Can’t Get Enough of Green

With sincere apologies to Kermit the frog…It’s beautiful being green…

As I look back on my history of painting vintage furniture it obvious I just can’t get enough of green painted furniture.

These next nine pieces shown below all painted in various shades of green shown some of are my own projects. They were all bought, restored, painted and waxed by me and all were done the first year I was painting and selling my chalk painted pieces.

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Then this week I read on Houzz that forest green is a “trending” color right now. http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/80942265/list/shop-houzz-3-trending-palettes-for-forest-green

These photographs below are from my Pinterest file titled Green Furniture. I love, love, love these vintage pieces shown below…

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At the Small House green is the new black!

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna

Healing Room Update

I finally have taken updated photographs of my healing room. This rooms decor started with this chalk painted green and red desk and patterned rug and evolved into this.

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This vintage garage sale vanity is repurposed into my desk. This pillow is a resale shop find.

When using essential oil and hot water, being washable is critical. This means cotton sheets on the massage table and a washable duckcloth throw on my old wingback chair.bed-and-bookcase

 Bookcases hold massage supplies and materials in one contained space. 

This room is multi-functional as acts a my office, massage room and NewRife treatment room.

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My goal was for this room to be happy and cozy at the same time. I bought those vintage lamp on my desk for $7.00 at a flea market many years ago and after deciding on the red and green colors I found these new lampshades.

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Be aware that cotton slip covers require a lot of ironing to keep them crisp!

It’s all about budget decorating at the Small House Homestead.

Thanks for following!

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna

 

My DYI Chalk Painted Lampshade

I tried a little experiment today.

I had a seriously discolored lampshade on a DYI lamp that I put together a couple of decades ago from an old canning jar and stones. I was visiting a hardware shop in Shipshewana, Indiana and purchased a DYI lamp making kit.

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I photographed this image so that you could see the cord set-up coming out from under the shade. That’s my handmade paper on canvas artwork on the wall behind this vignette.

I found this large quart Ball jar and added the screw on lid, added some pretty black stones I had gathered and I had a small-scale lamp. I was a young bride and I was pretty proud of myself then.

I noticed this past week that the white replacement lampshade was mottled and discolored. I automatically set it aside to go to Lowe’s with the intent of purchasing a new shape. Then it occurred to me, why not try to paint it before I discarded it? I even had the same color chalk paint that I used on the dresser turned family room storage unit that it sits on.

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I have successfully used chalk paint on wood, metal, and a vintage leather top table so why not give it a try? It was incredibly easy to do. I watered the paint down very lightly, used a regular paint brush and painted it on taking care not to load too much paint on the glued edge.

I am really pleased as how the fabric took the paint. Not only does it cover the stains beautifully the finished shade has a lovely velvety look to it.

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A vintage Ball Perfect Mason jar holds Petoskey stones I gathered over the years.

This little trick save me the cost of a new lampshade and even more important it saved me over an hour’s drive to get to the closet home improvement store. It also saved a lampshade from going into the landfill. What a win-win!

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A repurposed and painted gentleman’s chest in maple wood and sea foam green chalk paint adds a bit of pop to the window wall in our family room as well as needed extra storage. This chest which is adjacent to a bathroom is filled with TP and paper towels!

This is one DYI experiment that worked!

Small House Homesteader, Donna

Finding the Courage to Paint my Island

I’ve have wanted to paint my kitchen island for a long time now. But I have had this irrational fear of a future buyer (most likely my age) not buying my home because my kitchen island is now chalk painted. I know this is crazy but honestly this is how I have felt. I know it’s only paint but the fear of a future buyer being turned off by the idea of a painted island has stopped me in my tracks every time.

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My maple island “before” its current transformation.

But every decorating magazine or book I pick up shows the kitchen island painted a lovely color,, a look I adore and I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE chalk painted furniture. This week I finally decided to forge ahead and paint it anyway. This kitchen island will stay here while any of my other painted furniture pieces will be sold or go with me to our new place, wherever and whenever that will be.

I do love my maple kitchen cupboards and am grateful to have such a lovely kitchen to cook in but if there is such a thing as too much wood in one room then this room is definitely the poster child for that. I knew I wanted a deep dark green and that I was going to start by painting and waxing the drawers. I would leave the sides maple to start. I often paint furniture in a two-tone kind of way leaving quite a bit of the natural wood showing and this is my way to test the waters, so to speak.

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The finished island with its original maple pulls put back on. It looks like I had better stain and polyurethane the back of the second chest!!

I purchased a quart of chalk paint by Annie Sloan in the new color called Amsterdam Green. Roadblock # 1: I did not like that shade of green color. It was just too Christmassy green for my room. So I reverted back to my old favorite stand-by Michigan Pine green, by CeCe Caldwell. I had just about enough left to accomplish my goal.

I quickly realised that Michigan Pine green is a much better choice of green for our home and especially for the deep shade of green found in my green, rust, gold and brown runner that lies in front of this island. My area rugs were chosen with dogs and our homesteads ample outdoor dirt in mind!

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This runner has a forest green color that just works with the Michigan pine chalk paint. 

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This is the Amsterdamn Green that was too christmassy looking for my tastes.

We put down a light-colored bleached wood look linoleum floor throughout our home when we moved here in 2000. When we moved here Small House had a country-practical dark brown carpet and the space look way to dark for my taste.

This linoleum is laid using three varying sizes of linoleum strips that make it look just like wood to most guest eyes. This runner was put down when my Labrador Retriever Spirit started aging and was having trouble managing the slippery floors. This runner also keeps my granddaughters from tripping and falling to.

My original plan was to take it slow and paint just the island front and then wax it with black wax. I know I can always paint the other sides later on if I really like this new look.

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My newly “tweeked” kitchen with the repurposed maple shelves, the black stove vent newly painted and kitchen island adorned in Michigan Pine chalk paint. 

Yes, I know that using dark wax directly over paint goes against the “rules” of chalk painting but I do this all the time.  I love how it look when completed to. Just call me a chalk painting rebel!

Yes, all the directions tell you to wax with clear wax first and then wax with dark wax but that is not how I do it. I like dark wax right over the paint. I expect to put the old maple wood pulls back on but I will see how that looks and decide if I will go safe or make a change to go a bit more spiffy with new pulls.

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I extended my storage space by adding an antique chest. This piece holds placematts, linen napkins, candles and tall vases that my homes lack of storage cannot house. 

What do you think? Do you like it painted green?

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna

 

Spray Painting the Range Hood

It only took me fifteen years but I finally got our old beige colored stove hood re-painted. I wanted it to be refreshed and black like the rest of my appliances for a number of years now. My goal was improve the look of the vent so it coordinated better with the other appliances and give it a nice refresh.

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The shiny black appliance paint looks almost like I bought it new. 

When we had our roof re-shingled last year I made sure that my stove vent was working properly and that the cooking odors were successful venting from the kitchen out through the roof. It is functioning just fine in every way but definitely needed a little bit more pep in its step.

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The guys work together to get this hung and reattached. 

Now that I am healthy scratch cooking for two special diet protocols I spend a LOT of time in my kitchen prepping and cooking so I like it to feel good to be working in as well as to work correctly.

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This is full view of my country kitchen.

When we moved into the Small House this property was what is called “an estate.” This means that the people who lived here had passed away and left the property to their children. This also meant we were buying this house and outbuildings in an “as is” condition.

This house came with a 1980’s beige colored stove, fridge, dishwasher and a washer and dryer. I AM grateful that this home came with working appliances because that allowed us to save for new ones.

While Gene was still working fulltime at his City of Kalamazoo job, we saved up enough cash in a few years to replace the stove, fridge and dishwasher. After we had achieved that goal that we sold the old ones locally.

I had wanted though about purchasing a new black stove hood but they were quite a bit over my budget and we had so many other repairs that we needed first, like the entire septic system within the first three months of moving here. I’ve even considered stainless steel appliances until I saw their high price tag and that quickly nixed that idea.

So plan B was to get the range hood painted black by taking it to a car paint shop. But I had to disconnect the electrical, take it off, deliver it and then pick it up and that simply never happened. I considered have a wooden cover built or painting the vent hood using chalk paint but with both options I was concerned about keeping them clean. Stoves can be a greasy place for sure.

Then one day I was reading a magazine and discovered a Rust-Oleum Appliance Epoxy spray paint. This paint can be purchased in white and black and is designed originally for those who want to change out an appliance panel.

The light bulb in my head went off. Why not use this paint to refresh my old-style stove vent hood? This paint was only $3.99 a can. On a recent trip to Lowes, I bought three cans just to be sure I had enough.

Since it was winter and cold in Gene’s workshop this was a project I asked our handyman Frank to tackle this project for me. Frank has a heated workshop and was happy to do this for us. He came, dismantled the hood and took it home with him to clean, sand, paint and reassemble.

In a couple of weeks we had it back and reattached. In addition to painting the outside Frank thoroughly cleaned off the metal grills and degreased the entire unit. What a guy!

I’m happy to have my stove vent back so now I can reconnect the smoke alarm. With the vent out of commission I kept sending the smoke alarm into the noisy”danger”zone.

Doesn’t this look nice? The entire project cost me less than $50.00 and was worth every penny. This defintely quilifies as debt-free living!

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna

 

 

The Art of Aging Gracefully on the Homestead-Mother Earth News

We are in the current issue of Mother Earth News!

My latest contribution to the current issue of Mother Earth News has hit the news stand. This magazine for those of you who might not know it; is a guide to living wisely while being self-sufficient on the homestead or farm.

The article is titled Aging Gracefully on the Homestead. This is a piece about the challenges of senior homesteading; a topic we know a little something about.

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Although I pitched an ongoing column geared to senior homesteading they opted for a one time “how-to” article. Perhaps they know more about the age of their readership than I do! My contribution was four photographs (out of the eight published) and a part of the text.

Double click on this PDF and I believe that the article will open up. aging-gracefully-1

Homesteading is hard work, and Gene and I are not getting any younger. I doubt anyone will argue with that. There are definitely multiple challenges to continuing to do the physical work required by homesteading as one gets older.

We moved to the Small House Big Sky Homestead fifteen years ago. We started out getting as much done as we could and added additional outdoor projects like the chicken complex and the water containment system each summer. And worked on the house during the winter months. This was a good thing we got a lot done in those early years since even then we weren’t spring chickens. (We were 50 and 55 years old.)

Eventually we got the major items on our to-do list knocked down. Every year we try to accomplish a project or two more outside during the nice weather and a few more small indoor project in the house during the indoor winter months.

Now that we are 65 and 72, our age and our health is beginning to be a real consideration. Fortunately, I started thinking about this several years ago. I asked myself what will I do and how will we manage when it becomes more difficult to do the work we need to do?

This past season I hired hourly help in the garden and yard. We found a local young girl of fourteen who is strong and looking to make some money for school clothes. It’s not a perfect system as Olivia is only available on Sunday afternoons because she runs cross county and runs her daily miles every school night, but we have managed to make it work. And this past winter when Gene had his hernia operation we hired a local small business in the short-term to plow our driveway and another local boy to run the snow blower to clear our paths.The total cash out of pocket during Gene’s recovery was less than $100.00.

Some homesteaders find an apprentice or a farm worker and offer room and board in exchange for work. Others turn a spare bedroom or cabin into an Air B&B for extra cash income on the homestead.

Obviously, there is more than one way to make this work but this is what is woring for us.

The moral of this story is to plan ahead about how you might make your elder years’ on the homestead work for you and how you can turn your homestead into a property that will sustain you when you are older.

I hope to convince the editors at MEN that a monthly column written by me with interviews of senior homesteaders who ARE making it work will be both inspirtional and informative.

To help support this idea please send your letters/e-mails to:Rebecca Martin martin@ogdenpubs.com>

As always, thank you for following and if you are aging homesteaders and want to share tips with me about how you have made senior homesteading work for you, please contact me. I am always looking for new ideas on how you in the hometead trenches are making it work!

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna

Kitchen Shelves Showcase Pottery

It’s not that often that I get turned on by a new design idea. Mostly they are either out of my price range financially or are a design idea like gray walls, for instance, that would not cut it in our 6 months of gray sky Michigan. Or these new designs just don’t fit in my 60-year-old rambler.

But two maple wood floating shelves in my kitchen, now that’s an idea I can get into. And this gives me a way to utilize more wall space for showcasing my small pottery collection.

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Last year Gene and I found three large slabs of 2 1/4 inch thick maple wood sitting along the side of a nearby roadway put out with a free sign on them. Apparently someone redid their kitchen and put these gorgeous thick cutting board slabs out to find a new home. Of course we brought them home with us. I didn’t know then how I would use them but they were gorgeous maple wood and I knew at some point I would come up with an idea. I call these pick-ups “a roadside rescue.”

One board quickly became a chopping board on my kitchen island and the other two went into storage awaiting the perfect project.

Somewhere along the way I began to think about floating shelves. A talk with our handyman Frank, determined that he could rip these in half using his table saw and we could have the wood needed for two 23” long X 6” wide shelves to hang between our cupboards and our stove top .

So the search began for photographs of hanging shelves that fit our space and my design sensibilities.

It turned out that there are not sufficient wall studs to hang actual floating shelf on the desired wall. But Frank said I could have my shelves if I was willing to hang them using shelf brackets. Then the challenge began. I needed brackets that were 6 inches in length or shorter. I had at first thought I would find black wrought iron because of my black appliances but everything I found on ESTY Amazon.com were either too chunky or too large scale for my taste or space. For a while I thought about ordering hand-forged custom brackets made by a blacksmith (or waiting until Gene could make them in the forge) until I realized this whole project was getting way too pricy. I was looking at over $100.00 plus shipping.

Finally I found brackets I liked on the Joss & Main website that were fairly priced. Find that site here: www.jossandmain.com/ They are simple in design and yet strong enough to hold the heavy maple wood shelves plus whatever decor I decided to put on them.

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The brackets are painted a soft creamy white, look perfect with my subtle wallpaper as well as contrast nicely with the maple wood; I decide these brackets would be there on the wall and look attractive but not steal the show. And that would allow my collectibles to move to the foreground in interest.

These four cast iron brackets costs me just $34.89 and I received free shipping through a special holiday deal. The labor cost me $30.00 and the wood was free. Total cost: $64.89. Right up my alley of the “How to get creative on a tight budget plan.”

My board was cut in half and the length was cut to 22 inches. I used several coats of mineral oil on them to bring out the lovely maple wood grain. I also opted to leave the raw edge facing out ward to show the lovely grain and character of the rough cut wood.

I oiled the maple wood using mineral oil just like I do my cutting boards and island top.

The third cutting board ended up on my granite counter for my husband to use while he is chopping vegetables with me for our meals. I am calling these our “His & Her Cutting Boards” when Gene helps me to chop up vegetables for my AIP and his insulin resistance diets.

Now that is a match made in heaven!

Small House Big Sky Homestead, Donna