Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Safe Kitchen Knife Storage

I don't know whether to call this a "tip" or a "tutorial" so I guess I'll just call it a "tip-torial."  (Sorry  - I must be giddy from the 50+ degree weather we're having today!)

At times I can be a bit of a klutz around sharp objects.  I've lost count of the little scars on my hands from X-acto knives, razor blades or sewing machine needles.  Yes, sewing machine needles. Don't ask me how I managed to do it but I once stitched right through the tip of my index finger and nail.  But I digress ...

Anyway, considering all that, keeping my knives loose in a kitchen drawer would simply not work.  Years ago I saw this tip in a magazine somewhere and have used it ever since.  It started with an empty glass container like this:

And a whole bunch of these:

And I have a nice safe place for my knife storage:

Up until a few days ago, it was just the plain glass container and the bamboo sticks.  But I decided it needed to be prettied up a little.  I simply used spray paint (Krylon Catalina Mist), some scrapbook paper and some ribbon trim and glued it on.  I may also give it a layer of Mod Podge since it will be on the kitchen counter.

 I didn't stop there. I used more paper on my steak knife holder and a can from nut snacks.

Just a little something to brighten up my kitchen a little. And save my fingers.  A tip-torial!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Moanin'

Where does it say that time seems to fly faster and faster the older you get ...

I remember when I was a kid - a school day ... Sunday church services ... or a summer day with nothing to do ... or waiting for my birthday - the time just CRAWLED ...

In the same vein, I wish I could stop ideas from jumping into my brain.  I know, I know ... I shouldn't complain that ideas for projects and TTDs (things to do) slam into my brain with aggravating regularity.  The problem is, I end up with scribbled notes all over the house ... and I get heart palpitations because I will NEVER have enough time to do all the things I want to do or try.  I'm simply not going to live long enough ...

For some reason, all of the above is especially acute on Monday morning ....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Your Time Is Limited

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”  ~ Steve Jobs

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My scrabble cards have been making quite a few appearances in Etsy Treasuries lately.  Happy to see them taking their bows for Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tangerine Tango + Brass Band = Gorgeous

When I heard that Tangerine Tango (Pantone 17-1463) is 2012's color of the year, my first thought was - orange is my least favorite color, and I haven't created anything in that color. 
But when I started looking through my photos and collages, I had such a feeling of guilt wash over me!  How could I forget the most favorite rose in my garden: Brass Band??  (When I did a little research, I found it's one of Oprah's favorite roses also.) Of course, I didn't create that rose - a much higher power did - but I haven't resisted taking many photos of that beauty.  If it weren't for the fact that my Brass Band rose is currently asleep under a few inches of snow, I would have gone out, got on my knees and apologized for forgetting it for just a moment!

Turns out my rose is almost the exact shade for 2012. 

I also found a few more photos/collages that qualify.

So nice to be au courant for a change!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Floating "Book" Shelf Tutorial

A while back in my post about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Vases there was a glimpse of my floating "book" shelves.  Although I built these several years ago, the method I used was quite simple and the only technique I was aware of at the time. Since then I've seen several other techniques that are much more complicated so I'm still happy with mine. I thought I would back-track and show you how I did it.

I actually put up an entire wall of shelves in the dining area of my condo. My original thought was it would allow me to change out the display when I wanted to without pounding a lot of holes in the wall.

To be honest, I really wasn't sure of what I was doing when I built them, so later on I'll also tell you what I might do differently if I were to do it again. Here's the wall.

Here's the smallest book shelf: 

The middle shelf:

And the largest shelf:

The book titles weren't random - they're my little daily inspiration: The Courage to Create, Encounter with Art, The Art of Excellence.

Here's how simple they were to put together.  Take two large L-brackets and, using a very strong glue (not positive but I think I used wood glue), glue one side of the brackets to the inside back cover of the book. Clamp and let dry thoroughly.  Screw the other side of the bracket into the wall.  Paint the part of the bracket that is visible the same color as the wall. Close the book.  That's it!

Since I always have something on the shelves the brackets are either covered or they just fade into the background.  I think the large brackets are required to support the books; smaller ones like I used on the other shelves (see instructions below) wouldn't provide the necessary leverage. 

What would I do differently?  I would use thicker, sturdier books like the center one.  That one's holding up the best. As you can see, the narrow book in the foreground of this photo is starting to warp and bend a little.  I might have to replace it at some point. 

I did have directions to follow for the book shelves, but I had to wing it for the rest of the shelves. 

I started by creating a layout.

And then I scrounged for materials.  I had a lot of remodeling done when I first moved into my condo - it was in really bad shape.  I'm sure the builders thought I was nuts because I wanted to save all the scrap wood they pulled out! That old 1960s-style window molding came in handy, though. Here's the basic construction of the shelves:

The white pieces were glued, then nailed, then painted. The rope trim was painted first, of course, then glued and nailed.  I resorted to smaller L-brackets for these shelves and screwed them into the studs for sturdiness.  For the shelves that were below eye level, I put the brackets underneath, .

For the shelves above eye level, I put the brackets on top.

These shelves look like they're floating as well.  Here's the final result.

As for what I would do differently, I think I would have made some of the shelves a little deeper.  I'm limited as to what I can put up there because the shelves are so narrow.  I also would have made the "lip" a little shorter.  I actually have pieces of 1/2" matboard on the shelves to prop up the items, otherwise they look like they're drowning.

All in all, I'm pleased with it.  And the floating "book" shelves are quite the conversation piece for my guests.  What do you think?  Try it, you'll like it!

Linking up to Whipperberry Friday Flair/Link Party.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tip: Two unique containers for houseplants

As I was cleaning house the other day (yes, I do that occasionally!) it occurred to me that I should show you two easy containers for house plants.

I had a large plant that had outgrown its container.  I wanted a floor-standing pot since I'm limited on table/counter space, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money.  So I headed off to my local Lowes and Home Depot stores to look for ideas.  These plant pots were on sale at half off.  They are light pots made of some sort of composite materials.  I bought two, used my E-6000 glue, and glued them together.  Works perfectly!  My new plant stand is light so there's no problem moving it around when I clean.  I had intended to paint it but I was too anxious to repot the plant so I left it as is.  It works in my color scheme as it is but if I get bored I can always paint it later.

 (Please ignore brown tips and dead leaves, please.)

The second idea is one I have used many times in the past, although I only have this one going on right now. I like/sort of collect tins, either vintage or reproductions or just contemporary food tins that I like.  I have quite a few tins from DiCamillo Bakery - I think they are soooo beautiful!

I discovered a long time ago that standard plastic pots - the ones with a lip on top like this one - fit neatly into my tins and other containers, with the lip nesting nicely on top.

It works perfectly and adds a nice decorative element and some height to your houseplants.

 So I don't lose track of the lids I just put them underneath.

I'm betting this would work with a lot of different containers like tea tins, etc.  Almost any round container is a candidate.  Just measure the diameter and match it up with a plastic pot from the garden center.

A word of caution: when you water your plants and some water drops into the tin, it will eventually rust.

A second word of caution: if you visit the DiCamillo web site you will be sorely tempted to buy.  Not only do I love their containers, they are responsible for my insatiable craving for biscotti. See that blue green container I showed up above?  Yep, I just bought it. (Chocolate biscotti!!)  I was a little disappointed to see that this one and some of their other containers are no longer tin, but cardboard. So be sure to read the descriptions carefully if you want tins.

Happy planting!

Monday, January 16, 2012

My two most aggravating personal moans ...

Headaches - I get what I call "weather" headaches ... not necessarily when it's raining like most people's weather headaches. Mine seem to be related to barometric pressure and sudden changes ... I have awakened with one of these headaches the last three days ...

Sleep - I. loves. my. sleep.  I usually don't have trouble with sleeping.  Last night I kept waking up about every hour ... then I end up sleeping late which throws off my whole day ... and I wake up with the worst case of bed hair you ever saw ....

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The flip side of Valentine's Day

A year or so ago I participated in a workshop that my friend Natasha conducted.  As I recall, one of the challenges was to write a 20-word poem and illustrate it.  I kind of like the 20-word poem idea - it really forces you to get to the point and to make every word count. 

Taking a look at these three pieces, seems they kind of represent the flip side of Valentine's Day.  For some people it's not all hearts and flowers and champagne and chocolate!  Here's three examples of mine that ended up in my shop.  I think the collages came first, then the words. The first two prints include an ACEO with the poem.  The third one is a framed collage. (These are all part of my After-Christmas sale going on right now.)

 No cupid's arrow for me
My heart beats
cold and weary
This loneliness 
embraces me
I hold it tightly within.

Pale pink roses arrive,
crisp white envelope
tucked among the thorns.
Letter unread,
she arranges the vase
and sits alone.

He controls my every move,
every appearance, every film.
Does he know who I really am?
Ready for my closeup ...

I have actually thought about starting a linky game here with that idea - 20 words, with illustration.  But I'm afraid that too many people will get turned off with the word "poetry," thinking it has to be some high art concept.  It's not.  What do you think?  Would you like to participate in something like that? 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

More Bright Ideas - Valentines

Some cute Valentine's gifts from my More Bright Ideas shop. Click on the photos to go directly to their links.

Got Valentines?

Looking for a Valentine card?  I have a few of my Scrabble cards listed in my shop:  Another Bright Idea.
Click on each photo to go directly to the link.

These two cards have been very popular also.

Are things kind of rocky with your sweetheart right now?  Or is your lover far away?  Try these ...
These digital collages would be a perfect gift also.

Wish I had a sweetheart right now. Sigh.

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