Thursday, March 29, 2012

What will $.25 cents buy?

Walking into a flea market, I instantly spied an artichoke.  When I reached for the guilded beauty, I realized that it was made of paper mache'.   There was no weight to it. The price was even more of a shock-- quarter, 25 cents!  What a splurge.  It just needed a little TLC to revive it's dated look.

 When I bought it, it had a guilded burnished gold look.  Sorry that I don't have a picture of the before.

I applied two different mediums on this piece.  The first coat was some crackling liquid found in the acyclic paint department at Michael's or Hobby Lobby.  After it was dried, I applied a top coat of acrylic white paint.  That was it. 

It is fun to complete a project once in awhile that does not require a person to run out and get supplies.  Both of the products used in this project were in my paint stash.

'Miss Artichoke' moves around the house quite often standing stately in the background.  For a mere .25, she is worth her weight in gold.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Mantle

I have really simplified the spring mantle this year.  The fact that Easter is coming up in a few weeks made the brainstorming that much more challenging.  I wanted to bring in some fresh color.

 While my sister was visiting 2 weeks ago, we went to a great estate sale.  She bought some awesome silver plate pieces for very good prices.  I bought this lime green plate with a chip for $1.00.  I needed some fuchsia pink to marry the combo.  The sweet woven hat already had the fuchsia peony, so that completed one side of the mantle.

It was easy to pull out my two mosaic crosses out and an addition of a crystal egg finished the scene. Adding the large oval mosaic tray went along with the mosaic theme.  Simply stated, Easter is our most glorious holy day.

To complete the look, I pulled my favorite faux hydrangeas into a glass vessel that I've had for at least 30 years purchased at Crate and Barrel.  A few gingerbread pieces, an  Easter basket and a vintage French champagne basket finished the fireplace opening.  The handles and hinges on the basket deteriorated over time, so I improvised and used French lavender ribbons to fix the basket.   Even more reason to treasure, my Grandmother used this basket to keep her knitting needles and patterns contained.

With all the blooming trees and bushes outside, I feel the freshness of spring once again.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Upcycled Window/Bulletin-Chalkboard

I had mentioned a while back when showing my upcycled windows, that I wanted to make a bulletin board/chalkboard for each of my daughter's rooms.  My youngest daughter's birthday is today, the 22nd.(The behind the scenes work has been going on for 10 days now.)

Here is the first stage of the window.

I didn't want to have 6 sections, so I hammered out two of the mullions and glass.

It did take some extra gluing and nailing to secure the remaining separators.  Next, I stripped, sanded and painted the frame.  Mr. Thrifty cut 3 panels out of leftover beadboard.  I will use the reverse or back of the beadboard for the panels because they are so smooth.

I found two coordinating fabrics to match the comforter.  I purchased magnetic paint for the third panel.  I gave it 4 coats of the magnetic paint.  The manufacturer recommends 3, but after testing with a magnet, a fourth coat was necessary.

I applied 4 coats of chalkboard paint over the magnetic paint.  This way it can be used as a chalkboard AND a magnet board.

Meanwhile, I pulled out coordinating buttons out of my stash and glued them onto magnets with my glue gun.  I purchased turquoise colored straight pins for the bulletin board.

I pulled out my electic food knife and cut two pieces of 1 inch foam to place on to the other two panels. 

Next, I placed the foam onto the board, and then added batting and  topped it off with the fabric.

           I inserted the panels into the holes, and taped it down with packing tape on the edges.

Prior to sanding the front, I removed the handle, stripped it and painted it with Looking Glass Mirror spray bought at Hobby Lobby.  I sprayed the handle with three coats, but was not happy with the results.  Off to Home Depot where I special ordered a nickel handle from the Martha Stewart collection.  This is a great lesson about upcycling.  Even though I had to change gears, it always works out.

This handle along with two vintage glass knobs will complete the front of the piece.  So far, this is what the front looks like.

            After the chalkboard panel is done, Mr. Thrifty will help me nail in all three pieces.

  I ended up  doing the nailing myself.  I used 1/4 in. square dowels to secure the three pieces.  My work is not as clean as his would have been, but I don't think it is bad for the first time.  I had to drill pilot holes in the dowels to prevent splitting before securing with the nails.


Well, the 22nd is here and the handle has not arrived from Home Depot.  The show must go on.  I will attach it after it arrives and give you an update.  The nickel finish will go nicely with the crystal knobs.

The present wouldn't have been complete without a handmade card from me.  She also is getting one of my handmade earring holders(another blog).  Happy Birthday!!!

                           I think the bulletin board will be a nice complement to her bedroom.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Linen swan pillowcase makeover

At an estate sale last Thurs., I picked up this precious but stained infant sized linen pillowcase.  What attracted me to it was that it had a beautiful embroidered white on white swan on the trim.  Immediately, I thought back to our days in Boston riding on the Swan Boats in the Public Garden.  I snatched up the pillowcase along with various other doilies(for a table runner) and rushed to Walmart for some calico fabric.

I rushed home, washed both the pillowcase and calico fabric.  When dried, I cut the trim off the pillowcase.  I wasn't sure how large to make the new pillowcase, so I just sewed the two pieces together and this is what it looked like.

                                            And the back of the piece looked like this.

                                  I folded the piece in half, and sewed the two seams.

I wanted to catch some of the design from the original pillowcase.  Here is a close up after it was sewn.

Here is the completed pillowcase.  I put it in my guest room.  I love the way it coordinates with the  French toile fabric of the comforter.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Updated Herb Rocking Chair

I had some great advice from Tara  last week regarding the Herb Rocking Chair.  She suggested that I get something 'viney' to put into the pot.  What a great idea.  Here is the result of adding just one plant.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Paddy's Day Card

This year in making my St. Patrick's Day card, I went to Graphics Fairy for some vintage images.  I incorporated  a vintage postcard, a Graphics Fairy background and some scrapbook paper.

      I used three strands of Martha Stewart green and ecru  bakers twine(thank you
                     Susan), braided to latch the shamrock to the card.

                               I always try to incorporate some dimension in the cards.

I love the look of the card in the Belleek frame!
A vintage shamrock hanky picked up at an estate sale and a bird's nest completes the vignette.

                           Happy St. Patrick's Day

Friday, March 16, 2012

March decor

I was looking forward to the March blog, because I was finally going to be able to display a beautiful collection of Belleek bells that my Mother had begun on a trip to Ireland years ago.  Once I had the first two bells, my husband would dutifully acquire the next year's edition for Christmas every year there after.  Once we got up to 14, I said, enough.  But I really never knew what to do with them.  They always say that collections should be in odd numbers.  I think 14 bells just lined up would not do them justice.

Each bell has the most charming ring to them.  Each is handpainted with a few shamrocks.

                                        I found a vintage linen table topper amongst my linens.

 I began to add the ornaments.  Each bell is so graceful in itself that I didn't want to detract from them by adding additional decorations to the tree. 

Of course, I couldn't leave the tree with all that fine china sitting precariously on a chair, so I moved her.

Here, she holds court on the majestic marble topped sewing base table(yet, another blog) in the Great Room.

            At night, when lit, the tree sends forth the glow of ancestors long ago.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rocking chair Herb garden

I found this adorable vintage rocker at an estate sale for $16.00  It's chippy green color caught my eye.

I think my husband used at least 3 different electric saw devices to cut through the vintage almost petrified wood seat.

   I think my husband used at least 3 different saws to cut through the vintage hard very old seat.  Next, I added a pot and a liner to keep the moisture in.

I had great intentions of growing 5 different seed packets from scratch.  I planted Italian parsley, rosemary, basil, chives, and dill.

As some projects go, after 4 weeks, I became very impatient with the growth.  So, off to Home Depot to purchase starter plants.  I planted basil, chives, rosemary, Italian parsley.

 Once in the pot, I put it on the front porch since the sun over the roofline protected it from all day full sun.

I was thinking of spray painting the chair high gloss black, but I couldn't make myself paint over the shabby green.

A perfect spot would have been to place the chair in my bed of winter pansies, but the heat would have been too much.

Let's hope that all summer long, I will be able to snip the herbs for some fresh tasting dinners.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Belleek treasures

Having great grandparents with an Irish surname is enough to make me proud of my heritage.  What comes to mind are those cottages in misty Ireland billowing smoke out of their rooftops.  How hard their lives must of been.  Hearing stories of the Great Potato Famine just seemed so sad, but as immigrants, they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and made something of themselves over here in the New Country. 

I have received three memorable Belleek presents in my life that remind me of that ancestry.  The first is a Belleek holy water font that was given to us as a wedding gift by a dear cousin of my mother's.  The beautiful piece always finds a very special place in every home we have inhabited.  Not only is it important because it was made in Ireland, but it also reminds me of the faith that my family has bestowed upon me.

 While we visited Mother Angelica's shrine, The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, near Hanceville, Alabama, we filled our holy water bottle for our font at home.

The second Belleek gift I received was a beautiful frame from one of my sisters.  This frame has always held a picture of our two girls at many stages of their lives.  This year, it will hold my annual St. Patrick's Day card.

The third present is a dainty angel creamer that was given to me by my college roommate. 

Using gifts given over the years not only makes you enjoy them more, but makes you feel so much closer to the people that bestowed them onto  you.

Even though I am showcasing these three Belleek pieces now, they maintain a presence in our home year round.