Spot of Gun Rack Tea?

Summer rolled in like curry through your colon. Still over a month away from the official calendar start, this past weekend was the first time I had to come in by 10 a.m. from the garden. There will be many, many, many more weekends like it ahead, but I wasn’t prepared for them to start seemingly so soon. Pretty sure I say this same thing every year though.

If given the choice, I prefer being outside. But I admit that every so often, I don’t hate days I’m forced inside. They become crafty project days and my pile of projects has been growing for a while now. The thrift and antique stores in North Carolina are impossible for my mom and me to avoid when I visit. Last time, I went up with the intention of finding a pie plate and came home with a rocking chair…that is still in the pile of projects undone.

However, the piece I decided to work on this weekend was a local find a few years back–20160515_205509.jpgan old, wooden gun rack. I always intended to cosmetically change it somehow, but never did. I ended up using it as it was, first as entryway storage and then in the bathroom as a display piece and towel holder. This time, I wanted it to become a tea and coffee station in the kitchen. Between hand-me-downs from my grandmother and my own thrift store treasures, I realized that I had a pretty assortment of tea/coffee cups hidden away in the cabinet.

After hitting up the hardware store for dowel rods and hooks, I went through my closet of leftover paints, looking at what was still usable. Thought about the colors of the cups and how I wanted them to be the focal point, not the rack itself. Pulled out the paint I used on the kitchen cabinets and went with that. It also happens to be the same color as the walls in the kitchen, but it’s satin while the walls are flat.
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Primed, painted, and second-coated that bad boy. During the drying times, I painted the dowel rods and hooks a bronze color to match the existing hardware on the gun rack. The wall in the kitchen that I wanted it on also houses the breaker box and that needed to be hidden. I used to have a chalkboard over this spot, but never used it. So out with the old…in with the tea? No clue.

Anyway, I liked the way the rack itself kind of disappeared into the wall, and the extra space of the extended rods to hang towels if I want, but when I put the rods in the side holders, I figured out they weren’t level (duh). Makes total sense if you actually visualize a gun and how it would lie in there. I have never been around guns, other than the rifle in my dad’s closet that he shot snakes with, so I did not know this about the racks. I be smart though, so I just popped in some tiny nails on the lower side and boom. Level rods. Or at least close enough. Measure never, eyeball it always.

At this point, I wandered around the house looking at fabrics, serving trays, paintings, 20160515_181552.jpganything that I could fit behind the rods to hide the breaker box. First, I tried a vibrant kitchen towel that was a birthday gift. I loved the pop of colors, but my pretty cups were too matchy-matchy and didn’t stand out enough. Since the purpose was to show them off, this option didn’t make sense. I also tried to cram the robbin’s egg-blue enamel serving tray that goes with the cups back there, but it was just a bit too wide to fit.

Then I remembered the funky chicken pic my mom gave me a while back after I begged her for it and then tried to steal it from her. It was sort of hidden behind my stand mixer in the corner, under the upper cabinets, and deserved a more prominent spot. My kitchen being the room in the house with the chicken decor, I pulled that out of hiding and put it up. After adding the cups, saucers, jars of teabags and honey, as well as a stirring spoon, my gun rack turned tea station felt just right.

What do you guys think?

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Cheapo Chandelier Peacockablues

Aaaaaaaaaaand, I’m back!

I could make a ton of excuses about why I haven’t written anything here in ages, but the fact is that without a deadline, I get lazy. The reality is that this blog is more for me than anything else. If you join along, I’m happy to have you, but this is a means to get me and keep me writing. So from now on, I’m going to put some deadlines on myself and see what happens.

This summer is both flying by and dragging its heels in the mud. We’ve had record high temps and a ton of rain, both of which put a hurting on my summer veggie garden. I was able to escape for a week up to the mountains of North Carolina to visit family. It was perfect there with 50s at night and high 70s during the day. We never even had to turn on the A/C!

One of my mom’s and my favorite things to do together is to hit all the thrift shops and antique stores while there. There are a ton of them and we can always find bargains. This trip I had a list of a few things I could actually use in my house so I could focus when shopping. I ended up getting two of the three things on the list, which were a chandelier for the kitchen and a spring form pan for deep dish pies. Came home with a rocking chair in need of repair as well, but more about that later.

I never liked the trackish lighting in my kitchen. It always felt a bit too masculine for me and I was ready to lady it up in there, so when I saw this beast for $12, I snatched it right up. We had seen quite a few by this time, but the most important aspect for me was that it would put off enough light. I cook a lot and often and need my work space well lit. I knew this one would do the trick and I was already imagining colors and bulb shapes in my mind before I got to the register. I think my mom was skeptical at first, but I had a vision.

Chandelier pre-paint…

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After some back-and-forths with a designer friend, contemplating the current style of my house and the idea of a future palate I want to work within, the color waspaint chosen: a peacocky blue. Luckily, I found the perfect shade in a Rustoleum spray paint called Deep Turquoise. It was close enough and after about three light coats, the brassy-ass chandelier was transformed. Many more discussions were involved when picking the light bulbs. If you’re going to talk to a designer about light bulbs, be prepared for ALL the details. The thing is, you need them to make the best decision. I ended up, for price reasons, going with regular ol’ incandescent, frosted balls to finish off the more modern look I was trying for.

With new paint and bulbs, it was all coming together as I had imagined. Next up was to havechand2 it installed along with a dimmer switch. It was hung, bulbs were in, we flipped the switch and…NOTHING. Instantly freaking out that this thrift shop lied about it being in working condition, my dreams of finally having a chandelier were fading quickly. The electrician rechecked all the connections again and was stumped. It should have worked. And then he saw it. A little switch on the side of the light itself that controlled whether just the top bulbs would be on, just the bottom, or none at all. It was on the total off setting. WHEW.

Once the switch was kicked into the right setting, the vision was complete. The shape, color, bulbs, and the light were perfect for my space…

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First summer project from thrift store funk to fancy is complete! I love the bright work light this chandelier provides and also the calming, dim, ambient light. This project cost just under $35 total and transformed my kitchen space.

Next project currently in progress is the rocking chair in disrepair. It will take more effort, but will be worth it. Stay tuned!

I Felted a Turnip

A while back, I signed up for one of those subscription box things. I chose a crafting one called Whimseybox. Every month, they would send a box with everything you needed to craft some new project. And every month I would look at it and then push the box aside. Well, I’ve finally decided to try it out and share my less than stellar crafting skills. Prepare to be unimpressed.

The first box I pulled from the stack was one in which you learn how create a felt turnip. That’s right. Felt a turnip, people. Because who doesn’t love a littlellama felted turnip in their lives? So I opened the box and, to my instant delight, I saw a llama in heart-shaped sunglasses. I wondered what a llama had to do with felting a turnip, but soon found out…nothing. Nothing at all. The llama is just there to greet you with instructions on the proper way to felt the crap out of a turnip. I took a large gulp of wine and opened the prettily-wrapped box.

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Inside, I found everything I needed from the sheets of felt, needles, a piece of foam to work the felt together on while trying to avoid drawing blood from your fingers, a bonus roll of wasabi tape in my favorite color, purple, and a pin for accomplishing my first craft. Not sure I earned that pin by the end of it, but I’m keeping it anyway. Once I saw the picture of what the final product was supposed to look like, I decided to name my craft Tom the Wine Turnip.

So I got to work rolling and tucking in the edges of the flat piece of white felt,10689624_10152832009522310_5907930556364314626_n 13997_10152832009367310_805330420170990726_npoking it with the gold needle all over along the way. The llama instructed me to do this until I had a tight, round ball shape and to save a small piece of the felt for later use. This all takes time. And patience. I drew blood pretty quickly. I drank more wine.

At this point, it was time to create the top hat and root for Ol’ Tom. I pulled a strip of the purplish felt loose and  secured it to the top of the turnip ball by lightly stabbing it with the silver needle. The silver needle was also implemented in attaching the root, which was that extra piece of white felt rolled into a rootish shape. Next came the turnip greens. This required forming the stems first, attaching, and then cutting to the preferred length.

Half a bottle in, two more blood draws from my fingertips, and who knows how much time had passed…

And then that damn, hipster-esque llama tells me I have to make the eyes and mouth from small chunks of the black felt and carefully attach them…with the needle. I guess that is the cool thing about felting–no gluing or sewing. The felt becomes Velcro-like by pricking it over and over with the needles. I did my best at needling a somewhat cute face onto Tom and maybe it was the wine-eyes, but I think he turned out pretty alright. What do you all think?

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Overall, I enjoyed learning the craft of felting. I now see why those cute little felted animals cost so much. This takes a ton of time and patience and mine is still just half-assed. My greens could have been longer and the root a bit thinner, but I made it through without any serious injuries and I think I nailed an adorable smile. I know I have a few friends that would delight in the stabbing element of this craft…you know who you are.

There you have it. This has been the first installment of crafting with wine.

I mean, Jenn. Crafting with Jenn.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!