Monday, January 30, 2012

Brassy to Classy: A Goodwill Story

So, I admit it.  I'm a sucker for cheap, cheesy, kicked-to-the-curb, seen-better-days kinds of lamps that fill the shelves of thrift stores across America.  And, yes, I've been known to buy a lamp even when I didn't need one because I just can't resist a good makeover candidate.  I found my latest one a couple of weeks ago among the sea of brass lamps at my favorite Goodwill & I knew it'd be perfect in my bedroom.  And for only $5, it was mine.

I decided to give it an antiqued silver effect, so I used 2 of my favorite sprays from my paint stash to get it done.  First, I did one light coat of the Krylon Premium Silver Foil Metallic...

Then, I took the same paint in gold & held the can around 24 inches away from the lamp & did a very light spray-over.  

It took very little paint to cover this thing, and the effect was a silver finish with some gold spotting, a lot like tarnished silver.  

As for a shade, I bought a plain white drum shade from Target & added a couple strips of silver ribbon with a little craft glue to dress it up a bit.

And another lamp gets a new life at my house.  

If you'd like to try a thrift store lamp makeover for yourself, here are a few tips:

  • Choose a lamp for its shape or size, not for its current finish.  Try to see past the present state it may be in & view it for its potential.
  • Check the wiring, socket & switch for any obvious problems.  You can purchase lamp re-wiring kits from Lowes or HD & replace the old with the new if needed (directions are provided on the packaging).  Otherwise, for myself, I never leave old lamps unattended while turned on, just to be cautious.  
  • As for the new finish, spray paints are the perfect option, especially for brass, because of the smooth finish they produce.  I don't even bother with primer on mine because I know they'll rarely be handled & the surface will stay nice.  For more casual looks, craft paints or other acrylic paints can be brushed on.  

Click here to see a few more of my lamp makeovers.  I'll be sharing this project with a few of these sites.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Experience, Part 2

Besides meeting the fun people involved with the show, one of the best parts of being on site was seeing the process of design from the beginning stages to the end.  And it's amazingly fast!  As I told you in yesterday's post, the rooms we worked on started as a concept on paper, then, with the contribution of many people, materialized into beautiful rooms within a few days.

A lot of the "magic" takes place in an area the crew calls "Art World", which is a makeshift workshop made up of a group of tents they set up surrounded by a few trailers which house the tools & supplies needed to make everything happen.  I got to hang out in this area a few times, meet a few people & watch how things are done.

The barrels behind me in the above picture were transformed into chairs by the talented people in Art World.  Look for them in the little boy's room when the show airs.

A few of the guys constructed this huge table for an outdoor area of the house.  At first glance, it looks like it's painted black & distressed, but as you can see in the picture, they actually burned the surface with a blow torch to get the blackened look.  After that, they wiped it down with cloth to remove the black charred dust & then went over it with a coat of poly.

There were all kinds of pieces of furniture & accessories being constructed at any given time in Art World.  I saw these old shutters lying around one day, & I knew someone must have a plan for them somewhere, and sure enough, I spotted them hanging in the entryway of the house later when the house was finished.

A couple of nights before the big reveal, my brother & I delivered a few more graphics to the job site...

And then we worked with Anthony as he made some brackets for their installation...

And although I can't tell you a lot of specifics about the different rooms, I can tell you that one of the rooms we helped with is for a 7-year-old boy.  It's covered in murals with a kind of "outdoor" theme & has a few interactive graphics we printed that are mounted to the walls as well.  (There are several little red circular things that go by the same name as one of our favorite stores we all shop at each week --and no, it's not Wal-Mart!)  So, when you see the show on TV around Thanksgiving, look for the little red "you-know-whats" & you'll know which room I'm talking about!  Don't you love how I'm wearing a hard hat to paint something in Art World?  You can never be too careful!

Another nice thing we got to do was bring our kids over to see the progress of the house from the VIP area one day.  Within 30 minutes, we watched a crew of around 30 people shingle the entire roof of the main house!

Inside the VIP tent, we were able to warm up a little & get some coffee & drinks.  The tent was beautifully decorated with fresh flower arrangements and gorgeous furniture and accessories from a local home decor store.  You would have never guessed this set-up was in the middle of a muddy, chaotic construction site!

I would really love to be able to show you pictures of the house after it was done, but obviously the show producers don't want to ruin the surprise before the show airs.  There are some really beautiful spaces, including the kitchen which has a large window in the front of the house.  There's also a gorgeous & unique playroom which is really more like a kids' library, complete with a reading loft & built-in bookshelves.  I can't tell you much more about it except that one of the children was adopted from Africa, so you can imagine what the theme might be...

Other than that, there is a lot of color in the house, like many previous Home Makeover houses.  The kids' rooms are the ones we provided some graphics for (the little girls' room is my favorite).  There are some great outdoor spaces as well.

Here's a sneak peek of the exterior just before the big reveal.

Don't forget to look for the show to air around Thanksgiving.  I'll remind you when the time gets closer!  Thanks for stopping by to read about my experience.  It was a great opportunity that I'll always remember.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that maybe they will bring the show back in the future so more people can share in helping build new homes for deserving families.  And maybe some of you could have the opportunity to be involved, too!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Experience, Part 1

I know I've kept you hanging for a few days {I took a little time off with the family & headed to Florida for a little break}, but now I'm back to reality & ready to tell you all about my fun experience with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Several weeks before Christmas, I found out about the show coming to our area, and my brother & I decided we wanted to be volunteers.  I was really excited about that, but then a few days before the build was scheduled to start, my husband got a call from a producer of the show, asking if his company would like to have a part in the build by providing wall murals and other specialty graphics for one of the rooms.  Of course, he said we would, and that's when the real fun started.

Dave then met & began working with a Design Producer named "Yogi", who is a major player in the behind-the-scenes designing that goes on when the cameras aren't rolling.  As you probably guessed, there are many people involved in the process of each build that are never seen on camera.

Yogi is a great guy who's extremely talented when it comes to extreme designs.  You may have caught a glimpse of this "submarine" room that he had a part in in one of the Joplin houses in the last episode.

{photos from}

See the portholes on the wall?  He told me he made those from outdoor thermometers from Lowes.  He removed the thermometer part, decorated the frame to match the decor, & added lighting & graphics behind them to make it look like a real porthole.  Really creative!

It was so interesting to see the design process, including how he started the concept for the room we worked on with a hand-drawn "white model" that he assembled from a plain white sheet of paper.  I wish I could show you more of it, but you can get a glimpse of it in this pic.

I probably drove him crazy with questions about the process & his part in it all, but he was very nice & put up with me & even told me about some of his projects & finds from previous rooms.  I found out the designers do most of their shopping in the area when they start a new build.  Yogi came to town 2 weeks before the family was announced to start shopping & picking for great finds.  

We met with Yogi at the build site several times during the week & saw all the action, but somehow I never personally got to meet the "faces" of the show that we've come to love.  However, it seemed like every time my husband went without me, he would run into someone & text me the pics...

 John Littlefield with my husband, Dave...

Picker Sister, Tracy Hutson, shooting a scene...

 And Ty, being interviewed by the local news...

By the time it was over, our company was able to have a part in three of the bedrooms.  It was great to be able to help out this family, and it turned out to be great exposure for our company as well.  Both my husband and my brother (who also works there) were interviewed by our local news on two separate occasions regarding the company's part in the process, which was just an added bonus. 

Overall, it was tons of fun.  Stay tuned, because tomorrow I'll show you a little more behind the scenes & tell you about my favorite part!

Friday, January 20, 2012

My EXTREME-ly Exciting Week

So, it has been an EXTREMELY exciting past several days around here & I've been thrilled to death to have the opportunity to be on the site of the last episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition!  The show chose a family in our area to be the recipients of their last home build.  Click here to read about this very deserving family that reaches out to single mothers and their children, offering them a chance for a better life.

As you would expect, I've got some fun things to tell you about, including who I met & the small part I had in it all.

The last regular episode of the show aired last Friday, but this episode of the show is going to be a 2-hour Thanksgiving Special, airing in the fall.  Such a long time to wait to see it on TV!  But, I won't make you wait that long to hear about my experience.  Stay tuned--in a few days I'll give you the 411!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baby Boy Necktie Burp Cloths

For all of you who thought the Sweet Treat Towels from Monday would be the perfect birthday gift for a friend, I have another little project for you that would make the perfect gift for a boy baby shower.  These little Necktie Burp Cloths use the same basic appliqué techniques as the towels, so even a beginner can easily do this project.

Start with some quality pre-folded cloth diapers, some fabric of your choice, and some Heat n Bond or other iron-on adhesive.

Next, make a 2-piece pattern of a tie, cutting on a fold to make it symmetrical.  

Following the instructions on the package, iron the Heat n Bond to the back of your fabrics and use the pattern to cut out the tie.

Then, peel the backing off the adhesive and iron the tie onto the bottom half of a cloth diaper.

Lastly, just sew a zig-zag stitch around the border of the tie.  You may want to use a contrasting thread color to get a nice outline for the tie.

That's all there is to it!  So, dust off the sewing machine and whip up a few of these for a sweet baby boy gift.  

Here's a little online shopping list for the supplies you'll need for this project:

I'll be sharing this how-to with some of these sites.