Minor Updates Can Make a Big Difference

So much going on these past few days that it doesn’t seem that I’ve had time to do anything but work. Which is ironic, since today was my last day at my current contract position. I work in IT and very often do between 3 months and a year’s worth of work for a company and then just be done. It can be tough sometimes, just about the time I feel comfortable in the commute and start to really make some friends, it’s time to move on. I think the worst part is the looking for the next contract, which is almost constant, and I am getting to the point where I think I might like to settle into a company and stay a while.

Anyway, enough about that. Been just doing some long neglected chores around the house. The first was to re-caulk the floor tile in my master bedroom. When we first bought the house – new, almost ten years ago – there were a few things that I didn’t like and knew would have to be changed. This is in sharp contrast to the fact that I fell in LOVE with this house almost immediately and changed – or wanted to change – very little.

But the master bedroom bathroom was one thing that I had to change. Apart from the size and layout, almost everything else I disliked. From the builder grade fixtures and cabinets to the blah color of the walls and tile, this was a room that would require change. The very first thing was the fact that the main area of the bathroom was carpeted. CARPETED. Like you would have to step out of the shower or bath tub onto CARPET carpeted. Who does that? Want to talk about the perfect environment for mold and mildew? Carpet in the bathroom. Gah.

Unfortunately, find tile to match what was already in there was going to be tough. This is one time I almost wished they would have used white tile, at least finding something to match would have been easy. I still have about 15 samples of tile colors that I hoped would match but didn’t. I really wanted to rip everything out and start the whole thing over, but we did just buy the house and had already spent big bucks changing the layout of the dining room into the home office (I still need to write a blog about that), adding a new decks leading out the new french doors from the master bedroom and finishing the entire basement (nearly 1500 square feet), not to mention that everything in the bathroom was brand new. Seemed really tough to just rip all that out and throw it away.

So, I endured and finally stumbled onto a tile – being discounted and discontinued – that matched almost perfectly. I had done a fair amount of tiling in my other house in California and felt comfortable with this small area, so I ripped out the carpet and laid the tile. And since the tile was priced so right, that we bought enough for an area of the basement that would benefit from a nonporous surface.

Something wasn’t right though, and before long the grout started cracking. Kept getting worse, until I got fed up and removed it all and replaced it with caulking. Much more flexible and seemed to stay white longer. But over time, and this time more like 5 years, it did peel in a few places and wear. And it was getting dirty looking. So, all of it was scraped out and once again replaced. Only this time, it was done mostly by The Kid, since my knees don’t do so well with the arthritis.

DSCN2193But it is back to looking shiny and new again, so I can stand to look at it again. Until I get to the point where I get so fed up with it that I start ripping it out myself. That might be a while though, as I want a whole new look with subway tiles and a clawfoot tub and some beautiful old vanity to use as a cabinet. I have some wonderful ideas, but now with the contract ended, it is time to reign in the spending for a while.

DSCN2192The other thing that has driven me a little nuts was the kitchen sink. Actually, the upstairs bathtub (in The Kid’s bathroom) too. You see, they are not cast iron, but those fiberglass or plastic pieces. I am sure they are cheaper, easier to install since they are so light and initially they are pretty nice looking. But my experience is that they don’t stay nice looking long… especially if you use chemical cleaners and scrubbing pads to clean them. It seems like you take off the nice, white top layer and then it takes way too much effort to keep it looking clean. It is a little difficult to really see what I am talking about, but here is a photo of the old sink:

 

DSCN2182When it came to the kitchen sink, it was used so much that it didn’t take long for it to start looking dingy. I really wanted a farmhouse sink, but that would have taken some cabinet modification as well as counter top change. It is my intention to install new counters, but again, what I have in mind is just a little too expensive right now.

An avid Craigslist watcher, about six weeks ago I saw a cast iron sink listed – for free. I called up The Kid and had him go over and pick it up. Initially, I was thinking I’d snag it for the sink I wanted to put in the garage, but after cleaning it up, I realized that this particular sink was flawless. No porcelain chips, no stains or rust… it was incredible.

DSCN2196So, it was slated for the kitchen. Actually just a couple of weeks later, I picked up another sink, this time with a steel cabinet that will be perfect for the garage.

Well, I finally got husband and The Kid to install the sink. There are times, like this, that it is an advantage to be married to a plumber. ๐Ÿ™‚

DSCN2195It might not seem like much, but to me, it is like night and day to me. It just gleams! I think it is just beautiful. The downside? Now every flaw that I used to be able to overlook is now front and center when I walk into the kitchen. Its that old conundrum that once you start updating something, everything next to it needs it now. I suppose that now that we’re approaching the ten year mark, things are in need of updating and changing. I have a mental list going… the house needs painting, I want to replace the two decks with a single, wider deck and a new staircase, kitchen cabinets need replaced or refaced and I want new counters. I hear this knocking from the washer and I am just holding my breath that the heating and A/C unit holds out another year or so. But first, gotta get back to work.

julie

 

The Apple of My Eye: Kitchen Stained Glass

One of the things that drew me to my house was the use of arched windows. They add some real drama to the front of the house. I have one in the kitchen and it allows some really wonderful light to flow into the space. (Excuse my messy kitchen!)

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A few years ago, I noticed though, that the arch of the window had something happening between the panes of the glass. I pretty much ignored it. Most of the time it wasn’t even noticeable, or more accurately, I didn’t notice it.

But recently, it seems that it has kind of taken over the window and I looked into it. Seems that this isn’t repairable, it has to be replaced and this is an expensive window. I would either have to bite the bullet or live with it. Things have been a little tight when it comes to be expenditures, so I knew that I would have to live with it. But the work I have been doing with the faux stained glass paint made me think I could at least dress up the window or at least hide the issue.

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I did a Google search on red and white stained glass and stumbled over this image:Stained Glass - Red & White Design_001I knew that this would be a perfect starting point for my design. And isn’t the red and white striking? So I made a online template and then played with options until I got it just right.

So, I had the Kid tape sheets of paper together and cut me a perfect size and shape template and I took it to a glass place and had a piece of 1/8″ glass cut. Then, using the same materials that I use in all of the faux stained glass, although this time I took to using larger bottles of paint and longer strips of the ‘leading’.

DSCN2056So, I started by laying out the edge leading, two rows about two inches wide. I really just eyeball it, I like any imperfections that come out of a less-than-strict way of doing this.

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DSCN2055Next came the center image. I toyed with using the Apple Macintosh logo, since I am a big fan, but when I bounced the idea off the Kid, he thought not. Years ago, prompted by my love and use of Macs, people started giving me Apples, in all shapes, sizes and materials. I haven’t been able to display the entire collection since we moved here (still working the logistics – am thinking a built in cabinet in a nook at the bottom of the staircase) and I have a few of the apples in my kitchen around the sink. So, having an red apple in the center of this piece just made sense.

I found an image online and increased the size until it was just right and then printed it. I slipped the paper under the glass and then used the liquid leading. Its a little more difficult to use and practice does help, you really just have to go slow and steady.

DSCN2057Once it has dried, it was just a matter of filling in all of the areas with paint. Everything got two coats to make all the of the paint colors more vivid. Then the piece around the apple was filled with Crystal Clear and if you use the tip to put bumps and ridges in it as you apply it, when it dries it has a more authentic look.

After a few days of drying time, it was time to place the piece. Since I really didn’t want it to be permanent, I sized it to fit inside of the most inner trim of the window and used mirror clips to hold the mirror.

And here is the final look:DSCN2187I am very happy with how this project turned out. It is tough getting a photo of a window with the light shining through, and the piece really just shines. It is a real focus point in the room.

I liked so much how this came out, that I am doing another larger window sized piece. This time on another favorite red and white item: images-1I already have all the leading completed. Not sure where it will go, but I am sure that it will turn out wonderful!

julie

PS…for those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you my success.

Taking the “Pane” out of Making Stained Glass

You can thank the Kid for the title of this post. I just love his quirky sense of humor… gets that from me, I suspect.

I promised to give you some tips and hints about using glass paint to make faux stained glass. I have been using the products from Plaid, their Gallery Glass line. Of their product line, I have used both the glass paint and the “leading” strips. I stumbled onto their products at an estate sale, purchasing a large box of craft products ostensibly for the beads and paint and some other items. But since I now had the supplies, curiosity got the better of me and I set off to figure out how to use it.

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After much trial and error – including the mistake that the paint was to be brushed on – I finally got the hang of using the paint. I’ve gotten quite adept at using it with some very nice results.

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DSCN1996This particular glass contained was a 99ยข glass vase from a thrift store. I liked that the edges were rounded. I started with the leading strips, these particular ones are an eighth319OU8-c8+L inch wide. They are adhesive that once applied are able to be adjusted for a few days. But once they have been on the glass for a few days, they are permanent. I started but running lead around the top and bottom and then divide the space with an additional one or two lines. Then as it appeals to me, I make vertical and diagonal lines. I use a razor blade or exacto knife to get the joints very tight. I continue until I am satisfied.

DSCN1997Then it is time to add the color. Don’t be afraid to fill into the blank spaces with a lot of paint, the thicker and wavier you make the paint, the more distorted and “stained glass-like” it will appear. I like to lay the piece on its side and fill in all of the areas that are presented. The glass is dry to the touch in a few hours but can be disturbed if touch or scratched. I like to let the paint set up for at least 24 hours before applying any real pressure.

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DSCN1999Continue with random color selections until you’ve completed all sides. Allow to dry. It’s that easy!

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I’ve done a number of pieces, round, square and even flat panes of glass. I am working on a piece that is almost finished that will decorate the top portion of a arched window in my kitchen, of course in my favorite colors: red and white! The paints are almost fully cured and then I have to install it. And of course take some photos. I hope you will come back and see my results.

julie

PS – For those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you my success.

My First Sale!

Okay, I have to admit it isn’t my first sale, but it is the first time that I’ve sold a quilt. You see, I’ve been making quilts, by the hundreds for the past 15 or so years. The first time I thought I’d try to sell a quilt, I was quite disappointed with the offer and the “bartering” that was going on. The price I was asking was barely the cost of the material and the top stitching that I had paid to have done, let alone the creativity or labor that went into it. I vowed then and there that I would never sell another quilt, rather give them to people who would love, admire and use them.

But recently, I have been thinking about my plans about what comes next and what I would do with everything that fills my house from basement to the attic rafters! So, very slowly, I have been listing some of my less cherished china and crafts, including a few quilts for sale. And my first sale of a quilt, the red one in the last post, was the first one to sell for asking price. Someone wanted what I made and was willing to pay me money! Woot!

I’ve been playing around with making “stained glass”. Actually, it is mock stained glass, but I love the look. I made some recent pieces, in addition to the lighted bottles (also in a recent post), so I thought I’d do a quick tutorial. That will be tomorrow’s post, but wanted to show you what is on the horizon.

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So, come back tomorrow and I will give you some basic instructions on how to achieve this. It took me a bit of experimenting, so you can benefit from my mistakes!

Oh, and the PowerBall estimates that the jackpot is over $400 Millions dollars. The Kid just bought the winning ticket. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe I will share with you if you stop by!

Can You Tell I Love Red & White?

I finished another quilt and wanted to post it quick to the blog. If you’ve read much of my blog or know me, you know that I am head over heels in love with the red and white color combination. My kitchen, living room and dining room are all done in red and white.

Sometimes that spills over into other things, like my wardrobe. I am just sort of drawn to the color combination.

This time it was a quilt. This was part of that big box I just got back and because it was the biggest one, it waited ’till last. But it didn’t take long to finishing the binding.

And here it is:

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I hung it over the deck railing before the big snowstorm, just to get an overall picture. I didn’t realize that the edges had flopped over… I was holding the quilt and The Kid took the photo. I didn’t think to remind him.$_12-1Here it is in all its red and white (and a few other colors) on the guest bed. Can you tell that room is used for much more than guests sleeping? In fact, it currently houses most of the ‘Dolls & Cupcakes’ inventory, quilts waiting to be completed and other craft tools. It is a mess! But that is the great thing about that room, when it is too much to deal with, I simply close the door.

Problem solved!

Thanks for stopping by!

julie

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