Faux Mercury Glass Experience

I wanted to create some votive candle holders to double as décor and wedding favors, so I gathered my DiY wits about me and went after a beautiful vintage mercury glass look.  There are tons of tutorials out there on how to do this, and I read several, devising a plan that worked!

My ingredients included 72 small votives purchased from amazon.com for about $36.  What a deal!  Add to that some painters tape, a squirt bottle, and metallic silver spray paint, and you’re ready to go.

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Since the votives came neatly packaged in these boxes, I opted not to cover them entirely in tape.  The cardboard shielded the bottoms just fine from extra overspray!

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The key here is to spray the insides of the glasses with water to achieve an antiqued look, before spraying the paint.

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On the porch with my tools and paper, so as to not continue to paint the concrete, like we’ve already done.  Squirt and spray, and then leave them for a while, of course.

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I also purchased some LED tea lights because, hey, it just seemed safer.  No worries about kids or relatives lighting themselves on fire.  Also, LED tea lights?  Just kind of awesome.  Here’s the look, along with my sample table centerpiece (and some other stuff that I have on the dining table).  I love the soft, glowing look; I think it will really suit our reception location!

Did I mention this was ridiculously easy?  It only took me a few hours to complete 50 votive holders (I’ve reserved 24 for other designs, mwah ha ha!), plenty for the decorations and our attendees.  Next I will be creating the copper tags (saying “B & N”) to add to the votives, as a personal touch!

Made or seen any great DiY décor or favors?  Share them!

Where there is potential

Nick and I are browsing regularly for housing now, with our impending wedding, and planning to purchase a house not long after we’re married (if all the cards fall correctly, anyway!).  It’s been an interesting search so far; we’ve gone from downtown lofts to outlaying almost-rural areas, to established urban neighborhood fixer-uppers.  We’re still in the deciding phase, but here is an example of something that sort of scares us regularly about purchasing an older, unrenovated home.

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This is my personal nightmare.  I hate this layout with a passion.  I have purposefully strayed away from some of these styles of homes because of this terrifying kitchen.  But maybe I’m wrong…

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WOAH!  Talk about impressed!  The combinations of wood, stainless, and brick are exactly what we were looking for in the loft-style homes we were originally after.  Also the sliding chalkboard, so fabulous!  This gives me a lot of hope for developing a great design even in a home that’s not (or even far from) perfect.  I didn’t realize there was this much potential in a kitchen like this!  Wow!  Makeover originally posted at Apartment Therapy.

What’s the most surprising transformation you’ve seen lately?

What am I saving for storage?

Now that I’m in full-on preparing-for-teaching mode, I’ve been saving all sorts of containers left and right.  Spice jars, pickle jars, peanut butter jars, you name it, I’ve got some!  I’m saving them for a number of purposes: to store small craft supplies, for pens and pencils, or even just because I like the look of them.  Here’s a few I have in stock!

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Spice jars!  These are the kind that typically come from the Simply Organic line at Target, and I love them because of their classic square shape and screw caps.  I’ve been collecting these with plans to keep them at home for small craft items like gems and buttons.

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Glass jelly jars are wonderful for so many things, even as cute drinking glasses!  Right now, this one is storing a few buttons and wrapped with a bit of leftover ribbon for some decoration.  These are also great for storing pens and brushes, even mixing paints and other raw materials.  Need them to have an even more distinctive look?  Try coating the inside with paint for a unique display (and to hide any messy stuff inside from view!)!

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Ah, the plastic peanut butter jar!  This I am planning to take to my classroom for storage of small items.  Unlike the glass jars, there’s no risk of breakage with this little guy, but you can still easily identify the contents.  Small items like dice, counters, pompoms, or pattern blocks will fit perfectly and safely into this container, even around the littlest of hands.

How are you repurposing your leftover containers?

And we’re off!

I took the opportunity over my spring break to test out some of my ideas regarding wedding decorations, favors, and centerpieces.  DSC00288Much of our décor is DiY, and I knew I’d need to test out my theories and create mockups to see if I actually like the look of what I’m envisioning.  Here’s my first try.

My dad was kind enough to give us this miter box with which to saw straight lines (HAHAHA).  Since I’ve opted to create centerpiece ‘vases’ from 4 and 5 inch diameter PVC pipe, we needed something that would help us cut the bottoms of each vase flat, so they would stand securely (this works out to much cheaper than buying glass vases, which run about $8-10 in the sizes we want.  A ten-foot section of PVC pipe was only $12 and will yield about 7 vases.  This of course only works because I’m covering them with paper).  We discovered how difficult cutting PVC by hand can be when we chopped the ten-foot pipes in half AT Home Depot in order to be able to take them home in the car.  Heh.  DSC00291It was a long process that resulted in a desperately ragged edge.  After that, we knew a miter box would be important to this process.

I also needed to paint the bamboo reeds something other than their original blonde color.  I opted to use the chocolate color from our palette, since it seemed more natural and we happened to have several cans of brown spray paint left from various projects.  I laid out several reeds to use for the test out on paper on the front patio and sprayed away!  I did it in two shots, one for each “side” of the reeds.  It seemed to go okay… until I picked them up to bring them in.  The spray paint was tacky to the touch and refused to stay stuck to the bamboo.  Yuck!  That really made me glad I did the initial test.  Even though the paint job was a failure, I continued on.

I kept going with an attempt to saw a section of the PVC alone.  This was a mistake, as it was too difficult for me to keep the saw straight AND hold down the heavy additional length of the PVC as it hung off the edge of the miter box.  Oops.  The results were rather amusing…

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Haha.  Miter fail.  I will employ Nick to do the sawing next time.

SO MUCH FAIL.  Even so, I had my first test piece pretty well complete, and I’d managed to learn several things NOT to do in the future, which was the point of the exercise after all.  I went ahead and used the sticky reeds in my original test piece vase, a purchased glass vase (nice, but not big enough!).  The look was rather nice, and seems to go alright with the faux mercury glass I’m also making.

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All in all, it’s not looking too bad!  I think a more natural stain will look a lot better on the bamboo reeds (and also be a lot less hassle than trying to spray them), but you can get the general idea of the look.  I really love the paper-covered vase, I think it’s a nice foil to the wood texture of the bamboo and it takes the edge off what could become way too much glass for the more soft, informal look we’re going for.  I’m really enjoying creating and learning as I delve into our DiY wedding projects!

What’s your favorite wedding DiY, yours or someone else’s?

Lookie lookie!

Okay, I admit it!  I have wedding fever!  I did a lot of browsing over the weekend for ideas for a look book, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

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We’re looking at a base of soft dove gray with accents of robin’s egg blue, chocolate, and navy.  I’m looking forward to a lot of DiY projects for favors, décor, flowers, and wedding party gifts.

Where do you find your wedding inspiration?

It’s true… love, that is!

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I expect to be perusing a lot of books and blogs like this one over the next year… that’s right!  Nick and I are engaged, and planning on a wedding in late spring of 2012.  Given my penchant for all things handmade, cobbled, frugal, and DiY, you can bet this is going to be a big time craft love fest!  I’m delighted about that aspect of personalizing our wedding, and looking forward to the event planning portion, as well.

Look for lots more wedding and reception planning in the future!

Oh, and what are your best recommendations for resources?

In love with interiors

There were a ton of gorgeous interior photos in my Google Reader today!  Check this out!

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Top Left: Stylish Storage: Vintage & Antique Armoires at Apartment Therapy.  I love the armoires, but of even more interest to me is the gorgeous slab table in the center of the room.

Top Right: past & present: fireplace history at design*sponge. This reminds me of one of the fun walls from the Sims 3!  Very Versailles!

Bottom Left: Palette & Paints: Blue Painted Fireplace from Myles Henry at Remodelista. There is something just so incredibly charming about this blue fireplace hearth.  Not to mention it’s one of my favorite shades!

Bottom Right: Amy’s Dashing Details House Tour at Apartment Therapy.  I’m a fan of vingettes with photos, paintings, and other accessories, and this one just struch me as so clean and bright.  Love it!

What are you loving out there lately?

Crafty Roundup!

I saw so much cool stuff on the blogosphere this week, I just need to share it!  Here goes!

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Remodelista has a great tutorial on an instant gold painting!  It’s gorgeous, bringing light and sparkle to any room.  What a statement!

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Fantastic DiY on how to make faux Depression glass, beautiful ruby colors!  Great for holidays or just everyday décor!

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And your dose of fashion, a great DiY on the stud cuff, a versatile and classic wardrobe statement!

I love all these projects and hope to try them soon!  What’s popped out at you this week?

Fly away, fly away

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I am ridiculously in love with this ghost chair from Reiko Kaneko, featured on design*sponge.  I bet there’s a way to DiY this!  Maybe I’ll try it!

A copper Christmas

Copper is one of my favorite materials, both as a jeweler and a decorator.  It’s warm, glowing, and rosy, and can compliment so many palettes, from equally warm colors to bringing a sparkle to cooler choices (give me a copper and amethyst necklace any day!).  Gold and silver are the traditional Christmas metals, but what about this versatile color?  Let’s see what’s out there!

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Adorable copper cookie cutter from Sur La Table.  Talk about multitasking; make a few tree cookies and then hang this little guy on the real tree!

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Other-than-green Christmas trees are all the rage this year, so how about this glittering copper beauty (best buy at Amazon.com).  It’s also prelit, saving you precious holiday time.

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These punched copper gingerbread men (running, of course) from Etsy seller tinworks are a staple from my own childhood as well!  I recall creating these as a very young child, and my own still grace my tree to this day.  DiY with some copper sheeting and nails, or pick these up from tinworks!

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Even though Hanukkah is over for this season, the menorah is a delightful decoration in copper as well!  This lovely woven metal version is available from Traditions Jewish Gifts. What glitter and glow are you enjoying this holiday season?