Thursday, January 13, 2011

Things for my desk

Today I did nothing but hang out with my boy, we so rarely have days off together so I felt I had to take advantage. Yesterday I had a dentist appointment. No cavities yay! Anyways after I had a some time to kill before work so I headed to a few thrift stores, one right by my dentist's office. I bought three things for the office. Lately we have just been getting new things, and I haven't made anything amazing in a while. There was also a moment when the girls were here for New Years where I realized exactly how much of my stuff is from Target. Not that anything is wrong with that, I love the Tar-jet' boutique. I shop there at least once a week. I needed some inspiration or a quick little pick me up project that would distract me from the many very large daunting projects that I have in the works for this year. I did not find that. I did find a few things that I really surprised me. For those of you that know me I love silver and platinum. I will admit that I am the ONLY person that I know that owns silver plated gold. The most disgusting metal to me is brass and yellow gold, it is so gross and while I am aware that in many cases it is very expensive, it does absolutely nothing for me. Until today. Which is also odd because I do not change my mind about things, and I really have not. I have simply found three exceptions to the rule, and I purchased them for much more than I would have normally paid for something like this. My plan was to spray paint them white or maybe green. Once I got them home after thinking about them at work all day I decided to try and clean them up and see their true beauty, (and even if they were hideous it would not be a waste of time because they would need to be clean to paint them) and then decide from there. So I googled "How to Clean Brass" the first hit was from a website called How to Clean Things cool you had me at hello.

I followed these instructions:

For these reasons brass is understandably quite popular. The ancient Romans were probably the first to make and use brass extensively. They used brass to make coins, jewelry, decorations, and adornments for armor. Due to its anti-corrosive properties, it was later used in ship production for its ability to hold up against water and salt. With all this in mind, it's no small wonder that brass is still so widely used today. Nowadays, it's used in everything from wall clocks to trim around a fireplace to statues. When it comes to cleaning brass—be it an ancient Roman artifact or, I don't know, a doorknob—people get flummoxed. It's a beautiful metal, and the last thing you want to do is cause any damage to it. Luckily, it's easy as all get out to do and to do it naturally. There are numerous brass cleaning methods that use nothing but non-hazardous kitchen ingredients and, depending on the method and the amount of tarnish, a little elbow grease. In this article, I will fully cover my preferred method of cleaning brass and mention in brief several other well-trusted methods.

Cleaning Brass Naturally

Before cleaning brass, check it with a magnet to make sure it is brass.Before you set to cleaning your brass, make certain that what you are cleaning is indeed made of brass. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but I'm serious. There is a very simple test. First, go to the kitchen and pull a magnet off the fridge. Next, put the magnet on the piece of “brass” in question. If the magnet will not stick to it, you are indeed dealing with brass. If the magnet sticks, there is a good chance that what you have is a piece of brass-plated iron or steel. If this is the case, I would recommend stopping after the next step.
Clean brass with warm water and gentle soap.Go to the kitchen sink and get to work. Fill the sink with just enough lukewarm water to submerge the brass object in and mix in some gentle liquid dish detergent. If the object is lacquered or just brass plated and you wish to keep it that way, dip a soft cotton rag into the soap and water, ring it out as well as you can so that it is only slightly damp, and gently wipe the surface clean. If the object is not lacquered, start by soaking it for a few minutes. After a soak, use a cotton rag to wash it. Don't be afraid to apply a little pressure. Use a soft bristled toothbrush to get in the cracks and detailing. After you're done, have a look at it. If that did the trick, you can skip the next few steps. I did this but I was not fully satisfied.
I skipped his next suggestion because the lacquer was not cracked so on to the next suggestion:
Make a homemade brass cleaner with salt and lemon.
Create your own brass polish. This is a ridiculously easy process. First, find a lemon. Great. Now cut it in half, dig out the seeds and squeeze all the juice out of it and into a bowl. Next, find yourself some table salt or baking soda. Doesn't matter which; either will work fine. Slowly stir the salt or soda into the lemon juice until a paste consistency is reached. Now that you have your brass cleaner, use a soft cotton cloth to apply it to the brass. Using the same rag, going with the grain of the metal, work it gently into the brass to remove tarnish. Salt and soda act as a light abrasive, so don't push too hard. If you're really concerned, or the item is brass plated, just go with the lemon juice and skip the salt/soda. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean the crevices. This I did just be aware that lemon juice is an acid and baking soda is a base and as you are putting them together it makes a volcano like in elementary school. I also broke out my sonicare toothbrush. Every time I replace my head I save the old one and then I label it cleaning only so if i have something I want to clean with elbow grease without greasing my elbow.... wallah. Then I went to work on one of the little suckers which I just realized I have not even told you what they are yet, well a picture is worth a thousand words right?

Aren't they cute? No one else will have them. The  at Once one had only been soaked in the sink the later one had just been polished with the scrub with my sonicare. Now for the piste-resistance:

Won't it just look darling on my desk with paper clips and straight pins and well I don't know but it does not really matter in it? yay! Later and at Once are heavy you could not kill a home intruder with one but you could definitely debilitate one. That is one of the ways I judge if something is quality or not. I don't even think I will spray paint any of them. 
Do - Mix up your metals. Don't settle for the same old stuff, like porcelain or stainless steel sinks, or brass bathroom fixtures. Choose instead platinum or copper sinks, or chrome or nickel hardware. And always look for quality.
So I will be doing ok with mixing metals if I have this brass on my copper penny desk, with my oil rubbed bronze lamps and my silver accented crystal chandelier. I feel better about the office already. Tomorrow will be a big to-do day, don't worry I will reward myself with a glass (or two) of wine with my girls after... 

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