Goodwill Finds

While shopping for formal wear at Goodwill, I found some other great stuff by cruising through the housewares.  And I snatched it up for $1 – $2 a piece before Christie could get her hands on it.  Hahahaha (triumphant laugh).

I realize these knick-knacky items are what my mom would call “stuff to dust around”.  Hi mom.  But I’m a sucker for colored glass and low, low prices, so I splurged on this slightly-less-than-useful stuff.

Its a candlestick, a bird, and a … another candle holder?  For a pillar candle?  Yeah, that must be it.  Its about the right size, maybe a little bigger, than a pillar candle.

This has a subtle feather pattern around the base, and unlike the other pink glass I have, it has a frosty finish.

Tweety here is a little chipped around the edges, but he is pretty nonetheless.

I also found some picture frames next door at the Habitat for Humanity Re-store next door to Goodwill.  I can Never find square frames that are the right size, so I jumped on those like a trampoline.  I have a few 6×6 inch cards that I’ve wanted to frame, but Ikea square frames are a little too small.

A coat of spray paint and voila.  I also turned the mats backwards to use the white side.  The mat hole wasn’t big enough for the cards, so I just put the cards in front of the mat.  Not really kosher, but who’s going to notice.

The sweet little lamb photo is from Yes and Amen on Etsy.  The phone booth drawing is a Christmas card from a co-worker in London, and I think it is simply adorable.  I love British things.

If you were wondering why I was shopping for formal wear at Goodwill… here is why.  Don’t be scared.

I wanted a costume for Run for Your Lives (a zombie-infested 5k obstacle course).  Yep, we dressed like zombies and chased mud-covered runners in the woods for 3 hours one Saturday afternoon.  What do you do with your weekends?  Something normal?

Pinterest Challenge – Dip Dye Pillow

According to the experts, it is Pinterest Challenge time again!

Yeah, I wrote about my pillow dyeing experiment the other week.   BUT!  Then I saw a tutorial for dying dyeing and pinned it, thinking I would give it another try.  See, I was a little disappointed with the saturation of my pillow.

It looked like this:

When I wanted it to look like this:

My pillow was not bright and bold, it was pale.  And it didn’t have that two tone effect with the dark blue and light blue.

So I found this tutorial just after my pillow-dyeing attempt.  There were 2 big differences here – it says to let your fabric soak in dye for 2-3 hours, where I had just soaked my pillow for 45 minutes.  It also says specifically to use the powder dye, and I had used the liquid dye.  Here’s what the result of the tutorial is supposed to look like:

So I hit up the Hobby Lobby once again, bought the powder dye in teal, same color as before.  Then I dumped the entire package of dye into about 1 gallon of hot water.  This is not per instructions and is way more than you are supposed to use – it is supposed to be one package in 3 gallons of water.  This is my third attempt to dye something and I’d never been satisfied with the saturation, I thought I would go crazy and see what happened if I over-dyed (once before I tried to make a blue tank top black, but it ended up gray).  I added a half cup of salt to the dye too. Oh look, the directions also say to pre-dissolve the powder in 2 cups of water.  Why do they print these directions so tiny?  I did stir it up a bit with a paint stick before dipping my pillowcase in.

I let most of the pillowcase soak in the dye for about an hour.  Then I pulled part of the pillowcase out so only the lowest part was soaking in the dye for another hour.  At the end of 2 hours I rinsed it a bit and then threw the pillowcase in the washing machine because it was taking soooo long to rinse all that dye out.  I’m lazy.

Result:

Nope, I still didn’t get that 2 tone look.  Not even close.  I don’t know why it got blotchy like it did, maybe because I didn’t make more of an effort to fully dissolve the dye powder.  And you would never know that the bottom third soaked an hour longer than the middle third.

It did get the smeary part at the edge.  Like tie dye.  I thought tie dye was cool once.  In 6th grade.

Here it is chilling on the windowseat.  I’m not sure how I feel about it yet – is it better than attempt #1?  Worse?  Or just a different look?

(Hey Susie, if you’re reading this, Ahmed said “that’s a cool pillow”.  So it has received one dude vote.)

Dip Dye Pillow

I saw this pillow and thought, how pretty.  Wait, don’t I have some teal dye that I’ve been meaning to use?  And don’t I already have a white pillowcase that could use a little something?

Here’s the inspiration from CapellaKID, an Etsy store specializing in hand-dyed pillows.

I love the effect of the gradient, deeper blue washing over a lighter fade.  Here is another example from the store:

I used an Ikea pillow with removable pillowcase that I bought a couple years ago – mine was a mix of linen and cotton, but the Ritva cushion cover is similar.

I used Rit liquid dye versus the powdered stuff.  I followed the mixture recommended on the bottle for “sink dyeing”, as I couldn’t do the washing machine method if I only want half of my pillow blue.  It was half a bottle for a gallon of water, so about 8 ounces of liquid dye.  It also recommended adding a cup of salt, so I did that too.  The directions said to stir constantly, but I couldn’t really do that while having the pillowcase half resting in the dye.

Overall, I let the pillowcase sit in the bucket for about 45 minutes.  I pushed it further down into the bucket for a while, then pulled it up to just let the bottom soak to try to get that layered effect.  I didn’t stay very precise with it, but occasionally looked to see how it was layering.   After all that I rinsed it a bit and threw it in the washing machine.

The result:

Side A, gradual fade

Side B, more of that wave shape rather than a soft gradient.  Chris said it looked like a stain.  Thanks.

Here is Side A again, but with the dye on the bottom.  I like it best like this.

It is much more subtle, and definitely doesn’t have the level of saturation that I was hoping for.  I might try diluting the dye with less water than recommended and take it for another dip.  When I dip you dip we dip!

Nifty Gifty-s

Did you get any home-y things for Christmas? I saw this throw pillow on Emily Henderson’s blog and entered to win it. Of course I didn’t, so I told my brother to get it for me for Christmas. He is so obedient.  Land’s End has it on mega-sale right now too!

The pattern seems vaguely Japanese to me – you know, like those repeating wi-fi signals.  Or like this (lifted from ineednicethings.com):

I digress.  Here’s another shot of the pillow working its magic on the futon.  He is nice and fluffy too, so good for squishing on if I can bear to risk it.  The husband thinks my desire for pillows is silly, as they are largely decorative.  Then he gets huffy when I squawk at him for leaning on them in an inappropriate manner, leaving them deformed and squashed.  So it goes.

Moving on.  I’ve been collecting depression glass for a little while to satisfy my irrational lust for pretty colored glass.  My mom has found me these little treasures.

Its just a little coffee creamer, but I think it deserves to look larger than life.  See how nice this photo is?  Yeah, Chris got me a new point-n-shoot camera for Christmas that is making a good impression so far.

And a schmancy candlestick.  Speaking of candles… I found something I couldn’t resist while pre-holiday shopping at Target.

Its faux mercury glass votives, and only $3 each, I couldn’t resist.  I did resist buying all the ones left on the shelf (they’re on sale?!  must snatch them all!!) because really, they aren’t necessary in life.  After all, I only want them in the first place because Pottery Barn decided they were the next big thing in shabby chic.  If you’re curious what mercury glass even is, look what Wikipedia has to say.

They are way, way better than my attempt (failure) to follow a tutorial for faking them.  They seem to have a warm golden glow rather than a pewtery silver finish.

So those were my little Christmas gift to me.  I’m sooooo happy!

If you’re feeling the post-holiday blahs rather than New Year’s motivation (and you’re in a place where you can watch a video) go here and pay close attention to the HD monitor.  You should laugh a lot if you are the type of person who likes humorous things.

Candlelight Dinner

You could probably say I’m not really “into candles”.  At least, I never seem to get around to lighting them.  Most smelly candles are overly smelly, and one should never use scented candles for a dinner party.  But they are oh so cozy. When people come over I rush around frantically lighting candles to make a groovy mood, and every time I do I wonder why I don’t light them more often just for my own enjoyment.

I started saving wine bottles last year for a little project for Christie’s wedding and just kept going.  Now they’ve found some new life as candlestick holders.

20111128-175835.jpg

They aren’t serving any particular purpose in these photos.   I just wanted to show you.  I’ll definitely be breaking them out for a little Christmas shindig at my house (ladies…).

20111128-175847.jpg

I admit that it can be a hassle getting the labels off cleanly.  I use a combination of peeling them off, soaking in hot water, then using some dish soap and scrubbing, then finally using a razorblade to scrape off the most stubborn pieces.  I tried a few things I found by googling, like olive oil, nail polish remover, WD 40 etc.  I hate to waste good olive oil, and all of these options worked to some extent, but in the end you’re still going to need a razor blade to completely get the residue off.

20111128-175856.jpg

I did have to (recruit a friend to) whittle the ends of the candlesticks so they would fit in the tops of the wine bottles. The candlesticks were $1 each from World Market.

I’ve never been one for elaborate center pieces for a dinner table.  Maybe because I don’t host a lot of dinner parties, but the main reason is that they seem to get in the way of the Food sitting on the table.  Priorities, people.

However, this little tablescape from Anna @ Take the Side Street has me inspired:

I might get a little “mossy enchanted forest romantic bohemian” for my partay.  Watch out ladies.  Now where do I find some bits of tree trunk?

The Walls Have Eyes

Have you noticed this trend in decorating?

Apparently its cool now to find old portraits, often badly painted ones, at thrift stores and use them as cheap art.  The idea is that its eclectic, quirky, and intriguing.

Personally, I can appreciate it from here, but there is no way I would ever do it in my house.

You know why?  They would all be looking at me.  All the time.  And that really freaks me out.

For example, when I was little I had this painting on my wall.

I know there is nothing inherently creepy about this painting by Fragonard.  But I could have sworn that at night, she would look over at me.  Don’t even get me started on buddhas.  Why are their eyes always closed?!  I expect them to open their eyes and look at me at any moment.  When its just a disembodied head, that creates another level of creepy too.

That could bring me to a whole discussion on mannequin and doll heads in home decor, but I’m out of time.  Hey, if you love it, why not take it home?

So while I can appreciate it in hipster home tours, I am just not cool or brave enough to buy cheap portraits (even classical, well-painted ones like “The Reader”) and hang them in my home.  And no, I won’t be doing any buddhas either, as I believe they would bring me more anxiety than zen.

There are some interesting discussions about these trends here:  Buddhism as Decoration and Strangers’ Portraits in the Home

photos courtesy of apartment therapy, sf girl by bay, and emily henderson

Etsy Favorites – part 2

Happy Monday! No? Ok, well here’s some more of my favorite Etsy swag and stores to brighten your day.

Lots of kisses for this quirky little store, the big harumph.  These are handcut and handpressed prints, with lots of funny and creative little quotes and images.  Only $20 for an 8×10 print, sure to make you smile.

I suppose I think any and all housewares should have a sense of humor.  Got a tea fiend who needs a Christmas present?  Or perhaps someone who is simply a fan of 80s tv shows.  This mug would make me smile every time I pulled it out.  Check out Lenny Mud‘s store for even more goofy ceramics.

If you are looking for some kitchen art, Ana at anek has a heaping pile of cute prints about food, drink, and the love of both.  I especially love the quotes about food in Italian.  If you’ve never thought of hanging art in the kitchen, these prints will give you plenty to choose from.

Jen at painted fish studio has handmade notebooks and greeting cards, but I’m a sucker for fridge magnets like these.  Magnets are one of those little things I like to collect, like postcards.  I have family in Minnesota, so these polaroids of Minneapolis are my favorites.

Future’s so bright this doggy’s gotta wear shades.  Shout out to an Atlanta local, Jen Ray and her shop corduroy.  Her funky little hand-drawn creatures dance on coffee mugs and boogie on paper.  I’ve got a weakness for fuzzy animals and oddball quotes, and Jen’s art combines both in a charming, unique way.

Remember how transit scrolls were really trendy for about a week maybe a year ago?  Well take that idea and insert the haunts and happening places of the Bennett family and that dashing Mr. Darcy.  Yes, its a tea towel with a list of destinations from Pride and Prejudice.  Brookish sells mugs, shirts, totes, and prints that all feature quotes from your favorite Jane Austen novels.  If you think your man is a Darcy, you can get him a shirt that labels him as such, and see if he is man enough to wear it.

Well if you haven’t found seen some good Christmas gifts by now, I suggest you head on over to Etsy and surf the thousands of shops full of vintage finds and handmade goods.  There’s something for everyone – I know there’s lots for me!