Not seeing a Scroll to Top Button? Go to our FAQ page for more info. Northbrook Designs: December 2017

Artists In Wonderland Invites you to our Show

Artists In Wonderland Invites you to our Show
If you live locally, come and visit our show. We are 4 Artists now, our new addition is an artist who beautifully restores and repurposes furniture pieces.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Victorian Santa–for me

Last Christmas I made four big Mr. and Mrs. Claus’s for a customer. When they came to pick them up, they asked what Santa’s I had in my own collection. I had to stand there and admit I didn’t have any of my own. I make them for others, but never seem to get any made for my own collection. But this year I was determined to change that trend, so I did.

This is MY Victorian Santa. ;o~  I used Sherry Goshon’s Santa Face press mold. The hood of the coat is from her design as I really love that look, but the rest of the costume is my own. I made the coat into a cape instead. The fabric for the cape and hood is called Melton cloth. A description of Melton cloth I found is:

Melton fabric is a dense tightly woven fabric that is felted and heavily brushed for an ultra soft hand. This versatile fabric can be used for coats, jackets, vests, blankets and historical clothing replications.”

I have it in this creamy white and some cherry red. I’m keeping it for special projects. It is not cheap, but is just so perfect for those special projects. I see it’s available on HERE. in the US. And for my Canadian followers, I found this link in ALBERTA.

On the end of the hood, I’ve stitched on a fabric style button front and back, and of course added the tassel. The tassel is good for adding weight to the hood and holds it in a nice position. The fur is rabbit. I found some pieces in a shop that was clearing out a lot of miscellaneous things, so I grabbed all they had.

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The shirt is meant to be a faux shirt, but instead I made it a full shirt with an added collar and cuffs. He has a leather belt and I used upholstery fabric for his trousers.

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I gave him a crown of pearls and sparkle leaves, the hood wraps around his face making the pearls and leaves really enhance his face, and below his chin, the beard stands up nicely. The staff is a little twist from the norm. I wanted to make more of a vintage/shabby chic style Santa in white and gold. I took apart some sprays that I’ve collected from places like the dollar store and others.

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I also found a lantern for him to hold, and it lights up.

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The hands are made with white felt. Once the hands were attached to the arms and before I attached them to the body, I decided to hand stitch the hands to change to the look, to look more like gloves. The cape is lined with a gentle patterned Christmas cotton.

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The embellishments at the base are a rocking horse, an old rusty key, a vintage car whose doors open (love Christmas, you can find the best trims and treats). I also found this little row of metal trees, the tallest is about 7” tall. The shoes are made with the Melton cloth, foam for the soles and a trim around the base, finished with fur around the tops.

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And that’s it. I am hoping to get something else done in the next couple of days, totally 180 deg. from doll making. So stay tuned. Enjoy… ;o)

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas to Ourselves

Do you follow my tradition of buying ourselves something special for Christmas?? It’s a make yourself feel good moment to treat yourself to something nobody else would think of. It can be wacky or just so utterly breath taking, only you will know what it is.

This year is a bit of a change. Normally we don’t do gifts to each other, we stopped doing that ages ago. With all we do through the year and just being together, it just can’t be topped by gifts.

This year however, we outdid ourselves, broke the rules and it’s a one time thing, never to be repeated. We certainly didn’t rush to do this, but with good reason. Expense of course, but more importantly, when choosing a person to take charge and create something for you, you just have to wait until that perfect person comes along.

We lucked out in a huge way. After checking out 5 other options, our 6th one paid off. We had/have the best contractor you could hope for. I have to give praise where it’s due. Time management, attention to detail, a crew of tradesmen and worker bees that know their craft and left us knowing all was well in the world of renovations/rebuilds. We only had to choose our flooring and window coverings people and I went back to those I dealt with before and it all came together so perfectly.

Why am I waxing on and on about these trades people??? Because with all the problem ones out there who have bilked people out of more money that can be imagined, I just felt I needed to add my voice to say that there are amazing people out there who do what you ask them to do and do it well. I will list the three main businesses at the end of this post. 

When you think of differed gratification, this is what you get. You wait patiently to reap the bigger reward. A small sampling from beginning to end. It started in September 2017 and ended just before Christmas, just in time to decorate….. we have our new sunroom.

In the beginning, a sad state of affairs. A mess created by original owners, wanting to perhaps save money, but in the end, a mess for someone else was created. It’s even difficult to post pictures like this. There was also a big tin shed behind this structure that was also taken away.

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But it’s all uphill from here. ;o))  I won’t bore you with picture after picture of the journey along the way, just a few pictures as it came together to the end.

Demolition Day

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Framing it up

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New Roof (over the whole house)

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Outside view. Big bright beautiful windows…. siding and window framing.

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A new and proper landing, with a railing. A safe and secure door.

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New hardwood flooring that matches what we already have, so now the room extends from the living room, way out to the other side of the sunroom… I chose the colour for the walls to match the kitchen and over time, the rest of living space will be done to complete the look.DSC01928

The finale was to have the blinds installed. Picture perfect. The cat seems to love this room so much, I find him in there all the time, just sitting as though meditating. Must be all that good karma from everyone that worked on this project. Now we can relax, enjoy our new space. Wishing all those tradespeople who helped us during this process and all of you who follow my blog, all the best for the holidays and the year ahead. Thanks for stopping by… ;o) Please check below for contacts.

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Chris Marsh Construction     1198 Marchant Ro. Brentwood Bay, BC  (250 544-1051)

Allard Renovations  www.allardrenovation.com  Guy (250 896-3027 (wood floor ref.)

Carriss Window Fashions  www.carrisswindowfashions.com  Marlene  (250 658-4206)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Last Two Projects… for now!!

Before I tell you about these projects, I meant to post a link on my Christmas Troll post re: those cute little buttons I used. I was especially impressed with the quality of those little buttons. They have a nice finish to them and are thicker than other buttons of that size. This is the Etsy seller I got them from… and other buttons too. ;o) Christina is a very obliging seller when I had a special request. CLICK HERE

And now on to my projects.

I posted a while ago that I was working on a table for the sunroom. I finished it a few days ago along with another chest. The table is what I call my Cafe table. I found that great fabric for the tablecloth and the trim I used I bought on Ebay so long ago. (I’ve really been using up a lot of stuff in my stash ;0)

I made this table with a piece of wood that was cut for me originally for a different project. I then bought some spindles that are about 2 1/2’ tall. You can get the metal pieces at Home Depot and elsewhere I’m sure, and the legs will screw into those.

A note: Make sure if you do buy them, that nobody has tossed a plate in the box that doesn’t belong there. The ones I used are slightly different than the picture below. Mine are angled on one side, almost flat on the other. The one below is raised all the way around. But whichever ones you use, getting spindle table legs and screwing them in these plates, makes it super easy to make furniture.

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So after attaching the plates, then screwing in the legs….voila… a table appeared. The colour I painted it looks blue in the picture, but it’s actually a colour called Hurricane, a dark grey. Sanded in between coats and finished with a clear coat.

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The table cloth make the look complete for a Cafe table.

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The last thing was to see how the lamp looked together with the table. From the angle of the picture it looks oversized, but in fact is just right.

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The chest below is from an other post, it’s the one I repurposed a few months ago. It’s tucked in nicely in the corner with my pillows and afghan. The afghan is now on a chair back and some pillows are also on the chairs. The second project I finished is another chest pictured below this one.

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It is approx. 1/3rd to a 1/2 smaller than the cedar chest. It originally came from IKEA (don’t you just love the instructions for putting IKEA furniture together… ;0~) Because I tend to be a minimalist I kept this very simple. It’s painted a clear coated like the chest above.

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I wanted some kind of stand out embellishment but not gaudy. I managed to find some metal corners and this gorgeous flower drawer pull. It sits about 1/2” above the surface, just the right thing to open and close the chest. Below is a picture of the metal corners I added. I love the look. It’s simple and I guess kind of shabby chic, maybe???  Enjoy ;o)

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

McTavish Store Christmas Display

Our local corner store has this amazing Christmas display. I missed it last year but apparently it’s even bigger than last year. It’s a wonderful show of a town, frozen lake, a train coming through a mountain, houses galore, a rail system…. so many details.

I would have to sit there as long as the 36 hours it took him to set it up. I’m not sure if I’m spelling his name correctly, but Konan is the person who created this. I suspect more of the store will be taken up each year he continues to add more features.

I won’t try to explain each picture. I’ve taken some views from a distance and then tried to close in on areas, so I hope you enjoy the display. He also has a light similar to the elf lights that swirl around and if you think of it as snow, it makes a pretty addition…


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These two pictures were not part of the display, but were at the front of the store. They are worthy of adding here….love the house.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Lamp Making

Another of my projects I wanted to make for the new sunroom, is a lamp. I’ve had frames, the lampstand and all the makings for so long. I keep saying that, but somehow I managed to get distracted in a thousand ways and many of the things I planned were pushed further and further down the list. I would guess I’m not alone in that habit. Here is the latest with some basic instructions, because it really is an easy project to create.

A few basic supplies include: FabriTac or any kind of clear drying glue, a lamp frame, something to create the panels (fabric or fancy paper), scissors, and trims, cotton twill tape (optional). 

The other part is the lamp standard. You could find one at the thrift store, or perhaps some place like Michaels??? The lamp frames I found in a couple of places years ago, a fabric store in the home decor section and a craft store that focused on things like book, lamp and other specialty items in classes and/or supplies. I bet there are tons of sources online.

To begin I used a similar shape frame like this. I didn’t think to take a picture of mine before I started, but this is a reference picture.

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I used a handmade rice paper to cover my frame. The first step is to use some paper towel and lay the panels on the paper and draw an outline of the shape. I would advise drawing the panel larger after you have traced it. You never want to trace it to the size it is, so add a good half inch all around what you traced. Trace out the panels that are different, some lamp shades have all the same, some have 2 or more different shapes.

Before applying the paper or fabric panels, consider how you want to cover the wire frame on the inside. I didn’t have cotton twill on hand, so after I was done applying the panels I glued on cotton lace. It serves to make it look properly finished on the inside.

If you use the cotton twill, you will wrap the frame entirely before you start attaching the panels. Be sure, whatever you use, that it’s cotton. You’ll fight with gluing the panels on if you use anything like satin ribbon or other.

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Applying the panels is not difficult, you will be lining them up on the panels, gluing them in place and trim the edges. In the picture below you can see how the paper takes on the shape of the frame. If you use paper, make sure it’s a sturdy paper. Mind is a couple of layers of rice paper, with botanicals pressed in between the sheets. If you can find handmade papers, or make your own, it will make a really pretty, finished lamp.

In this lamp, I first covered the triangle shaped panels front and back first, the remaining panels I laid the paper onto the frame, pressed it into shape on the wire. I lifted it off in sections, applied the glue, then held it down until it began to adhere.

I wrapped the excess around the wire. Snip the paper where you need to, to fit into corners and so on. Trim the excess paper, be careful not to snip too close. Don’t try to force the paper to take on the actual shape of the frame. If I had used fabric, I think that would have laid flatter on the panels. The paper wanted to bow outward, so I let that happen, it wasn’t important to force it to go flat.

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Once the panels are covered, it’s time to trim your lamp. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to pin it in place all around. Once you have it all trimmed, go around in sections gluing it on. Remember to trim the top edge.

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My final couple of finishing tips are to add fringe around the base, I also glue trim above over the edge of the fringe. The I wrapped some left over fringe around the pull cord and trimmed it with some of the trim above.

The lamp standard itself was made for me years ago. When I worked in home care, one of the elderly men I worked for, lived in an apartment building that had a wood working shop in the basement. He loved to make things on his lathe and I was lucky enough to receive some beauties from him. This lamp is approx. 2 feet tall, and I have two shorter ones that match this. Thank you Stan.. ;o)  At the very end, I applied a coat of Mod Podge on both sides, it helps to tighten up the paper and the dust won’t settle on the paper, ensuring it stays clean.

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The final touch was to plug it in and see just how pretty it looks. Now I can’t wait for the flooring to go in, in the sunroom, so I can start setting up the furniture. I hope this has inspired you to tackle this kind of project. You can find all kinds of old lamps at thrift stores. Just clean off what’s covering the frame, clean off any old glue, bumps and bruises and maybe just rub some steel wool or sand paper lightly over the frame to remove any potential burs that might stab you or your paper. You can find lamp wiring parts at hard ware stores if you find an old lamp standard but the wiring is old and not in good shape. Rewiring a lamp isn’t hard, YouTube is a great resource too.. Enjoy ;o)

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