Friday, August 31, 2012

Antique Boxes Hutch Build


Each row had to be assembled individually. We glued the first few rows then let the glue set before we continued on more rows. It was to prevent the whole unit from swaying (or becoming “un”square) and once each section was glued then we fit the sides and it was clamped together to create a tight perfectly square hutch. The tricky part was the two sewing drawers that set to the side of the big “encyclopedia:” antique box (the big one at the bottom). It was tricky because the vertical divider was pretty thin and it had to have a parallel piece glued in…it took a lot of clamps to get that area perfectly square.


I brought a few of the different size antique boxes to fit in the hutch to “test” our build (not that there was a whole lot that could have been done once the glue had set..ha ha). The box that I am showing trying to fit was a little bit taller than the other boxes it’s size, so we had to use the table saw to trim off a half an inch off the top of all four sides. I still got to keep the logo on the front of the box and I am going to touch a little bit of stain so it’s not noticeable on this box. It was a super easy fix so the boxes would all fit.

The next step was to bring every antique box to the wood shop so we could set “cleats” in the back so that when the drawer goes in, it stays flush on the front. Because not every box was the exact same length ( I think the sewing drawers were the longest). So the last thing we did was put stops in each cubby hole space then attach the back (not permanently…just enough so that we could load it and move it to Kansas.)


This build was finished on Tuesday…..We moved Thursday!! Talk about cutting it close!! Doesn’t it look just like the picture. All of the boxes fit! The original computer model didn’t show a top because we knew we would cut the top to size and fit it perfectly. We used a small crown molding (2 inch, not your normal crown) under the top so it wouldn’t overpower the piece. The dresser that was refinished as the base had simple lines so I wanted just a little bit of a crown to finish the piece…like icing on a cake! Isn’t she a beauty? Now….I need to name her because Antique Boxes Hutch doesn’t sound right, it sounds a little boring and this piece is AWESOME…any ideas on what I should name her?


Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Beginning of Building the Antique Boxes Hutch

Boards Cut

The start of my Antique Boxes Hutch was large sheets of high grade plywood. There was no way we could use real wood, glued together and expect perfection when our plans called for cuts down to the 1/16th of a measurement and everything had to be perfectly square with dividers only 3/8th and 1/4 inch wide. It had to be precise and therefore we needed the straightest wood that would be the most like a real plank. We used a high density plywood (really good quality). I had to drive to Salt Lake City to a wood store to buy the wood I needed for the project. The wood store was awesome! They loaded my order up on my trailer with a fork lift. It was great…drive up and your order is put on your trailer. The nice fork lift man helped me use corners(glorified pieces of cardboard that would protect the edge of your board so it wouldn’t be broken when you cinched it down) and I was in and out of the store (without getting the kids out of the car) in less than 15 minutes. It was awesome! What other wood store is like a drive thru! LOLCuttingEverything had to be really precise! The dividers were all different widths to compensate for the different widths of the boxes and still allowing the hutch to be square with all the different size boxes! It was a tricky but, the computer program had done all the hard work now, we just had to follow it’s dimensions to the “T”! No simple task!Dividers CutAll the different size dividers.Priming before assembly

Once everything was cut (No, this wasn’t all done in a day….this project took a few months because….most weeks we would work on the antique wood box project once a week for a few hours on Wednesday evening). So, little by little everything was cut out…it was fun having my wood project to look forward to on Wednesday evening for a few hours!

After everything was cut, we decided that it should be primed before it was assembled because it would be really hard to get my hand inside to prime the inside of each cubby hole. So, I primed everything before the hutch was assembled!! So exciting!! I had to use a HUGE piece of plastic to be able to fit all of the pieces together! Then, after I had primed one side and the edges, I had to turn everything over like a pancake and prime the other side! It was exciting seeing my vision come together little-by-little!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Succulent Book Planters


My brother got married earlier this year and we needed decorations for the center of the tables for the wedding breakfast. The colors were black & white with apple green. These book planters were the perfect way to use all of her colors. Black and White from the vintage books and the green with the succulent plants and moss.


My sisters and Mom got together at my house one weekend and we did an assembly line to get these book planters done. Even with all my sisters and my mom….we didn’t finish until 3 a.m. BUT, there may have been a little bit of talking in there too!! (Love you girls!)


I found a lady that was selling vintage books. I wrote down the info and by the time I called her a day or so later, I couldn’t find her post anymore. She had sold all the books she wanted but, I called the number I had jotted down and she was nice enough to let me come look. She had boxes of books and said, “I didn’t know how to sort them so I did them by color.” It was perfect…..I opened the box of “Green” and got to work. I picked out the books with cool binding, the right color, or a dictionary….anything I thought would work. I thought she had listed them for 25 cents a piece. So, with my stack of 35 books, I brought up how much do I owe you….they were 25 cents right? She replies “I thought I listed them for 10 cents a piece.” I was (inside of course) jumping up and down. I pulled out my cash and had two dollar bills, some change and a twenty. I owed her $3.50. So, she looked for change but, said “I’ll just let you have them for the two dollars and change that you have. So…that means I got 35 VINTAGE books for like $2.46. SCORE!!


We used this “ribbon” moss to cut and fill in the hole after I had Xacto’d the rectangle out of the center of the book. We really were going to do real succulents but, I found a whole bag of REALLY GOOD (real looking) succulents and we decided that it would be easier to keep alive and transport if they were artificial. Plus they looked as good as the original!



After making the planters, we wanted to have each book personalized. My sister wrote in them, put their name on the binding of one of the books…anything that would personalize each one individually.


Each book was personalized for the wedding. We sat and looked through each book for some line we could use or a picture or a definition of “love”….anything that would personalize the centerpieces for the table. Equations of love. Highlighting individual letters on a page until it spelled “Boy(his name here) loves girl(her name here)”. It was fun trying to come up with something new for each one because each book was different.



One of the books was King Arthur. We opened it to the wedding picture of the royalty getting married. (My mom tried to talk us out of using a vintage book like King Arthur from Camelot but, we just kept reminding her…we paid like 7 cents a book…it’s okay!)


A couple of the books we cut right into the actual cover of the book if the “title” of the book was what we wanted to accentuate. We had references to places they had lived and languages that they knew. We wanted everything to reflect the couple…..and have it really personal. My sister(she has the best handwriting) wrote in the margins, highlighted sayings….doodled in some of the margins like a love sick girl who write Girl Name + Boy Name over and over. It turned out really cute!






These planters were really fun to make. They were really inexpensive to make and my sisters, mom and I had a ton of fun together making them. After the wedding breakfast was over, we gave a few to the happy couple that had their name all over. The general ones (about love and such) we were all able to each take one home. So, we each have our own succulent book planter.


This one is mine…the dictionary open to the “love” section. I love it (no pun intended)!! It’s fun to have something to remember the happy day with but, also have something beautiful that you can display in my home!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Refinish the Base Dresser (for the Antique Box Hutch)


Here’s the dresser in it’s original condition. It had bright red plastic drawer pulls (probably not original) and layers and layers of paint. The top layer being a yellowed white. It was chipping across the top and I thought I could use a scraper and just scrape the paint off the top so I could refinish it.DSC_0177

After a few hours (my entire baby’s morning nap…GONE!!) I decided I needed to bring out the big guns and get some chemicals to strip the paint. I did end up chipping the entire dresser top of paint….a woman on a mission! (I should have just waited until I bought the chemicals….)


I went to my local home improvement store and bought the stuff that looked like it would work the best and it sure did! In 15 minutes, SERIOUSLY only 15 minutes….It was bubbling and it pretty much, wiped off! Like I said before…apparently I like the school of hard knocks and should have given up earlier (when that last patch of paint wouldn’t come off and I became determined to get it off), I should have gone and gotten the chemicals. LOLDSC_0183

All stripped and ready to be sanded and prepped for staining the top and the drawer fronts are ready too. It is messy and you have to wear gloves…I used an old piece of wood to strip the wood on and as it would strip off, I would wipe the yucky paint on the wood.DSC_0184

I stained the top a beautiful dark brown stain. I wanted the top stained and the rest of the dresser painted the heritage white. (the same white color that I did the library card catalog) I’ve always wanted a set of cool cupboards to flank the windows in my studio. (I don’t have the ability to flank the window in this new studio in the house in Kansas but, they do sit side-by-side and look REALLY cool)


The insides of the drawers had old, crumbly contact paper in them. I removed them to reveal well preserved insides of drawers.DSC_0216

I used a foam core board (from the dollar store that I had bought for something else) and it fit perfectly and just needed a little painters tape on the edges to seal it so I could paint the dresser the heritage white.DSC_0227

I decided to leave the foam core on it for the move to Kansas to protect the freshly stain top. Now you’ll have to wait and see it with the antique box cupboard hutch on top. It makes me SO happy thinking about it all done….. a vision two years on the making!!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Start Of Something Great


When I saw this box at an antique store, I instantly fell in love. I loved all the details on it, the patina and especially the “box” joint/”finger” joint (early dovetail joints) in the corners. I loved the hardware on the front and knew that it must have been a drawer and it was labeled to hold some cool contents.


I found two boxes in the same booth that day and I snatched all three up. I just loved the corner detail. So pretty! I have used them for planting Easter wheat grass in, holding old door knobs, blown eggs for Easter displays and a lot of things, but, I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to make a cupboard of these awesome boxes.


 So, about two years ago, I started down this path with an idea to make a cool cupboard using these old antique boxes. I found about five (ranging in price from $2-3 dollars to $11 once). When I would find one, I would add it to my growing stack of cool antique shipping boxes (I still think it’s cool that even kids chalks and crayons came in these small boxes).DSC_0233

Once I had a few of these, I knew I would need a lot more. I wasn’t finding these boxes. There were a lot of antique boxes that had nails holding the boxes together in the corner but, if I was going to make a cupboard that was ultra cool with all the details….it needed to have this corner joint detail. When I couldn’t find them locally, I went to an expert wood worker to see how much it would cost to have replica’s made of my beloved box. The woodworker knew that each finger joint was going to have to be hand cut with a swipe of the blade. So, each corner would have to have 15 or so swipes of the saw to create this box joint. That equaled a lot of time plus to get the “patina” just like my original…I was quoted $80 a box. I about fell over…..I love my boxes but, not for eighty dollars. I needed like at least thirty more of these boxes to make the cupboard that I had envisioned in my mind. So…it was onto plan B. I got a few second opinions but, nobody could get the price under $20…and that was with ME doing the “patina”. Ha Ha…now onto plan…(what letter were we on here…) uh, just for the alphabet’s sake here…we’ll go with plan G.

So, plan G was to try and find the original boxes. After much searching on the internet, I gained a vast knowledge about these boxes. My original “Key” box was about the size of a old cheese box. Cheese used to come in these boxes (kind of like velveeta does now). The box size I wanted was 3 lb. cheese boxes. I scoured everywhere trying to find them and I finally started finding them on Ebay out of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I could buy them off Ebay for around $5 a piece. Wow, that is a lot less than $80 and they would have their own original “patina”.


I found not only 3 lb. cheese boxes but, a few 5 lb. cheese boxes (which ended up being just enough for their own row in the cupboard). I bought a few crayon/chalk boxes, nail boxes, anything that had my beloved corner. (let’s face it…it’s just a cool detail!!)

Once I collected all the boxes I thought I needed, I went to my handy neighbor (Mr. C) that owns the woodshop that I use and we put our heads together to figure out the dimensions of this antique box cupboard.


And this is what we came up with. We had to design the cupboard with different widths of dividers to make the cupboard come out square. Tricky, but definitely do-able. It was thrilling to see my idea in my head come out on paper! Now, before I built my cupboard, all I needed to do was refinish the dresser that was designed with, in mind, to be it’s base. Ready, Set, GO REFINISH….


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Alphabet Soup Playroom

ABC Playroom

I finally got my playroom with my alphabet soup wall!! I originally hung it on my dining room wall because our walls weren’t finished in the basement where the playroom resided. Now I can really hang the alphabet letters in a playroom. BUt, since we finished the basement in the Utah house right before we moved, I can hang it in the playroom when/if we move back.. LOLDSC_0346BeginAlphabetWall

I started with the letter “A” and kept hangin’ with letters until “Z”. I used 3M command strips on most of the letters. A very few, I had to use nails. So, this will be easy to take down..

DSC_0380closeupE DSC_0352AlphabetWall

I have found a few new letters and they have been duly added to the wall. I have a new letter “E” and mirrored letter “S”.DSC_0384LetterX

The letter X is an actual letterpress letter that they would have used in newspaper printings. How cool is that!?!DSC_0358Playroom

The playroom complete with vintage suitcases filled with dress-ups for Bear.


The playroom has an alphabet magnetic board to learn letters and lots of toys to inspire the imagination and a kitchen set to cook up a storm!


Now the alphabet is in a proper playroom and it’s ready for play!

ABC Playroom



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