Funny and Fond Memories of Christmas Stockings — Plus, Free Pattern Download for Our Soft Winter Scene Felt Stocking!

Back in the late ’60s, we lived in a small apartment above the garage of my grandparents’ house. Our home was simple, without all the “fancy” things that I envisioned in bigger homes, like actual brick fireplaces. But it was a home full of love, laughter and resourcefulness. At Christmastime, since we didn’t have a real fireplace, my parents put up one of the faux red-brick cardboard fireplaces that were popular at the time (how many of you remember these?). It was perfect for our little fur-trimmed red felt stockings from the dime store.

When we built our bigger home, it had a large brick fireplace along one wall of the family room. Ah, now we had an actual solid mantel to hang stockings on, and our stockings progressed through various versions, from skinny knit ones that were almost impossible to get goodies in or out, to patchwork country-style designs (this was smack dab in the country-loving ’80s). As a newlywed in a second-floor condo, I again was fireplace-less, so we hung our stockings on the pass-through counter from the kitchen. In the home we raised our kids in, again we didn’t have a fireplace, but we had a half-wall that was perfect for hanging the stockings, which by now had become bigger, personalized creations that could hold all kinds of candy, fun treats and even a luscious piece of fruit at the bottom.

red white striped christmas stocking on green swag

(photo from Country Sampler Christmas Decorating)

white christmas stocking hanging on ladder

(photo from Country Sampler Farmhouse Style)

Today’s homeowners are very creative when it comes to hanging stockings, with or without fireplace mantels. On the mantel, stockings can be hung evenly spread out or all grouped to one side. If you don’t have a mantel, you can hang your stockings from a series of hooks on a board, or on the backs of chairs around the dining table, or on rungs of a ladder leaned across the wall. Our image above shows one of my favorite ways to display stockings—strung across the foot of a bed. In our annual Christmas issue, we have a feature on spectacular ideas for displaying stockings and for designing your own. I know it’s only days before Halloween, but the Christmas issue will be on sale November 1 for everyone to get their brains thinking and to be inspired by all the different ideas. In the issue you’ll see ideas for displaying stockings on barnwood slabs, birch branches and coat hooks, as well as instructions for creating stockings from an old chenille bedspread or vintage quilt pieces as well as a felt stocking with a cozy winter scene. And since this is the season for sharing, we want to share this project with you! See below for a free download for the Soft Winter Scene felt stocking instructions and pattern.

Click Here to download the Soft Winter Scene felt stocking instructions

Click Here to download the Soft Winter Scene cutting pattern

Click Here to purchase the Country Sampler Farmhouse Style Christmas Issue

 

We always love to see your creative decorating. Share your comments below about how you display your stockings, or share a photo on our social media sites or tag us:

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Who Doesn’t Love to Decorate Their Home with Vintage-Style Art? Enter Our Giveaway for a Chance to Win a $200 Gift Card for Vintage-Inspired Signs from Olive Branch Farmhouse!

Vintage-looking signs are a staple of farmhouse-style decorating. A large old-fashioned piece looks stunning over the mantel of a fireplace or hanging above the headboard of a bed, but with so many charming designs and themes, these nostalgic-themed treasures can also be fun to include in kitchens, bathrooms, offices, even mudrooms. Country Sampler Farmhouse Style has partnered with Olive Branch Farmhouse for a one-week-only giveaway for your chance to win a $200 gift card to choose your own vintage-inspired signs for your home. Christy at Olive Branch Farmhouse uniquely designs each one of her canvas signs to look as though it was found in your grandpa’s barn. Even though the canvas is smooth, you’ll swear the peeling paint, chipped wood and aged images were authentically rough to the touch.

Olive Branch Farmhouse offers hundreds of signs in various sizes and themes, including designs for different seasons as well as everyday display. For fall the Sunflower Farm sign with cheery yellow sunflowers would make a nice welcome in your entryway. Or if you’re a Halloween lover, the Hocus Pocus Bed & Breakfast sign is a whimsical piece that can be personalized with your family name. Christmas and holiday designs include vintage images of Santa Claus, sleigh ride advertisements and even feel-good sayings for the season. For every day, Olive Branch Farmhouse has tummy-rumbling kitchen signs, flea-market-inspired designs, simple botanical images and Christian sayings. With this many delightful pieces, you’re sure to find something just right for that spot in your home.

Nostalgic-looking signs are a great way to bring that vintage look into your home, and they are the perfect complement to family mementos, flea-market finds or vintage treasures. When choosing signs such as these or other wall art for your home, keep in mind these few tips.

  • Don’t hang art too high. It should be hung so the center of it is at your eye level. Many art galleries showcase art at 5 feet from the floor, which is a good place to start. But if you’re placing a piece above a table, sofa or other piece of furniture, place your sign or wall art about 3–8 inches above the furniture piece.
  • Complement the space. If you have a large open wall, consider bigger statement signs or prints. If you have a small space or narrow wall, choose smaller items. Many people hang art that is either too small or too big for the space. You need to keep scale and proportion in mind. When you walk into a room, you want to be visually gobsmacked by the artwork. Or if it’s a small piece hung in a narrow spot, you want to be surprised and delighted at coming across it.
  • Group several items together. Choose different-sized signs or prints and try them out in various groupings. Think in terms of odd numbers. Maybe place one large piece on the left and two smaller items on the right, or line up three same-size prints horizontally in a row. When grouping artwork with words or various images, keep some of the pieces simple. If everything is busy, the eye won’t know where to rest and the whole display can look chaotic.
  • Make a vintage sign part of a gallery wall. Group a piece like Olive Branch Farmhouse’s Country Kitchen sign with old-fashioned ladles, mixing spoons or cheese graters. Smaller herb signs can also be mixed in.
  • Enhance a single sign or print. Hang your artwork on the wall, then attach a complementary ribbon to the wall above it and have it drape to the sides of your artwork, so it looks as though it’s hanging from the ribbon. Or hang a piece of fabric on the wall or a large open frame and display your sign or artwork in front of it. For smaller signs, nestle them inside a wreath for your door.

Now that you have some ideas on how to use pieces like Olive Branch Farmhouse’s vintage-inspired signs in your decorating, don’t wait to get in on the fun! Click here to enter the contest today and you may be the lucky winner browsing through their site with a $200 gift card in hand. Remember, this is a one-week-only contest, so be sure to enter now!

Click here to visit Olive Branch Farmhouse to see all their vintage-inspired canvas signs.

 

 

 

 

Enter our Farmhouse Style and Olive Branch Farmhouse $200 Gift Card Giveaway!

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Bring Your Home to Life with Vintage Finds

Deb sorts through some of her vintage finds.

Today’s article is a guest post from Deb Foglia, the blogger behind Seeking Lavender Lane and the online shopping site Vintage Keepers. Deb is passionate about all things vintage, and wanted to share her thoughts on how vintage decor can enhance your home.

When decorating your home, you should select pieces that make it a special place, whether those are photographs of your family, found pieces from your travels, furnishings that were passed down or saved up for, or art and handmade creations. Home should be your comfort and oasis, but it also can be a showcase for who you are and your creative touch.

As founder of the blog Seeking Lavender Lane, I have been decorating and sharing style tips and DIY tricks for years. My posts on the blog and my Instagram page @seekinglavenderlane show behind-the-scenes peeks of me impulsively painting, scoring vintage finds, and styling for each new season. Today I’m sharing my favorite way give my home personality, and that’s with vintage items!

Evidence of use, like rust of wear, gives vintage goods unique charm.

I truly believe a home comes to life with vintage finds. You can’t find these items just anywhere, and the hunt makes it extra special. Though I love strolling the aisles of Homegoods or Target or browsing online home decor sites, there is truly nothing better than a vintage score. Pieces of the past with a one-of-a-kind feel make for that extra-curated style. A vintage item truly elevates a space.

Including vintage touches has been an interior design secret for years. Design professionals know these items, sourced from flea market or high-end antiques shops, are what make spaces feel more authentic. With the help of Pinterest and access to online as well as local sources of vintage goods, the average homeowner can now achieve a designer look on their own.

Whether your style is grandmillenial, rustic, farmhouse, cottage or traditional, you can seek out vintage goods to make your home more interesting. With websites like my new endeavor, Vintage Keepers, you can easily find goods to fit your favorite look. I created the site for my followers who have always complimented my own vintage accents and wanted to find similar items.

The vintage world has exploded in the last few years with a new generation of vintage lovers, due to popular shows like “Fixer Upper” and “Home Town.” Not to mention popular design accounts on Instagram that showcase rooms that have a distinctive look due to the unique vintage furnishings and accessories. With the spotlight on these pieces of the past, the younger generation is giving them new life while also inspiring the older generation to hang onto things they thought might be outdated and recycle them into trendy conversation pieces.

Vintage is not only stunning, unique and affordable but it is also great for our environment, when we consider it as being part of the circular economy.

When decorating a new room or changing vignettes for the season, consider including a few items from the past to bring depth, dimension and character to your space. With vintage, you can truly have a home that feels on trend and suited to your style, plus it will have the authenticity and collected touch that brand-new decor lacks.

A vintage still life brings drama to a fireplace wall.

A mix of books and vintage items boosts the visual appeal of this built-in.

Pairing a portrait with a rustic breadboard adds depth to a kitchen display.

Be sure to check out past issues of Country Sampler Farmhouse Style to discover creative DIYs and other ways you can use vintage items in your decorating. 

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Find Hundreds of Handcrafted Furniture, Rustic Home Decor and Impressive Log Structures at Ohio’s Log Cabin Days Live Auction

auctioneer and rustic wood slabWho doesn’t love the thrill of an auction? The wide assortment of merchandise up for sale and the excitement of all the frenzied bidding. Well, here’s your chance to enjoy all that, plus score some wonderful, handcrafted furniture, home decor and solid-wood structures. Back in person for 2022, Log Cabin Days Live Auction in Loudonville, Ohio, is an event you won’t want to miss.

auctioning off rustic cabin throwHeld Saturday, September 17, this large auction is a highlight of the weekend-long Log Cabin Days, a special event for log cabin enthusiasts and lovers of this old-fashioned lifestyle. This year’s auction has been expanded to include up to three prebuilt 12’ cabins and up to three prebuilt timber pavilions, as well as handcrafted furniture and beautiful handmade home decor from craftsmen throughout Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Most of the furniture is handmade and includes bedroom sets, coffee tables, side tables, chairs and much more. The home decor includes gorgeous throws, wall art, accessories and other pieces. The main auction starts at 10 a.m., with cabins and pavilions to be auctioned at 3 p.m. The Log Cabin Days Live Auction will be held under a large, tented area, rain or shine. For those unable to attend, absentee bids can be submitted at the auction desk at the event or online at Kaufman Auctions.

auctioning off rustic wood slabStarted more than a decade ago, Log Cabin Days, running September 16–17, 2022, provides a weekend of learning about the log cabin lifestyle. Attendees can find furnishings to outfit their home, participate in seminars, watch woodworking demonstrations or just sip some fresh apple cider or enjoy old-fashioned treats with family and friends.

In addition to the live auction, there will be actual log home constructions, informative log home building seminars, axe throwing, a petting zoo, pony rides, steam engine exhibitions, high-quality vendors, local food and much more. A unique Log Home Tour provides first-hand access to various log home designs with portions of the proceeds from the tour benefitting the American Cancer Society.

auctioneer in front of log cabinThousands of other like-minded enthusiasts will travel from across the country to enjoy two days of activities all focused on the log home lifestyle. Will you be there to join others like yourself for this great weekend and auction?

Log Cabin Days is hosted by Hochstetler Log Homes at its Ohio-based production facilities. For more than 35 years, Hochstetler Log Homes has been a leader in log home and barn buildings. Get your event tickets here.

Post sponsored by Hochstetler Log Homes.

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Revel in the Log Cabin Lifestyle at September’s Log Cabin Days in Ohio

Have you ever dreamed of sipping fresh apple cider with family and friends gathered around a crackling fireplace inside your very own log home? Or maybe you’re one of those that yearn for the days-gone-by when life was simpler and everything seemed more relaxed and laid-back?

Whichever it may be, Log Cabin Days is for you! Come and join the thousands of other like-minded enthusiasts that travel from across the country to enjoy two days of activities all focused around the log home lifestyle.

At this special event, Hosted by Hochstetler Log Homes in Loudonville, Ohio, on September 16–17, 2022, you can experience actual log home construction, informative log home building seminars, log home tours, a huge live auction, axe throwing, petting zoo, pony rides, steam engine exhibition, high quality vendors, great food and much, much more.

Have you been considering building a log home but want to learn more? The seminars at Log Cabin Days can get you started on that dream. You’ll be able to learn tips and info on what styles to choose, how to work with a builder, what to expect in the process and much more. You can even tour a log home. Or maybe you are already living in your cozy log home and looking for more rustic furnishings. Then the Log Cabin Days auction is a don’t-miss event. Even those who just love that down-home life will find things to enjoy. Watch craftsmen demonstrating 19th-century trades such as broom-making and wool spinning. Tour a lumber mill and watch hand-peeling and hand-hewing demos. Enjoy tasty old-fashioned treats and let the kids pet horses, goats and chickens to their hearts’ content. There’s so much to enjoy at Log Cabin Days!

Get your tickets here to beat the rush and skip waiting in line. You won’t want to miss this incredible event!

Post sponsored by Hochstetler Log Homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Go Glamping and Enjoy the Outdoors in Style!

Happy summer, Farmhouse Style fans. Managing Editor Lisa Sloan here. Do you love the great outdoors but don’t love roughing it? I feel you! I adore the natural beauty of field, forest and stream and enjoy gathering around a campfire to cook and share stories, but I really appreciate a comfy bed and indoor plumbing. My family frequently gives me a hard time about it, but what can I say—traditional tents give me flashbacks to a bad childhood experience at scout camp–let’s just say I was not a happy camper.

Luckily, there’s an option that includes the best of both worlds (and one I could totally see myself embracing)–glamping. A combination of “glamorous” and “camping,” this travel trend allows you to commune with nature in comfort and style.

Though the word was just added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2016, the luxury camping experience dates back much further. In 16th century Scotland, an earl prepared to host visiting royalty by erecting an opulent tent decorated with items from his own palace. And later, in the African safari parks of the 1920s, wealthy travelers were accommodated in tents featuring electric generators, folding baths and cases of champagne!

Today, those interested in glamping can choose from a range of unique structures, such as tipis, tiny houses and cabins, yurts, treehouses, domes, travel trailers and more. For example, the folks at Asheville Glamping in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, offer everything from cozy treehouses built for two to family-sized domes complete with an indoor slide, to air-conditioned safari tents. And Progress Park is a 12-acre site in Louisville, Kentucky, that has a selection of new and restored vintage airstreams available for rental in a setting that has a nature trail, playground and pond for swimming, kayaking and other paddle sports. If you are looking to find these types of accommodations near you or in an area you’d like to visit, you can find loads of resources at Glamping Hub.

But you don’t have to leave home to get a taste of the glamping experience. You can set something up at home, from something as simple as tricking out your traditional tent with carpets, cushions, decorative lighting and décor, to purchasing an at-home glamping structure. There are glamping-style bell tents available on Wayfair for less than $600.

Enamelware brand Golden Rabbit, known for swirled enamel dinnerware, has introduced a line of “Glampware”—sets of enamel dinnerware meant to elevate your outdoor experience. These sturdy and pretty dishes, bowls and mugs can be used to set a striking picnic table filled with gourmet goodies to enjoy al fresco. No more flimsy paper plates! And with four different designs, they are perfect for your backyard adventure or to take with you on the road.

If you’re upgrading your accommodations and dinnerware, you might also enhance your traditional camp-out activities with an outdoor movie. Cast your favorite streaming service to a projector and play a favorite film against a fabric screen or sheet.

Whether you travel or stick close to home, glamping can satisfy your taste for adventure with a bit of luxury along for the ride. Have you been glamping or do you plan to? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Click here for 10 Tips to Turn Your Next Camping Trip into a Glamping Trip!

The vintage Dotti Airstream at Progress Park in Kentucky comes with a swing bed for relaxing outdoors.

The safari tent at Asheville Glamping has all the comforts of home in a beautiful natural setting.

This dome at Asheville Glamping features fabulous farmhouse decor and a slide kids will love.

Forget the paper plates and elevate your outdoor dining game with Golden Rabbit’s Glampware line.

Classic black-rimmed Glampware from Golden Rabbit is shown here, but the line offers several color options.

Go glamping in your own backyard with your favorite furnishings and a bell tent like this one from Wayfair.

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See How to Give a Boring Concrete Patio a Pretty Update with a Painted Faux-Brick Stencil Design

If you have a plain concrete patio and are longing to give it a bit more style, try a stenciled brick effect, like Farmhouse Style Advertising Account Manager Molly Beals did at her home. In just a weekend, Molly gave her outdoor space a fresh new look. Here’s how she did it:

STEP 1: Clean your concrete surface and let it dry. Molly used her existing concrete color as her “grout.” The paint she applied did not require a separate primer, so she did not need to base coat her patio.

STEP 2: Use your favorite brick-look stencil to create the pattern (Molly’s was the Herringbone Brick Stencil from Royal Design Studio). Hold the stencil in place with painter’s tape while applying paint. As you work, make sure the stencil is consistently oriented in the same direction. Plan to vary the background color throughout your stencil for a more natural brick look. Molly used Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint in Collard Greens, Coffee Bean, Gravel Road and Chocolate.

STEP 3: Put a bit of the paint on a sturdy disposable plate and spray water on the plate to thin the paint to a stain-like consistency. This makes for easier application and helps the paint go further. Apply the paint through the stencil using a 2″ chip brush. Use a different brush for each background color.

STEP 4: Give the bricks more texture and variation by sponging on three different colors of paint. Molly used Muscadine Wine, Dried Sage and Chocolate, in that order. Cut a large natural faux-finishing sponge into three pieces and use them to apply the paint. Use small foam brushes as needed to blend the colors.

STEP 5: Clean up grout lines, if needed, with French Linen paint (or another color that matches your original concrete.

STEP 6: Protect your painted surface with a durable weatherproof sealer.

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UPDATE!

When Molly first painted her patio, it was over a year ago. Many of you asked how it has held up. “It held up beautifully,” says Molly. “Even through the harsh Midwest winter and spring weather.” Molly is obviously thrilled with her updated patio. How about you? Have you painted a patio or deck to give it more style?

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A Bevy of Birdhouses: 20 Colorful and Creative DIY Birdhouses That You Can Create for Your Backyard

As I get older, I’ve taken up new hobbies. One of those is bird watching. I’m enthralled seeing these natural aviators flit about on tree branches and soar through the skies, and I’ve learned to identify several species. I haven’t put out a birdhouse yet, but I’m always amazed at the unleashed creativity of some DIY birdhouses. Granted, several of these mini abodes are more decorative than functional, but birds have a way of making homes in some of the unlikeliest of places. So today I’m bringing you a bevy of birdhouses crafted by our staff designers plus some of my favorites from other bloggers. Any one of these creations is sure to send your imagination soaring!

Wood Toolbox Turned Multi-Bird Dwelling
Quickly change a wood toolbox into this charming tin-topped birdhouse. Glue or nail wood trim pieces down each outside corner of the box. Attach wood finials to serve as feet. Cut four entry holes in the side of the box and add a small coat hook under each for a perch. Cut an embossed tin tile in half to create two roof panels. Add flat trim pieces across the toolbox handle and down the roofline to support the roof panels. You might need to add extra trim to the handle to lengthen your toolbox and accommodate the full design of a tin tile. Pre-drill the edges of the roof panels and nail to the trimmed edges along the sides and top ridge. Finish with a large finial on top.

Pebbles and Pinecones Bird Cabin
Give a premade birdhouse a natural new look with pinecone petals and small pebbles. Use sharp scissors to snip complete petals from real pinecones. Apply premixed adhesive/grout along the bottom edge of one side of the roof. Set the first row of petals into the grout side by side and slightly extending over the edge. Apply the next row of petals, overlapping the first and offset like shingles. Push just the tip of each petal into the grout. Continue adding rows until both sides of the roof are covered. Apply grout around the birdhouse entry hole and press on pebbles. Then, add grout onto the rest of the front and add pebbles. Continue applying grout and pebbles until all sides are covered. Fill in any gaps with grout or smaller pebbles.

Whimsical Tin Creation for the Birds
Gather a variety of colorful pieces to create a one-of-a-kind birdhouse. This house is made from an enamel spatterware bowl, a vintage potato-chip tin, a larger candy-tin lid, a work-light shade topped with a small funnel, and a decorative bolt from an old wringer. Arrange your pieces and secure using metal screws or bolts with washers and lock nuts. Drill small holes first and then enlarge with bigger bits. Join roof pieces with a threaded pipe and epoxy glue for metal. Create an entry hole in your main birdhouse piece and outfit it with a decorative plumbing piece secured with glue. Adhere a bent fork below as a perch.

Repurposed Game Board Birdhouse
Who would guess this vintage-style Parcheesi birdhouse started out as an unfinished wood birdhouse? Measure each area of the birdhouse and cut out the desired shapes from your gameboard. For our roof, we cut one long piece, and the fold of the board became the roof’s ridge. Cut out the game name and any important symbols from the box cover for the birdhouse front. Age all the pieces by dry brushing with black paint and then hot glue them to the birdhouse. Glue game pieces to the roof and sides. Glue a stack of game pieces below the entry hole to create a perch. To make a hanger, drill holes in the die and other game pieces and string onto a length of cording, knotting the cording between the pieces. Drill a hole in the roof center to feed the cord through and knot at both ends. Add hot glue to secure.

Charming Floral Bird Cottage
Turn an unfinished wood birdhouse into this sweet stucco abode featuring floral roof panels cut from a tin box found at a thrift store. Measure the roof areas of your birdhouse and cut out the desired shapes from tin pieces. Wrap the metal loosely over the roof, turning the edges under slightly using pliers. When bending the tin, cover it with protective fabric or cardboard to avoid scratching the surface. Gently remove the roof pieces and set aside. Paint the entire birdhouse white and let dry. Cover areas that are to remain white with painter’s tape. With a flat knife or similar tool, spread a textured snow medium (tinted with acrylic paint) over the birdhouse, avoiding the taped areas. Let dry completely. Spray all areas with a waterproof sealer. Replace the tin roof pieces and secure by bending them into place as tightly as possible. Embellish the front areas of the birdhouse by adding metal trinkets with hot glue.

Luxurious Lantern Birdhouse
Decorative lanterns with glass windows make creating a fantasy birdhouse super easy. Remove the glass windows to use as patterns to cut thin wood panels to replace the glass. Drill an entry hole on the lantern door panel. Paint the panels to match your lantern, let dry, and then insert into the lantern. Lightly sand the edges of your lantern to give it a distressed look. Add decorative details like embossed metal frames to the window panels and the door. Add trim or design to the birdhouse opening, and attach a small drawer pull as a perch below the opening.

Teapot Birdhouse Redo
Thrift stores almost always have a variety of pretty floral teapots for sale. Choose your favorite and make it into a birdhouse. Create an entry hole in the side of the teapot using a diamond bit hole saw. Protect the surface where you plan to drill with masking tape. Use a battery-operated drill and hold a small piece of wet sponge next to the bit to cool it as you drill. Start by holding bit at an angle to the surface, allowing it to cut a groove, and gradually tilt the bit forward until it completely hits the surface flat. Take your time and stop occasionally to let the pieces cool off. Just below the opening, repeat with a smaller hole to make an opening that will hold a spoon-handle perch. Carefully cut a spoon handle next to the bowl with a hacksaw. Bend the end of the handle at a right angle and insert it into the hole so it fits snugly against the inside of the teapot. Secure with E6000 glue. Glue the lid permanently to the teapot with E6000 glue, or if you think birds will actually use this birdhouse and you want to be able to clean it out, use caulk to adhere the lid so you can scrape it off. When dry, hang the pot from a shepherd’s hook by the handle.

Boosted Birdhouse atop a Trellis
Add vertical character to your garden with a birdhouse mounted atop a tall wooden trellis. If your trellis has a decorative knob on top, remove it so you can mount the birdhouse in its place. Cut a wood square to support your birdhouse atop the trellis; the size will depend on your birdhouse’s base. Pre-drill a hole in the square’s center and then screw the square to the top of the trellis. Pre-drill holes 1″ in from each corner of the square. Set the base of your birdhouse centered over the square. From the underside, drive screws through the corner holes into the birdhouse base. Paint or stain as desired.

Wine-Time Birdhouse
This birdhouse is perfect for the wine connoisseur. To make your own, paint a preassembled wood birdhouse with black acrylic paint. When dry, lightly sand the edges to give it an aged look. Cover the house with wine label–themed paper napkins or wine labels by cutting and decoupaging the paper onto the wood panels. Spray the entire house with a waterproof sealer. Carefully cut wine corks in half and secure them to the roof with hot glue. Attach an additional cork below the entry hole as a perch. Screw a vintage T-corkscrew into the peak of the roof. Apply hot glue to secure it in place.

Trendy Terrazzo-Look Birdhouse
Terrazzo, that mottled material that you sometimes see on floors or countertops, is enjoying a resurgence of popularity. True terrazzo is a composite of pieces of marble, quartz, granite or glass set with a binding material. But it’s that colorful splotchy look that is becoming so popular. You can get that same look on a premade birdhouse just a few small bottles of paint, like this design from Annie’s Kit Clubs. With this kit, crafters receive a stencil to paint the design, as well as the paints and all the birdhouse pieces (learn more here about all the projects in Annie’s Kit Clubs). But if you like this look, you can do something similar by just dabbing bits of different color with a small sponge or brush onto a premade birdhouse.

All designs by Country Sampler Farmhouse Style/Annie’s. Note: if you plan on keeping the birdhouse you create outdoors, seal with a protective coating.

 

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Although the 10 birdhouses above would be more than enough to start your creativity flying, I have even more great designs. Yes, bird(houses) of a feather really do flock together! These next 10 super-cute bird chateaus are from DIY bloggers. Be sure to visit their sites for full instructions.

Dollhouse Into Bird Domicile
Being an adult doesn’t mean you have to stop playing with dollhouses—just bring them into your garden! Pam at House of Hawthornes transformed an adorable vintage dollhouse into a whimsical backyard birdhouse display perched high atop a painted ladder. Get full instructions here.

Snug Little Cloth Bird Dwelling
This cozy bird home from Birds & Blooms is perfect for smaller species like wrens and chickadees. It’s easily made with a chicken-wire formed into a cone and then wrapped at the back. Then strips of fabric are wound through the chicken wire. Get full instructions here.

Shutter-Construction Rustic Birdhouse
Jeanie at Create & Babble constructed this rustic birdhouse from some old pieces of scrap wood and a thrift store shutter that she cut in half. Add in an old glass doorknob for a perch and you have an easy construction project that would look adorable in your backyard. Get full instructions here.

Pretty-as-a-Penny Bird Pad
Not being able to find a reasonably priced copper roof to top off a birdhouse, Allison at Dream a Little Bigger remembered the tub full of pennies she had stashed away from a project that never happened. Those pennies became the perfect copper-colored shingles for her birdhouse project. Get full instructions here.

Twigs and Moss Bird Turf
Some twigs and branches trimmed from out-of-control shrubs gave a new look to older painted wood birdhouses at My Bright Ideas. The tiny twigs were glued on side by side and then topped with moss for a very natural looking bird dwelling. Get full instructions here.

Doodle-Painted Birdhouse
Brittany at Pretty Handy Girl created this Nordic-inspired birdhouse as a Christmas tree topper, but it works just as well as a home for your feathered friends. This is a project for kids to really get into. All you need is a birdhouse to paint in a bright solid color, then a white paint pen for the kids to just go to town doodling. Of course, if you want this more Nordic look, you’ll either need to give them guidance or trace the design on the house first for them to follow. Get full instructions here.

Sheltered Bird Shack
At Robin’s Nesting Place, Robin used some thrift-store finds to create a sheltered bird nesting box. The teapot and drawer cost just a few bucks but paired together they nicely create this simple but special spot for new feathered friends. Robin glued the teapot to the drawer and also looped it through the twine to keep it secure. The drawer adds a little extra security from wind and weather. Get full instructions here.

Flea-Market Birdhouse Makeover
Kitty and Jennifer, the sisters of Running With Sisters, used bits and bobs and odds and ends to add flea-market fun to an unfinished birdhouse. It’s almost like a “what can you find” game. Do you see the picture hangers? What about the keys? Have fun and let your imagination go wild in decorating a house like this. Get full instructions here.

Steampunk-Style Bird Home
Kitty and Jennifer of Running With Sisters let their creativity fly with this steampunk-inspired birdhouse. The two love pairing old keys and clock parts with rhinestones and other shimmering things to create what they call Steampunk Chic design. If you’re not familiar with steampunk, it’s a look that melds industrial design elements such as old clock parts, wheels and cogs with a Victorian bent. It emerged from science fiction but has found a home in home decor. Get full instructions here.

Fabric-Covered Triple Bird Abode
Did you know there’s such a thing as outdoor Mod Podge? Jen at Tatertots and Jello used this specialized medium to adhere some fun fabrics to different birdhouses she had been displaying in her home. She added some decorative trim and mounted them on posts. Now they are showcased outdoors in her garden. Get full instructions here.

 

Get more creative ideas for birdhouses and other backyard decorations in the summer issues of Country Sampler Farmhouse Style or our Country Sampler Gardens issue.

If you love the idea of ready-to-create projects delivered right to your doorstep, check out Annie’s Kit Clubs. Especially popular is our Farmhouse Style Kit Club and the Creative Woman Kit Club.

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7 Clever Ways to Bring the Outdoors Inside to Your Decorating

Mother Nature is a true artist, painting a beautiful picture around her and letting her natural decorations shine. As the seasons warm up, we often want to let a little bit of the outdoors inside. I know I love stretching my time outdoors as much as I can, and when I do come inside, I want to remember all that joyful beauty. So here are some clever and unique ways to let Mother Nature guide you in refreshing your home.

1. Grow Real Grass Indoors
Love the look of new green grass? Wheatgrass is super easy to grow indoors! Plant seeds in pots, or sow directly into a unique piece such as this wood sugar-cone mold. Let the grass grow for about a week or two, and then use it as part of a living centerpiece. You can keep trimming the grass and continue growing it for as long as you want.

 

 

2. Make a Metal Gate into a Fireplace Screen
Brighten up an out-of-season fireplace with a decorative garden-gate screen. Use a wire brush to remove any rust from an old metal gate, and then dry brush it with white paint for a light, timeworn look. Decorate the gate by wiring on small flowerpots filled with colorful blooms. Be sure to secure the gate to the fireplace if you have children or curious pets.

 

 

 

3. Add Sticks and Stones to Furniture
Make over a tired cabinet with hardware sourced from your own yard. For the drawer pulls, cut two birch branches and use spacers and screws to attach them to the drawer. To make rocks into knobs, wrap rocks with wire and insert the wire ends through the existing screw holes. Secure the wire inside each door by wrapping it around a small dowel rod. Decorate the door panels by covering them with cut-to-size sticks, using hot glue to secure.

 

 

 

4. Stack Watering Cans Around
Introduce watering-can whimsy to a wide windowsill. Arrange a grouping of white pillars topped with mini watering cans, flowers and colored candles. Lay sheets of moss around the pillar bases to nestle in more watering cans and accessories. For even more interest, hang a few watering cans from ribbons tied to your curtain rod. You could even glue a little string of crystal beads to the spout to make it look like water is pouring from the can.

 

 

 

5. Give a Strawberry Pot New Life
Repurpose a glazed strawberry pot as a handy organizer in the kitchen. The open top and side planting pockets make it easy to accommodate various sizes of utensils.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Grow Strawberry Plants in an Old Sieve
Vintage kitchenware make interesting containers for plants. Combine the outdoors with old tools for a repurposed planter.

 

 

 

7. Add a Nest and Branches as a Nature-Inspired Valance
Twining branches along your curtain rod gives you an interesting take on a valance, and tucking a little bird’s nest with glued-on faux eggs into the corner highlights the scene.

 

 

 

 

 

What are some of your favorite ways to bring the outdoors in? We’d love to hear about them. Share them in the comments!

(Photos from Country Sampler Farmhouse Style magazine.)

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What to Consider Before Renovating an RV or Camper

Sarah used blue paint, a stick-on tile and gold hardware to transform the kitchen of this 1997 RV.

One of the features in the Summer 2022 issue of Farmhouse Style is “At Home on the Road,” which shares a peek at three RVs/campers that have been revamped into cozy living quarters on wheels. One of the RVs we showcase was rehabbed by Sarah Lemp of All Things with Purpose. Sarah is an experienced RV flipper and has renovated dozens of the vehicles to resell, from vintage Airstreams to 1990s-era Class A motorhomes. She has offered virtual design assistance and done commissioned renovation work in the past but has put that on hold for the time being. Her blog offers lots of resources and she even wrote a book, All Things Camper Renovating (available on Amazon or as an e-book via her website). Sarah offers the following advice to those looking to DIY an RV renovation:

· 1. Get familiar with RVing and/or camping in general. I’m always surprised when someone tells me they’re interested in flipping an RV, yet they’ve never traveled in an RV or camped a day in their life. I highly recommend taking some time to experience it first to see if you like it and to gather a better feel for the unique lifestyle and needs associated with RVing.
· 2. Make sure you have lots of free time. There is no real way to fully convey how much work it is to renovate an RV. It may look easy on Instagram, and the end results are very rewarding, but it can be slow and painful progress. The ugly side to renovating is not for the faint of heart and can easily take you hundreds of work hours to complete.
· 3. Evaluate your DIY skillset. On top of the need for general construction, plumbing, electrical, painting and sewing skills, there are so many things that go into renovating an RV. You may choose to hire some of these things out, but the more you can do yourself, the more money you’ll save. Research, research, research. Watch YouTube videos, call a friend for help, ask an expert, read books and join a renovating Facebook group like mine (All Things Camper Renovating).
· 4. Recognize that renovating an RV is different than renovating a house. Some of the differences you have to take into consideration include; lots of movement, fluctuating temperatures, proper weight distribution, safety on the road, and more. All these things impact your choices in materials and techniques.
· 5. Be prepared for the unexpected. RVs are notorious for leaks and water damage. If you are buying an older RV, it’s best to assume it has leaked or is leaking somewhere. Water damage can be sneaky and destructive. When purchasing an older RV, the previous owners may have no idea there is water damage hiding somewhere. It’s up to you to play detective and look for the signs: rippling walls, soft floor, musty smell, staining, sagging ceiling, etc. Even after all that, you may not know water damage is there until the demo is underway. Be prepared for surprise damage that will only be uncovered after you have started your renovation. Test everything and watch for leaks. Be prepared for things to break and need repair, which can add up and make your project more expensive than anticipated.

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