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Friday, January 13, 2017

The Making of a Nightlight

So apparently cockatiels have night frights. We found this out early one morning about 2 am when we heard the flapping of wings and the pitter patter of bird feet frantically emerging from Ed and Olive's birdcage. It took about 30 minutes to calm them down and as we didn't want to deal with that again, we did a little research to find ways to alleviate the problem.

One of the ways was quite simple; just like toddlers, cockatiels don't like the pitch dark and many people recommended putting a nightlight by the bird cage.

Oddly enough (well maybe not that odd. Ok, yes, probably odd) I went through this nightlight making period about 5 or 7 years ago. To make a long story short, it all started with these cool lampshades I saw in a store close to my house. As is usually the case, when I said I really liked them, Jeff commented about how easy they would be to make. I believed him, but knowing my limitations as an artist, I figured I'd start small and try the technique with nightlights.

I made a couple nightlights at the time. This one, I made for my sister and was my favorite. Remember, I said I wasn't an artist. Let's just call it 'folk-art' and I mean no offense to real folk-art.

Anyway, these are relatively easy to make and inexpensive. Even better, someone a little more arty than me could make a really nice one.

So, because Ed and Olive need a night light, and I still have some supplies left from my nightlight making phase, I'll detail how to make one and maybe someone out there will take the idea and run!

You will need the following supplies:

To begin with, if you're starting with a cheap nightlight like this, remove the plastic cover and throw it away.

Now, use your aluminum wire and wrap it around the base of the light. The wire will be used to create the form of your nightlight, in my case I'm making a bird, of course.

Using the wire, create your form.

Next, glue the tissue paper to the wire using small drops of glue. You don't need a lot of glue as the dope will be a little adhesive.

I used clothes pins to help hold the tissue paper in place while the glue dries.

Unlike the picture, it's best to pull the tissue paper as tight as possible this will give your nightlight fewer wrinkles.

Now, using a spray bottle, gently spray the tissue paper with water. This makes the tissue paper shrink and tighten even more.

After the paper is completely dry, use the dope and paint brush and gently brush it all over the tissue paper, front and back. You'll want at least two coats of dope on the tissue paper.

After the first coat of dope and while it's still wet, I use more tissue paper to create the design on my night light. In this case, the bird needs a face and beak. The dope will hold the new tissue paper in place and there's no need to use anymore glue.

After the first coat of dope is dry, I apply a second coat. Once dry, the dope makes the tissue paper stiff.

It only takes about 15 minutes for the dope to dry. Also, you'll want to make sure you use it in a well ventilated area as it has a powerful smell.

Once dry, your nightlight is finished!

Here's hoping this helps ward off the night frights for Ed and Olive!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Snow Photos!

Who can get enough snow photos? This is what Portland woke up to this morning. Naturally, the city is shut down, closed, nothing to see here folks, moose out front should have told ya.

Without further ado, here's why.

Yea, we should probably take down the Christmas decorations at some point.

This guy had the right idea on how to get to work.

Snowshoes! I actually like my idea better; work from home.

What are the chances our garbage will be picked up today? The grey can is garbage, the green is food scraps and yard debris, and the blue is recycling, in case you were wondering.

The rain chain is frozen.

Yes, I did clean this off so the hummingbirds could eat.

Enjoy your day, I think I'll make another cup of coffee and actually start working!

Friday, January 6, 2017

A Couple Finds and Refurbishes

We've had a cold, windy start to the New Year here in Portland. I've kept busy keeping the bird feeders full and the hummingbird feeders thawed. In between that, I did manage to do a little work painting this step stool. 
I picked this up at an estate sale last Fall for $3. The stool is sturdy and I figured with a little paint on it I could easily resell it in my Home and Patio Sale.  I painted it with Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint Tricycle mixed with a little Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint Curio. I then finished it with Dover's Chalk Paint Dark Wax. Not bad for a $3 stool.

Even better was the lamp globe we picked up free on the sidewalk! It looked to be what was left of a swag lamp.
I cleaned it up and fixed the latches on it so it would stay shut.  I then added a Hanging Lantern Cord with On/Off Switch and a light bulb. Voila, now the globe has it's swag back on! This lamp will be available in the Home and Patio Sale as well.
On a side note, Ed and Olive had their first visit to the avian vet last weekend. They surprisingly enjoyed the car trip sitting in their new travel cage.

We're such novice bird owners and we peppered the vet with a thousand questions but she was happy to answer them. We also discovered *gasp* the internet lied to us and some of what we've read about the birds was not correct!

Friday, December 30, 2016

2017; A New Year

We've almost made it, 2016 is just about a memory; albeit a bad memory. Here's hoping we get through the rest of it intact.

I'm finishing up the year replenishing soap stocks. I made a batch of Lavender Meringue Goat's Milk Soap this week.

This is probably the most labor intensive soap I make. The meringue on the top is a whipped shea butter soap. It's then dusted with a lavender mica for color.

The bottom soap is rich in olive oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. I then use a lavender clay to color it and scent it with lavender and a touch of peppermint essential oils.

By using a little peppermint essential oil, I find the lavender essential oil holds it's scent better. Between the layers, I add organic lavender petals.

The final product provides a rich, decadent bathing experience!

I'd like to take a moment and thank all my great customers this year. I hope everyone who received Lora's Beauty for the holidays enjoys it and thank you for supporting a small business!

Here's hoping (and hoping and hoping) 2017 brings you happiness and joy!

Ed's hoping too (either that or he wants me to get the camera out of his face!)

Happy New Year and good riddance 2016!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Painted Chair

Well we're in the homestretch now. The holidays are officially stressful!

At least since we've past the Winter Solstice, the days are now getting longer..millisecond by millisecond, but it all adds up!

This has nothing to do with the painted chair, which I'm about to share, but we've taught Ed The Bird, as he's referred to around here, how to whistle the Andy Griffith Theme Song.  Now try getting that tune out of your head!

Anyway, this little chair Alec picked up free on the sidewalk and brought home. It was in excellent condition and aside from an ink stain on the rattan seat it really didn't need any work. That stain bugged me though and I figured the chair would look better painted anyway.

So after sitting on my workbench for a couple months, I painted it with milk paint of course.  The white is Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint Ironstone and the gray is Real Milk Paint French Gray.

The chair has some nice details on the back. I used sandpaper to remove some of the paint so the original dark finish came through to accentuate the details.

The ink stain, after several coats of paint, finally quit bleeding through.

I'm hoping I'll find a nice little desk or table free on the sidewalk to pair with this chair.

Of course, this chair will be available in the Home and Patio Sale in July!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Snow and Cookies!

I don't have much to share this week beeeecaaaause......




Yes, we got snow in Portland on Wednesday.  The snow photo was taken on Thursday so some of it melted.

Something about a snow day before the holidays makes me want to bake and the best cookie known to man is the chocolate chip cookie!

This recipe is Betty Crocker's because there's no need to mess with perfection (and lots of butter!).

There's still time to place an order from Lora's Beauty for delivery before the holidays! Nothing says "I love you" and "Happy Holidays" more than a bar of goats' milk soap!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Winter Is Here

Portland had it's first ice storm of the year last week. I very gingerly went outside to take some photos.

It's amusing to me when people talk about how Portlanders don't know how to drive in the snow. Well, this is the kind of snow we normally get. In this kind of weather, it's hard to leave your front porch, let alone drive.

It's important though, to keep the bird feeders stocked. Even the tiny hummingbirds are out and need food.

The ice and snow sure make for some beautiful photos.

Here's what's left of our summer peppers.

Our Christmas lights are hanging in there.
As are the tree branches.

This kind of weather makes for a great day to make soap and what kind of soap do you think of when it's icy out?

Why, Peppermint Menthol Goats' Milk soap of course!

Pick up a few of these beauties for the holidays!