Monday, July 30, 2012

Hutch Display for Collections

Keeping the same objects in the same place in your home for a long period of time renders those items invisible. Favorite pictures and decorative items seem to disappear into familiarity. Thinking of this and looking at my hutch that held the same old antique glassware for seven months, I decided it was time for a change. 

Usually, I like to introduce floral, pinks and green dishware for Spring; blue and white for Summer, and woodsy themes in green and brown for Fall. Now it's time for something new. 


Why not display an unusual collection of organic objects, interspersed with old metal, glass bottles, and a few candles for a bit of variety! I like to decorate my living room like a personal mini-museum, like a Victorian cabinet of curiosities. It  makes sense to group these objects together. 

I walked around the house with a box, filling it with shells, coral rock, antlers, a handmade wooden spoon (made from my dead Japanese maple tree), shoe lasts, artisan tile, a bottle brush bear from the Adirondacks, the thrown out spigot handle from the historic home of someone I admire; and a few fossils that I found at Calvert Cliffs. Arranging the items was fun. The hutch now has a whole new look, with unique items gathered over the years. 

Every piece has a story behind it - the twig frame with my favorite camp-site view; a few old bottles that I found in a woods; a block of wood picked up on a beach; a little iron bird from my annual trip to Pennsylvania; a rock my son brought home from a beach in Denmark. The ice tongs are left over from the ice-box days, used to tote large chunks of ice. I found them in my grandfather's basement when he was downsizing. It's funny the things that people keep.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Headboard Does Not Match Bedframe

Finding that special old headboard can be troublesome when the headboard does not match the frame. But you can do this. It's quite simple.

For years, I had been searching for the headboard of my dreams - an old or faux antique steel headboard like you see in hospital wards in old movies. Not that I was actually going for that 1925 hospital ward look.

The obstacles were finding a headboard that fit below the the slanted attic walls of my bedroom, and finding a headboard on the cheap. Twenty-five dollars at Good Will worked for me. Stupidly, I did not bring home the footboard and side frames that would have held the whole thing together. I just don't like footboards. They get in the way when you make the bed and interrupt the little space we have. Plus, you can't sit on the bottom of the bed. But it would have made so much more sense!

The headboard was originally white with smears of red fingernail polish. I sanded it and spray painted it satin black. Two cans of spray paint left me with a little bit for future touch-ups. 

I had the idea of just attaching the headboard to the wall but my husband did not go for that idea. He simply bought a titanium drill bit and drilled holes through the 2 perpendicular metal pieces of the frame and headboard as you can see in the picture on the right.

It all seemed a bit wobbly so he attached the bottom horizontal bar of the headboard to the bed frame with glavanized tab tape, available in the plumbing section of your local hardware store. The tape stabilized the headboard.

Now I have the bed of my dreams. I covered two pillows with old grain sacks to add to the rustic romance of the bedroom.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cute Container for Homemade Soap

Homemade soap in painted berry baskets

There are so many ways to present soap as a gift. I love to look at some of the pretty wrappings I see in shops that sell handcrafted soap. 

But I prefer the soap to show instead of covering it with even the most attractive paper. Exposure to air hardens the product so that it will last longer in the shower. 

Then I found these old wood berry boxes at Carson's in the Cornfields (PA). I thought they would be nice for the homemade jams I like to give as gifts. I usually pick the fruit myself and think the boxes make an amusing container. The boxes looked a bit yucky, so I painted them with a wash of acrylic paint and water. 

I became so enamored of the berry boxes, I decided to use them for my homemade soap as well. I like the old farmhouse look and even save some of those pressed paper berry boxes for next Christmas. 

Adding a bit of tissue paper softens the edges. But lining the boxes with these hand knit wash cloths is not only appropriate, but looks pretty too.

Latest Batch of Homemade Soap

Homemade soap

For my latest batch of homemade soap, I thought that I'd do something different. It's so easy to fall into the rut of sticking to proven winners, the ones that people request, or my own favorites. Of course, my favorites are the soaps I make with inexpensive essential oils. Occasionally, I splurge on patchouli or lavender for Christmas gift giving. 

Wintergreen, peppermint, and a splash of eucalyptus make a refreshing blend of scents. I wanted a deep green color so I added some green French clay and some kelp granules. I can't wait to try it! The soap needs to cure for at least one month. Meanwhile my bedroom, where I store it, smells wonderful.

Homemade soap

Though I usually like to experiment with color, I thought I'd leave this batch (below) alone and see how it looked without additional colors. Two ounces of anise give this soap a wonderful licorice scent. Up close in person, the soap is a bit whiter than it looks on here.

Homemade soap

For detailed instructions on how to make homemade soap, read my hub on how to make soap with Crisco by clicking here