Sunday, January 29, 2012

Egg Shipment

When was the last time you received eggs via the U.S. Postal Service?  I doubt you ever did, but today I discovered something that suggests that could have happened.

This is a metal box with two openings in the top.

One opening displays the address and the return address that says New York.

The other opening designates where to put the stamps although there are stamps at the top of the address label.  S. Kricker didn't read the directions.

Turned around you can see it says FRAGILE.  No kidding!  Maybe if the eggs were hard boiled they would stand a better chance with today's postal service.

The container also tells you just how many eggs to expect.

I want to point out this case has a little slide lock to keep the case closed.  Easily opened to see if there was anything liquid, flammable or potentially hazardess inside.

I had no idea what to expect when I opened the box....perhaps scrambled eggs?

I lifted the cardboard and to my surprise I saw this wonderful divided egg holder.

The individual egg containers are each hooked to each other in each row so the entire row can be lifted out in one piece.
This was a new one on me and I grew up in farm country, although not on a farm.  But we did buy our eggs from a neighbor down the road who raised chickens and I have gathered eggs in their hen house.  That doesn't mean I know much about the egg business but I sure don't know anything about sending eggs through the mail.  If someone reading this does, I'd like to hear from you.

Does it sound like I was smitten with this discovery?  Well, yes, I was.  I walked around the store with it for awhile trying to convince myself I had a reason to have it.  Finally my friend reminded me that Easter is coming soon.  That sounded like a good reason to slap my credit card on counter.  Don't ask me why.  I just needed a reason to buy it and like a good friend does, she gave me a reason.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's How You Frame It

There are some things I see on blogs or pinterest that won't let me rest until I try them for myself.

This was one of those things.  A frame covered in fabric appeals to me on several levels so I decided to try it for myself.

I already had the frame that would be perfect for such a project.

I picked this up on the second day of an estate sale when everything was half price.

The next step was to find the right fabric.  Obviously it has to be a pattern that would be displayed well in fairly narrow strips.  The floral on the one above is lovely but I couldn't find a floral that satisfied me, so I chose this geometric pattern.

I bought one yard after determining that I could cut four strips from salvage to salvage  and have the pattern repeat nicely.  This particular frame flares towards the front so the backside of the frame needed to be covered as well as the front.

I did not have Mod Podge on hand so I used a product I had used before for this project.

It is a little pricey but with a 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby it's not that bad.  I think the original price is about $25.  Here are a few things you should know if you use this product. 
1.  Don't let it dry on your hands for too long or you will be picking flakes off your hands for a week. I wore latex gloves but when it came to some details the gloves were too yucked up with gel and I worked bare handed.
2.  You need to work rather quickly because the drying starts once the gel is out of the container.  I could go into detail but just take my word for it and don't dally.  You have ample time but not unlimited time.
3.  It does dry clear so no need to worry about the whiteness of the product as it is being applied.

I did the left and right side and then left it to dry completely.

As you can see I went slightly past the miter at the corners since I planned to overlap when I did the top and bottom.

I should mention that I rubbed the gel medium onto the frame, then centered my fabric strip onto the frame. I started in the center and applied more gel on top of the fabric as I smoothed it into place. It is important to press the fabric snugly around the detailing on the frame. It was impossible to photograph this process without someone else available to take the pictures. It doesn't take much gel but every bit of fabric needs to be wet with gel on both sides.

This frame has a wavy edge which provided an extra challenge.  However, when the fabric is wet it adjusts to the shape and with a little patient smoothing it conforms well.

This manipulating of the fabric will distort the pattern but I worked the front side of the frame first so the distortion is all on the backside.

I wanted to leave the insert edge free of fabric so that what ever I put in the frame would fit nicely.

This requires trimming the extra fabric after it dries.  A sharp razor blade works  well once the fabric has dried  There will be fabric that needs trimming on two edges for each side, so keep those two loose edges from sticking to each other.  Once the trimming is finished it might be necessary to apply a little more gel to be sure the edges are sealed.  In this case there was only about 1/4" lip and the fabric has a tendancy to spring away until it starts to dry and stick.  Just check on it as it dries and apply more gel if necessary.

Finishing the top and bottom rails is a little more detailed.  I chose not to fold the fabric back on the miter because I didn't want more bulk. (remember, I had already turned the corner with the side strips.  So I pressed it into the miter groove and used a scissors....not a perfect science but it worked fairly well.  Cutting will cause some fraying but adding a little more gel will seal the edges and solve that problem.  If loose threads get stuck onto the fabric, use a wet cloth to wipe them away before the gel dries. NOTE: Be sure to wash your scissors immediately.  Warm soapy water will do the trick if you don't wait too long.  I did both ends of one strip before washing the scissors and the glaze came off easily. 

I am happy with how this pattern worked on this particular frame.  I think the curves and lines of the frame actually enhanced the pattern in the fabric.  You can see that the fabric in the corners is not a perfect mitered match.  The only way to make that happen would be to have it "unmatched" somewhere else along the rail.  I thought it made the most sense to do it in the corners.

Now the question is:  What am I framing?

This is what was in the frame.  Probably not my first choice but it really does not look all that bad.

Maybe it should it be a mirror?

How about a chalkboard?  I could make my own chalkboard paint in a complementary green color using this recipe.

What about a gorgeous bouquet of flowers?

Or maybe this this arrangement captured from pinterest?

Would love to hear if you like one of these ideas or better yet, if you have one of your own you'd like to share.

I am linking to:   The Southern Institute
                            C.R.A.F.T. Making Monday Marvelous
                            Blue Cricket Design
                            French Country Cottage
                            A Potpourri of Life at 2805

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weigh in on Pinterest

Spending less time on pinterest is like going on a diet.  The more you tell yourself ice cream pinning is off limits, the more you are drawn to the refrigerator computer.
My solution is to call it something else.  Research is a pretty lofty, respectable word.  So my post today is about my research of old fashioned scales.

I can't say anything about what isn't on pinterest, but whatever I'm looking for seems to be there.  Isn't the color on this one great?

This one is a little different.  Alone it's cute but with the lucious looking cherries it's "over the top" darling.

Hard to tell if this scale really works as I doubt that rose weighs much.

Here is a quirky little number.  Wish I could find one like this.

This is pretty typical of the scales I have seen.

This one, however, is quite unique.

I think scales like these make the most charming kitchen accessories.

Cookies don't weigh as much as zuccini.  I think I should eat more cookies.

There is a point to all this research.

I am observing how these little cuties are photographed so I can photograph my personal scales.

Don't you think this one is enhanced by the blue in the background?

And this one with a little doily showing makes it...well, just more friendly.

Without the blue eggs this one might just look like a pile a rust with a needle.

Since this one is in such good condition, there isn't much to give it charm.  That's what flowers and the copper pot are for.

Because this one has a lot going on all by itself, there was no need to create a vignette.

So what have I learned from all this heavy researching?

First lesson:  More is a waste!  Edit, edit, edit.

I learned that close ups allow the scale itself to be the focal point.  Ok, maybe the photo in the frame takes a little attention.  It was taken by a photographer friend.  More of her work can be seen here.

With this one I was trying to get rid of shadows and convince myself that not everything gets to be in the shot.  (I found this one at St. Vincent De Paul thrift shop.)

I had to remind myself to stay focused.  I'm a little partial to the tray and those plums are fine looking and together they are great...but, it's about the scale.  I didn't exactly meet my goal here but, it is in the foreground even if one side is a little dark.

With this one, I edited out a couple props before I started shooting and I used the zoom right off.   This scale was a totally unexpected gift from a friend....the best kind!  Now for the last one.

This took some jumping through hoops to get the light where I needed it.

And in the end, I chose the one with shadows.  By the way, this actually is a scale to weigh pennies.   It looks like I have about $2 on the scale if I subtract the container.

For you accomplished photographers out there, my hat is off to you.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Addiction Friction

Have you seen that little red bar at the top of my blog?  It is responsible for hours of my life this past week that have disappeared without explanation.  Pushing this button allows me to slip into a magical picture world that indulges all my addictions. 

The second thing that has kept me from posting is that I am working on 4 new projects all at the same time and none of them are ready for a full post.

I found this one on New Year's Day.  Believe me (or wait for the full post), this was not an easy task to get it this far.  Horsehair, dirt, batting, dust, springs, twine and lots of tacks.  There are some surprises on this one that I'll share when it is finished.  I have not chosen the fabric yet so ideas are welcome.

This was a little easier to dismantle.  However, instead of tacks this one had really long staples and I still have a few to go.  I got impatient and started painting.  I do have the fabric for this one and the seat and the back are two different fabrics.  Can't wait to see it finished.

It hardly makes any sense to show the third one since I evidently forgot to take a before picture.  I cannot believe it, but it might be true.  I will keep looking but in the meantime here is the fourth one.

I started ripping this one apart and then remembered to snap an "in progress" shot. I don't have a name for the green paint as I adjusted it to fit the fabric.  No more clues! ( I would prefer the before shot at the top and the green one lower but after fighting blogger for awhile I gave up deciding you could figure it out.)

The third distraction is snagit.  My son installed this on my computer along with photoshop and I am thrilled!  However, there is a small hangup in that I don't know how to use either one.  Without divulging too much, let me say that computers came along after I hit the mid-century mark so mastering photoshop is a HUGE undertaking.  I decided to start with snagit.  I'm going to practice some of what I've learned here using pictures from pinterest.  (somehow that makes all those hours perusing other people's boards seem more legitimate or shall we say, useful.

Probably not the best choice for a blog on painted furniture but it got your attention, right?  Creating a ragged edge is probably the easiest technique on snagit, but getting this picture from snagit to my blog took me longer.  I did it once after listening to the tutorial.  Then, when I tried to do it again, I kept trying to add a step and it wouldn't work.  I guess I thought it should be more difficult and I definately made it more difficult.  (I have two chairs just like these and I'm trying to decide how to paint them.  I don't think they will be pink but then again, who knows.)  PS: The ragged edge runs up the right side of picture in edit but when posted it gets cut off.  So, another thing to remember when laboring over a photo in snagit... part of your labors may be lost in the published post
Some things here I meant to do like pointing arrows at the details on the furniture.  I also meant to blur what was on top of the dresser.  Somehow I got something else above the dresser and could not figure out how to remove it so I put the bubble over the top of it.  I know I'm going to love this tool once I figure it out.  Just for the record, this is not second nature for me so stop laughing. (By the way, that line over the word "work", I don't know where it came from and am choosing to ignore it for now.)

Nothing spectacular here because I can't show you all the possibilites I explored but have not mastered yet.  One day, I WILL make this tool work for me.  Thanks for sticking with me through this post.  This was my way of letting you know I'm not loafing when you don't see a post for week.