Friday, August 19, 2016

Thrifted Treasures

Man, I have had so much fun this summer, haunting thrift stores from here to Tacoma, looking for AWESOME FINDS!
We all know the story of the octopus chest (here ).

He was not a thrift store find, but some of his companions are. The antique fan on the left was a thrift store find from several years ago, and the painting propped up there on his back is a recent find from one of the thrift stores in downtown Shelton.

This painting has really grown on me, to the point where I really love it. 
The artist, identified in a red signature only as 'Moreno,' probably painted it back in the 50's or 60's, when oil painting was a popular hobby. 

And this got me thinking about people today. 

How many folks these days say to themselves;
       "Boy, I need a hobby to fill up some of my free time!" 
       "I sure would like to learn a skill or an art to enhance my quality of life!"

Darn few, I would guess. Most of us have the means to fill up countless hours literally right at our fingertips (she says as she types away on her computer.) 
Would I be willing to invest the time and effort it would take to learn how to paint as well as  Mr. or Ms. 'Moreno' did? 
What will future generations do with their free time?
My husband and I tried to find Mr./Ms. Moreno on the internet (how would we ever find anything now without it?!) And though we could not find a definite match, I did find this on Ebay (click on the link, then click on the tiny little purple phrase "see original listing" just to the right of the 'L' in "Beautiful.") Scroll down to see the original listing - there are pictures of the painting (also a seascape) which has a similar signature, also in red paint, and also in the lower left corner. Though it is not a famous artist, the $650 price tag is still well above the $7.99 I paid for mine.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Octopus Chest

Remember this?

It was several years ago when I first posted a picture of this sad chest of drawers. I got it and another (painted to "match") from a mom I used to be acquainted with when my (now 15 year old) son was in second grade. Back then he was attending a privately run school that held an anual auction to help pay for playground equipment. The idea was to do a cool, creative decorative treatment - really make a "statement piece," you know? Never mind that the dresser is cheaply made, poorly painted and, well, more than a little homely to begin with. Then the school folded, we transferred back to public school, the mom did not have anywhere to store the dressers and did not want them back, so I was left with this guy (and his equally homely sister) which we stored in the well-pump house at our former home. When we moved to our current home, we brought the two dressers  - and stored them. Again.  *sigh*

I'm pretty sure I posted back in August of 2014 that I was inspired by the octopus chest that  Stefanie, blogger at Brooklyn Limestone, shared way back in 2012. It took me a long time to commit to a design, and an even longer time to figure out colors, but here is what I finally came up with:


Getting the chest to this point was quite a process! First I started stripping the gunky, poorly applied brown paint off, only to find laminated, faux wood printed paper (the original "finish"). Some of this was in fair enough shape that I could leave it alone, since I was painting the whole piece anyway, but much of it was damaged (probably why the brown paint?) and had to be scraped off, down to the bare (actual) wood underneath.

There were lots of things that needed to be filled, sanded, filled again, sanded again, and then primed before transferring the octopus design, a drawing I free-handed from a coloring book page. Then; 

much agonizing over the colors. 

I finally decided to just use paint I already owned (hey, I bought it because I like the colors, so...) I used Devine Colors paint from Target in Twig (the octopus) and Compass (the background). I found the composite brass and shell knobs (no longer available) on sale from the Anthropologie web site. They have some very cool hardware, it's worth a look-see!

This is only my second attempt at re-finishing a piece of furniture, and my first at painting. I have learned things during and since that will make the next project (a buffet for our dining room nook) go a little smoother, I hope. This project ranged over five years - from inception to completion. It's not flawless, but overall, I'm happy with the results, and that I can move this piece out of storage and put it to use in the house!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Not even going to discuss how long it's been...

     There is only one week left until school/work starts and I am scurrying to get projects done. The first six weeks of summer were spent desk-bound due to my lack of foresight in enrolling in 3 online classes (Never. Again.) towards a special ed endorsement. Then there was a week and a half spent with family vacationing in Florida (and here for 4 nights!). Finally back home to a lawn badly in need of weeding and watering and a dog exhausted from spending 10 days at the local "pet lodge" : (
     All of the things I had planned to do during my summer off got crammed into the remaining 4 weeks. The neglected yard was first in line; many broad leaved weeds were extracted from the front and back lawns (with the assistance of my recently TEEN-AGED son *sigh*).
The next project that I had been itching to complete was an office chair makeover. Last year I was allowed to claim two old, ugly office chairs from work as my own. They were (as stated) ugly, no one wanted them in their offices and they kept getting shuttled from one over-crowded storage area to the next. So I took them.
To prove that they were ugly, I submit this for your consideration
Exhibit a: "before"
     My plan was to make a cute chair to go in the Mom Cave for crafting and computering. I decided to have it powder coated after seeing the amazing transformation of two old institution style bed frames we inherited (sorry, no pictures have yet been taken of those...) so the chair and I made a little trip to Forever Powder Coating in Tumwater, WA. I can not recommend these guys highly enough - they are just amazing. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of colors and finishes to choose from. I chose a bright, orangey, poppy color for the frame, and found a coordinating fabric (on sale!) at JoAnne's.
Here is the finished product
Exhibit a: "after"

     I absolutely love it. In fact I am seated upon it right this minute! You may notice that the legs are bare (see the holes?) The caps that were on there were that hideous office beige colored plastic, and one broke as the guys were removing it. I opted for no caps and am fine with how it looks, however I think I could find replacements on line if I so desire in the future.
     The next project is an old, cheap 70's dresser that I want to paint. 

I really love the octopus dresser from Brooklyn Limestone, but am not a hundred percent sure that I want to do that design on this dresser. Anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Here Are Some Cold Hard Facts:

1. Holy Crap it's been a long time since I blogged!
2. I can't do anything with the "TV" room until we finish the kitchen.
3. We just started on the kitchen.
4. Kitchen remodels have been known to go looooooong.
5. My creative space (crafty corner) is in the "TV" room.
6. I want LOVE to make gift tags!
7.I feel better, happy, when my crafts table is clear enough to actually do crafts on.
8. I need to let go of more stuff.
9. I have a few (ahem) "unfinished" projects. Just a few.
10. I have ~several~ kits that I have not started. Some have not even been opened. Ever.
11. I am a creative person.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Link Love

Appropriate, no? This being the month of Valentine's and all.

Ever since I started working at the Preschool, I am hyper-aware of all things Preschool-y. I recently joined - er excuse me; was invited to join - Pinterest which has provided me with an excellent way to organize and keep track of all of the amazing ideas that are popping up all over the internet. (They were probably always there. It's just this new awareness of mine, I'm sure...) One blogger in particular, LiEr of "Ikat Bag," is charming the dickens out of me with her incredible style and creativity. She's a sewer seamstress, but also posts truly inspiring paper and cardboard crafts that are perfect for the Preschool-set. I would love to post pictures of some of her stuff that is blowing my mind right now, but I need to ask permission before I post any, so I will instead provide links and you can scoot on over to see for yourself why I am so gushy about her.

felt sugar cookies activity (OH how I love working with felt!)
home made "Happy Families" card game (based on the old one, apparently no longer being made)
home-made (custom-made) board game "Bak To School"
home-made stationery sets (using all the unused stickers from her surplus of coloring books... )

Miss LiEr is truly a talented mama, don't you think? I will most definitely be visiting her more often.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

snow day

an opportunity for me to clean the house...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Minor Set-Backs

So, after 10 weeks on WW, I had lost 18 pounds!!! Soooooo close to that 20 lb mark... And then... Christmas. And New Years. Cookies. And Champagne. And CHOCOLATE (don't forget the chocolate!)
But it turned out to not be as bad as I thought. Less than 2 lbs were gained, and while that is a minor set-back, I am back on track this week.
Of course it helps to be motivated, and to be motivated, you have to have a positive attitude. For me, positive thinking needs to be linked to something good, and I am happy to report that a very GOOD thing has happened! I am now a part-time Para-educator at the school districts special needs preschool! I am training to use the STAR program to work with three students with autism that are in the afternoon classes. This is a terrific opportunity for me as, of all the kids, I am most intrigued by those affected by autism. I have witnessed the progress of some of the kids who were students of this program last year, and it is absolutely one of the most gratifying experiences.
All of this has brought me back to my commitment to lose weight. And this year, I plan to add a little exercise into the mix, tone up those core muscles.
Looking forward to a very happy and healthy new year!