One For Me, One For You

Sometimes, you just have to reward yourself. Often when I am working on a project or have one for sale, there is a little part of me that would really love to keep it. Before I really found Craigslist and knew that I could sell pieces quickly and profitably, I did keep many of my pieces. And my house is packed as a result. Not hoarders packed, but really, there isn’t room to add more. And sometimes I really think that I am pushing the edge on how much I have as a result of how much I keep.

My guest room, for example is just such a room. Functional yes, beautiful yes, but sometimes I think it could stand a little less. But it is where I store a lot of things that I just simply can’t seem to part with. It was designed first and foremost as a guest room and currently it holds a queen sized bed as well as a day bed with a trundle. It allows for a family to sleep there. It is just off the upstairs bath, so it makes it convenient for guests. I have a large armoire (bought and used for the Kid as a baby) that now holds the few quilts that I can’t quite part with. Or just haven’t yet.

There is also a small collection, of sorts, of sewing machines. The first is my Mom’s sewing machine and the one I used as a teenager to sew with. A light blue Singer in a cabinet, I couldn’t bear to see it sold when Mom went into assisted living. And in the days when the Kid and I used to do the estate sale circuit, I picked up a couple more, even older, Singers that I just couldn’t let go to the junk yard or sold for scrap. One is an antique treadle machine, although it would definitely require some work before there would be hope of it working, it is just a beautiful contrast to the three computerized machines I use now.

I had an older white dresser in the room to hold miscellaneous fabrics that I bought before I knew what I was doing in buying fabric for quilts or remanents of pajama making or costumes. Things that might come in handy some day (doesn’t that sound like the justifications of a hoarder?) and that I just can’t seem to part with. When I first started painting the ombré style dressers, I actually sold a dresser to two different couples accidentally, so to rectify the issue, I used the dresser and painted it for the second couple. Ever since, I have been keeping on the lookout for a replacement.

My experience, at least in the Kansas City market, is that people usually desire the taller and more narrow dressers than the long, low ones. So, when the opportunity to pick up a dresser with a great little fifties retro-vibe for free came along, I snatched it up knowing that if it didn’t sell, it could take the place of the long since sold dresser.

So, I finally finished it this week. I keep putting those projects that are for myself behind in the queue, but I finally opted to finish this one. Make some room in the garage. So, with I just set it up next to another project and really did the two projects side-by-side. I think it turned out wonderfully and yesterday, it was carried up to the guest room and settled it into its place. No repairs were needed for this piece (can you believe I got this for free?) and a coat of primer followed by several coats of ultra-bright white and some new feet just brought this piece to life. I love it!

What do you think?

RetroDresser Before&After copy

I also completed another pink ombré styled dresser, no big fan fare for this one. The one thing I did do a little differently is that instead of painting the cabinet the lightest shade of pink (that wonderful blush pink), I opted to go with the most bold pink! I have six shades of pink paint and often, this bold pink doesn’t get used if the dresser doesn’t have five drawers, so I had a lot of the pink. I didn’t think that using it would require so many layers, but having that much color required a solid four coats. Each time I would move it, it seemed I would discover another area with some white primer bleed through or a small area that I missed.

I picked up the dresser from a wonderful young couple that was making a transition from a small cramped apartment to their first house and they wanted to start fresh. I bought this and another dresser for $30. This dresser had seen better days, that’s for sure. I even had to completely build the top drawer from scratch (my first one!) and I am very happy how to came out. Looks just as good as the originals. This is a very solid but very lightweight dresser and had found a sticker indicating that it had been built in 1944. I tell you, they just don’t build furniture like that any more. I am betting this will be around another 50 years at least!

DSCN1251Found a great deal on those knobs at Michael’s, in the dollar aisle. I grabbed all that I could find. I am planning on hitting all the Michael’s and Pier One’s in my area for the clearance knobs. Can’t beat a ceramic knob for a buck!

Me and the Kid have been picking up furniture all over town. He is into finding and buying a seriously awesome video game library, and has just about every game system there is. So, he doesn’t mind going with me to thrift and second hand stores. Yesterday, we scored on this awesome 60″ round glass table! You cannot image what that three quarters inch chunk of glass weighs. We seriously wrestled with that thing! Not sure what I am going to do with it, but it was just too good to pass up. Yep, free!

Okay, three more projects in varying states of completeness is calling to me, so I will say goodnight! Thanks for dropping by!

julie

Its Getting To Be Like A Production Line

The pieces keep getting created. And they keep getting sold. I try to vary the projects so that I don’t become bored or disinterested in what I am doing. The thing that I have always loved about being able to do this kind of crafting and art is that it wasn’t a ‘job’, in fact, was the escape from what I did from “9 to 5″ and was my retreat from the normal happenings of my career. But since I have been in between contracts, this has sort of taken on the role of being my job, at least, it is helping to supplement what is being lost from a normal paycheck. So far, I’ve been very lucky in that the pieces that I create sell almost as fast as I can complete them. In fact this weekend past, I sold a piece that hasn’t even been completed! And I am going to work on another piece that isn’t even really defined!

So, a quick look at what has been accomplished since the last post. Always very popular is the ‘suitcase’ dresser, and I love the creativity that it affords me. From a standard four drawer dresser, comes a great little conversation piece. And functional as well!

Suitcase3 Before&After

As I was searching around the web for fabric examples of old suitcases, when I stumbled upon a comment. The comment was from a woman who remarked that she loved the result but could find no instructions on how to do it! And it occurred to me that I’ve done a number of these and learned the hard way how to create them. So, with the very next piece that I do in this style, I will be including very detailed steps, approaches to hardware, a guide to choosing fabrics and all the necessary info how to make your very own!

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As I was working on this one, I took one (only one! I know!) photo of one of the steps in creating the drawer fronts. So look for this very soon! If you’ve read many of my posts, you will know that I am not big on taking step-by-step photos, so this will be a landmark accomplishment for me! I have enlisted the help of the Kid, so that I can make sure that all the information gets documented.

Another quick project is this dresser… gone from a plain, boring white to a beautiful blue ombré. I can see this in a nursery, as the dresser height is perfect for a changing table, just add the pad! It just turned out darling!

White Dresser Before&After

I’ve been working in the wings on the doll beds (for 18″ dolls, like American Girl and My Generation dolls). I’ve gotten four built and painted, but am moving a bit slow on getting the bedding created. I’ve been assembling a collection of jewelry boxes that will work as armoires and dressers, and I’ve built the most adorable vanity table, although I still need to create a bench for it. And it needs the matching bed! My plan is to create bed and <furniture pieces> combination, so that I can offer something a little out of the ordinary. I was talking to a friend the other day about how to go about selling them and I jokingly said that I wanted to go and sit outside the American Girl store and sell them out of the back of my truck! And my friend said that was the perfect plan and that I should do it! Now I just have to get the bedding created and more outfits created so that I have more than just the furniture to sell.

Last night I had a wonderful couple send me an email and offer me an armoire (the ad on Craigslist). I had been looking for one to turn into a dollhouse for someone, but when the Kid and I went out to pick this up and I laid eyes on it, I knew it would have to be mine! This was no ordinary armoire, it is beautiful and crafted in Italy! This is one beautiful piece of furniture with only a broken hinge to fix. I can’t wait to get started on this! I know am going to go back to the smaller armoire and continue to work on that one for the other party.

I have so much going on and I love it! I just cannot wait until the weather improves and I can move some of this back into the garage. I think its the only downfall to all of this, is that the pieces found, started and completed (as well as the tools, equipment and materials) have taken over every inch of available space in my house! Most nights it feels like an obstacle course to get from the bedroom to the living room and into the kitchen!

Thanks for dropping by and continuing to come back. And reading through all this! And taking this journey with me!

Keep crafting!

julie

Princesses Also Love Yellow!

I just finished a project and I am so pleased with the results. I love when I can take something destined for the trash and transform it into something spectacular! (At least I think it is spectacular ;-)).

A friend of mine called this ” awesome-ly ugly” and I totally agreed! But I could see past the bumps and bruises and envision what it could be. But here it is in all its ugliness:

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Yes, it is lying on its side, but I flipped it to make it easier to view. I think you could see that it had been well loved by some little person! I took it apart, had to repair the leg (I think I made it sturdier than it had been originally!) and sanded all the rough edges and put a couple of coats of primer on it.

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The doors were past repair and frankly, didn’t like the solid look of the doors anyway. I set about finding a way to replace them, but couldn’t figure out how to purchase something pre-made that would fit into the space. I checked a few places, even looked at the possibility of using something from an existing piece or used (checked one of my favorite places, The Habitat ReStore) but without any luck. But, as fate would have it, Craigslist provided me with the source. A small carpentry shop that was able to custom make me doors based on my description and the original doors as templates. Love, love, LOVE the look of the new doors, backed with pretty cotton panels. The can be changed out and customized ever so easily. And all things considered, reasonably priced and a three day turnaround. I think the more I use this company, the bigger my discounts :-)

Anyway, new doors in hand, the final color was chosen. I had done a ton of pink lately (and black/gray too!) but wanted to do something different that would appeal to little girls who might not be infatuated with pink. I was one of those little girls, being the girl in the middle of 6 boys, my mother was determined to paint my prepubescent world in pink, to which I developed a serious hate of the color. It is only recently, that after raising my son that I began to miss the joys and possibilities of pink.

I chose a very light, subtle shade of yellow. It was actually the base of the the yellow ombré cabinet I did a few weeks ago (you can see it here). Its warm and sunny, but not overpowering. So, without more fuss, here is the end result:

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I love the way it turned out and I think the crowning jewels are the glass knobs. They are so dainty yet beautiful (and functional)!

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I love when a piece turns out this great. And I cannot wait to share with someone as well. I am pretty sure that I will have no problem selling this one. Here is a quick ‘before and after’ shot:

Yellow Armoire Before&After

And of course, I have the next project(s) ready to go. Actually, I have one piece just about done, just need to install the hardware. It is another “suitcase” dresser and I think it has turned out exceptionally. I have another piece that just lends itself to that treatment and I realized that after checking out others’ treatments, I read a comment from one woman who voiced the frustration of not being able to find more explicit instructions on how to create the style. So, I decided that with this next project, I am going to provide just that… step by step instructions and photos. (So, keep an eye peeled!)

Thought I would show you my little helper (you can see the cabinet of a a pink ombré in the background). I am glad that I have this little puppy to keep me company during the day.

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Well, thanks for dropping by! I appreciate each and every one of you!

And Happy Crafting Y’All!

julie

Three More Projects Completed!

Took a few days off from writing, had some productive days and some interesting things happen. Waiting to hear back on some news, but I am a firm believer in jinxes, so I won’t say anything more. I am sure that I will share with this blog the minute I hear anything.

Finished another couple of projects and started a few more. I’ll start with the finished ones. :-)

I was contacted by a woman through Craigslist. I have an ad that asks for old, broken or unwanted dressers. Another ad looking for a headboard (maybe a footboard) for my ‘client’ Mason. Anyway, she was taking care of a house rental for her son and the previous tenants had moved out and left a couple of pieces of furniture. Some she kept, but called me about two of the pieces. The first was this amazingly ugly dresser/armoire combination. Decked out with grass wallpaper on the doors and this heavy duty baluster-type decoration running up the sides. I think that it was so ugly that I needed to get it changed quickly… so as usual, I forgot to take a ‘before’ picture. But this looks a little like what it looked like, so I will use this as a jumping off point:

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The headboard, if it was possible, was even uglier! It had this three-d configuration and it displayed these large wooden balusters (for lack of a better word) separating the two pieces. I’ve removed them and am storing them in the garage… they are just so ugly they are intriguing… I am sure that they will become something in the future!

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To top it off, the one piece that wasn’t wood, had water-swelled apparently each place that a glass had been placed. The entire thing was wood with the exception of this one piece, so, as I looked at it, I could see that there was a way for it to be reconfigured into something beautiful. But the headboard is another post.

So, this woman offered us these pieces just for pickup and removing them… I think she didn’t actually have a way to cart them to Goodwill or a dumpster, and I figured this was a way to get usable pieces for repairs down the road. As the dresser thing stood, it was so ugly, that I had a tough time seeing anything else in it! So, I took off the doors and saved the four drawers in the upper cabinet. Then using a jig saw, I cut the armoire top off, a few inches above the drawer section. Then, with the help of the Kid, we cut a new top and I routed the edges. I had found this awesome trim wandering the aisles of Home Depot and I knew that it was perfect to use here.

Of course, I had to use my favorite black – Deep Space black. I replaced the ‘chippendale’ style handles with my favorite slim black handles. Looks so much more sophisticated. I suppose there is a place for those old handles, but I have seen so many pieces of furniture with those, I couldn’t stand to see any on the pieces that I do. So, here is the finished piece:

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I figure that it would make an excellent television console, with drawers useful for storing movies or remotes or whatever. It isn’t a bad piece of furniture, but it isn’t a great piece either, so I will price it pretty low and hope it goes quickly. I like the idea of just getting it done and it being a success.

The next piece is one of those ‘stumble-upon’ pieces. I had gone to pick up an old walnut armoire from a gentlemen and underestimated its size, but he also had this piece. It actually was headed for a burn pile (his words) as it had some damage and the mirror that went with it was missing part of its frame. I offered him twenty dollars for it and he jumped at it. Looking back, I think I could probably have gotten it free if I had just suggested it or maybe five or ten dollars, but overall it was a beautiful piece that just need some TLC. Again, I forgot the before picture. :-(

But this was a pretty quick turnover, I used the broken back piece as a template and cut a new board, sanded and primed the piece and re-attached it. Then everything needed glue and nailing to make it all as good as new again. Then a few coats of blush pink (following priming) and some beautiful flower shaped off-white handles and viola!, it’s ready to make some little girl’s room special. It is so easy to bring back the beauty of furniture like this, back in this time, the furniture was all wood, cut and shaped by hand and the attention to detail is obvious.

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The mirror that originally accompanied it did seem a bit large to me and I still have it, cannot for the life of me figure out how I am going to recreate a frame for such an oddly shaped mirror. For now it rests safely in my room, waiting on a solution. If you know how I should approach this, I would love your help!

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Another simple paint restoration project. I just needed to sand down the top, prime it and paint it. This was one of the pink ombré finishes, was in a real pink mood this week. I found these wonderful ceramic knobs on clearance at Pier 1, but the original finish was seriously ugly. Probably explains why they were still in stock and on sale for a mere forty-nine cents! I brought them home and spray painted them high gloss white and when they were dry, I used one of my Elmer’s paint pens to place random pink dots on each of them. Turned out fantastic! Even if I have to say so myself.

Dresser with Legs Before&After

Ton of stuff still to do, always seems like when I finish one project, I pick up two new ones. I have been working on another doll bed (this one in yellow) with a matching dresser or nightstand. I also have that giant walnut wardrobe in the garage just beckoning me to start work on it. It and the antique sofa and chair sitting in the basement waiting on being able to purchase the $500 worth of upholstery fabric that I need to complete it.

So, happy that you’ve stopped in. And stuck around long enough to get all the way through!

So Happy Crafting Y’All and come back soon!

julie

Can You Stand One More Black & Gray Ombré?

In between sales of the black and gray ombré dressers, I get a ton of emails asking for them. They sell so fast, that I have to keep painting this style. You, as my reader, are probably as tired as I am, but you gotta give the people what they want!

I picked up this awesome retro sixties-ish dresser and just fell in love with it. Occasionally, I run across pieces that I like, that I know are classic lines and would sell quickly and then I run across pieces that I wished that I could keep. Have I told you how stuffed FULL my house is? And somewhere down the road, I am thinking of possibly moving to Europe and then what the hell am I supposed to do with all of this stuff in my house?

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Anyway, this is one of those pieces I wished I could keep and build a whole suite around. I love the clean lines and the recessed drawers. I even loved the original feet… enough to replace them so I could use them later on something! LOL

Anyway, here is a quick before and after:

Retro Before&After

It was the usual sanding and fill of the sore spots, priming and then painting. Like I said, I took off the feet and replaced with this more modern squarish feet on the front and just some standard feet on the back (that no one ever sees or cares about).

I got a lot of stuff done yesterday, I am close to having four more pieces done. Oh and started yet another doll bed design. And finished up another 40 doll clothes hangers. I should stop writing and start getting stuff done. I like to watch one movie in the morning and sift through Craigslist and email and puruse the job boards and then get to work. It is so cold and gray and rainy that I am having a hard time getting motivated. Now just where did I put that motivation?

Thanks for dropping by, as always. And Happy Crafting Y’All!

julie

Wow, Has Been A Productive Week!

This is going to be fast, folks, as I have gotten so much done and there is still more still to finish. And start!

I dropped some hints to a few things I’ve been working on, and so I will fill in the details. To start, thanks to Craigslist free section, we picked up not one, but two matching dressers. The drawers were a little worse for wear, but nothing some support, glue and nails would make good as new. Or better!

My signature black and gray ombré paint treatment turned these run of the mill mi-70’s dressers into some real beauties:

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I can see this in a room for a pair of brothers, even twins, where they like to have the same thing. These are very sturdy pieces and have a couple of deep drawers just right for a ton of boy’s clothes.

The next piece is, as I mentioned, a lucky find at Goodwill. They almost never have furniture, or if they do, it isn’t exactly the highest best quality. Even if it is good quality, then they have it priced ridiculously. A few months back, I saw this adorable child-sized vanity with mirror and bench and I thought it would a fun little project. I figured somewhere in the range of $40 to $50… they actually had it priced at $280! I wasn’t sure that I read the price wrong, that it was supposed to be $28.00, so I went to find someone who worked there and asked. She informed me – in no uncertain terms – that it was an antique and worth that. It might have been old (certainly not that old) but it was in pretty bad shape and was no where near worth being $280.

Anyway, as me and the Kid walked into this particular Goodwill, there it sat. And when I say it was in rough shape, that is putting it mildly. But through the bad stain and paint splashes and tape residue (someone had obviously taped the drawers shut a long time ago), I could see the bones. And it was priced at a wonderful $19.98! I started working on it almost as soon as we had it home and of course forgot to take the ‘before’ pictures. But as I was about half way through sanding through all the layers almost down to the original wood  – had to just to remove the paint residue, I did take a couple of quick pics of the drawer fronts.

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I had recovered some handles from another dresser and they were the perfect ones for this piece. And I love how they turned out. I placed them in a paper box (you know the kind you get from work when they empty out reams of paper for the copiers/printers) and gave it a solid coat of rich stain brown paint. Then, I sprayed gold paint all around the pieces, being inside the box it retained the paint and it layered ever so thinly over the brown. Loved how they turned out. Perfect. :-)

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So, with the coverage of the antique white semi-gloss paint (my second favorite color), it turned this into a work of art:

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So, the third bay of my garage has turned back into quite the showroom. I have several pieces in the works, and am anxious to get them finished. I’ve also begun to design the entertainment center turned American Girl doll house… I think this appeals as much to me as it does to the little girl its being designed for!

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