Friday, April 26, 2013

simple, with a little help from my friends

I've been waiting for something to arrive in the mail.  I'm still waiting and I'm beginning to think that Canada Post, Customs or the US Postal Service has let me down.  So I went ahead and finished this simple redo.

I've had these three plates hanging on my dining room wall for a number of years now.  Hanging with those wire plate hangars that you can pick up anywhere.

The square shaped one on top came from a local sale held each year for a local non profit.  I literally got it for pennies.  I think someone originally was using it for a plant "saucer" since it had a ring on it that, fortunately, I was able to remove.  The larger, more of a platter, and the other small plate came from one of my online friends, Ebay.  I stumbled across them and couldn't resist adding to my collection of one.  But the three plates/platters have looked a bit skimpy and I've been wanting to change it up for awhile.

The all have this same pattern...

Recently I came across this green platter and two small plates.  They are all Homer Laughlin, the same company/fellow that made the famous Fiestaware.  The platter came from a local gift shop, Grandiflora, while the two small plates came from another online friend, Etsy.

I've been wanting to turn my little three plate wall into more of a large scale plate wall like I've seen on other blogs and Pinterest.  These additional green plates are the same size and even the Art Deco shape is the same... I knew I had something now to create my little plate wall... but I was still missing something.

Have you ever seen or used these?  They are made for attaching to plates, platters even bowls!  They come in different sizes for different weights.  I couldn't find them locally so I went to my bestest friend online... Amazon!  I'm an Amazon Prime member so usually I can get free shipping AND best of all... they come in just 2 days!  And if you're beginning to think that I'm on a first name basis with the UPS man... well you'd be right... I believe he stops by Red Gate Farm a minimum of twice a week!

But back to these discs... the beauty of them is that they are easy to apply and are totally removable!  I went a little overboard on the sizes so that I would be sure they would old the weight of my vintage plates and platters.  For the plates I attached them so the little ring of the disc was above the ring of the plate... but for the platters I actually attached the whole thing inside the ring so that if I want to use them as a platter they will still sit flat on the table.

Of course, those fabulous discs meant no more of these.... and no more limit to the size of plate!

Oops.. I forgot to tell you that the three flowered plates/platters were made by this company... Leigh Potters.

So... ta da!  This is the little arrangement I came up with.  I even have room to grow up and over the arched doorway if I find additional pieces.

 I like how the creamy flowered plates look fabulous with my dining room built in...

And how the green plates look great with all the green happening in the kitchen... just through the arched door.

 The discs allow the plates to hang pretty flat, as you can see.  I may even add a shallow bowl to the mix since the discs work on bowls as well.

But perhaps you're still wondering what held the project up... it wasn't the two green plates or the discs, both ordered online...

 But this little guy... sorry for the blurry but this image is from the posting on Etsy.  I thought the colors and the cottage scene would look fabulous with the other plates.   I purchased this little plate to add to my collection and am still waiting.  The seller is checking on the package since it's been a month... I know that customs can really hold things up but this is a bit ridiculous.  Cross your fingers for me... I'll be very disappointed if it's "lost"!

Obviously I went ahead with this project while I'm waiting.
A very, very simple project... with a bit of help from my friends,

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Monday, April 22, 2013

working with what ya got

I thought that this was rather appropriate... being Earth Day and all...

I've been wanting to try out dark wax over chalk paint on furniture, as well as leaving something on the piece in it's "real wood" state.  Mixing up the painted and the non painted that is.... This little beauty was had for just $20 a few weeks back at my local thrift store, it would be my only purchase.  In honor of Earth Day, which I'm pretty sure in the state of Washington it's mandatory to participate in, I would give this little guy a makeover using supplies I already have on hand... no trips to the hardware or paint store.  Plus it was the perfect size for this spot in my living room AND I can fill it up with my magazine collection!

There are two little magazine holders... one on each side... plus a shelf and get this... that drawer?  Well it works from either side!  What fun.

But it has definately seen better days.  It's kind of beat up, scratched up and just plain needing some love.

The top was in the worst shape and I wasn't sure if I would be able to go through with my plan to "save the wood" but figured I could always paint over it if I needed to.

I decided to use full out Provence (ASCP) on this one... no mixing it to create a paler color.  And I still had half a can of this color from previous projects so the color decision was easy.

Coat one, as usual it's rather blotchy...

But by coat three it was looking good and ready for some sand paper.  This time I did the sanding in the garage... since the piece is light and small... easy enough for me to carry out.

The chalk painted surfaces were easy (as always) to sand but I need to be careful on the top... it is veneer and I didn't want to sand through that layer but did want to remove the old finish... and since this was a "use what I had project" I didn't have any stripper on hand, just me and some sand paper, oh and a sanding block.

I went over the top with a light coat of stain... it was a VERY old can that we had in the basement.  I think it was called American Pecan?  I'm not sure what we used it for since we haven't stained anything in quite awhile... it may have been a test can from the Peach Palace floors... but I think it was older than that since it was partially solid but once again, I was using what I had on hand.

I was very happy with the color and how it warmed up the wood and brought out the grain.  Since I need to use something over the stain I just rubbed on a coat of ASCP clear wax while I was waxing the piece.  A nice buffing and it was ready to shine!

Doesn't is look cute in it's new home?  Just the right scale, color and everything.

One of the reason I wanted to leave the wood as well, wood, was because I keep a little aqua tray on the table... I didn't want it to blend in as it would have if I had painted the whole piece!

And in another nod to my use what I had... I finally got brave and used a little ASCP Dark Wax over top of the clear wax... just a touch of it.  I wanted the color to stay the same but give it just a bit more age on top of the distressing.

And the final use what I had? Well the knobs were the original wooden ones!  I didn't do a thing to them, just screwed them back on.

I'm pretty pleased with the results...

So now I not only have the perfect spot to store my magazines...

But also the perfect spot to curl up with one... and a cup of tea perhaps?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

clean slate

I had decided on the title of my post tonight because of my "clean slate" for my garden... and I wanted to start it off with the above picture of my little slate chalk board that I change up.  I liked this garden quote for many reasons... and then I realized that the clean slate title was kind appropriate in more ways than one!

Saturday was supposed to be ok weather wise   It didn't really live up to expectations but the weather was cooperative enough to get the vegetable garden just about ready for planting.

We're a little behind this year.  We've started the planting of our vegetable garden every year on April 18th.

It's the day we planted our first vegetable garden at Red Gate Farm way back in 2005... the first spring we were here.

And not wanting to buck tradition too much, well it was PAST time to get busy.  We spent hours on Saturday weeding, tilling, racking and spreading a trailer full of compost.

Sunday morning and the weather was not cooperating for the final 'til of the soil or planting of anything.  It rained and rained and rained.  Then in typical April in the Pacific Northwest fashion the sun came out around 2:30 or so.  I did get my little greenhouse cleaned up and organized, as well at 500 zinnia seeds planted... with around 300 more to go plus the pumpkins, cucumbers and sunflowers I also start in the greenhouse.  Hmmm, I know what I'll be doing after work all week!

The rest of the gardens are coming along... the pink and pale pink Ranunculus are looking quite pretty.

The purple tulips are holding up well... and what do I spy behind them?

The peony that blooms first.  The dark pink one that is... and the buds are huge!  I can hardly wait for "peony season"!  It's my favorite thing to bloom... or maybe that's the lilacs... or the hydrangeas... or the sunflowers... well, you know what I mean!

The cooler weather has meant that the magnolia is still looking fabulous.

And you can see that our fickle, April skies are clearing up... don't you love it when the skies clear up just for an hour or two before the sun actually goes down?  No sarcasm here... but some springs that is the way it goes, rain all day and clearing at night!

And in case you noticed my little calendar... the perpetual calendar that was found to use for my daughter's wedding last summer?  Well I certainly am not up to changing the date daily, but I do like to put a date in it that is an upcoming holiday or other special date... perhaps you were wondering how I remember that we planted our garden that first year on April 18th?

Well it's a special day... April 18, 1981... was the day that Mr. Red Gate Farm and I had our first date.  Ironically, we went to a movie, ironic since he doesn't even LIKE movies... and the movie?  Ordinary People (I'm showing my age, hmmm)... not really a first date kind of movie!

Here's to first dates, new gardens and believing in tomorrows.

Monday, April 15, 2013

tre... trois...tres...drie...prir

Three that is.  Whether it's Norwegian/Swedish, French, Spanish/Italian, Dutch or Icelandic...  Last Friday I was fortunate enough to spend the day with my daughter and my mom... so three of us!

For the last few years I've gone to a flea market/garage sale/antique sale kind of thing in a neighboring county.  It's held each spring in conjunction with a large tulip festival.  Typically I've gone with my mom and after the sale we usually hit "downtown" for lunch and shopping.  This year we did the same but my daughter came as well.

We always have lunch at a little cafe... a cafe with a vintage cafe sign of course.

The small town of Mt. Vernon, WA still has a small town feel... including this old clock that still runs.  You can see that the town has many, many planters of tulips, for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival I'm sure.

Lots of little antique shops...

Including my favorite, Dilly Dally Antiques.

But back to the sale... it's held at the county fairgrounds with many of the fair building full of vintage goodness.  I found these 5 ironstone, not china, plates for $3.00.  One salad plate and four dinner plates.  I thought they looked fun and fall/autumnish.

They actually work well with my Old Country Rose china.  I think this would be a great look for Thanksgiving... of course when I looked online I couldn't find any additional salad plates... The pattern is called Rosina and I'll be on the lookout for more.

I got this little spice shelf for $9.00.  I knew it would fit some of my vintage salt shakers...

And it did!

Of course this meant a total rearrange of my "pantry" shelves to accommodate this new piece.

Which is pretty much par for the course around here when I find something new!

I couldn't resist these cute little handmade table numbers for just $2.00...

And a .99 cent flower frog...

Or the .49 cent crepe paper napkins...

The $1.00 super long, 15 inch, skinny taper candles.

Another Trixie...

Two more monogrammed silver baby cups from the 60's, each just $2.00... along with something else I've been looking for...

A silver, trophy like urn!  I've been wanting to start a collection of little silver trophies and found this one for $15.00... and it's engraved!

I found a spot to tuck it away, along with a vintage post card I picked up a Dilly Dally Antiques.  A super cute pastel, seashell post card... just the right colors for spring!

My final acquisition was a bundle of fresh hydrangeas for the dining room table...

It was a great way to spend the day... doing my favorite thing of "treasure hunting" with loved ones!

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