Friday, December 17, 2010

Let there be LIGHT!

Let there be Light! New Star Lantern hung in my Dining Room.

From my spot on the couch as the TV blared in the background I could see the dining room starring me down...peaking from behind the french doors were the ceiling hooks, extension cords, light kits and paper star lanterns I'd purchased 3 weeks ago from Pier1 and there they sat...still just begging to be hung. My dog Monte, cast a look of disapproval from the floor, over the laziness I'd been exhibiting over the past few nights and it was at that very moment I hopped up threw on my "work" pj's and comfy boots and got to work.

If you remember from my previous posts I've been frustrated with the lack of light in my dinning room. I have a table lamp, floor lamp, and wall mounted light fixtures but no overhead light. Thus entered the summer solution  : Tissue Paper Pom Pom Ceiling Sculpture . Much to my families dismay this seemed to be to NO ONES liking or design taste but my own.  The critics have won for now.

This is about the most boring picture I've ever posted!
First I needed to find some sturdy white hooks to mount from the ceiling. The plan is to change this light fixture out throughout the season so I needed something that could change and move as my ideas changed...constantly. Next with a little table dancing, staple gun in hand, and a heck of a lot of force, I managed to get about 15 staples into my Plaster walls and down the side of the door to hold the cord in place. I plan to go back and paint the staples white, and the cord green where it meets the painted walls, but for now...from the couch in the other one can see how the light is held in place!
A little hodge Podge for now but in time it will look great.
Naturally, like every project I do, there seems to be a hiccup. You'd think it was when I fell off the table and landed on the side bench...but no.  It was the fact that the light cord was all of 18 inches short from reaching the outlet.  Alas an extension cord was used and with one final shove the most beautiful light blanketed the room.

Ignore the mess below. I HAVE LIGHT! :)

I had planned to hang other lanterns but it looked too cluttered after 2 hours of messing with them, I ripped them down and went back to the original ONE. A few other pics of my Christmas tree, garland, and holiday decorations follow.  Just need to get the X-mas presents wrapped and under the tree and it will really feel like Christmas. Now back outside to shovel my 60 ft of driveway and truly enjoy home ownership and the wonderful Iowa winters! Next year I'm asking for a snow blower!

View from the Family Room into the Dining Room.
Garland over the Stair Banister.

Detail of the decorations on my X-mas Tree! Purple and Silver!

The tree and all of it's trimmings!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Studio Redesign

In the spirit of the holidays, guests staying over, and the cold weather that has forced me to be cooped up inside I've been rethinking how I have my studio arranged.  The space was working for me...the mess that it was - I'd just close the closet door after shoving a "few" things away and all was good to the naked eye. It had minimal furniture given that the expensive sofa sleeper I'd purchased 5 months previous had been sitting in the garage just waiting to get wet and molded until I moved it to the guest room. So this past Sunday was the day. I'd spent all morning "organizing" and "cleaning" preparing for my reluctant Father to come over and help me move the beast of a sofa sleeper up the stairs. Once he arrived he helped me realize all I'd really done was take everything out of said closet and creatively scattered it all over the interior of the room. The space actually looked much worse then when I'd started.  Isn't that usually how it has to get bad before it can get better?? To show you what I mean check out the mess below...and Mom when you read this I know my closet was a mess - I'm a pack rat it's true! My sister would cringe that everything isn't labeled in see through boxes with an Excel document telling me what row or column to find the items in....
Studio when I moved in...

(Studio kiln area BEFORE)
(Glass Cutting Desk that needed to be moved into the closet.)
(Dear lord...this was the closet...yelp)
Alright so before you go judging I have to say the closet is pretty big about 8'x5' and it held a lot of stuff...too much stuff....WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. My plan was to organize as I cleaned and I just needed to get things put away and make more space to have the convertible sofa fit in the main area...this part of the closet clean out and re-organizing started over a month ago- THIS is what my Dad walked into on Sunday:
(I swear I'm not a hoarder...)
But...and a big BUT - after the closet looked great and was ready for all of my glass cutting items to be moved in! :)
(Who knew it was so BIG?!)
After a little bartering with my Dad when he arrived I convinced him that since he didn't have to help me hang Christmas lights he should probably do his fatherly duty and lug the convertible sofa up the stairs. He was not very excited about this plan considering the last thing we moved upstairs together was the 200 lb desk for the studio, during that debacle my Mom had to intervene because we both thought we knew the best way to throw it out the window out of frustration...

The sofa proved much less of a hassle and without further ado here is the studio in its new form. I still have work to do on the space inside the closet and over the kiln, a few shelves to hang and lighting to mount but I'm way too excited to wait another 4 months to post these pics (I know how long it will take me to buy screws to mount the other stuff).  One more project crossed off the list. Check out below!
(Who wouldn't want to sleep on this thing!?)

(This white night stand used to be my grinder table)

($30.00 - 200 lb Desk and Craft Area, $5.00 retro green chair)
(Desk Top - Chicken Scratch Studio)
(This door leads to the closet where my glass cutting table is - to the right is my kiln.)
(Through the closet door.)
(The rug says, "Sorry for the texts last night!" hehe)
(I think I'll take a nap! Night)
For anyone wondering my next post will be all of my Christmas decorations, and removing the "clown" of a light fixture, AKA my tissue paper chandelier, to replace it with silver hanging stars! And here's to hoping I get that posted before Christmas!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A 1950's kind of Halloween

Every year I start to think about Halloween months in advance. Heck, I decorated pumpkins the first week of Sept. - ha - I get excited about the Holidays because it means a lot of fun things to craft and projects to complete! So as I milled over in my mind what I could possibly be - in usual Erin fashion 5 days before the Holiday I decided a 1950's House Wife. I'm a big fan of the show Mad Men, and love the 1950's style but also love being frugal so to my closet I went!

Odds and Ends from around the house!
From my closet I pulled a 3 year old Lime Green dress that I bought at Von Maur for $30.00, wore once and received so much grief at the office I never wore again. One of my favorite Black and white polka dot Summer skirts, and a favorite pair of wedge peep toe black shoes. Also a flower brooch I had just purchased at Forever 21 for $2.99 and wore to a wedding once.  I hit up the Halloween store to find the 1950's glasses for $5.99, and after a late call to find a time my Mom could help me sew later in the week - I knew I would raid her closet as well!

Once to my parent's house my Mom and I dug around in the basement closet to find the petticoat I wore as a 1st grader when I was dressed as Cinderella.  How this slip and tulle fit over my behind 20 years later - I have no idea but I'm not complaining! My Mom raided her 1980's jewelry box to find some perfect clip on black earrings, black ball necklace, and matching bracelet, and the final touch, a last minute guest room drawer find - a black and white polka dot head scarf! To work "we" went!
Mom taking the dress hem up about 10 inches!
I'd already practiced my hairdo after watching a 10 minute video on Utube for 1950's hair styles. The eye make up I took cues from a 1950's pin up poster, now the outfit just needed some updating! My mom adjusted the hem line to bring it up about 10 inches - the original dress was shin length. Then we added a thick ribbon band to the Polka dot skirt top and pined it to sew it shut to make the apron.
Cute picture mom - Working Hard!
Around 10pm we finally made our way to the sewing machine. I sat across from my Mom and helped give her direction on what she was doing right...and wrong :). Monte helped too!
This was motivation to keep working around Midnight!
Mom was NOT impressed with our Shenanigans :)!
After the minor adjustments the outfit was ready - and perfect! Mom's sewing skills proved to be excellent as always! It brought back memories of me being sewn into a fuzzy pumpkin ball as a child, or my sister standing on the kitchen counter while mom sewed her into her snow white costume! Or begging for weeks to be SUPER WOMAN, and then wearing the outfit to bed every night for the next year - truly believing I was super human!

Not really sure why Mel was always a creepy clown...I don't remember this at all.

 The outfit turned out awesome, and worked perfect for the night. My girlfriends and I made the Local Gazette and News Station Website for Halloween photos - what a blast! I even ran into my friend Josh who made his costume from stuff in his kitchen. He rigged his pockets with battery packs and wrapped his legs in Christmas lights to make the perfect Homemade Tinfoil Robot! And to end the night Michael Jackson came back from the dead to do some moon walking - what a great night! Til Next Year!
The girls before going out - Cowgirl, 50's and Kitty KT!
Monte in his Halloween Costume!
Josh the Homemade Robot and Homemade 1950's!
Erin :"Do you know how to moon walk?" Brit: "No - but I know how to move backwards!" :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Glitter and Sweat pants!

After my initial purchase of far too much pumpkin decorating materials I asked some of my girlfriends if they'd want to come over and use up the remains.  They were all super excited for a craft night - as was I, and a potluck - pumpkin extravaganza was planned. The menu was a little mixed, warm bread with butter and Strawberry vodka drinks to start, salad, dips, and crackers for an appetizer, and personal pizzas, cheesy macaroni, and green bean casserole for the main meal. Chocolate cake with sprinkles for dessert, and we were all very full!

Spray Paint Everywhere!
Our first plan of attack was to spray paint the pumpkins black.  Little did I know a spray painting lesson would follow because I guess some people have never painted pumpkins before :). Then I had to include a photo op with my new partner in crime : Monte!

Next we took our mess inside and with a few black fingers later, had our pumpkins on the table and ready to be decorated! A few more lessons were learned about push pins and ribbons, glue guns and furry boas but we all had our own ideas and the pumpkins were coming together perfectly!
Working Away.
I took a little break to let my paint dry and get Monte to try on his new Halloween Costume.  He decided at Pet Smart that he wanted to be a blue metallic alien, and so it was! He really hates wearing it, however I managed to keep it on him long enough to capture one good pic!
After all the food had been consumed and we were all begging for a pair of sweatpants we posed for one final picture with our beautifully spooky pumpkins! Plans are in the works for a Christmas crafting just what to make!
So cute!
My finished mirror ball pumpkin!
After I told my parents about my pumpkin decorating party my Dad was very interested in getting some help on a work contest. He'd signed up to compete against his fellow coworkers in a challenge to design a mini pumpkin.  Each employee was given a name and something that person liked to do, and they were supposed to design the pumpkin around that word.  My Dad got a guy and his word was "running".  So inspiring...I know.  My Father passed it off to me and Mom to take over the reigns and win the competition.

He looks like he's frowning!
A trip to the dollar store produced a wonderful find, one month old sized Red tennis shoes. Perfect! A sweat band, towel, dumbbell, coat hanger legs and arms, googly eyes, knee socks and Red tenni's later, we had a Runner that would make any employee proud.
Why so serious? :)
I think I'm pumpkin'd out. However I'll be doing some work on my 1950's Halloween costume tonight and working on my perfecting my 50's hairdo for I'm sure some fun photos will follow!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Steal my heart with Wine and Happy Trees

This is a vintage "Spumante" Poster from the 1800's
Many of you who know me, could attest to the fact that I'm not a very good drinker. A few sips of this or a glass of that, and I'll tell you my life story...who are we kidding, I'd tell anyone my life story any time given the chance :)! Bottom Line, I don't venture past my comfort zone of a few glasses of wine every now and again. My first, and favorite wine of choice, Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante, is the perfect mix of fruit, fizz and flavor. Not that any of this really matters or has relevance to my blog, but I felt as though it was needed as a little back story. The word "Spumante" in Italian means, foaming, bubbling, or with fizz.

Thank you PBS for this Image it's a beaut!
Secondly, growing up I had a secret obsession, that obsession I'm embarrassed to admit, was the one and only BOB ROSS. I'm not sure if my attraction was to his ill fitting high waisted pants, his perfectly picked out white man's Afro, or possibly the way he ever so sweetly would whisper the words, "happy little tree" while he painted, but I was IN LOVE! Every afternoon my sis and I would find a seat, flip on PBS and relax to the sound of Bob's voice and the whistle of his brush as it kissed the canvas. To this day I have a warm place in my heart for that furry haired man and often find myself searching the landscape for "Happy little Trees".

You may be asking yourself at this point, "What in the heck is she getting at here?" Well, here's the deal. I'm picking up my new puppy today, and have spent much time agonizing over the perfect name for such a cute little pooch.  As of last night I would have bet money on Finnegan, because I was bound and determined to make this dog Irish...At 9AM I had my heart set on Bologna or Linguini because both were just goofy and fun...and now with only an hour to spare I'd narrowed it down to my top 3. Atticus Finch or "Atti" for short finished a close 3rd because "To kill a Mockingbird" is my all time favorite book. However I would like to introduce to you the newest addition to my family:

"Monte" for short!

I love the name Spumante. But absolutely adore the shorter version Monte...and the dog just looks like a Monte. Not having the heart to let B. Rossi (Bob Ross) suffer from total name rejection, I decided it made a perfect middle name. VERY Italian sounding! So in conclusion, Irish was the goal but Italian was the outcome...and in the word's of the one and only Bob Ross, 

"We're gonna make some big decisions in our little world."

And getting Spumante B. Rossi is one of them! :) More pics to follow, trust me I've already purchased a ton of unnecessarily cute stuff including a metallic blue alien Halloween Costume!! 

Update: this is after I picked him up! :) He's been such a great boy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No Cable or Internet Monday night Madness!

It's funny how often I rely on TV for entertainment.  I wouldn't consider myself a big TV watcher but their are certain nights I usually find myself curled up watching the usual crafting show, or the food or remodeling network...and yes my guilty pleasure Jersey Shore, or the Buried life on MTV.

After arriving home last night and making dinner, I flipped on the tube and to my dismay the cable was out. After placing a "very pleasant" call to mediacom I looked around the place to see what else I could possibly do with my evening.

First things first. I cleaned the kitchen. This is a terrible habit I have learned from my Mom, and nothing eats at me more then a dirty kitchen or eeek a filthy sink! After that was done I took the remaining bench outside from the dining room table I had yet to paint and put a few coats on that.

While it dried and the cable still remained out, I began to think...what else can I do! And of course the dying flowers from my 3 week old bouquets called out to me. I love making flower arrangements so off to the kitchen I went to re-arrange the old to make new!

Love the colors! So Bright!
After these were complete I still felt the need to make more things...and my paint was still drying. Onto the hideous smoke detector that has been bugging me in my dining room for months. I have no central light in that room, so the ceiling is a cavernous void of white. Solution : Tissue paper pom pom chandelier....sounds like a great idea! :)
About an hour later I had 10 pom poms together and strung from the smoke detector. I'm pretty happy with the results, and think I'll change it to fall colors here in the next few weeks! Check it out below!

View from the floor!
View standing on a chair :)
Doorway view!
Eating at the Table View!
One final shot! So happy the ceiling has color!