Monday, November 2, 2015

Bathroom Reno Day 1 and a very Happy Birthday!

It took one day of renovating to completely gut my bathroom.  First this guy arrived:
And then 3 men and a few hours later it was completely filled and my bathroom was gutted:

In other exciting news, Elie has turned 17! 
This is one of our first days together almost 17 years ago
Elie chillin' today

Elie's regimen of insulin 2x/day, pain meds 2x/week and glucosamine weekly
Here's hoping we have another 17 years together :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bathroom Renovation Chronicled - Day 0

For posterity and kicks, I have decided to chronicle our master bathroom renovation.  Our bathroom has been in various stages of disrepair for the last four years.  The bathtub leaked rendering it unusable, the marble floor cracked, the shower leaked and the icing on the cake was the pipes freezing every winter and finally bursting last winter.  Here is the "before":

Stay tuned for updates...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall 2015

As we near the winter holidays, I'm working to increase my inventory prior to the "rush."

Today I listed this: "Sterling Silver Key and Vintage Coro 4 Picture Locket Necklace"

This awesome necklace is made with a vintage silver-plated Coro four picture locket. The locket opens to hold four photos (three under metal frames and one with tape). All photos can easily be removed on replaced with your treasures. I hung this locket on a sterling-silver ball chain that I hand-oxidized. The clasp on this chain is super-tiny which is why I made the chain long enough to slip on and off. Along with the locket, I hung a sterling-silver cast "master key" which reads "EAGLE LOCK CO. 178". I love how all the silvers meld.

This chain measures approximately 30 inches but can be easily shortened upon request at check-out. The locket hangs approximately 1 inch from the chain and the photo portion of the locket is approximately 3/4 inch in diameter.

I'm also working on new charm bracelets and a couple custom orders...stay tuned!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Art as Communication

I did not know why I was purchasing "Primadonna with Curls" by Kähler, but I did.

Later, I heard a whisper.  It was a communication about the piece through the eye's of a child.  I could hear the artist speaking to me.

From that point forward, the purpose of the piece could be seen.  And its purpose could not be unseen.

I realized what had happened.  I had heard a secret - art had been the vessel of a playful communication.  And that secret gave me a new way to see the world.

It gave me the gift of an open mind.

So, do not be ashamed.  Listen to music that speaks to you, be inspired by items at the thrift store, cook your favorite recipe, light a candle, touch your spouse.

You are making and listening to Art.

After all, a communication is something shared.

-Rob and Rachel

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Happy (Belated) Birthday To Me

I've decided to start chronicling the updates I'm doing in my home as a virtual scrapbook of sorts.  I also have the fantasy that years from now my kids will be excited to look back and fondly recall the transformation of our house through their childhood.

For years I've wanted to change the layout of my first floor bathroom so the toilet wasn't visible from the kitchen prep area.  I've thought about taking the shower out and moving the door so the entrance was further down the hall (this idea was squashed when our master bath pipes burst and I saw the utility of an extra shower), I considered swapping the toilet for the sink so at least the sink is what you saw when you looked in, I thought hard about teaching my sons to close the door when the used the bathroom (clearly and exercise in futility) and then finally, the idea hit me...I needed a "barn door" on a red track that I could open and close as needed.

After a multi-day search on Craigslist for the perfect door, I stumbled across this beauty:

It is an 1869 locally-created, metal-wrapped wood fire door out of a local factory in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia.

It even had a metal track already attached.  I knew I had to have this so I called up my husband and asked if he wanted to get it for me for my birthday and luckily, he was more than happy to do so.

My sister-in-law and I took the exciting trek to and fro Philly to retrieve it. Our adventure included driving on the sidewalk, pulling random strangers off the street to help load it and then recruiting local pool guys in my neighborhood to unload it...this door is HEAVY!

This door lived in my garage for a few months until I decided who was going to hang it and how I was going to paint it.  I knew I wanted to paint it white to match the décor of my house but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do about the hardware.  After much trial and error, my eye was most attracted to the door being painted a stark white.  I knew I wanted a red track to mimic the red curtain rod in the adjacent room

I used my favorite red spray paint, Rustoleum "Sunrise Red" which to me, it the closest match to the red already inside my house.

Finally, on July 4th, my door was hung.  Here is the photo my contractor send me before he left:

He added some silver washers that needed to be painted and also suggested that I remove the paint from the brass plaque and use it as a focal piece which he couldn't have been "right-on" about.  Here is a picture of "The Door" in its final incarnation:


Here is some cuteness to end the post with:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Rabbit Hole

The end of the school year and the beginning of the summer have been a whirlwind.  I feel like I've fallen down the rabbit hole.  I'm slowly trying to claw my way back out. 

This past school year was the quickest one in history (at least for me).   Here are the fellas on the first day of school 2014:

And here they are on the last day 2015:

I have to say that I'm pretty relieved that to me, they don't look THAT much older.

I hope everyone is having an amazing summer!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

New Kitchen Bench

Now that spring has begun to sprung, I have started refinishing furniture again which is sooo satisfying.  We needed more seating at our kitchen table for when the in-laws and friends are over.  The bench lives on the opposite side of the table but I moved it around for photography's-sake.

My first idea was to add another leaf to the table but considering this table was discontinued years ago, that idea was a bust (it took me months to realize this idea was not going to happen but we won't go through that right now).  I then went through trying to find 6 smaller side chairs to make the total seating at this table 8, but that was just too hard, everything I found (mostly on Craigslist), needed to be repainted and that was turning into too much of a time and money commitment.

My final (and best) idea was to put a bench on one side of the table which could seat at least 4 people.  I needed a bench that was 60 inches long and I wanted it to match my existing table and chairs.  I searched for days until I finally found this one on Wayfair.

The bench is unfinished, which I wanted and the style very closely mimics the style of my existing table.  Also, I have always been super-thrilled with Wayfair's prices and customer service so it was a win-win-win situation!

I ordered the bench and in the couple days before it arrived I thought about how I wanted to finish it.  I love how the butcher block top is the same as my table but I didn't want the "country" look of a stained surface.  I decided I would copy the antiqued white finish of the chair.

When the bench arrived, the legs needed to be attached, an easy process.  As it was unfinished, it didn't really require any prep before painting. 

I collected my supplies and got started painting.
I painted it with one coat of a white Sherwin-Williams furniture paint with no tint added. I rolled the top and painted the legs with a brush.

I let the one coat dry and then sanded the edges and sides to make it look older and also to hide the wear it will inevitably incur over time.

I then dusted the bench off and made a mixture of two parts glaze to one part wood stain. 

I used Valspar signature glaze, which I stocked-up on as it is now discontinued (but you can use any furniture glaze) and Minwax stain in "Dark Walnut" which doesn't have an orange tint to it, which I like.  The glaze is water-based and the stain is oil-based but they DO mix together for the purposes of an antiqued stain.  I mixed them in a red Solo cup with a chopstick, eying the amounts until it looked like the color I wanted.  I then brushed it on with an old paint brush (the paint brush won't survive after this job) and wiped it off with an old rag before it dried.

It's hard to see but the result is a subtle antiqued look.  To make it look more aged, you can distress it more and leave the stain/glaze solution on longer.  I wanted a lightly distressed/aged look.  I then sealed the top with two coats of the glaze.

It matches perfectly, it is super functional and best of all, Kleist approves!