Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bloomsbury Birdhouse No. 1 -- SOLD!!

New Item in my Etsy Abodewell Shop:


Bloomsbury Birdhouse No. 1

This is the first in a series of decorative birdhouses and architectural elements for the home.  It is made of recycled materials and opens to display your own little inspirational interior.  The images of handwritten letters, intimate interiors and art all combine to create a little haven where you can escape.  You could also use this as a birdhouse (wink).

More of these to come...

I'm also extending my support to the Haitian Relief into February.  For the months of January and February, purchase any item in my Etsy Shop and 20% of the proceeds of  your purchase will go to support the organization, Doctors Without Borders, in their effort to help the people of Haiti.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Abodewell's Shop will be donating 20% of its sales to Doctors Without Borders in Haiti!

Inspired by my participation in Craft Hope for Haiti's fundraising effort on its Etsy Shop, Abodewell has decided to begin its own fundraising effort for the victims of the Haitian earthquake. 

For the month of January (and possibly February) Abodewell's Etsy Shop will be donating 20% of its sales proceeds to Doctors Without Borders in Haiti.

Purchase any item at my shop: abodewell.etsy.com and I will donate 20% of the item's price to Doctors Without Borders to assist them in acquiring medical supplies and care to the people of Haiti.  Thanks for your support and let's continue to keep the people of Haiti in our hearts and minds.
Frank @

Monday, January 18, 2010

Craft Hope for Haiti is approaching the $10,000 mark!!!

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

Thanks to the great people at Crafthope.com (Sarah and Jade) and some angels who have helped me to spread the word about their effort to raise money to help Doctors Without Borders in their Etsy Shop, (like Scott Fazzini at Domicidal Maniac -- Thank you, Scott, you're a saint! I owe you one), Craft Hope for Haiti is fast approaching the $10,000 mark in just a matter of a few days!!!

Many Etsy crafters (and other crafters), like myself, have donated our handmade items for sale to Craft Hope's Etsy shop to help their campaign, Craft Hope for Haiti and the results have been overwhelming! Read more about it here and please support the handmade community in their effort to help the people of Haiti by buying items from Crafthope's Etsy shop. You will get something unique for yourself and help a great cause!  Thanx!

Frank @

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Abodewell is on board with Craft Hope for Haiti! -- Please Support This Creative and Worthy Effort!

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

Shine a light on the Haiti Relief Effort by supporting Craft Hope for Haiti!

Abodewell has just donated its "Twilight Candleholder" to support the Haitian Relief Effort created by the good people at Crafthope.com.  They have come up with a creative way to help the people of Haiti, called Craft Hope for Haiti, by having crafters, like myself, have the opportunity to donate items to their Crafthope's Etsy shop for sale.

ALL of the proceeds of the donated items that are sold in their Etsy shop will go to help the people of Haiti via the organization Doctors Without Borders (who, as you may know, are in desperate need of supplies and donations).

Please visit Craft Hope's Etsy Shop and browse among the many items offered by the very talented and generous crafters of Etsy and beyond.  You can get something unique, made by hand AND help a very worthy cause.

I think the phrase below (taken from Crafthope's website) captures the spirit of this effort and best says it all:

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” — Anne Frank

So, don't wait, go to Crafthope's Etsy shop now and do something that's not only good for yourself but good for the world.


@ abodewell

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm a Marina Script. So, what's your Type?...and do you come here often?

Check out Gina DeDominici's blog today to see what typeface you are.  I'm a Marina Script.  It's Fun, clever and so true, it's a little scary (the test, I mean, not me...although, come to think of it, I can be those things too).  Have fun! and thanks to Gina DeDominici for posting this on her great blog!   You should also check out her great graphic design website: ginadedom.com, especially if you're thinking about jumping the broom together (you know, "Mahwage"--anytime I can get a quote in from "The Princess Bride," it pretty much makes my day).  Really nice stuff!  Thanks again, Gina!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Trash To Treasure Series: Vintage Green Desk found on street

This is the first in a new series of articles about trashed items I find (sometimes on the street, sometimes around my house and sometimes from clients) that I rework into treasures.

I found this vintage green desk a couple of blocks from where I live.  It was put on the street for trash but from the moment I saw it, I knew it was worth saving.

Here it is in my workshop.  My first exam of this patient turned up a beat up finish, peeling quartersawn oak veneer, over solid hardwood (which places its manufacture probably somewhere between the 1930's to the early 1960's), a solid hardwood base (oak, as well) in pretty good condition (and very stable still), replaced knobs, and drawers that still slide in easily (albeit with worn drawer bottoms).  There was a black wooden board attached to the right side back (for what, I have no idea) and a narrow board of pine that was used to replace a missing side, screwed in with sheetrock nails (ouch!), leaving a gap exposed at the side's top (perhaps to air out stuffy papers in the drawer?).

There is some writing on the front of the desk that looks to be from the hands of children, which makes me happy to think that at least somewhere along the line this desk was shown some love by being used as a play table. 

Despite the black eyes and missing teeth, I could tell that this little desk was a swan waiting waiting to be transformed.  The scrolled, front legs were beautiful and the base was solid.  The veneer on the top and drawers was a little rough around the edges but this was not a big deal to sand out, fill and smooth over.  I decided to bathe it in a fresh coat of the lovely green it came in (probably not the original finish) because I could picture sitting at it and being refreshed just by the color.  Hell, even if you had writer's block, it would be nice to just sit there and look at that color!

So, first step, clean it up, wipe it down and remove the offending boards in the back and side and the thorns they were attached with.

I then cut a piece of solid wood for the right side on the table saw and glued, nailed and clamped it into place, replaced the "air conditioner" board that was there. 

I then began the initial sanding using 150 grit (fairly fine but still rough enough to take off any loose finish without leaving too many scratch marks).  In this process (which took a couple of hours) I realized the veneer that surrounded the edge of the table top (and parts of the table top's solid wood edge underneath) was too damaged to be filled.  I could redo the veneer but that would probably result in the same condition after time.  I decided to replace the veneer with a thin, solid wood strip around the table's edge, giving it sturdier protection against bumps, bruises, scratches and inevitable peeling.

After hand planing the top of the strip so that it met flush with the table's top (which was slightly uneven [which is natural for the age of an everyday piece of furniture like this]), I gave the entire desk a couple more sanding passes, using finer, 220 grit sandpaper.

Since I'm going to repaint this, it's not necessary to "strip" this down to the bare wood.  In fact, in most cases, you should always try to avoid completely stripping a piece of furniture (especially, vintage and antique pieces and especially pieces with veneer) and instead, aim for a smooth, even "surface" to which you can apply a newer finish.

Detail: This is the original brass keyhole in one of the drawers.  The desk came with two locking drawers (the locks, which were mortised into the top of the drawer front, are brass too).  If only I had the original key...the secrets I could lock up in there (if I had any).

At this point, everything is sanded, filled, repaired and plucked.  It's time to paint!

The first coat goes on smooth, using semi-gloss latex enamel (a green that the guys at my local Home Depot mixed up for me using a green background from a magazine ad that was pretty darn near close to the original hue) and a small smooth roller pad.  This gives it a nice, even, streak-free coat that is difficult to get using a paintbrush.  I perch the table on four small paint cans so as to get as much paint to the bottom as I can (later, when the paint on top is dry, I'll lay the desk on its back and paint the bottoms of all the legs--I like to be thorough).  The green paint on the side of the drawer on the left is from the original green paint, so I left it there, for three reasons;

1. I like to remind myself of the humble beginnings of an item, especially when you can only see it on the inside (I believe objects can have dirty little secrets too).

2. No one but the owner of this desk will see the green paint on the side of the drawer (and if they do, they shouldn't be looking in there in the first place).

And 3. I believe that behind every beauty is an ugly duckling just waiting to be discovered.

Okay, after a few more coats (took me about four coats to get to the finish I liked and I ran through about a half a quart of paint--not bad--the smooth roller, although more expensive than a cheap brush, actually saves you money because it spreads less paint more evenly).

And now, the reveal:  Voila!

I left the silver replacement knobs (even though they clashed with the brass keyholes a little--that's okay--not everything should be so matchy matchy) because they still had a nice shine and they give the desk a little pop!

Despite four coats of paint, the finish on the top still reveals the wood's grain pattern, which I always like to see (it's nice to be reminded that you're sitting in front of something from nature [that is now in your home!]).

The finished desk, all dressed up and ready to go!


Now, if I only had something to write about...hmm...

UPDATE: This item has been sold!

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Items up in My Etsy Shop!

These are some new items I've just listed in my Etsy Shop, click here to check them out!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Go Eco-Friendly! Sunlight Candleholder featured on Etsy's Blog, The Storque!

Thanks to Emily Bidwell at Etsy for including my Sunlight Candleholder in her article in The Storque (Etsy's Blog):  Etsy Finds: Lean Green Machine  Thanx, Emily!

While you're there, check out some very cool Earth Friendly finds from some very creative people all over the world!  Etsy seller, Fibrillaria, from Hungary (first of all, how cool is Hungary!), sells construction plans to make your own earth friendly doghouse out of "clay, straw and manure (horse or cow) that stays cool in summer and protects from snow, rain and harsh winds in winter."  All for 6 bucks!  How freaking cool is that??  (Okay, maybe I would use mud instead of manure, but I am, after all, a city boy.  I do live near horse stables though...hmm....?)

Also, too (as it's recently been pointed out to me I say a lot, Thanks, Pete), check out Snowdon's, (located "near Manchester," yes, my friend, in "EEN-glond") eco-friendly "Nutter Bag."  How's that for mixing eco-friendly with English cheeky...mate!  (I used "mate" in a sentence, even though, no one really says "mate" in England--see the film Rushmore.  [giving myself a gentle punch on my shoulder...my other shoulder--not the same one with the fist--it's confusing to me too, just trust me on this]).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Twelve Things for 2010 -- Part Two, Five through Eight

5.  Take a regular Yoga class.   I consider myself to be neither flexible nor particularly athletic but when I see a person doing yoga, no matter what their physical appearance, I think to myself, "wow, not only are they flexible but they must be very athletic."  Now, am I saying I want to be like this yogi?

No.  It's just that I no longer want to feel like this Yogi:

(Actually, striking that pose, even Yogi Bear seems to be more flexible than I am.)

6. Create a music space in my home.  I like to strum my guitar and write songs every so often; songs that I have no intention of sharing with the world, with titles like, "The Relationship Song (or, Just Tell Me What You Want, Already)." 
I have no interest in starting a band, or going on tour, or even necessarily making an album but by the power of Ziggy Stardust, it sure would be nice to have a dedicated space to sing badly and make up songs that make me laugh, cry and occasionally, confuse me...maybe a lil' sumpin' like this (courtesy of Elle Decor):

7.  Stage a play in my backyard (Summer '10).

I have always wanted to stage a play outdoors, under the twinkling stars of a warm summer night but as I don't have access to the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, I thought, "Why not my own backyard?"  I have been writing a play that I want to stage this summer.  Now, I just need to finish it, cast it, have six weeks of rehearsals, create scenery, lighting and all of the rest and panic through opening night!  More details to come.

8. Clean up and decorate my backyard (in preparation for #7).  Below, is what my backyard kind of looks like now (except, not so neat):

You do the math (see photo in #7).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Twelve Things for 2010 Part One - One through Four

Here are 12 projects that I would like to complete this year, in no order (in other words, whichever I get to first is cool beans with me).  I will be posting the progress of these (and others) in the future so, now that I've posted it here, I'm committing myself to following through on these (.....gulp...).

1. Create a Writing area.  This is not to be confused with a surfing the web/eating/paying the bills/cat nap destination/putting my feet up and joining the cat in a nap area.  Just a place to WRITE...and nothing else.  Maybe with a handful of books, a bulletin board to post things that will inspire me (to write) and a desk with a small drawer or two for the necessities (paper, pens and...what else do you need?).  Just thinking about that sounds like heaven.

2. Create an Arts & Crafts area.  No, not where I would glue raw elbow macaroni to paper plates to make faces (although that sounds tempting).  But a place where I could make stuff that I like to make which can't be made in my wood shop (because it's too dusty and loud most of the time); stuff like, leather goods, drawings, paintings and what have you.   All I would need is a work surface, some shelving and some leisure time.  The former two will be easy to come by, the latter, not always so much but this year I'm committing to living the way the Italians do; with ease, grace and plenty of good food, wine and friends around.

3. Make a guitar.  "Like a real guitar? with strings and everything??" you may ask.  Well, of course, what other kind is there?  Actually, a flamenco guitar, to be exact (in the style of Antonio de Torres, like the one pictured below, would not be too shabby).  I have always wanted to do this and I've never taken the time despite having a fully equipped woodshop.

4.  Finish decorating my place.  It's been three years since I've moved and I still have curtains hanging from my walls with thumb tacks.  Enough said.

More to come...