Dollhouse Reveal: The Foyer and Living Room (#10)

Today’s reveal should be pretty quick… its pretty straight forward.

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Would you believe that originally I had a blue plaid sofa and chair and blue and yellow window treatments? I guess that was way back when I first came into possession of the house – like the 90’s or something. Instead I went for black leather for the seating. I love the red hue of the entertainment center which I tried to do with the other wood pieces, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get it to match.DSCN4960The dividing wall is not permanent, but can be easily removed. I really haven’t figured out if the space works with it or not. The space for the piano is a bit tight, but then, the piano doesn’t really fit with the living room stuff.DSCN4975I like the living room set up. These two leather (and yes, real leather!) set me back a bit. I believe this purchase was the most expensive of anything I bought. Note the television program is one of my favorites – VEEP – staring Julia Louis Dreyfus. DSCN4976The drapes weren’t my first choice and not really my favorite. They are a bit too thick and therefore don’t hang nicely. I am considering trying to fold them accordion style and throw a clip on them, see if a little time won’t help them hang better. I do love the unique black sheers under them though… found in a Halloween clearance bin (those are a spider web design)!DSCN4977I have a key keeper almost exactly like this in my real house! This was a fun project to do. All those handles on the room doors each came with a couple of keys, so it was a project just waiting to happen.

The flooring in this (these two?) rooms were the small rectangle samples I picked up in Home Depot. A quick cut on each to square it up and they look like a million bucks. I had intended to only use them on the entryway, but once down I liked the way they looked, so the decision was made!

I really feel like this room cries out for details. I think I will take some time from working on the dollhouse and then re-visit the idea of adding details.

Sometimes you can just spend too much time on a project! Come back tomorrow for more room reveals!

julie

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Frustration On The Creative Endeavors – When You Can’t Get Anything Finished!

Ever have one of those days? Well, I am having one of those months! I have about ten projects all going at the same time and it seems that for one reason or another, I cannot get a single one finished! Timing or materials or weather, something seems to stand in the way of completing the project.

My big project and the one I am most excited about is now 99.9% complete! I am waiting on one more simple (or I hope simple) finishing touch and a nice day of weather to get the project photographed. Argh! It is so frustrating to be so close to completion that I have nightmares about it! No joke!

I’ve stopped picking up project pieces since the weather is going to soon become the kind of weather that prevents me from driving my little sports car. When that happens, I usually drive it into the third garage stall, cover him and put him into hibernation. Well, in order to do that, I have to get that stall cleaned out, so I have been a busy little beaver trying to get things done. It is either that or get rid of them. And I am trying to do both.

I picked up this awesome antique bench thinking it would be an easy project, but it has turned out to be anything but. Sigh. I work on it a little and then get frustrated or tired of fighting with the four million staples/nails/tacks and move to something else.

I am close to finishing the four poster bed frame that I am painting in the same pink ombré style, but of course, I had to spend an inordinate amount of time to find the right connectors for the side boards, so it too has taken a place at the back of the line.

I picked up this not-so-little entertainment center for the express purpose of harvesting pieces – like the doors and drawers and shelves – as I am planning on building a gun cabinet for The Kid’s personal collection of antique fire arms. They are very nice pieces, so the cabinet needs to be of the same quality. This thing weighed like two thousand pounds when we picked it up and much of it is turning out to be real wood (as opposed to the junk compressed wood in many) so I am harvesting much more than I thought I would be. And of course, it too, was well made with about a ton of glue, staples, screws and nails so it is taking much more effort to get it apart than hoped.

The end table to dog crate too, is almost complete. It has turned out to be a bit heavy, so as an added bonus, I am planning on adding wheels (found on the entertainment center) to make it easier to move around. Of course, the wheels are on the bottom of the entertainment center, so they are close to last in coming off, but maybe – just maybe – that can be completed today.

As I said, the weather is starting to turn which is just raising havoc with the arthritis in both knees. Did I mention that I am tentatively scheduled for dual knee replacement surgery in January? Something tells me that work with come to a screeching halt in the garage for a while then. 🙂

photo 4As a consequence of the weather and knees, I’ve been back to sewing some. I made a personal vow not to make any more quilts until I can get some of the tops completed quilted. My best guess is that there is between 200 and 300 waiting for someone to do this step and then I do the binding. I just cringe each time I think about the money that will be needed to do this. So, they wait.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on using up my scraps. I just put on a good movie and sew, really without much thinking. I’ve also been working on a postage stamp baby quilt (I think I might be able to do the quilting on my sewing machine) just to use up these last few hundred pieces. A few years ago, I ordered this box of charm pieces (2000!) that are 1.5″ squares and used a good deal of them in several quilts. I just can’t bring myself to toss the remaining, although they are what I call “the uglies”!! Does anyone else here have this issue?

I’ve also been working with felt pieces while I ice then heat my knees. I’ve made a bunch of Christmas decorations (although we don’t really celebrate or decorate in the house), as well as working on another needle book. I need to just need to finish the cover. Of course over in the corner next to the fireplace is that great big hulking needlepoint project… just sitting there mocking me.

I’ve resisted writing just this post – the one where I admit that I can’t seem to get anything completed! Its just so aggravating and humbling to have to admit to all this incompleteness! I really try to hold myself to a higher standard, but sometimes it is so overwhelming – and I realized that it has been quite a while since I last posted. But to have to post and say I’ve got nothing! Argh!

Best intentions aside, time to get on with the day. I really need to assess what is left and what still needs to be done and what is required to get to that point. And then just start tackling them, one by one.

Wish me luck! And to all those out there who think us bloggers just get things done out of discipline and attention? We’re just people too and infallible. So don’t worry that you’re project(s) isn’t getting done. It happens to all of us!

julie

Its Amazing What Removing A Little ‘Can Do’ Can Do!

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that my son and I have developed a system for taking those long dressers apart and making them either into two smaller dressers, or simply create a single small dresser. Well it got me to thinking that there are other pieces that would benefit from a little modification. You know?

So, with this in mind, I picked this piece up.

2015-03-02 17.37.57We had already removed the doors at this point (and try as I may, I couldn’t find a “real” before photo). I suspect that as the flat panel televisions replace those monstrous behemoths, the need for those huge armoires to house them will drop and we’ll start to see more and more of them available. And some of those will be great candidates for makeovers.

DSCN3153I started by removing the trim on the sides. I had an idea about how to reuse it later, once we had the top cut down.

DSCN3152So, it was turned on its side and I carefully marked where it needed to be cut. The Kid did the cutting, using a circular saw and made quick work of it.

We flipped it on its other side and repeated the cutting.DSCN3151Now it was my turn. Lots of sanding was involved and a little patching. It wasn’t a tough job, but wasn’t quite as easy as I had hoped. I reapplied the trim on the side and then placed a new top. Actually, it was an old top, salvaged from another project, but it fit wonderfully. A little sanding and primed the entire piece and the drawer fronts and it was ready for painting.

DSCN3154We were missing one drawer glide, but thankfully, I had one that worked with just a minor modification.2015-03-23 21.28.25Two coats of paint in my signature pinks and then The Kid installed our traditional ceramic knobs. I just love the way those very white knobs just pop on all that color!

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Ready to be listed on CraigsList for sale and to go into some little girls room! Actually with the height and dimensions of the top, it would actually work perfectly as a changing table in a nursery.2015-03-23 21.28.41WooHoo! Another one done. We’ve got a few more in the works, still waiting for finishing touches.

julie

Started A Hundred Things… But Getting Nothing Completed!

Ever have one of those days or weeks or maybe even months? Ever since I’ve been back from vacation, it seems that I have been having the hardest time keeping on track to completing projects.

Lots of things started… between the new furniture pieces and my quilting, it would seem that I have a hundred irons in the fire. But there seems to be so many things preventing me from getting the projects completed.

So, first up is the blonde bedroom set we picked up about a hundred years ago (it sure seems like it!!). We had a chest of drawers, a dresser with a mirror and a head- and foot-board. All was in pretty good shape with the exception of a missing drawer and another drawer broken (but it at least had the drawer front). In trying to determine if we could recreate the missing drawer (we had taken the head and foot boards for just that purpose), we determined that it would be too much work. So, we’re going to cut the dresser in half, going from a six drawer to a three drawer unit.

2015-03-02 17.37.32While The Kid works on that, I have taken the other drawers and chests and head- and foot-boards and given everything a nice sanding and patched holes and gouges. It is really a very nice set, well built. I remember my parent’s having a similar set, I would place it sometime in the 50’s, when blonde furniture was all the rage.

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Here’s the headboard… I think this is going to be finished in pinks, they seem to sell well. I think the wood corner pieces will be one color and the remainder of the drawer a lighter color.2015-03-02 17.38.20In addition to this piece of furniture, we have a three drawer dresser with a different feature. Originally, there was a large slab of granite on top, which had broke. We’ve fit the top with a bottom and then it will have a clear plastic top, in essence creating a narrow shadow box. I think it will also be the pale pink, and for photos I am going to use doll clothes or something to show off the use of it. I think that this will sell quite quickly.

One more piece that we’re working on is a media cabinet that will become just a three drawer dresser. I really like this one, mostly because it was made using mostly wood and not a lot of that junk fiberboard. We’re going to cut at the top of the inside drawer and once again, sand, detail and paint it. This might be a more neutral color, perhaps white.2015-03-02 17.37.57Oh, what else? I feel like I’ve been so lax in writing lately, and that there is so much to get caught up. Let me show you a couple of pics of the garage:

2015-03-06 18.44.29 2015-03-06 18.44.19Oh yes, I won two sets of headboards and footboards from an online auction place, we’re going to use them to make those cute little bench seats. The last one I did sold very quickly and had a lot of interest and was so easy to put together. You can see them in the photo above to the very left.

At least the weather has been very nice the last few days. Which was great timing since we just ran out of kerosene for our garage heater!

In the house, I have a couple more projects in the works. Of course, you all know about the cross stitch. I suppose you are all just sick of hearing about that! I warned you!

But I also started digging through the junk in my home office recently. You all know that at times I will get frustrated with a mess and will stop working just to get things organized. Well, my home office had finally reached mission critical!

I have two boxes of the stuff that I take to my “real” jobs… the kind of things that make computer work just that much nicer. For instance, I have a custom keyboard and mouse, photos of The Kid, my own pens and markers and calligraphy pens. When I finish a job, I just throw the stuff into a box and wait for the next job. But they’ve started to drive me crazy, as once there is one or two boxes, they seem to just invite more clutter.

One of the things I had under all that clutter were my Lego Mini-Figs. If you are not a Lego fan, just do a Google search on the words “Lego Mini-Figs” and you will see what I mean. Along with PEZ dispensers, it is one of those things that The Kid and I collect together. He plays with his, mine are meant to be showcased.

So, now that I had a decent amount, I started to work on putting them into a shadow box. I ordered black 2×2 blocks for the mini-figs to “stand” on and once they arrived, I started working on the layout. Ever notice that when you’re anxiously awaiting the delivery of something it seems to take so much longer than it should?!

2015-03-06 18.44.57I’ll give you an update when I get closer to being done.

Another collection: cut glass crystal. I found that I had some pieces without lids and some lids without bottoms. So, now I’ve begun this whole other search to find mates for these pieces. Yeah, like I don’t have enough to do already. <<Sigh>>

2015-03-06 18.44.48I did manage to find the right pieces, though, for another small cake/cupcake tray. That ostensibly was the reason for looking for doomed lids, in order to create these small cake/cupcake plates. But I don’t really need a reason. Now do I?2015-03-06 18.45.07And of course, the faux stained glass jars. I’ve done quite a few of these, and because we tend to find these bottles when we’re out abandoned house hunting, it is fun to turn them into night lights or ambient lighting. I thought I would do one in shades of pink. Offer it up when someone buys the furniture pieces we’re doing in the ombré style using pink. I like it even more with the micro-glitter with the faux stained glass.

Another development on the quilting front. I am a pretty prolific quilter but recently the woman who does the longarm quilting for me, my friend Gloria, opted to retire from providing this service to me. I’ve been doing some searching and also some investigative work into whether I might just invest in a longarm machine and do the quilting myself. I pulled together all the incomplete quilt tops that I could find and I have just over 50 tops (with their matching backs) ready to be quilted. This doesn’t include 6 denim quilts that are a special challenge. And today, I uncovered a bunch (maybe as many as 20) of tops that don’t have their backs prepared yet. And I know that I have blocks cut for probably another dozen or so.

Okay, so, I think I found a young lady kind of local who I am going to take for a test drive. I’ve sent her two fairly large quilt tops and backs and given her carte blanche to do what she wants with them. If it works out – and she does seem to have the most infectious energy! – then I am going to drive down and meet her, delivering to her another 50! (Hi Becky!!) I have such good feelings about this.

Whew! After almost nothing from me for weeks, I think I might have gone a little overboard! Ha! Feast or famine! I will try to do better about providing more consistent updates.

Oh, one more thing and then I will be done. Promise. One of the cut glass crystal pieces that I found and bought was for trifles or layered meat dishes. I had always thought they were called “truffles” but I am wrong. I have a recipe for a potato and roast beef thing, but of course, I started with a trifle. Oreo Cookie Trifle.

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This has Oreo cookies, vanilla cream, crushed Oreo cookies, whipped cream, mini Oreo cookies and an Oreo cookie crust bottom. This should probably be called “Death By Oreo Cookies” or something. My blood sugar is rising just thinking about cutting into it!!2015-03-06 18.26.05Thanks for dropping by!

julie

More Denim, This Is It For a While…

Okay, I persevered and finished another denim quilt. This one fought a long and hard battle. It is the first time that I had to really rip seams and fix mistaken cuts. And not just once. And to add to the fighting, the weight of all that denim had me uttering choice phrases to the sewing machine. I even had to throw my hands up in defeat and leave it for a couple of days while I pondered the best way to finish it.

I think it all boiled down to four diagonal set-in seams. I have never been a big fan of set-in seams anyway, but that they were on a bias and diagonal didn’t help. Oh and yeah, broke four! needles in the process. Denim is not kind but I love the end result.

IMG_6145Now I have three more denim tops completed and have really paired down my stash of recycled denim, I am going to swear off working with it for a while. I flipped through a few books and magazines that I’ve marked with possible ideas but nothing seems to be sparking or lighting a fire under me. Maybe I need to take a break from sewing and concentrate on finishing at least one or two of the Victrola cabinets that I picked up a few weeks ago.

I’ve decided with one that I am going to turn into a little bar… with a little ice tub and a place for bottles and decanters and store glasses and napkins in the cabinet where albums were kept. I am thinking a walnut stained top and painting the cabinet a deep brown. The other cabinet is going to be an entertainment cabinet… using the former horn as an amplifier for an iPhone/iPod/music player and then adding a turntable and also making place for game controllers. This piece is going to be walnut stained top with a deep red/maroon cabinet. I think this will be really sharp.

There are two additional cabinets, a taller one that I think The Kid has his eye on it to be restored to the same sort of end product… a place for gaming systems and also a music system. And the last one has the makings to be the perfect bathroom vanity. I will have to replace the top with a solid piece (it splits in the middle right now), but I could see this is a beautiful ivory with maybe a piece of granite or ivory on top. Guess we’ll have to see how this proceeds.

Tomorrow I may go down to the Habitat’s ReStore and check out what they have in terms of granite or ivory and if they might have any vessel sinks that might work. Or any other interesting pieces that might be fun to work with. I still have the whole garage/shop job that I have planned, a post for another day.

julie

Seems Like Deja Vu!

Tonight’s post will be a quick one, just another example of the ombre style of painting in my favorite shades: pink. I love when I stumble across essentially a perfect dresser, both in style but also construction. Dressers built around the mid-century and before are examples of furniture built right and built to last generations. And really all I need to do is a bit of sanding, some drawer repair and slap on a couple coats of primer followed by the paint. Then replace the existing hardware with something a little more appealing – at least to me the existing Chippendale style handles are ugly and when I see them on furniture the first thing my mind screams is ‘replace them and fast’!

Anyway, won’t spend too much time on this routine process. You’ve seen the drill. I’ll just show you the before and after:

Pink Dresser Before&AfterAlthough this has become quite a routine exercise in makeovers, I am constantly astounded by the change that paint makes. What an amazing transformation for the cost of paint (and accessories) but wow, how different! And adorable. I can’t wait for the little girl who gets to put this into her room.

I will continue to do the dresser transformations, but am excited to shift focus over to the work being done towards the completion of a dollhouse for the 18 inch dolls such as American Girl. Tomorrow has been targeted as the day that much work will be completed, we plan to put a real dent in the ‘To Do‘ list.

The whole idea was really conceived when I created the play kitchen (you can see the post here). I think the most fun doing the whole project is the creativity that comes from taking something and making it into something with a whole difference purpose. And for this size project, it is all that much more fun. It comes from looking at something and seeing a whole new purpose. The scale here is somewhere between 1:3 and 1:4… sometimes it just comes down to what looks right.

I started thinking about this whole thing when some wonderful people offered me a beautiful entertainment armoire. For free! All it needed was a door hinge repair. But it got me thinking and planning. It has taken a prominent location in my front entry, so that every time I walk by it, it makes me think a little more about something I want to do.

Just to give you a peek into what has already been going on, I’ll just throw some quick pictures up here.

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Here is the first cabinet. As you can see, its a work in progress. The top shelf is a kitchen and the bottom shelf is a bathroom. Not sure that it is going to stay that way, especially after the cabinetry kept growing and growing and now there isn’t adequate room for the refrigerator and stove that is yet to come. 😦

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Working still on the upper cabinets and so they’ve been relegated to the top of the cabinet. Man, I am going overboard on this! 🙂

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I hadn’t planned for a bathroom, at least not for what I will keep. This will probably go into the other dollhouse. But the pieces are just too awesome!

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There is still a lot of work to do on the bathroom, but the one thing I finished was a miniature bathrug like the one I did for my bathroom! You can see it here. The bathtub will get a painting, white gloss inside, textured on the outside – more like a real tub. I’ve started the vanity and sink, still much to do there too.

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Everywhere I go, I keep my eyes peeled for things that could work as props and supplies for the house. Sample size and hotel size shampoos and conditioners and lotion bottles are perfect size in a small basket. Still need to do towels and wash cloths. Soap has been made out of clay, but needs to be wrapped.

Okay the next series of photos are of things in progress… I will explain and given instructions later. So much going on!

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Door knob and knocker for the front door…

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The front door being glue together…

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Here’s a angled photo of the sink (filled with dishes!) and what will become the sprayer and I am holding the faucet. Still in works…

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Found these lovely little fan covers that will make nice burner grills.

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These are the two stove/oven combinations (laying on their sides while gluing in the rack supports). One will be “stainless steel” while the other is getting a retro color treatment: turquoise! The refrigerators will get the same treatment too.

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Here are the oven shelves, trimmed from various pieces found at thrift stores.

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These are the knobs that will become the kitchen handles. Something special planned for these…

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These are the handles to be used for the stove/ovens. Need to pick up a few more before I am ready to attached.

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These are the shelves for both refrigerators. They are plastic cut from a dish drainer and painted silver. Perfect! DSCN1434

This is the second doll house. Barely got started… but it will have a shelf at the bottom and two floors. Also an attic! It will have beadboard places horizontal to simulate siding and it will have the grand front door and windows.

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Here is a sneak peek at the turquoise, this is the second refrigerator door.

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Here are a couple of shots of other things I’ve been collecting, such as pots and pans and dishes and glassware. Whenever I find something that seems about the right scale, I snatch it up and stash it away. These kitchens will be almost as well stocked as my own.

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Okay, that’s enough sneak peek for now. It’s getting late and there is much to do tomorrow. I hope you’ll come back and see my progress!

And of course, keep making beautiful things just for the sake of beauty!

julie

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