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 of 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 on some of the things I did now and laugh at my inexperience. Sometimes I realize that talent is a lot about experience, but some of it just comes naturally. And 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.

julie

From Pink to Black! A Dresser Makeover

Second only to the pink ombré color scheme, is my favorite color black. It is actually called “Deep Space” and has just a hint of blue in it. In the semi-gloss finish, it just makes pieces absolutely stunning!

I first used this when we re-decorated The Kid’s room. The room had been first decorated when we moved here from California. At that time, being nine and all, he was fascinated by everything to do with the military service, but aren’t most little boys? Two walls (and a closet wall) were painted with camouflage  in three colors over the base coat of tan. But about the time of his 16th birthday, he had grown tired of the scheme and wanted something more “grown up”. Thus was born the “industrial chic” look.

DSCN0828I really loved the way this turned out. We used pipe fittings for the handles of this converted sideboard, effectively making it a great entertainment center. He has flat panels for gaming systems as well as television. The drawers and cabinets provide a lot of room for the games and controllers and manuals. The point of all of this was to show you the beauty of this color. (If you’d like to see more and the final reveal, you can The Kid’s Room Unveiling.)

Recently, I ran across an ad on Craigslist listing some free furniture. We were quick to head over there.

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Looks like some good stuff, right? Well, it was, in fact it got better after we got there. Some of these pieces were already gone, but I did get the chair and the side table (the two most left pieces). But as we pulled up, the woman living next door came out to meet us and told us that she was coordinating the removal of everything from the house, as the renter that lived there had died.

She escorted us into the house and we were able to get an old 50’s blonde dresser with mirror and a blonde desk (which the chair in the picture above accompanied). I was trying not to be too greedy, as there had been someone else who was returning for other pieces. We didn’t have room for everything in a single trip, so we agreed to return the next day. I figured by then we could probably have whatever was left!

So, here is the dresser as we picked it up:

DSCN3608

It was in absolutely great shape for its age… although the drawer tracks needed a little work. Oh, and there was some damage to the back where the mirror was supposed to be attached; it looked as if this piece didn’t originally have a mirror due to the damage. Glue, sanding and priming were the first order of business.

It sat a while as I tried to decide what to do with it, although really not long at all. As I was arranging and taking inventory of what paint colors I had available, I found a brand new, unopened can of the “Deep Space” black. It was like lightning had struck!

DSCN3703Didn’t that turn out beautifully? We had originally wanted to re-insert the metal decoration but found that the space for them had too much paint to accommodate them. We spent a little time trying to clear the channels, but in the end it was going to completely too much work. I added fairly simple knobs in a silver finish as the final touch. And in the end, I love the clean way it presents.

This is another of “those colors” that just don’t photograph to show the true depth of the color. In person, this is just majestic! The same with my son’s piece.

I was almost finished working on this piece, got the photos and writing the text when it occurred to me that I forgot to show the mirror! Its a wonderful frame-less mirror with rounded corners, which attaches to the back of the dresser. I am thinking now, that I don’t think I will include the mirror. I suspect that this would most likely sell to a man and am pretty sure the mirror would just be unnecessary. Maybe I will hang onto it for a future piece.

I am on the last steps to several projects, so this week the blog posts will occur with more frequency.

Goodnight!

julie

A Most Adorable Vanity (Yes, More Pink!)

I had a big chunk of this post written when my computer decided it would rather do anything but let me write! So, this is “take 2”.

The Kid and I have been running all over Kansas City picking up treasures (and some not so much). In the process, I met Brittnee (Hi Brittnee!) and was introduced to this little gem:

00t0t_heezBoCqAMt_600x450I so love this design, which reached its height in popularity around 1939/1940. These are fairly simply built but usually had a veneer with a nice design. Finding this particular piece was especially nice as it included the mirror. Considering that the mirror is about eighty or eighty-five years old, it is in amazing condition. It did have its faults, though and I will talk about how to deal with them.

Let me show you some of the close ups before we really got started:

First and foremost, I attacked the drawers. In relatively good shape, all that was really needed was glue!

DSCN3646I am so glad that I invested in a large amount of clamps and clamps of varying sizes. Makes work like this a breeze.

Next came the cabinet. There were really only a couple of places that needed special attention: there was a piece of trim missing on the inside right cabinet. The other was left front cabinet… almost looks like a puppy cut her teeth on this! And the whole thing needed a good sanding! There was almost a nice veneer under that coat of paint, but it wouldn’t have been worth the effort to sand it down and varnish it. There just were too many dings and marks.

But, like you probably know already, I like to paint! And I like to paint with pink! Following the sanding, I prep’d it with my bold pink tinted primer. I really love the way that “mistake” is turning out. I wanted it tinted to go under my pinks and reds, but somehow it turned out super dark pink. But it turns out to have been a blessing in disguise, as you can easily see any areas that you may have missed when you get ready to apply paint!

DSCN3690While I worked on the cabinet in the garage, I opted to bring the mirror inside. Just makes it that much easier to work on. Two appliques went on this piece, one on the mirror (you can kind of see it in the photo above) and one on the face of the vanity itself.

DSCN3693I love the way that appliques make even the simplest things fancy! Additionally, I found this gorgeous beaded ribbon in pink (found it at Hobby Lobby in their Christmas section. Yes, they are already working on getting Christmas decorations ready!). After the mirror frame was painted and then the mirror placed; I simply used glue to hold the ribbon in place. So cute!

DSCN3700This photo shows not only the ribbon trim but a closeup of the applique. The little wood piece that helps support the mirror is new, to replace an outdated piece of trim. This was actually salvaged from a different dresser. Gotta love that. It is my one chance to show The Kid that I actually do use the pieces I save!

Next came the knobs. With the attention to details, I knew that the hardware would have to be special as well. I had found the back plates on eBay a while back and just happened to have four clear glass knobs (I actually had five, so now there is an extra!)

DSCN3692The photo makes it look almost gold, but it is silver. I just love little details like this!

Okay, a few more pictures of the final project:

DSCN3702(Its so hard to take a photo of a mirror!)

DSCN3698(Excuse my messy house!)

DSCN3691A little more of the mirror trim:

DSCN3701A quick ‘before and after’:

Well, that’s it! Tomorrow I have another reveal, so stay tuned!

julie

The Great Experiment Continues!

The last post I made, I explained how I was conducting a little experiment to see if it would be possible for me to simply live off the money I make “creating”. This week the experiment continues.

I had just the most awesome luck last week in running across quality pieces from a number of places. In addition to furniture pieces, we really made out with our ‘thrifting’ trips as well. I found a ton of old quilting books, one that dates back to 1949! Its really neat to see the way that women used to quilt before the adventure of rotary cutters and our fancy-schmancy sewing machines! Gives me a new perspective on just how good we have it!

IMG_8502And one of our favorites just happened to be clearing out their inventory of clothing. $1 for every stitch of clothing in the store. Couldn’t pass on that deal – so yes, I snagged another ten pairs of jeans. I have about a hundred projects going on it seems, but deals like that cannot be passed over! By now I am sure that I have enough denim to make a rag rug at least 20 feet round!

IMG_3254The Kid and I have been steadily working, but with days in the high 90’s and temps reaching into triple digits, it isn’t easy to spend too much time in the garage with heat and the paint and glue fumes. We’re made a lot of progress on quite a few projects in that time, though. I expect to have at least three or four ready for reveal this coming week, but until that I will just leave you with some parting pics!

DSCN3682Who said garages were supposed to be for parking your car?DSCN3685Part of our week long bounty. And I have ideas for all of it!

DSCN3686And yep, you’re looking at a pew! Lord only knows (pun intended!) where this will go, but it is solid wood and gorgeous! How could you say “no” to something like that?DSCN3690Projects have even spilled back into my kitchen! I can’t wait to show you this piece… it started out looking like this:

00t0t_heezBoCqAMt_600x450Prepare to be amazed! Or not. You decide! :-)

julie

Regal Red Benches for a Country Kitchen; Repurposing Headboards and Footboards

So, we finally finished the big project that we’ve been working on for a while. I think this one took so long because I really don’t want to let go of these benches…. I think I was looking for a way to keep them while we were working on them; it would explain why I was ‘dragging my feet’ on them.

It is what I would envision for my kitchen, if I had more of a country kitchen. Even so, I think they could work in my kitchen if I didn’t already have a dining room set that I am in love with. Sometimes I wish I could have two kitchens. We did away with the formal dining room in our house almost from the day we moved in (we had the open formal dining room closed with french doors and made into my home office), so I don’t have the room for a second dining room set. And the area that it resides in just off the kitchen is too small to accomodate anything other than the round dining room table. Sigh.

A while back, I finally took the step of transforming a head- and foot- board set into a bench. It was a small, cute little bench perfect for a little girl’s room… like a reading nook where one could curl up with a favorite teddy bear or doll and a book and be happy. That experiment turned out pretty well (at least I think so) and it sold really fast. The only thing I didn’t like was that the seat was too deep, IMHO, such that an adult couldn’t sit comfortably in it. But in the end, it really was designed for a smaller book reader or readers.

2014-12-30 16.46.34If I had made this to keep, I would have added a thick foam seat upholstered in a nice long wearing fabric.

Fast forward to today. I did the final touch ups last night (which explains the blue tape in some of the photos). Today we moved them into the foyer to allow more room for new projects; I already have two more projects underway!

2015-03-26 13.41.54 2015-03-26 13.41.38Okay, where to begin. It is a pretty straightforward task of taking the head- and foot-boards and turning them into benches. Sawing the foot-boards in half and then placing each one on either end of the head-board. Actually, learning the lesson from the previous bench construction, I realized that I needed to pay attention to the depth of the bench. It was my intention to make them benches to be used, perhaps at a big old country table, replacing individual chairs on either side.

Using one of my dining room chairs as a guideline, I marked from each end of the foot-board 16″ and then made the cuts. Each piece was then attached to the legs of the head-board. Our choice of construction is to drill through the leg and into the cut half, this seems the most solid method. We also added quarter round to add a little more strength. Then a board is cut (we used 1″x8″ pine) and attached to both ends of the foot-boards.

2015-04-02 19.53.24It was at this time we noticed something different between the two benches. Do you see it? I’ll let you in on the secret at the end, if you don’t figure out while reading this post.

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Next up was to attach a similar board to the back between the legs and then we measured and cut the seats. I knew from the start that I wanted to stain the seats, so we did not permanently attach the seats at this time.

2015-04-19 13.56.29

Both benches were then primed (I bought a primer and had Home Depot tint it red, the idea to make painting take less coats of paint. It helped, but not quite as much as I hoped. There was still five coats of paint applied! Red is a bear of a color to work with, but I think it is well worth it.

2015-04-19 13.56.14You can see in this photo that we were also working on the two pink ombre dressers at the same time. The garage can get a bit packed at times. :-)

2015-04-22 18.08.38The bench seats are in the forefront, I had spent this particular day sanding and edging and preparing to stain the wood that would become the seats. I think sanding is my least favorite thing to do. Necessary? Absolutely yes. Fun? Nope. The seats were then given three coats of stain with a light sanding in between, followed by three coats of high gloss polyurethane (also with light sanding in between). Whew! That’s a lot of sanding! The Kid really, really doesn’t like to sand, so I make deals with him about what he can do while I sand.

Time to assemble; the way this is designed, the seat just sits on the four bases but is not attached in any way. I think this makes it a little more maneuverable, in the event of an uneven floor or if it is to be used outdoors. Also means that there is less stress on any of the joints, which is always good.

2015-04-27 14.27.02For me and The Kid, these projects have almost become rote. However, we thoroughly enjoy all of the projects we undertake, though; especially me getting to spend time with my about-to-be-twenty year old son.

Now for the big reveal!

2015-04-28 20.09.462015-04-29 10.57.26 2015-04-29 10.57.12 2015-04-29 10.57.04 2015-04-29 10.56.56 2015-04-28 20.10.56 2015-04-28 20.09.58 2015-04-28 20.09.53 2015-04-28 20.09.32

A few of the pictures show a little blue painter’s tape… that was done to make a few touch ups. Its amazing how different lighting can make you see something you missed the first time through!2015-04-29 10.57.52 2015-04-29 10.57.44 2015-04-29 10.57.33Have you noticed the little difference between the two benches yet?

Red Benches DifferenceWe only noticed it just late enough that we couldn’t change it. Or, I suppose we could have, but we thought it would be fun to have something just a little different between the two benches. I think the foot board must have come apart at one time and when it was repaired, it was replaced upside down. A little extra charm!

Before&After Red BenchesI thought long and hard about making a table to go with these benches. And pick up a couple of similar, but not exactly the same, chairs for the head and foot of the table. Paint it all up to match. Seemed like a bit too much investment right now, though, see if they sell or not. Maybe if someone asks, we can take it to the next stage.

The weather is finally started to feel like spring and it makes working in the garage so much easier. We might have to take some time over the next few weeks to get back into my strawberry beds: weeding and planting additional plants. We also have to get someone to dig out a large hole in the backyard so that we can dump the equivalent of three 55 gallon barrels of compost under the garden bed. The Kid has some definite ideas about what he wants to plant this year.

So, I hope you enjoyed today’s reveal. We’ve already got lots more to share!

julie

OK, I Admit It… I Googled Myself! Sort of…

Something recently came across my desktop that indicated that one of my photographs that I have included in this blog had ended up on Pinterest without a link back to my site.

That gave me some thought. I had started to design a logo that I could print across photos that I posted, but then I thought it would just mean more work for me to add the logo to each and every one of my photos. And if people love the work that I show and want to re-pin it, I say ‘go for it’.

So, first I googled “suitcase dresser” and I got this:

Suitcase DresserSo my photos showed up three times in the first three rows. Woot!

Next, I googled ‘pink ombre dresser’ and I was not only first and second, but appeared five times in the first three rows!pink ombre dresserSo, back to actual projects! I did finish two more dressers, but to everyone’s credit, it isn’t very exciting. I’ve done this over and over and you know what? They are best sellers. They always are so adorable in any girl’s room, even if that girl isn’t so little!

I had opted to paint a dresser that isn’t up to my normal standards, I had picked it up debating whether to try another style, but it turned out that the idea wasn’t going to work. Since I was painting another dresser in the ombre style, I just did both at the same time.

Before&AfterWhiteDresserApologies for the bad lighting, but we had just gotten the “jewelry” installed and was late in the afternoon. But you get the idea. It was pretty much rote painting and I got The Kid to help this time. Primed, two coats of paint and added the handles.

Speaking of handles, I went online and ordered some new handles. I thought that they were a little bigger in diameter, but they are pretty. And they are appropriate for the intended buyers.

HandleSo, the other dresser was similar. I love when I get a five drawer dresser, then I get to use six shades of pink! So, not much to tell, so I will just show you photos:

Before&After PurpleYou can see that I actually have been getting pieces from a local auction site. They are sporadic as far as including furniture, but when they do, its pretty good quality stuff.2015-04-02 19.54.292015-04-22 18.09.462015-04-02 19.53.47 2015-04-19 13.56.40Most of the pieces need some TLC when we pick them up. Drawers need strengthening and re-glued. Some pieces almost need to be rebuilt, all of them needed sanding and spot repairs. But when the bones are good, it is worth it.

So, they we are. Next up is to finish the two benches we’ve been working on. They are being built using two sets of head and foot boards and painted red with stained seats. I absolutely hate working with red paint – not for the color itself, but for whatever reason this time, is requiring more coats of paint than anything I have done painted before. And I’ve done a lot of projects in red!

julie

Just a Normal Sunday… Right?!?

So, I managed to find some get-up-and-go and brought my current projects just a bit closer to ‘done’.

First up are two dressers getting the standard pink ombré treatment. Both are five drawer chests of drawers, I love when I get five drawers, that gives me the chance to paint with six different shades of pink! Pink, pink, PINK!

Here are the befores:

2015-04-19 12.58.586961-1They both were sanded and primed and today they both received their first coats of pink. Of course this followed the tedious hours of sanding… did I ever mention that I hate sanding? LOL

2015-04-19 13.56.40And… we’ve been working on turning two pairs of head and foot boards into benches. We totally lost momentum last week, but now we have found a new push to getting them completed. I have been debating on whether or not to build a farmhouse style table and maybe add two ladderback chairs before selling. Haven’t quite decided.

2015-04-19 13.56.29And speaking of undecided, we put the first coats of red on the benches. Holy cow! I don’t think this is the right red… it leans way too much to the pink spectrum that I am thinking a new deeper shade of red. I could have sworn that the paint was the same thing I used when painting my own pieces (you know that I love red, right?) but obviously it wasn’t. In fact, I started wondering where so many of my gallon paint cans came from… time to purge!

Spent a bit of time working the cross stitch project too. Now that day light is around longer each night, it gives me more time to work on the project. For some reason, I cannot accurately do the stitches by lamp light, only day light. Totally weird, huh?

I’ve just about made it through my list of started but unfinished projects. Crazy thing is, I don’t really have any new projects in mind! What ever will I do?

julie

Being A Bit Lazy So Far This Year…

Wow, I can’t believe that it has almost been a week since the last post. I knew I needed to take a breather, but when I stopped and looked around, it occurred to me that I have pretty much done nuthin’ for the last few days. I am hot on a binge watching of “The X-Files” (and loving the oh-so-young David Duchovny) and working on the “hee-you-JUH” (well huge for me) cross stitch.

I think I “started” this sometime last year after running across the photo in a magazine in my doctor’s office (don’t tell that I stole the mag!) and I think I alluded to this project once or twice in this post.

"The Road Across the Wolds" by David Hockney

“The Road Across the Wolds” by David Hockney

I did manage to get a significant part completed on one (of four) canvases before becoming overwhelmed with the process of connecting the four canvases together.

I picked it back up on New Year’s Day, just to keep my hands busy while The Kid and I (that’s for you Jennifer!!) started the marathon. I am vowing to work on it at least a little every day, and maybe, just maybe, I will be able to show you the finished work next New Year’s!!

So, here is today’s update:

01:05You will see that I actually did connect the four pieces together and finish the wheat field that spills into the left bottom canvas. I then switched to the upper right canvas and have been working on the fields. And wow, there are a LOT of fields! :-)

I did sell three pieces on Craigslist, the pink pieces I did. I met a nice gentleman who is very good at talking me down on my prices. Grrr. Not a fan of that. Especially since he mentioned on one piece he was planning to repaint. I really don’t care what people do with the pieces once the buy them, but I don’t wanna know that my hard work is soon to be erased.

Okay, that’s it for today.

julie

The End of the Year: Project One

If you’ve been reading the site, you know that for the past few weeks, me and The Kid have been working diligently on a handful of projects. I want to finish them all up by the end of the year and write them up, one at a time.

This one came on the heels of the last set of projects, as I had two parties interested in purchasing the same two dressers. These dressers:

2014-11-22 09.42.34 copyLet me tell you that we looked everywhere for another matching set of dressers. These don’t come along every day. In all our looking we never ran across another. At one thrift store, though, I had an “AHA!” moment. As I saw a very nicely constructed long dresser, you know one of those 3 drawers in 3 rows that most people don’t want these day? In this piece, I saw two 3 drawer dressers. With a little work, that is.

DSCN2889We took out all of the drawers. Next, we took off the top. Then the back came off.

DSCN2891We marked the lines where we wanted to divide the two parts and then, using a circular saw, we cut through all three pieces. Twice!

DSCN2892Next, we cut new sides. This was pretty straightforward, just used the existing sides for measurements. Then brace pieces across the top to keep it together.

DSCN2908Next, came replication the bottoms. The Kid put a lot of work into recreating this exactly. I think he loves this, and he has a real knack for this. I just need to keep a fire under him to get it done.

DSCN2894We cut down the existing top to fit, as well as the back to add support. The last thing was to paint it in our signature pink ombré. And here is the Before and After photos:

Before & AfterWill I ever get tired of this paint scheme? I doubt it!

2014-12-29 20.56.36Okay, off to list these on Craigslist, I hope that they sell even though it is after Christmas. Need a little cash to finance the next wave of projects. I am heading in a different direction though, once all the projects are complete that we’ve started, we’re going to stay out of the garage for a bit.

Another project for tomorrow’s post. Come back and check it out!?

julie

The Sea of White is Now a Sea of Color

Just a quick update. The Kid and I have been our best to get these projects completed. We’ve been hampered by a spate of rainy and cold weather, subsequently we purchased a kerosene heater for the garage. It does the job of heating, but the smell is almost more than either of us can tolerate for more than a few minutes at a time. In fact, we took the day off yesterday as both of us battle migraine headaches. Headaches, I believe, came from over exposure to the smell. We are going to look into replacing the heater with something else.

The other thing that hampers us is that now it is winter, the sun sets so early. And along with that cold and windy weather comes an overcast sky, making working in the garage tenuous. The Kid has come up with an ingenious solution:2014-12-20 18.54.20Here are some more photos of the garage as painting continues:

 

2014-12-20 18.53.54Much of the white has bloomed into one of six shades of glorious pink. Have I ever told you how much I love pink? Could have something to do with being surrounded all my life with the opposite sex?!?

2014-12-20 18.53.43What didn’t turn pink was transformed with that recent discovery of Blue Mosaic – a deep but vibrant shade of blue that’s not quite navy. Its tough to pick out with the garage being kinda dim, but the two pieces are a buffet (far left of the pic) and a coffee table (you can see towards the right, its oblong top peaking out behind the pink cabinets in front). those two blue pieces have wood tops that have been sanded and moved into the house for staining and polyurethane. When finished will look like this two drawer dresser.

2014-12-20 18.53.54One chest of drawers (also known as a 5 drawer dresser) is a request piece. The body is an Ultra White with high gloss finish – actually called a mirror finish. And they aren’t kidding. Every time I look at it I think it was just freshly painted as it is looks so shiny! The Kid in the background is actually painting this piece’s drawers, five wonderful shades of pink.

Okay, for a “quick” update, I got kind of wordy! LOL

julie

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