Day Three of Front Porch Christmas Week!

I saw this sled in a Flea/Antique Market near my place the first time we visited.
The second time...I bought it and paid $17.00 even.
I had thought about it since seeing it and decided that "yes" I could
make it pretty for my Burlap & Bling theme!
Sorry bout the photo! (I only took like...twenty!  All bad!)
But, can you see the potential in it?

I spraypainted the sliders (is that the word? Wouldn't know I'm from Canada! haha)
a gold colour after dismantling the sled.
Then chalk painted the wooden section with two coats in antique white.
I also put little pads on the bottom of the rails/sliders
because my plan was to hang it on my glass front door.
I wanted to keep it simple, so I just tied a burlap bow around the top of it,
with some gold wire ribbon pinned into it on the bow section.
Then wired the pearls and the flower onto the frame.
(See above photo - rear view)
Got out my glue gun for a couple of pine cones to be
placed strategically.
And, it was finished!
Can you see what's holding it up?
I tried the traditional hook over the door for a wreath and the top of the sled
wowwed outward, so I tried a wire clothes hanger, and it still wowwed outward.
Then...I braided some hemp string I had (to make it stronger) and it worked
perfectly to make it lay flat as well as it went with the natural part of the theme!
I quite like having the not traditional wreath this year!
What do you think?
Day four tomorrow!
Going to show you how to make a basket of Christmas Love with
pinecones, bling & lights!
xo
Momma Hens Coop
 
I'm back...bright and early today!  Woohoo!

Day Two of Front Porch Christmas Week!

I'm going to show you this very tall candlestick...it stands about 2-1/2' tall
and I picked it up at a flea market a little while ago for $9.00.
It had this plate hanging off it that had a sun painted on it....it was not pretty.
(I think I winged the plate into outerspace when I brought it home! hahaha!)

It's just a cheap resin-like material, but lots of carvings on it!

Here's three of the sections of it up close...all chippy.
I liked that it kinda had a Christmas candle on the base.
The middle has a musical fretboard in it...fun!
As you can see, I had already started painting the top before I realized
I hadn't taken any photos of the before. 
Chalk paint was used once again in Antique white for this!
And, I did attempt to do the same thing I did to the candlesticks, but I felt like
there was toooo much detail and it looked almost cartoony as I worked my way down.
So, I painted over it again because it just looked more elegant left simple.

Some gold bling & a pretty round candle and it's ready for the
Christmas Front Porch.
Easy Peasy!
& cheap!
xo
vif187
 
Sorry I'm late today posting!

Day One of Front Porch Christmas Porch!

This week I'm going to show one craft per day that I've been working on
for my Christmas Front Porch!
This was a quickie fix, but I love how it turned out.
To start with, we have this ceramic vintage boot I bought at a garage sale
a few years ago for "a dollar".  It's been sitting in my garden for a few years now....
gathering moss.  Gross...I know!
There was a disgusting mass of leaves (I hope it was leaves and
not the carcass of a dead mouse or something...yuck!) inside too!
....and this is half cleaned already!  I almost forgot to take a photo!
So...once again folks....I made a mistake!
First, after cleaning the boot and painting with two coats of chalk paint,
I attempted to be an artist and shade in the folds on the boot.
I used watercolour pencils...thinking I'd have more control over
the shading, but that was a wash...literally!

So, I tried to shade with the pencil and the idea behind watercolour pencils
is that you can add a little water after and blend the colours, but...
not so good...don't try this at home!
I washed it all off (which was super easy on the chalk paint by the way).
I decided to keep it clean looking and just add some goldleaf pen embellishment
to the boot, sprayed with protective sealant and it made it stunning!
I trimmed up the buttons and the sole of the boot and heel,
stood back, looked and looked...and thought...DONE!
Hahahaha!
In the spirit of my theme this year for Christmas,
burlap, antique white & bling...
I added a burlap cuff, a couple sprigs of money tree and a sprig of golden bling!
So Simple and yet So Pretty!
xo
vif187
 
Today I wanted to talk about
A Very Special Person.
Her name is Christen.
She's a mom to six children, four of whom just joined
their family last year in a joyous adoption.
They were ages 3 to 9 at the time.
She also has two loved gifted boys, age 14 & 18yrs
and a wonderful husband named Trevor.
Christen's mother is my fellow blogger/friend/neighbour
Maureen from It's All Connected.
Approximately a month ago, Christen had a grand mal seizure.
Since then, she's been debilitated, unable to do the simplest of tasks
without pure exhaustion or without fainting.
She'll be seeing a specialist in January, but in the meantime,
requires someone to stay with her most of the time.
With six kids in the house, you've got to wonder how she's coping?

_
Well, it's magnificent how so many people have stepped up to the plate to help.
And so they should.
This is a woman who runs a rescue farm for battery chickens and actually has
sweaters made for the chickens while they grow back their lost feathers and learn to
walk and peck again.  At the same time as caring for the chickens, she is
nurturing young boys who've been deemed unadoptable
and are growing up in a group home.  I don't believe they're unadoptable at all! 
They come and help care for the animals in the barn...goats, pig, horses and
chickens and learn selflessness.
This is obvious, because yesterday Christen found out a few of them came
during the wee hours of the morning, in the dark, in secret and spent a couple hours
cleaning out her barn for her....as a special favour...isn't that awesome?!
She has a special bond with the boys.
_Go HERE and take a look at an article Readers Digest did on Christie
and her family and the chickens
to see how much effort this girl puts into life, her family and all others.

Because she's unable to cook dinners, the people from her husband's workplace
gathered together and bought mega prepared food from Costco to help.
Because she's contributed soooo much in helping others through their hard times,
the principal of the school called her the other day and told her that all the parents
were making dinners for her freezer!
Her sister is travelling from Toronto to help her with the children.
The neighbours are sitting with her and fixing her roof and helping
with the animals as well.
Her mother, Maureen, is spending days taking over the household and just being
there for her....which is what Moms do...yes?
Christen lives two hours away from her mom, but it wouldn't matter, would it...
you'd travel around the world to be there for your children...no matter what age.
I want to help and I don't know her that well....but I have a special place in my heart
for this girl I barely know because I too am adopted.
These children don't understand what's happening to mommy, but they're coping
I believe, because there is so much love in that household, it's radiating
through their veins straight to their hearts.
They've come so far in the past year, psychologically, mentally, emotionally...
all because of the family unit Christen and Trevor nurture.

Christen doesn't know I'm writing this, but after reading how thankful
Maureen, her mum, was last night, I just felt like someone should tell people
what a wonderful girl she is and how strong and brave.
I don't really have any other reason, other than it's been weighing heavy on
my mind watching my friend venture through every mother's nightmare
with her daughter....
Hug your kids, Love your kids,
Today!
xo
 
On this day, I've chosen to tell you a wee little story.
When I was in Grade 6...in Mr.Bernard's class,
he had the whole class learn and recite this following poem,
written originally by Max Ehrmann

_DESIDERATA

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

 Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

 If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

 Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

 But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

 Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

 Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

 With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

 Be cheerful. Strive to be happy

(Max Ehrmann)

This poem has stuck with me my whole life and I believe
wholeheartedly in the virtues and morals it teaches.
Lines from it will just pop into my head on different occasions, helping me
throughout the years to deal with others as well as myself.

On this day in the United States, enjoy your loved ones,
enjoy yourselves and have a
Happy Thanksgiving!
 
Years ago, we used to take in student boarders to supplement
our income while raising five kids.
One of them bought us these candlesticks for Christmas one year
and these ended up being relegated to outside parties
....not that we didn't love the gift!
Picture
BEFORE
I decided to try my hand at the wondrous chalkpaint that can cover
just about anything.
(I learned how from Maureen at It's All Connected)

I'm showing you the three different stages of the redo here....

1.  Two coats of chalk paint made with Antique White Latex (2/3rds) & Plaster of Paris          (1/3rd) with a little water to thin out.
2.  I sanded (painstakingly) the ridges of the candlestick and applied walnut acrylic
     craft paint with the tip of my finger in a cloth, gently onto the edges.  I wanted to keep
     a shabby look to it.  (dab the excess off onto another rag before applying this or you'll      have globs.)  Touch up any mistakes with more chalkpaint.
3.  I sprayed this with a fast drying Clear Diamond Coat of protection.  I was going to use      paste wax and actually started to...big mistake...too difficult with all the detailing in          these candles.
I'm pretty thrilled with the finished product
and they don't look anything like they used to!  They can be used any time
of year or for any special occasion!
I like that they look somewhat distressed and they will be used inside now!

I thought adding some hurricane lamp glassware would be
a different look for them...and it is....until you are showing your friend
Maureen the bottom of the lamp and you tip it and smash the glass
to smithereens!  Yup....I'm a clutz...just in case you hadn't figured that one out yet!
Luckily, it wasn't one of Dan's good ones...eek!

So, ultimately, I believe I'll stick with NO GLASS and
I think I prefer the look anyway.
Which look do you prefer?
Safety first!
xo
_

I'd like to ask a favour...even though I'm not a world famous blogger?
I've been following That's What (Che) Said almost since I started
blogging in August and Cheryl is having her very first linky party
which is a HOLIDAY HAPPENING!
As you can imagine...she's pretty nervous no one will come to her party.
I know I'd be scared! Eek!
With all those awesome, fabulous ideas out there, could some of you please
go check out her linky party?
NO RULES and it's over a month long!
I was honoured with being the first one!  Yay!

(The following is an exerpt from her posting for the linky party)


"This link party will run November 25th through January 7th.  Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years are all included!  I’m an equal opportunity Link Party Hostess!  Alright, what are you waiting for???  Link up your fabulousness!

(this is my first link party so if you’d spread the love I’d really appreciate it!  This feels like the first day of a new school for me! )

I will also be doing several feature posts showcasing YOUR awesome projects!  I can’t wait!!!  Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook!  I will also be featuring linked items there as well!!"

A place to link up anything holiday!  DIY, Recipes, Crafts, Decor, Decorations, Parties, Ideas, Hints, etc. 
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
vif187
Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special
Sunday's Best Linky Party!

 
All I can say is WOW! 
Okay...maybe I can say a little more than that!

Saturday, Dan's sister & brother-in-law invited us to their neighbours farm
across the road from them.
I met some lovely people there!
Kim Davies, who owns the business Tattered & Torn and sells from Southworks
in Cambridge, Ontario knows her stuff...when it comes to shabby chic...she's got it
down to an art.  She opened up a quonset hut on her property to the public for the weekend and it was "Spectacular"!

Here's where she lives.....
I know...funny!  But, seriously, all you can see around their place
is wheat for miles it seems!

Here's what we saw before entering the mecca and I was hooked already!
See these Newel Posts...I really wanted one of these...but couldn't
justify the price!  I'm hoping if any were left, I can go back
and swing a deal for one of them...it's for my secret project!
Shhhhh.

Okay...now we venture through the door.  Picture me with my mouth hanging open
and delight dancing across my eyes!
I was in love, love, love with the merchandise inside and felt like I'd walked into
the past and was enthralled!  I examined every single corner of that place...
like...3-4 times!
Amazing reupholstering with Authentic Grain Sacks....

See all the grain sacks hanging on the rack in the background?
They were $200.00 each....wayyyy over my budget, but I was in love with them!
I thought this wrought iron item would make an awesome
Elmo (our Shipoo) bed, but he really does prefer our bed..
and he's got his oh so shabby shic stepstool now, so that's not happening!
Okay...onward...

Check this booth out carefully...there's so much to see in it!

Although this photo didn't turn out as sharp as I wanted, I decided to
include it anyway....the chair was made, I believe, and correct me
please if I'm wrong?  from an old carriage seat?
And, I love the shoes on top!

Here's another of Kim's booths.  She did have a few other vendors in
the building who's wares were just as wonderful as hers!
I'm not doing justice to this venue, because honestly, it was like you were
walking through an 1800's Better Homes & Garden Fair.
I found these wee little Vintage Copper Stamps and bought one!
I thought they'd be fabulous to put on some of my herbal concoctions as a label!

This little lovely is.....MINE!
We  bought this wrought iron washstand which had a wash bowl in it (which we
didn't want) because we're going to refurbish this into our new
powder room sink!
Pat, who sold this to us was a very sweet person.  She gave me her e-mail address
and told me to give her a call....cuz she has lots more goodies in her home!


_Dan already started stripping it when we brought it home because
he's as excited about this as I am!  It works out perfectly because we can
integrate the pipework underneath and....well....I won't give away all the secrets
we're doing to it.  You'll just have to watch and see in a later post!
Ew...yuck.
The gunky stripper is doing it's job....drip, splat, drip.

Sadly, I had perused enough, spent too much, and had to leave.
I could have stayed there all day soaking in the pleasures of another time!

I hope you enjoyed this outing as much as I did?!
Big thanks to Kim & her husband Dan for having this venue!
xo
 
I'm not sure how many of you have a wee little dog...did I say
that out loud?!  Wee little "person/king" in your home?

We have Elmo!  Our black shi-poo!

Elmo sleeps up on our bed with us...like the King that he is!
and growls at Rainy (our other special dog) when she even attempts to get up there too!
Elmo has a problem though....
Every three-four times he jumps up onto our bed, he bangs his back feet on the
steel bedframe and I cringe!
Sooooo.
I made him a wee step stool this week!
I absolutely adore it!
It has sentimental value as well for two reasons.
My husband made it way back (way, way back...hahahaha!) in Grade 8!
and, it was chewed up in one corner by our beloved chocolate lab "Molly" years ago.

I decided this would be the perfect stepping stool for Elmo!
and a great way to preserve a special past.

Here's how the project progressed to the above point...

Picture
      

It was extremely battered as you can see and well used over the years, wouldn't you say?

Picture

Here's a view of that knarly mess Molly made of the corner, above and underneath...and actually, I had started sanding this so you didn't even see how horrid it really was!

Picture
I used Minwax Wood Filler...for the first time and it was relatively painless.  You just put a golfball sized glob into the dish, then add 1cm of the mix from the tube and stir it up, then slather it on.  I can't quite figure out how to clean the dish to reuse it...but there's always cream cheese containers right?!

                                                                  
                                                                 Did I say slather?

This did take a little longer than what the can said it would,
but I doubt they knew I'd be using it so liberally!

This was after the 2nd application had been sanded.
I still had to put one more  thin layer on to even it up and sand again.
Then it was ready for some paint!
Not the best photo of the blue colour because it is greyish, but I forgot to
take a photo at this phase in proper lighting!
This is my base colour.
After this I did two coats of homemade chalk paint I learned how to make from
my friend Maureen at It's All Connected, who learned how from
Sherri at No Minimalist Here!

I really enjoyed using the chalk paint...it was so easy to work with!
I then distressed my step around the edges down to the blue in spots and
down to the wood in little bits.

I used a Graphics Fairy image of a dog like Elmo sitting
in a vintage shoe!
I agonized over this part...would I do it in black & white, sepia or colour?
In the end, sepia won because the blue in the shoe really clashed
with the blue I wanted to sand down to and the black & white
seemed too stark for our bedroom.

My words "Le Chien Etape" mean "The Dog's Step"
(hahaha...it looks so much nicer in french!)
and I played around on picnik to get the font I wanted.
Now...if you look very closely...you'll see I had to paint the words on.
Yup...I rubbed too hard and the wording image came off in parts!
And then, part of the picture rubbed off at the bottom in the instep.
Trouble, trouble, trouble...
That's when I pulled out some acrylic crafting paints (walnut & angel flesh...
do angels have flesh?) and my paintbrushes and got to work.
I think you'd have to know it was there to realize the flaws...but maybe I'm
just looking through my "hey! I like it" eyes.
Oh...also...I sprayed my project with a clear diamond finish spraypaint
rather than wax...I figured...if Elmo's jumping on it, the wax
may be ruined and not be durable enough.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my
trials & tribulations with this project as much as I enjoyed all the progress between
before & after!
Thanks to the Graphics Fairy for her awesome images!

Now I just have to see if Elmo will use it!
xo

Momma Hens Coop

vif187
Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special
Sunday's Best Linky Party!
(I was not paid to speak about Minwax...I just liked it!)
 
Chaotic Bliss?!

Well.....Sort of....

I've got soooo many crafts going on that I feel like a Supie at the park in the summer!
Maybe that's why I can't sleep?  My brain is working overtime and the body's
not co-operating!
This is my kitchen/dining table right now!
I know!  Nuts!
It's like company pops in and they are floundering as to where
to put the cup of coffee I just gave them and I'm just
pulling the towel across to the other side of the table with all my unfinished
stuff on it saying "Oh...sorry 'bout that!  Just let me move my
pile of junk!". (thank god the table is 4-1/2' square...hahaha!)

My craft room/spare bedroom really is no better.
That's the room I'm running into to get the supplies to do all these things
or to print off graphics and cut out.  A few weeks ago, it was perfect...now...
not so much.
Seriously!  I couldn't have staged this any messier than this actual photo!
I hope no one wants to stay the night....I'll have to monitor
the alcohol intake and make sure they can drive home from the country!
All these supplies are on the end of the Guest Bed!
Not nice!
And, what's the worst thing you can think of to make a mess in your house
at Christmas Crafting time?
YOU GOT IT!
GLITTER!
It's everywhere!  It's all over our floors throughout the main floor of the house, even after they've been washed. Twice.
It's on my face, my husband's face, in our food, on the dogs,
in my vehicle! and worst of all...it comes to bed with me!
Un-freakin-believable!
I'm trying to be ready for this....
Specifically, the "doors & porches" at No Minimalist Here on
December 7th!
Hopefully, when you see my front porch adornments,
you'll forget you ever saw this blog posting!  And you'll think, isn't that so pretty?
One can dream right?

In the meantime...I'm Nurse Ratchett, Florence Nightingale, Martha Stewart,
busy daughter and shopper!
Chaotic Bliss is right up my HerBallistic alley after all!
 
I’ve decided to try to be a better person… But not right away of course.  Maybe a few days from now.
(Sally to Charlie Brown in a Peanuts cartoon)

Recently, Susan over at My Place to Yours posted a heartfelt blog
regarding this very concept above.
I was touched by her blog and how honest and forthright she was about the things
she wants to change in her life.  It's almost like changing something
intangible from the inside out.
All those thoughts, ideas and gestures that roll around the inside of your mind
should be dealt with because we're not getting any younger and let's face it,
you should want to get up from this computer and away from your crafting area in your home and work on helping others.
"Whoever has the most toys when they die, doesn't win."
It's what you put into your life and relationships around you and how you treat
others that makes you realize happiness is so easy to achieve.

I can't say I don't try to do random acts of kindness, but do I do enough?
and....you must put things on your list that maybe push you out of your limits of comfort, however, it will be so gratifying in the end, won't it?

Having chronic back pain, I'm a little hindered by how much I can achieve for others
however, I do think it's important to do even little things to show you care.

My Sally List isn't going to focus on my personal medical issues, but only because
I spend enough time whining about that stuff!

My Sally List

I'm going to.......

Help out my neighbour who's going for surgery soon, by making
extra meals for her and her husband, so that her husband doesn't have to cook so much,
because he's very busy helping his father get settled
in a nursing home.

I'm going to invite the women I've met in the village over for a
visit, all together, and do a luncheon...
perhaps a Christmas luncheon and maybe start a yearly event!

Inspired by Thrify Decor Chick's "Nine Months Later" posting,
I'm going to work on being debt-free.

I'm going to work harder at aquafitness and diet.

I will finish knitting/crocheting my youngest two daughter's afghans
so all the kids have an afghan made by me, instead of only three of the five!

I'm going to reconnect with old friends that I miss very much.

I'm going to get back into my KIVA experience.
(a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world)

This is my list so far...short term & long term.
Have you got a Sally List you'd like to share?
If so, you should link up, after blogging about it, to My Place To Yours at the end of
"her" posting about this. _
And...you should add her "Sally List" button to your blog sidebar.
If you look at it everyday...it keeps you motivated!

xo