Life on the creative side

Posts tagged “DIY projects

Organic/Industrial chandelier

baby henry

While strolling through Brooklyn on a recent visit to see my daughter and my brand new grandbaby, we spotted a fallen limb from a large sycamore tree. It was lodged into the fencing surrounding the base of the tree and part of the sidewalk that had been heaved up by the expanding roots of the tree.  Although my daughter laughed as I pointed to the limb and said “We need that!” she not only worked it loose from the fencing but then carried it on her shoulder for more than ten blocks, back to her apartment.  I just want to note – strolling around with a large branch on your shoulder makes the normally aloof New Yorker  smile and engage in conversation.

found treasure, fallen limb

The branch had such a lovely organic shape and wonderful patina that we both immediately saw its potential for an amazing chandelier over their table, for which they have been in search.

Since hubby was due to arrive the following day we had him throw in some lighting supplies, including five Edison style light bulbs. Then a few days later…

dinning under the light

we were dinning under this beautiful  organic/industrial chandelier.

Finally we added a dimmer switch the chandelier could be adjusted lower for ambiance or raised higher for illumination.  Unfortunately we didn’t get good photos of the process but feel free to post any questions on the process  I would be happy to respond.

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Antique headboard repurposed into a beautiful creativity-board

creativity board made from antique headboard

Antique headboard repurposed into a beautiful creativity-board.

 creativity board detail with business card

While cleaning out her barn my sister found a forgotten old headboard in the loft. She thought I might be able to find a new “repurpose” for it; she knows me well.  I have been wanting a creativity center for the studio; a place to display creative inspiration and project plans. A vague idea had been percolating in my mind; a message board, but on a grand scale. The dusty wooden headboard was the right scale and had a graceful form, perfect for my creativity board.

antique headboard repurposed into a creativity/message board

With the help of hubby the found headboard was redesigned into a useful, lovely focal point in the studio.

hubby cutting out plywood for creativity board

Here’s how we repurposed an antique headboard into a lovely creativity board.

Using the headboard as the  template we cut 1/4 inch plywood into a smaller version of the headboard by trimming four inches off the pattern all the way around.

tracing headboard for template

hubby helping with creativity board 2

I placed a layer of quilt batting over the plywood and held that in place with a layer of burlap which we held in place with staples on the back side of the plywood.

cotton layer of creativity board

burlap layer on creativity board

Next we covered it with a vintage chenille bedspread, again stapled to the back. Staples were also used to attach the cotton string, snuggly but not taut, that we crisscrossed across the front, over the chenille. Where  the strings crossed each other, I stapled the intersection down into the plywood, creating a tuft. Then the plywood was glued to the headboard, which had been painted a soft white.

vintage button on creativity board

We applied construction adhesive to the back of the plywood, carefully centered on the headboard and weighted it down for several hours. To add strength we added screws through the back of the headboard into the plywood (making sure they did not protrude out the front side of the plywood. I finished the project with buttons over the intersections of the string.

jar of vintage buttons

Now the creativity board, hangs in the studio, covered with creative possibilities.

creativity board made from antique headboard

headboard repurposed into creativity board

I & E Button

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show and tell fridays

the shabby nest

craftberry bush link party

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Old Chair, New Look

Aren’t these lovely? One old chair, gets a new look with paint and vintage table clothe.

Old chairs to refurbish

I have to start by confessing that I am not an expert on upholstery, in fact I’ve never upholstered anything before.  I have made slip covers but never have I stripped naked a piece of furniture and re-clothed it in a new look – but there’s a first time for everything. So I started carefully  pulling off fabric.

striping down old chair to refurbish

I found old cotton/horse hair/straw stuffing, burlap, metal  upholstery grip-strips (my terminology, probably not the correct term) and springs inside of my old chair .

Inside of old chair to be refurbish

Stripping off the old was easy, deciding what the new would be was more difficult.

lovely collection of fabric

I’m kind’a vibing pom-poms.

lov'n pom-poms

Finally I decided on using a vintage tablecloth (a cutter one), a soft warm white paint and pom-poms.

old chair new look with paint and vintage tablecloth

Old chair, new look

Check out this blog for more creativity

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Lovely Quilt Cube Side Table

Lovely Quilt Cube Side Table:

Basic box store foam cube up-scaled into this lovely, rolling,  quilt-cube side table.

quilt cube

Another empty-nest leftover transformed from this-

quilt cube foam blockquilt cube rolling base

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to this-

quilt cube in room

Scraps of vintage textiles camouflage tears and blemishes in the cutter quilt slip-cover

quilt cube detail

while pieces of salvaged wooden planks with lovely distressed paint make the base.

quilt cube on wheels

Simple wheels finished the project.

 

 for more inspiration visit…

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vintage inspiration bif


Vintage Vibe For Box Store Shelving

Vintage vibe for box store shelving

. Vintage vibe for box store shelving

As an empty-nester I can verify that when  the chicks leave the nest they leave it far from empty. Each time one of our little darlings set out on their own, Hubby and I found ourselves the keeper stuff – unwanted, but wanted stuff; treasures of childhood, mementos of college days and  a menagerie of mismatched  furniture  usually in rough shape.  These shelves fall into the last category.

box store shelf update before

But after a little creative restyling they look like this…

box store shelf update finished

In fact they turned out so beautiful they were snatched up on the first day of my fall sale.

DIY:

Although the shelves were in good shape, they looked exactly like what they were, box store shelves. So I took sand paper to them and roughed them up enough so paint would  adhere. I then gave them a coat of a warm white paint and  sanded them again, taking off some of the white paint (more of the paint came off than I had intended or usually want, but this time it looked right so I went with it). Next step was to mellow the paint and any fresh wood exposed from sanding by coating the entire shelf with a dark stain (applied with a brush then quickly wiped off with a rag). Once it was completely dry I coated the shelves with a flat, clear sealer.

Meanwhile I took some vintage wallpaper I have been holding onto, cut it into strips as  wide as the inside depth of the shelves and  as long as the shelves were wide plus  and extra foot or so. With a  spray adhesive I covered the bake of the paper with fabric (I used remnants of old sheets) and trimmed the fabric to the size of the paper. This gave strength to the otherwise delicate paper.  I carefully wove the lined paper over and under the slates of the shelving. To finish I trimmed off the excess paper and secured the edges to the underside of the framing with furniture tacks.

This project turned out so beautiful,, I might have to make another with the remaining shelves in our keepers stash.

 


Collecting Moments

Cabin Christmas 2012

Collecting moments

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, we certainly did. Our cabin on the ridge was overflowing with Christmas spirit, family, friends and joy. After months of renovating the studio loft into a guest room; the  modest kitchen into my dream kitchen; and assembling enough beds and linens to accommodate an extra ten plus guests, we were finally ready to celebrate; and celebrate we did!
Cabin Christmas 2012
 I had intended to share the holiday activities and festivities with you, but I got so caught up in the moment, the season and our guests that I didn’t even pick up my computer. Before I knew it, the days of my impromptu sabbatical had passed and it was time to say good-bye to our guests, the season and 2012.
Gingerbread build-off
Today, with the moments of the season and of the past year nestled in my memories and the promise of new ones stretching into the new year, I’m inspired to make this new years challenge: seek-out,  live-in and capture the big and small, planned and unexpected moments of 2013;   So begins “A Year of collecting moments!
pappy van winkle arrives at the cabin
# 1- Gathered around a bonfire with dear friends of twenty-five+ years to
 say good-bye to one year and welcome in another. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Friends around bonfire

 


Wonderful, Lemony Limoncello to Make and Share

making limoncello, peeling the lemons

During my first trip to Italy I spent a short time on the stunning Amalfi Coast where I was introduced to a wonderful, lemony concoction – limoncello, an Italian digestivo.

me on the amalfi coast

In every village I visited along that breathtaking coast, I came across the lemony after dinner liquor. I was fortunate and had a contact in the area who arranged  a tour of a small limoncello producer.  The tour concluded with a tasting; as it turned out, nearly everyone  in the region brews their own version of the elixir so, fortunately for me,  my first tasting was not my last.

amalfi coast

All these years later,  I still enjoy an occasional after dinner sip of the Italian liquor; but now I also enjoy making my own version  and sharing it with family and friends.

The process for making limoncello is very simple…

Making limoncello with everclear

12-15 large lemons (you want the lemons to have bright yellow skins)
2 – 750ml bottles of Everclear (I have also used 100-proof vodka)
3-4  cups sugar
5 cups water

 

 

making limoncello, zesting the lemon peel

Carefully wash and gently grade, into long strips or strings, the peels of the lemons (You can use a veggie peeler, being careful to avoid the white pithy rind as it will make for a bitter batch) .

 

 

 

 

making limoncello, peels in everclearPut the peels and the alcohol  in a lidded glass jar (plastic wrap can be used instead of a lid) – place in a dark place for at least 7 days (I steep mine  for up to 3 months).

The alcohol will gradually take on a lovely yellow color

 

 

 

making limoncello, boiling simple syrupAfter steeping for the desired time –

Mix together sugar and water – bring to a gentle boil and boil for 5-7 minutes – making a simple syrup

Completely cool the simple syrup

Once cooled pour the simple syrup  into the lemon/alcohol mixture  – continue to steep for another 5-7 days

 

home made limoncello

Finally strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth or coffee filters (dampen coffee filter first)

Store in tightly lidded glass bottles in the freezer

Finally, invite over friends and share the sweetness of your limoncello and some dolce vita – sweet life.

 


Drying Apples

Since our trip to the orchard, Hubby and I have been busy drying  apples  and in this post I want to  share the simple process.

collection of apples for drying

Clean and cut away bruises and blemishes, peel (optional), core and thinly slice the apples; an apple peeler/corer  works great here. The peeler cuts the apple into a long spiral which  I then cut in half to create half moon shaped pieces – it is important to keep the slices consistently thin 1/4″ or thinner is best.

using apple peeler/corer for drying apples

I dipped the slices into a lemon/water bath to prevent the slices from browning; ½ cup lemon juice+1 cup water; this step is optional but it keeps the apples from browning  and I like the hint of tartness the lemon imparts.

peeled, cored and sliced apples in lemon bath

I used a dehydrator, with the apples spread out in a single layer over the dehydrator screen; the temperature set to 150 for around twelve hours (depending on the conditions it can take anywhere from 10 to 24 hours for drying apples).

drying apples in dehydrator

You want the apples to be dry but still pliable (they must be at least dried to the state of raisins to keep well). From this state the dried apples can be stored and used later by re-hydrating them for use in hand pies, apple pies, chutney etc.  (a future post). If I had wanted to make apple chips I would simply have dehydrated them until they were crispy – yum.

For a variation I tossed two cups of the slices into a Ziploc bag along with ½ cup of sugar and a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon also works great) and shook to thoroughly coat the slices. The seasoned apples took an additional five hours to cure but what yummy munchies they make.

The slices will shrink and pull away from each other as they dry.

apples drying in dehydrator

If you don’t have a dehydrator an oven set on as low as possible should work fine. If you’re using a cookie sheet, the fruit should be turned over once during the drying process, but cooling racks provide more exposure which aids in the drying.

The dried fruit should be at room temperature before being stored in air-tight containers. I refrigerate or freeze any that I don’t plan on using right away.

dried apples sealed in freezer bags

I am by no means an expert on food preservation,  but the folks over at the following site are, so check out their recommendations and start drying apples. http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/uga_dry_fruit.pdf

 


Summer Projects Around the Cabin and Studio

pine cabinet before being repurposed

As I write this post I’m sitting on my cabin porch on rocky round.  The summer has been hot and volatile but this morning the air is cool and fresh.  For the past month hubby and I have been supper busy around the studio and cabin. We have been finishing up the kitchen remodel, creating a gravel patio, renovating the guest loft, revamping the garden beds and most ambitiously building a workshop/barn for my hubby.

I’m posting a few pics of the ongoing projects, but I will post more details of the projects as they are completed.

We are refurbishing and re-purposing this old pine cabinet hubby made 25 years ago.

pine cabinet before being repurposed

It now looks like this…

french inspired kitchen island made from recycled cabinet

I’m loving it!

The space between the studio and the cabin is being transformed into a gathering area; when completed it will house a fire-pit, chairs and a gorgeous, ten foot, live-edge table! Hubby has a lot on his honey-do list.

I even got to drive the bobcat-too much fun!

bob-cat used to grade patio

And hubby is working hard; looking good honey.

digging a trench for plumbing

Notice the rock wall around the garden, I’m learning all sorts of new skills.

gravel paito

And here’s hubby’s new shop/barn.

building a workshop/barn

I will share the finished projects as they are completed.


Living Succulent Wreath

Living succulent wreath:living succulent wreath

While my daughter Kate, of Twice Treasured, was visiting for Mother’s Day, she mentioned a beautiful living succulent wreath project she had recently pinned  on Pinterest.  She commented that sometimes she, like a lot of us, was guilty of pinning projects with the intention of doing them but then not following through.  This project, however, was so perfect for us that we decided to make  time and actually create this beautiful succulent wreath.

Supplies:
Two wire wreath forms
Medium gauge wire and wire cutters
Mat floral moss
Succulent soil
Succulents

Line one of the wire wreath forms with the mat moss

making a succulent wreath

Pack with soil (the moss should keep the soil from passing through the back of the wire

Gently work the roots of the succulents through the wire of the other wire form so that the plants are on the outside and the roots are on the inside

applying plants into succulent wreath

 Place the planted form on top of the soil form and wire them together working the  roots  into the soil

 Using your fingers, gently work more moss into the wire around the plants

constructing a succulent wreath

 Cut four-inch pieces of wire and bend them into  hairpin shapes. Press the hairpins into the wreath among the plants and moss to secure

how to construct succulent wreath

Water thoroughly and keep the wreath flat for a couple of weeks or until the plants have rooted then it can be hung vertically.

 succulent wreath

check out inspiring links over at Yesterday on Tuesday

http://yesterdayontuesday.com/2013/06/project-inspired-19/

 

 


Super Simple Rug DIY Project

spray painted rug in living room

I have a super simple DIY project to share.  Part of life on the ridge is dealing with tracked in mud.  I tried situating a bench on the porch,  to sit and take off muddy or dirty boots, but we county folk tend to wipe off our  boots, not take them off.

rustic bench on cabin porch

Most of the time this is fine, but  in the spring the mud can be maddening! So I decided to try a rug. I knew it would have to be durable;  indoor/outdoor durable.  I already had a decent quality porch rug, but it was plain and kind of boring. Could it be made living room quality with a little  paint?…yes!

For this project you’ll need – A rug (indoor/outdoor, Berber or low pile loop), paint, painter’s tape and a ruler or tape measure.

I started by marking off lines of varying width and taped them off.

(I chose to do stripes but I also considered putting them on the diagonal as well as replicating the studio floor’s large harlequin diamonds – your rug  your way)

harlequin diamond painted on floor

Whatever design you decide on,  after taping out the pattern it’s time to paint: I used regular ole’ acrylic spray paint but you could use liquid paints and roll  or brush on your pattern. Final step – remove the tape, and…

Voila!

spray painted rug in living room

I said it was simple, now go paint a rug!


A Pin Cushion Made From Fabric Scraps and Vintage Dish

pin cushion made from vintage table cloth and white dish

pin cushion made from vintage table cloth and white dishVintage pin cushion

Recently I had a friend mention that she didn’t have a pin cushion so I thought I would take a few minutes and make one for her.  Since she loves the shabby chic style and has an affinity for old textiles, as do I,  I thought repurposed materials would fit her style aesthetic. Using a little milk glass dish, some scrap from a vintage table-cloth, a stocking and a hand-full of cedar shavings, I created this sweet, shabby chic pin cushion.

This is such a simple project and no sewing is required!

The supplies needed: Scissors, rubber band, a piece of yarn or string, old nylon stockings,  fine wood shavings (you could use cotton stuffing instead but I like the feel, the old fashion quality and aroma of  cedar shavings), some fabric and a small container like my milk glass dish or tea-cup. (construction adhesive optional)

supplies gathered to make pin cushion

Cut the fabric into a large circle; size will depend on the size of the dish, but a nine-inch diameter worked for my smallish container.

stocking used to make pin cushion

Cut the stocking six or so inches from the toe and stuff the toe with wood shavings until you have formed a ball large enough to fill the container and tie off the opening.

making the pin cushion

Place the stuffed stocking in the center of the fabric circle and wrap the fabric up and around the stocking ball, pull it taut and tie off tail using the rubber band. Tie off again using the string or yarn.

 making pin cushionfabric tied around filling of pin cushion

 Fan out the fabric;  smoothing and pulling it evenly back over the bottom of the ball. Wedge the ball into the container, a dab of good glue such as construction adhesive will hold it securely.

white dish used to make pin cushion

And you will have created a lovely little pin cushion

pin cushion made from vintage table cloth and white dish

Now gather up the supplies and surprise some special with a unique pin cushion.

for more great inspiration visit

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Better With Time

gladys at the quilt frame

quilting

It wasn’t long ago I was visiting my mom on a cold winter day when she pulled out a long ignored quilt top that she wanted to finish. As we were looking it over we discovered that it was missing one side of a border, which presented a dilemma.  Mom no longer had the fabric she had used when she started the top, but we soon came up with a solution which began a search through the beautiful collection of fabric she has preserved over the years.

 mom's collection of quilt fabric

During the search I came upon a small scrap of fabric that I fell in love with and immediately knew I wanted to do something creative with it; so I set the scrap aside for the moment and continued to help mom with her project.

fabric sample recycled

The calling to do something with that small piece of fabric would be realized a few days later at my Dad’s barn.

Dad has transformed the old barn, used in years past to house livestock that helped support our family, into junk/treasure storage.

While some may see a lot of “junk” in Dad’s barn, we on the ridge see mostly treasures.  Dad was helping me gather some old mason jars, for another project stirring around in my head, when on the far back wall I spotted it; an old frame covered in the dust of time.It took both me and Dad moving boxes, hand saws and standing on whatever I could to rescue the fame from its hiding place, but once I had it in my hands I knew it would be perfect for that beautiful scrap of fabric I had been holding on to.

 Dad thought it was in too rough of shape but I knew it would be fine. The finish had lost a lot of its shine, it had chips here and there and a white wash from a previous era was flaking off, but the beauty was still there, even enhanced.

old salvaged frame

The frame and fabric have now been put together and I can only describe the marriage of the two as a piece of art, of history, and a poignant reminder of time moving on.

old frame with salvaged fabric

Through this creative journey I came to realize that the faded fabric and tarnished frame are much like the two special people from whom I had gotten them,  a little worn by time, a few chips and nicks here and there but more beautiful  than ever after over 65 years together.

This post was contributed by my sister: Thanks Edna for sharing your inspiration and insight.

 


Recycled Magazine into Beautiful Lamp Shades

recycled magazine pages into lamp shade

recycled magazine pages into lamp shade

Inspired by a lamp shade created by my daughter Kate, a recycled magazine was turned into this shade for an old lamp I’m fixing up for the extravaganza later this month. While the process turned out to be more challenging than I had anticipated, the result was even more beautiful than I had expected.

Supplies gathered for the project.

supplies for the paper lamp shade

Pattern cut from magazine page and ready to be rolled into a rosette.

magazine page cut to form rosette

Project in process, with some rolled rosettes glued to shade and more ready to be glued in place.

Detail of rosettes.

detail of rosettes

Inspiration shade


Repurposed Apple Crate

With the arrival of the new year, Lisa and I have begun our final push to get ready for the upcoming antique extravaganza. I just finished this project and I am so pleased with the outcome, I had to take some time to share it with you.

close up of repurposed pink apple box into sidetable

The little side-table started life as a primitive wooden apple crate.  When I found this little treasure, the paper label had mostly peeled away, but what was left of it was lovely; and pink paint, flaking from the wood inside and out, had mellowed to a wonderfully soft hue.

wooden apple box label

I gently scrubbed away the years of dust and grime, careful not to destroy anymore of the label and to remove only the flakiest paint.  Then I added, (well hubby added), caster wheels, a wooden shelf with old green paint and finally an overall coat of poly.

repurposed  pink apple box side table

Isn’t it adorable!


Refurbishing with Paint, Stitching and Silver-Leaf; A Lovely Little Table to Treasure,

I grabbed this little wobbly table right out of my dad’s hands as he reared back to toss it into the dumpster, now you know something is in sad shape if  it’s not worth the space it takes up in a barn full of junk! Anyway that was a few years back and since then it has lived by mytt's barn bed, on the porch and finally in an out building.  But with Lisa and me looking for items for the booth we plan to set up in January, I pulled it out and took a fresh look at its possibilities.

The black paint concealed the colors but not the ragged texture of the multiple layers of paint globbed on beneath. The legs were loose, very loose; one had actually broken through the table top which had also shortened one side considerably. It was in sad shape, but there was just something sweet about its form. So after my hubby stabilized the top and legs, the best that could be done, I started to work painting. I decided to use a dry brush technique that embraced its primitive nature; and I chose a beautiful blue that puts me in mind of the sea.

Lisa had been looking for a project to try a technique she had seen somewhere that involves stitching on wood.  With that in mind we developed a plan to transform the little ugly table into a beautiful home accessory.

Using a new piece of plywood cut to fit the top of the table, we painted on layers of paint that we then distressed and crackled.  We stitched on a border using a beautiful multi colored yarn and applied a single starfish using gold leaf.

This is what we ended up with…

a lovely little table to treasure.

How to stitch on wood:

We drilled holes about 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the wood using a 3/16 inch bit.  The needle was a six-inch piece of thin, flexible wire folded in half and, using pliers, pinched at the fold to make it small enough to fit through the drilled holes. Sliding an end of the yarn onto the makeshift needle and starting on the underneath side, I pulled the yarn up through a hole and down through the next hole, creating a running stitch; tying off the ends on the underneath side.  To compensate for the bulk of the yarn on the bottom of the stitched piece, we glued very thin strips of plywood along the underneath edge and a couple of strips along the center. Finally, we applied glue along the strips we had added and attached the completed piece to the table top; clamping in place until set.

 

 

 


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