Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Laundry Room Rescue

Our laundry room is pretty sad .  It gets high marks for function, and zip, nada, nothing for style or pizazz.    Last week I decided to fix that.   I had a few goals - banish the beige cave look,  add more light, get rid of the ugly tension rod. and not spend much doing it.

I forgot to take a real "before" picture until I was half-way through ripping out the wall to wall carpeting .  Really - who puts wall to wall in a laundry room?

Boring beige,  ratty carpeting and exposed pipes, including the PVC one with red printing the whole length of the pipe.  Not pictured, but prominently featured - old bookcase stuffed with art room overflow, plastic laundry baskets and a leaning mountain of boxes I've been saving for god knows what.

First up- painting everything - ceiling, walls and floor.  I used up some leftover paint, so walls are sage green and floor dark marine blue. Painted all the pipes so they aren't a focal point anymore!

Next up- the ratty dryer top.  Not sure why, but the top had rusted.  I had pasted some wallpaper to cover it , using enough glue to hold it down in a category 5 hurricane.  Scraping all that glue off was the worst part of the project.  I did some research about painting appliances and read good things about Rust-Oleum's appliance paint.  (Sadly they are not paying me for this glowing review!).

The stuff is freakin' magic!  Cleaned up the washer and dryer and then did a light sanding before painting.  I used a high-density foam roller which made all kinds of tiny bubbles that disappeared quickly, leaving a hard, enamel finish.  I brushed on the paint in areas that were too small for the roller - same great finish.  I did three coats on the body of the machines and six or seven to cover the rust on the dryer.    It's hard to tell in pictures, but honestly, they look brand new - all little nicks covered, plus all that rusty top mess on the dryer.

Now for the fun part - some decorating!   The bookcase got a coat of black spray paint and a serious decluttering !  I added a lamp to get some more light in this windowless room . A cloth Ikea storage cube got a big flower stamp treatment.

As you can see, the ceiling angles sharply behind the washer and dryer.  I saw this  shelf idea on Pinterest and The Captain made it happen.  I love how it is a place to add some interest and also prevents socks from jumping behind the washer .  I found some back there - go figure!  Laundry pods in the silver basket and items from around the house transplanted to the shelf.

The other Pinterest inspired project - a pipe-fitting clothes rack.  The Captain found this one as a kit at Home Depot - well worth  $25.00 .  He mounted it on a board and hung it with these nice brackets- a two-fer - hanging rack and a shelf.

Borrowed an area rug from the family room, added a new laundry basket, and a decorated a switch plate.

And one more fun addition - a metal hanging flower basket added to the boring ceiling light fixture!

Mission accomplished - more color, more light , lots more style for minimal expense.  Now I may actually enjoy doing laundry - WHO AM I KIDDING??!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Vintage Stamp Caddy DIY Rescue

I went to a doozie of an estate sale on Friday.  Generally the ones run by professionals are organized, prices clearly marked and no safety hazards.  This one was a hot mess - no pricing and lots of junk that should have just been relegated to the trash.

Apparently the man who lived there ran his own business from a tiny office.  It looked like someone had just dumped boxes of paperwork onto the floor until there was really no where to walk. The desk was buried in paperwork, several jars of those little black combs, broken pencils and other assorted flotsam ,  but then  I spotted this from the doorway:

Dirty and slightly rusty, but it still had all its pieces .    I climbed over the rubble to snag it and the "PAID.   CK # "  stamp that was still hanging in it.    Some serious cleaning and a bit of sanding and the caddy was ready for paint.

A couple of coats of  spray paint later my little treasure was restored to its 1945 glory.  I did the first coat with a Krylon black paint - at least as much leaked out all over my hands as sprayed out the nozzle - so annoying.   I finished it with this Rust-Oleum Carbon Mist paint   - a rich charcoal, not quite black, not too shiny - my new favorite.   And no drips - always a plus.  I left the top the original gold color since it was in good shape and a nice contract with the charcoal.

I added a couple of other stamps that have  those great handles and my Distress Ink tools.  And it makes a perfect spot for my corsage from DC son's summer wedding.  You can sort of see the dried rose and greenery on the right.

Turns out that these are collectibles now - not sure how I feel about something made in 1945 classified as "vintage", although that's less harsh than "antique"!   I saw this exact caddy on Etsy for $65.00,  lots more than the $1.50 I paid for mine.

I think I may keep it on my work table - so cute!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Year of the Doodle Update

It's been a while since I've shared  pages from this great book by Dawn de Vries Sokul.    I'm about 2/3 of the way through and amazed at how well the binding is holding up to all the paint, ink, and bits of ephemera.   I probably shouldn't mention it - maybe it will  boingggg apart while I'm sleeping !

Here is how fat it's become -on the left is a new copy of Ms Sokul's Art Doodle Love and on the right my overstuffed Year of the Doodle that started life as the same size as the one on the left.

We've had a busy summer and I haven't been doing much art work, but it's been fun to work in my book - a small canvas for each day that doesn't take much time to finish.

Doodling is what the book is about - most pages have a prompt and some subtle background color or design, so there's no dreaded white page.   I've been stretching myself to put pen to paper on most days-either as a doodle or lettering,

Some days the prompt just doesn't speak to me, so I go off on my own  as on the 25th,

The Birkenstocks are a big deal.   I've been reading Danny Gregory's book and he keeps saying to draw what you see, not what you think you see.   I had to really study the shoes and force myself to draw what I saw.  Amazingly, the sandals look recognizable!

I also use lots of stamps.  I love the "before my dock rots" one and rarely get to use it.

I love this doll by Traci Stillwell that I cut out of Cloth Paper Scissors  - doesn't she seem perfect for this quote from A Reunion of Ghosts?  (It's a fantastic book, BTW).

Honestly, I can't rave enough about this book - if I'm not working on a day, I'm adding shading or otherwise fiddling with pages I've already done.  So much joy in such a little package!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bedrock Gardens

We just discovered Bedrock Gardens  in Lee, New Hampshire.  What a treat to discover such a local treasure.  The Gardens are the labor of love of a husband and wife,  Jill Nooney and Bob Munger.  They bought the property in 1980 and  began transforming it into over two miles of walking trails, twenty separate garden areas, a pond and waterway.    There is even a Tea House (above) with just enough room for a bed for summer sleeping.

The Gardens are privately owned and  not open every day.  Check their website for dates and times before heading out .  There is no admission charge, but donations are encouraged.

A partial list of features listed on the website include:

Noteworthy Features Include:

  • 3/4-mile circulation path, connecting the garden rooms, with vistas along the way
  • Two 900-foot cross axes
Jill is the sculptor and created all the sculptures in the gardens.  Most are made of industrial salvage - wheels, gears, bars - all given new life as fun pieces.

I love this ballerina with her sanding brush tutu.

Love this bench covered in lichens.   It has that look  that Vivian Swift calls "decrepitude".   I''m a fan.

A fun flamingo installation in the grasses.

This is a slightly creepy section - old logs that look like beheaded people.  Love this one with the bent leg pose.

Man-made pond with lots of benches for enjoying the views.

This must be the family - love how the child has a red heart that says "Mom".

And how this one is Mom, with the fancy doo-dads, and of course, the boobies!

If you go, bring along a picnic lunch.  There are several funky table and chair arrangements that are perfect for relaxing and enjoying the scenery.  

The owners are ready to move on.  I can only imagine the work needed to create and maintain the huge spot.  They are transitioning ownership from a private garden to a non-profit organization to maintain the gardens as a public space.    

We've been to fancy gardens all over, including in  Paris and Scotland, and this one can hold its own with the best of 'em !

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