How to Make Recycled Paper Flowers

Recycled paper flowers

Recycled paper flowers

If you still have snow on the ground and it’s 20 dang degrees, here’s a project that may lift your thoughts to spring. It reminds me of one of my favorite paintings: “Bird Singing Flowers While Awaiting Spring” by Richard Kirsten Daiensai.

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Up-cycled Bookends from Salvaged Brackets

Bookends cleaned

We were cruising the aisles of Second Use the other day and came across some really cool, heavy industrial brackets – cast iron we think? More truth about us: we can never resist interesting metal stuff – so for $5 it was added to our stash. We stopped by Daly’s Paint and quizzed them about primer and paint – the goal was to get a heavy coat on the bracket as if it had been dipped in a super thick, semi-glossy, paint which would then contrast with the rough and industrial nature of the iron. Alas, no great way to make our paint thicker – but we did have some older water based paint that had thickened on its own due to poor storage technique (what can we say) and the color was nice, so – Bob’s your uncle. Continue reading

Dryer Maintenance Fun!

Here’s a quick tutorial on caring for your dryer from my favorite appliance repairman (jot down this number) Mark Wiseman Appliance Service, 206-948-1060.

We needed a dryer repair the other day (at a rental), so while he was there I quizzed him with “If you could pass along tips to your customers, what would they be?” and, ta da!, here is what Mark wants you to know:

  1. Clean your lint filter every load!
  2. Once a year go outside and make sure the exterior vent flap moves freely. Remove any built up lint. If you have a “grate/guard” over your exterior vent and it is full of lint, remove it and don’t put it back! These are notorious for collecting lint and blocking airflow which leads to repair calls to Mark…
  3. Dryer repairs and fires are primarily caused by poor venting. A good vent solution is a metal vent, flexible or straight, a short run to the exterior, and an exterior vent with a flap but no grate. A poor vent example might be a plastic vent, with low spots or kinks, or a long run to the exterior, and an exterior vent with a soon-to-be-clogged bird/animal guard.

Seems straightforward, right? So with these tips in mind I came home and examined my dryer. We’re pretty type A when it comes to cleaning our lint filter every load, but I happened to reach a little further into the dryer I discovered this – Continue reading

Visualize Your Ideas, Part 2

It’s that time of year again, when we take inventory of unfinished projects and brainstorm additions/remodeling. Sometimes it helps to mock things up full scale, or see your ideas in multiple ways. We’ve written about this before here – to help you along here are a few more strategies that have worked for us:

Backsplash Mock Up

Draw on Your Walls:

You have our permission. Take a piece of chalk and a damp rag and draw your ideas full scale onto your walls. Erase them with the rag. *You may want to test this first so you can guarantee the chalk is coming off completely. Be sure to include any trim, knobs, switches, outlets, curtains, door swings, etc. This really helps to reveal any potential difficulties with your design, for example: in the above photo I have to decide how high to make the back-splash in relation to the window sill and the window division; should the tile end just short of the orange wall or go to the corner and how will the top trim piece terminate? And this is just one corner of the kitchen… Continue reading

Our New Delta Faucet – Hands Free!

Recently we were invited to attend Delta Faucet’s 2013 Maker/Blogger event, and they surprised us with a gift of their latest kitchen faucet design, the “Pilar” with Touch2O Technology. We’ve installed and used it for a month now, and here’s what we think:

Delta-Faucet (so easily) Installed

It’s graceful.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then let me show you how much we like our new faucet! It’s smart: works with the touch of your hand – a touch turns it on and off. A magnetic catch keeps the hand-held spray firmly in place. If your kids leave it running, it will turn itself off. If your Mother-in-law is not so tech savvy, she can use it just like any other faucet – no special instruction required. (I just have to say, my M-I-L is super tech, you go Grandma!)

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Getting Ready For Winter

Wow, winter blew in this weekend with 25 knot winds and inches of rain! At least the garden is ready – we weeded, re-seeded for a winter garden, readied the cloche, and installed a copper border to keep the slugs and snails out…Hopefully we’ll have a healthy crop of mustard greens, mache, radishes, lacinato and the amazing “everlasting spinach” (think winter smoothies). :)


Then, completely unrelated, but really cool, we gathered pine cones for the curtain rod finials we plan to make (see tutorial here). Unfortunately they weren’t completely open yet. We decided to experiment and put them in a warm oven at 250 degrees, and see what would happen. Success! Within about 10 minutes they were perfect, with just the faintest whiff of cooked pine cone. (yum?)

We love pine cones, don’t you? What do you make with yours? I think we have an abundant supply!

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More salvaged door re-use

Salvaged doors are a hot item these days, and for good reason, they’re solid wood, tell the story of time – sometimes carved right into them – and were occasionally handmade on site for the home. We’ve written about them before here. We still have some favorites in our basement, waiting for the perfect inspiration...

Salvaged Doors and Ladder Action

We think old doors are fabulous – in fact in our remodel, 15 of the 20 interior doors we installed were salvaged, most of them from the original house.  Here’s how we used ours, from the easiest install to the more difficult:

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Soaker Hose – Check!

I like to garden, but I don’t really like to water. This is a bit of a drawback for a gardener. It’s not that I don’t know this about myself, I’ve started this project of installing a watering system several times over the years – and I can prove it because I found 7 soaker hoses stashed in various places (not in the dirt), waiting to serve their intended purpose. I just didn’t know that I should have added to my materials list: “the happy helpers Heidi and Mary Jean”.

One and a half days. That’s how long it took to completely finish my long-delayed project (she said, banging her head on the desk). Here’s what I learned plus a few resources so you can tackle it yourself:

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Energy Efficiency – The Garage

This is part of an ongoing series where we learn about, implement and share projects that improve the energy efficiencies of our homes.

Insulation and gloves

Heidi-Vanna insulates with style

We are learning a lot about energy efficiency these days and we really like it. (Nerd love, Seattle style). We’re planning multiple, simple upgrades to our homes which are highly effective, low-cost, and in most cases, easy. Continue reading

Timberline Lodge Trip

A photo essay of a recent trip to the historic Timberline Lodge, Oregon

The Lodge

Architectural details – The Timberline Arch, an arch with a horizontal lintel. Due to the arches being made by hand in the 1930′s, each arch is a bit different from the others –

Architectural details – The carvings

And more Architectural details! – the ironwork and furniture

A bit of history –

What to do – besides skiing, swimming and hiking of course –

Timberline is a national treasure – if you have the chance you should GO!