Sunday, August 30, 2009

Typewriter Table Makeover

You may remember the typewriter table that I got for FREE last week at a sale. I wasn't sure what to do with it, but I knew that I wanted to use it. Possibly as a side table. A fellow blogger suggested a game table. That sounded like fun.

When I cleaned the pantry last week, I just couldn't throw away this tin. I had no use for it, and it's pretty "holidayish". So, it sat on the counter for a few days...waiting for inspiration to hit.

I got started on the table. I sprayed painted the whole table a nice flat black. Then, I marked off the checkerboard pattern on the top. I used a ruler to center the grid pattern. By making a giant X from corner to corner, I found center, and worked from there. I also used the width of the ruler as the width of each square (because it was easy and worked well).

I used painters tape to mark off each square that I wanted to paint. (Make sure to press down on the edges of the tape so that the paint doesn't seep under the tape and ruin your straight line..does it sound like I know this from experience?) I used a nice caramel brown latex paint for my game board. I also taped off a nice thin line as a border for the entire game board. The painting must be done in steps, allowing for some drying time before you can move on to the next area that needs painted.

Look at my sweet game table!

And did you notice the tin? I spray painted that black too and hand painted "Checkers" across the top so that I have a nice handy place to keep the game pieces. I used some Magnetic game pieces from the Dollar store, they worked especially well on the metal table. I couldn't be more thrilled with the results.

I Hope You are Dumpster Diving This Morning...

Or planning a trip to Grandpa's so that you can look through his garage for something that he doesn't want, and you NEED! Maybe there are yard sale freebies at the curb this morning after less than brisk sales yesterday. Maybe your friend has something that she's willing to give you.

But the thing is, this is the last day before the Roadkill Party over at Infarrantly Creative. Get your Roadkill painted, and stamped, and cleaned and re-furbished somehow.

Post it tomorrow..(you can click on the Roadkill button on the right)...there are some pretty awesome prizes!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pink Lemonade?...Yes, Please!

Ahh, this kind looks so refreshing, and just makes you want to find a hammock to enjoy it, but that's not the kind of Lemonade I mean.
The kind I mean has this great sparkly button.
And these fabulous Amy Butler fabrics! Isn't this bag GREAT? I'm a "welcome the new season with a fresh bag" kind of girl.

And this bag is just what I have been looking for! You can find them at a beautiful little Etsy shop called Pink Lemonade Boutique Bags or HERE. Go now! You know you want one!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nightstand Lamp Makeover

Thanks to this awesome paint by Rust-Oleum. This is all surface spray: Wood, Metal, Plastic, Cement. It requires very little prep work (right up my alley!). But, the best part is the Hammered effect. It's faux painting in a can: Just spray it on. Excellent.

I was awed by Juniper's Lamp Makeover, and I started looking at my nightstand lamps differently. Hmm.... brass, isn't that just screaming 80's?

So, I hauled the lamps outside and taped off the fixture at the top, and the switch. Placed it on some newspaper, and sprayed.

They're looking good already. I sprayed two coats in total. This photo is after only one coat, look at the effect already!

And look at how beautiful this lamp is on my nightstand! It makes a huge difference. I swear it updated the whole room, and it took me longer to clean off my nightstand and take this picture than it took me to do the whole project!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Wonder Why Wednesday: Why Did I Wait So Long To Clean The Pantry?

My pantry is a constant source of aggravation and embarrassment. There are many reasons. Many people get things out, and don't return them to the proper place. There are half a dozen cereal boxes with 1/4 cup of stale cereal that no one wants. The benefit that I have come to see as a drawback is that when you open the doors, there is a little button that is released so that the light comes on. This is normally a great feature. I would just cringe when the door was opened, and "Ta-Da" Chaos was on display. I usually have to completely haul everything out a few times a year and start over. I think I had gone a little longer than that this year.

Here's the heap, I decided it would be better to just completely purge the contents, and start over. The empty is pantry in the background.

And here it is, all back together!
Now, for my wants and needs:
I WANT someone to tell me that it gets this bad at their house too, so that I don't feel like such a slouch. It would make me feel so much better if others cringe at the opening of doors.
What I NEED are some ideas on how to keep it this way. How can I avoid the pantry chaos in the future? Any tips or tricks to share?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Daughter's Typewriter

My daughter has always been intrigued with the written word. She was an early reader, has always loved books, and spends hours writing a playing with fonts.

One day she pulled me over to the computer to show me something on Ebay. It was a typewriter. I took a look, and realized that she had several (over several days) marked as "watching". Now, typewriters on Ebay can be inexpensive, but shipping these heavy things is NOT. A typewriter? Who knew she even knew what one was, let alone she wanted one?

We went to a yard sale several days later. To my astonishment, they had this grand old typewriter. It was the end of the day, and the sellers were packing up, they let my daughter purchase it for 1/2 off: $15. Plus, they threw in the table for free (see yesterday's post).

My daughter just loves it for some reason. The smack of the keys, the slightly uneven lettering.

I was browsing through my mail yesterday, and came across the new Pottery Barn catalog.

I had to hunt my daughter down and show her these items from the latest catalog.

Apparently, she's got an eye for design as well.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Roadkill Party...You've Got To Get In On This!

I saw this party over at Infarrantly Creative:

Here are the rules:

1. The object you makeover must have been completely free to you, meaning you found it on the side of the road, in a dumpster, someone gave it to you, or Aunt Nelly died and left it to you in her will. YOU DID NOT PAY A DIME FOR it? Good!

2. You can use or buy other things to help fix it up (spray paint, embellishments, ribbon, fabric, etc).

3. You have to be a subscriber of Infarrantly Creative.

4. You must have the Roadkill Rescue button somewhere on your sidebar.

5. It doesn't have to be a new post, you can use an older post as long as it applies to rule #1.

Here' what I'd like to use for my entry, but I need some help!

My daughter bought a typewriter at a yard sale ( a blog for another day) and the table was thrown in for free.

The table is a heavyweight metal, with casters. This table was used exclusively to hold a typewriter (the old, very heavy kind).

The leaves on either side can be flipped up or down.

I'm thinking I could use a side table for a chair that I use for reading. But, HELP! I need some ideas!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What Did You Do Today?, "Oh, I Felted Some Wool".

Doesn't it sound like you've accomplished something? Something intensive and time consuming?
Well, NO. What you have done is washed a wool sweater on HOT, then dried it on HOT. The end result is a shrunken sweater with very tight knit wool.

I found this pink cardigan at a "fill the bag for $1" day at a local consignment sale. It was the buttons that attracted me. The sweater itself had seen better days and was pilling a bit.

Family Fun had the cutest woolen cuffs on the cover this month. I decided to use the sweater to make some sweet bracelets.

First, I cut the cuff off of the sweater. Then, I drew a flower on some plain paper, pinned it to some thick felt, and cut it out. I also cut a white circle for the flower's center out of a thinner felt.

Next, I hand sewed the flower plus one of the sparkly buttons onto the cuff. Very Sweet.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Longwood Gardens: An Immense Inspiration

I had a chance to visit Philadelphia recently, and I have to share an incredible, breathtaking place. I am convinced that Longwood Gardens is enchanted. Longwood is acres of manicured gardens and fountains and tree houses, all on the grounds of a historic DuPont estate. The place is magical.

Around every corner is awe-inspiring beauty.

I could have stayed at the water lilies all day, just watching the dragon flies.

Who knew that water lilies could be this color?

Some of the lilies are huge, 4 feet across maybe? They have the most beautiful leaves, all by themselves, they are incredible.

If you ever get the chance to visit, don't miss the children's garden. I started looking for fairies in every nook.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tea Towel Tutorial: A Beautiful Hostess Gift

I know you all have fabric scraps lying around, jamming your closets (or is it just mine?) I grabbed a fabulous set of Martha Stewart flour sack towels ($12) and got started.

I cut some flowers out of the cotton fabric with pinking shears so that they wouldn't fray. Then I took an extra flour sack towel and cut it into four 5X6 rectangles, also cutting with pinking shears.

I hand sewed the flowers to the rectangle. I used a contrast stitch, because I like how it looks.
Then, I machine sewed the rectangles to the towels, being sure to center them on the bottom half of the towel.

I really love the extra texture that the pinking shears and the contrast stitch give these towels.

And here they are, all wrapped and ready to go. Every cook appreciates a nice fresh set of dish towels. These are so nice, I'd use them in a guest bath!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Wonder Why Wednesday: Why is There Only One Junior Event at The Rodeo?

I had an opportunity to go to the "Biggest Rodeo This Side of the Mississippi" last night. That's right, the North Washington Rodeo.

There were rodeo queens, corny clowns, barrel races, calf roping, and lots of funnel cakes. The scene is what you'd imagine: lots of cowboy hats, cowboy boots, plaid shirts and flashy fringed chaps.

They always save the bull riding till the end, it's usually the most exciting. My "I Wonder Why" could be: "Why Do People Do This at All?", but as a Mom, a bigger question is "Why Do People Let Their Kids Do This?" The only Junior event last night was Bull Riding. The under 18 highest point earner couldn't even talk because he broke his jaw last week. Most contestants stumbled off of their bulls after being thrown like rag dolls, and walked like 80 year old men and slowly, painfully, climbed the gate. I wonder what kind of shape they'll be in when they are actually 80. I hope they're not worse for the wear, but the Mom in me knows that they probably will be.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm Featured in a Treasury: Yum

I was recently featured in a Treasury on Etsy! An artist compiled all of her favorite cupcake items from around the site and posted them as her favorites. Click HERE to view all of the deliciousness!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Letterboxing Part IV: How To Make A Hitch Hiker

A Hitch Hiker is just like the term implies. It's a traveller who relies on the courtesy of others to make his way.

In the Letterboxing world, a Hitch Hiker is a small notebook (usually handmade) and a stamp (usually handmade). The HH is placed in a Letterbox. The next finder stamps their log book with the HH stamp, and then takes it with them and leaves it at their next Letterbox.

It's fun to see where these parcels have originated, where they have been on their journey, and how far they have come!

To make one, You'll need: Some Cardstock, a Printer, a Hole Punch, a Paper Cutter, Some Clear Packing Tape and Some String. Plus, a handmade (or store bought) stamp that you don't care if you never see again. (I explained how to carve your own stamp yesterday).

First print a front and back cover for your book. The whole book should be small (about the size of a credit card) so that it can fit into most letterboxes. Print the name of your book on the cover, who planted it, (your trail name) and the date, plus any other instructions that you may want to give the finders. Be sure to tell the finders to log their finds so that you can track the travels of your book from your computer. Maybe your stamp will determine what the name of the HH will be, for example: if you've carved an eagle, the book could be called "The Soaring Eagle".
Use a paper cutter to cut pages to your book, make them about the same size as the covers to the book. Use clear tape to protect both the front and back covers, to make it somewhat water resistant, and to give the covers some stiffness. Then, punch two holes on the binding side of the book. Take your string, or leather cord, or yarn or whatever, to tie the whole book together.
Put the book and the stamp into a zip-lock bag. Your Hitch Hiker is now ready to begin it's journey! Leave your HH in a Letterbox, Log it's existence, and follow it online.

Friday, August 14, 2009

How to Letterbox: Part III Or Stamp Carving Turorial

Yesterday I told you all about how to make a letterbox. An essential part to that letterbox is a handmade stamp. I have tried making my own stamp with some supplies that I had on hand. My results were not that great. I finally succumbed to searching high and low for what the professionals use. This is not a very well known craft, I have to say.

The kit that I found on Ebay (above) is perfect for the beginner. It's less than $10! It includes a carving tool, some directions, and some Speedball Speedy-Carve. I found a 6X12 sheet of this material for around $10 HERE, just so I could have some extra on hand. The carving material is rubber and somewhat like a pink eraser type material. The carving tool slices through it like butter!
So here's what you do: Decide on an image, maybe simple lines are best for a first try. You can draw directly onto the carving material, or you can print some clip art (like I did). Then gently iron the image onto the rubber material if you do it while the ink is still a little wet. If there are words in your stamp, be sure that they are spelled backwards.
Decide which parts of your stamp are going to be carved out, and mark them as such. It sounds silly, but it can be confusing once you start working in reverse.

Use the carving tool to gently outline the image, then gouge out the interior portions. My carving tool came with two blades, a thick one and a thin one. You can purchase a blade kit once you get a little better at carving.
More in my Letterboxing Series tomorrow!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Letterboxing Part II: How to Make A Letterbox

If you are not familiar with my Love of Letterboxing, click HERE and then HERE for previous posts that explains what it is, and why it's so much fun.

If you are already on board, Let's do a Letterbox Tutorial, shall we?

First, you'll need some supplies from the dollar store:

Tupperware type containers: preferably with a rubber's important not to get anything that is too brittle, or doesn't seal well. This will be outside, year-round, remember?

Notebooks: They have to fit inside the Tupperware. It's just easier to buy them at the same time, so that you can try it out at the store.

Household Staples: Duct Tape, Zip Close Bags and Black Spray Paint.

First, put a piece of Duct tape on the lid. This will be a see-through window. Make sure you press down the edges so that you get a nice, crisp rectangle (I forgot to.)

Now, spray paint the entire outside black..or green...or brown. These are to be hidden, in a forest, or elsewhere, so they should blend in. Most that I have found are black.

Make a few labels to be duct taped into the "window" of your letterbox from the inside. It's important to let people know that these are NOT TRASH. We don't want a "muggle" (a non-letterboxer) to find it, and throw it away. Also, tell your fellow letterboxers where to register their finds. That way, you can track the visits to your letterbox from your computer.

The glare from the sun prohibited the lettering to be seen, but in these white rectangles is my "This is a Letterbox" label.

You'll need to include a handmade stamp (or store bought) to this box as well. More on that tomorrow. On the first page of the notebook, you'll need to date it, and stamp it with the letterbox's stamp. Put the notebook into a zip-lock bag. Wrap the stamp in a piece of fabric, or a paper towel, and put that in a separate zip-lock bag. Name it, too. Now, Go Hide It!

These boxes must be hidden on public property. Parks are great places. Look online at to see where some are hidden around you. Maybe there's a special place that hasn't been tapped yet?

Then log your clues at the above web site. It helps to be tricky when describing where to find a letterbox. You want it to be a game for the finders. You can include historical information about the area, to make it more interesting. Or, you could make it a puzzle for the finder's to figure out. ( Use well-known codes like 1=A, 2=B and spell something out, for example).

You'll want to periodically check your letterbox in person to make sure it's still where it's supposed to be, and that it is in good order. You have now become a "Planter"!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Wonder Why Wednesday: Why Is The People Watching So Good at Amusement Parks?

Another I Wonder Why Question Could Be: Do People Really Eat This Stuff? But, I will stick with my original.

I discovered at a perfectly beautiful outing to the local amusement park, that the people watching is fantastic. Just when you think you've seen it all. (Now I sound Old..)

I was unable to photograph (due to close quarters...i.e. standing in line) the interesting tattoos that I saw. One guy had a whole pumpkin patch tattooed on his forearm, yep, vines and huge orange pumpkins in an outlandish, tangled way. I felt bad for the guy who got Jesus (?) tattooed on his upper looked like Sasquatch-Jesus. Terrible, and confusing.

The hairstyles: Everything from punk to 80's and truly everything in between.

Look at this sweet lady. Oh, the HAIR! I'm here to tell you that everyone in line at the swings literally held their breath when she got on this ride. She's risking THAT hair on possibly one of the windiest rides in the park? WOW, that's some confidence in Aquanet!