Monday, April 26, 2010

Quickie entryway changes

As you've seen before my entryway was in great need of some attention, but just to refresh your memory...

Nothing terribly wrong (except for the wood rot above the supports, it WILL be taken care of sometime this summer but just ignore it for now, ok?) but very blah.

A few weeks back I put up the lantern shaped house plaque where the house numbers are in the above picture and after that I turned my attention to this very lacking in anything charming and personal "boob light" (saw the term on a blog a while back, don't remember which one, but the name stuck with me because it's very fitting :)).

It was hanging right outside our entry door and functional is probably one of the nicest thing I can say about it. So while thrift store shopping one day I found this lamp for $7.

A little worn but with great bones.

So I took it apart.

Taped off the glass and spray painted away. I somehow neglected to get pictures of the spraying and a detail of the after so you'll have to take my word for it (and I was so proud of myself for getting some really good before shots for once... There's always something with me, isn't it?)

Anyway, I primed the brass and then sprayed it a glossy black. I also added some frosted glass spray to the inside of the lamp to obscure the socket and brass color on the inside of the lamp. It said on the frosted glass can that it's not for outdoor use but I figured I could get away with it since it's under roof and on the inside of the glass. Time will tell. Here it is up.

To me it makes a world of difference! It's so much cuter now, don't you think? I think I'll be adding a small black ceiling medallion to even out the proportions of the lamp and fully cover up the hole in the ceiling, there's a little opening there if you look closely.

Since my prettifying work is never done I then started eyeing this eyesore of a doorbell.

Don't ask me how long it's been sitting there but it's obvious it's been through a couple of layers of paint as well as countless dirty worker fingers. Yuck. Being thrifty and all I considered various creative alternatives but once I realized a brand new doorbell is only like $10 depending on the style you want I just went ahead and got a new one at Lowe's the other day.

Mine was $12 I think. The process involved TURNING THE POWER OFF, removing the old ringer, drilling a hole in the door frame for this flush mount ringer, hooking up the new ringer and screwing it into place. Ta-da!

Obviously you need to turn the power on again for it to work :) The button is lit (you can barely see it in the above pic) so it's easier to find in the dark. And the door frame needs a new coat of paint before it's perfect but it's already much better.

So again, the before.

The after (minus the door bell).

I'm so happy with the progress so far, yay for black details! Husby approved my plan of painting the porch supports black as well so sometime in the near future I expect to be getting to that part. I think that will be like putting mascara on your eye lashes (this from the girl who never wears make up) to draw the attention to the eyes, but in this case it'll be the door :) At least that's the plan. Stay tuned as I continue the quest for prettiness.
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Getting dirt under my fingernails

Summer's here!

I know because my bright orange toenails are back :) They're only orange in summertime. My feet look scorched and red, well, because I've been working like a lumber jack in our front yard doing this...

See my new wildflower beds? I've been tilling them, they used to be lawn and weeds. By tilling I mean me and my shovel spent about a week, sometimes up to 5 hours a day in scorching sun and heat, shoveling one piece of lawn after another. I'm achy and swollen in places I didn't know I had, but at least it's done now. The seeds are in the ground and now I just need to keep it moist for 4-6 weeks, yay! Hope my wildflower beds are going to be as beautiful as I imagine.

Here's how it looked before I started digging, the trenches mark the shape of the flower bed.

Here's a view of the front of our house.

Three weeks ago I spent a weekend making two invisible trellises on either side of the window.

They're hard to see because they're invisible :) You may be able to see the nails if you click on the pic for a larger view. I just threw this together using old pallet nails and fishing line because that's what I had on hand. The fishing line isn't going to last long but for this summer it should be fine. I've planted blue morning glories under each trellis.

The roses came with the house and they're so much bigger this year than last. As the novice gardener I am I have no idea why that is, but I like it :)

In the backyard I've started the process of changing these ugly jar lights for white globes, they're nicer looking and you can find them for almost nothing at most thrift store.

I may do something more to these lights but right now I have too much on my plate as it is so they're fine for now.

I've made lawn chairs from pallets and I'm so proud of how they turned out! I have no before or during pics because I honestly wasn't sure if it was going to turn out to be anything at all. But here they are!

This last pic is after they've been primed. I intend for this lovely couple to be a happy red when I'm done with them :) And with some cushioning material and some pillows I'm sure they could be quite nice to lounge on. Only used 5 pallets I got for free.

This is the view along our backyard fence. The sticks and trenches mark more wildflower beds that will be running all along the fence and on the far side next to the lawn chairs.

This one gives you a better view of the back. See that planter in the round flower bed? Guess what I made it out of? A tire!! I know, isn't it crazy?! Apparently this has been done a lot in country bumpkin land but I'd never heard of or seen it before and I thought it was a great idea. This is another project that I wasn't sure if it was going to turn out right so I only have afters :)

I started out with a used tire still on it's rim. The rim is optional but I must say the rim is the only thing that makes this look like a footed planter and not just a tire turned inside out. I followed the instructions on this website if anyone is interested in trying it out. Traditionally these planters apparently have scalloped edges to make it look like a flower but I liked the clean lines of a straight edge better. They can be painted in bright and happy colors but I left it black for now.

Another pic where it's been filled with dirt and a makeshift trellis made out of upside down tomato cages. Moon vines will be climbing here.

I've also planted tons of moon vine along the back patio to hopefully screen us from the sun later on this summer.

And my honeysuckle seedlings I planted last summer have taken off for real now.

Here's my birthday present from my darling husband (birthday was about 3 weeks by now so it's not a super recent thing). We bought this picnic table at Lowe's for $88 and I primed it, put it together and painted it a yellowish white so now we actually have seating on the patio for the whole family, and then some!

The sorry little bistro set we had out here before, more for lack of anything else to put here than any real intent, has now found a new place in another previously unused corner of our yard under a shady tree. The bistro table top has problems so I still need to do something about that, but oh, well... I'll get to it in time.

I guess I managed to snap the pic during one of the few times a day where the sun actually gets in there:) Normally it's quite shady in this corner.

So I'm sorry this is such a long and picture dense post but I tried to summarize a month's worth of garden work in one post. Mainly so I wouldn't scare all you crafty people off with too much boring garden stuff :) Now I'm off to water my wildflower beds and put the kidlets to bed.

Ps. Linking up with
Funky Junk
Tatertots & Jello
Between Naps On The Porch
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lantern-shaped house plaque

So this is what our entryway looked like, lacking in a lot of areas. Colorless, boring and uninviting.

There's nothing super wrong with it, it's just not what I want. It's too bland, I guess. (Yes, I know we have some wood rot to take care of this summer - it will be done).

We have a light fixture above/in front of the door (which you can't see) and I'll be changing it out within the next few weeks. Ideally I'd like to have a nice lantern next to the door where the house numbers are now but that will be a cost to draw electricity there and all so it's out of the question.

Inspired by chandelier wall decals such as this one which are all the rage right now I figured I could do something similar with my entryway. So I decided to make a lantern-shaped house plaque instead!

It gives me a nice illusion of having a lantern while giving our house number a classier presentation. By the way, I'm not going to go into detail about all that I'm planning on doing to this entryway but let's just say that it's going to look A LOT nicer when I'm done with it. Hopefully most of it will happen this summer, as time and money allow.

So how did I do it? It's not too complicated, it's just a cutout from a scrap piece of plywood I had laying around. But, here's what I did.

I started out with an image of a lantern that I liked. I believe I hijacked the image off of Lowe's website but I can't quite remember (this was a few weeks ago). I stretched the image slightly in Photoshop so it would be able to accommodate my four house numbers and then I blew it up using Blockposters (a detailed post on how I do this can be found here). This is what it looked like at that point.

This lantern was originally on a lamp post which I erased in Photoshop while I was playing around with it. But to make the bottom of the lantern look finished I drew a semi-circle with the help of a small glass (you can see that part in the pic above). And then I cut it out. This is my shape template.

At this point I was playing around with where exactly the house numbers would fit on there before I went through the trouble of jig-sawing it out. It fit so I very carefully replicated this shape in plywood.

It's a little hard to see in the pic but I also drilled some holes at the top and bottom of the plaque so I could attach it to the wall. And I sanded the whole thing as well to take off the rough edges and what not.

These are my beloved power tools that I used for this project: drill, sander and jig saw. All wished for and received as birthday presents and Christmas presents over the last few years, lined up on my latest birthday present - the picnic table (more on this in a later post). The pic isn't great but what's new about that, right? :)

So I flipped out my spray cans and went to work.

First a coat of Krylon primer and then a few coats of Krylon glossy black which is what I had on hand. I barely let it dry enough to touch before I whisked it up, brought it in and nailed the house numbers on, I just reused the original numbers since they were in ok shape. And then I attached it to the door frame with screws where I would have hung my real lantern. Here's the after again and some close-ups. 

It was getting dark so I tried it with the flash as well :) And just for fun - here's a close-up of the before as well.

100% better, don't you think? I really like the after but it might be because I'm already imagining all the other changes as well :) I have an active imagination when it comes to my projects and I get all excited about the vision in my head even before there's not a whole lot to show for my excitement :)

So, all in all this cost me $0 since I had all tools and supplies on hand already and it took one afternoon and evening to get it done. Not too shabby, huh? :) I'm more than happy with how it turned out anyway.

Ps. Linking up with The Shabby Chic CottageBeyond The Picket FenceSomeday CraftsPosh PiecesFunky JunkBetween Naps On The Porch.
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