Monday, September 27, 2010

another ah-ha moment

The other day I was laying in bed looking at my awkward garage window. (Yes, there is a window in my master bedroom connecting to the garage! When the previous owners put on the addition, including the garage they just left this awkward window... awesome, lol)

My mother-in-law had suggested that I put some bookshelves in there. I thought that might be kind of visually heavy... and as much as I hate to admit it, this window lets a great cross breeze through the house in the summer.

I wanted something private (because said mother-in-law has been known to go in the garage and tap said window when the hubs and I are sleeping in on Saturdays... she's lucky she's only caught us sleeping!) but also something functional. I didn't just want to cover this up with a picture or something. It should have a purpose, ya know.

Well, since I go to flea market once a month, mostly to buy vintage jewelry, my awesome jewelry armoire is filling up fast. Ah-ha moment! I could make a pop out display board for my necklaces. I'm not a big fan of putting necklaces in the armoire anyway because they tend to get tangled. So I did a quick google search and found this beautiful tutorial which I can modify to suit my needs. I like the simple elegance of her board, but I'm gonna have to bust out the jigsaw and some MDF to make a custom piece to fit inside my window.

So I have a plan... now to get the supplies and whatnot... oh right, I need money for that, ho-hum. I get paid on Friday though, so I'm gonna do some pricing and see if I can get this project underway soon :)

I need a 10 step program!

Why do you ask? Every time I see something free I want it. Even if it's ugly, I hate it, or I definitely don't need it... I just want it because it's free. Last weekend, was flea market weekend. I LOVE FLEA MARKET WEEKEND!!! I allow myself a budget of $15 (usually) and buy books, vintage jewelry, and stuff for my house. And man did I get a good haul last time :) I should really start posting pictures of my purchases... but I'm digressing from the point of this post, mostly because I'm a bit ashamed of myself, lol. On the way back from flea market I saw these.
Now you need the details... It was raining all day and we were in my mom's tiny little car. (Don't ask me the make, I'm one of "those" girls who would say, "uh, it's silver" lol) My mom was in the middle of telling me a story about some crazy lady at her work and we passed these chairs in some guy's yard. I interrupted, "Were those chairs free? Could you read the sign???" She said she missed them and asked if she should turn around, and I was like "Of course!" So she did (thanks mom) and there they were. Two vintage side chairs, soaked by the rain, but otherwise in good condition, and I swear I could audibly hear them saying "take us home, Clare, take us home!" And to make matters worse, the home-owner (a very nice man) came outside, into the rain to ask if I wanted help loading them in the car... Well after some pushing, shoving, and stuffing we managed to make them both fit in the backseat.
You may be thinking, what's the problem here, those chairs are kinda cool. And indeed they are, but I don't need anymore projects! lol! But I look at these chairs and they just cry out to be upcycled. I think this upcycle is going to involve crochet...

SERIOUSLY! I need a 10 step program!

"Hi my name is Clare, and I can't stop bringing home free furniture"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

accidently in love

Today after work I kicked off my new yellow shoes onto my navy blue rug, and instantly fell in love with the color combination. Navy blue and lemon yellow were meant to be together. I think these might become the colors for my sun room or future nursery. Maybe with little pops of orange? I am sooo in love with this color combo, I actually for five seconds thought about redoing my living room and dining room in these colors... but I love my green, blue, chocolate, and gray color scheme, lol, so no big changes happening there. Something is definitely gonna end up these colors in the future though... oh the possibilities!
What's going on with the house this week you ask??? I have a mountain of dishes to do, but tomorrow I want to get my art framed up, and possibly stylize my new desk. (She's still a bit naked, poor baby!) We shall see, we shall see. I've been pretty sick here lately, and I honestly might do nothing tomorrow but crochet and watch Hulu :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

As promised :)

As promised I got my project finished today, and I can show you why I had purple paint fingers.
The Project-

Meet the funky (and by funky I don't mean cool per-say... I mean peeling laminate and two inches of dust) little record cabinet I found at a thrift store. (Yes the one by my work, and yes I'm obsessed, lol). This poor little piece was in dire need of a make over, and the price was definitely right.

My original plan was to sand, prime, and paint this a chocolate brown. It was going to go under the bird painting I just did. I wasn't too crazy about the glass doors on front. My mom saw it and feel in love with the visible storage though, and traded me the cool little cabinet I showed you before. Mom and I went to the paint store, and she picked out a deep plum color. (for the record, I really hate purple, and I wasn't too excited about this project... but it was totally worth the trade, so I went ahead on.) Mom had some fun floral fabric that she wanted me to line the back with. I had an ah-ha moment and talked her into lining the bottom as well. (so glad we did)


mom had some quilt piecing plastic laying around, so we used it to adhere the fabric to. Here it is measured and cut to size.
 I sprayed each of the plastic pieces with some Elmer's spray adhesive. I had no idea they made one, but it was pretty good.
 Then we cut the access away, and gave the edges a good spray.
 Then we folded the extra fabric to the back to make a nice egde.
 This is mom doing some folding. She wanted it today, so I told her we could get it done faster if she came down and helped a bit.
Then we sprayed inside the cabinet and attached our two panels.
I had originally planned on painting the legs purple to match, but my brush was not doing a very even coat on the round legs. Mom had the idea to spray paint them black, so we went with it. 

ANDDDD.... Here's the result!
Here it is with some "quick and dirty" styling.

 Good shot of the fabric and the legs. I wasn't really confident about how this piece would work out, but it came together beautifully!

Aww, blue tea cups and yellow flowers :) Before anyone leaves comments about this color combo reminding them of a certain (hatable) green and purple dinosaur, lol, remember this is not staying in my house :)

Oh, and who's that little fluffy guy sitting on the books?

He is a little monkey/thing I crocheted. I call him Rongo Rongo, and he is quite photogenic :)

This is where I had planned to end this post, BUT my prints from Laura George came in today. (shipped them to my mom's house) So I went up to mom's to get them. She wanted a little help styling the cabinet with some of her accessories, so....
Here's how it looks in real life. She is using it to hold all her dulcimer books and music. She's got a very eclectic vibe going on in her living room right now, and while it's not my style, I really think it looks good. She loves the cabinet and was super happy with the make-over. She kept telling me how much she loved it, and then sitting, looking, at it and smiling. It doesn't get much better than that! ;)

So for you people who just skip all the lovely story-telling and touchy feely crap... here's the before and after pictures.
I'm going fabric shopping for my bench tomorrow... don't think I'll have that one done by next weekend, but I'll try!

<3 Clare

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I bought some art today :)

I think these are going to live over my new desk. :)

They are on their way to my house. I'm super excited about it.

Kinda freaked this morning because the esty page said there were only one of each left.

She reloaded them though. Now there's like 70 in stock, so if you love them you too can have them.


Also here is a cool art idea from Design Sponge.

Now how cute would that be in a nursery or playroom?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

happy birthday to me :)

The hubs and I are not very big on gift giving, at least between each other. When one of our birthdays comes around, we usually just go shopping together and the birthday-person just buys what they want. For his birthday, he wanted to buy some movies, so we went movie shopping... For my birthday (9-9) I wanted something I found on craigslist. So today we drove an hour and 15 mins from New Athens, IL to Glencoe, MO to get my birthday present.
Now let's play a little game of "Where's My Lappy?" (She says in her best game show hostess voice)
 My little acer lappy and my favorite tea mug are sitting on my birthday present to me. It's something I said I wanted a few posts ago, and was extremely lucky to find so quickly. And, by some miracle the seller had an extremely low asking price of $40. $40 is nuts for a piece like this one. I did a quick and dirty search just now and a comparable piece is selling on ebay with a starting bid of $329. So what could this fabulous find and great bargain be?

Of course, I'm gonna make you scroll down a bit....

It's really too beautiful to spring on you all at once...

Ok, I don't want to lose you, so I guess I will have to show you now... that anticipation is just too much!

Meet my classic vintage, mid century modern secretary desk!!!

She is a bit sparse at the moment, but I'm planning on dressing her up a bit this week. DON'T WORRY! I am not about to spray paint her white or something silly like that. This is a solid wood, dovetailed piece of furniture. (I think I'm going to name her Tessa) She is beautiful as is, but she needs a little accessorizing, like some art and a lamp, perhaps? I already spent some tea and internet time with her tonight, and it's the start of a beautiful relationship, I can tell :)

OH, annnnnnd (as if that wasn't enough) I have paint fingers again, but you aren't gonna get to see why until next weekend because there isn't enough weekend left for me to finish it, lol.

<3 Clare

I could literally pee my pants right now!

I woke up early this morning with a goal. My goal was to finish my upcycled desk project, and after a long day during which I was interrupted from my project like 50 times, lol, I AM DONE! Since I having been dreaming of this project for months, this is a pretty big deal, and I feel like I could literally pee my pants right now!

The Project- I inherited a 70's desk from one of my church "grandmas". This poor desk only had two legs. I used it in my room all through high school... I just propped up the side with no legs using a small cabinet and an empty paint can... super classy, I know. I have been married for four years now, and every time I passed my poor discarded desk in my mom's basement I'd think, "I've got to do something with it!" Several months ago I had an "ah-ha" moment and realized that the desk top was a really good size for a canvas. But what would I do with this canvas... Another "ah-ha" moment happened a few months ago, and I loaded the poor desk into my car. This is what it looked like when I brought it home.

The poor thing was a hot mess! Some how it had lost the two legs it had left, and I don't know what happened to the drawer. I busted out a saw and removed the housing for the renegade drawer. Then I sanded and primed it.

Then out came the paint, and my mini muffin pans... which I always use for mixing paint.

I did my first ever background. I watched some youtube tutorials about making backgrounds blendy. The effect I wanted was a fade from light to dark gray. It worked out great :) So without further ado, here is my upcycled desk!

It is kinda hard to tell from these pictures but the birds actually stick off the "canvas". I found them at Target, and feel in love because they add a kind of sculptural element. I think they have been discontinued...The birds are attached by nailing in a tack like thing, and then the birds kinda click onto the tacks. They are adjustable, so I can turn them to suit my whims... which I know I will do, but I like the idea of a piece of art that continually changes.

 I've titled this piece "twilight tango" because every night at twilight if you go out in my back yard and look up you will see barn swallows feeding on bugs. Now this might not sound so exciting, but I'm truly fascinated by them. They zip and zoom silently through the air, and even though sometimes there are between 30-50 of them in such a small area they don't run into each other. It's such a graceful and awe-inspiring display.
The arrangement in the green vase is kinda special to me as well. I collected the driftwood on a trip to a MO state park with my husband. He laughs at me because I am always picking up sticks, leaves, or rocks and bringing them home. (On this particular trip I also brought home a whole bag of Mississippi River clay and spent the rest of the evening molding it into little ducks. Yeah, I'm a little nuts, but he loves me anyway!) The rocks are from Lake Michigan. I went on a trip to Wakeegan, Chicago in the winter-time and walked along the shore of Lake Michigan for hours picking up pretty rock after pretty rock... I think I had like two full shopping bags full, lol. They were so pretty, I couldn't help myself. So I have combined two collections of mine into a pretty sweet arrangement, and it makes me happy to look at it.
Ok, so that's what I did all day :) And tomorrow I plan on working on another upcycle I've already started... hopefully I will be able to finish it too... but I'm not going to push myself too hard, lol.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

paint fingers :)

Be prepared for an awesome before and after project... coming soon to a blog near you (and by that I mean this one, of course)

While you are waiting (and anticipating) you should check out Better After. It's an all before and after blog, and it's so awesome! Be inspired, and show me your paint fingers, lol.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

so happy!

So, you all may remember I went to bed last night less than thrilled with craigslist, well guess what I found this morning on the way to work? (I pass a pretty awesome thrift store everyday on my way to and from work... I'm not sure if this is good for me, lol)

I found the retro coffee table that will be my new bench! Imagine my surprise as I was driving by Nice Twice this morning and saw exactly the piece I was dreaming about. It's super long too, probably right at six feet. And best of all! I got this for $5! (I also had to buy two wing-nuts, which cost me 50 cents) EAT THAT CRAIGSLIST OVER-PRICERS! You can keep your $100 coffee tables!

I am going to have to wait til this weekend to sand, prime, and paint this puppy, but I couldn't help doing a little bit of work on it today.
I removed the handle on the front because it was for a fake drawer. Fake drawers and fake pockets on womens pants, just about the two most annoying things ever! So good-bye handle, and hello interesting checkerboard detailing... I need to search for some fabric now... I'm gonna check my stash, but I'm pretty sure I don't have what I want. I'm thinking about using a "penny rug" and some huge covered buttons perhaps. Maybe gray wool, with lime green piping, mismatched buttons for tufting, and paint the base blue? so many, many options! Now I have the piece I can really start letting my creative juices flow.
It's even like the perfect scale for my big window... Oh I am so happy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

must find crappy old coffee table!

So, I was searching Design Sponge for inspiration and I found this amazing before and after.

I could literally pee my pants over this! I would like two benches. I want one for under my big window in the dining room/office and one by the fireplace to stack books and stuff on (designer like, not a crap pile) Long benches are pretty expensive, so I have been thinking of what I could upcycle to make a nice upholstered bench. WALA! Gross old coffee table becomes a pretty awesome bench. I even like how they added some architectural detail with little molding bits. I think I will use more toned down fabric and definitely not red... but I will let the fabric inspire the paint color.

I'm gonna go scour craigslist and see if I can find one of these bad boys on the cheap... if not, one of my favorite thrift stores has an attached furniture warehouse, and I will have to go visit Charlie. (Charlie the a sweet, sweet old German man who is in charge of the furniture warehouse. He tells me every time I come that I should be a volunteer :) if only I had time, Charlie!)

You will be seeing a bench project in the near future. The record cabinet project has taken a halt because it has been too windy to paint outside this weekend. I'm bummed because I wanted to get that done today. I may work on it tomorrow night while the hubs is in class.

Ok, but seriously, it is craigslist time!

Edit- an hour latter and I am utterly convinced that people who are posting on craigslist have been getting together to smoke crack! $100 for a comparable table to the one above, and when I say comparable I mean without glass and scratched up finish, but they want $100 because it's "solid wood"... and $100 is about the average going rate for these old tables... I'm gonna go see my friend Charlie, cuz that is stupid!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Super Post HO!

Ok, it's super post time! I'm gonna get this done list style, so I don't forget anything.

  • the finished floors

The floors came out really good I think :) We still need to paint and reattach the baseboards. We are going to paint them chocolate brown. Eventually I'm gonna paint the doors off-white. The orangey red doesn't match my beautiful new floors.
  • the living room curtains

CURTAINS!!! It is so wonderful to have curtains! I got these panels on super clearance. I paid about $20 for all three. I decided they needed a little something extra, so my mom and I sewed on some blue crocheted trim.
  • the living room make over (unfinished, but still looks better)

And my living room is starting to look like a living room again :) No more dining table in the living room, hooray! (Can't show you the dining table, the hubs is working on a paper and wants to leave all his books there at the moment.)

The hubs is buried in the couch watching a movie :)
  • recycled mid-century teak hutch turned bookshelf

I got this guy at a yard sale from a guy who loved mid century stuff. He was so excited that I did too that he was cutting prices left and right. This used to be a hutch top to a buffet. It is teak, and it's very heavy. (I'm not a big fan of rain forest woods because of strip cropping... but this is vintage not new. I'm seeing that it doesn't end up in a land fill.)

This is a cool wood picture of Cuba and Hispaniola. I got it at an auction for $1, holla!

Here is my first shore bird. I love these guys, and plan on collecting them. They will probably live on my book shelf.
This book shelf has seriously put a dent in my books on the bedroom floor problem :) I think on more low shelf somewhere outta do it :)

  • new furniture (and by new, I mean a classic vintage piece)

This awesome record cabinet cost me $2 in a round about way. I bought a record cabinet that was worse for wear (stained and pealing veneer) at a thrift store. It had glass sliding doors. My goal was to clean it up and paint it. My mom decided she liked the glass doors better for storing her music books (she plays the dulcimer). She offered to trade me for this lovely piece. (Of course I agreed!) And the rest is history... Oh, and you will get to see the make over of the other record cabinet as soon as I'm done with it. :)
  • and if I have time my floor plan for the dining room

Because I love you guys, I made time :) This is the kind of desk I want in there. So if you see one at a thirft store or something call me asap!

SUPER POST FINISHED... Whew, that took forever!