A Different Twist on Monopoly

You all know I have a love of Monopoly, right? I have collected dozens of sets of tokens from different games, used Monopoly money to cover a dresser and a star and have differing and various odds and ends that are Monopoly related.

I wanted to try something different. Previously, I have opted to “go large” with some creative work – large versions of quilt patterns, very large birthday cards, etc., but have never really gone “small”. One more thing I could try and it would be easier (I thought) than going big.

I did some clay work a while back, working on the doll house… miniature versions of food and household items, and I had a large selection of clay left. I created my own ‘tokens’ and die while watching television. And then I had an idea!

So, here is the Monopoly game I created:

dscn4791So, you may be wondering: what’s so special? Here is the game in its showcase:

dscn4804I recreated the entire game to fit within an 8″ square frame. The three tokens (an iron, a thimble and a dog) as well as the houses and hotels and the die were made from bake able clay. I created the rest simply by scanning the items or locating the images online. Many took a little maneuvering to get the right scale and lots of cutting.

There really isn’t a lot to tell, but will instead just show photos. I am including the printables at the bottom of the post.

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Working in such a small scale was not easy! I think the hardest item was to create the token pieces (and up close I don’t think they don’t even look exactly right!).

But it was a fun little project to do and I can say I did it!

julie

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School Desk Chairs to Outdoor Bench

First, I have to start this post with an apology. I normally think of myself as a very organized person, but when I sat down to write this about two hours ago, I found that my photos are anything but organized! To compound things, I have two cameras as well as the camera on my iPhone and I use three different computers based on where in the house I am and what I am doing. Those two hours were spent trying to locate the photos to go along with this post. (I guess I know what I am going to work on next!)

I cannot even locate the ‘before’ photos. And I know I have them. Somewhere. Sigh.

I found one!:

So, while this is not the actual item, it does represent what I started with. Or rather with four of them:

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I picked these up a year ago this past summer and have been moving them around in the garage waiting for both inspiration to strike and some free time.

The middle of November found me done with my professional contract and now having time. The ultimate goal was to clear out the small garage stall in order to bed my sports car down for the winter and these chairs were currently taking up a lot of space. I had moved them to the larger side of the garage and I had lined them up, hoping for some inspiration. What happened was they were bumped around until them ended up out of line and that is exactly when I got my idea. A curved bench.

Since there were four, I figured I could use one as ‘parts’ to fill in the gaps between the chairs. (I swear I have some really good photos of this process!) I disassembled the most damaged and least attractive, but they were all really in good condition. Using just my eye and a band saw and sander, I started to fill in the space between the chairs. Once I had the pieces cut and sanded, The Kid drilled holes and we used wood dowels and glue to attach the dowels to the chairs and then attach the chairs to each other. (Dang, I wish I could find those photos!)

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This was way into the process – almost done, in fact, but you can see what I mean about filling in the gaps between the chairs. The front of the chairs actually touch, so I used a couple of metal straps to attach them.

At that point, the whole assembly was sanded, primed and painted. I used the deep red/burgundy color as it was intended to be placed on my front entry and my door is this color. (Or at least it was when we bought the house… it too, needs a paint job.)

Then came the process of creating the seat. I started with two 12″ wide boards which were glued and joined together. I placed the original seats into their original location and then laid a scrap piece of wood across them and screwed them into place. Then I placed that assembly onto the wood prepared for the new seat.

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I then traced around the seats so I would know where to cut. It did take a little finagling to get the new board into place but it eventually got there. Then I made a line on the front and sides, allowing for about an inch overhang. I kind of do this with guesswork and experience from other projects. I also like a little extra to allow for sanding and possible re-cuts.

The Kid then gave it a nice rounded edge using the router, and then it was a matter of sanding all the edges smooth as well as the seat top. I didn’t worry too much about the underside, since it wouldn’t be seen. It was given three coats of a medium/medium dark stain.

To help protect it from the elements, it was given not just two or three coats of polyurethane, but five! This included the actual chairs as well. While there is some protection from the elements on my “porch”, it is outside and I’d like to last for a while.

Then it was just a matter of placing the seat back onto the chairs assembly and using the original screw holes, attach it nice and firmly.

Viola! It was moved into place and we were done!

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert, I am more like my Dad who just tried things and learned what works and what doesn’t. I am not a stickler for the details, so don’t look too closely! 🙂 There are places where just a little more level or a little less sanding might have added to the overall project, but I like how it turns out and that is what matters!

dscn4822You can see that the door has faded… come next spring, that is on the list!dscn4821You can see the slight curve of the seat… I wanted something different from what everyone else does and I like how this worked.dscn4820For the seat, pine was chosen for the 1″x12″ boards. You can kind of see where the saturation of the stain soaked dark on the edges and where I missed cleaning off all the glue on the seat. But that is what makes it unique and special.

The front entry has a tiled ‘floor’, which i did when I first moved in. It gets slick in the winter from water, ice and snow, so we put down nice mats to prevent falls.

By the way, I still have the four original seats and desk writing arms which are from a very nice solid hardwood. If you have ideas on what I could do with these, I am all ears!

julie

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Puppies in Tutus for Halloween

Puppies in tutus! There is no other way than the title to describe this post. A few days before Halloween, I had been talking to my friend Amy – who is a Husky rescuer and who owns three Husky (or Husky mix) dogs – about the upcoming Halloween. While we were not allowed to dress in costume for work, we did talk about what we all were going to do on the home front.

For about six or seven years, The Kid has been too old to allow me to create a costume for him. Previously, I had put in months of preparation and work in creating his costumes, beginning with his first Halloween at the age of about 5 months (a lion) until his 13th or Halloween when he was a ‘Knight in Shining Armour’. (You can read all about his costumes here.)

Now my friend Amy is one of those awesome pet-parents of these three beloved Huskies. And she mentioned that she would love to costume the dogs, but just didn’t have the time. She did mention that dressing the dogs in tutus would be awesome, but with everything going on at work and in her life, time was just not on her side.

One evening while I was home, looking for something to do (have you ever known me to not be looking for something to do?) I hit on a quick and easy idea for making those tutus. I had a general idea of how big these dogs were, having seen many photos on her desk and on her phone! They were big, huggable, wonderful puppies!

A quick trip to Joann’s and about $6.00 later, I had the necessary materials for the tutus. I simply took about two yards of tulle in each color – two shades of pink and one of blue – and three matching pieces of ribbon and one quick seam. I wished I had taken more photos of construction but hope you can follow my directions.

I started with a yard piece of tulle and folded it in half and then in half again. I cut across to create four pieces measuring about 13″ wide by the length. Assuming the dogs were about 18-ish inches around their ‘waists’, I took a 36″ piece of 3″ wide ribbon and laid the tulle on the ribbon creating some gathers and then folded the ribbon over the tulle and pinned; then I made one long stitch to catch the edges.

I was done with all three in a matter of 30 minutes. The leftover pieces of tulle from trimming the edges even were rolled into little ‘flowers’ and with a quick stitch to a leftover piece of ribbon, creating little hair decorations.

Maybe its better if I just show you the photos!

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Are those not the most adorable bunch of puppies that you have ever seen!? I love how they seem to pose – well the girls anyway! For some reason, the one boy seems a bit embarrassed!

They greeted the children who were trick-or-treating at Amy’s house that night! How could you not love those faces!!

julie

Playing Catch Up: Garage Cleanup!

Oh my heavens! It has been weeks and weeks since I last posted, but trust me folks, I’ve not been lazy! I have so much to write about! I will try to catch up in the next few weeks, trying harder to be attentive to the blog!

Like I said, lots of things have been completed. Not working (again) has helped a little. I managed to finish up on the contract that I had a few months early – I was never good about pacing myself! I just jump in with both feet and work away!

Some big things and some small projects have been completed. Even more have been started! I’ve been trying to finish up anything that needs to be worked on in the garage and/or outside, since the temperatures have been falling steadily.

I’ll start first with the garage. I’ve been wanting to re-arrange the west wall of the garage since I don’t think I am using that space to its full potential. And once this side is done, I am going to do something similar to the other side so that I can park my little sports car in the garage for the winter.

Here is the before picture:

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That little red contraption is a high powered washer. We bought it when we lived in California for the hundreds of feet in wood fencing we had around our lot. We don’t have a fence now that we’re here in Missouri and I love it! Just makes the yard look larger and more friendly somehow. We hung the washer on the garage wall back in 2004 and never used it once since! It has been donated to our favorite thrift store. We took down the random hanging tools and sorted through the odd wood and metal pieces stacked in the corner.dscn4751

We then configured the upper space for shelves to essentially mimic the space behind the upper cabinets to the left. I searched for months to actually purchase the same cabinets, but could not come up with matching size/depth. I was kind of surprised and figured that they were like standard sized cabinets meant for garages and mudrooms.

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I replaced our old and broken recycle bins with new, sturdier ones and mounted the top two using cleats. The new cabinet is being used for The Kid’s latest hobby, welding and this cabinet is intended to keep all the necessary gear and tools for it together. It is on wheels, so he can move it to wherever he needs to work. I got the cabinet on sale at Home Depot for 25% off and an additional 20% off since it was the floor model. Perfect!dscn4824

The shelves are perfect size for the ‘paper boxes’… and I have a standing order at our local print shop for when they have spares. Just phone them and ask! Something they don’t have to recycle!

Next up – and already in progress – is the other side of the garage. This is where my sports car lives in the winter, but still a valuable space during the warmer months. I keep all of my furniture pieces stored there, as well as using part of the space as a ‘paint booth’.

The large cardboard piece helps control most of the errant spray paint. The other side holds furniture, like I mentioned, as well as other materials. I’ve collected a variety of old – and unfortunately – ugly shelving units and now am planning to replace those with a floor-to-ceiling set of shelves. I’ve begun the job of painting the boards and this weekend, we’re planning to install them.

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I gave away quite a few ‘project’ pieces, as well as a lot of fabric upholstery sample books. I try to glean my project pieces each year as I move to ‘indoor’ projects… hoping that since I didn’t get to them within the span of many months, that perhaps someone else may. No problem seeing all of this valuable material disappear!

Another small project completed was transforming this small wooden box into a small stool for my sewing room. I covered the box with vintage clothing patterns, added the small feet and then added a fabric covered seat.

So, that’s it for today’s update. We’re considering allowing my son’s best friend move into the spare bedroom which means the spillover from my sewing room will have to be dealt with. I think I am going to up stairs and stand in the doorway for a while to see if I have any flashes of genius as to where this might go (or if it too needs to be donated!). When we moved into this house and our square footage literally doubled, I never dreamed that I would ever run out of space!

Thanks for dropping by!

julie

Sweet Denim Bench

I picked up this little vintage bench a while back and it sat in the garage for a while before I got around to working on it. But once I started it went pretty quickly. I just can’t believe that I had forgotten to write it up. I had uploaded all the photos, just didn’t get the text written! How the heck did that happen?

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Originally, I hoped to restore the bench, but the top was just too damaged and stained. And it probably was a saving grace, as while taking it apart, I found that it had been stuffed with horse hair and old newspapers. And it smelled pretty bad. So, 4 inch thick green foam replaced the stinky newspapers and horse hair.

I first laid a sheet of wood across the top. All of it was painted with a beautiful deep metallic brown paint. I just love the way it sets off the carvings.

I was in the middle of harvesting denim from old blue jeans and opted to go that direction. I carefully dissembled a couple of pairs of jeans that were similar in color to use in covering the bench.

Using a pneumatic stapler, I then laid the denim over the bench, pulled taught and stapled.

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Once the denim was securely fastened, I needed something to cover the staples. During on of many thrifting adventures, I thought that using leather belts would be appropriate… get it? A belt on a pair of jeans! LOL

I couldn’t find any belts the same – either color or style. So I found about a half dozen leather belts that were very close in style, so I opted to spray paint them the same color as the base. The leather took the paint very well and was even malleable enough to get wrapped around the bench. I even kept the belt buckles! From there, it was simply a quick tacking over a base of glue.

DSCN4652DSCN4651DSCN4650DSCN4649DSCN4648DSCN4647DSCN4646DSCN4645DSCN4644To wrap things up nicely, a quick ‘before & after’ photo:

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And there it is. Another project completed. I am determined to get these projects done so that I have room in the garage for at least two cars this winter! And since fall arrived this week, winter is just around the corner!

julie

Making A Dent in the Project Pile

Work has had me worn out by the end of each day. Seems like I have the best of intentions but no energy to carry out the work for the blog page. But little by little, I am getting a few things done.

The first I am going to talk about is something that I really love… from the initial idea to its completion. I am really, really in love with this project.

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The conception of this little project was picking up – for free – the sewing table. A very simple design with the flip open top, a run-of-the-mill design for sewing machine tables. But it was in very nice shape and I loved the simple, elegant design.

I began by removing the top. I also removed from the front the flip down pocket from the front. A simple wipe-down of the remainder brought it back to the deep rich original finish.

dscn4731Some time ago, like over two years, I picked up some Corian countertops from CraigsList. I didn’t know what I would use them for, at the time, but I always knew that they could be transformed into something beautiful. Part of the countertops – the island piece, I believed – became the top of a beautiful cafe-style table and chairs set.

DSCN2794You’ll note that this set’s table is also sewing related! The chairs were fitted with matching Corian seats. Isn’t that adorable too?

dscn4729Well, we’ve learned – The Kid and I – that Corian can be cut, sanded and routed the same as any wood. So, I wanted to make the top for the new table from the remaining pieces. Initially, laid out in the workshop, I drew a nice little rectangle but knew that would be too boring. I recently purchased a new template for making curved edges for quilt and the paper label was lying in the recycle bin right in eye sight! I used it to draw the nice half circles around the edges and with a little fidgeting, it turned out perfectly.

dscn4730It took nearly half of the longest and widest piece of the Corian, you can see in this picture what was left as well as the reverse of the curves of the cutout piece. This sitting like this gave me the idea to use the same design to create a matching mirror. Wouldn’t this look cute in the entryway of someone’s home? Or a little place in the kitchen to dash off a recipe or keep a computer handy?

The piece was cut using a jigsaw and then routed top and bottom. I opted to keep the inside edge of the mirror pristine, I think the routing would have detracted from the edge work. It was fitted with a mirror and backed with a lightweight backing and then taped with a finish tape.

dscn4737The drawer front was connected to a larger drawer, one that was salvaged from the desk turned small cabinet (and decoupaged with Atlas maps). It was the perfect width, just needed to be cut down to a size that would fit the cabinet.

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I love that this piece was re-made without a penny being spent! Everything is remade/recycled from free materials picked up from CraigsList. I kept the tilt-out piece and just added the drawer. The Kid was crafty enough to configure a drawer tract and put it all together!

Another project finished! I’ve also worked on a couple of smaller projects at the same time… I always have to have my hands doing something! I finished cross stitching the little pillow for Mattie (hi Mattie!) to help her to remember that cubicle walls don’t have much sound protection!

Just a little pillow, about 4″ x 7″ that sits under her monitor. She picked the colors and I just happened to have the perfect fabric to use for the back.

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I also put together this little card holder for my blog cards. It is simply two drawer pulls on a scrap of really nice wood that I had leftover. I sanded the edges into nice rounds and attached the handles simply by drilling holes into the surface and sinking them into it. No gluing, no painting, no fuss! It works for either vertical or horizontal cards. Pretty neat, if I say so myself!

And last, but not least, I made yet another little shelf with storage bottles for craft items. As many of them before, this one is made from paint sticks! I love the versatility of those free pieces of wood! And I seem to always find one or six of those little jars, so I am quickly filling up the shelves.

Well, that about does it for tonight. Tomorrow we have big plans to finish the west wall of the garage… I have to remember to take before and after photos – as well as some in between.

julie

I Took The Advice and This Time I Used Maps!

After I finished the last dresser – covered with vintage dress patterns – someone made the suggestion to try maps. And I just happened to have some old road atlases from those days before GPS (do you remember that far back! LOL), so I plunged in.

For the life of me I cannot recall where I picked up this desk, but it has been sitting in the third stall of the garage for a while. Its decent quality – inside one drawer is marked ‘Broyhill’ – so I figured it would be a good starting point.

As you can see, I almost forgot about taking ‘before’ photos… I had it already up on the table with the drawers removed!

DSCN4704Somehow these days, desks just aren’t in much demand. I guess with everyone having a laptop, sitting any where works and you’re no longer chained to a desk.

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So, with the help from The Kid, we removed the extra legs and shortened the desktop and turned it into a nice sized little chest. The bottom drawer is nice and deep, great for storing bulky stuff.

DSCN4712I sold the sewing pattern covered dresser to this great couple for their daughter. She is into fashion, so it really appealed to her. When they came by to pick it up, they mentioned that they were looking for something for their son’s quite extensive Lego collection. Dad was a bit annoyed from stepping on those little plastic bricks in the dark as he was trying to check in on the kids as they slept – I’ve been there myself and it turns a very quiet excursion into some mighty loud yelps! So the very deep drawer might be just the thing for the family!

The whole process of adding the maps was the easiest and funnest part. I just sit and watch television and cut and paste. I did some strategic placements, on one side is the state of Missouri and Kansas and on the top is a nice map of the states. Following two nights of drying/curing, I applied two coats of polyurethane to give the maps a little staying power. It could even take a little scrubbing if it gets colored on.

I had the antique hoop knob pulls, rescued from a previous project that with a little green spray paint turned out quite unique!

The drawer that was removed from the desk section turned out to be the perfect size for a replacement drawer in a sewing cabinet that I am transforming into a little entry way table. Don’t you just love it when things come together? If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you know that I hate to waste anything… and when it can be reused and saved from the landfill, I am a happy recycler!

Tomorrow, The Kid and I are making the trek out to meet Rebecca “Becky” Collis of Collis Country Quilting! I am so excited to meet Becky and check out her setup. Most excited about finishing some of these quilts that I have been working on for the past three years!!I have another idea for a dresser makeover… would make the cutest storage piece for a little boy’s room. Have to keep my eyes open for the next perfect piece!julie

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Why Are The Weekends Always Too Short?

This weekend was really about simply making progress on about a half dozen big projects. I am never amazed at the never-ending supply of great ideas and the things that inspire them.

I did this project not too long ago and just never got around to posting about it. Simple enough, just a shadow box and an old game controller. Hard to take photos of it though! 🙂

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This next project was sparked by a lively conversation with a wonderful co-worker. She has the words “Inside Voice” written on the white board in her office and we got to talking about it. Trust me to say that she is not the only person who needs to be reminded that cubicles are not the same as walled offices and voices travel. Mine included!DSCN4715

So, I searched the internet and found a couple of compositions that might work well for a cross stitch pillow she can lean against the bottom of her monitor to remind her. I can’t quite decide which one I am going with, just yet. I know the colors and have a scrap pieces of fabric I used in making a suitcase dresser and I still have to get enough thread so that I don’t run out. Either one I use will require a ton for the background, so I am going to lay in a good supply.

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Lastly, I also had this little chair that I remade for my sewing room. Simple again in design… just painted the frame of an old chair given to me and recover the seat. The green looks more ‘limey’ than it really is, the lighting in the room made it look like this!

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Okay, back to work tomorrow! I have three days of training in anticipation of me taking over the training, so I really have to be paying attention! No way can I afford to doze off in these classes!

julie

Giant Gummy Bear!

This is one of those ‘fun, just gotta do it once’ kind of projects. This one was The Kid’s idea and he found the recipe. I just happened to have the perfect pan for it.

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And the best part? It is so yummy to eat! And actually tastes better than your traditional gummy bears.

So, here’s the recipe:

1/2 cup of very cold water

1/4 cup of corn syrup

2 packets of unflavored gelatin

1 pack of Jell-O

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For our mold, we estimated it at twice the amount of the recipe. It actually filled it perfectly with no leftover. Luck, not planning!

I could probably describe how to make the mixture, but the video has all the details and is fun to watch. You should go watch it!

We prepared the mold (actually an oversize cupcake mold) by clamping the edges together with strong hand clamps.

IMG_3662So, The Kid made up the stuff, we poured it into the mold and set it in the refrigerator and left it overnight. IMG_3663

IMG_3664So, The Kid made up the stuff, we poured it into the mold and set it in the refrigerator and left it overnight.IMG_3665

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IMG_3667The next morning, we ran a large bowl full of hot water (not boiling but as hot as we could get from the tap). He removed the clamps and then dipped the mold into it. Holding there a few seconds and then testing to see if the mold would release the gelatin.IMG_3673

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You can get a good idea how large the mold from these photos. The mold came with the base supposedly to hold the two halfs together (not enough to keep the mixture from oozing out the sides).IMG_3668

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The bear slipped out of the mold quite easily. Flipped it over and set it on the paper plate.

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IMG_3710His ears were the first thing to go! And the rest of him didn’t last too long. It actually tastes like real gummy bears – this was berry blue – and it was yummy!

Recently we tried making another one, even larger, with a similar cake sized pan, but I think we were reaching in its size. We ended up with just the head and we used strawberry Jell-O, so when you opened the refrigerator, there was a disembodied hear staring at you!

That one didn’t last long either! Show me yours if you decide to make one!

julie

Another Dresser Experiment: Pattern Tissue

Wow, I did it again! I have been so busy at work and all that it entails as well as trying to finish up some projects. Then, too, The Kid and I got hooked on watching “Games of Thrones” – I know, I know, way behind the rest of the world! It has seriously eaten into my online time!

But with The Kid’s help, have finished another dresser. I actually am able to work on some of these projects while watching streaming television, I’d have a little more room to work if I gave up and admitted – at least temporarily – quilting defeat! The rescued quilt from that falling down barn is going to have to wait. For now.

I picked up this little dresser at one of my two online auction sites. I love when people overlook these pieces because they seem so flimsy, but in reality, they are quality pieces. I got this one for five dollars, just because no one could see past the missing back, broken rungs and the massive spider egg and web colony being built in it!

A quick cleanup and help from The Kid to fix the rungs and put a solid back on it and it was ready for my magic. After making the Monopoly Dresser, I wanted to try my hand at another cover: sewing pattern tissue paper. I recently inherited some pretty old patterns – circa 1940’s/1950’s in which I placed a couple of the pattern covers in frames to hang in my sewing room.

As most of the patterns were used and cut, so I didn’t see any way to actually use them to make the clothing, so I thought of decorating a little drawer unit to store things in my craft room.

I used thinned Elmer’s white glue and a 1″ paint brush to layer the tissue. I simply kept an eye for more interesting elements in the patterns and layered until I was happy with the look. I like how there are some areas that are a little lighter than others and the old style patterns had heavy cut lines that showed nicely.

I created the handles after a lot of thought as to what to use for knobs. I thought about buttons (very BIG buttons) or other things common to sewing. I had painted some big round wood knobs black, but the paint job wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked, so I scrapped them and went back to the drawer board.

Then inspiration struck! I had The Kid pick up some wooden spools and cut them in half. He ended up with a groove running down the middle, so he cut thin wood to place on the back. Then he added some half inch thick cuts from a 3/4″ dowel, glued it all together and let it dry. Came back to do a little sanding and then a couple of coats of semi-gloss black spray paint and a little more time for the paint to dry.

Aren’t they too cute?!

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So, I’ll keep this short from here and just show you the photos!

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Whaddya think?

julie

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