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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Lets Spice Things Up

my kitchen goes from tragic to retroMy Kitchen Tour post got some very nice attention and I got a few questions about those spice jars and canisters so I thought I’d get into some more details.Ikea Kitchen Cannisters go Retro

You may (or may not – I really wouldn’t blame you) recall that the large canisters are inexpensive Ikea purchases.  It was a simple matter of  spray painting the lids and creating the labels in MS Word.

I had shared the printable download for the labels previously and you can find it here if you’re so inclined.

The glass spice jars are from Griffith Laboratories and were made around 1939.  The company made the jars as a kind of advertising gimmick but they became very popular.  They were sold with various holders (wood and plastic) and the lids came in various colors to suit the current styles.The first jars had a baked on graphic for the label and in the following years the company switched to paper labels.

I had purchased a set with the baked on labels years ago but it’s pretty limiting as there were only, I think, 12 options.  My retro love does not extend to Celery Salt and it got really confusing to remember “oh the Celery Salt jar actually has cinnamon and the Dill Weed is really Cumin.”  Numerous, extremely unfortunate baking incidents occurred.  But the kitchen looked cool!

So when I stumbled across a set that had lost their paper labels I….went a little crazy.  It became one of those quests.  My family digs quests so everyone was looking for them wherever they went.  It was fairly affordable because the ones lacking their labels were cheaper and I didn’t care about the lid color.  Eventually I ended up with more than enough.

I cleaned and sanded the lids and then primed and painted them with a gloss red spray paint (sorry, no pics –this was quite a while ago).Griffith Spice Jar Set with DIY labels

I then recreated the label design by scanning one of my old-school jars and then erasing the spice name and inserting my own.

If you want to do the same just download this label sheet and then upload it into MSWORD.Free Label Download You can then use a Text Box (click on the pic for a larger, clearer screen shot)Format the Text Box to have no Fill Color and No Line

Then type in your desired spice name and drag the text box to center it on your label.

You may have to resize your text a bit and futz with the kerning but it’s pretty simple.  I used an Ariel Font but if you want to match exaclty play around with some of the free fonts at DaFont -I’m fond of Sugo myself.

Print a test sheet to make sure the size works for your jars and then print a final version out onto decal paper and cut them out.

And now I must go outside (it’s beautiful!) and cut HOME signs.



Restore A Finish

You may recall that a while ago I posted about a coffee table I didn’t know what to do with.  It wasn’t in bad enough shape to justify painting and stripping it would be unpleasantly daunting but it needed something.

To quote Clueless – it was kind of a Monet.

Looked OK from a distanceScalloped Edge Coffee TableBut was kind of a mess when you got up close

The very, very smart and talented Susan at Maple and Magnolia suggested I use Restore – A – Finish and boy was she right.

I knew about Restore-A-Finish but had never used it.  If you don’t know about it (and I’m sure almost all of you are waaaaay ahead of me on this one), Restore-A-Finish is a light stain that that blends out scratches and water rings and other small blemishes while re-hydrating the old wood.

So I picked up a can and stain marker and got to work

Wow!  I’m not sure if the pictures do it justice but it looks 100% better and it took almost no time at all.

Vintage coffee table restored with Restore A FinishRemember that corner detail?

Is it perfect and pristine?

No, not quite.

But stripping it would have been a messy nightmare and painting it would have felt like a bit of a crime.  This is the perfect solution.  Quick, easy and the results more than satisfactory.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Yesterday was my dad’s 90th birthday!!

I called in the morning and my mom said he was already in the workshop repairing a pie safe for someone in the community where they live.

So, as may be obvious he (and his full head of hair) are still going strong.  I’ve shared his lazy susan’s in the past and there are more to come I’m told

And since it was my birthday recently I had to share the present my sister Paula MADE for me!

You could tell she was excited about this because her birthday actually precedes mine by a couple of weeks and usually, (based on years and years of experience) she holds my birthday gift for ransom until I send her gift to her.

But not this year!  Nope, this year she sent mine out despite the fact that hers had not yet been…um…found mailed.   (I found it though!….I haven’t mailed it but I found it!)

Some back-story:

I have an ipad.  I have kind of a love/hate relationship with it.  I recognize it’s amazingness but I just cannot get in the habit of using it.  It just seems like a really big iphone that isn’t actually a phone or a really small computer that isn’t actually a computer.  And I feel awkward carrying it around.

I told Paula of my woes and she came up with this!Handmade Soft Travel Case

It’s perfect!  It’s even monogrammed!

Nicely lined to protect the preciousLined Ipad Travel CaseIt fits in the inside and outside pocket as do a lot of other things (like notebooks or keys) so I have everything in one spot.Fully lined Ipad travel case

I’m a lucky brother.

I should probably mail her gift to her now.

Of course Phebe’s birthday comes after mine and she, trusting soul, sent me some really clever tools to use on my trays but, like Paula, hers has not yet been foundmailed …made itself known to me*.

And keeping with the family theme I finally finished up my Celebrate Ohio Coaster Set.  Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati and Cleveland.

Celebrate Ohio Coaster SetVintage Postcard Set Columbus OhioCoaster Set featuring Vintage Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo OhioI just really dig these postcard folder graphics (do the photos look slightly blurry here?  they don’t elsewhere….odd).  My goal is to get a set for every state – two down, 48 to go.  No  prob!

So Happy Birthday Dad!  Thank you Paula! and Sorry Phebe!

*as I mentioned i n a previous post I either know exactly what to get you for a gift and it’s awesome or I have no idea whatsoever at all.  There is no inbetween unfortunately

Oops! Argh! Sign Fail

You know how you’re on a bunch of deadlines, lots to get done, limited time frame etc etc and you suddenly decide that NOW is the time to start a new, totally frivolous project just for yourself?  Cause that will totally help your stress level?

I did that.

In the midst of trying to get coasters made, stores stocked and the workroom made over I became overwhelmed with a desire to make a vintage sign.  No delay could be accepted!  I couldn’t fight it!  I had to make it!

I should have fought it.

I dig vintage signs and I LOVE donuts (and pie, and ice cream and cookies and…..excuse me I need to go to the gym…) so when I saw this sign from Knmoor’s Flickr photo stream I knew it was what I wanted for the workroom wall.vintage donut signI had saved the cabinet doors from the old kitchen and the former owner had painted latex over oil so “distressing” wasn’t too tough – the paint kinda peels off.Using an old cabinet door to make a vintage signAnd then I stopped planning and started improvising…..cause that ALWAYS works out well…..

I had some leftover vinyl letters that I had bought for my London Dresser.  So I painted red patches where I wanted the DONUT TIME lettering to go and laid them over it.DIY cabinet door vintage signThen I painted over everything with antique white and peeled away the letters.  The vinyl peeled away a few too many layers but that was OK – just added to the distress.DIY vintage wood sign in progress

So far so good but I now had that blank spot in the middle.  And that’s when simultaneously  inspiration struck and everything went downhill – but I didn’t know that last part yet.

 Family History: 

My grandmother (dad’s side) was just one of the most terrific people ever.  My sisters and I could tell wonderful story after wonderful story about her.  She was feisty and vibrant and smart.  She was a music teacher who went deaf in her 30s but even that didn’t slow her down.  Any problem was just a challenge to be worked around.   In short, she was awesome and we all aspire to be as much like her as possible.

She also loved donuts.

She loved them a lot.

The tradition, when visiting her, was that you would go to MelloCream, pick out your donuts- be introduced to, literally, everyone in the shop (who would tell you how great your grandmother was.  They also seemed to know everything about you which was a bit disconcerting) – and then you would take your donuts home to have the next day for breakfast.

So, I decided my donut sign would be a little reminder of Grandmom and her home in Springfield Illinois.

I used my Silhouette Machine to create a MeloCream graphic.  Nifty!

My intent was to do a stencil but I totally screwed that up that didn’t work out so it was back to undercoating and stickering which was kinda tricky as I’d already painted the rest of the sign. 

So I painted, peeled, distressed and distressed some more

I was pleased!  It was a tribute to Grandmom! And  I wanted you all to see it!  I wanted my sisters to be a little bit jealous and yet touched at the same time!  And I knew it would all be good!   And And And!!!!!!

vintage sign tutorial

…..I spelled Springfield wrong.

Yes, through umpteen iterations of the graphic, through designing it, cutting it out, sticking it on, rubbing the letters, painting and distressing I failed to notice that little oops until I took the picture.

Ah well.  I have learned from my mistakes along the way.  I will pull a full Grandmom and figure out a better way.  I have a lot more cabinet doors and the next version will be even better!  Stay tuned.

Please Pardon Our Mess

Well, my noble goal to become totally organized, amazingly efficient and completely together is……going to take longer than anticipated.

Honestly, I think I made more of a mess this weekend than ever before.  But I have faith that it’s a mess that is going in the right direction.

And I must say you folks are a great motivator!  Thank you!

I spent my weekend working, working, working to get the room finished (among other things) because I kept thinking “I promised this for Monday.”   Clearly DEADLINES are going to be the key to my success.

I’m happy to report my workroom is almost done and I’m very pleased with it.  But, I’m waiting on a couple of finishing touches so the big reveal will have to wait a day or two.

In the meantime part of my weekend was spent prepping and finishing my latest Mod Podge Rocks Project which Amy posted today.

I’ve been contemplating for a while how to make a vase using  PVC piping and, while discussing the idea with my imaginative friend Karla she suggested making a Mother’s Day themed vase using old photos and it all clicked.

So, I took rather random assortment of stuffAnd made this centerpiece that I thought was a fun way to celebrate family history.

Of course, since I finished it, all I can think about is all the OTHER ways I could do it and all the possible variations.  I love it when an idea takes off like that.  So we may be revisiting this one later as well.

If you’d like to find out the details please head on over to Mod Podge Rocks to check out the full tutorial

In the meantime I’m back to the workroom project!

OK, this time I mean it!

It’s a pretty well established fact that my marbles have never been kept under lock and key or in any kind of a remotely secure environment.   But of late I have been losing them at an alarming rate.  Disorganized – going in too many directions at once – misplacing things etc etc.

My birthday was last week and my sister Phebe sent a card that totally cracked me up while simultaneously summing up my life of late:

So, in order to find my wayward marbles I’m taking a few days to get organized.  The workroom makeover must be completed! I need to pay some serious attention to overhauling this blog and the garage…..well…….ok maybe not the garage but everything else will be done!

I realize I’ve said this before but this time,this time I mean it!  I will be back on Monday with pictures!

And I do have to get organized.  April is going to be a fairly quiet month but May/June is gonna be crazy!

Good crazy!

I was so happy to find out that my work was accepted into two Patchwork shows!  One in Long Beach and one in Culver City.

The Patchwork indie arts & festival showcases over 100 local independent artists, crafters and designers with everything from clothing for men, women & kids, handbags, accessories, art, ceramics, home goods (that would be me), garden finds, jewelry, paper goods, edible treats, pet gear, crochet & knit goods, kits & patterns, bath & body goodies & more.

I’ve heard only great things about Nicole and Delilah and the Patchwork organization I can’t wait.  So, if you are remotely near Long Beach or Culver City please put it on your schedule.

Also, I am determined to make my (potentially) last Rose Bowl into a blow out which means I’ve got a lot of furniture to work on.

And I have a million ideas for signs and products that I want to get working on.

I’m totally excited to get going so now I will GET GOING!

Rose Bowl Report

And that pretty much sums up the Rose Bowl for me yesterday.

I’ll back up and explain.

Anticipating smaller crowds due to Passover/Easter I decided to skip the truck rental and just focus on bringing smaller things.My car is a decent size (a Honda Fit) but my friends have a station wagon that they let me borrow so I, in a rare Fit of planning ahead asked in advance if I could use it.  They said “sure” and I was all set……

Until I checked with them on Friday.  Turns out the sturdy station wagon was in the shop.

Ah well.  Back to the Fit.

A lot will Fit in a Fit.  So I Fitted and Fitted but it didn’t Fit as much as I fantasized.  So I re-Fitted.  And then, after I fit everything I thought I could possibly Fit in the Fit, I realized I forgot a bunch of stuff.  I was Fit to be tied and muttered:

“Aw Fit!”

So it was back to the drawing board.  But, eventually, a lot Fit and I went to bed.

Up early (4AM) the next day and off to the Rose Bowl.

Oh, except the freeway interchange I need to use was closed.  And, good Angeleno that I am, I have no idea how to get to Pasadena without using a freeway.

FIT!So I went around and around until I got back on course and landed at the Rose Bowl…. about 45 minutes late.  I set up quickly and then, taking advantage of the low early attendance went to renew my booth spot.  And that’s when I discovered that, due to my error, they had sold my spot for next month and forever after and I now no longer have a place at the Rose Bowl.

Fit Fit Fit Fit Fit!I was, of course, not happy but I have to say that, although that sounds like a series of bummers I think, in many ways, I’m very lucky.

If I had rented a truck I would have paid a fortune in extra miles as I tried to find my way to the Rose Bowl due to the freeway closure.

If I had rented a truck I would have had even lower profits (as crowds were light)

And I have long felt that, although I really enjoy the Rose Bowl, I don’t think it’s necessarily the right spot for me but I’ve been too comfortable to really break out.  This will force me to explore other venues.

And finally, I was once again, rewarded and amazed by people’s kindness.  All my RB friends took great sympathy for my plight (even though it was totally my fault) and my booth neighbors gave me their spot for next month as they were going to be away.

So, all in all, although I threw a few fits (sorry – last one) I now feel pretty good about the changes and spent my Monday happily being crazy productive!

I hope everyone had a good holiday weekend!

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