Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pocket Doors and Porcelain Door Knobs

When we first found our home, one of the features that we loved the most was the original large pocket door separating the living and dining room.  It was still the original wood before we moved in, as were all the trim and built-ins in the house.  It also came with the original plates and glass door knobs. 

Because we didn't really care for the dark stained wood trim, all of it was painted bright white right away throughout the house, which took weeks but it was so worth it.  The white really made the beautiful trim pop instead of just blending into the wood floor.  And we just loved how the pocket door looked with all the bright white paint.  One of the things we never thought to change was the door knob and backplate.  
 The current one was just not our thing, too Victorian and ornate, but it was one of those details that didn't really seem important so we left it there.  But it always bothered me a little.  I felt it didn't really go with our decor and it made me not really enjoy the pocket door as much as I wanted to.  So, I decided to change that.  I rummaged through my hubby's boxes of found vintage hardware, doorknobs, etc.,
and found some I really loved.
These vintage brass backplates and gorgeous white porcelain door knobs which I just LOVED.  The porcelain doorknobs are heavy (for a door knob) and I love that, too.  The several layers of paint needed to come off the backplates so I grabbed a can of spray stripper.

Warning:  This stuff is super strong and I actually hate using it but it does the job fast.  Use it with care, outside with gloves and a mask.  Here's how they looked after.
I was actually planning to spray paint the backplates with oil rubbed bronze spray paint but I liked them so much after stripping them that I decided to leave them as is.  Hubby and I removed the old hardware and attached these and I LOVE the difference.   (I also gave the pocket door a fresh coat of ultra white paint.)
It may seem like a small detail but sometimes those can make a big difference because we are loving our pocket door much more now.  I love the straight lines of this door knob backplate instead of the ornate look of the other one.
As you can see it is quite large.  We don't shut it often but it certainly comes in handy from 
time to time.  And it really is a beautiful door.

Here's the "before" from the other side.
And after.....
Again, small detail, but big change to us.
I'm so glad I didn't spray paint the backplates.  I'm crazy about this change and think it goes with our home so much more.  And it was FREE!  Now, I guess I better get to work on the other doors.

P.S.  We just repainted our dining room.  If you're interested, the color is called Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore.  :)  The paint on the trim and pocket door is called Ultra White by Valspar.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Veggie Garden

Hey there!  Hope everyone is enjoying their day.  I thought I would share some photos of our backyard garden with you as that is where we are spending most of our time these days since it's SUMMER!  Yay!
Gardening is a huge passion of mine.  Our kids have even been bitten by the gardening bug.  Hubby and I have had a vegetable garden since we first married 20 years ago, no matter where we live.  
We kinda follow the square foot gardening plan in that we built 4' x 4' boxes for our vegetables.  That's about it.  I don't really plant something per square foot.  This works for us.  As you can see, we finally finished the privacy fence and oh how we love it.  We still have some landscaping to do in the back corner where our compost bin is.  All the veggies are coming along nicely, which is a far cry from last summer when everything completely burned up with the hotter than hades summer.
The heirloom tomatoes blooms are setting and I can't wait to eat them.  It feels like forever since we have enjoyed tomatoes right out of the garden.
We also planted lots of cherry and yellow pear tomatoes to throw in our salads and pasta.  Or add to the basil with fresh mozzarella. Yum!
 The zucchini.  I have to admit I have a love hate relationship with zucchini.  While I love to eat them, I can't seem to grow them very well, even though they are supposed to be fool proof.  Anyone else have this problem?  Mine shrivel up, turn yellow and die before they ever get big enough to harvest.  I read this is because of inadequate pollination.  So, I did try the hand pollinating method of taking the male and female flower and..........(ahem) nevermind.  Um, have you ever seen what the inside of male zucchini flowers looks like?  I have to admit, I may or may not have turned bright red while doing it.  It worked last year, but I don't get up early enough when the flowers are open in the morning to do that with each one.  So, I might be buying all our zucchini at our local farmers market.
The arugula is growing like weeds.  Love that stuff.
And we can't wait for these little flowers to turn into delicious cantaloupe, my boys' favorite.  I'm telling ya, you can't even compare the taste of a garden cantaloupe vs. a store bought.  
So sweet and juicy.
Plenty of mint.  I like to add sprigs to simple syrup and steep, then remove and toss with fresh fruit.  So good.
And all the other herbs are doing quite nicely.
As are the red geraniums.  There's nothing quite as cheerful as a bright red geranium.

We also have planted cucumbers, banana peppers and red bell peppers.  All of our plants I started indoors by seed during the winter under grow lights.  
So much cheaper, though kinda a lot of work, too.
 I just love summer vegetable gardening and highly recommend it, 
even if you have to grown your veggies in pots. 

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

DIY Window Boxes

Hey there!  I have been an absent blogger lately, right?  I've been so busy and the weather has been just lovely, so it's been hard to plop myself down in front of the computer.  Our kiddos are just about finished with school for the summer and I. Can't. Wait!  No more getting up at the crack of dawn to get everyone out the door on time.  Staying up late and sleeping in.  
But best of all, spending time with my kids.
We love summer!!
So, I've been busy doing more fun projects around the exterior of our house.  See, after 6 years of wanting needing a privacy fence in our back yard, we finally put one up and couldn't be happier.  It looks so much better and as a result, I've been adding things we've always wanted to here and there.  Starting with landscaping the side of our home.  It's always been rather dull so we took the plunge there, too.  We waited until shrubs went on sale for half price so landscaping the side wasn't costly, just a little hard work.  

Last year my boys gave me a hydrangea bush for my birthday that I planted along this side, however, it needed some company, so we added some white azaleas, a favorite of mine.  I still thought there was something missing and have always wanted window boxes, but didn't want to spend the money or buy the typical iron variety.  My good friend Lisa, who also happens to be my neighbor, made the coolest window box for her gorgeous front window a few years ago and I've always admired it.  So, I did what all good friends do, I shamelessly copied it.  :)  Here's how I made mine.

The only thing I bought for this project was the pots and flowers.  Actually, my wonderful hubby bought them for me for Mother's Day. :) 
Everything else was scrap around our house. 
I started with 1 x 12's that I cut to be the same length as the lower ledge of the window.  
Then I took my pots, turned them upside down and placed them on the wood, then traced with a pen.
 For the long double window, I needed 4 pots so I evenly spaced them and traced.  Do NOT cut yet!
The next step is to trace another circle inside that one that is about a 1/4 inch smaller in diameter.  The pot will sit inside the circle at the lip.  Then I cut each circle out with a jig saw.
After lightly sanding the rough edges, I painted the entire piece white.  Notice the almost finished fence!  I also was able to remove the chicken wire fence I put around our veggie garden to keep the deer out.  Yay!
 Set the boards aside and let dry.  Next up are the brackets the ledge will sit on.  I already had 4 of these from another project but I wanted them to be a little sturdier so I added a piece of 1 x 3 to the back of each one and secured with screws.
Then I painted those white, as well.  After they are dry, I attached them right under the window leaving about an inch gap between the top of the bracket and the under side of the window ledge for the top to fit in.  Next I placed the ledges on top of the secured brackets, secured them with screws to the brackets, and placed the pots that I filled with the gorgeous red flowers inside.  Here's how it looks.
And the other window.
I LOVE them!   I think what inspired me to do this was the lovely chocolate terra cotta pots available now.  I am crazy about them and wanted to find a way to showcase them.  Hopefully, the window ledges take your eye away from the ugly electrical garbage on this side of the house.  I can't wait till these bushes have filled in a little and are full of beautiful flowers.
 So that's it!  Thank you to my friend, Lisa for the great idea! 
Happy Summer!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Vintage Flour Sack Towels

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope all you moms had as wonderful a Mother's Day as I did!
I had such a lovely day with my hubby and kids.  And they did all kinds of sweet things for me.
But the most special had to be that they told me they loved me and gave me lots of hugs.

Last week I was lucky enough to receive a wonderful little package in the mail from Daune over at Cottage In The Oaks and I was thrilled with what was inside.
I love packages like this.  Don't they just make you feel so special? 
Inside were these lovely vintage flour sack towels, available in her Etsy shop.  I absolutely love them both but I think the towel with the bicycle on it is my favorite.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.  I collect kitchen tea towels and was so excited to add these to my collection but even more excited to hang them on my kitchen island that I made from barn wood.
Aren't they so cute?  They go perfectly in our kitchen because of the neutral color and I love the gray lettering.
She was also so kind as to send me this gorgeous leather cuff/bracelet, also available in her shop.
Which says "douce reveuse" which means "tender dreamer".
Describes me perfectly, I think.  How cool is that? 

Daune sells these items, along with many others, in her Etsy shop and is graciously offering a special discount for our readers, 20% off your total purchase of anything in her shop!!  Thank you so much, Daune!  Please do check out her shop as there are many wonderful things to choose from.  Please use the discount code:  VINTAGEHOME

And be sure to also visit her blog !

Have a great day!