Saturday, September 26, 2009

Skipping Town

I was fix'n to participate in this blog party today.  I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could. However,...

This was the state of affairs on my balcony when dinner was served tonight. Tomorrow we leave for La Jolla. So, I packed up my workshop for another day. It's hard for me to put away a project mid stream when I am enjoying the momentum. Funny thing is, I just had a talk with the Crayons about how "Rome wasn't built in a day." Seems I need to talk my idioms more seriously.

My inlaws gave me some mad money for my birthday and my sweet husband planned an overnight for us in La Jolla. LAUSD conspired to give me Monday off and so it is that I will  be in Mission Viejo Monday night having dinner with Bella and her parents. (Perhaps we will even play with her pink kitchen.)

Anyway, as you can see, I chose to use my free Glidden "Sea Spray" paint. I love how it's turning out and can not wait to show you all the final project.

Oh and seeing as I am a party pooper, I thought I would at least share a cool paint trick I just made up. That is the innards of the drawer from this drawer front coat hanger project. Now I am using it as a shield of sorts for spray painting.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Kitchen: Retro Green or Pretty in Pink?

Have you heard about this blog party? It's all about sharing our creations from the free Glidden paint giveaway. (Or any free paint you have lying around. Wendy's inclusive like that.)

I am fix'n to be ready!

I thought about linking up to the chairs that I painted. But, through the awesomeness of craigslist, I have another nightstand to transform!

Since I had five people inquire about the last play kitchen, I really wanted to do another quickly. With Christmas around the corner this is prime time to sell these. Not to mention, this Christmas might be pretty lean for people and the opportunity to give something to a child and a tax deductable charity is a pretty good twofer deal. My goal is to make two more play kitchens in time for Christmas giving.

I decided to get a little wiser in my search for curbside cabinets and troll craigslist. The free section had the perfect thing with the blue kitchen, but since then I haven't been so lucky. This is LA after all and getting across "town" in time for a "curb alert." can be problimatic. We aren't known for efficient transportation. So, I started looking in the "for sale" section. I set the price low -$1-$10. Then I wrote to a seller and asked if she would consider donating her cabinet. She agreed!

Thanks Rachel! (Every Rachel I have ever met has been really awesome!)

Now of course I am debating: Should I use my free Glidden in the seafoam green or to go all out girly and paint it with the leftover pink paint from Bella's kitchen? Care to weigh in?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lisa Leonard Designs Jewelry GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Lisa Leonard Designs Jewelry GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

I know I would love to win and I bet you would too! Click on over for a chance!

A Butterfly for Bella

B for Bella & Butterfly

This summer I was sitting in the backseat with my little friend Bella. She has this great big magna-doodle thing and it keeps her quite entertained in the car. I had been doing errands with her mom all morning and we had been chit chatting quite a bit.
At one point I said, "Hey Bella, would you like to learn how to make a butterfly out of the letter B?" She agreed and I drew two B's to make the wings with the body in between. Bella's eyes grew large and she looked at me as if to say, "Aunt Jane you have been talking all morning, but this...this is something I can use!" It was so funny!

Later that same night at dinner, I noticed that she was frustrated by her crayons. The restaurant crayons were too soft and broke easily. The big crayons in her "underwear bag" were too fat for the detailed coloring she wanted to do.
Bellas Twist- Up Crayon Pouch

My fourth graders love Crayola Twistable crayons. They are coveted for their self sharpening twisty fun. I knew they would be just right for Bella too. So I was thrilled to see that my 99 Cents Only store carried twistable crayons. 

Naturally, the simple velcro pouch had to have a B butterfly!

Weeks later her mom reported to me that Bella successfully drew her own B butterfly on her magna doodle. Upon showing it to her parents she said, "Look! Your friend Jane showed me how to draw this. Do you remember her?"

That kid cracks me up!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Your The Inspiration: Lost and Found Box

Today I am featuring two projects that I have bookmarked or "starred" in my Google Reader.  I don't know about you, but I have hundreds of blog posts starred. I also have dozens of pictures in my "Flickr Favs." They both serve as an online inspiration folder. I decided that it's high time to dig into that list and start using some of that inspiration.

Today's starred projects come from these two excellent blogs:

What do you get when you take inspiration from this tissue box made by Chris at Just A Girl...

and add  inspiration from this trinket art made by Sharla at My Little Gems?

Well, I came up with this:
Lost & Found Box

A lost and found box for my classroom! Yes, I am still working on my goal of bringing my crafty to work.

Side View
This year we have a new math program that issued a bag of math manipulatives (counters, play money, number cubes etc...) to every child. The district has informed me that each of my thirty little plastic bags with hundreds of small pieces is supposed to last for seven years! Seven years! (Insert dubious laugh here.) Anywhoo! When we find missing pieces, we will toss them into this box. From time to time we will inventory our bags and replace the missing pieces. Hopefully my bags will last...who am I kidding... a few years.
I loved both the idea of the trinkints and the calm of the white on white from my two "inspiration pieces." (I feel so HGTV when I say that.) Here is a photo mosaic of my process.
 Trinket Box
Lost & Found Box
As you can see, I have saved a lot of trinkets, including the keys off of Cliff's old laptop.  I used Elmers Household Cement which worked pretty well. It held things in place even on a vertical surface. Although, it was a bit hard to control and on some of the trinkets you can clearly see the blob of glue in back. Also, it did not clear my sinuses at all. No fumes what so ever. I probably would have liked the control of super glue better, but I would recommend this glue for those of you crafting with kids. It cleans up with water and is priced well.

Need a bit more inspiration to try this idea on your own?

Here are some similar ideas I found:
An Ikea Mirror with white buttons- very shabby chic
Mirror frame covered with small toys -looks great brightly colored, but I'd love it painted all white too!

And just for fun... wouldn't this crazy cat car from People of Walmart look a little chic painted all white?

Man that car makes me smile! Hope your having a great Monday!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It May Be 90 Degrees, But Apparently It's Cold Season

On the third day of school my true loves gave to me, three sinus headaches, two boxes of tissues (gone) and a sooooore throat! And in turn I have shared it with Cliff.

Despite taking extrodinary precautions, my dear husband has now succommbed to my cold. He's a real comedian isn't he?

I rarely get sick. Usually I just am the carrier of school germs and Cliff gets sick. Hazards of being a teacher's spouse, I suppose. Honestly, I am surprised to be sick so soon because I have become such a hand sanitizer-sneeze in your elbow dictator this year. (Kinda like Elmo and Kathleen Sebelius.)  I think the bad air quality from recent fires is partly why I was more vulnerable this time.

Anyway, I am hoping the fumes from super glue will clear my sinuses because I have a project that I have been itching to do for quite some time now. It's perfect for a quiet Saturday at home.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Heirloom Party

Marie from Emma Calls Me Mama is hosting an Heirloom Party today.

Yup, I've got some of those. I inherited my grandmother Hattie's china and my grandmother Mary's dining room table.

While I enjoy those big ticket items, I am most sentimental about some other smaller things. I have found that it's the ordinary things that mean the most. When my Grandma Mary died my Aunt Jean wanted one of her lipsticks. Revlon's Cherries in the Snow. That lipstick is an heirloom now.

Along those lines, this is one of my favorite heirlooms.
Cigar Wrapper Plate

When I was young, maybe six or seven, my Grandma Hattie started asking relatives to "put their names on things." It was kind of creepy. Eventually all her stuff had someone's name on the bottom of it. It kind of scared me. She said she did it to prevent any problems later on. She also said she wouldn't know what things really meant something to us. Fortunately, she lived until I was in my twenties. At some point I talked to her about it and told her that what I really wanted more than anything was this cigar plate.

It hung on her dining room wall in the old house and I can remember thinking it was so beautiful and cool that someone made that. I also loved that she looked like an old fashioned china doll. I think it was hard to believe that my grandmother was once so small.

I (thankfully) don't know a single person who smokes cigars anymore which makes the labels all the more charming. I believe the plate is about a hundred years old. Now that's a craft with some staying power. All you Modge Podgers- you just never know!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sewing Some Spots

I feels like forever since blogged about sewing. This post has been burning a hole in my pocket. Thankfully the UPS man delivered and I can finally share!

A little birdie told me that my friend Kate wanted some polka dot pillows for her third grade classroom. She has this awesome game theme going on and wanted to add some Twister style pillows. I was happy to have a birthday gift suggestion and even happier that I had all the fabric and supplies in my stash! The white is fleece so it was easy to sew, soft and should be pretty stain resistant.

Seeing them all stacked up, looking just the way I had envisioned was the icing on the cake.

Pile of Polka Dot Pillows
They aren't exactly like Twister. In fact, Cliff said his favorite was the "Wonder bread pillow" on the top. Still, I think they are fun.

Polka Dot Pillows for Kate
Cliff always teases me that "everything becomes a lesson plan." From left to right, warm colors, cool colors, mixed colors, primary colors.

Happy Belated Birthday Kate! I hope you have a wonderful year in and out of your crayon box!

Edited to add: The spots are scraps of solid color fabric of all kinds. I used Wonder Under to iron them on and a zig zag stitch to hold them solidly in place. I happened to have all the right thread colors from the grandma lady garage sale thread haul.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Kitchen is Going to the Dogs

I wasn't trying to go for a theme. And if I was, originally it was cherries. But I just can not resist a pooch! It started with this Scottie dog that my grandpa made for each of us grandkids a zillion years ago.
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Then I found this tin sign at the thrift and it's spread from there!
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Last week I found this place mat for $1. It's one of those hard ones with the cork backing.
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A little hot glue and a ribbon scrap.
Hot Glue & Ribbon Hanger
Un petit chien dans la cuisine!
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That's a dark little nook, but you get the idea. The great thing about using a place mat for kitchen art is that it is totally wipe-able.

I am participating in both Trash to Treasure with Reinvented and the Goodwill Party at Dalomba Days. Head on over to see the great ideas these ladies collect!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Trash to Treasure: Sweet Little Picture

A few months ago I went to my dream garage sale.

The sale was run by the grandchildren of the homeowner. It was clear within minutes that this lady could have been my very own Grandma Hattie. It was almost like visiting her home.

I snagged a bunch of stuff. In the pile was this sweet little framed magazine page. For a quarter I couldn't leave that little scottie dog behind.
Thrifted Frame
The ad on the back is pretty interesting.

I'm thinking it dates back to World War Two. It talks about women having to leave their homes in service to their country.
You can click on it to read it.

This little framed gem (to me) could have so easily been tossed, but like my grandma, this lady didn't toss stuff. She was a saver because even simple things had value to her. She was old school "green."
Picture Grouping
You'll have to click to see the picture larger. I thought the blue of her dress went well with this grouping.

I have such a hard time wrestling with the modern desire to clear clutter and streamline things and the genetic, ingrown desire to save collect things. It makes me happy to think that 50 years later this scrap of magazine is still worth something.

And that my friends is why I love Trash to Treasure so much!

Friday, September 11, 2009


Today is Inspiration Saturday over at the Boutelle Family Zoo. I find my inspiration from dozens of sources. Here are just a few.

I have an entire flickr set devoted magazine photos that inspire me.
red and white bath

I love these curtains! And, I do have a bit of that check on my shoe bench.

Peach Peeks Out
My colorful Crayons inspire me daily.
Bits N Pieces Swap
The creative spark of swaps is what got me back into crafting after many dry years.
Molly Monkey Twins With Lady Monkey
The amazing patterns and tutorials online and my favorite things from childhood have fueled my sewing passion.
The beauty of my state continues to amaze me. This is a good thing, because the organization and money management of my state is mind numbing.
Saving Every Little Bit
Little odd treasures remind me of my depression era grandmother and make thrifting more than just a money saver or something to blog about. These little things inspire me to live simply and to have gratitude for the abundance that I do have.
Hollywood UMC from Highland
Speaking of gratitude and abundance, my church has really been a source of inspiration and light this summer. I have joined a few new committees and am meeting lots of new people. Working and living in a big city, there is so much that is below average or just meeting standards. It's inspirational to go to church and see people working to live out Christ's message of love and hope and pushing for excellence as a way to honor Him.
Birthday Trip
Looking forward with this guy. Here we are in the mountains above Ojai. Just spending time together inspires me to live life to the fullest.

What inspires you?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Nice Craigslist Story

Simple Blue Kitchen
The blue play kitchen finally sold!

When I first listed the blue kitchen on craigslist there was one lady who was interested right away. She wanted me to meet her in Glendale, about a half hour away, to deliver it. Usually I have people pick the kitchens up at church. That way they can pay the church directly and there is no question of impropriety. There are so many scams on craigslist and I just want every thing to be on the up and up. But, I also wanted to sell the kitchen quickly and this is a recession. So I agreed to deliver it.

All I asked was that she pay me with check or money order made out to the church. She responded by asking me to lower my price by $40. I thought about it for a couple of hours and decided that I wouldn't do that. It takes me some time to make them and I really want to make a good amount of money for the homeless program.

She decided that she didn't want to buy the kitchen, but asked what I would charge to make one out of a cabinet she already had in her garage. I told her the same price. $100. I get my cabinets for free as they come off the curb. Again, I think my time and my cause are worth the money. She wasn't interested. It was a discouraging exchange of emails.

So for a month it sat in our apartment and languished on craigslist without a single bite. I prayed about it and just decided to hold tight. I wasn't being greedy for myself after all.

The week before school started in my mad dash to tie up loose ends, I took the play kitchen over to church and listed it again on craigslist. Within a few days I had five people interested and it sold shortly after.

Then I got this email:

"I have been wanting to make my little girl a kitchen like the one you made. I am in San Diego so most likely would not be able to buy one from you even if you made another one. But yours was sooooooo cute that I thought I would ask if it was still available. Can I ask you where you bought the sink faucet and little levers? I have had my eyes out for a little cabinet for soooooo long!
;)kelley "

I replyed with a link to my flickr set which details all my "trade secrets" in kitchen making.

I got this email in reply:

Hi Jane,
I just have to say,
1.) You are my craft hero.
2.) Thank you so stinkin much for sending me your flickr site link. I am so inspired.
3.) Your kitchens all turned out soooooo amazing.
4.) Love your monkeys too!
5.) I am DETERMINED to make my little girl a kitchen now and will definitely send you a picture once I am finished.
6.) The best thing about seeing your creative kitchens was knowing that you do this out of the kindness of your heart to help the homeless.
7.) If I lived in LA, we'd be fast friends. (Actually, I went to CSUN for college so at one time I did live in LA.)
8.) I promise I'm not some weird stalker.
Thanks again and take care.

I can not tell you how that made my day! First off, she said "stinkin" which I say all the time. So much so that Cliff is constantly asking, "How freak'n stinkin cute is that!" Second, it was such a nice boost after the somewhat unpleasant exchange with the other lady.

(The truth is I don't just do it for the homeless program. Mostly I do it because I like to make stuff and sell them for the homeless program because it gets them out of my apartment. I am not much of a salesperson and hate asking people for money. If I sold them for myself I would have taken the $40 discount I am sure. The cause gives me more confidence.)

Thank you Kelley! You made my day and I can't wait to see your play kitchen!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

DYI: Shoe Bench from Reclaimed Wood

My problem: I had this cluttered shoe basket in my entryway:
Messy Shoe Basket
My Dream Solution: I would love to have this:
My Inspiration: <span class=

However, it's bigger than my tiny nook or my small furniture budget. "Hey!" I thought, "I have a saw and tools! I could make one from scratch!"

Like any good frugalista, I balked at the cost of buying new boards at the Home Depot. So, I came home and looked for wood.
Futon Frame No More

Found some! It's the last of our old futon frame! My woodworking style is what one might call "cobbled together" anyway.

My DIY Solution: I made this shoe bench:
Front View

I made a flickr set with lots of notes to show/tell how I did it. Here are some highligts:
Kitchen Table Wood Shop
For one thing, we were in the middle of bad heat and worse air quality. So, the balcony workshop was moved right to the kitchen table. My table top is formica, so it's all good.
Frame for Bench
Basically I made a cube out of these boards from the frame. I didn't have enough for a solid frame, so I made it open like this. This is a picture of the early stages of framing. I just drilled holes and used screws to put it together.

I made a cushion from the bench cushion I just retired.

View from the Door

View From the Door

It's far from perfect. I can already see where I could have made it better (I have added that info to my notes in the flickr set) but, I have been using it for a few days now and it works like a charm to keep that nook neat and organized. I am glad I took the plunge and went for it. Total cost $7. Now that's frugal!

Get your DIY fix at ASPTL! More Frugal Friday at Shabby Nest