Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!

Ah yes, a day at home with absolutely gorgeous weather and so many things to do!  Of course we never accomplish everything we want to, but what does that really matter in the long run.  It'll all get done, or it won't.  The plan today was to continue with my bureau and table projects (I finally got the long-awaited burst of inspiration for the table), measure out the space for Sparky's patio that we decided we need to construct, and then split the wood that's taking up space in the garden.  So I put on my Sunday pants, which are colorfully adorned with various shades of paint, grass stains, hair dye and motor oil, and started out.

This is the back of the bureau; as you can maybe see, it's pretty bad.  The luan on the back is beyond repair but I can replace that easily enough. The rest of it is made from thicker pine and other than a few digs that I repaired with wood putty, is in good shape. 

The table, which I've also had for a couple of years, was a real find; it's maple with a butcher block top, and while it's not expensively made, it's sturdy and it's MAPLE.  Very pretty top, and I paid a whole dollar for it.  After turning over several different ideas in my mind for what I wanted it to look like, I finally decided to paint the legs and support bracket and stain the top.  Not an original idea, but what comes after that will set it apart.

I don't know if the thing originally had wheels on it or what, but the bottoms of the legs had these metal      insets with threaded holes.  They had to go, I'll just use some of those non-scratchy felt-bottomed furniture feet  I've got stashed somewhere.

So next, we started measuring out the space for Sparky's patio.  She and my dad had talked about it, but never got around to doing it.  So Preston and I are going to tackle it, and give her a nice spot to sit outside and entertain.  Preston, who I thought had built at least one of everything in his lifetime, has never done a paver patio before, so this will be a learning experience for both of us.  It seems pretty straightforward, but then everything does until you actually try to do it.  I said I was going to do the digging myself, but on seeing what a 12x12 space actually looks like, I took Sparky's advice and called our neighbor, Captain Bobcat. True to form, he said "I'll be right up".  And sure enough, 1/2 hour later we had a large hole in the yard.

Preston says if he had a Bobcat, he'd never leave the yard.
This week, as long as the weather holds, will see a bunch of stone and sand, and oh yeah...I guess we'll have to go get pavers at some point.  Of course this means I will have to repaint that ugly-ass table.  I guess at some point my dad must have hit a sale on obnoxious green paint.

We never did get around to splitting the wood, but there's time before I need to call the rototiller dude.  That's one thing Captain Bobcat doesn't have, a rototiller.  Surprisingly enough.  But that's ok,  that's why we have Thomas Reilly, #749-5296.  I went on and on about him after he tilled our garden last year, so I'm not going to do it again; just trust me, if you live in RI and need your garden tilled, he's your guy.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


 So now that I finished the chair and stool (yay!!) I finally started on the bureau I bought, what, two years ago?  I think it was two years.  I have been waiting for inspiration as to what I wanted it to look like, but it's not coming to me, or at least it's not coming to me all at once.  I have a general idea, but no specific details.  But since it's got to have a few small repairs and be primed first anyway, I was hoping a little hands-on would break the ice and maybe something specific would present itself.  So yesterday I broke out the primer and got going.  Unlike the chair and stool, which probably came from IKEA or some unfinished furniture place, the little bureau was quite obviously handmade by someone who had a need for a little bureau.  It's a sturdy little thing, but it's got some quirks that made me pause to reconsider whether I really wanted to proceed.  But ya know, those little quirks are what drew me to it in the first place so I got out the brads and wood glue and it will be just fine.  All I know for sure at this point is that I want the insides of the drawers to be green, and the outside (probably) to be white.  The rest is up in the air. And since yard sale season is almost upon us, with its promise of new projects, I'd better get to it.

I finished the pink dress!  I'm happy with the way it came out, black drawers and all.  And it's attracting quite a bit of attention at the shop, probably because of its in-your-face pinkness which is actually MUCH more intense than this pic shows.  And the next project in the clothing department has been started; it's a sundress set with the color combination of turquoise and mustard, which made Sparky go "ugh" and make the corresponding ugh face.  While I can't claim the idea, as I started with a seersucker plaid in those colors, I think it's going to work. 

Spring has brought a very welcome transformation here at the compound, where the daffodils are in full glorious bloom and everything else is waking up and showing signs of life, including me and Sparky.  We've been talking a lot about what we're going to plant this year and where to plant it, although the soil around here is terrible and a lot of things just won't tolerate it.  But we have the ugliness of many tree stumps in the front yard this year, and short of hiring a backhoe to dig them up ($$$$$) there's really not much we can do but plant some ground cover and hope we can hide them.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

In For a Penny.... for a pound, isn't that what they say?  I seem to be having some sort of existential crisis regarding my latest project but in the end I decided to just go with my gut and see what results.  I'll explain:  I had this hot pink fabric left over from another order, and for some reason it screamed "baby dress" at me.  The little black swirls dictated that the dress should have black details, which was ok with me although kind of edgy for a baby. (I actually went on Etsy to see if anybody else had hot pink-and-black baby dresses, totally out of character for me.  I usually don't care.  There were a few, not many).  But then the crisis began.  Black bloomers? On a baby?  I just didn't know. Maybe a lighter shade of pink? You just CAN'T put black undies on a baby, can you?  I waited until the dress was almost done before I came to the conclusion that no other color would do, so I've committed to the pink and black.  It'll be fine.  Plus it seems like the weirdest things I come up with are the ones that find a home first.  We'll see.

Meet Pat!  In case you've never seen the Saturday Night Live sketch, Pat is a person of indeterminate gender.  Since my other dummies have names,  of course the new kid on the block had to have one.  I like Pat because s/he has no face.  When I went mannequin shopping on Ebay, I found a whole lot of child mannequins have faces that are supposed to be cute, I guess, but are just really scary and if I had to look at one every day I would have nightmares.  So I was very happy to find Pat.  Really needed a model for my stuff!
So prom and powwow seasons hit me every spring at roughly the same time, and this year is shaping up to be no exception.  While I cannot prepare for prom season, I do try to have some ready-made regalia pieces available for sale even though most of the pieces  I make are custom orders.  These foxes were something I made for a set of men's fancy last year, but they didn't really work with the rest of the colors so we went in another direction.  They were a lot of work and I was pretty proud of them since I'm not an "artist" and so if I can make something realistic that comes out this good, it's a happy accident.  So I am designing a set of men's pieces around the fox faces, and hopefully they will strike someone's fancy. 

And now, friends and neighbors, it's time to go refuel with some spaghetti and meatballs!! Not as good as Sparky's, but they'll do.