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Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to Make Vintage Bottle Brush Trees

It's never too soon to start thinking about Christmas, right? I have some projects I'm working on that require vintage looking bottle brush trees. Do you love the love the look of faded a old bottle brush tree? Years ago I needed lots of faded little trees for some putz houses I was displaying, and stumbled upon this easy technique for making new bottle brush trees look vintage.

You can buy new bottle brush trees at craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael's. If you can find them on sale for 50% off, you might want to stock up!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Craft Ideas For Upcycled Light Bulbs

Here at House Revivals, we love a good upcycling project!  These craft projects from burned out light bulbs are no exception.

Here are some  favorite recycled light bulb crafts!

At Art Drops, they made these pretty painted Hot Air Balloons.

Rook No. 17 is one of my favorite blogs -- you will lots of creative projects there, including these adorable decoupaged light bulbs!

Christy Tomlinson is an amazing artist, as you can see from these gorgeous matryoshka doll inspired ornaments!

I love this beautifully painted St. Nick!

Debra Maerz painted this sweet matryoshka.

Here is a super easy tutorial for a light bulb ornament using a burned out bulb and an orphan sock!

These chicks from Ellen's Album made me giggle -- so cute!

These ladies were crafted by Etsy's primchick -- they crack me up!

Do you love a good recycled craft, too?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Recycled Bottle Bracelets!

Here is a great recycled bracelet project to do with your kids!  These bracelets are so fun and easy to do, your kiddos can have bracelets to go with all their new back to school outfits.  All you need are some plastic bottles from the recycling bin and some decorative tape or fabric strips.

After a round of summer entertaining, we had several plastic soda bottles.  I like that this kind of bottle has a thicker plastic than a water bottle. You can use water bottles, but you may need to glue two layers together with double stick tape to have a nice strong bracelet.

I carefully cut out the flat center part of each bottle -- first using an old serrated knife to start the cut, then using a strong pair of (NOT SEWING) scissors. If you are doing this project with kiddos, you may want to help them with this part. After cutting out the strips, you may need to neaten up the edges a bit, so they are nice and straight.  I made mine into cuffs, but you can leave your plastic rounds whole and make bangles.

 Grab your favorite decorative tapes (or use fabric strips and adhesive), and simply wrap the plastic! That's it -- it doesn't get much easier than that!

I used "girly" products, but if that doesn't work for your bunch of kiddos, try camo or super hero inspired or leather-look cuffs.

You can use more than one pattern on a single bracelet to mix things up!

Have fun, and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How to Make Pretty Clay Birds

Are you looking for a quick easy clay project? These pretty clay birds might be just the thing! They are simple enough to do with the kids, but fun for any age.

Recently, when a friend was visiting from Colorado, we visited our local Chinatown/ International District. One of the stores we hit was Daiso Japan, which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  Almost everything in the store is $1.50.  They sell everything from make-up to kitchen utensils to craft supplies.

We found some interesting packages of wood pulp clay. Wood pulp clay is an air dry clay that is similar to paper clay, but a bit more light weight. It is essentially an unbleached type of paper clay. For really nice projects, or projects you want to carve, true paper clay is still your best option, but for simple hand sculpting projects, wood pulp clay is a bargain at $1.50 a package!

We experimented with rolling out the clay, pressing it into molds, and hand sculpting. We were inspired to create little birds with encouraging messages after reading this post by Christy Tomlinson. Here is how we hand sculpted our little birds:

Start by rolling a ball just a little smaller than a walnut. You can dampen your fingers to smooth and seal any cracks or seams. (Just like a pie crust)

Using your thumb and first two fingers, gently begin pulling a small section of clay to form the head.

Next, gently begin pulling and flattening to form the tail. Try to give your bird a nice round breast.

Now, you can carefully form the beak and refine the overall shape.  I intentionally left my birds looking "handmade" -- I think it adds to the charm. We were not going for perfection.

You can add a little tail feather detail with a fork, or you can just skip that step -- it's entirely up to you!

Allow your creations to air dry for a few days before painting. If you live in a dry climate, they may be totally dry the next day. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, like I do, allow several days.

You can leave your painted birds plain, or you might want to add thoughts or sentiments to them.

Christy used stamps, but I couldn't find mine, so I just cut our letters from a magazine "ransom note style", and Mod Podged the letters to the birds. I also used Mod Podge to seal the paint.

That took FOREVER, so I eventually started cutting out whole words, which was super quick!

If you decide to try this cute project and you can't find wood pulp clay, any air dry clay will work.  I've made them with paper clay, and soft clay, as well.  Have fun!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cool Retro Lamps and Light Fixtures!

Vintage light fixtures and lamps are a great way to add a unique touch to a space.  They can be much more affordable, better quality, and more unique than lighting purchased new. This vintage globe shaped fixture is just a few dollars on Craigslist!

You could spend $1500 for a globe-shaped light fixture from Horchow.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Renovating a Beach House: The Deck Edition

It's been a long time coming. We purchased this beach house nearly four years ago, and are FINALLY wrapping up the last deck renovation!  Actually, other than some landscape work, this deck is the last really big project.

During most of June and part of July, our contractors stayed at the house and rebuilt our dilapidated old deck.  This was supposed to be a rot replacement project, but as we got deeper and deeper into it, we realized every single board needed replaced!  Apparently, the only thing holding this deck up was hope.

Every one of our joist hangers also needed replacing!  The ocean climate is hard on structures.  After looking at our existing deck, and the decks of some of our neighbors, we knew we did not want to use galvanized metal hangers-- it is simply no match for our damp salt air.  Our next door neighbor's deck is only three years old, and they already have major rust and corrosion issues.

We decided to have stainless steel hangers fabricated.  It added to the cost and to the timeline, but it will be well worth it in the long run.  Our contractors also special ordered stainless steel deck screws.  Again, this added to the cost, but in the long run it will be worth it.

The contractors just wrapped up the work and are in the clean-up stage.  We asked them to set aside plenty of non-pressure treated, non-painted wood for our beach bonfires.  We already burned quite a bit on the Fourth of July, but there is plenty left!

These pictures were taken on our last visit -- it will be a few more days before we can get away from the city to see the finished product.  I'm pretty excited about it!  It's going to be uh-maze-ing to sit out there in the morning and just chill with a cup of tea -- or a bloody mary....

We had the contractors build a gate at the top to keep pets and toddlers from wandering off, too. We love to have friends and family out, and kids and pets are always invited!

I'll try to get more pictures of the finished deck up soon!  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Different Kind of Interior Design Project

Remember last year, when we bought our new condo?  Well, it came with a boat slip. We have kept the slip rented for over a year, but recently my tenant moved on, and I was left trying to rent the slip again.

My husband decided this would be a great time to go boat shopping, and he declared a race. I would continue trying to rent the slip, and he would look for a boat to buy. Whoever succeeded first would be declared the "winner".

I will confess to dragging my feet just a little toward the end, because he seemed so excited about having a boat -- after all, you only live once, right? If playing around on the water will give him joy and give him a chance to decompress from a high stress job, why would I get in the way of that?

My husband did tons of research and decided to buy an older "classic" Tollycraft. Tollycraft was a PNW boat maker, with a great reputation. Tollycraft is no longer in business, but the boats have a loyal following.

On the final weekend of our "race", I actually had several interested parties who wanted to see the boat slip. That same weekend my husband wanted me to go look at several boats with him. What's a girl to do?

He was just so excited about the boats he was going to look at, so I agreed to go with him.... and he declared himself the winner of our race... even though he had not actually bought a boat yet.

We looked at several different boats that weekend, and finally settled on a 30' Tollycraft Sedan.  I liked it best, because it has a large comfortable salon. It rains a lot in the PNW, so it will be good to have a nice roomy cabin.

The boat even came with nautical themed plastic dishware, a roll of toilet paper, and three boxes of tissue.

The kitchenette is pretty roomy, and had a propane stove and oven, and a double sink.

The boat sleeps six.

It has a private berth, a marine head with a shower, a settee that slides out to become a double bed, and a dinette that drops down to become a bed.

It even has a little built-in fan.

My husband has suggested we redo the interior. It will be my first boat interior design job, and I really look forward to doing it, but for now I want to live with it just like it is, and see how well it works for us. The basic layout looks very functional, and I suspect only needs a bit of tweaking. I'd like to wait at least one season before making any decisions. What do you think?

Now, I just need to learn to pilot the new boat -- perhaps I should start with the little dinghy!  Baby steps, right?