Monday, July 29, 2013
This was supposed be 1…2…3 done kind of project and I guess for the most part it was until someone, my husband, and something, my cat, had made some decisions and choices that forced me to elaborate on the original plan at hand.
It started off with an old, dated upholstered bench seat I have had for years. Needing an ottoman for the library I decided I was finally going to utilize the bench seat. After many flea market trips I finally found these great legs at the Glendale Community College Flea Market.
They needed some serious cleaning but I was planning to paint them out and they were the shape I was going for. After much sanding, and incorporating the help of my husband, this is where he probably thought it was HIS project to make any necessary ‘changes’, we sanded them down to the bare wood.
Hmmm, pretty nice and once again a wood project I intended to paint ended up being stained. But those caps, yikes! What to use to clean brass? So I hopped on over to my local Bed, Bath and Beyond and found me some Bar Keepers Friend. Made myself a paste and let it sit for a bit. Ok, maybe not quite a bit, I got impatient and opted to put in a little elbow grease too.
WOW they look great and against that dark stain they really pop! I’m very happy with my decision.
I had 2 fabric choices. The striped one Nicole gave me, the other I bought with the intention of making, a still to be determined, valance. Turquoise is my primary color so I chose that one.
Wrapped the bench with some batting, added the fabric and stapled away, those corners are always tuff especially with thick fabric, finished the bottom, add the legs and BOOM there you have it.
I thought it looked great…my husband not so much. He wanted something taller. I get it but I really liked the legs. So he came up with the idea of carrying over the same look as the bookcase he made and use the cubes as a base. Make the cubes big enough to put magazines in and you got yourself a deal.
Well it looks pretty good and it’s more functionally than mine. You can see the bookcase in the background. It’s a keeper. Unfortunately my cat, Abby likes too.
I wasn’t going to let Abby destroy this ottoman and I have yet to see a cat use a store bought scratching post. Then it hit me – make one out of fabric you don’t want the cat to ruin. I had my husband build me a nice tall post with a semi-rounded base for stability. Painted, and this time I had no problem painting out the plywood, the base, wrapped the post with lots of batting and with the fabric Nicole gave me, sewn up cover. I needed to entice Abby to use the scratching post and I remembered getting a free sample of cat nip, I truly thought I was never going to use it, I sewn a little pouch using coffee filters and put some cat nip in it. Placed on top of the post, slipped on the cover and well you guessed it, Abby loves it.
When she hangs on the side she looks like King Kong. So far I haven’t seen any new pulls on the ottoman which I can’t say for the post…success!
As for those great legs I love so much? I’m going to make a real foot stool using the same fabric as the scratching post…and maybe a pillow.
Cherish Life *Lisa*
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Tonight's program on my favorite radio station (88.5 KSUN) was dedicated to one hour of "insect" songs. The playlist was compiled by David Dye on his spot "World Cafe". It seems appropriate given this summer season and this annoying, seemingly forever heat. Pesky!
In turn, if Nicole wasn't having an anniversary tonight, I would have immediately phoned her to listen in. But I couldn't possibly bug her! Cheers Nicole and Dan. Fingers crossed for only good news on the next house adventure!
Nicole likes insects, so why wouldn't she like insect songs? In addition, these are some of my favorite artists! Music and summer go so well together. Enjoy.
The Hold Steady: Hornets! Hornets!
Don Dixon: Praying Mantis
Dave Matthews: Ants Marching
Wilco: Muzzle of Bees
Tim Buckley: Buzzin' Fly
Joan Osborne: Spider Web
Gram Parker: The Kid with the Butterfly Net
Richard Thompson: Beeswing
Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians: Madonna of the Wasps
Dire Straits: The Bug
Slim Harpo: I'm a King Bee
Taj Mahal: Queen Bee
"Nothing is so like a soul as a bee. It goes from flower to flower as a soul from star to star, and it gathers honey as a soul gathers light." - Victor Hugo
Friday, July 5, 2013
Much of what we do and create we give away or it slips away. Our thoughts, feelings, creations, celebrations, dreams - everything passes. Most go unrecorded. How can we know and experience our biography; or how will others? The age old question comes to mind: Who am I? Who are we?
Hours become days, days weeks, weeks months, months years. A big blur ensues. How have I changed, become wiser, arrived here or there? How have we? What was I, were we, thinking?
With computers, smart phones, tablets, email, etc. used all day throughout the day, what's missing for me is the hand written. The "put together" piece by piece, word by word journal. A bound, page by turning page thing you touch, hold, pour over, and even mess up. Ah yes, and lots and lots of paper pages!
I've started a "jot" journal. It's a small Moleskine book, but it's a start. It's really quite plain. Within it there's just enough room for a thought, picture, musing, doodle. A jot that says, here I am at this particular moment. It's very portable and can easily slip inside a pocket, bag or rest bedside. In it I hope the pages will reflect words, things, images, ideas that for one reason or another, move me. Little, hand written, pasted, scribbled "jots" that won't take too much time to do.
I am encouraging and trying to convince my friends to create a "menu" journal. They are both fabulous cooks, love doing it, and invite guests over often to enjoy their good food and company. She has beautiful penmanship - the cursive kind, a library of cookbooks, and many favorite recipes; he has resources to find the best meats, fish, breads, puddings, almost anything from all over the country. My dream for them is to create this incredible log of their menus, events, and invited guests on the paper pages of a journal. This being their biography, together. Mind you, I'm on the hunt for just such a journal for them to fill! Oh, no! Secret's out!
One of my sisters is a music lover. She can play the guitar a little. She loves going to concerts. All kinds of concerts, big venues, small clubs, multi-day festivals, outdoor local gatherings. I'd like her to record what and who she sees and hears, whom she is with. Will she do it? I need to ask if she will - but I may have already! My older sister makes handmade cards. They are beautiful and touching. I keep every single one. I'll look for a lovely box to store them in. Her creativity expressed, sent, and then held by me.
Another friend has documented her work and family life in pictures. Boxes and boxes of them! She is now converting them all to digital which will preserve them much better. She could easily write reams of comments and tidbits!
What would you like for yourself or others? We are all creative beings. Keep doing it, but record it too; share ourselves with others. Jot it down. Make treasures to be discovered and read 100 years from now. What a thought!
"Everyone is talented, original and has something important to say." - Brenda Ueland
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Whenever I tackle a BIG project I bargain with myself that if I get "this" done then I will reward myself with _______. These are not necessarily creative projects by any means. They are the kind I loath to do because I would rather be doing something, anything else! This system I think stems from my childhood when my parents used to say, "If you clean your room, you can..." or "After you finish your turn of kitchen duty, you can...". I hated that way of motivation then, but it seems to have held merit.
In the process of the three of us preparing to stage and sell some of our own "stuff" at an upcoming flea market in Ventura this month, I plunged head long into my kitchen cabinet abyss. My dining table is full of things uncovered and forgotten that will get carted away and hopefully be someone else's found treasure! Whew!
Tucked away was the above lavender McCoy pot. Nope, this one is staying. My reward was to grace it with a new plant. There are of course other rewards: less clutter, keep only the essential, organization, and a sparkling clean kitchen. Yet, the plant says the job is done! Oh, but now the garage!!!
"Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful" - William Morris
Sunday, April 28, 2013
This is the second year I have taken The Garden Conservancy's Open Days garden tours. Today's program included personal gardens in the Pasadena, Arcadia, San Marino, and Sierra Madre neighborhoods.
I don't have a garden so these tours are particularly thrilling for me. What I have is a small, little patio with three rose bushes, several jasmine and gardenia bushes, a few potted cacti and succulents and that's about it (oh, and a potted lemon tree that didn't make it through the winter!). I guess you would say I'm a dreamer and that one day I'll have a little plot of earth to grow something of my own. Visiting other gardens is an excellent learning experience to gather ideas and information as to what my garden would look like - or should I say will look like?!.
Now, many of these gardens are professionally designed and maintained and exquisite beyond any worthy expression I could give. But, what struck me was the personal touches added or even incorporated by the owners. Whether it be a special flower color, serene seating spaces, ornaments or other touches, it was clear these gardens are where living takes place surrounded by beauty. This would be my list of things to include in my garden (just to name a few!):
- A water element: pond, pool, or fountain
- A sense of humor and surprise
- Color, color, color
- Layering of plant heights
- Stone or brick work
- Trees for shade
- A quiet corner
- An entertaining spot for friends and family
- Many, many containers of a variety of plants
- Plants that climb
Following are a few of my favorites sightings from today....enjoy!
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it!
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - Goethe
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Last year I made Tina a totem candlestick of Victorian flair. Nicole's comment was, "I want one". And from that day on I started collecting bits and pieces for Nicole's Steampunk candlestick.
I'm not really sure how one would described Steampunk. Someone once told me it's Victorian design with a twist of punk. I do know that it's design consists of several elements strategically blended together to make a statement.
So for just about a year at every flea market, estate sale and antique store I went to I rummaged through junk looking for that prefect piece, or in this case, several prefect pieces.
The binoculars were Tina's contribution. She was looking them over, thinking how cool it work in one of her pieces. I was hoping she wouldn't buy it, be she did. Fortunate for me she didn't use them. I think they make the prefect statement.
D-Day was fast approaching and I had to start assembling, working with what I had, not knowing where to start. I dug deep in to my stash of goodies and worked on what seemed like...FOREVER!
With so many pieces I became overwhelmed, wanting to make sure I picked the prefect piece for this, the prefect piece for that.
After playing around with so many components I figured it would be best to attach them to something instead of stacking. The spindles, along with a few others, were bought at a flea market with no project in mind. I just liked them, especially for a buck and they have been sitting in a vase for months, until now. I think the base was a wall clock in its former life. I had the clock face and trim from a previous shopping trip and was I surprised when it fit perfectly in to the ridge of the base. Originally I was going to use the clock face standing up but I think this worked out splendidly. I thought I took a picture but to stabilize the spindle in to the base I used the large flat gear pictured above as a washer and yes the hole in the base was already there. Just had to enlarge it ever so slightly.
It was difficult to come up with just the right layout. Trail and error, move this, adjust that. I discovered I had to assemble one part or the last part before another such as the pulley. Because the tension had to be prefect I had to
assemble the part that the string is tied to and attach the pulley in order to position the spring at the right angle so the clock gizzards hung just above the compass. Oh brother!!
Here are some close ups of the finer elements.