It’s About Time

Vintage Clocks Bubby & Bean

A few of my favorite images on the Pinterest boards are of vintage clocks. I LOVE clocks. The bigger and bolder and older the better.

Large Blue Vintage Clock Shelterness

Photo via Shelterness.com

Since I am always so stressed for time, and oftentimes so immersed in my work that I forget the hour, clocks keep me in line and on time. (Except for the time when I was so busy sparkling up my holiday wreaths that I actually forgot to go to work!) Since I don’t wear a watch, I depend on my cell phone to tick away the hours and notify me when my time is up.

CDH iPhone clocks

But old timepieces, worn and shabby and oftentimes not even keeping time, evoke memories of simpler times passed by.

Cherubs and Clocks Indulgy

Photo Via Indulgy.com

Which is why, I believe, they are so appealing in today’s interior designs. No matter what the style, they blend perfectly and give a timeless presence.

Vintage Clock Shelterness

Vintage Clock Vignette via Shelterness

You will find vintage and shabby clocks on the pages of Pottery Barn

Vintage Clocks Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn Square Pocket Watch Clocks

 Ballard Designs

Vintage Clock Vignette Ballard Designs

Joss & Main

Clock Vignette Joss and Main

Joss & Main

and, of course, on Country Design Home! These are two of my favorites- this Paris clock sits in the alcove in my kitchen

CDH Kitchen Clock

and this one graces the glass and mirror bookshelves in my living room. Both are from, where else, Home Goods : )

CDH Living Room Clock

But my favorite vintage clock is this little beauty. Sooo love this! (Anyone happen to know where I can find one of these?)

Vintage Rhinstone Clock

So it’s about time for me to get back to work! One more week til the Vintage Thymes September Market– aptly name Vintage Thymes. To see more beautifully timeless images, click here.  Have a great time this weekend everyone! Susan

Blotting a Map

This week I have been up to my eyeballs in maps-all kinds, shapes and sizes-in preparation for next week’s Vintage Thymes Market.

Maps books

My September Theme is Back to School-you won’t believe all the cool retro school stuff we have found! But the maps are Coach’s thing, and these are not the hundred plus he already has at a Ward Maps Shop in Cambridge! This is an expansive collection of are all sorts of maps: countries, cities, roadways, the heavens, the earth, the ocean floors. My favorite is this gorgeous 1950’s Map of Outer Space- the colors are amazing!

Map of Outer Space

And they will all be available next week at the shop. Well, except one. I decided I needed a blotter for the desk I have been working on-also for the shop, so I grabbed an Upper Northeast map to cut up and use for the blotter.

This is the How-I-Did-It:
Supplies: foam board cut to size, fabric or paper (or one of the maps you will be purchasing at my shop next week : ), glue, vinyl sheet (optional), backing paper or mat board, cutter & T-square or scissors, tape
1. Measure out your foam core board to the size you wish to have the finished mat. Cut with scissors or rotary cutter and T-square.

Foam Board Cutting

2. Measure out the map, making sure the design you want to show on the front is positioned correctly. Before you cut it, make sure it is very smooth with no wrinkles. You can iron paper, BTW. Just use a no-steam, cotton setting and keeping moving the iron!

Ironing Map

Cut with at least a one inch border around the edges. You will be turning these under to give the edge a smooth finished edge.

Map Edges on Board

3. Spray adhesive on the foam board, then position the cut map with even edges on all sides.

Elmer's Craft Bond

I love this Elmer’s Craft Bond glue because it is temporary before its permanent, so it gives you a bit of time to reposition if you need to. It is quite messy, however, so make sure you mask the entire area you are spraying or you’ll end up glued to the table!
4. Add a layer of vinyl (this part is optional). I happened to have a roll left over from when we shrink-wrapped the porch last fall. I know, it’s almost that time of year again, yuck. This will give the blotter a wipeable, durable finish.

Vinyl Coated

Measure out the vinyl, leaving at least a couple of inches all the way around. This stuff is thick, so you need some extra to grab on to the back. By the way, vinyl is one of those things that tends to attract dust and dirt, especially in the basement. The cleaning solution? A dryer cling sheet!

Cling Sheets
5. Cut away the corners at an angle and then fold the vinyl in like a Christmas present corner. Tape securely to the back. (don’t worry, you are not going to see it anyway)

Vinyl Corners6. Add the sides.

Side Pieces

These are great for tucking in papers and paint chips and such. Measure out two pieces of foam or cardboard as wide as you like, but exactly the height of the blotter.

Side Pieces Measured

Measure out the map paper so that there is a few inches hanging over the ends.

Cutting Side Pieces

7. Position the side pieces, spray glue them, and then fold the ends over the edges and secure to the back with tape or glue. (The only thing I would have done differently would be to fold three sides over the edges to give it a cleaner look. The more you know…

Side Pieces Taped

8. Measure out a piece of backing to finish the reverse side.

Backing Paper

You can use paper, fabric, mat board, anything you would like, but remember, you are not going to see it anyway. If the surface is delicate or scratchable, I would definitely go with felt or fabric for softer protection. Glue the backing to the foam board, covering up all the messy folds and tape.

Glue on BackingAnd …

Blotter Completed

9. Voila! You have a customized, durable blotter for your desk! Have fun customizing it to your room- the skies (or the heavens) are the limit! Have a terrific Thursday, everyone! Susan

A Backsplash Backstory

Last week, I learned a few things about installing a backsplash while helping out with a DIY kitchen makeover. But before I share the how-to (or not-to-do), a little back-story:

Kate Wheel of Fortune

A few years ago, my daughter, Kate decided it might be fun to be on a game show, specifically Wheel of Fortune,

Wheel Of Fortune

because a co-worker had mentioned that she had been attempting to get on the show for years, and never got the call. Kate recalled that as a very young child, she had watched it with her grandfather and tried to guess the turning letters. My father’s tease was naming Vanna White in whatever color gown she happened to be wearing: Vanna Yellow,

Vanna Yellow

Vanna Purple,

Vanna Purple

which always delighted her (Kate, not Vanna). So she signed up online, got called almost immediately for an audition in NYC (much to the chagrin of her snubbed co-worker), made it on to the show, flew to LA, wore her lucky red shoes,

Ruby Slippers

and she won! See if you can guess the bonus round puzzle-it’s a thing.  +++

Puzzles

When you see a game show hosts tell a contestant “this $50,000 is life-changing money” and you scoff and think its not, think again. Following Kate’s victory (and once she received her winnings), she got one of these:

Bartlet Puppy

resigned from her job and was accepted to law school

Gaveland simultaneously purchased a 2 bedroom condo in the burbs of Boston with her boyfriend. Since purchasing that condo, they have slowly made significant improvements, including tearing out old beige carpet and installing hardwood floors, painting the rooms and making it their own-all DIY projects. The kitchen, most likely last updated in the 70’s, was functional but not so pretty. But starving (lol) law students don’t typically have the means to gut and renovate a kitchen, even if they do win game shows, so that was tackled piece-meal, changing out hardware, adding new appliances (some DIY, installing the microwave and disposal and faucet themselves) as the old ones finally sputtered and died, and finally adding granite countertops (not DIY) and the backsplash (cue how-to). So these are the lessons we learned:

1. Installing a backsplash is not as easy as it appears on all of those DIY shows where the host hands the trowel over to the homeowner and say “Here. Finish this tonight for homework while I go back to my hotel and sleep.” Make sure you assemble all of your necessary tools first before you begin the grouting process!

Grout Supplies

2. Use the cardboard backing from the tiles squares to mask the countertop and provide enough space for the caulk to fit once you have grouted.

Masking Cardboard

3. Use a level. Repeat. Use a level.

Backsplash cardboard

You have to make sure that ground zero (that starting point) is perfectly level and vertically straight or you will install the equivalent of a disco ball on your wall. Disco Ball

Which may not be a bad thing if you’re feelin’ a little groovy…

4. When you are installing stainless steel squares, either do not remove the protective plastic until you are finished grouting, or use unsanded grout to make sure you don’t scratch the steel. (After all, it’s called stainless steel, not scratchless steel!) If it doesn’t say unsanded on the package, it’s sanded. Lesson learned a bit too late.

Scratched Stainless Tile

5. Once you have discovered that the float with the grout is scratching the tiles, you switch over to the finger painting method, making sure you firmly press the grout into the cracks without scratching the steel tiles.

Backsplash Fingerpainting

Yucky work, but had to be done. Used these wipes to clean up the tiles, which worked very nicely.

Stainless Wipes

6. Make sure you protect all of the surfaces surrounding the backsplash, including your new granite countertops, because the grouting is messy and grout globs fly all over the place. And grab them before they hit the floor, so the dog doesn’t eat them!

Taping off for caulk

7. Have a BIG wet sponge handy to wipe up all the excess grout you are dropping and smearing all over the place. Better yet, cut the sponge in threes and keep a constant wet one handy to wipe and clean as you go.

Grout Supplies

8. Make sure you account for the NEW DEPTH of the electrical outlets. Because there was no backsplash when the plugs were installed, they were flush to the wall. We were part way around when we discovered this error-woops. So we ended up cutting off these little corners so the tiles would fit snugly. Not sure what those are for anyway…

Plugs

9. Make an appointment with a nail salon upon completion. You are going to need it.

10. Stand back and admire your sparkly new backsplash-the jewelry of the kitchen!

Backsplash Reflection

11. In the overall scheme of things, it’s fun, and cost effective to attempt DIY projects. But in the future, all tile installations will be left to the pros. But for now, what a beautiful, shiny, sparkling backsplash!

Backsplash Completed

Kind of looks like one of Vanna’s sparkly dresses, yes?

Vanna Silver

And if you ever decide you want to be on a game show, but think, no way, that will never happen, I just can’t do it, do it anyway. You never know where your wheel might steer you! Hope you are having a great long weekend everyone! Susan

+++ JOKES AND PUNS  (I know, right!?! How did she get that!?)

Mousetrap!

Mousetrap Game

As a kid, it was one of my favorite games. The little mouse was caught in the trap and the balls rolled around and if you did it correctly, it would untrap the mouse! Who would want to untrap a mouse in your house-what a nightmare! And, speaking of nightmares…you know when you have one of those restless nights at 3am when you just can’t sleep so you try to read and that doesn’t help so you decide to go down to your basement workshop and paint and as you are descending the stairs, you see this?!?

Mouse

No? So, that’s just me? The strange part was, he wasn’t scurrying around, just laying belly down on the concrete floor, commando style, but his mouth was twitching. Hmmm. Cancel that workshop idea. Went back to bed, making enough noise so that Coach asked if I was OK, to which I responded: “There is a mouse in the basement, can you go kill it?” I pretty much will do any home-renovating and restoring type projects, being the strong, independent, “I Can Do Anything” type of woman I am,

We can do anything

but that does not apply to rodent control. (Unless, of course, you count the time I captured the squirrel with the trash bag- read that saga here…)

squirrel trap!

Squirrel Trap!

His drowsy response: “You want me to go kill it now?!” So we went back to sleep, and Coach got up first thing and discovered the mouse in the exact same place I left it the night before. I don’t have any poison or mousetraps down there, and we haven’t seen one in quite awhile, so I am not sure exactly what killed the little guy. Coach suggested it was all of the chalk paint I have in my work shop-perhaps he got a taste of Duck Egg Blue or French Linen?

Chalk Paint French Linen

Since I think chalk paint is supposed to be non-toxic, it’s more likely he got a taste of some deadly paint remover or stain. Didn’t he see the skull and crossbones on the can!?

Skull and Crossbones

Obviously, I don’t need to set a trap, since I have some sort of mouse killer already in place. However, as a public service announcement, I will share with you my favorite mouse trap: The Ortho Max Defense Mouse Trap. We have tried them all, and this one rocks! This is a no-muss, no-fuss kind of gadget. Just set it, and when it’s done its job the little lever pops up. You don’t ever see the poor little country mouse who just got smooshed. Sad, but effective and necessary to keep your home rodent free. Why don’t they just stay outside with the other woodland creatures where they belong?

Ortho Home Defense Mouse Trap

So, with that, it’s time to return to the dark and dreary basement to work on some projects-but I’m thinking I need a new workshop! Something bright and beautiful and (preferably) not underground. Like this one I recently spotted on the blogs-can you believe that someone actually gets to create in this space? I’m certain you won’t find any mouses (meese, what’s the plural?) here-unless it’s attached to a Mac.

WorkRoom The Creativity Exchange

Workroom The Creativity Exchange

But a crafty girl can dream, right, even if she can’t sleep at 3am? Have a dreamy Friday, everyone-it’s a long weekend! Susan

The Green Mountain State

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, so I am sharing a few pics from the Green Mountain State- Vermont. Last week Coach and I joined some dear friends for a few days of R & R in Stowe, Vermont. Although we made a couple of antique and junk shop stops, this trip was meant to be a relaxing and non-working fun time-really?!

Vermont Holy Cow

No blogging, no painting, pickin’ and hauling cupboards and deer home in my CRV. We headed to Stow, a three hour drive from home, viewing not much along the way except brilliant blue skies and many, many miles of timber lining both sides of the highways.

Vermont Sky

We made a few stops along the way, including the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour in Waterbury.

Ben and Jerrys

This consisted of a brief movie detailing the beginnings of Ben & Jerry (yup, that’s their names, for real) and a short tour through the processing plant where they produce and package 250,000 pints per day!! After that came the free sample-Strawberry Cheesecake with chunks of graham cracker crust-yum.

Ben & Jerrys Strawberry Cheesecake

We made the requisite stop at Quechee Gorge, which was quite low, not much water rushing through here!

Vermont Quechee Gorge 1

The support struts were pretty impressive, however.

Vermont Quechee Gorge Struts 1

Here are a few pics of some highlights of our little vaca, including the gardens at the Woodstock Inn,

Vermont Woodstock Inn

some sweet yellow wildflowers in Stow

Vermont Wildflowers

and this cute little cub carved from a log.

Vermont Carved Bear Cub

(BTW, I have added chain-saw carving to my DIY bucket list, so does anyone have one I can borrow?) On our final morning, we took a gondola ride to the top of Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak in the Green Mountains.

Vermont Mt. Mansfield View

Those of you who know me personally know that it takes a lot for me to ride on a vehicle suspended in the air by a slim cable, climbing up into the sky without any chance of escaping. Vermont Gondola View

As we were waiting to board, this sign came into view-seriously!?

Mt. Mansfield Gondola Sign

The only life saving equipment I spotted were some rubber mats wrapped around the bases of the gondola poles. Fat chance that’s gonna stop a runaway car plummeting down 4,393 feet! The view, however, was well worth it : )

Vermont Mt. Mansfield Trees

And, even better news, I had cell phone service thanks to the mountain top cell towers!!

Vermont Cell Towers

What’s up with the no service again, AT&T? The “Around Me” App doesn’t really do much good if I don’t have any service!

AT&T No Service

First Maine, now Vermont and even 30 miles outside of Concord NH, I had no service while my friend sitting right beside me was happily playing Candy Crush with her Verizon iPhone! AT&T, are you not aware that New England is part of your “Fastest 4g Network?!?”  Despite the cell snafu, we had a great time with some great friends. We ate out, sunned by the pool, shopped, saw some wildlife,

Vermont Moose

did a little trivia, at out some more, and just kicked back and relaxed. And, since Ben & Jerry have asked, we will come back again soon : )

Ben & Jerrys Come Back Soon

Have a terrific Thursday everyone! One more day til the long weekend-yippee!! Susan

A D.I.Y. Project for Humanity

It’s been a week since my last post- I can’t believe it! Coach and I had a little getaway with some dear friends, this time to Vermont, and I took just a short respite from my blogging duties.

DIY Ben and Jerrys

That is not to say that I didn’t take photos, or shop for “junk-tiques”, but those I will be sharing in the next few days. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a blog that does more than just share DIY stuff.

One Project Closer's The Better Half

I began following One Project Closer’s The Better Half when I discovered their weekly DIY link-up contest.

DIY Contest 1

Loads of DIY blogs host these: you share your own favorite DIY post of the week, and a bunch of others bloggers do as well, and they all get posted on a link page. Then you get to see all the awesome ideas that craftspeople come up with! But this one has a twist: you link up your own before and after projects, and each week they choose a winner who receives a $50 gift card. And on behalf of that winner, they donate $100 to Habitat For Humanity!  (I did submit my Oh, Deer Towel Rack, but, sigh, he didn’t win…)

Deer Head Plaque Instagram

On top of that, these ladies have been involved in a project on a much grander scale. Over the summer, Jocie from The Better Half took part in the GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure, where she, along with 5 other DIY bloggers, ventured along the World’s Longest Yardsale. They drove and shopped and purchased items to refurbish and completely decorate one fortunate homeowner’s newly built Atlanta home, courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.  Today was the reveal, and what a reveal it was!

DIY Habitat for Humanity Home1

Habitat for Humanity

An entire home furnished with reclaimed, refurbished and reloved items! Amazing! This is Jocie’s Living Room.

DIY Living Room 1

Living Room by One Project Closer’s The Better Half

And this was the boys’ bedroom designed by Liz Marie Blog.

DIY Boys Room1

Boys’ Room by Liz Marie Blog

Loving this colorful, sweet girl’s room designed by Carissa from Good N Crazy.

DIY Girls Room 1

Girls’ Room by Good N Crazy

There are loads of other spaces and fresh DIY inspirational ideas- just click here:

DIY Framed S

And if you want to learn more about Habitat for Humanity in your area, click here:

Habitat for Humanity

Well done, One Project Closer and friends! You have taken an empty house and created a warm and loving home for this grateful family. Keep up the great work, and hopefully inspire us DIY’ers to use our skills for the greater good. Have an inspired week, everyone! Susan

Messages In My Garden

Over the weekend, Coach and I had a barn sale to get rid of some old books and old stuff (basically to make way for some new old stuff).

books

We did quite well, thank you, and managed to make some dough while making some space in the barn, so that’s a good thing. Our two story barn sits adjacent to our home, with a white picket fence and arbored entrance connecting them. The fence separates the driveway, where all of the “junque” for sale was displayed, and our back yard, which is sectioned into a stone patio, a perennial garden with a small pond, a rose garden, a second perennial garden divided down the center by a brick pathway leading to yet another arbor.

Red Rose Bush

As potential customers moved closer to the barn to search for treasures, the gardens were in full view, and I overheard more than a few folks exclaim “what an incredible yard”, “such beautiful gardens” and “it’s like an oasis” that we have hidden behind the fence. Now, I am not going to take any credit for this, as the green thumb in the family belongs to Coach. Other than an occasional “grab a few weeds as I am playing fetch with the dog” kind of gardening, I simply do not have the time nor the inclination to nurse the flowers, shrubs and occasional green frogs that habitate our back yard. This little guy is actually quite noisy!

Frog In Lilies Closeup

As luck would have it, I just finished reading “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  Without revealing the plot, I will share that the book follows the story of a troubled young woman who finds her way in life through the meanings of flowers. Never having given this a thought, I nevertheless found the idea of flowers having true meaning quite compelling, and I started looking at our gardens in a new light. Although we have literally hundreds of varied flora and fauna, I am sharing just a few of my favorites. The Black-Eyed Susan’s that are scattered in bunches throughout stand for Justice. I like having those in the garden.

Black Eyed Susans

And the simple Daisy, my favorite flower,

Daisies

and the name of our much-beloved and now since passed best furry friend. She loved to lay out on the grass in the sun, surrounded by the gardens. Daisies stand for Innocence.

Daisy in the Garden

Intertwined with the Daisies are these pretty yellow flowers. Growing in abundance, we have to keep cutting them back or they overtake everything. I don’t have the meaning of them, because I don’t know their name, but I will call them Happiness. (If anyone can identify them, please tell me so I can share their true meaning!)

Daisies and Yellow Flower

We do have a Dogwood that just flowered for the first time this spring. Unfortunately, as with much of the garden this time of year, the beautiful flowers have gone by, and we are left with the leafy greens. But they will return next spring, so… Love Undiminished By Adversity.

Flowering Dogwood

There is quite a bit of fern that grows naturally in the shady parts of the yard. Simple and green and soft to the touch. Sincerity. 

Fern

An entire grapevine arbor behind the barn grows larger each season, sprouting curly tendrils that reach out in all directions.

Grapevine on Tree

The more you cut it, the higher and wider and stronger it grows, which is great for making grapevine wreaths!  Abundance

Grapevine

Just recently, the Hibiscus has blossomed, with massive, stunning blooms the size of dinner plates in multiple shades of pinks and reds.

Raspberry Hibiscus

But they shrivel and die quickly, to be replaced by even more exquisite blooms. Hence the meaning…Delicate Beauty

Peppermint Stripe Hibiscus

Along the entire length of the stone-walled perennial garden are the tightly-packed Iris.  Message

Iris

And along the porch are holly shrubs, like the kind you see at Christmas with the bright red berries. Presently they are yellow, but as the seasons change, so does the hue, a harbinger of winter to come. Their meaning is Foresight.

Holly Berries

And then there is Ivy, loads of it growing over the stones surrounding the pond, essentially hiding everything but the water. (I call it the chia pet pond).  A strong vine that grows freely but creates strong,protective bonds with everything within its green grasp. Fidelity.

Pond with frog

And scattered through all of the gardens are Phlox. In every shade of white, pink and purple. they constantly cross-pollinate (thank you, bees!) and sprouting new pastel shades each year. Our Souls Are United

Phlox

Periwinkle borders much of the brick walkways and stone-lined paths. For one short moment each season they display their pretty little purple buds. Tender Recollections

Periwinkle Border

The magnificent orange tiger lilies bloom for a very short time, then leave behind a wall of green stalks. But while in bloom, they are Majestic.

Tiger Lillies

And then there are roses. All shades of pinks and reds.

Hot Pink Rocket Roses

I am not particularly fond of roses. Why is something so beautiful apt to cause so much pain? And yet the messages are of Love (the reds)

Red Roses

and Grace (the pinks).

Pink Rose

So, the next time you stop to admire a beautiful garden, or choose a bouquet as a loving gift, just for a moment think about the meaning of the flowers, not just the colors or style. You’ll be surprised at the messages those blooms can convey. Have a meaningful Monday, everyone!! Susan

Take Your Pic (Monkey)

I recently happened upon this awesome photo editing website I would like to share with you: Pic Monkey! Pic Monkey Logo

I use photos all the time for my blog, my Pinterest page, Facebook and my Etsy shop. That’s a lot of pics! Although most of the time I just use my Iphone 5 to take photos and my desktop Paint program to crop and resize, oftentimes I need to edit or enhance my photos. I do use Instagram and Photoshop express on my Iphone or Ipad, but I’ve been searching for an inexpensive desktop editing tool and this is it!

Pic Monkey Front Page

Cheap is good, free is better. For free, yup, no $$$, you get a multitude of editing options including fun enhancements like backgrounds and collage layouts and text additions. You don’t even need to sign up, just download, edit and go! But, for less than $3 per month, you get an ad-free, amazing program with loads of extra goodies!

Pic Monkey Lux-O Design

In a short amount of time, this is what I produced with the basic, free, super easy, drop and drag online editing tool. This is the original collage I built from some photos of the amazing St. John wedding (almost a year ago, is that even possible?!)

St. John Original

This is the same pic, enhanced using a basic editing effect.

St. John Brush Effect

And again the same pic with a burst enhancement

St. John Burst

And this one is with the dusk enhancement. So many options!

St. John Dusk

Once you are finished editing, they ask you how you want to save the picture for the best resolution, depending on whether you are printing it or digitally saving it. They talk you through the options in regular language (not techno-speak) and have a bit of a sense of humor as well : ) LOVE.

Pic Monkey Print Settings

And then you get to save it to your own computer files or share it via email or social media such as Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr. I’m pretty sure they thought of everything. But I really just started playing with the program, so I am certain there is so much more to discover!! Try it yourself, and send me a pic to post. And have a picture perfect Friday, everyone! Susan

Big Rack Attack Towel Rack!

A few weeks ago, I started a mini-reno on our downstairs half-bath. Well, it started out as a mini-reno…

Bathroom floor

 While that project is still ongoing and will be unveiled shortly, my Big Rack Attack Towel Rack project is ready to share with the world!  Having seen them used for decorating, both in print and on TV, I had been searching endlessly online and in stores for a white porcelain deer head to add to an old tabletop (you’ll see…) without much luck. Everything was either too big, too small or too pricey to use for a budget bathroom remodel. It didn’t make sense to spend more on an decorative accessory than we did on the new toilet. So, while in Maine a few weeks ago, I grabbed this one in a flea market for three bucks and thought “perfect!”

Deer Head Before

Apparently this is intended to be stuck to the outside of your car window so that it appears he is busting through the glass. Is this 6 inch buck head with the super cute face supposed to be scary?! And who would be driving around with a deer crashing through the window anyway? But instead of hanging him outside the window, this little guy enjoyed the ride home on the dashboard in the blazing sun to soften him up so I could reform his antlers, because they were a little smooshed together.

Deer in Window

So while he was basking in the sun, I stuck a hair clip between the antlers, then allowed them to cool and we were good to go. So here’s the how-I-did-it:

Making a Big Rack Attack! Towel Rack From An Old Tabletop and a Plastic Deer Head

1.Used a decorative piece of wood for the base.  In this case, it was a small cherry tea table top without any legs. I cleaned it, then taped off the center for a decorative painting technique.

Prepped, taped wood plaque

2. I wanted an aged, colorful middle, so I grabbed my folkart crackle medium. To create a crackled finish, you paint the surface using an undercoat, whatever color you want to appear through the cracks, in this case white. Then you paint on a layer of the folk art crackle paint medium,

Folk Art Crackle Medium

then add the top coat. The crackle medium makes the top coat crack apart, instantly aging it like 100 years easily.

Wood Crackled Blue

This top color is Behr Midnight Dream , a color I chose to co-ordinate with the new bathroom color scheme. Behr Paint Midnight Dream

3. Waxed the frame edges to bring back the original cherry luster. Used my Annie Sloan Soft Wax for that. Really brings back that glow in the wood.

Wood Wax Finish

4. Propped the buck on something to allow spray painting on all sides. I placed it in an old mason jar, impaled on a screwdriver surrounded by a plastic bag (that’s even worse than crashing through a car window!) Poor deer…

Deer Head Shiny

5. Primed first. Since this was plastic, I wanted to make sure the paint adhered well. Used Rustoelum Speciality Plastic Primer.

Rustoelum Plastic Primer

5. Painted with gloss white paint to give the appearance of porcelain. Used Rustoleum Gloss White which made it super shiny!!

Rustoleum Gloss Paint

Deer Head Primed 2

6. A friend had suggested that I use a little brass plaque to give the deer a name or tell the date of his capture. I went with some old scrabble letters that spelled out “Oh, Deer” but use your imagination. The letters were too blonde (is there such a thing?), so I used this furniture scratch touch up marker to give them a little color. Love those pens!!

Oh Deer Letters

7. Adhered the deer head to the center of the plaque with hot glue. Now, unbeknownst to me, while all of this had been going on, my amazing children surprised me with a beautiful large white deer head from West Elm for my birthday!! Even David Bromstad said it was a really nice deer. So there’s that.

West Elm Deer Head

It’s much, much larger than my daughter’s little guy Bartlet, but he wasn’t scared, so much as just a wee bit worried, perhaps?

Deer and Bartlet

Unfortunately, the big buck was so big it didn’t fit in the middle of the plaque! So he has to go back to whence he came, West Elm, and since they don’t have any more of the small ones, we are going to shop for another beast instead. A rhino, perhaps? Who else would have a rhino in their bathroom? So, I didn’t permanently fixate my little deer head to the plaque, just hot-glued it for now, in the event that he needs to move on to greener pastures.

8. I needed to add a bit more rustic glam to my piece, so these metal stars were perfect. Again, used the stain marker pens to change the stars from silver to bronze. The result was kind of a mottled look, which was perfect.

Deer Stained Star

9. Attached the hook at the bottom. This is going to be the guest towel rack in the new bathroom so it needed a hook or two.

Hook for Rack

10. Stood back to admire my new Big Rack Attack Towel Rack!!

Deer Head Plaque Instagram

So, next time you stop by for a visit, you’ll be hard-pressed not to notice the big rack (insert joke here) Sometimes we just have to take things a little less seriously, folks. Now I just have to finish the rest of the room, seriously. Have a wicked awesome Wednesday, everyone and just remember: If a big rack attacks, turn him into a towel rack!  Susan

Copper Cleaning Accomplished!

Copper Coffee Pot Before

After much trial and tribulation and multiple attempts utilizing all sorts of natural and chemical cleaning formulas, my copper coffee pot is now perfect!

Copper Pot with flowers

Since my last blog, I have received multiple suggestions from several sources on how to get my copper pot clean and shiny. After posting the question on my “Antiques Are Green” LinkedIn group, the cleaning options were endless from the many dealers and collectors of all things copper! Among the home remedies mentioned were vinegar, salt, lemon, ketchup (yup, ketchup-apparently not just for hotdogs anymore…), 0000 steel wool pads, Brillo pads, Chore Boy pads, Never Dull wadding or just put the damn thing in the dishwasher.

Copper cleaners

I also tried my Magic Eraser sponge and my Cape Cod Metal Polish with some luck, but still not perfect.

Copper Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Also mentioned on LinkedIn were lacquer thinner or acetone (nail polish remover) and kerosene (really?!?), or having it dipped. Not sure what that means, but it conjured up images of my helpless coffee pot being immersed in a boiling, bubbling hot vat, and that made me sad. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…

Copper Kettle Turbo Squid

Among the commercial polishes I could try were Siege, Wrights, MAAS, Liberty, Brasso, Twinkle, Silvo and Bar Keeper’s Friend. But I was hoping to keep it “green” clean, so I started out with the natural method, utilizing heated vinegar in a large pot.

Copper Vinegar Gallon

Once I placed the pot in there, the bits of bubbling lacquer appeared floating on the surface. Yuck.

Copper Floating Varnish

But it was working!

Copper Pot half dipped

Or so I thought. Flipped it over and immersed the other end. This was the end result. Double Yuck.

Copper Tarnish Mess

I finally decided to go for the commercial products, and the one that was mentioned more than once was Bar Keeper’s Friend, which I found on the shelf of my local Home Depot for $1.48. I got some Brasso, too, just in case that didn’t work.

Copper Cleaner Cans

Make a soft paste of BKF and started wiping the pot with a sponge, instantly removing years of tarnish and varnish and dirt! Copper Tarnish In about 3 minutes time, my copper coffee pot, and even the brass handle, was gleaming and shiny and pretty! So the Bar Keeper’s Friend is now my friend as well! As a disclaimer, I am sure the other products mentioned would have worked just as well. But this is the one I saw first, and the Brasso was at the hearty recommendation of the Home Depot clerk. Who, BTW, could not have been more that 17- I am curious as to just how many copper pots he has cleaned?!?Copper Pot Complete Since my Barkeeper’s Friend worked so well on the coffee pot, I grabbed a copper sconce I was planning on painting, but now it’s got a whole new shiny life as well! Copper Sconce Then this plaque, which was so dark and tarnished, I couldn’t even tell what the picture was until I started cleaning it. As I was rubbing the bunny, I noticed a signature at the bottom and the date was 1502. So I stopped. Did a Google search and discovered that the Young Hare was painted by Albrecht Durer in 1502. Copper Bunny You know when you’re watching “Antiques Roadshow” and the expert says “gee, it’s too bad you cleaned this. It would have been worth a million dollars but now it’s ruined and worth about twenty bucks”? I’m pretty certain that this copper engraving by Albrecht Durer isn’t the real deal because it’s mounted on a backing that appears to be a more modern substance than what would have been available in the 1500’s, but the tag says made in Germany, so I’d better check it out before I ruin it! So there you have it, 2 weeks of work on a $1 copper pot that finally came clean with Bar Keeper’s Friend. Have a super sunshiny Sunday everyone! Susan

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