Sep 21, 2012

A Bit of a Break

Hi Everyone! 

I've been a bit under the weather 
and will be taking a little blogging break. 

I hope to be back in time for a fun Halloween! 

I'll leave you with wishes for a happy Autumn
and some favorite scenes of fall... 

See you soon!

Sep 19, 2012

DIY Jewelry Organizer

My daughter is an artist studying illustration at Boise State University and will be graduating this winter. To give her some extra room for working on her senior project, we remade her old bedroom into a sitting room that I shared here last week. I really enjoy seeing her sitting on her comfy vintage sofa with her feet up on her little footstool, sketchbook in hand.

For a new bedroom we moved her across the hall into the guest room, which she decorated with her own bedding and artwork.


When I noticed my daughter's necklaces all tangled up on her dresser, I made her this jewelry organizer to hang on her wall. 

I used the shallow middle drawer left over from the desk I took apart to make my craft room table. (A shallow wood box or wood tray would work well, too.) I painted the drawer with white homemade chalk paint and glued a piece of fabric to the inside using spray adhesive. 

My daughter chose the bright yellow and orange Jo-Ann's fabric to continue the theme and colors from her painting on the other wall. 

I measured some of her necklaces and bracelets, then pre-drilled holes with my Dremel Tool and screwed in some white cup hooks from the hardware store. 

I found these little white ceramic lotus bowls at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The size fit the drawer perfectly for holding rings, and they complement the ones on the dresser below that my daughter made in her ceramics class.  

I attached two sawtooth hangers sixteen inches apart on the back, so I could hang the heavy drawer from wall studs using wood screws. I also used two cushioned spacers at the bottom to hold the drawer the same distance away from the wall as the top.  

Repurposing this old desk drawer into a fun and colorful jewelry organizer and display was an easy, fun and inexpensive project. My daughter wears her jewelry more now because it's easier to see and doesn't get tangled up, and she loves how it looks in her room. 

Thank you so much for visiting today!

I hope you have a terrific week! 

Come and party hardy with me this week at these fabulous blogs:

Sep 17, 2012

My Late Summer Urban Garden

Last spring my husband and I switched from our traditional chemical based gardening techniques to organic. (You can read about how and why we decided to do that here.)

The changes in our garden have been dramatically positive. 
Our vegetable plants grew larger and produced more than ever before, even without the weekly dousing of  chemical fertilizer we used to use. 

In fact, my tomato plants, egg plants, and green peppers grew almost ridiculously large on the naturally nutrient rich soil we prepared last fall and spring. 

 Harvesting tomatoes from this one tomato plant I circled in the photo below was like climbing into a jungle!

It grew about nine feet tall and six feet wide, and the weight of the vines kept breaking the wire cage we built higher and higher to support it.

We loved the garden fresh organic produce. 

And there's still a lot more to come this fall before our first frost. 

What surprises us about switching to organic gardening the most is the absence of our usual insect pests. In fact, we didn't have any! We think since we weren't killing the beneficial insects with our usual insecticides anymore, they did us the favor of eating the pesky insects for us.   

And we had lots more fat happy honey bees doing their pollinating thing, which made us pretty happy, too. 

There seems to be a new natural balance in our little urban garden ecosystem that we had been unwittingly upsetting for years with the use of chemicals. 

The garden is usually well pruned, but last month an unexpected trip away to Montana let it get out of hand. 

When we returned, I was so charmed by the exuberance of all the uncontrolled growth that I just let it continue to go wild!

It's been fun to watch the garden grow unchecked.

When it turns cold we'll have lots of good green stuff to put in the raccoon-safe compost bins we started last fall on the other side of the house. And, yes, you can compost on a tiny lot in the city!  

Fall hasn't come to Boise yet this year. Our city grocery stores don't even have pumpkins for sale yet, but there are signs in my garden that it's just around the corner. The pyracantha berries have turned bright red.

 The plumes of the new ornamental grasses we planted last spring have grown tall and dried out for a much anticipated display later this winter against the back fence.   

And my husband's Boise State flamingos and BSU Gnomie have joined the garden for the football season.

Go Broncos!!

This will be my last summer garden post before turning my attention to fall. It's my favorite season, and I have so many fun projects to get started on!

It looks like I'll be starting with a trip to the pumpkin patch. 

What's going on in your late summer garden? 

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Sep 14, 2012

Friday Finds

I'm trying to hang on to the last vestiges of summer as long as I can, and that's not too hard to do when the days still insist on climbing into the nineties. Plus, there are a couple last minute summer projects I still want to post, like my daughter's jewelry drawer and my out-of-control nine foot tall tomato plants. I'll get to those next week and then happily turn my Friday Finds attention to my favorite season, fall.  

My children went to nearby Washington Elementary School, the oldest grade school in Boise. Each year at the end of summer, the principal welcomed the entire neighborhood back to the new school year with an old fashioned ice cream social on the lawn. When I saw the ice cream soiree over at The Northern Cottage it brought back many fond memories of those happy days. Why not start an end of summer tradition in your neighborhood? Visit The Northern Cottage for more of this cute idea and vignette.

The Northern Cottage

Gail at My Repurposed Life is my biggest diy inspiration. Her tool recommendations and tutorials have given me confidence to buy and use some tools for diy projects I'd probably not otherwise tackle, such as this shutter turned into a shelf by Julie from Follow My Heart Woodworking. In her guest post at My Repurposed Life, she shares a great tutorial for making it two ways, with a router or with nails. Thanks to Gail's recommendation I have a router, and since I have an old shutter out in my shed, Julie's  neat shelf will be my first router project. I'll let you know how that goes!

My Repurposed Life

  At some point I'll be reusing a dresser for a television console and will have some extra drawers that will be replaced with the cable box and DVR. The extra drawers will be perfect for these window boxes! This great repurposing project is by Kammy at Kammy's Korner. Don't you love the hardware?

Kammy's Korner

 Yvonne at Stone Gable recently attended an Annie Sloan class and shares with us the "best painting tip we will ever get... Really!" What is it? "Paint a practice board before painting anything else!" I have made a lot of refinishing mistakes, so this tip is really speaking to me. Visit Stone Gable to see how Yvonne does it.   

Stone Gable

Most people have never heard of fry sauce, but in Idaho and Utah it's as well known as ketchup for being the perfect accompaniment to french fries. Lynn at Upcountry Olio shares her recipe for cottage fries and Utah Fry Sauce along with the warning that fry sauce can be habit forming. You'll love it! I'll be serving these at Saturday's football-watching party.

Upcountry Olio
 This Friday Find is just for fun because I can't make it, don't need it, and unless I win the lottery, I'll never own it. It's this AMAZING Sub Zero refrigerator freezer all decked out to look like an armoire by Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly. This would hold a lot of fry sauce! Isn't it awesome?

Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly

My Friday Finds are a bit short this week because I'm suffering from a late summer cold and feeling a bit under the ninety degree weather. Sniffle, sniffle. (Maybe that's why I'm thinking about ginormous refrigerators!)

Have a Happy Friday!

Sep 10, 2012

Sitting Room on a Shoestring

My youngest daughter, who has been living at home to save money during college, will be graduating this December. During her last semester I wanted her to have more room to stretch out and work on her senior project, so we moved her into a guest room and remade her old bedroom into a private sitting room just for her. 

We love to work on projects like this together, and our challenge was to create a young fun comfortable space on a shoestring by repurposing a few things we already had, shopping at thrift stores and sales, and making what we could by ourselves. 

It was a blast! Here's what we came up with...

 The walls were already painted a gray color my daughter chose for her old room and still liked, so we left them as is. (The streaks on the wall are caused by light from the window.) We borrowed the $15 vintage yard sale sofa from her sister's storage unit. My daughters absolutely love that strange unusual color!

We wanted a pouf but even making one was too expensive, so I was pretty excited when I found these two footstools for $3 each at yard sales. One is for feet, and one is for piling school books on. We borrowed the snugly shag rug from another room. New carpet and new closet doors weren't within our budget, so please try to squint around them like we do!


This chair was free from my husband's family and was completely repainted, including the upholstery. You can see the before and after here.   

The bookshelf was $10 at a yard sale. Originally blue, it was repainted with homemade white chalk paint and then waxed with finishing wax.

We installed the high shelves when my daughter was a child to hold all her collections, and they still work great for that. We also added lots of hooks on the back of the door for the book bags and backpacks she uses when riding her bicycle to class.   

The desk chair was recovered in fabric from Jo-Ann's, and the edges of the desk drawers and the knobs were painted with bright yellow craft paint. 

My daughter sits at this $5 yard sale vanity each morning to do her hair and makeup. It was originally shiny brass like the closet doors. (Yikes!) We spray painted it in a color called Lagoon, then recovered the seat with more Jo-Ann's fabric. Zip ties attach hooks on the side to hold a hair dryer, curling iron, and straightener. 

Needless to say, my daughter loves to paint her nails every color of the rainbow, and her nail polish collection makes a colorful display hanging beside her vanity. Another $3 yard sale find, this once dark wood shelf was also painted with homemade white chalk paint.    

The $7 yellow lamp from a yard sale is paired with an $8 Target lamp shade.  The bright round folk art tray is a favorite of my daughter from her grandmother, and the cups in front of it were made in her ceramics class last semester. The $3 yard sale footstool was originally light rattan with a misshapen beige corduroy pillow.  I spray painted it orange, remade the pillow to fit correctly, and then recovered it with Jo-Ann fabric. It's my favorite thing in the room.

The pillows on the top left were found at Target on sale for $12 each, and the one on the right is homemade. All the fabrics were chosen by my daughter and purchased with 40% - 60% off coupons at Jo-Ann's. My daughter is fearless at mixing and matching colors and patterns.

The $19 Lucite lamp above was purchased from Target a couple of years ago. My daughter loves bulldogs, and she framed this photo from a magazine. I love how her contemporary iPod and iPod speakers on the side table contrast with her vintage typewriter on the shelf below.

I also love that my college student daughter still has her old Lego Castle, Hello Kitty, and Gumby on display. My vintage letter press tray hangs on the wall next to the window and holds other small collectibles from family vacations. 

Evidence that my little girl is not a child anymore, though, are her penguin cocktail shaker and polka dot martini glasses, gifts from her twenty-first birthday. The Danny Kaye quote is a framed card from her big sister. 

Colored bottles on the sill and crystals hanging from the latch add sparkle and shine at the window. 

We managed to bring this little sitting room together for just over $125, and I was reminded of my own happy college days of living on a shoestring. (Remember using wood boards across stacked up bricks for bookshelves? Yes, I'm that old!)  

It was so much fun to work on this with my daughter, and she assures me it's a very contemporary hipster college girl kind of look. Of course, I wanted to distress everything in sight and put a white slipcover on the sofa, but I restrained myself. We finished it just in time, the weekend before school started. I've also been working on some projects in her bedroom across the hall and will hopefully share them soon. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope you come again soon! 

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