Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Custom or Not to Custom

In this journey I've been on with my business some opportunities have come up here and there to do custom work.  Early on I declined any requests to do custom work because, well, it makes me crazy.  There is so much more pressure whens it's custom.  You know what I mean?  It's easier to just make what I want to make knowing someone will see it complete and either buy it or not buy it.  On the flip side it sure is nice to know you have a buyer ready for what you are working on. 

So I can't help but wonder (I miss Carrie Bradshaw) is it fear, lack of confidence, or am I just not cut out for custom work?

Well when it rains it pours and I recently took on three custom projects.  You know what, I enjoyed all of them.  The thing that surprised me the most was how much I enjoyed having someone else make the final choices once in awhile.  What fabric to use, what paint or stain color.  The finishing details.   



For instance.  I built and upholstered this custom ottoman.  The fabric, trim and paint color were all different then what I would have chosen but I love how it turned out.  It was fun to give her what she envisioned.



( ottoman in clients home)

If you've been reading for awhile you know I pick neutral fabrics.  I even bore myself sometimes.  The fabric she picked is very bold.  I loved it.  I never would have picked it.  I think it looks great in her home with her neutral furniture.


Next project was a custom upholstered headboard.  Loved the fabric from the get go, probably never would have picked it out though because again if I make it to sell without knowing who's buying it I always go with neutral.



The last project I just finished was a custom entry shelf.   (she will add hooks herself) I never stain anything but she wanted it stained.  First thing I thought was oh no, can't use any caulking if it's stained.  Must be careful.  I put on my big girl pants and I think it turned out great.  

I guess what I'm saying is I am now open to custom work.  I won't just automatically decline anymore but it has to be something I am excited about doing.  I did one job I've never mentioned a while back that I wasn't into and it was t.o.r.t.u.r.e.  Don't get me wrong I appreciated the work it just wasn't really my thing and I struggled with it.  In the end it all worked out and I learned a lot and that made it worth it.  

So how do you feel about custom work?    
  

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Update a Builder Grade Kitchen with a DIY Custom Cabinet


I have been on a quest to upgrade my kitchen for years now.  I call it a quest because well you know these things take time.  My kitchen cabinets are a builder grade maple.  Maybe they are a notch above builder grade I don't know but they are not very fancy.  My goal is to add some character to this kitchen.  I decided to add a custom cabinet to my builder grade kitchen.  



Here's the before.  Dark ceramic slate looking tile back splash and counter with standard 30" cabinet above the sink.  The ceiling is very low because the kitchen is part of the original log cabin our house was built around.  It was dark.  I thought about just removing the doors on the old cabinet and adding brackets underneath but I didn't like the center support brace in the middle of it.  I thought about cutting it out but then decided against ruining the cabinet.  Why not just build exactly what I want?  My next step is to replace the counter top, purchase a new sink and eventually paint the cabinets. The mismatched appliances work fine so they will just have to stay for awhile. 


Thankfully the tile came off pretty easily.  I installed the tung and groove using a nail gun nailing into the groove side so the holes aren't visible.  Only one outlet so it was pretty easy. I primed with oil based primer before installing.


I painted with two coats of semigloss white (Oyster White by Glidden from Walmart.)  It really brightens up the place.  I know it seems weird to replace the back splash before the counter but I wanted the back splash to go behind my new cabinet.  I left a gap between the counter and the bottom of the boards so hopefully there wont be much damage when we pull the counter out.  I plan to use either quarter round or some sort of trim to finish it off anyways which will cover the gap.  (the trim is just sitting there for now for the photo shoot.)



To build the cabinet I used two 1 x 12 x 34" pine boards for the sides.  (Keep in mind 1 x 12 pine is actually 11.25" wide) The bottom 9" I cut out a decorative bracket shape.  That was the hardest part deciding on that shape.  



Total cabinet width is 30" so I cut a 1 x 12 x 28.5" board for the bottom shelf and glued and screwed it to the sides.

Then I stopped taking pictures for some unknown reason.  So I will attempt to show the rest by typing all over the finished picture. 



I wanted the top portion of the cabinet to be deeper than the lower plate rack section to make the cabinet look more interesting and custom.  To achieve this I glued and nailed a  1 x 2 x 12" piece to the 1 x 12 sides.  Then to make the shelf the right depth I added a 1 x 2 to the back of it.  That way the seam was in the back so the constant sliding of plates wont bother it.  



For the top of the cabinet ideally I would have used a 1 x 12 and a 1 x 2 like the shelf but I didn't have anymore 1 x 12 so I used what I had.   I added a 1 x 4 to the top back so that I would have something solid to screw through to mount it to the wall.  Underneath the bottom shelf I added a 1 x 4 and drilled holes for the pegs.  I finished it off with 1/4" plywood on the back. 



I didn't think I was going to add crown molding but when I installed the cabinet it looked plain.  (the before looks bald kinda doesn't it?) I do love me some crown.  


I made a little crown molding hat for the cabinet that sits on top.  I haven't nailed it in yet because I eventually want to paint the ceiling.  Once I do that I will attach it and caulk the seam. There is a beam above the cabinet so the sides don't go all the way back.






The plate rack I built just like I did my old plate rack click here for a tutorial.  If you are wondering if I have two plate racks now the answer is no.  I took the other one out of the other cabinet and used the dowels for this one.  I really like having a plate rack it is very functional and I love the way they look.
I am really happy with the change the back splash and new Cabinet have made to the kitchen.  It is closer to the cottagey kitchen look I am going for.  I almost don't mind the yellowed maple cabinets anymore.  Almost. I will be able to live with them a little longer.  Next up installing the garage sale granite I picked up almost two years ago.  Man time flies.    





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TDC Before and After
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

DIY Thread Holder


So here's a fun project.  I say that every time don't I?  I just love projects that just sorta fall together.  It all started a couple weeks ago I went to a Quilting Show with my Mother in Law, nieces and Sister in Law.  I am not much of a quilter but I went to hang out with the girls.  While shopping around My Mother in Law was looking at a plastic cone thread holder.  She needs one and this one was like $25.  She asked what we thought of it and of course I said don't buy that I can make you one for less.  She agreed.  So as we walked around I thought about how I would make it.  Eventually we came upon a booth that had a vintage vibe and I said to her "what we need is to find something wood, heavy and vintage for the base."  She pointed about two feet behind me and said "you mean like that".  She was pointing at a basket of old shoe forms.  I didn't even see them (my spidey sense must have just felt there presence) Yes exactly like that. 


It's perfect because it has a metal bottom so it's heavy.  Next I just needed to find something interesting for the thread to sit on.  I found several options at a local junk store and settled on on old grinder bit. It actually would work fine without it but I think it looks cool.  Rusty goodness.  The way the thread cones are wound the thread wont touch the rust. 


To attach the 1/2" dowel I tapered the end using a razor knife and pounded it into the hole that was already there with a mallet.  Then I added an upholstery tack to the top for interest. 


The wire that the thread feeds through is an old BBQ skewer that we never use.  I drilled a small hole in the back of the shoe form and pounded it in.   To bend the top I put the circle part in a vise and bent the stick to a 45 degree angle.

You can also flip the bottom plate over and it has some cool raised words on it.  This way it fits perfectly into the brand of thread my Mother in Law uses.   Seriously like it was made for it.  I love it when stuff like that happens.  



Almost half the price and way cooler than the plastic version.  I think I need one too.  Oooh I could put twine in it.  Now I must have one. 



Playing at the following Parties

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Eclectic Gallery Wall


I did it.  I finished a home project. Yay for me.  My previous gallery wall was fine I was just tired of it.  You know how it is.  I wanted some color.  What finally motivated me is that I stumbled upon this large watercolor Marina painting and I just loved it.   I knew I had to make a place for it.



Taste in art is definitely personal and this just spoke to me.  I've mentioned before that we have a boat and enjoy spending time on the water and this painting reminds me of all the old Marinas on the Puget Sound that we've pulled into for fuel or beer or whatever.  It reminds me of good times.  It had a sea foam green mat when I bought it so I changed it out with a white one and painted the frame.  It needs the white to calm it down. 


  
The Sailboat painting I purchased from my friend Anne from Design Dreams by Anne blog.  When I found out she was selling her paintings I just had to have this one.  It's done in Acrylics and it absolutely comes alive when the light hits it.  It's my favorite.



The watercolor of sandpipers on the beach was painted by my husbands Great Aunt.  The mustard colored bead board frame is one that I built.  It was in my to sell pile to take to my space.  I threw it up on the wall just for size and realized I loved how it pulls the yellow out of some of the other paintings.  The antlers were another thing just threw up there and liked.  I pinned some hounds tooth fabric onto them to update the look. 




The banquette I built out of a door got a fresh coat of paint.  Yesterday I finally sewed up some cushions that fit it.  The fabric is a medium gray Chenille, I love the texture and sheen of the fabric.  I also painted the table with CeCe Caldwell paint in color Vermont Slate.  Love this color.  It really softens things up.  I also used it on the frame with the burlap insert.  I pinned a pressed oak leaf that my Mom sent me in one of her letters to it.  She lives in Indiana.  I think it will be fun to change things out seasonally.  



Every piece up there makes me feel something.  To me the new look is quirky, fun and casual which are three things I hope describe my style. 




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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chair Makeover using Drop Cloth


My obsession with re-upholstery continues.  It seems like all I can find while out picking is chairs and kitchen tables.  I have quite the stash, I am trying to get them all done so I can move on.  This particular chair was so sturdy and comfy I had to buy it.  The Hubby said it was the ugliest chair he has ever seen.

I kind of agreed although I pretended like he was crazy for fun.  I decided to use drop cloth for the fabric to keep the cost done and also because I like the look.  


I painted the frame with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the color French Linen and did a thin wash of white over it.   Then distressed and waxed it.


I re-used the foam pieces because they were in great shape and very cushy.  The back was in two pieces with the top one being thicker so to make it work I sewed a strip of piping to define were the cushions met.  


For the outside back I used curve ease at the top and tack strips down the sides like I did on the sofa project.  To see my tutorial on how to upholster an outside back click here.


It was looking kind of plain.  I really wanted to add a image transfer to the top part, maybe some stripes but I'm selling it so I didn't.  I made a pillow to go with it instead.   The image is from the Graphics Fairy, and I used Tap (Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley) to transfer the image.  Then I drew the stripes with a ruler and a gray sharpie.  You can find TAP on amazon, it works very well.  You cant really see the clear part like you can with the less expensive stuff.  It's kind of spendy so I've been hoarding it.  Do you do that?  Hoard supplies that were expensive.  Makes no sense.  I always think I will save them for something special then end up forgetting I even have them.  Just money sitting there.


If she doesn't sell I will be happy to bring her home and use her as my craft room chair, seriously so comfy.  

One of my goals this year was to get back to working on our home again.  I have several home projects almost done and ready to share :) Almost. (So you know it could still be months.)  I am most excited about a cabinet I built for the kitchen.  I ran out of paint so all production stopped.  My poor kitchen makeover has been on hold for the last year.  I am excited to get back to it.  




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