Friday, September 28, 2012

The Old Lucketts Store in Photos

If you ever find yourself in northern Virginia, the Old Lucketts Store, just outside of Leesburg, is an absolute must-visit.

The weekend that I met Janet of The Empty Nest in Warrenton, VA, I also visited Lucketts for the first time.  I already want to go back with a truck and trailer! :)

Lucketts is the home of Miss Mustard Seed and numerous other vendors, and it's filled to the brim with vintage furniture, upcycled pieces, all sorts of collectibles, garden decorations, unique smalls, metalwork, architectural salvage, and more.  The shop is magnificent in its variety and quality of offerings, and I'm envious of anyone who lives close enough to go to it on a regular basis.

Let's take a look around...

Even the front porch is overflowing with amazing finds like this zinc-topped drop leaf table.

I wish I'd taken more photos because the personalities and styles of the spaces varied so widely.   What you see below is just just a tiny fraction of what's at Lucketts.  Forgive me, please?  I was too busy ooohing and aaahing my way through three stories of retail heaven.

Get a load of the distressed painted floor and all those leaded glass windows!

The third-floor landing was one of my favorite spots in the store with all its natural light and those insanely comfortable (but pricy) grainsack wing chairs.

A miniature garden in a tray

The Lucketts groundhog mascot greets you at the checkout

Besides the shop itself, there are also multiple open-air outbuildings filled with even more goodies.

Loved these little sheds!

As tempted as I was by many of the beautiful items the Lucketts vendors offered, I practiced restraint and came home with two boxes of Miss Mustard Seed's new milk paint--in Linen and Kitchen Scale.  I've already painted an old wood frame in Linen and I'm deliriously in love with the way this paint crackles and flakes.  More on that later...

Miss Mustard Seed's milk paint booth

Hope you enjoyed this little peek of a gem of a store. My photos only scratch the surface!

If anyone else has blogged about Lucketts, could you leave a link in the comments?

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Quick Landscaping Update

We're making major progress this week on what I've just decided to call Project: Landscape This House For Crying Out Loud Because You've Lived in It for Five Years!

Let's recap what's been going on with PLTHFCOLBYLIIFFY to this point...

Earlier in the year, I enlisted the help of a local and very knowledgeable gardening consultant because I know next to nothing about horticulture.  Based on my longing for a cottage garden, the consultant drew up a landscaping plan that incorporates flowering shrubs like roses, hydrangeas, peonies, and gardenias, as well as evergreen shrubs for year-round color, and space for perennial flowers. 

The next major step was completed in June when the beds were installed.  Here's one of the beds as it was just before being dug.

My husband and I enjoy DIY projects, but decided it was worth it to hire a crew to come in and knock out the beds in a day. It most definitely was.

Then it took about three months for me to finally put down landscaping fabric to keep weeds at bay while we waited to plant in the fall.   Here's the same bed from above, covered in landscape fabric, and waiting for plants.

With fall finally here, my husband and I went to the State Farmers Market in Raleigh last Friday to purchase the majority of the landscaping plants.

A friend had serendipitously told me in August about a wholesale nursery that sells to the public at the State Farmers Market.  I visited the nursery's Web site and it turned out they could supply the great majority of the plants called for in the landscaping plan.  What good fortune!  And the best part?  All of their 3-gallon plants are just $10 each.

So where we are now is that the plants are going in the ground this week!  And yes, we're a bit messy when we work.

Once the beds are mulched, I'll be back with more details on the plants we've used.  But I am already so happy with the this pretty little Ducher rose and the gorgeous-smelling gardenias.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you more experienced gardeners about perennial flowers you like.   I live in zone 7 and have already planted coreopsis, daisies, sedum, and penstemon.  I really like coneflowers and zinnias, but beyond that, I'm all ears for suggestions!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

One of the great things about blogging... that sometimes you get to meet the real people--the creative, funny, inspirational, warm, kind, and lovely people--behind the blogs you read. 

The first instance of this for me was when I had the chance to meet the crafty and stylish Ali of My Third True Love for a cup of coffee last August while visiting California.

(Never mind that I went to the wrong Starbucks...Ali graciously packed her kids back up into the car and drove over to meet me.  Add understanding to the list of adjectives to describe Ali!)  The next time I'm back in SoCal, a stop to visit Ali is most certainly on the itinerary.


Another example of the connective nature of blogging? The amazing artist/funny-as-crap blogger Cindy Austin (of Cindy's Fractured Fairytale) and I live only 10 minutes apart.  Thanks to blogging we've gotten to know each other and enjoy chatting when we run into one another at the local shops we both frequent.  Since I shame on me don't have a photo of the two us, let me instead share a commissioned painting she recently completed.

It hangs in my bedroom...

and I truly swoon every time I look at the dreamy scene with the fluff-ball sheep...

and the SHEPHERD'S HUT. (If you follow me on Pinterest, you'll see I have an entire board dedicated to this obsession with shepherd's huts.)


Over this summer, the blogging gods smiled upon another meeting:  Cindy of Cottage Instincts and Cindy (in the present tense) and I grabbed some dee-licious Ghirardelli ice cream at DisneyWorld when our families were both vacationing.

We chatted and laughed and I wished we could have had more time to visit because she's vivacity on a stick!


Last weekend, the chance to once more meet another favorite blogger in person came about when our family took an overnight trip to Washington D.C. and northern Virginia.

For the boys: the Bruce Springsteen concert on Friday night in D.C.

For me: trips on Saturday to Lucketts in Leesburg, VA and The Empty Nest in downtown Warrenton, VA, run by none other than Janet of The Empty Nest blog!

I've been following Janet long enough that I can't remember when I wasn't reading her blog.   She's a delightful lady, who's full of life, oozes creativity, and simply has a great sense of humor.

This chalkboard sentiment in her shop captures Janet well.

Not only is she a shop-keeper and furniture-painter, she's an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint stockist who knows her way around a sewing machine, appreciates vintage items, and can be counted on to leave the best comments whenever I post music on this blog.  (I swear she and I are musical kindred spirits!)

So, it was a complete treat to meet her and visit The Empty Nest.  Here's a peek at her lovely shop!

And here we are chatting, completely oblivious to the fact my husband was taking our picture...

Now we're ready...smiles all around!


I was also hoping to catch Cassie of Primitive and Proper on this trip to the mid-Atlantic area, but it just wasn't meant to be. This time anyway.  There will be a next time, Cassie!

And I hate to even mention this for fear of jinxing things since we're still firming up plans, but I may get to hang out with another blog friend at next month's Country Living fair in Georgia. It'd be a fairytale-wish-come-true (wink, wink) to meet this talented lady in Atlanta after all the emails and blog comments we've swapped.

Have you met any of your blogging friends in "real life?"  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Morning Music: Sia

It's been awhile since I've put up a Monday Morning Music post.  But this infrequent series is back today with a good entry!

Sia Furler, known mononymously as Sia, is an Australian jazz-pop singer and songwriter.  As you'll see shortly, she's quirky as hell, full of joy, and out-of-this-world talented.

Now, I'm not going to pretend like I've known about and loved Sia for years.  In reality, I only found out about her a few months ago thanks to a Flo Rida song on the radio.

Flo who?

(He's a mainstream rapper whose recent dance single "Wild Ones" was written in part by Sia and features her vocals.)

Now, I could take or leave Flo Rida's rapping.  (Sorry, Flo.) But Sia's voice completely enchanted me.  I went home and made a beeline for Google after hearing "Wild Ones" to find out just whose beautiful throaty, soulful voice I was hearing against the dance beat and vacuous lyrics.

Well, long story short, I have a new musical obsession that I'm going to gently force on you

Sia's been recording for more than a decade, but she's recently hit the mainstream for her writing and vocal contributions to dance songs.   (Word is that she's working on songs for Rihanna's next album.)

However, in the last 10 years, she's put out several albums of her own that feature none of the beat-heavy dance tunes that are raising her profile at the moment.  Her best works--in my opinon--are her jazz-influenced, downtempo, and more indie-style songs.

Rather than me ramble on more, let's let Sia do her thing and convince you of her utter amazingness.

"Day Too Soon" from Some People Have REAL Problems (2008)

"Breathe Me" from Colour the Small Ones (2006)

"Soon We'll Be Found" from Some People Have REAL Problems (2008)

"I'm in Here" from We Are Born (2010)

The haunting "My Love" from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Soundtrack (2010)

And finally, after extolling all the virtues of her non-uber-commercialized work, I have to admit, I do really like her latest collaboration with French DJ/producer extraordinare David Guetta.   Get ready to get your club on!  :)

"She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)" from Nothing But the Beat 2.0 (David Guetta)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Time Keeps on Slipping...

People, I'm freaking out that it's already September!   Anybody else feeling the same way?

Don't get me wrong, I'm so very glad September's here and that fall is soon to come.  I'm practically lusting for an autumn breeze and a change of color in the leaves.  I even had to stop and photo this leaf last week when I was mowing the yard, the colors of it thrilled me so much.

In fact, in celebration of autumn's approach, I've been making batches of Mulled Cider and Pumpkin Pie candles for wholesale orders and the Harmony Farm Candles Etsy shop. Sniff either of these and I guarantee you'll be yearning to dig out a cozy sweater, feel a nip in the air, and hold a warm mug in yours hand. :)

Mulled Cider Soy Wax Candle
Pumpkin Pie Soy Wax Candle

But I swear, I blinked and the month of August came and went.

Really, I shouldn't be surprised the month went by so quickly. We spent a week at the beach with my husband's family, then celebrated both of my parents' birthdays upon returning home.

School also started last week and my one and only baby is now a kindergartener!

Though neither he nor I boo-hoo'd, or did anything even remotely close to that, on the first day, it surprises me how seeing him off the subsequent mornings in the car rider line snags a part of my heart. Watching him walk into the building after a perfunctory adieu (Me: "Buddy, I love you! Have a good day!" Him: "Gotta go, Mom!"), just one little person in a sea of many, makes me want to snatch him back and keep him for myself just a little while longer.   But he's happy in elementary school, doesn't seem to have missed a beat in the transition, and so goes the growing up of a child.

With the new-found free time that comes with not having a kid at home for seven hours a day, I've been slaving in the perpetual and disgusting heat and humidity to finish prepping the beds around the house for landscaping in the coming weeks.  We had beds installed in early June, and it only took me two months to put down the landscape fabric (after weeding the beds close to half a dozen times--you'd think I'd learn!)

P.S.--Did you know they make these magical things called landscape staples?


You insert them through the landscape fabric and into the ground, thus securing said landscape fabric in place. Well, I didn't the first time I laid out and cut the landscape fabric.  Only after laying tree limbs, random garden instruments, chicken-feeders-cum-flower-planters, and old fence posts (while thinking "there must be a better way!"), did I realize these babies existed.  But of course, this realization also only occurred after a windstorm blew away and/or twisted the fabric so I essentially had to repeat all my original work before I could use the staples. 

Moving on...

So, the plan is to get most of the shrubbery by next weekend from a local wholesale nursery, and in the meantime, order a few roses by mail from the Antique Rose Emporium.  Once the plants are here, we (hopefully my husband) will lay a drip irrigation system, I'll get the plants in the ground, mulch, and come spring there will be much loveliness happening.

I must be a glutton for manual labor because I also spent a good bit of time in the last part of August cleaning out the remains of the summer garden and readying the beds for a fall/winter garden.

The beds that currently house seedlings are spiffed up with this kitschy wire edging that makes me want to do jumpy claps every time I see it. I'm totally thinking I should paint the raised beds...too much?

Though this embellishment is definitely for looks, it also serves a purpose as I try to keep the bloody-free-ranging-fowl-that-think-they-can-eat-whatever-they-please-and-poop-wherever-they-want chickens out of the garden beds.

They totally munched the Romaine lettuce, spinach, and broccoli seedlings to nubbins a few days back.  Needless to say, the hens are locked in their pen until further notice and I'm ignoring the shade they keep throwing my way.

Someone please tell me the poor little seedlings will survive such ravaging? This one was originally three times this size!

So, that's where I am in the first week of September.  After all the recent gardening, I'm looking forward this week to thinking about (nay, even doing, perhaps?) some fall crafts and decorating.  And if this heat ever breaks, there are several pieces of furniture calling my name, just begging to be refreshed.

What are your plans in the coming weeks?

Happy Labor Day!