Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's the little things...

When it comes to Christmas decorating , I find it's the little things that really make me smile. I've had this little sled ornament for a few years. It use to be on a wreath, but when I reworked the wreath it was left homeless. I added some elements from my vintage stash -- an old bottle-brush wreath, bells and snowy baubles-- and I found myself smiling from ear to ear. It's a little thing, which probably no one else will notice, but it makes me happy. As does my collection of tiny porcelain bells (see the one in the bottom left of the picture?)
If you inject vintage and little into the picture, then I really start to smile.

One of my favorite "new" items this year was a small, gold-tinsel tree, which belonged to my great-grandmother.
I have very distant memories of her. I faintly remember my mother taking my sister and I to visit her at a nursing home when I was very little. I remember all my aunts crying over her loss at her funeral.
Anyway, this year, when my grandmother cleaned out the attic, this is one of the things that was found. It is covered in little chenille ornaments and I just love it to pieces. My grandmother tells me her mother would be thrilled to know I have it and love it... and that I do.
I love this little choir of angels I picked up years ago. It sits on a little accordion-style wood base that expands for display, it's a little worse for the wear, but it makes me smile every year when I unpack it.
I have a collection of vintage ornaments too, but there is always an element of heart break when you love vintage items. The years make them brittle and your always bound to lose a few.
It seems there is an element of hearbreak in anything worth caring about -- the bitter in the sweet.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What a whirlwind!

Wow, it's been a whirlwind preparing for my "Favorite Things" party on Sunday.

Preparing gave me the perfect excuse to finish a major project, a belated birthday gift for my dear friend Katie. If you want to see what it use to look like, check out this link

I've also been finishing up projects big and small, in case any of my guests (or non-guests) would like to take some rescued chairs off my hands.
Here's just a few:

I like this piece because it fits with Christmas, but I think it can carry you all the way to Valentines...
I was glad to finally wrap up this project too! I picked up this great cabinet at Genesee County's Habitat For Humanity's Restore shop. I then hung it in a dead space in our dining room to give me more room for storage and display. My aunt suggested I build it in, to give me additional room for cookbooks. This was a whole lot of trial and error, but I think it looks pretty good.
I was wishing I had some more Tomboy tools!
If you can't come to the party, but are interested in looking at the tools designed to empower women to tackle dyi projects visit . Orders should be made by Dec. 13 to count toward my party and to ensure Christmas delivery!
And since I'm out of staples, it's time to tackle the food.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Last Christmas ...

Last Christmas I made the most of decorating, even though I was disappointed that I had no mantle over the fireplace. I thought it looked pretty nice. But this year, I have no such disappointment. Now, with a mantle I have ample rooms to display my baubles.
And thanks to my step dad, our sconces now work in the living room.

Everything is so Merry and Bright!!!!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chair no more...

Most people who know me, know I like rescuing old chairs, and this one was in need of help.
It was painful, but I hope this chair appreciates the transformation.
I decided it had a higher purpose. I've always thought my fireplace deserved a mantle, so when I found a random mantle cap at the thrift store, I decided it was high time I did something about it, and I sacrificed the old chair on the alter of my hearth!

I used bits and pieces off the chair to create a mantle for my naked fireplace and I'm happy with the results. I may tinker around with it some more... keep my eyes peeled for some other architectural pieces that I can add... maybe some corbels, who knows?

I also have some tile and I'd eventually like to re-tile the hearth, but you know the whirlwind of Christmas is coming. Speaking of Christmas, I can't wait to hang up the stockings.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why should Oprah have all the fun?

You don't have to be Oprah or Julie Andrews to make a list of your favorite things.
It's really easy, favorite chocolate: See's, favorite color: Vintage Map, favorite sport: baseball, favorite splurge: Lunch at Cafe Lila with my little guy... see how easy it is?
So I decided in that spirit to have "My Favorite Things" party...details are forthcoming, but mark you calendars for Dec. 13. I'm excited about having a group of ladies at my house to celebrate one of my favorite seasons!!!!
Speaking of favorite things, I'm a big fan of my house. I just came across a picture of it from before we even put on offer on it. There's a lot of stuff going on in our lives right now that might mean leaving my little dream house and I really think that will be okay, as long as my favorite people (oh and the pets too) go with me.
Quoting one of my favorite movies, "UP"
"Sorry about your house, Mr. Fredrickson," says Russel.
"It's just a house," says Mr. Fredrickson.
Nothing like Disney Pixar to put some things into perspective.
Sorry start thinking of your some of your favorite things and stay posted.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How about a fire?

I had a profitable trip to the Mason Antique District. I picked up this Victorian chair, which has seen better days. While it's structurally sound, it's not going to be a chair for long. I have other plans. . .
involving this fireplace.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Flu and it's untold dangers

I recently came down with the flu, which meant I spent a lot of time in bed, looking around at our bedroom and thinking of the things I'd like to change.Starting with the chair beside our bed. I originally got this chair thinking I'd recover it, but once I got it home I realized it went perfectly in our bedroom. The upholstery was in great shape, except for the little arm rest, which seemed like they had been attacked by a cat or perhaps something worse.
Luckily, I found some greenish plaid fabric that did just the trick on the shabby arm rests. The only problem is I decided to do this while I was sick. Sure, I thought I was on the mend. Turns out my brain was still foggy with the flu and I ...

I managed to staple my finger. OUCH! My brain was so foggy that I initially didn't realize what had happened. There was just extreme pain and a staple embedded into my finger. Only upon staring at it for a few seconds did I realize what I had done... I was holding my staple gun upside down. The only thing worse than having a staple go into your finger is pulling that same staple out.

So learn from me. If you're sick stay in bed, rest and get better, that shabby chair isn't going anywhere.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Oh Tim, how I love you!

Shhhhh, don't tell Bob. I have a crush on someone else.
I've never actually met him, but boy can the guy bake!
Tim Horton thank you, thank you, thank you for your pumpkin spice muffins.
For the sake of my marriage it's probably good you only make them in the Fall.
P.s. I'm a happily married woman so don't try wooing me with free muffins.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's time for the harvest

We recently went to the Fall Festival at the Ella Sharp Museum.
It was great fun and beautiful day. Just think, our ancestors once used animals like these to help tame the land and provide food for their families. I think I'd have a hard time forcing this pair to do anything. Just look at those sad eyes. I'm pretty certain my family would have starved.
I would have needed one of these. The driver asked my son if he wanted to sit in the seat. Of course he did... so did I. He got to. Me, not so much.

Oh I love me some pumpkins.

There was an artisan at the festival making these beautiful brooms. I was particularly smitten with the broom that uses an old bat for the handle.

I wrote all about the festival for my column in The Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A little Tigers and a Zebra

I'd like to say I'm over it, but it's still stinging.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and the first thing that pops into my head is the angst that was the final month of the Detroit Tigers' season. The second thought, the angst that was the Tigers' last appearance in the World Series against the Cardinals.

As a fan, I didn't think it got more painful than losing that World Series in the way our boys lost it, but now I'm not so sure. It's only baseball so I've got to get over it, but right now it still hurts.
On to happier matters. An iconic school chair.

Dressed in Zebra.

I again used fabric stiffener and polyurethane to adhere the fabric to the chair...I absolutely love this method. It takes numerous coats of poly, but I think if pays big dividends.
So in closing, the Tigers let me down but the Zebra didn't.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Last October

We took a trip to Myrtle Beach. It was a little cold, but I think the ocean is always beautiful.
I do wish we could go this year.
We can't.
There's a lot of things I'm wishing for this October, that I didn't dream I would be wishing for last October.
I wish my husband could find a job.
I wish I could find a job, if that would help.
I wish we could sell the house we don't want.
I wish we could keep the house we want.
I wish we could have another baby.
I wish I could go to the mall and buy a new outfit.
I wish some of my old outfits would fit.
Wishes can be dangerous things sometimes. Sometimes they get you focusing on what you want instead of what you have.
So, I'm trying to remember last year's trip to the beach, when I still had a "baby" instead of a full-fledged boy. It's so fleeting, this childhood thing.
I wish I would remember that more.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The luck of the shop ...

It can get down right irritating to go into a thrift store and see an absolutely hideous chair that is marked $30. Ugh! Sure, one day it could be fabulous, but there's a lot of work involved...and tons of staples, dust, and unidentifiable objects stuck in crevices.
So, it's always nice to find a completely lovely chair for $2 (no crevices involved). I know who every priced this chair didn't think it was lovable but I don't care. I loved this chair straight away!

Still, even a lovely chair can stand a facelift. I love this technique too. I basically take fabric stiffener and soak my fabric, in this case a lovely silk plaid and then I cover the chair in it. I let it dry and then go over the whole thing with poly -- I like the water based product for easy clean-up.

A nice break from the staple gun.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Is that even the same chair?

Cue the broken record, I forgot to take, before, before pictures, but I did manage to snap a shot of this chair, wearing nothing but primer. Originally it was decked out in terrible black vinyl, including on the wood piece on top. It looked like it came from some seedy restaurant, serving terrible all-you-can-eat fish and chips.I'm always looking for cheap victims on which to turn my staple gun. The nasty vinyl made this chair cheap, but it was also a bear to strip. I don't think I've ever come across so many staples. Obviously, the whole situation brought on some kind of staple-induced derangement because I went a little crazy on this make over.
She's a little over-the-top, I know... but once I started, I just couldn't stop. I don't know what happened, I channeled "Project Runway" contestants or something. Trust me, just like on the show, there was glue involved, but unlike the show, I'm certain that if this chair decided to saunter down a runway, her dress isn't going anywhere.

Why not throw in a decoupaged detail, too?

I blame this fabric, which I picked up from a thrift store. It's so Rococo, I just had to make the rest of the chair match. Now, the tough job is to find this little number a home, because she's too fancy a lady for my house.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's still very much a basement

. . .but it is much better than it was.
I forgot to take a picture until after I started painting, so my before pictures don't quite capture the dungeony mood it had.
Now, this isn't going to be a before and after that leaves you thinking, "Wow, you can't even tell that's a basement." Turning our basement into one of those kinds of basements would have required a budget bigger than a shoe string and a general contractor, or possibly two.

That said, I think a large dose of elbow grease, paint and some organization has made this basement bearable.

This mess is what results when you have a place so dark that you don't want to spend any time down there.

Now, I've even made a make-shift little studio in an area that was once called "The Pit." Seriously, I'm not joking, a previous owner had wood-burned "The Pit" onto a little sign and hung it over the doorway. It was a very apt description. (Yeah, I even wallpapered it with some vintage paper from my grandma's attic.)

I added curtain panels, made out of red burlap, to the stairway area to make a closet of sorts.

Jack now thinks it's a special treat to go play with his train table and the train pieces don't end up all over the house.

Reed fencing helps disguise the crawlspace. It's downright pleasant down there now. The other day, I even folded laundry down there and that's just not something I do (anywhere). Just ask my hubby.