Archive for January, 2011

Imagine a beautiful spring day,

warm sun kisses your skin,

birds are singing in the garden.

It’s quiet–except for the giggles and chatter of your little girls, who are lost in the play of a tea-party!  Can’t you just see it?!

Since Easter is late this year–April 24th,

there’s time to plan that garden tea party!

And I have found the most perfect Easter Garden tea set for your little one!

…you’ll want to get out the camera, for sure!




Tea pot

Creamer and Sugar

4 each ~ cups, saucers, spoons



Sorry ~ this is now


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I can’t help myself. I love kickin’ ’round flea markets, thrift stores, antique stores—overflow trash days!

There’s a thrift store half hour from my mom’s house that does an Everything half off–1st Monday of the Month! No kidding!  I try not to miss it.  I almost always find something pretty cool.  Often, great.  Sometimes, unusual.  But look what I found on one of those Mondays!

OMG!  It was, basically, already the size of my little cabinets, and someone had done a great job gutting it!  It has so much potential!  This is definitely coming home with me!

So here was my plan—–


I really wanted to pay homage to its original use, the good condition of the veneer, and the fabulous art deco design!  So…..

I–painstakingly–removed the whole front panel, and cut it down, preserving enough wood to build a door frame.  Hey!  It could be that Boy’s Armoire I bailed on earlier…!  (past post—A Boy Can Have an Armoire Too…..Right…?)

To be a little tongue-in-cheek, I scoured antique stores for old sheet music to wallpaper the interior!  Then, wanting a transparent door, I tried out some 3/8″ chicken wire, but it looked girlie and I was thinking “boy.”  And, I already had a name–O’Henry! So I used some old wire screen and gave it a copper finish.

Taking no chances—I had a professional refinish the veneer so it would “really sing”—sorry!

In the tradition of a true armoire, I gave it a hanging rod and shelf.  A vintage hardware drop found in a flea market, is the perfect finishing touch!





23″w  x 39″h  x 13″d








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Since the sewing machine was still out….I thought it would be fun to re-purpose an old tee shirt from one of the boys into a pillow!  Some clothes are just too cute to let go of!

This is how I did it!

I cut the off sleeves, and then the neck/shoulder area from just above the armpit to preserve all of the BUG! In past projects, I cut just below the armpit, squaring off the tee shirt.  But the “square” design wasn’t quite square (because of cutting higher), so I used a glass cake plate (so to see through it to center the design) and made a round form, instead!

I used some faded red ticking for welting, and for a little extra detail. 



Unfortunately, it puckered once I stuffed the pillow.  : /   Hey, that could work for a girl’s pill to look scalloped, like flower petals….!

Anyway, the welting gave me a place to hide the stitches needed to close the pillow after I stuffed it!

Old tee shirt—new pillow!

I feel bad when I hear people say they are afraid of, or don’t know how to sew.  It really is so easy.  And there are so many things you can do creatively with simple straight stitches–nothing fancy.  Give it a try!


PS—-here are those finished aprons for my nieces!  My goofy nephew is modeling for the 3rd missing niece!  He’s sooo accommodating!

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After I finished building Ensiola and Catrina,       I thought—What about the boys?

I was on a roll and pulled some stuff to build another set of doors that would look more “boyish.”  This is what I came up with.  They were cute–but, I just wasn’t feelin’ it. I still moved forward building the carcass, but when I propped the doors in it–I still wasn’t feelin’ it.

Plan B—





So—the boy’s Armoire became a boy’s hutch, and, at last, it looked right!

When I cut the doors down, it put more emphasis on the raised panels, so I thought the whole piece would have a better balance to replace the flat side panels of the cabinet with raised panels also.  Back to the saw…..

Initially, I wanted a totally stained piece–but it looked a bit contrived.  So I “painted it” to look “well worn” and dirtied it up with the same stain.

I found the fabulous miniature arrow hinges in a ReStore, and the handles were pilfered from a curbie.  What’s a “curbie?”  My affectionate term for things found on the curb–luv trash days!  Tapered bun beet I coerced John into cutting (fingers would have to be too close to the saw blade for my comfort) and more ReStore crown molding to finish—and I LOVE IT!  Even if it’s not an armoire.     I’ll try again–keep watching!










23″w  x 46″H  x 14″d


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I had this idea in my head for a while now

for a little girl’s armoire.

Actually, two ideas, but one was definitely going to test my math and wood working skills, so I started with the “easier” design, figuring it would help me sort out just how to build that second idea.  Which was truly challenging and is one of my absolute favorites—and I named it for me!

First— Ensiola!

From the preview picture, a few of the pieces used…the porch spindles….?  Well, I cut the individual “balls” to make bun feet!

I imagined an old fashioned design with chicken wire doors, and used some great fretwork corner pieces found in a flea market a couple summers back.  The crown molding was found in a ReStore, the bun feet were cut out of savaged porch spindles, and I’m always collecting hardware and fabulous vintage wall papers!

22″w  x 46″h  x 13″d


This piece sold and shipped to Arkansas!


….and my difficult baby….


23″w  x46″h  x13″d




The one that became my challenge.

I wanted the lattice to be the same thickness as the door frame….so I needed to figure out how thick to rip each of the layers.  I needed to figure out the depth of the dado so both layers would sit flush.

And it got more complicated at the center rails, oh my goodness!  All this fuss to be sure the door looked good, AND was rigid–remember a little one will be playing with it!

Btw—the base/feet were styled and cut from 2×4’s!

Both cabinets are made with reclaimed pine, flea market hardware, and crown molding donated to a ReStore.

And both have the same Magnolia & Cardinal vintage wall paper–that I found documented in a book!





























Domestically SpeakingPhotobucket




The Shabby Nest


Furniture Feature Fridays






Tickled Pink at 504 Main






freckled laundry

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Staying in one of the guest bedrooms of my mother’s house, revealed a few shortcomings.  No problem–easy remedies really.  Just have to hit the thrift stores, see what’s out there to re-work.

I found a small drum table (added a vintage table skirt and glass top) and a nice reproduction fauteuil (I had reupholstered) which would provide a nice place to sit with coffee or a computer.  And–I found this sad-looking secretary I thought could be transformed.  It would be nice to have a TV in there–and some interesting books (design, landscape, cooking, native birds).

Its drop-down was broken off and missing, the top was just barely attached, I really liked the Queen Ann legs (although one was in really bad condition), and WOW–did it STINK!  I’ll take it!


Well, you can see I took the circular saw to the top portion and decapitated it! I saved the loose top piece w/decorative back for some future use–you never know what!

I was going to cut it down to the top drawer, but decided to leave enough height for a DVD player.  I cut and contoured a top for the TV to sit, and routered a simple ogee edge.  Then, I just started building up, giving the side panels a whimsical design, since I was going to shabby-chic it.          —You can see it has been fully employed already!  It’s a bit chaotic around it because more work is yet to be done.

I painted an 8ft diameter sky in the center of the ceiling, with clouds and birds.  I applied lattice from the corners of the room inward to the circular sky, that give the illusion of a gazebo!  Look for a future post showing the finished Garden guest room!



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What have I started now….?

A couple of my nieces have birthdays this month.                                            I thought it would be fun to make them their own aprons and we could spend an afternoon together baking something!  Maybe a Birthday cake, and have fun decorating it!  Can’t you just see frosting all over the place?!


A fun little project–except–I had no pattern. I was trying to use a cute apron I already had as my “model.”  I dragged out a couple of my tubs of fabrics and linens, another thing I love to collect–oh God!

I had fun playing sorting through for just the right patterns to work with, and made quite the mess….!  But here’s the first one–my prototype!  I think it looks pretty cute as is, but I’m wondering about a little monogram, some appliqued flowers, a pocket…..?  In any case, I know what changes–and corrections–to make on the next one.  I’ll pick up in the morning.    Catherine

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You might as well…..

You know those projects–while you’re doing this, you might as well do that—they take on a life of their own.

We were nearing the end of work on an addition and major renovations to my mother’s whole house.  Up to [now], we had been successfully ignoring the 1970’s basement.  It was already a big project and we were pretty busy, but we all gathered down stairs, took a good look around—and started the demo.            (sigh) You might as well.

Digging through photos for my New Year’s Resolution project netted two old pictures, so I thought I would share the changes with you!

The basement began with dark paneled walls, the paint and wallpaper was a lame attempt to brighten it up at some point.  We demoed it back to a raw space, although we kept close to the original floor plan, for cost’s sake.

New; electricals, plumbing, insulation, vapor barrier, drywall on walls and ceiling both!  A wood-look vinyl floor was laid directly over the old.  We ditched the party bar for a grownup kitchenette, and used a mix of cheaper raw cabinets, some I already had, and one made on sight.  The rooster doors hide the entrance to the new crawl space under the addition.

We used leftover travertine (from other projects in the house) for the counters, and the diamond patterned “tile” back splash is actually venetian plaster.  The trunk is a toy box and extra seating when needed.









The family room and dining room–we hid the electrical panel in a shallow closet in the back corner, and added 12ft of real closet storage to replace the attic I took away.  All door casing headers have a little extra heft to the ceiling, and picture frame molding adds simple detail to the walls.

That window–what to do with that window…???  Okay, I got a little “crazy!”  What if it looked like a door with a transom?  We framed it in just like all the real doors.  We had to cut the door down some, but left the hinges on and glued on a back plate and knob.  It, literally, looks like you could open the door and walk over to the neighbor’s house (Joe), so I had a sign painter paint “Giuseppe’s” on the [transom] window!  I’m still looking for a private or patio plaque to put on it!




When I couldn’t get the stain on the door casing to match my “faux door,” I faux painted it to match!

There is so much more to share, but I’ll save it for another post.


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This was the instigating dresser!

Something I found many years back and gave to a great niece.  When she outgrew it, I traded with her for a bigger dresser.

I forgot just how cool this one was but—I really didn’t need another dresser!  What I needed was A Bookcase!

–Parts of her were rough and needed repair, especially a back leg.  In making the repairs–I learned how it was originally made, and can now recreate parts of its design in some future projects!  hmmm, serendipity– !?

I found this decorative “header” in Atlanta.  The story was that “they” were moving this grand sideboard-buffet in the back of a pickup on the highway–and didn’t secure it good enough.  Y e p—it fell off, got run over by a bunch of vehicles and was destroyed—except for this header piece.  And I knew I could do something with it!

Now this piece was one good-sized window rosette bought at the ReStore.

I bought 2 each of 2 designs thinking they were interesting and “I could do something with them!”

They were too wide, but this design/this one had a natural center–so I cut it in half. A great size now, with a natural left & right side!


Here’s the carcass.

Dresser gutted, repaired, the interior re-fitted with old pine boards, and the shelf installed.  Hutch top roughed out, header attached.  Doors are next, and I’ve made a decision on the hardware!

The back leg is now repaired,

the doors finished and installed, and the hardware chosen.

The doors are inset with 3/8″ brass chicken wire found at a ReStore for $7.50!  I was going to order it from one of my designer catalogs– same piece $89.  Visit your local ReStoresand donate too!

I still haven’t decided on the lower back panel—more tongue & groove boards like the top, a solid wallpapered panel–??–I don’t know.

Since the dresser was already painted

–and it’s such a big piece–

I decided to stick with a “white’ish” color, using Farrow & Ball’s CLUNCH,

and “age” it with an over-glaze.

Even with the top shelf missing in the hutch—can’t you just see all the storage potential?!

A real workhorse!

36″w  x  7’11″h


This project was featured at:


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….I’ve been busy “working” on my New Year’s Resolution!

You know–we make them each new year with the best of intentions to change or improve ourselves.  A-n-d, don’t typically keep them—for long!  So my resolution this year has a twist–and I absolutely promise to keep it!

In the style of drawing names for Christmas gifts—– I put my 40’ish families’ names into a little vintage purse to be drawn from each week for a PERSONALIZED post on my face book page.  A little trip down Memory Lane, if you will.  Mostly in pictures!

I gave them all notice of this, and an explanation for this year-long project January 04, and followed through with the first post yesterday!  A nephew’s name was first to be drawn, and I had a ball sifting through the mass amounts of pictures there were to choose from!  OMG!  It was painstaking to edit down to a reasonable number…..if you can consider 22 pictures reasonable!  ; D

I began with a picture of my pregnant sister-in-law, and then Christopher bundled in a Christmas stocking shortly after he was born—on Christmas eve!  I shared long-forgotten pictures of him with his God parents, grandparents, and just being cute and/or mischievous!  Pictures with siblings and cousins, and eventually, as a new parent, himself–although he still looked like a baby to me!

I spent a long day (distracted a lot by ALL the photos!) digging through old photo albums, boxes of loose pictures, and snatching photos out of frames to do this!  A really fun day, and lots of future “ammo!”  It has been even more fun to read all the comments from family as they see this 1st post!  I think I have their FULL attention—let’s see….who’s next!?!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?    Catherine

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