Getting Busy

If you look around your house you can always find some little things that need to be taken care of but for some reason you just never do it already! It may be something that takes all of five minutes but still you just procrastinate.  I've decided that for the next couple of weeks I'm going to finally cross some of those items off my to-do list. I've already accomplished a couple tasks! Props to me! High fives.

photo via MindMindful

First was to restring a pleated shade in our master bedroom. Months ago --- like last summer maybe --- one of the cords broke. I did do a half-hearted repair job. First, of course, was to just tie a knot. That didn't work so well because the shade couldn't be lowered all the way or at least one side of it couldn't. Nothing drives me nuttier than a crooked shade. What is it with some people? When I see a house with curtains or blinds hanging all askew I want to stop and knock on the door and tell them, for the sanity of their neighbors, to please put it in a museum already! Anyway, back to my shade. Not lowering it all the way wasn't an option since our room faces the front street. So I went in search of some new blind cord. Trouble was I couldn't find the right diameter cord. The one I came home with was just a wee bit too thick.  Lowering the shade involved having to grab hold of the bottom rail and pull in a series of jerks to get the shade all the way down. Then this last weekend I was looking in my sewing drawers for something or other and wonder of wonders I found about 20 feet of blind cord just the right thickness. I vaguely remember buying it years and years ago to make some roman shades that never got made. It only took me about a half hour to untangle that hot mess of cord and another 20 minutes to restring the shade. And now, the shade goes up and down like nobody's bid-ness. I'm sure the neighbor's appreciate it. I know I do.

Next, I have a small vintage electric fan that I use for strictly decorative purposes. It sits on a ledge between our living and dining rooms. The trouble was that it had lost it's little rubber feet and the metal edge was quite sharp, thus resulting in some unsightly scratches to the nice oak ledge. I grabbed a piece of thin cardboard and some felt, traced the bottom of the fan, glued the felt to the cardboard and the cardboard to the fan. So difficult. (The bottom was hollow so I needed something stiff to attach the felt to.) Problem #2 solved. I guess I should repair the scratches too while I'm at it.

The third project I've started isn't such a little thing but it needs to be done so I can finally hang up the new window shade in our bathroom. The trim in the room is white. Or at least I thought it was. When we had a new window put in last fall it turns out that was white. Our trim had badly yellowed since the last time it was painted, oh about 20 years ago. Seriously. It has held up pretty well considering it's the only bathroom that served two adults and three kids for many years. Our woodwork was a dark stain before that and I know it took about three coats of paint to get it all covered. But the problem with oil based paints is that they yellow over time. I'm not so concerned about the baseboard trim or the door just yet, but the yellowed trim next to that bright white window was so obvious. My Google research led me to decide that I should use a waterborne alkyd paint since those aren't supposed to yellow, like Benjamin Moore Waterborne Satin Impervo. Problem was the old paint, being oil based enamel, could present a problem with a latex paint on top, plus it was peeling in some spots from moisture damage. That meant stripping the old paint off the window frame. Ugh, what a job. It took about three rounds of Strip-eze, lots of scraping and finally washing everything down with a coarse scrubbie and a good degreasing cleaner to get down to bare wood. Here's where it stands now:

Looks pretty clean actually. At least the stripper solution has a nice aroma. It smells like oranges. That's where I am at this point. Next comes sanding, caulking, priming and painting. And I laughingly thought I would accomplish this minor project in a couple of days. It's taken me four just to strip! (I'm sure that should get some Google hits to my blog. Haha.) Plus if you happen to have any old Stendig calendar  pages around, like I do, they come in mighty handy for all kinds of things. Wrapping gifts, drop cloths, window coverings. The neighbors must think we've really flipped. Maybe we'll start a new trend, who knows? Pretty soon everyone will be sporting calendars on their windows.
Disclaimer: Bad lighting. The walls are actually white.
We've been discussing bathroom updates as well. One thing leads to another. That wallpaper border has got. to. go. as does the light strip above the mirror. A new cabinet, new faucets and resurfacing the clawfoot tub are all needed. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

Have you been tending to any tasks that you've put off for too long? Little or big I'd like to hear about them. Link to them in the comments so we can see what you've been doing and hopefully get some other people inspired with us.


Latest Thrift Finds

It's been awhile since I showed some of my thrift purchases. The shops seem to be pretty well stocked this time of year following the holidays. People are in the mood to organize, get rid of unnecessary items or quietly donate that unwanted Christmas gift.

So here are a few things I've found for my Etsy shop. Click on any of the pictures to view them larger.

First up is this rather fun mid-century lamp. It's over three feet tall. I love the faux tile feature between those gourd-like bulbs. There are actually four "bulbs". I didn't get a picture of the whole lamp.  It's made by Royal Haeger pottery.  I rewired it with a new 3-way socket, cord and polarized plug. If you've never rewired a lamp I strongly encourage you to try it. It's really quite easy and plenty of instructions can be found online. I generally like to rewire vintage lamps just to be on the safe side.

I've actually had these salt and pepper shakers around for awhile. I finally decided to put them in my shop. Before doing so I thought I'd see if I could find any others like it. Turns out they are rather collectible. They were made by the Senal, S.A. company, a furniture factory started by an American designer named Donald S. Shoemaker. These are his elephant shakers although I always thought they looked like bears myself. I love the way they nest together. Shoemaker lived and worked in Mexico from the 40's until his death in the 90's. They used mostly tropical woods in his furniture and accessories. Another great mid-century find.

Also in my shop are a pair of Catherineholm enamel scampi dishes. The bright red-orange color reminds me of nice ripe tomatoes. I was so excited to find them. 

The industrial trend is still strong in decorating. I found a nice handmade little galvanized tool box. It would be great for any number of uses. Or how about a 1971 postage scale? Makes a nice display piece and you can weigh things up to 10 pounds. I tried it out with some packaged food and it seems pretty accurate. 

Sorry about the quality of those last two photos. It's tough getting decent pictures this time of year with the lack of light. 

This great gazelle and fawn is something I'm keeping for myself.  It's too sweet to part with. Love the lines and it looks great on my white shelves.

These cups caught my eye immediately. They're nice heavy restaurant ware made by Buffalo China. The white with green stripes, the nice heft and clean lines really appeal to me. Would look great displayed on a kitchen shelf. Also in my shop. 

One last item is a vintage Samsonite travel tote. It's from their Concord line. The blue is muted, not too garish. There are two handy pockets on the outside, one zippered. It's in great condition and until it sells I plan to use it. Well, I will if we manage any weekend getaways anytime soon. 

I have lots more which you can see at my Red Telly shop. The link is always at the top of my blog. Have fun browsing. And a good weekend to all. 


Organizing In The New Year

I haven't gotten off to a very good start in the blog world for 2012 despite my good intentions. Writing is just one of those habits that has to be developed. The more I do it the easier it is to do. So, with that in mind, I'm just going to jump in and write something. I guess if I ramble on long enough I'll come up with something.

Like many others, when a new year rolls around, I like to start cleaning and organizing. It doesn't always take much to get me started. A few days ago I decided to clean out the freezer drawer. Things get tossed in with no rhyme or reason. Older things end up buried at the bottom.  I'm embarrassed to say I found a few packages in there marked 2008! I feel guilty about all the food that went to waste, but at least now everything is organized. Fruits in one spot, veggies in another and so on. I can see and find everything! No more freezer burned mystery packages! Look at that! Note to self: Dig the food vacuum sealer out from the back of the cupboard so it's easier to use.

Unimpressive perhaps without the "before" picture but you wouldn't want to have seen it.

Someone once told me that batteries keep longer if they are stored in the freezer. That apparently isn't true by the way, but old habits die hard and I at least knew where to find the batteries. Evidently a zip-loc full of batteries had broken open and were rolling around in the bottom of the freezer along with the past-its-freshness date food. Time to find a new place to keep them. I organized the batteries into a clear fishing tackle box like I saw on Pinterest. Ingenious I say! Even my husband was impressed when he saw that. Look at all those AA's.

Now I was on a roll. I opened up a dresser drawer one day to look for my watch. I'm not a watch wearer. I've never really seen the need. There are clocks everywhere these days...on my phone, the DVR, the microwave, the stove, my computer, iPad, the car, every bank in town. You can't get away from them. I can't remember why I was even looking for my watch but that is beside the point. I couldn't find it even though I knew it was in that drawer somewhere. Next thing you know I was dumping out the drawer contents onto the top of my bed. Sorting commenced. I found my watch, and then two others. One was broken and the other didn't have a strap. Four pair of cheater reading glasses. Loose change, bobby pins, hair ties, safety pins. A single glove. Six bandanas. Old birthday cards. Senior pictures of high school classmates. I won't even tell you what year they were from, only that it might have been during the Nixon administration. Oh yeah, I also found a Carter-Mondale pin. Two Eisenhower half dollars and a two dollar bill. I'm starting to sound pretty ancient I know. Apparently this is my combination archives and junk drawer. Anyway, it too is now neatly organized and downsized considerably. I don't think I'll miss anything I got rid of. Probably not even that necklace pendant from 4th grade of a hunchback.

That's enough for tonight. I just took a picture of the old thermometer outside the kitchen windows. It says -8. Less than two weeks ago I saw people running around outside in shorts...in January...in Wisconsin! It was great. I wasn't complaining about the wimpy weather. Winter is back. The Packers aren't going to the Super Bowl. Time to go hibernate.