Monday, June 30, 2014

Blanket Chest Built From Piano Parts

I am continuing my quest to repurpose many of the parts and wood from my Grandma’s old upright piano. My latest project was a blanket chest. It turned out very well.

blanket chest from piano parts Almost all of the wood came from this old piano that my son helped me disassemble.  If you look closely at the top part of the piano you will recognize the wood for the front of the chest.

Grandma's piano

I also used the bottom part just above the pedals and the very top of the piano. All three of these large parts come off very easily without breaking down the actual piano.

top and bottom openings of piano

For the sides of the chest, I actually used one of the sides of the piano and cut the length needed for two sides of the blanket chest.

assembled box 1

Because the two big parts were so large and they were not the same size, I did cut them down a little before using wood screws to assemble a simple box. I pre-drilled holes for the screws so that I could use “buttons” to cover the screws. I used a scrap piece of plywood for the bottom.

assembled box 2

The photo above is another view of the assembled box.

adding bun feet

I added bun feet that I picked up at a thrift store for 50 cents each.

before adding trim

I also purchased a piece of decorative trim to use on the ends.

trim added to each end

Slowly taking shape. You can see in the photo below that I added the top using the original screw holes and added the buttons to cover all of the screws.

box with top attached

I did not like the dark crackled finish so I used citrus stripper to take the finish off. Next I added a very light coat of stain to provide a uniform color and added a thin coat of satin polyurethane. The actual building of the chest was very quick and easy. The refinishing was quite an ordeal waiting for the stripper to work and waiting for various coats of material to dry. I think it was worth all of the effort.

blanket chest from piano parts

blanket chest close up side 1

The photo below shows the other side which used the bottom part of the piano.

blanket chest side 2

blanket chest end

I left the original label on the inside of the top.

original label

I did not take a picture of the inside but I did line it with felt since some of the wood was  a little rough.

You may enjoy seeing the other projects I have completed using other parts of the piano. Click on the picture to see the complete post.

table from piano parts 

                  Entry  Table

piano headboard 1


upholstered headboard 1

                              Upholstered Headboard

towel bar 2

                Towel Bar

I am having a fun and productive summer!

Looking forward to the 4th of July and then the Haven conference!

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I am linking to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life, to The Scoop at Worthing Court and to Wow us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Handmade Pewter Church Plates–Another Found Treasure

I’m taking a break from the travel posts to catch up on some other posts as I have recently completed several projects on my long term to-do list. One item I checked off my list was polishing and hanging the antique pewter plates that I found at an antique sale. According to the seller, they are hand hammered church plates that came from an old church in Charleston, South Carolina. They were a great price (I think $15 for all 4!!). I purchased them more than a year ago but temporarily misplaced them. Actually they were in the cabinet on top of a stack of white porcelain plates with silver edges so I thought they were more of the porcelain plates. I have searched high and low for them and finally ran across them by accident! I guess that means I have too much stuff!

handmade pewter plates close up

The photo above is a close up so that you can see the hammer marks.  I hung them on the wall between the sets of patio doors.

wall without accent plates -1

Now, the same photo with the plates.

wall with accent pewter plates

They reflect a lot of light.

handmade pewter plates

I used Disc Plate Hangers purchased here to hang them and I am very pleased with the outcome!

I will be linking to Thrifty Treasures at Southern Hospitality and to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll thru Life and to The Scoop at Worthing Court.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Amsterdam Part 3

While visiting Amsterdam we had the opportunity to see some wonderful art. The Dutch painters are responsible for some fantastic pieces. While biking through the city we came to Rembrandt Square. It was a very pretty green space with life size statues of his famous work The Night Watch. It was quite impressive. Please excuse the tourists in the photos. I gave up on trying to get clean shots.

Rembrandt Square 1

Rembrandt square 2

rembrandt square 3

Rembrandt square 4

We also rode to the Rembrandt House museum but after reading the brochure we decided not to go inside. We went to the Van Gogh museum but did not care for it! It was rather small and all of the works were behind glass. Also, his best known works were not in that museum and we thought the admission was over priced. Next we went to the Rijks Museum and loved everything about it. We could have stayed there all day.  The building itself was remarkable and the collections were outstanding. Many of the more well known works had excellent printed art guides in various languages and they were very informative.

Rijks Museum street side

The Rijks Museum is so big that we couldn’t get the whole building in one picture!

Rijks Museum details 1

Let’s zoom in on some of the details.

Rijks Museum details 2

Rijks Museum details 3

Rijks Museum details 4

Notice the rooftop statue on the left even has a “canvas” he is painting.

Rijks Museum details 5

Rijks Museum details 6

Rijks Museum details 7

There was a beautiful garden in back.

Rijks Museum Garden

Rijks Museum Garden 2

The inside was quite impressive too.

Museum Windows 3

There were beautiful stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings.

Rijks Museum interior ceiling details

I want to share just a few of the highlights of the museum. One of our primary purposes of our trip was to see some specific pieces of art. After seeing the movie The Monuments Men, we wanted to see some of the works that had been recovered. If you haven’t seen the movie let me give a very brief summary. During World War II, Hitler had the Nazis plunder thousands of pieces of art and hide them so that Hitler could build a great museum at the end of the war. The United States sent a special unit which included trained artists and architects to find the art and recover it. The members of that military unit were known as The Monuments Men.  Much of the art was recovered from salt mines in Europe where it had been hidden. The salt mines turned out to be an excellent storage place with regard to light and humidity.  Rembrandt’s Night Watch was one of the pieces that was stolen and then recovered by the Monuments Men. It was truly amazing!! It was a very large painting.

night watch

It was impossible to get a picture without tourists in the way. The person on the right side of the photo is using one of the art guides that we liked so much.

Rijks Museum life-size painting

The life size painting above was one of our favorites.

gold frame

I was quite taken with this elaborately carved frame.

canal house doll house

This elaborate dollhouse was a model of a canal house complete with china, silver, copper pots and artwork. Reportedly it cost as much as a real canal house.

Delftware display

This was an interesting display of Delftware. Let’s take a closer look.

blue and white display closeup

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Rijks Museum and highly recommend it.  On a more somber note, we visited the Anne Frank House. No photography was allowed inside that museum. It was very interesting and did a good job portraying the heart-breaking story of Anne Frank. It is a not-to-be-missed landmark in Amsterdam. Since I’m a rule follower, I did not try to take photos inside but I found a photo online of the toilet in the Anne Frank house.It was delft and I had to share it.

A_ Frank toilet sm

We were not able to go to the Corrie Ten Boom house on this trip. It is located in Haarlem, Holland which is a short train ride from Amsterdam. I have heard that it is a great site to visit also.

This wraps up my posts for Amsterdam. My next post on the trip will be about the places we visited in Belgium.

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Linking to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style. Click the link for lots of inspiration.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Touring Amsterdam Part 2

Today I am sharing photos of the Amsterdam flower market and the Delft workshop that we visited as well as a few other shots.

flower market 1

flower market 2

All of the flowers were very beautiful and were fairly reasonably priced.

flower market 3

This shop had all bulbs but they were not certified to bring into the US so I couldn’t buy any.

flower market 4

flower market 5

flower market 6

While we were in the shop pictured above, the shopkeeper came over and rolled back this rack to reveal a hidden stairway to go downstairs.

flower market 7

flower market 8

Those bouquets were spectacular.

flower market- view of back side

The photo above shows the back side of the flower market on the right side of the canal. It stretches down the entire city block.

Delftware painter

We didn’t have time to visit the Delftware region but we did visit a Delftware shop. The lady above is hand painting Delftware. She gave me permission to take her photo. The little houses on the right end of the table have just been painted with an underglaze which will turn blue when fired.

Delftware door ornament

I especially liked the little piece of Delftware on this door where you would push on the door. I’m not sure what that would be called but it was very pretty.

Delftware tulipiere 1

There were many beautiful tulipieres in this shop.

Delftware tulipiere 2

Delftware tulipiere 3

Some of them were almost as tall as we were. All of them were quite pricey. Even a small one was 249 Euros.

Delftware tulipiere 4

Careful examination of that little price sticker above reveals a price of 3250 Euros!!! That is about 4485 dollars! Maybe next time!

 Delftware tulipiere 5

Here are a few other random shots.

cheese shop

Diamond Factory

ship shop

Before we went on the trip we did lots of research. We compiled all of our hotel reservations and notes into a notebook. After our first day in Amsterdam I checked the notes when we retired to our room. I discovered that the Royale Palace was right down the street. We didn’t realize it, but we had passed by it several times.  This seemed strange to me. The next day we sat out to find it.

Royale Palace

That is the Royale Palace! It doesn’t look very royal. In fact it was quite dirty with trash on the square in front. It needs a good pressure washing. No landscape. No guards. Nothing like our White House. Fast forward 24 hours.

Royal Palace 3

When we passed by the next morning, the square had been cleaned and a temporary fence had been installed and guards were actually out front. A few planters had also been placed outside. By evening it looked beautiful.

Royal Palace 4

Royale Palace 6

According to the royal calendar, the King and Queen of Sweden were visiting. Apparently our invitation got lost in the mail but we did enjoy watching from the sidelines.

royale palace bell tower 2

The top of the palace was quite distinctive.

royale palace 9

top of the palace

I hope you have enjoyed the tour. I have one more post on Amsterdam before moving on.

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If you missed part one of Amsterdam you can see it by clicking here. You can read about our visit to Keukenhof Gardens by clicking here and our bike ride around the flower fields by clicking here. You can also see the video that my daughter made by clicking here.