Rescued Telephone Bench


A few months back, my husband and I were driving in the car when I jumped out at a red light and shoved this in the truck of his car:


It was so…. worn out! But the lady in the car behind us, who had to wait while I closed the truck, gave me a big thumbs up and didn’t even honk when she almost missed the light!

So this beauty has been in my basement for months, waiting for it’s makeover. I really didn’t know where I was going to put it, so I wasn’t sure how to re-finish it. But then last week, out of nowhere, I realised there was nothing on the stair landing. Nowhere for my kids to put down something they was to remember to bring down in the morning… So that would be it’s home, and thus, I knew what to do with it.

First, I took it apart. Oh the glamorous side of re-upholstery.
ImageA Coat of primer helped a lot:


And here it is, in the landing, all dressed up and awaiting the library books that will surely find their way on it at night. I’m thinking of printing a picture of the finished product, putting it in a thank you card and dropping it off at the house where I got it….


Ikea Hack…. cell phone holders



I picked up these metal flower pots at IKEA the other day and hung them on the fence around the pool. They are the perfect spot for holding cell phones (and keys/wallets) away from the splash zone.I posted it on my FB wall, but it can’t be *pinned* from there and I had a request, so here goes!


Procrastination Organisation


Things around Maison de Ubercrafty have been overwhelming lately (Uber-understatement, if I do say so myself!)

So today, I have stuck the kids in the basement with the Lego set of never-ending doom (Harry Potter – Hogwarts. They are on stage 9 and 10) and I have retreated to the 3rd floor craft room – yes, 3 sets of stairs separating me from the children. Don’t worry, they have no sharp implements. And I will attempt to organize my craft room.

Now, I have a spectacular space, complete with sliding-out cupboard hiding a secret nook/storage. But it is somewhat odd-shaped and I refuse to spend money to buy any storage/furniture, so I will make do with what I have….. It has never looked good in here, we have been in this house 1 year and this is the room that has gotten no attention. I have completed some projects in here, and remnants are all over the place. It doesn’t bother anyone, it’s so far upstairs and at the back that I am the only human to step foot in here. I don’t think the dogs even know this room exists!

So here it is, for all to see, my messiness, it all its Uber-messy state:


then I hung up my Keep Calm print and sat down to write this post….. not sure I’m quite getting the hang of this organisation thing….

Before and After: BB’s room and new roman blinds

Once upon a time at the Kibutz of the North, we had a bonus space, a mezzanine above the living room:


Take one very handy brother and his contractor-friend, slap up some walls, add a window on the staircase side to keep the staircase from becoming a dungeon, punch a hole on the living room side tolet in some light and hang some wodden shutters to make it easy to close at night when mommy and daddy are watching TV and you have a perfect little room for a perfect little girl.

For a while, there were vintage circus-themed curtains, but they were useless for keeping out the early morning sun and they were way too baby-ish for this now very big girl….

IMG_7907 (really, those are just embarrassing!)

We happened to have an IKEA comforter cover still in the package. We liked the colors, but it too had childish animals on one end as a border. We are planning on getting her a big bed next week, but I think we can do better as far as comforter cover goes. However, the fabric was great, the colors were perfect for the rooms, so I hacked off the animal border, lined it with an old orange curtain panel and we now have roman blinds that look like fun summer awnings. And a finished room, minus the big girl bed.


she likes it. She really likes it.


Before and After: BB’s Dresser

Poor Beach Ball. Stuck with hand-me downs all the time. Her first winter here at the country house, she didn't have a bedroom… she had to bunk with us, with her crib in the corner of our room. But this summer, my brother took the rather useless Mezzanine Den (which is right above the living room, thus useless) and walled it in to create the smallest yet super cozy bedroom for Beach Ball.

Since having her room, we've painted it a cheery yellow but that's about it, it's remained unadorned. We were sort of waiting for her to graduated from crib-as-a-bed to full-size bed before seeing what else we could fit in there, but poor kid really needed a dresser. I tried my best to find her a cool vintage piece that I could fix up, but the good antique places aren't opened in the winter and frankly, it could not wait til next summer.

So here you have the before, a 100$ WallyWorld pressed board atrocity


Add 2 hours of my time, a pair of scissors, one sheet of pretty wrapping paper and a jar of modge-podge and we have a much less atrocious storage solution:


I know it's hard to tell by the crappy picture, but it's a cherry-blossom of sorts.

Untagling a wire-y mess

This is my couch and my problem:

Couch_before_copy OK, not the multiple fabrics… that’s a long term project I’ve been working on. The wires. DRIVES ME NUTS! But the reality is that the laptops and the power bar have to stay, and ideally, we’d like to have the external drive around for backing up pictures and keepign large files (like movies and tv shows).

So how to deal with it, especially with 2 little kiddos proned to unplugging or tripping on the wires….

Well, I went to the home depot and had them cut a piece of mdf for me (6$ for the cuts, 19$ for the mdf)

Img_5970  And this 8 L-brackets and 2 hinges, I did this:

Couch_after Couch_after_open

I need to paint it to make it look really sharp, but man, I’m pretty proud of myself on this one!

Doing it with style!

Again, get your mind out of the gutter!

No, I’m talking about sprucing things up around here a little… It all started with the attention my telephone bench re-do got. It may show up somewhere in the near future, but the lovely people on that blog asked me to take a new picture and "style it a little". So I took everything I knew from design shows, magazines and my recent photo class and came up with a more stylish way to present my telephone bench:

Aafter_styled1_1 Aafter_styled3_3_2

Clearly, I don’t live like this! The perfectly draped alligator scraf (incomplete, still needs finishing!), the carefully placed baby rain boots (5 sizes too small for anyone in this house!), but it does make a super cute vignette!

And it inspired me to spruce things up around the old craft blog, starting with a masthead I made myself! Aren’t you impressed? I’m not Photoshop expert, but a little creativity goes a long way.


Get your mind out of the gutter people!!! (though after a post on stripping, I can only imagine the Google hits on this one!)

I found the Online Rasterbator a few months ago. I was immediately tempted to try and rasterbated (see, it’s a word!) a few pictures, but never printed anything out. With our week at the cottage seeming like a month, I bought a cheap picture printer at The Wal of Marts and extra black ink cartridges and went to town with a pic of the girls.



I hung it in the staircase going up to the top floor. I’m not entirely satisfied, for various reasons. First of all, the white snow in the window turned into a just plain white square, which makes it look like something didn’t print. I would need to re-crop or resize the picture to eliminate the right-most part of it. Also, the printer didn’t allow for border-less printing, so I had to trim, which is fine, but I didn’t do an exact job and there are slivers of white in parts that should be dark.

But all in all, I’m really happy that one pack of matte photo-paper and a roll of double stick tape can produce a pretty impressive staircase filler. The girls are thrilled to be able to sit in the mezzanine and look at their giant selves! it’s 36 sheets of paper (6 by 6 for the math-challenged!) so it’s a decent size. And when you go up the stairs and look at it, you can only see the dots and not really make out what it is until you get to the top and look at the whole thing.

So go ahead, Rasterbate!

Stripping 101

well, that should result in a bunch of wayward Google searches…….

both Ann and Melissa asked me about stripping, so here goes. In general, I try to avoid chemical strippers because they are very harsh, and not inside-use friendly. It’s much better to work outside or in the shed. So I tried to use the heat gun. But there were several coats of varnish, laquer and stain, and the smell of the burning stain was way worse than the liquid stripper, so after a good atempt at the heat gun, I gave up and used the liquid stripper.

I had a gallon of "Circa 1850 Furniture Stripper" on hand. There are other brands. I know there is even a less caustic "green" stripper, but I have yet to try it. The key things to remember are:

  • good air circulation: the stuff smells and if you breath it in, it’s bad news
  • heavy duty gloves are a MUST. the orange ones.  Otherwise, the stripper will eat through the little plastic ones
  • work in "areas". pick a side or a set of spindles and spread generously using a cheap paint brush. Wait a couple of minutes and "move the stuff around" with the paint brush again. This loosens up the finish.
  • Once your finish is "moveable" use whatever works to get it off: flat surfuces do well with scrapers (metal or plastic, though be prepared to wear down the plastic one). On funny shapes, I buy a couple of metal wire brushes. This workds especially well on round surfaces (I’ve done a lot of kitchen chairs!!!)
  • Depending on the original finish or layers of finishes, you might have to do the same area 2 or 3 times. In this case, I had to do everything twice, 3 times for the detailed grooves on the vertical sides of the backrest.
  • Once I am satisfied I got 90% off, I spread a tiny bit more and then rub the whole thing down with steel wool. This cleans up any stripper left on the wood and acts as a light sanding.
  • You might still need to sand a bit after, but in this case, I didn’t sand, the steel wool was plenty.

And there you have it. I once worked on a big project (front door of the house) and figured out that if I poured the used stripper through a mesh, I could reuse the same liquid over and over again, just get rid of the paint from it.

Telephone Bench

When we got the country house 2 winters ago, we took a bunch of extra furniture from our house and brought it up there, then we filled in the holes with inexpensive antiques (ie nice used furniture!) and flea market finds. We got spectacular school desks to act as nightstands, a vintage green tweed couch, an old stereo credenza that we use as a TV unit…. you get the idea. One of our finds was this telephone bench, which resides on the little wall between the entrance and the kitchen.

Before_1 As you can see, it had seen better days. I liked the lines of it and the pure utility of it. The kids could sit on it to put on their shoes (or rather, to have us put on their boots!) and we could keep a few key items, like the phone book and scotch tape. My original thought had been to strip it and re-stain it or just wax it. But there is plenty of wood in this house already. And I’ve been noticing on lots and lots of design/decorating blogs people painting old furniture in really funky, bright, shiny colors, giving it a completely different look. Not shabby chic with wood showing through, just really bright, almost lacquered paint.

So 2 cans of lime-colored shiny spray paint and a fake-vintage tea towel later, I present the new and MUCH improved telephone bench:

After_1_1 After_2_2_2

Img_2290_1 For some reason, it looks milky in the pictures, but trust me, it’s very, very shiny! It just pops off the blue wall and sets off very nicely against the floor. I was going to use one of my real vintage Vera tea towels, but in the end, I just didn’t have it in me to cut one up. So instead, I grabbed a Sukie tea-towel from the UK, something I used to sell at the store. It’s actually perfect, the green in the background of the beach scene goes very well with the paint and I like that it’s a beach shack in a ski cottage!

I did strip it first, because the finish was so old and uneven, I didn’t want the shiny paint to show to many defects. But one evening of stripping and 2/3 coats of spray paint…. not bad, not bad at all!