I’m Laura, owner of Appleberry Cottage. I love to share my primitive stitchery, primitive punch needle, hand crafted folk art, and heirloom crocheted baby afghans with you.
When I'm not crafting, I'm mom to 4 kids: Andrew, Matt, Rachel (17 yrs old), and James (12 yrs old).
I had originally thought of just using some dark walnut gel stain to darken the painting. After looking at a nice saltbox board painting that I have, I decided to paint the edges of this board black. The board had a nice top edge, which just gave a hint of black to the front. This paint really made the top stand out.
I then took my stain and generously applied it all over the painting. I wiped it off, and re-applied as needed until I achieved the look I wanted. I tried to leave extra stain around the edges, to help blend in with the black paint. This simple process really updated the look of this "expensive" piece! Now to decide where to hang it. I might even take a few trips to other thrift stores to see what I can find this weekend.
While I had my stain out, I decided to make over a set of stacking boxes from the 1980's. I had found these at a craft show, and they came tied with raffia (the boxes are glued together). I don't have a photo of before, but it was flat craft paint. I stained the boxes and it darkened them up. I think it makes them look a bit richer. I wish I could afford the antique Shaker boxes, but this will do for now. :)
I'll be looking for primitive garland to go on a couple shelves with pegs. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas, please let me know. I also would like some small keyhole baskets (one can't be more than 4" tall) for the same shelves. Maybe one of the larger craft fairs later this season will have some ideas.
I went to a couple craft shows this past weekend. I like to browse, just to get ideas and admire what other artists are making. The first show was at a high school. It was small, but very nice. I've attended every year for the past few years. It's advertised well, good selection of crafts, and best of all, free admission! I found this cute little sign to sit on a shelf. I also bought another sign that says, "Christmas", but in an antiqued white. I like the pumpkin one, as it can be used all autumn.
The second craft show was at the local community college. I had never been to this craft show, or even been in the college. They had no signs to show the entrance (strike one). They charged $2 admission (strike two). They had few customers, and WAY too much jewelery (imports - nothing original or hand stamped like my cousin does at Bella Michele Jewelry) and home party stuff (strike three). They had only 2 decent booths of good quality items. One was quilted items, the other was prim stars & signs. I won't be going back to that show.
This bunny sign I found at a resale shop this morning. It caught my eye. Not because it's a bunny, which I use to collect when I was a kid. But, I liked the hand painting, and I could easily tell it wasn't one of those made in China items. It did remind me of the 1980's, but it has LOTS of possibility! For a whopping $1.49, it was mine! I've been working on it this afternoon, so come back tomorrow when I can upload some photos!
I managed to finish a couple punch needle items this week. The first is an old fashioned Santa. On this one, I combined 2 different shades of gold/tan to create a tweed background. I finished it by attaching it to a hornbook. I wasn't sure of how I liked it earlier in the week. So, I sanded the wood, re-painted, sanded, and stained it with a walnut gel stain. Once I got the finish to be very aged, I sealed it with some clear matte acrylic sealer. I like how this turned out this time. The great thing about prim - you can always re-do it! :)
The second finish is a design by Primitive Betty's ~ just perfect for fall. I didn't punch a border on this one, but finished the edging with some black homemade cording that I sewed on. The entire piece was aged to give it a distressed feel. I attached this piece to another hornbook. I sawed, sanded and painted the wood in a maple syrup color. Then aged it with some walnut gel stain. There's not a lot of contrast between the paint and stain, but the overall effect is one of aged paint - the color of the fallen leaves. The paint picks up some of the color of leaves for a very rustic autumn finish. I'll get this one listed on Ebay this evening. This should be my last fall item, as I need to get going on Christmas!
The Santa is going to Michele at A Houseful of Boys. She won my craziest relative contest! OK, there was no contest, but I had to think of a reason to send it. I had won a giveaway of one of her hand stamped necklaces that she sells, so I'm turning her giveaway into a swap. After all, she's my favorite cousin! I'll have to get some boxes this week and send it on it's way.
Welcome to my house! It's not all prim, and it's not one of those that looks like a magazine, but it's a work in progress. I browse through so many blogs that have amazing homes that are prim perfect. I finally realized that many of these women don't have bunches of kids at home any longer ~ so that makes me feel better. I happen to have 4 kids at home, so a house HAS to be livable (and many times messy!). This is the front of our house. Yep, old gold 1970's siding. At least the sun has faded it so much, than it's now more of a tan/gold. I keep digging up the landscaping in front, as all the bushes die. I"m hoping the new things I put in this summer will survive. I do love the burning bushes! Every year they turn flaming red in the fall.
I didn't do much fall decorating outside. Last year, I missed the last yard waste pick up, and a hay bale sat all winter out in the snow. I won't do that again this year. Then, the pumpkins are food for our neighborhood squirrels. They already attached the corn stalks around the lamp post. Then they started eating the pumpkins! I'm waiting to see how long it will take them to eat their way through to the inside. Take the sidewalk to the back of the house, and this is what you see. We have a large cement patio, which we never use, except for grilling. We use the screened in deck, which is just off the dining room/living room. All our backyards open to each other. I get to enjoy the neighbor's perennial gardens - without any of the work! (but they can enjoy mine, too)
I planted one tree in the backyard a couple years ago. It was a small stick, no taller than 5 feet. It has taken, and is growing. Things don't grow in our area, as the dirt is clay, and is filled with rocks. So, I am happy that the one tree is growing.
Our foyer leads either upstairs or downstairs.
I have a couple peg racks to hold coats in the foyer. I had stenciled some vine and berry borders around the edges of doors and floors. It's getting pretty marked up from use and needs painting, but I'm not sure what I want to do yet. Do I paint the door leading to the garage and the front inside doors a tan/beige, while the rest of the walls are off white? (I'm thinking of doing the same for the LR/DR) I need to make or buy some type of new curtain for the foyer patio doors. It's a small slider door (that never gets used). I made a simple "temporary" muslin valance, but that's now 10 years old! I guess it's time to replace that. :)
I'll slowly get the rest of the house into other posts. Thanks for taking a look! I always welcome any suggestions/ideas. Laura
It finally stopped raining this weekend, so we got to enjoy some cool weather. It made me start another punch project of this kitty with falling leaves.
I'm also in the finishing phase of this Santa punch needle. I haven't attached it to the hornbook yet. I'm not really sure I like it on a barn red board or not. I"ll look at it for a few days before deciding what to do with it.
James was busy building a Lego tower. He wanted to see how tall he could build it!
Yesterday was the rocket launch for Cub Scouts. The pack gives each Scout 2 engines, but we purchased extra so he could blast a few more off the launcher! The photo above shows a black hawk fighter rocket that he received for his birthday this summer from Aunt Cheryl. It didn't go as high as expected, but all the boys were drooling over this rocket! Maybe a larger engine for next year??
Here he is with one of the smaller rockets. Andrew came to help with the launch, then went to the skate park up the hill.
It's back to school today. At least it's going to be a bit warmer and drier for the next couple days. I'll have to get out and enjoy it while it lasts! :)
I listed an old fashioned Santa punch needle pinkeep on Ebay this week. I had made one before, and liked it so much, so I decided to make another one. I usually try to make different pieces, but there's always exceptions! :)
I've found it difficult to get good photos. The flash on my camera seems to create white spots, which seem like emtpy or missing spots on the punch needle. It's not there in reality. I think it's the flash bouncing off the fibers/floss. I've found darkening the image helps with some of the coloring. I would love to be able to take all the photos in natural light, but it's not possible all the time. I think I'll try to add some more light, so that the flash doesn't need to go off. But, I need some more finished items to photograph!
This is one of the candle mats that's currently listed on Ebay. I have 5 mats this week, and all end on Sunday evening. If you win more than one, I always combine shipping. I can usually ship 2 for the price of one.
I'm currently working on another Santa punch needle. I need to finish the beard, then the finishing. I'm not sure if I should make a pillow, or mount it on a hornbook. I really enjoyed making the last one on a hornbook, so I"m leaning toward that option. It's another chance for me to practice my new jigsaw skills!
The kids had the day off of school for a teacher institute day. They also have Monday off for Columbus Day. Makes for a nice, long weekend. Andrew will spend a lot of his weekend catching up on homework, since he had the flu this week. He missed Tuesday - Thursday at school. Thankfully, no one else caught it from him. Today I took Rachel and 2 of her friends for a mini bday party (ok a month late). We went out for pizza, then I took them for manicures. She didn't pick any pretty pink polish, but opted for some navy. Go figure.
Now that it's stopped raining, it's time for a walk outside. The weatherman said we might see some snow flurries on Sunday. I"m not ready for that.
I have another find! This time it's a shelf. I was originally thinking about a bowl rack for an empty wall in the living room, but when this one appeared, I took it. Yes, it does have an 80's heart, but that has already been removed. Oops, it left a mark in the wood when prying it off. I'm not sure how I'll finish it, but I know the mark won't show. I might look for another shape (a folk art star?), or just sand it so it doesn't show as much. It might depend on if I repaint it or not. I might just throw some dark walnut stain to really age the piece since some of my living room is blue. I found the shelf at a free garage sale at our church. Some ladies from my Bible study and I were sorting items earlier in the week. They convinced me to take it. I do like the taller ends that extend above the shelf.
The shelf will go above the pointed section that leads downstairs to the foyer. We live in a bi-level, so it's not a very colonial/prim house. But we moved here almost 10 years ago, and it had large bedrooms, and the ability to add a 4th bedroom downstairs. That was when the market was hot, so we were happy to find a big house that would hold 4 kids. (our last house was tiny and on a slab. We doubled our space in this house!) I'll have to take photos and give a tour. I'm getting lots of ideas of things I would love to do to the house, but there's only so much money. (try feeding 4 kids!) But, if the house was all perfect, what else would I have to look forward to?? :)