Friday, February 26, 2016

Black Chandelier

I'm progressing in my quest to fill in the broad purple expanse behind my bed.

I painted my $4 half-round shelf and hung it on the wall as a bedside table. It's perfect!

I decided to hang fabric behind the bed. I love my window curtains and was hoping to use the same behind the bed, but the store doesn't carry them any more. I ordered some that I hope will be very similar.

The exciting addition is a black chandelier with black acrylic crystals. I LOVE IT.

I'm not sure about the placement, though. I hung it to use as a bedside light, and it works great for that purpose - the height is good and it provides plenty of light. But maybe it looks weird there.

Normally a chandelier would be in the middle of a room, but there is no overhead light fixture. Or there would be matching nightstands and lights on both sides of the bed; however, my room is too narrow for two nightstands.

I borrowed my window curtains to get a rough idea of what fabric behind the bed will look like. (Ignore the white cord; I will hide it if I decide to leave the chandelier there.)

Does the chandelier look weird there? What do you think?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review: Cruelty Free Lotions

Another review, this time for a totally different product: body lotions.

I have decided to choose cruelty free health and beauty products when possible. As I run out of things, I am making an effort to replace them with certified cruelty free products. This means I've been trying lots of new stuff, including body lotions. :)

I have naturally dry skin and live in a dry climate where indoor humidity is often below 20% in winter. Thus I need a heavy-duty lotion, particularly for my hands.

Nature's Gate Lotion Pomegranate Sunflower
It's a bit thin and not moisturizing enough for me. It might be good as a body lotion in warmer weather. It tends to sit on my skin and takes some extra rubbing to get it to soak in; even then, it feels a bit sticky. I like the fragrance, which is quite noticeable at first but fades pretty quickly.
Overall, I'd rate it 3 stars bats out of 5.

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion Maximum
I LOVE this stuff! It has a thick and creamy consistency. It absorbs quickly, and it immediately makes my dry hands feel softer but not sticky or greasy. The fragrance is subtle and pleasant. It's probably the best hand lotion I've ever used.
5 bats out of 5

Alba Un-Petroleum Multi-Purpose Jelly
The consistency varies a bit with temperature (probably because it contains coconut oil, which turns liquid at around 76F/24C) but is similar to petroleum jelly. As with petroleum jelly, it's too oily/greasy to use on my hands during the day. I layer it over lotion at bedtime and then put on cotton gloves. It does smell a bit weird. Overall, it's a good chemical-free substitute for petroleum jelly (Vaseline).
4 bats out of 5

If you're looking to buy natural health or beauty products, you might want to check Their prices are much lower than in my local stores and I have always received good service. This isn't a testimonial or endorsement, just a suggestion. :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: Dremel Micro

I confess. I love power tools.*

*Except circular saws. I am irrationally terrified of circular saws. Jigsaw = useful tool. Chop saw = useful tool. Circular saw = scary instrument of horror straight out of a nightmare.

Anyway... I love power tools. I don't often blog about them because I'm not sure my readers share my enthusiasm for drills or pneumatic pin nailers. ;) However, I'm going to write a review of my latest tool purchase as it might be of interest to anyone with a pet.

I always had to take my previous dog to the groomer for nail trims. Her nails were thick and black, and I was afraid I would cut one into the quick. I'd be nervous, which made her nervous... the whole ordeal was just too unpleasant.

I was determined to handle things better with the two dogs I recently adopted. Filing their nails wouldn't make me as nervous as clipping them, so I followed that path. Research showed a couple of options: a pet nail grinder or a rotary tool with a sanding drum. Naturally, I chose the latter. Why buy a grooming implement when I can buy a power tool that serves the same function plus many more? :)

I chose the Dremel Micro.

I love it! It is small, lightweight, and easy to hold. It has a nifty charger stand so it's convenient and ready to go when I need it. And it's quiet. On the lowest setting, which is what I use for the dogs' nails, it's barely as loud as my electric toothbrush.

Okay, so it doesn't take much to sell me on a multi-function power tool. ;) The real question is: How do the dogs like it? More specifically, how does fearful Nook like it?

Nook is afraid of EVERYTHING. Not just the usual suspects of fireworks and loud noises, but anything and everything new. Set an object on the floor, and she reacts like a monster was released into the room.

So of course, she was scared of the Dremel initially, even before I turned it on. But with patience and lots of reassurance, I managed to convince her it wasn't a monster. Then I managed to convince her to sit still for a couple of minutes and let me file a few of her nails. Now, after a couple more sessions, she isn't the least bit afraid. I did all of her nails this evening, and she didn't protest at all; in fact, she practically fell asleep.

I am absolutely thrilled! I will be able to maintain both dogs' nails with no fear and a minimum of effort. It truly is a huge relief.

Anyone else tried a Dremel or similar tool for their dog's nails?

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Short Pant Rant

Not a rant about short pants, but a short rant about pants (jeans, actually).

I lost a few pounds and my jeans are too big. Much too big. I can take them off without unzipping them.

I went to the same store and bought the same brand, same style jeans in the next size down. They're too small. They're so tight, the fly doesn't lie flat.

Thank you, jeans maker, for giving me choices: Falling Off Loose or Immobilizing Tight.

ARGH! This is why I hate buying pants or jeans.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Paint It Black: Spray Painting Tips

Last weekend, I had excellent thrift store luck.

This weekend, I had excellent weather luck. The conditions were perfect for spray painting: no snow on the ground, mild temperatures, and no wind. I seized the opportunity to paint my new finds along with the horde of "to be painted" items that I've been collecting over the last few months.

Here's the process I use for successful spray painting.

First, gear up. I suggest wearing latex or vinyl gloves because spray paint is quite difficult to wash off your hands. Wear a respirator/face mask because even outside, the teeny tiny floating particles of paint will find their way up your nose and into your lungs. Be aware that paint particles will almost certainly get on your clothes and shoes.

Next, prepare your work area. I strongly advise against spray painting inside. You will probably end up with a mist of paint on everything in sight, and your house will reek of spray paint for days.

We'll assume you are painting outside. Wait for a day that isn't windy, and paint in the shade if possible.

Lay out your items, spacing them apart so you can get to all sides. I lay out my items on cardboard. When I have several items to paint, I like to put each one on a second piece of cardboard or a scrap of wood so that I can turn the item and/or carry it inside by touching only the cardboard or wood, reducing the risk of marring the still-drying paint.

Next, grab your can(s) of paint and shake 'em up. Shake until you can hear the little ball rattle inside the can, then shake for another minute.

And then it's time to paint... er... prime. I start with a coat of primer. But the technique is the same.

To apply the primer or paint, hold the can a few inches away from the item and spray on a light coat of paint, always keeping the can moving. Sweep back and forth horizontally or up and down, spraying as you go. You don't need to wait for the paint to dry before adding another coat; simply continue spraying lightly until you get the desired coverage. Don't hold the can too close to the item and don't "point and shoot" with the can stationary because you'll likely end up with drips.

You can use the paint of your choice. My favorite is Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch because it covers extremely well. Other types of Rust-Oleum, such as the metallic and textured paints, are pretty good also.

You can use the color of your choice. As noted in the title of this post, I typically choose black. Actually, this time, because I'm sooo totally goth, I didn't just paint my stuff black... I painted it four kinds of black! ;)

I used flat black, semi-gloss black, hammered finish black, and textured metallic black (all Rust-Oleum).

The flat black gives a soft, almost velvety looking finish.
flat black
flat black
vases and candle holders in flat black

The semi-gloss black gives a finish that reflects more light.
candle holder and ravens in semi-gloss black
frame and motif in semi-gloss black

The hammered black gives a finish resembling wrought iron.
candle holders in hammered black
hammered black

The textured metallic gives a finish that not only looks but feels textured. It's also unexpectedly glittery.
house number and frame in textured metallic black

Here's a photo with all four types of black for comparison.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Thrift Store Haul

Now for something I don't often do... a "haul" post. I went to a few thrift stores this weekend. I was specifically looking for three items for my bedroom: a lamp or chandelier, a small table or plant stand to set my humidifier on, and a shelf to replace my nightstand. I found the perfect shelf for $4. It's a half-round shape (no sharp corners!) and it's just the right size. It even has a drawer. :D

I also picked up some candlesticks, a picture frame, and a few other knickknacks. A little black paint will fix them up nicely. ;)

Though I was shopping mainly for my bedroom, there were a couple of other "wants" I was keeping an eye out for. One was a cabinet-style side table for my living room - and I really got lucky on that one. I happened across a pair of tables in excellent condition. They're the perfect size!

They were $20 for the pair, which would have been a good price... but it was 50% off sale day, so I paid only $10. :D Score!

And on the topic of shopping...
My favorite grocery store is pretty new and very nice... and always crowded on the weekends. I usually won't go until about 9:30 in the evening when the crowds have cleared out. Today, however, was a special day. It was not only Super Bowl Sunday, but the local team (Denver Broncos) were playing. I knew lots of people would be at home watching the game, so I chanced a trip to the store around 5:00 pm. I have never seen the parking lot so empty. I was practically the only person in the store. It was awesome. :D

And I've just been hearing fireworks, so I assume the Broncos won.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Next Up: Decor and Lighting

Now that I have painted my bedroom furniture, I'm trying to maintain my focus on projects for that room. It would be wonderful to have one room in the house completely finished!

Most of the remaining projects are related to decor or lighting. After collecting lots of ideas on how to fill the expanse of purple wall behind my bed, I'm now narrowing down the choices. I really like the idea of using fabric, possibly sheer or lace. Perhaps something like the photos below, but in black instead of white.

As for lighting, I want to replace my cheap, boring floor lamp with something nicer. Lowe's carries a torchiere that is very pretty; however, the globes on the side lights are shorter than light bulbs, leaving half the bare bulb visible. That really irks me. I'll have to see if there are smaller bulbs I could use.
from Lowe's

I'd love to have a black chandelier somewhere in the house. Would a small one work as a bedside light, perhaps? I'd have to turn it into a plug-in light because there is no ceiling fixture in the bedroom.
from Amazon

On a completely different topic... I noticed on my blog stats that a few hundred pageviews came from Tumblr in the last month. The stats don't show anything more specific than, and the search on Tumblr isn't very helpful. Anyone know how I can find out which picture(s) were put on tumblr and/or who put them there? I'm dying of curiosity!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Black-on-Black Dresser Part 3

And now the conclusion of our dresser makeover! (See part 1 and part 2.) We have finished painting everything...

Now it's time to add the stenciling. Use a gloss or semi-gloss sheen in the same color as the matte paint used on the drawer fronts. I used Behr Premium Plus Ultra in "Black."

Use a stencil of your choice. For a continuous, overall pattern, a wall and floor stencil works well. I used "Victorian Baroque" from Stencil Ease (available from Amazon).

While not a requirement, stencil adhesive will make the process much easier (especially if your dresser has curved drawers!). I used Krylon Easy-Tack spray.

Before you begin stenciling the dresser, I strongly recommend practicing on cardboard. Adhere the stencil in place. Load your roller lightly with paint and gently roll over the stencil. Practice will indicate how much pressure to use. Too much paint or too much pressure will cause the paint to leak underneath the stencil. Once you feel comfortable on cardboard, use the same process on your dresser.

I'm sorry I couldn't get photos of the actual stenciling process. I don't have enough hands! :( But there are lots of tutorials online.

Stencil the sides of the dresser. Stencil the top if desired.

And stencil the drawer fronts.

Next, cut liner for the drawers. Adhesive shelf paper works well, or you can use wrapping paper. I used silver wrapping paper. For regular rectangular drawers, you can simply measure the bottom of the drawer and cut the paper to size. Curved drawers are trickier. I made a pattern (the purple paper shown below). I traced it onto the back of my wrapping paper and then cut the wrapping paper along the lines.

Place liner in each of the drawers.

Attach the knobs/handles/pulls.

Slide the drawers into place... and your dresser is complete!

Here's the before and after:

I used the same gloss-over-matte technique on a chest of drawers.