Friday, May 23, 2014

Telephone Bench Makeover

The antique store wanted $40 for it:  a heavy, well-built oak telephone bench with turned legs and a small storage compartment.  It had some nice detailed carving, too.

But the finish was pretty rough and scarred, so I haggled a little, and for $35 it was mine.  That's a bit more than I like to spend on a makeover piece, but I had a good feeling about this one.

Home to my basement studio it went, and I immediately painted it all over with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Pure White.

To make the carved detail stand out, I applied a coat of Paris Grey.  Then I used a bit of Duck Egg Blue to further bring out the carved medallions within the detail.

After the paint was thoroughly dry, I thinned down a dollop of Annie Sloan Dark Wax with some mineral spirits until it was the consistency of chocolate syrup, and I applied it to the piece using a natural-bristle paintbrush.

I brushed on wax in small sections and immediately buffed it off using an old cloth diaper.  Finally I applied a thin coat of clear wax.

And here you have the finished piece in all its made-over glory:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Arugula and Watermelon Salad

I really like recipes that are healthy.  And tasty.  And easy to make with just a few ingredients.  And economical.  And a little different.  And popular with my family.  That's not too much to ask is it?

This recipe is all of the above.  It's a great one to throw into the rotation when the family starts getting a little tired of the same old salad at dinner.  Or those times when you want something that looks fancy, but you just don't feel like making a fuss.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Kitchen Baskets

I began collecting wire baskets.  Some of them I bought at places like the Dollar Store and Wal-mart for a few bucks.  Some of them I picked up at the local thrift store for even fewer bucks.  Some were the wrong color and I hit them with a little spray paint.  (Oil-rubbed bronze to be specific.  Click here  to find out how much fun I had with that stuff.)

Then I began hanging these wire baskets on the wall of my kitchen nearest my cook top.

Now I enjoy the convenience of having many of the things I most often use in my cooking -- onions, garlic, peppers, potatoes, lemons and limes -- easily within my reach.  It's simpler for me to keep track of what I've got and what I need to replenish.  The food items, which do not require refrigeration, benefit from a little air circulation.  It's easy to see and remove anything that starts to look a little mushy.  The baskets are hygienic and easy to keep clean...

Honestly, need there be any better reason for mounting a wall of wire baskets in the kitchen?  Oh, here's one:  they're cute, too!  

It's really easy to do this.  Take any basket you want to mount on the wall, place a piece of masking tape along the top, and mark where you want the hangers to affix.  

Place the masking tape on your wall and adjust as needed.  Measure to make sure the marks are centered or positioned as you want them... hold up the basket and see if you like the way it looks in that spot...  use a level to ensure straight placement...  Basically, you can play around with the masking tape without marring your walls or driving yourself crazy.

Once you have everything positioned exactly the way you want it, then it's time to break out the hammer and nails.  Or if you prefer, use cup hooks.  They screw easily into the wall, and they hold the baskets a bit more securely than nails.

And voila!  Pretty and practical.

Here.  Have another look:

This post can also be seen at some great parties.
Check them out:
Real Food Wednesday
Freedom Fridays
The Creative Collection                                                             Nifty Thrifty Sunday   
DIY Sunday Showcase  
Busy Monday 
Mix It Up Monday