A daily dose of creative suspense.

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Tell the Wolves I’m home

I’m reading this book, eating 4 day old French fries and Gentlemen Jack with seltzer. I’d like to share a quote from the book that rang a bell in me enough to put forth the effort to share it with you.

“Could you imagine Finn not making some kind of art?”

Like in Can you imagine Kathy not making some kind of art? 

No

” No, I guess not, ” I said. ” But why did he stop showing it?” 

” He said the whole circus of it bored him. So he sold a painting here and there when he needed money, but that was it.

” I don’t have to prove anything anymore.” 

from Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Creativity, where does it come from?

Are you born creative? Some research is starting to show evidence that creative people have brains that shut down the part of the brain that is suppose to keep us in line while we think up crazy creative ideas. For example, if you are sitting under a tree admiring a rabbit hopping by and an idea pops in your head to write a story about a little girl who follows a rabbit into its hole and falls into a dream world. Your brain is suppose to light up and the great judge/ naysayer in your brain is suppose to say- ” You dang fool, stop daydreaming and get back inside to scrub toilets before the boss fires you. That was a stupid idea and people would laugh at you. People would REJECT you, if you tried to write a story called Alice in Wonderland!

In a creative brain, the Judge goes dark, falls asleep, well maybe just becomes a tiny whisper. A creative person is willing to take that risk of criticizism and rejection to realize his creative dream. A creative person is a risk taker. You have to be. If you fear public humiliation and social rejection , you will be unable to create the next masterpiece. But on the other hand you will always feel incomplete and unfulfilled in your artistic life. In the end, the world suffers when an artist goes to scrub toilets instead of making their creative idea into realitity.

Brinton Lodge Pin Up Art

The Pin Ups inspired by Brinton Lodge Haunted House

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The whole month of October I volunteered at a 300 year old lodge that almost became a parking lot. I have a passion for old buildings. So I’m helping to restore and save the old place and all its ghosts. In October they have a haunted house and I read Tarot cards there as a 300 year old ghost fortune teller. Take a look at some of my painted faces. I painted on my face with acrylic paints and it washes right off at the end of the night.

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My other blog is at http://www.katdazzle.com

 

 

So I have 2 blogs. Okay! For some reason everyone seems to come to this blog instead of my new one. So here I am back here again. If you can’t beat them join them! Right? Right!

The other URL address is here: http://www.katdazzle.com

I love you Sally Starr

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Sally Starr – one of my childhood idols. She was a huge influence on my drawing glamor girls. I will miss her. Oh Sally! you brought so many little girls a bit of razzle dazzle in an otherwise dreary world. Sally deserves to be never forgotten and I hope my drawing of her will help generations to come to remember a great lady who gave herself to her fan children. She was hostess to saturday morning cartoons in the Philadelphia, Pa area ad will be missed by many children at heart.

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Video

Amy

I donated a CD cover and Poster for Amy who is battling brain cancer and wants to meet Taylor Swift. She was featured on Fox news last night.

” Like” Amy on Facebook.
You can watch it on You Tube

Here is the CD cover.
Amy CD cover

and the poster
Sing Amy sing72

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The Porcelain Snow Sister-Sidshow Pinhead Freaks

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Elvira and Jenny Lynn Snow -were born March 2 1901,in Hartwell, Georgia, USA

Elvira died November 1976.

Height- 4 feet 5 inches (1.35m)

They were sold by their parents to the circus to be exhibited in sideshows. They were billed as Pip and Flip, Pipo and Zipo or under similar such names. At one time they were managed by their brother, Cliff. They appeared at Coney Island in the late 20s and were still being exhibited as late as the early 40s.

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How I sculpted the Elvira and Jenny Snow.

  • I sculpted the Snow sister from porcelain. I made the head with breast plate with holes so I could sew them to the cloth bodies. The arms and legs only go as far as you can see and have grooves around the ends so that I can glue and tie the limbs to the cloth bodies.
  • Fired at cone 10.
  • They are painted with Seeley’s China paint. They have painted eyes because the glass eyes less real to me because I have trouble controlling the eye opening  and shrinkage factor.
  • Their bodies under the dresses are stuffed white muslin cloth and wire so they can assume different poses. This is the first time I did this instead of making a ball jointed doll. It makes them much easier to get them to stand and stay in poses. I’ll still keep experimenting with BJDs but for now this is working better for my purpose.
  • I made their little cotton dresses from an old man’s dress shirt and leather shoes  from an old leather skirt and yes! they have cotton panties on under their dresses.
  • Their tuff of hair is made from Tibetan sheep fur which is inserted into a hole on the tip of their heads and glued with liquid Nails Glue. They stand on a wooden hand painted base and can be removed from the base. They have holes in the bottom of their shoes to accept posts that stick up from the base to help them stand. They stand 10.5 inches tall. (26.67 centimeters) and I adore them.

“We accept you, one of us! Gooble Gobble!”

“We accept you, one of us! Gooble Gobble!”

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The Snow Sister’s history

In 1929, Coney Island’s sideshow impresario Sam Wagner presented two pinheads billed as Pip and Flip.

Jenny Lee was 12 years younger, but had the intelligence of a 18 month old child. Elvira was about a five year old equivalent.

IMG_0497Why do they only have a small tuff of hair?
They had shaved heads except for a small patch at the top to show off their pointed heads. Their managers had them shave their heads to empathize the pointed heads.

The sisters became Coney island’s greatest attracion during the depression and after. They were paid $75 a week. “Life is pretty nice for them.” Wagner once told a newspaper.. ” They spend winters in Georgia at home and have all the money they need. They have nothing to worry about and I suppose you could say, nothing to worry with.” ~ American Sideshow: An Encyclopedia of History’s Most Wondrous

“Pip and Flip were special to me. They were pinheads. Well, the doctor term was Microcephalia. It’s when your noggin fails to grow and the body doesn’t. Some pinheads – the ones the carny bosses said were from Peru – were pretty much dwarfed. Nevertheless, they were all usually a tad touched in the head and hyper as a jack rabbit.

So they locked up Pip and Flip. Not because they were dangerous but because they would wander off the first chance they got. Combined, they had the mentality of a first grader and every now and again, I would sneak them roasted peanuts in a brown paper bag. They were adorable.

Carny bosses said the pair were twins that came from the Yucatan of Mexico. I knew that was a bunch of baloney, though. I got the skinny from the human skeleton one night. He said that they were actually born in New York and their real names were Elvira and Jenny Lee Snow and worked the Coney Island sideshow before being sold to this swampland pit of despair.

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It was 1933, I think, when the man in the big black trenchcoat ushered the two girls out of the cage and into a large car on the outskirts of the fairground.

I followed him because it didn’t seem right.

“Hey, where you takin’ them, bub?” I shouted.

After he ushered Pip and Flip into the back seat, he strolled towards me and said. “I’m Tod Browning. Gonna put them in my movie.”

“Movie?”

“Yeah…” he said patting me on my shoulder. “They’ll be in good hands. Metro-Golwyn Mayer owns them now. Lock, stock and barrel. Don’t worry.”

Oh, sure, I saw the movie. The whole carny went on our night off. The two gals made it. Apart from their small part in the movie, though, I never saw Pip and Flip again. It’s as if they vanished.

No one knows what happened to them.”
from:
http://bukowskisbasement.blogspot.com/2010/08/carny-freaks-pip-and-flip-fridayflash.html

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the freak gang

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The Snow Sisters were called Pinheads. So what is a Pinhead?

A pinhead is a person born with a condition known as microcephaly. It is a neurological disorder and is characterized by a smaller than average head. Biologically, during conception the head fails to grow in time with the face – which continues to develop at a normal rate; this produces a person with a small head and a receding forehead. As the individual grows older, the smallness of the skull becomes more obvious, although the entire body also is often underweight and dwarfed. It is very common that the development of motor functions and speech are also usually delayed and mental retardation is common in persons with microcephaly. The term Microcephaly is really a blanket term for many similar disorders. It may be congenital or the result of various syndromes associated with chromosomal abnormalities.

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I first saw The Snow Sisters in the movie “Freaks” by Browning. It was banned in the UK for 30 years!! Freaks is a 1932 film about sideshow performers, directed and produced by Tod Browning and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with a cast mostly composed of actual carnival performers. The film was based on Tod Robbins’ 1923 short story “Spurs”. Director Browning took the exceptional step of casting real people with deformities as the sideshow “freaks,” rather than using costumes and makeup.
Browning had been a member of a traveling circus in his early years, and much of the film was drawn from his personal experiences. I too joined the circus when I was 15. I aspired to be preforming in the big tent-center ring. But instead they put me in the mess tent washing dishes.
In the film, the physically deformed “freaks” are inherently trusting and honorable people, while the real monsters are two of the “normal” members of the circus who conspire to murder one of the performers to obtain his large inheritance.

By 1929 when Gumpertz left Coney Island to run the Barnum and Bailey Circus, Sam Wagner assumed his position as Coney Island’s foremost impresario of the odd and unusual in humans. New Yorkers had become to educated to believe in the existence of Wild Men so he exhibited Zip’s successors simply as pinheads. He managed to find a pair of sisters from Georgia named Pipo and Zipo. He paid their families $75 / week which was a landfall for the family during the Depression. While Pipo only had the intelligence of an 18 month old baby, her sister was considerably brighter. Zipo had the intelligence of a five year old. They were billed as Pip and Flip – pinheads from Peru.

SAM WAGNER  had no trouble convincing Coney’s freaks to join his operation. It was a matter of economics; they needed a job. Most preferred the low but steady seasonal pay versus being constantly on the road in search of more lucrative one night stands. Besides most freaks liked the sense of community, of living at Coney among their abnormal peers. Best of all he stroked their egos by treating them as something special and displaying them as something unique. It didn’t matter if they were dwarfs, giants, ugly, amazingly obese, had three legs, no arms or legs; the public would pay money to stare at them and gaze in awe. It was common for parents to sell their freak children to the side shows or circus because they needed money and there was no support system for caring for these children.

Around 1915 the Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Children objected to the appearance of eleven year old Godino and Lucio Simplicio, Filipino Siamese twins. This was the start of protection of the children in freak shows. Although it did nothing for Elvira and Jenny, who spent their whole lives in the sideshow business.

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By 1929 when Gumpertz left Coney Island to run the Barnum and Bailey Circus, Sam Wagner assumed his position as Coney Island’s foremost impresario of the odd and unusual in humans. New Yorkers had become to educated to believe in the existence of Wild Men so he exhibited Zip’s successors simply as pinheads. He managed to find a pair of sisters from Georgia named Pipo and Zipo. He paid their families $75 / week which was a landfall for the family during the Depression. While Pipo only had the intelligence of an 18 month old baby, her sister was considerably brighter. Zipo had the intelligence of a five year old. They were billed as Pip and Flip – pinheads from Peru.

SAM WAGNER  had no trouble convincing Coney’s freaks to join his operation. It was a matter of economics; they needed a job. Most preferred the low but steady seasonal pay versus being constantly on the road in search of more lucrative one night stands. Besides most freaks liked the sense of community, of living at Coney among their abnormal peers. Best of all he stroked their egos by treating them as something special and displaying them as something unique. It didn’t matter if they were dwarfs, giants, ugly, amazingly obese, had three legs, no arms or legs; the public would pay money to stare at them and gaze in awe. It was common for parents to sell their freak children to the side shows or circus because they needed money and there was no support system for caring for these children.

Around 1915 the Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Children objected to the appearance of eleven year old Godino and Lucio Simplicio, Filipino Siamese twins. This was the start of protection of the children in freak shows. Although it did nothing for Elvira and Jenny, who spent their whole lives in the sideshow business.

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The two Snow sisters, a sideshow act, these poor little girls were sold to the circus by their parents. They were pinheads. I made artist dolls of them. I don’t know why their story captured my heart but it did.S

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See Elvira and Jenny in a clip from the “Freaks ” movie.

“Freaks is a tale of love and vengeance in a traveling circus…

In her essay “Intolerable Ambiguity: Freaks as/at the Limit,” Elizabeth Grosz attempts to unpack our fascination with freak shows. She concludes that the individuals most frequently showcased in these spectacles, including Siamese twins, hermaphrodites, “pinheads” (microcephalics), midgets, and bearded ladies “imperil the very definitions we rely on to classify humans, identities and sexes – our most fundamental categories of self-definition and boundaries dividing self from otherness” (57). In other words, while we comfort ourselves by breaking down the world into neat binary oppositions, such as Male/Female, Self/Other, Human/Animal, Child/Adult, “freaks” blur the boundaries between these reassuring oppositions. She concludes, “The freak confirms the viewer as bounded, belonging to a ‘proper’ social category. The viewer’s horror lies in the recognition that this monstrous being is at the heart of his or her identity, for it is all that must be ejected or abjected from self-image to make the bounded, category-obeying self possible” (65). We need the freak to confirm our own static, bounded identities. And yet, I think there is a certain terror that we may not be as bounded as we think. If the hermaphrodite can transcend traditional gender categories, then perhaps our own genders are more fluid. For many that is a truly horrifying thought.

For example, in one of the film’s earliest scenes we witness the “pinheads” Schlitze, Elvira and Jenny Lee dancing and playing in the forest. From a distance they look like innocent, happy children. But as the camera approaches, it is clear that they are neither children, nor are they quite adults either. Thus it is the ambiguity here, rather than the disability itself, which is momentarily disturbing…

Grosz also mentions that “Any discussion of freaks brings back into focus a topic that has had a largely underground existence in contemporary cultural and intellectual life, partly because it is considered below the refined sensibilities of ‘good taste’ and ‘personal politeness’ in a civilized and politically correct milieu” (55).”

Amanda Ann Klein. “Teaching Todd Browning’s Freaks,” on the Judgemental Observer blog

Tod Browning with Elvira and Jenny

Tod Browning with Elvira and Jenny


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  • Grosz, Elizabeth. “Intolerable Ambiguity: Freaks as/at the Limit,” in Rosemarie Garland Thomson (ed.). Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. New York: New York University Press, 1996, pp.55-68
  • Hawkins, Joan. ”’One of Us’: Tod Browning’s Freaks,” in Rosemarie Garland Thomson (ed.). Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. New York: New York University Press, 1996, pp.265-276
  • Norden, Martin F. The Cinema of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in the Movies. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994

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How to make a felted Anteater purse.

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I love making stuff from felted wool that I make from old sweaters. I kind of got carried away and collected about 50 sweaters that are waiting to be turned into something- someday.But back to this project. I will show you how to make your very own anteater purse. I made this one for my daughter who used to always sing along with the song, “Maneater” but she would sing, “Anteater” So I can’t help but think of her when I see an anteater even though she’s grown up now with three kids of her own. But first you have to learn how to felt sweaters.
How to felt the sweaters:

  1. Throw in the wash with hot water and soap.
  2. Throw in dryer on high

Ta-Da! Felted wool.Which is wonderful material to work with because it doesn’t ravel and really hides the stiches.

*TIP* Don’t put different colors together or you may get some pink sweater into your grey sweater.

Now for the instructions for making this adorable felted possum purse.

skill level

 

 

 

This project is easy for adults or teens who know how to:

  • thread a needle
  • cut with scissors
  • Sew by hand or machine a straight closing stitch
  • throw sweaters into a washer machine and then into the dryer

supplies needed

  • Matching thread
  • Red zipper ( I like using metal zippers because they look more like teeth)
  • 2 Black shiny rounded buttons for eyes
  • Old grey sweater (felted, that means washed and dried to shrink it)
  • Small length of pink sweater felted for tongue or a piece of store bought pink felt
  • White felt or a felted white sweater for claws and eyes.
  • Long piece of ribbon for the strap

tools needed

  • Scissors
  • needle or sewing machine
  • straight pins
  • washing machine
  • dryer

instructions

Step#1    Cut 2 grey felted rectangles (6 x 12 inches) for the body of the anteater.

Step#1    Cut 2 grey felted rectangles for the body of the anteater.

Step#2    Cut 2 inches down from the top of the front rectangle.
Cut all the way across to make the slit where the zipper mouth will go.

STEP#2   Cut 2 rectangles from the felted sweater. 6 x 12inches or what ever size you want. The rectangle that you decide is the front must be cut apart 2 inches from the top.

STEP#3  Folding under the raw edges and pinning the zipper down before you sew it in place.
This is the mouth and opening for the purse.

Folding under the raw edges and pinning the zipper down before you sew it in place. This is the mouth and opening for the purse.

STEP#4   Sew a couple of loop overs at the end of the zipper,
so the zipper won’t run right off the track when you open it.

Sew a couple of loop overs at the end of the zipper so the zipper won't run right off the track when you open it.

STEP#5 Cut a small rectangle for the bottom of the purse. 10 x 2 inches.
And also cut a piece of cardboard to stiffen up the bottom.
Put the cardboard on the felt, fold the felt in half and sew the edges.

Cut a small rectangle for the bottom of the purse. 10 x 2 inches. And also cut a piece of cardboard to stiffen up the bottom. Put the cardboard on the felt, fold the felt in half and sew the edges.

STEP#6 Sewing the edge of the purse bottom

Sewing the edge of the purse bottom

STEP#7 The bottom all sewn up

The bottom all sewn up.

STEP#8 Draw yourself a little rounded “u” shape from paper
about 3 inches long and 1.5 inches wide
to use for a pattern for the legs. 
Cut out 8 of these from the grey felt.

Draw yourself a little rounded "u" shape from paper about 3 inches long and 1.5 inches wide to use for a pattern for the legs. Cut out 8 of these from the grey felt.

STEP#9 Make a little paper pattern so the claws kind of stay uniform.

STEP#9 Make a little paper pattern so the claws kind of stay uniform.

STEP#10 Cut out 12 little claws from the white felt.

STEP#10 Cut out 12 little claws from the white felt.

STEP#11 Separate the claws into groups of three for each leg.

STEP#11 Separate the claws into groups of three for each leg.

STEP#12 Arrange the claws inside the leg and sew up the edge ,
make sure you catch the claws in your stitches.

STEP#12 Arrange the claws inside the leg and sew up the edge , make sure you catch the claws in your stitches.

STEP# 13 Turn right side out and admire your beautiful leg.
But not too long because you have 3 more to sew.

STEP# 13 Turn right side out and admire your beautiful leg. But not too long because you have 3 more to sew.

There they are, 4 little legs all ready to sew on to the body.

 There they are, 4 little legs all ready to sew to the body.

STEP#14 Line up the legs on the bottom and along the sides and pin into place.

STEP#14 Line up the legs on the bottom and along the sides and pin into place

STEP#15     Carefully place the front and back together with the right sides together
and the legs all tucked inside. Pin the edges together and added the bottom piece.
Now sew along all the edges to form the body/ bag.

STEP#15 Carefully place the front and back together with the right sides together and the legs all tucked inside. Pin the edges together and added the bottom piece. Now sew along all the edges to form the body/ bag.

Here’s what it should look like now once you turn it right side out.

Here's what it should look like now once you turn it right side out.

STEP#14 Cut a piece from the sleeve of the sweater about 12 inches long.
This is going to be the face and nose. Which forms the flap of the purse.

STEP#14 Cut a piece from the sleeve of the sweater about 12 inches long. This is going to be the face and nose. Which forms the flap of the purse.

STEP#15 Sew the edges together to form a tube which is the nose of the anteater.
Tack in a long piece of pink felt for the tongue.

STEP#15 Sew the edges together to form a tube which is the nose of the anteater. Tack in a long piece of pink felt for the tongue.

STEP#16    Sew the piece to the top of the body.

STEP#16    Sew the piece to the top of the body.

STEP# 17 Cut 2 triangles for the ears.

STEP# 17 Cut 2 triangles for the ears.

STEP#18 Do a pretty blanket stitch along the edges of the ear. Sew the ears to the head. 

STEP#18 Do a pretty blanket stitch along the edges of the ear. Sew the ears to the head.

Your anteater should look something like this now, if he doesn’t well then
maybe you should go bake a chocolate cake and then come back later when you’re not so frustrated.

Your anteater should look something like this now

STEP#19 Cut 2 white circles for the white of the eyes and stitch down.
Sew on 2 black buttons for the eyes. Now he can look back at you!
Ahh! I think he loves you! Your his Mama!

STEP#19 Cut 2 white circles for the white of the eyes and stitch down. Sew on 2 black buttons for the eyes. Now he can look back at you!

You did it! You are done the hard parts. Now just make a strap and sew it on at each side. I used pink ribbed ribbon.It makes a great gift or make it for yourself, try different animals.

DIY money saving floor.

IMG_3273My beach cottage got flooded during Hurricane Sandy. The first thing I thought about was my kitchen floor. I crafted my floor about 8 years ago and had just refinished it this summer. It was sitting underwater for probably over a week. I was vacationing in Japan so I couldn’t check it till over a week later. The Fema guy told me that it would have to be ripped out. The polyurethane had turned white and foggy. I was so sad. But I decided to wait a bit and see how things went as it dryer. It’s just fine now. It dried out  and cleared up and looks good as new! Wow! My hand crafted floor held up to Sandy! So I’m going to tell you how to do this to your floors, it’s cheap and crafty and holds up great!

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. remove the old floor, in my case it was old linoleum. Really old , like maybe 1960’s.
  2. lay down sheets of plywood. I used luan from Lowes. Which is pretty cheap.
  3. I nailed it down with nails they later rusted but I like that look. But if you don’t use some type of nails that don’t rust.
  4. Paint it with a base color with regular old house paint. I painted my yellow because that is my favorite color.
  5. Collect all your pictures from books and magazines. Make sure they are pretty thick paper. If it is too thin, it may wrinkle. Cut out a million of them, even more than you think you need. I kept thinking I had enough but I didn’t so I had to keep running out and finding more! I used a collectors reference book of movie posters, old menus. Books of photos of Marlyn and Elvis. My kitchen theme is the 50’s since the cottage was built in the early 50’s.
  6. Thin down elmers glue and glue pictures to floor. You could use Modge Podge but it is way more expensive but doesn’t wrinkle cheap paper.
  7. Some places I painted with glow-in-the-dark paint over spots on the pictures, like dresses and designs. (cause I got kids we think that’s cool, okay, okay, I think it’s cool)
  8. Some places I painted glitter paint, like on Marlyn’s dress.
  9. I even added some stickers here and there to fill in spots.
  10. Once I was happy with the arrangement, I rolled on three coats of polyurethane , letting it dry between coats.
  11. After 8 years of wet sandy feet, and a major flood- it still looks great!
  12. I did the same process on the counter. I just kept the original surface which was also some type of vinyl stuff that I roughed up and then painted, then did the same steps as the floor. The only mishap was someone (no one has confessed put a very hot pot on the counter and burnt it and that part cracked and peeled and had to be redone sooner.

I did resurface it this summer by applying three more coats of polyurethane.

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A DIY Floor

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A DIY counter top to match the floor.

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You can do this too! It’s lots of fun!

 

 

 

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