Tiny Dogs in Tiny Spaces


My goal for one month was to make the dogs safe in their drawers.  Of course since I can’t sew, I don’t mean clothing drawers but what I mean is print drawers.  For a time whenever you went shopping at antiques stores, flea markets and 2nd-hand stores you would see print drawers of every shape and size.  There is probably not a single print drawer container left in the world.  I suppose they used the outsides for firewood.

There is something fascinating to me about these drawers.  They have all these little compartments for stashing things and all the little compartments are of different sizes but are yet arranged very symmetrically.  I think I’m again showing my OCD.  But anyway, they all have different kinds of handles (especially the metal bin handles which I adore) and they are all just, well, interesting.  However, most are stained with ink (of course – they had newspaper type in them) and some have the veneer splitting and some have compartments that are so tiny that you can only put a toothpick standing up in them.

So I thought and thought about what I should do with all these type drawers….


This is my Aunt Paula who taught me how to think.  I’m not sure when this picture was taken.  Probably in the 1930’s.  I think she advocated sitting on the front porch in freezing weather with one frozen leg stuck out.  Since she passed only last year it must have worked so I wait until winter and think that way.

What I decided was to arrange all my miniature dogs that were in my dog collection.  But first I had to paint the drawers the color of my walls so that the drawers would not be the things that you are looking at.  The dogs would then be more noticeable. A lot of the handles I didn’t paint because I really liked them and didn’t want to cover the labels or the metal.

Perhaps you have never painted print drawers.  I hadn’t either but I learned and learned and learned.  I learned that each of the compartments in the drawer has 5 sides that you have to paint and it takes at least two coats to complete one drawer.  So, therefore, I learned to think while standing over a paint table with a paint brush.  I thought ant thought and thought.

Next up was sorting and cleaning the miniature dogs.  Usually it is easier to clean them when you are doing dishes.  You check each one (making sure they are not made of salt; and believe me, I’ve washed salt dogs before and they disappear) by licking it if it is white and looks like chalk.  If it has red you also don’t wash it because for some reason red was cold painted on ceramics which means that it is painted after the ceramic is fired and will wash off.  Then you rinse them and dump them carefully on a towel and wait until the next day to sort them.  Just remember to lick your saltdogs!  As you can see in the picture below of a salt dog, some of the little compartments of the print drawer are holding dog beads that I found at a craft store.


If you wash a chalk dog too hard it also disappears.  Chalk dogs seem to get dirtier than other dogs for some reason (when they are white) so people have a tendency to scrub.  The following is what happens when you scrub a chalk dog.  The following also shows what happens when you take one of the print drawers from the wall to photograph and have not put the clay on their feet to attach them to their compartment:


The next thing I did was to have my husband (he’s the same with me holding a drill as with me holding a hammer – meaning he runs over and offers to do it) drill two holes in the upper half and/or the lower half it they are warped and screw the print drawers into the walls.

I then arranged them according to contrasting colors and having their faces pointed to me in a coördinated way. I knew that whenever we slammed a door or an earthquake occurred (in Maine?) all the dogs would fall out of their compartments and break (I’m justified in this because I used to live in Los Angeles).  OR, even worse, I would have to dust all those little buggers and I HATE dusting, as I’ve mentioned before.  So not only did I attach most of them with clay but I went to a glass shop (actually, an automobile window glass replacement shop) and after measuring all the drawers, ordered the thinnest plexiglass in those measurements.  The reason for the thinness is that you have to drill holes in the corners to hold the plexiglass onto the drawer and thinner equals less cracking.  My husband did the drilling and I screwed teeny tiny brass screws in the holes and wallah!  Again, as you can see, I should have used clay EVEN on the sturdy ones because now I have to remove the plexiglass and make those lazy dogs stand or sit.

And now I have a place to hold my cracker jack dogs and my soda pop cap dogs and all the rest of my little critters (even dog buttons!) and I can see them and they never get dusty.  I also have a place to put my teeny-weeny ones where I won’t lose them.  This one is a doll house dog.  I didn’t know it was a dalmatian until I looked at it through a magnifying glass.  I found it years and years ago in an antiques shop that was closing and I have never seen another so tiny although I’ve looked everywhere.  I’ve shown the other “miniature dogs” along with it to show how small it is.    I love it!


Until my next project, collection or selling/buying of antiques opportunity…


Roses and Snake-Skins

Although my very favorite colour at the moment is pastel pink, and although I was born a boy and I shouldn’t like it, it is and I do.  I was born at the Cherry Point, NC, Military Base in 1951.  This was after my Dad came home from the Philippines, re-inlisted and was serving in North Carolina.  Dad drew a picture of the front of a theatre for my birth announcement and sent it out to his friends.  You can also see that due to Item #6, the reason why I came out a bit strange.  That and the fact that Dad so wanted a boy that his mates at the base tied a blue ribbon on my hair (which, of course, made me a boy).

My Dad had a great sence of humor.  I believe, of all the family, I inherited his traits the most.  Unfortunately, I also inherited his health.  Well, genes will be genes.  So, since my Dad was so artistic I’ll have to show you another easy project that I did when I had time.  When was that?

As I stated in my last post: “I love mirrors”  My poor husband has been putting up and taking down mirrors for 40 years now.  Each time we move or each time I get a new one (when you put up a new one you have to change all the others around) he has work to do.  I don’t feel too sorry for him though because he doesn’t have to do it.  When I get out the hammer and he hears the first pounding he runs right down and grabs it from me.  How can I ever learn to hit the nail on the head without practice?

This was a paint and glue project.  The mirror was all gilt and because of its age the gesso carvings were falling off.  However, it was beveled and it had character and it had flowers.  I loved it.  I put a nice undercoat on it after removing all the loose bits of paint.  Then I used the color of my walls for the base color and gold for the trim.  I used gold oil paint.  Although I have some gold leaf that I purchased at a yard sale, I save that for very, very special occasions.  I then painted the roses and the leaves but this left it quite obvious that about half of the gesso roses had fallen off.   So…








because I display all my items that I may be used in a project (if it’s too ugly to display then I don’t want to use it) I found my fabric roses easily.  The nice thing about displaying items like these is that when you need an idea, all you have to do is turn your head!

As you can see, there is a bottle containing a shedded snake-skin right next to the roses just waiting for a project.  Does anyone have any ideas on how to use snake-skins in your art?

I glued (using white glue) some roses on the frame where I could see that the gesso roses had fallen off.  I can see that I probably should use more on the bottom left but I love it the way it is and I don’t believe anything that is perfect.

Let me know about the snake-skins!


Ghost Mirror with a Hat

This week – an easy project (you will laugh) and an easy post covering some hard work.








I always buy mirrors at garage sales, especially if they are white.  If they aren’t white and need fixing up I paint them the color of my walls so all you see is the mirror.  They bring in so much light and make your rooms look so much bigger.  However, they are pretty cold so I warmed this one up with a hat and veil.  The benefit of this is that you can stand in front of the mirror and see if you look good in this hat!  (just kidding)  See how simple that was!  Looking at my picture I think I see a ghost.  I do know there is one or more here in my office but we can talk about that later.

Again, I am in the middle of cleaning.  Once I looked around my house and saw that everything was getting dusty again and the floors needed buffing and cleaning again, I decided that it was time to go out to the barn and take a look at the shop.  All winter (as is normal) I had logged in things that I wanted to sell and attached prices on them.  Then I hauled them out to the barn and set them in the most convenient place.  Barns are very chilly in the winter, very chilly in the spring, too, so I didn’t stay very long out there unless I had a customer.

When I went out I noticed that, of course, everything needed dusting.  I also noticed that my pet chipmunks had put kernels of corn, a few walnuts (where did they get those?  We don’t have walnut trees!) and various other eatables into my change slots in the cash drawer.  The only other real damage was that for some reason the chipmunks thought that a certain color and a certain material of a certain quilt was either yummy or needed for a nest.  I may get extra for this quilt now, seeing as it has holes where a certain color used to be.  Well, I sort my items anyway so this item will now go out of the vintiques and into the yard sale pile.

Where to start?  I supposed that it would be easier to just take one thing out of one box and take care of it not looking at everything and getting depressed.  I used to do that with the wood pile when we were heating the house in Maine with only wood.  I would look at the woodpile that had to be moved into the cellar and get so depressed!  I learned that if I focused on only one piece of wood at a time that before I knew it the pile would be in the cellar!  So I took a lovely Early American Pressed Glass from the top of the box to put on one of the glass shelves.  Oh dear!  First, I needed to move that entire shelving unit outside because it was plastic and would be perfect for yard sale items, then I needed to put the glass fronted huge wood shelving unit where the one had been because it was narrower (and longer) and people would have more room to look.  But, of course, since I was moving all the glass off the shelves of the unit that was moving, I had to dust all and sort all, move the wooden shelving unit where the plastic one was and then arrange all.  Aside from the new shelving unit, I also have another narrow but wide unit that has 5 shelves and one that has deep but smaller shelves.  Since I’m starting to convince myself that I have OCD, I needed to put all the vases, glass used for eating, footed glass, covered glass and odds and ends together, dusting them all.  This took all of yesterday and today but it does look nice and shiny and it looks like I have all new inventory.  People like to think that I’m constantly buying so that they should come back more often.  Why come back when you have the same old stuff?  I also finished the pottery rearrangement and dusting, vacuumed that room and then came into the house.  I have to say it was cold out there also!  Especially when working with something like glass.  After all that work, I actually emptied only one box of new things.  Ouch!

I have my year opening on Memorial weekend so I have to be clean and tidy by then.  Today was the first day that I actually hung my “open flags” on my trees and kept the barn door open and turned on the lights.  I think it was too cold though.  I didn’t see a soul so got lots done but was very lonely.

What is tomorrow?  Who knows.  I’ll just close my eyes and pull out another item.  Could be kitchen Klutter, linens, paperweights, tools, men’s stuff, books, or Christmas items for all I know.  This job is SO exciting!


Dome, Sweet Dome

Sometimes I write in my Blog (what a horrible word – it sounds like a flat animal!) about business and sometimes about art or beauty.  This time I’d like to show you some little things I put together from other little things.  These little things seem to create themselves.  Here’s one of them:








This little thing has no purpose other than to brighten my office and cheer me up.  It started with cleaning the guest bedroom.  When I picked up the antique hand mirror it fell apart so I saved the celluloid from the front and back of the handle and the mirror itself.  I love mirrors and I put this one on a small table in my office to catch and reflect the light.






I also had purchased, years ago, a cast iron note holder.  I may yet paint it.  I tried to use it but kept stabbing myself even if I put an eraser on the tip.  I still liked the design on the base (which is why I still may paint it) so I thought if I put it on the mirror and covered it with one of my stray domes it would brighten it up and I wouldn’t stab myself.








Thinking that the cast iron was a bit depressing until painted (I AM going to paint it) I decided to add a little sparkle.  Looking in my sparkle bin I found the Christmas tree decorations that were given to me one Christmas from my best girlfriend who lives in Anaheim, CA, and who had visited the World Trade Center in Los Angeles and purchased the Jewish stars.  Aren’t they beautiful?  And they just fit perfectly into the dome.  You see, things arrange themselves.








To top it off I found a lamp finial that I had painted to match a lamp shade but that had ended up a little gaudy and I had put away.  I needed something that would rest on the top of the note holder and bring some color into the arrangement and guess what?  It fit perfectly into the dome!

Easy!  It made itself.  No glue, no having to purchase anything and putting to use some things that should not have been hidden in drawers because they were so beautiful.  And best of all – I only need to dust the dome!

So tell me about your easy projects!