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Archive for the ‘crafts’ Category

My sister made this. I am very jealous. She was always the artistic one. I have strong artistic impulses but no real eye or talent. She found this beat up and broken glass insulator in the boathouse of our family cottage near Nelson. Two pieces of driftwood and two nails later, she had created something I would pay to own. So cool that it perfectly holds a tea candle, making it both beautiful and useful.

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Our buffed-up master bath is grey and white. Very soothing, but requiring a few pops of colour. These two different wine crates came from the garages of friends in the neighbourhood. One became a wall shelf for a few items too tall for the vanity drawers. The other is now a stool – style table for accessories beside the tall tub.

From the canvas over the tub I choose red ochre as an accent colour for this small project.

I used craft store acrylic paint, and only put on two coats as I wanted these items to look a bit rough. Once dry,  I sprayed them with some varnish to protect the paint.  The cloth in the back of the wall shelf is a place mat from a sale table at Pier 1 and can be changed out easily when I find something I like better. Cottager cut some molding for the rough front edge, and I filled the joints and gave the frame a coat of BM Cloud White. These small practical additions make me feel that I have put something of myself into the project.

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When we married, I drew out a Shaker style design for a queen size bed, and Cottager made it up for us. I loved the bed but once we had two squirming toddlers squeezing in with us on weekend mornings we upsized to a king mattress and the Shaker bed went into storage. We initially set it up at the cottage, but the full box frame was a space killer in either of our small bedrooms here, so as it stands, only the headboard remains in use at Keats View.

The side rails of that bed were 2×10 fir planks. I saved those and – two years ago- drew up a plan to convert them to a console table for the cottage. Twenty-plus years into our marriage, the Cottager fulfills my whims with slightly less alacrity than in earlier days. And that is why this console table took six hours plus two years to create.

If I had a brownie for every time we discussed this project since I first raised it, I’d be pleasantly plump. A few weeks ago, Cottager stumbled on a plan for a table base that incorporates schedule 9, 1 inch (ID) steel pipe and cast fittings. Suddenly, I had buy in. And now I’m blogging from my new table at the cottage. When you see what it replaced, you will understand why I was so (unreasonably?) impatient.

The pipe and fittings cost $90 including custom cutting and threading at Pipeco in Chilliwack, which is a contractors supplier that considers no job too small. Just add one can Tremclad flat black primer. (Important note: the pipe has a greasy coating that must be removed with solvent before spray painting.) So for about $100 this definitely qualifies as a frugal project.

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The ugly ugly table I had to wait years to replace.

The ugly ugly table I had to wait years to replace.

The new table.  I love it.  For breakfast and the news, for writing, for everything. Thanks Cottager.

The new table. I love it.
For breakfast and the news, for writing, for everything. Thanks Cottager.

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Beach glass pendant in a jiffy

Beach glass pendants in a jiffy

I love to collect beach glass because I am a ‘hurry up’ person and this forces me to slow down and pay attention. It is like a walking form of meditation. And so I have lots. Cups full, in fact.

And though I like being crafty, my talents are not great and my patience (see above) is still less. These pendants require little skill or patience. My first one turned out well, in about 30 minutes.

My first effort and still my favourite

My first effort and still my favourite

What is required is this plier set which I found at Michael’s for 16$. It includes side cutters. Also includes round pliers, which you start with to make the bail.

Just add beach glass

Just add beach glass

The wire is 20 or 22 gauge shiny wire -my spool said “ideal for wire wrapping” so that was helpful.

White glass gives the nicest results. It is harder to make a piece of beer or 7-Up bottle look really nice, but I might use those bits, along with some larger beads, to make wine glass charms.

Here is a link to a free photo tutorial you can download.
(Disclosure – I did not follow this, I just looked at the pictures and gave it a go.)

Looks like a fun project for the next Crumpet club. Maybe I can get the Crumpets to whip up all my Christmas presents for me again?

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I was back in town for a few days to proudly watch my Biggest Urchin receive his high school diploma, and Cottager and I took advantage of a break in the really disappointing June weather we’ve been experiencing to get out for a ride on the PoCo Trail.

Tents and a hive of activity in the community garden area of Colony Farm Regional Park attracted our attention, and we stumbled on to loveliest festival I have attended in a very long time. In cooperation with Metro Vancouver (formerly GVRD), the Public Dreams Society was hosting their fourth annual Midsummer Fête.

No rumbling chip vans or carnival rides here. It was like falling through a rabbit hole into a gentler time: Whimsical costumes, quirky activities, un-fraught people and a lovely, pastoral setting. This is an event worth putting on your calendar. Not to be missed.

My favourite part was a performance by the Legion of Flying Monkeys. These folks know how to have fun. They sang about their annual Clown Parade, held in Gastown each December.  I looked it up to find participation is by invitation.  Dear LFM:  Please invite me to be in your clown parade!  I sing loudly and occasionally on key. Deep in my heart, there is a clown desperate to make itself known to the world in a safe and supportive environment.

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Cool costumes and unique art installations abounded.

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The OWL rehabilitation society had a saw whet owl and a golden eagle on display.

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We played croquette.  The balls were furry and had eyes (hedghogs?) and the pleasant pheasant pictured explained that we had to choose a course through safe wickets or past predators (herons and coyotes) Cottager played it safe and was victorious.

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Younger visitors made straw dolls by stuffing onesies.

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A while back a couple of Anglophile friends and I hatched a plan – over several bottles of wine – to spend a weekend at the cottage watching Downton Abbey and cooking and eating classic English dishes.

We met on the ferry last Thursday evening and by 8 we were all settled in to watch the first few episodes.

Gillian is the cook – and the only true Brit amongst us – and therefore was the majordomo of the weekend. Connie and I were there to assist, support – o yes, and eat!

Next day we started the morning off with Bacon Sarnies (breakfast sandwiches made with thick cut English bacon.)  Then we headed into town for supplies – fabrics for Gillian, a fragrant daphne and bird suet for me and food, wine and beer for all.

Lunch was watercress soup, scotch eggs from the British butcher, and freshly dressed greens.

Freshly made watercress soup - the first I ever tried.

Scotch egg and greens

For dinner there was English Bangers and Mash with onion gravy.

Bangers and mash with onion gravy

And in between, if you can believe it, we had a Devonshire Cream tea, complete with strawberry scones, home made black-berry jam and strong Yorkshire tea.

Scones with blackberry jam and Devonshire cream

Your math is not off. We were compelled to eat four meals in one day in order to sample just a few of the things on our list. The Welsh rarebit, Victoria sponge and beef and potato pie never even made it out of the gate.  Thank God there is a second season of Downton Abbey!

We also managed to squeeze in a walk on the beach, craft up some lovely wind chimes using old teapots and plated cutlery, play some card games and drink an impressive amount of wine.

Gillian will be posting her recipes for bangers and mash and watercress soup on her blog “What’s for Dinner” over the next few days. It is a great resource for quick and delicious dinner ideas. I made her foccacia just last night and loved it.

Nice windchimes Crumpets! Thanks for a great weekend.

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This old vanity stool has been hanging around our place for years now – a legacy item from my mother-in-law that didn’t seem to hold much promise. Cottager was able to reach way back in his memory to describe – in detail – the pattern on the fabric that’s under this blue velvet. Yes, this has already been remodeled once. Why not again? 

Could this sad old thing have a place at the cottage?

Finally a vision for where it might go coincided with a few rainy hours to make it happen.  I sanded it down, brushed on a coat of primer and then a second coat using the dregs of a can of Benjamin Moore Tealight Green, used in our closet-to-alcove make-over.  A small remnant of an English floral fabric containing a perfect match for this green completed the update.

Yep, this will be useful.

Since I most often spend just a night or two at the cottage, I generally just live out of an overnight bag left on the floor. From now on, my bag will be up off the floor and much easier to get into when resting on this stool. This re-furbished item can also quickly be moved into the living room to act as a foot rest during winter movie nights.

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