Tuesday, April 23, 2013

love 'em and leave 'em

In case anyone labors under the mistaken impression that I bring home everything I like from thrift stores and estate sales, I occasionally like to show-and-tell some of the stuff what didn't get brought.

Let's start with a French pressure cell press. My love for industrial machinery knows no logic, but at least I talked myself out of actually bringing it home. And it's a good thing; I don't need any membranes disrupted.

This mid-century lamp is interesting to me. What's that screened bit for in the middle?

It's hinged, so something can be put inside, but what? Incense? Spare bulbs? Is it an ashtray? Intriguing. But I don't need more lamps right now.

Love these chairs. Love them. Except for the upholstery. Just two problems: 1) We have enough chairs. 2) Even if I'd brought home the pair of them, the arms (I love the arms!) would make them unsuitable for using at the dining room table. The kitchen/dining room is on the small side, and these wouldn't scoot in, making for less room to maneuver around them.

 More industrial equipment. I love the name "Cleantron".

Someone put a papasan chair on top of this antique table. Of course, at this particular store, they also write prices inside of antique books in pen, so it's not really too surprising.

I love the way this thing was built. It's gorgeous, and probably legitimately an antique. It was also pretty big. We have a train table in our living room at the moment, though, and by the time I thought of using it as a patio table, someone else had snapped it up. I think it was $7.00 or something. Will it haunt me till the day I die? No, but probably for another few weeks, anyway.

Ooh! Staircase shelves! These would work well with a bunkbed, I think. Traffic was brisk the day I went in; someone swooped in an left with one of the pair about ten minutes after I snapped this picture.

Oddly attracted to this, or the legs anyway. The top had a cheap looking veneer, but I did love the legs.

I used a couple of valets as t-shirt displays at the bookstore, back in the day. I still have one of the pair, in fact, but I've never seen one built as part of a chair. 

I can't remember what the project was, but something I saw on Pinterest made me shoot this picture of a 2-tiered end table.

Last but not least, a little polka-dot chair. Probably a contemporary piece, but maybe from the late 40s or early 50s. I'd sit in it.

And there you have it! See, I told you I didn't buy every cool thing I see! 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

kitchen, bit-by-bit

Our kitchen project pre-dates this blog. Somewhere around here, I have photos of the "Before" kitchen, with dark wood cabinets, orange laminate countertops, copper hardware, and OMG, the most amazing silver foil wallpaper, with mustard yellow and orange daisies printed on it in stripes. It was really something. Where the sun had hit some portions of it through the window for decades, the flowers were faded. Where it hadn't, they were hurt-your-eyes vibrant. 

Anyway, photos somewhere, not here, not now, except that this old photo (from 2008, when we started re-doing the countertops at the same time I was closing down the bookstore) shows a snippet of the old burnt orange countertop.

We took out the orange laminate backsplash, covered everything with 1/4-inch cement backer board, and started laying down slate tiles. We also took out the beaten and chipped up 1960s sink. 

The tile looks better cleaned and polished. This photo is more recent, from a month or so ago when I was trying to finish up the slate backsplash installation (five years after starting the project). I had cleaned everything off the counters and decided it was a good time for resealing the stone.

The mister took the opportunity to install these little undercabinet lights from Ikea.

The kitchen is small, so the three pack was enough to light up the area. A really nice touch. It makes the whole place look brighter and more modern.

We don't renovate our kitchen; we evolve it. And I guess that all evolution takes time. But making progress feels good. I'm really looking forward to getting a little further along soon. 

Anyhow, take heart, you fellow slow renovators! I sometimes get this feeling like every other blogger in the universe is able to diy amazing renovations in a relatively short time. When I was a kid, though, this was more how things got done: a little change here, a little change there, a new walkway and paint.  We were in it for the long haul. Money and time constraints, other projects to pursue, weekend bike rides, and a passel of little kids running around; our house was in a seemingly constant state of flux. As is my current home. And while somedays it would be kinda awesome to just have something finished already, I kinda like our weekend adventures, and playing in the backyard, and working on side projects. So the backsplash will get finished eventually. And so will the plaster and paint in the bedroom. And the siding on the studio. You know. Someday. 

Thanks for reading. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

freezer paper stencil toddler art pretzel t-shirt

My kiddo is less familiar with the 1960s than with pretzels, so it wasn't really too surprising when he pronounced the glittery, neon pink "peace sign" shirt a "pretzel shirt" and said he wanted to wear one. I thought something like that might make a nice project for one of the blank t-shirts we've picked up recently, so we headed home to make our own pretzel shirt.

Really, though, this would make a nice project for whatever image your kid wants. And the best part is that it's a great project for even little kids to help with, which means you're not trying to work on it by yourself while your kiddo is pulling at your sleeves.

You can take a peek at one of my previous freezer paper stencil projects (1 and 2) for the basics if you're not familiar with the freezer paper stencil process. Basically, cut a stencil from freezer paper and iron it on. For this project, we also used Crayola's fabric markers (previous freezer paper stencil projects here used acrylic paints and Tee Juice pens).

Because I planned on the kiddo doing most of the coloring, I covered as much of the t-shirt as possible with freezer paper to prevent color from ending up in unintended places. You'll also want to put a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to keep color from seeping through to the back if (like me) you have an enthusiastic marker-wielder.

I let the kiddo pick the colors and tried to encourage him to make sure a lot of color made it onto the shirt rather than the paper . . . but yeah, that's pretty much a losing battle, so I surrendered early.  After removing the stencil and heat-setting the design, we were done.

And here it is, finished! We were both pretty happy with the way it came out, although I think if I were to repeat this project, I'd outline the shape completely first so that any areas with lighter coverage wouldn't blend into the background quite so much. But I think that even without that step, this was a nice collaborative project. He got to color on a shirt, and I got to help make sure it looks like a pretzel.

Thanks for reading! What projects have you been doing with your toddlers lately? We're always looking for fun projects that keep well (read: don't have to be tossed out after a week).

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

Crayola Fabric Marker, Assorted (Google Affiliate Ad)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

vintage finds: new this week in my etsy vintage shop

I've done a bit of treasure hunting lately with my vintage shop in mind (as opposed to my usual treasure hunting, which results in me needing to clear more space or get rid of a dresser or something). I hope you agree it's a nifty little collection I've turned up!

Mid-century inlay tray by Couroc of Monterey, California

If any of these is right up your alley, hop on over and make it yours! There's some other neat stuff in the shop right now, too, like some Kathie Winkle dishes (priced individually) and a Kromex ice bucket, so if you're an admirer of mid-century modern, there's a lot to love. You can use the code "comeonspring" at check-out to save 25% off through the end of April.

Thanks for reading!

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