Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Won! Now Go Check out Helping Little Hands!


I am the lucky winner of a set of hand-stamped washers from Polly at Helping Little Hands!

Head over and check out all of the different things you can order from her -- key chains, necklaces, earrings all custom stamped with whatever you choose!  With graduation season upon us -- wouldn't this be a unique grad gift?!  

Or what about Mother's Day and wedding season?! So many great possibilities!

She also has a ton of tutorials on making "food" from felt that are so adorable as well as a page called "Hand-Me-Down REHAB".  She shows us how to make over clothing items whether it's something your kids have outgrown or something that's worn out and you just can't part with it -- lots of great ideas and tutorials!  Thanks again Polly -- can't wait to get my key chain!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Roadside Bench Turned Coffee Table, Part 1

ScARy isn't it? My hubby and I found these at a roadside junkyard last fall and paid 10.00 a piece for them (yes, there are TWO of these!).  I had no idea what I'd do with them but for that price, who could pass it up so into the trunk they went.  Not only had these been exposed to the elements for who knows how long but they are definitely handmade and aside from the spindle 'arms', they appear to be hand-carved, including the appliques on each side.  That said, these were two very 'rough' pieces.  I began by taking off the lovely crushed velvet cushion and removing 127 rusted tacks and 52 rusty nails (yep, I counted).  Taking the piece outside, I used gloves to pull off the velvet and the stuffing and other assorted things from underneath, leaving me with this:
I have no idea if this plywood seat is original, thus making this not as old as I thought OR if this was added later to replace the original seat.  I then went on to begin repairing some loose, cracked joints with Gorilla Glue, wood putty and nails.  After sanding, it was time to prime.  I thought it would be easier to use spray primer.  Bad idea. This is untreated wood and it soaked up two cans and barely looked white! 

I applied THREE coats of Kilz2 Latex primer, sanding in between and continuing to fill in some of the holes and rough areas.  There are still a lot of 'notches' and imperfections but I've concluded these will just add to the character of this piece.

My next step is going to be to apply the paint -- probably white as it will go with other pieces I've refinished in my living room.  Have to find some upholstery fabric for the cushion and then she will be ready to be used as a coffee table/foot rest in front of my sofa!  Oh, I've pretty much concluded I do NOT want to work on its twin . . . anyone interested??

To be continued . . .

Monday, April 25, 2011

Homemade Sugar Scrub & Gift Jars

I found this idea that Rachel over at Maybe Matilda came up with and just had to make these for my girls and their friend to put in their Easter baskets!  For the scrub itself you combine:  3 cups of white sugar and 1 cup plus 2 T good quality oil (Rachel and I both used Olive Oil).  After you mix these together, add 10 drops of scented essential oil.  I'd suggest giving it the 'sniff' test and if you think you want it stronger, add more. 

I used Jasmine scented oil that I found at Hobby Lobby.  

I decided to wear a disposable glove to mix in the essential oil because I didn't want to keep smelling Jasmine on my hands all day or have one of my wooden spoons smelling like it!

For the jars I found these ribbed, Parmesan cheese jars at the Dollar Store.  I wasn't sure about the ribbed part interfering with the labels but it worked out fine.  The holes in the top were covered also so not a problem. (The tops are just silver -- not sure why they look brown!)

I printed out some cute, vintage pictures (just googled to find random images of little girls with flowers) and printed them on regular copy paper so it would mould around the ridges in the jars.  I tore the edges to give them a vintage look.

Using Old Faithful Mod Podge I applied the pictures to the jars, pressing the images into the ridges (which you wouldn't have to worry about if you find a smooth jar!). 

I applied a coat of Mod Podge over the images also, wiping the excess from the glass around the image.

Once they were all dry, I went back and brushed on a little white glue on certain areas and added some ultra-fine glitter.

For the lids I just used my circle cutter and oval punches to cut card stock to coordinate with the images and printed out the labels with the "Jasmine Sugar Scrub" and attached those.

A quick, easy project with lots of possibilities!  Thanks Rachel for inspiring me!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

$1.00 Place Mats Upgrade

I've had a hard time finding place mats to match my dining room so when I found these that were the right color, at $1.00 each, I grabbed them knowing I was going to give them an "upgrade"!

Using rubber stamps (clear stamps in this case) and a StazOn ink pad, I stamped the images on the mats.

StazOn is a permanent ink that I really use for almost any stamping in black (although it does come in a few other colors) because it IS permanent and gives nice, sharp images.

Once I finished all of the stamping, I decided to heat set the designs to just make them as permanent as possible.  I covered each image with a scrap of cotton fabric and with a hot, dry iron, went over them.
I decided to continue the "upgrade" by stitching on some black, glass beads.  I started at the back of the mat, bringing the needle to the top, threading on a bead and then returning to the back.  Once I was on the back again, I would "slide" the needle IN BETWEEN the layers of the mat to hide the thread and then come UP again where I wanted the next bead.  This way, there are no long, black threads on the back of the mat.
The final step was to give them all several coats of Scotchguard Fabric Protector because while I CAN wash these and lay flat to dry, I don't want to have to wash them everytime we use them.  This way, liquids bead up and they can be damp wiped after each use.  Note: Scotchguard is VERY potent -- I took these out to my garage and sprayed them and left them to dry before bringing inside.  Once dry, you will not be able to smell anything.
 Happy Easter everyone!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ceiling Fan Update

The other day I went to the store and bought two chandelier-type bulbs to replace two that were burned out on the ceiling fan that hangs over my dining room table.  As I removed the globes to replace the bulbs I realized the globes needed a good washing.  Well, one thing led to another and I also realized that not only could the fan blades be removed but . . . they had TWO sides (“Duh”, you say).  There was the really ugly side with the faux-wicker inset and the plain side – and it was at that moment that my latest project began!  Now I hate this light fixture but finances prevent me from replacing it right now so here’s what I did.

After cleaning the blades, I primed them with white spray primer.  
Using a sponge roller I rolled on two coats of my favorite Behr Perfect Pearl white paint.  I found that by rolling the sides while holding the blades and then laying them on boxes to paint the rest of the surface worked really well.

It was at this point that I decided I would not bother wasting my precious paint on the ugly faux-wicker side (which will be facing the ceiling and not be seen by anyone unless they climb up on a very tall ladder and make a point to look down at the top of my fan blades) and only paint the smooth side which will face down.  Of course, if you are one of my local friends or family, now you know and can hold this secret against me if you choose!  But remember, I’m broke so blackmail is pointless.

I thought about stenciling a design but opted instead for the cute wood accents that I bought at Hobby Lobby (They came two in a package for $2.00).  

Once they dried, I laid them out in different ways until I found the arrangement Iiked.  I used a little sponge make up brush to apply Gorilla Glue to the accents  and attached them to the blades. 
But, once they were on, I realized you really couldn’t see all of the nice detail on the pieces so I decided to sand them a little to add a distressed look and bring out all of the scroll work.  Had I thought of this earlier, I would have sanded them BEFORE putting them on the blades because I had to make sure to remove all of the filings using tack cloth.  But it worked out okay.

The final step was to spray the entire blade with a coat of clear, mat-finish sealer.  We know that ceiling fan blades are not really designed to circulate air but to catch every, single, teeny, tiny, bit of dust and dirt and deposit it on the blades.  So I thought this added step would make them a bit easier to dust (you know, when I decide to dust them every other year!).

Now I realized that these ugly, brown, plastic fan pulls HAD to go.  I strung small, black beads onto fine, jewelry wire.  For the ends, I decided to use some old skeleton keys that I have so I sprayed them with the same flat, black primer I used on the medallion accents.  I gave them a final coat of clear, mat acrylic to keep them from chipping and attached them onto the fan cords.  Much better I think!

"70's" Ceiling Fan:  BEFORE
 "70's" Ceiling Fan:  AFTER (Except I hadn't put on the new pulls here!)


NOW I feel I can live with this light fixture for another year or more!