Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Dog's Breakfast

I won't deny I completely ripped off my title from the movie of the same name. The movie, while incredibly strange, had me rolling I was laughing so hard. (Click here to learn more about the film)

The other day I had a pan to deal with. A pan that had roasted a chicken (and fresh veggies and herbs from my garden) and now was full of chicken stock that didn't get refrigerated. What do I do with a bunch of chicken juice? I don't want to put it down the drain and if I pour it out somewhere outside I will have anything and everything that's carnivorous licking my dirt. So I used my mom's idea and made a dog's breakfast.

Set the pan on the stove and get the juice boiling. Then add oatmeal and cook per instructions. Sometimes I add veggies to the mix but that particular morning I was in a hurry. (Haha you can see my calendula petals drying in the background)

In just a few minutes you will have something your dog will love and when you scrape out the oatmeal you just have a dry pan to wash. Plus it works great for getting old dogs out of bed. As soon as it started boiling she poked her nose out of the laundry room, ears perked and eyes full of hope.

If you do something like this make sure your dog doesn't have any difficulty digesting whatever meat stock you are giving them. I know mine has a serious problem with anything pork or ham. Also make sure you let it cool a bit before feeding and don't give them too much at one time because a pan full of stock can make quite a bit of oatmeal.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Autumn inspired

My etsy shop is sporting some new autumn inspired Bits O' Shine!

I also did plenty of re-stocking with my inspired by everything eclectic taste in mind. Check out the rest of my shop to see the new bits o' shine featured below. I also spent the afternoon photographing even more pieces waiting to be listed later this week, so check back often if you want to see what's new.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Newspaper shelf border

When I decided I wanted to hide some of the uglies from my closet shelf (see this post for details) I also decided I wanted it to be free.

I don't subscribe to any newspaper so I had to ask my neighbor for some - she's used to me and my weird projects. :)

I measured how long I'd need it which means how many sheets of paper will have to be cut into strips. Then I measured how much I'd need hanging and how much I'd need above the shelf for attaching.

Then I cut it into strips:

Accordion folded it in a size I liked:

And freehand cut a rounded edge:

I was originally going to leave it just as the plain newsprint but decided to paint it black. I mixed my paint with a little water to both make it easier to spread and to give a little transparency, adding a faux aged look to it.

I attached it to the top of the shelf with little photo sticker squares and voila!

Quickly and easily made with no cost - my favorite kind of project!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I can't believe it's not clutter! - reclaiming a closet

Okay there's a bit of clutter but it is cleverly disguised. :)

It's Living Lovely time again with Mt. Hope Chronicles! This week's challenge was to reclaim a space for beauty or function. I must have been on Heidi's brainwave because I had just started a massive overhaul on my closet after I posted photos for the world to see how seriously messy it was. I blush! I grimace! I hide in shame!

Using only things I already had (okay I bought a can of spray paint and a can of spray glue but that's it!) I completely redid and reclaimed my closet space so that it was both beautiful and functional.

Want a sneak peek?

Now hold on to your eyeballs (not literally please) because this is a photo heavy post.
There was a lot of work involved and I wasn't letting any of it get away undocumented. ;)

Before my closet was dingy white walls, mismatched hangers, clutter and chaos of unimaginable proportions.

To start I removed everything from my closet. Everything. Then I painted the walls Mid-Day Mocha - a free quart of paint I got from a Glidden promotional deal. It covered all the scuffs and old-ness and brought a wonderful warmth to the small space. I even painted the ceiling.

Next I had that ugly white shelf to contend with. I didn't want to paint it so I decided to hide the fact that I wasn't. Using newspaper I made a little scalloped border to hang down and hide it from being so ugly.

The dangles in the top of the photo are my lightbulb chandelier from this post.

Then I gathered all my boxes and baskets that were just about every color and none of them matched and spray painted everything. I have quite the collection of paints so the only one I needed to purchase was a can specifically for plastic.

I forgot to mention I'm still in a walking boot so kneeling or squatting to get a good angle for photos is completely out.

You saw in my last post how I altered another box to fit into my color scheme needs. So easy to make what you have work for you!

I also switched all my hangers out for white ones simply by raiding all the other closets in the house and trading them out. Wooden hangers would be great someday.

I think the hardest part was cutting down my book collection.

Some I was just keeping around when I didn't need to. Many I gave to people I knew would enjoy them. And now I even have a free shelf to put my extra blankets - amazing!

I used a scrap of muslin and some tension rods to make little curtains to hide the book clutter I couldn't part with.

And if I ran out of storage boxes I found that hiding something with a lovely scarf works nicely too.

All my hats I hung up or stood up with candle holders and sconces - they work great for that!

Vintage suitcases and some of my mom's old sheet music keep with my theme and pull my look together while beautifying and hiding.

For a cost of around ten dollars and using what I already had, I transformed this mess:

Into an organized, functional, and beautiful space.

Linking to: Beneath My Heart's Closet Makeover Party

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

An old dictionary makes a great neutralizer

What if you have a storage box that is still functional, still needed but still really reflects the era that created it - What's the solution? As Hamlet said, "Words. Words. Words."
(Yep I just threw Hamlet at you, hopefully you've already had your morning coffee)

In my enormous project of a closet makeover I challenged myself to using things I already had to beautify and add unity to the space.

When I removed everything (you have no idea how much stuff you really have until you take everything out of your closet) I discovered I had no fewer than five (five!!) dictionaries. I was an English major, a teacher and I'm a self-proclaimed word nerd and bibliophile (don't be alarmed that just means lover of books) but good grief, that is way too many. It's especially too many considering I hardly ever use them all. This one I don't think I've ever opened.

It's a 1949 edition and actually has some pretty stuff inside but if I never look at it, what good does it do me? So, as hard as it was for a bibliophile like me to do this...I took pages out of the book to cover my box.

I used a can of spray adhesive to attach the pages to the flattest and largest parts and I used regular old white school glue to attach the rest. Now my box is color neutral and unique! And I'm finally getting some use out of something that was just taking up space.

My little shelf border was made from newspaper - a project I will talk about more in the coming days. To see my whole, dramatic closet redo come back Thursday!

This project is linking up to Reinvented's Trash to Treasure Tuesday! As well as Poppies at Play - check out all the great projects!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Random Smiles

It's Living Lovely day at Mt. Hope Chronicles (and I'm so late I practically missed it!)

This week's challenge was random smiling - as in strangers in public. I'm either really good at this or really terrible. Sometimes when I'm shopping or running errands I get in a zone and people I know really well can walk right by me and I won't even see them. Weird thing is, I am not a head-down, no eye-contact kind of person so usually I smile at lots of people.

I stopped at a crosswalk for a man with a little boy riding on his shoulders and another one running along beside, hanging onto his finger. I grinned huge because it was totally adorable and he saw me smiling and gave me a huge grin back. I'm getting warm fuzzies just remembering.

Recently I was walking out of a store, purse in one hand (my really cute purse handmade by Syl Syl - click the name to visit her etsy shop) and one bag of goods in the other. I was walking slowly because I'm still wearing my protective boot after the ankle injury. An older woman was walking up the sidewalk and we smiled at each other simultaneously. She quipped, "Which one is heavier - the purse or the groceries?" I laughed and told her my purse was (if I wouldn't carry a book with me everywhere that might not be the case). "And they wonder why we have back problems." She chuckled.

And that was that. A quick connection between two complete strangers. I don't know what it did for her but it still makes me smile thinking about it.

Next time you are out and about are you going to connect with someone even for just a few seconds? Give them a few seconds of your time and make them feel noticed and acknowledged? Who knows what you might accomplish with just a little smile.

Speaking of, I hope this gives you a little smile - my friend's four month old daughter can make anyone feel like a million when she smiles.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My inexpensive bare bulb solution

Do you ever see a designer organized closet and find yourself drooling? The organization and space just make everything look so gorgeous; nothing at all like my own closet.

My closet is technically a walk-in but more like a lean-in because of all the junk in it. *sigh*
Lighting up my closet is a bare bulb - not exactly what I would call stylish. I came up with an idea for a light fixture involving a candleholder and some sequin trim (see here) but it was just too small and too plastic and too near a hot bulb for it to work. Not to mention I couldn't hang it because I couldn't get a hook to stay in my ceiling. Then I saw this link on One Pretty Thing (so many thanks to Rachel!) and it was like...well...a lightbulb went off...a prettily decorated lightbulb.

I went shopping in my craft room for a wreath form and didn't have one. I snagged this top of a lampshade instead.

Why do I keep stuff like this? For moments like this apparently! This worked out to be even better because I don't need to hang it - it rests on the top of the bulb!

It was silver and still has glue residue left from the lampshade fabric stuck all over it but I spray painted it white and way up there hanging from the ceiling you won't be able to see the lumps anyway.

Next came the other ingredients with one extra since I was desirous of some sparkle. Unwaxed dental floss (so the stickers will stick), round price stickers (got mine at the dollar store) and clear, faceted acrylic beads - the kind you can buy in a huge bag of a million for just a couple of dollars.

I pre-cut all my pieces of floss using a pair of scissors rather than the built in cutter and then I ironed my floss with the iron set on low heat. If ironing dental floss doesn't get you some strange looks from the family I don't know what will.

Starting at the bottom of the floss I applied the two stickers, then strung on a bead.

When I placed my next two stickers I strung on another bead. Each pair of stickers above the next will hold the bead in place.

The flour jar held it nicely while I was working. :)

With three "sections" to the shade top wire I think I made nine strands of stickers and beads. Originally I planned for six but it was just too bare looking so I added extras until it looked full enough. I went through nearly two packages of 180 count stickers.

Suspended from my lightbulb it looks like a sparkling chandelier - I love it!

With the flash on you can see I've tried to make other improvements to my closet. I hung fabric on the ceiling as a nod to Inara's shuttle (Firefly fans should know what I'm talking about - and might get a kick out of that fruity oaty bar box in the background too) - a space filled with sparkling drapey fabric.

You can see I also glued a decorative trim to the ugly wood edge showing on my oh-so-chic plywood shelf.

If I didn't have nearly every shelf in my closet crammed full of books I'd probably have room for those old hats, office supplies and childhood memorabilia and my closet might not look like it belongs to a teenager. Looking at these photos is really motivating me to make some big changes, but for now I'm one step closer to a lovely, organized space and I didn't break the bank doing it.
Check out all the other cheap turned fabulous projects over at Reinvented's Trash to Treasure Tuesday.
And when you're done there be sure to visit the ideas at Poppies at Play. STILL looking for great ideas? Check out DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land.