Thursday, February 26, 2009

groovy in the 70s, just as groovy today

Does your home need a splash of fun and funky?  A groovy, gorgeous 70s sampler might be just the ticket to wake up your walls, or your sofa, or your console table . . . get out and go on a hunt at your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or consignment shop!  Look for needlework with in good condition with graphic appeal and bright colors.  You can use the piece as is if the frame is in good condition, as we did with the wild and crazy birdy in the back, you can stick a smaller piece in an off the rack frame (this beaded  one's from Target) (just pull the piece tight over cardboard backing), or, if you're handy with a sewing machine, you might make a really sweet pillow, like our totally groovy swirly one.  However you use them, these blasts from the past make really cool art and accessories for today!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

here's the real Fergus of fergusandme

So this is the true Fergus, our one year old Scottish terrier.  Obviously, he likes the beach, like the rest of our family.  He's quite endearing despite being extremely messy and smelly. Our only design advice relating to Fergus in particular, and dogs in general, is get yourself a really cute dustpan and brush set, like the smiley-faced one used at our house, above, from Japanese company Dulton. We bought ours at our relatively local World Market store, but it's available online, I think -- anyway, great for sweeping up dog hair, among other things . . . 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

more powder coating success . . . lab stools become kitchen stools

Here's another powder coating project.  We did these thrift store cast off stools (from a Cal Poly chem lab, according to the old metal labels on the bases) years ago, and they still look terrific, despite loads of swivelling up and down! Total cost per stool on these was $35. Keep your eyes open for these! Crate & Barrel makes a silver/stainless Navy chair-esque equivalent, but obviously, that would be a much more expensive option.  Gets this look, though, if you like it . . . 

powder coating is your friend. . . really!

Like any family with a bunch of kids, actually like anyone, we here at fergusandme need Storage, with a capital S.  Throw in a house built in 1969, with teeny tiny closets, and you'll understand the problem.  So, we're always on the lookout for storage solutions, and this is one of our favorites.  It's a simple set of old school lockers, adeptly sprayed in a fetching shade of blue by our local auto body shop.  And the bonus? It's magnetic, so kiddo's homemade felt flower magnets work really well for hanging reminder notes, a handy feature since the lockers are used to store shoes, coats, backpacks, and soccer cleats, right by the back door.  So keep your eye out for lockers in consignment shops, salvage yards, junk shops, and where businesses are closing :(  Your favorite auto body shop can spray or powder coat your "Storage" very reasonably.  Two things you should know: first, spraying gives a finish that is a little less pristine and perfect, but is available in thousands of colors.  Powder coating is a little bit more durable and even, but is available in a limited swatch of colors.  Either way, you'll get a finished piece that makes great, glossy, inexpensive storage -- and it's recycled!
P.S. Don't forget to take off any hardware or metal labels before powder coating, and put them back after. These add a charming authentic touch to your pieces.  Please watch for more metal salvage items in future posts! 

Monday, February 16, 2009

cool new use for grimy old letter holder

Got young kids and lots of paperback picture books, all over the place? You know how difficult it is for little ones to look at those teeny tiny spines and figure out where their favorites are on the shelf.  Solution, at least for the current ten or twelve favorite reads; redo an old office supply staple, a super quick project that costs practically nothing.  
You've seen them at estate sales and junk shops -- those old metal racks for letters or files.  Mostly, they run about $2, and feature no attractive features.  Our advice: a quick spray paint job (we're advised NOT to use metallic paint where small children are concerned, and, as always, do this outside and real all labels and cautions!) We just happened to have a can of hot pink around, but despite the color, our little boy loves this method of storage -- he's keeping his favorites in here, at least for now.  If you can get your hands on a toast rack, that would be even more fun!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

wishbone chair redux -- thrifty is in!

Okay, so you've got your eye on some cool kitchen chairs, maybe those pricey mid-century modern ones from DWR, but your budget is distinctly not DWR-friendly.  Cue what we at fergusandme like to call "design for the times" -- awesome looks on an austerity budget.  Like these cool 1951 no-name NC made wishbone chairs, scored for a song at an estate sale.  They had been sadly neglected, were dusty and speckled with tar (stored in the attic -- who knew this could happen?), but were fundamentally sound. We just got to scrubbing with soap and water, pulled off the damaged pleather seat covers (check when you're buying for the telltale four screws underneath -- this generally means you can just take the screws out, pop the seat off, and commence yanking out fifty year old staples!), and got to work with the staple gun, covering the seats in our choice of spill resistant materials (our family includes a four year old who believes ketchup is a major food group!) Finally, we buffed up the wood with Briwax, in clear. Et voila! Excellent, comfy, mid-century cool chairs for practically no money.  Everyone fights over them at dinner time, honest.  Our DWR be-pop chairs, while as adorable as ever, are no longer the favorites.  This project, a total revamp on four chairs, took about two hours one recent weekend morning.  Check out the before and afters above. You can do it! Recycle, save money, be thrifty.  It's the new economy, whether we like it or not.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

we've got flowers!

Big excitement here in the last few days as our bulb garden in a pot has started blooming . . . it's a welcome spot of spring in the cold, dark days of February :)