Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Go Towards the Light!

The stairs down to the basement have been looking pretty stylish, but it was a bit hard to tell, since there was no light there. David's mom got us the fixture that I had been eyeing from Ikea for Easter. It took us a while to get around to installing it since there was no existing light there. We knew we would have to run wire from the basement all the way to the attic. We had made some preparations during basement finishing to make things a little easier, but it was still going to be difficult. There was a lot of talking on cell phones while David was in the attic and I was in the basement, trying to line up two holes at the top and bottom of a wall cavity.

Once that was done and a hole was cut in the stairwell ceiling from the attic, David had to get on the extension ladder on the stairs and attach the fixture. I busied myself in the living room assembling the branches of the light so that I wouldn't witness that I was sure was his imminent death.

Fortunately, no one fell off any ladders and we were left with a brand new light fixture!

It's so nice to be able to see what's going on when I go up and down the stairs. And the pattern it casts on the walls isn't too shabby either!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Goodwill Stereo Cabinet Makeover

Once upon a time, about 7 years ago, I found a stereo cabinet at the Goodwill for $7.50 and I bought it for David as a birthday gift. It had a radio, 8 track player and turntable, all of which still worked. It mostly lived out in the garage to provide some tunes for the frequent ping pong games that were played there.

Witness the splendor of the house back when it was a bachelor pad.

When David moved into this house, it spent a short time in the living room, then got bumped out the garage again and there it has sat for the last 4 years or so. When the living room turned into a dining room, I decided it once again had a spot inside. The only problem was that it wasn't terribly attractive.  I wanted to remove the chunky trim on the bottom and add some nice mid-century legs. However, when I flipped over the cabinet I found that not only was the trim not removable, there wasn't even a bottom to attach any legs to. Instead, the solution I came up with was to paint it, but what color?

I first tried a seafoam green that I had a free sample pot of. I painted just the panels and planned to leave the outside wood tone. However, this color looked really awful under tungsten lighting.

So then I decided to paint the panels white. This was much more agreeable, but still lacking something. I left it this way for a while, so I could ponder my options. Then Cait gave me the idea of painting the exterior yellow and when she shared her painted lantern project, I knew just what shade of yellow I wanted.

I masked off the white areas with newspaper and got to spraying. But I ran into a slight problem.

The paint wouldn't stick to the fake wood. After some googling, I realized I should have used a primer made for glossy surfaces first.

So I got back on track with a couple coats of oil based primer.

And the paint adhered like a dream. Next up was to swap out that old fabric covering the speakers with something a little fresher and less textured.

I removed the back, along with several screws from the panel that the speakers are attached to. Aaaaand it wouldn't budge. Not even a slight wiggle. I would have had to completely rip the whole thing apart to get at the fabric, so I decided to just live with it.

And live with it, I am.

I love how the yellow fits into the dining room, and I especially love being able to listen to all my records on it.

So there you have it, a make-over 7 years in the making!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Tiniest and Most Precious Succulent Planter

I'd been on the lookout for a table to runner for the dining table, since it was feeling a bit naked with nothing on it. I didn't want anything too busy because there was so much pattern in the rug and chairs. I wasn't finding anything I liked, until I started organizing my fabric in my new filing cabinet. That's when it struck me that I could very easily make my own and I had some fabric that would work perfectly.

I just cut two widths of fabric 18" wide and sewed them together to make one long strip, then hemmed all four sides.

Earlier that day, I had been on the other end of town when I passed by a Goodwill that I've always been able to find good stuff at. I decided to go in, and I'm very glad I did because I found the perfect item for a centerpiece!

This candle holder was only $2.50 and I had big ideas for it. I had been seeing lots of cute planters online with tiny succulents in them. I had been wanting to bring more plant life into my house, so this was the perfect opportunity.

I cut and stained a piece of fence picket (the same one from my camera shelf project) and hot glued the candle holder onto it.

I picked up five 99 cent votive holders from Michaels.

Along with an assortment of the tiniest and most precious little succulents ever from Lowe's.

I love how it turned out.

My cats are big fans of eating plants, so I try to keep greenery out of their reach. I was hopeful since these aren't leafy that they would be left alone. I wasn't so lucky. One of the cats has been munching away and pulling plants out of their pots. I have placed orange peel around the plants which seems to be working for now, but I am considering options of buying/making a plexiglass box of some sort to cover over the whole shebang.

Anyone else have any succulent planters? I'd love to see them!

Update: The cats never did leave the plants alone, so you can see how I made a plexiglass cover for the planter here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Fabric Filing

Since the introduction of my craft room, I have been on the look out for a small filing cabinet so that I could try out a Pinterest organizing idea for my out of control scrap fabric pile.

Sadly, I did not take a before picture but imagine a precariously, leaning, haphazardly folded pile of fabric on a closet shelf and you'll have the idea.

I had been popping into my neighborhood Goodwill from time to time without much luck, so when I found this little guy I was really jazzed.

It wasn't too beat up and the drawers still opened and closed pretty smoothly. Plus it was only $5.50 so I snatched it up and lugged it to the register.

When I got it home, I roughed up the finish with some sandpaper, then got started painting with a matte finish spray paint in white.

Looking much better already!

Once it was dry, I brought it inside and got started making my stencil to jazz it up a little. I stuck on some vinyl contact paper where my design was going to go.

Then I taped a print out over the vinyl.

Finally, I used an xacto knife to cut through the paper and the vinyl and removed the part that would be painted. While I was at it, I painted the handles, as well.

After that had dried, it was time to get all my fabric organized! I picked up some basic hanging file folders and cut each one in half at the fold, giving me two hanging pieces from each folder.

Then I just draped my cuts of fabric over the folder halves. It looks soooo much better than the crazy pile I did have going on. Now, I can actually see what I have and get to it all without a fabric avalanche, or fabrilanche, if you will.

Plus, it lives right next to my sewing machine for super easy access. I love it!

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Home For My Cameras

The area above the fireplace has been looking a little bare. I knew that it would be a great place to display my vintage camera collection, but I wasn't sure how to do it. My original idea was to install floating shelves but that would require me to drill into the tile and I really wanted to avoid that.

Then, as always, Pinterest came to the rescue with a solution for my woes: a hanging shelf. There are lots of different variations of this idea, from wire to rope, ceiling or wall mounted. I would hang mine from the ceiling with hooks, eliminating the need to put holes in my tile. I also decided to use wood and rope because I already had those things on hand.

I found a nice rustic looking fence picket in my scrap wood pile and cut it down into 3 pieces, each 18" long which I had previously determined was the length I wanted.

I gave them a light sanding and then clamped them all together and drilled a hole in each corner with a 1/2" bit. Then I cut two 8' lengths of sisal rope.

I had David install the two hooks in the ceiling using anchors.

I got my first board in place by pulling each end of the rope through the two holes on each side of the board, then tying knots for the board to rest on. I then hung it up on the hooks to make it easier to finish. I adjust my four knots until the board was sitting level front to back and side to side.

I did the same thing with the other two boards and cut off the excess rope from the bottom.

I attached a piece of mounting tape to the back of each shelf to keep them from swaying.

Then I loaded it up.

I did leave off my two favorite cameras for the first few days because the cats were showing a little too much interest in things and I didn't want them getting knocked to the floor.

This guy is my absolute favorite. It belonged to my dad. On the back it says "Made in Occupied Japan" which, according to my brief research, indicates it was made between 1947 and 1949.

Most of the others came from various yard sales through the years. They've mostly lived in storage up until now so I'm really excited to finally have a place to display them!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New Life For the Round Table

See that round table? It was David's family dinner table while we was growing up and it spent the entire duration of our basement renovation being shuffled from one place to another and getting lots of heavy tools thrown onto it. Its matching chairs were also mercilessly used as step stools.

Needless to say, it was looking a little worse for wear once things wrapped up downstairs. I wanted to keep it because I knew it would make a great game table and all it needed was a little love.

I used some heavy duty stripper (the same stuff I used on the carport stairs) and a plastic scraper to get most of the finish off the top.

The orbital sander took me the rest of the way down to bare wood. I applied a coat of Kona stain and two coats of satin polyurethane.

For the base of the table, I painted it grey with a sample pot of paint I had sitting around.

The chairs, unfortunately, were too far gone from their abuse in the basement. I picked up these chairs at Bargain and Buyouts in Cincinnati. That place is pretty awesome, by the way. The table had its inaugeral game playing on Wednesday night and it worked out great.

Also on the basement decorating front, I finally got some shelves put up in the laundry room.

The baskets are holding paper towels, light bulbs and extension cords. I'm trying out the whole detergent-in-drink-dispenser thing. If it seems to be working out, I plan to replace that 2 gallon behemoth with something a little smaller. Update: Since writing this last week, I have found that it does not work at all. The detergent is too thick and just kind of slowly trickles out. No bueno.

I also put the ironing board up on hooks and made a little shelf to go above the sink. Now there's a place to set the soap!