Image

No Sleep Til New Years

Thank you Beastie Boys for allowing that song to mock me through this holiday season. First it was no sleep til Christmas then it was on to New Year’s. Hopefully normal programing will resume after this and Brooklyn can go on being the star of the show. I’m sure anyone who works in retail can relate.

As an indication of how sleep deprived and scatter brained I’ve been I documented this entire project and then failed to document the end result. I’ve done that with multiple projects lately, but oh well, at least you get an idea of where I was going with it.

So I’ve done a few homemade gifts this year. This one is certainly not Christmas centric. In fact it makes an excellent get well soon gift as it’s great for aching muscles and a stuffy head.

Bath Salts by the way, is what I’m talking about. I’m not trying to be cryptic it’s just the lack of sleep catching up with me again.

They are pretty easy to make and there isn’t really a rhyme or reason to them. You simply need magnesium sulfate crystals (aka Epsom salt) and some essential oils. You can add whatever you like from here. A little baking soda ( a little goes a long way), some sea salt, dried herbs or flowers, the possibilities are endless.

For my crushed mint bath salt, which is my favorite for the hectic and illness prone holiday time of year I stick with these ingredients.

Epsom salts, Baking soda, Peppermint essential oil, Clove essential oil, Eucalyptus essential oil, and Dried crushed mint leaves

First I measure the amount of salts I will need. I just do this by filling the container I will be storing or giving them away in. I then add around a table spoon of baking soda per 2 cups of salts. Then, as per my usual very precise measuring methods, I add a decent amount of peppermint, a dash of eucalyptus and a smattering of clove oil. Then just a sprinkle of crushed mint just to give the stark white salt a little interest. After that it’s just a matter of stirring the whole thing up thoroughly and attempting to carefully get it back into its container.

I use quite a bit of oil in my salts only because that way you don’t need very much of the salt per bath but it’s entirely up to you how strong or weak you make them.

After placing the salts back in their allotted container (usually a mason jar I have lying around) I like to spruce it up with a bit of washi tape or ribbon tape around the lid. I’ll also put a bow and tag with information on how much should be used in a bath.

This is where my photographic evidence fails me.

I also did a jar this year where I placed a bracelet around the jar to spruce it up. It made a nice way to present both the salts and the bracelet.

And thank goodness its all done with. Don’t get me wrong I love the holidays and look forward to them every year. Especially the part where I get to make goodies for people. But now I am simply ready for a good night’s rest.

Advertisements
Image

It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Cold Season

That doesn’t necessarily mean it feels cold here. This is a picture from December 1st.

No, I don’t live in the southern hemisphere.

You’re going to have to settle for another short post as I was battling the seasonal bug for a couple of weeks. I did manage to get a little work done on those chairs, though they are not ready to be revealed to the world yet.

However I did get all of my Christmas decorations up. Well… the village has no snow, but that’s a bit laughable around here anyway.

Of course there are bows on my Christmas tree!

Mostly it was a matter of putting up our tiny tree and, making my desk (see my series on it here) a little festive.

I decided presents would be the easiest thing to do, to the rescue empty gift boxes (again). This might be because of my obsession with wrapping presents. Sure I love giving them, and receiving them is nice too, but wrapping them is the best part.

As evidenced in the pictures above and below.

I also have a candle that has been on my desk for a while now that I periodically burn. I thought I would Christmas it up a bit (did I just use Christmas as a verb?) I started off with a plain old apple candle and took off the label. Any old candle would do, the fact that mine is red is a plus.

Next I took some wrapping paper and cut a 2″ wide strip to go around the candle. I got lucky and have a grid on the back of the wrapping paper I’ve been favoring this year but you can measure it out. In fact if you have a pattern you like or even a saying you can always print something out.

I then just taped it on tightly. I then put a second 1″ wide strip of another pattern over it.

Then to top it off just tie a ribbon around it. As you can also see I’ve been favoring twine ‘a la’ brown paper packages tied up with string.

Not only is it a cute way to spruce up your own candles it would be a nice way to gift a candle. The scent name is usually printed on the bottom or lid of the candle as well as the label so its not a big deal to peal it off. Don’t worry about the paper getting too hot. I guarantee with proper candle use the outside of your candle does not reach the required 451*F if it did you would have a problem even if there wasn’t paper around the jar.

Also,I forgot until after the fact, I have those funky patterned scissors hiding in my craft trunk, they would work well with this and you wouldn’t have to worry so much about straight lines… who needs straight lines anyway.

All the bows!!!

Image

Gobble Gobble

Just a quick post to say Happy Thanksgiving and of course Black Friday. Comical how we give thanks for everything we have then promptly go out and buy everything we don’t have. So here is a way to use up things you have in ways you might not have considered before. I am a bit of an organizational freak. By that I mean I’m pretty terrible at organization and hate myself for it, so am constantly looking for ways to improve that.

I have to wear a full face of makeup to work every day so my vanity drawer where my most used products are stored was getting a little overwhelmed. Enter gift boxes to the rescue.

I won’t show you before pictures of my vanity drawer, the horror is too graphic. I just used some of the gift boxes that I’ve saved over the years to reuse (or in this case repurpose) to give me some compartments to store my makeup in a more organized way. It saves me the hassle of digging around for one particular product and saves my products from getting tossed around and possibly broken in the drawers. I left some blank space in which to put pallets. They will, of course rotate out as the seasons and my mood change. Currently MAC and Too Faced holiday pallets have taken up residence but it allows me to wake up and not worry about hunting down what makeup I’m going to put on that morning.

Hope your holidays find you well.

Image

The Kitchen Island of Misfit Chairs

It’s not actually an island it’s a dining room table, but that didn’t sound nearly as festive.

So we received this table from a friend of ours. Who had previously got it from another friend of ours, and by the time that “first” owner had it the table was already second hand. So with this project I had the opportunity to do some serious archaeology.

When we received the chairs they had a lovely teal fabric on them. I wasn’t opposed to the teal but they were a little sun faded and stained from years of use and the cushioning was breaking down. I knew our friend hadn’t replaced the cushioning when she reupholstered instead opting just to recover the existing fabric. Which truth be told, is the only kind of upholstery work I’ve ever done.

So out the staples came to reveal what our other friend had for her chair cushions. Each chair a different pattern. We had actually considered doing this, all the same color scheme just different patterns, but eventually I found a bargain on some fabric I loved and just couldn’t pass it up. This is very much her style and her current dining setup has all different chairs not just different patterns on the same chairs.

So off that fabric came…. And what a surprise. The misfits were not the last layer. There was the most boring khaki color you have ever seen underneath.

So off that came as well. To reveal the horrors…

Turns out all of that work was for nothing, the seat bases were delaminating. Also the actual cushioning material was made out of an old egg crate mattress pad. Which was slightly horrifying. That didn’t matter as we planned on replacing that anyway. But the wood for the seats would have to be replaced.

Luckily one had already been replaced, two owners back if the fabric strata are to be believed. So that one was excellent to use as a template. We simply traced it out on our new sheet of plywood, used the table saw to rip it down and a jig saw to round the corners. And hey presto! New seats.

Next on to the foam padding, once again using the already refurbished one as a template.

Finally after the couple of bumps in the road (and a coffee cup full of staples… that could have made for a bad morning) we could get down to upholstery.

I’ve recovered a few things before, like I said I’ve never done it from scratch. The only real difference I found is that because you’re pulling on new foam and placing tension on the fabric you can if you’re not careful run into puckering. As long as you start from the middle, alternate sides, work towards the corners and be careful how much tension you put on the fabric you shouldn’t have too much trouble.

And always remember that if you do get puckering you can always pull out and replace staples to relieve it, mistakes are going to happen and they aren’t permanent in this case. I had to pull out quite a few on my first couple of chairs before I got the hang of it.

When all was said and done, we had lovely and oh so comfortable new seat cushions.

We also had a pile of old fabric and a coffee cup full of staples.

Also note I did not in any way try to center my pattern… do yourself a favor and do the same if you are trying this for the first time, from what I understand it’s not the easiest thing in the world

Next up we will be painting the chairs… wooo hooo!

Image

Resurrection, or A Lantern for That Glamping Trip

Do you remember that clock I murdered so ferociously without any thought of what I might do with it.

If you don’t you can find it here.

Well I figured out what to do with it in a somewhat round about fashion. I had considered turning it into a lamp but … well, it seemed complicated and despite how this blog may make me appear I’m a lazy person. Then I came across these lovelies on Amazon. They are the tiniest fairy lights you’ve ever seen. They are battery powered and oddly the strand is waterproof. I don’t need it to be but that’s cool none the less.

I also found a roll of window frost on amazon with good reviews. I’ve got a bathroom window that needs frosting and it will only take about 6 square inches of the 9ft roll to do this project so its worth it.

The next bit got a little complicated. Only because I made it so. It doesn’t need to be. I laid the glass over some pretty scrapbooking paper and laid down the frost contact paper over top of it letting the excess hang over the edge to secure it in place. I then used a Knife of Exact Zero* to cut out the pattern of the scrapbooking paper into the contact paper. You can purchase frosted contact paper that has patterns like this in it ready made. I opted for regular old frost since it’s something I’m going to be using for multiple projects, including some I just want to be plain. I decided to stick with the cheaper and more boring frost, and thus created a little bit more work for myself.

After that it was just a matter of spray painting that horrific brass

I then reassembled the glass and faceplate just securing it with a bit of glue and strung the itty bitty adorable lights through the back plate where the clockwork used to be.

Last but not least I happened to have a frame that fit the front of the clock perfect and I glued that on to the front as well to glam it up a bit and voila…

A lantern for your next glamping trip

 

You could skip the pattern in the frost or skip the frost all together by placing some tissue paper (any color) in the lantern. I (or rather my mother) discovered this after the fact but I actually like it a bit better as it also manages to diffuse the light a bit more and hide the wires a bit better. The header picture is of the clock/lantern on with tissue paper behind the face.

At any rate I’m glad our sad, neglected, noisy clock found new life as a glamorous lantern. It will likely come in handy during our regular power outages. What other objects can you think of upcycling into lanterns?

 

 

 

 

*that’s an exacto knife for those of you that are not awesome

Image

Desk Part 0: And So It Begins

Sorry for possible histrionics and definite garrulousness but I am so excited. I got a desk. It’s old and beat up and possibly unstable, but it’s mine and it’s going to be fabulous.

The story of how this desk came to be in my possession is actually kind of odd. I walked into a local thrift store and immediately fell in love with it. It was the first desk I saw after I decided to finally go looking for one. The clerk who was working there at the time was incredibly nice and helpful and directed us to a few other desks they had in the store. She let us know that they also have several warehouses that they rotate out stock from.

Then I though “there are plenty of fish in the sea” so I spent the next day wandering around antique stores and thrift shops looking for a desk. Every one that I saw got compared to that first one in my mind. So I went back… and it had a little name tag hanging on it. Oh, my heart sank. It didn’t say “sold”. It was just a name and number, so I asked the sales clerk what the deal was. This new clerk wasn’t particularly helpful and had no clue whether it was sold or not and didn’t seem to want to help me with anything else. I left thinking I would never see the desk again.

About a week later my boyfriend said “hey, let’s go back and see if that desk is still there”. I wasn’t particularly keen on the idea, but figured it was worth a try. We walked in and there it was still sitting there, no name on it. The clerk who was working the first day I came in was there again. She let us know that the other customer who was in the store at the same time was also interested in the desk. It figured. She just needed to go home and measure to see if the desk would fit in the space she wanted it for. So the clerk was going to put the customer’s name and number on it as a hold. This solved the mystery of the “not quite sold” tag. I told her the story so far of my longing for this desk and asked her to call me right away if the other customer wasn’t interested.

My boyfriend and I headed out for some birthday fun for him and about an hour later on our way to dinner my phone rang. It turns out this desk and I were destined to be together.

It has some issues, like a broken foot, though that doesn’t seem to bother the stability of the desk. The (incredibly thick) veneer on one of the drawers is cracked and poorly mended. The drawer stops are missing on a few drawers. And don’t get me started on the state of the top. It also looks like someone spilled and entire bottle of ink in the top left hand drawer (the logical place to keep an inkwell… if you’re left handed?).

These are all things I have full confidence I can fix, or at the least hide. At $50 I feel like even if it takes more than that amount to fix it I’ve still gotten a bargain. They don’t make desks like this anymore. I don’t really know much about it as far as style or time period so if anyone can tell me anything about it I would be greatly indebted to you.

Stay tuned as it begins to get its makeover.

The top with it’s abundance of scratches

The aforementioned broken foot

Where the ink spilled over from the drawer onto the desk and the stops which are missing on many of the drawers

The fancy sides… and the name Jordan carved into one of the drawer fronts

The cracked veneer and missing drawer stops

Image

Yet another

I wasn’t lying when I said there was an overabundance of jewelry boxes

So another one got a makeover. First off, milk paint has a learning curve. The whole thing was a pretty open and shut case prior to finding a bargain batch of milk paint a Michael’s one day. I was just going to replace the broken handles and paint it to match the existing ones I had already done. But then there it was screaming at me. Those bottles of pretty pastel powder.

Knowing I was going to use milk paint I sanded the box completely down to the bare wood. It turns out its maple, and it smelled amazing.

As is typical of me I just jumped right in without doing any research. Google might as well not exist as far as I’m concerned. I just read the simple instructions on the back and decided that was good enough. A one to one ratio of the powdered paint and warm water. Ok sounds good. So off I went doing test patches on the bottom of the box that I sanded. I found a color mix and consistency that I liked, this one was three parts blue one part green and an equal amount of water. Then I went to town on the box. I wasn’t satisfied with the coverage so I figured I would do another coat. But oh yeah… water soluble, powdered paint. Guess what happens when you go over it with more liquid. It just pulls up what you’ve just put down.

So in the end I just had to thicken the mixture to get a higher coverage. Like I said it was a learning curve. It’s still patchy but in the end I decided to distress it so it fits with the overall look of the box itself.

The handles came from my usual favorite idea-ology line. They are made for cardboard box storage so have brad attachments but I found making a pilot hole and using a small hammer to pound in the brads worked just fine at securing them into the wood.

After everything I sealed it with a couple coats of satin clear coat to prevent the milk paint from wearing off or going all liquid at the drop of some water. Hopefully that will do it, or if it doesn’t it will give me an excuse to refinish it again and maybe straighten out that top handle in the process.

 

It didn’t turn out too shabby for my first (possibly last) attempt at milk paint. I had to custom mix the paint in order to attempt to match anything else I owned but it actually doesn’t look that bad. Clearly I am biased in this matter. Let me know what you think.