Monday, August 18, 2014

Making A Sconce From an Architectural Element

I have searched for several years for a tiny floor lamp to fit in a tight spot. Since I haven’t found one yet, I decided to try a wall sconce. I decided that I could make one from an architectural element so my switch searched to one for an appropriate element. Here is what I came up with.

new shade- close up 

It started with this element that I found at Scott’s for $15.

architectural fragment

Let’s take a closer look. I’m not sure what this is made of. I don’t think it is solid wood but it worked great for my purpose. I’m calling this Julius Caesar.

Julius Caesar

Since I don’t have any gold tones in this room, I spray painted it silver then added stain to age it.

architectural fragment with new paint

I drilled one hole from the top and another from the back and was careful not to drill all the way through.  I used lamp parts from a thrifted lamp.

painted fragment with drilled holes for lamp wires

I assembled the lamp and added a hanger to the back for mounting it to the wall. I was able to find a half shade at a lamp shop.

rear hanger

I used a Cree light bulb that I got in my swag bag at the Haven conference. The bulb uses very low wattage and is always cool to the touch, even after being on for a long time. This bulb is especially great to use here since it is so close to the wall I don’t have to worry about any damage to the wall or possible fire.

cree light bulb

Let’s see how it looks in the room.

room view

I really liked it but I decided to paint the shade black for a little more pop.

new shade

Now I like it even more!

I hope you are having a great end of summer. I have been away for a couple of weeks and had big plans to catch up on some blog posts but had the worst internet service I have ever had in America! So much for plans!

I will be linking this post to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch, to the Scoop at Worthing Court, to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life and to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style. Click the links for lots of inspiration!

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Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Convert an Occasional Chair to a Swivel Rocker

Today I am sharing how I converted this nice occasional chair to a swivel rocker.

Occasional chair -rocker candidate

Let me share just a little bit of the background on this piece. You may remember when I recovered this rocker for my friend.


You can read about it here. It was for her nursery. Then I painted this dresser for the nursery.

dresser 17

After being on a waiting list for 2 long years, my sweet friend finally got the call that a baby was available. You cannot imagine the joy that this precious little girl has brought to all of our lives. She is a foster child and the family is still trying to finalize adoption proceedings for her.  Fast forward 6 months. My friend received another call that another baby girl was available for immediate adoption if they wanted her!! Since this was completely unexpected, my friend had to improvise a lot in assembling another nursery. The chair in the first photo was in her guest room and she asked if there was any way we could make it a rocker because they enjoy the other rocker with the other baby. I came up with a plan.

salvaged swivel mechanism

The furniture guy that I use told me that he can’t get good swivels any more. So I bought an old swivel rocker at Goodwill for $17 and took the swivel mechanism off the bottom of the chair. I only had to remove a few screws to get it off. Because the supports boards were not wide enough for the new chair, I also removed them.

cut off the chair legs 1

I used a hacksaw to remove the legs from the chair.

cut off the chair legs 2

cut off the chair legs 3

Next I turned the chair upside down and mounted the new support boards that I had cut to the appropriate length.  I used a Poplar board for this since it is a hard wood and is very durable. I attached it using strong wood screws.

moounting supports

Then I attached the swivel using the same screws that I had removed from the old chair.

mounting the rocker mechanism

Time for a test run.

Oops! COnverted rocker

Oops! Apparently I put the swivel on backwards because the chair leans slightly forward instead of backward. I simply removed the screws and turned the swivel around and put the screws back in.

Correctly converted rocker

Much better! I love it when a plan comes together.

Just a follow up note: we attended the adoption hearing for this precious baby and it may have been the sweetest moment of our entire lives! When the judge asked the father “What do you want to name this baby?” we were all overcome with emotion. At that very moment we all realized that this baby is theirs to keep! Children are indeed an heritage of the Lord!

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I’ll be linking to the Scoop at Worthing Court, to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life and to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Antique Shopping in Belgium

I was so excited to be able to shop an antique fair in Tongeren, Belgium while visiting Europe in April. Unfortunately there was no shipping service available while we were there so anything that I bought had to fit in my suitcase. Luckily I was able to find a few treasures to bring home.

Delft canister

We loved all of the Delft ware and found this little spice canister to purchase. It is only about five inches tall.

Delft tiles

The man who was selling these vintage tiles tried to make us a good deal for a whole box but they were heavy. Each one is about six inches square and weighs about a half pound. We settled for four that I will mount onto a serving tray.

vintage ice skates

I had seen another pair of vintage ice skates at a street market in Amsterdam but didn’t buy them for 20 Euros. Since this pair was only 10 Euros I decided to get them.

tea caddy

This antique tea caddy was my best find. I have admired them for years but have never been willing to pay the price since I have never seen one in the US for less than $195. When I spotted this one I asked the vendor what the price was. She said 35. Her accent was so heavy I wanted to make sure that I understood her so I was asking “thirty” to make sure she was saying thirty-five. She thought that I was negotiating and answered that yes she would take 30!!! She took thirty Euros! I would have paid much more but didn’t argue. I could not get that thing in my bag fast enough!

tea caddy detail

I love the little feet and the carved detail on the top.

tea caddy interior

Originally this caddy would have had two small lids for the interior compartments but these were missing. Otherwise, it is in excellent shape especially considering that it is well over 100 years old.  I was thrilled with this little treasure!

If you missed my previous post on the Tongeren Antique Fair you can read it by clicking here.

If you missed my other posts on the trip to Europe here are the links:

Biking Through the Flower Fields of Holland

A Visit to Keukenhof Gardens

Touring Amsterdam

Touring Amsterdam Part 2

Touring  Amsterdam Part 3

This is a great you tube video that my daughter made of the trip.

I hope that you have found some treasures this summer!

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I’m linking to Thrifty Treasures at Southern Hospitality.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Antique Fair in Tongeren, Belgium

On our trip to Europe this past spring I only had one “must do” on the itinerary: the Tongeren antique fair. For the past 35 years the Tongeren antique fair has been held on Sunday mornings so we had to arrange our schedule to be there on Saturday night for Sunday morning. This presented a challenge but we were able to manage it. On our travel day we left Amsterdam by train and headed to Brussels with a brief stop in Antwerp. I’ll cover those in another post. From Brussels we took the train to Tongeren and walked to the hotel. Once we got into Belgium, my daughter was eligible to use the GoPass for the train because she is younger than 26 which made her fair 6 Euros per day.  It was very budget friendly. My ticket from Brussels to Tongeren was 14.80 Euros. Taking the train in Belgium is very user friendly. No reservations are required. You show up, buy a ticket, and hop on the train and find a seat. Every station that we were in had a vending machine for tickets and the machines had an English option too. While we were doing research for our trip this site was the most helpful to me for train info. Most of the websites that I used had links to buy tickets from home but those sites did not offer the GoPass option and all were more expensive than purchasing tickets at the station.  The only ticket that we purchased ahead of time was our ticket for the Thalys train from Brussels to Paris. It is my understanding that all seats on the international train are reserved and much like airline travel the longer you wait to purchase the ticket, the more expensive it is. Finding a hotel was another challenge. The first hotel that came up in my search only had 8 rooms that were already booked. I sent an email asking for other nearby hotels but got no response. I was able to use to find  Hotel Ambiotel and it worked out wonderfully well. As we came from the train station into the very small town, the hotel was right in front of us. The next morning the antique fair was right outside the door. The hotel was somewhat modest but very clean and the location was excellent for our purposes. My research also revealed that the fair started at 6 AM. I am not an early bird but I did venture out at 7. Perhaps because this was not heavy tourist season (early April) most vendors were just arriving and setting up.  Some vendors were still arriving at 8. I made one lap around the block and went back to the hotel to meet my daughter for the next round. I could have made many purchases here but had to fit my purchases into a suitcase and carry them for the rest of the trip. There were no shipping options immediately available to us in this tiny little town.

antique furniture

This vendor had very reasonable prices. The table with 6 chairs was 145 Euros (about $200). Unfortunately it would not fit in the suitcase!

Antique rocking horses

What a wonderful collection of vintage rocking horses! Again, too big for the suitcase!

carnival ride boat

I could so incorporate this little carnival boat into the d├ęcor at our Summer Cottage! Look at the little life preserver on the back!

meat clevers

I really liked these meat cleavers but they were a little pricey. The cheapest one was 55 Euros. I wonder what airport security would think when they saw these while scanning my bag!

misc hardware

This vendor had lots of great miscellaneous pieces: chocolate molds, antique telephones, andirons, a pulley, ram’s horns. What more could a junk lover want!

vintage glassware

This vendor had vintage glassware from European pubs.


This vintage pram was really cute and I love that teak deck chair behind it.

spice rack

We really loved this spice rack. We seriously considered buying it but decided it was much too big and too heavy to carry and we feared that if we tried it would be broken before we got home.

After having fun looking at the antiques we strolled around the town. Tongeren claims to be the oldest town in Belgium. This site has some very interesting information on Tongeren and its history. Tongeren is a walled city. The ancient wall built by the Romans was rebuilt in 1241 reusing much of the same material!

outside city wall

The photo above was taken from outside the city wall and the photo below was from inside the city wall.

inside the city wall

You can see from the photo below that the antique fair was set up around the city wall.

top of the city wall

We also took a few photos of the tower on the wall.

tower on the wall

another tower view

Oh my goodness, I think I just spotted James Bond. Or maybe somebody stole his car!

James Bond car

To quote my son, that was a sweet ride!  Inside the city wall most of the streets were cobblestone.

cobblestone streets

Most of the buildings were very old.

1619 building

This one dates back to 1619! Obviously they were built to last.

tiny doorway

Look at this beautiful tiny doorway. It was just over 5 feet high! (The shopping bag is what we put our purchases in!)

Basilica of Our Lady Tongeren

The Basilica of Our Lady is in the center of town. Construction on the basilica began in 1240 and was completed in 1544! Wow!

Basilica of Our Lady  Tongeren 2

The bell tower soars to just over 200 feet high!

Basilica of Our Lady bell tower Tongeren

There is also a statue of Ambiorix in the center of town. Ambiorix was a legendary Gallic chieftain who led his tribe to victory over Julius Caesar’s legions here in 54-53 BC. I told you this place is old!

Roman statue Tongeren

The last photo is to show that it is a small world after all. Keep in mind that Tongeren is off the beaten path in the far corner of Belgium right near the border with Germany and the Netherlands. Then what to our eyes should appear but a piece of our hometown!

BMW X3 Tongeren

The BWW x3 has been built exclusively in Spartanburg, South Carolina since 2010!  Now let’s all sing together “It’s a small world after all…..” repeat and fade since this song has no end!

What did we buy? I’ll show you in my next post. If you missed the other posts on our trip here are the links:

Biking Through the Flower Fields of Holland

A Visit to Keukenhof Gardens

Touring Amsterdam

Touring Amsterdam Part 2

Touring  Amsterdam Part 3

This is a great you tube video that my daughter made of the trip.

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I’ll be linking to Wow US Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style and to Grace at Home at Imparting Grace.

Please note: I have not been compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are my own. However, if you folks at BMW want to talk, have your people get in touch with my people. I’ll bet we can work something out!