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!


Sandee said...

Great idea Liz!!! I say paint it white and buy crystal knobs in your favorite color or clear!

Elizabeth said...

I was torn Sandee--so hard to choose, but that lovely grain finally won me over. But white or antique white (probably with a crackle finish) is in the future. And unfortunately all of the crystal knobs, both new or vintage were too expensive. But I'll keep on looking!