New Game Room Shelf Using English Brackets


A few months ago I received these beautiful Cast Iron Shelf Brackets from English Brackets to review.  I was thrilled to receive them as they are gorgeous and so unique!  The company makes brackets in Iron, Brass, Chrome and Wood.  They offer hundreds of choices!
Here are the details about the Cast Iron brackets that I received:
  • Each bracket is manufactured from 100% Solid Cast Iron
  • We use age old tools, patterns and techniques, to ensure each bracket is brought to life with stunning attention to detail
  • Our brackets are suitable for use with shelves, cisterns, sinks and also to decorate roof supports and frames.
  • Each bracket is supplied in a traditional cast iron finish with a polished lacquer applied to the surface.
  • Maintenance is minimal and we recommend avoiding the use of cleaning chemicals and polishes.

    Check out their website for a multitude of choices. English Brackets
    Here's what I received--They are the Winchester Small Iron Brackets. 
    We hung  them this weekend in our Game Room. They were easy to install, came with all of the necessary hardware and look so nice on the wall! I haven't seen brackets this pretty before!

    We added this shelf made by Rubbermaid that we purchased at Home Depot.  It fit perfectly!
    We were able to put some pretty heavy things on it.  The apothecary jar and scale each weigh quite a bit.  The shelf holds all of this with no problem.




    We love the way the new shelf brings some interest to what was a boring corner of this kitchen.
    English Brackets has an easy to use website, great customer service and ships quickly.  I  highly recommend this product and company.
    Thanks for your visit.

    Six Key Questions to Sniff Out Bad Contractors (Complete Interview with Shawn Kruse)

    By Lee Nelson | Yahoo! Homes – Tue, Oct 30, 2012 1:18 PM EDT - Getting antsy to remodel your home? You might think your kitchen or bathroom needs a remodel right this minute, but remember: Haste makes waste.
    Rather than rushing to hire the first - or even cheapest - contractor you come across, asking the right questions upfront will help you filter out the bad apples and find a reputable contractor to meet your needs.
    "I want my clients to feel 100 percent comfortable with me," says Shawn Kruse, president of the Remodeling Contractors Association of Connecticut and owner of Kruse Home Improvement, LLC. "And honestly, the more investigation they do about me and questions they ask me, the better it is for me. It helps me get the job."
    As Kruse points out, a thorough investigation can benefit both parties in the end. "Potential clients learn about your credentials, background and experience. They start to get to know you and see if your personalities can get along," Kruse acknowledges.
    You may know exactly what you want out of your remodel - from the fixtures to the flooring - but you should know what you want from your contractor, too. Don't settle for the first or cheapest bid. Your contractor will control the project - and probably your stress level - from start to finish, so it's important the two of you are a good match.
    If you want to find a contractor who suits your needs, try asking these six questions during the interview.

    Question #1: What's Your Business History (and Much More)?

    You wouldn't hire a surgeon without knowing how many surgeries he or she has performed, would you? Well, your home is about to go under the knife, so you'll want to evaluate contractors with the same level of scrutiny.
    Kruse suggests first asking questions about a company's business practices and experiences with the remodeling project you need. Find out what kind of procedures and rules this contractor would follow to meet your demands.
    Here are a few other things Kruse thinks you should ask contractors:
    • How long have you been in business?
    • Are you licensed by the state?
    • What percentage of your clientele is repeat or referral business?
    • Are you a member of a national trade association?
    • Do you have a list of references from past projects similar to mine?
    • Have you or your employees been certified in remodeling or had any special training or education?
    Kruse also recommends contacting a client with whom they are currently working. "This way, you can see how things are conducted on a day to day basis," he says. "You can find out if there are problems or issues that have arisen, and ask how well they communicate throughout the project."

    Question #2: Do You Provide a Detailed Written Contract?

    Misunderstandings happen. People forget. Things change. But a contract helps both you and the contractor know what is expected from both parties.
    Every job, no matter how small, should have a signed contract by the contractor and customer, Kruse says. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Not so fast - the devil is in the details.
    "A contract should be very specific and point out step by step what will be going on throughout the project and before it even begins," he adds.
    Some things that should be on a contract - all written in great detail - include:
    • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved in the project, including vendors
    • Detailed list of the work to be completed
    • List of each product along with its price and model number
    • Who is responsible for pulling permits
    • Where deliveries will go and where the dumpster will be placed
    • What time the workers begin and end their day
    • Project's start and completion dates plus payment schedule
    • All work carried out by subcontractors
    Anything that changes along the way must be written and signed in a change order, which makes sure everyone is in agreement on the change, price, time, or anything else that is adjusted from the original contract.

    Question #3: How Much Do I Need to Put Down?

    If the contractor asks you to pay for all of the project's cost upfront, it's time to find another contractor. An unreasonable deposit is the first sign something is fishy, Kruse says.
    The Better Business Bureau's website suggests going by the rule of thirds: Pay one third at the beginning of the project, one third when work is 50 percent complete, and one third after it is final and you are satisfied with the outcome.
    But chances are your contractor will have a formula to determine how much money is needed to get the job started. "Most contractors go with a 15 percent down payment on larger projects," Kruse says. "My clients usually give me the 15 percent deposit at the same time they hand me the signed contract."
    Keep in mind that if the job is a small one, it's okay to provide money for the cost of materials - which might be 50 percent of the job or a little more, he says.

    Question #4: Can I Get Itemized Price Estimates?

    Some contractors like to hand you a bid with one price estimate for the entire project because it's less work on their end. Don't let them. You will need details on all the costs associated with the project and each item purchased.
    Here's why an itemized estimate is essential: If midway through the project you decide to put in a less expensive countertop than the one originally discussed, you need to know the exact cost of the first countertop. Without it, you have no way of knowing how much of a credit you should receive. An itemized price list should detail the cost of labor, demolition, materials, electrical, plumbing, permits, and more.
    Kruse explains how an itemized estimate is better for client and contractor: "It just makes it easier to track work, and it's transparent to both the client and I of what is expected on the job. I also offer my preferred vendor list to our clients so they know who we are buying their products from."
    Some contractors use their estimates as proposals, but these might be very inaccurate and could mislead the homeowner, Kruse says. Don't assume anything. Be certain that once you sign a contract, what you see on paper is what you will be paying.

    Question #5: Who Will Be at the Site?

    Just hiring your contractor doesn't ensure he or she will be the one hammering and sawing. They might only show up to sign the contract and present the finished product. It's important to know that certain contractors manage their companies by getting bids or supervising many job sites at once and are not hands-on people.
    How do you find out which one you have? "Ask potential contractors who is going to be in charge of your project at all times," Kruse says. "You need to meet with that person, get a feel for what he/she is like and get acquainted a bit. Go check out that person at one of their current jobs."
    In their "Home Sweet Home Improvement" guide, the Federal Trade Commission urges homeowners to ask if subcontractors will be used on the project. If so, homeowners should ask to meet them to make sure they have insurance coverage and proper licenses.
    When meeting the subcontractor, ask if the lead contractor pays them on time. Why is this little detail important? According to the Federal Trade Commission, "A 'mechanic's lien' could be placed on your home if your contractor fails to pay subcontractors or suppliers," who, in turn, could take you to court to retrieve their unpaid bills.

    Question #6: Do You Think We Can Get Along?

    Just like any good relationship, the one between you and your contractor should have harmony, communication, and collaboration. Some personalities and styles just don't mesh, so don't pick someone just because their bid is the lowest, says Kruse.
    Your contractor will be part of your daily existence for quite some time. They will see how your children behave, how you don't water your plants, and how your breakfast dishes sit in the sink all day.
    Hiring a contractor without much thought can be a big mistake, says Kruse. "Sometimes [homeowners] end up with work that is less than adequate, or they give these shady contractors a large chunk of money upfront and then they never show up again."
    Protecting yourself from these nightmares means knowing exactly who your contractors are before you hire them. After all, it doesn't hurt to ask - but it sure could hurt if you don't.



    Ikea Hack - How to make a cookbook shelf

    The cookbook shelf is one of my favourite elements of the kitchen. I really do think that it it is one of the main details that makes our ikea kitchen look custom. Up until now I haven't had an chance to describe how you can recreate this look - but thanks to some vacation time and Aubrey helping me with some "how to" details, I have put together this post just in time to end 2012. This post is long with diagrams ... I'm really hoping that it is clear and helps you design your own Ikea kitchen in the future. xo Lindsay
    Read more »


    bits + pieces

    With orders wrapped up, I closed down the shop at the end of last week and totally unplugged. No e-mails to my phone, no checking twitter, no reading blogs. I needed a little break from it all. Over the last week we've celebrated my Brother's birthday, my half birthday, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas, and our Boxing Day dinner. I pretty much moved into my Mom's house. I'm taking the next week to continue this - just relaxing and trying to stay away from the office/computer and finish up on some craft projects. Here are some shots of the holidays in our house. Hope you all had a wonderful time with those you love. xo Linds

    shots above/ my brother's birthday balloons / totally forgot to mail our christmas cards - it was one of those years / craft project in the works / note by my Mom on the dishwasher...she has the best outlook / my little guy / snow!

    Game Room Updates and Another Scale Redo!

    We love our Game Room and the kitchen attached to it.  We have been working on it since we moved in to get it decorated in our style.

    My Dad gave us this old Coke machine years ago.  I found this Maid of Honor washtub at a garage sale last summer.  I may leave it here, or may take it outside this summer and fill it with flowers.  I do love the chipped paint and rust (which won't last if it goes outside)...

    We decided to change out the glass shades on the pendants.  The old ones were very nice, but way too modern for our taste.  We like how these look.

    Here is my husband's latest refurbishment.  It took him weeks to take the hundreds and hundreds of parts apart, paint, have some parts re-brassed and then put everything back together.  As he says with every scale he takes apart, he doesn't think he'll ever get it back together again, but he always does.  :)  We have the glass on order for the base.  Once that comes in, it'll be complete.

    Here was the 'before'

    And here is the 'during'


    I love this bottle capper. We found it this fall at Barb's store Treasures From the Heart in Eugene, Oregon. It got a new coat of paint and an old box of bottle caps from ebay and now we're set. Now we need some bottles to cap!


     Thank you so much for your visit and kind comments!



    Tradition. The Hudson's Bay Co. Christmas Windows

    Aubrey, Oscar, my sister and I drove down to see The Hudson's Bay Christmas Windows this week. It was my sisters idea to go down - she e-mailed me a link to this article in the Toronto Star and I realized we just had to visit with Oscar. Although we used to do this as kids, it has been years since I had made a trek on a wintery night to see the windows. Big hugs to my sister for encouraging this tradition to continue for Oscar. xo

    Ps., Oscar didn't really know what to make of the windows and stayed on Aubrey's shoulders for the visit.  It is definitely worth a visit - with or without kids. :)


    scenes from the house

    The tree is decorated, cookies are made, and a few decorations made it out - like my beloved brass reindeer that I scored on Etsy a few years ago. Some ornaments didn't come out , I decided to scale it back a little bit this year.The theme in our house is always the same - we pull out the same decorations year after year and slowly build up on our collection. I stay away from colour trends, and stick with things that bring back memories. In other news, I'm still working. Shipping and packing orders - I really should have closed down the shop much earlier than I did. Making a note to do that next year. I'll be taking a few weeks off after Christmas to work on some new art for my publisher, paint, and launch the 2013 collection for the shop.

    Ps., Oscar didn't love us decorating the tree at first. I don't think he understood the concept of hanging ornaments. He wanted to play with each one. One would go up, he'd get mad, pull it off and play with it. There was some creative distraction thanks to my Mom. Now he likes it decorated, although I still find him taking ornaments off to play with - I'm not too picky about that. It's kind of cute to see the nutcrackers talking to his trains on the floor. ;)


    diy clay tags

    I was inspired to do some crafting when I saw a roundup of clay tags by Stefanie at Brooking Limestone.  These are super easy and just involves Sculpey + a stamp.  My favourite tag is the bark one - the original bark stamp is via Live. Laugh. Rowe.  I decided to make circle bark tags like she did, but also did a rectangular one (shown above)

    I used a straw to punch holes in the top of each tag. Some clay pieces I left without holes and made them into seals, like the one in the last photo. Simply hot glue gun onto a parcel!

    Anyhow, this project is kind of last minute fun for the holidays. Enjoy!

    xo Linds

    Where to buy:
    Star TagStar stamp via Penny Paper Co. 
    P seal - I used a toy wooden block as a stamp
    S Tag - Custom Initial Stamp via Penny Paper Co.
    Bark Tag - I made my own, but you can buy a similar one off Amazon 
    Twine: Red + Pink Twine via Penny Paper Co. 


    Fat Tire Sign on "Aged" Wood

    This summer when we were on vacation, we found this free poster in a store.  We loved the look of it and wanted to make something fun for the Game Room.

    I started by finding new, beat up fence boards from Lowes. My husband glued them together.

    I then applied my trusty apple cider vinegar and steel wool trick to 'age' the boards.   It's so easy.  Just let the pieces of steel wool soak in the apple cider vinegar either for a few minutes or even overnight, then wipe the vinegar on the boards.  These looked 'aged' in two coats!


    After one coat...

    After the second coat. (about an hour after starting)

    At the ends, where the cuts were made, I used a drywall knife and made the edges look torn up. I then dabbed on more of the apple cider vinegar to age those cuts.

    We used a spray adhesive to get the poster to stick to the boards.

    A simple hanger on the back and free art was ready for the wall!

    Thanks for your visit!

    I am linking to the following parties:

    Creative Cain Cabin's Budget Decorating Party