Saturday, January 30, 2010

New old kitchen island

I have a nice sized kitchen.  It's not one of those ginormous open kitchens but it's a good size for us.  It had plenty of room for a smaller kitchen island and I really wanted one.  I've been looking for the right island for years.  I wanted something not too big, not too new, preferably white, multifunctional, a little chipped up, and really cute.  So, Jennie and I take a little trip to a small town in East Texas to hit a couple of antique shops.  There I find the perfect table.  So, perfect that I think about all the possibilities of how I could use it; all the possibilities except a kitchen island.  It was only about $30. so I get it.  We put it in the kitchen and left it there until I could decide what I wanted to do with it.  After living with it in the middle of the kitchen for a couple of days, I realized it could be my perfect kitchen island.  Here's what I did.

Here's the table.  It's solid, not wobbly like most. 

Love the old nails.  Even though it appears a little rough, it's actually quite a smooth surface.  It's just so worn down to a soft, smooth finish.  We found an old metal paper towel holder for $10. at the same shop and attached it to the side of the table.

Here's a close up of the holder.  Notice anything?  Look closely.  My husband attached it upside down.  The little raised lettering says "Scottowels"...upside down.

We found a large cheap galvanized gate handle at Home Depot and attached it to the front.  It's the new hand towel holder.  We always have a  little red kitchen towel on it that's easy to use for a quick dry of the hands.  This is the one and only time we had those ugly paper towels in the holder.  Now, we only have plain white paper towels on the holder.

I also found an interesting bread box and sat that on top of the table.  Love the little latch.  This holds so much bread, rolls, muffins, etc. so our lovely lab, Bella, can't get them for a mid-day snack when we're not home.  She often helps herself to something we have forgotten to put away or up high.

I added a couple of old ladderback chairs I got years ago at DAV (disabled veterans thrift store).  I got a set of 6 without seats for under $100., painted them and replaced and covered the seats.  Then added a small red rug from Pier One (which is so cute but I didn't get a good picture of it) and there you have it...a great kitchen island!  There's plenty of room to put a great large basket under it for more storage. 
Total costs for my new old island: table $30, paper towel holder: $10, bread box $15, handle $5
for a grand total of  $60. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

old dresser revisited

Remember way back in week one of my blog (which is now a whole three weeks old!) when I posted a picture of a dresser my husband brought home from his mother's house?  Well, I finally finished giving it a little makeover to better fit in with the style of our house.  Here are the before and after pictures.

Before:  it had one mismatched knob and needed to be painted or restained

After: a little bit darker stain and new knobs!  It's still has a slightly shiny finish although it's hard to tell from my poor photography skills. I like a dark piece of furniture against light walls and in a mostly neutral room.  It seems to ground things.

I know the proper thing to do is to strip the piece, sand, apply stain, sand, re-apply stain, etc.  I've always been one to take the easy way out when it comes to projects like this.  If I had stripped, sanded, etc,. I would have taken away all of the character and I want to keep the character.  So, I just applied a coat of stain right over it.  The only prep was to wipe it down with a damp cloth to clean it. 

The knobs are mercury glass knobs from Anthropologie.

Total cost: $48. for the knobs.  I already had the stain from another project and the dresser was free.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Clock Story

A few months ago, my pal Jennie and I went to one of the best little shops around, The Red Shed in Grapevine, Texas.  We walked around and found a few things (at great prices) that we decided to buy and take home.  But there was this clock.  I saw this clock and immediately loved it...but the price was too much for me.  It was a great price but just more than I wanted to pay.  So, I decided not to buy it...but couldn't get it out of my head.  I went back a couple of times to see it again, even taking my husband to see it.  Still, I just couldn't bring myself to buy it.  I talked about it all the time.  I told Jennie (who lives closer to Grapevine) if she ever stopped by the Red Shed and saw it for a certain price to buy it for me and I would pay her back.  (I knew this wouldn't happen because the price I set was way too low).   Every other day, I checked the Red Shed's website just to see it.  Finally, last week, I emailed the Red Shed to ask about it again.  I found out it was a working clock (that's a bonus) and although it was a reproduction of a french antique, it was actually made in France by a french company that specializes in authentic french reproductions.  That's good enough for me.  I inquired again about the price and if it was still available and it was.  So, I made the decision.  On Saturday, I would go there and get it. 

On Thursday evening after work, I decided to quickly check my email.  I see one from my pal, Jennie and clicked on it.  The first thing I see is a picture of her son standing next to MY clock on HER wall.  What?  Then I read her email where she explained that she went to the Red Shed but the clock wasn't there which saddened her because she thought it was sold and knew how disappointed I would be but then saw it in a different place and was relieved.  She found out that someone else was interested it because they had received an email about it.  After checking, she found out the email was from me.  So, Jennie bought it for a slightly lower price but not what I wanted to spend.   She told me I could just give her the amount I wanted to spend if I still wanted it and she would cover the difference.  What?  That is so nice of her!  She had no idea I had already decided to buy it regardless of the price.  So, on Saturday, instead of going to the Red Shed, I went to Jennie's house and bought my clock.  I love it.  I found the perfect wall for it in my den in progress but still need to hang it.

To see more great things, visit the Red Shed in Grapevine, Tx.  We'll definitely be regulars there. In a future post, Jennie and I will show you more things we bought from there.  How about the cutest ever $29. table that doesn't have to be repainted or anything!  Also read the inspiring story behind the Red Shed and their trips to Paris.

It's large!  It looks like galvanized aluminum or zinc...
with metal number tags...
and rusted metal hands...
and some french writing...
It's actually made of wood with the most awesome paint job I've ever seen but it's perfect for me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

favorite things part 1

For years, I collected little salt and pepper shakers.  Why?  I have no idea but for some reason I liked them.  I only liked the ones that were old and made of glass, silver or aluminum.  I also would only buy sets under $10.00; preferably under $5.00.  Believe or not, for years I found a lot of cute little sets for just a few bucks.  Slowly, the prices began to rise and my fascination began to decline.  I no longer add to my collection but the ones I do have are among some of my favorite things.  I keep my most favorite ones in an old medicine cabinet I found at an antique mall.  The rest remained in a box for awhile until I saw an idea in a magazine (it had to be Country Living or Country Home since those were the only magazines I read for many years).  Their idea was to use a large old jar to hold a collection of things.  Well, I had a couple of old large jars so I picked one and put the rest of my salt and pepper shakers in it.  It looks pretty good.  It sparkles a bit when the sun hits it which is kind of nice although I'm not really much of a "sparkle" person. The occasional natural little sparkle is great but too much sparkle just isn't my thing :)   

Below are my grandfather's keys.  I never met him.  He was born in the late 1800's and died in the 1930's.  He was 50 years old when my father was born and died when my dad was three.  I keep his key chain hanging under my fireplace mantel.  That's where my parents kept it in their house so it's as good of a place as any.  Let's call that a tradition.  I love a good tradition.  The interesting thing about this set of keys is that there is a little metal tag on them.  I couldn't get a great picture of it where the writing was clear but it says "if you find these keys, please return them....and get a reward".  Then, it gives the address to return them to along with my grandfather's last name "Leonard".  Now, I don't know for sure but I'm guessing that one of these keys is a house key.  By the way, the date on the tag is 1930.  I guess homes were a little safer and people a little more trustworthy back then. 

still working on those photography skills

Lastly, here are pictures of our puppies.  They are a huge part of our family.  Since we only have a son, we refer to them as "our girls."  We got our first one, Ballou, in 2002 as my anniversary present to my husband.  His dream dog had always been a chocolate lab.  I snuck (is that a word?) a few bucks out each month for several months to save for her so he wouldn't notice a big hunk of money gone from our account.  She is now 7 1/2 years old and the best behaved little lab in the world.  Our other one is Bella.  We got her for free (she was about 2 months old) when a family with very young children thought she was little too much to handle.  She's an interesting little dog with a unique personality.  She's now 4 years old. 


(all photos by my neighbor Kim because she takes better pics than I do)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

wire picture frames

Does everyone's heart go pitter patter when you come home and see a UPS or FedEx delivery sitting on your front porch?  You obviously know what's in the box since you are the one who ordered it.  Still, it's a bit like Christmas or your birthday all over again.  I came home from work today and there was a little brown box all tucked away from public view sitting on my porch.  How exciting!  I know it's those picture frames I ordered.  I hope there as cute in person as they looked on the website....wait a minute while I tear into the box....oh they are!  They are called boucle frames and they are made from some simple rustic wire; no glass. I bet one would look really cute painted a creamy white and chipped a bit.   Gave one to my neighbors, the Macchios,  because I like them (best neighbors award for sure) and because Kim was the first to post my first ever comment on the blog.  She has a great blog too.  I've listed it in my blog list.  So, here are the frames and where you can get them too.

here it is with a picture of my musician son

the back is as cute as the front

more detail

Sunday, January 10, 2010

laundry basket addendum

I'm looking through the new Pottery Barn catalog, not to buy but for ideas, and in the corner of one of the pages I think I see my laundry basket I posted about a couple of weeks ago.  If you look at the actual catalog, you can see more of it.  This photo only shows a tease but I think it's definitely the same basket.  That's exciting to me because I am not an interior designer (I know you already figured that out) and not even a real decorator.  I've never been ahead of the decorating curve or up on the current trends.  So, to see something I bought months ago in the new Pottery barn catalog is so much fun.  My husband and son kind of laughed when I brought it home (it's quite a large basket) and Jennie's husband had an apprehensive grin on his face when she brought her's home.  But now look!  It's an accessory in Pottery Barn!  

Pottery Barn Photo: look close in the bottom right corner

this is mine :)

coastal guest bath redo

Jennie's mom, Kay, shared some pictures of her guest bathroom which was a recent redo.  The first picture shows the "before" which was a cute red bathroom.  I love red.  However, she received the beautiful shell mirror for Christmas and it just didn't work.  So, the other pictures show the makeover.  She changed the color scheme to lighter colors, hung the mirror, updated the towel rods and hardware and made the shower curtain herself! She used an old belt as a curtain tieback.  Genius.  To me it looks like it went from nautical to coastal cottage!

before:  red and nautical

after:  pretty coastal cottage

Kay made the shower curtain.

She used an old belt for the tieback.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

vintage toys

Below is a picture of my den.  This is the room we are currently working on and I'll give more details in a future post when there's more to say about it.  As you can see, there are very little accessories.  We're working on that.  As we continue to pack up my in-laws' house, we occasionally find the neatest thing.  The latest, tucked in a drawer under stuff, were these little wooden tops.  I'm told these belonged to my father-in-law and his brothers who played with them as little boys.  I loved them and wanted them all.  Coincidentally, I noticed they just happened to be the main colors of my new den; red, blue, spots of black.  So, we brought them back and I lined them up on the coffee table until I could find the right place for them.  A couple of months later they are still lined up on the coffee table.  I think I like them there.  Such a cute little display.

den in progress

Thursday, January 7, 2010

my pal, Jennie

Most of my hunts for interesting things are done with my pal, Jennie.  I've known her since 3rd grade.  I won't tell you how old we are now but if you're good at math, you can probably put 2 and 2 together.  We have teenage children, been married to our spouses for around twenty years, missed our 25th high school reunion and didn't care and have discussed the best wrinkle cream.  So it's safe to say we are over 21.  Jennie and I have very similar tastes in everything but just different enough to keep it interesting and keep us from fighting over the same item.  Back in the early 90's, I was looking for a sofa.  Jennie and I are not good at making decisions and we both had been looking for sofas for probably over a year.  We lived about 5 hours apart and so we didn't shop together at that time. Finally, I found the sofa for me and bonus!...a chair too.  I called her up to tell her about it.  I told her I finally bought a sofa and chair.  She said I just did too!  I told her I bought a red check sofa and denim chair.  Guess what she bought?  Of course not, we didn't buy the same thing.  She bought a denim sofa and red check chair.  See?  Just different enough to keep it interesting.  She loves a bargain too but doesn't mind spending a little more money if she needs to.  I, on the other hand, will just walk away if it's over my self-imposed limit.  Again, different enough to keep it interesting.  She does have one of those cute laundry baskets I mentioned in a previous post. 

So, why do I tell you about my pal, Jennie?  This blogging thing is new to me and I haven't convinced myself that I can do it well.  I need support.  I need help.  I need someone to do it with me.  So, I invited Jennie to share my blog.  She'll soon be posting too here with pictures of her house and projects and ideas.  I think this is going to be fun.  Our husbands are probably excited too because the more time we spend on this blog, the less time we will be out finding more stuff to bring home!

3rd grade
 (just kidding; not actual photos of  us)

laundry made pretty

Laundry...that dreaded task.  It's one of those chores I absolutely hate to do.  My house wasn't blessed with one of the beautiful large laundry rooms with shelves and baskets and hooks and decorated so cute.  No, mine is barely big enough to house the washer and dryer with a couple of little shelves above them. Only one person can be in there at a time.  Combine the small size of the laundry room with the fact that I will go to great lengths to avoid doing laundry until I absolutely have to, then it's no surprise we often have dirty laundry spilling into the hallway.  It's not attractive. 

So, I'm at an antique store and find the cutest thing.  At first, it's a mystery exactly what it is but soon realize it's some type of laundry basket.  The tag says it's an old french laundry basket.  Is it really "old french?"  Who knows but it certainly makes it sound even cuter.  So, I had to have it.  I roll it up (yep, on the cute little wheels on it) to the counter to buy it.  I'm a little concerned if it will fit in my car but I'll get it home somehow.  After paying, the cashier guy says "do you want me to collapse it so it's easier to manage?"  "What?  Collapse?"  By golly, it does flat as a pancake and fit easily in my car.  Of course, when I got home, I had to figure out how to uncollapse it and I'm not good at those kinds of puzzles.  I did manage it though and then thought how it was too cute to actually use for laundry.  I strategically placed it in my house just as decoration. I just loved it sitting there empty looking pretty.  Then, company was coming.  We were doing the last sweep before their arrival to make sure the house was in order.  At the last minute, we noticed the laundry spilling out of the laundry room on the floor.  Can we just shove it in and shut the door?  Sure but who thinks clearly when company is coming up the driveway.  So, I quickly roll the laundry basket to just outside the laundry room and fill it.  You know what?  It's still cute...and now functional.  I didn't mind leaving it out.  In fact, I leave it out all the time with dirty laundry or not.

sitting pretty

reality sets in; but still cuter than a pile on the floor

This website sells reproduction ones just as cute.

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