The rules of reality say the Bumble Bee shouldn't be able to fly...some rules were meant to be broken.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Handmade Dining Table

So the banquette is not done yet, but we needed a dining table for it.  Shopping on Craigslist is always a good thing, but finding the right size dining table just wasn't in the cards.  So I decided to make one.

The search was on for the right base.  Enter a Craigslist find for antique Singer sewing machine base for $50.

So what to make the table out of.  I knew I needed something about 30 inches wide and 5 feet long and strong enough to withstand someone leaning on it without curving or bending over time.  Off to Stardust to find a solid core door.  I cut the door down to 60".  (lesson 1: I recommend 59 to 59.5" to accommodate the trim molding)

I centered the sewing machine base upside down on the door and marked and drilled holes to match those on the base.  In addition I drilled a 3/4" "sink" hole about 3/8' deep so that the mounting bolts would be flush with the door, then bolted the door to the base.

Next step...adding the re-purposed siding I picked up from a friend.  They were tearing down an old shed on their property and offered with wonderful chippy wood to anyone who wanted to pick it up.

 Because it was siding it was thicker on one side.  In glued and nailed small molding strips to the door so I could mount the thinner end of the siding and have level slats.

I glued and used black drywall screws to mount the siding to the door.  The screws served double duty because they also filled the holes for the old nails.  I centered the boards on the door to used the best part of the chippy wood.  When dry, I trimmed them down with a hand saw to the size of the door.

The last building step was to trim the door with casement molding that I painted white then distressed with the crackle medium and brown/black paint.

Here is why I recommend making the table slightly less than 60".  The glass topper was a little more expenses because the glass company had to order a larger size piece of glass to create at 60 3/4" x 32 3/4" piece.  Using a 60" piece would have been less expenses.  The glass made a huge different and I don't have to worry about any of the old paint chipping off during use.

A unique piece.  Since completing this project I have purchased an additional sewing machine base for another re-purposing adventure.  Have any suggestions??

My Useless Cabinet

I thought people were smaller in the 1950's.  To walk through some of the homes in my neighborhood you would think the same.  I mean, really, the house across the street has a Master Bath the size of a travel trailer.  My husband can't even get inside the shower stall.

So why was this cabinet in my kitchen so high?  Most of the top shelves in the rest of my cabinets hold all the stuff I only pull out once a year, like Christmas dishes.  This one above my sink was useless.  Who is going to use a cabinet that you have to have a ladder to reach and you have to hold the door up with one hand while to try to search for what you need with the other.

So a decorative shelf was born in my 1954 kitchen.  But a plain white shelf in my plain white cabinets was...well...boring.  For something a little different I lined the shelf with fabric.  I little spray glue did the trick.  (Hint: don't use striped fabric.  It's much harder to make it look good.)  I used hot glue and a little bit of black lace trim to cover all the corner seems.  Voile'.

P.S.  Everything on this shelf was found at a thrift store.  The bird was a cheap tacky resin figurine that I gave knew life.  See the post on that here.  The decorative "carving" on the face of the shelf was made using a stencil and spackling paste.

Don't let that hard to reach cabinet sit empty.  Have photos of your shelf project?  Share them on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More Tacky Art Reborn

Ah, the 50's & 60's.  The era of cheap, tacky, green art.  Once again I found the perfect item to raise from the dead.  It's your grandma's art.  You know that stuff that you remember hanging on her wall from the time you were knee high to a pigs ear...or something like that.  After grandma passed on it was the first thing to end up in the "estate" sale pile. 

I love that word.  "Estate" sale, "Estate" sale.  Like saying it somehow makes all the really old plastic furniture worth a little more.  But, as usual, I digress.  If there were an ugly art contest, like those ever-so-sweet ugly pet competitions, this would win, hands down. 

The purchase had to be mulled over.  After all, what in the world was I going to do with this?  There was only one reason I couldn't pass it up.  It was a perfect match to one of the images on my recently purchased toile fabric for my kitchen.  And where there is one tacky piece of perfect art, there is always it's mate, and they both came home with me.

They sat in a drawer in my craft room for about 6 months and I decided to take them apart the other day to hopefully inspire my creative juices.  It worked!  And glory be!  All the other owners of tacky art would have taken their mildly hideous pieces home from the competition the minute I walked in with these ugly mutts.  What I found inside was a cheap piece of molded silver plastic so flimsy I could cut it with a pair of scissors.  So I did.

I trimmed the corners, just in case I find a use for the small corner border pieces then cut around the center frame with a ruler and my utility knife.  Did I say "thin piece of molded plastic" because it was a piece of cake to cut.  Each piece of art got a good coat of cream colored spray paint to cover up all the green.  After mere minutes in the Arizona sun these babies were ready for a coat of spray glue on the back and voile'.

I glued them to the inside cabinet on either side of my kitchen sink, let the spray glue dry overnight, then used paintable kitchen caulk around the edge of each picture to ensure the look of a cohesive piece.  When dry, I simple brushed a light coat of the same cabinet paint to give each piece a hint of wood grain. 

A completely new life has been created and I will challenge anyone (who hasn't read this little blurg) to suspect the humble beginnings of these beautiful, custom carvings.

If it weren't for grandma's in the 50's we would actually have to pay real money for real stuff like this.  Thank you grandma. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cheap Art Made Into Something Special

You know the stuff I'm talking about.  The Big Lots, K-mart, Walmart art that you bought for your first apartment.  Yes, the kind of art where the frame is worth more than the picture and that's not saying much.

I found such a piece at Goodwill a while back and while the art had no appeal to me I really liked the mat with the coordinating inner frame.  At the time, my brain was seriously lacking in ideas for this masterpiece and my sanity was a little in doubt as well.  But it all became clear after I returned home from my son's Army Basic Training graduation.

After 10 weeks of absence my first thought upon seeing him was "man, this must agree with you because you look great!"  I was trying to remember when I had ever seen him so happy.  During our visit I managed to snagged one really good photo that clearly emphasized this, and when I returned home I knew it needed a little something different.

My list of ingredients?   A camouflage bandanna, some little wooden stars, a small American flag, string, jewelry wire, scrapbook card stock, an antique angel button, a US ARMY die cut and some customized dog tags I ordered off of eBay.

The Angel button accents Psalm 91: 10-11 printed on card stock and framed is a coordinating decorator fabric that I fringed by pulling out some of the weave.  I made the barbed wire out of gold heavy gauge jewelry that I "dusted" with black spray paint.  The flag, string and die cut were too tidy so I aged them with Distress Ink.

So if you combine this little piece, with all the stickers and magnets on the back of my car, and my t-shirts I think I clearly qualify as going overboard on the Army mom thing.

Pvt G. Sean H., U.S.Army Medical Corps
I'm so very proud of you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Charm Springs Forth

You know all those new houses in those new neighborhoods where all the roofs are the same?  They're all painted the same color and your this close to your neighbor.  We used to live in a neighborhood like that.  The one my brother and sister-in-law lived in was so clone-ish that we would often have trouble finding their house.  That 2 story number that was built behind them finally solved that problem for us, but I don't think they liked the idea that their neighbors could see everything they were doing in their tiny back yard.

The "before"...

I've always loved older houses because they have so much charm.  The Bee Hive had hidden charm from day one.  Our first encounter with our "estate" was a view in the windows that did not reveal the great bones of this place.  We were actually looking at the property across the street and saw a for sale sign in the window.  After making offers on three different houses on that same street before we finally got a home here, and the more homes I see in our 55 plus year old neighborhood the more I realize we really do have a little gem of a house.  I think we ended up with the best of the three we bid on.

and the "after".

So now our new roof is complete and the charm is eye-catching.  I love to sit on the front porch (I think I have porch sores on my behind from being bored there a lot during my recovery) and I notice the drivers and pedestrians turn to look at our place as they go by.  The bright red door is turning even more heads.  Soon the grass will be bright green with the summer irrigation and there is talk of a new fence and improved gate with our neighbors.  Our next step out front...taking out the poor ficus tree that sucummed to severe frost.  You know how harsh the Arizona winters are...whimpy tree.

Friday's are "Wear Red to Support Our Military" days.  We've decided to just go red everyday with our front door and draped our son's Army flag in the window in support of his decision to serve our country.

Before he flew off to basic training, my son and I installed these shutters that I found at Stardust for $4 a piece (see the previous post) and the iron sconces were a 50 cent find at a garage sale.  And we had pretty red candles in the sconces but this is Arizona and they had taken on a graceful curviture before plopping to the patio .  A few more fake candles have been ordered for the summer months.

I just need a few plants for my pots, a new light fixture because I broke the one that was here when we moved in (I was having trouble with Christmas lights.  I still don't know how I broke it), and maybe a porch swing.  Walking up under the shade of our 50 plus year old Laurel tree is already a comforting experience.  A few more special touches and it will be and "oooo, how cute" moment for all of our visitors.

Heres to all of the charming days ahead.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Time To Recover and Re-roof.

Sometimes things are made right but after use and time parts wear out and repairs must be made.  Then again, sometimes things are just done completely wrong from the start and you put up with the stares and the laughs and the embarassment until you just can't take it any more.

The first is me.  I was wonderful and beautifully made by God.  But with time and use some of my parts have expended themselves beyond the point of usefullness.  Recently, my not really needed parts also came under fire from themselves.  As a result...a pretty major surgery, 4 days in the hospital and an extensive recovery at home.  Yes, it was the big "H", and even though I was told how long it would take to recover I knew I was stronger and it wouldn't be nearly that long.  Yeah, right!

The second is our roof.  As a teenager I assisted my parents and siblings in re-roofing the ole' homestead with a new layer of shingles.  Dad handed us a hammer and some nails and showed us how to roof a house.  I'm ashamed to admit that we have lived in this house 2 years and I had never seen the roof until we had wind damage from a recent storm and we were getting an assessment from our friendly neighborhood roofer.

You have got to be KIDDING!  Who in the world put this roof on?!

So.  As I sit here recuperating I get to observe and catalog a few exterior improvements that will make a huge improvement to the integrity and appearance of the house.

The next big project, calling the local water company to tell them what idiots they are because they suggest we neighbors get together and pay someone to come out and fix their broken irrigation system.  You have got to be KIDDING!  What numb-skulls are running the water comany?!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Soft New Look - Recycled Kitchen Project

Finally!  It's seems to have taken forever but I have actually made some progress to the point where I feel like I can share it with you.  My new pantry.  Well, maybe and maybe not.  I haven't decided yet if I will distress the cabinets or not.  If you read my earlier blog you have seen this ugly cabinet.  We did make one attempt at improving these 57 year old cabinets after we moved in.   But we were rushed and never really did like the outcome.  Primer, brown paint and hew hinges were as far as we went.

With a little bit if ingenuity, some glue, recycled faux wood blinds, clamps, black spray paint and a new white finish...voile!

This is the same cabinet, same doors, same hardware.  I found some used 2" textured faux wood blinds and Stardust and framed the cabinet doors.  Window blinds have small holes to accommodate the pull strings so I had to come up with some way to hide these holes. 

I filled the holes with spackling paste then used a stencil and more spackling paste to create a Fleur de lis embossed treatment over the holes.  Those ugly chrome handles...a coat of spray primer and matte finish black paint gave me a more desirable piece of hardware.  Forget spending $3-$5 on new handles.  I spent that much on a can of primer and a can of paint and I'll be able to re-do all 35 kitchen handles and 3 bathroom handles.

The white looks so much bolder and yet somehow softer against the tan paint.

Redecorating can be done very affordably if one is will to think creatively and take the time to measure, cut, glue and paint, paint, paint.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In The Meantime

I'm still doing a lot of work on the kitchen cabinets and waiting until I have made significant progress to post more photos, AND I've been doing more artwork to promote my sponsorship with the Arizona Mounted Cowboy Shooters Association. 

So today I am sharing the latest piece of art that I finished last night.  More crafting an home improvement blogs are on the way.

"Ayla" 16 x 20 Acrylic on Canvas

Happy Thursday everyone.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wedded Bliss

My blessing abound daily.  I am blessed with a wonderful, handsome, caring, funny and generous husband.  On the day of our wedding I wore the gown of my dreams.  As I saw it hanging in my closet this afternoon I thought it would be a pretty thing to blog about, and when I started shooting pictures of it I realized that my "style" hasn't changed much.  I still like pretty, frilly, old fashioned things.

Dave and I were engaged six weeks after we met and we set a date for December which meant we had about 4 months to do everything, including find a dress.  Mom and I hit the bridal shops together one Saturday and at store #3 there it was. was the wrong color (beige) and too expensive.  Once again, the blessings came upon me.  My mother is a seamstress extraordinaire.  When she realized how much I loved the style of the dress she suggested we find a similar pattern at the fabric store and shop for various laces.  Being the seamstress she is, she knows all the best stores to find things like lace, and she pulled the pattern out of the package and proceeded to fold, draw, cut and pin, until we were able to match what we had seen.

Since our wedding was during the Christmas season we incorporated tiny silk burgundy roses and poinsettias in to the dress.

There are, I believe, 9 different kinds of lace on the dress, some of which we could only find in white-white.  We died it with tea so that the dress had the proper Ivory coloring.  We shopped just about every fabric store in the Phoenix metropolitan area to find the perfect fit.

More of the burgundy coloring was added with this satin lace up in the front of the dress.

I love the pretty, puffy lace sleeves.

And the pointed hem-line. 

Mom also included a built in slip, again finished in another type of lace.

If I were to get married today, or maybe just renew my vows with my sweet, giant teddy bear, I would wear this same dress.  I hope that all brides are blessed with the same feeling after taking a walk down memory lane.

Thanks for sharing those memories with me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

You Bought A What?

$8.  That's what this beauty cost me.  Eight lousy bucks that the other guy wouldn't fork out.  The seller told me they were originally asking twice that but they had dropped the price because it was getting late in the day.  (There are advantages to sleeping in sometimes)  Well, it was one of those moments.  "What the heck am I going to do with a Korean War Cluster Bomb Box?"  There was no reason to buy it, and no suggestion in my head that said this was some great antique.  But I HAD to have it.

Check out the cool lettering.

 You know the feeling.  That little voice that just tugs at you and says "Buy it! Buy it!".  

...and the awesome paint drops.

Do you like my "antique" photo effect?

I keep some of my potential projects here until I need them.

The details are amazing.

So, none of my friends have a Korean War Cluster Bomb Box.  No one in my family has a bomb box.  Nonetheless, I found out when I got home that it was, in fact, a great purchase because my 21 year old son said "Coooo-ooooool".  That's all one needs to hear when ones actions make them start to think that they have early onset dementia.

There is so much great stuff out there.  And if you sleep in and think it's too late to hit the yard/garage/rummage sales on a Saturday, maybe it's not.  I'm just glad I could help those folks out by taking this crazy thing off their hands.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Throw Something!

That's right.  Throw things all you want.  Why not throw cheap things.  Then you can throw things and not feel guilty.  Of course, with this kind of throwing you won't feel bad anyway. 

Most of our furniture is either hand-me-down, yard sale, or thrift store purchased.  With all this mix and match one might think they can't have a nicely coordinated decor.  Ha!  If you have recycled furniture of any type, try throwing it. 

A Pretty New Corner

Two Goodwill blankets dressed this ugly recliner up so much that even my husband, who looks at furniture only as a means to watch football, made a positive comment after I had fancified it.  Each throw cost $3.  The pillow is a Christmas pillow that my mother made that I turned around after the holiday.  About 15 minutes after I very carefully put this little corner together, our cat, Booger, jumped up and initiated the "new" chair with a nap.

This is what the ugly chair really looks like.

So why not rethink buying new or coordinated furniture.  Pick up a few blankets and give your old junk a whole new look.

Post Script 1/17/10 
Um, some one needs to tell my cats it's the same stupid chair we have alway had.  They are fighting over it now.

Post Script 1/21/10
It has also become a play platform for Bryndal & Booger
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