Monday, January 11, 2016

CAMP MOMMY: Dollhouse Remodel (Phase 1)

After posting pics of the redesigned interiors I did for my daughter's Pottery Barn Dollhouse, my friend Melissa found a vintage dollhouse at an antique store in a small town. She picked it up for me. I have had it for about 4 years, and could not find the time to work on it. Now that my daughter (Luca) is 7, I thought it would be a fun Winter Break project. Luca and I couldn't agree on paint colors; she wanted teal and pink and I wanted gray and black, so we compromised...and I LOVE it!

Remodel included:
  • Added siding
  • Added roofing materials
  • Added slatted shutters
  • Added flower boxes (to shorten the windows to fit the prefab shutters)
  • Added a cupola with a rooster weather vane
  • Added porch rail siding
  • Repaired outside corner trim
  • Painted everything
Here are photos of the completed Exterior Remodel (Phase 1) .... I hope to get to the Interior Remodel (Phase 2) over Summer Break:
BEFORE and AFTER

The completed exterior remodel

Detail of cupola with rooster weather vane

Upper Level Detail

Porch Detail

Progress photos:
Luca painting the siding
Painting shingles and shutters
Arranging flowers with Fluffy

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Holiday Treats for Clients and Classmates

This venture started off in an attempt to place an order for chocolate covered strawberries and pretzel sticks for a client via a well known company. However, in addition to the cost of the goodies, the company charges $17 for delivery of the strawberries and another $15 to deliver the pretzel sticks, even though they are both going to the same place! I called said company, and asked if they could combine the delivery costs since they are originating in 1 place and terminating at 1 place. They refused. So, I canceled the order. Went to Michaels (Welton Candy Melts), Cost Plus World Market (trays, glasses, baggies, ribbon, cellophane), Ralphs (beautiful organic strawberries), and Smart & Final (Snyder's of Hanover Pretzel Rods)...then got to work.

I made 7 trays of goodies for clients, and personally delivered them. And made about 30 baggies of treats for my daughter's school (classmates, teachers, staff, supervisors, security, etc.)

It was a lot of work, but it was worth it for all the smiles :)

Products:
  • Chocolate covered pretzel rods with various colored candy melts (red, green, chocolate, white), some with crystal sugar, some with crushed candy cane bits. 
  • Chocolate covered organic strawberries with various colored candy melts (red, green, chocolate, white), some with crushed walnuts, some with crushed candy cane bits, and some with shards of fresh chocolate.
  • Chocolate covered Oreo cookies with with various colored candy melts (red, green, chocolate, white), some with crushed walnuts, some with crystal sugar, some with crushed candy cane bits.
Handmade goodies for my clients on gold chargers with gold-bottom wine glasses

White Chocolate Pretzel Rods with White, Red and Chocolate Strips (Left), Chocolate Pretzel Rods with Crushed Candy Cane Topping (Right) 
White Chocolate Pretzel Rods with White, Red, Green and Chocolate Strips (Left), and Chocolate Pretzel Rods with White, Red and Chocolate Strips (Right)
White Chocolate Pretzel Rods with Large Crystal Sugar (Left), and White Chocolate Pretzel Rods with White, Red and Chocolate Strips (Right)




Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookies with Various Toppings: Crushed Candy Cane, Large Crystal Sugar, and Red and White Strips

Pretzel and Oreo Treats wrapped up, labeled and ready to distribute with Holiday Cards

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Treats: Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops

Also inspired by treats found on the web, I created these yummy Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops for my kiddo's school Halloween celebration.

INGREDIENTS:
-Large Marshmallows
-Wilton Vibrant Green Candy Melts
-Wilton Chocolate Candy Melts
-Black Gel
-Candy Eyes
-Black Licorice
-Lollipop Sticks
Another big hit! Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops!
I wanted to serve on this simple white cake platter, but it was easier to transport in my large baking pan

Ba Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!

Halloween Treats: Mummy Pretzel Rods

Inspired by "spooktacular" Halloween Treats found on the web, I created these super delicious Mummy Pretzel Rods --and displayed them in different colored mason jars (I caught an awesome Halloween sale: $1.19 per jar at Michaels).

For another Halloween Party, I ran out of the White Candy Melts to dip the pretzel rods, so I dipped them in left-over Chocolate Candy Melts (used for the hair on my Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops) and had enough White to do the "mummy wrapping" strips (I mixed White Mummies and Chocolate Mummies together in the jars, and forgot to snap a pic- blogger fail!) 

INGREDIENTS:
-Large Pretzel Rods
-Wilton Bright White Candy Melts
-Strip of Multi-Colored Candy Buttons
-Black Edible Marker


Biggest hit at the school's Halloween Party!

Boo! Mmmm....Delicious!

Friday, October 2, 2015

My GORGEOUS "Almost-No-Sew" $2 Throw Pillows!

After restoring the piano bench, I had some surplus fabric....but it is SO beautiful, I HAD to use ALL of it! I also happen to have 2 throw pillows that needed covers. PERFECT! But...I only had enough fabric to cover 1 throw pillow, front and back, OR 2 throw pillows, front only. So I went with the latter.

Now I need fabric for the backs. So, I went to my local fabric store, and sifted through their disorganized scrap bins. After 90 minutes...in the bottom of the very last scrap bin, I found it! 2 scraps of the perfect size, perfect color and perfect texture fabric! $1 each. Woot woot!

I intended on sewing them...I even borrowed a sewing machine...but the needle was broken and it was missing parts. SO...I did some digging online and learned about "HEAT N BOND Ultra" - a miracle no-sew product!!!! I had a 50% coupon at Michaels, so it only cost $ 1.79 for 10 yards of 3/8" bonding tape. All you need is an iron, and a few seconds! It was AMAZING! I was able to successfully bond 3 sides of each pillow...but after inserting the pillow, I couldn't bond the open ends...so I sewed them by hand, but that went pretty fast, and looks good.

FYI: I thought I was clever and initially tried to use a hair iron, but it didn't work as well as a real iron...I strongly recommend a real iron and follow the instructions.

Here is the final product - I LOVE IT!!!
I LOVE my new pillows!


Supplies: Fabric (front and back), HEAT N BOND Ultra Tape (3/8" x 10 yards), ready-to-cover throw pillow and iron
 (TIP: do not use a hair iron- use a real iron)


Look at that AMAZING seam! I was able to bond 2 heavy upholstery fabrics with HEAT N BOND Ultra

Back of pillow- the perfect shade of brown velvet

Detail of pillow


Corner Detail
(I hate our carpet! Ugh!)


My 2 finished pillows! LOVE!



Friday, September 25, 2015

Tooth Fairy Visit

In honor of my Luca losing another tooth last night, here are photos of the items left by the Tooth Fairy last time...

...what does the Tooth Fairy do when she was not prepared and has no cash or trinkets on hand??? She leaves a gift certificate!

Check out the miniature letter, gift certificate, "gold" coin (covered in gold glitter) in the tiny envelope...hand delivered by the Tooth Fairy, of course!
Miniature letter, rolled gift certificate, "gold coin" in a tiny envelope

unrolled gift certificate...no cash = bigger reward

Happy camper (less one tooth!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bringing New Life to an Old Piano Bench

While renovating their home, one my fav design clients gave me their old piano!!! A beautiful, cherry wood 1959 Wurlitzer Upright (I believe it's a Spinet). What a wonderful gift! The piano is very good shape, although several keys were covered with masking tape and labeled in ink for learning. This was easily removable and cleanable with a little bit of Goof-Off. And I wiped down the wood with Wood Wipes.

We asked if the piano came with a bench, and it did, but it was in such bad shape, they had discarded it, and it was out by the dumpster. They assumed no one would want it. Wrong! I wanted it and I knew I could make it beautiful again!!! So I took it home, and I've included step-by-step instructions how to restore an old piano bench for only $43 (including fabric, batting, foam, stain, sander, staples)

"AFTER" -- RESTORED PIANO BENCH
"BEFORE" -- ORIGINAL PIANO BENCH

STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS TO RESTORING AN OLD PIANO BENCH:

1. Remove lid from hinges

2. Using a screwdriver or painter's tool to remove nail heads and/or staples
 *** TIP: wear a mask ***
When I started to open up the fabric, and flipped the lid over, 56 years of dust, dander,
and the odor of cat urine came wafting out, shooting directly into my eyes and nose

3. Remove original upholstery fabric and batting
Original upholstery
Underneath the upholstery, I found another upholstery,
a beautiful green silk, probably original from 1959

Remove second layer of upholstery and batting
4. Wipe down wood lid/seat using Clorox Wipes or equal.

5. Measure bench lid/seat (TIP: measure twice/cut once)

6. Purchase Classic Low Loft Batting (36" x 45") and roll of 1" thick Pure Foam Cushion



With a 30% coupon, the total for batting and foam: $22.50



























7. Purchase upholstery fabric (1/2 yard is perfect for a piano bench)

I loved this fabric with blue velvet flowers
Fabric: $19.95/yd x 1/2 yd + CA tax = $10.85

8. Align wood lid/seat with 2 straight edges of foam and trace the other 2 edges of the wood lid/seat




9. Using a sharp knife, cut the foam along the lines
I used the wood lid/seat as a straightedge and a kitchen knife 
10. Use Spray Mount to adhere foam to wood lid/seat

Use a light coating of Spray Mount along the top of wood lid/seat
Align foam with wood lid/seat, reposition as needed
Align foam with edge of wood lid/seat and lay flat


























11. Trim one layer of batting approximately 2" beyond the wood lid/seat edges 
 





































12. On the remaining layers of batting, trace the edges of the wood lid/seat (now with foam). I was left with 2 layers of batting the size of the lid in addition to the oversized piece. 
My 7-year old daughter wanted to help, so I let her trace the pattern

13. Trim the batting






































14. Place 2 layers of the trimmed-to-fit batting on top of foam (shown), add the oversized layer on top (not shown)





























15. Carefully flip lid over, and pull oversized top layer of batting up and over the lid.





























16. Starting in the center, use a staple gun (and 3/8" staples) to staple batting to bottom of lid
Staple every 1"-2" and notch out area for hinges (optional)


 17. Optional: trim the edges of the batting


18. Wrap corners like wrapping a present -- remove excess batting as needed to create a neat corner






































19. Staple corners

20. Hammer in staples





































Lid/Seat without fabric should look like this:
Bottom
Top
21. Lay upholstery fabric face down







































22. Place lid/seat face down on fabric (**make sure pattern is centered**), wrap fabric around edge and fold fabric (optional) for clean installation
Wrap fabric

Optional: fold fabric for clean edge


23. Staple in center, then work your way around





24. Again, wrap corners like a present, cut excess fabric, and staple tightly



 FINAL LID/SEAT
Bottom (I did not notch the fabric for hinges)
Top


25. Gather everything to restore the base: mask, gloves, safety googles, sanding sponge, paint thinner or mineral spirits (I used Goof-Off that I had at home), stain to match wood, old t-shirts. Do this OUTDOORS in a well-ventilated area.

Base is really beat up
It looks like a pet gnawed away at the wood base





According to the Wood Stain instructions, you should strip off the old finish first (I skipped that step).

26. Using the sanding sponge, sand all sides thoroughly


27. Using an old t-shirt dampened with paint thinner, mineral spirits (I used "Goof-Off), completely wipe down all surfaces

28. Using another t-shirt, rub on stain in direction of grain. Wipe off excess.

29. Allow to dry. Although it could have used a second coat, I only did one coat because it looked so much better, and I didn't want to make it darker. After 3 hours, it is supposed to be dry, but I kept it out overnight to make sure it was completely dry and the fumes were gone.

 30. Once dry, mark the location of hinges with a sharpie.







































31. Since the original holes were stripped, we drilled new holes on the opposite side of the seat bottom with a super thin drill bit in the marked locations

32. Screw in hinges and arm hinge



COMPLETED PIANO BENCH

Restored piano bench (closed)

Restored piano bench (open)


Our restored piano bench with our new vintage piano

I LOVE IT!!!