Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ring Ring! Ring Ring!

One of my favorite childhood activities was chatting on the phone to my best friends.  My poor father didn't stand a chance to place a call with 4 girls and my mother in the house!  I can still see the old white rotary Bell telephone hanging on the dining room wall.  The cord was so stretched it could reach the edge of the living room, for when I would watch Facts of Life while chatting to my BFF Tina about Blair's hair.  It would also reach the kitchen sink when I would chat to another BFF Cassie while I would wash the dishes.  And even to the most private place I had ever  known as a child, the linen closet next to the bathroom.  Now as you could imagine, it wasn't always the most pleasant place to carry on a conversation with the swish of the toilet  flushing (there were 7 of us in that ol house with 1 toilet!), but when the phone rang and it was my first love, Ricky, it was perfect!  Oh to be young and only to worry about Blair's hair and getting my call from Ricky! lol~

When I happened across this little telephone table & chair, all those memories of the late night phone calls to my best friends and boy friends came flooding back and brought a smile to my face!  I knew I just had to have this cute telephone table!  It also dawned on me, why in the world didn't we have one of these!  Stuffing myself under the bottom shelf in the linen closet with all the lost towels and dish rags suddenly didn't seem as romantic as I remember lol~

A few weeks after bringing home the table, I realized I was longing for a rotary phone.  The hunt began, and ended pretty quickly as Mr. Cottage snagged one up in Wisconsin the very exact same day I snagged one online!  We now have a matching black set ;)  I just love the way it feels when I dial my old number!  It truly surprised me when I could remember Tina & Cassie's numbers too! 

One of the greatest pleasures I get from this new adventure is finding a great treasure that sparks a memory from long ago that I can share with my kids.  With baseball, track, volley ball, and piano going on at the present, I know they are much too busy to listen. I'm hoping that someday, they will read this and have a little giggle over their mom chatting on a dinosaur of a phone to some strange boy named Ricky in Grandpa's linen closet.


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Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Feature Fridays
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I'm moved in!

It was a beautiful day for a move!  The sun was shining, birds singing, and my daffodils finally bloomed!  It was a perfect day to move! 

We filled 2 trucks and my mini van with great treasures for out new shop at Bee-Attitudes!  Once we arrived, the space was cleaned out, and the gals a Bee-Attitudes were so great and helpful!  It was like a bunch of school aged girls giggling over the latest gossip of Susie and Johnny! 

Luckily, Mr. Cottage was there to help with the big stuff, and WOW was some of that big stuff heavy!  It was amazing how much we were able to put in our new little shop!  The furniture kept coming, and so did the boxes!  Packaged crystal, vintage lighting, shabby furniture, and a retro black rotary phone were strewn from one room to another while Pam and I moved into our new space.  With each piece unwrapped, our excitement grew! I'm not sure the gals at Bee-Attitudes had ever seen such a whirl wind move in so quickly! 

At one point, Pat said "You've got a lot of stuff!".  Mr. Cottage, Pam and I just smiled and looked at one another, as this isn't even a fraction of what we I have in storage!  We'll just say as they do in extreme couponing, "I've gota stock pile!" 

Truly, I am so proud of our little accomplishment and it looks absolutely perfect!  It just couldn't have been a better day!  Perfect weather, lot's of help, a beautiful location with the perfect atmosphere~ ah...just what I needed! :)

Today is another great and busy day!  Have 2 deliveries to make and it's Kane County Flee market weekend!  I think I'll bring my camera to the Kane and take some pictures to share with you.  If you've never been, you should at least go once!

As promised, I have some pictures.  I thought I was going to have so many, but time was running out and so were my batteries!  Need to remember to add extras in my bag on days like that!

Until next time, Enjoy~
You know, there really isn't any way to get a great photo of an entry! lol~

Friday, April 29, 2011

Today Is THE Day! Moving into Bee-Attitudes in Batavia!

I have been working very hard non stop over the past week to finish projects for the new shop and Today Is THE day!  I'm moving into Bee-Attitudes in Batavia!

I promise to post everything once I'm settled in.  Lot's of new things finished, so there will lots of pictures to share with you!
Until then, Enjoy this beautiful Sunny weather we are having in NI!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just a Quick Update :)

Things are getting pretty crazy here with the move-in date just days away...UGH hate saying that as it only reminds me of everything I have to do! :)  Anyway...After sanding, priming, sanding, 2nd coat of primer, sanding, 1st coat of paint, and sanding yet again for the final top coat of paint, and THEN wax!!!  I have placed my 1st order for this infamous Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

I totally get that it saves time, which equals higher profit margin...however how does that translate in longevity of the paint?  Does skipping the initial sanding really mean time saved=money earned?  Or after 6 or 9 months or a year later, the piece needs a new coat of paint???

In addition, there is the $34.95 per QUART cost.  Yes, I'm not spending additional money on a high quality primer ($39.99 gal), and about $30 gal on paint...but if you break it down, it's still cheaper than Annie Sloan Chalk paint.  So, it all comes down to time.  How much time am I spending with the preping process and what is it worth to me? Let me tell you, I am spending HOURS & HOURS in prep!  Could be worth many of you have advised me :)

I'm just skeptical, and cautious.  Probably  more cautious than skeptical.  I do not want to have to SAND, PRIME, SAND, PAINT, ECT on a "finished" piece because of poor paint adhesion and performance.  I do want to give my customers a superior product.  Is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint the answer?  I will see!

My order of Old Ocher, Old White, and Duck Egg Blue will be in next week.  I will definitely keep ya'll posted on my thoughts.  Until then, I'm back to SANDING, PRIMING, SANDING, PRIMING, SANDING, PAINTING, SSSSSSSSAAAANNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDIIIIIIINGGGGG!!!!

Oh! I am taking tons of pictures of the projects I've been working on.  Once I'm all moved in, I'll post them!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mirror, Mirror, On the Lawn

This is one of the pieces I have been working on for the new shop.  Yes, I'm keeping the name of the "New Shop" under wraps until I'm in for a week.  Not that the last shop was bad, it was just very tough to have the impression of longevity only to find it lasted a short 7 days.  When a door closes, a window opens, and that's just what happened my friends!

Which brings me to a question I must ask, Mirror Mirror, On the Lawn, How will my new shop do?  Ok, that was totally corny and doesn't even rhyme, lol!  :)

This pretty mirror was a thrift store find.  I fell in love with the scrolling details and knew they would paint up BEAUTIFULLY!  If my entry wasn't so small, I would not let this baby go!  At times like these, I am so grateful I can see potential in thrift store treasures!

I scooped it up, and brought it home knowing it would be perfect for the shop!  In my New Shop space, I have the entrance and foyer of an old historic Victorian mansion.  Some of you may already know where the new shop is simply by that description.  And you may just be 100% correct!  BUT, until I am there for a whole week...mums the word.  No, I'm not superstitious, just cautious. I digress...

As with most Victorian homes, the entrance is a little on the dim side.  With the help of mirrors and vintage lamps, I am hopping the space will look as if it were sunny every day!  And here in Northern Illinois, we could use every ounce of sunshine we get these days!

 Alrighty then! I've got so much to do to get ready for the New Shop!  Off to my studio to continue work!

Oh, I know it's Thursday...but this was almost done on Wednesday! 
RE-Stored Interior's Wow Us Wednesdays!

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lovely 1980's Oak trim

Today I am complaining.  Fair warning!  Down right, ungrateful, selfish, pitty party for one, COMPLAINING!

I hate oak trim.  Expecially when it's tiny builder cheap 1980's golden oak trim.  We all know what it looks like...brown, boring, tiny in size, but creates a MONSTROUS impact on wall color choice, ugly trim.  I HATE IT and it's EVERYWHERE in my house!

The first level of our home boasts tall ceilings, enormous floor to ceiling fireplace, 17x22 family room, open floor plan, so many windows there is no wall space...the dream space, with the one exception of the trim.  Its tiny!  TINY for this space...with 9 1/2' ceilings why would anyone in their right mind put 21/4" builder basic OAK trim?!! Luckily they didn't add any crown!  But it is driving me INSANE!  The windows are some off breed of wood, stained to look oak, but look more orange than wood of any kind.  All the doors are...ready for this...PINE! And the blinds are...PLASTIC WOOD!.  Could this possibly get any worse?!  Yes, it could!

In the master bedroom, the ceiling is vaulted to a stunning 12'...and there is a small, but sill obnoxious built in book!  And of course pared with the lovely orange windows, plastic wood blinds, pine doors, and tiny trim.

So we obviously didn't buy this house because of the trim (my #2 requirement...white trim)...actually we almost didn't buy this house because of the trim.  We did buy this home though because of the floor plan, location to schools and transportation, and it met my #1 requirement.  Sidewalks, street lights, and neighbors.  Our last home did not have sidewalks, and living on a busy street walking to school was always an issue.  Walking home after dark was an even bigger issue.  Hence the street light requirement.  And neighbors because I'm a social gal!  Oh, and please understand, this is a lovely home with many aspects that I adore.  It's just that some of the major structural and not so easy to change details made by the previous owner/builder I wouldn't have chosen...ever.

So why not just paint it, or what I would prefer, RIP IT OUT!?  Because Mr. Cottage is in the school of "All wood is good."  I'm in the Christopher Lowell school of "Just because it's wood, doesn't mean it's good."    The main reason we don't paint or replace it is, this isn't our forever home, so I will have to just deal with the disgusting ugly 1980's trim.

Today with the monsoon, fierce lightening, and down right cold northern winds, I am dreaming of my forever home which boasts 4"+ trim, crown molding, wainscoting, transom windows with white sashes, white cottage doors with oil rubbed bronze hardware, and the beautiful contrast of the white 1/4 round trim against the hand scraped dark wood floors.  AAAAAAaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......  FLASH OF LIGHTENING! Ok! Ok! Back to reality!  Grocery shopping, laundry, kids, dog, dinner, dishes...yep, and 1980's ugly wood trim.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Your opinion PLEASE!

Hello my Friends!

***Fair warning: MANY PICTURES!***

Though I was out of the re-purposing/refinishing loop for a bit, I was still trying to find time to buy great treasures.  I have found if you look hard enough, and lady luck just happens to be sitting close by, you will find exactly what you are looking for!  That is just exactly what happened to me Friday!

Being somewhat confined to my desk, I decided to take a break from studying (I'm going to grad school and had a HUGE test. Hence my disappearance). I pulled up my old friend know Craig right? He's got this amazing list of stuff for sale.  He calls it Craigslist! lol~ (Need  humor..test was 5 hours long! On a Saturday!) Ok..ok...

Here is my latest and greatest treasure!  I purchased this from the sweetest Polish Babcia!  She had purchased it for her grand daughter from friends who immigrated from Poland and France.  I'm guessing it was the wife's as she was from France and it looks very French to me.

  It is in amazing condition structurally.  As you can see the desk top does have an issue or two.  With it's age, there are bumps, scrapes, and rub marks on all three pieces.  The flower paintings/decals? are good, but not great. Again the desk shows the most worn finish with the flowers completely missing from the top and the veneer chipped and missing.  The chair, though very petite, is very sturdy as well as the side table.  I simply am in LOVE with this set!  I just don't know what to do with it though!  Leave it alone? Restore it to nearly new with new veneer?  Fix and paint?  I just don't know!

The Babcia was so sweet, I wasn't even going to bargain a better price...but she just kept offering less.  I think I was in shock with beauty and condition  the set, not to mention her garage full of treasures she was selling! At first I didn't realize she was going further down in price because I wasn't responding.  I finally came to and yelled, I think, "That's fine! I'll take it!".  I know, you should never interrupt when the seller is offering a better price, but I started to feel like I was taking advantage of this sweet Babcia!  And I never even opened my mouth to offer less! lol~  Oh the guilt!  Which is another reason I just don't know what to do with it! lol~

Still in shock, I don't even know how I realized her other treasures! Oh the silver & antiques!  And nearly everything was in amazing condition, with a detailed history of the piece, and from another country.  It was like a little slice of heaven!  If only I had the money to buy everything, I would have.  I did walk away with a sweet little antique mirror and newish picture frame.  But I wouldn't let her take less than what was marked!

Here's where you come in, my Friend!   Your opinion Please!  Tell me what you would do with this?  Paint, fix, or what? Or, what you WOULDN'T do with this! I'm so excited to hear from you!

Sorry about the pictures! Think my camera needs some coffee :) 

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Victorian Egyptian Revival Silver....What??

Alright, yes you did read that correctly.  I know, it took me a while to wrap my mind around this one too.  After much thought and referring back to my design school books, hours of research on the net, and great discussion with my friend all makes sense!

And so the story goes,

Pam and I went to an estate sale last Friday and I stumbled across this silver set.  I kinda scratched my head, and carried it around with me while I shopped only to finally put it back.  As soon as we left, REGRET set in!  But I was on a tight time line! I was meeting a customer of mine and had just enough time to get there. So, no time to go back.  And with the events of the day, the shop I was in closing, moving my things, finding a new shop, and oh yeah, my super sweet customer!  Well you get the picture.  The regret I felt over not buying the set soon left and was filled with the daunting task ahead of me that day.

Bright and early the next day, I texted Pam to see if she wanted to go back. She immediately said YES! and we hopped in my van and took off!  As soon as we got to the sale, we went our separate ways, Pam to the basement for a Christmas village she had her eye on, and me towards the mantle where a silver vase was yesterday..but gone once I got there.  So I quickly headed towards the basement.  The set was still there! I was shocked, but then again was I really?

This has got to be the strangest set I have ever seen! The Egyptian heads with the big scroll-y Art Nouveau flowers, paired with the band of Victorian highly detailed forest scene?  What exactly is this???  Finally I came to the decision to buy it, but not for the price marked.  After all, the covered sugar was missing the lid.  I bargained with the sales lady for a mere $25 for the set.  Yep, you read that right.  I don't usually like to broadcast the price of my finds, especially when it could be considered a sin!  But this time is different.  Why, you may ask?  Because I truly have no idea what it's worth! If you know, I would be forever thankful if you shared with me!

Once I got home, I realized I did have the covered sugar & lid.  So what was this extra piece? After much research I found the weird extra piece was actually a waste decanter for honey comb and tea leaves.  Neat!  The set as I have it includes a coffee pot, tea pot, covered sugar, and wast decanter.  It is missing the creamer, but I think it's fine! I've never seen a "waste decanter"!   Oh, and this set is strangely large!  The coffee pot is almost 14" tall with the covered sugar 91/2"!

There are many pictures due to the detailing of this set.  It truly is the strangest thing, don't you think?  If you know anything about this, please share!  The stamp is the original stamp from the Aurora S.P. Mfg. Co. from Aurora Illinois.  (Which is just a hop from where I live!)  This stamp dates it to around 1869 to mid 1880's.  One of the first sets made by this company.

The Victorian era loved Egyptian mythology which explains the heads.  In addition, the large flower pattern and squarely angled handles and spouts explain the early onset of the Art Nouveau.  The beautifully detailed silver band of the forest scene of flowers, deer, and trees in a tapestry appearance easily connects to the Victorian era and date stamp. So to me, all of this beautiful detail all makes sense in a strange kinda way.

I truly hope you enjoy my find!

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Something Wonderfully Wonderful~

Hello Friends,
My last post was a little on the blue side.  I ended with promising to post something "Wonderfully Wonderful".  Yes, I am a gal that still ties meaning to my words!  So, here is my "Wonderfully Wonderful" post :)

The weather was so beautiful, and my muscles are still a little achy today.  I look out my beautiful bay window into the back yard, and I hear it calling my name. My old friend, Hammock. 
My Hammock has found it's permenant home between two perfectly spaced shade trees amidst the soon to be blooming tulips and daffodils.  In the summer, the smell of Rosemary, and Mock Orange fill the air while the Day lilies and hosta fill in my shade garden with cherry yellows, whites, and silvery greens.  Oh how I have longed for those days during those long cold months of winter.

As I walk across the grass that is finally getting some vibrant color back to it after this long harsh winter, I run my finger along Hammocks edge and smile.  I know exactly what I need is right here at the tips of my fingers floating like a feather in the breeze. "I'm so glad you called today." I say.

I kick off my shoes and gently settle in. Instantly I am cradled by my old friend and it brings a smile to my weary face.  A soft yellow blanket of sunshine warms me while the wind gently rocks me.  I hear the birds singing me their lullaby, and I close my eyes.  It doesn't take long for me to drift off to a peaceful sleep while the earth continues on.  I am comforted by what surrounds me, the sun, wind, birds, and Hammock.  Life is more than Wonderfully Wonderful.  It is beautiful and a gift.  I hope you have a Wonderfully Wonderful moment today.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A sad & exhausting day. Eclectibles is closing

Dear Carter's Cottage Customers and Blog Friends,

Today has been an sad & exhausting day.  I found out late last night that the store we just moved into 7 days ago will be closing April 30th.  Though I was only at the shop for 7 days, I did sell a few items.  It was  a good first sprint at having my own shop and with the sales I had, well worth it.

With living about 45 minutes from the shop, price of gas, and some commitments we have planned, Mr. Cottage and I decided we would move out this week when I met a client near Batavia.  We packed up and went home. I know it was a difficult decision, and I am grateful for the few short days there.  It has shown me that what I am doing is something people are looking for and met some very sweet people in the process! Yea me!

I hope to post something wonderfully wonderful tomorrow!  For tonight, I'm tired and sore, and ready for bed.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

*Startling News* And a New B4&After

Hello Thursday!

Ready for some startling news?  I'm serious!  Brace yourselves! I, Christie, have never in my life used Mod Poge! I know!  How in the world was I ever an art teacher and not know how to use Mod Podge!  Sad, but true!  And I must confess, it took a little to figure it out!  Once I figured out it is just like hanging wall paper, it went so much more smoothly...including the sheet music!

One really cool thing about this little table is the sheet music!  The music is printed with blue ink. Very cool!  And how ironic, but the title of the piece is "Which Way America?"  I was starting to feel the whole "America the Beautiful" "Red, White, & Blue" thing.  Had a hard time deciding on painting it red or cream.  Cream won this time. Next one I do, will be red...or red...Oh who knows!  Maybe one of each :)

Have to once again give kudos to Miss Mustard Seed!  Don't you just love all the ideas Miss Mustard Seed can stir up?  From sheet music to moss...wax to trim...she's covered the gamete on products, tips, and tricks.  I just love it when someone else has shared their successes and failures (though I wouldn't quite call them failures)...saves me time!  Which in turn, allows me to do what I do best!  CREATE!...and shop:)  And that's just what I did with this little table!
I'm not quite sure what this table was used for originally.  It could have been a telephone table, but most likely a night stand.  And oh is it HEAVY!  I think the dresser I bought the other day weighs less lol~ 

I hope you find inspiration here and create something beautiful!


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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Latest & Greatest...Continued

Hello Ya'll!

I know we all have done this, so I'm going to be brave and confess.

Has the green eyed jealousy monster ever crept up on you when reading a post from someone who has had great Craigslist fortune?  I admit it!  I have MANY times...sad to say.  But today, I was the blessed one who had the good fortune land in my lap!

I was getting ready to hop in the car and drive an hour + to go and "see" about a dresser.  You know what I mean when I say "see".  The dresser you're about to drive across the state for isn't exactly what your looking for...but it could do.  It's not quite the style, looks like the veneer is popping a little... And to add to the torture of not knowing if you are really going to come home with the dresser after the long drive is the price is a little too high.  This was me this morning...then just by happen stance, I peaked once more at Craigslist, praying for a miracle...(the said dresser would be sold...or the Hallelujah moment that actually happened to ME!)

I hop on CL, pull up my usual search requirements...and then THERE IT IS!  Like a diamond shining so brightly I need some Maui Jim's to protect my eyes!  The PERFECT dresser & highboy!  Not one, but TWO!

Oh the detailing!  Dovetailing!  Beautiful mirror!  AND MOST IMPORTANTLY:  ALL THE DRAWER PULLS! Lol!  Yes, my jaw dropped and I fumbled for the phone as quickly as I could!  The listing was only 30 minutes old, but where I come from...that is like forever!  I dial....the nice man answers!!! YES!  And I can come right then! It's only a 45 minute drive!  And the price...well that would be a sin to tell you!  Oh how blessed I was today!  I am still in shock and awe of this beautiful find!  I just can't wait to do something with it...but it's going to have to be angelic!  lol!

So no green eyed jealousy monster here today!  Just me, smiling to myself...happy as the little chickadees outside my window.


Oh, please forgive my messy garage!  As you can see...I have many treasures I've been working on:)

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