Sunday, October 12, 2014

An Earthly Heaven

It was hard for me to find the right words to describe Cades Cove, Tennessee. I can really go on and on about beautiful and serene places I’ve seen, but this has to be the topper. If you ever get the chance to visit Cades Cove, don’t hesitate. I’m sure there are other places in the world filled with magnificent beauty, but for me, I find a connection, almost a divine connection here in this cove.

Earlier this summer I had the privilege of spending time in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with  hubby, the boys, my parents, and my sis & her family. This was the first time I got to see Cades cove. I of course, took lots of pictures as we walked through some of the old homesteads, reminiscing about the old days. We slowly drove through the seven mile long drive that loops through the cove. Most of the time I was almost in a daze with the beauty that surrounded us. I told my family that if I ever run away, this is probably where they can find me. Smile I don’t believe they were too worried.

 

Let me begin by somehow offering a brief description, if possible, of the setting, and of course, sharing some pictures, which still don’t do justice compared with actually being there.

Jumping back a little, this week I was blessed with the privilege of again being in this beautiful land of the Smokies. My sis, niece, and I are spending about five days down here doing some hiking.

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As I write this, I am on the seventh floor of a motel with a raging river flowing directly beside it in the heart of Gatlinburg. I owe it to sis for making this possible, and to my wonderful hubby for, even though it didn’t work for him to take off from his schedule to go, he allowed me to, and to my mom for helping to make sure the boys make it to school & seeing to their needs while daddy was at work… thank you!!

 

Now, back to the cove… as much as I love majestic mountain views, clear mountain streams, and the wildness of the mountain wilderness, which I could rave about for awhile, I need to share the quiet serenity of Cades Cove with you..

 

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Upon entering Cades cove, you will see a field of horses peacefully grazing in the meadow. I believe there is a riding stable close by and they use this meadow to allow the horses to be out.

There’s something about these meadows being surrounded by mountains that just makes everything so peaceful and tranquil.

 

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This week, as we drove through the loop, we saw an abundance of deer, a bear, a coyote, among the usual wildlife such as squirrels, chipmunks, etc.

Towards the end of the drive is my favorite place, where I would choose to reside in the cove. It is called the Peter Cable house. It seems to me that they had heaven on earth, living there, years ago. I mean waking up to those mountains and the sounds and smells of that area had to have been paradise!

 

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I would have a couple of horses grazing in the meadow by the barn and maybe a few cows and sheep.

Behind the barn, there’s a couple of trees that caught my eye. Perhaps there would be a swing hanging from one of them for the boys. Smile

 

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Here’s the view these people had from their front porch…

 

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I realize things probably weren’t rosy for these people most of the time but I sure hope they appreciated where they were. I hope they took early morning walks in the mountains and spend some afternoons sitting on a blanket under a shade tree, drinking lemonade or tea, or whatever they drank in that era.

The other home sites in the cove are also very peaceful and tranquil, but for some reason this Peter Cable place just stole my heart!

 

I did manage to get some pictures and a video of a bear in the distance…

 

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Again, I feel pictures can’t capture how it is to actually be there,but hopefully you get a little taste of the awesomeness of this place!

 

I hope you enjoyed the tour of this earthly paradise and are inspired to visit this place someday, if you haven’t already, or if you’re like me to just continue to go whenever the opportunity arrives!

 

-Mary

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thrifty Fall Decor

Fall… what a beautiful season… from the  colorfulness of the leaves to the chirping of crickets everywhere, all the senses are bound to be touched.

Today I brought fall into our home, using as much from nature itself as I could.

I felt like a pioneer as I gathered acorns, sticks and leaves.

I used popcorn kernels, burlap and even toilet paper!

 

I got this idea for pumpkins off of pinterest.

 

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For each “pumpkin” you need one roll of toilet paper (the softer, the better), four strips of burlap, cut 2”x Around 54”

Two of the strips I frayed the edges, saving those for last.

I  wrapped the burlap around the toilet paper. As I started a new strip, I just tucked the end of the other one underneath the new one.

 

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After all the strips were wrapped around the roll, I stuck a stick in it for the stem.

 

I painted the number 5 on an old end table top I had around here, stuck some branches in a jar and made a “thankful” banner. I also used some acorns and popcorn kernels and put them in a jar with a candle…

 

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For the banner, I used a free printable from this site: http://www.shanty-2-chic.com/2012/10/free-printable-whole-alphabet-banner.html

 

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I used burlap as the backing for the triangles…

 

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This morning, as I went through town, I thought about stopping here or there for something to decorate the mantle with, but each time I thought, no, I’ll use something I already have, or make something, and now I’m so glad I did! It’s such a good feeling knowing that I spent hardly anything on this display. It sure is nothing uppity or fancy but it fits in with the rest of our home!

 

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Happy fall, everyone and God bless!

-Mary

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Window Seat Crate

Here is a short post on something I worked on the other day. I have really neglected my blog this summer, due to being busy with garden parties and the usual summer activities that go on. Hopefully I can make up for it this winter since I won’t be doing the parties and have plans to share with you things I will be working on for the vintage sale next June. (it never hurts to work ahead) Smile

  A few years ago I had picked up this old wooden box, or crate at a garage sale…

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It sure is nothing fancy but I thought for $4.00, surely I can do something beneficial with it.

First I gave it a coat of white water based paint  I had sitting around here…

 

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I wanted to make a seat with a hinged lid for it so I cut a piece of plywood to fit on top…

 

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I wanted the seat to be padded but I didn’t have a piece of foam on hand. I debated going to an upholstery place to buy a piece, but then some carpet padding in the shop caught my eye that we had left over from the boy’s rooms.

Since it was only an inch thick, I cut three pieces the size of the plywood.

 

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I had recently picked up a piece of outdoor fabric at Zincks, a local fabric outlet store, that I liked and fortunately fit perfectly over the padding and plywood.

 

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After stapling the fabric securely onto the plywood, the seat was complete.

Again, here is the “before”…

 

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And now the “after”…

 

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I also added some old screen door handles to make it look more “benchy.”

 

I hope I inspired you to think twice before passing by old, junky looking finds and seeing possible potential!

 

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Secretary Desk Makeover

Secretary desks have always been a popular piece or furniture in the Amish community I come from. I don’t know how it started but for the past generations many parents would present their children with a secretary desk “from home” or so it was said, when a son or daughter got married or moved out and was given various items to make a start with in their new home. Some of the most popular things were bedroom suites, quilts, dishes, hutches, desks and sometimes even a horse and buggy.

So, about ten years ago hubby’s dad decided to get a new secretary desk and we got the chance to have his old one. It was no wonder no one else in the family wanted it, with the ugly yellowish – orangeish color it was.  I really wish I had a picture of it. I did find one online that reminded me a little of it…

 

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It also had a header and glass doors, which I removed.  Smart hubby knew that before the desk could reside in our home, it would need a major makeover. At the time I painted it black and a few years later I added beadboard to the back of the upper part.

 

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Just the other day, I started eyeing the subject and I began to wonder why I haven’t repainted it a long time ago. It stood out amongst all the whites and neutrals of the living room.

I painted the main part a “dove white” and the beadboard and shelves got a coat of “shiloh blue” For now, I’ll leave the wooden handles, since it gives the piece a county look..

 

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I always like to take pictures of new projects through other rooms. I think it’s sometimes a better way of seeing whether everything flows together nicely or not. 

 

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I think it “flows” a lot better like this than when it was black.

The white jars and pitchers were all clear glass that I spray painted white a few years ago. The  “y” I added using carbon paper to transfer, then a black paint marker to color in.

I hope you enjoyed this post and are possibly inspired to redo old, out of style heirlooms instead of storing them. Smile

Happy Labor Day!

-Mary

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Crackling with Elmers glue

Earlier this summer a friend had dropped off a hutch that she picked up at a garage sale and wondered if I’d paint it. I haven’t been doing any painting for people since I started the garden parties but this cute little hutch I couldn’t resist!

 

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So now, a few months later, I finally got around to giving it a makeover. I got to choose what I’d do with it. I knew she wanted a neutral color, like white or off white, so I thought I’d try something I haven’t done in a while..crackling. I read somewhere that you can use elmers glue to crackle paint and decided to give it a shot. I swiped my son’s brand new bottle of glue he had packed in his back pack for school and got started.Smile

The finish on the hutch wasn’t shiny or overly smooth so I didn’t bother with any sanding. I should mention that I used my sprayer for this project but you could use a brush or roller also, I’m sure. I gave the hutch a coat of dark brown paint.

 

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I then applied glue to the drawers and doors..

 

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I used both a foam brush and my hands to spread the glue.

Now, here are a few important tips that I learned the hard way by not knowing about them before I started:

Always have the surface at a horizontal position to do this! I tried doing the sides of the hutch too, in a vertical position, but the glue ran and it turned out looking horrible, like it had a disease. I ended up stripping all the paint and glue and starting over. Sad smile

Apply a thick layer of glue! I tried applying a thin layer of glue but then it didn’t crackle at all. 

After applying the thick layer of glue, immediately put on the top layer of paint.

 

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Watch it crackle as it dries!

 

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Again, here is the before picture…

 

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and the after…

 

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I left the inside of the top dark brown, I thought it added a little character..

 

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It’s amazing what a bottle of Elmers glue can do!

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

 

-Mary