2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

American Girl Dolls and My GrandNiece, Tommy Dolls and the Kid

When I was a child, I remember a woman who lived down the street who sewed Barbie doll clothes. She had a basement entrance that led to a ‘showroom’ of sorts. All the little girls (and sometimes with their moms) would visit to ‘ooh and awww’ over the outfits. I remember that she priced them so the little girls in the neighborhood – me included – could buy them easily. I, along with my friends, would spend hours sorting through the outfits, pondering which one our hard earned babysitting money might buy.

On occasion, I’ve attempted to make Barbie clothes. Even though I am way past my doll playing days, I always manage to have one of some kind around me. Left from visits of nieces and grand-nieces or those I’ve picked up for presents. One that I was very fond of was the “brother” of Barbie, Tommy, as the first time I saw him in a store, he reminded me of my own son. I think I have just about every single Tommy ever made, who knows what I will ever do with them! Ha!

Tommy&Streeter

But the most recent doll that has caught my attention is the American Girl dolls. Or more aptly, the 18″ sized doll. I think the wave of enthusiasm was brought on by the introduction of the American Girl series, but there are a lot of families that cannot afford the hefty price tag of the actual dolls, sometimes as much as $125, so there has been a rise in the sale of all similarly sized dolls. My grandnieces both play with the dolls and as such, it has provided me the opportunity to make clothes and accessories for this sized doll.

I bought my own doll, although not a brand named doll. But she works as a model and allows me to perfect the clothing. I’ve made a few outfits which I gave to my nieces, and a few accessories, such as bedding. I even have made a table, although figuring out how to make chairs is another endeavor of its own.

It’s just part of the need to stay busy and be creating something all the time. I like the size of the American Girl dolls, the seams aren’t quite as tiny and the pieces aren’t so small that it is a real pleasure to make clothes. Try new fabrics and styles. In fact, with the leftover “leather” fabric from the Kid’s room, I made a leather trench coat and a scarf (with a matching scarf for the real girl). Of course, I forgot to take a photo before my grandniece made off with it today! But it was a pretty straightforward construction and not too terribly difficult, so I will probably make another, although I was thinking that red velvet with a white fur trim at the hem, sleeves and around the neckline.

Anyway, had a wonderful visit with my grand-niece and her “Poppa” (my brother Joel) and everyone has just departed and the house is settling down. Thank you for stopping by!

Happy Crafting Y’All!

julie

Wishing You All A Wonderful Holiday

Just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season…

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I Need to Be Careful! Loving the Furniture I Rescue!

Having time off from work allows me to really indulge in my favorite activities. Sometimes to the point of saturation. I haven’t gotten there just yet, but I am getting close. I think you can tell by how the next few projects will turn out… trying some new ideas.

In the meantime, I have finished another makeover of a found piece. I absolutely love the care and design that went into furniture… you know that these pieces are churned out in a factory in China. There is care and pride in the craftsmanship of the final products.

Much as this piece. It is solid and has the beautiful ‘bump’ in the fronts of each drawer. An extra detail on the corners of the lower section. Even the hardware has a mock lock on the second drawer. Oh, and the bottom drawer’s sides and bottom was made of cedar for those winter sweaters. A nice touch.

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This piece had seen better days though. I had to repair the leg and there was much sanding on the top and on various parts of the drawers. In general, the piece was cared for and it showed.

Much as the last dresser that I restored, this one too, was painted with an antique white semi-gloss paint. I just love the way it turned out. This was another piece that when done, I would love to keep myself. Makes it difficult to part with when it comes time to sell it. But then again, I wouldn’t mind keeping it, so I am hesitant to reduce the price. But the quality speaks for itself and people recognize it. Here is a before and after shot:

2ndWhiteDresser B&A

I had lunch today with good friends to celebrate a birthday. I made the cake, or more accurately the cupcake cake. :-) I went through a phase sometime ago with baking – mostly cookies and cakes – and have quite a collection of cake pans and cookie cutters. I will have to write a post soon that showcased all the cakes I made for my son’s birthdays. I think I have photos of them all.

But for Jessica, she was the recipient of a giant cupcake! The waitress at the restaurant was a good natured participant and I think we really caught the birthday girl off guard! I think she enjoyed it!

Cupcake Cake

A quick post, as I have tons to still do today. But I am so thankful that you’ve stopped by!

Happy Crafting Y’All!

julie

A Pampered Puppy

While working on the Kid’s room, I had stripped the bed and dropped the old feather topper over the railing down to the first floor landing. Immediately, our dog Ashla, claimed it as her own. We looked up from our work to find her snoozing quite contentedly in the thick, soft topper. I imagine that it was a bonus that it smelled like the Kid.

I had moved it into my home office, for Ashla to snooze while I worked on computers. I covered it with her ‘blankie’ so that she would be happily snuggled. Almost seems that she won’t sleep anywhere but there. With the exception of happily snuggled in bed with me.

I was happy to let her sleep on the feather bed, but it was quite an eyesore. Finally, I decided last night to make a cover for it. I did quite a few a year or so ago for a local animal shelter, so the process was quite familiar. And since it would probably reside most often in the living/dining room/kitchen and my home office area, it would have to be red.

I carried it upstairs to my craft/sewing room to measure and before I could drop it and pick up a tape measure, she had snuggled herself happily onto it. (Please excuse the mess!)

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It was pretty quick work to find a soft felt-like material for the sides and back and I simply rummaged through all of my two inch pre-cut strips for all the red patterned material. I had been watching “Howard’s End” on my computer, so sewing was quick work. I used a strip of velcro to allow me to be able to take the feather mattress out and launder the cover.

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I’m not sure what she is thinking in this photo! We took it downstairs and I laid her blanket over it and she resumed her happy snoozing. Unlike me, I think she isn’t quite as fond of new things as I am!

Today, we’re trying to finish the Kid’s room and prepare it for the grand reveal. But the weather is cool and overcast, a dull grey day. On days like this I have a tough time getting motivated. I’m surprised I actually got this post written.

Well, thanks for stopping by. And Happy Crafting, Y’All!

julie

Dressers, Dressers Everywhere!

I think the week before last was bountiful when it came to second hand dressers. At the same time I got the vanities and matching dresser and chest, I also picked up this dresser:

Harrisonville MO

I also picked up another one but of course, in my rush to get things started, I didn’t take a picture of it. But here are the end results:

Curtain Dresser B&A

I think that I have just about worn out the gray ombré paint style. It just doesn’t photograph well. I absolutely LOVE this color combination.DSCN0980

Here is a quick shot of the garage… it’s starting to look a little like a furniture showroom! I have to get some of these pieces sold!DSCN0978

The other thing I need to get serious about is finishing the Kid’s room and giving everyone long overdue reveal. I am very close, it is down to the last details… which for some reason, for me, seem to be the hardest part. Maybe it is just that I am not ready for it to be completed because I don’t have anything waiting in the wings to do be started.

Well, thanks for stopping by. Happy Crafting, Y’All!

julie

More Pink Ombré – Two Dressers and a Vanity

Okay, I told you about all of the projects going on in the garage and with the exception of hardware on one of the dressers, I am done. Now to find someone who loves them as much as I do.

Today’s post is on the three pieces I did in pink ombré… a nice little vanity and a very large dresser and a tall chest of drawers.DSCN0970I didn’t realize that I hadn’t yet put the hardware on when I took theses pictures. By the time I ran to get screws to attach them, it was too dark to retake pictures.

You wouldn’t believe the before state of this vanity! I met a gentlemen who works for a moving company and I think we’ve created a little alliance. He told me that sometimes when they are moving people, the truck gets full and people opt to leave some things behind. Usually the stuff is not in good shape or isn’t quality furniture or it is just excess from the house. This time it was stuff left in a basement and at first glance, it didn’t look like much. But you have to be able to see it and I could see it. Good bones.

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There wasn’t a photo of the chest of drawers. He sold me the vanity and threw in the matching chest of drawers and mirror for free. It just fit into my truck. I knew these pieces had good bones.

It was the usual stripping, sanding, patching, priming and repairing. Then the magic with the paint happens. Here is the chest of drawers:

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And here is the vanity:

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There was a mirror with the pair, but it appears to have gone with the chest and not the vanity. I had a vanity mirror/frame that I picked up somewhere that with a little finesse it fits onto the vanity. Not my favorite, but it works. I wish that I could get a better fit for the mirror.

Vanity Mirror

Here is the mirror that delivered with the pieces, the mirror itself is pretty old and a bit damaged. I only taped the mirror on in case the person who buys it wants to replace the mirror.

DresserMirror

The tall dresser was an all wood dresser that had been painted the worst green and almost all the handles were gone. A few minor repairs and the usual painting brought this back to fantastic!

Dresser B&A

I can imagine this in a little girl’s room for Christmas. I love the way it turned out. I still love the ombré style, but its becoming routine. Means I need to find another popular style. I recently ran across some beautiful styles on Pinterest that I might try. For now, this has been successful, so, you go with what works.

Thanks for stopping by and as always, Happy Crafting Y’All!

julie

A New Direction for a Dresser: A Doll Dresser

Finally making some real headway on the myriad of projects that I have been working on. Finished a couple tonight and have a few more that are but details from completing.

This first project described tonight is kind of fun and only time will tell if it is successful in selling. I had seen something similar on Pinterest, but in a smaller scale. The project was to turn a dresser into a doll house/storage.dresser-to-barbie-house-after

This one, like I mentioned, is a smaller scale, intended for Barbie size or 1:6 scale. It has been a while since I’ve been around little girls to really know just how popular Barbie and her friends still are, but my own experience with my grand-nieces (ages 6 & 10) is that the American Girl dolls have taken a solid lead in little girls’ favorite playthings.

I spent a few weeks over the summer sewing clothes and bed linens for these adorable 18″ dolls. I found that I really liked sewing clothes for this size much more than the 11″ doll size. Being larger in size, they are easier to piece and they have a much nicer flow/hang on the doll. And the girls (my grandnieces) absolutely loved them. I think that being larger makes them much easier to dress and play with.

So, as I said, the project was intended to be a dresser converted into a doll house. Something like this photo. So, I started looking for dressers that might work. I knew it would have to be a bit bigger than most of the dressers that I’ve been working with, but didn’t want to go too big, like a entertainment center. After all, it was supposed to be for a little girl/girls and didn’t want to make the top half of it unreachable.Grandview MO

And then as fate may have it, I stumbled across the posting for this dresser, ready for a transformation because it was already missing a drawer. But overall, it was a beautiful piece of furniture and I wouldn’t feel bad for transforming it by ripping most of its interior out of it.

Happily, the drawer above them missing one was the same size and fit into the opening. Then it was a matter of sawing out the horizontal supports and sanding it done nice and evenly. DSCN0948

Here is where my inability to take enough pictures kicks in. I think I get on a roll with working on a project and just forget to stop occasionally and take a photo! But I built a large box out of a decent plywood to fit into the remaining space. This is easier said than done. It took a few attempts to get it just right and even at that I had some space at the top. But rather than rebuild the whole thing (I was running out of wood), I opted to leave it and just put a trim piece around the edge. I really like how it turned out.  AG Doll Dresser3

The shelf sits at 22 inches, which is about 4 inches higher than the height of the dolls. That left an awkward size at the top, but wanted at least one space that reflected an accurate height for the dolls. In hindsight, I probably should have removed the bottom drawer, but did like the concept of having it there to store the myriad pieces that come with playing with dolls.

Next order of business was a couple of coats of primer, considering that this was a very dark finish, followed by two coats of pale pink. The inner trim around the box and the interior was finished with a off-white color, something that would be very neutral for the future owner to be able to decorate. A nice blank canvas.AG Doll Dresser

For the pictures, though, I wanted to be able to accurately depict the height of the space. Since I don’t have any of this scale doll furniture (I only have one knock-off doll for clothes fittings and a great little clothes rack I made), I went with the second best idea, props. Searched Google for the right image of kitchen furniture and scaled it for the 1:3 ration of the dolls and printed it out. I then glued it onto poster board and set it aside to let the glue dry. I also printed out some checkerboard in black and white to represent the floor. Looks pretty cool, huh?AG Doll Dresser2

I’ve been watching a new series on Netflix (thank God for Netflix!!), so I opted to watch while I sewed. easy enough to create a cut little quilt, pillow and sheet ensemble for the cardboard box bed with headboard. I think the top section will make excellent place to store a doll or two.

Added ceramic handles to the drawer and this piece is ready for some little girl to enjoy this Christmas. So you don’t have to scroll back and forth to compare, here is a handy ‘before & after’ photo:

Doll Dresser B&A

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out… and I hope at least one other person thinks so too (so they buy it!).

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Crafting Y’All!

julie

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

I like to dabble in many things, usually at the same time. Sometimes I think I have ADHD or something, as I have trouble staying with something for very long. It seems once that I’ve mastered (or failed masterfully) with something, I am bored of it and ready to move onto something else. But above all this, I am sucker for collecting.

I saw a lace cuff on Pinterest and wanted to make one for myself. But first I had to collect everything necessary to make it and as is my habit, I went overboard collecting beads and buttons and needles and clasps and all the things that I could use to make jewelry once I finished the cuff. Of course, then I had to have a way to keep things neat and organized. I started sorting and storing using little glass jars – decorative at first – then bought a big supply of glass vials from eBay. Uniformity is kind of a big deal to me.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the blog where I created a craft cabinet for myself. If not, you can see it here. In the bottom section of the cabinet, I was using little red buckets to store and organize things. But mixed in with the jewelry making supplies is a lot of other things. So each time I wanted to locate something, for instance a replacement clasp for a necklace, I almost had to pull each out bucket and sort through the contents of the jars/vials.

Then something unique caught my eye while browsing all things for sale under $25 on Craigslist. A printer’s drawer. One used to keep typesetting letters from printers in the old days. The drawers are from a huge cabinet and they are built rock solid. Here is a photo of one that I stumbled onto on Craigslist (I’d give my left arm to have something like this!)

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And here is the printer drawer I bought:

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There were a handful of the cross members that were weak and wobbly, and I purposely removed to make room for some of the larger bottles, but was careful to not remove too many that it may become unstable or unrecognizable of it’s original purpose. The interior got a couple of coats of black spray paint and the outer frame was painted with my favorite Deep Space black paint, rolled on. Then attached a hanging tab.

Once on the wall, I then added all of the vials and bottles. I am very happy with the way it looks. And makes finding the specific thing I want so easy!

Printer Drawer2

Although now it seems, that I must go and collect some more bottles and beads, as it seems that I have empty space here! Printer Drawer1

Out in the garage, I have no less than six big projects in the works. Hopefully they will be completed tomorrow and posts following shortly thereafter.

Thanks for stopping by. And happy crafting y’all!

julie

Another Dresser Re-do, This Time in Baseball Style

My garage is full again! I had just sold everything to allow the car to actually be parked in there in anticipation of winter and the first snow. But of course, I hit a milestone of being able to actually pay my mortgage payment using the funds collected from selling all my projects! Wow… that was big for me!

I had actually ended up selling the dresser done to look like a stack of suitcase (you can read about it here), so I did actually want to either create another one or simply find a wonderful piece to replace the piece I sold. There is a small mountain of stuff that came out of the dresser sitting on the floor and in boxes that require a replacement piece. (Honestly, I should sort through all of it and get rid of what I don’t need. Another day for that…). So back to Craigslist. I am sure that I have an addiction to that site, is there a 12-step program for it?

Well, I found a gorgeous piece and from the picture looked like it wouldn’t require too much work, save for a coat of new paint and maybe a good sanding. But it is just beautiful in its details. I had to drive about 40 miles to pick up this gem. Since I was driving this far, I wanted to make the trip worthwhile and so it was back to Craigslist again. Did I find another piece? Oh yeah, I found two! So, this trip was going to definitely be worth it.

Since it looked like I was going to be back in business, I laid claim to a beautiful old vanity, and the guy I picked up from threw in the dresser for nothing. He didn’t see what I could as he told me he was going to use it for building a fire! Argh! Luckily I rescued it from him free of charge!

So, for the past three days I have been keeping very busy in the garage. Again.

I neglected to tell you about another project that I had completed. I think this was just to prove that I could do it. A while back, I picked up this little three drawer dresser that had just about been “improved to death”. I kid, but it’s not far from the truth. In an attempt to give the dresser some panache, they had routed an area around the drawer pulls. The person’s skill was lacking as that had to be one of the wonkiest routings I had ever seen.

And I am so sorry to say that I forgot to take pictures of it before I began. Again. ::kicking myself::

But, I thought that this was a time to try something fun and if it didn’t work, I’d only be out a ten spot, paint and some time. I had done a fair amount of furniture recycling/restoring aimed at the feminine culture, so I thought doing something for a boy might be kind of fun.

Back a ways, I had bought some baseballs off eBay to make bracelets. Of course when I needed one baseball I bought twelve… so I had baseballs stacked in a pile near by craft cabinet. Always figured I’d find something to do with them. So, in a inspiration, I thought I could use them as drawer pulls! Now, something to go with them. So off to cruise the internet.

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One prevailing graphic kept catching my eye.

diamond

So I did a little more searching, found a image of what I thought the dresser might look like once restored and pasted the graphic on top. I had my design:

Baseball Dresser

Then it was just a matter of transferring the design to the dresser and hand painting the colors.

DSCN0869Then adding the baseballs. It was a simple as screwing into baseballs through the drawer front. Is that cute or what?

Baseball1

Well, there you have it. Quick and easy and fun to boot! And it was sold to the mother of the most adorable eight year old who loves baseball!

Thanks for dropping by. And keep on crafting, y’all!

julie

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