Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

The last four years have been very difficult for me for a variety of reasons. There have definitely been low and high points, but last Christmas was probably the worst of my life.  As a result, I'm highly aware of how much better my life is now than it was just a year ago!

Among the many good things that have changed in my life was the addition of Talullah to my pack of dogs after having lost Keeley in October of 2011. 

Recently, Talullah and I have begun visiting the residents of the local rest home every couple of weeks. My niece gave me a set of antlers, and although she isn't thrilled about it, Talullah will wear them for me.

Although, as you can see from this photo, she isn't really thrilled about it!

Here she is at the rest home on Sunday, with antlers and infinity scarf!

For those of you that don't know, Talullah was rescued by a dog rescue group as she'd been left at a kill shelter. She was pregnant with pups, and based upon her health (she was 35 lbs under weight) and body issues, it was determined that she'd been used for breeding. She is a pure bred Great Dane with a merle / merlequin coat. When I adopted her, we found that the reason she'd been dumped was because she had tumors throughout her breasts. Three weeks ago, she had major surgery to have the lumps removed (they had continued to grow despite the fact that she'd later been spayed.) 

She is now a healthy, at her correct weight, and is a happy girl. She shares my life, and everyone loves her. (In fact, the only issue I have had with her is that she wants to go everywhere with me, and will all but knock me down to get out if I tell her she can't go - you try arguing with a 157 lb Great Dane!) Other than that, she  has the perfect Great Dane personality - ultimately zen and easy going. She likes everyone, is curious, and has even let other dogs nip at her without reacting! She knows who she is, and is quite comfortable with it!

Talullah has given me the opportunity to give back at the facility where my father spent the last year of his life. Talullah is still getting used to the floors (she much prefers carpet to linoleum or wood) but she is a trooper and gamely lets everyone pet her and cuddle on her, and take her photo.

We are expecting a white Christmas - beginning sometime in the morning - which will be great as last year we had virtually no snow at all. Somehow, it feels more special that the first day we get snow all year is on the holiday itself. It will be fun to see how Talullah navigates in the snow, but I know my other two dogs will be filled with doggy delight in "catching" snowballs and romping through it all. I'll be right out there with them!

Just to give some "equal time", here are Jake and Bandit.

Bandit - in a rare still photo . . . she is usually moving too fast to get a clear shot!

Jake and Bandit waiting for me to kick the ball for them to chase.

Jake on the bench at the end of my bed . . . in his defense, he has no idea that he doesn't actually fit there.

God bless, and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mirror Mosaic Table DIY


Several months ago I saw a table that I LOVED on Etsy, but it was outside my budget, and I really didn't need another table.  But, it had been in the back of my mind for a while.

This table has been through a couple of makeovers . . . this was what it looked like before I got it.

Then, I painted it cream about six months ago.

To do the project was actually pretty simple. First, you need a mirror that is roughly the size of your surface. One of my besties gave me a mirror she was no longer using, so I didn't have to buy one. (And it was big enough that I may be doing this to another table, or two!)

You also need adhesive and grout, sand paper, thick gloves, old cloths you don't mind throwing away, glass cleaner and paper towels. I used Mosaic Mercantile Adhesive and Mosaic Mercantile Premix Grout Quart, White.  I used the leather outdoor work-type gloves.

The first thing you have to do is break the mirror - which is far more difficult than it sounds because you need a lot of smaller chips. I broke my mirror outside and then put all the pieces into a box. I ended up having more large pieces than I wanted, so I had to break more inside, but having it inside a box made it easier to control flying chips.

Once you have broken enough pieces to get started, make sure that your table top is lightly sanded to give it enough "tooth" for the adhesive to adhere. Next, simply apply adhesive to the table, and then begin to place your mirror pieces over it.

I found that wearing the gloves for this step was not practical because of the thickness, but you may want to wear them. I just was very careful with the broken pieces, and managed to get the entire table laid out with only one small scratch.

I didn't worry as much about pattern as I did filling in the space. The adhesive dries quickly, so work in small areas, and then apply more adhesive, and repeat.

Once all the pieces are glued in place, you need to wait for the adhesive to dry. This is important otherwise your mirror pieces will move when you apply the grout.

To mix the grout, follow the instructions, but you basically just put the grout in a bowl and add water, then stir until it is the consistency you desire. 

The instructions tell you to wear latex gloves for this step, and it might work with the kitchen type latex gloves, but thinner gloves would be shredded by the mirror and sandy grout. I didn't use anything on my hands, but then I'm reckless that way. Listen to the manufacturer, not me!

Keep applying the grout, pushing it down into all the gaps between the mirror until it is completely covered, and then let it dry. The directions said 15 minutes, but I waited about an hour as the grout still felt damp to me.

No matter what the mosaic project, the next step is the most tedious for me . . . you have to wash the grout off the top of your mirror (or tiles if you are using that.) It takes quite a few trips to get it all off. The photo below is after I had rinsed the table down about five times.

You need to get all the dried grout off the mirror, and then get rid of the cloudiness that is caused by residual grout over the mirror. Just keep at it. A word of advice, though, use towels you don't want to keep - because getting all that sand out of a towel can be a nightmare. 

Finally, when the grout is all dry, you can clean the mirrors with glass cleaner and a paper towel to get the last of the cloudiness off the surface.

And here is the finished piece. 

I've had a couple of questions about my centerpiece; all of the pieces are gold mercury glass from discount centers and Hobby Lobby. I had a hard time finding a try that was large enough to hold all of those wide based candle holders, so I ended up purchasing the Winware 20-Inch Aluminum Pizza Tray with Wide Rim and then spray painting it gold, then adding Speedball Mona Lisa Composition Gold Leaf over the top. It is a simple project but has big impact!

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Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Wish List 2012

I'm an online shopper .  . . so I always have a long list of things I'd love to own, but probably never will! I thought I'd share some of my current favorites . . . and maybe you'll discover something you can't live without!

So, without any specific order, here are some of my "wishes":

I have a hang-up about Cowboy (cowgirl) boots . . . I love them, but I have to find boots with design on the top of the foot. I rarely wear cowboy boots with my jeans tucked in, so if the only design on the sides, you can't see it. I love the color of these boots, and the design on the foot!

StealStreet 11.5-Inch Tall Look Roses Curvilinear Art Nouveau Vase Pewter

I love all things Art Deco. This Art Nouveau piece isn't Art Deco, but it is certainly evocative of the era.

   Canon PowerShot D20 12.1 MP CMOS Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Image Stabilized Zoom 28mm Wide-Angle Lens a 3.0-Inch LCD and GPS Tracking (Blue)

There are many waterproof cameras on the market, but I really like this one for fun / vacation shooting. It is a nice size, and isn't cumbersome. It is high enough DPI to take good photos, but not so high that the cost is through the roof.

I love the wow bling factor on this case! I have a beautiful case that opens like a book, but this case is really something special!

Another lovely blingy item! Pier 1 had a beautiful line of silver and mirrored furniture, and this is part of that set. I think it is gorgeous!

Silver CZ Pave Antique Victorian Cross Pendant

I have quite a few cross necklaces, but not one that is as special as this one. I can see this being an "every day" blingy kind of necklace for me. Of course, I live in Oklahoma, where bling is a pretty common thing for women!

16" Glitter Marquee Letter LED Night light

Are you getting the theme of bling? Yes, I love it. I would love to have a capital "L" for my living room!

1VintageSoul Pink Radio iPhone case

These two cell phone cases are adorable! I love the retro radio because it reminds me of one that my older sister had when I was a kid. I love the lower one because of the Art Deco theme.

When I was getting ready to write this blog post, I pinned this bracelet on Pinterest to a board to help me organize my thoughts . . . and almost immediately it sold! Darn it! Oh well . . . I hope whoever gets it will appreciate it as much as I would!

This is another item that sold since I pinned it, and I'm kind of bummed I didn't buy it for myself! It is such a gorgeous piece! I love the color contrast.

Recycled Kodak Brownie Camera Clock.

As a photographer, I tend to love things that involve retro cameras, so this clock made out of a Brownie makes me happy!

I love using a wide variety of cameras, and these are really special! 
  • It's a TLR - The Blackbird, Fly, is a Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) camera, meaning that there are two objective lenses: One for taking the photograph, and one for the waist-level viewfinder. Behind the viewfinder lens is a mirror at a 45-degree angle (hence the term "reflex"), which reflects upwards through a matter focusing screen surrounded by a hood/enclosure used to block some light and reduce reflection on the screen. This creates an image on the screen identical to what will be captured on film through the photographic lens.
  • It uses 35mm film - Most TLR cameras use 120 format film. Although 120 film is very cool, it can be much harder to find and even harder to get developed. With 35mm film you can just drop it off at the nearest 1-hour photo!
  • 3 formats - You can shoot in 3 formats (using provided masks): normal 35mm (24mm x 36mm), square format (24mm x 24mm), and large square format (36mm x 36mm).

This hand mirror makes me swoon. Soooo lovely!

Finally, my last "wish" is for the Person of Interest DVD set. This is remarkable for me because I am not a big TV watcher, and I rarely know the names of TV or movie stars. It's just not my thing. However, I've developed a big crush on  Jim Caviezel, so I've taken to watching this series regularly! Thank goodness for the DVR!

So what is on your wish list this year?

Christmas Wrapping

Every year I go out and buy wrapping paper for Christmas. I like to coordinate all my packages. This year I chose a silver on silver theme.

At Hobby Lobby I found these lovely papers. I chose a swirly damask like print, and a zebra. I added several different kinds of silver ribbons - from the sheer wire ribbon seen below . . .

To this narrow silver ribbon . . .

And this adorable polka dot print ribbon. I found two different styles of tags in silver, the polka dot, and an all over glitter.

These are just a few of my packages, but I think they look lovely together. Don't you love that big round package? In our family, we have a joke whenever a package is huge, or awkwardly shaped, or obvious what it is from the shape, when we hand it to the person, we deadpan, "It's a neck tie." Don't ask. We all have a strange sense of humor. I blame my dad.

And speaking of "wrapping", here is a photo of Talullah in her cowl. It goes with the HUGE dog coat I got for her which she still isn't sure about. She isn't sure about the cowl either, but she will wear it. The coat I bought was made to measure and is based on a dog blanket. When you have a 157 lb dog, you aren't going to be able to buy a coat for them at Wal-mart! 

She just cracks me up. I think she looks like a little old lady wearing a babushka! 

So what are your Christmas wrapping designs? Do you think I'm crazy for planning a theme each year?

Oh, and if you are wondering about "left-over" paper for the year, I always try to buy prints that will work year round so that I don't have to only use it for Christmas. I also use wrapping paper inside out (if there isn't a print on the back) and use rubber stamps or paint on it for a new design. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Updating a Faded Summer Wreath for Winter

After looking for a reasonably priced wreath that went with my decor, and failing miserably, I got the idea to update my current wreath - which was sadly faded by the Oklahoma sun. 

I wish these photos did the wreath better justice, but the gold and "ice" are very subtle. Because my living room, which this door opens up into, is decorated with gold accents, I wanted to go with a gold theme.

This is what the wreath looked like when I started. I picked it up last Spring at Walls, a local Oklahoma discount store. At the time it was a deep green with purple flowers. Not so much anymore!

These are the supplies I used: Gold paint, spray glue, plastic "snow flakes" and clear spray paint.

The wreath, surprisingly, only took two light coats of  the gold to cover.

Here is a close up of the painted wreath. You can see that the purple "buds" were a slightly different color of gold, but I liked the way it looked, so I didn't make an effort to cover it further.

Next, I used spray glue all over the wreath. You need to read your directions carefully. In addition to shaking the can first, most glues work best if you wait a few minutes before you apply whatever you are trying to adhere. 

Next, I cut a hole in the corner of my bag of "snow flakes" and lightly sprinkled the m over the wreath. Then, I applied another layer of glue over the top, and added a second layer of snow flakes to the wreath.

You can see that it looks much fuller with that second coat.

Finally, I added additional spray glue to the side of the wreath I planned to use at the "top" because if something was outside, the top would naturally have the heaviest concentration of  snow. (see below.)

The final step is to spray the entire wreath with the clear spray paint. You do this to neutralize any glue that might not have something adhered to it, as well as to set the snow flakes in place.

Here is the wreath on the door. It is simple, but I really like it. If I was going to do it again, I think I would add a light misting of gold glitter over the wreath before I added the glue. Regardless, I think it looks lovely, and is a simple, but elegant addition to my holiday decor!

So far I haven't done a thing to decorate my front porch! The photo below shows you why . . . my house is placed in the worst possible spot for wind. We also have had a run of wind storms, and every time I get my porch cleaned up, the wind comes up and knocks everything over! I hate to put decorations out there only to have them all blow away!

My current plan is to add drapes to the corners, which I'm hoping will block some of the wind. (I plan to use a combination of hooks and velcro to put these in place. Crossing my fingers that it works!) I'm not sure if that will happen before the holidays, though!