Making My First Needle Book

Things have been a little hectic in my life, so I thought it was a good time for a little downtime from the furniture projects and do some hand sewing. In getting all of the bits and baubles that I have finally gotten around to organizing, which gave me a central collection for all my hand sewing needles. So, then I needed to figure out a way to store them properly. It was then I stumbled onto something that apparently has been around a long time, which I’ve never heard of. Which is all I needed to jump into it with great enthusiasm.

What I am a speaking of? A simple little thing called a needle book. Did a little search on Google and then again on Pinterest, and came up with some great ideas. So, I settled down with some great movies and felt and thread and set about making my own.

2015-09-22 17.50.56I had a different cover created, one that I had started embroidering, but when it came time to put the cover on, I found that I had seriously underestimated the book’s thickness! So, instead of using it, I had to make a new cover and it was left unadorned. I really had wanted to make sure that it was going to work out, rather than spending a lot of time and effort on it and not being able to use it again. And in the end, it worked out good enough.

My initial thoughts is that it would be a small book. But as I worked on it, I added a pocket for a pair of small scissors, and another pocket for a small round container of needles. I began adding pages for the different types of needles that I have: crewel, upholstery, darning, sewing, embroidery… who knew there were so many different types? Or that I had so many of them! This was just the small collection that I had downstairs with my crafting supplies. I might be afraid if I gathered together in a single spot all the needles that I have in my sewing room!

So, several pages completed, I realized that I had four packages of unopened needles and it might make more sense to leave them in the package. So the inside pages were really pockets, opened to the top. I attached the jacket and it looked great. The closure was a simple button on the front with an elastic band to close it. The real problem happened when I put all the needles ‘away’. Now it appears that the book is too small for all of the needles and especially too small for the cover. It was fun creating it, and I learned a lot of lessons doing it, so now I will start working on another, correctly sized this time. And I will be going all out on the decorating this time; cover, pages, everything.

But, I’ll share the photos of this one. I like it for my first attempt.

2015-09-22 17.49.52 2015-09-22 17.49.112015-09-22 17.48.472015-09-22 17.48.37 2015-09-22 17.50.01 2015-09-22 17.50.09 2015-09-22 17.50.302015-09-22 17.51.15If you have suggestions or comments or photos of your needle books, I’d love to hear from you!



On Second Thought, the First Thought is Usually Right!

In my last post I showed you a neat little way to store your bits and baubles. At the very end, I mentioned that I considered adding elastic bands across the front of each shelf.

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Well, in tidying up before heading to bed last night, I barely tapped the edge of the cabinet and… well, you can see the result! I guess that “might” has turned into a “definitely” be adding it! Once is quite enough of picking up those bottles!

Saturday, I started work on painting the six chairs for the dining table. I had spray painted them white as a primer and had initially wanted to continue with spray painting with the final red color. But after spending the better part of an afternoon working through five cans of paint, I am less than enthusiastic about how it is turning out. For whatever reason, the coverage is not as good and in the process of trying to get good coverage, I am getting drips and too heavy coats. Not to mention that the overspray coated me such that it looked like I was sunburned and took a bit of scrubbing to get it all off. I had to wipe down areas on at least four of the six chairs, which then required re-priming. Sigh.

This set me back a bit. Which is why I decided to take the day off from working on it today. Just wanted to clear my head and rethink my next steps. Instead, I’ve been working on something fun and relaxing and watching old movies.

Hope y’all have had a great weekend too!


Storing Little Bits and Pieces – The Ingenuity of Using Paint Stir Sticks

Finally! Beautiful weather again. It has been either raining or seriously windy (or both) for the last couple of days. Not exactly the best weather to be spray painting! today, that changes. I am so ready to complete this big dining table and chairs project. I also have someone coming today (cross your fingers) to purchase the oh so girly pink on pink vanity!

One thing I did manage to complete (at last!) is this challenge of building something useful using paint stir sticks. I am going to be putting together a post soon on all the amazing things that can be done with those little sticks – in addition, of course, to stirring paint! Look for it soon.

But here is today’s project. Actually it was completed last night, but it was late and I was tired, so it is being posted this morning. The thing could have been done ages ago, but I had to wait for the final piece to arrive from eBay. It is both a great and a aggravating thing, buying things from eBay that are coming from China. Great, great, GREAT prices, but you have to be prepared to wait for them to ship from the other side of the world and deal with everything involved including customs on both sides. But the bottles arrived yesterday and I spent a full day organizing supplies. Woot!

2015-09-18 21.07.56

If you follow my blog, you know that I have been experimenting with beading and sequins and it has been oh so much fun. And of course, I have to go overboard on everything, nothing in moderation, so I soon realized I would need a better way to organize and store all my little pretties!

I had a few of the plastic bottles, they’re plastic and 60ml and purchased from eBay. I used some for a different project and had some leftover, so using the bottle as a guide, I laid out the grid using paint stir sticks. These are the larger size and even at that, I had to join them to get the length I wanted. I started the whole thing simply by rummaging through my leftover 1/8″ plywood for a size that might work, and this is what I found. It turned out to be long enough for 9 bottles wide and 8 rows. I only had about 30 bottles, so I found the seller online and ordered the additional bottles I needed.

It was a simple project, since the bottles are so light – even with their contents – it didn’t require any massive work or planning. I doubled up on the sides and simply glued the paint sticks to the back. This is where my massive (and wonderful!) collection of clamps come in so handy! When it was all dried, it required just a little sanding and then I spray painted it black semi-gloss. The whole idea is to showcase all of the baubles, not the case, so black was a good color.

I have to admit that originally I intended for the rows to hold 10 bottles, but with the side reinforcements, it narrowed the length just enough to not allow space for that tenth bottle. It works out, though, as having a little room makes it easier to get your fingers on the individual bottle since they’re not so tightly packed in there.

2015-09-18 21.08.13It isn’t very deep either, as it is the width of a paint stir stick. And the whole thing is so light, you can pick it up with one hand. I have been toying with the idea of stretching an elastic band across the front of each row so that if bumped, everything doesn’t come tumbling out. I will keep my eyes open for something that might work while I am out perusing the shelves of Michael’s, Joann’s and Hobby Lobby.

If you have done a project using paint stir sticks, please let me know! I think I want to showcase about ten projects/ideas and am looking for innovative ways that the sticks have been used.


Work Continues… We’re Drawing Closer to the Finish Line

I’ve always been a bit myopic in my posts, especially this one. I have always sort of seen the value of the completed project over the path of creating it. I know that it is wrong, that one thing people search out is the process of creating, in addition to the beginning and end projects. I just haven’t been the best at doing it… and I am always trying to address it.

I have several projects in the works, I talked about them in my previous posts. These particular projects have many steps, and often each step is but a few minutes and then waiting. Painting and waiting for it to dry. Staining and waiting for it to dry. Waiting for the staining and painting to attach the legs. Waiting to attach the legs so that the skirt can be attached. And it goes on and on. I’m sure you get the bigger picture.

So, today seemed to be momentous. It seemed that real steps forward were taken and results achieved. Still not done yet, but we’re getting there.

DSCN3768The door (for the dining table) has been stained and polyurethaned with two coats each. In between each coat is a light sanding. The coloring turned out gorgeous! (I am telling you, this particular project is going to be very hard for me to part with!) In this photo, you can see the underside of the door… I had to flip it over to finish – silly me, not thinking – since the door has a large piece of glass in the middle of it, you will be able to see through it! Duh! So, the table skirt also had to have more painting… again, not thinking! But the red against this deep stain color is just stunning!

DSCN3759The top of the sideboard has gotten the same treatment, although because the type of wood differed from the door, it required an extra couple of steps and some experimenting to get the color to be the same. All in all, it turned out perfect!



We moved the sideboard (sans top and drawers) into the garage. The drawers has all the previous holes filled as I’ve finally made a decision on what hardware is going to be used. So, it took a little sanding and then re-priming and re-painting the drawer fronts.

DSCN3762DSCN3765I cleaned and painted the hardware, which was salvaged from an old piece. I used a deep metallic brown that has just a hint of sparkle to it and I think it will be spectacular when we get it installed. It has a bit of a fifties flare, I think.


I am considering using the same paint for two additional head chairs and did a color test. I want to give it a chance to dry and perhaps a second coat before I make the decision. Light might help too. :-)

DSCN3766Next up, the six chairs have been moved onto the driveway so that I could complete the priming. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous and I wanted to take advantage of the sunshine and mild temperatures. The fresh air helps when doing all the painting as well. Six cans of premium white paint and the six chairs are finally ready for their color.

Our neighbors to the right of us are having their house painted, so to protect our cars from overspray, we moved them down to the street. Thank heavens for the large circular semi-cul-de-sac that we live on, having them parked out there doesn’t interfere with traffic. Its almost too funny to think that when we bought a house with a three car garage, we thought we would actually park the vehicles in them!


The wood appliques that I ordered online finally came so that I could finish the pink ombré head- and foot-boards. I like the appliques, but wasn’t paying close enough attention when I ordered them. I thought I was getting 7″ x 7″ but in reality they were 7 cm x 7 cm, so much smaller than I thought.

DSCN3763 DSCN3764

But they are just enough and add that something special that I was looking for. Now to get the side boards done. They actually came with a different head and foot board – I was just naive enough to think that they would work on any old antique bed frame. Nope! Different attachment mechanism entirely. Now I have to figure out if I can modify the ends of boards themselves or the connecting hardware in the bedframes. Sigh. Nothing ever seems to be easy.

Shown with the bed side boards on top of them

So, with that, this day is coming to a close. I am beat! Now all I want to do is take a shower, put my feet up and finish the beading project that I’ve been working on. I am this close…




Back to My Red Roots!

I have done so much of the pink that I think I am seriously on burn out from it. There is pretty much no creative process in it any more, it has become almost an assembly line. Yes, it sells and it sells quickly and for decent pricing, but from a creative standpoint, it isn’t doing it for me! Once I have the head- and foot-boards complete (waiting on some appliques), I think the pink goes on the shelf for a bit.

So, I’ve been working on a new line of furniture. I’ve been working on Home Depot’s line of pinks and reds for a while and noticed not so long ago that they’ve changed up the colors. So, of course, I want to use up what I have left and start working with something else. Well, a red caught my eye (and you all know how much I love red) and have set out on the quest of bringing red to the rest of the world. Ha!

“No More Drama red”.  And by wonderful accident, it matches the red that Rust-Oleum has in their double coverage high gloss spray paint! How’s that for a lucky accident?


A while back, we picked up some furniture from the warehouse of a religious school and church. I have a 8 foot office door, which is heavy duty wood with the inset glass. In the same run, we bought a 5′ pew, four wooden school desk chairs and 8 wood seating chairs. I think in all, we paid less than fifty dollars. Of course I forgot to take “before” pictures of the door, but I have already sanding down both sides and filled in the holes from the hinges and door knob. My plan is to re-stain it fairly dark, add a skirt and legs and turn it into a dining table. My guess is that anyone who ever went to a Catholic school might just love it! The legs will be this new wonderful color red that I found.

I swear I turned to The Kid and mumbled about replacing our round table with this one. I haven’t even started the paint and staining and I already know that I will love it! The wooden chairs will go with it, could probably seat eight comfortably and I just happen to have eight chairs! They are going to get the red treatment as well. Sanding the door took about four packages of sanding paper and many, many hours and really not looking forward to spending that kind of effort on eight chairs!  Maybe the two head chairs will be stained… gotta think about it though.

Here are the chairs…. does that take you back to the days of school?

My work shop/garage is always packed it seems. We’re not that far from snow and ice weather, so eventually I have to finish some projects or the cars will sit on the driveway. It is so much nicer to not have to scrape off from the windshields and protected somewhat from the cold.

I also picked up a long dresser that would become a sideboard or buffet cabinet. We are replacing the pressed wood top with real wood and it will also get the same stain as the door/table top. The body and drawer fronts are this new lovely red. You can see that I have a head start on the drawer fronts. All that red is making me giddy!





Disclaimer! For those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products or stores in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share.

Off The Radar For a Bit! Update of Beading, Gardening and Painting!

Things have been a little hectic for me, as of late. Of course that means my project work sort of falls to the wayside while I attend to other matters. It isn’t anything very interesting or even all that important, but it – along with the fact that my son has been unavailable to me – makes the project work get set aside.

Its funny how much we tend to take things for granted. Well, okay, so I should correct that and say how much “I” take things for granted. My son has been involved with something new for him and it has taken him away from home last week, first for five days and now again for 8 days. It really hits home that I don’t have his help – from simply helping me move and pickup items, but also his expertise and knowledge in the work we do. He also has a great sense of humor and fantastic ideas and I miss not having him around for that and for so many reasons. But mostly because he is an awesome kid and I love himIMG_1934.

I’ve been doing a little handwork with sequins and beading, just to keep my hands occupied. Sometimes it is funny how I will pick up a new hobby or skill, this time, just by making a small purchase to repair something. Now that I have the supplies and material, it seems a shame to not take full advantage of it and use more of the supplies. In this case, it was a great little case of a variety of sequins – colors and shapes – and seed beads. You saw one of my attempts a few posts back, but have been doing a little reading up on how to use seed beads and tube beads and have completed a couple of more projects.

I also have an update on our container gardening. I don’t know why I can grow my indoor house plants without even trying, yet when I make a obvious choice to grow something in a garden or container, I don’t seem to have much luck.  Here is the latest shot of my container tomatoes:


I actually did manage to get my first ripe tomato, albeit a little small. Oh well. IMG_3291

There are some tomatoes… but they don’t seem to be getting very big. The Kid isn’t faring much better with his sweet corn, the one in the container just dried out and the ones out in the yard are packed a little too tightly (I think). I haven’t been out lately, but once I was out to check on the corn, I took a look at my strawberries. IMG_3293Earlier in the year, I knew that they wouldn’t be doing much this year, so I let them just got to seed. Hopefully get some strong daughter plants and have better luck next year. Amazingly, 90% of the plants were gone! Most of the bed was littered with grass, but I was surprised to see that the plants literally were gone! There was a row of strawberries along the house’s foundation, and they had two mature berries. Okay, you want to see sad?  Here was the total “harvest” from the corn and berries. I told you! Sad.

On the subject of plants, however, I picked up a really big, very healthy plant from CraigsList. Somehow houseplants fare much better. In fact, even trying to kill a houseplant intentionally won’t happen. When we moved from California to Missouri some years ago, I just stopped taking care of the houseplants since I knew they would never survive such a trip. But even after weeks of inattention, they were still going strong. I moved them out to the yard when we had our huge garage sale and offered them to people as incentive for buying our other stuff!

So, this plant I picked up from CraigsList was a schefflera. Only thing “wrong” was the fact that it was growing too tall for the office waiting room it lived in! A bit root bound, so I replanted in a new larger pot with some Miracle-Gro soil and it is now a new center piece in my foyer. The first couple of times I caught the plant out of the corner of my eye from the kitchen or coming out my bedroom, it scared the life out of me, thinking it was some big hulking man or something! You can get an idea of how tall it is by how it dwarfs the china cabinet (which stands about five and a half feet. And during the pickup, I managed to snap off about two feet of the center stalk. It recovered nicely and is already sprouting new leaves and one at the base.

IMG_2375I had to move one of my golden pothos over by the door and now it is going crazy with all the indirect sunlight!

photo 1A quick peek at my garage… I’ve prep’d pieces for painting… the head board and foot boards in the picture will be given the “ombré” effect in pinks. I am hoping to be able to go back to all of my customers who bought dressers and nights stands and vanities and coax one of them to adding this to their current pieces. My first thoughts were that the spindles should be given the same paint scheme, starting at the top with the lightest color pink and then at the rings, switch colors, but that might be overdoing it a bit. (In fact, can’t even find a quick image on Google!) The Kid thinks that each spindle should be a different color, and even did a quick mockup for me:

IMG_0434I think I like that as it goes to the simple and clean look (like the dressers) and it is a lot less work! For a “guy” and for as young as he is, he has pretty good taste. I guess the apple didn’t fall from the tree. ;-)


Pink Ombré, Er… Upside Down?

I had one more piece to finish and wouldn’t you know it, I am all out of my base color (pink blush). So, I opted to go bolder, and use a color that doesn’t get used a whole lot. It is my number five color, so it only gets used when there are at least five drawers, which many times they aren’t. So for this little four drawer beauty, I did the cabinet with the number five color and then four drawers in the “normal” colors.

DSCN3729Isn’t it just adorable? I love when I pick up pieces like this, made sometime in the forties, they are just the minimum of materials, light and well built. And the classic white ceramic knobs just pop on these colors!

A while back, I had created what I called a ‘bill pay center’ from a turn of the century Victrola cabinet which I ended up selling. You can read about it here:


So, to replace it, I updated a new hi-fi cabinet. I actually like it better, I think the newer styling – I’m thinking fifties, maybe sixties – and I accented the speaker covers with a simple fabric. But it is just gorgeous and goes really well in my space.

DSCN3724One might think I like red! ;-)  The wood cover cleaned up beautifully with a good sanding and a light coat of varnish. It is just gorgeous! A couple more shots as I close today’s post:

And one more of the little dresser:

DSCN3730(My plants are just growing wild!)


Pink, Pink, Pink and More Pink! (Can You Stand A Little More?)

A few more pieces of pink. I hope you can stand it. Just a little more.


I repainted the night stand (shown on the most left in the photo above) to match the other night stand. The two dressers were project pieces – the intent of six drawer dresser when I picked it up was to separate it into two smaller dressers, but I think The Kid and I were just getting tired of the work and opted to sell it as originally designed.

Here are some more photos:

We did take the smaller dresser and add the trim around the base and the applique to give it a little more oomph, but structurally it is a great piece.DSCN3722

DSCN3607An update to the vanity: I also took an old wooden chair, cut it down, painted it and put the softest pink fabric (I am always amazed at how soft some of the new blended fabrics are!) on the seat and added it to the vanity. Perfect!

I am getting so bad about not taking the “before” photos as of late. I have one more dresser that is almost completed, and after that, I think I will work with something else for a while. Do you ever get tired of working with a single design/color scheme? I think I am there with the ombré pinks. Even though I have a lot of pink paints left, I think it will go on the back burner for a while.

There is one last piece to debut tomorrow and I already have one furniture project well underway. And I’ve been doing some more beadwork. I also have (more than) enough denim to start working on the rag rug. Oh and to upholster three chairs (with denim)! I am going to start with one and see if I can do it and if I enjoy it. I may just re-give away the other chairs if I find I don’t have a knack for upholstery.

Okay, time to ice the knees and enjoy my Sunday!


Assessing Value and Value Added! What is it Really Worth?

So, I recently had an email conversation about a piece that I had completed and listed for sale.

One of the things I learned very early in life, is that something is only worth the amount of money someone is prepared to pay for it.

Value can be a difficult thing to assess. What someone might deem value as one thing, I might think it is something else. But in the end, it will be worth what I am paid.

I’ve done many things in my life to earn money. From my youngest jobs of “walking beans” and “de-tassling corn” in Iowa, to a range of professional jobs, starting with secretarial work to my technical career as a quality assurance engineer. And the salaries have been all over the board. In the end, what I was willing to do to earn money was the value of my work. Experience has taught me what is in my own best interest.

So, when it comes to pricing the pieces that I create for the blog, it becomes a grey area. Obviously there are some very concrete costs that go into any pieces that I work on, including but not limited to, cost (if any) for the piece  plus a lot of smaller costs that shared across projects, like primer, paint, rollers, drop clothes, sand paper, tools etc. and also some soft costs, like my garage space, electricity, gas, phone and internet expenses.

And then there is time and talent. I spend a lot of time hunting down pieces, hours and hours spent on CraigsList and eBay and running all over Kansas City. And the time that it takes to complete each piece, and the process of deciding what I am going to do and later, writing about that experience. It has taken a lot of years to develop the experience of creativity. I think back now on some of the things I did then and laugh at my inexperience. Sometimes I realize that talent is a lot about experience, but some of it just comes naturally. And while I have always had a “knack” for creative endeavors, I just never could figure out how to turn that talent into cash, so for most of my life, I just did it for me and those around me.

So, when I started writing a blog, I wrote about projects and pieces that I did for myself. If you have ever been in my home or seen pictures (there are a few on this site) you know that my house is a lively, creative dwelling! Inside and out. When it got to the point where my home could no longer could hold anything new, I started giving away items to friends. As time allowed me to work more on my creative side, it turned out that I could turn those items into cash, allowing me to fund bigger and larger projects. And to allow me to add great tools to my workshop and my sewing room. As I worked and sold pieces, I realized that I could be underpricing many of my projects.

It has occurred me that I perhaps was undervaluing my work. After all, a lot of things go into every piece I do. I list a price, which yes, is subjective, but you have to start somewhere. If it doesn’t sell, if there isn’t any interest, then I will lower the price and entertain offers. At times I will offer these pieces to someone who cannot afford even these prices.

But back to the conversation. Somehow, at times, someone can say something that isn’t meant to be offensive, but does come off that way. You see, the piece that I had recently showcased here was for sale. And I provided the link in the ad, so a certain someone followed and read the blog. Awesome! Right?

Well, that person then seriously offered me much less than asking price. When I responded and let this person know that I couldn’t accept such a low offer, this person than countered with a slightly higher price. This person also provided a little insight to lack of funds, which could very well have sealed the offer, if this person hadn’t also said, “but I also know you got the dresser for free”. I have to tell you that I was very offended by those words. As if the only value that this person saw was in the actual physical piece. But not really in everything that went into it – as I’ve outlined previously.

Not sure what I am looking for with this post, other than to maybe explain what some people do not see in the finish project. And maybe, just maybe, one more person can truly appreciate what goes into a project piece.


Looking for Your Feedback! Please?

If you are a regular reader, you may know that I have been attempting recently to start my own business. The problem has been that I go into each venture, each idea, with much enthusiasm and good intentions. But somewhere along the line, something happens and I shelve the idea.

I’ve been working on another idea for some time, mostly in my head. I do scribble down the content and have amassed quite a list. The project? Custom t-shirts. Let me explain:

With my recent increase of watching entertainment (I think to call it ‘watching television’ to be technically incorrect), which includes programming with different languages, I have been watching using closed captioning. It certainly started by watching British television; some of what was being said with accents were down right unintelligible! But once the CC (closed captioning) was turned on, it stayed on.

It has become sort of a game with me and The Kid. Our personal favorite is [SCOFFS]. We repeat it whenever it is displayed. I, of course, win most of the time, as he “watches” while he is engaged with his laptop or phone. But we have taken to actually just saying the word whenever we feel that we, ourselves, are engaged in a scoff.

So, it occurred to me that it would make a very funny tee. It would definitely be an inside joke for us, but entertaining for others. I am sure that we are not the only ones watching television with CC on. And not on because we’re all going deaf, but for the simple reason that we can now really “hear” what is being said.

Black SCOFFSSo, the feedback I am looking for is:

a) Would you buy such an article of clothing?

b) Would you wear it?

c) Would you give it as a gift?

d) What would be your favorite CC description?

e) How much would you expect to spend (does not include shipping and/or tax)?

I am including a short list of CC that I would like to use, but have almost a hundred others. Before I go head first into this venture, I would love some feedback from you!

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.16.08 PMI also have to mention that the CC word would be embroidered onto the shirt, not a transfer. And the shirts would be of a better quality than many of the mass produced tees these days.

Thank you in advance!



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