Knobby

I collect things. It could be years, or it could be minutes, but I will eventually use everything I find.  I have bins, lots of bins, they line the shelves and confuse my family.  I imagine I am a magpie. The items appear to be useless, but not to me.  The shape, the color, the material appeals and I stash.  The other day I cracked open the knob bin, and I was off.

First curtain rods. The curtains come together easily, I measure, iron and sew simple panels.  I want to use these cool knobs that were given to me.  I scour my stores and come up with threaded rod and cup hooks.  I hang the curtain on the rod and put two knobs on the end.  I strategically placed cup hooks in the window trim to hold the rod.  I can easily fit the curtain into the crook of the bay window by bending the rod.  I used chain I found in another bin to weigh down the hem.

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I used the rest of the these knobs in my bedroom in the unusable space next to a window and beside a closet to hang necklaces. I used scrap piece of wood (stretcher bar in this case) Using my necklaces as a guide to far apart to make the knobs I then drilled holes and tightened them on.

I replaced the knobs on the closet with the last two to make look a little nicer.

IMG_1435 IMG_1437Next I took a hammer to a hand railing in the kitchen that I have always hated.  Now that the space was opened up it was easier to plan my next move.  Dumping out the remainder of the knobs and sorting through I made a sort of pattern,  and attached them to a length of wood that I cut to fit in the space available.

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I almost used all the knobs, and I got a very excited reaction from The Associate.

nobody is perfect :)

The Teenager wanted to work at the local Ben and Jerry’s and waited patiently until she was 15.  We went over the whole job applying process very thoroughly from start to finish, and when she started was teased because she had never mopped a floor.  She came home a little forlorn, and I said “It’s my fault, I never taught you how.”

It can be argued that I employ a “different” parenting style with The Teenager.  Much to the chagrin of my husband and increasingly myself this focus is not on house cleanliness.  In my mind I am arming her with different information.  Information on how to move about this crazy world with empathy, self-confidence, kindness and fun.  Some of these lessons are impossible for a person of the male persuasion to understand, and I understand his confusion.

Our conversation that mopey mop day continued and the topics ranged from global politics to the difference between baking flours.  Weeks went by as they tend to do and I began to see large gaps in my parenting agenda.  Most of the problem areas are related to cleaning, and we begin to imagine the messes we will make in her future home.  Tea bags in random places, smoothie cups drained dry but not rinsed, blender stuck to the counter. I will most definitely leave my underwear on her bathroom floor tangled up in the soaking wet towel that I took from her hook. I relax thinking about it, my eyes twinkling.

I am startled out of my reverie when I realize that I also making these same mistakes with The Associate.  I temporarily talk myself up and deny my faults.  “If she knew how to clean up after herself, than we wouldn’t know what the sneak is up to.  We can hear her eat sugar from the bowl because of the clink of the fiesta ware as she puts the spoon back in.  I cannot hear the brown sugar container open or close, but I can always read the telltale signs of a powdered sugar meltdown.  The sprinkle of dust goes all the way down the cabinet, under the burner on the stove and into a little heap on the floor.  There is no good way to justify this behavior in her or me, especially when a steady stream of ants invaded for a couple of days.

What to do now, how do I right this wrong? Now that I am finally seeing the light, The Husband can stop banging his head against the wall (which is good), but The Descendants aren’t thrilled with the change.  The Associate yelps out NO! like she is two and The Teenager smirks and lurks off to work or dance or something else of vague importance.  What to do…..?  I know!  Demerits!  (stay tuned.. he…… hee…..)

Why is this in the fridge?

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Evidence that The Associate has been trespassing in my studio.

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Jewelry Converts #3,4,5 (ongoing diy)

While flipping my closet out for summer attire I realized that my wardrobe has lost its flavor.  I used to be prone to outrageous combos, and was a real fan of double-knit.  Maybe now that I am “older” I am shying away from my more whimsical ensembles, and the last thing feel like doing is shopping for new clothes. They are expensive and made to fade these days,  so I’ll tone it down a bit but that means it is time to accessorize!   This was the first bunch I encountered when I closed my eyes and dunked my hand into the FREE miscellaneous bin in the church basement.

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After thoroughly cleaning off the layer of caked on 80’s foundation, they didn’t look half bad.  Using wire cutters I snipped the metal holding the posts to the drop, It is that rigid, close to the ear thing that makes them really look bad.

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then I simply slipped on regular earring wires.  (When apple comes up with a phone that makes me look gorgeous in selfies, I’ll take a pic.)

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the final pair was pretty chunky and ugly but I wouldn’t give up. So I clipped them onto my high heels for a dash of 80’s glam.

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The most important thing is to have fun and try to find little morsels of coolness. Unless you want to look like everybody else 🙂

 

The Associate turns 8.

Me- (one day prior to birthday celebration) “Good morning sweetie pie, it’s almost your birthday, what kind of cake do you want me to make you?”

The Associate- (eyes still unfocused) “Can’t you just buy a cake like a normal person?”

Me- ( taken aback) “No, your mother isn’t normal, and she never will be.”

The Associate- (resigned) “Fine, chocolate cupcakes.”

I think that it is important to mention that I am making her a duvet cover per her request.  It is apparently perfectly normal to sew a duvet cover instead of buying one, however it isn’t normal to bake a cake. This was fairly easy because Serge is my friend. IMG_8793 and I already had sheet size Bloomcraft fabric from the eighties.  A quick measure pin and sew.

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Unfortunately Serge wasn’t feeling very well and in my rush I neglected to oil him properly.  He is now in hospital at the Husqvarna shop.  I did not finish it time for her actual birthday.  We had a fun friend party in which 10 little girls wore berets and painted with watercolors and frosting. IMG_8817 IMG_8821 IMG_8822 IMG_8823 IMG_8831 IMG_8833 IMG_8838

Each little girl made her own wish, and she got 8 new fish!

snow days……….

 

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The Associate-  “I need to feel the sun on my face.”

Me- “ME TOO.”

The Associate- “I need a mental health day.”

Me- “ME TOO.”

The Associate got her wish.  It has been a chilly winter, and snow days quite common.  She is fine with this of course, what child is not.  Parcc Testing was postponed only to haunt some other day and it was so cold that the moment you left the house your face froze.  We tried to run errands after the first lazy day.  Hit the pet store for some additional fish to “help keep the tank clean” and met a sweet puppy.

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We left quickly and headed to the big box store to buy a whole bunch of stuff that will most likely rot. The Associate was wearing her camouflage outfit and I almost lost her.

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I bribed her with donuts so we could hit the thrift stores on the way home.  All in all a good day, but there was still another.

I am supremely lucky that I can adapt to these outages well, and I am most definitely not complaining.  Being an artist, and a stay at home mom I spend most of my days not knowing what I will accomplish, so why are these any different. I like to call these 2 birds one stone kinda days, although who would want to kill a bird?  2 venomous spiders one stone?  ANYWAY, I have been trying to get my children to accompany me to the Botanical gardens to see the orchid show, but every time I mention it, I get back some kind groan/grunt answer.  Who are these people, how can they not love plants?  The Associate finally agreed to come if her friend Hazel could join.

The orchids were lovely and the smaller people had a ball, while I wandered in my head and felt the warm air of the spiny desert and the rainforest.

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They insisted on staying so long that we were terribly hungry and I convinced them we should run over to The Art Museum for a snack.  The Associate and her Associate wanted grilled salmon.  A surprisingly healthy and inexpensive snack, I quickly obliged.

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They wouldn’t sit with me, and I pretended to be hurt when I was secretly excited to eat in the beautiful atrium all by myself.

They ran around and played in the kids studio and I read a book.

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Bring it on winter.

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Another Aisinine Adventure.

Yesterday I experienced complete cabin fever.  My brain was frozen, and my movement was strained.  I was excelling at sleeping, watching television, and giving into The Associates demands.  She is quite crafty and easily recognized her harried mothers pattern of acquiescence.

My friend Josh called, I reluctantly Facetimed with him and his phone beamed images of large tables and mannequins, and I was up and out the door in minutes. I called my friend Sarah and she was quickly on board.  Her husband soldiered on removing the mom jean wallpaper from their kitchen while I snatched her for what we thought would be an hours excursion.

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We found tables for Sarah within the first 10 minutes of wandering the post apocalyptic Macys.  I had a nagging feeling that someone was going to steal her tables so we rounded back to make sure no body else could have them.  I am pretty sure My Disorder will be thoroughly documented in medical journals soon if it isn’t already.  It is brought on by excessive estate and vintage shopping, and results in adverse reactions like paranoia and overpaying.  A secondary wave is always around the corner when you spy someone else’s name on all the good stuff.  In our case “Erik”  got there first and my anxiety spiked, I did some muttering and was calm again.  Muttering and deep breathing are the official prescription for My Disorder, in case you also suffer.  We were negotiating the price of a large industrial piece.  The price was high, it was massive and it did not break down.

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The manager wasn’t really willing to budge on the price and we were about to leave when our friendly sales lady mentioned that we should see the blue chip room.  The room was quite large and at first glance full of junk but after another turn I began to fixate on red powder coated shelving and pegboard, and guess what?  Yep.

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I have no immediate use for either of these items but they are really nice and would cost a ton to recreate.  We volleyed price quickly realizing that all of us were ridiculously bad at math and had plummeting blood sugar.  The entire staff seemed to be suffering from the same brain freeze/ blood sugar dementia and it took approximately 5 times longer than necessary to pay, only to find that our math was still off by 50 dollars.  We eventually shelled out our cash, and put our outer shells back on to endure the 1 degree weather (feels like -19.)  We hefted table number one and almost fit it in the car.  Sarah ran several miles to Sears to get a screw driver while I devoured a mostly frozen brownie that was in the car.  With brittle fingers we attempted to get the legs off of the table but they weren’t budging.  We dragged the big table back into Macy’s, put the small one in the car and I drove us back to Sarah’s house to gather tools.  After some light nourishment and our common sense restored, we drove two cars back to the mall.

I dragged my pieces from the second floor and Sarah set about taking apart her table with the drill.  Keep in mind that the staff is no longer allowed to touch the objects once they are sold so we were being observed from afar.  I was approached by a fellow customer to help with sizing.  It apparently didn’t faze them that I had both feet planted on the wall and was putting all of my weight onto a wrench to loosen one of many bolts.

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One person asked if we needed help just in time to lift the heaviest part.  I, of course I didn’t take a picture of that one. The Lack of photographic evidence will be especially damning when I go to put it back together and it is one giant jigsaw puzzle.  We laughed a lot, almost cried and froze but we got those bohemoths loaded into the cars.

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Josh- I am not sure whether to curse you or thank you.

P.S. They are still in the car…..

 

Darling Nicky

I am a wee bit of a fabric hoarder.  There is an unknown quantity available at any time, to people I like. Thank goodness my friend Nicky needed curtains.  It gave me an opportunity to hone those rusty sewing skills and bring some beautiful fabric out of the dungeon and into the light.  I had 50 yards of this glorious fabric that brought all the colors of her dining room and living room together.  We decided to use the same in both spaces, not only because I already had it, but we thought it would look more cohesive and cozy when you entered the front door and your eyes scanned the rooms.

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She just happened to buy a house built in the 50’s, which is my favorite type of home.  I had a difficult time not decorating it for her in my every waking moment, so I jumped at the chance to custom make some window coverings.  The bedroom and the dining room were simple.  Subtle decorative rods were easily installed, and a quick eyeball fold, press and sew method was used to create panel curtains that add warmth and depth.  We employed my very technical technique of using the stripes on the ironing board to measure the hems. This by the way is the most awesome iron ever.

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The living room was a bit more of a challenge because of the size and angles of the windows.

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These curtains were to be decorative, non operable and pretty to fit Nicky’s evolving style which I would describe as feminine elegance.  A long curtain rod was not going to work because it would be ugly even if we did consider Lucite.  I did the research on curtain rods for this type of angle, and not only were they expensive they required precise measurements which I don’t do.  I wish I did, but alas I do not.  So instead I wandered around the home improvement store (the blue one) and spent a whopping 11 dollars on the smallest, most basic rod you can buy.

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I bent the rod until the metal broke and fit the ends back together to create a 10 inch rod for either end window.  The center angles presented a challenge and I bent the rods right in the middle to fit the angle of the window.  I had to shorten the other half of the rod so they could fit back together, and added a center support that were leftover from the bedroom.  We used four panels for the center window to add a bit more luxury, and weighed them down with curtain weights so they hung straight, and felt more tailored.

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Nicky, my basement thanks you. Enjoy!!!

three generations of awesome.

I have mentioned her before, my friend’s 90 year young grandmother, Lois and the publication of her first novel.

https://electricbelle.com/2013/11/23/i-only-hope-i-…e-when-i-am-90/

Lois Jeavons, also has a wonderful daughter, Judy who happened to give birth to one of my favorite people, Brady.  Brady did a write up for our community paper about her grandma’s book, and another friend Hillary came up with the brilliant idea of framing them for all three generations.

This is a very easy project and subject to many variations depending on what you have laying about.

Materials:

1. frame (s) plain shadow box

2. acid free glue stick and plain white glue (I used Elmers)

3. Xacto knife

4. scraps of foam board

5. full size pieces of contrasting colors of paper (look to bring out colors in the article picture)

6. several copies of the article in case of mistakes

I chose this small frame from Micheals craft store for several reasons. They came in a pack of three and I needed three, the price was reasonable, and it was small.  I didn’t want to create something large that would take up a lot of room, but small enough to be hung discreetly and still look nice.  Look around carefully because there are many options that are clearly marketed for other purposes then yours, but will work for you.

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1. cut out all parts of the article carefully with Xacto knife (newspaper tears easily) Including name of publication on front page.

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2. play around with the pieces to get a composition that reads well and is balanced.

3. when you are satisfied, glue each piece onto a colored strip of paper that is at least 1/4 inch larger.  I used the glue stick for this because it doesn’t buckle the thin paper (balance out the color so that it is spread throughout the collage.)

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Each piece is now outlined in color and you need to decide what parts you want to pop. In this case I chose the title of the article and the picture.

4. cut thin strips and or chunks of foam core and glue to the back side of your pop pieces (glue stick). You don’t want to see the foam, so you only need a slice.  place something on top of them to make sure they dry flat and let dry. I just happened to have a paint by number horse on my table so I used it.

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5. when you are dried and ready, carefully arrange your collage and glue down everything. I used the white glue for the foam core to base, and glue stick for everything else.

6. Once everything is glued on let completely dry and insert into frame.

TaDA

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budding art collections.

I decided to re post this blog, I regret that I cannot at this time show you the pieces I bought this year (I already wrapped them) but I did purchase both of them at Zygote Press.

I almost have a complete aversion to shopping in general. I do love a good and thorough Costco trip with a car filled with a million semi healthy snacks and plenty of Kefir. As far as holiday shopping I limit myself to what the local stores and artists offer.   Occasionally  I am in one of these holiday shows, and I try to barter as much as possible. Win. Win.  At the top of my shopping list is always art for the The Associate and The Teenager. It doesn’t have to be expensive or collectible, just a cool piece by a local artist that I think they will like.  These were 2013.

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I always buy something from this woman, she is multi-talented and I love that her mom is just as talented and always has booth somewhere nearby.

Here are a few from years past of which I happen to have pictures.

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I bought two of these  in 2012 from local artist Debbie Apple-Presser.

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The Teenager loves ballet so this is hers from 2011.

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My Friend Sarah painted this from one of my photographs of The Associate, I believe I gave it to The Husband, but it will probably go with The Associate when she ejects herself.

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This is one of my favorites, I got it at a garage sale from the artist on my street. bargain!

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And this one, the one that inspired this post. The Associate turns 7 tomorrow and I finally found a frame for this to go in her room.I purchased this from a student at a local high school where my friend Sarah teaches.  I always get to judge the senior art show and fell in love with this.  I gave him 50 bux and the confidence that comes when somebody buys your first piece. The title of this piece is “Big Ass House”  I haven’t told The Associate the title because she would find a way to work it into casual conversation just to mess with me.

Hopefully when they get ready to start their own lives they will be proud owners of an eclectic and inspiring art collection. I do make sure that I like all of the pieces too, just in case. 😉

Those shady Southerlands.

Talk about an ironic title. These Southerlands I speak of are two of the most generous and loving people I know. Did I mention, patient? Well they have waited over a year for their custom lampshades, and not a peep out them until they arrived. Good people with an enviable collection of beautiful Mid Century items so I must do a good job.
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It all started in the summer on our annual Wilmington, NC visit, I got sidetracked by their new lamps they inherited from family and promptly set about re-wiring them,  after that the shades simply would not do, with the light shining through the stains showed up.

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I tried to clean them, doing my darndest to keep the shape.

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I could not save them.  We put them back on and they waited. The next summer I stole the shades leaving the pretty lamps naked.  I did some research and aimed to acquire yet another skill.  They came for a visit and I ended up wanting to spend time with them instead in my zone. They left shadeless and I had another bump in my education. I could not get the old lamp frame rings back to round no matter what I tried.  I decided to order new ones. They don’t make them the like they used to so I had to factor that in to the new shade and do some very dubious math. Then I decided to change the fabric, and the tape, and finally got down to business.

Materials needed.  (I purchased all of my materials from http://www.lampshop.com)

-2 lamp wire frames, one with bulb or harp holder, and one without. size depends on your shade. I used 12 inch in diameter. (tip- for your first go at this use two of the same size. It becomes much harder when top is smaller than the bottom)

-stryene shade liner (sold by the yard)

-white paper tape.

-fabric

-clips (I use clothespins)

-masking tape

-Xacto knife

-glue

-small paintbrush

-rag for excess glue.

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– tape the very springy lamp liner to work surface and trace the old lamp shade on it.

-cut using an Xacto knife (material rips easily so scissors can be disastrous)

– Tape fabric face down on clean work surface.

-lint roll to remove inevitable dog hair, so it is not permanently trapped between layers.

-lay shade liner over fabric and trace if you wish so the design or weave is straight, or wing it like me.

-slowly peel back protective layer on the stryene while firmly pressing on the fabric.

-once it is fully stuck, cut remaining fabric leaving 3/4 inch of fabric all the way around.

-pin the shade all the way around folding extra over the ring. do top and bottom.

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-fold edges of fabric over and glue the seam, add a little weight on top to make it flat. (you might like me think this is a stupid step, but trust me it is important.)

-sit back and think you are really cool while this dries because it gets a bit messy from here on out.

-when seam is dry stand shade up on one end and get busy gluing, make sure you can complete each end without interruptions #The Associate

-damn lost the image, sorry.

-try to follow me.  apply glue to the paper tape with brush and fold over wire and fabric to connect everything together.  make sure your tape line on the outside of the shade is straight in case you don’t apply trim.  do a couple of inches at a time and wipe up excess quickly. let dry.

– don’t give up!

-once you have done both ends, pat yourself on the back and decide if need to cover up any mistakes with trim 🙂

-wait another month until a gigantic box comes into your life so you can send shades to your longsuffering friends.

 

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YAYYYYYYYYYY