Tuesday, July 31, 2012

old clock + looking glass paint = convex "mercury glass" mirror

I told you I'd be back with more spray paint on glass! Woohoo! I'm following through!

I saw the idea for this project somewhere, but it's not on my Pinterest boards so I'm afraid I don't remember whose idea this project spawned from. Basically, the idea was to take an old clock (found this one at BRING; it wasn't repairable by me for use as a clock). . .

Remove the backing and clockwork. Turn the glass face down on some cardboard . . .

Spray the backside of the glass lightly with water . . .

Spray over the water with a light layer of the looking glass paint . . .

Wait for it to dry. Spray over the surface again with water and another light layer of the looking glass paint (it doesn't need to be solid). When dry, flip over and check your work . . .

Replace backing and hang!

I pulled some pretty cool brass gears and other worky-bits out of the back, too, for use in a future project . . . stay tuned.

Once I had the mirror up and had hung some other things around it, I realized the cord from my 5-cent pendant shade looked pretty crappy in photos.

See? Totally crappy. Dangerous, too. So I took some cord clips and a little light weight hammer . . .

And I fastened the cord to the ceiling and wall along the trim.

Much better. A little paint will help, too, eventually, and spacing things more carefully.

But those are just asides that will make the mirror wall look better. People who've been in our house are also getting a nice peek here at the new room color. More on that soon!

So, have you been spray painting any glass lately? Making any mirrors? Making ridiculously simple fixes like attaching cords to your walls so your house doesn't look like the underside of a computer desk? Link it up in the comments. I promise I'll come visit!

p.s. You can make these photos larger just by clicking on them, but you probably already knew that.

Linking up to:

My RePurposed Life's Catch as Catch Can

Sunday, July 29, 2012

thrift store finds: thrift tiki!

I've had good luck (if unanticipated) over the last several months in finding vintage tiki mugs at various thrift stores around town. Here's my latest find, an Easter Island-style mug from Trader Dick's (of course!).

We might be doing an Enchanted Tiki Room party for the kiddo's next birthday party, so I'm thinking to hold on to it for awhile.

These have been in the shop for awhile . . . not going anywhere, apparently, so they might be invited to the luau, too.

Too bad these dudes already went to a new home. See you in another life, brothers.

Any tikis find their way into your life lately? Do tell!

p.s. These photos can be made bigger just by clicking on them, but you probably already knew that.

Linking up to:

Simple Design's Thrift Haul

Saturday, July 28, 2012

a doll cradle for a birthday girl

Aack. You'll have to forgive me; I neglected to take a before shot. I got this doll cradle home and started work on it that same evening, when the dark made it impossible to get decent photographs.

We discovered it at a resale store a couple of miles from our house, actually left it behind, and then returned and picked it up when I couldn't stop thinking about it. It was too sweet to leave behind.

Here's the cradle the kiddo and I found, after being scrubbed clean, rubbed with butcher block oil (food-safe, therefore baby-safe), and repaired, with new hardware in a couple of spots.

I also added on these little wooden bird cutouts (painted turquoise, then glued and nailed in place) to cover some places that needed covering.

The old screw eye holes didn't hold the hardware in place tightly enough, and the cradle basket scraped on the bottom support board, so I drilled new, lower holes and filled/covered the old ones. The bluebirds cover the places on the inside where the screw eyes had begun to poke through.

One end of the cradle, so you can see the side supports. U bolts on the side supports connect with screw eyes on the cradle basket to make the cradle rock; I replaced the nuts with cap nuts (also called "acorn nuts") to make them a little safer and prettier.

With the bluebird flannel mattress in place. I pulled sweet fabrics from my stash to make the bedding feminine but not overtly girly (no pink here!).

With the "Celebrations" fabric pillowcase covering the green pillow. (The fabric features butterflies, frogs in party hats, happy women and girls in birthday cake hats, etc. Click to zoom.)

The little doll quilt incorporates all three fabrics: celebrations on the front, green on the back, with bluebirds for binding.

The cradle and bedding set were given to my kiddo's little friend as a birthday gift this afternoon, and for such a simple gift, it was a big hit. Happy birthday, cutie! I hope every one is just as happy as this one.

p.s. you can make these photos larger just by clicking on them, but you probably already knew that.

Linking up to:

Simple Design's Thrift Haul
Mop it Up Mondays
Thrift Share Monday
So You Think You're Crafty's I'm Crafty party
My RePurposed Life's Catch as Catch Can

Friday, July 27, 2012

thrift store finds: chairs for kiddo

Woohoo! A new chair for the kiddo! In two easy steps!

I was at BRING a little while back and saw this yellow Little Tikes chair in the free pile. It was a little stained and cobwebby, but there were no holes or chew marks or anything, so I snagged it for the kiddo, figuring it would be a great addition to his backyard play area.

After cleaning, I just put it on some old cardboard and sprayed it with some spray paint meant for plastics.

Just a couple of light coats, then flip it and get the underside, too.

Dries in just a few minutes! I finished it up before we went on a road trip, so it had a week to cure. It blends in with our other yard furniture a lot better now, and it was free.

I also found this little Virco school chair for half off a couple of weeks later, also at Bring.

I know; no one's buying this rusty little guy for what Virco is charging for them right off the assembly line ($160? Wow.). But I still think it was a heck of a steal for $1.50. I'm not sure yet what I'll do to it, but it will probably involve paint. ;)

What about you? Any new seating in your back yard? Any fabulous thrift store finds? I love following your (non-spam) links in the comments section below!

p.s. You can make these photos larger just by clicking on them, but you probably already knew that!

Linking up to:

Simple Design's Thrift Haul

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

hometown tourist: the shelton - mcmurphy - johnson house

"Hometown Tourist" is an occasional series in which I tell tales about our adventures around town, and actually, the whole state of Oregon. Take a peek and come exploring with us!

Awhile back, the kiddo and I stopped in at the Shelton-McMurphy-Johnson House, a local Victorian-era house that's been made into a museum.

I don't recommend the tour for toddlers. At least not for toddlers like mine, who are active and curious and always getting into everything. The tour is long (over an hour), nothing is permissible to touch or climb on, the stairs are steep, and if you want to take photos, they will all turn out blurry as you simultaneously dive to keep your toddler from climbing on an antique bed or pulling open (or over) a glass-front china cabinet.

But for older, more patient children and adults with an interest in history, it's a beautiful, interesting place to visit.

Filled with era-appropriate furnishings, clothing, and household objects (many of which were actually owned by the three major families who owned the house for a hundred years) the house tells the history of the people who lived there and the local area.

Twin and double beds on the sleeping porch.

Intricately carved bed in the master bedroom.

Sewing machine in the hall nook.

Doll furniture in the nursery.

Humpty-Dumpty print in the nursery.

Kitchen utensils in the working kitchen (not restored, but useable for weddings and other events).

The best part, as far as the kiddo was concerned, was being turned loose on the wooded paths on the side of Skinner's Butte. Especially the late-spring puddles, perfect for stomping.

We might stop back in for Living History Day on August 4th, which sounds way more kid-friendly than the usual museum tour, with kids crafts, ice cream, and people in costumes.

If you're in Eugene, Oregon on that day, you should come too!

Have you been out exploring your local museums this summer? What do you recommend for young kids?

(p.s. you can make these photographs larger just by clicking on them, but you probably already knew that.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

pinterest challenge: marquee letters (part one)

This project is a true labor of love for me. I am a huge fan of vintage signs, old typefaces, and do-it-yourself projects. Like some crazy Venn diagram, this marquee letter project is at the intersection of all of these interests.

See? Told you.

Using Pinterest, I've pinned several marquee letter projects and products over the past couple of months, intending to try out a couple of different diy methods and typefaces.

(1) I love this bright red, circus-y, 24-inch high version from Urban Outfitters, but $179 is out of my budget for wall art right now.

(2) These white, artisan-made "marquis" letters from Sideshow Sign Company are even more gorgeous, but at $545, they're also a no-go.

(3) This tutorial from chrisandjinny.com uses plywood and aluminum flashing, and I love it. I think it's my favorite of the tutorials on my Pinterest board, but I need to feel more comfortable with a jigsaw before I can take it on. That also goes for (4) this Design*Sponge/Curbly project which utilizes hardboard, dowels, and vinyl flashing.

(5) Finally, this foam core board version from Design*Sponge seems the easiest to pull off with limited resources. So it's next on my list.

After visiting the craft store, I wanted to try using paper mache letters (similar to the ones linked to here). Unfortunately, there were only four letters in stock at the store. I mean, one each of M, N, L, and K. With no more on the horizon (I was told they were a inter-store return of products from a "superstore", and this branch wouldn't be carrying them).

But why not try this project using only materials I had on hand?

Okay then. Homemade paper mache it is.

Materials needed:

*Old cardboard mailer
*Old paper sacks
*Mod Podge
*Glue Gun
*Poster board
*Acrylic paint
*Spray paint
*Cut tacks
*LED light string

Total cost: nothing out of pocket, since I had everything on hand.

You can trace or free-hand a letter of your choice onto a used shipping box, and cut it out. My letter is approximately fifteen inches high, and was free-hand drawn while looking at an old Hardy Boys novel from the 1920s.

Cut some 2-inch strips from the remainder of your mailer. The corrugations should run as pictured, which is to say, perpendicular to the long cuts. Bend along each corrugation to make the cardboard sides more pliable, and able to fit into your letter's small crevices.

Using a glue gun, attach the sides to your letter, leaving an even border of 1 inch on front and back. Overlap seams for sturdiness.

Using Mod Podge or another paper mache or decoupage medium, cover your letter with layers of brown paper sack. Smooth all edges for best possible finish. Let dry.

Cut out poster board (or colored paper) to fit, both front and back.(Oops! Mine has a tear where the tag came off.)

Use Mod Podge on front and back of poster board cut-outs to hold them in place.


When the Mod Podge is dry, cover the red with scrap paper cut-outs to prep for spray paint.

I had a partial can of aluminum color spray paint and a partial can of hammered metal spray pain leftover; the first coat of aluminum was too foil-y looking, so I painted over it with the hammered metal.

Remove the scrap paper. I used a crackle finish medium (sparingly) in a couple of spots on the front, and painted over with some dark red acrylic paint. You can skip these steps if your poster board is the color you want it to be, and you didn't mark it up when you tore off the sticker. I used the crackle medium to add the illusion of age, but it's a pretty subtle effect, and not necessary. (Click to enlarge photo.)

I pushed in some silver-colored cut tacks along the outside for effect; still not sure I'm a fan. I also used some acrylic paint on a couple of places (finger-painted on) for a verdigris effect; not sure I like that, either. I might re-do that later.

I poured in some more Mod Podge for a smooth, glossy, varnish-look appearance, without brush strokes.

Then I waited three days for it to dry. Aack.

If you skipped the various crackle/paint/Mod Podge/wait steps, you can get right to drilling your holes. If not, well, you're at the point now when you can drill anyway. Decide how many lights you'll use (my solar-powered string had 20), plan/mark your placement, and drill slowly. Don't apply too much pressure, or you might loosen the joints of your paper mache.

Brush off the "sawdust".

Push your lights in from the back. I used small LED twinkle lights, so I just pushed the whole light through the hole. I don't necessarily recommend using regular incandescent light strings on a cardboard project, but if you use larger, round-bulb LEDs, remove the bulbs before inserting the sockets into the drilled holes, then reattach the bulbs on the other side.

Front view, with all bulbs inserted.

And here's the finished project all lit up after charging the solar battery pack.

As I mentioned above, this was a test project to see what I could put together with materials I had on hand, and so I'm fairly happy with it. But I'm definitely motivated to try this project again using different materials.

If you go the paper mache route like I did here, there are a few things I'd recommend doing differently.

(1) Mod Podge paper mache doesn't dry as hard as regular flour-&-water-glue (a.k.a. wheat paste) paper mache, so you might find your letter is more flexible than if you used wheat paste. The other method would also be less expensive!

(2) Using corrugated cardboard for the border makes the "metal" border a little less believable, I think. I'd keep the corrugated for the letter shape, but do the borders using old cereal boxes or tag board.

(3) Red poster board + Mod Podge + crackle medium + red paint + more Mod Podge is too many steps, in my opinion. I'd streamline this a little, and either use red vinyl instead of poster board, or I'd take better care of my poster board and stop after the first Mod Podge-ing. Or use red lacquer or something.

I think those are the main alterations I'd make, but there'll be more attempts at this made. I'll be sure to post about those experiments, too, so please follow my blog to make sure you see those upcoming efforts!

Thanks for reading! You can make these images larger just by clicking on them, but you probably already knew that. ;)

Linking up for the Young House Love / Bower Power Pinterest Challenge!

Sherry, Katie, Kate, and Michelle