Paper shop of horrors

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I've been exploring paper flower craft in the last number of months. Halloween season has inspired me create some paper Audrey IIs. As a reminder Audrey II was the flesh/blood eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors. Please note; if I go missing in the near future it's most likely I've been eaten by my own craft project.

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For my table display I've paired the pot of Audreys with some of my weirder and pricklier looking succulents. Check out my Halloween pin board to see more creepy plants and ideas for eery plant craft. 

Black and white patterned bedroom

Reading nook with newly sewn curtains and a newly hung lamp. Art in photo by  Alex Shepard

Reading nook with newly sewn curtains and a newly hung lamp. Art in photo by Alex Shepard

Recently I had the opportunity to move all my creative supplies out of my bedroom into a dedicated workshpace. Things were becoming so cramped it was becoming harder to work on creative projects. Once everything was moved the walls in my now emptied room looked worse for wear. Last week I mentioned I'd be sharing some bedroom projects. While my mom was brightening up my dining room chairs my dad and I were giving my room a fresh coat of white paint. I've never actually painted a whole room. It's a lot of work! We put two coats of paint on and in some areas three.

White walls aren't too exciting to photograph so I thought I'd share the black and white patterns I've been adding to my bedroom over the last few years.

 

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Before/After

Before/After

The before cushions are not in bad shape but they had that vintage musty smell. Dry cleaning could take care of it but orange isn't really the right color for my room. For cushions I covered two Ikea pillows with handmade cases. The seat is a square pillow and the back is actually a standard sleeping pillow.

 

This box is perfect for smooshing a down throw for storage. There is no nice way to fold those. My striped blanket is actually a pancho I got in mexico.

This box is perfect for smooshing a down throw for storage. There is no nice way to fold those. My striped blanket is actually a pancho I got in mexico.

My bedside tables are waiting for some project love. I'd like to paint the tops of them yellow. Art in photo by  Courtney Cerruti.

My bedside tables are waiting for some project love. I'd like to paint the tops of them yellow. Art in photo by Courtney Cerruti.

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My bedroom curtains were another parent/daughter project from several years back. They started the black and white movement in my room. 

A fresh coat of paint for my kitchen stool with the extra paint from the bedroom walls.

A fresh coat of paint for my kitchen stool with the extra paint from the bedroom walls.

Now that my walls are painted and the millions of pin holes have been filled in I'm reluctant to put anything on the walls. I will put stuff up eventually after much planning and consideration. Right now I'm enjoying my slightly empty room. It feels fresh and I'm repressing my urge to fill it up again. 

Bright blue chairs

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Over labor day weekend my parents came for a visit to celebrate my birthday and help me with some home projects. For the project I'm sharing this week the only credit I can take is choosing the fabric for these chairs. The upholstery work was all done with my moms craft knowhow. My mom has taught me a lot of crafting skills over the years and I'm still learning from her!

My mom always has her eyes out for quality furniture. Knowing I'm always seeking an improved dining room table she found the mid century style table and chairs in these pictures at her local consignment shop. She was confident we could easily cover them with new fabric. The only information we have about the pieces are that they were built for a furniture show. They have no labels and we don't know if they were ever in production. There is also a matching credenza now living at my parents house.

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Before/After

Before/After

Upholstering is not as difficult as it looks. It just takes some time and patience and watching a lot of youtube videos. My moms best guess was that these were professionally upholstered in the 80s. The padding wasn't so bad and didn't smell weird so we opted to just cover over the old material. It would have been too much labor to remove all the staples holding the old fabric on.  

Underside of seat.

Underside of seat.

The seat cushions were the easiest. Basically just wrap and staple with a staple gun. Some additional hammering was needed on the staples as well. We used black interfacing to finish the bottoms. 

Top view of chair back.

Top view of chair back.

The top side of the chair backs are actually stapled as well. The chair back uses two pieces of fabric. You staple the two pieces as though you were sewing an inside seem. When you pull the two pieces of fabric in opposite directions it looks as though it was sewn. The staples are hiding on the inside.

Underside of chair back.

Underside of chair back.

The staples on the underside of the back are exposed. This doesn't deter from the looks because you can't actually see them unless you're laying on the floor taking a picture like I was. 

Side stitching of chair back.

Side stitching of chair back.

The old upholstery used stapes on the sides of the chair backs. If you have an electric staple gun that may be a way to go but we found hand whip stitching with an upholstery needle to be a better look. Again these stitches are a testament to all my mom has sewn over the years. I tried to sew one corner and my stitches were more uneven and my fingers were left numb.

Back of chair back.

Back of chair back.

The wooden buttons on the back of the chair are the last part of upholstery trickery. These buttons hide screws underneath that hold the back to the frame. They are readily available at the hardware store and a drop of wood glue holds them in place. They come in oak which means they did not immediately match the rest of the wood stain. I pulled out my Prisma Color pen set and found a near perfect match to hand color each button. Ten years after college I'm still finding uses for that pen set.

The captains chair.

The captains chair.

The captain of the chairs.

The captain of the chairs.

Tac has been thoroughly enjoying the chairs. When he's not napping next to me while I work at the table he's hunting me and batting at my hands.

The chair project took a full exhausting day to complete. While my mom toiled away in the dining room my dad and I were painting and working on a couple projects for my bedroom. I'll be sharing those next week.

Besides the cost of the furniture the project was very affordable. The bulk of the cost was fabric which we spent $36 on. And I have fabric left over to make something else. So if you see a piece of well loved furniture with good bones take a chance on it. Take it apart and find some youtube videos to help you out.

Heath obsession

I recently glazed a tile at Heath Ceramics. I own a few of their pieces with similar glaze color.

I recently glazed a tile at Heath Ceramics. I own a few of their pieces with similar glaze color.

If you know me you probably know I have a small obsession with Heath Ceramics. Now the internet will know. I am obsessed with Heath ceramics. I'm very fortunate to live in the Bay Area. By now I've visited the Heath factory and store in Sausalito too many times to count. The factory store sells seconds which are just as structurally sound as firsts but may have slight differences or imperfections in the glaze and clay. If you're going to make an investment in dinnerware I highly recommend visiting the factory store. It will last you forever and buying seconds is an affordable way to build a collection. On my last visit to the store there was a couple buying a new set to replace their 50 year old dishes they'd gifted to a family member.

This year Heath has expanded into a new tile factory and show room which opened September 2012 near my San Francisco neighborhood. As you can guess I love having the factory down the street. There is something so warm about all the Heath spaces and the objects that you leave with. Admittedly, doing the dishes is not my favorite task. I enjoy it a hundred times more when I'm washing my Heath dinnerware. I've learned every subtle difference in my dishes. I'm proud to have purchased part of a creative legacy made locally and made with Northern California earth. 

They have a few good sales a year and this past mothers day weekend I was happy to take advantage of all the goings on at Heath.  The sale kicked off on a Friday and for the first time I was able to head over the bridge to get a first crack at all the seconds (and the extra discount). I walked in the store 45 minutes after they opened and it was already packed. In everyone's arms a cardboard box as shopping basket carried their treasures. You could feel the excitement as we all tried not to be bulls in a china shop. I was with my people. People equally as obsessed as I.

My Heath vase collection.

My Heath vase collection.

After I'd made my purchases I was sitting outside eating a free muffin high on the power of a purchase and commiserating with a fellow shopper. I casually said to her that I kinda wanted to go back in because I forgot to look for serving plates. She admitted she wanted to go back in too. Yes! I am not alone in my obsession. So I went back in for another hot lap and found two small h'orderve plates I couldn't live without. I don't know if she went back in but as I was checking out the same couple who'd been in my check-out line earlier were also making their second purchases of the day. While they were enjoying the free coffee outside they realized they hadn't included a coffee service in their dining set. Yes! Again, I am with my people.

I added some more bud vases to my collection. At the Sausalito store there are often samples with special glazes that never reach the rest of the product line. It's one of the reasons I started collecting the vases. The vase on the left is an example of a special glaze.

I added some more bud vases to my collection. At the Sausalito store there are often samples with special glazes that never reach the rest of the product line. It's one of the reasons I started collecting the vases. The vase on the left is an example of a special glaze.

The sale was all weekend long and in every location; Sausalito, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, there were special things to participate in. This sale was the first were they had tours for the public of the new factory. It's not quite up and running yet but we got to see all the equipment and walked through the process. We also got to take a look at the studio spaces on the second floor which house other local artisans as well as Heath's own studio for shape and glaze experiments.

Tile in Heath's new kilns.

Tile in Heath's new kilns.

Glazing experiments gone awry. 

Glazing experiments gone awry. 

I covet these.

I covet these.

I especially covet the red and white ones.

I especially covet the red and white ones.

I didn't ask what these are but I'm assuming they're experiments in form.

I didn't ask what these are but I'm assuming they're experiments in form.

Pieces from the Heath archive.

Pieces from the Heath archive.

Beautiful glazing technique   from the Heath archive. 

Beautiful glazing technique from the Heath archive. 

These are some of the largest pieces in the archive that Heath has been recently cataloging for their records.

These are some of the largest pieces in the archive that Heath has been recently cataloging for their records.

Lastly after the tour I glazed my own tile. There wasn't really any instruction but luckily I'd been paying attention in my tour to the fact that different glazes can interact very unpredictably with each other. It's not like working with paint or other pigments. I made sure to keep my glazes separated on my tile. I'm pretty pleased for my first try. They fired the tiles in their new kilns and were ready to pick up a couple weeks later.

My tile in process.

My tile in process.

My finished tile.

My finished tile.

Some day I will feel the squish of clay in my hands and learn to make something from scratch. 

Make-shift Christmas tree complete with star

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This years tree is courtesy of some manzanita branches from my parents yard. My roommate is very allergic to Christmas trees so I got creative. This little tree can’t fit all my ornaments but it was the perfect low stress solution for my decorating this year.

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The colorful star is from a Christmas trip to Mexico two years ago.

The colorful star is from a Christmas trip to Mexico two years ago.

POSTSCRIPT:

After I returned from Christmas I discovered my make-shift tree had taken a crash. Was it my cat? Was there a minor earthquake while I was away? I’ll never know.

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Luckily my mom wrapped a gift for me in a box topped with an extra sparkly bottle brush xmas tree. It saved my little arrangement so my living room can stay festive into the new year.

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