Monday, October 31, 2011

Today's Show and Tell

Have you ever seen one of these before?
I'd heard about them, but I'd never seen one.
I haven't been able to find much information on them (just the patent), but someone told me that these used to be placed in different areas around town or in factories, and the town marshal or a watchman would stick a key in the bottom and that would tell their supervisors that they'd been there and everything was fine.
(Hannibal Lector actually mentions them in one scene in Silence of the Lambs. Don't ask me why I remember that. I'm full of useless trivia.) 
It was just one of those weird things I found and I wanted it. I don't know why.
I think I'll stick it on a wall someplace. No one can ever find the fingernail clippers, so maybe that's where they'll go. 
I found some of these awhile ago, too.
They're nails that used to go in the ends of railroad ties. They stopped using them about 40 years ago.
I heart them. 
Again, I don't know why. 
And I don't know what I'll do with them. 
But they were cheap and too cool to pass up.

So that's it for today's show and tell! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guest Post~Going A Little Coastal

Today's guest post is brought to you by Anita from Going a Little Coastal. She's funny, she's nice, she's creative
(her fabulous craft room)
what's not to like? I hope that someday, I can meet her in real life.

Hi!  I’m Anita and I blog over at Going a little Coastal.

I'm so glad to be here at Meridian Road. Suzanne and I started blogging around the same time and we made an instant connection even though we are many miles apart.  She is in the country and I’m near the coast but yet we both gravitate to the same style. And I’m always jealous of what she finds in her neck of the woods.

I used to decorate a lot for Halloween. But now my kids are bigger and there is no one here to get excited about it. I sort of miss that. But I wanted to do a little something so I came up with these candle covers. Some for Halloween, some for Fall.

halloween candles copy

I had the supplies on hand. I did run out of the double stick tape.
Always the case around here when I decide to start something.

The tall clear glass candle holders were picked up from the thrift store. Straight sided ones make it easiest. The short ones are empty Glade candles. I couldn’t just throw out the glass holders.
And I’m addicted to the apple and cinnamon one so I have quite a few.
They are frosted and the sides are not quite straight. Made it a little harder to wrap but not bad.

supplies copy

I found the graphics online. The Halloween ones are from
Here are the links for the bats and the black cat.

The words I just made with photoshop elements. But you can use any word program.
I’m getting addicted to collecting fonts.

halloween candles2 copy

Some tips when working with vellum. 
Set your printer to fast or however you make a quick copy so that it uses less ink. 
It will dry faster. 
Also, make sure you have clean hands as it does pick up oils easily. 
Even from the candles, as I soon learned.

halloween candles3 copy

I think they turned out pretty cool. The taller one does need a taller candle. 
I just have those little metal covered votives in them. Or you can use the battery operated ones.

fall candles2 copy

I tried out the Fall trees in color. 
It doesn’t show up quite as well but still gives a bit of color and a soft glow. 
The fall leaves came from  

fall candles copy

They are easy to swap out to other designs because there is just a strip of the double sided tape holding it together in the back. They would look great on the Thanksgiving table or even across the mantel. 
And the design options are endless.
You know what would look cute? 
One letter on each votive. 
Maybe something shorter. 
I don’t think I have that many votives to spell Give Thanks!

halloween candle before copy

Here is what they look like during the day.
Pretty cute.

fall candle before copy 

But the glow you get from them at night is even better.

fall candles3 copy

Thanks so much Suzanne for letting me hang out here with you today!


I LOVE the look of those candles! Aren't they pretty? You gave me some ideas for Christmas, too!
Thanks, Anita!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Things I Want To Make

One of these beds. Because I've never seen anything even remotely as interesting in a furniture store.
A light sort of like this one. Because it looks so doable. And because I like it. 
La Cage Chandelier
This ottoman. Because it would look great in my living room, on casters. And because I love it. A lot.
Pinned Image
A cabinet out of an old window.
Because I love the look, and I have an embarrassing amount of old windows.

 And one of these. 
Or one like this.
play kitchen
Because they are so stinking adorable, and because by next year, Claire will walking and talking and playing house!

What's on your list of things to make?

P.S. Sugar beet harvest will be over by the end of next week! Yay! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Guest Post~Primitive & Proper

Today's post is brought to you by the incredibly talented and completely genuine
Cassie from Primitive and Proper

I am so excited to be here today at one of my very favorite blogs!  Suzanne is one of the sweetest people out there, and over the last year or so, I have gotten to know her well.  I think that she and I could hang out in real life, sipping wine in our slippers and be great friends.  And if you want to put on your slippers and have some coffee or wine with me, then by all means join me at my blog, Primitive & Proper!  I am Cassie, and I blog about furniture rehabs and painting, home decor (and much more of that coming soon!), diy projects, and crafts, too!  I wear my heart on my sleeve.  What you see is what you get, so what you read on my blog, well, that's the real me.
Suzanne asked me a month or so ago to be a guest for her.  I had hoped that by the time I wrote this post I would have a new house I was decorating, but things have been delayed, so I am sharing an old project with you.  Sorry!  But hopefully it will be new to you!
Last Fall, some friends and I congregated at my house for our monthly Wine & Design, a get together where we craft, and share yummy snacks and beverages!  The theme was Fall Banners, and I chose to make a Halloween banner.

Here is how you do it...

Package of silver glittered chipboard letters
Tacky glue
Silver glitter
Pearly Linen look cardstock (about 4 or 5 12" square pieces)
Black Raffia
Coffee Filters

1. Bring a 6 qt saucepan about 3/4 full of water to boil. When it boils, add 3 or 4 tea bags and remove from heat. I used Orange tea which game my filters a slight orange tinge. Drop in your coffee filters (one per each letter of what you are spelling) and let them sit in the water about 10-15 minutes. Using tongs, remove tea bags from the water and lay out flat on parchment paper to dry. I allowed mine to dry overnight.
2. Cut circles out of cardstock. I used a bowl to draw a circle on the backside that was about the right size to fit nicely in the filters. Cut a circle per letter. Glue each circle into the center of each coffee filter.
3. Glue glitter letters to center of each circle.
4. Using glue, draw a circle outlining the seam of the cardstock and coffee filter, and glitter the glue, shaking off excess, which can be reused! Allow that to dry overnight.
5. Flip the coffee filter pieces face down, and make sure you have them in the right order (opposite as it will be facing down, so like a mirrored reflection). Cut rectangular pieces of the leftover cardstock, and one by one, put glue on the backside of each filter, place your piece of raffia along the back of the filter, and sandwich it with a piece of cardstock. Place something heavy on top to weight it down for good adhesion. I used jar candles. Allow to dry.
6. Hang your banner and admire your work!
Because mine is on our railing and there isn't ample room I couldn't get a great picture, but it says "Happy Haunting".

Suzanne, thank you so much for having me here today!  I hope the rest of you will come over and join me on my new house adventure!  It certainly will be a piece of work, and by the time you read this post, I will be living there, and hopefully through most of the unpacking. :)  If you want to come see our new house out in the country, just click on my button and meet me there!
Happy Fall and Happy Halloween!TO

Thank you, Cassie! What a fun fall banner! 
Cute and classy.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Clock, Part 2

Here she is.
(And here is Part 1, in case you missed it.)
All done up!
(I'd never considered 2's to be especially difficult numbers~until now. How do you know if they're straight? They looked off no matter how I positioned them, so after 937 tries, I had to just leave them. I was running out of places to put the screws!
The other numbers were easy. Measure and screw into place. But the 2's were a pain.)
But there she hangs. 
(Over the only piece of furniture in the house that sticks out like a sore thumb. And that I will never, ever get rid of. Why? It's a massage chair. His name is Lars, and I love him. He's staying. Sit in that chair once, and you'd love him, too.)
I found the clockworks and hands at Hobby Lobby. 
(Or, rather, my husband did. He went to Boise for a seminar while I weighed trucks last Friday. He said he was the only man in the entire store. I don't think he was exaggerating.)
The hands were black, but I spray painted them with this.
I kind of like the uneven, mottled look.
It goes with the numbers. There are a few things I wish I'd done differently. I wish I'd said "Wall space be da##ed!" and made it huge. 5 or 6 feet across. It wouldn't have ever been a working clock, I don't think. I didn't find any hands that big when I was looking. But it would have been cool.
And I kind of wish I'd gone with brass screws. I they would have been fun with the silver numbers. I still might change them.
But overall, I really like it! 

Thanks for reading!

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guest Post, The Sherlocks' Home

Today's guest post is brought to you by Sara from The Sherlocks' Home. She's frugal and creative and has some great tips on her blog. She also does some really cute digital creations, which are FREE! 

Hello!  I'm Sara from The Sherlocks' Home - another blogger out of Idaho.  I grew up in a small Idaho town, and really wasn't crafty or arty as a kid.  I much preferred reading a book, playing (falling) in the creek by our house, or hanging off the monkey bars, than anything that involved sitting still and focusing.  Fast forward several years, and I'm a 30-something wife with five stepkids and a passel of grandkids with lots of requests, and a home to decorate.  Sometimes I wish I could have a redo and learn all of the skills I'm learning (and chronicling) now, at an earlier age!

Suzanne was THE first person to stop by my blog when I started writing about my home and craft obsessions. I was absolutely tickled when she asked me to guest post for her - especially when she specifically requested a post about cookie decorating, which I only started doing a couple of months ago.  The whole process does take some time, and can seem daunting, but once you get started, this becomes an addictive hobby!

Today I'm going to show you how I decorated the pumpkin cookies in the photo above.  There are a lot of photos showing the steps, and if you need to see more detail, click on the photo and it will bring up a larger size.

The things you'll need: your favorite roll-out cookies - cut in pumpkin shapes (I used a Wilton pumpkin cookie cutter and my grandmother's sugar cookie recipe), Royal Icing (homemade or you can buy it in large tubs at some craft locations), gel food coloring, a bowl and spoon for each color you plan on making, icing tips, icing bags, toothpicks, and a cup of warm water and measuring spoon.

Divide your icing into the number of bowls you need (one for each color).  Use a toothpick to pull some color out of your gel coloring and drag it through the icing.  Each time you add more color use a clean toothpick.  Stir the icing, making sure to get the coloring completely worked in - no streaky colors!  It may take a bit to get the shade you want, but work in the color in small increments.  You can always add more color, but cannot take it away if you add to much!   

Once you've reached to shade you want, you can start the process of getting the consistency you need.  On this cookie, we're outlining and filling in the same color.  Which means that the color we just created will be used for two different consistencies of icing.  Start by getting the icing ready to outline the cookie.  Slowly add water - a few drops at a time - making sure to totally incorporate the water into the icing before adding more.  For outlining, you're looking for a consistency that I call "stretchy".  When you pull the spoon out of the bowl, the icing doesn't break right away, nor does it run off the spoon.  If the icing becomes to thin, you can add more powdered sugar to thicken it back up.

Let the icing rest for a minute while you prepare your bag.  I like to keep my piping bags in a drinking glass with a moist paper towel in the bottom.  Folding the edges of the bag over the glass makes filling it really easy, and the glass helps to keep the icing from spilling out all over the counter.  The paper towel keeps the icing in the tip moist when you're not using that particular bag.

Spoon 1/3 of the icing from the bowl into your waiting bag.  Once the icing is in the bag, pull the edges off the glass, and twist the top to push the icing down towards the tip.  Some decorators like to secure the top of the bag with a rubber band, though I've never had it come apart once twisted.


Now you're ready to thin the rest of the icing for flooding.  Slowly add a few drops of water at a time, until you reach "10 second" consistency.  The name "10 second" icing comes from the amount of time it takes for the icing to smooth out after you drag a line into it with a spoon.  Technically it can be anywhere from 5-10 seconds, but that range is what you are looking for in flood icing.

There are a couple of different ways you can dispense flood icing.  Occasionally I will use a squeeze bottle, but for easier cleanup on smaller jobs, I like to use a sandwich bag.

Now you're ready to start icing the cookies!  Grab a couple of paper towels (to keep your piping tip clean), and toothpicks and let's get started.  Try to work on just a few cookies at a time to keep from being overwhelmed! (If this is your first time, you can use a small sheet of wax paper or a paper towel to practice a few stripes of icing before beginning on the cookies.)

You want to hold your piping bag, so the tip is at a 45 degree angle from the surface of the cookie.  Try to keep consistent pressure on the bag as you're piping to keep the outline flowing smoothly.

If you mess up due to shaky hands (or because you are trying to balance a camera in one hand, and outline with the other), use a toothpick to scrape the messed up icing off of the cookie and keep on working.

To start a line, touch the tip to the cookie, and lift up keeping pressure on the icing bag.  Let the "stretch" work to your benefit by keeping the tip about 1/2 inch above the cookie surface until you're ready to end your line - you will have more control, and smoother lines.  To end your line, release the pressure on your bag a short distance from where you want to end, and touch the tip to the cookie at the end point.

Once you have your outline done, let the cookies rest for about 10-15 minutes.  This outline will be a barrier to keep the flood frosting on the cookie. (I added the stem outline after the above photo was taken.)

After the rest period, clip the corner of the flood icing bag, and begin flooding sections of the cookie.  With a large surface area to be flooded, you want to try to work in sections.

Squeeze flood icing into the two outer sections - notice that I don't completely fill the section with icing.  The purpose of the flood consistency is to spread out and fill the area where it's used.  If it doesn't fill in within a minute, use a toothpick to guide the icing to the outlined edges.

You can fill in the stem at this time, then let the cookies rest again for about 30 minutes before filling the center section.

If you have additional cookies to decorate, this would be a good time to start on them.

After the rest period, flood the center section.  To get a bit of a 3D effect, I over filled this section a bit.

Let the cookies rest for at least an hour at this point - that's a lot of icing to get started drying!

After an hour is over, you can go back in with the green icing and add some details.  I drew some leaves and curly vines on freehand, as well as added some little lines on the stems for dimension.  Now comes the hard part...the cookies need to dry for AT LEAST 8-12 hours before they can be packaged or stacked.  

There are so many different things you can do once you get used to outlining and flooding cookies.  You can swirl multiple colors of flood icing together with a toothpick, use a small paintbrush to create brush embroidery, or "paint" directly on a filled and dried cookie with thinned flood icing.  The only limit is your imagination!

As I said at the beginning, I only began doing this a couple months ago.  This is the process that works for me as I decorate cookies.  I hope it gives you some ideas!  I'm always happy to try to answer any questions - you can email me or visit me at my blog.

Thanks for hanging out with me today!  And thanks to Suzanne for letting me come visit!

I keep telling Sara that she's going to be everyone's favorite neighbor with those cookies! Aren't they gorgeous? 
Thanks for a great tutorial, Sara!

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