Friday, September 30, 2011

You Say Potato...

Last week, on another trek from Central Texas to North Texas, I decided to have lunch in a little town called Waxahachie (pronounced Waux (walks)-a-hatch-ie) and wound up losing about 4 hours to the loveliest little part of town filled with antique and what-not shops, and the best lunch I've had in ages.

I do have to tell you when I first moved to Texas, my native-Texan husband and his parents told me the town's name is pronounced Wax-a-hatch-ie. Because I am a native California (you can tell a native California because they almost always live in other states) and my husband, his parents, and their families have been born and raised in Northern Texas for the last 5 or 6 generations, I believed them and called it Wax-a-hatch-ie. To which my Central Texas co-workers would roll on the floor in fits of laughter...making fun of my "California" accent. I didn't bother to tell them it was those damn "Northerners" fault.

I spent a half hour in this shop and found several furniture items I will need to convince Wild Bill we need. I'm working on my approach ;-0

Loved this old rusty fencing in the next shop, where I lost the good part of 2 hours trekking through the best little shops on just one of their three floors. This is the shop's sign, Old Town Village...

And this is the shopkeeper, Mary. She and I became fast friends when she lead me around the store showing me four pieces of furniture she had already purchased from different vendors, but didn't have room to take them home! I love me a fellow furniture fiend. She almost made me look normal.

I'm not sure who was older, Mary or her computer...

But she sure could work that thing when we looked up blogs I told her about. Meanwhile, here is my favorite sign I spied in the shop. I'm going to call her and tell her to hold it for me before I publish this post. Wild Bill will hate it, but I know others of you out there will love it too.

Next shop up was The Dove's Nest. Here's a shot through the window as I figured they would have a "no-pictures-policy" since their stuff is newly made, often using vintage stuff.

Their restaurant had the best salads. I had a Greek salad and asked for my dressing on the side because I wasn't sure I would like it...then I had to ask for more because it was to die for and they had given me a small serving -- probably because they thought I was watching my calories. Ha, ha... like that would happen!

For $3.00 I added a flat iron steak as a "salad additive." It was cooked perfect, sliced cold and almost a whole steak. It was so good I asked if it was in the cookbook cuz I was willing to give cooking a try if I could have that steak every day, even though I don't cook very often.

Here's another shot through another window as I was leaving. Eye candy to me. I must take my husband to lunch there soon, Christmas is right around the corner isn't it? You get the picture?

I'm linking up to No Minimalist Here's open house party. Come join the fun...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Completed Projects: No. 5

I unpacked a lot of orange faux pumpkins from the boxes in the garage. I have been wanting a white pumpkin. So, since I've been mixing up a lot of chalky white paint, I decided to see if I could create a white pumpkin from one of my old ones.

I started painting around the stem at the top. I painted with the tip of the brush right into the edges of the fake stem. Once I got the edges of the stem painted, I spread out down the pumpkin to just below half way down.

After the top half dried, I turned it up and painted down. One thing I really like is that there is very little dripping with the gesso-based chalky paint and the brush strokes don't show. The jar to the right of the pumpkin in the picture below is what I use to mix up the paint.

I buy the glass jars at garage sales, usually for around 10 cents a piece. The plastic lids I buy at Walmart for very little money; I think there are about 8 plastic lids in a box for around $3. I like the plastic lids much better than the metal ones that come with the jars when you buy them new. I use a permanent marker to write the color of paint (e.g. yellow) I used to mix with the gesso and then dot a bit of paint on the lid like they do when you buy paint at the store. I also dot the gesso-paint mixture on the top of the lid too.

It would look something like this: yellow paint (dot of yellow paint) with white gesso - mixture color: chalky off white (dot of mixture)

The great thing about the plastic lid is that you can scrub the permanent marker and the paint dots off the lid with a little effort when the paint mixture is gone. I only re-use them for other paint mixes once I've mixed paint in them.

I like how the lines on the pumpkin really show up with the chalky paint. I'm happy with the results and would rather make my own white pumpkins out of old orange ones than buy them new because I can change the white to make it browner, grayer, bright name it...just by adding a little of that color to the gesso-white paint mixture.

I know you might think the drips on the picture above disprove my statement about the chalky paint not dripping, but this paint on the paper is from some testing I did to check out the color.

Here's a close up. What do you think? Have you tried painting pumpkins?

Shopping The Garage: The Flour Bin

In the "olden" days, flour was kept in a bin like this one. No, I wasn't alive back then, just learned this from talking to people who were.

This flour bin has been beat up and banged up through years of use, not "creatively" distressed like most furniture re-do's are done today.

I unpacked a box in the garage and was glad to find the bin nestled among other treasures. I don't keep flour in it as there are better alternatives to use in this day and age. No, this flour bin will sit on the kitchen counter in the corner and hold all my dish cloths within easy reach when needed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Making Your Own Chalky Paint

This dish towel hanger duck was painted with pure gesso. It changes cheap glazed objects into a richer looking product. Here's a before of the duck so you can see the difference.

I have been thinking of doing a post on making your own chalk paint, but another blogger did that a few days ago, so I don't have to.

Making your own chalk paint is so much cheaper than the $40 per quart (yes, quart) the popular stuff costs. I have been experimenting by adding gesso to left over paint I have on hand, using 1/3 gesso and 2/3's leftover paint. I got the idea to paint with gesso from Villa Barnes -- who I think is the most creative blogger out there when it comes to furniture.

Anyway, No Minimalist Here (another highly skilled and entertaining blogger) gives a variety of ideas on how to make the chalk paint, but missed the gesso combination.

Gesso is available at Michael's and Hobby Lobby, etc. Michael's is the cheapest I've found. I have been painting a variety of stuff with it since I learned about it by reading Villa Barnes' blog. You can use it by itself or mixed with paint. Love the stuff. I'm becoming possessed and I have a house full of projects in various stages to prove it.

Check out information on painting with gesso and making your own chalk paint at the blogs below. They probably won't link so you may have to type it in yourself:

It's Complicated...And Could Only Happen To Me

I got a knock on my front door and had to get a shirt to cover my pj's before I answered. When I got back to the door, no one was there.

Oh, well. I sat down to watch TV and, a few seconds later, wham. All my electric shut off.

I ran out into the garage and hit the garage door opener, but, when there's no power--no garage door opener. I banged on the garage door and yelled, but no response.

I ran back into the house and to the front door...sprinted across the lawn and around the corner of the house and chased down the Oncor truck (the electric provider) leaving the scene...and asked him what was going on?

He said a close out order had been ordered by the home owner...??? (that's me)

I told him we sold a house on Monday and the close out order was for that house in a town 200 miles away! He VERY reluctantly got out of his truck and turned my electric back on and gave me a lecture and only 1 hour to reverse the order or he would come back and shut it off! One hour, very firm.

Now, if you haven't moved in a while, you may not know that there are now a lot of small energy companies that broker energy for the providing companies. They sell energy at far cheaper rates, but you have to go through them to start and stop your account.

We have 3 different addresses with one energy broker; the old house, the new house, and an apartment Wild Bill lives in when down in Temple. The broker was supposed to close out the house we sold, but instead closed out the house we live in!

After laughing hysterically for a good 5 mins, and many phone calls and a few tears later...I am no longer in fear of that guy coming back to turn off my electric. But a few lessons learned: (1) when someone knocks and disappears, go check around the corner of your house to see if they're parked around the side of the house, and (2) make sure when you contact your energy broker that you give him the account number in addition to the address of the property to want shut off.

Sure hope Wild Bill has electric when he gets home to his apartment get the picture? ;-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It Really Was A Lovely Sunset In Texas...Honest

I must get a better camera. The sunset tonight was lovely as I looked at it from the window at Starbucks in town. Wild Bill commented that he'd love a picture of it, so I whipped out my little automatic and told him to hustle and he might make it before the sun set behind the hill.

As you can see, hustle isn't in his vocabulary. He got more of the sign for Austin than the sunset, but he gets an A for effort.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Completed Projects: No. 2 and No. 3

Projects 2 and 3 were legs for a table I got from Craigslist last year and a little wooden box from Hobby Lobby.
The table legs got Old White Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I want to age and distress the legs, but not until I have the whole table done.
The rest of the table is still buried in the garage, so the aging will have to wait until I get down to the top.
It seems everything I've had for a while is that ugly orangish brown wood. I think adding any color of paint improves furniture and cabinets right away.
Here's a final shot of the finished table legs. I love the shape of them and like that they're nice and sturdy. I got this table and six matching chairs for a total of $75.00. I think the next project will be the table top and the chairs. First it will complete the dining set, and second, it will greatly reduce the pile in the garage.
The little orange box was dirt cheap at Hobby Lobby a few months ago. It had some dings and, even at Halloween time, that orange would be out of place.
I taped it before I painted, but if I had it to do again I would skip the taping and just paint the box inside and out. The distressing on the box makes it look like it hasn't been painted in spots, but it's just the distressing.

The Annie Sloan French Gray Chalk Paint looks almost blue in person. I think I'll mix up my own combination to make it grayer and less blue in the future.

Once again, my raw sugar packets came in handy to dress up the box. I love it next to the pumpkin. Like everyone else, I love the Fall season best of all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Completed Projects: No. 1 of 3

I haven't posted the finished projects from my first "shopping trip" in the garage. I actually did finish all three of them, but didn't get to stage them in the house because I'm in the process of painting and rearranging everything. Here's the before and after of the welcome sign.

I had to resort to my painting stands (canned goods) to get the scrolled letters painted.

I plan to add distressing and aging to the sign eventually, but for now she's hanging here by the garage entrance door and will hold keys and cell phones. Later on, I plan to remove the little knobs and attach a board below the sign which will have bigger hooks for coats and such. But, for now, at least there's one thing on the walls.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Something To Wake You Up

Over on Toodie's blog -- Babblelot -- she wrote about how she got zapped when she moved her hubby's bug zapper in a closet. Well, that gave me a chuckle and reminded me of an 'incident' from my past...

Back in 1976, my ex was getting ready for work early one morning on a cold Chicago day. Either he was a little sleepy or a little dimmer than he thought he was, because his plug-in electric shaver's connection was a little loose and the electric cord kept falling out, soooooo...he bit the cord's prongs to tighten them! Go ahead, you can laugh. He lived through it.

BUT... when the electricity flowing through the cord met his wet lips...well, it lifted him up and, when he came to, he found himself in the bathtub across the room.

ohhhh...I gotta go. Even after all these years I'm almost peeing my pants!