Anyone who knows my mom know she loves books. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but if not, there it is. She is a master of children’s literature in particular. Any gift-giving holiday as a child brought hordes of picture books, autographed by the author and/or illustrator. She does the same for my children now and they love it as much as I did.
When working on this petite bookcase destined for a little girl’s room, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the hours spent reading with my mom. Now this bookcase sports her nickname, Kass–a dedication to a remarkable woman who inspired in me a love of the written word.
Post Script: The “Cut Out” books are made by dear friends at Aguiar Design. Check out their Etsy shop for great Christmas gifts as well as amazing non-seasonal decor. The books featured in the photos represent the four states we’ve lived in (or, in the case of Florida, will live in) as a married couple.
We live in a green house that I dubbed “The Green Monster” before we even purchased it. I love our house. It’s been good to us. If it wasn’t a temporary living arrangement, however, I would have painted it 5 years ago. I’ve never been fond of the exterior color, but to illustrate that tastes vary dramatically, I recently had dinner interrupted by a couple who wanted to match their color swatches to our house because they liked the color so much and wanted to paint their house the same. I had the worst poker face, I admit. I think my shameful response was something as eloquent as, “Really? Why would you want that color?!”
If only the shade of green was closer to this deep and inviting milk paint hue, I’d happily change the name to something other than “monster.” In honor of this house, which will soon be for sale (wow, I really know how to sell it by leading with how I don’t care for the exterior color, huh?), I present little “Green Monster:”
Currently for Sale
As a child, I had the world’s best babysitter named Jackie. I can’t remember much beyond her physical appearance (long California blonde hair even Barbie would kill for), but I was hopelessly devoted to her and remain loyal to this day, as evidenced by the fact that all my stuffed animals and dolls have never undergone name changes and all still respond to their first given name: Jackie. I had a cowgirl-themed “Glamour Gal” that was the original Jackie of my toy menagerie, and, despite the fact that my other brothers never permitted their GI Joe action figures to go on dates with her, I played with her constantly. Of course, she had long silky blond hair too.
I eventually outgrew dolls and stuff animals and moved on to more “grown up” things, such as wallets. My first wallet was perfect–complete with those little cardboard credit card placeholders. Well, I liked to pretend those were real credit cards (because practice makes perfect and all that) and personalized it. Beneath my name, in small lettering I wrote “Code name: Jackie.” As any older brother would, when mine stumbled upon my private wallet contents, he mercilessly teased me about “Code Name: Jackie,” and still does.
Many years later, I have a new Jackie in my life. Although she doesn’t don a cowgirl hat, I’m pretty devoted to this one too. Knowing that I’ll be moving out of state shortly after our winter melts, new Jackie approached me about doing a hutch for her. How could I say ‘no’ to a Jackie? Well, here she is…probably my most favorite inanimate ‘Jackie’ ever.
My good friend (and owner of the second half of my personal library) commissioned me to do a work that promised to be time consuming–but how much time neither of us knew. Working on previously painted furniture always adds time to a project due to the fact it most likely will need to be stripped and/or sanded. This is much more the case when working on a vintage dinning set where it has decades worth of paint that doesn’t feel like responding very enthusiastically to any attempt at removing its built-up history.
Enter: the “Red Hot.” Saba, the heroine of a series I recently completed, is a fighter and a survivor–both of which can be attributed to the fierce “red hot” sensation she gets when she is in danger or when a loved one is threatened. I love this phrase, because it totally captures the instantaneous flash of frustration (and, must I admit, anger), when one of my children does something extremely aggravating or when a piece of furniture isn’t cooperating. Many a moment did I experience the Red Hot while working on this set, from the stripping, to the tape designed for “painted surfaces” peeling off paint upon removal, to having paint bleed through the “edge lock” of the tape and having to use the tiniest wisp of a detail brush to fill it back in. It’s a really good thing I love how it all turned out, or I might otherwise have been posting pictures of a chair or two stacked in my fire pit (yes, I did consider this at one point).
Enough about my temper issues and on to the set. This amazing table is actually an engraved tin-topped number with intricate details of squirrels and swirling designs. Not wanting to compete with the black-and-white motif, we accentuated it with a two-toned approach both on the table and the chairs. I think the table alone lost at least 10 lbs. in paint removal and really slimmed down it’s silhouette . It’s so fun to see this incredible table resurrected from an enduring suffocation by paint. Hopefully, she’ll resist the temptation to add any excess weight and stay slim and sleek (or my Red Hot may kick back in!).
As promised, here is the second piece to the “firedog” set: Shoppo. I love the two-toned paint look combined with natural top. And the knob design repeated in the drawer liner is lovely–I just can’t get enough of it!! Thankfully we were able to track down 19 of the same knobs–I had a nation-wide search ready to spring into action should the shipment fail to arrive. Now Shoppo is off on her own adventure as she is packed up and moved to PA.
If you’ve followed my posts for any length of time, you may have noticed I like to read a bit. You may also have noticed that characters in literature are often the namesakes for my furniture. It’ll come as no surprise, then, that my most recent projects are named after items featured in a book, namely brass fire irons or “firedogs.”
One of my favorite series is Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce books and I was listening to A Red Herring Without Mustard while working on both this dresser and her accompanying desk. In the book, the precocious sleuth Flavia describes her late mother’s fire irons, which are named “Sally Fox” and “Shoppo.” Before her death, Harriet made up stories featuring Sally Fox and Shoppo to tell at the bedside of her young girls. I love when inanimate objects take on a life of their own! The names seemed to fit these pieces, so I named them in honor of the firedogs (Shoppo pics soon to follow). It would be fun to imagine furniture coming to life, full of personality, especially these “Aqua Fiesta” numbers.
When a friend approached me to do a vintage doll crib for her daughter, I couldn’t resist. You’d think working on such a small scale would shrink the work time, but alas, logic cannot be applied here. What was applied, however, was layer upon layer of paint, from green, to pinkish-white. After stripping and sanding, and stripping, and sanding, this little crib was ready for her transformation. Enter: Fairy Tale by Benjamin Moore–a perfect color to compliment the beautifully-crafted doll quilt tucked inside. Little Ms. M was thrilled to have this custom set-up, because, when it comes to your baby, there’s no such thing as too extravagant.
This little lady was transformed to be a media console. I love that she is so versatile! Knowing she’s sharing a room with a bed we fashioned out of a door and pallets, as well as Lady Katherine makes me happy. The Romans worshipped the Goddess Luna, who was the personification of the moon. I thought it fitting that this piece, although small in comparison to the things that surround her, still commands attention.