Thursday, September 30, 2010

today is my lucky day!

Girls, I need to share the love!!

I won a contest today...and I am doing a happy dance all around the room because of it! (Ok, I did sit down long enough to type this, but I am going to continue my dance as soon as this post is finished!)

A few weeks ago, I found out about a contest sponsored by Purdy brand paint brushes. And let me tell ya, I LOVE me some Purdy paintbrushes!

I have been in the 'painted furniture business' now exactly 10 years, 5 months and 29 days and I have used a Purdy brush every single day I have painted! I don't even want to count how many pieces I have done in the last 10 years, but it has to be in the thousands!

I do not spray my furniture, I am crazy enough to do it all by hand. (Surprisingly I am yet to be stricked with Carpel Tunnel!) Now, I know there are a lot of you that spray, and I am not anti-spray or anything like that, I guess I just stick with what I know. I like the brush. I like how it applies the paint, and I like how durable it is. I am constantly hearing cusomters in my booth whisper "she sprays all this furniture"...and I always smile a little to myself because I am happy to know they recognize how smooth my finish is, so of course I point out it is done with a brush! I am not sure if that is a testament to the brush...or my skills...but I will be humble and say the brush!

~ smile ~

(fyi...the Cub is my favorite brush...such great control and it can fit easily between shelves!)

So when I heard Purdy was sponsoring a "Share Your Purdy Story" contest I could not get to their website fast enough to get my entry in!

Can you believe they pick a winner

If I did the math right, that makes your chances pretty darn good!

What do you have to do to enter?? Just visit the link to their website below and tell Purdy why you love their brushes! (if you have never used one...I would say this is a perfect excuse to go buy one!)

The prize, you ask??

A $100 gift card to the Home Improvement store of your choice.

So go on, get over there and get your story in! You can also enter by showing photos of a project you completed with your Purdy brushes!

I'll even give you the link so you can get over there...FAST!

Good luck, and if you win...I wanna hear about it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

what a difference a day makes...

Yesterday, I started to take down 'my' barn.

And I lived to tell about it.

Here is a little background for those of you that are just joining in. This is a long post, so get comfortable.

I did a post about a month ago, telling you about this crazy idea that came over me. My sister lives on a farm in rural...very rural...Iowa. Every once in a while when I am crusing through the middle-of-nowhere on my way to see her, I feel the need to stop and ask if I can peek through a barn or two at a farm that strikes my fancy. Usually I come out with a few pieces of industrial goodness to use in my home or sell. But this time, one of those farmers called my bluff and offered me the whole barn!

Crazy, you might say...that I would want such a thing, much less participate in the tearing down of it. I cannot deny it, you would be right. Crazy it is, and crazy I am. But my husband and I love to build furniture, that is actually where my little business began way back in the day, and I am a little sad sometimes that is has been overshadowed by the painting of furniture instead. So, its back to our roots for a little while. We have a few tricks up our sleeves as to what we are going to use the barnwood for, and I can't wait to get started!

Ok, anyway...back to the barn.

 Here is where I started yesterday...

By the middle of the day, it looked like this.

I know there are quite a few of you out there that are like me. You find beauty in these sort of things, as crazy as it may be. You should have seen the look on the farmer's face when I told him some the boards from the inside were going to be made into a dining table for my patio.

It was priceless. He just shook his head and walked away.

But serioulsly, that is some gorgeous wood! Perfect vintage patina if you ask me!

I am going back next week...and this gate is going home with me for sure! Isn't is just awesome?? I am going to have to cut it in sections because it is so long.

~ sigh ~

I heart chippy white paint.

Oh, and the boards with a little white paint?? It will soon be a cabinet for my office with lots of little drawers.

I have been dreaming about this roof since I first saw it. I have a serious addiction to galvanized metal...and I would LOVE to use this on the walls in my garage. The color is fantastic, perfectly aged and weathered. Now...I just have to convince my sweet husband when we go back to salvage more wood to spend his day 2 stories up in the sky, taking it down for me.

I have a feeling some deals are going to have to be made for this one.

Of course I could never have done all this work by myself. I had sisters, brothers-in-law and even a few unexpected helpers yesterday. I have a great benefit plan for those that help me., and we do allow time out of your day to play with Thomas the Tank every few minutes when the real work gets to be too much.

He did a fair amount of supervising, as any 3 year old nephew should, but most of the time he was too busy looking cute. He did try to show me the ropes of farm living, thinking maybe I had forgotten since I had gone "urban" in my new life.

(Oh, and don't tell his mom about the giant pieces of gum I was giving him. Our little secret, ok?)

And for those of you that are worried...the kiddo didn't stick around once we started working. He was there to see the project get underway then it was home for a snack and a nap. Hmmm..sounds like a couple of other suervisors I have had in my lifetime.

A couple of the site supervisors were of the 4-legged variety. It was so funny how they felt the need to "inspect" everything we did! At the beginning of the day they just could not understand what we were doing...but by the end of the day they were stuck to me like glue.

The cows were fascinated by all the action. I was watching them from the top of the barn, and one by one they would come over to the water tank to take a drink...or shall I say...pretend to take a drink...but would really be watching us out of the corner of their eye.

This big guy did not seem amused by any of it.

Then there were the chickens. What is it about chickens, anyway?? They look suspicious of everything that goes on around them. This one watched me with an Eagle eye like I was stealing from him home. Unlike the horses, he could not get me out of there fast enough!

I ended up taking a couple dozen eggs from his house, so I guess I did steal from him a little.

My little burro buddy made the whole day worth it. He was my side-kick all day. He would watch me as I tore boards off...and follow me as I carried them over to the "nail removing station". Isn't he just the cutest little thing?? My nephew named him Burrito. Love it.

But then there were those that insisted on pitching in...even though I would never ask. My beautiful 74-year old Mom even got in on the action. We would take the boards down, and she (and my Dad, too) would take the nails out. Can you believe that?? What a woman! Raised 8 children, took care of our little farmette, spoils 20 grandchildren and still has the time and energy to knock rusty old nails out of barn boards. I would say you no longer need to wonder where I get my "sure, I can take your barn down" attitude.

~ smile ~

I just love her.

This is about a third of the nails her and my Dad had removed by the end of our day. I saved them...I felt it was right to give them a home in a beautiful antique jar in my office. There was just too much history there to throw away. First, the years they held up this beautiful structure, then all the sweat that went into taking them back out.

Go ahead. Call me crazy again. I totally deserve it.

By late afternoon I decided to try to get the doors and shutters off the top of the barn, so I scaled this tiny little thing they called a "ladder" (have I mentioned I hate heights) and was so taken in by the scenery. I was tough, I scaled back down that little, old ladder to retrieve my camera.

I wish you could have been there. It was about 67 degrees, and the air smelled so good. I just sat there with my legs dangling out the hole where a hay door once was taking in what was before me. The sun was setting and everything had a golden cast to it.

It was truly a beautiful sight.

The timing could not have been better if I planned it. I didn't see a single car (or tractor) all day...and right as I was taking a few photos, this one came rolling down the road. I guess it was just meant to be!

And I can't forget my all-time favorite find in the barn so far. By the door there were some boards with numbers written on them. I asked the farmer what they were from, and he said he remembers when he was a little kid,  his Dad figuring out the price of corn on those boards. How cool is that??

So there you have it. One girl decided to take on a project that seemed waaaay over her head, and she conquered. We were all tired and dirty by the end of the day, and we LOVED every minute of it.

Memories like this are rare and I will keep them forever.

Oh, and did I mention I stepped on a rusty nail?

Yep. Straight through my shoe and over an inch into my foot. I better wrap up this post, because I have a doctor appointment in a few minutes and I have a feeling this one is going to hurt. If you don't hear from me for a couple of days that is because I am still crying like a baby over it.

Just a day in the life of a girl that lives in the city and misses her farm roots.

Happy Wednesday, girls!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

today is the day...

It feels like Christmas morning! After all the anticipation, today is the day I am takin' down the barn!

 We were up early...the house was chilly and I wanted to stay snuggled under my down comforter, to be honest. I have been fighting off a terrible case of Bronchitis since my visit to Junk Bonanza over a week ago, so that should make it interesting. But, it is now or never. The owner is getting anxious to burn this baby down, so I have to get it while I can!

Wish me luck! I'll be back with photos of our progress tomorrow!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I heart the fancy farmgirl...

I am so in love obsessed with Tiffany's photography.

I mean, to say the girl is amazing is the understatement of the year! Really.

Did you see her post today? I about fell off my chair.

It is a sweet little story about a gorgeous young girl. Her husband is in Iraq right now and she wanted to send him a few speical photos. I am a lover of anything old Hollywood so these totally rocked my world. I swear I was born in the wrong era sometimes. I love the romance of the 1940s...Bogart & Becall, black and white photos...old WWII planes.

~ sigh ~

Enough words. Go visit Tiffany's blog and take in some seriously gorgeous eye candy.

Here is a sneak peek...

Happy Monday, girls!

I am off to do finishing touches for my LAST show of the year. I can't believe how fast the time has flown by!

Come see me this weekend...Kane County Flea Market in St. Charles, IL. So many of you have emailed to ask, so if I can fit it in before I load my trucks, I will try to give you a little photo preview...but no promises on that. Things always get a little crazy the week of a show!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Junk Bonanza 2010

Whew! What a weekend it was!

I drove 700 miles in 36 hours. I would say that falls into the "whirlwind trip" category!

But, I have to say...what I saw of Junk Bonanza...was FANTASTIC!! I am going next year, for sure.

Anyway, on to the fun stuff.

The bonanza of junk.

I loved every last drop of it.

This is going to be a very random, crazy post, but tomorrow I will show you 2 of my favorite booths.

Industrial lighting was everywhere! I would say my style is farmhouse coastal with an industrial these were right up my alley.

(And yes, you read that right...I did say farmhouse-coastal-with-an-industrial-twist. Don't even try to figure it that one out!)

I was crazy about these frames...isn't that old aqua paint fabulous??

Oh, and the clocks. I can't forget those! I have a little "thing" for them. Old beat-up looking silver ones are my favorite.

I am kicking myself for not buying this one. $12!! Only $12 and I didn't get it?? Ugh.

Love these, too...

This barn door reminded me of my up-coming barn-tearing-down project. I can't wait to get my hands on a few of these. I am planning a giant armoire for my husbands "man room" with doors like these. I think it will be a perfect things to hide his giant TV. Ahhh..chippy and beautiful. We will both be happy.

I thought this old cart would be nice parked in the woods behund my house. I envisioned white flowers spilling out the top. It would be dreamy, don't you think?!

Can it get any better??

Why yes, it can. And it did.

Friday night I met up with a few familar faces from blogland. These girls are all beautiful and just as sweet as I had hoped.
( is a little fuzzy but you can still those gorgeous girls!)

(me, Traci, Becky, Jen, Suzanne)

I was actually really nervous about going to the party. I am not a "party girl" by any means, it is just so much pressure, you know? Will I be what they expect?? Will they be what I expect?? But, I have to say...they were all fabulous! I wish I would have taken more pictures!

And on a totally random note...I just had to let Becky know I was thinking of her yesterday! Yes, Miss Becky I am talkin' to you! This is a response to your post yesterday saying I never post photos of here you go!

My husband and I took a walk in the woods yesterday morning so we did a couple just for Becky...cheesy senior portrait style!!

Yes, these are meant to be a joke. We were laughing so hard when we were taking these. I don't pop my head through trees and give my best broken-neck tilt for just anyone. So Miss Becky, here you go. Photos of me...bad hair and a hoodie sweatshirt. This is how you will find me on a normal day.

Ok, now you know why you never. ever. see photos of me on my blog. I just love you girls too much to put you through that.

~ smile ~

Happy Tuesday, girls!

Monday, September 13, 2010

trash talkin'

This is such a strange statement...

 my city has the best trash.

(I can't believe I just said that.)

On a weekly basis I find the most beautiful things...ornate furniture, chandeliers, cool old metal boxes and trays, gorgeous old doors with chippy is simply amazing to me what people will throw away! Like anything, some weeks picking are better than others...and I know just what area of town I like to visit to find the era of stuff I am looking for, what night their trash goes out, etc. Now that I am putting this is writing, I sound like a total freak stalking people's trash...but I am ok with that. There is a science to this trash-picking stuff, you know!
I am just so swoony over my finds from Sunday I had to show you.

My favorite find of the old wood medical cabinet.

She's got chippy gray paint, lots of drawers on the front and the sides, too...

And her solid oak top is perfectly weathered and worn...

~ sigh ~

Isn't she pretty??

Ok, maybe all of you won't think so...but I do!

It was love at first sight. The kind of love that made me nearly have a heart attack when I realized it was so heavy there was no way I could load it in my truck by myself! The 6 minute car ride from the curb where I found it back to my house to grab my big strong husband nearly felt like an eternity!! I was convinced it would be snapped up while I was gone.

But she was still there...waiting for me...

While I am talkin' trash, I may as well show you some of my other finds.... 

A gorgeous vintage chandi with all the crystals...(they were nice enough to put them in a ziploc before throwing them away. I felt like I needed to leave them a little thank you note!)

Here is a tip from me to you on how to find these...I frequent the section of town with the gorgeous turn of the century know the kind...they were practically mansions in their day but now have pretty much turned into slums. It makes me sad to drive through that part of town, but since I can't save a whole neighborhood, I may as well save pieces of it, right??

Well, I have learned that if you can find out which houses are being renovated or torn just have to pop yourself into the jobsite one morning with a big box of Krispy Kremes and a smile...then the guys just might leave you the chandeliers sitting by the dumpster rather than throwing them in.

~ smile ~

Krispy Kreme really brings out the love, doesn't it?

This little beauty is going to have a new home in my bathroom.

And I have no idea what I am going to do with the wood pullys I found...but I have always been crazy about industrial pieces so they will find a place somewhere. They were in pile of trash from a garage that was cleaned out.

Oooh...and I am crazy about those metal bins!! I love the holes, because I find all things polka dotted, white and metal to be dreamy. The fact that they are all 3 is amazing!

Oh, and CDs fir perfetly inside! (You will see one poping up in an office reno coming up very soon!)

But here are the two pieces I love probably as much as the cabinet in the first photo.

I have no idea what they are. Old chairs maybe that have the backs cut off? I see marks where it looks like something was attached at one time.

They are large, so if they were chairs they were b-i-g.

I LOVE the metal...zinc maybe?? Zinc-looking anyway. They are going to be awesome in the wooded part of my backyard with cascading container plants on top of them next year.

So there you have it.

I am a  girl that loves to pick through people's garbage.

Ok, I don't really pick through it. I just look for a pile that may have potential, get out of my car and look to see what is on top. Most nights I can come home with 5 or 6 things and have a whole bunch of laughs with my sister while we are doing it.

Keeping beautiful things out of a landfill...just another way I am helping save the world.

I just have to I the only one that does this sort of thing?? Please tell me there are some fellow trash-pickers out there in blogland!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

farmhouse love...

I spend way too much time looking at real estate listings...tonight I am eye lids and heavy and I have an early day tomorrow...but I couldn't go to bed without showing you this beautiful home!

I have always had a love for architecture, especially historic homes.

But usually, I find myself sifting through the listings of new construction that have not seen a coat of paint since 1976 with their blue shag carpeting...I come across one that stands out from the rest and totally makes my search worth it.

Here is today's "stand-out"...

I introduce you to...

103 Broad Street

a 1780s New England Farmhouse that has me drooling all over my keyboard!

It just looks so peaceful...I can almost feel the breeze...

The gardens are fantastic...and the little dog is pretty cute, too.

I would have to change the color of the shutters...I am seeing something lighter.

Gorgeous gardens...

And that fence? How cute is that????

I am crazy about this room. I already have a vision of it decorated in all white at Christmas time!

I would like to get my hands on both the mirror and that chandelier...

Oh, and this chandi, too!

Love how every room has a fireplace!

Even the dining room!

Look at the size of this one!

If this was my house, I would have to put in the fine print that all the chandis were coming with me...not staying with the house!

Should I call and ask if the frame and that dresser are for sale??

I want those in my house!

L-O-V-E the staircase!!

In my book, there is no such thing as too much white!

Ooooh...and the wide-planked heart pine floors are incredible!


My guests would never leave if I put them in a room like this!

I believe it is a rule that you must "bathe" and not "shower" when you own a tub like this.

But seriously.

This is when renovating goes horribly wrong.

Don't get me wrong, the kitchen on its own is very nice. But it does not flow with the style of the house at all.

This was such a disappointment to me.

Sad. Very sad.

Such a missed opportunity to capture the spirit of this house with a spectacular kitchen!

But I love me some little buildings with old white siding!

 I am seeing my little shop set up out there!

Now...if only I had an extra $795,000 laying around...

Oh, and an extra $50,000 to give it the kitchen it deserves!