'm happy to have a chance to share some photos of our garden that I took last week. My favorite time of year is fall, and I love the way the garden looks right before we have our first hard frost. It's a transitional time, when the days are still warm enough for the late summer flowers, but cool enough for the early fall ones, too. 

I tossed some seeds in the dirt next to my craft room window last summer and then forgot all about them. They didn't seem to mind being neglected, though, and now we have beautiful tall red and yellow sunflowers growing here against the house.

It's always a race against time now to see how many tomatoes will ripen before the first hard frost. Tomatoes are my favorite summer food, and oh how I'll miss them!

The berries that grow over our front gate trellis are so pretty in the fall and winter. We have a beautiful view of these from our dining room window.

We've always loved the idea and look of colorful Buddhist prayer flags. My husband brought me these as a sweet surprise one day last summer to hang between the shed and house.

The tall ornamental grasses have ripened and turned golden. We'll enjoy watching these waving in the cold winter wind all the way until next spring.

This grass is still nice and green, though. Have I mentioned how much we love our new sprinkler system? :) 

Our new rose bush crept up the shed trellis just a bit this summer. If it survives the winter, it should really take off next spring.

Our lavender was enormous this summer and is still going strong. We enjoyed having the blooms in the garden and decided not to harvest it this year.

I decided growing herbs in our sunny deck pots is the way to go. Carefree and pretty, this rosemary and thyme needed very little water and attention.

This snap dragon grew from a seed that must have lodged between the paving stones in front of the shed door and the shed wall. It gets squashed every time the door opens and gets no attention whatsoever, but every year it comes back to give us its pretty flowers. We love its spunkiness.

Chrysanthemums, more than any other flower, symbolize a fall garden to me. This is the first one I planted in our new yard after our old tree was cut down. It's blooming here behind the last of the summer blanket flowers. 
After our first hard frost, we'll be out in our jackets and boots under the falling leaves, cutting all the summer flowers back and putting the garden to sleep for the winter. Until then, we're enjoying every single day of our early fall garden and the last of the summer flowers.

Thanks for visiting and taking a look around our garden today. I hope you have a wonderful week!

I'm sharing our fall garden today with 

Sep 22, 2014

My Fall Wreath

Happy first day of fall, everyone!

I wanted to celebrate the first day of fall this year with a new wreath for our front door, so when my friend, Sharon, shared how she makes her beautiful wreaths for her famous Elizabeth & Co. tag sales, I knew I had to try making one.

Following her great insider tips and instructions, I bought all my supplies for 60% off at Michaels Crafts and spent about an hour hot gluing flowers, leaves, and acorns to my grapevine wreath.

It was so fun I made some for my daughters, too!

For a real treat, hop on over to the Elizabeth & Co. blog and check out Sharon's gorgeous wreaths, and you just might be inspired to make one, too. Thanks a bunch, Sharon!

Happy first day of fall!


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! (To see before and after photos of the painted matching maple table and chairs click here.) 

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