Monday, February 27, 2012

...and I'm off to Nashville!

I am getting a SUPER late start to my road trip to Nashville today...but what's a girl to do?! I had the 'closing ceremony', as I like to call it, on the house the hubs and I flipped and sold this morning...I still had laundry to do, and just finished packing my suitcase a few seconds ago. Now I have to cut up celery for 'road snacks', load the car, leave 1000 notes for the house sitter...and then...MAYBE I can finally get on the road. Is it just me, or is the week leading up to vacation just a whole lotta work?? 

{but I LOVE every minute in the car rolling down the highway so it is all worth it!}

I am leaving posting behind for the week. So I thought I would leave you with a few of my favorite 'pins' from the weekend...not a lick of sense as to how I chose these photos. Thats how I roll. 

I just love 'em. Each and every one. 

Oh, and almost 5,000 you have signed on to "follow" what I love on Pinterest! How fun is that?? I didn't even know 5,000 of you knew I existed! But somehow you discovered and SHARE my obsession with pretty things!

Ok, on with the show...Enjoy!


No words needed. You all know how I feel about old trucks. 

White bike = a MUST have for this summer. I mean really, how cute is this???

And should it not be a requirement that we spend at least one night in a tree house in our adult lives...just so we don't forget to have a little fun in life?

Ok, so this is just a teeny bit more elaborate than my childhood treehouse, but I like to think I have evolved!

And if there has ever been a photo that totally and completely sums up what I hope my path to heaven looks like, this is it. Who knew a driveway could be so dreamy??

Whose mailbox is this, anyway?? I would love to send them a letter just to say they are the luckiest people in the whole world!

Ok, now a quick snap back to reality...when I get home I am making half of my basement into a studio space. Here's hoping I find some cute little things for organization like this in my travels this week!

Again, a cute lard bucket?? That sums up why I love vintage. Lard is even cute!!!

And then something like this pops up on Pinterest and stops me in my tracks. Thoughts of my silly little studio space completely leave me head when my eyes fix on this photo.  Oh yes, it is Teresa's {STUNNING} greenhouse. 

Dear Teresa, I know nothing of plants...but could I move to your farm and become your apprentice??

{pretty please...}

So how was that for a totally random post that really made no sense at all...but we all love pretty pictures, right?? 

Over and out. 

I have a highway waiting for me. 

Nashville, here I come. You may never be the same. 


Saturday, February 25, 2012

goodbye crazy week!

Holy cow, this week flew by! I have been MIA from the blog this week except for a quick post or two. My sister had a biggie surgery Monday...and she is recovering nicely...THANK YOU for all the emails and well wishes! 

I am getting ready to leave for my trip to Nashville on Monday, but I just HAD to get some of this week's finds up on Etsy tonight! 

I have a few unique things this weekend...surgical sterilization trays...I {love} wacky things like this to organize everyday 'stuff'...

and a drawer from an industrial cubby cabinet...

this is the very last one I have...

and a cool old door to a cracker bin from an old a little box for it, and you would have a super cool storage/display piece to hang on the wall...

and yet more ironstone plates...

and a {GORGEOUS} ironstone teapot...

and the sweetest little trio of books I have ever seen!

I am in {LOVE} with the colors! perfect for a cottage style vignette or nursery!

It's 10:30 at night..I should be snuggled in next to the hubs watching movies...instead I am lining up blog posts for while I am away, doing the 412 loads of laundry that always seem to happen right before you leave for vacation...and freaking out because no matter how many clothes are in my closet, I ALWAYS feel like I have nothing to pack. 


Listing a few things on Etsy was a nice distraction from reality tonight.


Have a happy Sunday girls, I have a feeling I am going to be in that day-before-vacation whirlwind! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ironstone palooza

I posted this on my Facebook page, too...

but I have had about a million emails the last couple weeks asking when I was going to list more 

WHITE IRONSTONE in my shop...well, you asked and I delivered! 

Ironstone-palooza is happening over in my Etsy shop tonight! A lot of it has already been snapped up, but promised so many of you I would let you know when it was up and ready to go! I thought this may be faster than answering all those emails tonight... 

Sweet dreams, girls! It has been a long day of Etsy-photo-taking I am off to bed! More goodies going in the shopir Thursday morning!

numbered cabinet tutorial...

It has been a crazy week around here! My sister had an unexpected major surgery on Monday, so I have been at the University of Wisconsin hospital with her the last few days. Needless to say, I am behind on everything, as the whole turn of events kinda threw me off...but I am home today, trying to get back into the swing of things. 

While I was waiting in the hospital all that time I was trying to go through my inbox and get caught up on emails. I still have 4,876 to go. And no, that is not an exaggerated number, I really have 4,876 there patiently waiting for me. Yikes!

One subject that kept popping up in my inbox was about the numbered cabinet I painted as a project for Heather's Homebound E-Zine a few months ago. Since so many of you asked, I thought I would revisit the project, as it seems many of you want more details and info about what I used and how I did it. we go. 

Let's start with the 'after' photo, shall we? 

I {LOVE} this cabinet soooo much! I found it sitting next to a dumpster on one of my weekly "cruise the old industrial plants around my city to see what they are trashing trips".  This one was at a building that was a printing company for almost 100 years. 

It now resides here, in my home office, and sits right next to my desk to hold all my supplies. Everything from a phone book to post-it notes are neatly arranged and organized. I like things out of sight, but easily accessible. 

This is what the cabinet looked like before. Now, the last time I showed this you were all wondering why I didn't keep the original paint. Well, had you seen it in person or if I had remembered to take a "before" shot of the whole piece, you would understand. Because it was in a working print factory the bottom of the cabinet was splashed with dark blue ink...all. over. it. 

It looked ugly and dirty, not cool and chippy like we all love. No worries, I choose my painted pieces wisely, I never paint over {good} chippy paint.

These are the supplies I used:

-leftover BM paint in my favorite shade of gray...Gray Owl
-a nicely worn sanding sponge
- a sample of a darker gray paint I already had on hand
- silicone number stamps (purchased at Michaels and I LOVE them!)
- a 1 1/2" Purdy brush and an artists paint brush

I first gave the drawers a light sanding to try and remove some of that old splattered ink and clean up the finish. I couldn't believe I had found old numbers below the layers of paint! So cute, but they didn't come out this well of every drawer, that is why I decided to duplicate them. 

Once the drawers were sanded, I gave them a "gray wash" over the entire surface. I cut my Gray Owl paint with water to about a 50/50 mixture. That put it on nice and light so that the original finish could still show through a bit...

I know most of you will find this next technique to be a little unconventional, but I have found it to work well for me, and I use it all the time. It's one of my personal 'painting secrets' that I have just found over the years. 

When I am doing a piece like this that has an original paint finish that I want to retain the character of, I take sanding sponge to the surface when it is still slightly wet. Use an old sanding sponge that is quite soft. It is perfect for removing most of the paint wash but leaves behind the perfect amount just where you need it so the piece comes out looking like it still has the original, old paint finish...but it is just a little refreshed!

I cannot stress enough that this only works if you are using a paint 'wash', meaning you have cut your paint with water. If you try to do this with straight paint, you will have a mess on your hands. A rag does not seem to work the same for me either, it has to be the sanding sponge. 

Once it was dry...I dug out my favorite $5 silicone stamps from Michaels. I cannot tell you how much I love these! They are removable from the clear block, you can use them over and over, let your paint dry on them when you get distracted with something else like I do...then just wash them in the sink and they are brand new again. Best. stamps. ever. And for $5?? Love it. 

These gave me 2" numbers on my cabinet, so are a good size! 

I brushed on my paint, but you could dip it, too. I tried both, and liked the worn and inconsistent look the brush gave the best. 

The clear block makes it so easy to find your spot...then just press it down firmly...

and viola!! A perfectly vintage looking number!

I didn't want them to look to 'perfect'...just a little worn with a hand painted quality. 

I finished the piece off with a light coat of wax, lined each drawer with a vintage map...and she was ready for her new life!

Painting a piece that I want to maintain the feel of the original finish on is so different than how I paint a "normal" piece of furniture...but I love the result! This one was an easy project, I finished the whole thing in about 2 hours. 

And to answer a lot of your emails asking if I am selling it...well...not right now, but I do change my mind so you never know! 10 minutes from now, I may give a totally different answer! {smile...} But if I do, I will mention it in a post before I bring it to one of my shows, I promise!

Ok, I am off to take a zillion photos for Etsy today. If white ironstone is your thing, you may want to check my shop tonight...I have embraced the act that my collection it out of control, so will be selling around 25 pieces. {someone hold me, I can't believe I just said that!} I also have some old drawers, books, wire baskets...all kinds of goodies I found recently! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

nashville or bust!

In a little over a week the hubs and I are headed South!

{Destination: Nashville, TN}

You know I love me a road trip! There is something about getting in the car and hitting the road that makes me soooo happy! I love the unknown...the conversations in the car, it is in my blood to want to discover every nook and cranny of this big old world we live in! 

I love my hubs. He supports me and my wanderlust no other man could!

So here is where I need your help! I already know I have one SUPER SPECIAL destination in mind...I just know this is going to be the highlight of my trip...I am stopping in to see Michelle at Vintage Junky in Spring Hill, TN! If anyone in the state of Tennessee would like something from Michelle's shop, you best get there before I do! I have a feeling a whole lot of vintage love is going to be leaving that little shop in my car! I am soooooo excited to finally meet her!

Here is what I need from you...I am looking for shops, restaurants, hotels, wacky roadside attractions, name it! If there is something along my route that I MUST see, I want to know about it! I hope I have some readers out there from the area, or that have traveled to it that can give me some advice!

I am taking this route to Nashville:

But this route through Kentucy to get back home...I like a change of scenery on my trips!

So hit me with it girls! I want to pack a lot into a short time so I hope you have some ideas for me!

Happy Friday, girls! I am off to clean house and do a little laundry today! {super exciting, I know!} I am soooo behind on answering emails, so if you sent me something and you haven't heard back from me, I will try to get through them all today!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

pure & simple love...

Last year I found a packet of World War II love letters at an auction. Bundled together with cotton twine, they were an accounting of a love that stretched across the world between a couple named Helen & Irwin. He was in the Navy and at sea...a world away from their little life here in Illinois.  

I have every letter written back and fourth...for almost every single day he was away from home. It is like being present for a conversation...I read his letter, then hers. They are sweet, sometimes romantic...but mostly I can see how much he missed her, and missed home and the simple things they shared. 

The speak of going bowling together, how much he misses her cooking...and how he is saving his pay to buy them a new home when he gets home. She is saving dimes for their little 'nest egg'. 

I can't tell you the last time a dime meant so much to two people.

And I cannot tell you how much I love that he started each letter with "Dearest Darling Helen"...

and how beautiful it is that his first line of his Valentine letter simply started "Twilight is gradually coming upon us"...unknowingly, this simple man named Irwin from a small town in Illinois was writing a poetry, of sorts. 


So today I am wishing you a Valentine's Day full of the love like Helen & Irwin had. 

Simple....and Sweet. Full of little joys and appreciation for love and life. 

Happy Day, friends. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

more answers to your questions...

It has been a couple of weeks since I have gave some answers from my Q&A post while I was sick. 

Anyone ready for round two??

I say we just dive right in! This is a loooong post!

Oh, and the photos are totally random shots I found on my camera the other day...they make no sense with this post at all. Just saying'...


Do you use Annie Sloan chalk paint? If I do, do I have any problems with it?

I just bought my first quart of AS chalk paint last week when I was at Tattered Tiques! I know I am a little late to the party since most have been using it for some time now, but I was hesitant to switch to something new. The one thing that my clients always comment on is my finish and I was so afraid to deviate from that. 

I started using it yesterday, and I will say I am happy with the great coverage it gives. It was very flat and chalky (as I expected) but I am hoping the wax will give it the durable finish I love. I plan on using it for the pieces I paint a color...but for the white pieces I am sticking with my primer, paint and finish. I have many buyers that add pieces to match what they have already purchased from me, so I don't want to change things and surprise them if they are not the same as what they already had.

What is your current obsession in the antique world??

My obsessions have pretty much been the same since I first discovered my love of vintage. In my very early 20s and I think I was the only nerdy girl that spent her days at antique malls and garage sales hunting for white ironstone, old locker baskets, clocks, kitchen scales, old pine furniture, old painted pieces, sign letters and anything "industrial" looking. I love anything white, too! Here I am in my 30s and I still love the same things. The only difference is back then these things weren't "in" yet, so I could get them super cheap. Luckily, I amassed a pretty good collection that I still have and love.

What is your favorite candy bar?

Hmmm...I am not a big chocolate lover. I eat it, but it has to be mixed with something else, I could never eat a straight Hershy bar. (totally weird, I know!) But since you ask...I do love a frozen Snickers! Otherwise Peanut M&Ms. Does that count as a candy bar?

Are you going to the Country Living Fair this year, and if so can we meet up?

This was a very popular question, so a lot of you must think I am fun to shop with! Lol! My answer right now is that I am not sure yet if I will be going, but if I do YES we can meet! I love to meet fellow bloggers, and do it every chance I get! Junk Bonanza in Minnesota is the same weekend as Country Living Fair in Ohio, so I am torn on where to go this year. That, and I am taking my 7 year old niece and 5 year old nephew to DisneyWorld just days after both of these shows happen. I have to have time to mentally prepare myself for that! Haha!

What is the very first thing you sold?
How did you get started in this business?

Ahhh...this is a crazy answer to most, but I know bloggers will totally understand. In 2000 I was home from my "real job" recovering from foot surgery after a car accident. I was so bored. I am defiantly not a girl that can sit on the couch all day. The hubs and I lived in a little 1920s bungalow, and were completely remodeling the inside. As I was sitting on the couch, I was looking at the window next to me and thought to myself "that trim would make a great picture frame". It had about 1000 layers of white paint on it, and we knew we were going to have to change the trim throughout the house because of it. So, I put on my post-surgery boot and hobbled to the basement for a crowbar and hammer. I ripped the trim off and made a large frame out of it. At the time the long, horizontal prints of roses were the "in thing", so I framed it and put it on Ebay. It sold for an amazing amount of money, I couldn't believe it! 

From there my business was born. I started making frames by the dozens, all shapes and sizes, and painting small pieces of furniture that I could easily ship. Soon I added frames made out of beadboard and offering them in an array of colors. I always loved vintage, so I sprinkled that in with the frames and in my Ebay shop. I always painted furniture for myself, so I gradually added a piece or two until I found myself selling large pieces of furniture online and shipping them all over the world. You really can ship a china cabinet across the US or the world, I promise!

I truly think a number of successful businesses have "accidental success" meaning you never really intended it to grow into what it did, but it my case it was literally. Everything I now do and have is thanks to that car accident. See, everything does have a silver lining! 

Did you ever have a vision of a dream house when you were little?

My dream house has ALWAYS been only one house. The one I grew up in. It was a big, old farmhouse with wrap around porches, large rooms and tall ceilings. That house is so very special to me, I can't even drive by it without pulling over at the end of the driveway and totally sobbing in my car. I had such an {AMAZING} childhood growing up on that little farm, I would give anything to own it again. The new owners are not taking care of it, and it breaks my heart. The barns are going years without fresh paint, the  landscape is totally kills me to see it. If I ever win the lottery my first stop with that check is the bank, and my second stop is that house. I dream of knocking on the door and writing them a big fat check to hand over the keys. 

Are you watching Downton Abbey? 

No. But I feel as though I should be! I have a feeling I am totally missing out!

What is your favorite TV show?

Ok, girls...some of you may click off after reading this. I am all over the place with what I watch. I love the show Southland, it is sooo good! I am a huge crime show person. Other than that I always look forward to Amazing Race, Big Brother and Celebrity Apprentice, Storage Wars and American Pickers. And I admit, I can never pass up an old episode of Seinfeld.

 Do I dare admit I watch Days of Our Lives? Not sure why, I just have since college. Purely ridiculous, and yet I am sucked in. Oh, and who can forget the Real Housewives of Orange County and Atlanta?? At just about any other moment in our house I have HGTV or the DIY Network on in the background. Oh, and I have every episode of PanAm on my DVR, but I have yet to watch one episode!

Do you have children? 

I get asked this one a lot, too! Sometimes I feel like I am the last one in the world without kiddos! My only child is one handsome boy of the 4-legged variety...his name is Jake. The hubs and I have several nieces and nephews 2 on his side...22 on my side. We have some we are very close with so that is so much fun! And we try every year to take one or two vacations with a few of the kids. It is awesome building those memories with them.

We try to make the drive to Iowa every Halloween to take the little one's Trick-or-Treating, too! 

Do you find renting a warehouse space to redo your furniture takes a big chunk out of your profit? Is it worth it? 

Gosh, I would say it totally depends on your volume of business. For years I worked out of my house and my garage and it just grew to the point that it took over our lives. Our home was no longer our home. It was a warehouse and a workshop all rolled up into one. And get was 900 square feet!! Don't even ask me how I did it, because I truly have no idea! Now I have just under 10, 000 square feet to spread out and I still feel crowded! Lol! It took time, I didn't just wake up one day and say "I'm going to paint furniture for a living, and I think I need a warehouse to do it in." (although I would have LOVED to!)  Just like any success, it is rarely overnight. It took literally years of building a reputation and clientele and getting to the point where I felt it was worth paying the extra money to have my own space so I could really expand and grow. But, the key thing I cannot stress enough it give it the time it needs to grow FIRST, this kiss of death for me would have been taking on too much, too soon, financially. But for me, at this stage in my business and my life, it is totally worth it! 

Do you use some sort of protectant like poly or wax on your furniture? I don't want anything that will leave a yellow tint like so many do. Would it be best to just paint touch things up from time to time?

My advice would be to defiantly protect your paint finish with something. My choice is wax. I have used about every product under the sun...and still wax is my favorite for most things. I will say if you are painting a lot of white like I sure you use CLEAR wax. Most of what you find is 'natural'...that will tint it slightly over time. When you see something that has really 'yellowed' it was because they used an oil-based poly as their top coat. Any clear or white oil based product will yellow over time simply because that is the nature of it being oil-based.

I do use a Poly-Acrylic top coat on my dark painted pieces, like charcoal or black and I always try to use it on chairs because they take so much abuse. Minwax is my favorite because it is easy to work with and I like the sheen of their Satin product. Benjamin Moore offers one as well, but I find that one to be too glossy for me. 

Ok, girls...I am going to have you on information overload soon, so I am wrapping this session of the Q&A up. However, I did promise I would announce who won the giveaway for seining in a question! One reader is going to get a secret box of vintage goodies from my without further adieu...

the lucky girl is....

Krysti from A Collected Cottage 

Email me, Krysti so I can get your surprise package on the way!

Thanks for following along girls, these Q&A sessions are kinda fun!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lost & Found...and the giveaway winners!

I have been thinking about a little something lately. It involves you, me and my Etsy shop. Oh, and my painted furniture, too! Let me explain a little...

 I first started selling on Etsy last winter, and your warm welcome made me feel all warm & support me endlessly, you encourage me to keep hunting for new things, and your creativity with the finds from my shop never cease to amaze me! 

I love sharing my finds with all of you, and what I love even more, is when you get them home and share them right back with me! What I mean by that, is how so many of you send me photos of my little finds in your home. I {LOVE} that soooo much! 

I have had you show me where you hung the sign you bought from my shop, the jewelry you made from my old game pieces, your silver collection with a few of my pieces sprinkled in....or how the dresser you brought home from my booth was the finishing touch in your little girls room! It is so awesome to see such love being given to things that were lost and unloved before I found them. 

I am not exaggerating when I say each time I am wrapping a package I always, {ALWAYS} wonder about what happens once it reaches its destination! And I am so happy that so many of you show me the 'goods' in your home, without me even asking! 

Here is what I have created to showcase your creativity...a little series on my blog I am calling Lost & Found. A form of Show & Tell where I share the photos of things you have purchased from my little shop  in your home! I have been keeping all these wonderful photos to myself for so long! Then it dawned on me one day, why am I not sharing these so others can be inspired? Fast forward to today, and this is what I came up with the share the love...I will do a post when I gather a few photos, so it could be weekly or is all up to you!

All I would need from you is a photo of the item and how you have it displayed in your home! That is it  - easy, peasy, right? I will show your photo on my blog with a link back to yours! Even if you don't have a blog - send me your photos, I still want to see how and where you put your vintage find to work!

This is going to be fun, so I hope I get good feedback on this. I just love sharing the love of all things vintage! 

(I will have a little blog button ready for your sidebar, too!)

So get those photos to me, girls! I can't wait to showcase your creativity!

 And now to announce the winners of the Sarah Jane Studios giveaway!

Jill Elaine from Sew a Fine Seam

Stacey from A Sort of Fairytale

Congratulations, girls! Email me to claim your patterns!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Urban Farmgirl invades Tattered Tiques!

I had so much fun this morning! The hubs and I got up early and loaded our truck Beverly Hillbillies style! Wire baskets were stacked on top of an old laundry cart...chairs with old chippy paint were handing over the edge, white pitchers and old toolboxes rattled in the back seat the whole way there....


 Tattered Tiques shop in Lake Barrington, IL

I am so excited to let my Chicagoland friends know that now you can now shop all the vintage goodness of Tattered Tiques...with a little Urban Farmgirl and Maple & Magnolia sprinkled in! 

Now doesn't that just sounds like it would be one crazy-wonderful, vintage-loving experience!?

(I took about 100 photos while I was there this morning, so thought I would share...)

I {LOVE} the thrill of the hunt when it comes to looking for vintage & antiques! 

To be able to share my finds with some of my local friends at a wonderful shop full of amazingly talented women is incredible! And just look at the merchandise...I have a feeling I will be spending every penny I make on this little adventure before I even walk out the door!

Julie & Anne are sisters and they own this cute shop along with their Mom, Nancy. All 3 of them are just so talented and SUPER fun which is just the cherry on top of it all! It was an instant click when I met them...I love girls with a great sense of humor! 

I was so excited to finally get to meet Susan from Maple & Magnolia in person today, too! She is just as fabulous in person as she is on her blog! Sweet, so very down to Earth. Her work is beyond incredible, as you surely must know. She works some magic with a paintbrush like I have never seen before! I have a feeling we are just going to keep buying each others things when we are in the shop! 

I brought in this antique wood laundry cart today. The shade of gray is just delicious...and the sound of the wheels and the slats of wood...I was {smitten} when I first found her! I hope someone gives this one a home quickly before I decide to bring it back home. 

And this workbench they have in the shop...AMAZING!!

(the little collection of clocks is calling my name, too!)

Tattered Tiques also carries Annie Sloan paints and stop in if you need supplies!!

Ok, I am totally carried away with the photos on this post. This is just a teeny tiny sample of what you will find at the shop this weekend! 

If you stop in, tell them the Urban Farmgirl sent you! 

And I want to hear what you brought home! Show & Tell anyone??

You can find Tattered Tiques at:

22029 Pepper Road
Lake Barrington, IL 

They are open Thurs, Fri & Sat

Feb. 9th, 10th & 11th
Feb 16th, 17th, 18th

10am - 3pm