Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh, Sweet Pea

Ever since Julie started referring to their unborn child as the "P baby", I've had a song playing over and over in my head.  This song was the jumping off point for the art I created for the P nursery.

I copied borrowed the idea from the print below which retails for $289.95.

These pieces are rather charming in their rustic simplicity, but the prices are ( in my humble opinion ) ridiculous!  I made mine from a leftover piece of plywood and framed it with wood scraps from a broken garden trellis.  Beware, Julie and Jeremy, I'm still removing splinters from my hands!

I, of course, had to add the song "Sweet Pea" to my Playlist to accompany this post.  
 ( turn your speakers on to sing along )   I was merrily singing along and .........WHOA!  Stop the press!!!  If I were a contestant on the game show Don't Forget the Lyrics, I would sadly be on the bus home right now.

Oh Sweet Pea come on and dance with me
Come on, come on, come on and dance with me
Oh, Sweet Pea won't you be my girl
Won't you, won't you, won't you be my girl

Oops, I did it again!  It's the XOXO vs. XXOO fiasco all over again!  In my defense, I was only 5 years old when the song was a hit and have been singing the wrong words ever since.  So, P family, that is the folklore behind your new object d' art.

The delicate and fragrant flower of the sweet pea vine.

Artist rendering of a baby sweet pea.

Popeye, Olive Oyl and Sweet Pea.

This year's Halloween attire perhaps?
(Photo from the Patriotic Peacock blog.)

This is just.........wrong.

Don't worry, be ha-PEA .

Friday, March 25, 2011

Divine Inspiration

I'm not sure if it is proper antique shop etiquette, but I have been known to discreetly snap photos of inspiring items ( usually out of my price range ) while my partner in crime acts as a lookout.  The church window pictured below was part of a storefront window display in an antique shop in Canton, SD.  Since I have 2 old cathedral church windows in storage for which I would like to someday create stained glass panels , I took the picture for design inspiration.

The idea for my latest project came from the Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors.  Donna at FJI hosts link parties on her blog with a different theme each week, and I found a bulletin board idea from Lindy at Cottage Hill Blog.  Shown below are the before and after pictures of a church bulletin board she purchased for $1.00!!!  Holy cow!

Since Julie has quite a collection of classroom bulletin board words and sentences I thought this would be the perfect way to display them in baby P's nursery.  Here is a photo of one of them I borrowed from her blog.

Obviously, I would not be able to find a similar bulletin board for a measly $1.00 , but I knew it wouldn't be hard to replicate for under $20.00.  The backboard is cut from 1/2 inch birch plywood, and the "shelves" are made by gluing two wood moldings together, one an "L" shape and the other a 1/4 inch square molding strip.

I decided to space the display ledges further apart than on the original piece to provide a little more versatility, after I found these charming books at L&M Supply of all places! 

I simply drilled holes in the trim and used wood screws to attach them to the backboard.  Julie chose a weathered white finish, but can easily paint the piece a different color later.  I couldn't just post a picture of the piece without accessorizing it, so I did a little shopping in our basement to find some appropriate items.

1945 crayon box with crayons still inside!

To go with the religious theme, Bill's 1st grade class picture.  He is next to the nun....hmmmm.

 I am praying for inspiration for my next project.  :@

Here is the finished piece ready to be delivered to the P baby's room next weekend.

I didn't have any lullaby CD's, so I printed the do-re-mi letters on posterboard and inserted them into CD cases.  The miniature books were given to me by my friend Margo, but I thought Julie would like them because she loves small things.

I got an unexpected day off today, so on to my next project!  Only 9 more days 'till the baby shower, so I'm trying to finish everything this weekend.  See everybody next Sunday!

Peace be with you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Here comes Peter Cottontail, beware!

Happy First Day of Spring!

No, it's not looking very sunny and cheerful outside.  This morning brings us a light dusting of snow, gray skies, and rain.  Not very pretty, so I brought spring inside by hauling out my stash of spring decorations.  It pays to keep those old stuffed animals hanging around.

A little spring chick.

Green always says "spring" to me.

Never too early for pastel candy.

American Cancer Society daffodils.

Loving the "macro" setting on my old camera.  By the way, I am now an official bone marrow donor.  There was a bone marrow drive at work this week, and I filled out the paperwork and swabbed inside my mouth for the typing.  It will take several weeks for the testing, then I will be added to the registry.  Absolutely painless, think about becoming a donor yourself!

Peter Cottontail and friend.

Right now I'm not too happy with dear old Peter.  Earlier this week I spotted some major damage to one of our apple trees in the back yard.  I hate to point fingers, but we did see a lot of bunny tracks in the snow this winter and we have a neighbor that feeds the rabbits all year 'round!  Bad!!!

Excuse the poor picture quality, but I snapped the picture through the back door window.  After all, it is raining and the neighbors don't want to see me in my jammies again!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ghosts in the Attic

Phase 3.  Insulating the attic.

I have to admit, until now, I haven't done much more than poke my nose into our attic space.  Since we need to do some insulating, I figured we better get the lay of the land.  We have a full size attic, complete with pull-down stairs.  Well, half a set, as the lower stairs are missing.  Perhaps another shotgun mishap?

No, I will not be refinishing these stairs.

I wasn't too anxious to climb up to that dark, dirty space, so Bill went up first and spotted an old handmade wood bench. What?!  I practically pushed him off the stairs in my rush to see it!

At first glance, I was a little disappointed...... until I received my new Restoration Hardware catalog in the mail.  Have you seen it?  I'm sure this bench would be listed as an industrial coffee table and sold for some astronomical price.  I think a little spit and polish and it could be my very first Craig's List sale.   :@

Next we spied a galvanized pail sitting in the middle of the floor.  Never a good sign.  At the moment, there is no water in it and we can't see any water spots on the roof boards above it, so we have to assume it was placed there for another purpose.  Hmmm......

Do you remember this scene?

Sorry, my imagination has a tendency to run wild in dark, creepy places.

At some point in time, that weird styrofoam insulation was dumped on the floor, covering the vents and wiring, so who knows what we'll unearth when we clear the vent area.  We did spot some knob and tube wiring, so we'll have to address that issue as well.  Once again, The Domino Effect!

Now I'm all for recycling, but plastic Easter grass as added insulation?  Do you suppose it actually has an "R value" rating.  I think not.

Before living in this house, I did not believe in ghosts and spirits and such nonsense, but several people ( myself included ) have heard a radio in the basement.....only there is nobody down there and no TV on or radio playing.  As I was scrolling through these photos on our computer, I finally found the proof I've been searching for.  A semi-transparent eyeball spirit!!!

Pictures don't lie.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lab Rat?

After yesterday's post, I felt I may have discouraged a few DIYers from tackling new projects.  Not to worry, there are plenty of home repairs that can be completed in just a few minutes with a little ingenuity.

For instance, a previous owner left this rather unsightly hole in our master bedroom baseboard molding. ( It probably had TV cables or computer lines running through it at one time.)  I strategically placed an antique chair in front of it, but it was still visible.  Darn!  Then, during a shopping excursion through the IKEA Super Maze, I found the perfect fix in the children's department of all places!

Medium white rat.

Hello.......anybody in there?

Very professional looking repair.

How easy was that!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Uphill Battle

This is where it all started.  Anybody who has ever started one small renovation project knows how quickly it can snowball to encompass the ENTIRE house!  The dreaded domino effect.

One fateful day while Bill was gone, I decided to remove the worn, paint stained, u-g-l-y carpet from the stairs.  He discovered what I had done when he tripped over the pile of discarded carpet, carpet pad, nailing strips, etc. outside the back door when he came home.  It was not a pretty sight.

Ohhh, Luuuuuuuucy...............( Desi )

This is the fourth and last stairway we are refinishing!

To make a long story short, think of the song lyrics "The ankle bone connected to the leg bone, the leg bone connected to the thigh bone" and so on.  First the stairs, then the baseboard molding, then the walls, then the ceiling, then the banister, then the floor.  That's how IT took over the whole house!

Pictured above is one of the banister posts.  The damage you see on the left was caused by a shotgun blast as told to us by the previous owner whose son was cleaning his gun when it happened.  OK, that is scary, but even more strange is the fact that it happened in the 1970's and was never repaired.  Pictured on the right is the restored post.  Thanks, Dad.  He also repaired the broken door to the laundry chute pictured below.

One of my go to sources for renovation projects is "Cottages and Bungalows" magazine which featured an article on sprucing up old woodwork without stripping the original finish.  I gave it a try, because I didn't want that new wood look and am very happy with the results ( see railing above ).  The process is simple and quick. 
  1. Clean wood with mineral spirits, then sand lightly.
  2. Touch up and chips and scratches with artist oil paints. Let dry for several days.
  3. Apply several coats of Zinsser Shellac which dries very quickly. ( Oops, first you have to make sure the original finish is shellac.  If it dissolves with denatured alcohol, it is. )
I don't have any pictures of the cracked plaster that extended from the foyer, up the stairwell, and all the way up to the ceiling.  Repairing that mess was a HUGE job.  Here is a view up to the ceiling.  Now imagine taping and mudding waaaay up there.  It was overwhelming and took over a year to finish the whole shebang. 

Next, we were ready to have the floors on the two stairway landings and the upstairs hallway refinished, but decided we may as well have the two spare bedrooms done at the same time.  Which brings us to the present rehab project.  We can't do the floors until the walls are repaired in those rooms!  Remember the domino effect.  Here are a few pictures of the progress in the pink room.

Phase one.



Phase two:  Cracks taped and first skim coat of mud applied.

I must say, when I need some motivation to continue onward and upward, I just go to some of my favorite blogs and Google Images for inspiring ideas.  Below is a piece that I love and might use this idea for the mirrored vanity that will make its way back to the room.....eventually.

The decoupaged sheet music would cover the chipped wood veneer on the drawers quite nicely.

Note:  One more roadblock.  Before we can repair the ceiling, we ( Bill ) have to add more insulation to the attic, as I don't want anybody walking up there above the newly repaired ceiling.  Hope we don't find any surprises in the attic!!!
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