Friday, April 22, 2011

Window plant propagation (crazy scientist style)

Do you guys remember this inspiration picture I showed you a while ago?

I figured it would be pretty easy to get that same feel. I'm working with a lot smaller window (in the kitchen) and I'm just starting out so my version isn't quite up to par. But you get the idea, right? :)

These pics were taken partway through my installation. The setting sun was shining through the glass so prettily that I had to take some during pics.

So somewhere around here I noticed I have to clean my kitchen windows... Ugh..

A little later I had finished the whole thing.

They're all hanging out in the corner above the kitchen sink. And underneath is my budding herb garden in tin cans and tin containers from the Dollar tree. I like the clear glass, silver/tin, mirror and green thing going on here.

I know I promised to show you the mirrors I have scattered about this room but honestly I'm feeling a little sick just thinking about showing you more pics of blah white with seemingly random accessories without a painted wall to tie it all together. So I've decided that you'll have to wait until the walls are painted. Which I hope to do sometime this summer.

After realizing that I didn't have any proper daytime after pics I added these too.

Itemized from left to right.

1. A 99 cent vase from the thrift store with a cutting of confederate jasmine (this cutting is not doing well, I'm not sure why, will have to do some internet snooping on that one)

2. A gutted vanity light bulb with a Lady Banks rose cutting (how to gut and serve a light bulb instructions here, I just swirled mine out with water and uncooked rice to get rid of the white stuff)

3. An empty vinegar bottle with a rose cutting from the neighbors. I read somewhere recently that roses are easy to propagate using a cutting like this placed in water, it just takes sometimes several months. All my rose cuttings are doing well after several weeks of this, the oldest cutting is putting out new growth. Seems promising but I guess time will tell if it works or not.

4. A gutted regular size light bulb with a cutting from my own rose bush.

5. A little decanter with peppermint cuttings (they have a ton of roots after just about a week of this, almost time to plant them already).

To imitate my inspiration I just hung them from wire with plenty of extra wire spiraling around. They hang from little nails in the window frame and to make it easier for me to take them down to refill with water or whatnot I made a little S-hook (from old wire hangers from the closet) in the middle of each length of wire so I could just unhook the glass vessel without having to get on a stool to remove the whole thing.

I may eventually change out the spiral vase for something smooth and bulbous just because I like that look better, but this is what I had for now.

Even if you don't like propagating plants or keeping fresh flowers at your finger tips this idea may still work for you since they are gorgeous just hanging there empty, or filled with a little bit of water. And it's really optional just how much of the crazy scientist vibe you want to go with :)

Ps. Linking up with
Funky Junk Interiors
Someday Crafts 
The Thrifty Home 
Homemaker on a Dime
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tire planters with cinder block plinth

Last summer I made my first tire planter. This spring I decided to elaborate on the idea a little further.

Painted and elevated off the ground on a cinder block/concrete paver plinth this redneck garden staple is given the appearance of high garden style, especially when doubled and placed on either side of our entry (below pic taken from our front porch).

So let's start from the beginning.

I started by gathering some used tires still on the rim. We live right by a tire shop so they were kind enough to give me one or two from there, I found one on the curb and then my MIL found me a curbside one as well. They were all different sizes but I decided to work with the two of most similar size, and it's hard to tell a huge difference between them after it's all said and done.

The turning the tires inside out is always hard work but there is a definite technique to it so it gets easier the more you practice. I always follow a super tutorial from here. And I also omit the flower petal style that they have on their site, I prefer to just make a straight cut to make a more classic, urn-like planter. 

Next I picked up two sets of 12 standard cinder blocks as well as two extra large stepping stones, these measure 24x24 inches (found them at Lowe's).

If you're doing things right, here is where you should probably make a little foundation for your plinths by digging out a hole and putting down gravel and sand to make a perfectly level surface. However, I like to live dangerously so I cut some corners here and just plopped the cinder blocks on top of the old grass.

Four cinder blocks per "tier", make sure to alternate directions to make it sturdier. I'm sure you could glue them together too, mine are just loosely stacked on top of each other. And then the stepping stone on top.

 At this point I was eager to try to imagine the finished result so I stuck my planters on the plinths and made sure to take pics from every conceivable angle :)

Mmmhmm, pretty good. To further disguise the simple origin of my urns I decided to add handles to them, purely decorative mind you. They're there to try to distract the eye and add to the illusion.

 I took a tire from my collection and cut four pieces from the side of the tire. What you see in the above pic is the handles as well as the other two remaining pieces of that tire when I was done.

And then I simply attached them to the planters by drilling through the handles and walls of the planter, inserting screws and securing with nuts on the inside of the planter.

And then it was time for painting. When I first came up with this idea I planned on using a spray paint with a stone texture, but I wasn't sure if they could stand up to the elements and my costs were starting to rack up on me. So when I found a gallon of exterior primer in just the right sandstone color at our Habitat store for $10 that kind of cinched the deal.

First I diluted the paint a little bit and did a wash on the cinder block part of the plinth to cover up that concrete gray. And then I used full strength paint on the planters, two coats, making sure to paint the top inch or so on the inside of the planter as well.

As you can see this kind of planter comes with pretty great drainage holes :) I like to put a few pieces of leftover plank cuttings and snippets from previous wood working projects over the holes to prevent the dirt from escaping and to aid drainage (not pictured, but imagine a small pile of various plank odds and ends in the center there).

So this is what you end up with after adding a ton of dirt (these planters are huge!) and some plants.

These are trailing ice plants which I hope will thrive in our hot and dry summers as well as survive winter. As they grow the idea is that they will be spilling over the edges and mostly cover up the planters. I know the planters look pretty plastic-y right now and I considered going over them with a sander for a more aged appearance but ultimately decided against. I imagine they'll get chipped on their own pretty soon, and if the plants fill in as fast as I'm hoping it won't really matter for long anyway.

Trailing ice plant (delosperma cooperi) is supposed to be really easy to propagate so I skimped and only bought four plants. I have already started new little plants by sticking cuttings into the dirt, it seems to be working :) And they should stay covered in those lovely magenta flowers all summer long! Their only drawback is that they're not fragrant, but I guess you can't have it all.

Here's the run down of the costs.

Used tires on the rim = free
24 cinder blocks = about $40
2 XL stepping stones = $20
paint = $10
screws + nuts = free, on hand

Obviously you can cut the costs considerably if you already have cinder blocks and stepping stones on hand. However, a planter as huge as this and with that urn shape would probably cost you at least $60 if you bought it at a store. And I got two of them along with plinths for a total of $70! All in all not a bad deal :)

I like how they add some much needed symmetry to our front entry as well as a nod to much grander homes. Combined with the vines I'll have climbing the house, the wildflower bed in the foreground (starting to emerge now!) and the split rail fence I'm still hoping to have one day the overall feel of the front yard will not be formal at all, but most decidedly colorful cottage eclectic :)

Funny story. All the while I was working on these planters (over the course of a weekend) one of our neighbors was hanging out on his front porch, kinda keeping an eye on things. The look on his face while I was documenting it all with the camera was absolutely priceless! :)

Even from a distance it was clear that he was racking his brain trying to figure out why I would finish a detail, put everything down only to come out and snap pictures like a maniac, then go put the camera back, come back out and keep working. I don't mind if they think I'm eccentric and very well documented, maybe that'll deter them from taking off with my new planters :) "Mr. Policeman, Sir. This is exactly what the planters looked like".

Oh, the things we do for blogging's sake! :)

Ps. Linking up with
Funky Junk Interiors
Blue Cricket Design 
The Thrifty Home 
Domestically Speaking 
Homemaker on a Dime
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mirror wall with clock

A while ago I found this round, big, ornate wall clock at the thrift store for a few dollars. It's not working right (probably an easy fix but I haven't bothered doing anything about it yet) but it's so nice looking that it doesn't matter. I thought it should be prominently displayed and that meant I had to move everything around in my living room to find a space for it. Nothing really worked all that well but I left it up anyway.

I had also seen this cool rip off of a Pottery Barn mirror and somehow these two ideas mingled in my head. I wanted to marry the mirrored tiles with the ornate clock and have it cover a whole wall (you guys know I like to go big by now, don't you? :)). Because I've wanted the space above our couch mirrored in some way since we bought the house but it just hadn't worked out that way yet.

These two images of huge, industrial buildings (train stations, actually) with ornate clocks against steel and glass window panes represent the feeling I was going for and I don't think I'd ever have had this idea if I hadn't found that clock at the thrift store :) Funny how random finds can change everything.


Of course I'm not going to be able to recreate something as grand as that on my Dollar tree budget but for a total of $14 for the mirrors (from the Dollar Tree) I think I did pretty well. The rest I had on hand or shopped from other rooms in the house.
A couple of befores, with the clock in the middle. The clock has some mirrored surfaces all around the clock face (which of course ties it in nicely with the other mirrors in my finished design). 

This is after I hung all the mirrors, with a scrolly metal wall plaque under the clock which I took from another wall in this room.

The mirrors came with all different colored frames and I cleaned out the whole supply of these mirrors at my store :)

These mirrors were unusually big in size for the Dollar Tree which is why I got them (the larger size=cheaper to cover the wall space I had in mind) but I know they always have mirrors of slightly smaller size on hand if you're planning on doing this yourself.

And when I finally got around to spray painting all the frames the same color it looked like this.
I used a can of oil rubbed bronze I had on hand (and it was really for another project I haven't started yet, now I must go get another can). It reads as black when it's all said and done which is good for me since I ran out of paint during this project. There's four frames in there that are still their original black and not ORB. You can't tell the difference, not even in person.

More afters. 

And before again, just for comparison :)

The wall space above still needs a little something. I have some ideas and will get back to you on that. I really love the vibe in the living room now, though. This wall brings in so much light and some elegant, glimmering surfaces.

Did you notice the new to us leather couch we got handed down? :) The old couch had finally fallen prey to the hopping monkeys that terrorized it for the last few years of it's life.

I like how people now know to ask us if we want stuff they're getting rid of :). We're like the last station before the dump :) Only problem is our garage is filling up with stuff and we're seriously considering a garage sale.

So what do you guys think about the mirror wall? Do you love it as much as I do? :)

Ps. Linking up with
Someday Crafts
The Thrifty Home 
Blue Cricket Design 
Domestically Speaking
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Snazzied up 70's speakers and a spring wreath

My husband (bless his dear sweet little manly heart) brought this hideous pair of 70's speakers into the nest when we got married. Though loathsome they may be he pleaded their case with me (they're functional and essential for that 70's version of surround sound when hooked up in intricate technical fashion to our TV and apparently they do a lot better job than no speakers at all).

Being a good wife I work around such things as husbands with opinions and loathsome speakers on full hideous display in our living room, trying my very best to hide and accessorize them until we can upgrade to something a little more current (and smaller!). Here's the befores.

Let me also say that this whole area needs some help and that I'm working on it, one step at a time. 

Over the years I've toyed with the idea of painting them but at the moment that dark wood color actually works with the style in our living room and painting felt like more work than I was willing to put into them right now, thinking that they probably will be replaced fairly soon with something newer and more sophisticated anyway. So here's what I actually did. 

 I had some leftovers of the wonderful dress I used to make my earring holder and thought they might look cool here.

I think it turned out pretty good. These aren't choice dress cuts so there is a seam running down the middle on the upright speaker. And some major stretching of the fabric needed to happen for this to work.

(I got Mr. Deer here at the thrift store for $3. I'm sure he's supposed to be a reindeer (got him around Xmas) and he had little candle holders all over his antlers, except for the one that was missing which I'm sure is the very reason he ended up at the thrift store in the first place. When I had removed the little candle holders I got myself a perfectly good, solid metal brassy statue. And I changed his name to Mr. Deer so he would work all year round :))

The fabric on this vertical speaker is the bodice of the dress.

 And this one is the backside of the skirt part of the dress, hence the seam.

I later added this pot and ponytail palm to this area, to further jungle it up :)

Ok, so here's the procedure in all it's quickie simpleness. 

The speakers' front panels pop off so I popped them off first. 
Got my fabric and the hot glue gun. 
And started stretching the fabric onto the front panel frames and hot gluing on the back to secure the fabric. 
I used tiny dots of glue in case it would look terrible and I would have to rip it off. Since I was happy with the result that won't be necessary and the tiny dots of glue are holding the fabric very securely in place.
Put the panels back on, aided by some tape on the back of the panels since the thickness of the fabric caused the panels to not stay in place on their own. With the tape they stay on. 

That's it!

The pattern on this fabric reminds me of handmade global fabrics from faraway exotic countries, and this area taken on it's own looks more "earthy" than "chic" but I think with the other more glamorous items I'm adding to this room it'll look cool. A juxtaposition of simple and luxe. More on that in the coming weeks as I add to this room. 


I'm kind of running behind on my projects reporting here on the blog so I'll throw in my simple but colorful spring wreath which I've been meaning to show you for weeks (actually it's probably closer to a month or so). 

Since I created a designated wreath spot outside our entry door I've been forced to somewhat keep up with the seasons and change out the wreaths accordingly. I'm not a "natural" wreath person so my tendency is to stick one up and let it hang until I really need to change it :) Since my white winter wreath (scroll down a little in the post) was starting to look a little too colorless as the weather warmed up (not to mention it's annoying tendency to take off down the street with every little gust of wind) I had to quickly come up with something. 

 I've told myself time and again to remember to take before pictures but I guess I wasn't paying attention since I've yet again messed up. This huge wreath form was found at the thrift store covered in ugly fake greenery and a cheesy Easter bunny carrying a carrot, looking all disheveled and dusty.

I, in all my geniousness, ripped off the greenery and "stained" the natural wood with very diluted brown craft paint and promptly proceeded to hot glue my own fake greenery onto it :)

 Hot pink flowers and acid green "cigar" grass (don't know their real name) from the Dollar tree. I know it's the stuff to make a teenage girl green with envy but the vibrant colors appeal to me, and at least I skipped the bunny :) I'm fairly certain this wreath will probably stay up through the summer.

And it's also a little less prone to take off down the street on its own :) Which in my book is a definite plus. There's nothing like decor that stays put, don't you think? :)

Ps. Linking up with
Someday Crafts
The Thrifty Home
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