A basketcase! A basketcase, I tell ya!!

No, literally, a basket-case. It’s a suitcase that’s a basket. See???

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Obviously this pic was taken in No Mans Land.  Our resident dumping-ground.  Anyways, it’s Spring-cleaning time at Joey’s parents house and Mac no longer needed these suitcase baskets, so I was more than happy to take them off her hands. Woo-hoo for neat, free stuff!!

They’re casual but cool. And I like ’em. I thought they’d be a neat texture for under the sofa table. The only problem was that they were a lighter, more yellow tone than we currently have going at our house.  So, (cracks knuckles) I decided to change that. I picked up a can of this glorious stuff for 12 bucks at the store…

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Polyshades. A stained finish plus poly requiring only a light sanding to rough up the surface. NOT requiring that every trace of varnish be removed (And angels sang). Where were you, polyshades, when I was refinishing our eight dollar chairs? I definitely would’ve saved myself some grief if I’d known about this product then. For sure.

Anyways, the only parts of the basketcases with a glossy finish were the handles and trim, so I gave them a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper. Then, I applied one coat with a brush…

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And the following day, I applied another…

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It’s hard to tell the difference in tone in these pics because of the lighting change (I applied the first coat in the evening and the second the following morning when it was light and bright with lots of shadows), but just trust me when I say that there was a significant increase in richness with the second coat.  Here’s what we started with for reference…

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…And dunzo. Shortest tutorial ever, eh? It was that easy. I definitely recommend applying this stuff outside as it’s pretty fumey, but aside from that I have no other notes. It was straight forward and easy to use. I let the basketcases sit outside for a good day and then brought them in and put them to work. And here they are in action….

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Their actual color is definitely closer to the farther pics… the close-up shot makes them appear way more yellow than they are in real life.  I have to say, I smile every time I see them.   They add some great natural texture to contrast the sleek metal-encased succulents. And I love that they aren’t just another basket. They have interest and detail. And the new rich tone goes SO much better with our coffee table and media cabinet. Plus, they provide additional storage!  Three cheers for that!! Now, if only the perfect chair for the head of our table would enter my life… Then, this area would be pretty complete (for now, anyways).

Such(culent) fun

Joey: “Wait, that plant’s REAL??”

Me: “Sure is.”

Joey: “Why is is still alive???”

That’s right, folks.   This conversation happened the other day.   Much to the amazement of… well… everyone, Pete is still healthy, alive, and tap-dancing after several months under my care.  Bona fide miracle if you ask me.  Remember Pete??   This spunky guy…

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I originally purchased him to replace the sickly palm that I pretty much killed.    And I was scared.  Scared for Pete’s life.   But fortunately, the Home Depot lady was right when she said that he’d be a good catch.   He definitely has been, for sure.

What’s my point?  Well, Pete’s given me confidence.  Confidence to take more living beings into my charge.   Enter succulents…

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…purchased at Home Depot for just under three bucks a piece.     But, wait.. I’m getting ahead of myself.  You see, it all started with these guys…

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Four galvanized metal outlet boxes.  I found them at Goodwill for 50 cents a piece.   And they reminded me of a restaurant called Bolsa in the Bishop Arts district in Dallas.   They used them as succulent planters for their centerpieces.   My friend Ashley mentioned a while back that she’d followed their lead and DIYed some of the same.  So, I decided to copy both of them and make my own, preferably to display on our sofa table.  Remember how I mentioned that I needed to redecorate this area a smidge to allow our back door to shine?  I thought these would be perfect.  Industrial with a hint of nature and unobtrusive enough to play second fiddle to our newly painted door.

I remember Ashley mentioning that she needed to caulk the cracks in the metal boxes to keep the soil in, so I busted out some silicone caulk that I had on hand and did just that.  I covered the bottom holes with duck tape (mainly to give the caulk a supportive surface to stick to for the larger holes)…

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And I caulked all of the nooks and crannies…

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Next, I did some research on the proper planting method for succulents.  They recommended mixing the soil with gravel, so I stole a large handful of pea gravel from Lucas’s rock box and blended it with my soil.

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Does my hand look weird here or is it just me?  And yes, that is tile-paint on my fingernail.  It loves me.  It refuses to leave.  Anyways, I planted my succulents in the metal boxes.  And here they are now.  Succulents, who are you wearing??

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Well, Ryan, I’m wearing metal by Goodwill.  And I make this stuff look hot!  (Can you tell I’m watching the SAG awards while writing this post? And maybe drinking a glass of vino (ortwo)?)   Anyways, here are a few more red-carpet moments…

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Easy and cheap!  I love them.   Not too shabby for around $3.50 a pop ($3 for the plant and $0.50 for the box).   I’m currently working on something for below the sofa table which should help warm it up a tad.  And if you look closely, you can see our new centerpiece peeking through the crowd… 

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I changed it up (again… It’s been morphing on a weekly basis lately.  What can I say? I like variety.)

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The sparkly vase was a $7 find at TJ Maxx.  Had to do it.   And the runner is actually a folded up tablecloth that I got on clearance from Target for $4.   The other stuff I already had.

So, I get oddly giddy when talking/writing about decorating.  I’m seriously typing with a goofy smile on my face right now.  It may be the wine.  But I think its the decorating chit-chat… does this happen to anybody else?    Or is this just me?