Friday, January 28, 2011

Made With Love

Looking back on my childhood, one of the things I really appreciate about all of my mother's craftiness is that all the cool things Chelsea and I had didn't feel like someone was buying our love.  It was a beautiful Labor of Love.  She put a lot of time into making things for us...something I'm learning to do for my kids, as well...even though Pottery Barn Kids and The Land of Nod often make me wish I could just buy their love.  ;-)

Heidi Sage was born in March of 2009.  By that December I had already been working on an idea for her First Birthday present.  I was very sure I knew exactly. what. I. wanted.

Isn't it beautiful?  I had envisioned hours of me and Heidi Sage playing kitchen.  It was adorable.  It was timeless.  It was RED.  Oh, I was in know, for Heidi Sage.

Anyway, after I calculated a purchase plus tax plus delivery total of over $800, my budget committee informed me I was living in "La La Land".  Sigh.

So I started hunting.  I was keeping an eye on Craig's List, checking out all my favorite junk/antique stores, and even hoping for some kind of miracle sale at PBK.  Nothing was turning up...especially that miracle sale.

One day I was out with some girlfriends and we stopped in at one of my favorite antique stores.  We were actually shopping for one of the other girls a desk, but my jaw dropped when I turned the corner and saw this piece.  It wasn't Pottery Barn.  It wasn't even red.  But it was PERRRRRRRR-fect.  It was hand made.  It was solid wood.  And it was in need of a new paint job (and a little smarter configuration on the doors).  They had it marked at $86 and I talked them down to $68.

So I took it apart, sanded it down, filled in holes I wouldn't be using anymore and primed it.  (And cursed myself a few times for buying such a huge project!)  There was some kind of awful, gummy paint on it that took hours and hours to sand off.

Then I repainted and reassembled it, moving the hinges and knobs on the upper cabinets.

Now, her birthday was in March....but she didn't receive this until August...but she's one and did not know...nor did she care.  However, once it made it's way up to the play room both Clinton and Heidi Sage loved it.  We played and played and played with it.

By September I had decided we were going to need a refrigerator.  I wanted one I could paint to match her other piece.  And I found this one at The Land of Nod.  Isn't it beautiful?

It was pretty close to the same style.  It was a natural finish I could paint.  And it was only $ shipping.  This time my budget committee looked at me like I had lost my marbles.  Boo.

So I went hunting.  I spent two whole school days (those very valuable days when the bambinos are in someone else's care and I can do the things I can't do with them because they can't behave) at 9 months pregnant going from store to store to store...when I came across this.  At the time it seemed perfect.  While it was an antique steamer/canner, I thought I could just paint it white and it would look like an adorable refrigerator.  I called Deborah...texted her pictures....hemmed and hawed...ignored her when she said "Don't but it today!  Go home and think about it and get some measurements"...and then...

I know what you're thinking..."You didn't REALLY buy that did you?"  Actually, yes I did.  It was a hormonal decision made on a time crunch...with some serious buyer's remorse.  Especially once I got home and realized it was ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY the wrong scale.  I was sick.  I had spent $67 on something I was going to have to try to hide from my husband.  As soon as I realized what I had done, I hauled it up to the attic until I could come up with a plan.

That's where Deborah comes in...again.  Luckily my mother is always just a call away and can solve just about any problem.  I started texting her more pictures.  Giving her dimensions.  And pleading with her to come up with something.  

A day or two later she called me with a plan.  She had some scrap wood and she thought we could build a base.  So, when she came up for Rex's birth she brought in her suitcase on the airplane the wood cut to size and her nail gun.  Ummm...have you ever packed a nail gun in your suitcase????  It's a sure fire way to get security to go through your things.

Once we got the base together and realized it was going to work, I let out a HUGE sigh of relief and began sanding the rust off of my clunker turned treasure.  I then sprayed it with a white Rustoleum primer followed with a white top coat.  I also painted the base to match the red in her original kitchen piece.  Deborah traced the legs on the original kitchen piece, returned home to Texas, cut them out in her workshop, and brought them back at Christmas.  Deborah, along with my Dad, put all the final bolts and screws in to make sure it was sturdy.

The kids and I LOVE it!!  I mean, LOVE it!  And everyone we've had over to play LOVES it!  Heidi Sage got lots of Melissa & Doug play food for Christmas.  To finish out the kitchen is a table and chair set that was my grandmother's when she was little, then it Deborah's when she was little, then Chelsea and I had it when we were little, and now my kids are enjoying it!  The table cloth is a red and white check summer blanket Deborah had made for Clinton when he was a baby.  I pulled an old coffee table out of the attic for some added counter space and storage (one day Rodney's going to give in and let me paint it...or he'll take an extended work trip and I'll just do it anyway).  And do you recognize that apron???

And to round out the Dream Kitchen is the adorable Grill I had my parents buy Clinton for Christmas.  And, of course, the Melissa and Doug shopping cart is a nice touch from the kids' Nana.  Not to mention Clinton's artwork from school that I framed...he loves showing it to everyone who comes in.

But's still not finished.  Deborah's adding one more piece for Heidi Sage's 2nd Birthday.  So, be on the lookout for that towards the end of March.  And then that should make it complete...  If it gets any bigger than that we'll have to get Heidi Sage her own HOUSE!  Ha!

Cooking up memories,

Linking to...

Keeping It SimpleThe Girl CreativeBubbly Nature

9 Shout Outs:


Everything is so cute, and you guys are so creative! We're working on building a kitchen for Madelyn's 2nd birthday - I hope it comes out as cute. Love all your ideas!

Cathy Barnes

Courtney...I LOVE IT! That is SOO creative, I just love the way your brain works!


Oh totally cute!!!! You did a great job.
Gosh, I should start taking pictures of our little sized kitchen/living room too. I also drooled over the PB kitchen, but ended up buying a KidKraft one. You really did find some perfect pieces, what great vision you have! Well done!


Hey Courtney, this post is just amazing! How you all turned the bits and pieces into this beautiful kitchen... absolutely wonderful, I love it. Enjoy your weekend!
Love, Maaike


Oh my goodness! What creative talent ... being able to see pieces for something other than what they originally for and reinventing them - such a wonderful space for kids to play in ... dying of envy :o)

Oh, and thanks too for the kind comment on my Valentine Treat Bag post!


Very cute! You did a great job transforming your finds into an adorable kitchen play set!


This is fantastic! And when your grandchildren play with it and their children play with it the stories will go along with it.


that is adorable! i wish i would have tried to make my kids play kitchen instead of paying $120.00! oh well, atleast they play with it. love the red!!

Rachel {}

Ok... I just can't get over this... this is so inventive!!! My daughters have a red kitchen like the one in the pic, but I didn't make now I wish I would have thought of this!

Please share this over here:

We would love to have you join us!