Google+ House Revivals: October 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

F is for Finding Christmas in an Egg Carton, part one

Many of you may remember when I shared these darling ornaments (they can be adapted as gift tie-ons for baby gifts, or wedding gifts, or just presented as a small hostess or teacher or neighbor gift).  I promised you all a tutorial was coming.  Who knew it would take TEN months! Better late than never, right?

In the earlier post, I rambled on about seeing little old-fashioned cars at breakfast every morning for two decades.

And showed a couple of pictures that I found on my hard drive.  I didn't even know what blogging was at the time I made these, so I'm really lucky to have found any pictures at all!

Alas, I have no pictures of the canoes and sailboats made from egg cartons (and everything I own is still in storage, and will be for many more months), so I opened up good old Paint, and drew some for you!
Today, I thought I would share the first in a series of tutorials on how to make several different Christmas ornaments from one egg carton.  These projects can be simplified and adapted for children to do, too!

--Start with an eighteen count egg carton, like the one shown here.

-- You're looking for the kind that have a lid that looks like this when opened.  See the four little old-fashioned coupes?

-- The bottom of the cups should look like little rings -- these will be your tires!

-- In a perfect world, all of your little tires will be perfect, but in my world one or two are always smashed...

-- Start by cutting the lid and the tray apart along the "hinge."

-- Next cut the lid apart, as shown.  Leave a little flange around the edges of the car bodies.

-- Now take the tray and cut the cups apart.  If you plan to make only the transportation ornaments, just chop them apart like this (using strong old scissors).

-- If you plan to use the little peaks that separate the cups to make sweet little baskets for table favors (an upcoming tutorial, I promise.  Really.), cut the cups apart more carefully, like this.

-- You will end up with a pile of roughly chopped apart cups.

-- Now, go back and cut the bottoms of the cups off a little more carefully -- they don't have to be perfect, yet, you can refine them later.  Set the scraps aside for making paper, if you're into that -- or toss them into the recycling.

-- If you live in that perfect world, you can store your little car parts in a cute little bowl in your studio for easy access.  I don't live in a perfect world.  My world has dust... and dog hair.  And it can take us a long time to eat enough eggs to do an ornament making marathon (think twenty egg cartons) -- that's how I roll.  Week long marathons, making dozens of ornaments at a time.

-- So, I keep the "parts" in zipper type bags. It keeps them clean and allergen free.

-- Trim around the car bodies, leaving a scant quarter inch flange on all sides. 

-- Just stack them up and throw them in the cute bowl, if you're doing the perfect world thing -- otherwise, they can go into the zipper baggie.  Four little chassis will make three cars and an airplane, or two little coupes and one stretch limo.  You can't make four cars, because each car needs five tires, and the carton only holds eighteen eggs....

-- At this point, you will be left with these parts.

-- I usually cut mine into pieces something like this, but it really just depends on what I'm making.  Here, I've roughly cut out pieces to make two sailboats, a canoe, a set of airplane wings, and a "spare parts" piece.   Other times, I focus more on canoes (as they are the fastest to make, so you get more return on your time investment).
-- To cut out the boat hulls, I stack same length pieces together, same sides facing, and trim them into the desired shape.  If I'm working with an edge piece, I leave the edge as the top edge of the boat side -- it gives it a nice finish.

--Next time we will get the glue out and build some boats!

-- P.S.  If you're not a follower, and you don't want to miss the rest of the tutorials, be sure to click "follow", in the side bar.  Next, we will put together a canoe, and start on a sailboat.  Coming tutorials will give instructions for the cars and airplanes!

 Happy crafting!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lovely Little Boxes

Look what I found!  The sweetest blog, Just a Girl, by Gabrielle Messina.  After you read this, you might want to scoot over to Gabrielle's place and look around.  She is a talented artist, and her creations are just exquisite.

Gabrielle made these sweet little packages using bits of vintage paper, ribbons, tulle, and millinery flowers. 

These were created as part of the table decorations for a friend's birthday!

These are definitely going into my inspiration file.  Thanks, Gabrielle, for letting me share your lovely work!  You can see Gabrielle's work, here.

Crafting from the Goodwill

Finding craft supplies can be really tricky sometimes.

For the moment, we live right smack dab in the middle of a big city.  As in, we live in a mid-rise, with a parking garage in the basement, and shops and businesses on the main level.  We rarely drive anywhere, and if our car were stolen, we probably wouldn't notice for at least a week -- we just don't make it down to the parking garage all that often.   We can catch a bus or the light rail just by crossing the street.

Seems convenient, right?  It usually is.  But sometimes I get frustrated.  Like when I needed a new iron.  Within a mile of our building, we can buy artisan sweaters, antiques, every kind of coffee or pastry, hand blown glass and hand thrown pottery, paintings, rugs, designer furniture, and fresh flowers.

We can check out a library book, or join a dragon team, or see a ball game.  But try to find a good iron?  Or a large bag of dog food, for that matter?  Impossible.  And finding a craft store that won't take all morning and three transfers to get to?  Fuhhhget about it!

So, you learn to improvise when you need supplies.

You buy your glue at the drug store, and you buy sample pots of paint at a local hardware store.

Sometimes you get lucky and find something at the fabric outlet (the only fabric store in the city proper,  apparently).  Mostly, though, you just wander through the local Goodwill, to find crafting supplies.  At least, that's what I do.

And you find cool stuff sometimes.

Yarns and wooden spools and vintage crepe paper and linens and retro packages of glitter!

Old floral arrangements that can be cannibalized....

Even new bags of excelsior!

I'm pretty happy.  Now, I just need to find some hot glue sticks....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Christmas Ornament Inspiration

I really love this time of year.  I know it's not even Halloween, but I'm already thinking about Christmas.  Every year we design and create a new ornament, make a bazillion, and give them out to neighbors, friends and teachers instead of cookies and Christmas candy.  Don't get me wrong,  I love Christmas sweets -- they just don't love me.  So, instead of baking, I create visual confections.  Eye candy.  Pretty little things. Ornaments.

While shopping at a local fabric outlet the other day, I found these.  Little personalized, miniature, magnetic sap buckets.  Just what most of us have always dreamed of owning.....   Right?

They were marked down to $1.88 each, but a sign above said they were 75% off of that price.  Of course, I doubt that Stacey and Nicole want magnetized miniature sap buckets for Christmas.  So, I bought all of them!

I'm feeling some serious inspiration when I look at the creations of Ashley Carter, Goldbug Studio.  Swoon.

Truly everything that comes out of this studio is beautiful...

Whether you're into whites and silvers, or glorious bursts of color, if you like pretty, you will love Goldbug Studio!

So, what do discounted miniature personalized magnetized sap buckets have to do with these scrumptious images, anyway?  Well, here's a peak at what I found at the local Goodwill this weekend.....

 ... these darling little flowers!

And this retro package of glitter.

Sweet little flowers, glitter, some vintage crepe paper from my stash, and some funky little magnets.  I think, when it's all glued together, it will look smashing!  What do you think?

This post is linked to Debbiedoos Garage Salen Party and Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Great News!

We have great news!  Our building permit has been approved!   We weren't sure it would go through on the first pass, as it's a tricky project, but it did!  

I talked to the moving and raising company today, and it's looking like the BIG DAY will come in just a couple of weeks.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

E is for Electricity and Bathroom Chandeliers

 Electricity and water don't mix.  At least not in any sort of healthy way....
 Photo courtesy Country Living.
Here, a photo stylist uses a chandelier as a prop over a claw footed tub.

This is why very special, sealed light fixtures are used in pools and spas.

It is why special shower rated recessed cans are used over tubs and showers.
You may be able to find some really lovely shower rated fixtures, like this one, from The Bath Tub website.

We all learned, in grade school, that electricity and water are a potentially deadly combination.  And yet, we still see pictures like this on design blogs, and in magazines.

This bathroom design is the work of the very gifted furniture and textile designer, Barry Dixon.
Barry Dixon has worked in the decorating industry for many years, and his talent as a decorator is remarkable. 
 I see loots of folks trying to emulate this look, but I suspect -- I f the camera were pulled back -- we would 
the chandelier was not over the bathtub at all, and that it is a trick of the camera.

Many of these images are absolutely stunning, and are the work of very gifted stylists. There is a big difference, however, in a space that has been styled to look pretty in a picture, and a space designed for living.
This bathroom was styled by decorator to the stars, Nate Berkus. 
Nate Berkus is personable, and fun, and his styling is absolutely beautiful.

These bathroom vignettes were most likely styled 
this way for the sake of photo composition. 

It is highly likely that the chandeliers in the spaces shown above were lowered for the photo shoots, and raised or removed afterward.  At least, that's what I would prefer to believe...

The National Electric Code, in the United States, reads:
410.4(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. No parts of cord-connected luminaires (fixtures), hanging luminaires (fixtures), lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. This zone is all encompassing and includes the zone directly over the tub or shower stall.

In the bathroom shown above, the chandelier is placed in an acceptable 
location, offset from the area directly over the tub by several feet. 

Baths and showers are considered wet locations, and there is risk of steam from your bath condensing on the fixture, creating a short that could make the entire fixture "hot".  Additionally, just the tiniest little splash of water could result in a hot bulb shattering, and sprinkling the tub with tiny shards of broken glass!

Perhaps Lette Birn, of the Form+Function Bright Ideas blog, said it best:
Electricity and water do not mix. Period! Someone might just one day reach up and touch the chandelier. You can’t tell from looking at it if  it is properly grounded or not or if it has a short that’s otherwise not obvious. Standing well-grounded in a bathtub full of water, THAT’s a recipe for disaster!

Ok, ok, YOU of course won’t EVER think of doing that, but what about your house guests? Another point to think of:  Working day-to-day in a lighting showroom and seeing first-hand what a mess it is when a light bulb breaks, I for sure don’t want to share my bath water with those little sharp pieces! A single drop of water hitting a lit bulb can easily cause a light to burst. 

You might consider a non-electrified chandelier, if you really have your heart set on having one.

Chances are, if you live in a jurisdiction that has adopted a building code, NEC410.4(D), or something similar, is being enforced.

If your architect, contractor, or interior designer 
suggests that you add some sort of hanging fixture over 
your tub, you may want to verify their professional 
credentials, as well as check into your local codes.  

It is remotely possible that your local building codes (or lack of) will permit the installation, but most qualified design professionals will still advise against it for safety and liability issues.

image courtesy Coastal Living website

If you really want to "romance the bathtub", how about this lovely mosquito net -- or some candles?

Of course, you can use a chandelier in the bathroom, just remember to keep at least eight feet between the top of the tub and the bottom of the hanging fixture or stay at least three feet away from the "footprint" of the tub, if you want it to pass the electrical inspection.

Beauty + Function + Health and Safety 
= Good Design

And remember, there are lots of people in the design industry who are not qualified interior designers, kitchen or bath planners, contractors, lighting designers, or architects.

There are room stylists, photo stylists, set designers, shelter magazine editors, decorators, design bloggers, television show hosts, and consultants -- with backgrounds in everything from fashion to law.  They may be incredibly talented artistic contributors to the design industry, but they may not have a familiarity with relevant local codes, being more aware of the beauty side of the design equation, than the health and safety aspect.

This is just a little food for thought, as you peruse books, magazines, and blogs that may feature these types of installations.