Fabulous Fire Screen

You remember that we bought our house in January 2016. We continue to work on it a little here little there. Last January I started renting the extra room through Airbnb. Both chimneys in the house are closed so you can’t use them as traditional fireplaces. I still want to have the impression of a functioning fireplace in the dining room. So, I decided to use candles in the firebox and make a stained glass look fire screen.

If you would like to make one here is what you need:

  • A wood framed window of the appropriate size;
  • Shelf brackets for feet;
  • Glass paints;
  • Brushes;
  • Ice cube tray;
  • Dry-erase marker;
  • Miscellaneous tools;
  • Wood paint;
  • Wood glue; and,
  • Pattern

I picked up the window at my local ReStore, along with the shelf brackets I used for the feet. The glass paints are from earlier projects. You can find them at Walmart or craft stores.

Clean the frame and the glass. I suggest following up with rubbing alcohol after using traditional window cleaner on the glass.

If you need to paint the window frame, or the brackets, do that prior to beginning to work on the glass. Glass paints need to cure for a good while. You don’t want to risk damaging your work painting or affixing the brackets. Measure, drill pilot holes, and test fit the brackets to the bottom of the window. You should have a slight backward tilt of the window, with the brackets resting flush to the floor, to prevent tipping over forward.

Choose your pattern and enlarge it to fit the window pane. If you can’t do it yourself a quick trip to an office supply store, or any place with a copier will do. Patterns can come from coloring books, magazines, or online sources.

Tape the pattern to the back of the glass. Trace the pattern onto the front with the dry-erase marker. Remove the pattern and place the front side down. You will be painting on the back of the screen, the side closer to the candles.

Pour small amounts of paint into sections of the ice cube tray. Slightly thin all colors with water, except black. Using your black paint, paint all the black outlines first, starting from the top working down. Fill in using the remaining colors. Wipe off marker from the front, check for missed spots.

Allow paint to dry at least one hour before affixing bracket feet.

I do not recommend using this screen in front of a traditional fire. The wooden window frame may ignite. I use candles, or battery powered lights.

Robin’s Upcycle is located in Kanawha County, WV. Open by appointment. Phone 304-460-5NEW (5639). For info, visit facebook.com/robinsupcycle or email robinholstein@gmail.com

Soap-istry. Cleanliness is next to craziness.

I’ve been itching to do new things for months! One thing I’ve decided to give a go to is making soap. Yep, soap. Not the lye soap Granny Clampett made out next to the cement pond. I want to make some quality artisnal soaps.

So far I have made three different soaps: Castile, Coconut and Olive Oil, and Goat Milk #1.

I’ve had many of the things I need to make soap for a long time. I’ve been inching my way to it. My fear, like many others, is using the lye. That’s some nasty stuff until the saponification process is complete.

After reading up on several methods, so far I’ve preferred the hot process of making soap. It’s faster and you don’t have to focus on temperature as much. And honestly, I get impatient in the beginning of new projects and if I can’t get some decent result early I won’t move on to something more difficult.

The Castile soap doesn’t lather. That’s just the nature of that particular soap. It is very mild, even good for children. I’m not sure I feel clean after I use it.

Freshly poured Castile.

Soaps with coconut oil will lather, so I split a recipe 50/50 olive and coconut. It does lather nicely, but it seems to dry my hands out. Maybe it isn’t the soap, since my arms don’t feel dry.

Half olive oil half coconut.

The goat milk soap. Well, it isn’t ready to test yet. It didn’t set up like the other soaps, so I am wondering if it will turn out at all. I adapted another recipe to make it and it is possible I can’t do that. When it’s ready I’ll let you know.

Everyday Upcycle Facebook book launch this Friday.

I am VERY excited to share that I am hosting an online book launch for my new book Everyday Upcycle: 15 projects using everyday items.

Do you have mounds of items you know could make great things? Are you scrapped for cash and looking for easy ways to make gifts? Does your desire for unique decorating ideas clash with available cash in your wallet? In Everyday Upcycle: 15 projects using everyday items you will learn to make fun and environmentally friendly decorations and gifts.

I share quick and easy crafting ideas using materials found in almost every home. I encourage readers to take advantage of what they have instead of buying new from big-box stores.

In this slim volume you will learn:

  • Turn children’s pants into flowerpot bottoms
  • Mark your plants with flatware
  • Salvage broken mini-blinds
  • Help a little seamstress

You know that jelly jar has more life in it. If you are looking for ways to reduce waste but need ideas and instruction, with 13 full color images this is the book for you.

There is no need to register for the online launch, but if you’d like you can using this link: Free Ticket. Registering for your Free Ticket will give you an opportunity to win a free copy of the book.

Get your questions ready! I will try a live stream through the event page.

So wish me well!