Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'll pop on that...

Ok, so if you watch American Pickers...I KNOW you have heard Mike say that about a billion times.

Does it bug you as much as it does me?? He really needs to find a new phrase. It is like nails on a chalkboard to me now.

Ugh. I can't belive I found it coming out of my mouth earlier this week.

Here is a little background that leads up to the story I am about to tell.

I have so many facets to my crazy life. Some day soon...when my shows are over for the summer and I actually have more than 10 minutes to compose a blog post one measly time a week, you will see I am a girl of constant contradictions. I love to get my hands dirty, but I get a mani-pedi every other Wednesday. I am happy digging around in a barn of old junk...but I may have designer jeans on when I am doing it. You will find I have a serious case of wanderlust and actually spend oodles of time cruising backroads looking at cool old farmhouses and barns. I love them. They remind me of home.

Once in a while....I fancy myself to be a "picker"...but I didn't know that was even a term until I saw the show. You know the show on the History Channel...with these two guys...

Anyway, I am quite at home in the 'small farm scenario' so I rather like stopping when I see someone outside. More times than not, they are more than happy to let you poke around their outbuildings and I love...I mean TOTALLY LOVE when a cute old farmer shakes his head at me when I ask to buy a crusty old table I found buried under stacks of old feed sacks in his barn. The head shake is usually followed by a "Sweetie you can just have it...if a cute young thing like you is willing to crawl around in the dirt the way you do, you deserve to have it".

Well, that is when I know that poor man has spent waaay too many years working in the hot sun, because I am neither cute or young. So I have no choice to force cash on him, because the guilt would kill me slowly if I just took things I knew to be treasures.

During these little adventures, I climb over 100 year old machinery...through tiny spots to get into a hayloft that hasn't seen footprints in 50 years...I have even met an angry mama racoon or two that set up camp a little too close to crates of gorgeous vintage milk bottles I just had to have!

Very rarely do I come across a barn that is set up as nicely as I found this one. Primed and ready for the pickin'! The dirty part was already done. But it was no nearly as fun, I have to admit.

I have met some of the sweetest people on the Earth during my adventures. Truly good people. The salt of the Earth, as they say. There is nothing I love more than a farmer that has worked his life with his hands so we can have food on our table and his wife that daily wears an apron faded from 40 years of baking bread and making meals. I take away good memories of each and every one of them.

But the other day...one of those farmers from rural Iowa called my bluff.

I had already "picked" their barn, you see. I found doors with old pink peely paint...two gorgeous old farm tables...a green glass bottle pile that made my head spin...you get it. Good stuff.

But today...he didn't want me to pick the barn.


He wanted me to take the WHOLE barn.
 (ok, actually it is a corn crib, but for this post I am going to call it a barn.)


Ummm...yeah..That is exactly what I was thinking when he asked me.

But, before I knew it...the words just flew out of my mouth.

"I'll pop on that!"

Again...Whaaaaat did I just say?

What the heck am I going to do with a barn?

Well, take it apart piece by piece, apparently. You see, it is coming down...either in flames...or by my hands.

 It kills me to see a barn come down. They seem to be dropping like flies. Replaced by the new metal versions that I know are so much more functional and efficent, but I just don't love them like I do an old wood one. It won't have the smells...or the creaking floors...or the rafters you can see bits of sunlight peeking through. So, I guess it is up to me to let this barn live on...even if it is piece by piece.

So, this girl is going to have to get an extra manicure...because I have a feeling my french tips are going to be chipped. I have rounded up friends and family, bought enough hammers and pry-bars to go around and we are going to grill out, make some margaritas and have a barn-tearing-down party!

So here is the question I have for all of you.

What in the world am I going to do with old barn wood that has white paint on it...gates...barn doors...everything in the photos is soon going to be owned by me.

And I have no idea what I am going to do with it.

Do I build furniture?

Make signs?

Use the doors and gates around my house?

Sell it?

I am here to pick your brain.

And I hope to grow one of my own...because this idea was just plain crazy! 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

$60 CSN giveaway!!

Here we go girlies...it is time again for one of my favorite things...


CSN Stores has graciously asked if one of my readers would like the chance to win a gift certificate that would be good at one of their 200+ stores and I of course could not say "YES!!" fast enough! I took some time to look through their site...checking out all the products and stores they had to offer and simply put...I was AMAZED! They have everything...and I mean EVERYTHING you could want for your home!! But I looove to cook, so was immediately was drawn to the Le Creuset cookware.

Have you ever cooked or baked anything in a piece of LeCreuset? I have a few pieces...and it is amazing to say the least! My birthday is right around the corner, so I just may have to leave their website up on the screen the next time my sweet man sits down at the computer! CSN just happens to have it many of the famous LeCreuset colors, but bright white is still my favorite!

But back to the giveaway...CSN is offering one of my readers a

$60 gift certificate!

Here's the scoop.

Leave me a comment on this post telling me your favorite thing you cook or bake for your family.
(P.S. If you don't cook and are lucky enough to eat out every night, I am super jealous but will still take your comment as an entry!)
Oh, and I reserve the right to ask for the recipe if I think it sounds delicious...just so you know!

In honor of school starting, I will give "extra credit" to anyone that becomes a follower of my blog.

And a third entry goes to anyone that mentions the giveaway on their blog.

(Just be sure to leave me a separate comment for each!)

Comments will close on Thursday September 2nd.

 I will choose the winner via Random.org and post the name of the lucky reader on Friday September 3rd.

The winner will receive a $60 gift certificate to be used at ANY of their 200+ stores. Isn't that just fantastic?? Oooh...how I wish I could enter!

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

can anyone source these for me??

I have had this photo on my computer forever...I have no idea what site it came from.


I am finally ready to buy new chairs for around my old farm table...and these gorgeous metal chairs are the ones!

Anyone out there ever seen anything like these before in a store...or online?

I was able to find the chair I have shown below in the Sundance catalog...but these are just not quite the same. I sat in this style at Crate & Barrel...and they just "lean back" too far for an everyday chair. The ones shown in my first photo are more like a "regular chair".

 Does any of this make sense...or do you all just think I have totally lost my mind now!?

If you have chosen the latter...you are probably right.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

trendy? moi??

OK, so I did wear my Keds with no strings back in Junior High.

And I guess I did have big hair back in high school when that was in. And not just big hair. Huge hair.

Ok, so maybe I am a little trendy.

 But I can't believe Megan over at 1 Funky Woman thinks I am a 'trendy blogger'...so to her I say THANK YOU!

Oh, and you know what is cool? Megan and I just discovered she used to live in my town! And on one of my very favorite streets...Paris Avenue! Wouldn't you love to live on a street with that name? The houses are all gorgeous, as you would guess!

Ok...on to 10 things about be...not that they are at all trendy.

I have a serious obsession with the Strawberry Smoothies from the food counter at Target. Have you tried one?? If not, I want you to go get one today. It is like sucking real strawberries through a straw. But be warned. They are addictive.

 One favorite person in the world to talk to is my 6-year old niece Erin. This girl is dynamite with blonde pigtails. I totallly love her and her sense of humor...that girl has a gift for the one-liner. 

I am a vacationaholic. I am barely home from one trip and I am planning another. I LOVE the discovery of someplace new. Day trip...road trip...flying over the ocean...I love it all! I swear if my sweet husband and I were on Amazine Race, we would sooo win!

Growing up I was in 4-H. What farm kid wasn't?? Is it even around anymore? That is where I explored and learned to love making things, and being creative. I wish it was more popular. It really is amazing what the experience can do for a kid! The ironic thing...I would win State Champion in Woodworking, specifically "Refinishing" every.single.year. Hmmm...the fact that I paint furniture for a living - is that ironic or what???

Every single night I sit in bed and make my "to-do" list for the next day. Does anyone else do this...or I am on the only over-organized crazy woman out there?

I am a "salty" food person. I really could go the rest of my life without a piece of cake...but chips and salsa?? No way. Currently my brand of choice is Tostidos and Pace Medium Salsa. Love, love, love.

I am totally lacking in patience. I have to do everything NOW. If I decided to repaint my bedroom, it has to get done before I go to bed that night. Traffic in the city makes me nuts and if I have to wait in line for longer than a couple of minutes, I swear I die a little inside.

At this very moment I just looked over to see my "inbox" is totally over-flowing on my desk. Ok, so it is more than over-flowing. You can not longer even see that I have an "inbox". And that is sad, because it is a vintage wire basket that I totally LOVE! I hate paperwork. I hate filing. Ugh. I need a Personal Assistant.

I have a tube of Loreal "Pink Grapefruit" lip gloss in my pocket at all times. It is beyond fabulous. If they discontinue it, I am going to freak out...a little.

Mosquitoes do not bite me. Ever. Anyone know why this is????

Oooh...almost forgot I need to pass this on to a few of my favorite bloggers! If you are 'award free' my apologies! I'm just spreading the love...

Anita - Iowa Junk Gypsies
Annie - The House that Jade Built
Lara - Air Kiss
Becky - Farmgirl Paints
Kristin - My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Monday I am off to Chicago to do a little shopping...then I will be back Tuesday with a peek at my cabinet makeover...so stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

what I am doing today...


I hope to perform a miracle...

using a little primer,

a little white paint,

a few snippets of chicken wire,

and bit of linen fabric...

I cannot believe someone took a gorgeous turn of the century oak china cabinet...

painted it an awful olive green...(trust me, it is so much worse in person!)

gave it an antique wash...

and then took out what was probably original old wavy glass...

to add green plastic to the doors and sides!!


Ooohhhh....the 1970s were a terrible time for home decor...I am so glad I was able to rescue this beauty at an auction this past weekend.

~ Just another day in the life of a girl that paints furniture ~

I can't wait to show you her transformation later this week!

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 16, 2010

good news...some not so good news...and a silver lining!

I like to start my day on a positive note...so I am going to share some fantastic news first.
(And share a few photos that will totally make sense at the end of this post.)

I am excited to tell you my friend Anita from the Iowa Junk Gypsies has landed a new job!! And not just any job...one she has wanted and worked so hard for...and waited so long to hear those 2 little words..."you're hired." 


Can you imagine how exciting that must be?! I am out of my mind thrilled when something I have wanted is finally at my fingertips. She has waited so long for an opportunity to teach in one of the best school districts in her state, I am over the moon happy for her!

I hate to bring the moment down...but now we are movin' on to the not-so-good-news.

These two stories being together in one post will make sense at the end, I swear.

So stick with me.

~ I will not be selling at Junk Bonanza this year, afterall.  ~

I was so looking forward to meeting each and every one of you that sent me an email saying they were coming by the booth. It made me so happy to think I was finally going to be able to put faces and voices and smiles to the girls that stop by to chat with me every day.

I've been junking...and painting...and junking some more...and DANG! I had some good stuff to share with all of you!
But, alas...we will have to wait until next year.

You see...I was sharing a booth with Anita and Judy of the Iowa Junk Gypsies. But, because of Anita's new job...it just can't work out like we had hoped. I mean how do you really say to your brand spankin' new boss..."Ummm...I'd like to take 4 days off, a month into my brand new teaching job, to go whoop it up in Minnesota selling some pretty vintage wares at an incredible show"? Yeah. That would be tough.

So...duty calls. Anita is going to start her fantastic new job...

...and I...

...drumroll please...


(This is where the cheering starts and confetti falls from the ceiling...just so you know! Feel free to get up out of your chair and do a little Snoopy dance.)

See...everything has a silver lining, right??

I am not one to stay in my "oh-no" mode for more than about 20 seconds. When my path changes I quickly adjust, move on and my mind switches gears to "ok, how am I going to make this work". I am a do-er. A planner. And I make it happen. So, I am gonna make this happen...

Urban Farmgirl & Co...the etsy shop!

Once my shows at the flea market are over in October, I will again be opening my little shop for the season. It will be loaded with vintage silver, old painted signs, vintage wire baskets, ironstone plates and pitchers, vintage mirrors...oh and lots and lots of painted furniture! And yes, for all of you on my waiting list...custom orders for painted furniture will resume mid-October. Thank you for your patience, it has been a super-busy summer with a show every 4 weeks!

(all photos from Old Crow Farm's blog or Etsy shop, used with their permission)

To all of you that were going to stop by the booth at Junk Bonanza...I will be there shopping! So hopefully I will bump into you! Hmmm...maybe the real silver lining here is that I will get to SHOP!

And just so you know, as soon as I storm the gates, I hope I don't run anyone over. I will be making a mad dash for a booth I have been waiting all year to see...Old Crow Farm! I cannot wait to meet Kasey and JoJo in person! They have an amazing eye for vintage treasure with an industrial edge...and I LOVE it!

If you can't wait until the show, they have an Etsy shop filled with some of the most fantastic vintage & industrial treasures I have ever laid eyes on! So pop over to their blog and say Hi...tell them the Urban Farmgirl sent ya!

Happy Monday, friends!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm baaack!

Ahhh...summer vacation.

I look forward to it every year, and it so bittersweet when it finally arrives.

Because I know it will too soon be over.

It was a fabulous 10 days, and I have about 1000 photos to go through, but I gave myself 5 minutes to pick a few and do a quick post.

One thing I took away from this trips is that I have decided to buy myself a vintage-inspired bike. Who knows...maybe even a pink one!

I did spot an aqua and cream one at Walmart, of all places, while I was in North Carolina.

 I wonder if Illinois has something so cool? I'm going to check first thing tomorrow.

The beach was fantastic, as always. But why does there always seem to be that one guy that shows up with his metal detector??

I think it is just a ploy to get closer to the girls.

Look closely...do you see him??

 Does he really think pirate's treasure has washed up on a tourist beach?? He circled those poor girls about 5 times.

Oh, and here I am with my niece going out to surf.

Ok, ok. So you caught me in a lie.

Maybe 10 years ago I could have fooled you but those days are long gone.

I confess..I was busy eating a Snickers bar as they walked by. My backside hasn't looked like that since about 643 Snickers ago.

Have I mentioned the scenery yet??

The lifeguards water and sand at the beach were gorgeous!

This was "Maverick"..."Goose" was out on patrol while I was stalking his friend.

Maverick (I just love saying that name, was he even born when "Top Gun" was out??) even did a few Baywatch moves for us on the 4-wheeler.

My 17-year old niece was a little swoony over the way his curls blew in the breeze when he rode by. (Ok, ok...caught me in a lie again...I was slightly loving it, too.)

But the highlight of the beach was this boy...my nephew William. 10 years old and plucked straight out of Iowa. He was seeing the ocean for the very first time.

Don't you love the "Aunt Mary pleeease stop making me take pictures" pose?? He was so embarassed.

He was a little unsure at first...the waves were a little intimidating...but really wanted to get out there and surf with the other kids.

But I think he changed his mind when he realized the Atlantic was a little colder than he had expected.

I am off to do about 30 loads of laundry...and watch all my favorite shows that are stacking up on the DVR.

Happy weekend, girls!

I'll be back Monday!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

it's time for a little...


a little sand between my toes...

 the smell of sun tan lotion...

 and girly drinks with cute little umbrellas...

(one of my favorite retro photos taken from the web...but I can't remember where!)

See you soon!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

virginia or bust...

I really need to come up with a new phrase for these roadtrips. My hubs is getting a little worried he is going to back the car out of the garage before one of our trips and I will have painted it all over the car windows like we did for Spring Break back in the day.

Did anyone else do that?...or was it just our nerdy group? PLEASE tell me someone else had "Daytona Beach or Bust" painted on the windows of their 1988 Chevy Cavalier once upon a time.

I will never do that again. I promise.

But, I am heading off into the sunset for yet another fun-filled, and if I am lucky...junk-filled ROADTRIP!

Soon I will be traveling with my brother and sister-in-law...along with my 17 year old niece, 15 year old nephew and 9 year old nephew. Destination.....Virginia Beach!


I plan on chasing down cute little vintage trucks on the highway and stopping at every road-side attraction and antique shop I can find!

10 glorious days basking in the summer heat, swimming in hotel pools and hanging at the beach with my niece and nephews before they get so old I am no longer considered the "cool" Aunt.

But, in order to make the most of my trip...I need a little help from my girls!

This is the route I will be taking...

So what I need from you is this...


Places I should go the kids would like?

My head is spinning with questions...I need answers! Can anyone out there help a girl out?

What is the best oceanfront hotel in Virginia Beach?
How long should I drag the kids through Monitcello...and Williamsburg...and Jamestown?
Is one day at each enough?
What is the best area of the beach to stay on in Virginia Beach? North or South?
Is there anything along the way that is a "must see"?
What little towns have the best boutique & junk shops???

I know there has to be some of you out there that have traveled to...or are lucky enough to live...in this beautiful area of the country!

So lets hear it...give me the scoop! The good, the bad and the ugly. I can take it.

I hope someone out there can help me out!

And I cannot thank you enough for all your kind comments on my last post! You have no idea how much it made my day to hear your encouragement and feedback to my painted furniture and my booth at the show! I received soooo many emails with questions, so I will try to get a post up to answer them all. but seriously, you made me smile...and I cannot thank you enough for that!

Monday, August 2, 2010

a little peek...

Whew...another show at the Kane County Flea Market has come and gone.

It was hot.

I am tired.

I loaded, unloaded, lifted, moved and loaded furniture some more...for 2 days straight.

But, it was a blast as usual!

I made so many little girls smile from ear to ear with a pretty new girly bed...a gorgeous newlywed couple that just started their life in the city were so happy to find a dining room set...and there were oodles of dressers that went to adorn expecting Mom's dream nurseries. When people ask me what I do I always feel so strage saying "I paint furniture"...but today I think I am going to change that to "I help make peoples house pretty and them happy".

I never. Ever. Show photos of my booth at the show on this blog.

Why, you may ask??

Because it is just not "pretty". The logisitics of selling at a show like this are much different than a show where you actually have time to set up and do a "pretty display". Oh, how I long for that! But, it is what it is. I have literally 1.5 hours to unload 2 huge U-haul trucks, put up my tents, get my walls up, hang mirrors and frames, arrange it all and make some sort of display out of 83 pieces of furniture until the customers storm the gate and the games begin!

So here is it in all its un-pretty glory. 

And yes, you are about to see a LOT of white. Hope it doesn't hurt your eyes. Lets just say my customer base in the Chicago area wants white. Bright white. So I give 'em what they are asking for!  

Lets take a little tour, shall we??

Interesting that I see a man contemplating one of my pieces. His wife must have sent him.

This beautiful 1920s bedroom set went to a gorgeous couple that was looking for the first "big girl" bed for their little girl. It was the first to sell, literally within 32 seconds of them stepping in my booth. They have been looking for a couple of months, but this time they came early enough to snag it before someone else did. I am so happy it is going to their home....Thank you Alicia!

This was the tall dresser from the set. Someone else grabbed this one, just as Alicia and her hubby  were securing the rest of the set. I am a little sad it didn't stay together, but it made someone else happy, so that's ok.

The chairs went to various homes, mostly with desks that I sold...but the table was the very last piece to sell. It was so sad sitting there by itself...silly me forgot to show that it had a leaf for expansion. As soon as I got it out, it was gone. I blame it on the heat.

If I had 10 of these dressers, all 10 would have sold. Everyone seemed to be looking for a long dresser this time around. Note to self for next month to bring a couple more...oh, and see that gray mirror?? I am kicking myself for not keeping it!

~ sigh ~

I loved it so. Old gray paint...beautiful shape.

What was I thinking selling that one??

This dresser is done in my new favorite color "Sea Salt"...thanks to a little inspration from Miss Layla over at The Lettered Cottage. I fell in love with the color when she put it on the ceiling in her Reading Room.

This frency headboard was another piece that so many people were drawn too. Isn't that crown fantastic??

This is the dining room set that is going into a little apartment in the city. I was told by the newlyweds that bought it that is was very "Crate & Barrel"...Ha!! They were so excited when they loaded it into their little car.

Bookshelves are ALWAYS popular. Any size, any shape. This one is tall and slender, a rather unique piece.

And last but not least...my favorite dresser. This beauty will be adorning a baby boutique that will be carrying some of my furniture. I love, love, love the mirror!

So there you have it. A little peek inside what happens in my life the first weekend of every month.

When you get it all together in one space like that, it is rather white, isn't it??

Oh, how I love what I do.

And yes, all the furniture in my house is white.

Except 2 pieces.

Husbands ask me that question all weekend long.

~ * smile *~