Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Finds #6 | Thrift Store Scores

Last week I got a little restless so I knew I needed to venture out and hit up some thrift stores and antique malls. Sometimes I feel like I get those urges because there's something out there that's calling my name and beckoning to me to come get it. Yes, I have an over-active imagination but just check out my finds.

 

I'll admit that I only found these treasures at half of the places I visited. But, who doesn't love the thrill of the hunt?
As soon as I walked into the first place, I noticed that they had a display of office supplies. This rolodex caught my attention since it was full of blank rolodex cards. 
The Facebook group I do most of my swaps with often does altered rolodex card swaps, but that was a supply I didn't have on hand. I think I'm well-supplied now!

Over in the book section I spied the edge of this old music book.
The frayed edges and twine tie piqued my interest.
I was sold when I saw the fountain penned name and date on the inside cover.
And the music pages are beautifully aged too. (This picture's not the best. Sorry about that.)
As a bonus, this Beethoven music book was also tucked between some of the pages. Score!

I also spotted the edge of this French book.
There's hardly any English words in the book, but lots of images and French phrases on wonderfully yellowed pages.
Awesome, right?

My time at that thrift store yielded no more finds so I moved on to a few more places. My last stop of the afternoon was an antique mall where I spent almost an hour. In the same booth I had found the keys a few months ago was this broken compass.
It's missing its hand, but that's not necessary for my needs.
The front has US engraved on it and some wonderful splotchy patina. I'm not sure if it's military or someone's initials or a brand. But, it's pretty darn cool.

I also picked up this jar of handmade sweet pepper jelly. 
I just can't resist pepper jelly. It's so good on crackers and cheese.

The biggest steal of the day was this turquoise starburst Pyrex dish.
The lid has a chip out of it, which was hard to photograph.
But, it's real and true Pyrex. 
The few searches I've done for this pattern have shown that the cheapest one for sale was about $50 more than I paid. A steal!

It wasn't a huge haul, but it got me out of the house for the afternoon and I was able to silence those pieces that had been calling my name.

What have you found of late?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Evolution of an Upcycled Necklace and What's on My Desk

It's been a wild few days around here. My grandmother's been in the hospital since Saturday with unknown pains. They're still running tests and trying to figure out what's wrong. I've been with her almost every day to help. In fact, I'm writing this from her hospital room now. She's starting to feel better though thank goodness. Yesterday we had a line of severe storms come through the area. Since I'm an hour from the hospital, I stayed home to get some chores done and hunker down. In the end, the storms didn't hit us very hard but wrecked havoc in areas around us. I'm sure you've seen the news. While I was home, I was able to work on a project I had started on Saturday.
It began with me pulling out my pickle jar of treasures. Basically, this is a tall jar stuffed to the top with old and broken jewelry. Some of these pieces came with the jar, some I've added from other purchases.

I only pulled out items from the top few layers to figure out what I wanted to alter and upcycle.

This pair of clip-on earrings caught my attention. They both originally looked like the one on the left. I was actually about to get rid of them, thinking there wasn't much I could do with them. However, I decided to stop and reconsider. When I realized I could pull the leather strip out from the chain, I changed my mind about doing away with them.
After getting the leather off the chain, I clipped and pulled the other pieces off the earring.

I washed the soldered chain portion with warm water and soap before working on adding a patina. At first, I tried black Rub 'N Buff but that was fairly unsuccessful. So, I went a little more hardcore with Novacan Black to age it a touch. From there, I went through my chain, beads, charms, and other whatnot to find bits and bobs to accent the golden aged chain.

Pulling it all together didn't really take long, but delayed me the most. I tried a couple different layouts.

In the end, I just added the beads and charms to the soldered chain that became the focal. The actual necklace chain is made of some gold tone faceted glass beads, olive dyed jade beads, and gunmetal colored seed beads on a rosary chain. I haven't added a clasp yet because I can't seem to decide on the length of the chain. So there the necklace sits on my desk at home... along with the rest of the mess.
So that's what's on my desk this Wednesday; a necklace to finish and a mess to clean up when I get home. How's your desk looking?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Making Prints with a Gelli Plate

As I've fallen deeper into the rabbit hole of mixed media art, I've amassed quite a few new supplies. One of my favorites is a gelli plate. Mine is the Gelli Arts brand in the 8x10 size, but there are other brands available, other sizes, and apparently even ways to make your own. Throughout this post, I'll share some of the prints I've made with the Gelli Plate.
I guess I should explain that a gelli plate is a type of monoplate for monoprinting. It's a gel-like consistency. I believe mine is made of mineral oil or something like that. I'm all technical here.
Typically you use a brayer and acrylic paint on the plate to make the prints, but  there are plenty of other options I suppose. I just haven't tried any of them myself.
You apply one or more colors of the paint onto the plate and brayer it out over the surface. After that, there are endless ways to make your print.
You can use stencils, texture tools, your finger, blunt drawing instruments, and whatever else you can find to create a pattern on the plate.
Then you lay out your paper (or fabric or whatever you're printing on.) The paper options are pretty endless too. I've used cardstock, copy paper, patterned scrapbook paper, deli paper, and stickers/labels.
After letting your paint dry, you are free to leave it as is or add more and more layers of texture.
I can't say they all turn out beautifully, but you can keep adding layers until they do.
I got interested in getting a gelli plate after I watched a few videos from Tiffany of Southern Gals Designs and knew I had to have one of these mystical surfaces.
Probably the first video I ever saw with a gelli plate was Tiffany showing how to use household items on her Gelli Plate. Then she shared how to gelli print envelopes and papers. Those were both from over a year ago, but her latest video shows how to make easy backgrounds using the Gelli Plate. Every time I watch one of her videos I want to break my Gelli Plate out and play.

Gelli Arts has their own videos of great ways to use the plate also. And, there are tons and tons more you can find on YouTube by searching Gelli Plate or gelli arts or anything along those lines.

I even made my own video of Monoprinting with a Gelli Plate (above) as I worked to create some prints for a swap. In the video, you can see how I use the Gelli Plate and what it looks like. However, everyone has their own technique and style. I think mine may evolve over time as I learn what kind of results I want. Some of the prints from above are in the video, see if you can catch them.


Have I made you want one now? I'm so sorry. . .kinda. They really are a lot of fun and the results vary every time so it's always such a surprise. I think that may be my favorite part!

Let me know if you have any questions I didn't cover and I'll see if I can come up with an answer for you. I just had to share this fun craft supply.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Custom Wall Unit to TV Stand Transformation

Since I mentioned the most recent home improvement we've done on the house, I figured I ought to show off one of my favorites to date. There were a few peeks on Instagram back when the project was in progress and completed. However, I didn't share the whole process. Since it's been something like 12 weeks since I started on the project (geez Hope!), I think it's time for you to see.
That's the completed TV as it sits in the living room this minute. Let's start at the beginning.

When we bought the house, we had a feeling that the previous owner would leave some things behind. There was just so much on the property. We were quite right - as you can see in the posts here and here and here.

In my house tour, you got to see this wall unit that was left in the living room.
It was the base for what was to become our TV stand.

Oh, just so you can get an idea of the sheer size of the unit, here's a picture of the same wall right now.

Fortunately, the whole unit was on casters so we were able to roll it around the room while I painted. Pat got a friend to help him haul it outside. Somewhere in that process we realized it was a custom unit and super solid. It would be a shame to waste it, but it was just too massive for us. At that point, an idea struck to cut away what we didn't want/need and use the bottom center portion as a TV stand. (we really wanted to replace the super traditional couch table we had been using as a TV stand.)
The areas in red are what we Pat cut off the unit.

We also knew that the white paint and brassy handles and hinges were not to our taste. So, a trip to Home Depot was in order.

Pat suggested blue (and I had NO problem with that) but figuring out what shade was harder to tackle. He wanted to go with something kinda dark. However, as we went through the paint samples, I stumbled on this one.
I fell in love with the second from the bottom. It's called Aruba Blue and that seemed perfect since we vacationed in Aruba many moons ago.

While we were in the home improvement store, we picked up the hardware (handles and hinges) and some hardware cloth for the inserts on the cabinets. Once home, my job took full effect.
Yes, it was my job to paint. And, paint I did.

After that, Pat got the handles, hinges, and hardware cloth on the piece (I had planned on helping with that, but he jumped the gun on me.)
We wheeled it back into the living room and waited for someone strong enough to help lift the TV to come over to the house.

I shared this picture on Instagram of it with TV and some Christmas decorations.

However, it currently looks like this.

Oh, and here are some detail shots.
We went with the hardware cloth in the the center of the cabinets with the thought that we would put the BlueRay player and satellite box in there.
However, I'm still organizing the space and we'll see what happens. Right now I don't even have pictures on the walls (we just moved them from the other house.) I can't wait to get some decorations on the tv stand. But, I'm STILL trying to finish unpacking first.

The color just doesn't come across as beautifully as it does in person. Let me assure you, it's fabulous! I'm so happy we have the tv up off the floor and that we were able to use one of the many items that were left here. Upcycling for the win!

So, what do you think? Better right?

I think so.

Monday, February 15, 2016

We're Not the Romantic Type

Yes, that really is a toilet.
No, my husband didn't give me a toilet for Valentine's Day. Don't be silly. He installed it for me for Valentine's Day.
Seriously.

Let me start by repeating the title, we are not the romantic type. Yes, every girl likes flowers and chocolates and proclamations of love, but Pat and I celebrate our love for one another every single day. Again, seriously. So, when Valentine's Day rolls around there's no need for a big production. However, I do like a reason to craft something for my honey. This year was no exception. When I found this list of 5 Cute Valentine Ideas, the wallet suggestion gave me instant inspiration.

Pat needed a new wallet and had given me the Silhouette Cameo for Christmas. Putting his monogram on a hard case wallet would make him happy by fulfilling a need and using his gift as well. I had intended to put some items in the wallet, but figuring out how to cut the vinyl took more tries than I had anticipated. And, if you notice in the picture, I put the darn letters on upside down. Oops. He still likes it thankfully.

I also made him a simple card using the Dollar Valentine Stamps I carved a few weeks ago and cooked a dinner of Chicken Tikka Masala and Homemade Naan. (They were delicious! The food, not the stamps)

I'll admit that I wasn't expecting anything from Pat, but when I made it into the living room Valentine's morning, I found this sentiment on my computer.
Awwww! You need to know that this pertains more to the fact that the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead was coming on that evening than to any of his anatomy. Get your mind out of the gutter!

On the back of the card was a promise to replace Myrtle. See.... Myrtle was the toilet in the master bathroom. She wasn't in the pictures of the house tour. However, she made her presence known often.
See her there peeking out between the two showers (TWO SHOWERS - WHAT?) in the master bathroom the day I took the other pictures.

She was named Myrtle by a dear friend after Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter. And boy could my Myrtle holler. She made this horrible high-pitched ten-minute-long squeal EVERY TIME she was flushed. We knew after her first use that she would have to be replaced. In fact, we bought a replacement just a week or two after moving in. However, the task sat undone while a toilet in a box sat in my bedroom. And, Myrtle's squeals continued to echo through the house day after day after day.

Replacing Myrtle didn't take long (Pat had it done in less time than it took me to cook dinner), but the rewards will be long-lasting. My sanity is saved to say the least. Oh, and, I don't have to deal with a wood toilet seat any longer. Thank heavens! YUCK!!

So, despite the fact that the rest of that dark, dingily painted bathroom still needs lots of work. I don't have to hear it talk back to me anymore. True Love knows when you can't take an ugly, screaming toilet any longer, romance is not required.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Finds #5 | A Walk on the Property

I've had quite a few people mention to me personally that they love seeing the cool things I find on the property. As such, I made that this focus of this week's Friday Finds.

We had some wonderful, glorious warmer weather the other weekend. While Pat worked on some projects, I decided to do some exploring.

The first things that caught my eye were the flowers. Azaleas are prolific in this area. However, they are usually a Spring bloom. Anytime we have a glimmer of warmer weather, they start to bloom no matter how deep in to winter we may be. We always proclaim how silly they are, "Those dumb azaleas don't realize it's still January!" The new house has tons of LARGE azalea bushes. I can't wait to see them popping with blooms once it's actually spring (of course at this rate, they may run out of steam before then.)

As well, we discovered some Carolina Jasmine on the property. I was told that this yellow one is Confederate Jasmine, but my limited research proves otherwise. We have an overabundance of jasmine on the property and have been trying to get rid of it. However, we only have a small area with this type and are debating keeping it. We'll see.

After smelling the flowers, I decided to hike into the woods and check out a clearing that Pat had mentioned to me the day before. There, I spotted a small cluster of rust and couldn't help but check it out.

This scrolly piece has a little handle on the top as though it's some kind of lid. However, I didn't see a bottom for it anywhere in that area. There's the possibility that it's buried elsewhere.

Next, I dug up this little shelf. Other than a little rust and dirt, it seems to be in good condition. Now, I just need to figure out where to put it. For now, I left it in the woods. . .so I can find it again.

I had a hard time getting a picture of this. But, it's one of those baskets for plants that you hang on the side of a structure. Again, it looks to be in okay condition.

This metal container had a few more flaws than the other pieces and was almost buried in the leaves and dirt.

As I came out of the woods and surveyed the area, I couldn't help but notice how shabby the pole barn looks, especially from this side.

And, since I was digging the rusty vibe, this hook with pulley on the side of the building caught my eye.

After that, the hubs and I chilled in the yard and enjoyed the nice weather together. Y'all.....even though I found all these 'treasures', there's still so much to share! I keep thinking were coming to the end of the discoveries, but I think it'll be years before we unearth all the surprises out here. I definitely love that prospect!

Make sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter where I often share the discoveries as I make them.

What have you found lately?