Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saddle Blanket Runner

This solution for a protective runner for catching wet and muddy dog paws coming into the house from the back yard is economical, easy to clean and fun in appearance.  Pictured above are two saddle blankets purchased at our local Intermountain Farmers Association "Country Store".  They have a flat weave similar to Turkish kilims and Navajo rugs, but are usually woven with a mixture of wool/cotton/acrylic fibers that are machine washable in cold water.

The ends have a rolled hem with braided ties at each corner.  They usually measure  60" x 30".  You can find
several similar choices of saddle blankets on Amazon.com---priced from around $10 to $20.  I found mine at IFA for $15 each.  Several color combinations are available.  I did have to go to two different IFA stores to find two matching blankets, however.
I have combined two blankets to get the correct length for my needs and tied the corner ties on one end of each blanket together to keep the two blankets from separating from each other. 
You will want to use a rug grip to keep the runners from sliding on a bare slick surface, in my case, a maple floor.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hand-made Gift Ideas...

Click on the "Contact Me" button on the right hand column of this page if you would like to order any of the items below, have questions, or would just like to say "hello".  ;o)

New item!Custom Saxophone Neck Pouch -  scroll down to item No. 4.

1. Original Encaustic Paintings...
The seven paintings below are aproximately 5x7 inches (postcard size) and include hanging hardware on back and a wood table-top display easel---$25 each.  

Additional larger original encaustic paintings can be found here. 

2.  Pet Portraits...Lasting tribute to a devoted companion. . . see more examples here.


-All portraits are hand painted with high-quality non-toxic artist's acrylic paints on fine art stretched canvas.
-You provide a favorite of your pet's photos/poses. Include other snap shots that reveal "personality", if you like. Then the painting begins!
Options & Pricing:
12" x 12" box-style museum-wrap stretched canvas: $150
16" x 20" stretched canvas: $350
24" x 36" stretched canvas: $1000
Additonal pets in one portrait: 16x20/$100, 24x30/$300

There is generally a two-week turnaround for the 12x12 portraits, longer for the larger sizes. There's still time to order yours for holiday gifts. And if you don't need it before Christmas, I'll still be taking orders and painting after the holidays :o). . .

3.  Architectural Jewelry Boxes...
Below:  Art Deco Septemius Jewelry Box...$27.00
Click on image to enlarge

Below Cathedral of Murano Jewelry Box...$31.50
Click on image to enlarge

Below: Corinthian Column Capital Jewelry Box...$31.50
Click on image to enlarge


Below:  Florentine Facade Jewelry Box...$31.50
Click on image to enlarge

4.  Custom Saxophone Neck Pouches - Basic Alto Pouch: $16, Basic Tenor Pouch: $18.
Double thickness of soft fabric outside and inside for protection of your saxophone neck---more secure than the "sox" bags.  No scratchy zippers, no tangling ties.  Available for any size saxophone neck. Alto-size neck displayed in photos.  Many durable and elegant fabrics available.  Ask about the double pouch: Storage for sax neck & mouthpiece, or the triple pouch:  Storage for sax neck, mouthpiece and extra reeds.  Custom storage pouches can be made to meet your individual preferences.

Tuck the pouch with neck inside the bell of your saxophone...
The saxophone neck is safely stowed in the bell or will fit nicely in the compartment of your saxophone case.
5.  Holiday cards reproduced from my watercolor paintings and color pencil drawings---Each set contains four cards and envelopes. Set No. 1 cards are blank inside and are priced at $7.50 per set. Set No. 2 cards have a verse inside: "May every joy of the holiday season be yours, and may the new year bring you happiness.", and are $8.00 per set.

Card Set No. 1...

 Glissading Snowman
Delivering Peace

Spinning Snowflake


Card Set No. 2...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Domestic Diversions

The Fence...
Above:  I wanted a twenty-six foot long expanse of fence to keep the hounds out of the driveway---my girl hound seems to believe the driveway is the perfect potty area in winter.  :o/  I also wanted a removable section of fence for service access to the house or back yard when necessary---wide enough for a truck to drive through.

Above:  Here's the design I came up with, which was functional, budget friendly and pretty easy to build.  I purchased a rusted steel panel from a local salvage yard which is interesting to look at, in itself.  The panel is the "waste" that was left over after circles were punched out for the original purpose.  It is five feet tall (the perfect height for the fence I wanted) and ten feet long.  The method I used to install the steel panel allows easy removal for service access.  (Oh, yes, those big round black bundles are eighteen bags of leaves I raked over the last couple of weekends.  My neighbors who have created a full-city lot size garden and orchard will be able to use most of the leaves for mulching/compost!)

Above:  The rest of the fence utilizes "horse fencing", heavy-gauge galvanized wire fencing manufactured in a 4x4-inch grid pattern.  Each panel of horse fencing measures six-feet high by sixteen feet long.
Above:  We cut the height of the horse fence panels down to the desired five foot height.   The best way to cut the horse fencing is with an electric grinder.  We attached the rusted steel panel (left side of the photo) on the side of the fence posts that will be seen from the house.  The horse fencing was attached to the opposite side of the posts (right).

Above:  We used heavy gauge staples "nailed" into the 4x4-inch treated wood posts in several places to attach the horse fencing material.
Above:  The rusted steel panel was hung on two L-hooks which were screwed into the posts.  This allows the panel to be lifted off  for service access.
Above:   The gate is a simple design using treated 2x4's to build a frame and brace, then infilled with more horse fencing cut to size.
Above:  Latch side of the gate at the fence.
Above:  Hinge side of the fence where the post attaches to the corner of the garage.  I found the galvanized post caps online at Bevo Works here.  The horse fencing was located at an agricultural suppler.  All other materials can be found at Home Depot or Lowe's.

The Gutters...

Above:  Goldfish rain chain.  I decided to use a rain chain instead of a downspout, as the junction of the roof overhang and the main body of the house created an awkward condition in which a huge and unattractive down spout elbow was required.

 Above:  Following the rain chain up...
Above:  ...and up to the corner opening in the gutter.  I needed eleven and a half feet of chain for this location.  There are some beautiful copper rain chains on the market.   I had very little budget for a rain chain and located this "budget" chain via Amazon.com where there was one six-foot length in stock, and via Target.com where there was another six-foot length in stock---together giving me twelve feet.  So I ordered from the two different sources to get enough.  This chain is no longer in stock at these two places---I must have bought the last!  I don't know any other place to find it.  Hope it lasts a good little while!

Above:  The section of new gutter across the back of the addition, with rain chain hanging to the left of the door and steps.  Next Spring, I will be developing more landscaping around the addition.  Hoping that we are pretty well set now for winter's arrival---hmmm, where's the snow shovel?  Now...on to the holidays!



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