A Little of This, A Bit of That, More of Something Else

Do you ever find yourself pulled in many directions at once? Well, that’s me for the last week or so. I feel like I have so many irons in the fire and yet, never feeling like I am accomplishing anything. At least not accomplishing enough.

I will share with you a project that has been in the works for sometime. Way back, I was given a wonderful gift of four antique phonograph player cabinets. An acquaintance of mine does old fashioned Victrola type restorations and much like anyone who restores things, it often takes two or more pieces to be able to get something that old working again. So, my friend would strip the cabinets bare of the music parts and then not have anything to put back into them.

01414_146BGjp6j5f_600x450I was able to fix up two of the four I received pretty quickly. I love how they turned out. I like one so much I opted to keep it – yes, it was done in my signature red color. But it was extremely handy to have my financial information all in one place and look good to boot! You can read about it here.

This photo shows the four I received. Like I said one sold quickly, and you can see its transformation here.

I did some preliminary work on the other two, but we were pulled in many directions and the other two went into the “To Do” section of the garage. That space was arranged and re-arranged a dozen times. But I knew I would get around to them eventually.

Eventually was this week for one piece. I stumbled onto a color when I was sorting through paint chip cards and have fallen head over heals for it. It is called ‘Deep Aubergine’ and it just screams elegance. So, being (sort of) close to finishing the third Victrola cabinet, I opted for a quart of this beautiful color.

DSCN3384This is one of those colors that is just plain hard to photograph accurately. Trust me when I say that this is a gorgeous color in person. Its a deep brown with just a hint of ‘purple’ in it. But you can see the difference in how it photographs between this photo and this one:

DSCN3385Either way, it is gorgeous! I had to replace the top, it seems that the tops of all this cabinets were the first to go. The right side of this cabinet had a horn that was covered with the dropping front.DSCN3387That piece then can be slid into the cabinet to keep it out of the way (when they were listening to music). I loved the construction and only briefly considered changing it. The other side has an added shelf to use for storage. I think this piece would be nice as a entry way or hall cabinet. I think grandmother’s silver box and the good crystal would fit nicely into this cabinet.

DSCN3386So, I have a number of other projects in the works as well. I stumbled onto a thrift store that had all their clothing marked down to $2… so I snatched up all of the jeans I could find. I spent the better part of the last two days with scissors, seam rippers and razor blades taking everything apart. I am planning to use the fabric to make a denim braided rag rug. I’ve seen a few photos and they just look awesome! I have plans for almost the entire pair of jeans – I am going to use the seams and waistbands with belt loops – I even have a plan for the back pocket label

2015-05-12 21.11.10Sitting and working on this gives me a chance to catch up on some of the old movies I missed the first time around. I love streaming content! I am taking full advantage… we have AppleTV, Roku and Amazon Fire!

2015-05-12 21.10.52The Kid and I are, once again, giving gardening a try. Last year we did pumpkins and the year before watermelons. Didn’t have luck with either of them. This year I am trying tomatoes and The Kid is planting sweet corn. Which of course reminds me, I have to get down and weed the strawberry patch. This is the third year for the strawberries and this is supposed to be the year that they really bear large and flavorable berries.

Oh, and we’ve got the antique chandelier that we rescued out of an abandoned farmhouse. I’ll provide all the info when it is complete. Like I said, we have many irons in the fire… we are constantly doing something around here.

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

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

Tale of Four Victrolas, Part Red

So, with the last post, I began telling you about four old Victrola cabinets that I picked up for free from CraigsList. I showed you the first (along with a purple vanity makeover) and here is the second Victrola cabinet.

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Technically, this cabinet isn’t a Victrola, but the brand name is Cecilian. Personally, I’ve never heard of that brand, so out of convenience, I will just refer to as a Victrola cabinet. 🙂 This one is the one of the left in the picture above.

This next cabinet was destined for the same treatment as the turquoise one, until it hit me one day. I have a little area of the dining room table where I do bills and mail. I have, for some time, been trying to get the dining room table cleared, so that we could, oh, I dunno, eat dinner there?

So, I opted to keep this one and turned it into a mail organization station. I think it was kind of inevitable, considering that it was already painted the perfect red (remember how much I love red?)… which, I assure you was coincidental.

This particular cabinet started out much like the last. The body was in need of some real reconstruction, but the top was in pretty good shape. So, the body was primed, sanded and painted and the top got the customary two coats of walnut stain (with a light sanding in between) and then two coats of polyurethane. Once I decided to keep this one, I opted for some really nice hardware (read: paid some real money!) and got just the right look.

The inside was finished, again, much the same way as the first. Hate to be redundant because I am feeling like I am starting to sound like a broken record, but the inside was so nicely preserved that really a good wipe down with cloth and then a very light coat of poly to seal it all.

DSCN2397Then, with the help of my handy assistant, we installed two metal rods to hang folders in the open side. It was really very easy and inexpensive. The 5 foot steel rod was a mere two and a half dollars at The HomeDepot and The Kid was able to cut them easily and a couple of drilled holes and they were installed. I had this little pencil holder gadget from something I had taken apart in the past, and I thought it was the perfect finishing piece to keep a pen or two handy.

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The other side, I left without any changes (I think this was where the records were kept when it was a music player), so I can keep whatever I need close at hand.

DSCN2398So, after completing it, it was a matter of pushing it into place and loading it up. I know that I have a habit of filling up a space (and then some!) and I am worried this is a little much for the space. I’d like to think that if it helps me organize the space, then it should be okay. What do you think?

DSCN2396So, originally when I thought that the piece would be for sale, I painted a matching mirror. If you recall, I picked up three of these mirrors from the Penney’s Outlet store for a pittance and the idea was to include one with each of the cabinets.

I definitely don’t have space for a mirror in this room, since this one is pretty much filled with windows. So, I will either include this with something else or sell it by itself. Either way, I love that red! 😉

DSCN2406Okay, now I am down to the last two cabinets. One will require that we build a new lid but I am excited that the Kid and I have the skills to do this. I promise I will take more pictures!

Today was an ‘off’ day, I think that the Kid and me deserved to sleep in late. Right back at it tomorrow though!

julie

 

Tale of Four Victrola Cabinets (and a Vanity)

Have I told you how much I love CraigsList? In my city, it is amazingly active, including the Free section. For instance, a few weeks ago, I picked up four Victrola cabinets from a man who restores them… but it often took many different units to get enough parts to get a single player in working condition. He had accumulated quite a few and apparently one night, it was more than he could store.

01414_146BGjp6j5f_600x450You can see that he still had a few more that he had to give away. Those four were enough for me. 🙂

So, I have finished the first two. One for me and one to sell. Let’s start with the one for sale. It would be the one to the furthermost right in the photo. The top was in decent condition, so it was sanded down to the original wood. Following, it received several coats of a dark turquoise color. I was careful to paint only the body. As I said, I sanded the top down to a beautiful wood grain, so I gave it two coats of a walnut stain followed by two coats of polyurethane. The top just shines.

DSCN2365I fitted the right side (where the megaphone and the actual phonograph had been) with a plastic tub for ice. I found one that fit almost perfectly, adding a ledger for the lip of the tub to rest.

DSCN2402All of the interior wood was cleaned and a coat of walnut to enhance the existing wood finish. This thing was in absolutely beautiful condition. I added the brushed nickel knobs to complete the cabinet. I had wanted to purchase some old decanters and at least one set of high ball glasses and maybe some champagne class to set a nicer stage for photos, but the whole idea of this thing is to make money – as much as possible.

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I picked up three mirrors a couple of years back from Penney’s outlet store, they were $200 originally and marked down to their final price of $20! When I saw them, I couldn’t say no, even though their wood finishes were very scratched. My instinct was to paint them anyway, so I had purchased all three. I painted one with the same paint as the cabinet and am selling them as a pair.

A few more photos of the cabinet for your viewing pleasure.

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I have another almost finished that I have decided to keep. I will show you that one soon. The next project I finished though, is this nice vanity… well, the finished product is nice anyway. It was in pretty bad shape with I picked it up though. This one took quite a bit of work to get it to the point of being able to paint it.

DSCN2336I had determined to do something different this time, rather than the standard pink or (off) white. Lots of young girls like pink, but there are probably about just as many who like purple. So I started with a purple I had in stock.

DSCN2354After the first coat of this particular purple, I thought that it looked a little too much on the red side of purple, so I purchased a purple that leaned toward blue spectrum and started the painting process all over again.

DSCN2410I also added the wood detail on all four of the drawers as well as the rope trim, since sanding required most of the original trim to be removed. I also purchased a piece of quarter inch glass for the shelf in between the cabinets. I think this came out really beautiful.

DSCN2409One of these days I am going to have to figure out how to take good photos of furniture with mirrors. I always seem to get a reflection of the weirdest stuff when I take them!

DSCN2408Here it is in all of its purple glory! I have these two pieces listed on CraigsList and hopefully they will sell quickly. I am working on one more, almost done and then there are two more that I have to get started on.

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

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.

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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

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