Something else to do with a coffee sack

We have been thinking about Baby Hughes' 1st birthday party since before he was born. You see, he REALLY wants to have a pirate birthday party. Ok, ok, maybe it's really that Mr. Hughes and I want to throw a pirate inspired party. We are trying not to go overboard, but we want it to be special, not just in the photos, but for all the friends and family that will be here to celebrate with Baby Hughes. We want to have it outside on our new deck. We put up a pergola and we plan to drape some white fabric so the sun isn't blinding. Plus, we figure that the fabric will kind of feel like billowing sails. You are probably asking yourself, "what does this have to do with coffee sacks." And I will tell you. I decided to make a Happy Birthday banner for the party. I originally went and bought paper in the colors that will be on his cake. Then, I got a wild hair. I had alot of black and white ticking left over from reupholstering a chair. And I had some burlap left over from when I covered the cushions of my chairs in coffee sacks. So, I made some mockups of the paper flags and the ones in burlap and ticking. Mr. Hughes chose the burlap/ ticking flags. I cut out 2 different sizes of triangles of each of the fabrics. I alternated the fabrics for contrast. Then I hot glued them together (too lazy to sew, but would have looked very cute with bright red embroidery floss stitching.) I then hot glued red cardboard letters to the flags. Then, I hot glued all of that to some oversized ricrac that I found in a drawer upstairs ( i just love finding all the stuff I need here!) And here is the finished project:

I couldn't get a good shot of the entire banner. After looking at it, it doesn't seem totally pirate, but I could probably reuse it for a cowboy party or some other kind of party. It was fun and quick, my favorite kind of project!

Kitchen.... Check!!

Yes, at long last I can say that we have finally completed the kitchen. Mr. Hughes took the pictures this morning with his fancy schmancy camera. So here it is, our kitchen before:

And here is our after:

Yes, it has been a long journey, but I am very pleased with the way it turned out. I realize there was nothing fundamentally wrong with our kitchen before, it just didn't feel like me. I have an aunt who is dying that I painted those maple cabinets. This whole project started when Mr. Hughes bartered a web design for a granite company. For some reason, I couldn't choose the less expensive stone that matched what we had... I chose (unknowingly) the most expensive. So, then we HAD to change the cabinets. And, while we were at it, we NEEDED to add the backsplash. And, we couldn't leave the hideous bubble light (exempt from the before shot.) So, we added the backsplash after we had the granite installed. And then added the schoolhouse light fixtures in the kitchen and  breakfast nook. Then, a YEAR later ( because I was pregnant) I painted the cabinets. I couldn't decide if I wanted to do them all cream or do the lowers a different color. Then, I couldn't decide whether the lowers should be black or grey. I settled on grey just to brighten up that area. I tried to take inspiration from all the things that I love:

Ironstone, of course! The top paint color is even called China White.

And vintage black and white advertising ware, especially my collection of Dundee Marmalade jars.

We also spiffed up the breakfast nook with drapes and a rug.

This is also where my absolute favorite piece of ironstone lives. Mr. Hughes got me this cake pedestal for a gift, no special occasion required.
And, here is my newest acquisition:

I found these corbels last weekend at an antique mall. They were priced great, but I still managed to leave without them. I couldn't think exactly where I would put them. After we left, I couldn't stop thinking about how I had just walked away on such a good deal on something I really loved. So, the very next day, I rushed on my lunch hour to go get them. I am just lucky that they were still there. So, there it is. Our kitchen. I hope you enjoyed the tour. And I am off to make Mr. Hughes a key lime pie for putting up with all my nagging this week.

I am linking up to Jennifer's Impromptu Linky Party!

Hungry Jack

Oh what a sad little highchair! It has been banished to our garage for nearly a year. One of those "I'll get to it later" projects. We received this highchair from my best friend who got it from a man she used to rent a house from. I really wanted a highchair that blended with our breakfast nook. So, I asked her if I could buy it from her and she graciously gave it to us. But, it has collected dust for awhile now. I decided it was time Baby Hughes started eating in a high chair rather than the Bumbo. Well, his chubby little legs made that decision for me. You see, we started having a phenomenon occur that we like to call "Bumbo Butt." We would pick Baby Hughes up after eating and the Bumbo would still be attached to him. So, as usual, I got out the black paint and painted away. It needed a strap, so I ripped off the belt from his changing table pad.... I can't imagine strapping my wild one to a changing table anyhow. I found some cute green damask ribbon and hot glued it to both sides of the belt.

Then, I decided it was still missing something. I decided to put on a little label holder that I found in the scrapbook section with the words "Hungry Jack."

So here is the "after"

Hmmmm.... It seems to be missing something still....

Now it's perfect!

Looking for 9

Mr. Hughes and I were antiquing one weekend and we came across these 2 white stools. I think they may be milking stools, not positive since I have never milked a cow. They have great crackly paint. And, when I flipped them over, one of them had this on the bottom.

I just love numbers on stuff, especially in black and white combinations. So, I got an idea. I decided to paint "789" on the stools. Why? Because it is my favorite number... I'm weird, I know. The hardest part was choosing a font for the numbers. I picked about 10 to make my final choice and ended up going with the first. Mr. Hughes said it was his biggest waste of time. We enlarged the numbers and made them in an outline format.

Then, we flipped over the paper and shaded the back of the numbers with the side of the pencil. (By the way, "we" = Mr. Hughes. He completed these steps, sometimes I am too impatient to complete the prep work.)

After that, we placed the page shaded side down on the stools. We traced over the outline of the number. Then, when we lifted the paper up, it left the outline of the number on the stool... kind of like carbon paper.

I then proceeded to paint within the outline with black paint. I put 2 coats on: one coat of black acrylic and then a coat of nearly black flat wall paint, just so it wasn't so bold. After it dried, I lightly (as in one pass over with sandpaper) sanded the numbers. I didn't sand the stools before I started, because I didn't want to disturb the finish. I only wiped them down just to loosen any paint chips that were already falling off of them. Then I sprayed several coats of a matte clear coat over them. I am hoping that it will keep the paint flakes contained... Baby Hughes will be the one to actually eat paint chips!

I had originally planned to use them out on the new deck under the galvanized table as a Margarita Bar. But, "9" won't fit under the table, so I may use them in the kitchen under a longer bar table. We'll see. I am at the moment currently searching for "9."
Oh, if you like the little greenhouse/ conservatory, it was created by Mr. Hughes. It is one of my favorite things he has created. It is moving from spot to spot until I figure out where it lives in the house. You can visit to get the directions to make your very own.

To cover or not to cover.....

The finishing touches are being put on the kitchen tonight, so I should have some photos up this week. I am excited to mark this one off of my long list of projects. But, as soon as one gets marked off, I add another. This one would be simple, but is it necessary? My dining room is the first room we finished in the house. I had a plan for it before we even closed on the house. It is also the first room you see, besides the foyer, when you step into the house. It was decorated around the painting of Audrey that Mr. Hughes presented me on my birthday. We really like this room and how it evolved. Each piece seems to have a story behind it. We found the chandelier on Craig's List... we went to a very questionable area to get it. It was a beast to hang. Mr. Hughes almost threw it out into the street he got so frustrated. And, as soon as it was hung, he went to straighten one of the arms, which immediately broke. We fixed it after several tries involving solder, epoxy, etc. Our dining room table was purchased from a short lived local boutique. I fell in love with it immediately. We paid cash for it that day and received a significant discount. We didn't have enough money to buy the chairs that were $160 each then... we were planning and paying for our wedding. Well, after our honeymoon and move, we had some extra wedding cash. We went to the store only to find that they went out of business and had a liquidation sale. Mr. Hughes called the number and told the lawyer handling the case (?????) that he would purchase the chairs if there were any left over. The lawyer didn't want to arrange for storage and there happened to be 8 left over. He asked Mr. Hughes if he felt that $35 each was a fair price. Hmmmmmm, yes we will take all of them!!! We only needed 6, but we figured if one ever broke or we needed to squeeze 2 more people in, we could use them. Now, I am wondering (I know, I know, I got a little sidetracked) if the dining room would look brighter if I slipcovered and added a cushion under the chairs, at least for a summery look. What do you think? I had been wanting to make them cozier, and I had nearly put it to the back of my mind until I saw this:

I got the image off of a lovely blog.
Let me know what you think!

Broke into the Old Apartment

Well, not really. I was on my way to work and was listening to Barenaked Ladies. I started thinking about all the old apartments that I had. By far, my favorite was the one in Nashville just off of West End. It was built in the 1920s and it had so much character. I had a one bedroom that I shared with my beloved doggie. It was close to the park and downtown and was just what I needed at that point in my life. It had its drawbacks, mainly it was unbearably hot in the winter. It had radiator heating that was only hooked up in 2 rooms. I had to either open my windows or run both window units all winter long. And, there was no outlet in the bathroom, so I had to dry my hair and style it in my bedroom. But, it had hardwood floors and tons of charm and I loved it. Actually, I have these photos because the apartment manager came by my apartment to check out a repair. She called the next day to say she wanted to feature my apartment in advertisements. I didn't receive any compensation (hello? I should have held out for a month's free rent!) but I was flattered that they chose me. They may still even use the photos, I haven't looked it up in years. Looking back on these photos, I am amazed of how my style has evolved and my tastes have changed. Is there a favorite place you lived when you were single? Has your style changed? Is there anything from your single days that you can't get rid of?

Shopping at Home

It is amazing what you can put together by just shopping at home. And I don't mean from your laptop. I went out into our garage to find some lonely items that we had been excited about when we found them for a "deal" and then sadly banished them to the garage. So, I pulled some stuff together to make a nice little spot on our new deck. I only bought some plants to fill in the urn and tray.

I painted the chairs and table with a can of creamy white paint that was originally purchased as a test can for the kitchen cabinets. I covered the cushions to the chairs in some extra coffee sacks. I covered them in a lined drop cloth before I stapled the sacks to them to keep the moisture from soaking the cushions. I intentionally put the text from the bags going in different directions to give it a little more interest. I stole some bottles from the dining room. I love the 2 that look like seaglass and the other has sand and shells from our honeymoon in St. Martin. The urn was a great find from a local antique store.

I hot glued some jute twine to the backs of the stars and hung them in front of the window. (I borrowed this idea from someone else's blog and now I can't remember where, if you know, please comment and remind me!) I left the strings long for now... I really like the look, but I will probably trim them because it seems contrary to the babyproofing that we are doing around the rest of the house.
One of my favorite parts to this vignette is how the tray fits perfectly under the table on top of the bracing... like they were made for each other! I love trays! I was surprised when Mr. Hughes didn't give me a hard time about it. I went through a tray phase for awhile.

Well, I still hope to finish those corbels and get some long overdue kitchen photos up this week. I only completed this because I got off work a half hour early and Baby Hughes took a late nap. So, it was a little creative instant gratification!

Black and White Cookies

What cookies go with your style? I decided that black and white cookies go with my style. Mr. Hughes was very happy to be the official tester as I made these cookies for the first time. They were simple to make and they tasted delicious. I want to play around with the icing recipe the next time I make them, it seemed to be missing something, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Here is the recipe if you want to try them:

For cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg

For icings
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Make cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
Spoon 1/4 cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and chill (to cool quickly), about 5 minutes.

Make icings while cookies chill:
Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as white icing.

Ice cookies:
Turn cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half.

Out and About

We have been out looking and planning for our backyard. Don't you just love the garden chandelier? It's mine... I actually had the saleslady tell me that she was jealous it was going home with me. I looked and looked, but all the other garden chandeliers were really curly and wimpy. This is the perfect scale above our chunky table. The deck is up, minus the rails. The pergola is up, minus the brackets. And the table is built, but not painted. Sounds like our projects, huh? This weekend we are planting trees and landscaping the backyard. I can't wait to put all of the things that we have found We have lots of urns and pots that are weathered already. We have a European wall sink that we are going to put an vintage French faucet on and a zinc shield that we found a couple of weeks ago at Scarlett Scales' Brimfield sale. And, speaking of Scarlett, how about these great vintage corbels that she brought back. Aren't they wonderful? I couldn't find a home for them, but Mr. Hughes couldn't leave without taking a photo.

Very Small Project Completed

This is a very small project that I completed. On our last trip to the flea market, we found a box of mismatched vintage silverware. I dug and found a small shrimp fork and a small teaspoon. I have had the frame for ages... and yes, it looked like this when I found it. I just added some black and white ticking behind and hung it between two windows in the kitchen. One day soon, I will post photos of the completed kitchen... it is still only 90% finished.


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