Monday, January 28, 2013

A Little Bit of Vintage

I am a big lover of all things vintage: especially circa 1930-1940.  I don't own much of anything vintage, as I have never really been around anywhere to poke around for them and I feel that my money would be better spent elsewhere.
Until I discovered vintage home decor on Pinterest, that is.  And specifically, home made vintage projects that look old but are made from recycled non-vintage items; such as cereal boxes and tin cans, barn wood and alot of imagination.
I was looking around one day for vintage spice labels and stumbled on a world of amazing crafty women who have either retouched old labels and ads, or have gathered a collection of their own to share.
Once I began searching I couldn't stop, and soon I had a folder of my favorite labels, specifically vintage laundry soap labels.  Most were the stereotypical kind: busty women with their bosoms overflowing atop their tightly corsetted waists bent over a sudsy wooden bucket of laundry.  These were the ones I was searching for, and I found tons.
Once I had a day to fool around I gathered my tools: homemade mod podge, some ink pads, umber acrylic paint watered down, and some stiff brushes.  As well as my printed off pictures of vintage labels.  I set to work on my mediums of choice which were some cereal boxes, some cheap paper mache boxes and jugs from the dollar store.  In truth, restocking my craft supplies cost more than all the finished items I ended up with: they really looked like I had spent a lot of money on them.

Firstly I painted 3 sides of the boxes, let them dry then distressed them along the edges and corners; basically anywhere I imagined that handling and rust would wear down an old box or tin item over 50 years of wear.  I watered down umber tinted acrylic paint and went to town.  Then I went over it again and again, and got bolder about how much color I added as I went along.  I scratched through the paint here and there to the original box color underneath.  After I was done I flicked a contrasting paint color over the 3 sides.  I don't know why I did this, but I liked how it looked so I did it some more.

Then I glooped on some mod podge (half Elmer's glue and half water and 1/4 tacky craft glue), placed on my printed picture on the front, and then glooped more over top of that, paying attention to the corners and edges.
I scratched through with my nail here and there and ripped some edges off a bit too to make the soap box look more authentic.
After the glue dried I distressed the picture some more with color and dark brown chalk ink from my scrapbooking supplies (that was fun digging through my packed up supplies to find), and that was that.
All in all I had a blast; each box only took about 15 minutes to do, and I even got some to look like old tin.

I found a cheap tin pitcher at the dollar store, and some 4.00 wine decanters and gave them an old twist as well.  The pitcher came out better than I expected; I'll most likely fill it with some old twigs and dried flowers and such and put it on my huge ledge below the vaulted ceiling.  I clear coated everything with some acrylic spray and then I was done.

Now onto my next projects.  I've got some canvas wrapping to do tomorrow and I'm looking forward to that as well.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wedded Bliss

We had a really great time at my cousin's wedding in Biggar this past weekend.  We had some long nights and great company and the kids all had a blast with their cousins.
The bride was gorgeous and the groom was handsome, and these things are usually expected at weddings.  What was unexpected was this:

The kids were awesome!  It surprised us all: although I did know that if the DJ played this song my son would be front and center.  But I didn't know it would be quite like this.  It was great.

And of course, the wonderful bride and groom:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

So, a Mantle, a Blanket, and some Cookies walk into a bar.....

The time had come again to make some more decisions, and so we needed to decide what to do with the fireplace.
We chose some natural slate for the surround and hearth, so with that in mind we had to figure out what to do for the mantle.  Normally I wouldn't have thought much about this: what ever works will work was my motto.
But I was wrong.  Nothing in store would fit as they were for smaller areas and it became apparent very fast that this thing was going to have to be custom made.  Not good at all when all of the husband's tools were tucked neatly away in storage.  It was looking like we were going to have to spend extra money hiring out what we could have done ourselves, and that wasn't sitting well with either of us.  Please, I thought, not over budget on this.
As a last resort we stopped in at Windsor Plywood.

 And what we found was perfect and gorgeous.
A huge slab of partially rotted Maple called "Spalted Maple"; which basically means it was salvaged just as it was in the beginning stages of rot.  This gives the wood a beautiful variation that looks like marble.  After it is smoothed and varathaned it will have depth and a multitude of rich coloring.
So we bought it and brought it home.  And being as we will be finishing it we will leave a stamp of ourselves in the new house.
The builder is making us a custom box the will be recessed above the mantle into the wall under the TV.  The Blu Ray and reciever and XBox will reside there; he is intalling a plug at the back as well so that the only cord that will need to be fished up the back via a tube in the wall will be the HDMI cord for the TV.  Slick.
We will have the same set up upstairs as well; a pvc pipe in the wall with an opening in the drywall at the top and bottom of the pipe will make hiding wires a breeze.  And cords are my bane: I hate a spiderweb mess of cords in viewing sight.

This raw, or "live" edge will face out into the family room.

I'm in love with this piece of wood; and the smell is amazing too.

We also were waiting for the entertainment unit we wanted for the new house to come on sale.  When the flier came out Friday and we saw it was on sale we quickly put our previous fireplace on Facebook to sell and picked up the new one (thank you, Canadian Tire money).  It sold in an hour with 9 people in queue waiting for a chance that the one first in line would somehow back out.  She didn't, and came to pick it up and Mike put together the new one.

It does look like a nice piece of furniture; love the rounded edges.
It is much lower, which was the reason for selling the one we had: our new living room will force us to put the couches facing each other, making us look way to far up to watch the TV.  Solution: shorter unit, and problem solved.

One of the faucets came this week: a beautiful heavy oil rubbed bronze tap for the bar.  I got it off of Ebay for 50 dollars.  New it retails in stores for 170.00.  Now that's bargain hunting!
We are still waiting for the four bathroom ones to arrive: in store they are 149.99, and I got them on Ebay for 90/piece, shipping included in that price.  The shipping was atrocious for those; almost 200.00 to ship them all.  But as the taps were 50 per tap, the seller gave me a deal on the shipping and combined an offer of 90 per tap with shipping included.  Win win all around!

Snow boarding Club 2013
The kids are liking their weekend excursions to Mount Joy for snowboarding.  They are learning alot, and we go on Saturdays.  It's fun to watch them, although mastering the tow rope is a work in progress!

This past weekend it was too cold to do much of anything, so I finished hemming up the super long strips (two king sized sheets ripped into strips and sewn together end to end) that make up the ruffles for Jacelyn's throw for the foot of her bed.  Pictures of that project to come!  Then I switched to a project I've been dying to make: a raggy quilt done in stripes this time rather than squares.
It turned out really good! It went together in four hours total, minus the strip cutting I had done a few weeks before.  I used quilter's flannel and a heavy quilt batting in between the flannel.  I chose colors that complemented each other in various patterns and that will match the decor of the new house.  In fact, I even snuggled under it the other night!  It's a twin size, which is great for snuggling in with all the corners tucked under me; there's nothing worse that cuddling under a blanket and feeling a draft on my feet. :)
The weekend even had time left over for goodie making: Banana Wheat Germ Muffins, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and some Jam Jams!!

Gramma's Jam Jams

1 c br sugar
1 c unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 c flour
2 tsp b soda
2 eggs

Cream sugar and butter; add eggs one at a time.  Then add syrup and vanilla.
Stir in the dry ingredients.
Place batter into large zip lock bag and pipe out a large tablespoon of dough.  (I like to do this as it's super fast, but you can also put the batter in the fridge to firm up then roll dough into balls)
Place fingers into flour then press down the dough a bit to flatten into circles.
Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes.
Spread with favorite jam and press two together.

So super soft and yummy.  They were gone by Tuesday.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Catching Up

We stopped by to take some pictures a few days ago.  We always go at night when we do, and the kids get a charge out of creeping around the house in the dark with their flashlights until Mike plugs in the construction lights.
Things are moving along ahead of schedule, even though it always looks like not much has been happening.  But every time we go over there we always see a few new things to note down...we like to document and take photos of important things like where the electrical is.
So far the duct work is pretty much finished, and all the plumbing is ready to go.  The gas line to the fireplace, deck and furnace was installed, and the electrical is almost finished.  
As we walk around we always make a note of things that we want to mention to the builder, such as floor sweeps for the central vac that we want installed in the kitchen and foyer, and where to install the skylight in the bathroom ( centered we decided ).
I know we aren't the first people to build a house, and while I feel a bit embarrassed at the excitement I feel when I want to talk about it all, I have to remind myself that it is the first house we have ever built.  :)

Looking into the bathroom; double vanity to the left and laundry room to the right at the back

Bar area to the left against the wall, with the hallway to Brandon's room, mechanical room, and Jacey's room (far right)

Jacelyn standing in her closet

Mech room...had to laugh at the little tiny furnace in the back corner.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bit by Bit; Little by Little

We saw the siding going up and so Mike stopped to take some pictures.  We took the opportunity of a free Wednesday with only one kid to run after to go to Home Depot to scope out oil rubbed bronze fixtures, handles, and bathroom mirrors.  We walked out with a big number plate for the house and ideas in our heads.  I actually ordered a sink fixture off of Ebay last night and got it for half the price it is in the store.  Nice.  Also saw some for the four bathroom sinks and they, too are half price, but I put in a bid to the seller and so am waiting to hear back if he will accept my offer of $50.00 per faucet.  For oil rubbed bronze they are over half the price of the same brand at the hardware store.  I really love Ebay, but really need to watch a few things: shipping costs, what percentage of positive feedback the seller has received ( I never buy from a seller with less than 98% positive feedback), what brand name the products are because I don't want knock offs for certain things (especially things like faucets) and the quality of construction.  I usually cross reference my choices before buying also to make sure that what I'm buying is the real deal.  And since I'm ordering well in advance I can take it all apart to make sure everything I need is there.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mount Joy Snowboarding Club

The kids started their first weekend of snowboarding club, which is an intensive 10 week program at Mount Joy Ski Hill.  They go every Saturday and Sunday from now until March, and hopefully some more concrete hours will be set soon.  Right now it looks like they will split everyone up into two groups and then maybe they will only have to go on one day.
The lessons are a bit boring; while the instructor is working with one kid the rest have to sit there tied to their boards on the hill in the snow until their turn.  And it is cold wet fun doing that...not my cup of tea certainly and so I feel guilty telling them to buck up and ride it out (no pun intended).  I explained that once the initial skill learning is over then it will be more fun as they learn to carve and let loose down a ski run.
The temperatures were great and the hill was busy, but the kids were glad to come home to a hot slow cooker meal and some relaxing few hours before bed.

Oh ya, and we got shingles! :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

...And Now the Fun Begins!

I love hunting for design elements that I love.  Sometimes I find something in a bargain bin that's not quite there, but close enough and so I'll get it.  Only to be dissatisfied later on down the road, which will start the bittersweet cycle of hunting all over again.
I look online, and never settle for anything there as I have to keep a shrewd eye on shipping costs.  But I really love to shop online and I can find things there that I just can't find anywhere around me.  My style leans towards Arts and Crafts, and so I have been stockpiling some items over the last year or so to decorate my new house with.
A word art sign I made for the bathroom to frame up
I recently tried hunting for some of these items, and was glad when I came across a few bins I had tucked away in the storage room labeled "Girls".  Excited, I opened it up.
Inside was a fluffy mohair pillow, a sign that read "Bon Appetit", a lamp, and some mismatched cast iron frames hidden among twinkle lights.  I realized then that I was unorganizing my organizing skills and moved some things to another bin.
You see, I have a vision.  Well, tons of visions, really.  And I am focused on turning each room into what I see in my mind.  With the kid's help I have tried hard to give them the room of their dreams to make the move to the new house that much more exciting.  Think elegant diva for Jacelyn, who chose purples, white, and black with a Perisian theme that has been fun searching bargain websites for.  I just recently found an old metal headboard from the Restore that I will antique even more and which will be the focal point of her room with sheer drapes and twinkle lights cascading behind from ceiling to floor behind it.  And Charlie has chosen butterflies for her room, with girly ruffles and bright springtime colors.  I have a few projects in mind for some canvas art as well that she can help me with.  Brandon is going all boy, with a skateboarding theme and a bright teal focal wall with skateboards for shelves and a silhouette mural of a dude hanging ten.  I will have my work cut out for me, but if I get my projects done before hand I can focus on painting focal walls in the bedrooms...and I like to paint.
Jacelyn fell in love with this diva inspired room, which suits her to a tee (miss diva herself) and I have started making this ruffled bedpread above.

Charlie always turns to this page in the Sears catalog and so I will try my best to imitate her favorite things from the picture.

Brandon's inspiration for his room came from his desire to learn to skateboard.

So far I have found:
a large wooden word spelling out "Welcome" in a distressed bold red color,
a hanging rusted iron sign that I think I bought for the bar area downstairs, as well as some vintage metal beer and pop logo signs,
teetering coffee cups that are quite large and distressed made from aged tin for the kitchen,
some frames, pictures, and vintage mirror, I think for a collage of frames and pictures for the stairwell,
and a cool old suitcase that I didn't need but thought looked cool.

I really am getting excited to start gathering things to finish off the house, and find myself looking for things like stools for the island.  I'd like to start buying some stuff but just don't have the room to do it and so I guess I'll just have to find some more patience somewhere.

Tyvek Never Looked So Good To Me

 So far a few things have progressed:
Soffit and facia, Tyvek wrap, tub, two showers, and soon to be interior water lines, shingles, insulation, and siding.

Since the pictures were taken on the fly during innocent drive by's, all we had on us were our cell phones.  The last time we went on a drive by we saw the workers there, and went to the closest Timmy's to grab them all a coffee to warm up their cold hands.  At least this week we have seen single digit temperatures, so the guys don't totally have to freeze while working.  Even though it is their job, I still feel for them working in bitterly cold conditions.  Thankfully our basement is heated, and they can run down there to warm up.  :)
All is looking good: and yesterday, due to my desire to escape my children, I could have went over there to sit by myself for a quiet cup of tea in my very own basement.  That sounds so lovely...don't discount me on that idea just yet!!