Saturday, 22 June 2019

Tah Dah......!!!!!

It's finished!!!!!!

It's taken almost a month of toil, blood, sweat and tears but my lovely new work cabinet is finally complete.

Here's a reminder of how it looked before....

And this is how it looks now.....

I've been busily sorting out my storage boxes to fill it....

But of course I couldn't just leave it like that.... could I?

So I made pretty paper inserts to slip inside the boxes so that it all looked much neater.

Yesterday was the first day I actually sat and worked at it, and it is absolutely perfect.  I'm no longer jammed between an oversized desk and the storage units behind me.  The drop-down  desk is exactly the right height for me to work at, and everything I need is within easy reach. 

Removing the big desk has transformed the room and I can now walk from one side to the other without having to navigate around it.

I still have stuff to put away, and I've decided to prettify a few other areas of the room so I'll leave the final reveal till that's all done, but in the meantime I'm really pleased with the results of my labours.  That said, I am never, under ANY circumstances, upcycling a bureau cabinet..... EVER AGAIN!

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Progress report.....

Today started off really quite well.  I completed the first coat of paint on the cabinet and although it looks a bit patchy I'm reasonably confident that the second coat will pull it all together.

While I was waiting for the paint to dry, and unable to get any actual work done, I decided to make the storage boxes to go in the empty cubby holes in the desk.

I thought I had it nailed, but I'd failed to take into account that I didn't have any sheets of card big enough, so I had to go back to the drawing board and radically rethink the whole thing.

Several failed prototypes later (not to mention some fairly colourful language) I think I've finally designed boxes which will fit, although they'll need some strengthening on the inside.  I'll print out some floral papers tomorrow to decorate the fronts, which will be visible inside the desk.

The chaos seems to have overflowed from the workroom, spreading like a miasma throughout the ground floor and I've had to annexe the dining room table for my sewing and cutting machines.  If all goes well I'll be making some  bunting over the weekend which should help soothe my frazzled nerves.

The new chair, which Small Dog declares she fully intends to appropriate, arrives tomorrow so I will be under pressure to dismantle my big desk unit to make room for it.  It will be a shock to the system not having it to work on, but if I'm brutally honest, it's ALWAYS covered in piles of stuff and I generally only have a few square inches of clear acutal workspace.  The working area of the cabinet is really quite generous but I will have to work tidily and clear up after every session.

We'll see how that goes......

Full steam ahead.....

Over the past few days, the lovely paper and the paint have arrived, so I've cracked on and got the first coat of paint on the cabinet, having first masked off the glass on the doors.

Which. Was. NOT. Fun.

Using this....

To transform this....

To this....

I didn't have enough tape to do the insides, but painting the interior glazing bars will be much easier *she says optimistically*  as they are a different shape/profile.

So managed to complete the first colour coat on most of the cabinet exterior yesterday, before I ran out of time.  Hoping to finish the drawers and the insides of the top section and inside the desk today... then planning to do a complete second coat tomorrow.

That will leave the weekend to do the drawer fronts and the inside of the top section which I know will present problems I haven't even thought of yet.

Finally, the new handles will be fitted and I can get on with filling the entire cabinet with my boxes of fabrics, ribbons and trimmings.

I'm cautiously optimistic that I can get it finished by Monday, which would be good because I really, REALLY need to get back to work proper, as orders are piling up!

Better go and get on then.....

Monday, 10 June 2019

Decisions, decisions.....

Following much perusing, umming and ahhhing, I'm pleased to report more progress on the cabinet.

I'd been dilly-dallying over the colour of paint to use on the exterior but have finally taken the plunge and made a decision....

The paper I'm using to decorate the drawer fronts is a lovely vintage floral design with a pale blue background.  In certain lights it looks cornflower blue... in others a pale aqua blue.
So I ordered two tester pots to see which would look best.

In the end it was a no-brainer.  The aqua paint was just too vibrant, but the pale blue was perfect, so I've gone ahead and ordered a pot.

I'd been intending to use the same paper on the inside of the glazed door, but I think that instead I might go for a patchwork effect, bringing in some different floral papers with background colours as close as possible to some of the colours in the main paper.... perhaps pink, yellow and a paler aqua.  I'll have to play around with some designs to see what works and what doesn't.  However, I've made templates of the glazing bars patterns by taping sheets of paper over them and rubbing with a wax crayon.

Each individual pane on each of the doors now has its own (hopefully) accurate template.  I'm going to make a small scale mock-up of the doors so that I can experiment with different colours.

Once the paint and paper arrives it will be full steam ahead.  Although I'm looking forward to the fun bits, I'm keen to get it finished so that I can tidy up and get on with some proper work, as I have orders piling up.  Thank goodness I have extremely patient,  lovely customers!!!

Sunday, 9 June 2019

SD ... interior designer....

Chaos reigns in the workroom.  The top part of the cabinet is on my desk, which is also littered with all the detritus of preparation and priming.

Both sections have now had two coats of primer, and I've finally cleaned off the glass on the glazed doors, which was a nightmare.

I've also been measuring up a storm, trying to work out how I can shuffle the storage cabinets in order to lose the huge desk and free up floor space.

It was while I was measuring and taking frantic notes that Small Dog wandered in and took up residence on the only 6 square inches of clear space on the carpet.

SD: *incredulously* Mummm..... whott AR yue doen?
Me: *distractedly* I'm measuring.  Trying to work out how much space I can make if I get rid of this desk.
SD: *sceptically*   Hmmm.... butt thers kwite a lott of stuf undur the desck.  Whare ar yue goen to poot it oll?
Me: *irascibly* Well yes.... it will all have to go.  I'm having a clear out.
SD: *astonished* Yueve bean haven a kleerowt for YEERS!!!  
Me: *deflated* Yes, I know.  You're right of course.  I don't know where it all comes from.  There's just so much stuff....  I keep thinking I'm making progress but no sooner do I clear one area than more stuff accumulates in another... mocking me.
SD: *helpfully* Hav yue konsiddurd a sckipp?  And a larj shuvell?
       *sniffing* And whott is thatt terribul smel?  Its dreddfool.
Me: *apologetically*  Sorry about that SD.  It's the primer I'm using on the cabinet.  
SD: *bluntly*  Itt stincks.
Me: *nodding* Yes.  Yes it does.  

SD watches me as I tap numbers into my calculator

SD: *mildly* Ar yue doen summs?
Me: *distractedly* Hmmmm?  I'm working out if this cabinet will fit in that gap over there.  Then whether I'll have room for a comfy chair by the window.
SD: *perkily*  Kumphy chare?  Bie the windoh?
Me: *warily* Umm.... yes.  If I can use the new cabinet as my workstation, I won't need this huge desk, so I was thinking... maybe.... I could have a small armchair in the space.... and a rug.... *trails off at the look in SD's eyes*
SD: *wistfully*  And KOOSHUNS?  
Me: *carefully*  Errrm... yes, probably.  Just one or two....
SD: *dreamily*  So... when yure wurken, at the kabinett... ai kude keap yue kumpnie. 
Me: *cautiously* I suppose so.....
SD:*warming to her theme* And the kumphy chare wude be kwite loe... so ai kude eesillie jumpp up on itt.  With two kooshuns... kwite sofft and snugglie.  And a sofft rug... so iff ai gett feddup sitten on the chare, ai kude poosh the kooshuns off and liy on the rug.
Me:*interrupting* Yes but the chair is really for me...
SD: *oblivious* And ai kude see owt of the windoh..... keap wotsch fore skwirruls and neckst doars katt.  
Me: *panicking* But it will be WEEKS before I'm at that stage SD.  I mean.... just look at the state of this room!  A calm, creative sanctuary it is not.
SD: *soothingly* Doant wurrie Mumm.... itt wil oll be fyne.  Jusst karrie on.... ai doant wont to distrackt yue.  Lett me kno iff yue need eni hellp choosen sopht phurnishens....
Me: *sigh*

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Number crunching.....

I've been doing a lot of arithmetic today and now my brain really hurts.

But Sandra (I hear you say).... aren't you supposed to be working on your cabinet?


Yes I am.

But it seems to be involving an awful lot of sums.... adding, subtracting, multiplying and derision... not to mention the thing with the tens and units.

It's all to do with the number of shelves, divided by the number of shelf supports.... the number of boxes I need, subtracted by the number I actually have..... the amount of 24" wide paper I need, to cover the front of the drawers, given that three of the drawers are 27" wide so will therefore require a 1.5" strip at each side and to complicate matters the paper has a 3" repeat.....both ways.

Who would have thought that upcycling a cabinet would entail so many calculations?

Then there's the internal cubby section in the desk.... it already has two little drawers, but I want to make some additional boxes to fit in the compartments, to hold scissors, tools, glues etc.  Which has involved the form of nets.  A net is a flattened out three-dimensional shape, like a cube or a prism.  When cut out, folded and glued, it will make the 3-D shape.  Well that's the theory.   

I need three different sized boxes like this.... but higher at the front.

This has involved a lot of measuring, scrabbling around in the back of the desk, which is relatively inaccessible and involved a fair amount of frustrated 'language'.  I'll make the boxes from thick card and cover the fronts with offcuts of the same paper I'm using for the drawer fronts.

Aside from all the sums, I've now applied two coats of the shellac-based primer, which incidentally smells absolutely vile and has a been a complete bugger to use.  It becomes thick and gloopy very quickly, so I've had to thin it down with methylated spirit, the only solvent which works to both thin it and to clean brushes.

Painting the glazed doors on the top section was a breeze... not so easy was scraping the paint off the glass after it had dried.  One side was relatively straightforward, but the other side was a nightmare.... no idea why.  It was such a pain that I've decided to mask the glass before applying the colour coats of paint, which in itself will be time-consuming and tedious and involve cutting a plethora of different angles.... more geometry *sigh*

I've found a pretty wallpaper to cover the back of the inside of the top section.  Of course it's not wide enough, so I'll have to centre it, then cut two strips for each side.  More measuring and dividing...  I'll also use that to line the drawers and I'm going to make up an essential oil spray mist to scent them.

I've ordered 10 pretty little knobs for the drawers in the base and in the desk section, which worked out at a princely 89p each.  In a wonderful piece of serendipity,  they'll fit perfectly in one of the pairs of holes left by the original handles so that will save having to drill more.

I'm still not decided on the paint colour for the cabinet as I'm awaiting the tester pots but it's between two pastel shades of duck egg or cornflower blue.  It depends which goes best with the paper I'm using on the drawers/inside the glazed doors.

So.... so far so good.  I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll have it finished in the next 10-14 days then I'll be able to restore some order to the current chaos in the workroom.

I've also been thinking more about reorganising the furniture... hopefully to lose another base storage unit and possibly get rid of the huge desk unit which currently dominates the centre of the room.  However, until I've got my new workstation up and running I don't know how well it's going to cope.  

I'm also champing at the bit to make some new bunting to go across the curtain rail.... so looking for suitable fabrics.  It's impossible to be uncheered by bunting... and making it makes me really happy so it's a win-win.

Happy days...... apart from all the sums.