Seems Like Deja Vu!

Tonight’s post will be a quick one, just another example of the ombre style of painting in my favorite shades: pink. I love when I stumble across essentially a perfect dresser, both in style but also construction. Dressers built around the mid-century and before are examples of furniture built right and built to last generations. And really all I need to do is a bit of sanding, some drawer repair and slap on a couple coats of primer followed by the paint. Then replace the existing hardware with something a little more appealing – at least to me the existing Chippendale style handles are ugly and when I see them on furniture the first thing my mind screams is ‘replace them and fast’!

Anyway, won’t spend too much time on this routine process. You’ve seen the drill. I’ll just show you the before and after:

Pink Dresser Before&AfterAlthough this has become quite a routine exercise in makeovers, I am constantly astounded by the change that paint makes. What an amazing transformation for the cost of paint (and accessories) but wow, how different! And adorable. I can’t wait for the little girl who gets to put this into her room.

I will continue to do the dresser transformations, but am excited to shift focus over to the work being done towards the completion of a dollhouse for the 18 inch dolls such as American Girl. Tomorrow has been targeted as the day that much work will be completed, we plan to put a real dent in the ‘To Do‘ list.

The whole idea was really conceived when I created the play kitchen (you can see the post here). I think the most fun doing the whole project is the creativity that comes from taking something and making it into something with a whole difference purpose. And for this size project, it is all that much more fun. It comes from looking at something and seeing a whole new purpose. The scale here is somewhere between 1:3 and 1:4… sometimes it just comes down to what looks right.

I started thinking about this whole thing when some wonderful people offered me a beautiful entertainment armoire. For free! All it needed was a door hinge repair. But it got me thinking and planning. It has taken a prominent location in my front entry, so that every time I walk by it, it makes me think a little more about something I want to do.

Just to give you a peek into what has already been going on, I’ll just throw some quick pictures up here.

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Here is the first cabinet. As you can see, its a work in progress. The top shelf is a kitchen and the bottom shelf is a bathroom. Not sure that it is going to stay that way, especially after the cabinetry kept growing and growing and now there isn’t adequate room for the refrigerator and stove that is yet to come. :-(

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Working still on the upper cabinets and so they’ve been relegated to the top of the cabinet. Man, I am going overboard on this! :-)

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I hadn’t planned for a bathroom, at least not for what I will keep. This will probably go into the other dollhouse. But the pieces are just too awesome!

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There is still a lot of work to do on the bathroom, but the one thing I finished was a miniature bathrug like the one I did for my bathroom! You can see it here. The bathtub will get a painting, white gloss inside, textured on the outside – more like a real tub. I’ve started the vanity and sink, still much to do there too.

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Everywhere I go, I keep my eyes peeled for things that could work as props and supplies for the house. Sample size and hotel size shampoos and conditioners and lotion bottles are perfect size in a small basket. Still need to do towels and wash cloths. Soap has been made out of clay, but needs to be wrapped.

Okay the next series of photos are of things in progress… I will explain and given instructions later. So much going on!

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Door knob and knocker for the front door…

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The front door being glue together…

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Here’s a angled photo of the sink (filled with dishes!) and what will become the sprayer and I am holding the faucet. Still in works…

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Found these lovely little fan covers that will make nice burner grills.

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These are the two stove/oven combinations (laying on their sides while gluing in the rack supports). One will be “stainless steel” while the other is getting a retro color treatment: turquoise! The refrigerators will get the same treatment too.

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Here are the oven shelves, trimmed from various pieces found at thrift stores.

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These are the knobs that will become the kitchen handles. Something special planned for these…

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These are the handles to be used for the stove/ovens. Need to pick up a few more before I am ready to attached.

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These are the shelves for both refrigerators. They are plastic cut from a dish drainer and painted silver. Perfect! DSCN1434

This is the second doll house. Barely got started… but it will have a shelf at the bottom and two floors. Also an attic! It will have beadboard places horizontal to simulate siding and it will have the grand front door and windows.

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Here is a sneak peek at the turquoise, this is the second refrigerator door.

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Here are a couple of shots of other things I’ve been collecting, such as pots and pans and dishes and glassware. Whenever I find something that seems about the right scale, I snatch it up and stash it away. These kitchens will be almost as well stocked as my own.

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Okay, that’s enough sneak peek for now. It’s getting late and there is much to do tomorrow. I hope you’ll come back and see my progress!

And of course, keep making beautiful things just for the sake of beauty!

julie

Mismatched Hardware? Sometimes Its More Than Okay

I had mentioned in an earlier post that I am always on the lookout for unique and interesting hardware for furniture. Sometimes when I do find pieces I just cannot live without, there are not very many pieces. At least not enough to do a single piece.

That is what happened with today’s subject. I don’t so a lot of green, but love many of the shades that green comes in. And in the course of collecting, I ran across a few beautiful pieces that only came in a pair, or sometimes 4 of a kind. I was sorting and reviewing my hardware collection, when it occurred to me that I had enough green pieces for a dresser if I was okay with using mismatched pieces. I was! I was hoping to find a dresser or vanity that only required 4 pairs, but when I stumbled onto this – well, shall we say – very loved dresser, I knew it would be perfect for the mismatched hardware.

I started with the usual routine, repairing drawers and sanding. When I stripped the first couple of layers of paint and stain from the top, I knew there was some beautiful wood under all of that. So with much sanding and scraping, I uncovered some beautiful oak. I didn’t have the stamina or the sanding tools to remove it from the body, but I decided that if I used a very light shade of green to blend with the hardware, I thought it would turn out okay.

Well, after the primer coats and three coats of a shade of green that is called Mystic Light – almost looks white, even photographs that way. But with the natural stain on the top and the green handles really makes it work. And like I said, there are four matching sets of hardware and the top and bottom drawers have the same hardware. But since they are so far from each other, I don’t think that it hampers the total result.

I’ll stop talking (typing!) and just show you the results… you be the judge!

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I absolutely love the way this turned out. I am so hesitant to part with this beautiful jewelry on this piece of furniture. I’ll post it on Craigslist and see how well it is received. Maybe if it doesn’t seem to appeal to others, then maybe I will move this upstairs into the guest room and sell the piece I just finished and put there! Yes, I love this piece that much!

Here are some closeups of that beautiful hardware:

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And another angle of the total package:

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Isn’t the wood on top gorgeous? I love the older furniture – the construction techniques, the angles and curves and the materials used. And that they’re definitely worth refinishing and working on. And the piece will be around for a long time after that too.

I completely missed celebrating my 100th post and now this makes 103! And do I need to say that I love comments, so if there is anything that you’ve seen or read that you enjoy, please leave me a comment. Saying hi is enough!

Thanks for dropping by! And come back again soon!

And as always, keep making beautiful things just because…

julie

Inexpensive Doll Clothing: Transforming a Onesie Into a Blouse

Hey everyone! How’s your weekend going?

I thought I’d do a quick tutorial for you today. I stumbled across this not long ago and thought I would share this time- and money-sharing idea with you. As many of you probably know, I have been working on doll houses for my two grandnieces. They actually brought to my attention the popularity of American Girl dolls – and their less expensive counterparts, such as Our Generation, Madame Alexander, Favorite Friends and so many more – and as far as I am concerned, you are never too old to play with dolls!

For me, playing with dolls really mean making the doll house and furniture and accessories, as well as clothing for my nieces. I have considered doing this for profit, but then, I think once it becomes a “job”, then the fun and creativity goes right out the door. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Today I want to show you how to quickly create inexpensive blouses, dresses and nightgowns from second hand baby clothes. I often wander the aisles of thrift stores and stumbled onto a preemie onesie and though that it looked exactly the same size as my own dolls (I actually have an authentic American Girl doll as well as one knockoff). And it occurred to me that I could save so much time and have something really well made that I could give to my nieces to play with. I love to sew and am an accomplished seamstress, but there is something to be said for making things that will really be played with as opposed to admired. And one niece is almost 10 whereas the other is a bit younger and her dexterity places a lot of stress on her doll’s clothing.

So, after a little trial and error, I figured out the fastest and easiest way to do this. I suggest using either preemie size or newborn sized (0-3 months) for the least amount of alterations. I started with a pretty basic onesie, this one had a cute little collar:

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I am a quilter, so I have some tools that are second nature for me to use, but are not necessary. I laid it out flat and then laid the doll on top, this is to estimate the length needed to fit. Remember that you need about an extra half inch for the hem.

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Remove the doll and make the cut. Again, I used a rotary to make the cut, but you could just use scissors to make the cut.

 

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Separate the pieces. I tried to think of something to use the bottom of the onesie, but couldn’t come up with anything. If you have ideas, please share them with me! Right now, I am simply going to use them as garage rags.

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Now it is a matter of turning it inside out and making a quick hem. I didn’t take the time to finish the edges since the type of fabric it is doesn’t really ravel and I figure that its going to be played with hard and retired early.

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By sewing without first pinning, and stretching the fabric as I sewed, the hem ended up almost like a lettuce hem. It was completely by accident, but it is cute.

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This onesie was actually a size 3 month size, so it did come out a little large. I thought it would be okay since a six-year old would be dressing her doll with it, so bigger might be okay. If not, I would put a couple of darts in either the front or the back to pull in some of the extra fullness.

So there you have it. I found this onesie for $.97 at a local thrift store. Less than five minutes time in cutting and sewing… can’t beat it. And the sheer number of colors and styles out there are endless. I picked up quite a few of these – in pink, white, blue, yellow, green, even black – so that I can make a quick variety. Pairing them with jeans, sweats, skirts, even leggings. And with built-in closures and the sleeves already done for you, it couldn’t be simpler.

So, I hope this is helpful! Thanks for stopping by. And come back soon!

And keeping making fun and beautiful things, just for the fun of it!

julie

Another work week has come and gone. Time just seems to fly by so fast these days.

I finished up a couple of more pieces for a young lady who just had fallen in love with the black and gray ombré style and I was only too happy to put my handiwork onto a couple of pieces for her.

I picked these up from a gentleman who was clearing his mother’s house. She had passed away nearly a year before and he couldn’t bring himself until that weekend to start going through her things. I know how he felt. But his mother had some wonderful things and I knew that those pieces had not only been lovingly cared for but cherished and to be able to give them a second life is something I am happy to be able to help with.

Here are the pieces in their ‘before’ states:

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This seems to be getting old hat, even writing about them is pretty routine. There isn’t much more to say than I removed the drawers and the hardware, sanded and made necessary repairs before giving everything two coats of primer. These pieces, like I mentioned, were really taken care of (or not used much) as the drawers were all solid. No repairs necessary. Then on went the two coats of Behr’s Deep Space black on the cabinets (and the bottom drawer of the dresser). Then the other drawers received their own coats of shades of gray. The young lady who requested the special treatment on these pieces (they had been destined for an antique green) had her own antique hardware, which were attached when she came to pick them up. I wished I had grabbed a couple of shots of the pieces with their new hardware – stainless steel – but it was dark and late by the time we were finished and everyone was anxious to get back to their respective homes.

A quick ‘before & after’ shot sans hardware:

Green Dresser Before&After

I also finished a tired little dresser that I picked up in my travels. It was mostly mdf (medium density fiberboard) but the top had bubbled from the condensation from water glasses, so I replaced it with a solid 1/2″ piece of pine. The remainder of the dresser wasn’t the highest quality, but it was solid and had nice construction of the drawers. I painted it a happy navy blue and added some antique hardware that was rescued from another dresser before its transformation. It had this cute little swirl at the bottom of the dresser that I painted silver to match the hardware and give a little personality to it. This was then provided to the same young mother for a deep discount, since she had become my best customer! She also asked me about doing a bed for her son in the future. On the lookout for a piece that would work for him!

I don’t have a picture of the before, but trust me, there was nothing special about it! Here is the after:

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Didn’t it just turn out adorable? I hope that he likes it!

I’ve picked up a really sweet china cabinet, mid-century styling in blonde wood that I just love. Was a real bear just to get it wrestled into truck and get it home. It is going to be one of those pieces that I would love to keep for myself but my little house just cannot hold one more piece of furniture! I thought something in a light turquoise, sort of the color of the appliances in this photo:

imagesI would love to do my kitchen over in this color scheme, but as many of you have read, I have invested a small fortune in appliances and decorations in my kitchen in (what I call) Kitchenaide red! I love the crisp clean look of this though and if I could, I’d use this in a heartbeat if I had it to do all over. Might consider this color in my bedroom, although I am wrestling with the idea of a  eggplant purple and dark chocolate, so who knows!

Construction continues on the dollhouse gifts for my grandnieces, today one of the cabinets will be getting an attic space! I really need to spend some attention to getting these completed… always more to do than time and money!

Thanks for dropping by and if you promise to come back, I promise to keep writing!

Oh, and keep making beautiful things even if it is just for yourself!

julie

Giant Scrabble Letters Spell Out A New Family’s Name

I’m not usually in the habit of doing custom pieces, if only because of the limitation of my creativity. Something changes in the way the project is perceived by me and the recipient. Usually, when I am doing a piece, its because of a spark of imagination, an idea or something I’ve seen makes me want to try a project. If it doesn’t work, or I get the urge to change it mid-way, I don’t have to ask permission, explain the change or worse, ignore the desire to make the change. I do it because I want to and when I am done, if someone loves it too, all the better.

Every great now and then, though, someone will approach me with an idea. Maybe it is something they’ve seen on Pinterest, someone else’s blog or something I have already done and wants to know if I can do it for them. I like to be accommodating, but like I said, my own creativity seems to go out the window. My first experience with having someone judge my creativity (and it was rather harsh) came a few years into my quilting obsession. Of course, I loved everything that I was doing and naturally assumed everyone else would too! And when I had my feelings crushed with some unintentional comments and “helpful instructions”, I swore off doing things specific for a person.

But every once in a while I break my own rule. Tonight’s completed project is one such endeavor. I met Kurt and Courtney when they came to look at some dressers that I had completed. In fact, Courtney fell in love with my version of the suitcase dresser so much she bought two! One even wasn’t complete, but I did have the basic design done and she let me run with it. That dresser was the one used in the tutorial that I wrote about have to re-create that look. You can see the tutorial here.

Here are the two pieces she bought…

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Suitcase3 Before&After

But Courtney and I got to talking, getting way off the mark and I ended up showing her all the stuff that I had in progress. She especially liked the large sized tiles I completed (see the post here) and the large table sized Scrabble game that is in process that had me making yet another set of custom Scrabble pieces, these about 2 1/2 inches square. The board is about 4 foot square and painted official Scrabble rules, just custom colors.

This is when the special request was made. She loved the idea of the large Scrabble letters spelling out the new family unit that Kurt and Courtney would become soon, along with their four children (two his, two hers). Seemed a reasonable request. I think I am going to take the time to create the process in an upcoming blog, but for now I will just show you the results. I finished just a few hours ago and took photos just before the sun set. I am very happy with how they turned out.

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The consist of several pieces, but are not all individual tiles. I routed a shallow square groove between most of the tiles to replicate the space that the tiles would naturally have when placed side by side. The horizontal pieces are made so they fit together but can be separated for easy transport or storage.

About half way through working on these tiles, Courtney wrote and requested a few more sets. Since her two children weren’t getting the new last name, she wanted something special for her and her boys. So, to make them special, they got color. Red and white. The boys names – first, middle and last – were done with white lettering on a bold red, and Mom’s name was done opposite, with red lettering on white. Striking, don’tcha think?

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Again, they come apart into manageable pieces but can be easily assembled.

This was no quick project, let me assure you. These took weeks and many laborious hours of hand painting and lettering. I probably will not do this too often. But I am happy with the final result and yes, look for a detailed instructional post very soon. Oh and in case you were wondering, I used the font “News Gothic MT” in 400 point for a 5 1/2 inch square tile. The numbers were the same font in 100 point.

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 2.00.18 PMOkay, it has been a long week (end of week three – or is it four?) and still trying to get projects done and be the mom of a teenager getting ready to graduate from high school. Whew! I need a nap!

Thank you all for stopping by, it is after all, why any of us crazy bloggers take the time to write posts, so please come back soon!

And keep crafting and making beautiful things!

julie

Wow, Work Really Cuts Into Crafting Time!

Been at the new job for two weeks now and even though the time seems to fly by, I never seem to have enough hours in the day to do those things I want to do. And here it is Sunday evening and winding down the end of a hectic weekend and getting ready to watch the season premier of MadMen, I wanted to post a couple of pictures of what I have been able to do.

Although I have been working slowly on acquiring and plan for the doll houses I hope to make, I have not put any of the info up here yet. I may have mentioned it before, but my grandnieces have fallen head over heels for the American Girl dolls, although their grandparents (my brother and his wife) as well as myself, have not been in love with the prices for either the dolls or their “stuff”. Even if you buy ‘compatible’ accessories, it is still a lot of money to spend on toys! So, I have set about figuring out how to create my own version of a dollhouse without breaking the bank. And of course, along the way, doing a lot of crafting and otherwise unusual uses to everyday objects.

I will share one quick find… one of the doll houses will have a kitchen (maybe both). But I found a steamer tray that will serve the purpose of the sink perfectly! By virtue of the sink being stainless steel, the kitchen(s) will have all stainless steel appliances. :-)

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The little steamer tray measures a perfect 5″ x 6″, which works perfectly for the kitchen sink. And with a depth of about 3″, it looks like the real deal. I am slowly putting the pieces together for the kitchen cabinets which include a drawer unit (need someplace for the silverware) as well as upper cabinets. I am psyched! It is coming together slowly, but that’s okay, it is meant to be a project for me and in the end, and awesome presents for my favorite grandnieces. I have been taking a pictures (a miracle, I know!) and am slowly keep track of the work I am doing, although with everything that there is to be done, not sure I want to wait until I am all done to write the post. I will have to see just how much time I have…

Sold almost all of the projects I had done, only one small dresser left that I had completed. The young lady who bought the pink dots dresser also asked for two more, so I have been diligently preparing those dressers as per her request. I have several beautiful pieces that I have been restoring (beauty being in the eye of the beholder!) and did get one other finished. This was one of those freebies that I had been contacted via Craigslist that it was sitting on the side of a curb with snow about to fall. Me and the Kid took off in the truck to pick it up. Worst case scenario, we get it home and it isn’t solid wood, I donate it to one of my two favorite thrifts. Sometimes I get awesome hardware or drawer glides from them. Sometimes they are candidates for some kind of reinvention. Sometimes I find gold! In this case, it was a definite find… under this horrendous neon green paint was a diamond in the rough.

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But first glance tells you that this is an old piece, made long before they decided to use MDF in manufacturing and call it wood furniture. This used to have locks and keys and has that sweet curve to the drawer fronts. I am a sucker for those gentle curves.

So, the usual sanding to bring things down to a manageable starting place, followed by a couple of coats of primer. The most unusual thing occurred during the primer stage, the paint bled through the primer red! Wondering if anyone else had ever experienced this before or understood why. Enough coats of primer and this solved the problem. This was followed by several coats of a very light blue paint on the body and drawers, a darker shade of the same blue, which matched the same shade of blue as the glass handles. I love the way it all ties together.

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A close-up of the glass handles:

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And here is a quick before and after shot:

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I love the way this one turned out. But then again, I like ninety-nine percent of the dressers that I complete! I will be slowing down on the number of dressers, as they have been primarily a source of income as well as a creative outlet. Now that I have started back to work, I will probably switch to doing a wider variety of projects including the doll house and accessories.

This is my 99th blog entry! I am so excited about what to do for the next one to celebrate. I have a couple of dressers in process, but that seems so mundane. I must have something really amazing. But I don’t want to hold off too long. I’ll give it some thought!

Thank you for stopping by! I love all my readers and hope that I am providing some useful information here.

Keep up the crafting and be sure to share!

julie

 

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