Friday, October 31, 2014

Home Recycled, Always

This series is over, only not really. I'm about to start work on making over a former mother-in-law wing into a guest cottage. Actually thanks to my son in law I'm further along than I thought I would be by this time. I hope to paint soon and start another series of projects that involve recycling unused or unloved things into decorating treasures.

Home is always being recycled no matter how you are decorating. The extra bedroom becomes a nursery, then a little boy's or girl's room, then a room for a cool teen,  storage room for the mostly away college student, and then becomes the extra bedroom again. Home, like life, is always in a state of change. That's why it can never really be finished. Because our homes have to keep evolving and changing to suit the needs of ever evolving and changing families.

Even if you are single your personal space changes to reflect the way you are growing and changing as a person. So don't strive for perfection. Don't spend an exorbitant amount of cash unless you can afford it. Instead work toward a home that makes you happy and reflects the personality of you and your family. It's not a contest. I'm pretty sure no magazine is showing up to do a spread on most of our homes. So make yourself happy. Experiment. Be creative. Rescue some discarded pieces. Play with paint.

Enjoy your home, recycled.

Happy decorating! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Stained Paint Is My New Favorite Thing

Sometimes you have something around the house that is just slightly off or you redecorate and that piece you loved just doesn't fit anymore. That happened to me with a pair of candlesticks. A few years ago I taught a women's Bible study and when we finished those sweet girls gave me this pair as a gift. I loved them and they were perfect for the house at the time. You know, if only I'd taken the time to wait until I had matching candles to take this pic.

When I painted this room the original colors seemed garish and I decided to paint them. My first attempt was a layer of silver spray paint (hideous) followed by a coat of leftover paint from my mirror project. 

I used them like this for a while but something about them still bugged me.

I'd sanded and used aging wax. I wanted to keep some of the parts I liked showing through like the bits of red on the top and the green on the base. So I sanded some more.

 I was really liking the way that looked but the turquoise looked more like something I'd want if I had a beach house. I'd used the aging wax that I'd made for the furniture projects but it wasn't dark enough. In my frustration I decided to just put straight stain over the paint and see what happened.

What happened was magic.

 Suddenly the candlestick no longer looked like a painted piece of plaster but took on the appearance of painted wood. All the places I'd sanded gave depth and dimension when the stain soaked in. You can see the difference in this picture.

The one on the left is nice and would be lovely in the right setting, but the one on the left had the aged look and visual oomph I was looking for.

Staining paint, who knew?

Have you ever made an accidental decorating discovery that you loved?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

From Lampshade to Wreath

I had two square pieces of wire leftover from a lampshade deconstruction I did last year. I was saving them to make square wreaths for the holidays, but I thought I'd go ahead and do a practice one to share with you. 

Read here to find out why I was deconstructing a lampshade and to see where the square frame came from.

First I tried to preserve boxwood. It's a process that I don't have good luck with, so for the holidays I'll just be happy with fresh greenery and knowing that it'll get tossed after. Have any of you had any luck with the glycerin preservation method? If so I'd love to hear about it!

All I used for this project was fresh boxwood cuttings, bottom of lampshade frame, and wire. There's not step by step because I literally just wired the boxwood to the frame. I really like the square look as a change from round. I'll beef it up for the holidays with lots more greenery and maybe a bow, but I really love it just like this!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Easel Rescue and Makeover

Last year I saw a cute easel on sale at Marshall's for around 40 bucks. I almost bought it, but I couldn't get over the price tag. Then sure enough about a month ago I was driving around the corner from my house and saw this. 

It was in pretty good shape but needed some attention. One side was a chalk board and the other side was this dry erase board and what I guessed was a tray for supplies that had seen better days. Have you priced these? I recently saw this at my neighborhood Hobby Lobby.

Remember when I posted about things I keep on hand for projects? Since I had chalk board paint, sandpaper and stain, this project cost me nothing but a little work. The previous owner had marked it all up with markers so I dismantled the whole things and started with sanding the wooden pieces and dry erase board.

The tray I removed so I could work on it.

 I had some contact paper I'd found at my local thrift store for less than a dollar. I covered the bottom with craft paper first and then attached the contact paper to pretty it up.

I gave both pieces of board fresh coats of Valspar Chalkboard Paint, letting it dry completely between coats.

Then I put the whole thing back together and easy peasy and cheap, a beautiful chalk board easel for welcoming signs at parties or for the holidays. Oh yeah, and it was free. That's pretty awesome too.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Recycled Post on Glass Cutting

 Just back from a vacation and I'm recycling a post about recycling so I don't have to miss a day! I know all the 31 Dayers will understand. You must excuse the horrible pictures.  If I'm not trying to save the container for a home made lotion or cream, I'm looking at it thinking whether or not it would make a nice set of juice glasses or a funky vase. 


Usually  I starteoff with a LOT of bottles.

I thought these little pomegranate sparkler bottles would have made an adorable set of juice glasses.  You can see the line where I scored the bottle.

 The process works by alternating hot and cold water to (hopefully) get the glass to break where you want it, along that line. Sometimes you get a crack where you don't want it. When that happens, just stop and put the bottle in the recycling bin. It cracked away from the line I scored so there is no saving it. I had 4 of these bottle and NONE of them had an acceptable break. I was just about to decide that it was the clear glass that didn't want to make a clean break, when vodka bottle broke perfectly. I think it makes a great vase. I love the clean bold graphic. 

The tops of wine and olive oil bottles can be made into elegant funnels like in the picture at the top of this post. I use these all the time in the  kitchen. Don't remove the little plastic stopper on your olive oil bottles. It's very useful in filling tiny jars. Below you can see what will go in the recycling bin. 

I'm looking for a more reliable method of doing this if anyone has any suggestions!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Recycled Glassware

I was having an afternoon of glass cutting recently and was thinking how satisfying it is to be able to make a piece of trash into something useful. I wondered what the most expensive glass in the world is. It is actually $3,750 and available from a company called Opulent Items. It features a diamond in the stem (because everyone needs that) and is made from a special substance that keeps the wine at the perfect temperature. Apparently some people nurse a glass of wine so long that their hand warms the glass...Who knew?

But I wasn't making wine glasses I was making juice glasses. I looked for the 1% version and found it at Baccarat Crystal.

MOSAIQUE TUMBLER Crystal festive glass.  Price: $215.00
I like pretty things as much as the next girl, but I found it hard to believe that the listed price of $215.00 was for a SINGLE glass. Something about that is obscene. There are innumerable levels of quality and prices between this and free which I'm about to share with you.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know how I love free, recycled, and reclaimed. So today I thought I'd have a little fun with a recycled version of the above table setting.

Instead of what is easily over a thousand dollars worth of crystal in the Baccarat photo, the recycleed table setting is coming in at about 12 bucks. The crystal glasses were picked up for 99 cents at the Goodwill. If you don't want to factor in the six pack of Peroni, about $8.00,  you could ring up this little vignette at around 4 dollars.

You also get the satisfaction of knowing how well you can live on very little. That makes the Home Recycled version beautiful.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Dresser Mirror Stands on its Own

Today, I'm showing you a mirror I recently finished. This is the mirror that previously was attached to the French Provincial dresser on the landing. They work so much better as two separate pieces and when you look closely you can tell that they didn't even match. Someone just stuck them together at some point.

I found this on the back of the mirror.
My in-laws purchased this "set" (none of the pieces matched) in the 50s. My husband had written his name on it at some point during his childhood.

Here is the mirror with the chalk painting completed.

After applying the coat of clear wax I sanded and aged it.

The last step, and the most fun is the aging wax. I brush it on smashing it deep into cracks and crevices. The entire process is very forgiving. You can play with it a lot. 

The last step is to buff the aging wax until you have a smooth glossy finish and enjoy your beautiful new masterpiece.

Don't be afraid to take things apart and use them in different ways. I'm dying to try this mirror standing on a console by the front door or in the dining room. There are so many possibilities! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

From Drop Cloth to Drape

Does this ever happen to you? You have an idea that seems like it will be amazing, you collect supplies, spend most of the day on it, put it in place, and then find that you aren't sure you  like it? This is the story of yesterday. At the top of my staircase There are all these sharp angles I was hoping to soften a bit, and in the process baffle a bit of sound from downstairs that bounces up here. It's why when I made this landing into a cool study space a few years back, my kids couldn't actually use it. 

So my plan was to hang a hand painted piece of painter's drop cloth here from a rod to achieve the softening and baffling I was after.

I had this rod that wasn't being used and it was perfect for a space where no one will see it. Here's a tip: if you have one of these cheap rods that is too long you can easily bend it until it breaks. Use pliers to round it back out and you are good to go. I spray painted this one silver when I was finished.

For this project I used a large painter's drop cloth, a yard stick, masking tape, textile medium and acrylic paint.

I wanted giant stripes, so I measured off one foot bands and used masking tape to mark it off for painting.

I mixed up the paint according to the instructions.

It would have taken another coat of paint for a more uniform look, but when I got this far I loved the brushy look of the paint against the canvas. It reminded me of a French Impressionist painting. The phrase plein air came to mind and I stopped while it looked like this.

John Constable, Clouds 1822

 I put my newly painted and shortened rod up and used clip rings (my favorite invention ever)  to attach the fabric and hang it up.