I finally have a sofa in my living room!!

Well, I have a sofa ‘of sorts’.  A daybed that will function as my sofa and that I can sleep on when I have overnight guests (whom I would of course give my room to!)  And it only took me 14 months from the time I moved in to ‘build’ it.

I really. REALLY wanted to find  a cool old day bed to use in my living room.

Something along the lines of these.  Aren’t they fabulous!?!?  Alas, I have not seen one single vintage day bed since I moved 14 months ago.  And actually, had I found one like the iron ones in the above photos, they probably would have been to short to actually SLEEP on.

I already had this old door that I had painted to use as my headboard previously in my room at Michael’s.  It ended up being too long to use as the headboard in my room here, so I just stashed it in the garage until I figured out what to do with it.


So, a few weeks ago, an elderly gentleman who lives across the street from me came over while I was outside working on some projects, and introduced himself to me and commented on how I was ‘always out here working on something’!  He said he had an old door and peg rack that he was getting rid of, and asked if I’d like them.  Of course I said yes.  This is that door, and it is HEAVY.  It took both of us to lift it onto my wheely cart and wheel it over to my place!

Wasn’t sure WHAT I was going to do with it at first.  Michael has been working on some home improvements, and I thought he might be able to use it; so I offered it to him first.  He did not need it, so it was mine . . . all mine to figure out a use for.


So I had the old panel door for the backing.  Could use the newly acquired ‘heavy’ door for the base.  Now I just needed to figure out what to do for legs????  But I wasn’t sure that ‘just legs’ would be sturdy enough, and I wanted to leave room for storage underneath, so I wanted it a bit HIGHER than a typical daybed would be.  So I designed the above wood boxes to use as the base to put the door across, and Michael custom built them for me.

I had even saved the wood support boards that we had used to attach the panel door to the wall when I was using it as my headboard previously.  I just screwed the boards back on using the same screws in the same holes; then screwed the door to the wall.  Most of the weight of the door is supported by the boards. Screwing it to the wall just keeps it from falling over.

P1280737And there you have a ‘naked’ make-do daybed!!  Now I just need a mattress or some kind of padding!!  Which proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated!!  A twin mattress was too wide and not long enough.  So I  headed to Joann Fabrics (50% off coupon in hand!) and figured I could get a new foam pad at a decent price.  WRONG!!!  Even at HALF off, the foam pads were crazy expensive!!!  Forget that!  So I put on my thinking cap and started looking elsewhere.

Since we are nearing the end of summer, I thought perhaps I could find a box pad like the ones above (but for outdoor furniture) on sale.  Nope.  They were more expensive than the foam pads!  An actual twin mattress would have been the cheapest option IF it would have fit!  sigh.  WHAT am I going to use for the ‘cushions’ on my sofa/daybed????


My propensity to think outside the box led me to purchasing TWO king size foam mattress pads.  I cut each one into THREE equal pieces; which gave me a nice and cushy SIX layers to sit or sleep on!!  I bought a plastic twin bed cover to ‘hold the foam layers together.


I was really envisioning something that looked like this.  I LOVE the old pallets for the base, but NEED the storage room that a covered base provides.  But a cover similar to the one above might still look good with a skirted base.

But this is what I got . . .  for now at least.  The covering and pillows are temporary.  I just threw what I had on there for now.  I want to make a skirt (burlap maybe) and a vintage chenille bedspread and different covers for the pillows (feed-sack style maybe?) .  Oh, and now that I see it ‘almost finished’, I’ve decided that it NEEDS arms or SOMETHING on the ends.

I would LOVE to find some cool vintage corbels to use as ‘arms’.  They wouldn’t really need to go the full depth of the bed; just enough to keep the pillows from falling off.  And if I can’t find any old corbels, I can buy news ones, or maybe MAKE my own!  (I foresee a field trip to the salvage place down in Aurora!)


So, the daybed is still very much ‘a work in progress’.  As is the living room as a whole.  I had to figure out where to move the dresser that was on the wall where the daybed is now.  (it’s full of craft supplies!)


And I’m totally embarrassed to admit that I have yet to do away with all of this ‘pile of stuff’ at the back of my living room.  Although this is a picture from a year ago, and the pile is now about 1/4 that size.  A lot of it was product for Stars that has been taken to my booth and sold. Getting rid of this will open up the living room a bit more, but only in a ‘long and narrow’ way; not any wider.  And now that I’ve decided that I NEED to do the Junk Salvation show again in February; I’m going to have to start accumulating product for it.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m just going to have to upgrade to a bigger rented storage unit.  I have a 4’x6′ right now.


These old suitcases that I have as the coffee table for now are too big for the space.  I actually have a really cute shabby white trio of tables that I had Michael build for me (before I even moved) that I had intended to use as the coffee table.

 While I was awaiting a sofa to put a coffee table in front of, I had put them on my front porch.  Remember my blue pumpkin display from last fall?  The two smaller ones ‘tuck under’ the bigger one.  These will eventually replace the suitcases as my coffee table.

So, the ball is rolling and I just MIGHT have my living room squared away enough to actually put up a Christmas tree this year.

UPcycled 3 drawer chest

DRAT!!!  I could have SWORN that I took a picture of this ‘nasty’ three drawer chest before I started working on it!?!  Alas, apparently I did not; but from the looks of these drawers, I think you can imagine what it looked like.


Layers of old paint colors, mismatched drawer pulls . . .


Contact paper on the top?!?!?  (I REALLY should have looked at this more closely and with my glasses ON; before I decided to buy it!)  Fortunately, said contact paper was SO old that it was really BRITTLE, and scraped off with a paint scraper fairly easily.


And MORE contact paper was covering this mess on one side!!  That ‘indent’ is far too big to just fill with wood putty.  Time to get creative.  (Just in case you are wondering WHERE that indent came from; this piece must have been the side drawers from a desk.  And this is the side the desk top and drawer was attached to.)


The repair in progress.  I found a ‘strip’ of wood that was almost the right size; then filled the rest of the gaps with bits and pieces of bamboo skewers.  Sanded all that smooth, then filled any remaining gaps with wood putty.


Sanding down the top revealed more layers of colors.

Lots of pink under the brown on the drawers.  Filled the holes from the previous drawer pulls.

A couple of layers of paint and lots of sanding with the orbital sander; purposely revealing some of the old pink and yellow paint on the top.

The side with the damage on the right; the good side on the left.

Good (right) and bad (left) sides again; but in better light.  My ‘repair’ job IS noticeable, but not very!  Most of the time, you don’t even SEE the sides of a chest when it’s in use in a home anyhow.

Found the perfect vintage drawer pulls for this piece.

Available for purchase in my booth at Stars.

Second life for a Chocolate box (belated Mother’s Day post)

For Mother’s Day, my sweet son and precious daughter-in-law took me out to lunch on Saturday*,  gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a ‘carefully selected’ box of (my favorite flavor, salted caramel!) Moonstruck chocolates.

*You couldn’t PAY me enough to get me to go out to eat ON Mother’s Day!!  After working in the restaurant biz for 27 years, I KNOW it’s one of the WORST days to go out to eat.  


Oh!  And a pair of hand carved salad tongs they bought in Fiji while on their honeymoon in February.


Isn’t this the most beautiful floral arrangements you’ve ever seen!  Simple but elegant!  The roses are as big ans my fist!!  I don’t know what the purple ones are, the buds look a lot like rosebuds.  ALL of them are hanging to dry right now so I can save them.


This little box that the chocolates came in was emptied pretty quickly.  Much too cute of a box to just toss into the recycle bin.  Time for a craft project!


So I wouldn’t need to cover the WHOLE thing, I found some paper that worked well with the gold on the bottom of the box.  The paper is actually wrapping paper that I bought on-line, specifically to use for craft projects.


After looking at the photos I took, I realized that the ‘seams’ on the box bottom were VERY noticeable.  I probably should have covered the bottom too.  Instead I decided to fill the box with some brown paper shred.  (but I didn’t get a pic of that.)


I rifled through several different metal charms I had on hand in search of something to decorate the top of the box.  Settled upon a pair of gold tome arrows because they worked best with re-using the gold elastic bow.


I love prettying up little boxes like this!  I think if I could make a living doing so, I’d spend ALL my time doing this!


Mini mixed media easel collages

I did the ‘backgrounds’ on these a while ago, along with several others.  Set them aside for a while until I decided what MORE to do with them.

Assorted scrap papers, book pages, sheet music and pattern tissue papers.  No real ‘method’; just layer upon layer upon layer until it ‘feels’ right.

This is what the easels looked like when I bought them at Dollar Tree several years ago.

I decided they would make cute backgrounds for the Fimo fauxzen Charlotte’s that I make.  It’s really handy having the attached easel.

This first one I added just a ‘bust’; with kraft cardboard wings and cut one of my mini sheet music crowns in half to glue the flat side to the backing.

Some Monarch butterfly wings and a paper crown on this one.

Monarch butterfly wings #2; the other half of the previous sheet music crown and letters cut from a book.


I’ve only taken this one to Stars; saving the rest for ?????

Upcycled soap box

Hello, my name is aj; and I’m a ‘soapaholic’. 


If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ve probably already figured that out!  I must confess that my addiction goes further than that.

I can’t resist ‘sniffing soaps’ at the store.

No, not the soaps in the soap aisle at the grocery store.  The ‘fancy’ soaps that come in pretty boxes.  Marshall’s is my favorite store for ‘soap sniffing’.  But I don’t sniff just ‘any soap’!  No ‘floral’ fragrances for me (except Lavender).  Other floral scents make me sneeze!  And I only like ‘neutral color’ soaps.P1260297I I was attracted to this box of soap because of the pretty box.  When I opened it and saw that it was PINK, I quickly put the lid back on and replaced it on the shelf withOUT even smelling it.  Because I don’t like pink soaps!

Just as I was starting to reach for the next box to open and sniff; the fragrance from that box with pink soap gently wafted by and it was AMAZING!  It smelled like a fresh strawberry pie.  I could NOT resist a full on sniff.  I HAD to buy it!


The soap itself went directly into my shower and the box to my craft table.  I especially like how the box was decorated with the baker’s twine.  (will have to remember that trick!)


I love upcycling these pretty soap boxes.  Usually I have to re-cover the entire box; but this one was already decorated so nicely that I only had to cover the ‘soap’ information.


I found some print scrap book paper that coordinated with the paper on the box to cover the front label.

Used a piece of the same paper to cover the bottom of the box.


There was a removable ‘riser’ in the bottom of the box that I wanted to leave in place because it SMELLED so good; so I added some of the same paper to it.

Easy peasey pretty (and fragrant!) little gift box ready to go!

Upcycled glass bottle SNOW FOLK

Lots of assorted collected bottles.  Time for a project to use them!


I decided to make them into ‘snow folk’.

P1230906Assorted styrofoam balls, covered with a layer of paper because glitter does not stick to styro very well.  I painted on some ‘pink cheeks’ and covered the balls with white glitter.

P1230911I filled the wider mouth bottles with artificial snow.


For the bottles with really small holes that the snow wouldn’t fit into, I used white sand mixed with a little glitter for sparkle!


A batch of ‘carrot noses’; toothpicks cut in half and painted orange.

P1230919Poked a hole with a nail for the nose in the middle of the face then glued the glittered heads to the show filled bottles with tacky glue.

P1230920Put a dot of tacky glue into the nose hole and push the nose in place.


Time for eyes!

P1230923I used little black upholstery tacks for the eyes.  Poke a tiny hole with the same nail used for the noses, squirt in a dot of glue, the push the tacks in.

P1230926And here they all are!

P1230928I decided to make them ‘party hats’ out of old sheet music.  Cut circles into thirds and glue.  (circle size varies, as do the sizes of the styro balls used for the heads).  I made little ‘pom-poms’ for the tip of the hats.


The pom-poms are made from 1/4 of a chenille stem, rolled into a ball with just enough of the stem left to stick into the top of the hat.  (snip off the tip of the hat, add a dot of glue and push the pom-pom in)

P1230929Then I added a bit more glue from the underside to be sure the pom-poms were nice and secure.  Let the glue dry for 15 minutes or so, with the hats upside down.

P1230930 Put a generous line of glue around the inside rim of the hat and plop it on his head.  Press it down after a few minutes if it starts to loosen.

P1230936For the trim for the hats I used a while gold chenille stem.  Sized it to the hat that is already on the head, and twist the ends to make a circle.  Wrap the rest of the end around your circle.


Put a line of glue around the outside rim of the hat and slide the gold rim into place.


 Hold it in place for a few seconds to be sure it doesn’t slide up.

P1230940Lots of snow folk in hats!

P1230935I used a couple of gold chenille stems to wrap around the neck; embellished with a rusty jingle bell.

P1230937The smaller bottles just needed one chenille stem around the neck.

And here they all are!


Wire cloche with pedestal base

Upcycled wire cloche with pedestal base.P1220090Here’s my latest upcycled wire cloche with pedestal base; in aqua.


Here are a couple others that I’ve done in the past.  The wire baskets come in black so previously I had made the whole thing black.  The bases on these are a vintage cherub candy dish; glued to a charger plate and spray painted.

I did one in white also.

Here are the components, before.  Plus any kind of finial to use as your knob on top.


It’s easier to attach your knob/finial if it has a screw in the base.  You just have to find a nut to fit the screw to hold it in place.

4.29.13 Curiosity SIGNS 030

I’ve also made wire cloches out of old lamp shad frames with the fabric removed.

But back to the present and the newest cloche and pedestal!


I used a thrifted big candle pedestal for the base.

P1220081Attached a round wood piece that I had on hand for the table part.

P1220092I decided that I wanted this one to be aqua.


The wood round needed a black basecoat first.  Glued it to the candle base, then painted both aqua and distressed.

P1220089I wanted to wire cloche to be aqua too, but I didn’t want to spray paint the base.  Plus,  the aqua spray paint doesn’t match my brush on paint.  So I decided to see if I could ‘dry brush paint’ the wire basket.  It worked great.

P1220091And now I have an aqua one to add to my repertoire!

Re-purposed curtain rod finials


Quick and easy DIY wood fence-post toppers.P1190816

Start with an unfinished pair of curtain rod finials.  (I found mine at the thrift store, of course!)
P1190815Rummaged though my wood stash to find two square 4″x4″ routed edge wood plaques (form craft store) and two smaller square pieces of scrap wood.  Glued the two together, and drilled a pilot hole in the center top.

P1190817Put a dot of glue in the hole, and a little around the bottom rim of the balls and screwed them down.


  I painted them both aqua and sanded a bit.  Decided to try a different ‘aging method’ on each one, as I’ve never actually compared the two side by side.


The darker distressing is from using the Ralph Lauren tobacco stain; brush on and wipe off excess.

P1200017The lighter colored aging formula is one of my own concoctions that I call ‘weathered wood wash’, which was invented back when I mostly did primitive style stuff.  W

I invented it because when I would use old naturally grayed wood fence boards, I hated how the freshly cut edges looked NEW.  So I formulated a water based ‘wash’ to brush on and make the new wood match the old stuff.

***This is just about the ONLY  ‘recipe’ that I do not share.   I’ve always hoped to someday be able to ‘sell’ the formula and ‘make it rich’!! LOL!!


Which color do you like best?


UPcycled spice rack

It all started with a scalloped spice shelf I found at a rummage sale.

P1190117Try to visualize JUST the part shown above with the scalloped edges by itself and turned upside down from how it is.  Looked to be some sort of make-do spice rack, but I had BIGGER plans for it.

P1190113I envisioned it as the top of a petite step-back cupboard.  And thanks to Michael’s help . . . here it is!

P1190114He built the base for me, we attached the two and painted a soft putty color.  (my new favorite color, in case you hadn’t noticed!)

P1190115Added this little carved wood applique at the bottom.

P1190118Simple, cottage chic style.

P1190108In the process of figuring out ‘just the right size’ of a base to fit with that scalloped top, we ended up with a couple of extra base units.  So I just painted them up as little shelves.  This is two of them, stacked.

P1190107Painted the same putty color as the step-back; with different wood appliques along the base kick plate; and a stamped design on the backing.

P1190103Base of the larger one.

P1190105Base of the larger one.

P1190102And a better look at the stamped design on the backing.  I always (ALWAYS!!) build shelves withOUT the backing attached.  SO much easier to paint that way.  AND easy peasey to add a decorative element like this TO the backing.  I just used a foam stamp from the craft store and stamped away.  Once dry, I attached it to my shelf.

P1190703The step-back has bone to Stars; $84.00.  The two shelves will be headed there soon.

Dollar store prayer candles

P1180905I started with the tall plain white prayer candles from Dollar Tree.  You CAN buy them lots of other places, but not for just $1.00.  And the more expensive ones are EXACTLY the same.

P1180904They are ALL filled with plain old boring white paraffin wax.  And they are always only filled to 2-3 inches below the top AND always have lots of extra wick!

P1180906WHY are those last 2 facts important??? Because you can add some of your YUMMY smelling melted candle was to the TOP of them.  Just leave 1/4″ of the wick, and be sure your wick stays in the center.  Also BECAUSE you are only ‘topping off’ with the scented wax, you want to be sure your decorative paper covers ALL the way around so the ugly wax line doesn’t show.

P1180907I took these black tea light holders (turned upside down!) and used them as bases to put my candles on!

P1180908Feeling pretty darn clever for thinking of that one!

P1180909This is how the tea light holders are supposed to be used!


These will be headed to Stars soon, along with that batch of black finials I showed you a while back.