Monday, February 28, 2011

Straight As An Arrow

He loves thieves. More for the planning aspect than anything. He is intrigued with "the best laid plans of men." As he told me one day when he was in second grade and talking about the Greek god Hermes: "He was the god of trade, travel, and theft. He's my favorite. Well, not that thieves are my favorite, but I'm a big fan of having to plan things out. And thieves have to do that. Like, they have to figure out who's going to hold the walkie-talkie so they can say, 'OK, open the door,' when they get somewhere, and things like that."

So it came as no surprise that when third grade rolled around, and he had to dress the part of a Middle Ages character, he chose another thief - albeit one with a good purpose - Robin Hood (though now he claims he's "just an archer").

What did come as a surprise was the fact that I was able to make half of his costume. The tunic, the hat, the bow and arrows (which he decorated). While I will never in a million years be able to explain the happy sewing mistakes of actually pulling together an acceptable tunic and hat, the arrows are fairly straightforward. Here's how you can make your own - for your kids to use, or for your own interesting decor.

Materials Needed:
Colored electrical tape (found mine at Walmart)
pencil erasers (found mine at Walmart)
dowels that fit into said erasers (found mine at Home Depot)
feathers (found mine at JoAnne Fabrics)

Step One: cut short lengths of tape and wrap them around the dowels at intervals. How many colors you use on each dowels is up to you.

Step Two: Cut a small niche in the top of each eraser and put one on the end of each dowel.

Step Three: decide on your feather combination. Cut one half of each feather off so they sit against the dowel, gather them together, and tape them to each dowel.

Step Four: stick the other end into a pencil sharpener and sharpen to a dull point.
Step Five: pretend your day away.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just Smashing

It's not very often that pictures of knick-knacks catch my eye. Usually I am more drawn towards rooms as a whole rather than the individual items that are in the room. But because my tastes have just a bit of an eclectic and whimsical bent to them, occasionally I'll see something that grabs my attention. That's what happened a couple weeks ago when I saw this display on a blog or site somewhere (I never remember where I get my pictures from - gotta do better with that).

I was drawn toward a few elements about it - the grouping of boxes, the items they placed in the boxes, and the contrast between the paper or fabric inside and the natural wood outside. I never set out to recreate something like this, partly because I've learned that that's impossible and partly because, in this case, something like this just wouldn't really "fit" in my house.

But what I will do is keep the idea in mind, mulling over whether or not I could do something similar. In this case, my favorite parts of the vignettes were the animal head and the branch vase. I know Anthropolgie is selling white animal heads right now for $20, but, as I said, even though I like this, I'm not trying to recreate it. So they will stay at Anthropologie.

However, something at the thrift store did catch my eye a few weeks ago. I saw this:

Wow, right? Not something that exactly screams "great home decor" to me. In fact, I never would have looked twice at it before, but now I was wondering if I couldn't make a vase with that tree.

So I paid the pittance they wanted for it, brought it home, and took a hammer to it. Because the bear had to go.

The tree also got a little smashed, seeing as how it was joined at the hip with Grizzly, but it wasn't anything a little glue wouldn't fix. Well, sort of. Here is the back of it, all glued together and painted white (although I'm currently contemplating silver). Not very usable, right? But never fear, my pennies weren't wasted.

Because here's the other side of it. Broken side turned toward the wall and no one is the wiser.

At first I was thinking it would just stay like that. Just looking pretty, but not being very useful. Form without function. But after I did all the repair work and painting I remembered I had this little tiny vase. And it fits perfectly into the tree.

Off to find some flowers...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Delighted - The Phone Call

There are times in life when I've been completely delighted by people I know. By the decisions they make or the kinds words they say or deeds they do. My children delight me constantly. At this time in the life of our family I find myself being delighted by my five year old trying to sound out words to a story and my nine year old be delighted himself by the beauty he notices around him.

And of course there are occasional stories of strangers I hear about that delight me, as I'm sure you do. But I want to share with you an experience I had last week where I was personally delighted by someone new. You may remember how I was not crazy about the brown panels and border I painted in my bedroom (if not, you can reread this post).

So I decided to email Kim Myles (read what I wrote about her here. Visit her blog here) and see if she would be willing to give me some advice, especially since it was one of her rooms I was trying to do something similar to.

And I was - yes - delighted. Not only did she take a look at the pictures of my room and offer some advice on my blog, but evidently decided it would be easier to just talk to me about it. So she called me. And she was delightful.

I won't go into every single detail here, but she did give me some advice that I am happily following - albeit slowly, in order to prevent injury, partly because I'm still nursing a shoulder dislocation injury that's giving me grief 6+ months later. The biggest things she said to do were to 1) make the border on the top of the walls bigger, and also add a border to the bottom, and 2) paint my ceiling. I have been wanting to paint my ceiling for probably about six months now. I guess I just needed a professional to push me off the edge.

So thanks for the push, Kim (and for waving your usual fee). :) I think maybe I'm going to switch to a first-name basis now. Is that ok?

*Image from DesignSponge