Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bedroom Bits: The Stragglers I

I finally got the "candle socket covers" covered and reinstalled!  Yey for handmade papers!

Chandelier_makeover socket_covers

Oh, the glamor!  Oh, the glimmer!  Oh, boy does it ever look like an old western whorehouse chandelier!

Did you miss the BIG BEDROOM POST?  It's too purple-y to miss.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wee Flowers

I finally remembered to take a camera (well, a phone) on our near-nightly walk around the loop with the Beastie Grrrlz, so now I can share some of the little wild flowers we see along the road and in the forest.  Some are familiar, some are not and I don't know if any are native or invasive, either.  I apologize for the photo quality, but all is in shadow at that time of evening and there is a surprising amount of wind in the 1-6" off the ground layer.

I saw these for the first time just before we got back to our part of the road this evening, but then saw two more right by the driveway.

And this little yellow number I didn't notice until I went back outside to find the ones in the next shot again.

The blooms on these are just a couple millimeters long.

I'm pretty sure I've seen these all over suburban Washington County, Oregon.

These little lavender lovelies look familiar, too.

When Eric was reading up on the buttercups, he thinks he saw that these are related.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It's Curtains For You, Guest Room!

Once I had wrapped up all the major projects for our bedroom, I decided to continue my warping up of the guest bedroom.  You might remember my ridiculous lampshade redo... well, the window shade fabric is equally ridiculous and I love it so.

See?  The crazy colors make sense now.  Or at least have friends in the neighborhood.  Ahem.

I bought it at Ikea before we moved with guest room window coverings in mind, but I didn't have measurements or even photos of the guest room windows so I guessed* at how much I would need and came up a bit short.  I found the green woven cotton at JoAnn.

window_shade ikea_fabric
This door leads out to the second story balcony and faces SE, so it gets sun first thing in the morning and all day. Pardon the blurry shot, please.

I had wanted to do something kind of strappy and unusual to lift the shade, as well as minimize the amount of hardware I'd need to attach to the wall, moulding or trim.  I had a type of purse hardware in mind, but couldn't find it at JoAnn where I had a handful of paper and electronic coupons so I decided to go for overalls strap hardware.  I think it worked out better for how the shades look from the outside with this method, so win-win.

window_shade ikea_fabric blackout_fabric overalls_hardware
This method is quick and easy to open and close, although I suppose it might depend on the height of one doing it.  I could add more buttons later if I wanted to have more than one open position.

OOPS: After I thought I was done, I discovered that even though there is a rather stiff blackout lining and the Ikea print is also heavy bodied, the shades won't hold themselves straight when open.  So I added a wooden dowel that we already had between the layers of fabric of the shade on the door.  The window shade was too wide and heavy for a four-foot wooden dowel or a pieced together version, so I bought a six-foot metal rod for that one.  It's raw steel, so I sprayed it with a clear lacquer to prevent rust (they tell me that things do rust here) and cut it to size.

[Sad trombones]

This is not the look I was going for, but the dowel and rod saved the day (see below).  Neither is the purple paint on the wall in there.  If you saw my last post, you know that we love us some purple bedroom walls, but not quite this grape-candy-color, at least not in this room at this time.  I have picked out colors for the walls and ceiling and will share that when it's done.

window_shade ikea_fabric
For reasons we will never understand, this window is not centered on the wall, so it is also not centered over the bed.  It is partly over the bed and faces NE, so even though some light sneaks in around the edges when the shade is closed, it's MUCH darker in there and the light doesn't stream directly on to the pillows.

*You don't know how badly I wanted to use "guest" there just for funsies.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Purple Bedroom Majesty

Just two weeks of steady work and the master bedroom is almost totally redone!   I've been so busy with that project, that I haven't yet taken the last few photos to show you what we've done with the living- and dining rooms since I last posted. Anyway, let's start with a couple of before photos.

Our temporary set up:

Looking back, it's so sad.  I don't think it felt quite this sad in person, but...

What we already had:
Furniture (bed, bedside "tables," dressers, couch)
Down comforter, pillows, bed clothes
Wall paint: Benjamin Moore Autumn Purple (2 gallons)
Curtain panels: Ikea, to go with the purple paint
Some materials & tools to deal with the beam and chandelier

What we bought:
Materials to make a new duvet set
Ceiling paint: Pittsburgh Paint Moth Gray
Some materials to deal with the beam
Dimmer switch and accommodating plate


I don't have the skills and perhaps the camera to capture it.  It's not so dark as this, but also not super bright which we both like.

The less decorated end as viewed from the right-side of the bed.

There were a few challenges.  Initially, I wanted to go with purple and grey, but we discovered we could get Betty to sleep on a sofa at the end of the bed rather than the bed and that sofa is an Ikea number that we have two (2) brown slipcovers for already.  They only make that one in green, brown and I think white.  I got lucky and found a few purple and brown decorator fabrics at the JoAnn in Missoula (we've limited options here) and the one we both liked had purple, brown AND grey.  YEY!  So, I took my 40% off coupon down there and bought 9 yard of that stuff.  Bonus: it was made in the USA.

handmade_bedset duvet waverly
A close up with the requisite seam to make 54" material into a king-sized duvet.  It took a few trips to a few shops to find a grey to make the bias strip trim piece out of.

handmade_bedset duvet waverly pillow_shams
The duvet: six yards of Waverly print, half a yard of woven cotton turned into 280+ inches of bias strip, and one king flat sheet (for the back). The shams are another couple of yards of Waverly print, more bias strip, and a king pillow case to back them.

After the paint was up and a few days dry on the walls and ceiling I went to work on making that drywall covered beam into a feature rather than a drawback.  I had made a sample hoping to get a close match for the exposed, rough-sawn beam in the living room.  I just made up the technique based on my years decorative painting [buffs fingernails on shirt]!

faux_bois decorative_painting faux_painting wood_beam
You can see that I extended the fuax bois onto the adjacent wall thinking that would look more like an exposed beam feature.

faux_bois decorative_painting faux_painting wood_beam
So beam-y.

Between each of the 10 layers on the beam, I would work on painting the chandelier.  I neglected to take before photos; it seems to have been rattle-can painted with an aluminum paint.  I cleaned, sanded, primed, painted, painted, painted it.  When that was dry, I reattached the crystals, bought 40-watt bulbs and hung that sucker (which took 3, or was it 4? trips to the hardware store).

Now it's all coppery!  The inside surface of our bedside shelves are copper, too.  Special thanks to Paul and Leigh for passing on their cast-off chandelier!  I'm glad I never got it installed in Portland so we could have it here.

The wood of our doors is coppery, too, so I went ahead and copper-leafed the switch plates.  If there is one thing I don't go for it's blaring white rectangles messing up my wall finishes.  I just painted the outlet covers purple, but thought I'd have a little steampunk-y fun with the switch plates. 

What is this strange, archaic portal?  The round phone jack begged for the copper treatment.  The rest of the phone jacks I've encountered while painting have been covered with blank plates since we don't have a land line.

This is the only outlet I did in the copper leaf and glaze treatment.  It's also the only plate with the cool, space-age design.  It goes in the as-yet-unfinished master half-bath where the outlet is up at sink height.

After alllllll the painting came curtains.  I had the double rod from my old place on 80th Ave. and hung it at ceiling height, like I am wont to do most of the time.   Luckily, I hadn't hemmed these panels in Portland, so I could do so for this window.  I had rescued some black-out curtain material a couple of years ago and re-cut that and was able to use the inside rod to hang them behind the purple panels.

They're Ikea panels, so they're an imitation of some fancier material, not dupioni but similarly "streaked" and textured.

When we visited last August to shop for houses we noticed how much later it stays light here than in Portland.  Amazing what a difference a few degrees of latitude can make!

What is left to do:

Cover or get new "candle socket covers" for the chandelier.  If I can find a paper I like, I'll cover the old ones which are an odd size (3.5" rather than 2", 4" or 6").

Repaint this mirror frame for over my dresser.  Maybe a copper, maybe something else. 

Make new covers for the pillows that go on "Betty's couch" and get or make a new, color-coordinated blanket.  Betty is like a parrot and sleeps best when totally covered.

Find art or "art" for these walls; maybe something from our stash, maybe new pieces either made or bought, or maybe a combination.  Art is something that comes in its own time in my experience

Also, I'd really like a tall-ish headboard.  I feel like we almost have a real grown-up bedroom and the headboard would finish that impression.  So, I'm looking at headboards I can refinish and things I could make into a headboard on craigslist, etc.  No luck so far.  By the way, there ought to be some regulations or at least guidelines about what can or should be called "beautiful" on a craigslist post.

The panorama just looked too weird to really show anything, but it also looked to weird not to share.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Laundry Soap Opera

I'd been making my own laundry soap (not detergent) for a few years, but when we decided to sell the house and move I decided to put that on hold while we fixed up the place, shopped for a house, and all the projects and chores that go with an interstate move.  I used to make a recipe that made about 2 gallons of soap at a time and required a good shaking before using.  It lasted ages, especially with the front loading washing machine that uses so much less water.  It worked great and felt great.  However, our new laundry room is pretty small and our new washer and dryer are pretty big.   All my storage in there is up high and lugging a giant container off the high shelf and shaking it in a tiny room where I know I'd eventually put my elbow through the drywall was unappealing.

You can add essential oil to give the soap a different scent, but since it doesn't really give the laundry a different scent it seemed like a waste of a moderately costly ingredient; it would nearly double the cost of the batch most likely.

Then, I stumbled a recipe using the same readily available, inexpensive, low-impact, sensitive skin-friendly ingredients that makes a concentrated cream.  It would take a bit more work, but would make over 240 loads' worth of soap.  Pow!  I set about making it and ended up with way more than the recipe said I would.  WOW!  I was looking at nearly 450 loads worth of soap for about $5 (+ the price of canning jars bought to store it in).

The cream was dosed out at 1 tablespoon/load and like the liquid I was using before leaves clothes pretty much unscented which I prefer.

I did my first load with it only to find that the cream didn't leave the liquid detergent dispenser.  Shoot.  I tried again with the powdered dispenser and a bit of the soap went down, but most just slid a bit toward the washer.  Now what?  I had almost 7 quarts of this stuff and had spent about 4 hours over the course of 2 days making, bottling and cleaning it up.  I decided to try diluting it by half with water and it worked!  INTERESTING FACT: If you wash your towels 3 times in a row, even without soap two of those times, they will leave next to no lint (or dog hair) in the lint trap when you dry them.

I'm using both glass and plastic jars and de-scenting the pickle jars by washing them in the dishwasher and then letting them sit a few days with crumpled newspaper sealed inside.  It doesn't get 100% of the scent out, but the soap doesn't pick it up nor does the laundry.

So then I had to go about turning those 7 quarts into 14 diluted quarts.  Sigh.  Well, at this point I was kind of cranky about it and realized I was wasting perfectly good canning jars on all this soap when we had a steady supply of jars from the kitchen getting tossed, because except for some beer and wine bottles at certain breweries and wineries you can't recycle glass around here.  (I know!)  So, I've started shifting the contents of the canning jars over to the recycled food jars.  I decided it was kind of vain and a waste of time and resources to work very hard at getting the labels off if they didn't come off easily, too.  They sure don't look as cute, but I get the satisfaction of knowing I've saved a few jars and lids from the landfill and will have that many more jars for some actual canning which I hope to do this summer and autumn.

Hopefully it won't be long now until we're drying our laundry on the line again.

Yes, this is not a quick project, but since we're a 2-adult household with 2 not-especially dirty dogs, I think this batch will last us about a year.  Doing a year's worth of laundry for about $5 is a nice reward for the time spent, but more importantly we're not putting detergent and other man-made chemicals into our septic and not irritating our skin or our sinuses with strong scents.  OK, my skin and sinuses.  Have the people at the laundry detergent companies every smelled an actual mountain meadow or a real sea breeze?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring in The Bitterroot

On Friday afternoon I was playing a game of Pine Cone* with Betty and Delia when I noticed some of the mystery bulbs were blooming!  Of course, I had to get my camera to catch some macro floral action.  Then on Saturday morning, it snowed and I got my camera again.  Things can change fast here on the side of this mountain.

These crocus flowers seem about the same size as those I was used to in Oregon.

The tallest of these tulips are about seven inches!  I don't know if they're a special variety or are small because of the climate and other conditions.

Who can tell me what these are?  They are also super small: about 3-4 inches high, the blooms less than an inch across.

And these?  Anyone know?  They're about as tall as those in the last photo, but the blooms are probably an inch or so across.

*Pine Cone is a game played most enthusiastically by Betty, but sometimes Delia joins in an axillary role.  All Pine Cone requires is a whole lot of pine cones spread out along a walking route and a person to kick them.  The person kicks pine cone after pine cone while Betty chases and snatches them up in her mouth.  Sometimes if her mouth is full with a particularly good pine cone**, she'll stop the next one with her front feet.  If Delia joins, she does so in a herding-style capacity or will sometimes play Tug-a-Stick with the person while Betty is off fetching.

**What exactly is a "good" pine cone?  Ya' got me.

Betty has always appreciated a good pine cone, now she has all she could ever want.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Good-bye, City Life!

Text message conversation held during the time I was running errands and Eric was home with the Beastie Grrrlz:

Tara: There is definitely something living in your car.  I found a nest in your glove box.

Eric: Careful... didn't you see the movie "Alien"?  Don't lean over & look in any egg-shaped pod lest you wind up with a face-suckin critter that will implant its young which will then burst out of yer chest during space dinner.

Tara: I'm actually serious.

Tara: I would take a picture but my drive is full.

Eric: Really?  I thought you just meant all the napkins & stuff.  Huh.

Tara: Some napkins are shredded plus there looks like maybe some insulation from the engine compartment.

Eric: Well that's no good.  Mouse?

Tara: I think maybe a squirrel.
Tara: Remember I mentioned I heard sounds of something scurrying in there and the dogs have been sniffing around it?

Eric:  Squirrel is awful big for that space... chipmunk maybe?  I did catch a glimpse of what I thought was a tiny tuxedo.

Eric: I remember you saying something.  I haven't heard or seen anything aside from the tiny bow tie and vest.

Eric: Where are Click & Clack when you need them??

The glove box in question: (from left) critter nest, Les Schwab receipt, extra napkins kept for nose blowing, hand wiping, etc.

Yes, we text in full sentences with punctuation, capitalization, and spelled-out words.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nature, Red in Hoof and Paw

Other than Eric getting up at 5:15a or so, this morning started out normally enough.  The dogs got up with me around 7a and, as usual, went out for their morning potties.  Betty came back in before Delia, which is also normal.  A little while later Betty wanted back out, again normal: anyone with dogs knows the whole let-me-in-I-want-to-go-back-out routine.  But after she got out she started up with an uncommon bark: the intruder/stranger bark, which turned into some howling barks.  Not normal.

Of course, I chose not to take photos of a suffering animal or a bloody-faced dog.  I decided to put a few older photos in here instead.

Eric went out to see about it while I started getting their breakfast ready.  Wait, did I just hear him call for me?  That is unusual.  Still in my pajamas, I threw on some boots and grabbed the leashes, thinking maybe the dogs had treed something or were wanting to run off after some turkeys.  When I found them on the other side of the shop, Eric had both girls by their collars and told me there was a doe tangled in the neighbor's fence on their National Forest property line and that Delia had been gnawing on the leg.  The deer was still alive, but seriously wounded.

I leashed up the dogs and brought them in the house while he tried to free the deer.  I washed all the blood off or Delia's face while he had to cut a couple wires to free the doe.  Of course she couldn't walk and we didn't have a way to help her.  We called the sheriff who dispatched to Fish & Game and then called the neighbors to fill them in.

We met the neighbor lady at the fence and discussed our options, both practical and legal.  After calls to Fish & Game and our local game warden we had received permission to put her out of her misery (our only way to help her), but not to harvest the meat.  Since the neighbor kid (age 14) is an experienced hunter, his mom called him out of school and his older sister drove him home.  The game warden came a short time later to take the carcass, most likely to donate the meat to a local food bank.

Neither of us want to take up hunting and while we are omnivores who know and respect where our food comes from, we don't want to do the killing.  However, we also don't want to stand by helplessly while an animal suffers, especially if it suffers because of people living in its territory like we do.  This reminds us that living in this beautiful and wild (-ish) place means we'll have to have a working gun that we both know how to use and store safely.  Not only to scare off critters like bears that might harm our dogs, ourselves or our property, but also to help a suffering animal if we need to.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bedroom Bits!

I've been cranking away on our bedroom all week and I realized this might be my first real redecoration of a whole room.  So far I've changed the color of the ceiling and the walls and updated all the outlet and switch plates (as well as turning the outlets right side up as is required here).
There will be more copper accents so I decided to apply copper leaf and glaze the plates that are up high like those on the light switches; this outlet plate is by the sink in the half bath so it got The Works, too.

I will be changing the texture and color of a drywall-covered beam, swapping out the overhead light fixture & adding a dimmer switch, installing a curtain rod and curtains, mounting the bedside tables on the wall, and making a new duvet set.

Fakin' some rough-sawn lumber somewhere in there.

I kind of hope to be done by the end of next weekend.  [insert mockery here]  Sometime later we'll deal with the floor covering and the closet & en suite.  Also, we'll get a headboard like big kids have.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Overtly and Overly Crafty: A $0 Lampshade Makeover

Just before Tiffany visited, I found and installed the lampshade on the bedside lamp in the guest room.  I also noticed it was pretty grungy.  Blech.  Then a couple of days ago I saw a pin on pinterest that gave me the idea of covering it with fabric I already had.  

It's a funny little lamp, but I like the square base and it's small enough to fit on the tiny bedside table in there.

Enter green burlap.  As much help as pinterest is, it has also nearly ruined burlap for me because it's just everywhere for everything.  I'm glad I made window and shower curtains of it a few years ago to mostly satisfy my urge to make things out of it.  I had picked up this yard-or-so of the green from the remnant bin at least a year ago.

burlap_lampshade crafty_lampshade

I "rolled" the shade around on the burlap to get a basic shape, then cut it out.  I decided to utilize the selvedge to finish off the wrap.

I used spray adhesive on the shade, started the wrap at the seam on the shade, leaving the selvedge to overlap at the end.  Then I cut off the extra at the end.

burlap_lampshade crafty_lampshade

Next I cut the extra off the top and bottom, but left some of the extra on each end of the selvedge. so it would look tidy after gluing it down.

burlap_lampshade crafty_lampshade

I thought about trying to trim off that little odd bit in the selvedge, but I liked the little bit of quirkiness it added.  It is burlap after all and just making it green doesn't make it fancy.  But what to trim it with?  Before heading off to the store, of course I had to look in my trims bin.  Did I find what I was looking for?  No.  Did I find something ridiculous?  Yes, I did.

burlap_lampshade crafty_lampshade ridiculous_lampshade dingle_balls pom_poms

Again I started at the same seam and used Fabri-Tac long both top and bottom of the tape and laid the dingle balls over the lip of the shade so their weight would hold up the trim while the glue dried (which was very quickly).

burlap_lampshade crafty_lampshade ridiculous_lampshade dingle_balls pom_poms

Once I got to the corner, I cut the tape with enough extra to fold over about 3/8", glued down that hem and then the last bit and held it with my fingers until it dried.  But what about the top?  I'd have liked to have found something in a similar blue as in this trim, but didn't find anything in the bin.  I'd have settled for the pink, even, but no dice there, either.

burlap_lampshade crafty_lampshade ridiculous_lampshade dingle_balls pom_poms

Enter green leaf trim that has been in every trim stash I've had in my life... including my mom's.  So, on it went.  Again with Fabri-Tac and again matching the other seam; this trim didn't require making a hem and the pattern matched up just right!  (not pictured, sorry about that)

burlap_lampshade crafty_lampshade ridiculous_lampshade dingle_balls pom_poms
This is not the guestroom, it's the mudroom.  All the photos were taken here on the deep freeze or on the dining room table.

Now that's a lamp that looks like it's had one heckuva good time at one crazy-wild party!  Life is too short to take even lampshades seriously and to not embrace ridiculousness.

Oh, yeah.  All those colors are in the ridiculous fabric I have for the guest room window treatments.