Saturday, May 24, 2014

Stripping Tea Tins

I Love Metal, Concrete and the Smell of a Skunk!

I know that it's strange to claim to love metal, but I also love concrete and the scent of a good skunk.  I believe that skunks have gotten a bad rap.  They smell a little bit like rubber bands.  No one ever smells a box of rubber bands and exclaim "Ewwwwww!  I smell rubber bands!" I believe we have been conditioned to think that skunks stink.  A friend suggested that maybe we have Saturday morning cartoons to blame.  Who knows where the little critters got the bad reputation.  Back to the subject at hand--

I also love tea and enjoy collecting cute little metal tea tins.  Since I drink so much tea and I can't throw the tins away, I have more than I know what do with, which necessitates a brainstorming session with myself.  

Here is one of my favorite little cups that I found at Goodwill.  I hand wash it because I love it so much.  I also don't leave it outside for weeks.  I take a little cream  with my tea, making it look like coffee.  Coffee gags me, so tea is my coffee and I feel grownup when I drink my tea with cream.  I insist on drinking from a dainty little tea cup, especially on Saturday mornings.  I digress.  

Back to the Tea Tins.  I have been collecting these tins for some time and wanted to try stripping them of their paint and then repurposing them.  I could leave them as is, but they distract me.  They aren't cute.  Someone, I won't mention any names, insisted that stripping would not work and it would be a failed project.  I am always up for a good challenge, so I pulled out the big guns.

This was all I needed, plus some steel-wool, and wet sandpaper for the stubborn paint.  And a scraping thing--whatever that is called.  I think its called a scraper.  

I used an old paint brush and painted on the striper really super thick.  This particular tin started peeling pretty quickly.  The black tins were not as obedient, but some steel-wool and wet sandpaper helped.  Let the stripper set for a bit to begin eating the paint, but don't let it dry.  Try letting the stripper set for 10 or 15 minutes.  You may have to repeat the process.  

Stripper is powerful, so be sure to wear protective gloves.  In my estimation, the key here is to wear two left gloves.  It must be the secret to my super successful stripping.  I was told it couldn't be done!  Although the black paint was a bear, I stripped the heck out of these tins.  After the tins were mostly clean, I used a little steel wool and wet sandpaper.

I could have spent a little more time to get the black ones really clean, but I like the haunting look that the little paint evokes.  Plus, I am a Shabby Chic kind of girl.  

Splendid Trash

And there you have it!  Pretty tins that you can repurpose for so many things. Here are just a few ideas for your newly designed tins:

Cotton Balls
Hair Ties
Craft Supplies
Sewing Supplies
Office Supplies
Chocolate Supplies
Tea Supplies

Just checking to see if you are still reading this post.  'Pickles' is a funny word and I wanted to wake you up.  Hello!  Please don't put pickles in your tin.  And please don't do drugs.

Now go repurpose something and make something useful!  Make some Splendid Trash!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Glass Etching, Easy as Pie!

My Recycling Illness

I love Kombucha.  But O my, the stuff is expensive.   My co-worker bought me one as a treat and now I am doomed to drink the stuff until I die.  Good thing it's healthy, otherwise I would never forgive the girl who started this whole obsession.

So now that I have this habit, I figured out a way not to feel so guilty.  Yes, the bottle is glass and it can be recycled, but better yet, reuse it in a new and pretty way.

Have you ever tried glass etching?  

Glass etching is fun and easy.  I can even do it by myself and I usually need my husband to help with everything.  Etching makes me feel smart and creative.  And Happy!

Shopping List:
Etching Acid
Clear contact paper
Sharp exacto-knife
Small paint brush

Step One:

Choose a cute font and type the words or letters you want to etch.  You may have to experiment with the size or bold your text.  For my design, I chose the font Big Caslon, the size is 144 for the 'H' & 'O' and the '2' is size 96.  Testing fonts and sizing could take hours.  Soooo much fun!  Print your text.  You can also etch designs instead of text.  This is where you can really go crazy!

Step Two:  

Place the contact paper over the text and tape in place.  Trace with a non-smudgy pen--not a felt tip.  For this design you will have to move the contact paper to trace the '2' so that is lower.

Step Three:

Peel the contact paper backing and position on your glass bottle as desired.  Carefully smooth out all the bubbles.

Step Four:

With an exacto-knife, trace the pen lines, pressing firmly enough to cut in one, clean line.  In other words, you want it to be as straight as possible, not hacked.  I am not that great at this part, but you will improve with practice.  Don't fret, just do it!  Once you trace the letters, use the point of the blade to pick out the contact paper from inside the lettering.  If you missed a spot with the blade and it doesn't come out cleanly, recut the area instead of pulling and stretching the contact paper.

Step Five:

Paint on the etching acid and let sit for 10 minutes.  The bottle directions instruct 5 minutes, but we have found that 10 is better.  We also discovered that it's best to lay the bottle flat instead of up right.  This will prevent the acid from running onto the glass.

Step Six:

Rinse the acid off the bottle before removing the contact paper.

Step Seven:

Rejoice that you have have just created Splendid Trash!  We keep these babies filled with water, stocked in our fridge.  Water tastes better in a glass bottle labeled H2O.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Rehab Porch Swing, From Trash to Treasure

Curb Appeal

We love trash day.  I remember the first time picking trash.  My friend was with me and I saw a sweet table in my neighbors trash.  It was after dark, and I laughed all the way home as we carried the table down the street.  She didn't know what was so funny and she kept telling me to be quiet!  I felt a mix of embarrassment and a rush of adrenaline.  It's the ultimate high!

This was intended as landfill!  But, wait!  It's not Trash!  It's SplendidTrash!

It's nice to have a truck for these stealth operations!

Rick used an angle grinder to remove the rusted bolts.

We bought some lumber the same size as the rotten boards and drilled holes for the new bolts.  Rick also rounded the edges with a plane so that it would be kind on the booty.  Rick chose pine wood--less than $20 bucks.  

If you are like me, there is always some leftover paint in the basement.  I had some house paint and white trim paint that I mixed.  Pretty?

We found some really great textured metallic paint by Rust-oleum that made the frame look galvanized.  If you use textured paint, alway prime with a similar color since the textured paint doesn't cover very well.  We didn't and Rick had to go back and retouch with some silver paint.  We were in a hurry to get this project finished so that we could sit on it.  We are not perfectionist and embrace our inner hack.  Just don't look too closely at our stuff.  Flaws abound, and we are fine with that. 

Every yard needs a swing.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Best Things in Life are Green!

I Have a Problem!

We have established long ago that I act as if I lived through The Great Depression.  I have not, but my grandmother has.  She was as frugal as they come, and became more so as she got older.  I, on the other hand, am a paradox.  A strange creature who can't make up her mind.  I am frugal, I am excessive.  Whatever!

 This woman moves me.  These children kill me. 

I Get a Thrill!

For me, it's a hobby to make things last a little longer.  Stick it to the manufacturer and get more use than they intended.  I love the little thrill of digging out every last bit of my Burt's Bees lip balm with a sharp object.  You would not believe how much is left in that tube after you use it up.  But that's another post!

You can buy these Scotch-Brite Scour Pads for about 4 bucks at Target.  These come in a pack of 4.  But they are unnecessarily large.  You only need a bit of scrubbing power to get the job done.  To get more bang for your buck, cut them in quarters!  Now you have 16 scour pads that take up less space and is still able to eliminate your stubborn baked-in food stuff. 

What a lovely pile of green, that will help you save green and be a little more green!  If you know what I mean!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Thinking Outside of the Box and Bringing it In!

Hello, Beloved Readers!  (all five of you!)

It's been a while.  I have some excuses, but they are boring excuses!  So, to my former co-worker, I dedicate this post to YOU!  There were some who thought we were sisters (we are both white chicks).  So here it is, Libby!  This one is for YOU!  Yes, YOU inspired me!  It only took me an hour to sign-in to blogspot, so you owe me an hour of your life.  To be spent however I want!

Splendid Trash!

So, Rick and I found this really cool salvage shop.  Well, he found it and I tagged along.   I would tell you its name, but it doesn't have one.  For real!  A shop without a name!  I was trying to tag the place on Instagram and so I asked the guy, "What's this placed called?"

"I don't know" he said, "Well, it used to be Junque, but somebody else took that name.  So now it doesn't have a name." This place is a goldmine!  You would think these guys read marketing books and learned how to sell their stuff, but I think they are just doing what they love.

The Statue Without a Head!

The main guy looked like an actor playing the part of a homeless dude.  Super grunge.  I wanted this headless statue, but when I asked him the price, he gave a long pause.  "She's a beauty, isn't she?"  Then he went into this long story about how it was his dad's and it bothered the neighbors that his dad a collection of statues, so some kids vandalized it, but he still has the head.  Here it comes, I thought.  The price is a gazillion coins.  Nope, it's not for sale.  Then he told a story about how Bob Cassilly--of the City Museum, rescued a statue by Michael Angelo from a crazed maniac with a sledge hammer in Paris when he was a teen.  Then he told the story of how Yoko and John Lennon met over a statue.  He had a lot of statue stories and he wasn't even selling the one we wanted.  I am not sure if these stories are true, but we were smitten by the homeless shop owner.

This guy charmed the socks off us!  We bought some stuff!  And we will be back!  Oh, and there was this other guy who worked there--he did Not look homeless.  He was like Vin Diesel's twin. For real! And there was a woman (wife of the homeless guy? Mother of Vin?) who told us about the building--this really cool area where Anheuser Busch used to get their ice.  This place was amazing.  We will be back to buy this crazy French Chandelier.  It looked haunted!  Beautifully haunted!

Bring the Outside Box, In!

So, we found something really cool.  As you may know, we like to think outside of the box when it comes to home decor.  So, the box that goes outside--why not bring it in for a really cool place to stash bills to be paid, or mail to go out.  How's that for thinking outside of the box?  Checkout the character on this beauty!  There must have been Ten mailboxes to choose from.  Standard issue.

Rick hung it for me right by the front door.  I will come home from work, hang my keys on the hook, sort my mail and then put the actionables into the inside mailbox.  How's that for a system?  We just bought a new light switch plate on eBay.  This one is looking a little out of place.

It took me like, two more hours to post these pictures.  Libby, now you owe me THREE hours! I had multiple technical difficulties.  Loading!  Ugh!  Then I tried to remove the red splotch at the bottom of this picture.  Ugh!  The red stain is the remainder of a my bag that I keep by the door.  I used my mac photo shop to the best of my abilities in an effort to remove the red.  I give myself a D+.  Oh, well.  Please ignore the spot!  Let's pretend it's a rose.

More Splendid Trash--Teaser!

More to come from the store with no name!  What do you think this is going to be?  Think OUTSIDE Of THE BOX!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Green, Clean and Environmentally Pretty!

I'm a Little Green
Yes, I care about the environment, but there are other reasons for my earthy ways.   

It's Complicated 
I have the mentality of having lived through the depression.  I did not, but my grandparents did.  Some of their approach to life has rubbed off on me—although selectively.  Gas prices—I never pay attention.  Parking meters—I will walk a mile to avoid feeding quarters.  I am a world of contradictions.  I shun wasting food to my detriment, but I will spend a weeks pay on a good meal.  Twice I gave myself food poisoning to avoid waisting the contents of my refrigerator.  Did I learn my lesson?  Yes!  I got a meal and was able to easily skip a few more resulting in unexpected savings and lost a couple of pounds to boot.  Hence, there is always a Silver Lining! 

Linen Vs. Paper 
Paper towels are unsightly and uncomfortable to use on the face in place of a cloth napkin.  I use rags for wiping up spills and towels for drying hands and cloth napkins for meals.  Even when we have a house full of guests I use linen.  Oddly enough, I enjoy folding napkins and love the sight of them in my cabinet. 

Germs Are Gross 
Here is another factoid about me.  One thing I hate more than waste is a damp towel from multiple uses in a guest bathroom.  If I were to send in a  PostSecret , it would be that I rarely use towels in people's bathrooms.  I can be quite creative in how I dry my hands in your home.  I will use the fancy, ‘do not disturb’, never-been-touched towels with the monogramming.    Or if it’s a nasty bathroom, I will use Toilet paper, Kleenex or my own pants.  As a last resort, I will use the back corner of the hand towel.  I have issues.  There!  Now, I don’t need to send in my postcard—once again, saving paper!  And at least I don’t bring my own towels to your house.  Wait!  That’s a great idea!

Problem Solved, Beautifully! 
For my own home, I got the answer to the scanky hand towel by attending a party at a friend’s house.  They installed a paper towel holder in their bathroom.  No germs—but the wastefulness kept me up at night.  I liked the idea of paper towels in the bathroom for guests so that my germaphobe friends can avoid drying their hands on my curtains.  I am sure there are a ton of people like me who have an aversion to using a community hand towel.  But as you know, I am earthy!  So, I bought some wash clothes, cut off the tags—they are unsightly—and put them in a cute basket.  Then I had my daughter make this ‘guest towel’ sign and added a matching ‘soiled linen’ basket.  Guest have a clean, mini towel to dry their hands!  Now I sleep better knowing that my friends and family don’t have to wipe their hands on their pants or spread H1N1 to a house full of people.  Problem solved! 

Green Can Be So Pretty!

Soiled Linens, Naughty Kittens!

One Last Pretty Tip!
I bought inexpensive wash clothes from Target.  They fade with washing, so make sure you cycle them through and put the freshly laundered towels at the bottom of the stack so they all get used equally and fade equally.  It's the details that matter.  Trust me.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

The End of Toilet Paper Refill Stress

Have you missed me?  I am in Galveston, Texas visiting my daughter and her husband.

I have a little something that I can tell you about that might inspire you.  Once again, I didn't make it, but I commissioned Rick to make it.  He likes it when I do that.

We were presented with a problem, which may be relatible to you.

Refilling the toilet paper holder is a pain and a hassle.  Who wants to refill the roll when there are so many other important things to do.  Never mind that if you are sitting there with nothing else to do, you might as well make yourself useful.  It's called multitasking, people.

Is this a familiar scene at your home, toilet paper resting on top of the holder? Yep!  That's the style.
So, after much cajoling, I convinced my husband to make a really cool toilet paper holder out of pipes for our upstairs bathroom!  I love this pipe material, I don't know why.  It's very industrial, which I love.

The beauty of this baby is that the refill process is a no brainier.  Easy Peasy.

Admittedly, this is not desirable style for everyone.  It's not for the faint of heart, to be sure.  I like its rugged nature and 'here to stay' presence.  It's something a sheepherder could appreciate, or perhaps a extreme couponer.  Or maybe just me.  I like it, but if you insist, go to the Home Depot and get a one-step toilet paper holder to end the madness at your house.  This little project saved our marriage.