Friday, June 29, 2012

Amazing Architects of Air

Every once in a while something comes along that is just so different and interesting, it's hard to put into words. That's how I felt about Architects of Air, an illuminated inflatable structure that contains a brilliant maze of tunnels and soaring domes bathed in dazzling light and color.

Architects of Air covers nearly 11,000 square feet and is truly spectacular. This past week, it was open to the public in a park just down the street from my office building. My work teammates and I checked it out.

Daylight creates a vibrant luminosity that, after a while, made me feel as if I, too, were glowing neon. Looking up at the spiderweb light patterns on the towering domes was a dizzying experience. Literally. I felt like tall prairie grass waving in a stiff wind.

Entering this red tunnel, I was transported into a body part on an episode of "House." Not literally.

The weather has been blazing hot the past several days and this structure is powered by daylight. We were so relieved to find that it was air conditioned!

Magical mazes, searing color, puffy pillars and pods. Amazing Architects of Air.

Make it a great day!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's Gonna Be a Bright Sunshine-y (Award) Day

What a wonderful surprise and a great honor to have been nominated for the Sunshine Award. Thank you for your kind and generous gesture, Mega. I hope you'll all visit Meegan's wonderful blog, What Meegan Makes.

In the slightly less than a year that I've been blogging, I've "met" so many brilliant, charming and talented individuals. This has been one of the most rewarding and humbling adventures I've ever embarked on. This award is icing on an already delicious cake.

Here's how the award works:  
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them
  • Answer the following questions about yourself
  • Choose 10 of your favorite bloggers and link their blogs to your post. Notify them that you are nominating them for the award
  • Copy and paste the award to your blog  
Now for a little bit about me:
1.  Favorite color: Earth friendly. Green, of course.
2.  Favorite animal: Dogs, especially black dogs. Even better, rescue dogs like my Barney. 

3.  Favorite number: 9
4.  Favorite drink: A good white sangria
5.  Facebook or Twitter: Facebook, but only as a dabbler
6.  Good book or good movie: Depends on what I'm in the mood for. Love 'em both
7.  My passion(s): Spending time with my better half; treasure hunting at estate sales, garage sales and thrift stores; crafting; gardening; photography
8.  Giving or getting gifts: Giving. Searching for the perfect treasure to give is a reward in itself

9.  Favorite day: Any rainy day
10. Favorite flower: Zinnia, sunflower, bachelor button and hollyhock. Please don't make me pick just one

Make it a great day!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Move Over, Toothbrush

Seems like forever since I've posted. A 1,500-mile road trip to Arizona to visit my dad and sis, a trip to Arkansas to help our son move to Dallas for his first real job, and an ailing father-in-law (oh, duh--and a full-time job), and I've scarcely had a spare moment in the past couple of weeks. I've been to or through nine states in nine days.

This is another busy week of work and travel ahead, but I thought I'd share a quick tip with you for easy flower arranging.  When preparing for my husband to make a trip to Illinois to visit his parents a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to arrange a bouquet of hydrangeas out of my garden to give to my mother-in-law.

If you follow me, you may know I collect flower frogs. I use them both for their intended purpose and to incorporate into my decor. I wanted something a bit less messy for car travel to Illinois--a traditional frog in a vase seemed like it could have been a sloshy mess.

Time to repurpose. I went to Goodwill and picked up a clear plastic toothbrush holder for a few cents. I filled it with water and arranged the hydrangeas in it.

Works like a charm. I placed the frog/toothbrush holder down inside a clear glass vase--empty at this point. It's unlikely that there would be much spillage out of the holder, but if there were, it would be contained in the empty vase.

On arrival at the destination, the vase could be filled with water, too, which would cover the homemade flower frog inside.

So, if you don't have your own flower frog and don't want to mount a quest for one, pull out an old toothbrush holder and brush up on your flower arranging.

Make it a great day!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Got My Kicks on Route 66

Old Route 66 seems to hold such fascination for many Americans. For some it's about the memory of the vintage television show. For others, it's nostalgia for personal experiences along the famous route. For still others, it's about hanging on to an icon that represents a simpler, more innocent, but adventurous time in our country.

I had a chance to hitch a ride with a long-time family friend to Arizona to visit my sister and my dad. Along the way, we passed through Tucumcari, New Mexico, where I noticed the vintage-style banners promoting the historic Route 66. As was so common in the heyday of Route 66, we took a detour.

To my delight, the strip of the old highway still hosts a few of the classic motels of the day. Several of the kitschy signs remain stalwart in their original spots even though the structures they proudly promote are now piles of rubble or are gone completely.

A few of the classic motels remain open for business, such as the Blue Swallow, the Historic Route 66 and the Palomino. 

The Old School Garage is a snapshot of another day, another time along the memorable highway.

Our travels that day were 15 hours of straight drive time across parts of five states. Glad we had the opportunity to get our kicks--if only for a short spell--along Route 66.

Make it a great day!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tisket, Tasket, Berry Baskets

Imagine my delight when I came across three stacks of these vintage berry baskets or boxes that I bought at an estate sale a few years ago. I had put them away in my craft room and lost track of them. They still had the price tag on them. I paid a whopping dollar for 33 baskets!

They have such wonderful character--they've all been used. The metal rims have some rust. The wood has various degrees of staining. Some are warped, cracked and chipped. But, I was able to salvage most of them, using the aged features to create a really sweet bunch of baskets that can be used in all sorts of fun ways.

First, I mixed a grey paint wash using a couple of sample paints I already had. I lightly covered each with the wash. Because of the inconsistent grain of the wood and the random stains they'd acquired over the years, each basket took on a unique look. I love the character the flaws create.

After the boxes dried, I transferred vintage images from The Graphics Fairy onto each one, creating sets of three boxes--each set with its own theme: birds, French and insects.

Berry boxes are versatile enough to use in many different ways. They're great to hold craft supplies or small toys. They look great filled with fresh or dried flowers. They'd also make special hostess gifts.

I'm so berry glad I found these wonderful little baskets.

Make it a great day!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

From Tossed Shelf to Top Shelf

In literal terms, this what-not shelf wasn't actually tossed. But it was sentenced to a garage sale table  featuring nothing but 50-cent items. I snapped it up for a rainy-day project.

When I got the shelf home, I remembered this pitifully beat-up--or should I say scribbled up--1952 early reader, Fun with John and Jean, that I had picked up some time back for a quarter. It's easy to see why it was nearly a freebie. But, many of the pages remained in good shape and I thought I could combine the shelf and some images from the book to create a nice display shelf for a kid's room.

I'd been looking forward to cracking open my first quart of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg Blue so chose it to give the shelf a facelift. I had intended to fully distress and dark wax the shelf. But, I so liked the look of the paint on its own, I decided to stop at that.

I've always loved the illustrations in these early readers and this book was no exception. After eliminating the scribbled pages, I was left with some very nice images to decoupage onto the inside back of the piece.

To add a playful touch, embellished the front panel with reclaimed Scrabble tiles.

Hang it on the wall, or stand it on top of a dresser or table. Either way, I think it looks pretty cute.

Make it a great day!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Crusty, Rusty, Divine

On my way home from work, I noticed signs for neighborhood garage sales in an older part of town--an area where I usually can find some great old stuff. It was late, though, and most of the sales had closed up for the day.

The one that was still open for business was the only one that counted. For $8 total, I got this rusty old garden fork.

And, this rusty, crusty old crank hand drill with a wooden knob and crank grip. I'll have to think of something fun to do with this relic. My grandpa had one of these--well, probably several--on his farm.

And, this sweet 1956 baby crib. The springs are likely to end up in the garden to be used as a trellis. But, I'm not opposed to using it to hang inspiration photos and other goodies in my craft room. The frame? The foundation for a bench or a chair, maybe? Towel racks? A garden gate? Time will tell.

And, finally, this fantastic chair. It already has a great chippy finish that I could easily live with. Eventually, though, I'll probably be compelled to paint it another color.

A productive evening drive indeed.

Make it a great day!