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Nine wineries in one day!

Yesterday I spent the day visiting Northern Virginia wineries. Nine of them. Yep. You read that right. Nine!  Of course, you’d think after spending time at that many wineries, I’d be in bed this morning working off a hang-over. Nope, I’m good. Because I was the designated driver.

You see, my mother-in-law and her friends, from Pennsylvania, planned a weekend to Loudon County to visit the vineyards. They got a hotel and were even going to hire a limo to take them around. But, it was crazy expensive, so I offered to help. And it was a ton of fun!

Here’s some pics from along the way!

This is Deb, Linda (my MIL), Linda and me at the Loudon Valley Vineyards.
 One of the things I like best about wineries is their beautiful landscaping and flowers!
 And so many of them are pet-friendly! Many had bowls of water and food outside for the visiting furry-friends! Although I think this guy lives at Village Vineyards!
Village Vineyards had a great-tasting nonalcoholic  drink for me – made from Elderberries and Aronia tea. Yummy!

The two above are the views outside Loudon Valley Vineyards – beautiful! I was told that the farm is a place for special needs children. This grand white house once belonged to the vineyard property, but now its been made into apartments.

The above three are views from Crushed Cellars
 Here’s a cool use for an old window – picture frame! This is hung inside the door to The Barns.

 More ideas for crafting with corks! I do have a rather large collection waiting for something to be done with them.
 I fell in love with this chandelier!
This is a great shirt for a book club with wine-drinking ladies. Not that I would know anything about that.  
The next dozen shots are from 8 Chains North. I loved their interiors!!
 Vibrant wall colors, and amazing light fixtures!
 LOVED this gallery wall of art that was for sale! They are by artist in residence, Linda Hendrickson.

 Drooling over their mercury-glass pendants!
 If I ever have the opportunity to design a bar again, I am so going to do this!! Love the bar top over the barrels!

 This room was stunning! it’s hard to see it in these photos, but their were so many of these breath-taking chandeliers! The floor had just been mopped, but it was a beautiful wood, very grey in color. I can only imagine how spectacular this must be when its decorated for a wedding!
Even their bathrooms were cool! Check them out below!

 Look at that mirror!
Reclaimed barn wood and a chandi – yes please!
 Outside was like a dog park – there were 5 pups running around!
A view of the grapes!
The next several pics are from Hunter’s Run Wine Tasting Barn..
 By this point, we were working on winery #6. You can see things were starting to get a little crazy! Here Deb posed for a grape-eating shot!  
The two Linda’s below opted to just hold the grapes. But I do recall my MIL telling me to sniff the the grapes!

 I had to take a photo of this huge, gorgeous bird house!

They had a cowboy theme going on!
The next several photos are from Hillsborough Vineyards. This was by far the most beautiful and scenic of them all! It sits way up on a hill and the views down into the valley were breathtaking! I could sit out there all day!

Beautiful hammered copper bowl on the wall! This is my kind of artwork!
The next set of photos are from Zephaniah Farm Vineyard. Of all the wineries we visited, this one was certainly the most interesting!! It sits on a big farm and the tastings are held in a c.1830 home, in which the owners, Bonnie and William, live. 

We were seated in the parlor – filled with amazing antiques and original woodwork. 

 Double pocket doors.
 There were historic documents, books, antique accessories and black and white photos everywhere. It truly was a feast for the eyes, and anyone interested in history would devour this place. 
 The owner, Bonnie (on the right posing with my mother-in-law, Linda) spent a good hour with us, talking about the history of this manor house. I was riveted! Especially because I had asked if the house had ghosts…low and behold…they do! Bonnie told us a story about the first family that had owned the home…and she believes it is the lady of the house, Madeline, who still walks the halls and oversees the happenings. I had goosebumps!
 Here’s an article about the current owner of the home, Bonnie’s husband, William Hatch. Here’s a blog that gives you the history on their family. That too was fascinating.
 They had a big library, and inside was a beautiful card catalog!
 Five generations of the Hatch men.

Outside in a gorgeous stone courtyard.
Seeing and learning about Zephania was a great way to end our day. Everyone was sufficiently filled with wine, and tired from our tour. I’d love to do this again someday. Next time, I’ll do a little tasting myself!
(We did also briefly stop into 868 Estate Vineyards, but they were crazy busy, and we didn’t wait. Sorry no pics from that stop.)
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Do-It-Yourself His and Her’s Towel Hooks

Being married means sharing things, right? Like a bed, his last name and the household finances. But, there are some things that are off limits – like my bath towel! I loathe getting out of the shower to find my towel damp. Don’t you?

So to rectify this problem, I can’t think of a better way than to “label” your towel hooks! Thus, the perfect use for these adorable vinyl designs from Simply Said – the MR. and MRS.

I love them, and think every married couple should have them! Imagine the uses – iron them on your bed pillows, adhere them to your mirrors above a double vanity, or mark the bride and groom seating at a wedding ceremony!

Here’s the easy steps to making your own:

1) Order your Simply Said vinyl designs here.  Mrs. is item #NP1090, and Mr. is item #NP1089. You choose the size and color. I chose 10″ in Warm Grey. They’ll take about 10 days to arrive.

2) While you wait go shopping for a piece of wood. I went to Lowe’s and bought a 10×1 board and had them cut it down to several pieces that were 10×10. The first two cuts are free and every cut thereafter is just twenty-five cents.

3) Buy two hooks (these came from Lowe’s), and two picture frame hangers for the back of the board (to hang on the wall).

4) Lightly sand your corners and edges, as the cuts are raw and splintery. I used a Black and Decker Mouse to sand with  80 grit paper, followed by 220. Remove saw dust with a dry brush.

5) Paint your boards. I chose to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Emperor’s Silk. After I painted the wood (two coats), I applied dark wax, and distressed the corners.

6) Allow your paint and wax to dry fully. It’s best to allow them to “cure” for a week or two, so all the chemicals evaporate before you apply the vinyls.

7) Once your painted boards are ready, apply your vinyl designs. See the application video here.

8) Follow the directions for putting your hooks on the boards. Basically its just a matter of using an electric screwdriver to drive two screws through the hook hardware into the wood.

9) Follow the directions for putting the hanging hardware on the back.

Done! Now hang them in your bathroom and be sure to show the love of your life his or her new towel hook!

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Painting and decorating wine bottles

Last week as I tossed an empty wine bottle into the recycling bin, I thought it would be nice to repurpose these glass containers into something useful or pretty. Pinterest is overflowing with bottle crafts, and three minutes into browsing, I was hooked. It was on!

I put out a call online for my neighbor’s empties, and went shopping for spray paint. I came home with 10 cans in a rainbow of colors! (Admittedly, I’ve got a bit of a craft hoarding problem.)

The first things I made were these little scented oil diffusers.

I used mini wine bottles and sprayed them white. Then I applied two 1″ Simply Said designs in red that say “Cherish Family.” Raffia is tied around the necks. Inside is a homemade mixture of 1 cup safflower oil, and several drops of lilac essential oil. The sticks are bamboo skewers, the that you can get at the grocery store. Just remember to turn the sticks around each day and your room will be lightly scented!
Once I started spraying the bottles, I couldn’t stop! It was so easy and fun!
I bought this pink color last week thinking I would craft something for a baby girl’s room. However, on Friday, a dear friend of mine lost her battle with cancer. Today, the color took on a different meaning for me and this vinyl design of “Hope,” felt more fitting. Ann was an amazing woman – a fighter who never gave up hope. And who, incidentally, loved a glass of chardonnay. (and whom I named a piece of my chalk painted furniture after in this blog post)
I really love this next one…
This bottle was sprayed metallic gold, with a black Simply Said “Dream” design. I snapped a few dead twigs off a tree outside and sprayed them black. Then I wrapped a few little jewelry trinkets around the neck. You can buy very inexpensive jewelry items like this at your local craft store. 
And here’s a trio awaiting their finishing touch, and what will undoubtedly make them adorable…
Candy corn bottles for Halloween! Why am I making Halloween crafts now – in July? If you wait until October, it might be too chilly outside for spraying and your paint will take longer to dry. Today, when it was 90-something outside, the paint literally dried on contact! But, the real reason is because I just couldn’t wait!  I ordered Simply Said vinyl designs for these, too. And as soon as they come, I will apply them (which takes all of 30 seconds, see an application video here), and share the final photos! They’ll say B-O-O. And I have a pair of goggly-eyes to put inside each O. They are going to be super cute, and make a great table centerpiece!
Here they are complete with vinyls and eyes!
I’ve got something very similar planned for Christmas with a trio of bottles that will say Peace – Love- Joy. I probably would have started those today, but I ran out of empty bottles. Better get back to drinking!
Here’s to you, Ann.