Category Archives: Country Style

Primitive Americana Quilt Inspiration

This a.m., as always, I perused Pinterest for inspiration.

How did we do anything creative without it?  One wonders.

Today I was most inspired by this Civil War era quilt:

quilt -- civil war

The fabulous Polly Minick pinned it.

She’s a quiltmaker, rug hooker, fabric designer, etc. etc. etc.

whose work I’ve loved from afar for years.

Go look:

 * * * *

Meanwhile, the gears in my brain

are working on incorporating that primitive flag onto something.

Stay tuned!


Vintage Sink In Our New Kitchen

As mentioned previously, I am designing our new kitchen myself.


My goal is to make it look as vintage + charming as all get-out.

G.O.’s goals are more storage + maximize the counter space!

Oh, dear.  Another conflict of interests seems to have arisen.

cat fight

Like I didn’t see this coming.

* * * *

But enough about that, for now.

Let’s view what I like, shall we?

I spied this on Facebook just the other day,

so I’m now kind of obsessing!

sink -- country living

Country Living magazine

I mean, COME ON!!

That sink is some serious fabulousness, isn’t it?

Stay tuned — I’ll discuss further, in just a moment.

But first:

Let’s have a look-see at my tentative kitchen sketch:


I desire a farmhouse sink.

G.O. might be on board with this.

In fact, we have IKEA’s Domsjo sink in our current kitchen:

sink -- ikea farmhouse

A mere $312.98

Here ’tis, in our current kitchen:

IKEA's farmhouse sink is affordable but has chipping issues.

There’s too much clutter!
Note to self: EDIT!

That sink looks good, doesn’t it?

Does it look even bettah, now that I’ve shared that it costs a mere $312.98?

I thought so.

I’m sure G.O. thought so, when he saw the price tag!

sink -- ikea farmhouse

One might think we’d spring for this again, but sadly, we won’t.

Here’s why:

Those grooves on the back are kind of impossible to clean,

+ we’ve had some chipping issues, too.

* * * *

So, as is true of most everything, it’s time for a plan B.

This stainless farm sink might be plan B . . .

sink -- stainless farmhouse


. . . but it doesn’t really make me as happy as it should.

This does, though:

sink -- country living

Yes, we’re back to that pale blue awesomeness.

Check out this Plan B contender:

We already have our very own vintage sink (FREE!)

It’s currently languishing downstairs in our cellar hide-a-way:


I KNOW!!  It’s kind of scary, isn’t it?


But, if you can get past the squalor,

it’s really a cool sink, + it’s in good shape, too!

I think there’s a problem with its size, though.

Buzz kill!


The sink comes in at a whopping 66″ long.

Since we’ll have a mere 96″ of counter space for it,

you do the math (I used a calculator!)

There just won’t be a lot of counter space leftover.

G.O. will not be pleased.

* * * *

But please.

Let’s not discount the fact that it would make me deliriously happy!

Should I go for it?

Stay tuned!

Old-School New England/Americana Ralph Lauren

People.  It’s no secret how much I love IKEA.

Here’s one delightful, red + white ticking stripe reason why:

IKEA red + white bed linens

My favorite saying about IKEA is:

“Those Swedes always come through for me, with the reds + the dark blues!”

* * * *

Well . . . “those Swedes” have done it again.

This time, it’s not IKEA but Lexington Company.

lexington co. holiday collection bedroom snapshot

Have you heard of/seen them,

and better yet, of whom were you reminded

when you first spied their products?

  (More on that in a moment.)

* * * *

I found Lexington, Co. online, while surfing,

but they also have brick-and-mortar retail stores,

including this one, in East Hampton, NY:

Here’s a description of Lexington Co.,

that I found on the Curbed Hamptons website:

NEW STORE ALERT—Lexington Company, the Swedish-based lifestyle brand (considered by some “the Ralph Lauren of Europe”) has opened the doors to its first store in the United States.  Located at 73 Main Street in East Hampton, the boutique offers their “nautically-themed, American heritage inspired” items in all the relevent summertime categories—womenswear, menswear, and kidswear, as well as home goods, especially bed and bath items.  Won’t be making it to the means streets of East Hampton any time soon?  Well, they’ve just launched their US website so you can still check ’em out. [Curbed Hamptons Inbox]

Do ya think there’s a Ralph Lauren influence?  I guess so!

Especially “old-school” Ralph — my favorite!

Is it wrong?

Well, take a look.  Who do you think is my inspiration for my biz?


RedBird retail, circa 2012!


RedBird Vintage Home tote
sewn from a recycled Army tent
Circa 2012!

Please.  Look at the design I stenciled onto a primitive, old stool.

chair -- RB dairy milk stool

RB for RedBird?
Yes, it’s my shout-out to RL for Ralph Lauren!

Look!  My hand-stenciled RedBird Vintage Home pillow:


That hand-stenciled Frenchie stripe is pretty RL-esque,
+ I couldn’t love the side button closures MORE!

Vintage buttons closures.

I always use vintage buttons.

* * * *

But I digress, a little.  Back to Lexington Co.

Here’s their store in the Stockholm, Sweden airport:

From their website:

lexington co. holiday dining room

While this dining room is far busier, stuff-wise . . .

its crisp, white walls

with all the reds + dark blues

reminds me a little of Karin Blake’s folk art-filled kitchen:

karin blake's malibu kitchen with red sashes #1

. . . about which I blogged just a couple days ago

* * * *

More Lexington Co. dining rooms:

lexington co. holiday dining room #2

lexington blue dining room

Fabulous ‘merch’ I’d love to have:

lextington co. wool throwWool throws @ $175.oo

lexington co. wool throw - white with blue + redLike RL, their prices are more “spendy” than those at IKEA.

lexington co. blue striped blanket $303

Striped herringbone bead spread $303

lexington red pillowcase

Somebody else is rocking the side closure buttons!

The king-size checked duvet set in this holiday checked fabric

was originally $484.00,

but it is on sale on the website for half off, @ $242.00:

lexington co. red poplin check bedding

* * * *

So, that was kind of fun, wasn’t it?

What are your thoughts about “the Ralph Lauren of Europe”?

Are you — like me –still a fan

of the old-school Americana/New England RL?

Are you tempted to order something from Lexington Co.?

You might as well have a look-see at their fabulous website:

Cure For Cabin Fever

Welcome to our snow-covered Winter wonderland!


See? I told you our dark brown fence
looks great against the snow!


The front of our house looks pretty cozy, too!



white christmas snow

Still from the movie White Christmas


Sadly, our poor doggies are not so amused:

dachsie in snow

Disclaimer #1: this is not our snow,
nor is this my Dachsie

Disclaimer #2:  as much as I love snow,

HATE the sub-zero temps we’re having!


cold man photo


I’m so cold, I’m actually kind of dressed like this, indoors . . .

(where are my gloves?!?)

. . . so I shan’t be crossing our threshold any time soon!

* * * *


Duh.  No cabin fever at my house!

  I’m actually just proceeding as per usual,

  happily continuing my design work on our current project . . .


. . . wishing we were further ahead with this squalor bathroom . . .

Are words necessary here?  I think not!

. . . + searching for inspiration for said-same, online!

* * * *

This means it’s time for me to share with the class!

Let’s enjoy a little “before” + “after” happiness from

Country Living magazine’s website:


At first glance, the “before” looks pretty hiddy, no?

But wait!  That tub is actually beyond cool (wish we had one!),

+ that floor is yelling, “WORK WITH ME, PEOPLE!”, isn’t it?

Let’s have a look-see at the fantabulous “AFTER”:

CL bathroom -- after


The gray walls are really rocking the gray in the mosaic tile!

So is the warm cinnamon of the rustic stool/side table!

That wood tone is my absolute favorite, + if this room was mine,

I would repeat it with this window treatment:

I’d also switch out that naughty light fixture,

no matter how vintage +/or original to the house it is.

No can do.

CL bathroom -- after

Let’s hang something like this, instead:

rejuvenation schoolhouse with shiny copper

Or this, if you — like me — just can’t commit to shiny yet:

rejuvenation schoolhouse light with copper

And one more thing.

Please note the large framed botanical:

CL bathroom -- after

A large, statement piece of artwork like this

really ramps up the style in a bathroom, doesn’t it?

I’m currently searching for said-same

for our squalor bathroom!

'Nice' paint job on that cast iron pipe.

Stay tuned!

Designer Karin Blake

One of  my favorite interior designers is Karin Blake.

Architectural Digest magazine feels the same way,

as they recently named her one of their Top 100 Designers.

Here’s one reason why:

karin blake's malibu kitchen with red sashes #1

People.  This magnificence is the kitchen of her Malibu, CA cottage,

which is listed for sale for $3,795,000!

I just spied this photo yesterday in one of my favorite blogs,

Content In A Cottage.

Go there to see more gorgeous photos of Karin Blake’s folk art-filled cottage.

* * * *

Meanwhile, let’s talk about the obvious why I love her kitchen!

Here’s another look-see:

karin blake's malibu kitchen from dining room

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways!

1. all that fantastic FOLK ART! — 2. plain Jane white cabs

3. industrial stools — 4. butcher block countertops

5. farmhouse table with its red metal box

6. the highly-coveted vintage barber pole

and most of all

(yelled like Oprah)


karin blake's red sashes

I found a photo of her kitchen, PRE-red window sashes:

karin blake's malibu kitchen -- before red sashes!

Architectural Digest

This kitchen still puts the OUT in outstanding,

(+ I really, really want that bulls eye),

but check out the difference the red sashes make:

karin blake's malibu kitchen with red sashes #1

I think we’re all on board, here,

with how scrumptious RED can be.

karin blake's malibu kitchen with red sashes #2

All that bright, bright white makes the colors pop,

+ I’m re-thinking my gray walls for the next house.

Stay tuned!

Country Bumpkin Christmasi, C. early 90’s

In yesterday’s blog post,

I went down memory lane to my country bumpkin Christmasi of the past.

Here’s the building I bought way back in 1993,

to house my country bumpkin retail store,


heart in hand

Christmas 1993
Oregon, Illinois

Just a few years after this,

we built a home upstairs for me, my boys +

Susie, our beloved miniature Dachshund.

christmas -- ben + jon + susie + fireplace

Ben, Susie + Jon
seated on an old bench
I bought at auction when I was 19 or so.

I splurged on that gas fireplace

+ am currently obsessing about doing said-same

in our current re-do.

Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, check out my delightful red woodwork

+ my dozens of Santa’s!

christmas -- apartment -- fireplace

* * *

Now let’s back track just a bit, to the BEFORE:

christmas -- living room before

Whoa!  Kind of looks like a bomb went off, doesn’t it?

* * *

Here’s the same shot, AFTER:

christmas -- apartment -- living room with windows

Currently, I find myself wanting old school shutters like these
for the bottom halves of our Dutch colonial’s windows.
Stay tuned, part II!

My then-beau, an upholsterer, covered my couch

in that awesome coverlet-style fabric.

It was the height of country bumpkin awesomeness

at the time!

Also noteworthy: the original pressed tin ceiling

+ my hand-stenciled border!

* * *

Imagine that — back then, I was even less skilled

at photography than I am now,

but this does show that pressed tin ceiling:

christmas -- apartment -- living room diagonal

Here I am in ‘mid-decorating mode’:

christmas -- apartment -- kay in squalor living room

I hosted open houses of our pad, all decked out for Christmas,

during our town’s annual Candlelight Walk.

Good X’s.

* * *

My beloved floors were new, wide-plank pine boards,

secured with square-head nail look-alikes.

Here’s a nice view of it:

christmas -- apartment -- susie #1 + max

Susie the mini Dachsie
with my upholsterer beau’s dog Max

These days, I find myself wanting light wood floors like this

for our Dutch colonial fixer.

Stay tuned, part III!

* * *

The main living spaces were all together.

Here’s a photo of Ben, seated at the dining table.

He’s facing the living room + those front windows,

with the country bumpkin kitchen in the background.

christmas -- ben at dining table in apartment

Oh, please note the skylight — 1 of 3 (another splurge).

I’m still loving the large buffalo check wallpaper

+ am thinking about using said-same NOW!

buffalo check

YUM + stay tuned, yet again!!

But I digress.  Back to my old kitchen:

christmas apartment kitchen island

Wow, this photo’s bad,

but it does show my antique red workbench

that I thought made the most perfect kitchen island.

* * *

Let’s head down the hallway

to our very country bumpkin bathroom!

christmas -- apartment -- bathroom patchwork shower curtain

I super loved that homespun wallpaper.

There’s the patchwork shower curtain that I made

by sewing together antique 4-Patch quilt squares.

It was always a crowd pleaser during my open houses.

christmas -- apartment -- bathroom

Loving the shelf above this door, behind which

we’d tucked in a stackable washer + dryer:

christmas -- apartment bathroom washer-dryer

Just say NO to the tunic-length sweater when one is 5’0″!

Look!  I still clasp my hands together like that in photos:


Ditto on the unflattering blue top, for some reason!?
Somebody call a stylist!
I “keed” (a little!)

* * *

But I digress.  Back to our apartment.

It contained 3 bedrooms.

Each boy had his own, but for some reason,

there are no photos of said-same.

Here’s mine:

christmas -- apartment -- shaker bed

I seriously wish I still had that pencil post bed,

but NOT those swag + jabot curtains.

I did love them at the time (Country Curtains catalog).

Another of my splurges: the wood-clad, vaulted ceiling,

with its (not shown) skylight.

* * *

Isn’t it funny that, while I poke fun of my fondness

for the country bumpkin décor . . .

. . . there are still quite a few things I did here

that I am considering doing again, TODAY!

Stay tuned!

Less-Is-More Christmas Decor

My motto for Christmas décor always used to be:

the more, the merrier!

Not so much now.

While I still super love Christmas,

I’ve scaled way back in recent years.

Instead of a houseful of yuletide happiness,

we’re now down to this tiny tree

on our enclosed front porch:



I bought the tree years ago at the old Eddie Bauer Home store.

Remember those?

They had everything my then-country-bumpkin heart desired!

At one time, my little Eddie Bauer tree was one of 3 or 4 trees

I’d have up + running throughout the house.

Our kitchen would often get its own tree

decorated with old tin cookie cutters, like this one:



Or this:

cookie cutter heart in hand


Since the business I owned in the 80’s + 90’s

 was called Heart-in-Hand,

I collected cookie cutters with that motif.

See?  Here’s my logo:

heart in hand signage

My hand-stenciled store sign (1988)
+ my framed business cards.

Here’s the front of the building I bought

for my retail store (+ later, our home, upstairs):

heart in hand

My retail store,
Christmas 1993

* * *

But back to this year.

Our tiny Eddie Bauer tree looks great

inside this old wooden box that I just bought:


Don’t you love it?

I bought it at our town’s French Hens Holiday Market in November;

I blogged about it here:

It came from Jeanine Burkhardt of (very quaint) Cedarburg, WI,

whose cool blog is a MUST-READ:!

If you live in the Midwest, you’ve got to catch her booth

at one of her many shows.

* * * *

But once again, back to my Christmas:

I kept the rest pretty simple,

sticking to a red + gold color scheme, which I love:


Those primitive mustard stars

+ that red, wooden bead garland

are both relics from my country bumpkin era.

Then I added some fairly plain Jane red + gold balls

+ forced myself to stop.


A few other country bumpkin favorites

also made the cut this year:



My friend, Alan, gave me that sled years ago,

our neighbor, Scott, gave me the old water cooler,

+ our birch tree surrendered a few branches this year

‘for the cause’.

Oh, here’s my Pottery Barn Santa pillow,

out on the front porch, as well:


And, finally, just outside the front porch:


Does that vest make me look ‘fat’?

Here are G.O. + me,

with just a few other yuletide accents,

like my favorite electric candles in each window.

* * *


while I have gone way less-is-more at Christmas,

what little decorating I did do made me as happy as a school girl!

Hope you’re feeling the same way!


Vintage Bathroom Hope Chest


I now have a hope chest for our Dutch colonial re-do!

I began filling it just this past week,

starting with this milk glass towel bar from etsy:

Iprefervintage on


Speaking of milk glass . . .

. . . it may be the operative word in my bathroom re-do.

Look at the milk glass on this Restoration Hardware sconce:

restorationhardware bath light #1

I’m a geeky fan of all the bathroom stuff at Restoration Hardware

+ previously posted about said-same, here:

* * * *

Back to my hope chest.

Check this out:


Imagine That!
Home Décor + Gifts
Tinley Park, IL

I spied this wonderful pine cupboard

at our town’s monthly French Market

just this past Saturday:


The shopkeeper from Imagine That!

told me that it came from southern California.

(Perfect!  I love California!)

* * * *

What a coincidence!

Here’s something similar that I pinned, weeks ago:

Delicious, no?

We could install our faucets on OUR wooden arch, no?

Here’s another look-see:


More about faucets in a bit.

Don’t you agree this top is CALLING for a vessel sink?

That’s why I bought it, everybody!

So, natch, I’ve been online, searching for said-same all weekend.

These chunky rectangular sinks would be perfect

for my modern farmhouse décor.

But whom do I think I’m kidding?

Modern, schmodern!

Because of my love of white ironstone bowls,

something along those lines would make me happier.

Seriously.  Like this one:

Somebody pass me my credit card.

It’s time to order this discontinued beauty,

before they’re gone!

Home Depot!   Who knew?

Home Depot

There.  That’s done.

* * * *

Now for the faucet decision!

If G.O. sez NO to installing them in our cupboard’s arch,

I’m totally on board with putting them in the wall, like here:

Vessel sinks aren't my faves, generally -- but this chunky, white ironstone bowl rocks!
Next time you’re in St. Louis,
go here for a meal + shopping fun!

And here:

But let’s get real.

I think G.O.’s head would pop off if I even suggested these.

Trust me, just getting the cupboard was drama enough.

* * * *

Never fear, though.

Our top is extra deep @ 21″.

There’s plenty of room for my chunky ironstone vessel sink

AND a cool faucet!

Here’s another look-see:


As much as I love white ironstone bowls . . .

I am super crazy for bridge faucets, like this:

bathroom - bridge faucet cross handles

Spied this on Pinterest.
Sorry, don’t recall the source.

I’m also smitten with the metal cross handles

with their porcelain “HOT” + “COLD” . . .

Restoration Hardware.

Shower curtain roller rings
from — where else? — Restoration Hardware

. . . so it’s imperative I find a faucet with those.

* * * *

However, it’s going to take a while to decide on the metal.

 I am obsessing about antique brass, like this:

They’re not that easy to find + tend to be a bit spendy.

Fingers crossed, though.

Stay tuned!

Let’s Look At Magazines Together!

Years ago, my BFF + I loved to peruse decorating mags together.

Oh, how I miss those days . . .

. . . especially when something like this lands inside my mailbox:

CL cover


Sorry this image is so tiny — sometimes I’m just so un-savvy!  😦

* * * *


There’s plenty of coolness in the current CL issue to share with the class . . .

. . . just this a.m. I wanted to order this awesome pin magnet

that was featured on page 24.

Check it out, people:


YOU want one, too, right?

This is so far + above hipper than my plain Jane red one from Wal-Mart!

It would make me happy just to look at it!

  Get this:  it’s $10.

That’s gotta be the best $10 I’d ever spend, no?

* * * *

Tragically, it’s currently out of stock.

No wonder.

I’m guessing everybody else who reads CL had to have one, too.

Unlike me, they didn’t wait 4 or 5 days to try + order theirs.

* * * *

But let’s move on, shall we?

Look at the store — Purlsoho — where it’s sold.

My steel-trap-like mind told me the “soho” meant that it’s in NYC,

+ I was correct:

CL store

459 Broome St.
NYC 10013


This ramps up my chronic NYC jonesing.

And while I’ve only been to SOHO one time, PLEASE.

“Everybody knows” it’s the hippest place, ever!

CL store rolling ladderCL store bins


Now, my retail fever’s way, way UP, too.

Look how cool their store is!

CL store tin ceiling

CL store jar with string


Take a few moments + look at their blog . . .

. . . where you’ll find adorable + oh-so inspirational photos like these:

CL store girls kimono

In my plain Jane world,
this is SO much better
than something pink, sparkly + princess!

CL store back pack

Once again
with the alternative
to you-know-what.

Now wasn’t that fun?

Thanks for being my online BFF this morning!


SO, yesterday evening G.O. + I watched 60 MINUTES, + it was great!


The good  news is that crabby Andy Rooney’s gone (J/K!),

+ the even better news is that last night’s episode featured

the great MAGGIE SMITH

(with an appearance by the also great Dustin Hoffman**!)

baking -- maggie smith + dustin hoffman

** Dusty recently  made his directorial debut with the movie, “Quartet”, co-starring Maggie . . .

. . . + he sez she (curses like) “a sailor”

+ drops the F bomb constantly,

+ he loves her for it!

Hey, Dusty — if you’ve got a “thing” for the foul-mouthed older gal —

may I introduce you to ME?

Dusty, call me!

But I digress.

If you’re interested in Maggie’s musings about “Downton Abbey” (and who ISN’T?),

go here:

* * * * * *

Any-hoo, as one often is, we were too lazy to change the channel

+ thoroughly enjoyed the program which followed 60 Minutes:


baking -- logo

HA!  Who knew?

It, TOO, was pretty great!

How could it NOT be, with this awesome cast of players,

including “amateur baker” + my personal favorite, Francine! . . .

baking -- francine

baking -- francine #2

Never change, Francine!

. . . + my 2nd favorite “amateur baker”, Brian . . .

baking -- brian

. . . who, coincidentally, came in a close 2nd in the pie contest, to Francine.

The heartbreak on his face really endeared him to me,

as did the film footage of him at home, compulsively/happily vacuuming!

Never change, Brian!

* * * * * * *

Anyway, back to the cast:

. . . here’s the extremely likable Jeff Foxworthy as host:

baking -- jeff foxworthy

Never change, Jeff!
Oh, wait.
He never does!

. . . +, be still, my heart, THIS crazy-handsome-silver-fox judge

with the crazy-sexy piercing-blue eyes

+ the impossibly-awesome name:




baking -- paul hollywood

Paul Hollywood,
never change your name!

And speaking of Silver Foxi,

how about a gratuitous photo of (St. Louis’ own) Michael McDonald

+ look!  It’s Ray Charles, too!

baking -- mike mc donald + ray charles

* * * * *

Oops.  More digressing.

Let’s get back to my new, favorite show.

Check out their awesome, slightly country bumpkin set!

I think the gay  guy who stages all those Cracker Barrel restaurants

took a short sabbatical

+ spent a few weeks over at CBS!

baking -- pie sign

Red neon!?  Yes, please!

baking -- decor fiesta ware _ signage

Fiesta Ware!  Old metal signage!  Barnwood!

baking -- decor

Multi-colored islands — one for each “amateur baker”!

baking -- decor pig

A flying pig!?  Oh, dear, Mr. Cracker Barrel, you may have stumbled briefly (J/K!) . . .

baking decor -- blue chairs

. . . but blue Tolix chairs!?  Excellent!

And . . . saving the best for last . . .

baking -- decor kitchen aid red

Red Kitchen Aid stand mixers!?  Of course!

And look!  There, in the background!

west elm smeg front

Yes!  Red SMEG refrigerators!

I just blogged about my love for both, here:

+ here:



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