• IKEA 2015 Top 10 Cottage Style Items

    My picks for the top 10 Cottage Style Items from the new catalog~
    UNDER $100!

    Some are new and some are old favorites but all of these will add charm to the cottage home without breaking the bank.







    IKEA PS 2014





    Check out the new catalog online HERE

    Check out some Ikea Hacks HERE



  • 18 Days and Counting ~ Guest Room Redo @ The Ranch

    Day 1 - Saturday I moved all but the bulky or heavy pieces of furniture out.  

    Day 2 - Sunday scrape popcorn off of ceiling and begin the long slow process of removing the wallpaper. This is the 4th room in this house I have removed wallpaper from and I still have 2 rooms to go. The master BR was pretty easy, it was a grass fiber fabric type and really soaked up the vinegar laced water. The small laundry room and hall took days. No amount of perforating, sanding, steaming and crying would get that paper off it was some sort of vinyl stuck on with what looked like wood glue mixed with Elmer's glue. It came off in emery board size pieces. This part was the most daunting because it was very similar wallpaper and I had a tight schedule.

    JD Scraping off the popcorn

    It took JD about 45 minutes to get the popcorn off. He told me he was starting and I walked out to the garage to get my pole scraper and by the time I found it and came back in he was almost half done!

    About 10:00 am I started on the wallpaper. Luckily for me a friend came by about 2:00 and helped for a few hours. She had brought us dinner so I didn't have to stop to cook. I worked until about 8:00 and had almost half the room done which sounds impressive but included the closet and door walls so, not so much.

    JD pulled off all of the baseboards and molding.

    End of Day 2

    I should mention this was a budget makeover. We did about 90% + of the work ourselves and wanted to stay at about $800 or less. At the end of day 2 we were still at labor only, zero expense.

    Day 3 - Monday JD went off to work and I spent the day between filling orders and packing boxes for my Etsy shop and scraping wallpaper. By late afternoon I had about two thirds of the room done including the biggest wall! JD came home and we took out the rest of the carpet and much of the padding. We felt pretty good but had encountered a few problems.

    1. The closet doors which we were going to keep temporarily as we knew we wouldn't get the new doors built in time had to go. The framing out of the closet was done by someone who must not have owned a level or any proper tools. The track was ruined because of poor installation and the framing being off. It was decided after trying to reset the track and doors after having removed the track to get the carpet and pad out it was a waste of time. About an hour wasted.

    2. The walls needed a lot of work. I knew from the other rooms that the former owners had wallpapered because they didn't want to finish the walls. This room wasn't as bad as some, but I would need a full day or more to fill, sand and smooth the walls.

    3. With the closet going south we figured we would not get the ceiling done in time for our guest. 

    15 days and counting ~



  • Measure Up ~ Upcycled Assemblage Earrings for Carpenters, Contractors, Remodelista's & DIY Queens

    Yesterday I was working on a custom order and staring back at me from my workbench was this piece of broken tape measure. 

    It had been sitting there a long time, a couple of years I'd say, patiently waiting... So in the middle of the custom order it said "marry me to that piece of tin shed, earrings would do". 

    Seriously, I stopped what I was doing and set to work on this marriage!
    "Measure Up"

    I had the sense to grab my camera because heck, how often does a broken tape ask for marriage to a broken shed? 

    The white tin is the destroyed shed I also use to harvest my LOVE letters. The white is part of the shed trim. The large red bead is coral that I have had for many years and the ear wires are oxidized sterling. I felt the dangles made enough of a statement and a simple wire would show them to the best advantage.  

    I had a lot of fun photographing these too ~

    Have a great weekend!



  • Guest Room Redo @ the Ranch

    So PJ was coming for Christmas and was pretty much going to have to sleep on the couch or in my vintage trailer "Ethel". At first I didn't think much of that because I was so excited she was coming! We hadn't seen each other since I visited her last Christmas... 

    Also, Ethel is also know around here as "The Guest House". Some guests love Ethel so much they take "first dibs on Ethel".


    A little over 2 weeks before she was due to arrive on Christmas eve I realized that it was ridiculous that we didn't have a comfortable place in the house for a single guest due to every room being either under construction or being used as storage for stuff removed from construction rooms. Sigh.

    This house has nine rooms and six are in various stages of either "renewal" or "total makeover". Double sigh. Worse, some of it has been under construction for much longer than most would consider normal...

    So on 12/6/14 eighteen days before PJ was to arrive I decided that we were going to have a decent guest room for her to stay in!

    This is what that room looked like on 12/6/14

    You cannot tell in this picture how horrible the wallpaper is and the wallpaper border isn't shown. The carpet is at least 14 years old. The ceiling is icky popcorn. 

    This had been my office for years and I hadn't done anything to it. It was as is from when I moved in. It was a room I went in, did my business and went out closing the door. In the greater realm of well laid plans I always thought this room would be the last to get done.

    What had changed besides PJ's impending arrival was I never liked this room as an office. One of the two windows was under the patio cover. Dark except for a couple months in the winter (shown in this pic, looks so bright). The other was a western exposure that every afternoon was unbearable from the sun. I pretty much never opened the blinds on that side. It was perfect for the guest room because most guests only sleep in there! 

    I had moved most of my office to a corner of my bedroom and frankly I was much more comfortable there.

    The light was better. The mood of the room was somehow better. I was more productive here. Perhaps because this room was mostly done and I LOVED it! 

    Next post, 18 days and counting...



  • Antique Reed & Barton Mystery Knife

    Reed & Barton Victorian Era Mystery Pattern 
    I'm looking for help identifying this Reed & Barton pattern. 
    It looks Victorian to me and I have tried the following sources without any luck. 

    Reed & Barton



    I did find some info on Reed & Barton purchasing blank stock from Rogers Bros so I researched their patterns as well. 
    Still no luck.
    It almost looks hand chased, it's so gorgeous~


    Thanks in advance if you can identify this pattern!



  • Road Trip Series Assemblage Necklaces #3

    Road Trip
    3rd in the series
    Flat Tyre 
    found object, vintage toy car, rosary style, mille flore, skull, turquoise, glass, ceramic, shell & copper assemblage necklace by Anvil Designs / Barn Swallow Studio

    May only your jewelry get a flat tire ~



  • Road Trip Series Assemblage Necklaces #2

    Here we have the second vintage toy car in the Road Trip series.

    The Road Trip necklaces are available in Anvil Designs Etsy shop and on anvildesigns.com  

    Barn Swallow Studio is a little shed on my property where the swallows build their nests in the eves. One day it may be a proper artists studio and retreat, heck it may even become it's own shop. For now I use it for my vintage assemblage pieces.

    2nd in the series
    *Highway Star*
    Assemblage necklace using a vintage diecast "TOOTSIETOY" (as found) as the focal piece. 
    Also features beads of Freshwater Pearl, Lampwork, Swarovski Crystal, Crystal & Glass. 
    Handmade findings and vintage rosary sections.
    Car is marked TOOTSIETOY - Chicago USA - 2
    Car is 2 1/2" long - Total necklace length is 26"
    One of a kind~

    Full Shot

    Clasp Detail

    I love it, I need it, I bleed it ~



  • Road Trip Series Assemblage Necklaces #1

    I'm on a "roll" making these little vintage toy car necklaces. 

    Not only are they fun, nostalgic & colorful, but wear one to Home Depot or a car show and expect to get stopped every ten feet! 
    Men and kids love these! Occasionally the hot rod or truckin' mama will stop me for ooohs and awwws but it's mostly men. 
    The kiddles, they point and always have an "out of the mouths of babes" comment.

    1st in the series
      Counting Blue Cars  
    Assemblage necklace using a vintage diecast "Midget Toy" car (as found) as the focal piece. 
    Also features beads of Turquoise, Mother of Pearl, Pearl, Agate, Crystal & Glass. 
    Handmade findings and a vintage rosary sections and medallion.
    Total length 24 1/2" - Chain 20" and Car dangle 4 1/2"

    Clasp Detail

    Full View

    Rolling down the highway~



  • Happy New Year!

    Wishing all of you a happy, healthy & do what you love, love what you do year!

    Here at Anvil Designs in Southern California we woke up to quite a surprise on New Year's eve morning, 8" of snow! We get a dusting every few years and about once per year we get some hail that passes for snow to the kids. Folks who've lived here 35 years said they have never seen anything like this.


    The wood shed

    Neighbor on the Deere off to clear the road

    Farm Stand

    Raised bed garden 

    The sun is shining today and it's already 74 degrees. It took 5 days for all this snow to melt. We had some damage; the pepper trees, herbs and succulents were hit hard. We lost one pepper tree and there's a good chance one of the bottle brush trees will not survive. 

    We have been very busy the last few months and have so many new items and projects to share. I'm very excited!

    Happy New Year~