Monday, August 30, 2010

My weekend

This past weekend, my cousin from California came to visit. My sister and I took her downtown Chicago on Saturday to do a little sightseeing. We took the train, then a bus to Navy Pier. Even though I'm 50 miles NW of the city, I've never been to Navy Pier (since it became a tourist attraction). The Tall Ships were there, so the place was packed.

We took a boat ride out on Lake Michigan to get a view of the skyline. We also got some nice photos of the ships. The sailboats were sold out, so we couldn't go on those. (I even tried a couple weeks in advance to get tickets) So, we went on one of the double decker ships, and sat on top to catch some sun.
I'll have to upload the rest of my photos, but ran out of time today. Check back tomorrow for more!

~*~ Laura ~*~

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Etsy Shop

I've been looking at a few items that I've made, and trying to decide what to do with them. I have about 8 stitchery candle mats, and a few other assorted items. I've been exclusively selling on Ebay, but am looking for something different. I don't think a selling blog brings enough traffic. (which reminds me, I REALLY need to update my selling blog!) So, I went to a local resale/antique shop that use to take some craft items. They are now focusing on the vintage/antique stuff. No luck there. I don't know of other shops in the area that would take items, so this afternoon, I opened an Etsy shop. Etsy works like Ebay, in that it brings sellers and buyers together. But, Etsy is strictly for crafts. I just listed 3 items at a low price, just to see what will happen. I'll have to take some more photos while the sun is out, and get more items listed.

I've purchased a couple items from Etsy sellers, and the transactions have been great. I did find the listings for Etsy quite simple and quick to complete. I am unable to use templates to get unique backgrounds, not using them saves some time. I was able to create categories (so far just candle mats), so buyers can easily see other items. The listings each last up to 4 months (or until it's sold), so no need to keep re-listing unsold items.

Now that school has started, it's nice to get back into a routine. My older three kids just started high school as freshmen on Monday. So far, they all like it. My youngest started 5th grade today, but is playing VERY noisily at the moment, as it was only a 1/2 day of school. :-)

I would love to hear about any Etsy experiences from a sellers standpoint.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dry Sink make over

I finished my dry sink make over yesterday! After debating how to finish the sides, I chose to paint it black. Paint that matched the black paint on the table and chairs in the kitchen. (which was another curb side find) So, for $9.99, I have a new dry sink that will hold pantry items.

The black paint really brings out the hammered copper sprayed top. I'm impressed how the copper paint seems really durable. It even has a sparkle to it. It was a lot easier to spray paint it, rather than cut an entire new copper top.

I need a wide angle lens, but it fits right in the middle of a wall, underneath a shelf. The dry sink is small, but the kitchen is small, and anything bigger wouldn't fit. I now need to figure out what to put on top. I would love to re-wire the phone and electrical to hide the phone cords. The house was built in the 70's, so the phones were just hardwired with the phone jack. But for now, we'll live with the cord going to the electrical outlet. It's the gold floor that I"m really beginning to not being able to live with. But the new stick on tiles that are cheap have rounded corners, so that you can grout them. Yes, it looks like ceramic tile, but I don't want to mess with grout in a kitchen.

I was browsing on Etsy the other day, and ran across a really cute idea. It was garden markers created from vintage spoons. So, I went to my favorite resale store and rummaged through their box of silverware. I got only one spoon, just for a test.

I took a hammer, and hammered it flat. I will need to get a larger size of metal stamps, so that I can stamp on the flat part. The smaller size stamps just wouldn't look right. Ideas for sayings are: thyme, dill, sage, etc. These would look cute in indoor pots, too. The long handle goes into the ground (or planting pot), and the top stamped part marks where you've planted your seeds. Once I get a larger stamp, I can locate more spoons to flatten.

High school orientation is tomorrow. Then James starts school next Wednesday. I can't believe how quickly this summer has flown by!



Monday, August 16, 2010

Copper before and after

James wanted me to title this one "before and after". I've worked on the copper top a little each day this week. I tried every cleaner, and it still didn't get it to what I was hoping. I tried Flitz, lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, and TarnX. I even took some sand paper to see what would happen. I got it smoother, but still marked and stained.

I started thinking of how to add a copper layer to the top. I know Hobby Lobby sells a thin copper sheet, but trying to get that glued down exactly would be difficult. Plus, I'm not sure that the thin copper would hold up. It was also about $25, so I skipped that idea.

I then Googled copper spray (wouldn't it be neat if metal could be sprayed?), and found they make a copper spray paint. That started me thinking that would be an easy, inexpensive fix.

I had to unload all the stuff I put in there this week. (I started super couponing, so I stock up on items on sale). I then went to Menards to browse spray paint.

This is what I came home with ~ a can of hammered copper spray paint. It was a gorgeous day outside, so I had the boys carry down the dry sink to the garage. It took about 4 coats of paint, but it covered all the scratches and stains! Since it's metal underneath, it still has the metal sound. I can now decide on how I"m going to finish the wood on it. Do I paint it or use a black stain over the existing stain? I can't do anything until the copper paint dries thoroughly so that I can tape the edges. It's fun seeing what was a $9.99 piece of furniture at Goodwill can be transformed into. I'm hoping the paint will get the musty smell out of it. :-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Done stenciling and a Goodwill find

I'm done painting and stenciling the kitchen! Yipee!! It wasn't too difficult to choose the stencil I wanted. Once the practice designs were taped up on the wall, I immediately chose this dogwood border. It seems to flow, and open the kitchen.

It's from Liberty Design Company, and comes from an 18th century house. I used blue for the vines, and rookwood red for the flowers. I shaded the center of each flower to give it more depth. I'm happy the way it turned out. I've done enough stenciling that I just grab the paint, a couple brushes, and start.

I went to Goodwill this afternoon, and stumbled across this dry sink. It's sturdy, still put together well, but needs a little attention.
The top is layered in copper, which has been, well, not kept. The photo makes it look good, so it's not in great shape. I'm going to get some Flitz polish and see if that will clean it up. (Flitz did wonders on Matt's trumpet that I purchased this spring) Once I see if that cleans up (or not) I'll decide on the next step. I can get new copper at Hobby Lobby to cover the old copper, or I can paint over the copper. But, I want to see if it will clean up first. I might paint the entire piece (the wood) with black paint to coordinate with the kitchen table and chairs. Yet another project to keep me busy!

I've also been looking under the kitchen floor. Yep, under. I removed one of the vents, and there are 2 layers of flooring. The top is a "lovely" gold tone no-wax floor that is adhered to a sheet of wood. Under that is a white and green floor. Both great colors ~ if it was 1977 again. The floor is warped (I'm thinking the dishwasher or sink must have leaked - before we purchased the house). But, I'm wondering if both layers of flooring are warped, or just the top. I think I could put down some simple tiles, but I don't do sub flooring. I don't know how difficult it would be to take off the entire top layer to reach the green. Once I start, I would have to continue, so I'll put that project on hold.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Decisions, Decisions.....

I finished painting the kitchen, and put things back on the walls. I'm really glad that I had the guts to change the cabinet color to something a little more drastic. It's not too red, not too cranberry. It blends well with the living room, which was what I wanted.

Our kitchen is small, but it easily holds a small farm table with 4 chairs. We use it when there aren't 6 of us for dinner. It also comes in handy for homework. All the newer houses have open floor plans, but since ours is a 1970's style, it has separate rooms. The kids like having not to look at each other while doing homework. Not that I want to think about homework quite yet. We still have a few more weeks until school starts.

This back corner needs something. There's just enough room for some type of corner cabinet. Nothing big, as we need space to walk around. A little more storage space would sure come in handy. We don't have a pantry, and with 6 of us here ( 3 teens) we sure go through a lot of food. I'll have to keep my eyes open at the local thrift stores for something that I could make over.

Now to the next decision. The walls look so plain. I had previously stenciled a border to add color, and want to stencil again. I took out a few border stencils and tested a few out. The one on the right is Bachelor Buttons.

The one on the left is a historic dogwood pattern. I'm really leaning toward the dogwood one. It just seems to blend. I had used this stencil only once before, in our old house about 12 years ago. Rachel's room had this one with a green vine, and multi colored flowers to coordinate with her quilt. The stencil package shows it with blue vines and barn red flowers~ I think I like that combination for here.

I'll officially decide tomorrow ~ and hopefully start the stenciling. I'll post pictures when I finish!

~*~ Laura ~*~

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Look what I stole!

Look what I stole from the hardware store! Ok, not really, but it sure felt like it. I love Benjamin Moore paints, and they are closing out on the pre-mixed colors. They had some on clearance for only $15.99 per gallon. How could I pass that up? So, the kitchen not only is getting paint on the cabinets, but the walls, too. I primed last night, and put the first coat of paint on this morning. It's an antique white, and darker than the old off white paint that was previously on the walls. It has a hint of beige in it, but still in the white family. Now that it's drying, it really gives a soft look to the room. (the primer paint was a little too stark white for me)

Here's a peek at the color. Like the green tape that's everywhere? You can even see the new light fixture a bit better than other photos. The cd player was moved to it's new home, under the far cabinet. It gets better radio reception in the new spot. That's good. I love listening to the Cubs as they get slaughtered once again. (and again, and again) Don't ask why I'm a Cubs fan.

Tonight it's a 2nd coat of paint, and then I should be able to put everything back together. I can't wait to see how it looks!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Still here ~ Still painting

I'm still here, and still painting and working on the kitchen. This weekend, I went shopping for a new light fixture for above the kitchen sink. I really wanted a can light. So, my teen son, Matt removed the old light fixture. It was NOT going to go back up. Look at these wires! A fire hazard waiting to happen.

It's the ugly old fixture with paint on it. The paint was from years ago when I wanted to replace it. I never bothered to wipe the paint off. Now I can toss it out in the garbage. There is a back box in the soffit, so we didn't want to mess with it to put in a can light. That would involve going up in the attic with no working space (very close to the roof edge). Plus, there's no boards in the attic, just beams. We would have to pay someone to do the work, and for one fixture, it's not worth it. Too many other things to spend money on. So, we found a little fixture that looks like a fan light. The metal coordinates with the new fan, too. It gives enough room for a new curtain rod, without hitting the curtain. The big bonus, the light fixture was under $10. Can't beat that for an update!

I've finished painting the cabinets. I even installed some under cabinet LED lights. I had to drill some holes in the cabinets to run the cords, but that was easy. The difficult part is what to do with the cords inside the cabinets. I wanted all the lights on one switch, so I had to run an extension cord back up to above the microwave. It really brightens the counters, without adding heat. I'll live with the cords running in the cabinets to have the extra light. :-)

I put a new curtain rod up. The old one was just a white metal standard rod (ok, it was falling off the woodwork). The new one is a black metal one that was on sale at Menards for under $13. I hung it lower to show the painted trim of the window frame. I didn't want a header on the valance, so I used the top pocket to thread the valance on the rod. A new look, but without buying anything but a curtain rod. I am still debating of getting some simple weavers cloth straight curtains, but might not do that. The lace valance filters the light through the window, and the new light fixture bounces light off it nicely to brighten it up. We really don't need anything that covers the window entirely, as the kitchen is on the upper level (we have a 1970's bi-level) and our neighbor has no windows on the side of their house.

Last night I put a fresh coat of paint on the kitchen chairs. Now to paint the walls. I have Matt helping to tape all the edges so that I can prime them. I want to get all the paint stuff off the counter, so that's my incentive to get it done this week. I will want to re stencil the walls, but that can be done without a lot of mess, and a section at a time.