Skip to content

Removing Lacquer from Brass

August 30, 2013

Hallelujah LONG WEEKEND. I have a list of projects a mile long, and I am hoping to get some of them knocked out this weekend–the only one for a long time that is free of kids’ sports practices or games, and that I get a couple of extra days (i.e. extra pair of hands) home with the hubs. Now, I have the ambitious project list [includes painting, tiling, and spraying all the doors in the house], and the more realistic [and likely to happen] project list. But first up on both lists is to [finally] remove the lacquer from several pieces of old hardware that we have floating around our home. I checked out a couple of how-tos, including this one from Martha Stewart. However, I don’t have any acetone and didn’t want to run to Lowe’s today…and I thought I remembered reading somewhere that boiling in hot water could work. Now, sometimes I make things up that I want to be true but actually aren’t, so was glad to see on this video that I was correct and didn’t invent that idea in my head because I wanted it to be true. I am trying the boiling in hot water method first, and if it doesn’t work suitably then I will get some acetone on the Lowe’s run that is sure to occur at some point this weekend.

View How to De-Lacquer Brass on Howcast

I’ll update on how mine turns out later today, after I play with it a little bit…Happy FriDIY. [I did, however, invent THAT. Possibly.]

UPDATE: The boiling totally works. And it only takes a few minutes plus some steel wool or a rough sponge to get the lacquer completely off. SO happy about this! Check out my results…





Change is the only constant

August 9, 2013

We all know it–but it can be so easy to sometimes forget that life is always changing. In the midst of the whirlwind of change that has happened this summer, when I thought I just couldn’t fathom any more change… I took a pause and reflected on the past year.  And then I went to three years.  Then five…eight…ten..twenty. And I realized that DUH, there has never NOT been a period of my life that wasn’t ripe with change. So that helped me put right now and the current state of change into perspective.

Right now‘s big changes include me leaving my full-time job at the end of June. I loved many of the people I worked with, but quite honestly it was the right change for me. And from there, I have spent the month of July both wholeheartedly soaking up quality time and periodically in complete togetherness overload with my three kids. You see, I have always worked full (truthfully, almost always more than 40 hours a week) time since I got out of college. Through three pregnancies, through three maternity leaves, through two relocations and kept on trucking. Daycare. More daycare. Summer camp daycare. Before and after school care. Still more daycare. The crazy run-around-hunt-for-daycare during the many school days off and holiday breaks–what-oh-what to do with the kids on those days while I still had to work??? And so in response, I spent a lot of time trying to make up for the “mom guilt” daycare time while I worked. So for the month of July, I just made a choice to not feel guilty about going full-on with my kids. Going to the zoo. Going to the museums. Going to the pool. Bumming at home. Going on run/bike rides. Running errands. It was nice and mostly enjoyable. But I won’t lie to you–I still have no kind of regular kidcare-housework-grocery planning-gettingothershizdone schedule. A “real” Stay At Home Mom I do not feel like. But, baby steps. It’s not easy to go backwards. Or is it forwards? Maybe it’s just a lateral move. But whichever way, it’s a move to get [closer] to where I want to be in this life: more time running the flippers, and less as the pinball.

And also, right now there is the new business launching change. I’ve had the etsy shop for a few years and as I mentioned, I added the online shop this spring. But now I also have an awesome, creative, compadre with whom I am cooking up all sorts of big, fun things. Big, fun, design things. We are launching a new joint business in the near future. And as you might guess, there is a lot that goes along with that. We have big dreams and plans! So while I juggle the above-mentioned lifestyle changes, I am also creating the future. HOLYSHIT.

Also, school starts again on Monday for the elder two kid nuggets. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we are ready for that. So very ready. In the meantime, I will serve myself well if I can just remember the following, about dear Britney Spears: - If Britney Spears can survive 2007, I should be able to get through today.

Schumacher stationary = divine

June 25, 2013

Umm yeah. I pinned this Chiang Mai Dragon stationery a while back, but recently got a trade email from Schumacher about the new line of Schumacher paper goods available through Dempsey & Carroll.  At $95 a set, it’s not cheap, but it’s also not outside of small-splurge-for-myself territory. Now, the custom stuff certainly ain’t for the faint of heart though (starting at $1700) and I am thinking that you will want to have written several drafts on notebook paper before you attempt to put words on these precious notecards. But oh, how I would love for these to be my personal stationery goods!! 6 ply paper! Dragons! Gold! Done.


There are other classic Schumacher goodies as well – the balloons, butterflies, and imperial trellis and summer palace frets, oh my!





Giving Campaign: The Pillowcase Project

June 13, 2013

As I posted a couple of days ago, I am running a giving campaign through my Etsy shop during the month of June. This campaign is a one-to-one support donation for The Pillowcase Project. Before I tell you a little bit more about TPP, I want to explain my whole giving campaign concept for a minute.

As I’ve mentioned before, over the last couple of years my design work and Etsy shop–which I started for fun because I have a ridiculous obsession with fabric, chairs, and upcycling things and my husband insisted that if I am going to continue to indulge in vintage chairs and expensive fabrics, that I must sell some portion of them so that our house doesn’t end up like a thrift shop–albeit a very stylish one.

Anyway, this little thing I started for fun and pure passion has slowly grown and grown over the days and months and years. And I’ve watched as plenty of others out there made a go of it–some even starting out in a massive recession–and had more success than I would have imagined possible. And then one day I realized that I, too, had more success than I would have imagined possible and maybe I should think a little harder about what I could do with it if I actually put more than an ounce of thought and a couple of hours a week into it. Except that interior design and furnishings can sometimes feel a little hollow, you know? I mean, I personally think it is EXTREMELY important to have a space that you love and that supports the life you are living, both in function and aesthetics.Life is to short to surround yourself with ugly or things you hate. But just selling stuff–especially the expensive stuff which I tend to like–sometimes struck me as a bit hollow. I don’t want to sell shit to people just to sell shit to people and junk up the world. I want to sell really special, meaningful things that will help make a space really conducive to living…and living well. And I want to do really well at selling shit so that I, too, can live the live that I want to live…which involves having more time to make a difference in the world. To have time to focus on raising caring, loving, helpful, open-minded and open-hearted kids that will go out into the world and make it a better place (just like I say in my Personal Mission). So I realized that for me to feel good about doing this thing that could run shallow, I needed to include the importance of making a difference as a core pillar in my business. I have a HUGE dream for a community building, job training element for the production of my homegoods and furnishings. But that is a little bit down the road. But what can I do right now, right from the get-go at Space and Place?

Enter, the monthly Giving Campaigns. Each month, I will run a campaign to support some charity, group, or organization that I believe is making a positive difference in the world. Support those that are out there trying to create a positive sense of place in the world. That’s my bag, baby. And my inaugural Giving Campaign is to support The Pillowcase Project–during the month of June, the Space and Place etsy shop will donate one pillowcase for every single pillow cover that we sell. Or, we are also providing the option to just purchase a pillowcase donation directly for $10 through a listing in the shop. So here is a little more about this amazing organization via a Q&A with its founder, Michelle Campbell, who was a high school classmate of mine.

The Pillowcase Project logoWhat is The Pillowcase Project (TPP)?

The mission of The Pillowcase Project is to empower women in third world countries by providing the tools necessary to start a business

Who does it benefit?

The project will benefit the women and villagers in rural western Kenya, in a village named Kipingi. This will be the first place that we start the project, with the goal of expanding to other third world countries

How/when/why did TPP get started?

The Pillowcase Project was founded by Michelle Campbell. After having traveled to Kipingi village and seeing the desperate situation, I knew I needed to do something that would benefit them as a village and be sustainable.

Who runs TPP and who else is involved?

So far it is myself (Michelle), two business coaches and several volunteers spread out across the country.

What is the ultimate goal for the project?

The ultimate goal for the project is to start out small and eventually get the dresses sold in the U.S. They will be sold fair trade and the money will be kicked back into the village. Eventually we would like to raise enough money to not only provide push pedal sewing machines for the women (as they will be sewing manually) but to also build a school for the kids in Kipingi (they do not have one).

Tell me more about the trip(s) to Africa?

Our first team going to Africa consists of 16 people. We will be working in Kipingi Village teaching the women how to sew and sell the dresses. As the project grows and more money is raised, we will also be taking teams to build the school in Kipingi

I want to help; how can I get involved?

There are so many ways to get involved…you can do a pillowcase and sewing supplies drive, sew the dresses we will deliver to the girls in Kipingi, help raise awareness about the cause or join us on one of our trips to Kenya.

How I get a donation box/drive organized for my workplace or organization?

Join The Pillowcase Project group on Facebook and request a donation box! We will help you get set up and promote your drive.

What originally inspired you (and keeps you inspired) to get involved in volunteer projects and help people halfway around the world?

I started doing this work 10 years ago, when I realized I could use my travel benefits (as a flight attendant) for a good cause and to pay it forward. It’s been a passion of mine to help orphans out all over the world and be voice for those that do not have one. Having been adopted, I know what it is like to go “without” and feel the need to give back. I believe that it is simple everyday people who are leaving their mark on the world by doing work in their own country or abroad to make the world a better place.

Beautiful idea from a beautiful woman. Isn’t it amazing what one person can do, when they just decide to try? I am trying for 50 pillowcase donations through my drive. What can you try today?

The state of things

June 7, 2013

So much going on lately!  Lots of work, travel, and big projects left-and-right!

Upcycled Home interior design is now Space and Place Interiors and Homegoods in Omaha, Nebraska

Firstly – The biggest change around here is that the Upcycled Home business has gotten a little grwoth makeover. In the spirit of growth, change, and big things to come, the shop has been re-chrsitened as Space and Place Interiors. See, in terms of what we do professionally, we’ve kind of grown beyond just upcycling. Of course that is still a big part of our design philosophy, but these days we are doing SO.MUCH.MORE. So the blog will remain Upcycled Home, as it is my own personal philosophy, but the business is sprinting forward…

Space and Place shop on Etsy

Click to shop Space and Place interiors and homegoods in Omaha, Nebraska

Secondly – The etsy shop lives on (also got a name update to, but we are also expanding to a full online shop for more than just our handmade goods. It is still developing, we are adding new products all the time…but the baby has been born and it is healthy, happy, and kicking! if you want to check out the goods. And I promise it will be growing exponentially every week! Soooo many vendors and items to add and not enough hours in the day!

Space and Place #senseofplace giving campaign logo by Space and Place Interiors in Omaha, Nebraska

Thirdly – The #senseofplace giving component that is a core value of Space and Place has been kicked off through our first-ever giving campaign! For the month of June, we have a one-to-one donation pledge for The Pillowcase Project. For every pillow cover we sell, we will donate one pillowcase and we are hoping to reach 50 donations this month. You can also just purchase a donation directly for $10, if that floats your boat. Look for a full report and more details on the project coming soon. There are some big ideas behind this giving core value, and I look forward to bringing them all to life at Space and Place!

boy with Tang

Fourthly – It is summer. Although it hasn’t really been hot enough for the pool yet (I should probably shut my mouth after the sweltering summer we had last year) it is in full gear. Like so many moms much wiser than me have mentioned over the years–you only get so many summers with the small ones, so we have some fun summer special projects and we are on a mission to enjoy this one to the fullest. Each day, we are doing at least one fun new “summer” thing. We started with an introduction to Tang. Yes, that Tang. They do still make it. It is still sickeningly sweet and vaguely baby-aspirinish. And delish. The kids love it; because I saved it for summer, they will probably now always associate it with summertime. :-)

Well, since it is National Donut Day, I bet you can guess what today’s thing is–donuts for the kids who otherwise are not permitted to eat donuts as part of their normal food repertoire. #100daysofsummer

Correction: REPIN my Biscuit!

April 18, 2013

I never ask you for anything.

Well, I seldom ask you for something.

Ok, I seldom ask you for something so very simple as this.

I am asking now.

Please go do this.

Repin my Best Biscuit for April. Per the official contest rules, Follow Biscuit. [And hey, follow me while you are at it. I have more than 3,000 pins and growing. There’s bound to be something you will like.] Before Friday, April 19, REPIN my photo so I can win. It’s the first photo, the one with the polka dot Katies, handsome devil of a boy and the cherubic baby girl. I vow that if I win, I will in-turn offer a giveaway of my own for my soon-to-relaunch Etsy site and new online shop. [Official details coming on April 23!] I have some good shiz, so you want me to win so that one [or maybe more?] of you can win. WIN-WIN. C’mon, people!!

Also, from here on out, I vow to stop apologizing for my sporadic posting–it’s so banal–and just simply post when I post.  With the understanding that it is what it is–and we are both ok with that. Thank you for your understanding, we’ll both be better off this way.

Ok dude, now go REPIN!


Melissa's Best Biscuit Black and White Katie polka dot bedding

Like my Biscuits

April 16, 2013

Per Bailey and theBiscuit team’s fun giveaway, I am sharing the photos of my very own Biscuit goodies in action [Katie in Black and White, Chartreuse Border, Javier the Hippo JellyCat]. Heavy exploitation of the large soulful blue eyes, OBVI. But if you read, 1) I am not a professional photographer, but I like to play pretend 2) let’s all pretend we don’t see that kidschmutz on Cooper’s right shoulder mmmkay and 3) please jump over to Pinterest and “REPIN” my photo (it’s the first one shown below) to give me the chance to buy more things at Biscuit. Because Haddie needs a backup Javier Hippo in case of the wretched chance that she ever misplace Javi #1 [seeing as he goes everywhere with us] and we be hippo-less. I don’t think we could take it after the drama we’ve had with coming off formulas and bottles. And that’s just from me.

Mimi refused to pose for me, but I snapped the other two kidbites snuggling. God, I love those blue eyed angels.

Biscuit Chartreuse border and Katie Black and White polka dot bedding and pillow sham styled by Upcycled Home


Biscuit Chartreuse border and Katie Black and White polka dot bedding and pillow sham styled by Upcycled Home

Biscuit Chartreuse border and Katie Black and White polka dot bedding and pillow sham styled by Upcycled HomeBiscuit Chartreuse border and Katie Black and White polka dot bedding and pillow sham styled by Upcycled Home


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 200 other followers