studio & shop

Thanks to all who came to the open studio! I am so looking forward to seeing you again at classes starting up. Here’s a peek round the Decemberish shop.

milk painted shop hutch

So nice to fill up the milk-painted shopkeeper’s cabinet with useful things and my traditional skills studies & kits.

kits and pottery

The pottery from my autumn return to the wheel has arrived. I’ll show you more closely soon.

long and elegant kit, with creamer

antique singer

The handcrank, star of the old school quilting tutorial movies, has pride of place.

hand-thrown candlesticks

You can still get the patterns (sorry, the kits are all sold out!) as a gift to someone who’d love to learn a traditional skill. The movies in the sidebar to the left guide every kit and pattern.


More detail of some of the things I’ve been making, here. I’m so pleased with the new white glaze.

built-in cabinet

Perhaps you’ve been following my adventures in refitting a battered old buffet & hutch as a built-in cabinet. It is best to push off visions of failed DIY at these moments. People have, for the most part, always done it themselves, with as much skill as they could conjure. So, with the support of elders on the telephone, neighbours with tool-sheds, and the wisdom of the internet, I set off.


Having altered the top edge of the hutch, and the table-top of the buffet to fit the nook, I was quite baffled by glued-on, nailed down molding.


A friend helped lower the buffet onto its back. It rested there while I worked out where the nails were, and researched til I found a gem of information. A gem! Store this in your vault of useful facts:

Vinegar dissolves wood glue.

Much vinegary spraying, gentle if somewhat hopeless prying, spraying, prying and waiting ensued. No movement.


In the morning I took a saw to the front edge of the molding, cutting up close to the nails I’d mapped out. I had visions of hacksaws (to cut through nails) but I took one more crack at prying with a crow bar. Pretty please, oh wood glue vinaigrette.


Ta-ra! Success! The ever-so-pleasing shriek of nails extricated from wood.

clipping nails

These nails pulled out easily with pliers, but clipping them off is fine too. Oh, jump around for joy! Then, with friendly assistance, lift that very custom-fit hutch onto its modified buffet companion, and all slide into place;

fitted cabinet

A built in shopkeeper’s cabinet.

Pride. Joy. And there are further adventures in milk paint to come…

shop cabinet woodwork

Right alongside my new studio in the lake cottage, there’s a little nook. It’s the sort of space that begs for a bit of custom shelving to fill it and I knew at once it would be my little studio shop, if only I could fit it out nicely. When I spotted a beat up old buffet & hutch going for a song, I bought it.

damaged cabinet

While I may claim some talents, measuring accurately the first time is not one of them. Oh, dear. To fit this particular cabinet, a bit of woodwork was required!

cabinet cornice

I already knew that the top edge of the cabinet was badly damaged – but it wouldn’t be seen once in the nook. I’m not fond of such a generous curve in the top molding, and needed to remove it to fit, so I marked a line and sawed it off.

cabinet sawing

And cleaned up the edge on both sides so the piece would slide in nicely. Sawing with a really good, sharp saw is so pleasing! I studied up in advance, as I’ve not handled a saw in some time.

cabinet marked

I had known when I bought it that the edge of the buffet needed to lose half an inch, though I’d had some crazy idea about planing the thing off. Once I measured (hmm, properly) I could see I needed to cut it.

cabinet - sawn

I was rather impressed with myself for sawing it freehand. Don’t be afraid of this kind of work! It is just as satisfying as splitting wood with an axe.

However. I hadn’t expected to face solidly glued, nailed molding at the base, sticking out far too widely on each side to ever get the cabinet into the nook.

cabinet- corner molding

Don’t despair, as I did. Come back and see how I solved it!