Archive | January, 2012

Pay No Attention to the Hole in the Wall

31 Jan

Wouldn’t it be nice if I’d finished a project to show you?  I wouldn’t get your hopes up.  Projects always seem to take longer than I expect.  I think its a conspiracy.  Some sort of time vortex that only happens when I’m trying to get things done.  That sounds plausible, and I’m going with it.  Blame the vortex.

I did get the bulk of the work done on the midcentury pieces that I’m refinishing for my future nephews nursery.  I haven’t reattached the legs or knobs on the dresser yet, but aside from that, all it needs is a coat or 2 of poly so it’ll stand up in a child’s room.

The cabinet is a little further behind- I need to finish painting the doors and paint the interior.  Next weekend is my last free weekend for the foreseeable future, so you can bet your britches that I’ll get them done or die trying.

So… for that hole in the wall…

After a year in the house, we still don’t have curtains in the bedroom.  I kept wavering about what style I wanted, so I just avoided them altogether.  Well, last week, I finally bit the bullet and ordered 2 sets from West Elm.  These and these.  The gray linen ones came in, but the others were on backorder, so I’m impatiently waiting.  With one set of curtains to try, I decided to hang the curtain rods I bought….8 months or so ago.

I’ve hung a few curtains in my day. Plaster walls, however are not my friend.  I got one window hung with no problems,

but it couldn’t all go smoothly, could it.

Wall anchors are a necessity in these walls, but if the anchor won’t grip and the plaster crumbles around it, it just kind of makes a big hole…  I can hear Handy Dad cringing as he reads this.  Luckily, I can hide it behind the bracket and curtain.  Pay no attention to the hole behind the curtain.

The main reason that anchors are required with curtains in this house:

The bear (AKA Charlie cat) likes to wrap all 15 lbs of himself in curtains.  It’s ridiculously adorable.  But it also means that the curtains and rods need to durable and chubby-kitten-proof.

When the other set of curtains come in, I’ll put them side-by-side and get your 2 cents.  Then maybe, just MAYBE, I’ll have a completed project to show you.  I just need to figure out how to beat this time vortex.


Jewelry Frames: the good, the bad, and the ugly

26 Jan

A few months ago, I got started on some earring/bracelet organization via a few small frames.  In addition to the small ones, I was planning to make some larger frames for necklaces and then post about them all.  I didn’t want to share until it was all done, but I have a few lessons learned from this which will help me with the larger frames.

So, here goes…

Aren’t these thrift store frames beautiful?  $1.99 a piece.  Flower filled tubs and cross-stitched flowers are totally my style. (I hope you can see the dripping sarcasm)

I brought out my handy-dandy spray paint and unified the frames with a few coats of flat black.

I’d seen various jewelry frames on Pinterest that I wanted to try and replicate:


I decided to try out both of these methods: radiator mesh for earrings and peg board with knobs to hold bracelets.

Here’s what I came up with:

Please excuse the quality wall behind.  The master bedroom is the ONLY room in the house with the original plaster (and the accompanying cracks and flaws).

The earrings frames with radiator mesh work like a charm.  The other one, however has some issues.  Well, not so much ‘issues’ as ‘things that could work better.’  The first problem is asymmetry.  I didn’t think ahead when I was cutting the peg board.  The holes are off center and thus the knobs I used are off centered.  Kinda makes me twitch, but I’ll get over it.  Also, using peg board really didn’t end up necessary for this.  I would be better off just using plywood.

The bigger issue, though, is that its not very practical.  When I screwed the knobs on, I made them tight to the peg board (like how you would install them on a cabinet).  That makes it look nice, but in practice- you really can’t fit more than one bracelet comfortably on a knob- 2 if you’re lucky.  For my next attempt, I will leave space between the knob and backer so I can actually use it as intended.

I hate it when things don’t work out the way I plan, but that’s how you learn, right?

Nursery Furniture Progress

24 Jan

I’ve been making quite a mess in the basement lately.  I’ve been working on refinishing my midcentury craigslist finds for my future nephew’s nursery.

It’s amazing what some high grit sandpaper can do. The dresser on the left is all sanded and ready for its new finishes.  The cabinet on the right is untouched (the dresser was just as bad as that to start with, too).

Steel wool also does wonders on the brass accents.

I’m hoping to have the prep work all done by the weekend.  If all goes as planned (I hope), I’ll have an awesome transformation to show you next week!

p.s. Pop over to Roadkill Rescue where my recent deco desk lamp redo is featured!

Better than Mike Wolfe

20 Jan

Remember when I found this lamp at a tag sale for a whole $3?

Well, about a month ago, I was watching American Pickers and Mike Wolfe picked the same light!!  AAANNNDDD  he paid FOUR TIMES what I did at a whopping $12.  I totally get lucky every once in a while rock!

Take that Mike Wolfe! (And that is said with much adoration and respect of course, since I love American Pickers so much)

Before the weather turned totally rotten, my lamp got a much-needed coat of spray paint.  It’s been hanging around for the past few months, patiently waiting to be rewired.  I decided when I got it, that my sexy deco desk light needed to stay true to itself.  That meant I had to hunt down a good source for cloth-covered wire.  I did a quick Google search and found Sundial Wire.  Jackpot!  Not only are they a local Massachusetts company, but their prices are fantastic!  It made me kind of giddy.

After New Years, I ordered 10 feet (extra just in case) of snazzy(that’s right, I said snazzy) red cotton twisted wire

and a vintage style plug

Having never rewired anything before, I armed myself with tips from Handy Dad and watched this youtube clip:

It may have taken me a full hour to accomplish what she does in about 4 minutes, but I have a feeling that wasn’t her first tango.

Check out what my deco desk lamp looks like today!

And look- it works!!

Pin and Tell: Conflicted Feminine

18 Jan

Welcome to my “Pin and Tell” weekly series. If you missed my previous “Pin and Tell” posts, check them out here.


This week’s Pin


As the title hints, I’m conflicted about this room.  There are elements that I absolutely adore which is why I’m showing it today, but there are also elements that leave me scratching my head.

Adore: the couch.  I’m kind of in love with it.  It looks cozy and chic, plus I’m a sucker for tufting.  I wish I could curl up into a ball in the corner of that couch and never leave.  At the very least, I want to pet it.  Its pretty and looks soft, so I want to touch it.  (I know that probably sounds a tad nuts…)  The coffee table is the perfect compliment- elegant, but current.

I’m on the fence about the amount of art, but leaning toward love on that.  I think if they just took away one or two pieces I’d be totally convinced.

The head-scratchers: wtf curtains, you ruin the room.  I like the graphic impact of the curtains… in a different room.  In this space, it seems a little schizophrenic.  The sofa, coffee table, and art have an effortless collected look to them.  The curtains look like they’re trying too hard.  Same thing with the ‘chandelier’.  It just seems flat in a space with decadent textures (pardon the pun, but its true).  Take away the curtains and the chandelier and I’ll give it thumbs up.

Bottom line?  Can I take that sofa home with me?  Maybe in another color, but **swoon**.

A Punch Bowl and a Vise

17 Jan

One of these things is not like the other.

As it turns out, however, no two things have ever said more about my personality than those two.

It was actually my dad’s observation.  My parents came up from CT to my sister’s again this weekend and I stopped by to pick up a few things from them.  The items that I picked up from my parents were things that were being passed on to me now that I had use for them…

A punch bowl that belonged to my grandmother (to use for B’s bridal shower)

And a vise that belonged to my grandfather (for my basement work area)

To over-simplify:  tools + pretty things = happy Karen.

The older I get, the clearer it is how I turned out the way I did.  When my dad told me I could have his extra vise (because don’t all dad’s have multiple extras of pretty much every tool? or is it just mine?) he also told me he cleaned it up for me and repainted the original logo and details.  To quote an e-mail from him: “I was thinking as I was doing it what a complete waste of time it was and that you are one of the few people who would appreciate the effort.  Besides it was fun.”  That’s Handy Dad for ya.

I should also point out the stenciled table runner that I used as a backdrop.  Custom hand-made Christmas gift from mom.  (See, she’s Handy too!)

And that’s why I am who I am.

Any questions?

Raining Umbrellas

12 Jan

I’m not one for official New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to challenge myself to be a better self each year.

Even though I did a lot of DIY projects in 2011, I did very few original creations.  You know my deep obsession affinity for Pinterest, but with so many ideas at your fingertips is easier to reinterpret someone else’s ideas instead of developing your own.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I have a personal philosophy: you can’t complain about something if you’re not taking steps to change it (or at least change the way you think about it).   My example always is- I don’t want to hear you complain about the size of your butt if you’re too lazy to get on an elliptical.  Get your rear on that elliptical, then I’ll let you vent about the junk in your trunk.  Catch my drift?

So, how does this apply to my creativity rant above?  Lately I’ve been feeling inspired but unoriginal.  Over the weekend I was telling Hubby my plans to be more creative in the coming months, even though I had no real plan.  Well, a plan fell into my lap on Monday.  Vicki over at Simply Hue announced the winter session of her creativity e-course Raining Umbrellas and you can bet your britches that I signed up!

I’m super excited!  I’m not totally sure what to expect, but I’m hoping to be challenged and inspired and PUSHED out of my comfort zone (and who doesn’t need a good shove every once in a while).  No matter what, it’ll be a good time!

She still has openings, so you should join me and we can fumble through the unknown together!