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.

DSCN1863

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.

DSCN1909

DSCN1910

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.

DSCN1920

DSCN1922

DSCN1923

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!

DSCN1919

DSCN1905

DSCN1928

DSCN1925

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!

DSCN1896

DSCN1895  DSCN1893

DSCN1892

DSCN1898

DSCN1899

DSCN1900

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

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.

DSCN1847DSCN1846

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.

DSCN1848 DSCN1849

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.

DSCN1861

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.

DSCN1844

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.

photo

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.

DSCN1841

DSCN1842

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!

DSCN1843

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.

DSCN1845

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!

DSCN1838

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

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.

DSCN1715

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

 

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:

DSCN1285

DSCN1286

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:

DSCN1393

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

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. :-)

photo

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.

3G33F93Ie5L15G25M2d3nefd865bde9181d5d

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.

DSCN1368

A shot from the top:DSCN1370

A quick pic from the other side:DSCN1371

A close-up of the glass handles:

DSCN1372

And here is a quick before and after shot:

Blue Glass Handles Before&After

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

 

I Am Seeing Dots! And Now So Will You!

News flash! I have gone back to work and am officially off the rosters of the unemployed. Yay!  But boo, that means I have less time for making beautiful things :-(

I spent last weekend trying to get everything finished up that had been started and I got a big dent in the list. I now have five pieces listed for sale and have decided that with the money I earn from their sales is going to be used for something extravagant for me. To celebrate. That, or for a new air conditioning unit for the house. Which one do you think will win out? It can’t stay cold and snowy like this forever!

Just a quick show of the “before & after”s of what I finished over the weekend. Here is one of the pink dressers on the kitchen island “during”:

DSCN1358

And this is the other one (and some of the other’s drawers) in the entry way:

 

DSCN1356

And here are the results:

DSCN1366

DSCN1359

To shake things up a bit (a very teeny bit), I also finished a dresser in yellows:

Yellow Dots Before&After

I particularly like this one for some reason, it just seems so light-hearted and fun, like it won’t ever take itself too seriously.

The Kid, who has been helping me all along, decided to give the ombré a shot on his own. I did help and guide him through the process, but in the end, he did most of the work. I am seriously impressed with the results. We started with what I was calling “the really ugly dresser”, so to see the results is really astonishing.

Here is the before:

DSCN1239

The person who owned it had tried to do something with it, taking off the mock plastic pieces of trim and gluing on what appeared to be wallpaper onto two drawers. We actually had to make a second trip back to get the fifth drawer, it looked much like the top two drawers. But the cabinet was in decent shape, so it was just a matter of removing everything, adding a new front to each drawer and after much sanding, wood fill and glue, we had a pretty awesome piece of furniture. He then gave it the standard black and four shades of gray to the drawers, our favorite Deep Space black to the cabinet. The crowning touch was some beautiful black onyx drawer pulls. And viola!:

DSCN1363

A little side-by-side comparison:

ReallyUgly Before&After

Wow! What a difference, huh?

I also finished this little gem… it had been almost done for a while, just waiting to put the final touches and handles and get it ready:

Tall Chest Before&After

You might notice that I have two of the drawers out of order…. I didn’t notice that until I had the photos taken and the pictures uploaded. So you will have to use your imagination to see them in the correct order.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I couldn’t resist and picked up two more pieces to re-do. I guess I just can’t quit cold turkey! So, even though my days are now filled with a steady nine-to-five, I will have things waiting for my weekend. Yay!

Thanks for dropping by as always, stick around, one or two more posts and I hit my 100 milestone! Must do something really big!

And remember to keep making beautiful things!

julie

Creating a Suitcase Dresser: A Tutorial

A couple of posts back, I showed you another of the suitcase dressers that I had completed. I had a comment or two from readers that said they really liked the concept but could find no instructions or tips or any other helpful information on how to recreate the look. Well, I have been working on a short console type cabinet for a client that I decided that I would do a tutorial on how to make the suitcase dresser, or at least, how I do it.

Okay, I have done this about four times (and I have another under way). The particular pieces of furniture that I chose are those sound in structure, but devoid of any real character. Like this dresser.

DSCN1222

I took the drawers out and removed their hardware. This left this odd bumpy pieces that under closer inspection appeared to be attached to the fronts. A little prying and they came right off. They were attached with three very long staples and made of pressed wood. Basically useless.

DSCN1246I discarded those pieces.

DSCN1247

You can see the long one leaning against the front of the drawer.

DSCN1248

So here are the drawers with clean fronts ready to be worked on.

Oh, and speaking of ‘clean’, it is always a good idea to wipe down everything with a clean cloth avoiding chemical cleaners. You don’t want anything interfering with the bonding of glue and drawer front. Wipe out the interiors of the drawers and the inside of the cabinet. Nice to have everything clean to start with.

DSCN1253.2

Next, I made a couple of trips to my local hangouts; Joann’s and then Home Depot. First I chose fabric. I knew the piece was to be primarily black (cabinet is the ‘usual’ Deep Space black in semi-gloss from Behr). I painted the cabinet and set it aside. I would have to do two coats to get a nice even coverage. Below, you will see the two fabrics I chose. I purchased the width of the drawer plus 4 inches, enough to wrap around the top and bottom edges. This will make sense when we get further.DSCN1253

The type of fabric used is as least considered an upholstery fabric. I like to use styles and colors that mimic what I think of when it comes to older suitcases, something around the 50’s and 60’s. I collected these images to give you a place to start. Let you imagination take you wherever you want to go, who is to say what is or isn’t suitcase fabric? Also, remember you can always use just about any colored vinyl. Let’s you really get a pop of color in there.

SuitcaseExamples

Here you can get an idea of the weight of fabric, it does need to be a heavier type fabric. Working with a heavier and more stable fabric is easier and it will wear longer. Not all upholstery or furniture fabric will work, you have to be careful of glue saturation. More on that later.

Fabric Examples

Here are several examples of fabrics that I have purchased to use in upcoming projects. You can see the wide selection of colors and patterns.

DSCN1256

Next I cut off the selvage. I am also a quilter, so I use the cutting mat and rotary cutting tool and straight edge tool that I already own. You could just as easily use a scissors to cut off the edge.

DSCN1257

Now measure the length of the drawer adding four inches. Now cut the length.

DSCN1258

Now fold the fabric onto itself into about thirds. What you are doing here is to make a crease in the fabric to replicate the lid meeting the body of the suitcase.

DSCN1259

Pin to hold the fold. You may want to pull the fabric back and look (at the right sides together) to make sure that your fold placement looks good. For me, it was trial and error the first couple of times. For the most part, I figure as long as striped or obvious patterns look right and match appropriately.

DSCN1261

Sew about a 1/4″ seam. This doesn’t have to be perfect measurement, again, as a quilter, this is what I normally sew. And I don’t lose too much of the fabric to the seam.DSCN1262

Now open the seam and press. Sometimes, when the fabric is really heavy, pressing helps to maintain a nice flat surface when you apply the fabric to the drawer front.

DSCN1263

Now apply a liberal amount of glue mixture to the drawer front. I use a combination of about 4 parts white glue (good ‘ol Elmers, I buy it by the gallon size) and 1 part water. This makes it just a little easier to work with. Now working with the fold towards the bottom, place the fabric evenly on the drawer front folded… then unfold when the line is straight. Believe me, when you are all done and that seam is crooked, it will jump out at you and you will see it every time you look in its direction!

DSCN1264

Now unfold and smooth the remainder of the fabric. Start at the center and work out to ensure a smooth coverage. Be careful not to pull when you smooth and move the fabric.

DSCN1265

In most cases, I use those big office binder clips, to hold the fabric as it dries. You will only be doing the two long edges now.

Two things you need to be aware of if you leave the clips on too long … one, these clips can possibly leave rust if the fabric is saturated with the glue mixture. Two, you can get a crease line when the glue dries where the binder meets the fabric. These can be avoided if you leave the clips on long enough to allow the glue to ‘set’ but before it dries. Again, this is just a matter of trial and error.

Occassionally, if there is not enough ‘lip’ on the drawer to support the use of a binder clip, I will use a stapler. Just a regular stapler, not a heavy duty one. This is just to hold the fabric in place until it dries enough to remove the support.

DSCN1266 Another view of the fabric drying:

DSCN1268

Once the fabric has dried enough to maintain the connection to the drawer, remove the binder clips. To use these on a multi-drawer dresser, you will need quite a few of them. Allow the glue to dry at least overnight, better if you can give it the full twenty-four hours recommended.

This will be where you will see if your choice of fabric was good. I didn’t plan this, but it ended up working out okay since I am doing a tutorial. After all, a good tutorial will also tell you what not to do as well as what to do.

In this case, this fabric wasn’t a good choice after all. The glue soaked into the fabric to the point that when it dried, it discolored the fabric. It is pretty difficult to see in the photos, but where the glue was too thick, it discolored the fabric.

DSCN1278

I was able to pull the fabric off without any damage to the drawer front. Off to the store for a replacement fabric, this time I dropped by Hobby Lobby to check out their selection. I found a beautiful black and shades of silver/gray with circles to replace it. Back through the steps to get the second drawer caught up to the first.

Once the long edges of the drawer have been dried, you need to repeat the process to the ends. This is usually much easier since they are shorter in length. Again, another 24 hours is recommended to allow the glue mixture to dry.

Now, you need to trim the excess from the drawers. This process is dependent on the specific shape of the drawers and how they fit into the cabinet. I usually chose drawers that lay on top of the cabinet as opposed to being recessed. Perhaps this photo will help clarify what I am talking about:

Drawers Explained

Drawer styles vary, but again, I like to stick to drawer styles that are similar. I trim the fabric under the drawer first, using a sharp razor blade to remove it where the drawer front meets the drawer. Using the inside corner as a guide, pull the blade along to cut the fabric. Trim the edges using the razor blade or a small pair of scissors.

DSCN1322 Pull the fabric away as you move down the drawer. This helps to see where you might need to re-cut; remember, this is heavy duty fabric!

DSCN1324

Once you have the fabric removed, apply more glue to the edges, trimming away errant threads as you go. Be liberal in your glue application, you want the edges to stick well!DSCN1325

Another waiting period for glue to dry. Then it is time to install hardware.

First, let me talk a little about hardware. I think it looks better to have a variety of styles and colors. Otherwise, you are back to looking like it is just another dresser. I keep my eyes open in many places I shop for possible candidates. One place I love to browse through bins is Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. They have some awesome old and unique pieces. Often dirty and without mates or pairs, but all the better. And usually either 50 cents or a buck!

I always peruse the hardware aisles at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ace Hardware, but you can also look at places like Michael’s, Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. Occasionally, I will find good stuff at the dollar stores and thrift stores. I browse eBay and Craiglist too. Because I know I will be doing these from time to time, I like to keep an eye open all the time and in the end, this gives me a good selection to choose from.

Here is are some examples of what Home Depot has to offer:

HomeDepot Selection

Position on the drawer front to suit yourself and attach. On one drawer front, I used a piece of a leather belt (picked up at Goodwill for $1.98) and two pipe straps to simulate a leather suitcase handle.

DSCN1340

Next, as clasps for the case I used silver window sash hardware one on each side, about 5″ from the edges:

DSCN1341

The other drawer was treated with a black gate handle, nice and solid:

DSCN1343

And it also received the window sash hardware, this time in black. Also, to vary the hardware location, I mounted these about 4″ from the edge. Just to keep from getting to repetitive and keep things looking different.

DSCN1344

Insert the drawers into the cabinet, take a step back and let out a long overdue and well deserved sigh. You should be done at this point. A few more photos of the completed project. First, a close-up of the hardware, you can see that things don’t line up and that is on purpose.

DSCN1338

A step back to view the whole thing, cabinet included:

DSCN1327

Another shot:

DSCN1328

Whew! About two thousand words and pictures! pictures! pictures! I hope this all makes sense, but if you have questions, please ask! Like I said, I have done this four or five times now and I may have taken a short cut or two without realizing it. Once you do something a few times, you kind of know where you can cut corners but is information that would be helpful when trying to show someone else how to do it.

Oh, just for fun, here are the other dressers that I have done, the first one even had a small matching nightstand:

DSCN1059

and the very first effort:

DSCN0523

This one shows you a before and after shot:

Suitcase3 Before&After

Okay! I will say goodnight! I loved doing this tutorial but had no idea that it would take nearly 5 hours to write. Glad I was taking photos along the way.

Thank you for dropping by! Come back again!

And keep crafting y’all!

julie

Inspiration Comes in Many Forms and Unexpected Places

Inspiration has a way of sneaking up on you from different places and in different ways. Feeling like I have sort of worn out the ombré style and that I wanted – nee, needed, to do something different, I found inspiration. In a crayon box.

I was cleaning out the cupboards upstairs in the hall which has been a holding place for school supplies for the Kid for many years. I had sort of made it my mission to help all his teachers and their students by always buying more than I needed during the back-to-school sales and stashing some away so that the Kid would always have supplies, and also donating at least two or three students’ worth of supplies to his new homeroom teacher. Needless to say, as we near the end of his K-12 school days, I needed to get rid of some. And that is where I saw the Crayola boxes and found inspiration.

huggies-slip-ons

I had picked up a dresser that was the perfect piece… solid and wood, but with absolutely no personality. Well, here it is, a bit of personality now!:

DSCN1272

I am so pleased with how this turned out. The base color – something in between orange and yellow – was a real bear to work with. No coverage whatsoever and even in priming the cabinet first, it required no less than six coats of paint. The other colors, even the yellow, were dreams compared. The black stripes and outlines were done with my favorite Elmer’s paint pens. I struggled for a while on what to use for handles, I wish this had been a piece that had built-in drawer pulls, but in the end, I just used wood round knobs painted the same color as the drawer, hoping to make them blend-in. I think it worked! What do you think?

Here’s a quick before and after:

Crayola Before&After

Another project done this week is a gem that I found at a storage center. The owners were clearing out a few of the discarded or left behind items, including this lovely little beat up piece:

DSCN1229

But if you can see past the flaking, dull paint and the horrible hardware to see the beauty that lies within, you are off on the right foot. The lovely curves of this dresser tell the real story. And in sanding the chipped and flaking paint off the top of this lovely, I found the most beautiful wood. It took nearly eight sheets of sandpaper and some real dedication and time in removing it all, but it was worth the effort.

Dresser Top

This is three coats of a natural finish, followed by two coats of polyurethane. It just shines and should last another fifty or sixty years! I didn’t spend as much time with the body, but opted to apply three coats of the antique white (one of my favorites) and then add the six ceramic knobs painted a deep chocolate brown. The perfect crowning touch. And here is the result:

DSCN1276

And so that you don’t have to scroll back up to see the before photo, here is the before and after:

Ivory Before&After

These are the kind of results that I love and only hope to achieve with every piece that I work on. But alas, there are two more pink ombré pieces waiting, one to be delivered and the other to be sold. Additionally, work continues on the doll beds and their matching dressers, armoires and night stands, as well as clothing. I hope to have quite a nice inventory when I am ready to start selling. It is turning out to be a little more work than I thought, at least taking more time than I anticipated. But it is fun and has been rewarding as I put my creativity to work in a smaller scale.

Thanks for dropping by! And keep the crafting and inspiration flowing!

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!

DSCN1206

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,244 other followers

%d bloggers like this: