Monday, January 16, 2012

Cigar Box Cabinets--Done!

Big sigh--don't you think every weekend should be 3 days? I sure do! Two days for chores and necessaries and one day for glorious crafting and nothing but crafting.

Here's what I got done: 2 cigar box cabinets (OK, I started the first one a couple of weeks ago, but still). And I packed them full of craft supplies instantly. Clearly I need to make more--so I have 2 more planned/in the works.

Thanks to ebay, I bought 2 lots of vintage cigar box labels and used those to decorate the sides of the cabinets (I just thought they looked a little plain). I used Mod Podge (remember decoupaged purses from the 70's??) and, man, that stuff is awesome!

Somehow, I missed out on the whole decoupage craze back then (not sure how, I tried everything else!). I tried both the matte and gloss and definitely liked the gloss the best. It made a nice finish on the surface of the wood I was using and, duh, adhered the labels down and then sealed them beautifully. I just had to be careful for air bubbles forming in the center of the larger ones. But I managed.

The nice thing about the labels is that they are embossed so there's a great textural element too, when you look closely.

I'm also exploring another Mod Podge product: Dimensional Mod Podge. The jury is still out--I'll post when the projects are complete. I have some high hopes. If it works like I hope it does, more fridge magnets and a bunch of new pendents are in my immediate future. Or, shall I say, my etsy store's future. :)

Monday, January 09, 2012

A canine fashion plate

We've had a little cold snap here in sunny Central Florida so I quick finished up Gidget's little sweater just in time. Isn't it cute? And she really does like to wear it, too.

And I used up several little tag end balls of yarn in my stash, too.

I was also happy to receive word today that one of my pieces that I had entered into a juried show here at UCF was just accepted. Yay!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Still digging them cigar boxes

Greetings, dear readers--its been a busy week but I did just manage to finish my cigar box cabinet.

Here it is in all of its glory! I spent some fun time on ebay looking for fixtures, knobs, additional decals and edging tape.  I also spent the entire week sampling several different finishes on some leftover scrap wood. In multiple permutations with each other. Lots of fun crafting and interesting decisions to make!

When it was all said and done, I decided against any paint, stain, crackle or additional decals. I ended up liking the grain and color of the luan wood that I bought at the Despot so much that I just sanded and finished with gloss Mod Podge.

I was going to sell this baby at my etsy store, but I got very attached to the thing and am already planning what I need to store in it. 

 Here are a couple detail shots:

The lovely knobs! I would have preferred label pull tabs but they were not to be found in the appropriate size, finish and cost. Whatever--these are pretty damn good.

And here you can see the finish. This wood is extremely absorbent and really needed a sealer. No stain here--that's the natural color of the wood veneer of this stuff.  Supposedly the veneer is made out of a "low-grade mahogany". Its grain and color is very compatible with the exposed wood of the cigar boxes, an unexpected plus.

I'm going to let everything dry really well overnight. Tomorrow I'm going to find a good spot in my studio for it and then load it up with crafting supplies!

And after that's done, there's all of these new ones to deal with! :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Cigar box love

Hi all, its the new year and I hope all of you entered the auspicious 2012 with a creative focus and a positive outlook. I know I have! I look forward to Jan. 1 each year--I know it sounds corny but I like making resolutions--I think about it all December and always view it as an opportunity for a fresh and exciting new start. This year I resolved to be more consistently creative and organized. This includes keeping my studio neater and actually entering shows (instead of just downloading the entry application and losing it in my kitchen counter maelstrom). AND, I am proud to say that my studio has already had a good deep cleaning and reorganization and I have entered not 1, but 2 shows already. And its only Jan. 4!  Wahoo!

I've been chugging away on several projects in the last couple of weeks--so I'll be posting the finished doggie sweater and Blade Garden quilt soon as well as updates on some other quilts and other fun stuff. Its a time of new beginnings, right? So permission was granted to start some new projects--yay!

And I have to confess, I'm in loooove. Big time obsession, even. My new(old) amor is/are cigar boxes: all sizes, in their wooden glory with beautiful embossed decals and edgeing. Glorious deep reds and stamps and Victorian era art work. Swoon.
I've always had an unrequited simmering lust for the things and a couple of websites I stumbled across lately just reignited that fire. And then, the very next day after my web-surfing, I happened to walk past my...wait for it...local cigar shop that just happened to have piles and piles of empty cigar boxes for sale (reasonable, too). They called to me, I tell you. I just HAD to have some. Well, could you ignore such a sign, I ask you?  No, neither could I. Here are some (!) of the lovelies I came home with.

So then I got to thinking: "hmmm, boxes are great for storage. and craft rooms and studios always need more storage. and boxes stacked on top of each other are pretty but not really functional--they need to be on their own little shelves. maybe I can build a little shelf unit to size. I think 6 boxes would be a good number. how would I construct it." and on and on in that vein. I love that kind of brainstorming.

Thus it was that I set off to the Depot, for some luan wood and some wood glue and then off to a good friend with a table saw who could cut it to size for me (Many many thanks, Chris!!). Here are the pieces cut for the sides and back of the little cabinet and the small wood pieces that will support the shelves.

Next, its time to carefully glue down the shelf supports. I didn't have any clamps so chip clips and beans and rice serve as weights to hold the supports down until the glue sets up. Don't laugh, it worked! After the glue had set up, I followed up with some little nails (I had some little bitty ones that were just the right size).

My lack of clamps or straps was really an issue when it came time time to assemble the back and sides together. This time, rubber bands came in to play to support the beans and rice. There was a little bit of cursing involved and a couple of tense moments when I wished I had three hands, and there are a few imperfections despite all of my best efforts, BUT, over all it came together nicely.

And here it is all glued and nailed and the boxes inserted--so cool!

My next dilemma: paint? or no? if yes, what color(s)? maybe, maybe a finish--a crackle finish? sanded along the edges?decoupage on sides? of? can I get some cigar box decals? or edging?

Clearly, time to experiment with some scrap pieces!

Well, however that all works itself out, it became clear that some sort of knob or pull needed to be installed on the front of each box to aid in pulling each one out. And they need to be brass and vintage, and match the whole vibe of a cigar box, right?

So for knob/pulls/decals--Look out, Ebay, here I come!