Saturday, August 28, 2010

Halloween Village Platform

Don't you just love Halloween villages? This is my favorite time of year because Michael's craft store puts out all of their Lemax village pieces. I just drool over all the amazing houses with moving parts, sounds, and mini strobe lights. Well, I can't afford those houses unless I wait until after Halloween to get the discount prices (and then all the really cool houses are gone). And I can just forget about ever having a Department 56 village! My solution was to buy cheaper houses that don't have all the whistles and bells, but make a really cool platform to display them.

You will need to get several long pieces of styrofoam (I found mine at Michael's), aquarium gravel, sand, some cool rocks, plastic greenery, styrofoam glue (this glue is AMAZING), spray paint, resin, and a moss display mat.

I wanted my platform to have multiple levels. To do this I took several long pieces of styrofoam and layered them on top of each other, gluing each level with my incredible styro-glue. I also wanted a pond so I cut an irregular oval out of one piece of styrofoam and glued it on top of a solid piece. I feel like I'm not explaining this very clearly, so check out the picture below.

Once I had the different layers all glued together, I decided exactly where I wanted my houses to sit. I took a pen and traced around the bottom of the houses.

Then I mashed the styrofoam down with my thumb (about quarter of an inch) so the houses would sit a little lower on the platform. I also mashed the edges of the hills so they looked like mother nature made them. Next, I spray painted the crap out of the platform. Luckily I got two cans of spray paint because the styrofoam drinks it up and I had to put on a few coats. Now comes the fun part, decorating the platform with sand, rocks, and any other natural looking junk you like.

To make the path ways, just draw out the design you want and smoosh down the styrofoam with your thumb (or the cap of a pen if your hands are getting tired by now).

For the pond I mashed the styrofoam down a little deeper in some parts and dumped sand into the depressions. Look at those little cat tails! I made them out of florist wire that I painted gold and little strips of brown felt. Once I had the pond looking the way I wanted, I poured in the resin (do this outside on a trash bag because a bit of the resin will soak through the styrofoam). To create a waterfall I wadded up some Saran wrap and glued it in place.

Even though I can't afford Department 56 or Lemax houses full price, I can afford the accessories. Michael's puts the accessories on sale when Halloween is nearing. I also got some good deals on trees, head stones, and fences on ebay.

Here is the finished product and I must say, I really love the way it turned out!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bedroom Before and After

Two years ago my husband and I moved into an old Victorian style house built in 1910. Many of the rooms had already been updated when we bought the house, others still needed a little work. Here are a couple of photos we took as we made our first walk-through of the home.

We fell in love with the house on our very first visit, but we have slowly been making some changes that fit our style a little more. There are still some finishing touches we need to make on the bedroom so don't look at the photos too closely!

We found some old doors in the rafters of the garage. All they needed was a good scrubbing, a coat of paint, and some new door knobs.

I found this adorable two-tiered table at a thrift store. It had some serious water damage on the top tier, but it wasn't anything some sand paper, stain-blocking primer, and a coat of paint couldn't fix. Sorry I don't have any before pictures on that piece. The chairs were a cheap find at an antique store, visit this link for details.

Check out that amazing quilt, it was made by my great-great aunt. My grandma gave it to me the day we moved into our home.

This is a tea cup from my great-grandma's china and a couple of doilies given to me by my grandma.

Don't you just love this little jewelry box? I found it at an antique store for 3 dollars!

My mom painted this china for me because I fell in love with this china and couldn't afford it.

The new room makes me feel like a granny, and I LOVE it!

Easy Chair Re-Do

I found these adorable little chairs at a local antique store for only 7 dollars a piece and fell in love.

This makeover was really simple. First I removed the seat from the chair. Then I cleaned off the chairs really well with mineral spirits and gave them a good sanding. For more on this process visit this link. Then I painted my chairs with an ultra white semigloss interior paint. Now for the seat, I decided to remove the yucky vinyl fabric and replace it with something that would match my room better (and not gross me out). Let me just tell you, things got a little worse before they got better:


I took my new fabric and laid it on top of the seat so I could line up the pattern the way I wanted it. Then I turned the seat over and stapled on the new fabric. I found it works best to shoot in one staple, pull the fabric tight on the other side of the chair, and then staple that side. Not that you guys couldn't figure that out on your own...

Then I screwed the seat back in place and Ta-Da!

Now my chairs look right at home in my bedroom.

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