art · DIY · Home Decor

How to Make a Display cabinet on the CHEAP – $28.00 total

I promise you, this display cabinet only cost us $28.00 from start to finish. Les Gains, my husband, makes things. Lots and lots of little things. If he does not have a guitar in his hands, then you will find him in his studio creating fabulous little treasures.

resin figures sculpted by Les gains

Above is a crowd of funny little guys that Les made with resin. He first sculpts figures out of modeling clay, then he makes molds, then pours resin into the molds. When the resin has set up, Les unmolds them and then paints each figure.   THEN he assembles his elements into really cool little sculptures. As much as I am fascinated by his work, a lot of little things spread all over the house drives me nuts. I like to group small things together to form a larger display unit.

IKEA cabinet

Several years ago, I bought two of these cabinets from IKEA. The photo on the left shows the cabinet with the clear glass door open. Sporting adjustable shelves, it is perfect for small collectibles. Generally, Les works small. Most of his items range in height from 1″ to 9″.
As prolific as he is, the IKEA cabinets were full in no time at all. I needed a larger display shelf that would compliment the style of the old cabinet and our eclectic home decor.
So, off we went on yet another mission. Seeking cheap building materials, Les and I scoured junk yards and thrift stores. We finally found exactly what we needed at Khules, a salvage store in Prescott.
From the salvage yard, we bought a large galvanized utility box. Probably some type of electrical junction box? After finding the box, the rest was easy to assemble.

Knock-off IKEA cabinet


This photo shows the larger, finished box and a close up on the right so that you can see the side detail. It’s easy to make – just follow our step-by-steps listed here.

  1.  (after a thorough cleaning) Drill holes into the sides of the box. You will need two sets of holes on each side of the box for each shelf.
  2. Cut 2 rods for each shelf that extend past the sides of the box. Thread them into the holes cross ways.
  3. Cut plastic shelves to fit inside the cabinet. I also bound the edges with copper tape and used an antiquing solution to age the tape.
  4. Finally, we got little caps to finish off the raw edges of the rods that stuck out of the cabinet sides. The whole assembly only cost only $28.00

Les Gains' art figures
altered art sculptures from Les Gains
altered art by Les Gains

Here are a few of Les’ sculptures. He solders, shapes wire, polymer clay, resin and found objects to make wonderfully detailed figures.

art · Home Decor

Entryway Featuring Artwork by Claudia McGill

entrywayFabulous artist, Claudia McGill gives away paintings! That’s right, they are free. All that she asks is that you pay the shipping fees. Claudia is probably the most prolific artist that I know. She does one small painting a day to challenge herself and then she gives them away. That is so COOL! I wanted to follow in her footsteps, but I couldn’t even get to one painting a week. Nor one a month. I am the embodiment of an anti-prolific artist- painting only when I want to change the art in my decor or when I want to gift someone. (grin)

I asked for several of Claudia’s little paintings which she graciously shipped immediately. All I paid was $12.00 for Priority shipping. AMAZING!claudia-mcgill-artworkAfter much deliberation on how to hang these little gems, I decided to use clips and push pins in keeping with my funky living room decor. I arranged Claudia’s work around a central painting that I did. I think that the colors complement each other.art arrangement in entrywayThis is my entryway where I can drop my keys and my purse. But, mostly, I can admire Claudia’s work and several other of my favorite art pieces.Bing Face vaseThe face vase was a gift from my friend, Robyn. It is a ceramic vase signed by Bing. Really cool stuff. In the next post, I will share more of Les Gains’ mixed media that is included in my arrangement.S McCall

art · Travels

Art Day at Lynx Lake

When the going gets tough- say I am having a bad day at work- my husband, Les and I will pack up the truck and head on out for an art day in the wilderness. Into the truck we throw our cooler with lots of good eats, a ton of art supplies and a couple of folding chairs along with a table if we are going somewhere really wild. Since life can get stressful, it’s lucky for us that there is a lot of wilderness around here and a ton of really beautiful camping spots outfitted with tables, water and bathrooms. Perfect for creating!

Rusty red berries
Rusty red berries

The spot that we chose this past weekend was Lynx Lake near Prescott, Arizona.It’s got beautiful campgrounds full of gorgeous scenery. The camp spots are pristine and fairly private since it is so wooded. If you go in the middle of the week, it’s VERY private and quiet. There are a ton of hiking trails crisscrossing the area.  It’s one of our favorite spots and I highly recommend it both as a day camp and an overnight camp.

Wilderness, an acrylic painting in progress by Sandra McCall

Sometimes I bring blank canvases, paper or board to work on, but this time I decided to bring a canvas that I’ve been staring at for about a year now. I just did not know where to go with it. There is something about declaring “an art day” with my husband that is so freeing. When you are on location (especially out in the wilds), you are tied to only what you brought or what you can make on the spot. A lack of so many studio choices clears my head so that I can continue painting in freedom. Now I finally like the finished painting. Yay!

Wilderness, an acrylic painting by Sandra McCall
Wilderness, an acrylic painting by Sandra McCall

On our art adventures, Les works on his sketch books. Or he paints or he takes a bazillion photos, or he makes things with what he finds. Check out the little altered guys that he made with pine cones and berries. He left them propped on the grate of a fire pit. Les believes that his art is fleeting and is only there “for the moment”. But I find it much more precious. Still, I leave them where he places them and sincerely hope that someone savvy finds them and realizes what a gift they are. Check out the cool little guys that Les made this art day.

Les Gains and his altered art
Les Gains and his altered art