Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Goodbye February!

Finally! If not for the fact that Hubs was born in February, I'd find absolutely nothing redeeming about the month whatsoever.  So basically, as far as I'm concerned, February should be officially over after the 3rd.  Valentine's Day?  Puh-leeeeeze.  I'll take the sunshine and blossoms of March -- even with the requisite reappearance of the dreaded gnats and mosquitos -- over schmaltzy cards and hearts and flowers and candy any day.

There was one thing I really, really enjoyed about this particular February, though.  Even though I didn't quite get my Valentine's decor up for the holiday, for the first time ever I did some "in-between" decorating.  You know, decorating for that odd time in between Christmas and spring? And since I intend to bust out the spring pretties this weekend, I thought now would be a good time to share my most favorite element of my in-between decorations:

Jealous much of my uber-textured walls?  Thought so....

I found the sweet little industrial work-light cage at a flea market near my mom's house back in the summer.  It was love at first sight, but then it sat kind of random and forlorn on top of my bookshelf for a couple of months until I hit upon the idea of flipping it upside down to hold one of my Christmas floral arrangements.  I liked the look so much I actually went out in search of red-but-non-wintery flowers to use once Christmas was over, and now some pretty yellow spring flowers are waiting their turn to go on display. 

And yeah, I realize that in these pictures you can totally tell that the flowers are wayyyy fake.  But from where I sit on the couch, a good 12 feet or so away, it looks pretty darn awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that it's possibly my favorite accessory in the whole house. 

Call me cheesy, but I also like to change out the books underneath it according to the season.  I read a LOT and have, ahem, perhaps a teeeeeeensy bit of book overflow going on up in here, so books are incorporated into the decor out of both abiding affection and sheer necessity. So for in-between / Valentine's decorating, you can see my light-cage vase is perched on books with a love theme.  The one on the bottom, by the way, is a poetry compilation entitled "essential love" which features one of my mother-in-law's poems -- a poem which was written about Hubs as an infant.  Collective awwwwwwwww :)

I'm actually in the process of restyling these shelves (there are 2 of them, 1 flanking each side of the tv stand)...or rather, have been in the process for the last 3 weeks or so.  I have about half of each done.  Previously they were filled with the cd collection of two avid audiophiles with quite eclectic taste, so it's been a big transition to say the least, but I'm loving how much less chaotic the space looks without eleventy-gazillion cd's taking up every square inch of space. Aw heck, as long as I'm here, maybe I'll share a few in-progress shots, since I've gravitated towards putting so many of my other favorite and meaningful things on these particular shelves....

This guy sitson the top shelf, although that may or may not be his final resting place.  He began life as a severely chipped, poorly painted piece of ceramic that I paid about 25 cents for at a local thrift.  I was compelled to bring him home because my Dad used to sort of collect eagle things, and this one was just calling out to me.  My first inclination was to spray paint him, but then inspiration hit in the form of my tube of silver Rub n Buff.  Not only does the silver look great AND add a much needed shot of metallic into my living room, it also makes the piece even more meaninful to me, since Dad spent a number of years when I was young working for Silver Eagle Mines. (that's a coal mine, for those unfamiliar with my family history.  and yes, I am proud to be a coal miner's daughter -- cue very  off-key caterwauling of a Loretta Lynn classic!)

In case you were wondering, the eagle's name is Clyde.  Because the most impressive, 2 foot tall specimen in my dad's collection of eagles was named Clyde.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that any and all animals in his collections were named Clyde.  Probably due to his fondness for the Every Which Way But Loose movies.  But I digress.  Severely.

The other side of the shelf has another Dad item -- one of his folding mason's rules.  In addition to being a coal miner, Dad was also hands-down the most talented brick mason I've ever seen.  Next time I'm in Mom's living room, I'll have to remember to snap a few photos of the triple-arched brick wall he built.  A bunch of his old mason's tools were sitting in a 5 gallon bucket in Mom's basement, covered with about 3 solid inches of dirt and grime, so with her permission I liberated a few during one of my visits.

Although styling shelves drives me batty because I never seem to be completely satisfied with any arrangement I devise, I'm actually feeling really good about this one right now.  Here's a full snap of the top of the left bookshelf:

The kerosene lantern belongs to Hubs and therefore has lived here for longer than I have. 

The little vintage clock was my great-great Aunt Ardelia's (of mirror fame -- and no, I still haven't figured out what to do with that mirror).
The apothecary jar was a yard sale find that currently houses whatever random detritus I thought might work for in-between decorating time. 

The photograph is one of my all-time faves -- Hubs' family circa 1970.  I love the daily reminder of how much my Little Dude looks like Hubs (the littlest dude in the photo) as a boy.  He's clearly destined to grow up to be one Handsome Dude!

The shelf itself (and its mate on the other side) was built by Hubs shortly after we were married. They are a bit rustic but with clean modern lines and Ilovethemsomuch.

The chopstick (frequently employed as a hot-glue smusher / glue gun burn preventer) and guitar pick are not intentional elements of the decor, just good examples of the kind of random crap that winds up on my shelves in the course of daily living.  Sweet Pea's hair barrettes in particular seem to be breeding up there.

So, yeah, 3 shelves down, 3 more to go....hopefully I'll have completeds to share before the next "in-between" season arrives!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Decor (Well, Sorta)

First, let me say thanks for sticking with me through my extended absence.  I had really, really good intentions about posting some of my cute Christmas d├ęcor and handmade Christmas gifts.  And then the reality of the amount of time it was going to take me to actually hand-make all those handmade Christmas gifts set in.  Like, 15 crocheted infinity scarves…and a handful of necklaces…a painted purse…a magnetic chalkboard memo holder…some dang killer (if I do say so myself) crown bookends …I think there was more but clearly I’ve repressed those memories.  And then I was so burned out that I couldn’t bring myself to blog for a while.  Bad, bad, blogger.
Although I am hoping that one day I can snag some photos so I can at least post the DIY barn quilt that my mom and I made for my aunt -- on December 23rd and the morning of the 24th.  Did I mention that we host the gift exchange for my mom’s family at her house on the evening of the 24th?  Yeah, can you say cuhrazzzzzy time?  But it might seriously be like, the best handmade gift EVER.
You know what a barn quilt is, right?  Basically a big honkin’ piece of wood with a quilt-type pattern painted on, to be hung on the side of a barn for decoration?  Like this?

Image Source = I chose this image because we used basically the same pattern, but with a barn red, green, and off-white color scheme.
I ask because Hubs didn’t know what we were talking about, and honestly thought that we were going to try and make an actual quilt with barns on it in a day and a half.  Now that would have been really crazy!!!  Although in his defense, the fact that we used mod-podged fabric pieces instead of paint probably helped mislead him.  The “quilt” will be somewhat sheltered under an overhang if it goes on the barn, and it very well may even go on her porch instead, so I am very very hopeful that a couple of good coats of mod-podge followed by several coats of sealer will help it withstand the weather.  At least we know that if anything happens to it, we can whip up another one in a day or two, ha!
But I digress.  This post isn’t about Christmas.  It’s about Valentine’s Day, and the decorations that I sorta almost got up in time.
See, I knew for a long time that I wanted to print some DIY Valentine’s wall art consisting of song lyrics that are meaningful to the Hubs and me.  And I really, really wanted to clip them to some crib springs that I purchased from the local hoarder in my hometown back in the late summer with the plan to hang them over my living room sofa to display photos and such.  Kinda like Donna @ Funky Junk Interiors did -- I've been drooling over this picture of hers since I first saw it about a year ago:

I think it goes without saying that this fabulous image is Funky Junk Donna's.  But I'll say it again anyway!
But, I’d had to leave them behind at my Mom’s because we were hauling other things back to GA that weekend and there wasn’t room in the truck for them.  So, I had to wait for Mom to bring me the springs when we met up in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago (for a Blackberry Smoke concert, say WOOOT!).  And then once I got them back here I realized I wasn’t crazy about their au natural rusty patina.  Well, actually that’s not entirely true -- I was crazy about it, but it just wasn’t working well in my living room….a little too “junk” and not enough “funk” if you know what I mean.  So I decided to spray paint them.  And as we all know adding steps to the process is not a good thing when there’s a holiday deadline looming.  So basically, I have some printed-off song lyrics and partially painted crib springs, and never shall the twain meet….not before this Valentine’s Day, anyway. 
Still, the song lyrics were so dang cute I wanted to share J  And I did at least show them to Hubs, and received a non-commital grunt for my efforts.  Clearly, he was moved.
Possibly my favorite – a line from a Shooter Jennings song called, appropriately enough, “Everything Else is Illusion.”  No sentimental backstory here, but if you know me then you know I LURRRRRRRRRRRRRVE me some Shooter Jennings!  This might even make it onto the wall after Valentine’s Day…. 

This next one is from The Distillers’ “Beat Your Heart Out.”  Good punk love songs are hard to come by, and this one always reminds me of those early days when we first met…

The next two are from David Allan Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me by My Name.”  Not exactly a traditional love song to say the least!  But it does have special meaning for Hubs and me…which I won’t go into because it’s a long story and totally one of those you sorta had to be there things…and it was our first dance at our wedding reception.  I was going to hand-doodle some cutesy little hearts off to the right side of the first one.  Can you all say “Awwwwwww”?

I know I’m missing some apostrophes.  This particular font from Picnik (sniff, sadness) wouldn’t put them in.
So I was going to put those on by hand, too, because it would’ve driven me nuts otherwise.

I also printed off some pretty Valentine’s backgrounds and clip art, just because I liked them, and these vintage Valentine card images:
I added the words to this one, because my great-grandmother used to say this and the image just sets off that association for me.  I didn’t even know it was from a song until it I heard it on a Dan Zanes cd I bought for Sweet Pea when she was a toddler!

This one has no lyrics and no song association, but it does totally remind me of Hubs’ “punny” sense of humor!

I’m more than a little bummed that I won’t have a chance to get these up for this year’s Valentine’s Day, but hey, at least I’ll be one step ahead for next year, right??!?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Working Holiday

Well, OK, maybe not so much "working" holiday as "playing" holiday, or "hobbying" holiday, or something like that.  Point being, we did work off at least a little bit of the turkey we ingested over the 4 day weekend...although sadly none of the pumpkin cake, stack cake, caramel cake, or 2 varieties of cheesecake, I'm sure!!

For Thanksgiving Hubs, Sweet Pea, the Little Dude and I headed up to my Mom's house in southwest Virginia, as we do every year.  My whole family -- on Mom's side at least -- lives there within about a 45 minute radius of one another, so it's always up to us to do the holiday traveling.  Not that I mind too much, though, because while I may have lived in Georgia for the last 10 years, it's still the place that I consider "home".

Home Sweet Home
NOTE:  This image from the former High Knob Observation Tower was sourced from the Spearhead Trails Initiative -- a local group that is working to expand availability and use of multi-purpose trails in the southwest Virginia area.  My aunt does a lot of work for this great cause!!!

It's just under an 8 hour drive from here to yonder, and Hubs had to work a full day on Wednesday, so we rolled into Mom's somewhere around 1am. Not too shabby considering our usual arrival is an hour or two later...and let's not talk about the fact that children who are sooooo excited to be there, and who have slept a considerable time in the car, are always wayyyyyy too keyed up to actually let Hubs and me go to or stay asleep!

So anyway, we grabbed a little rest, and while we did manage to talk a lot of shop, Thursday pretty much consisted of: cook, eat, cleanup, chat, eat, cleanup, watch a movie, eat, cleanup.  For us girls, at least. Hubs and Mom's Hubs squeezed in quite a bit of garage time, where they tend to disappear for the better part of any visit.  Plus, since the last time we were there Mom & Her Hubs have purchased a log splitter, so the menfolk could hardly be expected to contain themselves inside -- including the Little Dude.

He was taking his job VERY seriously.  He almost cracked a grin when I gave him a thumbs-up, but he quickly got his "man-face" back on.

I can assure you that the safety features of this machine were reviewed and approved by myself and four other adults before he was allowed to operate that lever, and my grandfather was poised by the emergency shut off switch the whole time.  So please, no diatribes on our egregious lack of concern for our son's safety.  (Besides, the in-laws took care of that already, thankyouverymuch!!)

The next day, while every other (in)sane person was hitting the Black Friday sales, Mom and I decided to tackle this beast:

She bought this dresser way cheap from a local hoarder, with the intent of using it as a media cabinet underneath her tv.  She and Her Hubs had already removed the damaged top, and hope to replace it with reclaimed wood.  They'll also be replacing the trim on the bottom, which is grody press wood, but for now we left it on and painted it.  The sides are that formica-y stuff.  The rest is wood, and we both love the original hardware (keyholes! squeal!!) and the grain on the drawers.  So, we decided to paint the frame to let the drawers stand out more.

I suspected there might be some painterly goodness happening this weekend, so fortunately I'd brought my trusty plaster of paris.  After mixing some moss green and blue green paint leftover from various parts of the house with a little blue and black acrylic paint and of course the plaster of paris, we wound up with a pretty gray/green color that coordinates great with her tile floor and rug.  Once we had it all painted, we distressed and applied dark wax. 

Here's the not-quite-finished product (top & trim still need to be replaced; I suggested she fine sand the drawers a little more; hardware to be put back on; and of course, all the drawers should be put back in -- the bottoms were just too full of ancient VHS tapes for me to have any desire to lift 'em back in for the photo shoot!!):

Ummmm, the newly painted formica-y sides looked the best of all, so why don't I have a shot of those??!?

After we not-quite-finished her dresser, we packed up the brood (me, Mom, my kids, and my 10 yr old stepsister, whom I love to pieces and will henceforth call Cowgirl for blogging purposes) and headed to my bestie Holli's house.  We were fully expecting to engage in some kind of project since she is kinda the queen of crafty among my circle of friends, and she did not disappoint.  We wound up painting her laminate coffee table with my POP mixture in a gorgeous, perfect barn red that we were hella-lucky enough to pluck right off the oops shelf of the local big box discount store.  We gave it 2 allover coats, and she's gonna go back and spray the top in chalkboard paint.  No pics because we were in a major time crunch (movie date with The Muppets!), so I'm counting on her to at least cough up some good afters once it's all done!!

Saturday was Flea Market day with Mom...and no kids this time!  It was a little windy and only a few sellers were out, but we did come away with a couple of goodies, including a solid wood, two-tier magazine rack for $2!  It's still at her house waiting for me to give it a starring role in a future blog post.  We also hit up the new Habitat ReStore and came away with quite a haul, including lots of vintage Christmas decor and some things Mom needed to organize her mail (also a huge problem at my house, hopefully to be resolved soon'ish!).

Saturday afternoon and evening were for hanging with family and taking kids to the fabulous Bristol Motor Speedway for some thrills on the "Chill Hill".

NOTE: Chill Hill image sourced from and in no way represents my actual family or the extreme degree of awesomeness of this contraption.

What's the Chill Hill you might ask?  Basically .... Giant county fair-type slide. Covered entirely in commercial-type plastic dishwashing mat type things. Small children, adults, and all ages in between flying down it on innertubes with a hard plastic? silicone? covered bottom sprayed with mystery slippery-solution. Total awesomeness...especially for those of us who miss all the fun of snow but not the actual, you know, SNOW of snow.

On Sunday morning, knowing our time was rapidly dwindling, we got right to work on Mom's mail organizers.  I tried to make our dresser paint more green to better coordinate with her kitchen, but with a limited supply of paint (too bad we didn't have my GA stock at hand!) and no time or desire to go out and buy some, we wound up sticking quite close to the original gray-green.  Some dark walnut stain followed by dark wax helped improve the color, although it of course looks all washed out in my hastily-propped-in-front-of-the-window-because-Hubs-is-loading-the-car-for-departure-even-as-we-speak photos:

What's that you say?  Why yes, the top photo really would have looked better with the tape removed but what can I say, it's really a wonder I wasn't trying to take those shots on zoom as we were backing out the driveway!  Mom's going to cover the original green chalkboard with black chalkboard paint.  I also think it's cool that she did the paper towel holder (bottom photo) all by herself and in my opinion it looks the best of the three!  She claims I'm the "expert" on painting furniture, but I never cease to be amazed by the fact that she can do ANYthing!  I'm hoping that the next few times we visit I can remember to snap shots of some of the coolness she's accomplished at her house -- before my young'uns and our being too busy eaking every last smidgen of fun out of a visit trash the place beyond photo-worthiness.

Oh, and here's a lil snappy of something the guys might typically be disappearing to the garage to work on:

 If Hubs were still awake, I'd give ya all the deets on this machine.  All I can tell you is that it's a vintage...probably late 60's...SkiDoo.  Er, that's a snowmobile for those who might not know :) Hubs loves 'em the same way I love faded old flower sheets and chippy layers of painted wood.  I'm pretty sure we're the only people who live in Savannah, GA -- where I've seen it flurry 3 times in 10 years -- who have snowmobiles in our garage.

And ya know, I gotta give credit to Hubs & Mom's Hubs -- I might occasionally emit just a little smidge of snark about the time they spend in the garage, but they sure do some darn good work down there. Believe me, these machines look nothing like this when Hubs drags 'em home, and their transformation on the "Mountain Doo" (as I just christened this one, since it has been gifted to Mom's Hubs who lives in the mountains and drinks Mountain Dew -- haha, I kill me!) is pretty dang impressive.  If we're really lucky, maybe Jethro's Garage might even grace us with some before shots and such if he happens to chance by here!