NEW “HALF PRICE SIGN OF THE MONTH” in my etsy shop

Happy September!  This has been a record hot and dry summer for us here in Oregon, and I am SO ready for fall weather!

A new month means a new half price sign on the month in my etsy shop!  This months half price sign is a BRAND NEW design instead of an old favorite.

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“LOVE & HAPPINESS” (regular price $24.00) NOW REDUCED to $12.00 for the month of September, and while the current supply lasts*.

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*(When current stock sells out, more signs will be added, but at the regular price)

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Shop early for the best color selection.

A few more new signs just added to my etsy shop also:

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BIG (approx. 14″ x 15″!) “TRULY  MADLY  DEEPLY” SIGN.

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And a couple of ‘custom’ versions.  The one on the right is in my booth at Stars (2 of them) The one in the center is being saved for a gift.

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New colors of “What happens at Grandma’s . . .” signs; in my etsy shop AND at Stars.

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My own original design; “The French Market & Brocante” sign; on etsy only.

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“OFFICE” sign; etsy only (for now)

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Garden sign in my etsy shop only (for now.)

Will add more signs ‘in general’ to Stars when I get more made.  Right now I need to start ‘stocking up’ for the fall craft show!  Just 2 months away!!

Gold Artichoke book ends; Outdated – UPdated

P1150350Found this pair of gold artichoke book ends at the thrift store.

P1150349Liked the SHAPE, but not fond of the color.  Easy make-over project!

P1150351Because they have a SHINY finish they will have to be sanded or primed in order for the new paint to properly adhere.  Because of all the detail, spray paint primer is the easiest solution.  I used flat black spray paint.

P1150480I only repainted the FRONT side of them.  There was felt on the bottoms and I left the back the original gold.  Whenever possible, I like to leave  a ‘hint’ of what the items I make-over originally looked like; as a point of reference and inspiration to those who look at them.

P1150485For example, a shopper is looking at them and says ” I love how shabby chic these are!  I have some gaudy old gold ones like them that I just hate!”  And when they pick them up and look closer, they have that ‘light-bulb’ moment and realize that they could make THEIRS over to look like this!  (that’s my hope anyhow!!  OR that someone will see something similar at the thrift store after reading this post, and buy them to make over)

P1150482After the flat black primer paint was dry, I gave them several LIGHT coats of flat Ivory paint.  Let that paint cure overnight then distress with a coarse sanding sponge.

P1150486Let your distressing be very ‘organic’.  Don’t worry about perfection.  You want different areas to be more and less distressed than others for a naturally aged look.

Published in: on August 31, 2014 at 8:24 am  Comments (1)  

END of SUMMER SALE @ STARS

The big “End of Summer” sale starts TODAY at all three Stars locations; and runs through Labor Day.

As always, each vendor decides what type of discount they will be offering, and signs are posted in each booth telling you what % off items each booth are.

ALL “Regular Priced” (*) items in my booth are HALF OFF for the sale.

(*) Sale discount is NOT valid on already reduced ‘red tagged’ sale items.

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On my soapbox ~ Grocery store rant!

I absolutely HATE going grocery shopping anymore!  It’s SO time consuming and exhausting having to read EVERY ingredient label and compare prices per unit on every item you buy.  Buy you almost HAVE to these days.  Here’s why:

* HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT MSG IS MAKING A COMEBACK?!?!

Remember not so long ago when everyone was promoting their food products at NOT containing MSG?  (Or did I just imagine that?)  I could have sworn that the general consensus a while ago was that we did not want MSG in our food anymore, and food processors heard us.  Well, I guess I missed the memo that says it’s now okay to start putting MSG in anything and everything.

campbell label

For quite some time, Michael and I noticed that after we had certain things for dinner that we had a hard time sleeping because something we had eaten was making our hearts race.  Certain preservatives will do that to me, and I’ve learned to avoid them.  And I wasn’t buying any different products other than what I normally did, so it really didn’t make sense.

campbells-chicken

So I read the ingredient labels on EVERYTHING in my pantry and freezer.   Ah-HA!!  Campbell’s soups (at least ALL the kinds I had on hand) ALL had MSG in them!!   I’ve since checked nearly ALL Campbell’s soups in the grocery store and every one I checked contained MSG.  A lot of Progresso soups did too.

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KROGER brand soups at Fred Meyer are the only ones that I’ve found withOUT MSG.

I also discovered that Hamburger, chicken and tuna Helpers all had MSG.  As did most of the other brands of packaged rice and noodle side dishes.  ALL bottled alfredo sauces (except Newmans Own) contain MSG.  A lot of the ‘foil pack spice mixes’ like taco seasoning; most have MSG in them too!

READ YOUR FOOD LABELS IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME.  You are in for quite a shock!

And if it doesn’t have MSG in it, it probably has SPLENDA (sucralose, generic name) in it.

Remember when the words ‘light’ or ‘lite’ on a label meant low FAT?  Not anymore!  Nearly every item I have looked at lately that is labeled as being light contains Splenda.  And it’s in a LOT of other stuff now too, other than just light items.  Just about everything that is sugar free now has Splenda in it.  Even things that never contained artificial sweetners before, now have Splenda in them.

“WHAT’S WRONG WITH SPLENDA?”  You may ask.  The commercials say it tastes like sugar because it’s made from sugar, don’t they?!?  Ahhhh . . .but it’s HOW they remove the calories from that sugar that’ s the issue!  They CHLORINATE IT!!!

The truth is that sucralose does start off as sugar, but it is what happens after that is the problem. In the factory, three chlorine molecules are added to the sugar molecule to make sucralose. This alters the chemical structure of the sugar, making it a molecule that does not exist in nature. Because it doesn’t exist in nature, the body does not metabolize or digest this molecule. If our bodies were able to metabolize it, then sucralose would no longer have zero calories.

So, HOW did I find that out?  I looked it up on the intenet of course!  You see, the first time I tried Splenda in a cup of hot tea, I had an instantaneous asthma attack.  I have had asthma for some time now, but NEVER have I had such an instantaneous attack like I did that time.    “What’s in that crap?!?”  I needed to know.  As soon as I saw that it was a chlorination process they use on the sugar I knew why I had an asthma attack.  I’m allergic to chlorine!!!

Remember how a lot of people discovered that they had bad allergic reactions to the artificial sweetener Equal?   And they had to start putting that special symbol on the FRONT label of items that contained it?  I sure WISH they’d do something similar with Splenda!  It’s is in foods that have NEVER before contained artificial sweeteners.  Flavored coffee creamers, bottled smoothies, low calorie bottled JUICES, Ice cream, popsicles . . . 

I saw some new kind of low calorie fruit juice / green tea energy drink at Costco the other day.  It sounded pretty healthy.  Until I read the ingredients. Yep.  Splenda!  And they are TRICKY about it because MOST food labels list the generic name ‘sucralose’ and that looks and sounds VERY similar to sucrose (sugar!)

Most low calorie drinks and sodas now contain Splenda.  Low cal Yogurts too.  So now I have to read EVERY label EVERY time I go grocery shopping because this stuff is popping up in more products every DAY.

And if having to read labels to watch out for those two ‘nasty ingredients’ wasn’t enough, NOW you have to really watch the PRICING.

When did ‘economy size’ and ‘family size’ labeled items start costing MORE than the regular sizes?!?!?!  Now I have to PRICE COMPARE every item I buy!  Sure, all that info is labeled right on the shelf, but I have to get my glasses out to read them, then look at the three different sizes, then I forget what the first price per ounce was and it just takes forever!!!  And food is just too dang expensive to be spending money we don’t have to!

The 12 packs of granola bars; more per ounce than the 6 pack.  The family size box of Toaster Strudel (Michael HAS to have his toaster strudel!) MORE per pound than the regular size.  EVEN peanut butter and Jelly for crying out loud!  Just about ANY thing that comes in more than one size anymore, the larger size costs now more per measure.  What the heck is up with that?!?!

What about people with big families who NEED to buy the bigger sizes?!?!?  This is just crazy!!!   Now, of course I was not terribly thrilled ‘back when’ the small convenience sized food products cost more per unit than the bigger sizes; but at least it made SENSE!  Producing and filling and packaging four smaller containers COSTS more than one big container; so the ‘added price for the sake of CONVENIENCE’ was at least justifiable. But PUNISHING those who NEED to buy in larger quantities is just plain GREEDY!!  And it’s NEVER the larger sizes that are on sale. 

I honestly do not know WHAT I would do if I had a big family to feed and NEEDED the larger packages  and KNEW that they cost more per unit than the smaller.  Not to even mention how much added WASTE the smaller containers contribute to!  What the heck is up with this?!?!?  Do manufacturers just think that no one will ever notice??  Have YOU ever noticed this??

I can’t believe that the FDA does not have stricter labeling regulations for some of these additives  AND/OR that they even still ALLOW it to be put in food.  But I suppose if we keep buying, regardless of what kind of CRAP they put in our food, the manufacturers will continue to get away with whatever they can. 

I hope you’ll join me in my  Facebook campaign  <click on the words Facebook campaign to go directly to my FB post>   to  tell the Campbell’s soup company to stop adding MSG to their soups; by liking my post and sharing it on your FB wall too.  AND refuse to buy Campbell’s products until they do so!  The ONLY way we are going to get the message across to them is to ‘hit them where it counts’ (in the pocketbook!) 

Let;s use social network to effect a POSITIVE change in the food we eat and feed our children.

New stencils

I took advantage of ‘Maison de Stencils’  recent sale to add some new stencil designs to my repertoire.

P1150400You would think that 5 or 6 different “Paris” stencils were enough?!?!  But I really liked this font . . . .  and they were on sale!

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P1150403I know that doesn’t look like a WHOLE lot, but even on sale this batch of stencils cost me over $120.00!  So be sure to watch for those sales.  Sign up for their email list to get sale and new stencil notifications.

Re Vamped little painted cupboard

P1150357Little hand painted cupboard from the thrift store.

P1150358Oh goody!!!  The INSIDE is painted too!!  Good thing it’s only 11″ tall; so repainting will be pretty easy.

P1150418Fortunately the original design wasn’t ‘raised’ so I was able to paint right over it without sanding.  (otherwise I would not have bought it because the inside shelves are too close together to sand!)

P1150416Decided to glue on these resin embellishments instead of painting on a design.

P1150428Not enough contrast to stand out.

P1150431And sanding the raised edges didn’t help much.

P1150452So I sponged on some black paint to the raised edges and around the doors and outside edges.

P1150451Not my favorite look, but I also don’t want to spend more TOME and effort on it than I can sell it for.

It will be going to Stars soon.

Published in: on August 20, 2014 at 7:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Remember ‘paper twist’?

I am seriously dating myself by bringing this up, but my earliest ventures into crafting included ‘paper twist wreaths’. 

I loved that stuff.  I could sit and untwist it while watching TV for hours.  So when I found a big bundle if it at a thrift store a while back, I couldn’t resist.  But this newer stuff would NOT un-twist!?!?  It was like it was glued in place.  Just as I was about to toss it into my donate pile and send it back from whence it came; I had a brainstorm.  Maybe if I spritz it with some water it will untwist??

It worked.  But these were reeeeeeeeally long ropes of paper twist and my spritzing wrist tired quickly.  So, I filled the sink with water, cut the ropes into more manageable smaller pieces and started dunking.  That worked even better.  I just had to handle it carefully while untwisting as it tore easily.  Then I spent a couple of DAYS, mindlessly untwisting yards upon yards of paper twist; piling the untwisted pieces in a plastic bin.

Then I got to wondering if there were any NEW kinds of crafts that had been invented since I last played with paper twist?  Off to Pinterest of course to see what I could find.

 1b8047b6daba537018d9a6080f42f149Not much!  There were these . . . .Boooooooooooring!!

28337405788da9df6f6ff9b8f3319df1And this.  Seriously???

f96b7d41942837187fc76d817227f9cbGetting closer . . .but NO cigar!

The ones I used to make ended up looking more like the burlap wreaths that are so popular right now.

a54642ade5a9fc3718f855d94109e207So, with no NEW ideas in sight; I went back to my old tried and true method.

P1140882First I cut my bigger pieces into smaller pieces.   Then folded them over and stapled together.  Did this until I had a while bin full of ‘petals’.

P1140865I didn’t have any wreath forms, so I made my own by gluing two circles of cardboard together, then wrapping with thin strip of paper twist.  Then I started gluing the petals to the outside rim.

P1140883I prefer to NOT use a hot glue gun if at ALL possible.  Tacky glue sets pretty quickly, so I put a dot of tacky glue on the petal end and then used some little clips to hold it in place while the glue set enough to hold on its own.  This only worked on the OUTER row; for the rest I did have to use my hot glue gun.

P1140866Outer rim almost done.  I’d let it set overnight to be sure the glue was completely dry before adding the other layers.  I don;t have pictures of adding the rest of the layers, I just started at one spot and worked my way around; filling in petals wherever it looked like one was needed.

P1140867Once all the petals were in place, I added some little berries. (cut apart berry sprays from the dollar store)   Back in the day, I used to dry flowers from my garden and add those to my paper twist wreaths.

P1140869Michael liked the smaller one best; I liked the bigger one!

P1140973With fall color berries.

P1140974Close up of fall berries.

P1140975I really like this lighter color!

P1140976The light colored paper was ‘softer; and more pliable than the kraft paper.

P1140988Chocolate brown with white berries.

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P1140985Multi color one to use up all the left over petals!

P1140993Altogether I had enough paper to make six wreaths.  They are too bulky to sell in my etsy shop, so I guess they will be going to the fall craft show.

VARNISH

Someone recently left a comment asking what kind of varnish I used and I realized that I’ve never really talked about varnish very much.  So, here it is, THE POST ABOUT VARNISH.

I go through a LOT of varnish, using most of it on my signs.  On my furniture I typically only varnish the TOP or areas that need the extra protection.  Why NOT just varnish the whole thing?  I like to leave my things with the capacity to continue to ‘additionally distress and age naturally’.

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I ONLY USE WATER BASE PAINT PRODUCTS; INCLUDING VARNISH.  The product I buy says on the label “CLEAR MATTE FINISH”.  Then water thinned acrylic-urethane.  I’m guessing this differs from POLYUrethane in that poly is most likely an OIL based product.

Since I go through so much of it, I buy my varnish by the GALLON from Miller paint stores.  (I think Miller might be a NW only paint store)  Really ANY brand will probably be fine.  What ‘makes the difference’ is the ‘sheen level’ you get.  Glossy, satin or matte.  I ONLY use matte finish, which has the LEAST amount of sheen to it.

Why a matte finish?

The less amount of sheen, the less dust and scratches will show up.  If a glossy table gets scratched, you are REALLY going to notice it.  If a matte finish table gets scratched (especially if it is distressed!) the scratch will barely be noticeable.  Shiny and glossy surfaces are much harder to photograph too . . . .you’ll always have that darn GLARE to deal with.

Also, matte finishes require less (if ANY!) prep work (sanding or priming) when and if you ever decide to re-paint.  New paint just does ant adhere well to glossy, slick surfaces.  I know I’ve mentioned that many times when giving shopping tips.

I think the last time I bought a gallon of varnish it was over $80.00 (yes EIGHTY!) but hat will last me close to a year, and much more economical than buying a quart every four months.  BUT, it does tend to ‘settle’ quite a bit and require a VERY good stirring before use if it has sat unused for very long.

BE SURE to ask the paint store to ‘shake’ your can of varnish (like they the paint).  They WILL frown at you and advise you NOT to and tell you that it will cause bubble in your varnish; which it MIGHT, IF you are going to use it right away.

I made the mistake of NOT having them shake the first gallon I bought and the ‘stuff’ at the bottom was SO thick and hard that I never was able to ‘mix it in’.  And as I already said, it will re-settle pretty quickly.  To minimize the amount of hand stirring I have to do AND to better insure the proper mixture (of the stuff that settles to the bottom) throughout my entire gallon of varnish; as soon as I bring a new gallon home, I pour it into 3 or 4 smaller plastic containers with screw on lids.  AND place a piece of was paper or freezer paper over the top of your jar before you screw your lid on.  That will keep it from getting ‘glued on’ and make it much easier to remove.  And since the portions are smaller, it’s easier to stir up the gunk that settled on the bottom.

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And that is everything I know about varnish!

ReVamped plant stand

P1140982Found this tall plant stand at the thrift store.

P1140981A couple of fairly DEEP scratches on the top that would require sanding down.

P1140983But the legs were in great shape and would just require a light sanding before painting.

P1140996I talked myself OUT of stenciling a design on the top since the distressing was so dark,  But still . . . it needed a ‘little something’!

P1140995The apron was just wide enough for me to add this stenciled design; which I did on all four sides.

P1140994Sanded along the table top and leg edges too.

P1140997A couple of coats of varnish on the top and it’s done!

P1150139Available to purchase at Stars for $45.00.

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Vintage oval picnic basket

P1150081The SHAPE of this vintage picnic basket is what first caught my eye on the shelf at the thrift store.  Picked it up and noticed the meticulously painted Noah’s Ark design on the lid.  (and that it’s painted BACKwards!  This is the direction that the basket open from!?!?  oops!)

P1150079I really almost didn’t want to destroy this beautiful painting!!  And I COULD have unhinged the existing lid, traced out the size on a new piece of wood, and easily replaced it.  But then what would I DO with the painted lid???  Donate it BACK to the thrift store?  I’ve been donating MORE than enough stuff lately, so I sanded off the design.  ***(and you DO need to SAND it off, because the paint lines would shoe through otherwise)

P1150134Don’t forget to check for clean ‘innards’ before you buy!  I NEVER buy picnic baskets that have fabric linings attached.  How the heck do you CLEAN the fabric?!?!  Occasionally though, I have found fabric lined ones where the lining can easily be ripped out.

P1150129LOTS of sanding to completely remove the original painting, a couple of coats of paint, a stenciled on design (facing the correct direction!) and a coat of varnish and done!

P1150132Just cleaned up the rest of the wood and left it ‘as is’ since it had a nice vintage patina.

P1150133Perfect!

P1150167Available in my booth at Stars for $32.00.

P1150168The ‘plain top’ split lid basket beneath it is $25.00.

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