Monday, August 29, 2011

My Jersey Shore

When I think of the Jersey Shore, I think of home.  I don't think of MTV, fist pumping, or obnoxious people who aren't even from NJ who come down and get drunk and get arrested before they go back to wherever they came from.  I think of salt air and ocean spray, sea gulls and boardwalks, french fries and porkroll egg and cheese sandwhiches.  I think of sun tan lotion and hot sunshine, fisherman and boats, laughter and fun.   I lived at the Jersey Shore until I went away to law school in 2004.  All of my family still lives there.   When I go there to visit I still say "I am coming home."  So watching Irene hit NJ from the perspective of the media was a bit surreal. 

In DC we had quite a bit of rain, some heavy wind, a few downed trees here and there, and some people lost power for a little bit.  But nothing that I have seen in DC compares to the pictures from NJ.

(these pictures are from local newspapers, facebook friends, and family texted pictures - all slightly enhanced by me so you can see it better)

Ocean where roads use to be.

These are firemen in Manasquan, NJ, fighting a fire while waist deep in flood water.

Waves pounding on the fishing pier.

This one hurts - this was the boardwalk along Spring Lake, NJ, in front of the old Essex & Sussex Hotel (now a gorgeous retirement home).

Another shot of what remains of the Spring Lake boardwalk.

It was just washed away into the sea....

The ocean in Long Branch, NJ,  rushing through the streets.

This is a building where my father works in East Windsor, NJ - the water is halfway up the first floor of the building. (And to the right is my dad's thumb).

And he had two feet of water in his actual office.  (And there is my dad's thumb again.  You can see that my great picture-taking-skills are genetic). 

When it comes down to it though, these buildings and boardwalks are just "things", and can be easily rebuilt.  I am thankful that no one I know was hurt.

My mother was celebrating her birthday in Jamaica and was suppose to fly back into Newark Airport on Sunday.  Her flight was canceled, and now she has no idea when she can get back.  She was put on a waiting list and was told that it might not be until Thursday or Friday.   While I can think of worse places to be stranded, it isn't so great when you suddenly find yourself having to pay for an extra week of vacation!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bird Art for Less than $5 and 5 minutes

I am preparing for family visiting tomorrow, and I suddenly decided tonight that I just had to have a piece of interesting art on a small wall in my hallway.   I looked outside and saw some birds playing in my backyard, and was suddenly inspired to make this really quick and cheap piece of interesting art.

And here is the quick "how to": I got a shadowbox for $3.99 on sale at Michael's and an old Dictionary for $.50 at an estate sale.  I cut out the silhouette of a bird that I found online,  and used that as my stencil to cut out a bird from a page of the dictionary with "bird" definitions, such as "birdie" "bird bath" and "bird house."  I then placed a piece of velcro on the back of the bird and attached it to the fabric backing of the shadowbox.  I also put a small strip of the velcro on a twig, and put that under the bird.  Wah-la!  Quick, easy, cheap and interesting art!   I didn't even need the glue that is in the picture!

This was shared with:

Passionately Artistic's Linking Party
Saved By Love Creations' Thrifty Thursday
The Shabby Creek Cottage's Transformation Thursday
Hindrance's Linky Party
Finding Fabulous' Frugalicious Friday  (I love this name...)
Boogieboard Cottage's Masterpiece Monday
The Lettered Cottage's How To Linky Party

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I feel the Earth, move, under my feet....

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down .....

As many of you heard and probably felt today, we had quite the shake up in the DC area.  Its not every day that you are having a meeting with the Director of your office and you are screaming at him to get under the table.

The 5.8 earthquake made everyone in DC leave their buildings and mull around in the streets for a while trying to figure out what to do.  I was lucky enough to be able to get onto one of the metro trains that were in service and made it home, albeit at only 15 mph.  Hey, its better than walking.

I came home to find a very strange acting dog, a few things knocked over,  and a few crooked wall pictures.  Luckily, no one was hurt and I didn't personally have any damage.  Ill put some pics at the end of this post.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming ......

I picked up this really cute curved bench seat/ truck at Lucketts.  (I asked mi amiga what she would call it, and she said "a cutey patootey."  Lots of help she is).   When I purchased it, the owner of Lucketts told me that she had found it years ago, loved it, gave it a place in her home, and then had given it to her friend.  Her friend reupholstered the top, kept it at her home for a while, then sold it in her space at Lucketts.  Now, it is mine :)

My most absolute favorite part of this cutey patootey is the curves.  I love how the wood bends.  Its so unique!  She now has a home in Room #5.

And here is some of what I came home to today after the earthquake.  I am quite fortunate and grateful that there was no serious damage to my home and that my dog was ok (although he does seem a bit traumatized.  I can imagine the doggy therapist bill after this.....)

(disclaimer: I don't really take my dog to a doggie therapist.  Although he probably needs one).

This was shared with:

A Beach Cottage's Good Life Wednesday Linky Party
Southern Hospitality's End of August Thrifty Treasures

Saturday, August 20, 2011

All Hail!

It's been an exciting week around here .... not so much with DIY or anitques or decorating or vintage fantasticness, but with weather.

We've had quite a few violent storms run through the area.  On Thursday I heard this "thud thud thud thud" on the roof and thought : A) Santa got his dates mixed up, B) those little a$$&*@! lovely children down the street were throwing rocks on the roof, or C) the sky was falling, the sky was falling!

The answer ended up being C, the sky was in fact falling.  Chunks of ice the size of quarters and golf balls were falling from the sky, and pummeling my house, my car, and my flowers.

I immediately thought of the cute weatherman on my local news channel who always says "send me your weather pics and weather videos!"  So I started recording ......

(sorry about the F-Bomb).

This video has been on the local news all morning and night, and was posted on the Washington Post.  Plus, my weatherman crush friended me on facebook and has sent me emails. 

Now that I'm sorta famous, I am always alert, because I know the papparazzi is lurking behind bushes. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Few Of My Favorite Things: Chippy Distressed Frames

I absolutely love distressed, chippy paint frames.  I think that frames are just as important as the painting/ picture it is framing.  I particularly fall head over heels for frames that are made out of reclaimed wood from old window frames, door frames, or molding.   The result is there is not only a story for the picture, but also a story and a historical context for the frame.  I have found these frames at estate sales, yard sales, flea markets, antique stores, and specialty vintage stores. 

This is a picture my friend's mom sent her of a gorgeous tatting that was done by my friend's grandmother (didja follow that?).  The colors in this picture were so amazing that I just had to frame it.  The frame is made of reclaimed wood from a door frame of an old house that was torn down in the Georgetown area of Washington, DC. 

This pink frame is made from reclaimed wood from the same Georgetown home of the frame above.  I love the crackles of the paint.  I have not yet decided on what should go into this frame, so I used black and white decorative paper for now.   This frame is so distressed that it will actually give you splinters if you are not careful.

This frame, which was featured in one of my previous blog posts,  is one of my favorites.  I am not sure if I love the painting or the frame more.  The distressed paint gives it such an amazing texture!

This turquoise/ teal frame is also made of reclaimed wood from a window frame of an old home, and as a bonus it came with a picture in it.  Not only do I love the frame, but I also love the picture of these women on the beach, sitting on an overturned lifeguard boat and posing in their bathing suits with swim caps and high stockings.  When I look at this picture, I can FEEL how much fun they had this day!  


This small frame is made of reclaimed wood from a home in "Old Town" Alexandria, VA, and also is filled with decorative blue and white paper until I find the perfect picture/painting.  Honestly, it might stay like this, because the color and details of the frame are so eye-catching that it will likely overshadow anything I put in it. 

This is me when I was little with my great grandmother (or Nana Nana) on the porch of her apartment in Newark, NJ.  This frame has wooden embellishments that are worn down with the natural wood shining through.   This special woman deserves a special frame.

This frame contains a picture of me and my friend and sits on top of one of my bookcases in my reading room.   Besides the awesome pale green color of this frame, I love how you can see the grains of the wood and all of the wood's imperfections. 

This picture of me and my cousin Kortney is in a distressed white frame that has a design carved into the wood.  I love it (and I love her too!!). 

This frame is made from reclaimed wood from a barn that was torn down south of Denver, Colorado. The picture is of me and my brother during my college graduation in 2003.  He looks so young here! (And he'll probably kill me for talking about him on my blog ...)

This distressed frame holds a postcard of a Van Gogh painting that I purchased in an art museum.  Besides the distressing, I also love the flower wood embellishment on top. 

And last, but certainly not least, is this frame.  This frame holds a special place in my heart because my father and I made it together.  I found this painting next to a dumpster, and I knew with the right frame it would be a keeper.  My father and I found old molding and sawed, glued, hammered, and cursed our way through until it fit the canvas perfectly.  Then I painted it a base coat of green that matches some of the green in the painting, and painted white over it.  I then distressed it until some of the green showed through.  After a few blisters, the result was this frame and a special memory of me and my dad.

(Disclaimer: This painting is only temporarily on the floor while I move some items around).

And those are a few of my favorite things.   

This was shared with:

Common Ground's Vintage Inspired Friday (and she is having a great giveaway too!)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My very first "featured"!

My blog has been featured for the first time!  Yay!  I just did a happy dance around the room!  (and no, it was not pretty).

Mary from Boogie Board Cottage featured my repainted grandmother's hamper on her top 10 favorites of the week!  How cool is that?

High-five's are on the house tonight!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Antiquing Adventure 2011: Where to go? HELP!

Some people dream of going to Paris and taking romantic strolls through the streets while "La Vie En Rose" plays nearby.  Some people dream of going to Disneyland where they can live out their childhood fantasies at the happiest place on earth.  Some people dream of going to the Caribbean and soaking their feet in the soft sand and warm water.    But not me - I dream of getting dirty and sweaty while digging through piles and piles of forgotten antique treasures.  I dream big

(ok, so maybe I would LOVE LOVE to do any of the above, but since I can't within the next few months, lets pretend they are someone else's dreams....)

This fall I want to go on an antiquing adventure.  I am hoping to drive up to Maine for Thanksgiving, so I think that might be a perfect time to make a few side trips to some of the great antique stores in the northeast.

So here is my challenge to you, blogosphere.  Can you point me in the direction of awesome, amazing, cannot-miss antique stores along the I95 corridor between Washington DC and Maine?  I'd like to stay within half an hour of I95 if possible.   Being able to antique in every state between here and there would be great!

I have quite a bit of time to plan for this, so your any input over the next few months is greatly appreciated!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Repainting my Grandmother's Furniture *gulp*

When my grandmother passed away, one of her belongings that I acquired was a little wooden hamper that stood at the top of her stairs and held all of her art supplies.  It was small and (somewhat) easy to transport 1800 miles across the country to where I was living in Denver (if you happen to know someone who is driving across the country, like I did), and most importantly it reminded me of her.

Now this thing was beat up, scratched, and didn't match anything that I had.  But I loved it, because it was my grandmother's.  For six years I have used this as a side table and it holds my sheets, linens, table runners, etc.   I have always been afraid to re-paint or re-finish it, because I didn't want to ruin it.  Also, I have this vague memory of my grandmother telling me that her father made it.  My mom says my grandmother bought it, but I like the romantic notion that someone in my family MADE this piece, and now it is mine to love.  (If anyone in my family is reading this, don't burst my bubble!)

When I moved into my new home, I decided to be brave and paint it.  What is the worst that can happen, right?  If I don't like it, I can strip it and paint it another color or stain it.  As long as I still have the bones of the piece, it will be ok, right?  RIGHT?! (here is where you assure me that I am not making a catastrophic mistake!!)

Here is the before:

You can see how scratched and dated it was.  The front drawers are fake drawers, and the top opens.

Here is the during:

I removed all of the hardware.  Since I was going to be painting it two colors in hopes of achieving that "french cottage two-toned look," I taped up the front "drawers" using frog tape - which was a freebie from Miss Mustard Seed at the Luckett's Spring Market.  I was impressed by how easy the tape was to use and how it withheld under the paint.

Here it is with just the Old White Chalk Paint, before I painted the drawers.

I had planned on replacing the knobs because they were pretty grungy, but I realized that with a little goo-gone these things shined up to be quite cute.  Plus, they had "Japan Porcelain" stamped on the back, and they began to grow on me.

And here is the after:


I like how you can see the some of the slats of the wood through the paint.   I placed a simple clear based lamp on it, a silver gravy boat filled with Gardenia scented silk white flowers, and an old fashioned clock.

I chose these two colors (Annie Sloan's Old White and Louis Blue, followed up by clear wax) because there is quite a bit of white and blue in my guest bedroom (or Hotel Room number 5).   Not only is there white and blue in my comforter, but there is also....


...... this little painting with a chippy blue frame, which I am IN LOVE with.


And this blue chair with killer legs, and the vintage-y map of Paris monuments above it.

In the end, I am happy with the transformation, and I do not think my grandmother is rolling over in her urn.  :)

This was shared with:

Boogie Board Cottage's Masterpiece Monday
Passionately Artistic's Linking Party
A Beach Cottage's Good Life Wednesday Linking Party
The Shabby Creek Cottage's Transformation Thursday
Perfectly Imperfect's Linky Party
Common Ground's Vintage Inspired Friday
Saved By Love Creation's Thrifty Thursday Blog Hop

ThriftyThurs Thrifty Thursday Week 35

Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Friday

Furniture Feature Fridays

WhisperWood Cottage's Authentic Style Series