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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Apothecary Glass Jar Etching

Hey guys!!!! It's Thursday, which is one day closer to Friday and one more day closer to the New Year!!! I wanted to share with you the DIY Christmas gifts I made so tomorrow I can share with you my goals for 2011 and some furniture I got over the last month.

For Christmas I made my best friend and my in-laws personalized apothecary jars. They weren't necessarily personalized with their names, but rather something that is personal to them. My best friend, who creates some amazing jewelry under the moniker Archaic Mementos, is always full of ideas so I wanted to give her a place to write them down before they flew away (she likes birds so I had to tie that in). As for my in-laws, well things have been tough this past year financially for a lot of us, especially them, so I wanted to give them a place to write their hopes down. I figured, before you lose any hope you better write it down and keep it safe.

I would like to admit that this idea is definitely not one I created myself. I have seen glass etching done before as a craft, but before Thanksgiving Young House Love shared with their fans a wonderful idea for a "Thanks" jar for their home. Every day starting Nov. 1 they would write what they were thankful for and put it in the jar until Thanksgiving day when they take them out and read them all. I thought, what a great stinkin' idea for a present! Because I like to challenge myself with a creative idea I decided to hit up Hobby Lobby to buy the supplies and take a chance at the tutorial.

My two standard apothecary jars. Check this out, I got them half off! Score!
I love Hobby Lobby 50% off sales.

The "ideas" font is called Bauhaus 93 and wouldn't you know I didn't save the file to print these out so I don't remember the other font I used for "hopes". FYI: I find great free fonts at I used some 1.5 inch painters tape (that needed to be overlapped because it wasn't wide enough) and some masking tape to hold the paper down to the painters tape to the cutting board. 

I took an X-acto knife and carefully and slowly cut the letters out of the tape. If you are doing this, make sure your knife is sharp to get those corners well. Then I pulled up the letters and pulled up the painters tape and centered it on the glass. I put two strips of tape on either side to be safe.  

Yeah... I lost my O, P and E middles in my "hopes". Oh well, I hoped it would turn out ok. (Ha! I had to throw that in). The Bauhaus font was one continuous line so I didn't loose any insides of those letters. In YHL's tutorial they lost their a-hole in Thanks... and because I have an inner 12 year old inside of me like they do in them I thought it was hilarious.

Then, because I have a slightly large case of OCD and I was nervous I was going to screw up, I made sure I had their tutorial open on my phone so I could keep referring back to what I needed to do when putting the Armor Etch glass etching cream on. Another FYI: this tiny bottle is expensive, but a little goes a looooong way if you plan on doing small projects like this. I did apply it thick with a small paint brush to make sure the letters were completely covered up. I only let the cream sit for about a minute and a half because that's what Sherry and John did in their tutorial and I'm a by the book kinda gal. I noticed the tape starting to melt a little and rinsed it off immediately.

I bought some scrap book paper in colors I knew my present getters would like. Green and purple for the in-laws and this really cool dark and light blue tree pattern paper that had a deep red bird print on it for my bestie.

And here is the finished result:

This is definitely a project I didn't master the first time around mainly because the cream bled a little and there are parts around some letters that are smudged. Plus I don't think it sat long enough to "etch" darker. Don't get me wrong, I think they are pretty cool looking and unique enough to be personalized. I just think next time I will find a different "tape" material to carve into that will be able to withstand the cream.

Have you guys tried any etching projects? Did they turn out like this?
Please make me feel better tell me they did... I mean, share your stories with me!!!


See ya tomorrow everyone!

~ Susan ~

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

But a Nook Can't Read....

Hey everyone out there in the world wide interwebz!!! Ohh... Emm... Gee... I love me some Christmas but I am so glad it's over with. That is bold and underlined for a reason. I remember the days where all I had to do was wake up, run downstairs to the tree, open gifts and stay in my jammies and play with my toys all day long. Now that I have kids it's like I have to have a planner to schedule all the grandparent visits to make sure we hit up all their houses and don't leave any one out. It's stressful to say the least, especially when their homes range from 20 to 70 miles away. The good thing is I did a few DIY presents for family and friends so that was a little relaxing and fun!

The first gift I made was a special one for this chic chica who inspires me daily! I introduce you to Kristen Fountain Davis from KFD Designs! If you've been following me for awhile you know I love being surrounded by creative people and I appreciate those who take the time out of their day to help me when I need it. That's one of the reasons I made Barb Blair from Knack Studios this cute little dresser gift for Christmas. When I jumped on the "furniture restyling" train back in May of this year, I had first ran across Kristen's blog and was very inspired by all the colorful transformations she did to interiors and furniture. When I finally put hand to paint roller there were a lot of questions that I needed answers to, and even though Google is the answer guru, I just wasn't getting what I wanted from it. So I decided to email bug the crap out of Kristen a few times to see if she could help me. Before I go on... when you go to Kristen's blog the first thing you will see is a 4 squared picture of herself holding paint brushes. Her pictures completely describes the person she is... sweet, kind and possessing a twist of humor! That is exactly the person I got on the responding end to my emails, and for that I was grateful. So in appreciation of her gift of knowledge to me, I gave her a gift in return. :)

If you follow Kristen you will know she has a love for Dr. Seuss, which is something special she shares between her and her dad. Which is totally cool because I myself have a love for the Dr., my favorite book being "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish". So I thought, what would be more perfect than a Dr. Seuss themed gift?! 

I made her Gox Box Socks and A Nook Can't Read Ornament! 

Sock inspiration...

Materials... Black socks and yellow pom poms. 

This picture makes me laugh...

I hot glued the balls on the sock while it was on a glass, which by the way, hot glue will adhere to glass but will pop off quite easily and leave no mess behind. I needed to make sure the sock was a bit stretched so she could get her foot into it because after it's glued it's staying that shape. Granted, I was hoping she didn't have mammoth feet, but hey... she looks tinier than me and I am 5' 9" and a 9.5 shoe so I wasn't too worried. ;)

And the finished socks, sorry about how dark that is. My camera hates my kitchen lighting.

Ornament inspiration...

I got these little pieces of wood and red acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby. They were just perfectly sized!

I painted the wood then took a black permanent marker and wrote How to Cook on both sides that would be facing out. Then I hot glued them together and sealed them with some poly. Note to self: marker will streak when poly is painted on it. Grrr... Afterwards, I folded some printer paper and wrote a Thank You on the first page and the whole Nook Book poem on the visible pages. 

Then I hot glued the pages to the book, hot glued some twine in there to hang it and voila! Now there is a cute little How to Cook Nook Cook Book ornament! Phew... say that 3x fast!

I packed it up with a little thank you note and sent it on it's way!

I got the email from Kristen that she got the package and loooooved the gifts! Yay! I'm so happy!

I didn't really assume she would wear the socks out of the house, but all I need now is a picture of her wearing them and that will make my day - and make me laugh a little a lot

Keep your eyes pealed for a few more posts from me this week. I want to share the other DIY project I did and a piece of furniture that I got for Christmas that is absolutely amazing!

Thanks for stopping by today and while you are here leave me some comments! :)

~ Susan ~

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Gift of Inspiration

In May of 2009 I found myself in a predicament that many people ended up having that year, I lost my job. It wasn't just any job though, it was one I went to school for (Web Design) and I woke up every morning feeling happy that I was doing something I loved. Needless to say when I lost it I was beside myself. I was so distraught that I wouldn't even sit in front of a computer. (To this day, even though I am over the loss, I haven't built another website since.)

I sat here in a serious state of depression not knowing what to do. Days went by, which turned into months which turned into a year. I was at a loss of what to do with my life. Should I go back to school, should I just get a regular job and be unhappy, should I do something I have always dreamed of doing? Aimlessly I meandered through my days until I found myself searching on Craigslist for a desk and a chair for my son. I had never painted a piece of furniture in my life and had no idea really how to do it right. Because Google is the answer to pretty much everything, I went online and started searching for "how to paint furniture". Lots of great sites were out there displaying the talents of furniture artisans and their restyling capabilities - Young House Love, Kristen F. Davis Designs, and Knack Studios were some of the ones that I fell in love with immediately. I was so intrigued with the ability to transform a piece of furniture into something so beautiful that I was determined to learn how to do it. I thought, you know.. if they can do it, I can do it and since May of 2010 I've been running and gunning to get a business up and going. 

But even though I frequented those sites I was head over heals in love with Knack Studios. Barb Blair, the creator of all those fine works of restyled art, was someone who I admired wholeheartedly. Not only was she talented, she took the time to connect with her "fans" on a personal level. At one time I was sooooo frustrated with a piece of furniture that I was working with I ended up posted my frustration on a tutorial she did for Design Sponge. She took the time out of her busy schedule to email me and help me through it every step of the way.  I was amazed and became a loyal fan and huge supporter of her work. The only way I figured I could repay her was to constantly leave positive comments on her blog as much as I could. Then...I got this great idea.

It's Christmas.... what could I do for Barb to thank her for her gift of inspiration? I'll make her an ornament! Not any ornament though... a piece of furniture, one in her favorite color, with some cute stuff on it! Then the brainstorming hit me like a category 5 hurricane.

First off... I searched through Barb's pictures looking for a dresser with her favorite color for inspiration, which wasn't hard to find. ;) Then I hit up Hobby Lobby, grabbed some paint, a doll house dresser, some scrap-booking paper and some little knick "knacks" for the top of it and went to work. I was on a mission to create a Knack-sterpiece!!!

 I got the dresser sanded and ready for paint. Look at how tiny it is!

I cut out some paper for the drawers to mimic the wall paper she uses to line them.

I grabbed some beads I had in my crafts and spray painted them silver with hopes that they would look really cute inside of this teeny little bottle.

Then, because I LOVE the paper decorations she has on her wall, I created one out of some junk mail I had just grabbed out of the mailbox. I took some craft wire I use for bows and wrapped it around a folded piece of paper and cut the excess off. I then hot glued the paper ends together so they stayed fanned out. And hey look... there's the painted dresser!

Check out the drawers....

Here is a close up shot with the bottle glued on.

And here is my inspiration with the finished ornament!!!

My cute little 5 year old helped me hold it up while I took the picture. I hot glued the wire behind the paper to the string so it looks like it's hanging above the dresser. Now granted, I'm no engineer so I didn't get the "hanging" part right and unfortunately when you pick it up by the string all the drawers fall out! LOL Oh well, I figured it would be cute to prop up on a branch of a Christmas Tree or maybe sitting on a table with a push pin holding up the string. Being SUPER excited that it turned out rediculously cute I mailed the box to Barb right away.

I shot an email to Barb before she left for Atlanta and told her to watch out for it, it was a small and very light box. Next I proceeded to bite my nails to nubs in hopes that she liked it when she got it. Of course I didn't tell her what was inside (I enjoy surprising people) and I was hoping she wasn't thinking I was some crazy girl sending her some random gift. ;) 

Anyways, to make a long story short which is waaaaaaaay too late she got it today and well.... 

read for yourself. ;)

FYI: I'm dancing over here... and crying a bit...



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas Trees

Well hello there everyone! Hey check it out, it's my first post in December! Wow, that's kind of sad. I know, it has been ages since I blogged and I apologize for that. I've been trying to balance finding a paycheck generating job, working on furniture, being a Super Domestic Engineer and dealing with the cold. Yup.. the cold has actually been slowing me down. After spending most of the summer outside working on furniture I've acclimated myself to the warmth. It was 11 degrees here yesterday... soooo not cool... Not only that, but being plastered to a computer job searching is pretty depressing in itself, especially when I have a studio directly under me calling my name.

So in the midst of all this craziness I finally got the determination to get the trees up. I didn't have much motivation with our old tree previously seen on my blog hiding under a sheet. Yeah we see you Charlie Brown tree!!! Even though the ornaments from last year were hand made, you could see right through the tree... so sad. :(

So my Dad decided to part with and donate to me his nice, big, full tree and his nice ridiculously expensive ornaments and lights that were collecting dust in his basement. This made me very happy and more in the Christmas spirit. So along with some home made apple cider and a little bit hours of 1950's Christmas music I whipped that baby out of the box and began the set up.


Ok.... this tree is huge. I mean, it took forever to get all the branches out and manipulated to look like a real tree. Now I remember why I hot glued the branches into my Charlie Brown tree. I would also like to add that taking pictures of a Christmas tree and having a slight case of OCD does not blend well. As my friends over at freshoutoflemons would agree with me, it's really impossible to get the lighting right.

In the end I had my wee little "festive cubicle tree from my web design days" on an end table sporting all the DIY Candy themed ornaments and tree top bow that I made last year. If you look close you can see a circular home made ornament from my days back in Girl Scouts (aw look how cute I was) and a Strawberry Shortcake ornament (top left side).

I also have these two ornaments from when I was a kid too. Definitely early 80's going on here...

So I mixed some of my Dad's purple and gold ornaments and some of my glitter snowflakes and snowflake themed ornaments together to offset the gold. I'm just not a huge fan of gold and at first I was luke warm on the tree. But because I didn't have any garland I took these tree top bows Dad had made and broke them apart and made new smaller ones.

Smaller bows are cute!

I still have about 5 more to make to fill in the holes, but I think less is more with this ribbon. And now I can am satisfied with my trees. Now all I have to do is get wrapping paper to match.... ;)

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Tomorrow I will share with you a story (including pictures) about a gift I gave to a friend who inspired me to get into furniture restyling. 

xo Much Love xo

~ Susan ~

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vanity Bench

Good afternoon everyone! I promised earlier this week that I would have the pictures of the vanity bench up, and guess what? I finally got it done at the besties house last night! She took a few good pictures for me this morning with some sunlight and it really looks good. She bought the bench with the vanity, though it actually doesn't really match, which is ok because we were going to restyle it anyways. 

So here is the before picture. Very... how do you say it nicely... grandmotherly? I'm not a big fan of cross-stitching. My mom was a crafty DIY girl herself back in the day so we always had crafts and projects laying around. I would attempt to learn how to cross-stitch with the end results of me wanting to light it on fire with a match. So yeah, this is bringing back some bad memories.

Even sanded down it looks better... OK OK OK... I know, lay off the stool. It's not its fault, it's my cross-stitch phobia.

And here is the after! She picked out the tapestry from Hobby Lobby, and we got well more than we needed so I'm seeing pillows for her bed in the future with the left overs.

I love the little circle-ly gold thingies on this fabric. I'm sure someone has a technical term for that but "gold thingies" work for me. That's a nice picture with the vanity in the background too.

And here's some detail sanding I did with a handy dandy sanding sponge. (Her poor camera died so this is a cellphone shot. Sorry it's not as clear.) She only wanted a light antiqued look, so I didn't go crazy with it. Though... she actually had to say, "don't go overboard now". Ha! I was getting a bit carried away. :)

So there you have it! What a great, simple transformation.

Tomorrow I have to do some supply refreshing, so I might just pop in really quick with a before picture of a buffet/server that is naked and ready for some paint. If you are looking for a buffet/server, check back tomorrow. If you are interested in it, we can always discuss color and design!

Have a great rest of your day everyone and I'll see you all tomorrow!

~ Susan ~

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grandma's Table is Complete!!!

Hello there everyone! It's Monday, and I know everyone hates Monday's, but be happy! You get to see the after pictures of the round table and chairs that I completed for K and M this past weekend!

So remember those ugly chairs I had that I salvaged, sanded and prepped to be sold? Yeah... they were definitely fugly. Well, K and M needed some great sturdy chairs for their made over table so these ended up being just perfect. Old and busted on the right, new hotness on the left.
(MIB reference there... love it?)

And here was the table and base in their original - I need to be made over - state.
The table had more work than just painting the base and staining the top. It was too short and needed a few strategically cut pieces of wood to extend the base to a height for dining. I also added some felt feet to help with a wobble it had. 

Check it out! Chairs and all! It's amazing how a little color can make something so cool.

Over there on the ledge is a picture of K's grandma who handed this table down to her. I think it's a perfect place for a picture of her to rest. I will admit, this was definitely a challenging and emotionally rewarding project. I couldn't be happier with the outcome and I know that K and M are extremely happy with the way it turned out too. 

Next on the agenda is my besties vanity bench.
Keep an eye out on the blog in the next day or two!

If you are interested in any restyling of a piece of furniture you own or need something new, please let me know!

~ Susan ~

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grandma's Walnut Table

Hey everyone, sorry I haven't posted in awhile, but I've been obsessively working on a walnut table and a set of four chairs for a couple of friends of mine. When I say "obsessively working" I mean, I think I have grown horns and popped out 15 white hairs because I want to get this thing perfect. The thing is, it's not just my first bona-fide project to me, this table has special meaning for the owners. It was passed down from a grandparent, and I completely understand how important that can be. 

Lemme get a little personal with you....

I grew up with grandparents on both sides of my family, but I was closer to my dad's side than my mother's side. I loved my Grandpa and Grandma Z very dearly and have fond memories from my childhood of visiting them in Detroit. I abruptly lost my Grandpa to a heart attack the day after Christmas in '92, which was just two short years after loosing my brother to suicide in '90. Needless to say, life was rough back then and my attachment to my Grandma grew even more after Grandpa died. I grew up through my teens and 20's (I even lived for a short period of time in Detroit when I was 20) growing a deep love for her. We were two peas in a pod when it came to attitude and humor. In 2004 we had to move her down from Detroit to Missouri because her diabetes grew so bad that she lost both of her legs and couldn't take care of her house anymore. I loved visiting her up north and I didn't want to see the house go. I even considered buying it just so I could keep going up there, regardless if she was there or not. In the end we had to sell it for medical reasons which really tore me up. After she got here it was a slippery down hill slope health wise for her and we lost her in January of '08 at the feisty young age of 87.

To make a long story short... I've realized why this project is so important to me.
Grandmothers are so special. 
They touch our hearts with the loving kindness of a gentle mother yet they can discipline us on the same hand that they spoil us rotten. Every day I look at her 25th wedding anniversary ring, because it's my wedding ring, and it makes me think of her love and laughter. This table is just as was passed on by a loving Grandmother. Because of this I grown horns when I think something is going to go wrong and I pace around it popping white hairs making sure it's completed correctly. I'm taking every step in restoring it very carefully with extra special patience and love because I know how special it is to my friend K.

Thanks for stopping by and I'll be posting more pictures of the completed table and chairs soon.
"Oh thank GOD you guys are here... this hospital food is the pits. I could throw the biscuits at the wall and they would chip the paint. Susan... go get me a couple Coney dogs from up the street."

Miss you Grandma. ~ Susan ~

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Eeek! I Forgot to Wrap the Wedding Gift!

This past weekend my husband and I attended a wedding for a couple friends of mine. The sun was shinning, the weather was beautiful and I swear there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I was stoked because I just love weddings. The ability to share something so intimate yet add your own personality and style to the shindig is right up my alley. You guys will see what I'm talking about by the end of the post. Also, my goodness copper and dark purple are such pretty autumn wedding colors. I was also excited because my bestie hand created the necklaces and bracelets for the Bride, Bridesmaids and the Flower Girl too! 

So here we are traveling from the wedding to the reception, and we pull up to the reception hall and I remember... OH CRUD... I forgot to wrap the gift. >.< And did I mention we were in the middle of Nowheresville, IL? There wasn't anywhere I could run and grab a bag or paper or anything to wrap our gift. Granted, it wasn't a very large gift so that made the situation less stressful. I did find the one and only gas station in town (it wasn't hard, it was at the one and only 3 way stop). I ran in hoping they had something I could work with...and success! The DIY rescue was underway!

I didn't use the glue or the paperclips, but that's ok, we can always use glue and paperclips here at the house. I used the twine, the markers, one handkerchief from the pack and my mini-Swiss army knife I always have in the truck. I also crumpled up the paper the gift came wrapped from the store in... and...Voila! My gift!

I know it isn't much but it was enough to put a big smile on the Bride's face. She loved the flowers and the fact that I did it myself in a crunch for time.. typical me.

Anyways, there's my DIY rescue. I'm going to put up some more pictures of the wedding that I know you guys will enjoy. The Bride totally rocked an Autumn/Zombie theme to her wedding and it was so cool!

A Candy Bar... get it? Candy Bar? haha!
So cool...  little baggies and all kinds of candy to shovel into your own said baggy.

A picture of the table... there were others with wine bottles as centerpieces.

The amazing two sided cake... white with purple... dark green with zombies and blood and the Bride and Groom fighting them off with chainsaws!

Temperature color change cups. Bride and groom on one side, BEWARE OF ZOMBIES on the other!
So awesome! lol

Hope you guys enjoyed the post! Enjoy the rest of your week!

~ Susan ~

Monday, November 1, 2010

A New Place to Paint

What a week.... Things have just been overly crazy in this house with so many things going on. All through the week I squeezed whatever time I could into painting the room I will call my "studio", though it feels weird to call it that. On Tuesday we took our little metal head to his first concert. We received such an overwhelming response with pictures and videos from patrons at the show and the band itself that we created his own facebook page and a channel on YouTube. That literally took up my whole Wednesday. Then on Thursday I spent the day helping a friend of mine, she was getting married on Saturday. Friday I spent the evening painting up the rest of the room, including the concrete floor. Saturday was the wedding and reception which was in Nowheresville, IL. I didn't mind it though because it was absolutely beautiful weather with an equally beautiful wedding. Plus, I was excited to see my BF's custom made jewelry (Archaic Mementos) on all the bridesmaids, the bride and flower girl. The reception was fun, and lemme tell you folks... if you are getting married... rent a free photo booth for the night. HELLO HI-LARIOUS! So Sunday was my "catch up on laundry, clean the house, put everything away and situate the studio so you can get to working" day until we had to go trick or treating.

So here is that wonderful picture of my future studio that I posted before...

And now a couple empty room shots.
There is some mystery sticky substance on the floor that was here when we moved in.
I stuck a box over it.

I will end up with a solution to this wall sooner or later.

And now for all of you that have OCD... you may want to look away from the screen while you scroll past this part... My basement full of furniture. Doesn't look that bad does it?

Until you look behind the couch....

There is a place for everything and everything in it's place is how this house is ran, and now I can successfully say that is the case with all of my furniture.

I'm not too hot on the red saran wrap looking wall, but hey, it covers up the yucky insulation and I was really surprised the paint even took on the plastic in the first place.
Oh and I added another light in the back of the room.

Sooooooooooo much better. I woke up today energized and ready to work! 

Tomorrow I will be sharing with you some pictures from the wedding and a little last minute DIY I had to come up with from miscellaneous stuff bought from the only store in town where we were... yay for that lonely gas station!

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