Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Evolution of a Project

Sometimes I find that my projects seem to take on a life of their own while I follow along after them. That was the case with a small cupboard I recently bought. I've been doing my best to get a studio set up in our new home, trying to have what I want while spending the least amount of money possible. That's a tall order! To make it work, I've scoured thrift stores and Craigslist as well as using what I already own.

One of my storage needs was for stamp sets. I still have quite a few of these from the days when I was a Stampin Up! demonstrator. These are wooden stamps designed to coordinate, and each set comes in a plastic storage box. I wanted something with shelves, but I didn't want the shelves to be too tall or deep (hope that makes sense) so that I didn't end up either with things I couldn't see at the back or teetering towers of stamp boxes. I looked and looked, and was getting very discouraged!

At the end of a Friday afternoon after looking all day, I decided to stop at one more place. I found this little cupboard in a vintage shop, which looked to be about the right size. I think it probably was made originally to be used in a kitchen for extra storage. It wasn't very well made, and the materials used were very cheap,  but I like the shape and size. I hesitated though, because it had a strong and unpleasant odor inside. I decided to take a chance, hoping that a good scrubbing would take care of the smell.

Long story short, scrubbing did not work. My DH reminded me that we had a can of Kilz left over from another project. I sprayed the inside well, and it worked like a charm. No more recoiling every time the door was opened! I can tell you, I was relieved.

I wish I had taken a before picture for you. It had been painted a pale mint green - not my kind of color at all. I had a sample of gray we'd tried and rejected for the walls, but I thought it would be just the thing to cover up the previous color. I painted it inside and out, and DH reinforced the hinges for me. I took it upstairs, filled it with stamps, and thought I was finished. Yay! Check another project off the list! But...

While strolling through Hobby Lobby, I spied a stencil for a curling vine with leaves. Hmm...that might look nice on the cupboard door. Well, if I'm going to do that, I might as well reactivate an idea I'd had earlier to paint a section at the top a contrasting color. And if I'm going to do all that, I really should do what ought to have been done in the first place, which is to sand down a lot of old paint drips or what's the point? So, I emptied the cupboard and hauled it outside, spending an afternoon sanding and repainting. Why oh why didn't I do that in the first place!!

Then out of the blue, or from some strange place in my mind, I thought that rather than go just with the vine, it would look nice (at least in my mind's eye) over a neutral geometric background. Not, you understand, that such a coherent thought actually occurred to me - it was more of a mental picture that I'm now trying to describe. I had a picture of a diamond motif in pale white. Thinking that the worst that could happen was that I'd have to paint the whole thing over, I went to work with some low-tack tape. I eyeballed the design (there's no way that I'd have the patience to measure all that!), got some white acrylic paint and had at it. It went very quickly, and as I used a very light touch with the paint it dried quickly. I pulled the tape off and was quite pleased. I almost left it at that, but wanted to go ahead with the vine.

I taped the stencil in place, and used a thick bodied acrylic paint in a really pretty blue. I found that any mistakes were easily wiped off with a wet wipe (you know, the kind parents use on babies - very useful in crafting). The stencil had little dot flowers at the ends of some parts of the vine, but I didn't paint those in. Instead, I pulled out my stash of buttons, and glued buttons on in place of flowers. I'm very happy with the way it turned out, and here it is:
As you can see, the top shelf is a good indication of how poorly this thing was made in the first place! I did try painting the knob in the same blue as the section at the top, but it looked terrible after adding the vine. So back to gray it went. Now I really think I'm finally done! 

Happy crafting,