29 April 2015

A Springtime Farmhouse Update

Hey folks. Spring has finally arrived, though Old Man Winter keeps trying to have one last hurrah in the form of frost and freeze warnings once a week or so but for the most part, we're enjoying temps in the 60s and everything is greening up. 

Free artwork! Embroidery hoops and vintage feedsack fabrics.

We've been really busy the last 6 weeks readying our farmhouse for the arrival of guests this spring and summer. We are doing a lot of repurposing, upcycling, using found objects to make things we need, hitting yard sales, estate sales and of course, my beloved thrift stores, in a quest to spend minimal money but have a comfortable, relaxing home. So far, we've built a deck and a king size bed frame all from recycled pallets, we've put in a tiny walkway to the front door, and we've reused items we already had to create new spaces in other rooms. 

Perfect spot to read a book or enjoy a cup of coffee. One end of the hallway upstairs. Overlooks the front yard and the beautiful mountains.

We finally have two proper guest rooms!! The twin room was put together when we moved in last fall but the other bedroom was our 'staging area' for boxes. When the weather turned and it was too cold to continue unpacking, that room got put on hold. We've finally cleared it out and furnished it with a king size bed. I will be putting the finished touches on it later today, and then it too will be complete.  

The Twin Size Guest room is complete. A comfortable, bright and airy room perfect for two. 

We also put in a second coffee bar upstairs in the hallway near the guest rooms and our offices. It's smaller than the main coffee bar but perfect so that guests don't have to head all the way downstairs if they want an early morning cup of coffee or if we're working and are too lazy to go fetch a refill. Cost: $0! I had things on hand to use in this area -- a cabinet I bought at a yard sale in Maryland in 2007, an extra coffee maker, vintage canisters, a vintage syrup dispenser that holds the powder (shelf stable!) creamer. 

A second coffee bar located upstairs near the guest rooms. Small but functional! 

As always, the farmhouse is a work in progress. We still want to do landscaping but the weather has been very rainy for the last month. We feel lucky when it's a day without rain so we can stay on top of the mowing, but hopefully once May rolls around we'll be able to plant flowers and do some curb appeal to the front of the house. We are thoroughly enjoying the front porch with the views of the mountains for both morning coffee and evening happy hours. It is nice as is but once we get some projects complete out there, it is going to be even more amazing. 

The view from the front porch. It's beautiful in every season.

What spring projects are you working on? 

Next time: the $100 deck project and the $65 King Size Bedroom Makeover

28 January 2015

Another Farmhouse Christmas -- a month late!

Hey folks. I hope you had a lovely holiday season. Of course, I am late, late, late posting a blog about our Christmas. That seems to be par for the course with me these last few years though. 

We had a wonderful Christmas here in our new-to-us farmhouse. It is SO much bigger than the last place and we were anxious to decorate, though next year we've plans for even bigger and better decorations. 

We had 3 full size trees this year, though truthfully the one in the dining room is entirely too short for that space. With 10' tall ceilings, a 6.5 foot tree just looks silly. Beautiful, but silly. We have plans to acquire some taller trees over the summer so that in November, we will be able to decorate our main floor with trees that are more suitable for such tall rooms. 

Like last year, our 'main' tree was in the dining room and had a huge assortment of vintage ornaments in all colors. It took several hours to decorate but the end result was totally worth it. Don't you agree? 

My office tree is always my favorite with the pastel colors and vintage ornaments. This year, I put all of my vintage angels in one spot. I never realized that I had a collection of angels. An unintentional collection, I suppose. I put them and my Gurley candles on the shelves near my desk. 

Our main bathroom got kitschy with my flamingo ornaments and decorations. Makes it feel all tropical despite the freezing temperatures in the house. 

These little trees usually go by the front door, outside, but we never use our front door to come in/out, so I brought them inside this year. I think I'll try to find some tall, skinny trees before next Christmas. As you can tell, our hallway is huge. I jokingly call it our bowling alley. 

On my ugly old Louis Vuitton trunk, I put my small collection of Santa blow molds, and above it I hung up the vintage light bulb wreaths I made. 

The beautifully wide staircase got the same treatment as last year -- garland and traditional red and green ornaments with bows. I think I'll search for fluffier/wider garland next year. 

The dining room has an awesome fireplace that's been closed off but it retains its original mantel so I left some of my milkglass vases and put some of my Christmas decorations on there, too. The stockings are new but I love that they have that retro look to them. 

Even the coffee cafe room got a small tree this year! I had this in my bathroom in Maryland in 2007 but it fits perfectly here. 

I kept the outside decorations to a minimum this year. We're still unsure what the rental agency is planning on doing with our non-existent driveway but right now, we use the backdoor exclusively, so that's what I decorated. Next year, we'll do up the front but we just ran out of time this year. I put this old sled I bought in 2004 by the backdoor and hung some greenery on it, and hung a pair of itty bitty ice skates on it. 

I am kind of embarrassed to admit that my decorations are still up! It is freezing cold in this old house, with no central heat, so the decorations at least seem fitting. And they make me smile which is kind of hard to do when the house is 38-40 degrees. lol I realize that it's time to take it all down and pack it away for 10 months. I think I'll start decorating in early November this year so that I can fully enjoy it. 

Anyway, it's already the end of January (how'd that happen?!) and we're having a very non-snowy winter here in the mountains of western NC. I am disappointed, to say the least because I LOVE snow. We keep having snow in the forecast and the peaks are getting snow but not here in the valley. At this point, I'm kind of over winter -- if it's not going to snow, let's just move on to spring. We anticipate having a lot of visitors this spring/summer/fall. We live in a vacation destination and thankfully have a house big enough to accommodate guests now. We have a lot of plans to do landscaping and outdoor projects to make it more visitor friendly and well, we can't do that until it warms up. So, if we aren't going to get snow, it might as well go ahead and be spring, right? 

Hopefully I will be back soon with more pics of our place. I get so caught up in keeping up with inventory in my 3 Etsy shops, plus Instagram, and the daily tasks of running a house, that I forget all about blogging for months at a time. I need to be better about that this year. 

30 October 2014

Our Farmhouse Coffee Room

Hey folks. It's been a busy month. We're slowly getting things unpacked and put away and I really didn't expect to still be doing those things almost a month in but life happens. 

We buckled down on Tuesday and really focused on finishing up the room off our kitchen. We have a much larger dining room off the other side of the kitchen, so we decided to turn this one into our own coffee cafe kind of room. The man and I both LOVE coffee so it's fitting. It is so cozy and just perfect for sitting and having a cup or two (3,4 etc) of coffee. You can see the mountains out the windows and we just love how it turned out. 

This is the view of the room from the kitchen:

There's a door to right, near the aprons, that leads to the hallway. This is the view of the room from that doorway: 

This was kind of an unintentional theme. We didn't go into this thinking 'oh, lets use red and fruit and make it look like Grandma's kitchen' but that's what I  had on hand and I love it, even though *MY* colors of choice are pink and aqua but I think it turned out lovely! I had a lot of old wooden handle utensils so I decided to do a display on one wall of those:

I have long been a hoarder of vintage aprons. Those have a whole wall to themselves. I finally have a space big enough to hang up two of those expandable racks. In my last kitchen, I had just a small space so I hung up one rack and crammed all the aprons I could fit onto it. I like it much better this way: 

Both windows have built in shelves above the curtain rods. I totally took advantage of that space and displayed some of my vintage choppers, sifters and tins. I now have 3 of these sifters with apples on them. Oops! Anyway, I think it's a good look and ties in with the fruit theme: 

This is a cheap-o $7 decorator side table from Wal-Mart. And a thrifted $1.50 tablecloth that I've had for probably 7 years! The chairs were also yard sale finds that I paid $5 for back in 2007. They faded a bit last year on my porch but I still love them. Small enough to fit in the coffee room and perfect for sitting and staring at the mountains: 

And finally, the star of the show and the whole reason for this room -- the coffee bar itself. This old dresser was gifted to my mom from my grandpa probably 20 years ago. He'd received it from an elderly lady some years prior. It wasn't in pristine condition, and of course, wasn't some priceless antique so a couple of years ago, mom and I painted it white and changed out the knobs and pulls to reproduction glass found at Hobby Lobby. I took a $3 vinyl tablecloth and cut it to size and then stapled it around the underneath edges to create a neater, easier to clean surface for the sticky spoons and coffee rings. We have a selection of Torani flavored syrups and K-cups, then above, Mason jars filled with all sorts of flavored coffees. The chrome Tea canister holds the filters, the Coffee canister has regular coffee. In the top drawers of the dresser, we have a selection of tea and extra K-cups. The larger drawers hold other coffees and some vintage Tupperware: 

We are so in love with our farmhouse!! This room has really been a good motivator for getting the rest of the place put together so that's what we're working on today. Our forecast is calling for a snow storm this weekend. I can hardly believe I'm typing that but we're excited. If we're snowed in for a couple of days, we should really have plenty of time to finish every room. 

09 October 2014

A New Home Sweet Home

Hello!! Lots of changes have been happening. We moved -- again!! We quickly realized that the old farmhouse we were renting was entirely too small and didn't offer enough storage space, let alone room for guests, and then after a scary-snake-beside-my-bed incident in August, that kind of made our decision to move become even more urgent. 

After some stressful weeks where we were sure we weren't going to get our current place due to clerical errors, we finally received the call that the place was ours. We moved in a week ago yesterday and are IN LOVE!! It's much, much larger: we have 5 bedrooms as opposed to the 2 in the old place, and at 2700 sq feet, we can now have guests! It's still an old farmhouse, though this one is in MUCH better condition, and the views are to die for! 

We're still trying to unpack and get everything put away but it's much easier now that there is room for all of our stuff!! We're thoroughly enjoying fall here in Maggie Valley, too. It's so much quieter than Asheville and we love not having 6 lanes of traffic and 400 stop lights to sit through! My mom, niece and sister came up last weekend to help us move stuff from storage into the house and get started putting things away. It still looks like a bomb went off in here but we're managing to get it all done. Hopefully we'll knock another room off the list today and I'll have lots of new pics to share soon.

10 July 2014

VTT - Vintage Aprons

I'm participating in Vintage Thingies Thursday for the first time in forever. Check out the others that are also participating over at ColoradaoLady's blog

For years, I've had a bit of an obsession with collecting vintage aprons. I have them hanging in my kitchen, in my pantry, in storage boxes. I don't find them as often anymore since moving from Maryland, but on occasion, one will pop up here and there. I keep the ones that match my decor and then instead of hoarding all of them, I put some in my Etsy shop to share the wealth with others. Here are some of my latest acquisitions. 

20 June 2014

The Start of Summer

I cannot believe it's already the middle of the year. Last time I blogged was right after Christmas, and I was sitting here in this ol drafty farmhouse freezing. Now the opposite is happening! It's not officially summer until tomorrow but here in this old house that has no central a/c, it's felt like summer for some months now. 

We're coming up on our 1 year anniversary of our move to the mountains of NC. A whole year! It's flown by, that's for sure. I never imagined this time last year that in a few weeks I'd have packed up the essentials and moved to NC, very spur of the moment. But despite some trying times, it's all worked out and we're both very happy with our decision to move here. 

Life here in our old farmhouse has been going well. The cows returned to the front pasture in late April! I love seeing our cow neighbors. We've started looking and other areas we might wish to move to in the next year or so. I so love my old farmhouse, but the rental company we're dealing with is anything but efficient, or helpful, and they really don't care if this house falls into complete disrepair. Our porch literally has holes in it, and soft spots that aren't safe to walk across, and even though they've known about these issues since last fall, they haven't bothered to fix them. 

There is a long list of things they need to maintain but they won't, and we don't want to shell out anymore money that is absolutely necessary (and removable upon our departure)so we're looking for other places. Our lease is up the first of October but we may have to stay on after that until we can either find another suitable rental or until we can purchase. 

In the meantime, we've stapled screen to the outside of the window frames so that we at least have some breeze coming through. And my mom came to visit a few weeks ago and she and I planted flowers in pots, and installed a gate on the front porch so that the puppy can go outside alone. The back yard is fenced in but with the ever growing snake population, I don't like her spending a lot of time out back. 

And speaking of puppies, sadly my Mr. Marty went to heaven back in early April. It's still a huge, raw hole in my heart and I miss him every single day. He was acting perfectly fine up until 2 days before we had to put him down. One afternoon, he started pacing the house and wouldn't settle down, so after 2 hours of this, and him yelping when I picked him up, I decided to drive to SC where our vet is so he could be seen the next day. After x-rays and an ultrasound, it was discovered that he had a very large tumor the size of a 20 oz soda bottle on his kidney. It was inoperable. I had to make the heartbreaking decision to have him put down the next day. Gosh, I cry just thinking about it. But, I knew that was what had to be done. I will never not miss my boy. 

The girl puppy is doing well and we'll be celebrating her 14th birthday in August. She's a bit lonely without her brother here but she and I are constantly together so that helps. 

My Etsy shop is continuing to do well, though I wish they'd stop 'testing' all the time, as each time they run tests, the views and sales seem to vanish, but I'm plugging along as best I can. And a couple of weeks ago, I opened a new shop just for the vintage books. With the amount of books I have, it would easily overwhelm the regular shop so I opened a new one just for them! DogEaredBooks is slowly growing but hopefully soon it'll be filled with all sorts of great vintage books. I also started a new blog just for the books, which can be found here: VintageDogearedBooks. If you're on Instagram, I'm at @myvintagewhimsy and @dogearedbooks. Look for me on either of those accounts, where I offer special flash sales and discount codes to the Etsy shop. 

I hope everyone is having a lovely spring and that the summer will bring lots of memory making opportunities!!