Luggage Rack Renovation!

Hello friends!

Well, I can't say that our spring break was restful, but I am glad we had it. My husband and daughter both ended up getting diagnosed with strep throat, and then my son got some other kind of nasty bug that he's still fighting. Wa-hoo! Lots of couch-sitting and cherry Icees (which my husband swears are necessary when one is sick).

But in between all the medicine doses, I got to work on a few projects! I've had this luggage rack in the basement for over a year. Ugly, dinged up, and with some seriously gross-looking straps to hold it together, it was no prize at the thrift store when I picked it up (for $5!).

I gave it a coat of primer, followed by two coats of creamy white (Country Dairy by Behr). Then my very accommodating husband removed the old, ugly straps and attached these new leather ones (bought by the yard from Joann's).

He just used a few upholstery tacks to get the job done. What a great result for not a lot of time!
And why did it take me a whole year to do such a simple project?


Spring Break!

Henry and I are tired.

Actually, to be precise, I predict we will be tired. Nina is on spring break this week (from her grueling two-mornings-a-week at preschool). So we're off to do some fun family things, maybe take a few Colorado day trips, and generally enjoy the freedom.

I'll be back next week! In the meantime, Happy Spring!


Hallway Landing Switcheroo

I promised I would share with you how I ended up using my fancy $2.50 thrift store frame. In order to do that, we need to take a little walk down memory lane!

Here is the landing on my stairs a year or so ago. I loved having all these black and white photos of my family and friends. It was a nice view to walk past every day!

But all the photos had to come down when we did our loft remodel, and I figured it was a good time to make a few changes. So, for awhile, I hung this mirror and wreath on the landing, but it didn't feel right somehow. Too plain.

Then I finished painting my Goodwill frame, and I figured it would look good as another "layer" on the mirror.

But then I stared at it for a few days and didn't like it. The space needed something else; it was too angular somehow. So back I ran to Hobby Lobby, to purchase a $2.99 grapevine wreath and some fake greenery. Picked up a glue gun, and about ten minutes later I had me a little wreath!

Now I am officially thrilled with the landing. And unexpectedly in love with this wreath! It's great when a problem forces a solution that's even better than the original idea!

And my blue frame has a new home. Can't beat that for $2.50!


Using Antiquing Polish

When I shop my local Goodwill, I always keep my eyes peeled for interesting, well made wooden frames. I love decorating with them, and they're so easy to paint and fit into any room. Just the other day I found this frame, almost 2 feet square, for $2.50!

I painted it robin's egg blue, because I had some left over from other projects. (Color recipe here if you want it!) Then I took this sanding block (best tool ever, pick one up at any home improvement store) and roughed up the edges.

After I sanded, I could see the raw wood peeking through. However, I wanted the edges to be a little more noticeable, so I used some antiquing polish (found at Michael's) to darken them.

I tried to get good photos of "before" and "after" to show you what a difference antiquing polish can make. Above is the before, and below is the after!

A few tricks that I tried this time:

First, I used a damp cotton ball to apply the antiquing polish. This works well as long as you don't have too much surface area to cover. I let the polish soak in for about 10-15 seconds, and then I came along with a slightly damp paper towel to soak up the excess. Just repeat that until you get the color you want!

Can't wait to show you how the frame turned out! Stay tuned...I have fun plans for my $2.50 beauty!


Gussy's Winner!

Isn't Gussy's stuff the greatest? I love it too! OK, on to the winner, chosen at random...

It's (comment #91) Kjirsten from Sew Graciously Blessed!

I will try to get in touch with you, Kjirsten, if I don't hear from you soon via email. But you can reach me at buzzingsofaqueenbee@hotmail.com to claim your prize!

Thanks to everyone for the comments and the advice on what you like around here. It has been super helpful, and I appreciate it!

I'll be back tomorrow with a mini-tutorial, just for you!


Gussy Does a Giveaway!

Comments are now closed! I will be back later today to announce the winner!

I'm in the mood for a giveaway.

How 'bout you?

Let me introduce you to the adorable shopgussy.com. Have you met? This girl makes some of the cutest things I've ever seen!

As you can see, she makes checkbook covers, zippered pouches of all sizes, and just about the sassiest laptop bags I've ever laid eyes on. How cute would I be, going to the coffee shop to do some blogging, carrying my laptop in this? (Oh, to have the freedom to go to the coffee shop, period. Without sippy cups and cheese sticks? Heaven!)

And when I saw these baby blankets (handmade, and in such fun colors!) I was totally sold. Don't you love that spring green?

To enter to win a $25 shop credit to shopgussy.com, just leave me a comment answering this question:
What are your favorite types of posts to read on Buzzings of a Queen Bee? Tutorials? Before and after? Crafty stuff? Room decorating? Thrift store re-do's? Recipes? The giveaways? Or even a little dose of cuteness from my kiddos or a peek into my Colorado life?
I'd love to know what keeps you coming back here. That way I can keep delivering! So, thank you. I'll leave comments open until Sunday night. Good luck!


How To (Kind of) Make a Rice Pad

A while back I told you about a silly little thing that I totally love.

I have heard them called bed buddies, rice bags, stress busters. Who cares what they are called? I just love mine! I am always cold, and just three minutes in the microwave is all it takes to heat this up and make a cozy little pillow for your lap, your back, your feet, wherever. Today I thought I would give you a few pointers on how to make your own.

(Notice I said pointers. This won't be too detailed, so be prepared to improvise a bit!)

First, go out and get some unconverted white rice. This is the cheap stuff, not instant, uncooked. Wish I could tell you exactly what "unconverted" means, but I can't. But just think about how this thing needs to be able to go into the microwave again and again, so, you know, plan accordingly.

Below, you can see I fashioned a bag out of muslin, sewed it up (tightly, so the rice doesn't leak out), and left a hole through which to pour the rice. Make sure whatever material you choose is 100% cotton (again, that microwave element). Put in as much rice as you think feels good. Me, I like the rice bag to be full enough that it has a nice weight to it, but can still shift around. After I poured the rice in, I sewed the bag up with my sewing machine. It's not pretty. But it doesn't have to be.

Next, I chose a pretty 100% cotton flannel, and put together a pillowcase for the rice bag. It's kind of like a pocket pillowcase, just folded over onto itself and sewn together. I added some Velcro to the edges to seal it, but also to allow me to remove and wash it. (In case I spill red wine on it. Um...not that I know anything about that.)

While I was at it, I made one of these for Nina, my three year old. I can't tell you how many nights find us both "cozied up" with our rice paddies on the couch. And yes, I know rice paddies are something completely different in China. I can't help it! Someone (not sure if it was Nina or me) in my house started calling it the "rice paddy" and now the name has stuck!

Give this a try if you're always cold like me! Just pop it into the microwave for three minutes, then sit yourself on the couch. It stays warm for a long time...perfect for TV watching, reading, or even taking to bed with you. Because it loses heat slowly, the rice pad is great for sleeping. By the time it cools off, you're asleep, but you don't wake up all sweaty like I do if I forget to turn off my electric blanket.

OK, enough boring details about my life. Rice pad=Good. I hope you give it a try!


The Queen Bee Book Review, Part II

Recently I picked up the book "Feeling at Home" by Alexandra Stoddard at my local library. It really got me thinking about the purpose(s) of my home and how it makes me feel.

Here are a few examples:
We can't just plunk furniture around a room and expect to have the space come alive. There has to be some emotional integrity to what is selected. In the case of using inherited furniture we don't like, it can become a trap. We feel guilty not using it, but it is wrong for us. It is also tempting to buy "just-for-now" pieces (cheap furniture that is not well made or well designed), purchased as a stopgap.

Think of your home as a place of healing. Light a candle. Play some favorite Mozart or Beethoven. Bake a Shaker lemon pie, clean out a messy kitchen drawer, sit in a favorite chair and read to a child, or have a nap...

Our home should be a safe, private place where we can discover and rediscover our passions, what interests we want to pursue, what enthusiasms we've found fascinating...Each of us is an individual with unique talents, gifts that need to be explored for us to feel real fulfillment in our short lives.
Interesting stuff, huh? It got me thinking about this ad for Twinings tea that I see in some of my home magazines (stay with me, I have a point!):

Every time I see it, I stop and stare for a minute. Something about the rain against the window in the photo, and the idea of slowing down to enjoy a comforting cup of tea. I love it. How does this relate to the book?

Because it prompts me to pursue a "safe, private place," a "place of healing" in my home. This chair next to my fireplace, sitting quietly with a cup of tea, is that place for me. It's so easy to look at your house as a war zone for your kids, a showplace, a party location, or just a big old mess that needs to be cleaned and painted and organized. Me? I think of my home as all of those things.

But sometimes I force myself to slow down, close the curtains, turn on some Van Morrison, and just curl up in my favorite chair. I have to be intentional to create that place of healing in my home. I have to force myself to leave the dishes, the laundry, and the toys on the stairs. I actually long for cloudy days around here (few and far between in Denver!) because its easier to curl up and take that time for myself. I guess that's why the rain on the window in the photo gets me every time!

I encourage you to think about ways to create a "place of healing" for yourself in your home. And share with us how you do! I think we can all use a little inspiration...I know I can!


Vintage Botanical Art

Like this inspiration photo below? It's such a pretty room, but the reason I saved this in my inspiration file is that I love those classic frames, stacked one on top of the other, in the far corner of the room. I can barely see what's actually in the frames, but I am drawn to the set of three. Alas, I don't have the funds to buy lots of pretty flowers and other frameables like the ones below.

I was bummed until I discovered Mary Walcott and her vintage botanical prints. Just recently I scored a set of 25 of these on eBay for $25. Considering how many ways I can find to use these, I consider that a worthwhile bargain!

So now I have these pretty florals hung up throughout my house. Still looking for a place to line up a set of three of them, like in my inspiration photo, but it's a fun challenge!

So, if you're looking for an inexpensive way to add some pretty vintage art to your home, just head to eBay and use the keywords Mary Walcott.

Happy bidding!