Thursday, February 17, 2011

Black door and jewelry box

It's funny, but it's like the temperature has to be in the 70's during the day for me to be really creative and productive :) Since it's been nice and warm this week I all of a sudden got the urge to paint again :) Naturally, the urge wasn't to finish all the projects I've started but not yet finished, oh no, it had to be a brand new little project :)

So late one night when everyone else was in bed I grabbed my paintbrush and started on the inside of our back door. It's located in the kitchen and the kitchen is all white. Now, I love white as much as the next person but when it's all white I feel like there's nothing going on. So my first step is this black door. I'm not quite used to it myself yet, guess I've been living with white too long :)

Here's what it looks like now.
It's very obvious I'll have to do something about that raggedy old storm door with it's stylish rust streak...  But one step at a time, Sweet Jesus :)

Per usual I forgot to get a real before pic, but after some digging in my stash of old photos I found this one. 

Grainy, but you get the idea.

When I said the kitchen is all white that wasn't completely true. It READS as all white, but the tiles on the floor, counter tops and backs splash are off white with light beige/yellowy streaks.

My other plans for the kitchen include painting the upper walls a barely there blue, the lower part of the walls probably a light taupe with a painted pattern. The cabinets will still be white (click the link to see more pics of our itty-bitty kitchen).

Oh, here's some more pics of that door.
This is how far I got before I remembered that thing about a before pic :) And there I am hiding behind the trash can :)
I've been meaning to do a frosted design on this door for, like, ever :) Maybe the weather will help that along as well :)

Another thing I've painted black lately, and also forgot to take a before picture of, is this little jewelry box found at the thrift store for $3. In great condition except the thrift store standard yellowy wood finish. A coat of black craft paint and it's good to go again.

Actually, it was two coats. And I sanded the edges to let some of that wood shine through. I used matte craft paint and the finished result looked dirty so I needed to add some gloss somehow. The only thing I had at home was a black Dollar Tree shoe polish. Rubbed a little of that around and I was done. It's not glossy per se but it adds a little bit of shine to the finish.

It sits on my secretary/bedside table and I use this for rings and earrings, to hold my watch at night and a few other odds and ends.

Something crazy happened to me this week. On Monday I heard our cat hiss and growl and carry on in our bedroom. As I went to check it out I had the pleasure (overstatement of the year) to see a snake slither out from under our bed!

So it was just a little one and I think it was a harmless garden snake, but since I really know nothing about Texas snakes except the fact that some are poisonous I treated him with due respect. I carefully put a bowl over him, slid some junk mail under it and took him out in the backyard.

After getting his mug shot he took a short flight over our backyard fence into the alley.

He must have come up from our crawl space through any number of little holes in our old house. I suppose we'll have to focus on plugging all those holes up in the near future. I for one do not want to step on a snake on my barefooted way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Harmless or not.

When my daughter saw him she said "He's so cute", and yes he was, but I'd much rather have him go and be cute on the other side of the fence. No offense :)

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Exotic hanging lampshade

Eagle-eyed readers will recognize these shades because I actually made them almost a year ago and they have glimpsed by in other project posts. I never showed them to you since I've been waiting all this time to get a cord kit. The cord needed to be black. Couldn't find that at any of my regular stores. So it's just been sitting around waiting for better times. But here they are, finally :)

This is just one of them, I made a pair.

The look I was going for was similar to this.

This look may not be exactly Moroccan but it gives me that same Thousand and One Night feel, which is what I wanted for our master bedroom (if a small cottage even can have a master bedroom. It's where me and the husband sleep, though, with a child or two, depending on how the musical beds play out). 

This is what I started out with. 

Clockwise, from the top. 
*Thrifted bell shade with the top layer of fabric removed (I had two identical shades, only one shown here), 
*an old fireplace tool set with beautiful turned brass handles (only one of the tools shown but there was another one with the exact same handle in the set), 
*thrifted traditional candle holder (again, I had a pair but only one shown here), 
*various gold ribbons for trim (I also used a black ribbon to hang the finished shade, not shown), 
*old shower curtain in a sheer deep red with stitched patterns (underneath all the other stuff).

I didn't take pics while making this but I'll walk you through it. 

1. Remove the top fabric on your lamp shades. I carefully used my Xacto knife to remove this and made sure not to harm the lining on the inside of the shade since I wanted to keep that. 

2. I laid the shower curtain out on a flat surface and laid one of the shades ontop, on it's side. I rolled the shade across the fabric to estimate how much fabric would be needed to cover the shade, marked and cut out a little more than I thought I needed, in one piece. 

3.  Before putting the fabric on the frame I had to make these little hanging loops so the shade could be hung from this ribbon (see pic above). I used little snippets of wire coat hangers but any thicker wire should work. I made something that looked like a figure eight, or maybe more like an S, and attached three of these around the shade, evenly placed. I hooked the bottom of the S around one of the vertical braces of the shade structure and curved the top of the S as close to the horizontal brace as possible. And then pinched the wire so it would be firmly attached.

4. I then grabbed the hot glue and started the slow process of attaching the fabric to the shade frame, pulling the fabric taut as I went. It's not perfect by any stretch but it's really not that visible. I made sure to start and end on the same vertical brace so the seam would be covered up by gold trim (see below). When I was done I trimmed the excess red fabric along the edges as closely as possible. 

5. I added one type of gold trim to all the vertical braces and another to the top and bottom with hot glue. I had to use two kinds because I didn't have enough of either kind to last me for both shades (I recommend measuring to make sure you have enough of your trim before you start, you need more than you think :)). 

6. So the shade is done. Since it'll be hanging upside down I also wanted to add a finial to the bottom (narrow) end of the shade. Then I unscrewed the handles of the fireplace tools and the handles had a threaded hole. But I didn't have any screws with the same corresponding thread that would fit into the handle. So what I did is I got a screw with a head big enough to not slip through the hole of the shade hanging device (for lack of a better name) and threaded it through the shade hanging device from the inside of the shade (see pic below). Then I filled the hole in the brass handle with hot glue and inserted the screw, and held it in place until the glue had cooled.

7. I added black ribbon to my wire hanger loops at the top.

8. I hung my candle holders from the four poster bed I made here (still awaiting it's coat of black paint) with simple little nails, attached the black ribbon to the middle arm of the candle holder. (Here I go again with my weirdly empty candle holders).

9. And now, a year later I added the cord sets.

The only thing I have left to do here is add these dimmers to the cord so it'll be easy to just reach out a hand and dim or turn the light off altogether (I just have to order the dimmers first :). And they only come in brown, but oh, well, it's the closest to black I can get). The idea is that with the bed painted black the cord and dimmer will be very hard to see.

So the eureka moment to this project came a few weeks back as I was strolling our local super Walmart with our youngest, just browsing, eyeing and planning for future projects. When I came upon this.

So the 6ft cord is a little on the short side but for the price (I think they were like $6 each) it wasn't bad. Yeah, the shade and clamp come off and leave you with a nice black socket and cord. Ready to plug in :) I also noticed later that Lowe's had them as well.

Here's some more afters.

Um, yes, there's a person in that last pic. Never mind him, he's just sleeping late (I kind of have to snap my pics when I can get to them, late sleepers or not :)).

At night. (No sleeping husband this time :)).

These lights provide beautiful ambient light for the whole room through the wide top opening as well as ample reading light in bed through the narrow bottom end. The perfect solution for our bedroom!

I also wanted to add that you don't know how much it pains me to post pics of rooms without the proper wall color, or in this case both wall and bed (among other things). This all looks a little random and out of place without that grayish-purple on the wall and the black bed and all the fabric I want to add for a canopy, but I believe it could really look spectacular.

So in a sense I show you a project but what I see in my head is the spectacular finished result. That's the downside to having a work in progress. I suspect none of you would be with me here reading along on my adventures if I waited to have it all said and done because I may have had two finished posts on this blog, total, if that were the case... Yeah.

So take it for what it is at present but try to imagine the spectacular results :) Pretty please? :)

Ps. Linking up with
Blue Cricket Design

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Random winter and fridge pic vignette

We're finally out of our four day freeze and we lived to tell about it :)

The little snow covered house in Sweden Texas. A good 6 inches of the fluffy white stuff.

These beauties have been our constant companions through the ordeal, hanging right outside our bedroom window, growing larger and longer with each passing day. Today they're dripping really fast and are about to fall off.

While we've been cooped up at home I decided to get to the homework given to us (my daughter and I) by her pre-K teachers, 24 valentine's cards for the class and teachers. Since looks are important to me they could not be entirely made by my daughter, and I'm pretty sure she would have gotten tired of the whole thing after only 3 cards.

I saw this card a while ago and figured that could be a cute design to use, no need to reinvent the wheel when someone else has already come up with a brilliant idea :)

Here's our version.

We just made a simpler, cheaper version of the inspiration. Orange construction paper for the base, red construction paper for the monster, white computer paper for the eye and the rest done with a sharpie and the kids' green marker.

Obviously I cut out all the shapes and then I had my daughter glue the monster and the eyes on all the cards. I then wrote the sayings as well as glued the little heart on myself since it needed some precision in placement. Then I helped her to sign all the cards on the back.

Turned out to be a nice little paper craft and she was really excited about the result. I steered clear of all the pinky-fluff stuff, partly because my daughter is a little tomboy and partly because half the class is made up of little boys who might not like that either. But who wouldn't like a little lovable monster? :) And I like that it's (almost) devoid of sap :)

Since we're already on the subject of kids I thought I'd show you this little picture vignette I created on the side of our fridge.

I remember reading somewhere that kids whose families display pictures of the kids in the home do better in life, or something to that effect. I suspect it's not the magic of the pictures themselves, but rather families who are happy and healthy are more likely to let their love for their kids show by way of putting pics up.

Nevertheless I took this opportunity to put some more pics of them up to help them fare better in life :) This side of the fridge faces the corner of the dining room where the kids have all their meals and my daughter spotted the pics right away, she actually comments on the pics quite often.

This project is neither expensive nor high tech. The pics are printed off our computer on regular printer paper (not the best quality but it's ok for now, the kids certainly don't care).

The large frames are from the Dollar tree, the small ornate frames are Xmas ornament frames from the 99cents only store. I think I got the ribbon at the Dollar tree as well. I hot glued the frames to the ribbon and simply hot glued the ribbon to the top of the fridge (it will peel off easily when it's time for a change).

It makes for a vintage inspired picture hanging but with a modern twist against the crazy fridge. And the turquoise ribbon will go perfectly with the browns and blues in this room (when it's all done, that is :)).

That's all for today. Hope you guys are staying warm where you are, spring is almost here :)

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Summer gardens

... are on my mind today as I sit wrapped in layers and layers of clothes and blankets, all faucets drip-drippety-dripping and (unfortunately) toilet and kitchen sink pipes frozen. All this as we're coping with temps in the single digits (apparently hasn't happened here in 15 years) and obviously the houses here aren't built for this kind of weather (I can just tell, ok? :)). Two more days of this and then we should be in the clear and no-one will be happier than I when these temps are over with!

So I noticed a summer garden theme in many of my pics this week :) Wonder why, huh? And Indian brides, but those colors and patterns just make me happy!

Purple pattern against that gray wall, with lots of climbing plants and a mirror.

Black and white contrast kitchen. I'm working on this at home since our kitchen is all white but I'm slowly introducing some more black. And adding "antique" mirrors, just like in the pic :)

Brown walls with blacks, whites, graphic patterns and blue accents, reminded me of what our dining room is going to look like (still sadly only halfway painted, need husby's help to move stuff around before I can finish).

I have a thing for purple lately... 

The doorways, and I wish there was a DIY way to make those lamps. 

How cute are those pincushions? I want a couple of those.

I wouldn't say no to a little garden shed like this one :)

Not exactly sure why I like this bookshelf so much. It just seems inviting. Would like to DIY that blinged globe/vase on the bottom left. 

Don't worry, I'm not into sculls at all. But this wallpaper looks very pleasing from a little ways away. Should be possible to DIY a similar look, with a stencil maybe?

Those windows, and the view isn't bad either:)


So I hope that gave you a little break from the cold weather :) I'm off to make some valentine cards for my daughter's pre-K class. 
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