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

Finished. Again!

Just a quick post to show you the last two pink ombré dressers that have been completed and are ready for sale.

These are so simple, at least for us once we have a routine defined, to clean, fix and then paint. This time was kind of a neat dichotomy of styles in the same finishes, both have their unique charms.

2015-05-18 11.30.42I’ve always been partial to the older, antique styling of the right dresser. This was in amazing shape for its age, actually has the furniture maker info stamped into the inside of one drawer: Better Kennard’s Furniture Company. It still had working wood wheels on the ball feet!

2015-05-18 11.30.50The only work to this one was to replace missing drawer guides. Here is The Kid grinding down one of the guides so that the drawer moved more smoothly. Sparks were flying!

2015-05-18 11.21.23The other dresser is from Bassett. An name easily recognized for quality. I like the larger roomy drawers and even the smooth face of the drawers as the drawer pulls are built into the bottom of each drawer face.

2015-05-18 11.31.06I love the way these colors go on, and they are so shiny!

2015-05-16 14.47.20Isn’t that beautiful!? A couple more photos of the garage en progress:

2015-05-16 14.46.58The dresser on the far left is a beauty that I picked up for a mere $20 which has minimal veneer loss. this will be my first restoration piece in many months.

2015-05-14 17.25.52I have a nice small supply of various finished veneers that I have been collecting to be able to repair the chips and missing veneer.2015-05-16 14.47.10Garage almost seems like a small assembly line. With The Kid’s help, we are able to complete these quickly without much fuss. I love that the garage makeover has added dramatically to the ease of doing so.

A few more photos of the finished projects:

2015-05-18 11.31.362015-05-18 11.31.18We’ve been doing some work and arranging in my computer room as well. Seems my six month long sabbatical is rapidly coming to an end. For those who aren’t aware, I am a full time computer software engineer. I do these projects on the side as my way of reconnecting to my creative side (hence the blog name: On My Creative Side). The projects that I complete are usually sold simply to further fund more projects and at times, it does get expensive. So back to the daily grind.

Be sure to stop by again soon. I have the antique chandelier that is almost complete as well as a few other projects. I’ve actually managed to put some time into sewing again, challenging myself (or at least try) to use up my scrap bin. We’re also doing some gardening! Look at our starters!

2015-05-17 12.26.01Those are corn (in front) and tomatoes (in back). Now we just need to get the holes dug in the backyard to hold the compost we’ve made from the back deck to the garden and get them planted. It has been almost non-stop rain for the last two weeks and the ground is seriously muddy. I went out to weed my strawberry patch and with every weed I pulled, I took with it a baseball sized root ball! I stepped into the middle of the patch and sunk to the top of my ankle!

julie

Reusing Bed Pillows to Make Dog Beds

Still on my kick of finishing anything that has already been started (before starting anything new). I have been planning on doing this projects (projects?) for at least a year.

You have to know that by now, I am a saver. I say this – as opposed to hoarder (like The Kid calls me) because I do eventually get around to doing the projects that I plan and then getting rid of stuff. This one centers around pillows, bed pillows to be exact. I mean, how does one throw away a pillow? I am not asking about parting with said pillow, but rather the physical aspect of disposing of a bed pillow. Do you just throw them into the garbage?

Anyway, I am kind of weird when it comes to pillows. I like to have new ones. Often. I love the way that they smell and are so fluffy when brand new. So, I buy inexpensive ones. They’re decent quality pillows, but they just don’t really last more than about six months or so. And then I replace them. And then I end up with four pillows that are like new, but not really.

So, a long time ago, I figured out how to reuse the pillows and make dog beds. When we had our dog (we called her a ‘forever puppy’), she would love to be in whatever room that I or The Kid was in. So, I made a few of these dog beds for her to be comfortable. But of course, I had way more pillows than I could use in making beds for her.

Ain't I a cutie?

Ain’t I a cutie?

So, I still made them, I just found someone else who could use the beds. I donate them to a local ‘no-kill’ shelter that is just the most awesome place in the world. Its called Wayside Waifs and it is where we recently almost adopted a puppy. (The Kid and I found that it was just too soon for a new puppy after we had lost our Ashla.)

So, yesterday I dug out all the pillows I had stashed. Then I went through my odds and ends of quilting blocks and started sewing. Often, I will experiment with a quilt style or make a few blocks and then change my mind. Or I will have leftover quilt blocks. One end has a velcro opening, so that the cover can be washed or the pillows replaced. Its pretty easy boxed construction. I won’t go into instructions here, but may in the future if any one is really interested.

So, here is the whole pile:

DSCN3260And here are the individual beds:

DSCN3261This pink one is four pillows and would be suited for a larger breed dog.

DSCN3263Now its smallest to largest. This was a leftover piece of a quilt. Quite large actually for a single pillow):

DSCN3262Another single pillow with a scrap piece that I was trying out a very small pattern.

DSCN3264A little larger, this is two pillows. These are leftover 2 1/2″ strips that went together easily.

DSCN3265Another double pillow. This was done with denim scraps and an attempt at using denim for appliqué.

DSCN3266One more double pillow bed, this time with a leftover medallion. I know that I started this with the intent of some appliqué in the center, but never got back to it.

DSCN3267This one was the first one I finished and my favorite. I love the bold black touches (and the sides and back are also black). The sides on this one were a bit wide, so in the end it took four pillows to get it taut, but I think it will accommodate a pretty large breed dog nicely.

That’s the whole lot. I have some other goodies for Wayside Waifs as well (I checked out their wish list on their website.) If you’re interested and are local to the Kansas City area, check them out. You can find them here.

Well, I hope that you have a great day and come back soon!

julie

I Don’t Have to Tell You, You Know I Love Pink!

I grew up, essentially, with 5 brothers (my two sisters are 11 years older and 11 years younger). I was a tomboy from the get-go. I had to just to survive! Although my mother did her best to try to get me to be feminine, I rarely did. When she bought and hung two toned pink curtains in my room, I revolted. For years, I hated pink.

That would all change – or so I thought – when I had children. But mother nature was tough and long story short, five years and the cost of a new house, I was able to bring my one and only child into the world: my son The Kid. There would be no pink and taffeta and dolls and tea sets and tulle and ballerina slippers. Just my rough and tumble little boy. I wouldn’t trade a single second of having him in my life, it has been the best toughest joy of my life.

But I didn’t get to do pink. 😦

Lately, a lot of the furniture makeovers have been pink. As you may (or may not) know, I stumbled over the ombre style of painting and I’ve done a bit: black, green, blue, and yes, pink. And guess what? Pink sells the best and fastest and generally speaking, for asking price. It just is so adorable!

So, currently, I have a toy box and a small desk that are just about ready to be listed for sale. And I am forever hunting for cheap (preferably free) pieces of furniture to refinish/redecorate. Last time I bought paint, I opted for high gloss, which those little paint the small paint samples don’t come in that finish… so in order to get all those shades, I had to buy quarts (and a gallon of the base color). That means, in order to get my money’s worth, I need to do a few more.

The pink is just so cheery and feminine. It looks perfect in a nursery, a toddler or little girl’s room… heck, even teenaged girls love pink (some opt for purple!). I actually know that at least one piece I sold was going into a little girl’s room who was trapped inside a 40’s something woman’s body! Ha! Power to the spirit of the little girl who lives inside all women!

Recently, I picked up a small wood dresser. I like the detailing on the front and thought it would make a good project. It was in terrible condition when I got it and even with a lot of sanding, I couldn’t get it to a clean slate. So, I opted to paint it as it stood and in the end, it turned out okay. I like to describe it as having character. A thing doesn’t exist for that many years and not take on some blemishes or dings.

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This was the last one done with the satin finish. I also decoupaged the inside of each drawer using illustrations I cut from an old children’s book of fairy tales.

Drwer InteriorIt sold quickly, like this style does. So, more are on the way. I think a few people have figured out my success as I am seeing more of the ombré style recently.

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Added a sweet touch with these crystal handles.

KnobAnd the Before/After photo:

Before & AfterKeep an eye peeled for unveiling of several pieces soon. I am also working on a desk converted to a tall chest of drawers, The Kid’s Victrola makeover and the restoration of the larger Victrola. And of course, I am always on the lookout for things that get the creative juice flowing.

julie

No Drought In Kansas City

As many of you know, I am a transplant to Kansas City from Northern California’s Silicon Valley. We celebrate ten years in the Show-Me state next month. Even so, I always pay attention to the weather and wild fires out in California, which I still think of as ‘home’. They’ve been through some devastating drought conditions which have led to major wild fires. I feel for my peeps on the west coast.

But drought is one thing that Kansas City has not experienced. Well, at least not this year! Everything is greener than green and if you follow my blog, you know that my strawberry patch…

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…and The Kid’s pumpkin patch…

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….are growing like gang-busters. As I understood strawberries, the plants really don’t mature until the third year and then you can expect some decent harvests. Well, mine are only in their second year but have already harvested many quarts. And this even with me leaving about a third on the ground to help fill in light patches!My HouseI have a larger than standard lot, as our house is on a semi-cul-de-sac. I don’t know what else to call it. It is a corner where one street turns 90 degrees and becomes another street, but the corner is set back and we have a wide half-round area in front of my house and two of my neighbors. This makes for larger backyards, which good or bad, means we have more lawn.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 6.34.56 PMHowever, the way that our property is naturally graded, all run off from the eastern neighbor flows into a little stream through our back yard and then into a underground culvert that then feeds into a (very small) lake in the neighborhood just south of us. Thankfully this ugly culvert is in the back of my western neighbor and he has done a great job of camouflaging it.

One might reasonably think that this should work well and most of the time it does. However, when we have had multiple days of heavy rain (as we have recently), it doesn’t seem to work and we get a lot of standing water in our backyard. Or as I call it, “A River Runs Through It”.

DSCN2486The small leafy patch just to the left of the tree (behind the river) is the Kid’s pumpkin patch. Lots of rain is working a minor miracle on the plants… the vines have gone gangbusters and there are hundreds of blossoms! I think we can safely expect a lot of pumpkins… not the biggest, but I am expecting numbers! So, the standing water isn’t a big deal (although it does make it tough to mow that part of the yard), but mostly it keeps the grass beautifully green and nourishes my tree line.

All of Kansas City is just so healthy and green as well. For once, I can honestly look at Kansas City and call it beautiful! I don’t dislike KC, but there is nothing to compare with San Jose/San Francisco area and the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre mountains and everything in between. I really miss California!

Me and The Kid have been slowly been working on some new projects – The Kid now more than me since I’ve gone back to work. Last night we sold the purple vanity (yay!) and I think I have a buyer for the umpteenth pink ombre dresser that I finished an evening or so ago. That leaves just the two-tone vanity left to sell and I will officially have my entry way cleared!

photoI am also about a third or so complete on a 8″ x 10″ cross stitch project, I just picked up the canvas and some thread and started stitching! I am thinking that I will make it into an iPad case when I am done. Or something. Ha! I always have to have something to do with my hands even when I am too tired to refinish furniture and just am sitting on the couch watching ‘Nurse Jackie’. (Don’t get me started talking about binge series watching… that’s another whole different post!)

Thankfully, today is Friday and the end of my first week on the new job. I am really liking it, as I have a super team and an even more super (super-duper?) manager and I am coming up to speed really quick. Which is great, ’cause I really don’t like being the ‘new’ person. I see me doing this for a while. I hope!

julie

Rescued Wardrobe… Finished At Last!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you will remember that quite some time ago, I started work on rescuing an antique wardrobe. Well, since my last contract ended, I took the last push and finished it. Put the handles on it last night and wiped down the interior and took the final photos.

DSCN2270So here it is, it all of its black, white and shades of grey. Oh and the smallest touches of turquoise. I think it quite striking and I wish that I had a place to display it and keep it in my home. It is that beautiful. Oh, and did I mention? It weighs like 300 pounds, which means, that me and the Kid gotta pick it up and deliver it somewhere. And if luck holds out, it will be on a second floor somewhere. Whew!

DSCN2269I got lucky and the doors open and close easily, no sticking or creaking. This piece was absolutely a gem in its heyday, it is just too bad that the previous owner left it sit in a garage and made a mess of the walnut veneer. I imagine it was an absolutely gem.

DSCN2271As you can see, the interior escaped most of the damage that incurred on the outside. A thorough cleaning of the interior and the replacement of one trim piece and it sparkles like it must have always.

DSCN2272Last shot, you can see the multiple coats of polyurethane just shine in the evening sun… I just love the way this turned out. I especially enjoy the color scheme that was chosen. The stark contrast of the black and white with the shades of grey are stunning. I debated about the accent color, but in the end, I went with a favorite of mine – a deep turquoise.

If you care to see the previous blogs, you can see them here, here and here.

Now, to get them sold and move on to the next projects… picked up these lovely cabinets thanks to the generousity of a gentleman who only wanted the guts of the old record players. I think these will turn out to be very lovely pieces.

ALL

I’ve also started on the third piece of stained glass, after thinking long and hard, it hit me… it has to be my logo for the doll accessories and clothing and furniture that I’ve been creating. Lends itself perfectly to stained glass. I still have to show you the last one I finished, although I think I realized that the image I chose was much too intricate and am not very happy with the way it turned out. But we can talk about that more in the next blog post.

julie

I Think I’ve Lost My House! (To My Crafts!)

Today is a story of what happens when you start to get successful!

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Well, that and the weather is unbearably cold and you can’t work in the garage!

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These are shots of my kitchen, living room and front entryway. They are the only place I have to work since it is too cold to work in the garage.

I have about five projects in the works and several more waiting in the garage. I love it that this is really starting to pay off. I love the creativity and the search for pieces and seeing my ideas turn into reality. Even better, knowing that they will sell and spend their lives in some little girl’s bedroom, some couple’s room or home office or wherever in homes. That people will use and cherish and love the pieces for years to come.

One of the pieces I am working on is for a very special little girl. I don’t think she knows it’s coming, or if she does, doesn’t know to what extent. Her mommy really loves her… the details that she has thought of demonstrates that. From the careful selection of colors to the specific pieces of furniture and attention to every last detail. I will provide updates and the unveiling of the piece here in this blog as I work. Maybe if Danielle (this is mommy!) let’s me, she’ll share the room when it is done. 🙂

So, today I worked to get all the pieces primed. Not too big of a job, but on two drawers there was an original blue outline detail that seems to defy primer. I’ve already given it four coats and you can still see the faint outline:

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I gave these two drawers yet another coat of primer and hopefully that will take care of it! Also got the first coat of primer on the dresser, all the little curves and layers make for a little challenge, but nothing I cannot manage. It may take at least one more coat to cover all the bumps and bruises that it collected in its previous life.

While I had the primer out, I was able to get the first coat on another dresser I picked up. It coincidentally matched the style of a tall dresser, a highboy, that I done earlier (you can see it here) and will offer it to the woman who bought it. It is such a beautiful style, I figure it is somewhere around 60 – 80 years old, back when furniture was hand crafted and a real art. And built to last. And even though it had been damaged and disrespected by the people who had it last, because it was so well constructed that damage was really only surface.

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Oh, almost forgot! There is one other project that we have in the works. I say ‘we’ because this one involves the Kid. I am trying to get him to kind of assume the lead and most of the responsibility because I think it would be a great way to get him involved in a business of sorts and I want him to understand the connection between cost of materials, involvement of labor and the end price as well as profit. Sometimes I think I make it look too easy for him, shielding him from the minutiae of all the business details.

The project is building doll beds. The size for American Girls, Journey Girls, Madame Alexander and Our Generation – among countless others. Maybe more furniture in the future. The bed comes first. We take a standard set of directions and build it. Then switch out materials, making it more conventional or antique style. First one will be the antique white that I have grown fond of and then experiment with other colors. I, of course, will be working the bedding and mattress. We’ll work on packaging and advertising later. Its a bit exciting (for me more than the Kid) at least in the beginning, but I think he will see the value in all of this as we move along. Watch for updates right here!

Okay, have a ton of stuff to do still. Gotta get moving!

Thanks for dropping by, as always and Happy Crafting Y’All!

julie

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