SK and The Hope Chest

My Mother's Hope, 1940 World War II and a Handsome Sailor

This beautiful aromatic cedar hope chest was given to my mother in 1945 a year or so after she was married. Dad was a machinist mate on the World War II destroyer tender Piedmont. This didn't mean much to me until I had become an adult and learned the history and ramifications of this horrible war.

My mom passed away last year at the young age of ninety three, I was given her hope chest.

And the chest I received certainly did not look like this... 

With delight I started to rummage through mom and dad's past. Not until I found the bundle of tied love letters, did I slow down and show the reverence this prize contained.
As a child this chest was always in my parent's bedroom. I was not allowed to open this treasure without mom's attendance. I remember vividly the fragrant cedar smell as this "secret" chest was opened.

Although the inside was beautifully intact, the exterior had been painted and was now an old cracked and peeling white.  I could see damaged and peeling vanner had been sanded and puttied. 

But I had no idea where or if I wanted to have this in my own home. Other than a sentimental value, it was in very poor shape.
When a small child's mom had painted her hope chest an antique cream. I didn't know why or even cared at the time.

With a certainty, the paint could and was a lead-based paint. I wanted to be careful with how to proceed. 

With my face mask on, I began to lightly sand the top, where I could see the most damage. As I lightly sanded the front of the chest I began to see a sunburst pattern of light ridges appear. I hated to ruin the chest with indiscriminate sanding, so I slowly did bits at a time. As the sunburst pattern became more and more apparent, I knew there was a beautiful secret behind all the old white paint.
With a bit of research, I found that The Roos Corporation of Forest Park, Illinois was a manufacturer of these fine cedar chests.

With aromatic cedar as the interior and the front an inlaid book-matched rosewood and other precious woods, my mothers chest is truly my new treasure. With a last 400 grit sanding, I used a boiled linseed oil to bring out the distinct patterns and colors. As I run my hand over the surface it feels like fine silk.

With the sweet memories of my mom and dad and their sixty-plus years of marriage my sentimentality came to the forefront, and I did not completely refurbish my treasure.  I chose to keep a bit of my mom's paint and still enjoy the beautiful woodwork.

I love this piece of my parents history and will enjoy having it in my bedroom for the next fifty years or so. Then my daughters can fight over it...
Thanks for visiting. sk on elderberry

Discovering Light with SK

Discovering Light

I swear, most times I feel as if I never have enough light. Whether working, straining to see as I concentrate or after the long work hours, slipping into something more comfortable. Soft lighting I mean...

It's been a long road of discovery, designing, building and living in many homes. This journey has recently become more delightful. And not so "SK re-inventing the wheel" mode.

As we grow and expand our homes environment, it's amazing to see the difference as our tastes change and mature.

As a farm girl, I grew up with very simple, handmade fixtures. My father was a genius when it came to creating a beautiful piece, from very little.

I grew with a farm, cottage and industrial background. We created with what we had. That might be a light hung from the end of a pipe. I understood this wasn't what others might consider beautiful or elegant. But it became beautiful to my eye, as I saw this necessary element coming from what we could scavenge.

Now this design element has become commonplace. Farm/Industrial. A little sparkly here and there. The influence my farm mother had on the end results.

I have had the pleasure to be invited to work with Parrot Uncle Lighting.
With the re-introduction of the iconic Edison lightbulb, design elements farm and industrial have gone from very common, to delightfully uncommon. We found a deep well of lighting, which up until a few years back, we had very little chance of finding. I found myself building my own versions of what I thought would work in my designs and spaces
Working as a custom general contractor and designer on cottages, built dating back to the 1920's was a challenge. Finding the correct style of lighting was difficult and or very expensive. More times than not, I would end up creating and building my own designs from salvaged parts.

As salvaging and saving old craftsman style cottages began to be popular, lighting designers began to take notice.
It's a serendipitous moment as you discover others of like mind. Giving builders, designers and ultimately the homeowner, a better resource for the much needed finishing touches in lighting.
As my home is in it's final stretch, I couldn't be more excited to have an abundance of great lighting to choose from. Not just the run of the mill stuff you see on a everyday basis. And to top it all off, Parrot Uncle (fun name) great holiday sales start on Friday. Yee haw. Guess where I will be on Friday?

Parrot Uncle  holidays sale light fixtures  and Parrot Uncle lamps "Big Holiday Sale" begins this Friday with 50% off deals and free shipping And free returns. You can't beat that.
This couldn't have come at a better time for our own new home. I was struggling to find unique lights. I hate to be bored and after all the labor and love which has gone into this new home, I hated to have the same-old-same-old lights everyone else was using. Just wasn't going to work. I cannot stand to be bored...
So as I spend hours perusing Parrot Uncle. I am finding just the right elements to complete my one-of-a-kind home.
Pictures soon. I promise. After I get over my schizo, obsessive, nit picky final stages. No medication needed...Really!   By the way, this is the stunning  Parrot Uncle pulley light which will be completing my copper vanity. Cool huh?               

Thanks for visiting.

SK's Damask Buffet

Reborn Buffet with SK

I have found some furniture is built to withstand just about any abuse.

 This seven foot buffett is very, very heavy. Built of solid wood and then veneered with a dark oak.

Round Top Love with SK

A Sorry Little Boy Continues:

A shattered and abused cabinet came my way this week. I call him a he, because he looks very masculine. Well maybe not, I will come up with a better name soon. I love to name these old pieces. I think they deserve the attention.

SK's Old Wood Swing

SK's Old Wood to Copper Green Patina and Rust.

This very old and tired log swing was either needing to be updated to survive, or on it's way to the dump.

We took the actual swing seat off of the rotted log posts. Added heavy duty chain and hung him from the house rafters. We re-glued all the joints and added new wood screws for durability.

Modern Masters Metal Effects Paint. Iron and Copper. 

I love rust and green aged copper. Working back and forth between the two different paints is challenging because the copper will turn to rust if the first coat of rust isn't sealed. Sounds tricky...

I painted the left side copper undercoat, then painted the right side rust undercoat. Let this dry overnight. I then painted a second coat of rust let it dry then sealed the rust with a clear spar varnish. I then painted the second coat of copper and sprayed it with the metal effects spray green.
After each section was complete and the patina was as I envisioned, I sealed each side with  spar varnish. I then painted the copper flowers and vines on the rusted side and let it turn green. I then sealed the green copper.
I then painted the rusted iron on the green left side and sprayed with the rust metal effects solution. As each side dried, I would add more flowers and vines, letting them patina and then sealing.
The rust texture actually feels and looks like rusted iron and the copper penny shows through the patina in places.
This was a fun little project and it had needed to be done so very badly. I'm thrilled to have saved this old swing. We will enjoy it for many years to come.
Thanks for visiting.

An Author, An Artist, Carole's New Desk

Carole's New Desk to Match Her Chair

Carole Marie is an artist, a photographer and a friend. Her first work which she commissioned from me was the Poppy Chair.

Carole  first novel is being published this September. In congratulations, she deserved a new desk.

I love pretty paper and will use it as often as I can.
 I pray this new and pretty desk will help inspire Carole on her road to fame.
Hobby Lobby never fails to add the finishing touches.

A Life Long Wedding Round Four. The Cake & Specialty Florals

The Cake

Photo Credits to:

A Life Long Wedding Round Three, The Cake Stand

The Cake with SK

Kimmies cake was dreamt of for many years. Her favorite flavors, colors and the lines of cake were all important.

Over twelve hundred invitations were sent, so this meant we needed a larger than normal cake with many flavors.

She wanted to make sure it tasted fabulous on top of looking stupendous....

The cake design was sketched and re-sketched, then drawn to scale in color.

Because the cake would have five layers and be over 50" tall and weigh more than a hundred pounds, a typical cake stand would never do.

I turn to what I know, and I knew this cake needed a very special and sturdy cake stand.

A Life Long Wedding Round Two. Flower Girls

I love my friends, I love my friends, I love my friends...Just Keep On Saying It.

With the backdrop complete it is time to move on to other elements of this wedding event.
Seven to be exact. All different sizes, ages and shapes.

I ordered five hundred yards of gray tulle. The inspiration for these little tu tu's came from Pinterest, Where else?

A Life Long Wedding Round One. Kimmie's Paper Flowers


It's not often an artist has the privilege of planning an event such as this. And I'm not totally sure how to document the three months of work and planning.

Kimmie asked me at the age of ten, if I would "do" her wedding when she grew up. Of course I said yes. That was twenty some odd years ago. I had no idea of what I was in for.

SK's New Studio

Elderberry Road Update:

Life is rushing past fast. We should be in our new home on Elderberry Road by the middle of October if not sooner.

I have a new logo and name in honor of this stupendous and exciting point in my life. I have met so many kind and friendly people whom have welcomed us to their community.

I am anxious to start our new lives on Elderberry Road.

This is the view from my house site. Amazing isn't it?
Country life, cottage life, farm life, painted, but classy not cutsy...

Thanks Janet Eastman Oregonian Home and Garden

Thank you Janet Eastman of The OregonLive

A series of events to be held May 29-31.

Thank you Janet for your kind article. We all know most people don't get it. That's ok. 

We do appreciate all kinds of vision. Even in lil' ole' Salem...

Thanks again Janet. sk

Dressed Up Laundry with SK

Most know the difficulty in having a charming and efficient laundry room. They generally become a ground for hiding stuff. Piles of stuff...

This little narrow laundry was in need of much needed storage space. It had become the dumping ground for everything the owner didn't want to see. Out comes the scrap wood, saw, sander and chalk paint.

We found a 4x4 ft sq. piece of metal mesh in the field. We cut it into three sizes. One for the small laundry closet by the washer and the two top doors of  the big storage cabinet
Each cabinet was built from 1x12" pine. The big panel doors were built from scrap plywood.
I painted the cabinets interiors with a good quality glossy white paint. Easy to clean.
The small cabinet over the washer will hold all her laundry soaps etc.
Old Broken rakes, curly willow and bird houses adorn the cabinets.

The exteriors of both cabinets are painted with a deep chocolate and sanded back. The lower half of the big cabinet has hooks for work clothes and a muddy boot catcher floor mat.

We crown molded both cabinets and the wall between to make them look custom and built-in.

Three days of scrambling and the owner is thrilled to have her much needed storage. Yard chemicals, dog food and garden utensils will be stored in the big cabinet. Out of reach of little hands.

Thanks for visiting. sk on elderberry