Thursday, October 28, 2010

Swedish clock - in more ways than one :)

I've been seeing several pictures of homes with Swedish clocks (also called Mora clocks) in designer blogland lately. Being a Swede myself I've been aware of these kinds of clocks for as long as I can remember but haven't really been all that enamored with them. Maybe because they're huge, cumbersome and usually covered in (in my opinion) ugly traditional Swedish painting. Not to mention expensive. So not really my cup of tea.

But the one's I've seen online lately have been simpler in color and style and they do have some charm to them with all their curves and all. So I decided to whip up my own, total cost about $5 for some craft paint and mirror, everything else I had on hand. (This room has very little natural light so the pics are a bit blurry, sorry).

The clock face on the finished version is the original wall clock I started out with, a standard natural wood clock bought from Ikea. It was hanging all by it's lonesome on this little wall stretch that didn't have any practical purpose. I've tried hanging stuff protruding from that wall in the past but my husband and guests keep bumping into it, so something flat with an impact was just the thing I needed.

This gorgeous pink specimen was my inspiration. Had the pic (which I found on Flickr) been a little higher resolution I would probably have used it the way it is, enlarged and modpodged onto wood. But it turned out to be a little too pixelated for my taste and I really loved the profile of this one.

So I played around in Photoshop to get the outline of the clock and used PosteRazor to blow it up to the size I wanted it to be, basically as tall and wide as would fit on that wall. I think it's about 6 foot tall or so. Printed it out on the printer and then I pieced the whole thing together on the floor using scotch tape.

After I had cut it out I just had to try it on the wall to get a feel for how it would look :)

Looking good :) So I copied the shape onto an old siding panel a previous home owner left for us and cut it out with my jig saw (no pics of this, you'll have to take my word for it). And traced some of the features onto my cutout so I could start working on it.

For all the little round bumps around the clock face and elsewhere I decided to use what I had on hand. Cashew shells. I've been holding on to them forever thinking there must be a way to use them for something and I guess I've found at least one use now.

I just attached them with hot glue. And to simulate that hole in the belly I glued on a craft mirror of approximately the same size as the original hole. I used E6000 glue for this and "caulked" around the edges with hot glue.

You can see some of the lines I traced in the above pic.

And then I painted it all white, except the mirror. I ended up doing three coats of antique white and through the last coat I could very vaguely see my traced lines. The below pic was taken after the second coat.

I then filled in all my traced lines with burnt umber using a small craft paint brush. The contrast between the brown and the white was too big so I washed some diluted white over all the lines and wiped it back. And then filled in all the gold areas making sure not to color over any of my lines (the gold covered really well and I wanted the lines to be visible).

Trying it out with the clock face on at this point. Clock face still in it's natural wood state.

The cashew shells are formed almost like finger nails so I felt like I was giving someone a manicure as I was painting the gold :) Maybe a little creepy but that will be my only contribution for Halloween, I'm not into creepy.

When that was done the piece looked a little too spanking white and new for the antique look I was going for. I washed the thinnest layer of heavily diluted burnt umber all over and wiping back with baby wipes for just a touch of age without it just looking dirty. I think I succeeded pretty well. I may sometime in the future go over the whole thing with some antique mod podge to get that yellow cast of old varnish but for now I'm done. And on husband's suggestion I also washed the clock face with that very diluted burnt umber. It could almost pass for weathered wood because it almost has a gray tint to it, possibly a darker stain. Either way, it goes well with the gold.

The wall clock is just nailed onto the clock face and hung the usual way. Easy peasy :) The clock is surprisingly light weight. I attached two sawtooth picture hangers to the back and hung it from two nails, one at the top and one at the bottom, because my board was a little bent and needed help staying close to the wall.

I give you a plethora of after pics this time, the perfect after pic seemed elusive with the lack of light. Maybe the quantity will make up for the lack of quality. One can only hope :)

By the way. I'm not a painter so I decided to not butcher the piece by trying to add shadows to give the illusion of dimension. It's not a perfect replica but it is one that anyone can make (I hardly freehanded anything but copied the lines from the original with the help of cut out details of the color image blown up to size) and it cost hardly anything. It gives me the illusion of a three dimensional Swedish clock without taking up any room. When these walls finally get painted brown the clock will look a lot more dramatic and pop off the background.

This could easily be made using contact paper on the wall instead of a board for those of you without power tools. I also think it would be cool to use any type of wall clock for the face, it wouldn't necessarily have to match the rest of the clock. Traditional mixed with modern can look really cool.

Our dining room is shaping up and looking statelier already :) Do you like it as much as I do?

Ps. Linking up with
My Romantic Home
Finding Fabulous
Funky Junk Interiors
It's so very Cheri
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More arches - bedroom this time

We got back from a mini camping vacation a few days ago. I would say I'm refreshed but I'm not so sure :) Loved being in nature by the water and sleeping in a tent. Trying to keep the kids entertained/contained/alive - not so lovely.

I wish they would have a fenced off area where you can let them roam free without worrying about them getting out/getting hurt, like they have in dog parks, so I could actually sit down and enjoy myself for a while. As it were they saw the water - "let's go swimming, who cares that we can't swim" and they saw the playground - "let's play, never mind the cars passing between the tent and the playground". And it's our job as parents to try to keep these death defying youngsters alive AND entertained. One usually excludes the other. So either the parent is bored keeping them safe or the kids are bored obeying their parents. Thus my wishing for that doggie park area which is safe AND fun.

And upon returning home our place still looked like a hurricane had come through (the aftermath of packing for a trip with kids around) and somehow managed to get even worse with all the luggage, dirty laundry etc. Luckily we're having people over this weekend so it'll get cleaned up soon :) I need strong motivators like that to do some serious cleaning up.

Anyway. I made some more of those Moroccan window arches, slightly different this time, using a plain wooden trellis from Lowes. Cost about $13 for one trellis. I think it would have been nicer to use two trellises, one for each window, so I could have gone a little bigger and been more extravagant. But in the name of cheapness I went with one for both windows.

Still turned out pretty well. I'm not 100% happy with it but for the money spent it's good enough. By the way, these pics are kind of washed out looking because I had to lighten them after the fact (not to mention the walls are white but they will be a greyish purple when I'm done). But at least you can see what I took a picture of and you wouldn't have unless I'd doctored them a bit :)

Here are the befores. I do intend to do something about those upside down blinds, they're on the to-do list which is about a mile long :)

I must admit that I have very few during pics this time because I was hurrying through this project trying to get it done. It seems almost impossible to get my crafting time in lately.

So anyway. The lattice screen was cut in two pieces, about 2/3 of it for the big window behind the bed and the remaining third for the side window. I had to adjust them a little bit, cutting some off of the bigger one and adding some pieces to the smaller one to make them about the same height. And cutting out the arches of course.

Here I'm grafting on the lowest diamond to the side window screen with the help of my stapler (not pictured).

I also added a "frame" to the lattices by adding little leftover pieces along the edges and stapling them on. The cutting was all done with my little jig saw, worked just fine. And I colorwashed the wood with some acrylic Burnt Umber craft paint to make them dark. The inside arch needed some definition so I hotglued on some ribbon.

The arches are so lightweight I could just hang them from two nails above the window. The pic above is without the ribbon and the below afters are with the ribbon (you can barely tell a difference in daylight). I love the ribbon but a solid ribbon would have worked better than this sheer one. Don't feel like redoing it so it'll have to do for now.

I even made the bed before taking these pics :) I'm so proud of myself!

Details of the ribbon.

The ribbon is a Christmas ribbon I found at Garden Ridge for $4 for 10 yards. Not bad.

So what do you think?

Ps. Linking up with
Someday Crafts
Beyond The Picket Fence

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The simplicity of glass

I'm not sure why but the last few years I've had this thing for glass containers. Especially the tall, curvy kind. So whenever I see something like that at the thrift stores I'll snag it up and my collection is growing. I'll only show you a few today because the majority still don't have a specific purpose (they're part of that work in progress I mentioned last week).

What I especially like using them for these days is to plant flowers, or in my case green plants (I love flowers but for some reason the stuff that's easy to keep alive indoors look kind of "granny" to me so I stick to the green stuff for the most part).

It started with this.

I found this perfect container to start my first (and only so far, but I want more!) terrarium. I planted it almost 2 years ago and I haven't touched it since except for dusting it now and then and mist some more water in there on occasion. And the little ivy seems to like it in there with it's pagoda (old tea light holder from the thrift store) and magical purple stone.

The terrarium lives on the mantle because of the sticky-fingered people but it was originally intended for the coffee table (I know, a girl can dream, can't she? I decided it was best to deal with reality once I saw what they were doing with my precious terrarium).

The ivy was a little too big when it was time to plant so I divided it. The smaller part went into the terrarium and the leftovers were planted in a glass vase. I've already had to upgrade it to a bigger vase once because it really likes it in this window.

It's reaching for the sun like a ballerina, clinging to the circle trellis I made out of a wire hanger.

Here's what I love about planting in glass containers. The glass is classic, elegant and sparkly and the visible dirt is earthy and grounding. I just love that combination, especially with masses of greenery spilling out at the top :)

There's no drainage holes in glass which I've been able to mostly work around. It seems to me you don't have to water your plants quite as often since the moisture stays put. When I do water them I can see through the glass how much water they get and I try to not overdo it since it's hard to get the water back out once it's in. I miss it every so often but the plants I have are the ones that have gotten used to the abuse and live on in spite of it.

Ferns are good because they like it wet to begin with but if you go too far between waterings you can just trim off the nasty yellow bits.

This poor little guy is still hanging in there despite the torture I put him through. He needs a bigger container and I'm still looking for the perfect one (he's planted in a Dollar tree vase placed on an upside down thrift store vase for a pedestal). It doesn't help his case that he's in a neglected part of our dining room so he goes from bone dry to sopping wet and back again. He got a quick hair cut right before I snapped this pic to get rid of the yellow strands.

So when you give a fern a hair cut you end up with stubby ends like above. When your visitors come by that is a sure sign to them that you've been abusing your plants. To cover this up I also snip the ends into an arrow to mimic the look of an untouched leaf and then sit back to leap up the praise for taking such good care of my plants :) (Not with this guy, I should hide him when we have people over until he recovers or dies).

This one I newly replanted in this curvy glass container.

You can see the yellow ugliness which is a result of too much water last time around... So I'll have to give this one a hair cut too one of these days. Sigh.

But the curvy glass pot looks good no matter what :) And I guess you can see me in there too if you look closely enough, oops. Curves and all :)

Of course you can use your pretty glass containers for the tried and true storage.  This trio can be found in our bathroom.

And if you simply don't like the look of plain glass you can always dress it up a bit.

Here white glue and twine cover up most of this glass vase.

And for the exotic minded.

A glass bowl and vase covered in white glue and glitter. Every morning when the sun hits the bowl a myriad of stars cover our bedroom wall and ceiling. Quite a nice way to wake up :)

Glass is inexpensive (at least at the thrift stores) and simple and yet so versatile. Which of these looks/uses do you like best? And do you have a unique use for your glass containers that the rest of us would be interested in? Do share!

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