Sunday, July 17, 2016

French door for the shed and filming with Matthew Mead


 So much progress to talk about in regards to the ramshackle shed project!
As you can see its looking quite finished, which it practically is now.
Instead of using just an old screen door I had from Brimfield, I spotted a pair of
old french doors for sale on a Facebook yardsale page, so I ran off to buy them.
I hoped I could have the pair of them on the shed, but together they were too wide,
so we settled for one.  I painted it black and hubs installed it for me with my help.
Its quite darling, and since the shed is very tiny and has no windows, this glass
door seems to be the perfect solution for both adding style and light to the structure.
 Since I hate heights, even the shortest of heights, Justin did the entire roof 
with the cedar shingles.  Topping it off with a cedar shingle ridge treatment,
it is finished and basically waterproof now! 
 The idea to stain the exterior with a solid white was so it would go along with the house and the white arbor.  Using a big fat 5" wide brush made short work of painting the siding.  I still have two sides left to do, and that will likely be done next week.
 It is really adorable and I can't wait to clean up the site, put away the saws and ladders and all the tools.  Then move in my rakes and shovels and gardeny stuff.  The interior is not going to be all dolled up, its just going to be a utilitarian garden shed.  Over time that may change, but I have a small tomato garden that is going gangbusters and I just want to keep up with the watering and weeding and staking of the plants. 
The arbor needs a coat of the same stain, so I have been tackling that as well.
I also whipped up a new umbrella cover using Sunbrella Cabana Classic in black and white
which looks pretty with the black door and the white siding of the shed.
I will post more on how I did that project, but in essence it was simply taking off the umbrella
fabric (did you know you can do that?) and then copying it as a pattern to cut new fabric pieces
and then sew them together. Much quicker and cheaper than buying a new umbrella!
 So the shed is part of the backyard transformation, and it is really 
looking cute back here in the courtyard.  After I get all the tools put
away I will share some pics.
 In other news I have been doing a few things with Matthew Mead.  Yesterday he came out 
to the house to photograph my office studio for the magazine, Where Women Create.  
He brings flowers for the shoots he does, and they are an essential ingredient to a room looking as 
pretty as it can possibly be....and so after it was over I put one of the arrangements on the 
dining room table and I just loved how pretty it looked in the room.
Flowers really bring a room to life.
 Colby has recovered from being neutered and is just being terrific.  He is getting more affectionate as he gets older, and his one year birthday is coming next week, so we will be celebrating with a steak dinner for all!! 
The other fun thing I did last week was appear in a short film that Matthew Mead is 
preparing for the Haven Conference in August.  Haven is a conference for bloggers.  Yup,
like most industries with their conferences, blogging has several, and Haven is a big one.
While I was in a lot of the film with Matthew, sometimes I was watching him
 shoot his bits, and so I filmed a bit of the behind the scenes.  
Wouldn't it be fun to see more of this?  
He is so much fun to hang with, 
and some of this will be on our next Youtube video. 
 Stay tuned for that...and the shed....
and Colby's birthday party!
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Friday, July 1, 2016

Courtyard and Shed Progress

We have been working on the outside, hubs in his heavy equipment and me on my sewing machine. 
Making new Sunbrella pillows and a special tent that will be revealed later...Oh, and I have been doing some woodworking too with shingling and more.  Hubs on the excavator and building his amazing walls~our worlds have combined to create a really nice space outside. To refresh~ the courtyard was expanded to gain six more feet and it has made a huge difference in how it feels out here. The old space was very narrow due to the rose hedge that confined the space. 
Rose Hedges along the Courtyard last Fall
The roses were killed off during the winter.  So with the roses now gone, Justin suggested we just extend the pea gravel to the edge of the new wall that hubs built. I was thinking I would have some kind of border, a cutting garden or boxwood or hydrangeas, but this idea has proved to be wonderful. 
 If you look beyond the mess activity, you can see the new wall, as well as our saw table and "juice" lines leading up to the shed where we are busy rehabbing the thing.  Hubs has straightened it out, and Justin and I started to shingle it and now are almost done.  Shingling after a quick YouTube video and we did a pretty good job.  Its not that hard, and for most things you can find out how to do them by watching videos, why not?  Yesterday I tackled the right side and then the back of the shed, installing the trim boards as well as the shingles all by myself. Look how proudly it stands up on the ledge.
This is the shocking BEFORE pic of the "ramshackle shed". 
 Hahahah!!! OMG, I mean would you think it could be salvaged? 
 I thought it was worth a try.
We used all the inner boards but did replace the two side walls with new plywood.
Then we used the least expensive white cedar shingles at Home Depot to do the siding.
We will install the screen door I found at Brimfield last year, but never used.
For now the courtyard remains a work zone, but we hope to make great progress
during this weekend of the Fourth, as we have a "staycation" at home.
I also love the feeling of being under the umbrellas when outside, so I searched and 
found another matching white ten foot market umbrella.  The old blue umbrella offered shade
to us when we used the saw and I loved how it felt.
 Two umbrellas feels more festive and kind of like a resort!
I was lucky to find the same umbrella at the Christmas Tree shop, and at a great price too.
The ten foot umbrellas can be very pricey, but this one is a reasonable $69.95.
 The flags and buntings have come out to honor our nation's birthday. 
We will be firing up the grill for burgers and steaks, but rest assured we will
 be hammering it out on the old shed, so I can put the saw away and reclaim 
the space for the rest of the summer.
Happy Fourth of July everybody! 
I will be catching some Wimbledon action in addition to the grilling 
and the shingling~ makes for a great American holiday!
 An old sketch I drew up years ago of an imagined outbuilding is a bit 
grander than what I am rehabbing and creating now.  But it just inspires me
that I have been able to take such a crappy building and breathe life into it
to create the little garden shed I have always wanted.


Yeah, it was bad.
 And now its looking soooo good!
Don't you agree?



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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Garden update: ramshackle shed in place!


 Its been a busy week at home outside, as hubs and son have dedicated themselves to making
my dreams come true.  What dreams?  Well I wanted to move a condemned shed in my mother-in-law's backyard, (which is next doors) into our yard, on the upper terrace near my vegetable garden.
So we began the project this week, and it started off with a few bonuses, like adding six feet of 
extra width to this narrow courtyard.  Justin's idea, and I love it! That meant building a new
granite block wall, which they did, and as we speak the extra pea gravel is being spread.
 In this "before" picture you see the arbor in front of some steps leading up to another lawn
where there is a row of green hedges.  Well that is where the ramshackle shed is going to be 
placed, and the arbor would be moved up in front of the hedges, and if we move one of them over 
it will make a nice entryway...so that happened today as well!



 So yesterday the guys pulled the old shed out from behind MIL's house. They looped a moving strap around it and it promptly kind of fell apart when they set it onto the ground. But I wasn't deterred.
Neither were they, luckily!  My son said he hadn't seen me that happy (EVER) in his lifetime....not sure I quite agree, but I was VERY happy this was going to finally happen.
 So they wrapped it up again, and secured it with some screws and stuff and off it went...
 That is just one side of it...we can fix that later. 
 In the meantime, Justin moved the arbor up to the top lawn and one of the trees was moved over after hubs dug it up with his excavator. Those machines are super handy, and I want to learn how to operate it so I can do exciting stuff like this all the time.
 We found some cobblestones and are going to have an apron leading into the back area where the shed and the kitchen garden will be located.  In the background hubs was pushing around some big blocks, and it turned out he had the idea to make a granite foundation for the dumpy shed.  What a great idea!  
 After the "foundation" was put in place (just like Thoreau's at Walden Pond, mind you) hubs
carried the shed over and set it into position.
Bingo! And just like that the area is taking shape and I am beyond ecstatic.  
This ramshackle shed project is just part of my magical garden plan.
Stay tuned for the expanded courtyard pics tomorrow!!
PS. I saw this book in an antique shop but the owner said it was not for sale.
"just for inspiration.." hmmmm I was inspired by it for sure after turning the pages.
I saw tons of designs using lattice, as well as the plants that like to grown on lattice.
So I ordered it from Amazon for .78 cents. Its an awesome garden book, in case you are 
looking for that kind of inspiration, like I am.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

A week of Inspiration


 Its been a week full of personal inspiration, one I won't forget.
The beginning of the week had me making the decision to create some 
landscape mural paintings in my home office/studio.  Mind you I have never painted
scenes or anything before (besides furniture and some decorative wall panels I did for
my shop two years ago).  But I was carrying the inspiration of Jennifer Lanne's artistic
style, particularly some chairs she did at the commission of designer Sandra Kelley.
I saw these french chairs with landscapes painted on the backs and I just fell head over 
heels in love.  Jennifer also painted some large landscapes on tarps for Sandra that were
beautiful and restful.  They were the inspiration for my modest panels and I hoped to achieve
the romantic look that embodied them. 
This photo was Sandra Kelly's Brimfield booth, which was happily located in
the same field that our booth was stationed.  It was a delight to stumble upon her
booth and see the chairs that before I had only seen when I discovered them a year 
or so ago on Facebook.  The landscapes are so dreamy and magical, aren't they?
The artist, Jennifer Lanne, paints with a bold and colorful style, and Sandra had 
her create these in the neutral Swedish palette that she loves.  I LOVE them!
 The best thing was that if I didn't achieve what I wanted I knew I could
always paint over it...hah!  So my point is, put your fear to the side and just
have fun and be loose and paint.  I wanted my room to be full of these dreamy
landscapes, and after creating a pair of them on the back wall, I decided to 
try my hand at a Versailles-like scene, based upon our visit there in 2014.
There were many enchanting garden buildings, and this one is loosely based on the Belvedere.
 My choice of paint was what was in my stash, which is a boat load of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  To that I added water to keep it loose and flowing.  I tried to never get nervous when I wasn't loving what was happening on my "canvas".  In the end, I think they came out marvelous!
 Using my favorite Versailles coffee table book as a reference,
I could find landscapes and buildings and classical notes to add to my paintings.
It feels amazing when I walk into my office space now....
so if you are inspired by something, don't overlook a way to bring it 
to life inside of your own home. 
The next day I would travel to a friend's home for an alfresco lunch.
Kaydee and I met in my shops, she was a frequent customer and it was clear
we both liked the same things.  We both would find inspiration in so many of 
the same things, and our talk turned to gardens.  I have been working on my courtyard,
and Kaydee invited me to tour her garden and so I did.
She had this charming menu board set up in her dining room, and it was the sweetest thing!
Her use of color (especially my favorite lilac) was inspiring, and her home
is filled with her own personal style, which I would say is a cross of Boho
and Cottage style.  It is such fun to see a home with style!  By the way,
Matthew Mead and I are on a personal style kick~helping people determine
their own style and make strides to getting the look that they love.  So this visit tied 
into what I am really all about at the moment.  Discovering Personal Style.
  We enjoyed a laid back lunch in the garden, and I was blown away by how many containers and beds Kaydee has growing in her yard.  Tomatoes, potatoes, lettuces, herbs, peppers, beans, and a host of flowers~all grown from seed in the late winter!! I felt like an underachiever hahah!!  Her mom,
Barbara, joined us with her homemade Strawberry Lemonade.  It was a delightful day.
The next day was big doings...I would be joining Matthew Mead on a magazine shoot.
Who is more creative and inspiring than this guy? No one!
As it seems in my life anyways, all points get connected.  This shoot was at
the country home of designer Sandra Kelly.  Yes. That Sandra Kelly.
The one whose booth I ADORED in Brimfield. The one whose commissioned 
chairs and landscapes had so inspired me....well it turns out Matthew had arranged
for shooting her home for his new magazine, and I couldn't have been more excited.
How fun would it be to shoot a video of Matthew shooting a home?  In my world,
its very fun, especially when its a Swedish style home with the color palette I love.
Photo by Matthew Mead
I videotaped him shooting a bit of the house, and we also did a video segment
interviewing the designer about her own personal style.
Photo by Matthew Mead
And there are those amazing chairs!  
I hope you find some inspiration checking out Sandra's home
on the 3 mintue video link above.  My cup runneth over with inspiration this
week, both in fulfilling it and finding it in unexpected places.
How wonderful it all was.
Next week, Matthew will be heading to my home to shoot my office, so 
I better hurry up and finish the rest of my walls....!!

For Instagram peeps you can follow along with us below:
Amy Chalmers: @amymaisondecor
Jennifer Lanne: @jenniferlanne.devilshopfarm
Sandra Kelly: @flax_in_bloom
Matthew Mead: @matthewmeadstyle


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