Craft Desk

This project has been waiting rather impatiently to reveal itself.  It required a handful of steps, one of which took weeks to complete.  By the time everything was all said and done, it still was still not 100%, making the reveal less exciting.

It all starts with an idea.  Never mind if it is any good, you have to start somewhere.  From there the ideas build and grow becoming so wild you have to start reining them in.  As grand as some of the things I would like to create could be, I do not always have the tools to do so.  You have to then find what works for you, or make adjustments.  The initial concern was the difference between height in the desk and the chair.  I originally envisioned a drafting table with an adjustable bar stool.  The only issue here is if doubling the table as a craft table, I would constantly have to move things on and off and therefore would need storage.  For the cost of these tables it didn’t seem worth it for all its shortcomings.  Instead I decided that since I wanted a drawing/crafting table, why not turn it into a project itself.

The foundation of my idea started here, with the legs.

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Not only did they offer the base for my project, but solved my issue of storage with the added bonus of color.  Super easy to assemble once you got the hang of it.  While in the area confirming that these would work for my project, the issue of a chair for a suitable height (and price) resolved itself by way of a sale item.

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This nifty little chair was only $15.  Now although both items served their purpose, there were two things I needed to rectify before I went any further.  The base of the chair and the handles of the cabinets.

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The white and the silver were just not cutting it for me so I made a small but pleasing color change.

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Now that I had my chair and my foundation I needed my table top.  I had a few different ideas for this, but as I mentioned a few of them got a bit wild.  Even after I had selected my material, I had to scale back on some of my plans because the reality of the size and material did not offer what I had pictured in my head.

This… is a slab door.

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A slab door is a plain door, either primed or unfinished, with no holes for a doorknob or any hinges.  They come in a variety of sizes and the prices vary by size.  I don’t believe I paid more than $30 for this one.  Some of my original thoughts consisted of staining the unfinished wood, but finding an unfinished slab door for this price and in stock seemed to be more of a challenge than expected.  The slab door would become my table top, but as plain and boring as this table top looked, it needed my help and my touch.

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I started off by drawing out some quotes in pencil so they could be easily changed if needed.  I could have simply painted the words on, which probably would have taken a fraction of the time, but instead I decided to go the more difficult route.  I chose to carve them out using a cordless hand dremel.IMG_0687.JPG

This is the part of the project that took weeks.  The initial problem was finding the right bit for the job.  I purchased a rather expensive one that was supposed to be very strong and good for wood.  Unfortunately, this cheap little slab door made easy work of that bit and I started having difficulties early on.  It wasn’t until I was nearly done that I bought a new bit, a significantly cheaper one, that happened to do twice as good a job.  Sadly this was only the first hurdle.  The real challenge was the battery power and the strength needed to properly chew through the wood.  The charge lasted maybe an hour, then needed to be charged for at least 4 hours.  At one point I thought of counting how many times I needed to charge this thing, but I lost count.  Really what I should have done was just paid the price for one that plugs in, but the intention of this project was really to create this project by using as few materials and spending as little money as I could.  And so began my endless journey of dremeling quotes on a slab door.  Although it was obvious that only 2 of the 4 sides would be visible, it just did not make sense to me not to finish the other sides.  If I were to move and the table were out in the open then it would expose all 4 sides, or if I wanted I could turn the table to show the different quotes whenever I choose.

I decided that I was going to paint the letters by hand still filling in each newly carved letter with gold to match the accents on the chair and cabinet handles.  Because of the amount of time it had taken to work on the letters, I have to admit that my energy for the project was beginning to waiver.  Here is where inspiration kicked in, and happened to be the best decision.  I used the same spray for the handles and chair to fill in the letters and it only took a matter of seconds.

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I loved the gilded edge effect, but it wasn’t what I had pictured in my mind so before I got too attached, I trudged on with the rest of the table.  I chose to match the color of the chair to finish the tabletop and used a matte finish to give the same look as the plastic chair top.

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This step also took very little time as I only had to do a couple coats of paint on the top and bottom and a quick sweep over the edges to finish the look.

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And so without further delay it is with great pleasure I introduce to you my finished product.  My drawing and craft station in order to draw and craft to my hearts content!

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If you are wondering what all the quotes are, well… I can’t give away all my secrets, but they consist of books, music and movies.  Disney, Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games and one Taylor Swift.

Stay tuned for more creations!

Garden Bench Makeover

Sometimes I get these creative urges and I just have to run with them.  When I am able to be creative and have that freedom I am really in my element.  Sometimes it turns out, sometimes it doesn’t, but that is just part of the process.  There are also times that I will have to step back and wait to see if further inspiration will come to me to finish the project.  You have to know when to give up though.  Some things are just not meant to be which is unfortunate because they started off with good intentions, but now they are an unfinished waste of space.  Perhaps one day they will get a new lease on life.

When we moved into our home it came equipped with a smattering of odd items here and there ranging from an old snowmobile hiding by the shed, to human teeth stashed away in the basement (but that is a tale for another time).  The garage came equipped with the standard issue garden bench that most people seem to own, or have owned at some point or another.

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The bench was being used as a dumping ground for the longest time until one day it began to speak up and whisper to me, giving me snippets of little ideas of what it would like to be done with it.  The idea to refinish the bench began to bloom in my mind but with no real clear picture.  The thought of taking the bench apart, sanding down the wood and staining it seemed a bit much for something that had clearly seen better days.  After giving the whole bench a good wash with the garden hose, blasting out those cob webs and random clumps of dirt, the bench had an unmistakable scent of wet dog.  The idea of painting the bench with a sort of flower scene seemed the most logical and fitting idea and probably would have been a rather fun project as well; however, I wouldn’t put THAT much stock in my floral painting skills.  In this case it would have been fine seeing as it would have been seen at a distance, but the majority of the painstaking hand work would have been covered.  I had known all along I had no intention of using the bench for seating purposes, but rather to hold planters, specifically the long thin planter boxes with cascading bunches of flowers spilling over the end.  I think the hand painting would have gone forward were it not for Pinterest and it’s devil ideas.

I came across a series of pictures of refinished pieces of wood with an antiqued wallpaper finish.  The possibilities offered a wide variety of tastes and the rough look of the wood mixed with the soft floral wallpaper contrasted nicely.  This look also fit with the old antique chair that I got for free from a couple houses down.

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The idea of the Pinterest project was not to use actual wallpaper, but instead a technique using paper napkins and Mod Podge (apparently a rather common and old way of crafting).  I have never used Mod Podge before but in my mind it was just a bottle of overpriced glue.  Believe it or not, the most difficult thing about the project was trying to find the paper napkins.  There were various suggestions of places to check, the simplest being Amazon for the convenience of shopping and swift delivery, but the price of the intended project deterred me from that route.  During my online perusal I came across a theme of different paper products in different sizes available at Party City that just so happen to be on sale.  I had thought that the floral pattern may have been too overwhelming so the plan was to use the floral on every second slat of wood, and use the solid matching color alternating.  What seemed like such a simple task brought me to a towering wall of Party City with such an array of paper napkins scattered throughout the store.  There were so many amazing possibilities, but not what I had envisioned or not what would look good for this particular project.  And so began my hour plus struggle of standing in front of a wall of paper napkins, snatching, grabbing and mashing together to find what I wanted.  In the end, I decided to grab and go, not completely satisfied with my purchase.  I was able to find the floral pattern, but nothing for the alternating slats.

I stopped at Michaels to pick up the Mod Podge, this bottle coming in at $18.  You would never have seen me buying this on any other day had it not been for the 40% off coupon.  While there I decided that a nice dolphin grey paint would compliment the colors for the alternating slats and naturally, no such color was available (unless you wanted over priced chalk paint, because everyone needs chalk paint in every hue under the sun).  That is where the trusty dollar store comes in, but even they let me down with only offering silver and not grey.  The first world problems of a poor struggling artist.

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I decided to grab both sizes of napkins, the smaller pair because of the scroll writing of the word “Love”.  This turned out to be a waste of time as once the Mod Podge was applied you could not see the writing anyway and when covering a surface area, the bigger the better.

The instructions were to peel the coloured layer away from the white ply sheets which was easy enough.  After brushing on the Mod Podge, gently lay the napkin over the wood and smooth it out.  Some pieces were more co-operative than others, but the Pinterest I had read advised that a few wrinkles here and there were of no concern as they would add character as well as be sanded off anyway.  To achieve that antique look you had to sand overtop of the napkin once it had dried, the poster advising not to use the Mod Podge over top of the napkin as it would make it more difficult when sanding and not give the desired effect.  I chose not to go with the sanding route for two reasons.  One being that if sanded it would be much more subdued and not give the desired effect and would probably have looked no different from the original product.  Secondly,  that just seemed like way too much work.

Using just a regular tube of silver acrylic paint from the dollar store I brushed over the old metal legs bringing out a lot of the details in the metal that never stood out before.  Naturally it wasn’t until I was 3/4 done when I noticed it would have looked really cool to leave the inner crevases black with the silver accent, but by then it was too late.  Instead I added a brushing of gold to accent the metal which gave it a rather interesting look when seen in the right light.  The original plan was to use a chrome gold finish, but I imagine Jamie would have killed me, and it probably would not have looked as nice with the other colors of the yard.

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Originally I had painted every second slat silver, but along with the silver legs it was far too much silver, so since  I did not get my golden legs, I added a touch of gold to the slats.  Despite this, I was not pleased and I could not put my finger on what was bothering me.  I stared at the bench a few times here and there and in different light, but ended up walking away and let it sit in the garage, alone, to think about what it had done to displease me.

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Without any pretence or ideas I found myself in the garage again and covering each alternate slat with more of the floral pattern.  Here is the step where I decided to use the smaller napkins, only to find out that the writing could not be seen very well and they covered a much smaller surface area.

The actual process does not take very long.  You lay the napkin around the wood to measure, either applying the glue and the napkin and cutting away the excess, or pre-cutting before you glue.  You do not have to be precise in cutting the strips as I found I would simply brush over the napkin with the glue and it would smooth away the edges leaving no visible jagged edges.  I chose to use the glue on both the wood and the surface.  Applying the glue to the wood was a necessity, but applying the glue overtop created a sort of protective coat which will help against the elements as well as sometimes bringing out the floral pattern and the colors.  As you can see on certain pieces, the napkin and the glue soaked right through and leached the color away adding imperfections, but I am much more pleased with this end result.

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I was worried that it would be too overpowering but happened to work out perfectly.  After all that work was said and done though, you will probably think I am crazy for bothering with it in the first place, as noted before, the intention was to place pots on top of it anyway.

The pots are just simple plastic ones from the Dollar Store in a nice grey with a bit of a shimmer.  The plants I got a deal on with a buy one get two sale.  They were not quite as I imagined them to be as I had envisioned a sprawling bulk of green leaves and an explosion of flowers.  Instead we start with spindly green stems and a bit of experimenting.  Slanting the pots forward seemed like the logical thing to do at the time; however, I have since tilted them upright, still having the desired effect but actually making the bench seat look more full and not have to worry about the plants drying out as much and all the soil washing away while watering.

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I hope that it fills out and creates a nice effect with the different colors of flowers.  In the mean time we will just have to wait and see.  For now it is on to the next project!  I hope you enjoyed my little rambling story and that you were able to get a little inspiration to get out there and start creating a few things for yourself!

Disney On Ice – Dare To Dream

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Disney On Ice – Dare TO Dream

Disney on ice is apparently a rather common ice experience often known to everyone not living in Edmonton.  For some reason it seems to go almost everywhere but Edmonton, instead making it’s temporary home in Calgary for my viewing pleasure, although not ease.  I would have remained completely ignorant were it not for the grace of Jamie’s aunty, and unfortunate illness for her, that we received the tickets to the show.  Making a mini road trip and night over with family we were able to take in the show.  Curious as to what to expect, but also not wanting to ruin anything, we did a quick google to see what to expect.  Even then, it seemed but the briefest of glimpses as to what was really in store for us.  Arriving at our destination we were greeted by a lone woman at a podium offering programs at a cost.  Not expecting them to be free, but also not expecting them to be an arm and a leg we were a bit shocked when the program came with a $25 price tag and a flattened flower as consolation.  None the less, it was not about to get us down on the brink of our grand adventure.  Funnelling down the hallways and corralled through the gates we trickled past tables and booths lined with trays and trays of snow cones housed in  special Disney character cups, stacks of cotton candy with paper crowns with the princesses and foam Pascal (Chameleon from Tangled) hats for the boys, or you know, whatever floats your boat.  Non-sugar rush booths hosted toys, wands, figurines and jewelry, all naturally overflowing with all things Frozen.

As we made our way to our seats the whole situation is reminiscent to watching your old favourites as an adult after many years, or visiting long forgotten locations from your childhood; not quite how you had pictured it and always on a smaller scale.  The stadium/rink set up was scaled back to allow a sparse variation of VIP seating, practically on the ice, along with a large curtained area housing the backdrop props.  Despite it’s scaled back look, it gave off an air of intimacy rather than that of insignificance and disappointment.  A possible courtesy to parents with little ones turned out to be a convenient and pleasant announcement for me informing that the show would begin in 3 minutes.  An odd integer of timing, but start in 3 minutes they did.  This is a pleasant change to the monotoned announcement of a show about to begin with a miscellaneous and seemingly endless delay looming over the atmosphere.

The show began with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy introducing the show and each act, as well as the grand finale.  Each act was broken into three stories to feature a specific princess.  A bit to my dismay, there were only going to be four main princesses, none of which were Belle.

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Act one began with a quick retelling of Tatiana from The Princess and The Frog.  The modern princess encroaching on this stubborn old Disney classic that I am, but none the less she brought her upbeat tunes from New Orleans to help set the stage and get the excitement going.

Act two included Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  The skaters wore large dwarf costumes and still managed to maintain their graceful strides, and even had a very cool talking mirror.

Act three retold the story of Cinderella and her mouse friends, their adventure to the ball equip with full pumpkin carriage and royal ball.

There was a brief intermission that allowed for necessary bathroom breaks and re-sugaring of children and bribery to sit still while giving into demands for more high priced goods.  Once again thankful for the accurate and on time announcements.

Act four which had the most focus was the story of Tangled, Rapunzel for those not on par with the layman’s of the Disney world.  Again, perhaps not a classic, but very much a sight to see.  Rapunzel’s scene came with flowing yellow fabric that circled above the rink and hung down to the ice.  Seemingly to be a mere decoration, the fabric became a spectacle with Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder soaring through the air with only the fabric wrapped around their arms and bodies to keep them from falling.

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The final act which pleased all tastes in princesses included a royal finale of dancing and waving from all princess and their princes, yes even Belle and Beast.

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Almost as quickly as the show had started, it seemed to be over with many wanting more.  As for the cherry on top of the wonderful evening was a surprise snow cone from Jamie waiting for me housed in a Rapunzel tankard.  I blended in with all the other children leaving the arena with blue teeth and tongue and stained and sticky fingers.

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As most good things they must come to an end and we must talk business.  You have heard all the good so lets get down to the nitty gritty of it all.

Ticket prices – Thankfully came at no cost, again thanks to Jamie’s aunty and unfortunate for her, but I do believe the standard ticket cost was around $70 which is not a small fee when it involves many little ones plus mom and dad.

Programs – as mentioned came with a price tag of $25, although not mandatory but I am a collector of unnecessary trinkets and memories.

Toys and merchandise – thankfully I steered clear of these tables with miniature people scrubbing and crying for more.  The average princess wand or toy coming in at the $25 mark.

Food and drink – The stadium offered the usual pop, popcorn and hot dogs at the concession, but did you really think your child would want your $3 fountain pop when they could get a snow cone for $15 or a lemonade in a Disney sippy cup for $10?

Just when you thought you had dodged them all, ushering your child passed the tables still fully stocked with snow cones, cotton candy, and toys, they had people standing around selling coloring books for $5.

Considering that the arena was on a smaller scale, but still housed a fair number of people and children, let us break down this magical evening to that of a single child.

Ticket $70, Program $25, Snow cone $15, Popcorn $5, Cotton Candy – $10, washed down with a lemonade $10, a princess wand for $25, assuming you did not give into the merchandise table, but get roped into the colouring book at the end finishing you off for $5.  That is a grand (average) total per child of $165.

When doing the math it can be a rather staggering figure and a definite deterrent to seeing Disney On Ice yourself, but perhaps for a little light, magic and pixie dust, you may consider comparing that Disneyland would be $95 for the ticket, $443 for the flight per child, not to mention the cost of tickets, flights, food and merchandise for the whole family on top of your $259 per night stay at your Disneyland hotel.  With that being said… Who is up for a trip to Disneyland?

Disney On Ice – Dare To Dream is a fun experience for the whole family, no matter how young or how old, and the cost could be significantly reduced by deal watching for Disney and being a stern and frugal parent.

I hope you enjoyed this little recap of Disney On Ice and hope you consider catching one of the shows in the future.

Quibids!

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Bargain websites are always an eye catching thing, but it is always hard to trust deals when they are too good to be true. I have had experience before with ebay. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I know what I am doing. I was watching TV the other day and kept seeing commercials […]

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