Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Map Dresser

I found this ugly dresser at the thrift store.  The price tag said $19.99. 

A couple of days later I decided that $20 was a feasible investment for a piece to paint and sell in the flea market so I went back to see if it was still there.  It was so ugly I thought it was gone because, on second viewing, I was sure I would never pick out something so ugly.  Or would I?  But it WAS the same one.  Even better, the price was now 50% off.  My price: $9.98 (and no tax since it was a thrift store).

(That even uglier 60's dresser that you can see in the corner off to the right may be my next project if it hangs around long enough!)

The dresser had some issues with it's interior structure (drawer supports and such) but I can handle that.  It also seemed to be short a few drawer pulls and it only had two of the twelve little knobs that were originally on the top two drawers.  Upon further inspection and a search inside the drawers, I found all the missing drawer pulls.  And I only needed two of the little knobs to open the top two drawers anyway so it was ok that ten (yes, TEN!) were missing (that's 84% if you want to obsess on it mathematically with me).

Here's a shot of the original wood grain so my manical wood-loving friends Jeff and Barbara can truly suffer.

There truly is God in color for me.  I have this rule about only using paint that I get for free from the city's waste disposal facility.  I go there once or twice a week to see what they have.  Amber, the little blonde 20-something who runs the warehouse probably thinks I'm the biggerst huffer in town.  I usually walk away with the limit of 8 items per visit:  paint, spray paint, car care products, cleaners, spray adhesive, plant food for roses.  Often, they have things I don't even know I need yet but, if I trust the process and my little inner voice, I end up with just what I need (sometimes even before the project I need it for arrives).

For this project, I mixed together a wedgewood blue called "Peacock Plume" (remember that little round pedestal table that I used it on previously?) and a sea-foam green and I think I got pretty close to the "old map-water blue-green" that I'd envisioned.  Close enough anyway!  In the past I was able to fret over subtle nuances of shades of colors for months and months and never get to the project because of the color dilemma.  Now, I just trust God with the color selections and everything goes pretty well (and much more quickly)!  Like most colors, this blue changes dramatically with the lighting.

The paint was truly transformational for the body of the dresser and really brought out the curves.

Drawers in process.

Detail of maps on drawers (before glue).

This was a test to see if I liked the drawer pulls and knobs in their original antique brass color.  I did not.

So I sprayed them with (free) chrome (not silver!) paint. Much better!

Here is the finished product -- all done and ready to go to the flea market if it doesn't sell off Craigslist before I can get it there (things sell off Craigslist SO FAST!).  I'm wishing a had put a globe and some more red stuff on top of it for the photo!

I think it looks really good with red accents!

This time the tag says $125.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Resolved My Camera Issues So Here Are Photos of What I've Been Up To Lately

I am SO proud of myself.  I transferred about 10,000 photos to my external hard drive -- ALL BY MYSELF, I might add!  I am now in the midst of the slow process of individually deleting photos off my phone (because I want to keep some of them on my phone).  My phone now allows me to take a few photos at a time before scolding me about memory space again.  Hooray!  So here are some photos!

In Organizing News:
My recent kitchen OCD spree resulted in the following havens of OCD happiness:

The drawer that was formerly the foil/plastic wrap/ziplock bag drawer
(before I quit buying all of those items)
and then became a giant sloshing tangle of packets and (don't ask me why) stray keys
is now a blissful OCD porn display of orderliness
with a section of each kind of condiment packet.
I will never be completely out of ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, hot sauce, or salt again!
(I know you were deeply concern about that on my behalf!)

My "coffee station" -- coffee maker and filters in a cute bowl below. 
My favorite Fiesta mugs and canisters for coffee, decaf, and creamer on the bottom shelf.
Miscellaneous mugs (including my two beloved 50 cent Starbucks mugs)
and sugar bowl on the middle shelf.
Travel cups and cookbooks on the top shelf.
Now I don't have to walk across the kitchen three times
to gather everything I need to make coffee! 
Why didn't I think of this sooner?

In crafting news:

Halloween banners made out of entirely salvaged materials
(newspaper, brown paper bags, old file folders).
Wishing I'd started making these earlier in the season!

In thrifting news:

I found this wonderful vintage quilt top at the thrift store for a grand total of $1.96!
It contains 1260 2" squares of 30's fabric, partially hand-stitched and completely fascinating!
I could look at it for hours!
Then I found three more quilt tops that I've had stashed away in the project room for YEARS.
I will resist the urge to put backs on them. 
Instead, I will just slam them into the flea market booth as is.

I wonder what's next?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Copy Kitty

I "pinned" this photo on Pinterest ( because I loved the use of a silver tray on a easel as a backdrop for a picture.  

When I spent some more time looking at this photo, I realized it was almost as if it had been taken in my house!  Even the wall color is almost the same.  Here's the same view of my kitchen sink:

I even have the picnic baskets on top of the cabinets.  Except I have MORE.  So I win!  Right?
Just for fun, I decided to recreate the photo in my own space. 

Here is the original again.

And this is my replica.  I all need now is better lighting, a white diswasher, and a matchstick blind!

The point of this is that sometimes, despite all the dreamy magazine kitchens out there, I realize that I really do like what I already have (and, actually, I like it both ways).  And also, given the proper paramenters, it is perfectly ok to (and even advisable!) to COPY AWAY!

The happy side effect of this project/post is that it sent me into a complete OCD attack on my kitchen!  Now even the extra Taco Bell hot sauce packets have their own little cubicle in the drawer organizer.  The jars are all labelled.  And the whole cabinet to the left of the sink (over the coffee maker) is a now a coffee station. 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

OCD Porn!

My thanks and eternal gratitude go to Kathy Lohse King  and Stephanie Burke.  One or the other of them always complains when I neglect my blog for too long.  Recently, I got a little Facebook nudge from Kathy -- which I greatly appreciate!  So, here I am.  With crappy photos as usual (because waiting for better photos would be another delay).

Life has been CRAZY BUSY!  Fortunately, as of yesterday, I think I have slain all the major dragons at work.  I feel today as if I am triumphantly sitting atop a giant pile of dead and decapitated dragons!  Hooray!  One category of blog obstacles conquered!

Next obstacle:  my iPhone (from whence I take and transfer all my crappy blog photos) is maxed out on storage capacity with a grand total of 5,147 photographs crammed into it's mere 3/8" depth.  The benefit of this is that I will soon learn a thing or two about digital photo storage and external hard drives.  I may also be additionally motivated to find my digital camera or to borrow Emily's so the quality of my photos may improve dramataically.  That would be good! 

So I've been stymied a bit on the blog posts (Emily took these photos on her phone for me).

But that doesn't mean my inner creativity hasn't continued to run hog wild! 

I was perusing Pinterest ( for a healthy and soul-filling dose of inspiration bliss (also known as "OCD porn"!) when I stumbled on these paragons of kitchen storage and organization:

These labels (along with a better photograph of them!) are available from (Better Homes and Gardens) as a free download and can be printed in blue, green, or orange (or gray if you print them in black and white instead of color).  You can also type in your own words.  I love that they are made to print on 2" x 4" Avery brand mailing labels.  "Cute as snot!" (as my friend, Anita, always says).  But they just weren't quite right to me because I had really fallen in love with THESE labels:

They are also available as a free download (at  But I couldn't type in my own words (there are blank labels provided).  I tried writing in my own words by hand but it was still just my old handwriting that I didn't want to look at.
I googled "free printable labels" and found many wonderous things but still didn't find what my mind's eye was craving.

So, I made my own:

These are just printed on cardstock, cut out with a paper cutter, and adhered with spray adhesive. 

I was hoping to get a glossy finish on them so I sprayed them with clear gloss spray but my brilliant plan didn't work so I've just settled for the matte finish. They could be printed on glossy paper if you really just HAD to have the shiny finish.

If you would like to have some of these labels for your very own, I would be happy to email the form to you. Just ask!