Friday, April 13, 2012

swapping some swag

Yo, yo! Long time, no talk. I've missed you guys.
I haven't posted in a while, but I've been here 'in spirit'. I had a bunch of little projects going on, so there'll be a few posts this weekend detailing that stuff, plus a long-overdue tutorial (or two and a half). Feast or famine around here, I guess. Finally, a weekend sans obligations! Practically peeing my pants with excitement. If that's "TMI", you must be new here. Welcome!

So the first item of business is showing y'all what I made for Mini Dork. Poor soul, I made her wait practically forever for this mediocre crap, but it's my mediocre crap, so I'm proud of it by default. Kind of how you have to love your kids, even if they're ugly (thanks again, mom).
I took the liberty of playing with the stuff before I sent it out, took some quick snaps. I know she's recieved all of the packages I sent, so no spoiler alert necessary. No doubt she'll totally knock it out of the park when she makes and photographs her scenes. She got game.

I made her a mini modfire since I told her I would. Here's how that came out:

It's made of 36ga brass underneath. She requested white laquer, and I was happy to oblige. It looks totally boss. But something was missing for me. It left me wanting.

Dammit, this thing is supposed to be a fire pit.
 I guess I can add "miniature fake fire" to my list of can-do's. It looks convincing enough for my house, so I mailed it to hers.

 Naturally, I had to pretend it was for me...
 if only for a fleeting moment.
I may have only had one night with it, but it was a night to remember.
Then I had to package all of it up for the long trip to Cali.

The modfire has as many attachments as a friggin' Kirby.

Silliness. The 'required equipment' is the copper pot-o-logs. I don't think the modfire by day/night parts need further explanation.
After blog-stalking her I decided to throw in a surprise, too. I saw this post, and figured it was a serious throwback (being a post from a half decade ago), but do-able (maybe?). I was pantshitting nervous about these, because:
1) I wasn't sure if in the past 5 years she'd found them in 1:12 (or had them made).
2) Could I make them, without them looking like a kindergarten craft project?
3) Once completed, they would be extremely delicate. Would they survive shipping?
4) One of my weaker skills is in the finish (paint/stain), could I make these look sleek and smooth, like the West Elm versions? (below, in Barbie scale I believe)

West Elm circa 2007

I know you're all on the edge of your seats, dying to know the outcome of this thriller... so here:

They aren't quite a 'perfect pair', but that's because they were individually handmade. They're pretty close. And I tried to make them slightly different than the originals from West Elm, because I like to put in my two cents. They're made of walnut, with the exception of the fretwork in the seatback. That's just basswood. I would have used walnut there too if I wanted to make an extra trip to the specialty lumber store but I was trying to work with supplies I had on hand. And they were going to get painted anyway. They would've looked awesome natural, too (had they been entirely walnut, and properly finished as such). See?


But I digress. Girl loves herself some white laquer, and I (surprisingly enough) hadn't blown the entire can on the Modfire. You know what happens next. I pretend they're mine.

The bird totally ties the room together. I hate taking pics of those nightstands head-on, because you can always see my camera lens in the doors.


Making them brought back memories. The process was similar to the one I used to make those mini-mirrored nightstands. So. Much. Mitering. In the end, I was pleased (read: satisfied, not ecstatic) with the outcome. I wish I could have sent her a 'second edition' after I worked out the bugs in the fabrication. There are two extra coats of laquer on them that I wish I hadn't needed. These big hands are constantly smudging an otherwise lovely finish. Sand and re-spray. Rinse and repeat.
But they photograph okay, so all is not lost.

 Should've turned on the arc lamp to help light the shot. I'm such a loser.

Then I packaged them individually, and obsessively.

It's near impossible to break the legs off, they're all reinforced with mini rebar that runs 3/8" into the legs, through the seat, and another 1/4" or so into the arms and back. But if they got tweaked, it would certainly screw up the already dicey paint job. There was a ton of foam holding everything in its place.

The pair fit nicely into the box from my Garmin (thanks to my Mr. for birthday-gifting me one of those), but had to add that note in order to not get her hopes up. There were post-its everywhere in those shipments. I love a rude handwritten note as much as the next girl. Yep, that's Disney Princess scotch tape.
Don't judge me.

I wrapped all of the packages in matching brown paper with ridiculous, completely irrelevant zoo animal stickers all over them, and put all of my faith in the US Postal Service (but not without insurance and delivery confirmation, obviously). I'm dumb, but not that dumb.

And at their final destination, I've been reassured, they arrived unscathed.
They all lived happily ever after.

The end.


  1. Wow! Those chairs are fab! I wish I had the patience to that kind of fret work.

    1. Thanks! It definitely gets tedious. I wish I had the patience, too :)

      I just end up swearing, and throwing things, and refilling my wine. Eventually I end up with a finished product that isn't worth the time that went into it. Thank goodness y'all just get to see the final product, and not too much of the process!

  2. The Modfire and chairs are amazing. I love the white paint. Please share what brand you used. I have used some of the acrylic paints and don't like them at all. You seem to have it sussed.

    1. Thank you! I wish I could be 100% sure of the brand of paint on these, but here's my best guess since I used the whole can, and already disposed of it :(

      I think it's Rustoleum Protective Gloss Enamel spray paint in white. Lots of light, thin coats with some sanding as necessary in between. I just replaced that can, plus bought some real white laquer as well. I'm interested to see the difference in the finish.

      I use a lot of aerosol paints for the sake of the brush-stroke-free finish, but they aren't always appropriate for every project. So unfortunately I'm in the rocky acrylic boat with you the rest of the time!

  3. is this mediocre?????
    Not to me!
    Best Regards

    1. Thanks! I'm my harshest critic, and I was pretty up close and personal with these things for a couple weeks (from planning, to building, to finishing, to packing). So I saw every miniscule mistake, and I obsessed. Once I saw how they looked in pictures, I felt reassured that they were decent.
      Plus all of the nice comments :) That never hurts. You guys are the best!

  4. Amazing! Can you please give a bit more detail about the mock fire? Is it one of those flicking battery T light things? Looks great.

    1. Yep, that's a battery operated tea-light (I can't remember if it flickers, I do know that I bought it at Wal-Mart in a 6-pack). I just doctored it up with acrylic paint, sticks, and some brass/copper from the scrap bin. It came out surprisingly nice, though, the one you all see is a 'second edition'. I botched the first one pretty badly.

  5. Also, you were going to show how to do the curtains with grommets, did you? did I miss it?

    1. Yes, I was! And nope, you didn't miss it, I'm just running behind. I had a list of four posts that I was hoping to finish over the past weekend (including the curtain tutorial) but we had beautiful unseasonal weather, and I couldn't make myself stay inside on the computer. I'm going to try to get those posts done before the end of the month, if not by the end of the upcoming weekend. Sorry if I've kept you waiting (but I'm glad you're looking for it)!

  6. Hey Hey
    How did you fake the fire!!!??????
    I'd love to know.