Friday, January 29, 2010

Look What I Made

I am delighted with this new cloche/tray I recently created.
I rescued this ceiling light fixture from a free pile ages ago. Some of the glass panels were broken, so I removed all of the survivors to get this frame.
Once it was turned upside down, I saw it would be sort of a cloche.
I fiddled around with my stash of silver-plate trays until I found one that would slide in through the flat side. I drilled a whole in the middle of the tray so it would attach with the existing hardware.
This is so unlike me, but I actually made a pattern of the bottom of the tray, folded it into fourths, and made my center hole. Usually I belong to the let's-eyeball-it-school. A pilot dimple of sorts was made with a nail and hammer, and then I drilled a big center hole with my hand-held drill.
There was an opening at the top of the dome, which begged for a knob or handle of some sorts. I attached this over-the-top lamp finial with some lamp washers and a nut.
I'm thinking it will corral my fabric flower pins and corsages. But so far, I'm not ready to cover an inch of it up! -- Beth

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What to do with vintage frames

This wall used to be covered with angel and madonna prints. I was ready for a cleaner look. In no time flat, I hung this collection of empty vintage frames. So easy! -- Beth

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Crazy Crochet

Crazy Crochet! Our dear friend Cindy is teaching a fun class this Saturday in Edmonds at the ArtHouse Mosiac Studio (in their new location at 610 5th Ave S).  I am signed up and can't wait.

Cindy co-hosted the ArtParty with us last year and is a ton of fun and a great teacher.

Visit her blog, Artgirl Island, for more details and if you are aren't busy this Saturday, sign-up and join us! -- Lisa

Monday, January 25, 2010

My New Favorite Smudging Product

I glean so many useful ideas and tips from reading blogs.  When Heather Bullard suggested this product, I wrote it down.  I found myself at Lowe’s multiple times last week and bought this antiquing glaze made by their house brand, Valspar.  Heather’s had been American Tradition, another Lowe’s product.  The clerk helped me look for it to no avail.  So I went with the Valspar and was extremely pleased with the results.  A little went a long way when applied with this section of an old sock.  I’ve tried thinning paints, shoe polish and other ways to make painted things look more aged.  The consistency of this glaze was dreamy.  It spread and spread and spread where I wanted.

This vintage bench was shades of dark red originally.  When I painted it off-white, I used only one coat and tried not to fill in all the nooks and crannies.  After it dried, it looked too new.  This antiquing glaze gave it the perfect smudged look.  Thanks Heather!  -- Beth

Friday, January 22, 2010

Freshed Up Front Porch

We have a gigantic porch.  It is fairly well protected from the weather and it is a whole lot of fun to decorate!  It was dressed to the nines for the holidays.  Once that got all put away, it was time for a simpler look.  I had lots of red pieces before.  Here it is looking quite patriotic. Whites and creams are calling my name these days.  Between the Barn House boys and Rachel Ashwell’s new Shabby Chic look influencing me, I am embracing neutrals more and more.

The shorter white table moved from inside the house to the outside.  I’m happy with how its’ shape pops against the grey wall and cement landing.

The rocker and bench went from red painted finishes to off white.  In the next post, I’ll show my favorite new product for smudging up the finish just right.

And my porch’s new look has come in very handy as a backdrop for shooting pictures of outdoor entertaining pieces I am including in the presentation for the Flower and Garden Show.  I have tried taking pictures on our open deck and found the weather challenging, if not darn right uncooperative.  One morning was clear but the wood deck was doubling as a skating rink.  Today we woke up to find it covered in fir needles and debris from a wind storm.

So yippee, for that nice, covered porch! -- Beth

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Recycling Styrofoam

While reading Rob’s blog, I was happy to learn about a local resource that accepts styrofoam for recycling.  Styro Recycle, is located near the Renton Ikea and has drop off centers at Ikea and other locations.  Please visit their website for all the useful details.  They will take all those big pieces that are included as packaging, as well as the smaller peanuts.

I have had good luck donating my styrofoam peanuts to shipping businesses close to my home, like PostNet, for their use.  But it is great to know where those larger styrofoam pieces can be recycled.  And who doesn’t want to visit Ikea every now and then?! -- Beth

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Over 40 (Years of Friendship) Friends

I have a wonderful tradition with these high school friends of mine. We set aside the third Sunday of January every year to have lunch and get caught up with each other. We have been friends for a long time. I met Jeanette (on the left) our freshmen year of high school. Laurie (in the middle) and I went to the same grade school. It is really hard to believe we graduated from high school FORTY years ago! Our group used to be larger. One friend drifted away. One moved to Colorado. And our fourth friend, Renee, was unable to join us this year, but we hope to see her next year. I am very grateful for such good friends. -- Beth

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Clearing my Head

I walk five or six mornings a week.  It started as a way to exercise.  No fancy equipment needed or special outfits required other than something waterproof, and I can do it at the times I choose.  After a while, I realized how this ritual cleared my head.

Currently I walk the same route every day.  I have not experienced a labyrinth, where you walk in that spiral form for meditation.  But I think my routine has created a similar sense of calm.  Some days I start off being peeved about something or another.  Then I get distracted by listening to the birds or watching the clouds in the sky.  Once in a while, I forget my gloves, so my mind spends too much time being aware of freezing fingers.  Some days I get brilliant ideas.  More days than not, I can’t remember everything I thought about during my walk.  Those are the best walks.

Today as I returned home, blue skies emerged.  It had been an especially wonderful walk.  -- Beth

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Flower & Garden Show Sneak Peek

I am very excited and honored to be speaking at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show on Friday, Feb. 5 at 12:30 p.m. in the Hood Room.  I’ll be showing pictures and talking about Outdoor Entertaining Salvage Style.  Today I made some serving pieces for a photo shoot on our deck.  The bowl parts are ceiling fixture glass shades – perfect for this project because the center hole is already made.  And they can be found at thrift stores in some kicky patterns.

For the bases, I had these wood basket things, that I painted with a thin coat of white.  Even though I made pilot holes before drilling, one got a big crack.  Oh well.

I used extra lamp parts to connect everything together.  Lamps are the best organ donors ever for these sorts of projects!  I used a small section of threaded rod, a lamp nut and a vintage finial.

This tool box works really well for organizing all those swell lamp pieces.

Now to wait for a few hours of simultaneous daylight and no rain for some picture taking outside.   Wish me luck on that part! -- Beth

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Painted Lampshade Do's & Don'ts

I decided to try painting this lampshade that had some unpleasant dark spots all over it.  Since I had to paint some wood molding pieces for our bath remodeling project (soon to have it’s one year anniversary of duration) I used the same brush and cream-colored latex paint for the shade.

 I am happy with the streaky effect, and the way the paint mottled with all the stains.

Some of the panels of the shade have this oval design because the inside and outside layers of fabric on the shade got stuck together.  I’m working on embracing that look.  Next time I would try to separate the layers before they dried.  Spray paint would have worked, but I try to avoid using it.  That nasty empty can going into the garbage is a huge issue for me.

I can be a scaredy cat about some things (head stands in yoga, going off of diving boards), but I am fearless with something like painting a lampshade or cutting up a sweater.  I figure I have nothing to lose.  It’s a thing that can be reused some other way, even if my first idea is a dud.

The lamp base came from the Goodwill.  These monster, plaster-filled bases are plentiful, and usually come painted in colors that need covering.  I kept adding layers of paint, and wiping some paint off until the right look showed up.  I don’t take any chances with old lamps and their wiring.  It’s easy to pop in a new socket, cord and plug.

On these dark and rainy days, a new lamp is a welcome addition. -- Beth

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What to do with a Stretchy Sweater

This sweater is at least 11 years old, and used to be about half this size. It continues to expand sideways. And I decided midway through last year, that my body was going to go the other direction! I was ready to donate the sweater to the Goodwill, when I had an idea to transform it into a skirt.

Here’s the sweater. First, I cut off the arms and cowl neck part. Then I straightened the edges into sort of an a-line. I don’t own a serger, so my plan was to zigzag the seam edges first with my sewing machine from the 1950’s. The edges came out ruffled. I was cranky for a few seconds, then decided I would have the seams be on the outside, and be a design element. For the waist, I simply folded the sweater over, and stitched the edge to form a tube for an elastic waistband. The hem of the skirt was the bottom hem of the sweater. To make it more ruffled, I zigzagged that edge while slightly stretching the fabric.

I am darn pleased with my new skirt. I’ll wear it with tights and some boots. Now to alter some sweaters for tops!

I have a huge girl crush on Natalie Chanin, author of the Alabama Stitch Book. She did a great post recently showing and talking about using what you have. Read it here.

And for a hilarious read of what to do with ugly sweaters, visit A Girl Named Timi’s blog, and read about her Ugly Christmas Sweater holiday party.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Goodwill Outlet

After having a house full of family and guests for the last 19 days and LOVING it, and now missing them, I found the perfect cure - visiting the new Goodwill Outlet in Everett! It opened December 15, and is a great space with lots of easy parking. It is smaller than the Seattle Outlet at 6th & Holgate. But it wasn't crowded, which was a giant plus.

Everything is in big bin shaped tables. You need to be in the mood to dig. Things are sold by the pound for the most part.
Here is my haul. Wool sweaters to shrink for felt, clothing items to deconstruct and reinvent into other apparel items, and my find of the day - a grey, cable-knitted cashmere sweater. All for $12.29! -- Beth

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Gorgeous Seattle Sailing Day

Wednesday was one of those perfect Seattle days. My family and I were most lucky to be included in a sailing adventure with my cousins Marie and Jerry. They were relocating their beloved sailboat, Sea Wings, from the marina in Kirkland to Shilshole Bay in Seattle. I offered to bring our lunch, and behave myself enough not to fall overboard with my chronic vertigo. Everyone else pitched in with the sailing duties. The weather cooperated with dry skies and more sunshine than we had hoped for. It is such a treat to see Seattle from a boat.

Here is my son Morgan’s future brother-in-law, Bob, enjoying his first visit to the Northwest. The Mountlake Bridge is in the background. This is part of our happy group at the marine gas station. Cousin Jerry, son Morgan, cousin Marie, future daughter-in-law Eileen and her brother, Bob.

I stayed on the boat.

A real highlight was our route took us under six bridges – four of which had to open for us! As anyone who has driven in Seattle knows - too many hours of our lives have been spent waiting for bridges to open and close for boats. It felt great to be on the other end of the situation.

And we got to experience the Locks firsthand, as the water lowered to go from the fresh water of Lake Washington to the salt water of Puget Sound.
Eileen took this gorgeous video as we approached Shilshole. ( Sailor Morgan)

This marina is known as the aluminum forest. So many beautiful sailboats.

Here is a shot of Morgan and my hubby, Raoul, after getting the Sea Wings settled into her new home. It was such a special day for all of us! -- Beth