Christmas Gift for my Best Friend

Sitting in my sewing room…..where my creations begin….It’s easy for my best friend to be in my company. It’s my area . She has her area of creation too. She is a baker and owner of Dominique’s Sweet Creations.  When we visit, we usually end up in our creative areas…..It’s just what we do.

While there she spied one of my suitcases …..One that she actually borrowed for her daughter’s baby shower gift cards. She said wistfully, “I need one of these for my cards.”

Her”cards” are her little collection of cards that people have given her for birthdays or Valentine’s day,etc. She saves them.

Well now you know I tucked that thought away and said nothing full well knowing it would be a Christmas gift.

It took several trips to the thrift store before I found a decent case. They are getting harder to come by.

Finally, very masculine American Tourister presented itself. Dark Gray with a stinky stained interior which of course I failed to take a picture of beforehand.

Still Ipainted it a lovely, pale, powdery blue….a favorite color of hers.

Next I started on the interior after I ripped out the old yuck.

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I gathered the fabric and hot glued it in.

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Cut cardboard to fit.

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Hot glued the batting first and then the fabric.

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Ahhh nice! Make sure the fabric is tight and smooth.

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Here you see my high end fancy tool that helps me pop out the insert to make adjustments. Yes a bottle opener. Looking at all the paint you can tell its used for paint cans too.Just use the rounded side.

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The lace is edging the pocket .

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I scraped out the word “tourister” and replaced it with “memories” , cut out from some scrapbook paper that had writing script all over it. Perfect!

But my favorite part is the banner. Instead of saying “cards” like the case that makes the rounds at all the family functions to hold money cards….hers is more personal. She is a hopeless romantic and very sentimental………

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So I chose the word “Love”. Much more fitting. I placed it where when it’s closed it is displayed. But also if she chooses to display it open, the banner will still hang in front.

I can’t wait to give  it to her!

Some gifts are truly a labor of love. I took so much time to make this and fussed over little details and put a lot of thought into every part of the process. Truly, it is the best case I’ve done so far. My Best Friend appreciates my works and is one of my biggest fans. This will be well loved.

Well, are you ready to tackle one?

Enjoy!

This entry was posted on December 30, 2016. 2 Comments

Got Suit Cases?

Suit cases are not what they used to be.

When I was a kid , we moved into an old house and  in the closet of my room I found an old suit case that the previous owners left behind.It was the kind a woman would pack her make-up in. I loved it and  have had it….jeeze….for almost 40 yrs.

That was the beginning of my suit case “thing”.

Over time I have collected quite a few. Sometimes you find things in them. Most don’t have their key lock anymore, and usually they are stinky inside….yes stinky.

But they are fun and useful.

I made one for my grandsons. I thought it would be fun for them to have a little suit case to put toys in when they come to granny’s house.

Originally it was a little brown suit case. I don’t have a before pick.

But I tore out the interior and relined it with felt and fabric and painted it.

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Here’s one side

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Other side

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And a fresh interior.

Here are some others I have revamped…..

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I put this on my front porch at Christmas and keep it out thru Valentine’s Day.

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This one that says “cards” is used for baby showers and parties to keep the money cards.

And that one I found in that closet when I was a kid? That one is extra special to me. It has stayed with me thru the years thru all of my journeys in life. Eventually I relined it with some fun trailer themed fabric and glued a bow and some buttons to hide the chew marks from my beloved bulldog Buster, many years ago.

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New interior

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These days my little suitcase is reserved for my camping trips with Sisters on the Fly. Lots of sentimental memories with this case. It’s amazing that it has accompanied me through almost 40 years of happy travels as well as sad moves from home to home. It even served as a utilitarian traveling manicure case to service my clients in the past. But now she is retired and only wants to have fun times with me. She’s earned it!

I use many of my cases for different decor or storage purposes. Sometimes I wonder about their past lives. Where they’ve been and who they were with. Maybe they spent most of their lives in a closet….forgotten like the little case I found in that closet in that old farm house years all those years ago. She found a life with me….My little companion.  All of my cases have a purpose. Some I find and repurpose for others but they are all given a new life.

Next time you are in your travels and spot a case that whispers to you, pick it up.

You may have places to go together.

 

More chalk board fun!

The day I delivered Sarah’s chalkboard to her house we went to  a quaint little town nearby that has had a revival. There’s a street with some quaint little shops and cafes. We were in a junk shop…..But of course! Lo and behold I found the sweetest frame! While holding it and debating whether or not to pay the price…..(this wasn’t the cheapest junk shop)……I kept seeing it in my home. You see, at home I have had an empty harp that I picked up with my dresser. It didn’t have a mirror…..it didn’t belong with the dresser….But I just liked it and kept it. I had no plans for it……until I held that mirror frame in my hand.

The epiphany!

I didn’t even know for sure if the two would fit together.

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Lonely little harp.

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Meet the sweet New little mirror frame.

I painted the duo in leftover chalk paint that happens to match my craft room dresser…..hmmmm.

Now here’s the new twist….instead of the mirror we will have a chalkboard.

Here’s how I made it.

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Cut out a piece of masonite to fit. Spray paint the smooth side with three coats of chalkboard paint and pop it in place when dry.

 

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Like so. See the nail holding it in place? I put them around the perimeter.

See that little key? Leftover from its past life I’m keeping it for fun. But that wicked old dry rotted string with wire in it has got to go. I’m assuming that once this mirror was removed from a dresser, it was hung on a wall with that wire. There’s some wrapped on the key on the other side as well. It’s so brittle it didn’t take much to get  it off……But it did stick me a couple times. Ouch.

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Ooooooh! I’m so excited that I’m just whipping thru this project!

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Ahhhhh! It fits! I dug up two little metal plates to attach in the back.

The harp is missing that embellishment on the right side. Eventually I might sculpt a matching one for it. That’s another skill I would love to learn.

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It’s such a yummy little detail.

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But for now I’m happy just the way she is.

I have seen dressers done like this on PINTEREST ….My favorite place to hang out……and have longed to have one. Don’t you just love it when fate smiles at destiny?  There are no coincidences at the Little Gothic Cottage. Things are meant to be.

Now are you inspired? Get out there and find the things that are meant to be with you, my junking friends!

This entry was posted on August 17, 2016. 2 Comments

Frames from The Crypt

KINDLE_CAMERA_1467673556000One day my daughter Sarah came home with two scary,large frames with terrible prints in them. One was falling apart completely. Yard sale leftovers put out for trash.

I often wonder what people think when they see one of us taking our treasures to our car. Not everyone can see potential. Yard sales are particularly bad for the two of us….and yes we love a good trash pick too.

She had this idea that she wanted to take the two frames and make them into one larger one. She wanted to frame a piece of art from her collection.  Her own collection…..she’s an artist.

I’m sure the look on my face said it all. But then I said, “have you SEEN my craft room? I have so many projects waiting and I just don’t need one more. I really don’t want to get into this one.”

I was thinking she would pawn it off onto her fiance. It was going to have to be miter cut etc.

So time went by and my daughter moved in with her fiance and left the frames in the” catch all” room. There was no room in the craft room. There they sat. And sat. And sat.

 

Finally she came over one day and was going thru some stuff in the catch all room, came across the frames, and said, “ugh just throw them out. I’m never gonna do anything with them.”

Game Changer!

I said nothing. They were big. They were falling apart. But if all I have to do is put them back together instead of reconfiguring….Suddenly I had a vision. She actually put them in the trash. Again they were picked from the trash ,this time by me. Sigh. I just can’t help myself.

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This is the frame that fell apart.

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One of a couple bad attempts to repair it in  a past life. Note the nail that didn’t hold.

So first I had to remove the nails from the botched repairs. Then the nails that held the prints in place.

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Do they even make nails like these anymore? Are these from colonial times? Hehehe!

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These came in a 4pack with all the screws needed. No brainer.

Next came the hard part of putting it back together. Gorilla glue and corner brackets….getting the first one was a little challenging.

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Ok so there’s how the corner bracket goes but hold on…..do you see that Brown paper? All I keep thinking is…..someone PAID to have these cardboard prints put in these wonderful heavy frames. I don’t get it.

Here it is all back together.

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Back together in one piece.

Look at that. The wood has a chunk out of it ….But do you see that gold foil I peeled off? Ugh. Why?

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There’s a closer look.

Ok and I just have to show you this…

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This is the frame that was still in one piece. I’m reinforcing it with brackets for good measure.But where did they think this cardboard was gonna go that they hammered in all the crazy nails?!

Now that the frames are solid again it’s time for the fun!

Sarah came over for a crafting night. We mixed up a batch of chalk paint and got busy transforming our ugly frames into their lovely make over.

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Ta-daaa!!

Chalk boards in powder blue. One is in Sarah’s kitchen and one is in my possession. I have great plans for this beauty in my future!

See what a little love can do?

Well that and some hardware, wood putty, chalk paint, and newly home made chalk boards.

Oh what? Chalkboard? Yea, you can make them too.

I will show you that in my next post!

Have a great day!!

 

This entry was posted on August 15, 2016. 1 Comment

The Little Bench that Could

 

This is the little bench that could. It could be so much more than what I saw at the curb, out for trash pick-up. I had an instant vision when I saw it.

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So home she went with me.

Obviously this is no antique. Looks like something from the late ’80’s…..1980’s. Remember when everything was mauve and green and people were trying to decorate more “Victorian”?

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Hmmmm.Just look at that lovely tapestry…..and the gold trim just sets it off. UGH! Not today.

 

But what’s even better……lies underneath.

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Mold. I wonder where this thing was to get this moldy.

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Plus there’s a crack in the wood. Wonder why people design the thinnest wood to be in the spots that hold weight. Genius!

So of course this will get the heave-ho, but not before I use it as a template.

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Ahhhh! Much better!

)KINDLE_CAMERA_1467730387000Don’t forget to notch out the corners.

Next I glued the joints and tightened all screws to make her nice and stable. Sanded , primed and gave her several coats of satin white.

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Whew! It doesn’t even look like the same bench.

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Now a freshly sewn cushion to top her off and she’s ready to be sold.

Wouldn’t this look charming at the food of a bed, or in a little one’s room? Maybe in the foyer? This is a versatile piece and I hope it makes someone happy.

I love giving this sweet little bench a second chance!

Keep your eye out for those little gems on the curb. With a little vision they can be delightful!

Have a great day!

Lenore

This entry was posted on July 29, 2016. 2 Comments

Wall Paper Fix

Wall paper….friend or foe?

When I was a kid my mom wall papered EVERY room in the house. She loved it.

As we got older, I was able to help. As a teenager I was drafted as assistant. I learned how to wall paper, and what kind to buy because it was easier to work with. Keep an eye on the patterns and where they repeat and make sure to match them up when side by side. Yep. All the tricks.

But I hate wall paper.

Patterns can make me dizzy.And there’s probably a label for a person that studies it to see where the pattern repeats. It’s too busy for someone like me. I find it maddening.

We moved into this house and there was no backsplash and the counters are long which means it would cost a lot to do some kind of tile or stone.

So what did I resort to for SOME kind of spruce up? Yep. Wall paper.

I found one that would match everything and was muted and not too busy. For the price it was a quick, cheap solution.

The problem is its a kitchen. Humidity is the enemy of wall paper. I cook a lot too.

Over time it starts to peel.

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Ugh! How embarrassing!

It starts out small. Then over time it just gets worse.

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Under the window and over the sink.

And over the stove was the worst! But I fixed it before I took a picture.

Part of the problem is its so gradual that you kind of get used to it. I did attempt to glue it before but because it’s vinyl coated it kinda became stiff and tough to uncurl.

But today I had a revelation! Who knows if there’s already a self help thing out there and this is just old news. To me , it was like a little miracle.

I took mod podge, a little art paint brush, an iron and a damp cloth.

First I took the paint brush with mod podge on it and slid it under the peeling wall paper coating the paper and the wall. Then I took the damp cloth and draped it over the hot iron that was set on polyester. I pressed the wallpaper back in place!

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Just drape the damp rag like so.

The heat and moisture softened the vinyl coated paper and it went back in place without a hitch!

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Would you have guessed that this was all peeling?

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This was over the kitchen sink. Much better

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Before

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After

I was so happy with the result I had to share it with you! How long will it hold up? That remains to be seen. But ,this has been by far, the best repair I have had with this situation. I’m hoping it will last a while. It was really embarrassing because I entertain a lot for the family get togethers. Of course no one would ever utter a rude word or make me feel bad…. still it was annoying to me. Until today I thought the only thing I could do was rip it all out and get into a whole new expensive project. Of course there’s always something else that money can go to that’s more important. So there it sat getting worse because I was between a rock and a hard place….procrastinating and living with it gradually not noticing it much.

What a great feeling!

I have some parties to plan soon. Ahhh. I guess it bothered me more than I realized because that’s what motivated me to really think about a solution.

Do you do that too? Notice everything WRONG with your house before you throw a party but ignore it most of the time in your daily life? A party is a great motivator to spruce up and tie up those loose ends around the home.

Maybe it’s time for you to throw a party too!

Have a great day!

Seedlings

Now it is April. In spite of the final kick in the rump snow storm we had yesterday ,today is beautiful. Clear sky, sunny and snow melting quickly and new hope is what today has brought. You see, today my moon flowers that I planted last week have sprouted!

If you were with me last spring, it took 2 packs of moonflower seeds and I only got ONE plant. Moon flowers are so magnificent that just one vine is amazing and I was grateful that I was able to have even just that. However, more is better! You never know what your gonna get when you buy a pack of seeds from a store. Even with an expiration date…..and I was within the date that they still should have been good, to only yield a single vine out of all those seeds? There’s something wrong with that. The same thing happened many years ago with moon flowers for me that I only got ONE plant out of a whole packet….none others even sprouted.

My goal was to harvest all the seed pods from this plant and see if there was a difference. So I did. I wasn’t sure if it’s just that these are a difficult plant to cultivate or if the seeds just need to be fresher that what’s in the stores.

Well friends I do believe I have my answer.KINDLE_CAMERA_1459429743000

 

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Multiple sprouting going on here!

Moon flowers seeds do need to be soaked in water for a good 24hrs. Then gently cut a little nick in the hard shell. I used a steak knife with a fine serrated blade to kinda saw through. The idea is to put a little crack in it to help the first root pop out. I’m sorry I didn’t take picks of the pods or seeds for you. Next year I will.

Put them in some potting soil and keep them moist. Do not let them get dry! Yet you don’t want them super soggy so make sure they can drain. Put them in a sunny window in doors. I used the flats from my pansies and didn’t even fill the dirt all the way up….just half way. These sprouts came in LESS then a week!! So, from my little experiment, I have come to the conclusion that seeds must be fresher than what you get on the self at the store. These  seeds were harvested in the fall and kept in simple paper envelopes so they could dry and not develop mold. I removed them from the pods right before I placed them in the water to soak. They are only six months old from harvest till now.

If all goes right I will have lots of these babies to plant and share. I will keep you posted!

Have you done this already yourself?

If not, give it a whirl! Save your seeds from as many of your plants as you can. Some things are easier to just buy already grown from the nursery, but it’s fun to try your hand at starting things from seed too.

Happy Planting!