It’s All About the Bench

Oh yes, the bench is back. I don’t know, maybe it never left, but it is a beautiful thing. Whether rustic with plank legs, or more refined with turned legs, it does complete the scene.
IMG_20121223_115840Check this one out, with a sort-of live edge. It’s a 14″ wide seat made of reclaimed pine. Which, btw, coordinates nicely with the grey painted farm table legs and apron that look time-worn but are actually brand new.


Isn’t she a beauty??!!


Here’s another example of a rustic bench with “butterfly joints”. But, if you prefer a more refined look, this next bench has turned legs that are painted a buttercream, lightly distressed and softly glazed.



And here she is with the coordinating table.

All tables and benches were hand-crafted by The New England Farm Table Co. Every table is made custom. For more info., e-mail

I Am a Survivor

Yup, I’m talking about surviving a craft fair. Every 10 years, or so, I get the urge to participate in one. Needless to say, I’m good for another 10 years! They are really sooo much work. I mean, for weeks I’m painting, gluing, folding, tying ribbons, spending money, trying to figure out what will sell. Every surface in the house was covered with some trinket or ornament. One night, my husband came home and asked if an elf took a [you know what] in the living room, because there was glitter e v e r y w h e r e !

photo (6)

photo (7)

My little hand-painted boxes were popular but the best-sellers were the hand-painted signs and terracotta pots filled with candy, along with my simple little chalk boards. And a word to all our friends and family out there…you will be getting one of these things as a Christmas gift! You’ve been warned.

photo (5)


photo (5)

Merry Christmas!

A Work in Progress

There is nothing more rewarding than working on a project where you love every step of the process. And that’s exactly how we feel about our rustic farm tables.

Planks glued up and ready to be made into a table.

Meticulously scraping, sanding, planing and distressing.

I don’t know if it’s the sound of the sander, or simply the smell of the wood, but we always seem to have a little visitor. Or, maybe they just like hanging out with us. 

The table is dry-fitted at every step of the way. And, photos are sent to our customers for their approval.

Each one of our tables are completely custom. The legs of this table will be painted a special gray, distressed and then rubbed with a dark brown wax.

A close-up view of the apron.

And, before we start the process of sealing the top, we show the customer the table one more time. If it needs to be “tweaked”  this will be the last chance to do anything before it is delivered.

A close-up of the beautiful knots and wood grain.

From choosing the perfect piece of lumber, mixing the custom stains, paints and waxes and finally adding the exact amount of distressing, the whole process takes several weeks. But, it’s well worth all the hard work especially when we deliver the table and place it in its new home and make our customer very happy!

The Walls Set the Tone

The powder room is the easiest room in the house to express your inner designer. From a distinctly Italian flair to a more rustic appeal, each of these bathrooms are a good example of how the walls set the tone.

Walls were subtly glazed to create a Venetian plaster look, by only using a series of paints and glazes.

Wall board compound, mixed with pigment, was applied to the walls in this powder room with a trowel. Then, hand-painted vines placed in key areas of the room.

Here’s a close-up of the hand-painted vines on the plaster walls. And, even the woodwork was painted to continue with the rustic theme of the powder room.

So, the moral of the story? Simply painting the walls a solid color, just wouldn’t have the same impact.

A Thing of Beauty

It’s been awhile since I posted, but summer is in full swing and working while keeping the kids occupied is not always easy. Aside from that, I’ve been able to finish a couple of cool projects, like this fireplace mantle.

A client wanted a  mantle made from an “antique” beam. We searched high and low for the perfect piece, and came across this one upstate. The right amount of cracks, beautiful knots and graining, I just couldn’t take my eyes off of it. We put it on top of the roof and drove it home.

Then, to add to the provenance of this piece, a carpenter bee started to a make hole in the bottom of the beam while I was applying the multiple coats of wax! I thought that was really cool. I shooed it away before it occurred to me that I should have taken a picture.

Okay, Okay, It’s a Stencil

There. I said it. I used a stencil for this project. However, it is not a store bought stencil: I drew out the design in Corel Draw and hand-cut the stencil using a sheet of acetate.

The base coat is Ben Moore Cobblestone Path which is a very pretty gray. Then, the base was mixed with white to create a soft gray for the design. The next step is to make the mirror less gold, more silver.

Master Bath

Master Bath by circadesignstudio
Master Bath, a photo by circadesignstudio on Flickr.

I recently had the opportunity to revisit a project I did many years ago. I had all but forgotten about this one and I never even took a picture of it.
The faux tapestry was painted directly onto the wall and the window cornice was created to coordinate with it. The walls are also softly glazed and the vines continue around the room.
And, I would have taken more pictures, but the battery in my camera died! Geez.

Via Flickr:
Faux tapestry complete with rod and finials.

Wow, You Should Do This for a Living!

Although I love tackling humongous walls, high ceilings and climbing up scaffold, sometimes it’s nice to just sit at my drawing board and get, well, crafty. I especially enjoy making things for the holidays. I start thinking about our Christmas cards around September.

I brought one of these painted boxes into school once, and one of the moms said to me “wow, this is beautiful, you should do this for a living!”

Here are just a few:

Wooden boxes hand-painted and sometimes personalized, perfect for filling with all kinds of goodies. And, a good alternative to a basket. For an end-of-the-year teacher's gift, I would paint their name and room # on the box and then have all the kids sign it.

A terracotta pot and ornament with hand-painted monogram complete with trompe l'oeil ants. To complete the gift, I place the ornament in the pot. Last year, the kids and I made these pots, planted basil and gave them to their teachers. Oh, we also made little clay mushrooms and painted them with bright colors and "planted" (doing air quotes) them under the basil.

A small balsa wood box painted to look like white birch and a robin's nest on top.

A cute little purse for Valentine's Day.

More Valentine's Day. Simple little bags made from burlap (scraps) stuffed with tissue, filled with kisses and tied with a red ribbon. The tags I printed from my computer and trimmed with pinking sheers.

I’m Just a Dab of Paint on the Palette of Life

I painted this mural many years ago. I am constantly reminded of how the talent of the true masters is humbling and that we will never go back to a more simpler time.

I have been reading a lot of blogs lately that explore the reasons as to why we blog. I think I do it….well, because I can. No, seriously. Not that long ago did we (the masses) even have this outlet, to express ourselves, to share our thoughts and ideas so freely. But I always wonder what can I bring to the table? Who really cares about what I think/do/write. I still don’t have the answer to that question, but I will say it is cathartic.

And Still, I Write

Even as I’m typing this, I’m thinking “who cares”? And….I keep on typing. I torture myself. I am my own worst enemy. And, I constantly remind myself that I am a mere speck on this earth. A teeny, tiny bit of info floating around cyber space. Used to be we thought of ourselves as a little fish in a big pond. Thanks to the internet, the pond just got a whole lot  bigger. Now, everything is accessible. The amount of information and images is overwhelming. How do I stack up? Is my work better than that? Or, better yet, my husband says “you can paint that!”. If I’m as good as he says I am, why am I not famous yet?

When I was young, I was sure I’d be a famous artist. I’ll probably just have to settle for being famous in my own mind. Well, my kids think I’m famous. Shouldn’t that be enough? Is it wrong to think you have something special? Something more to offer?

So, I guess that’s why we blog. Sending groups and combinations of letters and numbers out into cyberspace. Because we have something to say, something to show for ourselves….now I just have to find somebody to read it.

Would Da Vinci Have Been Freshly Pressed?

They honed their craft, worked every day on improving their art. No shortcuts. Just good old-fashioned hard work. That’s what we need to get back to. There will never be another DaVinci, or Michelangelo, or anyone that could be called  a “master”, but think about what their blogs would have been like! Oh, man, now that would have been something to read!