Friday, August 26, 2016

French Country: Putting the Rust in Rustic

Don't you love a scattering of rusty metal in the garden?
I know I do.
And the rustier, the better. 

A touch of rust makes your garden or patio feel like it's been there for ages,
steeped in history and patina. 

This vignette on my patio reminds me of stone houses in the south of France,
their walls dressed up in faded blues and sunny ochres with rusty accents.

Rust brings back fond memories of crusty French lampposts with old-world patina. 

This primitive well in the French countryside with its rusty pulley dates from Roman times.

In my garden, a rusty lantern and my Dad's old pitchfork lend an aura of days gone by.

My version of heavy metal!
A vintage fireplace coal grate creates a feeling of permanence on my patio.
Love the rusty ornamentation.
Won't it be pretty filled with orange mums this Fall?

A sweet rusty birdfeeder peeks through my salvia.

This planter with a glaze of rust and chippy paint . . . 

provides a perfect nest for this multi-colored verbena.

A metal fence dappled with rust defines the edge of the patio.

Most visitors to my garden think my wall fountain is rusty iron but it's actually lightweight fiberglass.

Rust gives this giant metal sunflower a warm patina. 
I found this one and its smaller twin at Goodwill hiding in the drapery rods!

This rusty headboard forms a unique sculpture against my garden shed. 
Soon it will be draped in purple morning glories. 

How cute is this inspiration from a neighborhood bistro? 
All kinds of metal containers were used for little plants wired onto this aged patio screen.
The owner told me she'd seen something similar in Saint-Remy-de-Provence.
I will have to try this next season so now I'm collecting rusty tins. 

Rusty metal gives your garden warmth and patina and provides a lovely contrast to your plants.
So, if you're looking for a way to age your garden, try a little rust. 


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Friday, August 19, 2016

Goodbye Old Paint

I enjoy seeing what you all can do with a paintbrush but the bug hasn't bitten me yet.

Until recently, that is.

Several years ago Ron made me a primitive seed bin 
but it was hiding down in the basement where it stored our dog food.
Here's what it looked like.

I always wanted it upstairs somewhere but couldn't find the right space for it.
Then I decided to paint it white and put it in my farmhouse-style sunroom.

I kept the silver pull and painted the bin with some old leftover satin paint 
called Ambiance by Sherwin Williams. 
I was so glad we still had it because I couldn't find the shade of white I wanted in the stores. 
Maybe it was because it had been sitting in a can for about 20 years 
but it had that aged look I was after. 

I distressed the edges where it would have been roughed up.

I think it looks good with my old farm table 
and it fits perfectly under the window. Why didn't I think of this before?
(It still stores the dog food).

The other painting project I decided to tackle was an old door we found in the alley. 
I liked it because it was smaller than a standard-sized door, a plus in a small house.
 It had the original handle but it was in pretty sad shape. 

I set up my saw horses and got to work scraping off the peeling paint. 
It was an ugly shade of peach. Otherwise I'd have left the old paint intact.
Here, I'm using a scrub brush to sweep off the loose paint. 

I loved the unusual old hinges and didn't touch them. 

We added an old paint-caked door latch that looked like it had always been there.

I wanted to retain the timeworn look on this door but also wanted to get rid of the flaking paint. 
So, after scraping it off, I went over it with an almost-dry brush with white paint,
then sanded off the excess. 
I love the final look. 

It's a nice accent in the sunroom and complements the farmhouse style.
It's also easy to move, very helpful for a compulsive mover!

I'm starting to understand why people become so enthralled with the paint brush.
Can chalk paint be far behind?


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Friday, August 12, 2016

Carte Postale : A French Souvenir that Fits in a Suitcase

When I visited France with a group of women, shopping was high on our list of activities. 
If I could do it over again, I'd probably buy more goodies but, at the time, 
I had a very small suitcase and an even smaller budget.

So I bought old postcards.
Beautiful images of France caught in time.

But not just any touristy postcards. I bought postcards with history.
Here's an old black and white postcard of Notre Dame's famous rose window,
just as dramatic as today's cards that reveal its brilliant colors.

As I scoured the markets for old postcards,
I remembered reading that the first printed picture postcard with an image on one side
was actually in France in 1870.

These cards had no space for stamps and no evidence they were ever mailed,
at least not without an envelope.
Wikipedia had told me these postcards were of Camp Conlie,
a training camp for soldiers in the Franco-Prussian War.

You can't find that kind of history on a rack of shiny new postcards
although the artwork is gorgeous. 

When I returned home, I chose four of the old postcards to frame 
(the timeworn leather frame came from Goodwill for a couple of dollars).

I think it looks perfect in this vignette in my office.

A little side table is a fun way to showcase old postcards under glass.
(The table was an estate sale score!)

The pictures on the front of these old postcards are so evocative and . . .

the handwriting on the back is beautiful.
Can anyone read what it says?

What's a postcard from Paris without an image of the Eiffel Tower? 
The tower was completed around 1890 and postcards featuring it gave rise
to the "golden age" of picture postcards.

Oh, yes. There were other famous postcards from France. 
In fact, they were called "French" postcards since most of these pictures of nude women 
were produced in France. 
This one is not as naughty than most of them.

You can date old postcards by noticing specific things in the pictures. 
For instance, if the picture includes motorcars, it probably is no older than the early 1900s 
when cars became more commonplace. 

This one shows horse-and-buggy traffic on the Champs Elysees. 

Fashions, building styles, street names of famous people, war memorials, handwriting style, 
black and white or hand colored are all ways to date an old card.

This is a dreamy new postcard of an old scene . . .
a lovely reminder of an incredible trip to a romantic city. 

Old postcards or cartes postales are an easy way
to bring a little French history home in your suitcase.


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DesignthusiasmMy Soulful HomeRedhead Can DecorateRustic & RefinedDwellings,
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The Vintage NestPeonies and Orange BlossomsPoofing the PillowsAdirondack Girl at Heart,
Shabby Art BoutiqueFrench Country CottageRooted in Thyme

Friday, August 5, 2016

Something in the Air

I can feel the changes in the air as summer starts to wind down. 
Can you?

It's a subtle change but it's definitely noticeable if you pay attention to the little things
in the garden like these little blue holly berries (pretty but toxic). 

The early mile-high mornings are cool enough to warrant a light sweatshirt,
the sun has slipped a bit further south in the sky and the plants bend slowly toward it. 
I've also noticed a slight shift in sunrise times. 

There are more fallen leaves scattered over the lawn each morning and the larkspur have all gone to seed. I can't stand to see dead plants in my garden so I pull them out, but not before shaking the tiny black seeds from their crunchy pods across the dirt, hoping they will return next spring.

As one plant settles in for the winter, another blooms.
Do thistles bloom?
Why yes! Yes, they do. 

Even though it seems like many plants in the garden are gradually going off,
other plants are just coming on, bringing color to a fading garden.
Sea lavender blooms only at this time of year but it's worth waiting for. 

In my August garden, there are tall sunflowers, pink echinacea, white obedient plant, orange agastache, pink garden phlox and yellow black-eyed Susans.
It's a good idea to plant some late season bloomers when planning your garden
so you have flowers throughout the waning season. 

Spring pansies are enjoying a second bloom as the nights cool down
and Bonica roses stretch through the picket fence, reaching for the sun. 

The ornamental grasses have sprouted their fluffy heads, 
reminding me of undulating wheat fields in the breeze.

The change is not just about the plants.
Some new birds have started visiting my garden.
I filled my birdfeeder and, within a few minutes,
it was covered with chickadees and red, brown and gold finches.

The feeder started out on a shepherd's hook but I moved it higher up in the crabapple tree 
when I saw a neighbor's cat lying underneath it with mischief on its mind. 
I've even spotted a hummingbird darting around the red bee balm at dusk.

When I tried to take a picture of chickadees and finches in the feeder,
look who showed up!
Surprise! It's a little Downey Woodpecker. So sweet.

A squirrel was even quicker in spotting the new addition. 
I smiled as he sat up under the feeder, nose twitching, and waved his tiny feet in the air,
trying to reach the seeds.

One year I coated the shepherd's hook with cooking oil and couldn't stop laughing
as the squirrel tried to climb up the pole and slowly slid back down each time
like a little furry fireman. 

Last year I purchased a birdfeeder with a cage around it to keep the squirrels out. 
Ha! Foiled again!

Although the sunset is painting the western sky a few minutes earlier each evening now, 
it's still baking hot in mid-day and I admit I'm looking forward to cooler weather.


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Linking with:
DesignthusiasmMy Soulful HomeRedhead Can DecorateDwellingsRustic & Refined,
Between Naps on the PorchCoastal CharmCedar Hill Farmhouse,A Stroll Thru Life,
Savvy Southern StyleKnick of TimeA Delightsome LifeHave a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson,
The Vintage NestPeonies and Orange BlossomsPoofing the PillowsAdirondack Girl at Heart
Rooted in ThymeCharm of HomeShabby Art BoutiqueFrench Country Cottage