Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spray Painting on Furniture - A Guest Post with Eva

Today I have a special guest host with a very pretty DIY project....
Please meet Eva...

Hi everyone! My name is Eva , and I am visiting over from Home Decor by Eva. AnnMarie was kind enough to let me be her guest and share my ideas with you guys (hope you enjoy them!) I started blogging earlier this year to vent out my love for home decor, DIY and crafty projects. I have a long way to go but it is a great help having so many pro's around me to learn from. I hope to polish and grow my blog and enrich it for my readers for a place where they can wander for inspiration and creativity. Happy Reading! xoxo Eva

Spray Painting on Furniture with Lace, Leaves and Different Stencils

Image Source

The Internet never fails to impress with the constant surge of new home decoration ideas. Just when you think you’ve seen all DIY projects that you can possibly try out in your home, there appears another one that sounds more interested than everything you’ve done.

So, after reupholstering your sofas, distressing coffee tables to give them that stylish, antique look and decorating your mirrors with beach shells and jewelry, it’s time to try something new: spray painting on furniture with different stencils.

Luckily, this method of freshening up and beautifying your home is currently very popular online, so you’ll find many tutorials on how to decorate your chairs, tables, cabinets, chests, drawers, etc.

How does spray painting with stencils work?

It is very easy to do. All you need is some quality spray paint, something that will leave interesting marks on your furniture and some peace at home to work. Oh, yes, you’ll also need a piece of furniture to work on.
I suggest that you first practice on something that you won’t necessarily place in your home. Find an old wooden chair or table that you can easily part with and try your spray painting skills on that. I experimented with a dresser, a thrift store find which would not look beautiful despite all my efforts! I even purchased a table runner from
Yorkshire Linen, in a poor attempt to make it look pretty. But Alas! Have a look for yourself;

 Even when you perfect your skill, you should still do this DIY project on furniture bought at yard sales or furniture that you’ve been meaning to renovate anyway. I painted mine white before starting so it would stand out.

What can I use as stencils?

Many people find lace very inspirational. You’ll find lots of beautiful examples of wooden tables, dressers and chairs spray painted using lace to cover the flat surfaces. Other good things to use are leaves, flowers, or even paper cut out into shapes that you like (stars, butterflies, etc.). This is a totally cost-free and easy way to decorate.

A step-by-step guide to spray painting with lace

After trying out a few tutorials, I modified them a little and found the easiest and most successful way to create a beautifully patterned table:
1. Find a very cheap or free wooden table- Check (or you may work with something at home too!)

2. Choose a nice lace table cloth to work with, there is a wide variety to choose from.

3. Buy a quality spray paint any color you like. I had heard good reviews about Plasti-Koti.

4. Use the lace to cover the whole surface you’d like decorated and tape it around the edges so it won’t move. Use masking tape for this purpose.

5. Stand at an arm’s length away from the table and start spray painting over the lace-covered surface. Don’t stop until you’ve nicely painted the whole surface.

6. Let the paint dry for about an hour or as long as needed. 

7. After the paint is completely dry, remove the lace and reveal the nicely patterned table. I had to mix two shades to get this blue shade.

And here is the after picture, I am so happy with how it turned out! Looks great, doesn’t it?

A more complicated approach

If this tutorial sounds too easy, there are more challenging ways to do this. For example, if you want to spray paint a cabinet, dresser or drawers, you’d need to remove all knobs and handles first before spray painting, so you’d get a flat surface.

You also need to sand off any old paint, and then apply one coat of new paint. After it’s dry, you can continue working in the way described above. And don’t forget to put the handles back once you finish.

Wishing you a nice spray painting adventure!

I hope you enjoyed Eva's tutorial and will go visit her on her blog Home Decor by Eva to see what other pretty ideas she has.

AnnMarie :)



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halcyon Days Autumnal Haze

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.

O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
    In this poem Robert Frost asks Fall to slow down, to drop only one leaf at a time from a tree near and a tree far away.
    Although it feels like Fall is ending with bare trees and graying skies, the Autumn Equinox actually does not end until December 20th.
    So enjoy the rest of the halcyon days and the autumnal haze....
AnnMarie :)

I am linking up with these great blog parties:

Make It Pretty Monday
Tuesday Trivia
The Scoop
You're Gonna Love It
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Fruits of My Adventure and A Grape Pie Recipe

I am still relishing in my weekend in Naples and as I promised, the recipe for the grape pie is in this post. There are some random tidbits from my trip that have created memories for me that I wanted to share with you first. If you just can't wait and just want the pie recipe already....scroll to the bottom!

This is the vineyard next door to the Guest House we stayed in, right on Main Street, Naples. I walked up to it to see if there were still grapes on the vines and the strong, pungent smell of concord grapes told me YES even before I reached them!

The proprietors of the Guest House are a sweet couple with a unique sense of style inside and out. In their backyard I found this fabulous, old, chippy boat all moored up as if it were at the lake.

Inside, the décor was so pretty with lots of warm browns, reds, oranges and golds for color, perfect for this time of year.

I happened to notice the doorknob on the bedroom door. Very unique!

Joseph's Wayside Market is a wonderful open air farm market with a huge variety of things. I hadn't gotten my gourds or Indian corn yet for the season so I picked them up there along with a Mexican Hat Squash. I don't know if you are supposed to eat it or not.....I just thought it would go perfect on the centerpiece for my dining room table I was already putting together in my head with all the things I was buying. It is that big orange striped thing in the middle that looks like, well, a Mexican hat!

I had seen a blog post on using an old piece of wood or a plank as a centerpiece and then just adding whatever decorative items to enhance your theme. I found an old plank of knotty pine in the garage and that became the base for my centerpiece. I added a vintage crocheted runner for contrast.

I picked up a bunch of Bittersweet at the grape stand for $4 (which is really cheap!) and added my vintage quail planter and some waxed leaves. I love how it all turned out.

On our way out of town heading toward home, we found a quaint farm stand surrounded by vineyards with lots of grapes for sale.
I learned from these sisters that the only color grape to make a pie with is the dark purple, or concord grape. The others are for eating and boy, are they delicious!

Oops, I forgot to take a picture of the whole pie before I just had to try a sliver of it. It was worth the not so perfect picture!

The recipe I used comes from Applehood and Motherpie, a favorite of mine and a cookbook I have mentioned and posted numerous recipes from. Actually I used three different recipes for this pie from two different cookbooks. My husband's boss said it was the best grape pie he ever tasted so I guess that's okay to do!

Some how-to pictures to follow.

Finger Lakes Grape Pie

For the Crust:
I use this crust for most pies because it is so easy and so good. It is also from Applehood and Motherpie.
2/3 cup shortening                                                    Cream shortening with salt. 
1 teaspoon salt                                                          Add boiling water and mix with a whisk.
1/4 cup boiling water                                               Add flour. Mix.
1 1/2 cups flour                                                        Press crust into 9" pie plate

For the Filling:
This filling makes enough for two pies
3 cups Concord grapes                                            
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Wash, drain and stem grapes. Remove and reserve skins. Simmer pulp for 5 minutes.
While hot, press pulp through sieve to remove seeds, or use a pestle and strainer.
Combine strained pulp with skins.
Combine sugar and flour and add to grapes. Blend in lemon juice and butter.
Pour into crust. Cover with topping.
For the Streusel topping:
I like a streusel top better but you can use your own recipe for two pie crusts for top and bottom.
This recipe is from Thru the Grapevine, another Fingers Lakes region cookbook.
1/2 cup quick cooking oats                                       Mix oats, sugar and flour; cut in butter.
1/2 cup brown sugar                                                  Place on top of pie.
1/4 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter
Bake the pie at 425 for 10 minutes and then 350 for 30 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.

Some how-to pictures.....

The easiest way to get the skins off is just to squeeze the grape and they pop right off.
I used a pestle and a strainer to separate the seeds. Worked great!

The finished pie, all juicy and crunchy and sweet at the same time. This pie did not last long in my house of reformed non-pie eaters! The other one is in the freezer for another time.

I hope you will try my recipe if Concord grapes are available in your area.
Thanks for walking down memory lane from my weekend getaway with me!
AnnMarie :)
I am linking up with these great blog parties!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Waxing Leaves

While the leaves are still falling and are fresh on the ground, why not gather some up and preserve their colors for a little while longer?

It is easy to do and just requires an iron and some wax paper.

I have been doing this for years but had forgotten about doing it this year until I went out in my front yard and started finding pretty colored leaves.

This is the perfect way to preserve their color and use them indoors for decorating. It is amazing how long the leaves stay fresh looking. I like to scatter them around like they have fallen from the sky, or make a thin cardboard wreath form and glue the leaves on it for an instant wreath.

Here's how to do it:

Lay your leaves on a wax paper on a surface that can be ironed on.

Cover it all with another piece of wax paper.

Set your iron on cotton with steam and iron over each leaf till the wax paper sticks a little. Turn it over and do the other side. The heat from the iron fills the air with that smokey leaf smell.

Peel the top layer off and there you have it...waxed leaves!

Do you see the shiny layer of wax on the leaves? That will preserve them until you are ready to decorate for the holidays!

Happy Fall!

AnnMarie : - )

I am linking up with these great blog parties!

Seasonal Sundays
Bouquet of Talent
Sweet & Savoury Sundays
The Weekend re-Treat
Marvelous Mondays
Amaze Me Monday
Fall Pinterest Link Up
Etsy Cottage Style
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Fluster's Creative Muster
What's It Wednesday
Be Inspired
Flashback Fridays

Friday, October 18, 2013

Falling Leaves, Vintage Treasures, A Cemetary and Grape Pie

The rows of grape vines just under the hedge and Canandaigua Lake in the background....
Hills rolling down toward the lake with rows and rows of grape vineyards accented by the pungent smell of concord grapes on the vine. Take in the view as you drive down to the end of Canandaigua Lake. The Finger Lakes area is known worldwide for it's perfect grape growing conditions,

You can't really see it here, but there was a slight breeze and the leaves
were slowly fluttering through the air from the top of the trees to the ground.
The title of my blog pretty much sums up our weekend in the quaint town of Naples, New York, which is known for it's vineyards, wineries and grape pies. Even the fire hydrants are painted purple!

It is only 45 minutes from us and we know it well but we wanted to just get away for the weekend while our son was at a retreat. We found a wonderful guest house to stay in called The Seasons of Life Guesthouse. The weather was promising to be gorgeous and we were hoping to catch some colorful falling leaves and then whatever else came our way.

Our first night was dinner at a tiny little Southwestern diner and then to the guesthouse. This is what we were greeted with at bedtime.....cozy!

On the way into town at dusk my vintage junkie inner sensor spotted a cute little house with a side porch brimming with vintage, shabby, farmhouse things. Turns out it is called Vintage and More. Guess what we did first thing Saturday?

I bought one of those enamelware pots because it was just too good not to. It is already listed in my shop.

 We ventured on to try and see the falls at Grimes Glen located at the end of a side street off Main Street. It was a perfect warm, sunny day. We never did get to see the falls. I found out later that the only way to get to them is to walk the creek. The paths on both sides end abruptly, even if you dare to cross the fallen tree from one side to the other. I only had my flip flops on and I am still recovering from hip surgery so it wasn't going to happen!  It was worth it for as far as we got because it was like walking in a wonderland of Fall.

That is hubby hugging a tree....

We saw this cool, gnarly, old tree on the creek's edge and the largest maple leaf I have ever seen!

Across the street from the vintage shop was a large park with a cemetery in it. I have seen it a hundred times but never ventured near. This time we actually went inside the iron gates and read some of the stones, which were faded and blackened with age. Most were from the mid to late 1800's. It was beautiful with it's stone walls but a little unsettling being in there and I felt weird walking on the graves!

There was another gated area within the cemetery with an ornate gate. We figured it was for the wealthy of the time. We did not go inside. The fencing was beautiful and was all done in iron scrollwork and grapes.

We drove around the area because it was a gorgeous day, stopped for Pumpkin Cinnamon custard and a visit to Joseph's Wayside Market, one of the best in the area.

It wasn't until Sunday on our way home that we stopped at a roadside stand to get concord grapes to make grape pies with. There were plenty of places to buy ready made pies, the most popular being Monica's Pies, but can I be honest here? They pack them all in cardboard boxes and they sit there stacked up all day until someone buys them. Anyone that bakes knows that cardboard and baked goods do not mix and can make your hard work taste like cardboard....and that is all I'll say about the ready made pies to buy in Naples. Below is the pie I made from freshly picked concord grapes. I used a streusel topping and it is SOOOO good.

I will share that recipe and what I did with my goodies from Joseph's in my next post.

Can you wait till then to sink into this yummy looking pie?

AnnMarie :)

I am linking up to these great blog parties!