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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Gift of Inspiration

In May of 2009 I found myself in a predicament that many people ended up having that year, I lost my job. It wasn't just any job though, it was one I went to school for (Web Design) and I woke up every morning feeling happy that I was doing something I loved. Needless to say when I lost it I was beside myself. I was so distraught that I wouldn't even sit in front of a computer. (To this day, even though I am over the loss, I haven't built another website since.)

I sat here in a serious state of depression not knowing what to do. Days went by, which turned into months which turned into a year. I was at a loss of what to do with my life. Should I go back to school, should I just get a regular job and be unhappy, should I do something I have always dreamed of doing? Aimlessly I meandered through my days until I found myself searching on Craigslist for a desk and a chair for my son. I had never painted a piece of furniture in my life and had no idea really how to do it right. Because Google is the answer to pretty much everything, I went online and started searching for "how to paint furniture". Lots of great sites were out there displaying the talents of furniture artisans and their restyling capabilities - Young House Love, Kristen F. Davis Designs, and Knack Studios were some of the ones that I fell in love with immediately. I was so intrigued with the ability to transform a piece of furniture into something so beautiful that I was determined to learn how to do it. I thought, you know.. if they can do it, I can do it and since May of 2010 I've been running and gunning to get a business up and going. 

But even though I frequented those sites I was head over heals in love with Knack Studios. Barb Blair, the creator of all those fine works of restyled art, was someone who I admired wholeheartedly. Not only was she talented, she took the time to connect with her "fans" on a personal level. At one time I was sooooo frustrated with a piece of furniture that I was working with I ended up posted my frustration on a tutorial she did for Design Sponge. She took the time out of her busy schedule to email me and help me through it every step of the way.  I was amazed and became a loyal fan and huge supporter of her work. The only way I figured I could repay her was to constantly leave positive comments on her blog as much as I could. Then...I got this great idea.

It's Christmas.... what could I do for Barb to thank her for her gift of inspiration? I'll make her an ornament! Not any ornament though... a piece of furniture, one in her favorite color, with some cute stuff on it! Then the brainstorming hit me like a category 5 hurricane.

First off... I searched through Barb's pictures looking for a dresser with her favorite color for inspiration, which wasn't hard to find. ;) Then I hit up Hobby Lobby, grabbed some paint, a doll house dresser, some scrap-booking paper and some little knick "knacks" for the top of it and went to work. I was on a mission to create a Knack-sterpiece!!!

 I got the dresser sanded and ready for paint. Look at how tiny it is!

I cut out some paper for the drawers to mimic the wall paper she uses to line them.

I grabbed some beads I had in my crafts and spray painted them silver with hopes that they would look really cute inside of this teeny little bottle.

Then, because I LOVE the paper decorations she has on her wall, I created one out of some junk mail I had just grabbed out of the mailbox. I took some craft wire I use for bows and wrapped it around a folded piece of paper and cut the excess off. I then hot glued the paper ends together so they stayed fanned out. And hey look... there's the painted dresser!

Check out the drawers....

Here is a close up shot with the bottle glued on.

And here is my inspiration with the finished ornament!!!

My cute little 5 year old helped me hold it up while I took the picture. I hot glued the wire behind the paper to the string so it looks like it's hanging above the dresser. Now granted, I'm no engineer so I didn't get the "hanging" part right and unfortunately when you pick it up by the string all the drawers fall out! LOL Oh well, I figured it would be cute to prop up on a branch of a Christmas Tree or maybe sitting on a table with a push pin holding up the string. Being SUPER excited that it turned out rediculously cute I mailed the box to Barb right away.

I shot an email to Barb before she left for Atlanta and told her to watch out for it, it was a small and very light box. Next I proceeded to bite my nails to nubs in hopes that she liked it when she got it. Of course I didn't tell her what was inside (I enjoy surprising people) and I was hoping she wasn't thinking I was some crazy girl sending her some random gift. ;) 

Anyways, to make a long story short which is waaaaaaaay too late she got it today and well.... 

read for yourself. ;)

FYI: I'm dancing over here... and crying a bit...




  1. That is so cool Susan, what a super sweet thing for you to do! I laughed about the drawers falling out, sounds like something I would do, lol :)

    xx Karen

  2. Thanks! I like to give back to others who have helped me in any way I can. About the drawers, yeah I was almost upset about it, but I laughed it off because it is totally something I would do... and did! LOL

  3. this is so amazing for me to read and see your process. It humbles me greatly that so much thought and care went into creating this very special piece for me. I will treasure it always!


  4. Susan! This is adorable! I absolutely love it! What a wonderful gift. You are sooo talented!

  5. Thanks to everyone who has came to read my post today! And thank you Barb for posting my gift on your blog, I'm glad you enjoyed my heartfelt story and my gift to you! Merry Christmas!

  6. How sweet of u- you did a great job

  7. ADORABLE!! Such a neat and thoughtful idea! Keep up the good work on your life sized pieces as well...looking good :)


  8. Thanks ladies!!! Holidays have been mad so after Christmas rolls around tomorrow, starting next week I will be feverishly working on furniture. :)

  9. soooo great! this is just precious! :)


Thanks for leaving me a comment! They make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside! :)

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