Monday, August 1, 2016

selina's seventh: botanical style

getting botanical at the picnic table
I'll never forget sipping tea and signing books with Selina Lake at the Columbia Road Flower Market in East London, England. Perhaps it was on that day, amidst boxes of fresh daffodils and tulips that she was inspired to write her latest book, Botanical Style ... [Insert sound of record scratch here: ] Well, of course not, but how could I resist writing about a once in a lifetime moment like that!?

On that day Selina was on book four or five, and this Spring 2016 release makes lucky seven. I have each of her books and just like their author they are beautiful, approachable and wonderful.

Each time Selina releases a new book I think: this one is my favorite, and Botanical Style is no exception.

Exhibit A: simple yet extraordinary!
I can barely get through a few pages before I'm off to clip or group or hang ...
While her books are all unique, there are common threads, such as unexpected bursts of bold pinks paired with layers of subdued elements; settings that are beautiful and modest; and advice that makes you feel like you're sharing a cuppa while strolling the flower market.

Photos by Rachel Whiting are a visual treat.

Botanical Style, Inspirational decorating with nature, plants and florals by Selina Lake. Ryland Peters & Small is four seasons of pretty inspiration!

Wonder what book number eight will be?

Happy August!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

tinkered treasures cape cod book signing on july 16

Search "Cape Cod" on this blog and you'll find over a dozen posts. It is a truly lovely area and I always enjoy spending time there. When Jen, Erika, and Cathy of Buoys & Burlap Marketplace asked if I'd like to do a book signing at one of their pop-up events held in Yarmouth Port, I was in immediately and selected July, knowing that hydrangeas and lavender would be in their glory!

Tinkered Treasures and Seaside Tinkered Treasures Book Signing
Saturday, July 16, 2016
12 noon to 3 p.m.
Buoys & Burlap Marketplace at Yarmouth New Church
Yarmouth Port Village Green on Strawberry Lane, right off of Route 6A
Between exits 7 & 8 of Route 6/Mid-Cape Highway

Buy a Book and Get it Signed
I will have a supply of my first two books along with my pink signing pen!
I will be signing books from 12 noon to 3 p.m. but the Marketplace will be happening from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

A Giveaway is in the Works ...
Jen, Erika and Cathy are also putting together a book giveaway, courtesy of CICO Books (thanks!) so be sure to follow their page on Facebook and Tumblr for details and updates! 

Hope to see you there!

Happy summer wishes!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

just add saltwash

Somewhere along the line my mind decided that worn objects are beautiful. To the bewilderment of my family, I have carted a painty old ladder, chippy shutters and more into our home as prized accents. It isn't always easy to find weathered furnishings in your personal colorway but what if you could mimic that rugged and rustic look yourself?

I'd seen the cans of SALTWASH at my friend Nancy's shop Sea Rose Cottage dozens of times but then a few days ago something must've been in the air -- or on Instagram -- and I had to try it myself!

My online order arrived quickly! Next I watched the how-to video and chose a wood craft frame from Michaels as my test subject. I poured some Devine Blossom paint from Target into a tall plastic cup followed by SALTWASH powder and stirred it all with a craft stick until I had a gloppy consistency.

With an always-loaded paint brush I covered the frame well and fairly level in pink goo. In about an hour, the frame was dry and seemed ready for a top coat.

Next came a thorough application using leftover white house paint, followed by dry-time.

Now for the fun part: Sanding away small areas of white paint in a deliberate way to reveal the color beneath. I would recommend doing this part outdoors and keeping a rag or paper towels handy to brush off debris. The rough base texture provided by the SALTWASH really renders an authentic result.

I so enjoyed the entire process that I grabbed another plastic cup and mixed up some aqua glop to spread on a rustic hook rack I'd purchased at Wrentham Country Store.

Once again, I covered the entire piece -- hardware and all -- with a batter of SALTWASH and paint, let it dry well, applied an overcoat of pure white paint, let it dry, and then sanded ever so artfully.

Here's my own little infographic. Click to enlarge. Please feel free to share or download if you find it helpful.

Try it out and I'm sure you'll be hooked on SALTWASH, too! #teehee

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, May 29, 2016

the IKEA book: post 1

available at all good booksellers
I have news! Charlotte Rivers and I are the proud co-authors of a new book about altering assemble-it-yourself furniture, in other words IKEA hacks. I embarked on this project in March of 2015 but wasn't ready to share about it until I had the book(s) in my hands.

And now I do! Advance copies of 50 Flatpack Hacks (the UK edition, released this July), and I Modify IKEA (the US edition, released this October) arrived just days ago.

one of many visits to IKEA. meatballs, anyone?
There's so much to tell, I'm not quite sure where to begin so I'll begin with thank you. Thank you to Caroline Elliker, Jo Turner, and the team at Quintet Publishing (Michael Charles!), for this opportunity! On the home front, thank you to my oldest son Jonah who was encouraging from the start, telling me "you got this!" and for making good on his promise to assemble furniture. Thank you to my younger son Ethan for his help and ideas!

To my husband Jeff who constructed and developed, and came up with the genius idea to use a bottle opener as a drawer pull in our bar cart project!

It was pretty trying at times to be living in what seemed like a furniture showroom/idea lab and I'm super grateful for my family for being patient and accommodating every step of the way from cardboard to completion.

The original version of the book had 100 projects and so my co-author Charlotte Rivers and I were encouraged to seek contributors. Of course there were additions and subtractions along the way all resulting in a really great book.

Meet the Modifiers/Hello, Hackers

Here's the lovely Charlotte, my co-author. We've never even spoken but were constantly in-touch by email during the making of this book. She is brilliant and so wonderful to work with. I hope we meet someday. This is Charlotte's sixteenth book!

Here is a snapshot of most of the people who helped. I say most because countless family members, friends and colleagues offered support to me in many ways. I plan to showcase my designers in another more in-depth post but for starters here's the team; I hope you will visit them online. I always try to include friends and their businesses in my editorial work whenever possible.

Marisa Bettencourt: Answered my SOS to help with last-minute photos which were of course, stunning!
Stacey Flesch: Quickly supplied beautiful bespoke work as I knew she would!
Danielle Driscoll: Rising DIY home and lifestyle blogging star; many thanks to Luke and the boys, as well!
Pernilla Frazier: Sunniest person, genius seamstress and astute community-minded shop-owner!
Nancy Chace: Master of decorative paint, curating storied interiors and promoting her town!
Matthew Mead: Lifestyle guru originally to be my photographer until way too many schedule snags got in the way but was there for me with encouraging texts and calls throughout.
Janeen Chabot: Appeared in a flash to help with a big smile!
Sam Harradine of Chic Mouldings, who out of the blue offered to send me the appliques of my choice!

Kimberley Bell of Peony & Sage, who responded to my query of "I'd even love scraps from your waste bin" with a box of  beautiful samples.

In no particular order thank you to Dede, Betsy, Emily, Cindy, Mike, Fifi, Stephanie, Jodi, Ken, John and Maureen, Anisa, and Christine, and Joe and Maurits!

Um, more will follow.

Thank you for reading! 


Thursday, April 21, 2016

first book signing of 2016!

When I was at Chanel Shabby Rose last month for the rose painting workshop, I hadn't arrived early enough to really wander through the shop. I won't have that problem next Saturday, April 30, when I'll be signing copies of my first two books Tinkered Treasures and Seaside Tinkered Treasures from 1 to 4 p.m.

My book signing on Saturday is part of a weekend-long celebration of the shop's third anniversary. There will be special sales, entertainment and refreshments. I love supporting small business and am so happy to be part of the festivities!

Find  event updates on Facebook at both the Chanel Shabby Rose and TinkeredTreasures pages.

Book Signing
Date: Saturday, April 30, 2016
Location: Chanel Shabby Rose, 61 Endicott Street, Norwood, MA  02062
Time: 1 to 4 p.m.

About Chanel Shabby Rose
After a dozen years of being a vintage and antiques dealer, Mary Sergi founded Chanel Shabby Rose in 2013. Located in the historic WinSmith Mills at 61 Endicott Street in Norwood, Massachusetts, Chanel Shabby Rose has fifteen talented dealers, each specializing in picking and repurposing. Find Chanel Shabby Rose online at and Facebook.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

rose painting workshop with jo-anne coletti

Rose motifs are on my list of favorite things. Even more than real-life blooms, certain painted and printed floral patterns just cause my heart to race. The GASP factor! Imagine being able to paint roses? It would be like producing chocolate in your own home!

Source: Jo-Anne Coletti
When I began to notice Jo-Anne Coletti offering rose-painting workshops, I knew I had to sign-up! If you like roses, chances are you're familiar with Jo-Anne either from her monthly Say Ahh! feature in Romantic Homes magazine, or from her own romantic home being featured in publications.

Jo-Anne conducts her workshops in a variety of venues, including Mary Lou Sergi's Chanel's Shabby Rose in Norwood, an enchanting space housed in an old mill with sellers specializing in shabby/vintage/repurposed. I had always wanted to visit and now here was my perfect excuse!

At the workshop, there were probably a dozen of us seated, sipping white wine, giggling, excited to try our hands at painting roses. I was so busy concentrating on the lesson that I didn't take many pictures. 

Jo-Anne is wonderful instructor -- encouraging, patient, and helpful. She promised that we would all go home with a pretty picture. Even thought it was just a two-hour workshop, I left with many tips. And because Jo-Anne expertly worked my pink blob into a rose, I did go home with a pretty picture!

Back at home I'm excited to keep practicing. 

I admire the ethereal swirling rose-and-garland designs of artist Laurence Amelie and have been using her work as inspiration.

For some reason I have an easier time painting tiny roses. I suppose that makes sense as my handwriting is small and so are my drawings.

It's not always easy to find the time to paint but I want to be sure that I do because it's very enjoyable. At some point I'd like to paint roses on a piece of furniture.

If you're too far away to have a lesson with Jo-Anne, she has books filled with step-by-step instructions.

Visit Jo-Anne's website to swoon over roses in a variety of forms, from linens to vintage finds to photography, and of course, paintings!

Thank you for reading!


Note: The captions feature doesn't seem to be working properly. Please note that the window and chair with roses photographs are by Jo-Anne Coletti. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

crafting with mason jars by hester van overbeek

Ready to tinker along in the Girlie Office

Allow me to present the newest addition to my bookshelf:
Love this pic of the tea light holder project!
Crafting with Mason Jars is Hester van Overbeek's second book. With stunning photography by James Gardiner, it's another in CICO Books' lovely canon of how-tos featuring "over 35" projects.

When my review copy arrived complete with a canning jar, I couldn't wait to try some of Hester's clever ideas! If you're familiar with my own books, you know that I am right there with Hester in my adoration of tinkering with glass containers. 

Crafting with Mason Jars offers many fresh and inventive ideas, like these concrete place card holders which would also make nice balloon anchors.

I really like this hanging light complete with easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.

There's also sweet packaging projects like birthday in a jar ...

and picnic in a jar! 

Find behind-the-scenes peeks and more at Hester's Handmade Home, ordering information here, and the list of lovely participating blogs below:

Thank you for visiting and congrats, Hester!