The Weather is Just Not Co-operating. Argh!

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

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

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

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

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

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

julie

One More Denim (Finished a While Ago)

I know I made the proclamation that I wasn’t going to make any more quilts in denim for a while, but I actually did complete this some time ago and have had it stashed for a while. I finally when through the inventory in the guest bedroom, I ran across this one (and one other) that I have opted to place for sale on eBay.

DSCN2298I love the nuance in the shades of the denim, and I love the idea of the life that was worn into each of the squares of denim and then rescued and displayed in the quilt. The paisley fabric I chose for the trim looks almost like bandana material, and just compliments the denim. There is a small print red heart fabric on the back that really gives the calming influence of the blues and white – a nice contrast.

photo 1For what it is worth, this is the other quilt – also finished sometime ago – and going up on eBay:

DSCN2300I used the same fabric as in the sashing for the back. This is just hard candy colors and sometimes it is just fun to play with the dynamic colors. I could see this as a quilt for a boy or a girl that just graduated from a crib to a “big kid” bed. Or to hang on the wall of a nursery or kid’s room. I hope that someone buys it and loves the colors and the happy feeling that comes from it.

Okay, that’s it for today. I am in a very weird place… kind of in-between everything. I can’t really get excited about working on anything new and really, I shouldn’t be starting anything when I have so much to finish. But I really am having a tough time really getting back to the already-started-pieces because it means that there it will require working in the garage and the temps just aren’t all that comfortable. And that is probably just an excuse, I just am unable to get motivated.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

julie

More Denim, This Is It For a While…

Okay, I persevered and finished another denim quilt. This one fought a long and hard battle. It is the first time that I had to really rip seams and fix mistaken cuts. And not just once. And to add to the fighting, the weight of all that denim had me uttering choice phrases to the sewing machine. I even had to throw my hands up in defeat and leave it for a couple of days while I pondered the best way to finish it.

I think it all boiled down to four diagonal set-in seams. I have never been a big fan of set-in seams anyway, but that they were on a bias and diagonal didn’t help. Oh and yeah, broke four! needles in the process. Denim is not kind but I love the end result.

IMG_6145Now I have three more denim tops completed and have really paired down my stash of recycled denim, I am going to swear off working with it for a while. I flipped through a few books and magazines that I’ve marked with possible ideas but nothing seems to be sparking or lighting a fire under me. Maybe I need to take a break from sewing and concentrate on finishing at least one or two of the Victrola cabinets that I picked up a few weeks ago.

I’ve decided with one that I am going to turn into a little bar… with a little ice tub and a place for bottles and decanters and store glasses and napkins in the cabinet where albums were kept. I am thinking a walnut stained top and painting the cabinet a deep brown. The other cabinet is going to be an entertainment cabinet… using the former horn as an amplifier for an iPhone/iPod/music player and then adding a turntable and also making place for game controllers. This piece is going to be walnut stained top with a deep red/maroon cabinet. I think this will be really sharp.

There are two additional cabinets, a taller one that I think The Kid has his eye on it to be restored to the same sort of end product… a place for gaming systems and also a music system. And the last one has the makings to be the perfect bathroom vanity. I will have to replace the top with a solid piece (it splits in the middle right now), but I could see this is a beautiful ivory with maybe a piece of granite or ivory on top. Guess we’ll have to see how this proceeds.

Tomorrow I may go down to the Habitat’s ReStore and check out what they have in terms of granite or ivory and if they might have any vessel sinks that might work. Or any other interesting pieces that might be fun to work with. I still have the whole garage/shop job that I have planned, a post for another day.

julie

Rescued Wardrobe… Finished At Last!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you will remember that quite some time ago, I started work on rescuing an antique wardrobe. Well, since my last contract ended, I took the last push and finished it. Put the handles on it last night and wiped down the interior and took the final photos.

DSCN2270So here it is, it all of its black, white and shades of grey. Oh and the smallest touches of turquoise. I think it quite striking and I wish that I had a place to display it and keep it in my home. It is that beautiful. Oh, and did I mention? It weighs like 300 pounds, which means, that me and the Kid gotta pick it up and deliver it somewhere. And if luck holds out, it will be on a second floor somewhere. Whew!

DSCN2269I got lucky and the doors open and close easily, no sticking or creaking. This piece was absolutely a gem in its heyday, it is just too bad that the previous owner left it sit in a garage and made a mess of the walnut veneer. I imagine it was an absolutely gem.

DSCN2271As you can see, the interior escaped most of the damage that incurred on the outside. A thorough cleaning of the interior and the replacement of one trim piece and it sparkles like it must have always.

DSCN2272Last shot, you can see the multiple coats of polyurethane just shine in the evening sun… I just love the way this turned out. I especially enjoy the color scheme that was chosen. The stark contrast of the black and white with the shades of grey are stunning. I debated about the accent color, but in the end, I went with a favorite of mine – a deep turquoise.

If you care to see the previous blogs, you can see them here, here and here.

Now, to get them sold and move on to the next projects… picked up these lovely cabinets thanks to the generousity of a gentleman who only wanted the guts of the old record players. I think these will turn out to be very lovely pieces.

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I’ve also started on the third piece of stained glass, after thinking long and hard, it hit me… it has to be my logo for the doll accessories and clothing and furniture that I’ve been creating. Lends itself perfectly to stained glass. I still have to show you the last one I finished, although I think I realized that the image I chose was much too intricate and am not very happy with the way it turned out. But we can talk about that more in the next blog post.

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

Baby Steps… Can’t Rush the Creativity

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

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

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

Here was the art:

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

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

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

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

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

julie

 

Color Condendrum – Your Vote Counts!

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

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

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

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

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

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

imagephotoThis is going to be hard to ignore.

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

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

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

julie

 

Almost Forgot, Making Money Before I Even Got Started!

This occurred to me on my way to work this morning. I had totally forgotten to put in my last post about how I made $50 before I even got started!

Yes, those “ugly” handles really were worth the price of both the vanity and chest of drawers (or dressers… but that’s another whole discussion). Yes, picking up those two pieces only cost me $50 and the cost of driving about 60 miles. I took all those handles and pulls off and immediately put them on eBay. I held out for $50 and I got it easily. There is something about those period designs and the bakelite portions that make some people get goose bumps! Not me, so much.

But like I said, that made the “cost” of the dresser and vanity a great big ZERO! And now that they are ready to sell, everything is pure profit. Had the paint and the rollers and blue tape, so whatever comes out of this is pure profit. Of course, I am one of “those people” who will turn around and invest it in another project. :-)

Here is a shot of the hardware:

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I can imagine at one time that these gleamed and were quite beautiful. Just not my taste.

Thanks for dropping by!

julie

Doll House Sink/Cabinet and the First Food Items

I may have neglected to mention in my last post, that the dollhouse that I am building for my grand niece is for her American Girl dolls. For those not aware of the great doll wars – these are 18″ tall dolls supposed to be about 12 – 13 years of age. There are many less expensive dolls of the same size, such as My Generation and Madame Alexander as well as generic type dolls. You have to be careful when sewing clothing as there can be some differences in their body sizes, such as waist, hips, and leg length.

I have come to the conclusion that this size, versus smaller dolls (1:6 scale) or the standard dollhouses (1:12 scale). Things are so much easier to build and sew for. You actually have a greater chance of finding things in a smaller size of everyday objects that will work, like espresso cups and small bowls (like the ones used to hold dipping sauce).

In my last post, I showed you the refrigerator and stove that I build and now is the last piece of the cabinet that I will be doing for my niece’s dollhouse. It is a sink in a cabinet combination. This is a moveable piece (as opposed to the other dollhouse I am building that will have actual cabinetry built in (and that includes upper cabinets).

Without further ado:DSCN1487The basic construction of this piece is a drawer that I rescued from a seriously broken desk. It was in really sad shape, the top and sides were in deplorable condition, so I rescued the drawers (and their hardware). Who knew what can come from a lowly drawer?

I simply cut doors and the top panel from 1/4″ plywood, the doors are attached with small hinges and the top panel is nailed. Using the sink to draw the template that had to be cut in both the drawer box and the counter top. By the way, that “sink” is actually a very small steam table pan called a “ninth size” (6 3/4″ x 4 1/4″) that I bought off eBay for less than $4… and works perfectly as a stainless steel sink.

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I added a couple of round feet, salvaged from legs of a small table that I also rescued from Craigslist. The counter top has rounded corners and is covered in a very cool faux tile that I found at Home Depot called ‘Smart Tiles’ (you can read more about it on their website here). They’re very think and self adhesive and I think scale-wise works perfectly. I shaped the faucet and base from polymer clay and then used two small wooded knobs painted silver for the handles.DSCN1486I had accidentally cut the doors just a little narrow, so I inserted a vertical board to fill in the void and also add some stability. I also installed a small shelf to help provide some storage below. A couple of white narrow knobs following three coats of white spray paint over a coat of primer.

DSCN1489So very easy and I think it will be very durable. Here is one final picture in its place in the dollhouse.

DSCN1490The feet might have made it just slightly taller than the stove, but I don’t think that is a big deal. Little ones don’t seem to mind that the things they play with aren’t perfect. I also have collected some plastic food and pans and although they are a bit larger than either 1:3 or 1:4 scale, I don’t think she’ll mind.

Speaking of food, I was playing around with the polymer clay and created some faux food.

First up was a couple of plates of fried eggs and strips of bacon. It took a while to get the colors right on the bacon and I am still thinking it could use some tweaking. These are the plates I got about 10 years ago at IKEA and have been packed away ever since. They are perfect!DSCN1484

Then I worked on a pie, I guess it would be apple pie based on the lattice crust on too. Using a small baking dish – yes, that’s a real ceramic pie dish – I just cut a bunch of shapes that would sort of look like fruit. Then placed them on top of the bottom crust and then wove the top lattice crust. Other than not using real food, the steps were very similar to that of making an actual pie! I used watercolor paints that I thinned way down and then poured into the pie to get coloring throughout and then painted the lattice crust.

DSCN1485Oh, I also sat and rolled peas from the polymer while the Kid and I watched a movie. I had sort of expected for them to fuse together when I fired them, but they didn’t. I spread them out on a painting cloth and using an awesome green, spray painted them. I had to keep rolling them around, trying to get all of the sides and I think I finally made most of them the same color, but since variations are natural in nature, I think that the ones that aren’t solid green make the whole bunch perfect!

DSCN1491Turned out pretty cool, if I have to say so myself. I think that going forward with work on my dollhouse, I will continue to create food, both for me and my grand niece. Its fun and relaxing as well as challenging to keep coming up with more food items. Think I will work on some boxes and maybe canned food, reducing the size of labels should be pretty fun.

Tomorrow I will posting the final shots of the dollhouse. And a week later, we’ll load it into the truck and head to Des Moines and deliver it. I am planning on including some pics of the by grand niece with the final product set up in her room. I think it will be a blast.

To be perfectly honest, though, I really am ready for this piece to be done. Lots of little details and issues and I am ready to move onto something else. My own dollhouse may take a back seat to my next project, but since it occupies a very visible place in my entry way, I will be reminded of it constantly. :-)

Thanks for dropping by and remember to keep making beautiful things!

julie

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