Saturday, September 29, 2012

Breaking out the painter's drop cloth

There is a "pass through" window between the kitchen and my dining room.  The base of window is a ledge that extends 12" into the dining room.  It is great for setting up like a buffet and it saves some time when I have dinner guests and want to get everything from dining room to the kitchen quickly.  It is supposed to actually serve as a bar with room for two bar stools.  I had planned to get a couple of Pottery Barn-ish stools with high backs and use them for quick breakfast and lunch when the grandchildren are here.  Realistically, the youngest grands come to my house so infrequently it just didn't make sense to spend that money.  Since the space under the ledge is basically useless, I thought of a way to make a little extra storage area.  Enter the painter's drop cloth.

The space under the ledge is deep enough a couple of sets of plastic storage drawer units with room on top to store platters and large serving pieces.

I love working with painter's drop cloth fabric.  I picked up this one at Lowe's.  I washed and then bleached it.  I used a big bottle of hydrogen peroxide in the rinse water to counter the bleach molecules.  Because I am not crazy about the fact that you can see into my kitchen as soon as you walk in the front door, I decided to make a short valance to hide the sink area from general view.  It is high enough to do the job and still allow for plenty of light.

Do I feel terribly clever?  Why, yes I do!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Feeling crafty!

I don't normally do "crafts".  It isn't that I can't or don't like them, it is simply because I would rather sew than do most anything else.  I saw this really cute idea on Virginia's blog, Artsy VaVa, and thought they would make great Christmas gifts for my nieces.  I don't spend a lot of money on their gifts and usually make something by hand like a scarf or purse organizer.  Years ago I made a lot of jewelry so I had most of the supplies I needed.

Virginia used stretchy cord so I picked up some of that.  Turns out I really didn't like working with it because the beads kept slipping over even my double knots.  I could have gone to the store and purchased thicker cords but I had some thin leather cord that used instead.  That knotted up perfectly.

I didn't have any super glue so I used E-6000 glue to help secure the screw eyes in the cork.  I am going to pick up some glue to secure the knots at the end of the bead runs. Mine are a little "dangly-er" because I just got so caught up in stringing on the pretty beads.

 (I am very easily entertained!)  I may cut back on the beads a bit.  I did 5 while I sat watching tv.  I now have to convince my mother to use the prong type of wine bottle opener when she is cracking open another bottle of wine.  I found a few corks that didn't have any significant writing on the sides so I will run those over a stamp just as Virginia did.

These are so much fun to make and with my cork supply, I can make a whole lot more!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The tomato plant that ate my patio

The plant had to come out today.  It made me a little sad because there are so many green tomatoes on it and it is still going strong.  We won't be having any more warm nights and tomatoes ripen best when the nights are warm and the days are hot.  Now it is time for pots of mums in the garden box that sits at the end of the patio.

This was my last harvest of the season.

Most are fairly ripe but will turn a much nicer shade of red sitting on the window sill in the kitchen.  This truly was the most incredible tomato plant...ever!

Today is the perfect day to be in the yard.  Low 70's, a gentle breeze and sun is warm.  Time to drag out the weed whacker and take down the flowers in the perennial garden.  The birds ate the last of the sunflower seeds and the seed heads of the cone flowers are long gone.  The only thing that would make today better would be if I could build a big bonfire in the backyard tonight!

Thursday, August 30, 2012!

I harvested last Friday morning.  I just pulled these off the vine about an hour ago.

I only planted one tomato plant.  I know!!  This is crazy.  Where they are planted I get full sun for most of the day.  There are roughly another 20 on the vine that are in some shade of red but not ready to be harvested.  About 35 or 40 green tomatoes are on the vine as well as more flowers.  Since the nights are starting to get cool I know the ones that are green now will probably not fully ripen.  At this point, I am totally ok with that.  I have been eating one or two a day.  I think I am just about "tomatoed out"!  I am going to wash this batch and then toss them into boiling water to skin.  I don't have time to can until the weekend so I will just bag them up and put them into the freezer until I have all my supplies and ingredients to make salsa.  Everyone in my family will be getting a large jar (or two) of salsa.  Family - prepare yourselves!

They really are beautiful.

Got 'maters?!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ironstone love

During the lunch hour, I decided to drop into the Goodwill near my office.  I nearly always find a little treasure and for some reason it is the best place to find pieces of old ironstone.  Yesterday was no exception.  For just 97 cents this little beauty made it into my basket.

The gravy boat was made somewhere between 1867 and 1893 based on information I found on the internet.

In the interest of full disclosure it does have one little problem.

It doesn't make me think any less of the piece.  Many pieces of my stoneware is in "less than perfect" condition.  As a matter of fact, so am I!

Linking up to Southern Hospitality

  SouthernHospThriftyTreasures copy_thumb

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Least favorite chore

Today is the day.  I have been putting this off for a week but I can't ignore it any longer.  Today is the day that I get down on my very bad knee, remove the racks, pull the "guts" and clean the dishwasher.  I am prepared with vinegar, baking soda and lovely smelling JR Watkins cleaner.

It's a dirty job but somebody's gotta do it.  I'm goin' in!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bitten by the ASCP bug!

After my granddaughter and I finished this project, I decided to grab my sample pot of ASCP Provence and see what I could do to transform a bedside table from my room.  I purchased it a couple of years ago at a large community yard sale.

The table is pretty banged up with a faux leather top.  I knew the carving in the legs would distress beautifully and I think I was right.

Hello, gorgeous!

I noticed something right away.  I like the way the Provence covered so much better than the white.  Even the first coat was nice without any brush marks.  I can't say that about Old White.  The sample pot was enough to do this the table with two coats and I have enough left over to to a shelf also in my bedroom.  Once again, I first waxed with clear wax and then sparingly applied the dark wax where I thought appropriate.

I don't want to go crazy with painted wood pieces all over the house but it is so tempting.  My Hitchcock chairs are safe but the hutch and dining room table are in my sights!

Linking up to Get Your Craft On! and The 135th Power of Paint Party at Domestically Speaking and Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage and Furniture Feature Friday on Miss Mustard Seed because I just had to!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Yard sale happiness

Today was the big community yard sale near my home.  My mission was to find some ironstone and I did!

The platter is T&R Boote and the pattern is Sydham.  It was produced in England in 1864.  The covered sugar bowl doesn't have a mark I recognize, just the letters PM.  The little dish that is missing a lid was made by Johnson Brothers in England.  All for just $5.  It was a good day!

Linking to

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I just saw a picture of a plastic dinosaur mounted on a piece of wood and painted all the same color to make a bookend.  Please, if someone sees me with a plastic animal and a glue gun in my hand, take both away from me.  Seriously.  Sometimes just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean that you should.

Or is it just me?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Happy day!

I was driving on one of the back roads in Lancaster County and came across a yard sale in front of an antique shop.  I found a few things I thought needed to come home with me.  For just $2.25 I picked up a large Gorham silverplate Revere style bowl, an pretty ironstone cream pitcher, a ironstone sugar bowl that is missing the lid and a sweet white china pin box from Germany.

Surely got me in the mood for yard sale season to start!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Real ASCP!!

I was so pleasantly surprised to find out that something new has come to the hinterlands of Berks County, Pennsylvania!  In a little town just a few miles from my little down is a darling shop called "Five & Divine".

You can click on the graphic and it will take you right to their shop!
They sell consignment pieces - bags, jewelry, furniture, children's clothing, etc. - and now they carry the full line of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, brushes, waxes and even books.  I am giddy with excitement!  While $35 is still pretty steep for a quart of paint, I was really digging my feet in against paying that $15 shipping charge.  Now I don't have to and picking up a quart is on my list of things to do this weekend.  I know that I want to use chalk paint on the hutch and dining room table but I didn't want to use something that I "made up" in the kitchen!  I have a couple of unmatched tables that I use as nightstands on either side of my bed.  Now to decide what color to paint them!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My experiment in homemade "chalk" paint

On Saturday I had some time on my hands and popped into a small consignment store.  When I drove up, I saw a sweet little coat tree.  I have been looking for one and this one is a perfect size for my guest room.

It is cold in my basement so the best place to paint is in the kitchen.  Thank goodness for paint tarps!
Old, boring and needing some love
I think this may have been someone high school "shop" project from a long time ago!
Since I first read about chalk paint I have wanted to give it a whirl.  I would love to try ASCP but until my ship comes in (or at least enters the harbor!), I need a less expensive version.  I saw lots of recipes on the internet and decided to try using plaster of Paris, antique white latex paint and water.  One of the problems reported with the substitute chalk paint was that it tended to be either lumpy or very grainy.  I decided to bring out my immersion blender to mix the product as much as I could.  I put the plaster of Paris in the bottom of a recycled Classico spaghetti sauce jar followed by water and then the paint. I mixed it thoroughly and ended up with a very smooth "concoction".  (I put a lid on the jar and let it sit for about 15 minutes before I started using it.) One note about using the blender...wash it immediately!  I pulled mine out of the paint mixture and immersed it in sudsy water and cleaned it completely.  I also noticed that this paint does not come off your hands as easily as regular latex paint.  Because I was painting in my kitchen I ended up with some flecks of paint on the upper cabinets.  I had to chip it off.  I am sure that if I wanted to paint my kitchen cabinets, this stuff would work!  Between coats I put my brush in a container of water and then just dried it on paper towels before I used it again.  I also did not use "good" brushes.  I did not want to mess up my good Purdy brushes so I used some cheap, off the bottom shelf brushes.  The first coat had lots of brush marks so I used a foam brush for the second coat just to smooth it out a bit.  The first coat dried in about an hour so I quickly applied a second coat.  I allowed the second coat to dry for a couple of hours and then distressed it with a sanding block  I finished up with a coat of Minwax finishing wax.  I also decided not to paint or replace the hardware.  I like the patina on the the old brass.
Here it is in the guest room

So, here's my take on "homemade" chalk paint - I loved working with it!  I loved the coverage, the texture that it added to the piece, how fast it dried and how quickly I was able to finish my project.  Now that I know how easily this works, next week I am going to paint a 200 year old wash stand.