junk

Time to Refresh

It’s been a very busy spring and with the warmer weather I’ve been outside playing with dirt – literally.  Planting, creating new garden beds, hauling rocks, hauling mulch, deliberating on which potted plants I want to put out on the deck and porch.  The potted plants reminded me of this old plant stand I’ve had for a number of years.

the original planter

(It sits level.  I just took a crooked picture!)  Green may be the color of the year, I’m no longer feeling it and since I’m no longer using it I’ve decided to sell it.  However, I felt a new color scheme was needed to freshen it up.  It’s metal and can be used indoors or out so first I gave it a coat of spray primer.

Rustoleum for a base…

Looking better already!

 

Then I decided an ocean blue and white color scheme would really set off the style of the planter and complement any potted plant.  The trick was covering those metal flowers to keep them white while spraying on the blue.

very crisp and clean in blue and white…

So much better.  Now I think someone would buy it and give it a good home.

 

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Tisket, Tasket, Updated Basket

So, I was making my way across Wal Mart from the paint department (can’t beat the price on spray paint!) to the crafts department (hey, sometimes they have supplies cheaper than the craft stores), when I spied these chicken wire baskets.

the front side of the original basket

the front side of the original basket

side view of the original basket

side view of the original basket

Now, farmhouse is not my style — mostly because I don’t live in a farmhouse — and black and white are not my color scheme in any room, but the size was perfect and they had been marked down to the fabulouso price of $6.  I could make them fit into my house with a little paint — especially since I knew I already had paint on hand.  Since the liners were ivory and not pure white, I started with a base of ivory paint.

Then I covered roughly the upper half of the baskets and used my TintIt spray for a slight ombre effect on the bottom half of the baskets.

done...

done…

and done - for now

and done – for now

I considered adding some painted or driftwood stained wood shims for a lobster trap look, but for now I’m liking the coastal color vibe look just fine.  A little paint creates designer chic.

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Keeping the Moet Champagne on the Counter

People who actually cook – not just open a can and pour into a pot, put a plate in the microwave, or plate deli-ready or takeout – have tools of the trade that don’t fit in kitchen drawers.  They still need to be stored in some way yet be easily accessible for use.  Using a cupboard wastes space for pots and pans.  Hanging on the backsplash isn’t always possible — especially if there’s brick or tile.  Besides, that still uses a lot of space and not so tidy.

I used to use this stoneware jar.  It was kept on my baker’s rack in the last kitchen, then on the counter next to the stove in the present kitchen.

my original 'tool' bucket from the nursery department

my original ‘tool’ bucket from the nursery department

However, I outgrew the space when I added some tools, so I went rummaging in my house and found an old champagne bucket.  I’ve never used it for champagne.  Only people in the movies actually use them.  Got so excited that I forgot to take a ‘before’ picture.  It looked like plain aluminum.  Grabbed my copper spray paint.  I covered the ‘label’ and kept the inside unpainted.

a little bigger, but it holds everything

a little bigger, but it holds everything

This bucket helps corral all the wooden utensils, the long-handled and odd-shaped ones, the whisks and hand blender…Because these utensils don’t fit easily in any kitchen drawer.

 

 

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From Meh to Whoa!

Somewhere along the way I picked up these plain wood candlesticks (for free).  I never planned on using them ‘as is’, but I waited until I had an aha! moment.

the original candlesticks

the original candlesticks

They looked like they’re stained, but in fact the finish was paint.  While I adore tinted mercury glass, I knew the look couldn’t quite be achieved with these candle holders, my goal was for a colored glass look.  So first I sprayed them with shiny silver paint.

this is first silver coat - with the reflection of the glass lamp on them

this is first silver coat – with the reflection of the glass lamp on them

Then I took my Jade Tint It spray paint and lightly coated the silver, leaving the silver untouched around the top edge and cup portion of the holders.

Design Master Tint It spray paint

this paint is great for sheer color…

 

the candlestick on the left is tinted lightly

the candlestick on the left is tinted lightly

I deliberately tinted lightly so that the silver base coat would be seen.  The final coat was Krylon’s Triple Thick Glaze which gave it the glass look.  (so much easier than using resins)  Here they are sitting next to one of my colored glass lamps.

 

What a difference! The shine! And they look like heavy metal/glass candlesticks!

What a difference! The shine! And they look like heavy metal/glass candlesticks!

 

A perfect match!  And here they are gracing the dining room winter tablescape.

tablescape-copy

 

 

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Christmas Decorating Practically for Free!

Decorating for the season doesn’t have to be expensive.  First, there are all the markdowns after Christmas to buy ornaments and whatnot for the next year.  Then there’s everything you can score for free, like this basket.

 

basket-copy

So I painted it, first with a wash of color on the wicker using watered down craft acrylic paint to make a teal color.  Wasn’t fully pleased with the tones on the wicker, so I added a dry brush of white.

finalbasket-copyBetter.

Then I put a cheap $4 garland in it.  Then I added some driftwood I scored at a garage sale for $2 (didn’t even use all the driftwood) and a $1 set of mini string lights (from the Dollar Store).  Don’t have a fireplace so this was something to give the feel of a winter fire.  If you don’t have any logs, find some thick branches and cut to size.

 

logs-copy

Last year I scored these reindeer at the local thrift store for $2 (for both – there was a 50% sale that day).  Added a little ribbon, a cheap cheap garland from the Dollar Store, cluster lights I already had (bought at the Dollar Store for 50 cents!) and a puffy snowball type of floral ($2.50 on sale) for another little Christmas/winter scene.

 

reindeer-copyAnd here they are all lit up.

 

litlogs-copylitdeer-copy

In a front window where my window seat exists, I put up another scene.  I scaled back this year and only used the mini tree and lamp post.  Usually I have two Victorian carolers alongside them.  The mini tree is actually the top section of a large artificial tree I had gotten for free that’s stuffed inside a decorative container I bought years ago at a craft fair (maybe $8).  The lamp post came from another craft fair (about $12 all decorated!) years ago as well.  Cheap string lights are all that’s needed on this tree – which I don’t bother stringing year after year.  I just fold it all up and toss it in a box.

litminitree-copy

Since I now put up a fake tree, I miss the smell of fresh pine.  Sure you could spend money on those Scenticles, but free is better.  So off to Home Depot and Lowes I go about 2 weeks prior to Christmas and scavenge all the cut branches they pile from trimming the real trees that people buy.  I try to find a variety of pines – and take as much as I can find.  They’re all free for the taking.  Check out any lot that sells trees to collect branches.

One arrangement sits in an old galvanized bucket that I covered with burlap I already had (just use a rubber band to hold it around the bucket).  The branches came from my yard (free) which I painted white (paint already on hand).  Then I found these acrylic snowflake ornaments (Micheal’s) which I scored for $1 (on sale).

lvngromgreens-copy

The other arrangement I keep in the kitchen.  The snowman hat I scored at Michael’s for 70% off so it was a steal.  I stuff all the greenery and branches in a plastic container inside both the bucket and hat so that they stay fresh all winter.

snowmangreens-copy

Once the Christmas decor gets put away I still have winter decor with these two arrangements.  If you put up a live tree, just cut branches off it before you toss the tree to make winter arrangements.  It’s what I used to do when I put up live trees so that the house didn’t feel so bare once the holidays passed.  The neighbors probably thought I was a little nuts cutting up a tree after Christmas, but hey, it was still winter…

Now that’s how to do Christmas decorating on the cheap without looking cheap.

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Is It Bigger Than a Bread Box?

So I found this old wood bread box for free (my favorite kind of sale).

this is the original breadbox I started with...

the original freebie I started with…

check out the roomy interior

check out the roomy interior

Using it as a bread box isn’t a good idea where I live because the bread will become moldy before I finish it, but I thought it would make a great mail station. So first I painted it a creamy white so that it wouldn’t stand out too much on the kitchen counter. Then I started designing my transfers.

First I found an image that said Postcards for the top. Then on my computer I created an old postmark and return addresses from friends and family over the years. Transferring these images was a bit tricky.

the top of the box

the top of the box

While I experimented with different techniques on a painted wooden piece I plan to repaint, for unknown reasons it just wasn’t working the same on the bread box, which meant repainting the base — several times. Some images I printed on waxed paper and transferred by using a damp sponge on the painted box, laying the image face down on it and using a credit card rubbing the back side of the paper. Others I made laser copies and used my heat tool. Don’t even ask me why one technique didn’t work for all the images. I still don’t know.

...and here's the entire front and top

…and here’s the entire front with postmark and return labels

I even found some old postcards that I transferred to the sides of the box.

this is one side view

this is one side view

So now I have a place to hide all the mail that looks neater than laying in an open basket.  Now that it’s been sitting around for a few months, I’m thinking of repainting it.  At least now I know the best ways to transfer the designs…

 

 

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Every Day is a Dog’s Day

Well, the dog days of summer have already arrived for us humans. For dogs, every day is a dog day and even dogs deserve to dine in style.

As my little guy got older, I felt bad that he had to lean his head so far down to eat and thought he deserved to have his bowls somewhat higher to make his life easier. I once had a tray table like this that I pitched in one of my moves. (Didn’t think I’d still use it, silly me.)

basic tray table

basic tray table

So during garage sale season I searched for another ($2) to use for his bowls. The flat surface of this one was shiny, but hey, they say chalk paint can be used on any surface…I scuffed the surface slightly with very fine sandpaper just to ensure some grit.

While they say dogs don’t see colors the same way that people do, they can make out shapes and I wanted this table to be undeniably for the four-legged one.

First I made a stencil of a dog bone shape using the paper tape method and using his bone shaped bowls as a template. Then I had a store-bought stencil of a paw print, which along with creating letters on my computer, I used to stencil the word ‘woof’ on the top of the bone. Clever me.

close up of the table top

close up of the table top

The table top is in a light blue, which is also the base color of the trim and stand.  The stand also got touches of the green, along with a little ivory and pink (for that ‘shabby’ feeling).

the finished table

the finished table

While the word ‘woof’ isn’t visible once the food and water bowls are on the table, it’s apparent to everyone that this table clearly belongs to the dog.

 

 

 

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An Endless Summer Globe

While stores may be having Christmas in July sales, no one is putting up wintery decorations.  It’s summer (in the northern hemisphere) and hot and one of the ways to keep cool is going to the beach and jumping in the water.  So instead of displaying a snow globe, make yourself a beach globe.

I made this one some years ago, so I don’t have any step by step pictures.  I used sand from a favorite beach, shells I’ve collected over the years, and even added some small glass beads from the jewelry department at the craft store to imitate sea glass which I’ve never found before others.

My personal piece of the beach

My personal piece of the beach

What you need:
A clear glass globe fixture
Sand (or table salt)
Shells
Styrofoam or thick cork tiles
Glue
Twine
Ribbon
Felt

Optional:
Sandpaper
Seaglass

Creating the base:
First you want to make the base for the sand globe using the Styrofoam or cork.  I used styrofoam – the kind that used for packing electronics, small appliances, not the more porous kind found in craft stores.  Place the open side of the globe on the foam and trace the opening.  You will actually cut inside this line to fit just inside the rim so that you will create a tight seal.  Then cut another circle about 1-1 ½” wider than the original circle.  You want this piece to be at least as wide as the globe itself for stability and proportion.

Center the small circle on the wider one and glue.  Let this dry thoroughly.  I added a circle of sandpaper to put on top of the smaller circle to that when I move the globe around to rearrange the globe contents, the white Styrofoam was camouflaged.

Filling the globe:

0aee19c3-be45-42ef-bb88-5d9303de984a_400

These globe fixtures are pretty generic across suppliers.

These clear glass globe fixtures can be found cheaply (I originally paid $4.) at the big box hardware stores, thrift stores, Habitat, even at garage sales.  First add shells you have collected from beaches visited.  Even broken shells (for beachy authenticity).  Have friends and neighbors collect them for you when they go on vacation.  If you haven’t collected any, the craft stores and online sites have shells you can buy.  Add any beach glass or pebbles, even small pieces of driftwood found on the beach.

Next, add your sand.  If you haven’t collected any yourself, ask someone else going to the beach to collect some for you, or raid a child’s sandbox for play sand.  If these aren’t options, then buy some sandbox play sand or go to the craft store and buy some craft sand.  You can even use salt to imitate ‘sugar sand beaches’.  Do not use sugar.  You only need 2-3 cups of sand.  There is no need to completely fill the globe.

Putting it together:
Once your happy with the amount of shells and sand, add glue to the sides of the small base circle and fit inside the globe opening.  Let dry thoroughly before turning it over.

Finishing details:
Wrap twine around the base to complete the nautical look, then add the ribbon of your choice around the bottom of the globe to hide the inner part of the base.  Cut a circle of felt to put on the bottom of the base for the finishing touch.

globebase.jpg

Here’s a closeup of the finished base wrapped in twine and tied with a ribbon bow.

Now you have your own personal beach to tuck inside your home.  Shake it up to arrange and rearrange the shell mixture inside whenever you feel the need for summer and sand.

 

Here's another view of the finished Beach Globe.

Here’s another view of the finished Beach Globe. As you can see, some of the sand is still sticking to the glass from the last time it was shaken.

 

Best of all, this ‘snowglobe’ can be displayed year-round to remind you of summer memories.

 

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Lighting Effects on the Deck

There are numerous ways to add lighting for your yard, deck, patio.  Magazines, websites and blogs are full of ideas for adding a touch of atmosphere for relaxing or partying outside.  I’d seen an idea using cheap solar lights and decided to tweak it to suit my style.

First, grab a hanging basket of your choice that has a center ring like this one:

DSCN1693

Since I have a stash of baskets I’ve collected (mostly from garage sales), this cost me nothing.  Since I wanted to create ambiance, more than bright light, I took salsa jars and painted them with Design Master Tint It in a color called Jade, which is actually a light turquoise color as opposed to green.  It’s made for porous surfaces like fabric and wood not made for glass, but I was looking for sheer color and I didn’t want to use some other paint that needed to be baked in the oven since the weather was hot when I did this last year.

Design Master Tint It spray paint

This paint worked just fine on glass.  The trick is spraying thinly and evenly, can quickly get cleaned off if you overspray, but it does dry quickly.  I added a clear sealer.  You can use any other glass paint, even alcohol inks (so long as you add a sealant) if you can’t find colored jars you like.

Then I turned the basket upside down and using thin copper wire, attached the jars to the inner ring of the basket.  (I forgot to take picture in all my excitement!)  Next I took the takes off some cheap solar lights and plopped them in the jars.  The ones I used were $4.00 since I needed the rim of the lights to ‘balance’ on top of the jars without falling in.  The $1 lights were too narrow in diameter for the jars.

Then I hung them using the attached chains from the basket on four corners of the deck.

DIY solar hanging light

Here’s another pic showing it lit:

DIY hanging solar light

It creates customized light for minimal expense.  Once I clean up the deck I’m planning on adding LED string lights under the top of the railing.  For now, I have soft mood lighting.

 

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Walking the Beach

Some people are fortunate to live where they can walk the beach barefoot all year long.  Where I live, you’ll freeze your tootsies in winter if you’re barefoot.  And this spring, there haven’t been many days warm enough to wear flip-flops (until this weekend), so we need shoes.  Shoes fit for traipsing across the dunes to get to the water’s edge, but lightweight enough to be the next best thing to barefoot.  L.A. Gear made a pair that were my fave.  They went out of business for a while.  Then Hanes was making a pair they actually called Beachcomber.  They’ve been discontinued also.  Still I’ve managed to find a pair of lightweight casual canvas sneakers.

As they got worn and dingy, I decided to try an experiment.  I’d been using textile paints on denim, so I thought I’d try painting my sneaks.

My first painted pair I called sunset palms.  Yeah, the sunset is a bit reversed (the purple should be at the top), but that ‘s just my style.  I wore the heck out of them.

Paint your own sneakers: sunset palms

Anyone can paint a sunset.  It’s broad horizontal strokes and blending.  I used my Jacquard Opaque Textile paints for them.  They need to be heat set, but since using an iron would have been tricky, I just used my blow dryer on high setting.  It worked.  Got those sneaks wet and the paint held.

Rather than doing another sunset, on the next pair I decided to do a beach scene.  I even used the colorless sparkling paint to mimic the wet sand as the waves rolled in.

DIY Walking the Beach sneakers

Once again, beach scenes are very easy to do — for a big impact.  These are great for getting to and from the beach and easy to fit in pockets or tote while on the sand.  They’ll even look great walking around town in the summer — or on the tennis court.  I’ve been wearing out this pair too.  Haven’t decided how to paint the next pair, but I’ll probably need more paint since I used up the last of these colors.

No need to spend big bucks on store-bought colorful sneakers.  Paint your own!

 

 

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