Category Archives: DIY

A vanity for creating my face

I may have mentioned in a previous post that one of my loves is make-up. I can get lost in a MAC or Sephora store or even the cosmetics aisle in Meijer or Walgreens. My passions seem to really run along the lines of lipsticks/glosses/stains, lip pencils, and eyeshadow/eyeliner/mascara. I wear glasses and I think it is very important for my eyes not to get lost behind the frames. I didn’t always wear glasses and my eyes were one of my big features; I like to make sure that that feature is still emphasized and highlighted. I don’t play around too much with my foundation – I’ve been using MAC for years, since I stopped using Clinique and tend not to stray although I just bought a Black Radiance a couple months ago and it is really good; but I’ll most likely only use either it or my MAC. I use one eyelid primer, Urban Decay Primer Potion – I’ve tried others and I just go right back to Urban Decay so I believe I’m done trying unless someone gives me a REALLY good reason to try another again. I’m still looking for the perfect face primer (although my mother swears by the Urban Decay DeSlick which she says they do not sell in stores anymore) so I currently switch between the E.L.F mineral face primer and NYC face primer (I know they are not high end, but I haven’t found a high end one that pops my panties and these inexpensive ones work really well.) I haven’t found a blush, bronzer, or contouring product that I absolutely love, so I pick those up when I see a color that I feel will complement my darker skin (although I’m new to contouring so I don’t have a lot of those yet – actually I don’t have any).

After giving this run down you’re probably wondering what is my point. Well, I have begun to acquire quite an eyeshadow collection and although I’ve upgraded my makeup case from the sexy Caboodle train case to a lavender tool box that I converted to a makeup case I’ve run out of room again. I also was getting fed up with where I was applying my makeup daily. I had been standing in my bathroom after lotioning up and use the small 3x magnifying mirror that I had attached to the side of my vanity mirror. When we travel, the hotels all have the nice magnifying mirrors that can be used for makeup application and I actually liked being able to sit down and put on my makeup with these.

I began searching online for new makeup storage solutions and ran across several you tube videos where ladies had a room dedicated to their makeup. I was like, WHAT?!?!?!? A room just for makeup. I was fascinated and a little intimidated by what I was watching. I can easily imagine a room for my shoes and having the finances to fill it, but not an entire room for makeup. I started thinking about it and one day I thought I could include a small makeup alcove in my office. I could have a place to sit and apply my makeup, be able to take it out of the tool box (no more lugging it from under the cabinet each morning, and at the same time acquire a little more room from my growing eye makeup collection.

After watching many YouTube videos, it seemed that the majority of the makeup room owners had some form of IKEA furniture to house their collection, either in the vanity or the storage drawers. I love IKEA, like the next guy, but the closet one is 2 ½ hours away. When we go there it is a well-planned all day event that includes a trip to Jungle Jim’s. I had gotten a burr up my bum and wanted to get my new makeup vanity done asap and inexpensively (cause I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but we were in phase one of my kitchen remodel and the final phase of the basement renovation not to mention the holidays were coming up – there was not a lot of excess money floating around). My internet search for ideas only resulted in a need for an IKEA trip. A trip to the thrift store was not promising and I’m currently on the hunt for a new kitchen table (I’ll post about that at a later date) from the thrift store so I didn’t want to become distracted. I needed to get this setup for around $50.

Looking at images of the vanities online I realized that the depths of the vanities were not too large; about the size of a shelf or desk. I then came up with the brilliant idea to use a shelf for my vanity top. I went to Home Depot and bought a 12”x36” black shelf, 2 – 10”/12” grey shelf brackets, a package of drywall screws, and bracket screws. The total was $13.79; I couldn’t have done better finding something at a thrift store (because I would have had to invest in paint, sandpaper, & such to get to the look I wanted).

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I did go to Goodwill to look for glassware to use for brush holders and such, a lamp to use for lighting and anything else that caught my eye. I found these pieces during my first trip that cost me $8.52 with tax.

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I bought some rice to put in the bottom of my glassware and decided to tint it blue with food coloring to keep in the color theme of my office.

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I decided to paint the lamp in shades of blue, again to stick with room color theme (I’m not going to use a lamp shade because I want the light – I may even buy another lamp to have one on each side). I picked up some acrylic storage containers on the clearance table at Meijer (does anyone else always check the clearance sections at Target and Meijer every time they go into those stores?) to put my everyday used products.

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Then I realized I still had a lot of stuff still inside my toolbox. I needed a place to store it – preferably something with drawers. The only thing was it needed to be slim-lined (the area I had to work with was 9”x33”) and I really did not want to go the plastic route. I thought a slim bookcase would be the perfect size, but I want drawers or more shelves than a bookcase would allow. Can you add pull-out shelves to a bookcase? How about adding additional shelves? This part of the project was going to be my most expensive part of the project, I could feel it; but I still had $26.69 in my $50 budget. I was getting nervous. I still wanted to purchase some more acrylic containers and I knew these could get pricey even if I found them on sale/clearance. More inquiry online gave me the thought of using a bathroom shelving unit as my cabinet. Just finding the unit in my budget…

Then this past weekend I was in Michael’s (not to shop, but waiting at the front of the store waiting on Babydoll and Stan) and noticed a customer buying a HUGE amount of MDF storage units. It looked like she was about to set up an awesome craft station. One of the boxes she had looked exactly like something I was looking for. I located the area of the store where those items were and headed over there. Wouldn’t you know it, they were having a 40% off sale on all of their storage units and I had a 25% off entire purchase coupon. I bought one of the 3-drawer units. After putting it together, I realized that I could use 2 and still have plenty of room. The units were still on sale for 40% off and I could still use my 25% off coupon. I’m got both units for $38.52 including tax (the units are originally $39.99 each). I know that I’ve gone over my $50 budget, but not by much. This is how it looks.

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Since this was taken, I added a 11×14 mirror that I found at the Dollar Tree.  I still may add another lamp, but for right now, I’m happy and I have more than enough space to store my makeup. I’m not going to show you what’s in my drawers because 1) I don’t have it organized completely; and 2) There are tons of pictures/videos/blogs where people are showing their collections. I’m discussing the acquisition of a vanity space in my office not my makeup collection. This is more about having the space that I love coming into in the morning and turning on the radio and listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show while I put on my face. It’s the little things that can make for great amounts of peace. Do you have a place that you’ve made that allows you to complete an everyday task? Did you complete it at a bargain price or did you go all out expense wise?

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Basement Remodel, part deux

In the second post about our basement remodel, you get to see the actual layout of the basement.  It went from the blank slate that we began with – concrete walls and floors with two crawlspace entrances to an actual room.  Although phase 3 was another part of infrastructure.

PHASE 3: we were still in infrastructure mode. This included the wiring for the electronics his speakers, the projector, the screen, the components, the networking all of the stuff that sounds like the adults in the Charlie Brown cartoons when it is explained to me (whamp-whamp-whamp, whamp-whamp-whamp). We had this done another two or three months after we finally finished the electrical.

PHASE 4: this would be the insulation and drywall. A lot of people could not understand why we decided to insulate the basement. They didn’t see the entire “infrastructure” Stan had installed for his picture and sound. Nor did they hear him talking about it. The rest of the house needed some insulation against all of that. I strongly suggested we get some long sleeve shirts and jeans, gloves and face mask and get to stuffing some insulation. This would save us some money ( I was starting to feel some anxiety about the electronics he had plans for and what that was going to do to the budget). Stan did not share my enthusiasm and wanted no part of possibly getting fine bits of fiberglass from the insulation in his cloths. He drove around several home construction sites and found an insulation guy. They came over on a Sunday and finished the job is less than six hours. We got a higher grade insulation than we would have purchased ourselves and still ended up with a better price had we purchased that grade ourselves. You have got to love tradesmen when they give you a fair price.

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This was the bar area. The black tank is the plumbing for the shop and bar sink.

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This was the theater area. The layout ended up getting switched around later; with the screen being on the right and the projector on the left.

Drywall was a long and messy process. I was very pleased with our drywaller. His crew consisted of him and occasionally his son. It took longer, but the work is exceptional. I would not have traded him for someone with a larger crew that could have finished in a shorter amount of time. There was some dust that came about due to the work, but it could have been SO MUCH worse. He had HUGE dry-vacs that he used to get the dust up each day, he had a sticky pad that they stepped on when they came out of the basement, and the cleaned up each night before leaving. It took us about three weeks. When he was done it was amazing…we had a basement that we could now really see what the final product would look like.

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The ceiling in the theater area is angled. Almost like a cove ceiling.

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After we got the drywall finished, it was time to pick out paint and flooring.  We had walls, now it was time to get started on the making it beautiful.

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Basement Remodel anyone…

As promised I am going to give a rundown of our basement remodel. I want to say ahead of time that I began writing this post a couple of months ago and thought I had begun the process of posting it; but looking back on some former post I realized that I had not.  I went back through my files and found all of the writing and now I begin again.  At the time of the original post the bar area had not been completed yet because 1) we felt it would require custom cabinets and we aren’t quite sure how we want to design this; and 2) my husband was tired of the project. Although it is his baby, he said at one point it took something out of him mentally to think about it anymore.

We are DIY’ers, but for this project we contracted out all of the work. Sure we could have laid the floor or painted the walls or even done the insulation (we discussed these projects thoroughly); but our schedules just didn’t allow for it. Stan’s business is doing well and sometimes I feel like I am a chauffeur for my Babydoll (I can’t figure it out). If we had of done more work on this project, I would not be showing/telling you about this project because we still would have been working on it. So let me begin…

We started a over a year ago, in May of 2013. We had several contractors come out to give us estimates to have it done by one company/person.  After some pretty amazing presentations we decided we were going to contract this out ourselves. Why, you ask? Because 1) Most if not all, of the estimates were coming in at around $25-30k and that did not include the electronics (I knew we were going to spend major bucks on the electronics because anything else was NOT going to fly with my husband, no way, no how would that fly); 2) the finishes weren’t included in that estimate (finishes are the really nice trim work, high end mini fridge, furniture, etc.); and 3) we decided we wanted to pay cash for as much work as possible, if we went with a company they would have finished within 3-6 weeks (yeah!!) but a deposit would have been needed at the beginning – $12.5k/15 – and final payment at the end (booo!). So we broke it up in phases.

PHASE 1: Framing – Stan’s side business puts him in contact with all types of construction trades. One day while doing a job he came across a framer. They had a conversation that lead to him coming buy and giving us an estimate that we didn’t feel cheated over – because he is used doing larger jobs, he was able to get a lot of the material for less – so we set it up. They came over on a weekend and we ended up with a framed basement. This lead up to what Stan termed the infrastructure phase but I called it phase 2.

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PHASE 2: Plumbing and Electrical – the basement was not plumbed for any type of bathroom or sink; hence we had no drain. I knew that I was going to add a very small salon in a section of the basement and we wanted to have sink in the bar area. I DID NOT want to have them bust up my floor to put in a drain because that was going to be an extra expense. We did some research and found that there is a drain system that you can purchase that shoots the water up. I’m not explaining this too well, I’m not a plumber, but it shoots the water up. There is probably a better explanation that Stan could probably give you, but he isn’t writing this, I am and all I can say is the water goes up with the help of some pressure. As far as electrical went, we needed a lot of outlets installed. Stan’s theory was it is better to have too many than not enough. We had tons of lighting, lighting for the bar area, the salon, the theater area, the equipment area, and the small area off to the side of the theater. The plumbing and electrical were done about 3 months after the framing was completed. This phase actually took us several months because the electrician we found (thanks soooo much to a coworker for recommending him, he is the best) was so awesome that we ended up having him install lighting for the patio along with electrical outlets on the patio.

I have no pictures of this phase because it was plumbing and electric.  It took us a minute to get it all done, but pictures of the end work would really make no sense to you.  Trust me when I say it made us very happy. Smile

Because this can be a really exhausting post, I’ve decided to break this up into a multi-part series.  Stay tuned for more post.

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To Clutch or Not To Clutch

Recently the Babydoll and I had an evening at the ballet (my mother also joined us). She has been taking ballet for about 4 years and since we have gotten her into a decent school she is improving and learning more. Her love of dance (not just ballet, but all types – I have to find a hiphop class now) is steadily growing along with her excitement about performing.

So the performance that we attended was hosted by the Indianapolis City Ballet and was titled “An Evening With The Stars”. There were performances from Primas and Primes from all over the world. It was an awesome event and it had my Babydoll fired up and ready to begin her new semester of classes (she is moving up to a new class this year.) and my mother and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Of course when you are going out for the evening to a performing arts event (opera, ballet, symphony) you always need to dress accordingly. This was our first time attending anything during the warmer months of the year and it took us a little time to think of the perfect outfit. The weather was a little on the cool side (the high was only in the mid-70’s and the evening promised to be much cooler) but not cool enough to require a jacket. You wanted to wear something nice, but unfortunately a lot of the times people in my city underdress for these occasions, so we didn’t want to overdress. I settled for all black – dress slacks and a blouse with shoes and a clutch to match. The thing was….I didn’t necessarily have a understated clutch. I have clutches for fancy events, but not a plain one.

I had been looking for some clutches but just didn’t find anything that spoke to me or anything I was willing to pay the amount of money they were asking for it.  These are wonderful…

bibi faux crodile 

or this beauty

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and who doesn’t love Jimmy Choo

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I’d even settle for a convertible clutch that I could also use a one of my regular bags.

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But I was finding these in my budget.  So I got to thinking….and decided I could make a clutch.

I went to my best source for information – Google – started researching how to make a clutch. I found many resourceful sites – the most popular was turning a placemat into a clutch. I loved the idea and the simplicity of it, but was unable to find a placemat that appealed to me. I decided to take a trip to my favorite fabric store (Joann’s) and see what inspired me. Once I told Babydoll what I was going to do she declared that she wanted a clutch too. Do you see why she is a babydoll? I keep getting to dress her up. We walked around the store until we found something that spoke to us – there was actually several things that spoke to us, but we had to contain ourselves – and made our purchases.

I have to say that making the clutches was not an easy task. Mine was easy but I didn’t add the closures because I didn’t buy any because I thought I was going to use a zipper, which I put in the Babydolls clutch and it was totally hair-pulling worthy. This is the partially finished clutch for myself I still need to add the snaps.  You have to excuse the blurriness of the photos, I was rushing to take the pics because it was close to time to get ready.

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the inside lining…I had to keep it funky…

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I have a pair of shoes that match perfectly so I pulled them out.

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I also made a headband for my Babydoll that matched her dress and shoes.

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The time and effort that I spent making the bags wasn’t really that bad. I spent about three hours total and a lot of that was just trying to get that stupid zipper in (they really do confound me.). But I will tell you what it has done to me…I now know that I can make a clutch. The possibilities are endless. Clutches for every occasion. I still love my big throw everything into them bags, but now I can have a clutch for grown up nights when I don’t want to carry much. Or a clutch for when we are going to a fair and I just need something to hold lipstick, id and a couple of dollars. I’m thinking clutches as Christmas gifts to my girls (if any of you are reading this act surprised when you receive it). Why just stop at a clutch, I need a new laptop bag and I haven’t found anything that “pop’s my panties”. I feel a new project coming on. Joann’s here I come.

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Office Reupholstery

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time working on completing my office.  I With the move, I got a 10 x 12 room to decorate and use for my own purposes.  I had furnishings –  my desk, craft table, and reading chair.  I knew I wanted a book case to hold some of the books that I refuse to get rid of and for future reading material and a table for my sewing machine.  The rest of the décor I had/have no idea about.  I‘m getting things as I see them or find that I have a need for it. 

One of the things that has been bugging me has been my desk chair.  I had been using the chair that my neighbor had put out at the curb on trash day a couple of years ago that I refinished and my husband had reupholstered.  The problem with it was that it is dark brown and gold.  A great color when I had a dark brown desk, but it didn’t go with the current colors I was working with – black, gray and shades of blue.  The other issue was the style of chair.  I had many style loves – ones that I had seen in magazines, online, etc.   I finally decided on a Parson chair (I definitively decided this last week).  The problem was I wasn’t finding what I wanted in color or texture.  I figured I may have to find something and do some work on it to get it where I wanted it.  On a whim I stopped at the Goodwill on my  home from work and Eureka!…there was a chair for $7.  There were two actually but one was not so sturdy so she stayed in the store and I took the strong boy home with me.  (Excuse the clutter of my office, I was going for a before picture, not a cover shot.)

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I didn’t want to have another unfinished project in my home for a long amount of time so I resolved myself to get the job done on my Monday off.  I spent 3 hours in JoAnn’s looking for the perfect fabric.  I came out with fabric for my desk chair and my reading chair that really needs to work (I’ll talk about that in a later post.).  I had spent the previous day researching the best way to reupholster a Parson chair and after several videos and tutorials felt pretty confident that I could get-r-done in a day. 

Because I have recently become addicted to Houzz.com where I had “liked” a two-toned office chair; I had decided to cover my chair in two fabric patterns. 

The first thing I did was remove all of the pieces.  It took over two hours to remove staples and fabric – most of this time was spent on removing the staples.  OMG, there were a lot of staples.

After I got all of the pieces off, I took the pieces and used them as a pattern to cut out the replacement pieces.

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Next I took some batting that I already had in my supply closet and placed over the cushion of the seat.

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Then it was time to put her back together.  I took the fabric for the seat and placed it on the seat and fished it through the back cushion  to the back of the chair and start stapling.

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I did the same for the front part of the back of the chair.  I had to put slits at the bottom so that I could slide it through the hole and allow me to wrap around the sides without a lot of puckering.

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I made sure that everything was positioned correctly and began stapling from the top of the chair back to ensure that I had enough fabric up top and to make sure that the pleating was the neatest.

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Then I stapled around the bottom. 

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Because I wanted the chair to be two-toned, the back of the chair turned out to be a little more difficult.  I didn’t want staples to be seen on the back and I wasn’t going to be putting any trim work to camouflage staples.  Once I had the fabric positioned how I wanted it (with a ironed ~1-inch hem), I stapled the top in the hemline and then brought the draped fabric over it.  Unfortunately I was in deep thinking mode working out the logistics and forgot to take pictures during this process.  Then I slowly made my way down one side of the back with my staple gun.  For the second side and bottom, I pulled out my trusty glue gun and hot glued it.  To finish I made a skirt of my fabric but made the front piece of the skirt to match the back of the chair, this was put on using the recycled cardboard strip pieces from the underside of the chair .  I had two yards of trim to use where the top part of the chair and the skirt connected.  There was a slight oops with that.  Tell me if you notice what it is in the comments and I’ll confirm for you. Winking smile 

All in all I’m extremely excited about the way it turned out and I will be fixing that oops a.s.a.p.  I know have the chair for my desk.

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Again folks, don’t judge the clutter.  I was so happy to be done with this project, that I didn’t think about proper photo staging.  You will get a cleaner view when I do the big reveal of the office later. 

What do ya’ think?

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A Book For My Nook

I think I have mentioned several times that I have a Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet.  And I have to say that I am very happy with it.  Yeah, yeah, yeah the iPad is great if that is what you need, but for the most part I just want to have an ereader that occasionally allows me to surf the web or play a game.  I don’t want nor do I need a lot of apps.  That’s just me…it’s what pops my panties.  Me.  If you want an iPad or a Kindle Fire then go for it, do you.

Having said all that, let me get to the reason for this post.  I am all about accessorizing.   I like shoes (no I love shoes), watches, earrings (the bigger the better because I have REALLY short hair), makeup, rings, purses (I call them my bags), just accessories.  So I’m always thinking of cost effective ways to accessorize all my gadgets.  I’ve made camera bags for my camera, covers for my Kindle (the DX – the big one), and my Sony, etc.  I hadn’t done anything for my Nook because I was treating my baby to special treatment, nothing but the best for my girl.  The problem with wanting the best and me loving accessories is that I cringe (mean really cringe) when  look at something that is gloriously beautiful that is right up my speed but cost $70.  I can’t do it.  Nope won’t do it.   Not spending $70.  The other problem is that there is not as many pretty covers for Nooks as there are for the Kindle Fire and iPad (I wonder why that’s so?).  About a month ago I went on a rampage looking for a cover and found that I can make this amazing cover for less than $5.00.  People are selling beautiful covers on Etsy for $60 (and I’m not knocking anyone’s business) and I can do it myself for around $5.  This is how I did it.

First I went to Goodwill, Nook in hand and found a book that was around the same height and width of my Nook  and paid $2.50 plus tax (I actually bought three books because my girlfriend begged me to make one for her and I wanted to make something for my mother).  I then went to JoAnns and spent some cash (about $30) for fabric (I just couldn’t just buy one), felt in various colors, elastic (in two widths), batting, and buttons.

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Then I went home and got to working.

I cut the insides of the book out,

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I cut and measured my fabric,

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trimmed up the batting to layer between book and fabric then I used my trusty hot glue gun to glue the fabric and batting and to the book,

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then I added my button on the outside and elastic that would attach to the button

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cut the elastic to hold the book in place

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This is what the final project looked like.

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Afterwards, I realized my mistake.  And I made improvements.

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Then I realized that I need to make another improvement.  After three attempts, I had perfected it and this is my final.

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I added pockets and an elastic band instead of the button to see how it would work.  I also made one for my daughter’s Nook.  I couldn’t keep making them for others and not one for her.

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I will be spending some time soon making covers for members of my book club and maybe anyone else who wants to order them.

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I haven’t quite figured out what to charge for them yet, but it won’t be $60.  I couldn’t do that to someone else.  They will just have to know that I will be picking the fabric (based upon their description of what colors they like) and it may not be a rush job if I have my mom/wife/business owner stuff going on.

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What’s a Chifferobe? Part I

I’ve been looking for a dresser for the Baby Doll’s room since before we moved.  I didn’t know what I was looking for, I just knew that I would know when I saw it.  I wasn’t being picky either – I looked in the new and thrift stores for this piece, I just couldn’t find it.

Last week, my man was out of town on business and my thrift store partner (my mother) called on my day off and said “I’ll meet you at the Goodwill Outlet if you have the time today.”  If I have the time?  Really people…if I didn’t have the time, I was going to make the time.  Imagine our disappointment to find that there was nothing worth getting at our FAVORITE thrift hangout.  Sad smile  A lightbulb when off in mom’s head and she said let’s hit the Salvation Army  next.  I was so glad we didn’t give up.

We walked in and saw some really great stuff, but horror of horrors they were asking regular store prices for it.  We started raising a stink and soon ended up talking to the manager on duty, Raymond.  While my mother continued to explain to Raymond the reasons why most people come to thrift stores (because they are looking for a great deal and can’t afford to spend regular department store prices and not because they were on the hunt for a diamond like us), I headed to the back of the store to see what I could see.  I found a headboard and a really neat table that had some potential to go in the entry-way.  I had mother bring Raymond back and we began negotiating.  I had made a deal both pieces for $30.  I still had some more searching to do, I was feeling dresser lucky when I spotted this dresser that had some great potential but was hidden between to entertainment centers.  As I tried to navigate my way in between the entertainment centers my mothers exclaims loudly, “Oh My God…It’s a chifferobe!  I had one of these when I was growing up”  My navigation halted and I went back to see what the excitement was all about.  At the same time a gentleman starts heading over to her as well.  There was no price tag, so we began calling for Raymond again.  No answer….Mother went to find him and the gentleman hung around behind me, I guess in hopes that I would walk away.  Not going to happen buddy.  And I told him as much.  We negotiated a new deal for the chifferobe only for $37.50.  I acted disappointed but was truly on cloud nine.  I was seeing the transformation in my head.  It was the one.

My Baby Doll was not impressed, she actually said, “It’s ugly”. Oh yea of little faith. Have I every left her with ugly?

When I told some people about my find, they asked “What’s a chifferobe?” Most thought it was an armoire. Nope, negatory, unh unh.  An armoire has two doors and drawers on the bottom. They are most often used to house tv’s and maybe some extras. A chifferobe has a dresser side and a tall cabinet side for hanging clothes.

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(This is a picture of the before…If you look through the pass-thru on the right, you can see a little of my ugly kitchen cabinets…who picks brass door pulls in the year 20-anything?)

I’m thinking high gloss black, diamond-like knobs, purple felt-lined drawers, and some type of fabric or wallpaper for the inside of the wardrobe portion.  I’ll post the transformation next time.

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