Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Privacy Window: Lets Light & Color IN & Keeps Curious Eyes OUT

Click on Photo to Enlarge

For years, as much as I wanted to open the blinds to my sliding glass door and let the beauty of morning light fill the room, I didn't. And I didn't, primarily, because though the back yard was a wonder in the morning with filtered sunlight through the trees and birds that I wanted to watch - it also offered a straight view, from the alley, right to the table where I was having my coffee. The trash men rode high enough to see right over the fence, into my room - and who knows, I might not be decent. Sooo those blinds remained closed.

This morning when I flung the blinds wide open, I examined my solution and realized that ten years later it has proven to be one of my better projects - it still looks great, in fact the colors have faded a little on the leaves making them even prettier and for years it has continued providing me with both privacy and all the morning wonders of my back yard .

The project was quick and easy . I went off to my fave craft store, purchased faux stained glass paint, created leaves and vines. Then on the lower half only, I filled in the clear gaps with frosted clear - just took my fingers and rubbed it straight on in a back and forth overlapping pattern. It created the effect of frosted crackled glass, beautiful in itself, and also kept anyone from seeing anything but a blur within the room. The upper clear part lets all of the light inside and altogether, the effect is much like a kaleidoscope of color that changes with the seasons and weather - but is always, always beautiful. It's easier to clean than just plain glass doors too - I love it.

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Black Can Look Dramatic & Stunning

This is another vintage desk I refinished. I stripped, sanded, then painted this in flat black and softly sanded away to accent it. Black makes a statement, doesn't it?

It's fun to create displays - the turned wood pen was a Christmas gift from my eldest son. He turned it, my sweet dil did the intricate sanding and I get to use it! I loved using it in this photo. You can click on the photo to see my pen up close.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Seeking The Perfect French Finish...

Click on Photo To Enlarge:

I've been working feverishly trying to nail down a finish that would work for my coffee table and several other pieces; I wanted it to be a finish I could live with for a long time. Unhappy with my results- I started over so often - I was ready to pull my hair out. When I thought I had "hit" it, I did several pieces (that were all in dark stained fruit wood finishes) just to make sure I could duplicate it repeatedly because it is a very painstaking finish. Finally, I nailed it. (See some pieces I finished in above photo)

Please forgive me the conceit but I'm so happy with this I'm going to name it - "French Perfection" . It is everything I wanted it to be and more - an elegant antiqued and distressed finish in blended whispers of ivory, natural wood, and zinc that can be shimmered with the silver of mercury and gilded with gold.

This "French Perfection" for all my vintage French Country furniture pieces
will work "perfectly" with antiqued weathered architectural elements, tumbled stone, zinc, mercury, glass and marble. There are too many shades and hues to simply call it cream. ;)

Whew... my shoulders are aching and I'm creatively drained from working non-stop on this finish - but I'm glad I did it.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All In A Day of Life With A Rabid Treasure Hunter: An Amazing Dollar Sale

My beloved, Mr. Many Shades of Shabby, is rabid about finding good stuff at good buys. He hunts out the best estate, garage, church and yard sales and eats, drinks, and sleeps - treasure hunting. He starts early and stays late; he believes fervently in all of those old adages about the early bird and snoozing and losing. Today, he was sound asleep on the sofa in front of the television, when like a man out of a bad dream, he raised up rim rod straight, rubbed his eyes with both fists, then riveted his gaze on the tv, exclaiming "WHAT?!?!"

He: Devonia! Did you hear that? Everything at the Dallas Zoo was on sale today for a dollar! I guess the zoo is closing...

Me: Closing the zoo? I didn't know that. What a shame - I can't imagine Dallas without a zoo. Are you sure? Whatever would we buy at the zoo?

He: I just heard it on the news. Maybe they aren't closing it permanently, just for renovation or something. We'll see. The feature is up next. What would we buy? Woman!!! Use your head - All kinds of things! Just think, the statues, the lighting, the name plaques, signs, beautiful chairs, outdoor furniture, patio tables with umbrellas, benches, aquariums, gorgeous potted and hanging plants, all those wonderful old architectural trims, all kinds of stuff to decorate indoors and outdoors with - ONE DOLLAR! ( now holding both hands, palms up, shaking his head in pure despair) I can't believe we missed this.

Me: (brows knitted together) Are you certain?

He: Here it's coming on now - Come listen if you don't believe me. (now turning very disappointed eyes my way) What I want know is - why didn't you know about this? We should have been there. Man, just think... anything there - One dollar!!

Me: (fingers to my lips) Shhhhh, let's listen.

The local news reporter : Today, record breaking crowds lined up at the Dallas Zoo to take advantage of Dollar Day. Today only, all tickets were only one dollar...

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Covering My Sofa: One Pillow At A Time

WIth the help of a free online video, I decided in early May, that I could recover my sofa.

How it started: After a flurry of spring cleaning, my sofa, with its sad, worn, age soiled upholstery stood out like the elephant in the room. We either needed to replace the ugly-but-comfy sofa or cover it with something, anything! more permanent than layered sheets. About that time I happened upon a video that made covering a pillow look soooo easy- with piping even!

I watched that video by Threadbanger a couple of times and it gave me the guts to try to give that old sofa a make-over. After all, what is a sofa but a collection of pillows? If I could cover one loose pillow, surely I could do a bunch. Since it showed one pillow being made in less than five minutes, I had wild hopes I could finish this project while hubby was off to Canton for three days. A cinch! and wouldn't he be surprised?

aha ha ha *gasp* aha ha ha . In three days, I had ONE pillow completed. ONE!!!! My sewing skill level was thread a needle and go in and out.

Really not all that confident I could do it, I had decided NOT to buy fabric but to use what was on hand - a bolt of about 13 yds that cost five dollars at an estate sale. I knew it wasn't nearly enough so I would have to make the bottoms and backsides out of some muslin I already had, the end pillows out of blue and cream plaid, the piping out of an old sheet and forget about matching the pattern. I used heavy cloth clothesline bought from the Dollar Store for the piping. My idea was if I did ok, well, later I could do it again with good stuff.

Regrets: Knowing now that it is a major labor/time intensive project and that I'm not anxious to do it again, I sure wish I had invested in enough fabric in a fabric I loved (I don't particularly love this) to have enough without supplementing with muslin and to match the patterns. The sheet made ok piping covers but I don't know how long it will hold up; however, the dollar a bolt for the clothesline for piping was a winner. The contrasting end pillows? Those I love...

It took about three weeks, not three days -silly me. I found myself chanting, "One potato, two potato, three potato, four..." as I stacked up the pillows. Finally I was able to say "NO MORE". I managed to finish it right before my 83 yr old mom came to visit. She loved it! (and at least it's fresh and clean) Total cost? Less than ten dollars.

Next Project: I've got my eye on that old stained drop-leaf coffee table. I KNOW I could have it painted blue by the time my hubby returns from Canton next month. What do you think? Would I like the design on the fabric better if the coffee table is a matching blue? Indecision: Would it be better in a cream that matches the sofa with blue accessories? I think the blue with accessories in the natural wood and cream and that berry would look better with the floor. Maybe blue that chips away to rich cream underneath and some wood peeking through? ARGHH! I never know what I will like best. Help me.

Here's the video that inspired me.
They make it look soooooo easy.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Who Do You Feed First? The Woman Or The Child?

Click & Taste Photo

You're running on empty, your body needs fuel - immediately if not sooner; however, a deadline is pushing you to the limit. A quick sugar-fix is instinctive and you know it will give you the surge you need to keep going. There's the leftover homemade banana pudding in the frig, just a quick bowl, add a shot of caffeine and you're good for another three hours.

So, do you grab the quick and easy because it's -well, quick and easy - or do you opt for what your body needs, real nutrition, maybe a rich soup that fills the senses with aroma and goodness plus a hunk of freshly warmed bread? And yeah - follow that up with caffeine and chocolate?

This happens to me often, especially when I'm working from can-to-can't on pieces of furniture to go off to the antique market (Canton). I know what I should do but still, I often feed the child in me. So what do YOU do? Feed the woman, feed the child, feed both??

Recipe: I've used this 'nana puddin' photo in an earlier post and have had requests for the recipe. It's the Original Nabisco Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding Recipe, always available on the box. Since I have only guys with huge appetites, I double the recipe for the pudding and triple the recipe for the topping. I've experimented and you can't substitute with instant pudding mix, nor any other brand of wafer and get the same raves.