Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's the Little Things: Door Knob Plates

At a great garage sale this summer, I came across a collection of vintage door knob plates in various shapes and conditions. The owner had them in a cast-off box, considering them junk. He offered the whole bunch up for a steal! To be honest, I am still not sure if they are door knob plates, key plates, etc. Whatever the correct term, they are just one of the little things that make me happy.

Here is my recently acquired collection:

So my mind is churning about how to use these little babies.

Here are some ideas I have found - all images are sourced from Pinterest and can be found here:

Love this pennant made from probably 20 key plates.

This altered art piece from BCJcreations on Etsy is so inspiring! I love me a vintage camera!

Here is a birdhouse with the door knob and plate -  
and it looks like the skeleton key is in place as a stand for its little visitors.

Another amazing repurpose idea - this is a double whammy! Pretty genius if you ask me.
It is a bookcase made with an old door and the key plate is left on the side for adornment.

This wall decor above is from Country Living in an article about decorating with Baroque style. 
But I think you could use any style or era door knob/plate to get this effect.

A very inspired take on repurposing the key plate above. It is turned into a bracelet!
Look at the patina on that! Not sure if it's authentic or recreated.

I like the idea of adding numbers to make a house number outside. Very clever!

A cute picture frame has been altered with patterned paper, rub-ons and a door knob and plate. 

WeddingChicks.com showed off this great repurpose of a door knob and plate. 
Again, adding a number, but then adding a stand to turn it into a table number.

Super cute Shabby Chic take on a hanger at TheMotherHuddle.com

Well, I have been really inspired by my research. Now I just need to get to work. Still have to decide if I leave them as is - or paint a few the same color like some ideas above. :)

If you have any great ideas, I would LOVE to hear them! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ruffled Nest - The Studio Sale

Many of you probably already know A Ruffled Nest and the inspiring blog writer and shop owner, Sherrie.

Just last week I luckily read her post about having a sale at her studio that Friday and Saturday. I was so happy to discover she was only a 30 minute drive from where I live. Isn't it funny in blogland how close {and also how far} you can be and not realize it? Her shop is located in the very charming town of Sycamore, Illinois.

Ruffled Nest - The Studio

I vowed to try to make it to the sale if I could book a babysitter {my hubby was at a mandatory coaching conference}. Well, our summer babysitter is back at college - BOO! Not for college, but for us missing her. And our other regular babysitter I had come on Friday. She was so worn out by my lovely littles that I just couldn't bring myself to ask the poor thing for Saturday - or, worse yet, have her say NO because she never wanted to babysit again. :(

L*O*V*E the window panels with old handkerchiefs!

So, I took the risk of bringing my little ragamuffins with me. Please don't get me wrong. I love my children. In fact, the majority - if not all - of my life is based around them. But they can drive a momma crazy after a long, hot summer. And a girl has to carve out her own identity now and then. Painted furniture and Ball jars are how I stay sane. Can't explain why - it just is what it is.

Two-tone purple and cream highboy, painted frames, comfy chair

I am so glad I made the trip - despite playing referee every 5 seconds. After putting a dime in the parking meter on Main Street - {YES, parking meters still exist! So charming this small town was, I tell you.} - and followed the sweet, shabby signs directing us around back to the alley.

Adorable little pink table with vintage finds for children's rooms 

I was afraid there wouldn't be much left on Saturday, but I was pleasantly surprised at all the wonderful eye candy. I do believe there was probably constant rearranging going on to fill the space.

Fab old doors, cute fabric garland, aqua Ball jars, twine...what more could a girl want?

Please excuse the camera phone photos - I did not plan to bring the good camera and the kids. That's just crazy talk.

Had to get a photo of this - very enviable - arched screen door and chippy windows above.

I was in such awe of all the amazing salvaged doors and windows. I asked Sherrie if I could do a post. I hadn't planned it. I just knew that taking photos just for kicks seemed strange. But writing a post seemed less stalker-ish. :)

Turquoise painted dresser topped with great vintage glasses and linens

One of the items that caught my eye in Sherrie's sale preview post was the vintage glass set in the photo above. {My photo does NOT do it justice. You must click here to see her photo.} Anyhow, I actually was so distracted that I forgot to buy them! And a little side table in the back, too. :(

Huge shabby bird cage with great details and selection of books and gift items.

Sherrie has such an eye for display. I just wanted to spend time scouring each vignette.

Big cabinet filled with so many vintage goodies and new handmade bags 

Sherrie's sister sews the purses on display. The messenger bag above in the cutest grey and yellow pattern had tons of pockets inside and out - zippered pockets no less. Very impressive handy-work if you ask me.

Adorable display of doilies as bunting, along with many french inspired goods
There were touches of shabby chic, vintage, French inspired decor - and great lighting options - lamps and amazing chandeliers like the little beauty below.

great little chandelier - and loving the white painted brick wall

Sherrie's talent was obviously not limited to the displays, but evident in the all the painted furniture throughout. I bought a great desk & chair for my son and a gorgeous vintage mirror for my dining room, despite my distractions. {I will post photos once they are in their rightful places.}

Amazing aqua highboy, peacock feathers and a cage hanging lamp

But this piece above was such a show-stopper. I am still kicking myself that I didn't buy another house to have somewhere to put it! Wouldn't this look perfect in a lake or beach house? Of course, it could also make for beautiful and spacious craft/art supply storage. :)

a plethora of vintage china (with the cutest apron skirted display table)

There were little surprises around each corner. I found this mock kitchen in the back of the store. SO CUTE! I kind of just wanted to pull up a chair and have coffee. Ignoring the distant distress call from my son that my daughter had just bit him. But, alas, the life of Mom is never dull.

Honestly, if I had just 20 more minutes and less worrying that my kids were burning the place down, I would have cleaned her out completely! {Well, truthfully, I would have needed a bigger vehicle - or less passengers.}

a small, shabby vignette in the powder room
I was so inspired by Sherrie's shop. She also had some help with setup - her mother-in-law and Anne Marie from Na-Da Farm Life were there. {Um, How exciting!} I have been a follower for a long time. Anne Marie was wonderful. Very calm and welcoming in spite of my obvious disarray.

Sherrie and Anne Marie
Sherrie could not have been more gracious and lovely. Just like her shop.

If you should find yourself in the vicinity of Northern Illinois - I highly recommend scheduling a trip to Ruffled Nest - The Studio. It is located at 113 S. California Street in Sycamore. The following is from Sherrie's blog with sale dates below.

image via A Ruffled Nest

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to School {Free Printables}

Yesterday I shared my back to school chalkboard and decor. Today I am trying something new...

I want to share my two versions of the Back to School Dr. Seuss quote as *Free Printables*! Yeah!

This is my first time uploading printables for download. If anyone has any issues, please let me know. :)

Just click on the image for the enlargement, and you can right click to save the file. Each file is set up for an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, but you can change your printer settings to print whatever size you wish. {I printed both as 8x10 and 5x7, since I was not sure which frame I wanted to use.}

Rainbow chevron printable (again, this neon colored chevron pattern is from Doodle Craft):

I cleared it with Natalie at Doodle Craft first. She was so sweet and gave me a thumbs up to share these.

This rainbow version didn't make the chalkboard vignette, but I think I am going to put it in the kids' playroom. It's too fun not to hang somewhere. :)

Neutral pennant printable: 

**** Please note: as with most free printables, these are for personal use only. ****

Thank you again to Natalie at Doodle Craft for allowing me to use the chevron pattern! She has tons of wonderful printables available. Please check it out if you haven't already!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to School Chalkboard

Both my babies will be at school 5 days a week this year. Granted the little one will just be half day - but 5 days! Wow! It will be an adjustment. But I'm looking forward to all the projects I might get half done. :)

If you don't want to read the mommy part of this post, just scroll down. :)

I am anxious for the school year to start. Good anxious and bad.

Both kids are starting new schools. It was the plan earlier this year to have them both under one roof. Yeah! But plans change. Boo! It is for the best of my oldest, but it is going to be a logistical nightmare for me. But it's not about me. So I will deal with it.

And for the first time my son might feel "normal" instead of always being singled out as the smartest. I am anxious because I am not sure if he will excel or feel panicked that he doesn't know every answer before the question is asked. He doesn't know what it is like to work for his grades. School has always come too easily for him. To the point of excruciating boredom this past year. Hence, the change in venue.

Anywho - I digress - I have had school on the brain, and not just shopping for supplies. {That I have always loved. New notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, crayons... the possibilities were so infinite to my young imagination.} I am worrying for them about making friends, fitting in, adjusting to new schools, teachers and kids.

So, I wanted them to see my "excitement". The hopeful kind - not the anxious side. I want them (or at least the 8 year old) to feel that overwhelming sense of endless opportunities for something new to happen.

It can take a while to come up with a vignette that I like. Here is my progress as I worked through it...

Back to School Chalkboard
I drew a banner and apples on the chalkboard and then added a few apples in the empty space. Then I added a ruler at the bottom.

cake plate with apples in bell jar
Thought I would add some apples in a bell jar {aka cloche. I usually prefer the french versions of words and phrases, but I really like "bell jar" - could you tell?} This didn't make my final cut, though.

I came up with 2 printables since I wasn't sure where my vision would wind up...

Rainbow chevron with quote printable and tiny bell jar with apple and rainbow liner. 
Again, these did not make the final cut, but I think the rainbow version is very fun! I have to give credit for the background to Doodle Craft { http://doodlecraft.blogspot.com/2012/07/16-new-colors-chevron-background.html } The print was big and the apple and bell jar were tiny - just didn't work.

Neutral printable: has crumpled paper bag and banner with white quote.
I had come up with a second version for the quote. A neutral version with a crumpled paper bag (reminded me of a kraft lunch bag) with a neutral chevron banner and white quote.

Update: I have both printables available for FREE here. :)

The quote I chose was by Dr. Seuss from Oh, The Places You'll Go. It's a popular book to quote, but most people use a different line from the book. "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose...."

But I really think this part rings clear for my son. My 3 year old couldn't care less about this yet :)

“So be sure when you step, 
Step with care and great tact. 
And remember that life's 
A Great Balancing Act. 
And will you succeed? 
Yes! You will, indeed! 
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) 
Kid, you'll move mountains.”

My 8 year old is big on percentages. If you ask him a question, such as, "How are you today?" he will answer something along the lines, "87% good, 13% not so good." And I really love the message that there is a small chance for bumpy roads ahead, but in the end - great things can be accomplished.

So, then I added my neutral printable and a plant in a rustic bucket. Next I switched the apples to a pedestal vase instead of the bell jar. Not happy with my haphazard plant, I switched it again.

I removed the plant and added a vintage, folding ruler. Now I was starting to get somewhere.

Now we're talking! I added one of my favorite finds, a vintage globe with the perfect faded patina. 

Back to School Chalkboard with globe, ruler, quote and apples.
This was the keeper!

Let me know if you would have done something different! I am sleep-deprived and this was as creative as the juices would flow this naptime. :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thrifty Repurposing: Ribbon Spool Holder

If you are visiting this post, it is most likely because we share a similar problem: thrifting.

To some people that is a dirty word. Like, literally, everything is dirty and dusty in a thrift store. 

photo via ebay
But I think it is pretty fabulous. I love when things do not go to waste. I also love coming up with creative ways to repurpose items.

A few weeks ago, I found a Tassimo coffee pod holder. The photo to the right is the same kind I found. With the sideways teardrop topper.

I bought it for $1.99. I knew immediately what I would use it for at home.

Ribbons! You see, one of my issues {yes, there are many} is that I like to collect things. Ribbons, fabric scraps and paper ephemera happen to be included in a much too long list.

So, in order to not look too much like the hoarder that I really am, I need to organize it so it all looks pretty and practical - like I really NEED those 200 spools of coral colored ribbon. :)

I took off the top logo piece. {Had it been a circle, I would have put a cute adornment on it, but being a strange sideways teardrop was not appealing to work into the reuse of this item.}

I added an old wooden bead that I colored silver with a Sharpie. I had to drill the hole larger to fit the thread of the existing screw on top. Then I hot-glued an aqua diamond shaped bead to the tippy-top.

And, Voilà! A ribbon holder was born! Isn't she pretty? And oh so practical - no?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Pioneer Woman PSE Actions

Ok, I am totally late to the party on this one... not even fashionably late - just plain, old late - late.

But I am in love with my * FREE * Pioneer Woman actions for Photoshop Elements! I don't know enough about what I am doing to actually spend money on this sort of thing. But, man, aren't they awesome? And you really canNOT beat the price - or lack thereof. :)

I was testing them out on a recent image I used in this post. If you have read about actions a million times before, I apologize for the redundancy. But if you've been intrigued, and haven't gotten around to it - or if you thought it might be overwhelming....this should encourage you. Actions are fairly simple to download and super fun to waste some time on {I mean, work really hard on} - this might be as addicting as Pinterest. :)

Here is the original photo I used:

Now, being the photography novice that I am, I thought it was a pretty photo.

Then I did some actions and fell in new love...

The Pioneer Woman Colorized

If you are intimidated by words such as "filters, actions, opacity, and layers", I am here to tell you that you should really give it a try. I will admit it may not be for everyone. But I am really glad I stuck with it and just played around during my limited free-time.

The Pioneer Woman Heartland 50%

I barely knew how to use the MacBook Pro my husband brought home. I could check email - and you better believe I figured out Pinterest. But I was a PC/Windows girl. Slowly over the last several months I am adapting - and finding it very user friendly.

The Pioneer Woman Heartland at 100%

I just started using PSE (version 6) less than three months ago. My first several posts did not even have my own photos {don't worry, I always link up to the original or at least to the original Pinterest link.}

The Pioneer Woman Seventies

I found the download for The Pioneer Woman Photoshop Elements actions here on her site, and I followed the directions for installing them at Texas Chicks Blogs & Pics. I found my version of PSE on her list of links and followed her instructions. 

The Pioneer Woman Fresh Color

Tip #1: Make sure your PSE is closed before you begin to download actions.

The Pioneer Woman Black & White Beauty

Tip #2: Remember to delete/rename the designated file after downloading {read the instructions for your version of PSE and Windows vs. Mac, as the file has different names.} In my case it was titled "ThumbDatabase.db3".

The Pioneer Woman Sunshine at 40%

So, if you're looking to dabble with PSE actions on your photos for your blog or family - or want to create something truly special, I highly recommend The Prairie Woman actions for Photoshop Elements. No, I wasn't paid to say that - I wish! :)

Just a couple variations of The Pioneer Woman PSE Actions in use.

Another great place to find actions, storyboards and templates is The Coffee Shop. I can't wait to try some more on my family photos.

If you use them already, or decide to download and use now - let me know - I would love to see what you do with them!

I am trying to pick one that I might hang in the bathroom where it was taken. I'd like to remember summertime, because Chicago suburbs get cold all too quickly.

If you have a favorite from any above let me know!

Happy Sunday!