Saturday, January 21, 2012

Message in a bottle

What's better to count down the days until Valentine's Day than a message in a bottle each day for your sweetheart?

All you need is a small bottle with a cork and a small piece of paper.  Write a special message on the paper and stick in the bottle.  Then place in a spot your loved one will see it.

You can also embellish the bottle or write your message in a neat font, but I like the simpler, handwritten version myself.

I found a bunch of these a few months back at Anthropologie.  At $16 each, I thought that was a little crazy.  You can certainly make this for literally less than $1 per message.

Save-On-Crafts has a bunch of options for the bottles.  There are several lots of 12 where each bottle is less than $1.  Also try your thrift stores and craft stores.

I snapped this picture on my phone of an example I saw while I was in the Anthropologie store.  I love how they used some twine to wrap the message.  It makes the paper more compact and easier to remove from the bottle.

Nothing like a daily love note washing up on your bedside table each morning!


Friday, January 20, 2012

The Friday 5 - Vintage Dress Forms

A picture I took for The Lucketts Store Design House.

I'm totally in love with dress forms this week for some reason.  I pinned a bunch to my Pinterest account.

From time to time, we get vintage dress forms in the shop.  Usually they're in the $200-$600 range, but lately, they just haven't been getting many in.

I found out that even for experienced treasure hunters and pickers, THEY are having a tough time finding these nowadays.  So of course, where do you go when you can't find what you need?...the internet!

I scoured around and found a few favorites out there, but they're mostly early 1900's versions and many easily  ranged from $750 and up.  Here are the results of my labor...enjoy and have a great weekend!

{1} Late 1800's version found on eBay for, gulp, $1,000!  This one is 54" tall and came from an estate sale in Ohio.

{2} This one is early 1900's.  It stands 4' 6" tall with a 21" round skirt and costs $795.

{3} Not sure of the era on this one, but another example of a cage dress form.

{4}  This one extends to 43" tall.  I love how the photographer offset the form in this picture against that dark concrete wall.  Pretty!

{5} These are really exciting....well to me anyway!  Here is a pair from France circa 1750!  These are still available from Coup d'Etat in San Francisco.  One is listed as 6' 2" tall and the other is 6' 6" tall.  No price listed for the pair, I can't imagine...

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Love letter pillows

It's pretty rare that anyone gets a handwritten love letter anymore.  Or maybe it's just because I've been with the same person for 13 years now that we mostly bond on the couch watching TV now  : )
One of the things that I love about looking through old letters and postcards is the handwritting ---- combine that with the rarity of an actual handwritten love letter today and enter the love letter pillow.

These are such a fantastic way to immortalize a love letter {either yours or someone else's} and the graphic script adds such a nice design element.


If you want to create your own handwritten text, you can either have a photocopy of a your own handwritten letter and then transfer that on a pillow {flip the text first}, or there are several good fonts that are based on handwriting.  Sorry I didn't have time to put in pics of each {maybe later}, but here are the quick links to some of my favorites:
  • Jenna Sue - a more casual, younger looking script handwriting {link}
  • Otto - a more traditional, older looking script handwriting {link}
  • Bernard - a traditional looking script {link}
  • Brown Bag Lunch - a heavy looking print that looks like marker {link}

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sweets for your sweet

This cute idea is from a few years back, but I've saved it for a few reasons, 1) it reminds me how to print out gift bags using my home printer, 2) it reminds me brownies can come in other shapes besides squares & rectangles, and 3) it's a cute idea for a teacher, coworker, or loved one gift for Valentine's Day.

Pop on over to Twig & Thistle for the full tutorial, including how to make the heart shaped brownie.  I'm sure anyone would love to receive a sweeeet gift like this one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Recycle Your Holiday Candles!

Repurposed Candle DIYHere is a picture of what my candles look like after the holidays....grubby and spent.   I burn my fingers every time I try to light the inch-and-a-half of wax at the bottom.  Even with all the finger burns and ugly jars displayed around my house, I somehow still can't bring myself to throw them away.

I feel like I'm throwing away Christmas.

Okay, time to grow up and get over it.  I finally found a great solution to this problem. 

Kara at Happy Go Lucky melts her hodge podge of candles down to create a tiered candle of different scents.  Please visit her blog for her tutorial {here} and you never have to feel like you're throwing away Christmas again! {okay, maybe that's just me}

Tip:  when you're doing this, make sure the candles scents you're using tell a similar story.  What I mean by this is don't mix evergreen with sea mist with lavender with Christmas cookie, or you'll end up with a headache like I did the first time I burned my concoction.  If you have enough candles that could be remelted, think about using similar scents and similar colors.  The results will be beautiful!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Words with Wire

Words are powerful and really striking graphic elements.I saw this tutorial for making words with wire on Family Chic. Camilla wraps her words with yarn, which gives so many options for color and texture.

I have a bunch of old hangers lying around and I'd love to play with the natural metal as well {instead of wrapping with yarn}; maybe even check out some scripty fonts and see if I could mimic a cool font rather than freehand the script. Maybe I could even attach these to a large canvas and do an entire saying?We'll see what happens. Until then, it's on my list!

Here are a few sayings I'd like to try out:
  • Love
  • Cherish
  • Family
  • It is what it is
  • Every little thing is gonna be alright
Pop on over to the Family Chic blog for the full tutorial.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Eight Resources for Vintage Prints

Beautiful horse print I found in a vintage horse racing book and framed.
Hi everyone!  I'm super-excited.  I put in an order today from for some vintage books, one on parrots, one on owls, and one with horses.  I'm a print-aholic {if that's even a word} - I love looking at antique animal and plant plates.  They're also wonderful as art too!

I just can't see spending $40 at HomeGoods for a print from China, when you can buy a book of antique prints reprinted in the US or UK from 30+ years ago for a fraction of the cost.  And because these are old reprints and not the originals from the 1800's, a lot of my guilt over cutting them apart goes out the window.

Where do you find your old books and images, I'm often asked.  The truth is you have to train yourself to always be on the lookout.  My favorite haunts are: 

1.  Library Sales.  Private donations tend to be in better shape, but old library books that often look like heck on the outside have undamaged plates & images on the inside.  They're usually only a few dollars per book, or if you can wait, there are usually "fill a box" sales on the last day when they're trying to get rid of everything.  I've found some great 60+ year old French dictionaries at my last sale.

2.  eBay.  Not too original, but yes, scour eBay regularly.  I usually just look at the Buy it Now books or ones that are ending soon so I'm not tempted to "bid myself up" too high on a book.  Bookmark your favorite dealers.  If you find something you like that's well priced, check what else that dealer has - oftentimes they have the same style or type of item and tend to keep their prices consistent {i.e., if someone prices items to sell, most likely much of what they have will be a deal; if a person's prices are ridiculous, all of their prices will likely be that way}.  I've found a dealer who had a slew of bird and insect books on eBay just by hitting "view seller's other items." 

3.  Amazon. Not much else to say here except that the used books option is my best friend.  There are tons of books out there for a few dollars each plus media mail shipping.  I've only been burnt once {the item's pages were stuck together, ruining several prints}, but I emailed the seller and they refunded my money and told me to keep the book.

I scored this 1910 book on fruit growing {and all of its plates} online

4.  Online Libraries.  Because there was a huge movement to scan in and digitize old books, you'll often find complete copies of old books {including their plates} online.  The resolution is often good enough to make a print from, and you get the original imperfections of the paper which adds character.  {Note: I only look at books pre-1923 that have expired copyrights}

5.  Public Domain Resources.  I like to go to the National Archives site for old and rare books.  The site is well-organized and you can find good quality copies of the prints.

6.  CDs.  There are a lot of companies that now sell the digital copies of the books I mentioned above that were in the public domain and in online libraries.  The CDs {usually on eBay} are typically not the best quality scans {be sure to look at seller feedback and review details of the scan's dpi}, but you'll get tons of books on one CD.  For example, I purchased a ornithology CD, which came with PDFs of more than rare 25 books.

7.  Vintage & Antiques Stores.  I like to check out the "paper section."  With everything else, there are dealers with crazy prices that make reframing not worth it, and sometimes you'll hit the jackpot.  I have not had much luck with thrift stores up until now.  I find they usually don't have older items I'm looking for or the image style I prefer.

8.  Blogs.  There is one main blog that I go to for my vintage images - The Graphics Fairy.  She has thousands of images and has a category for full size printable art as well.

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    The Friday 5 - Vintage Cameras

    I love, love, love vintage cameras.  Even if they're no longer functional, why not repurpose them as a great piece of three dimensional art?  Here are five great looks for vintage cameras that get my heart racing!

    {1}  How much do you adore this vintage camera repurposed as a nightlight?

    {2}  A no longer functioning camera is transformed into a lamp.


    {3}  Reclaimed wood made into a shelf for a camera.

    {source:  Mamie Jane's}

    {4}  I love these vintage cameras with simple black frames around them.

    {5}  These bookends made from an old camera and game pieces are so clever!

    So the truth is that cameras on a shelf are art in an of themselves, but there are also so many wonderful ideas for repurposing cameras out there too.  I hope you'll think of me next time you see an old camera at a flea market or swap meet!

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Make the Best Lotion...Ever

    Here is a great recipe for my favorite make it yourself hand and foot cold cream.  Three simple ingredients and that's it!

    This stuff is great for cracked hands and feet.   You can also slather it on your feet and then wear socks to bed so it can soak in to your skin.

    The Best Lotion...Ever
    • 16 oz. Johnson & Johnson's baby lotion {I like the bedtime lotion; the lavender smell is great!}
    • 8 oz. Vaseline
    • 8 oz. Vitamin E Cream
    1.  Blend all three ingredients together with an electric mixer until it has the consistency of icing.

    2.  Package in small containers and enjoy!

    *If you want to make smaller batches, just be sure you keep the following ratio:  2 parts baby lotion to 1 part Vaseline to 1 part vitamin E cream.*

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Top kitchen substitutions you can make

    I'm all for streamlining in the kitchen.  This past holiday, I was making cookies with the kids and ran out of baking powder as we're ready for step #3.  {insert groan}  What could I use instead without trekking to the grocery store on Christmas Eve?

    After this experience, I started to research some common kitchen ingredients that can be substituted for each other.  Here is my list.  I'll keep adding whenever I run out of anything in the future!

    Baking Powder1 teaspoon1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
    Bread Crumbs1 cup1 cup of crushed crackers
    Brown Sugar1 cup1 cup white sugar + 1/4 cup molasses; decrease the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup
    Corn Syrup1 cup1 1/4 cups white sugar + 1/3 cup water   OR   1 cup honey
    Cottage Cheese1 cup1 cup ricotta cheese
    Cream (half & half)1 cup7/8 cup milk + 1 tablespoon butter
    Cream of Tartar1 teaspoon2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar
    Evaporated Milk1 cup1 cup light cream
    Flour (Cake)1 cup1 cup all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons
    Flour (Self-Rising)1 cup7/8 cup all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon of salt
    Herbs (fresh)1 Tablespoon1 teaspoon of dried herbs
    Honey1 cup1 1/4 cups white sugar + 1/3 cup water   OR   1 cup corn syrup
    Ketchup1 cup1 cup tomato sauce + 1 teaspoon vinegar + 1 tablespoon sugar
    Lemon juice1 teaspoon1/2 teaspoon vinegar   OR   1 teaspoon white wine   OR   1 teaspoon lime juice
    Lemon zest1 teaspoon2 Tablespoons lemon juice
    Mayonnaise1 cup1 cup sour cream   OR   1 cup plain yogurt
    Molasses1 cup3/4 cup brown sugar + 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
    Ricotta1 cup1 cup dry cottage cheese
    Shallots, chopped1/2 cup1/2 cup chopped onion   OR   1/2 cup chopped green onion
    Sour cream1 cup1 cup plain yogurt
    Soy sauce1/2 cup4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce + 1 Tablespoon water
    Stock--beef or chicken1 cup1 cube beef or chicken bouillon dissolved in 1 cup water
    Vinegar1 teaspoon1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice   OR   2 teaspoons white wine
    White sugar1 cup1 cup brown sugar   OR   1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar   OR   3/4 cup honey   OR   3/4 cup corn syrup
    Wine1 cup1 cup chicken or beef broth   OR   1 cup fruit juice + 2 teaspoons vinegar   OR   1 cup water
    Yogurt1 cup1 cup sour cream   OR   1 cup buttermilk

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    The Friday 5 - Vintage Suitcases

    Vintage suitcases have loads of style, are sturdy, and make some of the most interesting pieces of furniture I've ever seen!  Here are some favorites for this week.

    {1}  A very organic looking, yet very precise wall of suitcases.  This studio is to die for!

    {source:  Rieke Studios in Santa Fe, New Mexico}

    {2}  This suitcase turned bar is to die for!  How great would this be in an apartment or in a man cave?

    {source:  Vanity Case Etsy Shop}

     {3}  The only question I have for the makers of this suitcase table, is how in the world did they get all of those different suitcases to even out?
    {source:  Elements of Style}

    {4}  Suitcase chair with leather upholstery.  I love the tags dangling down!

    {source:  REcreate}

    {5}  A suitcase of shelves or shelves filled with suitcases?

    {source:  This Made My Day on Tumblr}

    I cannot believe that vintage suitcases came in so many varieties, colors, and sizes.  So many creative people out there making wonderful furniture pieces out of them too!

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    A few tips for working with pallets

    Here are a few tips about repurposing pallets that I've collected from some of my DIY buds.  I hope these can help you before you attempt one of my favorite industrial trend projects!

    1.  Finding Them.  They're easy to find.  Most people tell me that industrial parks and around the back of home improvement stores & shopping centers are the best place to find pallets.  Please make sure you ask before you take them.  Sometimes they are not free and you don't want anyone chasing you down!

    2.  Working with Them.  Anyone I know who has ever worked with pallets tells me that they are difficult to get apart.  After all, they're made to hold hundreds of pounds, so I guess that should be a no-brainer, but I never thought about it before.  Just work carefully, and be prepared to sweat if you plan to take them apart.  You may want to bribe a strong friend or employ some power tools.
    3.  Cleaning Them.  Not that you can really tell when these collect dust {until it's way too late}, but this tip will help you avoid splinters.  If you make furniture or storage out of pallets, the best way to clean them is to use a vacuum with a brush attachment.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Three things to do with an old sweater

    It's 25 degrees today in Virginia, which is painful for me.  I love when it's cold and there is snow outside, but when it's just cold and windy....nah, no thanks!

    Cold days remind me my favorite sweater, which is sadly too small after an accidental date with the dryer.  What to do?  Find a new purpose for my shrunken sweater of course!  Here are my three favorite ideas and tutorials to upcycle some old sweaters into something fabulous.

    {source:  Sweater bag tutorial from a Lemon Squeezy Home}

    {source: Sweater Pillows from Better Homes & Gardens}

    {source: Knitted Bracelets by Left Coast Knits}

    Gas up the car and get me to a thrift store...quick!

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Repurposed pallets

    I love decorating with free things.  The industrial trend was hot in 2011.  In an effort to mix the two, I found a few of my favorite pallet projects that I would love to do.  What a great way to be green and on trend.

    A bookcase made entirely out of old pallets and crates.

    Stack a bunch of pallets for quick and rustic shelving.

    Simple shelving made from pallets.

    I love how palettes add texture to this focal wall.  The colors are great too.  How great would a bed look against this wall.  It looks like you can just use the vacuum to clean the wall up too.

    Where do you find old pallets?  Check out back behind home improvement stores like Home Depot, Lowes, or COSTCO.  Also check industrial parks and warehouses.  If you ask, they'll likely give you the pallets for free!

    I sort of like this trend, it's rustic and most important, inexpensive!  What do you think?  Do you like the repurposed pallet trend?