Tag Archives: under-my-skin

Cole Portering Over Velvet

One of my favorite songs is I’ve Got You Under My Skin, by Cole Porter. It tends to describe me well when it comes to……well, me going to the thrift store. I see something all dusty and in disrepair and it gets under my skin until I bring my vision to life. Y’all have seen my other blog, Junk and Glue, and know what I mean.

And now, it’s all about velvet. But not just any velvet. Velvet used to be a very expensive fabric. Back in the Middle Ages, it was made solely from silk, which gave it a lustrous sheen and lasted forever. With the advent of industrialization, velvets were made from other fibers such as cotton. And then came synthetic fibers and nowadays velvet is something you can now find off the rack at Target™. Good quality velvet is usually made from a mix of rayon and silk. If you want all silk velvet, you will pay hundreds of dollars per yard. And I am neither rich nor insane, so that’s out. But you can’t compromise on the quality of velvet. Cheap velvet falls apart rather quickly, but the good stuff wears well over time, adapting a soft, rich sheen with age and use.

So, now that you have a primer on velvet, you are wondering why I even bring it up. Well, A) it’s my blog and I write the fluff I like, and 2) I want velvet in my life. And I don’t mean a jacket or a shirt, or even a pillow. I mean I want it ALL OVER THE PLACE: furniture, drapes, accessories, rugs, and PJs. I understand I can’t have everything in velvet. But I really, really want a sofa in soft, luxurious velvet, with some feather alternative-filled cushioning (real feathers are good and all, but I don’t want to trigger anyone’s allergies, nor do I want quills sticking my skin).

Isn’t she absolutely gorgeous?? Yes, that’s a pink velvet sofa and I want it with the burning power of twelve Betelgeuses. Look how plush it is. I want to be able to sink into the sofa, and the big plus with this is one solid cushion, nowhere for remote, socks, or change to slip between. I want to be Great Garbo and tell people I want to be let alone with my sofa and a cocktail and Netflix. In short, I am old enough to want to luxuriate while I watch “Flea Market Flip” and plan on upcycling a ratty old suitcase into a coffee table.

I am full of contradictions, I know. But I also know me, and I doubt I will ever have a sofa like this. It’s wonderful and classy and feminine, and impractical and  high-maintenance and over-the-top. So I will just admire her from afar, and dream of the dreams I could have enjoyed while napping upon such luxury.

But a velvet chair? Oh, yeah….That I can justify 😉


Top Shelf

Anyone who is familiar with me in real life, and even just on the internet, knows I am rather an odd duck. I like to melt Peeps, I want to collect certain skulls*, and I own voodoo dolls. Those are a few of my Sithy likes. I’m sure I am not the only one with a like of melting Peeps around here, though the other stuff is questionable.

Look, I am not the only weirdo on the planet.

Anyway, one of my new wants is a shelf of my favorite peeps. The best booze is top shelf, and I figure the best people should be, too. Your mileage may vary, but these are my favorite shelf sitters.

  • Ed Sheeran– I can sit and just look at that beautiful red hair and listen to that beautiful voice forever.
  • Politibunny– I really don’t have to explain this one. She is just amazing.
  • Bruce Willis– those green eyes and shiny pate for the win.
  • Jun Tanaka— Of all the chefs that have appeared on Chopped, he is still my favorite.
  • Nicole Russell— Wonderful writer at The Federalist, covering the everyday and making it awesome.
  • Dan Joseph— The absolute BEST Man on the Street snark, evah.
  • Lara Spencer– Talk about design on a dime, she is the queen of the flea market flip.
  • Jay Caruso— Politics and the art of sarcasm, occasionally with a side order of groovy music.

These are just a few of the many I wish to put on my shelf. Now, some of y’all may think I have secret fantasies involving some of these personalities. Rest assured I do not. I just want them up on a shelf where I can just admire them. That’s it. I don’t ask for much. But just in case men show up with a white jacket for me, make sure someone arranges for Twitter access in my padded cell, m’kay? 😉

*No, not really. I just like to map skulls anthropologically. Sheesh…


Well, 2016 Is Off to a Rocky Start…

It has been rough getting the motivation to write. Lately I have had to catch up on my health, getting yearly check-ups, making sure bones aren’t dissolving, etc. With the start of a new year, many people are beginning the “New Year, New You” routines for better health.

I am not really among them.

But I do plan on improving myself in certain areas. I have been learning to redo and repair furniture (my sister Reno Queen would be proud), purging paperwork that is decades old (found boxes in the garage that I thought were full of books, go figure), learning to patch plaster and drywall, and of course, painting everything in sight. I found a little Florentine table that had lost most of its gilt and decided to paint it in ASCP Emperor’s Silk, a red that should have been called French Bordello, in my opinion. Wait until I post the “before and after” so you can see what I mean.

I also have plans to continue my vocational education, and learn welding. No, I never saw Flashdance. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to learn. I figure if I can do well in it I can use it for artistic purposes, because who wouldn’t want to make their own version of an Alexander Calder mobile, right?? I think learning vo-tech is a good way to stay active in the coming seasoned years, so to speak. Lord knows I am not about to start jogging or doing Zumba. If I didn’t start when I was younger, it ain’t happening when I’m older.

Hopefully my resolution to learn how to use all sorts of power tools will culminate in re-organizing the garage into a working work station. Here’s looking at maybe six weeks of work. Well, if I start now, that is. After all, there’s bound to be something that crops up to stall me. Last week, it was friends from out of town. I imagine this week will involve a package of Fig Newtons and a Firefly marathon.

A gal has to have priorities 😉


Halloweary

Yes, it’s that time again. The time to stock up on good candy, get a funny costume, and prepare to criticize every parent that lets their underage daughter dress as a sexy fill-in-the-blank. That is my main irritation with this holiday: almost all the adult gal costumes have been made “sexy”: mummy, nurse, witch, princess, even E-BOLA. I usually make my kids’ costumes for that reason. Last year Little One went as the Red Queen, and the year before Eldest went as Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Best costume I ever made for myself was The Booze Fairy, complete with a crown made from mini vodka bottles. It sure was a hit, I can tell you that.

liquor bottle costumes

This year Little One suggested I go as the Red Queen. I nixed that idea. Instead, I will go as a Crazy Cat Lady, inspired by my friend, Cruel Wife. I figure that costume can keep me warm while I stand outside handing out candy.

I’ll be outside because otherwise the dogs will go insane with kids ringing the doorbell. I have to think of every last detail.

And no, there will not be any photos of the costume. I still have one shred of dignity and I shall employ it wisely. Besides, no one needs to see my humiliation at the hands of conniving kids. I’ll be sure to write about it, though 😉


Sew Done

A few weeks ago, I regaled you with the tale of my sewing machine redo. Fun times, right? Who can forget the spider in the glove, or the tetanus scare?

I know I can’t.

Here is the before:

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Honestly, I still like the rusty look of it. But the after is still rather stunning.

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I went looking high and low for a glass top and the cheapest I could find was $80 for a 16″x 24″ size. As luck would have it, the antique store where I bought the machine had that glass top outside and the owner let me have it for free, since she couldn’t figure out what to do with it. Totally winning!!

As I was leaving with it, I noticed she had yet another antique sewing machine, everything in good condition except the table. And my eye wandered to it. Do I have a place for it? Do I have a plan for its future use? Of course I don’t! But it can sure be pretty as a sideboard 😀


Sew Much Adventure

I began my day by tackling one of the dozen projects I listed in a previous post: the sewing machine. Mentally, I thought I was ready to clean it up and get it primed and painted in what I estimated would be a couple of hours.

Oh, I was so very wrong.

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There she is, in all her mostly clean and not as rusty glory. But the process was not as smooth as I thought it would be.

I started by setting up my cordless drill to charge. No worries, since I could go do some laundry and the bed. I come back to find the battery fully charged, and to my chagrin the part that holds the bits in place is missing. So much for using the drill. Fine….FINE!!! I will do it the old fashioned way. I go out to the garage and place the machine laying on the floor for ease of access. I get on my knees and find ten mud dauber hives. TEN!! They must have really liked this machine. Finally I see the screws, along with what seems to be an incredible amount of rust. After torquing and tweaking and squealing in frustration, I go get the WD-40™ and proceed to administer a life-giving dose to each screw. After waiting a few minutes, I begin to undo them, the oil having helped quite a bit. Finally I can remove the unusable top and in a fit of triumph I am overcome by the thought of having this chore done in an hour or so.

This is where y’all laugh. A lot.

I drag the base over to the grass, put on latex gloves and begin to spray it with Krud Kutter™. As I sprayed I scrubbed the areas with a wire brush. And scrubbed. And scrubbed. Suddenly I feel a tingle on my thumb. The latex glove is no match for the wire brush and now I have a small cut suffused with cleaner and rust.

*makes mental note to schedule a tetanus shot*

I go back to the garage and get my gardening gloves and continue to tackle the base, now free of mud dauber hives. Suddenly I feel movement inside the gardening glove. Striving not to lose my cool, I manage to get the glove off in time to see a spider crawling on my hand. This is where I jumped around and did the Tarantella, which in retrospect was rather appropriate. I calm down enough to shake out the gloves and once I am sure no other resident is inside, I put them back on and continue to scrub as much rust as I can, all the while thinking how much scrubbing needs to be done, and how suddenly the rust looks awesome and industrial chic. But no, I need to get it primed, painted and sealed. After about 45 minutes of scrubbing, I begin to rinse it off. Now it looks a bit better, but still rusty. Next step will be to sand it a bit more to dislodge as much rust as I can.

Perhaps I will get a rust-reversing primer. More and more I am liking that idea. I want to enjoy the process of upcycling, not be resentful of it. I also wish to avoid any future trips to the clinic. Getting a tetanus shot isn’t exactly how I pictured spending my free time. On the other hand, the clinic is right by Hobby Lobby, so I have that going for me, which is nice.

I’ll let y’all know how the tetanus shot goes 😉


Flipping Ain’t Just for Burgers

As y’all know, I am a thrift store junkie. I’m not quite a diva. I haven’t reached the “found priceless artifact for $5” level yet. I am confident that one day I will eventually find the random Van Gogh, but until then I am quite content with finding mid-century vintage stuff that I can flip into a modern look. So far I have transformed a $10 dresser, a $2 lamp, and some antique frames. This week’s search was just as fruitful.

metal folding chair

Via Etsy

I found a pair of Cosco metal folding chairs at the thrift store for $3. That’s $3 for the pair!! Look at those beautiful lines!!! They are in very good condition, with only a couple of rust marks and of course, the vinyl needs replacing. While looking for some color ideas, I came across a listing for a pair: $75.

At which point I was all wha……??

Me: Holy cow, these chairs are selling for a lot of money.

Little One: Do you plan to sell them?

Me: No, I want to redo them and use them outside.

LO: So no big deal, then.

Me: But $75???

LO: That can get you a bunch more chairs to store somewhere while you do yet more projects.

Me: Point taken.

I admit I get swamped by my zeal to make something old ab fab again. So I shall just keep to one project at a time until I have made enough room in my garage to buy more retro stuff to flip. Hopefully I will have finished these chairs by this weekend.

Right after I finish Eldest’s old dresser.

And my sister’s old framed art.

And the cushions on the dining chairs.

*sobs uncontrollably* 😀


Do You Even Architecture??

Sometimes knowing obscure things can work against me. Last week, Hubby and I took our monthly trip to the home improvement store to pick up random stuff for the house. As always, I take advantage of going so I can stock up on industrial crap for art projects. This time, I was on the hunt for plinths.

Do y’all know what plinths are? well, here is a sample of plinths:

antique plinths

Those pictured above are antiques. They are architectural elements used usually to adorn doorways or around pediments. That style is called “bullseye”, but other popular styles included flowers, Fleur-de-lys, and even Corinthian fluting. Anyway, I know they are still in use today, so I wanted to get a few on which to practice my chalk paint techniques and maybe use them for altered art. So, I commenced my hunt for them in the lumber section, where you would expect to find you know, wood. But no luck. Rambling and dragging Hubby along, I was unable to locate them. Finally I broke down and asked a young man for help in locating them. After mistakenly taking us to the picture hanging aisle, he was finally able to understand what it was I was looking for.

Me: (explaining for the third time in my ridiculous way) Plinths are the decoration used in corners of doorways. Little squares?

Expert: Oh! You mean corner blocks?

Me: …..not sure, but maybe?

Expert: (shows me the exact item I am looking for) Like these?

Me: YES!!! THOSE!!!

Expert: At least you know what you’re looking for. I get gentlemen that are sent by their wives to get some obscure item because she saw an idea on Pinterest–

Hubby: *points to me*

Me: Hey, *I* get my own crap for my Pinterest projects.

Expert: *laughs at me*

So this Sith Got a few plinths. As usual, Hubby has no idea what I am going to do with them. Neither do I, but having them is half the battle 😀


Not Right in the Head

Sometimes my anthropological background rears its ugly, demented head.

It all started with a professor, Dr. Dettwyler. She was my fave prof in the department mostly because she had a nerdy sense of humor and because she didn’t give a rat’s….tail about the misogynists in the department. Back when I was majoring in Anthropology, we had a few of the “Old Guard” who still believed women shouldn’t be in the field. Not that we weren’t smart enough, but rather they felt that the Perils of Gwendolyn would play out at any moment.

And y’all thought Anthropology was boring.

Anyway, one thing that simply fascinated her were skulls, of the human variety. It is said that some people have the map of a country on their face because that area has specific genetic traits. One day we were watching Quest for Fire (while laughing out loud) and she remarked that the one actor who fit well in the role was Ron Perlman, his skull being so perfect. Perfect?? Yep, the cheekbones, the brow ridge, everything was just perfect and she would just love to own his skull for Science. This was her segue into that particular lesson. And I became rather obsessed with mapping skulls ever since.

Now, I tell you that story so I can better explain what transpired yesterday. I’m not much of a high-brow person, and tend to like irreverent comedy (Mel Brooks is KING!!). Last night I was watching Let’s Be Cops because I could, and I had an epiphany.

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ZOMG!!! Look at that skull!! Just look at it!!! Isn’t it just perfect??? How did I miss Rob Riggle’s skull before???

Me: My GAWD his skull is awesome. Just like Ron Perlman’s!!

Hubby: People are going to be concerned about you wanting to collect heads.

Me: I don’t want to collect heads. I just want to own his skull. THERE’S A DIFFERENCE!!*

Obviously I don’t actually want to own anyone’s skull. But I do enjoy mapping them to this day. It’s fun trying to extrapolate where a person originated from. And let’s face it: he is rather easy on the eyes as well. And he is definitely not the only one, either. Guy Pearce and Olivia Wilde are two others whose skulls are fascinating to me. But as with all skulls, I only admire from afar.

Because this obsession would look ridiculous on a restraining order 😉

*In case it isn’t obvious, this post is done in humor and should be taken in the manner intended. Otherwise you are a poopy head.


Flowerdom

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The main bath is being redone due to some water issues and a hankering for modern aesthetics. It won’t take long for the contractor to finish so there’s that. In the meantime, I have managed to get the new(ish) car registered and clean my bathroom, and to pass away the time since the noise level is rather high, I decided to make felt flowers, including cacti. Usually my thought process goes like this:

“Hm…. I think I will make some flowers.”

*cuts felt shapes, glues, makes flowers*

*looks at pile of flowers*

*wonders what to do with finished flowers*

*throws in basket*

*sighs*

Nothing is more calming than making sure you don’t pour hot glue on your fingers. So I have that going for me, which is nice 🙂