Friday, February 24, 2012

French Revival?

The nod toward French inspiration is everywhere lately. Eiffel Tower images, fleur de lis motifs and French script, text and phrases. I've always been a fan of the fleur de lis and have more of them than I'd like to admit floating around the premises however this French revival or influence has taken hold of me yet again.

I'm becoming a fan of fonts and text on decorative accessories such as throw pillows and table runners to name a few. Roman and Arabic numerals are WAY cool and have influenced a few of my projects lately too,  but back to "Le Francais".

Simple, one-word "phrases" in French are hip, cool and trendy. So, here's my first attempt at a "Frugal Tree-inspired", French "phrase".

Vertes = Green, as in "GO GREEN", ECO, Trees, Upcycling, Recycling, etc . . . 

A plain, reclaimed plate was given a boost of character with a stencil set, some Martha Stewart satin acrylic craft paint in vanilla bean (a great color!) and finished with some Valspar flat clear sealer.

I used a sponge brush to dab the paint into the stencil.  I wanted a distressed look so left some areas devoid of paint.  The matte clear-coat removed the previously shiny finish from the plate and gave it a look similar to stoneware - - - a bonus for that Old World feel.

Displaying some highly relevant, GREEN moss balls!

I made this for my shop but heck, I'm liking it so much I may have to make a few more (for myself!). Hmmm, what "Frenchy-words" shall I use next?

Sharing this at:
The Shabby Nest - Frugal Friday
Common Ground - Vintage Inspiration
At The Picket Fence - Inspiration Friday
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating - Flaunt It Friday

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Roadside Reclaimation

While driving home from running errands on Tuesday I happened upon a "roadside-furniture castaway". I did a quick drive around the block and pulled over to give it further inspection. I figured I would take it home as a project if it wasn't "too far gone".

A mobile, kitchen island with a broken/missing door, broken wheels, a banged up front mesh door insert and general grubby-greasiness. YUCK!

I plopped it into the bed of my truck and off I went, only 2 minutes from home, with a new project! (don't I have enough going on already?)

I immediately began working on it and cleaning it up (which took quite awhile).

I removed and cleaned all the hardware. I figured I could always purchase new hardware pending how well the current pieces cleaned up.

I removed the wheels and decided not to replace them with newer, functioning wheels, but to rather let it sit as a stationary island piece.

A new wire screen insert

The damaged door insert was removed and I began taking it apart to get the old damaged screen material removed. I pried off the wooden framework holding the screen in place (carefully), got the screen out and then cut a piece of mesh wire (like chicken wire, left over from my holiday topiary projects) to size and inserted it.  I got out the hot glue gun and ran a bead of it one side at a time, pressing the removed wood pieces back into place and sandwiching the new "screen" between. That came out rather well.

Wood "buttons" added where they were missing
A bunch of wooden plugs/buttons were missing so I bought a bag of them at the hardware store and glued them into place.

Various sized corks (available at hardware stores) create great plugs for wood furniture!
Where the second door went was an upper and lower bushing for the pin hinge. I popped out the bushing and was left with a hole. How to finish it off? Ahhh, a small cork will fit in just fine. I cut a small amount off so it would sit flush, added a bit of Elmer's wood glue and pushed it into place. Perfect!

Well, here it is, sitting in my kitchen. I'm probably going to sell it.  However, if I do decide to keep it, it will most likely get a black wash, distressed finish as the birch wood-tone is too light for the other woods in my kitchen.

Does it look O.K. with one door?  I think it sorta looks like it was meant to be. I like how the upper shelf is slatted. The grooves between each slat are perfect for bottles.

 All in all, a quick "up-do" that took about three hours and turned out quite well.

Sharing this at:
The Shabby Creek Cottage - Transformation Thursday
Somewhat Simple - Strut Your Stuff Thursday
The Brambleberry Cottage - Time Travel Thursday
House of Hepworths - Hookin Up with HoH Thursday
Happy Hour Projects - Freestyle Friday

Friday, February 17, 2012

Creating a Mini Topiary Accent

This past Winter, over the holiday season, I decided to make a topiary from grapevine for the entry. I actually made two and they are currently packed away, awaiting this year's holiday season. Yes, I liked them so much I know I'll be using them again.

I kicked around the idea of bringing at least one indoors to use year-round but they are a bit large so I decided against it. During a "thrift-hunt" I found some old, terra-cotta urns that used to house a candle. I've also been seeing a lot of faux-moss covered items such as stones, wreathes, spheres, etc trending in the decorating world and am liking that look quite a bit. It is especially appropriate for the welcoming of Spring with its bright green hues. Yes, I guess I'm thinking Spring a bit early but this wacky weather here in PA says "SPRING" today so we'll just go with it.

So with a small urn-type pedestal and a Styrofoam ball, I decided to make my own indoor topiary accent.


The urns were a bit blah and dirty so I cleaned them up and gave them a white-wash treatment over the charcoal base color.


The Styrofoam ball was from Dollar Tree and is 4" diameter I believe. The Spanish moss was also purchased there and is a great, green color rather than the gray-green hued Spanish moss that you typically see. They actually had numerous moss colors available at this particular location.

I painted the Styrofoam ball with a mix of green acrylic paints to mask the white color from showing through any gaps in the moss coverage to follow. Once dry, I applied the moss.

TIP: A two-pack of cheap, aluminum, rectangular pans are great for projects such as this and I reuse them over and over.

 In one pan I placed out a thin layer of the moss, working it out flat like a blanket (so to speak). The other pan was used for spraying the ball with spray adhesive. I wore latex gloves to keep the adhesive off my hands. After the adhesive got tacky (about 30 seconds), I placed the ball right in the center of the moss layer and began wrapping the moss up and over it. I then picked it up and began squeezing the moss tightly and pushing it onto areas of the ball that were showing through. I let it set-up a few minutes and then for extra security, I began wrapping the sphere (ball) with some thin, green thread. I spiraled it all around the ball a few times to help hold the moss in place.

Once done, I placed the moss sphere on top of the newly-finished urn pedestal. 
Voila! A decorative indoor topiary

I decided to go a different route with the second urn and turned it into a candle holder (which it sorta was to begin with), but this time with a glass insert to house tea-lights only.

I actually created more moss spheres yesterday in a smaller size which I'll be using in groupings so stay-tuned to see the outcome!

Sharing this at:
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating - Flaunt It Friday
Happy Hour Projects - Freestyle Friday
Simply Designing
The Shabby Nest - Frugal Friday
At The Picket Fence - Inspiration Friday
Common Ground - Vintage Inspiration
REDOUX - Friday Link Up Party

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Budget Bathroom Lighting Makeover

Gosh, where does the time go? Yes, I've been neglecting The Frugal Tree blog but not without good reason. The main website, Frugal Interior Design needed some attention and I've been busy working on projects for The Frugal Tree at Etsy. After a few, mini-snow "storms" and completing a few home projects, I decided I had better write a post before a Search-and-Rescue party ensues for yours truly.

So, what did I do this weekend? I finally decided to do something about the lighting fixtures in my bathroom. I'm almost embarrassed to show these images. Funny how we find time to help others with their "upgrades" but seem to neglect our own.

Out With The Old

Yes, there was a time when this lighting fixture was cool. Amazing how dated it looks to me now. A few years ago, all the fixtures in my bathroom were converted to an oil-rubbed bronze finsh. My bathroom has some semi-Old World charm. Does this say "Old World" to you? "Ummmm, nah, not so much!" It was the last remaining nickel finished item in the room; albeit, rarely noticed perched up high on the ceiling, but the blue shades? I was OVER IT!!!

I can't say enough good things about this paint's finish. I was truly amazed. It actually DOES look like oil-rubbed bronze. At $8+ a can, it better be good! I was on the fence as to whether or not I was going to do this (use paint) or just buy a new fixture. I saw a rather nice one with a bit more Old World Charm, especially due to the style and shades for a mere $40.00 at Lowes, but seeing as this is a "FRUGAL" blog, I decided to attempt the spray paint process.

Aluminum foil easily covered the sockets to keep them free of paint.

The bad part of the project? Ummmm, near 32 degrees outside with snow spitting and having to work in my basement. Now I hate spray painting inside. For safety reasons, I turned off the heat, opened a nearby outside door, bundled up and sprayed quick short bursts. The house still STUNK for hours despite my efforts. This spray paint definitely has a different odor than normal spray paint but hey, it looks WAAAAAY better than regular spray paint too.

Check out the likeness between the cap color and the lighting fixture's base.

The drying process seemed to take forever and I was so antsy to get the thing back up in place. While it was drying, I decided to work on another project . . .  the crazy vanity lighting (see below). The cabinets in this bathroom were hand-made and as such, things are a bit "customized" and sometimes, not in a way we would like. The two, giant, globe light-bulbs scare the crap outta me. I've disliked them since day one. No other lights would fit up into those sockets because the hole drilled through the wood is a bit on the narrow side and these MEGA GLOBES apparently have just a narrow and long enough neck to reach (lucky me).

Well, I recently have been fascinated with the nod toward "Edison bulbs".
Clear bulbs with a vintage look in which you can see the numerous filaments. I saw the one-and-only style available at Lowes and scrutinized the diameter of the neck. Would it fit? Yes, I could always drill the cabinet holes to a larger diameter but was I that ambitious? Not really, so let's give these bulbs a try. "YAY, they fit!"

A "Scary Bulb" (left), a new "Edison bulb" (right).
Now, what kinda of shade do I want? In a lot of the applications I've seen with these bulbs, you want to "show-off" the filaments and not mask or hide the overall appearance of the bulb.

Seeing as I've been working on projects lately that utilize reclaimed, rusty metal springs, I knew a "spring fixture" would be the perfect answer. After numerous trips from the basement (my work area) to the bathroom for adjusting the metal and the mounting points on my new "fixtures", We Had Success.

These pictures make it look a bit BLAH but I'm quite happy with the outcome. It definitely seems more "vintagey" and better fits the Old World influences and colors of the space.

I can't stop running to the bathroom every few hours to admire the new look. Guess those creepy globe bulbs that reminded me of Mr. Bill's head (see the "Scary Bulb" pic a few images above) had subliminally traumatized my psyche. I'm glad THAT'S over!

In With The "New"
Note, the Frosted White shades.  "Bye, bye blue."

So, for now, a spray painted track light and a rusty spring shade make things
"well in my world".

Sharing this at:
Coastal Charm - Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
At Home With K - Terrific Under Ten Tuesday
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Tuesday Treasures
The Brambleberry Cottage - Time Travel Thursday
The Shabby Creek Cottage - Transformation Thursday

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Scrap Metal Madness

I went scavenging for scrap or "raw materials" for my projects again and found this cool, wiggly, wavy metal that was previously some decorative fencing element.

See the pile amassed in my basement? I also found two heavy-duty iron stakes with a typical detailing that looks architectural. They have a great rusty, weathered patina too. I can't wait to figure out how to use these buggers. Anybody have a blow-torch I could borrow? . . .  (LOOK OUT!!!)

So in sticking with something a bit easier to handle, I decided to start working with the wavy metal elements. I cut them to a few different lengths, ground off the sharp edges with my handy Dremel and began laying out a pattern which I then affixed to a glass vase.

I placed burlap around the bottom of the vase before applying the metal pieces. I figured it would act as an anchoring material to keep the metal from slipping and sliding around. A bit of hot glue helped secure them in place and later, jute twine was added for extra security.

My latest candle holder incorporating scrap metal

I love the wavy, metal pieces. They kinda give it a modern feel. I guess you'll be seeing more "wavy metal creations" as I have a pile of that stuff to use up now! :-)


Sharing this at:
Funky Junk Interiors - Sat Nite Special
Nifty Thrifty Things - Nifty Thrifty Sunday
Rustic Crafts - Shabby Shares
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