February 27, 2011

Sunday Road Trip!!!

Today we headed down to Cincinnati (West Chester) to the IKEA store to pick up some things I had on my wish list... a few things for the kitchen, a few things for the guest room and sewing room, and just to generally browse...  big mistake.  We got there around 10:30, and already the parking lot was swarming with people clamoring to get their paws on the latest in Swedish modern design.  *sigh*   And so we trekked bravely into the store, bypassing the friendly lady at the escalator with the Big Yellow Shopping Totes.  We headed for the cash registers to get one of the "good" carts - full-size grocery-style carts with 4-wheel drive action.  After securing said cart, we hit the elevator and off we went, snapping up a few things in the kids' department (I'm a big kid at heart, you know?).  Then we headed through to kitchenware, linens, artwork and lighting... an exhausting adventure if you're merely walking... but twice as fun with the wild and wonky shopping cart!!  Their carts are unusual to say the least... they're not like your typical grocery cart.  If you ever used to watch "Supermarket Sweep" on Lifetime (many moons ago), you probably remember the wacky grocery carts on that store that would move sideways.  Well, IKEA carts are similar in design - their four wheels are more like swivel casters, so they're useful if you're buzzing around corners in an un-crowded locale.  IKEA on a Sunday morning is not such a great place for this type of grocery cart four-wheelin'.   The store was ├╝ber crowded with people from all walks of life.  Stinky people, people with grumbly kids, people with limited vision (or at least they seemed that way by how they meandered aimlessly about the showrooms).   By the time I left the store, I'd gotten all of the things I needed, but also left with a strong desire to never return there on a weekend morning again!!  The past few times I've shopped at IKEA in West Chester, it's either been late on a weeknight (we ripped down there after work one evening to buy my Beddinge Futon) or it's been on a weekday afternoon when the store is quiet and lovely.  I shall remember this... I promise!   If only they would build one at Easton... but this is a double-edged sword, as I know I'd probably have to take a second note on the house to finance my spree there! :-)

Anyhoo, here's two of my prizes I came home with today! 

KRYP ceiling spotlight:


AGNARYD print:

And on a side (but related) note, I realized that I had neglected to post any photos highlighting my custom cabinet knobs in my kitchen!!  These are made from 35mm "Shooter" size Fiesta glass marbles, along with some bronze-plated steel cap nuts from McMaster Carr, and matching-sized machine screws, also by McMaster Carr.    Had to post this as I was trying to describe these for my friend Julia yesterday, and it occurred to me that I'd never shared a picture of them before now!!

If you're interested in creating your own custom cabinet knobs, you can use anything from marbles to rocks to Swarovski crystals - just something that's large enough to grip hold of and make into a one-of-a-kind cabinet knob!!
Here's the basic directions, if you so desire:
  1. obtain cap nuts, machine screws, cabinet knob materials of choice (marbles, rocks, whatever), and some two-part epoxy glue such as this formula by Permatex.  If you're using an opaque material for the knob face, don't worry about the glue color.  If, like me, you choose a clear glass for the knobs, be sure to get a glue that is "non-yellowing".  Do yourself a big favor and purchase a couple of blocks of floral foam at the same time... more on this in step 5. 
  2. Prepare the knob face materials.  In my case, this involved some quality time with an electric bench grinder.  Always remember safety first and wear the appropriate gear (gloves, impact-resistant goggles, etc...) to protect yourself! 
  3. Grind off a small flat spot on one area of each of the marbles.  *Note* If you're using the large shooter marbles, be sure to buy about twice as many as you plan to use so you can sacrifice a few during the grinding process.   I found out the hard way that it's easier to grind off a spot on the marble where there's not a "seam" in the glass... look at a marble and you'll see what I mean!   Glass marbles and other hard substances (rocks, metal, etc...) will heat up quickly with the friction created by grinding, so I definitely recommend a pair of fitted leather gloves to protect from burns!!  Also, with this heat being generated, there is the very real risk of the marbles exploding.  That's right, EXPLODING.  And yes, it's just about as scary as it sounds!!! This is why I always wear safety glasses or goggles, along with a long-sleeved shirt and leather gloves when I'm working on projects like this!!! 
  4. If you're using wood, plastic, or another semi-porous substance, you might be OK to just rough-up a spot using a piece of 100 grit sandpaper, or even a Dremel-type tool with a grinder attachment.
  5. Stick the cap nuts, disc-top facing up, into the floral foam (told ya this would be handy!!).  Make sure that they're spaced far enough apart to account for the knob faces, plus some wiggle room to fit your fingertips as you're working on this project!
  6. Apply the epoxy glue to the face of the cap nuts, one at a time, then immediately set the knob face material and center it as desired.  Do not over-apply the glue or it will drip down into the well of the cap nut, which will in-turn prevent you from inserting the machine screws later on!!
  7. Allow the glue to dry according to the manufacturer's directions. Don't rush this process with heat, fans, or other temperature manipulations as this may compromise the strength of the bond!!
  8. After drying and curing, remove the knobs from the foam blocks and complete assembly by inserting a machine screw through the back of the cabinet door, then into the back of the cap nut.
  9. Voila!!  You've just made your very own custom cabinet knobs at a fraction of the price of designer-type hardware!!!!

Happy Renovating!!

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