Today’s post was inspired by this clever ad from Uncommon Goods. Don’t you love it? Uncommon Goods is a great store with lots of recycled and one-of-a-kind gifts and gotta-haves. They have unusual items for your home and garden, fun stuff for the office, as well as some very beautiful jewelry and accessories.
Now that the sun is starting to make a regular appearance, I pulled my bike out and installed a rack on the back for extra storage. In addition to the new rack, I also added the I ♥ PDX bell I bought in Portland way back when, and I decided to spiff-up a set of hand-me-down saddlebags my parents gave me years ago. The saddlebags were a little tired looking, with big, faded logo patches on each side and purple (one of the few colors I can’t stand!) corded pulls hanging from each zippered pocket. I scrounged around the house for supplies, and found some kelly green grossgrain ribbon. I cut off the purple pulls and tied on the coordinating ribbon instead. To cover the patches, I used the fuzzy side of a heavy-duty adhesive piece of velcro. Sort of girly, but I’m ok with that.
My goal is to cut back on driving and use my bike for short trips to the grocery store and visiting friends nearby. Long, leisurely rides with the family would be great too. I’m feeling very optimistic and hopeful for a warm, fun-filled summer!
Over the weekend I revamped this old dining table which was a steal at $35! The top is almost 2 in thick, and solid wood. With banquette seating, I needed a pedestal base, so I took off the turned legs and mounted this vintage chrome base which I picked up for $15. Check out the transformation! From frumpy to fabulous in one day!
The chrome legs were missing the slidy feet things and just had a big hole there, so I had to get creative. I took off the end caps and inserted wooden dowels cut to fit. This gave me something to tap the new sliders into.
With the help of my favorite furniture spiffer-upper, the table went from dull and scratched to warm and wonderful!
Here’s the table, in all it’s newfound glory!
Here it is expanded to an oval with the addition of a leaf and the rest of the furniture.
I also finished painting the wall on the left and installing and painting the window trim. It’s almost done! I’ve checked off several items on the list. I still have the baseboard to put in, pillows to make, and the accent shelf to finish but at least we can actually use it now. Yay!
On Earth Day I had the pleasure of volunteering at an event with a group of folks from Hilltop Urban Gardens, aka HUG. This organization is based in Tacoma, WA with a focus on community-based urban agriculture and social justice. The event took place at the local Boys and Girls Club and included a wide range of family activities. There was a petting zoo, a seed and plant exchange, crafts, and more.
My favorite part was watching the kids make stepping stones for the HUG gardens using broken tiles, pottery, and glass marbles. This is something you can do at home too!
All you need is:
- 1 bag of quick-setting cement
- an assortment of dishes/tile/pottery
- Non-stick spray like PAM
- tins or plastic trays to use as molds
Mix up your concrete in small batches, make sure it’s not too watery and not too thick. Kind of like pancake batter. Spray your mold with PAM and pour in your cement. Any shallow plastic or tin container with some give will work. You want it to bend some when you are trying to expel the stone later.
Add your pottery and push the pieces into the cement until the edges are just beneath the surface. As the concrete dries, it tends to push up the pottery a tiny bit so it works better if they are slightly submerged. This way, you won’t have any rough edges sticking out later.
Let dry for 24 hrs or until completely hardened.
Another way to make some exciting stepping stones and garden decor without busting up all of your dishes, is to use jell-o molds. They are inexpensive to buy and you can make them in many shapes and sizes. I found this photo courtesty of concrete primrose via photobucket.
You can take it even a step further, and make your own molds! Check out Martha’s cement leaf tutorial here.
Have fun stepping out in your own garden.
Exciting news! Some of my creations are now available locally at Fry – Mountain Modern Living. It’s a small space above Kavu in Ballard, and it’s filled with gorgeous, handcrafted furniture, lush paintings, sculptural pieces, and more.
The gallery proprietor, Russ Fry, is an amazing artist, craftsman, and designer based in Montana. His Seattle showroom features a selection of his work; furniture with clean, modern lines and a rugged goodness drenched in warmth and character. The workmanship and attention to detail in each piece is truly inspiring.
My work is much smaller in scale and hopefully, fills some need for local flavor and alternative price points. It includes a few of these wooden mixed media pieces featuring my original photograhy:
Marble coasters atop an iron and wood coffe table forged by Russ:
A pair of throw pillows made out of burlap sacks from a local coffee roaster:
A collection of glass magnets on mason jar lids. Under them, repurposed gym lockers turned end table:
It’s really an honor to be included, especially amidst such a group of talented artists. Please stop by and check it out. Enter through Kavu, the gallery is open during regulalr store hours.
A few days ago I noticed my favorite pet portraitist, Adriana Willsie, was asking for submissions for her Doodle a Day project. I submitted this photo of our Chocolate Lab Gracie, fresh from a swim, and it was chosen!
I have always envied people who could draw. I can’t even draw a rough floor plan. My lines are far from straight and the shapes are squishy-looking instead of angular. It’s especially embarrassing when I’m at the hardware store or talking to my brother, the Contractor. Trying to communicate in this way is very difficult, and I’m just talking about inanimate objects! Adriana though, is quite gifted. She has captured Gracie’s personality and demeanor perfectly. Be sure to check out her amazing array of work at: www.adrianawillsie.com.
My latest project is a dining room and kitchen makeover. It’s mostly paint and elbow grease, nothing structural. I’d love to tear down some walls and really go to town, but unfortunately, that’s not in the budget. Did I mention I’m a renter? Luckily, I rent from my future in-laws, so I do have some flexibility. They’ve been pretty happy with the improvements I’ve already made, and it seems to be working out for everyone. I get to tweak it to fit our needs, and they get the free labor!
So what was wrong with the way it was? Well, here’s the thing. The dining room was very dark and traditional with long striped drapes, poor lighting, and an outdated, wobbly oak table that could only seat 4 people on a cool day. In the summer, the back door is usally open, and when it’s open, it hits the table. Sort of awkward. Also, traditional is not really my style. Unfortunately, this seems to be one of the only “before” pictures I have at the moment.
The solution to the table issue? Banquette seating! With window shades instead of drapes and a couple of benches, we will be able to move the new table closer to the corner and have room for additional seating if needed. I have already swapped out the light fixture which provides better task lighting for homework and sewing, and I’ve installed a dimmer to dial it back for cozy dinners. The benches I purchased, open for storage. I’m hoping they will be roomy enough inside to store my fabric and sewing things.
Here’s an “in progress” photo:
I also hung one of my Surplus Store finds to the left of the door to display cookbooks. Love it!
To date I have:
- Removed the curtains and hardware
- Patched holes, prepped walls, caulked gaps in moulding
- Painted the entire ceiling and crown moulding
- Painted the brownish red wall bright red
- Painted the taupe wall around the door bright white
- Replaced the outlets and covers
- Replaced the light switches and covers
- Built and installed a hanging pendant light (the enamel shade was a free curbside find!)
- Installed a dimmer for the pendant light
- Installed a new light fixture in the kitchen
- Removed the window sills which protruded from the wall (for banquette seating, the trim will need to be flat to prevent bruised elbows!)
- Bought 2 black leather storage benches
- Found a chrome pedastel table base on CL (craigslist) for $15
- Found a bookshelf for the end of the counter on CL for $10
Still to do:
- Find a tabletop and attach chrome base
- Paint the taupe wall on the left and possibly the rest of the kitchen
- Install black vinyl floor trim
- Trim out windows with casing and white paint
- Install window coverings
- Makeover bookshelf
- Replace window covering over kitchen sink
- Make decorative pillows
- Replace cabinet hardware in kitchen
- Replace the back door
The best part will be when it’s finished and I can decorate! Here are some of the fabrics I’ve picked out for the accent pillows:
Here are a few photos that inspired my project:
Wish me luck on this huge project!