Tiered Baking Plates… They Present Cupcakes!

Woke up this morning not feeling the best. You know how that goes. I am thinking that nothing is going to get done today, except making my way through the third (or is it fourth?) season of “Mad Men”. But I thought I would get at least one more post out of activities completed so far.

Yesterday was a bake-fest. The Kid was essential, he is going to make someone very happy in the kitchen. We made two and a half dozen cupcakes, a double batch of bread pudding (mmm my favorite) and baked cornbread muffins. I figured while the kitchen was a mess and the oven was hot, we might as well take advantage of it. The cupcakes were done specifically to show off something that I’ve been working on. Hopefully it will be successful.

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I’ve been collecting these clear plates and short candle holders from thrift stores and making these cupcake tiered plates. I love the elegant way it makes the cakes look and especially the four tiers.

Here are some more shots of the different tiered plates:

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It is what is wonderful about making these, the different styles and weights and diameters of the plates and the candle holders.

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I have endeavored to avoid holiday themed plates (like Christmas and Easter)  but there are so many styles to choose from.

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And the wonderful thing is that they can be as large – or small – as you may want. They can be two, three, four – even five – tiers and the taller they are, the more elegant they become.

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As you can see, the patterns couldn’t be more different. The largest plates, I have found, are the heaviest and therefore make a great base or anchor.

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The candlesticks are also different styles and heights. They all work well with the plates and they provide enough height between the plates to allow for cupcakes, pieces of cake or other candies or even sandwiches.

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I’ve done these with my own china pattern as well as collected a set much like the ones above. Sometimes I wished I did more entertaining, just so that I could use this!

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So, you’ve seen three and four tiered, aren’t they just fabulous? Oh, and while I do my thrift shipping I am always on the look out for certain things: clear platters and plates, candlesticks, any and all kitchen things in red; utensils that would work for chimes, sheets that work well for drop cloths, picture frames, decorative jars and cut glass, someone else’s craft materials (always a good deal) and the unusual items that would work well for other projects.

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Like these two square plates I just managed to see… I don’t know if they were once part of a larger set or someone else had found them and put them together. And just a few inches away sat a little while candlestick that screamed it wanted to be paired with the plates.

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Another quick snapshot with cupcakes this time.

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For example, I found this large jar that just called my name… I don’t have a use for it just now, but it was so cool and priced right. I have a similar jar, not quite so angular, that holds the matches that were collected for years – especially when we were smokers and did a lot of traveling. It used to sit on one end of the  fireplace and I always wanted a second one to balance it out, although the fireplace has different items now. What to put in it is still a question (if you have suggestions, lay it on me!).

Well, still have plenty of work to do and we have our neighborhood garage sale next weekend, which means I will be doing plenty of organizing and cleaning while figuring out what to sell. A fantastic opportunity to get rid of some things, maybe sell some of my finished projects and, of course, some American Girl accessories that I’ve made. I’m planning on setting the dollhouse out, just to see if I get any offers or interest. I would SO love to get this behemoth out of my entryway.

julie

The Weather is Just Not Co-operating. Argh!

Officially, spring came last week and with it, a couple of days of temperatures in the sixties. Windows open, doors ajar and lots of work in the garage. That lasted all of about two days and then it has dipped down into the ‘too cold to do anything fun outside’ range of temps. And now, today, they are calling for snow. Snow!

Too cold for even working in the garage… and I have so much that needs to get done.

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photo 2I picked up another vanity and a stool, but that leaves me one stool/bench short. Just like I started!

Over the last few months, I have been working on dollhouse furniture and clothing, getting ready for the ‘Dolls & Cupcakes’ website. I seem to be totally dragging on getting the website up and running, so I opted to put a few pieces on eBay, just to see how sales would be.

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DSCN2283So far, they’re not getting much attention, not as much as I thought. Maybe the American Girl craze is waning?

This weather is so non-conducive to working, but I am going to do my best to get something done today. Hope you’re having better luck than I!

julie

For Sale: Handcrafted Doll House and Accessories

Need that perfect gift for your little doll mommy? Built for all 18″ dolls including American Girl, Today Girl, Journey Girl, Madame Alexander, My Twinn, Our Generation, KidKraft Sadie, Gotz and Disney Princess and more. After many months of planning, shopping, designing, building and furnishing, I am offering this one of a kind dollhouse for $3000.00.

DSCN1929Designed, built, handcrafted and lovingly assembled for your princess just in time for Christmas. Give your little girl a place to play and store all of her American Girl treasures!!

Two pieces, designed for delivery, assembled stands 80″ tall. But that doesn’t include the rooftop garden! Overall dimensions: 80″h x 25″d x 48″w. This was hand built by my son and I in our home and has many extras you won’t find in any other house.

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Three levels boasts a bedroom with adjoining bathroom, living room with fireplace and a state of the art kitchen with built in cabinets and turquoise appliances. Everything pictured is included with the exception of the doll. The doll is not included.

The pink bedroom with handcrafted bed and handmade linens sewn in awesome shades of pink. Includes a pillow with pillow case. Matching dresser in shades of pink (also called ombré style of painting) with four functional drawers. To round out the bedroom, we have a deep red wood stained armoire with a bar for hanging and three small drawers.

DSCN1912Enter the bathroom through the door in the bedroom to find a clawfoot bathtub, toilet and sink. Pink towel set – bath towel, hand towel and washcloth and a small basket with shampoo, conditioner and bath soap. The room is complete with actual white square tiles and baseboards.

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DSCN1911The kitchen is like no other you will ever see! Taking up the entire second floor, it boasts built in glass door cupboards above and below. Stainless steel sink with extendable sink sprayer sits on top of a glass tile countertop in beautiful shades of turquoise. The cupboard next to the store has a solid wood surface perfect for chopping vegetables, and houses a mixer and baking pans. Microwave above the over (sorry, door doesn’t open) but the range has an opening door with two wire shelves and plastic door to see when those pastries are browned. Refrigerator comes stocked with vegetables and food for hosting that perfect holiday party. Pantry next to the ‘fridge also boasts soup and assorted canned vegetables.

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DSCN1924The kitchen floor is a beautiful hardwood floor, three coats of varnish and three coats of polyurethane. This will look beautiful for years of play.  Same floor on the third floor, and has a hand hooked rug in between upholstered sofas. Put your feet up and relax in front of the fireplace (extra firewood in the wood box). A small table with a sewing box is near for mending socks on a late night. Plenty of room to include a Christmas tree for your dolls!

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On top, we have one more relaxing space… three piece wicker set with heart motif is surrounded by pots of colorful flowers. A wonderful place to enjoy the sunshine with a glass of tea!

DSCN1927Please keep in mind that I am simply someone who likes to tinker and collect, I am not a master carpenter so this is unique albeit not perfect.  The small imperfections make it a one of a kind but built and furnished with love and laughter!

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DSCN1902Keep in mind that although lots of little extras have been provided, there is still plenty of room to add your own special touches. Pictures, posters, doll clothes, food, dishes, jewelry… all those things that will make this dollhouse your daughter’s own.

Dollhouse will be available for local pick up in Kansas City MO once payment is received. Feel free to email me with ANY questions.

With regards to shipping: I want to work with you to make this your little girl’s perfect Christmas. I can deliver locally in and around Kansas City area for $50. That includes delivery and set up in your home. I will work with you on getting it to you, inquire about delivery outside the area, please send me an email.  Of course you are always welcome to swing through town and pick it up!

Please remember: The doll is not included. Everything else is.

I would love to hear your comments, questions, your own experiences. See previous posts for more in depth instructions and photos. I’ve truly enjoyed this process, but am ready to move on to something new and challenging.

Thanks for stopping by!

julie

Sliding into home base… we’re this close!

Okay, I know, I’ve been chanting this for a few weeks now, but short of a couple of minor details and finishing the play microwave, we are so close. Nothing like a long four day holiday to really get things done.

In the meantime, I thought I’d show you the wrap up of a couple of the smaller projects. One is the pair of sofas. I showed you earlier the start of the project. You can see the beginning here.

Once I cut it in half and ended up with two smaller sofas, I have wavered on whether to include one or both. But once I took the pieces upstairs to upholster them, I knew what I wanted to do. I found two pieces of fabric that I picked out earlier for the basis of my master bedroom makeover: pale turquoise and chocolate brown.

By virtue of trial and error, I figured out how to get the fabric in place. I started with the pattern that resembles paisley and it turned out pretty good. I made a couple of mistakes with the other one (the one with stripes) ending up with a seam in the front and the side stripes being a little wavy. I guess that is the difference between no noticeable nap in a fabric to one with obvious nap!

DSCN1878I set them in the dollhouse and realized that they seemed just a little ‘unfinished’. So I decided to add legs to both pieces and a skirt. Now I had enough fabric for the ‘paisley-ish’ fabric, but I really cut it close with the striped fabric, so I decided to do them both the same. Found a nice fringe that matched both fabrics but they had exactly what I needed… it always makes me nervous when I cannot buy a ‘little extra’ for that ‘just in case’.

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I also found these little candle holders that when cut down and spray painted black, turned into the perfect legs. A little Elmer’s glue and it was good to go.

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DSCN1887Then, using a glue gun, I wrapped the fringe trim around the bottom. Viola!, I have the perfect little sofas.DSCN1919That pretty much wraps up the projects needed to complete the dollhouse. Later this afternoon, once I have all the photos taken, the dollhouse will officially go on sale on eBay, Etsy and my local Craigslist. I am hoping to sell this quickly and then work out the details with delivery.

It has been a fun project, but I am so ready to be done and move this out of my entry way and into the home of some little girl and her dolls.

The Finish Line is Within Sight!

So me and The Kid have been putting some real effort into finishing this dollhouse and we’re getting very close. I am hoping to have the bulk of it done by the end of the weekend. I am so ready for this project to be done and over with… and I can get my entry way back!

So, updates: The floors have been done in the bathroom and the bedroom. Laid 2″ square tiles in the bathroom and then grouted with caulk. Because the house still needs to be delivered and therefore undergo some critical traveling, I didn’t want the grout to break or crack so thought that the caulk would be a much better solution. DSCN1853Here is a quick shot of the tile installed. I used Liquid Nails to adhere it, not standard practice for the installation of tile but a good solid decision based on the size of the room and the number of tiles.

DSCN1855Here is the floor with the caulk ‘grout’. I am really liking the clean look of the tile.

DSCN1857Here it is with the baseboard trimming. Isn’t this sweet? And The Kid did a great job of making a door transition and gluing and then grouting the space between the bathroom and the bedroom.

DSCN1858A little bit of clean up to do and it is ready to be staged. You can see in this photo that the floor has been stained (two coats) and then polyurethaned (two coats) and the trim also installed. It, too, is ready for furniture!

DSCN1836You may recall that I started work on the love seats, I wanted to show you how I applied 1″ foam to the pieces to get ready for upholstery. One piece wraps up from the seat and over, all the way to the bottom. A couple of staples and lots of glue, a few clips to hold it in place while it dries.

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Next, I wrapped both arms with the same foam. This time I used clamps in addition to the staples, clips and glue to hold things together until they dried.

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Both loveseats got similar treatments with the foam on the front (forgot the photos). But they have been relocated to my sewing room for the upholstery work. Probably won’t get to them until we finish the work on the house and its ready to be furnished. Additional photos promised.

DSCN1850This is the side and back view of the third floor. Slowly this piece is coming along. You can see that I am toying with ideas for how to “roof” the angled pieces, and at this point, have not settled on a solution.

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I stumbled across the most wonderful little piece of furniture. It actually had three small photo albums in it, but it is going to be transformed into a fireplace. Which means, at some point, I need to scout “fire wood” for it. I also need to figure out how to put floor moulding with the tricky angles, but The Kid thinks he has a way. Ah, I love that Kid!

I won some glassware at a local auction, in additional to a 12 foot x 30″ purple counter top (all for the grand sum of $15!) that I have plans for. But… like I have said many times, no new projects started until this doll house is completed. Now that I have this quick update written, I am going to go work on the kitchen’s lower cabinets and get them ready for installation. Once that happens, then I can do the tile countertops, get the sink installed and complete the trim around the edges. Then its just a matter of details! I can see the finish line!

Once this has been done, it is going up for sale. If you are in the market for a custom doll house, watch this space. I have been thinking about the logistics of getting this shipped or (my choice) delivered, I know that whoever is the recipient of this gift is just going to love it. And just in time for Christmas!

Okay, thanks for stopping by and for following my progress. Remember to keep making beautiful things for the sake of beautiful things! And of course, I’d love to hear any ideas you might have for finishing touches!

Thanks again!

julie

Moving forward… slowly but surely.

A little progress has been made on the doll house, but no matter how much I accomplish, I always feel like I should have gotten more done. There always seems to be a lot of waiting: waiting for paint to dry, for stain to dry, to find that needed ‘thing’ or get something assembled or installed.

Much work has been accomplished on the third level, which is actually a separate piece. I thought ahead and actually painted the interiors before we assembled it. No funky corners or angles to have to paint carefully and not worries about the flooring stain and the walls latex would interact.

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I opted to not make a peak in the ceiling line and rather have a flat space on top. I think I am going to put a railing around the edges and use like an outdoor patio. I picked up the most awesome little wicker set that will just be wonderful there. I think I want to install outdoor carpet  (or what looks like it) and then scatter a bunch of small planters with flowers behind it.

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Isn’t that little wicker set just darling? I have no idea what the original purpose of that set was, but it is perfect size for the 18″ dolls. It was just happenstance that I ran across it on one of me and the Kid’s ‘thrifting’ afternoons.

Speaking of waiting, here are the floors for the bedroom and kitchen, finished with two coats of oak colored stain and then two coats of polyurethane. I just love the way they look.

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The plan for the bathroom floor is black and white checker board tile… I just hope that it doesn’t add too much weight to the overall piece. To help prevent grout cracking, I am going to use flexible grout. Won’t a pink bathroom with black and white tile just be the cutest? I have a little claw foot tub ready to go in and have already made the sink and vanity. And of course, a toilet!

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I’ve started fitting in the lower cabinets and have set the range and refrigerator in to check for spacing. In the corner next to the refrigerator is a small narrow cupboard. There is a part of me that wants to rebuild it a bit taller, but again, I don’t think it is absolutely necessary. You cannot begin to believe how many accessories I’ve purchased, created, made or found to make this house complete. I am feeling like I am turning a corner to having this done. The hope is that it will be done soon, making it a perfect Christmas gift for some special little girl.

As to the other project – the large black wardrobe – has had progress. I’ve finished all the touch up on the black, white and shades of gray. I settled on the accent color of turquoise, and used it sparingly. Also, in the end, if I decide I would like a different color, it will be easy to change. Next step, wait for a warm day or two (or figure out how to warm the garage) so that I can apply two or three coats of polyurethane. I can’t wait to see it completed. Although the interior still needs to have a good cleaning with Murphy’s Oil soap and one or two pieces of trim to replace. This is turning out quite beautiful, if you ask me! What happens to it when I am done still has not been decided.

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Its a bit hard to see, but the center dot as well as four dots are the only spots of turquoise. Everything else? Shades of black and white. Oh and you’re looking at the rebuilt bottom, no sense in painting that, when it will never be seen.

One last think I wanted to throw in at the last minute. Autumn has definitely fallen here in the Midwest. We bought this house 9 years ago and the grand total of trees on our over sized lot was one lone oak in the backyard. Over the years we’ve planted many more, but the two in the front yard have just surprised us with their growth… these trees were about 4 foot tall and no bigger around than a pencil. And the fall colors in their leaves made me stop and take a photo on my way into the garage the other day. Too bad the color doesn’t stick around very long. Or that someone has to rake them up eventually!

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I sometimes forget just how lucky and blessed I am. I hope everyone takes a moment and counts their blessings too.

julie

Slow but steady progress…

It seems that I have so little spare time these days that I have to make a decision between doing projects and writing about them. It seems incredible that it has been a whole month since my last post. Not a good way to building a blog following, huh?

Anyway, have been making some progress, although as I told the Kid earlier, it seems like I can’t seem to get anything completed, only started. Let me give you a quick update on the doll house.

The interior walls have been painted and the floors in the kitchen and bedroom have been stained. I knew using a nice grade of plywood that it would be beneficial in the end. I am leaning towards staining the entire outside of the dollhouse, make it kind of a nice piece of furniture. Not completely sure, as I had thought about making it look more like a house with windows and doors and siding and such, but then, figured that the sheer size of it would require it to sit against a wall or in a corner of two walls and then you wouldn’t even see the outside of it. I guess it will depend on how I feel when I get to that point.

I’ve also got the upper cabinets installed in the kitchen. Wow, had a bit of an issue getting them in to look good. I actually made the cabinets a single piece, gluing them together and giving the back and underneath support rather than installing each piece individually. Did the same with the lower cabinets, and they are ready to go in now that the floor is done.

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Its a bit funny but it almost looks like a real house with construction going on in the kitchen… with the appliances having been moved to a different room. The floors hadn’t been done in this photo, but shortly after this, we moved the house to the garage and three coats of an oak color were applied.

The other project worked on was a sofa for the living room. I started with the dimensions of 24″ long, about 10″ tall and a seat depth of 6″. We first cut all the pieces and layed them out. Then we used a piece of leftover plywood for the frame and with the pneumatic nail gun and Elmer’s glue, we made quick work of piecing it together.

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Here is the finished frame. Got done about 11:00 on Saturday night and figured I could work on it today (Sunday). But each time I walked by it, there was just something not right about it. It measured over 24″ once the sides were added and then there is the dowels on top of that. I had an epiphany that at that length, it wouldn’t even fit sideways in the house, which is only 24″ deep. It was simply too long.

We could make it shorter, but since I am a staunch user of both glue and nails, I knew it would not come apart easily. Then it dawned on me, we could just cut it exactly in half and make two! So that’s what we did, recreating the sides/arms. Now they are both ready for foam and upholstery. (See? One more thing started but not finished. Sigh!)

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A while back, while the Kid and I were out abandoned house hunting, we ran across an old barn full of those old telephone wire insulators… and we managed to find about a two dozen in pretty good shape. We cleaned them up and I desperately tried to figure out something to do with them. I had been experimenting with paint that made glass looked like stained glass (I *think* that I forgot to write about it… I can’t seem to find it in my previous posts.). Anyway, each insulator got three coats of the stained glass paint to get nice even coverage. Thought that they would be interesting sitting on a glass shelf in front of the large window in the office, but I’ve yet to get to that either! Sigh.

But they are sitting in front of the window near the floor, waiting for the shelf. Eventually, I am thinking that the light streaming will make nice colorful splashes around the room. In the meantime, here are a couple of photos:

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Yesterday I ran across a ‘how to’ for using these insulators in wall sconces, which I am excited about trying. But I’ve vowed not to start anything else until the dollhouse and accessories are finished. Whew!

Okay, that’s about it for now. I do have a few more things to share with you… things that had been completed some time ago. I re-did this beautiful dresser and vanity with a mirror, but it took ages to sell. In fact, I couldn’t sell it for the longest time painted only in pink, so I reached back into my magical bag of tricks and the Kid and I painted multi-colored dots on it. Finally, it sold. Had to drop the price twice though. Must not be the right time for selling furniture on Craigslist, at least not in Kansas City.

Okay, so tomorrow is another work day, so am going to say good night and thank you for stopping by. And as always, keep making beautiful things!

julie

 

Baby Steps… Can’t Rush the Creativity

Lots to talk about, things making progress but seemingly like getting nothing accomplished. Making steps on the dollhouse, getting an inventory for the doll accessories and clothing sale and finally making visible progress on the wardrobe.

I’ll give you an update on the wardrobe re-do, since I had the Kid take pictures :-) Since it takes up so much room in the foyer, it is difficult to get good photos, but since I have a landing on the second floor that overlooks the entry way, pictures are much easier that way.

So, first, I opted to go with the black, white and shades of gray. I had a lot of paint leftover from the ombré gray dressers back a while and the color scheme did get the most votes. Although no one color got many votes, it was the one I liked the most and if it comes down to it, it will go in just about any color schemed room.

Here was the art:

The Real Number 8I did redo the shades of gray ever so slightly, since once I picked up the brush and the first color, I realized about half way through that I had started in the wrong area! Whoops! So, I just cleared them and started again.

I just finished laying down the second color and I think I am really starting to see it coming together. And really am liking it. Right now the paint I am applying is flat, but once I am done, the whole art is going to get a couple coats of polyurethane and it will all be back to a nice gloss. Again, remember, that the interior is still a beautiful walnut and will only require a deep cleaning. I am getting excited about this piece. Even if it is breaking my back to lean over it to paint.

So, without further ado:IMG_9937There are a couple of reflections at the top from the light, makes it look a little weird. Again, from this angle, you can tell just how massive this piece is and how much of an impression it is going to make in whatever room it ends up in.

Okay, the weather has turned ugly outside and I think that we are going to unplug the network to avoid any voltage surges; we had a lightning strike right outside the house about a year ago that fried the network modem and a power surge protector and don’t want to take any chances when it comes to my computer equipment (did I ever happen to mention that I am a software quality assurance engineer at my day job?) and between me and the Kid, we have lots of expensive toys.

Thanks for dropping by, stay warm and dry and come back soon!

julie

 

Color Condendrum – Your Vote Counts!

I’ve been slowly making progress on that large wardrobe I picked up off Craigslist. It had been a beautiful piece at one time, but when it was handed down, the person on the receiving end either didn’t want it or didn’t know what to do with it. As the story was told to me, it had been relegated to the back corner of a garage, and there, the weather and other elements took its toll on the facade. The interior was – is – gorgeous and will only require a deep cleaning and a wood conditioner (and a couple pieces of missing trim), but it is the outside that has plagued me.

The two broad doors had been layered with walnut veneer that I cannot find to replace it, that is, even if I knew how to work with a veneer. It, too, took a corner position in my garage for a while, as I pondered alternatives. Finally, I opted to fill the sparse areas with wood filler and sand it all, then over the course of several months applied my favorite ‘deep space’ black. My son had done a fantastic job of building a replacement footer and shoring up the overall cabinet, now a strong and sturdy piece of furniture.

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I had been doing (as I do a lot) browsing on the web for interesting treatments to these massive pieces of furniture. The very size of it indicates that whatever room this eventually resides, it will be a focal piece. So I knew it had to have a special treatment. I’d love to show you some of my early influences, but for the life of me I can’t put my finger on it. Gah! Hate when that happens!

Anyway, I tripped across some abstract painting and fell in love with one in particular. You can see her work here. I chose a piece out of her coloring book that she sells on her website and with a little resizing (the wardrobe isn’t square) I was ready to get to work.Large Bold DesignI used an old school projector that I got for free off Craigslist and by simply cleaning it, it was fully functional. Obviously that never stops me, so I had to paint it a much cheerier color than that dismal office desk gray. So I printed the design onto a piece of clear transparency film and simply used white paint pens to mark the edges.

DSCN1815The first try I was a little short – the design didn’t cover the doors – so another couple of layers of black paint and I was ready to start again. While it was sitting in the garage waiting to be remarked, I tried to envision what colors I would use. There was a part of me that thought that the white against the black was unique enough, but the lines are a bit messy and I am not sure that I want to do something so ‘colorless‘.

Last night, me and the Kid manuavered the thing into the entry way and got it set for me to work on it. Now I simply cannot close the garage door to it, it really is an albatross sitting there. Here’s the view from the home office:

imagephotoThis is going to be hard to ignore.

So, this is where I need your help. I’ve taken the template and using Photoshop, tried out a bunch of color combinations. Which one feels right to you? Let me know in the comments or send me an email which one you like. Or use the template above and do your own coloring, I know a lot of you have great artistic skills and a great eye for color

.Color Voting

Work continues steadily on the 18″ sized doll house and the play pieces, furniture and clothing to go with it. The Kid is working on my logo and the web site colors and today we shopped for the new backend server computer. We’re going to be running SQL – this will be my first experience as a DBA and hopefully will hone my SQL skills. While we were shopping, we stopped into the local computer recycling center and then had an honest-to-goodness LISA there. As I was oohing and ahhing over it, the guy working there said rarely does anyone recognize it. Even though my experience with Mac computers go back a ways, it didn’t go back that far, but I admire that our sleek new iMacs and MacBookPros had their humble beginnings with this computer. My son found a G4 MacBook in excellent shape to, so for historical sake and to help my son see what we once thought was the biggest and baddest. He’s been installing the OS and games and apps for the better part of three hours now, so I think he’ll at least use it enough to get the $40 price tag’s worth.

Okay, signing off for now. Come back soon and don’t forget to vote on your favorite designs!

julie

 

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