SBLHC Trees 11/07/17 (1)

This child's kitchenette set, made by Chris Ward and family, will be up for auction at Sarah Bush Lincoln's Festival of Trees, with the proceeds to benefit the hospital's new heart center.

KEVIN KILHOFFER, JOURNAL GAZETTE & TIMES-COURIER

Chris Ward not only has fun transforming worn out furniture into fun and unique items, she’s very good at it.

“I’ve found some of my most favorite pieces in the trash,” she said, “I have a bedroom upstairs for the grandkids that is full of refurbished furniture. It’s a fun room for them.”

Ward has been refurbishing worn out furniture as a hobby for the past five years, but she’s also passionate about donating some of her pieces for a good cause. She has given several refurbished items, including a bench, a seat and a dresser, to Sarah Bush Lincoln’s annual Festival of Trees.

This year, Ward’s daughter, Lindsey Moore, suggested working on a project together to donate to Festival of Trees.

“Lindsey arranged for us to share the experience together as a Mother’s Day present,” Ward said. “We wanted to create something that would benefit someone else while generating money for a good cause.”

After searching for ideas on Pinterest, Ward came up with the idea of creating a kids’ play kitchen, so Moore located an old TV entertainment center to recycle for the project. “Lindsey found the piece online for free. She just had to pick it up and haul it away,” Ward said.

Then, Ward and her husband, Terry, set aside Labor Day weekend to work on the project with Lindsey and her wife, Jazmine, at their Chicago-area home.

“We took the whole thing apart and then put it back together a little differently. We painted it and toyed with it until we were happy. We each added a little something different to the project,” she said. “The goal was to make it realistic enough that kids would recognize what it was, and would still be able to use their imagination.”

The transformation included taking the glass out of the old cabinet doors and refitting new doors to make a refrigerator and freezer. A small sink complete with a tap was added by cutting a hole in the shelf where the TV once sat.

“We used CDs as burners for the stovetop and then added knobs and an oven below so the kids can ‘really’ cook,” Ward said. The team also added special touches by painting a window behind the sink, making curtains, a matching tea towel, and adding a few cooking utensils. It even includes a small cabinet complete with a broom.

Ward and her husband then transported the kitchenette to their home where they added the final coats of paint and finishing touches until the transformation was complete.

“It was a fun project and we hope it generates a nice donation for the new heart center at Sarah Bush Lincoln,” Ward said. It will be paired with a child’s table and chair set, donated by Jerry & Carol Myerscough, and sold during the live-auction at the Gala on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Ward formerly served on the Festival of Trees committee, including one year as chair, and has also had a hand in decorating numerous trees through the years. “It’s a wonderful event and I truly enjoy it,” she said.

For more information about the festival, contact Kim Lockart, event coordinator, at 217-238-4765 or go to www.sarahbush.org.

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