Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meet Nick, the dresser

Meet Nick.

It was time that Nick showed his true colors.  Christmas colors, actually.

Nick is from a time when working with your hands was common.  And his specialty was toys.  Handmade, wooden toys.

Winter is his favorite season, he loves smoking his favorite pipe, and he can never turn down a cookie.

He is a jolly old fellow, and some would say that when he laughed, his belly shook like a bowl full of jelly.

Sorry, but I couldn't stay away from the Santa references with this red piece.  I had been looking forward to trying a new kind of paint, Plaster Paint, that I first learned about from one of my favorite blogs to follow:  Three Mango Seeds.  This paint went on super easy and came out incredibly smooth.  It's my first time using it and won't be my last.

Instead of buying 12 new drawer pulls, I spray painted the original ones black to match the stain on top.  I have a new, SUPER EASY way of painting them too, that I will share in the near future.

I covered the paint in a stain/wax mixture that created a little more depth to the piece.  I'm moving good ole' Nick to Robin's Egg tomorrow where he will be looking for a new home.  Perhaps to the North Pole?

Have a Merry day,


Sunday, December 8, 2013

String Your Lights Like the Rockefeller Tree

It's the Christmas season and time to trim the tree.

If you are anything like me, every year you would wrap the lights around the tree like the stripes on a candy cane. . . . you keep going around and around the tree, slowly working your way up or down.

Well, this year I did some research.  Turns out there is a method to Rockefeller's tree madness.  And since there isn't a person on the planet that doesn't "ooooh" and "aahhhhh" over their fabulous tree, I thought I would adopt their method onto my 7 footer.

It really is quite simple.  First you need to mentally divide your tree into three triangles.  If you don't want to do the mental part, just measure the diameter of the fullest part and then divide that by 3.  The bottom of your triangle should be that length.  You can even mark the corners of the triangle with string, if that's easier.

For a 7 foot tree, 900 lights is preferable.  I decided to use 300 lights in each of my 3 sections.  First you need to unwrap your lights and start with the female end of your plug.

You want to stuff this end in the TOP of the tree.  From there, you want to work down your tree, covering the whole triangle, going left and right.  Since I was doing 300 lights per section, I decided about 150 lights down and 150 lights back up.  But I made sure to stuff the first 150 INTO the tree.  That way it would glow from the inside as well.

Here is the first section finished.

After the first section is complete, move on to the second and then the third.  After you are finished, you want to squint your eyes and look for any bare spots.  Adjust the lights to fill those in.

And that's it!  If you use the proper amount of lights for your tree AND follow this method, you should be very happy with your outcome.

Also, check out last year's post about a super easy way to display those Christmas photo cards.

Have a fabulous day,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Meet Daniel, the desk

Meet Tyler.

Daniel never applied himself in school, like many a young boy.  It was only as he matured, he realized just how important those formative school years were.  He vowed he would make sure his kids took full advantage of their education.

He created an after-school cribbage club where he taught many children how to play a game they could play with their grandparents.

He was also the guy that would volunteer for the dunk tank at the Spring Fling Festival.

And he read aloud to his kids, which they loved, because he used different voices for each character.  That is something they will always remember about their Dad.

I wanted to add some "fun"ctionality to this piece.  So I used some chalkboard paint for the top, drawer fronts, and the inside back of the desk.  The alphabet was hand painted on the top as well.  Can't you just see a youngster practicing their letters on the top?  Daniel would be so proud.

I went with a sweet vintage yellow which should appeal to both genders.  I hope like this little renovation.  Now get cracking with those math facts!!

Have a great day,


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Meet William, the desk

Meet William.

William has been a hard working member of his family for many years.  And the wear has shown.  It was time for a face-lift.

William was that kid that everyone liked.  It probably didn't hurt that he was the best linebacker his high school has seen in decades.  Or that he lead the Debate team.  He crossed all those lines; from geeks to jocks.

After attending Clemson and receiving an engineering degree, he worked for the government and retired comfortably at an age where he could enjoy his grandkids.  He loves to take them out on his 37 foot sailboat.

It wasn't easy getting William in peak condition.  I knew I wanted a wood top, but after carefully checking it out, I could see it was a wood veneer and not in great shape.

There was just too much damage.  So I crossed my fingers and scraped it off.  Hours and hours of scraping.  No need for the gym that day.

I'm super happy what I discovered underneath. 

 I also saw it fitting to carve in a little inspiration.

Built in the 1940's, he was made to last.  But over time, he was covered in paint and polyurethane.  Since polyurethane is oil-based, it will yellow the finish over time.  And that's what happened to poor William.  And since he was about 70 years old, I did a lead paint test, and it proved positive.  No fear though.  I ordered a special primer that covers lead paint.  And off to the races we went. 

He came to me missing some hardware and I could not find a suitable replacement.  And since these handles were not a standard width for "easy to find" new ones, I decided on rope handles.  I love the way they look.

I don't know why I didn't give up on him as he was SO MUCH WORK, but I knew he was worth it.  Hope you think so too.

He'll be making his way to Robin's Egg tomorrow.  He would love to meet you.

Have a great day,

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

From a Butcher Block to a Sign

I have a friend that is renovating her living and dining room into a beachy retreat.  I am living through her transformation.  Loving the color choices, the planked walls, the white mantel.  If I'm not renovating myself, I'm a barnacle on my poor friends who are.  :)

Well, I offered to make her a sign to go with her new look.  And of course I like to use found objects, or re-use ones from another purpose.  I had a small butcher block table top that fit the bill.  Add a few shells, and you've got yourself a little something.

I like the idea of using the thick, heavy top.  Perhaps my demented view of driftwood.  My friend gave me the quote and off to the races I went.

The quote was found on Pinterest and it fit exactly with how she feels about the beach.

I wanted a border and felt some waves were in order.

A beachy sign is not beachy unless it is distressed and weathered.

Tabletops are a great place to add some signage.  Get out there and reclaim today.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Meet Fiona, the side table

Fiona was a shy girl.  So much so, that when people talked about her, that would be the first thing they would remember.  "She's that shy girl, right?!?"

Not anymore.

Maybe it was going off to Smith College, where she started to feel comfortable in her own skin.

Perhaps it was the two years of roller derby where she was hailed as Punky Bruiser.

Or maybe it was just settling into life, doing what she loves, hanging with real people, and being happy.

I'm a little late to the party, but I had to paint something emerald as it's Pantone's 2013 color of the year.  I do love the pop of color it would give to any room.  And it looks particularly handsome paired with the wood top.

Fiona will be at Robin's Egg a little later this week, looking for her new home.

Have a fabulous day,

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What to do with those scraps

I have a lot of scraps.  You know, the cut ends of wood that you end up kicking around the floor.  Mine were piling up and they made me kind of sad.

Heck, I sell under the name, The Reclaimed Life, so I had to give them another purpose.

I took some random discarded pieces of pallet wood to make this lovely doggie:

I used some old weathered scraps to make this fun fishy:

I love this moose and I'm keeping him all to myself:

Kind of seeing a theme here?!?  Well, I do live in New Hampshire where we love our dogs, fish and moose.  And it wouldn't be New Hampshire without a bear or two:

I used much smaller scraps to make these bears.

You can make your own "scrap animal" too.  I stayed with my New England theme, but you can choose any animal, or object, you like.  Stay with a silhouette you would find easy to cut with a jigsaw.

I used my Silhouette Cameo program, but you can just put the outline of your object in photo editing software or a word processing document, enlarge to the size you want, print out the multiple "puzzle" sheets and tape it together.

After you have cut around your template, trace it onto 1/4" plywood wood, then cut out your object with a jigsaw.

Of course, I forgot to take more "during" photos.  But the rest is really easy.  Here's what you need to remember:  after you adhere your wood scraps, you will cut around your template again.  So you want to go past the edges when you glue the scraps to the 1/4" plywood.  Now just lay your small scraps across the wood, going over the edge of your cutout.  I like to vary the color and length.  Adhere the pieces with wood glue as you go along.  When I finished gluing all my pieces, you couldn't even tell it was a bear -- it just looked like a mess of wood.

After the glue dried, I flipped the bear over and put 1/2" staples in the back to make sure the wood scraps weren't going anywhere.  I kept the bear on it's back and cut around the wood template again.  This "shaved" off the ends of the scraps that were overhanging.  And that's it!  Just add a hanger and you're good to go.

I feel pretty good about saving some wood with character and making something new out of what was heading to the burn pile.

The bears will be making their way to Robin's Egg next week.  :)

Do good, save wood.  (**I made myself giggle**)

Have a great day,

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