Creating a Craft Fair Display from Scratch

salvaged sanity displayThis past week I’ve been working furiously on the display I’ll be taking to A Gilded Life art retreat this coming Wednesday. I say furiously because anyone getting in my way or slowing me down has definitely experienced my wrath (sincerest apologies to my family). I finished it yesterday and I’m pretty happy with the results. I’ll take photos at the actual event….this is just what it looks like in my dining room.

mail organizer displaySalvaged Sanity mail organizers should ideally be displayed on walls, but since this venue doesn’t provide any, and I can’t fit those in a Prius, I had to come up with something else. The most important factor the display had to work around was that it had to break down into parts small enough to fit in my car, and be easy enough to put together by myself.

My husband came up with the designs for the table racks and I came up with the idea for using an IKEA $10 clothes rack for hanging the Design-Your-Own message center components. Other than the IKEA purchase all the other parts were salvaged either from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore or my studio.

standing display rackThe hanging table racks are made from two 1″ x 4″s and two 30″ sections of 1/2″ x 1″molding to fit a standard 30″ x 72″ banquet table. You could actually fit three of these racks on this size table, but I needed only two. I added hooks at the top of the 1″x 4″s for my boards to hang on. The rack fits right over the edges of the table and the weight of the hanging boards balances each other. They fit snug enough that if you remove one of them, the other side stays in place.

IKEA clothes rack display

To display the pieces that are for sale a’ la carte I used chandelier chain, s-hooks and gutter screens to hang everything from the clothes rack. All that stuff folds down to practically nothing and yesI had all that stuff in my studio.

craft show display tableFor the table top holders I got lucky at the ReStore when I found an old wooden sliding door track. I cut it into four equal pieces and my boards slide right on to them. I formed triangles out of two organizers tied together at the top and their bottoms stabilized in the wood tracks.

I had the fabric for the tablecloth (a thrift store find) and all the material for the signs in various corners of my home. So this whole thing came together for less than $20 and a lot of imagination.

Today I’m doing the hard part – figuring out how to get it all in my car and still be able to see out the windows. I’ve always loved a good puzzle. Wish me luck!

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Creative Wood Repair

Okay, so I haven’t posted anything for two weeks. It’s not because I’ve been lying on the couch, watching General Hospital. Is that even on anymore? Anyway, I’ve been working on a decorative painting job, which is something I don’t do anymore, unless you’re my favorite client, and unless I feel artistically obligated, and I happen to really need some extra cash.

Mystical forces converged and caused a slab leak in my favorite clients home, which caused the kitchen to need removal, which caused damage to all the paintwork I had applied to his walls over 10 years ago, which caused him to ask me to come back and repair the damage to my work. So that’s where I’ve been.

wood replaced with gray stuffThe first job at hand had nothing to do with flood damage. My client is a contractor and he came upon this large, beautiful wood carving in his client’s dumpster. He said it was in many, many pieces as it had been broken by the movers. His client didn’t think it was worth saving. My guy picked up all the pieces and put it back together but there were three pieces missing. I asked him to try to fill the holes as best he could and I would take it from there.

damaged tail carvingSo the grey parts in these pictures were made with a product that’s supposed to work like metal solder. Please forgive the grainy photos, it’s a dark house. His assistant tried to form the missing pieces out of this clay-like substance and then stuck it on. It was pretty rough but I guess the stuff hardens in five minutes so you don’t have much time to perfect it.

after carvingI started by carving and sanding the pieces. Please understand that I had told my client I could faux finish the pieces, not carve them. But when I saw them, they needed a little help. Too bad all I had was an exacto knife and sandpaper. I decided to make lemonade.

Ta Da!Here it is all finished. Can you find the pieces I fixed?

repaired tail tipSo here’s the tip of the tail. The carving was difficult and I definitely could have used other tools. But I think most people won’t be able to pick out the non-wood dragon tail.

repaired carvingThese two repairs were easier and are a little hard to find. I think it turned out pretty well. He’s really happy with it.

I didn’t take pictures of the wall repairs because they’re not interesting. What is interesting is this house and this client. He’s the first person that ever hired me and doing his house was a total blast.

stenciled parrotThere’s only two rooms in the whole house that I didn’t paint and they’re just bathrooms. He gave me free reign so I put birds, lizards and bamboo everywhere. It pretty much looks like Margaritaville, but he loves it.

underwater stair railingWhen he ran out of walls he added a stair railing he had a guy make out of random pieces of metal and then had me paint it.metal fishHow cool is that?! I’m pretty sure this isn’t up to code, and that small children would definitely kill themselves here, but they don’t have any kids so it’s just fun.

stenciled muralI was pleased to see that my work had held up so well, and to be completely honest, surprised that he hadn’t painted all of this out. I’m not saying it’s not good, I’m just saying I can’t believe he isn’t bored with it. I’ve painted my house three times since I did this.

faux finished mahoganyThe other thing I worked on all week was turning this tan painted door into a mahogany door. I’m not great at wood graining, but I’m pretty happy with how this came out. 

So anyway, I’m glad to be getting back to my new, normal life and off the job site. I miss my studio and my dog. How could I not?

belly rub time

 

New Organization Tools

September is one of those months that I get really motivated. September and January I end up doing Spring Cleaning, which I know doesn’t make any sense, but there it is. I recently made a few new message centers that I’m particularly proud of. They go along with my seasonal organization disorder.

perpetual-calendarThis dark one has what I call a Forever calendar at the top. I’ve also heard them called perpetual calendar. The idea is, you write in the dates for each month with a dry erase marker. I left room around the edges so you have room to write other notes as well. I stenciled a calendar grid on canvas and hand painted the corners in grey and dark mustard colors. I installed it under glass in an old frame I picked up at an estate sale.

message centerThis organizer is pretty basic. It’s a calendar with IN and OUT file holders below. All the salvaged wood moldings are stained the same in a dark walnut finish.

mail holder out-boxThe vintage books I used are big enough to hold standard size file folders. The color palette is different but I think it works.

magnet boardThe other two boards I built are being sold as a set. The thing is, I had a bunch of pieces that I wanted together and I thought it would be too wide, so I split the board up. This gives the owner the flexibility to either hang them side by side or vertically, or in two completely different places.

This first one has a large book that can hold file folders. Beneath it is a magnet board covered in a vintage fabric and sports two magnets made out of antique looking bottle caps. On either side of this are two clothespins attached to the board to hold invitations and reminders.

message centerThis message board has a dry erase board with vintage tablecloth fabric under the glass. There’s a tin for holding pens and pencils right where you need them. Under that is a small mail holder and a hanging frame.

Both boards are painted in high gloss white which is different for me, but I really like how it looks. All of these can be viewed in more detail at my Etsy Shop. Have a great holiday weekend.

Inventory used: latex paint, Stain & Seal

The Bathroom Remodel is complete

finished remodelThe remodel of my daughter’s bathroom is finally complete. The studio and the downstairs half of my house is clean and I’m finally at peace. Let’s visit the Before shots for a moment shall we……….

BEFOREI shudder just looking at this. This was the starting point of our unplanned bathroom remodel. In our defense, it was this way when we bought it. But at the same time…..it was this way when we bought it……12 years ago.

ugly bathroom BEFOREThat nasty piece of terry cloth has been hanging there for 12 freaking years! Some model home designer stuck it there in a stroke of brilliance and I chose to ignore it for over a decade. Amazing what one can deny exists in our own homes. Now back to the pretty pictures:

beauty centralFirst thing to go was the wallpaper, which sucked to remove because the walls hadn’t be primed and they installed it right on the drywall. The glue really wanted to stay on forever but we washed it over and over and over and then primed. Dianna went with a great shade of blue on the walls and bright white on the cabinets. We raised the height of the vanity and added some new hardware on the drawers and doors which I love.

wood countertopWe removed the old counter top and tile backsplash and replaced it with a solid wood top and a backsplash made from “clear wood” which I think is code for “plastic with a faux wood veneer.” It’s light weight and cheap but I bought it because I thought it would be a good choice considering the risk of water damage.

Both the top and splash were stained with a Faux Effects product called Stain & Seal and three coats of C-500, a urethane product also from Faux Effects.

Lace flowersI know it looks like I put stickers on the backsplash, but this is a painted detail I swear. I used a Martha Stewart silkscreen design to create this border. This is my first time using a silkscreen. What I liked about it was that I could use much thicker paint than with a stencil, creating a more dimensional design, which is why it looks like a sticker. My daughter loves lace and she chose the design. She also has a connection to my mother through daisies, so she loves having these around.

union jack organizerThis jewelry organizer, complete with Union Jack design is one of our favorite additions. I can not take credit for the design. My friend Melanie created this design on an old IKEA door for a photo shoot, but then didn’t need it afterward so I got to take it home. Being huge fans of all things British, we had to incorporate it somehow. Thanks Melanie!

the new Assmaster 2000The new Assmaster 2000 has been installed and is no longer being crowded by 12 year old terry cloth (so nasty). My daughter decided that a door to the shower area was stupid since she’s an only child and no one walks in on her. She opted for a curtain in the doorway instead. Kind of like a dressing room.

The photo above also shows off the new floor. It’s vinyl planks which are really easy to install and extremely cheap. They look really nice and give the look of wood without having to take out a loan.

cool teen bathroomWe removed the giant sheet of mirror and replaced it with two new mirrors. We paid $15 for each of them but they came with ugly dark brown frames. We made them over with high gloss white spray paint. I filled the gap between them with two shelves I made from the scrap piece of MDF left over from the new footer on the cabinet. We also made over the clock and the light fixture with the high gloss white and they look brand new.

remodel on the cheapSo that’s our little project. We did get rid of some paint and stain from The Stash which is always good. Dianna loves her grown up bathroom and I love having my life back.

Inventory Used: latex paint and Stain and Seal

The New Assmaster 2000 is Here!

The Assmaster 2000Today we welcomed a new addition to our family……a brand new Assmaster 2000. This will be our second Assmaster. We’re still happy with our first one that’s in the guest bath, that is, except for it’s tendency to rip the skin off your thighs if you stand too close when you’re flushing it. It’s better than liposuction.

The unplanned bathroom renovation is moving along at a fairly steady pace, regardless of my wishing I was doing something else. The paint is done on the walls and the cabinets. The new floor is down and I’m happy with it……..happy that I’m done with it! The baseboards are painted and I’ll put those in tomorrow. The counter top turned out beautifully and we’ve figured out the backsplash today so that will get done tomorrow…or the next day. I sanded and refinished the light fixture and it looks cool and modern rather than rusted and cheap. So, it’s moving along, but there’s still a lot on the list if we’re going to complete it before my daughter starts back to school……..in 6 days. No pressure!

awesome wood paletteBONUS: The Assmaster was delivered on a wood palette and the delivery guy said I could keep it. Awesome! He actually said, “I’m sure you don’t want the palette so I’ll take that away………….(long pause)…….or maybe you DO want it.” I say, “you mean, I can keep it?” Needless to say, I’m the proud owner of a trashed palette with touches of old blue paint. So exciting! I’m sure the boards will find it’s way into something cool like this:

message centerI use salvaged boards in all my message centers and craft organizers, so you’ll see this palette artfully rearranged soon. Don’t forget…….everything in both my Etsy shops (Salvaged Sanity and Destashio) is on sale through the end of the month. Use the coupon code: XMAS20 to receive a 20% discount on all your purchases. Only a few days left till the prices get put back to normal, so buy your favorites NOW!

Snowballs: Where they come from and how to avoid getting hit

blank canvasWorking as a decorative paint contractor for 14 years gave me the opportunity to observe snowballs and their victims up close and personal many times. Snowball victims almost always survive but they don’t get away completely unscathed. They walk around with that shocked, “How did I get here?,” look on their face. The photo above shows my daughter’s bathroom right before I got hit.

To be fair, I believe it’s my fault we got hit. This project was supposed to only involve a change in the wall color…….and then we went to Lowe’s. I found a flooring product that I liked and could afford at under $50 for the whole room. I thought it was a smart purchase.

The next day my husband’s told me he had made his own smart purchase when he said, “I ordered a new toilet. I figure if you’re going to replace the floor, we might as well upgrade the toilet.” The purchase of a new Assmaster 2000 let me know……..the snowball is now rolling.

removing the backsplashThe next shove came when he walked in on me trying to paint around the mirror. He offered to pull it off to make it easier. That was the critical error. When the mirror came off and he looked at the backsplash he realized it probably wouldn’t take that much work to remove both the tile and the counter. My daughter had requested that whenever we decided to replace the counter, could we raise the counter height to an adult height. This bathroom was created for children and the height is 3 inches lower than a standard counter. We had planned on replacing the counter sometime this year, but yesterday it became sometime this week. The snowball is rolling quickly now.

countertop removalMy husband is amazing and what would have taken me a couple days and a few trips to the chiropractor took him less than a couple hours. So now we have to replace the countertop, the backsplash, and while we’re at it, have the giant mirror cut and put in to two frames to make it prettier. The snowball is flying now.

raising the cabinetFortunately we had the perfect boards to raise the cabinet. This simple effort created an even bigger snowball because I will have to add a piece of wood at the bottom to cover the gap and since this was painted by the builder and I don’t have that color I’ll have to paint the cabinet. I hate painting cabinets. Fu*#king snowball!

wood countertopI decided that the cheapest and quickest way to put in a new counter would be to use a nice piece of wood. I’ll stain it and put on a really good top coat. I’m going to make the backsplash out of wood as well but I’ll add some decorative detail to it.

So what started as a small paint job has snowballed into a complete remodel including new floors, a new toilet, new mirrors, a new countertop and back splash and a freshly painted cabinet. Huge snowball.

How do you avoid snowballs?

Don’t touch the floor!

Craft Supply Organizing at its Best

craft stationI know none of you are affected by good organization the way I am….this new piece I listed today makes me a little weepy.

Washi tape dispenserThis craft supply organizer was made to organize a scrapbooker. The paper holder is made from a book that’s over 12″ wide so it can handle 12″ x 12″ papers. The washi tape holders were made from old souvenir coaster holders. The have removable dowels so you can add/subtract rolls as needed. They hold 3 standard rolls each. Plus, they’re adorable.

ribbon organizerThe bottom shelf is made of galvanized steel. I’m not sure what this thing was originally created for, but I snagged three of them in the salvage dept of my local Veteran’s Thrift Store. It’s plenty big and sturdy enough to hold all sorts of glue, paint and craft punches.

ribbon rackThe ribbon rack was made from an old bottle rack. I just cut them apart so they could accommodate bigger spools. They’ll hold about 4 or 5 spools each.

craft centerIt’s a beautiful piece. I love the color combo, the fabric of the book, but really, I just love the idea of someone organizing all their craft supplies. The peace that comes from seeing all your crap turned into beauty is priceless, right?

If you’re itching to get organized, please visit my Etsy Shop.

Inventory used: acrylic craft paint, latex paint, Stain & Seal