A Touch of Steam

In The Studio

In a plan that makes sense somewhere in our brains but no where on paper, the one room in the house we have a crystal clear vision for is not the first room we’re planning to renovate. In fact, I don’t even think it’s in the top 3. Mostly it’s because the room in question is our dining room and, after scoring that great dining set, pretty much works as it is while other rooms are crying out for help.


Still, when the November challenge for Gauche Alchemy was unveiled, my mind went straight to our traditional dining decor meets steampunk awesomeness plan and created a pair of copper-gilded sconces that will wait patiently for the rest of the room to catch up!


To see how everything came together, make sure to check out my post over on Gauche Alchemy today. And then, if you want to make your own set, read below for what you need.

Parts & Supplies list for 2 Sconces

  • 2 wooden plaques
  • Paint (barn red and burnt sienna, in this case) and metallic glaze
  • Brushes and sea sponge
  • Chipboard gear shapes and pencil to trace patterns
  • Water-based adhesive & brush
  • Copper leaf & dry, soft brush
  • Glass varnish
  • Power drill with spade bits
  • 2 chandelier-based bulbs
  • 2 chandelier-style lamp housings
  • Copper pipe and pipe cutter
  • Copper pipe fitting (2 male adapters, 2 street-elbow joints, 2 45-degree elbow joints, 2 reducer adapters and 2 reducer bushings to nest inside the adapters–sizes will depend on your lamp housings, ours were 1/2″ for the pipe and the joints, etc. that fit)
  • Silicone adhesive for attaching pipe components

It helps if you have some basic electrical know-how–I left those bits up to Todd since he’s better at it than I am. One thing you do want to be extra careful about with a project like this is not to let any exposed wires from the lamp housing come into contact with the copper pipes and fittings. That would be bad. That’s also, Todd tells me, the reason we used 2 45-degree joints instead of a single 90-degree elbow, to put less potential strain on the wires.

While it’s a shame the sconces will have to wait to be hung (we plan to hard-wire them into a dimmer switch when we update the room) it’s nice to have something tangible to guide our choices as we find fixtures for the room over time. A lot of designers zero-in on a key fabric or pattern. I guess this in our key piece!

Faces of Phases

In The Studio

This month’s inspiration board from Gauche Alchemy? Pure lunacy!


In the best possible sense, of course.

I never thought the window between our dining room and our hallway would come in so handy!

I never thought the window between our dining room and our hallway would come in so handy!

We’re all moony this month and I thought it was the perfect excuse to make another piece of Halloween holiday decor for the Dollhouse. You can see the full details of these moons over at the Gauche Alchemy blog, today, and here’s the way they look hanging in our upstairs windows.

3 of our 5 moons, the easiest ones to spot from the street.

3 of our 5 moons, the easiest ones to spot from the street.

Alas, the hope of the glow in the dark paint has been somewhat thwarted by one unrealized factor: the lack of dark. There’s a streetlight across from our home and it’s on–as you would expect–at night. Thus, our windows are seldom dark enough to really let the glow show. But the moons still look pretty awesome, even at night, so I’m counting it as a win.

Having the new space to decorate this year has really made getting ready for Halloween that much more fun. While some of my bigger ideas won’t happen this year, and we need a few more decorations to really round out the decorations, it’s a pretty cool “problem” to have.

Is it the Box or What’s Inside?

In The Studio

Or, in this case, the envelope…


I’ve always been a sucker for good packaging and I tend to save up the fun and unique specimens for future projects. I finally put some to good use in today’s Gauche Alchemy project. It’s a fun, quick way to dress up otherwise boring objects–sometimes it’s those little touches that make all the difference!

Remember, Back in the Day…

In The Studio

When things like punches were big news? Maybe you (like I did, at least once) participated in a punchies swap, kept a “catalog” of all your different punches, and even did some awesome things with punch-art?

Or did I just really date myself there?

Oh, well, for this month’s Gauche project I dug into my (relatively small) stash of thumb punches and created a wreath element for a tag. Even though it was inspired by the passing on of someone, it’s not meant to be sad–more like reflective.

Memento Mori...

Memento Mori…

At any rate, go check out today’s post on the Gauche Alchemy blog to see more of this tag.

Nice Round Numbers

Site News
My celebratory gluten-free chocolate cupcake.

My celebratory gluten-free chocolate cupcake.

Something kind of important happened this weekend and I totally forgot until last night: ScrapsOfLife.com turned 10 years old! Can you believe it?

On February 23, 2003, I registered my first domain. I still have my original sketches of what the site was going to be but never was, and I still remember how many ideas I had back then that, if I’d actually done them and stayed focused and all? Yeah, I’d totally be Internet Famous by now.

Instead, though, I was more or less content to just rattle around on my little MoveableType site (oh, yes, it was way back in the day) for the first couple of years before I heard about this new thing (I don’t even know that I knew it was called a platform back then) called WordPress that was supposed to be so much simpler to use, so I switched over in 2005 and I’ve never looked back.

ScrapsOfLife.com has always been self-hosted, and always been on DreamHost. We’ve had a few wobbles over the years (the weekend blackout of 2012 still gives me pangs) but all in all I’m happy I’ve stayed with them and still recommend them every chance I get.

According to my post counter I’ve got 1,093 posts logged on this platform (the MT stuff might be on an old harddrive, but I doubt it’s worth looking up), but 368 of them are Twitter logs, so the real number of posts is slightly less impressive: 725. I wasn’t really using this site much when my webcomic was updating regularly–it felt a little redundant–hence the use of the blog to log my microblogging. Once the comic backed off a bit and I got the idea to start blogging my way through the 64 Arts, though, then I was happy I still had my blog, here, to make use of.

Since starting the 64 Arts project I’ve blogged 160 posts on that subject since January, 2010, and we’re still just barely halfway through the list! (Don’t worry, I’ve got it worked out so we’ll get through #50 by the end of the year!).

I was curious as to how much I’ve posted across all my sites over the last 10 years (well, 8 in recorded history):

  • Scraps of Life 725
  • Sips & Shots 199
  • Nibbles ‘n Bites 230
  • Cocktail Hour 397
  • What to Feed Your Raiding Party 188
  • Random Acts Radio 11
  • Where the Geeks Are 167

Total = 1918 active updates!

Not bad for a decade, huh? (and I know I’ve left a few sites out–yes, there’s more… all in good time)


Most people consider round numbers to be those that end in 0, but I count the halves (those that end in 5s) as round, too. And just after Valentine’s Day I completed a project that put together the last 5 years of Todd and I into one custom-made album. You can check out the full tutorial of how I made a scrapbook to fit inside a chocolate tin over at my Gauche Alchemy Tutorial.

Have you looked back at your last 5 years lately? What about 10?