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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Retail Store Display Staging and An Announcement

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Over the last several years, I've had the opportunity to extend my staging services beyond residential and into the market and retail environments. I've had the pleasure of fluffing staging at Nellie's Barn Sale and The Vintage Market. I even did a  little retail display work at my friend Nancy's shop, Twigs and Twine, in Capron when they opened a couple of years ago..

During this time, I learned that I love creating vignettes to display the things that a vendor or store  has for sale. Multiply that by about a million when the store sells painted furniture, vintage and repurposed items and handmade items from local vendors and throw in even more love when my own home is undergoing renovation and the only "staging" going on involves stacking cardboard boxes in every room in the house.

When  my friends, Erin and Kelly opened their store, Vintage-Fresh in downtown Downers Grove early this year, it was pretty much given that I'd love to shop at their store. What I didn't expect was that I'd get along with them so well that they'd allow me to moonlight creating window displays and doing a little store staging.                   
                                                                 But, they did and I love it!

Over the last week or so, we've been chatting and  I've been at the store... playing with vintage linens and lace, crystal, milk glass, ironstone (of course) and all sorts of other vintage and hand made items that make the hours fly by and my heart smile.

I've had so much fun hanging out with Erin and Kelly that I also knew pretty quickly that I wanted to be a part of their fabulous store in whatever way I could (while still renovating the farmhouse and having a family and a full time job).

So, as of April 15th (yesterday), you can now find Serendipity Refined embroidered vintage style dish towels, handmade pillows and buntings at Vintage Fresh with more items added as the opportunity arises

                                                          You'll see them in the window....

                                         and you'll find them tucked into displays around the store.

Of course, I'll still be blogging and writing tutorials (and I'll be hosting my vintage household surplus sale if it ever stops snowing) but now, I'll also have a place to sell some of the things that I create.

Besides being great fun, I also have to believe that selling a few of the things that I create will make life infinitely easier as we embark upon life in about 200 square feet of living area with a dog while the major portion of Phase 2 happens this summer). 

For those of you who aren't local, I am  accepting custom orders for towels, pillows, aprons and buntings and am in the process of setting up an online store. If you have an urgent need, message me and we'll work something out.

I hope that if you're in the south Chicago 'burbs, you'll stop by Vintage-Fresh. There are loads of fabulous ideas for weddings, showers and you'll find end of year teacher's gifts as well as Graduation and Mothers Day ideas! In coming weeks,

I'll also be announcing a couple of workshops that I'll be teaching at the store as well as a very important announcement involving painted furniture classes and PAINT!

There are lots of changes on the horizon here at Serendipity Refined/A French Farmhouse and I'm forever grateful to each of you for being here to share them!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

DIY Canvas Name Sign Nursery Wall Art

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I've finally reached my favorite part of having babies. It's the part where other people stay up all night with them and do all of the work while I just paint cute name signs for their nursery walls.  Don't get me wrong, I love babies.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Brightly Colored Spring Urn Planter Decor

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Sometimes, I can't help myself.  There are days when I have the urge to decorate and when I've got nothing to do at home, I fulfill the need by decorating  for other people..even when they don't expect it.  On Saturday night, these urn planters in front of my friends' store, Vintage Fresh, got a spontaneous spring decor makeover courtesy of temperatures in the upper 50's coupled with my sudden urge for a little spring and the fact that the center of my own urn at home is still frozen solid.

There were cute little evergreen trees in the centers of them which had fallen victim to our really harsh winter this year so they'll need to be replaced when local nurseries get their stock but for now, they made a fine base for the addition of  a few spring flowers from Hobby Lobby, a little tulle, and a few plaid bows.

Someone had already added cute little Easter stakes and a few eggs so I used them as well.  All of the flowers that are in these pots are silk because that's what was available at 6:30 on Saturday evening when the urge struck....

All I really wanted was to create something bright and cheery to surprise my friends when they arrived on Sunday morning to open their doors for Downers Grove's first ever Bridal Walk and to fill the urns for the next few weeks until warmer weather arrives and we can plant them for summer!

If you have urn planters that need a little pick me up, consider adding brightly colored netting, and bows along with a few flowers (faux or real) to create a sunny spring welcome at your door.  And if you live near me, be warned...if I have a few hours, this could happen to you!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Landscape Demolition Sunday

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 Last Sunday, the temperature  in the Chicago 'burbs hit sixty degrees for the first time this year which could only mean one's finally "chainsaw season" here  at the farmhouse.  The quotes that I got for cutting down the foundation plantings around the the house were averaging $1,000 or more so I decided that this was one of the items on the Phase 2 Construction "to do" list that I could tackle myself.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Simple Pastel Spring Mantel Decor

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Is anyone else getting a slow start on spring this year?  I am. I decided to put together a quick, pastel, spring mantel this week to add a little color to the living room. It's not just the gray of winter that is wearing on me, it's also the fact that I was afraid that if I didn't decorate the mantel this week, I'd completely miss the opportunity to do it before I tear the wall out next month.

Yes, you read that correctly. It's spring...which means that we'll finally be able to move forward with renovations here at the French farmhouse and the temporary shelf that has been acting as our mantel will be removed (along with the wood paneling that covers the wall) in preparation for the new sandstone mantel and hearth that will be installed this summer when our former living room officially becomes the dining room.

Which reminds me, I forgot to show you the fabulous French Casement Cabinets that I scored at the Restoration Hardware outlet in January. There are two of them. They are 42 inches wide and 92 inches tall... and they were seventy percent off!

How could I possibly resist!? There will be one on either side of the window seat in the dining room and they will be used to store china and glassware. One of them had some damage on the inside of the door which was repaired but it doesn't show and even if it did, at that price, I'm not certain that I would have minded!

I've been  so busy collecting pieces for the farmhouse that I'm going to have to do a couple of posts to catch you up on what I've found...but for now, let's get back to the mantel.

Since this mantel decor is the last one that I'll be creating for a while, I decided to incorporate some bunnies and get a "two for one" by leaving these decorations up until Easter

                                                                                  ...or until I get a dumpster...whichever comes first!

The smaller bunny above is a ceramic statue that I painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and distressed slightly so you could see the brown color that he was when I purchased him on a quick little shopping trip to Carter's Cottage in DeKalb with my friend, Mary last weekend.

Of course, a couple of pieces of my trademark ironstone made an appearance, as did a bird's nest, some faux tulips, and the vintage window panels that you've seen before in my bedroom at our last home and my Valentine's Day mantel.

The wreath is made from coffee filters which were water-colored using pink and yellow then hot glued to a form....simple...and under $3!

My Grandmother's crocheted lace table cloth, zinc letter stencils, a muslin flag banner that I made and a vintage French pastoral painting round out the rest of the look.

I added a quick spring pillow to the love seat and hung faux pastel eggs from some branches that I got when the tree trimmers were here last week which were placed in a copper lined vintage basket. I'm sure that the tree guys didn't understand why I wanted the branches but they were really nice about allowing me to choose those that I wanted to save before they put the rest in the chipper.

Other than creating a tablescape for Easter or a quick spring urn for my front entry, this is going to be the extent of my spring decor for this year. It may also be the extent of my summer decor depending upon how quickly things move for Phase 2.  I've spent the last two weeks meeting with our architect, a couple of builders and the village and things are slowly moving forward. 

I'm happy to report that the engineering survey of the property was completed yesterday and I expect that we'll have final drawings soon....I know...I keep saying this...I think that we're on round 19 of the interior floor plan drawings because I keep moving the bedrooms around.

Last week, the master bedroom moved to the other side of the house and the hearth room is now behind the kitchen. I haven't updated you because until I have something final, I don't want you to have to suffer through countless iterations as I tweak the's bad enough that I'm putting my architect through it!

So, Happy Spring, Happy Easter...Happy Mother's Day...etc. I'm enjoying my pastel spring mantel almost as much as I'm enjoying the fact that I may finally get to chainsaw out the bad bushes around my house in another week also in preparation for Phase 2!

It's been a long, boring winter and I can't wait to start on all of the new changes that are coming to Serendipity Refined and the French Farmhouse this spring and I'm thrilled to have you along!

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Jennifer Rizzo