Monday, November 4, 2013

Fidgety Fingers

In the evenings, after a long day at work and chores around the house, on weekends, I find sitting to watch TV without occupying my hands with SOMETHING to do is . . . a bit unnatural.

Seems I need to be fidgeting with something, turning pages of a magazine, cutting intricate graphics for some project, clipping coupons, knitting or crocheting . . . obviously, my favorite is crocheting.

frankly, sometimes string just doesn't want be string!

… individuality ...

Different, yet similar ...
Some grew bigger than others ...

Some wanted to be taller than others ...

Frolicking among the crocheted flowers ...

Some orderly positioning ...

Playing with the natural light ...

details ...

variety ...
Up close, and personal ...

Stacked and toppled ...

I may be linking with the following linky parties - click on these links and share the love!

Cupcakes and Crinoline

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bookmark Boo!

Halloween is really not an event I get too excited about.  I certainly don't decorate for it and can't recall the last time I bought a pumpkin for carving. No trick-or-treaters venture out to my neighborhood on a busy road front.

Years ago I lived in an area better suited to trick-or-treaters and it was always fun to see the little ones dressed in their costumes  -  more so the original costumes that parents help devise.

Even further back in the day when I helped create a costume for a trick-or-treater - about 30 minutes before the start of it - I came up with a mummy costume.  It started with white sweatpants and sweatshirt  - on top of that I loosely wrapped rolled gauze - several rolls - tearing some bits to hang in shreds . . . added some red and black makeup on a gauze wrapped face and head and there you had it.

These days, I'm content to just be inspired to create a few bookmarks I give to my friends, family - just as a fun token of being in the spooky-fun spirit.

I created these layered-graphic bookmarks with all the Halloween offerings from - The Graphics Fairy - one of my favorite places for graphics.

I'll add a black ribbon on some and leave some without - the backs of the bookmarks have a wood-look  where I can write - Happy Halloween! - or other messages specific to the recipient.

I may be participating in the following link parties:

The Graphics Fairy

Cherished Handmade Treasures

All Things Fee

Skip to my Lou

Not JUST a Housewife

My Turn For Us: Freedom Fridays #75

Monday, September 30, 2013

Goodwill Black to Tiffany Blue

Backstory: I was trying to find a small bottle of pillow spritzer a few weeks ago. After several weeks of restless sleep where the slightest thing became a huge factor in why I couldn’t fall back to sleep, I thought perhaps having my pillow scented with lavender would help.

I could not find the bottle of spritzer.
My poor attempt at organizing my dresser top
My dresser top is a mess. I thought having these canvass bins would help me keep things less cluttered on my dresser. Problem is – I can’t see what’s in them unless I’m digging through them. I drug out the two most used items – my deodorant and a bottle of perfume – and set them on the dresser for quick access. Other things just get shoved in the bins and mostly forgotten.

Recent: I have been thinking about having a nicer looking display – perhaps a mirrored tray with my glass bottles of perfume lined up. I gave some thought to what I might have around the house to repurpose. Nothing came to mind that was practical.

So, I gave myself a reason to head to our local Goodwill on a recent Saturday morning. Our local Goodwill is not a great treasure trove. I’ve purchased the occasional useful item there, but for the most part not much luck on great finds overall.

This day, though, I thought it would be okay to settle for a nice rectangular glass relish tray or a small mirrored "something."  I found two square relish trays and was willing to settle for those. They were in my shopping cart as I continued on looking at the opposite shelf.  

After a couple coats of spray paint
I found a long (16”) rectangular metal tray with a removable tempered glass insert.  It was black and boring.  I knew I could spruce it up with something from my growing collection of spray paint.

I kept looking through the clutter of items on the Goodwill shelf and found another treasure that would work for my plan to organize my dresser top.  This find was a small wire basket with a removable glass insert – again it was black and boring. However the glass insert was decorative with a design.
Tiffany blue tray

Once home, I cleaned both pieces – prepped my outdoor workspace on the deck and chose my color – Rust-oleum’s American Accent in Aqua. I chose this color because it reminds me of the blue Tiffany & Co. box – not that I have ever had one. This fresh blue color just seems appropriate for a staging area for bottles of perfume.

Tiffany blue tray and basket for the dresser
I was overly anxious to get started painting, so no before pictures – I often read that on blogs and now I understand how it is so easy to skip that step.

It took three light coats to get the coverage I wanted. I am well pleased with the results.

Now, I’ve started conjuring up other paint projects to use this color on – a few metal tins, a heavy cardboard box and glass bottles.

Even the Mister thinks my dresser top looks much better.
No more canvass bins

The blue and white runner is one woven years ago by my late grandmother, Ollie Frances. She died at the age of 45, before I was born, so I never knew her. My grandfather, J.C. died in December 2011, at the age of 103. 

He had this runner on a desk in his house. It’s one of the mementos I was given after the house was cleared out. The runner is quite faded from years of being on the desk in front of a window where the sun shone in, but the reverse – which is how I have it displayed on my dresser – is still rich in color and sentiment.

I may be linking here:

A Stroll Thru Life

Jennifer Rizzo

My Romantic Home

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

My Turn For Us: Freedom Fridays

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bearcat Bound

The grandson of one of my girlfriends is graduating high school next weekend. There is a graduation party to celebrate his accomplishments - of which he has many. 

Kaleb's high school activities have been shared by his grandmother over the years and she is very proud of him, rightfully so. As a senior, he attained high ranking on his bowling team - frightfully skilled in his sport. It wouldn't surprise me to hear of him competing in pro-bowling leagues in the future - in between his medical work of course. 

I believe this strapping young man is aiming for a degree as a medical technician. He will be attending the University of Cincinnati this fall.

My husband and I will not be able to attend the graduation party. So, I've made my gift - hurriedly, I might add - to give to her ahead of time so it can be added to the gift table.

Kaleb's Graduation Gift
I mentioned hurriedly because I only came across this idea on Pinterest late Friday. This meant I needed to make a trip to the Goodwill on Saturday to find a suitable picture frame and of course there's never a guarantee you'll find exactly what you need. Luckily, I did.

This little craft project had to be worked in with yard mowing, laundry, cleaning, running yet another errand. It's certainly not one of my best projects, but the concept carried out pretty well.

The frame is black metal - perfect, because I planned to add some cutouts of the UC Bearcat. 

I printed out the text "IN CASE OF EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS" - in Stencil Font; situated that in the top frame, then printed out a UC collage of logos as a background for the bottom frame and folded up the paper money to fit visibly. That all worked out well.

Then time started getting on. I had cut out the UC pennants and the Bearcat mascot pics and applied them to the frame with Mod Podge. It was going to take several coats to even out the ridges left behind by my strokes with my sponge brush. Back and forth I went - when I remembered - to apply another coating of Mod Podge. At one point my sponge brush with the Mod Podge was getting tack and pull off what was already a bit tacky on the frame.

I was just in too big of a hurry. I managed to fix the flaw - with the help of a black marker. 

It didn't really turn out perfectly smooth - but I figured in the end he was really only going to be excited about the money. If by chance he decides to reuse the frame to hold pictures of his girlfriend, friends or family it will suffice. After four years, it will surely have served its purpose.

Best wishes, Kaleb! Great things lie ahead for you.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Larder Renovation

Okay, I call it a pantry - Mr. Brit calls it a larder. In either terminology it's an ill-designed storage facility and it's been that way since we moved in four years ago.  When I first started stocking it, I thought I could put up with it until we had the time to renovate it properly with full-length shelves and proper lighting.

Fast-forward four years - and those years have gone fast - I'm still storing tins here and there in no orderly manner on these shelves that are just can-width around the perimeter of this "closet." I added a clear-pocket shoe organizer on the inside of the door for soft packages, like rice, beans, nuts and dried-fruits. But as far as the dead space in the center - I tried various, shelf, cart and bin options in here and nothing has worked too well. Plain and simple, it always ends up a mess.

I have seen dreamy pantry renovations on Pinterest - dreams, just dreams. 

Each time I open my pantry to retrieve a tin of something - I just growl - sometimes aloud.

Overtime I have added two larger metal wire shelving units in the kitchen for storage of various things - large bowls to hold my potatoes and onions, cookbooks, baskets of fruit, a basket for napkins, etc. So, I started giving thought to buying one to fit inside the pantry. If I bought one the right size to fit inside the pantry that should take care of any actual construction. Mr. Brit isn't exactly into constructing - he's more into deconstructing.

One of the other issues with this ill-designed pantry - the lighting. There is a small table lamp, hung upside down on the ceiling with the electric cord hanging down - a couple of staples to hold the cord against the back wall.  A few occasions Mr. Brit has been searching for something inside the larder and forgotten to turn off the lamp.

As Mr. Brit began sizing up the deconstruction, he discovered that every bit of the shelving was constructed with nails - small thin silver nails, small finishing nails - larger finishing nails - a bazillion nails! Not a single wood screw was used in the construction of the mismatched wood shelving.

WHO designed this pantry?

I finally had enough with this pantry - it was becoming more and more useless.

I ordered a 24"x24" chrome wire shelving unit with 5 shelves from The Shelving Store. Mr. Brit and I assembled it and added some unused casters from a previous shelving unit. This would be beneficial for rolling the shelves in and out of the pantry for the occasional floor cleaning, etc.

My angst came with the placement of the first shelf - the bottom one - when Mr. Brit wanted to know how low I wanted it. I didn't want it close to the floor. I wanted a bit of space to allow storage of a box of ... something, a jug of ...something, a bin of  ...something. 

Once fully assembled, I thought to myself - hmmm - is this right? But, I didn't say a word. I figured I would make this work. Anything had to be better than before.

Next step, transfer all the canned goods from the pantry onto the shelf unit. hammered, sledged and pried those boards until they slowing started coming apart. Some of the boards looked like porcupines as he took them out one-by-one.

Mr. Brit thought perhaps, just perhaps, one section of the wooden shelving could remain - just for some additional storage along the wall. He attempted to roll the chrome wire shelving unit into the larder - but realized it wasn't going to work. 

That last remaining shelf unit would have to come out. And so it did.

In went the stocked chrome wire shelving unit with space to spare.

It's taking some adjustment - locating items in the newly organized areas, but it certainly is much tidier and looks so much better.

I may add some fold up shelves on the left to store a few things like my Dyson hand-held vac - the electrical outlet on the back wall is nice to keep it charged.

I'll have to figure out some lighting source - be it a new, more practical ceiling light, one with a clamp that clips onto the shelf or just those push-on LED lights.

Now onto the rest of the mess that seems to keep visiting my kitchen - even though I have made it clear it's not welcome.

Remember! Sunday's coming!