Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day to all those past, present and future who have and will have served our military.  To quote Mark Twain "In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."

To celebrate Veteran's Day, I trash-picked a beautiful metal milk jug, originally from "Supplee" dairy in Philadelphia.  This beautiful red "chippy" piece has an eagle with outstretched wings...nothing says American more than Philadelphia, veterans, eagles and milk :)

Thanks again to all who have served!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Love and Luck 4 Picture Locket Necklace in Silver

A few years ago, I bought some vintage never-used silver lockets from a closing jewelry store.  I loved their shine, their ability to hold four pictures, their heart design that morphed into a four-leaf clover when they were open, etc. 

I hung these lockets from a sterling silver-heart link chain and the results are fabulous (if I do say so myself).  They have also been selling with frequency and since I only have a few lockets left, I thought I would share them here.

You can purchase these necklace here

Happy Monday!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vanity Chair Makeover - and a new venture

As I do every year as the calendar nears its end, I have reassessed my commitment to my jewelry business.  While I love the (the majority) of people I have met through "Basil the Cat" and I'm super proud of my original designs, I realize that the key element to my business, passion, has started to lack.  My creative eye has started to wander and I have fallen in love with refurbishing furniture.  While I intend to keep "Basil the Cat" open, I plan on scaling down my designs, especially my one-of-a-kind creations and focusing more on pieces that I can more easily reproduce.  The majority of my creative juices will now be cathected to housewares, as "Elie the Cat" is born.

A couple of months ago, my cousin was throwing out this vintage vanity chair:

Not being able to imagine this piece ending-up in a landfill, I decided I needed to rescue it.  It was in pretty rough shape, it has been repainted green (which has begun to chip) and the vinyl seat was stained when I used it as a step stool to strip my curio cabinet.

I decided it was time to make this piece over.  My first stop was Jo-Ann fabric where I found a gorgeous remnant of vintage fabric for $2.00.

I took the seat off and removed all the staples that held the vinyl on (which I don't believe was original to the piece).  I then used the vinyl as a template for my fabric.

Starting on one side, I stapled the fabric on in overlapping pleats

I continued this all around the chair, cut the extra fabric, and voila...the new seat looked amazing!

I then took the metal part of the chair outside to spray paint it.  I had originally purchased a blue color to tie-in a small bit of blue in the fabric but I decided on a more antique-y white.  I covered the chair in white spray paint

and then I took some wood stain in "Dark Walnut" and brushed it on with a sponge brush and wiped it off before it dried to give it an aged look.  If some of the spots looked too dark, I reapplied the stain (counterintuitive, I know) and wiped it off again.  The result is a subtle aged look which I am totally in love with.

Not feeling like the seat was finished enough.  I decided to add a dust cover to the bottom

The End

Friday, October 10, 2014

Museum Collection - Teensy Tiny Silver NJ State Necklace

Vikki, my contact at the Old Barracks Museum contacted me to let me know her patrons have requested my state necklace in silver...voila:

This limited edition necklace will only be available in NJ museums and for a limited time in my Etsy shop: Basil the Cat

Happy Weekend!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Butterfly Parade Then and Now

A very special Kindergarten tradition at my children's school is for them to raise Monarch butterflies from caterpillars and release them "to Mexico" and then parade around town as butterflies.  It is so sweet!  This past week we celebrated Charlie's parade:

Pre-Parade Photo-Shoot

Pre-Parade festivities

Charlie's beautiful MALE butterfly

The Parade Proper

Flashback to 3 years-ago when RJ paraded - notice the butterfly on his head in the last pic

Ahh, this was such a nice experience, I'm enjoying reliving it in the blogosphere!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Day of School 2014

Today is the first day of Kindergarten and Third Grade for my big boys.  It is also the first time they are attending the same school...yay!



Brotherly Love:

Happy 2014-2015 School Year!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Back to School Backpack Sale

I have been wanting to get my soon-to-be-a-Kindergartener a new backpack for some time now.  I got my older son one from L.L.Bean, which I love, because of their 100% satisfaction guarantee.  From their website "Return anything purchased from us at any time.." Boys can be extremely hard on backpacks (or anything really) so this totally makes sense to me. 

I received an e-mail last week about their Deluxe Book packs being 25% off (which they still are) but by the time I had it in my cart, with a monogramming, it was still kind of expensive, even with a 20% coupon and free shipping so I wanted to wait on it.  Also, camouflage is not allowed at the Friend's school but I figured since it was orange and not "typical camo" it would pass, but this was further adding to my ambivalence. Here's the one I was eyeing-up:
A few days later (today), and still without a backpack, I decided to go back to the L.L. Bean's website and low and behold, there were three backpacks that were on sale for $14.96.  These are the "original" backpacks not the "deluxe" but they are better for a 5 year-old anyway.  I chose the perfect backpack for him, with his name embroidered on it, with free shipping and a 20% off coupon and it came to $20, an unbeatable price!  On the left is the special one I chose (yay!).  The other two are also available for the same price:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I am a Caricature

The other day, my son decided to go into my closet and car put together an ensemble that resembles me.  This is what he came up with:

First of all, he put on this black and white dress which wasn't the first time he's put this specific dress on to be "me", I barely even wear this one but it must appeal to him so I've made a conscious decision to wear it more often.  He's carrying a tote bag that I've carried a handful of times, a leg warmer on right arm, one of my baby dresses on his head, covered with fishnet stockings because, who doesn't wear their fishnets on their head?  The funniest part (other than the bra he's wearing and the rest of the outfit) is that he took my business card and in a high-pitched voice said..."Follow me at basilthecat.com!"  He is too much sometimes.

Here's another goof who decided to wear a bike helmet to mow the lawn
These boys crack me up!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Found Joy

Last night as my husband and I were attempting to leave a restaurant review on "Trip Advisor" (which, by the way, is super impossible and involves them trying gain access to all your personal information), we came across some old photos of the kids that were stored in the "Drafts" section of an e-mail account that I don't really use.  In an effort to not lose these precious pics, I wanted to share them here:
Little RJ and his candy airplane
Long-haired RJ lounging with Play-Doh in his fleece pjs
2 year-old Charlie in love
Little Charlie probably the first and last time he ever fell asleep in the car
Sweet Baby James in the brown pjs I loved with a tiny scratch below his eye
And here are the delicious fellas in a picture that typifies Summer 2014
This about sums it up
Summer, life, time.....please slow down......

Monday, July 14, 2014

Look What I Made!

I am toying with the idea of adding repurposed vintage home accessories to my "Basil the Cat" line. I'm also trying to capture and share the process of (re)creating these pieces.  Here is my first thrift-store-piece-turned-home-accessory-treasure.

The backstory:
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went on a date.  One of the stops was our favorite local thrift store.  I saw this vintage wooden train planter almost immediately.  It was in three pieces, very distressed and need of some love.  I decided for $4.95 I had to bring it home and give it some love.  I knew I had made a good choice when a couple of the ladies at the thrift store stopped me to tell me they almost purchased it and what they would have done to it.

Here is a before picture (although I did paint the birdie prior to clicking the pic).

To me, it is a beautiful piece of folk art, even with the missing wheels and rough construction.  I love the proportion of the large bird to the small train, it makes me smile.  I decided to paint it red and my husband had the brilliant idea to put wide tape over the metal straps so the wood would show through on either side.

This was my first time using "Frog Tape" and I think it did a good job, I don't necessarily think it's better than the blue stuff but it worked just fine.

I purchased three small tubes of acrylic paint at A.C. Moore to paint the bird, the wheels, the smoke stack and the front of the train. The black and white bottles of "My Studio" were $0.59 each and the yellow bottle of "Apple Barrel" was a splurge at $0.99 but it was called "Canary Yellow" and I told myself that if I find a yellow called "Canary" I was going to buy it.  I must say, though, I think the cheaper stuff worked better, it seemed to cover in less coats.


My next decision was what to do with the missing engine wheels.  I thought about having someone make them for me but I was able to find some on the internet by searching "spoked wood toy wheels" and although I needed to drill the holes a little bigger and saw the pegs a little bit, I couldn't be happier with how they turned out and with shipping, they were about $7.50 for the pair.

I am so thrilled with the final product.  After everything was painted, I lightly sanded the piece around the edges. To one of the cargo cars I added vintage black and white bunny salt and pepper shakers that have spoked wheels and look like they are peeking out over the side.   To the back I added large and small pool balls that coordinate with some pool ball accessories I have in my dining room (and happen to be leftover from other projects).