Gear Art (Restoration Hardware Knock-Off)

I have no idea why I felt compelled to do this knock-off interpretation of artifact “art” from Restoration Hardware, especially considering my new-found love of all things gold, curvy and swirly.  Maybe it was the challenge of acquiring old gears and wheels or maybe it’s just a great “upcycle”.  Either way, I couldn’t get it out of my head (for months).

When I dropped in on a tractor dealership and asked about vintage gears, they all looked at me like I had 3 heads.  (I still think it’s funny that there’s a tractor dealership about 2 miles from my house, ah, Kansas!)  Anyway, once I explained why I wanted them, Chris brought me to what he lovingly referred to as the “scrap heap”.  In fact, he suggested that I come by at least once a week and start making a lot of art (hmmm, is that lucrative?)  Anyway, I chose a few funky pieces just to get started.
These weren’t vintage as in “rusty”, but they were legit.  And really greasy.  I degreased them (in the kitchen sink – it wasn’t pretty) using some orange stuff Hubby bought years before.  I have to mention this because there was a fairly major argument over this purchase in 2003.  At this point, he wins the argument and gets a huge apology.  It’s all-natural and worked like a charm!  (and I can’t believe we held onto the stuff for that long!)
I’d searched Craigslist and eBay for some antique pulleys and gears, but they were even more expensive than RH’s versions, so I decided that it just wasn’t going to happen.  Then, I dropped in on an estate sale one day and in a corner sat a sad little (big!) pulley for $8!  Game changer!
Once I had all the pieces, it was pretty simple.  I cleaned them all up and painted them Krylon’s Oil Rubbed Bronze to get a uniform look (you knew that was coming, right?).  I used L brackets on the back of each one with the Loctite liquid weld.  It worked for some, but for a couple, the liquid weld just popped right off.  I used my trusty E6000 and it worked!  Then, I mounted each of them to a thick piece of trim.
Here’s the finished product!
A few of these are really heavy but I think they’ll be perfect for a bookcase.
I might add a pretty treadle sewing machine wheel to the collection.

What do you think?

PS. my little guys love these and have already “called” certain gears for their rooms’.  (“One looks like a Lego Mom!”)

Brown Paper Packages…

 …are pretty boring, tied up with string or not.

Here’s a cutie-patootie way to make them better – no cutting machine or vinyl required!
I found these foam stamps and decided I couldn’t live another day without them.  I had no idea what I’d use them for, but that’s beside the point (right?)
I thought stamping with paint would be a great way to spruce up some plain craft paper for a couple of birthday gifts! (I know you’re admiring my well-loved drop cloth)
I started out by dipping the letters into the paint that I’d poured into a styrofoam produce thingy, but after about 2 letters I realized it would be A LOT less messy to just paint the foam stamps with a small brush.
See the difference?  Less paint = better.
I washed the paint off the stamps and let them dry in the sun.
Now there will be no question who these came from! (crazy-paint-everything-girl)

No-Sew Window Treatments (Tutorial)

The guest room that doubles as the play room is a decorating conundrum (don’tcha love that word?).  On a typical day (as in: no guests are coming) if you can manage to walk through without the pain of stepping on a Lego, then you WIN.  I wanted to update the window treatments for the room, but let’s face it – it’s the home to toys for three boys – no designer fabrics required.  So here’s what I did:

I started with a 12″ x 15″ canvas drop cloth.  The package said that the actual measurements were 11″ 9″ x 14″ 9″ (hmmmm?)  Anyway, I washed, dried and ironed it and then remeasured to find their exact size.

Based on my window measurements, I wanted the canvas to hang 94″, not including the rod and rings.  I cut it at 95″ to allow a 1″ seam (the drop cloth was hemmed all the way around, so that was one less hem I had to do on the top or bottom of each).  I decided on 3 curtains as the room has 2 windows side by side.

In the photo below the “bottom” of the curtain has already been cut to 95″.  You can see I took the measurements of the entire width and divided the it into 1/3’s and allowed an additional inch for the center curtain since it wouldn’t be hemmed on either side. (remember, the outer 2 pieces already had one hem).  By doubling the fabric and measuring that distance in from the two outer (separate) edges, I was able to only make two cuts total!  (does that make sense?)
Since my sewing skills haven’t improved since the last time I claimed I was going to learn how to sew, I bought 2 rolls of Heat n Bond, a no-sew hem tape.  I ironed in a 1″ crease on any side that didn’t already have a hem to make sure that the edges were crisp, then I applied the tape.
With the iron on medium heat, I adhered the sticky side.  Once it cooled, I removed the paper backing, folded over the raw edge of the fabric and iron again until the heat penetrated the fabric and the bonding tape.  Once it cooled, I was left with nice, clean edges!  This method is really easy but it was time consuming based on how large the fabric was.
Once the hems were finished, I added a 6″ stripe with matte Chocolate colored fabric paint.  First I measured and marked 9″ and 15″ from the top of curtain lightly with a pencil.  Then I taped and remeasured.  I also taped some newspaper down on my awesome craft table kitchen floor, just in case there was any bleed through (there was).
I started out using just a brush but quickly realized that if I didn’t want this to be an all-day project, I’d better get a roller.  I used a 2″ foam roller and it was perfect!
Here they are on the window.  (I cleaned up all those Legos just for you, my GUEST!!!)
(Someone should’ve warned me how difficult it is to photograph windows!)
This entire room is getting an overhaul soon, this is the first step, stay tuned!

Afterthoughts:

  • Based on my window size, I could probably have done these with a smaller canvas but I know I’ll have plenty of uses for the remaining fabric, so I didn’t mind.  There are so many sizes available – possibly one that’s the perfect size for your windows, so that you wouldn’t have to hem at all.
  •  Definitely wash the canvas before you use it.  It was dusty but was just fine once it was clean and dry.
  • This project cost less than $40!  (I was fortunate enough to already have the curtain rod and rings, stencil, and fabric paint on hand.)