Monday, July 23, 2012

My kingdom for an Empire

I didn't pay much attention to furniture styles before I started painting. I was muuuch too busy keeping track of new boutique handbag and shoe designers. It was important work at the time, but now I could care less. Who'd a thunk?

So, in purchasing old furniture I discovered the empire style. Be still, my heart! I'm head over heels. Love those curvacious legs! Love the solid structure. Love the clean lines.

 I lust after an empire buffet. I missed one on craigslist about a month ago and I'm still not over the disappointment. It's made me all the more obsessed.
Either of the two pieces below would do fine, thank you. Even though one's a chest of drawers. I can overlook that.

But sometimes luck strikes. I found this little empire desk because I ran for cover during a freak downpour. It was under a canopy behind a flea market, hidden. MINE!

Sadly, this Stout Little Bugger, as my husband calls it, had to go to the booth. There is no room at the inn.

The 'before' glamor shot.

Looks too good to paint, doesn't it? Close up you can see the signs of being out in the weather. I decided to leave the desk rustic and did dry brush painting to keep that rustic feel.

It was a departure for me, using the silver, but I liked it with my mish-mash home brewed green. The silver is craft paint and the black is Benjamin Moore Aura flat. It was finished with clear wax.

I'm considering doing a chair to match. I think I have the right one buried in the very back of my storage room. Pretty sure that's where it is. Heavy on the 'buried.'  sigh

Another sneak peek!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Coffee, Tea or ... chocolate?

Yesterday I finished the nightstands that go with the Coffee Dresser and I got them delivered to my booth. Whew! There was so much I wanted to get done yesterday because today will be a big loss.

I have an out-patient procedure today and I don't know how long it takes or if I'd be in the mood to work in my booth afterward. I'm thinking I will probably want to come home and chill. 

I'm getting a port installed (is that the right word?) which will ensure I never again have to be stuck 8 times to get an IV in.  And it won't be unsightly tubes like the pick line I had sticking out of my arm for ages. Unsightly AND creepy. Yeesh. No, this port might make life a lot easier for me. At least the infusion part. If the port could run a table saw that would make life a lot easier. And I'd be leaping around for joy.

ANYWAY. So I took the nightstands to my booth. They look good with the dresser so we'll see what happens. Maybe someone will nab all three.

You already saw this:

What does it say? Let's take a look.

I have all these wonderful old industrial-farm pieces throughout the yard and (duh) I never thought about using them as props until this week. Slow on the uptake? Maybe. Preoccupied all the time? Without a doubt. In a big, fat hurry always? Zoom, zoom, zoom. Ricochet Rabbit!


The little family:

Next up - finishing my rustic baby empire desk. Here's a sneak peak at The Stout Little Bugger (said by Mr. Bad Rabbit when lifting the desk.)

It looks to be in great shape from a distance, but .....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Getting comfy outside the comfort zone

So many blogs have shared tips on photography and most of them start with "Get out of AUTO mode." Yikes. I thought to myself "My AUTO pictures are just fine, thank you very much."

Then Cathy, of My 1929 Charmer, returned from the Haven Conference and posted what she learned in a photography seminar. Easy as pie! It was broken down into Do this. Do this other thing. Go take pictures. Well, maybe a little more complex than that, but simple simple simple. 

I've been practicing with the manual mode and getting better at it. My camera is pretty old - the How-To mentions F16 but I can only go up to F8. None the less, I am still getting better shots.

This is a shot I had considered to be pretty good at the time.

Here is a new shot done on the manual setting.

What fun! I went around the house and took a few shots before heading outdoors.

I have a thing for metal and glass and I love looking at the light reflecting through.

This awesome mirror was found on a junking trip and many months later I came across the hand mirror. I had them both for quite a while before I realized how much they complimented each other. Now I have 2 more mirror duos ready to hang. Well, one's a trio.

And then I went outside. 

I'm giving you a sneak peak at a couple nightstands that are almost ready for my booth. I thought nightstands would be nice with my coffee dresser so here they are. Almost. 

I'll finish the nightstands and show what the second one says in a couple days. Meanwhile, knock yourselves out guessing!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Loving where you live

We absolutely love where we live. I don't know why this suddenly seemed so important to me. I guess I've been hearing a lot of people complaining about their neighborhoods or their commute or their whatever and how they don't like where they live.

We are so blessedly happy here at our little part of paradise. But not everyone here on the mountain feels that way. A handful of people don't like the isolation. It has caused more than one divorce.

I can understand why someone used to hustle and bustle of California and having a gas station closer than 11 miles away could feel that way. Street lights? Hahahahaha. As if. 
Here's the the neighborhood:

Yeah, I get the isolated thing. Because we ARE isolated.
Take a look at the folks we live with:
 Every year a bear comes into the backyard and plops down to eat apples. One day I hope to get a photo!

My neighbors have seen the big cats lurking around but I haven't. I'd LOVE to see one! From the safety of my car. Or house. Preferably car, which would mean I'm AWAY from my house.

Beautiful animal. Make sure you build a good chicken 
house, though.

Cutest little thing you ever saw but see chicken house comment above. Goes double for this guy.

Everyone around here has a skunk story. My personal best was walking into the kitchen only to find a skunk happily eating out of the dog's dish. He'd come through the cat door and thankfully he calmly exited that way. We no longer have a cat door.

One of the most heart-stopping moments EVER was when I was mowing the field and heard this horrible screaming. I looked behind and saw the spots through the grass. OMG!! I raced to get Mr. Bad (because I'm a wimp about death) and he discovered the fawn to be safe. I had run over him but he was so hunkered down that the blades didn't touch him. However, both that fawn and I lost a few years off our lives from the scare. Mr. Bad Rabbit took over the mowing and found a second fawn. He carefully mowed around it. The next morning they were gone. Guess the doe thought we were a dangerous neighborhood.

So, where are we?

Yup, 'isolated.' And, yeah, you have to be of a certain mind-set to love it out here. Pizza delivery is out of the question. Run out for Chinese? More like drive 18 miles for Chinese.

Notice the trees around our house? That is the beginning of the National Forest. There is nothing behind us but forest for hundreds of miles. Which explains why we have so many critters living here with us.

 I've posted this shot before, I call it Morning Has Broken. It shows the loveliness we wake up to every morning.
It's a beautiful life!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Coffee first!

This poor dresser. I don't have a 'before' shot to show but you can picture this, I'm sure. Black, shiny paint with heavy, visible brush strokes. When I went to see it the owner had the blinds closed in the apartment. That's my excuse! I got the dresser home and realized my mistake. Here I was thinking half the work was done for me since it was already painted black. HA!

I tried sanding the brush strokes out. Nope. I wasn't going to strip the paint - that was way too much trouble for this dresser. Plus I had to get it painted and gone since I had half the living room taken up with furniture and we had guests coming. So I whipped out this cityscape using Annie Sloan Graphite over the shiny black. The Graphite looked great but everything else was awful. I really didn't like it, but it was done and that was what counted at the time.

Yeesh. The 80's called and they want their dresser back.

Fast forward to last week. I finally felt up to tackling the dresser again. I told Mr. Bad I was going to show no mercy, I was going to use my belt sander!

I don't know what kind of paint that was, but it stood up to my sander. Humph. I dumped stripper on the top. (Take THAT, dresser!) I applied the stripper three times and in a fit of desperation attacked it again with the belt sander. And after all that, I had the top sorta smooth. The brush strokes were sorta gone.


I moved on and painted. But that black paint wasn't done with me yet. I painted the dresser body with Benjamin Moore Aura in a semi-flat black. Now THAT paint is something wonderful! Love it. Then I used a sample latex (from a garage sale) for the drawers because it was exactly the right color.

Everything went fine until, at the last minute, I decided to distress lightly. Latex doesn't sand so good. I tried the rub method with denatured alcohol and, well, let's just say that at least I didn't burst into tears.
I mean, really?

Now here is how the Aura paint over the black mystery paint distressed. Aura, Baby! 

Benjamin Moore Aura paint rivals chalk paint for user-friendly. If you don't want to spend $40 per quart for paint, try the Aura. You won't be disappointed.

And now, the finished (again) dresser:

Photographed at high-noon, of course. I can't win.

The graphics are hand-painted using craft paint. I printed out the design, then used my projector to transfer the image onto the drawers. The pulls were a challenge, trying to find something that wouldn't compete with the design. I chose these retro pulls and painted them to match the drawers.

And, once again, this dresser is finished! This time, however, it reflects my style. Finally.