Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Chair--Another Before and After

I guess the play kitchen awakened something inside me. During my career, I had little time to pursue projects around the house, except in the kitchen. I love to cook and entertain, and I always found time for that. Now, however, in retirement, I see so many things I would like to try.

Slipcovers and upholstery have always fascinated me, and I decided I wanted to try my hand at it. So, when I picked up the entertainment center for the play kitchen, I also saw a chair for $5. It was an ugly thing. I bought it and thought I could practice on it. Here's how it looked:

I bought a $6 drop cloth, and found some white paint in stock. After painting it, I washed and dried the drop cloth, but I did not bleach it like some recommend. I started with the easy part, basically following the existing pieces.

I practiced making double welting; then I worked on covering the arms:

I used the seat cushion cover as a pattern for the new cover. I even made and installed the welting and a zipper--first one of those I had done in a long time.
Here's the finished product. We found a place in our master bathroom for it:

What do you think?

Furniture Feature Fridays

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Play Kitchen gets me back to Blogland!

Well, hello again. It's been about two and a half years since my last post. I lost interest, I guess, and Life happened. I got busier; our family grew, and my mother was in declining health. But here I am today, older and wiser, and changed. My sweet mother died in 2009; I retired in 2010; and we are trying to adjust to the changes.

My life is a little more orderly and a little more slowly paced now, and I am learning to enjoy every minute of every day. We are busier than ever, but now it is busy with our own interests. We have time to pursue hobbies and learn new things and take care of ourselves and read and enjoy our children and grandchildren. Life is good. That about sums up the last two and a half years. So, on to the new stuff.

I am so excited about a project Tom and I have been working on--a play kitchen for our granddaughter, Anna Kate. She was born just after I stopped blogging in 2009, and she followed the three precious little grandsons that we enjoyed so before her arrival. Now, we have that precious little girl to love as we do Brooks, Alexander, and Christian who came before her.

Anyway, every little girl needs a play kitchen, doesn't she? Even though I was an inactive blogger for more than two years, I have continued to enjoy numerous blogs written by creative women who have inspired me with their shelter, design, and cooking postings. And in the course of reading them, I ran across several play kitchens that inspired me. The Busy Bug Life posted this inspiration. Then, Bonne Nouvelle posted this one. And Fresh Cut Flowers inspired me with this one. So, Granddaddy and YaYa found an entertainment center on Craigslist. It was this one:

You have seen these at yard sales and almost everyday on Craigslist because the new-style televisions do not fit them. Anyway, we brought it to the farm where we began to reconfigure it. We maintained the frame as it was, 54" wide by 48" tall, but we really redesigned the layout. We primed and painted; we nailed and hammered; we made a few purchases and used a little creativity. After lots of hours of work, here's what we came up with:

As you can see, she has a stove and oven on the left side, a sink in the middle, and a pantry on the right. She has a chalkboard door on the front and another framed chalkboard on the right outside, along with a hook for her apron. It was a labor of love. Tom tried out some new tools, and I reached waaaay down inside to get creative. We used a dog bowl for the sink, jar lids painted black for the cooktop burners, and wooden wheels from the hobby shop for burner controls. The curtains are reconfigured from some old ones I found in a trunk at the farmhouse where her granddaddy was born and grew up and now shares with all of us. They belonged either to Tom's mother or his grandmother. For the window, we blew up a photo of our farm, a place that Anna Kate knows, so she would have a familiar sight as she looks "out the window". Anna Kate is too young to know it now, but that little kitchen has some of her history in it. An artist friend of ours recommended that we sign and date the piece and take a picture of AK now and as she grows with it, so we will plan to do that.

Well, we delivered and installed it today---big hit! Though Miss Anna Kate was tired and a tad ornery, we knew she would love it. Big brother, Brooks, was all over it, so we think they will enjoy it together. We hope they have hours of fun pretending in the kitchen.

And, the apple pie will be ready shortly!

Furniture Feature Fridays