a collected summer mantel

Memorial Day unofficially marks the beginning of summer but for me, it seems to be Independence Day.  Once the 4th of July hits, we’re all fully aware of the season; the rising temperatures and the long, lingering days followed by breezy evenings.  And it’s right around the corner!

We’ve kept things casual in the seasonal decorating department lately.  Just a rotating collection of vintage and handmade favorites on the mantel.  For summer we have a fish painting on a barn door that was gifted to us along with a handmade swan sculpture, a wedding gift.  Surrounding the art are our own handmade baluster candlesticks plus an endless collection of vintage lanterns.  The yellow planter is borrowed from my McCoy collection which is dispersed throughout the house.

vintage summer mantel

The mantel itself is not original to the house but the art deco piece seems to fit proportionally.  We popped a mirror inside.  This was actually a happy accident as it is doing a great job of bouncing light into this otherwise dark corner.  Over the winter, we painted the wall that it is on.  The previous blue accent wall had to go.  The neutral backdrop is much more conducive to a rotating cast of collections.

And that chair!  Still our favorite rehab to this day.  I’m so glad we decided to keep it.  It was a full gut job, shopped from the curb and saved from the landfill!

vintage collection summer mantel

I’m having a moment with these vintage arrows as well.  So bright, fun & cheerful.  They coordinate well with the Crate & Barrel recycled rag rug in the room too.

vintage collection arrows

That’s where things stand in my current vintage collections.  Seemingly high between lanterns, McCoy and arrows, among other things like aqua mixing bowls and ship captains, not pictured.  What are you collecting this summer?

DIY laundry detergent

We’ve taken DIY to a new level over here. It was only a matter of time really. DIY rooms, paint jobs and furniture were our gateway. Then there was lighting. And we dabbled in sewing – not necessarily a strong suit, for those keeping track.

Then it happened in the kitchen. I began making things from scratch such as soups, juice and bread. Which got us thinking about all of the processed food and drinks we used to eat and how that directly correlates to our health and just generally feeling good. We’ve cut out as much processed food as possible.

That mindset begged us to ask what was in our detergents and certain cleaning supplies that we come in close contact with.  As a result, our DIY laundry detergent was born…

DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe

After much research we settled on 3 simple ingredients…

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 bar fels naptha soap

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The fels naptha must be grated.  Don’t let that deter you if you are interested in making your own laundry detergent.  It really only takes about 3 minutes to grate a bar of soap.  If you’ve grated cheese before, you can do this!

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After that, all that is left is measuring 1 cup of the other 2 ingredients.

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Combine it all in a jar or canister.  You’ll just need a tablespoon of the detergent for each load of laundry; 2 tablespoons for extra dirty loads.    This detergent smells so truly fresh and clean too – not a manufactured scent.  It also doesn’t suds up making it a good candidate for high-efficiency washers that call for low suds detergents.

DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe

Did I mention that this detergent is dirt cheap to make?  Get it?  Dirt cheap!  I couldn’t resist.  But it really is inexpensive.  Do you make any of your own cleaning supplies?

 

the fate of the mohair chairs

A few weeks ago I shuffled the chairs around the dining table leaving my beloved vintage ones homeless. Or at least table-less.  But only temporarily. They’ve been displaced to my new favorite seating area in the house – what shall now be known as the living room.  Along with an old cage-turned-coffee-table, that we’ve had for years, in a similar green hue.

Ward Bennett chairs, vintage nautical living room

We’ve been working on carving out different areas in our great room to make it most functional.  Using furniture as a divider, or floating it, seems to be working with our current layout.  (But that doesn’t mean I won’t rearrange again soon.)

diving spaces, nautical living

I’m happy with how the space under the bay window has evolved.  This cozy little sitting area is saturated in deep colors from the walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs to the over-dyed blue and orange kilim rug.  The space can handle all of the dark, dramatic color thanks to all of the natural light that pours in.

walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs

The “living room” is conveniently adjacent to the bar where we store glassware & mix cocktails

eclectic living room

modern bar in a vintage world

…beside the captain.  The count is getting pretty high on sea captains around here.  This is Gorton.

ship captain oil painting

So that is the fate of the chairs.  I know you were worried about them.  They are indeed one of my favorite vintage finds ever.

vintage walnut & mohair Ward Bennett

What is your best vintage find ever?

P.S. For more inspiration on what to do with your vintage finds, check out the recently updated (and always evolving) Home tab which features our vintage home style.

 

 

 

a whole lot of legs

I picked up this drop leaf table while in Brimfield. I have a growing drop leaf table collection. It is an addiction really. I don’t know what it is about them. Their versatility. The timeworn tops. Not sure. But I’ve never met one I don’t like.

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Well that’s not totally true. When the tops are impeccable and shiny, I don’t usually like them. I like a worn stained finish and of course a chippy worn paint job to match on the legs.

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And that’s the exact treatment this table got.

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Oh the power of milk paint and the chippy goodness it can create.

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The first coat on the legs is Trophy.

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The second coat is Grain Sack.

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I followed a similar suit on the ladder back chairs which I previewed here before.

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This chair features Apron Strings & a custom mix of French Enamel and Linen…I think.

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The options are endless when it comes to milk paint.  But to get this layered look you need to create a resist between colors and coats.  This can be achieved a number of ways including applying the wax puck or hemp oil as a resist.

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See, milk paint naturally wants to absorb into the surface unless, of course, there is a previous finish there for it to resist.  That’s where it gets interesting.

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All three pieces are available individually at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.

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chairs for all seasons

This funny thing happened the other day. It seems to occur to a lot of us in the vintage and furniture flipping industry. I finished refreshing a pair of chairs with milk paint, wax and fabric.  I posed them at either end of our breakfast table just for a mini before and after shoot before bringing them to the shop.  For sale.

grainsack milk paint dining chairs

Well…I think you know where this is headed.  As I snapped pictures to share with you here of the “new” chairs, I was growing more and more fond of them there at the table.

grainsack milk paint & ticking fabric dining chairs

…in our eclectic little nook.  Still a work in progress.  Always a work in progress really.  That is the fun of it naturally because you never know what treasures will find you next.

eclectic breakast nook

The grainsack milk painted chairs just seemed so much lighter and brighter in the space than the others we had in there.  And yes they match the table anyway!

grainsack milk paint dining chairs

The streamlined back is pretty comfortable.  And the caning allows more light to pass through.  It just feels summer-y.  We can change out chairs seasonally, right?

grainsack milk paint dining chairs

For the seats, I used Waverly ticking stripes which plays well off of the grainsack upholstered bench and linen bentwood chairs too.

ticking fabric upholstery

The walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs were looking winter-y there at the table.  However, they are my favorite and aren’t leaving the house.

Eclectic Flea Market Style Breakfast Nook

In fact, I carved out a little sitting area in the living room just for these chairs.  More pictures on that soon but for now an instagram shot preview…

vintage walnut & mohair ward bennet chairs

I certainly have a vintage chair fetish.  How about you?

vintage dining chairs
In other vintage chair related news, we’ll be at Clover Market on Sunday in Ardmore, PA.

Clover Market Spring 2014

And on Saturday at 11 am, I’ll be hosting another free Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint demonstration at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.

Milk Paint Demo

Perhaps I’ll run into you this weekend!

 

milk paint in cape may

Hey there!  Have you heard the news?

We’re bringing Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint to Cape May.  That’s right.  You can expect to find the full product line and other DIY goodies at The West End Garage.

mp_natural

To kick it off, I am offering a free milk paint demonstration on Saturday, May 10th at 11 am.  No need to sign up.  Just come as you are ready to learn what all of the hype is about.  I’ll show you how to mix the paint and we’ll talk about different finishes and topcoats.  This is not a “one size fits all” paint and many different finishes can be achieved.  We’ll even discuss how you can use it outdoors on fences and window boxes.  So feel free to bring specific project questions, before pictures, etc.

WEG May demo

Oh and bring your mom.  It’ll be Mother’s Day weekend after all!  A perfect time to visit Cape May.

Cape May Victorian-0380

Actually any time is a perfect time to visit Cape May.

Cape May beaches

However, if you can’t make it on Saturday, May 10th, don’t worry.  We’ll offer another demonstration in the future.  And if you just can’t wait until May 10th, visit West End Garage this weekend.  The paint is in stock.

e-sky

May’s colors of the month are Eulalie’s Sky and Linen.  The perfect pairing for a Victorian beach house, don’t you think?