Tuesday, June 28, 2011

DIY Kokeshi Dolls

Our Kokeshi Family

When we lived in Japan, my daughters and I collected Japanese Kokeshi (traditional wooded dolls) from used shops. We loved seeing the different sizes and odd shaped heads. We have a shelf just for them in our new basement bookshelves:

 I looked and looked for blank Kokeshi dolls and could never find any.  So, I decided to make my own!  I scoured the woodworking suppliers online and found so many different shapes.  I decided to make our family as Kokeshi dolls! 

After ordering the pieces, I had to connect the heads to the bodies.  I used wooden dowel pins.

  All you have to do is drill a hole slightly bigger than the pins in the head and the body, fill the holes with wood glue, and use the pin to join the two.  It was really easy and they are nice and sturdy.

The hardest part was painting the dolls to look like us.  This is where I totally cheated- I had my amazing sister-in-law do it!  I have no painting skills beyond painting a wall or furniture.  Remember these gorgeous Nesting dolls she helped me do for a Christmas gift:

I printed out some photos of our family for her, along with some pictures of Japanese Kimono designs for her to use as inspiration.  Aren't they amazing?

That's me!  I had a hard time finding large enough wood spheres for our heads so that's an apple for my head (on a small wood bowling pin shape) and my husband's head is an orange wood shape and his body was a wood lighthouse, with the top sawn off!  See, I had to get creative to get the different sizes for everyone.

For our twin's bodies I used wood jump rope handles!  Just look at the cute designs on their Obi (the sash/belts.)  How cute are those?!

If I remember right, I used some really weird wood pieces to make these kids.  One is a candle stick holder, another an egg cup and even a train smoke stack!  Told you I had to get creative.

I found a half-moon window at a gentleman's farm and loved it for it's shape.  I had been wondering how to use it and wouldn't you know it, the dolls fit perfectly!  I had to take out all the old glass, make a flat surface on the inside for the dolls to sit on and had to cut down the depth of the whole frame (it had been really deep.)  I worried about the dolls tipping over and breaking, so I made little "stands" for them by hammering in some long finishing nails (with no heads) and drilled a hole in the bottoms of the dolls to slip over the nails. 

I chose to hang it in our oft-traveled hallway. I love how it turned out!!  A million Thanks, Ellen.  I think this is my first family heirloom!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Boys Airplane Bedroom

I've been wanting to share pictures of my 8 and 4 year-olds' airplane room for a while now.  It never seemed "done" enough or clean enough to photograph.  It also gets a lot of sunshine from a very big window.  That's a wonderful thing for playing and hanging out, but not so good if you're trying to photograph it.

It started with a paint job of a creamy tan and a very wide blue stripe all the way around the room.  I then found some adorable airplane fabric at Wal-mart and made two comforters out of it (I reused their old twin quilts for the inner batting to the new ones to same money.)

I then collected a bunch of artwork and metal airplanes at garage sales.

For the prints below, I bought a cheap calender and simply layed the pictures on a couple sheets of scrapbook paper to make a "reverse" matting. I found some square frames at a garage sale, painted them black and voila, easy, inexpensive art:

All the planes were a few dollars each and we hung them from eye hooks with fishing line so they would like like they are flying (well, except this one-it already had hanging hardware:)

I made simple red valances, trimmed with blue ribbon to keep out of the reach of little ones.  Ideally, I'd like to do drapes, but that will have to wait a few years.

This room didn't have any ceiling light, so my handy dandy husband climbed into the attic and wired the ceiling for a lighted fan (we HAVE to have fans in IL to battle the humidity.   It's a MUST!)  So if we had to have a fan, how about one that says "airplane"?  Isn't it perfect?

One of the boys' dresser is housed in the closet, but the other little guy's needed to be out in the room.  I found this dresser for $5 at a garage sale and thought I'd try a Union Jack design since I've been seeing them across blogland lately.  Well, they're not as easy as they look!  Mine turned out okay, but was harder because I didn't choose a dresser with smooth, flush drawers.  Tape would NOT stick to all the routed edges, so a crisp line wasn't possible.  I had to freehand it, and that's definitely not my forte.  I choose to rough mine up and added a tinted wax to the finish to "antique" it.

I like the punch of pattern and color it gives to the room.  With about $15 in painting supplies plus the $5, it's not bad for $20.
We found two sets of these solid bunkbeds last summer at a garage sale for only $60 each set!  Can you believe it?  I couldn't either!! They were hardly used since they were from this couple's cabin. One set went in here and another set in our guest room.  I just love what you can find at garage sales!

My sister even found them a propeller coat hanger thingy at her garage sales!  This room really came together and leaves a nice amount of space to spread out the lego-building, marble runs or whatever!  It looks all clean and bare, but believe me, it doesn't stay this way long!!

Well, thanks for looking.  They love it and it should grow with them for a while.

Room tally:
Bunkbeds: $60
5 pieces of artwork & frames: $25
3 Metal Planes: $17
Curtains: $5
2 Comforters: $20
Dresser: $20
Propeller Coat Rack: $3
Total for room decor: $150!!!!!
(thank you, garage sales!)

This week I'm participating at:
The Nester
Tea Rose Home
Whatever Goes Wednesday
Hooking up with HoH
Frugal Friday
Feature Yourself Friday

Friday, June 10, 2011

Simple, inexpensive sconce update

When we moved into our current home, the previous owners had wiring for sconces in place, but no light fixtures up yet.  We actually already had a pair of simple sconces leftover from our home in Japan.  When we unpacked in this house, we threw those up on the wall and there they sat for the last 7 years.  They weren't horrible, just not the right scale for these large, two-story walls.

Okay, let's play "I spy".  Can you find a sconce in this photo?

No? Don't worry, no one else could either. You can "see" one of them under the tall, rectangular floral print on the left of the curtains.  They were just too small and not much of a statement. 

I scoured the stores and looked online for a pair of affordable, vintage and unique sconces.  Nothing was jumping out at me or ones I did like, were so out of my budget it wasn't even funny.  Then, I remembered an idea my Mom had used when building an addition on her home.  She had chosen an outdoor garage light fixture and installed it inside.  Voila! I found my solution and in my price range.
Isn't she pretty? She doesn't look like the typical garage light, does she? It has this lovely mottled glass and just the right character I was looking for. I found them at Lowe's for $35 each (they've since gone up a few dollars.) I bought one with some decorating earnings and got the other for Mother's day!   After ten minutes of wiring, we had them up!

I adore how they hang out from the wall, making them more noticeable.

They're twice the size and the darker finish gives it twice the impact.  I'm in love!

I bought fairly low watt bulbs, but I plan on going even lower to soften the effect more. Even so, I love them during the day and love them at night!

I'm not sure if you can see the lovely bubbled finish to the glass.  It's one of the things that really added to it's look. They were just what I was looking for.  I took down the floral prints above them and am just living with the "simpler" look for now.  I may put a mirror above each if I were to find just the right ones.  Not sure about that yet. It would have to either be very vintage and industrial or have a bit of ethnic flair to them.  Here are a few I like:

Of course, most of these are coming in at around $400, so that is NOT going to happen.  I may take a plain rectangular mirror and add my own wood moulding to make a design.  Definitely a project that is going to have to wait until after my crazy summer.

I really enjoy making these small changes and seeing how it changes the whole feel to the room.  This was one of those changes that the second I held the lamps up, I knew it was the right touch for the room. Hope you enjoyed seeing this little alteration to my family room.

Have fun!
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