Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Some Studio Pics...The Joy...The Mess...The Joyful Mess!

(I apologize for the funky spacing...I don't know why the software is doing this). Ok, so I spent some more time trying to put things away. Oh my gosh...I have so much stuff. Goodwill is going to be happy to see my trunk - I'm determined to edit and get rid of things I don't use. I know there's a much happier home for them out there!

Here is the first promised picture. Don't you just love the layout? There is my $20 sewing corner desk...what a deal! A good wash and a new glass drawer handle was all it needed. Behind it I have a snazzy little magnet board from Ikea that I've dressed up with rose applique magnets (crafted those too!) Dang, I'm in Martha Stewart mode :-)

This next picture of the continuation of the sewing desk...it's the part I made myself and then my original white desk. Again, just perfect (not by accident...I have many hours of painstaking calculating and planning to get to this place). Directly above is a bank of cabinets I pieced together from Ikea as well (love them for a budget). I actually started in the 'as-is' area and found the style cabinet doors that match my wardrobes (pictures of that side of the room later this weekend). The price on each of them was over $50 (just for the doors!!), but because they had a few bumps, I got them for $8 and $5...such a deal! I drug my finds back to the cabinet area and matched them up with the right frames. I think that whole upper bank of cabinets (with shelves) was about $100. I'm going to keep watching for those deals and hopefully put more cabinets around the other wall above the sewing machine.

See the little blue filing cabinet there? That's the one I wrote about in my previous post. It was a whopping $15 at the thrift store but was the worst 70's icky mustard yellow...this perky little Robin's Egg Blue paint did the trick! I even took the chrome off and polished it all up. I just love it.

Here is one last picture of that end of the room. I'm so thrilled with it...it will be so functional and wonderful compared to what I had before.

The Studio...Continued (Oh...and I'm 40!!)

Ok, first of all let me say that I am now 40. Holy cow, I didn't know that the day would ever come when I'd actually say I'm 40. Ok, so I don't feel any different, just feel like I should look around and be thankful for what I have...and that I've made it 40 years!

So...now to the studio. I will post another picture soon. I have been working like a crazy woman and it's coming together very nicely. In addition to the score of a sewing table, I am using my old desk as well to make a u shaped work space. But I had trouble with the remaining area, so I made my own surface. Mission accomplished, and for a fraction of the price.

I also wanted a filing cabinet, but not one of those cheap ones that bends if you look at it sideways. I wanted a sturdy office strength one, so I stopped on by my local thrift shop and found a fabulous goldish ick colored cabinet. Had great clean lines and chrome trim. I brought that baby home, stripped it apart and put a gorgeous Robin's Egg blue color on it. A bit of polish made the chrome shine and now it's full of goodies in my space!

Ok...enough for now. I'll post more in a day or so with some pics...gotta get to work putting it all away now!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Studio Under Renovation

Ok, this post should really be titled....I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF! So I got this bug to reorganize my studio and make it more efficient...little did I know I was opening a can of worms. I've been shopping the past two days between IKEA and the thrift store to find what I need. I found a gorgous rose frame that will make an awesome bulletin board. The ultimate score came at a thrift store though. I was going to try to find some cool cabinets or tables to make into my machine desks. Didn't see anything at all...until I hit the last row. There it was...a white corner table with dual machine cut ins and lifts. I couldn't believe it...and for $20! Ok, you probably can't guess how excited I was, but this was exactly what I was looking for!

I have these wonderful wardrobes from IKEA that just needed some accessories, so I after two trips there, I only needed one more thing... the rest of the desk. I couldn't find what I needed so I headed to Lowes to get in touch with my inner carpenter. So, supplies in hand, I figure I better get some of the many, many, many tubs of fabric moved out so I can get right to it in the morning. I've planned two full days of hard work...yikes, what was i thinking?

So...my lovely teenage boys helped transport all my wonderful goodies to the other room. It's a much smaller room, but still a reasonable size. Of course they had to make comments along the way...like, "wow, you have way too much fabric"...my other favorite was "you just need to give a bunch of this to goodwill." Of course he's talking about my $9 a yard fabric!

I have to tell you I'm just a bit overwhelmed and depressed after looking at how much stuff I have and how much work I've just made for myself. Ok...here we go. As embarassing as it is, I'm going to give you the play by play pictures. If I'm not dead tired tomorrow night I'll post again with some new pictures!

The first pictures are after we removed alot of totes and such...the third picture is all that stuff in another room...YIKES!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Arlene's Apron...Cookies Anyone?

I have met the most wonderful people since opening my store at Vintage Susie. Two of those people are Arlene and Terri. Arlene (at RetroBoutiques) loves all things retro. She was especially lusting after a retro apron to wear when she hosted dinner at her house. Terri (at Artform Nails) wanted to thank Arlene for all the work she'd done on her site, so she did a sneak attack and ordered an apron for Arlene. Not just any apron...a vintage styled one. Getting to know the girls a bit, I began to hunt through the mounds of fabric I have to find just the right one. Here it is!! I used a retro 40's style blue and red with a vintage dishtowel for the pockets. Finished off with red ric rac, I just loved it...happily both Arlene and Terri loved it too! Thanks girls!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Blog Design...by Miss Ali

Don't you just love this gorgeous design? Miss Ali (Ali Regan) of Miss Alis, is the one I have to thank. She is a lovely gal in Australia who I had the fortune of discovering on the web last year. She did my initial web design and the refresh, as well as this gorgeous blog design! If you need any work like this at all (including business cards and more), please contact Ali - she is absolutely wonderful to work with - you won't be sorry!

In fact, check out some of her gorgeous creations (she sells through Boutique Mama)...I just love the Rich Chocolate...hard to resist buying that one!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Lady...Dressed for the Ball!

The lady is now dressed properly and ready for the ball. I just love the way it all turned out. I still do not have my extra crystals...which will add a whole new drippy layer to the bottom of the chandelier, but they will hopefully be waiting for me when I get home from work tomorrow!

The shades are custom made by moi...with Rachel Ashwel fabric I bought several years ago (can't remember which it was)...so shabby chic! There are seven shades total and all are trimmed with gorgeous white trim too. My teenage boys don't seem as excited about it as I am, but too bad for them. I feel like such a girl in my studio now...pink walls and all. Did I tell you my husband says it looks like Pepto Bismal...it's actually a Martha Stewart color I believe.

Thanks for hanging in there with me through this very long story. The past two weeks have been so much fun. Now that it's done I'm on to the next project. Re designing my studio (have to showcase this baby!)

My New Baby...She's Gorgeous!

Ok, so I told you about my chandelier, right? First, let me tell you this is a long story…but oh, so worth it!!! I’ve added lots of pictures (remember those books with all the pictures when you were a kid? It was always better with the pictures!)

Chapter 1: Gem in the Junk
So, about two weeks ago my mom and I decide to venture out on a Saturday for our neighborhood garage sale (we live in a huge master planned community). It was supposed to be 90 degrees that day, so I was ready. Cash in pocket, air conditioning running in the car (too big to walk), and lot of room for goodies. So, we are about two hours in and my mom sees this chandelier sitting in a heap of cut wires and half attached crystals…totally covered in dust and grime. My mother pushed me to buy it…she knew I had been wanting one for my studio for a long time. I wasn’t very into it, I admit, but the more I looked at it I thought it might look good. I would take it apart and paint it white and then see what we had. So, for $30 I took the chandelier and a baggie of extra crystals and went on my way. My mom seemed to be much more impressed by it than I was. (By the way, the guy had two and offered them to me for $50 total for both…dang…once you read the rest of this, you’ll know why I’m now wishing I took them both). Side note…I found out that they came out of a restaurant, well known to our area, while it was being remodeled.

Chapter 2: Bath Time!
So…after a full Saturday of garage sale bargain hunting, I came home with some fun stuff… crocheted doily, some great racks for my ribbons, and this hunk of brass and glass. My husband couldn’t quite understand it. He didn’t see the potential beauty that my mother and I had. So…as he went off to work that evening, I set about putting all the extra crystal on. I realized that some were missing to I strolled over to the next neighborhood only to find the other chandelier had sold. I thought that I could at least use the extra pieces. So…I took it all apart and started the first bath of the crystals. All I can say is WOW. Even after just one bathing, these were gorgeous. Where I thought there was rust from cheap pinnings, I found that it was just grime next to brass pinnings. This was looking like a quality piece as I got farther into it. Next I grabbed a washcloth and thought I’d get the brass clean so I could paint it. Holy cow…the brass underneath was like brand new. In fact, by the time I was done, it was so pretty and gleaming. There was no way I was going to paint this one.

(pic of crystals on towel)

Chapter 3: Who Made This?
I love to know the history of an item. In fact, I think it’s incredible therapeutic to take something apart, give it some TLC and lovingly bring it back to life. Of course it appeared that I would need to rewire this. It had the old cloth covered wiring, but couldn’t be too old. My guess was 1970’s or so. As I looked at the wiring I saw the name Schonbek in the canopy. I don’t know much about chandeliers, but I did know this wasn’t on you’d get on sale at the local hardware store. So, I looked them up. Wow! These chandeliers are top of the line, in fact, the company has been in business for 130 years and was bought my Swarovski last year. I did a little more research and found that if you call their parts department they can usually provide replacements. So…now I’m really intrigued. I finish cleaning up, and decide to call Schonbek as soon as I can.

Chapter 4: The Diamond Emerges
I email Schonbek and find out that they do indeed carry the replacement wiring I need. In fact, the person I was speaking with (Brian) said if I took some photos and sent them in they could verify whether or not it was one of theirs and get me some info. So…I “dressed” it in all the crystals I had (took an hour) and then shot the pics. I emailed them that night…with a list of questions. And as if by magic I woke up the next day to find a PDF of the original paperwork for my baby. So incredibly pretty on the drawing, and too cool to see all the crystals and where they go. In fact, I found out that my chandelier is from the “Orleans” collection and debuted in March of 1979 (I was right about the 70’s!)

Chapter 5: It Cost What?
Next it was off to the parts department to speak with Shauna. What an angel she was. She did a little research and found out that if my chandelier were to sell today, it would probably be in the neighborhood of $1,400! Can you believe that? Yikes!! In fact, I found some similar to it on the web and they were more than that. I know that if I wanted to (and I don’t) I could put it up on Ebay and get at least $3-400 for it. Shauna tells me that it is indeed Orleans model #1638, seven arm brass chandelier. She then tells me how much for all the replacement crystals. So…I order the wiring first…have to rewire it. That arrives over the holiday weekend. I take it all apart and bathe the rest of the pieces on the center of the piece and put it all back together. Ok, now we’re talking…she’s coming back to life!

Chapter 6: What do I need?
So…now I take a full inventory of what crystals I have (against my paperwork) and realize I have too many of some and not enough of some (remember the other chandelier the guy had…I guess I got some extra from there and not enough too). So…I take some of the extras and see what I need. In a very McGuyver like way, I take those apart and very carefully repin and create some of the missing pieces…dang, I’m good :-)! Saved myself some cash there! So, now I place my order for new candle slips, some crystal beads and 12 crystal pieces…three of them are biggies and have three pieces to them. I actually paid 2nd day air to get them here by this Saturday…wow, I guess I’ve changed my mind on how much I thought I would originally like this. It was meant to be I think.

Chapter 7: Installing it in the Studio
My husband says he’ll install it for me, but being the very Type A, go..go..go person that I am, I can’t wait. Heck, I’ve installed lighting before. So…I take the old light down and realize really quickly that there is no way that this thing is going to hold. The junction box is not on a stud, in fact it’s attached to a funky metal bracket. The only way I know this is because I unscrewed it (which I shouldn’t have) and now I can’t get it back together. Dang it!! And, we have that icky blown in insulation so now it looks like it’s snowing all over my fabric to boot! Well…had to tell my wonderful darling husband what I did. So…he spends 20 minutes carefully finessing the thing until he gets it screwed back in…whew! Heavy sigh of relief there. Of course it still won’t hold a fully loaded chandelier that weighs a whopping 35 pounds!! Picture a light bulb going off over my head! I get a swag hook and thankfully there is a stud close enough for me to swag it over (just enough wiring) and we’re good to go. Yippee! I add the light bulbs and pray that the socket wiring is good…flip the switch and “we have light!” I LOVE IT!! Anyone who sews knows that your iron takes a good lot of wattage, so I cross my fingers, turn it on and hope that the circuit doesn’t blow. Success!!!

Chapter 8: The Home Stretch
I decide that we probably could use one more bath before my little baby gets all dressed up, so once again I wash and air dry all the crystals. Then, I get home from work and decide it’s time…let’s put it together. So…I load them all on (with the help of my handy dandy diagram). It’s already looking so lovely. Still missing a few crystals, but I’m hoping that when I get home there will be a package for me…would have to arrive a day early, but we can always hope, right? Well, they weren't there, in fact, they are delayed in transit! argh!

Chapter 9: Delicious!!
Here she is, (minus the crystals still on the road) all dressed and ready for the ball. Only one thing is missing…custom shades. I’ll be making those this weekend and will post a picture for all to see. In fact, I think I might start offering these as part of my line too. In fact, I once did a custom tropical barkcloth set for a lovely man in Miami. So…like the Mastercard commercial says:

One Chandelier: $30
Replacement Wiring and Crystals: $97
My Gorgeous Baby Hanging in the Studio: Priceless!!

Thanks for hanging in there with me through this incredibly long story. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!!


So, my studio is just an insane mess...I get into a creating frenzy and the scraps just start flying!! So, I finally got to it and got the place picked up. There were two reasons to get things picked up...ok, maybe three! The first was to get to a place where I could actually sew again. You know, I could actually see my sewing machine from under the piles of cotton. The second is so that I could start to envision my new set up. I'm going to build in a whole new work area at the end with sewing stations for both the machine and serger. Don't know when this will happen, but I'm dreaming about it right now.

The third and real reason for the clean up is to showcase my new chandelier. Ok...my vintage Schonbek chandelier I found at a garage sale. I bought it, did a lot of cleaning...hours...and now it's ready to hang. I have some replacement crystals coming, but for the most part it was pretty complete.

Watch the blog in the coming days for pictures of the process as well as the hanging masterpiece. I'm going to be making custom shades for it as well...watch for those to be offered on the site in the next month or so. I'm going to try to get some work in tonight...you know, after the day job ends and in between the schoolwork! I will be glad when this degree is done!