Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Faux Taxidermy: Still Not Loving It

Would you believe that the most viewed post that I've had on this blog since I started back in April is one about Faux Taxidermy? It really makes me laugh a bit, as I consider how many people are running Google searches on the topic every single day.

In honor of that post that leads so many newcomers to my blog, I'd like to share with you a product that I stumbled upon this afternoon. It combines my love of Lego with my dislike of mounted dead deer heads:

That's right, it's a Taxidermy Deer Lego Kit! It can be purchased from David Cole, and wouldn't it just make the most perfect stocking stuffer!? Admittedly, if one of these showed up for me on Christmas morning, even though I'm still not digging the faux taxidermy trend, I'd still be inclined to mount this on my living room wall!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Xmas Reflections

Sometimes I get to thinking that as rad as technology is, I have a certain discomfort with it. Take, for example, my lack of blogging lately- it's not to say that I'm lacking ideas, or have nothing to share, but simply that I'm just not feeling like plopping in front of a computer to execute my thoughts into words. Or, whenever I get a text message or email, I can take days, even weeks to reply to a message. I'm not sure why... I like to think of it as a technological fear or procrastination. Anyways, now that I've established a lame excuse to compensate for a lack of blogging lately, on to better things!

Not that it's a big surprise or anything, but it's just over a month until Christmas, and I'm getting pretty pumped for that. Having Hazel be another year older, and a bit more aware of her surroundings, I hope that this Christmas will be really special. As much as we flaunt the mantra of her already having too many toys and material goods, I can barely resist the urge to go out and buy her a million gifts! I yearly feel this way about Jackie as well, so I've been instructed not to get "too crazy" this year with the spending. I especially love wrapping gifts and preparing them for Christmas, and having them nestled under the tree for weeks! Speaking of tree nestling- we haven't put up the tree yet, but we may get around to that tomorrow. The bulk of our other Christmas decorations exploded into our place almost a month ago (right after Halloween!). And so, everything is twinkly, and bright, and nostalgic-like.

I've been crafting Hazel some felt toys for Christmas- once they're done, I'll share them with you. We've also decided to make as many gifts for family this year as we can- to save on cost, and to give a personalized touch. I'll also try to share as much of that as possible- without revealing who's getting what.

In the meantime, let's kick back with some eggnog lattes, and enjoy the best time of year!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Apothecary Style Candy Jar

A few years ago, before we converted to apartment living, we used to live in a townhouse built in the 70s. One of the things that I loved/hated about the place, was that in the living room, we had a ledge that ran the entire width of the room (I think it was meant to be a breakfast area for bar stools), and we used it to store random junk. It was impossible to keep it clean. But, one of the items that we displayed on the ledge was candy jars- and our guests would love to help themselves to candy whenever they visited. Due to downsizing, the 4 candy jars were one of the things to go, due to a lack of space. What didn't change was our habit of keeping a bit of candy around the house, and it's often difficult to find a place to store it.
With the removal of some of our Fall decor, I managed to free up a bit of space on our Living Room Dresser. The problem I struggled with was finding a candy jar that wouldn't get lost amongst the other decorative items- if only there was a way to give it a bit of height, the jar would be more accessible, and it would be easier to create a sense of layering in the dresser vignette.
Enter an old wooden pillar candle holder from Debbie Travis' home collection from approx 2006. I purchased the candle holder because it had a bit of height to it, and at the time, I couldn't find any pillar holders I cared for that were in my budget range. I'll admit, I was never too keen on the look of it- it was very plain and streamlined, and lacked any sort of embellishment, and thus, has been living in the back of a storage cabinet for the past few years. I was at the point of wanting to donate it when, I decided to use it as the base of the candy jar to give it a bit of height! For the jar itself, I purchased a simple glass jar from the dollar store (for a whopping dollar!). The jar had a silver lid, and I really wanted the jar and the candle holder to feel cohesive.

The cure for that particular ailment?: paint, of course! I teetered back and forth between painting it a deep green, or a muted blue, but I really wanted to give it a bit of punch, but just couldn't come up with the right shade. I asked Jackie for advice- her suggestion: hot pink. And hot pink it was! I used the same color as our pink feature wall, just for continuity (and because I already had it, and didn't need to purchase any more paint!).

Prior to painting, I removed the lid from the jar, and attached an old finial I had kicking around, just to give it a finishing quality. And the finial went perfect with the lines of the candle holder base. I primed all the pieces, slapped on severeal coats of Benjamin Moore's Peony, and gave it all a very light coat of water based clear coat.

Once everything was dry, I attached the base to the jar by using a generous amount of clear glue (I chose a glue that was meant for fixing fish tanks and other glass applications). The only set back in the entire project (and there's always at least one!) was that I didn't handle the finial/ lid with care while the glue was setting, and it came off! Oh well, nothing that a bit more glue and paint couldn't fix.

The hot pink certainly delivered that punch I was looking for. I filled it up with some LifeSavers candies and lollipops for the time being- but I can't wait for Christmas to approach and to stack it full of red and white peppermints, or some bright Quality Street chocolates! YUM!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Pure Awesomeness of Mercury Glass

I'd like to dedicate this post to mercury glass, and my current obsession with it, and its awesomeness. Remember how 4 or so years ago, crackled glass was all the rage, and you could get that sweet effect in everything from candle holders to champagne flutes?- Well, this is better and a thousand times cooler than crackled glass.

First off- what the heck is mercury glass? Well, mercury glass refers to silvered glass, that, when blown with double walls, a liquid silvering solution is inserted, and then sealed. The result is a haphazard shimmering effect, that is heightened with a light source is reflected behind it (i.e. a mercury glass votive holder).

While I'm generally of the opinion that anything is DIYable on the cheap, I'm not sure if this is acheivable with this finish. There's numerous tutorials circulating online on how to get a mercury glass effect, but all of them involve using Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint- a mini spray can that is practically obsolete- and can run you about $15 per can. For cheaper, you could get some mercury glass votive holders or vases from most home decor stores. There's a certain satisfication about doing something yourself- but at the same time, if I could get the same effect for significantly cheaper, I'm likely to choose that option.

With Christmas looming around the corner, I'm on the look out for any decor in this finish, and hope to incorporate some of it into our decorating for this year.

Speaking of which, one thing I often struggle with at this time of year is when is it considered too soon to bust out the Xmas decor? I know that the answer is personal and everyone has a different opinion, but Fall is legitamately around for another month and a half, and I spend so much time waiting for September to approach to bring out the Fall accents- it just seems short changed to only have it out for a month or two, and then to transition to Christmas so quickly. If possible, I think I'd like to try a slow transition. Maybe throw out a few rotting pumpkins, incorporate some metallics and silver candlestick holders. And save the tree for another few weeks. Knowing us though, Christmas will probably hit our home by the time the weekend is through.