November 26, 2014

Shop Update and Spider News

The Etsy shop I run with my Mom and Grandma has been chugging along, and I'm so thrilled that we made some great sales in our first month of being open again:


Some of my favorites were out the door first!  Every time I packaged something up I thought, "maybe I should have kept this?"  Our spendy new furnace has made it much easier to part with treasures, though...

In addition to the shop, I've held two Instagram sales.  For the first sale, a vintage hodge podge with enteraining goodies, I listed about 25 things and sold 10.  For the second sale, I listed just over 30 items (mostly Pyrex, some Fire King and Hazel Atlas) and sold nearly everything.  The women at the post office fought over who had to help me with my truckload of packages (1-2-3 not it!).  I've been so surprised by the underground economy of vintage selling/trading on Instagram - it's like the Wild Wild West over there.  It's nice, though, because you get to know sellers personally.  I've even bought/traded some vintage Pyrex that way.  But I do love Etsy.  I like being able to list lots of photos and pen supremely lengthy descriptions.  You might have guessed that I'm a bit chatty!  Plus, I downloaded the Etsy app onto my phone and I hear a little "Cha-CHING" when I sell something. 

I recently added some new listings to the shop and thought I'd give you a peek.  I like to make jobs more difficult than they need to be, so I've continued to try to list items in colour groupings.  It looks so good that way that I can't stop.  Behold my reds and greens:


Those green anchor hocking tumblers gleam like emerald!  I love those, but I think the mint condition red polka dot Fire King grease jar is my favorite.  The vintage medical jars are really neat and I'd love to see them in a vintage-inspired bathroom.  The red and white coffee set has the word "coffee" written in a bunch of different language, from Finnish to Spanish, French and German.  And no winter is complete without a fondue pot ;) - I saved the most incredible fondue recipe as a sweet surprise for the purchaser.

I also added some vintage jewellery, including some rhinestone stunners, a sweet pair of 14k gold half moon studs, and a really striking pair of enamel earrings in mint, gold, and black.  Perfect for holiday parties.


Finally, some exciting news (get ready to pat me on the head!): I've added three listings, each with bunches of my handmade Christmas spiders.  See them here, here, and here.  I've been meaning to list them on Etsy for years (I want to say 2011...), but I always sell out locally.  This year I started making them very early and set aside some for the shop.  I can't custom make them for Etsy buyers at this time, but for YOU folks I will happily make one in a certain colour(s), or snag one from my local inventory.  If you want one and don't see one that's perfect, just let me know (in the comments here, through Etsy convos, or feel free to email dans.le.townhouse@gmail.com) and I can send photos of more options. I can also use your zip or postal code to see if the shipping to you would be less expensive than the estimate - I offer this to anyone, for any listing.

Even if I don't sell a single one on Etsy (weep), I'm feeling really good because I've finally fulfilled a four year old goal.  I've been working on getting stuff done (as you might have gleaned).  No excuses, no more delays, and no distractions. 

Truthfully, it was a pleasure making extra spiders this year.  It was so relaxing to hunker down on cold days and just create - and not feel guilty about doing it (like I should be cleaning or doing laundry).  I also love a good excuse to binge watch Gilmore Girls (for the millionth time, but it's on Netflix now and who can resist?).  The process is kind of adorable.  I make the bodies first, so I have a big batch of these weird looking guys:



Then I bead the legs and they still look like little octopi until the legs gets formed and shaped into spider legs.


Hubby actually shapes most of them for me - he is eerily skilled at forming the legs.  Mine always look a little frightened and/or squashed, but his look so elegant.


I can't help myself, the photo below is just perfect for this: "get 'em before they're gone..."  


That's my shop update!! Take a peek at our Minden Shop here if you're curious.  Thanks so much for your encouragement and support.  I know some of you have even bought things, recently and over the years, and that's just so kind of you.  Thank you!  I never expect a purchase from readers, but it's really touching when I'm able to send a vintage treasure to someone I know here. 

November 24, 2014

Going for Gold

I'm sharing a furniture makeover today, and it's NOT aqua!  In fact, it's not any of my safe and favored colours - it's gold.  Gold and I have a weird friendship.  I love to wear gold jewellery (my gold charm bracelet is a staple).  I have mooned over many a gold-filled DIY project.  An art exhibit featuring white plaster and gold had me totally mesmerized.  When I came back from my second visit to Hungay, I was totally obsessed.  But I just don't love gold in my house.  I've tried: my framed agates have a delicate edge of gold.  That's okay.  But remember when I had a cute vintage print framed in a pretty, brushed gold frame?  Well, that ended up at my Mom's place, where the frame will look great with her original 1950s antique brass hardware (she doesn't like the print, but I think a photograph from our travels will look great - maybe in black and white).  I was sad to see it go - especially because the frame wasn't cheap - but it was just too much gold for me!!  Even though I appreciate gold, and love seeing it in other homes, in my own home I love the coolness of brushed nickel.  It complements the watery palette that makes me happiest, and just feels refreshing.

With all that said, I wanted to try a little gold spray paint.  I can sense you sighing, "she's so stubborn".

I had thrifted this vintage metal typewriter table for $2.50 and decided it might look cute in the computer shop I've been slowly helping gussy up.  Two chairs in their waiting area + a fancy coffee maker necessitated a side table.  I don't know why, but I decided this would be my chance to try gold spray paint.  Here it is before (I had already popped the wheelie feet off):


I actually liked the patina, but it was bordering on shabby.  And the computer shop owner detests shabby (remember the cute antique chair that was vetoed?).   


I scrubbed the table with Mr. Clean, then rinsed it and let it dry.  I used a fine grit sandpaper and lightly sanded the entire surface and then wiped it down again.  I removed the wheels (they just pop off) and carefully wrapped them in painter's tape.


Then I got to spraying, using Rust-Oleum Universal Metallic in Pure Gold.  This Rust-Oleum spray paint bonds well with metal and has a built-in primer so painting the table was easy.  This was another spray painting job I tackled in my Father-in-law's spray painting booth.  I am so ecstatic about the potential for cold-weather spray painting!!  Paint ALL the things...

I flipped the table over and did the underside first.  I let it dry about half an hour and then gingerly flipped it back to spray paint the top and sides.  The spray in any direction nozzles are so fabulous - how did we spray paint without them?  Also, these new formulas dry fast - I love that.


I have been doing my best to be a patient spray-painter: applying super thin, sheer coats and waiting a few minutes in between.  When we were out at my in-laws', chopping wood and painting, we brought Szuka and added her to my father-in-law's existing three dogs (one of whom won't play nice with anyone, and two that do hang out but can't be let outside together).  I was on puppy-patrol and was kept pretty busy letting them out individually for pee breaks and breaking up fights.  Paint a little, let a dog out for a pee, paint another coat, try to find that dog and lure it back inside, spray on another thin coat, let out another dog.  It worked well for me!  Being distracted is great for spray painting projects because it keeps me from sitting there, with a twitchy spray painting finger, globbing on heavy coat coat after coat.

Once done, I let it cure for a few hours while we had dinner.  Hubby's Dad said the finish looked so perfect, it's like it came from the factory like that!  He said it didn't look spray painted, which is a high compliment from a woodworker who knows his finishes.  Hubby and his Dad actually both like the colour, which was surprising because it's gold, which I thought they'd deem to be too "feminine".  This gold is pretty - it's not glam and glitzy, it's a subtle gold with the tiniest amount of gleam.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out and I reluctantly delivered it to the computer shop last week, but not before I snapped a few photos.



The finished product is not as yellow-gold as the lid, and I suspect that's because it was applied to a green-ish colour to begin with.  Had I primed with white, I suspect the gold would have been truer. 



This winter I'll be recovering the computer store's counter with Rustoleum's counter top refinishing kit (I'm so curious and just have to try it out) and then maybe I'll show you the shop.

For now, you'll have to take my word that it's such a cute piece of furniture for an otherwise modern computer store.   These typewriter tables seem to be a dime a dozen.  If you stumble across one for cheap, you might one to give it a little makeover.  If not gold, then perhaps one of these gorgeous colours? 

Visual Heart, Our Secondhand House, Design Dining Diapers

Thanks to Rustoleum for providing the product for this project.  I've been really lucky to be able to work with a great brand (a longtime favorite), who gives me total freedom concerning what projects I tackle, what products I use, when (or if) I blog about them, and how I write my posts. 

November 19, 2014

Salamander? Check.

Hubby and I tend to drag our heels a bit when it comes to projects around the house that lack a certain panache.  But we are motivated by saving money, so when our municipality offered a free landfill day, well, that lit a fire under our bums to get some things done (normally a truckload is $25).  It started with cleaning out the garage and tidying up around the property so we could take the opportunity to throw out/recycle all of the debris, but once we were in the zone there was no stopping us.  We replaced/added about half a dozen motion lights (now a squirrel can't even cross our property without being lit up like an opera singer), and put up driveway markers in the hopes that this winter I won't ditch the truck (again).  We gleefully stashed the lawnmower, but sadly serviced the snowblower, plus I got a refresher course in operating it (I do 50% of the snow removal, yay).  We were busy bees!  Shortly before free dump day we realized that we had a bit of room left in the truck, so we decided to remove the busted stairs leading up to the garage.  Hubby had acccidentally put his foot through a rotten step in the summer - it was in terrible shape and totally pointless. 

He tackled Project Stair Removal while I was giving our headboard a refresh.  We allotted ourselves a half hour to complete our respective tasks.  While it took me closer to an hour to spray paint the headboard and nightstands, Hubby realized he could just flip up and remove the entire set of stairs in minutes, instead of taking it apart piece by piece as he had planned.


He spent the rest of his half hour examining the salamander he found:


Once the salamander was thoroughly examined, we tackled a few more projects - propelled by the victorious feeling that accompanies a problem-free project.  Our gutters had been leaking all summer, so I asked my friends at Rustoleum if I could try some Leak Seal:


I tried to demonstrate the leaking in a manner that didn't involve me standing outside in the pouring rain (I think Hubby longs for the pre-blog DIY days when we didn't have to document everything):  


Happily, the Leak Seal - a flexible rubber sealant - seemed to work perfectly and it took barely any time at all to seal up the cracks.  Eagle-eyed Hubby had been keeping tabs on the gutters during rainy days and already knew exactly which spots needed sealing.  Next spring we want to add gutter guards because they get filled with leaves and cleaning the gutters is a weekly job, but at least they're no longer holey.


We were on fire, right?  I even started doubling up on jobs.


While we were splitting and stacking firewood at my father-in-law's, I absconded into his awesome spray painting booth and knocked out a few fun projects (photos soon!).  I also tackled one boring one: our doorbell cover was beige and stood out against our white walls.  A blast of Rust-Oleum's Universal Paint + Primer solved that problem!  I obviously love that this paint is formulated for plastic


I really wish I had painted to doorbell cover in the townhouse.  It always bothered me but I just never got around to it, not because I didn't have the time, but because it seemed like a totally boring project and so I avoided it.  It truly was a boring project, and I doubt you even spotted the difference in my most recent hallway post compared to the original reveal, but every day I notice the difference.  I'm so happy I took the five minutes to paint it.

Now
Before
Our to-list is far from complete, and now that we've discovered that all 202 episodes of The X Files are on Netflix I suspect our productivity will decline, but I'm thrilled that we tackled so many projects this fall that normally get eclipsed by more fun and rewarding projects, like making frames for paintings and rub 'n buffing hardware

A huge thanks to Rust-Oleum for providing the Leak Seal and Universal Paint + Primer (and thereby also providing that extra dose of motivation to get stuff done!)
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