Monday, April 7, 2014

Meet Sunny, the dresser

Meet Sunny.

She has a beautiful design, but began to show her true colors as I went to move her into the garage.

And I had some damaged veneer that I had to take care of.

But she wanted to shine.  Like the sun.

Sunny tackles life.  She wakes in the morning to half an hour of meditation, enjoys fresh fruit and cottage cheese before her daily yoga class.

She reads every book that her book club prescribes and has the full discography of Peter, Paul & Mary.  She is just a ray of sunshine in your otherwise rainy day.

This piece was picked up by a customer and I was given the opportunity to brighten her up.  I stripped and stained the top and all doors, as well as the side wood panels.  The customer really wanted to keep the wood top, and since I wasn't sure what I would get under the veneer, I just added some wood filler and stained it along with the top (forgot to take a photo of the repair).

I made my own chalk paint and distressed lightly so the super cool trim could pop.  I also painted the hardware using this technique.

Sunny is going to be used in a nursery . . . . the perfect spot to brighten your day.

Thanks for reading and may your day be sunny,


Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Most Magical Place in the World

Our family just returned home from visiting the most wondrous and magical place in the world.

And I hope you never have to go there.

Before you start thinking about what a wack-job I am, the place I am referring to is a wish granting resort.  It caters to families who have children with terminal illness or life-threatening ailments.  So, I do hope you never have to go.  We are grateful that Jack's leukemia is in remission and we waited until he felt healthy enough for such a trip.

But if you have a child who unfortunately has to deal with what no child should have to, and they are granted a wish from the many wish-granting organizations, like Make-A-Wish, and they dream of going to Disney World, I hope you get a chance to stay at Give Kids The World.

You see, one person can make a difference.  Henri Landwirth, an amazing man and Holocaust survivor, is the founder of Give Kids The World, a resort where these children and their families are treated like royalty. Please take a minute to research this incredible man.

We arrived at our "home" for the week and every amenity was taken care of.  Gifts were left in our villa every day for the kids, pizza and sandwiches were delivered to your door, and the ice cream shoppe was open for breakfast.  ;)

The resort provided tickets to all the major parks, like Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Studios.

Characters from Disney, Nickelodeon, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld came to the resort for picture taking, for a much more personal and exciting experience for the kids.

They have horseback riding, a beautiful lagoon pool with an amazing splash pad, and one of the best miniature golf game I have ever played, that included interactive dinosaurs!  Yes, dinosaurs.

And the parties!  Every night there was a different party.  Pirate and Princess party.  Mayor Clayton's Birthday (mascot for GKTW).  Winter Wonderland night, including Santa's visit (with presents, of course).  And the list goes on.

There is the Castle of Miracles where each wish child has a star with their name on it, placed on the ceiling forever by the Star Fairy.  La Ti Da Salon where you can have a makeover.  A beautiful carousel where you can take a ride at your whim. A ginormous, interactive train room.  Train rides around the resort.  A cookie and lemonade cart roaming the streets, looking for their next customer.  It's just unbelievable.  

But this place couldn't exist without the volunteers, and that is what touched me the most.  In Florida during the winter, you will find a lot of "snowbirds".  Not a mammal that can fly, but retired persons who spend 6 months out of the year in this warm state and then travel back home for the summer.  Many of these are missing their children and grandchildren back home and Give Kids The World is the perfect place for them.  They take all that love they have for their families and shower it on the wish families for their week's stay.  A stay where these families can find respite from their challenging lives.

Thank you Give Kids The World.  Thank you Make-A-Wish.  Thank you volunteers. You have left my family with a lifetime of memories.

If you would like to make a contribution to either of these charities, please click their links above.  It truly is the most wonderful and magical place on earth.  They changed our lives, even for that short week.  

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Adding Pendant Lights (AKA: Shadow Chasers)

We do the best with what we have, right?  I would love another kitchen, but I've got to make do with the one I have.  And that's exactly what I did.

We have one central ceiling light and when sitting with your back to the light, your body would cast shadows on the table.  Not cool when the kids need to do their homework and straining their eyes to see it.

I decided I wanted lighting over the kitchen table, but didn't want recessed or track lighting.  To me that just seemed like harsh lighting for the space, plus I had my eye on some pretty awesome pendants.

Yup, these were the winners.

I love Edison light fixtures, they were a great price and free shipping was included.  And although our main light in the kitchen is white, I have black accents with the kitchen chairs, curtain rods, some appliances, wine rack, etc . . . so I wasn't too afraid of adding "non-matching" lights.

Here they are in their new home (Thanks Scott!).

They don't bother me one bit that they're not matchy-matchy white.

No more shadows for us.

I love them, and surprisingly, the kids don't bat them around like a playground tether ball.  ;)

Thanks for reading,

Sharing with:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Seaside Sign

Since we are getting yet another foot of snow here in southern New Hampshire, it seems fit to introduce my seaside sign.  At this point, I'm looking to be welcomed by the sea, lounging on a beach, with an adult beverage in my hand.  But alas, it's a shovel and Motrin instead.

This was a gift for a very special person.

She happens to be my son's visiting nurse, who has been in the trenches with us through two hip surgeries and years of leukemia treatments.  I definitely wouldn't have come through the other side intact without her support.  And shoulders.

I created the planked part of the sign with pallet wood.  After joining the pieces together with strips of wood in the back, the whole thing was whitewashed.  Next, I added my pre-painted 1X2" frame.  I then transferred the fonts from paper to the wood using carbon paper and hand painted them in.

I was very picky about what the mermaid would look like.  After Google searching images, I found the perfect look.  And it happens to be an artist with an Etsy store, so if you want to check out his great art, you can find it here.  I traced her onto wood, cut with a jigsaw, painted and distressed.

I think she is now ready for her new home at the Geary's beach house.  They can either shovel their way to it, or just what for the thaw.  :)

Have a warm day,

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Meet Jenna, the dining table

Meet Jenna.

A beautiful, sturdy table that has served families for over a dozen years.  Years of snacks and meals, cookie decorating, valentine creating, and playdoh sculpting.  It didn't take that long to remove the marker stains and dried bits of leftovers, but it was a challenge.

I think the challenge was the weather.  For days on end, it was in single digits outside and below 30 degrees in my garage.  Even the portable propane heater couldn't tackle that much cold.  With that said, my Citrus Stripper didn't work very well.  I did two coats, and I could see all the original varnish still had not been removed.  So I had to whip out the belt sander and away we went.

All stripped clean
Jenna was due for a well-deserved makeover.  I wanted her to keep her rustic appeal, but add a bit of class.  After sanding down the top,  I used my favorite tools to distress the finish.  You can see an example of it in this post.   It's best to use a dark stain after distressing so the character of your work comes through.

Okay, here is where I apologize for the lack of photos.  Jenna was a beast -- in a very good way.  Four hands needed to move this table and most of the time I didn't have four hands.  So I could only take a few pics -- with my phone -- after putting her in my shop.  :(

I went with a creamy white homemade chalk paint for the apron and chunky legs, and then slightly distressed them.  I used polyacrylic to seal the paint and three coats of polyurethane for the top.  Her dimensions are 42" wide, 29.5" tall, 60" long, and 78" long with the leaf.

Loving those legs!
Jenna has just been delivered to Robin's Egg and she's looking forward to finding a new home where they love to play with glue and crayons.

Have a lovely day,

Monday, January 27, 2014

Building a Pallet Daybed

This is pretty much a post referring you to another post.  Really.  Because the instructions at Prudent Baby are so concise, why re-invent the wheel.  ;)

I had a customer that saw this image on Pinterest:

It was pretty serendipitous that I had recently pinned the same photo!  She wanted one and I was off to find me some great pallets.  After I finished it and moved it into the living room, my kids didn't want to give it up.

The only major change I made was adding a "backboard" so the pillows wouldn't fall off when pulled away from the wall.  Just make sure you leave enough room for two cleats in each of the back corners.

What a fun little bed this turned out to be.

So make your way over to Prudent Baby for a knock-it-out-of-the-park tutorial!

Have a great day,

Sharing with:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

DIY Personalized Tray

We all have a use for a tray in our lives.  Treating our other half to a breakfast in bed, carrying BBQ items out to the picnic table, serving snacks during the big game.  There is ALWAYS a use for a tray.  So why not make it unique?  You can create one for you or a wonderful gift for someone special in your life.

You simply use pine boards.  You need to decide how wide and long you want your tray and cut them to size.  I chose to use different width boards for my planked tray.

I wanted this tray to be rustic, as it was a gift to someone living on a lake in the mountains of Vermont. Distressing your wood is a quick way to make it rustic.  These are some of my favorite tools to distress: hammer, nails, screwdriver, and chisel.

I like to chisel some of the wood out of the middle or even down the edge.  I also create "worm holes" by tapping a nail over and over again in a small area, or just jabbing the wood with the screwdriver will also do the job.

I knew I wanted the boards to have different depths of stain, so I decided to stain them before attaching them.  One coat to some, more coats to others.  The stain will also bring out where you beat up your wood. ;)  I left one board raw because I knew I would add one last coat of stain after I attached them together.

Next, I flipped the boards over and  used my Kreg Jig to attach them together.  If you don't have one, you can pick one up at hardware store for about $20.  VERY useful for just about any building.

I wanted a nice clean bottom, so I used 1/4" plywood cut to the size of the tray, glued and nailed it to the bottom.  (This photo is after I attached the frame -- forgot the before photo.)

Next I added a frame around the edge.  This creates a nice ledge so items don't roll off the tray and makes for a nice, clean look.  I mitered the corners and attached with nails.  Make sure your frame is flush with the bottom so the tray sits flat.

After my final coat of stain, I was ready to get creative.  To personalize, find or create your image.  Just enlarge it in a word processing or photo editing program and piece the printed pages together to get a larger size.  Use a carbon paper on the back to transfer or cover the back with pencil and when you trace the front, the marks will transfer.

Then I used a variety of paints to fill in my image.

After the piece had dried, I added many coats of sealer to protect the finish.  The final step was adding the handles.  I countersunk the screws so the tray would lay flat.

And then she was finished.

You could be serving Valentine's Day breakfast on one of these bad boys if you get a'cracking!

Have a fantastic day,