I went to a garden party.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of being invited to a really lovely garden party along with the other vendors at Reclaiming Beautiful, the shop where I sell on consignment in Stillwater, MN.

Everything was just so beautiful that I had to snap a few photos to share with you guys!

The party was held at David and Nancy’s house, and some of you may remember when I shared a tour of their home back in June 2020.  Back then, their gardens looked like this …

And now, a mere two years later, that area looks like this.

They’ve added a gravel patio and a lovely little cottage to that space.

Let’s start with the patio which you enter through this fabulous arch created from old doors.

It’s a really nice sized patio, and much of it is sheltered by a gorgeous tree.

And while some of the furnishings are more traditional patio pieces, like this seating area …

What really makes the space magical is the use of indoor furniture in an outdoor setting.

The frames hanging from the tree are such a whimsical touch.

And how about that organ?

Don’t you just love that?!

You may be wondering how these pieces hold up outside, and so was I.  Nancy said she painted them with outdoor paint, and they get a fair amount of protection from that tree.  However, they do cover them if it’s going to really rain hard.  I didn’t ask, but I’m also guessing they will store them for the winter.  Although maybe not.  As Nancy explained, she paid very little for each piece so if something gets ruined, oh well.  I can just picture that organ draped with evergreen garland and lights sitting in a snowbank, can’t you?

The fact that all of this is in such an idyllic setting surrounded by fields of wildflowers is part of what makes it so magical as well.

When I first arrived there was even a doe and her fawn grazing nearby in a most picturesque fashion, although I imagine those deer are precisely why Nancy’s zinnia garden is completely enclosed in fencing.

OK, you’re all probably dying to get inside that little cottage, I know I was.

I’m afraid I was too busy snapping photos to get all of the details on how this little building came about, so I’m sorry about that.  But isn’t it gorgeous?

The details of the cupola and those star shaped vents are fantastic.  I love that it opens all the way up on one side.

Naturally Nancy has gone all out decorating the inside.

Here’s fellow vendor Amy testing out the furniture.

Looks comfy!

We did get a tour inside the house as well, but the light was going at that point and I only had my phone for photos rather than my camera, so I didn’t take any.  But I can refer you back to my original tour of Nancy’s home if you want to see that.

No garden party is complete without party favors!

Nancy sent each of us home with some of those pretty zinnias from her garden.

Isn’t her little card just so sweet?

That is a drawing of her house, and this is the card for her business, The Festooned Farmhouse.  She offers home and/or event styling.  You can also find Nancy on Instagram.  Be sure to check her out!

wearin’ the green.

In honor of St. Patty’s Day, and since green is one of my favorite colors, I thought I’d share some of my favorite pieces painted in verdant shades while I’m off enjoying my visit with my mom.

I think my all time favorite shade of green is In a Pickle from Sweet Pickens milk paint.

I absolutely LOVE this color.  Isn’t it gorgeous on this washstand?  Pieces in this color never sell quickly for me, but every once in a while I paint another piece in it just because I love it so much.  I always eventually find someone who loves it as much as I do though.  I remember this particular washstand sold to an artist who wanted it for her studio.

I also used In a Pickle on this dresser.

This one crackled in the most perfect way.  And again, it took longer than usual to sell but I did eventually find a buyer.

I have one more favorite piece with this particular paint, this farmhouse table.

I really kind of wish I’d hung onto this piece now.  I’d love to be using it as my own desk.  It’s a bit larger than the one I have now, and I do need a little bit more space.  I’m keeping an eye out for another one like it.

My second favorite shade of green is Fusion’s Park Bench.

I’ve painted so many mid-mod pieces in this color.  Since I don’t want the chippy look of milk paint on the mid-mod’s, the Park Bench is the perfect choice for them.

Unlike with the In a Pickle, the pieces I’ve painted in Park Bench just fly out the door.

Especially the credenza’s.

Adding gold hardware to this color is always a hit.

My latest favorite green is Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.  It was gorgeous on the interior of this little cabinet.

It made a fabulous planter chair.

And it was perfect on this painted toolbox.

I also love it with the Rose Chintz paint inlay from IOD over it.

I still have a mostly full jar of this paint, I’m just waiting for the perfect piece of furniture to come along to put it on.

My mom’s town usually has a parade on St. Patrick’s Day so maybe my sister and I will check that out today.  I hope you’re doing something fun today to celebrate too.  I don’t have any Irish ancestry (that I know of), but I can get behind any holiday that celebrates the color green, how about you?


a christmas eve tour.

I really wasn’t sure I was going to get around to a tour of our own home decorated for the holidays.  Mainly because I really don’t go all out with holiday décor, so I didn’t feel like my decorations were blog worthy.  I’m nowhere near in Amy’s league!

But then I thought, ‘why be so hard on myself?’  If I went to someone else’s home I would treat them much more kindly than that.  And as I would tell them, dust doesn’t show in photos, and I can always work around the less photogenic areas.  So I decided to apply all of that to myself and just go for it.

So, Merry Christmas and welcome to our home.

Although our house does have a ‘front door’, we don’t use that door for anything other than heading out to the front three season porch in the summer.  We don’t have a sidewalk leading to the front, so in the winter the snow makes it inaccessible anyway.

Instead we use our side door …

This is just off the driveway that leads to our carriage house …

You enter into the space we currently use as a dining room, and I’m afraid I can’t really share the entire room because this is also where I store my finished furniture.  So I currently have a bench and a desk in the room in addition to the usual pieces.  But I can share bits and pieces, like the Belgian bed bench that is next to the door.

I painted this bench way back in 2016 using Miss Mustard Seed milk paint.

I added some faux greenery, a garland of little striped stockings and some colored lights to the top of the bench.

I display my non-collection of vintage tree toppers in the window to the right of the bench.

I shared how I created this display back in this post.

This little vignette of silver items is right next to the toppers.

This year I put my Dickens village above my Welsh cupboard.

I love how it looks up there, especially when it’s lit up.

As a bonus, it’s out of the way and not taking up valuable space on a table top or shelf.  When your house is on the small side, I recommend taking advantage of space like this.  I plug it all in to a remote controlled power strip, so with one click of a button I can turn the lights off and on.

Normally the wooden trug (can I call that a trug? or is it more of a tote?  or a basket?  I’m not sure) contains ironstone, but I filled it up with some faux greens and some old silver.  I’m pretty sure my friend Jackie gave me that silver (does it look familiar Jackie?).

Next up is the kitchen.

There isn’t a whole lot of Christmas décor going on in the kitchen, but I do have this cute little spot next to the pantry door.

I just popped a little faux tree into one of my clay pots, and hung that little wreath on the cupboard.

I’ve always wanted to take the time to decorate the pantry itself for Christmas, but I’ve never quite managed it.  Maybe next year!

I also have this little folding chair that I turned into a chalkboard.  I used to change up the design every season, but I have to confess that the winter design has been in place for over a year now.

On the other side of the kitchen is the piano room.

If you look closely, you can see my garden tree outside the window.  You’ve also already seen most of the décor in this room including my craft paper scroll sign.

My friend Sue gave me this little ‘believe’ pillow and it fits perfectly on the piano chair.

I added just a little touch of Christmas with this little felt wreath on my tiny cupboard.

Over in the other corner I have my favorite chippy chair that has been dressed up with a holiday pillow that I found at Turn Style last year.

I’ve had the reindeer feed sack for years, but I still love it.

The piano room also has my Specimens cupboard in it, and I’ve already shared the decorations surrounding it, but here they are again in case you missed them the first time around.

Just off the piano room is the q branch (a.k.a. my study).

This is where I have my tree with my non-collection of vintage ornaments.

The tall skinny tree fits perfectly into that spot next to my English cupboard.

I tucked this little chair in next to it, although I’m thinking that maybe I need to paint up a Christmas themed chair for myself for next year.

I made the ornament wreath hanging over my desk years ago.  All it took was a lot of vintage ornaments, a styrofoam wreath form, a little hot glue and some patience.

The metal Christmas ornaments sign seems like the perfect addition to this room, since this is where all of my vintage ornaments are.  I’ve got it hanging on my rooster cupboard.

My friend Sue painted the vintage truck for me …

and she even added the little Christmas Tree Farm sign on the door of the truck.  Isn’t it adorable?

This finally brings us to the living room.

I had intended to put a tree in the living room this year, but the free faux tree I had was just a bit too big.  But I still have a few small Christmas details in this room including the beautiful wreath that Amy made for me.

I just love it, and I hung it from my mirror frame chalkboard.

Remember the unfinished wooden nutcracker that I found at Hobby Lobby?  I ended finding more of them at Michaels as well.  Two of them found a home on the living room shelves.

The shelf below them has a tree made out of old newspaper.

A few Santa’s are hanging out on the yardstick shelves with my clocks …

including my Christmas Time clock.

I added the words to the clock using some red vinyl and my Cricut after seeing the idea on some clocks at a vintage market.  So, to be clear, totally not my own original idea.  In fact, if you go up a couple of photos you’ll see the “Spend Time Wisely” clock that I purchased at that market.

I may not have a full size tree in the living room, but just over in the hallway I have a little tree in a bucket on an old chippy chair.

The window at the foot of the stairs has a row of unfinished nutcrackers that also came from Michaels this year.

Last up is the cupboard hanging on the wall at the foot of the stairs.  Do any of you remember this one?  It was really gross when I bought it (see the transformation here).  I ended up keeping it and hanging it here.

It doesn’t look very Christmas-y when closed, but when you open it up you’ll find a little wooden Christmas village.

Don’t tell anyone, but I leave that village in there all year.  I just pop open the door this time of year, and ta da!  Instant Christmas décor!

All of those little houses used to light up, but the batteries have died and I haven’t taken the time to figure out if they are replaceable or not.  But it’s still a pretty display, even when not lit.

Fortunately I didn’t do any decorating upstairs this year, because this post is already kind of long!  So I’ll conclude our tour here.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Merry Christmas!

Amy’s eclectic Christmas home, part 2.

Welcome back to part 2 of our tour of Amy’s house!  Today we are checking out her family room, party room and that fabulous greenhouse.

Let’s start out by heading downstairs to check out her family room.

Isn’t that collage of old shutters on the wall over her stairway awesome?

It’s the perfect spot for that festive banner!

While Amy used a lot of green and gold in her Christmas décor upstairs, the downstairs is devoted to red and white.

I love the way she mixes the mercury glass and bottle brush Christmas trees and masses them all together on the mantle.

I’m also a fan of these knit stockings with a Scandinavian feel.

Amy’s love of Christmas villages is apparent here in the family room too.  She has a few more Putz pieces sharing the bookcase with some fabulous vintage cameras and old books.

She also has this very old, and rather tiny, paper village showcased in a small cabinet.

I did a little quick google research and I think this little village might date to the late 1920’s (cardboardchristmas.com).  If any of you know differently, please let me know in a comment.

It always amazes me when something this delicate has held up for nearly 100 years.

Back upstairs let’s head into what Amy calls the party room.  This room is accessed through a pair of french doors off the foyer.

I think it’s an absolute testament to Amy’s decorating talent to note that this room is really a converted garage.  It has a cement floor and really no especially redeeming architectural features, yet I think it’s my favorite room in Amy’s house.

Maybe because it’s filled with treasures everywhere you look.

Really, how many people could pull off putting a simple metal bunk bed in the family room?  And it feels perfectly suited to the space.  I especially love the lanterns hanging from hooks next to each bunk.

The dough bowl on the coffee table is from my favorite shop (a.k.a. Reclaiming Beautiful, where both Amy and I are vendors).  One of the bonuses of being a vendor is that you often get first crack at items that are for sale.  Amy snatched up that giant dough bowl before it ever made it to the shop floor.

Amy has added another of her faux fireplaces to this room.

She created the whitewashed finish on the fireplace herself.

The fireplace is topped with a charming nativity set.

I asked Amy what her secret was for finding all of these fireplaces (because she often sells them at the shop too), and she said Facebook Marketplace.  So, FYI, if you’re looking for one, maybe check out Marketplace.

There is a fantastically rustic dining table on the other side of the room.

The fact that it has five (count ’em, 5!) chairs down one side should tell you how long this table is.  Isn’t it fantastic?

There is another lovely tablescape on this table, this time focusing on natural wood, white pottery and flocked greenery.

This room has a bit of industrial chic about it with the metal shelving at one end of the table …

and a set of lockers in the opposing corner.

And you know I love those suitcases!

A few of my favorite touches from the last time I toured Amy’s house at Christmas time have found their way into this house as well including this cool vintage postal desk …

the village displayed on top of the gigantic book …

this … um, what do you call these things?  Cubby holders?

and a gorgeous tree filled with lanterns.

I have to remember that idea for my garden tree!  I definitely need to find some lanterns to add to that tree.

I see these garden ornament type lanterns at garage sales and never think to snap them up.  Remind me to do that next year, would you?

Apparently Amy has a bit of an obsession with these Magnolia Hearth and Hand dollhouses.

I didn’t even know these were a thing.  Apparently they come out with a new one each year.  I’m loving the greenhouse one!  I might have to splurge on that myself.  They come as a kit and you have to put them together.  They are charming.  I’m curious, did you guys know that these were a thing?

And speaking of greenhouses, that brings us to the rest of our tour, the outdoor space.

I really admire Amy’s fearless style of decorating.

She’s fine with putting faux fur throw pillows and wool blankets outside and doesn’t worry about them getting ruined.  I believe she mentioned that a friend gave her a bunch of these, so while she wouldn’t spend a lot on something like this to leave outside, in this case she doesn’t have any cold, hard cash invested in them so why not?

But same goes for that old church pew, an old scale, and even an old chandelier (not wired to live electricity).

I definitely need to step up my own game in this area.  I tend to clear off my deck for the winter and leave it bare except for a pot of greens or something.

Amy’s area is much homier looking.

Amy and her husband only recently finished their greenhouse … well, or as she kept telling me, it’s not quite finished yet.  She needs to clean up some details still, but I don’t think they mattered.

They put it together using a bunch of inexpensive windows, and Amy painted the framework black.

She doesn’t actually plan to use this space as a functioning greenhouse, it’s just going to be a fabulous space for entertaining.

  And I imagine Amy is going to have a blast styling it for each season.

I think we might have to arrange to revisit the greenhouse in the summer just to see what she has done with the place.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m green with envy over Amy’s greenhouse!  Who’s with me on that?

I hope you all enjoyed this house tour as much as I enjoyed doing it.  Now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I’m hoping to do more house tours here on the blog again.  Let me know if this is something you would like to see.

Many thanks to Amy for inviting us all in to see her lovely home.  If you have a minute, please leave a comment letting Amy know what your favorite part of her home is.  For me, I have to go with the greenhouse, but really I loved it all!

Amy’s eclectic Christmas home.

I have a really special post for you guys today!  I’m so excited to be able to share part 1 of a tour of my friend Amy’s house all decorated for Christmas.

Amy is also a vendor at Reclaiming Beautiful, the shop where I sell on consignment in Stillwater, MN.  I shared a Christmas tour of her house once before, back in 2016 (I’ll share a link to that at the end of this post in case you want to revisit that one).  Amy, her husband and their four kids have moved since then, so this is a different house altogether.

We’ll get to that fabulous greenhouse later this week in part 2 of our tour, but for today let’s start inside shall we?

First up in Amy’s foyer is this narrow wall that she wallpapered in a buffalo check.  What a great spot for some wallpaper with a lot of impact, right?  And I love the simple way she’s decorated the mirror with a delicate garland and a trio of tiny flocked trees.

From here you just get a glimpse of the light filled great room to the right.

Unfortunately, I managed to neglect getting one big overall photo of that space.  I tend to focus in on details and ignore the big picture, I’m going to have to work on that!

I’ll have to just try to describe the space, which is large, open and has a vaulted ceiling and includes a living room, dining room and kitchen.  The space is large enough in fact, that Amy has not just one, but two live trees flanking one of the sofas!

Isn’t that gorgeous?  I love that look, and I bet it looks beautiful at night.

Amy wanted me to be sure and tell you that she had to send the family to pick out the trees without her this year because she had Covid!  So she takes no responsibility for the trees that were chosen.  But seriously, did I need to tell you that?  No.  Because these trees are fabulous!  And how she managed to do all of this decorating despite being ill is mind boggling.

I think Amy is the master of the faux fireplace.  You’ll see a couple more of them on our tour, but here is the one in the living room.

Isn’t the idea of filling it with a snowy village just lovely?

I’ve stolen her idea of using vintage books to add different levels for my own Christmas village, and it worked great here inside her fireplace as well.

I’ve also been inspired to change up the walls in my own living room after seeing Amy’s gallery style wall filled with vintage goodies like this mirror …

and these fabulous old paintings of Minnehaha Falls …

As soon as the holidays are over, I’m going to get to work on my own wall.

I didn’t ask Amy about this next piece while I was at her house, but now that I look at it in photos I think it must have been vertical shelving with adjustable shelves meant for papers that she has turned on its side and placed behind her sofa.

It’s filled with vintage clocks, radios, books and a pretty Putz village.

The dining space is just off to the right from the living room …

Isn’t that light fixture amazing?  I was really focused on Christmas decorations rather than the day to day features of Amy’s decorating and in hindsight I wish I’d paid more attention to the fixtures because as you’ll see, they are pretty fabulous.  Ditto her furniture.

Amy is also a furniture painter.  Be sure to check out her Instagram at skrallan.7 to check out some of her work.  She is fairly new to Instagram, so please show her some love and follow her account.

Anyway, I wish I’d also gotten a better photo of that dining room table because it’s gorgeous.

And isn’t her tabletop Christmas vignette pretty?

I’m fascinated by the primitive look of this feather tree …

I love the simplicity of it.

This tall pine hutch fits perfectly in her space.

and it houses a Christmas village in white …

The kitchen is open to the rest of this space, and darn it, I didn’t get a good photo of the overall space.  Once again, I was focused on the details.

You have to forgive me since I was clearly distracted by her gorgeous vintage scales.

And her really awesome Magnolia wallpaper

Next up on our tour is the principle bedroom.

I love that Amy has put a live tree in front of the window, and when I looked at it more closely I recognized a few of the ornaments!

You’ll remember that I mentioned last week that I sold off a few pieces from my non-collection of ornaments.  Well, Amy purchased quite a few of them.  So it was fun to see them again on her tree.

I love the color combo that Amy has used in this room with it’s rich mix of green and gold.

And it’s carried over in the bottle brush trees on top of the hutch.

I neglected to ask if Amy died those trees herself, or if she just managed to find the perfect colors for her room.

Another faux fireplace fits in perfectly in the master bedroom.

It’s topped with a sparkling gold Christmas village.

Next on our tour is the bathroom.

I really wish I’d asked Amy where she found those letters, aren’t they awesome?

I think my favorite thing in the room is this cupboard though.

Amy has filled it with a bit of Christmas joy.

I hope you’ve been inspired by part 1 of our tour.  If you were inspired even half as much as I was by visiting Amy’s home, then my job here is done.  Well, it’s not really done, because I’ll be back on Wednesday with part 2 of our tour.  So be sure to stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you want to go back and check out Amy’s previous home, click these links for part 1 and part 2.

mom’s patio makeover.

You may or may not have noticed that I took a while to respond to comments on my blog last week.  That’s because I was out west visiting my mom.  If you’ve followed me for long, then you may know that my mom lives out near Las Vegas (she’s in the suburb of Henderson).

My mom turned 80 last year.  I had always thought we’d do something amazing for her 80th.  After all, we took her on a cruise for her 70th, so we had to top that.

But then there was COVID.

I didn’t even think going out there to see her would be a good idea, let alone going on some kind of trip together.  So her 80th birthday came and went with nothing more than a phone call between us.

Some of you also know that my mom was a travel agent who specialized in cruises.  She was still working at 79.  Not full time, but she had her regular clients and she would still go in to the office and set up trips for them (myself included).  But again, then there was COVID.  Obviously, the travel industry was hit hard, and one of the segments hit the hardest was cruising (for obvious reasons).  So after helping all of her clients with canceled cruises and making sure they got refunds (myself included), she decided to officially retire late last year.

At the end of 2020, my mom also sold her big house (it was 4 bedrooms, 3 baths) and moved into a much smaller townhome.  The house was too much for her to handle, and although my brother is there to help her, it made sense to move into something a bit more reasonable.  Again, I really wanted to go out there and help her with the move, but then there were all of those COVID surges right after the holidays.

More recently, my mom has had some health issues and I realized that I could no longer let COVID stop me from flying out to spend some time with her.  My sister was planning to go with or without me, so last week I masked up, hopped on a plane and few out to Vegas.

Because my mom has been feeling so poorly, she hasn’t really done much with her new place.  Her townhome is accessed through a small courtyard …

and quite honestly, it was looking a bit sad when we got there.

There were some tired old patio chairs, a cast off kitchen chair and some empty planters.  It definitely needed some help.

So we piled my mom into the car and headed off to her local Lowes, which was literally just around the corner.  We picked out a fun bistro set and had my mom pick out some plants to fill the empty pots.  We also grabbed some solar lights on our way out.

Mom has always been a big fan of bougainvillea, so that was an obvious choice.  I don’t know much about gardening in the desert climate of her area, so I hope we made some good choices with the other plants as well.

In the end, it was really lucky that the Lowes was just around the corner.  The box that the bistro set came in was so huge that we had to put the back seat down to fit it in Mom’s SUV.  That meant we had to leave someone behind, go home and unload the box, then turn around and go back for them.  Fortunately, this was in the same shopping center …

I was more than happy to spend a little time checking out their local Goodwill while my mom and sister unloaded the car.

I have to say, it’s kind of amazing how a Goodwill looks pretty much the same no matter where you go.  Sadly I didn’t find a single thing that I just had to make room in my suitcase for.

Anyway, once we returned back to the house again, my sister tackled assembling the bistro set and I set to work filling up the pots.

That variegated cactus looking thing went in a pot that is out front beside her gate.

Honestly, I don’t know what that plant is, but it looks like something that can survive the occasional lack of watering.  Since this planter is outside the gate (and my mom will access the courtyard through her garage instead), I suspect that my mom may forget to water it on a regular basis, so I wanted something that would have a better chance of surviving a few droughts.

For the remaining planters, I emptied out the old, worn out dirt and refilled them with some Miracle Grow potting soil.  This way Mom won’t have to worry about feeding them for about six months.  Then I planted them up with the rest of the plants.

The tall skinny planters got some bright pink geraniums and some sedum that I hope will spill over the sides.

The larger pot was planted with the bougainvillea, some bright yellow ornamental grass and some more sedum.  This is the same sedum that I grew in my window box last summer and it did really well for me.  Hopefully it will do as well in my mom’s pots.

I sure was wishing I had some of my Dixie Belle products on hand!  This pot would have been the perfect candidate for some rusty patina.

By the time I had everything planted, my sister was working on the final touches to the bistro set.  Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike assembling things that come in a box?  Yeah, it’s not my cup of tea.  But my sister is good at it.

Fortunately, the chairs came fully assembled.

And aren’t they fab?  They totally look straight out of a Parisian bistro.

My sister just had to put the legs on the table, and that was touch and go.

If I’d had access to my full compliment of painting supplies and a little more time, I would have totally preferred to make over a vintage set of some kind.  After working with this set (which cost $248, check it out here), I was reminded of what I love about refurbishing vintage pieces rather than buying new.  This new stuff is super flimsy, way over priced, and a huge pain to assemble.

The solar lights went alongside the sidewalk leading from the gate up to the courtyard.

As a final touch, we found a cute lantern at Target for $10 and added a faux candle with a timer and placed that on the table.

Now this is the perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, maybe even one drunk out of my mom’s wedding china.

To be quite honest, I don’t think my mom will actually spend much time sitting in her courtyard (and she doesn’t actually drink coffee).  She and I could not be any more different in that regard.  I would eat every meal out there, and spend a little bit of time every evening sitting there with a glass of wine (she doesn’t drink that either) and listening to the birds in the huge tree that is nearby.  But my mom isn’t really a ‘sitting outside’ sort of person.

But I couldn’t stand thinking of her being greeted by that sad old kitchen chair every time she returned home from somewhere.  Now she has a cheery spot with bright flowers and a little European flair to greet her instead.

Hopefully every time she passes through here on her way into her home she will not only be reminded of her many travels to Europe, but also of my sister and me even though we can’t be there with her on a regular basis.

Nancy’s house.

Every once in a while life just presents something kind of magical.  I think that’s what happened a week or so ago when I had the opportunity to tour Nancy’s house.

Nancy is a frequent shopper at Reclaiming Beautiful, the shop where I sell some of my creations in Stillwater, MN.  I’d heard that she was a fan of my items and once I’d followed her on Instagram (@eike_nancy) I realized that she has quite a few of my ‘smalls’ in her home, like the black toolbox below.

So, I reached out to Nancy and asked if I could come and tour her home and take some photos to share with all of you here on my blog.  She graciously agreed, and I drove out to her place on a pretty much perfect summer afternoon.  Even just driving there was a total pleasure, motoring along beautifully curvy country roads with the top down on my car.

As soon as I turned onto Nancy’s street, I knew I was in for a treat.  What an amazing setting.  I love how just the grass immediately surrounding the house is mowed and the rest is left natural.  I’ve recently been watching Gardener’s World on BritBox (any other fans out there?) and they had a segment that suggested this technique.

In my small suburban garden, this wouldn’t work at all, but I love it for a larger property like this.

Nancy and her husband, David, just moved into this house last August so this will be their first full summer.  They didn’t have time to focus on much of the landscaping last year, but hope to get more planted around the house this summer.

In the meantime, who needs anything more than these beautiful rolling fields?

Walking up to the front door, I just knew I was going to be in for a treat once I got inside.

Just check out the old mop bucket with the fern, it has a section from re.design with prima’s Lovely Ledger transfer on it.

That’s not my work, but I love it!

I did spy some of my work on the porch though …

Remember when I added part of the Fresh Flowers transfer to that suitcase?  It looks perfect next to the bench on Nancy’s porch.

Once inside I was immediately struck by the view out the back.

The house is perfectly situated on the lot to give the feeling that there isn’t another neighbor around for miles.

But I was quickly distracted from the view by Nancy’s decorating.  Obviously she and I both love the same sort of look, which explains why she buys so much of my stuff 😉

Although that bench is not my work, I would guess that many of you might think it is.  It’s totally me.  But Nancy applied the Finicky Fox transfer to the bench herself.

Isn’t this sideboard fabulous?

I recognized a few things on top of it including the little bird cage that I revamped a while back.

Nancy’s home has an open concept, so the living room, dining room and kitchen are one big open space.  But let’s start in the living room.

It’s super cozy.

Her dog Lucy seems to agree.

I love how Nancy has styled her built in shelving with fab vintage finds including a few of my favorite non-collectibles (because I’m in denial that I collect things) like old clocks …

and cool old shoe forms.

Including this one which was dressed up with some transfers by yours truly …

This just goes to show that I don’t include all of the smaller projects I work on here on the blog.  I whipped this shoe form up one day, took a few photos, decided none of them were blog worthy, and I moved on to selling it.

Those of you who shop at Reclaiming Beautiful might also recognize this …

it’s one of their hand poured candles.  Nancy has added her own touch with the cow tag.  At least I’m assuming that’s a cow tag.  Can any of you farmers out there verify that for me?

Nancy has quite a few old scales scattered about …

I love this little square one …

Nancy’s kitchen is just simply gorgeous.

It looks fresh out of a magazine, doesn’t it?

It has some beautiful personal touches though, like the framed family recipes hung on the wall.

I absolutely love that they are written on old numbered ledger paper.

I also spied a couple more of my creations …

I even spotted the apron that I stenciled!

I have to admit I’m a little envious of Nancy’s light filled laundry room.

It’s probably quite pleasant to do laundry here.

And hey, she has one of my ironing board signs!

Just out in the hallway, you might also recognize one of these chalkboards

Here’s a quick look into Nancy’s master bedroom.

It was so fun to wander around Nancy’s beautiful home, and I have to admit I was pretty tickled to find so many of my pieces there.  It’s really awesome to know that my things are being enjoyed by someone.  It inspires me to continue giving old pieces a new lease on life.  I’ve even managed to get to a few garage sales this past week, so I’ll have a few updated garage sales finds to share with you guys next week.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this tour of Nancy’s house.  If you’re an Instagram user, be sure to give her a follow @eike_nancy!

treat the cheese nicely.

Welcome to the next installment of our house tour series.  Today we’re visiting the kitchen.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you’ve probably figured out that I don’t really cook.  You’ve wondered how I can find the time for a full-time job, plus a blog, plus furniture painting?  Well, the answer is, I don’t cook.  OK, maybe that’s not the full answer, but it’s certainly part of it.  Any cooking that takes place at our house is usually done by Mr. Q, and occasionally even by my sister.

That being said, having a gourmet kitchen is pretty low on our list of priorities.  We are very happy with having a mostly functional kitchen instead.  We have the basics; a stove, a microwave, a sink, some cupboards and a fridge.  None of which are fancy or expensive.  And in case you are wondering, no, we do not have a dishwasher.  But who really needs one for just two people who rarely cook?

But you know what?  Let’s stop here and put this kitchen in perspective by hopping into the time machine and heading back to 2006.  This was another of my domino effect decorating projects.  It started out with a plan to put in a new sink and counter tops, re-paint the cupboards and walls and tile the floor.  But it ended up morphing into something a little bit bigger.

To begin with I started out by removing the existing wallpaper in preparation for painting only to find that the lower half of the walls were covered with a thin layer of hardboard.  When we pulled that off, we discovered that the board had been put in place as a quick fix for plaster walls that were in really terrible condition as evidenced by this old page out of my ‘home redecorating’ scrapbook.

At that point my friend/picker/co-worker Sue and her husband kindly offered to help us remove the plaster so we could put up sheet rock instead.  Looking back, I still can’t believe how generous that was of them.  I’m pretty sure I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

That lead to the next unexpected decision, to open up the wall between the kitchen and the piano room.  You see, Sue’s husband accidentally got a little carried away with the sledge hammer and went right through that wall to the other side.

Rather than panic, we decided that it was sign that we should open up that wall and I’m still grateful to this day that he did that.  This change added much more light to the kitchen and really just opened up the entire first floor of our house.

Since we had the walls down to the studs, at that point it made sense to update the wiring in the kitchen and why not put in some counter top lighting as well, right?

Luckily Mr. Q’s brother Joel was able to help us out with that.

We had also planned to rip up the linoleum and do a ceramic tile floor instead.  We had even purchased all of the tile.  However, when we pulled up the linoleum we found wood floors underneath.  So instead we had the wood floors refinished in a checkerboard pattern.

The dark squares are stained and the light squares were left natural.

We hired various people to do most of the rest of the difficult work including sheet rocking the walls and ceiling, and putting in that new arched opening to match the other existing arches in the living room.  Plus putting in new counter tops, a new sink and faucet and tiling the back splash.

I still love the simple white subway tile back splash 13 years later.  It’s a timeless classic that works really well with the age of our home.

We also purchased new appliances back then, and as I’m writing this blog post I realize that means our kitchen appliances are all 13 years old too.  Yikes!  They’ll probably start dropping like flies soon.

We have just the one wall of cabinets and we never even considered replacing them.  Doing so would be expensive and I like the charm of these originals.  They are in really good shape considering they are over 100 years old.  I did switch out the knobs though.

They badly need to be repainted at this point though, maybe I’ll get to that next summer.  Next time around I’ll likely use Fusion paint for its durability.

Those cupboards at the very top originally had solid doors.  We cut out the inserts and replaced them with chicken wire.  Since they are up so high it was never practical to store anything we needed to be able to access on a regular basis up there.  So it made sense to make them decorative instead.

I have them filled with white (not all of it is technically ironstone) china serving pieces.

The rest of the decorative details were up to me and as per usual there are a lot of garage sale finds in this room.  That sisal runner in front of the cupboards was purchased at a garage sale and it’s the perfect size for that spot.

The little cupboard above the radiator by the stove is also a garage sale find.

I keep some of my favorite dishes inside including my french cafe au lait bowls, my numbered plates from Target and a couple of ironstone pieces.

My favorite garage sale find in the room though is the pair of plates hanging on the wall between the pantry door and the bathroom door.

I’ve learned that these are Norwegian cheese plates.  I had found an article once that said the writing on them roughly translates to ‘treat the cheese nicely’, but I’ve since lost track of that article.

  If any of you out there reading this know anything about these plates, I’d love to hear it.

Anyway, I paid just $1 for these plates and the man selling them said they had belonged to his Norwegian mother.  I love them, and even though they didn’t come from my own Norwegian grandmother I still treat them as though they did … and I also always treat the cheese nicely too 😉

Be sure to check back next Wednesday when we’ll take a look behind that pantry door!

the photo cottage.

Today I’m continuing the Wednesday tour of our home.  Today’s stop, the photo cottage.

This is a little building that’s out in our backyard.  I feel like it would be selling it a bit short to call it a shed, but it’s a little overkill to call it a summer house.  The people who owned the house before we did used it as a playhouse for their kids.

It has undergone several transformations since we’ve lived here.  It went from a storage area to a potting shed to a summer house, all of which were sadly underutilized.

Then in 2014 I decided to put it to use as a photo staging area.  I started by painting the interior walls and ceiling white, then painting a white & grey checkered pattern on the floor.

I have a cupboard out in the photo cottage that came with the house.  It’s a great spot for storing some of my photo props.

Although that chair stayed out there for a little while, I’m actually using it inside the house now.

I did quite a few furniture photo shoots in here originally.

But I really struggled with the lighting, and with getting the white balance right.  At certain times of the day the sun reflected off my red carriage house next door and turned everything pink.

Plus, the photo cottage isn’t really big enough to get shots from every angle.

Also, over time the painted floor started to really show its age.

I realized last summer that I needed to repaint it if I was going to continue to use it for photo shoots.  But time ran out and I never got it done.  Then I planned to paint it this summer.  And guess what?  It’s the end of summer and once again I still haven’t done it.  At this point, I’m giving up trying to accomplish it this year.  Also, I’m just not sure it’s worth the effort for a building that isn’t optimal for photo shoots anyway.

So the truth of the matter is that this little outbuilding has reverted back to its original purpose, as a storage area.  We’ll probably store our deck furniture out there this winter.  Maybe next Spring I can refresh this space once again.  Honestly, I give it a 50/50 chance of getting done.

I’m curious, what would you do with this little cottage if you had it in your backyard?




don’t take life (or decorating) too seriously.

Back when I began blogging I added a page on my blog called ‘tour my house’.  Although I have updated it sporadically over time, I haven’t really kept up on it.

I’ve also attempted to do ‘house tour’ posts at Christmas, but haven’t managed that either.

Quite honestly, I’m completely overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning/tidying my entire house and then photographing it all in one go.  So I decided to set a goal for myself of doing just one room per week until the whole house is done.

That being said, welcome to the first post of my home tour series!

It would seem logical to start with the outside, but Mr. Q and I are in the middle of a spruce up to our deck area, so I’m going to hold off on that for now.  Instead let’s begin at the front of the house on our three season porch.

I hand painted the black & white checkerboard pattern on the floor several years ago.  It was actually the 2nd time I’d painted a checkerboard floor out here.  The first time it was in shades of green.  I love the drama of the black & white, but kind of wish I’d gone for a more subtle look with grey & white.

If you’ve always longed for a painted floor, I will warn you that they get scratched up over time.  I did use Behr Porch & Patio Floor paint, which is formulated specifically for floors.  Nonetheless, the floor no longer looks pristine.  My advice to you is don’t paint your floors unless you are OK with an imperfect, worn over time, sort of look.

The most recent addition to my front porch is the updated farmhouse table that I shared last week along with the giant flour bin I purchased at the estate sale last weekend.

Looking at that photo you may be wondering ‘who in the world still has a wall mounted telephone?’, well, not me.  That a bakelite Masterphone.

When I purchased it (at a garage sale naturally) I thought it was some sort of phone for calling the servants since there’s no dial.  So I hung it in an ironic sort of way, because clearly we don’t have any servants.  Turns out these were really used on switchboards.

Just on the other side of the front door is my black cupboard.  I added a Prima Marketing transfer to the inside back in June.

I had been planning to sell the cupboard until I fell in love with the transfer inside, so for now it stays.

Way, way back in the day I had a complete set of matching wicker furniture on this porch that included a chaise, a matching chair, a matching foot stool, a matching table and a matching plant stand.  I was a matching fool when I was young.

I came to my senses over time and got rid of all of the pieces one by one except for this chaise.

Originally all of the associated cushions were floral in shades of peach and green (it was the 80’s after all).  But many years ago my friend Sue made me a simple linen slipcover for the chaise cushion.

Fortunately the cover is washable because in reality this chaise lounge really just functions as a large cat bed.

On most summer days you will find Lucy sleeping out here on the chaise.  Since it’s the most well lit room in the house she has to put her arm across her face to get a little shut eye.  Maybe she needs one of those eye mask thingies.

The pillow behind her is encased in one of my favorite finds ever, a gorgeous monogrammed pillow case.

Sadly, it has deteriorated over time and ripped quite a bit.  I need to take the time to repair and reinforce it, that doesn’t seem to be near the top of my very long to-do list though.

This bird house that I purchased many years ago at Oronoco Gold Rush perches on my Norwegian blue stool in the corner.

I’ve never wanted to actually put this outside and allow birds to live in it.  I don’t think it would hold up in the elements and I’d hate to see it ruined.

The 2nd seating option on the porch is another Adirondack chair that my handyman Ken made for us.  Mr. Q loves this chair and this is his spot on the porch.

The black pillows are from H & M Home several years ago.

This chippy blue stool adds a pop of color next to Mr. Q’s chair.

It also makes a convenient spot for a beverage when it’s not holding a tiny Spode creamer filled with flowers.

This trunk serves as another repository for drinks in between the two seats in the room.

The chippy paint job is original but I added the stencil.  One of these days I’d like to re-do this piece and use a transfer on the front.  But I don’t know, is three too many transfers for one room?

Well, make that four if you count the Bugs Bunny quote that I put above the windows.  Technically this is also a transfer.

I’ve always felt like this is a good reminder.  But I’ll take it one step further and say don’t take decorating too seriously either.

If you’re sensing any kind of theme in this room at all, it’s that almost everything is reused, re-purposed and/or restyled.  All of the items were purchased inexpensively at garage sales, or handmade.  I have lots of other things I’d rather spend my hard earned money on (travel!), so I decorate on the cheap.

Next Wednesday we’ll head inside the house and check out the living room, so be sure to stay tuned!