Friday, April 29, 2011

Chicken Wire Cloche

A couple weeks ago, a few of us got together at Hodgepodge to construct chicken wire cloches.   I made my first one a few years ago when I participated in a design challenge.  We were all given the same product and we had to arrange a display, but we couldn’t use any other vendor’s merchandise—only stuff we made or found at flea markets.  That’s when I had the idea to make a cloche out of chicken wire.

They are great for display, but also serve a practical purpose.  Nita will be using hers to protect young plants from deer.

We used chicken wire, macramé rings and a loose leaf binding ring from an office supply shop. We had a lot of fun and collaborated to improve the construction process. Here are a few pictures:

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Travis, Kendall and Keith at their shared work station.

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Nita and Kimberly working together.

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Here’s Ryan and another Kendall (what are the odds).

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Ryan and Kendall in deep concentration.



Ryan and Travis’ finished products!

Another fun evening with friends!

Thanks for your indulgence!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Patio décor and dilemma (Leaf Chronicle Article)

So, guess what I bought last weekend? Yup—more seating for the patio! It couldn’t be helped. It’s actually another glider-style bench, but it’s made of wood and painted white. I had to do some shifting, but it’s already in place and ready for the return of good weather!

wood bench swing

The other outdoor project which we always manage to find a way to deal with, but has never been done “right” is our music source. We enjoy listening to music while we’re outside, but it tends to find its place on a table right behind the sofa, which creates two problems: the people sitting on the sofa cannot hear the conversations, due to the music, and the sound system takes up the valuable tabletop surface I referred to in the previous post. Yet, as I’m writing this, I’ve had an epiphany—and to think, this has been an issue for nearly nine years—you are witnessing the slowly turning wheels of creative problem solving! About fifteen years ago, I gave Darren some outdoor speakers, so we could enjoy music on our back porch at our house in Georgia. We have been storing those speakers in the hopes that we’ll figure out how to run the speaker wire from our family room stereo to the back of house. (Okay, we know how to do it, it’s just that neither one of us is too eager to climb under the house and belly crawl to the hole where we could drop the speaker wires—so we’re content pretending it “just can’t be done.”) Then, last year I gave Darren a fairly decent sound system that can be used with an IPod. It just occurred to me that we can set-up that system in our backroom, add the outdoor speakers (no “under house crawling” required) and there I’ve solved two of our problems! Music, check! Tabletop space, check!

Have any of you ever thought of adding one of those really nice outdoor kitchens? Darren figures that considering how much time we spend outside, he’s putting it on his wish list of things he’s like to add. I love the idea, but many of the designs I’ve seen always look so—ummm—planned. You know what I mean? They’re usually ensconced in a big stone wall-like design. Outdoor 7


Looks a little "planned,” doesn’t it?  Pretty, but not my style.

I think I would have a hard time meshing it with the “gathered” look of the rest of the patio area. I’m going to have to give it some more thought.

outdoor kitchen small


This is a little more my style.

I’m wondering if any of you have an outdoor kitchen and would share your likes and dislikes about it. I’d love to hear from you. This isn’t anything I plan to start in the immediate future—it’s just a good idea to start formulate a plan and goals. It’s an even better idea to learn from those of you with firsthand experience.


2010 Southern Living Georgia Idea House: Courtyard Potting Bench < 2010 Southern Living Georgia Idea House - Southern Living

My mom pointed out a way-cool potting bench cum-outdoor sink in a recent issue of Southern Living—I’d love to incorporate this!

So, I’ve worked-out one issue and created another. I want to thank you for helping me talk through the stereo dilemma—you’ve been very helpful! I hope you’ll let me know if I can help you with any of your own.

Thanks for your indulgence!


Monday, April 18, 2011

a quick change at Hodgepodge

Finally getting something done!

Much to my chagrin, I finally sold a favorite cabinet at Hodgepodge.

It was made from a recycled paneled door, barn board and a screen door.

screen door cabinet  before


As well as a wonderful iron bed . . .

iron bed sale


With the restrictions of  a busy Rivers & Spires festival weekend, I needed to find a creative fix for some quick replacements.

For the bed, I remembered this maple, artichoke finial full bed I had in the back room.  Not being a big fan of the orange-y tint of maple, I was determined to get it painted before I put it on the floor.

maple bed before

maple bed before 1 

So, I pulled the head- and footboards out to the front porch area and started cleaning, sanding and cleaning again.  Then I reached for this beautiful shade of taupe paint.

Here’s how it looks now:

maple bed after

What a classic look, eh?

Then, to replace that wonderful cabinet . . .

What to do?  I love that thing—it held so much and offered such impact at the front of the shop.  Yet, it’s going to a good home and she was appropriately excited about it (I couldn’t let just anyone take it home!).  So, I took a look at the Acme boot factory racks I had just acquired and thought there it is!  They’ve been serving s my sidewalk sale carts, but this was a more important need.  They have a great urban design look.  After some quick repairs . . .

boot rack before


And here’s the boot rack, turned kitchen shelving:

boot rack after

Way cool, eh?


Well, that’s all I wanted to share today.  I just love the urban, industry look of these racks.

Any other ideas for how you would use this rack?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for your indulgence!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Leaf Chronicle Article for April 15th

Forgot to post this on Monday!


The outdoor entertaining season is getting close—I’d venture to say that for the Kings, it’s here.

Darren has been busy mulching the flower beds and I’ve been busy making plans for plants I’d like to add. My folks are coming for a visit next week, so I’ve given them a wish list of transplants I’d like to have from their gardens. I am currently enjoying the Lenten Rose my parents gave me the first year we moved into our house. They are strong performers every year and it makes me smile to know they’re transplants from my parents’ yard. I’ve requested some of the Queen Fern this year.

Regardless of which plants are growing in the garden, we will gladly begin the annual process of cleaning the patio furniture and pulling-out the cushions and pillows from storage in anticipation of friendly gatherings around the fire pit.

july 2010 friends & family 195

At this time of year, I have to resist the urge to add more stuff to the patio. As it stands, we have a sofa, a glider, two rockers, two Adirondack chairs and an iron mesh table with four matching chair. You would think that is plenty of seating, but inevitably we have to pull-out extra chairs to seat everyone. I love the metal chairs that were popular in the 50s. I know they are making reproductions of those chairs, but I prefer finding old chairs with chippy paint. Ooh, the need for more chairs is heating-up . . . I might be able to squeeze another two chairs in—somewhere.

Tables are another matter. We definitely need more tables. There are never enough surfaces for drinks and food. I’ve got the metal base of a table I found two years ago. It has been waiting for me to find the perfect replacement top so it can be put back in useful service again. I have to consider it will sit outside in the elements, so that has limited my options. Sure, I could just have a piece of glass cut for it, but that’s too obvious. I considered using a window, but water would pool on it, which would severely limit the lifespan of that surface. I’ve considered making a mosaic tile top using all of our broken plates (which would help me justify the fact that I keep all of our broken china), but that is a time intensive project. I had another idea, but it escapes me at the moment. I guess I should just get the glass cut and be done with it!

Apparently, they decided to end it right there.    So I’ve taken the part they cut and it’ll be part of next week’s article.  In the meantime, if you’ve got any clever ideas for replace tabletops—please let me know!

Thanks for your indulgence!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

entertaining ideas at hodgepodge

The new merchandise has been rolling into Hodgepodge and it seems I was developing a subconscious theme—entertaining!

Many of our new inventory items will help you pull-together a picture perfect event.  From appetizers to aperitifs—we’ve got you covered.  So, when I started thinking about how to incorporate these items into our displays, I decided to arrange and entire display around the entertaining theme.

Here is the the whole shebang:

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This porcelain handled service set elevates an iceberg and shredded cheddar salad to  mixed baby greens with goat cheese.

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Cheese platters are almost always a part of our offerings for our guests.  I love these cheese knives from Comptoir de Famillie; along with the cheese marker tiles (you can write on them with dry erase markers) on one of these bamboo cutting boards would make a great presentation.

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The low profile of this sugar mold votive holder makes it ideal for a buffet table.  The three tier server also helps make the most out of limited space on a table.  Try elevating items on cake pedestals—such as the willow dome at the rear.

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Arrive at a party with this jute tote filled with wine and you’ll be at the top of the invitation list every time! 

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These monogrammed bottle stoppers make a great gift, but they’re wonderful to have on hand to re-cork your wines, balsamic vinegars and oils!

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The perfect cocktail napkin for a wine and cheese party . . .

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This corkscrew is a piece of art!  You won’t want to put it in a drawer.

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These 6-inch square, linen blend coasters are only made better with a monogram!

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The Derby provides the perfect opportunity to have a few friends over for a celebration.  These footed mint julep cups are silver plated, adding authenticity to your celebration.  The willow dome  and tray are great for outdoor entertaining—helping to keep the bugs off of your food.

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If you prefer your mint in a mojito, perhaps we can interest you in this beautiful wooden muddler.  It comes in a muslin bag with the recipe printed on it.

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This wonderful peasant boy statue is ideal for serving nuts, candies or olives, but for now he’ll just hold the extra corks.

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These easy-mix dips from Gourmet du Village blend into tasty appetizers with the addition of only a couple ingredients.  I keep them in my pantry—just in case.

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The only thing better than brie . . . brie with apricot & jalapeno topper!  The cheese ball mixes come in sweet or savory flavors.

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Use the brie baker for serving, as well.  The dip chiller has been a favorite of ours for years!  Mix-up your dip and keep it chilled with the addition of ice in the base.

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I hope this gives you a few ideas for your next get-together.  If you’re interested in any of the items you see here, please visit the Hodgepodge Boutique.

Thanks for your indulgence.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Bedroom—the last one . . . for now.

I promise, we’ll move out of the bedroom soon, but I have received a lot of feedback that it is an area where many folks struggle with their decorating decisions. In particular, many are flummoxed by the bed itself. Many of us do not have a bed—we have a mattress sitting on a box spring, but not a “bed.” The question then becomes, how do you finish the look of the bedroom when you don’t have a four poster bed complete with a canopy draped in lace? Let’s see what we can come up with . . .

We had a brief encounter with a real bed a few years ago. I had maneuvered our queen box spring and mattress onto the frame of a full bed I fell in love with, but it was a short lived arrangement. The bed worked fine, it was just that it took-up so much space in our room and it felt claustrophobic. So, it was out with the cannonball four-post bed (which has been converted into a really cool bench for my “creative space”) and in with the blue doors.

Here’s the bed bench—the bed was white, but I had it painted black when I asked my favorite craftsman to covert it into this extra deep bench.  It now has a mattress ticking on it and a wealth of pillows!

black bed bench

While out scouring antique and junk shops for inventory, I came across three vintage doors in three different booths at the same mall; all three were painted shades of blue. I wasn’t looking for these doors, but when I rounded the corner and saw the third door, I thought I had to figure out something to do with them! There and then, I decided they were going to be the new headboard for our bed. I went home, disassembled the bed and propped the three doors against the wall and viola, we had a headboard. I loved this look. The doors didn’t match, but they worked together. You can use the same idea. If you don’t like the idea of just propping the doors, you can use brackets to attach the doors to the wall.

I’ve looked and looked for a picture of my door headboards—I was sure I posted about them before!  Anyhoo, the best I could do was this picture that shows two of the doors in the reflection of our mirror on our wardrobe.  (Yes—that’s my outfit for that day lying there on the bed.) We lost them in the fire—just smoke damage, but they were stinky!

return projects 007

There are other great substitutes for headboards. I’ve used old wood shutters—hanging them horizontally on the wall. You can find decorative iron work or other architectural elements to use the same way. Those iron porch supports—popular in the 1960s and 70s—can be found all over the place. Art work is another option—one large piece hung at a low level will connect the eye with the bed and ground the look. I’ve also arranged a twin bed in front of an antique fireplace mantel. Our current headboard or focal point is comprised of the side mirrors once found on a vanity and a lovely, empty vintage frame.

You can find instructions all over the internet to make your own upholstered headboard—a quick and easy do-it-yourself for almost anyone. I like these because you can easily change the cover with no sewing involved—scissors and staples will do the trick. If you don’t want to tackle the job of cutting the plywood, most home improvement store will cut the wood to your dimensions.

Another effortless option is to hang a curtain rod above the bed and use ready-made curtains as a focal point. At the shop, we have a semi-circular canopy support which attaches to the wall above the bed and supports simple tie-tab curtains.

spring bed 2

This type of device makes it easy to add a canopy to any bed. Another simplistic canopy option involves hanging a grapevine wreath from the ceiling parallel to the floor using a three- or four-point support of fishing line. You can then drape tulle around the bed. I prefer to use this technique for a canopy above the head of the bed only, but if you have high ceilings, it is possible to use this for a full mosquito net-like effect.

I hope I’ve given you an idea or two for your bedroom decorating dilemmas. You don’t have to have a “bed” to complete your bedroom; there are many easy, affordable alternatives. If you have other ideas, I hope you’ll share them here  . . .

Thanks for your indulgence,


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