Friday, December 13, 2013

The masterpiece and how I did it

I don't know how, but this post from 12/2013 was reverted to draft. I don't think it will go back to where it is supposed to be when I publish it. So, if it jumps the line, you'll know why an old post turned up.

The masterpiece and how I did it

That's what my neighbor, who doesn't really like painted furniture so much, called it. Well, I don't know about that,  but I think I worked on it as long as Da Vinci did the Last Supper.

A couple years ago I did a copper patina on a light fixture - a little light fixture. This time it felt like I was trying to cover an acre of wood.

It was really easy!    cough cough  snort

Here's the desk as it arrived.

At this point I started wondering if I bit off too much.

See the crackling? It was everywhere. It's a good thing I enjoy removing veneer. It's such a Zen activity. I just zone out and scrape scrape scrape heat gun scrape scrape scrape hmmm maybe soup for dinner scrape scrape scrape.

After a lifetime of veneer removal I started the painting process.  I used two shades of copper and two shades of turquoise, as well as a sage green glaze and a black wash.

This is the first step. I used a brush, fingers, rags and a sponge to get a mottled first coat. While that was still damp I went over the entire area with the glaze.That smeared the colors together. Finally I added a very watery black wash to age the surface.

Now, let me warn you, you are about see a most unsightly mess. Horrible. I'm going to hypnotize you so you forget you ever saw it.

(Ewwww, how can anyone work in these conditions?)

Here all the "copper" pieces are glazed and drying. 
I had to take over part of the living room because I had two projects taking up my little work room. The front door was totally blocked so if anyone knocked i had to wave my arms and point to the garage.

Before the black wash.

After the black wash.

I purchased these fun glass knobs for the desk. They are over-sized and really cute.  However, after I put all six on, it was a bit much; the knobs drew too much attention. When I walked around a corner in the house and saw the desk, all I could look at were the knobs. Not only are they huge but they also stick out a couple inches. You would have had to see it to understand how wrong that looked.

I replaced them with more appropriate knobs.

I added an escutcheon and skeleton key from my stash.

I painted the writing area a mottled tan with a copper border. In my haste to take pictures I left masking tape hanging off the mail dividers. Nice. Good one, Daena. While I'm on the subject of masking tape, I used the new Frog Tape for sensitive surfaces. It's formulated to not be as sticky as regular tape. It worked 50% of the time for me so I wasn't real impressed.

The trim and part of the legs are American Accents Espresso.

Finished!! Yay! 
Now I can sit back and enjoy the fruit of my labors.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree

the 2013 twig tree
The DIY from last year is below.

With lights.The flat screen TV turned out to be the perfect background to get a good shot. Who knew?

Snowbound! I've been snowed in for days.

twig Christmas tree at night

Last year I shared my little DIY Christmas tree. It got a huge response so I thought I would re-post the original for those who missed it.  So, here it is again, my LED twig tree. It's such a fun tree for the office or home with no room.

 How to Make an Odd Little Tree

I know just about everyone who is going to have a Christmas tree already has it by now. But maybe you want a little tree for the office? And you're in the mood to make your own? I wasn't in the mood to make a tree until a co-worker showed me the Olive and Cocoa catalog. We visited the website and saw this:

For me it was love at first sight. This tree is adorable in its rustic goodness! BUT. But with shipping it comes in at $102. I knew the craft store had these LED branches so I thought I'd save some money and make my own tree. 

I had no idea what I was doing but hoped for the best. I bought 2 different types of LED branches, some floral tape and a few little ornaments. Then I went home to try and bend my newly purchased Willow branches into a fir tree. Good grief. I had no idea I was so floral tape challenged. Talk about fighting the good fight. sheesh. I didn't think I'd ever get those stems wrapped. Seriously. But I did and here's how my tree turned out.

Not exactly like the original but you can tell it's a tree! For the longest time it looked like The Nightmare Before Christmas. I was bending twigs and wrapping tape and getting it all tangled and having it break, then it would unwrap at the bottom and so on. Then I ran out of twig. I had my second box of branches but they were battery operated not plug-in like the ones I had just taped. Oh well, how bad could it be? I taped the battery stem to the electric one and continued bending and wrapping and bending and wrapping. Repeat.
Other than having to turn on the bottom and top separately, it worked fine.

The tree unlit. It needs a few more ornaments. I would love to find some minis made of mercury glass. Oh wait! I can faux paint any old mini ornament. Duh!

And at night. 

It's sweet in a rustic way.

This is what I used but the results would be far better if you had two of the same kind of branches. I used what I had but it certainly wasn't ideal. My little tree cost $30 compared to $102. I could have shopped around and found a better price on the branches but I think over all I did pretty good.

Have fun!

Friday, November 29, 2013

The annual trip to Reno

We were in Reno last weekend, it was our usual November trip with the in-laws. There is an Antique Arms show there that Mr. Really Bad (father-in-law) shows at. He is an edged weapons expert. I talked about that in this post.

Anyway, I get bored just thinking about slot machines so Mr. Bad and I took off to Silver City one day, doing some exploring. Silver City is pretty much a ghost town but we found a little antique/steampunk store and spent some time chatting with the natives. I found a couple frames, so I was happy. Plus I went around taking pictures of the dilapidated buildings.

We also went up to Truckee and on the way I checked garage sales on Craigslist from my phone. I couldn't help myself! Honest! And Mr. Bad was cool with it, so we went to an Estate Sale. Wow, is all I can say. Retail prices all the way through. Truckee is a wealthy community so maybe that's why the prices were so high, but it was surprising. I did come away with a cabinet with nice details, so I'm not complaining too loud.

Here I am bundled up in Truckee at the coolest gas station ever.

Between Reno, Silver City and Truckee I came home with some fun things.

More typewriters? A disaster of an old frame, a picture, little table, AWESOME suitcase and the Truckee cabinet.

 I love this frame but it falls apart a little more every time I look at it.

 This will be fun to paint.

 Really fun to paint!

 Can you believe those casters?

Last but not least, this incredible suitcase that my father-in-law gave me!

The following guide is for when/if you are put in a room on the Oncology floor.
If you are put in a dedicated infusion room, well, you lucky dog!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tell me I'm not the only one.

Does everyone pull out the drawers and inspect before they buy a dresser? Look under and behind and in nightstands? Check that doors close easily on cabinets?

Because I do NONE of those things. None. I'm trying to change my habits but I get so EXCITED when I find something I like at a good price. I grab it and run. Then when I get ready to work on it I notice, oh crap, all that veneer is coming off, there's a crack all the way across a panel, 300 nails must be on that edge. Why, oh why did I buy this piece of crap?

Seriously, I'm trying to change. Meanwhile I have some furniture in my storage room that I am sure is keeping deep, dark secrets.

Like this dresser. Cute little thing isn't it?

I don't even have before pictures because I was sure this would be an easy slam dunk. But no.

Someone had previously done major repairs with duct tape. Duct tape! Outside and inside the drawers. Old duct tape is hard to get off. Old duct tape makes me weep.

Somewhere along the line the drawer bottoms slid out of their slots. And someone nailed them that way.

The bottoms on 3 drawers had all-the-way-through gouges from years of dragging across the metal stops.

Oh, it got worse. Somebody put plastic wood in the gaps where the trim didn't meet the corners. I ended up removing the top so I could glue and clamp and mutter under my breath.

So my plan of quickly painting something to take to the booth became a time consuming repair job that I wasn't in the mood for. Because it took me by surprise. I was seriously cranky.

I painted it with milk paint which cheered me up.

I mismatched the knobs which cheered me up even more.

I stenciled. Neutral feelings on that. I wanted to do a raised stencil but was too chicken to push my luck.

And I ended up with a sweet little dresser. It pays to just hunker down and DO IT.

The paint? I used MMS Dried Lavender on the drawers and panels. The trim is CC Caldwell Seattle Mist and an antique white. Two washes of antique white went over everything, followed by clear wax and a very small amount of dark wax.

In Other News: Inspector 19 returned to work in a limited capacity.

Linking to:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

All hail the mighty freezer paper!

There are so many tricks and methods of doing transfers that it's hard to remember them all. At least it is for me. I forgot all about freezer paper! Completely and totally forgot. Then one day I was visiting different blogs and came across a reminder. Oh yeah! Freezer paper!

Freezer paper transfers are great for those of us who need instant gratification. There is no leaving the transfer to dry overnight as with the mod podge method. And anyway, when did I ever let a transfer dry overnight? Never. I always start rubbing the paper off within hours. Hour. I meant to say hour. Maybe 10 minutes with a hair dryer.

So for those who have never heard of a freezer paper transfer and are the impatient type, here's how to do it.

First I did a simple black text transfer - just to refresh myself.

I have had a peeling brown step-stool ladder for a couple years. It has moved from one place in the garage to another. I could never decide what I wanted to do with it. Finally I decided to just keep it simple, but do something!

So I painted it red.

Then I painted it white.

And then I did a transfer.

What you'll need:

inkjet printer, printer paper, freezer paper, tape or glue stick and a
heavy spoon

Trim a piece of freezer paper to the size the printer paper. Trim a little bit more off the top to accommodate the tape. Tape the freezer paper to the regular paper wax side up. Trim any extra tape so you won't have a paper jam. Place in paper tray.

Print your image, remembering to reverse it. You need a mirror image, otherwise your transfer will read backwards.

Trim close to your 'live' area so you can better see what you are doing. Tape or pin the transfer down securely.

Burnish hard with a spoon. Hard.
I'm not kidding.

You can peek under the freezer paper to check your progress. 

And what have we here?

Zebra stripes!

Fixed. If you miss a spot just go back and burnish more.

The finished stool. Simple, shabby and white. So much better than brown!

COLOR TRANSFER - Now the REAL fun begins!

You'll use the same steps for a color transfer, just remember to transfer onto an object that is lighter than your image.
This is what happens when the colors are too close together. It's not
very compelling.

Here, the toy horse pops off the white box even though the horse is white. The black outline saves the day. And notice the reversed transfer paper, although, without words it really doesn't matter if a transfer is
backward or not.

The freezer paper gave better detail to the transfer than I thought it would. There is just the right amount of rusticness (that's not a real word, is it?)
to match the box.

This box was another piece of clutter sitting in my work room waiting, waiting, waiting for an idea to strike. I love when inspiration finally hits!

Even with the horse the box had an unfinished look to it so I decided to add some faded text to the design. Something to anchor the
horse to the box.

I was really careful to make the text unobtrusive. I used a light caramel color and it was perfect.

In person the text shows up perfectly faded. Taking a picture to capture it was a little challenging.


I didn't bother to frame this shot because I thought no way was it going to be successful. Wouldn't you know this is one where the text shows
up the best.

I think it has that 'look what I found stuffed in the wall' look to it.

The text is a poem about an old wooden pull-toy horse - perfect, or what? I used google to translate the poem into French, then I formatted it in a pretty script. When I burnished the text down I was careful not to go over the horse (which showed through the freezer paper, thank goodness). It actually turned out exactly how I wanted it.

Truthfully, I am so pleased with this box that I'm going to gather all my boxes and all my antique toys and do a series.

That's the plan, anyway. Unless I fall asleep.

The finished box.

Linking to:
nifty thrifty things
funky junk interiors
be different act normal
a night owl blog
miss mustard seed
savvy southern style
french country cottage