Wednesday, August 28, 2013

thrift store finds: croquet mallets

These were unpriced in a bin at Goodwill. Apparently someone had been there just before me and only wanted part of the complete set. I've never heard of such a thing. I mean, given the choice, wouldn't you take the whole set?

They priced the leftovers low for me; a consolation prize for missing out on having what were probably lovely croquet balls, mallets, and hoops.

I bet they'll make lovely props for wedding photos, don't you think?

Linking up to:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

quick updates: stenciled adirondack chairs

Awhile back, I saw a quick stencil idea in HGTV Magazine (I think). It happened to coincide with me discovering a vintage set of number and letter stencils at Bring.

I thought about it awhile, then went ahead and bought the stencils and completed the project in about ten minutes. Maybe less, as I already had the paint out for another project.

Six chairs, six numbers.

I used a regular bristled paintbrush; the numbers I stenciled with a mostly dry brush turned out better, with less paint piling at the edges.

I used leftover recycled indoor/outdoor primer from Metro Paint, the same stuff we used on our house a year ago (still going strong!).

It didn't take the Mr. long to notice really. We had people over that weekend and about halfway through the evening he asked, "Hey, when did you paint the numbers on the chairs?" It had only been a couple of days. 

And there you have it! A really quick update to personalize your yard furniture.

Thanks for reading!

Linking up to:

Monday, August 19, 2013

turns out the tenth anniversary is "tin"

Did I mention that this summer, the Mr. and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary? Well, we did, astoundingly enough. It honestly doesn't seem like that long ago . . . and yet, there are parts of our journey together that seem like completely other lives. It's a strange mix. We're pretty lucky, I think, to have ended up as family to one another and our sweet kiddo.

My dear aunt and uncle, who've nurtured my life-long love of books, my tendency towards reuse projects and my organic gardening, remembered of course, and collaborated to create for us this tin can robot.

It turns out that the tenth anniversary is "tin", traditionally, and though cans are mostly steel (year eleven), many are still coated with tin to provide corrosion resistance. Not too much, I hope, as I have a feeling this bot keeps getting more and more handsome with the addition of age and rust.

My aunt left his face up to me, but I thought the dents and verdigris hinted enough to do pretty well with just the etched outline of a nose and mustache on his funny copper head (year seven is copper).

Now he lives in the backyard, though I'm still trying to find just the right place for him. He's constructed via a system of holes and wires, so a light wind can blow him right down. So embarrassing for a man of his stature, I'm sure. He might do better as a wind chime; I might try it and see!

Anyway, I think he's pretty awesome. So are my aunt and uncle, incidentally. I'm a pretty lucky girl to have such people in my life.

Thanks so much for reading!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

another industrial pendant to complete the set

One of the first art lessons I still remember is the one in which we were introduced to the fact that in nature, things often occur in odd numbers (plant leafs, flower petals, etc.). It was an introduction to the Rule of Odds, which is used often in art and design to keep your brain interested and engaged, and you can find it in art from ancient Japan through the Renaissance all the way up through current day.

At the end of a previous lighting post, I mentioned that the idea for a certain spot in our house was to eventually have three hanging pendants for balance. That's the Rule of Odds at play in our living room.

Light number 1 was a five-cent frosted pendant.

Light number 2 was a metal cage light made with salvaged parts. (I've switched out the light kit since the original tutorial to accommodate a standard-sized Edison-style lightbulb.)

And this, the third, is was originally a plastic cage light, like this one, purchased used for 50 cents at Bring (but I've seen them similarly priced at the Habitat ReStore).

I hung it from a coat hanger in the yard and sprayed with gentle layers of primer, aluminum finish, and flat black spray paint to give it the look of aged metal.

Here are all three together at last:

I have them all hung by hooks from the ceiling. 

My original hope was to hard wire them all together, but since I lack the practical expertise for that, the cords run bundled down the edge of the window frame and are turned on and off via a power strip. I hope to get the curtains rehung to hide them a little better soon.

I've seen a few lighting solutions lately that involve swooping black cable and exposed bulbs and while I love the look in a loft space (like the one Brooks designed on DesignStar), it's not practical with 8-foot ceilings. I'd likely accidentally hang myself.

Okay, now you know what you need to know to diy three pendant lighting fixtures on a teeny tiny budget. Of course, if you have a bit more money you want to spend, you can buy industrial metal light cages:

And if the price isn't much of an issue:

But in my house, I'm likely to spend the $1000 per fixture on that last link towards the mortgage or something else really practical, and hang up the diy version instead. How about you?

Thanks for reading!

Linking up to:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

what's happening in the alley

There's an awkward area of our yard that's about six feet wide and borders the neighbors' property . . . where, in defiance of -- I don't know -- a million local building codes, they've built an addition about a foot away from the property line. It was there before we moved in, it'll be there after we leave. Unless the branches of our nut tree fall and crush it. I'd kinda love to see what kind of insurance claim would attempt to be filed on something like that.

Anyway, I digress. This awkward area of our yard is something I've ignored since moving in several years ago because: a) I'm an expert at avoiding things that drive me bananas; b) it's a very narrow area; and c) we had to break into our house through the fireplace one Fourth of July, and the alley has been full of rubble. 

That last bit is a funny story; it starts with an unusable sixties-era fireplace separating from the foundation (Ha ha! Funny already, right?). The plot thickens when we lock ourselves out of the house on a holiday weekend, then, to regain entry, bust through the decades-old brick and mortar with a sledge to the shock and awe of the house cats. Finally, in the conclusion, your intrepid hero and heroine patch up the wall and, eventually, re-side the entire house, but leave a pile of urbanite, pea gravel, concrete blocks and river stones in the alley. For a couple of years.

It's a major unfinished project to just have laying around, and I started to finally tackle it because my kiddo is getting older and more exploratory, and I don't really want to leave him to the mercy of (possible) rubble-dwelling black widows and (possible) rusted nails from our roof replacement. 

Here's a sneak peek, then, of some of the projects going on in the alley. My goal is to use mostly recycled materials and stuff we have on hand to beautify the alley and make it safer to traverse. This trellis, for example, is something I built using some cedar garden stakes from an estate sale (25 for $5!) and a busted extension ladder.

The raised beds are built of fireplace rubble ("urbanite") and filled with dirt from another spot in the yard, mulch from the city's Free Wood Chips pile, and plants from the local garden center's end-of season sale plant rack. I searched out shade-happy vining plants to help fill in that trellis.

And I made these planters out of a couple of old buckets and some split garden hoses. 

There's a lot of work to do here still, but I'm feeling good that progress is happening. It was a scary, weedy, rubble-y mess that was in desperate need of attention . . . and now it's getting a little. I'll definitely be back with updates and details as this project progresses as it's far from finished; I have so many ideas! So much to do before the weather turns! So much stuff for my kiddo to get into while I'm slaving away in the alley! What about you? Are you trying to make something out of nothing this summer, too?

Thanks for reading.

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

Linking up to:

Catch as Catch Can at My RePurposed Life