Lampshade: The Results!

Thank you, thank you for your advice on the lampshade! Remember this? Cute, but I wondered if it needed something.

People gave me all kinds of suggestions, and in the end, I combined these two photos. I decided to do a black embellishment on the lampshade itself, but not a bee.

And I liked the idea of doing a letter for our last name, like this lamp:

So I printed out a big G on my computer. (The font was called Gessele Regular, if you want to use it.)
I traced the G onto the lampshade using graphite paper. It didn't come through super-well, but I was able to see it enough. Then I used a black fabric marker to fill it in (got mine at Michael's):
And here it is! You all know I must like you, because I am showing you the lamp as it sits in my basement "lamp graveyard." My husband still needs to rewire it before this little lady gets to be displayed in my living room!

But still, I am thrilled with the results. Thanks again, and have a great weekend!


Lampshade Advice

Remember I told you I was nesting, but almost in reverse? Knowing that once we move to California, I might (gasp!) not be able to find my hot glue gun for awhile...well, that's got me all fired up! And since I feel rather helpless and immobile as we wait to sell our house, I find myself inventing projects to keep the stress at bay.

Here's my latest. It's an old milk jug that used to be my mom's, converted into a lamp. I love it!

ItalicIt's absolutely huge! And it's currently being re-wired by my handy husband, who is not quite so energized by my projects, but is nice enough to comply.

The old lampshade was classic 1970s, and it had to go. So I recovered a Goodwill shade with some burlap. I love how it looks, but now I have a dilemma. Should I add anything to the shade, do you think? Maybe something like this bee?

Or maybe a letter or some numbers, kind of like on this lamp, but on the shade instead of the base?
OK girls, I need your advice! What would you do?

Thank you!!


Biting the Silver Bullet, Part II

This silver thing has brought up a lot of helpful comments. Thank you to all of you who gave me a "recipe" for cleaning silver with baking soda. I am proud to announce that I tried it today! Googling "silver cleaning" and "baking soda" will give you quite a few recipes to go on, but I chose Real Simple's version because it was...ah...surprisingly real simple.

Basically I took 1/4 cup baking soda, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 quart boiling water. Mixed them all together, then poured it over my silver. (I lined a glass dish with tin foil for this little silver science experiment.)

What silver, you ask? Well, that's the other thing. The great irony is that, while I've been checking out antique shops for other people's old silver, I had my grandmother's complete set, beautiful and engraved, all ready to go in my own house.

I've kept it tucked away and only brought it out on special occasions. But why? Why not use it all the time? I've been pondering this. And in the meantime, I got the above recipe for cleaning silver, and decided to use it on my grandmother's stuff, and on other family pieces, like this bowl.

Just pour the mixture over your silver piece(s), and let them sit for a minute or two. My silverware was remarkably clean already, so you can't see much of a difference, but check out the before and after on this bowl!

So, back to the silverware. My blogging friend Sarah, over at Nesting in Pleasant View, encouraged me to use the precious stuff every day. She says "Use it, use it, use it! My mom's silver sat in a hutch for close to 40 years only being used maybe once every 5 years. The setting is very intricate, with a small rosebud on it and definitely looks more 'dressy' than my everyday plates and stuff. I threw caution out the window and decided that if I liked it, then I would use it. Now I can't imagine NOT using it....It makes me happy to stir my morning cup of coffee with a silver spoon that was a wedding present to my mom and dad."

So I did it! I swear, the hardest part was taking each piece out of that velvet-lined storage box, allowing it to come into the every day and being stored without an anti-tarnish guarantee. So far, so good.

I will let you know if it continues to go well. :)


Biting the Silver Bullet!

A few weeks ago, I read a post by Katie at Harrington House that inspired me. She doesn't even know I follow her, because I never have time to comment on blogs anymore, but Hi Katie! Thank you for the tips!

She told us about her silver collection. She said that she started searching for pieces after she got married, and then later made the switch from using her regular stuff to using her mismatched silver pieces everyday. I love that idea!

Starting a collection is hard. Not hard in the real-life-hard kind of way, but just daunting, especially when you see Katie's collection over at her blog. But over the weekend I found myself at an antique shop, and lo and behold, look what I found!

These were marked $1 a piece, with 30% off! Certainly something I can handle. So I bit the bullet and officially started my silver collection!

And let me tell you, there is something so satisfying about polishing silver! Check out my before and after shot, above. I just picked up some Tarn-X at the grocery store, and it worked perfectly.

So now I have a little collection going. Mainly if people want to eat soup or ice cream. But hopefully it will grow over time!

Pretty, huh?


Buying and Storing Kids' Clothes

I am in a weird place. Knowing that we're moving, that our house is on the market, but we have no buyer yet, so we have no idea when this move might take place. We therefore can't commit to any house in California, enroll Nina in preschool, or even decide, in some cases, which furniture to keep and which to sell.

It's like the nesting phase before having a baby, but not. My garage sale pile grows ever-larger:

I've also been trying to get organized. I figure if I'm not packing and selling a house, I might as well be doing something constructive! Here's my system:

It's earth-shattering, I know. I get a plastic bin for my kids' clothes, one for each age/stage. I tend to buy clothes ahead of time if I see them on sale. Henry's ready for the next year:

Nina's ready too!
But here's my question: Do you have any other tips for buying and/or storing kids' clothes? What has worked well for you? The only problem is that sometimes I duplicate items when I buy ahead, because I forget what I've already got.

Share any thoughts you've got! I'm a desperate girl, in need of projects while I wait for my house to sell!


A New Room for an Old Coat Rack

Another idea born of recent panic!

As we scour Craig's List and Realtor.com for houses in the San Francisco Bay area, I am reminded again and again of how much we need to downsize. My pile of garage sale items grows bigger and bigger! But I am also on the lookout for projects that might make our storage options in California a bit easier.

A month or two ago, before we decided to move, I picked up this coat rack for $5 at a garage sale:

It was a bit too tall for what I had in mind: a cute little spot for my almost-four-year-old, Nina, to hang her all-important girlie business. My handy husband wasn't afraid to wreck this $5 coat rack, though, and he simply sawed into it, removing a piece towards the top, then reattaching it, using screws and wood glue.

Then I spray painted the whole thing using a combination of paint I had lying around. (I'm sorry, I threw the paint cans away before noting what color I used!) I am happy with this little addition to Nina's room. Her elephant backpack and PJs now have a dedicated place to hang. Very important.

And, I have a feeling that this little guy will be put to even greater use when we move. Who says coat racks only belong by your front door? I can picture them in kids' rooms, in laundry rooms, holding aprons in the kitchen...lots of adorable options!


For Sale!

Well, it's official. This sign appeared in my front yard yesterday:

I apologize for being so MIA lately. We decided to sell (as opposed to rent to tenants) our house earlier this week, and our days have been filled with getting-the-house-ready-to-sell types of activities.

There I was, thinking "There can't be anything the realtor would want to change about my house to make it sell faster!" Ha. Ha Ha. Pride comes before the fall, my friends! Turns out there's a whole list of things that needed to happen, in order to maximize the square footage and various other features of this house. So much of my stuff has now been moved to the basement, in order to make the rooms look larger, that I am surprised my husband hasn't broken something. Either a bone, or maybe one of my knickknacks, out of frustration.

In the good news department, we already had our first showing this morning and our realtor seems hopeful that we won't sit on the market too long. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Mostly because I am so tired from all these house projects, I might pass out.


My Refinished Tool Box

First of all, thank you SO much for your encouraging words about our move to San Francisco. I get totally overwhelmed if I think of all the details, so your comments help me to slow down and just take one step at a time. We are meeting with our real estate agent later today, so I will keep you posted!

I've been thinking about all my stuff, and which items to keep, which to sell, and which to re-vamp for our new (slightly cramped) California lifestyle. A long time ago I told you about this antique tool box.

I bought this tool box for my husband eight years ago. I envisioned us, boyfriend and girlfriend at the time, stripping and refinishing it together. Instead, during stolen naptime moments, Brent and I finally finished re-building and re-finishing this piece and decided that it would be great to store our two kids' toys. Never thought the project would take quite this long, but it's funny to see how far we've come!

Anyway, here's the story. The box had some water damage, and my talented husband removed the damaged boards and replaced them with new pine. I stripped the old finish off of the box, sanded it, and re-stained it (so that the old and new wood would match) with Minwax Early American stain. For a more complete tutorial on refinishing furniture, check out my series from last summer, which starts here.

The cool thing is that the original marks and imperfections still come through. And those are the original handles on the sides!

I sealed it with three coats of polyurethane in a matte finish. This tool box, eight years in the refinishing, is ready to hold all the toys our kids can throw at it.

Just in time, since our move to California will demand that we use every inch of space available to us. I need to get really creative with my storage options, girls! I'm thinking that this tool box might be a better place to store the kids' toys than, say, the kitchen oven?

Have a great week!