Music : interrupted / Piano : repurposed ~ { Part III }

First of all, this is part III which obviously relate to part II and part I. If you’ve just stumbled onto this blog, it might interest you to check those out as well. Second of all, there will be a part IV to this. Though the armoire is standing and functional, there still is a bit to do yet aesthetic-wise. And also, this is not really a how-to so much as it is a this-is-what-I-did. I know that some people find this site via a Google search seeking how that might go about repurposing an old piano they may have. If you have any specific questions regarding how I did something, send me a note.

But in a nutshell, “it’s alive!

From Beyond. A Frankensteinian amalgamation: "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age." ~ HP Lovecraft

I’m working backwards here by showing the most finished picture before showing the ramp up to it. But I got excited. Can you blame me? Doesn’t this look fun? I’m so pleased that it turned out as well as it did. Vision is one thing but execution is everything. But I am getting ahead of myself. So you saw where it was last time; a hollow shell. Well there isn’t that much more to than that really.

Here's a look at her shelf guts before we sow her back up.

Once we sat the TV inside we realized we had a major problem. The screen, more or less fits inside the hole and most of the TV casing is covered. This is desirable, yes. However ~ this meant that the remote control sensor, which was right at the bottom center of the casing, was blocked. To get the remote to work I had to literally stand right in front of the television, hold the remote just inches away, aim it straight down at the television and hope that what ever magic rays that make remote controls work would squeeze themselves into the crevice and change a channel. What’s the point of a remote then, right?  You might’ve noticed the solution in the photo above but in case you didn’t:

Holey piano, Batman

A hole right in the center.  Now without too much difficulty at all, I can again change channels just like a modern man. The only drawback is I can’t be too far left or right of the hole to use the remote. If our particular TV had a plug in sensor like some do, we’d be in the pink. That would’ve been very helpful.  I will paint or stain the inside of the hole so it disappears somewhat ~ or perhaps cover it with an antique radio speaker cloth (like this) which would hide it yet would allow whatever necessary magic remote control rays to arrive to television. It may be a moot point as the hole basically disappears when the cover is up (see the first picture in this post).

As I mentioned, there will be a part IV to this as there’s still work I’d like to do to it. I want the television to be able to be 100% concealed whenever I want it to be so I will have to figure out how to put hinges back onto the music stand that is currently missing. Initially I was going to have it flip straight up but there are several reasons why that won’t work. Plan B is to split the piece down the center. Ideally I’d love to be able to have them close like this player piano‘s does but I think the shape of my piano simply prevents that from working. What I’ll likely end up doing, if the moulding on the edges permits, is turn the single music stand into 2 cabinet-esque doors I can open and close.

It’s been mentioned a few times by a few folks that I should do this as a business. That’s an interesting thought. This project was one of the biggest pains in the neck ever but in the end it worked. If you’ve got an old piano that you don’t play and you’d like to do something like this (or something else altogether), do drop me a note. You’ll find I can be quite awesome, but humble.

It must be said that I couldn’t have completed this project without the help of Kevin Garcia, whom I referenced in one of my very first Hair Tonic & Horse Feathers posts, as well as Mark Rosellini. Even more thanks goes to my wife for allowing this project to go on INDOORS for so long. Hopefully a nice piece of unique antique furniture to hide our ugly black & shiny modern devices will make up for the trouble .

Part IV coming soon.

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Recent thriftscores…

It’s been a while since my wife and I have been able to get out and do some good old-fashioned hunting and gathering of trinkets and treasures. Between Craigslist and a massive garage sale we came across this morning, we found some great gems this week.

Pay no attention to the man behind the hair tonic & horse feathers.

a fine find.

The aformentioned garage sale was the biggest one I’ve ever seen. Blocks and blocks of folks out on their lawns in the early morning, hawking their wares, pawning their junk into our garages instead of theirs. My wife and I have a thing for oval mirrors & frames and this one caught our eye right off. We showed interested in this well-loved thing and the owner says, “Do you like it? Take it”.  Sounded happy to get rid of it. Fantastic. We’d just been there 10 minutes and we were already given a free antique frame. It needs a fair amount of tender loving care and a new mirror, but stay tuned and I’ll post a picture of it up in my house, looking like a million bucks. 

Octo-armed chandelier

8 arms & 16 Candles. Sounds like HP Lovecraft's take on an 1980's coming-of-age film.

My wife gets all the credit for this one. She’s been a noiseless patient spider looking for just the right chandelier for quite a while. The ones that we’ve liked at antique shops have been perfect but just too far out of our budget so she’s been scouring Craigslist for just the right combination of looks & price. She found this gorgeous pre-war era chandelier in (hoity-toity) Beverly Hills for the wonderful price of….one hundred dollars.  It might’ve been the very last thing in Beverly Hills that cost $100.  It’s usually more than we’ll pay for an antique but we’ve seen other $imilar chandelier$ go for beaucoup buck$ el$ewhere.

 We got it for a song. A short song at that.  

WELL DONE MRS. HAIR TONIC & HORSEFEATHERS!

A phrase from a high school Spanish textbook that will finally apply: Hay dos tablas rojas.

These two little red tables caught our eye as we were driving past them on the street. The owner originally wanted $30 for both but my consummate bargainer wife got them into our car for $20 instead. We love these tables but we’re thinking that we might be able to make our money back and then some if I fix them up and sell them. Crafty, antiquey people these days love red furniture. Red furniture is the ying to shabby-chic-white’s yang. So we shall see. In any case they’re in great shape and the attention they need is very minimal. I’ll keep you posted as to where these end up. P.S.: Do you like the little knick-knacky frames we got as well?  

Tengo tres sillas. Spanish 101 strikes again!

Again, at this morning’s epic yardsale extravaganza, we picked up these 3 chairs, which by the seller’s estimation, probably from the teens or twenties. The asking price was $10 each but my wife, as per usual, convinced them to let us take them for half of that. I’ve had success in the past with light-repairing and reupholstering my own antique furniture so I’m going to try my hand at these three. Again, like the tables, we’re thinking of selling these once I fix them up and recoup the money we spent on the chandelier. We’ll see though…I’m going to do them and hopefully I won’t fall in love with the finished product too much to sell it. 

Any good yardsale finds for you lately? Any discards that you’ve rescue from the curb of death? Let me know! Let us see!

Civil War Silhouette of the Great Emancipator

I had a few hours to kill this morning as I wasn’t able to participate in this year’s Record Store Day so to make up for it, I decided to create something.

Since I’m a Presidential history buff and since April 12th, 2011 marked  the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I decided to honor The Great Emancipator with a great silhouette. I made my first painted silhouette last week and loved it so much that I couldn’t wait to get started on another one. I’ve been antsy.

a silhouette of the great emancipator in our humble orange quarters


Authentic Victorian silhouettes are cut out from paper so having a painted one isn’t much on authenticity but it’s very easy to do and the effect is great and instantly hangable. The Abraham Lincoln one took less than an hour to do and it looks great.  Although this one has a big too much negative space so I just might take it off it’s stretcher bars are put it onto 8×10 bars instead.

I took pictures of the process but I don’t think I’ll put them up. I do promise a tutorial but I’m waiting for my wife to do one as I want to walk through it with someone who’s never done it before so I can adequately explain the process.

Procrastination, Victorian style.

I should be working on other things but I needed to take a break from painting so I started a new painting. I happen to have a small oval canvas lying around and me, being a chronic picture frame hoarder, had a beautiful picture frame to go with it. So in less than a half hour I came up with this:

I’ve been fascinated by Victorian style silhouettes for a few years now and have always wanted to decorate our home with them. This project, as I mentioned, took less than a half hour to do, cost me $0 (that because I happened to already have the materials), and took a very small amount of skill to do. You don’t have to have an artistic bone in your body to do this. Just a steady hand. I think in the near future I’ll do a step-by-step tutorial on how to make one yourself.

So now…back to work.

WWII’s reenactors pushed me to the deep end.

I love old things. I love the way they look. I love their textures, their smells (sometimes), and the stories that have seeped into the cracks and patina finishes. I guess I’m talking specifically about the WWII era and older. If I was born in 1879 rather than 1979 I’d like to imagine myself at the forefront of the development of moving-pictures. Maybe I’d be cranking one of these for Buster Keaton or working as a gag-man for Harold Lloyd. for  I can’t say that I hate all modern things though because modernity is allowing me to have something called a ‘web~site’ through which I am communicating to you right now. I enjoy putting a pile of clothes in a metal box and having them come out clean. I will say though that it’s the look of modernity I can do without. If I “let myself go” so to speak , I would doubtlessly live a lifestyle pretty close to this woman’s lifestyle or perhaps Edna’s lifestyle. You have no idea how appealing that sounds to me. I’d still use Colgate and but can’t I have it in a simple, old-timey tube that looks more like oil paint than toothpaste?

Then I had an epiphany and with it, I’m inching more and more towards Edna’s part of town. WWII Reenactors. Yes, those boys love authenticity and I figured there’s got to be great modern reproductions of old ephemera & daily use items that soldiers would’ve had during wartime made specifically for niche market. A little bit of internet sleuthing and bing~O:

Motherload! There’s all sorts of everyday 1940’s era reproductions of toiletries and other household products out there made for WWII Reenactors that I will have to legally commandeer with currency. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, here’s a link to a WWII Supply website.

I’m coming, Edna. I’ll hand ink you a letter or better yet, send ya a telegram to tell you that it seems that I’ll be seeing you soon on those grassy plains of off-the-deepend-ness!

 

1930’s European/German Haircut Redux

Looking through my site stats and seeing what site visitors were searching for that led them here and there’s pretty much only two things that I have that people consistently want to know about.
One of them is this icebox.
The other one is this haircut :

I’m going in to see Brit @ Play Hair Lounge in the next few days and am planning on getting this exact cut again. Last time I took pretty lousy pictures of Brit’s finished work so to make amends and to hopefully help some of those who are searching this site for 1930’s German/Euro haircut ideas, I’ll be as detailed as I can and maybe ask Brit to let me in on some of the details and I’ll share them here. Stay tuned. Better yet, subscribe to this blog and you’ll get it in yer inbox (and thus make my day to boot!)

 

Fishy Finds

Here’s something to know about me: I’m a very good secret keeper. I never let any cats out of anyone’s bag. But today, I’m cracking. And I’ll let you in on my secret. It’s a place called Fishy Finds in Simi Valley.

I still remember my first trip there. After a year of living in beautiful Simi Valley, California my wife and I decided to one day check out the thrift & antique stores in the area. The first one we went to was the one with the funny name: Fishy Finds. Even from the parking lot I could see inside the open door and I know instantly that this place was magical and was about to charm me.

It’s the antique shop that I always wished existed. I always describe it like what it might look like if Knott’s Berry Farm had a yard sale. This place is for those who love the thrill-of-the-hunt and who love the stories behind the things. The owner, Tania,  is about as sweet as they come and she literally knows the story behind each and every piece in the store.  If you pick up an item to ask about the price, she’ll be able to tell you where it’s from, how old it is, who’s it was, and how she obtained it. What a gem!

My wife had the brilliant idea of taking some of the innards of the piano I recently gutted (that’s a whole new blog post coming soon, God willing) and seeing if we can’t sell them at Fishy Finds. I had taken out the piano’s action a few months ago and had it set aside while I figured out what on earth to do with it.  As interesting as it was I was probably going to throw it away as I had zero room for it but lo and behold we brought the store and we’re officially antique consignors. Not only that but Tania suggested a $225 price tag on it! See below.

My wife gets the kudos for the idea for hawking this. Right after we put it in the store and it got a heft price tag attached to it, I told her “see, I’ve got good stuff! I know how to find the good stuff!” and she said, “yeah, and I know how to tell it!

Did you happen to notice what’s underneath said piano action?   Here’s a better view.

Yes indeed, that’s our ice box that I got for free by the side of the road a month or two ago.  It’s been sitting in the garage since I found it as we really don’t have room for it so we decided to part with it, as neat as it is. The price tag now on it? $175.  Imagine that! We brought in a few unused picture frames from the 60s & 70’s I’d collected over the years as well as an antique garden tool.

Total potential winnings:$530. After the 60/40 split we’d get $318. Granted there’s gonna be a bit of negotiating and we probably won’t get the full asking price for all the items but that’s no matter as I paid $0 for all the things we brought in.

So all that to say, I let you in on my best kept secret.
Now go buy our stuff!

Happy hunting and good luck finding it!

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