Behind My Red Door

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fun with friends, more gifts, and more stenciling!

I saw this on  the web recently and it just made me smile!! friends underpantsWe all know how important it is to have time with our girlfriends. I am blessed with some very dear long time friends that still live close enough to see regularly and I had a chance to spend time with 2 of these wonderful friends at different times recently. There is something very special about sharing time with someone who knows your past, where you are from, what your dreams and hopes were back then and can be excited with you to see that many of those dreams are now reality. I met each of these two friends when my kids were very young and among the many things we shared and had in common was that we really looked forward to being grandmothers. And  now we all are!! Neither gal decorates like I do but we can talk grand kids until the sun sets and rises once again. It is just wonderful!

It is wonderful to have newer friends as well and especially when they share the same joy in decorating and antiquing. I just happened to see that sign right before Audrey and I headed to our friend Lynda’s house in NH for lunch and some fun. It reminded me of our last visit there when we laughed so hard that well, we thought we might need Depends instead of underpants this time. And that was not far from the truth! LOL

Lynda’s home is so gorgeous! A large colonial saltbox set up on a hill in a private setting despite being in a neighborhood of other large homes. This pic from last spring shows just part of it…098

And inside she has transformed it so that you really feel like you have stepped back in time. I only brought my old point and shoot camera with me (and it is dying – boohoo!!) and I didn’t want to be rude, so I only took a handful (or two) pictures to share.  This greeted us as we came inside. 008

This is where we later had our lunch. Lynda placed our regular plates on these old pewter chargers and it was such a wonderful way to set the table. 010


Just a few snippets from around the house…..021


Lynda has several Susan Dwyer murals. This is her powder room on the first floor.018


In her front foyer…023


Her kitchen walls are painted a warm rich color so despite being a large room it is so cozy!046

Her collections of antiques are amazing…027


Look at this yummy dessert!! 049

Lynda had two fun projects for us to do. She had sewn up pillow forms and we stuffed them with buckwheat hulls and hand sewed them closed. We now have wonderful pillows in a colonial textile. Audrey and I are filling ours. Lynda had a trash bucket full of the hulls. She uses them for mulch in her beautiful gardens.028

…and she had garden pavers for us to engrave with a date of our choice. We simply wrote the date with a marker and using chisels and a hammer and wearing glasses, we slowly chipped away until we had some depth to the date. Then we sealed them with concrete sealer. You can see the one on the right is sealed already and it really helps to show off the date. They will look wonderful in our gardens when this snow melts!You can’t see mine but I chose 1896. We moved here in 1986 so I transposed the two middle numbers. 005

And now comes the part that had us close to p**ing our pants! Let me introduce to you the wenches - from left to right Audrey, Lynda and Lynne. Lynne does not blog but she visits many of our blogs and always leaves the sweetest messages. Some of you know her as Adsgram. She is so much fun in person and always makes us smile and laugh!! wenches

..and here are their fellas!! guysYes, Lynda was able to gather up all those costumes in a matter of minutes!! It was a lot of fun and we all laughed ‘til our bellies hurt! It was a wonderful day with wonderful friends. I am so blessed to have days like that!! Thanks so much Lynda for the great food, great company and fun projects!!

The fun didn’t end when we left Lynda’s. When I was dropping Audrey off at her home she surprised me with with an early birthday gift, this wonderful Turtlecreek redware platter!  She knows the teacher in me I love the alphabet theme. It looks wonderful in my office and I will treasure it always!! Thank you Audrey!! 014

Yes, I did more stenciling. I have earned over my lifetime to go with my first instinct in decorating but for some reason, I didn’t follow it when I repainted the living room and added the stencil a few years back. While it was perfectly lovely and an historic reproduction, it just never really worked for me. BUT the living room wall goes all the wall down the hall so I would have had to repaint and re-stencil a lot of wall. So I put it off. But now that the long wall that joins the spaces has a mural on it and breaks up the two spaces, I had no excuse. I sent away to MB Historic Décor for the Moses Eaton stencil I always wanted and got busy. Instead of using the same Tyler Taupe I used in the dining room, I used the Barnyard Red and Benjamin Moore’s New Chestnut – which is a bit deeper and bolder. And it happens to be the color on my garage doors and light post and other pieces outside. 024(Whenever I use interior or exterior latex for stenciling projects, I always thin it just a wee bit.) I needed new brushes before I started this project so I headed to Michaels and they didn’t have what I wanted but I found something better!

Martha Stewart foam pouncers!! See those foam cylinders? They are very firm and dense and fine. And see the two big ones, they worked wonderfully in the large open cutouts on this particular stencil. I LOVE these. Over the years I have stenciled many walls – some for me and some for family and friends and I have tried all kinds of brushes and sponges and these are going to be my main stay from now on. The sponges come right out of the plastic casing to wash. I used them just as I would a stencil brush making sure there was not too much paint on them. I personally think they are brilliant!PD_LRG_32243_1

And here is the new look!013

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039That’s all I can show you because I only got half way around the room. My trip to Michael’s included a side trip so I got a late start and haven’t had time to get back to it. I’ll show you more pics when it is all done!

That side trip I mentioned.. well it was to a new marketplace in the area… the Brick Mill Marketplace in Uxbridge, MA. Click ~here~. It was only 15 minutes from Michael’s so I just had to include that in the trip as well!  Remember in my last post I said I was looking for an antique piece to put on the mural wall?  Well I never thought I would find it so soon. Meet my new to me antique blanket chest. I spotted it right away and knew it would be my birthday present from Mr. Red Door! Thanks honey! I quickly put these pieces on it to snap a picture but I hope to change things out soon. 010

In my last post I mentioned how I get many questions about my fowl rack. My large dark red shelf with the cubbies that is over my Homestead Chair in the living room receives almost as many questions. 024

I got this wonderful piece in 2004 at the wonderful Primitive Thymes in Spencer, MA ~ Karen and Rich Boulay are the shopkeepers. And as much as my taste has evolved and changed, 8 years later I still love this shelf as much as when I first brought it home. I love the chunky pegs, the 3 cubbies in the center, all the display space and the dark red color. 048

051I don’t know if they still carry this but you can click ~here~ and check out the other prim items in their great shop and tour their wonderfully primitive home as well!

I hope ( I am not promising) that the next time I come back I can share a few pics of where Lili and I spend a lot of our time. It’s one of my best kept secrets after all!

Until next time – warm hugs, Linda

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Getting paid to blog??


Happy March! It sure came in like a lion in my neck of the woods! After enjoying bare ground almost all winter (which is unheard of for us)  we got several inches of the white stuff today. Mother Nature didn’t like us getting too complacent I guess! The good thing is that it melts much quicker at this time of year. I am counting on that!!

So you are wondering about the title of this post I bet?  Well it seems strange to me but just recently, even though I don’t blog nearly as often as I used to, I have been approached 3 different times in 3 different ways about getting paid to write blog posts and/or having paid sponsors on my blog. I personally do not think there is anything wrong with making money from blogging, and while I am very flattered by those offers, it is just not for me. I do not have a business or a product to promote so increased traffic to my blog is not a goal of my blogging. But when I can find time to blog, I only choose to blog about things that are near and dear to me. I don’t want to have to include subjects or products I may or may not be interested in. I appreciate the kind offers I have received but I will pass on those and any others that come my way. So with that said, let’s move on to why I am posting this week!!

Friends, gifts, shopping and feeling blue!

Thank – you for all the wonderful comments and emails and messages about my last post. I am glad most people realized it was said with tongue in cheek.  Last time I blamed it on the desk, this time I can blame it on friends and family! Now that makes me a very blessed gal!! 

Does this happen to you? You get something new for your home and you have to find just the right spot for it and then that starts a whole slew of tweaking and rearranging. You get it just right and then you get something else new or even worse, you get an idea in your head about changing up the décor a bit and then you start all over again??  Yes? It happens to you too?Aha!! I  I just knew I was in good company with that!!  Well that’s been happening a lot lately Behind My Red Door and it is all thanks to my dear friends!

First a few weeks ago I got a very early birthday gift from my dear friend Loretta.  She gave me the heads up that a box was coming and she gave me the option to open it or save it for my birthday later in March. Seriously, I fully intended to wait and open it on my birthday, but the day it arrived, Lili was here.  She has learned that often there is bubble wrap inside my packages, and she just had to see if there was some in this box too. There was no taking no for an answer THAT day!  Once I opened the box I just had to peek inside of all of that wrapping. There was a lot of bubble wrap so Lili was very happy popping the bubble stuff all afternoon and I was very happy to find this absolutely gorgeous sgraffito redware plate from the workshops of David T. Smith. Close up new plateYou know I love me some redware and it  looks wonderful on my blanket chest. Thank you Loretta, you know me well!! lr & dr

For some time now had decided that I wanted to bring back some blue into my décor. I had a lot of blue years ago when I first started to decorate with a colonial influence. Then I got sidetracked with a more primitive look and stopped using blue. I still used my beloved Bennington pottery but put away or gave away a lot of blue décor. Now that I am trying to bring a more colonial look to my home and after seeing my friend Linda Babb’s new home, which is coming along just beautifully (~click here~),  I decided once and for all that I missed my blue pieces. I can only dream of having the gorgeous collections of antique coverlets Linda has, and my dark blue JB love seat is now downstairs in the family room, but I am finding other was to bring blue back into my décor. I am using more of my salt glazed stoneware with the blue slip designs, some old, some reproductions I got in the 80’s from Early American Homes magazine and some from potters in PA. And when I moved this little hooked rug recently, I realized the background is a deep navy blue – not black. Not surprising since I got it back in my blue period!  moved smaller rug

I took out some of my ol blue textiles like this coverlet as well as my wonderful blue wool hand loomed rug that I had in storage and I am slowly adding more blue here and there.039



056I added a few Bennington plates to my cabinet in the dining room. I like how it looks with the pewter…pewter cupboard…especially behind the new to me old pewter pitcher that I acquired recently.Pewter pitcher

I had been chatting with my friend Kathy Joyes about adding more blue and I mentioned I’d like to find a hooked rug with some blue. As luck would have it, 2 days later I was sitting here at my computer looking at wedding ideas when I heard that old familiar AOL voice say “you’ve got mail” ~  it was an email update from Carol Weatherman of The Sampling. Many of you probably have seen her picture trail  ~click here~ and her beautiful homes. Carol said she was listing some hooked rugs for sale so I clicked over immediately and was thrilled to be able to purchase this beauty ~ and unknowingly, Kathy was trying to buy it too.  Sorry Kat!Close up new rugIt’s been a long time since I changed the display on the right of my big red shelf and the hooked rug is just the change that spot needed!  It pulls in the color of my redware as well. You can see my other new gift – a new lamp on the round table. It was a Christmas gift from Mr. Red Door. I really needed a better lamp on that side of the room and this has a center bulb and 4 small arms with bulbs as well. I just love it. I purposely chose the fabric shade instead of punched tin because it throws more light. new rug and lampHere is a picture of it from the website we ordered it from ~ Circa Home Living ~circa lampone of my favorite places to shop online!

Another friend who knows me well is Kris Thomas. She emailed me after seeing this rabbit  yellowware mold on EBay. She knew I was looking for something different from the 3 molds I already had. $(KGrHqFHJCUE8fdMzVjLBPMwpHzK1!~~60_3

He looks great in his new home ~ my kitchen!021And now the spaces I had set aside for molds are all filled up!! I am running out of space for yellowware, but I am still looking for a rolling pin and one or two other special pieces. 023

And a  few weekends ago I got out to do some antiquing for the first time in ages. I met up with Audrey and she took me to some shops in southern NH that were all new to me. I found some wonderful new treasures ~ like this foot warmer that looks right at home at the foot of the bed on the new to me old bench that Audrey so very generously gave me. Thanks Audrey! I am so thankful I have my heated mattress pad and I don’t need to rely on one of these to heat my feet!! 016 (2)

I love old wooden pieces and I found a great stack of pantry boxes... 4

..that ended up right here….020 …at least for now! I want to find an antique bench and another antique piece – maybe a cupboard ~ for this spot eventually.

And I am so excited about this little drop leaf table. 027Audrey and I were in one of those antique shops and I had just finished telling her about a small splay leg drop leaf table I had seen online when we spotted this. The price was right and I knew I could make it into a little beauty so it came home with me! 028Some one had put a sloppy coat of stain over the top and it was streaky and plain ol’ ugly.  But this is one well made little maple table with the colonial turned legs I love, so I knew it was worth a little bit of labor.031I stripped the top, scrubbed the rest, stained the top, painted the legs midnight blue by Folk Art, antiqued it with a dark brown stain and sealed it with one of my new favorite products… Low Sheen Burnishing Paste from the Real Milk Paint company! (~click here~). Jill told me about this and I love it! burnishingpasteI now have a wonderful new to me side table. It’s hard to tell but the legs are really dark navy – just like my wool rug.034


037And true to what I just mentioned, I had to tweak the placement of the side tables in the living room and that same corner now looks like this…011

I have been tweaking some of the walls as well!  When I painted the walls back when we moved here in ‘86, I used Benjamin Moore’s Manor White. It is a soft off white  but too white for me now. Whenever I update a room,  I now use Benjamin Moore’s Powell Buff ~ a much warmer color.  Manor White on the left, Powell Buff on the right. 2The dining room above the chair rail got painted and stenciled. This time I did away with the black in the stenciling and used Folk Art’s Barnyard Red and Benjamin Moore’s Tyler Taupe – which is the color under the chair rail. I used the same stencil as before along the ceiling which is the BD-3 SWAG BORDER 4" & LEAF BORDER 1" W from Liberty Design.  Just Google it for the website.019The design above the chair rail is the same one I had before as well. I have had it for years and was from Stencil House of Hookset, NH ~ no website that I can find.  Vertically along the windows, doors and corners I used a small diamond stencil I have had for years but I do not remember where it came from.015

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For additional info and sources on stenciling, go the left side of my blog Admittedly the change in the room is subtle. The overall look is much softer and warmer. 070


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I get more questions about my fowl rack than just about anything else I show in pictures. For the record, I bought it many many years ago ( I think almost 20)  in a shop that is still in business but no longer carries prim pieces. 058If you are looking for a source, my friend Jen from Hickory Hill Primitives carries many wooden items in their Workshoppe – including fowl racks.  And they will make them in custom colors too. The website is on the picture below. Jen's fowl rack

As I find just the right special pieces, finish some additional painting/stenciling projects and add more blue, I’ll be updating my pics.

Thank you for stopping by! Until next time ~ warm hugs,  Linda