Monday, January 25, 2016

Fireplace Before And After Renovation

This is the before of the basement fireplace. It's not bad, it just doesn't have much personality. 

We are going to give Airbnb a try and thought some decor improvements could be made first. I'm kind of going for a DIY Pacific Northwest look combination of Pendleton Wool Home meets Ralph Lauren's Poor Relations. Plus it's fun to walk down the stairs and feel like I'm on vacation, too. 

Do you use Airbnb? Do you like it? Any suggestions or hints?

The kick to get us started was the not so very old TV died. It wasn't being used too often, but we discovered, rather late, that when the fireplace was turned on the heat was traveling up the wall here and may have shortened it's lifespan. Big oops. Check yours if you have a similar setup. Hot stuff. 

We had some old wood we'd scavenged from a fence that had been torn down and thought it might give the design interest we wanted. Plus, it had been stored in my little garden shed long enough to be dried out (it rains here off and on most of the winter) and was readily at hand. 

So, throwing all common sense out the door, we took off a perfectly good semi-OK wood mantel. It never really looked that great, to me and I thought hey, if it doesn't turn out, I'll take responsibility for the mistake. Not to say I didn't wake up in the middle of the next night thinking I'd really screwed up and caused a lot of unnecessary work. 

We called our good friend Jill, who owns  The Furniture Girl Shop a couple blocks from our house and she came over and scooped up the mantle. Except it wasn't scooped, it was lugged. It's solid wood, really heavy wood and took three of us (four would have been better) to wrangle it up the stairs and into her pick-up. 

When she got it back to her shop, she gave it a whitewash and it sold the next day to a woman that is now using it for a headboard! Happy ending...(but I was still kind of panicked I made a mistake at this point).

Part way there. Nothing is ever as easy as you think it might be, especially in older homes like ours, when nothing is level or even. Nothing. Never. Nada. 

Getting closer here. We took off the front of the gas fireplace to clean the glass (grotty is an understatement) and vacuum out the dust. The manufacturing info was underneath everything. With this new information, an Internet search found there were compatible blowers for it. Hard to believe there never was one, isn't it? The heat was never projected into the room, it just hung there and slowly warmed things the TV. 

Mr. Bad Monkey House working on the wiring for the sconces he made. Really. He just went out to the garage, pulled stuff out of boxes and whipped them up. He is handy! 

We decided the finished look with all that great old wood was too handsome to cover with the new, larger TV, so this vintage deer mount we got at Portland Expo a year or two ago and the ornate old frame were moved from across the room to here. The sconces are BMH old tooled saddle tapadoras with small Edison lights. 

Bet you've never seen one of these before. Cool, huh! They are hard wired and turn on with a switch when you enter the room. 

You can see how the whole fireplace is wrapped in wood. The new fireplace blower came, was installed and didn't work. At. All. Damn it. But the company was super cool, said throw it away and mailed out a new working one, lickety split. 

The little wood fence is to keep the grand baby from getting too close and possibly burning tiny fingers while checking out the flames behind the hot glass. That funny looking blue bench is actually an old buggy seat we got from The Furniture Girl, Jill. It got parked there when we didn't know what we wanted to do with it and seems to work for now. 

The baseball cap on the deer was temporary, too. Didn't fit or look right, so I'm hunting for an appropriate chapeau. Any suggestions? What's your deer wearing? 

We do have another, even older deer in our entry upstairs wearing a rather elegant ladies hat, fur scarf and glasses, too. I'll share her fashionable look, another time. 

The other side of the fireplace with my chippy scratched $1.00 mirror hanging on it. That odd looking light in the corner was a kerosene heater at one time. I think that was an Expo find, too. Mr. Bad Monkey House wired it into a light that puts out a warm glow, minus the heat. The homemade game board on the wall was a $2.50 Value Village find. I really miss that store. Ours closed a few years ago and I still mourn the loss.

So, what do you think of the fireplace? Did I mess up or do you like it? 

I think it's a great improvement and now am even kind of glad the TV died and got us going. 

I'll share more of our basement decor redo next time. 


Thursday, January 21, 2016


It's throw back recipe time.

 I updated this old granola recipe I made quite often back in the mid 80's. I changed the vegetable oil to coconut and left out the wheat germ to keep it gluten free. I also didn't even think to take photos until I was finished, but it's an easy one and you can change to your own taste. 

Granola -

1 1/2 - 2  cups old fashioned oats
   1/2   cup shredded unsweetened coconut 
   1/4   cup oat bran 
   1/2   cup wheat germ (leave out for gluten free) 
   1/8-1/4 cup ground flax seed (optional)
   1/4-1/2  cup sunflower seeds
    1/2  or more cup almonds or other nuts
    1/4  cup coconut oil
    1/4 cup honey OR maple syrup
     1/2-1 tea vanilla extract 
     1/2-1 tea almond extract or maple             flavoring (or your favorite) 
      1/4 teaspoon or more of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom or whatever spices you like. 
     3/4 cup or more raisins, dried cherries, cranberries or other dried fruit (chop up larger fruits, such as dried apricots, apples)

*preheat oven 300deg. 

Tumble together oats, sunflower seeds, coconut, bran, wheat germ, nuts and seasonings in big bowl. 

Heat oil and honey together until thin and fairly hot. Remove from heat, stir in extracts. 
Pour over dry ingredients and stir to coat evenly. Spread in single layer on jelly roll pans and toast in oven, stirring from time to time, until evenly browned. 10 minutes or so. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Stir in raisins or other dried fruit. 

Serves 8-10. Recipe can be doubled and stored in tightly covered containers. 

Monday, January 4, 2016


We started this year with a skiff of snow, quickly followed by freezing rain. Not fun. 
A good reason not to leave the house, too. 
It warmed up enough we could make the all important kitty food & litter run. 
They'd even sent out the bat signal, worrying we might run out. 
I hope your New Years was good! 

Friday, October 23, 2015

October, really?

So, we built a Catio!

Here's two of the clowder enjoying the fresh fall air. 

Gorgeous house near bmh all dressed up for Halloween. 

Toonces, my big baby kitty that is a lap cat in every sense of the word. 
My archeological find! bricks that were hidden under grass for who knows how long in front of the house. I wish the entire parking would have been bricked, but this was still a fun discovery. 

Wake me up when it's over....
Treats?! I didn't know there were treats! 
Happy Halloween!  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Znetshows Cultured Sea Glass Summer Design Challenge

 I haven't done one of these design challenges for a while and thought this would be a good way to kick myself in the head and get me working on some new jewelry.
The way this challenge worked is we were to chose up to six different styles of the Znetshows cultured sea glass and design a piece of summer jewelry that featured it.  These are in the summer Znet Creative Spark issue in the Upcycled section. 
The blue and white that said sea & summer to me.

 Surprise! they sent way more shapes, colors and styles.  

So my design consultant and I got down to business.  That's Westin, he's SO much help.

 For the focal I used P35 (P35-B31) Cultured Sea Glass sun dial freeform pendant, about 53X22mm triangle in sky blue color or 31- Light Sapphire.
The white sea glass is their S45 (S45-B42SFIVE) in 42-Opaque White, about 18X17mm
My repurposed pieces are Kuchi tribal coins and recycled African glass beads. There are also silver plated rondels, embossed zinc beads and leather. 

 This necklace also has the same sea glass focal with Kunci coins, African recycled glass, chain and leather. 
 The sweet little focal has been recycled from an enameled broken pin that was part of a Victorian morning piece.  The drops are Znetshows P48-B43 - Cultured Sea Glass in 43-Opaque Seafoam Green  
At the bottom of the teardrops are 86- Moonstone Opals, S03 (S03-86Five):Cultured Sea Glass round Beads 4mm. 

  The small round beads are 86- Moonstone Opals, S03 (S03-86Five):Cultured Sea Glass round Beads 4mm. 
The teardrops are the same as in the above necklace, P48-B43 - Cultured Sea Glass teardrop round 43-Opaque Seafoam Green.  
Hanging from the closure is an orange and white kitten paw sea shell, a Znet PMX3-B88 - Cultured Sea Glass double-hole flat freeform mix Pendants two hole varies 88 - Light Aqua `Coke` bottle Seafoam, 
a large Znet glass round pearl BDS 1894-01 and a tiny Znet glass pearl. 

This bracelet has round wood beads, tubular bone beads, silver plated rondels, 
S77-B28 - Cultured Sea Glass teardrop round Beads About 38x9mm 28-Turquoise Bay. 
Hanging from the closure are a drilled beach stone, an orange and white kitten paw sea shell and another Znet glass pendant.
There's much more to see over at the on line magazine right here!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Blind Buddha Guitars Update

Gun/cartridge belts converted to guitar straps. Vintage Bell & Howell speakers with new tube amps. 

Beautiful old banjo neck that will be used for a Blind Buddha Guitar. 

Wonderful true deco styled Ampro with two speakers that now also has a new EL84 tube amp installed. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chalkboard Barn Door at Bad Monkey House

A few weeks back, I spotted this great old chalkboard scoreboard at one of my favorite vintage shops, The Furniture Girl. 

The store is only a couple blocks from the house and right next to Mike's Drive-In. Mike's is a great little local chain with an occasional corndog happy hour. Really. 

We were out for a walk, with Mike's corndogs on our mind, but stopping at Jill's, the one and only Furniture Girl is also a priority, because I've found such wonderful things there. 

The chalkboard came out of a bar in Montana and now has found a new home and use.  

The open space is about the same width as two doors -which we first thought about using- but after getting the chalkboard there was no question what to use. (I have two vintage doors with windows in them to play with now, too.)
First, I looked up barndoor hardware and saw the $$$ prices. 
Ack! Really? 
So, Mr. BMH figured out a way to make his own with a couple trips to local home supply stores. He also painted two fence boards black and screwed them onto each side of the chalkboard to help with stability and get the width right. 

The rolly thing is a pulley that was taken apart. It rests on a metal 'L' shaped steel stock. The black metal piece is a fence bracket. 

This is garage door hardware from
Home Depot. We put the same handle on the other side. All the hardware was only about $50-$60. Much, much less than the $300 and up prices I found for sliding barn doors on line. 
It works and looks so cool! I'm super happy how it turned out.  

What do you think?

The wall isn't really that weird color, that's what happens with artificial light, sometimes. This is in our basement, which is currently set up as a two bedroom apartment. Behind the new door is acess to another open space (that I desperately need to empty out), the laundry and the bathroom. 

We are thinking of using this space for Airbnb in the near future and this is one more step getting us ready to give that a try. They have set up offices in nearby Portland and it's been going well. 
Have you ever used Airbnb? 
Would you again?