Friday, May 30, 2008

Got a Trend Goin' On

I've been changing and rearranging my accessories
and I've noticed,
that without really thinking about it,
I've got a design trend happening.


Can you see it?
I think I'm having a natural attraction to
all things black and white and garden inspired.
Isn't it fun when things fall together like that?!?



Especially when I'm using things I already have.

And my favorite black spray paint!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pick Your Friends, Not Your Nose

I LOVE vintage suitcases! I've been collecting them for years. I don't pay a lot for them or buy them on-line or at antique shops because, let's face it, 1-they're not a necessity of life, and 2-(more importantly) I'm cheap! However, because I limit my buying options I have to be more creative. (I love when I have to be more creative because I can really surprise myself!)
When I decided that I wanted a bigger variety in my suitcase collection, I knew I couldn't do it all on my own. I enlisted the help of friends and acquaintances. Now, I must warn you that this is a tricky process. It is very important that you pick the right friends! If you pick the wrong friends you may end up having more competition for finding your treasure. Interestingly enough, some people may suddenly decide that because you're interested in a certain item they now want it too. Then there's the people who see only dollar signs and figure they can pick up the treasure you're interested in and sell it to you or someone else for a lot more money. But if you pick your friends carefully it can result in. . .


UNEXPECTED HAPPINESS!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tissue Anyone?



The bathroom of my son's house was a fun make-over. I didn't take before pictures, so imagine a small bathroom with CARPET on the floor, walls with their fair share of dings and patches, and 1980's standard issue light fixture and stainless framed mirror with the attached plastic sliding door storage.
Got the picture?
We ripped out the carpeting, sealed the floor, and applied peel and stick tiles that have the look of ceramic tile. The floor was quick, easy, inexpensive, and it looks good too. We replaced the mirror and the lighting, which helped give the room a fresh look. But it was the walls where I got creative.
I bought several packs of white tissue paper, the kind that you put in gifts. I crumpled the individual sheets. Then I painted a section of the wall, applied a sheet of tissue paper and then applied another coat of paint on top of the tissue. I continued this process throughout the entire room, lining up the sheets. It creates a unique textured finish on the walls. If you click on the picture below, you can see the texture a bit better. Once the paint is cured, you can go over the walls with a glaze to highlight the texture, but that wasn't the style that I was trying to achieve here.

Painted tissue paper is a unique wall treatment. The finished product resembles a combination of a crumpled up cotton sheet and Venetian plaster. It's a great solution for camouflaging banged up walls. And it's fun too! If you decide to try this technique I would recommend that you enlist a friend to help the process go faster.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Box to Reflect Upon

My oldest son and daughter-in-law moved into a home that needed a little TLC. I would describe their decorating style as modern/retro---the clean, straight lines of modern, mixed with the funky retro look. The home is a split level. Their living room and kitchen are on the main level and there is a large opening between the two areas. In the living room area there is only one wall that can be decorated. Because of the open floor plan this wall can be seen from the kitchen as well. (Have I thoroughly confused you yet?)
Last year, while they were on vacation, we did a surprise make-over on the majority of the house. I designed, and we built this shelf unit for the wall in the living room. It hangs above the sofa. I purchase an inexpensive door mirror and removed it from the plastic frame. Then we built a box to the dimensions of the mirror. We secured the box to the wall using wall anchors, and then placed the mirror inside using double-sided tape. The mirror reflects the objects inside as well as reflecting light back into the room.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Day to Remember

Remembering all those who lived and died
that we might enjoy our life and freedom.

Wishing you a nice Memorial Day.
It's a time to reflect on the life's of others
who have blessed us.

It's also the beginning of the summer holidays when we fly flags and show our patriotism. I made my flag holders out of stair balusters and scrap wood. Just a quick project to show how proud we are to be Americans!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Urning Their Ribbons


You know that I had to tweak them just a little bit!
Layers are an important aspect of good design.
Read Shirlee's cute comments on the last post
for more ideas on urn toppings.

Urned Love

Remember those three white urns from my previous post? As much as I love a nice white urn, these were not nice. The finish was flat, chalky and grungy. They didn't have a finished glaze coat, so of course that meant that they could easily be painted! I used black craft paint. Black just seems to make things a bit classier. I once heard a designer say, "Think of the color of black this way . . .you can wear a cheap pair of white pants or a cheap pair of black pants, but the black pants will always look more expensive." So that's been my design philosophy when I'm trying to class up something with a little paint.
I finished off each urn with a clear coat, floral foam, moss and a pear.

They sit in my kitchen window sill, above my sink, which is really white and not the sickly pink that the picture shows. I always seem to do a post on my windows on cloudy days, so the picture turns out a little off in color.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Proof of an Addiction


These are some of the thrift store treasures I purchased during the past week. Isn't it a delightful display! It's the stuff that makes my heart skip a beat and puts a smile on my face, which is why I have to openly admit that I am addicted! I can't help it. Just look at this stuff:
*an old picnic basket that matches one I already have
*a tarnished silver tray with a lot of character
*two milk glass Sunkist juicers
*a Martha Stewart measuring scoop
*a great frame and a beaded board clock
*three urns (an idea for a future post)
*a vintage vase
*a striped suitcase---you know how I love suitcases
I do admit that I have an addiction, but I justify it by saying that I only have a few addictions (chocolate, thrift stores---you understand, right?!?!). I think it's one of the healthier addictions to have. I haven't gotten to the point that my family would turn me into Oprah because I have a warehouse full of stuff. . . a room full, but not a warehouse full.
Anyway, the first step to recovery is to admit that you have an addiction. I admit it! But I also admit that I'm not willing to give it up. I mean, what's wrong with a little harmless addiction?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Old Dog, New Tricks

What is it about learning something new? It's both terrifying and exhilarating! That's one reason I started blogging, I wanted the challenge of learning to use a digital camera as well as learning more computer skills----I already have nun chuck skills (bad joke from Napoleon Dynamite movie). After talking for months about starting a blog, my daughter finally made me do it late one night. I am ever so grateful to her. I also have to thank Kim because she has been there to answer my dumb questions via email. We only know each other from blog land---she couldn't even pick me in a line up. Thanks Kim!
A few years ago I decided to take a stained glass class. I'd wanted to do it for about twenty years and the timing was finally right. We had tackled the job of remodeling our kitchen all on our own, (a future post) and I wanted one cabinet door to have a stained glass insert. The class was challenging but fun! Someday, when the time is right again, I plan to take another class.
The entire class had to make a small sun catcher as the first project. Much to the teacher's dismay I chose the door insert to be my second. Luckily, it turned out beautiful, thanks to a little help from the teacher.

Every time I walk into my kitchen and see my stained glass it makes me happy. It reminds me that it's important to continue to learn and that you can teach an old dog new tricks! What have you learned lately?

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Little Tipsy


You may have already seen these cute little planters, often called "Tipsy Pots".
I
decided to make one last year and liked it so much I've replanted it this summer. I had a lot of little pots that weren't being used. I prefer to use pots that are much bigger in size because they require less watering. I gathered my pots and arranged them by size. I purchased a piece of rebar from the home improvement store. (Okay, both spell check and the dictionary say that rebar isn't a word, even though that's what we've always called those long roundish metal sticks that you place in concrete foundations.)
I decided upon a nice little shady place right outside my back door and close to an automatic sprinkler. I p
ounded that metal stick into the ground about a foot or more. Then I added my pots. A little word to the wise here: put the stick through the hole in the bottom of the pot, tip the pot and then fill it with dirt before adding the next pot. Other wise you get a pretty little post of empty pots that suddenly all come crashing down inside each other. I tipped each dirt filled pot, alternating the direction, then I planted my flowers. This year I planted a potato vine in the bottom pot. I love this vine because it's such a beautiful chartreuse color and by the end of summer it will grow and spill out of the pot about four to six feet.
So, if you have some extra pots just lying around you can be a little tipsy too---try it, you like it!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chandie Change













After staring at pictures of my chandelier yesterday and then gazing at it in real life today, I decided to do some changing and rearranging. I think that I like it better this way. It looks a little more balanced.
What do you think?. . .and thinking that I'm OCD/ADD doesn't count because I've already admitted to that!

Friday, May 16, 2008

One Man's Trash


One day I was out for my morning walk when I noticed a chandelier in a trailer that was ready to go to the dump. Actually I noticed the crystals dripping from it more than the chandelier itself. I thought it was ashame to throw away beautiful and expensive crystals. The next day when I walked by it again it was calling for me to rescue it, but I resisted the urge to take it home with me. Fortunately I knew the family that lived in the home. Our boys had played on the same soccer team at one time. I waited until that afternoon (it took that long to muster up my courage) and gave the lady a phone call. After the usual pleasantries I told her I had an unusual question---how do you ask someone if you can have their trash? She laughed and said she'd have her son bring it over to my house. I thanked her, hung up the phone and did the happy dance.
After my little treasure was delivered I took a good look. It was unusual and unique. I decided that I really liked the chandelier as much as I liked the crystals. My hubby agreed that it was worth a makeover. He rewired it and replaced the socket covers. I debated about painting it, but I hated to cover the antique brass of this old darling. And I've noticed that Pottery Barn now sells lamps with the same finish. I did remove all of the HUGE crystals and rearranged others. Now, this one man's trash is a beautiful treasure that hangs in our master bedroom.
Hopefully this will inspire you to not be afraid to ask someone for their garbage!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Sofa Table That's So Good


This little table sits behind the sofa in our family room (I moved it out to take the picture). It wasn't a very complicated build. The legs are stair balusters turned upside down. The top is strips of old reclaimed wood and the skirting is upside down baseboard. It's a light weight table that's just the right size and height.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Candles Part II


Candles look beautiful when lit, but they can also be beautiful when unlit. I enjoy displaying my candles in glass containers with the additional decorative layer of some kind of filler. Glass marbles, sand, rocks, and pebbles can be used, but if you take a look around your home you'll probably find a lot of other filler options. You could use:
*dried beans, I like to layer black and white
*dried green or yellow split peas
*wild rice or colored pastas
*nuts or sesame seeds still in the shell
*popcorn kernels

*seasonal candy (although it may disappear/get eaten)
*buttons, all one color looks beautiful
*Epsom salt, nice in winter because it resembles snow
*shredded pages from a book or sheet music
*dried flowers or moss
*dried fruit slices- apples, oranges or lemons
*old game pieces like dominoes or scrabble
*seashells
The list could go on and on!!! And these aren't just limited to candle vases, they're great for apothecary jars too. Of course, I feel the need to remind you that some of these items are flammable and are for decorative purposes only, so be sure to remove them if you decide to burn the candles.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Candles Part I


What is it about a candle that evokes feelings of romance---with your loved one sure, but also with your home. It seems that every home makeover show has candles flickering as they unveil the new look. There are lit candles in almost every chic flick, sometimes even in the non-romantic scenes. Candles signify warmth, coziness, and all those emotions we associate with home.
I enjoy decorating with candles, but they can be pricey. This may come as a surprise (or not); I buy the majority of my candles at thrift stores. Sure, they may already be burned a little, but that's not a problem because designers tell us that's how candles should be displayed. Some thrift store candles may be dirty or dinged and that's why they've been donated. That's not a problem either. With just a little warm water and soap they'll come clean. For stubborn dirt you can use a scrubby pad. It may change the texture of the candle a bit, but who notices. If there are dings and dents, they can be fixed by heating the spot with a hair blower, just be careful of the hot wax.
If you find a candle that's been burned a few times try this trick. Have you seen these little battery operated candles? I found mine at the dollar store. If you drop one of these inside a candle you can get the flickering light without worrying about the danger of leaving the candle unattended.
Oh yes, while we're on the subject of candles,
remember to follow the safety precautions

and keep candles away from children, pets and burnable materials.
Now, go light a candle and enjoy the romance of your home and will you do me a favor? Since you know my thrift candle secrets, will you please leave a candle or two for me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Case of Stairs

Okay, so tell me, who puts light colored carpet on stairs?!?! The gentleman who we bought our house from, that's who (should I have used "whom"?).
Yes, we had brand new pinkish-taupe carpet on stairs that would be constantly used by our five children and all of their friends. What do you do? Well, first I must tell you that I do not require my family or anyone else in our home to remove their shoes upon entering. You can if that's what makes you comfortable, but shoeless feet is not the requirement, comfort is. As I said in an earlier post, there is nothing in my home more valuable than the people within. After a few years of wear and tear on a carpet that wasn't all that pretty in the first place I decided it needed a little R&R. You know it! Removing and Replacing! Of course the cheapest solution was paint, but I couldn't have just plain old painted stairs when with just a little effort they could be unique and interesting. I incorporated my love of typography, and this is what I came up with:
(the runner is tan, not pinkish like it appears in the photo)
As usual, my family made fun of my idea, but I've learned to not pay attention to them anymore. They asked me why the stairs needed numbers. I answered that if they fell up the stairs they would know which stair to blame (you have to have a quick wit in a family of critics). I did make sure to start the numbers with 0, so there wouldn't be the unlucky #13. I think my children have actually come to enjoy their travels up the stairs, but they would never, ever admit to it. The stairs have been like this for almost two years now, and occasionally I'll hear a loud thud followed by, "That dumb number four stair!" Yes, our stairs are not just form and function, they're entertainment too.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Jots of Joy

Wishing You
a Beautiful Weekend
and
a
Wonderful Mother's Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Chic Sink

When we moved into our home, the laundry room housed a big industrial cast-iron sink on a metal stand. Now I know that many women would be thrilled to have a big ol' sink in their laundry room, and honestly, I can appreciate the industrial look, but this thing was hideous!!! It would be great out in a garage for washing automotive parts and greasy hands (we actually saved it with that in mind) but, I wanted my laundry room to look nice, not like an auto shop. I've been known to make unpleasant looking things look good, but even if I put a gorgeous skirt on this sink to hide the metal legs, it would still look like a really ugly cross-dresser. So there was only one alternative---Remove and Replace!
We found a nice, little but deep, stainless steel sink still in it's original cabinet at the thrift store. There was only one problem. When we placed the cabinet next to the tall washer and dryer it looked like a shrimp in a sea of whales. So I began to dream up a design. I was inspired by the look of old, thick butcher block tables. We had the leftover table top from this project, so we only needed to buy a small amount of wood. I had two used stair newel posts, in my supply of "stuff", that we turned upside-down for the front legs. We added a decorative piece to the front. I painted, glazed, and polyed. And now we have a sink that's original, pretty (can you call a sink pretty?) and it holds it's own next to the tall washer and dryer.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Award Number Two

[excellentblog%5B1%5D.jpg] It almost feels like Christmas! I gave Shirlee an award the other day and she returned the favor by giving me a new award. I feel honored! Isn't the blog world wonderful! I think we should seriously consider giving out awards in real life because it makes ordinary people like me feel so good.
Now, I guess I better go design a shelf made from a door to hold my awards. Thank you Shirlee! You inspire me to keep blogging along.

I Love a Good Thrift Find

If you've read any of my blog, you know that I love to shop at thrift stores.
I love the "thrill of the hunt"!
I love not having to pay high retail prices.
I love to find something that can be re-worked, re-painted, or re-made into a true treasure.
I love being able to make money stretch a little further.
I love to create something new out of something old.
I love to use someone else's castoffs to give my home personality.
I love that my home is warm and inviting because it has a mix of old and new.
I love that there is nothing in my home more valuable or important than the people within it.
And I love that I don't have to freak out when my boys wrestle on my furniture, or when our cat does this. . .

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

TP Storage

"Moooommmm, where's the toilet paper?!?"
"Honey, can you go get me some toilet paper?"
Have you heard these phases shouted through a closed door? Well, here's a simple and decorative solution.

Next time you're at the thrift store and see an old CD storage box, buy it! Most boxes fit very nicely on the back of the toilet and the openings are usually the perfect size for toilet paper. You can even spray paint them to match your bathroom. It's easy to see when you're running low on T.P. and you'll never hear those cries of desperation again. Even your guests know where to find a new roll.

It's a great solution for the T.P. blues.

Now if someone can just explain to me why the male species has such a hard time changing the roll. . .

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My First Blogging Award

I received my first blogging award last week! Cute Mrs. B gave it to me and now it's time for me to pass it along----actually I should have passed it along a while ago, but I couldn't decide what to wear to the awards ceremony. This is the award and the rules:
Arte y Pico Award
  1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribute to the blogging community, no matter what language.
  2. Each award has to have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.
  3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that presented her/him with the award.
  4. The award winner and one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog so everyone will know the origin of this award.
  5. To show these rules.
I'm going to award this to a few blogging newbies to help encourage them to keep blogging. Shirlee at the Painted Prairie, the Pres. of my club, is a self-described Jill of all trades, crafter, thrifter. Jennifer at Live a Life of Love blogs about scrapping, thrifting, and creating. Becky at Beyond the Picket Fence does great trash to treasure projects. Pink and Polka Dot has fun sewing and thrifting projects. And the last award goes to Karna at Karna's Hus---her blog isn't written in english, but the photos are so wonderful you just want to crawl inside and stay awhile.
Congratulations Ladies!!!

Make Do or Do Without

Remember the old philosophy, "Make do or do without"? Why is it when we hear that term, it seems to bring negative feelings, like we are sacrificing what we really want? Is it because we are bombarded with the ideas that we have to have abundance to be happy?
Almost every improvement I have made in my home has been done "on a shoestring." The majority of my furnishings and decorations have come from thrift stores or bought on sale. Do I feel that my home is lacking anything because of that? NO! Not at all! In fact, because I've done everything with a limited amount of money, I've become much more creative. My home reflects our talents and abilities---not just our income. Case in point:
I hated the flooring in my entry. It was tile that one of my neighbors described as a brown honey comb (do you have that picture in your mind?). I looked into painting it and decided that because it is such a high traffic area, the paint would likely wear off and I would still have honey comb tile, just a different color. Then I came up with this inexpensive solution of "making do & doing without". . .

We tore out the hideous tile, replaced the sub-floor, and then I painted, glazed and polyurethaned. We have lived on this solution for three years now, and I enjoy my floor. It's easy to clean and I don't get all upset when my boys do crazy things on it. When people first see it they think that it's stained concrete.
(You can enlarge the picture to show more detail. Sorry, the floor is dark so it doesn't photograph well)

We learned the important lesson that "Make do or do without" can actually be positive AND pretty.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cheery Chairs

Don't you just love a good thrift store chair. . .





(ooooo, I have two of these)
. . . especially when it's got great personality!!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Special Thank You

To my new friends

I APPRECIATE YOU!

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Table A-door-ned

I know, I know, your rolling your eyes and wondering just how many versions of the word "adore" I can use as a pun to describe my furniture made from doors! You're also probably wondering what this table has to do with a door. Actually it has to do with TWO doors.
I wanted a square table, but I couldn't justify the price especially when we already had a perfectly good, boy-proof table. So I began the plan of building one; we could use the legs from our old table, cut and rebuild the frame and then all we would need to purchase would be the wood for the top. However, after pricing wood I thought that even that brilliant idea was too costly. I put the idea in the back of my mind, where many of my ideas reside, until the day my hubby and I were shopping at a thrift store. I saw some brand new solid doors and declared, "Here's our table!" Of course my husband thought I was nuts, and so did everyone who heard me, but then he caught up with my racing brain and agreed it was a great way to accomplish my plan.
We purchased two doors, cut off the sides to eliminate the hinge and doorknob holes, cut each down to size, then we glued and affixed the two together. We added molding to the edges, then I stained and painted. The chairs remain in the original finish because I kind of like the juxtaposition (I always wanted to use that word) of the light chairs with the dark table. I may decide one day to change that, but not any time soon.
I love my table, and I'm happy that I didn't spend a lot of money because it has now sustained some injuries as a result of my youngest son carving into it while doing his homework. But even that adds to the story of the a-door-ned square table.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Welcoming Statement

I have a neighbor who works for a very high end designer. The designer runs her business out of her home. My neighbor told me that the lady cleans her porch every day, and if the weather is bad, she'll clean it multiple times a day. I thought about my house. . .Hey! I run a business out of my home, the most important business of all, raising a family! My porch needs to look nice and welcoming too. I should clean it---maybe not once a day, but once a week (or month) would be nice. If you're like me, you probably don't even notice that there's orphan newspapers piling up, or that the spider webs are disguising what used to be the light fixture. Or, maybe you're even worse, you haven't taken down your holiday decorations! Noooo, you wouldn't be that bad.
Go out and look at your front door. Does it look welcoming? Maybe your door needs a fresh coat of paint. Mine did. I thought my new basket deserved a pretty place to hang out. Maybe it's time to replace that tired, faded out old wreath. Or maybe it's just time to give everything a good cleaning after sitting out all winter. You, your family and your friends deserve to have that welcoming feeling when you walk up to your home. You're welcome!
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