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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Painting, Pressuring, and Pulling: A Laborious Weekend

Whew. The weekend is over and I’m almost looking forward to going back to work to get a physical break. Instead of heading to the beach or mountains or just relaxing in town, I somehow thought it would be a great idea to take on multiple home projects all at once. Brilliant.

Last weekend I started painting the bedrooms in my house. I’ve had the same grey throughout all of the house for about four years now. The color was an attempt to neutralize and unify the house after a rough patch in life. It worked well, but lately I’ve been ready to reinvigorate my surroundings to bring on more creativity. It was time to put color back on the palette.

Painting, like pie making, is another activity on my therapeutic list. There’s just something about covering over a past decision with something vibrant and new, but knowing that old decision is still under there as a base for your present.

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For one of the rooms, I wanted a purple. I’ve always adored the different shades of this royal color found in vegetables and flowers, but finding one for the walls is a different story. Purples can be difficult. They tend to either end up looking like you splattered Grimace on your walls or they dull out to a hideous mauve, reminiscent of polyester suits and rose perfume–brutal. This purple is neither. It is a plum with just enough brown in it to not be child’s play, but not too much to be old lady. The effect is at the same time relaxing and refreshing.

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For the guest room, which is really more of my library, I wanted
blue. Again, blues can be tricky. There are so many moods of blues. I didn’t want the beach-theme blue nor the cornflower boringness found alongside rooms of burgundy and emerald greens. I wanted something with depth and, again, to rouse the creativity beast inside me. Found it and it’s a perfectly dark, bluish-green that creates a cozy nook, but also gives an expansive feeling like looking out at the Blue Ridge mountains at twilight.

I realized after moving artwork back into both rooms, that the color choices may have already been made for me. Everything is fitting back in naturally and with a renewed beauty.

Next up for the weekend was pressure washing the massive deck. Well, decks, but I only got to one this weekend. The front deck runs the length of my house and is half as wide. My house being quite small, this is the compensation. A big deck. Yep.

So anyway, my big ol’ deck had become a hazard–a veritable adult slip-n-slide. Or maybe more like unexpected ice skating. Either way, it had to be rectified. After hours of work, and even some enlisted help, it still wasn’t finished. As with most things I get involved in, there was a hitch. By the time the hitch was fixed, I was caput. The difference on what was accomplished is shocking though and it is actually safe to walk on now. Pro=tip: ย don’t wait two years in Florida to pressure wash your decks.

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Before. During. After.

Then there was the garden. While my unpaid labor worked on the deck, I took on the yard. Cut the grass and then doused myself in bug spray and ventured into the vegetable garden that was overgrown with summer weeds, basil gone to seed, six-foot eggplant plants, and ‘Black & Blue’ salvia slowing marching ahead consuming everything in its path. I got out my tools–hand shovel, hand weeder, clippers–and proceeded to use none of them. Instead I used my glove free hands, as usual. I have to admit loving the feel of dirt under my nails. I will never have nice fingernails and I’m good with that.

11891182_10153520472232310_7267114819877121211_nScooting along in the dirt, I wrangled that garden back into shape and it’s now ready for fall seed planting next weekend. I will also be adding broccolis, cabbages, spinach, and herbs from starter plants in another few weeks. Violas, snapdragons, calendula, and nasturtiums will be included as edible flowers and to attract more pollinators.

Finally, the weekend of chores had come to a halt. I was sweat and dirt covered, stinking of bug spray, and ready to just sit back and look at all my hard work. Although a long weekend at the beach would have been glorious, even with an achy back and numb hands, I feel really good about the labors of accomplishing so much and seeing the results.

And now I’m going to wrap this Labor Day night up with a cup of chamomile, a fresh out of the oven cookie, a comfy chair, and the words of Jeanette Winterson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 andย after about three light coats, the brassy-ass chandelier was transformed.ย 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!