The Story Behind the Story Cart

I am a terrible garage sale shopper. I don’t plan ahead, I am a late riser, and I rarely have cash on me. Somehow these trivial facts don’t stop me from believing that someday I am gong to happen on a glorious, rare find that I will pick up for next to nothing and sell for enough money to buy the new car that I desperately need.

This is not that story.

I found this cart completely by accident and with a price tag of $3.00, I couldn’t resist. It sits on four very sturdy castors that were worth the price, even if all that I did was use them for parts. It was filthy, smelly, and generally disgusting, but with a little work, I knew I could transform it into a good utility to piece to hold my in progress projects.

Here it is in all of its disgusting glory. Unfortunately the smell of "left out side in the dirt and probably loved by animals" is something you will just have to take my word for.

Here it is after I have cleaned most of the grossness off. Unfortunately the smell of “left out side in the dirt and probably loved by animals” is something you will just have to take my word for.

The first thing I did was sand and chisel off any loose pieces. I knew that I was going to decoupage this piece, because its surface was already so damaged. So I concentrated on just taking off the loose parts. Unfortunately for me, that was most of the Interior. I also removed the rotting peg board, intending to replace the back with pallet boards or scrap lumber.

IMG_1356[1]

Note the hot pink tools. Big Growly had a history of borrowing from my tool box when we were first married and I could never find anything. For some reason I don’t have that problem with the pink set.

After this I just primed it with plain old Kilz white primer to make a smooth light surface on which to adhere the paper. My initial plan was to use some very pretty cocktail napkins for the tops and sides, but I had trouble getting the smooth look I was going for. So, I went to plan B. I had a really old thrift shop copy of Alexander Dumas’ Robin Hood on hand and some yellow tissue paper.

When you decoupage there is a fine line between enough glue and too much. If you don’t have enough glue, your paper will peel up and flake eventually. Too much glue, and your paper breaks down and rips. Initially I was using the left over Mod Podge, but towards the end of the project I ran out and needed to improvise. I mixed three parts Elmer’s and one part water together (I am really not scientific about this. I eyeballed the measurements). What I came up with was a little less wet and stickier than Mod Podge. I actually like it better.  I like to paint the back of the paper with a little of the Mod Podge and then go over it with a top layer. After the first coat is dry, I go over it again with another coat of Mod Podge.

IMG_1357[1]

This is a good “in progress shot.”

And finally, the finished product! I decided to leave the back open, to fit larger pieces, if necessary. This cart holds almost all of my in progress and recently finished pieces. Six hours and $3.00. Not too bad!

 IMG_1400[1]

IMG_1403[1]

Feathering the Nest

Welcome to the Feathered Nest! As we are just getting to know each other, let me introduce myself. I’m Sarah. I’m a mom to J-man, the seven-year-old wonder kid, and a wife to Big Growly. I’ve been a teacher for more years than I thought when I started this gig. Through the years, I’ve latched on to creative projects like decorating for dances, planning big events, and helping art teachers make big displays. For years, people have told me I should do this for a living, but I was too afraid or too self-conscious about whether people really liked what I made to really do anything on my own. Instead I would just go to art shows or craft stores, wishing I could have more time to make things.

This is one of thepieces I made for J-man'sHalloween themed  6th birthday party.

This is one of the pieces I made for the Halloween  themed 6th birthday party.

For the 8th grade dance last year, I was inspired by Anthropologies's ocean themed windows. They used cups, coffee filters, and spoons, among other things to create their coral reef, and so I imitated theirs with mine.

For the 8th grade dance last year, I was inspired by anthropology’s ocean themed windows. They used cups, coffee filters, and spoons, among other things to create their coral reef, and so I imitated theirs with mine.

This year our guidance counselors at school put out a survey for teachers to share our career journey with our students. one of the questions asked was if we weren’t teaching, what would be doing. My response? I would make pretty things. And really that’s what I would like to do. I want to make life a little prettier. So with some very good friends and Big Growly, The Feathered Nest was conceptualized.

So, we are in preparation mode. If all goes well, we will open our store front in August 2015. But when you are making a major life change, there are a million details that you have to consider. If you are on a journey toward starting your own craft business, here are some of the resources that have been really helpful to me in this planning stage.

This is a terrific blog about believing in yourself enough to make that first step:

http://www.flyingc-diy.com/2014/04/18/make-living-crafter/#_a5y_p=1540356

Absolutely awesome website for building a great foundation for your business:

http://ohmyhandmade.com/2015/head/entrepreneurship/foundation-part1/

So, I’ll let you know how it goes. Right now I’m working on writing a business plan, researching wholesalers so I don’t have to pay retail prices, and learning about insurance and business licenses. I’m also identifying which crafts will be the best sellers and allow for the best profit margins. (ooooh look at me using new-found businessy knowledge).

Next week I’ll showcase some of the new product and update you on our progress.