Tag Archives: #thriftstore

Take 2: Catalog Hack Cookbook Bird House

Almost two months ago, I crafted this Uncommon Goods bird house cookbook catalog hack.  You can follow the link to get the full tutorial, but here are a few fun pics from that project.

57/365 prepping for another blog DIY #365project

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A pre-made bird house, a vintage cookbook from the thrift store, and outdoor Mod Podge made the project quick, fun, and easy.

egg recipes for a bird house

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I “cracked” myself up by using all egg-based recipes to cover the walls of the bird house.  Get it?  Cracked.  Eggs.  Cracked Eggs.  Hello?

let the mod podging commence

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My first challenge in the Pinterest Challenge; the walls were wider than the cookbook pages. Never fear, I MacGyvered a solution by using some painted appetizer picks.

cookbook bird house

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So this is where the story previously ended.  I called it my prototype, because I wasn’t happy with the results.  It was out of proportion, and I needed to find a solution before putting this baby on display.  (This is where I resist singing a certain song by a certain housewife from New Jersey and embarrassing myself with my trash TV viewing preferences.)

I found a candle holder at the thrift store for a buck, which I just knew would make the perfect pedestal for my bird house.  So I adhered the pedestal to the bottom of the bird house using clear silicone caulk.  I also decided to flip the orientation of the cookbook so that the graphics at the top of the pages showed from the front of the bird house.

When I was satisfied with the overall look, I began applying the Mod Podge.  In between Mod Podge sessions — it took four — I used clamps to make sure that the pages and cover of the cookbook glued flat to the bird house roof.  Next step: remove the clamps and apply Mod Podge to the entire bird house one more time.

Sometimes I’m not so good at thinking through cause and effect.  Silly me, I removed the clamps from one side first.  It promptly fell off my craft table, and my perfect pedestal broke.    Arrrrrrgh!

Super glue didn't work, but silicone rescued me. Again. #seekarencraft #latergram

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I first tried Super Glue to fix the broken pedestal, but with no luck.  What did I do?  Turn to my trusty silicone caulk, that’s what.

All’s well that ends well.  But is this the end?  If you are being picky, you can see the repaired crack on the pedestal.  Maybe I will end up painting the pedestal to disguise it more.  Maybe I will just call it character and leave it as-is.

From some angles you don't notice that this was in pieces yesterday #seekarencraft #latergram

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Besides, from some viewpoints, you can’t even see it.

Also, if you are visiting from Details or Copycat Crafts, WELCOME!  I love comments, visitors, and followers.  You can also find me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

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SeeKarenFollow: This Week

Maybe these posts should be sub-titled ‘What I Do When I’m Not Blogging’, since I seem to be on Instagram all the time lately.

Hello my love #seekarenthrift

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I started the week with some thrift store and antique mall shopping.  Every time I look at the shot of this brass trunk, I want to jump in my car and go buy it.  Sigh.

Couldn't I hack this?

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I’m not going to buy this baby, though.  I’m going to hack it and put it in my kitchen.  I think it will be a pretty easy project, and I get to use power tools.  Bonus.

There were also a few pictures of furniture made from wagon wheels.  I share these for my husband, because we have a running joke about wagon wheels a la When Harry Met Sally.  We even have a wagon wheel, which I will make into a table.  Someday.

86/365 sorting last week's thrift store haul #365project #seekarenthrift

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This is a my Goodwill haul.  I am Madison Avenue’s dream, because marketing TOTALLY works on me.  Example: I buy more at Goodwill to get the discount with my rewards card.  But this $50 worth of junk will give me hours of joy.

Play along: Do you see the bunny in the picture above?

87/365 The Aussie @PunchBurger, so good (even if I pay for eating that bun later) #365project #local #Indy

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I ate all of this Aussie Burger: lettuce, onion, pickled beets, grilled pineapple, local fried egg, Smoking Goose bacon, ketchup and mayo.  And then I had a tummy ached from eating the bun.  Dear Punch Burger, will you still serve me if I B.Y.O.B. (bring my own bun)?

I made Cocoa Puff muffins to celebrate my boss’ birthday.  But he took an unannounced vacation day, so we ate them in his honor.  In front of his closed office door.  What?

Have my own little nursery going at work #forget-me-nots

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Speaking of work, I have my own little plant nursery going on in my cubicle.  I didn’t think I would have much success with the little forget-me-not seeds that I received during the 14 Days of Valentines, but those little suckers are GROWING under the flourescent lights.  Good thing something flourishes there.

Last week I watched Contagion for the first time.  I know.  I’m a little behind.  But now I think of Dr. Ian Sussman every time I write a post.  “Blogging is not writing; it’s graffiti with punctuation.”  That’s me alright.

Now on to what I am pinning this week.

  1. 29 Rue House is inspiring me to pimp my own spider-back chair.
  2. Man…now I have to add vintage light globes to my list of things to hunt for in thrift shops.
  3. I absolutely need a couple of these granny square pillows in my life.
  4. I’m always looking for a way to dress up a t-shirt and wear it to work.  Now I just need to decided on which one I will add leather shoulder trim.
  5. I’m a little scared, because I haven’t had the best luck in the past, but I may try making some jewelry this weekend.  This chevron necklace inspires me.
  6. I love bubble tea, and it’s not easy to find in Indy.  Maybe I need to make my own and add this coffee version to the mix.
  7. Poaching an egg in olive oil?  Love it!
  8. This cookie stamping technique is giving me soooo many ideas.
  9. Cross-stitch?  Yes.  Foxes?  Yes!  I’m so excited about the faux-stitch pattern on these bags.
  10. You may find me on the couch this Sunday night watching The Ten Commandments and crafting these plastic lace woven hangers.  Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner just do it for me, what can I say?

Here’s wishing you all a happy, sunny, blessed Easter weekend!

Gold-Painted Vintage Frames: One Thing Leads to Another

Remember when I told the story of 1960’s Annette painting a pair of watercolors in her pretty pink bedroom?  Well it turns out that Annette is actually Artis, and these watercolors were really painted in 1947.  Doh!

67/365 it's Artis in 1947, not Annette in 1964 http://wp.me/p31A6H-3v #365project #turnovertheartkaren

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I’m sure that I read this handwritten inscription on the back of each painting when I first purchased the watercolors.  They have been hanging in my foyer long enough, however, that this detail was conveniently forgotten when I wrote the first post with such romantic, creative license.  That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.  Truth be told, I could have just as easily forgotten that detail in a week…or less.

68/365 touch of gold on the frames; sometimes it's the little things #365project #seekarenthrift

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Ahem.  So I mentioned in my previous post my plans to bling-up these blonde frames with a little gold-leaf action.  I decided that this weekend was THE time to give these Asian beauties the glitzy love they deserved.  Too impatient to go buy some gold-leaf, I decided to use some of the metallic gold paint that I had left over from this project.  With painters tape in one hand (I didn’t want to disturb the original framing and Ms. Stover McKersie’s inscription) and a cheap sponge brush in the other, this project took less than 15 minutes to complete.  The change is small, but I love how the gold frames look against the wallpaper.

which led to a pillow and lamp swap #seekarenthrift #seekarenshop

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Now, as usually happens when I make one improvement, I noticed all the other little things I wanted to change.  To pull more color from the paintings into other parts of the foyer, I moved the Crate and Barrel pillows from the living room swivel chairs to the built-in bench seat.  I also bought a new shade at Garden Ridge for the credenza lamp (on the far-left).  Hmm.  I love the shade with the vintage tangerine glass lamp, but the scale is a little off.  It may not look like it in this photo, but trust me.  Expect to see this duo move to another part of the house soon.

48/365 True Confession #2: hanging wallpaper 'chads' #365project

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I also finally got around to trimming the wallpaper around the stairway.  It’s only been like this for about…oh…three years.  Yup.  I’ve never been a good finisher; ask my high school track coach.

Buddy approves #365project #petsonfurniture

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Speaking of little things, my sweet Buddy boy approves of the new changes in the foyer.  What is he staring at so intensely, you ask?  Oh nothing.  He’s just concentrating on givng the camera his best profile.  Divo!

Catalog Hack: Uncommon Goods Cookbook Bird House

Woohoo!  It’s time again for the Pinterest Challenge.  I swear, when Sherry and Katie first imagined up this link party, I almost started blogging.  But then I didn’t.  I did, however, enjoy following along…kind of like the shy girl who isn’t quite ready to join in the reindeer games.  Now I’m ready to show off my bright and shiny nose first catalog hack project.

A few months ago, I pinned this Julila Child cookbook bird house after seeing it in the Uncommon Goods catalog.  I love the concept.  Books in any form are my thing, but I am especially digging upcycled book projects like these:

Inspired, I made a quick run to the craft store to buy bright, shiny new supplies.

57/365 prepping for another blog DIY #365project

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This is my first time using the Mod Podge Outdoor.  I’m hoping that using it will give me the option to display this birdhouse outdoors (probably in a somewhat protected area).  I’m not saying I will; a girl just likes to have options.  I next headed to the thrift store to find a vintage cookbook that caught my fancy.  I’m not sure it gets any more perfect than The American Girl Cookbook, circa 1966.  Well, maybe a vintage Julia Child cookbook, but my Goodwill store didn’t have that in stock.

reason #14 that I don't regret repurposing this cookbook

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Usually I wouldn’t be able to tear apart a cookbook for a project like this.  Instead, I would curl up and read it like a good book (once or twice) while admiring the lovely illustrations.  Then I would add it to my hoard.  Maybe I would give a recipe or two a try…maybe not.  This cookbook, however, was just plain grody.  They don’t photograph well, but there are actually dried-up bug guts stuck to the broken binding in the shot above.  Ewww!  No curling up with this one.  Well, except for the dead bugs.  I couldn’t resist paging through the book and admiring some of the more ‘creative’ recipes, but afterward I felt like Lady Macbeth.  I couldn’t get my hands, or the cookbook, clean enough.

The bird house that I purchased came with a perch already installed.  Gently rocking it back and forth, I was able to break the glue without damaging the wood.  With more twisting, rocking, and pushing, I was able to remove the perch.  My spoon was slightly larger than the hole left with the perch removed, so I used a drill to make it a little larger.

egg recipes for a bird house

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If you haven’t noticed yet, my sense of humor is more than a little quirky.  So it will come as no surprise that I picked out all the fun egg recipes from the cookbook to paper my bird house.  Ha!  Get it?

With my pages selected, I measured the front and the side panels.  The pages were a little narrower than the pre-made bird house walls, so I centered the pages on each side.  I cut the pages according to my measurements.  To make the holes for the entry and perch on the front of the birdhouse, I used a pencil to poke through the book page, creasing the edges around the holes as I went.  I then removed the page, laid it face-down, and trimmed the bent edges with scissors.  I had to whip out the cuticle scissors for the finer detail cutting.  Always resourceful, I am.

let the mod podging commence

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Please forgive my Yoda impression.  I next covered the sides of the bird house and the backs of the cookbook pages with mod podge.  I placed the pages back onto my prepared bird house walls and used a small brayer to smooth them and remove any air bubbles.  For tighter areas, I used a small plastic putty knife.

I let the mod podge dry for 15 minutes.  I am bad at this waiting part, but I was fortunate to have a dilemma to solve in the interim.  Remember that my cookbook pages were narrower than the bird house walls.  What could I do with those bare corners?  Suddenly, I remembered that I had some leftover wooden ‘fork’ party picks.  Why couldn’t I use these as a sort of gingerbread detail on my cookbook bird house?  The perch was going to be a spoon after all.  What goes better with spoons than forks?

With minutes to go in my dry time, I trimmed down eight wood forks to size.  Hmm, but I couldn’t leave them wood-pick-colored.  Black Sharpie to the rescue.  With the newly-black forks in place, other bare wood parts called out for attention.  The solution?  Yellow craft paint.  I think it may be the same color as the Petersik front door.

The mod podge had now dried enough, so that I could add the first top coat.  I covered the pages on all sides with light, even coats.  I let them dry again and repeated this step twice.  Eventually I will also mod podge the book roof of the bird house.  For now, however, it is just resting on top of the bird house.

complete with mixing spoon jacuzzi (mini bird bath)

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I inserted the spoon and called the result my prototype.  I wish the walls were a little taller, so that they were in better proportion to the book roof.  Maybe I will give the bird house some height by adding another wood box to the bottom.  I’m also not crazy about the blank part of the cookbook pages showing on the overhang.  I wonder if I should turn the book around, so that the graphic details of the page headers can be seen?  I think the spoon will also look a little less LARGE, if I add some height.

cookbook bird house

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Now folks, this is how I recommend NOT to complete a project.  I should have done all my painting (and thinking and planning for that matter), before I started waving the mod podge brush around.  But sometimes projects evolve on their own…or at least they do for me.  In these instances, I let go of my fear and consider it an adventure.  Or at least a learning experience.  Do you do this too?

Oh, and share the love by visting Sherry’s, Katie’s, Megan’s, and Michelle’s challenge posts.

Antique Mall Inspiration: For You and For Me

This gives me an idea #thrifting

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This weekend I did some antique mall shopping with my mom and my aunt.  I found some items that I could not live without.  Look for those in future blog posts. There was also inspiration for future projects to be found, like the above painted advertising screen.  I had been playing with the idea of embroidering our back screen door, but now I’m thinking of how I can use paint instead.

Someone needs to buy this and reupholster it now #thrifting

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When I saw this chair and ottoman, the first thought that popped into my head was “W.W.E.D.? (What would Emily do?)  She would reupholster those babies!”  I’m thinking a navy velvet.  There was a matching couch too.  I know, right?

This smoky mirrored chest just needs a good coat of paint to be perfect #thrifting

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This snapshot does not capture how mysteriously smoky the mirrors are on this chest.  Someone please go buy this now and give it a sleek new paint job to show off those mirrors to best advantage!  All three of the items can be found at Vic’s Antiques & Uniques.  Yes, I was able to leave them behind, but not without longing for what could have been.

This beauty called me from across the room #thrifting

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This vintage tole chandelier is also still hanging in all her glory at Exit 76 Antique Mall.  She is perfect just as she is, though those bulbs are questionable.  I sobbed a little as I walked away from her.

55/365 More thrifting, more ideas #365project

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And then there was this candy dish at Gilley’s Antique Mall.  Not my style at all.  The flowers painted on the milk glass are just too sweet, not that there’s anything wrong with that (name that TV sitcom).  But seeing it did give me a super awesome idea for some milk glass passed down to me from my grandmother.  I’ll give you a hint.  Other influences are Catherine Holm and vintage Pyrex patterns.  Oh, I can’t wait to try it out, so that I can show you guys what I have done!

Vintage Valentine’s Day

45/365 Happy Valentine's Day! #365project #vintage

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SWEETHEART
I thought that you would
like to know
That some one’s thoughts go
where you go;
That some one never can forget
The hours we spent since
first we met.
That life is richer, sweeter far
For such a sweetheart as you are.
And now my constant prayer
will be
That God may keep you
safe for me.

Rockin’ It Out Like Betty Crocker: Valentine’s Day

I read cookbooks with the same enthusiasm that most folks reserve for reading a novels.  I adore them!  Especially vintage cookbooks.

43/365 Betty Crocker knows how to party from way back #365project

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With pictures.  Even better when the pictures are illustrations like those by Anne and Harlow Rockwell in Betty Crocker’s Party Book (first edition, 1960).  (Totally-unrelated-to-this-post-trivia: Did you know that Anne and Harlow were husband and wife, and that they illustrated many books together?  Their daughter Lizzy Rockwell is also an illustrator.  And now back to our programming.)

Valentine's Day circa 1960

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I must confess, however, that I read many more recipes than I actually cook.  It’s like pinning more than actually doing.  At least with blogging, I have to DO something to keep it interesting for myself and my readers.  By the way, YAY, I love you!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for the follows!

With this need to do something in mind, I cracked open the Betty Crocker’s Party Book with the intent to actually plan a menu.  Here is what Betty recommends for A Valentine Buffet Supper:

Lobster Newburg
in
Heart Croustades
Baked Canadian Ham
Buttered Peas with Mushrooms
Pink Grapefruit-Avocado Salad
Hot Rolls
Heart-shaped White Coconut Cake

Only recipes for the Heart Croustades and Heart-shaped White Coconut Cake are included in the book.

HEART CROUSTADES (from Betty Crocker’s Party Book, 1960)
Heat oven to 375 degrees (quick mod.).  Slice bread 2″ thick.  Remove crusts; cut into heart shapes.  Cut out center, leaving 1/4″ thick walls on bottom and sides.  Brush with melted butter.  Bake until golden, 12 to 15 min.

I think it is up to you, home cook, to whip up your best Lobster Newburg recipe and serve it alongside the simple Pink Grapefruit-Avocado Salad.  What!?!  These are the recipes in which I am most interested.  At least the grapefruit are seasonal in February (and the avocados just finished in January).  I still have some that are ripening.  But does anyone know what makes a ham Canadian?

Since it is 1960, and a General Mills cookbook, the recipe for the Heart-shaped White Coconut Cake is essentially: 1. bake a white cake in a heart-shaped pan; 2. put the cake together with lemon filling; 3. frost with fluffy white canned frosting; 4. sprinkle cake with shredded coconut.  Easy peasy, right?  Thanks to cake mix, one of the first convenience foods, it can be.  Modern convenience was in vogue.  It’s no wonder that some of our grandmothers are scratching their heads at our whole-food-ingredients-this and local-seasonal-produce-that food trends today.

Betty also has some recommendations for decorating your table: “If you own a beautiful lace tablecloth, this Valentine buffet dinner is the time to bring it out.  Use lace or cut work mats for the smaller dining (card) tables or put them on individual trays.  For a larger, more formal party, you may want to use a floor length cloth with a flounce of ruffled net (p. 37) for the buffet table.  A washable pink floral design fabric could be used for cloths on the card tables for dining.  Pin matching bows of the same floral fabric to corners of the buffet table.” (Betty Crocker’s Party Book, 1960)

Umm, yeah.  I’m going to make dinner for my husband this Thursday, because he is taking me out for our REAL Valentine’s Day celebration dinner at Late Harvest Kitchen this weekend.  I’m not sure that I will get down with the ruffled net flounces and pink floral bows, but I will definitely take pictures if I do.

Speaking of my husband, I’m going to commit blogger sin #672 and take a moment to brag.  Every day from February 1st through today, my darling has surprised me with a Valentine’s Day themed gift.  The conversation hearts in this picture?  They are actually erasers.  I squealed when I found them lying next to the spilled contents of my purse this morning.

43/365 Betty Crocker knows how to party from way back #365project

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Yes, you read that correctly.  I had dumped everything out of my purse last night and left it lying on the floor of the foyer, and my husband STILL GAVE ME A PRESENT.  I don’t have his grace, but I’m sure glad he does.  I might even share these with him (Day 10).

42/365 DeBrand chocolates #14daysofValentine #365project

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DeBrand Chocolates are a favorite!  Check them out here to see what I mean.  And if you want to be my Valentine, you can also follow me on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.