chal-lenge: noun a calling to account or into question

Follow along as I challenge the tricks, tips, clever craft and decorating ideas and "simple" recipes that we clip, bookmark, and "pin" for trial at a later date.

Are they really worth the effort? Time (and I) will tell!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Stepping Stone

My husband has been working steadily on the construction of a camp in Loon Lake which is in the Adirondacks. It’s exciting enough to see the structure rise and indoor plumbing be installed but it’s also exciting to be getting to the point of talking about finishes and finishing touches.  We aren’t quite there yet, but adding a little touch when we can gives us a little encouragement and allows us to dream of the time when our vacation home will be complete. 


Last year my sister and her husband gave us thisbeautiful stepping stone with the signature loon in the center  We’re a long way off from any landscaping so the stone has been just leaning up against the wall waiting for a home..
  This spring my husband and I were working away when we both looked at the stone and then each other and said, “Something special needs to be done with this stone.” 


Our idea was to create a decorative focal point that would grab your eye when you walk into the camp.  The half wall that encloses the kitchen seemed the perfect spot. Tom did some quick measuring and we brought the stone home with us to get started on our project.  I have been nagging about wanting to use some stone in the interior but up until now, Tom hasn’t been receptive to the idea.  That is until now. 


We found sheets of river rock at Lowe’s that quite conveniently fit into the allotted space.  Tom did have to trim around the circular stepping stone but the sheets are made with mesh and are really easy to cut.  Any extra stones were used to fill in here and there where needed. Once the stones were attached to the backer board, it was time to grout.  I had the great idea of using a pastry bag and filling in around the stones.  Yikes!  It took us both about 3 hours of back breaking work to get all the cracks filled.  After letting the grout dry, we decided that we didn’t like the rough look and added another layer of grout to smooth it all out.  We both agree that it looks much better this way.


Ta da! Isn’t this just the perfect little touch? It makes us smile every time we walk in the door.  I know we will add other touches along the way but this one is very special.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rustic Log Lamp

Camp decorating continues with this little project.  I’m having a good time creating pieces that refurbish flea market finds with a nod to nature. Part of my challenge is to spend as little money on the pieces as possible and I feel that I’m doing pretty well.  It’s also fun decorating a space where I can use the terms rustic and shabby chic to excuse any slip-ups.  Hey, don’t judge me I’m having fun. 


I was sitting outside our camp a few weeks ago enjoying the fresh air and scenery when a light bulb lit up in my head.  How about a lamp made out of a log?  It might sound crazy but lamps can be made from just about anything.  Wouldn’t a log lamp be perfect in the living room?  This was an idea I had to run by Tom because he would be the one to assemble it all.  Of course he was up for the challenge and went out to the woodpile to see what he could find.  Voila!  The perfect log was just waiting to be snapped up.  What makes a perfect log you may ask?  One that is already cut to size is handy for sure.  A nicely textured bark with a little moss growing up the side doesn’t hurt either.


Tom fashioned a base out of a piece of the maple we recently purchased to make up the bar.  So far the project cost is $0!  Unfortunately he couldn’t use any of the old lamp parts in my arsenal and purchased new pieces for $15. Once assembled, I sanded the base and applied several coats of polyurethane.  I started with a spray so as not to disturb any of the moss.  Once all the intriguing bits and pieces were adhered I brushed on the really durable stuff.  Nice!


Now for the lampshade.  If you’ve ever shopped for lampshades you know how expensive they can be.  Besides, I wanted something a little out of the ordinary.  I knew how I wanted to remake the shade but didn’t want to spend even the $10 it would cost to buy a new one to use as a base.  Hmm, which of my “junk” shops has the most potential?  The Salvation Army!  There I found a disgustingly dirty lampshade in the right size and shape for $.99.  What a find!


After cleaning up the lampshade, I started covering it with some jute I found in my stash.  I dabbed a bit of glue here and there to hold it all in place.  Ah, just the style I wanted.  As a little extra touch, I attached a ceramic leaf I had hanging around in my box of fall decorations. I think this will be just perfect as a woodsy accent piece in the living room.  At a cost of $16 who wouldn’t want a lamp made from a log?  Don’t all speak up at once…..

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mexican Pillow

I have just finished a really fun project!  While making the rounds through the pre-owned clothing section of one of my favorite shops, I came across this fascinating vest.  Isn’t it great? 
Anyone observing me walking through these stores must really get a show as I gasp and laugh out loud over some of the things I find.  And then I grab them like someone else is shadowing me just waiting to take my great find right out of my hands. This was definitely one of those pieces.  Take a peek at these adorable reptiles.  Who wouldn’t just laugh out loud?

The vest as a piece of clothing really isn’t my style but the pieced squares used to make the vest are really well done.  I felt certain that I could deconstruct the piece and turn it into a pillow for someone else’s home.  Really, what am I going to do with a Mexican reptile pillow?  It doesn’t exactly fit my traditional d├ęcor.  But I know someone down south with a lovely patio where a pillow like this would feel quite at home. Sold, for $1!
There was quite a bit of decorative stitching that had to be picked out along with the seams.  I situated myself out on my deck with a drink nearby and got to work.  I was proud of myself for taking my time and really thinking before I made any cuts.  Maybe the sun and the cheerful fabric had a bit to do with that.
My patience sure paid off as I was able to reuse some of the red fabric to create the fourth edge and the lining as the back of the pillow.  It was a pretty easy job to sew the back and front of the pillow together.  It all worked out so nicely. I just love it when that happens. Isn’t it a festive little piece?