Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Time Travel Thursday #5 - Funky Fun

"We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they're called memories.
Some take us forward, they're called dreams."
~Jeremy Irons~

Welcome to the fifth Time Travel Thursday linky party at The Brambleberry Cottage.
Are you ready to share your fondest memories, grandest dreams,
and most creative projects? Great!

Show us what you've got!

While visiting my favorite salvage haunt, I found this fantastic vintage
chair.  I loved everything about it—the shape, the remnants of the cool
blue-green paint it wore, and the price...
only four bucks!

I couldn't resist.  It just had to come home with me.   ; )

Though the totally dilapidated seat was a bit of a drawback, the
incredibly sturdy solid oak frame was a selling point.

I knew I wanted to maintain the terrific color—as found—but I wasn't exactly sure
what I wanted to do with the seat.  I debated between a pre-woven
 replacement, and a solid panel that I could upholster.  But, neither of
those choices seem to fit the character of the chair.

Then the Yankee and I began working on a few projects incorporating the wonderful
vintage beadboard we have stashed in one of the barns... 
and inspiration hit!

With a circular saw and a chisel, the old seat was removed,
 and a recessed area was created.

I selected a handful of beaded-board pieces—leftover from
prior projects—and the Yankee went to work cutting them down to size.

We played around with a few patterns, until we found one
we both liked.

This vintage beauty now sports a fun, funky new seat from
old beadboard.

It's just what this past-to-present project needed
to bring her into the 21st-century!   ; )

Linking to:
Carolyn's Make it Yours Day, Allison's Hooking Up with HOH 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tips and Tricks Tuesday #5 - Shake, Shake, Shake


Welcome to the fifth Tips & Tricks Tuesday linky party here at the Brambleberry Cottage.

It's always so much fun to see the tips and tricks you creative bloggers have up your sleeves.  Let's check out some of them from last week's party.

Have you ever found a necklace and earring set that you absolutely loved, only to discover the earrings clipped on?  What a pain...literally!  Visit a little bit of everything and see her nifty trick for a quick conversion.

Beth Anne @ The Thrifty Ba shared a great tip on getting that sewing pattern–you just have to have–without the hassles of waiting in line at a retail store.

We're all looking for unique ways to update and remake what we already own.  Mrs. D @ Life in Dawleywood shared a great tutorial on a quick embellishment for towels.

Junk mail.  Don't ya hate it!  But, wait!  Don't toss it out until you first check out Michelle's creative reuse of hers.  Visit her blog Happy Hodgepodge Home for the details.

I've been waiting for inspitation to hit for the reuse of an entire crate of old door panels that reside in my barn.  Blue Creek Home shared, not one, but five different uses for that type of salvage.  This was one of my favorites!

I love. love, love all those tips and tricks you share.  So keep 'em comin'!

Here's my Brambleberry Cottage tip and trick for the week.

One of the advantages / disadvantages of living on old farmland is the history that is uncovered occasionally after a hard rain.

I really like old bottles and have been fortunate to find a number of them around the farm–still intact, emerging from the earth.

The keepers always require a very thorough cleaning, before they can be displayed or used in any capacity.

Sometimes there's an entire microcosm existing within a bottle. 

Such was the case with this one.  Besides the dirt, moss, algae, and bugs, there were also a few snails hiding in their shells.

The bottle above happens to be one of quite a number of old Clorox bottles I've found–that keep surfacing in the same general area on the farm.

After a few investigative inquiries of the locals, I discovered that the lady who used to live here–during the 40s and 50s–washed clothes for a living. 

From the number of old Clorox bottles I've found, I'd say there were a lot of folks walking around my town back then with bright white clothes!  ; )

Would you like to know my trick for cleaning the little treasures I find?

The first step is to rinse the inside, and outside, thoroughly with clear water.  Believe it or not, the three bottles pictured above have already had that part of the treatment.

The next step is to run a basin of hot water from your faucet, and add dish detergent and ammonia.  The amount of each will be determined by the number of bottles you're soaking together.

I soaked a dozen, the size of the three smaller bottles above, in a sink of hot water, with a squirt of detergent and a cup of ammonia.

Then let them soak a day or so.

Sometimes a good soak is all that is necessary; most times this next step is required.

Empty about two thirds of the water out of the bottle, add some uncooked rice, and shake, shake, shake the rice all around–rotating the bottle as you do so. 

Again, the amount of rice used will be determined by the size of the bottle.  For my smaller bottles, I used about 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon per bottle.

The trick is not to have too much water left inside, or the rice will be suspended and not perform its function.

Since these were way too small for bottle brushes–and the curved shoulders would have been impossible to clean with one anyway–the rice acted as little scrubbers.

If your bottles have years of grime–and in my case, algae–glued to the inside, you  may even have to pull out the big guns to get them clean.

After soaking for days in soap-and-ammonia water, some of my bottles still had algae stuck to their insides.

The three smaller bottles pictured above were the culprits. 

So...I rinsed them out, placed a small amount of OxiClean in each, filled them with hot water from my faucet, and let them sit on my window sill for a few days.

Over the course of that time, I actually watched as the algae–and whatever else might still have been in there–began to dissolve.

Now, they're perfectly clean for my next project.

By the way, the white iridescent haze that you see comes with age and is part of the wonderful character of old bottles.

Linking this helpful tip to Kristen's Works-for-Me-Wednesday.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ask the Yankee #4 - Answers to Your DIY Questions


It's Monday night–a time to get those tough, challenging, oft-frustrating DIY questions answered by an expert.

If you've ever gotten stumped by a project and wished you had a go-to-guy for answers, this event is for you!

The details for linking up are listed below. 

But first, let's address a question from last week.

Ann Marie @ Twice Lovely asked:  "What is the best top coat for painted wood furniture that will be on a covered porch outside?" 

Before I adressed Ann Marie's question, I needed answers to a few of my own. 

I needed to know the type of furniture and the type of paint used.  In other words, was the furniture originally intended for inside or outside use? Was it painted with an indoor/outdoor paint, such as Rust-Oleum, or regular interior latex?

I also needed to discern if the furniture would be subjected to the elements–rain, wind, sun, etc.–to any degree.

Ann Marie informed me that the piece in question was a wooden table with a laminate top, originally intended for indoor use.  The paint she used was an interior latex.  She felt that the elements would not be an issue, due to the location of the table on the porch.

Interior latex does not stand up to outdoor conditions, so a sealant would defintitely provide added protection. 

Since her table was painted a pale aqua color, my suggestion was Rust-Oleum's Varathane Diamond Spar Urethane.  Because it is a non-yellowing formula, it will give her the protection she needs without altering the paint's color.

Now, it's your turn to Ask the Yankee!

 Here's how:

Create a post on your blog addressing your DIY question and showing others where you're stuck in your project and need direction.

Link your post to the Ask the Yankee event with a direct link–not one to your main blog and

link back to the Brambleberry Cottage.


Leave your question in the comment section of this Ask the Yankee post, and place the event button on your blog's sidebar.

Next week, a question or two–along with their solutions–will be featured at the cottage.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fresh Picks - Part 1

There are many reasons I love my quaint little farmstead. 

One of them is the delicious, fresh, organic fruit I get to pick right from my own yard!

It's so exciting to see the orchard trees fill with blooms each spring.  The lovely, fragrant blossoms are a wonderful prelude to the tasty treats to come.

When the plum trees–near the log barn–are in full bloom, it is pure delight to lounge beneath them and bask in their beauty, as I breathe in their sweet perfume.

That joy is paralleled only by the taste of the sweet fruit I'm enjoying right now–picked after a gentle summer rain.

Once the plum blossoms have nearly faded away, the peach blooms begin to burst forth.

The Carolina blue sky makes such a wonderful backdrop for the pretty pink flowers.

What fun it is to watch the fuzzy little peaches begin to form on the branches.

At last!  They're finally beginning to blush ever so slightly. 

None too soon, there will be sweet, juicy peaches to enjoy here at the cottage. 

YUMMM!!!  I can't wait!

The blossoms of our Asian pear tree are some of my favorites.

When they make their first appearance in spring, they're disguised as cute little cottonballs protruding from bright green stems. 

At first, the fruit is no larger than small crabapples.

Currently, they're about the size of golf balls.

It will be late July before the first pear is ripe enough to eat.  But the delectable fruit from that tree will be available through the first weeks of fall.

The cherry trees bloom in unison with the pear.

But, we have to keep a more diligent watch as the fruit of these trees ripens. 

Though they parade a beautiful color in the image above, they're not quite ready to harvest–at that point.

Lookin' better here, but still not quite ripe.

Peek-a-boo; it's a pleasure to see you!

By the time they present this vibrant coat of red, it's a race against time to see who will get the most cherries–us or our feathered friends.

Don't you just love our cheery cherries?!

Be sure to visit again for part two of the Brambleberry Cottage fresh picks.  ; )

In the meantime, I'm linking up with Cindy for Show and Tell Friday, Tootsie for Flaunt Your Flowers - Ferilizer Friday, and Beverly for Pink Saturday, Susan for Metamorphosis Monday, and Mary for Mosaic Monday.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Talented Time Travelers in Focus #3


It's time to focus on a few of the terrific Time Travel projects from last week.

Nancy @ La Maison Reid masterfully transformed a timeworn rocker with a little paint-and-distress job. Très beau!

We traveled to a secret garden to discover a fabulous DIY headboard created by the talented Katie @ A Chirp in the Forest.

It was a blast from the past to visit Melody's Brown Gingham Creations vintage inspired porch.


Heather @ The Traveling Thrifter inspired us to laugh out loud with her project transformation.

Jillian @ The Virginia House performed a timely update on an old desk that brought it into the 21st-century with style.

Sandy @ Life Began in a Garden showed us how an outdated lamp and shade can look new again.

Donna @ The House on the Corner brought her entire living room through the time travel machine, and what a difference it made!

The ever effervescent Kelee @ The Katillac Shack always transports us back in time with her charming and cheery vintage décor.

And Heather @ Our Life in a Click helped shed a little light on a wonderful way to harness the sun. Go check it out!

As always...job well done time travelers!