Ooh la la…

Consider this Part 543 in an ongoing series in my thrifty life called: Something-Else-Awesome-that-Josh-and-I-Found-on-the-Road-on-Trash-Day-and-How-it-Changed-Our-Lives-Hashtag-Only-Slightly-Exaggerating.  

Previous beloved installments in this unofficial series include…

butcher block dining room table

I’m offended by how blurry this picture is… I don’t blame you if you feel the same way.

This butcher block top Josh saved from the streets one trash day — and after we Googled a similar sized piece of block for pricing, we realized it was worth almost $300 (and it had no damage!).

We also found those beauties…


We saved these antique crystal door knobs from an old door on the street.  With a little elbow grease, they were removed from the (probably) lead paint ridden door, and placed into my happy hands.  And oh, how I love them…


However, this past trash day’s prize takes it all.

A monstrously large, solid-as-a-rock, mostly-undamaged French Provincial dresser:


NO, stained wood — especially this orange-y color — is NOT usually my thing.  I have plans o’ painting.  But wait… I’ll get to that in a minute.  First: Storytime!

So… as Josh and I often do, we were walking to work together (#americandream), and we spied this hunk of loveliness hanging out on the street all “You can’t have me because you live in a 400 sq. ft. apartment, but wouldn’t you love to refinish me with a slate grey milk paint with crisp white accents?  But you CAN’T!”  Such a tease.  I cursed whoever was giving up such a beautiful piece of furniture — with such potential — but passed it up because (like the piece of furniture said in my strange metaphor), Josh and I live in 400 sq. ft. so adding things like a huge French Provincial dresser (it’s over six feet long and about three feet high!) or removing enough of our current furniture to fit in (when we don’t want to get rid of anything but our old slipcovered couch) is a no-go.  Cue a deep sigh.  And that was the end of that.  Until…

I was walking the dogs the next day and —


Aren’t my dogs the cutest things you’ve EVER SEEN?!?!


My heart breaks a little every time I look at them because I’m pretty sure they’ll never fully comprehend how much I love them…

Unpause.  Slight rewind for dramatic effect.

I was walking the dogs the next day when I saw the dresser again.

{Insert picture of dresser in street here}

Obviously I didn’t really take pictures of it because it was hard enough to say goodbye the first time.  I didn’t want to accidentally stumble across a picture of it in the future…  and cry.  Or something equally irrational.

But again, I passed it up… but not before determining its structural stability (sturdy and sound) and whether or not the drawers stayed on their track (yep, brilliantly so).  Oh, and of course, I saw this sexy detail for the first time:


A dovetail joint.  Va-va-voom.

Then I fell in love.  Hard.

But it was more like summer lovin’, like in the song… where you have to go your separate ways at the end — Australia and Rydell High, or in the case of the dresser and me: to the nearest landfill and to my shoebox apartment, respectively.

…That’s not to say I didn’t dwell on the dresser for a disproportionate amount of time afterwards.

Fast forward to later that night when Josh and I were walking our dogs again — my life in New York City is 70% walking and 30% everything else — and we checked out the dresser yet again.  I say “checked out,” but really I gave it a cursory glance while Josh really got in there (#thatswhatshesaid).  Like I did before, he checked the drawers, did the whole push it and see if it wobbles test (passed with flying colors, of course), and gave it his general approval, while in the same breath reminding me — “I know, I know” — that we had nowhere to put it.

The following day — trash day — we walked past it, realized it was now or never, and in an insane fit of French Provincial passion, hefted it half a block and up four flights of stairs.

The problem is, when I I type it all out in one sentence like that, it undermines just how. much. work. it was.  Like, I don’t even want to guess how much it weighs.

So, Josh and I took out all the drawers and took those upstairs (twelve drawers, four flights, three trips).  Then we carried the body of the dresser (did I mention it was half a block + four flights of stairs?).  We still didn’t have a clear plan as to where it would go, what would be lost with the gain of said dresser, and how many drawers of this dresser Josh would get to use for his clothing (spoiler alert: zero).  But we knew we loved it, it had a little damage (just a couple of dings on the side that wood putty can save), and we knew it would be valuable to us in the coming years (we’re not going to live in apartments forever, I can promise you that).

Ok.  Enough storytime.  You all knew how it ended anyway.  Let’s look at substandard pictures of her in relatively poor nighttime/indoor lighting:




On behalf of my neat freak husband, let me apologize for the dirty rug.  I don’t really care so much, but he almost wouldn’t let me take pictures because of the way it looked.


Medallion deliciousness…


And like I said, I don’t care for orange-y stained wood, so I’ll mos’ def be painting it.  I had images of grey and white milk paint, so I decided to Google image search and see what popped up (rather than always trying to imagine it, I sometimes like to look up an example from other crafty bloggers and see how it turns out in the end).

I found this great example from Mustard Seed Interiors:

{Source: Mustard Seed Interiors}

It’s literally EXACTLY what I had imagined (slate grey with white for the trimmy bits and medallions), and it looks even better than I expected.  Imagining this against a navy wall with this couch…

EKTORP Sofa IKEA Easy to keep clean with removable, dry clean only cover.

{Source: Ikea}

And this kind of natural jute rug:

And throw pillows in these patterns and/or colors:

{Source: Fabric.com}

{Source: Pookadella’s Home Decor Etsy Shop}

Pair that with the turquoise silk pillow I already have….

Add some long curtains in this fabric:

{Source: Fabric.com}

Repaint and stain my current end tables to look like this:

{Source: Centsational Girl}

Buy this quirky lamp and spray paint the base lime green or yellow and replace the current shade with a drum shade:

{Source: Boscov’s}

Maybe throw in a fixture like this one:

{Source: Shades of Light}

….along with my slew of awesome accessories that I already have and…

future living room moodboard

Yeah. I’ve pretty much redecorated my whole apartment in my mind.

Trash day scavenging is a dangerous thing.

I don’t know when I’ll get to painting the dresser — much less all these other changes — but  I’ll keep you posted along the way of course.  Ohboyohboyohboy.

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Mother Nature is My Home Girl

Happy Earth Day, y’all!   (And thanks, Google… you always come through with your clever home screens right when I think I might forget medium important holidays and random botanists’ birthdays.)

But seriously, I love the planet, I love DIY, and it’s no secret that I love saving the murnies, so logically I love upcycling like nobody’s business.

Bring on the Earth-Day-themed-upcycling-posts-throwback-round-up-trip-down-memory-lane-smorgasbord-of-April-twenty-second’s love!


(Click on the image or the link above the image to take you to the original post!)

Vinyl Record Bowl

free dog toy toilet paper roll

Nice Knobs!  (Salvaged Crystal Door Knobs)


Vintage Yardsticks and Rulers

{Source: Corner House Blog}

Wine Cork Crafts

{Source: ewehoo!}

Nice Knobs! (and other home decor double entendre)

***New to the Ginger Penny Pincher???  Welcome!  Aside from today’s post, you can also check out a bevvy of other things on this little ol’ blog of mine, chock full of DIY/crafty goodness/penny pinching/run-on sentences.  Feeling overwhelmed?  (Like the way I do every time I walk into Ikea Brooklyn?)  Worry not!  Here are some suggestions to dry those clammy palms (not accusing you of a clammy palm problem, that’s just how handle stress.  That, along with snappy comments and hair fidgeting.  It’s not cute.):

  • Check out that sexy sidebar (to the right)!  It’s not as up to date as I’d like for it to be, but it definitely has some of my more popular posts and projects readily available.
  • Try the search engine  (again, to the right).  I’ve got over 200 posts from a little over a year of blogging, so surely something will strike your fancy!
  • Those buttons at the top!  By no means are these exhaustive catalogs for the blog, but they have a few projects in a more easily accessible format (though they are waaaaay overdue for a overhaul).
  • Scroooool down the page.  Blogs are in reverse chronological order, so you could essentially read through the whole thing by scrolling and advancing to the next page to your heart’s content.  This is assuming you have more free time than I do.  (And I don’t just assume this for you, my friends.  I hope this for you.)
  • Subscribe!  I use to post every weekday, but then life happened, and now I usually only update this every other week.  However, if you subscribe, you’ll get a nice little notification in your inbox when I do manage to update this thing.  It’s a win-win.  Or in the words of a Michael Scott, a “win-win-win.”  What could be better?

Now to today’s post.  A little over a month ago, Josh and I were walking in our neighborhood, like we do, when we spotted this:


Not the door.  Look again.

No, not the scary redhead with no makeup and crazy hair (though that’s terrifyingly distracting, I realize).

That crystal-freaking-door knob.


And actually, we found two doors, both with crystal door knobs, for a total of FOUR crystal doorknobs (or two sets).  Someone had left them in a trash pile in front of the building next to ours. Our building was built in the 20’s, like most of the buildings in the area, so we knew it was the real deal (not to mention the layers of paint half-hiding the crystally deliciousness).  I don’t know if they just didn’t realize what they had (or just didn’t care), but they’d left them to the curb which meant they were fair game for any passersby (in this case, us).  

Now, as some of my long time readers may remember, Josh and I are trash-to-treasure veterans.  Often, our neighbors up here in NYC will toss out perfectly good items simply because they don’t have the space to store it or the vehicle and/or resources to better dispose of their stuff, i.e., the thrift store or antique store.    (One of our favorite curbside finds was this fabulous REAL butcher block table top — in perfect condition — that now serves as the top for our dining room table.  It weighed a TON but it was well worth the fourth floor walk-up, and I know it will be in our family for a long time.)

So of course, when I spotted the doors and — more importantly — those knobs, I squealed, did a skippy dance in the street, and demanded Josh help me put them in the car for later use (I’m very bossy when excited).  On any other day, I’d probably just body block the doors from other savvy curb treasure hunters while Josh retrieved the necessary tools, but I’m pretty sure it was like three in the morning (we work in a restaurant), and it was about 12 degrees outside, so not exactly the time for outdoor DIY.  And we were still on the fence about saving the doors, too.  We had visions of headboards or sofa tables made from doors, but weren’t sure how ambitious we really were going to be in the future.  After all, the doors were covered in layers upon layers of paint (read: probably dangerous lead paint).

So we hoisted them into el reliable Honda CR-V (it gets 28 MPG, don’t judge me) where they stayed for about three weeks.  We were busy.  And those were doors.

I think if we had more space and/or a garage and/or loads of free time, we wouldn’t have hesitated to try to save and repurpose the doors as well.  But space and free time we don’t have, so we hemmed and hawed and waited for a warmer day to remove the knobs once and for all.

Also, because of the layers of paint, we assumed this wasn’t going to be an easy job, and we’re both great at procrastinating when we know something is going to be hard (like doing our taxes with a mound of receipts and multiple 1099’s and W-2’s).  But finally it warmed up one day and we had a few hours to spare, so we got a couple of screwdrivers and went to work.


Let me clarify:  I did the camera phone thing and Josh went to work.  We had visions of turpentine and face masks and lead poisoning, but magically the knobs just came off within just a couple of minutes through a combination of paint scraping and then unscrewing.


Unbelievably painless.  And when we were done, we were left with these lovelies:


No, not the carny hands… the crystal door knobs.



They still have a bit of paint on them from the last time someone painted these doors (seriously, has no one heard of painter’s tape?), so I’ll eventually look into how to get that off (I could use paint thinner, but I’m tempted to just try nail polish remover… another day).  Regardless, they’re gorgeous and even though I don’t have a use for them yet, I’m holding on to them for now.  I mean they’re like 90 years old — they’re classic!

In fact, I don’t mind them just sitting there not doing anything at all but sparkling in the fire escape-diffused sunlight :)

courtney gpp signature 2

Check out some of my other posts:

Where I’ve Been the Last Month…



Nah, just kidding.  I haven’t left the country or anything… but I have been maniacally busy the last month, thus the complete lack of a post throughout most of the holidays.  I sold my soul to the restaurant the day after Thanksgiving, and it was just recently returned to me.


Yes, I’m still employed, but we have entered what is known as “slow season,” therefore I have a smidgen more time on my hands.  (I know, right?  Can you imagine people not wanting to visit the Big Apple when it’s a balmy twenty degrees… with a breeze?).  However, I’m not gaining a ton of free time, because while the restaurant is slowing down, audition season is starting to pick up.  Big time.


All of this to say, while I make no New Year’s resolutions about blogging more often, or going back to my good ol’ five days a week like I did in 2011 and most of 2012, I am gonna try my darnedest to post more consistently (it’s entirely possibly that I’ve said the exact same thing in the last three blog posts I wrote, so forgive me if I’m a Liar McLiar Pants… But my intentions are noble).


Ok, enough blogging about blogging.  Blaaaahhhh.  Here are a few highlights from the last month.  (Because there’s no way you’re over the holidays yet.  Impossible.)


My mama had a birthday!


My mama-in-law had a birthday!


I had a birthday!


And Jesus had a birthday!



Let’s talk more about that last one.


Like I mentioned before, with the volume of tourists that come through NYC (especially Times Square), the holidays are a crazy-busy time for that-restaurant-where-I-work (shh… it’s a secret).  Despite this, we had our own kind of Christmas miracle happen in that Josh and I both had Christmas Day and New Year’s Day off, and we got to work together on New Year’s Eve… wait for it… in Times Square.  Like across the street from where the ball droppedLike the ball.


It’s the first New Year’s Eve I’ve worked anywhere, but the fact that I was where I was, and that Josh was there too — it definitely made it worthwhile.

2012-12-31 20.44.23

And with Christmas Day off, we got to go do things that normal people do on Christmas Day… Like see movies….


(Here’s lookin’ at you, Hugh Jackman…)

Eat delicious yet unhealthy food….

(no pictures… it was gone too quickly)


…And open presents!


Nola really got into it, too.




It was an all-around lovely holiday season — and busy.


That’s all for today, but I do have another post coming up — after all I didn’t make it through the entire Christmas season and not do a little DIY.  More next time!


Check out my other 2012 holiday posts (they were few and far between, I know):

Man Candles

Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas

Unique Christmas Trees

DIY Advent Calendar

And check out my slew of 2011 Holiday posts here:  12 Weeks of Christmas  (I was an over-achiever back then.)


courtney gpp signature 2

Man Candles

Ever since I saw these candles at the Old City Market in Charleston, I’ve been wanting to make my own.

I already knew how to cut glass bottles (from this tutorial), so the plan was to follow this artisan’s lead and use these as the vessels for the poured wax (though she admitted she actually uses a glass cutter, not the fire/string/acetone method I use).

Josh and I spent the better part of an evening working on a large collection of empty bottles.  Without fail, the Brooklyn Lager bottles cut the first time, every single time.  However, some of the others were a bit fickle (different types of glass, slightly different shape, who knows?).

Eventually, we ended up with this:


And after ordering a plethora of soy wax, a roll of wick, wick tabs, and a bottle of vanilla scented oil,  we went to work.  Or, at least we planned on it.


That’s our plethora of soy wax.

See, while I love the glass cutting method I use as a way to make vases or containers for pens and other homey items, using the cut glass as a candle holder just doesn’t work.  Because despite my efforts to get the most precise cut, even the best bottles have a smidgen of a jagged or even sharp edge.  This didn’t sound too appealing, especially when I though about trying to get a match or lighter down in there once the wick was reaching the end of its life.

Imagine our disappointment when we set aside an entire night to do these candles, only to realize/decide we were going about it all wrong (especially my disappointment, seeing as Josh was wanting to do something crafty with me!).  The realization went like this:

ME:  (Surveying the bottles with disdain) I just DON’T think this is going to work anymore.

JOSH:  No?

ME:  No.


ME: I’m going to the dollar store.

JOSH:  Wha… Why?!

And then I was gone.

We actually have two dollar stores on our street (we are so fancy in Ditmas Park).  The first one… Meh.  Per usual.  The second always delivers and this time was no exception.

Honestly, I wasn’t gong in completely blind — I was looking for some kind of glass beer mug.  If I was going to make man candles, and the used beer bottles weren’t going to work, this was my solution.  (What’s manlier than a beer mug?)  What I found was… a glass beer mug.  (Yay second dollar store!) I bought three at a lovely $1.49 each, and not a moment too soon because as soon as I went to the counter, the holly jolly Christmas music shut off abruptly.  (Apparently it was closing time, and unlike the song, there wasn’t one last call for alcohol… mugs.  Stay with me, friends.)


So… I went home, Josh and I melted some wax, added a little bit o’ vanilla goodness, did the whole wick and tab thing, waited twenty four hours (after walking by the candles many times, desperately wanting to light them), and voila!

Well, not voila quite yet. It was actually a little more time-consuming than that.  First, I made a wick centering apparatus using two bamboo skewers and a rubber band:


Then I measured and cut the wick, then crimped it at the end with my wick tab (and pliers):


Then I added the vanilla oil to the melted wax (which we couldn’t stop sticking up to our noses — it is some goooood stuff).


After we melted the wax over the stove and added the fragrance…


…we poured it into the beer mugs, paying special attention to keep our wicks centered:


NOT centered. Boo. I had to play with this one a bit to get it back on track.

Here’s a progress shot:


Then a little later…


You can sort of see the bottoms of the mugs starting to harden and get foggy.

Then, the next morning, they had hardened until they were completely opaque (of course I got no pictures of this momentous occasion .  They were usable candles, but they were missing that extra something that makes them “gifts” as opposed to “this cool thing I made for us at home.”  It was high time for my B.F.F., PicMonkey and I to hang out. (I’m no stranger to PicMonkey.  You should check out all the good he has to offer here and here.)

Keeping with good ol’ gender stereotypes (yes!), I made this logo:


(Yes, PicMonkey has a WIDE ARRAY of mustachioed options.)

I borrowed that awesome image of a Victorian era boxer.  (I found it in a Google image search, and it’s from this website.  I do NOT own this image, nor am I using it for personal profit — it is merely for some gifts I’m giving family and nothing else.  Just covering all of my good blogging karma bases :)

I printed it out in black ink (what else?) on part of a leftover brown paper bag.  This turned of to be the perfect material, because not only was it printer friendly, but it adhered to the glass mug super well (I guess because it was so thin).  I used — believe it or not — a glue stick, which worked surprisingly well.  (And in case you’re wondering, it has passed the sitting-in-my-living-room-on-a-rainy-day-with-the-windows-open test, and it hasn’t peeled up a bit).

Ok, blah blah, blah…. Here’s the finished product:



I’m REALLY pleased with how it turned out, especially considering I was able to design and print the “label” myself using nothing but Paintbrush and PicMonkey:

2012-12-09 10.17.07-1

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I named the scent “Valiant Vanilla.”   (Yeah, sandalwood would probably make more sense as a manly scent, but… hindsight 20/20. Whatever.)   I briefly considered “Virile Vanilla,” but I can’t NOT think of the phrase “sperm count” when I hear the word virile, and that makes me really giggly.  Which is not a way to be when giving Christmas presents to your male family members.

Oh, and I have since burned our own man candle, and it smells delightful… er, valiant.  Yes.

In fact, we enjoyed the candle making experience so much, that we found two more fillable candle vessels:



Yay!  Perhaps this will become like my new spray paint.  You know?  Constantly looking for new things to stick a wick and wax in and call a candle?  The way I seek out any ugly metal surface for my spray paint addiction?  (And I don’t mean huffing).

Look out, dollar store #2.  I’m coming for you.

courtney gpp signature 2

When DIY Goes Wrong

The title is a bit more dramatic than the actual story.  No one was maimed or mutilated.  Just a DIY fail that I had to share.

(I was channeling that segment from the Chappelle Show called “When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong.”  Anyone?  As I’m writing this on the subway, I’m giggling out loud just thinking about it.  And believe it or not, even though its just a comic sketch, I apply this life lesson when encountering difficult strangers who say offensive/disgusting/ewww gross things to me — I just remember what Dave Chappelle taught me… and ignore them.  Who’d-a thunk it?)

Remember the last time I etched glass? Well, I loved the technique so much that I’ve been searching for another glass etching project since then, and I though I had found it in these three glass heart ornaments from Ikea (here’s the post about my trip last week).

Well, I got out my painter’s tape, put on my protective gloves, and dug through my craft box to find the glass etching cream.  Of course, the etching cream only works on glass (no plastic or Pyrex), which was A-OK by me, as the heart ornaments were clearly made of glass.  (Right?)

I taped a fun chevron pattern on one, then did an “M” and an “N” for our little children-with-tails, Margeaux and Nola.  (So sweet, I know.)


After more than the customary time with the etching cream on the “glass surface,” I rinsed off the heart in the sink (protective gloves, y’all) only to reveal….



The etching cream didn’t do a damn thing.

I was more than a little disheartened.  (For the record, I tried the technique a second time and it didn’t work.)  I assume the hearts were made of some Pyrex type material, as nothing else would explain it not working.  #DIYfail

So… In case you were following my lead on this project and going to Ikea to get some etchable heart-shaped goodness, you will be almost as let down as I was (but not quite as much as me — I totally did the Charlie Brown/Arrested Development sulking walk to “Christmastime is Here”).

So no big reveal… This is what they look like now:


And this is what they looked like before:


Ha.  Pretty anticlimactic.  However, the red gingham ribbon is gone for good (boo red), so I’ll probably just add some pretty green ribbon (like I did with these fuzzy hearts I also got from Ikea):


We’ll see.

And thus ends this episode of…

When DIY Goes Wrong.


Anyone else out there using the DIY Fail hash tag recently?  It hurts… Oh, it hurts.

(Come back tomorrow for a slightly more successful DIY adventure!)

courtney gpp signature 2

Handmade Christmas Gifts (I have faith in you)

Hi blog reading friends (both old and new),

Even though I’ve been around for a little over a year and have a very loyal readership that’s been with me from the beginning, I’ve recently acquired quite a bunch of new readers.  (Is it the volume of posts and pins?  The recent return to writing week-daily?  The slow-release ginger magic?)

So, since we are in a gift-giving time of the year, and since I try to make gifts and save money when I can, I thought I’d share a few ideas I’ve had (in the past) that I think would work well as Christmas gifts (whether individually or with something else).

For the full scoop — including a tutorial bedecked with sarcastic, strange, and/or pithy comments, — just click on the image to be linked back.

Oh, and unlike most of my round-ups, which are complete with inspiration from the World Wide Web, these are actually all my own ideas, pics, and… again… sarcastic, strange, and/or pithy comments.  So if you’re going to link or pin anything here, please attach the permalink, not just the blog’s URL (I’d do the same for you, my little chickens!).

Glass etching

DIY Chalkboard

Painted spoons

Handmade Clipboards

A Prequel without All the Gratuitous Special Effects

Consider this post a prequel to Monday’s post, Deck the Walls with Swedish Housewares (that’s the one where I made the advent calendar using a hanging organizer a la Young House Love).

Last weekend, like I often do, I took a trip to Ikea (you may remember this most recent one).  Mostly I just wanted to check out what was new, particularly with the holiday inventory, but I was also looking for A) a unique tree skirt and B) the hanging organizer that I’d had my eye on since I did this DIY advent calendar round-up.

Of course, I ended up doing what I always do with my trips to Ikea and started snapping pics of things that excited me, inspired me, and even appalled me (though mostly the first two).  Well, right away I was inspired and found something pic-worthy:

That’s right, apparently Ikea Brooklyn is a FEMA and Sandy relief center (which makes perfect sense because they have the space, and they are near the heart of a lot of the devastation that occurred).

Very cool, Ikea.  Well done.

But back to housewares….

Instead of starting in the showroom, I decided to take the shortcut to the check-outs because I knew this would be Christmas central.  Oh, and it was…

They had numerous trees, all with different themes or color schemes.  Of course there were plenty of Christmas standards, like red, green, and metallic ball ornaments, but there were also some one-of-kind Ikea finds, like this cool garland:

I’m not really a garland-around-the-tree type of gal, but I liked this stuff.

Here were some cool heart-shaped ornaments, which I bought:

They’re were made of glass, so of course I have plans for some glass etching magic (like I did back in this post).  Stay tuned for that.

And I loved these wicker-ish sort of hearts (they had a slew of other shapes too, which I failed to photograph):

These sampler packs were nice, especially if you’re getting a new tree:

Fun stuff…

And I thought these cones were so clever especially if you married someone with a Christmas tree allergy (you could fill them with Christmas tree scented potpourri and at least you wouldn’t miss out on the scent!).

I’m always a sucker for Ikea wrapping paper — this year was no exception.  They had some of the brown butcher paper-style wrapping paper I got last year.

But they also had some new — or new to me — papers, like these metallic and white stripes.

Yeah, I bought some.  I also bought a roll of this sheet music wrapping paper:

I mean, of course I did.  I nerded out a little when I saw it.

Then I ventured forth into the showroom part of Ikea, where I immediately found my tree skirt: a $9.99 faux fur throw:

I already planned on doing a sort of peacock-inspired, blue and green tree, so the elegance and fun of this throw worked perfectly for my plan.

I thought this table runner was cool (and it had some of my favorite colors):

This huge clock interested me for some reason.

Maybe its size?  Maybe it’s minty green shade?  (I’ve been gravitating towards mint green lately.)

And I always love this green glass lamp…

Going back to mint green, I love these plates….

And the natural fiber chargers beneath them.  So cool.

Oh, and there was a whole room in the “Swedish Rustic” style, and I immediately thought about Josh and his newfound interests in log cabins and tree grafting (no really, tree grafting).

And they had my future tree skirt on display as well…

These prints — that looked like they came out of some turn-of-the-century biology textbook — also spoke to the nerd in me:

Then I passed through the kitchen area, where the same music note pattern from the wrapping paper found its way onto a set of glass tumblers:


Here are some small glass mugs.  I want to put apple cider in them NOW.

And as always, I surveyed my options for future glass etching projects…

And ended up buying these pilsners:

Then on to the textiles department where I found this beige table runner on sale for $4.99.

There’s a painter’s tape project in there somewhere…. I’ll let you know.

And here was the final damage:

Not too bad.  (And of course I enjoyed my $2.50 dinner on my way out.)

Oh, Ikea.  You have my heart.  You always will.  (Especially when you go and do stuff like this):

Anyone else visit the big yellow box lately?  I just learned that the Ikeas in other countries carry different things, including some items that have been discontinued in the states.

This makes me want to go on an Ikea world tour!  Who’s in?!?


DIY Mini Chalkboard

Teaser:  This is going to be a short, non-holiday related post… so brevity-lovin’ Scrooges, this one’s for you.

This past summer, while hangin’ out at the HobLob, I picked up a can of chalkboard spray paint for about four bucks (it was on sale).  At the time, I had no immediate boring-surface-turned-chalkboard plans, but I knew I would eventually think of something.

Well, in all of the holiday decorating hubub, I decided that my very dark entertainment center needed a little pop of color.  I found this amazingly boring frame at the local dollar store:

I took it apart and laid it out on my fire escape (like a typical spray-painting-crazy New Yorker does on a biweekly basis):

Then I sprayed the glass with the chalkboard paint and the frame with some yellow spray paint leftover from this project.  I made a little Berlin Wall with a piece of cardboard in between the two items so the overspray wouldn’t ruin the other item.  (That’s right, I made a peculiar reference to current events of the 1980’s.)

Then I waited.

Then I applied another coat to each piece.

Then I waited a smidge more.

Then I applied the third and final coat… waited twenty four hours… prepared the chalkboard surface with the side of a piece of chalk (per the can’s instructions):

Wiped it away….

Then huzzah!  I had a mini chalkboard!

Oh yeah, then I took a reallly bad picture in its new home, the black entertainment center:

Then another bad picture to give you a better idea of the big picture:

But let’s remember in its slightly better, natural light-lit incarnation:

P.S. — “Joyeux Noel” is how the French say “Merry Christmas.”  (Sorry Scrooges — I broke my promise.)

It’s no huge statement piece, but it provides just the right, extra pop of color I wanted.  And it only took a few minutes (then of course, twenty four hours of waiting), and it cost a dollar plus the little bit of spray paint I used.  (I still have so much left in both cans, it’s hardly worth adding the cost of that because those will both get me through many more spray painting projects.)

Spray painting projects like….

Ok, that wasn’t an actual project… more of a hint.  Now I’ll let your imaginations run away with why I might be doing a Google image search of a triceratops.

Especially since I’ve never mentioned a love of dinosaurs before…

(Ok, well there was that time in Kindergarten I was searching for dinosaur bones in the dirt by the playground and dug up a dirt dauber’s nest then woke up in the school nurse’s office an hour later unsure as to how I got there.  Ya know, like you do.)

See you tomorrow!

Deck the Walls with Swedish Housewares (fa la la la la la la la la)

Yeah, in my imagination, you all sang the title of this post, then inserted your own clever lyric changes continuing the Ikea theme that I’ve already established.  No?  OK, then.  But to the point:

I did it!  I made my own advent calendar!

I blogged about it this past Friday in this DIY advent calendar round-up, but I didn’t actually anticipate getting my serious pants on and following through.  Then I somehow ended up at Ikea on Sunday (I randomly had Sunday off), saw the accessories hanger in the home storage section, and remembered this clever advent calendar idea from one of my bloggity blog faves, Young House Love.

I’m not gonna lie… it’s not my most original moment… I just plain ol’ copied the Petersiks’ idea.  However, I did add my own twist so I thought it worthy of sharing with all you fine folk.

I bought the hanger from Ikea for a whopping $7.99 (thank you, Swedes, for your affordable home goods).  Here’s it hanging in the store, completely unaware of its yuletide future:

Lovely, yet… off white.  Not really working with the wall I had planned on attaching to.

I’ve got nothing against off white things, but not directly next to the white moulding on my walls and the pathetically sad off white radiator directly next to the hanger (not pictured).  In between these two things, it just looked dirty.

Solution: I dyed it!  Using acrylic pant, warm water, and a little whisking action, I immersed the hanger in a lime green dye solution for about two hours (one hour for each side).

Here’s the paint I used:

Here’s the dye “vat,” if you will (also know as an out-of-commission trash can):

As with any kind of dyeing done using this method, I knew the color change would be subtle.  The end result was a sort of light celery/celadon shade.  Virtually unnoticeable in pictures, but just enough green-ness in person to strike a difference between the sad, stained radiator and my lovely white moulding.

The plan was to put a different ornament and date tag in each hole (per the YHL idea) then hang a different ornament onto our Christmas tree for each day of the advent season.  However, as the season was winding down, I didn’t just want a plane tag in an otherwise empty hole against a gray wall (not exactly the most Christmas-licious color palate).  So… using a little leftover scrapbook paper, colored cardstock, and even a few pretty notecards that I’ve had for years, I made 25 colorful date tags.

Here’s my assortment of paper:

The pink, green, blue thing wasn’t on purpose; it was just a pattern that sort of emerged… and since I have plenty of pink, green, and blue ornaments, I committed to it.  I used another plain piece of cardstock to make a tag template, then traced around it for each of the 25 tags:

With more than a little tweaking and indecisiveness, I finally settled on a layout:

I attached some leftover adhesive circles — like you see people use for garage sales — and used a curlicue script to number each tag.  Then I hole-punched each one, attached an ornament, then hung the ornament and tag to the hanger with silver paper clips:

There was a lot of tweaking.  A lot of rearranging.  A lot standing with my hands on my hips, crossing my eyes (I do this last one when I’m trying to see the whole picture).

Finally I ended up with this:

It is far from perfect (like this poorly lit, slightly blurry picture), but I fancy it just fine.

Here’s a close-up (and a slightly less blurry picture, at that):

More!  More!

Josh’s comment was: “That’s a lot of pink.  But I still like it.”

(I’m both proud and relieved.)

And since it’s still November, I still have a few days to enjoy it in its complete state.

I’m totally patting myself on the back right now.

(And wishing for a better camera.)

Any one else out there venture into DIY land this weekend?  Advent calendars?  Tree decoratin’?  Dog portraiture?  Share, y’all!

See you tomorrow — hopefully with some Christmas decor pics.