Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ta Da!

My YouTube video is finally available for viewing. I demonstrate how to drill silver-plate to make the Domino Clock project from our book. I also show you how to make a darling fork easel I originally saw in a Romantic Homes magazine. There is a link on the side of the blog. Enjoy! -- Lisa

PS It is amazing what good editing can accomplish! Ha!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The comfort of glitter

With all the harsh news we see, hear and read about, here is something that cheers me up. I rescued this silver holder from Westminster Lace's going out of business sale a million years ago. Last year I started amassing a nice variety of glass glitter colors. When I figured out these glass jars, that I also had on hand, fit in the little cubbies, I was in business. It's nearly a work of art, and handy to use too. -- Beth

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We're on a roll!

Our kitchen is done, so we're working on the upstairs part of our nest. Here are my dream colors for a bedroom and the adjacent bathroom. It started with that cream and robin's egg blue wreath. This shade of blue is really talking to me. I even found a small Christmas tree on sale at Joyworks, to add to the Christmas fun in this area next December.

Let's start with the bathroom. This stencil design was in the house when we moved in nearly 12 years ago. I let it live in peace for too long.

The counter tiles had been painted over. If you are thinking of trying this as a low cost alternative to replacing the tiles, my advice is put that paint brush down. Even with gentle cleaning, the paint has worn away.

Good looking grey tiles emerged after the paint was scraped off. The paint that was stuck to the grout was really annoying to remove.

Micah to the rescue with the Dremel and its metal wire brush attachment. If you need painting or handyman work done, you can contact him at

Shiny brass fixtures abound in this room. Here I am toning them down with white spray paint. Spray paint is evil stuff, but it sure is handy when it comes to covering metal. I'll paint them again with a brush and add a couple of shades of white in streaky layers.

So far, nothing has been thrown out! -- Beth

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Plastic Bag Pom Poms & a Swell Gift

I recently received THE MOST THOUGHTFUL GIFT from our friend Jill, who lives in Aix en Provence. She let me know to be on the lookout for a package she had sent to the studio in December. After a thought or two that it might have disappeared for the time being, this week it arrived. I am equally thrilled with the presentation and the contents.

The bow is a pom pom made from plastic bags! How great is that. She shares the how to at her blog, LeTrip.

Here is the gift - a lovely vintage French print of bird baths along with some garden architecture. Getting this framed and on my freshly painted walls will jet to the front of the projects-to-do line.

And her gift card touched my heart: "Merry Christmas to the recycled birdbath queen and her king! Sending you love from Provence and best wishes for 2009! Jill". (She's such a good friend that she even watched the You Tube video of my efforts to transfer a table lamp into a bird bath.)
I hope you get something special in the mail this week too. -- Beth

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snohomish Adventure

Last Friday was spent playing in Snohomish with my friend bj. We started our play date with our belated Christmas presents exchange. I received several treats from bj, but this hand towel she embroidered was certainly my favorite!

Our first stop was the Snohomish Pie Company to buy an ABC (apple berry
crumb) pie to take home. Yummers.

We hit the bonanza at Joyworks and got to chat with our customer friend Jana and her mom, Clarice. They were just home from the Atlanta gift show where they shopped 8 to 10 hours a day for over a week. No wonder their shop always has such snappy stuff. Their displays were being updated, yet I couldn't resist taking a picture of this window arrangement of theirs.

Funny how the baby stuff catches your eye when you are a grandma-to-be.

Next up was Faded Elegance. I hadn't been to their new digs yet - what a gorgeous building they are in. Here are some wonderful bracelets in another customer friend's booth.

Mary took the found objects bracelet workshop at the studio, and obviously graduated with straight A's! I loved her creations.

Also in Faded Elegance is Debi Ward Kennedy's enchanting booth. An absolute confection of creams, blacks and pinks. Sadly, my camera battery was not prepared for such an eye candy day, and retired way too soon.

Next time I visit Snohomish, I'll make sure that battery is charged to the brim. -- Beth

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lisa is a genius!

Lisa is updating her bathroom and shared this BRILLIANT idea for a towel rack using a vintage floor lamp; the kind with three arms in addition to the center glass globe. She has one you will see one day soon in her spiffied up bathroom.

I had to copy her as soon as possible. And I love a project that is nearly instant gratification. I had this lamp on hand.

The three cardboard tubes covering the sockets for the three arms were too ratty for even my imperfect-loving taste. Using Elmer’s glue, I covered them with pages from a French gardening book I had brought back from Paris a couple of years ago.
The pages startled to wrinkle, so I created more wrinkles!
The next day after the glue was totally dry, I slipped the covers back into place and hung a hand towel on one arm. Now I have the center glass globe to fill with seasonal décor. -- Beth

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Prejudice and Pride Exhibit

Please mark your calendars to attend this moving art show created by our friend, Julie Sotomura. She is honoring her mother, who was interned during World War II, along with so many others. We are so proud of Julie for sharing their stories in such a powerful and beautiful way.

A photography exhibit honoring Japanese Americans held in internment camps in the U.S. during World War II opens at KOBO Gallery at Higo in Seattle’s International District on January 26, 2009.

The exhibit runs at KOBO Gallery at Higo in Seattle’s International District, January 26 – February 7, 2009, with an opening reception on February 1, 2009 from 1– 5 pm.
“Prejudice and Pride, the Faces of Executive Order 9066” January 26 – February 7, 2009 KOBO Gallery at Higo 602-608 S. Jackson St, Seattle Hours: Mon – Sat, 11am – 6pm; Sun noon – 5pm

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Everett Library Book Gig Sunday

Beth, Amy and I will be presenting a show and tell at the Everett Library, Sunday, January 25 at 2pm. Our topic will be Organizing Salvage Studio Style and we will have some of the projects from our book "The Salvage Studio: Sustainable Home Comforts to Organize, Entertain and Inspire". We will also be selling and autographing copies of our book. Hope to see you there.

Friday, January 23, 2009

One more reason to love vinegar...

A good customer friend of ours, Laura, loves shelter magazines. She passes them along to us when she is through with them, and then we take turns looking at them. They are little stacks of gold - lots of issues that are still on the newsstands. While reading one of the This Old House issues, I ran across a new use for vinegar - spray it on wallpaper you want to strip from your walls. With the success of the kitchen wall update still making us smile, my husband, Raoul, and I have decided to tackle the master bath walls. This paper is stubborn. The top vinyl layer comes off easily, but the bottom layer doesn't.

We keep a spray bottle filled with straight vinegar for cleaning, so it was ready to go and hit the ornery wallpaper. It works!
And we don't have to worry about inhaling any unhealthy chemical products, especially since this is so close to the master bedroom.
I'm grateful for friends who share their magazines, cheap gallons of vinegar from Costco, and a husband with a passion for eliminating wallpaper from our house! -- Beth

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Do you need to organize, or SHED?

A constant battle in my life is staying organized. So this excerpt from Julie Morgenstern’s new book, When Organizing Isn’t Enough: SHED your Stuff, Change Your Life, really caught my eye.


1. You organize to become more efficient. You SHED to get unstuck.
2. Organizing gives you access to what’s most important to you. SHEDing is a process for discovering what’s most important to you.
3. It’s possible to get organized without getting rid of anything. It’s impossible to SHED without letting things go.”


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let your keyboard do the walking!

I have had it with multiple phone books showing up on our doorsteps at home and at the studio. They make a good surface for drilling and pounding things, but one is plenty for this purpose! I am signing up on Yellow Pages Goes Green to stop these unsolicited deliveries. -- Beth
Me, too! -- Lisa

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Vision Board

I got a bit behind on blogging this last week because I was busy on our kitchen update. It was time for the stale wallpaper to go. My husband, Raoul, and I removed 99% of it, and left the extra-stubborn stuff for Micah to remove. Then while he painted, I created a gigantic ribbon board to serve as our vision board. We'll put words and pictures of our dreams and goals there - places we want to visit, art retreats where I want to teach, ideas for our dream green home when we are ready to downsize.

I had this monster picture I found at an estate sale.

I spent a whopping $2.00 for it.

The frame was painted really lightly with white paint I had on hand. The other frame will hold a chalkboard.

Foam core and quilt batting was hot glued to the picture. Then it was time to find the fabric I had in mind. I've had a little fabric fetish in the past and am proud to report, I have limited my acquisitions to these 12 plastic boxes, organized by color. They are stacked in a closet. Of course the fabric was in the 12th box.

Here's the finished piece - ready to hang on our freshly painted walls.

The usefulness of being an organized packrat was totally reinforced by this project. I had every component on hand. Also, a make do attitude came in handy. -- Beth

Monday, January 19, 2009

Furniture Test Drive Part 2

Our customer, Sabra, was back on Saturday to try out this rattan couch some more. Her adorable dog, Olive, came along to offer her opinion as well. It looks like they both are quite comfortable!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This past Christmas as I was buying presents for friends and family, I bought a present for myself. I belong to a book club that always has an amazing sale at the end of the calendar year so I bought myself a treat – and quite the treat it was! The book Restoration Home by Mark and Sally Bailey is a guide to using what is in your house/home to its best advantage – obviously right up my alley. Their look is very raw and minimal but the textures, colors and shapes are beautiful. The couple living in England has spent the last 25 years promoting their “recycled” look. While I was living in England in the late 1990’s, I did see this minimalist trend emerging – probably a backlash to the traditional English style of layer upon layer of fabrics coupled with ornate carved wood furniture.

The photography in the book is gorgeous too – and the front cover really captures their design viewpoint. I love using the worn wood pallets to display dishes…I’ll have to ask at work tomorrow what they do with all of those shipping pallets… - Amy

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Furniture Test Drive at the Studio

Our customers, Sabra in the middle, with her daughter, Paloma on the left, along with Lisa doing a test drive of a five piece rattan set at the studio. We told them we’d hold the set for them for a week, so they could think about it without any pressure. Although, Sabra looks pretty relaxed in this shot! -- Beth and Lisa

Friday, January 9, 2009

Nature's Decoration

I put on my rain gear yesterday and trekked back to our swale to check on the water flow because of the downpour of rain this week. So while I was bundled up I took a quick tour of the garden and I found this little treasure. Helleborus niger, also know as Christmas Rose, had popped up during all that cold and snow and was putting on a show.

It is part of a planting in the Sunset Garden joining a small maple tree and some ornamental grasses in an oxblood red container. It is a bright spot on a cloudy day.

During the heavy snow, we had lost a branch from our Cedrus atlantica in the front garden. It is a stunning tree full of wildlife all year round. Part of the attraction are these darling cones. They sit on the tops of the branches and look like a neighborhood full of happy, chubby people.
I gathered all the cones from the fallen branch (before the squirrels did!) and placed them in this hypertufa bowl I had in the garden.
You can't get much better than nature for decor! -- Lisa

Thursday, January 8, 2009


It is taking me forever and a day to undecorate our house this week. I love putting the Christmas decorations out, but it doesn’t work the same way in reverse. Most everything is back in their storage tubs. Our holiday season was terrific. And I’m ready to put all the extra hubbub behind me. Yet as I start to gather our everyday decorations to find new nooks and crannies to arrange them in, I stop dead in my tracks. I want to get that stale wallpaper off of the kitchen walls. I am bored with some wall stenciling done years ago. A bedroom set would look better painted cream. I received one of Lulu’s gorgeous wreaths with my new favorite shade of blue for Christmas. So now I want a whole bedroom to reinvent itself to complement the wreath! I’m looking at creating even more hubbub.

Here is our living room mantle. The mirror and the candleholder I fashioned from an old lamp will stay. I put the urn there for the sake of the picture. The usual suspects will not be returning to their home there. Creating a new vignette on the mantle will be easy and fun. Stripping wallpaper is not fun. But I have Micah scheduled to start that project on Monday. I’ll keep you posted. -- Beth