Dollhouse: Getting Closer to Being Done

I seem to spend more time on the dollhouse rather then writing about the work being done. Much of the work seems pretty routine and, well, obvious, so I am not writing about everything I do. If you ever have questions about something that I’ve done, please ask and I will elaborate. Sometimes what seems straightforward to me is confusing to someone else. And vice-versa.

So much of the work done over the past couple of weeks has been about getting the basics done so the furniture can go in. Of course, the kitchen is primarily “basic”, so a lot of work has been done there. I’ve also done a lot of prep for the doors, floors and trim. I can see the light at the end of this tunnel!IMG_4078The greatest amount of work (and fun!) was the kitchen. I had ordered all of the cabinetry in kits, that is, I had to assemble it all. To make sure it all fit correctly, I made templates for both the walls and floor so that it would fit in like a puzzle.

I used pieces of laminate that I had ordered from Wilson (ordering info further down the page). The way it worked out, that back piece acted as a “plate” that the cabinets could be glued to and then placed into the house. And as a bonus, it became the backsplash, a jaunty little fiftie’s motif in red, white and turquoise.

IMG_4102This was the short “stove” wall… The Kid created the range hood from stainless steel. Initially it was a little short, so I added the little cap at the top.DSCN4896A shot of the long wall with kitchen sink and ‘fridge. I still had to cut the section for the window.IMG_9853The floor is actually another pattern of laminate sample. The only issue I had working with it was weighting the flooring down as it dried. You can kind of get the sense of the air pocket under the floor in the photo above.

IMG_4125With much of the dollhouse complete, I finally moved it off the kitchen island back in front of the fireplace. Much of the window treatments are done, furniture found and purchased, and lots of little details being worked on.

One thing I goofed on was adding the baseboards before installing the doors. I was waiting on the purchased hardware to arrive and just got ahead of myself. Now that it has arrived (and changed from brass to silver finish), I’ve prepared all the doors for installation. I think this is going to be a bigger deal that it should, considering that I think I will need to trim the baseboards to fit the doors.IMG_4124Larger than most starter dollhouses, it requires quite a few doors (and the two IMG_4123inside/outside doors are already installed)! Here I was adding the door knobs. As I mentioned, the pre-purchased door handles were all brass colored. Laying them onto a sheet of poster board and securing them for painting with a glue stick.

You can also see a few of the miniature trivets that I purchased off the internet. Since the kitchen is red and white with a pop of turquoise, some of the trivets had to be sprayed painted.IMG_4128

The doors between the dining room and kitchen were designed to open together, instead of knobs, I made push plates. I cut these from metal-look laminate as well. I had several selections to choose from, here are a couple of the sample tiles.

They really look like metal!

While I was at it, I cut kick plates for the front door as well (to be installed at a later date).IMG_4126Things are progressing and am quite close to adding the details. And then a gigantic photo shoot will occur to show off the whole thing.

Down the road a little ways, I am planning to add clear plexiglass doors to keep the house from getting dusty. Initially I thought I wanted to finish it and then never touch it again, but instead of a single sheet on the back of the house, I decided to construct two larger doors for adjustments or so new items can be added. I am also going to place a clear “wall” onto the back of the boys’ room.

When I started the project of completing this dollhouse, I vowed to work on nothing else so as to not distract me from the task at hand. I have a little bit of crafting ADHD and tend to easily get drawn into other projects and consequently end up with a lot of unfinished projects. Now it seems that I should be finishing up the house at about the same time I will be going back to work! I will work furiously to get all the little details written about in the next couple of weeks.

And please! I love to share my projects and the way I went about doing things. But I love to hear from others as well… comments and questions are the icing on the creative cake!

julie

My Dollhouse: Working on Details

I’ve been spending much of the past couple of weeks working on all the details of the dollhouse. Sometimes when I get up and see the house, it makes me think of moving into a real new house… trying to get boxes unpacked, putting my touch and making the house unique and reflective of my personality. Trying new stuff and techniques, and just plain having fun.

Nothing big to report, but wanted to show you some of my progress. I finished installing the stair cases and the railings. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but working in the 1:12 miniature can sometimes be majorly frustrating. And on occasion when I look to recreate something in miniature, it can be extremely frustrating! Trying any number of different ways to approach and not having any luck. But so much more has been a positive experience.

Just inside the double doors from the porch, is a curved white staircase.DSCN4906I love the way it plays with the black and white tile. If it weren’t for the lantern sitting there, doesn’t this totally look like a full sized house? And I have to laugh that there is a bathtub in the entry way! In our house in California, there was a few days when during the master bathroom remodel, we had a bathtub sitting in the living room. 🙂DSCN4903At the top of the curved staircase, we arrive at the second floor hallway. The floor is actually Popsicle sticks, trimmed and laid in a variety of lengths and then stained and the coated with two layers of polyurethane. If you follow the hall towards the front of the house, you will be met with the next set of stairs.DSCN4902You’ve now arrived in the home office. Work is still going on here, but the floor has been laid (coffee stir sticks) and the work top has been placed; it rests on two small cabinets, one on either side of the wall. A center shelf has been place to have access to a printer and other necessities. You can also see the wood blinds have been installed with a natural valance. Taking advantage of the light in the dormer makes working in this room delightful.

DSCN4905This is the boy’s bedroom, including it to show you that the floor has been finished – just this room and the master bedroom have carpeting – and that the baseboards have been installed. It seems that so much has been done, but yet so much remains to be done!DSCN4904A shot of the master bathroom. I laid the tile floor early on in the project, and that’s about where it has been for some time. I recently purchased a second bathroom set, as I was not really excited about the original set… but not sure that this is the direction I want to go either. I’d like to do a chest with a bowl set on top, I think. The shower pan – seen in this shot – is going to be surrounded by tiled walls, which it seems I’ve also been working on forever.DSCN4900Using this grout, I finally completed that chore for the walls. I figured it would be easier to lay the tile (on a background of paper) and do the grouting and finishing and then install it.DSCN4899This are the walls grouted, just need to wait until it completely dries and then install it. I have the shower head and controls somewhere in this mess… I know it looks organized, but trust me, it is an organized mess!

Okay, that’s about it for today. I hope you will come back to see progress as it goes forward and gets closer and closer to be completed. I promised myself not to start or work on anything else until this is done. And I saw a fantastic piece on CraigsList today that I would have loved to grab… but I swore an oath to this dollhouse! LOL

julie

Miniature Books: A Tutorial

dThe closer I get to finishing something, the more difficult it becomes to concentrate on getting it done. I think I am like this about a lot of thing, not just this dollhouse. There has to be a concerted effort to take the last steps and do the final details. Always. I almost need to have someone who might be able to pay attention to the details for me!

Today, this is a quick tutorial on making books for your dollhouse. Early on, I did a row of books for these book shelves I had initially intended to use in the living room.IMG_4106Here’s a close up of the books on the shelves. Not independent books, but simply printed rows of books. I think that they look okay for the number of books they represent, but when I tried to do this for the bookshelf in the nursery, it just didn’t look right.IMG_4107So I ended up making a bunch of little books, specifically children’s books. I like the way that they are all different sizes and colors!

IMG_4100I made a little tutorial on how to make these books, I sat and did this while watching a movie – so around 90 minutes to two hours to make these. This did not, by the way, include finding the book images and creating the doc. This, I have done for you!Childrens Books and Childrens Books2  and Childrens Books3.

Just using some scrap poster board of foam board, and after cutting out all the images, I paste half of the book image to the edge, about to the half of the spine, leaving the other half unglued.

Then I cut the foam board around the book image and then proceeded to fold the remainder of the book over and line it up to the edge and glue it. It gets easier as you go.

I attempted to make a video tutorial. I’m a little self conscious about it, but I’m going to put it in this post anyway. Maybe based on feedback from you, I can remake it. If it is any good, I will copy it to my YouTube channel. I’ve not done a lot of these, so please be gentle!

So, once you have the books you need, you can place them in your shelf or lay them on table tops. I just sort of jumbled my books into the bookshelf, perhaps like a little one might in trying to put away her books.

Okay, enough for today. And remember!, I’d love all feedback!

julie

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A Round Up: A Little of Everything

I have been both a) lazy and unable to get productive and b) working like crazy to get things done. LOL

One thing I have been trying to do is to get my photographs in order. Its not easy when I have a multitude of cameras and photo devices and then too, a number of computers that I use on a regular basis. I need a server and then about six to eight months to get everything organized!

This morning, I have already spent a good chunk of time trying to locate my “before” pictures of this sewing machine cabinet I have completed. Its been done a while and just sitting in my foyer. Today is the day I make it a priority to get it ‘gone’.

A while back, I picked up a couple of sewing machines in cabinets… I mostly got them for the cabinets. I have enough sewing machines that need repair, I don’t need to add to that sewing machines that are forty or fifty years old.

This is the last cabinet to be completed. It originally was just the top with the four drawers down the right side, but I enclosed the other half, added a glass holder and an ice bucket and painted it in a festive turquoise color. The black of the cabinet is such a vivid contrast!

I am just going to show the photos I have found and later will update them.

Its funny as the color photographs different in different light. It really is a wonderful, bold turquoise, reminiscent of the fifties.

Work continues on the dollhouse, I’ve opted to paint all the interior walls and lay all the flooring at the same time (instead of one room at a time). I’ve recently ordered the necessary cabinets for the kitchen and things are moving along. I’ll give you an update soon.

And because I can never be without something for my hands to do, I recently printed out an image of Hello Kitty being a bit irreverent and had it to cross stitch when I was watching a movie or television. So, without further ado:img_3944

Another project that I was able to finish was the transformation of these large plastic tubs into Lego storage devices. Me and The Kid love red vines and I have been saving these for something important for some time.

I finally saw this on Pinterest and knew I had to do it. img_3940I had six empty buckets and after a few coats of very yellow spray paint, I simply used my paint pens to draw their faces:img_3941Alas, The Kid opted not to use them (most of his Legos are gone and he’s a bit too old for these cute storage buckets, so they were given to our pizza delivery guy after he commented that his boy would go “ape shit” over them. (And no, it was not his tip!)

So, now on to working on organization and more dollhouse work.

julie

Miniatures, Doll House and Dreams

So having gotten most of the projects that I had started (over the past year) completed, I am going to take advantage of avoiding the cold and work inside. On my dollhouse. With the help of my son and his best friend (my other son from another mother), the dollhouse has been safely moved and placed into its working spot. I expect that I will work on this a long time: until I either get finished or I get sick of working on it. I am finding working with 1:12 miniatures is a lot more tedious and time consuming than the 1:3/1:4 miniatures for the 18″ dolls (American Girl-style dolls).

It seems to take a lot more time and energy to do the smaller scale. Not to mention it seems to cost more! What I have been working on so far is getting a rough idea of how I want to proceed with each room. Originally I thought I would approach it on a room by room basis, but found that as I worked through the furniture and decorating needs, it seems to make more sense to more than one at a time. I mean, like when I pick up the flooring needs for one room, it just makes sense to get what I need for all the rooms that have similar needs.

I have numbered the rooms so that when I write about the rooms, I can also refer to the room number in addition to what I am calling the room.

 

dollhouse-numbered-roomsSo the rooms are designated to be:

  1. Attic Sewing Room
  2. Home Office
  3. Second Bathroom & Laundry
  4. Attic Storage
  5. Master Bedroom
  6. Master Bath
  7. Hallway
  8. Boy’s Bedroom
  9. Baby Girl’s Nursery
  10. Living Room and Entryway
  11. Dining Room
  12. Kitchen

So, yes, this is a large dollhouse and now takes up a large chunk of living room real estate:

dscn4885But is always in view to keep my creative juices flowing. I’ve begun planning floors and colors and the necessary cabinetry for the kitchen as well as stove, refrigeration and cabinet with sink and a microwave. Rough estimates are in the two hundred dollar range! And the kitchen is one of the rooms that requires copious amounts of extras… including a diner style booth and table and food and dishes. I bought a set of flatware tonight for a whopping $1.67! But, WOW!, it all adds up.

I have a couple of furniture pieces that have to be finished and written about still. I just couldn’t resist giving y’all a sneak peak at the project that is going to be consuming much of my time in the next year!

julie

Every Little Girl Needs a Dollhouse or Two… Right?

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my dollhouses. I was never a very ‘girly’ girl, growing up mostly surrounded by my brothers and their friends. I like to play baseball (not softball), football, climb trees and pretty much anything that the boys did. So, I didn’t have the normal toys that most girls play with – although I did have an EasyBake oven and some Barbie dolls.

So, after I had grown up, some how I did get a bit more feminine. I think I started to maybe wax nostalgic for something I think I missed. About the same time, my Dad was working less and spending more time in his wood working shop, so I asked if he would build me a dollhouse. Many, many, many weeks and months later, he did complete it. He sent me photos occasionally to show me progress, and I started purchasing materials, furniture and anything that might work for completing the dollhouse. He built the structure, I was going to decorate it and furnish it.

The only downside was that I was living in California and this monstrosity that my Dad was building was 2000 miles away in Iowa. I brainstormed ideas until I found out that my Dad had given my dollhouse to my oldest sister! She lived in the same town, so I suppose it was just an easy answer, but I was severely disappointed. I had been the one to ask for it, want it and already buying stuff for it.

So, I bought myself a kit and built a little dollhouse. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it did satisfy the desire to build, paint and furnish one.

I didn’t get a shot of the front of the house, but it was completed in the same style. It sits downstairs in a little alcove on these great drawer stacks that originally were bought for storing my fabric in our house in California.

DSCN3378They are nice enough looking and they have nice deep drawers for storing all my little collectibles.

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Because, you see, after many years, my oldest sister had litterally done nothing to the dollhouse that my Dad built. In fact, it was sitting in her basement and with her kids running through, they had actually broken some of the porch and its railing. I had been visiting for a holiday and made a remark about it and my sister said that I should have it, that she didn’t have the time or patience to work on it.

Now the next hurdle was getting this monstrosity to California. A long story short, my parents drove it out in their van when they came to visit. Yowza!

Believe it or not, we had to turn around and move it back to the Midwest – Kansas City – when we moved in 2004. This time we had a shipping place build a custom crate for it and it went on the moving truck with all of our worldly goods.

It took awhile, but it was finally unpacked and moved into the little alcove. Over the years, I have slowly collected materials, furniture and all sorts of great stuff. I painted the house, made a couple of changes to the setup of the house (like turning ‘servants quarters’ into an additional bedroom.

I’ve been thinking about my pledge to finish all the projects that I have started and I’ve done pretty well. I have spent a couple of days, on and off, looking it over and taking photos and making a mental inventory of the supplies, crafts and furniture that I have. Trying to figure out if I have the umpfh to actually get it finished.

The only issue that I see, is that this behemoth is in the basement and all my tools and most of the crafting tools and materials are on the first floor. And the sewing room and fabrics are on the second floor. That would entail a lot of stair climbing… I am going to have to think about the logistics on this one.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of the house in its current state. It was a little tough to get a shot of the front, but you can get an idea of how big the house really is. Oh, and the trunk under the table is also full of supplies for completing the dollhouse.

Oh and FYI… this house is the generally accepted standard of dollhouses, in 1:12 scale.

DSCN3365Couple of other notes, my Dad had actually built little doors, windows and staircases, which I have since replaced with more modern versions.

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The little photo book in the photo below are some of the original photos my Dad took while building it. I need to scan in those photos and share them with you.DSCN3377So, there lies the project. Will I finally get around to finishing it?

julie

Yay! I’ve Sold the Dollhouse!

I had positive feelings that the dollhouse would be sold for this Christmas. And I received an abject lesson in pricing. Starting with the price of $3000 when it was first completed, it dropped considerably when the holiday season ended and it was still sitting in the foyer. A second $2000 price was presented – on eBay, easy.com and Craigslist in KC and surrounding areas – and still no bites. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever find a buyer.

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Then I let the house sit for a while. No ads, no marketing it, nothing. Just sitting in my entryway, taking up valuable space. But I did a lot of projects in the meantime. Even the dollhouse received a couple of extras… you won’t see in the picture above, but a miniature lamp was made (and it even worked!) a carpet for the bedroom and a pretty light fixture to sit next to the bed.

Dolls and cupcakes V3

In the spring, my neighborhood had its bi-annual garage sale and I put out doll items to sell. It was my first push to try the “Dolls and Cupcakes” brand and get some feedback from moms and their daughters. I sold most of the furniture I had made – beds, dressers, tables & chairs and I put a large photo of the dollhouse on an easel… I walked quite a few girls into the entry way to show them the house. All of them, including their moms were amazed by the sheer size of this thing. And the attention to all the details – especially the kitchen.

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I even had offered a discount (I should say “another” discount) and had the house priced at $1500. Still no buyers. Had a lot of interest from people, but I think the price was still more than folks could justify for a child, and if they had other children, there was no way that they could buy something like that for one and nothing for the other(s).

Over the summer, I made another stab at selling, this time setting the price at $1000. A few nibbles, but nothing with any teeth. I had The Kid give it a clean sweep (there were doll sized dust bunnies under the bed!) and took a set of new photos and presented it to my pain management doc, who has 2 young daughters who are both falling in love with the American Girl dolls. I had my fingers crossed that he wouldn’t find it too expensive and might be able to justify it for two daughters. I never heard back from him about it.

Sigh.

So, now we are falling into another holiday season and I was determined to get this house sold. Again, I dusted off the ads and up it went on etsy.com, eBay.com and Craigslist with another new price: $850. Three renews and then finally, an email via Craigslist, someone is interested. The offer is for $750. Yes! I accepted the offer. While driving to deliver it, I figured it out: the sales price was 25% of the original price. But I am more than happy that this coming Christmas, two children are going to receive a gift of a childhood!

And me? I got my foyer back. (The Kid notified me that nothing new can be placed in that are for at least 24 hours!!) LOL!

julie

Getting Closer to Completion (Just One More Day)!

If you’ve been following, you know that I have a small assembly line of dressers being restored/redesigned. Last night, we were able to move the cabinets into the foyer – which has now become the de facto showroom! As I was getting ready to leave for work this morning, I had to do one of those little “dances” maneuvering around them on my way out the door!

The drawers are still in the garage awaiting handles and hardware – some of the drawers need a little construction work to make them easy gliding and to fit in the cabinets. That’s The Kid’s job today. My hope is that these are all ready to be posted tonight and we can move them quickly in time for the holidays. 2014-11-20 15.18.59

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2014-11-20 15.19.07We are also doing a quick update (and cleaning ) to the dollhouse we made earlier this year… come hell or high water, this is being sold to someone for Christmas! As much as I love it, I am done with it taking up so much room in the foyer!

DSCN1929And as luck would have it, I found out this week that my employment contract runs out tomorrow. So, I will have some extra time to work on projects in between job hunting. Sigh. I really loved this job and really hate job hunting.

Maybe I will have time to work on the foyer “chandelier” project that I have been designing. I promise to share all the details and steps and the wonderful online company that I have discovered that is enabling me to do this project!

julie

Strawberries! And Another Vanity Restore

First, let me just brag about the crazy awesomeness of my strawberry patch! A couple of weeks ago, the patch was covered in little white flowers and last week I harvested about a pint of sweet berries. Me and The Kid went out last night to check the pumpkin patch and I thought to give the strawberries a quick check! Yowza!

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I did find a couple more of those pesky snails, so it would seem I need pesticide. Or some natural bug killer. One more thing on the TO DO list!

Oh, here is a quick shot of the pumpkin patch. These were started from seeds kept from last year around Halloween and sprouted in the kitchen. We were worried at first that they wouldn’t grow, but should have known better!

IMG_6559I have also been working on another vanity, originally I had hoped to keep it for myself, but the house is already overflowing to stretching the seams! This had a great story behind it, the man who I got it from told us that it was built in US-occupied Japan and was built with old growth oak. There was a lot of beautiful wood in the piece, unfortunately, it had been sitting in his damp basement for way too long and had a lot of wood and veneer damage. So, I salvaged what I could, which was sanded and re-varnished. What I couldn’t replace was replaced by maple plywood and painted a high gloss ivory. The handles were painted a matching color and replace. I also painted the last 40″ square mirror to match and it looks spectacular. The matching bench seat was all oak, so it too, was sanded and re-varnished. I covered the top with a gorgeous two toned upholstery fabric and viola!, perfection!

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Isn’t it beautiful? I love the way the two tones play off of each other. (You can see the reflection of the as-of-yet still-unsold doll house! :-().

DSCN2472A quick shot of the kid helping with the vanity. I am the luckiest mom to have been blessed with The Kid. He is the antithesis of what I was at his age! Thank heavens!

And not to go on and on, but isn’t CraigsList just the best thing ever?! I don’t know what I am going to do with it, but a student of architecture was giving away one of his projects and I had to have it! Not quite the normal scale of 1 inch to 1 FOOT scale that most dollhouses are, none of the existing furniture or fixtures I have will work in this house. And did I mention it was HUGE? It stands about 4 1/2 foot tall and the base is 4′ x 4′ but it is FRIGGIN’ COOL!

photo 1

photo 2The Kid has claimed one of the remaining Victrola cabinets and has been working on it. I think it will turn out even better than if I had done the work. He has a great imagination and loves the wood working. If it just weren’t already getting so hot and muggy!

More stuff on the way! Come back soon!

julie

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!

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