Monday, March 30, 2009

Trash to Treasure

Kari and Kijsa are hosting a "Trash to Treasure" party today.
So without further ado, the curbside nightstand I rescued and transformed into a play kitchen.
Play Kitchen 2009
Thanks so much to all of you who offered color advice last week. I really like the black and think I have made a pretty, yet gender neutral play kitchen that could be in a living room without embarrassment.

The best part, I am going to turn this trash to real treasure when I sell it. The proceeds will go to my church's homeless feeding program. The program is seriously strapped because of the economy. This is the first time I have ever sold anything. Wish me luck!

Updated: Thanks everyone for your kind words and encouragement! I have added notes to my flickr pictures if you are interested in making one yourself.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What's In A Bag?

Awesome Tote Bag from Em
Don't you just love a good tote bag? I sure do! This is my new bag from Em. She was my swap partner for the Sweet Goodness Swaps "Winning Hand" Swap. Em treated me like royalty! The whole box was filled with treasures. Buttons! Cookie cutters, tartlet pans, Lindt Chocolate! Oh my the chocolate! Really, there were too many things to list them all.

However, the ace in the hand was this awesome bag! She made it from a pair of her husbands jeans! The inside has a vintage playing cards print that is just awesome. This bag was pressed into service as soon as I saw it.

I have gotten many compliments, but the best part is that it fits me so perfectly. The straps are nice and wide and stay on my shoulders unless I am taking some kind of picture. :) It doesn't look bulky, but it holds a ton of stuff. Like for example all the stuff in the next picture.

Stuff I fit in tote bag this Sunday

This was my haul from Sundays errands. It replaced several plastic shopping bags as I went to both Home Depot and Ralphs. Oh, and another thing, It doesn't gape all over the place. I don't want any sticky fingers dipping into my bag!

Thanks so much Em!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It Was Meant to Be

So, I went to Lowe's again tonight and waiting right there for me on the mismatch paint rack was $3 gallon of black paint! Now I know it is meant to be!
Just to be sure I sound *just* like H&GTV, this is the "inspiration" kitchen.

Also, while at Lowes a sales associate gave me a cup or so of tile grout from an open bag for free! I am going to try this recipe for chalkboard paint.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Another Thought

OK, still obsessing on how to paint the new play kitchen.

I agree- it should be gender neutral. Also, I thought a lot about Lori's comment that it should look good in grown up areas of the house.

I was browsing a local paint shop and discovered a faux stone finish, chalkboard paint and even magnetic paint. This cabinet has nice big flat panels on either side which would be fun for a chalkboard/ magnet area.

Is a black play kitchen with faux granite "counter tops" too sophisticated for kids? Would they like it? I have some nice black check fabric for the cupboard curtain. Kind of country French?

Curbside Cabinet
The whole front is different now. There is an oven and a small cupboard on the right and a curtained shelf area on the left, but this pic shows the carved legs.

Any other ideas?

Updated to add: It's a kitcheny kind of day! The Pink Kitchen is featured today on Design Dazzle!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Play Kitchen Workshop -The Second Season

Aren't these velvety curly q's fun? They are particle board sawdust from my drill.

This is my improvised way of cutting out a circle without a proper saw. I drilled over 80 holes to get that circle out.
Yes, the little apartment workshop was open for business this weekend! Kitchen #2 is well underway. Except for a frustrating trip to Lowes, this time around is going so much faster.

Now, I need some advice. My plan for this play kitchen is to sell it. I will have more details later, but the proceeds will go to my church. So, I do want to fetch a nice price. I'm thinking about half of what a PBK play kitchen would cost. Of course, I am noticing that they are on sale right now, so who knows. Maybe the market is really soft.

Anyway, at Lowes I miraculously found the *perfect* shade of Jadite green paint on their seconds cart for just $3! Then, trough a series of misfortunate events it was taken from my cart, restocked, and sold out from under me!

I have plenty of pink paint at home. Maybe this was a sign to go ahead and use the pink paint I have?

What do you think...will it sell better pink or a more gender neutral color? Is Jadeite green gender neutral enough? I kind of have that in my head now but, I noticed a red kitchen at PBK. Maybe red?

Cliff said he thinks most people buy play kitchen sets for their daughters and to go with pink.

I am not so sure. What would you do? Any advice or thoughts about the color or what price to ask are appreciated.

In case you are interested in trying this for yourself, I have a "tutorial" of sorts on flicker.
This is a price breakdown so far:

free cabinet from the curb
$1.49 1"X2"X 36" board
$6.00 thin plywood sheet, cut for me free at Lowes
$2.00 L brackets
$0.99 handle for the oven door
$2.00 hook
$0.99 metal bowl for sink
$1.99 wooden letter J for faucet

Left over from other kitchen:
gray paint
silver paint
wood glue
wood turning pieces for knobs etc.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flower Power

About a month ago, my colleague Berry said, "I wish there was some way you could bring your Martha Stewart side to work." This comment came at the same time another colleague was lamenting the sad state of our faculty bathrooms. The two comments melded and I decided to redecorate our faculty bathroom.

Now you should know that things are somewhat tense with my principal, so this was all done on the down low. In fact, I arrived at the crack of dawn before any of my colleagues could catch me at it. I cut out flowers from a $1.69 wallpaper boarder from Big Lots and hung them with mounting tabs.
I also purchased some art from the 99 Cents Only Store to go with it. The crowning touches were nice hand soap and some real Scotties tissues. Total cost less than $5.

This little project was a boost to my moral. In fact, I think I may try and do another bathroom next week. With our apartment decorated within an inch of it's life, this is a whole 'nother canvas to expand to!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Making Me Happy This Week

I am always looking for ways to maximize space in our apartment. Every little bit helps me feel more content with our decision to delay buying a house. For the most part, I am content-then comes laundry day.

We are fortunate to have a laundry room on our floor. Still, I dream of the day when I have my own washing machine. It's not the cost so much as the coin. It's a hassle to come up with six quarters for a wash and another four for the dryer.

I have a very good drying rack that works well for large loads, but it takes up a lot of space to set up.

For small loads or hand washed items, I installed a Grundtal towel holder over my shower. It's a quick, out of the way spot to hang hand-washed fabric or a wet swim suit. This bathroom has a southern exposure and gets very warm. Things dry pretty quickly in there.

I love finding an easy, affordable solution to sniggly problems.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Brush With Kindness

I have a not so secret desire to be a carpenter like Amy Wynn Pastor from Trading Spaces. So, I was super thrilled that I was able to go with my awesome church on this month's Habitat for Humanity work project.

I imagined myself learning how to drywall and using power saws.

That didn't happen, but the storage POD did remind me of Trading Spaces.

We were working with the A Brush With Kindness Program. A Brush With Kindness helps low income homeowners maintain the value of their property by providing painting and minor exterior repairs.

Lead by two amazing Ameri Corps volunteers we spent the day in LA painting the home of Ms. Rose. Like many seniors, she lives on 80% less than the median income for LA and qualified for the program.

See that big bush? I spent the better part of the day getting cozy with that bush and all the spider friends who lived there. I chose this assignment because it was a cold day and it looked like a warm spot.

I am now also skilled at painting window
trim and the decorative security bars.

A Brush With Kindness Program is available in many cities. Maybe you have a friend or neighbor in need? I know the LA organization is currently accepting applications. I am going to let our community rep at school know about it. It would be so great to see this kind of improvement going around school.

It felt great to get out and spend a day doing home repairs. It also felt great to come home to my apartment with it's crew of handymen who take care of things for us!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

She Likes It!

Here's another project just waiting to be shared.

I just so happened to be the fifth commenter on Rebecca's "1st Craft Challenge" post thus winning a chance to participate in her very first crafty challenge.

I had no idea what I would do, but figured why not!

A few Saturdays ago, I spent the day wandering around Michael Levine's $2 a pound Loft. I snagged a small scrap of dreamy pink satin. Not cheap prom dress satin, but thick decorators satin. Instantly I thought of Rebecca's challenge.

I began reading Thrifty Goodness while Rebecca was planning her Neapolitan colored wedding. The Pink and Brown Swap was the first swap I ever participated in. So, every time I see something pink and brown I think of her!

Stretch Your Wings

Naturally, the frame is thrifted. I used spray paint for the first time in many, many years. (I have a lot of room for improvement there.) The back is brown flannel.

This was a delightful little challenge! Thanks Rebecca!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Winning Hand Swap

Yeah! I can finally share what I have been up to for the last couple of weeks!

This little Queen of Hearts was my main inspiration for the Sweet Goodness Swaps "Winning Hand" swap.

Queen of Hearts
And, this little gal inspired...

Suite Sisters

a gaggle of girlfriends! Most of their dresses were designs from vintage playing cards. Bob Fossy meets Black Apple Doll.

I noticed that my partner, Em of 10,00o Beads had repurposed found objects in some of her creations, so I didn't think she would mind some odds and ends. I thrifted the beads and tossed in all sorts of lonely earrings and charms for her to create with.

IMG_0430Thrifted Beads and Found Charms

I had seen these candy boxes reused on several blogs and it all fit just right. I also managed to find a tiny clubs shaped pan and some Dutch Chocolate "Casino Coins" to round out the package. I think this may just be my favorite swap challenge yet!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Stress Relief

Hollywood High

Cliff and I have started a new tradition- Sunday hikes. Things in the Crayon Box have been ugly. Too ugly to write about in a public forum. Sewing isn't enough to drown out the rumors and confusion. Layoffs are coming and they will be massive. As of now, I think I am safe, but I am not certain.

Up here clean breezes blow. Wild flowers and green grass abound. What city? What recession?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hello March

To be honest, March is not my favorite month. It's long and nowadays it's spoiled by the pressures of State Testing. Bring on the sewing therapy!

Two weeks ago I helped my friend Nicole go on an IKEA shopping spree to redecorate her apartment. Decorating? IKEA? Nicole's charge card? Count me in!

Anyway, in the market place section they had bundles of sticks. They look fantastic tucked in vases around her apartment. Lucky for me there were extras. So it was that Cliff discovered a sizable bundle of five foot sticks in my car on Sunday.

"I suppose your going to "make something"? Poor Cliff. It's a loosing battle. I like stuff! Especially stuff with potential to be made into other stuff. I was thrilled to get the sticks. I can't just go out into the back yard to get a stick whenever I want you know!

I am hoping those cheery green circles and some sticks will become some sort of spring mobile. I am not sure if I am going to paint the sticks or leave them natural.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Do You See What I See?

Curbside Cabinet

I see another play kitchen. Perhaps made to sell. I found this on the curb on Sunday.