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

Wow, Work Really Cuts Into Crafting Time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A shot from the top:DSCN1370

A quick pic from the other side:DSCN1371

A close-up of the glass handles:

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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

 

From Done To Sold In Two Hours

An idea that stemmed from the desire to avoid repetition in painting and decorating the dressers that I have been working on lately, resulted in the quickest sale to date. Dare I say that the paint was barely dry before we were loading it into the back of the new owners’ truck.

I knew that the pink ombré style was successful, and was looking for something similar to do and still sell easily. While browsing Pinterest looking for ideas, I stumbled onto a great idea: dots.

So, without spending a lot of time writing, I will just show you in pictures. Started with one cute but pretty rough little dresser and performed the usual work.

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The drawers were in pretty sad shape and all of them required gluing and/or nailing to make them stronger. You can see in this photo, the back of this drawer was completely missing!

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Removed all the hardware (oh how I have come to dislike that style ubiquitous to the seventies’ furniture) and did a quick sanding of all the surfaces. Moved inside and applied two coats of a primer followed by two coats of a new shade of pink – “Be Mine”. I had been using as a base a lighter shade of pink called “Barely Pink” (how apropos!) but had come to feel that it was too light. And it photographed as white. I didn’t want the base to be overpowering, so I only stepped up one shade. I think it was a good call.

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Also, because the interiors of the drawers had been so dirty and had tape residue, I opted to line them in a cute pink and white fabric. Pretty simple process, but the glue saturated the fabric and left some discolored areas. In the end, it turned out okay, but I don’t think I will do that again. Or will use a less porous type of material, like a cotton duck or light vinyl.

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Then, it was onto the dots. This is the photo that inspired the whole idea. You can see more of it here.

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It looks like she used the same sized circles but I wanted to do something a little more lively. I rummaged through my cabinets until I found four sized round objects to use… goes to show that you should never overlook the obvious nor do you have to use a “tool” like a stencil. Sometimes anything will do.

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I find that placing things randomly usually provides a more pleasing effect than an organized placement. So, I simply laid down the cups/bowls and started drawing ovals. I liked that most of the dots were restricted to the right side with one random dot that strayed to the other side. Each specific size was assigned a color, the darker compliments of the pinks above:

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It was just a matter of painting them in. I mulled over a couple of options, but in the end, just opted to paint them in by hand with a paint brush. It was actually relaxing.

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I was able to lay the dresser on its back on my ottoman in front of my sofa and watch a movie and paint them in. Quite enjoyable. Once I was done, I simply left it there to dry overnight. The next morning, only the darkest pink required a second coat and it was just a matter of minutes to complete it. Then added my trademark white ceramic knobs and the masterpiece was complete.

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Once done, a quick couple of minutes to take some pictures, write a description and post it to Craigslist. It wasn’t but a matter of a couple of hours and I had two parties calling interested. And, like I said, later that afternoon, the Kid and I were loading it into the back of a SUV on its way to a new home. Barely had time to admire it! Actually had several more calls about it, of course convincing me that I must paint a couple of more in the same style. :-)

So, a quick before and after:

Dots Before&After

I’ve got a couple of similar styled dressers already repaired, primed and have their first coats of paint. I was thinking of repeating this style, but not exactly, maybe larger circles or even stars or hearts. I might even try it with a blue cabinet and shades of blue dots or maybe something more ‘boyish’ like squares or stars. Maybe more neutral like green or yellow? Or perhaps a white base with more basic colors like red, yellow, orange, blue and green? Maybe try them all!

Thanks for dropping by and remember to keep creating beautiful things for the sake of beauty. The world is a little nicer to look at all decorated… :-)

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Another shot:

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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:

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and the very first effort:

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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

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