Quick Tip Tuesday

IMG_8469Tuesdays are hard.  I spend half the day Monday trying to pick up where I left off on Friday and the rest of the day trying to find new ways to procrastinate for the week.  So, by Tuesday, I’m completely under water.  If there’s a Monday holiday… forget about it!  I might as well just take off the whole week.  I have all these quick “tips” on things I’ve tried to save time, the environment, sanity, that I thought I could do a “Quick Tip Tuesday” thing for a while (until I get sick of it or run out of ideas).

My first “Quick Tip” involves the mini bars of soap they give you in hotels.  I’ve always hated the idea of them just being thrown away after we leave (especially if we’re only there for a night), but they’re usually too small to do much else with.  On our last trip, I decided just to take them home (partially because they were Aveda, which I love but totally can’t afford).  I rinsed them off really well (both to get them wet and to get them as “clean” as possible) and then wrapped them in the cellophane that had been on one of the drinking cups my wife used and threw them in my suitcase.  By the time I unpacked (admittedly, a couple days after we got home), they were completely fused together and had formed almost a regular bar of soap, size-wise.

 

Sugar for my sweet

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I know I’ve mentioned this before, but my wife is an amazing cook.  I’ve given her full reign to get any kitchen utensils/appliances she needs because I know she’s going to use them to make something delicious.  And any time she says she wants me to make or decorate something for the kitchen, I’m all over it!

A few weeks ago, she said she wanted a sugar dish to keep on the counter so she didn’t have to open the canister every time she needed a little bit of sugar.  I know we had one that came with our mug set, but I couldn’t find it for the life of me.  I kept my eye out for one as we were browsing at the cute country stores, antique stores, and galleries on our trip last weekend, but couldn’t find one.  Then, buried on my craft table, I found this little jar I had saved from the recycle bin quite some time ago.  I think some kind of meat rub or seasoning came in it (the kitchen is clearly her domain).  It was the perfect size and has a nice latching top to prevent bugs from getting in and spills from getting out.

Simon Says Stamping is challenging readers to try stamping on anything but paper this week (http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-stamping-on-anything-but-plain-paper).  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to join in.  At first, I tried stamping the word “sugar” right on the glass.  It didn’t really show up well.  I’m sure there’s a way to stamp on glass, but I couldn’t figure it out.  So, went through my scrap paper box and fabric bin and got some materials that I thought would look neat on the jar and in our kitchen.  I also picked out a really cool old-fashioned glass jar stamp that I bought a while ago and have been looking for the right place to use it.  The fabric I chose was from a set of cloth napkins I picked up at the thrift store (I’ve been using one of them for backgrounds for my photos, lately, and have started cutting up another to use in different projects).  I grabbed the one I’ve been cutting up and stamped my jar on it with a midnight blue ink from my Paper Pumpkin kit.  The stamp came out perfectly, having followed Design Team member Sandra’s directions for stamping on cloth: http://madebysannie.blogspot.com/2013/09/londen-calling.html (I absolutely LOVE this bag she made for the challenge).  I made sure to get my stamp nice and inky and then stamped on a somewhat supple surface, pushing and holding for a couple seconds longer than I might otherwise have on paper.

I used scrapbook paper with a neat greenish, distressed look and stamped the work “sugar” on it (with the same stamp I had originally used on the glass itself).  I put on a nice coat of glossy Mod Podge and smoothed on the paper and fabric with the stamp.  I put some of the lacy edge of the napkin at the top to kind of border the label and voila!  (This time, I finally waited until it the bottom coat was dry before putting on the top coat of Mod Podge, so it stayed nice and smooth.)

A room with a view

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I’ll know I’ve “made it” when I have a window in my office. Alas, I’m not quite there yet. So, in the spirit of making lemons into lemonade, I made myself a window a couple years ago.

I found an old window on the side of the road. It was old (I already said that), distressed, dirty, and the panes were intact: perfect.  I cleaned it up, sanded the wood lightly, slapped enough paint on to make it still distressed but in a different color, and picked out a “view”.

The photo I chose was one my dad took on a trip to Australia. He’s an amazing photographer and I love the colors in this photo; the contrasting ocean, cliff, sky; the calmness of it all.  Here’s a better view of the photo itself (taken from a tricky angle with my office lights off and just the camera flash).
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He had it printed and mounted on foam core (I’m not sure what it cost but I’m guessing it wasn’t cheap). That’s probably the key to it staying in the frame so well and staying so vibrant even a couple years later.  I used little nails to secure it into the frame.  I also put a couple ATCs I made around the edges, mostly because I couldn’t think of anywhere else to put them. (The one with the ark is an image from a Heifer Fund card which I cut up and “embellished”.)
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It’s not the same as a real window to the outdoors, but the view’s beautiful and the weather’s always perfect.

I made a wreath!

ImageMy wife has been wanting me to find a new wreath for our door for ages.  We had a dried lavender wreath on the door that I got her for Valentine’s Day but it started shedding every time we opened and closed the door. I wanted to preserve it so I found a nice hook on a wall near the door, nestled next to a couple of kid-made frames from my boy for its golden years…

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So, I finally made a new one.  I pinned about a million.  (Okay. Maybe only 29.  But you can see them here.  http://m.pinterest.com/bakercooley/wreaths/)  And then I went with a pretty simple one (being my first, and everything).   Here’s the one I tried:  http://sabrinarenee92.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/burlap.

I got a simple wire frame from Michaels and grabbed some fabric from my stash. Both were actually left over from our wedding. The paisley was supposed to be wrapped around the linen on our table (that never happened).  The purple was supposed to be on the ground as the edges of our “aisle” but people kept tripping on it at the rehearsal so I yanked it up. (Yeah, it was a that kind of wedding but it was absolutely perfect.)

I kind of made up my own way of wrapping the ribbon on the frame.  I kind of looped it on and started wrapping it around.
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I and didn’t have enough of the paisley to go around so then I yanked that out and redid it. Here was my first attempt:

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I tried a couple other versions before settling on this one. I ended up just wrapping the paisley around as far as it would go (making it loose enough so I could puff it up a bit). There was still a gap so I used the purple and kind of braided it around the wire. I like that part the best.

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I hung it on the door, content.

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The next morning, I was fiddling around in the dining room and found some silk flowers I got for the wedding (doesn’t everyone store their silk flowers in the dining room?).  I’m not a huge silk or dried flowers fan (I’d so much rather the real thing) but my wife likes them so I got a bunch in our colors and had them scattered on little projects throughout.

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Borrowing from this beautiful blogger (http://www.stonegableblog.com/2010/08/bridal-wreaths.html) I grabbed a handful and decided to try adding them in to make the wreath fuller…  And it was perfect!

Kitchen Color!

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We have these grand plans of renovating the kitchen, building an addition to make it twice the size, and doing it all in Rachel Ray’s eggplant, orange, and lime green color combo (and by “we” I mean my wife).  Here’s Rachel Ray’s collection, if you can’t picture it:  http://www.rachaelraystore.com/Department/List/Bakeware/102-4294958180  I do kind of love the color combo.

That’s probably not going to happen any time soon (unless Rachel finds my blog and offers to pay for it all in a huge sponsorship/promotion extravaganza).  In the meantime, I’m trying to make things that help the wifey keep the tiny space we do have more organized and appealing for her to work in (thus motivating her to make more yummy stuff for me and the boy).

I picked up this little wooden Crayola crate at a thrift store in North Carolina when were on vacation last Spring and knew I wanted to save it for something perfect.  When she took an old spice rack off the wall (after realizing that the spices in there had likely been purchased when the first Clinton was in office) the spot it left was the perfect size for this box.

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I started off by putting a shelf it in from some old dresser drawer wood I cut down.  It’s just wood-glued in with two more pieces of wood as supports but feels pretty sturdy.  I painted the inside a vibrant purple, a little brighter than the purple from Rachel Ray’s collection, but it was similar to another accessory my wife made for the kitchen a week before (see below).  I  screwed in cup hooks before painting the outside because I didn’t have the right color paint for the outside yet and I was being impatient.  That was a silly thing to do, because then I ended up having to carefully paint and varnish around the hooks for every subsequent coat.

I only painted the top, bottom, and fronts with the green, because I really wanted to keep the sides with the Crayola logo on them visible.  It’s also a nice combo of her contemporary and my vintage aesthetics.  (Those sides are my favorite part.)

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It was still looking rather ordinary (as ordinary as a purple and lime green Crayola crate spice shelf can look), so I tore some pages from a second-hand Bacardi cookbook we picked up at a tag sale and decoupaged them in the backs of the shelves.  It’s kind of a nod to our honeymoon, which was in Puerto Rico and during which we toured the Bacardi factory.  I think they added the perfect touch.

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I also sanded the edges down a tiny little bit to distress it before slathering the whole thing with varnish (I won’t say it’s because my wife tends to be a little messy when she cooks so I wanted it to clean up easily because she took a wee bit of offense when I said that in my last kitchen post).  🙂

I’m also going to submit this to Make My Monday’s challenge this week:  Anything But a Card.   http://mimchallegeblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/midweek-motivation-anything-but-card.html  There are so many card and scrapbook challenges out there, it was nice to see this one deviate from that for this week.  (Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE me my card challenges!)

The other new addition to our slowly-becoming-colorful kitchen is a clothes pin recipe holder that the wife made at a super-fun workshop at my favorite local upcycle crafting haunt, Knack: (http://www.knack.org/).

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She and the boy worked on this one together.

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He helped us both paint (I was working on another one) and then he somehow found the most amazingly perfect glass fruit beads to decorate the clothespins.  A woman who had a huge bead collection was no longer able to use them because of arthritis, I think, and found it too hard to have them around the house so she donated them to Knack.  The collection was magnificent and this was such a great way to spread her love of beading far and wide, I think.

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These beads are so sweet- tiny little glass fruits- but my photos don’t do them justice.  Macey found the perfect glue to stick the glass to the wood (Amazing Goop) and so far the little suckers have held right on.  She also told me about this awesome web site, http://www.thistothat.com/, where you can select two different materials and it will tell you what glue to use.  It’s brilliant!!

I made one of these clothespin boards for my craft space, but I think I’ll save that post for another day.  School started today and the boy’s school this year starts a full hour earlier.  I was not happy waking up at 6am (and will probably not be happy doing it again tomorrow).

Knife-block redo and barstool upcycle

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My wife suggested I paint our knife-block but I hesitated for a bit because it came with a expensive knife set my parents gave me. But you can’t win if you don’t play, right?  And she found this cool example and sent me the Pin, so I couldn’t resist.

http://www.johnnyinadress.com/2011/03/beautify-that-boring-knife-block.html?m=1

And the first picture is an awesome bar stool turned (literally) into wrapping paper storage. We got the idea from Pinterest (where else?) and then the wife happened across a somewhat broken stool at a huge tag sale to benefit a local animal shelter. I promised to make the stool into a wrapping paper caddy if she promised not to bring home another dog. Here’s the inspiration for the stool:
http://96195.com/pic-759.html

I tried out Crackle for the first time on both of these.  It was actually kind of a ruse for the wife’s benefit. She’s much more of a contemporary, bright color kind of person and I’m more of a shabby-chic kind of person. So, I started with the Rachel Ray green that she wants to do our kitchen in (along with her eggplant and orange). She loved it, but then I put the crackle and yellow over them both (to go with our current shabby-kitchen).
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The stool was a lot of fun to make. I used ribbon to replace a couple missing rungs with bottle caps instead of washers to hold it on. On the feet (now the tops) I decoupaged paper from an end-page from a used book from the same tag sale and wrapped some washi tape around it.  I used one of the thrift store table cloths I got for my parents’ 50th anniversary to make a few pockets to hold tape, bows, ribbon and such. It was my first time using the button holer (is that a word?) on my sewing machine and it was so cool. It says you can use it to sew on the buttons, too, but I didn’t quite trust it (or myself). I had a vision of a flying needles and broken buttons so I just sewed them by hand.ImageImage

For the knife-block I made a stencil out of cardstock to tie in with the boarder in the kitchen and varnished the heck out of it (she tends to make a bit of a mess when she’s cooking, so hopefully that will make for easier cleanup). I told her I could repaint it without the crackle if/when we redo the kitchen. I even think my parents would approve!

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It all started with a little nick

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Disclaimer… this post is more about my wife’s creative outlet than mine.  I’m the crafter and she’s the cook.  And an amazing cook she is.

A couple days ago, she noticed a little nick in the top of our glasstop stove and then realized it had turned into a hairline crack that went from one side to another.  Not good for a glasstop stove.  Then, all these amazing things started happening…

1)  I had an old friend who we haven’t seen in a while come by to tell us whether or not the gas line in the kitchen looked like it was in good enough shape for a gas stove.  We decided it might be but we couldn’t be sure, but we did make plans to meet her and her new girlfriend for dinner this week.  (Her girlfriend, it turns out, is just finishing school in graphic design and my brother works for a company that does graphic design, so I gave her my brother’s info to pick his brain.)

2)   So, we started pricing new stoves, realized we probably couldn’t afford one, and then turned to our Facebook family for help.  Within an hour, a friend posted that she had a stove in her basement that she and her girlfriend had used for about a year and then hadn’t needed when they moved to a new house.  She was willing to sell it to us for a really good price.  Sold!

3)  Then, we had to find someone to help me go get it.  Having a dad with a truck is great but having a wife with a bad back is sometimes problematic (she makes up for it in other ways).  So, we started asking around and checking Craigslist for people who can be paid to do such things.

4)  My amazing aforementioned brother agreed to help.  He usually works on Saturdays, and this was bound to take most of the day (our friend lives about an hour away), so I’m really grateful that he was willing to take time out to help.  (p.s. He’s an amazing photographer and photo-retoucher, check out his blog here:  http://lorrinbaker.wordpress.com)

5)  We drove out and got the stove, caught up with our friend (another one we haven’t seen much of lately), and brought our treasure back home.  It was in even better shape than she described.

6)  Literally less than 5 minutes after putting the old stove on the curb, a couple guys (father and son, maybe) in a salvage truck came by and took it away.  They gave us their card for next time we had something to get rid of and were really appreciative (as were we).

It was like everyone was a winner in this story.  I like this stove even better than the original.  It has a much more classic look (with the “old-fashioned” electric coils) and fits perfectly with our kitchen.

This is what I woke up to this morning (she’s the early riser in the house):

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ImageI love my life!