Wonderful World of Paint Stir Sticks

A while back I ran across some decorating schemes using paint sticks. I’ve been using paint sticks for many things, from whole projects to repair. The one I am going to show you today was actually The Kid’s idea. He came up with the idea and did all the work. I am so impressed, and happy too.

DSCN2386See, this is how I’ve been storing my glass paints. I started with those tubs, left over from cookie dough, but I soon filled them up and expanded to a small cardboard box. But when that overflowed, I knew I would have to do something a little more ‘constructive’. I started talking about it with The Kid, mentioned that I had a few dresser drawers that might work, but left the design and build to him.

And this is what he came up with:

DSCN2387This is a bunch of paint stir sticks. Lots of cuts and glue. But this is so cool! I loaded it with the paint bottles head in, so that I could see the color from the bottom. It also keeps the glue at the tip, which is handy since you’re not supposed shake this paint, so keeping the paint at the tip makes it easier to use right out of the box.

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I buy paint from Home Depot constantly, so I don’t feel bad about taking a handful each time I go it. You can see the branding in orange paint.

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Here it is loaded up. The dividers are placed with just a hint of a downward angle, to keep the bottles from falling out when moving it. He added a handle to the top to move it easily.

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This is a little chart that I put together (work in progress) that shows all of the different colors of paint dry. I have found DSCN2393that this is essential, as many of the colors look nothing like you might imagine they would be dry. I have had to remove some paint on a couple of projects when I found that the color dry was nothing like the color wet. I have a list of the colors and their numbers that gets stored behind the frame. Its an interesting piece of art all on its own, I think.

So, I had promised to write a few posts about what I use paint stir sticks for. This is the first. I also used them a lot when building the doll house, especially in the kitchen. I glue them side by side and then use them as thin, yet strong boards.

In thess photos, the fronts of the bottom cabinets and the little cabinet next to the fridge were built using the stir sticks. Also the pub table and stools. They are made of 100% pine, so they are wood, and can be used in any way that one would use wood. At least in small portions. Which when working in the scale of doll houses, is perfect.

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The little wood box next to the fireplace was another project. I’ve made numerous and varied sizes of boxes, sometimes just to hold supplies.     DSCN1893

The doors and shelves were a perfect place to use the paint stick wood. Nice and thin, yet strong and paint-able. The perfect size when working in miniatures.

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Some more shots of the wood as it was used:

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DSCN1876I find that whenever I go to Home Depot – which is often – I stop by the paint department (if I am not already going to that department specifically) just for a handful of sticks. And sometimes I even use them to stir paint!

We’re having a wet and cool stormy day here in the Midwest and I am thinking that not much is going to get done. At least not anything outdoors.

julie

 

 

PS…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 with you!

Tiered Baking Plates… They Present Cupcakes!

Woke up this morning not feeling the best. You know how that goes. I am thinking that nothing is going to get done today, except making my way through the third (or is it fourth?) season of “Mad Men”. But I thought I would get at least one more post out of activities completed so far.

Yesterday was a bake-fest. The Kid was essential, he is going to make someone very happy in the kitchen. We made two and a half dozen cupcakes, a double batch of bread pudding (mmm my favorite) and baked cornbread muffins. I figured while the kitchen was a mess and the oven was hot, we might as well take advantage of it. The cupcakes were done specifically to show off something that I’ve been working on. Hopefully it will be successful.

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I’ve been collecting these clear plates and short candle holders from thrift stores and making these cupcake tiered plates. I love the elegant way it makes the cakes look and especially the four tiers.

Here are some more shots of the different tiered plates:

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It is what is wonderful about making these, the different styles and weights and diameters of the plates and the candle holders.

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I have endeavored to avoid holiday themed plates (like Christmas and Easter)  but there are so many styles to choose from.

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And the wonderful thing is that they can be as large – or small – as you may want. They can be two, three, four – even five – tiers and the taller they are, the more elegant they become.

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As you can see, the patterns couldn’t be more different. The largest plates, I have found, are the heaviest and therefore make a great base or anchor.

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The candlesticks are also different styles and heights. They all work well with the plates and they provide enough height between the plates to allow for cupcakes, pieces of cake or other candies or even sandwiches.

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I’ve done these with my own china pattern as well as collected a set much like the ones above. Sometimes I wished I did more entertaining, just so that I could use this!

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So, you’ve seen three and four tiered, aren’t they just fabulous? Oh, and while I do my thrift shipping I am always on the look out for certain things: clear platters and plates, candlesticks, any and all kitchen things in red; utensils that would work for chimes, sheets that work well for drop cloths, picture frames, decorative jars and cut glass, someone else’s craft materials (always a good deal) and the unusual items that would work well for other projects.

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Like these two square plates I just managed to see… I don’t know if they were once part of a larger set or someone else had found them and put them together. And just a few inches away sat a little while candlestick that screamed it wanted to be paired with the plates.

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Another quick snapshot with cupcakes this time.

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For example, I found this large jar that just called my name… I don’t have a use for it just now, but it was so cool and priced right. I have a similar jar, not quite so angular, that holds the matches that were collected for years – especially when we were smokers and did a lot of traveling. It used to sit on one end of the  fireplace and I always wanted a second one to balance it out, although the fireplace has different items now. What to put in it is still a question (if you have suggestions, lay it on me!).

Well, still have plenty of work to do and we have our neighborhood garage sale next weekend, which means I will be doing plenty of organizing and cleaning while figuring out what to sell. A fantastic opportunity to get rid of some things, maybe sell some of my finished projects and, of course, some American Girl accessories that I’ve made. I’m planning on setting the dollhouse out, just to see if I get any offers or interest. I would SO love to get this behemoth out of my entryway.

julie

Let’s Finish a Few (Before We Start More)!

With all the work that I have been doing with furniture lately, I have developed quite the respect for furniture design and well made pieces. And nothing breaks my heart more than to see a gorgeous piece that has been not only been neglected but abused.

This weekend, I picked up a glorious old vanity. The owner told the most wonderful story, about how his parents had lived in occupied Japan and bought this pieces. Solid oak and well appointed. Well built and professionally finished.

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But it had been passed down to a different sibling and in the following years, this once lovely piece of furniture had been relegated to a damp, dusty basement. And if you’re reading tis, you probably know what dampness does to wood, especially on veneer. Even as we were carrying it from the basement, pieces of the basic structure were literally falling off! But we had the good opportunity to retrieve every last piece and it is now undergoing restoration.

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From the appearance of the bottom, it almost looks like it was sitting in four inches of water.

We cleared all of the decaying, which is most of the “skin” of the piece. The next step was to start gluing the pieces of the legs back together… we used all the clamps that we had available!

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That is the nice thing about working with these older projects, they are all wood and wood can be made whole again. The newer furniture being churned out of the factories today are made of cheap plywood and pressboard and vinyl and plastic made to look like wood. They fall apart easily and after their initial “shine”, they really show their true bones. Or lack there of. That is what I look for whenever I am presented with an opportunity… the piece has to have “good bones”.

Which reminds me, on our recent treasure hunting, I found an old Singer sewing machine. I love those old ones with the treadle and iron base, I have one that was passed down to me from my mother’s mother, but it is immaculate and I could never do anything to damage it. One day, I would like to make the necessary repairs to get it going, I believe it only needs a belt and a good cleaning.

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So, I found one that the primary cabinet was nearly fallen apart (much like the vanity above). But the side drawers were in fantastic shape, so I dragged it home. I’ve since removed the base and carefully taken apart the cabinets and they are progressing.

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I am painting it the soft green shade that I used in my sewing room, I figured that I could use it to store bindings and elastic and those other little packages that seem to resist being organized.

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The sewing machine, much to my regret, was sold for scrap, but it wasn’t operational and definitely wasn’t worth putting too much effort or money in doing so. I am still trying to figure out what to do with treadle base, if you have ideas, please share.

So much more work to do, and sitting behind this computer isn’t getting it done!

julie

 

And My Favorite Status: SOLD!

I finally moved one of the two behemoths out of my entry way and turned them into cash! Yay!

The wardrobe has been finished for a while and I was beginning to wonder if anyone would find the makeover to their taste. I was jockeying ways to actually keep it and make it the centerpiece of my entry way when I got the email. If you want to take a look at the previous blogs which described went into the restoration and painting of the wardrobe, click here.

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I happily helped load it into the back of their SUV in exchange for a tidy sum of cash. I like it when it works out that way.

I also had just put the finishing touches on the off-white vanity and no sooner listed it for sale, then a lovely woman called to claim it for her daughter. I hadn’t even had a chance to post the finished pics here.

DSCN2341So, the vanity needed very little work, it was just in brilliant condition. A few minor fixes to the veneer, we (me and my trusty sidekick ‘The Kid’) attempted to replace the missing veneer pieces. It was good practice.

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DSCN2334It turned out okay, but not spectacular, so I opted to go ahead with painting the entire cabinet. I loved the simplicity of the design on the drawers and mirror. And of course, my new favorite color – Vanilla Custard – gave it an elegant look.

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At the last minute, I came across an old piano bench, the top so warped and the veneer almost non-existent, that I opted to use along with the vanity. Apologies for the bad lighting, but I only had finished the bench before sunset and could take a quick snapshot before the buyer arrived.

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DSCN2347As it was a former piano bench, the top hinged up to reveal a little storage under the top. It was a simple job to add a piece of two inch foam and then wrap it with the softest velour I could find. And without having a sample of the paint with me, I picked out the fabric and the color was a spot on match.

As timing would have it, we picked up another vanity and bench seat! I am in the middle of so many projects… on top of that, I am trying to keep an active job hunt going. There might just be a point that I would be grateful to go back to work and not worry about how much furniture is occupying my three car garage!

julie

New Favorite Color – Vanilla Custard

Had a break in the weather – actually had a couple of days with temperatures in the seventies. And then, of course, it dipped back down today to make it too cold to paint in the garage again. So frustrating. If temps don’t go back up soon, I will be bringing in the latest aquisition of a vanity to work.

I thought I’d give you a sneak peak at the pieces as they are drying their third coat of paint, using my new favorite color and sheen. I am using  high gloss paint in a shade called Vanilla Custard. It is a warmer than an ordinary white, bordering on a very light yellow. I had originally planned to use it in conjunction with some touches of Blush Pink, but now am giving that color scheme a second thought, I like the Vanilla Custard all by itself.

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The bottom large drawers have a beautiful motif on their fronts. This may (or may not) be highlighted in a coordinating pink.

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The primary body of the vanity in the Vanilla Custard. Three coats of paint in high gloss finish make this piece just shine. Love the front legs on this piece. Even though you can’t see it in this photo, the smaller drawers have some extraordinary motifs as well.

photo 9The mirror frame also has some nice carved detailing. This piece required the most work, as all of the joints had come loose or apart. Just need to reinstall the glass and re-attach to the vanity.

photo 10Small piano bench I picked up that had a warped bench top. Removed it and will be replacing with a padded cushion in the softest fabric in the same shade of white. Like the leg detailing… not too much and not too little.

Both pieces were found objects, absolutely free! The big investment besides elbow grease and some screws and glue was the paint at a hefty $17. I am tempted to keep this one, but it really is completely different than my current bedroom style.

Well, that’s it for tonight. Come back soon for the unveiling!

julie

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