Gentle Music, Courtesy of Mother Nature

This weekend was really all about my baby’s birthday. He turns nineteen tomorrow, but he will always be my baby!

Didn’t accomplish much this weekend, with the celebration but did get a few things a little further towards completion. I will show you the one thing I did accomplish though.

I had picked up this metal star during one of our thrifting weekends. Wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but I finally did figure out that the o-rings on the ends once held something that twinkled or dinged. So I painted the star red and then picked up red coated chain and purchased big red bells from eBay. From there it was pretty quick work of creating equal lengths of the chain and attaching the bells. It twinkled wonderfully on the kitchen deck with a gentle breeze blowing.

DSCN2529Okay, now I have to take a moment for a little kvetching. Usually I have only the best things to say about CraigsList in the Kansas City community, it is very active and usually people are very inviting and accommodating. But something occurred today that has me questioning people in general.

You see, I ran across two ads that I was very interested in. The first was an ad for two dressers for free. One was pretty standard average-type dresser, more glue than actual wood, but the other was a very nice example of quality construction from mid-century. When I contacted the author of the ad, I was told that only the one of better quality was available. I sent The Kid out to pick it up. I wrote back to the ad’s author and asked that she take down the ad and/or move the dresser from the curb as my son was en route to pick it up. A few minutes later, I found another ad, with this lovely piece of furniture also posted and sent The Kid the address and asked him to pick it up following.

00K0K_2cGClmATCNw_600x450Some twenty minutes later, I got a text from The Kid who informed me that neither pieces of furniture were available. I am guestimating that he put some good 50 miles on the truck to retrieve these items only to find out the neither were available.

At first I was disappointed, but as I thought about it, I got angry. And angrier. I specifically inquired the dresser and the other ad had been up for hours already. If people had already given away the items, they should be more considerate and remove the ad. In fact, I waited until The Kid got home and checked CraigsList again and still, both ads were up.

It was then that I sent yet another email to the author of the first ad. I have to admit that I was a little angry,  but was polite enough in the email advising her to remove the ad. Sheesh. The second ad only had the address, no way to contact the seller, but I flagged the ad since the piece had already been picked up.

I love the way CraigsList gives us a way to give and to get free stuff (not to mention being a great local way to sell and buy goods of all kinds), but it has to be used respectfully but everyone. As you can probably tell, I am still a little peeved, but typing this up is helping me get some catharsis.

Well, another ending to another weekend. The weekends are once again, coming too slowly and ending too quickly. Guess that happens when you’re working Monday through Friday. Living for the weekends. Sigh.

julie

I Don’t Have to Tell You, You Know I Love Pink!

I grew up, essentially, with 5 brothers (my two sisters are 11 years older and 11 years younger). I was a tomboy from the get-go. I had to just to survive! Although my mother did her best to try to get me to be feminine, I rarely did. When she bought and hung two toned pink curtains in my room, I revolted. For years, I hated pink.

That would all change – or so I thought – when I had children. But mother nature was tough and long story short, five years and the cost of a new house, I was able to bring my one and only child into the world: my son The Kid. There would be no pink and taffeta and dolls and tea sets and tulle and ballerina slippers. Just my rough and tumble little boy. I wouldn’t trade a single second of having him in my life, it has been the best toughest joy of my life.

But I didn’t get to do pink. :-(

Lately, a lot of the furniture makeovers have been pink. As you may (or may not) know, I stumbled over the ombre style of painting and I’ve done a bit: black, green, blue, and yes, pink. And guess what? Pink sells the best and fastest and generally speaking, for asking price. It just is so adorable!

So, currently, I have a toy box and a small desk that are just about ready to be listed for sale. And I am forever hunting for cheap (preferably free) pieces of furniture to refinish/redecorate. Last time I bought paint, I opted for high gloss, which those little paint the small paint samples don’t come in that finish… so in order to get all those shades, I had to buy quarts (and a gallon of the base color). That means, in order to get my money’s worth, I need to do a few more.

The pink is just so cheery and feminine. It looks perfect in a nursery, a toddler or little girl’s room… heck, even teenaged girls love pink (some opt for purple!). I actually know that at least one piece I sold was going into a little girl’s room who was trapped inside a 40’s something woman’s body! Ha! Power to the spirit of the little girl who lives inside all women!

Recently, I picked up a small wood dresser. I like the detailing on the front and thought it would make a good project. It was in terrible condition when I got it and even with a lot of sanding, I couldn’t get it to a clean slate. So, I opted to paint it as it stood and in the end, it turned out okay. I like to describe it as having character. A thing doesn’t exist for that many years and not take on some blemishes or dings.

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This was the last one done with the satin finish. I also decoupaged the inside of each drawer using illustrations I cut from an old children’s book of fairy tales.

Drwer InteriorIt sold quickly, like this style does. So, more are on the way. I think a few people have figured out my success as I am seeing more of the ombré style recently.

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Added a sweet touch with these crystal handles.

KnobAnd the Before/After photo:

Before & AfterKeep an eye peeled for unveiling of several pieces soon. I am also working on a desk converted to a tall chest of drawers, The Kid’s Victrola makeover and the restoration of the larger Victrola. And of course, I am always on the lookout for things that get the creative juice flowing.

julie

No Drought In Kansas City

As many of you know, I am a transplant to Kansas City from Northern California’s Silicon Valley. We celebrate ten years in the Show-Me state next month. Even so, I always pay attention to the weather and wild fires out in California, which I still think of as ‘home’. They’ve been through some devastating drought conditions which have led to major wild fires. I feel for my peeps on the west coast.

But drought is one thing that Kansas City has not experienced. Well, at least not this year! Everything is greener than green and if you follow my blog, you know that my strawberry patch…

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…and The Kid’s pumpkin patch…

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….are growing like gang-busters. As I understood strawberries, the plants really don’t mature until the third year and then you can expect some decent harvests. Well, mine are only in their second year but have already harvested many quarts. And this even with me leaving about a third on the ground to help fill in light patches!My HouseI have a larger than standard lot, as our house is on a semi-cul-de-sac. I don’t know what else to call it. It is a corner where one street turns 90 degrees and becomes another street, but the corner is set back and we have a wide half-round area in front of my house and two of my neighbors. This makes for larger backyards, which good or bad, means we have more lawn.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 6.34.56 PMHowever, the way that our property is naturally graded, all run off from the eastern neighbor flows into a little stream through our back yard and then into a underground culvert that then feeds into a (very small) lake in the neighborhood just south of us. Thankfully this ugly culvert is in the back of my western neighbor and he has done a great job of camouflaging it.

One might reasonably think that this should work well and most of the time it does. However, when we have had multiple days of heavy rain (as we have recently), it doesn’t seem to work and we get a lot of standing water in our backyard. Or as I call it, “A River Runs Through It”.

DSCN2486The small leafy patch just to the left of the tree (behind the river) is the Kid’s pumpkin patch. Lots of rain is working a minor miracle on the plants… the vines have gone gangbusters and there are hundreds of blossoms! I think we can safely expect a lot of pumpkins… not the biggest, but I am expecting numbers! So, the standing water isn’t a big deal (although it does make it tough to mow that part of the yard), but mostly it keeps the grass beautifully green and nourishes my tree line.

All of Kansas City is just so healthy and green as well. For once, I can honestly look at Kansas City and call it beautiful! I don’t dislike KC, but there is nothing to compare with San Jose/San Francisco area and the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre mountains and everything in between. I really miss California!

Me and The Kid have been slowly been working on some new projects – The Kid now more than me since I’ve gone back to work. Last night we sold the purple vanity (yay!) and I think I have a buyer for the umpteenth pink ombre dresser that I finished an evening or so ago. That leaves just the two-tone vanity left to sell and I will officially have my entry way cleared!

photoI am also about a third or so complete on a 8″ x 10″ cross stitch project, I just picked up the canvas and some thread and started stitching! I am thinking that I will make it into an iPad case when I am done. Or something. Ha! I always have to have something to do with my hands even when I am too tired to refinish furniture and just am sitting on the couch watching ‘Nurse Jackie’. (Don’t get me started talking about binge series watching… that’s another whole different post!)

Thankfully, today is Friday and the end of my first week on the new job. I am really liking it, as I have a super team and an even more super (super-duper?) manager and I am coming up to speed really quick. Which is great, ’cause I really don’t like being the ‘new’ person. I see me doing this for a while. I hope!

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

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

The Kid’s Room is Done, An Unveiling

After spending a few extra hours over the past couple of days to complete artwork, the Kid’s room is declared done. He is very happy with the results, and in the end, that is all that matters.

If you want to refresh your memory of the way the room had been for the first eight and a half years, you can see the “before” pictures here. I also have some photos that I shared with some of the transformation that you can see here.

The best way is to just jump in and show you photos of the room. When you enter the room, to your right is his bed. This is a custom built bed, designed to be a bit of a combination of a day bed and a platform bed. Meant to be comfortable enough to sit upon and play games or watch television. We wrapped the head and left side of the bed board with a leather-look vinyl. Using leather wrapped buttons, I attempted to tuft the boards, but it didn’t turn out exactly how I had pictured it. The frame, however, turned out better than I had hoped. The legs are actually fencing post tops, turned upside down following being painted black.

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The room’s overall theme is a combination of technology and industrial; blacks, grays and a accent color of red. New silver/gray microfiber sheets are topped with a very red comforter and sham. Sitting next to it, is a “leather” wrapped night stand. Sitting on top is his pipe lamp:

DSCN1535Continuing around the room, we have his leather easy chair, kind of a unique design that I found on Craigslist. Immensely comfortable!

DSCN1541It is on this wall, above the chair, is the first of the two pieces of art. Recently having stumbled across a very unique animated movie titled “Angels and Idiots”, both the Kid and I have fallen in love with the artwork. Together, we chose two large digital image from the movie and had them printed out in “industrial size” and then mounted with glue onto stretched canvases. It took a couple of tries to get it to the correct size and clarity of the print. I also used watercolors to add just a hint of the color that was part of the original print/movie. Just a very watered down ‘color wash’. I then painted the sides of the canvases gray on the three part print.

DSCN1540I neglected to mention that the room is painted in shades of gray; three walls in a lighter shade than the fourth wall (the wall on which the desk sits).

It is the desk that we come to next. It stretches the width of the wall, built around the large window. More details exist on an earlier post, which you can see here. He uses the desk often and provides much storage for extra computer pieces. He has set up all of his computers and servers on the right, taller desk top.

DSCN1529We found a unique chair for the desk:

DSCN1542Over each desktop, lighting has been installed to provide specific lighting. I managed to pick these up at a large retailer for 90% off as they were the floor models. Can’t beat that!

DSCN1532As we turn to the fourth wall, we have the piece that started it all; the buffet that was painted black. Perfect for storing his gaming systems and all the paraphernalia that goes with it. Has enough surface that he can have a television for his new gaming systems and a second one for his ever-expanding collection of older gaming systems.

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On this wall displays the other print that was made, this time on a single large framed canvas (note the color wash of his jacket and smoke):

DSCN1539This pretty much concludes the details of the room makeover. We did keep the rug that I hand hooked from his “camo” room, the colors mostly match and it is so very soft (made for 100% wool yarn). I will just throw a few more photos for your pleasure:

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Piping used throughout the room adds to the industrial look:

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The addition of a very modern/industrial ceiling fan and light fixture:

DSCN1526And so this concludes the work done to makeover the Kid’s room. He turns 18 in about six weeks and I hope that having a hip and comfortable space to call his own will keep him from spreading his wings and leaving the nest. :-) I suppose most parents are anxious to have their kids grow up and leave home, but not me. As far as I am concerned, he is my best friend and I hope to remain as invested in his life as I have been for the first 18 years.

Thanks for dropping by. Leave a comment if you’ve seen anything you like or have questions. And as always, keep making beautiful things, just for the sake of beauty.

julie

 

 

PS… I almost forgot to include a panorama photo that the Kid snapped with his iPhone. Pretty cool, huh?IMG_4846

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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