Tag Archive - DIY

Mad Science Party

Last night Michael and I participated in L.I.M.E. Charleston‘s dinner. Jonathan Kaldas from Woodlands restaurant was the guest chef for the evening, and his charity of choice was the Lowcountry Food Bank. He works with molecular gastronomy so they went with a Mad Science theme for the decor and some of the entertainment. The dinner was held at the food bank itself, which is an incredibly inspiring place to wander about.

We had an understandably light budget – the less spent means more that actually goes to the evening’s beneficiary. Science equipment is rather expensive to come by, so we opted to create our own. I came up with the idea of printing the measurement gradients on transparency film and Michael chimed in with the clingy stuff. I also came up with using the food bank’s logo on the beakers with ‘Made in Charleston’ as well. I’m not sure if anyone eating noticed, but the food bank employees caught it right away and seemed quite delighted. We scoured several thrift stores and found glasses and glass candleholders that appeared to fit the bill. We bought many of those and some metal stands in hopes of creating different levels of depth. We needed more stuff and after a slight snafu Friday afternoon, I had to pick up the rest of the glassware from one of the big box stores. We also made several tent cards, some with information on Nikola Tesla, Tesla coils, and Jacob’s ladders. We also made a batch of Ooze {cornstarch and water} to demonstrate the principals of non-Newtonian fluids. We named it Non-Newtonian No.8 and also made tent cards.

Once we staged the glassware, candles, tent cards and bowls for the Non-Newtonian No.8, we took a step back to look at the set up. We decided at that point not to use the stands. We filled most of the ‘beakers’ with neon green fluid that is simply highlighter cores soaked in water. We filled them at varying heights. Once we ran out we used a secondary color, which was blue. I thought they looked great together, and we noticed during clean up that some guests had spent time mixing the two together. Michael added some dry ice to some of the beakers during the evening.

Michael also built a new Jacob’s ladder for the event. He’s been meaning to do it, but just needed the right ‘inspiration’ to get it done. We packed several pieces from his lab including the Jacob’s ladder, two small Tesla coils, a Van de Graaf generator, a wireless set up and his power units. We had originally planned to do some Tesla demos outside during the cocktail hour, but it was too bright and decidedly a little dangerous as the guests couldn’t see the plasma and Michael as worried that one may stick their hands up to touch the toroid. During several points during the dinner, Michael provided some demonstrations. Diners were encouraged to come up and take a closer look and ask questions.

All in all, I think it was a successful evening. The diners appeared to be having a good time and hopefully learned a few things, and money was raised for a very deserving organization. How much was raised wasn’t available at the end of the evening as the costs hadn’t been fully tallied. We also gave our number out (Yup, I didn’t finish Michael’s cards) to a couple of people who said they’d pass it along to possibly set up at some upcoming events. If it happens, I’ll definitely update on that.

And now, on with the photos! BTW – we had no idea that napkins would be green! Also, behind that blue wall was the kitchen where Jonathan and his assistant were working. There were three large windows in the wall, so it was in keeping with the ‘laboratory’ feel.

Mad Science Table
{ All images click through to larger versions }

Mad Science Table

Mad Science Table

Looking toward the 'lab'
Michael keeping a very ‘serious’ face in the photo on the right.

Mad Science Table

Tesla tent card

Tesla coil tent card

On the back of the coil card was info on the Jacob’s ladder.

Mad Science Table

Mad Science Table

Our vantage point:
Our vantage point

Standup bass

Unfortunately, this the best shot of the new Jacob’s ladder. This was done during at test run. You can see the arc at the bottom.
Jacob's Ladder

Pelmet Tutorial

We recently finished one of our many slated projects, the pelmet for the dining room. The word pelmet is a framework used to hide curtain fittings and to help retain heat inside a room. Pelmets are frequently called top treatments, cornices or valances. However, they differ from other top treatments in that the pelmet is generally a hardened valance or a treatment built over a structure. Some people make theirs with a wooden cover more like a box, or more of a facing, like the one we made.

Pelmet Box Tutorial 1

We found this remnant silk with embroidered lotus blossoms and mom fell in love with it. It was too narrow to fit the width of the window and the piece was too short to extend the pattern side-by-side, so we picked out a few complimentary remnants. I chose to use the color on the left, as I felt the darker color would dominate the the beautiful details. I cut off the stripe at the far left, and sewed the pieces together. The bottom photo shows them sewn together, before pressing.
Pelmet Box Tutorial 2

We bought a 1′ x 10″ x 8′ piece of pine board from Lowe’s. Michael sorted through them to find the straightest one in the lot. We measured ours to be 4″ wider than the window on each side, and and made it a depth of 6″. We used bridged L brackets to attach the corner pieces. We found the last time we built them that the regular L brackets caused the sides to turn in a bit. These do not.
Pelmet Box Tutorial 3

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Before | After: Computer Table

tableBeforeAfter

We purchased a 1926 Singer 66 sewing machine last year at Goodwill for $9.99. Sadly, we think it’s in very poor condition, and we’re considering using it for parts for another 66. The veneer on the table was in horrid shape as well. I needed a new computer table, so it seemed as though this was the perfect solution. We pulled the top off, stripped the problem veneer, painted it, and added a new top made from scrap MDF. { All images click through to larger sizes. }

The neglected 66 that we’ll attempt to restore down the road, or used for parts for another 66.

Singer66

After a light sanding, we spray painted the base with Valspar’s Black Satin paint. Michael then cut the scrap MDF top and drilled the hole for the table grommet for the cords, or cord with my new computer.

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In search of…

Lampshades!
We bought these lead crystal lamp bases at an estate sale several months ago. Michael immediately rewired one and cleaned the glass and metal base. The socket covers still need to be painted and most importantly, we need to find lampshades. Our web-fu skills have not proven very useful in finding anything suitable.

Purchased for $12.00
Left: before
Right: after

Lead crystal lamp bases.

Suggestions are greatly welcomed.

Oops! I totally forgot to mention that these lamps don’t have harps so the shade would either need to be the type to clip over the bulb or one that has the loop so that it can sit on top of the bulb.

LED Mushroom Lights Sprout From Reclaimed Wood

Ma Nature, you are always an inspiration!

{ Found via NOTCOT.ORG }

Thriving

Remember our living centerpieces?

I was delighted to hear from our dear friend Beth on our anniversary, telling us that the centerpiece she took home with her is thriving and he hoped our marriage is as well. I love our friends.

Heirloom Romance

I see things around the house and imagine how it would look as either wedding or event decor. So, in the spirit of reuse I decided to challenge myself to create little vignettes using only items found around the house or in the yard. That means china, glasses, vases, trinkets and even scraps of fabric from my studio as well as using the abundance of nature. It also makes for something beautiful to pull cherished familial elements into one’s celebration.

I started this project last fall and these were taken in early October. We hope to get another photo shoot finished before we move that will actually feature us.

This is a guest book table scene. We used our guest book which was an old photo album we found in the attic that appears to have never been used. I made a new sign from our invitation layout. We still had leftover sandwich boards. The table cloth is the from the same linen yardage we used for Michael’s coat. The black box is the old Babbitt box my grandfather kept at their house. My grandmother painted the birds. The lotus bowl came from my mother, the silver flower pin came from Colombia, the tea cup was a gift to my grandmother, the carriage clock was purchased in Paris by my great grandfather as a gift to my great grandmother on their honeymoon, in the late 1800’s. The fleur-de-lis cloche is a modern piece.

The Carew Rice scene is an original and one of our beloved tumblers also makes an appearance. My parents received a set of them as a wedding gift, 54 years ago.

Guestbook table

Guestbook table

Guestbook table

Guestbook table

Guestbook table

Guestbook table

Guestbook table

Cat in the Hat

Michael made this for Renata, who is catering a birthday party tomorrow. The cake will be the hat. I love this so much! I can’t freehand for shit any more.

Cat in the Hat Cake Stand

Handfasting Cord Tutorial

I’ve been meaning to post the tutorial of our beautiful cords made by Michael, and featured on Offbeat Bride.

Rose Geranium

Attar Rose Geranium drying in sugar.

Skeleton Rose Geranium drying for essential oil extraction.

Our wedding cake called for using Rose Geranium leaves during the baking process. We wanted to grow it ourselves and give the amount needed to Renata. This was in the winter so Hyams, our favorite garden spot, didn’t have any plants in stock. We knew it would be close to the wedding date when they’d get some in so we turned to Lingle’s Herbs, our trusted herb supplier. They are really amazing to work with but John was low on supplies so we ordered Attar Rose Geranium and Skeleton Rose Geranium. They also have a minimum order of six plants, so we tossed in a few others. Never can complain about that!
I worked in the garden this weekend to clear out much of what had taken over during the hellish summer months. The mosquitoes were so bad here that I just lost my inspiration to spend time in the garden in the late summer. I collected most of the leaves from both plants. We’re drying some in sugar that we’ll use for a touch of rose flavoring in baked goods and such. We’ll dry the rest to be distilled into essential oil.

My favorite ‘female’ bath tonic contains a combination of some or all of the following:
Rose Geranium
Clary Sage
Bergamot
Basil
Jasmine
Neroli
Lavender.

It’s heavenly!

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