Monday, April 4, 2011

Upcycled embellished altered art chair

My cousin Gretchen commissioned me to make her this chair. Here's how I did it...
1) Buy a chair (from a garage sale of course!)

2) Sand down any shiny surfaces. I used an electric sander.

3) Dust off any debris. I use a large paint brush so it can in all the nooks and crannies. Use a damp cloth for any sticky or dirty spots.
4) Now think of your design or theme. Gretchen came up with the original look from something she saw in Somerset magazine (Volume 5 2010, pg 94, "Black & White" by Allison Berringer). She wanted eggplant as a main color. Gretchen is a dancer, so I threw in some touches that had to do with dance. I found an old "How to Dance" illustrated book, and color copied some things from there. I also collected old hardware, old jewelry, and bought some flat backed rhinestones.

5) Spray paint the chair with primer. I used Rustoleum.

6) I painted on my main colors of eggplant and plum in various designs. For the seat of the chair I used a scrapbook paper that had a laser cut stencil design. I simply painted over the paper to make the stenciled look, then threw away the paper.

7) I sponge stencils to add more interest and design. Just paint directly onto stencil, then stamp onto chair. Let it all dry.

8) I then used scrapbook paper, and copied pages from the old book to decoupage. I cut out an Eiffel Tower image from a scrapbook paper, cause Gretchen loves Paris. I used Modge Podge - just apply some to the back of paper, stick down, then liberally cover the top of the paper. Go ahead and get messy. 
9) To add some more interest, I used a colored pencil (in this case white) to scribble some designs, phrases, and quotes.

10) I then used a dry brush technique to go over any dark colors and paper. Dip a brush into a lighter shade of paint. I used white. Wipe off most of paint onto a paper towel. Then lightly lightly brush over chair. Any wood grain or raised areas will get accented. 

11) Now it is time to distress. Make sure all paint and decoupage is dry. Use sandpaper to sand off edges, sand off some of darker paint (the white primer will show through), even sand some parts of decoupaged paper to roughen it up a bit.
12) To make the colors look a bit aged, apply some antiquing glaze. I use Valspar antiquing glaze available at Lowes Home Improvement. Just pour some on an old rag, and rub all over. Wipe away excess.

13) Finally, I added some embellishments. I included old hardware, old vintage jewelry, and rhinestones. I attached 2 curtain finials to the top of the chair.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring is here

Ready for spring? Do what I did... go get yourself a vintage patio set. It can be dirty and rusty and ugly, like the one in my before picture. I picked it up at a garage sale for 20.00. They are usually easy to find at thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales. I then unscrewed the seats, and set aside. I hosed off the furniture and let it dry. Then I picked out a fun color spray paint. I used Krylon because it dries in an instant, and it has a wide flat spray.  I put 2-3 light coats of paint on. Then I upholstered the seats in cute outdoor fabric (I used vintage of course!).  That's it baby! A couple of hours over the weekend, and I have an adorable, fun patio set!!!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Garden explosion Rings

I stayed up late last night and came up with these creations. I buy the base ring from Fire Mountain Gems online, and I buy most of my beads from Ebay and Etsy. I just wired on these czech glass flower and leaf beads onto the ring base. Bam! Pow! Boom! A garden explosion ring!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I call these "Goobies." I hand craft each one with felt and embroidery thread. I also throw in the occasional pom pom and googly eye.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Holy Hollywood Regency

My totally awesome table I found at an estate sale. It was 50 bucks, but I talked her down to 30.00. It has abalone shells, sand and marble chunks inlaid in clear resin. So tacky, it's cool. Perfect for my ocean themed bedroom.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Wallpaper" your walls with collections

After finding two beautiful tile plates at a thrift store, I decided I wanted to collect them. Soon I realized I wanted to look at them all the time, so I am "wallpapering" my wall with them. This is my huge collection 3 years later. My goal is to cover the wall from floor to ceiling eventually.

I also have a collection of mini mirrors.

The last photo I took at an antique mall in Littleton Colorado called Colorado Antique Gallery. This vendor decorated a wall with vintage straw trivets. What a great idea!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Trash to Treasure

 I picked up this hanging rack at an estate sale. But originally it was a child's toy! It was a "put the donuts over the peg" type of toddler toy. The donuts were missing... the toy was useless... but I saw a treasure. I love red and white, and my kitchen is retro red and white... so I screwed it into the wall... and oila`... cute rack to hang keys and stuff on!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Estate sale score

I picked up these amazing framed Bargello pieces at an estate sale (Run by the Denver Gypsy Boys, The frames are bright orange, perfect for my retro mid century vibe. Once I hung them in my living room, I realized the zig zag pattern on the bottom piece picked up the same pattern in my lamp! A happy accident!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My best Sugar Cookie Recipe and tips

Everyone loves my sugar cookies, so time to share.
1 cup butter, softened (use unsalted)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla.  In separate bowl, Sift together flour and baking powder: stir into creamed mixture, alternating with the heavy cream. Cover dough and chill for 2-3 hours until firm. (Leave it overnight if ya want to wait until the next day to make them)
Preheat oven to 350 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4" thickness.
*Tip: use pieces of 1/4" balsa wood, or chopsticks, or anything you have around the house that is 1/4" thick. Place on both sides of dough and use as little platforms for the edge of your roller. All your dough will come out at the same thickness. 1/4" is thicker than you think!
Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters
*Tip: dip your cookie cutter in flour before each cut, it wont stick to the dough
Place cookies 1" apart on cookie sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired.
*Tip: Use parchment paper!! It is the best investment you will ever make for cookies! Buy it in the tin foil, saran wrap section of your grocery store. You can reuse pieces more than once.
*Tip: If you put more than one tray of cookies in the oven, make sure they match. Do not use one dark non stick tray, and one shiny silver tray. They will cook at different rates.
*IMPORTANT TIP: For perfectly shaped cookies, place tray with cut cookies in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. This will "set" the shape and usually prevents the shapes from melting into big blobs in the oven. Since the tray is cold, you may need to add a minute or two to the cooking time.
Bake for 12-14 minutes in preheated oven until bottoms and edges are BARELY BARELY getting brown. Leave on tray for one minute. Then place on wire cooling rack.
*Tip: Every oven is different, and the type of tray you use affects timing. Sometimes I will experiment with a small batch for the perfect time... take out a few cookies at 12 minutes, then a few more at 13, then a few more at 14.... see which ones are perfectly soft, not undercooked, and not too crunchy once they cool. Once you figure it out once, write it down. If you always use the same oven, and same cookie sheets with parchment paper, you will now now the perfect time for all future cookies!
*Tip: Let tray cool (or run under cold water) before adding the next batch of cookies. If you put cut cookies on a warm tray, it will affect their shape and cooking time. You can also rinse off parchment paper and reuse.
If you like, frost with premade cake frosting, or make your own for that Martha Stewart cookie look! Buy a box of powdered sugar. The recipe for frosting is on the box.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wallpaper made from vintage sheet

Ok, I admit, this was not my original idea. I saw it on the Nate Burkus show. Basically the idea is to use fabric (in my case a vintage bed sheet) to wallpaper a wall with. This technique is great for apartments or rentals since it is removeable. First, pick some fabric and a wall. I advise a small wall! Buy yourself some liquid starch. I found some at the grocery store. You will also need a paint tray and paint roller. I used a foam roller which seemed to work well.
Tack your fabric up on the wall just to hold it in place while you work. Allow a 1" border around ceiling and edge of walls, you will cut this excess off when you are done. Protect the flooring and nearby furniture with a dropcloth.
Next, pour some liquid starch into the paint tray, then apply to paint roller. Don't be stingy, the more the better, it will be messy! Start in the right corner, rolling starch onto wall. You will have to lift up your fabric in order to do this. (You can also apply some starch to the wall before you tack up fabric, but you must work quickly before starch dries.) Press down on fabric so it sticks to the starch like glue. It's OK if you don't get all the way to the edges yet. Just work on getting a big section of the corner to start the process. Now you can slop on some more starch ON TOP of the fabric. Keep pressing down and smoothing out (with your hands or a spatula tool). Fabric should be totally saturated. Smooth out any wrinkles and bubbles. I worked in about 2 foot x 2 foot section at a time. Now apply starch to wall in the area next to it and repeat process. I worked from top to bottom which seemed to turn out well. Keep checking to make sure all areas are saturated. Once I was basically done, I got a paint brush, soaked it in the starch, and went around the edges. I used the brush to press the hard to reach edges and make sure the edges are good and wet and worked into the corners.
Now let dry.
Once it is dry (I waited a couple of days from laziness) take an exacto knife or razor blade and cut excess material from the edges. The 1" border of extra fabric was to allow for shrinkage when fabric dries. 
You should now have a fabulous wall! When you have to move or if you just get tired of the design, pull up the corner and peel off!

The sample on the Nate Burkus show was a graphic line pattern. If this is your first time, I would avoid anything with lines. I can imagine they could get wiggly pretty quick. When the fabric is wet it tends to stretch and get off center in places. It didn't matter with my huge floral pattern... but I can imagine the difficulty with any lines or plaid.

Since the adhesive is just starch, I didn't worry about being messy. It splashed everywhere, dripped everywhere, got on the ceiling and walls. I just cleaned up with warm soapy water and a wash cloth when I was finished!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vintage wallpaper to die for

I am not sure which is better, the mid century modern pendant lamp, or the amazing hollywood regency wallpaper. I may need to venture into the world of wallpaper to add to my home decor. This sample is from a house I visited for an estate sale. The entire bathroom and one wall in the bedroom was covered in this retro damask. So fun, daring, and cheerful... I love it!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Thrift Store Score

This may be my best find yet. This HUGE oil painting of a seagull in in a gorgeous brushed gold frame. How perfect that it matches my newly painted bathroom. I have been holding out for months to try and find something that would go with my beachy theme and retro colors. I bought this today at Goodwill for 30.00. You can't even buy a canvas that big for that price. This definitely earns my title, "Thrift Store Score".

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The best Parking garage ever at the Cosmopolitain Las Vegas

So much thought and design went into the valet parking garage at the new Cosmopolitain Hotel. Yes, that's right... the parking garage! The floor was amazing: crisp white with silver flecks! The little room where you wait for your car is chocolate brown and hot pink. I would live in that room! If their valet area was this beautiful, you can imagine what the actual hotel was like. To die for... I included a shot of the chandelier in the Chandelier Bar. But honestly, I can't get over how cool that dang valet area was!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Creative vintage upcycling

I find these at thrift stores and garage sales all the time. They are wood pipe stands, originally used to store one's smoking pipes. The ones pictured are actually my grandfathers, so they are extra cool to me! I use them in my craft room to store tools. One has all my jewelry pliers, and the other has miscellaneous tools. I have found that I love having all my supplies out where I can see them. When I store them in boxes or drawers,  I use them much less often. So these wooden pipe stands are the perfect piece to organize with. I love using vintage items in a new, creative way... bringing a second life to an item!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Towl Owls!

Continuing on my owl theme! I have long been collecting vintage bath towels. They always have such cool patterns and colors. I decided to start using my collection as fabric and ventured into making pillows. I have very limited sewing skills, but I figured even I can sew straight lines into a square shape. Add some vintage trim, some embroidered felt, and an owl theme. Hand stitching the felt was actually a pretty zen experience. More to come!

Friday, January 21, 2011

What time is it?? I love my vintage owl clock. It is one of my all time favorite thrift store finds. These little owlies perch in my craft room. So cute, to die for.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I LOVE vintage Tupperware!

 I found this vintage ad for Tupperware. This summer I bought some green measuring cups that I remember having as a kid (except ours were yellow). It started me on a hunt for more more more! I now have a large collection of brown, yellow, orange and green vintage tupperware! Everytime I use one I feel happy : )

Everytime I go to a garage sale or thrift store I collect more. I am now an addict.