Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Lamp-post

This is not a revolutionary DIY post.  In fact, I am sure many of you have upcycled lamps before... many, perhaps even better than I .  But, alas... many may have not.  This post is to show just how easy it can be to transform a thrifty find into a terrific treasure for not-a-lotta cash-ola. 

I liked the size and that they came with shades.  They were filthy but I thought I might be able to salvage them (the shades that is).   Note:  Lamp bases can be relatively easy to come by, at least that has been my experience.  It is the shades however,  that can be hard to come by and even harder to find at a thrifty price.  
Here I began to remove the ugly, filthy 70's accordion style wrap.
There was a little corrosion, but nothing a little RustOleum Satin Black paint won't fix.   I chose this paint because it covers without a primer and I love the finish it leaves.  
A little side by side comparison.  One down, one to go.  As a side note I must say, I love those who are more daring than I.  I wish I had the gumption to choose a brighter,  'funner' color.  But, I haven't had great luck with that.  The last time I painted some lamps I chose red, didn't like it.  Tried blue, nah.  Eventually went back to black.  But, if you can pull it off I say, " Go for it!"
After I finished painting, I decided to move onto the lampshades.  I have been wanting to decoupage something for a while now... I thought this might be a good time.  To decoupage, really all you do is paint the glue or Mod Podge on the surface that you are decoupaging, in this case the lampshade, then place your paper on the spot and then paint more glue or Mod Podge over it.  
Here it is finished.  "Eh" was my response.  I didn't like how the overlap showed through when I turned on the lamp.  So, I painted the inside of the lampshade black.
It accomplished my goal... You could no longer see through the shade, but now there was just something about the shape of the shade I didn't like.  It reminded me of Po in Kung Fu Panda for some reason.  So, I decided to hit some local retailers.  I looked at probably 100 lampshades... I decided on the following 2 contenders:

So, the big question is which one would you pick???  
I know which one I like, but I would love your input.  Leave me a comment and cast your vote.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Surprise, surprise...

:)  I was featured on another blog today  :) 

Restore Interiors is a great blog!  I hope you will check it out!


Monday, March 28, 2011

"If I had a million dollars..." (to the tune of the Bare Naked Ladies)

Well, the title says it all.  The catchy tune produced by the Bare Naked Ladies dances in my head when I look at this house.  I found it while browsing through some local listings, a dangerous hobby of mine.  And though completely out of our price range, I still like to admire from afar.  Now, so can you...

Here are some quick stats:

Listing Information

Most recent information provided by Churchill-Brown & Associates, Inc. on 03/27/2011 04:56 AM:
  • Price: $1,150,000
  • Status: For Sale
  • MLS/Source ID: 425526
  • 5 Bedrooms
  • 6 Bathrooms
  • 5,567 sqft
  • Single-Family Home
  • Built In 1985
  • Lot Size: 200,811 sqft
  • Style: Cape Cod

Public Records

Official property, sales, and tax information from county (public) records as of 10/2010:
  • Single Family Residential
  • 5 Bedrooms
  • 4¾ Bathrooms
  • 4,325 sqft
  • Lot Size: 4.50 acres
  • Built In 1985
  • Stories: 2 story
  • A/C: Central
  • Heating: Central
  • Parking: Attached Garage
  • Parking Spaces: 4
  • Exterior Walls: Concrete
  • Roof: Wood Shake/ Shingles
  • 11 Rooms
  • 1 Building
  • Construction: Frame
  • Foundation: Footing
  • Fireplace
  • Pool: Pool (yes)
  • Subdivision: UNPLTD PT SEC 18 13N 2W

And here are some picts.:

Welcome home!

How about this for a backyard?!

...and this kitchen?

I never would have picked it myself, but I love the blue milk painted steps and doors!

A cozy den.

Another great beamed room.

Love the trim!

...and all the fireplaces!
Here is also a link to a wonderful virtual tour of the home where you can even see more:

I love the attention to detail!  What an amazing home, now if they would just come down about $900K!!!

PS.  If you decide to buy this house after visiting my blog let the realtor know.  Maybe I will get a sweet referral fee :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

My first features...

What an honor!!!
I was featured on 2 lovely blogs today.  You can check them out below.


THANKS again to 320* Sycamore  and The Brambleberry Cottage and  for the features. 

Restoring our pergola

The weather has been quite wonderful in Oklahoma this week... 70's and I think we even hit some 80's.  Spring has sprung which means my attention immediately gets drawn to the outdoors!  Unfortunately, mostly what I did this week outside was winter clean up.  Not much fun but ever so necessary.  The evenings have been lovely as well.  Great weather for dining alfresco and our house has a great area for that.  Which brings me to today's post.  Below you can see what we did last spring when we restored our semi-rotting pergola to its former glory.  Turned out great!  See for yourself...

Before:  It didn't look terrible but many of the small 1x slats were rotted and the posts were very rough and splintery (I am guessing from power washing and restaining throughout the years.)

Here is an in progress photo.  We removed all the old slats and practiced with the spacing and placement of the new ones.  We bought larger 1x4 slats to add additional shade.  Plus, I wanted to add a little design to them.  We decided on a simple pattern.  We also opted to NOT power wash but to sand the pergola.  This got rid of all the poky splinters and let the natural cedar color shine through.   

Here all the posts are sanded but the top is not.  A great comparison shot.  After this we got really busy and I got distracted... so, no more in progress photos.  Instead we jump to the AFTER.


We also bought a fire pit.

...And added some lights and an outdoor chandelier (thanks Nana).  Here you can also see the slats and the pattern we decided on. 

Just another view.

... and the last view.  As a final step we added a sealer.  Thompson's Waterseal is easy to apply and will protect and preserve the wood.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

About the shutters... and bonus mini-tutorial

You too, can make your own reclaimed wood shutters!

So, the previous owners of our home added 7 sets of vinyl shutters to the front of the house.  It wasn't a bad look.  In fact, when we first saw the home I thought it was so charming (especially for where we live) and I am sure it was, in some part, due to the shutters.  After about a year though,  it slowly became vinyl overkill to me.  After staring at them day after day, I started to notice that on some of them the placement didn't even make sense...  shutters on the front door?  shutters on a massive picture window?  shutters on the far left window?  It just stopped working for me.

The now infamous vinyl shutters.  I spy 7 sets, can you?
Around this time something else was also driving me nuts.  There was a single fence panel in our back yard that had been put up to conceal some misc. pool equipment.  One beautiful day I decided it was no longer necessary and got a sledge hammer and tore that puppy down.  I kept the panel in tact and thought at a later time it might come in useful.  Time passed and the panel was getting to be a nuisance.  Something had to be done with it.  I racked my brain but I couldn't think of a use for the actual panel. The wood was certainly worth keeping.  So, I broke it down even further.  "What great wood,"  I thought with its weathered gray color.  Had to be good for something, right?!  More time passed and it finally hit me.  A house in our neighborhood had these great batten board shutters.  Every time I went by that house I lingered... staring at the shutters.  "I can do that! I have the wood... I just need some hinges."  That is where it began.

First I measured each window and made sure I had plenty of usable wood.  Once that was confirmed, I cut the boards accordingly, each window was slightly different.  I then glued and nailed them together and added 2 hinges to each panel. Lastly, I attached them to the window trim. It really was that easy!!!  I also removed several sets of shutters and added window boxes on the upstairs windows to balance out the house.  To me, it instantly looked 100x's better.  Not only that but, I loved that I was able to salvage the wood from the fence, and I really loved that my only real expense was the cost of the hinges. I was in love!

Just finished... ala natural..

I embellished  the window boxes with the same wood I used on the shutters.

Knowing myself and my ability to fall out of love with my projects- I thought I better live with them for a while before I added any sealer or stain to them.  Initially I loved the natural, lighter, weathered look of the shutters.  It was a nice change from the bold, black vinyl shutters of old.  I thought it was more authentically cottage-y.  But, as more time passed I think the charm of the original shutters began to prick my memory.  There was never a time when I wanted to put the old vinyl shutters back up, but part of me missed the stronger statement that the black made.  I missed the contrast.  Easy fix though...

One afternoon I went to our garage and grabbed a left over can of Thompson's Water Seal (which is clear) and  added some ebony stain drop by drop.  I had some practice boards and I would paint a little then let it dry and check again.  When it was still to light I added a smidge more of the stain, drop by drop and repeated .  You know, you can always get it darker, but it is much harder and more expensive to work in the opposite.  After several tweaks, I finally got the color I wanted, and the Thompson's gave the protection I needed- BONUS!  I applied 2 coats with a paintbrush and ta-da!

Yep, that's our house in the blog heading.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

When thrifting goes bad...

For the last several months I have been visiting and evaluating, observing and noting the local thrift stores in my area.  Which are the best?  Cleanest?  Most enjoyable to visit?  Cheapest?  Junkiest? Worth frequenting? and so on.  You get the point.  I think of myself as an efficient person and I don't want to waste my time on a place that doesn't:

1.  Have good items.  Perhaps not every time, but it needs to have consistent potential of quality items.
2.  Have appropriate pricing.  Target clearance pricing has trumped many a thrift store deal in my   experience.
3.  Have some measure of cleanliness and orderliness.

So,  after several months I have made my tally and now feel like I know when and where to spend my time thrifting.  Here are a some examples of my successful thrifting:

This $6.00- 1970's brass lamp was upcycled with a little tlc and some spray paint. 

What can I say, I liked the fish.

...and these colors.

This lamp was $4.99 but I got it on a half off day- $2.50, some spray paint and a reused shade.  After I got it I was completely confused because there was no switch to turn on the light... strange!  I thought it was just a poorly done lamp conversion.  But wait, NO... It is a touch lamp!  Cool!!!

Some thrifted glassware.  

And a few thrifted books.  

Unfortunately, even with all my forethought and experience sometimes thrifting goes awry.  Here is the ultimate example of thrifting gone wrong, very wrong...

I thought I could salvage at least something here.  Someone spilled bleach on it, no prob.  "I will just tear it apart."  Initially I thought I may reupholster it, then I thought I could tear off all the cloth and padding, add some slats and make it an outdoor chaise.  The possibilities, right?

For $5.89 I thought it was worth a shot.  Sniff...   Sniff...  Only, that is NOT bleach.  No, that would be cat urine!  

I spent more than 5 hours deconstructing this chaise HOPING I could get rid of the smell by removing anything and everything.  HOPING it didn't get into the wood.   First I removed the upholstery, then a layer of batting and finally 2 layers of padding.  Then I saw that the cat urine had rusted the springs!  SO nasty!!!  And yes, it even stained the wood deep underneath.  Totally unsalvageable!

So, lets just say this is the first project to completely and totally DEFEAT me!!!   Following this last photo of the rusty pee springs, I took a hammer and rubber mallet and put the chaise out of its misery!  I destroyed it completely.  It now rests in 2 large garbage cans waiting to be picked up on trash day.  (I was determined for it to fit in the cans!  I was NOT going to pay more for it to be picked by large trash p/u.  as our local service charges by the pound).

SO, BEWARE!  Thrifting can be great!  But, it can also be a disaster!  Luckily I was able to salvage the turned legs on the front of the chaise.  So, I guess it wasn't a total loss.  Still, buyer beware!  From now on I will be MUCH more weary of anything needing upholstery work, or maybe I will steer clear all together.  Lesson learned.

Have you ever been defeated by a project?  If so, please share!  I would love to know I am not alone in this :)


Friday, March 18, 2011

NO longer a tease

So, I just wrote this post on how I just finished the house tour of our current house and blah!  My computer freaked out and puked it away... here I go again...

Well, it is finished (at least for now).  I have put a bunch of photos on my "Our current house: house tour" page.  I hope you take a looksy and check it out!  Let me know what you think.  Do you like it better than our NY house, or not as much?  Just be gentle, I love them both  :)  

Here is a new pict. to hopefully draw you in...

Did it work???      

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Just a little teaser

So, I have a page all set aside for a home tour of Casa Shackford (our current abode), but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.  Surprisingly enough I don't have many picts. of our house, or really of any of our (past) houses.  Well, except our NY house... I guess when it takes 9 months to sell a home you have a few more chances to snap a pict. here and there.  Regardless,  I thought I could at least give you a little preview.  So, here are a few I drudged up of Casa Shackford...

All these exterior shots were taken last fall.

Here is a great view of the batten board shutters I made out of
some reclaimed wood as well as the stone path I put in (from
random stones left behind from the building of our house over
30 years ago). 

If you look up, I also added these
window boxes to balance out the shutters.
Great example of my way of decorating:  Little green thingies I made out of scraps of wood- painted and aged, all thrift store books purchased for mere pennies, runner that is actually a clearance window valance from Target, all on a garage sale table I bought and upcycled for $8.00 

The photo wall in our hall way.