October 28, 2011

A really good idea...

How pretty is this storage for needle felting needles or extra large, long needles, like the kind I use for doll/animal making? The best part is I found all of these glass salt and pepper shakers at the Dollar Store (both for $1). So, I guess that makes it a Dollar Store craft. Of course, you will see, I use these for my glass glitter collection. If you have a few clear vintage shakers, all the better. I have some of my glitters in those as well.

To make a needle holder you will need some wool fiber or a small wad or ball of 100% wool yarn.
Stuff it firmly in your shaker and replace the lid, and put your needles through the holes on top.
Natural wool fiber has lanolin in it, which has the added bonus of keeping your needles in tip top shape!
I also appreciate the fact, that I can leave them in a safe place in between projects, yet readily available. In the past I had used cocktail straws, cut down to size, to protect them. This is a good idea for the extra needles you may have. My fingers have barb scars, everywhere.
Let me know what you think? How do you store your "dangerous needles"?

























October 4, 2011

Fabulous Shortbread...


It has been a while since I have shared a recipe. Be forewarned, you will have a hard time staying away from this shortbread, so, for your own sake, have a few family members or friends around to share it.

We are not discussing the fact that I made these yesterday, I am home alone and there are only three left. Let me just say in  my defense that I have a genetic fault that causes me euphoria at the mere thought of butter. When I was eighteen months old, my mother sat me in the grocery cart and when her back was turned, I opened up the pound of Land O' Lakes (butter), removed a stick, peeled it like a banana and well, ate it. My mother loves to tell this story, and like all children before me, I blame her. She, who hails from St. Louis, Missouri and never stopped talking about "Gooey Butter Cake" and how her father took two buses every Saturday morning to get her one from the preferred bakery. Who leaves a butter obsessed baby(with these sorts of genes), alone with Land O' Lakes?

She also gets the credit for the many children I have, I am an only child. You see, I tended to romanticize brothers and sisters, so I knew I wanted lots of children. Yikes, you think I would have figured it out after the second one; I don't know, maybe after my son turned the blowup pool, upside down on his infant sister????? Fortunately, for me my wise and laid back friend, Linda (one of five children), said, " that's nothing, wait until he hangs her over the balcony in a few years". What? No, no, not my babies, they are going to love and respect and take care of each other, right? Right. Flash forward to Thanksgiving morning, two sisters home from school for break, Mom comes downstairs to find one of them pinned up against the pantry door...no feet touching! (It seems someone borrowed a certain jacket without asking, and someone else found it in a ball at the bottom of a closet, oops.) For the record, no one actually hung anyone over the balcony, threatened, maybe.  No, I am not quick on the uptake. But, I digress...surely you can understand why I cannot give up butter, don't you? 
It's okay, Mom understands.


 I want to hear from you if you do not think this is the best shortbread you have ever tasted!

Shortbread

1 1/2 c. unbleached flour
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. plus 3 T. *superfine sugar, divided
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature (1 hour), cut into 16 pieces
2 t. vanilla extract

Position rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 300 degrees.
Lightly butter (I use the wrappers) a 13x9 inch pan.

Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt into a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup superfine sugar, and , with electric mixer on low speed,
mix just to blend ingredients. Add butter pieces and vanilla and mix until large (1/4- 1/2 inch) crumbs form, about two minutes.
Very gently, press the crumbs evenly into pan. Don't pack the dough into the pan. Bake until the top of the shortbread just begins to turn golden, about 1 hour.
If your oven is hot, be sure to check sooner. Sometimes it will take an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle remaining
3 tablespoons  superfine sugar over the top. Using a sharp knife now cut the shortbread through to the bottom of the pan in 1 1/2 in x 3 in pieces. Cool completely before lifting the shortbread out of the pan.

*If you do not have superfine sugar; pulse regular sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds.

September 26, 2011

New project...

I found a beautiful hutch on craigslist. It was just the right size for my studio space. It was solid cherry, a lovely Temple-Stuart 50's piece.
I am painting it of course, and I am feeling a little guilty about it...not enough to stop me, however. The price was right, $50. Here is the progress so far...


The cabinet knobs and pulls are being replaced, I found these small matte black, clay knobs at Hobby Lobby for half price. The drawers will have matte black, bin pulls that I ordered online. They are cast iron and have a raised design of rose and thistle, love them. Painting the hutch with Annie Sloan, old white, has been easy and the results are just what I was hoping for. Two coats, straight on, clear wax, distress edges, dark wax, buff to a gorgeous sheen. This is my second project using this paint and the blog land hype is well deserved. Next up is the cabinet and hutch top. I will water down the paint slightly and roll it on with a foam roller. The surface area is large and the results will be smoother than painting with a  brush. Hopefully, soon I will have the finished furniture to show you. Do you think I should paint the back of the hutch another color or wallpaper it?

August 17, 2011

Studio inspiration...

 In the basement studio, there just isn't the kind of light I crave, need really. So, it has become a storage (dumping gound) for my endless supplies. It does have two small windows and wonderful built-in storage drawers and cabinets (thank you, Mr. B.), but I feel so disconnected down there. Consequently, I make many trips up and down to finish and clear away projects. When I have a friend over to work with me, well, then we take over the whole kitchen! I will probably use the basement room for some of the storage, for example, seasonal supplies.  Here are a few inspiration studio favorites from my Pinterest board, Studio.



My son Matt's old room will become my new studio. The light is very good and I will have some space to spread out and keep current projects out if I need to.  First, I  have to clear out his "stuff",  all the things that he did not take with him. I will pack them up and put them in the already overflowing attic. My boy is sentimental about everything, there are actually a couple of old T.V.'s up there that he won't let us part with. I know, I know, where do they get this from???



The room is not very big, about 11 x 13, so I will have to be very organized and storage is a must. First, I will need to remove the "old world map" wallpaper from the back wall. He had a 1930's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" thing going on, complete with bi-plane hanging from the ceiling, that is painted like sky with clouds. Yes, there will be lots of painting. A new floor as well. Mr. B. wants to put hardwood up in the three bedrooms in the children's wing.  I think this will work, since much of my studio work involves sewing and fiber. Wet or messy projects can still be handled if care is taken. I used Make Room courtesy of Urban Barn, to lay it out. (Yes, Mr. B. it is to scale, and yes, I am fitting a lot in there.)
work table 42"x60"
desk/sewing table 24"x75"

The color I want for the walls will be a neutral warm greige. The trim will be a warm white. Mr B. will build me a worktable similar to this Ballard Designs one, I just love it and it will give me the room I need to spread out. The zinc top is perfect and impervious. It will also have a couple of stools and in one corner of the room, I will have a comfy chair for hand sewing, knitting, crocheting, etc. I am on the lookout right now for a hutch/ buffet piece that I can paint out, for the back wall. A couple of old file cabinets to paint and an old door on top, will become a desk/sewing table in front of the window. The wall from the closet side wrapping around to the desk side will have pegboard, so that all my tools and thread can be handy. I have this down in the basement room and it is so nice to have everything in sight. The work table wall will have a large pin board and chalk board for inspirations and notes. The chair will have a floor lamp and maybe a small stool or table for my tea! The desk will hold my IMac/printers/silhouette and my sewing machine. The bookcase will hold reference materials and my favorite art books. I particularly like the idea of an old hutch/buffet combo. It will allow me to display some of my favorite things, and be a photo prop for product shoots. The closet has lots of built in shelves, too.
What do you think of my plan?


August 7, 2011

For your Sunday pleasure...


Source via The Paper Mulberry
Source
May I suggest a little eye candy and a very interesting story? My friend Glenda at The Paper Mulberry has the most beautiful blog. This post on natural table settings is gorgeous. It has all of our favorite things, English, old, worn, reused, renewed, whites, linen, farmhouse, and an eye for photography that will take your breath away. You will be clicking all of the archives, I just know it. Glenda and her family live in an Elizabethan era farmhouse, yes that's right from the 1500's. Her story about the house is fascinating.
She lives my anglophile fantasy...
Source via The Paper Mulberry
Thank you Glenda, for sharing your amazing home and for the all the other lovely posts that inspire.

July 14, 2011

Picnic Table...

Love my new red picnic table made by Mr. B. It is eight feet long and thirty-six inches wide. We used the free plans from Ana White's site, here, and adjusted them for a bigger size. Now, it just needs a little accessorizing! Perhaps, an outdoor chandelier??

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint...

After
Oh, I know you are familiar with this sensation, but I 'll bet you haven't seen a makeover like this one. Forgive me, Annie, but I did not apply your fabulous paint to some gorgeous, vintage piece of furniture. No, I decided to try it on my much hated black slate tile, foyer floor!
before 
Imagine if you will, a chalkboard floor after twenty-two years of wear. Yes, that's right it looked the same after two days of wear. It never looked clean showed every little lint and crumb and had to be mopped constantly. I hate to tell you "I told you so", Mr. B. This floor pick of yours has been the bane of my existence since we built our house. Did I mention that the foyer is ten by fifteen feet? It is a slightly angled space also, the biggest rug that will fit in the center is six by nine. Okay, enough venting (I have only been b------- about it for twenty years). The plan was to replace it, but I could not decide what I wanted and I was changing my mind about it all the time. We were not eager to make another costly mistake and I really didn't mind the dark color.
So, after reading about Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint on so many blogs, I decided to give the floor a second chance. The graphite was beautiful and after thoroughly cleaning the floor, I started carefully cutting in. I was floored, pardon the pun, it went on smoothly with the suggested nylon brush, and covered perfectly. It dried in one half hour and I was able to second coat the trim and roll out two full coats in one longish evening. The matte finish was amazing and after keeping all pets and people off it until the morning, it was ready for a finish.
Annie Sloan recommends a low sheen varnish for floor applications, although I am sure they are thinking "wood" floor. I was unable to purchase her Matte Varnish in the USA, so I used a reliable water based, satin polyurethane. The drying time between coats is two hours. In the next two days, I put down four coats. Furniture was not moved in for several more days, to allow the whole floor to cure.
We could not be happier with the result and saved the cost of a new floor, probably about twenty-five hundred dollars. A very big thank you to my new friend at Classic Paint Finishes, Patty, for her help and generosity, (she included a couple of sample jars in my order, so I did not have to order a second quart)! By the way, the floor used just a little over one quart of paint! The best part is that there is no odor at all, and even the poly was low odor. I would use it on a floor again, in a heartbeat, but I am now so anxious to try it on a fabulous old piece of furniture, with some of the Annie Sloan Wax.
What do you think?




Shades Of Amber Annie Sloan Paint Party


July 12, 2011

Pinterest...

From my DIY board via Bluebellgray
Junky. That's what I am. Follow me here! If you wondered how to save your pictures of inspiration and DIY, etc. without having to describe your pin, just space bar once and pin. Voila, this helps when you do not have very much time, and the picture is self explanatory. My life is plenty busy right now and I apologize for not posting more often. Right now I am planning my son's graduation party and making a lot of decorations. Time is just slipping away...just like summer, isn't it? I hope you will peruse my pinterest site and find the inspiration that has fueled my creativity lately. You have all been busy, too, I see!!!
From Home board
From Roseanna's Style board via Old Gringo.com
XXX

June 17, 2011

Nest update...

W
hen we came home from our vacation in Kiawah Island, SC, we found this. Look closely and you will see a beak peeking out the bottom left of the nest. There is a third baby underneath on the right. Is it me or are these really big baby robins?

I have been very busy the last few weeks and have been working on many projects, large and small. Vacation time spent with our newest grandson, (I miss him so much already) and yard work have consumed all of my time. My goal is to share a few pictures soon. In the meantime here is my Pinterest (have you heard of this great pin board site?) link. Enjoy, and try not to get hooked!
I hope you have a super weekend and fun Father's Day celebrations on Sunday :)

May 21, 2011

A sign of spring...

A robin's nest made in our porch light fixture. I was delighted to see that this mom used quite a bit of my fluff and scraps. However, where she decided to make her nest, is another matter. The picture of the nest and eggs were snapped standing tiptoe on our porch bench. So beautifully blue! I wanted to share...now I must get back to the herb garden, before it starts raining again, ugh!! Tomorrow I will post some projects I have been working on.
Enjoy your Saturday.

May 6, 2011

Elijah Parker...

Our beautiful new grandson. He arrived three weeks early and he is just adorable. Congratulations Danielle and Seth. We can't wait to see him and cuddle...hold on Eli, Papa and I are coming to South Carolina soon! Hugs and kisses.



April 5, 2011

Jute crochet covered demijohn...

I
picked up this "faux" demijohn at TJ Maxx a while ago. The "real" antique demijohns are not in my budget.  Forgive the photos it was getting late and I lazily used my flash. The bottle is a nice big size and I wanted to cover it in jute using a lattice design. I could have used a tie on method, but I decided to try crochet instead. A size  "N" crochet hook was large enough to handle the thick jute, surprisingly, my hands did not hurt from the rough texture. Crocheting loosely helped as did using a heavy duty hand lotion! The lattice pattern gave me just the effect I was looking for. Now when the vacuum cleaner runs into it on the floor, it will be a little safer. This could be used on one of those carboy bottles or the gallon glass vinegar jugs as well. If anyone wants the how-to, let me know...

I also baked some wholesome, hi-protein bread today.  These terracotta bread pans from a local upstate NY potter are my favorite for making sandwich/toast slices. I scatter the bottoms with toasted sesame seed, yummy. It was just the thing for another gray, rainy, day.
I am looking forward to this weekend and some South Carolina sunshine, I will be visiting my oldest son and his wife in Charleston.
They are expecting their first baby, a boy very soon!

...and here is a sneak peek of Mr. B.'s latest project (we hung it temporarily to test the fit) it is knock off of the Pottery Barn Cubby.
It is so well made, I cannot wait to paint it (it also needs its backing on) and put on the little enameled number plates I made for each
cubby, there are 25 of them. The Pottery Barn version just has painted numbers.
I hope you are having a great week!!!
Linking here:
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
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