Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Paper thin walls.

On a recent trip to see my friend Kim, from Serendipty, we visited a local antique store in Clarendon Hills, Illinois. One of the vignettes in the store was all black and white, and the wall had been covered in newspapers, scrapbook paper and other odd pieces of memorbilia. I fell in love with the wall and decided to duplicate in my stairwell. I knew I'd have to alter it a bit, because I didn't want all black/white/gray colors. I needed it to be more on the tan/cream/brown side of the color wheel.

You might remember that last year I painted my family room two shades of tan, but when I got to the basement stairwell, I never finished the bottom half. Partly because I ran out of steam, and partly because I couldn't decide what to do on those walls. I contemplate wallpapering the bottom half, but stewed about what paper to buy for weeks and in the end, I never did anything. And now a whole year has passed and it remains unpainted! The yellow bottom you see here is the old wall color--and that's what I wanted to cover.

The walls are covered in wood paneling, so I wasn't sure I wanted to permanently adhere layers of paper to it. After much thought I decided to line the walls first with brown Kraft paper. Then I could paste the newspapers and other layers to the Kraft paper! Great idea, right? I got right to work.

My supply list was fairly simple--6 rolls of Kraft paper (got them at the Dollar General); newspaper; scrapbook paper; wall adhesive; razor blade; staple gun and tons of staples.

I decided to staple the Kraft paper directly to the wall vs. wallpapering it to the wall. With this method the entire project could simply be ripped down when I get tired of it. It was easy to staple up the Kraft paper. I simply held it even at the top and started stapling. I stapled down the center first, so I could smooth the paper out toward each side as I worked. It only took about 40 minutes to get the walls lined.

Now came the newspaper layers. When I started looking through my local paper, I realize that they use an awful lot of colored ink nowadays. That's not the look I was going for. So I drive to the drug store to get a copy of the Wall Street Journal thinking that's more black and white, right? Wrong! So I had to really scour the paper for the right pages without color. The majority of what I used was sports scores, weather map, stock exchange info, tv listings and crossword puzzle pages. I did add a few pages of cartoon funnies, for just a bit of color.

For my adhesive I had decided on liquid wallpaper paste, which I had to run out to get at the local hardware store. I buy a gallon--and open it up. It had completely turned to a soft solid and couldn't be used. So back to the store I go and bought a pourable paste instead, which I rolled on with a foam roller. As soon as I started rolling it on, I knew it was a bad idea! The paste was too liquidy and caused my Kraft paper to warp. Yikes! Back to square one. After calling Kim to cry on her shoulder, we decided that spray mount/spray adhesive might work. Luckily I already had a can because now it's too late to go back to the store. I decide to just spray the edges of the newspaper pages and for the double spread pages I also ran a bit down the middle. Then I just lined it up and stuck it to the Kraft paper! I worked from the largest section of the wall, and moved way to the smaller part at the top of the stairs.

After the newspaper layer was done, I used vintage dictionery pages; other old book pages with interesting images on them; coordinating scrapbook paper; sheet music; S and H green stamp book pages; my son's report card; a science paper he had from school with a 100% score; and other paper memorbilia.

I really like the finished product. I'll warn you though, having the layer of Kraft paper does not give you a perfect finish, as far as how "flat" it lays against the wall. There are some  areas that aren't totally flat--but that doesn't bother me. If you're a fanatic, you might want to spray mount your paper items directly to your wall....but remember, at some point, you might want to take them down--and who wants to do all that scraping?

I'll leave you with some before and afters of each view...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Come on in and meet Doris...

So you know how I'm constantly saying I want a vintage camper? For the past couple of years I've bugged my family and friends to keep a look out for me. Of course I was hoping I'd be one of the lucky ones...that I might walk into a garage sale and see one with a free sign on it (a girl can dream can't she?). Well, on Tuesday I was checking craigslist on my lunch hour, and BAM, there she was!!! Yikes, for a great price too. So I shot off an email and the guy got right back to me. He told me another lady was coming to look at it on Wednesday and that he had several people interested in it! Another "yikes" escaped my lips! Holy cow! A quick phone call to my husband...who said "I don't care, sure, let's go look at it after work." (ya gotta love a guy who says that). So, I rush home and jump in the car...of course it's getting dark as we drive to Clinton, Wisconsin (20 minutes from my house). Now I need a flashlight to see inside it. So by now you've guessed right? Yep, we brought her home!

I'm in love. Well, as much as one junk hound can be with a hunk of 1967 metal including an avacado green refrigerator and stove! Without further ado, let me introduce you to Doris...

Now of course I could have spent a lot more and bought one that was already renovated. But where's the fun in that! This little baby...a 1967 Forester, who began her life in Forest City, Iowa, needs a little TLC, mostly in the home decor department. Structurally, she's in pretty good shape with a few blemishes--she really just needs some blush, eye shadow and mascara--and she'll be good as Doris Day!
Some of you might be wondering "why call her Doris" when your company is named "Nellie"? I'll tell you why...because Nellie is my maternal grandmother and Doris is my paternal grandmother! I wanted to pay homage to both of them. After all, without them you might be doing laundry right now instead of reading my blog! (That might be a stretch, but you get my drift--grandmothers rock)! With that said, you're probably feeling closer to Doris already, huh? So let's get started...she's a great gal.

Here's her kitchen...kickin' 60's avacado green hood, stove and fridge, speckled counter tops, and birch cupboards. And how 'bout that mirror right in the middle of the cabinets, huh? Bet you wish you had such a feature in your kitchen...so you can check out your reflection at 6am each morning as you drag yourself to the sink to make the coffee (sorry, I'm getting off subject)!

Looking to the left, is her bedroom. OK, it's not really a bedroom, but there is a bed. In these little babies you have to have a big imagination...and a privacy curtain! See the fuzzy white thing sitting there--well she follows me everywhere--heavens to Betsy she should miss out on the tour. She swooped in and jumped right up on the bed like she'd been there before! On the left is a closet with full length dressing mirror (because when you're camping you want to be sure you look good at the bonfire)!

On the other side of her kitchen, Doris can serve up her famous cookies at this lovely dining spot.

Doris has all her original light fixtures. The fixture in the middle directly above the table is an original "gas" light...sort of like an upside down lantern! The bedroom features two darling wall sconces in a lacy metal in each corner.

As much as I love the green and yellow floral cushions, I have to tell you I'm not a Packer fan so I'll be changing them out for something softer and homey.  To what, you might ask? I haven't quite decided yet. I've spent the past 24 hours going round and round with what type of decorating I should put in her. I've looked at tons of darling vintage campers on Pinterest which just makes my head spin. Here's some of the ones that other creative gals have glamed up that I absolutely adore...

From: home-sweet-motorhome.blogspot.com
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From: tincantourists.com
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From: ruffledblog.com

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From: getcampie.com
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No source:
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From: thefancyfarmgirl.com
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From: urbanfarmgirl.com
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From: amysvintagecottage.blogspot.com
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From: vintagecottagecamper.blogspot.com
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So now you can see why I'm so torn...I love them all. But I'm leaning in one direction--and for now, I'm keeping it a secret. You'll have to come to Nellie's Barn Sale on June 15 & 16, 2012 to see Doris in all her glory!

And here's where you come in...I won't be using Doris for Glamping; she becoming a part of the Nellie's Barn Sale event weekend....everything that will be inside Doris will be for sale (sans the curtains, fixtures, cushions, and a few pieces that will be coming straight out of my house). But for the most part, I plan to fill her with kitchen goods, linens, cookbooks, dishes, pillows, wall prints and such that you can take home to feather your nest with!

Here's the real Doris...in the middle. My dad's sister Audrey on left and my mom on right.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

Simply stated, I love mirrors. Period. I love huge, ornate wall mirrors. I love tall mirrors tipped against a wall or propped on top of a cabinet. I love vintage hand mirrors. I don't know what it is about them, but whenever I see one at a sale, I'm always tempted to buy it...and usually do! On Friday my husband and I bought a few items for the summer barn sale: three buffets, one vintage dressing table, one secretary, and you guessed it...a wall mirror. Now, I bought it with the intent to re-sell...but you can probably guess what I did. Yep. I brought it in my house and propped it up on a small 2 drawer chest in the family room.

I love how mirrors can help make a small room seem larger--and increase the amount of light in the room. I have a very dark house...huge oak and hickory trees overhang all sides + extremely wide overhangs on the house = no direct sunshine in my rooms! So I need all the help I can get.

I was just going to show the one I bought this week, but decided to show all the big mirrors in my house...maybe you'll be inspired to prop one somewhere unexpected.  Enjoy!

So, here she is...with a triple layer gold gilded frame. Sometimes I like mixing gold and silver in the same vignette...you'll also see here the vintage lampshade that Kim from Serendipity and I made a few weeks ago during our girls weekend. I finally got out and bought an Edison lightbulb for it.

Isn't the detail on the mirror lovely? Not only did I pair gold and silver together, I added a copper tray too. I love my new Morel mushroom--I got it during my weekend I stayed with Kim at the florist in downtown Claredon Hills, Illinois. My husband is a morel hunter of sorts, so it was my gift to him.

You'll notice that I also love birds nests. I tuck them in everywhere. This one is nesting in a vintage brown transferwear cup and saucer.

Now, on to the front hall. If you know me at all, you know that I change my furniture around like some people change pants. This chest dresser has literally resided in every room of my house except the bathroom. And that's only because it won't fit in there! It now holds all our hats and mittens and a few games. This mirror was purchased from my friend Joan at Possessions many years ago. It weighs a ton and it also has found a home in almost every room of the house, from above the fireplace to tipped on a dresser to standing against the wall on the floor. I like to layer mirrors with framed prints and empty frames. It gives a nice depth to the display.

 This little plaster lady is the base of vintage lamp. No one bought her at last summer's sale, so I brought her in the house. You may wonder why there are longhorn steer horns in a room with shabby romantic items? Because that's how I am! And they are a reflection from the living room opposite this mirror...so technically not in the same room! That's another one of my many collections...steer horns...we have four pairs!

I have a soft spot for cloches...and here's another nest with a "real" butterfly landed on it. I found her dead on my deck a few summers ago and couldn't just sweep her up...so I kept her.
This very cool vintage lamp is the one I posted a year ago on my Nellie's Barn Sale facebook page--that I treated myself with for my birthday!! It also has moved around the house. The vintage wraught iron ceiling fixture in the mirror reflection was purchased at from Judy at The Empty Attic when she first opened seven years ago.
Isn't she gorgeous?

Now we move to my bedroom. This fun wall mirror was purchased at a garage sale last year but was a nasty gold--so I mixed up some turquoise paint and dabbed it on over the gold. It's just leaning against the wall. My dresser was purchased from Nancy at Second Hand Rose several years ago when she and I had booths in the same shop. She now has her own store which is a must visit!

You can see the fab detail it has...

This dresser is also in my bedroom. It was one of several pieces we received for FREE from a lady who is a tenant in my stepsons' apartment building! It's a gorgeous piece of furniture complete with candles holders, original skeleton key and hand written notes on the bottom of the drawers that are from 1909! Treasures like these make me wonder why people spend thousands of dollars for pressboard pieces from Slumberland or Ashley Furniture when they can spend few hundred (and many times less) on better built pieces with history!
 The lamp is from a cute shop in Gulf Shores, Alabama when vacationing there several years ago. And the hydraenga is from my yard.The vintage ink bottle comes from a bucket of old bottles in my garage...my husband works for the local sanitary district and finds old bottles, jewelry, and coins all the time when they're digging.

Next is the main bath--a room I'm planning to completely overhaul very soon (if I can ever make up my mind on which vanity to purchase)! It is also my son's bath, hence the eclectic collection of vintage northwoods decor. Yes, that's a Jack-a-lope on the left and a mounted deer head above the toilet on the right! As you can see, there are no rules in my house when it comes to decorating. That's an old metal kitchen cabinet next to the sink. I have no closet in this room, so it's where we hide everything from band aids to medicine to cleaning supplies. Back to the mirror. This is the original 1977 contractor special that was installed when the house was built. You know the gig...big, flat, ugly, plain...need I say more. I had my carpenter brother use some old fence boards to frame out the plain glass, with a slight shelf on top and above faucet.

This large mantel mirror sits on my buffet in the dining room. Not everything in my house is old. This mirror is from TJMaxx--the other place I shop when I'm not junking! I hate putting holes in the wall, especially for something that weighs so much. It's easier to simply set in on a piece and lean it against the wall. But I always use small pieces of non-slip mat between the mirror and cabinet so it doesn't slide out and fall.

 Well, that's the tour of mirrors! Now run out to your local junk shop, antique mall or thrift store to get yourself one...or two...or three!