Apr 18, 2014

chippy milk paint and Cabbages and Roses

Happy Good Friday to you!!

It's amazing we are halfway into April.  
I don't know about you, but I am so ready for summer.  
Our calendar just took on a life form of it's own- we are jam packed with softball, end of school activities, and family events.  
It always seems to get crazier before the "relaxing days of summer" kick in, huh?

I have been trying to manage family life as well as prepare for an upcoming show.
The Farmhouse Show is in just a couple weeks, and I have been painting and getting lots of new product for it.

The last couple months I've been thinking about what I want my style to look like for my business (it's an ever evolving process, isn't it?) I've started to realize that what I love, and what seems to sell best for me are these two things:

I love soft fabrics that are pretty- whether it's linen or florals- and my hard pieces (furniture) to be more rustic.  I like the combo together.  I love Cabbages and Roses fabrics.  There's just a unique look to their floral prints that is unlike anything else I've found.  I had a hard time finding the recent stash that I purchased, so if any of you know of any good sources in the U.S. let me know!

It's how I tend to decorate my own home, and it creates a nice balance of hard and soft.

That said, I had an epiphany a couple weeks ago.  (or maybe more of a "duh" moment...)

I've been playing around with Miss Mustard Seed milk paint for about a year or so now.  
Every time I've painted something in it, it pretty much sells immediately.  
That goes for shows and my shop pieces.

I love variety, and I love playing with all kinds of mediums, so I haven't really stuck to just one brand.  

The Sunday after the Jane Austen Faire, I took in to Aunt Bee's a small black chest of drawers that I had painted in Typewriter- it was gone by the end of the day.
One day! 
With all the craziness of time leading into the show, I never got any great shots of it.  

Here's a so-so phone shot of it in my booth at Jane Austen Faire
(which reminds me, I still need to post some booth photos!!)

It was so cute.
It was after this sale, and the realization that 3 pieces I had in my space at Bella Hill- all painted in MMS paint- sold in one week.
Maybe I'm onto something here.

After Jane Austen, I purchased 3 packages of milk paint- 2 were colors I've used before and really liked, and one was a color I've been dying to try.
Eulalie's Sky.

The prettiest aqua blue color. 
I adore it.

I thought this one might really chip, but the finish only did a little bit.  
I love the way it distressed though!
This was roughly two-ish coats of Eulalie's Sky. 

I just think it works perfectly with the look I want to have for my products.
You can see in the above photos that this color works great with the beachy look - one that I also love- as well as a shabby chic color that looks great with more feminine colors.

I also got a great chippy finish on this side table that I finished this week.

This one was so fun.  I layered a couple colors on this one, and I can say that after a week of playing around with the paint, I think I have a better feel of how to get a two tone look to really come through.  This was attempt No. 1, and the two color look is pretty subtle.

The first layer is Luckett's Green that is about a 3:2 ratio of LG to Linen.  
A slightly lighter green version.

Once it was dry, I put a layer of Linen on top.  
It started flaking right away, and after scraping the paint with a metal scraper, I also sanded it a bit with my palm sander.  

I just love the finish.  
I had hoped to get a little more green to show through, but it does have a nice gray green undertone to the Linen.  

I painted a pretty big piece the day after this one (you can see a hint of it on Instagram) and figured out a better way to have a two color finish.
More on that soon.

Here's the before of the side table:

And after.
We'll see if history repeats itself.
It's such a fun paint to work with, and I love the results each time. 

I have several more projects I'll be revealing soon with milk paint.

And now, I'm off to do some sewing projects for the Farmhouse Show and my Etsy shop!
I'll be listing several Cabbages and Roses pillows this afternoon- lots of pinks and reds, as well as some blues.

Here's a photo of the cards that are going out for the show if you'd like more info.  
It's in a cool old church just outside of Salem, and there's plenty of parking!  
Easy access for loading all your treasures too.

For more info, visit the Aunt Bee's Facebook page.

Have a blessed Easter weekend!

xo Denise

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Apr 16, 2014

Easter Celebrations: Lemon Thyme butter pats

This is such a simple and special addition to your Easter table!
It doesn't take a lot of effort, but they look and taste great.

Here's what you'll need:

*A plastic candy mold, with a simple design.  
You can find these at specialty cooking stores or craft stores (like Michael's) if they sell candy making supplies.
I chose a pansy flower, reminiscent of spring.

It has a nice shape without a lot of detail, making it easy to pop out when the butter has hardened.

*1-2 sticks of butter (I used unsalted- but salted butter is fine.  Just omit the addition of salt in the recipe.)

*Fresh thyme leaves- 1 Tablespoon for 1 stick of butter

*1 tsp. lemon zest; double if you are using 2 sticks of butter

Bring butter to room temperature.

Rinse and pat dry thyme. Strip the leaves off the stem and rough chop.
This releases the flavor.

Add 1/4 tsp salt if you are using unsalted butter.

Zest approximately 1 tsp of lemon zest and add to butter.
Mix all ingredients together with a fork or spoon.

Then, using a knife or spatula, press butter mixture evenly into the mold.

Scrape off any excess off the back of the mold so you have a clean butter pat without excess edges to pop out.
You can check the design to see if there are any air holes where you might need to press the butter in a bit more.

Put the mold in the  freezer for approximately an hour and a half to harden.

The butter has a nice, peppery, fresh flavor- the thyme leaves are so pretty in the flower pattern, and the lemon adds a bit of citrus freshness to the creamy butter.

Serve with your favorite roll or biscuit, or put on top of asparagus- the flavors would blend beautifully!

Have a blessed Easter weekend!

xo Denise

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Apr 14, 2014

exterior additions and a quick update

Well hello, April!
This is my first time checking in here since the new month rolled over.
So much going on since the Jane Austen Faire, and then trying to get life back in order.

We enjoyed a sunny weekend and spruced up some outside spaces over the weekend.
It was so nice to soak up some sun, barbecue, watch Hannah's first softball game, and plant some flowers. 

 Last week I worked my shift at Aunt Bee's House, and saw a charming post box in another vendor's booth.
I don't really have any red on our front porch, but the design was so cute and unique, I decided it would be a fun pop next to the front door.

Isn't it great?
We have all our mail delivered in a modern lock box, so this is purely for decorative purposes, but I love how it looks and fills in the wall.

All of our spring flowers are in full bloom, and I planted a few Geraniums yesterday.

I'm still working on getting everything spruced up, and since we don't have any guarantees of our nice weather lasting for long this time of year, I'll show you the front porch a little later.

I've got several outdoor projects waiting in the wings.  Once the Farmhouse Show is done in a couple weeks, I'll have more time to focus on house projects!

I ordered some Cabbages and Roses fabrics to restock my Etsy shop and have some ready for the Farmhouse Show.  
I decided to add in some blues into the lineup, which is a first for me!

 Another project I'm hoping to tackle soon is organizing and cleaning up my studio.  It's been so long since I've shown any updated photos!  It's an absolute wreck, and in desperate need of some attention.  
One addition that isn't new to me, but hasn't been shown yet is my new sewing table.  It's actually a vintage vanity, but it's sturdy and cute.  I like the charm it adds to the space.

More on that later.

I also had a great weekend at several estate sales over the weekend, and posted this photo on Instagram:

This was just a small portion of my haul from Friday.
The chippy green rolling cart was my favorite find, and today my plan is to clean it and get a fresh coat of milk paint on the stained shelves.  
I think it would be awesome in a kitchen - storage for plates, platters, and serving pieces.  

It's hard to tell in this photo, but just to the left of it are a couple vintage cutting boards that I found too.  One of them has a lobster painted on it.  
So fun!

I'm hoping to get a few more regular updates on here before Farmhouse, but my list is a mile long!! Hopefully I can keep my head above water!

See you soon~
xo Denise

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Mar 31, 2014

Country Grey vintage cabinet, and Jane Austen Faire items

Well, that was a nice little hiatus!
Not intended, but it just seemed like I had no motivation once spring break kicked in!

I've actually had this cabinet finished for over a week, and it's been sitting in the middle of the room since….  Waiting for me to hurry up and photograph it so it could get moved to the garage!!
Oh well.  I really don't have any regrets.
We had a fabulous break.

I found this cabinet a couple weeks ago, and the price was amazing.

It was badly scratched and missing one of the pulls.
Judging by the vintage sticker inside, it was formerly a record cabinet.  Someone else was nice enough to gut it  for me  before I got it, so it was really just a matter of giving this a facelift.

Here was the before:

I painted this in Annie Sloan's Country Grey.

This is only the second time I've used this color, and I absolutely adore it.
I don't know why I haven't used it more.
The first piece I did in this color never made it to my blog, so here's the first one you'll see here.

I painted some of the trim in Old White.

Clear and dark wax for a rich, patina look.
This has a wonderful silky finish and would be fabulous as a buffet, bar storage, or small TV cabinet.

Since I couldn't find any pulls without special ordering, I opted for some farmhouse pulls.
 (at the rate it sat staring at me in my living room, I might as well have special ordered….)

I also papered the interior in a lovely French collage paper.
Because it was previously gutted, there was a myriad of different wood finishes inside, so this helped make the interior look a little more cohesive.

I'm getting ready for the Jane Austen Faire this weekend, and this piece will be going with me.
I've been gathering lots of smaller pieces as well, and the large Mary statue will be debuting there too.

She's the largest one I've ever come across- 17" tall.
I will also be bringing some rosaries, lots of silver pieces, and several ornate frames.

It's a great line up of vendors, and in one of my favorite venues.
There will be all kinds of Jane Austen inspired activities going on, so it will be a fun weekend!

I'll be busy pricing and packing this week, but I hope to show you a few more previews beforehand.
If you'd like to see more info on the Jane Austen Faire, you can check out the event page on Facebook!

See you soon.
xo Denise

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Mar 17, 2014

Shabby chic bookcase and Irish ancestry

This is a 180 from my last furniture post! 
I'm smiling though because it is so how I operate- I have a good appreciation for masculine, edgy stuff as well as the fluffy, pretty girly things.

I picked up this bookcase late last week. 
It was kind of a handyman special- golden pine, pencil marks from the construction of it still visible.  It's a solid piece, and well made though.
What you won't get to appreciate though were the super awesome 1980's stickers that were plastered all over the sides.
Chewbaca and some other retro advertising for nature.

After a little lot of Goo Gone and some sanding, they finally disappeared.

First off, I removed the feet and sprayed them with Montana gold lacquer spray paint.

I still love this paint so much- it gives a super mirror like finish, in a true gold tone color.  
My Brazilian cherry floors are hiding how pretty they are, but these turned out really pretty.

I painted the body in Annie Sloan's Old White, and the interior in Antoinette.

It's been awhile since I've used Antoinette- in fact, the sample pot I used for this hasn't been opened until this project, and I think I've had it for over a year!
It's such a pretty pink with hints of a lavender undertone.
I also chose to highlight the curved waterfall edges in Antique Gold Rub n Buff.

Inside the drawer, I papered with a pink and gold design.  
Kind of a nice surprise, and it hides the not so pretty wood that was originally in here.

I just used clear wax to seal.
This was a fun weekend project, and it's now available at Aunt Bee's House.

I have another piece I'm halfway done with, and looking forward to working on more later today!


In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd share with you a fun bit of ancestry I came across a few months ago.

I was doing some research on the Biggins family name, mostly to see if there were any family crests associated with it.  
What I came across was so fun and such a surprise, I wanted to show you this photo:

photo credit: Peter Biggins family ancestry
The photo on the left is a bar in Ireland, and the proprietor's name is John Biggins (also my husband's name, but spelled without an H).
It is the oldest continuously operating bar in Ballinrobe, Ireland.

The shop on the left is a dress shop, owned by the sister of John Biggins!
I think this is a sign we need to travel to Ireland and get our pictures in front of these shops!

Have a fun and safe St. Patty's Day.

xo Denise

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Mar 14, 2014

Shop Talk at Coastal Charm

Happy Friday!

I wanted to invite you over to Linda's blog today where I am guest posting on her new series, 
This week she is featuring my shop spaces at Aunt Bee's House and Bella Hill.

Come take a virtual shopping tour and see what keeps me busy!

 xo Denise

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Mar 11, 2014

Gray dresser chest and dreaming about the future

Three day weekends are the best!
Especially when spring is on the horizon and the weather gives you a little bit of sunshine.

Sunday we enjoyed working out in the yard for a couple hours, planting some pansies and cleaning up all the winter yard debris.
I love spring bulbs, but even though we are going on 6 years in our house, this fall was the first time I finally put in some tulips.

I'm so excited to see them bloom this year!

Hannah had a friend over, and we tried out a new trampoline park that opened up; we had a marathon night of Breaking Bad while the girls watched a movie downstairs; and Jon and I got a night out on Sunday while she was at youth group.
Good weekend.
I finished up this small chest of drawers late last week.
It was Jon's dad's.

I'm working out a trade with Jon's mom, so she passed it on to me to do a little makeover on it.

Since it's a pretty hefty piece, it seemed appropriate to do it in a more masculine look.
I swapped out the traditional hardware and added in the hammered brass pulls and knobs.
These came from D. Lawless Hardware, and I love the matching finish.

I love what I do.

Part of our date night involved talking about where we're at in life, and what we see in the future.
Right now, I have furniture and smalls in two shops, and I'm planning on 7 shows this year (some will be TBD…but that's the plan.)

I have an Etsy shop that I keep somewhat regularly stocked, but not nearly as often as I'd like to.
I blog, and I'm a wife and mom.  
That's basically two full time jobs +.
But, I'm doing everything that I love.

What I'd love more than anything though is to streamline my business, build my brand, and eventually travel overseas to bring home treasures and sell domestically.

We talked about the reality of making that happen.
 I'd love to connect with more people who do this to learn the ins and outs of the business side.
At least to get pointed in the right direction.
I'm wondering if going on a brocante tour might be a good way to get my feet wet…?

I've always had a fair amount of wanderlust, and my dream in high school was to become a fashion designer and move to Paris.
I took French as part of my plan.
I really enjoyed it and now I'm wondering if that was part of another plan that I never dreamt of or realized at the time.

It's good to dream and to do what makes you happy in life.
I've had too many jobs that were not a good fit for me, and I finally feel like I've found my calling.
Now I just want to round it out even more to encompass more of what I'd love to do.

Everyone's goals and dreams are different, and I've struggled with wanting to write about this for awhile.  It's hard to share with a mostly faceless audience what you want to achieve in life.

Some of us want to be shop owners of our own vintage boutique, some would like to have the courage to try their hand for the first time at a vintage faire.
Some want to have a strictly online business.

Being the variety loving girl that I am, it's been hard to narrow down what I love, what I'm good at, and what makes me most happy.
So having some goal setting sessions and conversations with Jon has been helpful.

Thanks for letting me ramble a bit.
Sometimes speaking your dreams leads to action.
You know?

The chest of drawers just got delivered to Bella Hill.
The rest of the accessories pictured here are from around the house.
The mirror (above) still needs to get a few finishing touches, but it will be going to the Jane Austen Faire in a couple weeks!
Check the link here for more details - the dates are also in my sidebar.

xo Denise

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