Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Martini with a Wire Twist

My friend and co-worker moved into a new apartment with a bar in her kitchen. Because she is renting she can't paint the walls and feels like she's living in an insane asylum with all that white! She wanted a little decoration over the bar area and said something about a wire martini glass. I told her that was something I could probably put together for her. She said she knew exactly how she wanted it to look but just didn't know how to do it. We talked about it and I drew up a little sketch to see what she was imagining.

Not but a couple days later my boss brought me some extra galvanized steel fencing wire that she used in her yard. I got home same night, threw on a pair of gloves, and I got right to it!

Here's the final product!!!


Haley loves it and can't wait to put it up above her bar! It would look great even with some Starry String Lights woven through it for a little light-up option!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Off My Rocker ;)

Despite my cheeky post title, I am not crazy, or off my rocker :) I did, however spend this past weekend reupholstering a rocking chair that I got for my new studio apartment and I am pleased to share the amazing outcome!! Maybe to some spending my weekend reupholstering is a little nuts, but I'm alright with that!

So here's the rocking chair how I bought it - $25 on sale at a local antique market. I wasn't sure why it was $25 and was nervous that there was something really wrong with it. The man said he sat in it everyday while working there and there's nothing wrong, the seller just wanted to move her product and clear out her booth so she put it on a great sale. And I reaped all the benefits!! :) I made sure to check it out well in the store before buying it though, making sure there weren't any obvious issues with the frame. As long as a piece has good bones you can do so much with it!

It has great curves, and it was really in great condition.

I knew that I wanted to stain the wood, because I am more a dark wood fan than a lighter wood. Plus for the fabric I had in mind, I knew a darker stain would look best. So I began lightly sanding down the wood and re-staining it this darker Minwax "Kona" shade. Here's the comparison of colors!
As tempting as it was to keep the beautiful, orange crushed velvet fabric on ;) I decided to change it. So I started yanking it off, which entailed the removal of many an upholstery tack! The seat of the chair has real cotton batting (not the cotton/polyester blends of today), and a plain cotton fabric holding the batting in place.
The back of the chair revealed the fabric used before the orange crushed velvet....

Removing one more layer revealed yet another layer of the original fabric, stained by years of use! Both of these fabrics were very heavy duty and quite beautiful for the time.

Removing the cotton batting revealed the burlap webbing creating the chair's structure and, what's that you ask?! An old bath mat to bolster the sides of the seat?? Oh yes. An old bath mat.... The orange velvet reupholstery job was clearly a "home job", not like MY home jobs, done with care and attention, but a creepy home job that included filling spaces with the closest things one could find - their pink bath mat... I hoped there was at least a wad of cash in there stowed away in granny's rocker, but alas, nothing. Just a gross old bath mat. Needless to say, I kept that... Juuuust kidding.. I trashed that thing quick, fast and in a hurry!!  
Here's all the original cotton batting (plus a free advertisement for Home Goods in the background ;) ). It may look kind of gross, and I actually removed some of the stained areas, but it is actually great batting and is all real cotton. You can see pieces of the cotton plant in it and it's still in great condition in terms of comfort.

Now it's time for tack removal. This chair was loaded with three upholstery jobs of tacks, which needed to be removed before reupholstering. So a good set of pliers assisted in this job.  

Proof that I did not keep those beautiful bath mats but instead used new cotton batting from Hobby Lobby, (which is great with their 40% off coupon!) to bolster the side of the seat. Also a close up of that beautiful, newly stained wood! :)
I fitted new batting over the old batting to give even more cushion to the chair, because as nice as the old batting was still, it begins to lose its cushion after a while.

Now it was time for cutting the fabric to size. Here's me... mis-measuring and almost messing up the project! AHH!! Just further proof to measure, check, measure check, and do it again, before cutting one's nice, special, limited fabric!! Thank god, I was able to salvage the fabric I had cut and was good to go!
Laying the fabric over the chair for a final fitting. Make sure to have at least 2 inches extra on either side (looks like more here because somebody mis-measured!) for some give while stapling/tacking to the base. The most important thing about this step is to make sure the lines are even and the pattern is matched up.
The seat fabric and the seat back fabric pulled through to the other side and got stapled onto the wood in the back.
Then the back was completed and stapled over those pieces and all the way on to the bottom board.

My newly upholstered rocking chair!!!!! BEAUTIFUL!!!!! All I have to finish now are the upholstery tacks, which just pull the whole look together. I have to do those a little bit at a time so as to not piss off my neighbors too badly with my incessant hammering :)

Rocking chair in its new home next to my other reupholstered chair! I love the blue and creams together!

Looks like such a great, worldly rocking chair! I was going for the pueblo abuela's rocking chair look, and I think I accomplished that!!


 Let me know what you think!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to Recycle Your Flower Bouquets

If you've been following along with the story, kids, you may have noticed that I love flowers. And I mean, Love. With a capital L. I think they are absolutely beautiful, with their colors and tiny details, and they brighten any space they are in. I try to always have some sort of flower in my home to bring in the outdoors and brighten my home, even if it's a wildflower I picked on a walk or flowers from the store. I also love picking up unique or cute vase options and using them throughout the house.

This last Saturday was my birthday and I received one of the most amazing bouquets of flowers I've ever gotten. It was filled with lots of different types of flowers that smelled great, looked great, and worked so well together!! (Plus walking into the hotel room with flowers waiting on me was an amazingly sweet surprise :) ).

Here's the original bouquet in all its flowery glory!

I loved this bouquet and wanted to be able to keep it going as long as I could. Once certain flowers started wilting a bit and the bouquet was losing a little bit of its original luster I started to piece together mini bouquets from it to continue the enjoyment throughout my apartment. The best thing about a big bouquet like this is you can get LOTS of little bouquets!

A couple things to consider:
 1) When re-arranging the flowers, re-cut the bottom of the stem on the diagonal to allow for more water uptake and renewed freshness.
 2) Think about which flowers work together - consider color, type, heights, etc.
 3) Think about which vase will make the flowers look best.


Here are four simple pink carnations with some of the Fern Plumosa in a small glass cup/vase on my kitchen sink. A simple arrangement but pretty all the same.

I have this very cool oriental vase that I thought would look nice with a heavier arrangement and some deeper colors. These deep pink astroemerias, Fern plumosa, and greenery look great in this vase. I love the droopiness of the astroemerias in this vase as well. Not all arrangements have to be tight, some look nice a little more flowing or loose.

I put these amazing Stargazer Lilies with the daisies because their purplish/pinks worked well together. I had two lilies in the bouquet and the daisies do a nice job filling the small glass vase.

I kept the two roses together in a simple arrangement with some of the dainty Fern plumosa.

I put all the bright yellow daisies in with the two big red Gerber daisies in my awesome white, Ikea pitcher vase.  This arrangement is so happy and brightens up my kitchen table so nicely!

There was a bunch of this beautiful bog rosemary in the original bouquet that I kept together in a taller glass vase in my kitchen window. I love how stalky and long this is and how well it bunches at the top. 

These are just some examples of how to pair flowers together, how to use their heights and weights, colors and types to re-create some beautiful arrangements out of the bouquets you get or buy to make their beauty last even longer in your home!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Making a Handmade Birthday Card: How-To

I love making my own cards for special occasions! I am not against buying a card, and nowadays there are some amazing cards out there. But there is nothing like getting a card from someone that they made and really put the time and thought into. As it is, I love working with paper and think you can create some amazing things with it, so a reason to create a cute card for a cute girl is perfect!!

My cousin's little girl, Cedar, (who I made my first growth chart for - seen here), turns 5 this year and I really wanted to make a cute, interactive birthday card for her. She is so smart and aware, she loves the outdoors, exploring, flowers, and animals. So I made her a card with growing flowers to celebrate her continual growth!

Here's a step-by-step how-to on making a handmade birthday card!!

(I'm sorry about the iPhone pictures - I am working hard at getting a better camera!!)

  Step One: I always create a drawing first and then a mock-up of how it's going to work before I start cutting up my good paper!! So here's the first one I threw together to look at placement and figure out the "mechanics" of making the flowers grow.

Step Two: Here I've started with the good paper. I find a sturdier piece of paper and fold it in half, depending on what size of the card that I want to make.
Step Three: I start cutting out my details (grasses above, flowers below). I decided to make some bunches of some of the flowers to fill in my "garden". For their stems, I first glued two pieces of the same green paper together to make it nice and sturdy. Then I cut them out long enough to leave room for their "growth". The horizontal piece is what they will all be glued on and will be attached to the pull so they will all "grow" together. I measured out how long the flowers will be, glued them and cut them to length.
Step Four: Now that I have my flowers attached and the sun cut out (sun not pictured yet!) I can get a feel for how long things are and how much space they will need to "grow", which will give me a feel for how to put together the "mechanics" of the pull.
For the pull, I took four pieces of sturdy paper and glued them all together, then cut them out into one long strip. I want it to be nice and sturdy to be able to handle being pulled on often. I also made sure to keep it the color of the background of the card (sky colored in this case) so that if it shows behind any of the details it will blend in more. The top part is another paper used to bolster the inner layers of the pull and will be glued behind the sun and not seen.
I figured out where the highest point the flowers will "grow" to and made a mark. This is where I made my horizontal slice just big enough for the pull to fit through. (The pull will not go through in this direction but this is just me making sure it fits and isn't too tight or too loose in the slot.)
I then measured out the lowest area the sun will go (which will put the flowers all the way down), and made a mark and sliced my slot in there.
Step Five: I put my pull through the two slices (leaving the edges out on the front of the card so I can glue the details to it). I glued the sun to the top of the pull and reinforced it from behind. Then pushing the sun all the way to its lowest position, I glued the flowers to the pull (cut off any excess on the bottom of the pull that extends past the bottom of the card). This makes it so that when the sun is at its lowest position the flowers are, too, and when the sun rises, the flowers "grow".  
 Step Six: The pull is still showing through on the back side of the card, which I want to be able to cover up without obstructing the movement of the pull. So I chose a cute, matching paper and glued it to the edges of the back of the card (that way it covers the pull but still allows for its movement).
Here's the back now. (Sorry for the poor photo quality again!)
Step Seven: I glued the grasses onto the bottom of the inside of the card to cover the flower stems. I glued them all the way at the bottom and taped just a tiny bit for reinforcement. The flowers go all the way to the bottom so I knew they would bump into the grasses a bit, which is ok, but I wanted to strengthen the grass's placement.
Here's the inside of the card with the sun risen and the flowers all grown up! The grasses are perfectly placed to cover up the flower base!!
Step Eight: So now for the front of the card! I had this adorable polka dot paper, which reminds me of birthday balloons. I cute out a rectangular section and attached it to the front of the card.
Looks great! Love the mix of patterns!!


Step Nine: I was going to make or trace my own letters, but it is so much easier to print them off. I cut out the letters for her name and was going to cut out the letters for the Happy Birthday but I kind of liked the way it looked all connected still. Plus it was a little easier to read.

Here's the final product of the front of the card (with better photo quality!!!)!! I love it! Personal, colorful, fun, and bubbly! 

Final Step: Step Ten: Putting a personal touch on it!
Here's the inside of the card with my little note and instructions to "Make the sun rise to see the beautiful flowers grow", although I know she'll have figured it out before being told! Little smarty pants, she is!! 

I stamped my little bird on it - if you've ever bought anything from my Esty shop MyVintageBird, this is one of the birds I use on all my thank you notes, cards, and tags!! My little signature. :)

Finally (and I am SO proud of this little feature) a video of how awesome this card turned out. I know Cedar is going to love it and I hope it brightens her 5th birthday just a little more!!!

Any comments or questions on the making of this card? Just comment below!