Dollhouse Reveal: The Sewing Room (#1)

I wasn’t going to necessarily write about the rooms in order, but this was actually the first room I worked on and the first to be finished.

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The key to any good sewing or craft room is lots and lots of storage space. I give the illusion of that in faux cabinets across the length of the room. I made it look like four doors covering, each with “hinges” which were the bottoms of very small Christmas bulbs glued to one edge and then the “knob” which is a sewing pin with a “pearlized” head (pushed all the way in).

When we first moved to Kansas City almost 13 years ago, my craft/sewing/quilting room was the first one I really set up as well. Of course we set up beds and filled the kitchen with food, but the first one to get extra attention and cabinets and details and “finished”. Made perfect sense to me!

DSCN4968Here is an overall photo of the room. It is a tad dark, and I had trouble with photographing all of the rooms even though I tried to bounce light off large white surfaces.

You can see that I’ve set the room much like my own, with two tables: one for the sewing machine and one taller for the cutting table.DSCN4969Many of the objects in this room are also in my sewing room. The sewing machine is set up with fabric and scissors and a pin cushion. Up against the back wall is a cabinet designed to hold lots of fabric, and a couple of antique irons on the floor (just like my real sewing room)!

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I have a cutting mat and a rotary cutter. Scissors are nearby as well as some patterns and buttons. There are stores of ribbons and patterns neatly lined up on the back cabinets and a dress form.

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The wall behind the cutting table has a cork board, on it some helpful instructions and patterns, and s small shelve  which boasts has a nice display of colorful buttons. On the other side of the door we have a calendar and a small chest filled to the top with ribbons, buttons, lace and other wonderful materials.DSCN4972A quick shot of the floor. This particular room is made up of sample tiles from Home Depot which were cut to make squares. I like the randomness of the stripes and colors.

Come back soon for more rooms to be revealed!

julie

Want to see all of the rooms? Use these helpful links:

Sewing Room Update: Finally Finished!

2014-10-27 19.52.50Well, I say “finished” but is anything ever really finished?

So, way back I showed you the new cabinet added to my sewing room. Because it came with a plain front – rather than the beadboard finish that is on every other cabinet in the room – I attempted to change the doors on this new cabinet to match.

At first, we tried to use the thin sheets you can get from any hardware or big box store.

First we cut them to size for each panel:

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Then we slathered on the glue, placed the beadboard and then weighted it down with whatever we had in the garage. You can see we used paint cans, a small anvil – even boxes of Diet Coke.

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2014-10-12 13.38.30After leaving it overnight, I came out the next morning to find that the glue hadn’t ‘stuck’ to the door panel, only the beadboard. Back to square one.

I did some investigating and ran across a wallpaper that looked like beadboard. It couldn’t hurt to try, right? I ordered one roll and waited. It finally came and attempt number two was started.

Since I wasn’t using much, I opted for premixed wallpaper paste. Using a four inch roller, I slathered it on heavy.

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Rolled the wallpaper on top and smoothed with my hands. Then using a sharp blade, I cut the piece to size using the edges of the trim.

2014-10-22 18.36.30Wiped up any excess paste…

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…did all three panels the same way…

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And here’s how it looked. Left it to dry overnight and went to sleep with my fingers crossed.

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Here is both doors (three panels):

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Came out the next morning and it looked great! Yay! However, as I kept looking at them, I felt like something wasn’t quite right. The bounding trim was very glossy but the paper had a matte finish. I thought I would just set them up and spray paint them glossy white.

Good idea, except the paper never really dried. It was just sort of sticky. In a room where dust and material fragments and threads would be everywhere, I knew this wouldn’t be good. I opted to spray it with a glossy clear sealant. Now, there was a chance here that this would only make things worse and not resolve the issue. But I figured I could just stick The Kid in the truck and point him in the direction of IKEA and get him to buy replacement doors. It was worth a try.

And it worked! Next morning the stickiness was gone and the doors were all shiny! Next step, installation.

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Doesn’t it look like we bought it that way? I love this idea and may be looking for more ways to use this!

A couple more pics of the new cabinet and some of the other changes as a result:

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Added some more “buttons” and one still not up yet:

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New shelf along the ceiling line… those boxes hold so much! I have completed quilt squares and lots and lots of cut pieces just waiting to be turned into more quilts.

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Had to turn the button board vertical to fit. Had to move some other pieces, like the tack board, to another part of the room. Added some new things as well to the mix, such as this “puzzle box” of sewing attachments made by Singer in the early part of the 20th century.

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Here is where the tack board went. The top is a photo of The Kid when we had just adopted our puppy.

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Here is an older shot of the cabinets along the back wall and turning up to the window. You can sort of make out the beadboard fronts.

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Okay, now that this is done… I need to turn my attention to the third stall of the garage. It is where my sports car needs to be housed during what we expect to be a pretty snowy winter. I need to get the STUFF either done or out of there. I really just want to play in my sewing room… I just bought that new embroidery machine and can’t wait to get started. But first things first.

Julie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

julie

 

Embroidery, Baking and Painting. Its a Trifecta of Crafting!

It has been a rough week for me, so this will be a quick post. In honor of my Mother who passed away this past week, I finished some hanger covers that I had stamped and marked and my Mom had embroidered for me. She had been a big embroiderer when I was young and she did teach me how at that time. I did a few pieces when I was young, not sure any had really survived. I’ve occasionally picked up a piece from time to time, but never have been accomplished at it. Mostly just did accents on pieces. I bought a lovely sewing machine from Singer that now does it automatically and I could never compete – time or accuracy – with its results.

My Mom had finished the pieces in the previous months, and all that was needed to complete it was to sew the seams and trim the pillow cases. And here are the finished results:

Hanger Cover1 Hanger Cover2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think they turned out quite charming. I think that I will hang one on the front of my closet door in my bathroom and the other will hang in the quest room.

Another thing I did differently was to do some baking this week. Nothing like rich, gooey, calorie laden baked goods to make the family feel better and bond me with my son. And he loved this! And it was so simple to do, I don’t know why I hadn’t done it sooner or do it more often. It is called Monkeybread and this recipe was made using Pillsbury refrigerated dough for buttermilk biscuits.

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Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 11.01.38 PMThis was so unbelievably good, especially warm! It was gone before the day’s end. And so simple to make… you should try it!

Last but not least, this simple transformation of a beautiful little piece. It was very beautiful, but the top’s veneer was seriously damaged. I spent a few hours and a hammer and a pry tool and managed to remove it all without damaging the base piece. This allowed me to then prime the entire piece and generously applied six coats of my favorite black paint to the top. the remainder of the cabinet was the recipient of this beautiful dark purple that leans toward red when wet, but blue when dry so it just looks so extraordinary with the black that has undertones of blue as well.

I cleaned and then spray painted the hardware that was original to the piece, they were quite stunning in their own right. Not often do I re-use the original hardware, usually it is those ubiquitous Chippendale style handles that I have come to really dislike quite intensely. But with a couple of carefully applied coats of metallic black, these handles just turned out fabulously.

Here is a quick before and after photo:

Purple Before&After

Much to do this week and I have the luxury of having the Kid home with me on Spring Break. So far, “spring” has been cold, cloudy and a bit precipitous. The Kid has voiced his desire to transform a dresser from start to finish… I am excited and trying to convince myself that he wants to learn the process but I know he is doing it so that he can take a bigger cut of the profit! Either way, I get his company and help and that is worth it all!

Thank you for dropping by. And keep up the crafting!

julie

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